This morning as a gift to myself on mother’s day, I escaped for an early morning yoga class at a studio I’d never been to before. They specialize in hot, power yoga classes, which is not the style of yoga I typically practice, but do enjoy once in a while.
The heat was set to about 98 humid degrees, and the teacher was pushing the 40 or so of us that filled the room at 7am to our limits. During my peaceful hour and a half, I remebered why I enjoy subjecting myself to classes of this sort:
1. Being pushed to the limit and realizing how strong you are can be empowering.
2. Sweating (and I’m talking about the dripping, soaking wet kind of sweating that you don’t often experience) really does leave you feeling lighter and like you released a lot of toxins. (And I always replenish and rehydrate with lots of water afterwards.)
3. Varying your practice or exercise routine is a challenging, stimulating, and highly effective way to optimize your overall fitness level.
4. Any yoga leaves my mind and body feeling more at ease.
And I started thinking how all of these points relate in a way to my own experience of injuries, and those of my patients. (And I hope may help you)
1. As a PT, I am the one sometimes pushing the patient to their limit…and I’ve worked with many patients who push themselves to the limit. This can be good when they are motivated and work hard, but this can also lead to overuse injuries, so it’s important to find a good balance.
2. As far as sweating, well, this one doesn’t relate as much. However, the process of releasing toxins is so beneficial. Massage and water therapy, such as a warm whirlpool, are two ways to experience a release and should also always be followed up with adequate rehydration.
3. When recovering from an injury, it’s important to change and progress your exercises in order to continue making gains. If you stick with the same 3 exercises forever, you may not see results.
4. Finding a means of relaxation and stress relief helps to reduce overall pain levels. The more stressed you are, the more likely you are to tense up your muscles, restrict circulation, and lose muscle flexibility. If yoga’s not for you, it’s important to find some other form of phsical or mental therapy to help induce a state of mental peace.
So maybe today you will think about trying something a little bit different. Your health care provider may have some helpful suggestions if you’re not sure where to begin.