Top 3 Yoga Positions That Align Your Spine

First of all, let me just say that I am NO expert in spinal health. I wrote this post after getting some expert opinion from a real deal chiropractor that I’ve known since undergrad. He runs a practice in Fredericksburg, VA. I told him I’d give him a little shoutout… so you can check him out:

Spine health is crucial for your overall health and wellness. Flexibility and balance are the two primary components which help in the maintenance of excellent spine alignment. Yoga poses which for the spine helps in developing flexibility and balance which helps in improving mobility, blood circulation and reduces pain.

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Back pain is often caused by improper alignment of the spine. If this happens, the range of motion of the spine gets restricted and pain is experienced. Practicing several yoga stretches can help in strengthening and straightening the spine.

Corpse Pose:

Corpse pose is quite recommended for spine alignment because of long contact of spine on floor. For this pose, you need to lie down on your back. Your arms will be brought down by the sides. Your palms shall face the ceiling. You need to have your legs spread and your feet shall be rolled in an outwards position. Now, you can keep your eyes closed and focus on deep and even breathing. In case there is discomfort and pain, you can keep a pillow or even folded blankets just under the knees. You need to be in this position for at least five minutes. The pose can be done for a duration of fifteen minutes.

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Bridge Pose:

This is quite a beneficial workout which helps in strengthening the back and is quite effective in aligning the cervical vertebrae of neck. One needs to start the workout by lying down on the back in a comfortable position. The feet shall be flat on the floor while the knees will be bent. The tailbone will be pressed into the floor. You can now bring the arms by the side. You can again press the feet in the floor as you slowly move your hips to the sky. Your middle and the lower back needs to be up and above the floor. Just your head, cervical spine and the upper thoracic will be in touch with floor. You can again slowly lower your hips and back down. Never stretch yourself so much that it causes you immense pain or you might hurt yourself. If you feel unbearable pain, you need to stop immediately.

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Seated Twist:

When you practice this pose, you will be able to move your spine backwards and forwards. Your spine will also be twisting from a side to another. Through this pose, you will be able to lubricate your spine and increase the twisting range. For this workout, you need to be seated in a cross-legged position. You need to feel comfortable as you start the twist. If you wish, you can also do this while you are seated in a chair. You will have to lengthen your spine and then move the torso towards your right. As you inhale, you can lengthen the spine. As you exhale you can move deep in the twist. You can get back to the center position and then repeat the workout on the opposite side.

If you are new to yoga, you need to start the movements slowly and never overstrain. It is also recommended to start under the guidance of an expert.

What are Healthy Fats?

Most of us who are diet conscious believe that we need to have low-fat foods and stay away from high-fat foods which are not good for us.  Fats, in our diet, are often considered to be a ‘dietary enemy’ and something which we need to be worried about. Thus, when we hear about healthy fats, we are often confused. However, it’s a fact that there are a few high-fat foods which should be a part of our diet on a regular basis.

bowl of pecans

However, it’s important to understand, what the phrase ‘healthy fat’ means. It actually refers to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Healthy fats are known to offer heart health benefits and help our body to fight some crucial diseases. These fats might help in reducing LDL cholesterol which is known to clog the arteries. Research suggests that these fats can help patients with elevated blood sugar levels, thereby doing their bit to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

So, how are monounsaturated fats and the different polyunsaturated fats good for the body?

Here are some ways how these fats can help you stay healthy and fit?

  • Healthy fats help in reducing the chances of abnormal heart rhythms.
  • These fats are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and also stroke.
  • Regular consumption of these fats can also reduce the low cholesterol levels and increase good HDL.
  • These fats are also known to reduce low blood pressure.
  • They are also known to reduce triglycerides in the body which are closely related to heart disease. They also help in fighting inflammation.
  • These fats also help in prevention of artherosclerosis or in hardening or narrowing of arteries.

When these healthy fats are regularly added in the diet, it might help a person in feeling satisfied after a meal. These fats are also known to reduce hunger which helps in promoting weight loss.

low fat sandwich

Now, since you will be including monounsaturated fat in your diet, you need to know more about their sources as well. These include olives, nuts which include pecans, cashews, almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts. Avocados and olive, sesame oils, canola are good sources of healthy fats.

How to add healthy fats to diet?

Now, you no longer have to keep counting your fat grams. All you need to do is have a rich diet which is rich in fruits, beans and vegetables. You need to have a moderate quantity of dairy, fatty fish and little quantity of red meat. It is also important to stay away from all kinds of processed meals and occasional fried food. Here are some diet tips which can help in including healthy fats in your diet.

mixed nuts for spinal health
  • You need to keep away trans fats from the diet. Thus, check the food labels before consuming food. You should have lesser quantity of fast food and commercially baked food.
  • Limit saturated fats – You can do this by replacing red meat with fish, poultry, beans and nuts.
  • Have omega-3 fats daily – You can include different fishes in your diet along with plant sources such as soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts and more.

Last but not the least, it’s a healthy habit to cook food with olive oil. It is one of the healthiest ways to have your daily food.


LGBT Health

LGBT individuals no longer have to face questions on their orientation or their gender identity on most surveys. Though, this is a positive development, yet one negative side to this is the fact, that it is often difficult to make an estimate of the number of LGBT individuals and their various health needs. Undoubtedly, they face health disparities, in spite of worldwide change in acceptance and understanding!

Why do we face health risks?

Research reveals that LGBT individuals face several health disparities, and this is directly linked to societal stigma, some form of discrimination and also denial of many of their civil and human rights. It is found that discrimination against such persons is closely associated with increasing rate of psychiatric disorders, instances of substance abuse, depression, suicidal tendency and violence. It also leads to poor self-esteem and often causes a feeling of shame and guilt. Such victimization of such individuals often has long-lasting impact on their mental and physical aids. Most of their sicknesses are associated with continuous stress, anxiety, depression and also societal pressure.

Research studies that the LGBT community suffer from several health conditions which include cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, thyroid and other health issues, most of which are directly related to psychological pressure and stigma which they often go through.

Importance of LGBT Health:

Research reveals that the overall health of the community is reported to be “poor” mainly due to lack of concern and often awareness. For survival in a healthy society, it’s important to eliminate LGBT health disparities. It is also needed to enhance efforts which help in improving LGBT health, ensuring they can lead a healthy and long life, just like everyone else. Addressing health concerns faced by the community is of prime importance due to the following reasons.

If health issues of the individuals are addressed, it will help in reducing disease transmission as well as progression. Everyone has equal right to medical benefits and treatments. No matter what health issue LGBT individuals are facing, it is important that they get healthcare facilities at the earliest.

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It is important for increasing mental and the physical well-being of the individual. Continuous social stigma sometimes queries, and curiosity can lead to discomfort, withdrawal symptoms, anxiety and sadness.

LGBT individuals often face problems related to financial instability due to difficulties in getting employed. Reduced medical expenses can encourage them to approach healthcare facilities, without any fear of having to spend a lot of money.

With the availability of proper healthcare facilities, reduced expenses and cooperation from the healthcare specialities, it will ensure overall good health of the individuals. Health issues can be diagnosed early, and treatment started.

Man Holding White Hand Fan

In order to achieve all this, it is crucial to take steps to improve LGBT health. This includes collection of data related to the community, surveys to find out health issues and identity the medical disparities they might be facing. Medical students should be trained to cater to the needs of the LGBT, understand their mental conditions and help them psychologically as well.

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