There's this thing, it's called Lower Cross Syndrome. Basically, tight muscles in the front of your body (especially those pesky psoas muscles) cross with weak muscles in...back. As in, your butt.
And it is a major culprit of back pain.
Fiona is one of Australia’s leading specialists in Mindful Eating and the NonDiet Approach & supports eating in an individually tailored way that supports every person’s unique needs, in alignment with the HAES (Health At Every Size) (R) paradigm. I have a long working relationship with her business partner from Body Positive Australia, Sarah Harry, and to say I love what these ladies are about is an UNDERSTATEMENT.
But here's the weird thing: Fiona didn't know I'd been working with Sarah when she applied to this training! The world works in strange ways sometimes.
Did you see over on instagram that I tidied my yoga corner? And yes, I do sometimes wonder if I'm the only one with a spine, a skeleton, and Buddha sitting side by side.
Which summarises what I am craving when I go to yoga class: I want to feel embodied in movement but also learn something new. It might be a big ask. Maybe I'm fantasising about it more now than usual because I was in a car accident over the weekend.
Events like this do make you stop and think about life and your priorities.
In this next 'meet the graduate' interview, I talk to Dr. Sarah Jane Perri, chiropractor extraordinaire (I see her for treatments actually) and yoga teacher. Sarah undertook teacher training with us during her last year of chiropractic study which was truly impressive, as if a difficult degree at uni wasn't enough! Here she shares what she found tough but also what she found rewarding about our course.
Like I mentioned last week, it's SO GREAT when I run across people - like Lucy - who believe as I do that yoga is for everybody. It's also great when they can put their belief into practice by modifying the practice for people's needs. It's a skill that comes from knowing how human bodies work, I believe.
Have you experienced a number of teacher trainings? Have you thought about what you’d want in your first one? I'd love to know!
I know that back when I was doing my first teacher training, it was very evident to me how BAD THAT TRAINING WAS, EVEN while I was doing it.
More and more, I believe that no movement is inherently bad, but we run into trouble when we overuse movements. Especially when we do so unconsciously. One such habit that a lot of people have is overusing the sacroiliac joints and lower back to give the appearance of more movement in the hip joint that we actually have.
Sore backs and sore shoulders are the most common complaints we hear from people.
My back’s sore at the moment, mostly because life's been a bit stressful and when I'm stressed I habitually tense muscles that put extra pressure on my spine.
Physical exercise isn't the only reason to do yoga: I need yoga to help keep me calm(ish).
Sore back + no yoga = No Fun Sophie.
It's hard to know what yoga to do with a sore back: sticking to a samasthiti practice helps. Sama means 'same' and sthiti means 'stay'. Samasthiti practice involves keeping the body more or less symmetrical. The spine stays in neutral and the back muscles get to relax. It's great relief (and prevention!) for a sore back.
Here’s a sequence Nadine came up with that's really soothed my back. If your back is sore too, try this, and take it slowly. And if anything hurts more than doing nothing did, stop, okay?
Start in balasana (child pose) with hips a little off the heels so the back doesn't round. Think of tilting the pelvis forward and sticking your bum out, the same as you would in any other forward bend.
Inhale to all fours. Press the heels of your hands, and the knuckles where your fingers join your hand into the floor. Make sure you're engaging the stabilising muscles in your pelvis (pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominus).
Exhale, curl toes under and come into phalankasana (plank pose) or kneeling plank (don't do plank now if it's a challenge even on good days!). Keep those pelvic stablising muscles working. Stay there for several breaths.
When you feel ready, exhale into Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), with knees a bit bent to keep the back long. This is a great pose to allow the verterbrae in the spine to move away from one another and ease compression and pinching. Then go back the way you came: plank (phalankasana), cakravakasana, balasana. Repeat as many times as you want.
After that, lie on your back and hug your knees. This is a lovely release for the hips and the muscles of the back.
Finish by putting your legs up the wall, or up a chair if you need something that puts a little less pressure on your back.
A short practice, but an effective one.