February 25, 2013

Workshop – Adding Reiki to Your Yoga Path

Posted in Events, Reiki, Workshops, Yoga at 2:40 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

REIKI & YOGA WORKSHOP THIS SATURDAY  AT ST. PETERSBURG YOGA

Whether you practice yoga to strengthen your body, manage stress, soothe anxiety, improve flexibility or find peace-of-mind; adding Reiki (the conscious application of universal life force energy) can increase the healing benefits of your yoga practice.

reiki om hands

Explore the use of directing universal life force energy to amplify your yoga practice.  In this Reiki workshop, learn about:

  • Energy systems and centers
  • Chakras, koshas and bandhas
  • Yoga poses for energy flow
  • Mantras and energy meditations
  • Self-healing techniques

Improve your energy, improve your practice, improve your world!

Location:   St. Petersburg Yoga

275 16th Street North

St. Petersburg, Florida

Register online at: http://www.stpetersburgyoga.com

Saturday 2/8/2014

1 p.m – 4 p.m.

Workshop attendees will be eligible to receive a ½ price Reiki 1 attunement, to be scheduled after the workshop

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Instructor and General Health Zealot. With 14 years experience giving individual and group Reiki sessions, teaching Reiki workshops and offering all levels or Reiki attunements, Suzanne also offers Reiki business coaching for alternative health care practitioners.  Contact her directly to schedule a session:  727-641-6941 or www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com

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December 12, 2012

Neck & Shoulders sore? Upper body achy?

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Breathwork, Living Vibrantly, Neck/Shoulders, Yoga at 3:55 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Try this quick remedy for chronic neck & shoulder postural strain:

Chest_Op

The yoga pose commonly called “Chest Opener” is a great way to relieve the strain and stress of poor upper body posture. If you spend all day in front of a computer, driving, sitting at a desk; the chances are high that at times you end up with tension, soreness, maybe even pain, in your neck, shoulders and upper back. The Chest Opener is a quick and easy way to undo much of that stress in the upper body.

  • Start by standing with feet a hips-width apart.
  • Clasp your hands behind your back, interlacing the fingers.
  • Straighten the elbows and begin to lift the hands away from your hips.
  • Take care to keep your spine straight and your head reaching up.
  • Once you’ve found a stretch in your shoulders, hold in that position for 5 full, deep breaths.
  • Release.

This Chest Opener pose stretches out the pecs and the deltoids, opens up the upper intercostals and tones the rhomboids; all of which are essential muscular positions for maintaining good posture.

For best results, do this stretch 3-4 times per day; it works especially well at the end of the day and at the end of any long stretches of work in front of the computer or steering wheel.

Simply adding a bit more stretching and a few more deep breaths into your daily life can make all the difference between feeling hunched over, stressed and achy; or feeling spacious, vibrant and healthy!

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

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

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

January 5, 2012

Rotator Cuff Stuff?

Posted in Anatomy, Ergonomics, Injuries, Living Vibrantly, Neck/Shoulders, Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga at 11:38 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Are you prone to rotator cuff problems?  Strains, pains, maybe some tears.  Estimates are that 25-33% of adults suffer with chronic shoulder pain; much of that due to rotator cuff strains, pains, tears.

Surrounding your shoulder-blade, the rotator cuff is composed of 4 muscles that perform the action of moving your shoulder in its ball & socket joint.  The four muscles of the rotator cuff actually stabilize your arm in the shoulder joint so that the bigger muscles of the arms can do the work. Rotator cuff injuries; from strains to tears, usually happen during strength bearing activities where the shoulder joint is a bit out of alignment while being used strongly.  Over exercising, carrying heavy objects, and repetitive overhead reaching motions are some common causes of rotator cuff problems.

The good news is that you may be able to strengthen and rehabilitate your rotator cuff problem on your own using a couple of simple yoga poses.

Below are two articles that outline the findings of Dr. Loren Fishman – a pioneer at integrating western medicine with yoga.  After a rotator cuff injury of his own, Dr. Fishman discovered that by using the forearm platform common to so many yoga poses; he was able to relieve the pain and other symptoms of his rotator cuff injury.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/health/02brody.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/loren-fishman-md/yoga-for-rotator-cuff-injury_b_916728.html

In a nutshell, any posture using the forearm platform (wall push-ups, forearm plank, forearm downward dog, dolphin, head stand) all can help train the subscapularis muscle of the rotator cuff to take over the strength role from supraspinatus.

So if you’re already practicing yoga; you may want to experiment with incorporating some forearm platform poses into your daily workout to see how they help your shoulder strength.  If not, find an experienced yoga teacher to guide you into the poses.

Even if you’re not currently experiencing rotator cuff problems; but you have in the past or sense an instability in your rotator cuff, try incorporating some of these postures into your routine.  Prevention may really be the best cure of all.

(the information in this blog is no substitute for proper medical care; always consult your doctor before altering your exercise routine.)

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

September 30, 2011

Added Flexibility Improves Heart Health?

Posted in Anatomy, Choices, Living Vibrantly, Thai Yoga Massage, Uncategorized, Yoga at 9:47 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

We’re all used to thinking of improved flexibility as something that primarily benefits the muscular and skeletal systems in the body.  We start practicing yoga to relieve back pain, or are prescribed stretches to help with sciatica.  We add stretching to our workout routines in hopes of improving sports performance or intuitively stretch to counteract the pain and stiffness of working at a computer all day.

However, just as important as these benefits of stretching out the muscles and improving joint flexibility are the really exciting results of stretching the arteries and veins of the cardiovascular system, the nerves of the nervous system and the lymph ducts of the lymph system.  As detailed in this article, science is now supporting stretching for improved flexibility as having a whole host of health benefits.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-soram-khalsa/yoga-health-the-flexibili_b_570848.html

So improved flexibility seems to equate to improved heart health, not just in more flexible arteries and veins; but also there seems to be a direct correlation between improved flexibility and lower blood pressure.

That means today a yoga practice, begin a regular stretching routine or come see me regularly for Thai Yoga Massage; and help not just your muscles and joints feel better, but help improve your heart health!

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and Wellness Coach in St. Petersburg, FL.  Contact her directly to schedule a customized session.   Suzanne@TryThaiYogaMassage.com, www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or 727-641-6941

May 13, 2011

3 Minute Stress Break! (without leaving your desk)

Posted in Anatomy, Breathwork, Choices, Ergonomics, Living Vibrantly, Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga at 4:18 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Having one of those days where you feel like you can’t even get away from your desk for a 5 minute walk in the fresh air?  

Give your body a break; recharge and refresh a bit by doing this simple 3 minute stretching routine.

1.   Deep Relaxing Breath – drop your arms along your sides, sit squarely in your chair away from the seat back, reach up with the top of your head and take 5 deep belly breaths.

2.  Side Bends – remaining in place, when you inhale reach the left hand up over your head and bend gently to the right. Exhale and return your hand by these side.  Repeat with the right hand.   Bend to each side 5 times – taking care to use a lengthening bend to each side.

3.  Twists – starting by facing forward. Inhale reach the spine up with the top of your head. Exhale twist to the left by moving the right hand to the outside of the left leg, the left hand to the top or back of  your chair.  Inhale to release to center position, then exhale repeating twisting to the right.  Twist with the breath 5 times in each direction.

4.  Back bend – standing straight up, balanced weight over both feet.  Clasp your hands behind the back, gently pull your fist down and away from your hips moving yourself into a back bend.  Stay in this back bend for 5 breaths.

5.  Forward bend – hands still clasped behind your back, return to an upright position, then slowly bring the torso forward over the legs into a forward bend.  Arms will continue to move away from the hips.

6.  Neck stretches – in an upright standing position, drop the left ear to the left shoulder, hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on right side. End with a very slow, supported head circle.

That’s it!  Simple easy 6 postures, 3 minutes and just the break your body needs on those days filled with too much desk, meeting or computer work.  Repeat this sequence every hour, and you may experience fewer aches, pains and stuck spots in your body.

 Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Wellness Coach and Consultant.  Contact her directly to design the perfect session or program to help you live more vibrantly in your body. SuzanneMAndrew@gmail.com or 727-641-6941.

March 30, 2011

Props for Home Practice

Posted in An Official Welcome to My Practice, Anatomy, Choices, Ergonomics, Thai Yoga Massage, Uncategorized, Yoga at 8:30 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

GET THE GEAR!

So many clients ask about how & where to buy the props we use in Thai Yoga Massage sessions so they can practice at home.  Here is a list of all the props I currently use in our Thai Yoga Massage sessions.  This list includes:  the props, how each is used in your sessions, sources to purchase each, free alternatives.

1., 2. & 3.  Yoga Mat, Block, Strap www.gaiam.com

Use a mat to establish a ‘slip free’ space for your practice.  Alternately, use a towel or blanket. Blocks can be used in many ways; support under the shoulders when laying face down, between the shoulder blades to open the pecs, to lengthen the arms in standing postures, to support the sitting bones in seated postures.  A stack of books can often substitute.  Before blocks were commonly available, we used to take a couple of old phone books, duct table them together and make a block. (evidently I learned to use props at the redneck yoga school).  Finally straps are used to lengthen arm reach, keeping better alignment in the body in postures like seated forward bend, cowface arms and reclining triangle.  Use any old robe tie, long scarf or men’s tie as an alternative.

4. Pool Floaties – in Florida, these are available at Publix or CVS.   Here’s the Amazon version: http://www.amazon.com/Tundra-Noodle-Assorted-Colors-Hollow/dp/B000DZMBDQ

Custom cut to fit the length of your back; used in corpse pose, reclining mountain, etc.  along the length of the spine to open the chest, or under the shoulder blades to open the diaphragm.   If customizing, measure from the top of your sacrum to C7, cut the floatie to this length.   A free alternative is an empty plastic water bottle, or any cylinder about 3 inches in diameter.

5. Light free weights – a 2-3 pound weight can be used in hundreds of ways.  I like the weight band design instead of the bar bell shape, it stays in place easier.   http://www.amazon.com/Reebok-Thumblock-Wrist-Weight-4-Pound/dp/B003PB2G9E/ref=sr_1_6?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1301504172&sr=1-6

Use to extend stretches, especially in reclining mountain, twists or child’s pose.  Free alternative is to fill up and tie off an old sock with 2-3 pounds of sand.

6.  Balance Ball – again from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/TKO-Anti-Burst-Fitness-Ball/dp/B000FH2W54/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1301504311&sr=1-4 be sure to buy the correct size for your height; 65 cm works for most people.

Laying back over a balance ball for 3-5 minutes while focusing on deep breathing should be part of the daily routine for everyone who works at a desk all day, drives for a living or holds a baby all day.

7.  PT Ball –  from the Physical Therapy products catalog http://www.optp.com/ReflexBall-LE9758.aspx.  I’ve tried a few others over the years, and none seem to be as firm as the ones from OPTP.  (bonus, this is the only prop on our list whose official description includes the word ‘protuberances’!)

Used on trigger points; most often in the glutes, front of the quads, along the shoulder blades or along the neck; the pt balls are a wonderful way to release knots on your own.  Lay on the ball for a few minutes while relaxing, and the knot will probably vanish. (bonus, add a warm pack to the opposite muscle and ‘melt’ the entire area)   Alternately, you can use tennis and golf balls.

8.   Foam Rollers – also from OPTP, http://www.optp.com/AXIS-Roller-White-Series.aspx

Used to roll out chronically tight muscles and connective tissue; piriformis/glutes, quads and hamstrings all respond well to foam rolling.  For free, use an unopened can of coffee or a rolling pin.

9. Back bender – http://www.amazon.com/North-American-Healthcare-JB4866-Stretcher/dp/B001G6ZRF0/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1301508019&sr=8-6 this simple, inexpensive back stretcher from Amazon will do most of what a much more expensive back-bending device will do.

Used to relieve the effects of too much sitting, hunching forward and poor posture.  Alternatives include pillows or a combination of pillows and the pool floaties from above.

10.  Hot Packs –  again from Amazon, or locally available in the larger Publix stores.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001ET7HI4/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0018OSG7G&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=01P5BW1HS0FZMJ8A8YMT

Used to heat areas of the body; releasing tension, stretching muscles, opening tissues.  A cheap alternative is to fill an old sock with rice.

11.   Massage Table – massage tables are one of those items you can current choose to spend any amount on, from $50 to $5,000.  If you’re just going to use one around the house for an occaisional massage or as a prop for your practice; here’s an inexpensive and portable choice, again from Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/BestMassage-Burgundy-Portable-Massage-Table/dp/B002YB0AHQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1301514176&sr=1-1 For restorative stretching, the psoas stretch I teach requires a broad, flat surface you can recline on while offering at least 2 feet of clearance from the floor.  Other restorative postures to practice with the table include  back bending off the table, gravity twists, lat stretches and forward folds.

Other items we talk about but don’t currently use in your Thai Yoga Massage sessions:

Lumbar Support Pillows for driving: http://www.amazon.com/Carex-Health-Brands-P10600-Support/dp/B001AFDAU6/ref=sr_1_2?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1301514282&sr=1-2

Shoulderstand Device for traction therapy on the neck and shoulders while inverting: http://stpeteyoga.com/Products.htm

Inversion Sling for traction therapy along the entire spine: http://stpeteyoga.com/Products.htm (warning, the sling is more difficult to use than the inversion table)

Inversion Table for traction therapy along the entire spine:  www.thebetterbackstore.net  – Every body should invert every day!  Seriously, for almost all humans, spending some time inverted on a daily basis will help all your body systems work more efficiently and effectively.

Adjustable Height Desk:  http://www.geekdesk.com/ if you’re a desk jockey; one of the best strategies for minimizing impact on your body is to vary the height of your workspace throughout the day.

Balance Ball Chairhttp://www.gaiam.com/product/exercise-ball-ballanceball-chair.do?SID=WG108SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=cse_froogle if you spend hours sitting at a desk, this type of chair will help build core stability while sitting.

Kneeling Chairhttp://www.healthyback.com/products/Healthyback/Healthy-back-perfect-fit-metal-kneeling-chair/151 This is the desk chair I use, and I highly recommend it for anyone without knee problems.

Cervical Support Pillow: most side sleepers would benefit from a special pillow designed to support the neck while sleeping.  This is a great one: http://www.thebetterbackstore.net/Core_Memory_Foam_Pillow.html

Extending the benefits of your Thai Yoga Massage sessions by doing a few poses at home can be a very powerful way to progress in your practice.  Life can be stressful; so build yourself the toolbox of techniques and practices to undo the stress, tension and aggravation of daily life.  Using props to practice some Thai Yoga Massage poses at home can help you meet all your health and wellness goals.

As always, I can’t recommend you  begin or expand your physical activities without consulting your doctor.

If there are any props listed here that we’ve never used together and you’d like to try, be sure to let me know to work it into your next session.  If you have any questions or suggestions of props you already use in your own practice that I can share with others; please let me know.

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and Anatomy Geek.   Contact her directly at: 727-641-6941 or SuzanneMAndrew@gmail.com. To learn more about Thai Yoga Massage, or the other healing modalities Suzanne offers, visit: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com


December 28, 2010

You, yes YOU, need strong rhomboids!

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Ergonomics, Injuries, Neck/Shoulders, Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga at 7:57 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Slouching?  Headaches?  Neck & Shoulder pain? Difficulty with deep breathing? Maybe your rhomboids need a bit of strengthening….

Many of the conditions of modern life such as hours spent in front of a computer (especially laptops), driving, holding newborns, living with chronic pain or illness,  cause overstretched, weak rhomboids along the back of the chest between the shoulder blades;  along with overly strong, shortened pectoral muscles in the front of chest.   Over time, this becomes the look of slouchy posture, and often the feel of headaches, shoulder & neck pain, shallow breathing. Even the nerves, arteries and veins can become impinged interrupting nervous and circulatory system flow.

To undo this arrangement in the body,  it is important to both deeply stretch the pectoral and front chest muscles; plus strengthen the rhomboids in the back of the body.  If you’ll take a break from your computer work or driving or writing or talking on the phone every hour and do these two simple exercises; you’ll notice a difference in how your body looks and feels quite quickly.

1. Stretch the pecs and front chest muscles by doing the Chest Expansion stretch.

  • Lengthen your spine and balance your weight evenly over both sitting bones
  • Reach behind your back, keeping arms straight, interlace finger.
  • While keeping the spine long and upright, reach your interlaced hands as far upwards as possible.  Feel the stretch in your pecs.  Hold this posture for 5 deep breaths.

2.  Strengthen your rhomboids

  • With the same long spine starting posture, relax your arms down at your sides by your hips
  • Gently but firmly squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Repeat 15 times in sequence with the breath; inhaling to squeeze together, exhaling to relax the shoulder blades apart.

It isn’t unusual for the mid-back to feel sore the first week or so you practice this sequence.  But keep after it, especially if you have a tendency to slouch.  In the long-run, you’ll probably experience less pain, better posture and improved shoulder range of motion – a great pay off for a few minutes of your time.

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Anatomy teacher and Small Business Coach.  Contact her directly to arrange an appointment: 727-641-6941 or  Suzanne@TryThaiYogaMassage.com

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