Benefits of Yoga and Physical Therapy
Following the birth of my first child I had pain in multiple joints: knees, feet, low back and neck.
This was most likely due to hormones associated with pregnancy that cause the joints to become loose. But I was anxious to begin exercising and return to previous fitness levels, so I rolled out my yoga mat.
I started doing yoga in the early 90’s as a young physical therapist. I did it off and on as classes was available my gym. In 2000, I increased the frequency of my practice by purchasing as many Rodney Yee videos as I could. I found it easy to follow his instructions and was challenged by his routines. I continued to do other forms of exercise, such as running and biking. But with the post-partum pain, I could not perform any of my other exercise routines. So I returned to the mat and I had a true “Ah-Ha” moment. Yoga was helping me overcome my aches and pains. I was slowly beginning to feel better and the more yoga I did, the better I felt. I realized that there were therapeutic benefits to yoga similar to those of physical therapy. As I studied yoga, I came up with the following list of why physical therapy and yoga go together so well:
- Both are supported in peer-reviewed research to improve function and decrease pain for a variety of diseases and conditions.
- Physical Therapy and Yoga programs can both be developed to target individual needs such as strength, flexibility and postural alignment.
- Many of the exercises used in physical therapy actually came from the long tradition of Yoga.
- Physical Therapists are specialists in movement and have extensive training in musculoskeletal impairments and diseases.
- Yoga provides a mind-body connection that promotes healing.
- Together, Physical Therapy and Yoga incorporate movement and mindfulness to provide a powerful and effective way to manage injury and chronic disease.
- As a physical therapist, I have personally used Yoga to recover from post-partum pain and manage chronic low back pain.