Question 1: I've been doing yoga for nearly 3 years now, and I'm enjoying quite a progress, there's one thing which I still find hard - balancing on my wrists. While I can do crow pose, and I am beginning to enjoy side crow, I can't seem to hold these poses for more than a few seconds, because my wrists hurt. What is the correct wrist posture? Is there any tips you can share about that?
Answer 1: I think the best way to see improvement is to start thinking about balancing on the hands, rather than the wrists. Use the above as your guide, and utilize both hands fully. Grip into the mat like you're a rock climber, and then plug the finger bases down into the mat. That's your foundation. From there, think about the hero of the pose being the core, and see how you can engage the core to lift your legs up into whatever balance you're coming into.
Question 2: I will graduate in May and probably should go to some University. But I can't do something I won't enjoy. I love yoga. I would love inspire other people like you do. So do you recommend to go to get some kind of certificate of yoga right after high school? And is is necessary to go abroad for it? I found some teachers in my country (Czech Republic), but I don't know if it is worth it.
Answer 2: I read a great quote the other day that said something like 'Follow your heart but bring your head with you.' Whatever you decide to do, think through it fully to make the best decision for yourself. If there's a part of you that feels you should go to university, you could always focus on your studies for now and complete your yoga certification over the summer or doing a school break. I'm not sure it's necessary to go abroad for the yoga certification. I think the most important thing is being sure you've vetted the yoga program well and have chosen a program that will best suit you. Here are a few things you should consider when picking a yoga teacher training. All the best!
Question 3: Often in pigeon pose or in double pigeon pose (in which I can't get either of my knees down to the ground, though I do support them with blocks) my knee will start to hurt on the side of my less flexible hip. I've never injured it seriously before so I'm having trouble understanding why it hurts. Is there anything I can do to stop my knee from hurting?
Answer 3: Well the first thing to do whenever you're experiencing pain of any kind in yoga is to back off. Come out of it or just lessen the expression of the pose. Is it an exterior pain? Like perhaps the floor is too hard? In that case, put a blanket down. Is it an interior pain like in the joint itself? For pigeon, take a look at the rotation of the front hip. We want the hip to rotate out, so manually reach into the inner thigh and spin that flesh back behind you at a 45 degree angle to help encourage the hip to rotate. As the rotation develops over time, you'll have an easier time coming into proper alignment. I hope that helps.
Question 4: l hope this hasn't been asked already, but how often do you clean your yoga mat and what do you use? l must admit l rarely do so and that's probably not good lol.
Answer 4: I generally clean it every few days but that's only because my dog enjoys napping on my mat and leaves a lot of hair (he's a husky)! Unless you're sweating profusely or sharing your mat with others it's probably not necessary to clean it that often - maybe once every week or week and a half?
I use a homemade mat cleaner, and you can find the recipe here. I find that the essential oils make it smell amazing, and love that it's all natural. It's also inexpensive compared to buying one in store when you consider the quantity you'll be able to make.
Question 5: What poses would you use post spine surgery? Also, to tone the back muscles?
Answer 5: Woah, spine surgery is a big deal. I would first make sure I was cleared by a doctor to practice, and then I would work with a therapist to figure out how the spine has been affected by the surgery, and what new limitations, if any, I'd be working with. Because spinal surgeries can involve screws and because different parts of the spine has different amounts of rotation and flexibility associated with them, I can't say exactly what would be best, and would recommend talking with a physiotherapist or doctor about your specific case.
Question 6: I was wondering if you could recommend poses I could do at work. My office is really small, but I do have a five foot by two foot free space area that I'd like to do standing poses in. I sit most of the day (work and commute) and am finding my legs are giving me problems due to the prolonged amounts of time in a chair. Any ideas?
Answer 6: Oh yeah, sitting for a long time is tough particularly on the back and the legs, so taking a few breaks in the middle of the work day will be a nice way to avoid longterm issues and give yourself a little break. To target the low back I would recommend rag doll pose and for standing poses, I like this balancing sequence for you because it works the hips and low back as well. I also think shoulder stand and plow pose may feel particularly good for office people because the inversion of shoulder stand is nice to get the blood going, and then coming into plow pose is a nice release for the back and hamstrings.
Question 7: I'm recovering from abdominal surgery. Are there some gentle moves I can do to keep moving and keep stretching? It's been a couple weeks and I am ready to start getting my routine back.
Answer 7: My heart goes out to you. I injured my abs a few summers ago and it was tough because I never realized how much we need our core for stabilization. I mean it makes sense when you think about it but who takes the time to think about it?! Anyway, that was just an injury so I can't imagine what recovering from surgery must be like, but that's fantastic you're ready to start getting your routine back. So, provided you've been cleared by a doctor to start some gentle stretching I would recommend starting super slow and really basic like laying on the back and reaching your toes and fingers away from you until you feel a little gentle stretch in the belly. From there, I like slowly sliding one hip up and then the other, like a salsa dancer in slow motion. When you do this slowly and mindfully you'll feel a gentle stretch along either side of the belly. These are extremely simple, slow, small, subtle moves that'll offer just a hint of a stretch, but until you're cleared to go full force, I'd shy away from any big twists or core strengthening work. Wishing you the best.