Yoga Therapy

Healthy Blood Pressure = Healthy Brain

The weekend Sydney Morning Herald, mostly bought so we can pit our brains against the quiz, also offered some fascinating anti-dementia news.
More than doing sudokus and cryptic crossword puzzles, we ought to be working on keeping our blood pressure as normal as possible.
High blood pressure contributes to vascular dementia that’s caused by having a stroke. But there is some evidence that keeping BP levels healthy can help prevent Alzheimers, too.
Where does yoga fit in? Obviously as a holistic form of exercise; it helps lower blood pressure and provides blood flow to the brain. […]

Letter to a Hip Arthritis Sufferer Who Does Yoga

Letter to a Hip Arthritis Sufferer Who Does Yoga

Today I received an email from a correspondent facing the prospect of hip surgery after many years of managing his symptoms with yoga. I thought that since many who read this blog are yoga teachers and trainees, or maybe have osteoarthritis themselves, they might benefit from my publishing the letter here.

Dear Joe,
Where do you live? Hopefully somewhere where you can find a good orthopaedic surgeon, hospital and rehab centre – all of which you’ll need for a successful hip replacement. […]

T.G.I.S.(Sunday)

T.G.I.S.(Sunday)

Sometimes we are so busy and stressed that, even when we have down time, it’s impossible to switch off.
So, here’s a practice for your Sunday restorative or recovery yoga session. It’s an interpretation of a practice by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden.
Remember though, if you keep ending up depleted at the end of the week, it’s time to balance your lifestyle. […]

Cultivating Calm

Cultivating Calm

This is a simple, effective version for restoring balance to the mind and body. I recommend that you record it to listen to. The Voice Memo Ap in an iPhone works very well for this purpose.
Lie down for Savasana with your head supported on a blanket, and a block longways between your shoulder blades. Your forehead should be slightly higher than your chin, and your chin a little higher than your chest.
Relax your eyes and let them look downward and inward. Let the movement of your eyes gradually come to a standstill. […]

Relaxed Attention

Relaxed Attention

One of the skills to cultivate in yoga practice – no, all of life! – is effortless effort.
This doesn’t mean lifting weights without grunting; it means applying an attitude of relaxed attention to whatever you are doing.
For instance, we wouldn’t think of doing trikonasana with tense shoulders or while holding the breath, but we might not notice the diaphragm being tight. […]

Workplace Woes

Workplace Woes

My friend asked for some yoga help for what has been diagnosed as RSI – repetitive strain injury, affecting her radial nerve and fingers. She works in an executive position and is under much stress from deadlines, lots of traveling and long periods at her computer.
Can yoga be of assistance? I think so, but keep in mind, prevention is easier than treatment. A regular yoga practice that deals with restrictions in the upper back, neck and shoulders will most likely keep you out of the physiotherapist’s or osteopath’s rooms.
So will designing your work station ergonomically. […]

Up Your Sleeve

Up Your Sleeve

Two yoga practices that are very popular among yoga teachers are the sequence for “boosting the immune system” and the one for “fighting colds”. Too often, instead of taking time off to recover from an acute illness, teachers try to push through, even though they know better, and even though they tell their students to rest and recover. […]

The Gift That Keeps Giving

The Gift That Keeps Giving

Imagine if Beethoven had had his hearing restored and he actually heard his magnificent Ninth Symphony as he conducted it at his Austrian premier. Because of hearing nothing, he wept.
Or imagine if the incredibly prolific Pierre-Auguste Renoir had not been severely crippled by arthritis and wheel chair-bound what his contribution to painting and sculpture might have been.
On February 1st, 2010, my orthopedic surgeon replaced my osteoarthritic hips with 2 shiny ceramic & titanium ones. It’s taken time and dedication to yoga and other exercise, but I’ve restored much of my former mobility. […]

Australia Day '11

Australia Day '11

Australia has a hard, even at times cruel, climate, one that keeps complacency at bay. It seems one of the most extraordinary things to me that our farmers keep going back to husband the land after fires, floods and plagues. Tragic stories of lost properties and livestock  abound accompanied by stories of communities pulling together for mutual support, as in the recent Queensland flooding.
We’ve been very blessed this season on Mitchells Island – spared, as we’ve been from the 40 degree temperatures of the Drought Years and saved from the northern floods of this year. […]

Armpits, Take 2

One of the comments from yesterday’s post, a question really, is from Amanda who says:
”Eve – could you say something about ways to assist those with this problem [shoulder problems} to recuperate without surgery…I have been exploring alignment of the muscles around the rotator cuff and strengthening them also and working sensitvely with the cuff tears area/impingements…with students and self…seems to happen when people have had a regular practice (4/5/6 days a week) over many years and then irregular for some years and  then come back in with a new determination, and an assumption/wish that the body will respond […]

Good For What Ails 'Ya

Good For What Ails 'Ya

I first came across this pose (above) at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, where it was used extensively for students in the “medical classes” (read therapy).
So, it seemed like a good one to pull out of the rabbit hat in the weeks after my hips were operated on nearly a year ago. I was reminded of it yesterday, visiting with Maarit who is a couple of months post-hip surgery.
The Institute’s medical classes are like a multi-ring circus. […]

Pain in the Neck

Pain in the Neck

I don’t know how it is for you, but I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. My reliance on, fascination with, and attachment to my Mac has led to many lost hours. Most times, I am productive, but other times, I admit to disappearing into scrabble playing or reading email humour.
My body suffers. No matter how ergonomically smart I am, computer time is just going to end up being one of those out-of-body experiences, like gardening or housecleaning. […]

This Morning's Practice

I stumbled out to the Yoga Shed this morning having had fewer hours sleep than I wanted. The reason? I was up late racing to finish “Nomad”, this month’s selection of our book club, which was scheduled to meet this afternoon. I have to admit I didn’t finish the book in time. However, I highly recommend it, mainly because of the courage of the author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s a feminist, writer, lecturer and fearless critic of Islam. I will finish the book as a vote of support.
Fortunately I had a Fatigue-fighting Yoga Sequence up my sleeve. […]

What do Yoga & Skepticism Have in Common?

What do Yoga & Skepticism Have in Common?

I don’t know the answer to that question, so I’ll leave it on the table for now. Hoping for some contribution from out there, or maybe a flash of insight while I’m typing.
I will say, though, that I felt a little uncomfortable at the Skeptics Conference on the weekend that I might be exposed as a person who says they have experienced nadis, chakras, marmas, siddhis, and other sorts of yogic intangibles, even though I haven’t. […]

A Lotus Springs From Muddy Water

A Lotus Springs From Muddy Water

Here’s a photo of me in Padmasana, Lotus Pose. It was taken when I could still do a pretty great one. If I do say so.
Today I surprised myself. First, I did Bharadavajasana II Twist, with one leg in Virasana and the other in half- lotus, not knowing if it was a direction that my prosthesis was willing to go. No worries. I did the other side. It was fine. So, I thought, what the heck, we’re going pretty good here…and voila, full lotus.
Really, I’m not goal-minded. […]

Frisking Vs. Frisky

I like joking. I think I have a reasonably good sense of humour. It’s fun to share a joke even with a stranger, like at the supermarket check-out; it’s an opportunity to brighten each other’s day.
Ever since fears about terrorism have been so widespread in the U.S., airport security checks there have become very serious and very thorough. Homeland Security does not allow joking. There are even signs posted to that effect.
Since my February surgery, by which I gained two new titanium hips, I have a new relationship with Security. It’s a very predictable one. […]

Sigh

Those of you who have practised yoga with me know I am a sigher. Why hold back? Sometimes yoga is so delicious pleasure begins to burble up from the belly, the kidneys, the heart, and who would want to stifle such an organic impulse. Add voice to it, and, voila, perfection!
I’ve traveled miles on this U.S. trek, now drawing to a close, maybe 450 miles in Arizona alone. Sighs have been too few and far between. […]

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