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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Move over, Rocky. Yoga's in Town.

Published May 21, 2010 12:39 PM by Cheryl McEvoy

Last Sunday, I finally visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After living in the city for almost 2 years (6 if you count college), I was embarrassed to admit I hadn't hit the tourist stop. So off I went. In fact, it was such a beautiful day, I biked there--a decision my quads and glutes would make me regret, but that's a whole other blog post.

As I pedaled around to the front of the museum, ready to get cultured, I was startled to find the famous Rocky steps, well, occupied. Rising from the base of the stairs and stretching all the way to the museum entrance were droves of people, all laying in corpse pose on yoga mats. A single woman--the instructor, obviously--sat cross-legged in the center.

The massive yoga class was part of a breast cancer awareness event. And, according to the cameraman perched at the bottom of the steps, it was being recorded.

Music played, a camera rolled, and I was stuck. I couldn't plow straight through the crowd--such a move could be taken as disrespect, and as a yoga enthusiast, I didn't want any bad juju on my shoulders. I managed to climb up an empty side staircase, thus avoiding the first 10 or 20 steps of people, but the path eventually forced me back into the blanket of people. With nowhere to go, I tip-toed around a few heads and feet until I found a clear path toward the museum entrance. Free at last.

As bizarre as the gathering was, it seemed like a fun, relaxing time. And it looks like they had the right idea. CNN just posted an article about the benefits of yoga for cancer survivors. Among the positives, regular yoga practice has been found to improve sleep and reduce dependence on sleep aides. Patients who did yoga also exhibited less fatigue throughout the day.

The findings aren't surprising. Yoga and Pilates have enjoyed a surge of good press in recent years. As our most recent cover story points out, it even has a role in golf rehab. With all these success stories, yoga and Pilates could arguably be the golden children of wellness. It's a long way for alternative therapy to come, but they've make it to mainstream. Heck, if a yoga class can clog the Rocky stairs, it's got to be.

Have you incorporated yoga or Pilates moves at your facility? What are your thoughts on this popular trend and its role in physical therapy?


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