How To Embellish Your Reverse Table Top

– Reverse Table Top Pose also known as Crab Pose, is a tremendous pose for gaining agility and upper body strength. It strengthens the shoulders, arms, core, gluteus maximus, wrists and legs. Reverse Table Top opens the front of the body so it’s an excellent counter pose to Table Top Pose, Forward Fold, Plank and Chaturanga. Since the pose is beneficial in both building up and stretching the muscles that hold us in good posture, it is a good asana for preventing Text Neck.

Working Backwards

This month in my fitness classes, I have been doing a Reverse Table Top challenge. Working backwards challenges the mind and body and it’s great cross-training. Break some old patterns by moving in new ways. Try things that are opposite of what you know. Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.

Playing Upside Down

Crab Pose is a wonderful exercise that utilizes your own body weight. If you want even more out of this exercise, there are ways you can add variations. Adding: leg extensions, arm extensions, figure 4 stretch, knee lifts, foot on knee or the crab walk will amplify the intensity and difficulty of the exercise. First, let’s start with a simple Reverse Table.

Playing with my Reverse Table Top Pose

Reverse Table Top Pose Instructions

  1. Begin in Staff Pose or from a seated position; bend the knees bringing the feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Toes and knees are pointing straight ahead.
  2. Lean back into the arms with your fingers pointed towards the buttocks, inhale and lift the hips up towards the ceiling, level with the knees and shoulders. Press into the feet.
  3. Look up at the ceiling or carefully drop the head back. Knees are over the ankles and shoulders are over the wrists.
  4. Squeeze the glutes, engaging Mula Bandha to lift the hips high. Press into the hands and draw the shoulder blades towards each other and lift up through the sternum, keeping the spine straight. 
  5. Hold for 3 to 10 breaths. I tell my students, “Imagine you are balancing a cup of hot tea on your stomach.”
  6. To release the pose, slowly drop your hips to the floor as you exhale.

Tip – As you add on extensions to your pose, work extra hard to keep your hips from dropping by squeezing your glutei and lifting through your hips.

Benefits Of Doing Ardha Purvottanasana (Sanskrit name):

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens: shoulders, arms, back, legs, neck, glutes and core
  • Enhances the digestive system
  • Good for playing with your kids or grand kids
  • Stretches: chest, abdominals, shoulders and legs
  • Stimulates the respiratory and endocrine systems
  • Improves the circulatory system
  • Increases agility and stamina

Fly Like the Dragonfly

“When a dragonfly flutters by, you may not realize, but it’s the greatest flier in nature, it can hover, fly backwards and even upside down.” – Louie Schwartzberg

Keep training so when things in your life go upside down, you will be ready for the turn, not just in your body, but also in your mind and spirit. Rediscover your strengths and weaknesses. Look deeply into your rooted values and reboot.

Cautions and Modifications

Half Upward Plank Pose is another English name for Reverse Table Pose. If you are a beginner, Upward Plank Pose may be a little easier for you and it shares many of the same benefits. Do not practice Reverse Table if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, or injury to your shoulders, neck, or wrist. Always work within your own abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Have fun with your self-discovery!

Best in health, Linda

“The truth of the matter is that the whole world has already been turned upside down by the work of Jesus Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

© Copyright: All materials contained within this blog may not be used without written permission.

Is Text Neck Slowly Killing You?

Nothing makes me sadder than to see young people with Text Neck. Also know as Turtle Neck posture or anterior head syndrome, Text Neck is characterized by a rounded upper back and a forward jutting head. I have seen for myself how text neck can cause pain and headaches, as well as respiratory problems and early degeneration of the spine.

PREVENTION

Practice Good Posture

We can’t get away from the necessity of using a computer or cell phone so we have to take extra time and care to work on reversing the effects of our repetitive forward folding motions like texting and watching our mobile devices. It’s easy to help preserve your cervical spine, by prevention. Start out with practicing good posture; track ears over shoulders and draw wing bones together.

Stretch Often

A wonderful stretch, you can do anytime, is a simple standing or sitting C-Clasp Stretch. To begin, clasp your hands behind your back, then expand and lift your upper chest as you pull down with your arms arms and shoulders and lift your chin, looking upwards. Another exercise that can be done sitting or standing, is the Chin Tuck. Do these exercises as often as you can. Set a timer to remind yourself.

As a yoga instructor, I take myself and my students much further, into deeper toning and stretching.

Muscle balance and strength in the neck, chest, back and core is key to good health and healthy posture.

Train Your Muscles

Think about it, your head is like an 11 pound weight. Holding your neck down or forward for extended periods of time creates muscle fatigue and imbalance. The muscles in the front of the neck and chest need to be stretched and built up, to prevent long term physical and mental damage.

Yoga and Pilates moves like: table top, reverse plank, bow, locust, cobra, bridge, fish and camel pose are very good to do. Start with mild backbends. There are even more exercises you can do with weights to improve text neck. Consult your trainer.

Apart from neck pain, Turtle Neck posture can also cause shoulder pain, upper back pain, weight gain and increased thoracic kyphosis. Correcting hyperkyphosis will give you increased energy and better lung capacity. (1) It will also protect your spine from wear and tear. (2) You know the saying, “You are as old (or as young) as your spine.”

So, with that in mind, I celebrated my birthday this month by sharing one of my fast flow yoga combinations. This sequence of inversions and heart openers has multiple health benefits for posture, muscle balance, the cardiovascular system and brain. Just doing this vinyasa a few times on each side, will get your blood flowing and your joints moving to instantly refresh and revitalize. 

Downward Facing Dog Flow – Step by step instructions for an experienced yogini.

  • Start in Downward Facing Dog and lift leg to Three-Legged Dog.
  • Abdominal crunch two times by bringing your forehead to knee & knee to forehead.
  • Open your hip up towards the ceiling and crunch again.
  • Lift leg and lower, lining up feet with baby toes touching and flow into a Side Plank.
  • Bend the knee of your free leg and place your foot on the floor behind knee.
  • Reach back with your free arm and arch into Wild Thing.
  • Return to side and revolve to Plank.
  • Chaturanga down to a Cobra.
  • Firm your core muscles and lift to Up Dog (or Plank).
  • Return to Cobra and repeat again starting with Downward Facing Dog.

How far will you go for good health? My friend sent me this great quote from Abraham Hicks for inspiration.

“You are Beings who intend to come forth and to continue to expand and grow and change. What is the perfect age? Well, it’s the age where I finally understand my freedom, and I finally understand that I am free to create, and it’s the age that I am at my most beautiful.”

“And we say, by whose standards? In other words, who gets to decide the perfect age? And we say, rather than determining what the perfect age is, why not decide what the perfect state of being is—and then discover that you can find the perfect state of being at any age.”

Abraham Hicks (Excerpted from Tarrytown, NY on 5/10/03)

In health, Linda

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

Phillippians 4:13

Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before practicing any new fitness routine.

© Copyright: All materials contained within this blog may not be used without written permission.

References:

  1. Han J, Park S, Kim Y, Choi Y, Lyu H. Effects of forward head posture on forced vital capacity and respiratory muscles activity. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2016;28(1):128-131. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.128. Kim MS, Cha YJ, Choi JD. Correlation between forward head posture, respiratory functions, and respiratory accessory muscles in young adults. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017;30(4):711-715.
  2. Wickstrom BM, Oakley PA, Harrison DE. Non-surgical relief of cervical radiculopathy through reduction of forward head posture and restoration of cervical lordosis: a case report. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2017;29(8):1472-1474. doi:10.1589/jpts.29.1472.

Feeling Uplifted with Upward Plank

I don’t usually like spending a lot of time in front of the computer but the past few weeks, I had to for various reasons. I can feel the extra tightness in my shoulders and upper back. When I need to re-balance my body after a long day of working at a computer, I like to do Upward Plank Pose.

Practicing upward plank can be a great way to counteract the negative effects of desk-slouching, driving, and other forward-facing actions that can cause rounded spines. ¹ Purvottanasana opens up the whole front side of the body and it is invigorating!

 

Upward-Plank-Linda-Eichberg-yoga_

 

Benefits 

Upward Plank is a very good yoga and Pilates exercise for improving your posture, building strength and flexibility. It stretches the shoulders, chest, abdomen, forearms, tops of the feet, and ankles; while strengthening the arms, shoulders, upper back, legs, glutes, and wrists. Practicing this skill regularly, builds core strength, and increases energy levels.

How to do Upward Plank:

Sit up with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, your feet together and spine erect.

Bring your hands several inches behind your hips, shoulder width apart. Rotate your palms so your fingertips point in the same direction you are facing (toward your feet).

Draw your shoulder blades together, lean back and support the weight of your body with your hands. Do not bend the arms.

Breathing in, raise the pelvis up toward the ceiling keeping the whole body straight and long. Your chest is lifting and the spine is in one straight line.

Keep your knees straight and bring the feet flat to the floor. Point the toes towards the ground and let the head fall back. Your hands should end up under your shoulders.

Hold the pose and continue breathing. As you exhale, come back to a sitting position and relax.

Do not practice Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana) if you have carpel tunnel syndrome, a wrist or shoulder injury. ²

Upward Plank (also called Reverse Plank or Incline Plank) requires a lot of strength. Beginners can take some of the weight off their arms by practicing with their hands on a raised solid surface like a step or sturdy bench. If the intensity of the pose is too much, try Reverse Table Pose instead. Reverse Table has similar benefits.

For the Challenge

More advanced students can come into One-Legged Upward Plank Pose (Eka Pada Purvottanasana) by extending one leg off the ground and up into the air. Just remember, take it slow and don’t push the pose too far. Safety and form is first and foremost.

 

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My head is turning towards the camera in this One-Legged Upward Plank Pose; but normally, you would hold your gaze straight up.

 

Have an uplifting week, Linda

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:24

 

Please visit my website: http://www.lindaeichberg.com

©All Rights Reserved. This blog is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice; consult your doctor before starting any new physical activities.

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-upward-plank-pose-in-yoga/
  2. https://lifenlesson.com/upward-plank-pose-and-its-benefits/

Exploring Your Dynamic Energy With Revolved Triangle

What if I told you, you could receive $10,000 if you practiced yoga on a regular basis. Would that motivated you? I received a $10,000 discount on the purchase of my long-term health care plan because I had a regular yoga practice. Keeping you healthy will lower your health care rates and keep you from burdening the health care system in general so everyone benefits! This is National Yoga Month, what better time to start?

Revolved Triangle is one of the most expansive stretches I know for the lower back. This pose blends two different dynamic energies as you root down into the earth with the legs, and send energy up through the extended arm.

Finding Your Reach

Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) provides generous rotation in the mid torso but this pose isn’t all about twisting, it is also a balancing posture that engages your legs and core muscles for support. When alignment is correct, this asana can create strength and flexibility in the back, hips and hamstrings and establish balance both physically and energetically. It can generate a steadiness of mind and a sense of extension as you ground one hand to the earth and reach the other to the sky.

 

Revolved Triangle Pose – Instructions

  1. Using the length of the yoga mat, step your feet about 3½ ft. apart, opening into a wide leg stance with the heels in line with each other, toes pointing forwards. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides palms down.
  2. Adjust your left foot in to the right at a 60 degrees angle and turn your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Feel as if you are drawing up energy with your pelvic floor. Firm your thigh muscles as you lift your abdominals. Turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right kneecap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
  3. Lengthen your spine and raise the left arm up and turn your torso to the right. Square your hips with the front edge of your mat. As you bring the left hip around to the right firmly ground the left heel.
  4. Turn your torso further to the right and lean forward over the front leg. Place your left hand on the floor (or a yoga block) adjacent to the big toe.

Linda-revolved-triangle-modified-prep

Almost there! – A modified version

(Sometimes I’ll strike an impromptu yoga pose without a mat but please use a yoga mat for your practice.) 

  1. If your balance is stable and you feel you can twist deeper, finish the pose by moving your hand (or block) to the baby toe side of the right foot.

Linda-Eichberg-revolved-triangle

  1. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn the head and gaze up at your top thumb. From the center of the back, between the shoulder blades, press the arms away from the torso and lengthen. Bring most of your weight on the back heel and the front hand.
  2. Hold this pose for 4 to 10 deep breathes. With your exhalation grip your core muscles and release the twist. Slowly and with control, bring your torso back to upright as you inhale.

Tip: You can place your left heel against a wall for extra stability.

Repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed, twisting to the left.

Therapeutic Applications: Constipation, Digestive problems, Lower backache, Sciatica, tight hips or hamstrings and Asthma. ¹

As a yoga instructor, I recommend Revolved Triangle for tennis players and golfers to stretch their overused muscles. Use caution, perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher. Consult a doctor if you have back, hip or spine pain, or injury.

Best in health, Linda

 

“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” – Psalm 23:3 NLT

 

My heart and prayers go out to the victims of the latest hurricanes, Irma and Maria. The American Red Cross is on the ground in Puerto Rico and has already mobilized more than 250 tractor-trailer loads of relief supplies to help Puerto Rico including 9,000 comfort kits as well as several thousand tarps, flashlights, batteries, blankets and hand sanitizer. Please join me in the effort. Donate here.

 

Footnote:

  1. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/revolved-triangle-pose

 

© All rights reserved

Yoga Befits Children Of All Ages

In our family, we practice yoga for fun as much as for its many health benefits.

yoga-Linda-Eichberg-Garland-pose-with-bind

(Malasana) Yoga squat with a bind

During family gatherings my grandniece, Riley, will frequently pull me aside and ask me to show her some new yoga poses. Children’s brains and bodies easily take to this form of exercise.

Riley-childrens-yoga-garland

Garland pose – opens the hips and groin as it stretches and strengthens the hips and ankles

Children who practice yoga postures, conscious breathing and mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, according to scientific studies. They may also have better eating habits and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Yoga addresses the whole child, encouraging academic and emotional competence. “The studies also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.” ¹

 

childrens-yoga

 

Yoga Increases Static Motor Performance.

A sample of children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested to observe their steadiness. The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies. ² 

Jocelyn-Alberici-Marianna-Riccio

My nieces, Jocelyn and Marianna practice their splits together on family vacation.

 

Children Following Yoga Training Improved Their Visual Perceptual Sensitivity.

A study of 14 children with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years who received 10 days of yoga training and another group who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. Yoga group practiced postures and meditation, along with specific activities to improve memory and attention. Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and decrease in degree of illusion while the control group showed no change. The study suggests that children can show better improvement in performance in a relatively short amount of time.³

Linda-Eichberg-Riley-Krugh-camel-pose-yoga

Me and Riley working on our Camel Pose

 

Twenty Benefits of Yoga for Children

The following are just some of the recognized benefits of yoga for children (and adults):

  1. Develops a strong and flexible body
  2. Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
  3. Assists neuromuscular-development
  4. Increases balance, body awareness and coordination
  5. Improves posture and alignment
  6. Reduces injuries and improves performance
  7. Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
  8. Strengthens the immune system
  9. Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep
  10. Calms and clears the mind, bringing us into the present moment
  11. Increases concentration, focus, memory and attention span
  12. Stimulates auditory processing and responsiveness
  13. Expands imagination and creativity
  14. Alleviates tension, stress and anxiety
  15. Balances energy (high or low)
  16. Builds confidence and self-esteem
  17. Develops discipline and self-control
  18. Supports individuality and self-expression
  19. Encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle
  20. Promotes an overall sense of well-being

Yoga helps children feel more comfortable with their bodies and helps them get in touch with who they are inside. “A child who learns yoga, mindfulness and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body and spirit.” 4

Best in health, Linda

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)

 

For more info, please visit my website!

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com/2012/09/research-on-yoga-for-children.html
  2. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ips/om.aspx
  3. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ypp.aspx
  4. http://www.yoga4classrooms.com/benefits-of-yoga-in-schools

 

© All rights reserved and may not be used without written permission

A Twist of Fate

My Yoga Story

Hawaii_

Becoming a Yoga teacher was punctuated by an enlightening God moment for me. While I was on vacation in Hawaii I signed up to take a yoga class at the hotel where I was staying and the teacher never show up for the class. I waited for a while and then started doing my own yoga exercises. Several of the people who were waiting with me asked me to please show them some of the poses.

I had never taught yoga before but I had been practicing it for a long time. My fellow vacationers began following me. I taught for an hour without missing a beat and, incredibly, everyone stayed for my entire impromptu class. At that moment I knew I had evolved from student to teacher. I felt God saying to me, You’re ready; what are you waiting for?

You’re never too old to do something great! 

I was in my early 50’s when I completed my training  and started my new career in yoga. This path led me to develop different styles of yoga classes for my students. I sometimes use guided imagery while my students are holding a posture. For example I might coach them to picture each of their internal organs healthy and vital as they rotate in Belly Twist Pose. 

Yoga for Healing

At times in my life, when I have been in stressful situations either physically or mentally, I have been drawn to yoga for healing. I have always been active, I danced and practiced yoga for many years until I sustained neck and back injuries in a car accident. After a year of rehabilitation, I was able to slowly return to yoga but I was still in some pain and not physically able to do all the things I had been doing before. It was a very frustrating time for me. That’s when I discovered Pilates and how important core strength and muscle balance is.

Getting Back In Balance

I realized I had strong abdominal muscles but my back muscles were significantly weaker. A good Pilates practice includes exercises for the entire core, so a girdle of muscle is built around the mid section, equally balancing the muscles front, sides and back. I began focusing on proper body alignment and building up the deep supporting muscles of my ‘powerhouse’.

Linda-Eichberg-Tree-Pose-variations-Yoga

Variations of Tree Pose – beneficial for improving balance and core strength

A strong core is the foundation for safety in all fitness practices and well as for everyday functioning in life. Through Pilates, I was able to attained the muscular support I needed for my injured back and neck. I made a full recovery and returned to dancing and doing the activities I loved. I have better back health now, than I did 15 years ago.

Our bodies are amazing miracles. My personal journey to recovery from my car accident gave me the passion for helping others heal and has given me insight to becoming a better fitness instructor. I am an AFAA certified group fitness instructor with additional certifications in yoga and Pilates. In my classes I spend a moment with my students in gratitude for how the body works so perfectly, doing the most complicated biological processes, without us having to tell it what to do. Simply incredible!

Mindfulness

Just as muscle imbalance can lead to injury. Imbalances in health are sometimes created when the mind and body are on two different paths. Being in the moment or mindfulness, will help keep you in sync body, mind and spirit. Lapses in memory or in your emotional, spiritual and physical health occur when your mind wants to do something different than your body does or vice versa.

The body mind and spirit are deeply connected an imbalance in one will effect the other parts.

Let go of any mental and emotional ‘baggage’. Deal with one thing at a time truthfully and courageously. It’s okay; you are not the sum of your environment or circumstances. You can create a positive transformation in your life. Yoga, Tia Chi and Qigong are good physical disciplines for reducing stress and calming the mind. Journaling, meditating, prayer and reading spiritual books or the Bible can also be helpful tools for attaining holistic health.

This inner work is as important as exercise, rest and nutrition for your overall well-being. Explore what helps you open pathways in your mind for renewal with Divine intuition. When you are whole, you can pass on this wholeness to everyone you come in contact with and that is a beautiful gift.

In gratitude, Linda

 

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:2-5

 

http://www.LindaEichberg.com

Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

© Materials contained within this blog may not be used without written permission.

 

Hitting the Sweet Spot – 300 Minutes per Week

If you knew there was something you could do to stave off breast cancer, would you commit to doing it? An association between physical activity and breast cancer is supported by over “100 epidemiologic studies, with strong biologic rationale supporting fat loss as an important mediator of this association.” ¹

Women, particularly postmenopausal women, may derive special benefits from exercise because excess body fat has been associated with increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

I teach group fitness classes at Total Woman Gym + Spa. I have the pleasure of seeing woman transform themselves and get healthy. You can too with consistency and commitment to an exercise program. Do it for yourself and your family. Health is wealth!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so get up, get out and go!

Total-Woman-Group-Fitness-Linda_Eichberg-instructor

Linda Eichberg Group Fitness Instructor with students: Riley, Kim and Sonia.

These are some of the ladies I have taught. Two of them are mother and daughter. It brings a smile to my heart when mothers and daughters exercise together.

Commit To Be  Fit – 60 Minutes 5 Days a Week

In a randomized trial of 400 postmenopausal women who were evenly split into two groups, either 150 minutes or 300 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, the women who exercised more averaged more total weight loss.

Any aerobic activity that raised the heart rate 65% to 75% of heart rate reserve was allowed. Most of the activities involved walking, the elliptical trainer, bicycling, and running. So it doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money to get fit, just the price of some good running shoes.

The results of the study confirm, “our findings of a dose-response effect of exercise on total fat mass and several other adiposity measures including abdominal fat, especially in obese women, provide a basis for encouraging postmenopausal women to exercise at least 300 min/wk, longer than the minimum recommended for cancer prevention.” ²

Putting Fitness and Compassion Into Action

AIDS Walk Los Angeles-2015_

On October 11, I completed a cardio fait accompli at the 2015 AIDS Walk Los Angeles 10K. It was a hot 100 degrees that day. Talk about burning fat!!

Our team raised over $7,500.00 to help APLA with the wonderful work this organization does in educating the community, helping people living with HIV and AIDS research.

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Ready set go!

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The Eichberg family and friends, aka “Team Rob”

We all made it! Hot and tired but what an amazing feeling to know we were part of such a wonderful cause. Erin and Alison are wearing crowns because they were top fundraisers. Way to go ladies!

AIDS-Walk-finish-line_

My grand nice, Riley at the finish line. I’m so proud of her!

Look who we ran into after the walk, Drew Carey! Drew is a big supporter of the AIDS Walk Los Angeles. He was charming and so sweet to pose for a photo with us after a long day!

AIDS-Walk-2015-Drew-Carey__2

With Drew Carey at 2015 Los Angeles AIDS Walk

My family and friends walked in memory of my brother-in-law, Rob Eichberg and step brother-in-law, David Greenes, both of whom died of AIDS. 

“Each of us is radiant energy and all we truly have to give & receive is love.” – Rob Eichberg Ph. D. ³

Much love, Linda

“Whoever loves his brother lives in the light and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.” – 1 John 1 :10

“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” – Luke 6:36 (NLT)

Footnotes:

1 & 2.

http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2396584

3. Rob Eichberg was a  PhD in Psychology. He shared his knowledge, understanding and love with the gay community and their families. His teaching on unconditional love brought wholeness to the broken. He authored the book “Coming Out: An Act of Love” and co-founded, National Coming Out Day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Coming_Out_Day

© All rights reserved

Celebrating Yoga with the King of Hip Openers

In our fast-paced world, it’s imperative that we make time for ourselves to reboot and refocus. The practice of yoga can do wonders for our peace of mind and physical well-being.

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body…” Proverbs 14: 30 (NLT)

Pigeon is King

Pigeon pose is one of my very favorite yoga postures because of it’s therapeutic benefits. This asana has done wonders for me and my clients in healing hip and back pain. I’ll highlight this special yoga position for Yoga Appreciation Month!

Linda-Eichberg-pigeon-pose-yoga_

One-Legged Pigeon Pose

Benefits of Pigeon Pose

Doing Pigeon Pose is essential in our chair-bound society. It is an extremely effective hip opener with the front leg in position to externally rotate the hip and the back leg in position to stretch the iliopsoas.

It has been discovered that the iliopsoas muscle group affects our mood and health. Known as the “muscle of the soul,” it is closely linked to our fight or flight response. Problems in these dorsal hip muscles may show up in other parts of the body such as the knees, pelvis, hips, neck/shoulders, sciatic nerve, and low back. ¹

Pigeon Pose stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen. It can often be felt deeply in specific upper-leg and hip muscles, including the psoas, piriformis, TFL (tensor fascia latae) and gluteus maximus.” ² You can adjust the level of intensity in Pigeon to open these muscles even further.

king-pigeon-yoga-linda-alberici-eichberg_(2)

Pigeon can be performed simply or developed into a more intricate posture like this Mermaid Pose. This variation is a complicated position in the respect that there are many nuances to it that can help you get the most out of the pose. For this reason, I am not going to go into a long and detailed explanation on how to do this asana. I highly recommend you enjoy the benefits of this important pose under the care of a professional yoga practitioner.

With a grateful heart, Linda

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1: 2 

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.yogafit.com/news/blog/HowYogaMakesYouHappy/
  2. http://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-one-legged-king-pigeon-pose-in-yoga

Disclaimer: consult your doctor before practicing yoga or starting any exercise program.

© All rights reserved

Eternal Summer – Yoga For Mid-Life and Beyond

If you’re a beach goer and live in Southern California, the words “eternal summer” probably have a wonderful meaning to you. Some of our best beach days are in the fall and later in the year. Life is beautiful at the beach!

One spectacular day this October, a family outing to Zuma Beach turned into an impromptu, Yoga session with fellow yogini’s, Maria and Marianna. My sister, Maria and I are yoga instructors, so we were showing off for each other, just a little, doing a few postures we don’t usually get to use in our classes.

Rejoicing in Health – Enjoying Fitness Yoga 

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My boogie board came in handy as a platform for my headstand.

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Playing in the ocean, Maria practices her yoga wheel.

We practically had the beach to ourselves that day. We made it our own glorious playground. My niece, Marianna joined in the fun; and she had a few good yoga poses of her own.

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Marianna takes crow pose to the extreme, balancing on one leg.

After our exercise, we took our boogie boards into the waves. Got to love Southern California’s eternal summer but if you’re a woman going through menopause, the “eternal summer”’ can have entirely different and maybe not so pleasurable meaning.

YOGA FOR MID-LIFE (or Any Time of Life)

Hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Oh my! During Menopause we lose estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that cause these changes in our bodies. Yoga can physically help our body’s hormone system.

SLEEP BETTER

Yoga can help relieve menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia. 

A Brazilian study published in a 2012 issue of the journal, Menopause had three groups of women participate in either a passive stretching regimen with a physical therapist, a specific series of yoga classes or no change in their routine. After four months the women who practiced yoga for one hour, twice per week had significantly fewer hot flashes and slept better than the other two groups. The women were so pleased with the results, 75 percent of the yoga group continued with yoga classes after the study.

BALANCE YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM

Yoga keeps your systems fluid and balanced.

As you move your body, the brain, nervous system and endocrine system all work together. “The brain commands the action, the nervous system carries the message and the endocrine system is responsible for long-term body maintenance using glands and hormones”. Yoga is very beneficial for Hormonal Health.

The twisting and bending in yoga energize the adrenals and thyroid gland.

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Just like there are many styles of yoga, there is more than one way to do a yoga pose. Your instructor can give modifications that work for you.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Hormones affect your mood. I have been told by many of my friends, that for them, the worst part of going through menopause was the mood swings. I have to agree. A yoga practice can help you relax by focusing the mind. I am allowing myself the time and space to use whatever natural tools are available to reduce stress in my life and protect my nervous system.

INNER BEAUTY

Learn, Love, Grow, Discover! Prayer, deepening my relationship with God, meditating on His word and living in the joy of God’s Son and His creation, has strengthened my inner being more than I can say. Dependence on God has brought certain aspects of yoga into the harmony of my life. I feel I am living the words of the song I sang in Community Bible Study this week with the worship team, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place,” and yes, that is a very excellent place to be.

THE NATURAL WAY

Good health is a personal journey, it’s a blessing and it is worth striving toward. With God’s guidance, I have been able to get through menopause using these natural methods and without the use of hormones or prescription drugs. For that, I am very thankful.

With a grateful heart, Linda

 

I look up to the hills, but where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121: 1-2 NCV

 

Disclaimer: See a fitness or medical health professional to see if yoga is right for you. © CopyrightAll rights reserved. May not be used without written permission.

Singing Your Way To Health

Learning to walk gracefully in each season of life can be a challenge. Just when I settle comfortably into one season, unexpected change comes and once again I have to adjust and fit ‘new shoes’ for the occasion. It is my faith and trust in God that enables me to move forward and accept the challenges that each new season brings. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back; nevertheless, there is grace and gratitude in every season.

Season For Singing

October has been a great month for break through and revelation. I had several opportunities to sing with my sister and the LA Winds Jazz Band at some very nice venues. It was an awesome blessing to be able to enjoy the fruits of our collective labor and our regular rehearsals. Not every artist gets the opportunity to put their work on its feet so when I do, I am very grateful. I even had the chance to sing for the Compassion First fund raising banquet. [1] A wonderful cause and good occasion to give back the gifts and talents I was given.

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Alberici Sisters: Linda Eichberg & Maria Lauren with LA Winds Jazz Band

REASONS TO SING

Even if you are not a professional or an aspiring professional, singing for fun has many positive health benefits. Singing can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age or expertise. 

  • Singing Reduces Stress and Has the Health Benefits of Yoga

Singing eases stress, clears the mind, and focuses on breathing. This calming effect is as beneficial to our health as yoga. “Song is a form of regular, controlled breathing, since breathing out occurs on the song phrases and inhaling takes place between these,” says Dr Björn Vickhoff, “It gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing. It helps you relax, and there are indications that it does provide a heart benefit.” [2]

  • Singing Improves Breathing and Respiratory Conditions 

The deep full breathing that is encouraged by singing and yoga can train our lungs to breathe more efficiently. I encourage my students to use diaphragmatic breathing as well as lateral breathing into the sides of the waist and also into the back. Expand these areas while breathing in. The Alternate Nostril Breath or Sinus Clearing Breath* in yoga, is also wonderful for opening the sinuses. My students and I sometimes get relief within minutes!

  • Singing Provides Both Physical and Psychological Benefits

“Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting. Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together as well as alone because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour.” [3 ]

  • Singing Boosts the Immune System and Helps With Chronic Pain

A study at Cardiff University in 2012 found lung cancer patients who sang in a choir had a greater expiratory capacity than those who didn’t. Singing has also been shown to boost our immune system and according to a report published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2004, it helped patients cope with chronic pain. [4 ]

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Photo: Linda Eichberg

  • Singing Will Prolong Life and Promote Heart Health

“According to the findings of a joint Harvard and Yale study, choral singing increased the life expectancy of the population of New Haven, Connecticut. The report concluded that this was because singing promoted both a healthy heart and an enhanced mental state.” [5 ]

  • Singing Can Lower Your Blood Pressure and Help You Relax

“You may have heard the heartwarming news story about a woman in Boston whose blood pressure shot up just before knee-replacement surgery. When drugs alone weren’t enough, she began singing her favorite hymns, softly at first, then with more passion. Her blood pressure dropped enough for the procedure, which went off without a hitch. Now, we’re not suggesting you trade blood pressure treatments for a few verses of “Amazing Grace,” but try adding singing to your routine. It releases pent-up emotions, boosts relaxation, and reminds you of happy times, all of which help when stress and blood pressure spike.” [6]

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  • Singing is Good Therapy!

Singing changes the brain and releases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone. It is both calming and energizing. It soothes your nerves and elevates your spirit. [7]

Breath Control

I have found this creating exercise great for opening the sinuses before singing and expanding lung capacity.

* Instructions for Alternate Nostril Breath (Sinus Clearing Breath)

Like in singing it is important that your face, jaw and tongue are relaxed for this yoga breathing exercise. Find a comfortable position. Using your right hand, place your right thumb on the right nostril. Breathe in deeply through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with the first finger and exhale through the right nostril. Breathe in deeply through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb; exhale through the left. Continue alternating sides. Make sure your breaths are full, starting under the ribs, and then moving into the sides of the waist and back.

Whether you are singing alone in the car, in church, or with a group, keep on singing your way to good health. Can’t wait for Sunday to sing!

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~ With a song in my heart, Linda

 

“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” Psalm 147:1

 

Refrences:

(1) Compassion First helps survivors of sexual trafficking. http://www.compassionfirst.org/

(2) Dr Björn Vickhoff, led a study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden into music and wellbeing. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/10168914/All-together-now-singing-is-good-for-your-body-and-soul.html

(3) Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Professor Graham has studied developmental and medical aspects of singing for 30 years. – http://www.sing2beatbreastcancer.com/?page_id=27 -PsycNET http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2013-26499-001/

(4) All Together Now: Singing is Good for Your Body and Soul – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/10168914/All-together-now-singing-is-good-for-your-body-and-soul.html

(5) Singing: Boosting Health and Morale – http://www.yoga-abode.com/wellbeing/singing_for_wellbeing

(6) Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD http://www.enhansenments.com/writings/ (7) Singing Changes Your Brain – http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/

(7) Singing Changes Your Brain – http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. This blog does not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employers. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.