Stand Up Straight: Ankylosing Spondylitis and Good Posture

, Posted in SBY

By Chris Iliades, MD - Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III MD, MPH

Slouching or slumping can worsen spondylitis symptoms. Here's how to maintain a healthy spine.

Many of us can remember hearing the admonitions "Don't slouch!" and "Sit up straight!" as children. Mom was right: Good posture is important for everybody. But for the 2.7 million Americans with ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions, good posture is essential. The word "spondylitis" means inflammation of the spine, and the word "ankylosis" means fusing together — and maintaining good posture can help to prevent or lessen that spinal fusion.

"Avoiding inactivity and maintaining good posture are the most important things you can do to avoid having your back fuse in an unnatural position. Poor posture also puts additional strain on the spine, which can make spondylitis symptoms worse," says Ruth Kadanoff, MD, professor of rheumatology at the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago.


Doing What My Body Wants

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- By Paul Dallaghan

A line often mentioned to me by students about their practice is that "I did as my body felt like today". I believe it is good to listen to the body. To be able to do so indicates a highly developed inner sense. And if being done properly then one must have achieved certain levels in yoga. At a basic level I would say when the body is fatigued, when there is a fever, then this is a time to understand this and adjust or not practice. What I have seen is students ignoring all signs that tell them practice today should not be done and, more commonly, students using any condition to change or back out of practice.

Yoga is a powerful practice. It is beyond us, higher than us. This is precisely the reason why it has been given to us and why we do it. Our true nature is covered up by many layers. Our thought process and ability to comprehend things is thus clouded. From ancient times, the practice of yoga has been going on, being taught by those who experienced it first hand. It is a higher path, passed on to us to help clean us up and pull us out of this mess of confusion. At its base are high scientific principles. It is built on truth. We all have this within us and need this system to help unearth it.


Why is Our Breath so Important for Cancer Recovery?

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- By Diana Ross

Breathing for Cancer Recovery - Calm and Relaxation - Managing Stress, Fear, Pain and Anxiety

"Close your eyes and gradually bring your breath into your mind's awareness. Experience each inhalation as it draws fresh energy in; feel the exhalation emptying you, carrying away fatigue, stress and unnecessary thoughts. Let your breaths flow softly and smoothly from one into the next without hurrying or pressing between breaths. Now breathe in, and breathe out." Diana Ross

We hear from time to time the familiar saying "take a deep breath" when we become stressed, anxious or over excited. Ever wonder why? There are many reasons why but most notably taking a full, deep conscious breath has been known to settle us down when we are nervous or upset.

We create this internal calm by consciously tuning in to our breath. The immediate result of tuning into your breath is the ability to obtain control of your emotional state of mind. The positive potential which comes from controlling your breathing results in facilitating recovery from surgery and beyond. This healing ability of breathing consciously works by calming nerves and inviting relaxation. The immune system also benefits from proper breathing cycles. By conscious breathing we bring the mind/body/spirit state into balance and the nervous system runs with maximum efficiency.

Balancing the breath serves to maintain and equalize the complete breath cycle. The goal of conscious breathing is to have both inhalation and exhalation identical in volume and duration thus creating the natural flow of the breath. This natural flow brings the quiet mind with it. Concentration will be higher during this equalized state and invite a meditative mind. A meditative mind cannot happen until the breath is brought under control. You see now how vitally important the breath is in wellness and how it heals.


Real Foods to Cure Your Ailments

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Unless you are some of the fortunate few, you've probably already felt a tickle in the back of your throat, experienced a deep chill and felt the many months of colder and darker days finally settle in to stay. It's hard to go a day, let alone a few minutes, without seeing the person next to you at the bus stop or across the market aisle cough, sneeze and sniffle. Yep, flu season is upon us.

However, the fact that we have such a widely recognized name for a time of year when we expect to get sick is rather mystifying. Surely we didn't evolve to get sick on a regular basis. There's something wrong with this picture. The human body has thousands of intricate systems and parts that play a role in maintaining the health and well-being of the body, and failing on a regular basis is not a regular part of its job description.When it does get sick, take it as a sign that your body needs your attention, rather than an inevitable yearly occurrence, and you'll probably find that those "unavoidable" colds become much more avoidable. Yes, seasonal transitions, weather and stress do take a toll on the body's ability to ward off bugs, but the miraculous thing about our coexistence with the natural world is that the foods that grow during these times happen to provide just the nutrients the body needs to build strength and stay healthy.


Pilate's as a Tool For Functional Movement

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

By - Aliesa George, PMA-CPT

A great practice to encourage body awareness just like Yoga

Have you ever had a hitch in your get-along? Hip pain is no fun, it can affect how you sit, stand, and move. Problems with your hips can start from lack of activity, accidents, and chronic overuse.

Our Glutes are the largest muscles in the body. Strong powerful muscles that like to do the work. But our body posture, and some of the smaller muscle groups that provide balance and support through our core also need to be active to insure healthy hips.


Why You Should Eat Your Beauty Products

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

By - Sarah Betts

Think about what you ate today. Did you pour 2% milk on your coffee, low-fat dressing on your salad or scoop fat-free yogurt into your cereal bowl?

Now think about what you put on your skin today. Did you use moisturizer or sunscreen?

Most of us go to great lengths to take care of our skin, regularly thinking about how it is aging, whether we are getting wrinkles, what products we can use to slow the aging process and what looks, feels and works best for our skin. Ironically, one of the primary ingredients we reach for to nourish us externally is one that we fear internally.

Take a look at the label on your anti-wrinkle cream or your body butter and note what you see: most likely some form of REAL FAT. Especially in natural skin care products, fats from ingredients like olive oil, avocado, sesame, coco butter, coconut oil and even egg yolks are touted for their smoothing, plumping, hydrating, elasticized and beautifying effects.


Yoga Can Help With Insomnia

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

By - Michael J. Breus, PhD The Sleep Doctor™

Looking for a low-impact exercise routine with high returns for health and sleep? Try yoga.

The pleasures and benefits of yoga are widely understood: Yoga can improve physical strength and flexibility, improve breathing, reduce stress and enhance mental focus. What may be less well known are the positive effects that yoga can have on sleep.

A new study indicates that yoga can help improve sleep among people suffering from chronic insomnia. Researchers at Harvard Medical School investigated how a daily yoga practice might affect sleep for people with insomnia and found broad improvements to measurements of sleep quality and quantity.

In this study, researchers included people with different types of insomnia, evaluating people with both primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is sleeplessness that develops on its own, independent of any other health problem or sleep disorder. Secondary insomnia develops as a symptom or consequence of another medical condition. Many illnesses and health problems are associated with insomnia, including cancer, chronic pain conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, and depression. Medications taken for chronic or acute health conditions can also trigger insomnia, as can the use (and abuse) of substances such as alcohol.


Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga (and success)

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

Excerpts from an article by Deepak Chopra

In the past two decades, yoga has moved from relative anonymity in the West to a well-recognized practice offered in thousands of studios, community centres, hospitals, gyms, and health clubs. Although yoga is commonly portrayed as a popular fitness trend, it's actually the core of the Vedic science that developed in the Indus Valley more than 5,000 years ago.

The word yoga derives from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means union with the source of existence. Unity consciousness is also referred to as the state of enlightenment in which there is complete freedom from all conditioning and one is no longer constrained by habit, past experiences or "karma," and any forms of dogma or ideology. It is a state of spontaneous creativity, love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. These are also known as divine qualities.

According to the Yoga Sutras, "Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded consciousness." The essence of yoga is the union or integration of all the layers of life - physical, emotional, and spiritual. It is a practice for going beyond the ego's habitual identification with the mind and body and directly experiencing our true spiritual self. Rooted in this connection to spirit, we are able to solve the challenges that arise in life with greater ease and grace.


See Progress - Are Some Things Getting Better?

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

By Rick Hanson

The Practice: See progress.


There are always things that are getting worse. For example, over the past year, you probably know someone who has become unemployed or ill or both, and there's more carbon in the atmosphere inexorably heating up the planet.

But if you don't recognize what's improving in your own life, then you feel stagnant, or declining. This breeds what researchers call "learned helplessness" – a dangerously slippery slope: in the original experiments on dogs, whose motivational neural systems are like our own in important ways, it was very easy to train them in helplessness but very, very hard to teach them later that they could actually walk a few steps to escape from painful electric shock.

If you don't recognize what's getting better in the people around you, then you'll continue to feel disappointed – and they'll continue to feel criticized, not seen, and "why bother."

If you don't see the positive trends in our world over the past several decades – such as the end of the Cold War, improved medical care and access to information, and a growing middle class in many third world countries – then you'll get swallowed up by all the bad news, and give up trying to make this world better.

It's not that you're supposed to look through rose-colored glasses. The point is to see life as it is – including the ways it's improving.



How Breast Cancer Made Me a Yogini

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

Amanda Nixon from the HuffPost

Yoga isn't just for smelly hippies, fitness buffs, and pretzel-like flexible people. This was Amanda Nixon's discovery, when she at the age of 27 was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. In this article in HuffPost, she details her journey from starting yoga therapy for cancer to now, undergoing her own yoga teacher certification. See link to full article on HuffPost below.

At the age of 27, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare, aggressive form of breast cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). Immediately following my diagnosis, my life became a whirlwind of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, a mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries. As a result of my surgeries (and flying on airplanes) I developed a condition called Lymphedema that causes my hand and arm to swell. I desperately needed something to improve not just my body, but my mind and spirit too. My mom and my boss recommended I try yoga.

It wasn't until I stepped foot into my first Cancer Therapy Yoga class that something clicked. Here I was, able to reconnect with my body and focus my mind, surrounded by other beautiful breast cancer survivors. The class was fun, restorative, and gentle enough for beginners. I was in a safe place where I felt accepted, supported, and loved. From then on, I was hooked.


Raga Spirit 2012

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A Festival of Indian Music

raga spirit

What Really Happens in Hip Openers

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

By Dr. Robin Armstrong

One of the most common requests heard in a yoga class is "hip openers today please." This request is usually followed by the other half of the class groaning. We love to hate hip openers yet our bodies crave them and often feel lighter and more open after—for good reason. The majority of us sit for most of our days, shortening the hip flexors at the front of the hip (psoas, rectus femoris, sartorius) and tightening the hip rotators (piriformis, obturator internus, gamellus, to name a few).

A Look Inside the Hip

The hip joint itself is a ball and socket type joint with the head of the femur (thigh bone) sitting in the acetabulum or socket of the pelvis. A variety of muscles attach into the femur starting from the pelvis itself, the lumbar spine, the sacrum, or other parts of the femur. Hip openers could affect any of the muscles surrounding the hip depending on the position of the joint at the time of the pose.


Hyperkyphosis ( Computer neck)

, Posted by Mina, Posted in SBY

Have you looked at your side view in the mirror lately ?

Posture problems, particularly forward head posture (or computer neck) are rampant in today's society. Age-related deterioration of posture begins to set in as early as age 25.
I have noticed this issue with individuals who I come across with nowadays much more than before .The sad part is that it is obvious in people younger than 25 ( Teens) due to inactivity , poor posture and working behind a desk for long hours.

For most people, the first visible signs of a deteriorating posture is a forward head and an exaggerated curvature of the upper spine. And here is the bad news: if you don't do anything about it, you set yourself up for a host of health problems down the road.


One Of Our Own Studio Members Has Published Her Book

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Empowered Voices: True Stories by Awakened Women

EmpoweredVoicesflierRevGrace"What is an Empowered Voice? We're surrounded by examples of Power Over, Taking Power Away, Power At All Costs ... so what does true Empowerment look like? Empowerment comes from within ... when you learn to translate the messages told by your Internal Critic into messages of Compassionate Understanding. That is what this book is about ... 23 women who have healed a place of intense pain, trauma or grief, and have learned to love the Truth of who they are."

~ Meenal Kelkar, Camarillo resident & author of Story Fifteen


Apple Cider Viegar

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By The Green Yogi - Kelly

There are always "new" super foods... Most have been around forever and we rediscover them. Chia seeds, kale, flax, kombucha, goji berries, etc. and they promise amazing results. But I haven't experienced one that offers as many benefits as the product we all already have sitting in our pantry, apple cider vinegar.

Now, drinking vinegar may not sound super appealing. However, how does combatting diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, and promoting weight loss sound? These claims are backed up by scientific evidence. With just 2 teaspoons a day the results can literally change your life. Just mix it into your salad dressing, take it like a shot or pour into your drink du jour. There are even more supposed health benefits: fights body odor, treats acne, age spots, and cellulite, relieves digestive tract pain, improves stamina, and strengthens the immune system. However there are other products that may do an even better job than ACV to prevent or lessen these symptoms.

Not to be Debbie Downer, but there's risk with everything though ACV's risk is pretty low, but best to be aware! It's acidic (acetic acid to be exact) which can damage tooth enamel if you take too much. That being said if you already have acid reflux I'd avoid putting gasoline on your fire. Long term use could lower your potassium levels, which is bad for people with low bone density or diagnosed osteoporosis. If you have diabetes or a heart condition there is a chance ACV could interact with medication you're currently taking. SO, always ask your doctor before starting something new.

But if you're like me and prefer homeopathic solutions to pharmaceuticals there are so many benefits in this liquid, which no one pill can compete.