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Three self-care moves help anchor your ambitions to your body.
Surrounded as we are by images of what’s ideal, even the most self-aware of us can get distracted from our deeply personal and unique reasons for seeking good health. Here are three movements from Jill Miller, self-care expert and creator of “Treat While You Train,” designed to help you reconnect with your physical presence and stay the course of your health and fitness journey.
To get started, you’ll need one Yoga Tune Up® (YTU) Ball and one Coregeous® Ball.
Pelvic Floor Tune-Up
Equipment: One Yoga Tune Up Ball and a stool or chair
Your pelvic floor is like a soft tissue hammock formed by the intersection of back, core and hip muscles. We’re sitting on it all day, yet we don’t think about how strengthening it can improve movement for men and women, from load-bearing strength training to simply walking. This is a move to help you with this overlooked area.
- Place a YTU ball on the seat of a chair or stool. Sit on top of the ball, making sure that it’s only in contact with soft tissue and not bone.
- Inhale, moving the pelvic floor against the ball. Hold your breath and contract your pelvic floor muscles to grip the ball. Then exhale and release.
- Continue to inhale, grip, and exhale for 10 reps.
Elastic Heart Breath
Equipment: One Coregeous Ball
Creating gentle traction and elasticity between your lower and upper body decompresses the spine and frees up your breath, while strengthening your core muscles. This move helps you feel the integration of your breathing muscles and the oblique muscles that connect your rib cage to your lower body. It massages the back of your heart and rib cage, improves spinal alignment, and is also great preparation for the third exercise in this sequence, the crab reach.
- Seated on the floor, place the Coregeous Ball behind your rib cage and then lie back on it.
- Wrap your arms around your chest as if to give yourself a hug, and tighten your abdominal muscles.
- Inhale and roll down the Coregeous Ball to one side, and then exhale and roll back up to the center or peak of the ball.
- Inhale and roll down the opposite side. Exhale and return to the center.
- Continue this movement for two minutes. Then roll to your side, and sit up.
Crab Reach: Animal Flow®
This move is courtesy of Mike Fitch, the creator of Animal Flow, and it assures that your shoulders are integrated into a strong and mobile rib cage. This move is not a backbend—it’s a thoracic rotation that strengthens your entire back body, helping you stay mobile, healthy and resilient.
- Begin seated on the floor with your feet planted hip-width apart, your hands planted with fingers pointing away behind you, and your shoulders rotated out.
- Activate your glutes and lift your body off the ground slightly.
- With elbow bent, lift your right hand in front of your nose.
- Contract your glutes and let your gaze follow your hand as you bring your pelvis up and reach your arm up and over to your opposite hand, bringing your biceps to your ear. Breathe in this position for a few seconds.
- Slowly bring your hand back over your head and past your nose, and reset your position.
- Switch hands and repeat.
Photo credit: Todd Domenic Cribari, inspirostudio.com
Hair and make-up: Mariah Nicole, mariahnicole.com