Is it Possible to Exhale Too Much?

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Michaelle asks:

It is impossible to fully empty the lungs nor is it advisable because it would make them collapse?

That’s an interesting question. I don’t think it is possible to fully empty the lungs. There’s always going to be some residual air in your lungs. I don’t think it’s a good idea either, like if you’re trying to use a vacuum or something. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. In most breathing exercises, or in yoga classes, when a yoga teacher or instructor tells you to empty your lungs, they’re generally talking about just exhaling completely, not forcing or having any kind of discomfort.

Robin asks:

Does your product contain Soy? I am fully allergic. How soon will YOGABODY Stretch help me at age 48?

No, none of our products contain any soy. How soon will the products help you? It really depends on you. You’ve got to do your yoga practice, but if you’re practicing regularly and if you’re getting proper nutrition, you should see noticeable results in a month. And again, when I say regularly, I mean five days a week, at least 15 minutes per day of stretches and eating properly. Within a month, you should notice big results, and within a year, I always say if you keep at it your whole body will feel and look completely different.

Hile asks:

In the Lightning Bolt pose – I couldn’t figure out how to turn my feet so they wouldn’t be in excruciating pain. I turned them out, kept them straight under my butt and turned them in. No matter what I did I could not sit in this pose (even though I put a pillow under me) and much less lean backwards. Would you have any suggestions?

It means your ankles are really tight, and the pose is going to be very, very helpful for you. Use more pillows. Use a couple of pillows and allow it to be uncomfortable. Excruciating pain is no good, but some discomfort is okay. The good news is, it’s a very targeted stretch to your ankles, and you’ll find that your ankles, the tops of your feet will open up very, very quickly. Within a couple of weeks, you should start to feel a breakthrough there.

Gloria asks:

I have a hamstring strain on my right leg – strained it 2 weeks ago. I’ve been massaging it daily with a tennis ball, and also have been using the hard body roller to massage the hamstring part. What other things would you suggest I should do?

Gloria, first of all, you want to make sure you’re eating anti-inflammatory foods, things like turmeric, things like methylsulfonylmethane, like in our YOGABODY Stretch, things like Omega-3 fatty acids. And then other than that, you just want to take it easy. Definitely use your hamstring, but very, very gently, very, very gently. At the most, 80 percent of your capacity, maybe even 60 percent of your capacity, meaning if you normally forward bend and you put your hands flat on the floor, instead put your hands like on your ankles. But for sure, use it.

In terms of massaging it, I don’t really have a strong opinion on that. I’ve done a whole bunch of things to my hamstrings. I never found that that stuff helped. The massage, the ultrasound, all that stuff I found that it just irritated the area. But it sounds like you know what you’re doing more than me. You’re doing some stuff that sounds really helpful. The key thing is, I just always found that functional body movements worked better than massage, so massage is external. I just found that actually using the leg and bringing it through range of motion were really helpful.

Now when you’re talking about hamstrings, this is really important for everybody, there’s a couple of things you should not do. Don’t run, first of all. Do not go jogging. Don’t run, don’t run, don’t do it. It will get worse. It will get really bad. Don’t take Ibuprofen, which is like Advil, depending on what country you’re in. Do not take any anti-inflammatory medicine and then do anything physical. It will cover up that strain, and you’ll hurt it more. Like I always say, most injuries are actually re-injuries. It was just a little strain that turned into a full pull.

The things that are really, really great is gentle cycling on a bicycle, really gentle cycling. Don’t do anything hardcore, but gentle cycling like on flat ground, and swimming is probably the best for healing a hamstring. It builds strength and is very, very gentle. It gives you some really healthy resistance. So ride a bike, go swimming, don’t run and take it easy, and eat anti-inflammatory foods and it takes a really long time. So do not think it’s healed, even if it feels okay six weeks from now. Be gentle with it for a full six months, if you’ve done some damage.

Fredrik asks:

I am wondering about Himalaya Crystal salt. I’ve mostly been using it as a sole; sometimes drinking a glass first thing in the morning and also adding it in my drinking water during the day, when I feel dehydrated. I feel that it makes the body take up the water better. What’s your take on it?

So Himalayan crystal salt is a natural form of salt. It’s actually mined from the Himalayas in Northern India and Pakistan. And it’s usually pink in color, and I don’t know exactly what makes it pink in color, but because it comes from the ground there’s lots and lots of other minerals, not just sodium.

So were you to buy table salt, it’s usually sodium and then some iodine. You have iodized salt. A long time ago, people were having troubles with their thyroid from not eating seafood and sea plants, and so they started sticking iodine in salt to help people from getting goiter and thyroid problems. For whatever reason, they’re still sticking iodine in salt. It’s kind of gross.

Natural salts are never pure white. They’re usually dirty in color. I have lots of different salts. I have black salts and red salts and grey salts. The most common would be a grey, dirty salt. It’s not that appetizing of a color, unless you realize that it’s natural, and then I actually find it’s a lot more appetizing. But for your standard consumer who’s used to eating white flour, white sugar and all these very, very artificial-looking things, it can look like dirt, kind of like dirty salt.

But Himalayan salt is kind of cool, because it’s pink. In terms of its medicinal properties, there’s great things about salts. A proper sea salt, Himalayan salt, is going to have 84 different minerals in it, and those are really great for you. In terms of drinking it with water, I’m not a huge fan of that. I find that just adding it to food seems to be a more natural way, but whatever works for you, and especially if you’re doing something very athletic where you’re sweating a lot, if you’re doing a power or a hot yoga class, if you’re running or doing anything where you’re losing a lot of fluids, to add a pinch of salt to your water can be very beneficial. In our YOGA Water-E Formula, our electrolyte formula, it contains natural sea salts, which exactly the same thing. It’s just liquid form, so it’s easier to dissolve, and that can be really great for rehydrating.

I just wouldn’t get obsessed with it. I know people who have a teaspoon of salt every morning. That could potentially lead to some complications. It doesn’t seem like you need to go to that extreme. Just using good salts on your food seems like a better approach, but that’s just me.

I’ve been using the sole for making my own after-hot-yoga-drink, mixing a teaspoon with a glass of juice and water. Does that sound like a good way of replacing some lost electrolytes or do you have a better recipe?

That sounds pretty good. A teaspoon is a lot. I don’t think you need a teaspoon. Just use a pinch, and that will work really, really well. There’s something else that I like, Frederik, which works really well, is to use a chunk of seaweed. For example, dulse or nori, and I don’t mean the processed nori, that’s in a flat sheet. It’s only lightly processed, but real nori is just the clumps of little, flaky bits of seaweed that’s quite delicate.

You can just take a lump of that and throw it in the bottle of your water bottle, and that will leech naturally sea salts, and also minerals from the seaweed itself. So I do like to do that. What you do sounds great. That just sounds like quite a bit of salt to me. I don’t think that’s necessary. I’d go with a pinch of salt, a little bit of vinegar. Lemon juice is helpful as well, but overall it sounds like some good ideas. Yoga Trapeze