Healthy Posture

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Noelle Perez as a “Parisian Yoga Witch”?

By | August 20th, 2015|Healthy Posture|

This was a fascinating article by a woman who went to Paris to study with Noelle Perez-Christiaens in hope of relieving her back pain. There is a lot here that reminds me of my own visit to Paris! Whether Noelle would consider herself a "yoga witch" is another story... http://www.racked.com/2015/7/22/9005869/yoga-back-pain-paris

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Yoga’s Surprising Origins in the US

By | August 12th, 2015|Healthy Posture, Yoga|

While yoga originated in India, some Americans were especially responsible for its spread in the early 1900s. One of them, Pierre Bernard, had an exciting life worthy of blockbuster film! He was involved with scandals, the police raided his yoga schools periodically, and he was viewed with suspicion by many in the cities where he lived and taught (including San Francisco, Seattle and Nyack, New York). I just finished reading a fascinating book about him called The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love. (New York: Viking, 2010). Love writes: “Pierre Bernard may have been [...]

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Want to Comment on an Article?

By | July 5th, 2015|Healthy Posture|

Due to the large amount of comment spam I've been receiving, I've closed comments on all articles posted more than 60 days ago. If you'd like to make a comment, you can fill out the "Contact Us" form, and I'll open up comments for you. Thanks!

Texting Can Hurt Your Neck

By | February 13th, 2015|Back Pain, Healthy Posture, Neck pain, Proper Computer Posture, Technology|

A recent study that appeared in the journal Surgical Technology International showed that the common use of cell phones can be damaging to your upper spine. It’s how you use the phones that is the problem here – in other words, your posture. The average human head weighs 10-12 pounds. When the head sits right on top of the spine, there’s no problem. Yet whose head is in that position today? It’s rare in industrialized countries to find that kind of healthy alignment, except in young children and immigrants from less industrialized parts of the world. When you tilt your [...]

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Are You Passionate About Your Health?

By | December 4th, 2014|Back Pain, Exercise, Healthy Posture, Videos|

Around 1990 I began to hear Flamenco-influenced music on the radio by musicians like Ottmar Leibert, Strunz & Farah, and the Gipsy Kings. I loved the music and really wanted to dance to it, but I didn’t know how. When I saw my first Flamenco show I knew I was ready to dive in immediately. Flamenco became my passion from 1991 until around 2000, when I retired from performing and teaching. I know very talented Flamenco dancers that have had to give up dancing due to back or neck pain. This is too bad, but isn’t surprising considering the typical [...]

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Yoga You Can Do in Bed, part 2

By | November 6th, 2014|Back Pain, Healthy Posture, Sleeping Posture, Yoga|

Last month I talked about how doing yoga poses in bed can help you to relax and have a more restful and relaxed sleep. Morning or evening stretches in bed can also help you reduce pain and arise without stiffness. I do one stretch every night before I go to sleep (the “Crescent” stretch described below). Crescent Pose I learned this stretch from Jean Couch, director of the Balance Center in Palo Alto, CA (www.balancecenter.com).  A few years ago I was noticing pain in the side of my hip while sleeping on my side. It was getting worse, and one [...]

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Get Relief from Tailbone Pain

By | August 20th, 2014|Back Pain, Healthy Posture, Sitting, Sitting Posture|

Do you find after sitting for long periods that your tailbone is achy or sore? Coccyx or tailbone pain, or "coccydynia" is less common than low back pain, but can be very painful and annoying. I've experienced this, and have found that posture has a huge impact on the level of pain in this area. Where is your coccyx, or tailbone? Your coccyx or tailbone is a small bony section at the bottom of the spine. It's normally composed of 3-5 segments which are usually fused, and it's attached to your sacrum, which is the most posterior (rear) part of [...]

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Yoga and the Middle Path

By | June 6th, 2014|Body Awareness, Healthy Posture, Yoga|

I recently attended the exhibition "Yoga: the Art of Transformation" at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, CA.  It was a fascinating exhibit, with sculptures, painting, videos and films, and illustrated books showing yoga asanas (poses or postures).* While many people believe that yoga asanas are ancient, the experts that comment on the pieces in this exhibit state that modern Hatha Yoga asanas are much more recent, developing mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries as a combination of various elements including calisthenics and wrestling.  Ancient texts only describe seated postures to prepare one for meditation. The famous Yoga [...]

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Dowager’s Hump — How to Prevent or Correct It

By | April 11th, 2014|Aging, Back Pain, Healthy Posture, Neck pain, Shoulders, Sitting Posture|

Many people I meet are concerned about getting more rounded and stooped over as they get older.  I know I was! Your thoracic vertebrae (in the upper spine) have a slight forward curve naturally (a “Kyphosis”). In many people in the industrialized world, this curve can become extreme. When the extreme curve is high up in the thoracic area and into the cervical spine (neck area), it is sometimes called a “Dowager’s Hump.” This can lead to back and neck pain, due to strain on the muscles that occurs with misaligned posture, and loss of height.  Over time, this change [...]

Great Stretch for Good Posture & Healthy Shoulders

By | January 10th, 2014|Healthy Posture, Shoulders|

In the last 2 months I've talked about a simple exercise to heal shoulder injuries, and how to stop a main cause of shoulder injuries (by getting the pelvis underneath your spine rather than in front of it). I also mentioned my article from August, 2013 that goes over how foam rollers can help to straighten your upper spine, which really helps your shoulders. (You can find this here on the blog.) This month I'd like to address another component of shoulder problems - tight muscles in front of the shoulders. The "pecs" (pectoralis minor and major) are chest muscles [...]

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