The joys and limits of yoga

I adore yoga.  I started in July of 1986 and it is the one practice I have never put aside.  Through many years of struggling with muscle problems, yoga stretched me and relaxed me enough every day to take away the pain for a while and helped the many types of body work along — and after a year of yoga I’d stretched enough to be 1-1/2″ taller.  I learned an old fashioned version of yoga that was not about aerobics but about aligning chakras and creating the strength/flexibility balance that is the hallmark of healthy muscles.  I think it’s wonderful and it’s the way I teach.

However, I’ve seen a lot of teachers discuss yoga as if it is the answer for all muscle issues and, much as I love it, I have to say I don’t think it is the ultimate answer for every condition.  For me it was a great assistance in restoring a lot of the major muscles but in 20 some years of steady practice had very little impact on the deeper and connective muscles that were the source of my problems.  For many of my students, they arrive for yoga so stiff in some areas that they can’t get into postures enough to even address the muscles that need the work.

Having played with the Psychophysical Method and adapted it into sets for my own use, I began to work with yoga students on the triggers and it was amazing how quickly their bodies released at least some of the stiffness so that we were able to accomplish more with yoga as a finisher to classes.   It was only after I added the triggers to my regular practice that I began going to massage appointments in better shape that I’d been in when I left the last one.  With yoga alone I could barely hang onto the level of release achieved at one appointment until the next one.

Yoga can do a lot of things for a lot of people but for those who have patterns of tightness that run really deep I think you often need more than yoga to work it out.   To see more about the work I’m doing with triggers see the Restoring Freedom of Movement page on my web site.

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2 thoughts on “The joys and limits of yoga

  1. Hi Leigh!

    Thanks for taking the time to come and visit my blog, so I’m returning the favor! :-))

    Interested to hear about your time studying Moshe Feldenkrais’ work…came across that name via my NLP training.

    I agree that the deep muscle work needs to be done to free movement alongside yoga. I’m having bodywork (Zero Balancing) currently to clear some deep issues with hip muscles and getting looser every time. Colleagues think I’m losing weight (but I’m just straightening up!).

    Keep in touch, maybe we can co-create something interesting.

    Cheers!

    Sarah
    A Mom On A Spiritual Journey

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