People often used to think of yoga as a middle class, mainly female pastime done in village halls and community centres. In fact the practice is an ancient one developed to train the mind and body of priests and warriors. In recent years, the value of yoga as a therapeutic method to help people to recover from injury and to stay fit, strong and healthy is being revealed. That’s why, at Petersfield Physio, we often recommend yoga and refer patients to a local yoga instuctor.
Origins of yoga
It’s believed that yoga first developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization of Northern India around 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in ancient sacred texts called the Rig Veda. Vedas are collections of songs, mantras and rituals to be used by a priest class, the Brahmans. Yoga was designed for spiritual development, to observe oneself and become aware of one’s own nature, cultivating self-regulation and higher consciousness.
Yoga today
At Petersfield Physio, I use yoga with my clients to improve flexibility and balance to improve the range of motion of muscles and joints. This means they are less prone to injuries because their musculo-skeletal structure is better able to withstand physical stress. This is particularly useful for sportspeople. I also find that gentle yoga stretching can help patients recover from joint and muscle damage more effectively. The balancing aspect of yoga, improving core strength, is particularly beneficial for more elderly or vulnerable clients. It allows them to do everyday things better, such as sitting, bending and picking things up. It can also help to prevent falls.
Yoga positions
People can be bemused, or even a little put off, by the strange and exotic names used for some yoga positions. However, they are just shorthand terms for particular body stretches or balances. These are some poses I recommend to help people improve balance and flexibility:
  • Tree
  • High Lunge
  • Chair
  • Extended Triangle
  • Half Moon
  • Dancer’s pose
Yoga is a well-rounded, holistic practice that’s as gentle on the body or as rigorous as you want. Its longevity proves the effectiveness of what it offers and I can see new and varied forms being developed long into the future. If you think that yoga could help you live a pain-free, active lifestyle, contacting your local physiotherapist. If you’re looking for a physio in Hampshire or Surrey, contact the Petersfield Physiotherapy and Sport Injury Clinic or ring 01730 267645 and we can find out together how we can help you.