Medicine Yoga

Health, Fitness and Wellness

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Easy Back Moves, Inspiring Students, and Feline Love

Filmed a couple of short videos in my backyard in San Jose a couple of days ago in response to a few requests for moves to help manage and hopefully eventually eliminate sciatic issues.  As you will see, it was a beautiful northern CA day for a backyard yoga practice, surrounded by peaceful bamboo and assisted by Merry the cat, pictured here practicing her version of  Jaṭharaparivartanāsana (Belly Revolving Pose).

Three Easy Back Moves from Medicine Yoga on Vimeo.

Three Easy Back Moves from Medicine Yoga on Vimeo.

I put it up on Facebook and got a lot of positive responses. In particular, I was touched by one of my students who reposted them.  Her lovely testimonial made my day.

“This is the woman whom I credit fixing my back to. Prior to meeting Barb, I thought that I would live my life in excruciating pain. Now I am nearly 100% pain free on most days, as long as I do what I’m supposed to do! I always thought there would not be a cure, and there wasn’t a doctor in the world who seemed to be able to help me except with drugs, which did absolutely nothing. Yoga was suggested to me many times but I pooh-poohed it because I could hardly move, so why would I go to a yoga class. Thank goodness I went anyway and just did what little teensy bit I could do. After five or six classes I started to be able to bend over further than just my shoulders — let me tell you, it was flippin’ hard work and I bet I said the F word more times in those classes than I should have. Yoga works, people. Find an instructor and go. Tell them what you are dealing with, don’t try to keep up with anyone but yourself, and if you feel like you are being pushed to do more than you feel you can, then find another instructor. Keep on trying.”

I am inspired every day by the progress and diligence of my students, and thankful for the opportunity to share the practice.




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April showers, flowers, and a new class


As we enter into April,with apple and pear trees showing us their blossoms with promise of fruits to come,  I’m happy to see the rainy weather prediction for thirsty northern California.  And also happy to announce that I’m teaching a new evening class starting tonight.  For those of you in the south bay area, would love to see you.  7:15pm Almaden Yoga.  It’s a wonderful time to plant some seeds for transformation.  And have fun doing it.  Look how happy Marilyn is practicing Dhanurasana (Bow Pose).  I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty inspiring.  Namaste.


Standing on our own two feet – a tale of two bunions


I am inspired every day by the commitment and accomplishments of my students. So, I thought it would be fun to share a few things that I heard from students this week in a couple of blog posts. This one is about bunions, but also about establishing a strong foundation for practice and life, and about standing on our own two feet to be who we are meant to be in the worl

“Look, Barb, my big toes are touching!”
When we come into Tadasana (Mountain Pose), I tell the students to stand with feet together, big toes touching, feeling rooted into the ground. When I first met Heather, she had bunions which prevented her from bringing her toes together. After almost two years of practice, she suddenly noticed that her big toes touched. “I thought I was doomed to have feet like my mother’s, especially after all the dancing I have done. You said that bunions can get better, and now look!”

The feet are the “pad” or foundation of our standing body, upon which we build our alignment, balance, and movement. All of the work that we do to build strength, mobility and flexibility in the feet and ankles provides a strong foundation for our practice and our lives.

I remember when I first started working in the business world, wearing high heels all day, and soon noticing aches and pains in not just my feet but also my low back. I began to notice how many women had that “my feet hurt but I feel like to have to wear these shoes” look. And then we all started wearing exercise shoes while walking and taking the bus, and only donning out high heels when we absolutely positively had to.

Even if you are still wearing heels (hopefully just occasionally and hopefully not too high), foot exercises can help keep them healthy and pain free. I will post a video of a good beginning foot sequence soon. Yours in health and happy feet.