By Katie Tallent
I was introduced to a handful of yoga positions in massage therapy school and found it to be deeply centering. After graduating I attempted building my personal yoga practice with a DVD. While I knew in theory yoga should elongate my muscles and bring relief after a long day giving deep tissue massage, I could not hold a downward facing dog for any length of time due to the pressure on my wrists. After starting and throwing in the towel many times I have discovered (the hard way) how to practice yoga in a way that will benefit my body and massage practice and wanted to share.
First, take a class! A well trained yogi can offer adjustments and wisdom to your yoga practice. (I still have my DVD but it collects dust these days). We receive valuable guidance such as leaning into your pose and not bouncing and proper body mechanics.
Second, when you do take a class, remember, your practice is your own. Yoga is not a competitive sport. In fact many instructors will encourage you to kick your session up a notch by closing your eyes.
Final lesson I have learned: if we feel the need to compete with others’ practices we run the risk of pushing ourselves past our stretch points and limitations causing injury. Lean in to your pose until you find a mild stretch and breathe into it for 20-40 seconds.
One benefit of yoga is building shoulder strength. However moving through and holding positions with improper body mechanics can cause repetitive motion injuries and instability. For instance, if you are holding Plank Pose (which is the top of your push-up) and let your chest collapse this will put strain on your rotator cuff and the fronts of your shoulders will be sore. A simple adjustment is, if you are unable to hold this pose properly try modifying it and dropping your knees to the floor.
Here are a few other poses to master for strong stable therapist shoulders:
Back Prayer Pose
Reverse Tabletop Pose
Try these few poses and tells us what you think 🙂
What are your good or bad experiences with yoga? Do you think it has or will help your massage practice?!