Many people wonder if yoga can be used as a method of rehabilitation after an injury or illness. The answer to that is yes it can. There can be very challenging forms of yoga such as Power Yoga classes, but there are more less strenuous forms of it that are specifically geared toward those going through rehabilitation.
The names given to these types are chair yoga, restorative yoga and gentle yoga. In restorative yoga classes may utilize chairs, straps, blocks, walls and blankets as props. What these serve to do is enable the practitioner to hold certain position without putting in too much exertion or risking any potential issues.
The main objective here is to allow the person doing it to open the body up by way of passive stretching techniques. While it is primarily geared toward those going through rehabilitation it has also been used by those who have just given birth, have extreme fatigue issues, suffer from arthritis or having limited mobility. Some centers also call this gentle yoga classes.
It can be confusing because sometimes gentle yoga classes, while also utilized in rehabilitation, are associated with seniors and those in their golden years with no physical issues. Some centers use the phrases gentle yoga or restorative yoga as equivalent. Other centers will reserve the phrase gentle yoga for seniors. Face it, as we get older our balance, mobility and flexibility tend to suffer; it’s just the nature of life’s cycle. Gentle yoga is popular with seniors and especially women, who are often advised by their health care providers to exercise to help with bone density and ways to prevent hip injuries. Gentle yoga also helps with the circulatory system.
Chair yoga for rehabilitation purposes is great because it helps prevent muscular atrophy and maintains muscle tone. Many people are challenged by sitting on the floor because of hip issues. There can also be balance problems and going from standing to sitting can be a challenge. In chair yoga, one can remain in their chair and yet increase their range of motion. This makes one also have more confidence.
There are indeed forms of yoga that can be utilized for all stages of life. Whether it is after injury, childbirth, due to an illness or after a surgical procedure, stretching and gentle movement can be beneficial. As you can see by the descriptions above, it varies from traditional yoga, but at the same time is still part of the art and practice. There are also ways to incorporate breathing, mantra and meditation into chair yoga classes so that these benefits are included for students.