June 26, 2012

Tight Calves? Tight Hamstrings? Sore feet? Roll Your Feet

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Choices, Ergonomics, Hips, Injuries, Knees, Living Vibrantly, Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga at 1:34 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Roll Your Feet with a Ball

Whether you struggle with tight hamstrings, suffer with plantar fasciitis, get leg cramps or just have tightness in the back of your body; try this simple trick for loosening up the entire back of the body from your heels to the top of your head.

The human body has one long, continuous line of connective tissue that runs from the sole of the foot, up around the ankle, up the leg, around the knee, up the thigh, over the sitting bone, up the back all the way to the top of the head ending just over your eyebrows. Tightness in any part of that chain can cause tension anywhere else along the back body. When you find yourself with tightness, tension or pain in any of those areas; start with loosening up the tissues on the soles of the feet and see how much better the entire body feels.

Simply roll the sole of your foot over a ball for 5 minutes daily. Use a tennis ball, a physical therapy ball, or when you’ve built up some tolerance, a golf ball. Begin by rolling the ball under the toes, then along the outside edge of the foot. Roll it around the arch area and back & forth across the heel making sure to treat all areas of the surface of the foot. Spend 2-3 minutes rolling each foot.

You’ll be amazed immediately at how good your feel!  Opening up all the tissues on the bottoms of the feet will cause your entire back body to loosen and relax; your feet will feel lively,  your leg muscles more open, you may even get a bit of relief from back pain or a headache.   Resist the urge to overdo this exercise, limit yourself to once or twice a day; but make sure to do it daily.   This is such a simple way to immediately feel better in your body; give it a try and let me know how you feel.

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Instructor and General Health Zealot.  Contact her directly to schedule a session:  727-641-6941 or www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com

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March 14, 2012

Sciatica Stretch

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Hips, Injuries, Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga at 3:43 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica, the pain that centers in the middle of the glute then runs up or down the body from the low back to the knee, you’ve probably been told that keeping the area stretched out will help lessen your pain.

The sciatic nerve as it runs through the hip is about as big around as your thumb; and it easily gets impinged by tight muscles.  Most frequently, the piriformis muscle, one of the hip extensors underneath your gluteus maximus, fanning out from your sacrum to the ball-and-socket joint of the hip, is the  culprit for muscle tightness in the hip.

Here’s the easy way to safely stretch your piriformis muscles, hopefully relieving sciatica.

  • Lie on the floor on your back.
  • Place both feet on the floor, knees point up.
  • Cross one ankle across the opposite knee just above the knee-joint.
  • Keeping your back flat on the floor, pull the crossed legs directly to your chest.
  • Hold stretch for 10 full breaths.
  • Repeat on other side.

By lying on the floor to do this stretch you neutralize and protect the low back, so if there are any disk issues or dysfunction with the sacroiliac joint; you won’t further exacerbate the problem.  In this position the focus of the stretch is squarely on the hip extensor muscles, specifically the piriformis.

Use this stretch to get yourself out of pain; and add it to your regular daily routine to keep your posterior hips open and flexible, better able to support your low back.

Suzanne Andrew is  a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and general zealot about living vibrantly.  Contact her directly at 727-641-6941 or www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com

February 1, 2012

Back Sore in the Morning?

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Ergonomics, Hips, Injuries, Neck/Shoulders, Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga at 11:43 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

If you wake up and find your low back sore in the morning, before getting out of bed and having a grouchy, achy day; try this!

1. Pull Your Knees to Your Chest – hold for 5 breaths, then rock from left to right 5 times in each direction.

2. Twist to Both Sides –  starting with your knees into the chest, allow your knees to drop off the the left. Widen across the arms. Hold for 5 full breaths. Repeat on right side.

3.  Sitting on the Edge of the Bed, Fold Forward – plant feet firmly on floor, sitting bones on bed, bend of knees should be touching edge of bed.  Bend the torso forward over the legs, let the arms fall towards the floor.  Hold this posture 5 full breaths.

These three simple postures should loosen all the low back and hip muscles; getting rid of any tightness or shortened muscles from sleep.  So next, just stand  up and go enjoy your day!

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and zealot for taking charge of your own good health.  Contact her directly at: 727-641-6941 or Suzanne@TryThaiYogaMassage.com.    www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com

August 26, 2011

5 Simple Tricks to Add Stretching and Strengthening to Your Day

Posted in Back, Choices, Ergonomics, Hips, Knees, Living Vibrantly, Neck/Shoulders, Uncategorized at 8:50 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

No time for a regular workout today?  Try these  5 simple tricks to add more strengthening, stretching, balance and breath into your day-to-day living. While working out daily is great, it can be just as important to build a daily routne of adding little bitsof exercise into droutine activities.

1.  Stand while working on your computer.  If you’re not lucky enough to have an adjusting desk, work at a bar-height table, or make your own work platform by using books, overturned trash cans or milk crates to create the height needed for your computer. Standing while working on the computer helps strengthen the legs, back and torso, increase blood flow thruout the body and create a better posture for deeper breathing.

2. Balance on one foot while folding laundry.  Laundry folding has to be one of the most boring chores in the world; use it as a great opportunity to work on building balance and strength in the lower legs.  Switch from leg to leg every few minutes, and make this boring chore at least useful for your physical body conditioning.

3.   Go backless while driving.  Spend a short drive with the seat back reclined so far that you have to use your core muscles for strength to sit up instead of leaning on the structure of the seat back.

4.  Sweep and shovel instead of leaf-blowing or snow-blowing.  Sweeping and shoveling are excellent aerobic exercises that also strengthen the arms and upper torso muscles.   Sweeping and shoveling just might give you a great opportunity to focus on some deep breathing techniques, too.

5.  Sit on the floor and stretch to watch TV.  As tempting as it is to just sink down into the couch to watch TV after a long day; try sitting in the middle of the floor instead.  Stretch your body in a variety of ways, work the kinks out of your neck and back, make circles with your wrists and ankles, and practice some long, slow breaths.

Feeling better in our bodies isn’t something that needs to be put on hold while we do our chores or work; we can integrate movement and breath into all our routine activities, and do them in such a way they yield maximum benefit. Ahhhh…..

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and Health Consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida, who at this very minute is walking home with her groceries in a backpack to add a little extra exercise into the shopping chore.  Contact her to schedule your customized session today: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or 727-641-6941.

May 14, 2010

Move Your Spine in All 7 Directions

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Breathwork, Hips, Living Vibrantly, Neck/Shoulders, Thai Yoga Massage, Uncategorized, Yoga at 11:50 am by SuzanneMAndrew

A strong, flexible spine is one key to living joyously in your body!

All 24 of your spinal vertebrae are designed to move in 7 directions with varying amounts of flexibility.  As the core of your body, the protector of the central nervous system and the originator of all movements in the body; keeping your spine supple and strong is one key to long-term health & wellness.

Modern living with our rigid body positions like sitting in front of a computer, driving a car, slouching on the couch all contribute to a stiff, imbalanced spine.   Plus arguably, the biggest punisher of the spine is living with constant stress. Constant stress causes the body to constrict, muscles to tighten, breath to shrink; all of which further constrict the spine.

So reward your core, your spine, your back-hips-shoulders with this restorative sequence of the 7 Spinal Movements to invigorate, stretch and strengthen the spine and its support structures.

Begin in an easy sitting position either on the floor or on a stool without back support.  Take 3 deep, slow breaths.

1.  Lengthen the Spine from the Inside. Engage the core muscles, press the navel back to the spine and reach the crown of the head up. This movement engages the spinal erector muscles, building strength from the inside out.

2.  Forward Bend. With the long spine, let your torso and arms walk long forward.  Leading forward with the top of the head. Each inhalation, the top of the head reaches further forward; with each exhalation the torso and arms drop closer to the floor.

3. Back Bend. Returning to an upright sitting position. Place the hands on the floor/stool behind your sitting bones, fingers pointed towards the hips. Engage the core muscles while gently backbending.  Reach the sternum towards the ceiling or sky; and breath deeply.

4. Side bend to the left. Place the left hand next to the left hip, support the spine up, then bend to the left. Reach the right arm up over the head. Open up the entire right side of the body from the right sitting bone along the ribs, under the armpit and up the entire right arm.

5. Side bend to the right. Place the right hand next to the right hip, support the spine up, then bend to the right. Reach the left arm up over the head. Open up the entire left side of the body from the left sitting bone along the ribs, under the armpit and up the entire left arm.

6. Twist to the left.  Place the right hand on the left knee. The left hand reaches around to sit behind the hips.  Reach up with the crown of the head as you inhale. Exhale, twist to the left.  Look over the left shoulder.

7. Twist to the right. Place the left hand on the right knee. The right hand reaches around to rest behind the hips. Reach up with the crown of the head on an inhalation. Exhale, twist to the right. Look over the right shoulder.

Return to a forward facing position. Close the eyes. Use the spinal erector muscles to stretch the torso long upwards.  Breathe deeply.  Congratulate yourself for taking such good care of your spine, back and joints!

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Business Consultant and Corporate Trainer in St. Petersburg, Fl. who is determined to have a long, flexible, healthy spine all her days on this earth.  Thai Yoga Massage can help you have a long, flexible, healthy spine, too.  Contact Suzanne to schedule a session at: Suzanne@trythaiyogamassage.com