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More than a Short-Lived Fizz? Fizzy Yoga Targets Common Boomer Issues
Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall may have just unleashed the next fitness craze: Physiyoga (or Fizzy Yoga, as Cattrall prefers to call it). A blend of yoga and physical therapy, Physiyoga is a core-centered workout, which combines the wisdom of yoga with physical therapy and Pilates to stretch muscles that are tight, and strengthen those that are weak.
Physiyoga classes are customized, and include movement, meditative breathing, and hands on instruction. This merger of yoga and physical therapy goes one step beyond traditional yoga classes and may be the ideal solution for fitness buffs dealing with repetitive strain issues as well as boomers facing movement limitations and age-related wear-and-tear issues.
For Cattrall, who was rehabilitating a chronic knee injury, Physiyoga proved the ideal solution. In a recent article in The Times of London, Cattrall credits Physiyoga with “saving” her life. Once a cardio buff, Cattrall found that her intense workouts were undermining the overall strength and fitness that she was trying to maintain. That led her to Diana Zotos, a trained physical therapist and yoga instructor.
The emphasis on body awareness, core and overall muscle strength, and flexibility appears to be key to injury prevention. “You learn to take ownership of your body,” says Zotos in an interview with New York Daily News. “The practice can be ‘insightful’ by teaching clients how they became injured in the first place, and how to prevent additional injuries.”
Physiyoga won’t be appearing at your local health club any time soon. It is delivered by licensed Physical Therapists who are specialists with extensive training and knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of physical dysfunctions, diseases, injuries and imbalances. It differs from traditional physical therapy because it uses the holistic approaches of yoga therapy, and a model of empowerment that encourages clients to be actively involved in creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Instead of passively going to a professional and receiving a prescription of exercises, Physiyoga clients collaborate with their therapists to develop tailored practices that serve their unique goals.
Another huge benefit of a yoga-informed approach to rehabilitation comes in the form of mind-body awareness. Yoga teaches us to tune into our bodies, and to respond to physical and emotional cues. Cattrall is an excellent example of someone who has learned to harness her physical energy wisely, and to take control of her wellbeing.
Like other forms of yoga therapy, Physiyoga is poised to make an important contribution to rehabilitative medicine in the years to come. It may well be part of a growing trend towards more in-depth, informed yoga therapy that helps people deal with or prevent structural imbalances that can otherwise lead to chronic pain issues. Unlike traditional yoga teaching, Physiyoga offers more in-depth instruction tailored to each individual student and his or her specific structural limitations. And unlike traditional physical therapy, Physiyoga provides a holistic option to getting well—and staying there.
B Grace Bullock, PhD, E-RYT 500 is a psychologist, research scientist, educator, author, yoga and mindfulness expert and creator ofBREATHE: 7 Skills for Mindful Relationships. Her mission is to reduce stress, increase health and wellbeing and improve the quality of relationships. She offers classes, workshops, writing and research that combine the wisdom of applied neuroscience, psychophysiology, psychology and contemplative science and practice. Her goal is to empower individuals, groups, leaders and organizations to reduce chronic stress and increase awareness, attention, compassion, mindfulness and effective communication to strengthen relationships, release dysfunctional patterns and unlock new and healthy ways of being. Dr. Bullock is a Certified Viniyoga Therapist and Faculty at the Integrated Health Yoga Therapy (IHYT) Training program. She is the former Senior Research Scientist at the Mind & Life Institute and former Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. For more information see www.bgracebullock.com