Here’s Why Your Company’s Wellness Program Isn’t For You

Your company offers a workplace wellness program.

You figure it only makes sense for more flexible people, for the younger employees, and for people who don’t have that much work to get done. What could it do for someone with a limited range of motion, low endurance, and lack of time?

Maybe, just maybe, you get convinced somehow. Your stress gets too high, your energy gets too low, and you see the effects the classes are having on your colleagues.

So you go to some classes, you start chatting up with people who you’ve never met before. IT guys are talking to sales guys. People who you’ve never seen taking the stairs are now squatting with weights in their hands! People who used to come in twenty minutes late are coming into work a half hour early so that they don’t feel guilty in case they come back a little late from lunch. There’s higher engagement, higher morale, and a higher likelihood for you to stay if hell breaks loose at 4:43 pm.

It’s a fun reprieve from work and is certainly different than how you usually spend lunch (browsing through YouTube, Twitter, or your emails). Instead, your lunches are now filled with kicking through the air and laughing about next week’s new “super crazy cycling combo”.

It works.

For a few months…

The classes you’re attending are fun but they’re not effective for your circumstance.

They don’t have any effect on how you deal with stressful situations on a daily basis, they don’t relieve your back, shoulder, or neck pain, and, they may even be having a negative impact on these things.

Here’s why the workplace wellness program won’t work for you:

It’s not tailor-made for your specific needs.

Needs such as relieving chronic pain, dealing with stress, and even the ability to communicate with people without losing your temper.

The classes that are offered at work, at the gym, or at your community centre are often ways to:

  • “Get you exercising!”
  • “Get your blood pumping!”
  • “Get you healthier!”


But those are very vague phrases that don’t offer specific solutions.

In fact, here’s the mind-blowing secret no one will ever tell you:

You know those personal trainers teaching you to wave around barbells, medicine balls, and make use of TRX systems? They teach you that because that’s what’s interesting for them to teach and that’s what they learned in school, not because it’s beneficial for you. UNLESS, you’ve found someone who can tell you why they’re using those exercises for your specific conditions.

Trainers were taught things like how to get people to lose weight, increase endurance and muscle mass, gain strength, and improve flexibility. They were not taught how to deal with mental health, chronic conditions, chronic pain, and exercise for injuries.

And that’s not their fault. That’s what they were taught.

So, no matter how much equipment your company buys, you won’t be able to improve your health concerns if you don’t do exercises specifically tailored for you.

Of course it’s difficult to convince your company (or rather the person or department responsible for compensation, benefits, or rewards) to find a health professional that knows how to solve every type of health problem ever. But you can convince them to find one who knows exactly how to solve work-related issues such as stress, mental health problems (like sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, etc.), fatigue, chronic pain (back, shoulders, neck, feet, knees, etc.), varicose veins, low energy, and eyesight degradation.

Let’s use the Office of the Town of Newmarket as an example:

Their staff get a large percentage off all of the programs that the town has to offer and they could choose from classes such as Restorative Yoga, Muscle Sculpt, Cardio Kickboxing, and so much more.

Those seem great from an outsider’s perspective, maybe even fun, but they are ultimately ineffective at battling the major problems so many people face as a result of sitting at a desk and staring at a screen for 8+ hours.

The staff had known that and that’s why they were willing to pay for a program that was x4 more expensive for each individual person than what they could pay with their discount because it had a higher ROH (return on health), and subsequently, ROI.

You’ve probably seen or even attended similar classes so let’s go through why each of these would be ineffective for you:

Restorative Yoga:

Don’t even get me started on how wrong this is for anyone who’s stressed out.

Let’s use an example you’d probably be familiar with:

Your child has just had a day of fun with their friends, they’ve eaten pizza, chips, and cake, and guzzled down 3 cups of pop. Then, you even let their friends stay over for a movie. Eventually, their friends go home, it’s an hour past your child’s bedtime and they won’t go to sleep.


Because they are over-excited.

That is you after a day at the office. Only you’ve guzzled down 3 cups of coffee, not pop. And you dealt with poor experiences of screaming colleagues, rather than exciting experiences of screaming friends. And you had to deal with screw ups from so many departments, and deadlines, and emails, and a very questionable donut in one of your meetings.

So you’re not going to calm down by lying down on the floor and focus on your breath. It will only agitate you more, get you thinking more about your workplace problems, as well as your chronic pain.

And for the people who tell you it works – they probably weren’t too stressed out to begin with.

Biggest Con: It leaves you in a more agitated state than before you entered the class

Muscle Sculpt:

Ah, the infamous muscle sculpt. With the power of low-weight barbells, it creates the illusion that you are “sculpting” your muscles. When in fact, you’re losing both muscle and fat.

More cardio than anything else, the class will leave you feeling sweaty, tired, and if you do it for long enough, you’ll have higher endurance to do that type of class for a longer period of time.

Yes, it’ll get your heart rate up, but that’s probably not your top priority when it comes to your health.

Biggest Con: May result in past injuries flaring up

Cardio Kickboxing:

Hands down, this is one of the most challenging classes. And fun! But again, depending on the instructor, you could be losing both muscle and fat. If you’re lucky, your instructor will add strength training into the mix.

Biggest Con: Risk of muscle and joint injury

So while these classes all encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, they simply do not solve a range of more dangerous problems.

To help solve those problems, let’s look at 5 massages you can do right at your desk that will start helping you immediately. They will also help any of your friends or colleagues who work in office environments. So if you share this with them, they’ll be thanking you later (even though they may not admit that they have major aches in their neck, shoulders, lower back, and more).

  1. Using the fingers of your right hand and the base of your palm, squeeze the back of your opposite shoulder. You can support your right elbow with the opposite hand. Repeat this squeezing, moving your hand from the outer part of your upper back towards the spine without touching the actual spine. Change sides.


This massage provides relief for tension headache, pain in the neck and shoulders, and even helps with pain in the jaw.

  1. Move your right hand down along your neck. Try to reach downward as far as possible towards your mid-back. From this point start moving up, using your fingers and the base of your palm. Squeeze the muscles on both sides of your spine, making sure to avoid squeezing the spine itself. Keep scaling your hand upward until you reach the base of your skull.  


Switch hands and repeat the same massage technique.

Massaging your neck in this way helps to release pressure right at the origin of the trapezius muscle and will help you to get pleasant relief from your neck pain.

  1. With your right hand, reach to the back of your spine as low as it works for you and begin spiral movements along the side of the vertebral column, moving up towards the base of the skull. Repeat a few times, going deeper and deeper into the muscle as much as you can without it being painful.


  1. Gently tilt your head forward and find C7 vertebrae. Start pinching on both sides of the vertebrae with the base of the palm and fingertips. Make sure that you are not touching the spine itself. Walk your hand up in this pinching manner towards the occipital bone. If you find some spots that hurt more than others spend more time on them.


Repeat with the other hand.

  1. Tilt your head to the right. With your right hand reach to the back of the left shoulder. Using index, middle, and ring fingers start pressing on the meaty part of the shoulder.

Look for painful areas.

When you find some of those areas, spend more time pressing on them. Make sure you work only on the shoulder level without going up the side of the neck.

Alternate sides.


This tactic helps to stretch tight muscles on the side of the neck, relieving neck pain and partial headache that could be a side effect of these tight muscles.


So, if you do this over the period of a week and see an improvement, share your success story with us, with a coworker, or with a friend going through similar problems. Chances are, if they sit in at a desk for the whole day, they’ve been experiencing similar chronic pain just like you.

Bad knees? Here’s how to stay active using these exact dos and don’ts

You’re afraid. That’s understandable.

Perhaps you think that because you can’t do activities as you used to, then you shouldn’t do them at all.

Perhaps you think that if one slight move gives you pain, then you should stop moving in general.

Perhaps you think you’ve tried everything and none of it has been successful.

Or perhaps, you’re brave right now—because you decided to take a peek at how to stay active even though it feels like the pain will never end when you do one wrong movement. We’ve been in this exact situation which is why we know the exact moves to do and not do for you to keep active.

yoga for bad knee

You could have a bad knee (or knees) because you’re someone who participates in lots of sports and got an injury as a result.

Yoga practice? Check.

Skiing? Check.

Gymnastics? Check.

Football? Check.

Ice skating? Check.

Getting run over by your 100 pound dog? Believe it or not…double check.

These activities are all ones in which we’ve gotten injuries.

Perhaps you got your bad knee from a car accident, or some other form of accident. Or maaaaybe, even as a result of your own stupidity (such as balancing on top of a ladder on your tippy toes, trying to screw the massive lamp in).

Maybe you even got your bad knee(s) from “old age” as you claim! Every time someone says this we ask what your occupation is—it immediately becomes clear what the real reason is behind your bad knee(s). Hint: it’s usually because you aren’t active enough. People haven’t met the active guidelines for a while, as mentioned in a previous article. I’m talking about you, office workers.

No matter what the reason is for your bad knee(s), the worst thing you can do is to cease all physical activity. You can still can enjoy physical activity, but you must make sure that the type of activity you do is not injuring you even more. A great low-intensity activity you can do is yoga. It probably scares you to do it because the mainstream media has taught you that in order to practice it, the goal is to do all the poses perfectly.

How wrong this is.

Modified Yoga Poses for Your Bad Knees

Yoga practice is for you, and you only. You should be doing what feels comfortable for your body and for your environment. Practicing yoga becomes particularly more of a physical activity once you start doing it with an injury. That’s because your yoga practice has to be more dynamic than it would without an injury. Even if you’re comfortable enough holding the pose, it’s better to be performing it dynamically.

Why Dynamic Yoga is Best For Injured Joints

Muscles and bones have direct blood supply. They have capillaries feeding their tissues with the blood, but joints don’t have this luxury. Instead, some of the joints have synovial fluid surrounding them.

synovial fluid in knee

See where it says “synovial cavity”? That’s where you can find the synovial fluid which makes it easier for the joints to work together.

“What does this mean for my yoga practice?”

Simply put, longer warm up is necessary. Make sure all of your muscles feel ready to jive and learn new movements. Sure, you may feel silly, but you’ll learn much more about your body being active than sitting still. It will give you the energy, the knowledge, and tremendous respect to the way in which we are built to restore our body to its original capacity.

Here are some of the yoga poses you can perform dynamically. This is Part 1 of our Modifications for Knees Series.

Standing Yoga Poses


Uttanasana Variations – Standing Forward Bend

Even if your hamstrings allow you to make sure that your sitting bones are your highest point of the body and you truly hinge down from the hips, please, make sure that

a) If you have MCL or ACL problems you should always keep your knees bent.

b) If you have meniscus problems you don’t lift your knees up and lock them.

utthita-trikonasana Trikonasana – Triangle Pose

Since this pose is asymmetrical (meaning that one side does not look like the other one) it matters which side you have your injury on:

a) You are side-tilting to the side that has the meniscus problem – you can keep the knee straight, but not locked as long as you don’t feel a stretch behind this knee; make sure that most of the weight is on the other foot.

b) You are side-tilting to the side that has MCL/ACL problem – never keep this straight, never go to the point when you feel even a little pain in or behind your knee; make sure that most of the weight is on the other foot.

c) You are side-tilting to the side that has no issue, but the opposite leg has either meniscus, ACL/MCL problems – make sure to have no substantial weight on this opposite leg. In case of ACL/MCL problems – bend this knee. The leg that you are side-tilting to must have no stretchy feeling behind the knee, otherwise you are overstretching the ligaments.

parsvottanasanaParsvotannasana – Intense Side Stretch Pose

Since this pose, like the previous one, is asymmetrical (meaning that one side does not look like the other one) it matters which side you have the injury on:

a) You are bending to the side that has the meniscus problem – you can keep the knee straight, but not locked as long as you don’t feel a stretch behind this knee; you can keep your belly on your front thigh (which will keep you from overstretching your lower back). Try to distribute weight evenly throughout both legs and don’t lift your back heel.

b) You are bending to the side that has ACL/MCL problem – never keep this knee straight, always keep it bent. Distribute weight evenly through both legs, don’t lift back heel, but make sure there is no stretchy feeling right behind the knee of the back leg.

c) Back leg has meniscus problem – you can lift up the heel of the back leg and keep the heel off the ground, but don’t lock the knee. You can keep the leg straight, but make sure there is no stretchy feeling behind the knee.

d) Back leg has ACL or MCL problem – don’t straighten the leg; heel is off the ground.

prassaritaPrassarita Padottanasana – Wide Legged Forward Bend

You can do this pose with a meniscus injury, but it’s not recommended if you have an ACL or MCL injury.




utkatUtkatasana – Chair Pose

Never bend your knees fully.

In fact, find your pain point and stop bending your knees right before this point.

Keep your heels on the ground for stability, even if you bend your knees slightly.

utkataUtkata Konasana – Goddess Pose

If you have an injury, you won’t be able to bend your knees all the way. As mentioned before, you should be performing poses dynamically—it’s especially true for this one. This means that you shouldn’t squat and hold the pose for a number of breaths or seconds. Instead, squat during exhalation and reach just before your pain point and straighten (but not completely) your knees. Repeat at least 10-15 times, but make sure that your knees are not passing over your toes like we show here.

vrikshasana.pngVrikshasana – Tree Pose

Since this pose is asymmetrical, it depends which side you have your injured knee on.

a) Injured Meniscus on the standing leg – safe only if you can lift up the other foot for placing it well above the knee, but…it would be better to avoid it.

b) Injured MCL or ACL on the standing leg – avoid the pose with placement of the other foot inside of the leg. You could only perform it if you can place the opposite foot in front of your thigh in half lotus.

c) Injured Meniscus, MCL or ACL on the bending leg – don’t bend the knee too much; place it below the other knee.

warrior 3 Virabhadrasana III – Warrior III

Since this pose is asymmetrical it depends which side you have your injured knee on.

a) Injured meniscus on standing leg – you can perform this pose, but be careful with straightening your knee. Make sure that there is no pain behind the knee and no pain in the knee itself. Don’t hold pose for longer than one breath.

b) Injured MCL or ACL on standing leg – don’t straighten the leg; keep it bent.

c) Injured meniscus or ACL/MCL on the back leg – you can easily perform the pose.

standing-split.pngUrdvaika Padottanasana – Standing Split

Since this pose is asymmetrical it depends which side you have the injured knee on.

a) Injured meniscus on the standing leg – you can perform this pose, but be careful with straightening your knee. Make sure that there is no pain behind the knee and no pain in the knee itself. Don’t hold the pose for longer than one breath.

b) Injured MCL or ACL on the standing leg – don’t straighten the leg; keep it bent.

c) Injured meniscus or ACL/MCL on the back leg – you can easily perform the pose.



Garudasana – Eagle Pose

Avoid Eagle Pose by any means with any types of leg injuries, this is one of the worst poses for any type of knee injuries.


Ardha-ChandrasanaArdha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose

Since this pose is asymmetrical it depends which side you have the injured knee on.

a) Injured meniscus on the standing leg – you can perform this pose, but be careful with straightening your knee, just make sure that there is no pain behind the knee and no pain in the knee itself. Don’t hold the pose for longer than one breath, it is better if you go into the pose and right out in slow motion without stopping in it.

b) Injured MCL or ACL on the standing leg – don’t straighten the leg; keep it bent.

c) Injured meniscus or ACL/MCL on the upper leg – you can easily perform the pose.


Malasana – Garland Pose

Avoid this pose with any type of knee injuries!




gate pose.jpgParignasana – Gate Pose

This pose is asymmetrical and it depends which side you have the injured knee on and also what kind of injury.

a) Injured meniscus on the leg where the knee is on the floor – avoid this pose, this is big NO!

b) Injured meniscus on the straight leg placed outside – you are fine to proceed, but make sure there is no pain in that knee.

c) Injured MCL or ACL on the straight leg placed outside – avoid this pose, it is too dangerous for the knee ligaments.

d) Injured MCL or ACL on the leg where the knee is on the floor – proceed with caution, but I would still avoid it since there is too much pressure on that knee.

low lunge poseAnjaneyasana – Low lunge Pose

This is a tricky pose and despite its asymmetrical look you’d think that this pose is bad for the knee, but you will be surprised to find out that this pose is very beneficial for restoring knee health. It all depends on the technique of getting into the pose and its alignment.

a) Knee injury on the front knee – make sure that your knee is not in front of the ankle; you can even bend it slightly.

b) Knee injury on the lower knee – make sure that the weight goes more on the upper part of the knee, not on the patella (kneecap), not on the tibia (shinbone), but on the upper part of the knee which is still femur bone, even if you need to move the knee more back for this. There is a misunderstanding that if you bring the legs closer towards each other it is more beneficial. This is incorrect because this way you apply direct pressure to the knee joint instead of the front of the thigh. If this is not possible then you’d better not do the pose at all.

virabhasana.jpgVirabhadrasana variations – High Lunge or Warrior Pose

This pose can be very beneficial for knee heath, as long as it is performed correctly.

a) If the injury is on the front leg – distribute the weight evenly between the legs and the arms. Make sure that the front knee is never in front, but slightly behind the ankle.

b) Meniscus injury on the back leg – you can keep the leg straight.

c) MCL or ACL injury on the back leg – never put the heel down; make sure that the leg is on the toe mounts.

downward facing dog.jpgAdha Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

With any type of knee injury make sure that you are comfortable in the pose. Forget about any types of alignment and just make sure that nothing hurts and nothing is overstretched. Keep the pose dynamic – walk your legs while in the pose.

hand to toe.pngUtthita Hasta Padangustasana – Hand to Toe Pose

Don’t even try to do this pose perfectly! This is a good pose for rehabilitation of any type of knee injury, but could injure the knees if pushed to perfection.

a) Knee injury on the upper leg – don’t straighten the knee by any means.

b) Meniscus injury on the standing leg – could be straight.

c) MCL or ACL injury on the standing leg – don’t straighten the leg at all.


Hopefully you will try a few of these poses over the next week or so. Remember to do so dynamically—don’t hold any of the poses!

Also remember that the goal is not to perform each pose as if a 19 year-old gymnast is performing it.

The goal is for you to start feeling comfortable enough to take risks with your body. You got hurt, yes. Should that stop you from staying active? Absolutely not.

The goal is not for you to take on the world. Take one step. Maybe even half a step. Inch by inch you’ll get closer to running marathons (figuratively—or maybe not if that’s your goal). Focus on what you can do today. There’s no need to stress about what tomorrow holds.

Soon enough, you won’t even notice your own success. Others will start noticing it for you. You’ll probably get compliments for how subtly confident you’ve become too.


Want to make sure your bad knees are in good hands? Let us know by contacting us here.

Relief for Hip and Knee Pain: dynamic goddess pose + 5 min video

Your legs are weak (yes, even you, the professional)

A rash statement I know, but after having worked with many injured people including yogis and yoginis with more than 20 years of experience, I found out that most peoples’ legs are weak. This is because many, including those who’ve had “yoga training”, make the mistake of making yoga mainly a stretching activity. They forget all about the aspect of strength.

Yoga practice has much more to offer than just stretching or relaxation. Many assume it’s only for the people with strong muscles and lots of energy. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, people who’ve gone through injuries should be more inclined to take up yoga practice.

The Goddess Pose is one such pose that can help with knee and hip injuries.

Dynamic Goddess Pose = Sumo Squats = Plié

Let’s take a look.

The static Goddess Pose namely Utkata Konasana in Sanskrit is also called Goddess squat. To get into the pose, stand with your legs wide apart with feet open at least 45 degrees out to the sides, squatting down to the level where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Arms are open into a T-position with elbows bent half way turning palms forward.

The dynamic variation of this pose beats other movements and poses all together because of its effectiveness for helping with the knee and hip injuries.

Injured joints don’t like stretching.

Injured joints enjoy movement.

When you first begin doing these exercises, your movement needs to be done with minimal amplitude. Unlike muscles and bones, joints don’t have direct blood supply, they have synovial liquid around them that works similar to blood by brining nutrients to the joint. The only problem is that it works only during the time when the joint is moving.

Hence, movement = good.

Stillness = bad (no matter how tired you may be).

Let’s do the dynamic variation of this pose now. Again, this is best for people with either injured knees or hips (or even both). Of course, healthy people will benefit too.

We’ve created a short video for you to follow along, and included the Dos and Don’ts of the pose.

You’ll find an explanation of the pose under the video.

Opening legs wide apart and turning feet out as much as it works for you, start slowly lowering your pelvis down with the exhalation. Don’t go lower than the thighs and pelvis parallel to the ground. Watch your heels; make sure they are either in line with your knees or wider. With the next inhalation, lift up, but don’t straighten your knees. Repeat at least 20-25 times. Hands should be wherever it is comfortable for you.

When you finish, place your hands on the top of your thighs, lower your torso down to have it parallel to the ground, and turn your feet forward and parallel to each other. Move your weight from side to side, and then slowly lower your hands down and walk into downward dog pose.


This shouldn’t be painful for those with knee and/or hip injuries, but if it is, you are going down too far. Keep it at your comfort level and everything will go smoothly.


If you need further help, please call (416) 277-5432 to see if you qualify for an assessment.

Sciatica Pain Relief: #1 Pose That Helps Every Time

Remember the good times?

When you didn’t feel like you were getting a million needles plunged into your lower back?

Of course you’re lucky if that’s the only pain you feel as a result of sciatica. The longer you decide to push back curing the pain, the more likely you are to increase the different types of pain you’ll start feeling. Have you started to feel pain radiating through your leg? All the way down to your feet and through to the tips of your toes.

So let’s solve this together so that you don’t get to that point. Even if you experience all the symptoms, the pose we’ll be analyzing in this article will help.

It will help you whether you have acute (a few hours to a few weeks/months) or chronic (6+ months) sciatica, however, it won’t cure you if you’ve had sciatica for longer than a few days. You’ll have to do a little more than just one pose to get out of debilitating pain.

And that’s where the correct treatment comes into play.

Here’s what we’ll be focusing on in this article:

  • How to Relieve Your Sciatica Pain

  • Why is This Pose Beneficial for Me?

  • How to Treat Your Sciatica Pain


How do I relieve my Sciatica Pain?

When some people hear “relieve” they might associate that with getting rid of something entirely. That is incorrect. To relieve something does not mean to cure it.


To relieve means to reduce something or to make something less severe.

This is where the Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana) comes into play (no pun intended).

happy baby pose sciatica pain relief

  1. Lay down on your back.
  2. If you have one leg that hurts more than the other, or an injury on that leg, lift up that leg first towards your chest. Make sure it’s positioned so that your shin is perpendicular to the ground.
  3. Do the same with the other leg. Make sure your knees are bent comfortably and that your legs are far apart enough that they are on either side of your body.
  4. Reach your hands towards your toes, feet, calves, or pants. Whatever feels most comfortable for you is what you should do. Flexibility is not your aim; relief is your aim.
  5. While in the pose, wiggle your neck slightly from side to side as to ensure that you are not straining neck muscles in the process. Wiggle your shoulders as well if you start to feel pressure in that area.
  6. When you reach the moment when you feel no pain in your lower back (and you will), start wiggling your hips very slightly. Make sure you are doing this to a level that is comfortable for you. This will move every vertebrae in a way that will free the sciatic nerve from the pinched area.
  7. Remember to breathe.

Whether you’ve had sciatica pain for a few hours or a few months, this will ease the jarring pain immediately. You might still feel discomfort for a few days, but it won’t be painful.

Why is the Happy Baby Pose Beneficial for me?


You’ve probably come across people performing yoga exercises that would have no benefit to you whatsoever because of the way in which they perform them. These include poses resembling handstands, elbow stands, pretzels, and more…

This has skewed your view of yoga practice making you think that yoga is only for the “super flexible and young folk”. This could not be further from the truth. Yoga can be done by anyone but you have to find what’s comfortable for you in order to do it correctly. This means you have to modify the way certain yoga poses are shown by people who have been practicing the way of life for years.

Modifying yoga poses to fit your needs not only improves your physical condition but prevents you from injuring yourself further.

There are many different reasons why people practice yoga. Your reason would be to relieve your sciatica. So it makes sense to practice yoga in a way that would relieve your sciatica, right?

People who practice yoga with no pain and/or no injuries have a drastically different aim than those of us with pain and/or injuries. Where people without any injuries aim to calm their breathing, their body, and their thoughts, those of us with injuries can aim for the same goal but add restoration and relief to those goals.



How do I get the Right Sciatica Treatment?

Sciatica treatment just like any treatment aimed to heal an injury takes time. It also requires the right care and dedication on your end. Make sure that when you see a specialist you make sure he or she takes into consideration your past injuries, current injuries, occupation, physical activity level, mental stress level, age, and more. As we’ve mentioned many times, one treatment does not fit all. For example, some people take Tylenol to relieve their headaches while for others it makes the headache worse.

Whether you choose to treat your pain using medication, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, etc. make sure you try everything that makes sense for you. You owe it to yourself to live as pain free as possible. And besides, you’re not getting another body in this lifetime so you may as well treat the one you have with care.


An in-depth Look at Why You Still Have Sciatica

“I’ve tried everything but nothing seems to work.” – What we hear from people who call the studio and come to class for the first time, as well as all over the Internet…

Here’s the gut-wrenching truth:

You haven’t tried it all. You only say that to make yourself feel better.

You blame it on the job, on the commute, on your age, on the doctors, on the medication, and so much more. Yet you haven’t actually done anything yourself.

It takes time to solve a problem, especially when it relates to your body, no matter if you’re a world-class athlete, a 7 year-old who took a tumble biking, or a 34 year-old mother at a full-time desk job.

Solving your case is going to be different from solving Uncle Joe’s or Auntie Rosie’s case.

Not because you are special, but because we all are special.

So you should be treating your body as best as you can. That includes understanding what you’re dealing with. If you’ve already gotten a diagnosis that you have sciatica—great. You can start to work on it, but before you do, here’s what you should know:


In 1934, Dr. William Mixter and Dr. Joseph Barr established that the principal source of sciatica is “compression of a lumbar nerve root by disk material that has ruptured through its surrounding annulus.”

Basically what that means is that the collagen (jelly) in between your intervertebral discs (let’s call them spine bones for short) is being squeezed out and the nerve inside is the monkey in the middle, entrapped and crying for help.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.

So there is a reason why you feel so much more pain in that region than in any other region of your body, regardless if you have other injuries. We’ve had knee injuries, wrist injuries, ankle injuries, etc. They all heal. But an injury causing damage to your largest nerve? That needs to be dealt with pronto. If you don’t take care of it with the correct exercises while you still feel the pain, you probably will have no options left in a few months.


Good thing a lot of you have heard of this thing called “Google” and have been using it more frequently to heal.


Wow! 100% at the beginning of the year. Good job guys. And here are the related searches:


It’s always amazing when people decide to learn something themselves, BUT all of these people have different characteristics, including:

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Stress level
  • Flexibility
  • Occupation

Each characteristic impacts the way in which you would treat sciatica pain. Each person has a different level of pain, a different intensity, different movements that make it better or worse, and different times of day that it affects them most.

This is the process of what the majority of people with sciatica go through when trying to relieve their pain:

  1. Ignore the problem until it incapicates you both physically and mentally.
  2. Ask your friends or relatives about possible solutions (if they have not already yelled at you for trying to seek help)
  3. Go to a doctor, a chiropractor, a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a homeopathy specialist, etc.
  4. Scour the internet for home relief because nothing else is working.
  5. Accept defeat because apparently there is no other option.

BUT ALAS! There IS another option.

Firstly, don’t believe everything you read. What could be a solution for one person could create an even bigger problem for another person. When a friend or family member gives you a suggestion, think about whether or not it would apply to you, do some research, and then try it out if it makes sense. If you read a professional website explaining to you how to cure your problems, think about it again. Does it apply to you? Whether you’re looking into doing surgery, taking medication, trying physiotherapy, or anything else, you should always do your research.

But let’s talk about yoga as a relief for sciatica, because indeed it can give you relief and eventually heal the pain…if you do it right.

Many experts who prescribe yoga as a method to cure certain bodily issues have never had those issues themselves. They have the certifications and the years of experience but the type of experience they have probably doesn’t apply to your case.

One such case was when The Globe and Mail published a video on how to cure sciatica through the Marichyasana pose. While the yoga instructor had the right intent, she probably didn’t have the experience of sciatica herself in understanding just how painful going into that pose would be.

As mentioned earlier, the sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. Think about what would happen if you were to twist it?


Instead of twisting the part of your body that is in the most amount of pain, the correct approach would be to lengthen it. Twisting your nerve to either side would only push you further away from your goals. You’re supposed to be getting that part of your body back to normal, not giving it more stress.

Yoga is often deemed as an activity to release stress, get rid of anxiety, unite yourself with nature, feel free, etc. but if your doctor has prescribed yoga practice to you then the type of yoga classes you need to look for should focus on healing injuries. And don’t assume that if you hear “restorative yoga” it automatically means the class will restore your body to the way it used to be. It’s simply a type of yoga that has you in various poses for an extended period of time, but you’ve been sitting all day, what is it going to do for you to keep being still?

Secondly, if something hurts when you do it, don’t keep doing it. This doesn’t mean never doing push ups or sit ups because they’re hard. This means that if you are doing a physical activity or yoga pose or a certain stretch and it is causing you searing, localized pain, then %$#?ing stop with the antics. What you’re doing is only making your condition worse.

Thirdly, ask, ask, ask. Make sure the solutions you’re applying to yourself make sense. Do this by making sure the internet source, or specialist, or physical therapist, etc. has had the experience of going through this injury and not just the certification. There are a lot of specialists who do indeed know what to do without having had injuries themselves, but they either know friends or family who have had these injuries or understand the mechanics of anatomy extremely well. The more experience your source has, the more likely you are to find the right solution.


Yoga Journal, a respected yoga source since the 1970s provides whole sections of poses dedicated to certain issues. There’s one such section dedicated exclusively for poses aimed to relieve sciatica:


And here are some more poses:


You’ve probably tried a few of these poses listed above and depending on the severity of your sciatica, trying these poses made you never want to practice yoga again. That’s completely understandable. Let’s look at how each of these poses affect your sciatica:


Didn’t we already mention the fault in twisting? Next.


Baddha-KonasanaBaddha Konasana

Many yoga instructors believe that people have sciatica as a result of tight hips so they suggest opening up your knees. If you have nerve pinching in your lower back even thinking of opening your knees will give you pain and sweating. Your body wants to naturally round and bring your knees inwards. This way you get a bit of relief from the pain. Why would you do something that will give you more pain?


This is not even funny. This pose has to be prohibited to people that have sciatica. This is an extreme lumbar region back bend, meaning that most of the bending is happening in your lower back region right where your sciatica is. Just pinch that nerve even more, I dare you. No, just kidding. Please don’t.

Ardha-Pincha-MayurasanaArdha Pincha Mayurasana

Let me just tell you one thing about this pose in terms of sciatica. If you have it you will never be able to perform this pose, simply because if your hamstrings are tight you will do a beck bend in the lumbar region which is as we already learned creates more harm than good for sciatica. Even after getting rid of your sciatica, you’ll have tight hamstrings for a while because of the way your body protects itself during some kind of injury.

Adho-Mukha-SvanasanaAdho Mukha Svanasana

Downward facing dog isn’t exactly bad for you but it’s not good to do if you try performing it with straight legs. You won’t be able to either way with sciatica. Make sure to bend your knees and have a shorter distance from your hands to your feet. Instead of creating a natural curve at the lumbar region of the spine, it is better to gently round it and try to keep evenly rounding throughout the whole spine column.


This pose is not too bad, but when you twist one leg over the other, one hip lifts up, tilting the facets sidewise which will certainly add to the nerve pinching.


This pose is very similar to the Baddha Konasana, but not with such severity. Again, with sciatica the body tries to bring the knees together and round the back while this pose pushes the body to do the opposite bringing more discomfort and pain.

Utthita-ParsvakonasanaUtthita Parsvakonasana

This is an asymmetrical pose which means tilting on one side and lengthening the other side. As with any one-sided poses it will help if done on one side only and it has to be modified meaning no straightening your knees and no straight spine; the spine has to be slightly rounded.

utthita-trikonasanaUttitha Trikonasana

This pose is one level up by severity for people with sciatica. This pose is very similar to the previous one but with both knees straightened up. If done on the wrong side it will worsen the condition, if done on the correct side will help to ease it up.


We talked about this pose earlier in the article and could be as evil as Bhujangasana for one side and if performed properly (but only on one side and partially), could be absolute treasure for releasing the pinched nerve. The emphasis is on pulling the knee towards the chest, leaving the lifted foot up in the air outside of the opposite thigh.

Ardha-ChandrasanaArdha Chandrasana

This is very similar to any one-sided poses. Doing this pose on one side helps to release the pinched nerve and tilting to the injured side will worsen the practitioners’ condition.  Again, the pose has to be modified in a very specific way making sure that neither knee is straightened and that the spine is slightly rounded.


You now know which pose is more or less harmful to do with a sciatica problem, but let’s measure to what degree with 10 being the most harmful and 1 being the least harmful:

Symmetrical Yoga poses:

10 – Bhujangasana

10 – Dhanurasana

10 – Ustrasana

10 – Matsyasana

10 – Salabhasana

10 – Supta Virasana

10 – Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana

10 – Urdhva Dhanurasana

8 – Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

7 – Bitilasana

4 – Adho Mukha Svanasana

4 – Dandasana

5 – Padangusthasana

3 – Baddha Konasana

2 – Sukhasana

Asymmetrical Yoga poses making back injury worse (please, note that some of these poses are truly beneficial for sciatica when performed on the proper side with certain modifications)

7- Bharadvajasana

6- Garudasana

7 – Utthita Hasta Padangustasana

10 – Marichyasana

10 – Ardha Matsyendrasana

6 – Ardha Chandrasana

6 – Utthita Parsvakonasana

7 – Utthita Trikonasana

Now that you know what to avoid, you can get a sense of why you’ve had problems solving your sciatica in the past. Make sure to check everything yourself before to decide to start following a full-blown routine that may damage your lower back permanently.

And of course, you are always free to ask us more about other specific problems you may have.

How To Reduce Your Neck Pain Right At Your Desk

According to Statistics Canada, just over 20% of adults met the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines of 2013.


Original source here

Shocking, right?

Well it has A LOT to do with what you do for a living.

There is a strong correlation between our fitness levels, our occupations, and the pain that we feel as a result of the former two.

Chronic pain has been on the rise in the last century. Office work, and thus, sedentary work had only come into view about 50 years ago. As you’re reading this, you’re probably doing at least one of the following:

  • Craning your neck so that you can see the words on the screen better
  • Sitting down (uncomfortably or not)
  • Between tasks
  • Using technology (because why waste the time to print this out when it has links to more information and a video?)

Ha! I know I got at least one of those right.

Especially because most of you look like this when you’re reading something on your phone:


Original source here

And you wonder why you have neck pain?!

It’s just so obvious now that you see it right?

Get your spine in a straight line Hillary!

Here’s an Anatomy Poem I made up that you should remember forever:

When your neck is not in line

with the rest of your spine

it is not fine.

We’ve discussed this in previous articles:

Your spine should be one line,

Not jagged,

No dent in a certain place,

No curves,

Just one line.

On a subconscious level, office work tends to steer you in the wrong direction. You are more focused on your mental state rather than your physical state, leading you to become more rigid and tense. In turn, your productivity goes down. This has a lot to do with the way your spine is aligned. Because it has direct access to your brain, it has a big impact on the way you think.

Try to do some critical thinking curled up in a ball after a half hour.

Pretty difficult.


Original source here

Many articles have been published on how to combat neck pain:

  • At Home!
  • Naturally!
  • Yourself!

As great as that sounds, every person experiences pain differently and for different reasons.

Person A and Person B might both be working in the same office looking at their computer screen in the same strained way but Person A might not have kids that jump up on them after work.

Person A and Person B may be reading the same article entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Your Neck Pain Forever” but aren’t getting anything out of it because:

They’ve already tried everything listed like

  • Pilates
  • Massage
  • Chiropractor

It’s not specific to their pain (they may have had a childhood injury that impedes them from doing exercises like the ones listed in the ‘ultimate guide’)

The activity is too general

  • Breathing exercises
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Stretching

Okay, but HOW?

The brutal truth is this: there is NO quick fix. If you believe that, I 100% know that your pain has come back after trying this “quick fix”.

Want to Know the Solution? (You Won’t Like It)

You’re going to have to work hard to get rid of the pain by changing your habits.

Analyze what you do throughout the day and create a checklist that includes every activity in which you have poor posture.

Mine looks like this:


There’s one thing I left out and that’s exercising. If I were to put a 100 lb. on my back and go down in a squat, how likely do you think it is that I’d injure myself squatting with the same posture I have working at my desk?

It’s much easier to keep correct posture when you are exercising rather than doing any other activity. That’s because you are conscious of what you are doing with your body.

For example, think about when you are doing push ups.

Internally, you ask questions like:

  • Are my hands where they should be? Should I move them up or further out?
  • Is my torso too high up?
  • Am I going all the way down to the floor?
  • Am I supposed to be feeling pain in the areas I’m feeling?
  • Is this completely wrong?

Because you notice these inaccuracies, you change them right away.

Imagine if you were to do the same with an activity on which you spend 8 hours+?

Immediately you will notice a boost in:

  • Awareness in yourself and of your surroundings
  • Confidence
  • Productivity
  • Mood

We’ll teach you exactly how to feel this way in our short 5 min. video.

You don’t even have to get out of your seat.

Stay right there. Sit straight. And hit play.

This video covers:

  • What your posture looks like when you’re working
  • How to improve it, leading to an increase in productivity, energy, and efficiency
  • Which areas of the body you should target to decrease pain in the neck

The best part is that you can do what we showed anywhere! You don’t even have to be seated if you’re tired of sitting.

If that’s not reason enough for you to start taking care of your posture, give yourself 3 minutes to sit down today (without slouching of course) and make your own checklist. Include all the activities in which you exhibit poor posture.

It’s not like you’re slacking off. This will help both you and your boss in the long run 🙂

You will be surprised how much of a favour it will be rather than a chore.

Too shy? No problem.

Here’s the link to the video one last time:

Your Back Is In Pain: Here’s How Your Feet Can Help

Let’s talk about back pain. Most people who come to our studio have had it and it’s a big reason why they go to our yoga classes. And according to a 2009 study done by The Work Foundation, 1 out of 8 Canadians reported having a chronic back problem.

But how do you fix that pain with your FEET?

Let’s say you’ve already gone to get an x-ray or MRI and the specialist couldn’t identify a problem. Let’s say you’ve already consulted with a chiropractor about your back pain and they gave you a physiotherapist’s number. You did physiotherapy for months but it had no effect…or maybe even a negative one. Let’s say you even went as far as to go to a personal trainer because you thought, ‘Maybe I’ve just got to add muscle. Maybe I’m too weak.’ (Hmm, you’re getting somewhere but not close enough.)

None of these people can get it right yet they all seem to be experts on the human body.

So why can’t they get it right?

They’re experts on the human body, but not your body.

You know your body better than anyone. You’ve lived with it since day 1. You know what effect every type of food will have on you. You know how different types of exercises make you feel. You know how one single movement affects a completely different area in your body.

So why are you going to the doctor? To get the same generic solution he or she gives to everyone with that injury/problem/nuisance/trauma?

Here’s a secret: I don’t know the last time I’ve gone to the doctor…


The thing is, most people and even doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, etc. forget about how one part of your body can drastically affect another. You never consciously think about it. But you should start doing so right now.

Start with these 5 easy feet exercises, specifically targeted for your lower back

This isn’t to say that the cause of your back pain stems from your feet. It is just ONE possibility. We’ll be covering so many more possibilities in the months to come, don’t you worry.

But for now, let’s talk about why your feet are relevant to your back.


Let’s look at the human body from an architectural point of view.

What building do you imagine comparing your body to? My city is Toronto so I’m going to say the Aura Tower at Yonge and College because the CN Tower just isn’t as cool anymore.


Every tall building, just like every human body has the same core elements. These elements allow for the building to function properly.

  • It is made out of certain materials
  • It has elevators (and hence, lots of floors)
  • It is closed with windows (and other things)
  • It has to withstand a considerable amount of weight
  • It usually has electricity going through the whole thing
  • It has a base

Hopefully you’ll understand the comparison between these elements of a building and elements of the human body. I’m the Aura building so I also have shining lights that come out at night to dazzle everyone who’s watching.

But we’re going to focus on the last element I mentioned: the base.

The base = your feet

So can we agree that the middle of the building is your back?


Yes, we can agree.

What can affect the middle of the building?

A tornado, a fire, a thousand fairly large men, the other floors, etc.

Literally anything can affect the middle of the building. But as I mentioned, let’s look at the base.

What happens to the middle of the building if the base starts to wear out? Well, nothing initially of course. Nothing big. But eventually, it will all come falling down.


Original source here


A building is much less complicated to map out. We’ve got so many architects of buildings. But how many architects do we have of the human body?


Our body is much more complicated than a building. The base is two feet and they don’t stay in one place. They can be used to:

  • Run!
  • Jump!
  • Stand!
  • Swim!
  • Squat!
  • Kick someone in the face!

So imagine how much more precise the architecture of the human body has to be. How much more complex.

Let’s try a challenge. It’ll be fun! All you need is a paperclip. (Who needs those anymore? Everything is digital.) Got your paperclip? Good. Now clip it to your baby toe and try to walk around. Just for one minute. Give yourself a break from the screen.



Can you imagine walking around with it for 5 minutes? 40 minutes? A week? A few months?

You probably gave up before a minute went by. It’s not very comfortable is it?

Try sitting with it clipped to you for the rest of the day.

HAHAHAHA, There’s NO WAY I’m going to do that! – You say

Well, you’re sitting every day with your back pain and not doing anything about it. So that’s equally as ridiculous in my books.

And this challenge was just simulating an injury. Keep it up long enough and you will start to feel yourself leaning more towards one side. When you have pain in one area, you try to alleviate that pain by altering the way your body normally moves. But you’re not dealing with the problem. You’re just trying to avoid it. In turn, this is what happens:

Pain from feet –> Up The Legs –> Up Through The Spine –> Up To The Neck


This is because your body is interconnected. Especially through the Nervous system.


Image Source: Google


Your nerves go all the way from your head to your feet. So throughout the years if you’ve sustained injuries in one area and have been too lazy to deal with them, guess what? Other parts of your body are going to be pretty mad at you.

You like to call it “aging”. You think that so much is hurting in your body because you’re getting older. Ridiculous! Have you never heard of 80 year olds in swimming competitions? People over 50 are doing bike marathons. 90 year olds have fun going on runs. It’s not because of aging that you feel so stiff and in pain. It’s because you are not taking care of your body and you think that it’s natural to be in pain at the age you are in.

But there’s nothing natural about it.

So the right terminology is “laziness” or “ignorance”. But now you know, so if you don’t do anything about it, only the former applies.

How to Fix the Damage

Earlier on in the article I mentioned adding muscle. If that’s what you were thinking too, you’re absolutely correct.

I wrote down a great quote that famous Martial Artist Ilan Rosenberg said in an interview we had years ago: “When you injure the joint and want to restore it, make the muscles around it strong and flexible. And the joint will be like brand new.”

Absolutely. In focusing on strength and flexibility, yoga practice does just this.

And your feet, though small, can do A LOT. Here’s what you can do with the feet. You can press the link to the video at the end to understand more clearly.

– You can curl and uncurl your toes.
– Spread your toes and then press them down all together onto the floor.
– You could stand on one foot and try to lift your big toe and then your baby toe.
– You can walk on the outer sides of your feet and then the inner sides of your feet.
– Roll back and forward on your feet.

This is just a baby list. There’s so much you can do with every part of your body which will have a direct impact on a different part of your body. We have the master list but we want YOU to figure out what the deal is with your pain. Every injury is different because every body on this planet is different.

There’s no set time when your injury will heal. No set of exact exercises you should do to strengthen your muscles around the affected area. And definitely no exact list of foods you should stick to heal yourself.

Listen to your body and it will respond back.

We all start somewhere, so why not start here:

Feet Exercises to Start Healing Your Back—Even a Cat Can Do Them (Almost)

How to Detox Daily (Hint: You’re Already Doing It)

Every January health and medical professionals gear up to fight something exciting:

a long line of New Year’s resolutionists who thought that they knew what the word ‘detox’ meant. This line has become so long that ‘detox’ now comes with a negative connotation.


But that’s not because detoxing is bad for you. It’s because mainstream media has painted a faulty picture for us all. Instead of correctly defining it, they tell us what you shouldn’t do, rather than what you should do.

And because of these incorrect definitions, you get people like this:

cat water drinking morning sink

Original source: here

(Not a person, but an accurate portrayal of what some think is ‘detoxification’.)

Or you get people who think that Detox = Diet. Ugh. No.

THIS is what ‘detox’ means:


Detoxification: Getting rid of toxins from your body. THAT’S IT.

When people talk about the right diet or the right exercise, it isn’t a form of detoxification. It’s a way to aid the detoxification process. And a lot of people get even this stuff wrong too.

How do you detoxify then?

Let’s look at 5 natural ways in which the body goes through detoxification:

  1. Perspiration
  2. Vomiting
  3. Urination
  4. Excretion
  5. Nasal Discharge

Yup, you probably didn’t think it was that easy.

But you may be wondering, “what can I do about it? What can I do to help my body speed up the process?”

Let’s talk about it.


Who likes to sweat?! Sweating is a great way to get rid of toxins and if you didn’t think that was true, just think about how much better you feel after you’ve gone to the gym.

…AND EVEN better after showering. The sweet glory of a high-pressure shower-head is all I can think about after deadlifting my body weight.

So how does this relate to detoxification?

When you sweat, toxins come out of your pores (and that’s why showering after a long day is always a good idea). You can sweat without even trying.

You do it every day without even noticing, especially if you’re one of those people who apply deodorant vigorously (which impedes the release of toxins but you like to smell nice so you think it’s a good thing to wear deodorant).

Here are some things that make us sweat:

#1 Not wearing deodorant. A lot of people may think that it’s gross, and sure it is in an office setting. But it’s unnecessary to wear to the gym. What’s the point of exercising if you’re going to keep all those toxins in your body? Sure, you may be primarily going just to lose fat or build muscle, but if you goal is to “detox” and you think that exercising is the way to do that, you should do it right. Don’t wear deodorant when you don’t need to!

#2 Wearing deodorant has the impact on your body as wearing skin-tight clothes in fabrics such as polyester or spandex. A lot of active wear is made from this, but if you don’t want those toxins sticking to your body, opt for fabrics such as cotton, silk, wool, linen, or hemp (okay maybe not silk or wool for active wear, but it’s natural, so it’s better to wear daily than a lot of other things in your closet). Make sure you’re working out in the least amount of clothes as possible so that you can get the most sweat out. For example, choose a tank top and shorts over sweatpants and a long-sleeved shirt. Closely examine what kind of clothes you’re buying. The difference is incredible over the long-term.

#3 Is it a hot day? (Well, not for another few months for all of us here in Canada) Chances are, you’re sweating. Here’s a better one: are you burning up near the fireplace? Chances are, you’re sweating.

#4 Go to a steam sauna or a dry sauna. Either one will do the trick. And it’ll feel great! So many different cultures have had baths for thousands of years. It wasn’t just to look lazy. Detoxification was relaxation. The temperature rises. Your body sweats. Ahh, the sweet release of toxins.

#5 Stressed out? When this happens, your brain thinks that you are in danger. The part of the brain called the hypothalamus gives a command to the sympathetic nervous system. It then activates your “fight or flight” response, sending a signal to your adrenal glands. In turn, the hormone ‘epinephrine’—adrenaline—gets pumped into your bloodstream, causing your heart to beat faster, your breathing to be more rapid, and your strength to increase.

…and it causes you to sweat more!

When the perceived threat is gone, you go back to less sweating!

#6 Exercise! When you start to exercise, your body feels as if it is going through the same danger as what happens when you are stressed out. To fight this response, your body releases two elements: endorphins (the one most people are familiar with), the chemical that gets released in your brain which causes you to feel a sense of euphoria AND—the one people are less familiar with—BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is a protein that protects and repairs neurons. Together they create this great feeling, especially in the first 20 minutes of your work out. In fact, this effect is addictive and can be compared to that of heroin or nicotine. So if you want to feel addicted to a great habit, we suggest starting with this 5 min video:

Get my groove on now


This method of detoxification is probably the one you’ve done least in your lifetime. It can happen naturally and unnaturally.

It happens naturally after you’ve been poisoned via food or alcohol (or anything else that your body deems to be a threat). It can also happen when you pick up a virus. Just because it’s unpleasant, doesn’t mean it’s not natural detoxification.

Vomiting can also happen unnaturally. This is when you induce it yourself.

#1 TIP: Don’t induce it unless your body asks for it.


We can all agree that we do this every day. It’s an easy way to get rid of toxins. You can help speed the process up by drinking lots of different liquids, especially water, coffee, and teas—the best kind for this would be green tea and Ivan Tea. Lots of fruits have a high percentage of water in them. Have you ever noticed after eating certain fruits you almost instantly have to go to the washroom? This happens a lot with fruits such as strawberries, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, and grapes.


This SHOULD be happening every day, even multiple times. Coffee helps a lot with this process. There are also plenty of foods that help to naturally move the process along.

These include:




Chia Seeds

Brown Rice




Nasal Discharge (Mucus)

This happens naturally when you’re sick! And yes, you can get a common cold after overeating during the holidays. Maybe you got a cold from stress. This is your body’s natural way of telling you to take it easy with all the toxins you’re eating and drinking…because they’ll just come out of your nose anyway! And that’s why you’re not that hungry when you’re sick. You don’t need the food. You won’t be able to taste it anyway.

If you don’t have a common cold, the easiest way to get a runny nose is to go outside right now. It’s the perfect month to do that.

And if you’re determined, exercising at a high intensity will get that nose running (no pun intended).

The Last Secret Way to Get Rid of Toxins:


Now let’s all get back to work and shed some tears because it’s way too cold outside.

But before you do:

Let’s see if you can sweat it out

How to Drink More Effectively over the Holidays: Advice from Russians

We’ve heard all the excuses. In fact, we practically made all of them up so there’s no need to tell us it was because your cousin just got married, or you’re trying some new and expensive alcohol, or you’re trying to stay warm, “It’s the holidays! Give me a break!”

I’m sure by this point you’re getting tired of all the drinking at any type of party, whether it’s for family, friends, or work. You may be fine with it but you might want a little extra fuel in your engine. Or rather, an added tweak to make your machine work a little smoother than usual.

You’ve heard that Russians can take their alcohol. And for good reason. We know how to drink. We know how to drink well.

So if you find it hard confronting others about not wanting to drink, here are a few tricks we’ve encountered over the years to help you get through a party that involves a lot of drinking. It’s a good guide to read even if you just want to be smarter about your drinking.

Here are 5 ways to handle heavy drinking if you find it awkward saying ‘no’:

  1. The oldest trick in the book is this: For every glass of alcohol, drink one glass of water. This supposedly dilutes the alcohol. Has that ever worked for you? For some people it does, but for others it takes a lot more. If your tolerance is a lot lower than the average college drinking student, you may want to start off with drinking 2-3 glasses of water BEFORE starting to drink your alcohol for the night. And then ALSO drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage.
  2. Good thing there’ll be a lot to eat on the table! Especially if it’s a family party. Mm that chicken. Those yams. That Caesar sal—forget about the salad. Forget about any salad. Go straight for the gold. The proteins. The fats. The carbs. You may think salad is a good idea if you’re trying to stay healthy but come on, if you’re reading this then you’re going to be drinking over the holidays. And that’s not too healthy. So yes, you can eat some salads but you should be eating A LOT of carbohydrates and proteins if you don’t want the alcohol hitting you that hard.
  3. What’s a more festive drink than egg nog? EGG NOG AND COGNAC! But before you start drinking any type of alcohol, dairy or not, try eating about a half a glass of sour cream before that. If you’re not a fan of egg nog, you’re not going to like the next suggestions. Drink a full glass of whole milk beforehand. Eat a raw egg before eating AND drinking. But if the party won’t be at your house, then these are awkward suggestions and I wouldn’t recommend carrying these things around with you. It would be easier to just refuse alcohol, wouldn’t you say? These are all good ingredients to eat before a party because they would create a fatty lining in your stomach, preventing incoming alcohol from getting absorbed by the stomach walls.
  4. If you don’t have access to any of the above, even water (which doesn’t happen too often), then take a look at what your options are for the night. Are there cocktails? Is there wine, beer, hard liquor, or something else? How about pop? Or did they already mix it all in to the cocktails…? Your best bet is to drink something that’s not carbonated (doesn’t have bubbles). That means wine or hard liquor. And NOT adding anything to either of those. If you want to be even safer, go for a lighter drink (in colour, not percentage). So if you have to choose between bourbon whiskey and vodka, choose the latter.
  5. If you’re not willing to do any of these and you’re looking for a healthy alternative, go for a run. To your house. If the party is at your house, pour yourself a really big glass of wine and nurse it the entire night. No one will believe that that’s the only drink you’ve had all night.

Hopefully you try one or more of these tricks this holiday season. If you don’t want to do so and know someone who needs a lesson about drinking, give them this advice. Know that you always have a choice. Happy holidays and stay healthy!

Your Face is in Pain—I don’t see you doing anything about it

You don’t notice it when you’re driving to work or sitting on the train. You don’t notice it when you’re making dinner or shopping for the ingredients of that dinner. You don’t notice it when you’re watching a movie or browsing your e-mail.

But you do notice it when you start to sing along to your favourite tunes on the radio or talk to your co-worker next to you. You notice it when you take the first bite into that crunchy chicken or when you say ‘hello’ to the cashier at the store. And you notice it when you let out a roaring laugh at your movie or even a slight chuckle for the subject title on your e-mail.

Why does my jaw hurt?

Why is my face in pain?

My head hurts so much.

What is this pain in my neck? Throat? Ears? Nose? Gums?

Maybe I’ll have a drink to take the pain away.

Congratulations, you’re waking up to a hangover tomorrow. And now your head hurts for two different reasons. Ouch, I wouldn’t want to go through that. Then you think:

I should fix my TMJ syndrome. Wonderful idea!

TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) Syndrome is the pain you feel originating in the joint that connects your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull (temporal bone). This pain spreads to the muscles around that joint. This is why you feel pain in areas such as your face, neck, and gums.

Here is a picture of Peter’s TMJ. If you haven’t met Peter yet, he’s our trusty anatomy assistant who helps Hidden Forest yogis understand more about anatomy (if they want to).


The cause of TMJ pain is limitless: a past injury, arthritis, genetics, teeth grinding, gum chewing, poor posture, stress, etc.…

The pain can be mild to severe and treatments are endless. Don’t you love picking up a bottle of anti-inflammatory drugs and reading through the long list of side-effects?


Me neither. That’s why we put together 5 techniques in this article on how to fight your pain






I know you’re a smart person if you’re looking to fix this. But it will only work if you put time and effort into healing yourself.

Before we get into it, let’s explain why these methods work:

TMJ Syndrome causes the pain to be so uncomfortable because the muscles around this joint are in constant strain. To fix this pain, we have to target the muscles, not the joint. But when muscles are always contracted, it is difficult to get them to relax even when you want them to relax.

In order to persuade our muscles that relaxation is good, we need to take them to the gym (no not the actual gym) and work them out until they’re SO EXHAUSTED that they’ll have to relax. The more you take your muscles to the gym, the easier it will be for them to realize that being under constant strain is ridiculous. Being under constant strain achieves nothing!

So let’s try it out:

Method #1

Pucker your lips, inhaling air through the very little hole that you’ve made with them.


Method #2

Exhale air out, bringing lips inside of the mouth between the rows of the teeth. Bite your lips with your teeth. Repeat 10-12 times and gently brush your face with your finger tips to release the tension.


Method #3

Bring your lips up towards the tip of your nose during inhalation. Draw a full circle with the puckered lips during the exhalation. Repeat 10 circles clockwise and 10 circles counter clockwise.

Method #4

During exhalation stick your tongue out of your mouth to reach your chin with the tip of the tongue. Send your gaze upward to look at the point between your eyebrows. Relax during inhalation.


Method #5

Gently pat your face with outstretched palms for 1-2 minutes.

Remember, regularity is the key.

So make sure to do this once a day. Pick your favourite exercise or switch it up. Practice every day until you no longer feel the pain. Even when you feel like the pain is gone, keep practicing so that you can be sure that it won’t come back to stress you out!

Quick tip: Maybe you don’t want to do this in the office.