Yoga. I love it. Both for myself and for my patients.
Clinically, I have found yoga to be a great exercise modality for most of my patients. It can easily be incorporated into a rehabilitation program, whether it be joining a studio or only including a few specific poses to someone’s rehab program. I have also seen a decrease in hip and groin injuries with hockey teams when yoga is added to their off-ice training (no evidence published on this yet). The pros: It is low impact, easily adaptable, promotes core strength and flexibility, proper movement patterns and posture are an integral part of the practice and my patients must use their breath throughout each pose. The cons: It can be tempting to forget about form in order to “make a pose look good”, patients with hypermobilities must learn to control these and perhaps avoid some poses, and some patients can be resistant to beginning a practice (like my hockey boys!).
From a personal point of view, the yoga studio gives me a place where I can focus on myself and forget about my “to do list” and life’s road bumps. It is peaceful and relaxing, the exact opposite of my usual routine! It reminds me of the dance studio where I spent so many hours practicing technique and form, and that is the best part for me. I always feel relaxed and limber after a class and generally better when it is part of my weekly routine. Unfortunately, my busy schedule of the past few years has served as an excuse to not spend as much time on my mat. Time to change that!
January is a time for goal setting and our household is no different. I have been wanting to reintroduce yoga and its benefits to my routine and my fiancé has decided he should stretch more in order to decrease his aches and pains (I wonder where he got that idea from…). The solution? Practice yoga together at home and try to do it every day. After getting sick of my one yoga video, Tom found the “30 days of Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube. We have been doing pretty well, practicing approximately five nights per week in our kitchen! Click on the image to link directly to her website where you can find her program starting at day 1. It is great for beginners and she adds modifications to increase the difficulty level for more seasoned yogis.
Happy yoga everyone! And may your 2015 be happy and healthy.
Disclaimer: Joining a yoga studio is unfortunately not an option for us right now (new house, wedding coming up) but I highly recommend that you attend class with an experienced teacher to ensure good form. Always consult your health care provider before starting a new program.
Evidence-guided practice corner:
Hartfield (2011) completed an RCT study which found yoga to be effective for enhancing emotional wellbeing and resilience to stress in the workplace. A systematic review (Chong 2011) revealed a positive effects of yoga on stress reduction in healthy adult populations. However, the result should be interpreted with caution due to the small number of studies and the associated methodological problems.
Posadzki (2011) published a systematic review in which five RCTs suggested that yoga leads to a significantly greater reduction in low back pain than usual care, education or conventional therapeutic exercises while two studies showed no significant difference. It was concluded that yoga has the potential to alleviate low back pain. Another more recent systematic review (Cramer 2013) found strong evidence for short-term effectiveness and moderate evidence for long-term effectiveness of yoga for chronic low back pain. It was concluded that yoga can be recommended as an additional therapy to chronic low back pain patients.
- Hartfiel, N., Havenhand, J., Khalsa, S. B., Clarke, G., & Krayer, A. (2011). The effectiveness of yoga for the improvement of well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace. Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health, 37(1), 70-76.
- Chong, C. S., Tsunaka, M., Tsang, H. W., Chan, E. P., & Cheung, W. M. (2011). Effects of yoga on stress management in healthy adults: A systematic review. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 17(1).
- Posadzki, P., & Ernst, E. (2011). Yoga for low back pain: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Clinical rheumatology, 30(9), 1257-1262.
- Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Haller, H., & Dobos, G. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. The Clinical journal of pain, 29(5), 450-460.