Every active athletic workout puts wear and tear on the muscles and joints of our bodies.

And yoga is no different. A strong vinyasa or power yoga class will make you move and sweat.

An Iyengar class will challenge your endurance as you hold postures and refine alignment. Even the deep stretching of a gentle yoga class puts some strain on the body. For students new to yoga, or those getting back into shape, almost any style of yoga can provide a good workout.

Body builders and competitive athletes understand the concept of a post-workout recovery period and have developed individual routines to offset the stress of their chosen sport. But I don’t hear yogis talk about athletic recovery, except to say that muscle soreness is to be expected and will dissipate over time with regular practice. 

Exertion on our muscles creates micro-tears in the muscle fibers, especially during repetitive movements like sun salutations. Micro-tears cause inflammation — a natural response to protect the body from further injury — and result in post-workout fatigue and muscle soreness. Remember all those chaturangas and how they left your arms feeling so limp you could barely swing your shoulder bag overhead? Or bruises on your upper arms from attempting advanced arm balances?

Well, a good topical CBD ointment can help you feel better fast. How? 

Your body has several built-in defense mechanisms: the nervous system, the immune system and more recently discovered, the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system has receptors in the brain to uptake CBD1 and CBD2. CBD supports the immune system by regulating both pain and inflammation. After any yoga practice, except restorative, cortisol — a catabolic stress hormone — floods your body, inhibiting new muscle growth required to fill in the micro-tears. Fortunately, CBD is anti-catabolic. CBD reduces cortisol levels and helps your sore muscles regenerate faster. Who wouldn’t want that type of post-yoga support?

Perhaps it’s high time to cultivate a healthy post-workout yoga routine. Make sure to include the obvious: adequate cool down in class (no skipping savasana), proper hydration before and after class, a plant-based diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, and a good night sleep. 

If you want to speed up recovery time, I’d suggest rubbing a topical CBD cream into your sore muscles and joints and drinking CBD infused water after each practice. If you have a particular hotspot — shoulder, knee, ankle, neck — that takes the brunt of physical stress, get proactive and rub CBD on your joints before you even step on your mat and again afterwards.

As always, purchase a farm-to-sales full spectrum non-GMO hemp product rather than products containing CBD isolates. I believe they are more effective. Do check the label to see how much CBD is contained in the product. My favorite brands also contain organic essential oils that work synergistically with the hemp plant to ease muscle and joint pain. Lather CBD cream on before practice, after practice and before bed to get the maximum benefits.

Just as you’d seek to find your favorite style of yoga, or favorite teacher, you may need to sample a few different CBD topicals to find the one that best enhances post-yoga recovery in your body.