Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Yoga to help relieve pain- sciatica




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Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga


The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body.  Its roots are on either side of the spinal cord. Several nerve roots pass through the sacrum and merge to form the sciatic nerve on each side of the body.  The nerve then passes through the buttock, down the back of the thigh and to the lower leg and foot.  Irritation of a branch of the sciatic nerve is usually felt as buttock or leg pain but may also be felt as weakness, numbness or tingling.

Sciatic pain may be caused by a tight piriformis muscle in which case you could follow the last video and blog post, http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/yoga-to-help-relieve-pain-piriformis.html

More commonly however sciatica is a symptom of another problem such as a herniated disc.  Such discs cushion the vertebrae but may 'bulge' as a result of poor posture or injury.  This in turn presses on a nerve which then may result in sciatica symptoms.  It is very important therefore that you consult a medical practitioner to get a diagnosis and advice before doing any exercise including yoga.  If you do have a herniated disc the medical practitioner may prescribe rest initially, pain killers, muscle relaxants, physiotherapy, steroid injections or rarely surgery.  Before attempting a yoga practice do ask your medical practitioner. It is best to avoid practicing yoga while you are in the acute phase when many movements might aggravate your condition.  Never practice if you are in pain or your pain is masked by pain killers.

There are some poses I would not recommend you practice if you have sciatica. Forward bends are definitely not advisable.  This is especially true of straight leg forward bends.  I would also not advise side bending poses such as Triangle, Side Angle Pose etc.  Some people with sciatica find twists helpful but equally some do not so I would not recommend these either.

Your yoga practice should be gentle.  Move into poses slowly, and if you feel any discomfort, any numbness, any tingling and especially any pain, stop doing the pose.  In the video my focus is to correct any poor posture, to lengthen the spine and to strengthen the back muscles. Hamstring stretches are also included since tight hamstrings can make sciatica pain worse. We end the practice with a healing meditation.

Namaste

Janet x

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The first International Day of Yoga

Last year the UN announced that today would be the first International Day of Yoga following an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Today people all over the world - 192 countries in total- have been practicing yoga. This wonderful show of unity offers a seed of hope for the future.  The ultimate goal of yoga is to find 'true self' - which is kind, compassionate, loving, caring towards humanity and the lovely planet.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Celebrate the Summer Solstice

June 21st is the longest day in the northern hemisphere, that is it is the day when we have the most daylight hours.  'Solstice' means 'sun standing still'. It comes from the Latin sol (sun) and stitium (to stop) and it is true that on this day the sun pauses before reversing direction. As yogis we practice Sun Salutations to honour the sun, traditionally 108 (!!) first thing in the morning as the sun rises. Our worship of the sun is understandable: all life comes from the sun. The sun changes simple substances in plants (carbon-dioxide and water) into food with the help of chlorophyll and even if you eat meat (hopefully organic), the animal that it came from ate plants. The sun gives us light and warmth, supplies our bodies with vitamin D when it shines on our skin, and what about the joy of seeing a beautiful sunset.


To celebrate the summer solstice as well as Sun Salutations, you could try this light meditation.  


Light meditation for the Summer Solstice  - http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/

A meditation for the Summer Solstice. 

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Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html 
Thank you 

Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga



Happy summer days

Namaste,
Janet x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Yoga to help relieve pain: Piriformis syndrome




Yoga to help relieve pain: Piriformis syndrome-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/
NOTE-The video is not intended to replace medication. Please consult your medical practitioner to get a proper diagnosis. Other conditions may have similar symptoms and could be made worse by doing a practice for Pirifomis syndrome.
You will need cushions, a block and a belt for this yoga practice 
Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html 

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 
Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga



Piriformis syndrone can cause buttock, hip and leg pain, a burning sensation or numbness. Please do not assume that if you have these symptoms, you have piriformis.  Similar symptoms can be caused by a herniated disc so you do need a proper diagnosis. If you practice yoga for piriformis syndrome and the cause of your pain is a herniated disc YOU COULD MAKE YOUR SYMPTOMS WORSE.

The piriformis is an external hip rotator. Its function is to abduct the femur, that is turn the thigh bone out as in Tree Pose. The sciatic nerve runs between the piriformis  and the sacrum(in some people it runs through the piriformis). When the piriformis is tight, it presses on the sciatic nerve which is what causes the symptoms. This tightness may be caused by sitting cross-legged for long periods (cross at the ankles!) or even by the way you sleep. If you sleep on your side, your top leg bent, knee resting on the bed, this can eventually lead to piriformis pain. Here you could try sleeping with your top leg on a pillow.

In the video we practice poses that stretch the piriformis and correct any imbalances between sides. The poses reduce inflammation and enhance circulation to the area. We focus too on proper alignment when standing or seated because poor posture can contribute to piriformis.  Just notice if any time during the day, you slouch into one hip. You will see that I have included a few hamstring stretches in the practice. This is because tight hamstrings can exacerbate piriformis syndrome. Remember to move into poses slowly and release the pose if you have pain, numbness or tingling.


Hope this helps, let me know how you go on

Namaste
Janet x

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Yoga to tone legs and butt

The following sequence will tone your thighs, calves, ankles and glutes.  You will need a yoga block or equivalent.

Before you start spend a few minutes watching your breath in Easy Pose then practice some Sun Salutations to warm up your legs. 

  • Tiger leg sequence (tones front/back thigh and butt) - from all 4s, breathe in, take your right leg back, foot flexed, level your hips.  Breathe out, bend your knee, breathe in lift your foot towards the ceiling. Repeat 2nd side then lie on your tummy.


  • Locust (tones front/back thigh and butt) - with your head resting on your hands, stretch your right leg away, breathe and lift your leg off the ground. Hold for a breath or two then breathe out to lower. Repeat 2nd side. Bring your arms down by your sides, palms facing your legs. Breathe in and lift your head, chest, arms and legs. Breathe out to lower. Take a Child's Pose.  


  • Lizard Pose (tones inner thighs/butt) - from Child Pose, breathe in and come to all 4s. Breathe out, and lift into a Downward Facing Dog, breathe in and bring your right foot between your hands, breathe out drop your right knee down. 'Walk' your right foot out, turning out your toes and bring your right hand inside your right foot. You can come down onto your forearms or lift your back knee or both to intensify the stretch.

  • Challenging Pose (tones ankles) - stand in Tadasana, mountain pose and lift your right foot off the mat. Close your eyes.  If you feel unsteady, simply put your toes down. Repeat with the left foot.

  • Fierce Pose (tones front/back thighs and glutes)  - standing with a block between your thighs, breathe in stretch your arms up, breathe out and imagining you are sitting back in a chair that is placed a little too far back, bend your knees. Hold for a few breaths then breathe in straighten your legs, breathe out float your arms down.

  • Awkward Pose - repeat Fierce Pose.  To transition to Awkward Pose, breathe out bring your arms down to shoulder height, breathe in lift up onto your toes. Hold for a breathe or two then lower your heels, breathe in straighten your legs, breathe out float your arms down.

  • Eagle Pose (tones ankles, calves, inner and outer thighs) - from Tadasana, take your right arm under your left then bring the backs of your hands together or wrap the left arm in front of the right to join the palms (modified bring the elbows and palms together). Take your weight into your left leg, then bending both knees, peel your right foot off the mat and either take your right foot to the outside of your left, to the outside of your left calf or round the back of your left calf. Find a gaze point, a drishti to help you balance and hold for a few breaths before releasing the pose from your body.  

  • Moving Squats (tones inner/outer thighs/butt) 
  1. Stand in Tadasana at the centre of your mat, facing the long edge of the mat.  Breathe in and as you breathe out take your right foot to the right, turn out your toes, bend your knees and bring your arms into Cactus. Breathe in to come back to centre, repeat to the left and continue.  



  2. Stand in Tadasana towards the back of your mat facing the short edge of your mat. Breathe in and as you breathe out step your right foot forward, bend both knees and bring both arms up.Breathe in and return to the start position. Repeat bringing your left foot forward then continue.  


  • Happy Baby Pose - lie back on your mat then bringing your knees over your chest, take hold of your feet. and draw your knees down towards your armpits, maybe rock from side to side.  


Here are more sequences to help you tone ready for the summer:-

'Here comes the sun-bare toned arms!'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/here-comes-sun-bare-toned-arms.html
'Yoga sequence for a toned tummy and trim waistline'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/yoga-sequence-for-toned-tummy-and-trim.html


Namaste

Janet x

Friday, 12 June 2015

Relieve stress, reduce pain



Yoga to help relieve pain: Chair yoga 4- Relieve stress, reduce pain
NOTE-The video is not intended to replace medication. Please consult your medical practitioner before following this video. If you are pregnant do not twist from the abdomen, twist only from the rib cage upwards.
Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html 
Article to accompany this series-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/introduction-to-series-yoga-to-help.html


Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 
Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga


We mentioned in the introduction (see link in notes above) to the series on pain that stress is one of the factors that can open the 'gate' intensifying your experience of pain. 

This week's video focuses on opening up the body to receive more oxygen.  This is calming for the body, reducing stress. We start the video with Lion Breath, which I like to practice every morning.  It gets rid of the stale air in the lower lungs allowing for that air to be replaced by fresh, oxygenated air.  There is also something very liberating about Lion Breath.  Imagine roaring your stress away!

The asana practice is focused on opening the chest with lateral stretches, backbends and twists.  We also practice Tree pose, a balance.  Balances relieve stress by forcing us to be present in the moment because as soon as we let our minds wonder, we fall out of the pose. Also included is a variation of Legs up the Wall in which we place our lower legs on a chair. This is a gentle inversion, allowing all the freshly oxygenated blood to reach the brain and thereby soothe stress.  Be cautious if you are menstruating, have heart problems, high blood pressure, glaucoma or cervical spine problems.  

We end with Yoga Nidra, yogic sleep which can help with stress and help relieve chronic pain.

Namaste

Janet x

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Yoga sequence for a toned tummy and trim waistline

With summer almost here it is time to tone your tummy and whittle your waist!
These poses will help you achieve your beach-ready body.

Swan - breathe out and lean to left.  Hold for a few breaths then breathe in back to centre. Repeat 2nd side.  Come onto all 4s


Balancing Cat - breathe in bring your right knee into your chest, breathe out take your leg back.  Breathe in and if you feel balanced reach out your left arm.  Gaze can be down at the mat or down the fingers of the left hand.  Hold and breathe.  To release breathe out and lower your hand to the mat, bring your right knee to your chest then down to the mat. Repeat second side.


Plank - from all 4s stretch your right leg back and press back through your heel.  Lower your right hip slightly then take your left leg back.  Press back through both heels.  Your shoulders should be over your hands.  Engage your core to hold you in position, hips not dipping, or bottom lifting. Breathe out and lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog or take a Child's Pose before coming into Downward Facing Dog.


Core Plank - from Downward Facing Dog breathe in take your right leg up, breathe out, engage your core and rounding forward bring your right knee towards your right elbow. Breathe in take your right leg back, then breathing out take your right knee knee to your left elbow.  Inhale take your right leg back, exhale then lower.  Repeat 2nd side. Walk your feet towards your hands then when your shoulders come over your hands, hold your elbows and slowly roll up.  




Standing Twist - stand with your feet a leg length apart, toes turned out.  Breathe out and twist to the right, lifting your left heel, breathe in as you come through centre, then breathe out and twist to the left, lifting your right heel.  Let your arms swing as you twist.




Triangle to core Side Angle - stand in the centre of the mat and take your feet to a leg length apart.  Turn your right leg to the right, your left foot in about 45 degrees.  Breathe in and take  your arms out to shoulder height, breathe out and fold over your right leg, bringing your right hand to rest on your right leg (not your knee), your left hand towards the ceiling. Your gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left thumb.  
To transition to Side Angle, inhale windmill your arms back to shoulder height, breathe in take your right elbow to right thigh, breathe out circle your left arm down and then up by your left ear.  To transition to core Side Angle breathe out, engage your core, and stretch both arms out.  To come out of the pose, inhale bring your arms back to shoulder height as you lift up, straighten your right knee, breathe out, turn your feet to face forward, hands to heart in prayer mudra.  Repeat 2nd side.





Wide leg forward bend with twist -  start with feet wide, outside edges parallel to the short edges of the mat, hands to hips.  Breathe in, lift your chest, breathe out and hinging from your groin, bring your hands to the mat or a block.  Breathe in, breathe out, raise your right arm and twist to the right.  Breathe in to bring your right hand back to the mat/block then repeat to the left and continue.


Boat to Low Boat - sit with your knees bent,  Breathe out, lean back bringing your shins parallel to the ceiling and stretch your arms forward.  Keep your spine straight, do not round your lower back.  From Boat breathe out and lower to Low Boat , straightening your legs.  Breathe in, breathe out and move back to Boat Pose.



Reclined twist - lie down with your knees bent, arms at shoulder height.  Cross your right leg over your left, breathe in lift your hips, breathe out lower your hips to the right. On your next breath out drop your knees to the left, and if you do not have neck problems, turn your head to the right. Hold and breathe for a few breaths then breathe in come back to centre. Repeat 2nd side. 


Take a Savasana before continuing with your day.
Namaste,
Janet x

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Yoga to help relieve pain: Chair yoga 3- Releasing endorphins, nature's painkiller



Yoga to help relieve pain: Chair yoga 3- Releasing endorphins, nature's painkiller
NOTE-The video is not intended to replace medication. Please consult your medical practitioner before following this video.
Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html 
Article to accompany this series-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/introduction-to-series-yoga-to-help.html

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are enjoying my videos.

Thank you 
Copyright © 2015 Flexiladiesyoga

You may have heard of 'runner's high'.  This is due to the release of endorphins from the pituitary and hypothalamus glands in the brain when exercising. Endorphins are neurotransmitters have which bind to opiate receptors giving a similar pain relieving effect to morphine.  The great thing about endorphins however is that they do not cause addiction and they can also elicit feeling of happiness.  BUT you don't have to be a runner to get this effect.  Meditation has been shown to elicit the same response.  

In the video I have included breathing techniques which link breath to movement and meditative moves in order to release endorphins.  The video ends with a 'Loving  kindness' meditation in which we offer kind thoughts to ourselves and others - 'May I be healthy, may I be happy, may I be peaceful and at ease etc.  It is really important, especially when we may think that our bodies are 'letting us down', that is giving us pain, to have loving thoughts towards ourselves.  Our bodies will respond. In addition, it is only by having this love and compassion towards ourselves, that we can have love and compassion towards others.  
We also use two mudras in the video.  The first is Lotus mudra.  The lotus flower grows in muddy swamps and so represents beauty arising out of darkness.  In the video, we offer anything that is not serving us out to the universe in order to relieve our burden.  This burden may be pain, illness, grief, fear, anger or stress.  The second mudra is the vayu mudra.  This helps with many types of pain such as the pain of arthritis, sciatica, neck pain and knee pain.  In the video we practice it with Warrior 2 in order to add determination.   

Link for 'Yoga to help relieve pain: Chair yoga 1- Power sequence to fight pain' http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/yoga-to-help-relieve-pain-chair-yoga-1.html

Link for 'Yoga to help relieve pain: Chair yoga 2- Release tension, release pain' 


Namaste 

Janet x