Dynamic vs static stretching for runners

FootTap2Experts now say there is no evidence that static stretching prevents injury or improves performance. Functional range of motion is more important than flexibility when it comes to injury prevention. If you overstretch your muscles before running it can move you away from stability and can decrease power, performance, and speed.

Therefor it’s best to practice dynamic stretches pre-run and static stretches post-run.

Dynamic stretches:

  • loosen muscles
  • increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow
  • increase range of motion
  • help prevent injuries
  • help you run more efficiently

When preforming dynamic movements, such as these (page 1), begin with small, slow movements. As it gets easier pick up the speed, increase your range of motion and focus on good form.

Keep static stretches such as these (page 2) for after your run to avoid tightness of the muscles and tendons  and to increase flexibility.

For more information please see this article from Runners World magazine.

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RESULTS: 40 Day Plant Healing Experiment

Here is what the plant looks like after 40 days. You can see the picture taken on day 1 in this post. It’s health wasn’t improving after a few weeks, it actually lost some leaves. It started to grow new leaves when I added some crystals, rose quartz and amethyst.

photo

I had no idea what the properties of Amethyst were. I just happen to have some crystals that I wasn’t using. I did some research and discovered on this site that “The “All-healer,” Amethyst is one of the most effective crystals for healing people, plants and animals. Natural unpolished Amethysts or geodes are particularly helpful placed where plants will not grow or animals refuse to sit. It also counteracts negative earth energies beneath buildings or anywhere that feels hostile.” Cool!

Magic of Crystals is a good site to learn more about crystals and they also have an app.

I am happy that the plant is getting healthier and will keep the crystals there.

Do you use crystals? If so, how?

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Banana Protein Muffins

photoAdapted from Banana Bonanza Bread

These are low in sugar and gluten-free! I have made them many times and they always turn out good.

3 ripe bananas
1/8 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of rice flour
1/2 cup of oat flour
1 tsp of chia seeds
1/2 scoop of hemp protein
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place all the ingredients except for the flour in a blender or Nutribullet. Place the mixture into a bowl and add the flour. Pour batter into the muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 6 muffins.

 

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Flourless vegan brownies

photoI’ve made these a few times and they always turn out great. You can find the recipe here. Make sure to use good quality cocoa. I also use a chia egg instead of a flax egg and cut the sugar down to 1/3 cup. Enjoy!

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40 Day Plant Healing Experiment

I saw the following video in my Facebook feed a few times week and it inspired me to do an experiment of my own.

A few months ago I found an empty pot that one of the kids had painted. I thought they might enjoy having a plant in their room so I planted a few cuttings from another plant. As you can see it’s not doing so well. It’s been dropped, it doesn’t get much attention because the boys aren’t here often and I sometimes forget to water it. Needless to say it could use some love.

SpiderPlantDay1

Spider Plant Day 1

 

I have decided to make it one of my case studies for my Earning The Light  Shamanism Training Program. The plan is that I will send it love and give it some attention everyday for 40 days and once a week I will preform a healing ceremony for it. The image above is a photo I took today before preforming the first ceremony.I will post weekly results. Stay tuned!

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Yoga poses to prevent shoveling injuries

I was shoveling about 10cm of snow last weekend and could feel my back and shoulders ache a bit. Luckily yoga can help strengthen the back and shoulders and improve flexibility to reduce the risk of injury. Here are a few poses for your neck, back and shoulders:

back&shoulders copy

1. Neck Release. Place your finger tips as far away beside you as possible. Bring your right ear towards your right shoulder and relax the head completely. Hold about 10 breaths then switch to the left.

2. Dolphin. Come onto your forearms and knees. Your elbows should be right under your shoulders. Clasp your hands. Lift your hips and walk your feet forward a bit if flexibility allows. Stay a few breaths then you can rest in childs pose. This pose builds upper body strength and stretches the hamstrings.

3. Cat cow. Begin on your hands and knees. Inhale belly down, head forward. Exhale round your back and relax your head. Continue for about 20 rounds to warm up the spine.

4. Chair. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Raise your arms up or have them parallel to the floor in front of you. Bend your knees insuring that they stay aligned with your feet. Hold the pose for a few breaths. This is one of the best yoga postures to strengthen the back.

5. Standing yoga mudra. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back and fold forward. Bend your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Stay about 10 breaths to stretch your shoulders, back and hamstrings.

6. Variation of locust. Lie on your stomach with your arms out front. Inhale reach your right arm and left leg up as well your chest and head. Exhale lower. Inhale switch the arm and leg and continue. This is another good pose to strengthen the back.

You can find some shoveling tips here.

 

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Book review: Fierce Medicine

book_3d_largeThis week I finished reading Fierce Medicine by Ana Forrest, creator of Forrest yoga. It was awesome! Ana’s personal story is inspirational. I have practice Forrest yoga a few times and enjoyed it but after reading the book I appreciate it even more.

I loved that the book includes more than just physical yoga postures. Ana shares ways to connect to our own spirit through meditation and ceremony. She has studied with Native American and African healers and incorporates some ceremonies and wisdom from her experiences.

One of my favourite parts of the book is when she describes her Iyengar yoga teacher training experience.

What I didn’t realize was that Iyengar accomplished his “active correction” through hitting, spitting, and screaming. I put up with his truly bad behavior because, after all, he’d been teaching for more than forty years by then. … He’d mock me constantly and call me expert. … At the end of month-long training, we all lined up during the celebratory dinner to kneel before Iyengar and touch his feet. As I approached, he said, “Oh, so expert, you have no need ever to come back here. And I replied, “Oh, I know that’ Mr. Iyengar.” I’d learn what I most needed to know: that I couldn’t look to others for the wisdom that lay inside me.

I love this because I stopped practicing Iyengar yoga because the teacher put all her weight on my thigh in Reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) and was insisting that my thigh must not lift off the floor. She must have been twice my size. At that moment I thought “This isn’t yoga.” Ana is correct, we can’t look to others for wisdom and we don’t have to endure abuse in yoga classes.

My take away from this book is:
Do something to nourish your spirit everyday, find our own truth.

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Three Things Thursday – Gifts That Keep Giving

Here are three gift suggestions for mind, body and spirit under $10! The best thing about these gifts is that they keep on giving.

Mind
algonquinmedicineman4Ancient Healing Meditations by Algonquin Medicine Man

I have been enjoying some of these meditations daily since last August. My favourites are the Organ Healing Meditation and the Light Beings Healing Meditation. They are about 30-35 minutes long but the time goes by quickly. I find them to be relaxing and healing. If you prefer a CD version instead of a digital format please visit  CD Baby.

Algonquin Medicine Man lives in Ottawa. He is an amazing person and healer. If you want to experience a group healing session with him he will be offering a Winter Solstice Healing Circle December 21, from 7-9pm at St. John’s Church (154 Somerset St. West, Ottawa) in The Well, which is the basement of the church. A cash donation of $20 is appreciated but not necessary.

Body
My Yoga Online
Only $9.95 per month. That is less then one class at a studio!
I have had a subscription to My Yoga Online for almost 2 years. I love that I can do a guided yoga class anytime in home. You can browse videos by length, style, level or teacher. Please visit this past blog for my favourite videos. If you would like to try 2 weeks free you can do so by following this link.

Spirit
A personalized journal

Inspire your family and friends! Purchase a journal and write one of your favourite quotes on each page or random pages.

What are some of your favourite gifts to give? Please share them in the comments. Happy giving!

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Strong Words

photo 1“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or evil.”
 – Siddhartha Gotoma or Buddha

Last weekend I overheard kids talking about strong words. One of them thought hate was the strongest and the other stupid. I thought they learned that in kindergarten  but later found out their father taught them not to use strong words.

Later that day we were on the way to yoga and someone hit and broke the passenger mirror which made us a bit late for class. Upon arriving someone commented “Boy, you have been unlucky lately with your surgery and now this.” My reply was “It could have been worse. I am happy no one was hurt.”

I didn’t think much of it but as the week went on and something went wrong I started to think maybe she is right, maybe I really am unlucky. The more I thought about it the worse things would get. I realized that the word unlucky became a strong word for me and that I had to put a stop to the label. It was time to reframe my thoughts. I started by looking at the positive in the seemingly unlucky events. For example, I had an appendectomy almost a month ago. The doctors think I had appendicitis since last December according to my symptoms this past year. I see my surgery as something positive. No more daily nausea and thank god it didn’t burst!

I have also been practicing daily gratitude. One of my teachers says that expressing gratitude is the best gift we can give back to the Universe. If you can practice gratitude in your everyday life everything  you do will be greatly amplified and returned to you at least three times that amount.

I am grateful to have had the awareness to stop the pattern of unlucky thoughts. I invite you to be mindful of your words and projections as their impacts might be stronger than you think.

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Nataraja — the never-ending cycle of time

6b6z-nataraja-statueMy classes this week will focus on Nataraja and the concept of the never-ending cycle of time. Shiva understands that change is the only constant in the Universe and that destruction clears the path for rebirth.

Shiva’s dance represents his five divine activities: creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and grace or salvation.

Shiva’s dance is set within a flaming halo representing the manifest universe.  In his upper right hand he holds a hand drum, this drum is said to have made the first sounds of creation and is the pulse of the universe. His left upper hand holds agni, fire symbolizing destruction. These two symbols represent the balance of the forces of creation and destruction. The palm of the lower right hand faces forward and means fear nothing. The lower left hand faces down towards the raised left leg and signifies that his activities bring salvation.  The left leg is lifted slightly off the ground, representing liberation and the right leg is standing on demon symbolizing triumph over ignorance and illusion.

Shiva’s face is calm. He is unaffected by chaos. He just focuses on the rhythm of the dance. which allows him to rise above daily drama. Which is one of the teachings of yoga, to remain calm under pressure.

Nataraja reminds us that creation isn’t possible without destruction. He encourages us to embrace change and overcome complacency. When we open up to greater possibilities in the dance anything is possible.

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