Pain Free Practice…

Ever go through a practice and midway through you notice a hint of pain? Yoga is suppose to heal all though right? True, but at times we get called to move from one pose to the next and with slight loss of mindfulness we can move into injury. 

This month I’m giving you 4 ways to stay safe on your mat and keep from getting injured. 

Tip 1)  Strengthen Your Core!

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If you know me, you know I love my core section of practice. A great way to supplement your practice is by doing some strength training outside the studio.  A great addition is just by adding five simple minutes of core strengthening exercises. 

By strengthening your core you not only start to align the body and assist the spine but also give your yoga practice an assist. Every time you come to a pose that uses the wrists Your CORE actually helps get you up and out of them so the pressure is less intense ergo keeping your wrist safer and pain free! 

One of my favorite ways that’s easy and quick is the 1,2,1 forearm plank hold.  

  • To set it up, it’s helpful to use a mat, lay on your belly.  Allow the elbows and shoulders to align.  With arms pointing straight forward, so they line up with the long edge of the mat, flatten hands and spread fingers to press down.  Fingers should also be pointing towards the front edge of the mat.  
  • Tuck toes under and lift. 
  • Hold ONE MINUTE, then lower to sphinx (no need to move arms or toes, just lower belly) Rest 30 seconds. 
  • Lift TWO MINUTES, breathe and focus the gaze forward. If you need to drop drop, but come right back in. Lower to sphinx and rest 30 seconds. 
  • Lift for ONE MINUTE, it’s the last one YOU CAN DO IT!  Then done! You got your five minutes of core in! **Bonus tip: Set a mirror or flip your phone camera so you can make sure your body is straight from tailbone to crown of the head.  This is going to give you the best core work AND proper alignment

Tip 2) Activate Your Rotator Cuffs

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We use our shoulders in pretty much every pose we move through.

By properly preparing them and activating what rotates our shoulders will greatly decrease your chances of injury. 

Either before practice or even as you rise a simple and great way to warm these puppies up is to do just that. 

  • Cross your arms in front so your right hand is on the left shoulder and left hand is on the right shoulder, and rub. Not only is this literally warming them up, but it’s starting to create the blood flow you need to get into the muscle good. 
  • Now MASSAGE, just by squeezing up and down the muscle, down to the biceps and up the neck. 
  • Release hands back to normal. 
  • One at a time, or together, roll back about ten times. Then lift elbows and start to roll back ten more times. Finally, open the arms and make circles backwards. 
  • Repeat the process forward. 
  • Once warm, now we can strengthen and stretch this area, by using eagle arms.
  •  Either sitting or standing cross right arm under left and wrap forearms.
  •  Slowly you can raise elbows up. Hold here about 8 to 10 breaths.
  • Lower and hold for about 20 seconds.  Repeat on opposite side. 
  • This will help to open up and strength the shoulders for all the work they do in our practice.

Tip 3) Stabilize Your Wrists

By using our childs pose and working with our rotator cuffs we can form a muscle memory for our wrists to help keep them protected. The wrists after all have A LOT of moving parts. 

  • Connecting your rotator cuffs with your wrists in Childs Pose strengthens the wrists themselves. Starting in Childs Pose. Rest sitting bones on your heals. and extend your arms forward on the floor in front of you, palms down. 
  • Roll shoulders out and draw shoulder blades down and back the spine, engaging the rotator cuffs. 
  • Keeping wrists straight, gently press finger tips into the mat (allowing the carpel bones to align with radius and ulna as it lifts slightly from the press). 
  • Maintain lift as you inhale, and relax as you exhale. Doing this about 8-10 breaths. 
  • Sitting up once complete, and hold right arm straight in front, using left hand pull back fingers of the right. Then drop the fingers to point down and press against the back of the right hand with the left. Switch sides. 
  • Then taking your left thumb, make a circular motion on the right forearm to “massage” and loosen the muscle. Switch sides. This allows the wrist to have more flexibility and range of motion, especially if you have tight forearms. 

Tip 4) Mindfulness in Every Move

You may have heard me say at one point, “you can’t get hurt if your listening to what the body is saying.” What does that even mean?!?

It’s just like when your stomach growls at your around lunch time.  It speaks to us in different ways, we just need to listen. By moving a little slower we can start to hear what it says during our practice. What’s the rush any how? It’s not a race, there are no medals…we all win a healthier lifestyle at the end. So take the extra millisecond to properly place the hands on the mat, spread the fingers, bend the elbows, tighten the abdominals, then jump back (not into plank ever, by the way) in to chatarunga. Think through every move you make. Use a full breath. This is going to keep your body the safest. Don’t push into anything, move with ease and care. Listen. Your body will tell you what you need to know. 

By adding these four simple tips to your life, not only will your practice be safer but you’ll become stronger and more in tune with you body and mind! Can’t get much better than that!  If you have any tips you like to use for staying safe on the mat let me know by commenting below! Have a question? Leave it below or email me any time! I’m always happy to help!

You can also catch me at the park starting June 6, 2017 for Yoga in the Park! Come join in the fun as we kick of the season with a FREE OPEN HOUSE FLOW!!  Click here for more details...

Have a beautiful day!

Namaste (: