Hi there! It's beetee. Do I sound Republican in my Yoga Quick Dives? A lot of my YQD recipients complained that my emails go straight into their spam folder. Then I discovered last week that, apparently, Google has been using algorithms that unfairly target conservative content across its services: Gmail has been filtering more Republican campaign emails to spam! Half of my recipient emails end with gmail.com, and who knows how many of the rest are actually a G-Suite or Gmail related account. Or it could just be that we have not previously engaged via a YQD email thread. Either way, I'm definitely not Republican, and please make sure I don't end up in your messy Spam folder. Simply click that "Not Spam" button, or drag my email from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab, or just reply to say hi, and I will gloriously be in your Inbox next time🙏😘
This week's quick dive: Yoga For The Hips, An Airy Factor to Mental Wellbeing and A New 'Healthy' Office Design.
Yoga For The Hips
You know it: if you have tight hips, you come to yoga, and you feel great afterwards! Hip opening is by far the most demanded theme from my students. In our modern-day, sedentary lifestyle, the hips get so tight from sitting all day and doing zero core strengthening. Yet maintaining healthy hips are so important, since they are constantly moving and adjusting so that we are balanced and stable. Your whole torso perches atop just the two balls of your femurs (thigh bones). The hips' mobility directly affects the function of your knees, lower back and shoulders as well.
A lot of yoga poses make your hips feel juicily open, your hip flexors abundantly stretched, such as lunges, warrior or pigeon poses. The hips' main purpose is to support us and keep us moving, not to look pretty in a crazy yoga pose. Extreme yoga postures beyond conditioned range of motion could actually hurt you. A hip joint that is constantly being thrown into extremes ends up damaging the cartilage, or the cushiony surface that lines our joints. Eventually, this cartilage becomes inflamed or irritated, and we start feeling pain. Joint inflammation and arthritis, if it goes unchecked, can eventually become severe and then possibly progress further to a hip replacement.
So how do we make sure your hips become or remain healthy?
Always perform dynamic warm-ups for the hips. Small, controlled dynamic movements that constantly send sensory information to the cortex are the best way to activate the muscular chains and avoid injuries. As the brain receives a lot of feedback, it will pay more attention and you are much less likely to get injured. I have a whole range of hip warm-ups suitable for specific types of yoga or movement exercises that you practice. Just shout out!
Practice with moderation. Become aware of extreme ranges. Since our bodies are all different, nobody can tell you where your safe limit should be; you have the responsibility of listening to your body to determine how far you should go, not just in yoga but also in all daily activities.
Practice safely, always.
An Airy Factor to Mental Wellbeing
Let's address the elephant in the yoga room. A dear friend of mine always refused to join my yoga class despite multiple invitations, encouragements, free class tickets, corruptions and what not. The main reason, he feared, is... an airy factor: his gassiness during a yoga class and the risk of being embarrassed. (I know you're secretly thinking right now: is she talking about me???)
It turns out, studies show, everyone is gassy one way or another. The most common gas-related symptoms was flatulence at 81%, followed by rumbling stomach (60%), belching (58%), and bloating (38%). But what is more relevant to me is that researchers found correlations (not necessarily causation) between gas-related symptoms and depression, anxiety, stress, and poorer quality of life. The more symptoms you have, the worse your mental is.
Why? A Stanford University research team found that even short-term digestive problems can lead to mental health issues. The team observed rats aged 8-10 weeks suffering from upset stomachs and found that they were more likely to be depressed and anxious than rats without the same symptoms.
But if gassiness negatively affects your mental wellbeing, then all the more reason you should do yoga, which is well known to have a positive effect on your mental health. If this argument is not convincing enough, maybe the illustration below makes you feel a bit more reassured:
Anything above the Earth and below the Sun is Life. Hopefully something useful to you, or at least something that will bring a smile to your face. 😊
A New 'Healthy' Office Design
I recently have super tight neck & shoulders. My friends to whom I complained about this were so surprised. What? You have neck and shoulder pain? But you're a yoga teacher! Are you telling me yoga doesn't work???
The fact is, being a yoga teacher with double-digit yoga classes per week, I always feel some mild pain somewhere in my body. If it's not the lower back, then it could very much be the shoulders, the glutes or the arms. If one day I don't feel any pain at all in my body, I would question my own existence. Lately, I suspect the new neck & shoulders pain come from my screen hours on the laptop and the phone. It could also be an accumulation of things. But either way, it's a question I have been constantly ponder: As human, nowadays, we are constantly sitting at a desk, holding our bigger-and-bigger phones. How do we maintain a healthy office posture?
Well, this guy has an answer. Forget about standing desk, so 2019. If sitting is bad, with this new office design, you can lie down all day and still get all that work done!
While we're here, please let me be a little preachy (again) and remind you that there is no such thing as absolute bad postures. Whether a posture is good or bad depends on your personal body type, proportion, orientation, and your movement background (i.e. whether you're sitting most of the time, or on your feet all day). A bad posture is actually one that is held for too long, say, more than 20 minutes at a time. Thinking back, for million of years, our human DNA was designed and evolved to accommodate a hunter/gatherer lifestyle that constantly move the body. So if you can, move around. Sit at your desk for 20 minutes, then get up, walk around or do some stretches for 2 minutes. From time to time, change from a sitting desk to a standing desk or lying-down or sitting-on-the floor desk (use your yoga mat!). Stay strong, stretchy & healthy, always.
Thanks for reading! But don't leave just yet!
Ask me TWO questions or leave me TWO comments below. I'd love to hear from you.
Until then, take a deep breath and keep your worries away!
Yoga Quick Dive is a series of bimonthly newsletters that should take no more than 5 minutes of your reading time. Let's deep dive quickly into 3 topics: Body, Mind and Life.