Beach Walking (in a blizzard uphill in both directions)

For the second day in a row, I went walking on the beach. Technically, I walked on the broad walk (my walking partner doesn’t like sand and that’s a problem for many reasons*). It was drizzling for part of the walk and then came the downpour but this is Florida. It stopped raining within 10 minutes and we went back out and finished our walk.

The problem with today’s walk (one of today’s problems actually) was that it was very windy. I mean, it was really, really windy. In the rain. Uphill. In both directions. And then it started snowing. Actually, we walked uphill in a blizzard in both directions fort MILES. Ok, some of that isn’t true, but it was windy and my calves were aching, the left one especially.

We’ll talk more about why/how one side hurts more than the other and what to do about that in a different post but it has to do with one of the reasons why I prefer to walk on the sand.

I knew that when I got home I would need to stretch my calves. I don’t like that an hour walk in the wind (granted, uphill in a blizzard in both directions) would make me ache like it did.

Downdog to the rescue. I could have opted for so many different stretches – rolled mat calf stretch, rolling on my feet (which I am doing while I’m typing on my laptop), rolling my calf muscles in a modified thunderbolt pose – but I have a love affair with down dog. I start there so often and as my body unwinds and remembers years of love and self-care, I start to move how I need.

In downdog today though, I needed those calves to get the most goodness so I kept my knees bent more than normal, allowing my heels to drop down as I drew my thighs and bum both up and back. Ahhhhhhh, heaven. Bend the left knee more and my right side loves me. Breath deeper. Deep sigh (who are we kidding? it was more of a moan). Switch sides. Repeat a few times.

Add a few modified Sun Salutations (Modify based on your needs. Knees up or down in plank through updog. Skip the vinyasa altogether and step back to down dog. Add one legged versions.) including a long standing forward fold with the bent knees. Bent knees, even if it’s only a micro bend, allow your spine, including the sacrum, and pelvis to tilt in the same direction as opposed to being pulled in opposite directions and possibly causing damage. Move your arms. Move your body. Add some rag doll. Add some hip sway.

Pay attention to how these movements change what and where you feel things. Oh my, I was feeling all sorts of things. My body was talking all over the place!

Return to downdog and this time, turn the left heel towards the right foot and bend the left knee. Keep the right leg straight. Try to keep the weight even in both arms. Check that your left knee is pointing the same directions as your toes but feel free to play with the angle because it changes what you feel in the right leg. Lift both cheeks up and back and then only the right one. I love how changing something small changes the sensation so much! Sigh or moan more! I’m not judging! Switch sides.

Add some more suns and finish with a few reverse tables to open the chest. Don’t forget to hang at some point, yogi!

Calves are feeling much better now and hopefullly, I’m ready to take the dogs for a walk because they don’t care at all how much I’ve already walked, they’ve got places to go, things to smell and places to pee! Ahhh, the life of my dogs!

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Reverse Plank & Plank Walk Overs – Strong Shoulders

Stabilize the shoulder joint by incorporating strength in to your range of motion. Reverse plank helps combat the slouch/shlump of our daily life – relaxing on the couch, sitting hunched over a computer, driving, etc. Open the chest, engage the back, strengthen the arms to help stabilize your shoulders.

A couple of hints –

Remember to push down through your hands. Don’t collapse in to your shoulders.

Use your balls after this one. We build strength which is great but we want to be strong and flexible so roll on your subclavicular, pec minor, & trapezius.

No balls? Try windmills or figure 8s for help with flexibility.

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Windmill Arms – Help for Tight Chest & Shoulders

Release tight shoulders, develop better range of motion in your shoulder joint, open your chest, and fight “slouchasana”. Great to do when sitting in the office all day or binging on netflix! 😉

Once you feel confident with this shoulder opener, try the Figure 8 Arms. Be warned though, it took me a few tries before I even figured out what my arms were supposed to do in those figure 8s. It helps to look sideways in a mirror.

Always work within a pain-free range… & keep your sense of humor!

 

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Figure 8 Arms – Shoulder Mobility

Computers, poor posture, sitting, texting, etc. all contribute to the forward daily shlump. We tend to let the shoulders go where they want and they want to do what they’re used to doing so they slump even more. Fight back against it!

Yogis, we’re guilty of this too. If you practice a lot of vinyasa, you’re using the muscles but you’re also developing very ingrained patterns of movement in very particular patterns. Those ingrained patterns can easily lead to overuse/underuse issues and injuries.

Develop better range of motion in your shoulders.

 

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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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