Studio Durham House Blog | Yoga & Sleep

Yoga & Sleep

Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders.

Studies show that incorporating yoga into your routine could help promote better sleep.

In a 2005 study, 69 elderly patients were assigned to either practice yoga, take an herbal preparation or be part of the control group.
The yoga group fell asleep faster, slept longer and felt more well-rested in the morning than the other groups.

Another study looked at the effects of yoga on sleep in patients with lymphoma. They found that it decreased sleep disturbances, improved sleep quality and duration and reduced the need for sleep medications.

Though the way it works is not clear, yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.

Yoga also has a significant effect on anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress — all common contributors to sleep problems.

The Studio Durham House Blog | Yoga poses for spinal health

Health Ustrasana (ooh-STRAHS-a-na)

HOW YOGA CAN KEEP YOUR SPINE HEALTHY

Spinal health is essential. Our spine supports our bodies, protecting the nerves and enabling us to move. Each cell in our bodies is controlled by our central nervous system. If problems with our spine means it is unable to support the central nervous system, issues can rear their head.

Maintaining spinal health is therefore vital.

One of the myriad of benefits of yoga includes improving and maintaining healthy movement and strength of the spine.

Yoga expands the different motions of the spine. By improving the agility and flexibility of the spine, yoga can help reduce the chances of spinal injuries. The different yoga poses encourage the muscles which support the spine to be in alignment with the deep core muscles and the abdomen.

Today we discuss the first in a series of poses that are great for spinal health.

Ustrasana (ooh-STRAHS-a-na)

Ustrasana (ooh-STRAHS-a-na)  — Camel pose is a backbend that stretches the whole front of the body particularly the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors. It improves spinal flexibility, while also strengthening the back muscles and improving posture. This pose creates space in the chest and lungs, increasing breathing capacity and helping to relieve respiratory ailments. Ustrasana also stimulates the kidneys, which improves digestion. This pose energizes the body and helps to reduce anxiety and fatigue.

It is often used as preparation for deeper backbends. Practicing Ustrasana daily can be a great way to relieve neck and back pain caused by slouching in front of a computer or driving.

Ustrasana can be an energizing way to gain spinal flexibility. However, it’s important to learn how to do it correctly to avoid injury and strain.

When practicing backbends, it is crucial to create length between your vertebrae, being careful not to collapse or crunch into the pose. Keep your pelvis stable as you lift and lengthen your sternum toward the sky.
Take the pose slowly, only going as deep as your body will allow without pain.
Gently draw your tailbone forward while pressing the front of your thighs back. This counter-action will stabilize your pelvis as you lift and lengthen your spine, instead of compressing your spine when you lean back.
Be careful not to bring your head so far back that you strain your neck. Keep your neck extended and comfortable throughout the pose.

Remember never to force your body into the pose. Practice a modified version until you have gained the amount of flexibility and strength you need to safely go deeper.

To find out more about Yoga at the Studio Durham House click here 

The Studio Durham House Blog | Fun Yoga Poses For Kids This Easter

Kids Easter Yoga

If you’re looking for a bit of fun with the family during the Easter Holidays. Then why not try out these Easter friendly Yoga poses.

The following kid-friendly yoga postures have been specifically sequenced to invite flow from one pose to the next. But feel free to shorten or lengthen the sequence to suit the ages and needs of your children. Make this Easter yoga experience your own.

PRETEND TO BE A CHICK OR DUCK – SQUAT POSE

Come down to a squat with your knees apart and bend your arms, pretending they are the wings of a duck. Then try waddling and quacking like a duck.

PRETEND TO BE A PUPPY – DOWNWARD-FACING DOG POSE

Step back to your hands and feet in an upside-down V shape, with your buttocks up in the air, and stretch like a puppy.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER HAT – TABLE TOP POSE

Come to an all-fours position with your fingers spread out and palms flat on the ground. Ensure that your back and neck are in a straight but neutral position. Your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your hips should be over your knees while the tops of your feet are flat on the ground. Pretend to be an Easter hat blowing in the breeze.

PRETEND TO BE A BABY LAMB – COW POSE

On all fours, look up, arch your back, and open your chest. Pretend to be a baby lamb munching on hay and say “baa.”

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER BUNNY – HERO POSE WITH BUNNY BREATH

Come to rest upright on your heels with your palms resting on your knees and take four to six short breaths then a long exhale.

PRETEND TO BE A LADYBUG – CHILD’S POSE

Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest on the floor in front of your knees, rest your arms down alongside your body, and take a few deep breaths. Pretend to be a ladybug in the garden.

PRETEND TO BE A BABY TURTLE – EXTENDED CHILD’S POSE

Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest in front of your knees, place the palms of your hands flat out in front of you, and take a few deep breaths. Imagine being a baby turtle resting on a rock.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER LILY – FLOWER POSE

Sit on your buttocks, keeping a tall spine, then lift your bent legs while balancing on your sitting bones. Weave your arms under your legs with your palms facing up. Pretend to be a blossoming Easter lily.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER EGG – EGG POSE

Balance on your buttocks while hugging your knees to your chest.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER BASKET – BOAT POSE

Balance on your buttocks with your arms and legs straight out in front of you in a V shape. Keep a straight spine and open chest. Pretend to be holding Easter eggs on your belly as if you were an Easter basket.

PRETEND TO BE A BUTTERFLY – COBBLER’S POSE

Sit on your buttocks with a tall spine, bend your legs, place the soles of your feet together, and gently flap your legs like the wings of a colorful butterfly.

PRETEND TO BE A RAINBOW – BRIDGE POSE OR WHEEL POSE

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arms down alongside your body, with your palms flat on the ground. Tuck your chin into your chest and keep your spine straight. On an inhale, lift your buttocks to create the arches of a rainbow.

Do you have any favorite Easter books to go with your Easter yoga poses? We’d love to hear your recommendations?

Acupuncture and Yoga compliment each other for better health

When comparing yoga and acupuncture, there are quite a few similarities between the two practices. Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturists) work to ensure the smooth flow of Qi within the body. Qi can be translated as ‘life force’.

In Ayuverdic medicine, yoga practitioners refer to ‘Qi’ as Prana. TCM and Yoga activate the smooth flow of Qi/Prana in a different way, but both are based on Eastern Philosophy with similar ideas. Both Yoga and TCM are used to create free flowing energy whether it is Qi or Prana.

In TCM there are energetic pathways in the body. These pathways are called Meridians. When the energetic flow within the meridians becomes blocked, the result can show up as a variety of symptoms such as pain, emotional ups and downs and fatigue. Acupuncturists strive to remove any blockages within these pathways to create free flowing Qi within the meridians and reduce and/or eliminate the symptoms thereby bringing the body back into balance.

The complementary nature of yoga and acupuncture is reflected in their common goal of releasing stagnation of energy in the meridian systems and their related organs or in the blood. While yoga provides the format to release the blockage, acupuncture and meridian theory provides a framework to understand which poses are best for a condition.

While yoga strengthens and stabilizes the flow of qi/prana, acupuncture and herbs dramatically enhance one’s healing and overall health goals. Acupuncture will also intensify and speed recovery of each yoga session, helping one to move forward in their health and mental state with clarity, focus and increased sense of well-being.

Yoga practice and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and herbs), concurrently have time tested treatments that date back 5,000 years. My acupuncture assessment is to derive treatment protocols that will dramatically enhance the healing process.

Warrior II focuses on the lymphatic system and the hips and knees. The emphasis on these joints are related to the gall bladder, spleen and stomach meridians. These organs help the lymphatic system by increasing digestion and immune fluid. By stimulating certain acupuncture points on the Gallbladder, spleen and stomach meridians, digestive fluids increasing thereby boosting the immune system via the gut.

Wheel and other backbends can effectively and sometimes very intensely stretch the stomach and spleen meridians. This pose can help prevent your body from acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach issues. Various combinations of spleen and stomach meridian points will discourage acid reflux while calming the mind of excessive worry. These points will also help one to maintain focus and mental clarity without the distraction of “monkey mind” chatter.

Tree pose is a standard balancing pose that can be adapted based on your skill level. It focuses on the small intestine meridian and increases abdominal circulation. Tree pose can also calm and relax the mind and nervous system, bringing more self-awareness. Points stimulated on the “Du” and small intestine meridians can anchor the QI, and open the mind to the truth of who we really are deep down.

Downward dog can always be the home base pose. It is a staple that can be used in almost every yoga practice. This pose focuses on the arms and shoulder meridians, which can improve heart and lung function. Increased function of these organs can help fight against allergies, viruses, anxiety and trouble sleeping. Downward dog can also help digestion and allow for increased blood flow. By stimulating the heart and the lung meridians, we can calm the emotions to help relieve severe anxiety and sadness while improving breathing ability thus oxygenating the brain! This pose focuses on the arms and shoulder meridians, which can improve heart and lung function. Increased function of these organs can help fight against allergies, viruses, anxiety and trouble sleeping. Downward dog can also help digestion and allows for increased blood flow.

To find out more about acupuncture and yoga at Durham House Chiropractic and Studio visit our website www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk or www.thestudiodurhamhouse.co.uk.

 

The Studio Durham House Blog | Prapadasana or TipToe pose

Tip Top Pose

Prapadasana or TipToe pose is a toe-balancing posture that places pressure on and stimulates the calves and ankles. From Sanskrit, pra means “forward” or “before,” pad means “foot” and asana means “pose.”

There are different variations of this asana. In the most commonly described version, the body balances on the toes with the heels lifted, then one leg is lifted and taken into lotus pose with the palms brought together in front of the heart.

 

In another variation of prapadasana, both feet remain on the ground and the hips simply rest on the heels as the yogi balances on the toes. The hands may be brought into prayer position then lifted over the head. The knees can be kept together or taken wide apart.

 

  • From Mountain pose with feet together, bend the knees and allow the heels to lift off the floor as you lower the hips to the heels and bring the fingertips to the floor.
  • Draw the knees down and in towards each other. Stare at a point on the floor in front of you.
  • Keeping your gaze fixed, slowly inhale the arms together in prayer position in front of your heart. Keep the shoulders down and back and the sternum pressing forward.
  • Stay here or you can slowly inhale the arms up over your head with the palms together.
  • Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

The benefits of this pose include, improved concentration and sense of balance as well as helping to strengthen the feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs and stretching the hip flexors, hamstrings and groins.

 

The Studio Durham House Blog | Vrksasana or Tree pose

Tree Pose

During February we are discussing a few Yoga poses that have that help the flexibility and stability of the ankles. Today we discuss Vrksasana or Tree Pose.

Tree pose can help improve your balance, and it strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles and spine. It’s also good for stretching the inner thighs, chest and shoulders. Plus it can relieve sciatica, as well as reduce negative effects of flat feet.

While there are a number of physical benefits, Tree Pose also improves concentration. As a student, you can immediately notice how your balance improves when you focus your eyes on a single point (Drishti). If your eyes or your mind are wandering, chances are you won’t be able to balance.

it’s inevitable that you may wobble or lose balance. Trees are made to sway in the wind. So if you fall, you just try again!

  • Start in Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, with your feet hip distance apart. Spread your toes like roots into the earth and gently shift the weight side to side.
  • Bend your right knee and bring the sole of the right foot onto the left thigh, the heel in the inner left groin. Engage your left quad and resist the foot with the thigh.
  • Place your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone to the floor.
  • Set your gaze on a Drishti a few feet in front of you, either on the floor for easier balance or straight ahead.
  • Feel free to bring your hands together in Anjali Mudra (palms together in front of your heart), or raise them overhead.

If this variation is too challenging, try placing your foot on the calf instead of the thigh. Or keep your toes on the floor and just place the heel above your ankle. When you’re ready, lower your foot back down with control. Try the other side. It might be different than the first side.

Tree Post Variation 1
Tree Post Variation 1
Tree Post Variation 2
Tree Post Variation 2
Tree Post Variation 3
Tree Post Variation 3

Credit Mindbodygreen.com

Keep following our blog for more discussions about Yoga, Pilates, BARRE and Flexicore.

Studio Durham House Blog | Welcome

Yoga Pose

Welcome to our blog.

Firstly, welcome to our first blog post. We are really excited to share with you MORE of what the Studio Durham House has to offer.
For those visiting us for the first time, THE STUDIO at Durham House Chiropractic Clinic in Farnham is a large, bespoke studio offering the highest quality core, pilates, yoga, stretch and balance classes. THE STUDIO environment is clean, warm, bright and inviting.
In our blog we will be discussing all things studio. Including Yoga, Pilates, BARRE concept and our very own flexicore. In addition, if there is anything you would like us to talk about, please email thestudio@durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk.

First things first.

So, first things first. Earlier this week on our Facebook page we discussed some Yoga poses that we believe are perfect to help flexibility and stability of the ankles, which i might add, is our main topic during February. Therefore if you do follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you will notice lots of information about feet and ankles from both our Studio and our Clinic.

Yoga for the ankles part 1.

Today we discuss Virasana or Hero pose in more detail.
 
To complete the pose, Kneel on the floor (use a folded blanket or bolster to wedge between your calves and thighs if necessary), with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, and touch your inner knees together. Slide your feet apart, slightly wider than your hips, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Angle your big toes slightly in toward each other and press the top of each foot evenly on the floor.
 
Exhale and sit back halfway, with your torso leaning slightly forward. Wedge your thumbs into the backs of your knees and draw the skin and flesh of the calf muscles toward the heels. Then sit down between your feet.
If your buttocks don’t comfortably rest on the floor, raise them on a block or thick book placed between the feet. Make sure both sitting bones are evenly supported.
 
Allow a thumb’s-width space between the inner heels and the outer hips. Turn your thighs inward and press the heads of the thigh bones into the floor with the bases of your palms. Then lay your hands in your lap, one on the other, palms up, or on your thighs, palms down.
 
Firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs and lift the top of your sternum like a proud warrior. Widen the collarbones and release the shoulder blades away from the ears. Lengthen the tailbone into the floor to anchor the back torso.
 
At first stay in this pose from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Gradually extend your stay up to 5 minutes. To come out, press your hands against the floor and lift your buttocks up, slightly higher than the heels. Cross your ankles underneath your buttocks, sit back over the feet and onto the floor, then stretch your legs out in front of you. It may feel good to bounce your knees up and down a few times on the floor.
 
Beginner’s Tip – Often the inner top feet press more heavily into the floor than the outer top feet. Press the bases of your palms along the outer edges of the feet and gently push the pinky-toe sides of the feet to the floor. If your ankles are painful in this pose, roll up a towel and place it underneath them before you sit back.

The benefits are endless.

The benefits of this pose include
  • stretching the thighs, knees, and ankles.
  • Strengthening the arches.
  • Relieving the symptoms of menopause.
  • Reducing swelling of the legs during pregnancy (through second trimester) and is therapeutic for high blood pressure and asthma.
Caution – If you have heart problems or a knee/ankle injury please check before attempting this pose.
 
If you are looking for some variations then clasp your hands, extend your arms forward (perpendicular to your torso and parallel to the floor), turn the palms away from your torso (so the thumbs point to the floor), then raise the arms on an inhalation perpendicular to the floor, with the palms facing the ceiling. Stretch actively through the bases of the index fingers.
 
Credit – Yoga Journal
Photo credit – Vic Williams
Keep coming back every month where we will be discussing all things Studio.
See you soon.
The Studio Durham House Team.