Rainbowyoga's Blog

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Roll away to relaxation August 30, 2011

Filed under: Dailies — rainbowyoga @ 12:32 am

You’re caught in the grinding maw of a stressful day and your neck and shoulders have morphed into a tight mass of tension. As your demanding boss or cranky child drones on and on, complaining, you find yourself drifting into your favorite fantasy. The one where you have an on-call bodyworker who’s attractive, attentive, and available day or night, strong fingers kneading just the right spots to melt that aching tightness away … A piercing yell from your boss or child yanks you back to reality, and you sigh as the fantasy fades.

As it happens, that dream isn’t completely out of reach. When you don’t have time or money for a massage or when your yoga practice doesn’t penetrate certain tight knots, you can pick up a few props and follow these tips from expert bodyworkers. Here’s what you need to know.

Healing Headaches

If pounding headaches visit you all too often, it’s time to learn how to tap into your craniosacral still point—a momentary cessation of the pulse of your cerebrospinal fluid that dissipates tension and pain. “It’s great for headaches,” says Ann Honigman, a chiropractor and craniosacral therapist in Berkeley, California. “It really helps you quiet the nervous system.” The pros do this for clients with their hands, but you can do it for yourself by lying on an easy-to-make still point inducer.

WHAT YOU NEED

Two tennis balls and a sock (stuff the balls in the sock and tie a knot at one end to hold them in place side by side).

WHAT TO DO

Lie on your back on a comfortable surface with a pillow under your knees. Place the tennis balls or the inducer under your head, at the base of your skull (in line with the bottom of your ears, as viewed from the side). Rest your head on the inducer, close your eyes, and lie quietly for 10 to 20 minutes. When you’re done, lift your head with one hand and slide the prop away with the other.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

 Don’t use the inducer if you’re allergic to latex.

RELEASING A TIGHT BACK

Massage your own back? It may sound like a job for an acrobat, but it’s much simpler than you’d think. A couple of easy-to-find props can help you open your chest, release tension in your spine, and even work those tight back muscles exactly where they ache.

WHAT YOU NEED

One of those swimming pool foam “noodles” rolled in a towel or folded sheet. For a deeper massage, you’ll also need two tennis balls or racquetballs tied in a sock.

WHAT TO DO 

CHEST OPENING

 Lie on the roller with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, so the roller extends along your spine from your sitting bones to the top of your head. You can either relax on the roller without moving (which opens your chest laterally) or roll gently from side to side to massage the muscles along your spine. Try it for at least 20 seconds or until your chest begins to relax and open.

SPINAL RELEASE

Position the foam roller horizontally under your shoulder blades—again lying on your back with your knees bent, this time with your hands gently supporting your head and neck-and roll your back (without arching it) up and down over the roller for at least 20 seconds or until you feel your muscles relax.

This technique helps mobilize your spine, pinpointing stiff areas and releasing them.

DEEPER MASSAGE

Lie on your tennis- balls-and-sock device, knees bent, with one ball on either side of your spine. With your butt off the ground (lower back straight, not arched) and head and neck supported in your hands, roll over the device to massage up and down your spine. When you find a sore spot, roll over it until you feel the muscle soften and release.

When you’re really in a rush, grab some racquetballs and get a massage in your car. You can put them between your back and the seat, and the motion of the car does the massage for you.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

Backs can be tricky, so don’t use these techniques if you have an acute injury or symptoms that call for professional care. Also, don’t roll your sacrum—the triangular bone at the base of your spine—over balls if it’s unstable or the ligaments are loose. Too much pressure can disrupt the joints between your sacrum and your pelvis.

SOOTHING SORE FEET

You pound along on your feet day after day, rarely giving a thought to all the force they absorb on your behalf. Next time they start to complain, treat them to a session with one of these simple props.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Golf balls or (thick) empty glass soda bottles chilled in the freezer.

WHAT TO DO

Sit on the edge of a chair and place a golf ball or bottle under your foot. Roll the sole of your foot over the prop, pressing into the tight spots. Continue for three or four minutes and repeat several times a day. If a spot is too sore to massage directly, work around or in front of it. .

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

 If you’re using glass bottles, be careful to avoid breaking them. And don’t stand on the balls or bottles—you might fall and end up with more than sore feet!

Easing Overall Aches and Pains Sometimes all you need to do is put a little pressure right where it hurts. But you might also want to try the indirect approach of acupressure, which unblocks energy at one place in your body to relieve pain elsewhere. Pressing a spot on your hand, for instance, can ease pain in your head.

In fact, the Hoku point (also known as LI 4), deep in the webbing between your thumb and index finger, is a great overall pain reliever. And unlike pain medications, the Hoku point is always there when you need it-free of charge.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Your fingers.

WHAT TO DO With the thumb and fingers of one hand, grasp the V-shaped webbing between the thumb and index finger of your other hand. (It’s the grasping thumb that goes on the back side of the other hand.) Use the grasping thumb to press close to the bone that attaches to the index finger—angling underneath the bone—to find the place that’s most sensitive.

Now apply firm pressure to that spot for at least one minute, and move the area that hurts (your sore neck, for instance) to send it a pain relief message. Repeat on the other side.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR 

Stay away from the Hoku point if you’re pregnant, since it can bring on uterine contractions.

 

August 29, 2011

Filed under: Inspirational — rainbowyoga @ 1:06 am
 

The Green Thing August 26, 2011

Filed under: Dailies — rainbowyoga @ 11:17 pm
The Green Thing
In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. 

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. 

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. 

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. 

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?


 

August 23, 2011

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 9:15 am
 

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 12:16 am
 

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 12:09 am
 

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 12:00 am