Ask Natalia

How to find an online personal trainer?

How to find an online personal trainer that’s right for you? First of all, you need to know why you want an online personal trainer. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to improve flexibility? Or maybe you want to learn how to perform a specific skill such as a handstand or a pistol squat? By narrowing down your goals, you then search for a specialist successful in the area you need them to help you with. I would definitely use Youtube and Instagram as main platforms for your search, and try to get a trial session before committing fully. Ultimately though, as simple as it sounds, you want to find a person who you truly enjoy listening, seeing, and interacting with, and who can not only help you achieve goals that you have, but help you become a better you!

I see many yoga instructors for hire, what separates you from the rest?

What separates me from other yoga instructors is my abundant experience of working with people privately for over 10 years and my expertise in the world of health and fitness. Besides teaching yoga, I am skilled at other disciplines like pilates, Thai massage, functional training, and cupping On top of it, I hold a Master’s Degree in psychology that helps me to connect with people, find out underlying causes of their pain/discomfort, and thus target those in addition to treating symptoms. My clients receive a holistic approach to their health by working with me, not only a movement-based practice. The most important thing is that I truly care about improving my clients’ lifestyle and well-being, and sometimes it actually requires me sending them to other specialists like chiropractors, doctors, psychotherapists, acupuncturists, or even other personal trainers. I know that I’m losing money by doing this, but ultimately it’s better for the person who needs help that I sometimes cannot provide.

I'm trying to find an online personal trainer. Can you tell me how online personal training works?

Firstly, you and I will have a consultation and determine if we are a good fit for each other. It is free of charge, so go ahead and schedule it right now!!! If we are a good match, then our online sessions will be conducted via Zoom or Skype. These platforms allow us to see each other in real time. I will be guiding you through your movements with my voice and also by showing you exercises. It is important that you have a device and WIFI that will allow for a good quality video, so I could correct you if needed.

Is online personal training effective?

It depends on how much you are invested into it! By being consistent, determined, and giving all you got to our session, I am sure you will get results. Don’t forget though that you’ve got work to do outside our sessions- your lifestyle (nutrition, habits, sleep) all contribute to the effectiveness of our training! All of this we can discuss in our first consultation.

How much does a private yoga class cost?

A private yoga class cost varies depending on an instructor and a location. I would say the prices start at $50 per hour and go up to $200 per hour. 

What do you need to start yoga?

Most importantly, you need to really have motivation and time for consistent practice. You need to understand that it won’t be easy and that it will change your life! Of course, you also need a guru /mentor/teacher/ guide to help you on your journey. I would also get a couple books on yoga philosophy. For asana practice you need some basic props, such as a yoga mat, a couple blocks, and a strap.

Can I learn yoga at home?

Absolutely. There’s an incredible amount of content available online for you to learn yoga. Starting from books (if you want to get into the philosophy) and finishing online yoga libraries for advanced practitioners. If you want to learn what yoga is about, I would recommend getting into philosophy and history of yoga, then basic breathwork, only then physical practice. In my opinion, yoga is a lot more than asanas, it’s a personal journey of bringing your body into balance and finding peace within yourself. Practicing movement without the right intention or with improper breathing patterns can actually harm you more than heal you!

Should I get private yoga classes near me or should I get online private classes?

It all depends on how much time you have available for private yoga classes and how much money you can invest. Getting private yoga classes near your house will still take extra time from you to get to the studio, park your car, get changed, check in, take the lesson, drive back home. Most likely it will also be more expensive because you are paying for using the studio. On the upside, you will be doing yoga in a special environment created for it and you will be closely supervised and manually adjusted. Doing private yoga classes online will save you time and could be even more relaxing if you could dedicate a separate quiet and cosy room for your yoga. You won’t be manually adjusted but some people don’t like/need it in their yoga practice. So you should weigh all the pros and cons and decide what’s best for you.

How does yoga increase flexibility?

Consistency is key in getting results. So if you consistently do yoga(at least 3 times a week), you will increase your flexibility. Many yoga asanas are very effective in increasing flexibility by utilizing “length under tension” concept, meaning you elongate and strengthen the muscle in one pose. For example, warrior III – a standing balance on one leg- requires certain flexibility from your hamstrings. At the same time, it engages them in order for you to balance on that leg. So you get a muscle thats working and stretching at the same time. This is the most effective way to actually improve flexibility in the muscle.

Do you teach yoga via Skype?

As long as we have a good video connection (by good I mean no delays or low resolution image), it really doesn’t matter to me what medium we use for our online sessions. Facetime (for Apple users), Zoom, or Skype are all valuable platforms for our online sessions. They are free and easy to navigate. So it’s really up to you to tell me which one you prefer to use.

Can you learn yoga on your own?

Can you learn anything on your own? We all need teachers and guides in our life who have experience, knowledge, and a different perspective on a topic. I would say, you can learn yoga by doing a lot of self-studying, but most people get motivated by learning from other people, whether it’s online or in person. I would be happy to be that person for you!

What is the best way to learn yoga on your own?

The best way to learn yoga on your own is first educating yourself on basic principles of yoga. Start by reading classical books such as Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga (https://www.amazon.com/Light-Yoga-Bible-Modern/dp/0805210318) or Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali (https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Philosophy-Patanjali-Translation-Annotations/dp/0873957296/ref=sr_1_10?crid=1CZDKT7ZONGJQ&dchild=1&keywords=yoga+philosophy&qid=1589837524&s=books&sprefix=yoga+philosophy%2Cstripbooks%2C506&sr=1-10) . You can also find many videos that explain the fundamentals of yoga philosophy such as this one (https://youtu.be/vpYWSJFuZB0)

What kind of yoga is good for beginners?

I would say, start with some breathwork (kundalini yoga), alignment-based yoga (Ieyngar), and maybe some yin yoga (restorative). There are so many advanced styles of yoga that exist and most studios will teach beginner classes for those too, but it is a priority to master fundamentals of breathwork, alignment, and find build a unique relationship with your practice. I also highly encourage taking private yoga sessions before joining a group, especially if you have prior/current injuries or pain.

Can you teach me how to work out from scratch?

Yes I can teach you how to move your body property and how to work out, even if you’ve never done it before! The most important thing I will teach you is how to properly breath and engage your core, which will be the foundation of any workout you do in your life.

Can simple yoga help reduce buttocks and thighs?

There are a lot of simple yoga asanas that will help you tone muscles around your legs. Chair pose, Crescent pose, all Warriors and standing poses pretty much require you to use your legs! However, if you are really trying to reduce inches, then you should think about losing weight, overall. And that can be done by not only practicing yoga, but also doing cardio, cleaning up your diet, drinking more water, etc.

How often should I go to yoga class?

It really depends on your goals. If you just want to maintain your level, I suggest you go 2-3 times a week. If you want to see improvement in your practice, then 4-5 times a week is your number. Also, make sure to space out your yoga classes so that you have enough time to recover in between!

Where can I take beginner yoga classes?

You can take them at a local yoga studio or online. Most yoga studios offer beginner classes and encourage new people to join the tribe. There are also multiple online yoga apps that feature beginner yoga classes. If you do have a specific problem to address, or if you have had injuries, my advice is to consult with a yoga instructor one-on-one and take a few private sessions before joining a group class.

What kind of yoga should I start with?

In my opinion, you should start with getting familiar with yoga philosophy and some basic breathwork. Understanding what physical practice is about comes from understanding philosophy and history behind it. 

Don’t rush into a headstand! Learn how to breath into your belly and how to be present in the moment!

How long does it take to learn yoga?

Personally for me, learning yoga is a life-loing journey! I think if you really want to go deep into philosophy and mastering your mind, not just your body, it will be the same for you.

Can I do yoga with lower back pain?

If your pain is not acute (2-3 out of 10), yes you can and it will most likely help you reduce your pain. However, if you are in terrible pain and certain movements of your spine hurt you, there’s a high chance that you have a structural issue and that needs to be addressed by your doctor.

Can I successfully learn yoga online?

If you are a perfectionist like me, you probably would never feel like you can achieve mastery. Learning yoga online is a great option for people who don’t have time and resources to go to a physical location or have a private yoga teacher, but I truly believe that face-to-face teaching can be a safer and a more effective way to learn yoga.

I want to learn yoga at home but don't know where to start. Any advice?

Start with familiarizing yourself with what yoga is about, history and philosophy behind it. There’s plenty of free resources online (articles, books, videos). After you have a better understanding of what yoga means, decide for yourself if you want to learn by private instruction or by taking group classes online. I would be happy to help you on your journey, and you can schedule a free consultation with me right now. Otherwise, you could either join life yoga classes for beginners (there are multiple going on right now) or you could join an online yoga streaming service. These are classes for the general population that are filmed in advance and then released through a platform. I highly advise getting private mentorship if you have underlying conditions or prior injuries.

Does yoga hurt at first?

For people who are not used to moving their body and stretching, doing yoga may feel painful and uncomfortable. The beauty of the practice though is to find ease in those positions that feel painful by using your breath as a relaxation tool. Also, a day or two after your first class you might feel sore just like after any other exercise due to lactic acid build up. This soreness should go away after a few days.

Does yoga and pilates help lose weight?

Both yoga and pilates is a low intensity form of exercise that will help you strengthen your body and get tone your muscles. If you don’t change anything else in how much food you eat,, than you will most likely start burning extra calories after yoga and pilates, and your muscles will also require more calories to burn during rest periods. Many people let themselves eat more after they exercise which kind of negates the weight loss effect.

Do you offer online yoga classes for weight loss specifically?

Losing weight requires limiting your calories and expending more than you consume. So no matter the exercise, this is the first parameter to take into account. Doing yoga can help you lose weight by tapping into your mind and helping you solve the psychological issue that made you gain undesirable weight in the very first place. Go ahead and reach out to me to schedule your first consultation and together we can develop a holistic approach that will help you lose weight organically, without any specific diets or extreme exercise regimen.

How to lose weight with yoga only?

Practice yoga as a lifestyle versus an exercise. Weight gain is a sign that your body is out of balance. So you need to find the root of the problem instead of treating symptoms. Practicing yoga (not only asanas, but yogic philosophy) is a sure way to reveal the true nature of your disharmony.

Can I do yoga after dinner to lose weight?

It is not recommended to do yoga right after meal intake. If you have a full meal, you should wait at least 2-3 hours to practice. At that point you might be getting sleepy and the only yoga you should practice is super gentle passive stretching and meditation, that would put you right to sleep. And yes, you will burn some extra calories this way vs sitting down and watching a TV.

Can you show me yoga exercise for reduce belly?

There’re many yoga exercises that can help you strengthen your abdominal muscles. The most effective ones are planks. There is many different variations for plank pose: doing it on hands, forearms, with one limb lifted off the floor, side planks, and even reverse planks. Navasa, or boat pose, is another great core strengthening exercise. Check out my video here for demonstration of those poses. However, if you want your stomach to lose fat, you also need to concentrate on losing weight overall. When you train a specific area of your body it doesn’t “transform” your fat into muscles. So to reduce belly fat, cut back on your calories, do some cardio, and generally exert more than you consume.

What is best for weight loss, yoga or gym?

Best thing for weight loss, as simple as it sounds, is consuming less calories than you spend. So start your weight loss program with revising your nutrition. If you have difficulties with that, I suggest speaking with a specialist and determining the best food regimen for yourself. In terms of exercise, yoga practice and gym training can be complementary. You can alternate days when you do strength training, cardio, and yoga. This way your body gets a variety and is constantly under “stress” to adapt itself to perform. I think there are a lot of benefits to this kind of cross training, and I personally have been doing it for many years.

What are the best yoga exercises to lose weight fast at home?

The best yoga exercises to lose weight fast at home is adapting a yogic lifestyle which would mean fixing up your nutrition first!!! No matter how much exercise you do, if you are eating junk food or starving all day to binge late at night, you won’t reach your goals. If you really want to lose weight, you need to get down to the deep levels of your mind and ask yourself a question: “Why did I gain weight in the very first place?”. Let’s talk about it. Schedule a consultation with me! I will do my best to help you change your relationship with food. Exercise will be a good addition, but not a primary way for you to lose weight.

What are headstands good for?

I absolutely love inversions, and I practice them pretty much every day. Headstands can be tricky for some, because they require a lot of balance, core strength, and body awareness. When you master a headstand, you can enjoy multiple benefits of inversions, such as bringing more blood circulation to your head, and consequently increase your focus and mental concentration. Another benefit of headstands is improved digestion. When you reverse effects of gravity on your digestive organs, you will help to move stuck material and release trapped gases. In other words, inversion will most likely make you fart!!!

How to practice a handstand yoga?

Learning how to handstand took me years of consistent practice. But it was totally worth it and now I enjoy getting upside down pretty much anywhere any time! There are tons of handstand drills that I used to excel in my handstand. But first, I would suggest you get comfortable at just holding a plan and doing plank pikes. Take a look at this video that explains in detail how to do a pike and some other handstand drills. Another great way of practicing a handstand is with a partner who could help you get into the right position, spot you and correct your alignment.

Do you teach yoga for people who are over 50 years old?

I do. In fact, most of my clients are over 50 years old! It is never late to start, and you will thank yourself so much for investing into your own health and wellness. Doing yoga will make you feel and look younger!

Do you teach yoga for older adults with back problems?

Yes, I do. I have already helped dozens of people with low back pain, sciatic pain, fused vertebrae, and back surgeries. For many years I have worked in a physical therapy facility teaching yoga and pilates for people with back issues. When I know what your specific issue is, I can develop a special exercise regimen tailor to your unique body. It will be safe and effective. Go ahead and book your first consultation with me, it’s free of charge and can be done online!

Should I do yoga everyday or every other day?

I would say yoga is best when done 3-5 times a week. Remember, you don’t want to overload your muscles and joints, and I think doing yoga every single day will defeat the purpose of doing yoga!!! You can of course always alternate between intense vinyasa flow and yin yoga if you have time on your hands. Make your yoga routine balanced. Taking a day off sometimes is a best way when you feel sore, tired, or just want to switch it up and go on a hike instead!

Is it good to do yoga in the morning?

Many people enjoy yoga in the morning because it is much easier for them to concentrate in the morning or because it’s their only time available for themselves before they have to go to work, drop off kids, etc.

I personally enjoy doing some gentle yoga in the morning to wake my body up and stretch out after sleep. But if I want to take a power yoga class or practice handstands on my own, I always opt for early afternoon as I have more energy about 5-6pm and my grip strength is better than in the mornings. I think it all depends on your schedule and if you are a morning or evening person.

For how long should I do yoga in the morning?

I always take at least 20-30 min to do some gentle stretching, and rolling out in the mornings. Normally though, I will exercise again later in the day. But if morning is the ONLY time you have to exercise and spend time on yourself, I would definitely recommend at least an hour long session.

Should I combine yoga with weights and cardio?

Yes! They are very complimentary practices. Try to alternate days when you do weight training with cardio and yoga. For instance, do yoga on Monday and Friday;weights on Tuesday and Thursday; cardio on Wednesday and one of the weekends; take one day off!!!

Is meditation good for blood pressure?

Yes, meditation can help reduce blood pressure. There’s been a lot of research done in the field of mindfulness meditation and transcendental meditation and one of the benefits of meditation was blood pressure reduction.

Can I do yoga after running?

Yes, you can! Many yoga poses are actually great to counter the effects of running. Downward dog stretches calves and hamstrings, crescent pose opens up your hip flexors, and all backbends are great to stretch the front body after running. If you had a really long run and feel tired though, I would opt for yin yoga or a short yoga flow that is specifically tailored for runners.

Yoga is making me gain weight, am I doing something wrong?

If you don’t see any changes in how your clothing fits you, then most likely you have gained some muscle from doing yoga and that’s why your scales show you a higher number. Muscles are denser and heavier than fat. However, if you start noticing that your clothes are too tight on you and your body is gaining more fat, then there’s probably some metabolic issue that makes you gain weight and there’s no relation to yoga there, contingent upon you consuming the same amount of calories as before you started practicing yoga. Unfortunately, some people do eat more and sometimes a lot more than they should after a exercise and this could contribute to your weight gain.

Can you recommend modified yoga poses for someone who is overweight?

Definitely. I suggest reducing range of movement and leverage in as many poses as you need. For example, instead of plank pose on the floor do it on a chair that’s lifted high enough off of the floor. Or better, purchase a Feetup trainer (https://feetup.com) for easing most yoga poses and having fun with inversions!

How long do yoga sessions usually last?

Most studios host classes that are 60 or 90 min long, but you can find shorter classes online. I personally like spending at least 30-40 min for my own daily practice. Depending on your goals, energy levels, and time availability, choose a time period that’s right for you. Better something than nothing!!!

How to breathe correctly while doing yoga poses?

I always suggest deep belly breathing, in and out through your nose. There’s a specific technique used by many yoga practitioners called ujjayi breath (victorious breath) that is done through the nose. The sound of Ujjayi is made by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air that you breathe in and out. It’s a calming and warming breathing method that is pretty easy to learn within a few minutes of practice.

Does yoga tone your bum?

Yes!!! If you are very adamant about the look of your bum, incorporate standing and balancing poses into your yoga practice. Some examples are utkatasana (chair pose), all warrior poses, and standing on one leg poses, they all train your butt muscles. In fitness terminology, squats, lunges, and bridges are your butt workout!

Does yoga make you fart more?

Yoga improves circulation and digestion, especially certain asanas such as twists and inversions. Those poses stimulate your organs and move things around, so yes, it can lead to some increased gas production. It’s a good thing though, as your body is getting rid of stuff that it doesn’t need!

Is it safe to do yoga in early pregnancy?

If you’ve been doing yoga before you got pregnant, then you are safe to continue doing it during your pregnancy (contingent on approval from your doctor). However, if you have never done yoga or any other type of exercise, it is not recommended to start a new activity during pregnancy, as your body undergoes so many changes and you don’t want to overload it with something unfamiliar.

What type of yoga is best for pregnancy?

Gentle yoga that is mostly stretching, breathing, and that doesn’t raise your heart rate too high, especially as your belly gets bigger. If you are an intermediate-advanced practitioner then it’s ok for you to stay with almost the same intensity on your first trimester and then dial back gradually. I also recommend using a lot of props such as bolsters and pillows for building an incline (2nd and 3rd trimester) and for supporting you and your belly.

When should I start doing prenatal yoga?

If you did yoga before you got pregnant, continue doing it through your first and second trimester, modifying your practice as you get bigger. Consult with your doctor, if you have complications. However, if you’ve never done yoga or never exercised before you got pregnant, I don’t recommend prenatal yoga as it will put some extra stress on your body that it doesn’t need. Wait till you have your baby to learn new skills.

Do you teach prenatal yoga online? I'm in my first trimester.

Yes I do. If your doctor allowed you to exercise and you have a prior experience with yoga/fitness, prenatal yoga will be actually really beneficial for your health and for your future labour. However, if you have never done yoga or any kind of exercise before you got pregnant, it is not recommended to start a new activity while you are pregnant.

Do you teach online yoga for mom and baby?

I actually have never had a request like this, so I don’t have experience in teaching online yoga for mom and baby, but if this is your specific request, and you tell me more about your body, your goals, and limitations, I can come up with a personalized plan for you and include your baby into yoga practice.

How to do a proper downward dog?

The goal of downward dog is to lengthen your spine and many people have difficulty achieving it due to tight hamstrings, calves, or shoulders. Others have problems maintaining the pose and improving it due to lack of strength in their wrists or /and shoulders. Therefore, depending on your flexibility and strength levels, you might need to modify your downward dog by bringing the floor up (using yoga blocks or placing your hands on the wall). Then use your hands to push away and draw your tailbone away from your hands. Keep your arms and legs straight. Here is a demo of how to properly do downward facing dog.

What are the best yoga poses for hip pain?

If your hip pain is coming from tightness in your muscles, I would recommend hip opening poses such as pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) or a figure four stretch- supine is the easiest way to do it ; butterfly stretch for your inner thighs (baddha konasana and supta baddha konasana), wide-angle seated forward bend (upavistha konasana); and any hip flexor stretch of your choice- my favorite is supine on a foam roller under my lower back. Check out my Youtube video for detailed demonstration and explanation of these stretches!

Why is my flexibility not improving even though I've been stretching?

There are a few reasons. Some people are genetically less flexible than others, so it would require them a lot more effort to get visible results. Also, your age and your lifestyle can be culprits, too. The older we become, the more time and effort we have to spend on improving our flexibility. Diet-wise, drinking a lot of coffee or eating a lot of processed foods full of sugar and chemicals will make your body dehydrated and deprived of proper nutrients. All this can lead to inflammation in your body, and thus tight muscles and reduced range of motion in your joints. Another important factor is your sleep quality and quantity. If you are sleep-deprived, you are less likely to improve much not only in your flexibility, but other motor and cognitive skills. Lastly, your overall lifestyle can directly affect your flexibility. If you are predominantly sedentary, it will be harder for you to get limber, because your body doesn’t get enough blood flow to your muscles during the day. However, if you are too active and work out excessively (like professional athletes do)- that is another end of the spectrum, that could impede your improvements too, because your muscles are overloaded with exercise which can also create tightness and inflammation in muscles and joints. If you want to learn more about this topic check out this article.

What do you do with a yoga block?

A yoga block is a very versatile tool that can be used for hundreds of exercises. In general, it can assist with yoga poses and make them easier or harder to perform depending on your goals. Besides using a block for asanas, you can utilize it for strength training as extra level for your lunges, push-ups, and planks. In my personal practice, I also use a yoga block in combination with Rad roller double /single balls for self-massage. Check out my instructional video here for some creative ways of using a yoga block.

What is a yoga strap used for?

A yoga strap can be used to assist yoga asanas and stretches. For example, if your hamstrings are tight and you cannot reach your toes with your hands, you can use a yoga strap as an extension of your arm by looping it around your foot and pulling on it to create the stretch. Another example is using a strap to stretch your shoulders by holding it in your hands and raising your arms up. Another creative way of using a yoga strap is hooking making a loop out of it and then placing it around your legs or arms to create tension in poses like squat (utkatasana), plank (Phalakasana), or downward dog (adho mukha svanasana).

How to use yoga blocks and straps?

Both yoga blocks and straps are very useful tools for assisting you in your yoga practice. A yoga block can make many balancing poses easier by bringing the floor up to you and thus decreasing the leverage. You can also use a yoga block between your legs or your arms while performing strengthening asanas like plank pose, chair pose, or a headstand. A yoga strap, when made into a loop, can be looked at as something opposite to the block- instead of squeezing against the block you would be pulling apart on the strap, which would activate opposite muscle groups. A strap can also be used as extension of your limbs in many cases, and can help connect your hands and feet together when you lack flexibility to do it on your own.

How many yoga blocks do I need for my yoga practice?

The more blocks you have, the more creative you can get with your asanas, especially if you want to use blocks for restorative poses. However, even with 1-2 blocks you would get enough variety and assistance for your practice. So if you are a beginner and just want to learn basics, go with 1-2 blocks, if you want to learn an assisted headstand or build something very specific – get more blocks!

How to use a yoga block for back?

Your back has a few different segments and depending on your goals, you have a few options for using your yoga block. If you want to do a supported backbend and stretch your hip flexors, place a block under your sacrum/low back, and slowly straighten your legs. If you want to get more chest opening and stretch, place a block under your shoulder blades and possibly a small pillow under your head, and then relax and open your arms wide. This should put your upper back into a soft backbend.

What are the benefits of sitting on a yoga block?

When you sit on a yoga block, it makes asanas easier to perform because your legs are now below your hips, which means it’ll give your hip flexors more space for easy cross-legged pose (sukhasana), cow face pose (gomukhasana), and any forward folds of your choosing. Using a yoga block for sitting is a great alternative to sitting in a chair and accessible to a lot more people who have tight hips.

Can you recommend where to buy a yoga block?

You can order a yoga block online on Amazon or other online retailers or you can check out local retail stores like Big 5 or Dick’s sporting goods or even Walmart!

Can I do yoga on the chair in the office?

Definitely there are so many yoga poses that can be put on a chair. I actually love using chairs for downward dog (hands on top of chair, feet on the floor), any forward bends seated on a chair are great too! Twists, backbends, and even tricep dips on a chair are all valuable exercises that feel great and flow very well too! Here’s a link to my chair yoga flow here.

What do you need for yoga at home?

Equipement-wise, if you are a beginner, you would be quite set with a mat, a couple yoga blocks, and a strap (in most cases, you can substitute for a belt or a towel). If you want to advance your practice, you can consider getting “fancier” equipment such as a yoga trapeze, a feetup trainer, a set of massage therapy tools (Rad tools link http://www.radroller.com/pages/shop-now#_l_7k), etc.
Atmosphere-wise, make sure your space is clean, spacious, and quiet. Practicing in a cluttered room with kids and dogs running around or hearing a fire truck every 10 min…. All those distractions can ruin your practice, especially if you are a beginner.

Is yoga good for sore muscles?

I think it all depends- what made the muscles sore and what kind of yoga you are doing afterwards? I would say, don’t go to a power yoga class after running a marathon, ha! Gentle and relaxing stretching poses (yin yoga) is a way to go! Stretching and gentle movement will bring more blood flow to the area without overloading the muscles and will help to get rid of lactic acid that causes you to feel sore.

Why do I have sore hip flexors after yoga?

Many yoga poses, especially lunges and core strengthening poses, train hip flexor muscles. For instance, navasana (boat pose) requires so much strength from hip flexors that most yogis can only do it with bent knees. Therefore, if the class you did included any of those poses, you are very likely to have sore hip flexors afterwards. This soreness should go away in a couple days, so nothing to worry about.

What are the benefits of twisting yoga poses?

Twisting yoga poses provide several benefits. The first benefit is for the spine to improve its twisting capacity thus enabling a greater range of motion for everyday movement. For example, many people have difficulty looking over their shoulder for blindspot while driving because their neck and spine don’t twist well in that direction. One of my clients has this problem and I incorporate twisting poses in every session with him. Another benefit of twists is improved digestion, as rotation in the spine stimulates blood flow to the stomach region. Some people suggest that twisting poses generally provide detoxification for the body by “wringing out toxins”.

Is yoga bad for joints?

I would say if you did yoga all day every day, it would be bad for joints. But I’m sure that a regular yoga practice 2-3-4 times a week is great for your joints! Yoga poses can help you improve range of movement in your shoulders, hips, and your spine! Make sure your practice is balanced with standing poses, floor poses, arm balances, and breathwork.

Can I do yoga with sciatica?

Yes you can. Just make sure you don’t allow any sharp pain during your practice, as it would be a sign of irritating the nerve. Doing gentle practice and stretching your low back and hips should actually help you ease sciatic pain.

Can you recommend the best yoga moves for sciatica?

Sciatic pain oftentimes is caused by tightness in this trouble-making muscle called piriformis. It’s actually a fairly small muscle of your buttocks, and it has a tendency to get tight in most people if they don’t actively stretch it. The best yoga poses for sciatica are hip opening poses such as pigeon, supine figure four/thread the needle stretch. More advanced hip stretches like double pigeon, cow pose, or lotus pose. All those stretches should help you. However, sometimes sciatic pain is a signal that your structure is compromised (you might have a herniated disk or osteoporosis in your spine, that irritates the nerve). That’s why if your pain is not relieved with consistent stretching, I’d advise you to consult with your doctor.

Are there effective yoga stretches for sciatic nerve pain relief?

Yes. Sciatic nerve pain are often caused by tightness in your back and hip muscles. The most effective stretches you can do in my opinion are: figure four or pigeon pose (external rotation of the hip), seated forward fold with legs straight and seated forward fold with feet together, knees apart (butterfly stretch).
Try doing those 1-2 times a day, hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds. If after a couple weeks of these stretches you don’t feel significant reduction of pain, I suggest you get an MRI for your sacroiliac joint to see if the sciatic nerve is pinched by a herniated disk.

What is the best yoga sequence for older adults?

There’s no sequence that would fit everybody. I’m assuming you have some limitations due to your age and want to do yoga safely, but I cannot prescribe you a sequence until I hear more about your body’s condition. Feel free to schedule a free consultation that will help me get to know you and develop a personalized sequence that will be tailored to you!

Can you recommend good yoga stretches for hands and wrists?

Sure. Check out the video where I explain how to do some simple stretching for hands and wrists!

Are there yoga exercises for menstrual cramps?

Back extensions, hip stretching, and generally gentle movement (it could be as simple as taking a walk!) is going to improve circulation in your low abdomen and pelvic floor region. Menstrual cramps are oftentimes caused by stagnation of blood, so by improving circulation there’s a high chance your pain will lessen. Here are demonstrations of yoga poses that help me personally.

Are there yoga poses I should avoid in my second trimester?

Yes, you should avoid being down on your stomach and lying down on your back. Instead, use a few pillows/bolsters to create an incline for supine asanas and substitute your prone asanas with kneeling positions. Deep twists are also not recommended after your first trimester.

What is the best way to increase hamstring flexibility?

Many people have tight hamstrings genetically (most men) and due to their lifestyle. The best way to increase hamstring flexibility is daily stretching and using active stretching methods rather than passive ones. For instance, instead of just bending over your legs , try balancing on one leg out at a time in Warrior III and bring your back leg high enough for you to feel the stretch. Check out this demonstration on active hamstring stretches.

What are the benefits of standing poses in yoga?

Standing yoga poses strengthen and tone your lower body, improve your balance and flexibility, and literally make you feel more grounded.

What is the best time to do yoga in a day?

My personal favorites are about an hour after I wake up (about 7-7.30am) and early afternoon, before dinner time. You might be on a different schedule from me so just make sure that you are doing yoga on an empty stomach and after you’ve moved around your day a little bit. I find it difficult to stretch or workout hard the very first thing in the morning. It takes some time for my body to wake up before I can really get into serious physical practice. So walk your dog, brush your teeth and shower, drink some water, roll out, and only then get to your yoga practice.

Why do I have stomach pain while doing yoga?

Any pain is an indicator that something is off in your body, but before I get more details about your pain, it’s hard to give you a definite answer. Does your pain occur during specific poses? Where exactly in your abdominal area do you have pain? Is it sharp or dull? Does it stop after yoga or does it continue lingering for the rest of the day? Reach out to me and let’s schedule a consultation when we can have a more detailed conversation about your problem and how we can solve it!

How to widen hips with yoga?

I think technically widening your hips would mean widening your bone structure, and you cannot do it with any exercise, only surgically. If you are asking about increasing range of movement in your hips so you could open your legs wider, than yoga practice is an excellent choice. Many yoga asanas are called hip openers for a reason. Check out my demonstrations of poses that can help you increase range of movement in your hips.

Can you do yoga when you have your period?

Yes, and personally for me doing yoga on my period helps me a lot to reduce discomfort more than pain killers! Gentle movement and belly breathing will improve overall blood circulation in your body and help you move things out. If you are on a very heavy flow and low energy day, choose yin yoga and passive stretches over more strenuous styles of yoga such as power or hatha yoga. Always listen to your body! Choose movement when it feels good, but if it makes you even more tired than maybe rest is the best way for you. Savasana (corpse pose) or supta baddha konasana (supine butterfly) are two poses that you can definitely practice even when you are super tired.

Does yoga help with anxiety and panic attacks?

First, ask yourself a question: what causes you to have anxiety and panic attacks? Maybe you are extremely stressed at work? Maybe you are in a toxic relationship? Or maybe, you are not even aware of the underlying reasons for your anxiety? Possibly, doing yoga will bring those issues to the surface and make you realize something new about your life? I firmly believe that practicing yoga and meditation will help you cope with your stress.

How to strengthen arms for yoga?

Doing yoga will strengthen your arms. Yoga practice includes weight bearing poses such as planks and arm balances. The only exercise that traditional yoga practice doesn’t really include is a pull up, or a pulling action for that matter. So if you generally want to strengthen your arms to make yoga poses feel easier, keep doing yoga and add pull ups or rowing motions to your routine 2-3 times a week.

Can I do yoga with a bad back?

I guess it all depends on your condition. Most people who have back injuries can still practice yoga and use modification to make their practice safe for their backs. For instance, some people shouldn’t practice deep backbends so they replace an upward facing dog with a cobra pose or a plank. For others, it can be taking out all forward bends from their practice and doing everything with their neutral spine. You should definitely speak with your doctor about what spinal movements are and aren’t safe for you.

Should I warm up before yoga?

A proper sequenced yoga class includes warm up. It won’t hurt to get your blood moving by doing something active (like walking or jogging) before a yoga class, but if you don’t have time for it, it’s not crucial for your practice.

Why do my wrists hurt during yoga?

Many yoga poses require you putting pressure on your wrists, especially downward dogs, planks, arm balances, and handstands. So if you are just starting out and not used to this sort of exercise/positions, your wrists will feel it. You might feel a little sore for a day or two, and then it should go away. However, if you are in constant pain during and after yoga classes, there’s a chance that you are improperly distributing weight. I always guide my clients to spread fingers wide, apply light pressure into the tips of your fingers and a little stronger pressure into the base of your fingers. Avoid collapsing all your weight into the base of your palm or only inner or outer side of your hands.

Can you recommend yoga exercises for nerve pain in legs?

If your pain is a result of a herniated disk or bone spur in the spine that presses on the sciatic nerve, you might need some surgical intervention. However, if your pain is a result of tight piriformis muscle that irritates the nerve, then there are exercises you can do to loosen up that muscle. First, I suggest you use a roller (foam roller, tennis ball, or any other self-massage tool you have) to roll that muscle out for a few minutes. Step two is to stretch it in one of the following positions: pigeon pose (I suggest using a bolster), supine thread the needle pose, supine pretzel stretch (cow face stretch), supine happy baby. Check out this video where I show how to do these poses.

What are the best yoga stretches for lower back pain?

Depending on the origins of your pain, some poses can work better than others. If your pain is just a result of tightness from sitting or running, I suggest child’s pose, happy baby, standing or sitting forward fold, side bending poses that stretch your intercostal muscles, and inversions or better hanging upside down for back traction.

Do you have any advice on how to build a yoga routine?

Every body has different needs, limitations, and history. I would need to get to know you better before I can build a personalized yoga routine. So if you are interested, go ahead and reach out to me! But first, I want you to understand that yoga is not just exercise, it’s a lifestyle. And building a yoga routine can involve changing some eating/sleeping habits, and in general will transform you and your life!

Can you advice on how to stretch your butt muscles?

You have several butt muscles such as gluteus maximus, medius, minimus, piriformis, and TFL. Supine knee to chest is a good stretch for the gluteus maximus. For other muscle groups, you need to externally rotate your hip and then play with angles. Figure four stretch, pigeon, thread the needle are among those essential stretches for your buttocks.

What is the best type of yoga for rock climbers?

Rock climbing is very strenuous on the body. I love rock climbing and bouldering, but doing it too often can lead to strained muscles and injuries. To balance out all that stress, grab your climbing partner for some partner yoga stretches or some acro yoga therapeutic play. I suggest doing back bends to stretch hip flexors and abdominal muscles, side bends to stretch lats and intercostal muscles, and wrist stretching poses.

Should I do yoga after a major abdominal surgery?

Not right away! You need to take at least 6-8 weeks to heal and consult with your doctor before you decide to do any exercise. But after you’ve been cleared, doing yoga will help you regain core strength and connection so I highly recommend it.

Does yoga help with posture?

It sure does! The foundational asana in yoga- tadasana- a standing position with proper posture. All other yoga poses originate from tadasana and will help you balance out your body for a good posture. Many poses are aimed to counter our predominantly sedentary lifestyle by strengthening your upper back and glues, as well as stretching shoulders, chest, and hip flexors.

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