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Using a smartphone extensively can have a significant impact on your posture, leading to various musculoskeletal issues. If you are not already aware of this then here’s a few postural consequences of using our favourite tech:

  • Text Neck: Constantly looking down at your smartphone can strain the muscles in your neck and upper back, leading to a condition known as "text neck." This can result in neck pain, headaches, and potential long-term damage to the cervical spine

  • Forward Head Posture: Holding your head forward while using a smartphone can cause your shoulders to hunch and your upper back to round. This forward head posture can lead to muscle imbalances and contribute to chronic pain issues.

  • Shoulder and Upper Back Strain: Holding a smartphone for extended periods can strain the muscles in your shoulders and upper back. This can result in discomfort and stiffness in those areas.

  • Wrist and Thumb Issues: Repetitive use of smartphones, especially for typing or scrolling, can contribute to issues like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and thumb pain.

  • Eye Strain: Prolonged use of smartphones, particularly in poor lighting conditions, can cause eye strain, dry eyes, and discomfort. This may lead to changes in posture as people adjust their position to alleviate eye discomfort.

The human head weighs about 12 pounds, I joke in my classes that the female head is heavier on account the brain is bigger. There is no science to back this, simply that there are usually more women in the room than men…But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.

That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone — the way millions do for hours every day.

If you can’t grasp the significance of 60 pounds? Imagine carrying an 8-year-old around your neck several hours per day. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours per year people are putting stress on their spines, according to the research.

As you stretch the tissue for a long period of time, it gets sore, it gets inflamed and can also cause muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated disks and, over time, it can even remove the neck’s natural curve.

Poor posture can cause other problems as well. Experts say it can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent. It has also been linked to headaches and neurological issues, depression and heart disease.

While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over

Look down at your device with your eyes, at a level that reduces the need to flex your neck and spine.

A yoga practice will help to address the postural issues that are evident across all ages and society with the use of smartphones and technology. Yoga teaches us about our ranges of movement in the joints and how we can take steps to maintain and recover good posture.

Join a class or search out some online movements to start your recovery.

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As we commence 2024 and with the anticipation that the year ahead brings us, maybe you are considering new interests, fitness objectives or lifestyle changes. Perhaps these objectives and goals already seem overwhelming or simply not that engaging enough.

However, incorporating a daily, simple yoga routine can work wonders for the body and mind.

Embarking on a new yoga practice may seem challenging, primarily because the body is not accustomed to change and there remains a widespread misconception of the practice of yoga.

In simple terms, for me, yoga is a method of ensuring my physical body can move in all directions, the way it needs to at this point in my life, with ease, and in that process, my mind becomes calmer, thereby allowing the body to release even further.

Granted, when we start, there may be a little discomfort, after all, this is change, but perseverance, patience and a nice slow breath will soon open your eyes and your body to the new normal.

This new normal is simply restoring your natural range of movement, which has been gradually eroded over time. All is never lost though.

Just 10 minutes of a prescribed yoga sequence is enough to get you going and with over 5000+ yoga postures, there is something for everyone to explore.

By setting a specific time and place for your daily tlc you will enhance your ability to build and maintain your yoga routine. And it doesn’t matter if you miss an appointment with your mat, or two, providing you don’t judge yourself negatively and re affirm your commitment to return.

For those reading this that are interested in exploring this potentially life changing practice, the following tips are worth considering.

1.      Understand your intention. Knowing and re affirming this to yourself is a powerful motivator.

2.      Find a good teacher. They will see where you need intervention, and help you navigate the journey

3.      Join a community. Try a class, the benefits of group dynamics extend to yoga practice and there is an energy felt in a moving class like no other.

4.      Enjoy the process. Soon you will tap into the mindfulness of movement and the time will fly, your daily practice will evolve, go deeper and you will feel the power of the breath.

5.      Don’t push it. Yoga will come to you if you are patient and it will happen, it is a subtle practice and less is always more.

If you are considering any new activities at this time of year and wish to improve yourself, I would really like you to consider yoga and see and feel for yourself the power therein.

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Studies show that about 25% of the population snore regularly and that snoring is more common among men than women.

Whilst it is the subject of much teasing, it is clearly not a laughing matter as it can place enormous strain on relationships and seriously impact a good night’s sleep.

Snoring occurs when the pressure in the throat increases so that the uvula and soft palate begin to vibrate, emitting the sound that is a snore. This can happen on both inhalation and exhalation.

Sleeping with an open mouth makes snoring more likely;

·        your airway is narrowed. An open mouth causes your throat to compress as your tongue falls further back into your airway and the open space behind your tongue and soft palate is reduced.

·        Inhaled air is turbulent. Directly inhaled air vibrates the soft tissues at the back of your mouth

·        Your airway dries out. This is because mouth breathing doesn’t humidify incoming air like nasal breathing does.

You are more susceptible to breathing in harmful things with mouth breathing. Unlike nasal breathing, mouth breathing doesn’t trap allergens and bugs which can in turn worsen your snoring. Nasal breathing not only lowers your snoring risk but has other health benefits too:

The louder the snoring sound, the narrower the airway and it is harder for air to pass in and out of the lungs which makes breathing shallower.


This, in turn will reduce the level of oxygen that reach the cells ultimately reducing the quality of sleep, and as we know, aa good sleep is vital for rest and repair of our body.

 

Nose breathing can help reduce snoring by improving the airflow and reducing the likelihood of airway obstructions that often contribute to snoring. When you breathe through your mouth, the tongue is more likely to fall backward, partially obstructing the airway and contributing to snoring. Nasal breathing typically leads to a slower and more controlled flow of air, which can help reduce the vibrations of the soft tissues in the throat and mouth that cause snoring.

Since breathing through the nose reduces the breath, slows it down. This raises the levels of CO2 in the body which is a bronchial dilator, effectively and naturally opening up the airways.

Breathing through the nose, as opposed to the mouth, encourages the proper alignment of your tongue and soft palate. When you breathe through your nose, your tongue is more likely to stay in its natural position against the roof of your mouth, and the soft palate at the back of your throat is less likely to collapse and obstruct the airway.

You may notice that when you have a cold, you snore more. This is because with a nose full of nasties, you need to switch to mouth breathing.

Nasal breathing warms and humidifies incoming air, helping to prevent your airways drying out. It also channels air over your snoring noise-makers in a less turbulent way than mouth breathing does.

By treating and conditioning the incoming air when you breathe through your nose, this may prevent the frequent awakenings you may experience from having a dry mouth, achieving a more comfortable sleep.

The mucus and many folds within your nasal cavities do a great job of trapping potentially harmful invaders such as allergens and viruses/bacteria. These, in addition to making you feel terrible, can worsen your snoring.

Nasal breathing reduces the chance of hyperventilation – over-breathing with frequent, shallow breaths. Proper ventilation leads to optimum oxygen/carbon dioxide balance, allowing for improved blood oxygen saturation.

Nitric oxide (NO) has often been termed “the mighty molecule” is produced in the nose and sinuses, nasal breathing helps push this molecule into the lungs where it can exert its benefits. Here, it expands your blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, it is nature’s way of encouraging us to nose breathe.

If snoring persists despite trying these methods, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist to rule out any underlying medical conditions or to explore additional treatment options.

Talk to a breath coach to see what simple changes you might make to sleep better, there are many devices and techniques available such as these below.

1.      SnoreLabs : A great app that will guide you through self-management of your snoring

2.      Mouth taping or chin straps

3.      Neti Pot, nasal cleansing

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