Take this moment to listen to your breath.
Follow the inhales.
And the exhales.
Take note of the length in each exchange.
To breathe is such an involuntary response that often we take for granted in our every day lives. Let alone, that we have the ability to control the rate of our breath-work. Have you ever taken the time to observe your current breath-work? Maybe when you were stuck in traffic, or just got into a confrontation, or about to go on stage to present something, joined a group of friends, walked into your work/home or any other daily event? Did you noticed how your breathing pace shifted before, during and/or even after these events.
Practicing the subtle observation or your breathing is just the beginning into your journey of your body.
Take this moment to listen to your breath.
One of my favorite gifts to give, is the gift of wellness. Part of transitioning folks into having their own wellness plan, is introducing foam rolling into their lives. Foam rollers usually run between $20-60 and can be found at a sport store or even a Target/Walmart. As a good colleague once said, "foam rolling is a poor man's massage"!
Most clients, when recieving their first foam roller, usually look at these pieces of foam much like how my puppy, Luda, is looking at mine:
It is important to take note that a tool used in its correct setting can make life easy, but it can also be used inappropriately and hinder your quality of life.
Youtube is a great resource of free information, reminders and you'll find that as you watch these short tutorial videos there are a few COMMON take aways:
*Try to avoid rolling the lower back, IF your lower back gives you an issue (not to be confused with, AVOID FOREVER).
*Breathe through each movement (meaning, if you find yourself straining AKA holding your breath... chances are, you're not getting the full benefits of the foam roller myofascial release)
*Which segues into, EASE into your stretches/release (you DON'T have to LITERALLY ROLL the entire foam roller session).
*If you don't or haven't foam rolled in your life, then the process with your pain receptors will be hypersensitive/PAINFUL at FIRST (this also indicates the adhesions/"knots" your muscles have built up through the years).
*The smoother the surface area of the foam roller, the less precise those little points can dig in!! If this is your first few go rounds, don't scare yourself away, by using the non-smooth foam roller as your first foam roller. It'll still be painful, promise.
*Last, but MOST importantly give yourself permission to modify as you need to, bending your arms/legs, use blankets, pillows props to help you not put tension on your knees, elbows, neck ect.
Hope this was helpful!? HAPPY FOAM ROLLING!
In the mean time, here are a few folks that I enjoy their insight about foam rolling tidbits: Athlean X, Global Cycling Network and Howcast
A few things you want to consider before you reach for the ice pack or heating pad; heat has the ability to make our muscles respond in a relaxed state. While heat causes temporary circulation to occur on contact (also known as a vasodilator), cold therapy reduces inflammation by constricting blood flow (also known as vasocontriction).
Here is a great short read on do's and don'ts for HOT and COLD therapy.
Have you ever noticed that when a child falls, their first instinct is to hold/guard the injury? Even when an adult is near by to assess the injury, the child will still hesitate before showing their injury. Its a natural instinct we do for self preservation, to guard our bodies, thinking that we are protecting, but as we age, we begin a habit of disassociating the pain, by trying to not think of the pain our pain receptors are reminding us simultaneously and in result beginning to alienate our injured body from ourselves.
Our bodies have the amazing capacity to heal on itself, but our mind can affect the natural progression of the repair mechanism.
Fast forward, the child, now adult, has had many falls, some breaks, a few car accidents; the trauma begins to build layers of injuries and compensation. This isn't even to account for surgical procedures (wisdom teeth, c-sections, torn ACLs repairs, rotator cuff surgeries ect). These injuries/trauma, depending on how much we rehabilitate them back to full or partial recovery (and you will know, if and when your body is back to full capacity) will almost inevitably effect future injuries due to compensation.
Here are some rhetorical questions about your last injury, when was the last time you rubbed or explored the range of motion of that injury? Does it feel like it's counterpart? Have you noticed that since the injury, has new pain referral manifested (typically on the the opposite side of the body)??
It is natural, that we all will have restriction and compensation throughout our bodies, but as we have learned to guard our bodies (the instinct, that our bodies are our holy temples and we want to preserve them). We can also learn what our coping mechanisms are (in regards to how we harbor and guard our bodies), while figuring out avenues in allowing our bodies to thrive in environments to heal themselves and regain a better range of motion. Just a thought!
I know that you have breast cancer, anemia and hypertension in your family history. Physiologically, you can take precautionary measures to lessen the risks that are more susceptible in your genetics... Cardio, eating better, avoiding bad habits, yada yada (you know the spill).. But what if I approached my physical anatomical structure in the same way?
Structurally, I and most of my siblings have a minor twist in the spine (inevitably, causing me to favor one side of my body), one of my siblings was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13...
Do what you must, but just remember it'll catch up with you at some point. Hindering your quality of life.
In my line of work, I am always inspired by those who did not let what society has deemed hopeless, deformity, disease, different from the "norm" to stop them from being at their optimum best. I have had the honor to work with folks who have over come their scoliosis and live with accountability. I've walked along and worked with folks that were cast off as never being able to walk or dance and because of their relentless willpower walk and dance today!!
What am I trying to say? Meaning, we have the ability to understand/learn our weaknesses (may it be physically, mentally, physiologically, emotionally ect) and strengthen them. What!? Right!?
Just a thought.
If I really took the time to listen to my body... what is my body telling me it needs at that moment? Day? Week? May it be emotional support, Z's, lethargic, achey, food intake, spiritual fuel and/or mental support/challenge... --Kettle
I get the question, "how much body work should I get done"? Take a moment to take inventory of what you do in your profession? If you're sitting "X" amount of hours at a desk, typing "Y" amount of minutes at a time, while holding your phone on your shoulder "Z" amount of times in a day... Did you get up at any point to stretch out the muscles you've been shortening by sitting down? Did you know that you lengthen your back muscles sitting, while, simultaneously shortening your hip flexors and if it were a real stressful day (whether home/work life), I bet those shoulders are almost reaching the bottom lobes of your ears!? Go ahead, give yourself permission to let those shoulders drop and while you're at it, bring them slightly back, so, you're not curling those shoulders forward. What you do professionally, you also train your body to hold the body mechanics of your profession (eg. a secretary who holds the phone by their ear with their shoulder, shortening their dominant side of their traps as they start to bring their anterior deltoid forward, straining their latissimus dorsi and if they're huffing and puffing with agitation, you can bet their serratus anterior is contracted from not deeply breathing).
Again, what you do professionally, you train your body to hold that profession as well. This doesn't necessarily mean you're creating balance between the muscles you use daily with the muscles you don't use as often or at all. Think about it, you're sitting/standing here, as you're reading this blog... How long have you been in this position (literally)?
Here's the thing my friend, in all honesty... what you do to your body 20..30.. 50+hours a week, working/at home/physical lifestyle, how much work can I or any other therapist really "undo"?
As a practitioner, I do 3-4 hours of yoga a week, walk at least 1-3 miles/day, do 2 hours of weight training a week. For me, I feel that I need at least a 2 hours bodywork session, every other week(preferably every week, when I've trained a little harder). This is not a luxury, it is a necessity to keep up with the toll put on my body. Take into account, I am also working on other folks and their bodies through my week. Filling my cup is essential!
What are you doing to fill your cup?
After much time and life changing events, I am back with revision and have decided to format these blogs as rhetorical monologues that I have with myself, in hopes that you, the reader can feel that as much as I speak to you, I also address the same/similar convictions (whether it be diet, accountability, letting go, breathing, showing up, being on time ect).
I have learned that the most effective practitioners are the ones that get into the nitty-gritty of their work and practice what we preach. "ouch!"
"Hello pot, this is kettle".
In my healing journey, I have come to experience Thai Yoga Massage to be inspired by the art of Ayurveda healing from India. It is believed that Shivago (one of Bhudda's head physician) created this particular sequence for grounding and meditation, therefore, attributing to the overall well being of the receiver. It has been in my experience that Thai massage, much like the evolution of Bhuddism leans in two most common directions: more yoga and lomi lomi (oceanic movement) or predominantly shiatsu (trigger point) focus. It is a bodywork modality that has evolved to be a hybrid of yoga, shiatsu and a way of living.
Present day Thai Yoga Massage is a sequence that opens up the body to healing on a physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual experience. If one looks at the lineage of Thai Yoga Massage, the bodywork modality gets its name from Thailand. Thailand, a heavily Buddhist influenced country.