About Nancy Alder

Nancy Alder is a 200H E-RYT yoga teacher in Connecticut. She teaches her students to connect with space and breath from a place of safety and humor. Nancy teaches vinyasa, hatha, chair, therapeutic, restorative, yin and power yoga. She writes for many yoga blogs and chronicles her daily practice to find yoga in all places on her own blog, Flying Yogini. When not writing or doing yoga she is in awe of her elves, busting asanas in crazy places and counting the days until the next snowfall.

Hamstring Stretches

One of the biggest hurdles that individuals with degenerative disc disease and/or herniated discs encounter is the ability to stretch their hamstrings and calves without spinal flexion.  It is usually not recommended that spinal flexion of any extent be done by those with these specific lumbar issues. However there are alternative ways to get the leg stretching without forward folding.  Here are two: 1.) Prone hamstring stretch:  Lie on the ground with the left leg bent at the knee, foot (read more...)

Three Poses with a Yoga Strap

Yoga straps or ties are terrific tools for practitioners who want to either deepen a stretch in their legs or soften the strain of stretching on their back.  By using a strap, you can grab for your feet without compromising the upper or lower back, neck, or shoulders.  For individuals with herniated discs, a yoga strap can bring back a relationship with stretching hamstrings that may have been halted due to contraindicated forward folding.  If you do not have a yoga strap at home, any long, strong, (read more...)

Beginner Poses Supported by Yoga Blocks

In this second part of my series on restorative yoga poses you will find three uses for a single yoga block.  Yoga blocks are great tools for support and softness in poses. They also to allow you to gain access to poses that were otherwise unattainable due to your body architecture.  They are invaluable props to have for any level of yoga practitioner.  Here are three poses that utilize yoga blocks: 1.)   Supported Hipstand:  Hipstand is an inversion; a pose where a part of your body (read more...)

Supported Yoga Poses

One of the best ways to change your approach to a yoga pose or your practice in general is to add yoga props. Props range from blocks to straps and bolsters with many other options.  Yoga props can provide support for compromised parts of your body (i.e. the neck or back) and can make yoga poses available which were previously inaccessible due to structural aspects of the yoga practitioner’s body. In this post, the first of a series, we will be showing you traditional yoga poses done in a more (read more...)

Cat/Cow Sequence

No matter what your activity level is on a daily basis, we all need to stretch and move our spine.  Both extension (back bending) and flexion (forward folding) have benefits. Back bending decompresses the inner side/front of the vertebrae and can lessen the pressure on vertebral discs.  Forward folding decompresses the back/outside of the vertebrae and compresses and massages the internal organs. Back bending can feel energizing and tends to build internal heat, while forward folding does the opposite (read more...)

Lower Back Problems? Stretch Your Psoas Muscle

One of the best ways to keep your lumbar spine strong and supported and avoid lower back problems is to stretch and loosen your psoas major muscle.  The psoas major connects your legs to your torso and originates from the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae and inserts at the lesser trochanter of the femur.  In other words, the psoas major extends from the top of your low back, travels through your pelvis and attaches at the top of your thighbone.  It is located deep within your abdominal (read more...)