Physical therapy for yoga practitioners

The physical demands of the yoga practitioner are uniquely different from the general population who do not engage in similar activity. Likewise, physical therapy for this special population should not be given a conventional approach.

Yoga is a centuries old practice that has captured the attention of the Western world since the late 19th century. Since then, an array of styles and teachers have evolved and the practice of yoga has become more integrated in mainstream culture. The practice of yoga according to Patanjali’s Eight Branches of Yoga was developed in the second century where we first saw the inclusion of “asana” and “pranayama”, yoga postures and breathwork, respectively.

Although there are eight branches to yoga, the two branches we are most concerned with as physical therapists are in the physical postures and breath control. Yoga asanas as they were originally developed, however, did not have the demands of our modern lifestyles in mind. Unfortunately, in some physical practices of yoga as they exist currently, the physical abilities of the modern practitioner are not taken into consideration. Because the postures do not always line up with what our bodies need to meet the demands of our modern lifestyles, injuries can unfortunately occur.

For instance, if for 8 hours of the day, a person sits at a computer workstation where the shoulders are rounded, head is excessively forward, and wrists are flexed, the anterior core musculature has been largely in a shortened, ineffective position for much of the waking day. As a result, during yoga practice, the body will have difficulty maintaining core control and utilize other muscles and alignments to achieve a pose via the path of least resistance. However, the easiest path for the body is not always the safest or most effective one. Without informed cueing and muscle activation, the practitioner is put at risk of injury and will plateau in the physical practice.

What happens when your body gets in the way of practicing yoga and enjoying life?

• Core weakness
• Shoulder pain
• Hip pain
• Back pain

• Sacroiliac and hamstring injuries
• Impaired balance
• Neck pain
• Wrist pain

While these symptoms are common among yoga practitioners, they are not normal and should be addressed by a qualified healthcare provider.

If this sounds like you, click here to get help now.

Neuromuscular deficits

When you train at relatively high intensities as a yoga practitioner, you are placing more demands on your body in order to attain a specific level of fitness or performance. As with any physical activity that challenges you to push your boundaries, you are subject to an elevated risk of injury.

Injuries can occur due to factors such as poor training strategies, inadequate mobility and stability, or even bad luck training accidents. What is commonly overlooked is the true root cause of your pain or injury, which is often a lack of neuromuscular control.

The concept of neuromuscular control refers to your brain's capacity to turn on the right muscles, at the right time, and with the right amount of muscle strength and stability in order to produce a desired movement. The more complex or intense the movement performed, the higher degree of neuromuscular control required.

Many physical events (injury, surgery, pregnancy, etc.) can disrupt your brain's capacity to execute this program, a process known as neuromuscular de-activation. As a result, there is a tendency for your body to compensate (with less efficient movement patterns) to maintain the same current level of physical activity. Eventually, neuromuscular de-activation can lead to a vicious cycle of pain, muscle imbalance, and abnormal joint stress. You will often see a decline in fitness and performance until adequate neuromuscular control is restored.

Your body learns to move with its limitations. Our jobs and lifestyles dictate the length-tension relationship of our muscles. When those same muscles that are accustomed to moving in a shortened range are given increased demand to move during a yoga class, the brain is unprepared to meet the demand of the physical posture. This can result in excessive strain placed on soft tissue structures, compensatory movements and subsequent joint stress that eventually become an injury. Your body is an intelligent computer but often gets stuck in one way of thinking and moving. However, in movement we do not benefit from rigidity, but malleability. Rigidity manifests in neuromuscular deactivation, a loss of muscle control that impairs your ability to effectively stabilize joints through their ranges of motion.



How can Activcore help?

Working with yoga practitioners is typically not a big part of a physical therapist’s education. It is an area of practice requiring further study and training following graduation.

Activcore physical therapists are uniquely qualified to assess and treat yoga-related injuries. With expertise in movement analysis and additional yoga training, our physical therapists break down yoga asanas and determine the underlying causes of movement abnormalities and pain. Apart from injuries, they are able to design a program geared toward helping you progress your practice in a safe, effective manner.

At Activcore, you will be matched with a physical therapist who specializes in treating yoga practitioners. Unlike the "typical" PT who probably doesn't even do yoga, you will have a specialist PT who knows exactly what you are going through.

Activcore physical therapists are also recognized nationally as a leading authority in the application of Redcord, a suspension exercise system designed to help you develop a smarter, balanced body through the power of neuromuscular activation.

Your physical therapist will assess how you move as it relates to your sport. This is a holistic approach to identify not only the site of injury, but the true source of any pain, weakness and dysfunction. Addressing the underlying cause is absolutely essential for healing an injury, preventing recurrence, and keeping you healthy and at a peak level of performance. The progression of your physical therapy treatments should be a reflection of the type of activity you are trying to get back to doing.

You will feel the Activcore difference from your first visit. A highly personalized experience delivered by a passionate movement expert fully dedicated to getting you back and keeping you in the sport or training activity that you love. Once your pain has been addressed, you will have the opportunity to continue honing your movement through performance training at Activcore.

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We Treat

• Achilles strain / tear / tendinopathy
• AC joint repair surgery
• AC joint sprain / dislocation
• ACL tear / repair / reconstruction
• Ankle sprain
• Arthritis
• Arthroscopic surgeries
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• Cervical radiculopathy
• Cervical spine dysfunction
• Cubital tunnel syndrome
• Decreased rotational mobility
• Deltoid bursitis
• Elbow instability
• Epicondylitis
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• Fractures
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• Hip trochanteric bursitis
• Impingement syndrome
• IT band syndrome
• Joint sprains
• Labral tears
• Labral surgery
• Lateral epicondylalgia / epicondylitis
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• Meniscus tear / repair
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• Rotator cuff repair surgery
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• Scapular dyskinesis
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• SLAP tears
• Spondylolisthesis
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• Subacromial bursitis
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• Tennis elbow
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• Thoracic spine dysfunction
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• Ulnar collateral ligament injury
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• Weakness
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Great space, great people, great service! I’ve been to many healthcare professionals for chronic back pain - doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists - and I have found that there are very few that are willing to devote the attention and effort required to reduce pain, improve mobility, and increase strength in your body. Activcore is absolutely one of those few. One-on-one services allow them to truly study your body and the way it moves before jumping to any (potentially inaccurate) diagnoses and strategies. Amazing! For anyone looking to improve their body functioning, I would definitely recommend Activcore.

Noah G.

Highly recommend this clinic for PT, especially Gavin Ongsingco. It is obvious he is extremely knowledgeable, well trained, and dedicated to his work. When I started with Gavin I had only 2 months to improve before moving out of state for work. I progressed very quickly and many of my problems that had been overlooked for years or could not be identified by other physical therapists he was able to address. I have had many sports injuries throughout my life and have seen more than a dozen different PTs, he is definitely one of the best! I would definitely fly back to Denver to have him evaluate me if I needed it in the future, his skills are unmatched!

Anne P.

Activcore is unlike anything I have ever experienced. One patient, one provider, one hour – one at a time, every time. If you’re serious about your physical therapy and recovery, this is the only place to go!


I've only gotten excellent, effective care at Activcore. They have helped me through a long post-surgery rehab with skill and kindness that have been key to my recovery.  



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