This pandemic has influenced our daily work flows and routines.
No matter the circumstance, it is apparent that our world here has shifted. This takes a toll on our physical and emotional health. To adapt to this COVID-19 world a lot of us are spending more of our day in front of a screen, in a stagnant seat, doing what must be done to get through this.
Hands up, if you can relate to that compressed feeling in your low back after a day at your computer? What about the tightness in both your hips and hamstrings? A tension headache resulting from your neck being pulled towards your screen? What about a shift in your posture?
Fortunately for us there are some shapes that can be utilized to help lessen the pain from sitting throughout the day. A restorative yoga sequence aims to move the spine in all directions, through gentle twists, back bends, inversions, and forward folds.
Each pose has a different benefit. For example, a twist helps to balance our energy and digestive fire, detoxify the organs, and improve circulation; an inversion improves circulation and promotes lymphatic drainage; a forward fold squeezes blood and waste out of the abdomen, improving circulation and digestion; whereas, a backbend returns fresh blood and nutrients to these organs.
These movements aim to calm the body, activating the portion of the nervous system that is responsible for resting and digesting (parasympathetic nervous system). Who wouldn’t benefit from a gentle way to destress going into 2021?
So let's explore some basic restorative yoga poses that can be done in the comfort of your own home, morning or the evening, to help offset “computer posture.”
Simple Restorative Yoga Sequence:
Props needed: a flat surface, a bolster pillow or pillow with a long sturdy shape, and two blankets/towels.
Restorative Backbend ~ Supported Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose): 10-15 minutes.
Come to a seat on the ground. Place the bolster long ways behind the lower back (right up against the sacrum to provide enough support to lower back). Lower onto the bolster, bringing the feet together forming the shape of a diamond with your legs. Bring arms to the side and allow the chest to open up. Take a few nourishing breaths. Option to place a towel underneath the knees for additional support.
Benefits of this pose: lowers blood pressure, helps open up the mid back and chest, countering the posture in a chair.
Restorative Inversion ~ Viparita Karani (Elevated Legs up on a Wall). 10-15 minutes.
Come to a seat facing a wall, place a towel/blanket underneath lower back to prop up/support back, this is optional based on comfort. Extend feet up against the wall. Have a soft bend in the legs. Relax hands to the side, can use a small pillow behind the head for added comfort. Note: legs can be placed closer together.
Benefits of this pose: allows the mind to settle, lowers blood pressure, provides fresh blood to heart. Beneficial for varicose veins/spider veins, helps with excessive fluid retention, brings the blood and lymph fluid that pools in the legs back to the abdomen, providing fresh blood flow to limbs afterwards.
Restorative Twist ~ Elevated Twist on Bolster. 3-5 minutes each side.
Come onto your back, place the bolster/pillow to the left of the left leg. Keep shoulders rooted on the ground while bringing the right leg over to the left side to be placed on the bolster. Keeping the left leg straight, bring hands to the side to open up the chest. Take a few nourishing breathes, repeat on the other side.
Benefits of this pose: stretches the small muscles in the spine releasing pressure on the intervertebral discs. Opens the lungs, and diaphragm, improving our ability to breath and activate the calming portion of our nervous system. Counters the compression in the spine of sitting all day.
Restorative Forward Fold ~ Supported Upavistha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose). 3-5 minutes.
Bring the legs out into a wide legged stretch and place the bolster/pillow in front of you. Gently lower tummy, lungs, and head down on bolster, feeling the contact of the bolster against your abdomen. Place more blankets/pillows underneath if you need to be higher off the ground. Option to place blankets under the knees for further support. Take full, deep breaths from pelvis to collarbones.
Benefits of this pose: soothes the mind, and calms the nervous system. Helps to alleviate tension headaches, improves circulation to the abdomen, digestion, and respiration as blood pressure begins to decrease.
Note that these times to remain in each pose are a recommendation, modify for your own schedule and comfort. Restorative yoga is meant to be comfortable, if you find discomfort, modify and adjust until you are comfortable using blankets, towels and pillows.
Here is a short video from Sky of Sky Yoga and Wellness, sharing some simple postures that can be done in your chair throughout the day while working at your computer to minimize spinal pain.
About Sky Corbett-Methot
Sky Corbett-Methot is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and 500 hour yoga and meditation instructor that also teaches prenatal yoga, postnatal yoga, and yoga with baby classes. She is a holistic wellness coach that combines a unique “just for you” approach that utilizes movement, meditation, and nourishment to enhance vitality. Sky is a volunteer with the HWB Vancouver free clinic where she assists with guided meditation and nutrition. Find out more about Sky and SkyYoga & Wellness at: https://www.skyyogawellness.ca or follow her on Instagram @sky_the_dauntless
The month of January is heart health and stroke awareness month in the US.
How lucky for us as lovers of plan medicine that we have access and understanding of herbal allies that can assist in maintaining good cardiovascular function. Paired with regular exercise and a responsible diet, these herbs are stellar partners in the maintenance of cardiovascular wellness.
The graphics is a large green box with the headline of Herbs for Cardiovascular Health.
January is heart and stroke awareness month in the US. Issues associated with cardiovascular health and stroke are considered long term medical conditions in which the heart and circulatory system are chronically impacted. Though some cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure do not often cause direct symptoms when it first appears, it can be a major risk factor behind coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, atrial fibrillation, chronic kidney disease, and many other potentially life altering illnesses. Along with diet and exercise, there are herbs traditionally used to help general cardiovascular health.
Affectionately known as the blood master! Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is known for its ability to help lower blood pressure by its effects on peripheral circulation and its ability to be tonic and toning to blood vessels. It is specific to situations with high blood pressure and is also used in situations where thrombosis may be present.
This powerful herbal ally is a cardiovascular champion! Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna/oxycantha) acts upon the S node of the heart to help maintain typical rhythm without making the heart perform harder. It is specific in issues with tachycardia and angina, and helps to lower blood pressure.
Not just for cooking! Garlic (allium sativa) can flavour your food and lower your blood pressure. Garlic is one of the easiest cardiovascular herbs to get. It helps reduce cholesterol and lower blood triglycerides and is specific in situations with arteriosclerosis. It is protective to the heart and helps with age related vascular changes.
A champion diuretic! We all know this pesky weed as dandelion (Taraxacum offinale). When it comes to diuretics, not much in the herbal world can beat dandelion leaves. It is traditionally used to help lower high blood pressure, to assist with issues from congestive heart failure, and is also an excellent tonic and has anti-cholesterol qualities.
Don't say "Nay" until you've tried it! Often used in big cities as a decorative tree, Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) has a long standing history in herbal medicine for cardiovascular issues. It is specific for venous congestion, and edema, it is a potent vasodilator and is tonic to the valves of the veins. It is specific in reducing the danger of heart attack and potentially reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
Lowering blood pressure is so hot right now. This is another kitchen based herb that is easy to use and potent in its actions. Cayenne (Capsicum annum) helps stimulate proper circulation, is used traditionally to regulate blood pressure and also has a natural blood thinning affect in therapeutic doses.
This herb is most commonly used in the various needs of women's health. However, Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) can be a potent helper when it comes to blood pressure. Most commonly, Motherwort is used traditionally when blood pressure is raised from stress. It helps balance and tone the nervous system and is considered a cardiotonic. Also considered helpful in heart palpitations from stress.
Its not a blueberry! Although the two look very similar and are both rich in antioxidants, Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is another traditional herb used in cardiovascular health. It is considered specific in venous insufficiency and is an excellent tonic and considered to be vasoprotective.
As a precautionary: Do not use this information as replacement for medications or advise from your medical doctor. If you would like to use herbs please see an appropriate practitioner.
This week is Folic Acid Awareness Week, and so we wanted to share with you the
importance of this amazing water-soluble vitamin and discuss its impacts on health and wellness.
Folic Acid is part of the B Vitamin complex, also known as B9. B complex vitamins are water soluble and are not stored very well in the body, however they are one of the most important vitamin complexes that our body needs as they are required daily for a variety of essential functions such as proper digestion and absorption, energy levels, sleep and wake cycles,
proper brain function, and most importantly, our cellular metabolic functions.
What does Folic Acid Do?
- It aids in red blood cell production
- It helps in the breakdown and utilization of proteins
- Assists with important amino acid conversations
- Used in the formation of nucleic acids for RNA and DNA making it exceedingly important for pregnant women.
- Is absolutely fundamental in the role of growth and reproduction of all cells
- Allows for the proper balancing of brain neurotransmitter levels
- A key vitamin asset in the proper development of an infant's nervous system.
Foods Rich in Folic Acid:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Leafy Green Vegetables such as Cabbage, Kale, Spring Greens, and Spinach
- Chickpeas and Kidney Beans
- Nuts and seeds
Herbs Rich in Folic Acid:
- Nettle (Urtica dioica)
- Chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris)
- Plantain Leaf (Plantago majora), do not eat in excess during pregnancy
- Oats (Avena sativa)
Interested in learning more? Click below to download a full PDF article on Folic Acid.
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