Medical Yoga for Centering, and Energizing
Maureen Mason, MSPT, WCS, CCI, PYT-C
Celebrate PT month with yoga! October 22
What is your mood as you approach exercise? With a yoga repertoire, you can choose and adapt your own home program to meet your needs. Start an energizing session with mountain pose. Stand tall, and notice all the textures around your feet, from heels to toes, and the inner and outer pressures on the soles.
Taking a few slow breaths here and sensing feet, ankles, knees, hips and pelvis-can help your nervous system to steady and “ground” into appreciation for any aspect of your life. You can practice outdoors, or indoors, and a yoga mat on top of a padded rug is soft and easy.
Getting your feet NAKED is important, our feet get numbed from our footwear and the level surfaces we often walk upon. You can thank your feet for getting you around all your life.
A yoga colleague Dina Chalom, PT, cued me to not quickly blast out of this mountain pose into the warrior series, but to really make this a focal point to a start of a session. Sense yourself with stability, being alive, energizing with rhythmic inhalation, exhalation. Grounded feet. Diaphragm breaths are utilized, and the transverse abdominus is engaged to stabilize the trunk, as well as a slight engagement of the shoulder blades, meeting each other, while in front holding the shoulders open. The hand position of prayer pose reminds me to engage both front and back shoulder muscles.
Mountain pose:feet may be slightly apart as well.
Thank your muscles and bones for holding you steadily in position.
Ginger Garner, of Professional Yoga Therapy, advises hands held together
in mountain and balancing as you step back into Warrior I. Pulling this off
smoothly requires dynamic stability, holding steady in one part while moving
Warrior I is a great pose to open up the hips, and focus on stability at the feet and up to the trunk stacked above. Breathing and holding the spine neutral and pain-free, I no longer throw my leg back far and wobble-I lift the leg back into place, pressing down into the back and front foot with equal pressure, and hold and breathe, and allow the small muscles around my joints to work with the larger sling-muscles. This is a therapeutic exercise concept of generating biomechanical stability and co-contraction of muscles around joints.
In Warrior I, above, I am checking that both hips are in the same plane, not tipped down on one side, and also that the entire pelvis is aligned towards the front. This allows me to really stretch my quad and hip flexor, vs rotating my spine and pelvis back. After I warm up with this series and few other Asanas, I am able to open up the pose more…but this is it for me in an early am photo shoot. Add Arms up for more of a workout with Warrior I.
Thank your digestion for energizing you. Look forward to your next meal.
Warrior II is a great pose to further open up the hips. You can step back into the pose from mountain, and allow your pelvis and body to turn to the side. Check if your hips are level, and your body is stacked comfortably above your pelvis. Look down to your forward knee, as it moves into a lunge it should optimally align in line over the foot, not be diving in towards the ground. I align by consciously activating the deep hip muscles that turn the femur bone outward.
Warrior II with arms lifted, shoulder blades can lightly meet each other, then palms can turn down to the floor.While here, sense the back ribs lifting a little as you inhale, while at the same time hold the navel in for stability. Keep shoulders soft and easy.
I like to look out over my forward facing fingertips and consider what I want to focus on for the day, to accomplish.Or if this is a sunset workout for me, I consider a positive emotion to focus upon. When outdoors, I let the natural beauty of the environs refresh me in my own little yoga bubble.
Here, you can thank your lungs for oxygenating all your tissues
Move into the poses from the prior post for more power, Chair, Plank, Side Plank, and Hip Bridge.
These Asana poses may be used prior to meditation practice, or to simply be a self care and refreshment time in your day. In yoga philosophy, the poses are part of a lifestyle for wellness; see the 8 limbs of yoga reference.
After I perform these postures (Asanas) my body feels lighter and my hips move more fluidly as I walk. A great feeling, older, stronger! Look at the link below on yoga for healthy aging.
Next up: Warrior III, and the Hip and Yoga
Medical Therapeutic Yoga Definition: Medical Therapeutic Yoga is the practice of yoga in medicine, rehabilitation, and wellness settings by a licensed health care professional who is completing or has graduated from the Professional Yoga Therapy Studies program and has been credentialed as a Professional Yoga Therapist-Candidate or Professional Yoga Therapist. http://proyogatherapy.org
I share this link for the option for you to read more about how one may “ground” or feel connected to the earth, and your feet, during yoga exercise. However specifics on foot and knee alignment as given here may not pertain to you, in other words you may need to have feet slightly turned in or out depending on your ankles, knees, hips and pelvic structure.
http://yogaforhealthyaging.blogspot.com/2015/10/proof-of-effectiveness-of-reducing.html Look at all the medical benefits of regular yoga exercise