Boycotting the out-breath

Boycotting the out-breath

Boycotting the out-breath… I love it. I love to close my eyes and at the end of the exhale, to ‘dissolve”. It is absolutely wonderful and so relaxing. The quotation is from one of Chogyam Trungpa’s books: Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery. A great book to be read and re-read, slowly, mindfully, lovingly...
Stretching & Strengthening the Thoracic Spine

Stretching & Strengthening the Thoracic Spine

Thoracic pain is not as common as lower back or cervical pain – mainly because the vertebras don’t move as much but tension is fairly common. Whether you have experienced thoracic pain or tension, you can find relief through yoga. Thoracic Pain Thoracic or mid back pain is often felt between or behind the shoulder blades and the usual cause is some form of muscular tension in the area. Thoracic Tension Thoracic tension is quite common among people with bad posture. Sitting for long hours in a bad position like slouching on a couch all might lead to tension in the thoracic spine. This slumped over posture can also be caused by our moods.. but whatever the cause, the question is…. what is the solution?  The solution Body – If you know that you tend to have bad sitting habits, the first thing you can do is to make sure you sit correctly whether at work, in front of your computer or at home when you relax. Mind – Our mood also affects the way we hold our spine. Feeling low can sometimes lead to collapsing in the chest and slumping. A simple thing you can try is to “look up”! Try it next time you feel down, just gaze at the horizon, roll your shoulders back and down and see how you feel. What muscles are involved in thoracic tension…. When ‘slumping’ becomes a habit, it obviously affects the muscles. There are many muscles that contribute to thoracic tension, but the two main ones for me are: Serratus Anterior – ‘boxer’s muscle’ The serratus anterior muscles connect the shoulder blades to...
Healthy Back: Stretching, Releasing & Toning the Psoas

Healthy Back: Stretching, Releasing & Toning the Psoas

According to the World Health Organisation, 60 to 70% of adults in industrialised countries will suffer from lower back pain during their lifetime. It is one of the major causes of disability and lost days at work. Lower back pain can be due to various reasons, from a slipped disc to scoliosis or vertebral fractures. But very often, tension in the lower back is linked to our lifestyle: we basically spend too many hours sitting and this is not good news for our psoas! The psoas: A key muscle The psoas is really a vital muscle which links the upper body and the lower body. It attaches along the spine at one end, in the lumbar area, and at the inside of the thighs at the other end. It is involved in a variety of movements and actions such as balancing the core, connecting with the diaphragm or stimulating the internal organs and nerves – but it is mainly a hip flexor that draws the thigh towards the upper body. The psoas and lifestyle Although we might not notice it, the psoas is contracted when we sit. In other words, if we sit for long hours every day, the psoas is constantly contracted. What happens then? It tightens, shortens and pulls on the lumbar spine, sometimes even twisting it. This not only puts pressure on the discs but also on the surrounded muscles. Hence the sensation of tension and compression in the lower back! What should we do? Since a tight psoas is a problem, we should stretch the psoas. However, we also want to tone the psoas. Why? Because a weak psoas muscle also...
Alternate Breathing

Alternate Breathing

How to do it? 1: Use the right hand, folding the index and middle fingers inside the palm. 2: Use the right thumb to close off the right nostril. 3: Inhale slowly through the left nostril 4: Pause for a second 5: Now close the left nostril with the ring finger and release the thumb off the right nostril 6: Exhale through your right nostril 7: Now, inhale through the right nostril 8: Pause 9: Use the thumb to close the right nostril 10: Breathe out through the left nostril 11: This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase. With practise you can start inhaling for 4, holding for 4 and exhaling for...