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“I am a yoga teacher and truly enjoy Joanne’s blog. It is relaxing to read, refreshing and relevant. I often send her blogs to my students.” Virginia W.

Yoga for Every Body

“I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard that comment. My response is always, “Every Body can do yoga.” As my yoga teacher says, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” In other words, you don’t need to twist, stretch or bend into the shape of a pretzel to reap the benefits of yoga.

Muscular vs. Skeletal

Everybody’s body is unique. We are all built differently. I have yet to see the perfect body and am confident I never will.Denver Yoga Classes Continue reading

3 Standing Forward Bend Options – 1 Recommendation

1-01 copySeveral days ago, I blogged about the five directions of spinal movement in my post, Yoga for Spine Flexibility. An ability to move easily into and out of these five directions is fundamental to spinal health.

Forward bending is one of these five directions and, in yoga, can be done standing, kneeling, sitting and lying on your back. In my yoga tradition (Viniyoga), the primary purpose of a forward bend is to stretch the low back. In order to do that, it makes a difference how the movement into the forward bend is accomplished. Continue reading

Viniyoga Makes the News

NewPapersWhat do the New York Times and Consumer Reports for Health have in common? They both describe Viniyoga as a highly effective form of yoga for stress reduction, improved sleep quality and back pain relief. (See What is Viniyoga? for definitions)

When I quit my corporate banking job in 1994 to pursue my passion for yoga, friends, family and business associates were shocked. Back then yoga was on the fringe and no one thought yoga and meditation could possibly ever have a place in the business world or traditional health care system.

Fast-forward 20 years. Things have certainly changed! Continue reading

Recovery After Hip Replacement Surgery

This week Breathe Easy welcomes guest blogger Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones. Jo Ann is an internationally acclaimed author and movement educator, as well as a full Professor of Kinesiology and dance. We became acquainted through her book The Vital Psoas Muscle, which is excellent and can be found at www.amazon.com. Her eagerly awaited next book, The Concise Book of Yoga Anatomy, is due out this fall, 2015.JSJpic

Many of my private yoga students have had hip replacement surgery and I asked Jo Ann to blog about how this surgery affects the psoas and illiopsoas muscles and the sacrum. Her comments and advice are excellent and highly useful. Whether or not you have had this surgery, staying mobile for life depends on appropriate conditioning of these areas. Enjoy Jo Ann’s blog. Continue reading

Yoga for Spine Flexibility

5Directions_SpinalMovementYoga has hundreds of postures and each one has the purpose of moving your spine in one of five directions. Being able to move easily in all ficve directions is one of the keys to wellbeing and healthy aging. In fact, iit’s been said that a flexible spine is a key indicator of health.

Think of the elderly people you know. How easily do they move around? Can they get up and down from the floor with ease? Can they twist around and reach something from the back seat of their car? Do they walk with a shuffle or is there energy in every step? Continue reading

Busyness

hustle_bustleThe other day I was at the gym doing my exercise routine when I began to observe my self-talk. It went something like this:

“Okay, what else do I need to get done today? I still need to get my blog written for tomorrow’s post. Then, I need to prepare for my classes. Oh, and I need to stop by the grocery store and pick up something for dinner… etc. etc. etc.”

All of these thoughts were racing through my mind as I was racing through my workout. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was just going through the motions, oblivious to my workout or my surroundings.

My mind was a million miles away thinking of my next to-do and robbing myself of enjoying something I really like.

Have you ever been there? So caught up getting things done that you forget to enjoy what you were doing? Continue reading

Yoga for Shoulders

computer_catJust the other day a friend was complaining about pain in the musculature behind his right shoulder and that his range of motion was restricted when he moved his arm back. As he explained his work habits, I began to understand why this was happening. 

He works at a computer day in and day out and will sit for several hours in a row barely moving except for making tiny micro movements to operate the mouse.

That’s the plight of many of us who work in offices. After months and years of doing this, our bodies begin to talk back. Humans were meant to move but our daily lives just don’t co-operate. See my blog, Are You Sitting Down, for some pretty scary statistics on what all of this sitting is doing to us.

It’s really, really important to stand up every once in awhile if you’re at a computer all day. The trouble is we get engrossed and forget to move. So here are some suggestions: Continue reading

What is Viniyoga

BreatheEasy1Respect for the Individual

Whenever I say I’m a yoga teacher, the first question is “what type of yoga do you teach”. “Viniyoga”, I say. This is followed by either a blank stare or “oh, I do vinyasa yoga”.

Viniyoga Is Not Vinyasa Flow

First of all, vinyasa and Viniyoga are not the same thing. Vinyasa just means combining several postures together into a flow, hence “vinyasa flow”. Continue reading

Yoga for Balance and Brain Health

Balance_ToesA Breathe Easy© Personal Practice Tip

Did you know that passing a balance test is an important indicator of brain health?

Research

A study of about 1,400 adults with an average age of 67 showed that those who could not stand on 1 foot for 20 seconds had more signs of “silent strokes” than those who could. These silent strokes aren’t easy to detect but can lead to more serious strokes and dementia.

This study, published last December, also showed that poor balance could lead to lower scores on thinking and memory tests. You can read more about this study here

Can you stand on 1 foot for 20 seconds? Continue reading

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