Clinical Yoga - from a client perspective

Physio and Clinical Yoga Instructor Raz demonstrating how it’s really done!

Physio and Clinical Yoga Instructor Raz demonstrating how it’s really done!


Physio Effect has run specialist Clinical Pilates services for a number of years now; the way i explain clinical services as opposed to ‘regular’ services is that with the clinical option, you’re being instructed by a Pilates instructor who is also a qualified physiotherapist and who uses that amalgamation of learning to structure the service. We offer 1:1, 1:2 or classes here in our Northside Studio. The classes are small - maximum five people, and, whatever session size you choose, you have a clinical assessment with that physio before you start. They go through a specific assessment with you and work with you to identify your physical needs and ultimate goals for the outcome of the Clinical Pilates sessions.

I guess the Clinical sessions could be seen as bespoke rehabilitation (or prehabilitation) sessions which last a full hour and use a variety of our equipment here in the studio - everything from resistance bands to our reformer (see here for more!)

So, when Raz Leonard, one of our Physio Team, suggested developing Clinical Yoga to create a platform for her to be able to help Physio Effect clients have another options through which to achieve their goals, we thought it was a great, and really interesting idea!

Fast forward a month or two and I thought I’d try it out!

My Background

I’m Sarah, the Clinic Manager here at Physio Effect (hi!). I’ve done yoga on and off for around 20 years, sometimes very intensively and sometimes (more often than not!) much more sporadically. I’ve been to classes (Hatha, Ayengar, Ashtanga and Bikram) and done some at home. My brother is even a yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer, so I know I should do more of it and really do understand the benefits. It’s just, you know, making the time (same old!).
The kind of yoga I always enjoyed was the more fast-paced, ‘power yoga’ where one posture flows into the next and I always thought I had a really good basis for this as I had a strong history of all the static postures initially.

What I hoped to achieve

As with most of us, I don’t spend enough time before or after exercise (or even independently to be honest) doing all the restorative things I should be doing - stretching being the big one here. So I hoped my yoga class would provide some balance to all the other physical aspects of my lifestyle.

How it all worked - 1:1, booking in for the block etc

Raz and I had a 1:1 session where Raz asked me about my lifestyle, goals for the class and where she asked me to do a range of movements to determine where I had limitations. This was really interesting as it identified a lot of things I was unaware of!

How the classes went

The classes were 60 minute sessions which, like any yoga class I’ve been to, started with standing postures and moved to sedentary and then lying down. That’s pretty much the only similarity as Raz had created a programme for me using yoga postures in a way that would help address my physical limitations - for example, I have, it turns out, very tight hips, so, in one session, we tested my squat depth and determined where I felt the strain, worked on that with a specific yoga posture, re-tested the squat, figured out what was the next limitation, did the next posture for that issue, and so on. It was really effective!

It’s not all lying down, I can assure you!

It’s not all lying down, I can assure you!

In addition to this, as I’ve mentioned above, I was under the impression before I did these sessions that my experience in yoga over the years had left me with pretty good posture and form in the yoga poses. Boy, was I wrong! When in a class where the instructor has the time and attention to detail to make sure you’re as aligned as you should be, it can make a massive difference with no option for those muscles that tend to overcompensate to do that.

Overall feeling and summary

I gained a real insight into how yoga can support and push my training as well as improve my recovery and flexibility. Clinical Yoga can be used to identify issues and give us the tools we need to overcome them as well as helping overall performance in a variety of ways.

The classes are great fun and I’d heartily recommend you consider signing up, if you like the sound of it!

I thought I would just drop a short note about my experience in the 6 week yoga course.

I have to admit that before I attended a class I did not give yoga a moment’s thought because I did not know anything about it. When you said that you were running a course at the same time a friend on facebook who runs a boxercise class posted that he had just completed a yoga course and was singing the praises of it so I thought well if I don’t try it I will never know. I am glad I did and having attended all of the classes in the course I can feel the benefit of this.

Stretching to improve mobility is one thing but knowing which stretches are most beneficial and how to do them correctly to get the best results are very important. When doing stretches at home I believe that I am doing them correctly but that was in my own eye. “Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as other see us”. The benefits and results from the course greatly exceed anything that I could have achieved at home.

I have also found that when exercising at home there are too many distractions around. Being committed to attend the course provided focus on what I had to do in a controlled environment devoid of distractions. Maximising results from my efforts.

Thanks again
— Fraser, Clinical Yoga Class attendee, 2018