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Yoga & Beyond | The Yoga and Movement Science Podcast
26 minutes | Dec 12, 2017
Y&B #63 - What's the best hamstring stretch? Comparison of four techniques
How often do your students ask for help with tight hamstrings? In this episode Jenn Pilotti and I discuss a study that compared 4 stretching techniques for greater hamstring flexibility. This study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared two active stretches and two passive stretches in 100 people over the course of 8 weeks. It’s clear that one resulted in the greatest gains. We discuss the results here and in our Yoga Research and Beyond review.
32 minutes | Nov 28, 2017
Y&B #62 - Buteyko Breathing and Asthma
How can Buteyko breathing help with asthma? Research shows 6-30% of asthma sufferers use breathing methods to alleviate their asthma symptoms in the UK. Catherine and I discuss a paper from the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal about Buteyko breathing and asthma. Buteyko breathing technique (BBT) is a method that is used in some practices to help with hyperventilation, and asthma. BBT trains people to slow their breath rate, eliminate mouth breathing (using a small strip of tape on the mouth), and use controlled breath pauses to increase CO2 levels. Russian physiologist, Konstantin Buteyko, created it in the 1950’s after experimenting with a slower breathing rate on himself and his patients. He postulated that hyperventilation and mouth breathing create hypocapnia (low CO2), which causes hundreds of ailments, including bronchospasm.
38 minutes | Oct 19, 2017
Y&B #61 - Ground Reaction Forces in 28 Yoga Poses
What are Ground Reaction Forces (GRFs) and why are they important? In biomechanics GRF is the force exerted from the ground onto the body when they make contact. It's basically Newton's 3rd law: for every action there is a reaction. Measuring these forces helps us understand how yoga poses impact bones and possibly bone mass.
40 minutes | Aug 31, 2017
Y&B #60 - Can VR Technology Alter Pain Perception?
Can virtual reality technology affect pain perception? Well, yeah. Catherine Cowey and I discuss a fun study about this co-authored by Lorimer Moseley in 2015 in the Psychological Science Journal. The researchers used VR technology to give subjects (with a history of neck pain) the illusion that they had moved their neck more or less than they actually had. As they hypothesized, this had an effect on their perception of pain.
56 minutes | Jul 28, 2017
Y&B #59 - Hamstring Injuries and Yoga
Proximal hamstring tendinopathy (PHT) is a pathology of the tendon with a combination of tissue damage, inflammation, and possibly pain at the proximal tendon where the hamstring attaches to the ischial tuberosity. PHT is very common among yoga practitioners as well as in other populations. Jules Mitchell and I talk about our own experiences with hamstring injuries as well as a 2016 clinical commentary entitled Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy: Clinical Aspects of Assessment and Management from the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.
47 minutes | Jun 28, 2017
Y&B #58 - The Value of Blowing Up a Balloon
Breathing is a hot topic for yoga teachers and fitness professionals. Jenn Pilotti and I talk about a study on the 90/90 breath technique with ball and balloon. Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) practitioners use this exercise to help people of all ages with musculoskeletal pain, including low back pain. We discuss the relationship between breathing and posture and how they might affect low back pain.
42 minutes | May 25, 2017
Y&B #57 - How does Kinesiotape® affect balance and athletic performance?
How does Kinesiotape® affect balance and athletic performance? Cat and I discuss a study from the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy done in 2016. The authors hypothesized that there would be improvements in athletic performance but it didn’t work out that way. There are many claims about the benefits of ktape. Cat and I discuss all of that and more. Bottom line. If it works for you, use it, but don’t become dependent on it.
37 minutes | Apr 20, 2017
Y&B #56 - Does yoga reverse bone loss?
Can 12 minutes of yoga a day reverse osteoporotic bone loss? The title of this study "Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss" might lead you to believe so, but the results and data are incomplete and inconclusive. Jules Mitchell and I talk about this complicated, underwhelming study published in the Geriatric Rehabilitation Journal in 2015.
55 minutes | Mar 23, 2017
Y&B #55 - Chronic Pain and Hypermobility
Catherine Cowey and I discuss an article on chronic pain and hypermobility syndrome (HMS) from the Journal of Pain Research. This article gives a thorough overview of the many kinds of hypermobility conditions and symptoms and makes it very clear that it’s a complicated subject. There’s a wide spectrum of hypermobility syndromes and symptoms which can make diagnosis challenging. The criteria are confusing and overlap depending on the type of hypermobility syndrome, and therefore, may need to be updated. We also talk about how to work with people who are hypermobile. When it comes to exercise and movement, people tend to do what they’re already good at it. Flexible people may love to do yoga because they find the poses accessible. For flexible people who also have hypermobility (joint laxity), only doing yoga and stretching can potentially exacerbate HMS symptoms or create instability in their joints. Couple this with the pervasive idealization of flexibility in yoga asana, as if it is somehow tied to spiritual heights, and you have a potentially injurious combination. Hypermobile yoga students would benefit from incorporating strength work and holding back on how far they go in poses in order to gain more strength and control in the ranges that they have.
60 minutes | Mar 2, 2017
Y&B #54 - Are headstands safe?
Are headstands safe? Jules Mitchell and I discuss a study about headstands from 2014. This is the first study of its kind that assessed loads on the neck and head in headstand. We had different reactions to this study. When I read it, it reinforced my decision to exclude headstands from my practice and group classes. When she read it, it didn’t change her mind about excluding it from group classes, but she went back to headstands in her personal practice. What was it about the study that deterred me from headstands? There is some data in this study that at face value can be alarming about the amount of force on the head and neck, and risks of fracture with compression and extension in the cervical spine. However Jules provides us with context about how those studies were conducted that made the data less alarming. As Jules likes to say, one study does not a conclusion make. This pioneering study opens the door to more questions and does not allow us to make definitive conclusions about the right or wrong ways to do headstand.
36 minutes | Feb 9, 2017
Y&B #53 - Distal Mobility for Proximal Stability
How does ankle instability affect the knee? In the previous episode Jenn Pilotti and I discussed proximal stability for distal mobility - how core stability affects the knees and ankles. But what about the other way around? How do distal joints affect more proximal ones? Many movement professionals work from the ground up, thinking about how the foot and ankle affect the rest of the kinetic chain. This is one of the few studies Jenn found that examines how the ankle affects the knee and landing kinematics. We review this study and talk about our own ankle injuries and working with people who have ankle issues. Yoga teachers often say it’s all connected. This paper touches on an aspect of that, namely how the ankle (a distal joint) affects the knee (a more proximal joint).
31 minutes | Jan 19, 2017
Y&B #52 - Proximal Stability for Distal Mobility
Proximal stability for distal mobility is a principle that’s often used in corrective exercise, manual treatment and personal training. Generally, it means that working on core stability can affect distal joints, providing more mobility. This is logical. A stable core may allow for less chaos in the periphery. In this episode Jenn Pilotti and I discuss 2 studies that look at how proximal strengthening impacts the knees and ankles of female athletes. The first study looks at the effect core stability has on landing kinematics for female Capoeira practitioners; the second looks at what strengthening the hip does for high school female basketball players with history of ankle injury. These studies support the notion that core stability in the lumbo pelvic hip complex affects the knees and ankles.
47 minutes | Dec 29, 2016
Y&B #51 Does Yoga improve athletic performance?
Does Yoga improve athletic performance? It might, but we don't know exactly how. Jules Mitchell was researching how yoga affects athletics performance for her upcoming book and discovered a gap in the literature. There's plenty of research about the SAID principle and adaptation, but not enough about yoga's impact on sports performance. In this episode we talk about the only two studies that cover this topic as well as their many limitations. Hopefully there will be more studies about this in the future so we can have more clarity.
59 minutes | Dec 8, 2016
Y&B #50 How does Bikram Yoga affect core temperature and heart rate?
Yoga and Movement Research Series How does Bikram yoga affect heart rate and core temperature? To be completely honest neither Cat nor I are fans of Bikram yoga or hot yoga in general. Nonetheless, we did our best to discuss Bikram yoga and this study as objectively as possible. In this episode we reviewed an ACE (American Council on Exercise) sponsored study done in 2015, which examines the effect of Bikram yoga on core temperature, heart rate and rate of perceived exertion of 20 Bikram practitioners. Some interesting data from the study: The average highest core temp was 103.2 for men and 102 for women. One male had a core temp of 104 by the end of the 90 minute class. The average heart rate was 80% max for men and 72% max for women. The highest recorded was 92% for men and 85% for female. It's essential for Bikram teachers to have a basic understanding of thermoregulation and know the signs and symptoms of heat related illness. Teachers should be trained to respond appropriately in the event of an emergency to keep the participant's safety a priority. Because participants experienced dangerous elevated core temperatures 60 minutes into class, shortening the class to 60 minutes or less might minimize potential for heat intolerance. Researcher Emily Quandt offers three key recommendations: shorten the class, lower the room temperature and focus on hydration.
39 minutes | Nov 17, 2016
Y&B #49 Are core stabiilty exercises the best for low back pain?
Jenn Pilotti and I discuss a thorough review of 29 studies that answers this question: Are core stability exercises the best for back pain? The meta review was conducted in 2014 and is entitled, "An update of stabilization exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis." The studies compare core stabilization techniques (side plank, plank and bird dog) to other forms of exercise such as low intensity aerobics, pilates, walking, running in place, and stretches. It might be a common sense conclusion that core strengthening is the best for back pain, but the research does not support this. In fact, the research tells us that core work is no more or less effective than any other kind of exercise.
33 minutes | Oct 13, 2016
Y&B #48 Yoga Re:Alignment Workshops for Teachers
In this bonus episode Jules Mitchell (biomechanist and yoga educator) asks me questions about my new workshops for teachers called the Yoga Re:Alignment Workshop Series. We also talk about the role of movement science in yoga asana and whether or not yoga is about more than the poses...of course it is.
46 minutes | Oct 13, 2016
Y&B #47 Should we use mirrors in yoga classes?
Whether or not to use mirrors in yoga classes is a popular topic of discussion among teachers. This is the first episode in my new yoga and movement research series. I talk to Jules Mitchell about the efficacy of using mirrors when learning yoga asana. We discuss a study entitled, "Effect on performance of learning a pilates skill with or without a mirror." The study examines a pilates move called the STAR movement, but what we learn from it can also be applied to yoga. The STAR move is similar to Vasistasana (side plank) while raising and lowering the top leg. The stated goal of this study was to "use an objective measure of performance to look at the effect of mirrors when learning Pilates star movement that must then be done without the mirrors." What do you think? Is it best to learn a motor skill with or without mirrors?
58 minutes | Sep 1, 2016
Y&B #46 Dan John - Body, Mind and Soul
Dan John has been lifting weights since 1965 and coaching for more than 30 years. He holds the American record in the Weight Pentathlon event, won the American Masters Discus Championships several times, and has competed in Olympic weightlifting and the Highland Games. Dan has a common sense approach to fitness that appeals to most of the strength coaches and trainers that I know. We talk about strength training for women, mindset in competition, why he hates terms like cardio, core and functional, the cult of stretching, the goblet squat and more.
73 minutes | Jul 22, 2016
Y&B #45 Charlie Reid on Mobility and Strength Training
Charlie Reid, CSCS, CMT, considers himself an "anti-guru", an educator, and an enthusiast for all things strength and conditioning related. His pragmatic approach centers around helping others find solutions that are practical, while sifting through all the hype so prevalent on the internet. We talk about strength and mobility training, some research behind the The Biggest Loser, how most commercial group fitness just makes people tired not better, thought viruses that need to go away, fitness candy, and one-legged cable McTwisty presses.
47 minutes | Jun 30, 2016
Y&B #44 Greg Lehman - Reconciling Biomechanics with Pain Science
Greg Lehman, Physiotherapist and Chiropractor talks about why pain science and biomechanics need to be reconciled. People think that pain science challenges everything in biomechanics, but it doesn’t. It challenges it a little. We can and should still use biomechanics. It’s still important but you have to add all the psycho social stuff to it as well. We talk about biomechanics research, how and why to use alignment, how the musculoskeletal systems is allowed to look weird, tendon research and why it's ok to poke the bear (not hump it).
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