Protect Your Tendons

With an increasing number of people practicing yoga it is estimated that more than 50 percent of yoga-related injuries are due to injury from strains and sprains. Injuries to the connective tissues of the tendons and ligaments can result in inflammation, chronic pain, and loss of function.

Tendinitis and tendonosis are commonly diagnosed in those who are physically active or perform repetitive movements. The most common regions of the body prone to tendon injury are the wrists, shoulders, knees, and ankles.

If you have eer experienced increased pain, tenderness, and inflammation in any of these areas during or after your yoga practice, there is a good chance that you could be progressing toward tendon injury if preventative action is not taken. Read more

Scale the heights: yoga poses for a peak hiking experience

The Coachella Valley is known for its powerful mountains, serene vistas, and scenic hiking trails. From the Museum Trail in Palm Springs to the Ladder Canyon Trail in the Mecca Hills, each journey presents its own challenges of navigating steep inclines and declines, or even rock climbing.

Incorporating yoga postures into your hiking adventures will help to balance the body after the physical demands of your hike and prevent injury or muscular strain. On every trail, you can use nature as your own yoga mat — from a tree branch to a boulder, there are endless ways to assist your body into each yoga posture.

While hiking provides mental and cardiovascular benefits, exploring the valley trails can be taxing to the low back, hips, and hamstrings. With frequent tension placed on each of these muscle groups, you are at high risk for muscular strain or injury.

Here are the Top 3 yoga poses every hiker can use along the trails:

Pyramid Pose – Hamstrings

The hamstrings help to propel the body forward and upward allowing for activities such as running, walking, and climbing. Over time these activities can result in excessive tension placed on the muscles. The hamstrings are attached to your sitting bones and when tight, create a downward force on the pelvis leading to overuse of your back extensor muscles to re-balance the body, which can lead to low back strain. This posture requires a bit of balance — for safety, use a hiking stick or your surroundings to stabilize your body.

1. Place the heel on a sturdy rock or boulder with an average height of 10 to 12 inches. Elevating your leg slightly allows you to target the hamstring.

2. Lengthen your torso by lifting your ribcage upward and away from your hips.

3. Maintaining the lift in your torso, begin to hinge the body forward at the hip level until you feel the “edge of stretch” in the back of your thigh.

4. Maintain this posture for 3 to 5 slow deep breaths.

5. Slowly release your body out of the posture and repeat on the opposite side.

Seated Bonsai Pose – Hips

Good hip mobility greatly benefits hikers who enjoy trails that require climbing or stepping up onto high elevated surfaces. This pose targets the external hip rotator muscles, which can frequently contribute to chronic low back pain when tight.

1. Find a comfortable seat on an even surface the height of a standard chair, for example, a boulder or large fallen tree.

2. Cross your right ankle over the left knee.

3. Hanging onto your shin, sit tall by lifting your ribcage upward and away from the hips.

4. Maintaining the lift in the torso, begin to hinge forward at the hip level until you feel the “edge of stretch” in your right hip.

5. Maintain this pose for 3 to 5 deep, slow breaths.

6. Release the pose and repeat on the left side.

Standing Half Moon Pose – Side-Bending

Oftentimes our side flexing muscles, the Quadratus Lumborum, can elicit low back pain and stiffness when overused. These muscles are found deep in the low back and attach the lower ribs to the top of your pelvis. The QL stabilizes the body when you cough and allows for side-bending, hip movement and extending the spine. While hiking, the body engages these muscles to stabilize the spine on uneven terrain, trail declines, and stepping upward onto rocks or elevated ground.

1. Adopt a stance with feet hip distance apart, keeping weight evenly distributed between both feet.

2. Place your left hand on your hip.

3. Reach your right arm upward, lifting your ribcage upward and away from the hips.

4. Slowly begin to side-bend to the left until you feel the “edge of stretch” on the right side of the body.

5. Maintain this pose for 3 to 5 deep, slow breaths.

6. Release the pose and repeat on the opposite side.

Tip: Try not to crunch your right shoulder up to your ear. Keep a relaxed space in your shoulder shelf and neck.

ABOUT TRISTAN GATTO

A physical therapist assistant and experienced registered yoga teacher (E-RYT 200, RYT 500), Tristan Gatto combines a vast anatomy, biomechanics and physical therapy knowledge with a yoga-based healthy movement practice. He is the founder of Inspired Movement Yoga and Wellness in the Coachella Valley and creator of Yoga Shred for Men, an online yoga and body sculpting course. His clients range from high-level athletes to seniors, and he offers personalized yoga instruction with a focus on promoting total body mobility and stability, proper body mechanics with anatomical alignment, and injury prevention.

Personalized yoga sessions are available by appointment: imyogawellness@gmail.com, (813) 786-6688.

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