Good Back-Care Habits for the Festive Season

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There may be rest and good times in store for the festive season, but possibly also hours of driving, cooking, entertaining, tidying and decorating the house. We all take the required sitting, bending, twisting and lifting movements for granted … until our back starts to hurt. This blog is a reminder of how to keep your back safe, so you can prevent a relapse during the holiday season, or simply look after you back well. The good back-care habits described below demonstrate safer ways of moving while doing daily tasks. My guess is that you know this already, but the difficulty is to actually change the familiar ways of doing things and embrace the special care your back deserves. So I hope this is a useful reminder.

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Releasing Neck and Shoulder Tightness

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One of the major causes of neck pain and shoulder tightness is bad posture. Everywhere around us we can see people bent over a mobile phone, laptop or book. I worry about the repercussions of this daily activity for most of us. Our head is very heavy and the weight carried by the neck increases the more the head is held forward. Also hunching the shoulders forward brings the neck out of its healthy alignment and tightens the shoulder and neck muscles. I’ve often written about this topic, and struggled with neck pain myself before paying more attention to my posture and neck muscles. While some of my other blogs address posture and emotional holding, this blog is concerned with practical ways of releasing neck and shoulder tightness. To feel more relaxed and free in the upper part of the body, practise these yoga movements every day.

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Practices to ease lower back tightness

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Before the end-of-year activities become too overwhelming, it’s good to establish a short daily practice to support yourself. If you have lower back pain or tightness, this could well increase during the stress of the festive season. A soothing practice of just 10 to 20 minutes a day can help you ease lower back tightness. Here are some easy and manageable self-care practices.

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Back health and peace of mind

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Have you ever wondered why your back is more painful when you are stressed or going through a tough time emotionally? Our physical health and mental health go hand in hand. In yoga therapy for back care, physical practices never work without relaxation and breath work. Together, these yoga tools look after the whole person. Because of the close relationship between back health and peace of mind, this blog focuses on a body part that is relevant to both, our feet! The aim of the different practices below is to help you feel healthier, happier, focused and calm. If you’re interested in back care, this blog is for you. If you’re finding it hard to feel inner peace with what’s going on in the world right now, this blog is definitely for you too.

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Autumn resolutions for back care and wellbeing

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Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. I love the food, the warm colours, the earthy smells. Where I live, the days are getting shorter, the nights cooler and we savour the last warm days. As we prepare the last quarter of the year and gear up for the festive season, this time of year can be very hectic and self-care too often forgotten. Nevertheless, September is a little like January: the new school year gives us an opportunity to make fresh resolutions. It may be tempting to just dive into the autumn activities, but how can we better support our wellbeing and avoid burnout towards the end of the year? This blog about back care and wellbeing helps you choose simple daily practices to manage your back health and your emotional wellbeing. Devoting at least 10 minutes a day to self-care can be the support we need to keep living a full life. The aim is to maintain our mobility, flexibility, strength and peace of mind.

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How to look after your back while on the road

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When my students have a back-pain relapse, it’s often after a long car journey. Sitting still for a long time and in a slouchy position can indeed cause the back muscles to tighten and hurt. Because we can’t always avoid long-distance driving, it’s good to know some tips and yoga stretches that can prevent back tightness and pain. Read on if you would like to know how to look after your back while on the road.

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Waking up with a painful back

Waking up with a painful back can be common when you sleep on unfamiliar, old or overly soft mattresses. I’ve had my fair share of sleeping on uncomfortable mattresses this summer and felt how essential it was to stretch those tight muscles as soon as possible. When you ease muscle tightness immediately after getting up, you may prevent the pain from intensifying during the day. In this blog, I discuss some of the yoga practices that have helped me. I hope they can help you too when you find yourself waking up with a painful back.

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Never too small: yoga for small spaces

If you find that the best space to do your yoga practice is very small, you’re not alone. Sometimes the only place where we find peace and quiet is the bedroom, study, or just a small living area. Alternatively, you can find yourself in a popular holiday stay such as a shepherd’s hut, converted rail carriage, tree house, or like me, a narrow boat. They are all fabulous ways to go on UK staycations, but none of them are very spacious. Even so, it’s still important to look after our body, and our back in particular. This blog about yoga for small spaces gives you ideas to practise yoga wherever you are.

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Yoga tools for acute stress

I’ve moved home, left my lovely family home of 14 years and my main place of work. Sifting through the gathered memories and releasing them was at once freeing and sad. As I was trying to pack my home into tiny boxes, I was wondering why moving is categorised as one of the most stressful life events. In intensity it comes right after the traumatic and emotional upheavals of bereavement and divorce. However, moving home usually happens under time pressure, so could it not be more similar to a big deadline in a stressful job? Naturally, moving is also about leaving the safety of the familiar and being uprooted. In any case, I needed all my yoga tools to stay calm and focused. However much work was left to empty the entire home in a few weeks, it was essential to take some time every day to connect to my inner peace. It was necessary to remove my attention and rest my mind so it wouldn’t become buried under boxes and to-do lists. If you find yourself in a stressful time in your life, I hope my yoga tools for acute stress can help you too.

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Hot days, cool yoga

This blog is republished from last summer, but I reckon we really need these tips again! Hot summer days can make us feel heavy and tired. We end up sweaty, red in the face, exhausted and with leaden legs. This is the result of the body working hard to keep its temperature and internal conditions in equilibrium. Our body is trying to keep cool by raising the heart rate, dilating blood vessels and sweating. The dilated blood vessels bring more blood nearer the skin so it can cool down as the sweat evaporates. Help your body by staying as cool as possible and by drinking plenty of water. You can also try these two ‘hot days, cool yoga’ tricks: a breathing technique that can help you feel cooler and a yoga position that is a miracle cure for heavy legs.

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