Often the word “yoga” is thought to be a type of exercise for a person who is very flexible and without pain or injury. This is NOT true! For centuries yoga has been used to heal the body. Yoga can be used for recovery or even to help treat pain from injury or chronic pain.
One contributor to pain can be a mentality of trying to control every little thing. Yoga teaches us to slow down and learn how what we are thinking affects our movement. Yoga also focuses on the breath and the mind-body connection, which leads to decreased pain, decreased muscle tension, and increased focus.
The Benefits of Yoga
Muscle and bone strengthening can be improved with yoga because many of the poses use the person’s own body weight to create healthy stresses on the body. This promotes strength in muscles and bones without adding the risk of injury that can come with external weight.
Yoga uses facilitated stretching to deepen postures. For example, to stretch the back of the leg, you learn in yoga to contract the front of the leg.
Yoga also uses dynamic stretching with repetitive movement of the body to stretch more than one area of the body at a time in a functional way. A good example, a lunge with a twist, is a dynamic stretching exercise that engages your hips, legs, and core muscles at the same time using rotation, which we use during everyday activities like walking or reaching.
Stress causes an imbalance of the Autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is made up of the Parasympathetic Nervous System (also known as rest and digest) and the Sympathetic Nervous System (also known as fight or flight). Studies show that yoga practice restores the balance in these two systems restoring optimal homeostasis of the body.
Yoga is much more than poses. It is a way to connect to our unconscious and conscious mind. Regions of the brain, such as the brain stem, are highly involved in survival, yet we are not consciously in control of them. Yoga practice connects the conscious mind to these primal instinctive regions of the brain. For example, the diaphragm rhythmically contracts and relaxes under the control of the ANS. We are unaware of the diaphragm unless we consciously think about its function and learn to control it.
At Back 2 Normal, our staff is prepared to offer you all the benefits of yoga for recovery and chronic pain in a safe, private environment. We are not a regular yoga studio. Be prepared to be received by an experienced instructor with a physical therapy background who has a complete understanding of your injury or condition. Yoga sessions at Back 2 Normal focus on accelerating healing and teaching modification for when you return to personal practice and or classes.
Contributing Author: Heather Politano, PTA & Balanced Body Pilates Instructor
The Back 2 Normal blog is an educational resource written by Back 2 Normal employees and professional associates. Back 2 Normal bloggers are professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.