How to be GUTSY!

I remember a late February night. It was one of those moments fraught with restlessness and anxiety. Sleep wouldn’t come and every awful imaginary future scenario played through my head. After trying and failing to catch even a little rest, I got out of bed and booted up my computer.

At the time, I was working at a job I absolutely loathed. Money was scarce and I couldn’t figure a way out. I had much to be grateful for in my life: love from my family and partner, a roof over my head, and potential to make a change. But the feeling of being directionless was shifting from an existential crisis to full blown depression. One saving grace at this time was my daily yoga practice. It was the glue holding my life together.

Two things I always wanted to do but didn’t, were travel and become a yoga teacher. In my mind, both seemed so out of reach. In my misspent youth, I worked low paying jobs and mismanaged the money I did have. I also suffered from anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. I failed and flailed over and over. The life of traveling and service through self-realization not only seemed out of reach, but suited for someone more worthy. I had a mindset of fear, scarcity, and lack.

So this restless February night, I booted up my computer and without even thinking about it, started searching for yoga teacher trainings. I happened upon an intensive training retreat in Costa Rica and something inside me lit up. It was seven months away, I’d never heard of the company or teacher, I had no savings, didn’t have a passport, and had never been out of the country. But in my heart and gut was a clear “YES”.  I took a deep breath, got out my wallet, registered, and put down a deposit that very night. Sleep still didn’t come, but I had shifted from anxiety to excitement. I didn’t know how I was going to pull it off, but in that moment, I felt more proud than scared. I moved from powerless to EMPOWERED.

That was one of the first moments of my adult life that I leaned into being GUTSY. I untethered myself from the fear of failing and truly listened to my heart, intuition, and deepest yearnings of my soul. It wasn’t easy, but from what I’ve found, most things worth doing sure as hell aren’t easy.

Since then, my life has been a series of gutsy moves and hard work. I am forever transformed. That initial traveling experience split me right open and I yearned for more. In my heart, I knew that being a world traveler and helping many, many people realize their own worth and potential through yoga was written upon my soul. And I’m doing it. I’m really doing it. AND YOU CAN TOO.

Whether it’s traveling, starting a new business, leaving a relationship, kicking an addiction, or having a baby, you can lean into being gutsy!

5 steps to becoming GUTSY:

1. Make Space.

It is so easy to get caught up in chitta vriti or the constant thoughts, memories, and images that can plague and overtake our minds. Mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, and even turning off the damn smart phone for a little while, help to clear mental space. Without the mental turbulence, you are better able to decipher your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

2. Listen and Feel.

Now that your mind is clearer, you can ask yourself, “What is truly right for me?” Listen and feel for the butterflies in your stomach and the flutter of your heart. The clear “yes” that isn’t clouded by limiting thoughts and beliefs. That is your soul, your higher-self revealing to you your dharma, your purpose.

3. Go for it!

It’s easy to put yourself in a box. “I could never do that.” YES YOU CAN. It’s like jumping off the high dive for the first time. You may have that initial moment of “oh shit” but then you freaking JUMP LIKE A BOSS! It’s scary, and thrilling, and that act alone kicks off the momentum you need to succeed.

4. Make a plan.

So this thing you’ve decided to do isn’t going to manifest itself! Take action and make a plan. Design your life from a place of mindfulness, of that clear yes, and with the belief that you have what it takes to pull it off. When you feel that familiar fear or limiting belief intruding, acknowledge it and then reject it. That no longer serves you and your mission.

5. Get Support.

You know what keeps you gutsy? Accountability. Share your plan with your most supportive loved ones and they will help lift you up every time the fear creeps back in. Everyone needs and deserves cheerleaders in their life and they will help lift you up to the next level. This “you” free of fear and limiting beliefs? That’s the “you” they’ve always known and loved.

It’s time. If not now, when? Seize the opportunity because you deserve it and you can. Being gutsy not only changes your life, but it changes the world! The world needs your passion, purpose, and potential. The world needs game changers and people willing to go outside their comfort zones. The world needs your limitless light that becomes more and more visible the closer you get to your purpose. What are you waiting for?

0

What are you reflecting?

“Breathing in, I see myself as still water. Breathing out, I reflect things as they truly are.”- Thich Nhat Hanh

For over half of my life, I’ve been learning how to deal with anxiety and depression. That, combined with an unhealthy dose of people-pleasing and perfectionism, has taught me a great deal and has spurred my search for mental, spiritual, and emotional peace.

Being a teacher, I’d love to say that I am cured. It’s all in the past and everything is great ALL THE TIME. Those of you who have human brains and live in this world know that’s probably bullshit and anyone who spouts that crap is lying or trying to sell you something. It is ALL a process and even if you practice with steadiness and fervor, life can be circular. You can be on top of the world, measured, equanimous, and powerful. The next day, being a person and all, you may find yourself on the floor, a crumpled and emotional mess.

I will say that my passion for yoga and mindfulness practices is real. When I am teaching or practicing, I feel connected and at peace. I am living my life’s mission and am proud of my work. Sharing the benefits of yoga with my community is often the most rewarding work I could imagine. At times, I feel like a strong, powerful Goddess who cannot, will not be stopped!

It usually goes like this: I feel so inspired to start a new project, whether its an outdoor yoga program, a nonprofit studio, a fundraiser, or a completely unique yoga class. I plan, I sweat, I share share share. The passion, and let’s be honest, anxiety, fuels me. The project comes to fruition and more often than not, it’s a success! People feel happy and connected. How amazing! While it’s happening, I’m on top of the world!

And then there’s this voice… I could have been better. I could have planned more, connected more, shown more gratitude, been more amazing!  This voice drowns out any compliments and praise and focuses on the critiques, self generated or not. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think wanting to improve is a bad thing and constructive criticism is vitally important for growth. But as yoga teaches us, it is all about balance and having these experiences without attaching.

I use my yoga practices to let it move through me and to move on. But sometimes, the spiral of depression, shame, and self-criticism sets in. That feeling of “not enough” bleeds into a belief that I’m dropping the ball at home, with friends, with family, my health, other aspects of my business, my body, etc. A veritable shitstorm of unhelpful thoughts take over. In a cartoon world, I’d be walking around with a tornado for a head labeled with the word “EGO”. In bold black lettering, of course.

In the past, this feeling from whatever source (school, dance, work, relationships) has frozen me in my tracks. Or made me give up. Now, I am blessed with a big yoga toolbox and plenty of support to “pull my head out of my ass” (one of  my dad’s favorite sayings) and move on!

Last Sunday, I hosted a Yoga in the Pool event that was a total blast! It was a totally new modality for me, but ended up being a really fun experiment in yoga, mindfulness, and water! We had an amazing group of brave students.

In preparation for the event, I pulled a couple helpful tools to tie into the class: a quote from the great BKS Iyengar, “The still waters of a lake reflect the beauty around it. When the mind is still, the beauty of the Self is reflected.”

I also utilized a meditation along the same vein from the wise monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. “Breathing in, I see myself as still water. Breathing out, I reflect things as they truly are.”

After the class, my dubious shame spiral set in. “It could have been better.” “Did people really have a good time?” “Am I an idiot and a total failure??” Unproductive, I know.

That day, I started using the Thich Nhat Hanh meditation, and found great wisdom in it. I imagined my negative thoughts as giant boulders dropping into the lake, creating great waves and distorting the reflection of the surrounding trees into something grotesque. Every kind thought or compliment a pebble completely insignificant in the wavy boulder storm. Through breath and repetition, I was able to see less and less boulders descending. Eventually, the water was placid. The reflection of the trees (or reality) a perfect mirror image. Each kind thought or compliment pebble creating ripples that expanded ever so slowly to every inch of the surface. The stillness gave me clarity that my perception has been distorted. That the reality is that everything is potential and that I am limitless.

The only thing in my way is me.

 

0

30 Day Challenge: Update #1

snowgaHello Everyone! I’m on day 6 of my 30 Day Challenge and good news, I’m still alive! In an effort of satya (commitment to truthfulness), I’ll give you an honest run-down of how things have gone so far by sharing excerpts from my personal journal. Each is followed by my thoughts on various sutras studied each day:

Day One:

It’s my first morning of my 30 days of getting up early and establishing a morning routine, among other goals I’ve set for the next 30 days. I got up at 5:30, did my morning practice, meditated for 20 minutes, put on the tea, and now I’m doing this… Observations thus far: It wasn’t too difficult waking up, probably because I hyped myself up about it. We’ll see how the other days go. I felt like the Tinman on my mat this morning. I don’t know if it’s because I’m sore from last night’s practice or if it’s just a morning thing, but I’m interested to see how/if that changes. Meditation was difficult since I was sleepy. Even though I repeated mantra, I still had some major background vritti (chatter) going on. I also checked the time… twice. On a positive note, I’m happy to be alive and awake and I’m excited to see how this experience goes. On a funny note, I just brewed my Sleepy Time tea instead of my chai.. I hate to waste it, but valerian is about the last thing I need right now.

Yoga Sutra 1.12- Vritti (the whirling of the mind, racing thoughts) can be controlled through practice and non-attachment. Lightbulb moment: We aren’t meant to destroy Vritti but to restrain/yoke it. Practice without non-attachment leads to an inflated ego. Non-attachment without practice can  lead to apathy. Apathy= faux non-attachment.

Day Two:

It’s the last day of February, my least favorite month of the year. I think I’ve handled it pretty well this year. Getting up early today wasn’t so easy, but I did it and taught a 6am yoga class, then did my own practice followed by meditation. It’s so much harder to move and stretch in the morning than it is in the afternoon/evening, but I know it’s good for me and hopefully I’ll get used to it. Meditation is also difficult, but hopefully that will get easier as well. 

Yoga Sutra 1.13- Practice is effort toward steadiness of the mind. This refers to constant mindfulness, not only in asana, meditation, etc, but in the rest of life. It all becomes yoga.

Day Three:

My heart and mind are ready for Spring… renewal, rebirth, I’m there! I actually had very little difficulty getting up this morning, probably because I got to sleep at a decent hour (10:30) last night. Look at me, feeling good on 7 hours sleep! 🙂 Morning practice is… humbling. My body feels so different early in the morning. Anything that’s stiff feels about 5x stiffer. My balance is way different and overall, I just can’t go as deep. It’s not quite as fun to me, but it’s more important to be practicing with devotion and frequency than it is to just have fun. I think I need to do a later practice when I can as well, even if it’s just workshopping a pose, just to keep the motivation burning bright. Morning meditation is only 20 minutes, but I’ve been feeling uncomfortable sitting, so I took half the time in Savasana. My mind has been totally wandering even though I’m chanting mantra at the same time. I”m trying not to become attached to the outcome and be thankful that I’m observing this new morning ritual. Taking the time in stillness and silence is very healthy and I’m glad to be doing it.

Yoga Sutra 1.16- The advanced yoga practitioner practices non-attachment in a way that they have no earthly cravings. They do not need to re-direct their thoughts or tell the mind “no.” It is free. Can you imagine having no earthly cravings or desires… I’m going to have to do a LOT more meditation to get there.

Day Four:

I’m definitely feeling tired in the body. I did a very gentle, mindful practice this morning. When my body is worn out, my asana practice suffers, so it’s important to honor that and not push too hard when I’m feeling this way. My ego wants a kick-butt practice with a million chaturangas everyday, but I think the most compassionate/smart thing I can do it go easy on myself and enjoy this opportunity for rest. I chose a yoga nidra practice for meditation today, which was very nice… the space between sleep and dreams. I must say, I feel very relaxed.

Yoga Sutra 1.26- Ishwara is the guru’s guru. The realized self, free from ego is Purusha, which resides in all beings. Ishwara, or God, is an externalized Purusha. 

Day Five:

My practice this morning is much richer than it has been lately, so I’m really glad I took it easy yesterday. I’m still finding meditation pretty tough. I think I’ll do guided ones for the next couple of days and see how that goes. 

Yoga Sutra 1.27- Om is the sound of Ishwara. It is the sound of creation, evolution, and dissolution. It is found in Meditation and in Nature.

Summarizing what I’ve learned thus far:

1. Getting up early is hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be.

2. My productivity and focus have already shown a tremendous increase. This is due to tapas, the yogic observance of using energy in a disciplined way. this also means to heat and cleanse the body.

3. To show myself kindness and compassion. To honor my body, mind, and spirit and to fulfill their needs appropriately. This reflects the yogic moral called ahimsa which means doing no harm. We extend loving compassion to all other beings including ourselves.

4. Abstaining from alcohol is awesome! This is my way of observing sauca, or purity. My body and mind are focused and unclouded by substance. It’s also my way of observing santosa or contentment. I don’t need a glass of wine to relax or fall asleep. Everything I need is inside me.

My extra challenges for the next 5 days:

1. No TV. My husband and habitually zone out in front of the tube at night. We love to watch all the great shows on Netflix and HBOgo, and that’s ok, but I want to try tuning out and finding other ways to connect and wind down . He’s committed to doing this with me. I’m excited for a TV fast!

2. Add in a nightly meditation. Obviously, I’m having some issues with meditation right now, so I’m upping my commitment to see if that helps.

That’s all for now. I’ll update in 5 days to let you know how it all goes!

0

My 30 Day Challenge (Before Turning the Big 3-0)

Bye Bye, Beerasana!

Bye Bye, Beerasana!

I’m excited to say hello to the next decade of my life and goodbye to my messy, fun, and somewhat rootless 20’s. Many people seem to lament each passing year, but deep down inside, I am so stoked to be a real freakin’ lady. My 20’s were a great time to experiment, make mistakes, and figure out who I am. I feel like that picture has become clearer in the last couple of years and now that I see some direction and am laying down some roots, I feel I can start blossoming into my full potential. 30, here I come! 40, 50, and beyond… I’ll deal with you later!

I’ve seen a lot of people make “30 before 30” lists and I’ve been thinking about doing something similar to celebrate the milestone. I began listing things in my head that I haven’t yet done and must try while I still have my youth to blame. I haven’t ever surfed, or skydived, or been to India… but will any of those activities be any less worthy, thrilling, or joyous just because my age starts with a 3 instead of a 2? Highly doubtful.

So instead of endeavoring through a list of extreme activities, I’m taking this whole thing in the opposite direction. I want to start the next decade of my life more disciplined, happier, healthier, stronger, more grounded, more spiritual, and more compassionately open-hearted than ever. So I am challenging myself, starting tomorrow, to make the following commitments for the next 30 days leading up to my birthday, in order to step into my 30’s ready to kick some major asana.

For the next 30 days I will:

  1. Start a morning routine. This includes getting up at 5:30 am (gasp), writing 3 pages, doing my morning yoga practice, meditating for 20 minutes, and drinking some yummy and caffeinated tea. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE to sleep. I also LOVE to sleep in. But I know that early morning is such a great time to be in peace and to set a healthy foundation for the day. As the great Hedwig said, “To be free, one must give up a little part of themselves.” Well, I hope this makes me very, very free!
  2. Give up alcohol. I feel like I drink too often in the winter. I feel pent-up, and sometimes bored, and use it as a way to relax. I don’t feel like it’s a problem or abnormal, but I want to enter my 30’s sexy and sharp. Alcohol dulls the mind and ain’t nobody got time for that! According to yogic philosophy, one source of right knowledge is direct perception. When we dull our senses, we cease to directly experience the true nature of our reality, which leads to ignorance. The goal of yoga is to gain control over our minds, dissolving ignorance and identifying with our true, spiritual nature. This doesn’t mean I’m abstaining forever, but I’m hoping it makes me more mindful and selective when I do imbibe.
  3. Study the Yoga Sutras. I started the Bhakti Book Club with a fellow Kansas City yoga teacher and we’ll be discussing Pada One and Pada Two of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras at our March Meet-up. This is probably the most important text in yoga and I’m excited to really spend the time contemplating it and discussing it with other interested yogis. I’ll be spending a little time each day to delve in deeply.
  4. Take on a few 5 day challenges. This one is still a little loose in my mind, but I have a few ideas. The first 5 days will be devoted to getting used to the shiny new early mornings, but after that I’ll be devoting the following 5 day blocks to extra challenges. Some ideas are purging and donating many of my things, writing letters to loved ones, giving up television, and refraining from looking in the mirror and stepping on a scale.
  5. Truthfully report how this all goes. I’ll commit to posting every 5 days to keep you updated on how this is all going and I promise to follow the yama of satya, or truthfulness. It will be much more entertaining that way, anyway! I’ll also touch on the 8 limbs of yoga, especially the Yamas and Niyamas (ethical guidelines of yoga) and how this challenge reflects my desire to live within those parameters. I want to pass on these gifts to my own students, so its important for me to embody them myself.

That should cover it! I’ll wrap this up with a lovely and quite appropriate quote by Caroline Adams:

“Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”

I wish you love and luck on your own sacred journey and hope you find some inspiration from mine.

Namaste

0

On Being a Good Yoga Teacher

Being a Good Yoga TeacherBeing a good yoga teacher requires a harnessing of a variety of important skills. First, one must be knowledgeable about the history and philosophy of yoga, as well as anatomy and the asanas themselves. The teacher must also have a sharp understanding of sequencing. Next, the teacher must have a firm grasp on communication and languaging. The teacher must also set a welcoming atmosphere and be gracious and socially attentive while setting important boundaries with students. A keen intuition is also important as well as a desire for safety. Lastly, a teacher should never stop learning, deepening their self-practice everyday.

A good teacher has taken the time to study yoga from as many angles as possible and should incorporate their wisdom into each class.  Having a deep respect for the history and philosophy of yoga will allow a teacher to provide context to their teachings. We are not practicing as merely a physical exercise, but are respectfully carrying on an ancient tradition that effects people’s lives on and off the mat. Having at least a basic knowledge of the physical and energetic bodies allows the teacher to come up with intelligent sequencing, transitions, and safety that will be more deeply satisfying to a student than most traditional exercises. This also allows the teacher to intelligently cue each pose, helping the students reach optimal alignment. In teaching, as in life, knowledge is power and it is our duty to pass this on to our students.

Understanding how to sequence a class is extremely important, especially in forms of yoga that require creativity, such as Vinyasa Flow. The teacher should first assess the level of the class before sequencing or be able to adjust the level according to the students. A teacher can either sequence a class in a general way, exercising all parts of the body, or in a thematic way, working towards a peak pose or flow. Both require attentiveness to a bell-curve: starting slowly/gently, becoming more vigorous toward the middle, and then lowering the heart-rate as you finish. In general, the class should start with centering/breathing exercises, followed by a warm-up that moves and rotates all major joints. This is followed by a series of flows that start low and become more vigorous as the practice proceeds, perhaps leading to a peak pose. This is followed by inversions and back-bends, counter-posing after the entire sequence is finished. This is then followed by a cool-down and eventually savasana and Om/Namaste. During the class, the teacher should offer modifications and variations to suit the various levels of students and also offer intelligent adjustments and assists, carefully giving attention to all students.

A good teacher has a firm grasp on communication and languaging. A clear, projected voice that is slow and clear with simple wording will help students keep pace with the class. Varying the language by not repeating phrases such as “coming into downward facing dog” or “breathe in, breathe out”, will help students stay interested in the class and will allow time for more intelligent cues. A good teacher should speak in commands, but never make it about themselves or referring to “we” or “I”. A good teacher should avoid the following words and phrases: slang, such as “gonna” or “wanna”, filler words, such as “now”, “just”, “so”, “really”, and “then” , “push”, “drop”, “don’t”, “you’re”, “please”, “thank you”, and “sorry”. A yoga teacher should also avoid sounding like an aerobics instructor, taking a more formal and elegant approach since it is a spiritual practice. A good teacher should also use both demonstration and language to cue the breath through each pose and flow. Lastly, the teacher’s tone of voice should set the mood for the class and should also follow the sequencing bell-curve, motivating the students to come along energetically in their practice.

A good teacher also presents themselves professionally and sets a welcoming mood while being gracious and socially attentive. Dressing professionally in such a way that covers the body, but covers it snugly is important. Excessive jewelry and hair in the face does not send the right message. The teacher should be totally present and with the class the entire time as well. The teacher should be warm, learning their students’ names and finding out each of their student’s specific needs, greeting and saying good-bye to each if possible. A teacher should present an open, positive mood and demonstrate equanimity to all students. The teacher should be welcoming and attentive to all newcomers, making sure they feel comfortable and positioned correctly in the room. The yoga space should be pleasant, clean, and calming with nice lighting, smells, and temperature. This should be a sacred space to both teacher and student.

A good teacher should stress safety. They must communicate effective alignment and transition cues to the students and make sure not to push anyone past their edge. If offering assists, the teacher should never go quickly and should stay totally focused on the student the entire time. The teacher should also make sure the student has the props they need and should make adjustments when spotting dangerous alignment. The teacher should also verbally cue specific safety instruction such as “Never move the head in Plow.”

Lastly, a good teacher must be devoted to their self-yoga and meditation practice, continue their personal studies, and stay current on the latest developments in safety and longevity in practice. The thirst to go deeper into yoga and to always learn will always be reflected to your students. It is an honor and privilege to pass this science to others and we must fully be present and engaged to do so. Harnessing this multitude of skills while continuing to grow, is the path to hopefully becoming a great teacher.

Written by: Lauren Leduc

0

The Myofascial System

FasciaThe myofascial system, which looks like a tight mesh spider suit that covers the entire body, is a pervasive tissue system in the body composed of collagen and elastin fibers that support and provide elasticity for the entire musculoskeletal system. It is fibrous and strong, yet quite thin. It envelopes and isolates the muscles and organs of the body, and provides the foundation for bone, cartilage, and important components of the circulatory and lymphatic systems. It also remarkably records all physical, emotional, mental, and cognitive activity. Because sensory nerves are found throughout the fascial planes and are stimulated in yoga and massage, this can evoke emotional and energetic release.

The myofascial system is comprised of three layers: superficial, deep, and subserous. The top layer, or superficial layer, may be mixed with varying amounts of fat and connects the skin to the tissue and bone underneath. It is strong, yet flexible, allowing the skin to be deeply anchored, yet elastic. The next layer, the deep fascia layer, is much stronger and more densely packed. It covers the muscles in connective tissue aggregations which help to keep the muscles divided and protected. The last layer, or subserous layer, is the deepest and lies between the deep layer and the major organs of the body. It is more flexible than deep fascia, and the body leaves space around it so that the organs can move freely.

The myofascial system has many unique qualities that make it truly dynamic. The fascia is surrounded by a gel-like bath called ground substance. It has the unique ability to go from gel to liquid form in response to pressure, heat, or stretch. This can mean the difference of you feeling free and mobile or stiff and rigid like concrete. Ground substance can absorb forces when the body moves, or act as a shock absorber when it is in a gelatinous state when it is healthy. When it changes from a liquid to a gel then to a more solid form, the myofascia tightens and it won’t reverse without outside intervention such as massage or other bodywork. Fascia also contains fibroblasts, specialized cells that give it the ability to grow more fascia. These often work overtime along stress lines in the body as a form of reinforcement and protection.

In addition, the fascial tissue also contains smooth muscle cells and proprioceptors, sensory receptors that detect motion or position of the body, embedded within its cellular matrix. This means that fascia can sense stretch and positional change and then contract or relax in response to it, much like muscle. In fact, facial tissue contains nine times as many mechanoreceptors, sensory end organs that respond to mechanical stimuli, than muscle tissue.

There are two main types of fascial proprioceptors: Ruffini and Pacini endings. Ruffini endings decrease muscle tone and inhibit sympathetic nervous system activity in response to stretch or direct pressure.  Pacini endings tense the muscles in response to pressure or vibration, providing joint stability throughout the body.

Unfortunately, the features that make the myofascial system so dynamic, also can lead to deformity, causing bodily pain over time. Fascial tissue exposed to excessive stress and strain can become dense and knotted, due to the responses of its ground substance and fibroblasts. The areas of increased tension are called adhesions, which form around nerves and causing muscles to lose independent movement, fatiguing the synergist muscles.

Trigger points can also be formed in the myofascia and muscles. Trigger points, a common cause of musculoskeletal pain, are extremely sore and tender spots that feel like a taught band in the muscle. They form in areas that have been under heavy stress, and therefore constantly contract, limiting the flow of blood and nutrients and removal of waste, irritating the area even further. This sends pain signals to the brain, ordering the muscle to rest, which shortens and tightens the muscle, sending the body into a vicious cycle of pain.

To ensure a healthy myofascial system, drinking plenty of water, strength training, stress reduction and treatments such as massage, acupuncture, and yoga are highly recommended. Both massage and yoga stimulate the nerves and mobilize fluids within the myofascial and organ planes. This propels toxins to the one-way valve system, sending them to the lymph nodes and organs that facilitate their removal.

Massage can facilitate myofascial release, a technique where gentle, sustained pressure is used on the soft tissue while traction is applied to the fascia. This results in the softening and lengthening of the fascia and breaking down of scar tissue and adhesions between skin, muscle, and bones. Although the assistance of a professional massage therapist or body worker is recommended, one can work on myofascial release through self-massage. This can be done with the aid of a foam roller, pain ball, or “the stick”, a twenty-four inch flexible plastic baton outfitted with a series of rollers that can access hard-to-reach places.

Lastly, finding ways to relax will help ensure a healthy myofascial system. Yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature will help ease tension in the body, preventing adhesions and trigger points from forming.

Written By: Lauren Leduc

0