To help with these problems, the individual therapy work I do expands upon the “Pain Free” and “Functional Yoga” classes I offer in the Guilford, Madison New Haven, and Woodbridge areas. Taking hold of pain and movement issues through a therapeutic approach to posture and yoga is a great help those who have acute and chronic pain problems or who seek to improve their sports performance. It is also helpful to those who are simply seeking some guidance, support and structure to improve posture and get back the life they want. The posture yoga therapy begins with a simple and specific way of looking at how things should be when we are moving well and pain free. Seeing how the body should be,
gives perspective on how the body is not so you can correct it though posture yoga. Except in cases of birth defects or traumatic injuries, the skeleton is designed very simply. When the body is properly aligned, it is positioned like this:
The head is centered over level shoulders
The shoulders sit directly over level hips
The hips are firmly planted over symmetrical knees
The knees and ankles are aligned with feet pointed straight forward
—From: "The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion by Pete Egoscue"(www.egsocue.com) We call this the “90 degree rule of function”.
If the weight-bearing joints deviate from a 90-degree angle, the body compensates to maintain balance to hold itself up and move. Some parts aren’t working properly (they’re dysfunctional) and these are considered the cause of the problem. We view the symptom as the effect when other parts take over, or compensate, to try to help out. Over time, the inefficiency of this new pattern of posture and movement creates problems or symptoms that become chronic and can seem intractable. Poor posture is specific to each person. In a general sense, injuries, emotional trauma, work and lifestyle, development and a host of other factors in our life history can contribute to both our strengths and vulnerabilities. Every day, I am privileged to witness people rediscover how their posture and movement reflects their past, and how working to change it in positive ways can transform the future. This transformation begins in therapy with a comprehensive postural analysis and additional movement testing. The client and I can determine directly how any imbalances discovered may be at the root of their problems. We try to stay away from just blaming one thing or another—the right hip is too tight, the abdominal muscles are weak, etc. Though these things may be true and likely have importance, chasing things down in the way ignores one important thing. Why? Why is that hip tight, why are the abdominals weak, etc.? To address both cause and symptom we can observe and test how all this is related to each other in the body. We can then treat the musculoskeletal cause of the problem as it shows up as imbalance in the overall posture.
The “posturism” here is that we “treat the body as a unit”. From this way of thinking, posture therapy or corrective yoga and functional movement exercise sequences (called “menus”) are then formulated to relieve the dysfunctions. When done consistently, these menus are intended to restore more optimal alignment and movement patterns and give the body a chance to utilize its own healing capacity. As changes unfold, we continue to reassess to help assure progression in their therapy to improve posture according to goals that have been set. With this program, I offer help in learning the exercises, a printout of exercise instructions for home, and easy access to video demonstrations and instructions online for reference. Support and follow-up are built into the process in accordance with the clients’ needs.
This creates a complete package of support as they progress on their path of recovery. The exciting and empowering part of the therapy I do is that as things unfold clients’ understanding of the problems can grow. There becomes a true collaboration in recovery. It has been a great joy over the years to help students and clients become empowered to read the body’s messages, diminish fears and recover trust in the instincts we all have about our well-being.
This may be the greatest reward of all! I am happy to offer free individual consultation via phone (203)488-1700 or in my class studio locations. The assessment is to help to understand you how your posture and movement pattern may be getting in the way of your activities and pain-free lifestyle. This can be an eye opener as many have found this help them make sense of how the postural approach can help them address pain, balance and movement problems that have taken away activities or impaired them in living the life they desire.