An estimated 20.4 million Americans practice yoga—and that was in 2012! Without a doubt, yoga is huge and with good cause: it benefits the mind, body and soul. Not only that, but yoga is an ideal complement to chiropractic care.
No one knows this better than Dr. Katie O’Connor, Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Palos Heights and Yoga Alliance certified instructor, “What makes yoga uniquely like chiropractic is its focus on developing your body’s balance,” says Dr. Katie. “In the same way that chiropractic works to bring your body in balance, so does yoga.”
Mind, Body and Spirit Benefits
"The benefits of yoga are pretty amazing," says Dr. Katie. "From physical strength to mental clarity to an overall feeling of positive energy." Those who regularly practice yoga will often find benefits such as better posture, better stress management and increased optimism.
Recent studies show that yoga is a great tool for people with chronic low-back pain; participants saw a reduction in pain and an increase in function with regular yoga practice. More studies have linked yoga to reduced heart rate and blood pressure, as well as improvements in anxiety and depression.
Ready to hit the mat? Keep these pointers in mind:
Select the class that’s right for you. There are many different styles of yoga: Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini and Ashtanga are just a few. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your local studio for some advice or look for a Hatha class, which is usually a place for a beginner.
Avoid a large meal two to three hours before class. Lots of moving and bending may leave you feeling uncomfortable if you’re full or still digesting.
Try different instructors. Just like with anything else, yoga instructors vary in personality, expertise and style. Most studios have a wide-range of teachers, so it’s fun to give different classes and teachers a try.
Speak up and don’t be hard on yourself. If a pose isn’t working for you, ask your teacher for a modification. Everyone who practices yoga has to adapt their practice to the specific needs and limitations of their body.
Don’t think flexibility is a requirement. Piggybacking off the last tip—practicing yoga is not about being perfect, and it’s certainly not about meeting specific requirements. And if you’re not flexible, you’re in luck! Regular yoga is bound to improve your flexibility.
Get comfy, but not loose. Choose clothes that will allow you to move easily and without restriction, but aren’t too loose or baggy. Form-fitting clothes that stretch are great for yoga, because it’s easier to see your poses—and you won’t be constantly tucking your shirt in or adjusting.
If you are experiencing any back or neck issues, please speak with your chiropractor before beginning your yoga practice. If you have other medical conditions, please check with your doctor first.