How Do Adaptive Yoga Therapies Help Paraplegics : Adaptive yoga is much more popular than it was a couple of decades ago. Today, several rehab centers offer yoga for paraplegics as regular courses for their patients. Regardless of the level of paralysis, all affected patients can benefit from adaptive yoga. Research studies indicate that adaptive yoga is suitable for people with a spinal cord injury.
The best part is that you are allowed to sit in your wheelchair while practicing adaptive yoga. However, if you feel bold to venture to try adaptive yoga without your wheelchair, most centers have volunteers ready to help you onto the floor, from where you may continue practicing adaptive yoga.
A Liberal Form of Yoga
Adaptive yoga is a liberal form of yoga designed to cater to mobility restrictions ranging from mild to severe. Unlike regular yoga (for the non-disabled), adaptive yoga is not pose-centric. It focuses more on balance, breathing, and strength, with a particular focus on flexibility. The poses are relatively simple and can be done sitting in your wheelchair or sitting on a mat spread on the floor.
You need not have apprehensions about your ability to achieve the yoga poses. The advantage of yoga for paraplegics through adaptive yoga is that you can seek a volunteer or trained assistant to help you attain the posture and maintain it for the prescribed few seconds or minutes. Although it is a passive form of yoga, it is still very beneficial.
Besides trained volunteers and assistants, exclusive centers offering supporting aids like yoga blocks, wooden dowels, straps, Thera-Bands, etc. These aids help people affected by paralysis feel more confident when they practice adaptive yoga.
Your Spine – the Energy Pipeline
Adaptive yoga is all about harnessing energy flowing through the body and channelizing it to benefit your health. Yoga for paraplegics is especially beneficial for people recovering from a spinal cord injury, as this yoga is based on the principle “energy flows to the brain via the spinal cord.”
That is why due emphasis is given to your sitting posture. While sitting in the correct posture throughout the day does a great deal of good, contrastingly, sitting in a wrong posture aggravates the injury and causes unnecessary pain.
One of the guiding principles of adaptive yoga stresses perfect alignment. Even before attempting any adaptive yoga pose, it is crucial to learn to align to your wheelchair or the mat on which you will sit.
Getting the correct alignment may be a challenge for people with scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, or paralyzed torso muscles. However, expert yoga instructors will help you attain the right alignment, which relaxes your spine.
The spinal twist is recommended for people with lower back pain. Known as Ardha Matsyendrasana, it is not as challenging as it appears. In adaptive yoga, you may not get to do the spinal twist how regular people do it. It is a milder form where you reach out your right hand to the left arm-rest of your wheelchair, and vice versa.
While doing a spinal twist, you can sense the relief in your spinal area. Repeated practice of this twist (on both sides) helps massage the spine and enhance blood circulation in that area.
Savasana or the Corpse Pose
Yoga experts recommend completing a yoga session with a savasana pose or corpse pose. As the name suggests, this asana is as simple as playing dead. You lie on your back and relax completely with eyes closed, and focus on your breathing until it settles to a steady rhythm.
While attempting adaptive yoga, the focus should be on training, and it is not advisable to push your limits as this can cause injury. It may take a while to get into the routine before you perfect each pose.
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