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Authors: Tara Stiles

Tags: #Health & Fitness, #Yoga, #Pain Management

Yoga Cures: Simple Routines to Conquer Over 50 Common Ailments and Live Pain-Free (10 page)

BOOK: Yoga Cures: Simple Routines to Conquer Over 50 Common Ailments and Live Pain-Free
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Standing Forward Bend

Exhale and bend your trunk forward over your legs. Let your head and neck relax and hang heavy. If your

hamstrings feel tight keep a slight bend in your knees to give them some more space to relax and open. Press your fingertips on the ground.

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Standing Forward Bend with Arch

Inhale, look forward and lengthen out your back, so that it lifts up to horizontal. Let your fingertips graze the ground.

If that’s too much stress on your hamstrings, press your hands lightly into your shins to get a nice length in your spine.

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Plank

Bend your knees as much as you need to press your palms into the ground. Press into your hands and step your feet straight back, bringing your body into a straight line from the top of your head through your heels. Keep your stomach nice and strong and lift the front of your thighs up. Stay here for five long, deep breaths. If this is too intense, gently lower your knees to the floor.

Plank Push-Up

You can either do this with your knees lifted, or lowered. Listen to your body. Bend your elbows straight back and lower your body halfway down in one straight line until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. If a half push-up is too intense simply lower slowly all the way down to your belly by bending your elbows straight back.

Up Dog

Lower your knees gently to the ground. If you did plank with your knees lowered, then they will be all set. Roll your file:///C|/...ures%20Simple%20Routines%20to%20Conquer%20Mlments%20and%20Live%20Pain-Free%20-%20Stiles%20Tara/index.html[5/29/2012 10:54:20 PM]

shoulders down and lift your chest up through your arms with a big inhale. Straighten your arms as much as feels comfortable, while keeping your shoulders down. If you straighten your arms and your back feels pinched, bend the elbows and continue to lift your chest through your arms until you feel good. Don’t be shy about adding a little movement if needed to keep the pose fresh and help open up your back. Sway your torso a bit from side to side if that feels good. Remember, keep your body easy, never forced or tense.

Child’s Pose

Move out of up dog so that you accordion your body and gently shift your hips to your heels. Arms should be long and rested in front of you along either side of your head. Rest your forehead on the ground and breathe deeply into your back. Stay here for five long, deep breaths. Observe the sensations in your body as they gently come and go, the same way you watched your thoughts go by like passing clouds earlier. Take three long, full deep breaths here.

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Down Dog

Spread your fingers wide, like you are digging into wet sand, lift your hips, tuck your toes and lift back into down dog. Reach your heels down toward the ground, relax your shoulders and neck. Keep some easy movements

happening in the pose to encourage the body to open and prevent it from getting stuck in a static position. Gently sway from side to side. Stay in down dog for five long, deep breaths.

When you are ready, slowly walk your feet up to your hands and return to your standing forward bend. Roll up to standing, one vertebra at a time. Once you reach the top, inhale and lift your arms out and up, filling up all the space with all of you. As you exhale gently release your arms down by your sides. Repeat this simple sun salutation

variation five times or more to create some heat in the body and ease of mind.

Aches and Pains

Aches and pains in our backs, necks, and joints can creep up on us over time or happen suddenly.

However they arrive, they can be a huge burden and limitation on our mobility, increase our stress

levels, and disrupt our peace of mind. The best way to cure aches and pains is to prevent them from

finding us in the first place. A regular yoga and meditation practice can help a lot with that, especially

the simple yoga and breathing techniques that follow.

In a study conducted by Dr. Fadel Zeidan at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, fifteen

volunteers who had no previous meditation experience took four twenty-minute classes in a type of

meditation called focused attention. After the training, a small area of skin on each patient’s right leg

was heated to a pain-inducing level for five minutes, while an MRI monitored pain signals in the brain.

Dr. Zeidan said, “We found a big effect—about 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent

reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine

or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce ratings by about 25 percent.”

So now we know that meditation can alter our mental perception of painful experiences, which is

pretty useful. We can also utilize physical yoga (moving meditation) to harness our ability to change the

state of our bodies. Taking both into account we can send our aches and pains on their way for good!

REAL-LIFE CURES: Tara Lets the Pain Roll off Her Shoulders

I have to confess I’ve had my share of aches and pains. One I should have been able to prevent is an intense pain that found its way from my shoulder into my upper and lower back from always carrying a way-too-heavy purse on my right shoulder. Not good! I know it’s hard to remember to switch shoulders, but trust me, it’s worth it if you carry a heavy bag. Or, better yet, get a backpack! When this sharp and lasting pain took hold, I put myself on a regimen of gentle, supported, back-opening yoga. It took several days to work itself out, but it finally did. So now I hold my bag in my hand and switch hands every so often to even things out.

THE ACHES AND PAINS YOGA CURE

“Aches and pains” is a pretty broad category to cover in one entry, but the yoga fundamentals in dealing with
most pain are going slow, breathing deeply, and, you guessed it, paying attention. When you move very slowly,
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BOOK: Yoga Cures: Simple Routines to Conquer Over 50 Common Ailments and Live Pain-Free
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