“Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” ~Bob Harper
I have been to a few different chiropractors over the years. The first one I ever went to was a strong proponent of yoga. At one point she told me that if all of her patients practiced yoga she would loose 80% of her business. Eighty percent!!! That’s huge! I was shocked by her statement, yet at the same time, not surprised.
Why do people go to chiropractors? Injury, pain, preventative medicine, to feel better. Yoga, if practiced properly, may help with the first two, yet primarily it works with the latter two.
I have long believed myself that yoga is a form of self-chiropractic care. There’s probably more than a few chiropractors out there that would have a thing or two to say about that and whether it’s safe etc. My thought is that no one knows my body better than I do. No one else lives inside my skin, knows what I know or feels what I feel. Generally I believe that if something feels right, it has got to be right… how could it be wrong?
If I practice yoga in a way that feels good in my body, 100% of the time, I will do no harm. If I do something and all of the sudden it doesn’t feel right, I get out of it immediately. I don’t push into pain or do anything that feels like it compromises the integrity of the joints.
I get spinal adjustments all the time in my yoga practice, most of the time they are small, sometimes they are bigger. Generally it’s a pop or a crack, every now and again it is a full-on adjustment where the whole pelvis shifts its orientation. I believe that this is fine and healthy, why? Because it feels good. Because I enjoy it; I look forward to when it does happen and feel better after. It gives me a sense of relief. This usually happens in twists and most often in supine twists (those performed laying down on the back).
For some students this experience of cracking, popping or spinal adjustments in certain postures can be surprising and of concern because it is the unknown and one can feel uncertain in the unknown. Go by how it feels. If it gives you a sense of relief, if it feels good, if it feels right, go with that, trust your instinct, your intuition.
I don’t discount the benefit of chiropractors. I think that they are great. I love going to see them. They serve a purpose. I also cherish the ability to be empowered in my self-care routine and not so dependent on others to help me feel well. If you have the means to see a chiropractor and you feel the desire, or the need, by all means do so. Especially if you have been injured, have pain or been inactive for many years.
I just think that it is important for people to realize how much power they have at their disposal to indeed take care of themselves and to feel well. Once you learn some basic yoga you have it for life. It is yours, you can do it just about anywhere and often without any special equipment.
Our bodies are made to move. They start to get cranky, creaky and eventually stiff without movement. One of the reasons yoga is so beneficial is because it works with increasing the range of motion of the body as a whole. Yoga helps us to keep the spine and the whole body working properly thereby increasing our ability to enjoy the experience of living in our own skin.