Using Yoga to Recover from Injury

May 09

Humans are accident-prone creatures. We break, we bruise, we cut and scrape. At some point in your life, you will undoubtedly injure yourself. When that happens, don’t write off exercise entirely! You may not be able to run laps or lift weights, but you can keep your muscles engaged and your body strong while you recover. Many dedicated yogis started out as regular people who suffered from a debilitating injury or chronic pain, then found relief in asanas.

You may have heard of a specific type of yoga offered in studios that are geared towards those in recovery – restorative yoga. This type of practice is gentle, slow, and involves many props to help you modify and adjust in any way you need. You should still tell your teacher about any injuries you have, but you can rest assured that this class will not be as physically demanding as most others. Restorative yoga poses to keep you on the ground and focus on breathing, stretching, and releasing tension.

If you are struggling with pain or injury, try a few of these gentle poses:

Legs Up the Wall

Lie on your back with your legs propped up against a wall and a bolster or thick blanket under your lower back. Get your sit bones close to the wall, about an inch or so away. You want your legs to be almost completely vertical. Lay here for about five minutes. If you need to, you can place a pillow under your head to encourage complete relaxation. This pose is good for gently stretching the back legs, neck, and providing backache relief.

Modified Child’s Pose

Regular Child’s pose has you rest on your knees while sitting back on your heels, but the modified version incorporates a bolster under your torso and blanket under your upper thighs. You can also either stretch your arms out in front of you or let them rest at your sides. Your whole torso should be resting on the bolster for added support to the back. Child’s pose gently stretches the back and neck, relaxing your body.

Reclined Bound Angle

Lie back on a bolster, but keep your sit bones on the mat. Bring the soles of your feet together so that your knees are pointed out to the sides. Set a couple of bolsters or blankets underneath your knees if you can’t bring them all the way to the floor. This is a nice gentle stretch for tight hips and a way to relieve back pain.

Corpse Pose

Lie on your back with your arms out at your sides, palms facing up. Spread out your legs slightly, giving each limb its own space. The corpse pose is a recovery pose, so let your body relax and melt into the floor. Place a pillow under your head if you need extra support.

While all of these poses are very gentle, you should always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regime. It will be helpful also to dress in the appropriate yoga attire.

Read More

Two Creative Ways To Wear Jewelry To A Yoga Practice

Feb 13

Jewelry has a long reputation of being nixed in the yoga studio, with instructors teaching students to leave the flashy pieces in their yoga bag. A long necklace or a dangling pair of earrings can undoubtedly leave room for injury during a yoga practice, but should all jewelry really be banned? New designs and styles have made some yogis start experimenting with what a few touches of metal and gemstone can add to their practice and their yoga outfit. 

What are a couple of simple ways to add some nondescript jewelry to your yoga practice? 

Find A Short Necklace With A Yoga-Inspired Symbol:

Long necklaces are out when it comes to yoga. They dangle too far down during standing poses and can shift around dangerously during headstands and other inversions. No yogi wants to be knocked in the face by a long strand of beads while focused on their practice. Instead, yogis should look for shorter, choker style necklaces that symbolize essential aspects of their training.

 

Look around for necklaces with symbols that mean something personal to you. Perhaps they could have an image or a word that relates to a long-term intention you’re trying to set. It could be a reminder like a lotus flower or the ohm symbol to remain centered and at peace with yourself throughout the day. Choose an image that has a meaning to you that you will see during your practice and throughout the day. 

Make sure both the charm and the chain are very dainty and lightweight to avoid any injury that would be possible with longer necklaces. 


Wear Stackable Rings 

The new fad with modern jewelry steers clear from the large gemstones and gaudy rings of past years. New stackable rings are low profile and dainty in size, making them ideal for yogis who want to wear jewelry to their practice. The thin nature of these rings makes them comfortable on the hands during the yoga flow and keeps them from being overly distracting. 

However, take caution not to stack them too high, where skin could get painfully squeezed between the rings during poses like the downward facing dog. Limit it to just one or two rings per finger during your yoga practice. 

Stackable rings come in a wide array of styles and colors. Consider a ring that is engraved with a word that means something to you or maybe a mantra that is significant. Other yogis may prefer them to be embedded with specific gemstones that they believe can open and influence their chakras or energy. Both of these are great ways to bring even more to your yoga practice through this decorative item. 

Jewelry in the yoga studio doesn’t have to be taboo, but it does have to be worn with caution. Take care to select pieces that won’t interfere with your overall sequence or practice. Safety should be considered first and foremost when deciding on anything you wear to your yoga class or home yoga practice. 

Read More

Sahasrara: Bringing Balance to the Seventh Chakra

Jun 03

 

As we have been making our way up the seven chakras we have progressively learned to embrace and assert our right to have, feel, ask, love, speak, and see. The seventh and last chakra Sahasrara now comes with the guidance of encouraging us to affirm our right to know. With its Sanskrit word meaning “thousand-petaled,” this chakra represents the revered symbol of a lotus flower, which stands for purity and divine beauty.

Sahasrara can be found on the crown of the head and it is seen as our connection with the divine and our higher self. It is associated with the pituitary gland as well as the hypothalamus and consequently with the endocrine and nervous systems.

When you attain the state offered by this chakra you emerge from your murky surroundings to shine like an enlightened lotus flower. You are freed from the cycle of Samsara and are finally liberated from the chains of the ego, mind, and body; reaching unity with the infinite universe.

If this wheel of energy is out of balance, we feel isolated and lonely as if we had no ability to connect with others. We feel as if our life is meaningless and so committing to goals is hard because it seems to make no difference whether we reach them or not. Being over-intellectual or finding relief in the material are also symptoms of misalignment.

Physical and mental signs of a blocked crown chakra can be manifested through neurological disorders, nerve pain, thyroid and pineal gland disorders, Alzheimer’s, chronic headaches or migraines, insomnia, depression, or delusional and schizophrenia disorders.

Five asanas or yoga postures that can aid you with opening this seventh chakra are:

Anjali Mudra or Standing Prayer Backbend

Matsyasana or Fish pose

Parivrtta Baddha ArdhaChandrasana or Revolved Bound Half Moon pose

Garudasana(variation) or Baby Eagle pose

Savasana or Corpse pose

 

A post shared by 90 Degree By Reflex (@90degreebyreflex) on

(Part of feeling great is looking great shop the above look here.)

Just as for all spiritual chakras, if not for all, meditation is the best practice for realigning Sahasrara. The constant and disciplined practice of bringing your mind into a contemplative state will allow you to claim back the power of your own life as well as to reach a state of complete peace, grace and bliss. Some might say that to reach enlightenment one must lead a secluded life such as the lifestyles practices by monks, saints or gurus; but this is not true. We all have different spiritual paths, and it just takes a pure and authentic intention along with a focused and loving discipline to attain this pure state. Read wise and inspirational texts, practice silence, re-learn to cultivate patience, understanding, acceptance, love and compassion towards yourself and every single sentient being that surrounds you and the access to the Sahasrara divinity that has always been locked within you will merely be a few steps away.

 

Read More

Safety Precautions You Should Consider When Performing Yoga

Mar 05

 

 

Do you need to observe any safety precautions when practicing yoga? Yes, you do. Yoga, like any other sport, has various risks that can easily lead to injury. When precaution is not observed, there are increased chances that you will be visiting a clinic with a yoga related injury.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, 5,500 people reported yoga injuries in the year 2007 alone. This figure is similar in magnitude to the number of injuries reported in many other sports. Likewise, all physical activities, both indoor and outdoor carry a certain degree of risk.

Although yoga may be safer than most of the other intense sports, there still needs to be a certain level of precaution during practice. Here are a few precautions you should always bear in mind during a yoga class.

Consult Your Doctor

If you have had a medical history that may be cause for concern, it is wise to consult your doctor before proceeding any further. This could be on past injuries, ongoing medical cases, or other issues like pregnancy.

Women who are menstrating need to be careful not to strain their abdomen either by stretching or contracting too much. Any condition that may be adversely affected by doing exercises should be brought to the doctor’s attention.

 

Approach Any Training with a Learner’s Mind

Even if you have been involved in other sports such as body building, attend your initial yoga classes with a beginner’s mind. There is always a challenging aspect of anything new that you start with. Starting with beginner classes will help you gain comfort in various aspects of yoga.

Build yourself a good foundation on what is expected of you before trying the harder classes. If a class does not offer a foundational class, it doesn’t hurt to look around.

 

Train with a Qualified Instructor

With the increased number of yoga trainers in the country and around the world, it is wise to consider the qualifications of any yoga teacher. It is not uncommon for someone to decide to open a yoga class and make some money from this new trend.

However, having certification as a yoga tutor is key to ensuring that every practitioner stays safe during exercise. Insist on knowing the background, qualification, experience, approach, and style of your tutor. Not every style or class will fit every person. A factor like age largely determines who you choose to be your yoga instructor.

Consider Your Body’s Response

The most important thing to consider is how your body responds to the exercises. Ensure that you go only as far as your body can accommodate. Overstraining or stretching yourself too far is a recipe for injury.

That is also why it is wise to not get carried away by what other people are doing. Doing a pose just because everyone else is doing it is taking unnecessary risk. Getting to understand your body and staying in sync with it is a key principle in yoga. Pain, injury, and meditation cannot work together.

 

Read More

How To Stay Away From Foods That Do Not Serve Your Fitness Goals

Sep 15

My relationship with food has not always been a healthy one. But as I have grown older (and hopefully wiser) I try to learn from my mistakes. Some of you might relate.

We like to postpone the beginning of our quests to a healthier lifestyle by saying things like: “I will just start over on Monday”, “On the first of next month”, “starting with the New Year.” But why don’t we rather lean on someone else to hold us accountable. Share your fitness goals with your partner, family, friends … you might be surprised at the support you get in return. They might even want to join in. I often find tasks to be more fulfilling when you have a friend to share them with. You could even find a friend through social media, where you can connect and support each other.

Nix the foods that don’t serve your goals. Out of sight, out of mind they say, so something must be up. How likely would you walk or drive to the store just to get a bar of chocolate or a gelato on a warm summer day? If you ultimately decide you do want to go, I suggest picking a greener option – walking, (or an alternative version to it – biking, rollerblading…) and that way you’ll burn the calories off anyways. Make a date out of your sweet outing, tell your friends to join you.

Substitute your sinful habits with healthier options. You might love a hearty granola bowl in the morning. Make sure you’re granola is not hiding too much sugar in it. And try substituting some of it with unsweetened coconut chips or dried fruits. I gradually made my morning routine healthier by substituted milk for a scoop of greek yogurt, granola for coconut chips, added some fresh fruit, and seeds to the mix, sprinkled it all with powdered stevia and now I like it even better then I did the old version. I also switched from drinking my tea sweetened with honey to either agave syrup or stevia. Experiment. And if the thought of it sound daunting let us know below, so we can help you out…

Always have your water bottle nearby and filled with healthy liquids. A lot of times when we feel hunger it is actually thirst. If water is not your thing, then mix in some fresh fruits, lemons, raspberries, peaches, oranges, mint, or whatever you have at home. These practical infuser bottles are an easy way to add natural fruit flavors to your drinking water.  Whatever your preference in beverages is, just make sure there are no artificial sugars added, those would make you crash quicker and therefore make you crave sweeter foods at your next meal.

Commit a good 10 plus minutes to working out every day; it tends to speed up your metabolism, making you feel lighter and more capable of achieving whatever goals you set for that day. A study from the Oxford University has shown that people who practice yoga once a week

– have less stress

– have lower blood pressure

– sleep better at night

 

Set a time for it and treat it like it is a business meeting (as it, after all, is a meeting with yourself). I promise you that you’ll be happy with the results. Find rituals that work best for you and use them to your advantage.

Those tips helped me establish a healthier and happier life and I’m looking forward to hearing your tips on doing the same, maybe you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us, too. Please write it below, we’d love to hear from you.

Read More

Yoga Tone – Yoga For Weight Loss

Mar 22

Read More