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Yoga

5 Yoga Poses For Lower Back Pain

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Yoga enthusiasts swear by their poses to maintain feeling open, strong, and stable in their bodies. But utilizing yoga to feel good in your body and relieve pain doesn’t necessarily require a regular practice. Once you learn what areas of your body need be to refreshed and renewed, you just have to find the right postures.

In this article we will dive into a few poses that are great to help relieve lower back pain. If you experience lower back pain you’re not alone – an estimated 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly. The below yoga poses can be done at home with limited props and don’t require any previous yoga experience.

Its important to understand that back pain is not a universal experience and that those experiencing severe pain should seek insight from a professional physician, or physical therapist before attempting any poses that could potentially create further damage. As always, its important to focus on how a posture feels, and not on how it looks.

1. Child Pose

Child Pose Yoga Poses Lower Back Pain Relief









Child pose is a relaxing way to elongate your spine and relieve stress. Even though your mind might be resting, this pose offers an active stretch that helps elongate your entire back. To try it, start in a table top position (on all fours) and then begin to push your hips back so that your seat ends up on, or close to, your feet. Reach your hands forward to add length to the sides of your torso and let your forehead rest on the floor or a blanket. If your seat doesn’t reach your feet, you can fold another blanket over your heels for some extra support.

Stay in the pose for 5-10 breaths, allowing yourself to become heavier and softening towards the floor with each breath out. This is a great pose to practice before bed or even first thing in the morning to help center yourself for the day and stretch out your back after sleeping.

2. Cat and Cow Pose

Cat Pose Yoga Poses Lower Back Pain Relief








Cow Pose Yoga Poses Lower Back Pain Relief










Cat and Cow are poses that provide both a rounding and an arch of your back, and they flow nicely from one to the other. This set of poses is perfect for an achy or sore back and will loosen your spine while also warming up the trunk of your body for any additional movement or workout.

Starting in all-fours position, move into Cow by letting your belly drop down, your tailbone lift, pressing your shoulder blades back and lifting your chest and head forward. Stay for the inhale. When ready to exhale, slowly round your spine up by pressing into your hands and release your neck so your gaze drops to your navel. Pause for a few seconds and then move back and forth from Cat to Cow. This helps position your spine into a neutral position, relaxing the muscles and easing tension.

Repeat 7-10 times, flowing smoothly from Cat into Cow, and Cow back into Cat.

3. Standing Forward Bend

Standing Forward Fold Yoga Poses For Lower Back Pain Relief









With Standing Forward Bend, its important to note that in some instances of back injury this can hurt the back further. You should have flexibility in the hamstrings while attempting this pose – if there isn’t a good stretch coming from the hamstrings, or if the hamstrings are tight – you could create further injury to the lower back. You should also do your best to keep the spine lengthened and more straightened than rounded.

A standing forward bend stretches the hamstrings and lower back muscles while providing a release for tight, tense shoulders as well.

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees soft, not locked. On your exhale, fold at your hips – not the waist – and bend forward toward the floor. Don’t worry if your hands can’t reach all the way to the floor at first; just stop wherever your hamstrings feel a comfortable stretch. The neck should be relaxed with the top of the head facing the mat, and both neck and head in line with the spine to prevent injury. You can keep a soft bend in your knees to prevent any strain in the low back – bending forward with straightened legs together can compress the spine. If you have yoga blocks, place them under your hands for additional support. Stay for 3-5 cycles of breath and repeat as needed.

To exit the pose, bring your hands to your hips, bend the knees a bit and press yourself up to stand, but move slowly. Stand tall for 30 seconds and breathe fully into your belly and chest.

4. Supine Twist

Supine Twist Yoga Poses For Lower Back Pain Relief

Spinal twists can be the most dangerous for those with back injuries – however the easiest on the spine would be a supine twist. A gentle twist offers tension relief for the entire back, as well as the neck. Allowing gravity to help release the back also makes this pose ultra relaxing for the rest of your muscles and your mind.

Lay on your back and bring your arms to a T-shape or cactus shape on the floor. Allow your knees to come up and in towards your chest and then slowly lower both knees to the left until they come down to the floor. Keep your head neutral or feel free to look in the opposite direction of the bent knees. Your knees might have a little space between them – if so, grab a blanket or towel and pad up the space so that your legs feel supported. Try to keep your upper chest broad and allow gravity to keep your shoulders heavy to the floor. Inhale to find some length and use your exhale to allow the twist to deepen. 7-10 cycles of breath will bring a nice physical release as well as a mental one! To switch sides, pull your knees back to your chest, and repeat on the right side. (Hint: don’t try this after a big meal.)

5. Sphinx Pose

Sphinx Yoga Poses For Lower Back Relief





This backbend is a great pose to strengthen the back and also stimulate the natural curves of the spine, which we sometimes lose from sitting for too long. When we sit a lot, the lower back tends to move into a more flattened shape, which can cause pain and discomfort over time. Sphinx pose promotes the natural curvature of the lower back which aids in overall spine health.

Lay on your stomach with feet hip-width apart, and bring your elbows to the floor and rest them under your shoulders. If there is too much pressure on your lower back, bring your elbows slightly forward. If you would like a deeper or more intense bend, place a block under each elbow. Hold this pose for several breaths, feeling yourself get longer with your inhales and allowing the hips and legs to heavy on your exhale. To exit the pose, lower yourself onto the floor, turn one cheek to the side and gently allow your hips to rock side to side.

These are just a few poses to help your back feel healthy and spacious. Always take it slow and ease into postures in a safe way for your body. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your intuition and exit the pose.


Morgan Gertler received her 200HR RYT certification in 2014 from highly esteemed Kripalu teachers and then continued her learning in 2017 by completing her 300HR RYT certification with teachers from Yogamaya and the Iyengar Institute in NYC. Morgan also completed her Yin Level 1 & 2 trainings and loves being able to teach both sides, the yin & yang, of the yoga practice. Morgan views yoga as a vehicle to get back to yourself – through movement and breath-work, we learn how to live a more authentically happy & content life and meet all situations with confidence. When not teaching or practicing yoga, Morgan can be found writing, walking around town with her two dogs, Jagger and Bowie or browsing Sephora for more make up she doesn’t need.

50 Yoga Quotes to Inspire Your Practice

By Yoga, Yoga LifestyleNo Comments

 

 

 

The power of language can help to elevate us mentally, or emotionally and propel us between the gap of where we are and where we’re looking to go spiritually. There are many powerful quotes that can help build this bridge. Here, we’ve compiled a list of quotes for you to pull from – not just as a source of personal inspiration but also as a potential tool for you to utilize in the classroom as a yoga teacher.

 

  1. A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves. -Terri Guillemets 
  2. Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. -B.K.S. Iyengar 
  3. Meditation is a way for nourishing and blossoming the divinity within you. -Amit Ray 
  4. That’s why it’s called a practice. We have to practice a practice if it is to be of value. -Allan Lokos 
  5. Silence is not silent. Silence speaks. It speaks most eloquently. Silence is not still. Silence leads. It leads most perfectly. -Sri Chinmoy 
  6. Yoga does not always cure stress. It neutralizes it through increasing awareness and by changing self-perception. -Debasish Mridha 
  7. It isn’t arrogant or egotistical to feel good inside. You had nothing to do with it. It’s simply the honest response to clearly perceived reality. -Erich Schiffman 
  8. The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body. -Jason Crandell 
  9. Yoga begins right where I am – not where I was yesterday or where I long to be. -Linda Sparrow 
  10. Yoga is not a work-out, its a work-in – and this is the point of spiritual practice, to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are. -Rolf Gates 
  11. What yoga philosophy and all the great Buddhist teachings tells us is that solidity is a creation of the ordinary mind and that there never was anything permanent to begin with that we could hold on to. Life would be much easier and substantially less painful if we lived with the knowledge of impermanence as the only constant. -Donna Farhi 
  12. The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness. -Sakyong Mipham 
  13. The mind is everything. What you think, you become. -Buddha 
  14. There will always be people who can do it better than you, but thats a good thing! Start to see competition as inspiration – without envy. -Kathryn Budig 
  15. Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. -The Bhagavad Gita 
  16. Go from a human being doing yoga to a human being yoga. -Baron Baptiste
  17. Yoga is not about touching your toes, its about what you learn on the way down. -Jigar Gor 
  18. True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied. -Aadil Palkhivala 
  19. Yoga begins with listening. When we listen, we are giving space to what is. -Richard Freeman 
  20. Remember, it doesn’t matter how deep into a posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there. -Max Strom 
  21. When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. -Patanjali (Yoga Sutras) 
  22. Body is not stiff, mind is stiff. -Sri K. Jois 
  23. We have never arrived. We are in a constant state of becoming. -Bob Dylan 
  24. The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough. -Amy Weintraub 
  25. In truth, yoga doesn’t take time – it gives time. -Ganga White 
  26. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible. -Bob Harper 
  27. Have only love in your heart for others. The more you see the good in them, the more you will establish good in yourself. -T.K.V. Desikachar 
  28. Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements – Amit Ray 
  29. By our stumbling the world is perfected. -Sri Aurobindo 
  30. Yoga is about remembering that we are already one with the divinity and we’ve never left it. -Sri K. Jois 
  31. If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate. You breathe when you walk. You breathe when you stand. You breathe when you lie down. -Ajahn Amaro 
  32. Yoga is the bringing together of that which was never separate. -Richard Miller 
  33. When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. -Hatha Yoga Pradipik 
  34. If its weren’t for my mind, my meditate would be excellent -Ani Pema Chodron 
  35. Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny. -Upanishads 
  36. Before you’ve practiced, the theory is useless. After you’ve practiced, the theory is obvious. -David Williams 
  37. Peace comes from with-in, do not seek it without. -Anonymous 
  38. Remember that sometimes, not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. -Dalai Lama 
  39. The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. -Rodney Yee 
  40. What I’m looking for is not out there; it is in me. -Helen Keller 
  41. You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. -Sharon Gannon 
  42. What we want out of yoga is ourselves, not something better than ourselves. -Douglas Brooks 
  43. The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. -Rodney Yee 
  44. Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. -B.K.S. Iyengar 
  45. What yoga philosophy and all the great Buddhist teachings tells us is that solidity is a creation of the ordinary mind and that there never was anything permanent to begin with that we could hold on to. Life would be much easier and substantially less painful if we lived with the knowledge of impermanence as the only constant. -Donna Farhi 
  46. You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside –Wayne Dyer 
  47. When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world -B.K.S. Iyengar 
  48. If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? –Rumi 
  49. Yoga is the art work of awareness on the canvas of body, mind, and soul. –Amit Ray 
  50. Beyond meditation there is the experience of now. -Ryan Parenti

 

9 Great Health Benefits of Yoga

By Yoga, Yoga PracticeNo Comments

 

As yoga’s popularity rises, the health benefits of yoga have become widely understood and accepted throughout medical communities on a global scale. Doctors and scientists have found that yoga is a great cure all for everything from heart health to mind health and even sinus relief.

The more you understand about how yoga can help your students in different ways, the better you can create value for yourself as a yoga instructor. Understanding the health benefits of yoga is an important part of providing a fulfilling and rewarding service to your students. Below we help to break down 9 different health benefits of yoga.

1. Heart

The American Heart Association actually has a fairly thorough recommendation surrounding yoga and its health benefits on the heart. On their site, here they say that “yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, improve respiratory function & heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone.” Yoga is a unique exercise because it combines deep breathing, physical exercise, and meditation. All of the these combined, help to reduce our stress levels ultimately helping our heart health to improve. The physical aspect of yoga helps also helps to strengthen our hearts.

2. Sleep

There’s a few different ways that yoga can have a positive impact on sleep. Physical exertion from a healthy yoga practice can help your body seek out rest. When we practice yoga and meditation, it lowers cortisol levels from stress in the body. This in turn, helps our sleep improve. Yoga and meditation helps to quiet the mind’s chatter, also helping us to sleep better. Another way yoga can help you get to sleep better is through breath practice. Breath is an important part of yoga, and as many experts have noted; slow breathing patterns can help to relax the body and help you get to sleep faster.

3. Relieve Back Pain

The “Annals of Internal Medicine” published results from a 3 year study that found a weekly yoga class helped to increase mobility more than traditional treatment for chronic or recurring back pain. There are many other studies with similar results published online – its fair to say that yoga can certainly be an effective method of relief for people suffering from back pain. Yoga helps to strengthen key muscle groups in the back and also stretch them at the same time. It also helps us to maintain proper posture to protect and strengthen our spines.

 

4. Muscle Tone

As you are putting yourself into different yoga poses, you are using your muscles to support the weight of your body. This is essentially doing body weight training to help tone and tighten our muscles. Power yoga or cardio type yoga classes that focus on high energy yoga poses really help to strengthen and target key muscle groups for toning up.

 

5. Flexibility

As your body becomes more flexible through yoga practice, that flexibility is actually leads to a list of other health benefits. More flexible muscles can help to prevent injuries and leads to better back health. As our muscles stretch, also help to provide better blood flow and more effective delivery of different nutrients to our tissues.

 

6. Respiratory

Before famous middle distance runner, Roger Bannister ran a mile in under 4 minutes, it was thought humanly impossible to accomplish it. After Roger Bannister did it, several other people shortly after were able to accomplish this incredible feat. How did Roger pave the way? With his breathing. Breath is an important part of exercise, and even more important part of yoga practice. Yoga promotes a heavy focus on breathing as a way to control the body and body. By enhancing our respiratory system, we begin to improve the the overall health of our bodies, including the brain, heart, and digestive systems.

7. Mind

More than ever we are learning how mental health and physical health are inseparably linked to one another. There is a compelling article here on newsweek that discusses how yoga can help several different mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD, and psychiatric disorders. Ultimately, yoga provides a multi prong approach to quieting the mind through meditation and breathing.


8. Sinus Relief

There’s a great breakdown in the Huffington Post that addresses how yoga can cure sinus pain. In the article, the author breaks down the many different contributing factors to their sinus pain relief such as how inverted poses can help to clear sinus blockage, deep breathing contributes to an increased flow of oxygen. It also explains how our sweat can help to reduce different toxins within the body and how the endorphins from exercise can help to alleviate pressure in our sinuses.

9. Immune System

One of the best health benefits of yoga is an over all boost to your immune system. As we discussed earlier, yoga can help to strengthen your respiratory system. Our white blood cells are critical in helping to fight off colds and other infections. When we work to improve our respiratory function, our blood flow also improves. The improved blood flow becomes a delivery mechanism for this important internal defense. Also, yoga can reduce mental stress which is widely known to reduce the effectiveness of our immune systems.

 

6 Creative Places To Teach Yoga

By Yoga, Yoga TeachersNo Comments


As yoga has become more mainstream, cities across the world have been flooded with yoga studios of all sorts. However there are certainly still people today who have limited access to yoga studios and still have a desire to continue expanding on their existing practice. Maybe you’re looking to start teaching, but don’t have the resources to open your own studio? Or perhaps you live in a rural area without a nearby yoga studio? Or you might live in a smaller town without any openings at your local studio for new teachers. Today we’ll look at some alternative creative ways you can build a classroom outside of a yoga studio.

1. Clubs or Community Centers

Humans are social by nature, and it’s no surprise that every city has tons of clubs and community centers to choose from. Schools, churches, social clubs, sports clubs, event based groups – all of these are potential resources for you to offer your yoga classes to. You could reach out to the person who manages the club or organization and pitch them the idea of setting up weekly yoga classes with their members.



2. Outdoor Yoga

Outdoors is a great place to practice! People love being outside, especially when the weather is nice so this is another great way to attract people to yoga. You could find a local park, beach, or any other open outdoor area to use as your outdoor yoga classroom. Invite friends or advertise online through social media, blogs, or outdoor flyers to attract students to your outdoor yoga session! This is a great opportunity to spend some time outdoors in nature.



3. Fitness Centers

If there isn’t a yoga studio nearby, or you can’t find open teaching opportunities – another option is a fitness center or gym. There are lots of fitness centers that build classes around specific time frames including early morning, afternoon, late afternoon, and evening. Fitness studios and gyms are great opportunities to teach to a bigger audience because you’ll often get people who are completely brand new to yoga. This is another great way for you to help spread your knowledge about yoga and expand your student base.


4. School Gymnasiums

One consistent you’ll be able to find within any community is a school! Contact your local schools to see if they would be interested in having a yoga instructor come teach during gym sessions or even during class. You can market it as something great for the community and to also help improve their students’ overall well-being.



5. Online

It is a different dynamic dealing with people online than it is in person of course, but the internet has provided a great tool for people all over the world to connect with one another! It can be a great place for you to teach and connect with new students. By providing an outlet to reach a bigger audience, you could even expand your teachings to students around the globe.


6. Corporate

You can help people relieve work stress through workplace yoga! Workplace yoga is a growing trend around the world as companies are becoming more mindful about corporate wellness for their employees. You could offer lunchtime or afternoon classes or even a workshop about yoga and meditation at the workplace. The office can be a fantastic place for you to share your gift of yoga knowledge to others.