Health & Fitness, Paleo

On Better Butts & Hot Flashes

Talkin’ ain’t doin’

Man, what a gorgeous Sunday.  We spent the day yesterday doing yard work – cleaning dead bugs out of the lamp by the front door, getting the trees out of the eavestroughs, cutting out all the hostas that got murdered by the frost, raking leaves, etc.  While I got sore and tired pretty quickly, my stamina was better than it was last autumn, and I am less incapacitated today.  WHY?
 
Because I started strength training.
 
Putting on slabs of muscle is just, SO SO critical for our health, wellbeing, and longevity.  Here is a laundry list of some of the benefits:

  • The psychological benefits are what I find most interesting (and probably least talked about), so let’s start there:
    • Lifting weights is empowering.
    • It increases confidence.
    • It can boost mood (when you strength train, your body produces anti-depression chemicals).
    • It encourages us to TAKE UP SPACE.
    • It shows us WE ARE CAPABLE.
  • And now for the physical benefits:
    • It can reduce your risk of experiencing osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, and injury.
    • It can improve metabolism.
    • Muscle is anti-inflammatory (unlike fat which is pro-inflammatory).
    • Muscle can REDUCE MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS like hot flashes!
    • It can decrease your risk of falls by helping you move quickly and react to falls.
    • It gives you a better butt. 🙂 

Source:  Menopocalypse by Amanda Thebe and https://drgabriellelyon.com/muscle-centric-medicine/
 
So, I know all this stuff.  I’ve probably consumed a jillion podcasts and books on the subject, but in the immortal words of Zoe from Serenity, “Talkin’ ain’t doin’.”  There is such SUCH a large gap between knowing what needs to be done and doing it. 
 
So, what to do in that situation??  Get some help!
 
So that’s what I did.  I contacted Sarah Strange at Basis Health & Performance, who I discovered via Robb Wolf’s Healthy Rebellion community.  Sarah and I met for 2 hours over Zoom and she did a full assessment on the range of motion (ROM) for each of my major joints.  She then compiled a summary doc that listed where I had “opportunities” to improve my ROM, and she provided links to several videos/exercises that could help.  I wanted even more help though.  Basically I just wanted her to tell me what to do.
 
So I joined their Train Heroic platform, and now Sarah loads daily workouts for me.  I open the app, and the workouts are all listed there, with videos and notes showing me how to do the movements.  She tailored the workouts so I can do them with the equipment I have at home (some dumbbells, a bench, yoga blocks, etc.).  The workouts consist of Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) joint mobilizations for the targeted area (e.g. shoulders), a series of  strength/power training movements, and then FRC exercises called PAILS and RAILS that help you build up strength in the joint in a variety of positions.
 
I work out for 45-60 minutes 4 days a week at 5:30 AM now, and my mood, stamina, and self-concept have all improved in just 3 weeks of training.  I have a better relationship with my body and I just feel more capable.

If you are interested in learning more about strength training, here are a few resources for you:

If you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, you could check out this 10-minute video.  In 10 minutes, without using any weights, you can start to build some strength.  If you are interested in working with a local coach, I have a few people I can connect you with.
 
Well, that got longer than I intended, but hopefully it helped you understand why putting on some muscle mass could save your life, and it gave you some ideas about how to take action on that knowledge.
 
And remember, if you want guidance with finding more freedom in your body and mind, I’m here for you.
 
Have a great Thanksgiving week!!

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

On The Importance of Opposites

I recently started a 5-month certification program, called Yoga for The Mind. I’m doing the course with my teacher, Dr. Betsy Rippentrop (Heartland Yoga Studio in Iowa City, Iowa), so I can learn how to use yoga to improve mental health.

The class is ALL about the importance of the mind/body connection. And the more I learn about this topic, the more frustrated I am by the term “mind/body connection” because THERE IS NO SEPARATION BETWEEN THE MIND AND BODY. They are the SAME thing. It’s like talking about the “connection” of the front and back side of a coin.

But, while they are ONE, they are also DUAL. Much like how we as humans are Me but also We.

And so this concept of balance, tension of opposites, grounding down and lengthening up keeps coming up.

In Thursday’s class we talked about the Masculine and Feminine sides of the body. Energetically, the right side of the body is more masculine – more focused on doing, being disciplined, achieving, other-soothing (so interesting!!). The left side of the body is more feminine – more receptive, nurturing, trusting, self-soothing.

It’s interesting to note, “What side of the body do I have more issues?”

In neurosomatic therapy, we often observe that people have more injuries, more pain, more tension on one side versus the other. One explanation could be that one side of the body is longer than the other (a lower limb length inequality), resulting in a sacrum that’s tilted, which can cause imbalances in muscles, fascia, nerves. Another explanation could be the existence of a pelvic obliquity, where one ilium (hip bone) is flared in while the other is flared out – again causing imbalances in the form of a spiral that travels all throughout the body, often leading to one-sided pain.

But (or maybe AND), could another explanation be, that there is an imbalance in energies in the body – one side is more dominant, and we need to focus awareness on developing qualities of the opposite side?

Whether we are talking about structure (bones/tissue/fluids) or subtle energies, the solution seems to be the same – WORK WITH THE OPPOSITES.

If one side of your torso is compressed – stretch it! If you always turn your head to the left to look at your left monitor, put your email on your right monitor, so you start looking to the right more! If you are always going, going, doing, doing, thinking, thinking. TAKE A BREAK. Get out of your Head and into your Body. Spend some time doing restorative yoga. Use the urge to grab your phone and look at Facebook as a reminder to settle your energy into your pelvis and take some smooth, slow, breaths.

Many of us were raised in a culture that values Action, Achievement, Hard Work (it’s the American Way!), so we really need to work on instilling the more feminine qualities of intuition, cooperation, sensuality. Interesting side note – it is WAY more common with my clients to have more pain on the right side of their bodies!

One of my favorite yoga poses to offset the Drive of Daily Life is Constructive Rest. I guide you through the practice here. Please remember to Check In with your heart, mind, body before and after the practice, so you can prove to your Ego that it was time well spent. 🙂

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

Why do YOU need Space to Be Human?

I created Space to Be Human to provide people with bodywork, meditation, and mindful movement tools as a pathway to rediscover space for positive change.

Why would I need this form of therapy?

  • You want to feel better in your body.
  • You have nagging pain that won’t go away no matter what you do.
  • You want to learn self-care tools to address “issues in the tissues.”

What should I expect in a session?

  • We will chat about about your story, symptoms, and patterns.
  • Heather will do a postural assessment to identify areas of the body that may be constricted and use that info + your story + your symptoms to design a treatment plan that will help you reach your goals.
  • The treatment plan will address disregulation in your nervous system, muscles, and organs via manual therapy, breathwork, and movement.