One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Posts tagged ‘injury’

Whiplash and Yoga

Common Whiplash Symptoms

Common Whiplash Symptoms

Whiplash is not an uncommon injury in our culture. Unfortunately, it is quite frequent. According to the Whiplash  Prevention Campaign  nearly 200 rear-end collisions occur a day in BC alone. With rear-end collisions being the main cause for Whiplash it is safe to say that many people are effected.

For many individuals with a yoga practice already or those who haven’t tried yet, a physical practice is generally taken off the table as am form of rehabilitation. Pictures of big twists and memories of shoulderstand can understandably send someone running the other direction. Thankfully I am able to work with individuals in various stages of a whiplash injury sharing asana, pranayama, and meditation practice to aid in the stages of healing. And for those patients and physiotherapists who have been willing to give it a try have seen the great benefits.

Some benefits of Yoga in the various stages of a whiplash injury:

-Aids in easing anxiety and calming the fight or flight response

-Improves propreoception and overall body awareness

-Can gently maintain mobility and function while the body heals

-Balances energy levels

-Improves sleep

-Strengthens posture

– Aids in improving immune function

– Increases overall strength and core stability

The list goes on….

The most important and long-term benefit that I have noticed, however, is people getting back in control of their body. Often, those that come into the clinic for treatment are not at fault for the collision. They also usually have lawyers or family and friends telling them to “hold out” for larger settlements and they very quickly fall into the role of the victim. Some even hold tight onto the strings of entitlement, believing that they are “owed”.  According to a study by the NHS, it generally takes 32 days to recover, but one in five sufferers continue to still have symptoms up to a year later. Not surprisingly, this can lead to depression, anxiety and a range of other stress-related illnesses.

It is clear to many in the rehabilitation setting that people very quickly give up the right to their body and get stuck. Believing that it is someone else’s responsibility to make them better and deciding that they won’t be happy until they can feel “normal”again. All the various aspects of Yoga practice truly play a vital role in showing people that they can be in control of their breath, their body, and their thought patterns. It puts individuals back in the drivers seat and  creates a more realistic template for setting goals and moving away from being the victim to the victor.

 

So how should you go about adding a yoga practice in safely with physiotherapy/RMT treatment when suffering from whiplash?

1. If you don’t have a physiotherapist already look for a clinic or rehab center that is associated with a yoga studio or employs someone who does Yoga rehab/therapy so that it can be an option on your recovery road. Some insurance companies will even approve active rehabilitation by a physiotherapy assistant or kinesiologist so use this to your advantage and find one that also teaches yoga.

2. Schedule some one-on-ones with a therapeutic Yoga instructor. Sometimes (not always) more pricey but a great way to get some insight into  moving forward with a yoga practice independently. Just one or two sessions can make a world of difference and keep your body safe in the class setting.

3. Once you have moved beyond the acute phase of your injury and your health professional gives you the okay, check out a restorative or gentle hatha yoga class. ***Also let your instructor know your injury*** Most instructors know how to provide students with props and modifications to suit every body.

4. If your budget is a little tight from paying for all your treatment and possibly loosing time from work, the internet is a great source for meditation tips and gentle yoga videos. Find something that resonates with you. Also websites like YogaGlo are a great source for at home practice.

 

For more information on Yoga for rehabilitation or how to enhance your practice after an injury please don’t hesitate to contact me .

 

Namaste

 

x Carly

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5 Things to Start a Home Practice

For me, one of the most rewarding types of practice is a solitary one. No teacher, no other students, just me, my mat, and the opportunity to explore. For some, this may be the only option during a busy schedule. For others, the idea of going it alone seems too challenging. When I began my teacher training on of our first “assignments” was to start a home practice. It was a foreign and slightly scary notion to me to do an hour or so of yoga completely unguided, but I gradually found my rhythm.

home practice

Now as an instructor I am able to share my own experiences with a home practice with my students. Part of my responsiblilty as a private instructor for people over-coming injury or trauma is to safetly guide them into postures in the clinic during our sessions, as well as give them tools to do it themselves at home until they feel comfortable enough to go to a “regular” class. (Which in Vancouver sometimes means 20-50 people and a teacher that is doing their best to be mindful of all those souls) Some of the most common questions that I get from my students are the same ones that I asked myself.

How will I remember what poses to do? What music should I put on? Where will I do it?

These are all good questions and an important part of finding your own home yoga rhythm so hopefully the following tips can help.

 Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. ”

B.K.S. Iyengar

Practice:

1. Have a space – It doesn’t have to be a big space. Maybe in the living room, on the balcony, beside your bed, in the park, or if you have the option create a yoga room. Regardless of where it is all you need space for is a mat. Also, try to let it be free from external distractions like a computer, cellphone, mirrors, and other people.

2. Have a point of focus – If you have ever seen someone else’s yoga space or meditation area you may have also noticed an atlar. Your altar http://instagram.com/p/YfePyjzG_E/ can be simple or elaborate. Feel free to place meaningful pictures, a Buddha, your favorite Hindi God, candles, and stones. Whatever resonates positive energy and peace of mind within you. It not only helps solidify your space to practice but also helps culitvate your drishti or point of focus.

3. Have a set time – Making time for a home practice can sometimes be the most challenging especially if you are running a household. We can’t exactly lock children out of our room or ignore a partner that wants to spend time together. And if your a bit of a social butterfly, saying no to an event to practice yoga alone doesn’t always make the cut. That is why having a scheduled time to do your practice is essential. In the beginning, allow making it to your mat at home just as important as making it to your favorite studio class. 

4. Have a plan – Your plan can be a sequence you learned in class, following a video, or just winging it. If you are new to yoga remembering what you did in a class can be hard and knowing if you’re doing it right or wrong may be non-exsistant. Thats okay because not only do we live in a world with information at our fingertips but also its when we explore the unknown that the best discoveries are made. Great websites like

http://www.myyogaonline.com

and

http://www.yogaglo.com

Offer a wide range of classes for any length of time or intention. If you are on a budget there are also thousands of videos on YouTube and weekly podcasts available on iTunes. If you want to build your own sequence or learn more about a specific pose then check out www.yogajournal.com where they have an endless supply of information for everybody no matter what the level.

Music: If you are not following a video also feel free to choose some music that makes you feel good. If you’re not sure what to play Youtube, iTunes, and Songza (for those that can download apps) have playlists for just this purpose.

* If it is in your budget and you are new to yoga or looking to expand your practice, investing in a private session with an instructor can make all the difference. For my own students we set an intention and sequence that they can follow with the freedom to explore beyond.

5. Have fun – A home practice isn’t a chore and should be viewed as a privilege. Allow space for creativity, understanding, and most importantly, non-judgement. You are complete, you are perfect.

Namaste

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