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MFR for Joint Conditions – Specifically Osteoarthritis in the Hip

By Emily D’Alterio for Yoga Medicine.

2. Quadriceps

Place ball on your quad starting above knee & work slowly up thigh. Roll & compress on trigger points. Lower leg can relax or slowly moving heel to glutes.

3. TFL

Top of ITB – Lay on your side, please ball on the front of your hip (at your pocket), below bony protrusion. Compress then move lower, cover the whole outer edge of hip.

4. Erector Spinae & QL

Place two balls on either side of the spine, above the pelvis. Roll up & down the back, pausing to compress in lower, middle & upper back. Pause in the lower back, take knees to one side and pause. Repeat other side.

5. Feet

Place ball under foot – make slow circles under the foot, pause on trigger points at toe mounds, ball of foot and arch, scribble the heel, roll from toes to heel covering entire surface.

1. Citation needed for “OA is the most common joint disorder in the United States” Zhang, Y., & Jordan, J., 2011, ‘Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis’. Clin Geriatr Med. 2010 Aug; 26(3): 355-369 –> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920533/
Tuhina, N. 2013, ‘The Epidemiology and Impact of Pain in Osteoarthritic. Osteoarthritis. 2013 Sep; 21(9): 1145-1153 –> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753584/
2. WHO Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion. Available at: http://www.who.int/chp/topics/rheumatic/en/
3. Citation needed for OA symptoms Tuhina, N. 2013, ‘The Epidemiology and Impact of Pain in Osteoarthritic. Osteoarthritis. 2013 Sep; 21(9): 1145-1153 –> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753584/
4. Citation needed for “research indicates that patient education, manual therapy, or exercise intervention…” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7621.php https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/treatment.php
Svege, I., Nordsletten, L., Fernandes, L., & Risberg, M. (2015). Exercise therapy may postpone total hip replacement surgery in patients with hip osteoarthritis: A long-term follow-up of a randomised trial. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 74(1), 164. Poquet, N., Williams, M., & Bennell, K. (2016). ‘Exercise for Osteoarthritic of the Hip.’ Physical Therapy 2016 Nov; 96(11):1689-1694.

Yin Yoga for Chest & Hips

By Shannon Stephens for Yoga Medicine®.

Sit a lot? Shannon Stephens, 500 E-RYT Yoga Medicine teacher, created this Yin Yoga sequence to open the chest and hip flexors; and it is an easily accessible practice for yogis of all levels. For most of us, the front side of the body is inherently tight. Less than ideal postural habits and lots of time on our seat results in tight pectoral muscles, rigid sides, tense hip flexors, and shallow breathing. This short yin sequence offers poses that free the front of the body and support the respiratory system by lengthening the tissues around the chest and ribcage. Note that Shannon is showing only one side of two-sided postures. Be sure to pause the video to complete your second side and have a way to keep track of time.

Find the original video on Yoga Medicine’s Youtube channel.

Self Myofascial Release Practices for Better Backbends

Senior Yoga Medicine® teacher Rachel Land shares a simple sequence that can unlock common areas of resistance and make your backbends feel better.

A Sequence to Make Backbends Feel Better

Rectus Femoris

Tensor Fascia Latae



Why Weak Hip Flexors Can Be A Pain In The Butt

Gry Bech-Hanssen discusses the benefits that strong and functional hip flexors could have on your backside and range of motion.

7 Strategies for Healthy Hamstrings

Rachel Land for Yoga International. Senior Yoga Medicine teacher Rachel Land offers her top 7 tips for relieving tension in your hamstrings and keeping them happy, healthy, and strong.

7 Strategies for Healthy Hamstrings

Deep Stretches To Ease Everyday Aches And Pains

Andrea Ferretti for Prevention Online shares 15 deep stretches that can help with everday aches and pains. These stretches allieviate stress in commonly injured joints, help correct back pain from office work, and can be done almost anywhere. Yoga Medicine founder Tiffany Cruikshank shares some insight on the importance of stretching as we age.

15 Deep Stretches To Ease Everyday Aches And Pains

Dealing with achy joints doesn’t have to be part of getting older. By improving your posture and doing gentle exercises to strengthen muscles that support your joints, you can avoid becoming one of the 100 million American adults who live with chronic pain.

Years of hunching over can put pressure on the soft disks between vertebrae. Tissues that surround joints lose elasticity as we age. But, thankfully, these changes can be remedied, says Steven E. Sampson, a sports medicine physician at Ortho-Healing Center in Los Angeles. “Stretching improves blood flow to muscles and tendons, which can tighten with inactivity,” he says. “Strengthening the muscles around our joints helps alleviate stress and inflammation.”

These simple moves can be done almost anywhere with minimal equipment. Work them into your day three times a week to ease aches or head them off before they begin.

Read the rest of the article here.

Your Diaphragm is a Core Strength Game Changer

Yoga Medicine 500HR participant Gry Bech-Hanssen for Yoga Journal shares how your diaphragm is an often overlooked core muscle. Learn how your diaphragm could be a core strength game changers. 

Why Your Diaphragm Could Be the Core Strength Game-Changer You’ve Overlooked

Most yogis are familiar with their diaphragm in the context of pranayama practice, but core work? Not so much. Yoga Medicine teacher Gry Bech-Hanssen explains.

As a yogi, you know how important good breathing is for your overall health and wellbeing. Your breath affects all of your vital systems, right down to the cellular level. It impacts your sleep, memory, energy level, and concentration. But in a busy life, even for yogis, breathing well can be easier said than done. Poor posture (all those hours hunched over a keyboard or steering wheel), emotional stress, mental pressure, conscious or unconscious movement patterns, and lack of movement can all contribute to restricted, shallow breathing and tension in the diaphragm, your primary breathing muscle. Though you may not be aware of poor respiratory mechanics throughout your day, the effects can be profound. Did you know that the way you breathe (or don’t) also influences how effectively your muscles work?

Read the rest of the article here.

About the Author

Gry Bech-Hanssen is currently working toward her 500-hour yoga teacher training with Tiffany Cruikshank. Based in Oslo, Norway, she has a background in contemporary dance and has been teaching movement for well over 10 years. She teaches yoga and pilates in groups and therapeutic private sessions, and is also trained in Structural Bodywork, massage, and Neurokinetic Therapy. Gry is passionate about using yoga in combination with all the other tools in her tool box to help people make lasting changes in their bodies and lives. You can find more about her at www.somawork.no.

3 Moves to Correct Hip Hypermobility

Alice Louise Blunden of YogaMedicine shares some crucial information about the popularity of “hip-openers,” a quick lesson on hip anatomy, and three poses to help correct hypermobility and build stability in your hip joint.

3 yoga poses to correct joint hypermobility and promote hip stability

Not ALL Hips Need Opening: 3 Moves for Hip Stability

When yogis talk hips, it’s generally about opening them. But your hips CAN be too open. If you fall into the hypermobile camp, learn how to balance strength and flexibility to protect your hips.
Dedicating time during our physical yoga practice to opening the hips can be nourishing, therapeutic—and downright addictive for many of us. (How about that feel-good release in Pigeon Pose?) Let’s consider, though, whether we always need to push for more flexibility in this region of the body or if it may be more helpful for some people to build strength.

Do Your Hips Really Need Opening?

Hip strength is necessary in day-to-day life. Whether we are walking in the park, running for the bus, or cycling to work, the hip joint takes the brunt of the body’s weight and enables all of these fundamental actions. In short: Stable hips are a good thing—they carry our bodies throughout the day. Of course if you are an athlete, runner, or someone simply born with especially tight hips, hip-opening poses are helpful in maintaining a healthy range of motion and balance between strength and flexibility. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, though, and are naturally quite open in the hips or after years of practicing hip-opening poses now have very open hips, consider whether it’s still helpful to continue increasing the range of motion in this region of your body.

I am ‘blessed’ with naturally open hips. I never shied away from postures that required an increased range of motion in this region of the body when I first started yoga. I’m the person who could actually fall asleep with my legs wrapped behind my head in Yoginandrasana. But was it therapeutic? I certainly looked like an advanced yogi in these postures. But, unfortunately, my lack of knowledge and understanding of the hip joint meant that I could have been doing more damage to my body than good.

Understanding the Hip Joint

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint composed of two bones. The femur sits in the acetabulum, which is part of the pelvis. Covering the bones of the hip is the articular cartilage. The articular cartilage is important for providing a cushion and a smooth surface when the bones move on one another. Surrounding the acetabulum is additional cartilage called the labrum, which forms a lip around the cup-shaped bone to provide additional stability in the joint.

While it is helpful to understand the anatomy of the hip, what may be more even important (if a bit frightening) is knowing that one of the deepest layers of the joint, the cartilage, does not have any nerve endings. This means you may not be aware of any damage to the cartilage until it is too late. Although cartilage doesn’t have nerve endings, the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments do. This is why yoga can be helpful for tuning into the body to find a balance between strength and flexibility. This is crucial for the health of the muscles and the integrity of the joints. By listening to our bodies with this sense of mindfulness we can begin to notice our strengths and weaknesses. This will enable us to develop a nourishing practice that our bodies truly need.

Click here to see Alice’s 3 Moves for Hip Stability

Beginner Yoga for a Strong Core and Flat Belly

By Rachel Land for DYI Active.
If you’re anything like me, the idea of doing abdominal crunches for toned abs and a flat belly is enough to send you running away from the gym. Fortunately, you don’t have to do crunches to have a strong core… Here are 4 beginner yoga poses that anyone can do for a strong core and flat belly!

Using yoga for a flat belly! Here’s how:

Learning how to engage the deeper muscles that support the trunk, hips, and even shoulders allows you to co-ordinate the power of the lower body with the agility of the upper body. Using your core this way, especially while you’re moving, creates functional stability in everything you do – from sports, to lifting up your kids, working in the garden, or walking safely on icy or slippery ground.

Here are four simple core stability exercises you can do at home, with no equipment other than your own body. If you’re new to exercise, or have back, shoulder or wrist injuries, do check with your doctor or physical therapist to ensure these exercises are safe for you.

1. Knee Lifts

Rachel Land Knee Lifts
This simple exercise connects you to your deepest abdominal muscle, which wraps around the waist and supports the lower back. Think of it as your corset muscle.
Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent at 90-degrees. Place the heels of your palms onto your front hipbones, thumbs toward your navel and fingers toward your pubic bone. Imagine tying a string around your waist, and feel how the belly becomes flat and firm as you hug all four sides of your waist into the midline. You can keep your hands here, or relax them by your sides.
Maintaining this set up, lift your right foot off the floor, keeping the same 90-degree angle at the knee. Swap feet in mid-air, keeping your belly flat and firm, and your hips as still as possible. Repeat 10 times per leg, then return both feet to the floor. Windshield wipe your knees side to side to rest, then repeat.
Need to back off?
If you feel your lower back pulling away from the floor, or your belly bulging, bring the first foot back to the floor before lifting the second one. You could also press your palms down to the floor beside you for extra support.
Want to amp it up?
Next time, start with both feet lifted, knees stacked over hips with a 90-degree bend in your knees. Keeping the same angle in the right knee, touch the toes to the floor. Swap legs in mid-air, still keeping your belly flat, your hips steady, and your breathing relaxed.

2. Walking BridgeRachel Land Walking Bridge

This exercise builds on the waist activation we created above, adding stability work for your hips.

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Set your feet hip-width apart, close to your buttocks. Re-create the feeling of “hugging in” around your waist, then lift your hips until you have a straight line between shoulders and knees. Rather than clenching your buttocks, lengthen your sit bones towards the backs of your knees. You might even feel your buttocks with your hands to ensure they aren’t gripping your lower back.

Maintaining this alignment, slowly hover your right foot just above the floor, keeping your hips as still as possible. Swap sides, slowly walking the feet while aiming to keep your hips from rocking side to side. Repeat 10 times per side, before settling both feet and your hips back down onto the floor. Hug your knees into your chest for a rest, then repeat.

Need to back off?
If you can’t keep your hips stable, try lifting to tiptoes, one foot at a time, rather than lifting your foot entirely off the floor.

Want to amp it up?
Next time, try the exercise with your support foot on tiptoes. This decreases the amount of surface area on the floor, making it more challenging for you to retain your balance.

3. Bird Dog Flow Rachel Land Bird Dog Flow

Here we continue to engage waist and stabilize the hips, and add some work for the small, deep muscles that stabilize your shoulders.

Set up on all fours, wrists under shoulders and knees a little narrower than your hips. Feel your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor, firm your belly and narrow your waist. Extend your right leg straight out behind you, lengthening your tail and spinning your inner thigh towards the ceiling to keep your hips square. Press into your right hand to lift your ribcage away from the floor and send your right shoulder down your back to lengthen your neck. Then reach your left arm forward, extending hand away from foot. Return back to all fours to swap. Continue flowing from side to side, extending opposite arm and leg, keeping your shoulders and hips as steady as you can. Complete 10 times per side, before returning to all fours. Stretch your hips back to your heels to rest in Childs Pose, then repeat.

Need to back off?
If you are struggling with your balance, keep both hands on the floor and simply flow your legs from side to side.

Want to amp it up?
Next time, hover your support foot, reducing the surface area in contact with the floor so that you’re balancing just on your support knee and hand.

4. Side Plank Flow

Rachel Land Side plank flowThis exercise maintains core, hip and shoulder engagement while challenging the muscles of your side waist.

Lie on your right side, setting your elbow under your shoulder and your feet on top of each other. Extend your left arm to the ceiling, feeling your shoulders and hips stack, your belly firm and your waist narrow. Press down into your right elbow to draw your right side ribs away from the floor, and contract your right side waist to lift your hips high. Without allowing hips or shoulders to twist, or collapsing into your right shoulder, bring your hips down to hover just above the mat before raising them again. Do 5 hip lifts, then slowly lower to the floor to swap sides. Roll onto your back to rest, then repeat.

Need to back off?
If you are unable to maintain stability, bring your lower knee to the floor for some extra support.

Want to amp it up?
Next time, raise your top leg off your bottom leg, or try turning your body down toward the floor into a forearm plank to swap sides.

And there you have it beginner yoga for a strong core and flat belly! Without doing a single crunch, you’ve learned how to use the deep muscles of your core to stabilize your hips, spine, and shoulders even while you’re moving.

“As you continue your day, notice that you can use these same muscles to create a sense of stability in everything you do.”

Get more yoga poses for a flat belly and toned muscles here! Click here to visit the original article on DYIactive.com.

Rach-Headshot-06About the Author:

Rachel Land is a full-time yoga teacher in New Zealand and senior teacher with Yoga Medicine. Click here to learn more about Rachel and the Yoga Medicine team.

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