Category Archives: Nutrition

Constructing Yoga Postures Properly

Yoga postures (asana) provides a lifetime of healthy physical movement when performed with proper construction.

A yoga posture is a guide for strengthening the body’s ability to move, function and heal.  The Yoga posture’s are in perpetual motion. The motion however is usually microscopic. At a neuromuscular level, the motion is muscle tissue, heart-rate and bone in constant adjustment and alignment. There is never a static moment. This is the way asana reconstructs our body. A “picture” of a yoga posture is like a snapshot of motion in time.

Viewing a photo of a yoga posture or asana and creating it, is like photographing an automobile and labeling it “how to build a car.” To put it another way, viewing a yoga pose and attempting to replicate it is not as easy as it seems.  What the photo shows is a result of something that has gone through a construction process. There are many details involved in the process. There’s more than meets the eye. Therefore, construction without proper instruction can create a less than beneficial experience, whether building a car or a yoga asana.

The quality is in the construction

The quality of the construction of a yoga posture is where the quality of your results lie.  “How to build and automobile” would show detailed instructions of every aspect of the process. It would take into consideration, details related to durability, functionality and style. The same goes for yoga asana.  There are many details in the process. Details can be microscopic. Details that can only be discovered and experienced by the creator, you!

The power and magic of yoga posture is in the details of how to construct it. If you are constructing it with poor quality parts, the longevity or benefits will not be as noticeable.  So a photo of a yoga posture is only a veneer of what’s underneath. You can put a Mercedes emblem on a K-car but it wont change the quality. This is to say that the picture is not the experience. Similar to a Hollywood movie where the store front is only a prop. There’s nothing behind it.

OR

I have a  video here,  to share more about this concept.

Many people today get fooled on how difficult certain physical feats. They’ll watch a video, and see how easy the person makes it look. However, we all know there’s more to the process than meets the eye. Like Olympic champions, there’s a process far deeper than the race itself.  It’s like the “People are awesome VS Fail Army” video.

Actors can pretend to be superheros and dancers can pretend to be yogis.  However it’s important to remember yoga is about the details of construction, not snapshots in time.

How to Build your car

In the scope of yoga posture, this phrase is important to remember. “Yoga is not about standing on your head. It’s about standing on your own two feet.”

To be able to stand tall is a monumental feat. Knowing how your feet are placed and how your muscles support your posture is a profound step in knowing how to build an asana. When standing feel all edges of your feet embracing the earth. Allow your toes to spread open to support your stance. When bending forward, allow the spine to lengthen throughout the entire movement.

There are little elements in each posture that make big differences. Little adjustments in alignment can make for a more painful process, but bring the benefits that might have been missed. I can make a slight adjustment to a students pose that may take months for them to perfect.  Without knowledge of the adjustment, they would build a poor quality structure.

YOGA asana proper alignment

Example:

A young woman in class is comfortable sitting on her heals with her toes pointed outward and her butt on the floor.   This sitting posture created a lateral twist of the knee and excluded the alignment for stretching the foot.  I gave her the task of keeping her foot in-line with her leg in order to sit over the feet and help open up the muscle and tendon tissue in the top of the foot. Therefore it allowed stretching the flexors of the foot. This was painful experience for her,  but eventually she created greater ROM in her flexion and extension of the foot.

As you build your masterpiece think of structural alignment.  Play with your movements and expand your capabilities. In doing so, you will progress much smoother with greater confidence.

Where are the instructions?

While it’s nice to have a great guru by your side, sometimes all you need is your mat. Each pose has attributes to its design you must follow.  Therefore, attend a class with a knowledgeable instructor or attend my Online Classes opening this summer. Until then, get a good book like my favorite, Total Yoga.

A book can describe alignment in detail. This can be better for comprehension than trying to listen to an instructor. Remember, each posture reconstructs your body for maximum movement and function. The key to success is performing the asana correctly.

Remember to cultivate mindfulness of alignment while you practice.  The practice of Iyengar Yoga, BKS Iyengar, is known for its detail of alignment.

How does your body react?  When in a pose, stay long enough to look at your posture. How is your breathing? Are you relaxed or stressed?  Is your heart-rate even? Are you engaging the posture enough to warm the body?

Align with your reflection

A mirror can help you discover alignment.  Is your foot straight?  Are your arms straight? Are your knees bent, locked etc?  After awhile you can feel the alignment from within and will need the mirror less and less.  So you will begin to feel the pose more clearly.

A yoga mirror can help align what you feel about your posture and how it really is.

Yoga is a method of exercises to strengthen all aspects of our lives. It’s not a sporting event or race. Yoga can prevent injury and enhance your physical performance.  Yoga is the “practice.” Remember the reason for the asana, the time to strengthen, body, mind and spirit.

Yoga Asana building space
create an inspirational yoga workspace

For more instruction please attend my online yoga classes beginning this spring. In doing so you will receive much clarity of the process of health and rehabilitation.

Learn more in my post about Mindfulness in Yoga.

Blessings on your journey

Elenture Full-Zip Exercise Yoga Mat Carry Bag with Multi-Functional Storage Pockets (Stripe)

 

 

Healing Back Pain-Yoga

Easy does it when healing back pain.

Back injuries and back pain can become a daunting task for recovery. Our spinal column is used in every movement of the body. The center of our core fitness is the back, especially the lower back.  This is why lower back pain is the leading cause of disability and why yoga is a good choice for recovery.

Back pain affects everything we do. Caring for the back requires a good attitude and a little understanding about the philosophy of healing.  With it, the recovery process will achieve maximum potential for healing and reducing back pain.

Common Back injuries and rehabilitation

My Personal experience with back pain and injury.

The strength of my teaching comes from my experience in healing injuries more than ability to perform advanced poses. Back injury is something I an very familiar with.

Early 2012  a mishap of coordination at a trampoline facility left me seriously injured. I was out of sync with the bounce and found myself with the force of my body weight on my spine without support.  Back rehabilitation is my career. Twenty years of practicing sports medicine myotherapy clearly defined the experience as not good.

I didn’t know how bad it actually was (it felt like a pulled muscle), so after a little stretching, I kept bouncing. Later that day I knew the injury was serious and was going to need long-term recovery.  Not the best scenario for someone about to leave for a year of travel.

Even more emotionally compelling for me is that my back-bends were strong and I was excited to begin practicing more advanced bends in my practice.

Core strength and flexibility of the spine
Back bend in Thailand one year earlier
Strong flexible spine yoga
Bridge back-bend Thailand one year earlier

I left for Asia and began the process of healing.

Waking up with severe back pain for months was the norm. I didn’t say much about it to my love and kept a positive mind that pain is just part of the process of healing.  The recovery took over a year before I could even think about a back bend, and another six months before I could actually do one, a little one.

Taking it easy with back injuries. First few months of rest and easy movement.

Even today I can get sore and stiff in the area but within two years I was back to my yoga practice 80% and the best part…no surgery or drugs!

Core strength and flexibility of the spine
Practicing yoga with back injury. Six months later. Keeping stress off the spine. Advanced practice

Most people get scared and wont attempt to heal themselves.

Injuring yourself can be scary, and if you don’t have a good understanding of how the body works, running to the doctor seems to be the only option. Most people wont attempt natural healing, this in part is due to the limited thinking of our western medical model of rehabilitation. The model hasn’t proven itself to be advocates of natural healing.

Yes, science believes a wound can heal, and  say the liver can heal, but unless it can be quantified, it doesn’t exist.  So other methods of treatment are recommended. It’s not wrong and it’s not right. Its simply the model of western thinking. Healing occurs naturally. We don’t have to think about, but we have to believe.

In this modern-day, we’ve discovered profound numbers of people who heal themselves in all areas of their body.  From heart malfunctions to bone structure, natural healing methods understood in many cultures around the planet such as Chilel Chi Gong, acupuncture and mind control are being used more and more. Yoga has been used as prevention and injury repair for thousands of years. In yoga we learn to be mindful and affirmative with our healing process.

Most people with sever back injury end up with surgery or long-term disability because the pain keeps them from doing what needs to be done, exercise. The problem then become worse and leads to other disabilities.

Since the back is the center of all movement, when the center of movement is in pain, all movement is compromised. Exercise is difficult if not impossible, especially the abdominal muscles, where it’s needed the most.

Here is a good process for strengthening the back,  with, or without surgery.

1. Rest.

After an injury, the body needs time to assess itself and get to work on the issue. Our body has a natural healing process and the initial resting phase is important for a good recovery. Rest may be lying flat for week or a few days. Either way your body will let you know what it can or cannot do. The determining factor is pain. Sharp pain is the no-can-do message. Discomfort and pain are normal but sharp pain is a clear signal to take it easy.

2. Diet.

Your body needs help. Certain nutrients help heal. Other eating behaviors hinder the process. There are some common healing herbs listen in my Health Insights page. Essentially, you need to offer all your energy to healing. Eating heavy, hard to digest meals, steals energy from the healing process. Alcohol, (although usually desired when in pain) can hinder healing as smoking, fried foods and sugar.

In natural healing we say “The prevention is the cure.” In other words,  the protocol to prevent disease is the same to heal disease. Fasting, juicing, vegan diet,  should all be considered for decreasing stress while increasing energy to heal.  However…

The determining factor in your fate is…

Attitude and belief.

When you’re waking up in pain everyday it’s hard to believe that pain is okay and things are getting better. The process of healing can be long, so get through it with this simple yet profound phrase:

” Whatever I am going through at this moment is part of the process for my healing and regeneration.”

It’s a good idea to believe in the natural and profound ability to heal. Visualize and feel yourself as whole and strong. With the power of vision, you create. Think of your most beautiful self. Affirm to yourself the fun things you enjoy. Find ways to be grateful.  Find ways to enjoy your human experience and drive from that power.

Here is a powerful audio meditation I created for my healing. Find time to relax and absorb the words in this Healing Affirmations Audio Meditation.

4. Ease into movement.

You must strengthen those abdominal muscles.

The ultimate strong core is being able to perform leg-lifts and navasana or boat pose fairly easily.  However, with an injured back, this is impossible because the spine must be firm and stable.

Leg-lifts for strong core and spine
Leg lifts for core strength and reduction of back pain

yoga posture strong core

In order to begin to support the spine we have to strengthen the abs, but abdominal strengthening exercise can be painful for the back. It’s a catch 22! Overall, you have to guide yourself and your body into what it is you want to do. If we limit our movements due to pain, then we limit our healing. We want to be easy, but we don’t want pain to control us. We must learn to work through it.

Healing Potential is unlimited

 

How to Exercise the Core when Injured

The action of the abdominal and back muscles is to keep the spine erect but also assist in movement, front, back and side to side.

A strong core is key to pain-free movement
How our spine moves

Depending on where and how severe the pain will determine your position for exercise. If you cannot make it to the floor, then you may have to start in a chair or in bed.

Recover from BACK PAIN
Simple movement to introduce core strength

Simply holding yourself upright and firming your abdominal muscles or bringing a knee to the chest is a good start. As you progress, you will be able to begin basic movements.

The key in all of this is to know what your spine is capable of and working to get as much potential out of your recovery without further injury.

Once you’re able to get to the floor, basic movement of core compression can be introduced. It can begin with basic knee bends and progress to knees-to-chest and eventually gentle leg-lifts and hip-lifts.

Yoga for reduction of back pain
Knees to chest can help alleviate back pain
Basic stabalizing exercise for low back pain
Basic exercise to begin core strength

Do enough exercise to program your recovery without stress. In other words, communicate with your spine and assist it through recovery but be gentle and don’t force it.  Allow your healing to happen naturally. Many times this means recovering from emotional issues as well.

As we know, the prevention is the cure. This goes for exercising as well. Here is a good list of back exercises. Once your strength improves and pain decreases you will find more and more ability.

Take it easy, but keep going. You are in control of your healing.

 

 

Yoga for spine strength and flexibility
Strong spine Maui 2016
Hip opening and good balance
Two years after injury Xcalak Mexico Caribbean

~YogaDoug

 

Yoga improves balance and coordination
Maui 2015 Baby Beach North Shore

 

 

 

Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

Need to Exercise?   Short on time?   Want to add more to your fitness routine?

Challenge yourself with this ancient fitness routine to boost your health and longevity.

For 30 days take the 15 minutes to do these rites everyday!

In the book “Secrets to the Fountain of Youth” a man shares his discovery of this longevity exercise. Traveling deep in the Himalayas, he found a tribe of Tibetan Priests  who shared their secrets of their longevity health. These Lamas looked far younger than their age and lived a very long time.

Do these rites diligently over 30 days and see for yourself how much strength and agility you create. Start slowly the first week with as many repetitions as you can, maybe only three or four.   Be sure to do the same amount of repetitions for each rite. Stay with it and increase the repetitions each week. Give yourself the chance to work up to the maximum of twenty one (21) repetitions of each rite.

Along with any longevity program, be aware of your eating habits and mental stress. Stress is the main factor in all disease therefore learning more about mindfulness will help. Eating more than one type of food at a time also creates stress within the body. Eat fewer combinations of food and utilize more herbs. Do not eat late. Learn to stop eating after 5 PM. Do not eat sugar in the evening and learn to eliminate sugar all together. Eat more good fats andreduce alcohol intake. For more dietary guidelines read my HEALTH INSIGHTS PAGE.

The biggest challenge to these rites for beginners is the process by which toxins or metabolic waste are squeezed out of the system causing nausea or dizziness. This is exactly what the body needs and shows how purifying these rites are. Start slow and get through it. Health and longevity awaits!

HERE WE GO!

RITE number ONE

The first rite is a simple one. It is done for the express purpose of speeding up the vortexes. Spinning helps open the vortexes better than anything else. Spinning is also known to elevate consciousness and bring one into a heightened state of awareness. Children do it all the time when they’re playing.

Stand erect with arms outstretched, horizontal to the floor and begin to spin to the right.  At first, adults tend to get dizzy easy because they are not used to it and the energy centers spinning open creates a surge we are not used to. Once the body becomes used to spinning, it become quite an energizing experience. stay diligent.

Do what dancers do. Focus on a single point as you begin to spin then at your maximum twist turn quickly your head 180 degrees and focus on another single point as you spin.

Strong 15 minute fitness challenge SPINNING a Strong fitness challenge

RITE number TWO

Rite number two continues to open the vortexes.

Comfortably lie flat on your back. Place your hands along side your body and bring your chin to your chest. Raise your legs straight up and even a little more towards your head if you can, keeping your back flat on the floor. Do not bend the knees. With each repetition use a rhythmic breath. Do your best. You will get stronger as you go. You will amaze yourself.

RITE two of Strong 15 minute fitness challengeRITE two B Strong 15 minute fitness challenge

RITE number THREE

This rite should be practiced immediately after rite number two.

Kneel on the floor with your toes tucked under your feet.place your hands on your butt as if you were placing them in your back pockets.

Tuck the chin to the chest and them move it safely and swiftly back at the same time create more of an arch to the back and feel as if your heart is opening. Move back and forth chin to chest and then arching back. Find a rhythmic breath and keep going. You will find this very powerful.

RITE three Strong 15 minute fitness challenge RITE three B Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

RITE number FOUR

This rite may seem very difficult at first. Over time you will get the hang of it and find the tremendous benefits it produces.

Fist, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Place your hands on the floor along side your buttocks. Bring your chin to your chest. Now thrust your head back as you raise your body up off the floor as if to create it as a table.  As you come to the table position breathe deep and hold the breath for just a moment as you firm every muscle in the body. Come back to first position with your buttocks in the center of your hands and your chin to chest.

Do this with rhythmic breath and continue in an even flow the entire set of repetitions. You’ll see the benefits quickly.

RITE four Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge RITE four B Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

RITE number FIVE

Palms on the floor below your shoulders and toes tucked under. Drop your hips towards the floor and keep your shoulders down, ears pushed up away from your shoulders. Keep your neck long, chin up.

Now lift your hips to the sky and tuck your chin to your chest. Push your heels down to the floor and your hips back. This is a downward dog position. keep your back flat and your shoulders broad and open.

Continue back and forth using rhythmic breath.

This will create tremendous muscular strength. In time, this becomes a welcome finishing pose.

RITE five Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge RITE five B Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge RITE five C Ancient Secrets to Longevity Fitness Challenge

Congratulations! I look forward to your comments!

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Physical Healing: Part I

This is part one of my blog for healing disease.
Let me start by saying: It’s not that eating bad will kill you in an instant. It’s that years of poor eating behaviors will decrease the body’s effectiveness in fighting disease. It happens slow then shows up in a big way.  The appearance of a disease puts  most people on the defense and want a quick fix to rid it from the body.  But for true healing the disease must be deconstructed and evaluated if one wants to find a harmony within their body.

With my condition, months of autoimmune issues, digestive problems, pain and inflammation led me to realize there was a serious problem within my gut. In the early stages there was a strange pain and bulge I would feel in my gut along my ascending colon and getting more prominent. There was a constant discomfort and nothing I was doing helped in any significant manner. I got relief with juice fasting, but then it came back. Stress would make it worse. It became obvious I was missing something that would support my gut and correct the issue.  It was time to get serious about it before it was too late.

At the time I did not have medical insurance nor the money to go to a doctor. Besides, I knew what the path of the medical model would entail and I didn’t want to go down that path. It was less than a month before we were scheduled to leave for Mexico and I had to get some insight to this.

My fears were getting to me. It seemed everywhere I looked was a story about cancer. I would overhear conversations about colon cancer. My  symptoms were worsening, whether it was from fear or from the actual issue getting worse. I was now constipated and my digestion was poor. Belching and flatulence became a regular symptom after eating. I didn’t feel good. Some suggested  a hernia while others shared stories of much worse probabilities.  One such story was of a former student who only had minor constipation before passing away two months later from colon cancer.  Colon inflammation is a sign of colon cancer. This distressed me.

Soon after these troubling stories, there was an even more prominent pain under my rib that wouldn’t go away, so I decided to stop into urgent care for a look. I wanted to know so I could make a decision about our trip. The doctor diagnosed it to be gallstones and suggested I get my gallbladder removed. Okay that seemed logical, but the lack of digestion and elimination was another issue. Surgery was not an option. I knew my body would heal itself. I just needed to give it what it needed to heal.

It was then the friends at Miller Wellness Clinic in Agoura California,  introduced me to The Amazing Liver Gallbladder Flush, a book and a method for cleansing the liver and gallbladder of stones by Andreas Moritz.  I read the book and spent time in research. My partner and I decided to start the liver flush together. After the week of cleansing I immediately felt better but my other gut issues were worsening. I received a treatment of Quantum Reflex Therapy to discover imbalances in the energetic field of my organ systems.  I was diagnosed with lower intestinal parasites. I then scheduled an appointment with a colon hydrotherapist who found it difficult to insert the probe due to inflammation of the colon. It seemed I was dealing with parasites, liver/gallbladder stones and an inflamed colon. From what I knew, this was going to be a serious process of healing. After reading several books on these issues and knowing how the natural process of healing works,  I realized I had been unconsciously abusing my gut for a long time and had to face it.

Since I was a young boy my family over-fed me. I learned to eat too much too fast. I became overweight. Then as a teen I decided to lose the weight but found it difficult to lose the eating patterns. This led to bulimia.   This lasted through my twenties until I simply realized it was not a healthy thing to do. But still the habit of eating till full, eating too fast and eating too late stayed with me. I slowly learned to control it and not eat to be stuffed but years of abuse already damaged my system. these behaviors are the primary factors that destroy the gut, the liver and the colon and feeds bad gut flora thus allowing parasites to flourish.

After 40 years of this behavior it was time for a wake up call. It was time to change or continue to be sick and die from abuse. Everything happens for a reason and I know I asked for this lesson. As a yoga teacher and vegetarian I was conscious of the quality of the food I ate and practiced organ strengthening exercises but the lingering behaviors around eating needed to change. I was at a point in my yoga practice where I knew there was an element I was missing. An element of purity that was keeping me from the mindset and the body that I wanted to achieve. So this gut disease was my chance to address this piece of my behavior.

After much meditation, prayers and reading I let myself feel the shame and the fears that were associated with my habits. I went deep into it and forgave myself. I realized this was what I asked for and I was willing to cleanse every part of me associated with this disease.

I had several issues to deal with including the probability of a tumor.
Three weeks later we left for Mexico. At this time I had almost completely stopped going to the bathroom. Traveling was not fun. Eating caused great discomfort and moving around in general was miserable. We were on along-term house sitting gig in the Caribbean which is why I thought it was good to go. It would be a time of healing, or at least a good place to die. I discovered that the liver is the most efficient regenerating organ of the body and the most vital for our health controlling over 500 processes of the body. If it is plugged up, you are surely on your way to disease.

After our first liver flush I knew I was on the way to regeneration yet still discovering the even deeper pain of what I had done to myself. I began to lose weight quickly, which is another sign of disease. I could no longer go to the bathroom without having an enema. At this point I knew that if I believed in the power of the human body and spirit this was my chance to make it so.
So my body had all but shut down. It was time to begin treatment.

Next: The treatment.

 

When Natural Healing isn’t Working

Our own ideas about natural healing usually get in the way

If natural healing isn’t working than you are doing something unnatural that is effecting your progress. Healing Occurs Naturally. I saw this on a bumper sticker in Flagstaff, Arizona. Stated so clearly, we don’t even have to think about. It’s a state of being. People have driven so far off course in their thoughts that the process of allowing healing to occur naturally is undermined.  The natural abilities of our human existence are not understood.

In the universe as well as in our bodies The macro and the micro are the same.

Each part contains the whole. The way we recover from a scratch is the way we recover from cancer or other diseases. Provide the environment for healing and allow it to happen naturally. We clean the wound and cover it. We clear the issues causing the disease and let healing begin. But where the scratch took only a second to create, other diseases are caused by a more lengthy onslaught of exposure and behaviors. As a scratch can heal in a day, other diseases take a little longer for recovery, long enough to delve into the process of how it all happened. Delving into the process many times is reconstructing ones entire belief system. My mentor Dr Richard Schulze has always said they wouldn’t accept anyone into their healing clinic, of which they have helped cure all 4th stage diseases, unless the patient is willing to look within.

In a coming two part series I will outline the intense and committed process I went through to heal my liver and gut disease which was on a spiral to destroy my living existence. My system shut down and I lost 30 pounds in two months. To be published later this week.  In the mean time get a warm-up with Dr. Schulze. Aloha.