Yoga Tune Up® Blog

Integrating YTU Stretches into your Daily Routine

Since I wrote about Integrating YTU Therapy Balls into your Daily Routine, I’ve been experimenting with also adding Yoga Tune Up® stretching exercises into my daily routines, and my body has been thanking me for it!

While using YTU Therapy Balls throughout my day has certainly been helpful, I felt something was missing from making these quick tune-ups as effective as they could be. The on-the-go therapy ball use was convenient for making my tissues more awake, relaxed, and supple, but as soon as I would stop this work and resume my repetitive movements and long-held positions (like sitting for hours on end), my pain would return rather quickly. Read the rest of this blog post »

Finding the Echo of Movement in the Pause

In my last post, I described the Power of the Pause to enhance your connection to your internal terrain and unearth some of your unknown postural patterns. But, what can you DO in the pause?
We are immersed in a “doing” culture and that can make a down-regulating practice downright frustrating. The frantic mind can run in circles and inhibit the connection and impact of your pause. We all know the old saying, “Practice makes perfect” and that certainly plays an important role in training the mind to soften its hold on the experience within your body, but having a simple task can help too. I’ve recently learned a technique that, for me, works wonders as it differentiates the placement of my breath in my body, leaving the door open to feeling my physical experience. Read the rest of this blog post »

The Power of the Pause

Movement frames much of our experience on earth.  We are constantly resisting the pull of gravity and making our way around the world to accomplish our tasks, whether that be taking a shower in the morning, training for a marathon or picking up a tired child to tuck them into bed.  Yoga Tune Up®, with its many tools of sensation, challenges each of us to untangle the complicated strands of our unconscious movement and then re-create a new normal, one that is informed by a fresh understanding of how we perceive our own bodies in space. Big change occurs with this teaching and I find many of my students are focused on the actions to create these new connections and perceptions.

As student and teacher, I can often become engrossed in certain sequences and routines that change range of motion and get super excited when feeling that targeted alteration as a result of a physical action. These sensed changes are a major contributor to the development of the EmbodyMap – one of the key tools in YTU to build proprioception in practitioners. But, as I toy with my own practice and watch my students, I’ve become more attentive to the Power of the Pause, the moments in the practice for reflection and guided observation of quieter changes across the interior terrain. Read the rest of this blog post »

To Roll or Not To Roll: Does Your TFL Need To Down-Regulate or Wake Up?

By: | Friday, September 25th, 2015 | Comments 2

In my last post, I talked about how the much-maligned tensor fascia latae is not always the main player in IT Band pain, because sometimes it’s not actually playing enough!

One of the brilliant things about YTU® is the balance of down-regulating and strengthening at it’s core. Learning the assessments and theories behind NeuroKinetic Therapy® has opened my eyes to muscle relationships that I would not have previously considered. This new awareness helps me craft even more precise and well-balanced YTU sequences. Read the rest of this blog post »

Tensor Fascia Latae: What’s In a Name? By Any Other Would It Feel as…Tight?

By: | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 | Comments 4

Most of us are only familiar with the Iliotibial Band (IT Band) if it has felt tight and sore. It was probably at that time you may have heard that you have an unruly and tight tensor fascia latae, more commonly know as the TFL.

While the name does sounds like latin for “a lot of tense fascia”, with the ability to flex, abduct, and internally rotate the hip, it’s not surprising that this muscle is famous for taking on more than it can chew. Read the rest of this blog post »

Avoid a Calf-tastrophe

On Wednesday, I wrote about how lack of strength and suppleness in my gastrocnemius landed me straight onto the couch with an injury and off the running track. Once I was able to run again without any discomfort, which was a about a week post-injury, I began following a program to give my calves the attention they deserved.

Along with rolling out my feet and gastrocnemius with my YTU therapy balls, I also included the following exercises every day prior to the race-day:  Read the rest of this blog post »

Ignoring Your Calves Could Land You in Hot Water

The wonderfully frustrating thing about running is that it reveals your body’s weaknesses quickly, due to the repetitive stress it places on the body. Any issues with form are compounded and rear their heads as injuries fast! I recently spent a couple of days at home, stuck on the couch (not cool!) following the RICE (rest, ice, compression and recovery) routine for my gastrocnemius, which I strained during a long run prepping for a half marathon.

Your gastrocnemius, or your calf, is a sexy muscle (just check the illustration!) that similar to your biceps, has two heads. Unfortunately despite its shapely form, it is often overlooked in the stretching and strengthening routine of runners in favour of muscles that often give athletes more of a run for their money, namely the hamstrings, quadriceps and IT band. Sure enough, prior to my run, I had rolled out my hips and IT band with my YTU® therapy balls, but had skipped my calves. Read the rest of this blog post »

Levator Scapula: Treatment and Self Care

In my last post, I discussed the common causes of issues with the primary shoulder shrugging muscle, the levator scapula. If you do suffer from upper back/shoulder/neck tension, try one of these techniques to address the tension and asymmetry that can manifest from daily stressors or your instrument of choice. Whether or not you’re a musician,  any one-sided activity, including carrying purses and bags, can create asymmetry in the levator scapula.

Observation and retraining: For upper string players, working with an Alexander Technique teacher, Feldenkrais teacher, body mapping instructor, or other somatic practitioner can help one find more freedom with one’s instrument, but also tweak the setup to better suit the individual’s body.  There are a myriad of ergonomic products being developed to improve instrumental setup and alignment for all musicians. Read the rest of this blog post »

Levator Scapula: The Musicians’s Frenemy

If you take a look at most musicians in the heat of performance, you’ll probably notice elevated shoulders, either asymmetrically or simultaneously.  Sometimes, it appears in an expressive moment of passion, especially with pianists, guitarists, and wind players. Other times, it’s the inescapable result of setup or a one-sided instrument.  In isolation, such a movement will have minor repercussions, but when coupled with shoulder and neck overuse and abuse, can spell disaster for the levator scapulae.  As the name suggests, it elevates the scapula (on each side), but it also plays a significant role in neck movement, attaching to the tranverse processes of C1-C4.  The levator scapula also initiates lateral neck/head flexion, and rotation, which is why it is often a huge trouble maker for violinists and violists!  Read the rest of this blog post »

Start Now: Live Better In Your Body

On Wednesday,  I talked about how we can be free from chronic discomfort caused by bad postural habits. Posture is not static, it’s always moving, adjusting, shifting. Given that the body is also constantly renewing itself, we are gifted countless opportunities in each moment to choose the future state of our posture and our health.

In the video below, Yoga Tune Up® founder Jill Miller instructs the Contract and Relax breathing technique. This breathing technique stabilizes your spine from all directions: from front to back and side to side, and can even provide some relief for lower back pain. Give it a go, and when you feel comfortable take it on the road! The Contract and Relax breath is safe to do regardless of the direction your spine is moving. That means when you’re folding forwards, bending backwards, or flexing/extending side to side, you can stabilize your spine with your breath. Read the rest of this blog post »

Jill Miller, Creator of Yoga Tune Up®

After studying yoga, movement, and the human body for over twenty years, I created Yoga Tune Up® as a simple way to restore my body and mind, keeping me balanced and free of pain. Using a specific and unique set of poses, movements and self massage tools, you too can LIVE BETTER IN YOUR BODY WITH YOGA TUNE UP®.


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