Why is my physio saying yoga is a good idea?

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Hands up if you’ve ever had physio? Hands up if the reason you called your physio was down to any one of these?

  1. Pain
  2. Limitation
  3. Frustration

Probably all three right?

Now ask yourself, was something way, WAY off balance before you actually made that call. Had your body stopped talking in whispers and started shouting – “You got to help me out here. Stop doing the thing that you are doing and let’s try and fix this.”

Oh yes – I’ve been there and I know I am not alone.

According to the NHS, the things we mostly seek physio out for include one or more of the following:

  • Back, neck, shoulder pain caused by problems in our bones, tissue, joints
  • Difficulty moving – caused by problems with our brain or nervous system
  • Trouble breathing – caused by problems with our lungs or respiratory system
  • Poor circulation – caused by problems associated with the heart and circulatory system.

A physio gets to work on these problems using a number of approaches that may help bring you back into balance. That could be advice on how to change the things that got you in trouble in the first place, (assuming you played a part), some tailored exercises to improve specific parts of the body and maybe manual therapy to get to work on the pain and encourage the body back to mobility and health.

Now setting aside the hands on therapy piece, that sounds a whole lot like what goes on in a yoga class. Before you say isn’t yoga all about flexibility, standing on your head and chanting mantras?  Let me interrupt. No. Nope, Nah. Well…

Ok, these things are part and products of yoga, to be enjoyed or not (and yes you can choose either way). But the picture that is yoga is a whole lot bigger.

Amongst a heap of other things yoga can:

  • help you recognise what’s going out of balance and when
  • help bring you back to balance
  • help you break the patterns of behaviour that cause imbalance
  • help work on pain that any imbalance creates and encourage the body back to health and wholeness.

I could go on and on…

My point is the reason some physios are saying yoga is a good idea is because much like physiotherapy, yoga works on our imbalances and encourages a return to whole health and happiness.

What’s more, we can practice it regularly at home and/or a yoga class. That’s important because as we all know (but tend to conveniently forget) once health and wholeness is restored that doesn’t mean that’s it, job done. Once we’re pain free, we don’t necessarily stay pain free.

Sorry to hammer it home but being healthy and well enough to enjoy the life you want to live is a process that you need to continue every day of your life.

When we stop paying attention to that, when we start getting in our own way by making less than nourishing choices for ourselves, when we ignore the whispers of the body, mind (and soul), we wind up right back where we were –  with some kind of pain, limitation and frustration.

Yoga is a daily practice that can break behaviour patterns that prevent us from living life the way we want to live it and replaces them with new habits that truly align with who we are and what we most desire. It could be said that’s why the discipline of hatha yoga, the physical aspect of yoga, was developed in the first place. Way back when, the ancient sages practiced yoga asana to do what they loved to do – sit for hours in meditation and achieve self-realisation. Hatha yoga prepared the body and the nervous system for stillness and created the necessary physical strength for the mind to stay calm. I’m not suggesting that we’re all looking to achieve the same lofty goals as our 5,000 year-old friends. Right now, I’m guessing your wants are more likely to be around being healthy, fulfilled, successful, happy or simply to be able to move more and experience pain less. Well the good news is Yoga can put you on a path to all that too.

If you’re looking to restore balance, ease pain and experience whole health more often in your life Yoga is a great tool. Take a look at the new series of Yoga Local classes and programmes launching in January 2017.

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