Avoiding Arthritis with Yoga & Healthy Posture

By |2019-03-13T15:46:57-07:00March 13th, 2019|Arthritis, Healthy Posture, Shoulders, Sitting Posture, Yoga|

As you get older, chances are that you may experience some form of arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control state that between 2013-2015, 54.4 million Americans were diagnosed with some form of arthritis (including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia or gout). The cost of arthritis in 2013 was estimated to be $304 billion.* Osteoarthritis is a condition of joint inflammation where the cartilage that cushions your joints wears down and you can end up with bone rubbing against bone, causing pain. That pain tends to lead to restricted movement, and with restricted movement the synovial fluid that nourishes the joints [...]

Can Yoga Help Osteoporosis?

By |2017-08-09T19:25:16-07:00August 9th, 2017|Aging, Exercise, Falls, Healthy Posture, Osteoporosis, Yoga|

I know a lot of people that have broken bones in the last few years. Most of them are women; some are friends and some are yoga students. Most of them are over 50. While we may worry about losing height due to osteoporosis, breaking a bone is much more serious, since it can require surgery and lead to other complications. Is there a way that we can reduce our chances of osteoporotic fractures? The Stats In the US there are about 55 million people with osteoporosis. About twice as many women as men have osteoporosis. The most commonly fractured [...]

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

By |2017-01-30T16:49:24-07:00July 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 |2017-01-30T16:49:24-07:00July 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 |2017-01-30T16:49:24-07:00August 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 |2014-11-06T14:48:50-07:00November 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 (  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 |2017-01-30T16:49:24-07:00September 15th, 2014|Back Pain, Relaxation, Yoga|

A new mattress company called Casper ( 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 |2017-01-30T16:49:24-07:00June 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 |2017-01-30T16:49:24-07:00January 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 |2017-01-30T16:49:25-07:00March 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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