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.
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.
Unless you are an essential worker and on your feet all day, you are likely to spend way too many hours at home sitting during this pandemic. If you work from home, it may not always be practical to get up for a walk, but even a 5-minute stretch of the legs can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Apart from getting away from your desk, try these eight ways to stretch at your desk when you WFH. On a Zoom call with colleagues? Why not take a break all together to try the desk stretches that are described below? Doing these eight ways to stretch at your desk when you WFH regularly will increase the blood supply to the brain, reduce fatigue, prevent aches and pains and increase work efficiency. Let’s dive right in!
I don’t know about your situation, but here in London we are in the third lockdown with a frightening number of Covid-19 infections every day. We are in the grip of weariness, dread, overwhelm, sometimes loneliness. Whatever your situation, yoga can keep you moving and breathing to get through this. The focus on movement and breath helps us connect with what is here right now and what is enjoyable. In the sequence below, the feel-good yoga to keep you going is also designed to soothe mild lower back pain.
How about starting the day or taking a midmorning break with an uplifting yoga sequence? Moving in this purposeful way improves the blood circulation, deepens our breathing and moves our all-too-sedentary bones. Not only is the yoga sequence uplifting, it may also help prevent back pain from too much sitting, and it is gentle enough if you already have mild lower back pain.
One of the joys during the easing of lockdown restrictions this summer has been to walk or hike in nature. Still now, with the threat of a second lockdown in the air, walking in the outdoors is our precious chance to feel more free and connected with nature. When you have back pain, however, long walks or hiking may not always be pleasant. The whole body feels more tired as the back muscles tighten and ache. In this blog I am describing a few simple releasing exercises that can be helpful to stretch your back during a long walk.
It has been an emotional 5 months, filled with uncertainty, fears, limitations, new possibilities and change. Covid and Zoom transformed yoga for students and teachers alike. Whereas it was deemed superior to teach yoga or yoga therapy in person, suddenly necessity made online yoga not only acceptable but also desirable. Obviously, I am grateful to have found continuity, connection with other people and fun by teaching yoga online, but I still marvel at how my work so suddenly changed to being fully online.
Human beings were not made for sitting all day long. Sitting, especially with a bad posture, tightens and shortens the muscles along the front of the trunk and back of the legs: the hip flexors, hamstrings, chest muscles and abdominal muscles all remain in a contracted state for many hours. Meanwhile, the back is held in a rounded position and thus weakens, the gluts are underused and tighten. If you have found that your lower back feels tight and painful after too much sitting, the exercises below could help. These yoga stretches to counter too much sitting are meant to open the front of the trunk, stretch the thighs and hip flexors. They may also strengthen the upper back and release tension in the lower back.
Here we are in a time when life could be simpler and calmer for many. With fewer places to go to, less trains to catch, and no social events in the diary during the lockdown period, surely this is the time to feel less stressed and sleep better? On the contrary, sleep problems still seem very prevalent. Many of us have to be glued to screens for many hours of the day, working and ‘schooling’ from home, anxiety is in the air and the new reality is problematic for many. So many of my students have complained about sleepless nights that I decided to consult the recent publication of “Yoga Therapy for Insomnia and Sleep Recovery” by Lisa Sanfilippo. This blog about yoga for better sleep discusses and demonstrates one of the simple yoga sleep sequences that Lisa promotes.
Working from home in these times of COVID-19 can make it extra challenging to stay fit and keep our body strong, supple and pain free. Most of us have to find work and entertainment at home, so we sit at our desk for most of the day, and on the sofa for most of the evening. Prolonged sitting weakens our back muscles, and poor posture may put stress on muscles and joints. The increase in mental stress levels doesn’t help our back health either. This blog aims to give you some yoga movements that can help you ease or prevent back pain when working from home. This is the time to stretch and strengthen your back, in an aligned, easy and enjoyable way.