I started to integrate yoga into my therapy sessions several years ago. I have always been impressed with how effective yoga therapy movements can be in helping clients heal from their injuries. As I learned more about how yoga works, the more convinced I became that I wanted to offer this form of therapy to all of my clients.
Yoga therapy is an excellent way to stretch, strengthen your body, and relax your mind. You learn movements that will help strengthen and target parts of your body and mind from the inside-out. These movements not help you move better, but they actually help the body to heal itself through the actions in the nervous system.
There are two functional parts of the brain that play a key role in stress, injury and healing. They are part of the what is known as the autonomic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that runs without you knowing it. It regulates heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, digestion, etc. In the autonomic nervous system, there are two more divisions called the sympathetic nervous system (which is your fight or flight response to danger) and the parasympathetic nervous system (the calming part). When you are under stress from pain or injury, the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active to protect your body. Then the parasympathetic nervous activates after the danger is gone and calms the body down so you can heal and recover. But if the stress, pain, or injury continues then the sympathetic nervous system stays too active and now the body can’t calm down to heal. This lack of balance is the cause of chronic pain (pain that has lasted more than 90 days).
You see, body tissue such as ligament, muscle, tendon, and bone will heal within 90 days on its own through the body’s repair process. But the pain, tightness and weakness may persist if the sympathetic nervous system is not calmed down by the parasympathetic nervous system. This imbalance is what causes the problems to persist and pain to continue.
Yoga therapy has been scientifically proven to reduce the effects of stress on the body, decrease pain, and enhance healing. Yoga therapy will prime your nervous system to better function by improving the relaxing signals in the body and rewire the nerve connections. The movements help to trigger the relaxation switches in the body to shut down the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic system. Not only does this aid in healing, but these movements if done properly can, improve breathing/lung function, increase flexibility/mobility/posture/strength/circulation and help in weight control . When combined with proper breathing techniques, this affect is even more powerful.
This activation of the parasympathetic nervous system also helps to clear the mind, reduce anxiety, depression, and fatigue. As stress in the body and mind decreases this lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol which helps in reducing body fat.
You may wonder if yoga therapy is for you. Yoga therapy is for everyone! And it is a must for anyone who suffers from any pain, injury or weakness. Anyone can do Yoga Therapy! It does not matter how young, how old, what your level of experience is or what your injury is. Our yoga therapy instructors at Flex are trained to modify the movements for anyone of any level or any injury.
At Flex Physical Therapy, we not only integrate yoga with our clients in one on one sessions, but we offer group yoga therapy classes. The classes are only one hour and we offer a wide array of days and times to fit your schedule. Click here to learn more about our Yoga Classes