Living Long And Dying Short Or Living Short And Dying Long.

By Renee’ Fulkerson

In other words, having a body you can trust and living pain-free. With a sustainable body that allows you to imagine all of the endless possibilities well into the future.

Or, having a body you cannot trust and maybe living with discomfort and or pain. A body that limits you from enjoying life and all the activities you love.

Living long and dying short or living short and dying long?

I had first heard this phrase in my first YogAlign Teacher Training. Then again recently in a two-week intensive YogAlign Posture Education Certification Course. I started thinking about the phrase once again and wondered do we have a choice? And, the answer was of course in almost all cases we do have a choice. I feel most certain if people were asked which they would prefer from the above-mentioned phrases living long and dying short would be the most appealing option. I know it would be for me!

Pain knows no age, race, or gender, and becoming aware of bad posture habits is the first step in changing the existing habit.

The most common issues I work with are neck and shoulder discomfort and or pain. Various aches and pains along the entire back body (mostly low back). Also, hip discomfort and or pain is an issue that comes up often.

The first thing we need to look at is our daily posture habits:

How are you standing, walking, and sitting? Do you find it difficult and tiring to stand for even a short period of time (such as doing dishes)?

When walking are you able to walk with ease? Have you ever looked at the bottom of your shoes to see how they are wearing (evenly or unevenly)?

Do you find it difficult to sit comfortably for any period of time? Have you created a sag in the support system of your chair or couch from sitting too much?

How does your posture translate into your workspace and weekend activities? These are all good questions to ask yourself as the answers will be very telling and helpful. And a jumping-off point into good posture. With good posture habits/ body mechanics, your life can be long and prosperous and without maybe uncomfortable and or painful.

Let’s start by looking at some of the reasons for neck, shoulder, back, and hip discomfort and or pain.

We are developed in the womb and birthed from a C shape or the fetal posture. At this point, we do most of our breathing from our bellies. Babies and young children will use their abdominal muscles (bellies) much more to pull the diaphragm down for breathing. The intercostal muscles are not fully developed at the time of birth. The baby has to grow to develop these. Once babies are placed on their tummies curiosity gets the best of them and they begin by lifting their heads to fully see their surroundings. Soon after they can get themselves up on all fours (hands and knees) and start locomoting forward known as crawling. Next pulling themselves up and walking supported by a person or object to eventually walking all on their own. During this process, we are developing the natural Lordotic and kyphotic curves aka shock absorbers in our spines. We are still very comfortable moving from the center of our bodies and bending at the knees with ease when picking something up.

Fast forward to today and as a teen, young adult, adult, or elder take a look in the mirror from your side profile or lateral line and what do you see. Natural Curves in your spine or have you returned to the C shape posture? If your answer is C not to worry we just need to shift some outdated posture habits. Also known as rewiring and updating your body’s posture software. But, before we do that we need to look at why this C posture is creating negative impacts on your breathing, mood, and possibly causing you discomfort and or pain.

Having the body in a perpetual C posture draws your chin to your chest, your pubis to your sternum, rolled forward shoulders, and forward head carriage just to name a few. Your spinal curves aka shock absorbers are non-existent and not putting a much-needed spring in your step. This C posture makes it quite impossible to get a full diaphragm inhale or exhale (as adults we should not be belly breathing). With proper diaphragm breathing, we can work on our good posture habits from the inside out (the diaphragm is a muscle and also needs to be exercised). The C posture puts all the weight onto your knees and can very easily add to those achy, painful, and unstable knee joints. As the body curls forward it puts the front of the body into full-blown flexion. Meaning muscle groups whose actual job is to be stabilizers are not being able to do their job. They instead are being enlisted out of necessity to keep the heavy forward-leaning body up. That forward pressing body is affecting the space for your organs and possibly creating some fear and anxiety emotions/ mood responses.

Meanwhile, the back of the body is stretched out and exhausted. Think of your back like a shirt riding up towards your shoulders and ears. Again take a step in front of the mirror and looking from the side angle or lateral line view are you able to see your vertebral column very close to the surface of the skin? If the answer is yes again the natural curves aka shock absorbers are not being able to do their jobs in keeping you agile and bouncy. The back body is also in need of some extra support to keep your head up as it is falling forward and calls in the fascia. The fascia lays down more fascia in the upper back area usually between the top of the shoulder blades to the Occipital (bulbous part) of the back of the head. Causing those tight and stiff feeling shoulders, neck and causing possible headaches. The lower back is not tight needing to be stretched it is stretched and exhausted in need of support. How does the back get the support it needs? Simple answer proper posture. Believe it or not, you have a muscle corset around your midsection made out of muscles and muscle groups which we call stabilizers. These stabilizing muscles and muscle groups are some of your most important and necessary posture muscles. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above if you are leaning forward in a C shape some of these stabilizer muscles start to work as flexor muscles. Just by getting your body back into its natural curves and proper posture we can tap into our body’s internal back support brace (stabilizers).

All of these above issues and so much more can be addressed and overcome with rewiring and reprogramming of your body’s posture motherboard.

Getting started:

  1. Breathing from your diaphragm and not your belly
  2. Balancing the flexor chain or front of the body. With the extensor chain at the back of the body.
  3. Firing up posture muscles and posture muscle groups that have forgotten how to engage.
  4. Creating tensegrity or balance throughout the body.
  5. Being mindful of how we stand, walk, and sit.
  6. Questioning movement, yoga, and exercise classes that put you intentionally in bad posture (reinforcing bad posture).
  7. If you tend to be hypermobile creating new habits not to take a posture to your edge ultimately pulling yourself apart.
  8. Find exercise, yoga, and movement classes that focus on real-life movement (reinforce good posture).
  9. Create a space for movement, health, fitness, and fun in your life.

Aloha

Yoga Or Massage?

By Renee’ Fulkerson

Yoga or massage? I say both!

Massage is – manipulation of tissues (as by rubbing, kneading, or tapping) with the hand or an instrument for relaxation or therapeutic purposes.

My first professional massage was gifted to me many years ago by my then-boyfriend now-husband. It was at a very high-end spa and included a long soak in a beautiful tub surrounded by candles and flowers. Once warm and relaxed after my soak. I was ready for the massage part of the package. A gentleman entered the room, draped me with linens, and applied warm oil. His massage strokes began long down my back. I remember thinking to this feels so good. I understand now why people enjoy and will splurge on a massage for themselves or gift to another. Although, there was a point during the massage where I did feel some discomfort. At that time, I did not understand why? I thought to why would this gentleman want to add some pain to all of this pleasure? I haft to laugh at myself when I think back to being so naive.

Fast forward to several years later in what seemed like a different lifetime. I now was a licensed massage practitioner. At the beginning of my practice, I did offer more of a relaxed feel good only massage. Because at the time, I was a licensed esthetician and was transitioning my skincare clients into my massage clients. An opportunity came to relocate. And I soon found myself gravitating from the spa setting style of massage to offering pre and post-race massage at downhill mountain bike races. I did feel a bit out of my element at first but, I adapted quickly and found my stride. From then I was hooked on offering a more sports-friendly massage style. That is not to say the athlete did not feel relaxed. After all, I was relieving some aches and pains. Fast forward to many years later and what seemed like a different lifetime. I was married with a house and a new baby boy I decided I wanted to become a yoga teacher. Again I started more in the feel-good realm with music, candles, and essential oils. At that point, my husband and I had an outfitting backpacking business. And space next door became available and, a yoga studio was born.

As life continued, an opportunity came about to relocate to the Island of Kauai.  Where I soon began my YogAlign teacher training with Michaelle Edwards. The founder of the YogAlign Method. I came back to a more anatomy-based yoga teaching style to go along with my sports massage technique. For now, and in the past, I am always learning new things and having new ideas. It feels good to be building off of the skills and knowledge I already have.

When coming back to massage therapy, I think about what that means for me today. Massage therapy has continued to play a role in my life and is a part of the YogAlign method. Self-massage is a piece of the YogAlign practice. It can be with your own hands, various size balls, or a little extra attention from the teacher. Either way, it feels good even when you are your massage therapist. Another way massage plays a part in my life is going back to get a client on the massage table. And depending on why they are on the table in the first place dictates how I will proceed. For some, it is the everyday aches and pains of a life well-lived. And for others, it could be more specific. An example may be a recent injury, recovery from surgery, or postural abnormalities such as Thoracic Kyphosis or Lumbar Lordosis. 

I tend to think of Kyphosis and Lordosis as hills and valleys of the spine and back. With committed YogAlign practice, you can achieve incredible results when dealing with posture issues and deformities. But, massage therapy can also add a lot of value. By working with massage techniques towards and away from the spine and focusing on the hills and valleys idea, you can self-heal. I have seen and experienced this myself. All while manipulating the fascia of these two areas produces positive results. Kyphosis gives a hunchback appearance in the upper back that I consider the hill. Where Lordosis has a swayback appearance right above the buttocks that I think of as a valley. Therefore when massaging a Kyphotic back. I am going to use manipulation that works the superficial back line fascia medially towards the spine. Creating space and freeing the tissues for more movement. The opposite would be correct for the Lordotic issue also, known as swayback. I would massage the superficial back line fascia laterally away from the spine. Creating length and possibly alleviating some of the compression. The possibilities are endless to the benefits a massage therapy session can yield.

Lastly, self-massage is also a part of my daily routine, as is YogAlign, and if I have sometime in the morning before I get out of bed. I like to do a quick foot, leg, and low back rubdown especially, when I have taken a long walk/ hike the day before. At the end of the day after, a nice shower, and before I go to sleep. I allow myself an hour in bed to quietly decompress from the day. This time includes full foot and leg, arms and fingers, back and scalp self-massage. There are times this does not happen but, it always happens in my YogAlign practice. So, I am covered.

When looking for a yoga class or massage practitioner, always check their credentials, ask questions and make sure it is the right fit for you and your personal needs.

Aloha

Shopping Spree Or Living Spree?

By Renee’ Fulkerson

Spree: a spell or sustained period of unrestrained activity of a particular kind.

We have entered into the season of holiday shopping and gift-giving. A coming together with family and friends for festive gatherings. Consumers are being lured in by Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a variety of deeply discounted department store sales. Some might even refer to their shopping adventure as a shopping spree.

Spreea spell or sustained period of unrestrained activity of a particular kind.

I started thinking about how I have never considered myself a person who enjoys going shopping, not even grocery shopping. I link it back to my childhood and my family. They were never over the top shoppers. We lived comfortably and had what we needed (and then some). I never felt lacking in anything. I also considered myself very physically active growing up. I was more actively moving than actively shopping. And this rings true even to this day!

Some could argue that shopping especially, holiday shopping is a physical activity and I would agree. There is a great deal of walking, lifting, bending, and movement in general, and at the end of the day, we are exhausted. But what comes to mind for me is the poor posture, aching back (shoulders), and sore feet that come from a day of lugging packages and endless searching. I asked myself this question what would you rather be doing? My answer – having a Living Spree!

What would my living spree look like? Hiking outdoors which ironically comes with the same description of the above mentioned:

  • Possible poor posture – from fatigue (shallow breathing)
  • Aching back and shoulders – from carrying a backpack
  • Sore feet – from a long haul

I have much more body mechanics awareness when I am on the trail than when I am in the department store. Because when I am in nature, I feel more connected to the setting. The esthetics are visually more pleasing and, the surroundings are far quieter. The natural light and fresh air make it easier to achieve a balance between relaxation and meditation. I feel less physically drained and more contently tired with my accomplishment. I naturally take breaks to stop, sit, and snack in the beautiful spots along the way. I am purposeful about what I am carrying (weight wise) and the proper fit for my diaphragm. Can all of these mindful practices be applied to the Shopping Spree? To this, I say yes!

YogAlign Shopping Spree Tips:

  • Breathe – In YogAlign we use the SIP Breath (structurally informed posture). Start by forming an O with your lips, sip in like your sucking on a straw and feel your diaphragm muscle (ribcage) start to expand and lift (keep your shoulders down away from your ears). Pause at the top of the SIP Breath and as you SSSSSS hale like a snake smile and feel the goodness that is breath. Use this SIP Breath technique like fine chocolate not every breath will be a SIP Breath but a gentle reminder or as we like to call it rewiring the brain to practice full inhales and exhales.
  • Posture – In YogAlign, we use the SIP Breath (structurally informed posture). Start by forming an O with your lips, sip in like your sucking on a straw and feel your diaphragm muscle (ribcage) start to expand and lift (keep your shoulders down away from your ears). Pause at the top of the SIP Breath and, as you SSSSSS hale like a snake smile, and feel the goodness that is breath. Use this SIP Breath technique like fine chocolate, and not every breath will be a SIP Breath but a gentle reminder. Or, as we like to call it, rewiring the brain to practice full inhales and exhales.
  • Balance – In YogAlign, we think of and move our body as a whole. And we move from the center/ core of our body. Gazing forward and allowing for our eyes to communicate with our brain more effectively. When we pile ourselves up with oddly shaped packages and possibly a purse, the uneven weight distribution can throw us out of balance. Stop and take a moment in front of a mirror or glass where you can check your packages are balanced. While carrying your shopping bags, are your shoulders even on both sides? And are your shoulder blades down away from your ears? Are your hips squared and level not allowing uneven weight to dump you into one hip or another? Are you standing on the full of the foot or more on the toes or the heels? When walking with this load, are you moving from the center of your body? You can tell this if you can comfortably take a full inhale and exhale while walking. If necessary, take the time to put packages in your car and ease up your load.
  • Savasana (stillness) – Yes, you can take a shopping savasana (get off your feet). After all, it is a form of stillness (between relaxation and meditation). You can find a quiet spot either indoors or outdoors and sit (depending on the space or even lie down). Pull out a small bottle of your favorite essential oil, put a dab on the end of your nose and enter into mindful breath. If you have a Mantra or Japa practice, this can also happen here. You can silently to yourself recite or chant your mantra. Pulling out and unraveling your mala (beads) and again silently going through your meditation (eyes open or closed). If you cannot stop for a shopping savasana, pull out your small bottle of rose water and give yourself a spray and keep breathing. Rounding out these YogAlign holiday shopping tips would be to stay hydrated and fortified with healthy food and snacks.

I wish you a very happy and healthy shopping spree and or living spree!

Aloha

The Struggle Of Movement Is Real.

By Renee’ Fulkerson

What does the struggle is real mean?
The struggle is real: A phrase used to emphasize that a particular situation (or life in general) is difficult. It is often used humorously and ironically when one has difficulty doing something that should not be difficult or complaining about something that is not particularly problematic.

When we were children growing up, we moved our bodies through life with great ease. There might have been times we felt awkward in our bodies as they were growing and changing but still felt at ease in our movements. As young children turning into young adults, we probably did not give much thought, why our bodies carried us in our day to day lives. Except for the way we danced or if our parents told us to stand up straight because we were slouching. Fast forward to becoming an adult/ middle-aged and beyond. Suddenly what did not seem difficult or even insight to us is now right in our face and possibly affecting our daily lives.

Why does our body begin to react in ways we are maybe not used to when we become an adult/ middle-aged and beyond? There are many factors to consider. But, I would think stress, responsibility, finances, and relationships in early adulthood could surely draw your shoulders up to your ears from time to time as the body’s way of reacting to the stressors. A job being stationary sitting at a desk all day could also contribute to the body talking to you through aches and pains. Starting a family, marriage and, setting up a household are all heavy transitions from single carefree life. Not to say, changes are not wanted and don’t bring much joy. But on the flip side take up a great deal of time, attention, and energy. So do we blame our aches and pains and movement struggles on getting married? No, that would be silly. What once was a non-issue regarding our youthful body movements and stamina comes down to rewiring the motherboard creating new movement habits.

What do I mean by this? The wiring of our human brain makes movements happen without much or any thought. For example, when we get out of bed in the morning, we do not think I am going to hobble to the bathroom or, I am going to hunch over with my shoulders drawn to my ears. It just happens. Why? Because these are current movement habits. When we were kids, we just jumped out of bed, wiggled, and squiggled our way to the start of the day because those were our movement habits at that moment. Some days maybe we even dread that first step out of bed because we know it may be a challenge for various reasons. The struggle is real – having difficulty doing something that should not be difficult or complaining about something that is not particularly problematic.

The good news is you can rewire the motherboard and create new movement habits that will leave your body feeling pliable, happy, and healthy once again. In YogAlign, we refer to these changes as getting your kid’s body back. We let go of the regular tendency or practice of drawing our shoulders to our ears by becoming conscious of new positive habits. For example, every time you get into your car (driver or passenger), draw your shoulder blades down underneath you and then rest and gently press the back of your head into the headrest. Yes, it may feel awkward and, every other minute you, may need to remind yourself to relax – shoulders blades underneath me and back of the head gently pressed into the headrest. As this posture becomes more comfortable and the rewiring will begin and, this posture que and comfort will follow through to other opportunities for your shoulders to relax like in your office chair.

YogAlign is a practice that is pain-free from your inner core. And using the SIP Breath, giving us the gift of lift. I see new students and some long-time students struggle with push-ups. Why? Because they lack a connection to their core. By trying to lift the weight of the body with their arms and old, not useful habit. I then gently remind long time practicing students and sometimes myself to remember to use the SIP breath and core engagement to float their/ my push-up up. I also reassure new students once they utilize their core (powerhouse and not their shoulders) with the SIP Breath, it will become a habit and so much easier. They will no longer be shaking in their arms and possibly causing an injury to their unstable arm/ shoulder joints and can relax their neck and shoulders by pulling shoulder blades down.

Of course, we all know aging, injury and ailments also play a factor in our body talking back to us. But, we must not get in the habit of blaming the above mentioned for all of our poor movement habits. After all, we do not want our fondest memory of childhood to be that our back did not hurt.
Here’s to squashing the struggle. And creating new effective and efficient movement habits on the mat and in daily life.

Aloha

The Quality Of Your Health Is A Reflection Of Your Independence.

By Renee’ Fulkerson

in·de·pend·ent
/ˌindəˈpendənt/ adjective – not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.
“I wanted to remain independent in old age”
synonyms – self-sufficientself-supportingself-sustainable.
 
My experience with this has happened within this last year and got me looking around at folks moving through their daily lives.
 
I grew up in Southern California and spent every summer (June, July, and August) in Baja California. At my grandparent’s house on the beach until I was well out of high school. In both geographical locations, the weather was mostly sunny and warm and, I am a fan of warm and sunny. I spent most of my days wearing cut-off Levi shorts, tank tops, and flip flops. In other words, closed toes shoes, socks, pants, and jackets were far and few in my everyday life.
 
I do everything in my flip-flops (called slippers here on the Hawaiian islands). Not the best option for most of my outdoor projects. When I was thinking back to my 16 years living in Big Bear, I still spent a great deal of time in my flip-flops. I had a large yard/ garden in the mountains like here on the island. Consequently, digging, raking, weeding, etc. yes in my slippers. I have also done many hikes, walks and, dancing in my flip-flops. Side note ipanema slippers are my favorite.
Inner Breath Yoga YogAlign Kauai Hawaii (1)
 
Last June as my family and myself were preparing for our annual summer mainland – mountain road trip. My flip-flop existence took a turn for the worst. I was outside in the garden digging with a shovel pushing down on the metal piece with the arch of my foot and, I felt a stretch and pull of discomfort and, my heart dropped as I knew I had injured my foot. I hobbled into the house and began icing three to four times a day with a frozen bottle of water, lightly massaged the surrounding areas (directly rubbing a soft tissue injury may make it worse), and slept with my foot wrapped in an Ace bandage.
 

When arriving back on Kauai and to this very day, September 9, 2019, I continue to feel some pain in my foot. I have continued my normal daily activities at home (although I wear shoes and socks now while gardening). YogAlign, snorkeling, and continuing icing and wrapping have kept me comfortably active. In my humble opinion being sedentary after an injury is the wrong way to go – the body wants to heal and, circulation is necessary. I have purchased a new style of flip flops during the healing process OOFOS Recovery Footwear.

 
Inner Breath Yoga YogALign Kauai Hawaii
 
As I began looking around me one day while I was out running errands in my OOFOs feeling comfortable, confident, and mostly pain-free when I noticed how many folks were not stable on their feet. Young and old, small and large, black or white. It did not matter their health or lack of was hindering their independence. Canes, wheelchairs having to be pickup or dropped off from the car, and needing a partner’s arm for assistance was what I was seeing. Again these were not just mature folks (who can also stay very independent). That’s when it hit me the quality of your health is a direct reflection of your level of independence or lack thereof. I think most of us would agree it is hard enough to ask for help. Much less be reliant on somebody to get you around physically. I could not imagine my life without my physical independence.
 

What have I learned:

  • Directly – flip flops/slippers have a time and place. 
  • Staying physically active is a necessary component of independence. 
  • Moving in proper posture and alignment while performing tasks keeps you less likely to get an injury. 

When I teach SIP-ups in YogAlign class, students prepare their bodies by moving into proper alignment for optimal results. Injuries are less likely to happen when the body is in proper alignment. 

  • Students begin by lying on their backs with their knees bent toward the ceiling. 
  • Then they place a yoga block between the meaty part of the inner thighs. 
  • Their shoulder blades under them create and support the natural curves in their spine. Do not draw the belly button to the back body (flattening our natural spinal curves). 
  • They place hand over hand, palms facing up and supporting the Occipital Bone on the back of the head. 
  • When they lift the elbows, they raise them high enough to see their Peripheral vision turning on the arms. 
  • With a lion’s exhaling, they let out all their breath. 
  • Next, they look up at the ceiling, take in a full diaphragm SIP breath, squeeze the block between their knees, engage the core, and lift with the SIP inhale. (maintaining an open front line – no chin to chest). 
  • And S-hale like a snake before they come back down. 

I may see a student pulling from the neck with their hands or rounding the spine by pulling their chin to their chest. I would request they come out of the posture immediately. Why? Because they would be doing more harm than good to their body. We do not want to rob Peter to pay Paul. Again it is more important to practice a yoga posture correctly to receive the optimum benefits than doing more harm than good.

I wish us all to be proactive in maintaining our independence – you don’t know what you have until it is gone.

Aloha

Is Your Yoga Practice Sustainable?

By Renee’ Fulkerson

SUSTAINABLE | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary
https://dictionary.cambridge.org › dictionary › english › sustainable
sustainable meaning: 1. able to continue over a period of time: 2. causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time.
We could exchange the word environment for the human body.By the above definition, the question could be re-worded to – Is your yoga practice causing little to no damage to your human body? Will you be able to continue this yoga practice for a long time? The answer for me is yes at this current time as my yoga practice is The Yoga Align Method – pain-free yoga from your inner core focuses on proper body alignment and real-life movement.
I have found whether we are young or mature in age. We all want to feel good and be happy in our mind, body, and spirit. In my teaching and personal experience, most of us can connect to the physical body by touching it, seeing it and, feeling it. Whereas; the mind takes time to connect with meditation and stillness. The spirit for some is altogether unattainable in the tangible sense. They cannot find the connection. So doing some physical movement seems like a place to find some joy and happiness.
For some yoga, practice means only physical movement (asana). For others, it is only meditation they seek. Actually, in this day and age yoga, can come in many forms. For this blog, let us stick with yoga practice in the physical sense.

When you are in your next yoga practice/ class, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Am I able to take a full deep breath in this posture?
  • Do my spine and sacrum maintain their curves and integrity?
  • Does this posture simulate functional movement? Am I comfortable and stable?

In my public YogAlign class, I have found that some folks do not and have not ever felt comfortable and stable in a forward lunge. A lunge is a lower-body exercise that works several muscle groups at once. The targeted muscles include the glutes, hips, and butt, in addition to the hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs. The calf muscles in your lower legs, your abdominal muscles, and your back muscles act as stabilizers during this exercise. Not feeling stable in the forward lunge restricts deep breath, alignment, and therefore is not comfortable or supported. The solution, to place a yoga block under the back foot for a double-duty purpose. One, getting alignment from the foot to the hip. Two raises the heel to a comfortable level and creates the stability the student was lacking. Once they are in a stable lunge everything, else falls into place.

Inner Breath Yoga Yogalign kauai hawaii

I have also had students lunge with the assist of a prop. Stepping their right foot forward and placing their big toe close to the wall. (but not touching) Next stepping their left foot back on a block or lifting their heel once they feel stable. (foot in alignment with hip) I have them check to see if the back of their head (the Occipital bone) and the sacrum are in alignment. Next, when we are in alignment and stable, we sink into the front knee. Placing the pads of our fingers (fingers open to turn on the arm muscles) against the wall to upper chest height and start our SIP breath. (structurally Informed Posture- informs our body of how to be in good posture by aligning from the inside out). Allowing this core breath to stabilize the body and drawing the shoulder blades together creates even more stability. Once we are aligned, in a posture with effective breathing, balance, and, comfort we can reap all the benefits. The above described YogAlign Power Lunge is sustainable for the human body as it ticks all our boxes.

If we are moving through a yoga practice that is harming or damaging our body, what would be the point? Although sometimes this may happen and, we do not even realize it is happening. Be careful when an instructor cues a posture is meant to be painful and to breathe through the pain. That may be somewhat true for a person who has had a debilitating accident and is in recovery (physical therapy) But, even then, I would question the motive and benefits.

We can create a happy, healthy mind, body, and spirit well into a mature age by putting our body in breathable, aligned, functional, comfortable, and stable yoga postures. Now go out and use your sustainable body for good!

Aloha

YogAlign Or Swimming?

By Renee’ Fulkerson

To the question above, the answer would be yes and yes.

Definition of swim: propel the body through water by using the limbs.

Swimming like YogAlign engages the entire body during the movement. That was the perfect solution to our required body movement regime.

Many of you already know my son Joaquin, age 15, has been diagnosed with Pectus Excavatum, Scoliosis, and Scheuermann’s Disease.

Refer to blog post https://innerbreathyoga.com/2019/05/21/our-journey-so-far/

Quick recap – I started Joaquin on a regular YogAlign practice schedule of three to four times a week. Shortly after his diagnosis beginning in January of 2019. That was a one on one program, one to two hours per practice with YogAlign teacher Renee’ Fulkerson, AKA mom. We had a few challenging moments until we found our rhythm. Joaquin is dedicated. He knows YogAlign will be a part of his life for the rest of his life. After roughly a few months, Joaquin began attending my regularly scheduled public YogAlign Classes with a bit of hesitation. Then as mothers and teen sons do we, started the debate on comprising. We began a new dialog on body movement (exercise). Swimming  Joaquin requested he can have the option of practicing YogAlign half the time and swimming the other. Swimming like YogAlign engages the entire body during the movement. It was the perfect solution to our required body movement regime. Now we are not only seeing postural shifts from the regular YogAlign practice. But also from Ocean swimming and hey if you are going to swim why not swim with the turtles?

My Conclusion – Pectus Excavatum, Scoliosis, and Scheuermann’s Disease. have many symptoms that can benefit from regular YogAlign practice and a good swim a few times a week.

YogAlign Inner Breath Yoga Island Kauai Hawaii (1)

Health Benefits of Swimming (web MD) Intensity Level: Medium -You will use your lower and upper body muscles for a steady workout. You can make your swim harder by going faster or longer.

Areas It Targets:

Core: Yes. Swimming gives your entire body a great workout, including your core muscles.

Arms: Yes. You will need your arms for most swim strokes, so expect them to get a workout.

Legs: Yes. You will use your legs to propel yourself through the water.

Glutes: Yes. Swimming uses your glutes.

Back: Yes. Your back muscles will get a workout, whether you are doing the backstroke or a water-based exercise class.

Type:

Flexibility: Yes. Swimming will make you more flexible.

Aerobic: Yes. Your heart will keep pumping as you use your entire body to move through the water.

Strength: Yes. You will get stronger from the resistance in the water. That is about 12 times the level of air resistance. Try using hand-held paddles, foam noodles, or a kickboard for extra resistance.

Low-Impact: Yes. Swimming is an excellent low-impact workout. The water gives you buoyancy. You will float through your exercise session without putting pressure on your joints.

Aloha

A Quick Lesson From Real Life Movement.

By Renee’ Fulkerson

I added these pictures for two reasons:

A. because these animals are beautiful, we were blessed to have come across them on our recent road trip.

B. because these animals’ bodies are in perfect balance and alignment.

  • they move gracefully
  • they remain strong and agile with just the natural movements of their everyday life
  • animals move their bodies with efficiency and effectiveness. Not slouching or slumping

If we were to see any one of these animals slouching, limping, or out of alignment, we would immediately become concerned for their health. But, as humans, we see ourselves and others living with all kinds of body miss-alignment that becomes the norm.

YogAlign Inner Breath Yoga Kauai Hawaii Island

That brings me to my conclusion I suppose we would not last very long out in the wild being out of balance and alignment. Unable to hunt for our food or take care of our young – food for thought.

Aloha

June YogAlign Classes On and Off Island

By Renee’ Fulkerson

Dance with the waves, move with the sea. Let the rhythm of the water set your soul free
-Christy Ann Martine

Aloha, gentle reminder Inner Breath Yoga – YogAlign will not be hosting any YogAlign classes in the month of June at either  location Anaina Hou Community Park in Kilauea or Hot Yoga Princeville. Inner Breath Yoga – YogAlign classes will resume as regularly scheduled time and location in the month of July. However, I will be teaching a few YogAlign classes on the mainland in my home town of Big Bear Lake while on Vacation – please feel free to pass on information if you know someone who would be interested. Be sure to follow Inner Breath Yoga on Social Media to follow all our Mainland Adventures. Aloha

Mainland Inner Breath Yoga- June Drop-in YogAlign Classes

Big Bear Yoga

Friday June 14th, 6:00 to 8:00 PM

Saturday June 15th, 11:00 Am to 1:00 PM
Investment – $25 in advance/ $30 day of

Mats and blocks provided

Please bring a towel and water

421 W. Big Bear Blvd #663
Big Bear City, Calif. 92314
www.bigbearyoga.com 

www.innerbreathyoga.com

Private classes also available for more information please contact: renee@innerbreathyoga.com  / 909-747-4186

On Island June – Kauai Drop-in YogAlign Class

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Manayoga Studio

Wednesdays 8:30 to 10:30 AM

Investment $20 for locals

Mats and blocks provided

Please bring a towel and water

3812 Ahonui Place

Princeville, HI 96722
Manayoga Studio – YogAlign

Pectus Excavatum, Scoliosis and Scheuermann’s Disease.

By Renee’ Fulkerson

I ask that you please consider the vulnerability that goes along with sharing a personal story like this and why I believe in The YogAlign Method. Thank you

Joaquin Fulkerson was born in December of 2003, a healthy, happy baby boy. Peter (my husband) and I were over the moon happy, as all new parents are. We did notice from birth Joaquin had a curve in his sacrum area between his gluteal muscles. But did not think much of it. The years passed by in our then mountain home of Big Bear Lake, California. Our family lead a very family-active lifestyle and owned and operated a backpacking outfitting store and yoga studio next door. Joaquin spent his first seven years of life hiking, skateboarding, rock climbing, skiing, downhill mountain biking, snowshoeing, BMX racing, snowboarding, zip-lining, slacklining, and of course leading groups with dad in the great outdoors or practicing in one of mom’s yoga classes. Joaquin was born and raised vegetarian, with perfect annual health exams was again the picture of health (not even a cavity to this day)

Fast forward to the end of 2011, when the Fulkerson tribe arrived on the island of Kauai. Whereas as a family, we continued to remain very physically active biking, hiking, swimming, golfing, boogie boarding, outrigger canoeing, snorkeling, surfing, and Joaquin continued his BMX racing on Oahu on the weekends. In 2017 Peter Joaquin’s dad started to notice Joaquin’s posture changing and not in a positive way. We both saw a curve in his spine and a very forward head carriage. Joaquin is of the generation of Screenagers. Meaning “his generation” is spending a great deal of time in front of a computer screen. With my anatomy knowledge, YogAlign training, and common sense, I assumed the postural issues were coming from the amount of time Joaquin spent sitting in a chair in front of his computer. Peter and I became the posture police and tried reminding him to change his bad posture habits and to shift his body when we saw him out of alignment. In 2018 Joaquin was scheduled to get his annual physical exam before starting school. I had alerted his primary care physician about our concerns with Joaquin’s posture, curve in his spine, and now what looked like a collapse in the left side of his chest.

That was the beginning of many Dr. visits on and off-island between Kauai and Oahu. On the day during Joaquin’s routine exam, he was diagnosed with Pectus Excavatum and sent for a spine x-ray for Scoliosis. Joaquin saw by both a pediatric surgeon and spine surgeon on Oahu. Where then, he was diagnosed with Scheuermann’s Disease of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine.

Joaquin had many forms of x rays on his chest and spine and the results being his spine is healthy regarding no cysts, tumors, or abnormalities for concern. He will continue to struggle with Scheuermann’s Disease of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine. His Scoliosis is still within the mild range. The Pectus Excavatum is a surgical procedure fix which we would like to avoid. That does not seem possible and, surgery is on the horizon.

Meanwhile, during this roller coaster ride, I consulted with my teacher and creator of YogAlign Michaelle Edwards here on Kauai. We together came up with a course of action plan for Joaquin. Joaquin’s first YogAlign session with Michaelle took place at her home studio on January 14, 2019. The session was two hours long, began with pictures of his posture, a breathing tool to help him get the fullness in his diaphragm, and a few specific YogAlign postures. Our goal was and still is to continue to shift his current alignment. He is fifteen, his body is pliable, and we want to start to wake up the left side of his pectus muscles, rewire his brain with new positive posture habits and create space in his short and tight front line. Joaquin has had three more YogAlign sessions with Michaelle. Once a month up to now including, before and after pictures. In between those YogAlign sessions with Michaelle, Joaquin and myself practiced YogAlign for one to two hours 4 times weekly with great enthusiasm (most of the time).

Fast forward to today May, 30 Th Joaquin and I continue to practice YogAlign four times a week (mostly). He is even willing to now participate in one of my public YogAlign classes. He has practiced the YogAlign method once on his own with the support of his dad. (proud mama moment) Joaquin has become very in tune with his anatomy and posture good, and poor, and how his body feels when it is in proper or poor alignment. Not to mention the self-confidence it has given him. He will always need to be very physically active and practice YogAlign to maintain a happy, healthy body able to do all of the things he enjoys in a life well into his senior years. I am proud of his commitment and grateful for the YogAlign Method. And Peter and I for being proactive in a challenging situation.

Joaquin will need in the near future to have the Nuss procedure to fix his Pectus Excavatum anything is possible – the proof is in the pictures (4 months of YogAlign practice).

Much love, respect, and gratitude for all the love and support now and as the journey continues.

Aloha