“Yoga in Daily Life” in Physiotherapy - The Report of a Physiotherapist
The system of “Yoga in Daily Life” has created the opportunity for western people to experience Yoga in its original and purest form. The longer I practice “Yoga in Daily Life” the fewer questions I have about integrating Yoga into our western culture. Yoga, and here I mean specifically “Yoga in Daily Life”, provides a way to health and harmony. Yoga exercises produce a balance on the physical, mental and social levels. Perfect balance, means perfect health and each method or science that strives towards this goal is in harmony with the concept of Yoga.
As I continue to experience the benefits of “Yoga in Daily Life” and its immense value for our health, the need grows in me to allow this knowledge to flow into my work as a Physiotherapist. The number of patients re-admitted for physiotherapy care, strengthened my belief that the integration of “Yoga in Daily Life” greatly enriched my therapy.
“These days I take the time to practice the exercises and have learned to feel a greater awareness of my body. Due to this I often succeeded in becoming aware of unnecessary tension and consciously release it.”
“I can now relax more easily and from this have the ability to summon more strength.”
“The ability to consciously be aware of and influence my breath has contributed greatly to my wellbeing.”
The Importance of Relaxation in “Yoga in Daily Life”
The ability to relax in Yoga has just as much importance as correct practice of the physical exercises. Each exercise session begins and ends with a short period of relaxation. There is also a brief relaxation period between the exercises.
The deeper significance of relaxation is contained in the fact that during relaxation the body is given sufficient time to respond to the Yoga exercise. The practitioner can consciously follow the balancing effects of the exercise and develop a fine awareness of the body’s functions. Yoga exercises should always be coordinated with the breath and practiced with great awareness. In this way the holistic effect upon body, mind and consciousness will unfold.
Since I have been practicing the system “Yoga in Daily Life” I have placed more value on relaxation, breathing and the conscious performance of movement in my therapy. I personally have discovered how important these three aspects are for the restoration of physical and mental balance and the extensive role they play in our health. The therapeutic application of “Yoga in Daily Life” in many areas of health, has become ever more clear to me as I continue to meet patients who present with a great variety of disorders. In the process, I have learned to constantly re-assess the full value and immense benefits of this system.
“Yoga in Daily Life” as a Supplement to Physiotherapy
The Yoga exercises are well suited as a home program for many patients. They can be selected and adapted for the individual by the Therapist. The clear illustrations and text instructions make it easy for patients to practice with independence. I recommend to many patients that they practice the “Yoga in Daily Life” exercises as a follow-up to their Physiotherapy treatment. It presents itself excellently as a daily exercise program when no further therapeutic supervision is necessary. My patients are quite willing to practice these exercises, as they can perceive the positive influence on their health.
“Yoga in Daily Life” in Respiratory Therapy
Yoga exercises are of great importance in respiratory therapy. Western medicine also has a high regard for the value of these exercises. As far as I know, most books about respiratory therapy recommend some form of Yoga exercise for the improvement of respiratory function.
The exercises of “Yoga in Daily Life” are designed in such a way, so as to guide the inhalation into all areas of the lungs, by means of the various physical postures. This encourages proper breathing habits and stimulates the body’s metabolic rate. Correct breathing is an essential prerequisite for health, which is why so much importance is placed upon the breath in the practice of Yoga.
In addition to the physical exercises, I recommend many of my patients to practice Nadi Shodhana according to the instructions of “Yoga in Daily Life”. These special breath exercises balance Prana, the life energy in one’s body. Nadi Shodhana promotes healthy respiratory function and induces a very pleasant feeling as a result of physical and mental balance.
“Yoga in Daily Life” for Back and Joint Pain
The graduated system of Relaxation, Breathing and Physical exercises, is a useful program for patients who present with painful joint and muscular imbalance due to overuse and repetitive strain. The Yoga exercises systematically train the muscles of the whole body, alternating stretches with holding postures, relaxation and movement.
Once medical diagnosis has excluded natural damage as the cause of a problem then it can be assured that regular practice of “Yoga in Daily Life” will improve muscular balance and joint health.
Poor posture and bad habits in movement place undue of pressure on the spine. The resulting muscular tension is a frequent cause of back pain, which may also radiate to other areas of the body, such as the head, neck, arms and legs. This is why each Yoga Asana generally involves some part of the spine in the exercise. Those exercises that include a gentle twist of the spine specifically relax the deep layers of muscles in the back. These muscles connect the individual vertebra along the spine and are very much inclined to hold tension. As these muscles are oblique, they receive immense benefit from gentle twisting exercises.
Stretching and strengthening the muscles should be combined. If a muscle is only stretched it immediately tenses and shortens again under pressure when it lacks the necessary strength. If a muscle is only strengthened it loses its flexibility and elasticity, which manifests as reduced mobility.
Strong and flexible muscles form an important protection for the spine and joints. That is why regular practice of Yoga exercise reduces the symptoms of spine and joint problems after just a few weeks. Practice of the Yoga Asanas provides the necessary range of movement to maintain proper health of muscles, ligaments, cartilage and joint capsules, which is essential for their function. The ligaments and connective tissue that surround each joint become tight with muscular tension, but become more supple by stretching. The Yoga exercises also enhance the production of joint fluid from the inner layer of the joint capsule, thereby nourishing the joint. Cartilage, discs and menisci all require balanced movement to preserve flexibility and mobility.
Psychosomatic Effects of “Yoga in Daily Life”
The Yoga exercises are in fact psychosomatic exercises, meaning that they influence the body, mind, breath and consciousness. This fact greatly augments my work. Many of my patients suffer neck, back or head pain that can often be attributed to the inability to cope with stress. However, many also neglect to admit this and instead seek long term help only through physiotherapy measures. In such cases, the Yoga exercises help patients who are otherwise unlikely to improve without an inner change, as these exercises produce an effect on both the physical and mental level.
“Yoga in Daily Life” has helped me discover just how comprehensive the Yoga exercises are and their profound effect upon the body and mind. All the exercises of physical movement, breathing and relaxation techniques, bring harmony to each function of human existence, in a most natural way. In every case the Yoga exercises positively influence the person as an integrated whole. From my experience those patients who suffer recurring, stress related headache or back pain, find the system of “Yoga in Daily Life” an extremely beneficial and enjoyable exercise program.
“Yoga in Daily Life” is in itself a complete and comprehensive health system. The results of my own practice strengthen the fact that the effects reach far beyond the physical level. That is why I recommend the application of this system, to enrich the life of each and every health conscious person.
Harriet Bucher, Dipl. Physiotherapist