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Entries in muscles (4)


Sitting in a chair all day is bad for you

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Image © Yoga Robin®)

Don't sit at desk all day

It's important to take a break while working at your desk. Sitting in a chair all day is not good for you. Even for a few hours it takes a toll on your cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. It leads to muscle degeneration, organ damage, lymphatic blockage, psoas contraction, circulatory issues in legs, etc. I personally add psychological craziness to the list.

I do quick yoga breaks often in my office, in particular to keep my spine elongated and shoulders open. I practice Ashtanga yoga every morning so it's a matter of reopening what was already open earlier in the day. If I let all of my hard work succumb to the computer, I feel a combination of carpal tunnel syndrome and skeletal misalignment in my upper back.

Getting into alignment in my yoga practice each morning is such a precious thing! Keeping it is my daily at-home or at-office practice.



Headstands and how they benefit you

Five-minute headstands

I used to do 5-minute headstands every day. They influence pure calm and also reverse the aging process, as the blood flow switches directions. Headstands require arm strength and balance.

Protect your neck

Staying up in a headstand at all costs is not a good idea though—the neck needs to be protected with safe technique.

I, indeed, learned the hard way. One morning I woke feeling hospital-bound; the day before I did a 7-minute headstand, and felt my shoulders sinking in the last 2 minutes but did not listen to my body. Sadly, I allowed my ego to guide me instead.

It was through the several weeks to follow that I remembered the articulate words of my austere—and very experienced—teacher. I remembered all of her demonstrations before headstands to properly place the hands, lift—pull-down, although inverted—the shoulders, setting up before inverting (and keeping that structure no matter what). I remember all of the partner exercises surrounding this. I also remember rolling my eyes, believing that I didn't need any of that "beginner instruction."

I was wrong. I did. 

Act with a "beginner's mind"

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Can you find stillness and not stiffness?


Can you find stillness and not stiffness?

Yoga is, no doubt, a great place to work on this. Some yoga classes are all about moving fluidly with your watery nature, as you, like a dance, find your way to balance. This can help with flow in life, moving with the body we are dealt in life and becoming one with it.

life and chaos

Life brings chaos and challenge sometimes. A challenging yoga class can help you mimic this challenge and give you the chance to relax into it. You can come out ahead of the game with your head on your shoulders.

Ashtanga yoga, invigorating and fast-paced, can be a place to find stillness and calm. A serious voice that instructs while also inviting you to find softness in the strength is important, especially in your neck and trapezius muscles that support your neck—a common place to hold tension. 

expansion and contraction

Can you find the perfect balance between expansion and contraction of your muscles so that the end result is soft and still? If you cannot, your yoga could be harming you. Better yet, can you find it in your mind and spirit? It takes patience to traverse your oceans of time...

Other activities such as surfing require focus and strength. Learning how to ride nature's gem—the ocean—allows you to give yourself to it. It is pure fluid so you have no choice but to move with it. Can you find the strength in your muscles to protect you, fuel you, and help you get the most enjoyment possible, while still remaining soft and fluid, especially in the back of your neck?

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Why I love twists in yoga

Wring it out

My favorite yoga poses involve twists. The twisting action "wrings out" the toxins from the body. They feel so good! A good twist will move the fluid in the sacrum, crack a few joints and release a shot of prana quickly through the body that can easily be felt. An "ahh" or a smile is a natural reaction.

Twists are not just for yoga though. I do twists along with other activities as well to bring me into a sort of balance. I even choose a twist as my one yoga pose while taking a break from intense computer or desk work.

Twists feel especially good when I'm on a long hike, using the same muscle groups constantly, leaving me feeling a bit tight. I feel an immediate change in my posture and stance afterward, as the twisting action really balances me out.

So, stop what you're doing now and get on the ground and do a twist! You won't regret it.



© 2010 Yoga Robin®