Keep submitting your yoga questions! Here are this week's:
Question 1: Hey! First off I just wanted to let you know how much I love your youtube videos! Thank you for posting your practices and making them available to everyone. I can't really afford continuous group classes currently, so I'm really grateful that I found yours. They're some of my favorites to follow- the pace and challenge level are always just right, and they're really enjoyable to go through :).
My question is, I'm currently taking a long, doctor-recommended break from high impact exercises (running, heavy lifting, plyo, etc) due to stress reactions in my knees and shins. I was hoping to do yoga daily and cardio 3x a week on the elliptical. Because yoga requires so much core work, do you think extra ab workouts are necessary/a good idea? Or would that be over-training that muscle group? And speaking of over-training, in weight lifting, I know you switch between muscle groups to avoid exhausting yourself and giving your body time to recover, but yoga seems to work you all over.. Would you recommend a recovery day or to switch to hatha/restorative? I like to do power/vinyasa yoga practices anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day, depending on how I feel. I'll wake up a bit sore, but the movements during the practice don't feel high impact, so is a rest day every week recommended? I'm coming from a strict cardio/lifting regimen, so I'm not sure what the best way to approach this new routine is, but my goal is recovery and slowly easing back into my routine after 3-4 months.
Thank you :)!
Answer 1: First, thank you so much for your kind words on my youtube videos. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know how it's working for you because often I just feel like I'm making stuff and I'm not sure if they're useful or helpful or what I could do better, so thanks!
Ok, now onto the more important stuff. Sorry to hear you have to take a break from high-impact training, but good for you for seeking out ways to get around it that'll work for you. This is going to sound vague, but I think that no matter what I say, the biggest lesson with yoga is learning to listen to your body. I can give general guidelines but ultimately what might feel okay for my body won't feel okay for the next person, so it's pretty individual and as long as your body is feeling good, then there's no real wrong way to practice.
So to answer your questions - I think a little extra core work is fine. Most of us have underdeveloped core strength and since it is so important in yoga, it's probably a good idea to add a little extra ab work into your practice if you feel up to it. I probably wouldn't do heavy core exercises, like with dumbbells, because that might lead to overtraining, but doing a short yoga sequence for the core or adding some side planks into your practice could be beneficial.
As for a recovery day, it sound like you are super active, so it might be nice to do an active recovery with a restorative yoga practice. It'll offer a nice, gentle, full body stretch that I think you may benefit from since you're so active.
Best of luck with your recovery!!
Question 2: Hi Candace, I have been practicing Vinyasa for a while and have just read that you should not practice chaturanga if you have carpal tunnel syndrome but cannot find out why anywhere, are you able to explain? Thanks
Answer 2: Carpel tunnel syndrome is a painful condition where the narrow tunnel formed by the carpel bones and surrounding ligaments put pressure on the median nerve. When we're in chaturanga pose, we should ideally have our weight spread evenly between the hands, not just resting at the base of the hand, but this is difficult for a lot of people and people often collapse weight into this area. For people with carpel tunnel syndrome this can cause even more pain, and that's likely why it's not recommended. Hope that helps!
Question 3: This isn't related to yoga, but I was just wondering if you could share your experience getting a tattoo. As an avid follower of yours I've grown to trust your opinion and suggestions. I've wanted a tattoo as long as I can remember but have been hesitant because I don't know that my family will react in the most positive way. Their point of view is that tattoos are permanent and I wouldn't want to be old with sagging skin and a tattoo...I however don't want to be old and NOT have a tattoo. I'm an adult in my 20s so it seems silly.....anyway, given that you yourself have beautifully placed tattoos and are a major inspiration in my life, I just wanted to ask about your experience, how you feel about your body art now and if you've ever had feedback about your art from other people you know or strangers. I know it is taboo to be asking such a seemingly superficial question, but I've been so curious about what you would respond with for so long that I've bitten the bullet and decided to ask. Thank you for taking the time to read my message and thank you infinitely more for you videos and blog!!! I do at least one of your videos everyday when I wake up, you are part of my daily routine :)
Answer 3: Hi! For me, tattoos are really personal even though they're so visible. My first I got when I was sixteen, which is the wrong time to get a tattoo and yes, I regret that one. It's a sun which I told myself was symbolic because at the time I was studying abroad in Costa Rica, but it was poorly done and I've seen people with the same tattoo, sooo yeah. All the rest, with the exception of one I got last summer, came during a time when my life was totally out of control. There were three deaths in my family within a short time period, and I was suffering from major anxiety and depression. I don't regret those - a prayer in Arabic for my Lebanese grandmother, an Om sign and the serenity prayer. I do have a funny story though, and it's really the only time anyone has said anything to me about my tattoos. The serenity prayer was something of a mantra to me when I was dealing with awful panic attacks. But, it is what they say at the beginning of AA meetings, and one time I was at the beach (the tattoo in on my rib cage) and a stranger walked up to me and said, "I'm 20 years sober, you can do it!"
The thing is, in my opinion, a tattoo is really personal. If someone is going to look at me and judge me for them, then that's their issue and really doesn't mean anything to me. I don't get upset about it - it's not their taste and that's cool. It's for me, not them, you know?
If you're interested, I have a few recommendations if you decide to get a tattoo. First, seek out a reputable artist (lots of great artists on instagram). You will get what you pay for, so don't go for the groupon deal. Know what you want and be able to explain it well to your artist. Don't be intimidated when you approach tattoo shops - usually the people are kind and helpful (and if any place makes you feel uncomfortable, find a new place). Hope that helps!
Question 4: Hi candace, Thank you so much for your work. I just started yoga and been watching your videos since 3 months now. I really like how the practice changes my bodyfeeling/consiousness, and the way you do your lessons. Thank you! I´m always struggling when I'm in upward dog getting my foot up front in between the hands. I also watched your tutorial on that, but my shins seems to be way to long to fit under my chest hahahha. Probably its just a lack of muscles/cores trength? What can i do?
Have a good day and best wishes from Austria
Answer 4: Thanks for such kind words about my yoga videos. I'm so glad you enjoy them! Stepping the foot up to the front is tricky at first! Check these points and see if you're doing them when you step forward. It's really important to use your core to hug the knee toward your chest as you move forward while simultaneously pushing the mat away so you are creating space between the chest and the mat. If you still are getting stuck, trying using a pair of yoga blocks as shown above to help until you build the core strength to come forward.
The strength will eventually come as you continue to practice. Try the 30 minute invigorating yoga practice and the 30 minute power vinyasa flow video. They're both good flow-based videos that will keep you working on stepping forward. Hope that helps!