A substantial portion of my patients use yoga as part of their daily or weekly routine. Yoga means many things these days, from more mediation/restorative to testing the limits of the body.
When my patients ask about their routine or specific poses, we first correlate any clinical examination finding as to why that motion or movement would be painful or restricted. If there is a medical issue that needs resolved, out priority is to modify the routine to keep active while avoiding any positions or loads that the area is not ready for.
Systems such as the SFMA and DNS evaluations are ideal for this, when an area if overloaded, usually we can find another body area that is not working as hard as it should, so we can modify the routine to emphasize the weak spot while the painful/limited area recovers. I don’t like punishing the victim as part of my treatment plan.
One of the most basic ways to evaluate a whole routine is to divide the movements into the 3 planes of motion to see if there is a big picture imbalance of body loading. Changes in overall program or a few additions to existing poses can balance the practice and clear up both major and minor issues.
When certain poses just generate tension, we may have to modify them to a lower position or base of support. Whether the contact points on the ground are hand/elbow/shoulder or foot/knee/hip can make a difference, both in body reaction and the leverage straining the body. The developmental sequence from DNS aids in guiding these modifications to achieve better body tone and balance, respecting the natural progression of body loading during motor development.
Using props and blocks for certain people and poses may be required also. Part of the clinical evaluation involved determining what joint motion is available today and what potential improvement exists. Depending on the body, flexibility varies and there are finite amounts depending on bone and joint structure. If hard work and determination cant seem to open up a movement, there may be a hard limitation on it that we can identify and work around. Everyone is perfectly imperfect, and sometimes we need to accommodate an exercise to a body’s limitations. We correct flexibility limitations when possible, but also respect what the body is telling us when pushing limits.