Is yoga a good fit for everyone?

Sausis 10, 2020

Is yoga a good fit for everyone?


We must remind you, that human biomechanics have been programmed into humans as early as the era of Neanderthals and Australopithecines when yoga was not even around. Yoga practitioners today do not take into consideration the genetically programmed biomechanics of the human body.  

Yoga and biomechanical physiology

Neurologist, physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor and specialist in manual therapy, the author of the book "All About Spine Treatment: A Practical Illustrated Guide To Helping Yourself" Jonas Girskis has over 35 years of experience in treating patients with musculoskeletal system pathologies: “Majority musculoskeletal system problems that my patients develop (mostly disc herniation) were caused precisely by yoga practice. It is important to determine why for some people yoga can be harmful when for the others it does not cause any negative consequences (if practiced correctly)”.

According to doctor Jonas Girskis, it is a popular opinion among his patients-yoga practitioners, that healthy muscles must be hyperelastic and the joints — very flexible. However, they do not take into consideration the genetically programmed biomechanics of the human body. To stay healthy and pain-free, one must keep the biomechanical physiology intact.

Yoga from the medical standpoint

While treating musculoskeletal disorders, doctor J. Girskis uses many components of yoga asanas in a form of various stretching exercises. The physician emphasizes, that, before assigning any exercises to his patients, he first examines and evaluates the overall musculoskeletal system and determines whether opposite muscle groups (agonists and antagonists) are working in harmony.

When practicing yoga, the ligaments of certain body segments become too loose, and joint hypermobility occurs. That’s when after yoga practice muscle tonus imbalance happens (let's say bending your waist down, you manage to rest your elbows on the ground while the amplitude of the neck flexion is limited).Consequently, muscle tonus imbalance paves the way to other musculoskeletal disorders.

Self-assessment tests for yoga practitioners

Whether asanas performed during yoga will be beneficial or harmful from the point of view of the body’s biomechanics depends on the individual posture type and the elasticity of the body’s muscles. So we suggest you take a self-assessment test recommended by the Spine Treatment Center and find out which asanas you might want to avoid during yoga.

# 1 TEST:

Example A- muscles of the posterior part of the body are not shortened, spinal flexion even. 


 Example B- all the muscles of the posterior part of the body (back, hips, calves) are shortened, and so the ability to lean forward is particularly limited, pelvis is tilting down, knees are bending. 

Example C- upper back and calves muscles are elastic, but lower back and hips posterior part muscles are shortened. In this case, the upper part of the body is bending evenly, the pelvis is tilting down, but the knees do not bend.

Those, who fall into the B and C example category, should avoid Plough and Downward-facing dog asana, as during these asanas your back and legs muscles are being stretched simultaneously and such pressure may cause the ruptures of muscles, ligaments, or lumbar intervertebral discs. It can cause back pain which can spread down the legs into the feet. Note that it is important to stretch muscles of the posterior part of the body until you manage to achieve the results shown in example A. But in order to avoid injuries, it is important to do back and posterior legs muscles stretch separately.

# 2 TEST

1. Normal posture 2. Anterior pelvic tilt 3. Posterior pelvic tilt

If your posture matches 2. example — if your lower back is overly curved it is not recommended to perform asanas such as Upward facing dog, Camel, Cow, which requires arching your back even more distorting your spinal axis. Performing such asanas with hyperlordosis condition, you run the risk of pain and irritation in your lower back and legs.

Illustrations: "All About Spine Treatment: A Practical Illustrated Guide To Helping Yourself", Book author: Jonas Girskis and Spine treatment center  

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