A physical therapist for nearly a decade, Stefanie Turner was inspired to become a certified yoga instructor in 2015 following her own personal battle with the long-term effects from a back injury.
According to Turner, who recently joined the team at Step & Spine Physical Therapy’s Redmond clinic, yoga proved instrumental in restoring movement and stability necessary to get back to running and skiing without pain. However, it required special instruction from a skilled instructor to help modify many of the postures and poses to improve alignment and prevent compensations due to movement limitations.
The success of this experience motivated her to complete a 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT) course and to begin utilizing yoga as a rehabilitative option for many of her patients, helping them improve ailment, functional mobility, mind-body awareness and stability in the management of diagnoses such as low back pain, shoulder pain, hip and knees pain, to name just a few.
“My emphasis is creating sequences that help progressively improve mobility and alignment, offer modifications for people who’ve suffered from chronic pain and dysfunction or had surgeries, and provide hands-on adjustments and modifications to ensure every person or patient is successful in their yoga experience.” Turner said. “I’ve found that this has helped give my patients more confidence on how to move their bodies with less pain and return to normal activities.”
And while the rehabilitative benefits of yoga are many, the end goal for many of Turner’s clients is simply to break into yoga as an exercise option.
“I want everyone to have the opportunity move and exercise without the fear of pain,” she said. “That is what I really like about yoga — it has many therapeutic benefits such as focus on breathing, multi-dimensional movement for all levels or abilities in the pursuit of life-long health and movement.”
“We [as physical therapists] are experts in observing the way people move, and we focus on the functional and developmental patterns in the body,” Turner added. “I am able to watch someone transition through a sequence and will be able to identify what limitations they have and offer solutions to help manage or modify the individual needs of students interested in participating after an injury or surgery. From here, I can guide them in developing a sequence to improve movement patterns and help to develop an individualized routine to make them more successful in whatever their goals are.”
Turner currently provides medically modified yoga to patients on an individual basis, depending on their personal goals. However, she plans to start offering community yoga classes that, in her words, “target people who maybe don’t fit the mainstream and don’t feel comfortable attending group yoga classes because of medical issues or the need for special modifications.”
“Yoga can be practiced by everyone, individuals of all ages and physical capacities,” she said.
Classes will be held at Step & Spine Physical Therapy’s Redmond clinic, though scheduling has yet to be finalized. For updates and more information, contact the Redmond clinic at 541-504-5363.