body

Palpate. Part I

Palpate ~ (verb) to examine by touch

This is one of my new favorite words.
Yet, it’s incredibly under-used.  You might hear “palpate” in a doctor’s office or perhaps, a yoga class.
And even then, it’s not common.

Palpate your pelvis. What is it doing?
Wait, do you know where your pelvis is?

Palpate your shoulder.
Where is it in space?  Do you feel any tension?

ahhhh…you had me at palpate….

It’s soooo useful.  We often think we’re doing one thing, and yet our body is doing something else entirely (I love video for this very reason).

Feel your way in.

Physically touch your body.  Your life.  Your movement.
That tightness in your chest – it might be on the inside, but what does it do physically?   How does it affect your movemeant?  What does it feel like?

Palpate.  Feel your way in.

Mind Body Exercise is Not Limited to a Mat.

When you think of mind-body exercise, do you think of yoga?  Pilates?
Something on a mat, in a room, with the focus on breathing or alignment?
It doesn’t have to be that way.

That mind-body connection can be established with any exercise.
Slow moving, or getting your ass kicked.
Crossfit. TRX. Trail Running. Bootcamp. Road Racing. Cycling.
You name it, you can be present with in it.
And in fact, when you do, you lessen the probability of injury, and deepen the exercise.

Take your next workout and pay attention.
What is your body telling you?

Inside out.

These days, we are pretty well trained to look outside of ourselves for answers to our problems.

Shoes hurt? You might need inserts – custom made. Or new shoes.
Back pain? A back brace is always an option, pain killers, or even surgery.
Health issues? Diet. Exercise. Pills.

What if you the first place you looked was in?
Before the fancy new (expensive) inserts, or the back brace, or the stringent diet plan?
What if you started with you?
What if you adjusted how you move, how you eat, how you think, how you live?
Before you head out to fix your problems, go in.
Inside, then outside, upside down.

Shoes? What kind of shoes “should” I wear?

This is a question I get asked a lot.  So here are my thoughts:

Vary your shoes. Different shoes will allow the muscles in your feet to work in a variety of ways. This includes going barefoot. Walk barefoot at home, and when you can, kick your shoes off outside. Walk barefoot (or in socked feet) over gravel, bigger rocks, a sandy beach. This might be uncomfortable, but it’s great practice to strengthen those feet.

Wear the most minimal that you can get away with in any situation, most of the time.

Find a pair of shoes that look similar to the shape of your feet. Ones that allow your toes to spread out and have some room.   Socks are important too.  Make sure that your socks fit your feet, and allow for room to wiggle!

Minimize your time in heels. **Heels are any shoe with the heel higher than the toe bed. *** You can’t go from a built out shoe to a minimal shoe over night. This takes time, otherwise it will cause injury. The muscles in your feet need time to adapt and strengthen – remember the golden rule:  gradual progress. 

Bend the shoe you’re about to buy.  Can you bend you it?  Does it flex?  Your foot does, so take that into consideration.  Also, if you can, take out the insole.  Place your foot on that and ensure that your foot fits inside the lines all the way around – even better if you’ve got a little wiggle room.

Wear shoes that feel good. End of story.

Shoes to check out:  Lems.  Altras.  Skora.

How can this be more fun?

That’s the challenge, and the question.
How can this be more fun?
Doesn’t matter what “this” is.
The middle of the work week.  Exercise in the rain.  A date. That Monday meeting.  A road trip.  The afternoon melt down.  Studying.  Lunch alone.  Dinner with relatives.  Your commute.  Saturday.  Cooking.

Whether you’re currently having fun, or not.
How can this be more fun?  

This is my question of the moment.
I know that I have a tendency to be focused on my to do list, and getting things done.  I can get lost in the every day details of life, and lose sight of the fact that this is all supposed to be fun – because if it’s not fun, why do it??
Whether it’s work, or exercise, or taking the kids to school.
How can this be more fun?  
Periodically ask yourself throughout the day – especially when what you’re doing isn’t so fun, or you need a little energy.  How can this be more fun?

What will you do?  Please, share it on facebook or instagram, or reply in the comments below.
Have more fun. On purpose.

Feel the Ground

How often do you think about feeling the ground beneath you?
How does your foot land as you move?  What does it feel like as you stand still?

Right now, take a minute and stand up.   Stand as you typically do.
Feel the ground beneath you. 
Where is your weight distributed?
Are you on your heels?  Or more toward the toes?  Feel any tension?
Do you clench your toes?  Do your shoes allow you to feel the ground?
(if not, that’s ok – you might slip them off for a second, and then limit your time in those shoes)
Sway on your feet until you find a stable position (not on the heel, and not on the toes, evenly distribute your weight).   Wiggle your toes.
Lengthen your spine, exhale and connect to the earth. 

Why would you do this?
Most of us use our feet all day long (even if you sit at desk), and yet we don’t pay them a whole lot of attention.
You might have even acquired some bad habits over the years, and thus made compensations further up the chain.  How you stand on your feet can affect your ankles, legs, hips, etc.

This week, notice how you connect to the ground.  Catch yourself as you run or walk, stand still or move slowly. Where do you stand on your feet?  Can you distribute the weight evenly?  Where does your foot primarily land as you move?  Do you roll over your big toe, or outward?
Be curious, relax and aim to feel the ground.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”~ Thich Nhat Hanh

You have permission.

How’s your body today?  Take a moment and check it out.
When was the last time you had a massage?
I saw this infographic, and read that 16% of adult Americans received a massage in a year’s time.  16%?!?!

Now I know, that during that same amount of time, those people that drive cars filled them with gas.  They had the oil changed every so often, and when the engine light came on, drove straight to a mechanic.

Why wouldn’t you do the same for your body?

If food is fuel, consider a massage an oil change.
Massages release tension.  They relax and normalize soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments), increase circulation and boost the immune system ~ see the infographic here for even more benefits.  

A massage is preventative care for your body.  Taking care of it today, so you can stay out on the road of life, doing the things that you love to do.
So I wanted to remind you, that you have permission to take care of your body.
You have permission to take care of you.
Just in case you forgot.
This is just as important, if not more so, as taking care of your car.
If massage isn’t your thing, find something that is (yoga, mediation, foam rolling, etc.).

Your body is the most important instrument you own.
How will you care for it today?

Five Practices For Weaving Health Into Your Every Day.

Over the past year, I’ve talked about health with just about anyone that will listen.

Health:  (noun) the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor

While this is Webster’s definition, true health means something different for each of us, and there are many ways to get there.  What I’ve noticed though, is that the most fit people I know, weave health into their every day. For them, health isn’t something to check off of a list, it’s something to live.

So what does that look like?  How do you weave health into your every day?
Here are five practices to help:

1) Move More. This isn’t just about parking further away at the store, or taking the stairs. Search your day for opportunities to move. How can you sneak it in? Exercise at lunch (who needs an hour to eat?? Go for a run or walk, and eat at your desk). Walk down the hall instead of sending that email. Bike to work. Take your calls on the move. Stand during the meeting. Just because everyone else is sitting, doesn’t mean you have to. Move every chance you get.

2) Make it enjoyable. Let’s be honest, if you hate it, you’re not going to do it. So how do you make movement enjoyable? Download a podcast, and listen while you walk the dog. Make a playlist. Recruit a friend. Buy an outfit that makes you feel great. Exercise outdoors, in a beautiful spot. Do something to make your movement a source of pleasure.

3) Make it a mindful practice. Exercise to tune in, not out. Pay attention to what it feels like. How do your feet strike the ground? How are you breathing? Are you holding tension? What are you thinking?  Read this recent article from the NY Times about the link between mindfulness and satisfaction during exercise.  As much as you can, be present as you move.

4) Fuel your body to move. After you eat, notice how you feel. Do you feel heavy? Are you tired? Still hungry? Or do you feel like you could go for a walk or a run? How does what you’ve eaten serve you? We eat for many reasons – pleasure, celebration, boredom, comfort, etc. – but the primary reason to eat is fuel. Pay attention, and fuel to move.

5) Preventative practice. In order to BE healthy, to maintain your health, you want to take care of your body right now. After all, as someone once said, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” Practice preventative care. Massages. Essential Oils. Whole foods. Exercise. Stretching. Foam Rolling. Love. Dark Chocolate. What will you do to take care of you?

 

Remember, you don’t have to overhaul your life all in one day.  Start small.
What one thing will you do to weave health into your every day?

I don’t have any wrinkles.

I’ve noticed that I don’t have any wrinkles.
If I don’t laugh, raise my eyebrows, talk, or move my face in any way AND, you don’t look too closely.
I never get physically sore, when I keep my same routine, moving my muscles (or not) in similar ways each day.

I make very few mistakes (sometimes).  I avoid that feeling of failure, when I stay safe and don’t try new things.

But that’s not the point is it?
To remain wrinkle and mistake free, never having tested our bodies, or our lives.
Never having known the “soreness” of something new.

To live, to love, to be is an action – even when you’re standing still.
Even when you don’t know what to do next, you breathe (hint: deeply).
And ponder what’s next.
Perhaps considering new things, maybe holding steady as is.

So, what’s your next move???

Get out there and get sore (in the body or mind), make some mistakes and create a new laugh line, or two!

Move.  you are meant to.

What are you looking forward to?

As we begin 2015, what are you looking forward to?
You may have set some resolutions or made some goals for the new year.
Or you may not.
No matter how you began January 1, the new year screams possibility.
Full disclosure: I love the new year and new goals or resolutions.  I love September, with the start of school.  I’m pretty much a sucker for new beginnings and continual growth.

And so I ask, what are you looking forward to in 2015?
Travel?
Participating in a race?
Setting a PR?
Moving your body more?
(re)Connecting with friends?
The road trip?
A work project?
Love?
Building or creating something new?
What are you looking forward to?

It helps, with any journey, to have something on the horizon – something to move toward.
Sprinkle your year with movement.  Things to look forward to.
And if you’re so inclined, I’d love to know, share in the comments below.

Swim in possibility with a heart full of love.