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.

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.

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International Day of Yoga

Mark your calendars!

UN Approves an International Day of Yoga
UNITED NATIONS — Dec 11, 2014, 12:56 PM ET

The world now has an International Day of Yoga.

The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday approved a resolution proclaiming June 21 as that day.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a day dedicated to yoga during his speech to the world body’s annual assembly of world leaders in September.

Modi has said that yoga can help tackle world problems including climate change.

The U.N. already has 118 awareness-raising days of observance.

via UN Approves an International Day of Yoga – ABC News.

Fall Teaching: Noontime Nourish

noontime nourish

Thursdays at noon, starting 9/18/14

I am pleased to announce that after a long recovery from rotator cuff repair, I will be returning to teaching yoga at Sangha Yoga Collective on September 18. On many levels, my injury has been my teacher. I hope to bring to you an enhanced knowledge of shoulder alignment, and an appreciation of the tools yoga may afford for dealing with life’s little surprises.

I am trying something new this fall, a one-hour noontime class I’m calling “Noontime Nourish,” for nine Thursdays beginning September 25, with a free preview on the 18th. The idea is that we’d practice some yoga at noon, and then whoever was available could hang around with a brown bag lunch to talk about yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, or conscious eating.

Personally, I always find Thursdays to be the most difficult day of the week to get through. It has all of the stress of Friday with none of the relief of looking forward to the weekend. What a great day to offer respite in the middle of the day.

For all the details please see this lovely postcard provided courtesy Sangha: Noontime Nourish Postcard.

Also, sign up for my mailing list.

Staff Pose: Dandasana Seated Yoga Poses

Dandāsana (staff pose)

This is the pose in which I landed when I slipped on snow and fell on Monday, February 3. A trip to the ER kept me from teaching class at Sangha Yoga Collective that night. I am happy to report nothing broken. I will need to rehabilitate my right shoulder some: my laptop bag had driven my right arm into the shoulder socket, causing some pain, weakness and limited range of motion. But this will not keep me from teaching my regularly scheduled classes, or the Free/By Donation Community Class on Sunday, February 16. I hope to see you then, and/or at my regularly scheduled class!

Staff Pose is a basic and simple stabilizing pose that is the foundation for all seated asanas and has several benefits:

via Staff Pose: Dandasana Seated Yoga Poses.