It’s summer time and that can mean more physical activity . . . working in the yard, playing golf, chasing kids around, hauling the charcoal for the cookout, carrying the beach chairs, you name it! These are all activities that, with one wrong move can send your back into a not so good place.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Back pain is a fact of life for many people. Research shows that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point during their lives. It is also the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.” Additionally, “as lifestyles have become more sedentary and the rate of obesity has risen, back pain has become increasingly prevalent, even among young children.”
Your lumbar spine is made up of many complex parts . . . lumbar vertebra, facet joints, intervertebral discs, spinal nerves, and soft tissue . . . and a strain to any of these parts can cause back pain. The vertebra carry and distribute weight. The facet joints determine your flexibility and movement capability. Movement is absorbed by the intervertebral discs while the spinal nerves allow you to feel the movement. The soft tissue, ligaments, muscles, tendons and blood vessels, support the spine and ensure safe movement.
Maintaining a strong and healthy back is key to preventing back issues and the practice of yoga can aid in healthy back maintenance. “Many of the postures in yoga gently strengthen the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal muscles. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided,” says Deborah Metzger, Founder and Director of Princeton Center for Yoga & Health. “It is a system which balances strength and flexibility and addresses the whole body. Most people are tight in key areas affecting the spine, for example in the hips and shoulders, hamstrings and psoas. The spine may be compressed and back muscles tight or weak. A study in the December 20, 2005 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that yoga may be more likely to improve back function, ease chronic back pain, and reduce the need for pain medication than conventional exercise or reading a self-care book.”
Additionally, from EveryDayHealth.com, “According to research published in July 2017 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, yoga may even help reduce the need for pain medication. At the start of the three-month study, in which one group was assigned to physical therapy for their back pain, a second to yoga, and a third to reading about pain management strategies, 70 percent of the subjects were taking medication. By the end, however, while the number of people taking medication in the reading group stayed the same, only 50 percent of the yoga and physical therapy subjects were still taking it.” They also state, “Researchers are also starting to discover how yoga’s effects on the brain may contribute to decreased pain. In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and published in May 2015 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, scientists found that there were significant differences between the brains of those with chronic pain and the brains of regular yoga practitioners. Those with chronic pain had less of the kind of brain tissue in the regions that help us tolerate pain, but those who did yoga had more — which suggests that yoga may be not just physically but neurologically protective.”
At Sunrise Yoga Studio, all of our classes address muscle strengthening but our Back Care Yoga class is specifically set up to address back health. Back Care Yoga is open to all levels of students, including those who have never taken a yoga class.
In our Back Care Yoga classes, students will learn poses to relieve muscle tension; safe poses to increase flexibility in the hips, shoulders and back; strengthening poses to give the spine and neck adequate support; ways to improve posture and alignment; and relaxation techniques to help reduce mental stress often associated with chronic pain. These classes are suitable for all practitioners, but special care is made to assist those with back issues. Overall emphasis is also placed on building a strong and healthy back for everyone, so as to avoid future back-related problems.
We want you to enjoy all kinds of activities all year long without the pain from back strain. If you are experiencing back pain, we ask that you see your doctor to make sure yoga is a good option for you. Once you have the approval from your doctor, sign up for a Back Care Yoga class and learn how to get your back in shape and keep it in shape.
Register for any Sunrise Yoga classes through our Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Questions about why yoga is good for your back? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net. We want you to be informed!
If you are our local followers of Sunrise Yoga, you know it has been HOT, HOT, HOT the past few days!!!
Sunrise Yoga is not, thankfully, hot yoga. We kind of like our air conditioning. 😉
As spinachandyoga.com says, “Summer is here. The time of year with the longest daylight hours and a bright sun that is heating up everything and everyone. When overheated, we tend to become more competitive, self-critical, and agitated.” The article goes on to say, “In the Summer, yoga practice should be quieting, cooling, and calming. If you noticed a strong desire to spend most of the time in your last class in Child’s pose, your intuition is guiding you in the right direction.”
Every season brings on different elements of which we need to stay aware. “During summer our body tends to heat up, aggravating the ‘pitta’ dosha. According to Ayurveda, human body has three doshas (humours) – vata, pitta and kapha. Pitta is basically driven by solar energy, so we need to cool down our internal heat energy in summer to maintain equilibrium,” says urbanpro.com. Ayurveda is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems (Let us know if you need more information on this and watch for future Ayurveda workshops at Sunrise Yoga!).
According to Christine Gianas Weinheimer on everydayayurveda.org, in addition to making you feel too hot, a few signs of too much Pitta include:
So, how can yoga play a part in bringing back some spring time to the Pitta? Continuing from everydayayurveda.org, “Certain Yoga poses, or asanas, can help release Pitta heat. Specifically, this heat tends to accumulate in the mid-section of the body, cooling and detoxifying the liver, and preventing excess heat from moving upward in the body.”
Suggested poses include:
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Pada hastasana (Hands to Feet)
Meru Vakrasana (Simple Spinal Twist)
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Semi Spinal Seated Twist)
Supta Vajrasana (Sleeping Thunderbolt or Diamond Pose)
Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
A key to practicing yoga during the scorching summer heat is to slow down and focus as much internally as you do externally. Body awareness can help you feel cooler and calmer.
If you have questions about the poses, email us at info@SunriseYoga.net. And come to class! Our instructors can assist you in finding your cool spot!
And now, excuse us as we go back into child’s pose!
Have you wondered what Flow Yoga is all about? Have you tried it?
Yogapedia defines Flow Yoga, also known as Vinyasa Flow Yoga, as, “a style of yoga where the practitioner moves gracefully from one pose to the next and the class, or practice, becomes almost like a dance. Generally, each movement in to or out of a posture is made on an inhalation or exhalation, so the yoga unites the breath with the movement in a choreographed sequence. The flowing movements may be combined with some longer holds of certain postures.”
“Flow classes string poses together to make a sequence. The sequence may be fixed, as in Ashtanga in which the poses are always done in the same order, but most of the time vinyasa teachers have the discretion to arrange the progression of poses in their own ways,” says Ann Pizer in her Introduction to Vinyasa Flow Yoga article on verywellfit.com.
Our expert in Flow Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio is Karen Hoglund. Karen’s creativity and love of music combine to create a fun but challenging Flow Yoga experience.
At Sunrise Yoga, Flow Yoga is offered every Saturday morning, 9:00-10:30 am, at the Level 2 experience level. It is a more aerobic style class that improves strength and endurance. In this class, the poses are linked together with the breath. There is much more fluid movement involved and thus, the pace in the class is quicker.
If you aren’t already in our Flow Yoga class at Sunrise Yoga, try adding this style of class to your practice. You can register for the class through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Questions about Flow Yoga? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information. We would love to hear from you!
Every office needs some glue . . . meet the glue at Sunrise Yoga!
Amber is our Office Manager who works weekday mornings. Amber completed her college education at Western Carolina University with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education (BK). She taught preschool special education in the North Carolina County Public Schools from 1998 until 2015.
“I love the sand beneath my feet and in between my toes. I am a sea turtle advocate and love my tattoo,” says Amber. She loves the beach and the mountains, spending time with friends and family, writing and taking pictures of landscapes, especially sunrises and sunsets (She took the beautiful beach photo in this post!).
Amber began yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga in March of 2016. Practicing yoga has helped guide her on her journey to live mindfully in the present and with a grateful heart. Yoga is an important part of her overall health and well-being. She is very excited and happy to be a part of the Sunrise Yoga family!
You can tell by Amber’s big smile that she is “young at 💜!”
Send a shout out to Amber to info@SunriseYoga.net!