Movement Restoration Flow – Mar 3

It has been a week of midterm tests, life stress, change, less movement, and I can feel it in these ragged bones of mine. I needed a Movement Restoration Flow.

Over the past week with less dedicated movement sessions, I’ve continued to move with clients, in a seat in class, in a chair studying at home, in line at the grocery store, in my car, in the middle of deep conversations with good friends, and out in the backyard once the glorious Spring sun begged me to join it for slacklining, climbing, gardening, and yard work.

This is why I talk about and promote taking advantage of all the little moments… the opportunities to move… throughout the day. There are weeks where I just can’t or don’t get many movement session, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need them any less. I know from experience, that if I don’t move… and move often… tightness, restriction, and pain will set in. It only takes a day of not moving before I begin to feel miserable in my body.

I can definitely feel the lack of dedicated movement sessions. My knee has continued to be problematic. I can still move through 98% of the functional range of motion with it, but it aches a bit more… or maybe it’s just talking to me more. The pain is still generally low between 1-3 on a scale of 10. I notice the less I challenge it in deep knee bends and tons of core integration… the more it hurts.

It was a nice productive day. I had a full morning with clients, had lunch with my mom, and finished the fencing on the garden cage. It was a beautiful day to be outside. I had a nice drizzle during the last hour of finishing the project. I feel like my new seedlings are pretty well protected from the deer, squirrels, raccoons, armadillos, cats, and eventually chickens.

Garden Project

Movement Session Flow
There was one position in this video that really got the knee talking: the seated butterfly position. I worked around the pain, without going into it.

The rest of the movement sessions felt really good. I worked on opening my hips, spine, and shoulders; some core integration of hands to feet; with a simple get up flow.

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Shoulder MOB/Stability and Get ups- Feb 22 – 4x speed

Ah, this was a nice movement session.

After Incorporate Self-Manual Therapy into Movement Restoration last night, I noticed my right glute medius was sore – the workout kind of sore. My assumption is that I opened up my gait mechanics which allowed the right glute med to be loaded fully with every step. Add the repetition of walking all day and I have muscle soreness. This felt like a good thing.

I started with Movement Restoration to open up and explore my body. I noticed the same right side lumbar tension/restriction from last night. I got the Melt Method foam roller out again to get a small release and then back to movement explore. I also noticed that bilaterally my neck was tight. After the Movement Restoration, I focused on Get-ups from the floor, shoulder MOB/stability… moving my body around the loaded shoulder, and Turkish Get-ups.

The Get-ups from the shin box position felt really good. I love the stretch I feel through the hips and core when fully extended.

With the shoulder MOB/stability, my right shoulder is still a bit unstable compared to my left (all residual from elbow tendinopathy a few months ago). I took the shoulder up to the edge but made sure not to cross it. It’s not worth the injury risk.

I added in Turkish get-ups balancing a foam Yoga block on my fist. I love this movement. It is super challenging. I really struggled with my loaded right shoulder. I’ll program this movement in a bit more
over the coming weeks.

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Incorporate Self-Manual Therapy into Movement Restoration – Feb 21 – 4x speed

It’s been a challenge -schedule-wise over the past week – to fit in good movement session. I add movement in bit by bit throughout the day, which makes a monster of a difference in how I feel, but also isn’t enough.

In this session, I was planning on just doing Movement Restoration, but noticed a few spots of movement tension/restriction – right anterior hip, right lumbar area, and left adductors.

I recently received a Melt Method foam roller as a gift and decided to try it out. It was a really nice tool for the areas I wanted to work on. It is significantly softer than The Trigger Point Grid foam roller I normally use. The spot in my lumbar area seemed to wrap around my rib cage. The Melt Method roller allowed me to work in this area with a softness that felt beneficial.

How I Incorporate Self-Manual Therapy into Movement Restoration:
As I explored movement and noticed a specific restriction that did not improve through movement, I used the roller to slightly inhibit the restricted tissue. Once I felt a slight improvement in pressure pain (generally a 30-40% reduction), I returned to the movement to challenge the movement. I worked on three different areas and noticed a significant improvement in each movement. Today, as I’m writing this, my body feels much better than it has over the past couple weeks… with room for improvement.

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Movement Restoration with Deep Breathing and Going Deep Inside – Feb 18 – 4x speed

Last week was a hard week. I imagine it was a hard week for all of us. I was shaken, more than previously, to what happened in Florida…. Recently my life was touched by gun violence. Seeing the loss and devastation of a community touched me where I feel loss and devastation. Even though it didn’t happen here in Austin, I still feel it… rocked to the core of my heart.

On top of the above tragedy, I am also living my life, and that can be hard and challenging too. Last week I saw the transition of two really big relationships in my life. These transitions are good… but they still feel hard. As life moves from one stage into another… I feel the loss… the letting go of one thing so I can be open to something new.

My heart is heavy with the weight of this week. This is my focus in this movement session.

Movement Restoration with Deep Breathing and Going Deep Inside

I am hyper-focused on breathing into my body and feeling/listening to my heart. This is a much slower session. I take pause when I feel I can’t get fully into the depths of my breathe. I allow my breath to open up my ribs; expand my belly; move into my upper and lower back and side body; and down into the bowl of my pelvis. From this deeper place, I feel into where my body wants to move next and allow it to move where it needs to go.

I feel hurt, pain, sadness, hope, challenge, fear, and so much more. I feel it physically and emotionally because I am human. This is my honest place. At the end of this movement session, the weight is not gone… but it is lighter. This is Movement Therapy.

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Full Body Foam Roller and Movement Explore Session – Feb 15 – 4x speed

I often find myself saying things in my head like, “this was a hard and challenging week.” When I feel into what drives these thoughts, it isn’t coming from my simple truth. There are usually feelings of laziness and victimhood attached to the thoughts. It is as if I have some kind of expectation that these “challenging and hard” weeks I suffer through mean that I have earned or deserve easy… a day off, a week off, the rest of my life off.

At face value, it’s not a big deal that I have these thoughts, but when I juxtapose them to the decisions I’ve made in regards to how I spent my time over the past week, I see how I am allowing these thoughts to slowly shape me, and it makes me sad, angry, and wary.

It WAS a hard a challenging week. I had the first major test in a class that I’m feeling frustrated with. Test week is always challenging… by design. Fear and anxiety become my unwelcomed companions. I have placed a fair amount of pressure on myself to do well and a test is where the rubber meets the road. I either know what I’m expected to know or I don’t. On top of the test, some of my personal relationships have been strained and are being tested as well. I am being tested in life just as I’m being tested in class.

I did not perform as well at these tests as I would like. The feelings of laziness and victimhood coating my thoughts, fed the justifications for my actions of doing less. I could have studied more. I did not move my body as much. I questioned the truth of heart with self-doubt. I made it through the week, but I know (in hindsight) that I could have done better, and that frustrates me.

I am not perfect. Movement is my life, it is was I teach, it is how I support my family, and I struggle with it just like everyone else. I have chronic pain that is kept at bay when I move… I know this… Yet I still struggle. There is a beauty to the struggle. Movement is home for me. Just because I haven’t been perfect, and I can feel it in my body… physically and emotionally… I can always come home… and home always welcomes me with loving arms.

I haven’t made a movement session video since Monday. I have moved. I get in small breaks all the time, but I haven’t had a designated self-care session in several days… and I can feel it. The pain in my left knee has been elevated over the past several days – 3 or 4 on a scale of 10, and I feel it outside the joint space where it usually remains. My medial calves, adductors, hip flexors, and low back are tight enough to cause discomfort. I can also feel that the tendinopathy in my right shoulder is still lingering (I haven’t done much work on it over the past week or two). This is the reality of chronic pain with a lengthy injury history, my normal is not “pain-free”. My normal is that I will always be working on this stuff. My normal is that every week will be hard and challenging… simply because… I will always have to work harder… just so I do not hurt so much.

There will be no easy days, or weeks, or life. This is a reality I come back to over and over and over again. Every time I do; after I kick and scream and cry for a bit; after my little tantrum, I am reminded that this is what I’m here for. I am here to be challenged and I would be miserable with an easy life. Once I feel a peace with this, (sometimes harder to come to than other times) I am ready to love on my body once more.

I spent the first half of this session doing full body foam roller, non-specific, self-massage using a Trigger Point Grid. I love to use the foam roller (or other massage tools) to explore the musculature of my body. To feel what is happening in my movement system directly in the soft tissue. This usually gives me insights and perspectives that I cannot feel when I move.

The second half of the session I spent doing Movement Restoration and Exploration. This included joint manipulations of the feet, hips, spine, and neck. It was late when I started this session and I was tired. I didn’t finish until after 11p.

 

Things I noted in this session:
My left adductor was far more sensitive than the right.
I had a couple spots on both sides of my lumbar spine – multifidus or spinal erectors – that were related to macro level movement patterns.
I felt some significant restrictions in the movement of my neck on the left side.
It felt really good to mobilize and stretch my body from toes to fingertips.

I’m feeling more centered. Now to take what I’ve learned from this week and apply it to the next.

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Tight Low Back and Mild Knee Pain Movement Restoration – Feb 12

Yesterday I spent all day working in the backyard (hauling dirt into the new garden and protecting trees from the deer). I felt really good last night. This morning, my knee is a little more cranky, a 2 or 3 out of ten. Still within a good day pain range, but a bit more noticeable than yesterday. I also feel tightness on the right side of my low back (this is a pretty normal place for movement restriction).

This session is a much-needed movement prep for the day. I’m working on “oiling” up the knee to get is moving smoother in its own right and connect how it moves related to the whole system… especially the right side lower back. These little increases in tightness, restriction, and pain are my early indicators that my body needs to be recalibrated. It’s like the check engine light on a car. Ignore at your own peril.

Tight Low Back and Mild Knee Pain Movement Restoration

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Building a Garden Day – Feb 12

I’m building a garden and other backyard projects today. I’m picking up about 1000 pounds of the richest dirt you can get in Texas to move into my garden bed. I also need to create a barrier for my Loquat tree which the deer seem to have taken a liking.

Knowing I will be working outside all day… and it’s cold, at least Texas cold. Which is hovering around 33-36 degrees all day, I need to prep my body for moving.

This session is just a simple eight-minute movement preparation session to make sure all my muscles and joints are in order and ready to put forth some work. The past couple days have been pretty decent pain-wise down around a level 1 or 2. This is as close as I get to pain-free. So I’m pretty stoked about how I feel and want to take advantage of it while I can.

I got everything finished outside that I had planned. It took two trips to the Natural Gardener to haul dirt and a couple trips to Lowes as well. The kiddo helped a bit… mainly by not complaining too much about how cold it was. I got a few medium pots and a couple mint transplants for him (he loves mint). So he got to plant those. The garden looks good. The cages still need to be finished to protect it from the deer, but it is ready for seed. I am waiting for my seeds from the Seed CSA I ordered from. If you’re looking to start a garden or need help with seeds, I highly recommend contacting Don Tipping at Siskiyou Seeds.

My body still feels pretty good. It was a long day, but not overly intense. This was a nice twenty-minute restoration session with joint mobilizations and exploration.

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Experiencing Depth Through my Movement

Something I love about these movement sessions is that it forces me to slow down… breathe… and reflect. An opportunity to lay down my sword, take a break from the ongoing day to day struggle with life, step back and view the bigger picture, and simply become the observer in this human existence I find myself in. I am experiencing depth through my movement.

Movement is my bridge between the external physical world in which I bump up against, constantly out of control; and the internal world that is strictly me, the only place in which I have any ability to control. And I say control very loosely. The only thing I get to control is what I hold on to and what I let go.

When I breathe deeply, move deeply, feel deeply, and observe I get to see all things I’ve been holding onto that really don’t serve me.

It is in these moments of reflection that the beginnings of change take place. It’s just the percolating point of change… not the change itself. The change comes when I take this new knowledge and apply it in the real world where it matters.

The real world being the place where my internal slams up against the external. How I react when I’m frustrated at my son; when I get called out by a loved one; when someone cuts me off in traffic; or when I’m angry with myself because I’m not perfect. The more I apply what I learn in the laboratory of my movement practice, the more my external world reflects what I see from this internal world… and it’s beautiful. This is where I see my purpose. This is where I am allowed to fall, cry, yell, and fail. This is where I learn to live my purpose.

Man, once I get deeply into a place of feeling surrendered, I get to see a completely different viewpoint of my humanness. I see the convergence of Science, God, and a Conscious Spirituality (I can’t think of a better term for it). It is an awe-inspiring place. My goal is to one day be able to live from this place in my day to day existence… Not just my laboratory.

I call these sessions Movement Exploration. It is still Movement Therapy, but through adding in the exploratory and flow. I am feeling into my physical self-allowing my body to dictate where and how to move. It is a slow, unforced unraveling. I’m feeling out for restrictions in my movement system that are out of balance on the opposite side. Another thing I love about these sessions is that no two are alike. I let go of any preconceived notion of how I’m going to move. It is always changing, which makes sense when I think of how the way I move one day to another is also never the same. Why would the way I feed my body self-care movement be any different?

How do you experiencing depth through your movement?

 

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How I Move with a Tight Neck and Knee Pain -Feb 8 – 4x speed

This has been a challenging week. Not in a bad way, but in that way a schedule can feel completely overwhelming where you feel like you have no time to eat, breathe, sleep, or move.  It was a challenging enough week that I decided to drop one of my classes to ease my semester load. My health has to be a priority. Overall, my body feels decent, all things considering. I am still dealing with a tight neck and knee pain. I have to continue to remind myself that I cannot push my way through school. Especially if it means that I am in worse physical condition when I’m done.

It was also a challenging week for movement. I had to fit in my movements during the small open spaces of the day such as deep squats between classes, chair neck, thoracic, and lumbar spinal mobility during class, joining clients during sessions or stretching in line at the grocery store.

This natural movement session is on Thursday evening at 9:30 pm. This is the first dedicated movement session I’ve been able to get in since Monday and my body was feeling it. I’m exhausted from the week. I have to get up early again in the morning. I wanted to go to bed, but I can feel it in my body that I need to move.

Tight Neck and Knee Pain

My knee has been painful all week. The irritation pain from a week ago has reduced a decent amount. The mid back pain has also reduced. I mainly feel it at the edges of thoracic rotation. The neck pain from two weeks ago is pretty much gone with just residual tightness bilaterally in the scalenes area. I’m taking all of these things into consideration as I explore movements during this session.

In this session, I exploring natural movements slowly, safely, and non-forcefully… listening to where my body wants to go. I work joint by joint from my toes to my hands. It feels like I’m working through a constant state of stretch focusing on maximum tension and maximum relaxation through the transitions of every movement. It feels wavelike and dancelike. I am allowing myself to get immersed in the music in the background, yet I am not dancing… I’m just exploring while paying attention to what feels safe and what feels painful.

This was an amazing session. I felt so much better afterward. Everything feels opened up and lengthened from toe tip to fingertip and my core feels adequately activated but not blown.

This is how I continue to move naturally with a tight neck and knee pain.

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Integrate Play into a Busy Study Day – Feb 3

How do I integrate play into a day I have to sit for long periods of time?

The weekend is catch up on school work. I spent most of today studying, minus an hour at the lumber store. I have three chapters of chemistry to cover this weekend, a paper to write, and online lectures to watch. I knew early on it was going to be a day of sitting. So I set an intention to get up often and integrate play to give my brain a rest while stimulating my nervous system with movement.

I was able to film most of my study breaks. I started with this nice 10-minute movement session to open my body up.

I love doing balance work during study breaks. I find it is just the right type of nervous system challenge to allow my brain to rest intellectually while being stimulated. Afterward, I feel like I get a brain boost.

My knee is noticeably sore, not quite painful, but it’s speaking to me. Balance is considerably more challenged than it was a couple weeks ago. I have had to cut down on hiking and squats for repetition. Walking across campus is already an aggravation. I feel like this level of balance work is right at the edge of pushing my knee to recover without making it hurt worse. I feel like I’m walking a fine line right now. It’s going to be a few weeks before I have a better picture of why my knee hurts.

Even just a couple minutes of balance play on the slackline makes a massive difference in my studying. I find it great for stimulating creative thinking… Which is how I learn best.

The slackline really brings out the challenge with my left knee. It’s amazing how much pain can disrupt proprioception. Two weeks ago, my left knee was just as solid (or unsolid) as my right knee. Today it felt super hard to control, especially when I stood up from my left foot. I put more focus on standing on the left side.

After noticing how proprioceptively challenged my left leg was, I decided to add some challenge to my vestibular system. This really shouldn’t be so hard… But it was freakin hard. I haven’t been working on this much and I really need to.

I’m trying to maintain balance in different foot position while moving my head and eyes. The last couple minutes I had my eyes closed.

I am feeling a bit more control in my shoulders. A year ago, I could explore a ton more space on the parallette bars. Up until this past week, I stayed off of them for the past year due to shoulder and elbow pain. This is definitely a positive sign of more recovery.

This session was only a couple minutes, but I felt sufficiently physically challenged with a boost to my nervous system.


I’m finished with sitting to study for the evening. Instead, I put on a chemistry video while doing a Movement Restoration session. This felt perfect after a full day of school work.

I am loving staff work at the moment. It is super challenging. I love how it feels as I work to maintain my posture through a tall spine, with my shoulders engaged to my core, while reaching away through my heels, toes, top of the head, and arms. I was able to find an amazing full body lengthening of my spiral spine, side body, and backline from feet to fingertips.

This was a great finish to a solid day of moving. None of my movement breaks lasted longer than 10 minutes. All combined, I got over an hour for the day. Considering the amount of school work I have to get through, this was a better movement strategy for my body compared to sitting and studying for 8-10 hours in large blocks with a one-hour workout managed somewhere in the day. What I love most about today was that all my movement breaks felt like I was playing.

My brain won’t sit for long hours at a time and retain information and my body will revolt if I don’t move regularly. By taking short movement breaks, my body felt better as the day wore on; my nervous system felt appropriately stimulated; I felt more capable of tackling the coursework I’m attempting to learn, and I had an overall productive day.

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