By Mitchell G. Proffman
I have been a chiropractor for over 25 years and I have seen many exercise fads come and go. Being a marathon runner for over 10 years showed me the problem of excessive training and working out in many of the people I treated, as well as in myself. In order to continue optimum health, I needed an exercise routine through which I could gain strength and flexibility, without injury. Certainly, many yoga postures can cause injury but that is why the exercise stresses not to go over your body’s limit, to do what is right for you.
Yoga is a natural and wonderful method of exercising the body as well as the mind. Even though Yoga is over 5000 years old, people have really begun to notice its benefits and there has been a huge increase in its acceptance at this time. I have studied with many of the leading teachers in the country and Yoga has really become my passion along with chiropractic.
You might be thinking what does all this have to do with chiropractic care? How could yoga help a person suffering with various musculoskeletal disorders such as back and neck problems? Well, after I adjust many of my patients, I give them some home exercise regimens. I have found that when I go over various basic stretches versus more Yoga types of postures it appears that they will continue doing the Yoga regimen longer, because it is less intimidating. When the patient sticks to this regimen, it reduces the need for various types of bodywork such as Chiropractic, acupuncture or massage. I do suggest that the patient still receive adjustments weekly or bi weekly, but it reduces their dependency, which permits the patient to take a more active role in their own healing.
After the patient has seen the benefits that incorporating stretching exercises has had, I introduce them to more “traditional” yoga postures. Basic stretching is very similar to Yoga when one adds proper breathing and certain other little nuances such as intention and focus. Once the focus and intention is present, this really becomes a mind body discipline. Think about someone who goes to the gym and while they are on the treadmill is reading the newspaper, watching TV, and checking out the scene instead of focusing on the running. This separates the mind from the body and will cause the workout to be less powerful of an experience as someone who is focusing on the activity.
The entire premise of Yoga is to connect to the present moment. Yoga done correctly with the proper breathing will bring you into the present moment and help one feel very connected to the G-d like essence that we are all a part of. The only time I have really felt that G-d like energy and complete present moment consciousness was when I would hold my friends’ newborn baby and smell that special scent coming from her during the first 6 weeks of life. This is the perfume of G-d. It is a very intoxicating experience.
Now that I have incorporated Yoga into my Chiropractic office, many people can see that there is a body mind connection to all healing. I have named the combined modalities YOGAPRACTIC since both practices work together. Yoga tunes the nervous system and increases flexibility; while chiropractic improves the body’s skeletal system.
By incorporating Yogapractic, I guess you could say I give a prescription but instead of saying take 2 aspirins and call me, I say do a gentle Hatha 1 class, Kundalini, or a more vigorous Vinayasa class and lets see how you feel. When Yoga is done regularly, the spine, nervous system and entire general well being are enhanced. This will permit the body to be more accepting of healing. The reason that I do this is to enhance the patient’s overall well being, not to suppress his or her pain for a small amount of time with medication, but instead to increase their quality of life. Yoga will enhance the physical as well as the spiritual/emotional well being of the body and when combined with chiropractic, the body can function at its peak performance capability. Welcome to the newest healing technique Yogapractic.