Tag: Physiotherapy

November 30, 2018

Trying to motivate yourself to run throughout the winter months can be a struggle, but trying to stay injury free while you run throughout the winter months can be even more of a challenge! Check out these winter running tips that should help keep you running consistently all year long without pesky injuries slowing you down!

 

Temporarily reduce your weekly mileage with the first snowfall.

When you are running on snow as opposed to a hard, slip free surface you are using stabilizing muscles you haven’t used in a long time. This places you at increased risk of injury. Week 1 run 50% of your normal weekly mileage. Week 2 increase to 75%. By week 3 you should be able to return to your normal weekly mileage.

Avoid switching to the treadmill for 100% of your winter running.

First of all running on a flat uniform surface involves repeating the exact same movement over and over again which increases your risk of repetitive strain injuries like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.  Second of all when the snow melts and you switch back to running outdoors you will have to drastically decrease your mileage or you’ll risk injury. Running on the treadmill does not mimic running outside! The impact force from running outside is much greater than on the treadmill. Also on the treadmill you are trying to keep up with the track as it glides under your feet, whereas outside you actually have to propel yourself forward. It’s very different therefore your body needs to be allowed the time to adjust!

Make sure your important stabilizing muscles are strong!

Running on the snow and ice demands more muscle effort than running on the treadmill or outdoors on dry pavement. Especially from the glutes and core. (See previous glute strengthening blog!)

Wear the proper footwear!

Yaktrax

Either wear sneakers that are meant for winter running and have soles with studs or spikes, or purchase an ice traction device such as Yaktrax that fit over your sneakers.

Warm up!

Warming up is more important during the cold winter months. If you are standing in a parking lot waiting for others in your group to show and you are shivering and chilly, your muscles are tight and cold as you start to run which can put you at increased risk of injury. Jog on the spot, do high knees or bum kicks, or wait in your car with your heat blasting!

Ignore the pace on your watch!

Focus on effort level as opposed to pace if you are used to running with a running watch. You will run slower in the winter months. If you try to maintain the same pace you did on the clear dry pavement you could end up with an injury. Use the rate of perceived exertion scale. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel your body is working. These feelings are not objective like monitoring your heart rate, but they can give an estimate of your heart rate and your exercise intensity zone.

 

 

 

Try snowshoe running!

It’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the snow covered trails. You have to make some small technique adjustments such as running with a slightly wider stance and lifting your feet higher. This will challenge your hip abductors such as your glute med and min and your hip flexors so make sure you ease into snowshoe running gradually. It is much slower than road/trail running so don’t focus on pace. Again use the rate of perceived exertion scale above! Also, purchasing snowshoes that are designed for running such as the Atlas snowshoes shown below can definitely improve your comfort level and speed while snowshoe running.

 

November 15, 2018

Last week I discussed how much targeting my glutes has helped improve my running performance over the past 2 months. For those of you who have been wondering if your own glutes are up to par, here is a helpful follow up blog!

This is a great test for glute max strength so give it a try at home! You do not need any equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •       Lie on the floor with your arms across your chest and feet shoulder width apart.
  •       Lift your bum off the floor so that you are only balancing on your shoulder blades and heels.
  •       Now try to lift your left leg! Can you do it? How long can you hold it for?
  •       Now try to lift your right leg! Can you do it? How long can you hold it for? Is it easier or harder than when you lifted your left leg?

For runners, asymmetry is not our friend! There are certain sports when muscle strength/flexibility asymmetry is normal and maybe even necessary to perform well (think golf/curling/baseball). But runners should be equally flexible and strong throughout the body. So if you do the above test and you find it more difficult to lift the left leg, your right glute needs some attention! And vice versa for the opposite side.  

Tune in next week for Part 3 where I’ll go over functional strengthening movements for runners!

November 12, 2018

 

The main goal of an initial assessment is to determine possible causes of your injury or impairment. We also ask: What can we do to remove or alleviate the pain?

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, you may be a bit sore after an assessment.  This is largely due to the fact that we’ve probably just moved your body in ways you’ve been avoiding due to discomfort or pain.  In order to determine a course of action, we as therapists trust in functional movement assessment techniques to help us get you back to the best version of yourselves as quickly as possible!

Physiotherapy Assessment

 

What to Expect

  • Our initial assessments typically consist of a 1 hour one-on-one session with a therapist, and 99 percent of the time, treatment will be provided on the first visit as well.

 

  • The therapist will review your health history as well as pose a series of helpful “red flag” questions with the purpose of eliminating any sinister causes as the root of your injury/impairment.

 

  • Expect to move!  Our bodies were designed to do so and chances are, you’re here to figure out what is keeping you from pain free movement.

 

  • It’s always a good idea to come dressed in non-restrictive clothing so that when a therapist is assessing your squat for example, you’re not going to be doing so in a suit or skirt.

 

  • If you have any diagnostic imaging available to you (x-ray, MRI), we will be happy to have a look at that with you.

 

  • Homework is probably going to be assigned.  Getting you back to feeling great will require your active participation and expectations will be set out for you by your therapist.  We are always available by phone or email if you ever have any questions or need clarification on what your homework is.

The initial assessment is the first step in getting you back in action.  Just remember, we want to see you as little as possible, but as much as necessary to get and keep you pain-free and functioning well.

November 8, 2018

2 months ago my husband and I made a very big move. We sold our home in Labrador, packed up our truck and our camper and hit the dirt road (literally) to move to Ottawa. I worked as a physiotherapist for 9 years at the hospital in Goose Bay, so accepting a job with Whole Therapy was a huge change for me. I was very nervous and excited and obviously was wondering if I had made the right decision.

Fast forward 2 months and I can say with absolute certainty that yes we made the right choice. My husband and I, along with our 14 month old daughter Emily, absolutely love Ottawa. We love to run, hike, cycle, canoe, and camp, so Ottawa has been a fantastic fit for us. But even more important is I love my new job. My coworkers are fantastic and have taught me so much in just a few weeks. I have met a lot of really cool clients and I love working with the team here to help people reach their goals as fast as possible.

One huge benefit to working at Whole Therapy is that the staff here not only work together to help each other’s clients but they also work together to help each other. I have been running competitively since I was in high school. Over the years I have completed 9 half marathons, 2 full marathons and a bunch of 5 and 10km races. Back home in Labrador I was a member of the Trappers’ Running Club Executive where I helped organize the annual Trapline Marathon (it’s a Boston qualifier and a fantastic race if anyone wants to experience a run in the rural north!) I helped organize and lead the running clinics for the Trapline and I offered education sessions on running form, injury prevention, stretching, etc.

So needless to say I am a runner and am very passionate about the sport. After moving to Ottawa I joined Run Ottawa and I immediately started exploring different running routes and trails around the city. I was having some persistent issues that seemed to start while I was running pregnant with my daughter in 2017. These issues particularly occurred during/after tempo runs, interval training or races:

  • Stitches under my ribs during my higher intensity training sessions that were just completely ruining my runs. Everything I did to stop them failed. I tried to eat at least 2-3 hours before running, do a good warm up, breathe deeply through the stitch. Nothing seemed to work.
  • My hamstrings were just destroyed after speed work. They were so tight, sore and stiff.
  • The area around my C-section scar just felt, for lack of a better word, ugly! Very achy and empty if that makes sense.

My first race in Ottawa was the 5km RBC Run for the Kids in the middle of September. I had a great race but again all 3 of the above issues definitely limited my pace. When I came to work that Monday and chatted to my co-workers about how the race went, I became the client instead of the therapist and it was awesome!

Jamie took me into the gym and focused on why my hamstrings were working so hard. Turns out my glute max was extremely weak especially on the left which meant my hamstrings had to work overtime to compensate. He gave me some homework which included single leg bridge reps, step downs and reverse plank on the stability ball with knee extension. He also worked on my breathing technique which he figured was the cause of my frequent running stitches.

Mel got her hands on me to work around my C-section scar. Emily is 14 months old so it has definitely healed, but I learned after that session that it was not so much the scar tissue causing the “ugly” sensation but the very tight hip musculature surrounding it.

My second race in Ottawa was the 10km Ottawa Fall Colors Run. I ran stitch free, I felt my glute max was definitely working harder than it had been a month ago which meant my hamstrings weren’t totally exhausted following, and I didn’t have the ugly C—section scar feeling!

I still have a lot of work to do over the winter months but I can say with confidence that I think I will be able to run some personal best times next year with the help of my fantastic coworkers!

If you are a runner and you want to run as efficiently as possible, the off season is coming up and it’s a great time to book an appointment and be assessed for any muscle imbalances you may have!

Posted in Physiotherapy by Pat Moore | Tags: , , ,
February 25, 2016

Q:  How do you feel about massaging women?IMG_3313

A:  Most of my clients are women. I feel that I’m able to give a good, therapeutic, intuitive massage. I’m not judgmental of women’s bodies; I treat all of my clients with the respect they deserve.

Q:  And how about massaging men?

A:  In my experience, men who ask for a male therapist usually want deeper tissue massage, which is great for me because that’s what I like to do! Deep tissue focuses on the therapeutic aspect of massage. It’s a major part of what I do.

Q:  What are your feelings about being a gender minority in the massage world?

A:  I look at my job from the perspective of a massage therapist, not from that of a man. Unfortunately, massage therapy is still confused with intimacy, which it is not. It’s assessment, it’s treatment of soft tissue injuries. It’s an hour on the table working on your muscles. It’s therapy. Your therapists sex has nothing to do with it.

Q:  What would you say you focus on during treatments?

A:  Pain is often what brings clients in.  I always address pain first – it’s a symptom that shouldn’t be ignored. Once the pain goes away, I focus on function.  If the body isn’t functioning well, pain is always around the corner.

September 4, 2015

Dictionary.com defines change as the following:

CHANGE
verb (used with object), changed, changing.

To make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something)
different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone:
To change one’s name; to change one’s opinion;

To change the course of history. 

trapped

Not sure if this office setup has the lumbar support I need..

What a simple, easy to understand, straight to the point definition.  And yet, as simple as it is to understand, why then do we humans have so much trouble implementing change into our own lives?
I’m not talking about changing the tires on your car, or, the vacuum bag, or your little human’s diapers; although some of these things are dull, taxing, or unpleasant.  I’m talking about real change.  Meaningful life-altering change.

Four years ago I found myself in a terrible position.  I was stuck in a dead end job with no further room for growth.  I wasn’t learning any new skills or even really developing my current skill set.  The monetary compensation was less than adequate, and I was oh, so very bored.  I can look at that time now and easily identify these symptoms for what they were:  I was stuck.  I needed a career transplant.

I was trapped in this Grand Canyon-sized rut where it became easier to do nothing than to fix my situation. I had absolutely no idea how to get out of it.  I was walled in and (thought) I didn’t have the tools to get myself out.

But everyone has a boiling point, don’t they?  Everyone will eventually find themselves in a position where change becomes inevitable.  And sometimes, all it takes to initiate that change is a little luck, a little timing, and a little pro-activity.   Jamie, a co-worker of mine at the time, knew of my struggles with the daily grind and had often been a sounding board for me when I had to let off steam.  Jamie turned out to be the husband of my current employer, the incomparable Jen Wright.

Taking action, finally

Combine the fact I had recently returned to high school to obtain my diploma after a 17 year hiatus (that’s a change story for another time) with an increasing difference of opinion on certain matters with some of my co-workers led to me investigate a suggested employment agency here in the city. I set up the appointment to meet with someone in a fancy downtown office; I took their online office skills test, and went for the follow up meeting on a Friday after work.  I was told that they would be in touch with me and that was that.

It was the following Monday when Jamie stepped into my office and said to me.  “Jenny is looking to hire an office manager, are you interested?”  Boom.  All of a sudden, I had a lifeline.  It was like Regis had just given me an extra phone a friend and I was about to become a millionaire.

The next week when the employment agency called, I happily told them I had found what I was looking for and that their services would not be needed.

I don’t normally put a lot of stock in Karma or that kind of thing, but I can honestly tell you that I believe the only reason that the offer came my way was because I had taken the first step and had unknowingly asked the universe to give me the change I needed.

sea creature

“Try the Human, it’s delicious”

The reason people have trouble with change is because, not surprisingly, it’s really hard.

It’s like jumping into a lake you’ve never swam in before.

You know that moment when you’re standing on the dock, imagining all the hideous and murderous monsters that are right now swimming just below the surface?  That’s how change can feel.  Scary.  Scary, slimy and covered  in murder-y scales.

Change is difficult for me because I like things to be consistent.

Everything in their place and all that. The big win for me was learning to realize that things were broken and out of place.  It took me a long time, but I did it.

When I finally realized that I couldn’t keep doing things the way I’d been doing them, the universe responded with a giant “Well it’s about time.  Here, take this happiness and meaning.  Have a good day” and vaporized all the sea mutants waiting below the surface.

So yes, change is difficult.  But is it essential to survival?  Yes.  Is it one of the keys to happiness?  Probably.  Have and will I continue to look for opportunities to evolve?  Certainly.

 

We at Whole Therapy want to hear from YOU! Take a picture or write a post about your #ChangeOneThing experience. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WholeTherapy as well. We’ve got some great prizes to give away!

 

Pat Moore is the office manager at Whole Therapy.  Pat works alongside a team of dedicated professionals and is here to help ensure that your visit at Whole Therapy is as pleasant as possible.  For more about Pat, click here!

Pat

July 29, 2015

Life is like a Spartan Race. No, seriously. Let me explain. On June 5, 2015 I participated in the annual Spartan Sprint at Edelweiss Ski Resort. Being a relatively fit individual, I felt I was pretty prepared for the upcoming 5 km obstacle course race. Spartan was to be conquered and I was going to be the conqueror. I was so confident that my plan was to yell “SPARTA” at the top of my lungs using a deep Gerard Butler-like voice while performing air kicks victoriously over the finish line.

Why was I so foolishly confident?

 Three days a week I work out across at the gym doing some form of weight training at the discretion of my trainer. I run three days a week with a good friend of mine for at least a distance of 5km. I also play beach volleyball in a league every Wednesday night. I like to think I am a fairly active person. I can squat, lunge, jump, sprint, burpee, crawl, climb, push and pull.

Spartan had nothing on me, right? Well, here’s the thing about the Spartan Race. You have to run UP the ski-hill at Edelweiss TWICE. Emphasis on the word, UP. Ski hills are not meant to be run UP, they are meant to be skied DOWN. The ascension up the mountain literally kicked my ass!! I was not used to keeping my heart rate so elevated. This resulted in nausea and feelings of pukey-ness. Not a great start for this aspiring conqueror. Let’s just say I cursed gravity quite a bit during this pesky obstacle course!

 

So alas, here are 3 life lessons I learned (or, probably already knew but effectively ignored) while completing the Spartan Sprint.

spartan race 2015 bails

  1. No matter how prepared you feel you might be, sometimes you just aren’t. That’s life. And it’s ok! You can’t be prepared ALL the time. Sometimes you need to get your ass-kicked to remind you that there is still work to be done.
  1. Sometimes winning is just seeing it through. Instead of me yelling “SPARTA” at the top of my lungs while performing air kicks victoriously over the finish line, I hauled my tired, muddy butt over the finish line in a zombie, pain-induced state. But I finished, and it was AWESOME!
  1. You’re better than you think you are. Although the mountain kicked my butt, the obstacles did not. The obstacles actually served as a much needed break from running UP the ski-hill. And the feeling of being strong is one of the best feelings EVER. Just check out my game face captured in this photo of me after I dominated the gymnast-like rings. Clearly I was high-fiving myself in my mind! My body is capable, and that’s pretty cool!

 

Bailey Gresham is a registered physiotherapist for Whole Therapy. She specializes in manual therapy and movement-based therapy. She likes bridging the gap between rehabilitation and performance training.  More about Bailey here.

Bailey

 

June 18, 2015

In April I had the opportunity to speak at a Women’s Business Network breakfast, and I spoke about a topic that I deem extremely important.  Read on to find out how to start listening to the language of your body.

Your body is great.  I’ve said this before in another blog post, and I mean it.

Listening to the language your body speaks enables you to give it what it needs.  When you respect your body’s needs, you can nourish it in the right ways, and be healthier, more functional, and overall happier with life.

Too often we ignore the little signals our bodies give us.  Headache?  Just pop a pill.  Tired?  Just one more hour on the computer.  Stiff?  Ignore the discomfort, it’ll eventually go away, right?

Nope.  The body has the amazing ability to speak to you louder and louder until you get the message.  Eventually, it will make you pay attention, even if it has to shut you down with extreme pain or limitation.
outoforderWhen learning to listen, it’s vital that we deem ourselves important enough.  If we don’t, we’ll never understand our body’s language because that would mean we’d have to listen!  Many people get by on “good enough” but is that really okay?  Would “good enough” be an adequate health status for our children?  Our significant others?  No way!  Would you drive a vehicle every day that was only “good enough?”  Probably not.

And yet we “drive” our bodies around in that state all too often.  You are important.  Make sure you know that.  Because “good enough” within our own selves does not lead to greatness in our family lives, our relationships, or our businesses.

So how do I know what my body has to say?  Here are the steps to follow:

Tune In.dog-food-meditating-dog-medium-18624

What is your body saying?  Start simple.  How is your temperature right now?  I ask my clients this before every massage, and it tunes them in right away.  Too warm? Sweaty?  Chilly under a vent?  Just perfect?  Take a second and tune in to what your body feels about temperature.

Then, move on to discomfort.  Start from your head and work down to your toes.  Are you uncomfortable anywhere?  Are you extra aware of one side of your neck versus the other?  Are you sitting in a way that’s making your back hurt?  Are your knees creaky?  Discomfort and pain are often ignored because we feel we don’t have the time for them.  However, to paraphrase an oft-used quote, Those who think they have no time to deal with discomfort will sooner or later have to find time to deal with injury.

Once you have tuned in to your body’s sensations like cold/hot, hunger/satisfaction, or discomfort/pain, you’re on the right track.  Sensations are important because they connect you to what your body needs right now.

 

For use elsewhere.00_01_35_02.Still021

Honest assessments to get to the root of the issue.

Assess.  Why am I feeling this way?  It’s important that you assess without judging too much (it’s hard, I know).  Judging can lead to runaway emotions and turn small problems into big ones.

For example: The sensation of being too hot can lead to annoyance – I hate having these hot flashes! Stupid body!  Instead of judging, ASSESS: do you notice that they happen more often when you’re stressed?  More often in the morning? Can you see a pattern?  If you can, you’re closer to understanding your body’s language, and it can help with your emotional response.

The sensation of pain or discomfort can lead to anxiety – what’s wrong with me? Is this serious? Is it just a headache or something worse? Instead of judging, ASSESS: Why is my head hurting?  Am I dehydrated?  Have I been staring at this screen too long?  Did I sleep funny?  Asking simple questions can sometimes reassure you when it comes to pain.

 

takeaction

“Action always beats intention”

Take Action:  Now that you’ve discerned what your body is trying to tell you (or you’re on track), you need to take action.  It’s important not to tell your body to “shut up.”  Eventually, your body will make you listen, even if it has to shut you down in the process.

If you don’t know what action to take, that’s okay.  Asking for help is perfectly fine.  My colleagues and I help people learn to interpret their body’s language every day.  It’s a process of trial and error.  But you have to take some action, or nothing will happen at all.

If, while practicing, frustration creeps in, remember that’s normal.  We all want instant gratification:  I want my body to just be good! I want there to be no pain or discomfort!

Well I want my business to make a million dollars this year, and I want my kids to pick up their clothes without me asking a million times… but it doesn’t just happen!

You have to learn how to ask if you want results.  Learning to speak back to your body is as important as listening to it speak to you.  We’re not going to live healthy into our eighties by eating crappy food and being sedentary.  When we eat crappy food, we’re telling our bodies “Here, this is your fuel.”  When we exercise, we’re telling our bodies, “Get used to this; adapt; be stronger.”  By comparison, if you tell your body, “this computer posture is normal” eight hours a day, your body will adapt to that!

Remember that you are speaking to your body as much as it is speaking to you.  You can get help learning to listen to your body’s language, but for the most part, it just takes practice and perseverance, and an intuition that I know we all have (we are women after all!).

To recap: In order to be better at listening to the language of your body, first, TUNE IN to the physical sensations and the emotions that your body is presenting to you.  Tune in often.  Scan your body often.

Second, ASSESS why your body is speaking to you.  Why am I feeling this way?  If you can’t figure it out, ask for help.

And third, TAKE ACTION when your body speaks to you.  Take action in a timely manner, and use intuition as your guide.

Remember: even though it might not always feel like it, your body is great.  It’s great.  And it’s talking to you.  Make sure you listen.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

April 29, 2015

It is the last weekend of April and as you know, the theme of April is “Letting Go”. I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about some of my bad habits because physiotherapists are people too! In the spirit of starting fresh this coming May, here are some of MY bad habits which some of you may relate too! And try not to hold them against me! Haha

1) Chewing my nails. Disgusting, I know. I don’t even know I’m doing it. I’m pretty sure I chewed my nails in the womb, that’s how bad this habit is. Have I tried to quit? Yes. Have I been successful? Not even a little bit. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to quit, leave a comment!

What have I tried? Well my parents offered me $1000.nail biting meme00 to quit for a whole 12 months when I was much younger. I was able to go about 8 months before my nerves got the best of me. I was participating in a cross-country race in The Grove located in my hometown of Arnprior, ON. Fortunately (or, unfortunately) I won the race, but lost the war when it came to my nails. It just took one race and my nails were GONE! I have also tried using that disgusting stuff that makes your nails taste terrible, and guess what? I got USED to the taste and just kept on biting. Biting and biting and BITING. Now, I have no nerve endings left in my fingers for me to even feel pain! Talk about hopeless!

2) Slouching. Ironically, I’m the self-proclaimed posture police when it comes to my clients. I’m especially strict when it comes to my clients who sit at a desk all day! Slouching can lead to loads of dysfunction in your neck and shoulders. Take my shoulder for instance: My poor right shoulder has been getting quite “ouchie” over the last few months. This is because I tend to sit/stand with my shoulders in a forward, rounded position. I am also right hand dominant, making me more inclined to use my right hand for essentially EVERYTHING. Because my shoulders have been creeping forward, the back of my right shoulder has gotten pathologically tight. As a result, my ability to put my hand behind my back is restricted and painful. Overhead movements can be often uncomfortable.

Thankfully, I work with a great team who is able to help me restore my passive accessory movement back to normal. Even though I’m a physiotherapist, sometimes you just need another set of eyes and hands to help resolve some of your issues!

3) Don’t wait! Procrastinate now! Take this post for instance: My boss likes me to post things every Wednesday morning. Heaven forbid I try to have something written BEFORE Wednesday! I like to think I thrive under the pressure of having a deadline. Realistically though, instead of “thriving” I often find myself stressed! There is enough stress in the world without procrastination. My goal in May is to try and set aside some time each day to do something productive (i.e. study for my Level 3 Manual Therapy Course). A half hour is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Maybe my goal should be to de-activate Pinterest? I’m sure I’d get a lot of my life back after doing that!

Keeping it real everyone! With the warm weather approaching, now is the time to make those much needed changes to better yourself! I’m going to try, so should you!

Bailey Gresham is a registered physiotherapist for Whole Therapy. She specializes in manual therapy and movement-based therapy. She likes bridging the gap between rehabilitation and performance training and has really really REALLY short nails.  More about Bailey here.

Bailey

 

April 20, 2015

I’m staring at my feet.  I’ve been staring at my feet for the last two minutes, trying not to distract myself.  My feet are planted into my vibrant purple yoga mat.  My knees are bent just a little, and my upper body is flopped over, my arms hanging down by my feet.

Context starts to creep in: wow, I really need a pedicure.  How long have I been in this pose? Sounds like that baby outside is pretty unhappy…

No.  I give my head a teeny shake to empty my mind of chatter. I focus on the exquisite sensation in the back of my legs. Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.  I repeat this breathing pattern until I feel the rigidity in my hamstrings start to slacken. Ahhh.  But I still need a pedicure.

Becoming a yoga instructor was not something I thought would ever happen, but here I am, three days into Yin training, learning the (y)ins and outs of poses such as Rag Doll, Hero, and Smiling Cow Face (yes, seriously).

smiling_cow

“This grass is udderly delightful”

 

Why am I here?  The first time I tried Yin yoga was during my first foray into running, and my hips were tighter than the lid of a pickle jar.  I sought relief from the discomfort in my body.  Now, almost ten years later, I seek relief from the discomfort in my mind.

Like many people I know, I’ve gotten used to being distracted by the context – while driving to work I seek distraction from the radio.  While waiting for anything (even sometimes a pot of water to boil) I seek distraction in my phone, with texting, emails, or social media.

I’ve forgotten how to focus on what my Instructor calls The Essence.

When we allow our minds to focus inward, we are able to listen to the language our body is speaking to us.  A tight muscle here, a wayward emotion there, maybe even a genius idea budding in the corner of our mind.  If we are constantly entertaining ourselves with outside noise, we miss all of the wonderful things our insides are trying to tell us.

So I’m feeling the feelings.  Tension is melting away at the base of my neck as my head hangs upside down.  My chest and stomach feel wonderfully heavy against my thighs now, when at minute one my hips resisted that position.  Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.

Will I ever be able to be fully mindful and poised? I have my doubts.  But I’m open to learning.  In the meantime, I’m using my body to train my mind, and I’m open to possibility.

The journey continues.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen