Yoga is a martial art. It is a discipline. We see those who practice yoga as modern health gurus. They seem to have it all figured out. This is in no way meant to bash yoga, I love the practice. It has helped me in so many ways. However, it’s not everything. It misses the mark with regards to movement. It encompasses almost everything.
We are animals. I’ve gotten to know the complex shoulder joint all to well thanks to some persistent injuries. What I’ve learned, is like most topics health & fitness, most do not not approach this from a primal mindset. Your physical therapist will most likely have you pulling on bands to resolve your shoulder pain. We fail to realize that we are primal beings & despite this cerebral, ‘from the head up’, existence we live, there is no denying the simple fact that we are animals. We are the same animals that used to run, jump, hang, swing & hunt animals to survive. We have not physiologically evolved from these ‘cavemen’. This explains the rise in popularity of primal diets & lifestyles; paleo, keto, intermittent fasting, carnivore, etc.
So, what is yoga missing? Amongst all of the postures, known as asanas, there are none which promote hanging, pulling or swinging. Why is this important? Because you are only utilizing a half of the shoulders’ potential when you limit their movement to the mat. The shoulder girdle is very obviously designed for hanging & brachiation. There is an undeniable need to hang in order to fully stretch & strengthen our shoulders.
The reason I felt the need to write about this is because many come to yoga for healing. Many come with injuries & have tried all other traditional approaches. This was me. Yoga served me very well. It effectively opened my body up, loosened all of my tight joints & provided me with a long lost, intuitive knowledge of my body. However, my shoulder problems persisted & were even somewhat aggravated by some yogic movements. It was not until I discovered the potent power of hanging, that I found relief. But, if it were not for the breathing exercises, aka pranayama, I learned from yoga, I would also be missing a huge piece to the puzzle which is my fully functional, pain free body.
Movement. With all of this said, I still practice yoga. It truly is a science. I have found no flaws. I just feel that incorporating a wide range of movements into your practice can only serve you. This means hanging, pulling, swinging, balancing on a tight rope, running, dancing, fighting, etc. We must keep in mind that yoga is not all contortions & acrobatic movements; there is a psychological & spiritual aspect. This is what I believe yoga is really about. After all, the postures are designed to open your body up in such a way that you may comfortably sit in a lotus position & meditate. Most people can’t even sit cross-legged with an erect spine for more than a few minutes without experiencing discomfort. Yoga also possesses that which almost every other discipline lacks; breathing & deep internal movements. Advanced yogis are able to manipulate their breath & control deep musculature to mobilize & cleanse the deepest layers of the physical body. This also cleanses the mind & soul, believe it or not.
So, no bashing of yoga here. It is an ancient science. From my perspective, I see it as ancient neuroscience. The knowledge of the mind & body which is embedded in the practice is simply amazing for how old of a discipline it is. For me, it is a dynamic, always evolving movement practice accompanied by meditation. It is my life.