Restorative Yoga for Rehabilitation

by Restorative Yoga Poses on August 6, 2011

Restorative Yoga for Rehabilitation

In this era of complexity, restorative yoga provides simple techniques that focus on the varied needs of individuals. The strategies used in this healing yoga can treat a wide range of needs and often addresses them simultaneously for the same person. For example, if someone is suffering from low back pain and related depression, restorative yoga can be effectively used to address both of these needs concurrently.

There is a depth of evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of yoga for ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, burns, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain syndromes including low back pain and repetitive strain injuries. Restorative yoga, in particular, provides a prolonged stretch that generates deep relaxation and effectively restructures muscle tissue. This is because the muscle lengthens slowly in a way that avoids bringing about a stretch reflex. The effect is a deeper stretch that is key for rehabilitation.

When restorative yoga is performed for rehabilitation a therapist can work deeper into the muscles and provide manual therapies to the structures in a way that would otherwise not be possible. For instance, the low-load mechanism is compatible with manual therapies such as myofascial release. Restorative yoga combined with traditional methods of manual therapies creates a powerful tool to address restrictions of the fascia and other connective tissues. Used together, they can help to greatly improve flexibility and achieve a healthy range of motion.

Restorative yoga helps to break out of holding patterns that have been created in the body after years of tension and strain. This style of yoga allows us to sharpen our body awareness and in doing so allows us to begin to change or loosen these hardened places. Often the patterns of holding and tension seen in the body (especially shoulders and neck) are linked to stress. We have learned to place our stress into these areas and for years have placed feeling of anxiousness, discomfort, or pain tucked away in patterns of holding. The supportive environment that restorative yoga provides is the perfect place to start unwinding the bindings of our bodies. But to do this we must feel safe and grounded and restorative yoga provides this as it sets the stage for healing.

Though restorative yoga is a slower form of yoga practice, the results are profound and can happen rather quickly and in a way that creates more sustainable rehabilitation and return to health. In just two months of practice, years of muscle imbalance and tight structures of the body can start to melt and readapt to a less-stressful, better-balanced body. The habitual patterns of tight muscles will transform into relaxed, healthy muscles. This change is amplified by the quieting of the mind that takes place in this meditative practice of yoga. In the silence and stillness unlearning of hold habits takes place while muscle re-education allows for improved structure of the body.

Restorative yoga creates a healing environment that is perfect for achieving wellness no matter what the symptoms and root causes may be. Many people begin yoga from a place of desiring a healthier body. As they seek to discover and alleviate imbalances in the body more thank likely they will experience benefits to the mind as well. For example, a patient may require rehab for a frozen shoulder, but underlying this issue is poor posture and body mechanics as well as soft tissue imbalances and restrictions. These physical difficulties are further exacerbated by inefficient breathing patterns as well as uncontrolled anxiety. Therefore, the supportive environment of restorative yoga is ideal for rehabilitation especially when a few issues exist.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Alyssa January 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I am a 22 year old with a pelvis injury. A little over a year ago, I dislocated my pelvis while in a physical theatre show. Long story short I wasn’t taking care of it properly and I am ready to do so and get back to living life normally. I started going back to physio, but can’t afford it at the moment, and was told about restorative yoga. I can’t afford to go to someone, but I was wondering if I get a sequence that would assist with my pelvis. It would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Alyssa

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