This weekend, the yoga teacher trainees learned about synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is a sack of fluid in between the joints of the body, such as the knee. The principal role of synovial fluid is to reduce friction between the articular cartilage of synovial joints during movement. The joints in our body depend on us to take the joint to it’s full range of motion, and move. When a joint is at rest, cartilage absorbs some of the synovial fluid. When the joint is in use the synovial fluid is squeezed out of the cartilage, much like how water is wrung from a sponge. Consequently, joint use is essential to circulate the synovial fluid throughout the joint.
If we don’t keep our flexibility good as we age, and move our joints to a full range of motions, this synovial fluid dries up, like glue, with pain and stiffness being a result of lack of movement. What’s even worse, is as we loose that “sack” of fluid, the bones can begin to rub against each other, creating unhealthy moving patterns in the body. This usually leads to surgery. A proactive way to take care of this is through your yoga practice.
Starting yoga at any age is awesome. If you can keep your joints healthy in our 30’s and 40’s we have less of an uphill climb when we start yoga in our 50’s. It’s like starting to save for retirement in your 30’s verses in your 50’s.
Lets not forget about the joints in our spinal column. They also depend on movement, and the kind that is the most beneficial is inversion. The joints in your spinal column can fully open up and decompress the most when you are upside down, as opposed to sitting, standing, or even lying down. But don’t worry, just get yourself to a hammock class to decompress. It will also turn that frown upside down. 🙂
See you on the mat; or upside down 🙂