Why Physical Therapy and Yoga?
Last Monday during the Health and Wellness, Radio Program on KHNS, I was asked essentially this question. Why did you choose yoga to combine with your Physical Therapy (PT) practice as a form of medicine?
I did a poor job of answering. I reflected personally on why I practice yoga.
I should have simply said, “Yoga is the art of Self-Care.”
In my PT practice the ultimate goal I hold for each patient is Independence. To me this means I have a responsibility to teach patients how to care for themselves. I want them to know what is going on in their body and brain. I want them to understand why I am choosing selected modalities to treat the condition and how at the end of it all they can go forth without me. At the first visit I use to say, “Today I will do 100% of the work, by the end you will do 110%.” This is also why I use palliative care such as massage, osteopathic mobilizations, electrical stimulation, heat…Minimally. Wouldn’t we all feel better with a massage a week? But aren’t we at our best when we take responsibility for ourselves? What if we could all give a self “massage” using our own tools everyday. This, to me, is what PT and for that matter Yoga is all about. The difference is in Therapy we typically treat a condition that requires some external highly trained knowledge to change the pathological process into a healthy one. In Yoga you simply need to study yourself for learning to happen. Take time, offer space, use the breath and physical postures to deepen the understanding of You. The answers you get are not ones that can be found in a medical journal. They are 100% individual.
So why did I want to combine the two in my clinic? What a perfect union, someone trained to look at the body from the scientific prospective and someone trained to know themselves, to the depth of their own core!
None of this mean everyone who sees me as a PT patient has to do yoga, but if you are open to it, it might be a modality we try.
This week I ask you to reflect on why you choose Yoga or another practice as your source for self-care. Consider sharing in a comment below.