Yoga for Everyday Movements

Following Our breath: Staying safe throughout the day

A few nights ago, I learned a valuable lesson while picking up after our dog Lucy. I had been eager to return to my desk to record a few thoughts tied to this post you’re now reading: staying safe as we move through our everyday routines. And wouldn’t you know it, as I bent over, plastic bag in hand, I felt that familiar twinge in my lower back…I shook my head in disbelief and quickly corrected my posture, bending the knees and straightening the back…It was almost comical. Here I was, preaching the importance of proper posture and alignment, and then committing one of the cardinal sins myself…But that is really what it is all about, isn’t it? Building awareness and then informing our movement and mindset with that awareness. It actually sounds a lot like yoga when we’re tuned into a sequence…but what about off the mat, when we’re hammering away at our keyboard or picking up after Lucy? Where can we find that awareness before our lower back joins the discussion? Well, that is where our breath enters the picture…

Research shows that when we pay closer attention to our breath, we can not only relieve stress, but also sharpen our focus in the present moment. Our breath is always there for us and provides the ideal cue for us to pull our heads out of the past or the future, even if it is just to focus on picking up after Lucy. What’s important is that we stay safe during these everyday movements that we normally handle on autopilot…climbing in and out of a deep sofa or easy chair…checking our blind spot when changing lanes on the highway…lifting that bag of groceries out of the cart. As strange as it sounds, our breath can help us pay closer attention to what we are doing in these everyday moments and stay safe, so we can continue doing everything it is that we love doing, or even not love doing so much…

This series of short video tutorials slowly walks you through several basic everyday movements, highlighting how the breath provides us valuable cues on safe posture and alignment. We firmly believe that with practice, you will find yourself paying closer attention to not only these different movements, but also how you are feeling in the moment. It all comes back to following the breath, our gateway into the present. Please let us know what specific movements you would like to see featured in this series, and until next time, stay safe and keep breathing!

1. Everyday Yoga: Getting in and out of our chair

We get in and out of chairs dozens of times every day…in living rooms, offices, kitchens and bathrooms…it only makes sense we take a closer look at this movement to make sure we’re doing it safely. We can all too easily lose our balance, even with chairs we’re familiar with, leading to serious outcomes…in fact, 50% of folks over the age of 65 don’t survive beyond one year after suffering a hip fracture. This video breaks down the proper alignment and breathing that support safely getting in and out of just about any chair you can think of. And as we do so, we’ll also gently tone the core muscles in our back, hips and midsection.

2. Everyday Yoga: Picking Something Up Off the Ground

So, imagine you’ve dropped your keys trying to get into the house, or maybe the dog has left you something to scoop up on your nightly walk…your mind is somewhere else as you bend over and suddenly feel that pull or pinch in your lower back. We have all been there…in fact, 80% of Americans experience significant back pain in their lives. One third report that it impacts their everyday activities, including sleeping! This video breaks down the proper alignment and breathing that support a healthy forward bend, which can also help us build strength and flexibility in our core muscles of the back, hips and midsection. 

3. Everyday Yoga: Looking Over the Shoulder

Imagine you’re checking your blind spot on the highway…or you hear Interstate 95 in the Philadelphia area is one of my most learned mindfulness teachers. I owe so much of my progress in deep focused breathing to the drivers and potholes of this notorious stretch of highway. As I pay closer attention to my breath, I get plenty of practice in managing my stress levels, anticipating the next unexpected move of another motorist, and also turning more safely to check my blind spots. Looking over our shoulder seems like such a simple everyday movement, we rarely pay much attention to it…that is until we pinch a nerve in our neck as I did myself several years ago. I was sitting in my office and quickly turned my head as a colleague walked in the door. I immediately felt a sharp shooting pain down the right side of my neck and shoulder. It was months before I could move my head freely in any direction…This video breaks down the proper alignment and breathing that support a healthy twist, which can also help to relieve back pain and tension

So let’s stay safe doing what we love doing (or maybe not love so much…) by paying closer attention to how we move through our daily routines. Think of it as yoga for everyday living!

Yoga for Men

Highly recommended! I’ve been going to classes at Brian’s the past few months and it’s making a big difference. Brian’s a great guy and knowledgeable.”  Evan S.

Sundays 10 AM & Thursdays 6:30 PM. 60 min group session. $15.00. Three session discount $40.00. Email Brian to join the group! His address is: brian@teamsunwellness.com

This class is specifically designed for men of all shapes, sizes and ability levels to build strength and flexibility in a comfortable informal setting. Men tend to have greater muscle mass and less range of movement and may be intimidated by a traditional yoga studio environment. We’ll work on how to:

  • Build our core muscles to manage old injuries and prevent new ones
  • Expand the range of movement in our shoulders, backs and hips
  • Use the breath to improve posture and balance
  • Learn simple techniques for managing stress and developing work/life balance
*janu_strap

Yoga Instructor Brian Jeans stretches the hamstrings in a modified Head-to-Knee Forward Bend

In the gym many of us tend to focus on building the muscles on the front of our bodies and neglect those running down our back, where 70 percent of our muscle mass resides. And on our daily run, we put a lot of strain on the joints of our lower body and tighten the hips. Yoga offers a range of postures that build strength through body-weight resistance while utilizing the full range of the joints in a healthy, less repetitive way.  And it’s a great complement to any fitness routine.

Our modern tech-driven lifestyles aren’t doing us any favors either. The hours we spend hunched in front of the computer or over our smart phones can have serious effects on our overall health by degrading our posture, breath and balance. Together, we’ll explore how to optimize our alignment to stay safe and manage stress throughout the day.

About the Instructor: My name is Brian Jeans and I am a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200) and have also trained in mindfulness practice (Penn Medicine). I have taught folks of all shapes, sizes, ages and ability levels, both in group and private settings, here in the Philly area for close to three years. I first became a student myself about ten years ago after a friend mentioned that it might help with my recovery from a mountain biking injury. I am familiar with a wide range of the traditional Hatha yoga styles including Vinyasa, Bikram (Hot Yoga), Iyengar and Restorative. As both a teacher and a student, my greatest interest lies in maintaining proper alignment both on and off the mat. Ultimately, yoga has allowed me to continue doing all the things I love well into middle age. The studio has has an inversion table to assist folks with nagging shoulder, back or knee issues.

Studio Location: Our studio is centrally situated in the Newbold North neighborhood at 1809 S. Bancroft St. There is generally plenty of street parking available and we are a three minute walk from the Broad Street Tasker-Morris Station.

Payment: Use the PayPal button below or pay in cash or check on site.

Yoga for Men – Group Session

$15.00

Yoga for Men – Private Session

$45.00