Yoga and Chiropractic Care: Two Peas in a Pod?
While yoga and many variations of the exercise continue to be a growing trend in the fitness world, the practice, which involves breath control and meditation while holding certain body postures, has been around for thousands of years. Many who attend or teach classes have found great benefits from the practice, including increased strength, flexibility, and conditioning.
These postures have been designed, in most cases, to align your skin, muscles, and bones to help improve circulation and energy channels. Proper alignment is also the central focus of chiropractic care, in which doctors of chiropractics perform adjustments that bring the spinal column into alignment to improve the functional relationship between the spine and other parts of the body.
However, many worry that continuing their practice of yoga while undergoing chiropractic treatments may be harmful or counter the adjustments they receive while under their doctor’s care. Among the many professionals in both industries, there is overwhelming support for performing the exercise while receiving chiropractic care.
The flexibility and strength gains to be had from yoga are excellent for increasing muscles in the core (abdomen) and the lower back. Not only can building these muscles provide increased support for the spine, but the flexibility will actually assist the chiropractor while performing adjustments and manipulations.
The asanas, or postures, provide the greatest benefit for chiropractic patients, as they not only build strength but also improve posture and relieve lower back tension and pain.
- Downward facing dog, along with high plank and low plank, are extremely effective positions for increasing whole-body strength.
- Ultanasana helps to decompress the cervical, lumbar, and thoracic areas.
- Garudasana, or the eagle, opens the shoulders and cervical spine.
- Reverse Namaste helps to open the chest.
- Bridge pose works the spinal range of motion by encouraging opposite movement.
- Chair, Warrior 1, Halfway lift and Upward facing dog help to strengthen some or all of the gluteal and abdominal muscles.
In some instances, though, it’s a good idea to talk to your chiropractor about practicing yoga. If it’s hard to comfortably breathe in a certain position, stop performing that pose. Use common sense — if a yoga instructor is demonstrating a new pose that is beyond your ability, listen to your body and brain and refrain from incorporating that pose into your practice. Also, if you experience pain, or existing pain isn’t improving, hold off on going to class until your next chiropractic appointment.
Even though the overwhelming majority of professionals agree that yoga can be a great compliment chiropractic care, it is always advised to consult with your doctor before performing any new physical fitness activities. Remember, proper education and instruction are the keys to ultimately meeting all of your health and fitness goals.
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