Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yoga. Show all posts

12 January 2017

Yoga may be best to ease back pain



Session on the yoga mat may be best to ease a bad back

By Henry Bodkin

With its catalogue of headstands and one-legged contortions, it might be thought yoga was best left to those of us who are in peak physical condition. However, new research suggests the group of people who could most benefit from adopting the lotus position is those who are immobilised by pain.

Analysis of more than 1,000 adults with long-term lower-back pain found those who practised yoga were most likely to reduce pain and improve mobility. The findings, from researchers in the US, add weight to calls for GPs in Britain to prescribe yoga sessions to ease long-term discomfort.

Back pain causes more disability than any other condition and affects almost one in 10 Britons, becoming more common with age. Because the causes are hard to isolate it is difficult to treat and  patients commonly resort to long-term use of strong painkillers.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines instruct doctors to consider recommending various aerobic and biomechanical exercises, but there is currently no specific mention of yoga. However, the new analysis of 12 academic studies from the UK, the US and India suggests yoga, as distinct from traditional back exercises, could yield the best results.

The scientists behind the new research are now calling for fresh longer-term trials to understand the full benefits for patients with persistent back pain, as the existing data only relates to benefits after six to 12 months.

Lead author Susan Wieland, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said: “Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to reducing the symptoms of lower back pain by a small amount, but the results have come from studies with a short follow-up. At the moment we only have low- to moderate-quality evidence for the effects of yoga, before six months, as a type of exercise for helping people with chronic back pain.”

The patients involved in the studies analysed by Dr Wieland had all been enrolled on yoga courses that were designed for their conditions and provided by qualified teachers.

However, the British yoga community is currently riven with uncharacteristic disharmony amid a debate over whether or not to regulate yoga teachers following a series of injuries after students were reportedly encouraged to adopt dangerous positions.

Although yoga teachers who practise in gyms and leisure centres currently have to join the register of exercise professionals, anyone can set themselves up as a private instructor.

“The yoga exercises practised in the studies we reviewed were developed for lower back pain and people should also remember that in each of the studies the classes were led by experienced practitioners,” Dr Wieland said.

She also warned that one in 20 participants (50 patients) actually reported their back pain getting worse after starting a course of yoga.

Derived from a Sanskrit word, yoga aims to “coordinate the breath, mind and body to encourage balance, both internally and externally,” says the British Wheel of Yoga.

But despite its widely acknowledged benefits, it is not considered strenuous enough to count towards the Government-recommended minimum weekly exercise target of 150 minutes of activity, according to the NHS.

However, it is being recommended to elderly people to help prevent the risk of falls.

Published originally in the Daily Telegraph: Session on the yoga mat may be best to ease a bad back

16 February 2016

Prescribing yoga and arts classes on the NHS is money well spent


Want, Idleness, Ignorance, Squalor and Disease: these were the five "giants" identified by Sir William Beveridge in his wartime report that laid the foundation  for the postwar welfare state. He omitted a sixth that is less viable yet as old as civilisation: loneliness.

Isolation inflicts a heavy psychological burden, especially on the elderly. It also has financial costs, in worsening ill health. An innovative scheme in Rotherham suggests how these can be reduced. Health administrators in the town have since 2012 allocated about £500,000 a year to community groups to help vulnerable patients to join them.

It works, for patients and health budgets. GPs direct patients to activities such as yoga, fitness classes or the arts, or counseling for those with financial or welfare problems. This sort of social prescribing reduces the pressure on medical services. Analysis by Sheffield Hallam University suggests that by reducing A & E visits, hospital stays and GP appointments, the programme saves the NHS 43p for each £1 initially spent. If the benefits were continued for five years, the NHS would save twice as much as it spent.

It takes care to interpret and apply these figures. As life expectancy increases and other institutions (such as organised religion) wane in their adherents, however, it makes eminent sense for policymakers to stress social and preventative health measures.

In their recent book Thrive,  the economist Lord Layard and psychologist David Clark argue that mental illness causes more widespread suffering in society than physical illness, or than poverty and unemployment. For the NHS to provide effective, evidence-based psychological treatments is money efficiently spent. To prescribe activities for patients before they fall prey to the scourge of mental illness at all is humane and economical.

Article published in the The Times, Monday 15 February 2016, p.29

Prescription for yoga cuts A&E visits



Prescribing yoga, arts and Xbox fitness classes on the NHS can cut A & E visits by a sixth, according to an analysis of one of the largest such schemes.

Lonely older patients are much happier of GPs send them to knitting, woodwork or local history groups and the NHS could save money because they need less treatment, the study suggests.

Family doctors say they have replaced priests as the first port of call for people with social or financial problems, and non-medical help will free up appointments. Loneliness exacerbates health problems of the elderly.

In one of the longest running programmes, health chiefs in Rotherham have spent £500,000 a year since 2012 on community groups and advisers to help vulnerable patients to joint them.

Tai chi, quizzes, indoor curling and other exercises are among the groups offered to lonely older people, while those with financial problems are given debt and welfare advice and those with depression are steered towards music or creative writing classes. The NHS pays for 10 or 20 weeks of classes.

An evaluation of the scheme by Sheffield Hallam University suggests that patients taking part reduced their attendances at A & E by 17 per cent and hospital stays by 11 per cent. This saved the NHS 43p for each £1 it spent initially, while 82 per cent of patients felt happier, better connected or less worried.

Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Social prescribing schemes can contribute to a patient's overall health and well-being and this report shows that it can lead to a number of positive outcomes".

Article by Chris Smyth, published in The Times, Monday 15 February 2016, p.4

18 September 2015

Restorative yoga: Is it time to slow down your hot yoga moves?


There was an interesting article by Peta Bee in The Times this week about the growing number of people who are turning to a restorative yoga practice.

It’s time to slow down your hot yoga moves 

by Peta Bee

Somewhere along its path to finding inner peace, yoga seems to have lost its way. For the past decade and more we have embraced the ancient practice in our droves. We have rushed from our high-pressured jobs and snatched time to keep up and it has progressed to being a gym-class staple with lightening pace. Getting ashtanga arms and a Bikram butt became our obsession as we pushed ourselves into postures more frenetically than its original devotees would have ever done.

Yoga is now suggestive of competitive stretching by lithe, super-bendy bodies and an emphasis on sweat. Yet just as we got used to the ever more dynamic downward dog, there is an opposing trend emerging among those who are trying to slow it back down.

Fed up with being wedged into a room packed to capacity (and beyond) where a hotshot instructor barks orders, the new breed of yogi is switching to forms in which movement is often barely perceptible — in some classes you are required to stay in the same posture for half an hour. It’s an era of post-mindfulness and those in the know are whispering about restorative and yin yoga in a way that affirms they are the next big thing in fitness.

In Los Angeles, New York and London, studios are reporting a sharp rise in demand for slow-mo classes as more regulars find themselves off the pace. The most popular is yin yoga, for years the awkward cousin of more fashionable varieties. It seemed insane to assume a posture and hold it when fast shifts between the moves were heralded as the route to a hot yoga-bod.

A decade ago, there were, at most, a handful of yin yoga classes in London. Now the number runs into the hundreds with many boutique studios claiming it is becoming the most popular approach with its focus on seated postures and loading the connective tissue and ligaments around a joint.

With restorative yoga, in which your body is completely supported by props from bolsters to eye pillows and blocks to belts, the emphasis is even less on flexibility and more on therapeutic relaxation. You can spend much of your time cocooned in a blanket.

They are yin to the yang of high-intensity interval training and running, the antithesis of competitive yoga, the kind in which A-type personalities strive to out-do the person on the next mat and men attack each class in the way they might a CrossFit workout of the day.

Yet Anna Ashby, who teaches restorative yoga at Triyoga, says that the increase in popularity this year has been enormous. “Since January I’ve noticed this huge tide change and I’m suddenly getting 30 or 40 people wanting to take part in every session,” she says. “People had been consuming yoga in all its latest forms and had got caught up with this hunger for the next pose, the next trend, the next teacher, but they’ve gradually begun to realise they are not switching off and that’s what they really need.”

Nahid de Belgeonne is the founder of the Good Vibes studio in Covent Garden, London, where the most popular sessions now include the snail-paced bliss yoga by candlelight and glow yin. She says: “There’s a growing acknowledgement that mass-appeal yoga doesn’t complement a stressful job and lifestyle. Most of our classes are becoming more gentle now.”

Inevitably, it’s a movement fuelled by a celebrity following, even though it has a more subtle effect on muscle-toning than the more gung-ho approaches. Mandy Ingber, the go-to yogi for Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale and Brooke Shields, is among those trying to combat the Hollywood stereotype of yoga by urging her clients to check their pace. “Remaining in a pose for a long time forces me to breathe and takes all of my presence,” she says. “ ‘Out of my head and into my legs’ is what I like to say.”

Khlo√© Kardashian is a fan as is Salma Hayek, the Latino actress whose body looks a few decades younger than her chronological 49 years. Hayek says she works with a yoga teacher who helps her tease her body gently into shape. “She taught me to tone [my muscles] without clenching them,” Hayek says. “You relax them and focus on the parts that need to be used, but never with tension.”

On the face of it, yin looks easy. You sit or lie down. There are no core poses, no warriors or planks and no speedy sun salutations. How difficult can it be? Belgeonne says it’s surprising how it moves you “out of your comfort zone”. In a typical ashtanga class, you might hold a posture for five breaths; in a yin session it can be anything from two to twenty minutes, an endurance feat for body and mind.

These longer holds apply the right kind of pressure to the fascia, the dense, fibrous connective tissue around the body that encompasses all muscles and bones. Small amounts of fascia are good news, but it builds up through poor posture and hardcore workouts to impinge daily movement.

“Yin works on the fascia and connective tissue as well as allowing the mind to rest,” Belgeonne says. Restorative yoga is not about stretching at all. In fact, movement is minimal. “Poses can be held for 30 minutes,” says Sarah Scharf, who teaches it at the Life Centre in Notting Hill, London. “And the emphasis is on comfort. If you’re not comfortable, it’s impossible to rest deeply, let alone stay still for that long.”

It’s the passivity of slow yoga that newcomers find most challenging. Ashby says that last week she spotted two participants in her restorative yoga classes furtively sending texts and emails as they lay with their bodies draped on a series of blocks. “We have become so used to living with constant mental stimulation from phones and the internet that people find it really hard to switch off,” she says. “Our minds are constantly cracking the whip and we don’t realise that we are putting ourselves through this chronic low-grade stress all the time.”

With mellow yoga come mellow instructors, which can also require a period of adjustment. “There are a lot of big egos in yoga,” Ashby says. “I peer through the doors of other classes and see teachers firing poses at people. You have to question what it’s become. What people really need is time out; a rest.” Slow yoga offers the permission to take it, she says: “People tell me after a class it’s the only time in their lives they ever just sit and breathe.”
Originally published in The Times on Tuesday 15 September


RESTORATIVE YOGA AT YOGA MAMA


Yoga Mama offers restorative yoga classes on Wednesday evenings. For more information, visit the Yoga Mama website. Class bookings can be made via the  Yoga Mama online class booking system. Alternatively, you can book by calling us on 020 8789 3881 or by sending an email to info@putneyclinic.co.uk.


23 April 2015

Restorative Yoga

 

RESTORATIVE YOGA


WEDNESDAY EVENINGS, 8-9PM

Unwind at the end of your day with a class that starts with gentle, yet strengthening yoga stretches and breath work, before moving toward restorative yoga, using props (bolsters, blankets, blocks, straps, eye bags) to support the body, create comfort and minimize muscular tension, which in turn helps to relax the nervous system, rest the adrenal glands, fostering a deep sense of well-being.

This class is suitable for all levels of experience and flexibility. It is also suitable for people returning to yoga practice after a spell away, or any one working with injuries or health conditions. Above all, it's an hour where individuals can switch off from the pace of London life and tune into themselves.

BOOKINGS


This 8-week restorative yoga course costs £112. To book your place, call 020 8789 3881 or send an email to info@putneyclinic.co.uk.


29 March 2015

Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners




4-WEEK ASHTANGA YOGA FOR BEGINNERS COURSE


STARTS SATURDAY 25 APRIL, 8:45AM

We are pleased to announce that Yoga Mama will be offering a new 4-week ashtanga yoga for beginners course which starts on Saturday 25 April, 8.45am. The class will be led by Degy and is designed for beginners. Please note that this course is unsuitable for pregnant women who have not studied ashtanga yoga before.


ABOUT THE COURSE

The beginner course will teach you the grounding elements of Ashtanga Yoga. You will learn the main principles of this method, which are linking breath and movement. You will be taught the Surya namaska sequence and introduced to the standing postures. This particular method of yoga is ultimately practiced in what is called "Mysore style", where you move through the sequence at your own pace, in what becomes like a moving meditation. It is both dynamic and relaxing at the same time.


ABOUT THE TEACHER

Degy was introduced to the ashtanga yoga method here at The Putney Clinic by Cherie Lathey. She has gone on to train and study with internationally renowned ashtanga yoga teacher John Scott and has practised with a number of senior teachers including Nancy Gilgoff and Sri Sharath Jois.


BOOKINGS

This 4-week course costs £56. If you would like to sign up for this Ashtanga yoga for beginners course, call us on 020 8789 3881 or drop us an email to info@putneyclinic.co.uk.


15 October 2014

True knowledge; Yoga Makaranda


" That (true knowledge) which cannot be realized, merely by reading and studying, becomes real only through application and practice of yoga"

Yoga Makaranda-The Nectar of Yoga 
Krishnamacharya 

28 August 2014

Ashtanga yoga at Yoga Mama



Ashtanga yoga is a flowing dynamic form of yoga, where each pose is linked and synchronised using a breath and movement system . Developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga yoga is a set series of postures that are linked to the breath in a flow of movement, increasing strength and flexibility. The discipline of this system allows us to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of ourselves. It is both empowering, and liberating and allows us to move through life with a calmness and steadiness of mind and body.

Ashtanga Yoga courses at Yoga Mama


In addition to our Friday morning (9 -10:30am) Ashtanga Led Yoga course, we have added a new Tuesday morning (9:30 - 11am) course too. Both of these courses last for 8 weeks and cost £120.

Come along and join our yoga classes to gain muscle strength, flexibility and improve your posture to help prevent re-injury and to achieve a mind-body connection.

More information and bookings


For more information or to book your place on a course, call us on 0208 789 3881 or send an email to info@putneyclinic.co.uk.

21 August 2014

BKS Iyengar -What a remarkable man.


Sad to hear the news of BKS Iyengar passing on to the next life
What a truly remarkable man who studied and shared his knowledge of yoga to millions of people.
His books have certainly influenced me-his dedication and wisdom stayed with him to the end. His mark on the world saw him nominated for the Noble Prize for peace.....lets hope we see more yogis follow in his "giant"  footsteps.

Image result for bks iyengar images

05 August 2014

How heavy is your head?

This is a great image that really shows why posture is important, and why people working at computers should be especially mindful. Carrying around a 42lb head is going to hurt. Tuck that chin in and lengthen the spine.

Thank you to The Putney clinic of Physical Therapy for displaying this on their notice board.


13 June 2014

Yoga and stress-related skin conditions



By Cherie Lathey, senior yoga teacher and director of Yoga Mama

Many skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and atopic dermatitis can be triggered by or, indeed, made worse once an outbreak is present by stress. Some suffers will become self-conscious and even depressed which then causes a circular negative effect on the condition.

Practising yoga and meditation can have a really positive effect on both the mind and body. We know helping to relieve stress can help to alleviate some of the symptoms or aggravating factors of skin conditions brought on by stress. While I am not suggesting yoga and meditation alone will cure psoriasis, it can definitely help.

A gentle yoga practice and breathing techniques can have a profound effect on how we manage stress, and how we perceive ourselves in the world. Helping to balance moods and enabling a positive connection to the body by letting go of the negative feelings that might occur when a skin condition is present.

Gentle poses such as child's pose, short meditations and breathing exercises carried out on a regular basis will have a positive effect on both the mind and body.

For more information about yoga classes currently available at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy and Yoga Mama, visit the Yoga Mama website or email us at info@yogamama.co.uk.

26 November 2013

Practising yoga with injuries. No pain, no gain?



I am out of action at the moment. I have a hip impingement which has been going on for a quite a while. I've seen all the great and good in the London hip scene (pardon the pun) and have continued my yoga practice the best I can whilst working around the injury site and not taking myself into a point of pain. A recent stint which had me sat at a computer for more hours than I care to count has aggravated the impingement and the steroid injection I had in August has started to wear off.

One of the problems I now have is pain and inflammation causes muscle inhibition. As I currently have pain,  I have been advised to rest to see if the pain subsides. Continuing to work through the pain inhibits the muscles around the injury site and stops them from working efficiently; therefore doing more damage than good. Once I  am relatively pain free, I will work the muscles (in this case the glutes and other core stabilisers) in isolation to try and gain back the strength that has been  lost around the pain site. So the old saying "no pain, no gain" definitely does not apply to injuries. It might be worth remembering this if you are practising with pain and inflammation, as you may be adding to the problem.


27 August 2013

Eka Pada Ibiza style


After a week of "super clubs" in Ibiza my son busts his version of Eka Pada in a "Trapstar" hat and "Nike Huarache" trainers. While the attire is pretty cool, it is not recommended with this yoga pose.   :-) 

02 August 2013

An inspirational yoga teacher Matthew Sanford. Please share his message.




A wonderful video clip of an inspirational man. I was moved and inspired by Matthew. He will be running workshops at Triyoga in London in September 2013. Matthew Sanford realising the inner body + adapting yoga for everyone: a weekend of workshops + two-day intensive Wednesday 11 - Sunday 15 September.

21 April 2013

The inward journey: To know oneself

"To know oneself is to know ones body, mind and soul." 
"The inward journey will allow you to explore and integrate each of these aspects of your being. from your physical body, you will journey inward to discover your "subtle bodies"-your energy body, where breath and emotions reside; your mental body, where thoughts and obsessions can be mastered: your intellectual body, where intelligence and wisdom can can be found; and your divine body, where the universal soul can be glimpsed." 

Light on Life.
B.K.S Iyengar

07 February 2013

A day in the life of a yoga student in Mysore

So I'm here in Mysore India to practice yoga at the Ashtanga yoga institute. I could write a long monologue of my practice, the shala, the students, the gossip and all the other "stuff" that keeps the yoga students entertained when they are not practising asana. Instead I will give you a glimpse into the life of the people of India who are teaching me lessons every day that I am here.