Yoga is therapy and Yoga Tools are used to relieve tensions, constrictions, strains, and distortions. Yoga Tools give support, focus, and leverage to our practice and also allow us to surrender and let go. We are moving beyond exertion and struggle, beyond the notion of doing exercise.
Yoga can be a daily process in what I call Spinal Hygiene. We brush our teeth every day for dental hygiene, and we can roll our backs and lengthen our spines daily for Spinal Hygiene. Life takes its toll and can leave us tense and constricted. Even sleeping for 7 or 8 hours can leave us stiff and aching by morning. We need to lengthen, loosen, and relax on a daily basis. And for want of a better word we can call this healing process Yoga. Yoga is good for what ails us.
There are also key (structural) muscles that need daily lengthening and require some attention. The iliopsoas, the major hip flexing muscles, can be in this category, also the diaphragm, our principle breathing muscle, and then the neck flexing muscles too. These are key structural muscles that can become shortened and constricted and tug our bodies out of alignment. Treating them directly can entail techniques we might not encounter in a traditional yoga class but issues that can be addressed more effectively with Yoga Tools.