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London - For years, my neck and shoulders have felt tight and immovable. It’s the result of endless hours hunched at my computer. I’ve tried everything to ease the stiffness - swimming, stretches and endless pummelling by massage therapists. Nothing has worked.
Could therapeutic yoga - designed to address specific ailments - be my saviour?
These are no ordinary yoga sessions; there’s no chanting or incense. This is yoga as physiotherapy. Pilates once had a stranglehold in physio clinics; therapeutic yoga - a combination of yoga, osteopathy, Shiatsu and Thai massage - is winning plaudits.
I seek help from Nikki Tehel, a practitioner based in Berkshire, who observes me standing, walking and sitting in a bid to discover what has triggered my gripes.
This feels more like a medical appointment than yoga, and I should know, I’ve tried more classes than Madonna.
Nikki says: “I treat many people, from those with complex disabilities to women with stress-related niggles and businessmen who don’t want their back pain to keep them from the office.”
Nikki recommends five positions. Some are simple - lifting my arms above my head without tensing my neck muscles, for example. She also asks me to lie on my back and visualise strings attaching various points of my head to the ceiling. I try to lift my face upwards as if someone is pulling the strings - an exercise she calls the ‘facelift’ but my stiffness makes this movement almost impossible.
“You need to practise a little every day,” she instructs.
While Nikki’s method of treatment isn’t new, it is gaining credence. Doctors and researchers worldwide are studying its benefits. And although one consultation will not undo years of bad habits, Nikki pronounces me a work in progress. Perhaps she’ll make a yogi out of me yet. - Daily Mail
* Nikki Tehel is at windsoryogatherapy.webs.com. Find a yoga therapist at yogatherapy.org