Category Archives: Blog

5 foot problems that you might not know about

Women are interesting creatures. They mostly think of esthetic problems rather than of the root of the problem. Probably, because it is easier to resolve or requires almost no work from a person who got this problem. 

Let’s talk about our feet and some of the problems that are considered as esthetic problems, which in reality is much more. We are talking about bunions. 

Bunions are a symptom of a progressive bone disorder. They appear as a bony bump at the base of the big toe joint.

This problem occurs when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place. This causes the tip of your big toe to get pulled toward the smaller toes and forces the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore. Shoes that crowd the toes can increase the risk of symptoms, but they do not cause bunions directly.

Some people think that bunions could be inherited, but I would like to point out that despite the fact that my Grandma and Mom have severe bunions, I still have a child looking perfectly shaped feet.

And why is this?

Simply because I studied the architecture of the body and understand the importance of body basis which is our feet. Any tiny little change in this complicated structure (26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments) will affect the whole structure above, which is our ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, whole spine, including low back and neck and even position of our head!

What do we do?

First, we assess how we walk, which part of our shoes gets overused and which is intact by looking at our old shoes. 

Let’s test

  1. Middle of sole of your shoes
  2. Inner part
  3. Inner part closer to toes and outer part of the heel   
  4. Outer part
  5. Under your toes

Now comment what did you find out, which number corresponds to your specific problem

Is Neck Traction Good or Bad?

If you read my previous article about neck traction devices you, probably know my answer. But it was about DEVICES. So, if it is not about devices what is it about then?

What is the neck anyway?

It is a bunch of barrel looking bones, connecting with ligaments that have cushions with slimy stuff inside of them. And, there is a part of the brain that runs through it that has to be intact. 

So, if these squishy cushions get ruptured and slimy stuff would protrude out they might touch nerves coming out of the spinal canal and even make it narrower. These awful things are called protrusions and stenosis.

So, what do you do if this happens?

First, you think why it happened and never repeat it. Then you go through all of the appropriate tests (ask me which ones you have to order from your family doctor) and then you will see how serious your condition is. But in any case you will be able to help yourself starting with a simple massage of trapezius muscles (the ones behind the ridge of your shoulders) and fold into forward bend with bent knees.

When you repeat it for 3-4 minutes try to gently nod your head while in forward bend. Get up slowly, because you could be extremely dizzy and it is absolutely fine because you are freeing up blood vessels and blood is now rushing through your arteries and veins freely.

Neck Traction – Nodding

The next one is the same, but instead of nodding your head grab your ears with your hands and help yourself by saying No by your hands. Make sure there is absolutely no tension in your neck muscles while you do both of these exercises. Straighten up super slowly due to possible dizziness.

I don’t recommend this to anyone who has high blood pressure, glaucoma or is pregnant. There are certain modifications that have to be made in these particular cases.

Neck Traction by yourself

Do neck devices work?

Which neck traction device do you recommend?

This scary question I get on a regular basis. And my answer to this is usually either NONE.

But so many companies recommend it! Right.

Let me tell you straight – these companies don’t care about you. They just want to sell to you. Nothing else. And you want to buy their devices, because it is so much easier to pay for the product that you will tell later that doesn’t work rather than educate yourself on how you got into such a situation and work on the way out.

And you are absolutely right – the way out is to stretch out the spine, particularly in the neck region, because you might think that since neck has protrusions ii is the neck that we need to stretch. But think about it – your neck is the thinnest area of the spine and by stretching it out you make it even thinner! How about muscles surrounding the spine? Are they developed enough to support the length that you desire? And what is below your neck? May be there is something that is making your neck to protrude forward squishing the disks?

I got introduced to neck traction devices back in USSR when I was 9 and when I broke my neck during gymnastic trick. This device was never used alone. There was neck massage and exhausting Yoga exercises for chest, shoulders and neck muscles. And, of course, grandma’s exercises for the lower face and Yoga for posture. She says that posture is the base for everything.

Grandma says posture is everything

Since then I share my knowledge with everyone who wants to heal themselves and reach out to me. I am one email away from you 🙂 Here is my email: snejulya at gmail dot com

Release Tension Headache through these 7 easy Upper Back Stretches

Very often I get questions such as “Can Upper Back Tension cause headaches?”.

As muscles in the upper back become strained, they tighten and put pressure on the neck and skull. Tension from a pulled muscle can exacerbate the pain of a headache. These headaches may be impossible to resolve completely without first addressing the underlying back problem. And the biggest influencer of this kind of pain is stress. Stress affects the body in a variety of ways, from mood swings and headaches to weight fluctuations. However, an often-overlooked side effect of stress is neck and back pain. Over time, repetitive bouts of stress can cause musculoskeletal issues in these regions of the body.

While many doctors think that many chronic tension headaches develop for no apparent reason I would still repeat that it is due to stress or inability to stay calm during stressful situations. Our body simply tries to defend the most important organs for life which is lungs and hurt and caves in by sending shoulders forward. In most cases, upper back pain is not a cause for worry; however, it can be uncomfortable, painful, and inconvenient. Furthermore, if pain develops suddenly and is severe—such as from an injury (eg, fall)—and, certainly if pain and symptoms (eg, weakness) progressively worsen you should seek medical attention.

Reasonably, you might ask yourself – what could be done to relieve tension headaches and upper back tension?

Try some of the following:

  1. Manage your stress level. One way to help reduce stress is by planning ahead and organizing your day.
  2. Go hot or cold. Applying heat or ice — whichever you prefer — to sore muscles may ease a tension headache.
  3. Perfect your posture. Good posture can help keep your muscles from tensing. The video that I did for you is perfect for upper back. These gentle stretches will help to ease the pain. Start gently and don’t push

Yoga Before Bedtime helps with anxiety and surprisingly leg cramps at night

Practicing yoga before bedtime is a terrific way to release everything you’re holding onto mentally or physically before sinking into a peaceful night of deep sleep. Incorporating a relaxing yoga practice into your nighttime routine may improve the quality and duration of your sleep.

The combination of moving with concentration on breath helps to put worries away while working on nervous system when stretching leg muscles. Any type of stretching is related to a comfort zone of your nervous system. And when the nervous system is concentrating on something that requires a lot of resources, especially survival resources it turns off the white noise which is stress and anxious thoughts.

So, Yoga postures for anxiety are best practiced before bedtime when we are left with our own thoughts. Try this sequence and let us know in the comments the difference that you experienced

Neck Pain. Does it reside in the neck itself, in stiff shoulders or tight chest?

Most people think that the problem is at the area of pain. It is not necessarily true. For example,  when we think that we have a neck pain, that stress lands into the base of the neck and gives us tension headache and stiffness in shoulders we start searching for neck stretching on YouTube.

We do find them , start exercising,  but it gets worse. I’ll give you s hint from one simple massage technique. When massage therapist finds a tension bump he/she never presses in the middle of it. Instead finds where it ends and starts working with edges, softening them and gradually melting down this bump without even touching it! Same with the neck – start working with surrounded area. Watch the video and let us know your experience in the comments

In-studio, in-home and online programs

While many people stay home we decided to provide online programs as well. Choose what you need the most at the moment to keep your mind sane and body healthy.

This sequence is specifically designed to help seniors to improve hip mobility in order to be more stable and to ease up pain in low back and knees, but it is also good for office people. Safely strengthens your side hip muscles to help with hip arthritis. Helps maintain your lower body endurance to better walk and side step around objects.

This session is quite dynamic and is good during lunch break. It will help you stretch your legs and strengthens them at the same time, just what’s needed for a busy professional. Maximum results in minimum amount of time!

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.

WHY?

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.

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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.  

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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.

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  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.

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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.

MassageNeck_Trapezius

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

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.png

 

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

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.