Category: Exercise

DO YOU KNOW WHY BREATHING IS A KEY FACTOR IN YOUR WELLNESS?

I think of breathing in two different ways, after we acknowledge that breathing is mandatory for life and air always enters into the lungs.

#1: I use breath in a way that helps me to harness my reflexive core in exercise or to manage load (think picking up your grandchild).

#2: I use breathing as a practice when lying down or seated to manage my mind/body connection. This is better known as stress management or meditation.

Breathing for Core Strategy or Load Management

Air enters your body automatically because of pressure differences between the atmosphere and your internal body. By virtue of this automatic flow of air into your body, you need to increase volume somewhere to accommodate the incoming air.

This shape change is what we call breathing. We can change shape in our ribs and our chest as well as our stomach. The artful design of our body created the lungs to take in the air and they happen to live in our ribs which are designed to expand.

On the other hand, our stomach expands with increased food content. But if our abdomen expands when we take air into our lungs, it is really a bulge because no air actually changes the volume of the stomach. Think about a water balloon and how if you squeeze it, the rest of the balloon pushes out. Essentially that is what is happening on a belly breath. The ribs tighten so the belly can jut out.

Hopefully, it makes sense now that optimal breathing for movement and exercise utilizes mostly the movement of the ribs, which are designed to expand. The overflow of pressure then moves into the belly.

When you expand your ribs to breathe, you do not push down into your core. Nor into your pelvic floor. However, when you belly breathe, you do push down and out because of simple body mechanics.

Is a yoga belly breath bad? No, I enjoy lying on my back and allowing more shape change in my tummy as part of relaxation. Would I belly breathe when doing a goblet squat? A FIRM NO!

Find out how to assess your breathing and breathe for optimal core and pelvic floor health during Sarah’s free Short and Sweet webinar on July 15, 2021.

Breathing for Meditation or Stress Management

Breath work was my entryway into meditation. I found guided meditations difficult and distracting, but breath work kept my mind on my body and allowed for meditation to occur. There is a lot of good scientific research now on the power of meditation of any kind to lower stress levels and blood pressure levels, in addition to helping patients recover from trauma.

Let’s look at some of my favorite breath work guides.

Ana Lilia

Ana suffered from various stress related symptoms until she discovered breath work. She became a certified breath coach and has guided thousands of people to connect with their breath. Her healing journeys include music and guidance. I have enjoyed her free breath work offers and you may as well. She has been featured on NBC news, BravoTv, the LA Times, and Harpers Bazar.

Tai Hubbart

Tai says “For the majority of my early life I struggled with depression, and for over a decade, I suffered with chronic headaches. While I was able to remain high-functioning professionally in the Advertising & Design industry, I had little capacity to enjoy life, and spent the majority of my resources trying to track down the root of my dis-ease and simply feel better.

“In 2009, I decided to leave my corporate position and take a life/healing sabbatical in which I could listen more deeply and redirect my life’s compass.” She leads group breath work sessions, and one-on-ones. In the breath work section of her website you can enjoy a 28-minute introduction to breath work.

Annalise Sullivan

Annalise Sullivan is a writer, energy reader, and autonomy activist. In addition to her academic achievements in sociology and social work, Annalise has spent over a decade honing her methods as a breath work facilitator, intuitive guide, and NARM trained trauma-informed practitioner.

Annalise offers a breadth of techniques and resources to support you on your healing journey. I appreciate Annalise’s reasonably priced group breath work experiences on Zoom.

Rohi Coustage and Energy of Breath School

I experienced a true breakthrough when I practiced gamma breath with Rohi Coustage. She offers this description: Breathing into Gamma is a great daily practice, from a few one-minute breaths throughout the day to longer practices.

This brings us to a baseline Gamma state and all our life reflects upgrades into a higher energy state with unlimited fulfilling outcomes in whichever area we choose to focus our breath. Cultivating our gamma state leads to the unlocking of our higher sensory abilities, the development of our higher brain processing power, total manifestation power, and the evolution into our Light Bodies as we enter this era of accelerated consciousness evolution and next level awareness.

Two Types of Breaths to Try

A Basic Gamma Breath

Breathe deep – 3 seconds to inhale, 3 seconds to exhale, following this sequence:

IN MOUTH, OUT MOUTH

IN MOUTH, OUT NOSE

IN NOSE, OUT NOSE

IN NOSE, OUT MOUTH

Do 3 sets of the above and finish with:

ONE MORE IN MOUTH, OUT MOUTH

Then relax and tune in for a few moments to the effects.

Square Breath

Advice from Navy Seals: The military has found square breathing to be the best technique for on-the-go stress management. Although they teach many types of breath in the military, the Huberman Lab has worked with the military and revealed in a podcast recently that square breathing is their go-to technique for maintaining equilibrium in stress filled environments.

INHALE FOR 4

HOLD FOR 4

EXHALE FOR 4

HOLD FOR 4

Repeat for at least 3 rounds.

What have you noticed about your breathing?

Is it deep or shallow?

Belly or ribs?

Have you tried doing meditation?

Which breathing technique do you use?

Please share below!

Surprisingly Effective Chair Exercise for Your Arms and Core

Chair Exercise for Your Arms and Cores that Works for Strength Building

Are you concerned about how to exercise if you have poor balance or can not get up and down from the floor easily? This is an exercise solution for you!

To prevent muscle atrophy as we age, it is important to continue to activate our muscles even if we are not able to move around a lot. I recommend this short routine as a movement break.

Find Your Sitting Posture for Effective Chair Exercise

You will need a towel, yoga strap, belt, or tie.

The unfortunate thing about chairs today is that most of them encourage us to slouch and sit on our sacrum. The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone that forms the link between your spine and tailbone. Sitting on our sacrum is one of the culprits in low back pain and SI joint pain.

To find your ideal sitting posture, start by finding your sitting bones. Those are the bony protrusions at the bottom of our pelvis. Rock side to side in your chair and back and forth a bit. You should be able to locate those bony landmarks. Now that you have found them, try sitting right on top of them. Push down through your feet as you lengthen the top of your head to the ceiling. Do not reach your nose to the ceiling, but rather, think of the back of your head getting taller.

Find 360-Degree Breathing

Now that you have your sitting posture, place your hands on your lower abdomen. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Notice your belly move out into your hands on your inhale while sitting down for an effective chair exercise.

On the next breath, see if you can make that expansion happen in your rib cage instead of your belly. If this is extremely difficult, do not be discouraged. Just having this new awareness is the perfect place to start.

Now that you are aware of the fact that you can move your inhale into your ribcage, try practicing your breathing this way. Imagine that your chest is full of little holes and as you inhale, air flows into your lungs through all those holes. The air fills your lungs as if they were a sponge. The sponge of your lungs expands into the rib cage and the bones of your rib cage move outward.

Practice this as often as it occurs to you. It’s great little workout for your ribcage as well as your internal pressure system. Over time, you will notice that you have a more evenly distributed inhale—and that will help you with core stability and strength.

Core Warmup

Grab a towel or strap and hold each end.ull the strap back across the front of your upper shins or your knees while you grow your spine taller. Make sure you exhale as you pull the strap. Remain tall in your seat and exhale as if you are blowing out 100 birthday candles while you pull on the strap.

Do you notice the backs of your arms turning on? If not, try having your thumbs forward and your pinky fingers pointing behind you and try again. Do this 6 to 8 times.

Now let’s do a little walk with our hips! We will not be leaving the chair but we will shimmy our hips forward and backward in our seat. Remember to stay tall and keep your spine straight as you move your right sitting bone forward and then your left. Return your right sitting bone and then your left. Next time reverse that order. Keep going back and forth without tucking your tail or arching your low back.

Working Your Arms During Effective Chair Exercise

Now we will do an exercise called pull-aparts. Take the ends of your towel or strap and hold them directly in front of your chest. If holding your arms parallel to the ground at chest level hurts your shoulders or neck, just hold your hands lower. You will have your hands in an overgrip on the strap. We will pull the ends of the band apart 6 times. Use an exhale and grow tall with each pull. Reverse your grip to underhand and repeat the exercise. Where do you feel each one on your arms?

Next, we will do the Bow and Arrow exercise. You are still holding your towel or strap. Imagine that the strap is a bow with an arrow in it. Take your right hand to your right armpit while your left hand out to the left and a bit forward of you. There is not a right or wrong for your arm and hand placement. Switch from side to side and see if you can find a rhythm of right to left and find the positioning that feels good in your body. Your arms can be as high or low as you want. This is about the movement, not about how it looks.

More into the Arm Workout

Put your towel to the side and pick up your block, ball, or any object that you can comfortably hold in one hand at a time. Hold the object in your left hand and pass it to your right hand in front of you. Be curious and see if you can take the object behind your back and pass it to your right hand. If this is not possible, it’s ok. Pass the block from hand to hand in front of you. Maybe see about holding the object higher or lower or changing the speed of the transitions. We are going to do this for one minute at a time followed by a 30-second rest and another minute of activity. It is your choice to pass the object behind you or in front of you.

When you are done, put your object down and let your hands come to your lap. This is the end of your upper body workout in the chair. At this time, take a moment to notice your breathing. Can you focus on breathing into all of the lobes of your lungs as if they were a sponge? Fill the entire spongy lobes of your lunges and slowly blow the air out as if blowing out 100 birthday candles. Repeat this activity 4 times and then return your breathing to normal.

Take your right ear toward your right shoulder and breathe. Slowly take your head back to the center. Take your left ear to your left shoulder and then slowly return to the center. Repeat this 2 more times to each side.

Notice your arms and torso. Hopefully, you feel more energized and alert with this effective chair exercise. Let me know in the comments how you feel!

If you enjoyed this mini strength workout in a chair, join me next month for a leg workout in the chair.

How to improve tight hips without passive stretching. 7 movements that will change how you feel.

Improving Tight Hips without Passive Stretching

https://vimeo.com/388683662

Tight hips are a common complaint among post-menopausal women. Hydration, sleep, and stretching is often recommended as helpers in the fight against tight hips.

I also believe that if we are going to alleviate chronically tight hips, we have to stop sitting so much and start moving more.

It’s all about movement for tight hips without passive stretching

When you experience muscle tightness, the solution is to work on increasing your mobility. Scientific advancements have revealed that the sensations we feel are not direct inputs from our muscles.

Rather, they are inputs from nervous system sensors on temperature, blood flow, inflammation, etc. The brain interprets this data and creates a feeling of tightness, pain, numbness, instability, ease, or something else. 

Oftentimes, the sensation of tightness has a lot to do with your nervous system putting on the brakes and not allowing you to perform a certain action because it is an unfamiliar movement and your nervous system senses you do not have the muscle control or strength for the move. 

A good example is the hamstring tightness. If a person is unable to touch their hands to the floor (not a goal I suggest to my clients) in a forward fold because a tight sensation stops them, they assume that they need to “stretch” to change the situation.

More into the movements to help tight hips without passive stretching

What if I told you that your nervous system is accustomed to you sitting much of the day and knows you do not have the hip or hamstring strength for that move? That your healthy nervous system might put on the brakes and stop you from going too far?

But what if you gained strength in all the ranges of motion that your hips and legs can naturally accommodate? Would that make your body feel more comfortable with end range movements like a forward fold? 

I have seen my clients gain a greater range of motion through strength and mobility work than years of stretching classes have done for them.

If you want to experiment with this, try all or a portion of these seven moves daily and see how you feel in a few weeks.

Standing Psoas Release

Put your right foot on a block. Your heel needs to be solidly on the block so that you can make sure your weight is more in your heels. Make sure you have support nearby, like a wall, and use it for stability.

this is an image of one of the movement for tight hips without passive stretching

Swing your free leg forward and back without trying to use your hip flexors to move. Allow a bit of momentum to keep your leg swinging and your hip flexor on the swinging leg relaxed. Feel as if the weight of your leg is 100 pounds and it is being pulled toward the floor as it swings.

Switch legs.

Standing Hip Glide 

Find a counter or table that reaches hip height. Hinge at your hips and place your hands on the table. From the hip hinge position, move your hips from right to left with as little waist cinching as possible.

this image shows sarah purcell showing how to fix tight hips without passive stretching

Move your hips a little bit to the right without a twist and hopefully you will feel sensations in your left inner thigh. Keep both legs straight as you do this. Then move to the other side. Go back and forth slowly. If you think you are going slow, move even a little bit slower

Standing Hip Circles

Stand with your left side to the counter. With your left hand touching the counter for stability, bring your right knee up to hip height as if you were marching. Externally rotate the leg bone at the hip so that your knee is now pointing out to the right.

Now for the difficult part. Without using your low back muscles, internally rotate that very same leg, which will swing your lower leg out. With your mind’s eye at your knee, take that knee behind you as it sweeps back to its home base parallel to the left knee.

Complete this circle 3 times and then reverse the direction. Watch this video for an in-depth look at hip circles and how much they have helped my clients with SI joint or low back pain.

Windshield Wipers Redefined

Sit on a chair with your heels on the floor and placed wider than your hips. Your knees are probably out to the side in external rotation. Keeping your heels where they are, rotate the leg bones internally (your knees will move towards each other). Continue this internal and external rotation in a lazy fun way.

image showing sarah purcell doing the windmill wipers as part of the movements for tight hips without passive stretching

Shake that out. Starting back in external rotation again put your hands out the outside of your knees. Press your hands into your knees and your knees into your hands.

Feel that resistance and after lightening up on your hands create the internal rotation again with a focus on the resistance your hands can create going in both internal and external rotation. Think of this as a deliberate deep cleaning for your hip joints while also working your inner and outer thighs.

this image shows sarah purcell doing one of the 7 movements for tight hips without passive stretching

Leg Lifts

Stand with your left side to the counter. Your right leg is extended straight in front of you and the right heel is resting on a block. Hinge at your hips until you feel sensation in the back of your right leg.

Hold there and draw your right toes toward your face. Remember to breathe as you feel the sensations. Repeat 3 or 4 times.

Standing in neutral now with your weight in your left leg, lift your right heel off the block while keeping your torso still and your hips steady and neutral. Lift 5 to 7 times. Only lift as high as you can go without your hips, spine, or shoulders shifting. It may be that you barely lift off the block and that is fine.

Repeat on the other side.

Squat

Position your legs wider than your hips with your legs hip-distance apart. Take a little squat with your rear traveling behind you. Look down at your knees and notice where they are.

Come back up and this time makes sure your hips are traveling behind you and your knees do not migrate towards each other. If your knees come forward a bit it is not a big deal, but do not let your knees collapse in.

As you squat, imagine you have racing stripes on your pant legs and push into the racing stripes to keep from collapsing in.

We will take 8 slow squats counting to 4 to go down and counting to 4 to come up. Resist the down using your glute muscles as brakes. Press through your heels and use your glute muscles as elevators.

Iliacus Release

Prop your hips up on a block, bolster, or a few firm pillows. Your feet will be placed on the ground about hip distance apart. Your pubic bone is higher than your hip bones and they are both higher than your waist.

Begin to breathe slowly. Imagine that the whole front of your legs and hips are relaxing and letting go. The muscles are just sliding down off the bolster toward your navel. Continue to breathe as you see in your mind’s eye that your hip flexors are relaxing into your body. Stay here as long as you like.

Everyday Movement to Solve Tight  Hips without Passive Stretching

There is a sweet middle road where we can strengthen and lengthen our muscles to create more ease in our bodies. Short and tight muscles are essentially weak muscles. Oftentimes, that weakness is related to the fact that you do not give your muscles experience in a variety and diversity of positions on a daily basis. 

The movements above are a nice routine to add variety and diversity while bringing an element of strength to your muscles. I always tell people that change needs to be easy to fit into your routines or the chances of success are low. So, start small.

Maybe choose only one of the ideas here and try doing it at the same time every day. Tack it onto something you already do every day, like making your coffee.

What is your range of motion at the hips? Do you feel tightness that brings unease in your movements? What do you do to interrupt your sitting time? Which of the movements shared for tight hips without passive stretching above looks like something you’d be able to start doing right away?

Stiff Neck and Shoulders? Make them Strong with These 5 Exercises

Stronger Muscles: Solving Stiff Neck and Shoulder Problems

We learned in my previous article how the positioning of our arms in our shoulder girdle affects muscle use and overuse in our upper back, neck, and shoulders. To ease the resulting pain and tension, we did some strength workouts or exercises that engaged the latissimus dorsi instead. 

Today, I am bringing you a fabulous concept: the armpits of power. The exercises that follow will help you make progress on gaining the strength you need to allow your overly helpful traps to go on holiday.

The Problem

For most of us, when we lift our arms overhead, our shoulders will shrug, or the ribcage will flare upwards.

Both of these compensations place you in a precarious position, especially when you’re holding a weighted object. (Think lifting a jug of water out of the refrigerator or putting luggage in an overhead bin.) 

With either compensation pattern, the lats are not turned on, and you already know that lazy lats cause your neck and shoulder girdle to work too hard, resulting in neck and shoulder tension. After gaining awareness of how to release your traps, you still may not feel much going on in the lats

Armpits of power is your next step. It will help you really wake up your muscles.

The Solution

We want to wake up the armpits of power, which include your lats. Did you know that the lats attach at your armpit?

These 5 exercises are my go-to steps when helping clients get acquainted with the armpits of power.

Find Your Armpits of Power for Stiff Neck and Shoulders

Here is another movement for stiff neck and shoulders.

Lift your arms to shoulder height, straight in front of you as if you were a zombie. Notice how your armpits feel. Now, externally rotate your arms so that your palms and elbow pits are facing up.

this is an image of sarah purcell doing the workout Armpits of Power for Stiff Neck and Shoulders

Can you feel the muscle engagement in your armpits? Can you feel your back near your armpits awaken?

Feel this directly by taking your left hand to your right armpit while holding your right arm out in this zombie arm position. Externally rotate your right arm so that your elbow pit is facing the ceiling. Feel the muscles turn on in your armpit, making it bigger and stronger. This is your ARMPIT of POWER!

Now, go back to two zombie arms and externally rotate to find your armpit of power. Hold the armpit of power for 10 to 15 seconds. Be careful to keep the muscle engagement in your armpits and your mid-back, not up near your neck. This is definitely working! Repeat 3 times.

this picture of sarah purcell doing workout for Armpits of Power for Stiff Neck and Shoulders
Super Charge Your Armpit of Power

Shake out your arms and wiggle around a bit. Come back to standing with your zombie arms. Put a little bend in your elbows. Imagine you have ice cream scoops on your elbows and use that image to scoop the elbow as you externally rotate your arms. Now your elbow pits are facing the ceiling.

Can you feel the scooping and a simultaneous wrapping of your shoulder blades around from the back to the front of your armpit? Now that is a BIG armpit of power.

Add onto this with the image of holding a clutch purse in the armpits. Can you try to lift your arms up overhead while holding onto this power and clutch purse? Find your edge or boundary where you might lose the feeling of strength in your armpit. Stop when you find your boundary.

Hold at this edge without lifting your ribcage. Your arms may shake here and that’s good. You are working hard.

Work Within Your Boundary Right to the Edge

For Stiff Neck and Shoulders

Take a block between your forearms. Externally rotate your arms at the shoulder and create the muscle engagement by imagining grabbing a clutch purse in your underarm. Hold onto the clutch purse with your armpits of power, and slowly lift the block up toward the ceiling.

this image shows Sarah Purcell showing workouts for Armpits of Power for Stiff Neck and Shoulders

Try to keep your arms straight and long while you do this. Go only so far as you can go without losing the armpit of power engagement. Hold for a count of five and lower down. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Baby Push-Up

Come down to your hands and knees with your hips over your knees and your hands under your shoulders. If you cannot come to the floor, you can do this standing at a wall with your hands on the wall and your arms straight.

We begin by pushing through our palms and broadening our shoulders. Keep that width on your back and take a slight bend in your elbows, allowing your elbows to wing out to the sides. (Your torso will come closer to the floor or wall.) 

Imagine you have ice cream scoops on your elbows, and you are scooping out ice cream as you bring your arms back to straight. Feel your armpits come alive as you do this. 

Hold the armpits of power and take a little push up. Do you notice how little tension there is at your neck as you hold this position? Do you feel stronger than usual?

If you are looking for more challenge, move your arms a bit further forward and try your mini pushup in this ½ plank. Remember all your boundaries for armpits of power and keep your ribs in your body!

Doorway Hang

Now, for a new movement adventure! We are going to add hanging strength to the armpits of power!

Find a pole or doorway you can hold onto. Stand with your side to the doorway (at least 12 inches away) and hold onto it with your grip.

Allow your weight to pull you away from the doorway and approach it in a lazy hanging out fashion. It is almost like a shoulder shrug. But this approach is not ideal for the ligaments in your shoulder girdle and rotator cuff.

Now, try this again but keep your armpits of power engaged. Remember, your ribs belong in line with your hips. It is not a hip move we are doing here. Feel the armpits of power giving you support in what is essentially a hanging exercise.

Stay Strong with Armpit Power for Stiff Neck and Shoulders

When you engage your Armpits of Power, you are gaining both strength and stability. You may have found a smaller boundary for how high your arms can reach up while maintaining this newfound stability.

Of course, there may be times when you need to reach higher for household tasks, but you can practice this new strength and stability skill when you exercise.

Having a clear intention and boundary when you exercise will help you build strength faster and slowly increase your range of motion too (how high you can bring your arms up while respecting your armpit of power boundary).

Follow along with these exercises in this video! 

https://vimeo.com/380377407

 

Experiencing Neck Stress? Try these 5 Simple Exercises.

Exercise for Neck Stress Even During Holidays

The holidays often bring a change in your routine that can cause stress and pain in your neck. You’ve probably heard the saying “it’s all connected” in the mind/body world lately. This is never more true than with the relationship of your neck and shoulders to your posture.  Most people have overly helpful upper traps—yet other important muscles (like your lats) remain underused. Let’s wake up those underused muscles! These strength workouts may look simple, but if you sit, type, text, drive or read a lot, this work is important for you, and you’ll feel the results fairly quickly. And if you’re a visual/kinesthetic learner, you can follow along with the video! Just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it.

Exercise 1: Notice what your arms are doing

The pulley system that supports your cervical and thoracic spine (neck and mid-back) can be viewed with your x-ray vision by taking a look at your arms.  Stand in front of a mirror with your arms relaxed by your sides. 

What most people see is that both arms hang hand down, landing a little bit in front of their bodies. Often the backs of their wrists are facing the mirror. Ideally, in this natural, relaxed state, you’d see your thumbs facing forward. However, what most of us see is the backs of our hands. What you see is an important indicator of how things are working at your neck and shoulders.

This posture means that your arm bones are not in a place where your upper arms can even get toned without creating neck tension. Let’s fix that!

Exercise 2: Squeeze it in exercise

Standing in front of the mirror, bring your hands alongside your body as if you were trying to touch racing stripes on the side of athletic pant legs.  Press the palms of your hands into the sides of the thighs.  Once your hands are flat on the side of your leg, try working all the muscles in your arms, shoulders, and mid-back to get as much of your entire arm to touch your body as you can. Now you are working all the little muscles at the shoulder, as well as the big latissimus dorsi! Hold for about 10 seconds. Do this 5 times.

Exercise 3: Independence for your shoulders

Sometimes our arms and shoulders move as one; other times they move independently of one another. This independence is vitally important for the health and mobility of your neck, upper back, and shoulder area.  The rhomboid push up is a great way to create more movement in your shoulder blades so that your mid-back and neck don’t get tense and knotted.   Stand with your feet solidly planted beneath your hips and reach your arms out in front of you. Shoulder height is great, but if you feel neck tension at shoulder height, drop your arms a little lower.  Now pretend you’re reaching for a yummy dessert about three inches in front of you. With straight arms and outstretched fingers, invite your arms to reach for the dessert by allowing your shoulder blades to get wide on your back and wrap to the front. Now pull that dessert back towards you without bending your elbows. The dessert gets closer to you as your shoulder blades come closer together.  Invite the bottoms of your shoulder blades to get closer to each other. If you concentrate on the tops of your shoulder blades, your neck may decide to join the party—and we don’t want that. 

Exercise 4: The no-grip hold 

I know that this exercise looks pretty darn easy.  But it is VERY difficult. Many will perform it with the elbows out to the side, rather than the photo with straight arms. Straighter arms are what we’d like to see, to strengthen the correct muscles. For this exercise, you’ll need a yoga block or a book about 8-10 inches long. The longer the object is, the easier the no-grip hold will be.   All you need to do is hold the block behind you by pressing your palms into it.

Hold with no gripping for 10 to 20 seconds, 3 times.  If your elbows were out to the side: it’s those darn lats that we need to work with again. The latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle in our upper body, but our shoulders have gotten so tight that our lats no longer generate much force.   As a bonus, think of how your metabolism might rev up if it needs to power this big muscle more often. This will help you muster the strength for one more hold!

Exercise 5:  Simple wrist puzzle

What is the puzzle you ask? Getting the backs of your hands to touch in a reverse prayer shape in front of your chest. Try to replicate the shape I am making in image 8.  Although the goal is for the entire backs of the hands to touch, including your thumbs, it takes time to undo the tension and get to this point.  Play around with how close to your body and how far up or down you need your hands to be to make this work.  It may look like images 9 or 10 and that is ok. Do not worry about how much or how little is touching right now.

The practice alone is the work. Remember, we are looking for progress, not perfection. There are no hard and fast rules about how often to work with these exercises. If you find them challenging, then you need them! And if you are someone who has an attitude of “a little is good, a lot is better,” I urge you to please not overdo it. Change is slow. After 60 change is slower.  But it’s never too late. I have clients in their eighties who have reduced their neck tension and improved their posture as well. It takes patience, and sometimes six to nine months for real change. Then one day, you’ll be surprised to have a friend or colleague notice that you walk with more energy, or you look brighter and lighter as you get up from your chair. They may not realize that your head is no longer hanging forward and your neck isn’t in pain, but they will know something is different and that it looks and feels awesome on you.

Check out the video and follow along! https://vimeo.com/37811387