I can’t really claim that my children are devoted yogis, but they have inevitably had to put up with yoga as a solution for just about everything, such as exam stress (“breathe!”), stress and anxiety (“breathe and connect with your feet!”), core strengthening (“this is a better way to do it”), and back pain… unfortunately also back pain. Over the years I have warned my children about the consequences of slouching until I myself slumped down in desperation. For young people the consequences of bad posture are not immediate, and all their friends slouch or practically lie at their desk… Unfortunately, at some point the chronically rounded spine has had enough, and the consequences are bound to be painful and limiting. My children both have a yoga mat in their student accommodations, not necessarily out of choice. But at least they can practice when their back hurts, or just lie on it. Below I explain the yoga poses my kids are taking back to uni. They are not only useful for students but for anyone who has to sit for many hours.(more…)
You may have heard that yoga is good for your back. After all, it releases tight muscles, improves flexibility and is excellent for stress relief. Every time you try a class, however, your back seems to hurt even more. Before you decide that yoga is simply not for you, please read on. Yoga can be beneficial for back pain, but this blog will discuss four reasons why a general yoga class can make your back pain worse. It will also explain why yoga therapy is a better option if you have back pain. With yoga therapy, you learn how to relieve your particular back pain, and this empowers you to feel happier, stronger and more confident.(more…)
Whether you are suffering from knee pain, back pain or hip tightness, tight leg muscles are often part of the problem. This blog focuses on the importance of stretching leg muscles to relieve lower back pain, but this kind of stretching is equally important if you don’t have back pain. I will demonstrate the easiest positions to stretch various leg muscles and also explain how to do this efficiently. Depending on the position and the method, your stretching efforts will be effective or have no impact at all.(more…)
It usually comes unexpected, although you probably had a small voice in the back of your mind warning that you should not lift that weight, or that three hours driving non-stop is really too long… But you did it anyway, and your back ‘seized up’. When you strain your lower back, part of the healing will just involve time. However, there are several things that can speed up the recovery. In this blog I discuss how to heal more quickly when you’ve hurt your lower back.(more…)
This blog is for you if you were diagnosed with hip osteoarthritis, but also if you would simply like to keep your hip joints healthy. The yoga movements discussed will help to lubricate your hip joints and stretch the muscles around the joints. Although osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, yoga for hip osteoarthritis does not only stretch and lubricate the joints but it can also strengthen the muscles around the hip to support it. Daily exercises can help you manage the pain and slow down the progression of hip osteoarthritis.(more…)
We’ve had quite an extraordinary year. The stress of the pandemic was perhaps very acute for you, or maybe it was always just lurking in the corner. Stress has a way of creeping up on us, with stressful thoughts starting to govern our day and tightness settling into our body. Because stress tends to restrict free and easy breathing, it has a negative effect on the whole body. This blog about releasing the diaphragm for better health and vitality explores how the breath can help you release physical and mental tensions. By taking a short time each day to simply breathe and centre yourself, you can create a peaceful haven for yourself. It will help you stay calm yet energised, ready to face whatever the rest of this year has in store.
Everyone with back pain knows that there is no 15-minute quick fix. Likewise, everyone doing yoga knows that 15 minutes a day is not long enough to really get into the practice. Nevertheless, when you have back pain, making time for daily back care yoga will help you. It is making regular, small changes that can make a big difference. This is what I observe with my students who schedule 10 to 15 minutes for their yoga routine in the morning or before going to bed. The 15-minute back care yoga described in this blog is designed to gradually ease lower back tightness and can make a difference if you practise daily.(more…)
A herniated disc in the lumbar spine can take a long time to heal. Even when the often-accompanying sciatic pain has gone after a few months, the healing process can last about a year. During this time, it is crucial to aid the healing process by practising certain movements and avoiding others. This blog about yoga for a herniated disc discusses which movements are important to avoid. It also describes one relaxation position that may give you relief from pain. If you are interested in yoga for a herniated disc, this blog is for you.(more…)
The previous blog discussed how yoga can be part of a programme to counter bone loss, and revealed the yoga poses that are unsafe once you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. But if you are in the fortunate position of not having either osteoporosis or its precursor osteopenia, this is the blog for you. This blog about preventing osteoporosis looks at the factors that contribute to bone loss, and at some of the yoga poses that could help strengthen muscles and bones.(more…)
When I mention to my yoga students that a pose is good against osteoporosis, I often get a blank stare. We are usually not aware of this “silent disease” that can put us at a high risk of breaking bones and becoming incapacitated. Nevertheless, this progressive loss of mineral density in bones is very real. Almost 1/3 of women have a hip fracture before they are 80 years old. A quarter of hip fractures after 50 lead to death within the year, not because of the fracture itself, but because of the resulting immobility, painful nights, increased risk for infection, change of lifestyle, depression etc. Although osteoporosis is less prevalent in men, they are not excluded and often less timely diagnosed. Once diagnosed with osteoporosis, or its precursor osteopenia, it is possible to counteract further bone weakening, but preventing this difficult condition is much easier than treating it. The good news is that practising yoga is one of the best ways to prevent and manage osteoporosis. This blog will delve into the ways yoga can help reverse bone loss, while next blog will look more at prevention.