From the perspective of the osteopath, treating people within the yoga community is very rewarding; understanding where they are in their practice and which postures they are having difficulty with is an invaluable diagnostic tool.
Both disciplines share a common goal, that of balancing the mind and body. Osteopathy adds to yoga a stronger therapeutic dimension, while yoga strengthens osteopathy's holistic approach.
Work on your technique
Often injuries can be linked to technique or form. This is particularly so when "The more I practice, the worse it gets". If this sounds like you, a technique assessment could be of great benefit. This can also be true in sport, even at a professional level, with a technique itself the source of a problem -a golf swing or a tennis serve are good examples.
Yoga practice is not immune, with every asana asking the body a different question, and every "body" doing it slightly differently. Plus, yoga asanas get repeated many times, either within a class or over a series of classes. If you've been practising for 5 years, just think how many downward dogs you've done! This is great if your downward dog is perfect, but a potential source of injury if not.
Simple, powerful, and vitally important: breathe. On the mat, and off, you’ll get more out of whatever you do if you inhale and exhale mindfully. It will help keep you balanced, grounded, practicing within your capacity, and mostly, will allow you to fully experience and appreciate the moments in your practice.
The obvious benefits from yoga are increased strength, flexibility and balance. Less obvious are the improved functioning of the body’s circulatory, respiratory, glandular and hormonal systems. This list could go on and on. The understanding of how these helpful changes occur is actually very close to the thoughts of an osteopath. Unimpeded movement of fluids, relaxed nervous system and good
postural balance are goals yoga and osteopathy seek to achieve. The combination of both can be very synergistic.
Disclose physical limitations to the instructor; Listen to your body; Arrive at least a few minutes early; Leave your phone at the door; and don’t forget to BREATHE.....
About the authour: Nick Steele is a UK registered osteopath practicing at Newquy Osteopaths, Cornwall.