EASY TRAVEL TIPS!

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I got the idea for this post after a recent overseas journey which spanned around 36 hours of flights, trains and buses. Whether on a journey as long as mine, or something less intense, traveling has a definite impact on our physical well-being – time-zone changes, cramped conditions and limited food options disrupt our natural cycles, so it pays to be prepared. With the holiday season winding down this is perhaps a little belated, but keep these tips bookmarked for next time!

Preparation:

  1. The day before you travel, move around a lot – go for a long walk or gentle jog, go to a pilates or yoga class or simply stretch.
  2. Buy some healthy snacks to eat on the journey – avoid plane/train/ food if you can. I tend to pack leftovers (fritatta and salad is easy to pack) nuts, nut butter, coconut oil, dried fruit, healthy snack bars, crackers, bananas, avocados, kale chips, crisps, dark chocolate, bake some muffins or a loaf. You should be fine taking this food onto a plane but anything left after your flight you may have to declare on entering a new country (transit should be fine).
  3. Eat and hydrate well on the day you are flying so you can fill up on good quality produce and won’t be tempted by any nasties onboard. Try to get in a vegetable juice or smoothie before the flight –  google beforehand to find out if your airport has a juice bar. Green tea will help with tension headaches – I take the tea bags with me and just ask for hot water.
  4. Pack your probiotics to help keep your tummy happily digesting and to help support your immune system (being stuck in a confined airless places with loads of people can be a germ breeding ground!).
  5. Prepare your travelling outfit – choose your most comfortable clothes, soft fabric that is loose fitting or nice and stretchy. Pack an extra pair of socks or some slippers or flip flops/jandals to walk around in as you want to take your shoes off as soon as you begin your journey.
  6. Make sure you have a good sleep the night before – no last minute packing or panicking

While travelling:

  1. Choose an aisle seat so you can get out of your seat easily to walk around (without your shoes), or if travelling in a car take regular breaks to get out and walk around and stretch: turn your head from side to side, squeeze hands together behind your back, twist, sit in a low squat, lean forward to stretch the back of your legs, point and flex your feet, and so on (images below).
  2. Drink plenty of water (double the amount of water offered to you if on a plane) this will make you get up to use the toilet at the very least! Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can disrupt your sleep patterns.
  3. If you have more than one flight then use the transit time to find a juice bar, or guzzle some good quality water. If you’re hungry choose fresh vegetables/salad or fruit.
  4. If you feel tired then sleep! Or at least close your eyes and rest. Take the opportunity to practise some calming breathing exercise or mindfulness. If you are transiting and need sleep then lie down rather than sit to sleep. If you’re wide awake then walk around or stand as much as you can.
  5. Eat your own packed food. Or if you have to eat the food served to you then definitely avoid the bread and dessert – ask for a piece of fruit or a bag of nuts instead.
  6. Brush your teeth! or at least swill your mouth out with oil or fresh water! This won’t only make you feel more refreshed, but will also help keep your immune system boosted. Remember the major importance oral health plays in well-being!

After travelling:

  1. Stretch, twist and move around! The cat stretch is a great one to do if you have the floor space. Massage your feet on a tennis ball to help rebalance the different reflex points that may have been affected by the travelling.
  2. Hydrate – plenty of fresh water perhaps with a pinch of good quality salt to help balance your electrolytes.
  3. Eat well to help you sleep well – fill up on any food groups you may have missed out on during your travels.
  4. Go to bed at the local time (between 10 and 11pm is ideal) and get 7-8 hours sleep if possible.

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STRETCH!


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THE MARVELLOUS CAT STRETCH

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Awakening deep intrinsic primal and developmental movement patterns, the moving cat stretch is one of my all time favourite movement patterns. It can be done any time of the day, all you need is a little bit of floor space and the ability to get up and down from it!

First thing in the morning it acts like a big yawn to help gently wake you up, centre and focus you for the day ahead; in the middle of the day it re-energises and better directs your attention – a much healthier pick me up than  reaching for the chocolate or caffeine hit; and done slowly before bed it helps to unwind and cleanse the day from your body and mind so you can go off to bed free from any unwanted mental or physical baggage.

Here are just some of the benefits:

  • stretches, strengthens and stabilises your arms, spine and torso
  • moves the breath deeper into your lungs helping to cleanse and better oxygenate all the tissues throughout your body
  • massages and opens the deep lower back and hips which in turn flushes the digestive system with fresh nutrient dense blood – great digestive aid!
  • strengthens and connects the deep abdominal muscles helping stabilise the torso and flood your system with all your feel good hormones! (dopamine and serotonin are largely manufactured in the gut)
  • opens the nerves through the spine, hands and arms helping to undo tension caused from slouching over a computer, smart phone or steering wheel, or constantly lugging kiddies around!
  • massages and opens the kidneys and resets the adrenal glands, helping you swap stressy fight or flight mode to calm cruise control – read more here
  • SO..helps relieve headaches, RSI, back pain, digestive troubles, anxiety, fatigue, disordered breathing…to name a few!

1) BEGIN ON ALL FOURS

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Knees under hips, hands under shoulders

CUES:

  • Keep the spine long and spacious. Imagine your spine being pulled from either end – out through the crown of the head and out through the tail bone
  • To help get the arm bones connecting well into the shoulder sockets and the shoulder blades well placed, bend your arms and point the elbows out to the sides then turn the arms so the elbows point in towards your body, straighten the arms.
  • Keep shoulder blades wide on the back of your rib cage and press the floor away from you, ie. don’t hang the torso down between your arms and collapse the shoulder blades together
  • Make sure head isn’t dropped – keep the back of the neck long just as it would be if you were standing

2) ARTICULATE

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Inhale to prepare. Exhale to draw the belly in towards your spine and gently articulate the spine into a curved cat shape. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Your pubic bone should be looking at you and you should be looking at your pubic bone
  • Gently press through your hands to help widen the middle back
  • Gently use your lower abs to help pull your tail between your legs and lengthen the lower back. Imagine plugging your tail into your belly button
  • Keep the hands and fingers alive! spread them wide and feel equal weight through each finger

3) STRETCH

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Exhale to travel the cat curve backwards so you sit back on the heels, keeping your hands connected to the same spot on the floor. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Relax your neck, jaw, throat and eyes as you release back into the stretch
  • Let your ankles roll out to the sides if the top of the feet or inner thighs are tight
  • Keep gently hugging the belly back in towards the spine

4) EXTENSION & STABILISATION

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Exhale to bend your arms, place the forearms on the floor, roll your shoulders back, lift your head, chest and spine into a lengthened position. Inhale to pause…

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Exhale to travel your spine forward stopping when your head gets to your wrists. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Arms are parallel to each other, elbows draw towards each other so you can feel a little squeeze at your arm pits
  • Connect the abs by drawing the belly inward and upward
  • Keep your eyes towards the floor – this doesn’t mean dropping the head though!
  • Draw your breast bone forward to the wall in front of you and draw your shoulders and elbows backwards towards your knees
  • Your spine is parallel to the floor – not on a diagonal diving towards the floor

5) STRENGTH

tasha16Exhale to press the hands into the floor and stretch the arms back up to the beginning position. Repeat another 5 times beginning with your hands slightly more forward each time.  

CUES:

  • Keep your elbows towards each other to help connect the back of your arms and sides of the spine
  • Keep your knees over your hips – when you press up don’t avoid the hard work by moving your butt backwards!
  • Keep your abs drawing inward and upward
  • Spine stays long and connected like in plank position

TUNE YOUR TRAINING: MOVE WITH MOTHER NATURE

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When I am feeling a little lost or out of tune with things I always trust in wise old mother nature to pave the way to better health, happiness, vitality, strength and well-being. She is of course the reigning force which embraces and connects all life cycles – humans, plants, animals, water, the sun, the moon, genetic expression, evolution, and so on. When we are all beautifully tuned and schynchronised everything moves and thrives with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately modern mankind confused sleeping and waking times and made poor non nourishing food choices. The resultant negative brain patterns then wreak havoc on a number of things including our ability to gauge what kind of exercise we should be taking and when. Sadly we have taken it to both extremes with people who train far too hard, fast and frequently, and people who sit all day and still fail to walk the escalators en route home.

It’s time to check in – is your exercise plan in sync with your hormonal cycle, the current season, your energy levels, emotional state, sleep patterns, as well as your eating patterns…? Below I have outlined a few of our main cycles to help get you back into mother natures arms.

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HORMONAL CYCLE which mimics the LUNA/MOON CYCLE

Men and post menopausal women still take note! as you too have hormonal and lunar influenced cycles, they’re just less pronounced.

Week 1: Follicular stage (menstruation has just ended)

Low levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone

Feeling energised

Workout: cardio / try something new

Week 2: Ovulatory phase (most fertile)

Spike in estrogen, testosterone and folicular stimulating hormone

Feeling really energised

Workout: strength training, high intensity/interval training

Week 3: Lutieal Phase (PMS)

Increase in progesteron, estrogen, testosterone in the first half of the week then all drop by the end of the week

Feeling slightly energised in the first half of the week, then decrease by the end of the week (two different feelings in one week)

Exercise: Yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics – slow, deep, strong elasticated and focussed movements

Week 4: Menstruation

Low testosterone, estrogen and progesterone

Feeling low in energy, contemplative

Exercise: long gentle walks outdoors, gentle yoga, pilates and gyrotonic classes

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SEASONAL CYCLE which mimics our 24HR/ DAY CYCLE 

Season: Spring  

24hr cycle: it’s morning time! time to wake up and plan a new day! 

Spring is a time when energy rises from the earth, plants are growing upward and heat is rising.

During this season we can start to increase our outdoor activities with long spritely walks which may break into short spontaneous runs! Also add in some gentle dynamic movement classes – look up a primal movement class! or attend a flowing dance, Pilates, yoga or Gyrotonic class.

Season: Summer

24hr cycle: it’s the action part of our day! pay attention and get things done!

Summer is  a time for the sun to warm the the earth, for plants to flower and sprout and for energy to explode and uplift.

During this season we can be outdoors as much as possible! A lot of long distance walking and/or running interspersed with a few explosive interval or high intensity/weight training sessions.

Season: Autumn

24hr cycle: it’s time to cool down, slow our pace and contemplate the day

Autumn is a time for energy to return to the earth, to harvest and celebrate.

During this season we slow down a gear. Long, slow, gentle walks, runs, cycle rides outdoors. Iyenga yoga or choose a class that favours a lot of inward attention and focus.

Season: Winter 

24hr cycle: It’s time to rest! sleep and regenerate

Winter is the time for activity to go below ground level, all is a lot quieter and rested up above

During this season we take longer to warm up and we may feel tense from the cold so breath work becomes even more important when beginning your training. Short brisk walks outdoors and slow gentle runs with plenty of warm clothing layers. Choose classes that are paced evenly, are strong and build on intensity.

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All in all this post is an invitation to acknowledge the strong natural forces around you: to be aware of them and of how much they act like mirrors – we all have more influence on each others state of health and well-being than we realise!

PRIMAL MOVEMENT 2: SQUAT

Push, squat, pull, lunge, bend, twist and gait are all movements intrinsically encoded into our bodies and contribute to our overall health and well-being. They demand strength and control and we MUST keep performing them despite the many modern conveniences that have us avoiding them. Unfortunately most of us can no longer execute theses movements in a healthy way due to tension patterns, weakness, old injuries, poor co-ordination and so on. So it is of utmost importance that you not only understand why these movements are so important but also how to perform them in a safe and effective manner. There is no point in just battling through blindly. Take time to read this post, put yourself in front of a mirror and use these images to guide you.

In this post I will illustrate the second primal movement pattern: SQUAT(Click here to read part 1, PUSH)

Squatting is our natural sitting position – it should be easy and feel comfy! However, sitting for hours in chairs at work, in cars, on trains, in restaurants, and at home has us so inflexible and weak that we avoid extending the movement all the way to the floor because it’s feels too difficult – this is terrible! The more we avoid difficult movements the more ill, anxious and helpless we become. We need to be able to get up and down from the floor for so many reasons, even when we are elderly.

SQUATTING…

  • Uses almost all the muscles in the body, so is essential in improving athletic and sporting performance, and of course excellent for toning and weight-loss
  • Pumps fluids around the body which helps remove waste products and delivers fresh nutrition and better health to all tissues (muscles, organs, bones etc)
  • Stresses and stimulates the hormonal system, encouraging the body to find healthy chemical balances
  • When done correctly with the breath, squats can calm the nervous system and encourage parasympathetic activity. See this post for more info.
  • Helps regulate digestion. The full deep squat (explained later) helps you poop clean and easy as the thighs compress the lower abdomen (right thigh presses on the cecum and the left compresses the descending colon) and the rectum straightens and relaxes. So, excellent for those suffering from hernias, diverticulosis, pelvic organ prolapse, hemorrhoids and of course excellent in helping pregnant women prepare for a natural birth. sitting-vs-squatting
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HOW TO SQUAT

Follow these steps mindfully; each is beneficial so take your time making sure you master each one before moving to the next. There is absolutely nothing to benefit from doing a squat incorrectly.

STEP 1

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Begin standing; legs just wider than the outside of your hips, feet slightly turned out (30deg, line up the 3rd toe with the centre of the knee cap and centre of the hip) with arms long beside you.

Bend legs to what feels like half a squat for you, fold at the hips, spine stays straight just tips forward on an angle relative to how low you have bent your legs, take arms forward to shoulder height, palms facing each other. Press through the middle of the feet and heels to come back up to straight. Exhale through the mouth to go down, breathe in at the bottom, exhale to come back up.

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STEP 2

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Move into a deeper squat following the direction as above. Only go as deep as you can keep your heels connected and your knees pointing over your third toes.

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STEP 3

Add weights to step 2 – hold a swiss ball /OR 2-5 kg hand weights in each hand – slowly increase the weight. A bar bell would be ideal when the weight increases past 5kg in each hand.

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CUES:

  • Shoot your butt back as if you were about to hover over a toilet seat you don’t want to sit on!
  • Toes are connected but light – weight is more in your heels to help power from the back of your legs and butt and avoid loading the lower back, hips and knees
  • Aim knees over the third toes – NEVER let your feet and knees roll inwards, this is not functional and will only cause undue knee strain. When you gain more flexibility you can squat deeper.
  • Spine stays straight like a plank – it just goes from upright to forward on a diagonal.
  • Arms suck into the shoulder sockets and shoulder blades move down your back. NEVER lift your arms with only your upper back and neck muscles
  • Take your eyes from straight ahead when standing to the floor out in front of you when in the squat – keep the back of the neck long
  • Draw the abs gently towards your spine
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PRACTISE ALL THE TIME: THE BASIC PRIMAL RESTED SQUAT!

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This position is excellent for stretching out the legs and spine after standing for a long time or after a quick work out. Feet are flat on the floor,  tops of  thighs rest against the abdomen and hamstrings rest against the back of the lower legs (calves).

CUES: 
  • Pelvis naturally rolls and tucks under, spine is in a natural small forward bend
  • All parts of the feet are equally planted on the floor
  • Hips and knees are open around a 30deg angle
  • If you don’t have the flexibility for this then lift your heels and place your hands on a wall in front of you and gently rock forwards and backwards to tease the body and nervous system into slowly releasing closer to the floor. Stretching your feet and calf muscles will also help as will moving to more flat shoes with less of a heel.

PRIMAL MOVEMENT 1: PUSH

Our bodies are an amazingly organised network of  bones, muscles, fascia, ligaments, tendons, organs, nerves, liquid chemistry and so on. When exercising/moving we want to remember our understanding of how to access different parts of the body, but ultimately we want to connect the parts together to make the beautifully interconnected and synchronised system that is the body.

Every single inch of the body is essential in creating functional, efficient and athletic movement patterns. For example, you cannot gain functional abdominal strength without understanding how the arms connect into the torso, or what your big toes are doing while running! Considering this, it makes sense to practise and integrate the 7 main primal movement patterns that have helped us survive and evolve. Push, squat, pull, lunge, bend, twist and gait are all intrinsically encoded into our bodies, they emphasise overall strength and movement and are therefore hugely beneficial to our overall health and well-being.

In this post I will illustrate the first pattern: PUSH. This has become a very difficult movement for a lot of people to perform correctly due to tension and weakness held in the body from sitting postures, high stress levels and poor diet. As such, I have illustrated three steps to master before attempting a full push up – there is absolutely nothing to benefit from doing a push up incorrectly so I plead you to master the first three stages! It is not about the end goal – step one alone has numerous benefits.

1) ALL FOURS

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SET UP: Knees under hips, hip-width apart, hands under shoulders, shoulder-width apart.

CUES:

  • To help get the arm bones connecting well into the shoulder sockets and the shoulder blades well placed, bend your arms and point the elbows out to the sides, then turn the arms so the elbows point in towards your body, straighten the arms.
  • Arms suck into the shoulder sockets
  • Shoulder blades stay wide and gently draw away from your head
  • Spread your hands as wide as possible – the bigger the better! Imagine your hands are glued to the floor but everything else in your body is trying to stand up – this avoids collapsing towards the floor
  • Make sure head isn’t dropped – keep chin in towards the chest to lengthen the back of the neck, and lift the whole head up.
  • Think of the spine being pulled out through the crown of the head and out through the tail bone.
  • Hug and wrap the abdominals in and up!

2) ALL FOURS WITH KNEES RAISED

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SET UP:  All fours with knees raised a few inches away from the floor

CUES : Same as in 1)

3) PLANK

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SET UP: On all fours as above. Exhale – stretch one leg back, exhale – stretch the other leg back.

CUES:

  • Same as in 1) plus the following:
  • Keep the lower back and neck curves defined – think of sticking the butt up in the air to avoid collapsing the pelvis towards the floor and impacting the lower back, and think of reaching the back of the skull up towards the ceiling to avoid dropping the head
  • Keep sliding the breast bone forward and up vs. sliding arms and shoulder blades wide and backwards/down the spine
  • Hug and wrap the abdominals in and up!

4) PUSH UP

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SET UP: Start in plank position. Exhale to bend the arms, inhale to straighten the arms. Repeat 5-10 times

CUES:

  • All the cues as in 3) but with even greater emphasis
  • Hands slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Keep the spine level – the only things that move are the arms bending and straightening
  • Even as the arms bend keep pushing the floor away with the emphasis drawing up towards the ceiling
  • Hug and wrap the abdominals in and up!

FIND YOUR VOICE: NECK AND THROAT RELEASE

Most of us know that the way we move and the positions we acquire throughout our days have a direct impact on our overall health. For example, sitting for a duration of time on a regular basis will tighten your feet, legs and spine, slow down your digestion, increase your desire for sugar and create hypertension. But what about the emotional triggers, or the stored unresolved emotions that impact negatively upon posture? Feeling low after someone has put you down or remembering a sad time results in lowered eyes, drooped shoulders, closed chest (protecting the heart), decreased production of serotonin and oxytocin; feeling under pressure to meet a deadline or feeling scared causes the chin to jut forward,  the jaw to tense,  shoulders to rise, breath to shorten, adrenaline to race… all bringing you into a state of stress and heightened awareness.

Whether we are feeling these negative emotions right now, whether our body hasn’t released them from the past, or whether they are anticipating a future event, it is important that we become aware of our postural holding patterns and help unravel them. Doing this will not only bring structural benefits, but will also help release old emotional patterns that may be holding you back.

Below I have outlined some physical and emotional imbalances that are connected with tension in the neck and throat and below that I have outlined a few stretches that will help restore balance to the body and mind.

Physical ailments that are intrinsically connected to tension in the neck and throat:

  • chronic sore throat and other throat issues
  • thyroid imbalances
  • TMJ / jaw tension / teeth grinding
  • tension headaches
  • anxiety
  • carpal tunnel / tennis elbow

Emotional imbalances that are intrinsically connected to tension in the neck and throat:

  • our ability to speak our mind / truth and be heard
  • our ability to make decisions easily
  • our ability to feel confident in ourselves
  • our ability to restore our will power

STRETCH 1

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AIM: To release the tissues from the side of the neck to the top of the shoulder

CUES: Sit tall. Drop shoulders away from ears. Draw belly in. Press hand into the floor. Keep equal weight on both bum bones

REPS: Breathe and release into the stretch for no more than 30 seconds then repeat to the other side. Repeat tighter side

STRETCH 2

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AIM: To release the middle of the neck and tissues that run from the shoulder blade to the base of the skull

CUES: Sit tall. Gently squeeze shoulder blades towards each other. Draw belly in. Press hand into the floor. Gently lift head up and over to look at the opposite hip. Keep equal weight on both bum bones

REPS: Breathe and release into the stretch for no more than 30 seconds then repeat to the other side. Repeat tighter side

STRETCH 3

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AIM: To open the chest, front of neck, shoulders and arms. To compress/restrict the fluid flow between the shoulder blades so that when the position is released, the spine and skull is flushed with fresh fluid that replenishes the cells and carries away debris.

CUES: Sit tall. Squeeze shoulder blades together (and palms if possible!), reach arms away from your body. Circle the head.

REPS: Circle the head 3 times in one direction then repeat to the other side. Release and repeat twice more.

STRETCH 4

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AIM: To release and unwind the nerves that run down the arm from the neck

CUES: Sit tall. Gently squeeze shoulder blades towards each other. Draw belly in. Flex the wrist of the lengthened arm and gently turn the arm in and out.

REPS: Breathe and release into the stretch for no more than 30 seconds then repeat to the other side. Repeat tighter side

Repeat as above but with both arms outstretched – this is quite intense so only attempt it if you can safely breathe and release into it

Video: STROKE OF INSIGHT

I love this TED talk by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor – not only is it an incredibly passionate talk but it also offers a rare insight into why it is so important that we live in a balanced way – honouring and giving equal attention to both left and right hemispheres of the brain to allow life to be thoroughly enjoyable, an incredible experience.

All too often we spend more time in the left side of the brain – thinking linearly and methodically about the past and the future; categorising, organising, controlling, perceiving ourselves as separate. We know we can strike a better balance by nurturing the right side of our brain, we just have to trust that this side is equally as important. Our right side sees us living in the present moment, appreciating and enjoying the here and now; it perceives life in bright beautiful images, has us learn through moving and has us gather information through our sensory systems in the form of energy. Our right side sees how we are connected to the whole.

For us to thrive we must fill our lives with things that allow both sides of our brain to expand. Take some time out away from the computer, away from your thoughts that are planning what’s for dinner, analysing what’s happening in the news and so on. Instead find some crayons and draw, put on some music and dance and sing without judgement, meditate, breathe, practise yoga….be here now. Live passionately.

LOVE YOUR FEET!

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How often do you consider, or even notice your feet? Maybe when they protest after being squashed into uncomfy shoes, or when you’ve been standing at a concert for a long time? Aside from these blaring incidents, most people totally neglect their feet, even though they are there for you always – feeling your way out of bed in the morning, and carrying you around throughout the day. I guarantee they don’t get half as much love as your face or hands… it’s time to give those feet some love!

From the moment you were born your feet have helped you navigate your way from the ground up to standing. It was the feedback you got through your feet that helped the baby you figure out how to roll from your back to your front, and it was your big toes that helped develop the essential communication between the arch of your feet, lower back and neck. Now you’re upright, your feet are your foundation – a ‘moving’ foundation that supports all the structures above – just considering the laws of physics it’s obvious why it’s so important that the feet be flexible, adjustable and strong. They also must be alert and sensitive to allow clear messaging to the brain and rest of the body about what is underfoot – a slippery surface/uneven surface/cold surface and so on…

As we well know, emotions are stored in the body’s tissues. Everything you have experienced in your life is felt through your whole body, they are not just memories in your brain. Think back to a memory when you were really embarrassed, or scared, or really super happy – I bet you have started to feel that emotion all over your body, and perhaps more concentrated in one part. The feet, like the knees, are said to carry the energy of your negative emotions. This is because the vibration of negative emotions is lower, heavier and more dense which causes these feelings to drop to the lowest points of your body. Inflammation here can show you’re nursing hurt feelings, while tension can show resentment. These characteristics aren’t something to fear but something to now be aware of so you can also help to work through and release as you go about your barefoot walking and new massaging techniques, which I will outline later on.

So what does the average adult do with their feet?

  • Shoves them into shoes that bind and restrict and reduce fluid flow throughout our system = blood and lymph stagnation, stiff joints and inelastic muscles.
  • Walks around on hard, unvarying surfaces = denying them the ability to explore their dexterity, potential for rolling, smooth and spring loaded movements
  • Sits them on the floor for the most of the day while staring at a screen = deactivating the nerve endings so dumbing down the communication to the rest of the body
  • Straps them into ‘high tech’ running shoes and runs on hard pavements or machines = impeding our natural gait by making us heel strike instead of forefoot strike (pushing off from the front of your foot makes use of our arch – our natural inbuilt spring). This shortens our Achilles tendons, calf muscles and puts undue pressure through the knees and spine

However: it’s not too late to show your feet some much love and affection!

  • GO BAREFOOT AT HOME  – allow your foot to spread and explore its full range of movement. This alone will help to mobilise and strengthen your whole body.
  • GO BAREFOOT OUTSIDE ON NATURAL TERRAIN  – having the soles of your feet make contact with the earth recharges the body with negatively charged free electrons. This is essentially earth energy which is crucial to the health of every cell in our body!
  • ALTERNATE YOUR SHOES  – so your feet don’t get sit in the same mould day in day out
  • SOAK YOUR FEET IN MAGNESIUM/EPSOM SALTS  – 100% natural muscle relaxant that also takes the acidity out of the body helping you feel way more chilled out, can also help with headaches, respiratory disorders, sluggish digestion and joint pain.
  • MASSAGE YOUR FEET  – with a tennis ball, or spiky massage ball, or with your own hands! Get to know your body and help it yourself! Doing this stimulates all sorts of important pressure points that respond to different parts of the body including organs, bones, muscles, nerves and so on. This is a key tenant of reflexology.


Some other useful exercises:

STRETCH YOUR FEET – alternate between 1 and 2 for 5 mins

1)  Sit on your heels with your toes pointing in the same direction as your nose – this stretches the sole of your feet and will help to open the back line of your body (the back of the legs, butt, spine and head)

2) Sit on your heels and the front of your feet so the toes are pointing backward – this stretches the front of the feet and will help open the front line of your body (front of the legs, belly, chest, neck and face)

USE YOUR FEET – our feet have amazing potential for movement, as much as our hands!

1) Pick things up with your feet – pencils, towels, clothes….

2) Point and flex your feet holding each one for 10 seconds

3) Spread your toes as far apart from each other as possible – try putting your fingers between your toes, right up close so webbing touches webbing!

4) Rise up and down on your toes for 1 minute each day

I promise that when you start moving and freeing up your feet, your whole body and state of being will feel and move in a healthier and happier way. It has taken a long time for your feet to be in the pattern they are now, so respect that good change takes time – go gently and slowly with these tips, and wait for the benefits to rise from the ground up!

Video: BEAUTIFUL PRACTICE

This portrays beautifully just how seamless and fluid movement can be! The woman’s practice clearly respects the body as a living, breathing whole, rather than something robotically controlled by the brain with individual moving parts. This balanced and respectful movement encourages clear communication pathways so moving becomes almost effortless – it is possible to be strong, flexible and sensitive! In fact, it is the merging of these qualities that allows the cat to feel its way over and around her body all the while staying totally zen.

As you move around today, even as you type, consider how interconnected you are. Thoughts, breath patterns, postures all have a bearing on yourself as a whole. Take a big breath into your belly, and as as you exhale notice your chest gently drop, your shoulders relax, your jaw soften, your head feel more open, your mind more calm. Repeat and enjoy.