The air now filling your lungs is shared with everyone in the same room as you; with everyone who has ever been in the room you are in; and with everyone who has ever walked this planet. Breathing isn’t just a biological process; it enables us to communicate, to speak, to create music. It can have deep cultural and spiritual meaning. It can be a marker of both health and illness. Though it is essential to life most of us happily take easy breathing for granted. It tends to be only when we encounter difficulties with breathing or have conditions that are improved with good breath - such as anxiety, prolapse, hernia, constipation - that we start to pay attention.
I teach a six week block of classes that look at the anatomy of our breath. I use the Franklin Method approach and exercises and every session blows people away. These classes are amazing. I include my handouts of the six classes here. I leave out the pelvic floor at this stage as it gets introduced as the first topic in m...
There is nothing slippery about a disc. Discs are living adaptable force transducers that are firmly connected to the bones in your back and supported by really powerful ligaments. Diffs slip, soap slips, disc definitely don’t slip.
Discs have a bad reputation. We associate them with the ideas of slipping, bulging, herniating, protruding, extruding and degenerating. But we have twenty three of them in our spines- surely they don’t all do this? And even if they do bulge, protrude or extrude this does not always mean that we have pain as a result. In scans of 98 asymptomatic subjects 52 percent had a bulge at at least one level, 27 percent had a protrusion, and 1 percent had an extrusion. This lead the researchers to conclude that the discovery by MRI of bulges or protrusions in people with low back pain may frequently be coincidental.
Our discs are amazing structures. They act as joints between our vertebrae, they separate and connect the many b...
Hooray it is almost a new year! Like a newly made bed or a first page in a notebook the first of January is a fresh start. This year I’m going to be making simple resolutions that should be easy to stick to. They are small changes to my daily routine that should keep me healthy and happy into this brand new decade - and you are welcome to join me.
The first is to floss my teeth once a day. I know in a perfect world this would be twice a day but I need to keep it real. Flossing regularly is thought to protect heart health because of the link between periodontal disease and heart disease. One theory about why the two are linked is that bacteria from a mouth infection is thought to enter the bloodstream and then move its way to the heart and then be pumped to the rest of the body. Flossing is also good for our gums and if I am going to be invested in my health I need to include my whole body in that picture.
My next resolution is no screens after 9pm. I have an alarm on my phone that goes o...
Surely not everyone likes figgy pudding? I don’t even know what figgy pudding is. Whatever your thoughts - we all know that this is a time of year for families, for gift giving and for feasting. It is also a time when our clothes fit a little tighter and (because we live in a fat phobic culture) we tend to feel bad about this. But you know what. Most people lose their winter weight in spring or summer. So what is going on?
Oh. And I am not a nutritionist. it is beyond my remit to give nutrition advice. I’m just a reader and really curious. This blog is brimming with links to the papers that my points have come from. Please do click on them to read more.
So. Why do we put on weight over winter? There are many theories. The first one makes the most sense to me:
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Though we don’t always intentionally do scary things, to move forward in life sometimes, we just do. Through progressions and confidence ladders gymnasts and circus performers learn skills and come to do really physically scary things. They also have techniques and approaches to help them work through fears and blocks. I’ve started using some of the techniques that I used to use to overcome physical barriers to help me become braver in everyday life. Here are my favourites:
I am a great fan of mentally practicing the movement/ situation. This is safe place to work through all possible scenarios while at the same time activating the motor cortex in the brain and creating new neural paths for this mo...
Four big factors linked to good rehabilitation outcomes are motivation; an ability to engage with your rehab. Locus of control; feeling as if you have control over your healing. Self efficacy; the knowledge that you are a competent and capable person despite your limitations. And, self esteem; still having a high sense of self worth despite your injury.
This blog gives you eight mindset approaches to help boost each of these areas while you heal. If they are good enough for professional athletes and top business people then they are good enough for us.
The first area is Motivation. Your rehab is essential your recovery and the more motivated you are the better your outcomes will be. Here are two tips to get you actively participating in your recovery
Oh motivation you fickle little bitch. Motivation is a fairy-tale nymph - she dances in while we’re feeling emotionally vulnerable in Dick’s Sporting Goods and encourages us to purchase expensive healthy living equipment thinking: “This time will be different.” She buzzes around our heads while we’re committing to expensive yoga class packages but conveniently pulls an abrupt dip out when we’re silencing alarm clocks ten minutes before class.
Jessamyn Stanley has it so right. Motivation is not a good friend when starting back into an exercise routine. Motivation doesn’t even feature when we first start back. The meeting with an actual friend, the feeling that comes after exercise and the knowledge that we are doing good things for our health are our first spring-boards into starting up again. And, as summer winds down and the rout...
It’s summer time! Hooray. Longer and warmer days mean people are naturally more active and have more energy to move. This is great and this makes sense.
Athletes periodise their training which means they follow a yearly plan to ramp up and ramp down their training in order to be in the best condition at a target time. Our weather helps us do this in a slightly more intuitive way. Where a a basic macrocycle involves six steps we too can break up the year into phases.
According to Stacy Sims and Hannah Grant in their book Eat Race Win! In winter we put on up to 5kg, our total cholesterol rises by an average of 4% and a clever melatonin- hypothalamus interaction serves to make us feel hungrier, crave nutrient dense food increase our fat storage enzyme activity, and speed up our resting metabolic rate.
Simply put - we eat more and move less to preserve our energy for keeping us warm and to fight infection. From a movement perspective this time of year could be thought of as a preparation pha...
The problem that I have with fitness trackers is that they are outsourcing our intuition. Children move because they are driven to move. They walk along walls, spin around lamp posts and race just for the fun of it. As adults we let go of what we want to do and instead do what we should. We have stopped paying attention and are no longer connected to our bodies. We go to bootcamp and let people shout at us. We exercise to punish ourselves and even pay to have someone else punish us. We do workouts that a social media star has developed because we want to look just like her (even though she is childless and 20 somethi...
Congratulations. You just did an incredible thing. You gave birth to a human. Well done you! Right now you might be a little caught up in healing and bonding with your new family member but there may be a point in the future when you need a head’s up: This next year is going to be quite a ride for you in terms of body and identity change. Here are some tips that I would have appreciated when I was in the trenches of new motherhood.
“motherhood would make me feel whole and happy. I thought my instincts would naturally tell me what to do. I thought I'd always want to put the baby first." And, if this isn’t what actually happens you might be feeling a bit like a rubbish parent. I did. Sacks uses the term matrescence to explain this phase in our life. It is a term coined in 1973 by Dana Raphael, and like adolescence, matrescence is a time when our body is morphing, our hormones are shifting and we are...