Massage Therapy Ball Primer

I love my balls and I have lots of different ones. Many different sizes and even textures but which ones are for best for which body parts.

And yes, we all turn in to 9 year old boys when we talk about the balls, but beyond the laughter, the balls give you the ability to get a massage every day. Self-care in your hands!

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Self-Massage for Tight Calves

I just returned from a beautiful weekend in Boone, North Carolina. If you know the area, you may know that Boone is mountain territory. I spent 3 days walking up and down mountains. My calves were TIGHT after this trip. I knew I needed to pay attention to them but the point was driven home to me when my knee started hurting too. My very tight calf was causing other parts of my body to say Uncle!

Balls to the rescue!

 

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How Your Body Affects Your Happiness – TED Talk

Reach those arms up. Dance. Move. Practice Yoga. Help yourself be happy!

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Feet as the Foundation of Our Bodies

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Pranayama – Breathing 101

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Double Pigeon – Deep Hip Opener for Even Tight Hips

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Chest Opener with Massage Therapy Balls

So many of us suffer from “slouch-asana” because of poor posture, carrying heavy bags, too much time hunched over the computer, or texting, or driving. Whatever the reason, this repeated hunched posture creates tension in our chests leading to shallow breathing, painful shoulders / back and stress, and even more shallow breathing, and even more pain & stress. It’s a horrible cycle. Break that cycle by simply creating more space in the muscles in your chest.

 

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Shoulder Work

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Spiral Up

When I was in middle or high school, my mother introduced me to the writing of Louise Hay. It was the first time I had been exposed to affirmations and the link between the emotional and physical world. I wasn’t sure if I completely believed it but I did find it interesting! Through every move I’ve made over the years, those books went with me but I would go months or even years without looking at them.
Around age 19, I started meditating using Edgar Cayce tapes. Every day, for a few years I meditated. Any time I felt overwhelmed I immediately added an extra little meditation that day.
I don’t know why, but at some point I drifted away from affirmations and meditation. Ironically, it was around the same time that my physical yoga practice deepened.
Maybe I thought that I only needed one “spiritual” practice?
If that was the case, it turns out I was wrong. Life is a spiritual practice and the more ways you approach it, the better equipped you are to cope with difficulties.
Perhaps more importantly though, the more “tools in your toolbox”(i.e., affirmations, meditation, yoga, self-care, etc…)  you have, the more life doesn’t become difficult.
I don’t mean you start pooping unicorn rainbows (that only happens when you use the squatty potty! 😜) but that you see the world differently and therefore interact with it differently. Because of that, people approach you differently and many problems simply disappear. The difficulties that remain don’t impact you in the same way.
I’ve reignited my meditation and affirmation practice and my yoga practice has changed. It’s become more welcoming. I have nothing to prove on the mat. It’s about finding what I need that day.
Maybe I’m listening to myself without the distraction of other voices? (and by other voices I mean the ones inside my own head – people really aren’t thinking about us as much as we think they are!)
 
It seems that each of my “tools” fuel the others. I meditate and I view myself as worthy of only the most wonderful fuel for my body. I feed my body glorious foods* and my body responds by giving me a beautiful and loving yoga practice. That yoga practice leaves me with yoga bliss! Yoga bliss gives me a glow and allows me to give kindness to everyone (ok, not everyone but definitely most people and it allows me to let the mean folk roll right off my back).
*Disclaimer: If you know me well, you know I have an intense sweet tooth. I love my green juices but I also love a little bit of chocolate. I’m incredibly picky though and it better be hella good if I’m going to indulge! I’m not jeopardizing my machine for some gas station chocolate bar!!
 
You get the point. It’s a beautiful upward spiral*.
Second Disclaimer: I don’t beat myself up if I’m not 24/7 perfect. This isn’t a competition, folks.
The best part is you can start anywhere with anything. Start seeing beauty in yourself. If you can’t see it yet, talk to me because I can see it in you.
You are alive and by virtue of being a human and being alive, you are worthy of being loved by others and by yourself!
I guess what I’m saying is Spiral Up, my friend!
xoxo
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5 Reasons to Stand Up Straight

 

5 Reasons to Stand Up Straight*: Surprising Reasons to Stop Slouching-

1. Less back pain. Sitting in front of your computer or in the car all day — especially in a hunched or slouched position — increases pressure on disks in the spine, which can cause its supporting muscles and ligaments to degenerate sooner, says Esther Yaniv, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in Austin, TX. This can lead to back pain and may worsen herniated disks or pinched nerves.

2. More energy. Good circulation is crucial to keeping your mind alert and body energized. But slumping tightens your chest and compresses your lungs — which means less oxygen makes its way into your bloodstream, leaving you tired, stressed, and mentally foggy. And strain in any part of your body saps energy, says Yaniv: “Tense postures have the same fatiguing effect as holding a biceps curl for two hours.”

3. Fewer headaches. Headaches are a common by-product of our constant use of computers and other electronic gadgets — notice how gravity draws your head forward when you’re staring at a screen. Trouble is, that position pulls on neck muscles and sensitive nerves in the back of your head and cuts blood flow to the brain. The result: a throbbing noggin. Sit straighter and you’ll prevent the pain.

4. Fewer bone and joint aches. Poor posture can be a slowly occurring injury that can lead to the shortening of muscles over time. For example, slouching when you’re sitting causes hip flexors to become shorter and less flexible than they should be, leading to joint pain. And if you sit with rounded shoulders, you may get rotator-cuff pain. Over time, this wear and tear can lead to arthritis.

5. Better digestion. Slouching on the sofa after eating causes your tummy muscles to tighten, which can push stomach acid into your esophagus and cause heartburn. Standing or sitting up straight allows your digestive system to work more efficiently, so you won’t experience that or other gastro problems, like gas.

*From Posture Facebook page

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