I don’t share very much about myself, which is why I find it so ironic that I’m comfortable writing a blog such as this, but I feel like those of you reading this are people I wouldn’t mind letting into my life, but only a little bit. For now. :] On that subject, here’s a little known fact about me — I absolutely LOVE when people are surprised when they get to know me. I indulge in it like a pregnant woman eating a slice of triple chocolate fudge cake. And I’m not talking “Hi, nice to meet you” kind of conversations.. I’m talking the deep discussions of life that really bare a person’s soul kind of stuff. As much as the surprised look on a person’s face as they say “You have tattoos?!” makes me smile, the one inquisition that makes me really is excited is when people ask about my interest in yoga. I’ve developed such a passion for my own practice over the past year as well as sharing my knowledge with others as much as possible so that others may see the benefits that I’ve acquired. Many of my friends suffer from some kind of chronic pain, whether its stiffness in the hips or a pulling muscle in their neck and I love offering suggestions that I hope will help relieve some of the symptoms. So, as I sit here listening to Mumford and Sons on a never ending repeat and cooking dinner for a friend (from my FAVORITE local farm only 2 minutes from the shop, Barbee Farms!), I’m giving you all a few simple yoga positions and movements that should increase flexibility in aching muscles, improve stamina overall and create a general sense of peace and well-being. These are pretty standard and should cause absolutely NO pain – if you ever feel a sharp sting rather than slight discomfort (which is normal, especially if you’re just starting out or trying a new position) stop immediately! You will only risk injury, and then I won’t be able to see you in the shop. Plus, I’ll feel partially responsible. Maybe. :]
— (A special request, per Roberto) Neck Pain: Often times, we think that everything happens for a reason that is easily justifiable instead of getting down to the root cause of the issue. This is very present for people with neck pain, especially those who work with their hands throughout the day and complete a lot of tasks in a seated position (in front of the computer, driving in your car, making lattes and coffee.. just saying). The first thing to do is take notice of your posture throughout the day – notice how you sit when working on your laptop and really bring attention to sitting up straight and relaxing your shoulders as much as you can. It may feel weird at first, but after a few days of doing this, you will notice a significant difference in how naturally it seems to feel. The shoulders, upper back and neck are all so interconnected that if one small vertibrae is thrown out of whack, it has the potential to manifest pain in any other area of the upper body. So, when pain like this does arise, here is a simple trick to helping ease and loosen your shoulder and neck muscles. Bring your arms out like a “T” and interlace the fingers of both of your hands behind your back. Take a deep breath in through your nose and then exhale out through your nose as you slowly bend forward, hinging at the hips and pulling in your stomach to create space for your spine to fold. Allow your clasped hands to fall over your head, stretching the muscles around your shoulders and opening your chest for more flexibility. Hold this position for a count of 6 deep breaths – you should feel a gentle pulling in your arms that brings them closer to the floor and releases tension throughout the back. Staying bent forward, release your clasped hands slowly to the floor before rising back to a standing position.
— Knee Pain: Knowing from personal experience (I tore my ACL my freshman year of high school) how debilitating knee issues can be, I’m always very careful with the pressure I put on this important part of the body. Yoga is SO healing for the entire body and strengthens the ligaments, tendons and bones of the knee, allowing for more protection to build up. To protect the knee from damage in any pose, make sure to apply even pressure on all four corners, so to speak, of the foot. This allows for even distribution of your body’s weight and minimal impact on the bones in the feet and the knees. To relieve current pain, try a deep stretch that will help ease the tension that gets built up in the legs from walking, sitting and standing throughout the day. Start by sitting on your yoga mat (or the ground) and spread your legs into a V-shape. Take a deep breath in while lifting your torso upwards (essentially, making your spine as long as possible) and slowly fold over your right leg, reaching for your feet, but stopping when you feel the muscles beginning to stretch up the back of your hamstring, calf and behind your knee. Stay in this position for 5 breaths and then slowly lift yourself back to a straight back, pushing yourself up using the floor to prevent and strain on your back. Do the same stretch over the left foot, remembering not to push yourself and risk an injury. Only stretch until you feel the slight tightness in your muscles – and then just breathe through it! You’ll be amazed at how your body learns to relax itself (and will fold itself forward on its own!) while in the pose, just through the simple act of breathing.
I hope that you all enjoy these poses and see the benefit from them that I do. I honestly can’t remember the last time I took any kind of medication for pain or sickness, which I firmly attest to my yoga practice and diet. As always, if you have any questions, feedback or thoughts, feel free to leave them here or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . I love hearing from ya’ll!
For all things yoga, check out the Yoga Journal website! They’re great at bringing light to environmental issues, teaching yoga poses in depth and incorporating a life of yoga practice. — > http://www.yogajournal.com <–