Health & Fitness

On Flow & Boogers

Are you the kind of person that sets goals or resolutions for the New Year?  What is your experience with that?  Do you enjoy the process?  Does it help you stay on track? 
 
My New Year’s resolutions were usually setted and forgetted by January 20th or so.  Then, two years ago, one of my friends gave me the book, “One Word That Will Change Your Life.”  Instead of setting multiple resolutions, the authors encourage you to essentially pick a theme word or short phrase, a guiding principle, for the year.  This word serves to give you clarity and focus, two experiences that are so hard to come by in our over-stimulated, over-busy lives.  One word is also easy to remember.  When my business coach asks me what my goals are for the year, I’m always like, “Erm.  Let me remember where I wrote them down, so I can re-read them, and then I’ll get back to you.”  Ask me what my Word is for 2022, and I can tell you in a flash.
 
FLOW
 
My word came to me clearly when I was sitting on the soft white sands of the Gulf, listening to the surf rhythmically pound the shoreline.  I was reading “Healing Ourselves” and was YET AGAIN reminded that in order to be healed and to help other people heal, you really just gotta feel those feelings.  Instead of laminating them over with a big suffocating brush of “I’ll get to you later when I have time,” you need to SLOW the f*#k down and notice those feelings and stay with them.  You have to let them flow instead of damming them up.
 
Flow also means letting go off resistance, letting go of clenching, letting go of not being at peace until everything is JUST the way I want it, releasing the need to be in control. You can’t ride the current of life if you have a death grip on the dock. 
 
Flow also means getting into that state where you lose track of time because you are SO engrossed in what you are doing.  It’s actually an altered state of consciousness!  It happens at this sweet spot where you are challenged *slightly* beyond your capabilities, but not so much so that you freeze.  This is where the magic happens. 
 
Flow also means opening up to your innate creative potential.  In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert describes how there is this undercurrent of creative ideas flowing through the ether.  An idea will jump out and grab you, and if you don’t bring it to life, it will abandon you and move on to a more willing subject.  I’m opening to that flow, letting go of the fear of “doing it wrong” and taking imperfect action on my ideas.
 
What word bring clarity and focus to your 2022?  Here are some questions that might help ignite your creative fire:

  1.  What do you need?
  2. What do you need to let go of?
  3. What do you want more of in your life?
  4. How do you want to feel?
  5. What makes you lose track of time?
  6. What gives you goosebumps (in a good way :P)?
  7. What do you secretly desire?

If you can manage it, I recommend finding a time and space where you can be alone.  Bring a pen and paper.  Get into a comfortable seat.  Watch your breath enter and leave your body for 5 breaths.  Notice the connection of your feet on the floor and your butt in your chair.  Settle your awareness in your chest (for me, if I think about moving my vision from my eyes to my area right behind my sternum, I can make that instruction to “settle awareness in your heart center” make sense.  :P).  Then ask yourselves these questions and be open to whatever comes up.  If you feel like sharing your word, I would love to hear it.  Text me at 319-360-9662, or email me at heather@spacetobehuman.life.
 
And here is a practice to help improve your PHYSICAL flow.  It’s that time of year where between colds, Omicron, allergies, excessive dryness, etc.  the nasal passages get all blocked, dry, and boogery.  But breathing through the nose is essential for our health (it improves immunity, promotes better blood flow, slows breathing, increases lung volume, improves the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide).*  So what to do??
 
BOOGER PRACTICE
This!  This is what to do:  Nose Unblocking Exercise.
 
*Source: Buteyko Instructor Training Manual.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Please respond to this email if you have any questions or comments, or book a session with me here if you would like some help to bring more balance and peace to your body, mind or spirit.
 
Newsletter signup
If you would like to sign up to get these posts sent to you directly, please click here

Health & Fitness, massage therapy, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Yoga

The Delightful, Dynamic, totally Dope Diaphragm

In last week’s post, I mentioned that the psoas shares attachments to the diaphragm, so I figured we might as well delve into the diaphragm next.  Please note my extensive use of alliteration within this post, as alliteration is amazingly awesome.

I should start by saying, in this post I will be discussing the RESPIRATORY diaphragm, as there are a few different diaphragms in the body.  The respiratory diaphragm, as the name implies, is related to respiration (aka breathing). It is your primary breathing muscle. Or at  least it should be.  For a variety of reasons we can end up constantly using accessory muscles like the neck and shoulder muscles for breathing. This can lead to chronic neck/shoulder tension, head-forward posture, and an amped up nervous system.  But I digress.  Man, this topic is hard to write about without octopusing off into a tangent!!

The diaphragm is a large, domed-shaped muscle that sits inside your ribcage – think of a parachute tucked up under your ribcage.  This muscle separates your heart/lungs from the rest of viscera (liver, stomach, intestines, etc.).  It forms a seal around your ribcage that enables the pressure changes that inflate and deflate the lungs with each breath.  At rest (meaning the muscle is not contracted), the diaphragm is in parachute mode – domed up inside the chest.  When you inhale, it actually flattens and moves DOWN, pulling air into the lungs, and pushing down on the viscera below.  If you want to understand this concept better, you can watch this video (and learn how to make a working lung/diaphragm model yourself!).

We take about 23,000 breaths a day.  With each breath, the diaphragm (which shares connections to the pericardium which contains the heart), massages the heart above it and the organs below it, keeping everything nice and mobile and moving stuff like blood and lymph through the body.  So you can see why I say the diaphragm is delightful, dynamic, and dope!  Such a helpful muscle!

But like any muscle, it can become dysfunctional due to misuse, disuse, overuse, and abuse (to borrow some language from Jill Miller). When this happens, your posture can be affected, breathing issues can arise (asthma, COPD), and your sympathetic nervous system (flight/flight/freeze) can become ramped up, causing anxiety and panic attacks.

But there is good news!!  Even though this muscle seems inaccessible, all tucked up under the bony cage of our ribs, it can actually be treated with manual therapy.  At the Center for Neurosomatic therapy, we learn how to work with the patient’s breath to get our thumbs up under the rib cage and treat this muscle.  And, yes, that is as uncomfortable as it sounds.  BUT, it is SUPER effective.  Each time I’ve done this treatment, the patient notices IMMEDIATE improvements in his/her breath.

If you don’t have access to a neurosomatic therapist’s thumbs, you can do some self care on your own diaphragm.  As with anything, Awareness is Step #1:

Take a moment, close your eyes, and see if you can tell where you feel your breath happening in your body……………………………………..

Done?  Ok.  Where did you feel it?  Did you feel it up in your neck?  Your shoulders?  Did you feel your ribs expand?  Did you feel your belly move at all?

If you feel all your breath up in your shoulders and neck, try focusing on pulling that breath down lower in the body.  You can use the Yoga Tune Up® Coregeous ball to help.  Check out the video here from one my Instagram Idols – the Movement Maestro.

I hope this helped you understand the darling, dependable, damn-brilliancy of the respiratory diaphragm.  Give it some love today – we think we have it rough if we have to work 50 hours a week. It works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Have a fabulous Sunday, and let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Hlo Out!