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!
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.
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
mobility and walking issues
Common Emotional, Mental, and Psychological Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)
Common “Invisible” Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
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.
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.
Cupid hearts. Valentine hearts. Candy hearts. Chocolate hearts.
We’ve all heard and read the healthy heart statistics. We don’t need to share them with you again. You know.
So, this month, this February, this American Heart Month, don’t use your head. Use your heart!
All of our yoga classes are heart healthy. Get started today!
When asked how to correctly write out the sound of a heartbeat, english.stackexchange.com replied, “There are different versions in different languages. In English I have seen thump thump, ba boom, ba bump and lub-dub. In India, it is ‘dhakdhak.’ In Italian, it’s ‘tu tump.’” Regardless of how the sound is described, the sound of a healthy heart is like music! Unfortunately, the tune some hearts play can be a bit off key.
Sunrise Yoga recently began a series of yoga classes to promote a healthy heart. The classes were offered by Sunrise Yoga founder, Valerie Kiser, to fulfill graduation requirements for Cardiac Yoga Certification. The interest in these classes was overwhelming and seemed to point out a need for more information regarding yoga for a healthy heart!
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.”
Kathryn Boland, a Certified Yoga Therapist, noted in an article on yogauonline.com, “Ancient cultures saw the heart as the seat of our emotions, while modern culture has largely regarded it as the organ that pumps life-giving blood throughout the body. We mostly now see the brain, with its firing neurons and moving neurotransmitters, as the place where thoughts and emotions originate. On the other hand, modern science is coming to understand cardiovascular impacts on emotion, such as the strong connections between anxiety and breath rate, pulse, and body temperature—all of which are closely tied to the condition of the heart.”
She goes on to say, “Because of the physiological link between breathing rate and heart rate, pranayama, yoga’s science of breath control and awareness, can perhaps contribute to heart health. The emotional aspect of heart disease care is another area to which yoga can offer powerful benefits.”
“The effect of pressure can never be under estimated. Ask someone who has undergone bypass surgery or suffered cardiac arrests or other heart diseases! If they have lived to tell the tale, they will tell you that they have to continually battle fear and stress.” notes artofliving.org. This is further underscored by the president of Positive Health Solutions, founder of Cardiac Yoga, and yoga instructor, M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D., as quoted on the American Heart Association site, “The acute emotional stress of such an event certainly has a significant and adverse effect on the heart,” she said. “That’s where yoga can be a tremendous benefit to manage the stress, and half of bypass surgery patients go through depression, facing emotions ranging from anxiety to grieving. All these things come into play when you’ve got a potentially chronic disease to manage for the rest of your life.”
As Sunrise Yoga reports on its website, the benefits of yoga include the relief of stress, increased serenity and peace, and increased energy, among numerous other benefits. The healthy heart class focuses on breathing, mindfulness and relaxation with poses adapted to meet the needs of heart patients. The current series of classes will end soon but we encourage you to contact us for other classes that could be appropriate for you so that you too can experience the heart healthy benefits of yoga.
February is American Heart Month. Make it your goal to get your heart singing a happy song! We would love to help you get in tune! Download the Sunrise Yoga app, visit the web site, or call the studio at 336-778-1233.
Have you been trying to get back to yoga, back to the gym, get in shape, make changes, begin anew? January is also the month that has been deemed Thyroid Awareness Month. Thyroid awareness may change your perspective on your progress with your new year’s resolutions.
According to https://www.nahypothyroidism.org/, “The thyroid is a small gland located in the base of your neck that is part of the endocrine system. This tiny gland has a big job and nobody disputes that! The gland is responsible for various functions including the metabolism, regulating body temperature, cognitive function, digestion, and much more. To make it easy, the thyroid affects the entire body and when it is not working properly you will definitely feel the effects.”
From https://www.va.gov/, the facts regarding thyroid issues include:
• More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
• An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
• Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
• Most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions that can be managed with medical attention.
• The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.
And they note common symptoms include:
• Weight loss or gain
• Feeling anxious or jittery
• Increased sweating
• Feeling hot or cold
• Trouble sleeping
• Fatigue (feeling very tired)
• Hair Loss
• Dry skin and hair
Problems start to arise when there is either too much thyroid hormone in the system (hyperthyroidism), or there is too little thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism).
http://uchealth.com/ notes, “Hypothyroidism carries a range of symptoms that include unexplained fatigue ,weight gain, depression, forgetfulness, feeling cold, hair loss, low sex drive, constipation or infertility”
Because hypothyroidism usually has insidious onset and nonspecific symptoms, Nadia Yaqub, MD — a UC Health endocrinologist who treats patients with all spectrums of thyroid disease— says: ‘People don’t connect the dots right away’ and the symptoms are easily brushed off and attributed to other factors such as poor diet, stress or even depression.
On the flip side, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism—rapid heart rate, heat intolerance and unexplained weight loss and anxiety—manifest quickly and may cause people to seek medical attention sooner, she says. According to the AACE, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, where antibodies target the thyroid gland, causing it to overproduce thyroid hormone.
The majority of thyroid disease sufferers are women, often diagnosed by their OB/GYN when women are trying to conceive. Thyroid hormone also plays role in infertility as well. Some females are diagnosed for the first time during their pregnancy.”
What do issues with the thyroid have to do with yoga?
According to http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/, “There haven’t been too many studies which specifically show how yoga can help improve thyroid health.” and “Although yoga doesn’t seem to have a direct effect on thyroid health, it can help to improve the health of people with these conditions in other ways. Research shows that yoga can modulate the immune system, and as I mentioned earlier, this can lead to a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and other inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6, interleukin 8, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and CRP.”
“Since stress is believed to be one of the major factors for thyroid disorders, meditation keeps the mind calm and relaxed and reduces everyday stress. The chanting of ‘Om’ everyday for a few minutes also helps. After chanting, do this small activity: put your hand on the thyroid gland and feel that it is getting healed. Let the positive vibrations of chanting have a stimulating effect on the thyroid gland.”, from https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/
Yoga Poses for Your Thyroid include:
* Supported shoulderstand
* Plow Pose
* Fish Pose
* Legs Up the Wall Pose
* Cat Cow Pose
* Boat Pose
* Camel Pose
* Cobra Pose
* Upward Bow (Wheel) Pose
* Corpse Pose
Think you have a thyroid issue? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we can help you with this. We would love to help you!
A yoga practice is about proper pose alignment and it is about moving the body, bones, and muscles, but it is not only about these things. Yoga is much, much more than that! It also brings an awareness to our lives as we move through our day, whatever we may be doing, with a calm and centered mindfulness and focus. The practice of yoga can boost our confidence when we put ourselves out there and try a yoga class for the very first time, being courageous and try a different class , or when we try a new class or a new pose that challenges us. We will only know what we can do when we put forth the effort to try. Yoga can bring about a peacefulness within us as we learn to accept ourselves exactly where we are. This acceptance puts us in a positive space to accept what we cannot change and to be who we are and comfortable in our own skin. We are each human and imperfect. Yoga is a loving act of self-care in our lives to accept ourselves in a pose or class. We can extend this care and acceptance in our daily lives and in how we interact with the world and people around us. At Sunrise Yoga, we encourage yogis to develop a home yoga practice and one that fosters acceptance, peace, confidence, calm and focus. If we do this with yoga, then we can pick up what we learn and take what we learn everywhere we go. It is possible to live in a world and practice the loving kindness that is within each of us. We hope you will try a yoga class soon and see for yourself what yoga can do for your well-being. If you are not sure where to begin, give us a call at 336-778-1233 or review the class descriptions on our website.
We are one. Namaste.