Low back pain is an increasing issue in our society dominated by poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, and chronic sitting patterns. The source of low back pain can vary, but a great deal of these muscular dysfunctions emanate from the quadratus lumborum muscles.
Using drishtis (focal points) in yoga offers great benefits including enhanced balance, increased inner awareness and concentration, reduced distractions, and greater connection to breath. While some styles of practice have specific drishti points, we will look at some basic elements of setting focal points to insure that optimum benefits and quality in postures are being delivered.
In my pursuit of a 'high-raw' nutrition plan, I have been exploring healthy, raw snack ideas. I came across some 'banana crackers' in the natural food store (which were terribly over-priced) and got inspired to make my own. They turned out beyond amazing and simple to make.
For many people, the New Year is about setting healthy intentions including improved nutrition habits. I have been a vegetarian for over a decade and an intentional vegan for about half of that time. Despite enjoying a plant-based diet, I have found that not all of my vegan food choices have been truly healthy (especially snacks). As part of Vega's #OneChange challenge, check out how I am focusing on tidying up my habit of being an unmindful "Serial Snacker". As well, I am sharing an exciting new Vega One giveaway.
Becoming 'more flexible' is one of the more common interests for people entering a yoga program. Many studies from exercise science and yoga increasingly demonstrate the immense benefits of stretching including increased range of joint motion and tissue extensibility (aka 'increased flexibility'). One aspect that is rarely addressed in the development of flexibility is stretch tolerance. Let's discuss how yoga stretching offers benefits in improving stretch tolerance along with some mindful cautions.
I call myself an 'intentional vegan'. Overall, I aim to consume a balanced plant-based diet on a daily basis allowing for minor 'exceptions' when required. Through thoughtful planning, I find this nutritional lifestyle easy to follow and highly rewarding. Some of the rewards come from learning new foods and techniques that can readily replace conventional omnivore diets. One new tool that I am excited to share is the new Thrive Kitchen Edition part of the Thrive Forward program.
Poor posture is often a combination of cascading, dysfunctional elements acting on our musculoskeletal system. This dysfunction is not helped by the fact we have a strong tendency towards a dominance of our internal rotators of the humerus (upper arm bone). As muscle tension imbalances set in across the shoulders and upper arms, the dominance of internal rotation places dragging tension onto the shoulder blades. This ultimately draws the shoulder blades forward that leads to inhibition and weakening of the musculature needed to counter dominant internal shoulder rotation. Let's look at all the various internal rotators to gain a better sense of these tension imbalances.
We are very familiar with the general concept of yoga being about 'balance' and 'harmony' for the physical, mental, and energetic body. These relationships of balance cross their respective boundaries influencing each other. In terms of the physical body, it is essential that we respect the musculoskeletal relationship of balanced muscle tension.
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Kombucha has become all the rage with the yoga community becoming the side-kick to the yogi's mat - and for good reason. I was invited to a new flavours launch party by Rise Kombucha (based out of Montreal). They hosted a great event celebrating 2 new flavours, Mint Chlorophyll and Rose Schizandra.
WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
Balancing yoga postures can be an intense challenge for many practitioners. When we hold balancing poses for extended breaths and even cycle in multiple balancing poses in a row, we readily see many students in the group coming out of the sequence needing to shake off the tension and lactic acid build up in the feet. Equally problematic for many is just the simple process of finding steadiness. When I did my teacher training (eons ago), we were taught to suggest to students that they step off their mat to find more stable grounding. I have recently come to a conclusion that this may be of disservice and in fact, we may want to consider going in the opposite direction to, in fact, challenge our balancing poses even more.