Chair Exercise For Back Pain Relief

What Can You Do In Your Office Chair? Plenty!

In today's video I demonstrate an exercise that stretches all those muscles around your hip. In fact, they’re same ones we stretched a few weeks ago in the video that talked about the piriformis. The best thing about today's exercise is that you don't even have to get out of your chair to do it!

Our bodies have not evolved to be sitting all day long at a desk, yet many of us spend 8-10 hours a day, or more, sitting – at a desk, at a table for meals, talking on the phone, reading a book or watching TV. When you take a moment to think about it, I’ll bet you’ll find that you actually spend a lot more time sitting than you thought. And all that sitting plays havoc with your back.

Getting up and walking around is highly recommended, but what if you can’t do that as often as you’d like? Those who work in a cubicle or an office where there isn’t room to get up and walk around can still get up and walk to the rest room a few times a day, and maybe stretch a bit while you’re in there…

Additionally, there are a couple of simple exercises that can help you stretch without leaving your chair. The first one we’ll be doing together this week is “Sitting Pigeon.” When you’re doing this exercise, you’ll surely feel those muscles stretching, and your hips will thank you!

Enjoy the video!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Do You Know Your Psoas!?

Today, I'd like to get back to my series of videos on how unevenness in our pelvic area can cause some pretty nasty back pain, and what you can do about it.

Our previous discussions revolved around having one hip higher than the other and a simple exercise that you can do to remedy that; and also, a tight piriformis muscle (across your butt) and an exercise for that.

If you don’t know much about your psoas muscle, it’s similar to the piriformis, but on the front of the body. It connects the top of your leg to the front of the spine, crossing over the hip.

Sitting for long periods can cause this muscle to tighten up. When the front of your pelvic area is tighter than the back, you have more of that unevenness that your back doesn’t like. Sooooooo, now that we all spend so much time sitting in front of our computers, we are seeing more back pain caused by a tight psoas.

Fortunately, there is a simple stretch that can help lengthen that psoas for relief, and, when done regularly, prevent that pain in your hip/low back from becoming a regular visitor.

The lunge in the video, below, is the crème de la crème of psoas exercises. If yours is tight, you will not be able to stretch very far at first, but, no worries! Just keep at it and you will gain more and more flexibility as the days go by.

AND, if you have had that tightness and the accompanying pain for a while, don’t forget to relax your back first. This relaxation technique is the best one, but if you can’t get down on the floor, you can stack some pillows under your lower legs and lie on your bed to relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice, in the second photo, a small pillow under the head. This is to make sure that your neck is not arched. If your chin is pointing toward the ceiling, use a pillow, or a rolled hand towel, to support the head.

If you need additional modifications, or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Meanwhile, take care of your back and it will take care of you!

Best of Health,

Kathi

 

 

This past weekend, I tried out my new snowshoes. Saturday was a glorious day in the Berkshires – I didn't even need my big arctic coat! It didn’t take long before my heart was pumping right along with my arms, and it was fun to breathe in air that didn't freeze my lungs on its way in...

As I tried out different strides and worked my way around to a pace that worked for both my heart AND my hips, I thought about additional benefits this activity provides and realized that since this was something I'd never done before, it's new learning. That means it's good for my brain. And then I took that one step further and realized that I was out in nature, enjoying a physical activity, in company with a like-minded person. Cool. That covers several of the recommendations made in Dr. Mark Hyman's docuseries (as well as my own research) on how to keep your brain healthy. Want to learn a couple of small steps that you can take right away to ward off dementia and improve your own brain health?

Structural plasticity is when the brain changes its physical structure or reorganizes itself through new learning. And this new learning doesn’t have to be something as big as learning how to play the guitar or studying advanced computer software. New pathways can be made by doing something like trying a different physical activity. Let’s say that you enjoy riding your stationary bike in the winter to keep fit, or working with weights. So, perhaps you can pick up an inexpensive pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis and learn how to do that without falling on your butt or crashing into ponds, etc. 😊 That is definitely new learning as well as aerobic exercise, which are both good for your brain.

How about meditation? Are you an experienced meditator? Would you like to learn a new type of meditation or begin with a simple twelve minute a day meditation?

Prestigious medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, and Carnegie Mellon University have all reported on the many health benefits of meditation.

Big, successful companies like Google, Target, Apple, Nike, and Procter & Gamble offer structured meditation programs for executives and encourage employees at all levels to meditate, because people are less stressed and more productive when they meditate.

Well, there is now quite a bit of scientific evidence that aside from all the health benefits of returning your body to homeostasis and reducing stress hormones, your brain also has a chance to do some housecleaning when you meditate.

As we go about our busy daily lives, most of us are juggling tons of tasks at once. Our amazing brains can help us do that because they are bigger than Google. But, unlike Google, our minds become stressed with too many things going on, and that, in turn, makes it hard to concentrate or to get anything done completely.

In one study from Harvard, they measured changes in the size, structure and thickness of the brain in those who meditate regularly, compared to those who don’t. Their conclusion: “Our initial results suggest that meditation may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing.”

These guys also found that the meditators had more gray matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and executive decision making. In fact, in this study, they found that 50 year old meditators had as much grey matter in the frontal cortex as 25 year olds. That’s certainly good news for us Baby Boomers!

More studies have shown that meditation increases activity of the anti-aging enzyme telomerase, which keeps telomere length long, thus keeping our brain functioning as well as it did when we were younger. Yippee!

The simple meditation practice that was most mentioned in all the studies I read is the one that I love to both practice and teach. It’s called Kirtan Kryia, and is part of the Kundalini Yoga tradition. It’s short and sweet, which makes it perfect for those of us in the Western world who don’t have time for anything else…

If you’d like to learn how to do this powerful twelve minute a day meditation, click HERE and I can teach you. Or, contact me with your questions.

Best of Health,

Kathi                                              

Is Brain Degeneration Avoidable? – YES!

Did you know that scientists predict that the number of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s will triple in the next few decades?

The most important NEW information is that this is not a disease of age, or something that everyone just gets

In fact, memory loss is not a “normal” part of aging at all.

The bad news is that dementia actually begins when you’re much younger and takes decades to develop.

So learning what triggers it, and understanding the root cause right now, is vital.

In the groundbreaking Broken Brain documentary series starting on January 17th, my friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Hyman has gathered leaders in healthcare from all over the world to share their cutting-edge information with you on dementia, Alzheimer’s, brain fog, memory loss, and the very long list of brain issues that we “thought” were separate problems…

Your brain is a brilliant, powerful part of you, and it’s very likely that it is deteriorating, just a little, every day.

Our toxic environment, nutrient depleted diets, and unrelenting stress affects our sensitive brains more than we can even imagine … EVERY single day.

Please click here and register ASAP to save your seat for the entire eight-episode documentary series, starting on January 17th at 6 pm ET.

Dementia is NOT unavoidable. It is NOT just what “happens” to us.

We CAN change this. And remember, Broken Brain is NOT a disease of the elderly. Dementia actually begins when you’re younger and takes decades to develop and worsen. Owning this series gives you the information you need to chart a new course NOW and create your best life down the road.

AND ownership also provides you with a great workbook to use and follow along with throughout the episodes.

Here’s to your best life for the rest of your life.

P.S. Here’s a list of ALL the episodes, to showcase just some of what you will have access to. Each episode is available for 24 hours, for free!

  1. The Broken Brain Epidemic / My Story (January 17)
  2. Gut Brain Connection: Getting to The Root of a Broken Brain (January 18)
  3. Losing Your Mind (Alzheimer’s, Dementia, MS, and More) (January 19)
  4. ADHD and Autism (January 20)
  5. Depression & Anxiety (January 21)
  6. Traumatic Brain Injury: Accidents, Sports, and More (January 22)
  7. 7 Steps to An UltraMind (Part 1) (January 23)
  8. 7 Steps to An UltraMind (Part 2) (January 24)

Click here to watch this documentary series and become part of the solution.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Is Your Butt Tight?

Is there such a thing as a “too tight butt”? I couldn't resist asking that one, but the answer is, YES; especially when one cheek is tighter than the other. Perhaps you have a diagnosis of Piriformis Syndrome? Well, that's what this diagnosis means. Your piriformis muscle on one side is tighter than on the other side, and when that happens, your whole pelvic area is out of sync. The piriformis is a thick muscle that runs very close to your sciatic nerve. So, when it tenses up, it sometimes presses on your sciatic nerve, causing pain that radiates down your whole leg. YIKES!

My uncle Stanley got sciatica sometime during his retirement and his doctor told him there was nothing he could do except to take pain pills. Sciatic pain can be debilitating. I watched an active, vital man shrivel up and die in about 18 months. Uncle Stanley’s experience is one of the reasons I started coaching people with back pain. He could have been helped through exercise but both he and his doctor were older and set in their ways…

Today's exercise will help you stretch the piriformis muscle and take the pressure right off that sciatic nerve!

As always, don’t hesitate to ask any questions, or about more modifications. I am happy to respond.

And think about getting someone on your holiday gift list a gift certificate for personalized coaching for their chronic pain, or Reiki healing sessions. Contact me for more information.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Are You Off Balance?

Is your doctor still handing out pain meds like they're the only solution that works for back pain? Well, I’m here to tell you that you have other options that are safer! Today, I'll be starting a conversation about how your hip/pelvic area becomes uneven, and what you can do about it. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more information and different exercises with you. A few simple exercises can get you back on track and make that pain in your back go away. More importantly, once you know what caused your back or hip pain, you can prevent it from coming back again!

I have been coaching people with back pain for several years now and what I have seen is that a large majority of back pain is caused by something off balance in your body posture/movements. That could mean that you have one hip that’s higher than the other, perhaps due to a broken ankle from years ago, or a knee replacement surgery more recently. Or, perhaps, you have a tight piriformis muscle from biking, driving a lot, or some other activity, which is causing the back side of your pelvic area to be uneven. Your psoas muscle can do the same thing around the front of your body, and sitting at your computer all day can cause that to tighten. And don’t get me talking about those tight quads! The good news is that there are some simple exercises that can stretch and then strengthen those muscles so that your unevenness not only goes away, but doesn’t come back again! Pain meds can’t do that.

We’ll start with hips. If you have one hip that’s higher than the other, you’ll be standing and walking off balance, and because it’s subtle, you won’t even realize it. This makes your lower back suffer the consequences – OUCH! If you have not seen a physical therapist for your back pain, ask your doctor for a referral and set up an appointment as soon as possible. A PT has the tools to measure your body in many ways, will let you know exactly what your imbalance is, and will get you started on exercises to get you back into alignment. This is something I recommend on a regular basis to my clients and students, and everyone has been able to get a referral, and see a physical therapist.  This is usually covered by your health insurance, so take advantage of it.

In today’s video, I demonstrate a simple stretch that can take care of that hip imbalance. It’s easy to do and you’ll see results fairly quickly. I recommend a minute on the side that’s giving you the trouble – the hip that’s sore or doesn’t feel right, and a little less time on the other side. Always stretch both sides, but go a bit longer on the side that’s off.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be happy to help in any way that I can.

Best of Health,

Kathi

Chronic Pain shrinks the grey matter in your brain. Studies have shown this, but those who are in pain didn't need science to prove it - you know it! It's difficult to smile or laugh when you're in pain, and as time goes on you can't even think clearly. Today, I'll talk about two things you can do to help rid yourself of that back or neck pain.

First, let’s look at our plastic brain and using Neuroplasticity to help reduce that pain.

Imagining activates the same neural pathways as the real experience!

This is something that sports psychologists have known and used for years. Allopathic medicine is now “getting the picture” and using visualization to help people reduce chronic pain as well. In fact, the reason that I began to study Neuroplasticity was to help my clients who are in pain.

So here’s a simple step that you can start today:

  • Sit comfortably, but tall (not in a recliner), and close your eyes.
  • Take three very deep breaths, slowing down your exhalations more with each breath
  • Visualize your back (or neck, butt, knee, etc.) before you began having the pain. See yourself doing all the things that you could do easily back then, visualize your back in perfect health. See it lengthen easily, see yourself standing tall without effort, visualize your shoulders even and down where they belong. Continue deep breathing as you visualize yourself in perfect health.

Keep this going for at least five minutes, each day, for 30 days.

Your brain processes through images, so keeping these healthy images in your mind each day for 30 days will cause the brain to believe that you ARE healthy. Then, your exercises, relaxation techniques, and the other methods you are using to bring health back to your body will have a more powerful effect.

Secondly, I’ll like to share an exercise with you that helps take the tension out of your entire back and shoulder area, while strengthening the lower back at the same time – you know how I love multitasking!

Remember to relax your back for at least five minutes each day too – this is vitally important for back health!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Halloween Fun Just For You!

Recently, a reader remarked that much of what I discuss and share in these posts is very serious. Although I attempt to bring a bit of humor into my writing, it's true that relieving back pain or preventing dementia is something that I take very seriously, and I share anything I learn which can help you.

So, today I am going to lighten the mood with one of my favorite topics - laughter! I hope you enjoy the comedy being shared today. Laughter is, indeed, the best medicine.

Here is a clip from Ellen DeGeneres show what has the audience howling. Go ahead and let loose!

And here are a couple of shots my brother took when we were hiking this weekend; it’s our own attempt at Yoga humor! Do you get it? I’ve circled a clue…

   

And here’s what happens when we attempt to do Yoga with pets in the room…

And me with Jade attempting to do down dog...

 

Best of Health,

Kathi

 

 

Wow, today is 10-17-17. That seems crazy to write. How did it get to be 2017? Where have I been since singing along with Jimmy Buffet “where the party will be on Jan 1, 2001”? The years have flown by and now I’m 65. (Paul McCartney reached this age long before I did, and he still looks pretty good!)

How do you feel about your age? Do you wonder if you’ll have the time and money to do all the things you want to before leaving the planet? Have you made any decisions about what you’ll do in retirement? Are you downsizing so your kids won’t have to rent one of those HUGE dumpsters to clear out your house after you’ve gone? We had to rent THREE of those construction dumpsters to clear out my parent’s house…

I have been doing all of these things for about a year now. Clearing out the house has been the most difficult goal for me. I was the one who saved my grandmother’s bowls, great aunt Catherine’s candy dish, the rocking chair Aunt Belle brought home on the bus and then carried on her head as she walked the 2 miles to her house… You get the idea. But this younger generation does not seem to have the same sentiments about all these family items as ours did. None of the nieces and nephews, or their children, want any of these things, so I’m slowly bringing all of them to the “Re-Store,” which is part of Habitat For Humanity. It’s been a journey, I will admit that. I’m glad that I made the decision to take one box a month, as I have put some things back on the shelf, and then a month or two later, taken them down and let them go.

I have also asked my kids about certain things they may want to have when I’m gone and am putting their name on the bottom of each of those items. They are in their 30’s, with their whole lives ahead of them, and don’t really want to talk about the end of my life; it’s uncomfortable for them. Again, I’m glad that I am going slowly with all these things. I let them think about something for a while and bring it back up again several weeks later. This is a process that’s going to take a while.

I’d love to hear from you about this topic. What have you done so far in planning ahead?

Are you stuck and haven’t done anything at all yet? Maybe you don’t want to think about it either?

Well, as Nanea Hoffman once put on her coffee mugs, “none of us are getting out of here alive...” It’s time to come face to face with these hard to discuss matters, as well as planning our walking on the shore, climbing that mountain, etc. We can continue our discussion through the comments section or via e-mail replies. I can even set up a private Facebook page if you want to. Let me know your thoughts.

And, if you are stuck, let’s use new Brain Science to get unstuck and make some good decisions. I can teach you how to get VERY clear on your goal, and then show you techniques and practices that will forge new pathways in your brain that will make it easier to accomplish that goal without the yucky feelings that you may be experiencing now. Want to know more? Check this video out.

There are a lot of mentors who’re excited about neuroplasticity and what that means for living our best life. I mentioned Dr. Mark Hyman’s upcoming program in my last post. This past week, John Asaraf (of The Secret fame), was promoting his program; JJ Virgin ran her program a couple of months ago. This new science is truly the way to go for changing behaviors that you don’t want to keep in your inventory anymore, and making healthy habits that improve your life. See for yourself here!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Life is always surprising. Sometimes in a good way, other times, not…

This past week, the surprise I received was very exciting! I got a note from my friend and colleague, Dr. Mark Hyman, about a new telesummit he’s going to offer in January called “Broken Brain”. At first, I giggled, and then I sent him a note about how wonderful it is that so many of us are offering programs based on new brain science right now, and how exciting I find that. In my mind, it means that the world is ready for all this new information.

I’ll be sending you info on Mark’s program as the time gets closer, but my own program is opening this month, so I’d like to tell you a bit about it today.

Neuroplasticity is a fascinating science. I can’t stop learning about it! Our brains truly are as pliable as plastic and you can learn to rewire it. So the fascinating part is that we can use this new science to make positive, permanent changes in our behavior that we have been unable to up to now! Imagine, finally being able to accomplish those items on your “Life Goals” list that you’ve tried and tried to do – without success, or with only temporary success.

For instance, let’s say you have attempted to get on a regular schedule of working out for the last several years. Not an easy thing to fit in while raising a family, building your career, etc. BUT, you know that your own health is important, and you don’t want be weak and ill in your golden years, so you keep trying – and failing. By now, you are so discouraged, you believe that you simply don’t have the willpower to meet this goal. That’s definitely NOT TRUE! Willpower has nothing at all to do with your ability to meet this goal.

Your plastic brain is keeping you from the success you want, but the good news is that you can change your brain! I can teach you how to use this new brain science to become your best you!

Here’s a taste of what you’ll get with this course:

  • A basic understanding of, and the science behind, using our new knowledge of neuroplasticity to make your brain healthier and increase your chance of success!
  • New techniques to help you set a goal in a way that will actually make it easier to achieve.
  • Tips to trick your brain into seeing things differently!
  • How to use mindfulness techniques to make new pathways and stronger connections in your brain.
  • Tools to both recognize AND end that negative chatter in your brain.
  • Weekly video calls where we’ll do of some of these techniques together, Q&A, and a bit of laughter thrown in for good measure!
  • And much, much more!

Do you want to get off that diet roller coaster?

Or maybe stop the pattern of being late for EVERYTHING!?

Maybe you stress out about too many things and want more calm in your life?

Or, you’re someone who has a hard time saying “no.”

Whatever your goal is, you CAN accomplish it!

Sign up HERE now!

What a few of the past participants have said about this course:

“I really feel like you have given us many tools to use so that we can finally be successful at what we have failed at over and over in the past.
I feel confident that I can continue to overcome the hurdles that made me slip back into my old bad habits and kept me from making a permanent change. I guess the old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks just doesn't apply here! We can train these old brains to see things in a different light. Love sniffing my scent (mint) it just makes me feel good, like I can go out and conquer anything. I look forward to applying this program to other aspects of my life as well. I thank you for this.”   
Marsha A.

“Thank you so much for all the techniques and learning opportunities you shared with us! We now have lots of wonderful tools to use for this and future goals. After the breathing practice we did during the last video conference, I feel relaxed, yet invigorated, and look forward to using these tools often. I found this course very valuable and I made great strides for my goal of being on time again!”   Maddie T

“You have presented a very thorough program. Some of the highlights for me are EFT, which I have done several times now and I love it! Using scent is another great one for me. This is the first time I have ever thought of actually visualizing another response to a situation and feeling how great that is. Very powerful for me. Meditation also - something as simple as repeating a mantra is very calming. Thank you so much!”   Lois P.

Want the same results in your life?

Sign up HERE!

In the meantime, here’s a tiny taste of how you can start right now making new pathways in your brain!

Best of Health,

Kathi

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