Foot pain and yoga

Foot pain and cramping is fairly common in all styles of yoga and has a variety of causes: some foot cramps are caused by sedentary modern lifestyles and shoes and some by yoga practice.

The foot is an intricate structure designed to carry the body’s weight through its arch and move at the toes and ankle. The hands and feet are structurally similar: both have many small muscles (called intrinsic muscles) that refine movements and stabilise the small bones structurally but also separate layers of larger muscles located in the forearm and lower leg which stabilise and move the wrists and fingers and ankles and toes respectively.  Foot pain can be caused by the intrinsic muscles of the feet but also by tension in the muscles of the lower leg. Hip and knee problems also cause foot pain as compensatory movement habits can develop that put strain on feet arches. Feet problems are also the cause of knee or hip pain, for the same reason. Continue reading

Advertisements

So, can yoga really wreck your body?

Currently, there’s a heated discussion in the yoga world as to whether yoga really can wreck your body, following the publication of an article in the New York Times. Personally, I agree with the writer of the article, based on painful experience. But despite that, I still practice yoga, mostly as self-practice because I agree with Glen Black that a yoga practice needs to be something that suits an individual’s body, not something that comes in one-size-fits-all packages. Yoga has many health benefits, but as a fitness fad, yoga can only be injurious and many denialists have rubbished suggestions that yoga causes injury but that’s probably because they have not felt that kind of pain themselves. Continue reading

Muscle Imbalance in Yoga

The term ‘muscle imbalance’ is used by physical therapists when referring to incorrect muscle function that causes pain at the joints or problems with posture and body alignment.  Muscle imbalance is often difficult to diagnose and treat because a lot of pain experienced is referred pain. Continue reading

Understanding Muscle Pain in Yoga Practice

Muscles feel sore from yoga practice for a variety of reasons and it is important to distinguish between the causes of the pain experienced because although muscle pain is just, well, painful, different causes need different treatments. Muscle pain usually has these causes: Continue reading

Yoga As Exercise

Yoga has many health benefits, but there is a growing trend of yoga-related physical injuries and many physical therapists view yoga negatively. Unfortunately, these concerns are well justified. A lot of myth surrounds yoga asana practice: many people believe that asanas can somehow heal anything wrong with the body. Claims that regular muscle or joint pain from yoga practice is some kind of ‘opening’ or ‘healing’ should be treated with suspicion. Continue reading

Practising Through Pain and Injury in Yoga

Many athletes and many athletic yogis who experience pain believe that they should keep right on with what they are doing, and hope that the pain will eventually disappear. This is very short-sighted, especially if pain is not associated with a specific injury. Continue reading