BACKBENDS

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One Inspiring Cue

For backbends with slight spinal extension like Warrior One and Utkatasana, widen your back ribs

I found this cue on Instagram from @threesphysiyoga and love it for poses that incorporate a slight backbend element!

Why?
Many of us use the cue “knit the front ribs in” to help with an over-lordotic curve in the low back. The theory is that some people may feel pressure in their low back when they’re “too back-bendy”. Therefore, if we knit the ribs in, we help take away the deep curve in the lumbar spine. However, as @threesphysiyoga explains, oftentimes students take this too far and eliminate the natural (and important) inward curve in the low back. By widening the back ribs, you can remove any feeling of “crunching” in the low back without completely flattening out the spine. Try it! I highly recommend watching her Instagram video to get the full explanation. The picture shown below is what the cover for the video looks like once you click here: @threesphysiyoga.

One inspiring tip:

To help feel the widening of the low back ribs, take a yoga strap or elastic band and loop it around the backside of your body so the strap is touching your low ribs. You will be holding the strap in front of your body, with a piece of the strap or band in each hand. Breathe in and feel your low ribs expand into the strap. You can find a visual of the set-up for this tip when you watch the video on @threesphysiyoga’s Instagram page.

One inspiring song:

“Let The Sunshine In” by Galt MacDermot

One inspiring quote:

“Go in the direction where your peace is coming from.”
– C. Joybell C.

Nutrition nugget:

Remember…Bone Health = Overall Health. We know the importance of calcium from my last newsletter, but for your body to benefit from the calcium you’re feeding it, you need BOTH Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3. Ensuring you get enough of these vitamins will help direct the calcium you consume into your bones vs. your arteries.

The author of the Calcium Paradox says, “we need vitamin D to benefit from vitamin K2 and vice versa. When vitamin D is lacking, vitamin K2 can’t do it’s job escorting calcium away from the arteries and into the bones.” Here are a few foods that have K2 in them: pasture raised eggs, pasture raised chicken, animal liver.

Note: if you are on blood thinners or are concerned about adding supplements to your diet, please check with your doctor or nutritionist.

Finally, check out this month’s recipe: Hummus and Veggie Appetizer. It’s a crowd pleaser and super easy! Click here to go to the recipes section of my website, where you’ll find it and tons more!!

One inspiring cue for almost any Backbend:

Lift your low ribs up and away from the pelvis. 

I like to think of “inch-worming” my ribs away from my hips/pelvis. This is a cue I’ve written about before but, because I find it so helpful, I’m sharing it again!

Why?
Dr. Loren Fishman, physician at Columbia who specializes in rehabilitative medicine, says, “when we lift the mid and upper back, we prevent all of the movement from occurring only in the lumbar spine” (low ribs lifting away from the pelvis is a good visual for students). He believes this action helps to integrate the whole spine and distribute the Backbend more evenly. For me, this cue certainly helps create more comfort in simple Backbend poses like Warrior One (yes, Warrior One requires extension in the spine and is therefore considered a Backbend).

One inspiring tip:

While in Warrior One, take your hands to your low rib cage and lift the ribs up and away from the pelvis. You should notice a lengthening in the musculature, not only in the mid-back, but also around your lumbar spine. This lengthening is what we want to find both before and during our Backbends.

Keep your eyes open for the cue and tip for Backbends in my next newsletter…I haven’t shared them before and I think you’ll love them!

One inspiring song:

“Lose Your Head” by London Grammar

One inspiring quote:

“What the world needs most is openness: open hearts, open doors, open eyes, open ears, open souls.”
– Robert Muller

Nutrition nugget:

Let’s talk calcium! Bone health = overall health!! How much calcium do you need on a daily basis? 1000 mg a day is recommended unless you are post-menopausal. If that is the case, the recommendation is 1200 mg a day. For myself, I do my best to get at least 800-1000 mg a day from food. Then, if I need to take a small supplement at the end of the day, I do.

Try writing down how much calcium you’re eating each day – you can use your phone or a piece of paper to track it. Then, you can figure out how much you need to be adding through a supplement, if at all. If calcium is not listed on the package (because you’re eating whole foods and there is no package – bravo!), just google it! For example, if you google “nutrition facts for Bok Choy” (one of my favorites because it is so nutrient-dense), you will see it has 60 mg of calcium in one cup – that’s six percent of your daily value! Throw a cup in your smoothie with some ZenBasil seeds (180 mg of calcium per Tbsp!) or make a salad!! For a ton of ZenBasil recipes, check out zenbasil.com.

I will touch upon the other nutrients that help direct calcium into your bones, not your joints/arteries, in subsequent newsletters.

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