Sit smarter with yoga | Health – WCVB Home

sitting in an office

I would agree with everything except I would argue the opposite about the shoulder points. Pulling them together creates a lift in the chest, and collarbones, increasing lung capacity. Pulling them downward as recommended in the article makes the shoulders roll forward, collapsing the collarbones and chest. It also tends to shorten the “side body,” in particular through the side ribs. Your lungs go right up under your collarbones, so you might as well use the capacity under the collarbones, and side ribs.

Also, pulling the shoulders down as recommended creates tension on the trapezoid muscles in the neck, They’ll try to compensate creating tension through the neck and possibly result in a tension headache. Don’t believe me? Pull your shoulders down, and see how free your neck is compared to when your shoulders lift more freely.

Practice a five-point posture check

1. Feet and knees: Place your feet hip-distance apart, with your knees at hip level. Keeping an even pressure through the inside arches and outside heels of your feet helps maintain neutral knee and hip position. Avoid crossing your legs or ankles, which can stifle blood flow and cause swelling.

2. Hips and pelvis: Evenly distribute your weight through your “sitting bones,” the bony parts of your pelvis you can feel making contacting with your seat. Our feet and knees indicate and affect our hip position, so avoid letting a foot or knee drift forward, taking the hips out of balance.

3. Back and spine: Maintain the natural curves of your spine — don’t try to straighten it. Your mid-back curve is naturally kyphotic, which means “hump” in Greek. Your low back is lordotic, so it curves into some extension. Keep spinal curves soft, not exaggerated.

4. Shoulders and chest: Your chest should be open with your shoulders sitting evenly. Concentrate on pulling the bottom points of your shoulder blades downward rather than inward. It’s a common mistake to squeeze your shoulder blades together and puff your chest out, which lifts your rib cage, arches your mid-back and decreases your ability to breathe deeply.

5. Head and neck: Align your head and neck between your shoulders rather than lurching into “text neck.” The action of engaging muscles to draw the shoulder blades down in point No. 4, helps position your head properly by initiating a muscular action called “reciprocal inhibition,” which turns off (inhibits) the overactive neck, upper back and chest muscles that tend to pull your neck forward.

via Sit smarter with yoga | Health – WCVB Home.

Yoga is not only about position, but energy. Also get up periodically and move around.


Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes – Marjorie Nass

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

In preparing for my right shoulder surgery, following the personalized suggestions of Charlotte Clews for an anti–inflammatory diet, I went grain–free for six weeks. I also participated in a pilot of ReadySetRecover™. You might imagine my glee at a “mashup” or portmanteau of these ideas when Marjorie Nass, with whom I had worked in the pilot, posted this recipe to Facebook.

I would probably adapt this to be vegan, probably by adding garbanzo bean flour with oil as an egg substitute, and using coconut oil instead of ghee. But that’s all part of the folk process, as Marjorie suggests in her post. Have a look!

I posted the picture below on Instagram and Facebook and got so many requests for the recipe it seemed to deserve an official post.

via Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes – Marjorie Nass.

Ayurveda Guidelines for Winter

It’s about now that many of my students and fellow teachers complain about the winter. It is true that for those of us who live in other than tropical climes, the weather can be hard on us.

But there’s more that we can do than simply wear appropriate clothing. For that I turn to Cate Stillman’s “Winter Day Survival Guide.” And I recommend it to you. Click the image at the top to download the PDF, or click the link below to the page where it may be found.

via Ayurveda Guidelines for Winter.

Yoga for Trauma

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, who had appeared on On Being with Krista Tippett in October, was on WBUR’s “Here and Now” today.

I find very intriguing his idea that trauma resides in places inaccessible by language. Thanks to Panayiota Bertzikis for posting this to Facebook today.

Dropping today: “Only Love is Real” by MC Yogi

The second delight of 2015 was learning on Facebook of MC Yogi’s new album, “Only Love is Real.” Those who pre-ordered the album, like myself, received the track “Road Home,” featuring Trevor Hall.

MC Yogi is someone who marries hip hop and yoga themes like Hindu mythology, and the importance of breathing, mindfulness and meditation. Trevor Hall is another in the genre, with a little more subtlety on the themes, and a roots–rock–reggae backdrop for his raps. To have the both of them on the same track “blew the top of my head off”. Or to speak in a very 20th century way, sent me into paroxysms of delight. Enjoy!


Vegan Holiday Main Dish: Mushroom-Chickpea-Hazelnut Tart

To be introduced to this dish by my yoga teacher Sara Davidson Flanders, was perhaps the first delight of 2015. I love chickpeas, and hazelnuts, and to me, they are similarly shaped, which is usually part of the whole experience. This is savory, satisfying and festive. Even though the holidays are “behind us,” it’s never too late to celebrate by making this. Bon appétit!

This Mushroom-Sage-Hazelnut-Chickpea Tart is your vegan main dish for your holiday season dinner. Christmas-approved recipe. The number one question I have been getting lately is “Kathy! I really want an amazing vegan main dish for Christmas dinner, any ideas for me?” My usual answer is to refer you guys to my entrees section of my recipe index, or this holiday menu, or the holiday section of or other amazing recipes online. But this year, I have to suggest this recipe, I made it last week and after one bite I was swooning. With green veggies and red pepper on top, this Christmas-y recipe is your vegan main dish solution to holiday feasting!..

Holiday Tarts. I adore pot pies and tarts for main dish entrees. They are elegant, easy to serve and make-ahead approved! You can easily slice them like pies and serve to guests in an elegant way. I have long loved Dreena Burton’s famous holiday chickpea tart. I send that link to friends and family all the time. So I decided I wanted to make my own amazing vegan tart-style main dish for the holidays. And boom, a new menu tradition was born.

via Vegan Holiday Main Dish: Mushroom-Chickpea-Hazelnut Tart.