Yoga Tune Up® Blog

Does your Downward Dog Bark?

Do your clients complain they have pain in their hands and wrists while in downward dog, plank, performing a chaturanga and any position where they are bearing weight on their hands with the wrists in extension?

We have many muscles in the hands and forearms that can contribute to this painful issue. We use the flexors of the forearms and wrists countless times each day: Texting, holding the steering wheel to drive, blow drying hair, brushing teeth, eat, open a car door, using tools to drill ,hammer , rakes and shovels to garden…the list goes on.

Muscles that move the forearmMeet the hardworking flexors of the wrist and hand:

flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, flexor digitorum superficialis flexor digitorum profundus and the thenar group, which is the pad of muscles at the base of your thumb.
The five flexor muscles listed above create flexion primarily at the wrist or fingers. They are located on the forearm’s anterior/medial surface (the hairless side of the forearm) between the brachioradialis and the ulnar shaft. Most of the flexors originate from the common flexor tendon at the medial epicondyle of the humerus. The bellies of the flexors extend down the forearm becoming tendons near the wrist. Read the rest of this blog post »

Diastasis Recti Do’s and Don’ts

On Wednesday I spoke about some of the modifications you can make to accommodate your growing belly, and mentioned foregoing certain yoga poses to help keep diastasis recti at bay.

Experts say that you don’t develop DR as a result of pregnancy. The loads on your tissues were present before you began your nine-month journey. This means that whatever aches and pains or blind spots you were dealing with before pregnancy, now have a greater chance of being exposed and perhaps even exacerbated as the load you must carry increase week after week.

Here are my top tips to help avoid an abdominal separation: Read the rest of this blog post »

Yoga Tune Up® for Mammahood! Part 2

In Part 1 of my blog post about mammahood, I spoke about the importance of good posture and shared tips to facilitate the breath using the Coregeous® ball.

In part deux of this three-part series, I’m now well past the first trimester – I’ve just hit my 26th week mark! If you’re also past the first 12 weeks, chances are the discomforts of the first few months, such as nausea and fatigue, have now cleared up, replaced with renewed vitality and energy. You’re also beginning to show the full splendor of your baby carriage and maybe having to answer a slew of questions about how far along you are, how much or not you are showing, if it’s a boy or a girl, and whether you’ve picked a name yet! Read the rest of this blog post »

Roll Away Autoimmune Inflammation

In my last post I talked about the role of the vagus nerve in reducing systemic inflammation and introduced the idea that abdominal massage might be a powerful tool for the many people suffering from autoimmune disorders. In this post, I will continue to expand on the science and theory behind this groundbreaking idea, as well as to introduce some techniques which you can do yourself at home to help control inflammation.

Many of you are probably familiar with the work of Dr. Datis Kharrazian, whose books on thyroid and brain health are very popular among those of us interested in holistic health and functional medicine as it relates to autoimmune conditions. In Dr. K.’s book, “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?” he establishes the connection between gut and brain health and the vagus nerve’s important role in that connection. In fact, he asserts that digestive issues, such as slow motility, are often a sign of neurodegenerative issues. He recommends various techniques people can use to stimulate the vagus nerve, such as gargling, inducing the gag reflex, and singing loudly to improve the brain-gut axis. [1] Read the rest of this blog post »

A Whole New Ball Game for Autoimmune Sufferers

There is new hope for those of us with autoimmune diseases trying to improve our health naturally – and it isn’t child’s play, although it sure looks like it is. A new, natural treatment option for reducing inflammation comes in the form of the purple, squishy Coregeous® ball.

How can what looks like a child’s ball help to reduce systemic inflammation, like that experienced in autoimmune diseases, such as Rheumatoid Disease (aka Rheumatoid Arthritis), Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis? It all starts with the vagus nerve. Read the rest of this blog post »

Spring into Alignment: How to Tidy Up Your Tissues

In honor of Spring and all of its novelties, I am sharing two Yoga Tune Up® techniques that literally wash away the remnants of bad-habits from your tissues and allow for the surrounding structures to blossom into their fullness. For now, we will focus on two highly used spaces of the body: the shoulders and the hips.

GOMUKHASANA SHOULDER SERIES

This shoulder sweep is actually the “warm-up” to the classic Gomukhasana or Cow Face Arms but it’s so heavily dosed with PNF your shoulders will sign in relief and become fortified.

**Note: Before you start: after you perform a PNF stretch you may have the urge to shake out a limb, or adjust your shoulders…DON’T. After all of your concentrated efforts to organize the compartments of the shoulders, don’t shake things up and let them retreat to their old places.

Watch the video below to shape up your shoulders. Read the rest of this blog post »

Spring into Alignment: Why You Should Tidy Up Your Tissues

With the sun shining brighter, grasses growing greener and many flowers making their annual debut, Springtime holds the essence of newness at it’s very core. Allured by nature; most of us habitually crave some sort of spring cleaning after a long stagnant winter. Whether it be our closets or entire homes it is always refreshing to tidy up our environment…but how often do you declutter your body?
Most of us are now conscious of the fact that much like dust to a bookshelf, tissues (particularly the fascia matrix) accumulate residuals of our habits, both good and bad. “In soft tissue, fascia grows or shrinks according to functional demand (Gold, Lawrence). This “growth-by-demand” can be either advantageous or disadvantageous to our tissues depending on the diversity variability in which we expose ourselves to.

Our habits influence our tissues, our tissues influences our structures and our structure influences how we relate to our environment. If your habits employ any repetitive movements, the tissues most recruited prevail over the unused tissues and structural vulnerability sets in. This perspective shines light to the fact that even our tissues could use a regular scrub out to reveal it’s true tissue-ness. Read the rest of this blog post »

Strategies to Build a Skin Rolling Practice on Scars

With the lessons of scar neglect learned from my abdominal surgery and covered in my previous article, my husband and I were ready to apply my new knowledge when he had surgery last summer. He had a thyroglossal duct cyst removed from the space at the root of his tongue and has a short scar across his neck beneath his Adam’s apple. Of course, immediately following the operation, he needed to allow the wound to drain and the inflammation to subside. There are always necessary precautions against beginning any rigorous intervention with recent wounds in order to allow the three distinct stages of repair to commence – the initial inflammation stage to prepare the area for healing (please note inflammation occurs to varying degrees in all stages), the fibroplastic phase to rebuild, and the remodeling phase to begin to provide the final form (Schleip, et al, p. 412). In the second stage, gentle stretching of the area is recommended while during the third stage direct stimulation can begin. Read the rest of this blog post »

Skin Rolling Scars: Getting Beyond Squeamish

A scar, as defined by Webster’s dictionary, is a mark left behind as a result of damage or wear or, as a verb, to do lasting injury to. The tendency is to consider a scar as simply physical and overlook the emotional toll it embodies. As human beings who interact with a challenging world, we are often harmed from external forces as well as internal forces, which can sometimes resulting in surgery.

In my view, scars represent what has happened TO us; those events and experiences that were in some way out of our control and therefore remind us of our vulnerabilities in this journey of life. This emotional sense of exposure, coupled with the physical trauma, can result in a numbing around the scar, as though the reminder of our susceptibility is too powerful to accept and we “dumb down” the senses in that area. Unconsciously allowing a breakdown of connection to that area, we dismiss the injured area as cut off or almost dead to us. And that can, in fact, be what we create with that attitude – a death of feeling and function in the area in and around scars. Whoa. That’s a whole lot more that a “mark” and can become a lasting injury in a variety of ways. Read the rest of this blog post »

Walking from Philly..to Los Angeles

While travel can be exciting and fun, it also is a break in our movement routine. Regardless of if you sit during the day, travel requires you to be seated for hours on end. Over the last Thanksgiving weekend I did a lot of walking… all the way from Philly to Los Angeles. That is, if you count walking on the airplane while flying from PHL to LAX.

Behold a sample Travel Day itinerary:

  • Wake Sit (meditate/pray)
  • Sit (Drive)
  • Sit (Yummy goodbye brunch at Fitzpatrick’s Deli)
  • Sit (Drive – errands)
  • Sit (Drive 1+ hour to the PHL airport)
  • Stand in Security Lines/small amt of walking
  • Sit (Flight= 6 hours)
  • 15 min deboard, walk to cab
  • Sit (Cab home)
  • Sit (assisted squat :) while eating dinner)
  • Sleep 10:30pm

With this amount of sitting looming before me, I questioned how to get in my daily dose of “Vitamin M” (M for Movement). So, during the flight back to Los Angeles I opted to spend as much time walking as possible. Read the rest of this blog post »