Ask any massage therapist, and they will tell you about the days when all their clients seem to have the same clinical issue. “I treated 5 shoulder problems today”!
Last week was tension week. It seemed the majority of my patients suffered from tension related issues. Headaches, shoulder and neck pain and an inability to find a life balance between work, family and self. Over the last 12 years of treating various pathologies, the one constant reoccurring problem that my clients seem to face is stress and the affects it has on ones body. There doesn’t seem to be one magic answer to this problem, so, for now, I will probably see many clients with tension headaches, sore backs, cricks in the necks, high blood pressure, increased heart rates etc. The solutions to these problems are greatly individualized. What works for one person, may not work for another.
So, how do we tackle stress? Stress is a contributing factor to heart disease, which is the second leading cause of death in Canada next to cancer. Can stress kill you? Not likely. But it sure doesn’t help. Stress decreases our ability to enjoy life and contributes to increased blood pressure and heart rate, tension headaches, and it decreases immunity.
So, here is what I am proposing.
For anyone who wants to take on approximately 7 minutes of self care a day. What I propose are Sun Salutations. This is a basic series of yoga postures that engages your whole body for about 10 or so simple moves. There are many aspects to yoga. The only intention of this challenge is to stretch, centre and ground your body before you tackle the day. The hope is that by starting your day with a stretch and a little self care, it will ward of some of your stress before it finds you
I have scoured the internet to try and find a simple yet effective Sun Salutation that almost anyone can do. There are lots of modifications that can be made, as the majority of us are not as flexible as the people in the videos (I have yet to find a Sun Salutation video done by an inflexible yogi) HOWEVER, the goal of this challenge is to start the day with a set of Sun Salutations to 1) stretch out your muscles, 2) give yourself a minimum of 5 minutes to ground yourself before the day starts (which means connect and take inventory of your body and how stressed or unstressed it may be feeling) and 3) oxygenate your body with good clean breathes.
What you do for the rest of the day is up to you… or your boss….or your children…but at least you can start clean and stretched!
YOUR CHALLENGE: complete a series of Sun Salutations, 2 on each side to start…EVERY MORNING!
YOUR GOAL: to decrease stress and its affects – however it presents in your body
Why the mornings? Good question. First, they are called “Sun Salutations’ and not Moon Salutations. So saying hello to the sun would imply a routine that is done in the morning. More importantly, however, many people are too tired at night to commit to anything besides flopping down on the bed or couch. 5 minutes at night can sometimes seem like 3 hours. 5 minutes in the morning is only setting the alarm 5 minutes early. Plus, if you tackle your stress at the beginning of the day, it might just set you up for dealing with stress more productively throughout the day. That being said, there is absolutely no reason Sun Salutations cannot be done at night time. A series in the morning and one before bed may just be the answer to those tension headaches!
I have linked a few videos, each with its own merits for you to review before you set off on this challenge. One of the more important pieces of the challenge is to take note of your form. Speed is the least important. You will find that your body will be stiff and awkward for the first couple of moves, but as you warm up, you will gain more flexibility and be able to take deeper breathes.
I hope you find this as addictive as I have. It took a bit of convincing to get through the first week or so, but I noticed a great difference in my day, even if for the sole reason of having just 5 minutes of the day dedicated to me. That and my coffee. Nothing can stop me now!
Review these videos and choose the one that seems the easiest for you
ALSO, I will happily review this challenge with you if you would like some initial guidance or if you are concerned about your back/knee/neck issues. Please just call or email and we can arrange a time to meet!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIT4Z698zBA good slow poses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9JrVfAdKdA good instruction for beginning
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2VSdskq73g awesome step by step flow addressing both sides.
While there may be information related to certain medical conditions and their treatment on this website, please consult your doctor or other healthcare professional to determine if a treatment described in the website is appropriate for you.