Stress Better: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Nadi Shodhana pranayama or alternate nostril breathing is a breathing yoga practice that uses balancing the breath on the left and right sides of the body to create focus of the mind, relax the body and calm the autonomic nervous system. “Nadi” is a Sanskrit word meaning “channel” or “flow” relating to the energy channels in the subtle body and Shodhana means “to purify”. This breathing practice can be performed anywhere and anytime with no contraindications. The main benefits of the practice of alternate nostril breathing include infusing the body with oxygen, supporting clear and balanced respiratory channels, clearing and releasing toxins (don’t be surprised if your nose is runny after performing this), reducing stress and anxiety, calming and rejuvenating the nervous system, improving mental clarity, enhancing the ability to concentrate, and bringing balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain

Yoga for Neck and Back Pain

With neck and low back pain, often the part of the body that is the stiffest is the rib cage and middle back. The neck and back hurt mostly because they are over-used due to the in between part of the body not moving enough. This video will instruct you on exercises in sitting and laying down to help increase the mobility or range of movement of the rib cage and thoracic spine (middle back) to help ease pain, tension and tightness in the neck and low back.


Thanks for watching and please remember to Like and Subscribe!

August 2019 Newsletter - SETTING UP A HOME YOGA PRACTICE

SETTING UP A HOME YOGA PRACTICE

Objectives for a home yoga practice:
  1. Strength
  2. Flexibility/Mobility
  3. Balance
  4. Mindfulness/mental exercise
  5. Relaxation
Equipment
  1. Mat - A mat is really the only piece of “exercise” equipment you need to start a yoga practice at home. Its purpose is to stop you from slipping and sliding on the floor and to allow you some cushioning and support. Yoga mats vary in size, weight, material and quality and if you are just starting the HABIT of yoga at home, any mat will do. As you refine your practice of yoga, you might find you want more cushioning, more traction or a specific design of mat. The important part to is to BEGIN and start the habit, then invest the money into a nice mat as a reward to your new habit once you have been successful for 21 days!
  2. Clothing - Movement requires comfortable, flexible clothing that lets you move freely. Avoid tight or compressive clothing. I often practice yoga in pajamas since they “fit the bill” of letting me move freely. There is no need to spend a lot of money on clothing to begin, but you might find that you like certain things about your clothing as you move further into your practice. Then you can invest in what you want.
  3. The motto “no shoes, no service” will never be seen in a yoga studio and should never be considered at home. One of the benefits of practicing yoga is that you are barefoot and you get the opportunity to strengthen the tiny muscles of your feet, called the intrinsics, while at the same time improving the flexibility to your ankles. If you have particular foot deformities or pain in your feet when you are barefoot, consult your physical therapist for advice.
Frequency
Learning something new takes practice DAILY, even if for just 5-10 minutes. The real trick is to get that daily practice done for 21 days to make it a habit. The idea of 21 days to make a habit goes all the way back to the 1950’s with Dr. Maxwell Maltz. The concept has been researched significantly over the years and 21 days is in fact the time period to make a new habit “stick”. From the learning perspective, what the research shows is that it takes doing something daily for 21 days to get through the three phases of learning - cognitive, associative and automatic. If you are interested in more on habits and how creating a routine is the key to success, check out a great book called The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do by Dr. Charles Duhigg. A great American Entrepreneur, Jim Rohn states “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.”
Consistency
It is consistency, not intensity (how hard) or duration (how long at one time) that is key to your success with any exercise! Practicing yoga takes time to identify areas of tension that need stretching and areas that need strengthening. It will help you find the greatest balance in your muscles/joints and to begin to find peace of mind through greater concentration. Concentration can be discovered in any exercise, but it is the key focus in yoga. It allows you to tap into your nervous system, get a relaxation response and fight stress!
What if I don’t know how to do yoga?
HEAL Wellness & Therapy, LLC can really help! Check out our YouTube channel to find many different videos to help you begin a home yoga practice.
HEAL Wellness and Therapy - YouTube

Introduction to HEAL Wellness and Therapy, LLC - What the company is and what services are provided in the Health & Wellness arena.
If you want to experience a class in person, get great ideas, or just get that motivation to try yoga, join me any Tuesday or Thursday @ 10am at Dance Theatre of Greenville for a Therapeutic Yoga class. 

Please connect, follow and have a conversation with us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook - search HEAL Wellness and Therapy!

YouTube
Facebook
Instagram
Latest Videos on Youtube



Yoga for the Psoas Hip Muscle


Yoga for the Piriformis Hip Muscle

Namaste,

Trudy Messer

Founder, HEAL Wellness and Therapy, LLC

Yoga for the Piriformis Hip Muscle

The Piriformis muscle is a muscle in the buttock region that is very prone to problems because it has the ability to be tight and tense when the hip is straight (think standing or sleeping) OR bent (think sitting or sleeping) - it is the ONLY muscle in the region that has this feature. Because of this, individuals have issues with this muscle if they sleep, sit, and/or stand improperly and it is so special it often gets the diagnosis of “Piriformis Syndrome”. This is a problem when tension and tightness places compression or irritation on the sciatic nerve and causes symptoms in the leg. This video will teach you different exercises to lengthen and reduce the tension in this often dysfunctional muscle.

July 2019 Newsletter - WHY YOGA?

WHY YOGA?

Why not another fitness routine or sport to aid health?
Are you a young adult striving to change your fitness level or lose weight? Perhaps you are an aging adult trying to stay healthy or reduce the effects of age. The research is clear: Yoga is one of the few movement activities (Tai Chi and Qigong are the others) that combines strength AND flexibility and can be performed regardless of age. 

Yoga “dynamically” stretches the body, strengthens muscles and stabilizes joints to reduce the risk of injury - truly doing “triple-duty" for your physical body and health. In addition, yoga also has positive effects on the health of the mind.

A research review
1 informs us that “static” stretching - meaning putting tension into your body and holding it for a period of time without movement - actually reduces performance in strength by about 30%. It also decreases speed and power of an activity, and does NOT reduce the risk of injury. Meanwhile, a research article by Iwata and fellow researchers2, tells us that “dynamic” stretching (yoga falls into this category) has long term effects on avoiding muscle injuries, increasing joint flexibility and optimizing performance of sport and life.

Yoga is considered a “functional” exercise. This means that it trains the muscles of the body to work together to prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements one might do at home, at work or in sport. It combines usage of strengthening muscles of the upper and lower body together and emphasizes stability of the trunk, while at the same time balancing the body and creating flexibility in other muscles. One could say that running or doing weight lifting definitely falls into the category of functional exercise. However, both put specific tensions into the body and do not involve flexibility to balance those tensions. Therefore are they as efficient as yoga in keeping the health of our body? 

Yoga is very different than traditional stretching. Yoga increases body awareness while also using movement patterns that are very different than the poor habitual postures we use in daily life. Examples include inefficient sitting and standing. Yoga uses different directions (multi-planar) and multi-joint movements to enhance “neurogenesis” or the growth and development of your nervous system. Our nervous system is definitely KEY to the overall wellness of our bodies since it is the guiding system to all of our function! 

This month, HEAL’s newsletter includes links to some videos to help you learn how to use yoga to balance the flexibility and strength of your body. This video below is a great place to begin! A gentle and easy class to begin your morning to get those muscles moving, flexible and strong for all that the day has to offer you!
1 Kovacs M, The Argument Against Static Stretching Before Sport and Physical Activity. Human Kinetics. Athletic Therapy Today (2016) 11(3), 6-8.

Iwato M, Yamamoto A et al., Dynamic Stretching Has Sustained Effects on Range of Motion and Passive Stiffness of the Hamstring Muscles. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 13-20.
This video is a great way to start your day! A therapeutic yoga class with a guided breathing exercise to get your spine moving and wake up your diaphragm, a modified Sun Salutation starting in kneeling to focus on control of the hamstrings and trunk without the worry of balance in standing, gentle hip opening and ending with a guided loving kindness meditation.
Flexibility Muscle - HAMSTRINGS!

 The hamstrings are definitely one of the muscle groups of the lower body that contributes to discomfort and injury related to the low back area. This video will help you understand how to use yoga to create flexibility AND strength in your hamstrings to balance your body and protect your low back from injury.

The hamstrings muscles, located on the back of your thighs, are often the chief culprit to low back pain. This is caused when they are too tight or if they are too activated or turned on. This therapeutic yoga video will help you learn not only efficient ways to lengthen your hamstrings but also movements to stop over-using the hamstrings when you shouldn’t be using them in the first place!

 Strengthening - The CORE!

Core

 Finally, the best way to strengthen our body is to begin at the “core”, the center of the trunk. Think of an apple and how the “core” of the apple is the center and strongest component of the fruit. Just like an apple, our body has a “core” that is often not only weak but disconnected to the nervous system and therefore unable to know how and when it should work. To improve the “neurogenesis” of the “core”, watch this video…and maybe take a quick moment to have a laugh!

The concept of the CORE is very confusing and often incorrectly described as just the abdominals. This therapeutic yoga class will allow you to not only learn what constitutes the “core” but also how to get these muscles to efficiently fire up to be used and then strengthen them. Included in this video is a short laughter yoga session and a guided meditation to help further understand the concepts of the “core”.

Please connect, follow and have a conversation with us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook - search HEAL Wellness and Therapy!

YouTube
Facebook
Instagram

Take care, I care,

Trudy Messer

Founder, HEAL Wellness and Therapy, LLC

Yoga for the Psoas Hip Muscle

One of the key muscles of the hip that moves are back, pelvis and hip and stabilizes our spine is the PSOAS muscle. This muscle is often very short and tight, especially with individuals that are very active but do not perform any sort of flexibility exercises or for those that suffer from back pain due to sitting too long from work or leisure. This video will help you understand why the psoas needs efficient length and offer you various yoga/flexibility options to achieve that.

Thanks for watching and please remember to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!

Yoga for the CORE

The concept of the CORE is very confusing and often incorrectly described as just the abdominals. This therapeutic yoga class will allow you to not only learn what constitutes the “core” but also how to get these muscles to efficiently fire up to be used and then strengthen them. Included in this video is a short laughter yoga session and a guided meditation to help further understand the concepts of the “core”.

Thanks for watching and please remember to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!

Therapeutic Yoga - Morning Sun Salutation

This video is a great way to start your day! A therapeutic yoga class with a guided breathing exercise to get your spine moving and wake up your diaphragm, a modified Sun Salutation starting in kneeling to focus on control of the hamstrings and trunk without the worry of balance in standing, gentle hip opening and ending with a guided loving kindness meditation. Enjoy!

Thanks for watching and please remember to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!

Yoga for Hamstrings

The hamstrings muscles, located on the back of your thighs, are often the chief culprit to low back pain. This is caused when they are too tight or if they are too activated or turned on. This therapeutic yoga video will help you learn not only efficient ways to lengthen your hamstrings but also movements to stop over-using the hamstrings when you shouldn’t be using them in the first place!

Thanks for watching and please remember to subscribe!

June 2019 Newsletter - So What's the big deal with sleep?

So what’s the big deal with sleep?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just live a long life. I want to live a long, happy, healthy and present life where I enjoy every minute! I think most people understand that there is no magical fountain of youth and there is no perfect recipe to avoid all illness and disease. What we do know through research is that sleeping, or rather lack of sleep, is strongly associated with many chronic diseases. Sleep dysfunction affects over half of our population with conditions such as: sleep deprivation, obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia.

So think about this…humans are the ONLY species that voluntarily deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason! According to Dr. Matthew Walker, PhD, and author of Why We Sleep - Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubles your risk of cancer, and profoundly disrupts your blood sugar levels. This contributes to our current epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Sleep deprivation is THE key lifestyle factor to the development of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. It also contributes to many major psychiatric conditions, including depression and anxiety. If we were to just think about how much money it takes our health care systems to treat the above conditions and epidemics, I think it is fair to say that billions are being spent. 

What if you could change that? What if you changed your habits of sleeping and took control of your health rather than rolling the dice and hoping for the best when you have the “golden ticket” in your body…the ability to sleep well! And it’s free…no deductible, co-insurance or paying for a prescription! 

So, that’s the big deal with sleep. Now, here is one of the challenges we face: No one ever taught us HOW to sleep. The only “how” about sleep that most of us know is that we need it to survive. If we’re lucky, maybe someone told you not to sleep on your stomach, but that’s it! If you think of the many things that we do every day like brushing our teeth, typing on a keyboard, or driving a car, my guess is someone taught you something about HOW to do these things. With sleep, you “just do it” like the Nike slogan says. Well, not so quick! If you want to unlock the power of sleep as an agent of healing your body, you need to know how to sleep. HEAL Wellness and Therapy is here to help! Check out our YouTube video on 10 Tips for Sleep to begin working on your habits of sleep and improve your sleep hygiene.

Ideas on how to take the habit of sleep and change it to create the best healing environment for your body to get the most efficient sleep.
If you’re tossing and turning and have no idea HOW to position yourself for sleep, check out our two videos below to teach you how to sleep on your side and back efficiently. Yes, it requires more than one pillow! Beds are flat but our bodies are not boards but beautiful shapes that require support!
Instruction/education on how to efficiently sleep on your side to have a restful and healing night’s sleep.
Instruction/education on how to efficiently sleep on your back to have a restful and healing night’s sleep.

If you are having difficulty falling asleep at night, watch our therapeutic yoga video to aid you in falling asleep. You can do this right in your bed before closing those eyes and heading into the best slumber of your life! 

A guided yoga class that you can be perform before bedtime to help encourage your body to be relaxed and restful.

Dr. Walker reports that sleep is a superpower and also the greatest public health challenge in the 21st century. Sleep is NOT an optional lifestyle luxury, it is a non-negotiable biologic necessity or rather your life support system! 

Watch Dr. Walker’s TED Talk here

There is so much to say about sleep but I think that’s a good start. Stay tuned for more videos and education from HEAL Wellness and Therapy on ways to test your sleep and how to know if you are getting a “good night’s sleep”. We’ll also discuss nutritional sleep aides and the difference in mattresses/pillows for sleep - so much to learn!

Final thoughts for this month…we have established social media accounts! Please connect, follow and have a conversation with us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook - search HEAL Wellness and Therapy!

YouTube
Facebook
Instagram

Take care, I care,

Trudy Messer

Founder, HEAL Wellness and Therapy, LLC

Welcome to HEAL

HEAL Wellness and Therapy is an innovative approach to the care of your health and body. My ultimate goal is to help you work on taking care of your whole body rather than getting “stuck in the rut” of thinking that the body’s aches and pains, fears and concerns, lack of participation in activities of daily living and overall well-being can be dealt with as single problems.

As a physical therapist and yoga instructor, I have always firmly believed that we can only take care of our body from a total systems approach. Every single being has the ability to improve how we fuel our body, how we deal with inflammation, how we return from injury or pain, and how we can become more efficient to do anything we want in life.

Margaret Knott, an amazing physical therapist of her day, once said that “every human being has untapped existing potential” and I hope to help you achieve that!

Trudy Messer, Founder of HEAL Wellness and Therapy