The Health24 Experts are not just there to help with illness and treatment, there are professionals dedicated to helping you improve fitness levels, peace of mind and the general quality of your life. Find out more about improving your breathing, posture and well-being from the Yoga Expert.
Q: Appetite problem
I have a problem with my appetite and food sensitivities – I can't take milk or any supplements. I'm having a problem eating any food, and after meals gas bloats my upper abdomen. Which yoga will help me?
A: Any regular yoga practice will help this problem. If you practice postures, breathing and relaxation techniques daily, then after some time you will find an improvement in your symptoms.
More specific practices are the Shatkarmas (cleansing practices) like Kunjal (Stomach wash) and Shankapraksahalana (Intestinal Wash). Deep abdominal breath, Bhastrika and Kapalbhati, will be excellent breathing techniques for this condition, and any yoga postures that massage the abdominal organs. I suggest getting a copy of Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bhanda by Swami Satyananda Saraswati; it has all the above practices in it and also a therapeutic index detailing practices for gas and digestive problems.
Q: Neck and shoulder spasms
Hi, I'm struggling with neck and shoulder spasms, and they are really bad too. Usually I have to get injections to ease the pain as the neck spasms give me migraines. They (the doctors) looked up every possible cause, but it all came down to my bad posture. I'm turning 21 in October and I feel that this is a very bad problem to have at such a young age. Do you think it's too late to do something about my posture? Will yoga help? And if so, what type of yoga? I understand that there are a whole lot of different kinds.
A: It is never too late to do something about your posture. I have seen 60 year old people going from being to stiff to bend forwards past there knees to touching their toes 6 months later. The key is a little regular practice daily.
I recommend a slow, mindful style of Hatha yoga, beginner classes and possibly working one-on-one with a teacher experienced in remedial yoga, so that you can tailor a set of practices to help you. Satyananda yoga or Sivananda yoga would be best as they are integral styles. It sounds like you could use some breathing and relaxation practices as well, to get in touch with your body. Many tensions that the body holds are mental and emotional, and you need a holistic approach to releasing these things.
I remember coming to yoga with similar realisations about being young and my body being stiff already. I was amazed at how quickly you can turn it all around and free yourself.
Q: Yoga and weight loss
Does yoga help you to lose weight?
A: Yoga is a path of self realisation. Should weight loss be part of that path for you, then yes, it will help you lose weight.
I would say that if you practiced regularly (daily) for 30-40 minutes asana (postures) and breathing (pranayama) you would definately come to a more ideal weight for your body frame over a period of about one year. A class now and then will not do it.
Q: Yoga to ease monthly cramping
Do you have any tips on yoga postures before and during menstruation – to relax, and ease pain?
A: Majari Asana (Cat Stretch), Vajarasana (Thunderbolt posture), Shashankasana (Pose of the Hare, or Childs Pose), as well as deep abdominal breath with ujjayi pranayama while lying in shavasana.
These practices are supposed to be excellent for easing cramps and discomfort. If you need an easy guide to learn these practices, I suggest the ASANA PRANAYAMA MUDRA BHANDHA by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
Q: Becoming a yoga teacher
I plan to do a Teacher Training Yoga certification as a home study course. It is from the Aura Wellness Centre Teacher Training in USA. You basically buy it and they post mail it to you, all benefits attached, help etc. Have you heard about this course? It seems to cover what is necessary to get certification, but of course I understand that Yoga is never ending topic of study.
A: I've not heard about this course, but I must say correspondence is a great way to study yoga, but for teaching, I do feel there should be some practical contact time, as how do you know you are teaching things properly?
The other thing to consider is the many styles of yoga out there. Is the yoga training they offer, the style you want to teach? If not you should also look to see what is on offer in your style of yoga.
I also think the best way to learn to teach yoga is to establish a regular daily personal practice, in which you explore yourself through the various yoga practices. If you know the practices well, then teaching them becomes much easier. Many of the best teachers I have experienced, have never done a formal teachers training, but were sincere yoga practitioners themselves who then taught what they discovered to others.
Visit the Yoga Centre
Body bliss with Ashtanga yoga
(Joanne Hart, Health24, September 2010)