Keep Your Shoulders Safe When Binding Arms in Yoga Postures

Practicing playfully or with curiosity can lead us to try new movements and postures. One group of interesting posture variations are bound postures.

Many bound poses are twisted poses. Depending on your mobility, practicing these can put strain on on your lower back or parts of your shoulder joint.

When done well, binding the arms in some yoga postures can add stability and depth.
Prerequisite steps need to be in place for arm-binding to have a positive impact on yoga practice development, and ultimately the health of your joints, especially the shoulder.

 Keep the following steps in mind when you practice any bound postures next.

1 Set a foundation

In standing poses the engagement of the feet and legs creates the stability to keep balance. Additionally, force transmissions from the engaged feet and legs have a stabilizing influence on the hip joints, lower back and sacro-iliac joints.

2 Rotate the spine - twist the torso

Support the spine in trikonasana  (triangle pose)...

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Drinking Water During Yoga Practice

 

This video features a short explanation of two perspectives on drinking water during yoga practice.
Drinking water during yoga practice is an at times hotly debated topic. Many people suggest a traditional reason why not to drink water, others cite government health guidelines.
Among the many arguments for and against, I'm sharing here thoughts on an exercise and a yoga perspective.

Clearly this is not an exhaustive exploration of the issue, but I hope it assists in honing in on a direction to esquire further.

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Unkink Your Neck to Relax

alignment yoga postures Jun 03, 2020

Make the most out of your opportunities to rest and restore your nervous system.
Our nervous system deserves a break. Regularly.
We can make an effort to reduce stress, or avoid stress in our lives. But honestly, there is still a build-up, a ‘background noise’ of sorts.
A regular reset of this deeper level of stress can be hugely beneficial and feels really good.

When we take rest, either by catching a nap somewhere, or in savasana after a yoga practice, there is one little trick that can make a big difference to the quality of your relaxation.

When resting in savasana or other restorative postures the neck position is very important.
The relaxation response in your body is directed by a part of your autonomic nervous system called the Parasympathetic Nervous System PSNS.
The main nerves of the PSNS are the vagus nerves, which run through our necks. Our head position clearly depends on our neck positions, and with it we can change the function and influence of the vagus.
A...

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Protect your Hamstrings with this Single Action

yoga postures May 30, 2020
 

Forward bends, especially forward bends in seated positions can become uncomfortable for the lower back of the back of the legs.
This post explains one simple trick to protect hamstrings from being pulled, while at the same time facilitating safe progression of mobility with ongoing practice.

Seated forward bends might not be everybody’s friend. Lack of mobility on the back of the body reduces the ability of the hips to tilt forward relative to the legs. Spinal flexion can also be limited.

With an eagerness to still move into poses, it is unfortunately quite common for hamstrings and lower backs to become sore, if not strained or injured from forward bending practice.

The muscles on the back of the legs, the hamstrings, along with the back portion of the inner leg muscles, the adductors, can resist hip flexion.

When tensioned, as it happens in forward bends, the back of the body needs to lengthen.  From the feet to the head assorted muscles reach along limited areas, while a...

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How to improvise yoga props and mat for online yoga practice at home

alignment yoga postures May 11, 2020
 


Yoga classes have abruptly shifted from the studio to our homes. Not everyone has a yoga mat, block or other props available for home practice with online courses.

Learn how to use household items as props and yoga mat to participate in online yoga classes.
This video explains how to adjust for missing props with general household items and still participate fully in your favourite yoga classes.
Watch the surprise explanation why not having a yoga mat can be good for you.

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Inflammation and the Immune System

health real life Apr 12, 2020
 

The immune system and inflammation are linked.
Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to initiate repair and healing.
For example: Inflammation can trigger white blood cells to start chasing and gobbling up viruses and bacteria.

Redness, swelling, heat and pain as well as stiffness and fatigue are all part of the immune response.

Inflammation actually begins on a cellular level. Each cell membrane, or cell surface, can initiate a chemical reaction that cascades over multiple steps to produce the multifaceted inflammatory response.
A cell in inflammation action is not doing its normal job. It’s in an emergency situation trying to save its own life. Now that is stress!
Inflammation creates stress in your tissues. Conversely, stress of most kinds, can create inflammation.
Because inflammation is a cellular response, it can occur throughout the body. Any disease name ending in ‘-itis’ indicates it is an inflammation.

Inflammation can be devided into two...

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Better Immunity with Rest and Sleep

health real life Apr 08, 2020
 

The immune system and our immune response vary greatly with our sleep and rest patterns.
While sleep is easy to define, rest (for our purposes) has two types.
 - rest after physical exertion
 - resting from mental activity: i.e.: meditation
While this sounds quite familiar for most of you, we do need to remember and practice the fundamentals.

The human immune system and sleep both are associated and influenced by each other. Sleep deprivation makes a living body susceptible to many infectious agents.
The current situation requires improved sleep habits to make the immune system efficient for a healthy life. [1]

A lot of information is available to promote this exercise or that workout.
For good health, good immunity and actual longevity, it’s the rest and repair breaks in-between that make the difference. We do too much and slip into depletion territory.

Stress is the background of many illnesses. It depletes important nutrients, increases inflammation and saps your...

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Boost your immune system with Vitamins and Minerals

health real life Apr 05, 2020
 

How can we boost our immune system and immune function with vitamins and minerals?

There are actually a number of easily available nutrients that help our immune system working better.
We will also address how loss of sense of smell fits into the immune system picture.

In this video I’d like to focus on just four of them. The four nutrients are:
Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate and B12, and Zinc.

But let’s begin with a brief look at the immune system itself and why nutrients are important.

The immune system is spread all over our body.
We have some organs, tissues and cells.
Organs such as the liver and spleen are more densely involved in the immune system. We also have tissues, often referred to as ‘glands’ and their associated network of tubes - the lymphatic system.
Further, there are the white blood cells that can actively roam through our blood vessels and other tissues. [1]  
I like to use the analogy of comparing the white blood cells to pac-man. They...

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Is Your Body Tighter on One Side?

alignment yoga postures Apr 02, 2020
 

Have you ever wondered why one side of your body always feels somewhat more stiff, the other side more mobile or you seem to twist further to one side than the other?

This video and post explore one important factor in this imbalance and how to check for it.

You might remember a song from when you were little, something from primary school. It includes the line: ‘… the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone, …

Because of its direct connection at the hip socket, along with the many ligaments and strong muscles, the thigh (and with it the thigh bone) have a strong influence on positioning and stability of the hips.
The hip bone is only one part of the three-part pelvis. The pelvis itself is comprised of the left and right hip bones, and the sacrum in the back centre of this ring structure.

What makes the difference between a rigid ring structure and our pelvis are the three joints.
At the front of the pelvis the pubic joint is mobile, so are the two sacroiliac joints,...

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How to improve your immune system and generate greater well being with movement and exercise

health real life Apr 01, 2020
 

We already found that the immune system responds to what we eat and drink.
This video examines what effects movement and exercise have on the body.

We know that all tissues of our body respond to challenges, let’s call them stress, by strengthening. That holds true for our muscles as well as our immune system.

Overall, exercise and movement helps us build a more robust immune system and reduce influenza related mortality. [1], [2]

For this video I’d like to distinguish between movement and exercise.
movement is limbering up, removing stagnation from otherwise inactive parts of the body. This would include, for example: walking, gentle stretching and most breathing exercises.
exercise on the other hand involves a degree of exertion. And it’s at the exertion point where the role of the immune system becomes interesting.

But let’s return to movement first.
Circulating air through our lungs and pumping blood to all areas of our body is helpful for immunity.
Remember,...

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