“Stacy” (not her real name) was my new private client. She arrived at the studio where I teach in a wheel chair. She was post–op and post her allotted amount of physical therapy sessions. With a torn Achilles tendon, horrible back spasms, and a broken right and subsequently left sesamoid bone, she was in a lot of pain, frustrated and depressed. This young woman was suddenly unable to drive her car or go to work. Simple daily activities like putting on her jacket or reaching for the toilet paper sent her into painful back spasms.
She used to take an exercise class 3-5 days per week that she loved because she could “feel the burn” and she was really good at it. Here’s the problem: she was “really good at it” because the postural positions emphasized in the workout were the same ones she did all day long at work in the following four scenarios:
- sitting at a desk or in the car (in high heels)
- standing (in high heels)
- walking (in high heels)
- lifting a roller bag suitcase (in high heels)
Did I mention that all of the above are while wearing high heeled shoes?
The class emphasized a tucked pelvis(sad tail), with the femur bones in external rotation (turnout or duck foot), and plantar flexed ankles (pointed toes) in a weight bearing position; all three of which she was already doing on her own outside of the class in her daily life. Adding fuel to the fire was that she was adding concentric and isometric muscular contractions in this disastrous postural position. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great way to train to be a better ballet dancer, but that wasn’t her goal. She wanted a dancer’s physique without the dancer injuries.
The lessons learned from this situation can apply to all types of athletic endeavors. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing from the fitness menu:
Does your exercise program reinforce what you do in your daily life? For example, do you schlump in a chair at your desk all day and then hunch over your spin bike at night for exercise? Maybe you should try a yoga class that includes some restorative backbends. Perhaps you walk and stand all day with your belly muscles relaxed and your spine in extension, then take a heart opening backbend class you are “really good at.” Maybe you should sign up for a cycling class…
So here’s the take home with regard to your exercise regime:
Your exercise can be your therapy, by choosing exercise that undoes what you do all day. Learn basic human movement and ferret out those body blind spots in a Yoga Tune Up® class and your body will thank you!
Read about the most important part of a yoga pose.
Learn about Yoga Tune Up at home.