Over 36 million Americans practice yoga. Yoga is one of the most beloved and popular forms of exercise in the US today, with classes and instructional programs climbing in demand for both adults and children. The benefits of yoga are said to include increased flexibility and muscle tone, reduced weight, improved cardio and circulatory health, and enhanced respiration, energy, and vitality. We’ve often heard people say “I don’t need chiropractic care because I practice yoga.” But does practicing yoga eliminate the need for chiropractic care? Read on to find out.
An Introduction to Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is meant to increase the wellness of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The neuromusculoskeletal system encompasses the nerves, muscles, and bones. Regular chiropractic care helps to rejuvenate the nerves, muscles, and bones, while simultaneously correcting misalignment in the spine. Chiropractic is best known for its ability to help resolve misalignment, and patients often experience significant changes in the shape of their spinal structure after receiving regular treatment.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® in particular is a unique form of chiropractic care that helps to move joints and bones long-term. Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) uses mirror-image adjustments and customized spinal traction layouts to shift spinal deformities back toward normalcy and balance. CBP is a particularly powerful treatment for people suffering from back pain, neck pain, migraines, GERD, sciatica, and scoliosis.
While chiropractic care is known for treating and correcting poor posture, patients regularly report that chiropractic has helped to reduce their pain and discomfort, as well as a wide variety of conditions. Chiropractic is a multi-faceted intervention that works holistically with the body’s natural processes to restore balance and overall wellness.
What is yoga?
Yoga asana, or the part of yoga that focuses on physical movement, is a form of exercise that focuses on mindfulness combined with deep stretches and sequenced breathing. Yoga often takes place in a “flow” of movements, allowing practitioners to transition from posture to posture in a single session. Yoga can help to stretch the muscles, joints, and ligaments, increase flexibility, and build strength in the body.
What can’t yoga do?
Yoga can’t correct misalignment.
While yoga can help to flex and stretch the muscles and joints of the body, it can’t correct misalignment. Yoga simply moves the muscles and joints in the position that they are already in. Stretches and contortions may help to increase limberness, but won’t actively correct the spine’s alignment. This is because correcting spinal alignment requires a complete understanding of the individual’s spinal posture, which is best gleaned from x-rays and advanced digital imaging. Without seeing the spine in its entirety, it’s impossible to know how the spine needs to be corrected accurately.
Yoga doesn’t prevent nerve interference.
Nerve interference can cause migraines, headaches, forms of digestive distress, and other conditions that can be corrected or helped by chiropractic care. Nerve interference occurs when the electrical impulses between nerves and the brain and spine are interrupted. Nerve interference can happen as a result of misalignment in the spine when bones and joints inflame nearby nerves or crowd them because of subluxation. In order to resolve nerve interference, the subluxation (misalignment) in the bones and joints must be corrected. Yoga is not able to correct misalignment and subluxation.
Yoga can over-stretch muscles and joints.
Yoga can be a fantastic way of getting a deep stretch in the muscles and joints, but it can over-stretch the body when practiced too intensely, too regularly, or without proper guidance. Particularly for people who are already hyper-mobile or hyper-flexible (usually double-jointed and have little trouble stretching), yoga can cause stress and strain to the ligaments and tendons where muscles connect to bones. Yoga can also weaken the joints if not practiced carefully and within reasonable limits. In order to practice yoga safely, it’s important to be supervised by a professional who understands physical anatomy and can be sure that proper form and limits are practiced.
Yoga won’t provide an expert adjustment.
Although yoga can help to move the micro-muscles of the body, as well as even push out area pockets in the joints (a sound similar to a chiropractic adjustment), yoga cannot provide an expert adjustment to the body. In order to adjust the bones and joints correctly, the individual’s unique body structure must be taken into account and an expert chiropractor must provide the adjustment. Adjustments rely on the proper technique, direction, and application of force to ensure that the result is positive and not harmful to the body. Yoga cannot provide an expert adjustment to the bones and joints, and if bones and joints are moved during yoga practice, there is no guarantee that it will be in a direction which is more aligned with the spine’s natural shape.
Yoga isn’t meant to replace chiropractic care.
Yoga may produce wellness-enhancing benefits for yoga practitioners, but it is not meant to replace chiropractic care. Yoga does not produce the same effects that chiropractic care does, and should not be viewed as a corrective intervention on its own. Speak with your expert chiropractor to determine how yoga works with your unique treatment plan. Your chiropractor may be able to recommend a series of exercises and postures that are designed to work with the individual results that you are trying to achieve for your spine and posture.
Chiropractic care can help to change the spinal structure’s shape, normalize and regulate the function of the body’s systems, and help to improve overall wellness and health. If you’re interested in experiencing the benefits of chiropractic care or want to know more about how Chiropractic BioPhysics® is different, find a chiropractor today.