A co-worker of mine recently had knee surgery and said he is in physical therapy. I am always curious as a Yoga teacher what what the medical community does to treat ailments via physical movement. He graciously copied his sheet of exercises his physical therapist prescribed to him.
I saw immediately that the actions being taught in physical therapy mimic many of those is asana, with asana being a bit more extreme in range of motion. Here are a few interesting examples:
“Hip and knee strengthening quadriceps sets” and Dandasana (Staff Pose)
“Straight leg raise phase 1” and Urdvha Prasarita Padasana (Upward Expanded Leg Pose)
“Prone knee flexion stretch” and Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)
“Bridging” and Chatuse Padasana (Four Footed Pose)
The above illustrations are not a sequence, but just a visual of the similarities. I am a yoga teacher and not a doctor or a physical therapist, but in this art I can’t help to recognize the correlation between movements and the therapeutic effect of the asanas. My mentoring teacher often comments on how asanas are therapeutic in and of themeselves if people practice them ardently.
A major difference between physical therapy and Yoga is that physical therapy ends when the injury is healed, whereas in Yoga the practitioner goes on to the next level of asana and then beyond to the breath, mind, consciousness, and soul.
Many blessings to you all!