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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Need help in finding the props right for your practice? Let our staff help you shop in our boutique, send us an email to email@example.com, 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!!
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!
We are featuring the Extended Side Angle pose this month, a pose that builds strength through the entire body. We are certain Cupid practices this pose in order to prepare for all the LOVE arrows he will be sending out next week!
The Sanskrit name for this pose is Utthita Parsvakonasana (oo-TEE-tah parsh-vah-cone-AHS-anna), which translates as follows:
utthita = extended
parsva = side, flank
kona = angle
According to http://www.yogaoutlet.com/, the Extended Side Angle pose “relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back. It provides a deep stretch to the groins and hamstrings, and it also improves stamina. This pose strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles, while also stretching and toning the abdominal muscles. It is known to be therapeutic for constipation, infertility, sciatica, menstrual discomfort, and low backache.”
We would love to show you where in your posing sequence to incorporate this pose and the proper steps for executing this pose! We have many classes available for all levels as well as one on one instruction. Book your time online, through our SYS app, at the studio, or by phone!
What pose would you like to see featured here in the future?
Meet Sunrise Yoga instructor, Elaine Round!
Elaine was initially drawn to yoga in 2007 when a gym director gently prodded her to join a class. Physically humbled by the experience, yet left with an unexpected feeling of calm, she decided to explore this yoga thing further.
Two years into her practice, she enrolled in the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training Program as a way to deepen her knowledge of yoga. After completing the program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher, she pursued an additional 40 hours of training with Roger Cole in Restorative Yoga. With this training (and influences from many others), she brings to Sunrise classes designed to allow the body and mind to let go.
Elaine earned a PhD in Genetics from University of Washington. This interest in biology in general fuels her interest in the biology of why yoga has the effect it does on people and in the biology behind restorative yoga, in particular.
Elaine also studies Vedic Chanting with Sonia Nelson and Cheryl Oliver and is enrolled in the Yoga Therapy program with East Coast Yoga Therapy.
Want to know more? Enroll in a class with Elaine!
This past Saturday, November 25th, was Small Business Saturday®. Sunrise Yoga is proud to be a small business but that, in no way, means we think small, and we suspect that is true of the many other small businesses in our area!
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, Small Business Saturday® is “a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.” We thank our students for helping us be a part of our community. You have helped us with many charitable campaigns as well as attended classes we have offered at sites throughout the community. You truly help us to take Sunrise Yoga outside the walls of the studio!
“Since its inception in 2010, this special day — the Saturday after Thanksgiving—”, according to Rhonda Abrams of USA Today, “has become the biggest sales day of the year for many small companies. For the big day last year, an estimated 112 million Americans shopped at small businesses and independent restaurants, spending about $15.4 billion, according to American Express. That’s about one-third of the American public buying at small businesses and a whole lot of cash infused into local economies.”
As an initiative of American Express, Small Business Saturday® brings attention to the 871,376 small business in North Carolina . . . and these 871,376 businesses make up 99.6% of all business in North Carolina (as reported by American Express using statistics from Office of Advocacy’s Small Business Profiles). That’s a lot of small businesses doing big things!
Since a small business is one defined as having fewer than 500 employees, it is unlikely that Sunrise Yoga will ever move out of the small business category, and we’re ok with that! We want to always do our best to have the staff and facilities to serve our students and our community to the best of our ability and to always think big in terms of bringing awareness not only to yoga but to over all well being, for individuals and for our community.
We hope you feel that we are a BIG THING in a small package! We always appreciate your feedback and would welcome your thoughts on the impact small businesses have on our area!
Valerie Kiser is the owner and director of Sunrise Yoga Studio and the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training Program. She has been teaching yoga since 1999 and is a 500-hour experienced registered yoga teacher (500 E-RYT) and YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) through the Yoga Alliance. Her first teacher training was completed with Cindy Dollar, an Iyengar-certified teacher in Asheville, NC. Valerie has completed a 1200-hour Advanced Teacher Training and Yoga Therapeutics certification from Sun and Moon Yoga Studios in Fairfax/Arlington, VA with JJ Gormley. Valerie is also a Certified Prenatal Yoga instructor, a Relax and Renew Advanced Trainer ® (Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater), an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, an Elise Browning Miller Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer, a certified Y4C (yoga for cancer) teacher, and an iRest Teacher-in-Training Level II (Yoga Nidra). She is an IAYT-certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT) and the co-owner of East Coast Yoga Therapy (an 800-hour program that certifies yoga therapists). Valerie believes that yoga is a practice that allows us to take charge of our own lives through growth, balance, and peace. Yoga is an exploration that leads us to greater awareness in mind, body, and spirit. Yoga brings union, harmony, and joy; it renews our energy and restores our spirit.
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.