More Australians practise yoga than play soccer, cricket, tennis or golf according to research from Roy Morgan in 2016. This equates to approximately 1 in 10 Australians.
Many of the principles behind yoga are along the same lines as those of Osteopathy. As an Osteopath I am seeking to improve flexibility of joints in the body, to open and decompress and relax areas of restriction within the body’s framework.
Osteopathic treatment works on improving flexibility to joints and muscles within the body, reducing stiffness and improving mobility throughout the body. By improving mobility, the circulation of fluids such as blood and lymph improve, which helps drain inflammation and aid healing and repair.
Once the framework of the body is functioning well, I will always prescribe postural/ergonomic advice and strengthening exercises to improve resilience to muscles within the body. Reconditioning of weak muscles is important to give the body enough strength to support good posture particularly when sitting at a desk/computer.
Yoga is a wonderful way to work on maintaining one’s physical health as well as reducing stress within the nervous system.
This is achieved through gentle postures which are done with slow deep breathing, to stretch and strengthen, calm and smooth, and improve awareness of the body and the breath.
The spine is stretched forwards but also backwards and twisted gently to help flexibility, which is crucial when we spend the majority of our time sitting still.
While focusing on achieving yoga postures with conscious breathing, we quieten the mind of busy thoughts, achieving a relaxed semi-mediative state.
The other benefit of breathing slower and deeper is that it exercises the diaphragm muscle to work effectively, this helps lung function and oxygenation of our blood as well as circulation of blood back to the heart.
Chronic conditions particularly have been found to benefit from yoga practices, as accepting responsibility for one’s own state of health is beneficial.
By improving flexibility and circulation, both yoga and osteopathy help keep the body young, active and healthy slowing down the effects of aging on the body.
Dr Yasmin Fitton
D.O. (B.S.O London)