Using instructional yoga videos is a way to not only develop your yoga practice but fine tune your techniques, perfect your positions, and slow a lesson down so you can see and hear all the important details.
Today’s instructional yoga video is for Cow’s Face Pose, Arms Only, also known as Gomukhasana. This yoga pose stretches the arms and shoulders, biceps and triceps, upper back and chest. It can help relieve stiff shoulders and neck as well as sciatica.
Do you have a list of yoga poses you would like to view in an instructional yoga video format? Please comment to let us know! Or, send an email to Info@SunriseYoga.net.
In this digital age of laptops, iPads, smart phones, and gaming devices, our hands, particularly our wrists, get used (and frequently abused). Typing, texting, and taking out the enemy all take a toll on our hands.
“Carpal tunnel syndrome is perhaps the most common nerve disorder experienced today; and while it is usually very treatable, that doesn’t lessen the fact that it affects the lives of 4-10 million Americans,” notes rmhealthy.com. “Musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, are among the most prevalent medical conditions in the U.S., affecting 7% of the population; account for 14% of physician visits and 19% of hospital stays.”
That numbness and tingling in your hands may be carpal tunnel, caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist. That compression often develops as a result of repetitive motion like typing, texting, and taking out the enemy. “Symptoms of CTS include tingling and numbness in the thumb, index and middle finger (median nerve distribution); burning, pain, and weakness in the fingers and hand; aching in the forearm that can radiate to the shoulder; and clumsiness or a weak grip. The numbness may become constant over time,” says Ram Rao, Ph.D in yogauonline.com.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A wrist fracture can narrow the carpal tunnel and irritate the nerve, as can the swelling and inflammation resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.”
Quite a lot of yoga is done on the wrists so any evidence of carpal tunnel syndrome can make some yoga positions uncomfortable if not very difficult. Planks, downward dog, and handstand among other yoga positions require strong and healthy wrists to hold the positions properly.
A study led by Dr. Marian Garfinkel, a senior Iyengar yoga teacher with over 30 years of experience, evaluated “whether a program of yoga and relaxation techniques might offer an effective treatment alternative for patients with CTS. Yoga was proposed to be helpful because stretching may relieve compression in the carpal tunnel, better joint posture may decrease intermittent compression, and blood flow may be improved to decrease ischemic effects on the median nerve.”
The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and summarized in the Ram Rao article mentioned above, reported, “After eight weeks, when the groups were tested to gauge the intensity of carpal tunnel syndrome, the group that practiced the yoga postures saw significant improvements in pain and grip strength, giving credence to the practice of yoga asanas in facilitating wrist healing and rejuvenation. Since CTS aggravates primarily with improper alignment, yoga asanas can prevent CTS by counteracting the repetitive movements that created the misalignments.” The yoga group in the study practiced 11 yoga postures twice weekly for eight weeks.
In addition to practicing yoga to help counteract and prevent CTS, other strategies can help keep CTS at bay.
The Mayo Clinic suggests the following:
☼ Reduce your force and relax your grip.
☼ Take frequent breaks.
☼ Watch your form. Avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down.
☼ Improve your posture.
☼ Change your computer mouse.
☼ Keep your hands warm.
We would like to show you specific yoga poses to help you have strong and healthy wrists! Whether you think you may have symptoms of carpal tunnel or you’d just like to feel more comfortable in the poses that use the wrists, we can help.
What questions do you have about yoga for healthy wrists? Email us at Info@SunriseYoga.net.
If you’ve ever experienced dizziness, vertigo, or any other form of imbalance, you know it can be a bit unnerving and disconcerting. As Erica Schukies writes in her article, Importance of Physical Balance, “We don’t notice our sense of balance until it’s not working like it should.”
She goes on to say, “Simply explained, a good sense of balance allows us to recognize our position relative to other objects around us, including the surface on which we are standing, walking, or running. According to Caroline DeGroot, a physical therapist and the vestibular program manager at Athletico Physical Therapy, balance is an important aspect in carrying out both simple and complex movements.”
For the most part, we take physical balance for granted. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments send signals to the brain as we move and the brain then tells the muscles how to react to maintain balance and how to move in a smooth and coordinated fashion. We can become off balance through the effects of things like medications, drugs, and alcohol, but we can also become off balance as we age due to deterioration of the vestibular system in the inner ear.
Ms. Schukies continues, “As we age, balance becomes more of an issue as our critical systems begin to weaken. According to Dr. Nathan Wei, director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, Md., the aging process is typically associated with visual impairment, inner ear problems, cerebellar (posterior brain) issues, muscle weakness or peripheral neuropathy. And unfortunately for the elderly population, these systems all play a critical role in your body’s ability to stay vertical.”
According to physio-pedia.com, input from the Somatosensory / Proprioceptive System, the Vestibular System, and the Visual System affect the body’s equilibrium and balance, with balance being classified as either Static Balance (fixed posture) or Dynamic Balance (balance during motion). Both types of balance require power from the muscles in the body.
“Yoga does an excellent job of strengthening and stretching muscles essential for balance,” states health.harvard.edu. Yoga poses “challenge static balance, the ability to stand in one spot without swaying, and dynamic balance, the ability to anticipate and react to changes as you move. Successfully managing these tasks requires you to keep your center of gravity poised over a base of support.”
Kiersten Mooney, E-RYT 500, and cofounder of greenmonkey® partnered with the University of Miami to study the muscle utilization patterns of yoga poses. She reported in yogajournal.com, “We learned which muscles are actually being used and how active they are during each pose. For example, in electromyography (EMG) study, which records electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles, the more activated the toes in standing poses, the greater the lower leg muscle activity, therefore targeting the primary balance muscles.”
“Balance training can help build muscular endurance, increase flexibility, and, of course, improve balance,” Terecita “Ti” Blair, the 2017 SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year says (as reported by Brittany Risher on silversneakers.com). “It helps build confidence and quicken reaction time, as well as offers an opportunity to practice mindfulness and body awareness. You learn to breathe through something difficult or challenging, maintaining balance even when your world turns upside down.”
Yoga helps develop a mind body connection in addition to developing muscles. Balance requires the ability to both hold on and let go, something that improves with mind body connection. Let us help you find a series of yoga poses to not only improve your physical balance but improve your overall well-being. Contact us for suggested poses and/or for information on our numerous class opportunities. Our email address is Info@SunriseYoga.net.
As we go through the holiday season, we often find ourselves stretched to the max . . . we try to stretch our time (and our wallets) to fit in all the holiday events and holiday shopping . . . and all that stretching can lead to holiday stress! Yikes!
But, are you aware that the right kind of stretching . . . yoga, for the body, meditation for the mind . . . can help reduce stress?
“Life can be filled with chaos and stress. Soon joints begin to hurt, backs hurt, and people find themselves moving stiffly as they feel tense. Stretching is one way to help remove stress from life and bodies,” according to https://stress.lovetoknow.com/
Yoga International (https://yogainternational.com/) says, “there are three types of stretching, and we may do them all, to varying degrees, in yoga:
1. static (holding a position)
2. dynamic active (bringing a joint repeatedly through its range of motion)
3. PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, one technique of which requires the contraction of the target muscle when it is stretched, followed by a more passive stretch with the muscle relaxed)”
And, https://allstressmanagement.com/ notes the following ten benefits of stretching:
1. Improve joint range of movement, without compromising joint stability.
2. Prevent Injury.
3. Decreases muscle soreness after exercise.
4. Promotes circulation, increases blood supply and nutrients to muscles and joints.
5. Develops mind, body awareness as the body is allowed to move more freely when stretching is applied with focussed attention.
6. Enhances co-ordination, by allowing freedom of movements.
7. Improves posture with the structures being more balanced and even.
8. Reduces stress and pain by getting rid of tension and the lactic acid in the body.
9. Loosens the minds control of the body.
10. Enhances performance and quality of life.
Keep your holiday stress at bay this year through stretching! Join Valerie this Wednesday, December 5th, during her Stretch Everything Select Your Study Session. In this class you will practice yoga poses that stretch each part of your body, which can make every day movement easier and more flexible. The class is open to all experience levels.
Register through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Questions about stretching? yoga? stress? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net.
Are instructional yoga videos on yoga poses something you would like us to post more frequently? Please watch the video on Tree Pose (Vrksasana) and give us your feedback! More pose instructions? Other video requests?
If you would like to register for a Sunrise Yoga class, use our Sunrise Yoga app, register online, or through the studio.
On this Thanksgiving Day, it can be challenging to step out from the busyness and the activities and truly remember to be thankful. This day is a reminder to us that we can be in a state of thanksgiving and gratitude every day and to try to be present wherever we are.
Here at Sunrise Yoga Studio, we often get calls asking us, “What is Yoga?” The interesting answer to that question is, “What do you need it to be?”
The reason we answer it this way is because of the individual experience involved. Your experience will be different than someone else’s because your goals are unique, what type of yoga you do varies, and how you approach the techniques and guidance can be different. One of the advantages you have of coming to see us is that we consider what your needs are, such as wellness, fitness, mental clarity, spiritual growth, peace of mind, stress relief, vitality, healing, balance, pain relief, posture, better sleep, and stamina.
We are thankful yoga can provide so many benefits in ways that are as unique as the individuals participating in yoga. And we hope that, through your yoga journey, a deeper sense of gratitude will develop.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.
In an article for Greater Good Magazine, he states, “We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:”
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
The benefits of gratitude and the benefits of yoga are not surprisingly similar! How can you incorporate gratitude development in your yoga practice?
“It can be hard to live in a constant state of gratitude, but you can learn to cultivate it by practicing yoga,” says Lena Schmidt of The Chopra Center. She suggests, “Next time you’re on your mat, try these eight yoga poses that inspire gratitude. For the best results, hold each pose for five to 10 breaths.”
Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Find gratitude for your breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.
Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) – As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.
Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Setu Bandhasana Variation) – Consider a friend or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of love and gratitude in your heart.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) – Find gratitude for your feet and all the adventures they take you on.
Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Tadasana + Urdva Hastasana) – Find gratitude for all of your hopes and dreams and the unknown adventure of the future.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) – Find gratitude for an aspect of your life or a talent you hold that you appreciate.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.
Final Resting Pose (Savasana) – Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles.
What are your thoughts on how yoga can help create a greater sense of gratitude? We’d love to know!
If the thought of hanging from straps attached to a wall intimidates you, you aren’t alone! “I had assumed wall yoga was just for yogi pros, but I was totally wrong,” says Chelsey Hamilton for Health.com. “I kept seeing impressive images of yogis suspended in acrobatic poses. Although they seemed so graceful floating in midair, I was having a hard time picturing myself attempting these gravity-defying feats. I worried I wasn’t quite experienced enough.”
“The principle behind the Yoga Wall has been around for decades, originally designed by BKS Iyengar in the form of ropes attached to wall hooks to assist students in various yoga asana (poses),” notes The Great Yoga Wall. Today’s updated version consists of spring loaded sockets mounted in the wall that can receive adjustable straps that accommodate every height and body type.
The Great Yoga Wall notes the following benefits of practicing on the yoga wall where gravity can be appreciated and utilized:
Just as a good yoga teacher can help you develop further in a yoga pose, so too can experiencing yoga in near weightless state by using the yoga wall! And an environment with a great yoga wall instructor (i.e., Sunrise Yoga Studio owner and director, Valerie Kiser) and an expanse of yoga wall together creates phenomenal opportunities for development in your yoga practice!
The Spirit of Yoga notes, “It is said in Yoga, that ‘you are only as old as your spine.’ Thus, as long as you have a healthy and flexible spine, your ability to participate in life is endless! To open the spine in every direction without compression = hang upside down and practice yoga!”
Come “hang” with us at Sunrise Yoga! We offer a Yoga Wall class on Tuesdays, 8:30-9:45 am. AND, we have a special Select Your Study session on Wednesday, October 3rd, 6:00-7:30 pm, that is a spinal sequence on the Yoga Wall!
Class size is limited. Level 1 and above. Register through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
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!
For instance, do you prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla ice cream or strawberry ice cream?
If you like chocolate ice cream, you are likely to be flirtatious and charming! You lead a life of joy and self-love, while a vanilla ice cream lover, finds peace and balance in the everyday and relies more on intuition than logic. Strawberry ice cream lovers are energetic but introverted. Learn more about your ice cream personality at https://www.thekitchn.com/this-is-what-your-favorite-ice-cream-flavor-says-about-you-221822 and https://www.rd.com/food/fun/hidden-personality-traits-revealed-ice-cream/
So, what does your favorite yoga pose say about you? Does your most-loved asana reveal some insight into who you are?
Let us know which yoga pose is your “go to” yoga pose and tell us if the personality traits associated with that yoga pose truly capture the real you!
Outgoing, Accessible, Friendly
Grounded, Down to Earth, Enjoys a challenge
Unintimidated by discomfort, tolerant, Willing to show emotion
Creative, Thinks outside the box, Self-assured, Youthful
Finds balance in the midst of chaos, Thrill seeker
Secure, Open-Hearted, Communicates heart to heart
Not afraid of challenges, Faces difficulty head on, Fierce concentration/focus, Self-confident
Introverted, Calm, Level-headed, Lives according to their own standards
Easy going, Balanced life, Quietly confident, Enjoys the flow of life
The personality traits for the yoga poses shown above came from WellWellWell, DoYouYoga, and EliteDaily. If you need help finding your yoga personality, we would love to help! Find a class at Sunrise Yoga Studio appropriate for your level and we will assist you in connecting with your favorite yoga pose!
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!