The Pilates Half Roll Back with a flexband helps to promote the opening of the Lumbar Spine in flexion and the activation of core musculature.

Chronic back pain is often caused by posture that is the result of weak abdominal strength which leads to an anterior tilted pelvis and arched low back.

If you sit most of the day, have tight hip flexors or just had a baby, this exercise below is very helpful to counter this postural effect.

Turn up the sound and try it out. Comment below and tell me what you think!

Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life.


When you think of Self-Care, what is the first image that comes to mind? Is it a vacation? A massage? Time with people you love? These are wonderful things.

Self-care? Maybe later. 

Now, once you visualize these things, how quickly do you take action to make your day dreams happen? Or do feelings of fatigue and procrastination immediately derail your plans? If you can relate, then it’s likely that you are lacking in one or more of three fundamentals of Self-Care.

The 3 fundamentals of Self-Care are Sleep, Nutrition and Movement.

Catch some zzzzs

Sleep is important. When you sleep your body heals, recovers and integrates the information that you learned during the day.  Lack of sleep is a primary cause for reduced brain function. This manifests as poor short-term memory, brain fog, mood changes, anxiety, depression and reduced motivation.  When your brain is not functioning optimally, then finding the motivation to make healthy decisions is hard to find, in addition to being overwhelming.  Transformation does not happen with a sleepy brain.

Don’t skip a meal

Nutrition is important in order to feed your body’s system with the essential nutrients and minerals to survive and perform optimally. Skipping meals or fuelling your body with unhealthy options in the short, or long term can have negative effects on your metabolic rate, energy levels, body composition and stress levels.  Transformation does not happen with a nutrient deficient diet.

But I walked to my car.

There is movement, and then there is moving well.  Moving well means you’ve moved for at least 20 minutes continuously.  This is enough time to get out of your head and into your body.  Movement, no matter the method releases endorphins which are the “feel good hormones”. Healthy movement is the antidote to mobilizing fear, stimulating creative flow, improving physical strength, flexibility, brain function and more. I think that’s called transformation!

Need a vacation?

The key to understand here, is that when you are sleep-deprived, hungry and sedentary you are STRESSED. Sleep, food and movement are basic metrics to keep the body happy. If you are missing any of these daily, then the stress response is automatically triggered.  Chronic stress leads to the development of chronic illness and morbidities like high blood pressure, obesity, Type II diabetes, Thyroid dysfunction etc.

Hijack Your Stress Response

The secret to Self-Care then is making sure that your body isn’t stressed by taking inventory of the three fundamentals. Of course, there are many other triggers of stress that exist.  Even during other stressful events, your resilience to these factors will be highly dependent on the quality of sleep, food and movement that you’ve committed to at any moment in time.

Perspective

Self-Care doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

Simply ask yourself three questions:

  1. Did I sleep well?
  2. Did I eat well?
  3. Did I move well?

Did you?

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Dr. Blessyl Buan

Sore wrists don’t need to hold you back from your Yoga or Pilates practice.

In the age of constant smart phone use, raising young children or having a full-time job that requires the use of your hands, it’s not surprising that your wrists can hold you back when practising Yoga or Pilates. Repetitive strain can cause tension and pain in the flexor and extensor muscles that course along the forearm and control the movement of the fingers. You will also find that the muscles that control movement of the thumb are also stiff and painful. This chronic muscular tension can negatively impact the alignment of the carpal bones of the wrist, thereby reducing joint mobility.

This misalignment can be experienced as a “pinching” sensation when weight-bearing on the hand. Wrist extension is required while doing Plank exercises, Chatturanga or Downward Dog. Even more advanced asanas like Astavakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose) or Pilates Leg Pull Front depend on strong wrists.

If you can relate, warming up can help to improve joint mobility and reduce pain during your practice. Here are 3 exercises to do before your class begins:

  1. Wrist rotations: Circle your hands clockwise eight times then repeat counterclockwise eight times. This improves circulation and warms up the joints.

2. Wrist flexor stretch with overpressure: Positioning yourself on all fours, place the heel of your hands on the mat in front of you with your hands palms down and your fingers pointing towards your knees. Place a gentle over pressure on your wrists by leaning forward and backwards. You should feel a stretch along the surface of your forearms that face away from you.

3. Wrist extensor stretch with overpressure: Positioning yourself on all fours, place your wrists on the mat in front of you with your hands palms up and your fingers pointing towards your knees. Place a gentle over pressure on your wrists by leaning forward and backwards. You should feel a stretch along the surface of your forearms that face away from you.

If during your practice your wrists are still sore, you can roll the end of your mat several times to create a cushion that will support your wrists in slight flexion. If it is still painful in certain poses, take a rest in child pose. As you continue to practice, stretch and strengthen, your tolerance in wrist weight bearing will improve. If recovery is too lengthy and you are starting to feel concerned, see your health care provider.

Want to learn something interesting? I’ve treated talented riders with postural issues resulting in low back pain. What I noticed however, is that ALL of my low back and stressed out patients are trying so desperately to stay on their “horse”.That’s right. It’s invisible.

In an attempt to stabilize our body because of weak #abdominals and a weak mid back, we grip and strain our muscles in our neck, pecs, arms and hands to hold on the reins. We overuse our deep hip flexors called the #psoad, our deep hip rotators of the hip and our adductors in our inner thighs to squeeze the body of the horse.
This is an unhealthy strategy and it’s also an emotional one. As a consequence we throw ourselves into #chronic misalignment and this will manifest as chronic headaches, TMJ pain, neck pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, snapping hip, low back pain, shallow breathing, rib joint dysfunction, sciatica, hip pain and generalized stiffness.
For this reason, I myofascially release these muscles with my hands or acupuncture, realign the joints with chiropractic adjustments and teach the body to maintain alignment with Kinesiotape and Pilates.
It’s a commitment. Have the right team on your side to get you healthy. Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life. 20141208-074403-27843564.jpg