Yoga originated from India and has been around for thousands of years, but most recently the Hatha form of yoga has been popularized in the late 20th and early 21st century. Hatha style yoga is what most Westerners would associate with the idea or imagery of yoga and yogis flowing and striking postural posses called asanas.
I first practiced yoga in my undergraduate studies at the University of Rhode Island Rec Center. I was playing rugby and in the early stage of my adult physical prime. I was fit as fiddle but had poor flexibility and I was managing several injuries. As a Exercise Science major I knew how important flexibility and mobility were to peak performance, so I was committed to working on it. I hated static stretching tediously for long periods and could never stay committed to it, so I figured I would switch it up and try yoga. After all yogis can put their feet behind their heads right?
The yoga offered at the rec center was watered down from a more traditional yoga, but the powerful stances and flowing stretches felt great and I was easily able to adopt it to my health and wellness routine. Over the following several years I’ve practiced and sampled various styles of yoga, ranging from hot bikram yoga, vinyasa flow, yin yoga and even Kaiut Yoga which I have practiced most recently. I especially appreciate Kaiut for it’s very long and slow poses with a focus on joint stability and mobility, in particular working the ball joints (hips and shoulders) and the spine. It is great for people who have had injuries or surgeries, but really anyone can benefit from this form of yoga. I’m still a big fan of the power flow style yoga, but I have come to appreciate the subtle yet impactful changes you can achieve for the mind and body when utilizing a slow style yoga like yin or Kaiut.
Ultimately what is most important is attaining movement in the spine and extremity joints to keep them, and the associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia healthy. So whether it is Pilates, Gyrotonics, Static or Dynamic Stretching, JUST DO IT! Yoga is in huge fade phase right now, and as I fan of yoga I love that it is more accessible than ever for any level or focus, but that doesn’t mean you have to practiced it. I’ll always encourage it to my practice members to just try it, they may be surprised by how much they like and appreciate it. Most important though is that the advanced postures like head stands are non-essential!! I’m not saying I don’t do them (or attempt to do them LOL) even, but you don’t need to go beyond a basic level of yoga to see great benefits. However if saying namaste is not your thing there are so many great things you can do to keep the spine healthy like I mentioned above…oh ya I almost forgot, like my FREE Spinal Hygiene Exercises, grab them here if you don’t have access already.
One more thing, to make it even better if you do want to try yoga and you’re not sure where to start, the team at Koru Chiropractic puts on a Sip and Stretch Social; a yoga community workshop for all levels. Our next session is July 14th 8-9:30 am on the back patio behind our office and Paul’s Coffee and Tea, which will be led by Stephanie who’s our Chiropractic Assistant and a certified yoga instructor! For future dates join out meetup and subscribe to our newsletter to stay connected!