Yoga for Physical Therapy Patients

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“My physical therapist said I should do yoga… now what?”

Pain, medical conditions or a desire to fine-tune health and wellness bring many to start a yoga practice. But when medical providers, like physical therapists (also known as physios) or medical doctors, recommend their patients take up yoga to access better health, it’s time to listen.

Asking questions is so important when navigating your health. If you’re uncertain about what to do next after your medical provider recommends yoga, here are some things you can ask them:

  • Ask specific questions about why they are recommending yoga for you. This will help you have a focal point when you practice.
  • Ask about any contraindications, or things they don’t recommend you do, like particular movements, positioning, or even breathing patterns.
  • Ask if they know of any yoga teacher who is familiar with being an adjunct to their health and wellness team. Many medical providers have a referral list of trusted wellness professionals like massage therapists, acupuncturists and yes, even yoga teachers.

If you are cleared by your doctor or provider and encouraged to do yoga by them, I recommend you begin with a few private sessions. This is especially important if you are new to yoga. Jumping into a public class or even taking an online class if you are injured or new to the practice diminishes any personal feedback from a skilled instructor. A skilled yoga teacher can help you navigate around injuries and support specific areas as well as your overall wellbeing.

There are several things to look for when searching for a qualified yoga teacher that offers private session and who can support your medical provider’s recommendation. This is especially important if you have special health circumstance.

If this is you I recommend you find a yoga teacher that:

  • is trained in both Eastern and Western modalities and works efficiently with your doctors and healthcare providers to better understand your needs;
  • prepares well, asks you a number of questions, listens to you, take notes, and applies the yoga practice specifically for you;
  • asks for your doctor’s or provider’s approval via a referral note if you are under direct care for a specific or special medical condition;
  • with your permission, will reach out to your provider for guidance to inform them of how to go about your yoga sessions (Keep in mind that no medical charts nor private information would be shared as the HIPAA privacy rules protect your privacy);
  • understands that yoga teachers are not medical providers (although some teachers also have medical licenses);
  • believes yoga is a powerful tool for so many issues and is an essential support to a health and wellness team;
  • understands that although yoga is research-backed for it’s therapeutic benefits, it is not a cure-all;
  • wants the very best to support your health journey and will refer you to somebody else when needed.

Starting something new like yoga, especially if your medical doctor recommends yoga, can feel like a daunting task. But beginning and cultivating your yoga practice is closer than you think. Yoga can be exceptionally accessible to ALL LEVELS, and meets the need of the individual and provides therapeutic benefits we need outside of the medical clinic!

If you’re interested in 1:1 yoga sessions with a yoga teacher that works with physical therapists and medical providers, please reach out. I offer in-person sessions both online and in-person at the Innova Physical Therapy Clinic in Redmond, WA.

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