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.

relieve-sciatica-pain

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?

sciatica-pain-relief-happy-baby-pose

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.

sciatica-relief

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

sciatica-relief-exercises

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?

OUCH.

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:

bad-sciatica-poses

And here are some more poses:

bad-sciatica-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:

BharadvajasanaBharadvajasana

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?

BhujangasanaBhujangasana

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.

GarudasanaGarudasana

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.

SukhasanaSukhasana

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.

MarichyasanaMarichyasana

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.

page-13-eng-php

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:

hillary-craned-neck-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.

giphy

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:

poor-posture-list

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
  • ENERGY!

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…

AND I’M PRETTY HEALTHY!

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.

aura-tower-is-cooler-than-cn-tower

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.

leslie-knope-falling-down

Original source here

BUT A BUILDING…DOESN’T EVEN MOVE!

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.

paperclip-on-baby-toe-injures-back

…………………………

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.

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.

detox-news

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:

detox-definition

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.

Perspiration

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

Vomiting

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.

Urination

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.

Excretion

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:

Prunes

Flaxseeds

Oatmeal

Chia Seeds

Brown Rice

Avocadoes

Spinach

Blackberries

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:

Crying

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).

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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?

No?

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

NATURALLY

AT HOME

FOR FREE

WITHOUT AN OPERATION

WOW, IT SOUNDS SO EASY.

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.

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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.

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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.

stick-your-tongue-out-tmj-solution

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.

 

 

How Iryna Healed her Spinal Injury Without the Help of a Chiropractor

Meet Iryna. She’s a 45 year old champion, and a stunner. She’s also the Head of Nursing at the hospital she works at. Her occupation is comprised of working both days and nights, sometimes up to 14 hours. She’s on her feet all the time. And she has to do A LOT of heavy lifting.

So, when she became the victim of a T-bone collision in on April 16th 2016 that created a serious problem. Not only for her occupation, but also for her physical and psychological health.

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This is Iryna with a tomato. Sexy, right?

Here were the biggest problems she encountered as a result of the accident:

  • Pain everywhere, especially in the spine, particularly the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions
  • Concussion
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Inability to drive for a month

What a list.

Where does yoga practice come into play then?

Well, after going to physiotherapy and taking medications for a month, there was no improvement. And Iryna’s got things to do. She needs to take care of people at home and at the hospital, but she can’t take care of anyone before she takes care of herself.

It is also important to note that she had sustained a left shoulder rotator cuff injury 4 years ago and about 6 months after beginning yoga practice 2 years ago, her shoulder opened up, making it a lot easier for her to do other types of movement! Before that, she had not done any type of exercise on a regular basis.

She realized that yoga class had significantly helped her before the accident happened. In addition to healing her shoulder, she also experienced an increase in energy level and improved posture. So she asked us what she could do to speed up her recovery, particularly in reference to the pain in her spine.

Because we had so much personal experience with trauma and injuries, coupled with our experience of healing others just like her who had gone through serious injuries, we knew what Iryna needed to do in order to recover.

Before we get into what recommendations we gave, we’ll make clear that we didn’t allow her to come to class for 6 weeks after her accident. After 6 weeks had passed, we allowed Iryna to attend the Thursday morning classes which were lighter than the Tuesday and Thursday evening classes that she usually attended. And by no means did we tell her to replicate exactly what we were showing her to do.

Unlike many other yoga studios who preach executing poses in the way as everyone else in the class, we believe that this is unacceptable. The whole point of yoga is liberation so you should be practicing in a way that makes you comfortable and leads you to achieve this goal as effortlessly as possible. We strive to make everyone feel welcome because we know how cumbersome it is of a process to heal.

Here are the specific poses we recommended her to do:

  • Extended Tadasana/Mountain Pose: cunningly made to look like you’re not doing much but this is not true at all. This pose helps to develop proper posture, prevents flat-footedness, develops shoulder joints flexibility, and strengthens the abdomen area. The way we get into this pose is never static. We always try to loosen up, wiggling first with our lower and then our upper ribs. Make sure to try to flatten the natural curve of the lower back when going into this pose. Distribute the weight of your body evenly through your feet and elongate through the tail up to the top of the head, keeping the shoulders relaxed.
  • Uttanasana variation/Standing Forward Bend: makes you feel and look like you’re something more than human. This pose stretches the backs of the legs, strengthens the lower back, improves blood circulation in the pelvic area, opens up the chest, and lets your back go to rest (I know it seems crazy, but try it). You feel a lengthening in your back which is actually the increase of space between your compressed discs and vertebrae. Again, make sure your weight is evenly distributed through your feet. Get your fingers as far away as possible from your feet and make sure not to transfer your weight to your hands. Create a straight line from the tailbone to the fingertips. The pelvis, back, neck, head and arms are all on the same line. As with the previous pose, we prefer to perform this pose dynamically by wiggling the tail and wiggling the shoulders. After each type of wiggling, move the finger tips further away from your feet, still keeping the weight in the feet.
  • Dandasana variation/Seated Staff Pose: time for a break maybe? Nope, it’s time to flex your feet and push forward through your heels while seated. Raise your arms through the sides and turn palms out. Keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Push forward through your kidneys and then reach up through the top of your head. This pose is never used by us as a separate pose, it is always performed as a preparation pose for some other poses or movements. We don’t suggest holding it for more than two full breath cycles due to technicality of this pose, especially if you have lower back issues.
  • Salabhasana variation/Locust Pose: you’re probably thinking this is a weird way to hide from someone but make sure you’re careful performing this pose. Perform a few stretches on your back, then perform a few stretches on your belly such as walking your feet back and walking your hands forward keeping your forehead on the floor. Then and only then you can inch your lower ribs forward, lifting up your shoulders and supporting your chest with elbows. Make sure that your lower ribs are still on the floor. Bend your knees lifting your feet up and then lift your knees up with one exhalation. For your first time, it’s enough. Increase your repetitions gradually over the next few weeks. This pose strengthens lower back muscles as well as backs of the legs, lower and upper abdominal muscles, opens thoracic (chest) area, and improves blood circulation in the pelvic area.

For her psychological issues, we recommended:

  • Breathing exercises to calm her heartrate and gain balance and focus.
  • Taking it easy, because putting stress on top of her already-horrific situation was enough.

The rest resolved itself when she began to recover. She began to smile again with the fact that she could get behind the wheel and was no longer afraid to get behind the wheel for fear of another accident. She became in love with the way her body healed itself, and it just became easier to breathe. With her physical recovery came her mental recovery!

In summary:

  • Iryna recovered from all of the problems she encountered as a result of the accident.
  • She learned how to deal with recurring issues that impacted her psychologically and still uses these tricks when she needs to. For example, now when she wakes up in the middle of the night with high heartrate, she does breathing exercises and she can go back to sleep.
  • She experienced improvements on top of her recovery, such as: weight loss, sturdy balance, a more toned form, and—she stopped using the back of her chair at work in order to sit correctly. Everyone at work is in shock!

If you are having problems with healing your body after an accident, contact us to see if we can give you a recommendation. We are always here to help.

Why evening yoga practice should be different from morning yoga practice

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Prasarita Padottanasana 

Have you ever taken a yoga class for a specific reason, only to be disappointed with its result? That’s because it didn’t coincide with your objective. We partake in every activity for a different reason, correct? Well yoga practice shouldn’t be any different. In fact, it’s not.

Many people don’t know this, but there is a HUGE difference in the purpose of attending yoga class in the evening vs. in the morning.

Let’s take a look at evening yoga first, as it is more popular in a classroom setting.

Evening yoga should prepare you for sleep

Many yoga teachers believe that you should be only practicing restorative or gentle yoga in the evening, focusing on staying in one pose for an extended period of time. It’s true that the type of movement you do in the evening should allow you to stay in each asana (pose) for a longer time than you would in the morning. The type of asanas you do would allow you to unload yourself of any remaining stress for the day, thus making it easier to fall asleep.

BUT, imagine arriving at the studio, beginning the class, and holding the Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle pose) for 60 seconds…

90 seconds…

Will you make it to 120 seconds?

You probably will, but what’s the point? For a lot of people who come to yoga, their work is very static. You may get up to talk with some colleagues, or go from your desk to the meeting room, or downstairs for lunch. Other than that, your movement is limited. You’re challenged mentally throughout the day, but not physically. This is why evening yoga practice has to complete this task of wearing someone out. Does laying on the floor for a while wear you out?

No, not really, because it takes no effort. In fact, you’ll start to get frustrated. What’s the point of laying down after work if your mind is ready to relax but your body isn’t? You’re not sleeping and you’re not exercising, so why partake in this laying or sitting or stretching for a prolonged period of time?

You shouldn’t. Here’s what you do instead:

Before you begin any activity that involves stretching, it’s necessary to warm up. You can’t stretch clay after it’s been sitting for so long in the cold, right? You have to roll it and mold it every which way. If you try to stretch it, it’ll just break. The same is true with our muscles. In the evening, they’re not cold per se because you haven’t been sleeping all day, but they’re not warm because you weren’t doing rigorous activity. So in order to stretch out the muscles, you have to warm them up. In the evening, however, there is less of a necessity to warm up as vigorously. (We’re trying to go to sleep, remember? We’re not trying to get pumped up.) You can even do dynamic stretches rather than warm up because of the fact that you were moving throughout the day.

In evening yoga practice, it is beneficial to include poses such as: Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged forward bend), Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), and by the time you’re done you can do a restorative yoga pose such as Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall).

The point of doing these is to tire out your muscles, otherwise they’ll be screaming at night, telling you to get up for a run. No, go to sleep muscles!

Morning yoga should prepare you for an active day

Time for a nice, big cup of coffee, right? …Or you can try something that gently moves you from unconscious, to conscious, to ready to get going! Coffee can be great if you want a sudden jolt, but it’s far more effective to start your day gradually than it is to wake up with a go-go-go mentality. In this way, you will experience less stress.

You should do the same kind of transition with yoga practice in the morning. Start out light, and then gradually go for the fun stuff. But once you get to the fun stuff, you can do it very fast-paced. This includes the warm-up. You were sleeping at night, remember? (That’s if you wore out your muscles enough the previous evening.) So you need to warm them up completely.

Remember when I mentioned getting pumped up in the evening is a no-no? Well the opposite is true for morning yoga practice. Say this to your muscles as soon as you wake up:

ARE YOU READY TO GET PUMPED UP?

Your muscles will get so excited!

So let’s warm up and get ready to stay in asanas for a shorter period of time than you would in the evening because you’re trying to get your muscles to get going. Starting off with warrior poses is a great way to do that.

In morning yoga practice, it is beneficial to include poses such as: Trikonasana (triangle pose), Utkata Konasana (goddess pose), Matsyasana (fish pose), and Ardha Uttanasana (standing half forward bend).

The point of doing these poses is to activate your muscles, making it easier for blood to pump through your body and especially to your head, otherwise it’ll be more difficult for you to get your daily tasks done.

What kind of things do you do to improve the quality of your day? Let us know!

            We’ll be posting morning and evening sequences soon so that you start practising! Let us know what other types of videos you’d like us to cover. Ciao for now!

3 Ways to Cleanse Your Body after Thanksgiving

If you’re a regular ol’ Canadian who loves turkey and getting together with the family, you probably enjoyed a mighty feast last weekend. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling like a champion! If you aren’t feeling the same way, that might be because you ate a little too much and are feeling a little bloated. Sure, you still want to eat those bacon strips in the morning, but how about a substitute? Or even just a supplement?

These are 3 things you can add into your daily regimen (you don’t have to include all 3 each day) to make you feel better every day. Trying each of these suggestions will have your body (and mind) work more effectively and more freely.

Apples

Whether you choose to juice them or eat them on their own, apples are a great food to consume. If you are going to juice them, there’s no need to peel them because the majority of nutrients can be found right under the skin of the apple.

As a ‘miracle food’, it’s no wonder that apples have their own saying and are one of the most cultivated fruits in the world. They contain a high source of phytochemicals such as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid.[1] These phytochemicals act as antioxidants, protecting cells from damage. The mechanisms studied in apples have been proven to have a positive effect in relation to cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, weight management, and bone health.[2] Sounds like a pretty good deal.

So use the season to your advantage and collect the hundreds of apples still available on the ground! Many of these apples are in perfect condition and people think that they’re bad because they’ve fallen from the tree. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the apples that are on the ground should be the ones you pick first because they are the ripest. I learned that firsthand from apple farmers at Country Apple Orchard Farm.

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Ivan Chai

Like apples, tea contains a lot of polyphenols. In one cup of tea, you would consume typically 100 mg polyphenols.[3] Ivan Chai in particular, which is lesser known in the world of teas today, especially in the Western hemisphere, has major restorative benefits. The tea is created from a plant called ‘fireweed’ which grows most prominently in areas that have experienced forest fires.[4] In addition to healing wildlife, it is also instrumental in healing people.

You can buy the tea from a European deli or try to find some of the plant in a forest near you. The tea strengthens the immune system and is often used to combat common colds. It’s also a terrific tool to use for helping with the production of red blood cells. As it is a diuretic, it will help to flush the body of many toxins.

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Yoga

Of course we’re going to include yoga in here. If nobody’s told you yet, let me break it to you; yoga’s goal is liberation—and that includes our body. But you can’t just expect that the feeling of being bloated will go away after meditating for five minutes and doing an array of different asanas. You have to target the region of your body that is feeling that discomfort. That means that your movements should be focusing on the digestive system.

“Why do I specifically have to target the digestive system?” You might ask.

Well, think about it this way. If you injured your MCL (medial collateral ligament), you’re not going to do physiotherapy for your whole body, right? All you need to target is your MCL.

The same is true with “injuring” your stomach (yes, I just called overeating an injury; deal with it). When this happens, a process called “peristalsis” slows down. Usually this process helps to move food through the digestive system through a series of muscle contractions, but when there is a large buildup of food, this leaves you with the impression of ‘bloating’. The excess food stretches the intestines and eventually if this happens too often, will cause you to accumulate stones. Doing a series of seated twists in yoga will help to restore proper peristalsis. This includes twists such as the Sage’s Pose (Marichyasana), Half spinal twist pose (Ardha Matsyedrasana), and the Sage’s Twist (Bharadvajasana). In between the twists I recommend holding the boat pose (Paripurna Navasana) in order to give your body a break.

An important thing to keep in mind when doing these poses is that you start your twists on the right side and finish on the left. This will move your body properly from the ascending colon on the right and to the descending colon on the left. Now, get to twisting!

Boat Pose

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Let us know if you try any of these methods and how they turn out.

Happy Thursday!

[1] Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai Lui, “Apple Phytochemicals and Their Health Benefits,” Nutrition Journal 3, no. 5 (May 12, 2004), doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-5.

[2] Dianne A. Hyson, “A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health,” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 2, no. 5 (2011): 418, doi:10.3945/an.111.000513.

[3] Kanti Bhooshan Pandey and Syed Ibrahim Rizvi, “Plant Polyphenols as Dietary Antioxidants in Human Health and Disease,” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2, no. 5 (2009): 270, doi:10.4461/oxim.2.5.9498.

[4] Robert Dale Rogers, “Fireweed – a treasured medicine of the boreal forest,” Discovery Phytomedicine 1 (2014), doi:10.15562/phytomedicine.2014.16.