Yoga Rehab

yoga rehab photoPain doesn’t have to be a normal part of everyday life. When we learn how to effectively improve the function of our shoulders and hips we perform better in our athletic endeavours, we can chase after our kids with more ease and life becomes more enjoyable.

After the success of my first two Pain Clinic Workshops for hip and shoulders I’ve decided to offer a combo class specifically for yoga teachers, fitness instructors and students to learn the skills to get out of pain, improve the function of their hips and shoulders so they can feel great and get back to the activities that they love or even to excel at the activities they already enjoy.

Often times as a teacher, we see our students or clients struggle or hit a road block in their progress due to pain, injury, or lack of range of motion. As a teacher do you notice your clients cringing in pain? Struggling to breathe or holding their breath in a posture or exercise? Finding excuses? Cancelling appointments? Afraid to re-injure themselves?

Learn the skills to move better without pain, nurture relaxation and move optimally with stability and ease.

When we move better, we feel better and we can enjoy life more.

My next workshop is called Yoga Rehab and it will be held Saturday, March 25th at Leslieville Sanctuary 1:30-3:30pm. Cost is $45 + hst. Participants will receive a handout and free practice video.

Contact me to register or ask a question.

STAY COOL THIS SUMMER WITH THESE YOGA POSES

This week is going to be a hot one. As temperatures soar in the city sometimes jumping in the kiddie pool just isn’t an option. Try these simple yoga poses to help cool and calm the body and mind.

 Pranayama:

sitaliOption 1: Sitali – cooling breath

  • Make a tube with your tongue and breath in like you are sucking in air through a straw and then close your mouth exhaling through your nose. Repeat 10 times.

Note: if you have low blood pressure, practice with caution or talk to your doctor first. The breath should be deep and without strain. If you feel dizzy, stop and breath normally.

 

 

right nostrilOption 2: Single-Nostril Breathing

  • Plug the right nostril and breath in and out of the left nostril.
  • Repeat for 10-20 breaths.
 Asanas:

Yoga poses to help cool the body down.

paschimottasanaSeated forward fold

  • Sitting up tall with legs extended in front. If your spine rounds sit on a block, bolster or a pillow/cushion. Inhale the arms up, lengthening the torso/spine. Exhale folding from the hips, bring the arms to rest on the legs. Toes are pointed towards the sky, heels pressing down into the mat. Breath deeply. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths or longer.

 

 

balansanaChilds Pose

  • Bring the knees wide, big toes touching. Sink the hips back toward the heels and you bring your forehead to rest on the mat or block or a pillow. Arms rest overhead on the mat. Breath deeply into the low back. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths or longer.

supta baddha konasanaSupine Butterfly

  • Lay on your back. Bend the knees, bring the soles of the feet together. Allow the knees to fall out the sides. Gently flap the knees up and down like butterfly wings to release holding in the hips and then let the knees sink down towards the floor. Arms can rest by your sides or bring one hand to the low belly and one to the chest. Follow the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe deeply for 5 to 10 breaths or longer.

 

 

supported bridgeSupported Bridge

  • Lay on your back. Bend both knees bring the soles of the feet to the floor, hip distance apart. Draw the heels in as close to the sit bones as you can. Press the upper arms into the ground to and lift the hips. Slide a block, a bolster, a firm pillow or even a rolled up blanket under the sacrum as a support.       Breath deeply for 5 to 10 breaths or more.

legs up the wallLegs up the Wall

  • Sit with your knees bent beside the wall. Swing your legs up the wall and lay back on your mat. Wiggle your bum as close to the wall as you can. For comfort you might want to place a blanket beneath your hips. If you have bolster available you can choose to elevate the hips on the bolster next to the wall. Lay back, close your eyes and rest the arms by your side. Breathing deeply, stay in the pose for 5 minutes or longer.

 

 

savasanaSavasana

  • Laying on your back, bring the feet mat distance apart, toes falling out to the sides. Arms fall away from the body at 45 degrees, palms facing up. Support the back of your head on blanket or pillow. Close your eyes. Breath deeply for 5 to 10 minutes or longer.

If you have an eye pillow, chill it in the freezer and rest it over your eyes during savasana.

Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruit and veggies.

For more information on private and corporate yoga classes, contact me today!

Yoga Poses to Help with Whatever Problems You May Be Experiencing Right Now

side plank

I was looking at some yoga blogs online and I came across one titled “Yoga Poses to Help Sciatica”. I thought it sounded compelling so I followed the links to the article. In a number of teacher training workshops I’ve attended I learned of a particular pose that that was supposed to help sciatica. I think it was even mentioned in a medical journal and I was excited to learn more. This blog post however was disappointing to me for several reasons.

  • It listed a number of poses that I would teach in any given yoga class to anyone regardless of their physical challenges. (so what?)
  • It didn’t address what it was about each of these poses that was specifically regarded as special for someone experiencing sciatica. (why not another pose?)
  • The article claimed to be “yoga therapy” but wasnot written by a yoga therapist. (personal opinion)

So many online yoga articles claim to heal or improve a wide variety of conditions or health concerns but the real issue is that yoga is for everyone. When you go to a yoga class maybe your intention for going is to find freedom from back pain, or strengthen your upper body, or release stress or find peace of mind or to get a good workout. All of these intentions can exist in the same yoga class by different people and yet, they are all doing the same yoga asanas.

Yoga is therapeutic in its own nature. Certainly there are different sequences or poses that are better suited to different physical challenges but we can educate ourselves to become aware, and be mindful of the over stimulation and mis-information that is out there. In some ways the marketing of yoga has created consumers of entitlement when it comes to shopping for yoga.

As prospective yoga students, we hear and see the “miracles” of yoga for weight loss and meditation for “enlightenment” and expect to see results overnight. What we forget is how long it took us to get to where we are currently. I have seen this in students of yoga. Looking at the reasons why we might be in poor health or in pain may be traced back over years and even decades of lifestyle choices that impact us not just physically, but emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. It takes a long time to undo this and it takes a lot of hard work and effort.

Not everyone comes to yoga because of health reasons but we all have some kind of obstacle in our lives that we would like to overcome. We all want to feel good; we all want to be happy; we all want to love and be loved.

As an elementary school teacher, I taught my students to think critically about what they read in the news, what they saw on TV or online. As adults we still need to think critically about how we consume information and make choices.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask your yoga teacher questions.
  • Try out different teachers and different styles of yoga.
  • Cross-reference what you read.
  • Get a second opinion.
  • Talk to another health care provider, a doctor, osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist.
  • Listen to your heart about what feels right for you.
  • Find a teacher you trust and build a relationship with them.

Yoga is more often than not offered as a service. As consumers of that service, we need to be vigilant about what we consume and how we consume it. Marketing and advertising campaigns are quick to isolate any “need” in order to sell their product or service. In the case of sciatica, for example, could a person with sciatica only benefit from these specific poses or could they still get better from attending any type of yoga class? Do these poses only help people with sciatica or are they healthy for pregnant women, people with limited mobility, or people who are stressed out? Why make the claim for sciatica? Why not say that everyone can benefit from these poses because of x, y, and z?

Yoga can be a deeply personal practice. It can take you places you’ve never imagined. Always remember to acknowledge that it is okay not to have all the answers. Embrace what life has to offer. Offer love and support to others. Receive with humility and grace. Learn from your mistakes. And grow through positivity and change. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I will share what I know with care and integrity and hope that I can be an inspiration for others.