Protect and Respect Your Body Through Safe Exercise
Hi. It’s Dr. Connie.
It’s so exciting to meet so many of you at our new studio location in Suwanee, GA. I’ve taught a few classes and have enjoyed some of my favorite teacher’s classes as well.
Because of my profession though, I have a habit of assessing postures and movements in class.
I’ve noticed how we tend to move our bodies into contorted postures in yoga despite our structural limitations.
By design, our joints, such as our ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, have limits to their range of motion.
Some of us are born with more flexible structures while others are more tight.
So today, I want to talk about how our bodies are designed to move and give you my take on how you can improve your flexibility, stability, and strength while respecting your body.
Incorrect Exercise Can Cause Harm
Let me give you my personal background. I’ve always been a health and fitness junkie.
I began practicing yoga over 24 years ago and I loved the way it complimented my gym workouts.
Years before being diagnosed with Lupus, I noticed I felt tired after my workouts. I shrugged it off and assumed that being fit causes fatigue.
Exercise was a part of my life and I participated in doing some form of it. Running, aerobics classes, strength training, etc.
Yoga studios weren’t mainstream when I began my practice, so I learned yoga from various videos that I purchased.
My natural flexibility made the practice easy for me. So when I first began the practice, I didn’t realize that I was causing micro-injuries by hyperextending into various poses.
I began to have aches and pains after practice, especially around my shoulders. Because of my autoimmune condition, I knew I needed a safer way to keep my body in top notch shape.
Unsafe Exercise is Too Common
I read in a Lupus journal that Pilates was great for my condition. It was low impact, promoting proper posture, and therapeutic for my condition.
As a physical therapist, it was also a great addition to my clinical practice.
I enrolled in a comprehensive Pilates teacher training and learned the importance of having a balance between flexibility and stability.
It allowed me to approach my yoga practice differently and I learned ways to “connect” and activate my muscles in ways I have never done before.
My love for yoga never ceased and I found Bikram yoga in 2008. I became obsessed with hot yoga and have been practicing it since.
As a physical therapist trained in extensive anatomy and movement, I began to observe dysfunctions in the fellow students in the studio.
I didn’t understand why so many of them were in pain despite the practice.
Many claimed they were coming to heal their injuries, but it wasn’t uncommon for them to be under the care of a chiropractor or a physical therapist.
I began to notice a pattern with various students. Many of them were relying on flexibility to get into poses.
Other students were trying desperately to force themselves into poses, demanding length in their muscles and joints.
I realized many were causing micro injuries resulting in permanent damage and needed surgical intervention.
It was this dichotomy that lead me to incorporate muscular activation into the postures while emphasizing the importance of understanding anatomical limitations.
Body Awareness is Critical for Safe Movement
Everyone of us has unique physical structures. Through motor development and postural habits, we create motor patterns that either serve us or cause degeneration and injury.
Whatever exercise regimen you participate in, consider your body and how it’s designed to move, rather than focusing on the movement itself.
When moving, we must understand our dynamic joint structures and alignment to improve efficiency and safety. This becomes increasingly important as we age.
Range of motion, flexibility, stability, balance, and strength are fast declining. It is our duty to keep our bodies in optimal shape to improve our functional ability.
So the next time you participate in a yoga class, crossfit, bootcamp, or any other activity, always bring awareness to the limits of your joint structures as well as their proper alignment.
Make sure that you activate your muscles and support your joints as you move through space so that you not only improve strength, stability, and flexibility, but also your longevity.
If you’re close to us, visit our center and try a class!
Or if you’re from out of town, visit our YouTube channel where I regularly post Pilates/yoga inspired exercises, emphasizing proper alignment and posture.
Thanks so much for reading this blog, we will see you next week!
If you liked this blog please subscribe to our podcast, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, Alkaline Wellness and Lupus Rebel, and follow us on Instagram @alkalinewellness and @lupusrebel.
About the Author
Dr. Connie has suffered from Lupus for the last 16 years. As a result, she discovered that a holistic minded approach to health was most beneficial for herself in battling Lupus and for her patients, who battle everything from Autoimmune Disease to Weight Loss. Dr. Connie holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a Masters in Public Health (Nutrition) from the renowned Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions. She is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian in the State of Georgia. Additionally, Dr. Connie is a Functional Medicine Practitioner (Certification Pending 2017), a Registered RYT-200 Yoga Teacher & School (Yoga Alliance) and Certified Pilates Teacher (Pilates Method Alliance).