3 point Integrative
An integrative approach to yoga therapy includes various aspects of yoga including asanas, pranayama, svadhyaya, meditation, and the 8 limbs of yoga. Classical yoga also offers many solutions for mind-body health and spiritual development.
Asanas can teach us many things about health, proper alignment, and mind-body unity. Integrating yoga teachings with the anatomy of myofascial lines, acupressure, and meridian therapies is powerful for physical health.
Classical yoga such as taught in the Yoga Sutras and Jnana Yoga, provide maps for psychological and spiritual development. Many of the classical teachings can be applied to modern mental health disorders and can be integrated into somatic therapies. Yoga psychology is an emerging field with vast implications.
Yoga for Physical Health
While yoga is a complete system of body-mind and spiritual development, it can be useful to draw from other disciplines to complement our practices. For instance, in doing hatha yoga poses a solid understanding of anatomy, biomechanics, and alignment are vital. In particular, knowing about myofascial lines and meridians can greatly assist in developing your practice.
Meridian therapies, massage and acupressure are very useful additions to yoga practice. Slight modifications in poses can be performed using specialized twists and compressions to target specific disorders. This page will discuss some of these factors for physical health.
Notice in the above image how the hands are twisting out,
this targets the heart meridian and the deep fascial arm lines
Yoga therapy done with an awareness of the fascia, meridians, and organ systems is a profound system of healing.
In addition to traditional yoga poses, a scientific understanding of the body is combined with various twists, compression, and self-massage techniques. This improves blood flow, adjusts structure, and promotes internal organ functions.
All of this can easily be done in various ways in the poses.
Each asana offers a variety of modifications that allow not only for more flexibility, but the opportunity to benefit the organs, breath, and mind.
The asanas also offer the opportunity to stimulate key acupressure points.
Downward Dog, The Superficial Back Line (SBL) and the Achilles Tendon
The images show the superficial back line (SBL) and achilles tendon points, which are located on the SBL. These acupuncture points are very effective for neck and back pain, as they are on the fascial plane that moves through the back.
By stretching the achilles tendons in a pose like downward dog, and moving the neck and legs in specific ways, we can relieve neck and shoulder pain.
Downward dog is an especially good pose for many conditions of the neck and back, as it alleviates compression in the spine, and stretches the various muscles along the back line.
Knowing where key points are located, and how to modify poses with positioning and movement, can create powerful therapeutic results for many common neck and shoulder disorders.
Rotational Movements and A Therapeutic Variation of Downward dog
Rotational spinal movements can be very therapeutic and are often used by chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists.
In this variation of downward dog, I demonstrate a neck rotation that can help to improve mobility and positioning of the cervical vertebrae.
This simple movement can be useful for neck and shoulder pain. It is a gentle but profound movement for benefiting the neck.
1. In downward dog focus on getting the most stretch in the achilles tendon and calves.
2. Rotate the neck from side to side ten times. Relax, and notice how your neck will drop downward after the exercise. Hang there for 3 - 5 breaths. Repeat the rotations ten more times.
3. Pedal the feet while focusing on stretching the achilles tendon. Then lift and drop the head ten times. Relax for 3 -5 breaths, and then repeat one more set.
4. This simple movement can act like a cervical adjustment, help to reposition the vertebrae, and alleviate neck pain.
Yoga Therapy for Neck and back Pain
Therapeutic yoga can be very good for the neck and back. However, it helps to understand some basic anatomy when working with yoga therapy.
There are many reasons for back or neck pain, and when we understand the images of the front and back fascial lines, we can learn how to apply yoga poses and movement therapy to get pain relief.
Through balancing stretches in the front and back channel we can improve our posture, have better alignment, and decrease stiffness and pain. In fact, having good balance between the front and back muscle groups is essential to spinal health.
Yoga and the Anatomy of Spinal Health
This image shows a healthy spine with natural curves in the neck, mid-back and low back. The curvature in the lumbar spine (low back), curves inward towards the front part of the body. This also occurs in the neck, while the curve in the upper back moves posterior.
Poor posture from bending over too much, or sitting at a desk too often, will cause the curve in the low back to move backwards, rather than curve forward in a healthy spine.
Similarly, excessive leaning forward and slouching will cause the neck to move forward, and contribute to neck and upper back pain. Doing too many forward bends in yoga, may also contribute to this unnatural curvature in the spine
A lot of back and neck pain is due to poor posture and slumping forward too often. Over time this can cause more serious problems such as degeneration, bulging discs, and herniated discs. Injuries and traumas may also cause spinal disc problems. Additionally, back pain may also be due to other reasons such as inflammation, muscle sprains, scoliosis, and fibromyalgia.
Therapeutic yoga can be beneficial for many of these spine and back problems; however, it is important to practice in a balanced way that takes into account the anatomy of the spine.
For many reasons people often over emphasize forward bends in a yoga practice, and this may actually make some types of back pain worse. If you have disc bulges or herniations, it is very important to not over stretch.
A yoga practice that includes back bends, forward bends, lateral bends, and rotations can be very useful for getting rid of back and neck pain. However, it is very important to understand some of the basic anatomy of spinal movements, and account for how yoga poses influence the fascial lines and muscle groups on the front, back, and side of the body.
Yoga Therapy 101
In my yoga therapy 101 course, I outline the foundations of how you can achieve therapeutic results using yoga postures and movement.
In the course I discuss in great detail yoga postures, anatomy, fascial lines, and meridian therapies. We will also examine how these principles apply to back and neck pain.
This course is designed for people looking to get out of pain, and for those who want to manage their own health. The course is also essential for yoga teachers interested in therapeutic yoga, and for movement therapists that want to help their clients get rid of back pain.
The class will start soon, so kindly fill out the form below to get started.
Take the Next step in Your Yoga Healing Journey
Learn More About Yoga Therapy and Acupressure:
How Poses Influence Organs, Meridians, and Fascial Lines
Sequences for Common Problems Like Back Pain
Unique Twisting Methods for Spinal Health
Discover How Poses Affect Specific Acupressure Points
Self-Massage Techniques for Your Yoga Practice