Most of our clients are very active, healthy, and, just like everyone else, want to stay that way. When little injuries, muscle spasms, or pain gets in the way, they all want to know, “Can I get back to ____?” (fill in the blank/activity of their choice). I am a very stubborn person, and I don’t really like anyone to tell me what to do (that is another topic for another day), so I rarely tell someone that they can’t do something (because, with human nature, sometimes that just motivates them to go and do it!). So here is some advice for anyone doing yoga.
A crucial point is knowing how to self-pace in order to not get injured by doing an activity. In order to do this, it is vital to pay attention while you are working out. No talking, no headphones, and staying focused allows you to feel what your body is doing. If you feel like a muscle cramp is coming on, that is a cue that you are approaching doing too much and you need to back off.
Most of us need more than just walking in from the car to the yoga class as a warm-up. Make sure you spend a little time getting your body and muscles primed and warm before class, rather than going in cold straight from the car. Go for a 10 min walk to get your body moving. Do some slow, sustained MFR stretching earlier in the day to keep your body from wanting to shut down/tighten up.
Water, water, water…everyone knows they should be drinking more of it, but are you really drinking enough? If you are coming to therapy, getting bodywork of any kind, and trying to work out, keep drinking the H2O. Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer–we need water. We might not notice it as much when the weather is cooler, but heating systems at home dry us out, and we need to keep the water close by, so we consume more. A good rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces. Example: If you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz of water.
Notice Your Most Difficult Pose(s)
Think of those challenging poses…it always seems like the person next to me in class can do all of the poses easily. Those difficult ones tell us information about what we still need to work on and are a good thing to mention when you work with your physical therapist. Don’t try to force your way into the difficult pose– use modifications, don’t be afraid ask the instructor for help before and/or during class, and go back to step one (body awareness).
These helpful tips are all part of the transformational process of healing, getting better, and being able to do more. So, please, keep on enjoying what you love!!