Yoga is an ancient form of movement and exercise that has stood the test of time. Originating in India it has spread worldwide and focusses on improving strength, flexibility and breathing in order to improve physical and mental wellbeing.
The word ‘Yoga’ means union, specifically between body and mind. Scientific studies have demonstrated a range of health benefits from practicing yoga. Benefits include reduced pain, stress levels and depression, while improvements have been found in mobility, cardiac health, blood pressure and general quality of life scores.
As physiotherapists, we choose specific movements based on the clinical need of each individual, tailoring sessions specifically to treat issues with muscles, joints and nerves.
Is clinical yoga for me?
Yoga is NOT just for the fit and flexible. The beauty of yoga is that it can be used to benefit anyone of any ability or age; to ease the pain of the office worker, to improve the performance of a high end athlete, to enable an older person to get up and make themselves a cup of tea, or to recover from an injury.
Yoga incorporates whole body movements or “postures” which aim to improve your strength, stability, flexibility and overall body awareness. An important aspect of Yoga is movement and movement is an integral part of preventing and healing injury and pain in your body. Good and regular movement patterns in your daily life are fundamentally important to a well-functioning body, helping to reduce pain and inflammation, lubricate your joints and keep your bones strong and healthy.
What to expect
As physiotherapists, we always ensure that we asses and screen you thoroughly before offering two main services regarding yoga. Firstly, we recognise the value of yoga as an important tool for rehabilitation and pain reduction. We often incorporate yoga into our physiotherapy treatments, and use it as a tool to help people understand their bodies better. We offer one-to-one sessions and also run clinical yoga courses for specific conditions (see courses).
Secondly, if you are already experienced in yoga but have an injury or restrictions with certain movements, we can use our understanding of the human body and physical dysfunction to assess you and identify specific barriers to your practice. We can work with you to help you overcome restrictions that are limiting your asana practice. For example, if you are unable to perform a 'Wheel pose' because of back pain, we would look at you performing the pose. If, for example, your pain was caused by restrictions in your thoracic spine and hip flexors, we might use manipulative techniques to mobilise your back and show you how to release your hip flexors, resulting in a pain-free 'Wheel pose'. We also do one-to-one sessions if you simply want to understand what is happening in your body with each movement and help optimise your current practice.