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!

 

 



 

 

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Posted in Health & Fitness, kripalu, massage therapy, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

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!

 

 

Posted in Health & Fitness, massage therapy, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Study Tips for Going Back to School as a 40-Something Adult


A friend of mine recently asked what apps I use for school and how I keep myself organized. ¬†As I typed up a massive text to her, I was realized this kind of info is better relayed via blog post where I can be my typical wordy self. ūüôā

A little bit of background on where I am coming from.  When I turned 40, I decided to move to Florida (with my long-suffering husband) and go to school for massage therapy.  But not just any massage therapy РI chose to attend a neurosomatic therapy training program that consists of an intense 18-month course where you learn about all the organs, muscles, and systems of the body and how to treat  all of them.

My BA in Accounting and MBA did not quite prepare me for this program.  Also, being out of school for years and years also did not adequately prepare me for this program.  Also, being 40-years-old and accustomed to nice things like organic food, eating out, and cars that do not break down every week meant that I wanted to continue working while going to school, which meant I would not have a ton of time to study.  So I was on the struggle bus when I first started!

Here is how I managed to make it through 3/5 of the program whilst working 26 hours/week: organization and apps!

  1. Pomodoro Blocks. ¬†I was introduced to this concept while listening to this book. ¬†The pomodoro technique involves working for 25 minutes (completely focused) and then taking a short 3-5 minute break. ¬†After completing 2 or 3 pomodoro blocks and breaks, you take a longer break of 30 minutes. ¬†This approach was invaluable to me. I would tell myself, “Heather, just 25 minutes. ¬†Just do 25 minutes of studying. ¬†Then you can look at Facebook or Instagram or eat some chocolate and almond butter. ¬†Just get in your 25 minutes.” ¬†And I did! ¬†Breaking up work into small chunks like this made it more manageable and helped reduce my severe procrastinative tendencies.
  2. An adjunct to the pomodoro block is my Brainwave binaural rhythms app.  This is an app that shoots frequencies into your ears (via headphones) to sync your brainwaves to a specific goal.  I would set the app to Memory Boost, set the timer to 25 minutes, and start studying.
  3. Essential Anatomy.  This app is so helpful for getting a 3 dimensional view of muscles and understanding the layers of muscles.
  4. Voice Record Pro. ¬†For my first 1.5 semesters I used Voice Memos to record the anatomy lectures. ¬†Then one of my fellow students told me about this program, and it CHANGED MY LIFE. ¬†Ok, maybe a little dramatic there. ¬†But this really is an awesome app for recording lectures. ¬†You can easily skip forward or back 10 seconds, you can speed up playback, you can set bookmarks. ¬†HUGELY useful!! ¬†We learn in school that you need to hear something 7 times to remember it. ¬†So hearing the info in class, writing up flashcards on the material, and then listening to the lectures again (while walking outside each morning), means I’m about 1/2 way there.
  5. Flashcards brings me to the next point: ¬†Quizlet. ¬†I personally prefer to use paper flashcards, because I learn better when I write and draw out things versus typing them. ¬†But for people who like electronic flashcards, I’ve heard great things about Quizlet.
  6. Bullet Journal. ¬†I have experimented with a few other planners – the Passion Planner, Panda Planner, etc. ¬†But I couldn’t find one that had the flexibility I wanted. ¬†So I created a Bullet Journal. ¬†This is my second iteration of it, and I really like how it works. ¬†I set up one page with the whole month listed on it, and then each day gets 1/2 a page. ¬†I separate each day into two vertical columns. The larger column on the left is where I put the list of things I want to get done. ¬†Completed items get a line through them, and items that need to be moved to the next day get a <. ¬†In the right-hand column, I put my major goals for the day (e.g. meditation, study, reminders to slow down, etc.). I also recently started a section where I track the “language of the world” as I understand it from The Alchemist. ¬†These are numbers, creatures, synchronicities I see in the world that make me feel as if I am on the right path. ¬†This structure gives me flexibility, ¬†and all the blank pages in the back give me lots of room to track the other random stuff I need t0: ¬†meanings of numbers, ideas for workshops, goals, reminders on how to build confidence, trainings I want to take, things I want to draw, etc. ¬†It’s a good brain dump location. ¬†Here are some pics:

I have about 2.5 months left of school, so hopefully these tools see me successfully through to the end.  Let me know if you have any helpful study tips! Do you use a Bullet Journal?  If so, what helpful hints do you have?  What study/memory tricks work well for you?

Thanks for reading, and chat with ya’ next week!!

 

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The Electricity of Touch


I’ve long been fascinated with science fiction. ¬†I grew up watching Dr. Who, Star Wars, Star ¬†Trek, Misfits of Science. ¬†I loved Madelaine L’Engle’s books, as well as The Girl With Silver Eyes, Dune, anything by Ursula K Le Guin, Lord of the Rings. ¬†I was so hopeful that there was magic in the world, that we are not just flesh, bone, and blood. ¬†I wanted powers.

And as I get older and find some moments of quiet and observation, I realize that I DO have powers. ¬†The world really does not operate in a linear, A+B = C function. ¬†It’s wiley and impressionable and moldable and multifaceted. ¬†With every interaction, there are innumerable forces at play, most of which cannot be seen, felt, or heard. ¬†Or maybe they can be, but we’ve lost the art of reliably, consciously doing so.

And what is truly fascinating, is that now there are studies that prove that that as humans, we are energetically entangled with each other. ¬†You can read one of the studies¬†here. ¬†The gist of it is, there is an exchange of electromagnetic energy when people touch (especially with the right hand) or are close together (within 18 inches). ¬†If a person consciously adopts a “sincere caring attitude,” it could positively affect the heart rhythm of people within their proximity!!

Here is a quote from the study that I find really intriguing, “…when individuals focus their attention in the area of the heart and consciously generate a positive emotion, the heart rate variability patterns become more orderly and coherent,” and “…individuals who intentionally increase their cardiac coherence by maintaining a focused state of sincere love or appreciation can induce changes in the structure of water and the conformational state of DNA.” ¬†The study goes on to imply that a therapeutic technique could become more effective by the practitioner adopting a “sincere caring attitude.”

This gives me so much hope! ¬†I have learned so much in the past 14 months, but I know I still know NOTHING! ¬†But at least, now I know, if I really care about my patients, my touch will be beneficial to them – even if I’m not treating the exact muscle that needs to be treated. ¬†My touch, generated from a place of compassion and positive intent, can be a “magic” power that helps my patients feel better!

What do you think of this article? ¬†Do you notice effects in your body when you are around a positive person versus a negative person? ¬†Do you think you can affect people solely with your positive atttidue? ¬†I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. ‚̧

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

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Butt Stuff


Yep. ¬†Are you like Troy Barnes? ¬†Do you love Butt Stuff? ¬†¬†Well then you’re in luck! ¬†We covered Butt Stuff this week. ¬†And by “Butt Stuff” I mean all that meat that covers your backside. ¬†Did you know that there are actually 3 different gluteal muscles that make up “the glutes”? ¬†Yes! It’s true.

The gluteus maximus is the big boy, as the name implies. ¬†It runs from the lateral edge of your sacrum all the way out to your femur (the long bone in the top of your leg). ¬†The top part of the muscle merges into the IT band on the outside of the leg, and the lower portion attaches to the back of your femur. ¬†But underneath that are two more glute muscles! ¬†The gluteus medius lies underneath the maximus, and underneath THAT lies yet another muscle – the gluteus minimus. ¬†Please see my quick sketch below to get an idea of how these muscles lie in relation to each other. ¬†And yes, I forgot the “l” in gluteus minimus and had to go back in and squeeze it in later. Thank you, Tim, for the .388mm pens. ūüôā

Underneath all of these layers are the deep rotators of the hip, but I’ll have to save those for another blog post, or this will get too massively long, and I have a test to study for! ¬†And a bike ride and brunch to do!

So, your glutes. ¬†Why are they important? ¬†Well, glute max is the largest muscle in the body and can be up to 2 to 3 inches thick! Consequently, it can have a huge impact on postural distortions. ¬†The glute group can cause pelvic extension (a “tucked” tail), pelvic projection (where the hips are thrust forward of the feet and knees), a pelvic tilt (where one side of the pelvis is higher than the other), external rotation of the femur (“duck feet”), and low back pain. ¬†These muscles can also mimic sciatic pain – sending trigger point referrals into the buttocks and down the back and side of the leg.

Issues with the glutes are quite common, considering we are supposed to use them to MOVE all day long, but we generally just use them to SIT all day long instead. As a result, many people have difficulties activating their “sleepy” glutes. ¬†This became really evident to me when I took a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ workshop where we went through the following guided practice:

  1. Lay on the floor, legs straight out (aka savasana).
  2. Try to squeeze your right butt check.  Try the left. Do you know notice any difference in power/contraction?  How far did your hips lift off the floor with each squeeze?
  3. Take a massage therapy ball (a Yoga Tune Up ball, a tennis ball, etc.) and place it under the thickest part of just the right butt cheek.
  4. Contract the right butt cheek for 20 seconds, as you release the contraction, the ball will sink deeper into the glutes.  Repeat 2-3 times, sinking deeper each time.
  5. You can rock your body slowly side to side over the ball.
  6. Without sitting up, reach under your glute and remove the ball.
  7. Let your awareness settle back into the glutes.  Does the right side feel any different than the left?  Any changes in temperature?  sensation?
  8. Contract the right butt cheek. Then the left.
  9. Do you notice any difference in power/activation/sensation in the right side?

If you were like me, you were like, “OMG. ¬†My right side has so much more power now!!!” ¬†You just woke up your butt!!

The YTU balls are great for increasing proprioception and awareness of these muscles, and with regular use, you can keep these muscles active and reduce the chronic tension that is held there.  At the Center for Neurosomatic Studies, we are trained to treat this group of muscles VERY specifically.  In addition to treating the muscle belly (which is what you contact with the balls), we get into the attachments and different layers of tissue, and we can even get into that trough on the medial aspect of the greater trochanter.  The combination of self-massage and bodywork is super helpful for this powerhouse.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  If you try the exercise described above, let me know how it feels for you.  I personally store a lot of tension in my glutes, so when I get them treated or I roll them out, I feel super relaxed and down-regulated afterwards.  Good luck waking up your butt!

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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!

 

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On being overwhelmed by free-time


Yep. ¬†I’m on a break from school. ¬†So that means I have no homework to do today. ¬†I have a day off. ¬†No work. ¬†No homework. ¬†Just a day to do what I want. ¬†Oh my God, that is so much pressure!!!

I have this big, long list of things I would do, if I ever had free time. ¬†For example – paint, draw, write, learn to play the ukulele, go to a group exercise class, re-read ALL the things I have already read because I would understand them so much better now, finish one (or many) of the on-line classes I purchased, watch one of the youtube videos open in one of my 10 browser tabs, book a Disney trip for our anniversary, etc. ¬†But, when I get a free day like this, I get a bit overwhelmed by all the options, and it’s also difficult to figure out what I “FEEL” like doing.

So what do I usually end up doing? ¬†Looking at Facebook, shopping on Amazon, going out for lunch, having a drink, watching TV. ¬†Well, at least that is pretty much what I did Saturday and Sunday. ¬†But today. ¬†Today will be different. ¬†Today I meditated. I went for a walk and listened to Katy Bowman. ¬†I am making a slow-roasted garlic pork roast. ¬†And I’m writing a blog post. ¬†It’s a whole new Hlo today. ¬†It’s a breezy day – I can feel a hint of autumn in the air, even down here in Florida. ¬†I think it’s blowing in a good change.

I really do feel a change occurring lately, despite my weekend of semi-non-productiveness.  I have been meditating every day since mid-June.  While I often feel as if I am not really FOCUSED on my primordial sound mantra while I am meditating, as my teacher promised, I think that the daily practice works magic, even if I get lost in thought while doing the practice.

My teacher told me that “every meditation is perfect,” which has really helped me be OK with the rampaging monkey mind that I experience every day while trying to focus on my mantra. ¬†I will realize that I am miles away from my mantra and pull myself back to it, but instead of getting super annoyed and frustrated, I tell myself, “This is perfect” and feel gratitude that I recognized that my mind took off and that I could bring it back to what I WANT to focus on.

Between the meditation and reading “Everything is here to help you” by Matthew Kahn, my perspective on life outside of meditation has changed as well. ¬†While I still feel annoyance, anger, frustration when things don’t go the way that is convenient and comfortable to me, these entrees of emotions are experienced with a ¬†complementary side of observation. ¬†I can watch the emotion bubble up and pair it with the thought, “Everything is perfect. ¬†Everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen. ¬†This is all happening because it’s supposed to happen. What is this teaching me?” ¬†Sometimes I ignore the voice (and get annoyed with it!! ha!!!) and let myself revel in the energy of the emotion, and sometimes I can detach a bit and watch and choose.

This is the path I am traveling down right now. ¬†It’s a practice and a process. ¬†Hopefully as I keep putting energy into approaching life this way, I will get better at it and will have more clarity, confidence, and focus and will be less distracted by the easy path of numbing and procrastinating.

 

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Jamaica Trip – Final Post


This is the final post in a 4 part series about my mission trip to Jamaica.  With this post I pick up with a discussion of the observations/lessons learned from the trip.

  • Patient stories
    • One patient was suffering from hip and leg pain, going down into her feet. I treated her glutes and calves, but it didn‚Äôt seem to help her pain much.¬† Randy was occupied, so I figured I would just rub her feet, as that was her main complaint.¬† When she got up from the table, she felt much better and gave me a big hug.¬† Randy and I looked at her chart after she left, and he noted that she was diabetic.¬†He said that rubbing her feet was probably the best thing I could have done for her.¬† It made me feel really good that my instincts were right!¬† This patient came back on Thursday and waited for over an hour for another treatment.¬† Unfortunately, she was still 7thon the list by the time she had to leave.¬† She lobbied hard to get moved up the list, but we were worried about a revolt, so instead of a treatment, I took a few minutes and showed her how to roll out her feet and lower back using a Yoga Tune Up ball.¬† She left happy and satisfied, with some solid self-care tools.
    • I had one patient with pain radiating down his leg. I treated his glutes, and the DO student working with me performed OMM on his piriformis, but our treatment did not help and actually seemed to exacerbate his issue. We deduced that his pain must originate higher up in the body ‚Äď possibly a result of a herniated disc.¬† Randy took the patient back down to the DOs, who agreed that a disc could be a culprit. The DO was able to help with the pain and also provided a referral for an MRI.¬† It was a good lesson for me to see that while we can do A LOT to help patients with pain, somethings cannot be fixed with structural therapy.¬† It‚Äôs so important to be part of a medical team, so that patients can get the help they need.
    • I had one patient with pain around the sacrum and the xyphoid process.Randy had never encountered that combination of pain before, so he started running through the list of muscles that connect the hips to the chest.¬† Psoas!! I worked her psoas and almost immediately she felt a referral up to the exact area of her anterior chest pain.¬† That was a lesson to me that, if the book doesn‚Äôt have the answer, use your common sense!
    • I saw several people literally start DANCING when they got off other therapist‚Äôs treatment tables! There was a really amazing energy and joy permeating our beautiful open-air treatment space.

On Friday, we got to relax.  We took a boat trip along the coast, up Black River, and out to a bar built on stilts in the middle of the ocean. I got to see a real, live crocodile.  It was like seeing a living dinosaur.  It could have been the coolest thing I have ever seen. The wind was powerful that day, and it was having fun pulling up bits of the ocean and tossing it in my face while we were in the boat.  I was obliterated by the wind and sea, and I couldn’t be happier.

In a nutshell, this week showed me the importance of being present with the patient, listening to his or her full story and absorbing all the facts, and taking things slow ‚Äď no need to rush.¬† I also learned you can‚Äôt learn how to do massage therapy by reading about it. You have to DO IT ‚Äď that is where things start to make sense and you can start to tie the book learnin‚Äô to a body.¬† It is one thing to be told that someone with a lower limb length inequality will have medial leg pain on the short leg and lateral leg pain on the long leg.¬† But when you SEE that on a patient, you remember and integrate it. It becomes part of your muscle memory.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip. I spent the week in a paradise, surrounded by people I love, admire, and respect, eating amazing food, having real conversations, and learning my brains out.

It has forever changed me. ‚̧

 

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