“It’s fine.” Meh. Shrug.
“It always feels like this to…. Sit. Stand. Squat. Lift. Run.” “I just deal with it. OR, I just don’t do it.”
The other day after teaching a yoga class at Embody, Lisa Minn and I were discussing being “fine.” Settling for “it’s ok.”
We see and hear this in classes and when providing physical therapy to people A LOT. People have been told that they need to sit, stand, or be a certain way. They don’t consider ways to modify or build the position or posture; often they have not had ways to create changes demonstrated to them. Other times they think/believe that they should be in a very specific posture and if they modify it, it’s wrong because that is the way we are “supposed” to be and look. **Who made these rules???
And sometimes, unfortunately, they have been told “just don’t do it” if it is uncomfortable or painful. That it’s dangerous or not good for them. To which, we say “baloney”!!! To be told not to squat because it’s bad for you?? Hmm…how do you go up and down stairs, get off the toilet, lift and do so many other things if you do not squat, at least a little? Or to be told to squat a certain way without attention to anatomy and strength. Watch kids squat; not a lot of attention to technique and they do it really well!
Creating changes and seeing people light up because “Oh, that feels better!” is one of the exciting things as a PT and as a yoga instructor. Our job is to help you create more efficient, optimal, and better feeling movement and posture. We recognize that there are many positions and postures to do most activities.
Although we all have the same basic anatomy (thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone and so on), there are variations in angles, rotation, and how we move. If you attend a yoga class at Embody, you will see variations in how people set themselves up to sit as well as variations in how they modify some standing poses (for example, if they have foot problems. We don’t just power through. We change it). Perhaps someone has had a fractured ankle and surgery and has a slight limitation on that side in motion. It might cause them to modify their deep squat or balance position. Is that wrong? Not necessarily! Does it look a bit different from the person next to them? Maybe. Is it optimal for them? Perhaps. Note: if it is painful we want to change it!
Recognizing how the body is working, what the limits or problems might be and then how to bring it all together is what we do. It might be as complicated (or simple) as working with someone to be able to stand, and then walk, and then lift or run without pelvic pressure. Or without leakage. Or back pain. Or knee pain. How it looks for one person will likely be a little different than the person next to them. The way we build it will depend on each person. The basics are similar. But the subtle changes are what create the BIG changes in ability.
The subtle changes are what take it from “fine” to better to “Oh, wow! Yes, that feels good and strong!” We do and hear this in therapy appointments but also in classes because of the cues, demonstrations, props, and if the person is in person, a little hands on guidance that we provide. Even in class a posture can feel “Really good!”
So use props in yoga classes. Build a little support into your sitting posture. Change it. Recognize that “Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, tummy in” is not necessarily right for you at this time in your life (I know, grandma is rolling!). There are many ways to move, sit, stand, and be!
Ask how to get back to doing the things you like, love and need to do and how to feel better than “Meh. Okay.”
Let’s reconnect the thigh bone to the hip bone to the back bone and feel great while we’re doing it!
Rebecca Meehan PT WCS PYT loves movement and gets excited by creating change with her patients, clients, and students. She co-founded Embody Physiotherapy & Wellness in 2014 to have the time and ability to teach movement and strength classes, teach yoga classes, and to treat each of her patients and clients in one to one visits, as the individuals that they are. You can reach Rebecca at email@example.com
Learn more about yoga, pelvic health and fitness, and Tai Chi classes at Embody Physiotherapy.