North Texas Pain Management Doc Exhorts Adaptive Yoga
Adaptive yoga connects the mind, body, and spirit through the practice of physical postures (asana), partnered with the breath (pranayama) and meditation practices. In a well-balanced exercise regimen, movement is linked with breath and focused intention. Yoga is the first known form of structured exercise, where breath and movement were paired together almost 6,000 years ago. While the science or understanding underlying the rationale for breath and movement has changed from the ancient origin, the practical application remains the same.
Adaptive yoga is a practice that is available to anyone, including those with physical impairments secondary to disease or injury, such as multiple sclerosis and those in wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries.
Physical therapy has been the mainstay of rehabilitation efforts for the past 75 years and will always have a place in helping those that have physical limitations to begin the climb back to becoming more functionally independent. Once physical therapy has plateaued or finished, these individuals are often left to figure out the next steps on their own, which can be a challenge.
The practice of adaptive yoga allows for tailoring of the asanas to accommodate those with functional limitations using blankets, chairs, bolsters and other assistive devices. These modifications allow for tailoring of the asanas to fit the body, as opposed to forcing the body to fit a specific shape.
There are carryover benefits of pranayama training, including stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system—the part that brings calm and relaxation—and can be helpful for those with anxiety or depression by helping divert attention to breath. Adaptive yoga can be done in groups or individual sessions, and is truly intended for everyone.
Fr. John East, DO. board-certified in pain medicine and in physical medicine and rehabilitation, is the owner of Addison Pain & Regenerative Medicine.