Mucus, HIIT Training & the Key to Flexibility

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Thomas asks:

My sinuses have been stuffing me up lately. Though it has not generally affected my gravity yoga where you use nose to mouth breathing but in Sun Salutes where you are only meant to breathe through your nose breathing comes almost impossible. I have tried using chest rub on the area between lip and nose, using chest rub and boiled water and breathing it in (over a towel), nasal sprays and drinking plenty of water (at least 2l a day).

Should I use nose to mouth breathing in sun salutes also or is there another solution to this?
Also what causes blocked sinuses and how do they build up?

This is really common problem and really great question. Mucous is really big problem because the modern diets are filled with mucus forming foods. All kinds of foods cause mucous but the big ones are dairy and processed foods and any kind of allergenic foods. The biggest one, the most common one is dairy, specifically milk and also yogurts and cheeses and things like this. If you eliminate those products you will notice right away that your sinuses are cleared up. Call it an elimination diet and make it for a week or 10 days. I would give it a try, see what happens.

There are people struggling with mucous and if this is you, you might want to think about using some other things as well, there is something called the neti pot – it is like a little tea pot made of plastic or porcelain and it has a nasal that you fit into one of your nostrils and what you do is you take a purified water or boil water with a little bit of salt and you tip your head on a side and you flush the water in one nostril and it goes all the way through your sinuses and cleans them up.

If you struggle with mucous and block up sinuses I would really recommend trying the neti pot. We sell them in our store.
There is also Kalabati breathing which you might have hear like Breath of Fire and these are sharp exhalations through the nose. It is great for your upper respiratory system. You can do 5 sets of 20 before you practice. Can be a really good way how to clear up your sinuses as well.

Last but not least there is a breathing technique called Buteyko breathing which is mainly use for people with asthma and they have some interesting techniques for clearing sinuses and it has to do something with increasing the amount of CO2 in your body (it’s not necessarily a toxin).

When you are doing a traditional Hatha yoga practice for sure you want to keep your breath in and out through your nose if it’s possible. If you are totally blocked, do whatever makes sense. When I do gravity yoga poses I usually teach in through your nose, out through your mouth.

Karen asks:

Q: Do you recommend doing PACE, followed by YOGABODY, or is it too much?
I do PACE 6 days a week. Should I do YOGABODY 3 times a week?
Which product do you recommend to reduce soreness and stiffness? How do you use it?

Those are great questions, I know that program, it is great one. Basically what it is high intensity interval training (HIIT). You work really hard for short period of time and then you rest until you are pretty much recovering, you can do it for 4 or 8 minutes set and usually people use interval timers when they are practicing to make sure they stay on PACE. This is really effective way how to burn fat, to built strength as well and also very good way to get stiff. Anytime when you are doing anything that builds strength that is the opposite of building flexibility. It is absolutely wonderful to build strength, keep doing what you are doing, especially when you are enjoying it, just make sure to stretch.

Yes, you can do the gravity poses after doing PACE. Take 15 minutes a day and then you balance out all that strengthening and I would recommend doing your gravity poses at least 5 days a week if not more especially any day you do an interval training because it will build strength and it won’t stiff you up.

A lot of people use our YOGABODY Stretch to reduce inflammation and to add a healing . When you first start anything new you will get sore and that is natural, probably a good sign. If you feel some muscle soreness you are probably doing something right I wouldn’t be too worried about it. Take it slow, don’t push too hard.

Cindy asks:

I have been using your yoga products and nothing is working. My hamstrings won’t give in, my spine won’t give in and when I pull to lock my knees it hurts.
What to do ?

When people get stuck at specific area, like Cindy here stuck in her hamstrings and her back. I teach this all the time – the simplest concept in stretching flexibility and it will make all the difference in the world: you need to meet or beat your hold times. When we are doing gravity yoga poses, when we are focusing on our flexibility we want to focus 100% on our flexibility, that’s the goal of gravity yoga practices. With that in mind when you are doing these poses you need to meet or beat your hold time! This means if you are doing a hamstring pose like The Rag Doll, if you hold it for 60 seconds on Monday, on Tuesday you need to hold it for the same amount of time or maybe a little bit more and you need to do that every single time and if you do that your flexibility gains will come slowly and steadily but much quicker than you think. In the YOGABODY Store we have The Yoga Timer, very simple timer, I use it all the time, I like it, it is made of a hard rubber so I can stick it right next to my yoga mat, if it gets some sweat on it, it’s no problem. When I am doing gravity yoga poses for flexibility, I always time them. If you don’t time them it really won’t work. You can also when you are concentrating count your breaths, that’s a good way to do it as well. Yoga Swing