Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Alpine had a record 21” of snow in 24 hours yesterday. Yes, I shoveled ALL of it. If you are the snow blower at your house here’s a handy tip to keep your back pain free…alternate the sides that you shovel from. Go left, then right, then left, then right…and make stretching part of your warm up and cool down. Here’s how… Let It Snow!

I’ve lived in Utah most of my life. It’s diverse and I have come to LOVE and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us here! We have rivers for fishing, lakes for water sports, mountains for hiking, desert sand dunes, over half a dozen national parks in southern Utah alone, and of course arguably the greatest snow on earth! It hasn’t always been easy to appreciate the diversity. I used to like only the summer months. I’m a fair weather kinda gal. I like the sun and when I was young spent as much time as I could in the outdoors. When winter hit I shivered from December until April and secretly wished that like bears we could hibernate all winter long and emerge in the spring ready to feast and bask in the warmth of April’s sunshine.

If you can’t beat ‘em I always like to find a way to join ‘em. I had to turn my perspective around and learn to enjoy the winter months too. What I found is nothing  short of amazing! I love to ski in the winter and in the last couple of years have taken up snow shoeing. It’s an inexpensive way to recreate outside and enjoy the snowy mountains. My winter essentials consist of warm gloves, winter outer wear, a pair of good snow shoes, and a butt sled. One of my favorite places to hike is up Horse Tail Falls. It’s a trail that starts on the east side of Alpine just past the rodeo

Winter Essentials

grounds. It’s steep – I like it that way…that’s why I bring the sled! For a 45 minute hike up it takes 12 minutes to sled down and it is a hoot! (I’m considering buying a helmet so I can go faster.)

If you feel stuck inside during the winter… take a walk or get up into the mountains for some fresh air! The higher you go the better off you are and you can usually get out of the inversion muck. Here’s to playing in the snow!

Five Tips for a Healthy Low Back

This season can be hard on the low back…especially if you don’t have a snow blower. I’ve already shoveled more snow this year than all of last year combined. Utah is having a stellar snow year!

If your low back is irritated and inflamed, here are some timely tips to keep your back feeling strong and healthy.

  1. Maintain equivalency. In other words, if you do an activity using one side of the body, balance it out by doing it on the other. For instance, when snow shoveling, shovel and throw the snow over your right side and then repeat to the left. Balance. Shift which hand you hold the phone in or which leg you put more weight on while standing. Notice how you move in your day to pick up clues as to why the low back is in pain. Often when the motion is countered the low back pain goes away.
  2. Photo: My Yoga Online on Flickr

    Manage repetitive motion. There are some occupations that repeat motion on one side over and over again, like dentists and golfers. If that is a requirement for you at work, it can be difficult to maintain equivalency. Your job depends on repetitive motion to one side (like a right handed golf swing or leaning over a patient in the same direction). To counter this, take periodic breaks while working to counter the movement by stretching in the opposite direction. There are also exercises that you should do at the gym or in yoga that can counter the stress of repetitive motion. See your local yoga instructor for suggestions.

  3. Photo: Lululemon Athletica

    Stretch Tight Muscles. Tight quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips all contribute to low back pain. Sitting for long periods of time can cause stiffness in the hips and hamstrings and pull the low back into over stretch. Take a break from your desk and walk to loosen tight muscles. A regular yoga practice can keep you limber and alleviate stiffness that comes from repetitive motion or inactivity. Bottom line? Keep moving! Here are a couple of asanas to open the hips and stretch the low back: Hip and Low Back Stretches.

  4. Strengthen Postural Muscles. Do you get that sagging sit back, relax and slump in your chair posture towards the end of the day? Maybe sooner? A strong back can help. Try this sequence of postures: Back Strengthening.
  5. Take an office Break! Sit up tall. Here’s a video to help: Yoga Office Break
What keeps your low back healthy?

Inversions and Menstruation – What is Safe?

Photo: fitsugar.com

A simple Google search will tell you that a lot of literature has been written about whether or not women should do inversions in her yoga practice when she is menstruating. There is a widely-held concern that engaging in inversions while menstruating may cause retrograde flow and lead to endometriosis, though there is no concrete evidence that inversions during menstruation are the cause of this. Since the energy flows downward during a woman’s period, inversions can be seen as a disruption to this downward energy flow.

To be smart about your yoga practice and your body, here are a few things to consider about whether to do inversions when you have your period.

  1. Inversions should be light when your flow is heavy. While you may not want to opt out of inversions altogether, don’t hold your inversions as long. In other words, this is not the time for a ten-minute headstand. Rather than engaging in assertive inversions, you may opt for a milder inversion pose such as down dog and receive similar benefits. Continue reading

Top 5 Life-Affirming Practices

I’m here in St. George at the Huntsman Senior Games supporting my man in his quest to be the fastest biker over 50 competing against top cyclists in the state of Utah and from around the country. He’s pretty darn fast! How does he do it?

Single minded focus and great determination. He has what I call self-discipline (see definition of self-discipline in my recent article). Continue reading

Self Discipline = Serving Your Highest Good

I’m writing this blog from my outside office as I bask in the last warm rays of the sun and watch them slowly sink below the west mountains before giving way to the cool fall evening. I pause… reflect…and move on with my thoughts about self-discipline…

Martial arts require a tremendous amount of self discipline. Photo: Glen Edelson on Flickr

Self-discipline has always been a wrestling match between what I want to do and what’s good for me. Do I go to bed early like I “should” so I’m fresh for the next day? OR do I stay up late and tie up loose ends at work? OR catch up on my favorite TV program? OR finish an informational YouTube video I started earlier? OR <fill in the blank>.

There are so many good choices. How do you know which are the best choices? The BEST choices require SELF DISCIPLINE. Sometimes getting it all done isn’t realistic. How do you balance it out and not feel guilty if you’re not ON TASK and MAKING THINGS HAPPEN and PRODUCTIVE? Continue reading

Are You Falling For Inversions Yet? Part 2

Did you read Are You Falling for Inversions Yet? Part 1?

Part 2: The King and Queen of Inversions: Supported Headstand and Shoulder Stand

Two of my favorite inversions are Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) and Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana): Referred to respectively as the king and queen of yoga asanas.

————> Video Sequence <———— Continue reading

Conquering the Ragner Relay 2012

Ragnar was a Norse Viking in the 9th century. He was an adventure seeking, conquering, tough guy. Which is why The Ragnar Relay was named after him. After running the race myself this last weekend I feel like I know Ragnar.

What is the Ragnar Relay?

The Ragnar Relay is a group of your friends or family, riding in 2 vans, running a relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport. Over 2 days and 1 night, teams run across 200 miles of the country’s most scenic terrain. Continue reading

Are You Falling For Inversions Yet? Part 1

Part 1: Inversions bring on whole new perspective!

Photo: vgm8383 on Flickr

If you find yourself falling out of inversions more than you are falling IN LOVE with inversions, you’re definitely not alone! I’ve coached hundreds of students through headstands, handstands, and shoulder stands to where I understand some of the common pit “falls” of inversions and am here to help.

Before you get all “I’m just not cut out for upside down balancing” on me, I’ll let you in on a secret…Inversions are simpler than you think. That’s right. You could be reaping the benefits of inversions already and not even realize your good fortune. Let’s break it down…

Continue reading

Commitment

Photo: ILoveMemphis on Flickr

There’s nothing as exciting and rewarding as seeing a project through to completion. In fact, I like to bask in the afterglow of hard work and simply reflect on the treasured outcome. Some of you may relate to this and LOVE the feeling of completing a project.

Before any of that can happen though, the project has to have a beginning. One necessary ingredient on the front end is commitment. To commit to something is to be fully engaged and actively participating. Continue reading

Celebrate Moms, Give the Gift of Building Memories…

A friend once told me that instead of going out and buying a generic gift for a loved one she likes to give experiences.

What does your Mom like? Cooking? Jumping out of airplanes? Dancing? Theater? Whatever she enjoys, you can gift her the experience and perhaps go with her to build memories. One year I bought tickets to see The Osmond Brothers and took my Mom for Christmas. We hadn’t shared an experience like that for many years. It was memorable and fun! We spent time laughing & enjoying each other’s company. Through conversation during the evening I learned some things about my mom that I didn’t know before. It turned out to be a sweet memory for me. Continue reading