Hlo Heaven

Today’s post will be brief, as I’ve been procrastinating (watching Great British Baking Show, cooking food, looking at Facebook, you know ūüôā ), and I still have lots of studying to do, and Tim and I are supposed to play Jaipur too!

ANYWAY, ¬†I wanted to let you know about an exciting development. ¬†We are bringing The Roll Model¬ģ Method Teacher Trainings to the Center for Neurosomatic Studies! I cannot convey how excited I am about this. ¬†The whole reason I found out about neurosomatic therapy is because a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ teacher took her son to an NST therapist and was blown away by the treatment. She commented on it ¬†on the YTU Teachers Facebook page. I was in the middle of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life (I wanted to help people in the health/wellness arena, but did not want to go back to school for 6 more years and spend $100,000 on tuition). Her post sparked my interest, and upon Googling, I found ¬†my school. ¬†And here we are, about 2 years later, and I am on the cusp of graduating from CNS!

Anyway, back to my original point, in school we are taught how invaluable it is to give patients “homework.” It’s vital to help remodel their bodies, and it also helps them realize they have an internal locus of control. Their therapist/doctor is not responsible for their health, the patient himself/herself is! ¬†The self-massage that is taught in Yoga Tune Up¬ģ is a perfect compliment to the work we do in NST. ¬†This has become abundantly clear to me as I’ve progressed through the program, so much so, that I thought, “We HAVE to bring a YTU training to this school!”

I talked to my teacher, mentor, and school-owner, Randy, and he readily agreed. ¬†And my dream is coming to fruition! ¬†In March, we will offer both of The Roll Model¬ģ Method Trainings at CNS! ¬†One of my teachers from my Yoga Tune Up ¬ģ Level 1 training is going to teach the class. ¬†She ¬†made a huge impact on me during the Level 1. I remember telling her, “I’m just a part-time yoga teacher. I just do this on the side…” ¬†And she called me out on minimizing myself and my skills, and it solidly hit home! ¬†The fact that this super-talented, intelligent, gifted woman thought I had something real to offer to people gave me a whole new perspective on what was possible! ¬†And she is the person who will be teaching this class. ¬†ūüôā

Here are the links to the classes:

The Roll Model¬ģ Method – The Science of Rolling

The Roll Model¬ģ Method – Ball Sequencing & Innovation

If you are at all interested in learning some easy-to-use self-massage techniques for yourself or your clients/patients, I cannot recommend this training highly enough. I would so love to see you there!

Hope you are having a great Sunday!

 

 



 

 

The Fabulous, Fantastic, Fearless Foot

I now know ALL the muscles in the body. ¬†Ha! I wish. ¬†I mean, I think I’ve probably learned about all the muscles in the body, but I don’t remember them all. ¬†Yet. ¬†We just finished up learning about the lower body, all the way down to the feet. ¬†I had no idea that feet are so complicated!! ¬†As we learned in class, the complex nature of the feet makes them capable of amazing feets/feats (get it!!), but it also makes them prone to a variety of issues. ¬†How many people do you know that have bunions or plantar fasciitis or heel spurs or hammer toes? ¬†A lot of these issues are caused by misuse/abuse of the feet. ¬†I’m going to try to provide a very high level overview of the feet and then show you what you can do to bring relief and increased awareness to the feet. ¬†And before I forget to mention it, if you have any of these issues, neurosomatic therapy can help!! ¬†I graduate in February, so come see me!!

Ok. ¬†First of all. ¬†Let’s look at the boney structure of the foot. ¬†You have the big heel bone (aka calcaneus), on top of which sits the talus, which fits into an arch (aka mortise) made by your shin bone (aka tibia) and fibula (the bone that’s on the outside of your lower leg). ¬†This forms the joint of the ankle. ¬†Next you have an assortment of oddly shaped bones that fit together like puzzle pieces – the navicular, cuboid, and cuneiforms. ¬†Next you have the long skinny bones of your foot, the metatarsals, which connect to your toes, which are made up of phalanges. ¬†Here is a picture to give you an overview:

These bones are held together by tons of ligaments (very strong connective tissue), and connecting with these bones are all the muscles of your lower leg and foot.  These ligaments and muscles maintain the two arches of your foot. Yes! There are two arches down there!  There is the longitudinal arch, which forms your instep.  And then there is the transverse arch, which goes horizontally across your foot.  These two arches work together to absorb force from the ground and transmit it up the body.

Man, I’m just getting started. ¬†I really wanted to discuss the the muscles IN the foot too. ¬†Did you know there are TWELVE of them (depending on how you count them) and FOUR separate layers of muscles? ¬†Just bonkers. But we’ll have to discuss the bonkeriness in another post because this one is already getting too long.

Let’s get to the really fun stuff. What can you do if you have foot pain? ¬†One easy thing to do is to get a small, soft ball (I recommend a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ ball, due to its squishy, pliable nature) and step on it. ¬†Yep. ¬†Just stepping on the ball will increase your awareness of your feet and start to dissolve tension between all those tiny joints. ¬†Here is a video that will guide you through an eye-opening foot roll.

https://vimeo.com/211185607

You can also increase awareness of your feet (and help bring energy down from that monkey mind into your feet, which is very grounding) by meditating on your feet.  Here is a 10 minute meditation that will guide you through that.

Hopefully you have a better understanding of your amazing feet now!  I hope you find some time to give your feet some love today.  Let me know what you think of the video and or meditation.

Have a great Sunday!

 

 

Adding Adductors to your Body Body of Knowledge

Yes. ¬†I purposefully tried to make the title of this blog as confusing as possible. ¬†Why? ¬†Does it mean I’m not a good writer? ¬†Does it mean I don’t care about the edification of my readers? ¬†Does it mean my brain finds pleasure in confusing word play that takes a couple of moments to figure out? ¬†Because, No, No, and Yes. ūüôā

So, Adductors. ¬†If you are like me, you probably have only ever heard of adductors as a glump of muscles that get “stretched” in wide-legged yoga poses like prasarita padattonasana (wide-legged forward fold). Before starting school at the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CNS), I had only a vague notion of some muscles in my inner thigh that were super tight, and which did not allow me to do wide-legged poses without getting a cramp in my butt. ¬†Thank you, CNS, for helping me understand with specificity what these muscles are.

Your adductors are made up of several different muscles that connect from the lower portion of your pelvis to the back side of the long bone of your thigh (the femur).  I realize the pelvis can be a bit of mystery as well, so here is brief overview of the points we need to know about.  The pubis is the bone on the front of your pelvis.  If you are like me, you often accidentally ram this into countertops/tables, and it hurts like a mother.

Directly underneath the pubis is the ischium. ¬†Sit on your hands. ¬†Go ahead – it’s okay. ¬†Sit on your hands. ¬†You feel those bones pressing into your hands? ¬†Those are your ischiums (commonly called “sit bones”). ¬†The pubis and the ischium are the superior (aka “upper” or “northern”) attachment points for the adductors, as you can see in the drawing below (which is a view of the pelvis from the front). ¬†Disclaimer: ¬†these are drawings I did quickly for my own personal study aids, so they are not 100% accurate. ¬†They’ll give you a gist of the anatomy, however. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

The adductors are made up of the Pectineus, Adductor Longus, Gracilis, Adductor Brevis, and Adductor Magnus muscles.  You can see the specific attachment points in the illustration below. (Please note that my anatomy text led me astray in regards to the attachments of Gracilis and Adductor Longus.  They should actually be flipped).


From the pelvis, the adductors travel at an angle to connect to the back of the femur, as you can see in the illustration below.  I used to think that the back of the thigh was made up of just the hamstrings.  But there is a lot going on back there! All the adductors connect there, as well as many of the quadriceps.


Why are the adductors important?  For SO many reasons!  They have trigger points that can present as pain in the front and inside of the thigh and in the genitals and rectum.  They can cause the sacrum to tilt, which forms an uneven base for the spine, resulting in a functional scoliosis.  Also, the adductor magnus can pinch the greater saphenous nerve, causing the knee to collapse while walking.

At CNS we learn how to treat the adductors, which can relieve the symptoms described above. ¬†But sometimes releasing a muscle is not what it needs. Sometimes it needs to be stronger. ¬†Weak muscles can contribute to pain, just like over-active muscles can. ¬†I love the Adductor Slides Yoga Tune Up¬ģ pose; it helps you tune in to your adductors and strengthen them in a fun and slightly excruciating way. ¬†Here is a demo from Trina Altman.

Well, I hope you learned a little something about your body today. If you try the adductors slides, let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading today!

 

 

 

 

The Delightful, Dynamic, totally Dope Diaphragm

In last week’s post, I mentioned that the psoas shares attachments to the diaphragm, so I figured we might as well delve into the diaphragm next. ¬†Please note my extensive use of alliteration within this post, as alliteration is amazingly awesome.

I should start by saying, in this post I will be discussing the RESPIRATORY diaphragm, as there are a few different diaphragms in the body.  The respiratory diaphragm, as the name implies, is related to respiration (aka breathing). It is your primary breathing muscle. Or at  least it should be.  For a variety of reasons we can end up constantly using accessory muscles like the neck and shoulder muscles for breathing. This can lead to chronic neck/shoulder tension, head-forward posture, and an amped up nervous system.  But I digress.  Man, this topic is hard to write about without octopusing off into a tangent!!

The diaphragm is a large, domed-shaped muscle that sits inside your ribcage Рthink of a parachute tucked up under your ribcage.  This muscle separates your heart/lungs from the rest of viscera (liver, stomach, intestines, etc.).  It forms a seal around your ribcage that enables the pressure changes that inflate and deflate the lungs with each breath.  At rest (meaning the muscle is not contracted), the diaphragm is in parachute mode Рdomed up inside the chest.  When you inhale, it actually flattens and moves DOWN, pulling air into the lungs, and pushing down on the viscera below.  If you want to understand this concept better, you can watch this video (and learn how to make a working lung/diaphragm model yourself!).

We take about 23,000 breaths a day.  With each breath, the diaphragm (which shares connections to the pericardium which contains the heart), massages the heart above it and the organs below it, keeping everything nice and mobile and moving stuff like blood and lymph through the body.  So you can see why I say the diaphragm is delightful, dynamic, and dope!  Such a helpful muscle!

But like any muscle, it can become dysfunctional due to misuse, disuse, overuse, and abuse (to borrow some language from Jill Miller). When this happens, your posture can be affected, breathing issues can arise (asthma, COPD), and your sympathetic nervous system (flight/flight/freeze) can become ramped up, causing anxiety and panic attacks.

But there is good news!! ¬†Even though this muscle seems inaccessible, all tucked up under the bony cage of our ribs, it can actually be treated with manual therapy. ¬†At the Center for Neurosomatic therapy, we learn how to work with the patient’s breath to get our thumbs up under the rib cage and treat this muscle. ¬†And, yes, that is as uncomfortable as it sounds. ¬†BUT, it is SUPER effective. ¬†Each time I’ve done this treatment, the patient notices IMMEDIATE improvements in his/her breath.

If you don’t have access to a neurosomatic therapist’s thumbs, you can do some self care on your own diaphragm. ¬†As with anything, Awareness is Step #1:

Take a moment, close your eyes, and see if you can tell where you feel your breath happening in your body……………………………………..

Done?  Ok.  Where did you feel it?  Did you feel it up in your neck?  Your shoulders?  Did you feel your ribs expand?  Did you feel your belly move at all?

If you feel all your breath up in your shoulders and neck, try focusing on pulling that breath down lower in the body. ¬†You can use the Yoga Tune Up¬ģ Coregeous ball to help. ¬†Check out the video here from one my Instagram Idols – the Movement Maestro.

I hope this helped you understand the darling, dependable, damn-brilliancy of the respiratory diaphragm.  Give it some love today Рwe think we have it rough if we have to work 50 hours a week. It works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Have a fabulous Sunday, and let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Hlo Out!

 

 

Psoas – The “Hidden Prankster”

My final term at the Center for Neurosomatic Studies began week before last. ¬†We’ve only had 2 weeks of school and already we’ve covered tons of interesting stuff in Advanced Technique class. ¬†I finally know the official protocols for the diaphragm, illiacus, superficial paraspinals, quadratus lumborum, deep spinal rotators, deep costal muscles, and, wait for it….THE PSOAS, aka, the “Hidden Prankster” according to Janet Travell who literally wrote the book on trigger points.

All of these muscles can be implicated in the number one reason people miss work РBACK PAIN.  But the psoas is in a world of its own.  Because of its placement in the the body, it can contribute to almost every distortion imaginable.

The psoas lies on the anterior surface ¬†(the front) of the transverse processes (the horizontal parts of the vertebrae) and bodies of lumbar vertebrae and attaches to the lesser trochanter of the femur (a little bump of bone on the inside of your thigh). ¬†It’s basically this huge strap of muscle that runs deep along your lumbar spine, behind all your guts (aka viscera) that connects your torso to your legs. ¬†When you sit all day, it gets shorter, and shorter and shorter and ramps up its pranksteriness to a 10.

Because of its length, placement, and connections in the body, it can contribute to spinal flexion, extension, and rotation; hip flexion, extension and tilt; torso tilt, and pain in the abdomen and back.  It also shares attachments with the diaphragm, so it can contribute to breathing dysfunctions, which can lead to to a whole host of other ailments like anxiety, depression, head forward posture, neck pain, etc.

It’s a tricky muscle to treat effectively, however, because it is deeeeeep within the body. ¬†We learned a technique to kind of swim down through the viscera to the back of the abdomen. ¬†As you can imagine, this is not a FUN muscle to have treated. ¬†But it can make a world of difference!!

If you can’t find a neurosomatic therapist, or if you don’t want to fly to Florida and visit me, there are lots of exercises you can do to help stretch out the psoas. ¬†Katy Bowman, my favorite biomechanist, describes an easy psoas stretch here, and Jill Miller shares a creative way to use Yoga Tune Up¬ģ balls to get into this area here.

All this is to say, I’m so glad I finally learned the official protocol for this little prankster!

 

Syn – Everything comes together

I feel this compulsion to write today, even though I don’t have a clearly defined outcome/topic.¬† I have this idea floating around in my brain pan, and hopefully writing will help distill it into some sense.

Yesterday I attended a workshop, “The Tao of Voice.”¬† It was at a local studio that I have been trying to get myself to go to since October (even bought the 30 day pass and never went!). I finally made it.¬† The room was full of 12 women and one teacher, all with super diverse backgrounds but one thing in common – we all wanted to find our voice, find the ability to express ourselves clearly and confidently.¬† As we did introductions at the beginning of class and then as we provided our impressions at the end of class, a few words/concepts really struck me.¬† One woman talked about the synchronicities that brought her to the class. Another student mentioned the synergy she felt with this group of random strangers who connected over this mutual desire to tap into something bigger.¬† I commented how, as we all spoke/sung tones together, I could no longer track my voice as a disparate vibration, my voice just melded with the rest the group.

So I got home and looked up what the root “syn” means.¬† It means “together.”¬† I have been experiencing loads of synchronicities and syngergies in my life lately. I don’t know if these occurrences are actually happening more often, or if I am slowly tuning myself in such a way that I actually notice them more.¬† I’m still not 100% sure what they mean, I just know that they are meaningful! And they prove to me that “together” is where we need to be.¬† We are social beings.¬† Our energy, vibration, facial expressions, heartbeats – all these things modulate and entrain others.¬† We have an almost magical ability to either elevate those around us or drag them down.¬† Something as tiny as a micro-expression on our face gets registered by the person looking at us and can cause chemical and physical changes in the observer’s body.

Here are a few examples of recent synchroncities:

1. In Anatomy & Physiology (AP) class, we just started learning about the brain and the 12 cranial nerves.¬† The morning before we started this topic in class I was taking my usual walk and decided to listen to a new podcast, The Body Awake.¬† The podcast was an interview with Stanley Rosenberg who wrote “Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve.”¬† After listening to the podcast, I immediately bought the book.¬† I read it in about a week.¬† All the stuff I was learning in AP formed a foundation of understanding for the book!¬† And everything I was reading in the book provided a enlightening perspective on the issues experienced by a few patients in student clinic.¬† Clue:¬† Many “heads of the hydra” can be addressed by treating dysfunctions of the vagus nerve and the other 4 nerves that govern social engagement.

2.¬† I am in the process of reading “The Body Keeps the Score.”¬† The author writes a lot about how to help people with PTSD/trauma.¬† “Accessing the Vagus Nerve” also covers how to help people with PTSD.¬† At a family get-together last week, my cousin was discussing struggles her boyfriend has due to PTSD.¬† I was able to share some thoughts with her, based on what I was reading.

3.  I follow fisioterapia.hospitalar on Instagram.  Without fail, this user posts the most interesting videos/pics that relate EXACTLY to what we are covering in school.

4.¬† One of the foundational principles of neurosomatic therapy is that you must address a lower limb length inequality (LLLI) in order for the body to find balance and for any treatments to hold.¬† I struggle with this concept.¬† I just don’t WANT it to be true because I want to be barefoot and fancy free – not tied down by a lift in my shoe (my right leg is 8MM shorter than my left).¬† Well, we discovered that my research patient has a 7MM LLLI.¬† She put a lift in her shoe and almost immediately noticed huge improvements in mobility, range of motion, and pain levels.¬† The universe provided me with the case study I needed to see to believe.

5. Yesterday I listened to a Matt Kahn talk where he was talking to empaths about how to process emotions/feelings that crop up.¬† He provided the mantra, “What I am feeling, I am healing for the world.”¬† He recommended that instead of resisting uncomfortable feelings, to allow that energy to pass through you, so it could return to Source.¬† I interpreted it as another way of saying, “What you resist, persists.”¬† Well, in class yesterday one of the women mentioned how overwhelmed she was by the news and the feeling that she needed to watch it so she could DO something about it.¬† One of the callers to Matt’s show expressed almost the exact same sentiment, and Matt provided help on how to deal with that.¬† So I told this woman about Matt’s talk.¬† Hopefully it will help her find some peace.

So all this is to say, wow – we are all really connected – energetically, physically, emotionally, neurologically.¬† This idea gives me lots of hope. Changing the world is 100% overwhelming, but changing your own perspective and vibration is 100% doable, and doing so creates a domino effect which will spread to everyone you come into contact with, starting a chain reaction of positivity and hope.¬† By pursuing joy, you make your life better and improve the lives of everyone you come into contact with. ūüôā

 

On Getting Comfortable with Uncertainty

The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with. ‚Äď Tony Robbins

Week 5 is done, Man! ¬†In case you don’t know, that’s a riff off of a quote from Adventures in Babysitting, a movie I haven’t seen in probably 15 years, but that quote has always stuck with me – Dishes are done, Man!!

Anyway, I’ll reel myself back in to the point. ¬†Friday marked my 5th week of classes at CNS. ¬†We celebrated with a quiz in anatomy. ¬†Fortunately the teacher dropped some heavy hints the week prior, so we were all pretty prepared. ¬†After hours of study, I got a 93% on the 10 question quiz. ¬†I missed one. ¬†Ninety-three percent is a solid grade. ¬†I am mostly happy with it. ¬†I am a little unhappy with it too, though. I wanted 100%. ¬†I wish I could get to the root of this drive for perfection, so I could unwind it and be satisfied with what IS.

I think it has something to do with always being a people-pleaser and identifying myself as the “good girl” who gets good grades. ¬†It’s a huge part of my self-identification, and my way of trying to control what I was able to control as a child. ¬†I could reduce conflict in the world around me by getting good grades. ¬†And it got me positive attention. ¬†I don’t NEED to get good grades for those reasons anymore though. ¬†But that coding is still strong within me.

But, overall, I am satisfied and a little less anxious about my success in this program. ¬†As a wise friend told me, if I HAD gotten 100%, it may have set false expectations and made lower grades in the future tougher to deal with. ¬†I set a reasonable bar with my 93%. ūüôā

Enough about my layers! ¬†Let’s get on to the purpose of this post – being OK with uncertainty.

This topic came up in class on Friday, when the teacher was discussing some new research that indicates that massage therapy does NOT increase blood flow. ¬†This was the one thing that almost everyone agreed was a positive result of massage therapy. ¬†Welp… now it looks as if that is in question too. ¬†Anecdotally, it seems to be true. ¬†From direct observation, it seems to be true – just look at how red the skin gets after being massaged. ¬†If that’s not an increase in blood flow, what is it??

It was a timely discussion, however, as today one of the YTU teachers I follow and greatly admire posted  this article about the Myth of Symmetry in Yoga.  The title of the article pretty much says it all.  The author references several studies that indicate that symmetry in the body (symmetry of muscles, posture, and leg lengths) is irrelevant to sensation of pain.

So…the school I am going to is FOUNDED on the concept of symmetry. ¬†With each treatment, we do an 84-point analysis on the posture to identify imbalances. The chief imbalance that can drive many of the others is a lower limb length inequality (LLLI – aka one leg is shorter than the other). ¬†We are taught that the limb length issue must be corrected first (via lifts in the shoes). ¬†If that is not fixed, any bodywork provides only temporary relief.

So this article is in direct contradiction to what we are taught.  BUT!  BUT! I did not read the studies the author referenced. I clicked through to a few of the summaries, though.  In my quick pass-through, it appeared as if the studies were not done over an extensive period of time.  Perhaps an LLLI does not cause much pain until later in life or until an unusual stress is placed on an imbalanced body?

One thing that I have noted in all my reading about diet and exercise over the past 5 years, is that “Science” is constantly shifting. ¬†Eggs are good! ¬†Eggs are bad. ¬†Coconut oil is the bomb!! Coconut oil will give you heart attacks! Stretching is good for you! ¬†Stretching will compromise your joints and make you unstable! ¬†Yoga will save your life! ¬†Yoga will bust your shoulders all to hell.

So, again, we waffle back to center. ¬†The truth lies somewhere in between. ¬†Balance (which is oh so close to symmetry…) is the key. ¬†If we really do exist in a quantum field, where everything exists in multiple states until it doesn’t, each person’s Truth varies. ¬†We all have different perceptions, experiences, and DNA that alter how we experience the world.

So, thus, I start my journey into being comfortable in the unknown, trusting that I am in the right place at the right time, gaining knowledge that will help me understand my body, your body, and the world around me better.  With this knowledge, I will eventually be able to help people who share a similiar quantum experience.  If we both look really quickly to the right and see the same thing, then someday I may be able to help you if you are in pain.

Hope you are having a great weekend – getting outside, spending time with loved ones, spending some time in the peace and quiet. ¬†If you’ve had any experience with dealing with ¬†challenges to your foundational beliefs, I would love to hear how you tipped-toed through to the other side.

Take care!

Week 3 – On Contemplating Change Vs. Implementing Change

Today was the first week of normal classes at CNS. ¬†Monday we had Basic Massage. Tuesday was Advanced Technique. Wednesday was Business. Thursday was more Advanced Technique. ¬†Friday was Anatomy and Pyshiology. I’m concerned about my success in A&P because I cannot yet spell physiology correctly. ¬†Wait! I think I just figured it out!!

It’s been a super interesting week. ¬†I really love the Tech and A&P class. They are taught by the founders of the school and their passion really shines through in their teaching. You KNOW that they believe that this form of therapy changes lives. Not only does it change the life of the patient, but it has a domino effect and changes the lives of the people the patients interact with. ¬†This is a Difference Maker. ¬†It is so fulfilling to be surrounded by that kind of conviction and knowledge.

During the Tech class, we learn the  neurosomatic techniques. This week we learned how to address the muscles in the front of the neck Рinfrahyoids, suprahyoids, the deep anterior cervical muscles (the muscles that connect to the vertebrae), the scalenes (the muscles that move your neck from side to side) and the sternocleidomastoid Рthe muscle that flexes, tilts, and rotates the neck.

These are super impactful (is that a word??) muscles to treat. ¬†Treating these can help immensely with ear, jaw, throat, and shoulder pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, and migraines. ¬†However, they are a….sensitive area to treat. ¬†There are lots of trigger points in these muscles, and one of the treatments involves moving the trachea out of the way. ¬†So… ¬†It’s really important work with lots of benefits, but it’s also work that requires a lot of trust and practice. ¬†People just aren’t used to therapists fiddling around with the front of their necks!

My first A&P class was Friday. ¬†The teacher is…just amazing. You can tell he really loves the material and believes 100% in it its importance. ¬†He is lively, animated, funny, and super knowledgeable- which is a must, if you are sitting through 4 hours of anatomy lecture. ¬†It was totally overwhelming. ¬†Completely. He also told us that over 1/2 of the first term students fail their first anatomy test. I have never failed a test. ¬†I don’t know how I would deal with that!! I hope I don’t have to find out.

I took copious notes and also recorded the session.  Today I used the pomodoro technique to tackle studying.  With this technique, you focus 100% for 25 minutes and then take a 3-5 minute break (which I used to roll out my upper back, shoulders and pecs with the Yoga Tune Up balls).  I found that knowing that I only had to work for 25 minutes relieved some of the anxiety I was feeling about tackling this huge subject!  At first I really struggled with how to approach studying.  But once I started looking at my notes, looking at the pictures in my Thieme book, and tying the two together (and reminding myself to BE PATIENT), I felt so much better.  The terminology started to make sense.  The names of things in the body actually do have some logic to them, and that started to present itself as I worked.

I did about 4 pomodoro sessions and then took a long break. ¬†I, uh, watched Miss Congeniality. ¬†It’s a really excellent movie, actually.

But now I’m going to go back and do some more homework – I have some reading to tackle. I like to read before I go to bed because I feel as if the information just kind of floats around in the ol’ brain pan and settles in better that way.

Tomorrow I am meeting a couple of classmates to practice my neck-spearing technique (aka treating the superficial anterior cervical muscles). ¬†Then I’ll do some more studying, meal prep for the week (steel cut oats, quinoa, and BBQ pork in the Instant Pot). Hopefully I will figure out a way to have some FUN tomorrow. ¬†Figuring out fun stuff is actually quite challenging!!

Oh! I guess I should circle back to the whole theme of this post Рchange!!  I was talking to a dear friend of mine who has been with me step-by-step as I contemplated coming to this school.  She is intimately familiar with all the doubt, fear, and indecision I was experiencing.  My therapist said I was in Decision Purgatory, and that is the perfect description.

Well, Angela and I were talking about my current state, and I told her that living in Florida and going to school just feels, well, normal now! ¬†She reminded me of how petrified I was of making this change. It made me realize that CONTEMPLATION of change is the really scary thing. ¬†Actually EXPERIENCING ¬†the change is NBD (no big deal). ¬†You just deal with it, like you deal with everything. ¬†The Ego is a funny thing. I’ve been pretty entertained lately by watching its machinations. ¬†Between lots of reading of Kiran Trace and listening to Matthew Kahn’s podcast, I’ve realized that it’s all about awareness without judgement. I can FEEL whatever I want to feel, and that is 100% OK. ¬†I just need to observe how I feel and let that be OK. ¬†I’m doing a lot of “Huh. ¬†That’s interesting.”

Hope you are having a fabulous Saturday.

Take care,

Hlo

 

On the Importance of Movement

Where have I been, you may be wondering?? ¬†Well, let me tell you. It’s a story that begins at the latest last summer and at the earliest back in high school, with a few milestones in between.

I’ll start at the most recent beginning, which is last summer.

For the past several years, especially since discovering the primal diet (thank you Mark Sisson!), I have felt very compelled to share with others the fascinating things I was learning, namely Рwe have the power to heal ourselves without the use of prescription drugs and surgeries.  As I started to eat better and move my body more regularly, I noticed a huge improvement in my level of anxiety, my body composition, and my energy levels.  It was nothing short of amazing. I wanted EVERYONE to know this.

But I struggled with the best way to share this message. I was not content with sharing this information with only the interested friend or family member (or the uninterested family member ūüėõ ). ¬†I wanted a more Official communication forum.

Consequently I ventured down the yoga teacher training path. ¬†Teaching yoga fed my deep curiosity about the body, philosophy, and spirituality. It also gave me an avenue to share what I was learning with others. ¬†I LOVE teaching, especially those classes where the students and I are on the same wave length, and everything just…gels. ¬†Amazing. Total Flow state.

Yet, I still yearned for more. I was/am working full-time at a fairly stressful job, fitting in classes and workshops where I could.  I clung to the job because I have a HUGE need for security, safety, and a financial safety net.  Yet, I wanted to do more with the health and wellness sphere.  But I was running out of hours in the day and energy to do both well.

I was super discontented and unsettled and stressed, and I felt as if my life was being used incorrectly by me. ¬†So I started meeting with a psychologist who is also a yoga therapist – a woman who marries west and east and blends science with spirituality. During the first session I explained my plight. She had me write down my intention. I wrote “My intention is to find my purpose and follow it fearlessly.”

A day or two later on the Yoga Tune Up Teachers Page, I learned about a pain treatment modality, neurosomatic therapy, that focuses on posture to analyze the root of issues in the tissues. ¬†It is a form of manual therapy, but it also adds in the component of corrective exercise (so patients don’t just revert back to old patterns of behavior).

I was intrigued!  I called the school and ended up speaking to a man just a year younger than me who just quit his job in real estate to go back to the school.  He was SO HAPPY. Over the next few days we talked for a few hours, as he answered all my detailed questions about the program.  This system of treatment gelled SO WELL with what I had been learning in YTU, and it also made intuitive sense to me.  It was a natural fit for the style of yoga/movement that drew me as well.

For the next year, I would torture myself with deciding whether or not to take the plunge and do this program. I would talk to students from the program, hear their remarkable impressions of the program, how much they loved it, how they wished they could do it again, how great it was to help people that no one else could help.

Yet I waffled. How could I leave Iowa? How could I ask Tim to completely change our life?  How could I leave my parents????  How could we leave our adorable house that we spent 14 years making perfect?  What would I do for money?  I had grown very accustomed to the lifestyle that my stressful corporate job provided, to be honest.

I was confident that I would love the training program. I was sure that this career path would provide more fulfillment, joy and flow than being a business analyst at a bank.  I knew that this career would give me opportunities to learn and grow in a field that is fascinating to me.

So, what to do?  On the one hand Рsecurity, family, safety, knowing what tomorrow will bring.  On the other hand Рlots of potential, room for growth, greater understanding of this vessel in which I live, but also insecurity, lack of predictability, increased expenses, and a move 18 hours across the USA.

I finally decided to take the plunge.  Tim is joining me on this crazy adventure. We are breaking out of several years of comfy habits and routines which is absolutely terrifying but also exciting.  As we are fixing up the house, cleaning out 14 years of accumulation, I realized that our comfy life was also kind of stagnant.  We had swung too far off center, and we needed a massive shake-up to reach equilibrium again.  Much like the body needs constant movement for optimum performance, life needs movement and change as well!

I hope to continue writing as we progress through this experience together, but I will have to see what this new life looks like.  I will be working part time and going to school part time, but hopefully I can still find time to write!

So this is already a super long blog post, so I better sign off.  Thanks for reading!

 

After further thought…

My students Thursday night asked me a couple of questions that I was not really prepared to answer.  I tossed out the first thing that came to the top of my head, but after further reflection, I have more to add. It takes awhile for my brain to get into gear!

Question 1:  What is the biggest change I have noticed with doing yoga regularly?

This one caused a rush of conflicting thoughts in my head, even though it seems like a simple question. ¬†A lot of this tumult of thought circled around, “I don’t actually DO yoga regularly!” ¬†I have a varied movement practice – I jog a couple of days a week, I lift a couple of days a week, I attend a yoga class once every couple of weeks, I do one of Jill Miller’s videos once or twice a week.

I’m conflicted about even calling myself a yoga teacher, in point of fact, because I feel as if it can give people the impression that I practice 6 days a week for 90 minutes everyday, and I can do handstands¬†and splits and crazy binds. ¬†I can’t do any of that stuff, so I don’t teach any of that stuff. ¬†I help people understand their bodies better with the aid of the Yoga Tune Up¬ģ balls and mindful mobility and strengthening work. ¬†We crawl, we swing, we roll, we look at pictures of muscles in books. ¬†Is that “yoga”? ¬†Technically yes (as I understand it), but I fear it’s not what people typically consider yoga to be.

So once all of that darted through my head, I settled back on the question – what is the biggest chance I have noticed? ¬†I told the class¬†that after taking the YTU Level 1 training, I noticed that I felt myself stacked over my feet better – like I wasn’t leaning forward all the time. ¬†That was the biggest change for me.

And that is true, but, upon reflection, what I have really noticed from my mindful movement practices is that I have more Awareness now. ¬†I notice when my shoulders start to creep up around my ears, I notice when I start breathing shallowly, I notice when random parts of my body tense up (like my hands or my belly), I notice (with a slight bit of detachment) when I feel annoyed or angry, I notice when my mind is going a million miles per minute. ¬†Sometimes I just notice these things. Sometimes I notice them and then try to change them – I will stretch, or roll on the balls, or reflect on whether it’s worth it to get angry about this situation. ¬†That Awareness is what I have noticed most from doing yoga.

Question 2:  Does it ever get better, or do you have to constantly work at it (re: muscle tightness)?

My answer to this was, you really do need to keep working at it. ¬†You can’t just roll and relax and be done with it. ¬†You need a relaxation maintenance package. ūüôā

And that is true!  But what I forgot to mention was that if you change your habits (especially postural habits), you can start to alleviate tension all over the body.  For example, if you stack your ears over your shoulders, it releases strain in the back of the neck, the back of the head, the tops of the shoulders, and the jaw.

So, while you still should continue to move your body as much as possible (whether in “yoga” or some other mindful movement practice), if you move your body BETTER and use Awareness to re-position yourself in a joint-stacked position, you will over time reduce pain and tension in the body. ¬†Instead of trying to fit another exercise class into your day to keep yourself supple, you can continuously adjust yourself as you are walking, reading, doing the dishes, working at your computer. ¬†As Katy Bowman always says, Stack Your Life! ¬†Improve your mobility while doing the other things in life you have to do.

I’m still not sure that fully answers both questions, but if I wait until I have a perfect answer, I will never get this posted!

Hope you are having a great Memorial Day weekend and that you can get out outside, put your toes in the grass, laugh with your friends and family, and eat delicious food!