Comox Valley Chiropractor – Tips for your Health

Health tips from your Comox Valley Chiropractor

The Proper Way to do Yoga July 19, 2008

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I have written before on the subject of my concerns about extra-large yoga classes that proceed at a fast pace. In my opinion, most injuries occur due to people pushing themselves to keep up (often in an overheated environment) while maintaining incorrect postures.

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It is for this reason that I wanted to share with you the best yoga class I have ever attended. Taught by Rachel at Semperviva Sea Centre (Granville Island), this Vinyasa (Power Yoga) class was by far the best instructed class I’ve seen. Besides being bubbly, humorous, and incredibly knowledgeable, Rachel repeatedly went around the class fixing people’s postures and ensuring that nobody was straining or stressing vulnerable structures.

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In addition to this, she surveyed the class before it started inquiring as to what everyone’s injuries or weaknesses were. As I have the knees of an 80 year old (too many kilometers of breaststroke swum in my competitive days), she made sure to reinforce proper knee technique to avoid unnecessary strain.

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I left that class sweatier and more exhausted than I can remember, and without any knee pain or frustration at not being able to hold certain poses. I encourage you to check out Rachel’s Hatha and Vinyasa classes at the Granville Island Semperviva location. She gets this Comox Valley Chiropractor‘s seal of approval!

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Yoga and Chiropractic: A Match Made in Heaven! July 11, 2008

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To follow up my last post concerning yoga, I’d though I’d share my professional opinion on which styles of yoga I recommend. I regularly recommend yoga to my patients in order to maintain the improvement in function that treatment gives them, but also as a long-term strategy to maintain strength and flexibility. As I often say, the more you do outside of the office, the less I have to see you in my office.

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Between my own experience with yoga, and what I end up seeing in my practice, I have developed an opinion on which styles of yoga I prefer. It is a very individual thing, and no two people will respond the same to one style. Let’s start with an overview on the 3 major styles:

1. Hatha Yoga: Hatha is a slower form of yoga which incorporates posture, breathing and occasionally meditation in order to increase muscle tone, strength and flexibility; and it allows for relaxation. This is my favorite type of yoga as it is low impact with minimal opportunity for injury. Yoga studios like Semperviva (where I attend) will also incorporate a short meditation portion in order to calm the mind, which in turn helps to keep the body happy.

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2. Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini is a faster, more dynamic form of yoga which progresses through specific yoga posture sets, often with an accompanying mantra. This style is optimal for those who benefit from adding a mantra to their practice and enjoy a more active style. However, the fast-paced and bouncing nature of some of the posture sets can aggravate some neck and low back conditions.

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3. Ashtanga/Power-flow Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is the one that most power yoga styles are derived from.  It is a much more physically demanding and dynamic form of yoga than the other two styles. This is the style of the now popular “hot yoga” which many of my patients are participating in. My experience with this type of yoga is very positive, and it can give you a fantastic strength, flexibility and aerobic workout all in one session. I do caution some people to be careful if they do have pre-existing back conditions as many poses incorporate a lot of spine hyper-extension which may aggravate these conditions. However as long as you know your limits and alter your practice to your abilities, problems should not occur.  I do have a problem though with the “hot yoga” where the room is artificially heated in order to raise body temperatures quickly. I see many injuries from this type of yoga as many will push themselves beyond their body’s limits due to the artificial flexibility caused by the heat. Also, these classes tend to be rather large with the instructor not capable of overseeing the technique of all their students.

If you are looking to get into yoga, this Comox Valley Chiropractor encourages you whole-heartedly. I would recommend you start with Hatha, and then experiment with the other types of yoga once you have become familiar with the postures involved. It is wise to choose a class that has a qualified instructor, who will ensure that all participants are doing the poses correctly in order to avoid injury. Based on experience, I can recommend Semperviva for this reason, and also the regular instruction from the teachers to listen to your body and alter your practice accordingly. In addition, they provide power flow yoga without artificially heated rooms.

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Yoga and Chiropractic in Courtenay… a match made in heaven for your body and health!

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Chiropractor in Courtenay Loves Yoga! July 8, 2008

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This Comox Valley Chiropractor is a huge fan of yoga. I didn’t used to be – as a previous competitive swimmer, I was programmed to think that exercise required a heart rate of 200 bpm and a near death experience. Now that I’m a bit older, and much wiser where neuro-musculoskeletal conditions are concerned, I have revised my view of the world.

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Yoga is one of those activities which allow the body to move into postures and positions that it doesn’t normally get to do during the day. If you think of the average day in the life of an office worker, the positions which are most used are sitting, standing and maybe some walking. There could be the occasional reach or bend. But only in yoga do you get to move each joint through its full range of motion in a gentle manner.

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I firmly believe in the adage of “use it or lose it”, and I see this in practice every day in my office. If you never move your joints to the end ranges of their motion, you eventually lose the ability to do so. Yoga ensures that you maintain a full and flexible range of motion in all your joints.

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In addition, yoga will also build strength and stability, and it will help to calm the mind through quiet and meditation. Hatha yoga is my first recommendation, however there are many different types to suit your likes and needs. My comments on the different types of yoga will follow in the next post, so stay tuned!

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