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How to Choose a Yoga Class if You Have Back Pain (part 2)

By | July 27th, 2016|Back Pain, Healthy Posture, Yoga|

In my last article, I wrote about some of the different styles of yoga that you can choose from, with an emphasis on those who have back pain or want to prevent it. Now I'll cover some other things to think about to make sure you and your back stay safe and healthy. CHOOSING A CLASS If your doctor or physical therapist warned you against yoga, it may be that they are more familiar with the more vigorous styles of yoga (see the Part 1 article), or that they are seeing patients/clients coming in with injuries from yoga. Just because [...]

How to Choose a Yoga Class if You Have Back Pain (part 1)

By | July 2nd, 2016|Back Pain, Healthy Posture, Yoga|

With so many different styles of yoga available these days – everything from “hot yoga” to “power yoga” to “naked yoga” (I’m not making this up!) – how do you choose the right style for yourself, especially if you have back pain? In this month’s article, I’ll go over some of the styles of yoga that are out there. In the next issue, I’ll cover some other things to consider when looking for a yoga class that won't hurt your back. Though yoga is known for its many health benefits, from improving strength and flexibility to reducing stress, you can [...]

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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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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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Yoga You Can Do in Bed

By | September 15th, 2014|Back Pain, Relaxation, Yoga|

A new mattress company called Casper (caspersleep.com/mattresses) contacted me looking for examples of yoga poses you can do in bed. So here are some for you to check out! Though it's generally easier to maintain healthy alignment doing yoga on a flat surface with a sticky mat, you can also get benefits from doing some yoga in bed. Are there reasons to expand your repertoire of stretches to some done in the comfort of your own bed? What are the Benefits? Doing a before-bed stretch could help you relax and get to sleep more easily, and maybe have a more [...]

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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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Stop a Major Cause of Shoulder Injuries

By | January 6th, 2014|Healthy Posture, Shoulders, Yoga|

One major cause of shoulder injuries has to do with the alignment of your spine.  Last month I gave you an exercise to help heal shoulder problems. This month we'll look at how the spine affects the health of your shoulder joints. The 3 Curve Model The spine has 3 curves normally - a lordosis in the lumbar (or lower) spine, a kyphosis in the thoracic spine (or mid to upper), and a lordosis in the cervical spine (neck). Lordosis means a backbend, kyphosis means a forward bend. Most people in industrialized countries have much more rounded spines than we [...]

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The Value of Body Awareness

By | March 25th, 2013|Driving, Healthy Posture, Sitting Posture, Yoga|

Are You Aware of Your Body? Going within and feeling inner sensations is an important part of improving posture and relieving pain.  If you don’t know what you’re feeling (or don't have body awareness), it’s hard to reduce your pain or improve your posture. This can also be a meditative process. Focusing on body sensations is not only a way to get current on the state of your body and its well-being, but is also a great way to quiet your mind. The body is always in the present, so when you focus on it, it can take your mind [...]

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Improve your Vision with Posture & Eye Exercises

By | April 3rd, 2012|Aging, Eye health, Yoga|

In the last few years I've noticed that it's been getting harder to read the labels on my vitamin bottles.  I've also had some trouble reading menus with tiny print in dim light.  My eye doctor says that's normal for someone in their 40's, and that I should get some reading glasses.  I did buy a pair (the lowest amount of magnification I could find), but I can't bring myself to use them. In this month's article I'll share with you how posture and vision are related, and give you some yogic eye exercises that you can practice.  Try them [...]

Boost Your Immunity with Yoga

By | February 17th, 2012|Healthy Posture, Yoga|

Lots of people I know have been sick lately, and a friend told me that they had even closed down a couple local schools due to a highly contagious flu.  When I got a sore throat last week, I knew it was time to take stock of my health.  I'll share below what I did to avoid getting sick, and some ways yoga can help boost your immune system. First of all I did what I know to do.  I took some Echinacea tincture.  I drank some "Throat Coat" tea.  I made a delicious healing miso soup for myself (see [...]

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