When I was younger I was told not to crack my knuckles because they would get bigger. When we workout/go to a yoga class we often twist our spine and hear that pop in our low back. There is that relief but it’s followed by that, “is that normal” thought? Well, lets investigate the reasons why our joints crack and if it’s of concern. “One theory is that the ligaments (tethers that hold the bones together) make these noises as they get tight rapidly when the joint is moving. In some instances, popping may be due to a tendon snapping over or around the joint.” For example, the popping in our elbow or knee or when we roll our neck. This kind of popping can be created at will and can only do harm if we repeat the action that causes the popping over and over and over, like a nervous twitch. If you find that there is a pose that an instructor is doing and it is causing the popping like leg lifts try to modify the pose by bending your knees. Another cause of popping is “that nitrogen bubbles in the fluid inside the joint are rapidly brought into or out of solution when the joint is manipulated, such as cracking the knuckles in the hand.” This usually occurs when we feel tight or stuck due to lack of movement in the joints and the crack feels good. This kind of joint release cannot be created at will and will only pop again when the joint has been immoble for some time. So there is no evidence that the snap crackle pop can lead to bigger knuckles or arthritis. However, it is not recommended to repeat an action over and over if you hear a pop.
Feeling overwhelmed by all your new years resolutions? We have become expert multi-taskers with our cell phones in one hand as we go through bills or drive with the other. We know that yoga helps reduce stress and fatigue so we add that to our “things to do list.” Yet at the end of the day we feel so drained that the thought of bending forward and back is simply too tiring. If this is beginning to sound like you, Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose) is the pose for you. This pose gives the blood circulation a gentile boost toward the upper body and head, helping to alleviate headaches, boosting energy, relieving lower back pain and soothing menstrual cramps, among many other benefits. The true benefits come from surrendering to this pose and knowing that sometimes less is more…which oftentimes is the challenge. So give yourself the time to invert in this simple pose and “challenge” yourself to do less.
Getting the proper nutrition after a strong yoga practice or workout is just as important as the practice itself. Eating the right foods helps us recharge our energy and repairs little stretching-induced muscle tears after a vigorous practice. “Your blood sugar can plummet after a vigorous class, regardless of your digestive capacities.” Whether you need a larger snack or not it is important to have a healthy balance of protein and carbohydrates, which your body breaks down into amino acids to help repair the muscle tissue. “The Interna-tional Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming carbohydrates (1 gram per 2.2 pounds of body weight) and protein (1 g per 4.4 pounds) within 30 minutes of intense exercise.” Here are my favorite snacks, what are yours?:
*Trial Mix: combining nuts and dried fruit gives us the protein and carbs, plus antioxidants.
*Energy Bars: usually have a good balance of carbs, proteins and vitamins, sometimes they add fiber, and other goodies.
*Oatmeal: You can add anything to this and it is simply good for you and yummy.
*Protein Powder: easy to digest and absorb.
When we are at our computers all day without proper alignment we are putting ourselves at risk to many aches and pains including carpal tunnel syndrome. But not to fret, yoga is the remedy. In fact “A study led by Marianne Garfinkel, Ed.D., a faculty lecturer at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and a yoga practitioner, has given credence to the idea that certain asanas can facilitate wrist rejuvenation.” Yoga takes a holistic approach and doesn’t make it just about the wrist but the whole body. For example, when we sit at our desks we should be aware that we are not rounding into a C-shape slump, compressing the nerves and blood vessels on the way to the arm. When we sit with bad posture eventually overtime our muscles, ligaments and tendons in the chest and neck shorten. When we slump we constrict our back ribs essentially making it harder to breath. Often we also under utilize parts of our body and end up overcompensating in other areas, which makes us force down on the keyboard even more than we need to.
Yoga brings it all together. Not only in our posture and breath but going even deeper into looking at where you are holding tension in the body and how you can release it. For me that is the beauty of yoga, my practice really allows me to tap into that feeling that everything is connected.
“Sun is shining, weather is sweet.” Bob Marley’s words are the perfect expression summer, which is thankfully upon us in full force after a year of less than stellar weather. But before you embark on your summer adventure, implement these top 4 tips for good health:
1. Take Care of Your Skin
The hot sun is great for your tan, but your skin needs extra protection to keep you looking luminous. Make sure to regularly apply an ample amount of sunscreen, especially to your face.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
As temperatures soar, it’s even more important to keep your body hydrated. Swap out caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee and soda for water. Want to cleanse your system? Add a squeeze of lemon. If you go running, it’s especially important to drink plenty of fluids, because you can lose anywhere from six to twelve ounces of fluid for every twenty minutes of running.
3. Stock Up On Antioxidants
The easiest thing you can do this summer to improve your diet is integrate fresh, summer berries (blackberries, blueberries and strawberries) on a daily basis. Try making a smoothie with berries, a banana for potassium, a dash of pomegranate juice and some almond milk!
4. Take Your Yoga Practice Outside
After you apply your sunscreen and hydrate, take advantage of the beautiful weather and take your yoga practice outdoors. Enjoy the benefits of natural vitamin D from the sun, including reducing muscle pain, boosting your metabolism and improving your immune system.
Stay tuned for my updated summer teaching schedule!
Balance postures such as Vrksasana (Tree Pose) are a great way to
ground into our foundation, steady our mind and find our center. One
thing we need to let go of in balance postures is the ego. Many times
I see students fall out of balance postures angered and disappointed
with themselves. Balance postures have more to do with our mental
state than our physical abilities. If we allow ourselves to fall and
laugh rather than scorn ourselves, we build patience, humility and a
good sense of humor. Not only do balance postures increase our power
of concentration and mental focus, but they build flexibly of the
hips and spine making our bodies more agile. As we age keeping our
bodies strong yet supple is key for our health. So give Vrksasana a
try, and if you “Tiimberrrr” over laugh at yourself and try again.
To keep facial skin glowing, Healy recommends giving yourself a wonderfully uncomplicated flaxseed facial. Grind flaxseeds in a coffee grinder, or buy a preground meal such as Bob’s Red Mill. It’s all good, according to Healy: “A flaxmeal facial paste is pure simplicity and great for every skin type.”
The concentrated essential fatty acids in flaxseed moisturize and protect the skin, she explains, and the texture of the hulls stimulates circulation; cleans away dirt, sweat, and excess oils; and sloughs away dead skin cells. Plus, the flaxseed—like all seeds—packs prana, or life energy. Releasing prana to your skin energizes and vivifies.
To increase the healing benefits, Healy recommends that you follow your facial with a nourishing turmeric-yogurt mask.
How . . . Prepare the nourishing mask by mixing 2 tablespoons plain yogurt with 1⁄3 teaspoon honey and a pinch of turmeric powder. Set aside.
Scrub gently. At the bathroom sink, splash water onto your face. Then mix a little warm water with 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed to form a light paste. Apply a thin layer to your skin and message in circles all over your face, spending some extra time gently scrubbing any oily or rough areas.
Rinse well with cool or warm water. (Never hot! Hot water stresses delicate facial skin and strips away protective oils.) Pat dry.
Relax into the mask. Next, spread the yogurt-turmeric mixture evenly over your entire face. Lie down and relax for 10 minutes, taking full, deep breaths and making a conscious effort to release any tension you may be holding in your jaw or forehead.
Seal in the goodness. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
“When we care for ourselves well, our authentic beauty reflects in our skin.”
When I tell someone that I am a yoga instructor I often begin to hear
a plethora of excuses of why they want to try yoga but haven’t. The
list includes not being flexible enough, to not having time, being
intimidated…it is a pretty long list. Although I do feel the
benefits of yoga in one’s life is immense, it is important for me for
people to feel comfortable and start a practice whenever it is right
for them. It is often times hard to refrain from encouraging people
to give yoga a try, that is why I found the article below to be
brilliant. Top 10 reasons not to do yoga! Just to name a few…you
prefer to look older, you embrace the junk in your trunk, chronic back
pain is not a big deal to you. Check out the article and see if you
relate to any. If you don’t maybe it’s about that time to step into a