Monday, March 14, 2011

Iyengar Yoga and Back Pain Relief

Downward facing dog pose is great for backs.
A number of people who come to yoga classes start as a way to help relieve chronic back pain.  The mindful practice of yoga poses help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the back, and ease stiffness in the spine.

There are a few good studies out that confirm what we experience in yoga classes -- that yoga really does help reduce back pain, and create healthier backs. 

Read Yoga for Back Pain Relief for an overview of how the practice of yoga postures can help reduce back problems. This article also gives a synopsis of a clinical study that shows that people who practice of Iyengar Yoga are more successful in alleviating their low back pain than people who receive standard medical therapy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Iyengar Yoga -- Inspiration From a Video

There are many yoga videos on YouTube --most of them I'm just not that impressed with, but occasionally I find one that's interesting or inspiring in some way.

Here's a video of Iyengar yoga teachers, Linda DiCarlo and Claude Goldstein, demonstrating a number of poses during their December 2010 holiday party at Linda's studio, Iyengar Yoga Source, in Rhode Island.

They start with Surya Namaskar (sun salutations), then do standing poses,  some floor poses, back extensions (back bending poses) and inversions (upside down poses).

How many of these poses are familiar to you?    Have you done them in class?   If you've been taking my classes for awhile, you'll recognize most of the poses they demonstrate.  

The sequence is interesting!   Here's a challenge for those of you who have a home yoga practice:   try some of the segments that are shown in this video!  

I was especially intrigued with moving from Utthita hasta padangusthasana (standing balance pose, hand holding big toe of lifted, outstretched leg), to Urdhva prasarita ekapadasana (standing forward bend with one leg lifted up), to Parsvottanasana ( intense side stretch pose -- one leg forward, one leg back, forward bending over forward leg).  

How about you?  Does this video inspire you to try something a little different in your home yoga practice?