Yoga & Osteopathy For A Happy Body & Mind
(This post is based on my personal experience, and that of several students that have shared their experiences with me.)
Osteopathy is a type of alternative medicine that has the musculoskeletal system at its centre. It's non invasive, drug free and an osteopath works to strengthen and manipulate the musculoskeletal framework of your body.
What I love about osteopathy, and where I see so many parallels to yoga, is that both acknowledge that your mind and body influence each other all the time - your body is not just a physical entity.
Stress is transferred into the body.
Physical pain affects your mind's happiness.
A positive attitude to healing can make a difference to your recovery.
Everything Is Connected
Osteopaths focus on the biomechanics of the body. They know that everything is connected and if one part malfunctions, this can have a knock-on effect on other parts of the body.
For example, a problem with your lower back could actually be from a restriction or misalignment in the foot, knee or hip.
If your body is in a state of poor alignment, and you have fallen into a pattern of using this misaligned body, you will eventually find yourself in chronic pain.
Osteopaths bring your body back into balance and restore it back to functioning at its best - and that is an optimal starting point for a yoga practice.
Yoga is as much an education around how your body’s mechanics function, and your mind influences your body and contributes to bad patterns and habits as it is a way to maintain balance: through giving the body and mind opportunities to calm and relax, but also move in a controlled, safe way that supports your musculoskeletal system. This is how we teach yoga at Unwind Yoga Studio.
Bad Movement Patterns - A Common Feature Of Modern Life
People come to us with bad movement patterns that commonly lead to these body issues:
Lower back pain
Hip flexor spasms
Chronic neck, shoulder, upper back pain, headaches, jaw clenching
Repetitive strain injuries such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, frozen shoulder and neck strains
Often caused by our modern, sedentary lifestyle (have you ever checked how much you sit during the day? At your desk, dining table, on the sofa, in the car?), we must not forget the impact stress and anxiety have on tension in the body, which can also lead to bad movement patterns and posture.
Mind and body, body and mind - it all is a holistic one.
I go and see my osteopath not often enough....usually when a problem arises and I am in pain, or notice an imbalance in my physical body.
I like the non-invasive, hands-on treatment which kick-starts my natural healing process every single time.
When I practice yoga regularly following a visit, I can go a long time between visits before I feel any kind of pain. Pain & misalignment really only re-occur if I am not practicing yoga for some reason (school holidays are a culprit!), or a stressful event throws everything out of whack.
Our students may struggle with a certain pose, and after a visit to the osteopath can complete the same position with more ease - this is key to preventing further injury and to be able to feel progress in your practice.
Why Combine Yoga With Osteopathy?
Practicing yoga helps your mind and body stay healthy and moving, but sometimes the little niggles or pain in the body prevent you from moving forward. Osteopathy adopts the holistic approach needed to face those niggles and pain, and reconnects your mind, body and soul - ready for yoga to maintain your healthy body and mind well into the future.
And this is why I believe that a combination of both osteopathy and yoga is extremely powerful in resetting, and then maintaining a healthy, pain-free body and mind.
Have you got a similar experience? Maybe not with osteopathy, but something else? Let me know, I am always interested in your story!