The FAQ about Yoga
It should go without saying that yoga has many benefits. Yoga decreases stress, which we could all use right now. It improves flexibility and strength. It deepens or improves the mind-body connection. The list goes on. As a healthcare professional and yogi, I hear a lot of questions and misconceptions about yoga.
"I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible enough."
Okay, I know that’s not a question, but it is one of the most common things I hear in relation to yoga. Let's make this very clear. ANYONE can do yoga and doing yoga can help you become more flexible. Flexibility is important when it comes to spine health and may help to reduce our risk of injury. Our bodies need a balance between strength and flexibility. Yoga is a great tool to get this balance.
"What kind of yoga should I do if I have had an injury?"
If you have had and injury, especially if you have recently recovered, you should tell your yoga instructor about it. Depending on the injury and their skill level, the instructor should be able to give you modifications. Your injury may be out of their skill level and they recommend you find a more qualified instructor. While there are some great yoga videos online it is best to go to a yoga instructor, particularly for new yogis. They will be able to modify your poses and alignment to reduce your risk of irritating your past injury. Unless you were doing heated yoga before don't jump right into that. If you do like heated yoga, please avoid Bikram yoga. From a health care perspective, that style is not a safe practice.
"Isn't yoga all about flexibility?"
No, not all yoga is about flexibility. There are so many different types of yoga. If you are practicing Yin yoga, there may be fewer poses promoting strength. Kundalini yoga focuses more on the spiritual aspects of yoga. The most common Hatha practices of yoga have a mix of strength, flexibility, and balance. Flow, Vinyasa, and Power yoga have a higher level of strength, flexibility, and balance. So, if you are a person who likes feeling those muscles burn, this is a great option for you.
"Isn't yoga more for women?"
Absolutely not! Yoga was created by a man about 5,000 years ago. In the west, more women have gravitated towards yoga, but it is not "for women" by any means. Yoga does not discriminate. If you are a human, yoga is perfect for you.
"Is yoga a religious thing?"
While many people use yoga as a spiritual tool it is not a religion. It can fit into your life no matter what your religious beliefs are. Here in the west, yoga has become a physical practice or a way to reduce stress.
In a nutshell, yoga is highly beneficial and worth a try. While we don’t have yoga classes here at Allied Physical Therapy, there are many studios around. Do some research to find a studio that is a good fit for you. https://mindbody.io/ has a great search engine to find yoga classes near you and reviews from their clients. For more information on yoga, you can check out Yogajournal.com which also has a link to find a studio near you.
Authored by Lauren Littlewood