Pain-Free Yoga, Pain-Free Life: A Q&A with Lee Albert

Lee Albert, NMT, is a national presenter and popular neuromuscular therapist and yoga instructor at Kripalu. He created, practices, and teaches Integrated Positional Therapy and is the author of Live Pain-Free without Drugs or Surgery. Trained in neuromuscular therapy, orthopedic massage, positional therapy, yoga therapy, and myofascial release, Lee has conducted seminars with thousands of people from all over the world and helped individuals from every walk of life become pain free.

What exactly is Integrated Positional Therapy, and how does it work?
Integrated Positional Therapy (IPT) is a gentle self-care approach that has been shown to be effective in addressing a wide range of common acute and chronic neuromuscular conditions and associative pain. IPT delivers simple, therapeutic self-care techniques that help identify and correct muscular imbalances and hone in on many of the root causes of pain. 

What inspired you to develop it?
I was in chronic pain for many years following a car accident. I sought the expertise of pain specialists who practiced a variety of techniques, but to no avail. By chance, I came across a therapist trained in a form of muscle release called strain-counterstrain, and experienced the first extended cessation of pain since my accident. Excited and intrigued by this approach, I immersed myself in acquiring an understanding of the healing mechanisms involved, and began to explore a more comprehensive approach to neuromuscular pain that incorporated other effective techniques. 

What is the relationship between yoga and IPT?
IPT supports some of the most important foundational principles of yoga—centering, balance, and strength—and is physically and mentally empowering as one comes to embrace the potential of applying self-care techniques to achieve a state of holistic well-being.

Not all yoga postures are suitable for all individuals. Depending on your postural imbalances, you might need to avoid certain poses. IPT can help to identify these imbalances, explain how current poses might be causing or contributing to pain, and show you how to develop a yoga practice that can achieve the right balance for you.

Why do so many of us experience chronic pain?
In the final analysis, most pain is foundational, resulting from imbalances in the musculoskeletal system. We are in pain because we are misaligned, or “crooked.” Even if you think you have good posture, you probably don’t, as misalignments are often not obvious to the untrained eye. IPT teaches how to quickly identify the most common misalignments and to develop a quick and simple approach to getting back into balance.

What are three small things we can do every day that will help us lead a pain-free life?
While sitting, practice Seated Supported Mountain Pose, with your spine straight and a pillow in the small of your back. This will improve your sitting posture and reduce musculoskeletal stresses.

Gently stretch the chest, abdominal, and quad muscles three times daily, while sitting or standing, to improve overall front and back postural balance.

Be sure to drink the recommended daily amount of water for your body weight. Staying hydrated improves metabolic functions, helps to support bodily tissues, and lubricates joints.

Find out about upcoming programs with Lee Albert at Kripalu.

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