Archive for Blog – Page 2

Active Meditation is the Healthier Choice for Sedentary People

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy, if not deadly. Heart disease, obesity, and depression are just a few consequences of inactivity, and in most cases, these conditions could be prevented if our bodies were more active.


That said, what kind of harmful effects might we endure from a practice seated meditation? If stiff knees and a tight lower back aren’t painful enough, the thought of damaging your health while trying to gain inner peace seems blatantly counterproductive, especially if your already life a sedentary lifestyle.

For those of you who don’t get enough exercise, practicing a form of active meditation instead of the classic seated meditation might be a better option.

The following suggestions will get your body moving while still enjoying the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a meditation practice.

Walking or running meditation

This is my personal favorite way to slip into a meditative state, while still being active. Choose a place to walk or run that is free from distractions. These places may include a trail in the woods, a path by a quiet lake, or along a deserted street. While walking, try not to direct your thoughts to any one thing, instead, allow for a stream of thoughts to come and go through your mind. Bringing a furry friend adds to the delight!

Eventually, with practice, you will reach a meditative state of clarity and understanding. This will help you find it easier to make decisions, or come up with your next great idea.

Cleaning or yard work meditation

Few people look forward to house cleaning, and some loathe working in the yard. But, with the right frame of mind, cleaning or doing yard work can be very Zen. Sweeping, raking, or mowing the lawn is very rhythmic. When you connect your mind with the rhythmic cadence these activities produce, your thoughts will dissipate and leave you feeling calm and serene. Plus, it might just change the way you feel about doing housework, as it may just become your biggest form of stress relief.

Dancing meditation

You don’t have to be a great dancer, nor do you have to have any coordination to enjoy this type of active meditation. All you need to do is turn up the volume, start moving your body, and notice the space between your ears clear right up.

Be sure to choose music that is uplifting and has a positive message, because when you are meditating your mind acts like a sponge and it will soak in every detail without you even knowing.


Other activities can bring us to a state of meditation. The list includes knitting, swimming, singing, skiing, and more. What is your favorite way to keep the peace in your head and make life less stressful, while being active all at the same time? Please share!


Serenity Now! A Mindful Practice for Anger Management

Anger is a natural human emotion, one that is important to express. But, we must let go of our anger constructively, and not destructively. When we suppress it, our body suffers. Tension takes over, blood pressure rises, and whoever or whatever is in our path better get out of the way because no one can bottle-up anger for very long before blowing their top in an inappropriate fit of rage.

Expressing anger doesn’t have to be dangerous, fear inducing, or cause harm. It is possible to find healthy means to move uncomfortable feelings out of our mind and body so we can be at peace again.

The following is a guided imagery meditation designed to help keep anger from obstructing the flow of serenity. Practice in a safe place whenever anger starts to bite, and let it go before it eats you up.

Lie on your back in a comfortable position away from any hard-surfaced objects such as a nightstand, chair, doors or walls. Take a moment to reflect on whatever caused your angry feelings. Imagine everything associated with your anger compressing into a dense rock, about the size of your fist.

Next, imagine you are holding a slingshot in your left hand. See a vivid image of this hand-catapult, with it’s rubber band and sturdy handle. Now, imagine using your right hand to pick up the dense rock that contains everything about your anger. Put the rock in the slingshot and imagine pulling back on the rubber band.

Begin to tense your body as you imagine holding the rock in the slingshot. Squeeze your arms, legs, core, and face muscles. Take a deep breath and hold it in. Now, with all your might, let go of the rock, let out a roaring exhale, spread your arms and legs out as far as you can, and see the rock that holds everything about your anger being flung into outer space, where it explodes into particles of dust.

Repeat this exercise three times.

  • On the first time, imagine the person or event that stirred up anger being launched far from your field of vision.
  • The second time, imagine physical sensations of anger being released from your body.
  • And lastly, on the third trial, let go of resentment.

Anger is a natural human emotion, one that you can manage properly. There is no need to deny anger. Just feel it, and then let go.











What Does the Color of Your Yoga Mat Say About You?

Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to certain colors? Be it steamy grey, or wild fuchsia, colors can reflect the way we feel about ourselves, as well as directly influence our mood. Remember the classic mood ring from the 1970’s? While the color of your yoga mat doesn’t change based on your mood, it can make your mood change while you are using it.

It is no surprise that yoga mats these days come in a rainbow of shades. Tiptoe across the floor of our yoga studio and you will see varied tones of greens, purples, and reds, in addition to multicolored, patterned, or printed mats of numerous colors.

Call it silly nonsense, but the color of your yoga mat can either inspire or dampen your enthusiasm with regard to your yoga practice.

The following are a few explanations of how the color of your yoga mat can affect your mood, energy level, and inner peace.



Those who chose a red yoga mat are usually solid and grounded, and most likely attracted to the vim and vigor certain yoga styles offer. Practicing on a red yoga mat will certainly spark a little liveliness under your feet, but be prepared to work extra hard at cooling down toward the end of class. Red instills a fiery quality to your practice, and will keep you feeling the heat long after class has ended.






Purple mats are gorgeous. This rich and royal tone invokes a sense of elegance and jewel-like presence to your yoga practice. Want to feel like a king or a queen seated confidently on the palace throne? Take a seat on your purple yoga mat and be absorbed in an attitude of richness and luxury.



Blue is very comforting, which is why it is a fabulous choice for a yoga mat. All shades of blue promote serenity and peace, as the color blue is very cooling and soothing for most people. Step foot on a blue yoga mat and you’ll feel as if you’re riding atop a gentle ocean wave, and as a result, your practice will feel very free and easy.



Nothing seeks attention more than the color orange. From road construction cones to a deer hunter’s wardrobe, orange is a color that begs to be noticed. Those who practice on orange yoga mats are not afraid to stand proud and be who they are. Orange is also a playful color, and instills a child-like quality to your yoga practice. An orange yoga mat will bring fun to your practice as you play with adventurous poses such as inversions or arm balances.



Picture a salubrious garden, acres and acres of lush rainforest, or a field of rich, wild grasses, and you’ll soon understand how a green yoga mat might give you the sense that you are connected to nature in all of its magical splendor. Practice poses like tree pose and mountain pose on your green yoga mat and it will be hard for you to not feel uplifted and inspired by the natural beauty that is all around you.



Pink mats are wonderful to help promote breast cancer awareness. The color pink also exemplifies rosy cheeks, bubblegum, and the blush of first love. Are you totally in love with yoga? Express it by practicing on a pink mat, and your yoga practice will love you back. Be flirtatious in balance poses, sweeten your standing poses, and feel energized by your devoted commitment to loving yourself, your yoga, and your care for finding a cure.



Look up at the night sky and you’ll witness the dazzle of a dark and expansive universe. Classic, ageless, and never boring, black will always stand the test of time. Practicing on a black yoga mat offers the same dose of inspiration as pondering the mysteries of the universe. Relaxing on a black yoga mat brings attention to the infinite possibilities available to you.


Manuka yoga mats are available in all colors at the Heart and Core Yoga studio boutique! 





Think You’re Done Making Progress on the Yoga Mat? Think Again!

Reaching a plateau in yoga can be discouraging. When we first roll out the yoga mat, a rapid swell in our ability gives rise to our motivation to keep practicing. We embrace the cresting wave of progress, but inevitably, the acceleration that pushed us forward will wane and leave us reeling aimlessly on the proverbial yoga plateau. In between the thrill of being on top of the curve, and the dream of overcoming challenges on the mat, there is a pause. This very moment in time is what makes many give up on our aspirations of becoming better yogis. We owe it to ourselves to keep going.

Progress comes in waves.

First, we must understand that while time may seem to be at a standstill when our practice lags, nothing is ever stagnant. In fact, we are in a continual state of motion. Molecules in our bodies are moving, our hearts keep beating, our blood keeps flowing, and our minds keep thinking. Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, understood this to be true when he said, “The only thing that is constant is change.”

If you have reached a plateau in your yoga practice, the following meditation will keep you from feeling discouraged by your seemingly lack of progress. Practice this meditation when accelerated changes in your mind and body have slowed.

Begin in a comfortable position, free from distraction. Take several deep breaths to clear your mind and relax your body. Bring your awareness to the image of an ocean. Notice the dynamic movement of the sea, and let this image settle in your mind. Next, off in the distance, see a swell begin to develop. Watch this swell pick up speed as it reaches its maximum height. Within seconds, see the swell crash and flatten, as it stretches across the shore.

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While it may seem like nothing is happening as you anticipate the next swell, take a closer look. What do you see? Perhaps you notice a unique pattern of sea foam across the surface of the ocean. Maybe you can hear hundreds of tiny ocean bubbles breaking wind. Whatever you envision, bring all of your attention to the nuances during the plateau before the next swell. Now notice the same subtleties in your body. Become intrigued by the constant changes that are happening moment by moment, and in between the accelerated waves of your progress on the mat. Cherish this time, because the next wave is coming!

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Yoga Provides Relief of Allergy Symptoms

Unusually warm winter days are a treat, unless you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from spring allergies. This year, allergists are predicting a longer and more severe allergy season, and say sufferers will be seeking relief in droves, even if the high spring temperatures cool down.

It is common for allergy victims to run straight for the drug store to stock up on nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamines, and some go to extremes for more hard-hitting treatments such as steroidal allergy shots. If you have either given up on unnatural remedies found in a box, carton or plastic tube, or don’t like needles, try yoga for the relief of your stubborn allergy symptoms.

You might think some yoga poses just contribute to the pain and agony of having allergies. Downward dog is not the most comfortable yoga pose to be in if you have clogged sinuses and a pounding head. For some, the just thought of putting their head below their waist with a stuffy nose is enough to bring on the sinus pressure. Plus, taking those long, slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose when it’s clogged up is like trying to vacuum the floor with no power to the vacuum.

To help clear your stuffy head, try the yogic breathing called alternate nostril breathing. Just like it sounds, you will breathe in through one nostril and breathe out through the other, alternating the lead nostril per breath. Use your thumb and fourth finger to block off the nostril that is not in use, and be sure to have a box of tissues nearby because once to get your breath flowing, the rest will flow as well.


Inversions are a great way to help flush the lymph nodes and stimulate the immune system, two great actions to combat allergies. Again, dropping your head below your waist won’t feel very good, so instead, practice the following semi-inverted pose to gain the same benefits without the discomfort.

Lie on the floor on your back with your hips very close to a wall. You may prop up your head on a blanket or small pillow for comfort and ease. Place both legs straight up the wall and let them rest against it. Legs-up-the-wall pose is a very effective yet mild inversion to assist in flushing your system and restoring your immunity.


AnneCorrine is teaching a Restorative Yoga class for the prevention and alleviation of allergy symptoms on Sunday, March 12, noon-1:30pm. $12 drop in, or one class pass per person. 

Still Awake? Try This!

Sleep is the antidote to illness, yet many of us don’t get enough of it. Whether it is due to stress, chronic fatigue, or an anxiety overload, insomnia can rob us of our health and wellbeing.

If you have trouble falling or staying asleep at night, the following meditation will help you get the rest you need. Taking all the steps necessary to combat insomnia won’t just help you; it will help those around you, too. Rest is best for everyone.

Practice this guided imagery meditation for a few minutes in bed each night, for a total of seven nights. Use it as a tool to retrain your mind and body to let go of stress at the end of the day. After a week’s time, it will be much easier to fall asleep, and stay asleep throughout the night.

Settle into a comfortable position in your bed. Take five deep breaths. During each exhale, silently repeat the mantra, “Sleep comes easy now.”

Next, scan your body with your mind’s eye beginning at the top of your head, continuing all the way down to your toes. As you scan your body, allow your eyelids, skin, and muscles to feel heavy. During this phase, let your breath be soft and natural.

If you come across areas of tension in your body, silently repeat a mantra on an exhale to relax each tense body part. For example, if your jaw is tense, take a deep breath in, then say to yourself as you exhale, “My jaw is heavy.” Repeat until you feel relaxation wash away tension.

Now, with your eyes closed and your awareness turned inward, notice the effect of gravity on your entire body. Invite the Earth’s pull to deepen the heaviness you are feeling. Let this heaviness settle into your bones.

Continue with your deep breaths by silently repeating the mantra, “My bones are heavy,” for the next 10 exhale cycles. As you count your exhales, start with the number 10 and count all the way down to one.

Imagine your bones are being pulled all the way down to the Earth. Allow your bones to feel so heavy, that it requires little or no effort to relax the muscles around them. Let yourself drift into a deep state of relaxation.

After a week of practice, notice mental tensions diminishing as your body recalls its innate state of deep relaxation. Now, every time you retire for the evening, your mind and body will be conditioned and ready to settle into a deep sleep.

Whether You Think You Can, or Think You Can’t: You’re Right!

The power of thought makes an impact on our attitude. It can affect the way we feel about ourselves and the events and circumstances in our lives. Positive thoughts can help us stay energized through tough times, organized when we have a full schedule, and inspired during a big, scary life change.

The more we think about something, the closer we become to bringing the thought of that something into our reality. Some thoughts can promote negative experiences for us, so keep your thoughts on the sunny side.

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The following affirmations are only examples. Perhaps you’d like to come up with your own. Feel like sharing? We’d love to hear your words in the comments below.



“I rise and I shine”

Start the week off with this affirmation immediately upon arising. Believe you will shine throughout the day and shed positive light on whatever lies ahead. Trust in your heart that you have the remarkable ability to glow and be an inspiration to those around you.



“I nourish my body with good food”

Say this phrase to yourself while you are planning a meal. Notice how it enhances your relationship with food and your choices about nutrition. At those moments when you feel the urge to hurry up and eat whatever is available, repeat this affirmation with conviction, and take charge of your health. When you eat well, you’ll have more energy to do the things you enjoy doing.



“I am deserving of time for myself”

Mid-week can be challenging as we begin to pine for the weekend. Vow to alleviate a Wednesday slump and take some time for yourself. Give yourself permission to pamper your body, take care of your needs, or just relax. Repeat this affirmation as a firm reminder that you deserve it. Rest, and be your best.



“I trust in my ability to get things done”

Procrastination can lead to depression and a sense of feeling overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. When you feel confident, you will have more energy to do what is needed. Tell yourself over and over again that you are fully capable to do what needs to be done, and tackle your to-do list with gusto.



“I have a strong and healthy mind and body”

When you believe something you are more likely to actualize it into your life. Repeat this affirmation whenever you need the inspiration to get moving. Try it when you are exercising and feel like quitting, or if you just need a little motivation to go for a run, roll out your yoga mat, or return to your favorite fitness class.



“I value having fun”

All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill!) a dull person. Whether it’s reading a book, watching a movie, baking a cake, playing with your grandkids, dancing, hiking, laughing, the list goes on…. Have fun! The flood of feel-good hormones will give you a reprieve from your worries or anxieties. When you feel good, you can create and follow through with your dreams and desires.



“I am allowed to feel what I feel”

Whenever you feel burned out, bored, or cranky, and none of these affirmations seem to work, don’t deny it. You are who you are. We are all human, and no one ever goes through life without feeling less than par from time to time. If we can just be okay with how we feel, we’ll have a greater ability to move on from those less-than-perfect feelings. Understand that, “this too shall pass,” and be triumphant in the face of a bad mood.





Is Corpse Pose Killing You? A Guide to Mastering Final Relaxation in Yoga

Savasana (sha-vaa’-sana), aka corpse pose or final relaxation, is one of the most important yoga poses we’ll ever practice. However, instead of relishing in all of the goodness this pose brings, many people will use savasana to sort out their to-do list and ponder pending agendas. After all, it seems like the perfect time to figure out what to make for dinner, or day dream about your next vacation. I know, I do yoga, too. But, the point of final relaxation at the end of class is to slow our thoughts and merge into a place of complete peace. Easier said than done, that’s for sure!


The following meditation is a guided imagery practice I created to help us stay present in savasana. I use it when my brain just can’t settle down long enough to let go. Notice how, with special attention, you’ll be able to soak in all of the glorious benefits of your time on the yoga mat. Make sure you savor every minute of it, as it will have long lasting effects.

Before reclining onto your back and into corpse pose, take a moment to visualize white snowcapped peaks atop tall mountains. Let the snowy tops of these mountains signify your current state of awareness; perhaps a little icy or rigid in thought. With this image in mind, begin to settle into savasana.


While lying on your back, allow your body to adjust into a comfortable position. Revisit the image of those snowcapped peaks. Imagine the sun’s rays greeting the ice and snow, and see the frozen caps beginning to melt away. During this section of the imagery, let your thoughts feel warm, and flow slowly, much like melting snow. Let this image begin to wash away any bodily tension or mental anxiety.

Next, imagine the pure and clean liquid runoff from the snowcapped peaks merging into several larger streams that pour down the mountain. See all these fresh, new streams merging into one unhurried river. As your body flows into a deeper state of relaxation, let your consciousness become just like this river. Allow your thoughts to be like slow-moving liquid as they flow through your mind. Imagine the soothing sounds of a mountain stream.


Natural streams refresh the landscape, as they carry channels of water all the way to the ocean. Your flowing streams of consciousness refresh your mind and your body, as they carry you all the way to a place of inner calm. In our yoga and meditation practices, streams of free-flowing consciousness can erode whatever is in our way to finding inner peace.

Imagine your river of thought merging into the ocean of your soul, washing away anything that keeps you from experiencing your best savasana. Swim in the ocean of consciousness until it is time to awaken. When you do finally come out of savasana, thank yourself for your efforts to clear your mind and calm your body. As it helps you, it will also help those around you. Namaste.



Yoga: Beneficial or Artificial?

New York Times senior writer, William J. Broad, wrote a sensational article titled, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” If you haven’t read it, it’s worthy of scrutiny. Broad is also the author of the book, The Science of Yoga, which takes you through an in-depth look at the history, beneficial qualities, and artificial health claims of yoga in America.

While we know any type of physical activity comes with risks, we must also understand that we can be responsible for our own actions. As for yoga, we need not take it lightly. It is important to practice with the intention of truly listening to our bodies instead of following the false claims that troll this ancient practice.

These four tips will help you keep your practice beneficial, rather than artificial.

Take the proper class

Yoga styles are like snowflakes; there are no two alike. Before you take a class, read the description or talk to the instructor to determine if it is a good fit. For someone who’s never attended a yoga class, yoga may conjure up an image of middle-aged women sitting on the floor stretching. But in reality, it can be a hard-core and extremely difficult workout. As a beginner, you definitely want to avoid a class that only serves advanced students.

Take the options when needed

It is tempting to just do what everyone else in class is doing, but options are given and modifications are shown for a reason. If your teacher has been made aware of your personal needs, whether they are due to injuries, or other conditions, it is likely the options are there to serve your specific needs. Do not ignore them, use them.

Be physically conservative, at first 

One of the mysteries of yoga is that while we might not feel like we worked very hard on the mat in last night’s class, we’re almost guaranteed to feel muscles we didn’t know we had by morning. Yoga asanas, or poses, can greatly impact the musculoskeletal system at a very deep level. The effects are not always felt immediately, so it is best to leave class feeling like you could have done a little bit more. Until you fully realize how far you can safely push your limits, tread lightly.

Practice the basics

Don’t forget that professional athletes all started with the basics when learning a new skill. Yoga is a multidimensional discipline with a lot to understand and put into practice. If the Sanskrit pose names aren’t confusing enough, the chakras, bandhas, and drishtis can make your head spin. Practice with a beginner’s mind and focus on the most important thing first: your safety. Turn your awareness to your own body; take care of it as best as you can, and vow to learn about the other aspects of yoga whenever you feel ready.

Let yoga be of benefit to your health, rather than an artificial and superficial quick fix that may cause harm to your body. It takes a lifetime to learn, which is why it is called a practice.



Decisions, Decisions: The Big Mind-Body Experiment

What Should I Do?

Making tough decisions is a learned skill. While some decisions are quite simple to make, others require time and careful examination. Whatever the size and importance of the decision, choosing the best option takes practice.

We have all had plenty of opportunities to lament over the horrible choices we’ve made, only to look back and hopefully learn from our ill judgment. But, when we are constantly battling the consequences of making poor decisions, life can wear us out.

The following meditation is a tool you can use to set your internal compass toward making positive and constructive choices. Good decisions in work and relationships are paramount to our personal development and happiness in life.

First, create or find a space that allows your mind to settle and your body to relax. Perhaps it is walking along a shoreline, or sitting on your own back porch. Go to the place that will best support your process of deciding what to do.

Next, imagine possible outcomes that might arise from your different choices. Notice how thinking about these consequences can affect your body. Do you have a nervous stir in your stomach? Is your heart heavy? Does your head ache when you ruminate over a particular outcome? While these sensations are par for the course in any tough decision making process, they are of great value to observe.

Ask yourself why certain feelings are present. For example, a nervous stomach could be a result of your fear of success or failure, as well as a lack of confidence in yourself. A heaviness in your chest might be a sign you are not following your heart, or are taking on someone else’s feelings. A headache often suggests you are not yet certain about what you want, or are overwhelmed by the process of following through with it. Observe your feelings so you can gather insight into what might be holding you back. Take as long as you need to get clear. Now, let your awareness move beyond your feelings and connect with your internal compass. Trust yourself; your inner guide will never let you down.

Finally, understand no scenario is ever going to be absolutely perfect. If you face your fears head on, set emotional boundaries, and get clear, the right choice often presents itself. And, always remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Go for it!



30 Ways to Leave Your Anguish

The dawning of a New Year brings about a grand opportunity to set our intentions for what we want in life. For some, taking better care of our health is a top priority. Others value closer relationships with loved ones. Some pine for that big break in their careers. No matter how we construct our New Year’s resolutions, we all want the same thing. We all want to be happy.

Perhaps letting go of the desire to achieve your goals is just what you need. The Bhagavad Gita, and ancient yoga text, suggests we can not be free of anguish unless we let go of the results of our actions. In other words, to do something for the pure joy of it brings more happiness than hanging on to expectations and results.

The following are only 30 ways to celebrate happiness in 2017, and beyond. We’d love for you to add to this list. How do you experience pure joy? Please feel free to comment below, and have a very Happy New Year!

  1. Instead of asking, “What was I thinking?” when things don’t go as planned, ask, “What did I learn?” and then move on.
  2. Smile more often. Frowns will make you feel old and tired. Smiles bring light to those around you, too.
  3. Call a friend. Some girl talk or male bonding will work wonders for your mood.
  4. Eat well. Nourish your body with nutrient rich food.
  5. Make love. Sex is good for the soul, as long as it’s safe and consented.
  6. Enjoy a cup of tea. The warm liquid will relax your body and bring ease to your mind.
  7. Stretch. Staying limber helps to reduce morning stiffness.
  8. Pray. Having faith in something instills hope. Hope is necessary for inner peace.
  9. Hug someone. Human contact releases endorphins and allows us to feel connected. Don’t be shy!
  10. Write a letter. Put your thoughts onto paper and express your heart and mind.
  11. Go for a walk. Exercise gives you energy and puts you in a good mood.
  12. Take a new route home. A change in scenery will give you a new perspective and may help you work out a problem that’s been on your mind.
  13. Practice yoga and/or Pilates. But, of course!
  14. Be patient. The adage, “This too shall pass,” means if we can just chill out, we’ll soon feel better.
  15. Volunteer. The feelings you get from selfless giving are better than pharmaceuticals.
  16. Listen to music. Rhythms, beats, and tones bring on a sense of elation.
  17. Read poetry. Pick deep contemplative pieces like those of Robert Frost or William Blake and lose yourself in thought.
  18. Ride in the back seat of a car. Take a break from always being “up front.”
  19. Connect with nature. Watch how simply and effortlessly life evolves around you.
  20. Meditate. Take time to slow down and get to know yourself better.
  21. Dance. That’s right, just like no one is watching!
  22. Sing. Stretching your vocal cords gives you a rush of adrenaline.
  23. Speak your mind. Share you brilliance with the world.
  24. Say NO or say YES, but be firm. Enjoy your personal space and practice integrity.
  25. Give. For no reason, surprise someone with a special gift.
  26. Sleep in. If you are craving rest, by all means, let yourself have it.
  27. Toast life. Even if your glass is half empty, hold it up and say, “Thank you”
  28. Get some sun. Fifteen minutes a day is what the doctor ordered.
  29. Eat dessert. Feeling deprived is no way to live.
  30. Don’t worry. Be happy!

How do you celebrate happiness?






Don’t Be Cross Over Upper Crossed Syndrome

What do you call it when you frequently sit in a chair with an iPad in your lap? Bad posture! Anatomists call it Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS). This postural misalignment is recognized by rounded shoulders, a head that leans forward, and an aching pain in the low back. It is most commonly seen in the elderly, however due to modern lifestyles, UCS is afflicting the young and middle aged.


Anatomically speaking, UCS can be defined as tightness of the scalenes, pectoralis major and minor muscles, stiffness in the upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles, and a weakening in the middle and lower trapezius, serratus anterior, and rhomboid muscle groups. This pattern of muscle imbalance creates glenohumeral dysfunction. In other words, when your neck and chest are tight and your upper back is weak, your shoulder joints will take a beating.  

To combat UCS, you can practice corrective exercises and movements designed to stretch the chest and strengthen the upper back.

The following suggestions may help enhance your posture and alleviate muscle aches. They are not intended to diagnose a disease, or prescribe exercises for an undiagnosed condition. Always consult with your doctor or physical therapist first, when your body is in pain.


Chest and Neck Stretches (Pectoralis Major and Minor, Scalenes and Sternocleidomastoid)


Stand with right shoulder next to a wall. Reach right arm back and place right hand on the wall. Turn chest perpendicular to the wall, until a stretch is felt across the front of the right shoulder and in the middle of the chest. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Switch sides.





Interlace fingers behind your back. If that is not comfortable, grab a yoga strap, a rolled up towel, or a belt with both hands instead. Reach arms down and back as you gently lift them away from your hips. Look up. Broaden your collar bones and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.


Upper Back Strengthener (Trapezius, Rhomboids, and Serratus Anterior)


From a prone position, extend arms back with palms facing up. Lift chest, arms, and legs. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.


Overall Chest and Back Toning Exercise

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From your hands and knees, begin to flex and extend your spine (aka: round and arch your back). Repeat 10 to 15 times.


A special thanks to our Whole Enchilada teacher David Stickler for providing the demonstrations. Come see us in 2017. We’re primed and ready to help you attain your goals in the New Year.