Posts filed under Ballwork

Breathing Better : roll and restore is back and we're aiming for deeper breathing

JANUARY 19TH, 2019 - 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

ABHAYA YOGA - GOWANUS, BROOKLYN

Roll + Restore : breathing  focus (abdomen + ribs)

Do you feel restriction in your breathing? Do you want to feel connected to your center but there is some tightness in your chest muscles or back?  Releasing tension in your abdomen and ribs area can increase your sense of groundness and release emotional holdings.

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Looking, feeling, and being your better self, requires far more than just working out and eating well.  Without embodied self-awareness, you’ll not only never enjoy the physical results you want, but you’ll also never experience the inner space that leads to peace and joy.  Roll+Restore combines my sixteen-plus years of practice in wellness, yoga and engineering to access this embodied self-awareness.  The workshop takes the best aspects of Biomechanical Alignment Principles, Therapeutic Yoga, Bodymind Ballwork© and Metaphysics to experience a unique and holistic approach to understanding your body.  Students who’ve attended this workshop leave feel empowered to access deep understanding of their physical, mental and emotional state. They leave feeling “taller,” “brighter,” “relaxed” and “younger” (yep, these are their words).

In this special Breathing edition of Roll+Restore you will learn techniques that involve therapeutic yoga postures and laying/moving on rubber balls to self-massage tight fascia around your upper back, abdomen, iliopsoas and ribs. You can incorporate these techniques in your fitness routine to open your spine and your breathing.  You will feel physically, emotionally and mentally better.

$35

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*contraindications: this techniques aren’t recommended if you are pregnant, had a recent abdominal surgery, serious intestinal or pulmonary issues.  Please ask if you aren’t sure.

Posted on December 28, 2018 and filed under Ballwork, wellness, Yoga.

Why is my waist feeling scrunched? Tight Fascia could be the culprit

“When the body begins to work appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneously, the body heals itself.” -  Ida P. Rolf, founder of the Rolfing technique and recognized as the first to understand the role of fascia in human health.

Do you ever feel scrunched and thick around the waistline?  There is more than fat to blame here.  The waistline gets a bad reputation: lower back pain, extra weight, bloating and thickness. Why?  Not an easy answer, like anything worth investigating. There is a plethora of factors that trouble your midsection such as poor diet, stress, hormonal imbalances, emotional eating, lack of adequate rest, and not moving our bodies enough. Additionally, the sides of the body tend to be ignored: we spend a lot of time sitting, slouching, driving, and working on computers (or texting). Essentially, we’re just accumulating tension and stress in that mindsection. 

Furthermore, our relationship with gravity, bad posture, poor weight management and upper body weight-distribution can cause the space between the ribs and the hips (your waistline) to get squished and compressed, which in turn leads to a shortening and thickening of the waist.  When our waistlines shorten, all the muscles, tissues, organs, skin, and fat start to bulge out to the sides making us look and feel thicker than we really are. To make matters worse, experts tells us that  this can also negatively influence digestion, metabolism, circulation, oxygenation, and organ and gland efficiency, leading to bloating, density, and inflammation.

These sounds like a complicated problem, and it is, but there is a magic solution that can shrink your waist and make it healthy: you need to create length and space to your fascia and core. Fascia is critical because it actually helps to create the shape of our bodies. Basically, fascia is like a very thin wet suit just under the skin that wraps around each individual muscle and keeps everything in place (including our organs).

Injuries, stress, bad posture, emotional behavioral patterns, and poor habits can cause fascia to get tight and thick (a.k.a. Trigger Points).  These causes restrict movement, mess with your alignment and trap toxins in the fascia, which leads to thicker tissue accumulation throughout the body—such as those that often form around the waist.

The good news is that fascia is malleable and can be repaired—which is the purpose of Roll+Restore: releasing all those unhealthy toxins from the fascia and helping to reduce thickness/inflammation in the body.  Schedule a private consultation or join my next workshop to experience additional techniques to lengthen and mold that fascia!

 

Posted on May 16, 2018 and filed under Ballwork, wellness.

No More Turtle Head (or how to decompress your neck and upper back)

Next time at a pack of teenagers on their phones, you’ll notice their necks slumping forward. Ouch. Then go to a mirror and look at your own posture, double OUCH.  Regardless of our age or gender, living in the 21st-century means that we’re asked to multitask: phone calls, emails, meetings, working out, driving, being a partner, being a parent, cooking, meditate, detox, binge watch and many more demands. We’re often leaning our heads forward as we peer at our phone or the computer screens, which can be the cause of muscle strains, tension stiffness, compressed neck, disk herniation, spinal compression or a pinched nerve.  AND aesthetically speaking having one’s neck sticking out like a turtle’s head makes one look and feel slumpy and dumpy.    

Some of our current habits are compressing our upper back and shortening our neck.

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  • Sitting for long periods of time: According to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, not only has inactivity like sitting at a desk for long periods of the day been linked with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, it can also increase the risk of certain cancers. Our human body evolved to move, stretch and breath, not to sit all day long.  Sitting for long periods slows down all our systems and decreases energy.   Not only do we sit at our desk (or at home watching TV) but we are hunched over our viewing devices, which causes the connective tissue to become “glued” into a slumped posture that actually damages and compresses your entire body.   Are constantly achy around your shoulders and neck?  This could very well be the cause.
  • Phone usage: The average human head weighs about 10 pounds when held upright, but for every inch that your head is tilted forward, extra weight is added to your neck and spine. So guess what we are doing most of the time while trying to read our phones’ screen; we’re titling our head forward!  Additionally, if you make phone calls (Yes, a few of us still do), holding the phone in the crook of the neck, wedged against the shoulder can cause structural imbalances, tightening your fascia and shortening the neck, which can turn into all kind of  pain.  

As I said, our bodies aren’t designed to stay slumped and suffer the aches and pains of this forward posture, these are simple strategies that can help you battle the turtle-head epidemic:

  • If you must sit for long periods of time, first and foremost sit up and avoid slump at all cost! Then every 20 minutes or so (set an alarm) Take deep-breath and roll your shoulders up and down and twist your neck from side. Then every hour (set an alarm) get up and move around. Go outside, and get some fresh air! This will encourage you to realign your body and posture.
  • When using your phones and computers, choose the zoomed display on your phone to make the font bigger, try to avoid writing long messages from your phone, or lean back in your chair and hold the phone up to eye level so that you don’t pitch forward.  Avoid holding your phone to make phone calls, instead Try using a headset, speakerphone, or a hands-free set.
  • Correct the damage done, a very effective way to do this is to stretch and massage the tight muscles along the back of your neck and well as strengthening the muscles at the front of the neck.  Correcting the turtle head starts with strengthening the core and upper back muscles Yoga and Bodymind Ballwork do wonders here!!!
Posted on January 29, 2018 and filed under Ballwork, Yoga, wellness.

Self-Myofascial Release: move better, perform better and have less pain

If you have been to my yoga classes in the last few years you probably have experienced  some self-massaging using rubber balls.  Or perhaps you have seen other self- massage instruments such as foam rollers or massage sticks at your gym, physical therapist’s office or your friend’s apartment. So what is the deal with Self-Massage?

This practice of Self-Massage is also known as Self-Myofascial release.  Myofascia is the connective tissue network that runs through your body.  You can learn more about fascia on my previous post So what is Fascia Anyway? In summary, Myofascia wraps around your internal organs and muscles and holds it all in place. I like the definition “it's the organ of form.”  

When there is trauma or injury to any area of your body or “form,” it can lead to weakness or adhesions in your myofascia. This may limit your range of motion and can even compress your muscles and nerves, leading to less hydration and blood flow to those areas. This can lead to pain and/or injury and can impact your performance.  To heal and recover from this form-traumas you simple roll your bodyweight (i.e., self-massage) onto massage balls, foam rollers and other devices available out there. Like any other alternative medicine technique you must use your judgment, learn some basic technique from a trusted source, figure out what works for you, consult your doctor, etc, etc.

Since I started working with  Self-Myofascial release about five years ago, I do some form of self-massage every day for 10 to 15 minutes. I roll my muscles pre- and post-workout and often before meditation or bed.  Doing this I’ve experienced relief from my back pain, plantar fasciitis, and my mental and emotional states have received the benefits as well. 

I can't stress enough all the mental and emotional benefits of Self-Myofascial release but here are 5 of the main physical benefits of self-myofascial release as listed in Love Life Surf :

1.      Increases blood flow. Research has shown that self-myofascial release can increase vascular function. By getting rid of knots and tension in the fascia that may be restricting fluid flow in the area, self-myofascial release techniques helps to keep your muscles and connective tissue well hydrated. That means that you’ll recover and heal faster.

2.      Improves muscular range of motion. Studies have also shown that self-myofascial release can increase range of motion without decreasing muscle force or activation. By breaking up the adhesions in the fascia, your muscles and connective tissue can move more freely and you avoid muscle restrictions when you exercise.

3.      Reduce muscle soreness. With better circulation to your muscles and connective tissues, you’ll experience less muscle soreness.

4.      Maintains normal functional muscular length. Self-myofascial release relieves tension in the myofascia network and helps your muscles return to their normal length, improving muscle function.

5.      Encourages movement of your lymph – a major component of your immune system that helps to fight infection in the body. However, the lymph system relies on movement pressure to move the fluid. Self-myofascial release can encourage the flow of lymph back to the heart.

Ultimately, this means that you’ll move better, recover faster, perform better and have less pain so that you can continue to be active and do what you love to do.  I am more than happy to help you develop your own routine, just reach out to me.  

Posted on January 8, 2016 and filed under wellness, Ballwork.

So What is Fascia Anyway?

Chances are that if you have taken my yoga class or come to my Roll+Restore workshop, you have use rubber balls (Bodymind Ballwork) and/or a foam roller to do a self-massage techniques AND you have also heard me talk about fascia, myofascia or connective tissue.  So what is it anyway?

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Fascia in a simplified way  is a thin layer of connective tissue that encases your body under your skin. Your myofascia (muscular tissue) forms a system of continuous, three-dimensional, body-suit-like tension that gives your body its shape. This system spreads without interruption through the entire body. It actually wraps itself around every muscle, joint, and organ. WOW emoji here, please.

Fascia, as experts argue, is the organ of form. Fascia tissue holds patterns of physical and/or emotional tension that if unchecked, or through accidents, becomes injuries (physical or emotional!).   These injuries and/or scared tissue cause the layers of fascia to tighten and stick together creating restriction and muscular pain. So for example when you have a stiff low back, often it isn’t damage to the muscle that is causing the pain, but a hardening or thickening of the fascia around the sacrum/lumbar region.  

I recently learned that fascia can also store toxins (ama if you follow Ayurveda), interestingly these toxins, often are the product of our emotional baggage- ugh!  

The good news is that fascia is being medically recognized for its importance in maintaining a healthy, fit, toned, calm, and aligned body (Ayurveda, without calling it fascia, was on this case 5 thousands years ago, just saying).  Through myofascial release techniques we can relax muscles and break “injuries" and/or release “toxins.” Releasing the stored tension in the fascia allows for cellular memories to be forgiven, relaxing your mind and allowing the body to enjoy better flexibility. Therein my obsession with the ballwork and foam roller. Feeling great is a catalyst towards SatChitAnanada!

Posted on August 21, 2015 and filed under wellness, Yoga, Ballwork.