How Do I Stop Osteoporosis Before It Starts? [Podcast Episode #114]
Yesterday I was walking with a friend along the coastline here in Vancouver. As we walked, we talked about what changes we notice in our bodies as we get older.
For me, it's achy knees. I've had so many knee injuries over the years, that I'm just thankful they still work at all. I'll take a few aches and pains.
But, the creakiness in my knees did make me wonder how my bones are holding up. Am I on a path towards decaying bones and arthritis in my joints?
What about you? How strong are your bones? And, what are you doing to keep them strong? Are you doing enough?
Make Your Body Work Podcast #114
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How Do I Stop Osteoporosis Before It Starts? [Full Text]
Dave Smith: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier, and happier life.
Today we're talking about osteoporosis. All of us are aging, right now. It doesn't matter how old you are, or how young you are, or how old you feel, how young you feel. We're all aging, and quite often with the aging process comes a deterioration in bone density. This is what Caroline wrote in talking about.
Here's what she said. "I have a family history of osteoporosis and have been advised to start strength training to stop the effects before they start. I don't lift weights and have never really liked the idea of going to the gym, so I was thinking about getting into yoga. Will it have a positive effect on my bone density?"
Caroline, thanks for writing in. Caroline also went on to mention that she's only 37 years old, so she's being very preventative. Caroline, good for you to go ahead and take charge of a potential issue before it actually manifests itself in your life. It's a great question. What do we need to do?
You probably heard before that strength training, or resistance training, anything weight-bearing has a positive effect on your bone density, but how much do you actually need. Do you need to be lifting weights? Would some yoga be helpful? What do you need to do to give yourself a strong skeletal system for the rest of your life?
I've got an awesome guest today. She's just so well versed in this topic, but in all things yoga, the health benefits, the mental benefits of yoga. She's been a practicing teacher for many, many years, and is part of an organization called Yoga Medicine. I'm very excited to introduce to you Valerie Knopik.
Meet Valerie Knopik
Dave: Hey, Valerie, thanks so much for joining us today.
Valerie Knopik: Thanks for having me, Dave.
Dave Smith: Yeah, you know, I'm excited to chat with you. My listeners will know this, but I'm sort an aspiring yogi myself. Actually, as we're recording this, so we're recording this on February 15, and yesterday, February 14, Valentine's Day, is my one-year yoga anniversary.
Valerie Knopik: Yay. That's wonderful.
Dave Smith: Funny story. Literally a year ago one of the yoga chains ... I live in Vancouver, British Columbia. One of the yoga chains up here they had a special deal where any of the members could bring someone for Valentine's Day.
A friend of mine, he's a guy, he goes to my church, he's this 6'8" black basketball guy, big buff guy. He knew that I was kind of interested. I'd been asking about his yoga practice, and so he said, "Why don't you come out."
He brought me on Valentine's Day to this Valentine's Day promotion, and it was so funny because it was he and I and then all other couples in the yoga class, so we were hanging out last week laughing about that first yoga experience. I'd like to hear about your history. How did you get into yoga. I know that you are a dancer formerly. You used to do some running. Can you talk a little bit about your journey to end up where you're at today.
Valerie Knopik: Sure. So, I grew up dancing, like classical ballet, and jazz, and tap, and all of those things, and I danced all the way through college and into my early years of graduate school, and then I was just at a point where I felt like I couldn't quite find a dance studio that I really enjoyed, and I was kind of phasing out the dance aspect of my life, and so I found yoga.
I found yoga literally by picking up a VHS tape of Erich Schiffmann and sticking it in my VCR at the time, and doing yoga in my living room of my apartment in Colorado, where I was in graduate school. I was, honestly, very afraid to go take a group class. I felt like I had only been taking yoga through this VHS tape, and should I ever venture out to take a group class.
Ultimately, I did end up going to a group class, because a neighbor invited me to go and, of course, this neighbor was kind of a chronically late person, so we ended up getting to this yoga studio late, and I'm a very much on-time person, and I walked in and the only two spots in the entire studio were in the front row center, of course.
Dave Smith: Of course.
Valerie Knopik: It was a heated class and I was dressed inappropriately. I had on like sweat pants and a tank top. By the end I was drenched. My sweat pants weren't staying up as well as I would have liked. It was kind of this fiasco of an event, but I really fell in love.
I felt like, "Oh, my god, this is so wonderful," and I felt like it was this opportunity to move my body in a way that was very consistent with dance, but not as damaging. Also, I really fell in love with the community aspect of the class, and I felt like we were all in it together, and it was great fun.
At the same time I was also a runner. I ran for my health, I guess, for cardiovascular health, and I ended up having a foot injury as I was training for a half marathon. My foot has just never been the same. Running was out.
Any kind of repetitive motion like an elliptical StairMaster, all of that was out, and so I just started doing yoga. It had become kind of a part-time thing with yoga. I was kind of cross-training with yoga and running. I just became a full-time yoga practitioner, and it is like my lifeblood. It keeps me grounded, it keeps me sane, t keeps me in my body, and it's a huge part of my life, huge part of my life.
Dave Smith: Can you talk about how that ties in with your work in academia.
How Do Academia and Yoga Work Together?
Valerie Knopik: Absolutely. So, for years I struggled with this. I felt like I kept my yoga life and my academic life very separate, and yoga had become such a big part of my life. I'd even gone through a teacher training. I was teaching at the time. I was teaching yoga, and I just became really fascinated with how I could potentially bridge these two parts of my life.
I'm a researcher, a scientific researcher, looking at kind of the genetic and environmental effects on mental health. I just started thinking about how beneficial yoga had been in my own life in terms of really affecting my well-being, and my mood, or my quality of life.
And felt like I wanted to explore how to really think about yoga from a therapeutic standpoint, as well as trying to gather some data as to whether or not the benefits that we all feel from yoga, and mindfulness, and breath work, and meditation, could we actually quantify that somehow and look to see the effects of yoga on something like hip pain, or hip dysfunction.
I'm very fortunate to work with the Yoga Medicine and Tiffany Cruikshank, who founded Yoga Medicine, to start this project, and try to do a really sound, and robust, yoga research project, because much of the work to-date on yoga has...
It's great, it's been a great start, but in many ways some variables might be missing, or maybe it's a sample of convenience, and so we really wanted to try to do it right and get some really solid data on the effects of yoga, and mindfulness, on any type of outcome, but we chose to do hip pain first and foremost.
It's been this wonderful bridge of my academic life and yoga, and it really was because I approached Tiffany Cruikshank and Yoga Medicine to find out if she was interested in doing research. She had kind of made a mention of it at one training, and we just really hit it off and kind of started brainstorming a particular project.
Dave Smith: I do want to ask you, specifically, some questions about Yoga Medicine and sort of what your purpose is, and your mission is from that perspective, but you mentioned something when you were just talking about your personal journey.
You said that yoga it affected your mood and quality of life. I was wondering if you could share, just from a personal perspective what was it? What changed mood-wise? How did your quality of life change?
How Yoga Changed Valerie's life
Valerie Knopik: Well, we all have our own personal struggles, and baggage, that we kind of carry through life, and I had, at one point in my academic career become so ... I was a yoga practitioner at the time, and I believe I was actually even teaching yoga at the time, if I remember right the timeline, but I had become, with my kind of academic professional life, very a workaholic, if you will. I was working all the time. It was affecting my marriage, and just every aspect I was very stressed.
I actually, it wasn't contracted, but I developed a thyroid condition, so my thyroid, I actually have Graves' disease, which is an autoimmune disorder where the thyroid is on overtime. It works too hard, for example, and so I had lost a lot of weight. I had irregular digestion. You name it, I was a nervous, anxious wreck, most of it due to my thyroid, and this kind of living in this aspect of chronic stress.
I had a real wake-up call when I did get diagnosed with this thyroid issue, and my marriage at that point just kind of fell apart. We were really struggling, and we did end up working it out, and our marriage is stronger than ever, but it did take both of us, you know, to kind of take a step back and think about what our priorities were
At this time, when we were at our lowest point I was going to yoga more than usual because I felt like I needed it. I needed that community aspect. I mean, the people there, the teachers there, I felt supported.
I felt like it was okay to be messy. We have this mentality in our culture that we have to tie up our lives in this bright red bow, right, that we need to present our best selves all the time, and make it seem like we've got it all under control all the time. I needed to be like supermom, superwoman.
And it was okay for me to be a little messy, and vulnerable, and to let that community support me, and to let my yoga practice support me, and my mat support me. That mat has just soaked up so much tears, and sweat, and garbage that I could just finally figure out through the practice of yoga and meditation like what really mattered, what was important, what did I need to focus on and value.
Through that kind of real dark time I turned to yoga, and meditation, as a way to help get me through it and, of course, we sought counseling, both between the two of us together, and individual, and we have managed to slog through that really, and our marriage is so solid, and so wonderful. I hate that we went through that, but at the same time I'm so grateful.
Also, through yoga I have managed to get myself into remission with my thyroid issue, so through a combination of yoga, and meditation, and Ayurveda, and acupuncture, all these kind of nontraditional medical, or clinical, approaches I've managed to come off that medication that was supporting me, and my thyroid, and through change of diet, and change of lifestyle, and just trying to be more present with both myself, and my family, and my husband, I found such a nice balance in my life.
It took a long time to get there, but it's changed my life. My husband now practices with me, and that's awesome, because I don't think that he quite understood the importance that yoga had for me until he decided to start coming with me. It's been just this wonderful part, and addition, to my life, and I clearly have seen a lot of benefits from it. It takes practice, and it takes time and patience, but I do believe that the benefits are there.
Dave Smith: I love that story. There are so many different powerful elements. One of the things that I wanted to ask you about, though. You mentioned the word a number of times, community, and how that community was so supportive, and your yoga mat was supportive.
You mentioned community, and I think that people, in general, particularly in Western culture, we like to isolate ourselves, because it's almost like a point of pride when we can do things on our own, and it sounds as though you experienced something quite different. You came to place where it wasn't possible to so it on your own, and yoga gave you the community and the support that you were lacking.
Valerie Knopik: Yeah, it did, and it also taught me a very valuable lesson that it's okay to ask for help sometimes. It's okay to not be able to do everything perfectly and to have a bit of a mess in your life, because the reality is that life is just messy, period. We're more alike than we are different, I think, and yoga has been really instrumental in kind of driving that point home for me.
What is Yoga Medicine?
Dave Smith: Wow, that's awesome. Thanks for sharing the personal side of your story. I wanted to also ask you about Yoga Medicine. Can you talk a little bit about what is the mission of Yoga Medicine?
Valerie Knopik: The mission of Yoga Medicine is really ... Tiffany Cruikshank just developed this program, this institution where Yoga Medicine is this way of training yoga teachers to really be at the frontline, so that yoga teachers are so highly trained through Yoga Medicine on therapeutics, the underlying physiology of the hip, the spine, the shoulder, the deeper meanings of yoga, how to work with our medical professionals, whether they are traditional doctors or acupuncturists, or chiropractors.
Her mission is to really groom these Yoga Medicine teachers to be trained enough to work side-by-side with medical services, and medical providers, to really benefit well-being, and mental health, and physical health, in our clients, and in our yoga students.
Her mission is really to train us all, and now she also has extended Yoga Medicine to also have this research arm, and a Seva arm, where we are raising money for female human trafficking in India, and so it's this wonderful kind of organization with Tiffany behind it to have these anatomically-based training systems that train our teachers really around the world to work more powerfully with their students.
Dave Smith: A fusion of sort of the good of yoga, as it's typically seen, but with a medical slant to it, as well, to specifically help treat medical issues. Is that an accurate summary?
Valerie Knopik: Yeah, I guess medical issues ... We can think of it more broadly, so if you have an issue where you have hip dysfunction, or low back pain, or any kind of chronic physiological condition that you would like some assistance with, or want to work one-on-one with a teacher who is really highly trained to manage those types of situations, you can use the Find A Teacher function on the Yoga Medicine website to find a teacher who really fits your needs.
If you're looking for someone who is trained in more of the Chinese Medicine aspect of kind of how yoga, traditional yoga as we think of it, at least from the United States, how it interacts and interplays with Chinese Medicine and myofascial release, and yin, and meditation, and also these therapeutic modules that are more physiologically based.
You can use a Yoga Medicine teacher, and find a Yoga Medicine teacher, that is really highly trained to work one-on-one with you to manage those types of needs, and wants, and desires.
It doesn't always have to be something from a strict medical condition, although we are very highly trained to work alongside your physical therapist, or your more traditional clinical providers, to kind of bolster your care, but we are also there, and trained really highly in things like meditation, and Chinese Medicine, and aspects of myofascial release, and body work to also bolster that aspect of yoga, the yoga kind of journey and umbrella, as well.
Dave Smith: Well, Valerie, this is why I am so excited that you're here, because after having said all that, I do feel as though you're perfectly qualified to talk about Caroline's question. When you read her question, did you sort of have that same thought, "Wow, this is really in my wheelhouse?"
Valerie Knopik: I did feel like I could answer that question quite easily, so, yeah, I think it's a good match.
Dave Smith: What is your experience with osteo and yoga? Do you have a lot of people who you worked with in the past, or are working with now who have that concern about bone density and skeletal health?
How Can Yoga Be Used to Help Fight Osteoporosis?
Valerie Knopik: I think that our students' kind of capacity to be interested in kind of these underlying benefits of yoga is ... I've seen it really start to come on the increase and come on the rise.
I find that for many students it's becoming not just this exercise modality. "I'm gonna go to yoga. I'm gonna get a good workout," but it now also becomes, "What are the deeper benefits of yoga?" We do have, in our community ... It's not all of an older population, but we do have aging, we're all aging.
And so we have individuals who are older, and individuals who are younger, but there is this issue, and interest, in bone density, and our skeletal health, in our proper alignment, and maintaining that proper alignment and maintaining these deep stabilizing muscles, the engagement of these deep stabilizing muscles, we see a lot of benefits of that, that yoga is this opportunity to really ... Because we are weight bearing, anything that we do that's weight-bearing...
Our bones are living tissue, right? They're gonna respond to things that we do, stressors that we might take on them, whether it's a yoga class, a standing class, a standing pose such as Warrior 1, or plank position where you are actually using your body weight, that is going to help to build bone density over time.
Anything that we're doing weight bearing will increase our bone density, whether it's yoga, or whether you incorporate weights with your yoga, it can help tremendously in kind of this remodeling that our bones are doing all of the time, since they are living tissue.
Dave Smith: I remember a few years ago I was a guest at this conference for seniors. It was a conference all about senior health. There was a doctor speaking, and he was talking about the importance of resistance training, or weight-bearing training for bone health, and he made the statement that walking is not enough.
It was interesting, because I was watching the audience, and when he said that it was just like he had said the worst thing in the world. You saw all of these faces that just looked shocked and dismayed that what they had considered to be sort of the primary modality for them to stay in shape and stay healthy wasn't enough.
Do you hear from students, or from people that maybe you speak with that are interested in yoga, that same idea or a similar idea, that they didn't realize? Is this news that people need to be doing weight-bearing exercise, or is this something at this point that most of the population, you'd say, already knows?
Valerie Knopik: I don't think that most of the population already knows. I think that it's something that we need to be instilling in our students. I agree that I don't think walking is enough, although walking is better than nothing, right.
The Many Benefits of Weight-Bearing Exercise
My grandma walked every day until she could no longer walk anymore, so I know that it is a very popular exercise modality. It's non-jarring to the joints, and it's something that we should be doing, as well. It's important to move, but it is, also, important to do this weight-bearing. I think a lot of people don't quite understand what that is. To be able to assist our population with just some very simple techniques, and fairly simple postures that you can do, really, at any age can be so important.
There might be modifications based on where you're at in your bone density journey, but any weight-bearing postures and, also, balance is so important as we age, so anything that we can do to increase our balance, and increase our capacity for weight-bearing to build that bone density, and all of that is just, I think, really important and imperative for us to get that message across.
I don't personally believe that everyone understands the benefits of that. There's a fear and mystery around what it means and, "Do I have to go to the gym. I don't really like the idea of going to a gym." I think that there are ways that we can promote that that feels very accessible. You don't have to do anything fancy.
Dave Smith: That's why I really love this question, because Caroline, she specifically says, "I don't lift weights, and I never really liked the idea of going to the gym." For me, personally, I love going to the gym, but I realize that I think that's a pretty small percentage of the population that could say, "I really like going to the gym."
If we know that our bone density, on a whole our bone density is going to be decreasing as we age, and we know that doing cardiovascular activities, such as walking, isn't enough to stop that, there has to be something else. If it's not going to be lifting weights, what is it? I love the fact that she says, "Hey, I've been thinking about going to yoga."
It sounds as though ...You just made mention, you said there's a couple key poses that could be enough, and that could help preserve bone density. I was wondering if you could talk us through those. If you were to say to someone, "Here's the four or five poses that this is where you can start, what would they be?"
Preserve Your Bone Density With These Specific Yoga Poses
Valerie Knopik: I would suggest starting with some standing postures, such as Warrior 1, or Warrior 2, and if your balance feels slightly off, you can always stand with a chair next to you so you can hold on to like the back of the chair for some additional balance, so just those simple standing postures, Warrior 1, Warrior 2.
You can come onto your hands and your knees and take a plank pose with your knees up or down, but just that idea of maintaining your body weight in this horizontal posture, so you're just flipping your body. It's a little bit different relationship to gravity, but still really important. You're able to build and weight bear in the arms in that way.
So, I'd say plank, and your knees down, even with your knees down you still have to build that strength by weight bearing in the arms, so knees up or down does not matter. Plank in any form will assist and be a weight-bearing position in a horizontal way. Then, I would add in some balancing postures.
Again, if your balance is off, you can have a chair handy, or go by a wall where you can actually kind of lean up against the wall, or hold yourself up against the wall. Coming into a posture such as tree pose, and do not feel that you need to get your foot all the way up to your inner thigh.
You can have one foot, say you're standing on your left foot, you could have your right heel right above your left ankle bone with your right toes on the ground for a little bit of a kickstand. You might take that right foot up to rest against your calf, just don't put it on your knee.
The height of that lifted leg in tree doesn't matter. Just come into a place where you are weight bearing on one leg and practicing your balance. I would say Warrior 1, Warrior 2, plank pose that you're building weight-bearing strength in the arms, and add in a balancing posture to improve your proprioceptive skills, but it's also an opportunity to weight bear on one leg.
Always make sure that you are propping up yourself in a way that's really safe. You have a chair if you need the extra balance with a chair, or to be up against the wall. Either way you're still getting the weight-bearing benefits, you just have a little bit of extra assistance. I'm a big fan for using props.
I think that it helps us with our alignment, and for many of us it helps us just get comfortable as we build that strength. There might be students who have never thought to work on their balance postures. Be willing to let your ego go, and use the assistance of a wall or with a chair if you need that.
It might also be really worthwhile if you're truly interested to find a teacher that can meet your needs and work with you one-on-one for maybe at least one or two sessions and then get a bit of a yoga protocol, or a yoga program that you can do on your own, which might take anywhere from five minutes to 15 minutes, and then venture into a group class if that is something that you'd like to do.
I would suggest doing some research to make sure that your yoga studio, or the teachers that work there, are trained and would take the time to actually work with you on it. The one thing I would suggest is that if you are suffering from bone density issues, if you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or that you have a family history, that you do work with someone one-on-one and maintain some special care, especially in going through some of the transitions in the yoga practice, so forward folds.
You want to make sure that you're hinging properly from the hips, and not necessarily kind of flexing in the thoracic part of the body, because we want to protect the spine. It is helpful to kind of work with somebody one-on-one and try to find these deep muscles, like the transverse abdominals, that would support you in your transitions. Yeah, just Warrior 1 and Warrior 2, plank, and tree pose to start would be great.
Doing Yoga On Your Own vs. Working with a Teacher
Dave Smith: I love how simple that is. For the listeners, if you go to makeyourbodywork.com/114, I'll put links, or actually embed some videos demonstrating how to do those poses, in case those are new to you, because I'm sure Valerie and I we could talk through them, but it's much easier just to watch a video and to do it.
One thing that I liked about those suggestions, too, is that you talked about finding an instructor, getting a little bit of help to make sure that you're comfortable with the poses, and then you have the power of being able to practice on your own. Just anecdotally, earlier this year I was in Cambodia on a Habitat for Humanity trip.
Actually one of the other volunteers was my friend who introduced me to yoga a year ago, and we, because we've done so much yoga now, every morning we'd go up by the pool where we were staying and do a 20 minute yoga class, and it was so cool because, I am no yoga teacher by any means.
But once you practice enough, under supervision of someone who actually knows what they're talking about, then you do have the confidence to go through a series of poses that will give you the benefit that at least you can maintain. You might not be progressing and learning new things on your own, but you do have that power to do it on your own, to some degree at least.
Valerie Knopik: Yes. I couldn't agree more, and I think it's really powerful to be able to say, "Hey, I can't make a yoga class today," or "I only have 10 minutes. I can do a series of poses at home that I now feel comfortable with," and just taking five or 10 minutes to move your body can have a profound effect on so many things.
It can be this little reset button for your day. It can be a great way to start your day, just kind of get you in your body, and shift your perspective in all of 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, however long you have, but that home practice is really important, and to help our students feel empowered to actually do that is so wonderful.
Dave Smith: Would you be able to talk ... I know we are specifically focusing on osteoporosis in this chat, but can you talk about some other major, I don't know if we would call them health conditions, or whatever they may be, but benefits of yoga that might not be common knowledge.
The Overlooked Benefits Of Yoga
Valerie Knopik: Well, I think that for me, and I'll speak from my own experience first, that we do have this capacity through yoga, for yoga to be this agent of change in our lives, and it might be a physical benefit if you're managing a physical health condition.
There are definitely benefits to practicing yoga, as we just mentioned, with the example of osteoporosis, but I do feel that there are these other kind of hidden benefits to yoga with regard to our mental health, with regard to our cardiovascular health. Anytime that we move our body we are increasing, we're challenging our cardiovascular health. We challenge our respiratory capacity.
We build our lung capacity through breath work, and some of the breath practices that we guide our students through in yoga, and with these mind/body techniques there is a lot of research that shows that these mind/body techniques can have a profound effect on our mood, and our outlook.
So, with depression, and anxiety, and managing stress, and coping skills I think that those are kind of these hidden jewels that we don't always think about when we think about what yoga might bring to us. At least, I think, I know from my own experience when I first started practicing yoga it was a physical thing. I wanted to work out, essentially.
I felt good in my body, and it was a way to move my body in a way that wasn't impacting my joints, like running, and things of that nature. Over time, it's become so much more of a comprehensive benefit to me.
Not only is it moving my muscles and things that you can kind of physically see on the outside, but it's also challenging all these underlying physiological systems in our body, like I said, our cardiovascular system, our respiratory system, our digestive system can improve through twists, and changes of diet, and things that tend to kind of come along hand-in-hand with yoga, or at least as we get kind of people who have be practicing for a while.
Then, we have this kind of spiritual, and underlying mental, side where we see these benefits in the brain with these mind/body techniques that can improve our mood and might actually affect how our neurons signal to one another, and our cognitive development, and our cognitive effort, and capacity.
I do think that there are these hidden benefits that we don't usually think about, because most people come in and step on their yoga mat from a physical perspective, and it takes time to see, and feel, and experience, these other hidden benefits, the mood benefits, the mental health benefits, the deeper physiological benefits, if you will.
Dave Smith: I love that answer. You know, on this show we quite often talk about weight loss, weight management, and one of the things that you talked about was how yoga sort of sets a stage. As you were talking there, I was just think about the cascading benefits of moving your body.
If someone were to take your advice and commit to moving their body for 10 minutes a day, without even trying I guarantee, like you said, their mood would improve, and once your mood is improved, the chance of making subsequent healthy choices dramatically increases.
Everyone's worried about eating right and making the right healthy food decisions. Once you move your body, your mood improves, you're going to be in a position to make those healthy eating choices without even thinking about it. It's just a really neat sort of holistic approach from one small step.
Valerie Knopik: Yes. Agreed. It feels like it does in many ways, yoga kind of becomes a lifestyle, I think. When you practice it long enough it does permeate so many different aspects of your life. For example, as you mentioned, your food choices, or how you choose to spend your free time, or what you choose to value and focus on. It does, over time, at least in my own experience, become kind of so ingrained in every part of your life, and all of the choices you make, it's a good thing.
Make Your Body Work Takeaway
Dave Smith: Valerie, we like to wrap this show up with what's called a Make Your Body Work takeaway, and I'm gonna take Caroline's question and one piece of it, specifically she says that she was thinking about getting into yoga.
For anyone who is in her position, so whether it's someone that's dealing with osteoporosis, or anything else, or any other motivator to consider yoga, what would you say would be one action step that they should take today in order to get started down the right path?
Valerie Knopik: One action step that anyone who is interested in starting their yoga journey, for whatever reason, I would say is to really take the time to make yourself knowledgeable about teachers in your area that can meet your needs.
Yoga Medicine, for example, has a wonderful Find A Teacher functionality on their website where you can search by country, city, state, zip code and find Yoga Medicine-trained teachers in your area. It's very transparent on the website. You can see exactly what they've been trained in, and you can find a teacher that really suits your needs.
I would suggest that if you're starting off, particularly if you do have a health issue that you're concerned about, that you do start out actually working one-on-one with somebody, even just for a few sessions to make sure that they can help you kind of navigate various poses, and help you feel safe in those poses before you venture down a path of going to a group class, or anything like that.
It's really helpful to kind of feel like you're taking your health into your own hands, and you can do that by very simply just finding a teacher in your area that suits your needs and who you feel that you can have a conversation with about some of your health issues, and things that you're concerned about, and how you can integrate that into a very safe, and meaningful, yoga practice.
Dave Smith: Oh, that's great. You know, before we started recording I was actually looking at that Find A Teacher function. It's really neat. So, for anyone listening to this, again, I'll put a link directly to that Find A Teacher function. It's a free, I guess, like service, or function on yogamedicine.com, so you'll find that at makeyourbodywork.com/114. Valerie, what other resources ... If someone were to go to yogamedicine.com, what else would they find there that might be helpful for their practice?
Find Even More Resources at YogaMedicine.com
Valerie Knopik: On Yoga Medicine, we have a lot of various resources, so there is the Find A Teacher resource. You can read all about the Mission and Values, and Tiffany Cruikshank, the Founder.
There's also ways to potentially deepen your practice, where you can find resources about teacher training, and things of that nature, and you can also find other pages on that website to talk about the research that Yoga Medicine is doing, to talk about the nonprofit kind of Seva organization that Yoga Medicine has under their wing, and to also find this place called Athlete's Point, which Tiffany has gone in and really gives a lot of information there.
There's a lot of functionality there. There's online courses if you are interested. There's a lot of different resources there, and the biggest one, I think, is to find a teacher and to be able to have a one-on-one conversation. I think human interaction is kind of best.
There's a lot of resources there that you can find and reach out to teachers, and find other resources, as well. We do have a newsletter, as well, to stay up-to-date on kind of latest trainings and resources that you can also sign up as a free function.
Dave Smith: I was just on your blog, as well, and it's really neat, because you have subjects laid out, so I'm looking at them. There's a hip category, shoulder, spine, so it goes by body part, and then also some different categories that just make it really well organized and easy to use. I'll put a link to the blog, as well, in the show notes so, again, if you go to makeyourbody.com/114, I'll make sure that's there.
Valerie Knopik: Absolutely, and that has a lot of articles, and resources, articles that were in many cases written by some of our Yoga Medicine teachers, so you can kind of get a flavor for some of their interests, and the things that they're passionate about, as well, so quite a bit of information on that blog site for sure.
Dave Smith: Awesome. I'm feeling inspired now, now I want to go do yoga. Valerie, just thanks so much for joining us today. We really, really appreciate it.
Valerie Knopik: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a blast.
Dave Smith: Thanks, again, Valerie for joining us today and for sharing some of your personal story, your journey, and how yoga has enriched your life, and for sharing some really practical steps that all the listeners, and myself, can use in our lives as well.
Thanks for everyone who tuned in and who listened to this episode for investing some time in Your Health Today, and as I always do, I just encourage you, don't let it stop here. You know, if you heard something today, if you maybe are concerned about your own bone health, maybe you're concerned about your mobility, maybe you're concerned about the way that your body functions now, or the way that it's projecting to focus 10 years from now, 20 years from now, don't just think about it, it's time to take some action.
Valerie, she gave some very practical steps and, again, in the show notes if you go to makeyourbody.com/114, I'll have videos demonstrating some of the poses that she recommended, and these are the simple poses that you can practice on your own, at home, in just a few minutes per day. Then, take Valerie's advice.
Again, there's gonna be a link to search for teachers in your area, and maybe it's valuable for you. Maybe you're at that stage where connecting with a teacher, getting some private instruction, is all you need, and then you can go and carry out that practice on your own, or join a yoga studio in your local area, as well.
I just really encourage you, think about that. This show I want to bring you information. I want to bring you knowledge. I want to improve your understanding of health, and wellness, and fitness, but most importantly I want you to apply it.If you have any questions about this episode, or for a future episode, you can reach me anytime. It's email@example.com, and I've said this before, really my favorite part of my job is hearing from you, being part of your story, hearing about your journey and, hopefully, being able to help you through the guests that I bring onto this podcast.