The Top Benefits of Yoga and Movement Therapy
Updated: Mar 12
More than an exercise regime, it is also a form of mental and emotional therapy
Yoga is a very popular modality to move the body and reconnect to oneself. There is a great deal of research on the benefits of yoga, such as energizing the body, increasing blood flow, increasing flexibility, and relieving stress naturally.
But don't most, if not all, exercise and movement practices also provide those benefits?
Sure, yoga postures (asanas) stretch, tone and mobilize every part of the body which enables practically all parts of the body to move and function more efficiently and effectively, as well as restoring balance.
Certainly, the layer of meditation (dhyana), grounds us in the present moment and all the benefits associated with greater awareness of the self.
It’s also true that this presence also allows us to witness our breathing (pranayama), an effective remedy to supply the body and its vital organs with the extra oxygen it requires, amongst other benefits.
Truly, the popularity of yoga is not just a fad, consider it more a dramatic jump in awareness of non-invasive self care practices - where it really facilitates people to feel fantastic on all levels - mind, body and soul.
So what are other benefits that may not be as well-known or talked about?
Yoga can be intimidating for some if they feel they are ‘not flexible enough’ or they are battling with a recurring injury. The beauty is that it really is a modality for everyone. It has been shown to be beneficial for improving flexibility and assisting with the healing of recurring injuries - especially when direction is received from a seasoned instructor. Private Yoga and/or movement therapy sessions can be extremely beneficial when targeting specific areas of concern or personal goals.
Because of somatics - a subtle, yet powerful component of yoga that helps the brain develop new neural pathways for sensing and moving muscles in the body. For example, yoga can help those with postural challenges to improve stability and even regain control of particular muscles that were restricting fluid movement.
There are many reasons why muscles can feel tight and restrictive due to physical development, daily habits or activities, stress, injuries and other forms of trauma. Working with a Yoga and Movement Therapy Practitioner can help guide and facilitate effective movements required to bring the body into alignment, releasing constrictive and tight muscles, and increasing movement, relaxation, balance and flow.
Sometimes the reason why a yoga pose is hard or inflexible could be associated with our emotions of feelings holding us back. Emotions are not logical; just think of a toddler in a tantrum - they are fully expressing their emotions in that present moment and releasing it. As we grow up, we are often unable to or have learned to hold our emotions in.
So if left unexpressed, where do they go? They are stored and held in the body and, over time, create physical tightness, stress, tension, and often pain. There are several yoga poses that can facilitate a natural emotional stress release, especially when done in a safe and supportive environment.
The breathing and meditative state used during yoga often helps release muscular tension, which can allow the release of emotions found in the body. Literally. As we work within this practice, our capacity to strengthen this process allows our emotions to feel safe to be released and expressed.
Many exercise trainers and yoga teachers use materials to help facilitate myofascial release using a foam roller, ball, or other device with body weight for targeted pressure techniques which helps create more tissue and joint mobility. Our own Movement Therapy Practitioner is a certified Yoga Tune Up® Instructor and Practitioner.
Although there are benefits, we caution using these devices without the guidance of a seasoned certified practitioner. When applied without proper instruction, these techniques can often be too aggressive on our bodies and may actually cause more harm than good.
Mind, Body, Soul
In the examples above, the mind (somatics), body (fascia) and soul (emotional release) all encompass the amazing benefits of Yoga and Movement Therapy. The benefits of working with our Practitioner is exactly due to this whole body approach.
As a certified Yoga Teacher and Whole Person Method Practitioner, Gabrielle is able to help everyone no matter where they’re at on their journey to wellness.
Book a private session today with Gabrielle here: https://www.myinfinitychiro.com/bookings
Or check out her virtual group class offerings here: https://www.myinfinitychiro.com/yoga-movement-therapy
Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. The content provided is for informational purposes only. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole discretion.