staying on the ball

Thanks to everyone who came to my “Evolve and Grow” workshop on Saturday at Prana Power Yoga.  We had a great time with a full house of students and curious teachers, laying out the basics of postural patterning and using massage balls to release tension in the body without all the trouble of paying a bodyworker.  I got a lot of questions afterwords, so here are a few tips to continue the work we started in the workshop, or just to start to work on your own posture.  (the idea behind postural patterning is here)

– Regarding posture and posture habits, the single biggest change we can make is to pay attention- to how we sit, stand, drive and walk.  If you have a desk job or are a student, one easy way is to just follow the OSHA (U.S. government workplace safety office) guideline to move your body every twenty minutes or so.  (Specifically, don’t spend more than that on one task in one position)  Use that pause to notice how you’re sitting or standing.  You can use the format I offered in the prior post about posture.

I think a lot of us, myself included, can grumble a little at this approach- if I’m surly about it, it reminds me of nuns with rulers in grade school.  (Yup, my sixth grade teacher)  But as a yogi, I like to think of it as just another invitation to mindfulness, a chance to pause, come out of my habits and into the present moment, in my body.

– For massage using balls (at the workshop I used tennis and lacrosse balls.  Jill Miller offers patented massage balls which grip tissue.  They’re a little more expensive, but also great)  There several certainly specific sequences you can follow for specific tension lines- we went through a few in the workshop, and Jill posts one here– but here are some very basic guidelines for the curious:

– go where the tension is- put a ball on that point and let weight drop into the ball.

– letting the balls settle into a tension point, or making very slow passes across a muscle, is more effective than rocking on it

– don’t put a ball directly on a bone.  Never put a ball directly on any part of the spine.

– good places to start- neck, underneath the scaplua (backs of shoulders), just above the sacrum, IT band, feet.

If you missed the workshop, have no fear, I’m planning to offer it again a couple of times in the Boston area in February and April, and maybe even take it on the road!  I also offer postural assessments and massage work to private clients- please contact me for more info.

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