You've Got Some Nerves!

This little blog was created for my dad, who is currently traveling through Europe, and reached out for some help with pain he was experiencing in his leg as a result of compression around his SI joint. 

I sent him a couple of the videos I have on hand for decompressing the lumbar spine and pelvis, but soon found myself  Facetiming with him in café in Amsterdam, describing  how nerves run through the body and a technique called “Nerve Flossing” which is a very effective way to diminish pain. It’s a simple concept. I shot a video for him, then realized this could be a helpful blog post topic, and so here we are.


Nerves connect your brain to your body and vice versa. They start up in your brain and run through your spinal cord, exiting in between various vertebrae in a logical relationship to your physiology. For example, the nerves that run through your arms come out of your lower cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae, and the ones that run down your legs are coming off of the lower lumbar and the pelvis. Nerves are sensitive little beings, and so as they travel through your ever bending spine, they are encased by a protective sac called the “ Dura”, which also protects the brain. This creates an unbroken connection from the bottom of your spine all the way to the top of your head, which allows pain free movement as we put our bodies through their daily moves.

When postural strain becomes too severe, or the spinal cord is damaged, then nerves can become entrapped by the surrounding tissues, and pain can result, radiating out from it’s source, and possibly affecting the entire nerve line. Because of that pain, muscles contract to protect the area from any more damage, but the resulting contraction can also increase tension on the nerve itself. This is where nerve flossing comes in.

By putting one end of it under mild tension then moving the other end through flexion and extension, the entire nerve line can be lengthened, and muscles that have clamped down around the pain can slowly move back to their normal state. This can ease radiating nerve pain substantially. 

My dad had a hard time picturing all of this through FaceTime Audio ( don’t ask me why video wasn’t working, I’m sure it would have been more clear had he seen me talking with my hands ) so I provided him with the mental image of a tightrope. Even if you are stepping only on one side of it, the entire rope feels it, and the reverb is felt all the way to the other side. 

So, like I said, I made him a video and here it is. This is an example of how to nerve floss for leg pain. Typically one only explores flexion and extension ( nodding or tapping) but I threw in a little neck rotation as well because he has tight shoulders ( and don’t we all?) and that feels good for them. Each of these exercises can stand alone, and all of them should be done slowly, at least 10-15 times, then rest, and do another set. If you feel like challenging your co-ordination, you can try doing them all together - nodding your head in synchronicity with your foot. 

Please remember, I don’t live in your body, YOU do. Please be mindful when you practice any form of physical activity and consult a physician when necessary. 

Breathing 101 - What you focus on EXPANDS

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you are familiar with my fascination with the breath.

I would imagine that if I owned a wild stallion, the feelings would be similar - the desire to ride it, to learn from it’s power, the reluctance to control it or rein it in, and a massive amount of respect for the life force contained within this wild and beautiful being.

As one life supporting action that happens whether we focus on it or not, but can be changed by our focus, it is unique in it’s relationship with our minds, as a link between the conscious and unconscious systems in our body. Like circulation and digestion,respiration happens from the moment you are born until the moment you die, whether you are aware of it or not. But unlike the the first two systems, you are able to not only be aware of respiration, but also control it. The pace, the volume, and it’s direction. This creates an incredible link between the controlled and uncontrolled systems in the body, and without going too far in to the anatomical details of this, I’d like to pitch my theory to you:

By focusing on where you are breathing, and how it feels, you will become more aware of the muscles that help you to breathe, and how you can support them for better execution of this particular job.

What you focus on expands, and changes. ( basic meditation hack) When you focus on your breath, you become more aware of the parts of your body that are affected by it, which can lead to greater awareness, control, and ease in those particular areas.

Because we have a much larger capacity for both inhalation and exhalation than we actually use ( our survival needs are different than our potential oxygen exchange ), when we extend the duration/volume of our breath, our bodies are both stretched and engaged from the inside.

So as opposed to dictating a “body warmup” from the brain, this gentle warmup uses breath, gravity, and some simple body positions to open up those creaky spaces inside of you that may not have been wanting to join the workout party.

Try this in the morning before you start your day, or in the evening before you go to bed.

The link between the known and unknown within us is one that has been danced with in every mind/body modality out there. Take this as a nod to the " Universal YES” on breath and dive on in.

If you’d like more anatomical details about breathing, check out this blog, or ask the all knowing google about breathing. There is so much great research out there and I encourage you to educate yourself as much as is helpful.

An Inside Job

Sometimes, to get big results, you have to start small. 

This breath based, restorative sequence was created for my good friend Bad Unkl Sista.

A byproduct of the creative lifestyle is usually too much time spent either in the " human cashew" position  ( that's the one where you're seated with your head jutted forward, while collapsing in your spine) or that you're moving your body in ways that aren't necessarily good for it. In her case, as a Butoh performer, this translates to holding contorted positions for long amounts of time, slowly transitioning to the next evocative shape. It's exquisite to watch, but takes it's toll on the body.

We all do this. Perhaps not with the sense of "awe and living wonder" that she does, but we all hold awkward positions as we move through our lives, and often wind up exhausted and aching at the end of the day with no energy left to work out, even when that's what we need the most. 

So I put together this 20 minute class to help your body restore itself without pushing.

 It's called the " Inside Job" because that's how it works. From the inside out. 

We use the breath as a tool to clear pathways for greater movement, gently slipping through a small series of restorative yoga poses. The background music has been generously provided by my friend Nico Georis.

You literally just need to lie there and breathe. The unwinding happens on it's own. 

For this " Inside Job", you'll want some outside support. A minimum of two yoga mats or blankets ( one to lie one and one to roll up for support under your legs/spine) one yoga block or two folded and stacked up bath towels/one folded pillow, and a number of pillows : at least one classic bed pillow and 2-4 couch cushions. A good rule is " prop what's dropped". Feel free to overthink all of this, and then throw it all out the window and ask your body what it needs ;-) 

Take a look at the picture below and start with all of these things, plus two extra cushions and you should be good. 


Breathe On,


To Enchanting Inner Music

I took a vacation recently that brought me deeply in to nature, adding a whole new dimension to my explorations in to breath. Replacing the “ surrounding box” of the studio with a living environment brought awareness to new places in my body, filling up the stagnant areas where breath and movement hadn’t occupied for some time, while clearing out many of the anxious thoughts that tend to rattle through the mind. 

Writing about his Kundalini experiences in St. Thomas,  my teacher Juliu Horvath once said “ To enchanting inner music listening in mesmerizing inner light I take my daily baths”, and there were times out there in the forest that I could swear I was hearing that same symphony.

Every living thing expresses itself, whether we “hear” it or not. As humans, we often struggle to hear other humans over the strong voices of our own thoughts, even when those humans speak our same language. It takes some observational skills to notice the communications of mammals,  and even more to sense the language of insects. At some point, the obvious verbal bridges drop away ( try to “listen” to fish) but it doesn’t mean they they aren’t emoting, it just means that we aren’t as fluent in those channels. 

In Nature, it is clear that communication is happening all around you, and the more you tune in the more you are able to absorb of it. Not only the animals, but the plants and the trees all seem to be emitting their own vibrations, chattering around you about the sunlight, the beings that share their space, organizing their root systems, etc.  However, this type of awareness about communication remains as an “awareness” more so than a recognizable language. So it was to my utter delight when my buddy Nico Georis recently unveiled his latest project.

 He has been experimenting with a device called the Midi Sprout, which can measure the biofeedback from plants and with the aid of a synthesizer, turn that feedback in to music. I was fortunate enough to attend a live show with Nico and his houseplants, Shirley ( a Bird of Paradise) and Scooter ( a smaller little shoot), at the Henry Miller Library where we interacted with the plants both physically ( touching their leaves) and sonically ( Nico would accompany them on the piano as they played the MidiSprout). The evening was curiously transformative, as plants have their own rhythm, different than the ones we create as humans. The sounds filling the room gave me the same calm as I had found camping by the Feather River earlier this month, and sounded ( not unsurprisingly) just like the symphony that had filled my ears while I was out there, breathing with trees in Northern California. 

So in turn, I have begun to play with using Shirley’s soundscapes while breathing. Using her music to fill the spaces where thoughts usually rattle around in your mind. The plant based background, combined with these breathing techniques, takes you out of fight or flight mode, and allows for your body to gently create movement where stress had locked you down. 

This week’s class is different than previous ones, designed more to transport than to educate you. Use it to de-stress, or to strategically prepare your mind and body for scenario that requires some delicate handling. There are times where we are required to be active without being reactive. This is a really sweet way of getting there. 

You won’t need to watch the video, but you may want to use some speakers, or better yet, get a set of headphones, go outside, and do this class there. 

It’s 22 minutes long.

Give yourself 30.

You won’t regret it. 

If you are enjoying these classes, you may want to check out my current teaching schedule. I have two separate single day breathing workshops coming up in August, as well as many training opportunities.  It would be a joy to have you in my classroom. 

Hangin' Tough

For many of us, something important is happening over the next two months.

It's called " Summer Vacation", and it's a quaint old custom harkening back to the days of yore when it was entirely possible to support a family on a single income, and half of the population blissfully structured their schedule around child-rearing. Excursions to fun parks, beaches, and family vacations are planned, and playgrounds all over are filled with rambunctious tiny humans who easily consume their body weight in food every couple of days. No matter how you may see yourself fitting in to the above scenario, we can agree that spending more time at the playground is a net positive, so I designed this blog with a play structure in mind. 

One of my criteria for "Breathe In, Work Out" is that the sequences should be able to be done by most everyone, most anywhere, with most anything. So the exercises are simple, and when props are used, I try to keep it to things you have lying around the house, such as beds, balls, and socks. Going " All Terrain" allows us to make use of a different environment, and that can be good for your body in and of itself. Stagnation equals death, and you wouldn't want your exercise routine to become stagnant any more than you would want to read the same book every night while putting your child to sleep! ( insert laughing while crying emoticon here

This week, we're hangin' with the shoulder girdle. I'm preparing to teach an Archway training this August, and as I review all of the material, I find myself back up in the anatomy of our upper body, with some very clear principles for approaching movement there. 

My schedule this weekend is entirely dedicated to caring for four of my favorite tiny humans (  yes - the four featured on the "album cover" of this week's blog) and so much as I would love to sit down with some wine and whisper sweet nothings about anatomy to you, I'm going to synthesize this one down to a few key points: 

1. You have muscles all around your scapulae ( shoulder blades). Both on top and underneath, which allow the scapula to glide along the ribcage. If you want to feel some of the underneath ones, stick your finger in your armpit, rest your elbow on something and move your shoulder up and down). These muscles extend from the top of the neck all the way out the shoulder and in to the arms, as well as all the way down your back. Some of them even connect to your chest. 

2. These muscles are designed to move your shoulder blade in a circular fashion. In, in and up, up, up and out, out, out and down, etc. The "resting position" of your scapulae on your back is determined by what muscle groups are holding the most tension. 

3. Your scapular movement also depends on the body's awareness of the ribcage beneath it. Just as we unconsciously rely on all kinds of proprioceptive information from our feet in order to not stumble while walking, so the scapulae depends on "feeling" the ribcage underneath it in order to move over it. Breathing is a motion that expands the ribcage, increasing the surface available for the scapulae to glide, and making movement easier. So if you're having issues with moving your shoulderblade in some direction, pause there and inhale a few times, trying to feel the ribs move underneath your " stuck area". 

4. Your ribcage is circular. Therefore, when the scapulae are lying on it correctly, they are actually lying at a 45 degree angle to the spine. When they glide, they will also follow this 45 degree angle, wrapping around the sides as they slide outwards. 

5. Healthy muscles require contraction and extension, not to mention the ability to hold one static position. Many times, muscular tension comes from a muscle being "frozen" in one position, and the issue isn't so much the length of the muscles as it is the fact that it is no longer contracting or extending. So if your neck or shoulders are stiff, you may have better luck releasing them by squeezing them a few times, as opposed to asking your partner to massage your neck ( after packing lunches, changing diapers, and convincing your two year old to get in to his carseat). 

So I created a short workout using the bars of a play structure to assist with traction and contraction for the shoulder girdle.


For those of you without tiny humans ( which are usually your passport in to a playground), you can easily recreate this workout on a subway car or at the gym. If "freestyle exercise" makes you feel sheepish, please take a look at this other clip and allow this woman's creative enthusiasm raise or lower your bar accordingly. 

Many many thanks to Hanif Wondir for the "album art", as well as the loan of his two amazing boys for the weekend. Summer wouldn't be the same without you guys. 

Breathe, Your Abs, and You

Everything comes full circle, I suppose, or perhaps “ Full Spiral”, if we believe in a perfectly imperfect, ever evolving universe… 

In any case, I have recently found myself right back where everything started, in the breath. Discovering and re-discovering its pathways, and the tunnels it uses to efficiently translate movement from our very insides to our very outsides, if we allow it that time. 

This could be because I’m preparing to teach another Breathing Course Intensive, or it could simply be that this is how learning happens. That we have an experience, and learn from that initial layer, then find ourselves returning and examining the same thing from a different perspective, allowing for new discoveries and greater depth. 

It’s most likely a combination of both. 

I re-awoke to the breath 3 years ago September, newly pregnant with my second child, feeling my hip bones begin to re-negotiate their relationship with their neighbor, the Sacrum, and finding that if I inhaled in just the right way, I could create more space where it was necessary. This turned in to a nightly adventure, where I would “ breathe out” the growing pressures in my body, and create internal space in anticipation of where little Ziggy would expand next. I experimented deeply with pranayama during this time, and found equal play in vacuuming my ever expanding midsection in as I did with preemptively stretching it out. It was clear to me that this was the best abdominal work I could be doing, and it also seemed to release a ton of discomfort at the same time. 

I won’t really get in to the delivery here, as that’s a little personal, but I would like it noted that the day after Ezekiel entered this world, I was bouncing down the stairs, and within a week, my body had returned to it’s original shape. 

That, of course was more than enough inspiration to dive further in to this inviting sea, and I did so. Experiencing my own anatomy through the internal movements that follow inhalation and exhalation. Playing with body positioning and quality of breath to access specific layers of muscle, and delighting the ability to so specifically target various places as this new language was learned. 

Since then, my movement explorations have taken a number of different exploratory journeys, and I am happy to be revisiting this landscape. Every time we return to an experience, it broadens and deepens. So here’s to cave diving through our bodies, riding on the breath. 

This week I have created a 10 minute workout that focuses on toning the abdominals. 

 You will need a pillow at one point so try to have one on hand. 


Finally, here’s a cool little article about where your fat cells go, and how humans become trees, and a gratuitous ( and rather fuzzy) clip of me practicing pranayama while pregnant.  

The Core of the Issue

This week I am up in BC at my father's wedding ( congratulations Dad! I wish you so much happiness!) and so my anatomical explorations have had more to do with following the transit of wine and pie as it moves through my system than research and movement.

However, I wanted to maintain my bi-weekly commitment, and so this week I offer to you one of the first "blogs" I ever made. A 15 minute journey through your abdominals and the breath, two of my favorite topics. It lays out how to correctly engage through the layers of abdominal muscles, and synchronize this movement with the breath. 

You can break up this little lesson in to 3 sections of 5 minutes each, repeating each one until the movement becomes familiar, or just roll through the entire lesson in one go.

In addition, I wanted to highlight two opportunities to work with me in person: 

On May 20th, I will be offering a single day transformative workshop in Carmel. Open to all levels, focused on breath and movement.

And for Gyrotonic/Gyrokinesis instructors, I am offering a 3 day Breathing Course intensive from June 9-11. This course satisfies the Continuing Education requirements for Gyrokinesis trainers.

My mission is to create a world where people are happy in their bodies.
I believe that happier people will bring us closer to a world that exists in

Breathe On



Reading this Blog will Enhance your Sex Life, Remove your Lower Back Pain, and give you a flat tummy in 15 minutes!

Well, now that I’ve got your attention, I welcome you to this week’s installment of “ Breathe In, Work Out”.

I honestly thought that we were going to travel from the Pelvis down to the thighs… but my creative mind had other ideas, and by Wednesday of this week, all I was thinking about was that “ tent floor”, and colorful analogies for the various “goings on” that we have “down there”. 

As I stated ( also in last week’s blog) I was raised a good Catholic girl, at a time when we used code names for anything that required a fabric covering when bathing in public. Even though I work in a field that could be hash tagged #coreexercise (then immediately subject to a nihilistic debate about what that really means) , and it would be absurd to explore the goings on within our body without taking a pause to hang out at the pelvic floor, I found myself slightly squeamish about breaking this all down for you. 


So I drank some wine before settling down to write this. 


To begin with, I’d like to establish what it takes to create muscular “ health” in the body. Muscular training can be broken down in to three tactics ; contraction, static, and extension. Contraction is when you use your muscles to shorten the distance between your bones, like doing a bicep curl, Static is where you use muscular tension to hold a specific space, otherwise known as isometric tension, and Extension is when you use your muscles to create more space in between the bones, such as in yawning or stretching. In order to create healthy muscle, and maintain circulation throughout the tissues, all three of these things need to happen. We readily do this with our limbs, and usually consider exercise as something that involves grand sweeping actions of the spindly bits that launch off of our essential body, but often neglect the parts that from the outside present as an individual unit. Tragically, the pelvis is usually stuck in a seated or standing position, being acted upon by outside forces or the parasympathetic systems of our body, with very little attention to the musculature itself. 


In general, our proprioception of movement has to do with the transit of our bones in space, and so it makes sense that an area that gives relatively little of that in comparison to the parts that surround it would have its volume turned down, so to speak. As we discussed last week, in our more general introduction to the pelvis, we have three bones that make up this area, with the sacrum wedged somewhat like an arrowhead in between two “propellors” of the hips ( there is a twist about halfway up towards the hip bones from the sit bones, and it’s where your thigh intersects the two blades). 



  To briefly review last week's blog : The 3 Gluteal Amigos made up the outside back wall of the tent, the Illiacus spans the inner back wall, the Piriformis - ties in midway, and the Psoas, hangs from trees and swoops through the inside of the tent’s back wall before attaching down in to the rebar. Today, we are going to take a look inside this tent, getting a closer sense of the other structures that lie within, and change metaphors frequently.  Because this tent is a portal to alternate dimensions. 


Let’s go inside.


First of all, I’d like to present you with the image of a teacup and a saucer. Two separate containers, designed to work together with the express purpose of conveying liquid from one area to another. In a similar fashion, we have two pelvic floors, both in a muscular and a skeletal sense. 

The Greater Pelvis, is bordered on either side by the upper blades of your hip propellors, flying high above their body of the sacrum. The deep notch in the back is filled in by lumbar fascia and various muscles, and in the front, the wings are connected by layers and layers of abdominal muscles, and their associated fascial sheaths. This is the teacup, which holds your lower abdominal organs.  

The Lesser Pelvis sits below, bordered by the lower blades, made up of the pubic symphysis in front, the ischium ( sit bones) on the side, and in the back, the sacrum and coccyx. It contains your reproductive and eliminatory organs. Don’t you love how our body organizes tasks in to their separate compartments?  It’s like we’ve got a kitchen, then a bed/bath combo! ). The muscles controlling this area look like a kite with an infinity symbol overlaid for some control over the currents that pass through. This, we can think of as the saucer, providing an additional layer of support for the tea, holding the cup and its contents as it projects through space.  

As far as the muscles themselves, your abdominals insert themselves in to your pelvis. With the outside back and sides, we have the Transverse Abdominals, which embrace your sides before fascially encasing the Rectus Abdominus. The RA deserves its own sentence,  originating up at your solar plexus, and attaching to your pubic bone before turning in to the Pubococcygeus muscle, which ( surprise!) connects the underside of your pubic bone to your coccyx ( your tailbone) Making up the inside back line are the Siamese Psoas twins, as they gracefully release your lumbar spine and slide diagonally forward towards the Pubic bone before slipping down and wrapping themselves around your thigh.


Before getting in to the muscles of the lesser pelvis, it’s helpful to understand that there are two types of muscles that live there : striated and smooth. Striated muscle looks like it has stripes on it, and is usually attached via tendons to the bones. Movement control of striated muscle is voluntary ( i.e. you can think about it and make it move). Smooth muscles are under involuntary control, and have to do with parasympathetic function. They tend to surround your organs, in this case, the digestive, eliminatory and reproductive ones. When your body is stressed out, the striped muscles tend to tense up, but the smooth ones relax ( a common reaction to the “fight or flight” response in the body is to eliminate the bowels, which does make running away a lot easier if a big animal is chasing you). What’s the takeaway from this? If you want to have success mobilizing your pelvic floor, you’d better be relaxed first. 

So you have muscles that surround your organs, and other ones that hold these lower bones of the pelvis together and control the entrance and exit of various substances/entities. If you consider the variance in size of what enters and exits, you can imagine the potential ability for movement that is available to us down there. Going back to our three qualities of muscular activity ( contraction, static, and extension), it may now seem more obvious why we might want to exercise all three when we get to the pelvis. 

Misalignments are common in this area. One only has to imagine the parent with the 2 year old on their hip ( raises hand), the “ lounger” with one hip out and the other leg bent, or the golfer, rotating with impressive velocity consistently to one side to understand that one could ultimately “ train” the hip bones to have one forward and one back, and that the muscles would learn to isometrically hold the pelvis in that position. That, of course, affects everything connecting to it, which in this case would mean your torso and your legs. Your spine extends off of your pelvis and your shoulders also depend on its stability to balance themselves. Your legs come out of it, and for even gait ( balanced walking) rely on their pivot points ( the hip sockets) to anchor their movement. If you imagine the hip bones for a moment as two wheels, and then raise one up and push it forward, you could see that your car would have a hard time staying in it’s lane. Here is a simple exercise to see if this is you: 


Stand up. Place your hands on your hips with your middle fingers on the front bones and your thumbs on the back part by the SI joint. Tilt one side forward in to your hand, return it back to center, and then repeat on the other side. If one side feels more comfortable moving in to that position than the other, then most likely your body is used to having that side forward. That will also mean that your spine is happier rotating to the opposite side. i.e. if your right hip is usually forward, your torso will tend to turn more to the left. 


I’m going to give you another fun exercise to do while you’re sitting here and reading this. It’s best done on a firm surface for feedback, so if you’re lounging on an overstuffed chair, you’ll want to table this until you’re riding the bus ( or sitting on an equivalently unforgiving cushion). 


Rock back and forward on your pelvis about 8 times. Do you feel movement on your sit bones? Try imagining that you are sitting on carbon paper, and look at the pattern your sit bones would be making on the seat beneath you. Are the lines equally dark? Is the pressure the same on both sides? Are the lines of equal length? Now lift one sit bone, then put it down and lift the other one. Repeat that pattern 8 times to let your brain familiarize itself with that pattern. Now stay on one sit bone, and lift the other one up in the air. Slowly swing the sit bone forward and back about 20 times. Then stand up and feel the difference between your two sides. You will most likely notice that standing feels firmer on the side you swung, and if you use your fingers to feel your lower abdominals, that they are tauter and flatter on the side you swung. Now sit down and repeat that on the other side. 


As you see, movement is possible, and the more we know about our anatomy, the easier it is to create it. I wasn’t kidding when I called this area a “portal”. The Sacred Geometry going on here is astounding. 


We’re going to start at the top, with concentric rings of the greater and lesser pelvis. The upper ring frames the abdominal muscles, which basically take the shape of an upside down pyramid, suspended in between the hip bones and pointing down towards your lower pelvic floor, which has a diamond like shape ( the four corners consisting of the pubis, ischium and coccyx) . Behind and beneath this pyramid lies a type of “ Fan with Slings”, that comprises a bunch of muscles that once upon a time helped you to articulate your tail, along with all of the functions they still perform today. There are actually three different “fans of the hip joint”, but for simplicity we are going to focus on only the one that extends from the inside of your pubic bone up towards the sacrum. As I mentioned before, the Pubococcyceus muscle joins the inner edge of your pubic bone to the coccyx. The Puborecalis stretches from the pubis to the rectum, twining itself around it, and helps to control the back opening of our pelvic floor. This is also attached via a ligament to the coccyx, so it’s braced both forwards and backwards, as well as in a circular fashion. The main “ Fan Muscle ( you could see the previous muscles as it’s exquisitely decorated handle) is called the Levator Ani ( delicately translated to English as “Anus lifter”), which should help you to figure out where that one is. If we examine this shape from the underside, what we would see would be a triangle of striped muscle extending from the pubic bone to each sit bone( the Urogenital Diaphragm), under which is overlaid a strip of muscle that resembling an infinity symbol in women, in men, the front comes together a little differently. The ring closest to the pubic bone helps to control the openings of the urethra and sexual organs, which are either packaged together ( in males) or given separate entrances ( in women) in the back, the second ring circles the anus, aiding in control towards the rear. In between the front and back rings, and located above that figure 8 ( when you’re looking up) is the mysterious Perineum, which one could imagine as an ethereal tower, extending from sit bone to sit bone, and swooping up in front of the Levator Ani, with a similar function of unifying and lifting both sides of the pelvis, as well as aiding in the parasympathetic function of the organs that are nestled within.


 So yeah… it’s complicated, and beautiful, and you have been using yours from the moment you experienced air pressure whether you knew it or not. 


To summarize, all of the aforementioned “fans” work together to allow both parasympathetic ( involuntary) and sympathetic ( voluntary) functions of the pelvis, allowing us to move through the world, stabilize our body, and keep our metabolic and evolutionary processes running smoothly. The more we are able to control our striped muscles, the happier the smooth muscles become, and your emotional state is a player in your ability to do this. Muscles need to be able to move closer together, hold static shapes, and to stretch. The easiest way to feel muscular activation is through shifting the bones. 


So I created two different videos this week : One for the Greater Pelvis, and one for the two of them. You should definitely do the greater pelvis one first, and treat it as a warmup for the second video. 

And yes. If you incorporate these sequences in to your daily routine, all that was promised in the blog title will happen for you. 

Interested in learning more? Check out my online classes, and teaching schedule


Copyright Domini Anne 2017



The Body 3 - Tom Myers

Fitness for the Pelvic Floor - Beate Carriere

Pelvic Power - Eric Franklin

Anatomy of the Female Pelvis - Blandine Calais Germain



Pelvic Power - Eric Franklin

Sacred Geometry - Joma Sipe 

Anatomy of Movement - Blandine Calais Germain

Fitness for the Pelvic Floor - Beate Carriere 

The Pain in your A$$ : Experiential Anatomy

Congratulations! I am pleased to announce that we have now arrived at the base of the spine, the seat of our civilization, the source of endless fixation and root of so many of our issues ( physical, emotional, spiritual, you name it). Yes, we have hit... the Pelvis. 


As a child of the 70's and 80's, I was raised with an ingrained aversion to even using the correct terms for many of the parts contained here, and even to this day, I have colleagues who will simply refer to this region as " the hips" in order to avoid making anyone feel "queasy". Granted it does contain a number of parts covered by bathing suits, as well as others that are heavily featured in adult film content, but unless we can get over our misguided modesty, it becomes difficult to get a clear picture about what's going on in this oh so critical of areas. 


(Rest assured, this blog is completely safe for work)


As always, let's start with the bones: In the center, we have the Sacrum, which is often referred to as the " cornerstone" of our body. On either side, the hip bones, which were first released as a trilogy: the Ilium ( the entire upper portion, including the crest you rest your hand on when it's on your hip)  the Ischium ( better known as your sitting bones), and the Pubis ( you know where that is) and had fused in to a full length feature by the time you learned to walk. Supporting this structure on either side are the Femur Bones, aka the thigh bones, which are shaped like a number 7 in order to perfectly fit in to the Acetabulum, otherwise known as your " hip socket". 


If you consider the Pelvis' mobility needs, the bone structure makes a lot of sense. The Sacrum hangs between the hip bones, connected at the SacroIliac Joint ( which is mobile in certain ways but not others) where it translates spinal movement in to and out of the pelvis while providing an anchor for the " pelvic bowl". The hip bones themselves have a greater potential for movement, both tilting forward and back, side to side, and rotating, and the thigh bones have even larger range, able to swing our legs forward and back, in and out, and twisting. 


Of course, all this mobility requires an orchestra of muscles ( 45 in all) both to create the movements we need, and to ensure that there is enough space and support for the bottom of our digestive system, reproductive organs, and systems of elimination to function without accidentally blowing out ( sneeze while pregnant and you'll know what I'm talking about), not to mention to allow for the nerves that exit off our spine and head down our legs to have a free ride all the way down to our feet.   ( Sciatica anyone?) 


As usual, I am writing a blog, not a book, and will name a few while grandly sweeping over others, but first, allow me to present to you this week's metaphor. 


Please imagine your tent poles as the bones, the ligaments as the elastic that allow the poles to intersect, and your muscles as the tent fabric itself, stretched over the frame, with multiple zippered entrances, etc. 

If the frame gets out of balance, so do the tent and the elastics. If the elastic at the intersections gets too stiff or too loose, the frame is affected, and if the tent fabric is bunched up or ripped anywhere, it will also affect the integrity of the frame, perhaps putting additional strain on those elastic intersections. Oh, yes, and this tent is the type that also runs marathons, goes out dancing, stays bent at a 90 degree angle for hours on end, and typically stands with one side jutted way out and the other side falling into a hole. 

So no wonder so many humans complain of lower back pain, or a dull ache deep in their butt. As always, instability in one area will cause tightness in others, and muscles become " locked short" or "locked long" when asymmetry is present. Either way, the operative word is "Locked" and the process of unlocking is a process of restoring balance. 

The first muscle that I'd like to shine a spotlight on is the Piriformus.

If you practice yoga, or work out, you've certainly heard of this one. It's the one that you'll stretch when you cross one leg over the other, turn that knee out, and then pull the opposite leg in to your chest. It gets that good stretch deep under your butt. Recently, the yoga world has turned on "Pigeon Pose" as the new Bikram; once beloved, it has now developed a reputation as potentially damaging to the hip socket when held, unsupported, for long periods of time, and I would have to agree. The Piriformus originates deep within the sacrum, and slips out to attach to the top of the thigh through the same "doorway" as the Sciatic nerve. It serves both to externally rotate the leg, and to balance the spine via the sacrum. If the spine leans to one side then the Piriformus will need to contract on the opposite side in order to maintain balance. A stressed out Piriformus can result in " Piriformus syndrome" which manifests as a chronic, dull ache in the buttock region, possibly mimicking the pain of sciatica ( burning pain down the leg to the foot).



And well, now that we mentioned the "S' word, let's take a brief detour and explore the Sciatic Nerve, which begins as a collection of nerves that exit the lumbar spine, coalesces in to one giant nerve ( the largest and longest one we have) around the L5S1 junction ( where your lumbar spine meets your sacrum), slips under the Piriformus muscle to head out to the thigh bone, and runs all the way down the back of your leg to your toes. If there are problems with the discs in the lumbar spine, they can often push on these nerves causing pain to radiate down that same line causing what is known as "Sciatica". This differs from Piriformus syndrome, as the problems causing the pain are originating in the spine as opposed to muscle, although the suffering is equal. 


Another common " pain in the ass" is a little higher up, at the bony dimple that exists on either side of your sacrum ( sometimes framed by poorly chosen tribal tattoos, or " Ass Antlers" as they like to call them in Italian) . Stick your fingers in those dimples and move a leg in and out. Feel that? That's your hip bone and your sacrum interacting at what is called the Sacro Iliac Joint ( or SI joint for short). We are going to explore this a little further so indulge me here for a moment. Stand up, put your thumbs on your hipbones and your fingers on the bony dimples in back. Now pivot on your heels to externally rotate your feet. Do you feel how the hipbones move slightly out and the sacrum moves forward, embraced by the meaty muscles on top? So this is all a good thing until someone's thighs don't pivot all the way back to parallel. If the legs get stuck in an externally rotated pattern, the hip bones get jammed back up against the sacrum, and it causes pain where those two bones meet. If you think this may be you, try grabbing your hip bones all the way around the back and sides and pushing them together towards the front. If that eases your discomfort, then maybe you might want to have someone check on your alignment. 

       So to review, we have one "tent" problem that has to do with an unstable frame, where the poles and fabric got a little twisted around, and it's putting pressure on the A-line at the top ( SI joint issues).  Then we have another problem that has to do with the fabric, where the Weathervane mounted on the top of our tent was leaning too far to one side or a pole was hinting at "ceding from the union" and the fabric began to strain to pull it back to center ( Piriformus Syndrome).  The third problem has to do with the tin can telephone that your daughter rigged up to call her friends, carefully strung between the zipper and the velcro flap that closes the window.  For whatever reason, the zipper got all caught up, there isn't the room for the string to translate vibration, and she's throwing a tantrum. ( Sciatica) 

Ultimately, any restorative approach to these issues will address balance as a large part of creating the physical solution, be it manual, physical, or emotional ( a lot of back pain issues come and go with emotions... it's a thing). And honestly, I'd rather keep on telling you about this tent. 

For this is no ordinary tent.

              For one, it has two beautiful Arial silks that are suspended to the two trees that hover over your campground. These silks attach to the Weathervane before slipping INSIDE your tent for added stability, falling just in front of the back wall ( the Iliacus muscle makes up the inside back wall of your tent, spacing out your hip bones) and then attaching to the side poles, and some of the rebar as well. ( That'd be the 7's of your femurs). Yes, I'm talking about the magnificent Psoas, the muscle of your soul, the source of the hidden codes that control the Universe, or just a kickass muscle that articulates your spine, is totally linked in with your breathing, and brings your knee to your chest towards the midline. The Psoas works best when it's relaxed, breathing with the trees, tied in with gravity, weaving through the tent before grounding it, but any imbalance in the tent's structure can throw it off, and when that fabric is knotted up, it makes camping kinda difficult. 

            As far as the floor of the tent, that's important too. For the sake of argument, we're going to make the pelvic floor a 4 sided hammock that is suspended off the upper poles, and assume that the bottom fabric is made up of the muscles of our inner thighs. If the floor is ripped, that compromises the poles that hold up the walls, and everything else becomes unstable. The inner thighs also play a huge role in maintaining a parallel position of the thigh bones, which we now know are key players in addressing SI joint pain. But let's remodel a little bit to take the analogy even further. Lift your tent up by a story, drive the stakes in to the ground as though they could meet on each side at the rebar, like an upside down pyramid on each side, and stretch the fabric all the way down to the rebar. Now we have your full fledged thighs ( front, sides and back), with the fabric of all four corners at every stake playing a role in stabilizing the floating tent above, and the Psoas silks tied in to this line just beneath the hammock. If the fabric were to rip no matter where, it would force extra work on to other, more connected tissues, and change the shape of our tent in some way. If the inner thighs or the Glutes are weak, that also makes it difficult for the thigh bones to be held up in to the pelvis, and they will begin to slip and lean outwards, putting pressure on the IT band ( why rolling it doesn't help, but attention to alignment does). If the Hamstrings don't work, ( the back fabric) the tent slips forward and the Weathervane has very little to balance it, or in other words, your Hamstrings support your back and without them, collapse is eminent.  Further up, the same thing is true for the Three Gluteal Amigos, which make up the outside back and side walls of your tent, keeping the front entrance from caving in. The next time you walk up a flight of stairs, take a moment to place your hands on your upper thighs, front and back, and feel the fabric as it walks your poles from site to site. 

And so, this week I created a 10 minute experience in balancing the pelvis. Beginning with setting up the structure a little bit, then adding some "weather" in to the picture. 

Please be advised that this workout is designed for healthy bodies, and is not suitable for people suffering from acute issues. Please be mindful of your body while you practice, and if you experience pain, stop immediately. Always consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program. 


The creation of my blog is often the source of my inspiration for my group classes. If you would like to experience the full length " Pelvis Stabilization Sequence", you can do so via my full length online classes here




© Domini Anne 2017


Credit for images : Visible Body App,,, 

The Pain in your A$$ - Stabilization Sequence

This 10 minute Pelvis Stabilization sequence could easily take a half an hour or more.  The full, guided class is available here, if you want a deeper, guided experience.

 It is designed for a healthy body, with no chronic pelvic/lumbar conditions. 

This is not an appropriate workout for anyone experiencing severe or chronic pain in the lumbar/pelvic region. If you believe this to be your situation, please contact a specialist and have them work with you. The internet is no substitute for a trained eye. 

I do not live in your body, you do. Additionally, I am not a doctor. Please consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program. 

Limber Lumbar: Experiential Anatomy

So here we are this week, approaching the bottom of the spine. 

It's not technically the bottom; as with any well designed structure, the actual base is rooted within its foundation, which allows the central column to rise up above the earth, supported by the structures below, and the balance above. 

   Your lumbar spine, aka the lower back, is the bridge between the pelvis and your thoracic spine, containing 5 sturdy lumbar vertebrae, thicker than their lofty counterparts , designed to distribute movement between your hips and your chest while providing the bony scaffolding off of                which the lower organs of your digestive system are suspended.      

Given that organs are 90% water, and that water has an expansive pressure ( just hang a water balloon off of your finger and observe how it swells) it may seem like a questionable choice for God to have designed a system where some of our most vulnerable organs are sitting there, literally hanging out in front of us with no bony protection whatsoever, but clearly she had a brilliant strategy in mind. 

Instead of building us a " gut cage" we have layers upon layers of abdominal muscles, all arranged with different "grains", like the overlaid sheets in plywood, allowing for multiple ranges of motion, while protecting our miles of intestine from accidental puncture. 

Let's start with the deepest layer, the Transverse Abdominus. This one begins as a fascial sheath in front and then separates in to two muscles that encase your sides like a corset and insert in to the spine at the back. To feel it's action, place your hands at your waist and cough. Then we have the Internal Obliques, which extend from the same rib to hip, with fibers that resemble a sideways fan. Exhale and raise your hip towards your ear - that's that one. The External Obliques mimic the lines of the ribs themselves, each set hung off its own rib and headed down towards the pubic bone and opposite hip. When you cross an elbow to the opposite knee while doing sit-ups you use this one. Finally, in front, we have the long strip of the Rectus Abdominus, which is so long, and spans so many joint movements that it has been cleverly designed with 8 compartments so as to reduce the risk of tearing, giving us the opportunity to cultivate an obsession with developing a 6 or an 8 pack, as well as flex our spine ( for example, in classic crunches) and extend it (such as a gymnast touching their head to their toes in back bend). 

The lumbar vertebrae themselves are flanked by an impressive array of muscles, with the Psoas and the Quadratus Lumborum doing double duty as they attach to the front and back of the spine, and extending further back with a chorus of muscles reflecting the intricacy with which our frontal armor was constructed, but without an organ sack to space them out. 

To be frank, I could go on for hours about this part of the body. Each muscle deserves its own blog, and the beauty which with the pelvis and rib cage are linked fascinates me. They play an intrinsic role in nearly every life giving function we have: digestion, elimination, respiration, fight or flight, healthy gut, expulsion of tiny humans, not to mention walking, laughing, dancing, reproducing,  the list goes on... 


And so I return to my purpose - to give you a sense of what's going on underneath your skin without overwhelming you with Latin terminology and dry statements about origins and insertions. So I conclude our array of anatomical metaphors with two pictures: the first is a cross section of the lumbar region with organs included, the second focusing solely on the muscles. 

As always, we return to the ability to create motion in that specific area. 

I will now indulge myself in a paragraph about strategy ( given that I just saved you 6 by not exploring every back muscle in detail). If you want to create range of motion in any area, you need to explore the basic 6 planes of movement available to every human body, which can be divided up in to 3 "opposites" :

  1. Front and back ( sagittal)

  2. Side to side (frontal)

  3. Twisting right and left ( rotational)

Then if you're really smart, you'll make a circle,  because a circle because as we know, is the one ring that rules them all and binds them. 

So that's what we are doing in this week's "Limber Lumbar" workout. (click on the title to be taken to the workout)

Using the same ball as last week for feedback, and exploring the range of motion that can be created with our lumbar spine. 





As always remember that I don't live in your body, you do. Additionally, I am not a doctor. Please be mindful in your practice, and always consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program.


Image Credits to:

Visible Skeleton App, Netter Images, Tom Myers

Limber Lumbar: Practice

This 5 minute sequence explores the articulation of the lumbar spine.

For an anatomical explanation of this region, and strategy behind the workout, click here. 


If you are enjoying these mini-workouts, you may be interested in my full length classes.

This one is a 40 minute breath based sequence to release the back and shoulders.


As always, I don't live in your body, you do. Additionally, I am not a doctor. 

Please be mindful in your practice, and consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program. 

100% All Natural Ribs - Cage Free: Experiential Anatomy

Having spent a couple of weeks now on the cervical spine ( the part that comes off of your shoulders and extends to your head) we will now descend to the thoracic region, aka your ribcage. 

To best understand the ribcage, we need to look beyond its name. In other languages, the ribcage is referred to as the "rib basket". I prefer to think of it as some type of slinky accordion, as the term " cage" does it no justice whatsoever. 


Let's start by looking at its function. What's going on beneath those bones that requires that structure of support? Well, we have three systems that maintain human life nestled in there: respiratory, circulatory, and digestive. Breathing and circulatory basically takes up the top half of your ribcage. Fun fact : your lungs extend all the way up to your top rib. Additionally, you have 3 compartments in your right lung,  and two on the left, as the heart occupies the space that would be taken up by that third compartment.  In the bottom half of your lungs, separated by a parachute like muscle called the diaphragm, we have the beginning of your digestive system: the stomach, gallbladder, and part of your liver. What do all of these organs have in common? Their proper functioning has to do with volume exchange. Be it air, liquid, or solid, your digestive and respiratory systems are involved day in and day out with intaking various fuels, synthesizing what is helpful from them, and expelling the rest. So it stands to reason that the structure that houses them should be equally able to shape shift. 

Hence my distress at our English pronouncement of the rib basket as a cage, as if that benevolent protector of our organs was some type of medieval punishment, as opposed to the springy, resilient scaffolding that grandly holds the organs so crucial to human survival. 

Place your hands on the sides of your ribs and exhale. Feel them move in, now inhale and feel them move out. The next time you exhale, push your ribs in even more and notice the additional movement. Now release your hands quickly, and feel the breath surging in to the area that had been compressed. You can do this diagonally, front to back, basically in any direction you could imagine, and your ribcage will respond.

I've included a helpful video on the mechanics of breathing to give you a visual. 


Back to your spingy, pliant ribcage. Why does it do that? Well, a lot of that has to do with how it's connected in the front; as opposed to creating a bone on bone joint to allow for thoracic movement, your body made cartilage for the part of the rib that connects to the sternum ( the hard bony place you feel in the center of your chest). Cartilage is essentially connective tissue in one of its sturdiest forms. You can feel it in your earlobes, and on the squishy tip of your nose.  When doing double duty for your ribs, it arguably forms two joints: one at the heart line ( front diagonals on each side) and one at the intersection of the sternum. This is very helpful for absorbing impact, as cartilage is more pliant than bones. (Consider the damage a steering wheel could do in an accident if you had stiff bones instead of springy cartilage there.) Additionally, the shape of the ribs themselves allows for pliancy, resembling a curved blade that twists off of the spine and flattens towards the front. The meeting of the spinal column with the ribs is just as ingenious, with the ribs intersecting in to the vertebrae like a zipper, each rib fitting in between the bones of your spine where the fluid discs live, supporting both space and movement. 


And then, of course, we have the muscles. Before we go any further, please understand that the only thing that actually separates muscles is a scalpel. Depending on how you "slice" it, you can divide the human muscular system in to 300-800 different muscles ( note that many groups of muscles, such as the hamstrings, have separate groups within that heading, hence the massive range) or you could say that we have a few different muscle sheaths that surround our body, with a huge amount of "pockets" where the connective tissue that surrounds the muscle cells is transformed in to tendons or ligaments before housing another swath of muscle. If we adopt that approach, then we can see that the muscles that make up our chest and upper back at some point transfer in to those that house our abdomen, where the ribs end.

Superficial and deep layers of musculature within the torso

Superficial and deep layers of musculature within the torso

My larger point is, your chest muscles turn in to your abdominal muscles as you head south. So the muscles that connect your neck and arms to your body, that also expand to take in air, and adapt to shape change based on your metabolic actions throughout the day( more on this subject can be found here, where I break down the anatomy of breathing) turn in to the muscles that squeeze out air, liquid, and solids while protecting the rest of our digestive and reproductive systems. But that area is for next week.

So heading back to your chest, if you have restricted movement somewhere in your ribcage, might not not only inhibit your motion but also your digestive and respiratory capabilities.The body can move and breathe in a number of ways, and is eminently adaptable, but it would serve it well to have full command of thoracic range of motion. 

So this week, we are going to use a bigger ball. About volleyball size, to work on regaining motion of the rib cage. 

Get a bigger ball, and join me. 

Finally, as an added bonus, I've included this beautiful video of James Painting freestyling, because there could be no better illustration of chest mobility, and the interconnectedness of our muscle body. 


Please note that I do not live in your body, you do. Additionally, I am not a doctor. Please be mindful in your practice, and consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program. 






The Visible Body app provided many of the photos used in this blog, 

Copyright Domini Anne, 2017

100% All Natural Ribs - "Cage Free"

This sequence is designed to free the thoracic spine and ribcage. 

For the experiential anatomy portion of this workout, click here

You will need a ball, around the size of a volleyball or a little smaller. You may want to lightly deflate it, to allow for a more malleable pressure. 


My mission is to create a world where people are happy in their bodies.
I believe that happier people will bring us closer to a world that exists in

Breathe On


Balls to the Wall

Continuing on our journey in and around the body, we arrive at what's beneath the neck. 

Essentially, a whole lot of stuff, and it comes in with a bang. 

The lower ring of our macrame chandelier from last week is made up of a number of articulate joints, that both wrap around the ribcage and enter it. 

To go directly to the workout, click here.

To begin with, we have the circle of the collarbone (clavicle) around to the shoulderblades (scapulae). The central joint is at the hollow of your collarbone ( the manubrium) where the collarbones join with the sternum. Following the collarbones outward ( feel free to trace them with your finger), we have the shoulder joint ( acromioclavicular) where the clavicle, the humerus ( the upper arm bone) and the scapulae meet. The scapulae do a whole lot of sliding on your back, as they allow for multiple positions of the arm and shoulder, and there are, of course, magnificent layers of muscle that go above, on to, and below the scapulae to allow for these ranges. Underneath these layers lies the spine, attached to these in places, and in others, independent. The spine itself articulates with the ribs, which in turn connect to the sternum in front, which is right back where we started. 

At the risk of sticking my neck out, I'm going to put forth the notion that many of the problems we have with areas of our body stem from parts of us getting stuck, and others becoming too loose. The areas with the most range of motion tend to take all the motion, and the stuck parts move as a unit. Over time, this can damage joints, but even in the short term, overuse of certain areas and others remaining frozen can cause some pretty decent discomfort, if not even pain. 

The intersections I described above are quite prone to movement deformation. Raising and lowering the arm alone can involve rotations of the arm, the shoulder blade sliding along and up the ribs, and ultimately raising the shoulder, depending on the height. Our " head forward" screen life position can jam out the vertebrae that live atop the shoulder blades, sucking the sternum and clavicle in in front and straining the shoulder blades up in the process. In essence, your macrame lampshade has become a mobile, where the free movement of one area depends on the balance of them all. 

To make a case in point, squeeze one shoulder up to your ear. Don't overthink it, we're just restricting motion in one area. Raise and lower the arm on that side, then raise and lower on the side where the shoulder is relaxed. Notice how not only does it feel uncomfortably tight in areas, but also that your arm is forced to move in very different pattern. This can go on in all kinds of places up in the shoulder girdle, especially given that we lean on our arms as well as use them, adjust our head positioning in relation to lighting conditions as well as tasks, or  hold children with one arm while cooking with the other.

So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to pull out a classic massage tool that we've all read about somewhere and maybe about 10 % have actually tried. The Tennis Ball/Sock combo.

  Because it's one thing to bookmark a nifty idea in a "10 ways to help your back this summer" Huffington Post article, and a totally different thing to have an instructional video delivered to you with some mildly tongue in cheek comments here and there.

To make this, you'll need two tennis balls, a sock, and a rubber band. Put the two balls in the sock, rubber band together, and, yeah. That's it. You're ready to go. 

This week's experience is 10 minutes. Blame all the joints for the extra time. We go through each one of them, releasing the muscles and exploring the various ways they articulate. It's part massage, and part awareness. 


As always, I don't live in your body, you do. Additionally, I am not a doctor. Please be mindful in your practice and consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program. 

Balls to the Wall : Practice

A 10 minute sequence exploring range of motion at the shoulder girdle.

For the experiential anatomy part of this, click here.

My mission is to create a world where people are happy in their bodies.
I believe that happier people will bring us closer to a world that exists in

Breathe On


The Whole Shoulder - Practice

A 5 minute sequence based on resistance stretching, to open up and rebalance the shoulder girdle. 

My mission is to create a world where people are happy in their bodies.
I believe that happier people will bring us closer to a world that exists in

Breathe On


The Whole Shoulder - Experiential Anatomy

                                Ok hands up everyone who suffers from neck or shoulder pain!                                      

 (Wait, don't raise them so high, that looks like it might hurt.) 

If you consistently use your hands and your eyes for co-ordinated tasks, I'd be willing to bet that at some point in time, perhaps frequently, you experience pain somewhere between your neck and your shoulders. 

Building on last week's blog, which focused on the hand/wrist/arm, this week we are headed up to the next major intersection: the shoulder girdle. So just like last week, let's go ahead and investigate what's going on underneath our skin.

The central bony structure off this area is, of course, the spine. On top of it rests your skull, and at the base of that area lies the shoulder girdle, comprised of the clavicle ( the collarbone) and the scapulae ( the shoulder blades). These intersect at the tips with the humerus( the single bone of the upper arm). The base of your skull can be seen as a ring, with the jaw in front, connecting at the ear, then flowing around the back at the occipital joint, which is where the spine joins in. 

These two rings ( the base of the skull and the shoulder girdle) need to rest relatively level with each other and the ground in order to maintain a balanced relationship. It's easy to visualize their interaction if you think of a child's spring toy, with the head balanced on the spring, and the spring mounted on a base. If either the head or the base is off, the spring would need to deform in order to compensate. 

Our bones define the space in our bodies, but the muscles define the shape. Layered above our "spring" is a complex interweaving of muscles that allow for all of the various  articulations necessary for us to mobilize our shoulder girdle, and move our head. Given that we're talking about not only moving our arms around, but also our vision, that's a lot of articulation, and our muscle body has responded beautifully to those requirements.

Think of those muscles as a suspension bridge between two rings, similar to a macrame lampshade, where any shift in the relationship between these two suspended rings, or shortness in any of those cords, would affect the balance of that entire structure. Because of how the cords layer and cross each other, it's not enough to look at a direct, linear relationship. Some of those cords move all the way from the front to the back, whereas others go directly up and down, and if one of them is tight, it will pull the rings off of balance, and the entire lampshade will be affected. 

So this week I put together a 5 minute sequence to rebalance this region. We use a technique called " resistance stretching" to reset the length of the muscles between your neck, shoulder, and arm. This basically means that you are contracting your muscles while lengthening them. To practice this the most effectively, keep an even and steady pressure with your head in to your hand, and as opposed to hitting extreme positions ( where the "spring" would be pulled way off balance) create the stretch by reaching the elbow down and out on the side that is being pulled away from. 



As always, I don't live in your body, you do. Additionally, I am not a doctor. Please be mindful of your practice and your body, and consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program.