The Life is Good® apparel and accessories company conducted a survey this summer on optimism and positivity and ran a campaign leading up to today, National Positive Thinking Day. The goal was to “put more positivity into the world, one post at a time.” For every positive thought shared, Life is Good® donated $1 to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to support the men and women who dedicate their careers to helping children heal from the devastating impact of early childhood trauma.
Overall, the survey found that 75% of us are optimistic and 25% are pessimistic, and even though 54% feel negative about world affairs, 86% are still optimistic for the future.
Krishna Kumar Mishra, Department of Psychology, Banaras Hindu University, in Optimism as Predictor of Good Life, cited a 1985 study (Scheier and Carver) which states, “individuals who hold positive expectations for the future are assumed to believe that good things will occur in their lives, and tend to see desired outcomes as attainable and to persist in their goal-directed efforts. In contrast, individuals who hold negative outcome expectations for their future are assumed to expect bad things to happen, and tend to withdraw effort more easily, become passive and finally to give up on achieving their goals.” Mishra’s own study of 426 participants “revealed that optimism was positively correlated with life satisfaction.”
“One study highlighted how optimism or pessimism may affect, or even predict, your recovery from a major life event. Those who had a more positive outlook bounced back faster than those who did not,” according to Georgetown Medical Clinic. Additionally, optimists tend to, “Be more likely to practice preventive health measures because they believe their actions make a difference.”
Further, “Optimists tend to see setbacks as specific, temporary, and changeable. Because of this, they are motivated to take action. Non-optimists tend to look at setbacks as general, permanent, and hopeless—symptoms of widespread failure that cannot be changed or managed.”
Two statistics from the Life is Good® survey showed:
People who meditate are 9% more likely to be optismistic than those who don’t.
People who exercise at least once a week are 41% more likely to be optimistic than those who don’t.
The Art of Living suggests the ability “to control our mind and keep it centered” is a “skill can be nurtured when we give our minds the time and space to decelerate and rest for a while.” The site suggests twenty minutes of meditation per day can facilitate this.
“The peace and happiness we access on our mats is no accident.
Although many write it off as just another exercise-induced dopamine high, yoga goes deeper than that. The mind-body connection created in yoga is thought to facilitate change at a cellular level.
When we weave positive intention into our movements, we are imprinting these thoughts, not only on our minds, but also on our bodies. We are effecting change on our mat that will allow for change off our mat,” states Caroline Layzell, in DoYouYoga.
Plus, “The more positive, blissful, and happy we are, the more sharp and alert we become,” according to Hengameh Fazeli, Gaia.com.
Arun Goel, Health and Yoga, that to develop positivism, we must embrace the concept of “Attitudinal” Yoga. According to this concept of yoga, the path to a positive attitude can be found through a 3-step approach, namely,
At Sunrise Yoga, you will find the opportunity to reduce stress, to breathe freely, and to gain strength, flexibility, and peace of mind and as the Sunrise Yoga Studio logo suggests, we are about growth, balance, and peace. We want our studio, and ultimately your yoga practice, to find the mind, body, spirit connection that comes from the practice of yoga and meditation.
Life is Good® listed 10 reasons yoga is for optimists:
1. Celebrate – yoga celebrates little wins …maybe even just showing up to class or touching your toes!
2. Change your perspective – being upside down can flip a negative outlook right on its head.
3. Taking time to relax and unplug – “me time” is so important to your well-being, and yoga can be that perfect time to shift your focus inward and do something good for yourself.
4. Improve your mood – Even optimists can find themselves in a bad mood – yoga is proven to improve and elevate your mood, especially through back bending poses like Bow or Wheel.
5. Breathing – Deep breathing that is done during yoga is one of the best and easiest stress relievers. It also helps to oxygenate the blood and awaken the brain. Doing some deep breathing exercises for just a few minutes can help reset your whole day.
6. Trying something new – shutting down the negative voice in your head that says you will fall if you try a new arm balance or try to tackle the crow pose. Shut off the “I don’t think I can do this” part of your brain and get to it.
7. Meditation – letting go of all thoughts, releasing negativity and tension, and creating new space for new opportunities.
8. Overcoming the impossible and conquering fears – sitting silently in stillness or diving into an impossible looking/challenging pose can be very scary! With consistent yoga practice things become possible, and can make you more resilient and prone to looking for the silver lining.
9. Healthy body – yoga helps to achieve fitness goals and improve health conditions in the body which leads to an overall better life.
10. Gratitude – yoga teaches you to live in the present and be grateful for what you have and what you can do now.
We have classes for all levels of experience in both yoga and meditation at Sunrise Yoga Studio. Celebrate National Positive Thinking Day by participating in a class and let’s spread a little more optimism and positivity into the world!
Register for classes through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Use the hashtag #OnePositiveThoughtWithSYSYoga and share your thoughts with us!
In celebration of National Yoga Month, Sunrise Yoga is offering a FREE YOGA class for students NEW to Sunrise Yoga Studio on Saturday, September 22nd, 10:30-11:30 am! Attendees may also take advantage of a ONE DAY ONLY special offer! 30 Days of Yoga for $25! (Available only to those new to Sunrise Yoga. Must attend this class and must purchase in studio.)
. . . of course, we think EVERY month should be National Yoga Month, but the Department of Health & Human Services has designated September as the time period to “educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle (as stated by Yoga Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization, that fosters an awareness of yoga’s proven health benefits and provides individuals with actionable guidance and tools to enhance their own well-being).
“Yoga’s reputation is one of increasing flexibility, reducing back pain, and stress reduction. It has been used by Medical Professionals as part of a comprehensive program to lower risk of heart disease and can be an effective tool towards mindful eating, and weight management.
A regular practice of yoga leads to healthier food choices in the appropriate amounts. You learn to listen to the body’s cues of hunger and satiety,” says Nova Southeastern University.
HealthCorps.org notes, “Back in 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services designated this month as National Yoga Awareness Month, one of a select number of yearly health calendar observances. During the first year of this designation, thousands of yoga enthusiasts participated in a ten-city yoga health festival tour that featured lectures, classes, music, entertainment, and exhibits. The movement has grown worldwide with global awareness campaigns helping to educate, inspire, and motivate people to adopt a healthier lifestyle with yoga being one possible core habit.”
On Saturday, September 22nd, Sunrise Yoga Studio will honor and celebrate National Yoga Month by offering a FREE yoga class for those NEW to Sunrise Yoga Studio.
Celebrate National Yoga Month with the owner and director of Sunrise Yoga, Valerie Kiser, 10:30-11:30 am and take advantage of a One Day Only Special Offer of 30 Days of Yoga for $25! Students must attend this class and purchase in the studio only.
Create your account ahead of time online at SunriseYoga.net, using our Sunrise Yoga app, or come early and register at the studio!
At the close of National Yoga Month on September 30th, yogis around the world are encouraged to practice yoga at 7 p.m. in order to produce a “wave of yoga” across the globe. Let us know if you did the “yoga wave“!
If you have questions about National Yoga Month, about yoga in general, or about Sunrise Yoga Studio please email us at info@SunriseYoga.net.
Usually, a visit to a doctor’s office involves stepping on the dreaded scales. Unfortunately, the number on the scale isn’t typically one that is shrinking from visit to visit! But, a measurement of height might be a different story as we progress in years.
“In a French study, for instance, researchers measured 8,600 women over 60 and found that they overestimated their height by an inch, on average, and had lost about 2 inches from their tallest recalled height,” says berkeleywellness.com.
This roller coaster ride called “Life” we’re on can take a toll on our physical bodies, especially our backbones! Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, explains in yoga-teacher-training.org, “Our backbone is made up of vertebrae and intervertebral disks, which work as cushions between vertebrae. As time passes, and the aging process begins, these disks start to shrink and lose water content or fluid present in them. This is also the reason why people lose their height as they age.”
And uamshealth.com notes, “Dr. Pham Liem, a geriatrician at the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, says that we can shrink for several different reasons.
‘Older adults can get shorter because the cartilage between their joints gets worn out and osteoporosis causes the spinal column to become shorter,” he says. “Adults can also lose lean muscle mass but gain fat. This is a condition called sarcopenia.’
Sarcopenia is characterized by a decrease in muscle mass, which leads to weakness and frailty and also a decrease in height. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and fracture, which can also cause a person to become shorter.”
In the Huffington Post, Ellen Dolgen, women’s health and wellness advocate, states, “Starting at about age 40, people typically lose about half an inch each decade, according to Harvard Medical School.” She goes on to say, “One study of more than 3,000 adults published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that women over the age 70 who lose two or more inches in two years are 21 percent more likely to fracture a hip in the next two years than are women who shrink less.”
The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a manuscript/study that indicates, “Height shrinkage, and to a lesser extent pre-shrinkage height, are also correlated with many later-life health outcomes, particularly cognition and biomarker measures. The shrinkage coefficients tend to be larger than for pre-shrinkage height, suggesting that current health issues are important in understanding the health of the elderly, not just events in early childhood. In general, the more the shrinkage the worse are these other health outcomes.”
Citing the same study, theatlantic.com says, “What the researchers show here is that height loss, too, can tell us something about how healthy we are. In adulthood, lifestyle factors that wear heavy on the bones, like drinking, smoking, and inactivity, promote shrinkage. Factors like education and where we live may affect our health — and height — in less obvious ways, perhaps because of the ways in which they are related to those lifestyle factors. And while it isn’t clear, either, how a causal link between a decline in cognition and a decline in stature could possibly work, efforts to promote and preserve cognitive health might help older adults remain tall, or vice versa.”
To counteract the apparently inevitable effects of aging on height, livestrong.com notes, “Some physical therapists and other medical professionals believe certain exercises can help decompress the disks of the spine and alleviate the symptoms of spinal decompression. Always check with your doctor before using exercises and stretches to alleviate spinal compression.”
Rachel Wilber, in fitfluential.com suggests, “Many recent medical studies have found that yoga has many health benefits, including a reduction of spinal compression symptoms. Focused yoga for back pain improves your posture, boosts your flexibility and improves your overall strength.
Practicing yoga improves your posture. During yoga classes, you will learn how to properly align your spine while seated and standing. When your spine is in proper alignment, the discs between your vertebrae will have enough space to spread out. They will decompress, allowing them to move freely in the intravertebral space, like they are supposed to. Practicing yoga regularly will help you to maintain a good posture.
By keeping the soft tissues of your back flexible, you can improve the symptoms of spinal compression such as stiffness and a loss of range of motion.
Practicing yoga restores the fluid balance of the discs in your spine. These discs naturally lose fluid as a person grows older. Professionals, such as those at Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates know that when discs lose too much moisture, they become brittle, causing them to compress close together. A focused yoga routine practiced on a regular basis restores the fluid and blood flow to these discs. This helps to keep the discs strong and more flexible. It also reduces your risk of a fractured vertebra.”
And in the Huffington Post article previously mentioned, “Israeli researchers who measured more than 2,000 men and women in 1965 and 1995 found that those who exercised, either throughout their lives or just after they turned 40, lost about half as much height as those who had never exercised or stopped working out during middle age.”
“The physical practice of holding Yoga postures (asanas) is often referred to as the best for elongating muscles, lengthening the backbone, and strengthening the abdominal region. A regular practice of physical Yoga training and posturing provides a number of noticeable health advantages, along with spinal decompression,” notes Paul Jerard (referenced earlier in yoga-teacher-training.com).
Valerie Kiser, owner and director of Sunrise Yoga Studio and co-owner of East Coast Yoga Therapy, suggests, “Yoga teaches us to stand tall on our own two feet – both figuratively and literally. When we work in standing poses and seated poses, we focus on elongating the spine to improve posture, breathing capacity, and even digestion.”
While all yoga poses ultimately assist in strengthening the spine, Valerie suggests the Mountain pose, hanging in Dog pose, and, giving the yoga wall a try.
She says, “Hanging on the Yoga Wall allows us to experience gravity in a different way. It feels great to the spine AND the brain!”
If you aren’t “measuring up” height wise, consider giving yoga a try. You may find that, with consistent practice, you will literally stand taller and, because yoga is a mind, body, spirit connection, internally stand taller as well. Ditch the 4” heels and turn the shrinking into body lengthening power!
Questions? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net!
Trying to find a class? Want to give the yoga wall a try? Check out our yoga class schedule and come visit us at the studio!
What?!? You’ve practiced yoga for a month, a year, a decade, and you find yourself up against the “wall”. Not the yoga wall! The wall of progress. The wall of no improvement. The flat wall known as a plateau. Ugh!
We can hit a proverbial wall in many aspects of life. Career. Relationships. Parenting. Weight loss. Creativity. And, it’s easy to give up, quit, stop, throw in the towel, when that “wall” shows up. Your friends, maybe even your yoga instructor, will tell you to look at how far you’ve come, to consider how things would be if you didn’t practice yoga. But, you still feel like you’ve failed and there’s no future progression for you.
Guess what! You aren’t alone!
Jessica Stickler, writing for Wanderlust, says, ““How does one overcome plateaus in yoga practice?” I thought to myself, ‘I have no idea.’ The more I thought about the question, the more I doubted my ability to answer it. I have been practicing for a modest amount of time, around eight years or so (and teaching for seven of those!), so I have ducked, dodged, hail-mary’d, ignored, and confronted many a plateau.” She goes on to outline three ways she has overcome the “wall”: the bull (work on it EVERY SINGLE DAY), the fox (find a way around the difficulty and then come back to the initial spot of frustration), and the sloth (Just keep going!).
Plateaus are inevitable. In fact, they are evidence that you ARE practicing yoga! A “wall” or plateau may actually be a nudge to try something new or different or to approach your everyday routine and practice with new eyes/perspective.
Senior Pure Yoga instructor, Sonja Rzepski, and Kay Kay Clivio, head of Pure Yoga’s teacher training program, recommend the following to push through a plateau:
1. Try a different style.
If your usual practice is a sweaty vinyasa, spend some time learning more about the logic of alignment in an Iyengar class, target your connective tissue and deep muscular release with Yin yoga, or try a new energetic approach with Kundalini yoga. Rzepski recommends sticking with it for four to six sessions before returning to your preferred or go-to classes. The idea is to look at your practice through a different lens, one that might trigger insights that will help you move past your plateau.
2. Book private sessions with your favorite teacher.
“Generally group classes are packed and there is no time for the breakdown of poses or to ask questions,” says Clivio. Getting closer to your source of inspiration will only make the fire of determination burn brighter. Three to six one-on-ones should be sufficient, per Rzepski, though you may want to continue them.
3. Explore the mind-body connection.
Asana (the physical practice of yoga) was originally conceived simply as a way to prepare the body for meditation. Try moving beyond the physical and explore the nuances of the breath or meditation (try the Headstrong meditations in the Equinox app). You can also learn more about the chakra system, the sister science of Ayurveda, or stack your nightstand with books on yoga philosophy. (Two Rzepski recommends: Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar and Healing Yoga by Loren Fishman.) “Learning more of the science of yoga can improve the depth of any practitioners postures,” says Clivio. “Not just seeing the postures as shapes and forms but a means to balance the energetic body.”
4. Dive deeper.
Move further into any aspect of the practice that inspires or challenges you. If you love inversions, take a workshop. Or, sign up for a retreat. This can give you renewed enthusiasm that will carry you past a plateau. Rzepski also recommends keeping a yoga journal to record and acknowledge your daily impressions and experiences. You may be making more progress than you think.
5. Get off your mat.
Karma yoga (the practice of service to others) is important, but often overlooked. Lose yourself in unselfish action by volunteering or simply look for opportunities for kindness and good deeds.
A plateau or “wall” may be telling you your body needs a break. “Consider taking a few days off from the physical practice of yoga and allow your body to rest. This is a great time to explore the more mental and philosophical aspects of yoga, such as the yamas and niyamas,” says Karen Costa of doyoudoyoga.com. She also recommends “going deeper” . . . “if your yoga practice feels like it’s turned on cruise control, one of the best ways to shift that energy is to deepen your practice. Perhaps this is a sign that you’re ready to transition from being a student to becoming a teacher.”
With the variety of yoga classes offered at Sunrise Yoga, if you find yourself on that plateau, consider trying a different class or a different instructor. Add in some Quieting the Mind classes, or explore Valerie’s Select Your Study classes. Take Karen’s Level 2 Flow class to move your regular yoga class to a more fluid, musically driven practice. Join Bill Smith in his
Sound Immersion workshop. Visit with Valerie and other yoga instructors in the FREE information session and class for the upcoming Enrichment and Teacher Training sessions. Ask Valerie about one-on-one training. Try conquering the “wall” with yoga wall classes.
Your “wall” is a message to you. Be in tune with you. When you stop and let the “wall” speak to you, you will find that the wall was of your making all along.
And, by the way, remember the “wall” you scaled to just get started with yoga? That “wall” was HUGE compared to the “wall” you think is in front of you now!
We are here to help. Send us your thoughts and/or questions to info@SunriseYoga.net.
If you have had any heart issues, have you also had anxiety, particularly about being active with/after heart issues?
The American Heart Association says, “After any illness, it’s normal to feel afraid and unsure of the future. You may be scared because you don’t know what lies ahead, or because you feel less control over your life. Every heart patient has some degree of fear, but if your fear is overwhelming, it can prevent you from getting well and staying well.”
Additionally, the National Center for Biotechnology Information in a report on a clinical trial study noted, “Anxiety is highly prevalent among patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), and there is growing evidence that high levels of anxiety are associated with worse prognosis. However, few studies have evaluated the efficacy of treating anxiety in CHD patients for reducing symptoms and improving clinical outcomes. Exercise and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been shown to be effective in treating patients with depression, but have not been studied in cardiac patients with high anxiety.” They go on to state, “There is growing evidence that exercise may have beneficial effects on anxiety. Epidemiological studies have observed an inverse relationship between exercise and anxiety.”
And another study, this one by Jean-Christophe Chauvet-Gelinier, MD, PhD, and Bernard Bonin, MD, reported in Science Direct from the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, offers “For rehabilitation to be effective in heart disease patients, they need to have a rather good psychological status.” And the Psychiatric Times underscores that “catch 22” with “Women and men with heart disease who perceive themselves as disabled and unable to perform their usual activities are three times more likely to report anxiety (Nickel et al., 1990). In a one-year prospective study of individuals with heart disease, Sullivan and colleagues (1997) explored associations of anxiety with self-reported physical function and activity interference. Findings indicated that those who report higher levels of anxiety also report higher levels of physical disability. High levels of anxiety affect functional status after heart surgery as well. In a randomized clinical trial with 156 participants, greater perceived tension/anxiety level at four weeks predicted decreased self-reported activity for both men and women (Ruiz et al., 1992). Relationships between anxiety and quality of life have also been empirically examined. Anxiety related to decreased functional ability after myocardial infarction has been found to substantially reduce quality of life among survivors and their families.”
Una McCann, M.D. is a psychiatrist and directs the Anxiety Disorders program at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She compares the reaction to a sudden heart attack as being like post-traumatic stress disorder:
• You’re likely to be shocked by your near-death experience and extremely hesitant to do the things you used to do.
• You might constantly relive the life-threatening event, and avoid the activity or place associated with the heart attack.
• Recurring anxious thoughts may impede your ability to get regular sleep.
• Your thoughts about what lies ahead may be extremely negative and cause a drastically foreshortened outlook of the future
She goes on to address anxiety management by saying, “The goal is to keep the patient from placing too much concentration on anxieties about the future that are impossible to control, and help the patient focus on the present. Anxiety management may encompass relaxation exercises, sensory focusing, and yoga techniques.”
Most heart patients are advised to exercise and be physically active because exercise can make the heart muscle stronger. The Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center, in their guide to the overall benefits of exercise for patients with heart failure suggest a combination of flexibility, cardiovascular/aerobic, and strength training. In their commentary on flexibility, they note, “This type of exercise involves slow movement to lengthen the muscles. Flexibility exercises include stretching, tai chi and yoga. They are also used before and after exercising to prevent injury and strain. Benefits include better balance, range of motion and better movement in your joints.”
There can be a large gap between being advised to be active and feeling confident enough in your health to actually become active. A heart patient may submit to cardiac rehabilitation because it is prescribed/mandated by the physician and occurs in a health services environment. But what happens after cardiac rehab ends? If any anxiety about physical ability exists, what options can a heart patient pursue for exercise and physical activity?
Before beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician, whether you are a heart patient or not. If your physician clears you to begin activity, we have a suggestion for you! There are many activities you could pursue, but, at Sunrise Yoga, we have a class geared specifically to with an existing heart condition and for those who are seeking increased heart wellness!
This class, held on Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, is a gentle yoga class led by Valerie Kiser, owner and director of Sunrise Yoga and a certified instructor for Cardiac Yoga® (Cardiac Yoga® is a registered trademark of M. Mala Cunningham , Ph.D. and is used with exclusive permission.).
With Valerie at your side, you will practice yoga poses, breathing techniques, as well as mindfulness and relaxation. All of these activities are supported by information from the American Heart Association, and Harvard Health Publishing says, “What’s good for the mind also tends to be good for the heart.”
They continue, “The mind-calming practice of meditation may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease, according to a scientific statement published in the Sept. 28, 2017, Journal of the American Heart Association. Experts reviewed dozens of studies published over the past two decades and found that meditation may improve a host of factors linked with heart disease — making it worth including in an overall program for ongoing heart care.”
Let Valerie guide you into a healthier heart, healthier you! Start with Cardiac Yoga® and, if you want more, Valerie can assist you in finding other Sunrise Yoga classes to suit your needs.
Questions? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net!
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!
You’re under pressure . . . well, your blood is anyway!
May 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).”
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 prehypertension—blood 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.
If you have checked your blood pressure and know your level, here’s how to know where you stand:
systolic: less than 120 mmHg
diastolic: less than 80mmHg
At risk (prehypertension)
systolic: 120–139 mmHg
diastolic: 80–89 mmHg
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:
* 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.
April is Stress Awareness Month.
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.
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
Give it a try! Register through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
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.
“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.
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.”
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:
We’ve got your back!