Over the last several years we have heard about Fascia, and the importance of it in regards to movement and pain. Fascia is all over the body and comes in various thicknesses, depending where it is situated. Fascia can make up 30% of our muscle mass and for this reason is often referred to as myofascia. This is the fascia I will be discussing in this blog. Fascia is like a mesh bag that envelops our bones, muscles, and organs. Think of a package of hot dogs, first you have the outer packaging keeping all the hotdogs together (like how our fascia wraps our muscle groups) inside that package each hot dog has its own casing to keep it together. This is the same in the body each muscle group is made up of smaller groups of muscles each wrapped in their own fascial bag. Considering that we have 600 muscles in the body that is a lot of fascia bags!
At first it was thought that fascia had very little consequence in the body, but now we know this isn’t the case. We know understand through research that fascia affects our overall health, movement and functioning of our internal communication systems. It is Fascia that holds us together, and without it the bones would collapse on the floor.
In Yoga we stretch, compress and twist. We move the tissue (more muscle based in an active practice that produces heat, Yang) and work more in fascia, ligaments and bones in a passive practice such as Yin Yoga. In Yin you hold the poses longer allowing gravity to do the work, with the muscles cooler and relaxed this allows you to sink deeper into your fascia.
I started teaching Yin Yoga in the fall and I am really feeling the benefits of that practice deep within my own body. I am a very active person and do a lot of Yang like work, which is very important for your body, the addition of Yin Yoga has given me more balance in my tissues, increased my mindfulness, calmed my mind, lengthened my fascia. All Yoga is very mindful but I find holding the pose for a longer period of time and sinking deep into the body (getting to a bone level, safely) has given me a very deep connection to my body.
If you have never tried Yin Yoga and would like to I run 2 classes a month and the next ones are Thursday March 23rd 7:30-9:00pm and Friday March 24th 11:00-12:30pm. Each month $60.00 is donated to Care Close to Home Project, Hospital Foundation and so far we have raised $360.00!!!
If your interested in learning more on Fascia and seeing it check out this video by Gil Hedley on FUZZ! Pretty Cool Stuff:)
Sherry Morton-Jibb, PTS. RYT. FIS. HWL (Healthy Eating Weight Loss Coach)
Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Yoga Teacher
Sher-Fit Personal Training ,Yoga & Pilates Cell 705-648-0591
- 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces, I used pork loin and it tasted great as well.
- 1 large red potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 package (1 pound) frozen mixed vegetables, I used fresh veggies that I had in the fridge and it worked well
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In slow cooker crock, combine all ingredients.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 7 hours until meat is tender. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
Nutrition: 179 calories, Fat 3.7g, Carbs 14.8g, Protein 21.2g
Happy Heart Month everyone! And – Happy Valentine’s Dayweek. The heart theme is unavoidable this week so I hoped to go with this flow and chat with you about the link between stress, breath and heart health. Have you ever had that tight feeling in your chest and wondered about your heart? I have been blessed with a strong heart so I don’t generally fear heart attacks but just occasionally I have felt constriction in my chest. And some rare times in the past I have had a feeling of pain in the front of my ribs.
A few weeks ago, as I was driving and listening to Sirius XM Doctor Radio, I happened to hear a Dr. James O’Keefe (originally an Interventional Cardiologist) talking with an apparently healthy 40 year old woman who had experienced this same symptom. Dr. O’Keefe currently runs a wellness centre in New York so he practices and teaches Mindfulness, otherwise known as Meditation. He recounted how through the ages people thought emotions came from the heart to the brain. Now of course we know this to be opposite. Emotions originate in the amygdala in the brain and set off a whole chain of actions and reactions in the body, including the heart. Chest tightness is one of those symptoms, linked to feeling upset, particularly in women. Dr O’Keefe advised her to practice a deep breathing technique where you work up to breathing in for 4 counts, hold the breath for 7 counts and breathe out for 8 counts. One breath cycle could be enough to notice relaxation in the chest, as the brain settles. But 7 or 8 breath cycles are more ideal. For people with a “monkey mind” he advised trying this technique in a setting that can induce a trance-like state such as in front of a fire or waves on the beach or at sunrise or sunset. Another pointer for the “monkey mind” was to try to be aware of your heartbeat and link your breath to it. If someone is prone to anxiety, the 7-count breath hold may be too long at first and could be reduced or eliminated as you get used to the rhythm of the breath.
Back when I began practicing Yoga and Pilates it was a particularly stressful time in life and I recall becoming aware ofhow shallow I had been breathing prior. In times of stress I had been holding down my ribcage, breathing only in the upper chest. This was causing restriction in my ribcage which showed up as pain at times. Yoga and Pilates taught me to release my ribcage not only to access better lung capacity, but to benefit from the effects on my body and brain of a deep breath. One of the effects is settling: of brain, heart and musculoskeletal system. These days the act of slowing down my breathing and focusing on my breath I find myself doing briefly but often. I’ll do this at random times and places for a few breaths. This could be labelled a type of Meditation but, whatever the label, it always has the same result in my body: increased focus, decreased tension, decreased emotional output and relaxed chest and face muscles. Lorrie Mickelson shared this cool article on facebook (posted in CBC news January 11, 2017) How the Stressed Brain Boosts Heart Attack Risk: Talking, Exercising, Mindfulness as Stress Busters. This article puts more science behind the heart-health benefits of breath focused practices such as Yoga and Meditation, but I would add Pilates to that list. I encourage you to check it out.
One last thing that I wanted to mention to those of you who love to track your body’s rhythms (through devices such as Fitbit): I recently became aware of a breathing tracker named Spire that, through biofeedback, has been effective for slowing breathing with people who have conditions such as high blood pressure. If you are looking for more info on your breathing patterns, maybe check it out.
Remember “The longest distance we will ever travel is from the head to the heart” – Petra Kolber
May you all breathe deeply and easily today.
This is a wonderful make-ahead appetizer that I love. You can play with the herbs to your taste perhaps substituting oregano or tarragon for the dill. Garlic is also a delicious addition. The recipe has been adapted from Ina Garten’s version.
I have used this recipe on a bed of greens as a salad. Also feel free to spread the cheese on sliced cucumber or zucchini to reduce grains. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂
2 6-ounce disks or logs of creamy goat cheese
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp fresh dill, minced
4tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp (approximately) red pepper flakes, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
Find a wide mouth jar or small glass vase. Divide the cheese into two so you have 4 parts, each will become a layer. If using logs you may need to mould it into a circle to fit the jar. Using dental floss is an easy way to divide the cheese.
Place one layer in the jar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with 1/2 tsp dill, 1 tsp basil and a few red pepper flakes. Drizzle with 1/2 tbsp oil. Place another layer of cheese on top and repeat seasonings and oil. Repeat twice more, stacking the other layers. Finish by drizzling 1 tbsp over the top of the stack.
Cover and set aside at room temperature for one hour or refrigerate up to 24 hours. Serve at room temperature with crackers or sliced veg for spreading on.
Nutritional Value (per serving): Calories: 163, Fat: 14.2g, Carbs: 1.1g, Protein: 8.2g.
Lisa Goddard, BA, BScOT, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor-Owner, HWL Coach
If I asked you….What is working in your life right now….what would you say? Some of you might identify one or more things right away but some may need more criteria. So think about the parts of your day that just flow; the healthy or joyful things that you do every day that seem effortless, that don’t take a lot of planning or deciding…they just happen. For me, it is my mornings…..I love getting up early, my first cup of coffee, my little bit of reading, little bit of yoga and some short meditation and I LOVE breakfast. Take a moment and think about what gets you up, gets you going, calms you down or makes you happy.
Now, think about the parts of the day or the habits/routines that you would like to “fix” or change. For me and for many, this list is longer and comes to mind easier. You may want to exercise more, eat healthier food, arrive on time ( that’s mine), slow down, have more time for me etc. In the book “ Made to Stick” the authors explains that this happens because we often focus on problems and the negative is a far greater pull than the positive. They suggest that we should shift our focus from problem solving to focussing on the Bright Spots in our day and try to clone them instead of re-inventing the wheel each time we try to change a habit. This can be a much easier and far more positive approach to changing habits.
So, think about something that is working for you right now ( one of your meals that is pretty consistently easy and healthy, a walk that happens at the same time every day, a relaxing soak before bed, reading time, a time of your day that is very productive or flows)? Now, think about why it works…
1) What time of the day are you doing it?
2) Are you by yourself or with others?
3) Is there a reward ( How are you feeling during the activity and afterwards – a sense of accomplishment, relaxation, more energy)?
4) Are there certain tastes/textures that work better for you different times of the day even times of the year? For example, if you are trying to switch an unhealthy snack to a healthy snack try not to switch from a creamy, smooth unhealthy snack ( pudding) to a healthy dry snack ( veggies). Maybe it is the creaminess that you are craving so switch to a yogurt or a hummus and notice what happens.
Consider your recipe for success and how it can be applied to those habits you want to change.
Look for your daily bright spots, write them down, analyze them, clone them and have fun with them. Just this exercise can shift our perspective from focussing on our problems to what is working in our lives and isn’t this a wonderful way to flow through our days?
Lorrie Mickelson, M.A., B.A./BPHE, Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Teacher, Certified Personal Trainer, email@example.com 705 647 2848
I am a cooked veggie girl. Although I do like to do my veggies and dip now and again, given the choice, I like them roasted, sautéed, steamed, mashed…just hot ( especially in the winter)! And to make this recipe keep on giving, I make it into a soup. I like to pair it with a Roast Chicken ( see Lisa’s Lemon Roasted Chicken from a couple of weeks ago) and then put the leftovers in a saucepan with a few cups of broth and blend it up using an immersion blender. Then voila…roasted vegetable soup for a couple of days!
Ingredients ( as a suggestion but you can make up your own combinations as well)
1 small butternut squash ( cubed)
2 red peppers ( seeded and diced)
1 sweet potato ( peeled and cubed)
3 Yukon gold potatoes ( cubed)
1 red onion ( quartered)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme ( fresh better but dried will work)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary ( fresh better but dried will work)
1/4 cup high heat oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 425-450
Mix oil, vinegar and spices in a small bowl
Coat vegetables in a bowl with mixture then add to roasting pan
Roast for 35-45 minutes depending on your oven
Nutrition ( per serving) 123 calories, Fat – 4.7 g, Cho- 20g, Protein – 2g, Sodium- 13 mg
Source: Allrecipes.com ( photo from Allrecipes.com)
Lorrie Mickelson, M.A., B.A./BPHE, Certified Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer, 705 647 2848, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week was the Bell Let’s Talk Day, bringing awareness of mental illness to the forefront. On their site they define Mental health as finding balance in all aspects of life including physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This can be such an overwhelming task, the consistent self care that is needed to maintain balance in one’s life! The connection to our values, healthy boundaries with others, just the right amount of exercise to feel better but not exhaust yourself, consuming healthy foods that power the brain and the body, all of these are important factors for good mental health. Balance is such a moving target for most of us and for those dealing with mental health issues even more so.
Mental Illness is very real in my family, having a very close family member that suffers from Bipolar disorder, I have definitely witnessed how fragile our mental health is. 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their life, that is a pretty staggering number when you think about it.
So what about positive self care! I talk a lot about that with my clients, what it means and what does it look like. I found this definition that I thought really summed it up.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health. And in this case, overall health includes not just the physical, but the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual components of an individual’s well-being.
Based on this definition it would seem that practising positive self care daily could only help our mental health. This is always easier said than done. Life is busy, we give our energy to so many different things, and people, that sometimes we leave nothing for ourselves. Before we know it our stress level is rising, our sleep is being affected and our coping skills are being taxed!
So here is my challenge to you:
5 minutes of positive self care everyday, non negotiable you time!!
This could be breath work, meditation, yoga, reading (such as positive daily meditations), quiet time with your tea/coffee, dancing in your living room, whatever makes you feel good and increases your sense of well being. After all aren’t you worth it!!!!
PTS. RYT. FIS. HWL (Healthy Eating Weight Loss Coach)
Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Yoga Teacher