Yoga is a powerful tool for rehabilitation, as it focuses on strengthening the entire body, which allows for a more balanced healing process.
As a synergistic system, the human body is more than the sum of its parts, and works best when treated as a dynamic whole.
In rehabilitation from injury, it is important to take into account not just the injured area itself, but also the connected parts of the body that must cooperate with it for efficient and optimal functioning. Also, the stronger the body's overall circulatory, cardiovascular, and immune functions are, the more effectively the body can heal itself.
Yoga is known to improve all of these aspects of overall physical health. Yoga also has the effect of curbing anxiety, worry, and fear by creating a peaceful and balanced state of mind, which contributes to the psychological component of the healing process.
Yoga also has appreciable benefits for the relief of pain. The meditative state of the mind and focused breathing involved in the practice stimulate the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killing chemicals, and also diminishes the chronic muscular tension that exacerbates pain.
It is this focus on empowering the body's natural healing systems and facilitating cooperation among the skeletal muscles that makes yoga's approach to rehabilitation different from traditional medical approaches, which tend to try to isolate and treat a single factor as the cause of an injury. Of course, yoga doesn't have to replace other forms of therapeutic rehabilitation, but can be used as a beneficial complement to almost any other kind of rehabilitative program.
Two factors that are important for the success of any rehabilitation program involving yoga are the presence of a qualified instructor and a commitment to daily practice. An instructor familiar with the rehab process can help to ensure that you do not re-injure any sensitive areas and that you are able to make steady, consistent, appropriate progress. Many instructors will even have special training in this regard.
Beyond rehabilitation, some instructors specialize in using yoga principles to improve and enhance athletic performance, as well as to diminish the chance of injuries occurring. These instructors study the body mechanics of athletes in action and identify ways to improve posture, balance, and coordination.
This has the double benefit of yielding greater results with less effort, as well as reducing stress and strain on the body, which allows athletes to more effectively preserve their bodies from injuries as well as repetitive wear and tear.