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March 7, 2012

Benefits of Yoga and Physical Therapy

by fitnessmatters2us

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.

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