It was in January 2012 when I launched a vinyasa yoga practice taught weekly over lunch hour at an old day job. I had been practicing postural alignment therapy practically daily since April 2010 and was eager to discover how yoga compared with the stretches and gentle exercises that became part of my morning routine.
I am a fan of symmetry and, right from the start of my first yoga session, appreciated that with each pose, the able instructor called on our bodies to perform movements with balance in mind, governed by the mindset that this balance would strengthen each side of the body equally. For each time we planted the sole of our left foot against the inner thigh of our right foot to practice Tree Pose, for example, we performed the equal and opposite movement by switching the leg work.
It didn’t take me long to see that despite achieving tremendous strides with the exercises I had been practicing for almost two years—the sames ones in my Posture Exercises Method—I still had some postural deviations that caused one leg to exhibit greater stability than the other. Despite becoming completely pain free for the first time in a decade because of my Method practice, I still hadn’t yet fully committed to the Method. I practiced only off and on this one vital exercise that truly gives the body adequate time to move closer to its original joint alignment and posture. It would take six years for me until I became “joined at the hip” to this “glue exercise,” the one that holds together every other exercise I do for about an hour a day.
Because of these postural deviations, my body compensated and failed at times while practicing yoga, and I wasn’t alone. All around me, women and men struggled with poses, with balance—sometimes taking a knee or sitting out poses. Some fell sideways or forward or backward. I can recall participants’ femurs turning outward and feet splaying open during Corpse Pose. Mine did as well. These days, because of my Method practice and some very precise exercises with pinpointed targets in mind, my kneecaps and toes point straight at the sky or ceiling, and this is where they’re supposed to. Our goal is to walk straight forward, after all, not with our feet pointing out to the sides. Which is to say how almost everyone walks.
In reflecting on my yoga practice, I’ve come to determine that I could never imagine myself, with solely a yoga practice, correcting the joint misalignment and poor posture that plagued me for many years. Here’s why: Yoga doesn’t address the cause of postural deviations and suboptimal posture as well as seek to actively correct them in the way that postural alignment therapy does.
As I explain in the article “Experience Chronic Pain Relief by Improving Postural Alignment,” the cause of postural misalignment and poor posture—and the often resultant pain symptoms such as back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, ankle pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and an achy neck—is the position of the pelvis and relationship of the hip joints. Yoga is fluid, sweeping, artful, meditative and spiritual, but it isn’t equipped to deal with an individual whose pelvis is rocking backward and right hip joint is positioned 2 inches higher and 1 inch forward of the left hip joint. This is just the start of this person’s postural deviations. And this kind of individual is actually a prime candidate for injury in even a beginner’s yoga class. Many, these days, are seeking out yoga for chronic pain relief, and the opposite effect is sometimes happening.
Achieve Chronic Pain Relief and Peak Performance Through Postural Alignment Therapy Practice
Many people have been told by doctors and chiropractors that one leg is an inch or two longer than their other leg, but know that, in many cases, this is merely another symptom of a misaligned body. A chiropractor told me this exact thing in summer 2003 while covering a community fair for a newspaper, and I can assure you that because my pelvic and hip positions are now soundly square and in their neutral, or design position, where they should be, my legs are indeed the same length. Many resort to special footwear to compensate for their so-called “shorter leg,” but all they’re doing is asking their body to continue compensating, strengthening only some muscles while leaving others to atrophy and leading themselves astray from true health with every step they take.
A yoga practice, you see, almost certainly isn’t going to correct the position of the pelvis and relationship of the hip joints. It’s just going to call on a misaligned body—and, I’m telling you, everyone alive has some degree of postural deviations—to do work it’s not up to the task to complete effectively, let alone safely. Several of my Posture Exercises Method clients have told me they’ve turned to yoga and pilates to help them eliminate chronic pain but could not achieve the results they desired. One client experienced greater and swifter results with her postural alignment therapy practice under my guidance than with any other pain relief modality she tried over 25 years.
From mid-2013 through 2015, I practiced yoga in place of my Posture Exercises Method exercises some days, and when I did, I noticed that my body was calling out to me, telling me that my joints and muscles didn’t get the same “well-lubricated feeling” they get with my rotation of Method exercises. Once I launched training in early 2016 as a postural alignment specialist so I could help others experience chronic pain relief and peak performance in a functional body, thanks to postural alignment therapy, I put my several-sessions-a-year yoga practice on indefinite hold. I didn’t need it; I had found something much better. The Posture Exercises Method starts working right away in a major way.
My daily workout is built largely on the exercises in my Posture Exercises Method, and I consider this to be the finest workout program available. It’s safe and, as a matter of fact, beneficial to practice it every day. I round out my weekly exercise routine with some additional bodyweight exercises, rebounding, sprinting and walking.
If you’re exploring or practicing yoga, or if you’re looking to experience chronic pain relief, top athletic performance or simply want to take care of your body today so that you can get around just fine in the future, consider postural alignment therapy and my Posture Exercises Method to be your ticket for success!