Tag Archives: yoga

Fitness – A new way to Yoga


(examples of how NOT to do this pose)

The fight goes on – and by that I mean, the fight with pain. The last month has been positive, staying active even with migrating soreness in my lower lumbar. -I’m pretty sure cycling 100 km last weekend didn’t help it.  Great news, though, the wrists are back and I went to my first yoga in months!

We continue here about a few core-strengthening. Training your core can help improve chronic pain and teach smaller muscle groups when to “get to work”, especially as they fatigue with repetitive actions like cycling or running.

I try and do three core exercises everyday since Cambodia.

1. Glute Bridges

2. Cat/Cow iteration

3. Supermans, or Bird/Dog but on your back! 

Maybe i’ll do a video to show you want I mean…

Kim at (@Kimmcneilyoga) has been doing a great black and white Q&A series on instagram, which is phenomenal and interactive if you’re continually wondering how to improve your yoga practice.

A photo posted by Kim McNeil (@kimmcneilyoga) on Mar 22, 2015 at 5:39am PDT

What’s a yogi to do when they have tendonitis, arthritis, injury, or plain ‘old lack of flexibility in their wrists? Are poses like Downward-facing Dog, plank, or Cat Pose off the table?


The answer:

Support wrists to prevent too much flexion. Here she’s using a bolster to do the same pose I attempted in pain over christmas. Now that I know, I’ll certainly use a bolster.

Got a yoga therapy question get in touch with Kim, email info@kimmcneilyoga.ca

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Fitness- Yoga for the hurting

I’d like to do a quick shout out to Kim at (@Kimmcneilyoga). I’ve been following her and a few other inspiring yogis to remind myself to slow down, focus, and take care of your joints. Last time, we spoke a bit about chronic pain and how to combat it.

I’m a lover of yoga; it builds strength, teaches mindfulness, and often relieves physical and mental stress from other forms of training. It’s key to my workout schedule. However, I’m crushed because my wrist has been in very bad shape since November and I can’t put any pressure on it or bend it. I asked Kim about my practice.

What’s a yogi to do when they have tendonitis, arthritis, injury, or plain ‘old lack of flexibility in their wrists? Are poses like Downward-facing Dog, plank, or Cat Pose off the table?

The quick answer:

Nope. Start by changing your wrist support. Fold back one edge of your mat and place your palms on the edge with your fingers and finger mounds off on the floor. The idea here is you’ll increase the angle of the wrists so they don’t have to flex as much. (I had to bend it a few times to give my wrist the height) – In other news, I realised that you fold the mat UNDER, only after I did a whole day of rolling it up, silly me.

A photo posted by Kim McNeil (@kimmcneilyoga) on Feb 17, 2015 at 8:51pm PST

Got a yoga therapy question get in touch with Kim, email info@kimmcneilyoga.ca

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February Fitness – I hate core day

Hello fitness friends & food-lovers,

I recently had a conversation with a friend about chronic pain; it sounds worse than it is, but anyone who’s experienced prolonged pain will know it can reduce you to nothing.

This is one reason to stay active and on top of core work. Either to maintain your mobility and strength (if you have pain), or to keep it at bay by staying as mobile and pain-free for as long as possible.  The ‘Use it or Lose it’ motto applies here!

So when people ask why I train, it’s not only to be strong, or lift, or bulk, or aesthetics.  I’m a firm believer in functional training for what our bodies were meant for. – y’know, before we were sitting at desks with computers we worked the land and ploughed fields.

All jokes aside, here is some of the core work that I’ve tried to do on a daily basis.  Building discipline is tricky, and pay-off is slow.  (about that six pack though…)

CLICK HERE> Core Workout 


Tips for Workout:

– the hip raises can be done both legs together, and then isolating one leg at a time as you get stronger

– make sure you engage your core & pull in your belly for all the core exercises. (pretend like someone’s going to poke you in the stomach and you’ll tense tense it up)

– for plank & side plank, try to incorporate these into one exercise by transitioning from side plank facing the wall to a one-handed side-plank tucking the arm under and across the body/belly

– I’ve turned the bird/dog upside down and done them on my back like this


– Leg raises can be done with a bent knee. If you think these are easy just make sure you are engaging your core AND your back is touching the ground at all times – then we’ll talk.

QUIZ TIME, What is this and what is it for??


It’s a lacrosse ball!  More on mobility later, but I’d say massage & lacrosse balls are key for rolling out tight spots.  In Dublin, this is where I’ve found them:


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Yogis or Pilates – Fitness Edition

Sure, it’s new years and if you’re like a few people out there you have a goals or habits to build this month – and hopefully maintain throughout the year.

If getting fit or bendy is one of them, this little infographic will help you understand the differences between pilates and yoga.
I know I learned something about pilates.

(I’d like to hear which one you tend towards and why?) Personally, I’d tend towards yoga, but according to the physio and this infographic, sounds like I might benefit from trying a bit of pilates to help with chronic pain. Well, off to practice a bit. Hope your fitness is making leaps and bounds this month!

-Good luck!

 Pilates or Yoga: Which Practice is for You?


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Off the path of food – Yoga

Bikram, it may be your 10th year, but I have no tagline for you

the smell.


I am generally open-minded and try most things once.  In the case of yoga, I realise since moving to Dublin, that I will go to great lengths – walking long distances, researching online, and talking to other yogis; to find and try new Yoga places.  On this one occasion, I was committed to attend hot yoga.  I have been living with a lot of chronic pain for a long time, and find that this is the one of the few things that improves my pain.  Sunday morning, I set out to find a Hot yoga place that has been recommended to me through some friends.  Work called, last minute, and I was running late. – So I hopped in a cab.

Upon arrival, I asked if the class was starting in 10 minutes and no one would address my question.  after waiting for the crowd of the previous class to dissipate, the instructor tells me that there is no class until 11am.  I leave and return, asking to pay for the 11 am class.  Go through the rigmarole of release forms, no i’m not pregnant, have done hot yoga before, yes; and will not hold you or your company responsible for any ill effects from this class.  The teacher explains all the expected behaviour to me; no water in the first two to three poses, do not leave the room, the class is 90 minutes of OPEN-EYE meditation.  Try to get a spot in the back so you can follow others around you. – nice.

I proceed downstairs to change into my shorts.  With each step downstairs, the smell hits me; a little stronger with each step.  In the basement, the men’s toilets are marked but change rooms are somewhat unmarked and a lady points me in the right direction.  I look around the old basement with wooden shelves half unconstructed.   I hang my backpack up with my yoga mat popping out the top, making a mental note to not touch anything on the walls or the floor.  Ok, self pep-talk, I can do this class.

Meanwhile, I am wondering if anyone has noticed the sticky body odour & sweat dripped floor.  It is getting a bit manky.  I don’t want to go back down into that fluorescent damp change room so I take my belongings upstairs.

I enter the class with my matt.  The dense humidity hits my face, and the usual heat floods my sensory system.  I recognise this familiar feeling, but a sudden odour comes-on with the humidity.  It’s a dense smell, the smell, of at least a hundred previously sweaty people trapped in a room.  It is overwhelming, I close my eyes and consider leaving; but I’ve paid, I’ve gone to great lengths to do this class – push on. Focus is wavering.  Finding a good spot for my mat, all the while wondering in my mind how many other people in the room are identifying this smell as, ‘OFF’ – the Pungent, putrid, and plain aged body odour.  Each breath you think you’re olfactory will adapt and the smell will fade, but it doesn’t, it’s just as strong as the last breath.  Mindful now, you think “oh HELLLL no, this is not happening. “ I can’t possibly vomit all over, ok.  Through the mouth, breathe through your mouth.

warrior 2

Stepping on the floor, I realise that it is old carpet – the kind that looks like (astro)turf.  I wonder how often they clean the carpet, or how they dry it out.  The carpet is wet on my feet. I start tip-toeing so as to mentally avoid the smell I think I am taking in through my feet.  This all can be overcome with my active mindfulness, I tell myself. 😉   Anyways, I get through some of class, the standing poses – dancer, tree, etc….  We go to do warrior 2 bent forward knee and teacher has us straddling the mat; feet on the carpet.  You must put your feet on either side of the mat.  Dread.  Next as we move onto the lower poses on the ground, we proceed to cobra (face and belly to the floor).  Oh no! Even closer to the source of ‘mankyness’. I smell the towel – that the teacher has left the class to get for me and insist I use.  well, it’s a bit funky but still ok.  move my nose to the floor and I think it’s a mixture between cheese, toe jam, rain, sweat and wind a lll balled into one.  Think of the stinkiest people you’ve ever met and multiply that by 100.

This, my dear… is a challenge of focus, your mind’s focus: overcoming the feedback that naturally occurs to you.

Everyone around me seems completely un-phased, as if this is the normal smell.

End of class.

As an added bonus, they have exposed foil-wrapped polystyrene between the wooden brackets of unfinished wall.  I am told they are in permanent disrepair and are planning to put in a juice bar.  Let’s just say I won’t be getting any juice there.

-A memory I will not soon forget.


Speaking of awkward yoga:



To make this a little more constructive & positive, here’s the link to the lululemon goal-setting sheet.


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