Beth's picture

Find Physical and Emotional Balance this Holiday Season

This holiday season, you may find yourself busy with a calendar full of plans, a belly full of all kinds of different foods that your body may not be used to ingesting, and a mind scattered with thoughts of what needs to be done day to day. I cannot say enough how important it is now to find an hour (or more) for yourself to receive a therapeutic massage. So many people leave from a massage saying "I need to do this more often."  Now is the time. Find the time for yourself and understand the powerful effects it can have on you especially during a time of such hurried days. Allow yourself to slow down and feel open to your massage therapist's calm and grounded energy for that session.  And then, wouldn't it be nice to bring this type of body/mind awareness home with you?  Start with a massage from PCCHH and make life feel a little easier with some self therapy to wrap up your day.  I was looking through one of my books on massage and relaxation at home recently and found a simple exercise for balancing the body both physically and emotionally. I want to share this with you and hopefully hear back from you to see how it helps:)  This exercise is called, "Roots and Wings."  Ask your partner, your room mate, your friend, or even your child to do this with you.  You can both guide each other through the exercise. By doing this, gain balance and harmony within yourself and release any excess tension in your mind and body.  I did this with my husband, Matt.  He was at steps 6 and 7 when I saw a change in him. The visualization and words for this are really beautiful.  I enjoyed being the guide for this exercise.  I hope you try this and enjoy it as well.   
1.)  Close your eyes and focus on your own breathing. Place the feet parallel, facing ahead and at shoulder width or a comfortable distance apart. Feel the stability of your feet on the ground, spread out your toes and distribute your weight evenly over the feet.
2.)  Unlock your knees and notice how the pelvis immediately gives you more support.
3.)  Drop the weight of your buttocks down through the leg muscles.  Imagine that you have a heavy tail attached to the base of your spine.  Let this heavy tail sink down toward the floor.
4.)  Breathe down deep into the pelvis and buttocks.  Then down through the thighs, legs and feet into the ground.  Imagine that you are growing DEEP, WIDE roots.   
5.)  Now, imagine energy is flowing up through your torso, and your spine is lengthening.  Let it create space between each of your vertebrate.
6.)  Allow your neck to lengthen and to release upward from the shoulders, aligning with the spine. Let the head float up like a balloon, the spine as its string.  Your head should float as if on a cushion of air.
7.)  Feel stability in the lower body; grace, lightness and mobility in your upper body.
8.)  Focus on a central point in the chest. Feel your shoulders and chest widen out from this point, like wings.  Let the arms lengthen from your shoulders, and your hands relax.
9.)  Stand easy, breathing softly and deeply. Imagine your roots and wings as you move.   
"Roots and Wings"  is from the book "Massage for Total Stress Relief" written by Nitya Lacroix which I highly recommend.   
Image: meaduva

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Kate Sanchez's picture

Kegels vs. Squats for Pelvic Floor Health



Every woman has been told this same sentence when becoming newly pregnant. “Don’t forget to do your kegels.” “Kegels are very important, so make sure your are working with them daily.” Midwives, Doctors, Childbirth educators all say the same thing. Most of us don’t stop to question it. Our mothers, sisters, and friends have all been instructed in the same way before us. When a few of us do question the nature or need to keep up with our kegels, we are told this is to strengthen our pelvic floor. But what if it’s not strengthening but weakening it? Where do kegels come from? Why are they needed and how do they work? I was very surprised when I happened upon these articles about pelvic floor strength, and what kegels add or take away from it. I also learned more of the nature of squats and why and how they work, and may actually work better than said kegels. It was also of interest to me that in tribal cultures where squatting is the norm in everyday life that the deliveries are so much easier than our western births. I think there is a lot to this and encourage you to read the 2 articles and take from them what you will. I have been working with musculature for 15 years now, and the information that has come to light makes so much sense to me. In my opinion, doing kegels correctly  along with squats is probably the best all around way to prepare the pelvic floor for birth.  A “new” way to look at the pelvic floor and perhaps a better way to strengthen and tone it.

Image: sportEX journals

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