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Defeating Chronic Pain: Integrating Corrective Exercises into a Yoga Routine

Corrective exercise is becoming increasingly popular as more people are becoming aware of its benefits in preventing and treating various musculoskeletal issues. It's a term that is often heard in gyms and rehabilitation centers, but what exactly does it entail? Let's take a deep dive exploring its purpose, benefits, and how it can be integrated into your intentional movement routine.

Defining Corrective Exercise

Corrective exercise is a specific type of exercise regimen designed to address and correct functional imbalances and deviations in the body. These imbalances may be caused by various factors such as poor posture, repetitive movements, previous injuries, or a sedentary lifestyle. The goal of corrective exercise is to restore the body's function by targeting weak muscle groups and immobile joint areas.

The Four-Phase Approach

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) proposes a four-phase approach to corrective exercise, which is often followed by fitness professionals:

  1. Inhibit: This phase involves using self-myofascial release techniques, like foam rolling, to relax and release tension in the overactive muscles.

  2. Lengthen: This phase includes static stretching and neuromuscular stretching to increase the flexibility and range of motion.

  3. Activate: This phase focuses on activating and strengthening the underactive muscles through isolated strengthening exercises.

  4. Integrate: This phase involves functional and compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups and joints to restore proper movement patterns and improve overall functionality.

Corrective exercise and yoga both focus on improving the body's functionality and there are several ways in which they correlate and complement each other:

Body Awareness: Both corrective exercise and yoga emphasize body awareness and mindfulness. Being aware of your body's alignment, movement patterns, and areas of tension or weakness is crucial for both practices.

Muscle Imbalance: Corrective exercise specifically targets muscle imbalances by strengthening weak muscles and releasing tension in tight muscles. Yoga also helps address muscle imbalances by promoting flexibility, strength, and balance in the entire body.

Flexibility and Mobility: Both practices prioritize flexibility and mobility. Corrective exercise often includes stretching exercises to increase flexibility in a concentrated area of the body, while yoga involves a series of poses that stretch and strengthen the entire body simultaneously.

Breathing: Proper breathing is essential for both corrective exercise and yoga. In corrective exercise, proper breathing helps activate the core muscles and support the spine during movement. In yoga, breath control (pranayama) is a fundamental aspect of the practice.

Posture: Corrective exercise aims to improve posture by addressing imbalances that lead to pain. Yoga also promotes better posture by strengthening the muscles that support dynamic movement.

Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation: Both corrective exercise and yoga can be used for injury prevention and rehabilitation. Corrective exercise is often prescribed as part of a rehabilitation program to address specific imbalances and movement dysfunctions. Yoga can also be a gentle way to rehabilitate injuries and prevent future issues by promoting overall strength, flexibility, and balance.

Incorporating corrective exercises into your yoga therapy practice can be a highly beneficial way to address specific muscular imbalances, improve movement patterns, and enhance overall function. Here's how we make magic happen when creating a custom movement program:

  1. Assessment: We start with a thorough assessment of your posture, movement patterns, and muscle strength. Identify any imbalances, restrictions, or weaknesses that need to be addressed. This can be done through observation of static posture and movement analysis.

  2. Set Clear Goals: We define specific goals for you. This could be reducing pain, improving posture, increasing range of motion, or enhancing athletic performance. We will make sure your goals are measurable and achievable.

  3. Individualized Program: We develop a personalized program that includes both yoga poses and corrective exercises tailored to your needs based on movement dysfunction and goals. This can be done by incorporating specific corrective exercises into the warm-up, cool-down, or throughout the yoga sequence. For example, we might start with foam rolling and activation exercises as part of the warm-up, then incorporate specific stretches and strengthening exercises throughout the yoga sequence, and finish with relaxation and breathing exercises.

  4. Progression: We will start with easily accessible exercises and gradually progress to more advanced movements as your strength, flexibility, and movement patterns improve. We will continuously assess your progress and adjust the plan as needed.

  5. Education: I will help you understand the connection between your imbalances and any pain or limitations you are experiencing.

  6. Home Practice: I encourage you to practice the exercises and yoga poses at home and provide you with a written or visual guide that you can follow on your own.

  7. Re-assessment: We will regularly re-assess your progress and make necessary adjustments to your program. Most importantly, we will celebrate your body, movement, and daily wins!

Let's redefine what movement means for you 👇🏼


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