How does to much time sitting in chairs damages our ocean’s reefs? 

By Renee’ Fulkerson

You might be thinking what does sitting in a chair haft to do with an ocean’s reefs? I would be thinking the same thing if I had not made the connection personally on my last adventure out snorkeling.

A little back story:

Last year in the middle of April 2018 Kauai received 50 inches of rain in 24 hours that devastated the island. The north shore communities of Wainiha and Haena were cut off from the rest of the island due to countless mudslides that covered the only two lane road in or out of these communities. It took over a year to repair the road to a safety standard that would allow all non Wainiha and Haena residents to re-enter the area.

YogAlign Inner Breath Yoga Kauai (18)

During this one year period the only folks allowed in and out of the above mentioned communities while massive road repair was taking place were the full time residents. As a full time resident living in Haena I saw with my own eyes the land transform.

Myself and many of the locals had an opportunity of a lifetime to spend time on the secluded and empty beaches. We began to see the fish returning, turtles nesting that had not been there since folks could remember and the reefs were coming alive again.

DCIM100GOPRO  DCIM100GOPRO

This is when I began my regular snorkeling adventures!

During this time I continued teaching and practicing YogAlign – pain-free yoga from your inner core. I began realizing much of my movements in the water reflected my movements in YogAlign. Not to mention breathing through the snorkel replicated the SIP breath in my practice. Like snorkeling a full body activity we too in YogAlign engage the entire body in practice and view the body as a whole.

The primary muscle groups engaged while snorkeling include:

Hip flexors, ham strings, upper and lower abdominal’s, quads and gluteul muscles

A fair amount of flexibility in the ankle region as well as the ability to point the toes like a dancer is necessary (if you prefer to avoid leg and foot cramps).

A  strong core (abdominal, Oblique and back muscles) help to create a stable platform for legs to kick as well as a balance in your front and back leg strength.

Here is were the sitting in a chair comes in as none of the above mentioned muscle groups are engaged during sitting – it is quite the opposite. (the average American spends 7.7 hours a day sitting)

Having said that you take an average person who sits 7.7 hours a day in a chair and he or she decides one day to go snorkeling chances are the ocean reefs (fragile underwater ecosystem) and themselves are going to suffer.

How because he or she would be expecting their bodies to preform in a way it is incapable of preforming. The primary muscle groups that need to be engaged while snorkeling have amnesia from sitting. Flexibility in the ankles and pointing of the toes  would be limited – due to the shortening and tightening of the front line while sitting. Their core would be void creating an unstable platform for their legs to kick not to mention the unbalance between the back and front leg muscles.

How does all of this effect the oceans reefs?

On my last snorkeling adventure I realized I had gained greater endurance, strength and stamina (all supported by my regular YogAlign practice). However when I looked all around me as far as my eye could see people were STANDING ON THE REEFS! Why? Because they were tired and or had leg/ foot cramps and difficulty breathing (and yes I asked).

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I swam up and said do you realize you are standing on a fragile underwater ecosystem that has had a years gift to repair itself from the endless years of damage it has received? Usually the response was I was so tired I could not get back to shore or I was having trouble breathing and got a leg cramp. lol

I encourage everyone to get out and get moving including snorkeling however, not at the sake of our ocean reefs (fragile underwater ecosystems) or their safety. #getupstandupforyourlife

See you on the mat!

Top 10 benefits of Snorkeling 

How to Deal With Foot Cramps During Yoga

Preventing and Dealing With a Painful Foot Cramp

By Ann Pizer

You are definitely not alone if you get foot cramps in yoga class. These extremely painful cramps are known to strike especially during poses like pigeon and hero where the foot is tucked under and the top of the foot rests on the floor. Foot cramps can be embarrassing when you have to get out of your pose and walk it off. Learn how to prevent and deal with foot cramps.

Causes

A cramp is a sudden and involuntary muscle contraction. You may experience a cramp during positions that stretch the muscles in your foot in ways that it is not used to. Even if you do a lot of yoga, the amount of time you spend with your foot tucked under is pretty small, so cramps can still affect even the most dedicated yoga students. People with flat feet seem particularly affected.

Dehydration is a common contributing factor for muscle cramps. Especially if you are doing hot yoga, you may be sweating and getting dehydrated throughout a yoga session. Or, you may not have replenished with water before starting the class. In addition, muscle cramps can develop due to imbalances in various body salts. These include sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. If you drink too much water you dilute these salts, so it is best to drink when thirsty during any activity. You may also not have enough salts on board because you have skipped meals, have an imbalanced diet, or are taking medications that deplete your electrolytes.

Prevention

Start off right so you are less likely to get a foot cramp during yoga.

Drink Right: An hour before yoga class, drink a large glass of water. After that and during class, drink when thirsty. Contrary to what you might have heard, most people can trust their thirst during exercise. Keep a water bottle handy so you don’t put off drinking as soon as you feel thirst.

Eat Right: Eating an hour or more before yoga class may ensure you have enough electrolytes on board. Think of including potassium-rich foods, like bananas, and appropriate amounts of table salt.

Foot Stretches: You may also want to incorporate a few foot stretches into your yoga warm-up so that your feet are as ready as possible for whatever the class may bring. While lying on your back, roll your ankles in both directions. You can do this with your legs straight and point up at the ceiling for a little hamstring stretch or with the knees slightly bent. Then move the feet back and forth between a pointed and a flexed position. This extra attention may help and is a good habit in any case.

Props: You can use a small pillow or a rolled towel under your ankle when you are in child pose or other poses that rest the top of the foot on the floor. This will keep your foot from being less pointed and triggering a cramp. You may also want to tuck your toes under your foot for a portion of these poses so you are stretching the plantar sole of your foot.

Dealing With a Foot Cramp

If you do cramp up, the best thing to do is curl your toes up to stretch out the sole of the foot. In the middle of a pose where you are resting on the top of your foot, tuck them under the foot. Massage your arch until the pain passes Don’t worry about coming out of the pose or feel embarrassed. It’s not unusual and won’t even register on most people’s radar. What you are doing will be obvious to any experienced teacher. You can always mouth “foot cramp” in her general direction for good measure.

As with any pain that surfaces in yoga class, keep an eye on the frequency and severity of your cramping. If you try the above suggestions and nothing helps or if the cramping gets worse, it’s time to talk to a doctor. Rarely, cramps can be a symptom of a condition that should be treated. Or, you may be taking medications that increase your risk of cramps and your doctor or pharmacist can assist you in reducing this side effect.