STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
It’s time… to give yourself the gift of rest. I know how foreign rest is to so many of us especially women, caregivers, and health professionals.
We've got a 3 Day Rest Adventure to share with you - it's free so no excuses!
It’s only been 3 years since I started my own rest adventure using the rest tool of Yoga Nidra.
I found it when I was completely worn out from helping my dad through his 3rd cancer surgery in a year while he lived 6 hours away from me.
A podcast during my last commute before I moved him back to my area caught my attention and that led me on a 40 day Yoga Nidra challenge.
One nidra nap and I was hooked.
I'll never forget the way it refreshed and energized my worn-out body (and soul).
I've stuck with it almost daily since then and when I find something that is this powerful for my mind and body I always want to share it with everyone which leads me to taking another certification (i.e. Pilates, Fascial Stretching, Trigger Point Therapy).
Ironically, I found myself doing my Yoga Nidra Daring To Rest™ facilitator training during the first few months of the pandemic.
I was rapidly approaching burnout due to having to coordinate care of my complex neuro patients (and my dad) in an upside down medical system while we all were dealing with the stressors of living through a global pandemic.
Having Yoga Nidra in my rest toolbox kept me from crashing into my typical burnout cycle. I saw the signs and added as much nidra rest when I needed it as best I could to get me through it.
What I love about Yoga Nidra is that it addresses 3 layers of exhaustion- physical, mental/emotional, and soul exhaustion. Most rest tools address physical or only one area but the deep rest of Yoga Nidra using the Daring To Rest™ method addresses all three.
The best part is you don’t have to do anything except lie down and listen to a recorded meditation. You’ll get the rest medicine you need at the time.
For me, the pandemic brought on intense mental/emotional exhaustion I had only felt on that level a few times in my life- after a divorce and the death of my mom. Lots of brain fog. I couldn’t even focus on reading books which I love to do. I definitely didn’t have any creative juices flowing until about the middle of 2021.
As much as I’ve wanted to share what I’d learned in my training with our community, I had to listen to my body. The message until recently was "not yet Mollie, just rest."
Honestly before I knew about this rest tool, I wouldn’t have listened. I would have pushed through to get it out there as I know how much it helps and is needed.
Even though the message I’m getting now is “let’s go” and the brain fog has lifted, the plan is to ease our way into sharing this new rest tool with you.
I’m inviting you on a 3 Day Yoga Nidra Rest Adventure. It’s free and only takes 15 minutes each day.
All you have to do is lie down and listen to a recorded Yoga Nidra meditation at a time that works best for you.
You’ll want to commit to the 3 days in a row to get the most benefit.
JOIN US ON A 3 DAY REST ADVENTURE
PREP WORK: MAKE SPACE FOR REST
Your homework is to tune into your body and figure out what time of day you want to block off to rest for 15 minutes for your 3 day adventure. This will help you actually do it.
It can be in the morning, midday when you have low energy, at the end of your workday before you transition to your evening home activities, or just before bed to help with sleep.
The time doesn’t really matter. What matters is you commit to 15 minutes of rest for the 3 days by picking a time and blocking it off on your calendar as soon as possible. You can then schedule other activities around it.
Trust that your mind and body will get what it needs no matter the time you pick.
It’s OK if you aren’t normally a napper. This is deep rest and relaxation for your nervous system. You might just have the most nourishing nap you've ever had. Be open to testing it out. You have to feel it in your body to truly understand the benefits.
It’s also OK if you're resisting because you’re telling yourself that you’re too busy. It’s normal for there to be resistance when trying something new and rest is not something that is encouraged by our society. Let the resistance pop up, notice it, but do it anyway. You deserve to rest no matter what your brain is telling you.
SIGN UP NOW FOR 3 DAYS OF REST
Say Yes To Rest!
P.S. If you’re worn out, burned out or just in need of a time out, the free 3 Day Rest Adventure is for you. All you have to do is lie down and listen for 15 minutes. And we’ll give you 2 simple prep steps to help you actually slow down enough to do it. We’ve got you so…
COME REST WITH US!
How's your stretching going?
Did you practice calming your body with gentle stretching vs overstretching like we went over in the last Fit Blog?
Hope so because it's time to kick your stretch skills up a notch with the 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch!
It's an active recovery stretch for cyclists and spin lovers that takes less than 2 minutes.
TBH we’ve held back on sharing this one for a while. We really need you to listen to your body so you don’t injure your knee doing it. Ease into this one especially if you have tight hips, IT Band or knee issues.
Before you try these moves, please read through everything below so you get the most out of it and stay safe.
THE 3 STRETCH MOVES:
This 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch sequence is primarily a hip flexor stretch (unlocks the front of the hip) that moves into the fascia above (in your core muscles) and below (in your quad muscles) to work the front fascial line.
For each stretch move, breathe and pull your belly up and in. Pace yourself and pause the video if you need more time to focus on your form. Listen to the cues in the video but the overall sequence and flow is:
HOW TO INTENSIFY:
HOW TO MODIFY the Quad Stretch (video at 0:47 and 1:50):
Change the position entirely if needed for the quad stretch so it’s less intense and less fascia stretching at the same time:
OVER TO YOU:
The 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch helps open up the front of your hips for better posture and less tension on your back and knees.
Once you get these 3 moves down, you can do the flow in less than 2 minutes for active recovery after riding or workouts to release the front of your hips, core and quad’s.
You may notice one foot is harder to reach due to hip tightness and that one side is harder to balance due to hip weakness. That's normal but you can balance out and improve overtime with practice.
There are a lot of ways you can progress yourself with the 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch as you bring the spring back to your tissue especially if you sit a lot for work or exercise.
Team Core Power
P.S. Want more stretch moves & massage tools to release your tight & tender hip & core spots? Join us in HIP Camp™.
Do you feel pain when you stretch? If so, it’s a sign you’ve gone too far.
Remember healthy tissue isn’t stiff. It’s elastic. Bungee cord like versus rope like.
You can bring the spring back to your body with stretching no matter your age but there is an art to stretching.
Just like we've evolved from flip phones to smart phones, we've made advances in stretching that can help you have better results.
First you have to learn to stop over-stretching.
If you experience pain with stretching, your body will tighten up more.
Why? The body’s response to pain is to protect, tighten up, guard.
Gentle stretching is key to stop over-stretching.
Stop stretching as far as you can go.
Start stretching at about 90% of your pain-free range of motion.
The goal is to calm the body so the tissue will lengthen and let go.
Here are some basic stretch principles to practice that'll help improve your elasticity:
Don’t force the motion or your body will tighten up. Check in with your face and neck. Are you tensing up because the movement is uncomfortable? That’s a sign you’re stretching too far.
Always breathe while stretching to help hydrate the tissue and increase the circulation to the area. Slow, deep breaths are calming.
Be mindful while stretching and focus on what you are feeling in your body as you stretch. Imagine restoring the spring in the tissue vs. pushing to your limits to get taller or more flexible.
Stretching the fascia can feel like a burning sensation, but it should go away as soon as you stop stretching. Feel for the tissue to let go, releasing before you stretch farther into the movement.
CHANGE THE TEMPO
Stretching with proper breathing prepares your nervous system for your next activity. Fast, shallow breaths will turn on your nervous system. Slow, deep breaths will calm your nervous system.
Breathe and stretch faster before exercise. Breathe and stretch slower after exercise for recovery.
CHECK YOUR FORM
Stretch with good form and control. Hold positions for 2-3 breaths before your workouts and a little longer after workouts.
Take mini movement breaks throughout the day to help your fascia be healthy and elastic. It all adds up whether it’s 3 breaths, 3 reps, or 3 minutes of movement.
Become more mindful of these principles as you stretch each day to help you feel and move better.
Let pain be your guide at first as a sign that you need to back off. Go slow, breathe, and let the tissue let go before you stretch deeper.
If you want to make lasting changes in your flexibility and posture, you’ll want to learn how to use fascial stretching and trigger point massage tools. We show you how in our online HIP Camp™.
HIP Camp™ routines are designed to help you release your most glued down stuck spots (whether they’re from chronic injuries or intense workouts) so you can move & perform pain-free.
Let’s get you stretching with (lasting) benefits!
Team Core Power
P.S. Ready to reshape your body in less than 10 minutes a day? Join us for HIP Camp™: Stretch & Rest Posture Moves & Tools to help you have a strong, confident, pain-free body.
Well I finally got a standing desk after wanting one for soooooo long. It’s a height adjustable standing desk platform that my computer monitor/laptop and keyboard/mouse sit on top of on part of my desk. Love it BUT...
I got a little too over excited about it and ended up not being able to type for a few days. I forgot to follow my own advice about not overdoing it.
It took me a bit to figure out why I was having headaches and pain in my hands and forearms.
I finally put it together that it all started after getting my new fun toy. I went from sitting doing work tasks to standing several hours. I needed to break it up and build up over time.
Standing and working on a computer is great for the hips, circulation, etc. but puts more stress on the neck, shoulders, and forearms because you’ve typically got less support when typing or writing.
Plus your postural muscles have to work harder in standing. It’s real easy to tighten up your upper traps if your postural muscles get tired or if you’re so focused on work that you aren’t mindful your arms, wrists and fingers being on fire! Duh Mollie. LOL
Remember your fascia (connective tissue) takes the shape of what you normally do each day. And it takes time to reshape it.
If you do like I did and go from sitting most of the day to standing while on the computer, you’re most likely going to have new flared- up spots talking to you.
It’s best to break up and build up your tolerance to new activities.
It’s true for anything new.
Anything you’re doing for long periods.
Long drive or commute.
Long documents to edit.
Long time on your phone.
BREAK IT UP
I highly recommend adding a standing option to your desk if you have a lot of writing or typing to do on a regular basis. There are some obvious health benefits that are well documented to standing more than sitting at work.
Despite my initial issues, the standing option when writing or typing helps me focus more and my back and legs feel less stiff at the end of the day. I like the variety too.
You can use the Mini Moves Daily Planner below to take breaks as you build up your tolerance over a few weeks.
Stand up more!
P.S. Need some tips on how to stretch and relax your body during your workday? Here you go:
How are your feet doing? If they aren't feeling healthy & happy, it’s always good to check in on any shoes that you use regularly or that have foam soles. Whether you wear them or not, the foam in your shoes gets more dense and compresses over time.
Don’t wait until your feet hurt to do a shoe checkup.
Have they lived their best life? Are the soles worn out? Is the fabric stretched out? Are your feet hurting at the end of the day or after workouts? Do your knees or back hurt more lately?
If so, they're all signs it might be time to get a new pair.
Before you pick out a pair because of the color or cuteness, here are some shoe shopping tips to consider that’ll help prevent injury and give your foot muscles the love they deserve.
What’s your first impression after putting on the shoes? Don’t play mind games with yourself by telling yourself that you need to wear them in for that seam cutting into your pinky toe to go away.
It doesn’t matter how cute they are, if anything feels uncomfortable or off when you first put them on... you need to move on.
If they pass the first impression test, move around in them to double check your foot and heel stay in place. Stand on one leg. Jump. Walk or run a few steps. Turn and stop quickly.
Still feel good without any slipping or sliding going on? You may have a keeper.
You're aiming for just enough support for your arch and the activity you will be doing. The more impact your activity, the more cushion you will likely need from your shoe.
Caution: Be careful with the barefoot or minimal arch shoe styles, especially if you run. I love to workout barefoot to help turn on all my foot muscles but it’s super easy to injure yourself if you run or lift weights with shoes that have minimal arch support. I’ve done it a few times and it can take months to heal foot injuries. If you have a pair, you must wean into them and they aren’t meant to be worn all day. Change it up and/or take a break if you feel your foot muscles getting tired or cramping when using a minimal arch support style shoe.
Make sure you’ve got the right tread on the bottom for what you’ll be doing. Rocky terrain requires a different level of traction than smooth pavement.
If you’re committed to a green lifestyle, take the time to investigate where your shoe parts and packaging come from and whether the shipping does or does not support the planet. Here are two companies to consider:
- Upper in Alveomesh (100% recycled plastic bottles). Alveomesh is a technical fabric made exclusively from recycled plastic bottles. It brings breathability, flexibility and lightness to the shoe.
- Pannels in suede & leather
- Side V Logo in Rubber and Rice Waste (23%)
- Organic cotton laces (100%)
- Midsole made from sugar cane (53%)
- Glued outsole made of Amazon rubber (12%) & rice waste (30%)
- Sugarcane insole, Amazon rubber, recycled E.V.A. & organic cotton
- Tech inner lining (100% recycled plastic bottles) developed to acquire a better resistance to friction and provide maximum comfort and flexibility thanks to its mesh structure.
It’s actually fun to see how creative these companies are getting with recycling and athletic gear. The Veja shoe listed above is super cute too.
OK, time to go check your shoes and get to shopping.
To Happy, Healthy Feet!
P.S. Ready to have a calm, strong, well-rested body? Our online bodywork camps will not only help you Move With Ease but every camp sale supports an organization that improves the health & welfare of animals and wild life like the Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
It’s time to move it. Move your body. Let’s face it, there’s still a ton of chaos going on in our lives. One way to release all that energy you can’t help but absorb is to move your body.
Sometimes we need to move our body to get an energy boost, but the prescription we need right now is to move our body in ways that release energy.
Here are 4 MOVES to release all the anxious energy you’ve got trapped in your body. They will all help you feel more calm, centered, and confident.
Summary: Pick one move or try them all. You may have days when you need to throw everything at it to get back in your body (i.e. more centered and calm) so you can carry on.
All is Well!
How’s it going using the Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your core during workouts?
Are you more aware of how to reset your posture during your day?
One way to feel and get your core stabilizer muscles working is to hold a small ball or towel roll between your inner thighs as you run through the posture checklist or during your core exercises like when doing a basic abdominal crunch, hip bridge, plank or pushup.
If you’re ready for more of a challenge to your core, then it’s time to practice doing these posture cues while doing a mind body workout like Pilates.
Pilates exercises are some of the most powerful for strengthening AND stretching your core to improve your posture and performance.
Done right, you’ll walk out of your Pilates session a different person than going in. You’ll feel taller, calmer, centered... EMPOWERED.
Pilates is an art form like martial arts or dance. Knowing the history and purpose behind the exercises will help you experience the full benefits of it.
Just like dance, the more you practice Pilates, the more you perfect it and it becomes a lifestyle.
The first step is learning the movement pattern for each exercise then you progress to focusing on your form from head to toe while executing each exercise.
The goal is to eventually become your own coach. You can’t do that without having a good instructor to help you learn how each exercise should feel in your body.
Here are some resources to help you make sure you are getting the most out of your Pilates workouts and not just going through the motions:
Getting started and the benefits of Pilates
How to find a great Pilates Studio & Instructor
How to pick your first class & understand the most common Pilates cues
There is no better time than the present to introduce (or reintroduce) your body to the Pilates world.
I love that Pilates can be modified to be more gentle or challenging depending on what your body needs. I’ve used it with all ages and abilities.
When you stick with it, it becomes a lifestyle. It’s addictive 😊 but a healthy one.
Hope you're staying cool & enjoying some summer fun so far. Summer is a great time to check in on how we are doing with our green, healthy living habits to support nature and the planet.
Here are 5 tips to help you have a green, clean, healthy body & home while you help save the planet.
1. Look for businesses that are Certified B Corporations™: B Corps are for profit businesses that commit to balance both profit and purpose. These brands meet legal standards to consider not only the needs of their customer and employees in their decision making but also the environment and larger global community.
2. Look for the BUNNY LABEL to find brands that don’t do testing on animals. Download the cruelty cutter app to make it easier to shop cruelty free.
3. GROCERY SHOPPING:
4. HOUSEHOLD GOODS:
5. CAMPS WITH A CAUSE: our online bodywork camps will not only help you have a strong, calm, well-rested body but every camp sale supports an organization that improves the health & welfare of animals and wild life like the Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Remember it all adds up. Mini moves & baby steps to have a healthier body and lifestyle. The brands you chose matter for not only you and your home but our planet.
Go More Green!
P.S. More scoop on 2 of my favorite Animal Rescue & Rehab organizations that we support with every online camp sale.
Beagle Freedom Project is a non-profit animal rescue and advocacy organization and the world’s leading organization for rescuing and rehoming animals used in experimental research. Since 2010 the charity has been freeing survivors from laboratory experiments, senior and special needs animals from shelters, and victims of horrific abuse from around the world. FYI Beagles are the most tested on dogs, particularly in the cosmetic and beauty industry, due to their gentle nature. Remember look for the bunny label or use the cruelty cutter app to shop.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues & rehabs orphaned elephants, rhino’s & wildlife in Kenya to return them healthy to the wild as well as securing habitats for future generations, providing fresh water relief, vet rescue units and my favorite- their canine project using dogs to sniff out wildlife crime.
*denotes affiliate link
Before you jump into your core workouts, try these moves to help turn on your core and maximize your results.
OPEN UP YOUR HIPS: tight hips can make it harder to contract the pelvic floor muscles (the base of your core). In fact, tight hips can pretty much turn off your pelvic floor. Stretch the front and back of your hips with a runner’s lunge and full squat to prep for a core workout.
WARM UP YOUR SPINE: The Baby Get Up is one of our favorites for warming up your spine and turning on your core before a workout.
CHECK YOUR FORM: Use this Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your deep core stabilizer muscles and reset your posture during workouts. Be mindful of these spots for better form and check in frequently from head to toe that you’ve got yourself lined up during your core workouts.
Here is the Head To Toe Posture Checklist and posture cues to become familiar with and the video to walk you through the following spots.
HEAD TO TOE POSTURE CHECKLIST VIDEO
Becoming mindful of these key spots from head to toe during your core, Pilates or Yoga workouts will help you improve your posture overtime. Using good form during your workouts WILL carry over into your day.
You can take these posture cues out of the gym or off the mat to help reset your posture anytime during your day.
Better posture equals more confidence, better performance, and decreased risk for injury. You’ll walk, run, bike, row, and move better.
Prep, Reset, Reshape!
P.S. Download the Head To Toe Posture Checklist Video to reset your posture during your day.
Got tight hips? No problem, we've got 3 moves to help you not only open up your hips where we trap a lot of our emotions (especially women or those who identify as female) but challenge your stability and balance: The Warrior Moves Daily Hip Routine.
How to Modify: modify the routine by holding onto a counter, wall or chair.
How to Intensify: make the routine more challenging by holding the positions longer than in the video or by going through the routine more than once.
To Healthy Hips!
P.S. Ready to have a calm, strong, well-rested body? Our online bodywork camps will not only help you Move With Ease but every camp sale supports an organization that improves the health & welfare of animals and wild life like the Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Learn more.
Mollie Miller, PT