For many of us, fall means back to the grind – and too often, this means a decrease in our activity levels and an increase in sitting at desks. Extra-stressful days planted in our office or school chairs can take a toll on our tissues. Expert Jill Miller, bestselling author of The Roll Model and creator of the Treat While You Train program, has a movement remedy to keep your joints and posture supple and healthy to meet the challenges of the season.
Equipment: Your body and YTU Therapy Balls
Your upper back, neck and shoulders hold more than the straps of your bag and the shirt on your back. We tend to carry the stress of our world and “shoulder” the burden of not-so-great postural habits and digital addictions. This results in movement dysfunction. Our unconscious patterns of movement can show up as chronic tension in the shoulders, spine, internal organs and, ultimately, our ability to breathe well and move without pain.
The shoulder muscles are key to the liberty of our breath. Once you begin to tame the flames of tension that are submerged in these overworked tissues, you’ll experience a sense of whole-body equilibrium. Lightening your own load is literally only a roll away. Self-care is a gift that releases pain and soothes the psyche.
LOW BACK LOCATOR
Equipment: Your body, your breath and Alpha Twinset Balls in a Tote
According to the Global Burden of Disease 2010, low-back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, and nearly half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms annually — and miss work, as a result. This painful affliction comes with a heavy cost. Besides the $50 billion each year spent on back pain by Americans, it regularly robs the afflicted of their confidence and freedom to be mobile and agile. Pain can hijack your bright outlook and impacts your psyche at every turn.
Each person’s road to resolve their back pain is unique. But one road that can build new bridges to health is improving your body’s alignment in order to minimize aggravation of afflicted tissues. Your low-back muscles are a soft-tissue bridge between your rib cage and your pelvis and hips. This means they are involved in posture as well as breathing. These muscles need to be as pliable as they are strong. In order to reset their tone from chronic tightness and weakness, these tissues need to be mobilized in a supportive and compassionate way. Gentle, targeted ball rolling combined with conscious breathing strategies can begin to unravel the mystery of tension, and help your back to be a better supporter for your whole body. Take care of your back, and it will pay you back abundantly.
HIP FLEXOR UNGLUE
Equipment: Your breath, your body and Therapy Ball Plus
Dem bones has a lot to it
Ankle bone connected to the shin bone
Shin bone connected to the knee bone
Knee bone connected to the thigh bone
Thigh bone connected to the hip bone….
The old song is true! Aches and pains that we carry are often due to weakness or tightness in neighboring areas. For example, low-back stiffness often comes from its downstairs neighbors, the hip flexors, which have become shortened due to sitting. The hip flexor muscles south of the low back are so tight that they routinely pull on the low back’s structures, creating misalignments and pain.
The fix? Slacken the hip flexors so that their upstairs neighbor is relieved. Hip flexors are extremely active in every move you make in life or the gym; make sure they have fluidity so that your body can express its potential for motion, and not be shortchanged because of stiffness. Stretching alone may not be enough to make a difference. Using a tool can tease apart specific internal stiffness that stretching bypasses. At first, it can be sensitive and quite alarming to feel the lumps of tension that wreak havoc on your frame. Staying committed to this treatment is a game changer, and will serve to make sure that the remaining lyrics of the song — Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around— are true for you, and that you will feel great doing so.