☼ FREE Yoga? ☼

FREE Yoga through Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NCThis week, someone asked why our Namasté the Market Way class is free. Sunrise Yoga offers this 45 minute free monthly class during the spring and summer at the Clemmons Village Farmers Market, a pretty cool place to hang out and find local vendors with some great products. Namaste the Market Way, Free Yoga, Village of Clemmons Farmers Market, Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NC

Perhaps it seemed odd to offer yoga at a farmers market? Does offering the class free somehow lessen its legitimacy? Did free mean it wasn’t led by a qualified instructor?

Whatever the reason for the question, we hope it indicated interest in the class and in giving yoga a try! For those who have stepped into the world of yoga, having easy access to yoga classes, free or not, makes it possible to deepen the practice, and broaden the understanding that yoga goes far beyond physical movement and body flexibility. If a free yoga class can help another person connect to yoga, we are all for it!

FREE Yoga through Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NCThose unfamiliar with Sunrise Yoga Studio may not realize we frequently offer free yoga classes. By offering our free Namasté the Market Way yoga class at the Clemmons Village Farmers Market, we get to connect with and give back to the community who has so positively supported us for the 15 years we have been in Clemmons. We have the opportunity to get to know our neighbors as well as support other local businesses. And if Mother Nature cooperates, we take the yoga outdoors for the added benefit of some good old vitamin D!

 

If outdoor yoga isn’t your thing but you are curious about yoga and want to learn more, our next free session at the studio will occur Thursday, June 21st, from 9:30-10:30 am. In celebration of International Yoga Day, students NEW to Sunrise Yoga can enjoy this class at no charge! (And, pssssst, that day, only at the studio, you can purchase our New Student Special of 30 Days of Unlimited Yoga for only $25! That’s a $5 savings off the regular purchase price!! For less than the price of 2 drop-in classes, you can attend daily practice in all on-going, scheduled classes for 30 consecutive days. This does exclude “series” classes and special events.)

At Sunrise Yoga, we live the values of yoga! Yoga teaches us the importance of helping others. In addition to offering free yoga classes, we support and participate in our community through activities and donations to the Clemmons Food Pantry (Remember the Drive Away Hunger Golf Tournament, which Sunrise Yoga helps sponsor, is tomorrow, June 1st!), American Red Cross, For Katie’s Sake/Winston-Salem Foundation, National MS Society, American Heart Association, Second Harvest Food Bank, Make A Wish, SECU Family House, Arts for Life, and Senior Services of Forsyth County. Since 2004, we have raised over $33,000 and thousands of pounds of food and other items to support these local charities.

So, come take a free yoga class as they are offered, give yoga a try, and directly or indirectly, you too will be connected to our community!FREE Yoga through Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NC

Want to stay connected to Sunrise Yoga? Download our app from the Apple App Store or through Google Play. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to learn when special events like free classes are scheduled. Email us at info@sunriseyoga.net to subscribe.

Chair Yoga

The person in the image above is obviously an experienced yoga enthusiast and may be how many unfamiliar with yoga visualize what a yoga enthusiast should look like.

Chair Yoga Participant at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NCThe person in the image above is also a yoga enthusiast. She may not perform the same poses as the person in the first image, but she’s a yogi, nonetheless.

Yoga can be made accessible for just about anybody and any body. At Sunrise Yoga, Chair Yoga is offered twice per week so that even those with special health conditions have access to yoga classes. According to Wikipedia, “It (Chair Yoga) is in the process of being recognized formally as a type of yoga distinct from other types, such as Iyengar Yoga or Ashtanga yoga,” an indication that the need for this level of yoga exists. Chair Yoga Participant at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that can be done sitting on a chair or standing on the ground while using the chair for support,” says Kate Dusek, CHWC, LRT, in healthysetgo.com. She continues with, “It is beneficial for people with limited mobility and for those who want to practice yoga at their workplace.” So, while Chair Yoga in the studio may be for those unable to participate in other class levels, Chair Yoga can be beneficial for anyone who sits for extended periods of time and for those who simply want to work in a bit more yoga outside of the routine yoga practice!

Chair Yoga Participant at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

 

 

 

 

At Sunrise Yoga, Chair Yoga classes are appropriate for those with special health conditions, those who want a slower paced class, or those who are looking for a beginner level class. The class is appropriate to students who use walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.

Most of the class activity is performed seated in a chair. For those who are able, some standing (with support) and floor movements may be given. For those who are unable, alternate poses appropriate for remaining seated will be given.

 

Joanne Spence, BSW, E-RYT 200, RYT 500 and RCYT, writing for Yoga Alliance, lists 10 reasons for trying Chair Yoga:

10. Chairs don’t take up much floor space.
9. Chairs are easy to come by.
8. Chairs are accessible to anyone who can sit.
7. The quality and range of movement one can achieve from sitting in a chair is surprising.
6. A chair can be a great prop.
5. Chairs are a great aid to posture.
3. Chairs slow you down.
2. Using a chair is humbling. Practicing in one is good for the ego.
1. Using a chair allows REAL people to do REAL yoga.

“The chair replaces the yoga mat and becomes an extension of your body allowing you to take full advantage of yoga’s amazing fitness and health potential,” notes Lakshmi Voelker, founder of Get Fit Where You Sit™. The key is to work with your body where and how your body exists.

Those who participate in Chair Yoga may see improved range of motion and flexibility, involvement in a social activity, strengthened muscles and joints, and reduced stress. The classes at Sunrise Yoga include yoga poses for the body, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.Chair Yoga Participants at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

Do you know someone who could benefit from Chair Yoga? Encourage them to visit Sunrise Yoga and try a class! It may change more than you might imagine!

Contact us at info@sunriseyoga.net if you have questions and/or if you need additional information.

You’re Under Pressure

You’re under pressure . . . well, your blood is anyway!

 

Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NC, National High Blood Pressure Education MonthMay is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. During May, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to raise awareness of the negative effects of high blood pressure, a condition many don’t even know they have. High blood pressure has become known as “the silent killer” as it often has no warning signs or symptoms.

Your blood pressure is the force of the blood on the blood vessels as blood flows through. From whathealth.com, “Written as two figures, blood pressure is measured as the pressure when the heart has pumped (systolic) and when the heart is in between beats (diastolic). When the heart pumps blood, blood pressure is higher than when it is in between beats. The systolic measurement will be higher than the diastolic measurement.” The “pressure” measured is the way your blood is pressing against the walls of your arteries.

Because there are no warning signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, one can only know if it is present by having a medical professional measure blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff). According to science.howstuffworks.com, “When the doctor puts the cuff around your arm and pumps it up, what he/she is doing is cutting off the blood flow with the pressure exerted by the cuff. As the pressure in the cuff is released, blood starts flowing again and the doctor can hear the flow in the stethoscope. The number at which blood starts flowing (120) is the measure of the maximum output pressure of the heart (systolic reading). The doctor continues releasing the pressure on the cuff and listens until there is no sound. That number (80) indicates the pressure in the system when the heart is relaxed (diastolic reading).”Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NC, National High Blood Pressure Education Month

This same resource equates our blood vessels and arteries to “pipes”. “If the numbers are too high, it means that the heart is having to work too hard because of restrictions in the pipes. Certain hormones, like adrenaline (which is released when you are under stress) cause certain blood vessels to constrict, and this raises your blood pressure — if you are under constant stress, your blood pressure goes up, and it means that your heart has to work too hard. Other things that can increase the blood pressure include deposits in the pipes and a loss of elasticity as the blood vessels age.”

Some facts and statistics about high blood pressure in the United States, as provided by the CDC, include:
* Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.
* About 75 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults.
* About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertensionblood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.
* Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
* High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014—that’s more than 1,100 deaths each day.
* High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.

Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NC, National High Blood Pressure Education MonthIf you have checked your blood pressure and know your level, here’s how to know where you stand:

Normal
systolic: less than 120 mmHg
diastolic: less than 80mmHg

At risk (prehypertension)
systolic: 120–139 mmHg
diastolic: 80–89 mmHg
High
systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher

Unhealthy behaviors can contribute to high blood pressure. Unhealthy behaviors can include (from CDC):
* Smoking tobacco.
* Eating foods high in sodium and low in potassium.
* Not getting enough physical activity.
* Being obese.
* Drinking too much alcohol.

The American Heart Association encourages lifestyle changes to control blood pressure:Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NC, National High Blood Pressure Education Month
* Eat a well-balanced, low-salt diet
* Limit alcohol
* Enjoy regular physical activity
* Manage stress
* Maintain a healthy weight
* Quit smoking
* Take your medications properly
* Work together with your doctor

Yoga and meditation can be part of the healthy lifestyle changes to help control blood pressure. From yogauonline.com, “Recent studies indicate that keeping your muscles flexible and pliant, e.g. through regular yoga stretches, may also help keep the arteries pliable and thereby lower blood pressure naturally. A study in the American Journal of Physiology has found that, among people 40 years old and older, performance on the sit-and-reach test could be used to assess the flexibility of the arteries. This simple test of being able to touch your toes from a sitting position, may indicate the degree of arterial stiffness, which often precedes cardiovascular disease. According to the authors, stretching exercises may set into motion physiological reactions that slow down age-related arterial stiffening.”

They further report, “Yoga has a profound effect on mind, body, and spirit. The biochemical changes associated with yoga according to studies conducted in Sweden and India can lower blood pressure naturally by reducing stress and other risks factors for high blood pressure such as: obesity, high blood sugar, triglycerides, low HDL, and waist circumference. From this research, yoga shows great promise as a remedy for reducing high blood pressure naturally.”

Sunrise Yoga offers classes for all levels of experience. Let us help you find the class and learn the poses that can help you control your blood pressure. This is the month to make the commitment to your health and well being.

Beginner Yogi?

When you were a beginner yogi (yesterday, a year ago, a decade ago??), what did you know about yoga and yoga poses? Did you have any familiarity with yoga poses, yoga terminology, yoga “etiquette”?

(Be sure to read to the end for a special offer for new yoga students!)

Beginner Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

 

Simply mentioning yoga to someone who has never experienced yoga can send a message of fear and intimidation to someone unfamiliar with yoga. What do you remember about your first yoga experience?

In her article, 10 Things to Know Before Your First Yoga Class, Lizzie Fuhr notes, “Revered in a yoga practice, the idea of a “beginner’s mind” means heading to your mat with no preconceived notions about what you can or can’t accomplish or poses you can or can’t do. Keeping this positive outlook and leaving expectations at the door will result in the best experience possible.”

Yoga for Beginners at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

Yoga for Beginners at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NCYoga for Beginners at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

Listed below are yoga poses recommended for beginners (New York Times (Kelly Couturier); doyouyoga.com (Kristin McGee); food.ndtv.com (Shivangana Vasudeva)).

What do you think? Would you have recommended differently?

• MountainBeginner Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC
• Child’s Pose
• Downward Facing Dog
• Plank
• Warrior 1
• Warrior 2
• Seated Forward Bend
• Four-Limbed Staff
• Cobra
• Tree
• Triangle
• Chair
• Boat
• Seated Half-Spinal Twist
• Bridge
• Corpse
• Sukhasna

If you are now practicing yoga, you obviously overcame any difficulties, challenges, or misconceptions about yoga after your first class. How was your first experience different from what you thought it would be?

Beginner Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

Beginner Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

Cathy Howe, Sunrise Yoga Instructor, demonstrates the half moon yoga pose using a yoga block.

 

“Some will tell you that yoga is too slow and boring instead it is an intense and holistic exercise. This ancient form of fitness with roots in India focuses on developing balance, strength and flexibility. Don’t let anyone misguide you as these are all consequences of practicing yoga and not prerequisites. No one expects you to master the poses on the very first day. Yoga is all about pushing past your body’s limits over time,” says Shivangana Vasudeva, NDTV.

 

 

Beginner Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

Classes are available at Sunrise Yoga for those just beginning their exploration of yoga and for experienced students who wish to broaden and expand their practice. Each class contains yoga poses of the body, breathing practices, meditation, and relaxation. You and your instructor will develop a personalized approach to each pose creating a greater awareness of your body and mind in motion and in stillness. You are encouraged to work at your own pace honoring your limitations and abilities. Our staff is welcoming and highly trained to guide you through your yoga journey.

Sunrise Yoga has many classes appropriate for those new to yoga. Visit the Sunrise Yoga web site to see all the opportunities to move your yoga practice from an “I should do that!” stance to “I practice yoga!” stance. Our instructors are all trained and certified to help any level student.
Want to know more? Email us at info@sunriseyoga.net, call the studio at 336-778-1233, or visit us at 6000 Meadowbrook Mall Ct #1, Clemmons, NC 27012.

PLUS . . . We have a special offer for new students!

30 Days of Unlimited Yoga for $30

We recommend all new students buy our low-priced unlimited 30 days of yoga on your first visit to our studio. It’s a great bargain! For less than the price of 2 drop-in classes, you can attend daily practice in all on-going, scheduled classes for 30 consecutive days. This does exclude “series” classes and special events.

Come join us!!!

Say Hello to Gwen!

 

Sunrise Yoga Studio Instructor, Gwen McLaughlin, Clemmons, NC

Today we are featuring Sunrise Yoga instructor, Gwen McLaughlin.

Gwen started practicing yoga at home. It wasn’t long before she realized this form of movement would be a part of her life on a daily basis for the rest of her life.

Gwen McLaughlin, Sunrise Yoga Studio Instructor, Clemmons, NC, yoga classWith its ability to engage the mind as well as the body, she feels yoga creates a balance which is calming and regenerative. At Sunrise Yoga Studio she found she was able to practice yoga to a more fulfilling degree. Gwen wanted to become a teacher to deepen her knowledge and to be able to share the joy and insight yoga brings. She believes that practicing yoga allows a person to be fully present in the moment, something to which we can all aspire.

She has graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and is a RYT500. She is also an iRest ® Level 1 Teacher.

Gwen sees the world through the eyes of an artist. She studied art and psychology at SUNY Oswego and owns Rowensea Glass, where she creates beautiful stained glass works of art.

You can find Gwen at Sunrise Yoga on Wednesdays for Level 1 and All Levels classes. She also is one of the Quieting the Mind instructors on Fridays.Gwen McLaughlin, Sunrise Yoga Studio Instructor, Clemmons, NC, Meditation

Please let Gwen know if you would like to try one of her classes. Email her at info@sunriseyoga.net.

Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month.

April is Stress Awareness Month. Find a class at Sunrise Yoga in Clemmons, NC, to learn how to better deal with stress.

Most of us are likely aware of stress every day in some form or another. According to the American Institute of Stress, “People have very different ideas with respect to their definition of stress. Probably the most common is, ‘physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension’. Another popular definition of stress is, ‘a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.'”

Stress can lead to a number of serious health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. If you are looking for ways to better handle stress, let us help! Meditation and yoga are highly recommended to reduce stress.

April is Stress Awareness Month. Find a class at Sunrise Yoga in Clemmons, NC, to learn how to better deal with stress

We have classes available every day of the week! Check out these classes this month specifically geared towards stress:
Friday, 4/20, 6:00-7:30 pm – Meditations to Relieve Headaches with Gwen
Friday, 4/27, 6:00-7:30 pm – Aroma Yoga to Quiet the Mind with Karen

April is Stress Awareness Month. Find a class at Sunrise Yoga in Clemmons, NC, to learn how to better deal with stress

Give it a try! Register through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.

Prop Snob or Prop Proponent?

Are you a prop snob or a prop proponent?

At Sunrise Yoga, we are definitely prop proponents! But there are those who feel using yoga props is a form of “cheating” or a sign of “weakness”. Here’s why we feel yoga props serve an important role in your yoga practice and can turn any “weakness” into a strength.

Valerie Kiser, owner and founder of Sunrise Yoga in Clemmons, NC, uses a yoga strap to accentuate a yoga pose.

At Sunrise Yoga, we are dedicated to providing a safe, educational, and fun environment for the practice of yoga. Each class contains yoga poses of the body, breathing practices, meditation, and relaxation. You and your instructor will develop a personalized approach to each pose creating a greater awareness of your body and mind in motion and in stillness. You are encouraged to work at your own pace honoring your limitations and abilities.

Most of our classes and instruction reflect the teaching of B.K.S. Iyenger, considered one of the foremost yoga instructors in the world. According to the site doyogawithme.com, “The trademark of Iyengar is the intense focus on the subtleties of each posture. B.K.S. Iyengar teaches his classes from his home in Pune, India and has become one of the most influential gurus of our time. In a typical Iyengar class, poses are held much longer than in other schools of yoga, in an effort to pay closer attention to the precise musculoskeletal alignment within each asana. Another trademark of Iyengar is the use of props, such as blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs and blankets, which are used to accommodate injuries, tightness or structural imbalances, as well as teach the student how to move into a posture properly.”

Valerie Kiser, owner and founder of Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons NC, assists a student with yoga props for better alignment.

Because yoga isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to exercise (and more), we take the approach to customize yoga for each participant and props help us do that. Marla Apt, Senior Intermediate level Iyengar instructor, says in featheredpipe.com, “Like the use of medical instruments, the use of props is an exacting science. The patient’s age, mobility, responsiveness to instruction and pain, psychological state and strength must all be taken into consideration and adapted to each individual. Before a pose can be modified with the use of a prop, its properties and qualities must be understood thoroughly.” Instructors at Sunrise Yoga are thoroughly trained to take this exact approach.

Valerie Kiser, owner and founder of Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC, uses yoga props to assist a student with alignment in a yoga pose.

Marla Apt goes on to say in yoganga.com, “In his experiments with his own intensive practice, B.K.S. Iyengar began to use household and found objects to help him improve. He gradually refined and developed props specifically constructed for use in yoga. Today, many of Mr. Iyengar’s innovations with props are commonly seen in the yoga marketplace and their applications are widely used.”

Props aid alignment, balance, relaxation, stretching, and strengthening. Some of the more commonly used props include Blocks, Mats, Straps or Belts, Blankets, Bolsters, Yoga Towels, and Yoga Wheels. At Sunrise Yoga, we also employ chairs and our beautiful yoga wall.

Props provide a means for thoughtful inquiry and direct physical feedback, while fostering confidence to grow our practice,” according to yogauonline.com. These tools can (from mindbodygreen.com):

1. Help you learn the skill involved in sustaining alignment.

2. Take unnecessary struggle out so you cultivate more of a relaxed mind.

3. Make a pose more accessible.

4. Prevent injuries and help old injuries to heal.

5. Create space in the spine and joint stability.

6. Achieve a deeper release of tension as you learn to be in a pose for longer with greater comfort.

7. Promote balance by encouraging weak parts to strengthen and less flexible areas to lengthen.

Yoga includes postures for the body, breathing practices and concentration/meditation techniques. “When we take a functional approach to yoga practice, we decide what area we want to target; we decide where we want to apply a stress to the body and the nature of the stress (either a stretching kind of stress, called tension, or a compressive form of stress, called compression.) If we cannot get the level of stress we desire in the targeted area, then we can either choose a different posture or we can employ props. Props can help to increase stress where there is too little or none at all, and props can also assist in decreasing stress if there is too much,” says author and yoga teacher, Bernie Clark, in Elephant Journal.

Cathy Howe, Sunrise Yoga Instructor, demonstrates the half moon yoga pose using a yoga block.

Need help in finding the props right for your practice? Let our staff help you shop in our boutique, send us an email to info@sunriseyoga.net, or discuss your needs with our instructors.

Do you have a favorite prop or two? Which ones make the most difference in your practice? Please share your prop knowledge with us!!

We’ve Got Your Back!

Do you love and care for your back all the time or only when you have back pain?

A few interesting facts about back pain provided by the American Chiropractic Association:

• Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
• One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
• Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
• Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
• Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.

Back Care Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

The back” is a pretty important part of the human body so one would think caring for it should be a high priority. This area of the body is an intricate structure with many components, all of which can be strained, ruptured, or irritated resulting in pain. “The lower back where most back pain occurs includes the five vertebrae (referred to as L1-L5) in the lumbar region, which supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain,” reports the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

“According to The American Physical Therapy Association Move Forward survey, in which over 2600 respondents shared their experiences and habits regarding back pain, 39% of adults reported that LBP prevents them from fully engaging in daily life tasks. Amongst this, 38% of adults noted it affects their exercise and 37% stating it affects their sleep,” as noted by thegoodbody.com.

And, as the graphic below depicts, again from thegoodbody.com, the number of Americans experiencing lower back pain is on the rise, especially for those 65 years old and older. This data was collected in a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control.

Graphic on trends in the number of Americans who experience lower back problems according to the CDC

Back pain used to apply more to those who were on their feet all day or involved in work that required manual labor. Today, however, many Americans spend most of their days sitting . . . at a desk or watching tv or working on the computer. According to healthprep.com, “Sitting puts, at least, double the stress on the spine as opposed to standing. And if the body slouches when sitting it increases that pressure even more. Movement is vital to incorporate throughout the day as disks in the spine act as shock absorbers in the body and if the body remains still, these disks do not receive the necessary nutrients they need which lead to tightness and pain.”

Movement IS vital and Sunrise Yoga wants you to know how to better care for your back! We offer Back Care yoga classes at least three times each week and these classes are open to all levels of students, including those who have never taken a yoga class. And students of all ages are welcome!

MSN.com noted that, “Last year a major review of medical evidence by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US concluded that regular yoga sessions could improve body function and relieve pain associated with chronic lower back pain.”

Back Care yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC

In our Back Care yoga classes, students learn poses to relieve muscle tension; learn safe poses to increase flexibility in the hips, shoulders and back; practice strengthening poses to give the spine and neck adequate support; experience ways to improve posture and alignment; and learn 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.

Please care for your back and join us at any of the classes below:

Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30 pm, with Cathy
Thursdays, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, with Kim
Saturdays, 11:00 am-12:30 pm, with Karen H.

We’ve got your back!

March is MS Month!

“Every day you must walk that fine line between courage and caution.”
~ B.K.S. IYENGAR

March is MS Awareness Month Multiples Sclerosis Association of America

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and Sunrise Yoga wants to do its part to raise awareness of this unpredictable neurological disorder. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “MS symptoms are variable and unpredictable. No two people have exactly the same symptoms, and each person’s symptoms can change or fluctuate over time,” but many have found that practicing yoga and meditation help make it easier to live with whatever symptoms develop.

March is MS Month National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the brain and spinal cord, the main components of the central nervous system, and affects nearly 400,000 Americans. “Common symptoms include muscular weakness, stiffness, and pain; loss of balance and coordination; numbness and tingling in the limbs; speech, vision, and bladder problems; short-term memory loss; impaired concentration; and abnormal fatigue. In severe cases, a person may become blind or paralyzed,” as noted in Sharon Sexton’s article, “A Life Worth Living”, on the Yoga International website.

She goes on to say, “Although the exact cause remains a mystery, many experts believe that MS begins as an immune response mounted against an invader—a virus, perhaps—that mutates into an attack against the body itself.”

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America supports Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month with educational activities and events. “MSAA has focused 2018’s awareness campaign on Understanding MS Progression, with specific topics addressing MS relapse management, brain preservation and cognition in MS, and healthy living with primary-progressive MS (PPMS).” MSAA lists the following as symptoms related to MS:

Common Physical Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

balance problems
bladder dysfunction
bowel problems
mobility and walking issues
sexual dysfunction
spasticity (stiffness)
speech difficulties
swallowing disorders
tremor

Common Emotional, Mental, and Psychological Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

anxiety
cognitive changes
depression
Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)

Common “Invisible” Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

dizziness/vertigo
fatigue
numbness
pain
sleep issues
Uhthoff’s syndrome
visual disorders
weakness

Maryann B. Hunsberger, a New Jersey-based freelance writer/editor who specializes in disability issues, writes, “People with MS – whether they show no outward signs of illness or whether they use a wheelchair – need physical exercise. Yoga is especially beneficial, as it releases muscular tension, improves flexibility and circulation, helps with balance and fatigue, and boosts mental alertness. It reduces the effect of sensory changes by increasing functional abilities to a higher level.

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise, and the authors point out that yoga always gives more energy than it takes, making it ideal for those whose energy is limited from MS. Since yoga involves sustained muscle stretches, it helps with the spasticity that sometimes accompanies MS by promoting muscle relaxation. Holding these postures requires isometric effort that increases strength. Because yoga encourages muscle groups to work together, it helps with impaired coordination and balance.”

These comments appear on the MSAA web site as part of a review Hunsberger made on the book, Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis: A Journey to Health and Healing (Demos Medical Publishing, 2007) by Loren M. Fishman, MD and Eric L. Small. She observed, “Fishman and Small derived the yoga program described in the book from the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the world’s most renowned yoga instructors, who practices therapeutic Hatha yoga in Poona, India. Small has spent the past 40 years as an internationally recognized Iyengar yoga instructor. He has also had MS for more than 50 years. He has further developed Iyengar’s work to create a yoga program for MS patients of varying mobility levels. Fishman, an assistant clinical professor in rehabilitation at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, has incorporated yoga in his medical practice for more than 25 years. Both authors have studied with Iyengar in India.”

In the book, Eric Small says, “I am not cured. Iyengar yoga has become the tool with which I handle the day-to-day contingencies of living with MS. I am very proud to hold a Senior II teaching certificate from Mr. Iyengar personally, which has enabled me to travel far and wide teaching others the benefits of Iyengar Hatha Yoga.”

Yoga Journal reports, “A recent Rutgers University study found that women with moderate symptoms of multiple sclerosis experienced improvements in balance, walking, coordination, and quality of life after eight weeks of practicing yoga.” In this study, researchers from Rutgers’ School of Health Related Professions studied the effects of a specialized yoga program for MS patients, incorporating mind, body, and spirit on the quotidian life scale of 14 women with moderate disability due to the disease.

In addition to the physical benefits of practicing yoga, yoga and meditation address the mental and emotional issues related to MS. “Being mindful has a way of bringing you into the present, so for those with MS who don’t know what they’ll wake up to or what the next day or month might bring, mindfulness can reduce anxiety and pain during everyday life challenges,” says Mindy Eisenberg, founder of Yoga Moves MS, a Michigan nonprofit organization, and author of Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body (everydayhealth.com). “The Yoga Moves philosophy cultivates empowerment, healing, and fun. Yoga is a way to feel alive in our bodies. The more we develop the mind body relationship, we learn much more about our capabilities than our disabilities and limitations, and open to new possibilities both on and off the yoga mat.”

The Rutgers research team mentioned earlier suggests beginning with the Mountain Pose with overhead stretch (Tadasana) and the Forward Bend to waist height (Uttanasana) and the variations of these two poses. Everyone is encouraged to first seek doctor approval prior to beginning any yoga program.

March is MS Month Sunrise Yoga Studio Clemmons NC

Sunrise Yoga has offered Chair Yoga for many years. Chair Yoga classes are appropriate for those with special health conditions like MS, those who want a slower paced class or those who are looking for a beginner level class. The class is open to students who use walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.

Most of the class activity is performed seated in a chair. For those who are able, some standing (with support) and floor movements may be given. For those who are unable, alternate poses appropriate for remaining seated will be given. Students could potentially benefit from the practice of yoga and may see improved range of motion and flexibility, involvement in a social activity, strengthened muscles and joints, and reduced stress. These classes include yoga poses for the body, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.

If you have been diagnosed with MS or if you know someone who has, please contact us to get started on a yoga journey. Our Sunrise Yoga team is ready to serve as your guide to “walk that fine line between courage and caution” and face each day with mindfulness and empowerment.

Half Moon Pose

If you have been watching the sky, you may have noticed the moon has basically been “disappearing” over the past few days as it moves into waning crescent/new moon phase. BUT, you can be your own moon during this “dark” phase by practicing the half moon pose or Ardha Chandrasana (are-dah chan-DRAHS-anna)!

In Sanskrit, ardha translates as “half” and candra means glittering, shining, having the brilliancy or hue of light and can be translated as “moon“.

Cathy Howe, Sunrise Yoga Instructor, demonstrates the half moon yoga pose.

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) invites you to tap into both the calm, balancing energy of the moon and the fiery force of the sun,” according to yogajournal.com. “The moon has a rich symbolic significance in yoga mythology. In hatha yoga, for example, the sun and the moon represent the two polar energies of the human body. In fact, the word hatha itself is often divided into its two constituent syllables, “ha” and “tha”, which are then esoterically interpreted as signifying the solar and lunar energies respectively.”

Half Moon Pose is a great asana for learning how to balance and grow awareness in what can at first seem a disorienting position.”

Half Moon Yoga pose step by step moves.

Yoga Basics offers the following instructions for achieving the half moon pose:

1. From High Lunge with the left foot forward, inhale and step forward into the left foot, straightening the left leg. Straighten the right leg up parallel to the floor.

2. Staring at a point on the floor, place the left palm directly under the left shoulder and carefully bring the right hand to the right hip. Roll the right hip up and back so the hips face the side wall.

3. Inhale the right fingertips up towards the ceiling. Turn the head to face the side wall. Work on turning the whole torso to face the side wall.

4. Breathe and hold for 3-5 breaths.

5. To release: exhale and slowly bring both hands back to the floor and step the foot back into High Lunge.

6. Repeat on other side.

 

You can watch a video here on the half moon yoga pose.

How to do the half moon yoga pose image.

Posing tips, offered by Kat Heagberg through Yoga International include:

• Keeping your front knee aligned, press your front foot down into the floor, and resist it to the right, as though you were trying to turn your front foot out, but can’t because it’s stuck to the floor.

• Keep that, and press your back foot against the wall, and resist up, as though someone was trying to push your back thigh down and you were resisting against them (your foot and leg won’t actually move, you’re just resisting).

• Maintaining this dual resistance (pressing down and resisting out with the front foot, and pressing back into the wall and resisting up with the back foot), you might even find that you’re so stable that you can not only extend your top arm up, but you might even be able to lift your bottom hand away from the block!

 

The pose can ease lower-back problems, relieving sacrum pain, sciatica pain, and lumbar aches, and therapeutic applications include anxiety, osteoporosis, fatigue, constipation, gastritis, indigestion, and menstrual pain.

Would you like to learn more about the half moon pose? Bring your glittering, shining, brilliant self to Sunrise Yoga and let one of our glittering, shining, brilliant instructors assist you! We would be over the moon to work with you!

Check out our class schedule to find a class that works for you. Email us at info@sunriseyoga.net for more information.