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Twist Your Way to Less Back Pain

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Here’s everything you need to know to prevent low back pain in twists, as well as use your twisting practice to help ease low back pain.

When you suffer from back pain, you might be tempted to stay sedentary until your pain goes away. But research shows gentle movement can actually help speed recovery, thanks to a fresh supply of oxygenated blood rushing to your low back, reducing inflammation. And while twisting when you have back pain might sound counterintuitive, practicing gentle twists can actually be one of the best things you do to relieve your pain. Read on for the info you need on how twisting can help you heal back pain, as well as how to use a wall as a prop and how to prevent low back pain during twists.

See also Alexandria Crow’s Pretty Twisted Practice



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Advanced Yoga Sequences

This Home Practice Will Help You Breathe—and Relax—Deeply

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Want to to learn how to really embody your breath in order to take bigger, deeper breaths and rest more fully as a result? Read on.

Ellen Patrick demonstrates different poses where people can take bigger and deeper breaths.

“Inhale, raise your arms. Exhale, fold forward. Inhale, rise up to a half forward bend. Exhale step, or jump, back to Chataurunga.”

As a yoga student, I’m sure you recognize this phrase from just about every vinyasa class in which you’ve practiced. Ironically, the most frequent phrase I hear from students after teaching a vinyasa class is: “I love yoga, but I don’t get the breathing part.” That’s when I usually laugh and say, “Of course you get the breathing part! You’re alive!”

See also This Month’s Home Practice: 16 Poses to Spark Inspiration

All humans inhale and exhale 24/7, but rarely are we aware of the breath in the course of our daily lives. It is during a yoga practice that we have the opportunity to become more aware of our respiratory patterns. We get to look at the quality, pacing, fullness, and texture of our inhalations and exhalations; we get to pause and appreciate the breath’s profound ability to create vitality and well-being. As we become more mindful of our breathing, naturally the question arises: Why do we need to bring awareness to the breath when respiration happens automatically?

The response is three-fold. First, on a physical level, if we coordinate movement with breath, movement becomes more effective and efficient. Then, from a physiological perspective, the breath regulates the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous responses (the autonomic nervous system). Finally, from a psychological viewpoint, this regulation can help us cultivate better stress management techniques. In other words, when we manage the quality of our breath, we have the ability to influence our relaxation responses.

See also How to Build a Home Practice

It is important to keep in mind that breath is three-dimensional. Our lungs expand and condense forward and back, side-to-side, and up and down. By preparing the muscles of the body to support these natural shape changes, your breath capacity will be greatly enhanced, movement will be more effective, and the reactions of the autonomic nervous system will sustain greater resiliency. Because most people have postural and muscular imbalances, the body needs to be primed through yoga postures to achieve maximum results from respiration.

The following sequence will prepare your body for optimal breathing and as a happy result, relaxation. By stretching and freeing up space in tight muscles, strengthening weak postural muscles, and toning the diaphragm—the major muscle of respiration—you will attain a deeper and more efficient breath.

This Sequence Will Help You Breathe and Relax



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Guided Meditation

8 Ways to Fall Madly In Love With Yourself

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Practice yoga and meditation alongside Sarah Ezrin in Yoga Journal’s four-week self-love series.



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Beginner Sequence Videos

Practice These Yoga Exercises to Keep Your Knees Healthy

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Do standing postures hurt your knees? Following along with Benjamin Sears and learn how to heal and prevent knee injuries in your yoga practice.

If your yoga practice is putting pressure on your knees, we hear you. Follow along with Benjamin Sears, as he teaches simple, yet powerful exercises for a couple common issues around knees: lack of internal rotation, and weak or tight hamstrings. In addition, he addresses the importance of protecting your knees in standing Warrior postures.

See also These Exercises Will Teach You How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries

Want to practice in person with Benjamin Sears? Sign up for his next Sacred Geometry Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in Dallas, March 28 – April 12, 2019. Early bird registration available now—Apply today!



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