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.


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).


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 

The Best Way To Build Strength For Your Rock-Climbing Workout.

Hang on to this one.


Rock climbing basically screams mental and physical challenges. Not only do you need strong muscles from head to toe (your upper body gets a workout, as well as your core and legs), but it also requires a confidence and fearlessness to make it to the top.

Of course, you don’t have to pull an Alex Honnold and ascend sans ropes to gain the mind and body benefits of reaching a peak. Simply scrambling up an indoor rock wall will give you a massive sense of accomplishment.

“I always describe rock climbing as an ‘exercise in disguise,’” says Emily Varisco, ACE-certified personal trainer, head coach at The Cliffs Climbing and Fitness in New York City. “It truly is a full-body workout, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

And when she says full body workout, she means it—rock climbing works your forearms, biceps, triceps, deltoids, lats, traps, legs, and even your fingers. (Dang.) “Rock climbing is an especially great way to quickly build upper-body and core strength,” Varisco says. “And women tend to pick up the technical skills a bit more quickly because their center of gravity is lower and that can make for a pretty decent advantage in the sport.”

Whether you’re new to climbing, or want to up your game, Varisco curated a list of the best exercises to strengthen your arms, legs, back, and abs. Try ‘em out as a complement to climbing, and see how quickly you can scale that next obstacle that gets in your way to the top.

Do each of the moves below either after climbing or on off-the-rock days. “We do a lot of pulling in rock climbing, so when we cross-train, it’s important to work the opposite motions and antagonist muscles,” says Varisco. These moves will work the areas you need to climb higher, plus the opposing ones to keep you balanced as you go—all of which will help you reach peak performance.

1. Military Press

Important for… balancing out the pulls of climbing with presses overhead.

How to: Start standing, feet hip-width apart and knees not locked out. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, palms facing forward. Extend arms, pushing straight overhead until biceps are by ears. Slowly lower back down and repeat. Make sure your core is engaged and spine neutral. That’s one rep. Complete 8 to 12 reps.

2. Negative Pullup

Important for… strengthening the back of your upper body, which you need to lift yourself up.

How to: Set a bench or step under a pullup bar so you can reach it while standing. Grab the bar with both hands so that your chin is above it and elbows are out to your sides, pointed down toward the ground. Bend your knees slightly to hang, while keeping your pelvis tucked and core braced. Then, slowly lower down until your arms are straight. Keep your shoulders, lats, and abs engaged. Extend your legs to stand back on the bench or step and repeat. That’s one rep. Complete eight.

3. Dumbbell Chest Press

Important for… working the pecs—AKA the antagonist muscles of the upper body used for climbing.

How to: Lie down on your back with a 5 to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand. Straighten your arms and hold them over your chest. Make sure your wrists are in line with shoulders and palms face away from you. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, resting your triceps on the floor. That’s your starting position. Press up to extend both arms straight over your chest. Then, slowly lower the weights back down to start. That’s one rep. Complete 10 to 12. 

4. Dumbbell Front Raise To Lateral Raise

Important for… building shoulder strength.

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart and arms resting on your quads with a 5 to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand. Lift the weights up in front of you to shoulder height, palms facing down and elbows straight (but not locked out). Slowly lower back down resisting the urge to drop your arms. Next, lift the dumbbells out to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor, palms facing down and elbows straight. Lower them back down to your sides. That’s one rep. Continue alternating slowing between both exercises without letting your shoulders creep up by your ears as you move. Keep your core tight and back straight, too. Complete 12 to 15.

5. Goblet Squat

Important for… glute and core strength.

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, holding one kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands at your chest. Lower in to a squat by sending your hips down and back while keeping your chest up. Press through the heels and squeeze the glutes to stand back up. That’s one rep. Complete 12 to 15.

Want another full-body workout? Try this quick routine: 

6. Wide Grip Lateral Pull-Down

Important for… strengthening the lats, a main muscle used in climbing.

How to: Use a cable machine with a long bar attachment for this exercise. Sit down at the machine and grip the bar overhead with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing away from you. Lean back about 30 degrees and maintain a tall posture. Draw the shoulders and upper arms down and back to pull the bar to your chest. Straighten the arms back out. That’s one rep. Complete 12 to 15.

7. Leg lower

Important for… learning to use your core to drive your legs up.

How to: Lie on your back with your hands by your side and feet extended straight up in the air at hip height. Slowly lower your legs as far down as you can without your lower back lifting off the ground. Return to start. That’s one rep. Complete as many reps as possible in 50 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

8. Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Important for… strength in the back of the arms.

How to: Lie down on a flat bench on your back, with a dumbbell in each hand, held over your chest, arms extended but not locked out. Make sure wrists are in line with shoulders and palms face each other. Keep your shoulders stationary as you bend the elbows to 90 degrees and bring the weights toward your face, in line with your ears. Your elbows should stay in line with your shoulders the entire time. Reverse the movement by straightening your arms back out. That’s one rep. Complete 15.

9. Kettlebell Swing

Important for… explosive power, plus strength in the quads, glutes, and core.

How to: Start standing with feet a little more than hip-width apart and a kettlebell in front of you on the ground. Bend over and grab the weight with both hands while engaging your lats and keeping your back flat. Lift the kettlebell and swing it between your legs, maintaining a neutral spine and just a slight bend in the knees. Then, drive your hips forward and press through your feet as you raise the kettlebell to chest height with straight arms. Use your hips and glutes to drive the movement, squeezing your butt and tucking your pelvis at the top. Let the kettlebell guide you back down in to a deadlift-like position (flat back, hinged hips) until it’s between your legs again. That’s one rep. Complete 12 to 15. 

10. Plank Pulls

Important for… core stabilization.

How to: Attach a resistance band to a stationary object like a pole or heavy weight and hold the other end with your right hand or place it around your wrist. Then, get in to a high-plank position, shoulders right over the wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Lift your right arm, palm facing down. This is your starting position. Pull the band with your right arm, aiming to bring your elbow in line with your waist. Keep your spine straight and hips square to the ground. Straighten your arm back out. That’s one rep. Complete 10 to 12 on each side. 

11. Superman

Important for… strengthening your low back and posterior chain—a muscle group crucial to climbing, especially at steeper angles.

How to: Lie on your stomach, and extend your arms in front of you and legs behind you. Keep your palms facing down. Lift your legs and arms at the same time, hold, and release. Complete for 50 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

10 Tips for Starting Yoga at 50+

by Amber Burke & Bill Reif

Medical practitioners and health-focused websites are increasingly recommending yoga to those of middle age and up, perhaps because yoga can help make you more flexible and mobile, improve your balance, reduce age-related changes in gait, increase your energy, reduce chronic pain and addictive behavior, decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes, alleviate depression and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and even slow the effects of aging on a cellular level.

Older adults seem to be listening. According to one large survey, those 50 and up constitute 38 percent of all practicing yogis, making them the second largest group of practitioners (after those 30-49). If you are considering joining this number, it’s important to consider how best to approach a new yoga practice at and after middle age.

Although no single type of practice will ever be appropriate for everyone in any demographic, a yoga practice for those 50 and up is one that understands and works with the differences between younger bodies and older bodies, rather than one that pretends those differences do not exist.

In particular, a safety-focused approach to yoga may be especially valuable for older practitioners, who seem to run a higher risk of in-class injury than their younger counterparts. Yoga, like all forms of exercise, can both cause and exacerbate injuries, and while the rate of yoga injuries for all demographics rose between 2001 and 2014, injuries were most frequent among those 65 and up (57.9 injuries/100,000 practitioners), followed by those 45 and up (17.7/100,000). This may result from the way normal, age-related changes and preexisting wear and tear on our bodies interact with a yoga practice.

Although all bodies are different, in general, our bodies become less resilient as we age. To varying degrees, we experience decreases in muscle strength, connective tissue elasticity, and bone density, the combination of which may make us more vulnerable to injury than our younger counterparts. Older adults may also find that their injuries don’t heal as quickly as they did a decade or two ago.

By the time we reach middle age, it’s also likely that we bring to yoga conditions or injuries—diagnosed or undiagnosed—that affect our practice and can make injury more likely. Kyphosis, frozen shoulder, osteoporosis, and back pain (discussed further here) are among the common conditions experienced by older adults that may necessitate changes in our yoga practice.

Fortunately, by making careful decisions about what type of yoga to practice, and how to practice it, we can decrease the odds of injury. While much of the advice below applies to yoga practitioners of all ages and levels, it is especially crucial for those starting yoga at or after age 50, when safety must take center stage.

1. Seek out the type of yoga class that’s right for you.

There are many types of yoga. A high-intensity practice like ashtanga, vinyasa, or power yoga (in which students often “flow” quickly through poses) usually requires the hands to bear weight. These practices may work for some beginning practitioners, especially those who are athletic and free from competitive urges, and who can easily make adaptations within a group class when needed.

But if you are newer to exercise and/or working with injuries or pre- existing conditions (especially of the shoulders, elbows, or wrists), the fast pace of a vinyasa or power yoga class and the emphasis on weight-bearing with the hands may not suit you. Instead, you might consider choosing a class that moves slowly and focuses on alignment. Hatha classes, Iyengar classes, classes geared specifically toward older adults or billed as “alignment-focused,” and introductory, basic, or foundational classes could all be appropriate. Kundalini classes, which often emphasize seated poses, chanting, and working with the breath, may also be beneficial. Yin yoga and restorative yoga (both floor-based practices emphasizing long holds), and chair yoga, in which many poses are practiced with the help of a chair, are of value to many practitioners, but may be especially valuable for older students who are newer to exercise, find balancing to be a challenge, or have difficulty coming down to and up from the floor.

Teachers of all of these different styles are often happy to teach you privately. A private yoga session is considerably more expensive than a group class, but often far less expensive than an appointment with a physical therapist or doctor.

During one-on-one sessions, a teacher can check your form and help you make adjustments to poses that haven’t been feeling quite right, or about which you may be uncertain.

Yoga International and other yoga sites will give you many of the tools you need to be your own teacher and embark on a home practice. There, you’ll find online yoga videos that offer classes for a variety of different levels that you can practice at your convenience. However, even those who prefer practicing at home often find participating in group classes helpful—both for the instruction from a “live” teacher, and the encouragement from a community of other students.

2. Find the right teacher for you.

Even within each type of yoga mentioned above, classes often vary tremendously depending on the instructor. Some say there are as many styles of yoga as there are yoga teachers. For instance, some vinyasa teachers may move slowly, while some hatha teachers pick up the pace. Shop around. Try different teachers. It is not necessarily important that your teacher be the same age as you, but it is important that younger teachers know how to work with students older than themselves.

Go to class early enough to talk to the instructor, or visit with the studio manager to inquire about various teachers’ styles. Ask about their philosophy and goals. Consider steering clear of teachers who think all poses are uniformly attainable and beneficial for all bodies. Instead, seek out a teacher who seems to care about any needs and pre-existing injuries or conditions you might have, and is interested in making your practice productive for you.
Find someone who gives careful instruction, teaches poses that seem valuable and possible, and who offers directions you can easily interpret. Above all, look for a teacher whose emphasis is not on the “what” but the “how”—a teacher who is more interested in teaching students how to move safely and with awareness, than in achieving a particular pose.

3. Be clear about your goals.

If, instead of accomplishment—like achieving handstand or lotus pose, you see the goal of your yoga practice as improved physical and mental well-being, the poses themselves become less important, a means rather than an end. You will then be less inclined to do anything in the short term that puts you at risk for injury, which would interfere with your long-term goal.

Yoga’s benefits for your well-being do not hinge on the attainment of particularly adventurous or dramatic poses, keeping pace with the person next to you, or practicing a pose just the way your teacher does. Rather, the benefits derive from a consistent and mindful practice of poses that challenge your range of motion and strength to a sustainable degree.

4. If you have any injuries or pre-existing conditions, tell your teacher about them, and share any advice you’ve received from your doctor.

A discussion with your teachers regarding any injuries and conditions you may have is essential, so that they avoid encouraging you to make movements that are risky for you. Sometimes, your teachers can help you modify potentially problematic poses or suggest alternatives. Even if you aren’t seeking advice (because you know exactly which changes you’ll make to your practice to keep yourself safe), it’s also important to communicate with your teachers to avoid hands-on adjustments that could place pressure on a place of injury or vulnerability.

Past injuries and surgeries matter, too, since the area of a previous injury is often the area that’s most likely to be injured again.

Any information your doctor has given you about which movements to do and which not to do can be invaluable to your yoga teacher. Though many experienced teachers will know how to work with practitioners who have certain common injuries and conditions, it’s simply not possible for them to know the particulars of every diagnosis. So if, for example, your doctor has given you instructions not to twist or forward-fold, pass that information on.

5. Take charge of your own well-being throughout your practice.
It can be tempting to assume that whatever poses the teacher suggests will be a good idea for you, especially if you’ve communicated with them about any injuries or conditions you have.

But it’s important not to surrender responsibility for either your own safety or your own good judgment. Sometimes classes are so large that teachers don’t feel they can attend to the particular needs of any one individual. Sometimes your teachers may not know how best to accommodate your needs.

But perhaps most critically, there will be times when only you will know what your needs are. For instance, only you can know when you are on the verge of losing your balance in a standing balance pose. But since, according to one study, falls from standing height are the most common cause of injuries in older athletes, it’s critical that you don’t wait for the teacher’s invitation: Exit the pose before your shaking destabilizes you.

Continually register what you are doing and how it feels. Stay attuned to warning signs like tingling, numbness, lightheadedness, and, of course, pain. These are cues telling you that it’s time to come out of a pose.

6. Move Slowly.

Moving slowly from pose to pose gives you time to both get your footing and to notice sensations in your body. And if you’re not in a rush during transitions, it may be easier to stay mindful of your alignment, as well as of any advice your yoga teacher or your doctor may have given you.

Slow movement can also help build strength. Slow doesn’t mean easy—quite the opposite. Try taking a few steps as slowly as possible. You’ll likely feel that moving slower requires more control and effort, rather than less. Moving slowly can also require mental strength to stick with the challenges it presents, as well as to keep a slow pace even when others are moving faster.

7. Give yourself permission to skip and alter poses as necessary.

Respect your feelings of hesitation. If you look at a pose and think, That looks like a bad idea, don’t do it.

Err on the side of caution. Take all directions as suggestions rather than mandates, and do only the poses you can do without strain and while breathing deep, comfortable breaths. Whenever you wish, take a break in child’s pose or any seated pose that is comfortable for you.

Often, there may be another way of approaching a pose to make it more accessible. Ask for help from the teacher in creating another version of the pose, perhaps using props. Having a wall to touch or lean against can help you with balance, and blocks or straps can arrest the depth to which you go in a pose, lessening strain and lowering the probability of injury.

8. Pay attention to how you feel, both after practice and the next day.

It’s important to take into account how you feel, not only during but also after your practice. Do you feel nothing at all? Do you feel you exerted yourself in a productive way? Maybe you’re sore in a “good way”?

Do you have a lightness in your step and a buoyancy in your mood? Or do you feel exhausted? Or maybe you even feel new pain somewhere?

If you feel nothing at all after the class you took, you might consider upping the intensity of your practice. If you feel absolutely exhausted or in pain, you may conclude that you did a little too much, and tone things down next time.

9. Give up comparisons.

You may or may not have something in common with the person practicing vigorously next to you. Do not expect your poses to look exactly the same way that other students’ poses look. Besides, impressive as some of those demonstrations may be, you don’t know what is going on inside any of those other bodies. For all you know, those yogis have rotator cuff tears, repetitive motion injuries, or pain they are ignoring (and perhaps exacerbating by practicing that seemingly advanced pose). Who knows, some of them may have managed to get into their pose only by compromising their alignment or stability in some way. They may even be holding their breath!

Trust that the more advanced student is one who recognizes their own limitations, and practices the version of a pose that is appropriate for their body while maintaining their personal optimal alignment and breathing deeply. Be that student.

It may also be tempting to compare yourself with the person you were twenty years ago, who could have done the suggested adventurous pose with abandon. You can no longer do anything to help or hinder the person you used to be, but your actions today will have a direct impact on the person you will be tomorrow. Do your future self a service by respecting your limits as they are today.

10. Men: Patience and persistence will pay off.

Researchers have long-noted that women tend to be more flexible than men, a gender gap that is slight in preadolescence but increases toward seniority (when older women maintain greater range of motion in many joints than older men do). This difference may be due to a combination of muscle size, tendon elasticity, hormones, and the kinds of activities that men or women are more likely to engage in.

The fact that aging-related declines in flexibility appear to be joint-specific, with, for instance, the shoulder and trunk experiencing greater losses in range of motion than the elbows and knees, indicates that habitual joint usage patterns play a role in these losses.
Statistically, men tend to participate in more vigorous physical activities than women, do more strength-training activities, and play sports twice as much (or more) than women do. But muscle bulk, the wear-and-tear of repetitive movements, and the scar tissue that results from injuries may contribute to losses in flexibility.

Men’s comparative inflexibility is not a reason for them not to do yoga; rather, it makes yoga even more important. And the good news is that, when embarking on a program of stretching, men seem to make gains in range of motion at a similar rate to that of their female counterparts.

However, it’s important that they take things more slowly than they might be inclined to, and that they don’t expect themselves to be able to do everything their female neighbors in class are doing—at least not right away.


What all these tips encourage is viveka: a Sanskrit term for the prized quality of discernment and discrimination. Although certain physical aspects of yoga may be more challenging as we age, discernment may also be easier to come by.

At middle age and beyond, we may have an easier time discerning our goals, the kind of practices and teachers that are right for us, and the speed at which we may safely proceed. We may be able to better discriminate between the poses and movements that are of benefit to us and those we would be better off skipping, between what is right for another and what is right for us, and even between what was right for us 20 years ago and what is right for us now.

If we apply this earned wisdom to our yoga practices, it will not only help to keep us safe, but it will also serve as a signal to others.

Every time we stay in a less extreme version of a pose, or take a break when we need it, we model to younger, more ambitious practitioners a kinder way of practicing. We tell another story about what yoga can be. Through the self-awareness and self-care that infuses our actions—and at times our inaction—we become arrows that point inward instead of outward.

When flexibility becomes a liability: The downside of being super bendy.

By Cassie White for Life Matters

Have you ever had a friend whose party trick is to bend their thumb to their wrist, or contort a limb into a position that’s just wrong (and a bit gross)?

Well, I’ve always been that person.

Most of my life I’ve been told I’m “double jointed”, without even knowing what that meant, other than that I’m really flexible.

Turns out, there’s a clinical definition for being too flexible — generalised joint hypermobility (GJH). So much clearer, right?

Hypermobility is both a genetic and acquired condition that affects the body’s connective tissue, making it much more elastic than it should be.

This can be a problem because connective tissue is the stuff that holds us together.

It’s in your organs, skin, muscles, blood vessels – pretty much everywhere. And it surrounds your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments.

Loose limbs and injuries

When connective tissue has too much elasticity, you’re at risk of injury because you need more control around your joints.

“You’re constantly going further than what’s considered the normal end range of a joint,” explains Dr Verity Pacey, a physiotherapist and expert in GJH from Macquarie University and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

This puts a lot of strain on your tendons, which attach muscles to bones, and your ligaments, which connect bones to each other at the joint.

By repeatedly pushing past “normal” range, you’re getting micro traumas, which can lead to more serious injury, such as joint dislocation, ligament strains and tears, or tendon inflammation.

There’s flexible and there’s flexible

So the hyperflexible among us move far too much in our knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and ankles. We also tend to get joint pain, when our stretch-fests have gone out of hand.

One of the issues with GJH is that most people have no idea that they are too flexible.

It can be seen as a positive when it comes to certain activities – such as yoga, dancing and gymnastics. All that stretching feels really good.

It’s not until we’re injured and see a physiotherapist that we realise what’s going on.

“There are plenty of people who don’t show symptoms . . . and you may be drawn to a sport because of your flexibility,” Dr Pacey says.

It’s worth pointing out, there’s a difference between GJH and hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which is much more serious.

Those with EDS often live with severe joint and muscle pain, have loose skin that bruises easily, suffer extreme fatigue, and are at risk of prolapses and hernias.

A cautionary tale

Yoga is my sport of choice and after a decade of stretching my limbs into “enviable” depths, I’ve been left with shoulder and hip issues that mean I am spending far too much time on rehabilitation.

Over the years I kept stretching myself further, until my already loose connective tissue probably resembled an old elastic band.

It wasn’t until I became a personal trainer that I understood that hanging out on my joints was bad. Like most people, I thought my flexibility was cool. Now I see it as the karmic debt I’m repaying in this lifetime.

It’s hard to know how many people have GJH because the criteria are so broad, explains Associate Professor Leslie Nicholson, leader of the Hypermobility and Performance Lab at the University of Sydney.

“There are figures at between 4 and 30 per cent of the population,” she says.

Experts say it’s hard pinpoint the cause of hypermobility, except that it’s genetic and can be acquired. For example, ballet dancers who train themselves to become hypermobile.

Feedback system broken

So what’s the solution to elastic-band limbs? Strengthening the muscles that surround the joints.

It won’t stop you being hypermobile, but it can help control joint movement and reduce the risk of injury.

The frustrating part for the super flexible is that when they’re strength training, they’re constantly told to stop at “normal” range of motion. Often they don’t know what that feels like.

“Ligaments, tendons and joint capsules have nerve endings that provide information on where you are in space and how much muscle activation is needed to control your joints,” explains physiotherapist Nigel Morgan.

“But when they’re chronically stretched over time, that feedback system is impaired, so your nervous system gradually receives less information. This makes it harder for you to control your movements.”

Which is why people with generalised hypermobility shouldn’t try to stop within ‘normal’ range.

“You can’t really stop yourself going into that range especially when you are fatigued, so it’s far better to learn control and strengthen your muscles in that excess range,” Associate Professor Nicholson explains.

By doing that, you’ll be training proprioception – your ability to sense the relative positions of your body parts – and improving the nervous system’s feedback system, so you get better at controlling your joints.

Which means, in a dream world, that a ballet dancer who’s super flexible will also have strength and control while doing insane things with their body.

Stay in the game for longer

In general, otherwise healthy people who have hypermobile joints can benefit from lifting weights several times a week.

The muscles you need to strengthen will depend on where you’re too mobile, but building the major muscles that surround your joints is key, especially if it’s your weight-bearing postural joints like hips, knees, shoulders and back.

Not only that, we need to learn to co-ordinate the muscles so they work in sync when moving our bones. Easier said than done.

“All muscles have a certain length where they’re at their most efficient and that’s based on typical range of motion,” Dr Pacey says.

“But when you’re hypermobile, your muscles are at a disadvantage. So when you need them most, they’re at a less-efficient position.”

Inner Breath Yoga Presents Yogalign Thursday & Friday May 17th & 18th at Big Bear Yoga in Big Bear Lake, California

Aloha Inner Breath Yoga~YogAlign Class Pain-Free Yoga From Your Inner Core With Renee’ Fulkerson E-RYT 200| RYT 500 Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider | 909-747-4186

When: Thursday May 17th/ Friday May 18th
Time: 6:00pm to 7:45pm On Both Days
Investment: $15 In Advanced $20 Day of Per Person / Per Class Location: Big Bear Yoga 909-584-5270
421 W. Big Bear Blvd. Big Bear City, Ca. 92314

What to Expect
• Breathing from the diaphragm with Core SIP Breath
• Postures supporting natural spine alignment
• Re-setting the tension in the body
• Creating space in the body with self-massage
• Stillness a time to feel the effects of your practice
• Use of yoga props blocks, blankets and straps

YogAlign is Simply the Art of Being in Your Structure and Breath. What differentiates YogAlign from other practices is its focus on rewiring of real-life movement patterning, rather that confusing the body with poses that do not necessarily stimulate real-life function or movement. The basis of the YogAlign practice is to create and maintain posture in natural alignment and therefore the emphasis in on posture, not the poses. Imagine the Possibilities in a body you can trust.

Benefits of Good Posture
Improves and allows for more efficient breathing
Eliminates/ reduces risks of back and neck pain
Improves concentration and mental performance
Feel better, improves mood & boost’s energy
Reduces risk of injury (present and future)
Lifts confidence with improved bodily alignment
Showing up to YogAlign practice will allow you the time and space to get to know and support your bodies authentic needs and enjoy the benefits of good posture.

4 Rules for Exercising with Osteoporosis

By Linda Melone

Here’s what you should—and shouldn’t—do to keep bones strong and avoid fractures.

If you have osteoporosis, you may worry that being active means you’re more likely to fall and break a bone. But the opposite is true. Regular exercise with a properly designed program can help prevent falls and fractures. That’s because exercise strengthens bones and muscles, and improves balance, coordination, and flexibility—all key for people with osteoporosis.

The problem is that guidelines for exercising with osteoporosis are not crystal clear. In general, “you want to do exercises that improve or maintain bone density in the way of strength or resistance training and also include impact-style aerobic exercise,” says Karen Kemmis, D.P.T., an expert for the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

But how much impact is safe? And should certain exercises always be avoided?

The answers to these common questions depend on your history of fractures and the severity of your osteoporosis, Kemmis says. “If somebody has had a fracture with no trauma or low trauma, meaning there wasn’t an obvious incident to cause it, then we have to be careful and stick with low- to no-impact exercise,” she says. (See the eight best low-impact workouts for older adults.)

On the other hand, someone who does not have severe osteoporosis and has no history of fractures or other injuries can do higher-intensity exercise. “But that doesn’t mean power lifting,” Kemmis says. It means things like brisk walking or dancing.

If you’re not sure about the severity of your osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about a bone mineral density scan or revisit the results if you’ve already had one. This test scans the most common sites of bone loss, most notably hips and spine. “We look at four segments of the lumbar spine,” Kemmis says, referring to the lower back. “It’s the only part of the spine we can assess because the ribs get in the way of the test, but we assume what’s going on with this part of the spine is also going on with the rest of the spine.”

The type of bone in the spine also tends to change more quickly with age, so osteoporosis may show up there first. “Interestingly, arthritis of the spine can give a false reading on a scan, since a bone spur from arthritis may appear as a denser part of the bone but doesn’t mean the bone is actually stronger,” Kemmis says. So be sure to notify your doctor if you have arthritis to confirm an accurate reading.

How to Choose the Right Form of Exercise

Exercising with osteoporosis means finding the safest, most enjoyable activities for you given your overall health and amount of bone loss. There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription, which is why it’s important to check with your doctor or physical therapist before you start a new workout program. That said, here are some general guidelines to follow when exercising with osteoporosis.

And if you haven’t yet, be sure to check your eligibility for free access to gyms and exercise classes nationwide through SilverSneakers. Check your eligibility and find locations here.

1. Strengthen Your Muscles

Strengthening your muscles can slow the bone loss that happens with osteoporosis and may help prevent fall-related fractures. Your workouts should revolve around functional movements, like squats, lunges, and pushups, and may incorporate free weights, exercise bands, machines, or just your own body’s weight as resistance.

Kemmis recommends lifting in a range of eight to 12 reps and making proper form your top priority. “Using even light weights with poor posture can be dangerous for someone with osteoporosis,” she says. If the back is curved in a flexed posture while a weight is lifted, it can put strain in the vertebrae, which could result in a compression fracture. If you have perfect posture, you can tolerate much more.

“The challenge is you often don’t know you’re injured until it’s too late,” Kemmis says. “Good posture, proper body mechanics, and keeping a neutral spine and not bending forward are most important.” If you’re not sure you should do a certain exercise, don’t. “You’re better to be safe than sorry.”

If you’re new to strength training, click here for everything you need to know to get—and stay—strong through the years.

2. Use as Much Impact as You Can Tolerate

This rule applies to weight-bearing aerobic activities, which involve doing aerobic exercise on your feet, with your bones supporting your weight. These types of exercise work directly on the bones in your legs, hips, and lower spine to slow mineral loss. They also provide cardiovascular benefits, which boost heart and circulatory system health.

Weight-bearing aerobic exercise is an important element of your overall routine, but it’s up to you to select the appropriate amount of impact based on your health care team’s recommendations and your comfort level.

Depending on the degree of osteoporosis and baseline activity level, you might start out with low-impact exercise, like using an elliptical, says David Geier, M.D., a sports medicine physician and orthopedic surgeon in Charleston, South Carolina. “Then you can advance to higher levels of impact, like jogging, hiking, stair climbing, or aerobics classes.”

While swimming and cycling have many benefits, they don’t provide the weight-bearing load your bones need to slow mineral loss. However, if you enjoy these activities, do them. Just be sure to also add weight-bearing activity as you’re able.

Another tip: To spread the stress and impact to different parts of the body, Dr. Geier recommends cross training, or doing different types of exercises in any given week. For example, you could do the elliptical on Monday, resistance exercises on Tuesday, swimming on Wednesday, and so on.

“And always stop if pain develops and get checked out by a doctor,” Dr. Geier adds.

3. Allow Your Body Enough Time to Heal

Jogging or doing any high-impact exercise daily or nearly every day may not allow your body enough time to heal, Dr. Geier says. “You already have decreased bone density, so the repetitive stress without enough time to heal the microscopic bone damage could build up and lead to a stress fracture,” he says.

Allow at least one full day between high-impact exercise, and gradually increase the number of workouts you do each week. Again, cross training by mixing in different types of workouts helps reduce the risk of fracture.

4. Avoid Forward Bends and Twists

Yoga and Pilates are helpful for stretching and lengthening, but they also include forward-bending and twisting movements that can strain the spine. Any movement involving extreme spinal flexion, or forward bend, creates compression between the vertebrae and can trigger a “cascade of fractures,” Kemmis says. “Hinging forward at the hips is different than rounding your back and compressing the spine, which is more dangerous.”

You’ll want to avoid yoga or Pilates movements that involve bending forward or rotating the trunk:

  • Rollup, rollover, or rolling like a ball
  • Teaser or open leg rocker
  • Corkscrew or bicycle
  • Spine twist or any deep twists
  • Pigeon pose or deep hip stretches
  • Assisted stretching from teachers to increase range of motion

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite classes. Exercises like planks, spinal extensions (cobra pose), and balance moves (tree pose) can be safe and help improve strength. Be sure to arrive a few minutes early to talk to your instructor about your limitations. He or she will be able to provide recommendations or modifications to keep you safe—while still getting a great workout.

Upper Body Strength


Strength is one of those words that gets people’s attention particularly if they feel they lack it. There is no denying that being strong feels good. More than that though, mobilizing our upper bodies sets us on a path to improving breast health, better bone density and enhanced breathing. Who doesn’t want that? Upper body strength in particular is a concern for many people, but for women in particular. If the question is how to achieve it, the answer invariably seems to be, “I need to go to the gym and lift some weights.”

Lifting weights with an upper body that has been mostly sedentary for years will only reinforce your current shape. If we are not using our upper body in a variety of ways, we are adapting to that lack of use and when we do go to lift something heavy or reach up for something high, we wonder why we struggle to do it or why it hurts.

We tend not to use our arms very much other than in very small motions. How many times a day do you lift your arms above shoulder height or carry something heavy? Upper body tone keeps the joints of your shoulders, elbows and wrists stable. Optimal tension in this area keeps the upper spine upright. There is huge potential for movement in the upper body but for most of us, our arms and much of our shoulders spend most of the time out in front of us. This limited use sets the tensions, our range of motion decreases adapting to what we do most frequently and before we know it, we have frozen shoulder, neck issues and not a great deal of range in this area.

So if upon reviewing how much you move your upper body on a day-to-day basis and you find the answer is, not very much; it’s important to start by mobilizing underused tissues. Our modern lifestyles are not going to give us the movement these body parts require anytime soon so some restorative work is necessary to begin to mobilize the area and develop strength once we’ve identified what’s stuck.

So where to start?

Day to-day:
• Each time you go to walk through a doorway, raise your arms above your head. Notice if your rib cage wants to travel with your arms. Can you get your arms up without taking your rib cage with you. Your arms might not go so high.
• Put some of the stuff you use in the kitchen most frequently at a higher level so you have to reach for it. Notice how we make everything as convenient as possible, missing out on movement our bodies require.
• Get down on the floor on all fours and get up again. Do this several times a day.

Here is a move to begin to wake up the sleeping parts! It will help you to unstick your upper middle spine, mobilize your shoulder blades and get some blood flowing into the area.

Rhomboid Pushup

Start on your hands and knees. Let your knees and wrists fall directly under your hips and shoulders.

Keep your arms straight and your elbows pointing behind you.

Let your head hang and your pelvis and belly relax towards the floor.

Slowly allow your torso to move towards the floor. Your arms should stay straight and not change position. This will allow your shoulder blades to come together.

Then press into the floor with your hands and move the entire spine up towards the ceiling. Your shoulder blades will slide away from each other. Don’t round your upper back or tuck your pelvis. Try to isolate the movement to your shoulder blades.

Your spinal column maintains its original curve as it moves towards and away from the floor. Not to be confused with the cat/cow exercise.

Repeat 5 times and slowly increase the repetitions. Do them EVERYDAY.