Interested in learning more about bodywork services to complement asana practice? Visit Chiromotion, 1350 N Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. Wanderlust Hollywood members receive a special discount for bodywork services. More more about membership, click here.
True or false: if you do yoga, your body will be set up to handle any injury, disease, or misalignment. Yoga cures all, right?
Unfortunately for many of us, our practice alone is not the panacea to the ailments of an ever-changing and evolving physicality. The practice makes us more attune to sensation and the language our body is speaking, asking us to adjust our practice accordingly: slowing down and taking respite when it is tired and increasing the intensity when we are energetic and inspired. As mindful practitioners of wellness, it is our job to complement our practice by devoting time to taking care of ourselves and seeking out the support we need to help heal, condition, and realign so that we can continue to practice well into our graying years.
Matt Phippen, a Wanderlust Hollywood teacher and Massage Therapist and Bodyworker at Chiromotion, helps his clients to heal, strengthen, and deepen the conversation with their body. Matt and his business partner Dr. Bernard Pare, D.C. provide holistic care that combines chiropractic treatment, massage, yoga, kinesio-taping, ART, strength-training, graston and many other healing modalities to facilitate optimal mind-body connection and alleviate pain.
The Link Between Bodywork and Yoga
Matt found yoga before he found massage therapy, and was drawn to the Adaptive Bodywork method as a means to heal his clients’ pain. Administering bodywork and teaching yoga are themselves co-supportive practices that help both practitioner and client delve deeper into the experience.
When asked to describe the link between the bodywork done at Chiromotion and the yoga practice at Wanderlust Hollywood, the first thing that came to mind for Matt was the idea of flexion. “Flexion,” says Matt, “is the general rounding of the body we see across the board in Western culture. We’re all stuck in this position because we hang around in chairs, drive, and text.” According to Matt, when we’re stuck in flexion, it’s tough to do certain asanas—like Chaturanga—properly and safely.
“I’ll often tell my yogi folk clients to ease off that pose until we release the tension in the chest and strengthen certain muscles that keep the shoulder blades on the back,” says Matt. He and his team work to undo much of the pain and tension resulting from improper alignment, habituated or skeletal. “[I see] shoulder, low-back problems, neck problems, and from my yogi friends lots of SI (sacroiliac) joint and hamstring issues,” he says.
In order to alleviate pain and discomfort, Matt advises that we spend time focusing on stretching the front of the body, strengthen the back body, and focus on strengthening the gluteus medius and the hamstrings. Matt also recommends trying out functional movement training as a way for yogis to balance a committed practice.
We Are What We Eat
A final piece of creating optimal health for oneself and achieving balance through movement and bodywork is the food we consume. Yoga, bodywork, and cross-training all require proper fuel sources in order to energize, release toxins from tissues, and help restore muscles. Matt recommends taking a holistic approach to the food we consume.
Eating more green food and less meat is an easy first step. Matt also advises to “consume more omega 3 and less omega 6. Alkaline over Acid. And eat fermented foods high in probiotics, like sauerkraut. You will experience less pain in the body if you consume food that doesn’t cause inflammation. Diet is key for the body to function optimally.”
On the search for optimal health, yoga practice can be a key element. But the more dedicated we are to the asana, the more committed we have to be to seeking ways to support our bodies so that we can keep moving, breathing, and experiencing practice as we evolve right alongside of it.
Erin Ward is a freelance writer, yoga teacher, and navigator at Wanderlust Hollywood.