3/4/2019 2 Comments
Treating Scoliosis Naturally
While I don’t think I would have chosen to have a scoliotic spine at this point in my life, I don’t think I would trade it in. Having scoliosis has informed my movement and bodywork practices. It has helped make me keenly aware of my body and my imbalances.
I’m aware that my right foot is laterally tilted and rotated in relation to my left foot, which is medially tilted and rotated. My right femur likes to medially rotate relative to my left. My pelvis has a twist in it relative to ribs. I even know how scoliosis has affected my eyes and sinus passages.
I’ve been aware of my crooked spine since a child. I remember my mother, who was a PT, checking me for it by making me bend over. Unfortunately, back then they didn’t know much about treating scoliosis naturally and I’m thankful that mine wasn’t severe enough to warrant a brace.
My scoliosis didn’t start to bother me until I was in my late 20s. Years of abuse and over stretching had made me even more twisted. I constantly had little mirco-injuries, and spent a lot of time in pain. Even though I was practicing yoga and getting regular massage, I was getting little relief.
A few years ago, I started receiving Structural Integration bodywork, found an amazing Pilates teacher, and started practicing a somatic method called Feldenkrasis. Now my scoliosis is very well managed. I still have a curve in my spine, but most of the overlying compensations have been taken away or minimized. For a while I was obsessed with “getting straight.” Now, I’m more focused on working with what I’ve got and enjoying the freedom of not being perfect.
Scoliosis is defined as a side-bend in the spine that can’t be brought back into a straight vertical axis. At least four vertebra must be side bent in same direction to qualify as a scoliosis.
The depth of the curve can be measured in angles. Taking a point at the bottom of curve and a point at the top you can then draw straight lines and where those lines intersect. This is called a Cobb angle. 10° is considered the minimum for scoliosis and angles of over 50° are considered severe. At that point organ function has defiantly been compromised, and medical intervention is often necessary.
Scoliosis can present as one curve, but more commonly there are two or three curves that help balance the other out. Rarely, but sometimes, there are four curves in the spine.
Scoliosis onset happens at different times, but the most common is during the growth spurt associated with puberty. Sometimes the onset is caused by an injury in midlife. Often scoliosis is first noticed during pregnancy or giving birth as the hormones and workload of having children can increase the degree of curve quite rapidly.
By middle age, many people have slight scoliosis just do to injuries and perhaps a sedentary lifestyle.
Working with scoliosis is a challenge for a bodyworker or movement teacher. It takes a lot of studying to understand how the bends and rotations affect the soft tissue around the spine. It takes even more study and practice to learn how it can affect the legs and arms.
Since starting to practice Structural Integration, I’ve had the privilege of working with a handful of clients with fairly advanced scoliosis. Working with these clients has been a rewarding experience and I’m thankful for each of them for their trust and feedback along the way.
I thought I’d highlight some important points I’ve learned from working with this population:
Be realistic about your goals: The degree of curve and how long it’s been there is one factor how much change you can expect. Make sure the client’s expectations, and yours, are on the same page and aren’t unrealistic. If the practitioner or client is obsessed about “getting straight” the treatments may end up doing more harm than good.
A little goes a long way: Instead of trying to get a ton of change in one area, do a little work here and a little work there. Don’t be overly concerned with perfection. Allow the client time to integrate the work you’ve done before hammering more on that area. Work to balance the pelvis, legs, and feet first since this is the base for the spine. Allow your direct work on the spinal erectors to be minimal especially in the beginning.
The breath pattern is extremely important: Since scoliosis changes the shape of the ribs it also affects the breath. Since we all breathe, changing these patterns is one of most helpful ways to unwind these patterns. Whether you’re using movement or bodywork address this in each session.
Bringing awareness to the clients compensations is vital for changing or managing the pattern: People with scoliosis are generally aware that they are crooked; however they often feel like they are straight and don’t notice the underlying compensations. I find that bringing light to things like the higher hip, medial tilted foot or laterally rotated arm is key. Even if I don’t visually see a big change clients often report improvement since noticing the imbalance.
Homework is key: Its naïve to think that a 90 minute bodywork session or a few hours of Pilates or yoga will bring drastic change to scoliosis. I generally teach my clients somatic movement patterns specific to their pattern as homework. Again, it’s important to be realistic here. Some people don’t have the time or energy to do homework every day. However, I do find that clients that do at least some of their homework get far better results than clients who do little or none.
If you’re suffering from pain related to scoliosis I’d be happy to see how we can work together to help resolve your issues. If you’re a practitioner with further questions please reach out as well.
Joint hypermobility is a common but undiagnosed connective tissue disorder. Several studies have linked to stress-sensitive psychosomatic disorders such as: anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. It may also be associated with eating disorders and addictions. People with diagnosed joint hyper-mobility are up to 16 times more likely to have panic or anxiety disorders according to one study done with 72 people in 2012. In another study 70% of hyper-mobile patients had some kind of anxiety disorder compared to 22% of control group. Several studies since have also had similar results and it goes both ways. If you're hypermobile you're more likely to have anxiety and if you have anxiety you're more likely to be hypermobile.
My thoughts are that yoga fuels hypermobility by glorifying it. Try and find a stock photo of yoga online and you're hard pressed to find one where the yogi isn't extremely hypermobile. By doing this we are creating a negative feedback loop for anxiety where people think yoga is helping their anxiety and depression but for a large percent it's really making it worse. Since many of them practice 3-5 days a week and stretch in-between, its similar to any other negative feedback loop.
Hypermobility is 3 times more common in females than males and effects up to 15% of the population as a whole. There are many variances on the scale of hypermobility, but I'm betting that 50% of the yogis in an average class fall somewhere on the spectrum.
Here's what I think often happens: A hypermobile girl in college goes to a yoga class with a friend while depressed. Maybe not clinically depressed, but lets say her boyfriend just broke her heart or she's homesick. All the downdogs and chaturangas are tough, but when they get to full wheel she nails it. She feels like a kid again and gets an ego boost from her friend or even worse the teacher praises her natural ability. She continues to go and then signs up for teacher training. She's hooked and won't realize the joint damage and increased anxiety until she's in her 30's or 40's and by then its often even more difficult to reverse.
Now I know I'll be accused of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". I also realize there aren't many yoga teachers glorifying JHM on purpose, but in the land of "juicy assists", its hard to think otherwise.
can't say that I've worked with a ton of hypermobile yogis, but the ones that I have do report high levels of anxiety. My guess is as this trend continues I will see more of them in my clinic. My first recommendation to a yogi like this would be to slow down and find a yoga teacher that sets very strong boundaries for your movements. A teacher who wont let you go to end range and understands bio-mechanics.
You may also be thinking that surely there are studies that disprove this. I looked and found plenty but when really looking into the abstracts, here's what I found.
The meditative aspects of yoga are amazing for your brain and there are studies that support this. However, to my knowledge there has been little research of the effects of power or vinyasa yoga on anxiety or hypermobility much less one combining the two. Modern postural yoga is often touted as a way to reduce stress and anxiety.
If you think you might be hypermobile you can try this test and see where you rank.
If you're thinking "I'm hypermobile but I still wanna do vinyasa because is fun". I get that. Yoga and life should be enjoyable! I also think it's important to have this knowledge and know that the link between modern postural yoga and anxiety reduction is shaky at best. If you're hypermobile and still want to practice vinyasa I recommend finding a good strength coach or Pilates teacher to help your balance out your practice.
Drop me a line if you have any questions!
References on hypermobility and anxiety:
References on yoga and anxiety:
7/21/2018 1 Comment
On the Eyes
Could your neck and back pain be related to eye strain? If you work on a computer, live in a big city, use a smart phone a couple hours a day, or don’t get outside enough the answer is yes!
The eye is surrounded by 6 muscles that move the eye up/down, side to side, and in rotation. These muscles have a direct connection to the suboccipitals (6 very small but very important muscles). The suboccipitals are an interesting and important muscle group. They have one of the highest muscle spindles per gram (36 compared to glute max at .8) and play an important role in balance and head position. These muscles also link into the erectors that run down your spine and from there into the hamstrings. They are also the very top of the superficial back line in Anatomy Trains language.
Our eyes evolved to hunt, scan horizons, forage, perform fine motor skills, and to see patterns in nature and humans. Ancient peoples used their eyes far differently than we do today. In modern times we have really narrowed our scope of view and a lot of what we look at is on a screen. It’s right in front of us and often moving very fast as we scroll through Instagram or an playing an action-packed video game. No longer do we spend nights allowing our eyes to expand and soften as we gaze at stars and watch fire dance. No longer do our eyes scan the ground for an important medicinal plant and many of us practice little to no fine motor skills like knitting or carving.
Here’s my theory: Screens and lack of being outside in nature contribute to eye strain because modern lifestyle interferes with the coordinated movements of the eyes, head, neck, back and the rest of the body. When you sit and work on a computer for hours a day, your eyes move quite rapidly while the rest of your body is largely at rest. Our bodies are not made to work like this!
Ideally when you look up at a bird (for instance) your eyes move, followed by your upper cervicals, rest of neck and spine and into hips, legs at feet. Looking around should be a full body movement.
For a large part of the day many peoples’ eyes dart around a 13’ screen. Their posture is often terrible and made worse by over supportive office chairs. Their backs are often rounded and neck hyperextended to see the screen. This causes those 6 little eyes muscles to do a lot of work! They can get very tired and tense without you even realizing it!
Think for a moment about your posture at your most used workstation. Which direction does your chest face? Your head? Is the screen in good place? Do you have a good chair (one that allows you to use core support)?
The way that you sit and orient your eyes creates a pattern for strain! This gives the body fewer options for movement and the system becomes fixed and rigid, leading to pain and dysfunction down the chain.
Here's a quick eye massage for tired eyes: Start with index finger at base of bony ridge of the nose and work lateral to the edges of eye in gentle circles. Switch to thumbs and go along the upper ridge lifting the brow up. Cover each eye for 30 seconds with a cupped palm, making sure to just cover and not press down.
Eye exercises help with tracking, soften the muscles behind the eyes, and start to break up your patterns. They can help greatly to reduce eye strain as well as getting outside and allowing the eyes to stretch.
Try this simple exercise to reduce eye strain:
Lie on your back and close your eyes. Notice how your body sinks into the ground, feeling your heels, back of leg, sacrum, spine and, most importantly, your head and eyes. Can you notice how far out of the sockets the eyeballs feel? Are they soft? How dark is it? What colors do you see?
Open your eyes. Bend your knees and place the feet firmly on the floor. Gently roll your head left and right, stopping when you feel any resistance. It’s usually only a very small movement that is free here (upper cervicals). I’d say it’s like moving your nose one inch each way.
Close your eyes. Very slowly and gently start to take your eyes to the right from center. Start with very small movements like trying to see halfway to your ear and then increase distance slowly. Then try the same thing on the left side. Is one side more smooth? Do you feel your eyes jump on the way over or back? Does one eye track differently? If you feel a jump then slow down the movement and/or make it smaller. Try to make the eyes turn smoothly.
Open your eyes and find a point on the ceiling to focus on. Don’t stare, just soft focus. Now imagine there is a slow moving object going from the center to the right very slowly (like a spider crawling). Track this and then come back to the spot on the ceiling. Notice if your eyes jump. Go slowly and don’t hold your breath. Do the left side as well and then both going left and right. Go slow, notice places that your eyes skip over and try and slow down or decrease range until smoothed out.
Close eyes, go left and right again. Roll the head again. Notice any differences?
Open the eyes again and find that point on ceiling. Now keep your eyes softly focused on that spot and you rill your head left and right. This way the eyes and head are going opposite each other! You wont be able to roll the head very far and do this properly. Make sure you keep breathing.
Rest a moment
With eyes closed, take the eyes up and back to center. Move slowly and try and feel each eye. Then move the eyes down and back to center. Which is easier for you? Now tilt your head back a very small amount (upper cervicals) and then down a small amount (its’ really only a very small movement that is usually free here). I’d say it’s like moving nose up and down a half inch.
Rest a moment.
Now try and coordinate going up with head and eyes at same time. Without trying to change, notice what goes up first, eyes or head? Once you have realized the pattern, flip it. (If your eyes move a bit before your head, then you would take your head up first and follow with eyes.) Do the same thing going down.
If you want a real challenge try taking the head up but the eyes down. Do you take the head up first and the eyes down second? Switch the order and see how it is. Try this with the head going down and eyes up. Go slowly and be gentle. This is a powerful neurological exercise!
These types of exercises help to break up habitual patterns of strain in the eyes, head, neck and down the chain. You may notice that going one direction is much harder than the other. This is due to patterns that you hold. For instance, right now I can feel that I have a left bend in the neck with a right tilt of upper cervicals and a slight right rotation. I’m not sure what my eyes are doing but I bet that left one is a little lazy.
The great thing about awareness exercise like this is you will start to realize how you hold yourself in patterns. Once you identify these patterns you can slowly start to come out of them. By this I mean you might do something to change your daily life such as changing the angle of your screen, you might notice your always working with your head rotated and stop doing that or purposefully start craning your neck the other direction. You might start using your less dominate eye more.
In my clinical experience pain and postural patterns go together. The ways you move (or don’t) effect your whole system for the better or worse. The brain loves options and having them helps keep our brain and bodies young, supple, and resilient.
7/3/2018 0 Comments
Scaption and Yoga
I recently learned this term scaption from a fellow SMARTCore teacher. The term refers to a move that combines abduction(out to the side) and flexion (in front and then up) of the shoulder. Scaption occurs when you abduct the arm in a plane of about 30 degrees of flexion. It's looks kinda like hugging a really big tree.
Here's why it’s important: Scaption is the place where the muscles in shoulder best line up for abduction and there is less chance of shoulder impingement. Often times I have had the adjustment or cue to bring the shoulder in line with the other arm (warrior 2) or in line with the ear (side angle).
I’m no longer in the camp that this is a safe or effective alignment for many people.
Many yogis have shoulder problems or impingements (hello chatarunga) and this alignment can make it worse.
Here’s how I teach it: Stand with feet far enough apart for warrior 2 face forward. Take your arms out to side but a little forward. (like hugging a big tree) Then turn one foot forward and you’re in warrior 2. I bet your back arm is a little forward from what you’re used to. Allow your arms to stay where they are but maybe turn hands down if your traps freak out than turn hands up. Now reach from spine and into fingers like you have one long arm. You will feel the shoulder blades glide and both arms lengthen at same time.
For side angle I usually have people swing the top arm down and forward and then cue serrutus anterior (super hero muscles) to pull the shoulder blade around the ribcage a bit. Its like you’re reaching for something. Notice if you get more movement in shoulder blade with this alignment.
Straight lines are cool too, just not for everyone all the time, especially if you have a shoulder injury.
Some of the most common cues you hear in yoga class for the pelvic area are:
“Curl your tailbone under”
"No duck butt"
“Squeeze your pelvic floor”
"Do a kegal"
While these cues may be well-intentioned, they are coming from the perspective that everyone has an anteriorly tilted pelvis. It also assumes that if you’re anterior then you would be better off more neutral. In my clinical experience this is not the case! I haven’t seen a single neutral pelvis and I see a posterior pelvis at least once a day. Normal ranges on anterior tilt are between 6-13 degrees. There isn’t a “normal” listed for posterior tilt. In my world it's not the duck butt that's the problem. It's not having a butt!
I’ve found that it is difficult to bring a client from a posterior tilt to more anterior. These clients often have pain in their low backs, hip joints, knees, and pelvic floors. They are also often yogis who may have had a more anterior or neutral pelvis and years of poor yoga cues lead them to a posterior pelvis.
Speaking to the pelvic floor, I think it’s naïve to assume that everyone has a weak pelvic floor. I see clients regularly who have high and tight pelvic floors, causing tension across the whole pelvis. It can cause pain during sex and make childbirth harder. In my opinion, yoga teachers should cue the pelvic floor less and maybe even cue some softening at the end of class.
Here’s the thing about pelvises: they are complicated! For instance, the pelvis can be posterior BUT the sacrum can be in an anterior position relative to it, creating the illusion of an anterior tilt. You can have an anterior shift of pelvis BUT a posterior tilt which also kinda looks like an anterior pelvis to the untrained eye. You can have one hip anterior AND one posterior creating a torsion (really common in yogis).
What should yoga teachers do? Learn more anatomy! I hope to be changing this soon. Be on the lookout for upcoming workshops!
5/1/2018 0 Comments
Core Strength and Back Pain
Core is a huge buzzword in the fitness industry these days and having a tight and toned belly is thought to improve performance, reduce injuries and help with low back pain. However there has been little research to point to a strong core equaling less back pain or even improve performance.
While I don’t want to throw the baby out with bathwater. I do think that the fitness industry standard of a flat and tight belly is unhealthy. I do think that the large majority of “core exercises” I see in yoga and fitness classes are not helpful in creating a dynamic core. I don’t agree that more “core strength” leads to less back pain. I believe “navel to spine” isn’t a good cue for your spine or organs.
I have many clients that are into fitness and yoga dealing low back pain and pelvic floor issues. When I assess the tone in the abdominals and pelvic floor it is often far too tight and glued down. When I watch and feel them contract core muscles it’s often unorganized and full force.
I like to think about having a dynamic core. One that is strong but can move in all directions at any time. I think its just as important to have “core control” as core strength and the ability to let your core soften and relax may be just as important than being able to contract. Having a “tight core” actually compresses your organs and makes you shorter.
Picture the core like a 6 sided box: The abdominals (retus abdominis and internal/external obliques, and transverse) are front and the sides of the box with psoas, QL, and erectors holding in back and then pelvic floor, hamstrings, iliacus, and the deep rotators make up the bottom and the diaphram is the top of box.
Ideally the tension in abdominals and back muscles balance each other to allow for full movement and length without compression, the psoas and QL balance each other left to right, the oblique X is balanced and the diaphram and pelvic floor face each other so breathing is optimal.
The above is almost never the case and while perfect balance is unrealistic one can certainly improve core function through movement education and good bodywork.
At SMARTCore we almost never cue anyone to engage their abdominals. My teacher Kaylee says something like:“ When you put all the bones in the right place the core responds”. Instead of cueing muscles to fire we talk about relationships between parts and how to improve those relationships.
Structural Integration bodywork helps improve alignment of bones by working with myo-fascia in specific ways for your structure to free up restrictions. After my sessions I assign somatic movement exercises and mindful walking to help integrate the work. Once those relationships improve your core will work better in all activities without you thinking about it and you won’t have to do a sit up ever again. Your organs and spine will thank you and you may even appear and feel taller than before.
If you have back pain or just want a more functional core come see me!
2/26/2018 1 Comment
Yoga and Lower Back Pain
While overall yoga has a greater potential to heal than hurt don't go off thinking the practice is all rainbows and unicorns. The original intent of yoga was not to heal the body but to actually break the body in order to get closer to God. In the early 1900's Great Britain occupied India. They introduced Danish inspired gymnastic type workouts into Indian yoga culture. This likely influenced T. Krishnamacharya who was the teacher of Iyengar and Patabhi Jois.
Enough about the murky waters of yoga history for now. Here's my two cents on why your back is hurting after yoga.
First off, you're not alone. Back pain is the most common adverse effect of yoga according to a 2014 study published in Yoga International. My personal experience was that I didn't have back pain before I started yoga and it continued to get worse the longer and more intensely I practiced. I see clients every week complaining of lower back pain that are yogis.
The most common types of yoga in the west are vinyasa, power flow and Bikram. They are generally quite aggressive, fast paced and have lots of repetitive movements.
Reason #1: Most of us sit for our jobs and then we go straight from work to yoga usually by driving. Yoga classes often start right away with lunges, warriors, and backbends. If the hip is still locked down from sitting then you're going to make up for the lack of hip extension in your low back, often at L5/S1. Ouch!
Reason #2: Over stretching the lower back. If you're doing all your forward folds with straight legs you're likely over stretching the ligaments around the sacrum which can lead to instability in low back. In general you want to make to the hips more mobil but low back more stable.
Reason #3: Overextending and flexing the the low back in deep back bends and forward folds. The facet joints in lumbars are designed only to flex, extend and side bend. The ones in thoracic (mid back) are for rotation and don't really extend or flex much. So unless your hips and thoracic spine are well organized for deep back bends and forward folds your likely hurting your low back.
Reason #4: Inexperienced teachers and bad sequencing. Often times vinyasa classes are sequenced more like a dance class which is fun but not good for S.I joint and low back. Sequencing to many asymmetrical postures in a row can cause this pain. If you've ever had a pain in your ass after yoga thats your S.I joint. Cookie cutter assists and cues are also a reason for inexperienced teachers making low back pain worse in students. Confession: I've been all of these teachers.
I could give more reasons but I think 4 is enough. Here's some ways to combat low back pain in the modern yoga scene.
#1: Get to class 10 mins early and do these movements:
Lay on back and bend knees. Roll your pelvis very gently from tail bone to belt line. You can do it by pushing and pulling with feet or more with the center of you (core) try both.
Straighten one leg and push into other foot thinking of that extending knee over first two toes and keeping it it directed at ceiling. You should feel your pelvis roll and low back and the leg that is straight turn out some.
Practice rolling up into small bridges one vertebra at a time. Start by rolling pelvis towards belt line and then push with feet to press individual vertebra into ground as you go up. On the way down try to set each one down like laying a pearl necklace on a table. You will probably feel that the last few are the most difficult to differentiate. (This is a problem).
The key to these movements is not do them powerfully. Use them to increase awareness of the hip joint rather than to stretch tissues. Yoga class is for that.
#2: Chill on all the extreme stuff. Just because your teacher is pushing you to go back more in your standing Bikram backbend doesn't mean you have to. With backbends I like the cue I got from Jason Crandall which is to try and spread the sensation evenly rather than make the bend bigger. With forward folds just bend your knees so belly rests on thighs. Also teachers please stop sitting on your students in seated folds.
#3: Move at your own pace. Want to skip an up dog? Need to catch your breath? Wanna take a child's pose? Modify or just skip something. Do it! Take care of yourself. Most yoga teachers will respect this. If they don't find a new teacher.
#4: Stop doing yoga for a week. I know to many this sounds insane. I first realized yoga might be causing my pain while spending a month at Esalen. They didn't have vinyasa yoga classes there and I found myself doing more Chi-Gong, Feldenkrais and lots of bath time :). Oddly my low back pain ceased almost completely.
All this being said don't throw the baby out with bath water. Yoga is great. It has the power to transform us physically and mentally, create community, and make your butt look good. However if you've been practicing for years or decades and still deal with back pain regularly it might be wise to step back and take a look at what your actually doing.
Structural bodywork and movement therapy can definitely help shine some lights on your blind spots. Schedule a session if you need help.
2/19/2018 2 Comments
You've probably heard of proprioception but maybe not interoception.
Plainly interoception means to be able to feel one's body from the inside out.
Interoceptive cells exist inside the fascial tissues. These cells allow you do do things like feeling your breath down in the hips or even the toes, feeling your spine, feeling the organs, and feeling differences in balance, ease of movement and function. Interoceptive cells may also help give us that "gut feeling".
Research on fascia, the vagus nerve, the gut-brain connection, and newer research on interoception and pain are all very interesting to me.
Not moving restricts the fascia and nerves into a limited pattern. Our visual attention is limited to the sagittal plane (computers). Our furniture is plush and we rarely sit or squat on the floor. Perception is limited by the amount of time you spend sitting. I believe lack of perception may be worse than sitting.
Our forefathers hunted and gathered. They ran, climbed trees and squatted. They scanned their surroundings looking for life and danger. They had perception. They definitely understood their relationship with nature better than us and I think they understood themselves and each other better.
Today you have to fight and work for this awareness. Exercises and movements that increase interoception can help people realize that their body is more than a soft machine to carry around the mind and soul but that there is intelligence and guidance within the body. A lack of interoception is correlated with pain and I believe increased body awareness is first step to changing a pain pattern.
Mary Bond says in her book The New Rules of Posture "The way you live in your body has social consequences". She says in a podcast "that modern lifestyle has made it easier for us to communicate and gather food. We don't use our bodies in ways that make us feel them. Often times the only time when we feel the body is when we feel the pain of not moving". She says " When in an embodied state you're feeling your aliveness and the awesomeness of your body and the reality of your own death all at the same time." "When you feel this is helps you be able to better walk with fellow brothers and sisters". "This awareness is vital for the continuation of our species"
Tonic Function is the way you relate to gravity and how you organize your stance. Bodywork like structural integration can help to improve tonic function. Improving tonic function teaches the body to make gravity its' friend. Better Tonic Function increases efficiency and reduces body strain.
However, bodywork alone isn't enough Tonic Function and Interoception must also be improvemed by good movement. My teacher Kaylee Cahoon says "Good movement is good movement." I guess any movement is better than none but then I'd being going back on my earlier statement of lack of perception being worse than sitting.
Good movement is anything that makes your body feel better after. Do check and make sure its not your ego that feels the joy though. Like my teacher in Thailand says "Yoga good for the head(ego)...terrible for the body". The feel the burn type classes are definitely counter to increasing interoception. Find a good yoga, Pilates, dance or somatic movement teacher to help you with this.
If you are able to increase level of interoception then you will likely reduce pain, improve performance and potentially reap the psychological benefits as well. Embodiment could also be paramount to the survival of our species. As more people become aware of their bodies more people may also become more aware of how they affect others and the environment. This could lead to less violence and less pollution which in my opinion are the two leading reasons for mother earth to finally be fed up with us.
Follow me in IG @nashvillebodyworker for somatic movement and stay tuned for upcoming YouTube videos.
Nashville Native. Structural Bodyworker and Movement Junkie