5 Ways Yoga Helps with Anxiety

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life…
live in the moment; live in the breath.” – Amit Ray

One out of four Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives.  Such disorders are sometimes accompanied by panic attacks – intense feelings of panic that often come out of nowhere.  Panic attacks can include a pounding heart, sudden sweating, dizziness, and shallow breathing.  Living with anxiety and panic attacks is difficult, but there are a variety of techniques that can help to ease symptoms.  Yoga is an excellent way to reduce anxiety (and stress).  Here are five ways that yoga helps with anxiety.

 

  1. Yoga forces you to focus on your breathing.                                          

When someone has an anxiety attack, they make short, shallow breaths.  This can actually make a panic attack worse because this type of breathing can cause a lightheaded, faint feeling.  The most important aspect of yoga is focusing on the breath.  When you’re feeling tired or a pose is particularly difficult, focusing on taking deep, slow breaths makes all the difference.

Training yourself to follow your breathing during yoga class is a useful skill that can be applied to other areas of life.  Whenever you’re feeling anxious or stressed, remember to take deep, slow breaths until you start to feel more relaxed.

 

  1. Exercise gives you endorphins.                                                           

Like other forms of exercise, yoga gives you endorphins.  Endorphins are neurotransmitters in the brain that have been shown to improve mood, reduce symptoms of depression, and relieve stress and anxiety.  Endorphins are essentially an all-natural antidepressant.  Additionally, flexibility and strength gained from yoga can help to prevent injuries and reduce chronic pain.  Who isn’t happier when they aren’t in pain all the time?

 

  1. Yoga reduces muscle tension.                                                                      

When we’re feeling anxious or stressed, we often tighten certain areas of our bodies without even realizing it.  Prolonged stress or anxiety can lead to pain and muscle tension in the back, head, neck, shoulders, and other areas.  Yoga helps relieve muscle tension by strengthening, lengthening, and relaxing sore muscles.  Over time, yoga can also improve posture, which aids in reducing muscle tension.

 

  1. Yoga is hard.                                                                                                     

Yoga is challenging – even if you’re a more experienced yogi, you will probably have certain poses that are still tough for you.  Engaging in something that is challenging – and sticking with it even when it’s hard – will give you more confidence and faith in yourself.

During a particularly tough pose, an instructor may say “This is probably getting pretty uncomfortable.  Breathe through it.  Just breathe.”  This is a good metaphor for life with anxiety.  When you’re feeling uncomfortable, accept the discomfort.  You have survived feeling uncomfortably anxious before, and you will get through it again.  Accept the discomfort instead of trying to fight it.  Breathe.

 

  1. Yoga classes emphasize community and faith.                          

When you’re suffering from anxiety, you may feel like no one else “gets” it.  This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.  Yoga classes can be a way to meet new people and develop a sense of community.  During the resting poses, instructors often offer suggestions for relaxing and being more present.  They tend to emphasize finding peace and strength within yourself or a higher power.  Having faith in something greater than yourself can be helpful when trying to cope with anxiety.

 

A Final Note

Yoga is one of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety and stress.  Yoga can help you to focus on your breathing, release endorphins, relieve muscle tension, gain confidence, and be a part of a community.  If you haven’t tried yoga before, I highly encourage you to try it out!

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Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jen Hayes, a frugal lifestyle blogger and freelance writer. 

 

5 Relaxing Yoga Exercises for a Good Night Sleep

Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together – Thomas Dekker

Sleep is the best meditation – Dalai Lama

How yoga can help you unwind?

A very common cause of sleeping disorders is stress. Stress prevents the body and the mind from relaxing and keeps thousands of people awake at night. And this is where yoga can make the difference. A gentle, restorative yoga practice can help to calm down the mind and to release physical tension. This type of yoga practice activates the parasympathetic nervous system or the bodies “rest-and-digest” system, which helps to counteract physical and mental stress.

Below you can find five yoga poses to help relieve tension in the body and the mind. Ideally they are practiced one hour to 30 minutes before going to sleep, or you can even do them in bed. They are easy poses to be held three to five minutes for maximum effect.

 

  1. Savasana – Corpse Pose

1-savasana-corpse-pose

Savasana or Corpse Pose is a very beneficial pose to calm down the mind and to relieve stress. It is commonly the starting and ending pose of any yoga practice.

  • Lie down on your back
  • Feet are mat width apart, toes dropping out
  • Arms are relaxed by your side, palms facing up
  • Shoulders are away from the ears, relaxing on the mat
  • Back of the neck is long, chin slightly tucked in

People with lower back pain might like to place a cushion under their knees to relieve tension in the lower back. If you feel tension in the neck you can also place a blanket or a low cushion under the head to keep the back of the neck long. As you lie in this pose, bring your focus to your breath, observing each inhalation and exhalation. Feel the expansion of your belly as you inhale and observe your belly relax as you exhale.

 

  1. Anuloma Viloma – Alternate Nostril Breathing2-anuloma-viloma-alt-ernate-nostril-breathing

Anulom Vilom or Alternate Nostril Breathing is an excellent breathing exercise to balance the right and left side of the brain and to calm down your thoughts.

  • Sit in a comfortable position
  • Place your left hand in Chin Mudra (tip of the thumb and index finger touching)
  • Place  your right hand in Vishnu Mudra (bending the index and middle finger)
  • Place your right thumb on your right nostril and breathe in through your left nostril for four counts
  • Close both nostrils using your right thumb and your right ring finger and little finger and hold your breath for eight counts
  • Release your thumb and breathe out through your right nostril for eight counts
  • Breathe in again through your right nostril for four counts
  • Close both nostrils using your right thumb and your right ring finger and little finger and hold your breath for eight counts
  • Breathe out through your left nostril for eight counts

This is one round. Continue this breathing exercise for five minutes. Once you feel comfortable with this ratio, you can hold your breath for 16 counts. While practicing Anulom Vilom, keep your focus on your breath, following each movement of your breath. This breathing exercise activates the parasympathetic nervous system, slows down the breath and the heart beat. Because you breathe in and out separately through each nostril for the same count, both hemispheres receive an equal amount of oxygen. The hemispheres are balanced and the mind is calmed down.

 

  1. Shashankasana – Child’s Pose

3-shashankasana-childs-pose

The following pose in this sequence for a good night sleep is Child’s Pose or Shashankasana (also called Balasana).

  • Sit on your knees in Diamond Pose, back straight
  • Keep your hips on your ankles and bend forward until your forehead touches the floor
  • Arms are relaxed by your side, palms of the hands facing up

When you are in this pose the hips should be resting on your heels and the head should be resting on the floor. If this is difficult you can make two fists and place your forehead on your fists or place your forehead on a cushion. If required you can also open the knees apart or place a cushion in between your hips and heels. Make sure you feel comfortable. With each exhalation let go of any tension in your body.

 

  1. Supta Baddhakonasana – Lying Butterfly Pose

4-supta-baddhakonasana-lying-butterfly-pose

Baddhakon asana is a very good yoga pose to increase hip flexibility. It is said that emotions such as tension, stress, anger, etc. are stored in the pelvis. By working on hip flexibility, the tensions in the hip joint and as a consequence also emotional tensions are relieved.

  • Place the souls of your feet together and let your knees drop out
  • Gently lean back and lie down on your back, keeping the souls of your feet together
  • Arms are relaxed by your side, palms facing up

If you can’t lie down completely on your back, you can use a bolster and lie on the bolster. Make sure your head and back are properly supported. If you feel tension in your knees you can place a cushion under your thighs to reduce the tension in the knees. Once you are comfortably in the pose, bring your focus to your pelvis. Use each exhalation to release the tension in your hip joints, and try to relax completely.

 

  1. Legs-up-the-wall pose

5-legs-up-the-wall-pose

The legs-up-the-wall pose is a very gentle inversion which improves blood circulation in your lower limbs. It is a very relaxing pose after a long day of standing on your feet.

  • Lie down on your back, hips touching the wall
  • Place your legs straight against the wall so your legs and upper body form a 90 degree angle
  • You can keep your legs together or open your legs wide for an extra stretch of the inner thighs
  • You can place your hands on your belly or relax your arms by your side, palms facing up

 

Tips and tricks for optimal sleep

Sleeping disorders can also be caused by improper sleeping habits or routines before sleeping. The activities you do prior to going to bed as well as the environment have a very big effect on your sleeping pattern. Therefore it is advisable to develop a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. This informs your body that it is almost bed time and gives it the chance to prepare. Here are some do’s and don’ts which might help you for a good night sleep:

  • Avoid watching TV or using the computer right before going to bed
  • Avoid coffee, chocolate or any other stimulating substance in the evening
  • Keep negative emotions such as worry and stress outside the bedroom
  • Avoid taking naps during the day
  • Avoid heavy workouts close to your bedtime
  • Take out 7-9 hours of sleeping time
  • Make your bedroom a cool, dark and quiet space
  • Use your bedroom for sleeping and relaxing only
  • Keep a notebook nearby to write down ideas and reminders for the next day

Developing a bedtime routine is very important to help you deal with insomnia for many reasons. It helps to calm the mind before bed, and it helps to condition your body and your mind in realizing that it is almost time to go to sleep. The yoga sequence in this article is a very gentle sequence suited for people of all ages and of all practice levels. You can play some relaxing background music and if you like you can also use some essential oils such as lavender to stimulate a relaxing and calming atmosphere. While practicing these yoga poses, avoid getting distracted with thoughts by bringing your focus to your breath, using each exhalation to release any tension.

Enjoy the relaxing yoga poses and… Sweet dreams!

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Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Yogi Ram, a renowned Yoga and philosophy teacher from India. He is the founding director of the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams in India and The Netherlands.

 

5 Best Yoga Poses for Runners

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Although running and yoga may seem like activities that are on opposite ends of thspectrum, they really are complementary activities that work together beautifully. Running is an excellent way to exercise your whole body aerobically at a high level of intensity. The main benefit of running includes gaining muscular strength, better cardiovascular health, and losing weight. It can also be quite meditative.

However, running can be stressful on muscles, joints, and ligaments. It’s estimated that after every mile, your feet will hit the ground around 1,000 times. This means if you run about 20 miles every week, each foot will hit the ground approximately 20,000 times.

This repetitive impact may affect your hips and legs, which can lead to stiffness and sometimes even pain. For you to get rid of these stressful effects of running, practicing yoga before and after you run will help you to stay flexible, limber, and less prone to injury.

Additionally, if you are looking for a way to not get tired when running, these five yoga poses will definitely help and improve your running.

  1. Butterfly1

This yoga pose helps in adding flexibility to your groin and hips by opening up your inner thighs. Lean forward a little and the activity also aids in stretching the back. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit tall on a mat and make sure that the soles of your feet are together, from here interlace your fingers and keep them on your toes when still sitting tall.
  • Next, turn your shoulders back and try to look at a point past the end of your nose tip.
  • Lean forward until you can feel the stretch.
  • While breathing in, imagine that your head is moving towards the wall in front of you and then breathe out, allowing your body to sink close to the floor.
  • For the best results, ensure you hold this position for about thirty seconds.
  1. Thread the Needle2

If you need a yoga move to stretch the outside of your hips and the inner thighs, then this is it. Do the following:

  • Lie flat on your back on a mat and bring your knee towards your chest at a ninety-degree angle.
  • Position your right ankle on your left thigh and then interlock your fingers while keeping them at the back of your thighs.
  • Try to pull your left thigh towards your chest and hold in this position for about thirty seconds.
  • Allow yourself to relax when you feel the tension building and repeat the pose on the other side.
  1. Bridge3

This move will help in opening your shoulders and front of the body as well as strengthen the core. It’s a great activity to counteract the effects of running since the longer we run, the more we tend to hunch forward. Follow these steps:

  • Lie on your back and place your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips up towards the ceiling while engaging the core.
  • Clasp your hands together underneath your pelvis and roll the shoulders blades towards each other.
  1. Seated Spinal Twist4

This pose not only helps to loosen the spine but also ease stiff shoulders and neck after a long run. Here’s what to do:

  • Cross one leg over the other while keeping your knees pointed to the ceiling with the sole of your feet on the ground.
  • Try to reach your opposite hand across your body while pushing it against the outside of the thigh and downwards to your knee to make the twist deep.
  1. Low Lunge5
  • From standing pose lunge the right leg forward until the back left knee touches the ground.
  • Raise the arms above the head and hold for 30 seconds.

These five poses are an excellent way to end any running session. They work the front and back of the legs, strengthen the core, and open the hips. Do them regularly and you should stay a happy and healthy runner.

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Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Emily Carter, founder of GoAheadRunner, where she and her team blog about everything a runner needs, whether you are a seasoned pro or an absolute beginner. The blog provides information on training, running gear, supplements and much more. Follow Emily on Twitter.

A Day Without Back Pain

A Day Without Back Pain

Back pain is a slow killer; at one moment in your life it creeps into your system, you then learn to live with it. Slowly it is getting worse and one day you may reach a point of no return when surgery is imminent. Do not let this happen!

It is time to set a goal: “I want to have a day without back pain within 2 weeks”.
Great! Now all you need is a plan on how to achieve this.

Here is a 5-step plan on how to improve your back’s condition.

1    Assessment
Where does my back hurt? When, constantly or only after certain movements?
If you experience a constant pain that radiates to other parts of your body it is time for immediate action: pick up the phone and call a chiropractor or an osteopath. You may have or be very close to having a herniated disk or a pinched sciatic nerve.
In early stages a herniated disk and sciatica can be treated very effectively with correct exercises. Find a therapeutic yoga or restorative alignment class. Do it today!!

If you have an intermittent pain, a pain that comes and goes, you can continue with the following steps.

2    Walk, walk, walk!
I am serious, literally walk wherever and whenever you can!
Walking involves all the muscles of your back and pelvis and with every step your vertebrae and pelvic bones move.
When moving muscles receive fresh blood and release tension. Each step you take sends a little shockwave up your body that may knock vertebrae or a misaligned SI-joint back to their correct position.
Walk when taking phone calls, park your car a few blocks from your work and walk the last part, go for short walks during every little break you have.

3    Use a pillow
If you have lower back pain and you sleep on your side, a pillow between your knees – or if you sleep on your back, a pillow under your knees – does wonders.
Use a small firm pillow in your lower back while driving or when sitting on a chair or couch.
For upper back pain or neck pain you might feel improvement when you change your pillow or leave it out altogether. Try one of those pillows with roll-like raised sides for neck support.

4    Exercise
Often the cause of back pain is when too little muscle mass has to do all the work.
Start doing regular exercises to strengthen the muscles of your back and to build muscle mass; go to the gym or join a yoga class. Take it slow! Don’t let yourself get carried away in competition or enthusiasm.

A great exercise for your back is hanging from a branch, a high bar or from the back of an open staircase. It has to be high enough to be able to hang with your whole body straight and relaxed. Do this for a few seconds, later maybe a minute, as long as your fingers can hold on. Relax the muscles of your back, let the weight of your legs elongate your spine and breathe. Careful! Strongly activate your abdominal muscles, compacting your body, when coming back down on your feet.

5    Do the right movements
– Lift or pick up things (and grandchildren) as close to your body as possible. Bend your knees, keep your back straight, and activate your abdominal muscles, fixating spinal movement. Like this you prevent disk injuries.
Always completely turn your body towards the thing you are picking up.

– To stand up from a chair or couch first sit on the front edge, pull your feet as near as possible, and put your hands on your upper legs, elbows out. Now bend your upper body forward keeping your back straight, activate your abdominal muscles, and in a rocking movement push yourself up using both the strength of your arms and legs.
To sit down reverse the process.

– When doing seated work try sitting on the front edge of the chair with your back straight, without using the backrest. When this tires you, use a small firm pillow in your lower back as support.

– When gardening; Plant your vegetables and flowers in narrow beds to avoid over-reaching. You might even consider raised beds. Work in short sessions, get up often and walk about to enjoy the beauty around you 🙂

– Playing golf is risky for your back. When putting the ball on the tee or lifting up your golf bag, bend your knees and not your back. Make sure to activate your abdominal muscles before the swing and ease out of it by looking after the ball.
Do warming up exercises!

 

I greatly appreciate your feedback!
Please leave your comment, or if you want to share another tip, in the comment box below. ⬇

The BackMitra Pillow for a tight and rounded upper back

improve rounded and stiff upper back - BackMitra pillow
The pillow is designed to be mounted on top of the BackMitra® and suits the needs of those with tight and rounded upper backs. With the help of the pillow the neck can be stretched to a fuller extent, facilitating a more effective BackMitra® experience.

support for forward neck position - BackMitra Pillow
fig. 1

Place the pillow with the logo turned upwards onto the BackMitra in such a way that it supports the back of the head. This prevents the chin from lifting up during the exercises, helping to relieve the restricted feeling in the neck.

 

According to the needs of your back and neck you can choose between 2 heights by turning the pillow a quarter.

kyphosis treatment - BackMitra Pillow
fig. 2

Start using the pillow in the lower position (fig. 1).

If you still feel your chin is pointing upward you better use the high position (fig. 2). This position is recommended initially in cases of kyphosis or forward neck posture.

 

5 great tips to grow taller

5 Step Plan to Grow Taller

Did you know that in the morning you are a few centimeters taller than in the evening?
According to medical science this is due to re-absorption of liquid into the spinal disks during the night. During the day the disks lose their fluid bit by bit due to compression caused by the weight they are bearing, resulting in a shortening of the spinal column.
What no one mentions though is that part of the gain in height during the night is due to improvement in posture. While you are sleeping the muscles of your back and neck relax and unlearn the wrong posture they are submitted to during the day.

The question is: How we can make these few extra centimeters permanent?

1. How much can I gain?
– Perform this simple test.
Needed: A tape measure.
Time: In the evening before going to bed.
Stand in a doorway in a normal and relaxed position and measure the free space above your head. Write down the number. Now stand with your back against the side of the doorway, push your back against it and stretch the back of your neck by moving your chin to your chest. Now measure again and write down the number.
The difference in these two numbers is the height you can gain!
In the next steps you’ll find out what you can do to make this gain permanent.

2. Drink!
To counteract the loss of spinal disk fluid you have to make sure your body stays hydrated. Drink lots of water, but don’t overdo it; 2 liters (about 4 pints US) in moderate climates is more than enough.
Here are some alternatives to boring (c)old water:
Fresh fruit juice, herbal tea, aguas frescas (Did you ever try cucumber-lime? My absolute favorite!), kombucha, chia seed soaked in water, a cup of soup, or eat an apple, a mandarin or an orange.
No, coffee and alcoholic beverages are not on this list. They de-hydrate the body!
Tip! Try drinking a glass of lukewarm water and you’ll notice it goes down a lot easier than cold water.

3. Take a nap!
During a nap the muscles of your back and neck are relieved of the burden of wrong posture and get a chance to reset to their relaxed state. The spinal disks don’t have to bear load and will re-absorb fluid.
Try getting into a habit of taking short power naps. Not too long, just 5 to 10 minutes. Any longer and you’ll get into deep sleep and you will feel exhausted after waking up.

4. Work on your posture!
Taking regular walks, stretching up, adapting your working space, exercising and using a pillow can all contribute to improve your posture and in this way contribute to a permanent gain in your height. In my first blog post you can find some tips on how to improve your posture.

5. Stand Tall!
Let’s examine what is keeping us from standing tall.
Apart from examining pure physical factors I dare you to look the most important one straight into the eye: lack of self-esteem.
Here is a simple but very powerful exercise to help you grow. Repeat these phrases during your day. Really, try it for 2 weeks! You will be astonished with the result.

Monday: “I claim this space”

Tuesday: “I am OK!”

Wednesday: “What I think matters”

Thursday: “I will participate”

Friday: “I will look into your eyes”

Saturday: “I am beautiful”

Sunday: Well done! You’ve worked very hard this week and can take the entire day off 🙂

 

I greatly appreciate your feedback!
If you have any comments, or if you have another tip please leave it in the comment box below. ⬇

7 Step Plan to Improve your Google Ranking

7 Step Plan to Improve your Google Ranking

This is for everyone who owns a website and is wondering why after all this time it still isn’t showing up anywhere near the first page in Google.

Here are 7 things you must do in order to start climbing the ladder.

1. Does Google even know your website exists?
If your website doesn’t show up in any Google search, not even far down the results it is possible Google hasn’t indexed your site yet.
• One of the easiest ways to let Google know your website exists is to open a Google+ account, add a ‘Page’ and then add your website to it.

2. Identify your keywords and keyword phrases
Make a list of at least 10 words and/or short phrases (of maximum 4 words each) for which you want people to find your website.

3. Make sure these keywords and phrases appear in your website’s content
– Use your most important keywords or keyword phrases in the title of each of your website’s pages (H1 tag*).
– Next important keywords go high in the text, or in paragraph titles (H2 tag*).
– Repeat important keywords or keyword phrases near the end of the page.
Note! Avoid repeating keyword phrases more than 3 times in the content of a page. Search engines like Google will punish you for this and your website ranking will go down.
* More information on the importance of the use of H1 and H2 tags.

4. Use your important keywords and phrases in the title> and description> tags of the HTML code of your page
The most important go in the title, the secondary in the description*.
• Make sure to create an easy to read and appealing text. This is what people will see in the Google search results. Even if you make it to the first page, nobody will click on a result that doesn’t make sense!
* More information on these (meta) tags.

5. Make sure to put your keywords in the ALT and TITLE attributes of the image> tag
Do this for every image on the website; photos, logo, graphics, any file that ends with .jpg, .jpeg, .gif or .png.
Content Management Systems like WordPress and Joomla allow you to set these attributes when you upload an image to your library.
Note! Be careful which text you put in the ALT and TITLE attributes. If a visitor hovers over the image with the mouse this text pops up; in some browsers this will be the alt text, for others the title text.

6. Get other websites to link to yours
– Ask them to use My Important Keyword Phrase as link text instead of www.mywebsite.com
– Try to get links from other websites in your branch. This is your link neighborhood and Google looks at who is living there.
Note! Don’t be tempted to use services that offer 100 links to your website for
€ 3,- or something similar. This will damage your link reputation.

7. Use a SEO plug-in
If you use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla you can install a plug-in to help you with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the science that helps you getting closer and closer to the first page in Google results.
• For WordPress there is a great plug-in called Yoast SEO.

If you don’t know how and where to implement these recommendations don’t wait and go find someone to help you. Improving your Google ranking takes time and you will only climb the ladder after you have taken the first step…

I greatly appreciate your feedback!
If you have any comments, or if you have another tip please leave it in the comment box below. ⬇

6 Things you must do to Improve your Posture

Your posture influences your energy level, your mood, your self esteem and the way in which people around you re-act to you.
Here are 6 tips on how to improve it.

1. Sit straight

While we were young we probably all heard our parents tell us to “Sit straight!”
Do we still need that advice now?
The answer is “Yes!”
When you straighten up you allow a free flow of blood to your brain, making you more alert, awake. If you catch yourself slouching in your chair give yourself a gentle reminder to sit up straight, again and again. Your body will start listening and with time your posture will improve.

Tip: To remind yourself to straighten up you can tie a bracelet around your wrist, or a piece of string around one finger, or paint one of your fingernails in a different color.

2. Stretch up

After sitting in a chair working for 20 minutes, stretch your arms high up over your head, interlocking the fingers. Breathe deeply in and out. Stretch up as high as you can! Now, without changing the position of your back, bring down your arms and relax your shoulders. Now you can continue work again, or your class.

Tip: In class the teacher might confuse your stretched up arms with participation. As an alternative you can stretch them behind your back, interlocking fingers.

3. Use a pillow

When you are sitting on the couch, or driving your car you can put a small firm pillow in your lower back area. This prevents your lower back from sagging and in this way allows the transmission of energy along the spine. When your lower back curves inwards your shoulders automatically move backwards and are able to relax.

4. Get rid of the chair!

Get rid of your beautiful, expensive, soft and ideal for slouching executive chair! Go to the canteen and grab one of the chairs there. They are by far ergonomically superior to your own fine chair.

Bonus point! Because now you can’t fidget with any knobs and leavers and can’t turn around and roll about, you might be able to concentrate on your work.

5. Lie down

Wrong posture puts strain on the muscles of your back, shoulders and neck. When you lie down these muscles get a chance to reset.

Short exercise: Lie down on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. With your hands lift your head an inch from the floor and move your chin towards your chest, stretching the back of your neck. Gently put you head back on the floor and place your arms beside your body. Breathe in and out 10 times. Try it now!

Bonus point! Tell your kids to do their gaming and whatever they are doing on their smart phones in this position. They’ll improve their posture greatly and get strong arms at the same time 😉

6. Walk

Walking involves almost every muscle you have in your body. Wrong posture puts a static load on muscles in your back, neck and shoulders, cutting off free blood circulation in the muscle tissue. When you walk these muscles get a chance to release this load, receive oxygen and relax.

Exercise: Put the thing you hold in your hand away for a moment and walk with your hands moving freely beside your body. Look ahead and you’ll see beauty around you.

I greatly appreciate your feedback!
If you have any comments, or if you have another tip please leave it in the comment box below. ⬇

How to Become a More Successful Yoga Teacher

Yes, but how do you become a more successful teacher?

In this time where you can find a yoga studio on virtually every corner it is becoming a challenge to fill classes, especially for starting teachers.
What can you do? Here’s a short story…

I started restorative alignment in Mexico with Brigitte Longueville in 2009. Although I found it extremely challenging, I felt amazing after every intensive. Brigitte persuaded me to enroll in the Teachers Training in 2010, which I thoroughly enjoyed, although it was the most difficult course I have done in a long time. I had no intention of actually teaching, I was just interested in learning how my own body worked and responded to the BackMitra.
become successful yoga teacherI started taking part in an Anusara yoga class in my local town in the UK. The teacher asked if I would cover for her whilst she was away and I introduced the BackMitra, with amazing feedback, including a 70 year old woman who was in so much pain with her shoulders that she couldn’t hold a phone to her ear. After just attending 2 sessions, she informed me that she was pain free, which I was thrilled about. This lead to other classes being set up for me by people who had heard about it, with many more success stories from different age groups of both sexes. Many of the students have done other forms of yoga in the past but have been completely converted to using the BackMitra, and have even described it as being like magic!

I have based my classes on different muscle groups and always start using the BackMitra on both the upper and lower back for about 45 minutes, then do gentle exercises based on the part of the body I have decided to concentrate on, followed by a yoga sequence with attention to alignment in each pose.

The classes have started small, maybe 3 in a class, and have increased to sometimes 14. I have had great feedback from many people, including one man with back issues, who said he thought it was better than any chiropractor he had visited and has not missed a class since starting and has brought friends.
I have always had positive feedback from my classes, and many students have purchased a BackMitra to work on at home.

Sue Martineau
Yoga Teacher, UK

Brigitte Longueville teaching restorative BackMitra workshop

10th National Yoga Conference 2013

A short video on Brigitte Longueville presenting restorative yoga with the BackMitra at the 10th National Yoga Conference 2013 in Mexico City.

How to Avoid Back Pain

To many of us it happens, with a sudden movement, after an intense workout, while lifting a load, or bending down to pick something up: back pain! All of a sudden we can’t do anymore what we used to do…

How to avoid back pain?
With only 5 to 10 minutes daily BackMitra exercises you can prevent tensions which cause back problems from building up.

How does this work?
The BackMitra creates space and relaxation through pressure.
By exerting pressure on the spine, the surrounding muscles relax and create space between the vertebrae. In this process the spine will return to its natural curvature and your posture will improve.
Read more…

BackMitra Exercises for Shoulders, Back and Neck

To start with

BackMitra - Correct placementYour head, neck and upper back are supposed to lie on the BackMitra, in such a way that the upper part of the spinal column is being supported. One end of the BackMitra is located below the shoulder blades (see photo on the right for correct positioning on the back).

Lying down

Put the BackMitra at the top middle of your mat with the logo facing sideways. Sit down with your back towards the BackMitra, knees pulled up.
Lean backwards onto your elbows, and continue downwards until you feel the BackMitra touching your back. Shift your body so one end of the BackMitra is touching the spine below the shoulder blades, in the spot directly below the lowest part of your breastbone.
Slowly lie down on the BackMitra.

BackMitra - Checking correct placementCheck the correct placement by drawing a line with your finger from the lowest point of your breastbone towards the floor, continue this line until reaching your spine. This is the point that rests on the end of the BackMitra. If you are not sure of your position use a mirror or ask someone else to help.

The knees are pulled up, feet and knees about hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor, heels turned slightly outward.
BackMitra - Starting PositionWith both hands lift up your head a few centimeters, move the chin towards the chest by looking at your knees. Put your head down slowly.
Check with your hand if there is free space between your lower back and the floor. If your lower back is flat on the floor, tilt your pelvis a little backwards in such a way that your hand fits underneath your lower back.
Place your arms next to your body and relax.

Exercise 1

BackMitra - Arms Shoulders Neck - Exercise 1Interlock your thumbs and exercise a light pull that you will maintain thru out the exercise.
Lift up your arms towards the ceiling. The arms don’t need to be fully stretched.
Lift up your arms as high as possible, in such a way that the shoulders lift off the floor. Now let your shoulders sink back to the floor, the arms stay stretched towards the ceiling.
Slowly move your arms over your head towards the floor. Feel the point of pressure shift on the BackMitra. BackMitra - Stretch Arms Overhead - Exercise 1Keep your attention on this moving point.
It is possible that you encounter resistance during this movement. Briefly halt there, breathe a couple of times in and out and slowly continue with your arms towards the floor.
Let go of your thumbs and slowly move your arms in a big circle, your hands barely touching the floor. Also in this movement you can encounter spots of resistance. Pause again, breathe and slowly continue until your arms are beside your body.
Again interlock your thumbs.
Repeat the exercise 2 times.

Continue with Exercise 2.

Exercise 2

BackMitra - Pelvis Lift - Exercise 2Arms lightly spread apart next to the body, hands on the floor or on the belly.
Press the ball of the feet into the floor, and with this pressure push the pelvis up. Continue until the pelvis is about 10 to 20 cm off the floor. The goal is not to lift up the pelvis as high as possible, but to slide the back of the head slightly upward so the back of the neck can stretch. If the knees have the tendency to move outward you can place a yoga block or something similar between the knees and keep a light pressure during exercise. Try not to get the force from your buttock muscles, but from the legs. The buttocks stay as relaxed as possible.
By lifting up the pelvis and the pressure from the feet the head shifts a little upwards, the back of the neck stretches and comes in contact with the BackMitra.

Important!
 If, while pushing the pelvis up, the chin wants to point towards the ceiling, lift up your head with both hands and move the chin towards the chest.

Breathe in and out 3 times.
Slowly come down, lightly toning your abdominal muscles, until your pelvis is on the floor.
Repeat this exercise 2 times.

Finishing

BackMitra - relax after the exercisesRoll to your right side and put the BackMitra next to the mat.
Roll onto your back, stretch your legs and relax.

Important!
 To get up: Roll to your right side and come up using the strength of your arms.

Here you can find videos with more BackMitra exercises.

9th National Yoga Conference 2012

A short video on Brigitte Longueville presenting the BackMitra at the 9th National Yoga Conference 2012 in Mexico City.

9th Yoga Conference – Restorative BackMitra Session with Brigitte Longueville.

Therapeutic Yoga with the BackMitra

Hello! I am Jose Luis, I am 20 years old, and I want to tell you about what happened to me.

Therapeutic and Restorative Yoga with the BackMitra
Jose Luis Espinosa Gomez

A little more than two years ago I went on a trip with my friends to Zihuatanejo, and I had an accident. At the hotel where we were staying I took a dive into the pool with terrible results; I hit my head on the bottom and I broke my neck. Although I was fully aware, I could not move my arms and legs, and I was drowning. Someone pulled me out of the water and I was taken to the hospital where I had an emergency operation to reconstruct the damaged 5th cervical vertebra; they had to use a bone from my hip to hold my spine with titanium plates and elastic bands. I had postoperative complications and suffered a cardiac arrest for 10 minutes. I was declared brain dead, and was subsequently induced into a coma to prevent more neurological damage. 10 days after that, my lungs collapsed because of an infection contracted from the water which entered my lungs when I was drowning.

Luckily the initial diagnose proved to be wrong: I woke up from the coma! I wasn’t brain dead after all! I found myself in a hospital bed immobile from the neck down and needing an artificial respirator. During the time in the hospital I started recovering little by little; I started breathing by myself, and after 4½ months I could sit up.

Therapeutic and Restorative Yoga with the BackMitra - cure severe back injuries
Working with the BackMitra

Since I got home I started an intense rehab program. I have worked with the BackMitra in sessions of therapeutic and restorative yoga. When I lie on the BackMitra I relax, improving my posture and my breathing, and my muscle spasticity (which is one of the consequences of spinal cord injury) is subsiding slowly. The BackMitra has helped me to sit more upright and to move my arms and legs with greater ease.

I’m sure that for people with injuries like mine, the BackMitra and therapeutic yoga are really helpful. I fully recommend it!