What is Clinical Yoga? – Blog Post by Louise Holland (Physiotherapist)
Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy that dates back thousands of years. It was designed as a path to spiritual enlightenment, but in modern times, the physical aspects of Hatha yoga have found huge popularity as a gentle form of exercise and stress management.
Researchers have discovered that the regular practice of yoga may produce many health benefits, including increased fitness and normalization of blood pressure. Yoga is a renowned antidote to stress. Over time, yoga practitioners report lower levels of stress, and increased feelings of happiness and wellbeing. This is because concentrating on the postures and the breath acts as a form of meditation.
The classical techniques of yoga date back more than 5,000 years. The word yoga means ‘to join or yoke together’. It brings your body and mind together, and is built on three main elements – exercise, breathing and meditation.
The exercises of yoga are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of your body, increasing your body’s efficiency and total health. Breathing techniques increase breath control to improve the health and function of body and mind.
The two systems of exercise and breathing prepare the body and mind for meditation, with an approach to a quiet mind that allows silence and healing from everyday stress. When practiced regularly, yoga can become a powerful and sophisticated discipline for achieving physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Health benefits of yoga
The practice of yoga asanas develops strength and flexibility, while soothing your nerves and calming your mind. The asanas affect the muscles, joints and skin, and the whole body – glands, nerves, internal organs, bones, respiration, and the brain. The physical building blocks of yoga are the posture and the breath.
Health benefits of yoga include:
- Cardiovascular system – asanas are isometric, which means they rely on holding muscle tension for a short period. This improves cardiovascular fitness and circulation. Studies show that regular yoga practice may help normalise blood pressure.
- Digestive system – improved blood circulation and the massaging effect of surrounding muscles speeds up a sluggish digestion.
- Musculoskeletal – joints are moved through their full range of motion, which encourages mobility and eases pressure. The gentle stretching releases muscle and joint tension, and stiffness, and increases flexibility. Maintaining many of the asanas encourages strength and endurance. Long-term benefits include reduced back pain and improved posture.
- Nervous system – improved blood circulation, easing of muscle tension and the act of focusing the mind on the breath all combine to soothe the nervous system. Long-term benefits include reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue, better concentration and energy levels, and increased feelings of calm and wellbeing.
Our classes are for people that get caught up in their workload or everyday life and don’t stop!! That neck tension or low back pain that creeps up every so often every year. The breath is a powerful antedote to add to anyone’s exercises. Yoga is not only about the power of breathing but also works on strength and balance within a flow of movements that mimic everyday functional movements in our lives.
The classes are designed for individuals that might not be ready or have the courage to go to a yoga studio with young athletic members and feel out of place. Our class runs with our physiotherapist, Louise in our Heidelberg clinic on a Monday evening from 6.30-7.30pm.