For thousands of years, people have been stretching the aches and pains from their bodies through yoga. Dr. James Stirton of Winters Family Chiropractic is back to break down why one should opt to indulge in this age-old exercise practice.
To the dismay of stereotypes, yoga is more than simply learning how to fold themselves into a pretzel. Rather, it’s a practice that bolsters ones mental, physical and spiritual wellness. As Stirton seeks to provide the same for his patients, it’s no wonder he encourages all to hop aboard the yoga train.
“It’s one of the safest and most structured therapeutic activities you can do besides swimming for the health and wellness of your body. It passes through all those ranges of motion in the arms, shoulders, hip, neck, back and it’s done at the person’s pace so it’s very safe for anyone to start,” Stirton said, explaining the correlation to chiropractic. “You have mechanisms in your body that help heal it. If you don’t stretch, it’ll heal you poorly and leave you with chronic problems in that area. More common than not, it’s also related to fascial restrictions.”
According to Stirton, yoga is an ideal way to break up facial restrictions from inactivity and old injuries to reduce how chronic they become.
Benefits abound, yoga — like any new activity one participates in — is a pond Stirton recommends wading into slowly. If one dives in headfirst, however, one has the potential to break rather than bend.
“Not getting started at a beginner level is a big mistake. If you have a rigid fascial restricted body with tenderness and pain, you’ll likely flare up or injure yourself doing more advance yoga. So, you should consult your doctor before starting any new exercise,” said Stirton. “People don’t stay consistent and do it for an extended period of time. They should just slow it down, space it out and let themselves recover just like any gym activity. One can over train or over stretch if they’re not used to it.”
Proof, of course, isn’t always in the pudding. For Stirton, proof of yoga’s benefits can be found in many of his geriatric patients. With improvements to their mobility, flexibility and quality of life, Stirton maintains yoga can work for anybody that hasn’t begun sprouting gray hairs just yet.
“Jumping jacks are also a prime example of a full range motion activity. So is Tai-Chi, which is an Asian art form of improving the body’s wellness. It’s a safe activity centered around balancing your body as you move and build agility and strength. Like yoga, it calms the mind and body,” Stirton said, laying out some yoga-adjacent activities. “Dancing is also mildly straining activity for your body. It stimulates your mind by having you keep up and remember dance moves and responding to your partner’s cues. It’s less stillness and more full range body activity.”
With a tenure of healthiness spanning thousands of years, it wouldn’t be stretching the truth to say yoga is a boon to every body that practices it.
It’s like he always says, “If you’re not certain, ask Dr. Stirton.”