“Yoga is the poetry of movement.” – Unknown
We do have a few Practice Members who are very active in yoga and even our very own Dr. Joseph, uses yoga to maximise his overall health. So, what are its benefits and does it really complement your chiropractic care? We couldn’t have chosen a better time to talk about this especially since September is officially Yoga Awareness Month according to the Yoga Health Foundation!
Hopefully by the end of this post, you’d be able to decide for yourself if combining yoga with your chiropractic care plan is for you. There are some individuals who would prefer pilates over yoga, however that will be a topic for another day. So what exactly is yoga and is it some mystic religion?
Well, although yoga originated from ancient Hindu spiritual and ascetic disciplines, many individuals today practice yoga specifically for its health benefits as it focuses on the body and mind. There are many forms of yoga where each focuses on a slightly different aspect. However for the purpose of our post, we shall focus mainly on how yoga benefits an individuals’ physical posture, builds strength and also how it improves their breathing.
It is also interesting to note that individuals who regularly practice yoga (“yogis”) are able to manage their stress better and aren’t as likely to experience depression and anxiety. Perhaps this may be one of the reasons why there is the misconception that yogis are a religious group due to their constant relaxed stress-free demeanour and identified by their colourful outfits. On the other hand, some high performing athletes actually perform yoga on a regular basis to keep their mind mentally sharp.
“…individuals who regularly practice yoga are able to manage their stress better and aren’t as likely to experience depression and anxiety.”
Yoga helps to keep the body flexible; increasing the body’s mobility and range of motion which results in a stronger leaner body. Yoga works on strength, flexibility, balance, agility, endurance, core, and overall strength, among other things. If you’re an athlete, or relatively active, you could benefit hugely by combining yoga into your training and wellness regimen. As chiropractic care brings the spine back into alignment, combining yoga together with your wellness care increases the effectiveness of the treatments. This allows the body to respond better and faster to the care administered by the chiropractor.
To further explain how yoga would be a great complement to your chiropractic care plan, here are some quick pointers of what it can do for you:
- Promotes muscle and ligament strength
Yoga has been documented as an exercise that focuses on your entire body. This includes your smaller and often ignored muscles and ligaments, unlike many other exercises (such as weightlifting) which focuses on large muscles groups.
- Offers a good warm up
Yoga itself is not only a great physical activity, but also serves as a great warm up exercise before you see your chiropractor. That is because yoga helps loosen up our muscles that may have become tense from a prolonged unhealthy posture or repetitive daily activities.
- Prevents injury and shortens recovery time
Studies have indicated that complementing chiropractic care with yoga is proven to lead to healthier bodies, prevent injuries and reduce recovery time, especially after strenuous workouts (eg: weightlifting, mixed martial arts, long distance running, golf, tennis etc).
“From my personal experience, practicing yoga (2x/week) for the past year has tremendously helped with my recovery between my long distance running trainings. As a result of combining yoga and chiropractic care, it has enabled me to gradually run further and faster.” – Dr. Joseph Cheah
- It lifts your spirits and improves the immune system
Have you ever noticed that someone who’s in pain are often not in the best mood? Their mind is often pre-occupied with the feelings surrounding pain and it effects our overall mental health. Since yoga is a form of [gentle] physical activity (or exercise), your body will begin to release endorphins into your blood stream as you start moving. With the presence of endorphins in your body, it will elevate your mood and eventually lift your spirits.
Besides calming the mind and getting it to focus on something else, yoga also teaches proper breathing techniques. This “relaxation response“, a term introduced in the 1970s by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson, refers to a state of profound rest, where breath focus is a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response.
Overall, yoga is a low-impact, gentle and safe activity for individuals when practiced under the guidance of a trained instructor. However, extra caution is needed for individuals with specific conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), sciatica, pregnant mothers or senior citizens. It would be good to check with your regular medical doctor before you attempt to begin yoga and even if you’ve been given the all clear, do let the instructors know beforehand so that they are aware of your pre-existing conditions.
Yoga is growing in popularity and although it may seem like more women are yogis, you’d be surprised to see that a lot more men are practicing yoga for the very benefits that were discussed above. Walk into any yoga studio today and it wouldn’t be uncommon to find a mixed group of individuals with varying backgrounds. Even two-time World Rugby Player of the Year, Beauden Barrett, credits yoga in helping with his recovery, keeping him in optimum performance as well as maximising his overall health.
If you’re keen to combine yoga with your chiropractic care plan, and you would like to explore the other benefits of yoga, a good place to start would be Hot Yo Studio. Located in Sri Hartamas, they welcome anyone (from beginners to advanced yogis) to join them. They too, share a similar mission to see Malaysians lead a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
If you have any further questions relating to yoga and how it may complement your chiropractic care plan, do ask in the comments section below or get in touch with our practitioners via email: [email protected]