Yogi support team: Massage and Chiropractic

Every Yogi needs a chiropractor and a massage therapist.  Here’s why…

Not what everyone does with their spine.1. All advanced machines need maintenance.  What we do in Yoga (asana, pranayama, meditation) is use our bodies at a level very different than day to day life.  If you are like me you had a couple decades of modern living before you came to the mat.  During the process of increasing range, flexibility and strength, there are likely to be some tweaks.  Just like real life, if you don’t address these small issues, they will grow into bigger ones.  I don’t know about you, but I love learning new poses and pushing my body in new directions, but I then balance that wonderful growth with care and attention from people who can make sure everything (muscles, tendons, vertebrae) are back where they should be.

Small tweaks, big impacts2. Your sensitivity is going up.  Many people walk around all out of whack.  “Old sports injuries” is something I hear from students often.  And they go on to address this pain or that ache with some over the counter pill to numb the pain.  This is suboptimal.  As Yogis we start to learn that the sensations tell us things and need to listen them.  (We also know that pain killers, also kill balance, which is handy in Yoga.)  We enjoy more sensations as well become more in tune with our bodies.  Like peeling layers off an onion, we become  aware of misalignment and tensions in our body.  This is a gift.  The intelligent intervention of a Chiro and/or massage therapist will help put us on course so those hours on the mat can increase balance instead of reinforcing unhealthy patterns in the body.

Bad bike accident
Shoulder on left lower than on right...

3. When things go wrong, you want your support team already in place.  One downside to being a Yogi is that you go to an MD/PT/Chiro/Massage therapist after an accident or a spill and say “My X isn’t right, I can’t move it as much.”  They have you move around and say “Your range of motion is 2x better than most of my patients, go home take some Advil and come back in a few weeks.”  That is when I say “You’re fired.”  But who can blame them?  They see people whose bodies are tied up in knots, then injured and when an injured Yogi walks in, no big deal.  If you already see a therapist/chiro for maintenance, then they know the body, they can define normal–and they can help get you back there.  So they know what to look how, how much your body can handle and what needs help.

Separated shoulder!  Ouch.I’ve had various minor falls and tumbles off the mat and on my bike.  I get into my chiro, he looks adjusts and I’m can feel that things are back in order.  This is all the more important when things go really wrong.  Like when I took a flip off my bike and separated my shoulder.  So not good.  One of DC’s best orthos told me not to move, take lots of drugs and come back in 6 weeks to see about surgery.  Fired.

After homeopathics, meditation and many thoughtful gentle chiropractic adjustments, I was back to normal (handstanding) in a few months.

Who are mine?  I could rave about each of these for a while, but you know how I feel if you’ve read these far.  These are the people I spend time and money seeing regularly.  Check them out.

Dr. Anthony Noya (Chiropractic) & Sarah Lawrie (Massage)

Dr. Noya specializes in pre and post natal as well as children, so you will find many patients in the waiting room (he does not take appointment, just has office hours).  You will run into many Yogis in that office.

Take care of this body, you only get one per life.

2 thoughts on “Yogi support team: Massage and Chiropractic

  1. Well said, Mike! Very important for these professionals to know your baseline condition.

    Our mutual friend, Laura Zam, recently blogged (Zam Not Spam) on the good value and mitzvah of seeking massage therapy from a local school. I’m happy to recommend Abby at Potomac Massage Therapy Institute, half way between Tenleytown/AU and Friendship Heights Metro Stations.

    Between Abby the Massage Therapist, Brian the Physiotherapist, Jen the Pilates instructor, two shrinks and the gal who lasers my back, heck, I’m higher-maintenance than the space shuttle.

  2. I love how this article speaks for me. While I haven’t been going to the doctors and haven’t been needing the hospitals for years now (hooray strong immune system, thank you daily Parshvottanasana!), I do visit my favourite osteopaths once in a while. I used to hate admitting that I do get injured doing yoga sometimes (although my injuries mostly happen when my ego takes place over my intention, when I needed to demonstrate / ‘show off’ to my students instead of assisting their healing process) but I guess on days we try to ‘stretch’ our limits and break our own One Arm Handstand record, yoga does become sports.

    Your site has instantly become my new favourite yoga site and a daily must-read! Keep on writing (be honest.. you were typing upside down right?), Mike and I keep my lotus feet crossed that hopefully we’ll meet again one day.

    Love and light from Malaysia.

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