Yoga has been a path of spiritual and physical study for thousands of years. Its popularity periodically surges in Western countries, but the practice of yoga here in the U.S. tends to focus primarily on the physical work. The yoga poses, or “asanas”, are one of 8 “limbs” or segments, of yogic study. The poses are meant to help develop concentration and physical stamina.
While increasing endurance, however, the alignment of the body and activation of the muscles must be nearly perfect in order to prevent injury. Lack of attention to this is why some participants get hurt, or feel there is excessive emphasis on flexibility.
So, how can yoga help you, when performed correctly? A few examples…
- If you are a runner, yoga can provide you with cross-training for abdominal and hip stability, as well as flexibility, to limit risk of overuse.
- If you have asymmetrical spinal curves (scoliosis), yoga postures can be tailored to increase strength to counteract the rotation, and to lengthen the tight areas on the opposite side.
- If you work at a desk most of the day, yoga can help you develop postural endurance, and limit neck and back pain
Why yoga instead of other exercises? Amy Flory, physical therapist and co-owner of CoreBalance Therapy LLC explains, “I personally appreciate multi-tasking exercises so I can get in a complete workout without complicated equipment and still have time to do homework with the kids in the evening. Yoga poses can work your abs, hips, back and balance all at the same time while breathing properly.” At CoreBalance, Angela Gaston, registered yoga therapist, will work with you if you are interested in starting yoga training or accelerating your current yoga practice. This is done as part of the physical therapy plan of care to help you transition safely to an independent fitness regimen.