Postural misalignment can be a key factor underlying chronic pain. Often, if we are not aware of misalignmest that we may have, we can actually aggravate or reinforce them when we exercise.
As we journey through the years of our life, we may become unaware of how we are holding and moving our bodies. Over time, we can become accustomed to the stress and physical tension that we are carrying. Until those areas of the body become chronically tight, stiff or painful. Movement can also become restricted due to injuries or to persistently repeated actions. In addition, many of us may have mild or moderate left/right side assymetries that mislaign us, such as those caused by scoliosis.
Areas of the body that are persistently constricted receive less circulation and can eventually start to have reduced range of motion. Our muscles and joints are a obvious example of the concept of “use it or lose it”. An additioanl variable is that misllignments which constrict the upper chest area may also limit lung capacity and restrict breath, impacting overall health. The combination of pain along with shallow breathing triggers the body’s stress response, which increases inflammation in the body. which then exacerbates pain.
Pain is a frequent reason for people to contact a yoga therapist. These are some of the most common structural issues that a yoga therapist may identify during an initial session.
Because we have typically been unconscious about our long-held misalignments, our bodies may have a tendency to resist movements that alter their existing patterns. It is most effective to correcting persistant postural misalignments in a gradual, systematic way. Awareness is crucial for this change to occur.
Yoga therapy addresses postural issues by first assessing them and then bringing awareness to the area of tension or misalignment. Often, the yoga therapist will teach stress reductions techniques to promote circulation. Then they select appropriate movemens/poses, along with breathing and relaxation practices, to allow the body to slowly release long-help patterns and gradually move into healthier alignment.