Tuesday, February 26, 2013

3 Things You Must Do to Keep Your Knees Safe in Yoga

Here's two important things to consider: 1) The knees are engaged by a majority of yoga asanas and 2) knee injuries and pain are one of the most common joint issues reported by patients to their doctors. What does that mean for your yoga practice? Simple, you should educate yourself about knee safety. Here's a few tips for protecting your knees or working around an existing injury.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Avoiding Injury in Yoga Forward Bends: the YogAlign Method

YogAlign Standing Forward Bend
My work with YogAlign clients who present chronic pain is showing that the global body positions we engage to perform a majority of yoga asanas goes against the structural tension balance (bio-tensegrity) and shock absorbing forces needed to maintain the structure and natural alignment design of our human body. With the injuries and repetitive strains that are commonplace in the yoga world today, it is imperative that we reconsider and shift some of the basic biomechanics in yoga poses to serve posture, not poses. My work has shown that if a pose does not serve how we move and use our body in real life or accommodate deep rib cage (diaphragmatic) breathing, then it can and will contribute to long term strains and possible joint damage that are leading to hip and knee joint replacements in famous yoga teachers and long term practitioners.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Got Acid Reflux? Here's 3 Tips to Keep Your Yoga Practice Comfortable

Yoga causes heartburn? Must be all of those heart-opening asanas, right? Unfortunately, no, it might actually be causing you or your students heartburn if you come to class with pre-existing acid reflux. Here's what you need to know to work around it and ensure a comfortable practice.

What is it? 

Acid reflux occurs when the muscle that prevents stomach contents from re-entering the esophagus is weak or fails to close tightly enough. Stomach acid and contents can leak up into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation in the chest (commonly known as heartburn), nausea and the feeling that something is stuck in the throat. If left untreated, it can cause damage to the esophagus.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Osteoporosis and Forward Bends: New Research Suggests Need for Caution

By: Kathleen Summers, MD, PhD, RYT500

There’s a doc at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota who studies how movement affects bones. She wants to heal weakened bones naturally with exercise instead of drugs. Cool, right?
Dr. Sinaki promotes weight-bearing movements of the body. Working against gravity induces bones to thicken and become stronger. She also emphasizes exercises that extend the back (back bends) to build bone strength in the spine. These exercises are most helpful for those who suffer from osteoporosis, a disorder of gradually thinning bones that leads to an increased risk of painful fractures.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

3 Essential Tips for Protecting Your Wrists in Yoga

Wrist pain and weakness is something I experienced frequently in the beginning of my yoga practice. Supporting your body weight on one arm in side plank or taking flight in crow requires one to develop substantial strength and flexibility in the complex joint of the wrist. Maybe you've already felt the aching, or even a little pop? Read on for tips for preventing injury to your wrists or working around an injury you already have.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

From Yoga Injury to Yoga Evolution: the Creation of YogAlign

Downward Dog - YogAlign style
Yoga injuries have been on my mind for two decades, ever since I suffered a painful knee injury in a bound half lotus standing forward bend. My name is Michaelle Edwards, and I have been a student of yoga for forty years and a yoga teacher, posture educator and body worker for over twenty-five years. I was fortunate to study with Swami Satchidananda in 1972 and I have also studied the Iyengar and Ashtanga traditions in depth.

I play hard in the ocean in Kauai, surfing, wind surfing, swimming and sailing, and I decided in 1988 to learn Ashtanga yoga, to go beyond the Iyengar inspired practice I had cultivated for years. I was entranced by the challenge and convinced that this practice would take me to Samadhi. Boy, was I wrong. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Protecting Your Neck During Yoga Practice

When we practice Yoga, it’s important to use proper technique to avoid self-injury. In particular, it’s imperative to protect the neck. 

Any Yoga pose in which you bend the neck backwards into extension can produce pain and injury if care is not taken. Bhujangasana (cobra), one of my favorite poses, is an example. Some Yoga styles throw the head back to an extreme. That’s not wise. A gentle look up to the ceiling is good – looking at the wall behind you is not so good. Be sure to maximally extend your upper back before you extend the neck. Maintain a little muscle tension in the front of the neck if you can. These things will help to spread the arching movement evenly over the spinal segments involved and will lessen the likelihood of compressing nerves.