In today’s busy world we are constantly moving fast and multi-tasking. The mind and body have little time to slow down.
As a physical therapist, practicing yoga mindfulness techniques have helped me improve focus, become a better listener and have more meaningful interactions with my patients. Mindfulness techniques can also help patients maximize their physical therapy sessions when recovering from injury or surgery.
Below are four tips to incorporate yoga mindfulness into your recovery plan.
- Be present. Focus on the here and now. Think about what you are trying to accomplish. When you arrive for your appointment quiet the mind – turn off your cell phone, take a few deep breaths and focus on your upcoming session. During therapy listen. Take in as much as possible. Ask questions but focus on listening first.
- Visualize movement patterns. Physical therapy is similar to yoga in that the pattern of exercise is important. If an exercise has 3 components, think about how the pattern works together. Imagine an exercise from beginning to end and how the movements and muscles interact. Instead of going from A to C – stop and visualize A to B to C and then try it.
- Don’t compare yourself. I encourage patients not to compare themselves to others and not to compare previous injuries to current injuries. Every injury and person are different. Be mentally gentle to yourself during treatment, believe in your ability to improve.
- Use modifications. Yoga and physical therapy exercises have modifications and options. Respect what your body can do. Ask your provider about alternative versions if a movement is uncomfortable.
Donna Goodwin is a physical therapist with OrthoCarolina Matthews Physical Therapy with over 25 years’ experience. She encourages an active lifestyle and creative use of exercise with all her clients. She enjoys running, golf, yoga, research on healthy aging practices, reading and learning from her patients.