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Top 3 Tips for Relief from Arthritis Pain: No medication needed!

I’ve got a quick story for you, about a client who suffered from arthritis. She had been feeling achy, chronically stiff, and had pain in her joints that was starting to radiate through her limbs. Ouch. When she was diagnosed – she was shocked, thinking “I’m 23 years old – how is this even possible?” Well, with autoimmune arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), your immune system attacks the lining of your joints – at any age! 

She looked for alternatives because she didn’t want to be on arthritis medication for the rest of her life. And I don’t blame her! Some of these intense anti-inflammatory medications used for osteoarthritis treatment and RA can be really hard on your vital organs — even causing prolonged nausea, headaches, fatigue, and brain fog. Many RA medications also drastically reduce your immune system placing you at higher risk for infection, drug-related cancers, and in rare cases even death. No thanks!

The good news is that there is an alternative to medication! One important thing to note about joint pain is that typically the more you move, the better you will feel. I know, I know – it sounds counterintuitive. But, think of it like this. The motion involved in moving your joints actually creates lubrication between your joints, making it easier and much less painful to move. Remember, motion is lotion…for your joints! 

This client worked through progressive yoga and physical therapy-based mobility exercises with me, and quickly experienced amazing results – as long as she keeps up with her mobility work she experiences no more chronic pain and has yet to go on arthritis medication! HUGE WIN! 

Here were the three most important things I shared with her…which I will now share with you!

#1 If you have any form of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, it is so important to stay mobile. Even the most gentle movements will go such a long way to increase your mobility and level of comfort. Yoga-based mobility is great for this, because you can work your whole body and isolate certain joints that need more TLC. 

However, with Rheumatoid Arthritis, specifically during times of flare up, it is advised that you avoid intense stretching and exercising as this may be more detrimental to your joints and create more damage than good.  It’s not to say don’t move at all, rather modify your intensity and be gentle on your body as you move through your day or attempt a light mobility practice during a flare up.  Once it resolves, you can continue your regular strength and mobility practices.

#2 Practicing balance poses and core strengthening with mobility work or gentle yoga practice will improve your flexibility and balance. This will increase your long term strength and endurance, which will in turn support your joints and overall stability for a lifetime. 

#3 One of the most common things I would see as a Physical Therapist Assistant were people who experienced gradual muscle deterioration, aka “sarcopenia” – because getting moving again with arthritis was causing them too much pain. So, in addition to rebuilding muscle strength and endurance, you also want to ensure that you keep up with your strength and mobility work! This requires just a few minutes of daily movement – if you don’t use it, you lose it! So be sure that you stay consistent! As I always say — CONSISTENCY IS KEY! 

Arthritic pain and stiffness can be present at any age, whether it is simple osteoarthritis from “wear and tear” and the aging process, or Rheumatoid arthritis which is a systemic inflammatory disease process that attacks your joints.  

Your body is unique and so will be your journey if you have arthritis.  Not every person requires medication, though some may eventually or intermittently from time to time.  However, EVERY BODY can benefit from healthy mobility practices, yoga, whole body strengthening and balance training to protect your joints.

With arthritis you do want to make sure you work progressively – start simple and gentle and go from there. Need some help with this? Not sure where to start? Check out Chair Yoga for Joint Healing, which is the perfect “done-for-you” place to start! 

If you need ongoing support, get on board with the Yoga Prehab™ Membership – for just 0.60 cents per day, you’ll get the very best at-home Physical Therapy-based healing guidance, easy-to-follow yoga mobility programs, and more!

6 Tips To Naturally Rebalance Your Chakras To Relieve Neck + Shoulder Pain

The heart chakra (Anahata) is the area of energy in your body that is related to love, care, and compassion – both for yourself and others. The throat chakra (Vishuddha) is the area of energy in your body related to feeling heard, communicating with others, and honestly vocalizing your needs. When these centers of energy are out of balance, encumbered by stress or other emotional factors, you can actually carry those feelings of imbalance as tension in your body. 

This naturally can contribute to aches and pains in your neck and shoulders, right where those energy centers are found. Because the throat and heart chakras are next to each other, many rebalancing methods for one also benefit the other. So convenient! 

Remember that sometimes a chakra might be either blocked or overactive. Either way, these easy tips will help to rebalance your heart and throat chakras if and when they are out of sorts and imbalanced. 

  1. Speak Your Mind! Sometimes the throat chakra can feel blocked when you feel unable to express yourself. If there is something you’ve been meaning to get off your chest, do so in a gentle, honest, and mindful way. You deserve to feel heard!
  2. Go Green! (or Blue) The color associated with your heart chakra is green – specifically, emerald green, while the throat chakra is all about blue. Try surrounding yourself with these hues, or wearing something in these colors to lift and unblock those chakras.
  3. Give Thanks! For the people in your life who you couldn’t live without – let them know how thankful you are! Show your appreciation and support to those who support you – even if it’s just a quick hello, text, or email to let them know you love ‘em. Acts such as this will allow your heart chakra to really radiate. Your throat chakra is all about vocalizing and communicating, and positive words to those you care about can lift your mood and open up your throat chakra in a powerful way.
  4. Yoga It Up! Do some yoga! I love a good cat-cow sequence for healing the throat chakra. For some poses (asanas) that will target both your heart and throat chakras, join me for my Heart Reset Flow, suitable for every skill level.
  5. Turn It Upside Down! Other quick yoga-based practices for opening up the throat and heart chakras include inversions, which help stimulate the blood flow to your head, neck, and chest. Pop into a quick, gentle downward facing dog to relieve those blocked chakras and get the energy flowing. My 7 DAY CHAKRA CLEANSE is perfect for getting things realigned using physical therapy-based mobility and yoga techniques!
  6. Pamper Your Heart! Practice some self-care to help open your heart chakra. Whether it’s snuggling in to watch your favorite movie, taking some time to settle down with a face mask, or preparing your favorite healthy meal, showing yourself some love will help rebalance your chakras and get some much-needed relaxation.

Looking for more neck + shoulder remedies? Try the NEW SPINAL RESET FOR NECK + SHOULDER PAIN.  Get all my secret tips + tricks for instantly improving pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders…you won’t find them anywhere else!

How To Heal Your Heart Chakra

Your heart chakra needs attention always, but maybe some extra attention during this season of love is a good idea. For everyone!

Your heart chakra isn’t just about romantic relationships – it’s about family, work connections, friends – basically, every interaction, communication, and relationship that you have can translate to something powerful and impactful for your heart chakra. 

Your heart chakra doesn’t only get out of whack if you’re let down or disappointed by an intimate relationship. Your heart can hurt due to something a sibling said, something a friend did, or something annoying that happened at work. 

Sometimes when you have a handful of these disappointments happen frequently or all at the same time, it can make you less open to giving and receiving love, thereby closing off your heart chakra. When this happens it creates an imbalance within you and makes you less receptive to love. 

Everyone deserves love in their life. Remember that love takes many different forms – the Greeks had 7 different words to describe love – differentiating between passionate romantic love, love for your team or collaborators, love for your family, and more. But, when your heart chakra isn’t feelin’ it – it can be a challenge to give or receive any of the many forms of love. 

Here are a few ways to open your heart chakra and get those loving vibes flowing again!

  • Forgive! Easier said than done at times, clinging to past disappointments only bums you out. By hanging on to situations that deeply upset you, you give the person(s) who hurt you continued power over your present day. Yuck. Get out of their dark shadow by forgiving and moving on. 
  • The color associated with your heart chakra is green – specifically emerald green. Maybe wear your cozy green sweatshirt or buy an emerald green succulent for your desk or kitchen!
  • Try to nip negativity in the bud. The more you focus on disappointing things, the more things you will think to complain about, and then it’s just a sad, sad spiral of critical thoughts. I’m guilty of getting sucked into that downward spiral, too – but when you notice it happening, it never hurts to just pause and get your thoughts focused on more positivity.
  • For the people in your life who you couldn’t live without – tell them thank you! Show your appreciation and support to those who support you – even if it’s just a quick hello, text, or email to let them know you love ‘em.
  • Hugging, smiling, exercising – all shown to increase endorphins and put some extra cheerfulness into your day. Don’t hug people without their permission of course, but smiling is appropriate – chances are a lot of people will smile back!
  • Do some yoga – preferably with me! Join me for my Heart Reset Flow, which has lots of heart and chest opening poses for every skill level.
  • If you’re looking to add some more balance to your life, check out Yoga Prehab™! I’ve developed a membership to target balance, overall wellness, and help you live your most comfortable life. My unique combination of Physical Therapy-Based Yoga, Body-Saving Solutions, and HIIT is designed to help heal aches and pains, as well as pass along vital wellness knowledge – to you!

 

La Vie en Rose: Why You Should Be Drinking Rose Tea ASAP

Is the hype over rose-infused items qualified? Especially rose tea, I mean, is that even necessary? 

In so many words, yes and definitely! 

Tea made from the petals and buds of roses deserves a spot in your tea stash. I believe it also serves as a perfectly pleasant, warming, and relaxing tea for the winter season. In addition to feeling fancy and luxurious, rose tea actually has some excellent benefits for your body – 2020 and beyond!

Ingredients drawn from members of the rosa botanical family are notoriously powerful for their soothing and moisturizing qualities. Similarly to how rosehip seed oil and rosewater blends can effectively provide moisturize for combination skin, rose tea can help hydrate your skin from the inside out as well. 

The antioxidants found in rosa plants are typically used to combat acne and soothe the skin in various external body-suitable products, but there are similar results can also be achieved when the rose petals and rosebuds are brewed, steeped, and consumed as a tea. 

Rose tea, first of all, smells divine. Smelling and sipping it aids almost immediately in relaxation. Additionally, it can be soothing for your nervous and digestive systems, sometimes getting your digestion back in gear, and even helping to regulate imbalances in your central nervous systems. 

As a digestive aid, rose tea is also effective as a detox infusion – and one that actually tastes good. I think probably we have all been there – with a tea or herbal infusion that is great for our kidneys, liver, digestion, but tastes…tough. These teas are great to get down and really get a strong cleanse, but maybe not every day. 

Rose tea, on the other hand, is delicious, soothing, and a completely manageable daily detox for your body. A drink you can look forward to brewing, inhaling, and sipping, I can assure you!

Rose is also rumored to have a certain aphrodisiac quality to it, so hey, maybe it’s a good thing to try out for Valentine’s Day if nothing else?

Rose tea on its own is fairly fragrant, floral, and somewhat sweet, but you can always add a sweetener if you’d like. My choice would be honey, which always offers a nicely balanced addition of sweetness, plus antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. 

On its own, it is naturally decaffeinated, but you can find it mixed with black or white tea blends if you are looking for a little added kick.

Tea Sparrow has an amazing tea blend called Moments which features rosebuds, perfectly paired with a light aromatic black tea base to elevate the soft and luxurious flavor of the rose, raspberry, and subtleties of mango. It’s both warm and reminiscent of tropical flavors, making it a nice winter pick me up.

In addition to getting some new teas into your healthy, warming, delicious beverage rotation, I would love if you shared your New Year, New You goals with me on Instagram! I love answering your questions, so please give me a shout if there is anything you need to succeed. 

What Are Chakras And How Are They Related To Your Wellbeing?

So, you have probably heard the word “chakra” before – am I right? It’s definitely a word that gets thrown around a lot, but what are they, and what are they connected to exactly?

The word chakra (pronounced cha-kra) in Sanskrit means a “disk” or “orb,” and refers to the seven energy centers that are found in the human body, along the spine and up through the top of the head. These energy centers not only correspond to emotional aspects of our lives, to organs and certain areas of the body, but are also closely intertwined with our nervous systems. Chakras are essentially points at which human bodies have large networks of nerve bundles. 

Even though the concept of chakras was derived from Vedic teachings dating back to 50 B.C. and from historical Ayurvedic practice, it actually blends perfectly with what modern, Western medicine knows today to be true. Vedic teachings illustrate the way in which chakras, when open, create a healthy flow of energy that creates balance, overall wellness, and vitality in a person. These areas of chakra placement are actually correlated to key points in your nervous system. Cool, I know!

Now that you know how they are related to an intrinsic part of your body – the nervous system – let’s cover where and what the seven chakras actually are…

Root Chakra

Also known as the Muladhara (moo-lah-dar-ah) or the first chakra, it can be thought of as “rooting” you to safety and security, and is found in the area around the lowest part of your spine, near your bladder, and colon. Like roots that hold a tree in the ground, the root chakra is all about standing tall and proud as we exist in the world. When this chakra is open, you may feel brave, safe, secure, and more ready for new things. 

Sacral Chakra

Found below your navel, but above your pubic bone the Svadhisthana (swa-dhi-shtah-na), or second chakra, is the center of your sexual and creative energies. When this chakra is open, you may feel extra passionate and possess a strong willingness or drive to express yourself in creative forms. 

Solar Plexus Chakra

The Manipura (ma-ni-poo-rah), third chakra is found in your core, between your navel and your breastbone. The word Manipura in Sanskrit translates to “luminous gem” and is believed to ignite your personal source of power. This makes sense, as when we think about core strength we think about the part of our body that gives us the most power, as well as the ability to stand strong and tall. When this chakra is open you may feel confident and strong in all you do!

Heart Chakra

Located in the center of your chest, nearly in the middle of your spine is the fourth chakra, anahata (ah-na-ha-tah). This fourth chakra connects the emotional, physical, mindful, and spiritual qualities of a person. It also acts as a source of connection between what are thought of as the three “lower” energies, chakras 1-3, and the “higher” energies, chakras 5-7. When your heart chakra is open you may feel very connected to others, open to love, and more drawn toward compassion. 

Throat Chakra

The Vishuddha (vi-shoo-dah) chakra is the fifth chakra, and encompasses the area around your throat. This chakra is associated with communication and vocal expression. This chakra also includes the thyroid, mouth, jaw, and tongue. When your throat chakra is open you may feel more empowered to share opinions, communicate openly, and speak your truth more freely.

Third Eye Chakra

The sixth chakra, Ajna (ah-jnah), is between the eyebrows, in the space between your eyes. Ajna is the energy center that guides your intuition, or your power to know and perceive things in and about the world. When this chakra is open you may be more inclined to listen to your intuition and allow your internal knowledge to guide you through the world. 

Crown Chakra 

The seventh chakra, Sahaswara (sa-ha-srA-ra), can be found at the crown, or very top of your head. This is the chakra of spiritual thought and connection with ourselves, the world around us, and divinity or higher spirituality. When this chakra is open – which can be difficult to maintain all the time – you may feel at your most creative capacity, capable of feeling your highest level of understanding and spirituality.

Speaking of chakras…there is only one more day to get this AMAZING BOGO SPECIAL I have going on!

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Suitable for every body type and skill level, these two courses will help you build physical strength and reset your nervous system! These are honestly my two favorite courses and I want to help YOU get your most badass self going on in 2020!

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Stay Balanced: Holiday Edition 2020

Here we are. December! In my last blog post, I focused on what steps you can take to help your body stay healthy during the holidays. There are so many things that drain our energy this time of year, and it’s important that you know how to balance it all and stay well. 

But, there are honestly so many reasons your body can feel out of whack this season. 

Maybe it’s the excess of food, maybe it’s the travel, maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s all the running around, maybe work is wild, or maybe the holidays are just a tough time for whatever reason that may be. Whatever the cause, I want you to know that you are not alone in feeling worn out by this month. I feel pretty confident that for one reason or another, the holidays are hard on everyone. 

Even so, there is a lot to be grateful for and a lot to celebrate! Celebrating your victories, getting excited about the new year ahead and spending time with those you love.  Looking back on how far you’ve come is so important, and taking the time to focus on those positives can hopefully help take some of the stress away and bring you joy. 

If staying in good health seems like it might be a challenge while you’re traveling, visiting, and celebrating – that’s okay! I have some solid advice for staying balanced this holiday season. 

Get Moving

Getting some type of motion in each day and exercising is so important. Exercise can ward off feelings of anxiety, help you feel calmer, and is, of course, great for our overall health and wellbeing. Gentle movements and yoga will be super useful if you are feeling stiff from flights or time in the car, and even just going for a quick walk or run can help you clear your head and work up a sweat. 

You don’t have to jeopardize the things you like about the holidays in order to achieve a good balance and fit in some daily exercise. Invite family and friends to exercise with you or invite them to stretch or do some gentle yoga.  

Simple as A, B, C

Make sure you are getting your vitamins! Either taking them as supplements or eating foods in which key vitamins and nutrients naturally occur will help keep you feeling good. Some of my personal favorites this time of year are: 

  • Vitamin A: found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and lots of types of winter squash, its probably easy to find something full of vitamin A on any holiday dinner table. Vitamin A is vital to your immune system and pairs well with vitamin C in helping you ward off common ailments. 
  • Vitamin B: B-complex vitamins have so many benefits, including increased energy, better immune function, and stronger mental clarity. If you’re eating almonds, avocados, and leafy greens, you’re getting your B vitamins in!
  • Vitamin C: found in citrus, lemons, peppers, and brussel sprouts, vitamin C will boost your immunity and help you fight any infections or viruses you might be exposed to. 

Even with all the craziness, fueling your body with good nutrients and keeping active will help you find and maintain balance this holiday season. I promise that taking just a little extra time to eat something healthy and move your body will have a huge payoff in helping you feel good the whole season long!

I’d love to invite you to join me on Instagram for even more holiday wellness tips, and don’t miss out on the opportunity to enter to win the incredible Holiday Giveaway, which includes a delicious selection of tea from Tea Sparrow and a FREE course from me!!

Also, check out how you can maximize mobility in your shoulders with just a few minutes each day. You’ll see immediate improvement. Perfect for loosening up after periods of extended holiday travel! 

Stay well!