Trust Me… (I’m Not Making This Up!)
Hands up who watches “Trust Me I’m A Doctor”? If so, you will know that last night, among other stuff, there was an interesting study on joint pain etc which kind of proved that the most beneficial thing was to make sure you did strengthening exercises around the area.
This is an important thing to bring up, because in my experience, I have met many people, who, at the first sign of something – whether it’s a stiff vertebra or niggly wrist or whatever, completely give up. Fear? I don’t know. But I do know that maybe complete rest is useful if the area is broken or sprained, but certainly, if the area is weak or stiff, rest is not useful at all and deeper inquiry / work is necessary.
Most of what I teach in my sequences – bar the odd thing that’s thrown in for a bit of fun – is not there by accident. Each posture and exercise is included for a reason. This is because I was lucky enough to have a teacher who is not only an amazing yogi, but who is also a physiotherapist and lecturer / author of the same subject and this is how I have been taught to teach.
If you watched the Doc show last week, you will know that balance is of the utmost importance. If you watched last night, you will know that the “knee” exercises demonstrated in the program, pop up again and again in my classes – whether we are lying down or standing up (as in the image shown here). Did you know that you were strengthening your knee though?
So what and how much is going on in this particular pose?
– Well, it’s a balance, so I have to focus which is good for my brain. Meanwhile all the standing structures (foot, ankle, knee, hip and the muscles surrounding them) are supporting up to 10 times my body weight. That’s weight training.
– Because I am not holding on to my lifted limb, my core muscles are naturally engaged (try it and see).
– Even if you can only raise your foot a cm or two off the ground, the quad and all the muscles around the knee – back and front – are firm and naturally activated which strengthens the knee (as demonstrated last night in the program – give the area a poke and you will see)
– Because my front thigh muscles are naturally engaged, my hamstring at the back, naturally softens and releases which means it’s a stretch without stretching…. A “stretch without stretching” means that because my muscles have naturally lengthened, I have prepared my hamstring for a deeper movement without feeling an intense burn, without the risk of pulling a muscle and without my nervous system naturally interpreting that discomfort and pain as an indication to go into fight or flight.
Doesn’t look like much though does it?