Heart opener does body & mind good

Are you a desk jockey?

If you are someone who regularly sits at a desk and most likely at a computer then you are a desk jockey, which is a person who sits at a desk.

The yoga sequence I am teaching this week is to help those of us who suffer from our sitting culture. We need to open our hearts, relax our shoulders and reverse the negative effects we do to our bodies in a regular position of flexion.

Because of our sitting culture we also have tight hamstrings, hips, glutes, etc. We have a weak core. Our shoulders and neck are tight. Our posture is poor. The imbalances in the muscle strength in our bodies have a domino effect.

I believe our sitting culture is hurting and possible ruining our bodies.

Sometimes when I end a yoga class I remind my students who I am, when I teach and if they want to chat with me I am available for questions, comments, etc.

A few months ago one of my students told me he had a comment.

He told me that from repetitive typing he had some nerve issues in his arms. He had tingling, numbness, discomfort, etc.

Continue reading

41 backbends

Today I turned 41.

I am the healthiest and probably the happiest I have ever been in my entire 41 years of living.

My day will be spent teaching a cycling class this morning, then some sort of yummy lunch, followed by a massage and then dinner out with Curt and friends at our favorite restaurant, Le Bistro Montage.

This week my yoga sequence is backbends. One of the first yoga classes I taught (with my friend Sandra) was a backbends sequence and we named our class: Bringing Your Heart Into Backbends. I really like that so I am going with that name this week as well.

My yoga teacher training lineage goes back to BKS Iyengar. Iyengar believed backbends were important to practice as we age. He lived to 95 and died last year. He also believed that on your birthday you practice one backbend for each year of your life.

So this morning I practiced 41 backbends. This is the first year I have practiced this tradition and plan to continue it through the years.

I had first heard of this tradition last year when Tony Briggs, a yoga teacher in the Bay Area-ish, was turning 70 and … Continue reading

The belly

Yesterday in my Deep Yoga teacher training program a big focus was the belly.

There are many of us in the program who have back issues, myself included.

I have Kyphosis. The Mayo Clinic describes Kyphosis like this, Kyphosis usually refers to an exaggerated rounding — sometimes called round back or hunchback. While Kyphosis can occur at any age, it’s most common in older women where the deformity is known as a dowager’s hump.

My posture is not good and I believe I have a weak core. These along with the Kyphosis contribute to my lower back pain.

Mary, who taught us yesterday, met with anyone who wanted to talk about their back issues informally an hour before class started. It was a good conversation and gave her ideas of what to focus on for the formal class.

We learned to have a strong belly while keeping it soft. We learned how to work from our bellies instead of our backs, which is really going to help eliminate back pain.

She helped me and many others to work on standing correctly to give lift to our spine with a healthy sacrum while having an even pelvis and tailbone.

I have … Continue reading

Let’s celebrate National Yoga Month

September is National Yoga Month. I know that. But the weird thing is I am having a hard time finding a lot of current information on this.

In honor of of this month I thought I would FINALLY respond to a request from my friend Rosie.

Months ago she asked me for advice for someone who wanted to start practicing yoga.

When I started regularly practicing yoga a little more than five years ago I first started practicing at the gym. For me I was lucky, those classes were good beginner classes. And the instructors were well-experienced teachers as well.

When I started at Namaste I felt lucky then as well, too. All the teachers are pretty amazing and experienced and versatile. I have practiced with many yoga instructors, personalities, styles, types of yoga, class sizes, etc.

So here is my advice to Rosie and anyone else who wants it:

I suggest finding a yoga studio in your area and doing a little research on the instructors who teach at the studio. (You could do the same research on the yoga instructors at your gym.) The yoga studio website should have bios on the teachers and subs. And … Continue reading

Aligning the spine in yoga

I attended the 6 p.m. yoga class, which Baxter normally teaches. I forgot he is in Costa Rica this week for a yoga retreat.

Dominick was the sub. I like Dominick’s teaching style and he is funny. But his class starts at 4:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. So I can rarely go. But I do enjoy when he subs one of my regular classes.

Today Dominick focused on the spine and back.

Focusing on the back/spine/alignment is always good for me. I have bad posture, kyphosis, weak back muscles, not the strongest core, low back pain and a strong lower back arch.

Dominick talked to us about the natural alignment of our spines. He had us hold full forward bend. And then half way up with blocks under our hands to help us really focus on keeping the back straight.

We also focused on hinging at the waist instead of rolling the back down. This also helps keep the back straight and engaged.

Every pose we performed today we focused on the alignment of the back and our breathing through the front and then down the back. We held the poses much longer while focusing on alignment … Continue reading

Taking care of my back with support

I have back pain. I have for years. When I was in my early 20s I went to the doctor because of my bad posture and almost constant aching pain in my lower back.

My doctor sent me to an orthopedic surgeon who told me that I have a mild form of kyphosis. The simple way to explain: I have slight scoliosis.

I went to physical therapy and most of my back pain has disappeared. I still have it at times. But nowhere near as painful as it was more than 10 years ago.

The past week or two my middle to upper back has been sore. But not really back pain. More like sore muscles. Maybe because I am trying to do more weights and abs? Not really sure.

Yesterday in yoga we did bridge pose. We also had the option to do wheel, which I can do, but I decided to stick with bridge two of the three times we inverted. The third time I went with a supported bridge pose, which is pictured above and provided by Do … Continue reading