We live in world that doesn’t give us a moment to breathe and almost all of us move through the day like a whirlwind – working, caring for family, socialising and doing a hundred other things we have to and want to do. While we somehow do mange to fit most of those things into our daily schedule, the one aspect that takes a beating is our health. Somehow that ends up taking a back seat.

Many people also suffer the consequences of their sedentary lifestyle, in the form of niggling aches and pains. The good news is that many people are also now realising that only when they are healthy will they be able to enjoy life to its fullest. With this in view, they are now becoming more health conscious and sign up at their local gyms, don their jogging shoes and head out for a run around the block or even look for mind-body fitness avenues such as Yoga and Pilates.

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More Harm than Good

The latter two emphasise both mental & physical strength and help achieve overall wellbeing. While all this sounds good, the fact is that unlike walking or jogging, Pilates & Yoga are something that an instructor would have to guide you with. The surge in demand for these forms of exercise has led to the mushrooming of classes led by unqualified teachers. This simply means if you aren’t careful, the Pilates or Yoga class you are attending and the exercises you are performing may be doing you more harm than good.

Yoga is a mix of physical & mental exercises that help increase stamina, strength and flexibility; they also help reduce stress and lead to better balance of the body, mind & spirit. Yoga tends to be more about static positions, unlike Pilates that’s more fluid. The latter is a lot about stretching, lengthening and rebalancing your body.

Regardless of whether you are practicing Yoga or Pilates, it’s crucial you learn these from a qualified teacher. This is especially true if you have certain medical conditions and want to alleviate symptoms using these techniques. Spinal and orthopaedic doctors in Australia have found that an increasing number of their patients that attend either Yoga or Pilates classes come in with complaints of aggravated degenerate discs or muscular strains. Many people just sign up for these classes presuming that it would help their existing back problems.

The problem is with how Yoga and Pilates is being taught. While both Yoga and Pilates may be recommended for people with back problems, if the exercises are carried out incorrectly, the existing conditions will deteriorate. If these exercise forms are taught incorrectly or aren’t tailored to a specific individual (based on your physical fitness levels of medical conditions), they can lead to excessive strain on the spine & the surrounding tissues.

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Things to Keep in Mind

The best way to benefit from Yoga and Pilates and stay injury-free is to follow these few pointers:

  • Ensure the instructor that runs the class is qualified and certified
  • The class you attend shouldn’t have more than 12-15 people – this ensures you will get individualised attention
  • It’s important that you keep your Yoga or Pilates teacher informed about any medical conditions you have
  • Understand what your physical limitations are take it one step at a time
  • In case you have a back problem, its important you seek medical advice even before joining a Yoga or Pilates class

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Listen to your Body

Regardless of the type of exercise you are doing, it’s important that you listen to your body – this simply means if you feel discomfort while performing any exercise, stop and inform your instructor about it; he/she will definitely find a modified form that will specifically suit your physical limitations. So, while you are pursuing body and mind health, ensure that you are doing so safely.

For more information about Yoga and Pilates, call New Body Physiotherapy and Postural Management at this number – 02 9958 2277. You can also connect with us using this contact us form.

Best Regards,
Corey Iskenderian