• Yogliosis: How to Fight Scoliosis Pain with Yoga

    So maybe “yogliosos” isn’t a thing—but it should be! If you or someone you love suffers from the pain of a laterally curved spine, known as scoliosis, then you need to know the wonders that yoga can do.

    It’s not so much about the spiritual elements of yoga, but about the deep stretching that its poses foster. Yoga builds the core abdominal muscles, which, when engaged, take pressure off your back muscles. Once your back isn’t doing so much work all the time, it relaxes, including the muscles surrounding the part of your spine that’s crooked.

    You see, when the spine curves where it’s supposed to be straight, muscles on either side are strained. When muscles strain, they pinch nerves. Pinched nerves send pain signals to the brain, resulting in discomfort—for some, chronic discomfort. Check out these three essential yoga poses to relax those muscles and unpinch those nerves.

    Triangle Pose

    Although this probably isn’t the easiest pose to begin with if you’ve never done yoga before, it is one of the best positions or stretches for scoliosis for a couple of reasons. One, the twist and lift of your upper body in the pose decompresses the ribs on one side of the scoliosis curve and reigns in the ribs on the other side. This is important because with a lateral curve, one side of the spine and rib cage is pulling the other out of alignment.

    And two, triangle pose strengthens the obliques, which promotes good posture and in turn stronger abdominal muscles. For instructions and images for completing a proper triangle pose, check out this detailed post .

    Mountain Pose

    Possibly the easiest pose to achieve in yoga (though not the easiest to maintain!), mountain pose looks simple but does a lot of great things. Although someone in mountain pose looks like they are just standing on a mat, the upward lift of the body and straightness of the spine engage the back and abdominal muscles, creating a very strong core. It also promotes better balance and posture. For instructions on how to complete and maintain mountain pose, see these 11 steps .

    Locust Pose

    Although certainly not the final pose you can do for scoliosis pain relief (there’s a lot more out there), locust pose helps engage the hamstrings and what is known as the erector spinae, or the group of muscles that run the length of your spine. These muscles are important for posture, making locust pose perfect for core building. It is essentially a mild backbend, one where you lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs until your body shape resembles a locust, or grasshopper. Visit these instructions for how to do locust pose properly.

    How do you treat scoliosis?

    Treating scoliosis doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. If you’ve been discouraged by the gloomy prophecies of doctors, take heart with the news that yoga’s strengthening poses can bring relief. If you want more options, check out this post with poses selected by Elise Browning Miller, a scoliosis sufferer and the founder of California Yoga Center.

    Do you know of other treatments for scoliosis besides yoga or in place of medications? If so, we want to hear them! Every scoliosis sufferer will benefit by hearing your scoliosis story, so tell us all about it in the comment box below. We’ll even respond!

  • The Active Family: How to Become One

    photo credit to U.S. Army Do you wish your family had it together like the Brady Bunch—or at least had your health under control? One of the best ways to maintain health is to eat right together and, yes, to exercise together.

    As a parent, your job is to create the optimum atmosphere for your child to thrive in. This includes being active. You may love to work out while your kids like to watch tv, or it may be the other way around. Regardless, being active together is what ensures that everyone stays healthy.

    Family-Wide Activities

    photo credit to Susumu Komatsu The cheapest way to work out as a family, of course, is to find things to do at home. There’s tons you can do as a family to keep the heart rate up. For one thing, you can take daily walks together. This is a favorite of many families as it allows for fresh air, quality time, and exercise.

    But there’s lots more. You can turn up the radio after dinner for a dance party. You can make chores into active adventures (make sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, and mopping into battles with evil dust bunnies). You can even turn commercial breaks into fitness breaks if you have a hard time getting the kids off the couch. Check out many more ideas at Parents.com .

    Gym Times

    Not every family has time for a gym membership, but if you have even a small chunk of time every week, you should take advantage of it. Testimonies like Tiffany Slater’s don’t happen without setting an example. This girl set a goal of losing weight, and the only way she was able to accomplish it was the encouragement and support of her family. As she worked out and ate healthier, her weight began to come off.

    You can do the same for your kids, no matter what age and weight they are. Your dedication to lose weight—or just to stay healthy—will encourage them to do the same. Most gyms ( like these Chattanooga-area ones ) have childcare, so you can’t use having kids as an excuse! Going to the gym as a family also encourages your kids to develop friendships and experience sports they would not be exposed to at home.

    Teamwork

    photo credit to USAG- Humphreys And don’t forget team sports. If your children aren’t involved in a sport, you may want to consider signing them up for one in your neighborhood—whether it’s Upward Bound basketball, soccer, little league baseball, softball, or the swim team. And guess what? You can take advantage of their practice times to do a little practice yourself—of walking, jogging, or whatever fitness routine you enjoy most. Make friends with other parents at practice, and you’ll have a workout buddy (or buddies) in no time.

    What does your family do to stay active?

    Whether it’s gettin’ down at home, running to the gym as a family, or taking a jog while your kid practices baseball, you can make physical activity a family habit. Kill two birds with one stone with family activities—family togetherness and a health boost.

    What do you already do to make sure the family stays active? Has this post inspired you to make some changes? Tell us about it—what you already do, or what you are planning to do. Sharing your resolution creates a form of accountability that helps you stay motivated. Plus, we always answer our posts, so leave us a comment now!