When COVID-19 hit, our family like so many others were faced with hard choices and financial uncertainty.
Over night I rebooted my little wellness business after having taken time off when my daughter was born.
The last few months have been nothing short of miraculous as I’ve watched my business expand at break-neck speed. I am so grateful.
Wellness business or not, business is business and it takes A LOT of time and effort. And, as one of my heroes, Brene Brown, says “first time stuff sucks”. There have been technology meltdowns, system breakdowns, shattered iPads and my own fear and insecurity.
There have been a lot of 15 hour work days, and baby kisses I was too busy to get.
And, I’m SO privileged to be able to build this business. A LOT of people would never have had the opportunity to do this in the first place.
As I make plans for the future trajectory of my business, I am reflecting on how I can show up better as an individual and also as a business - especially for BIPOC who I’m learning are categorically disenfranchised from wellness communities and resources.
This should have been starkly apparent to me before, but it wasn’t. I was actively oblivious.
There is no end date to this process or a box I can check. I suspect it will be an ever-evolving unlearning, education and building to affect my small corner of influence.
What affects one of us affects us all.
Sitting with other people’s suffering is painful and necessary to gain a deeper understanding of what the path forward is. And while I will never understand another person’s struggles I can strive to listen and to learn and hopefully in time contribute to the solution and not the problem. I hope to be a part of building a world I can be proud to share with my daughter.
Words fall short and don’t mean much without action behind them. While I have a lot to learn and understand, I’m determined to add my voice & action to the choir of people who are searching for, reflecting on and courageously building a more just and loving world.
Have you ever gone to a workout class and done a million ab repetitions and thought to yourself "I'm going to have a 6 pack in one week at this rate!"
...until you wake up the next morning with a sore neck and a pissed off low back, and absolutely zero soreness in your abs.
For most people, this scenario has happened at least once if not multiple times. And it's really discouraging.
Learning the principles of how to engage your core is a game-changer for ensuring your workout is put to good use, and ensures you'll experience both the aesthetic as well as the biomechanical benefits from the time you put into it.
Here's my go-to trick for relaxing the neck while doing ab work:
1) Lay on your back with your legs bent, and your hands behind your head.
2) Relax your hip flexors as much as possible.
4) On your exhale, curly your head and shoulders off of the floor until your shoulder blades are off of the floor. Hold. Can you relax your head into your hands? Ask your abs to carry the weight of your head rather than your neck and shoulders. Use the weight of your upper body as leverage to cue your abs to hold you up.
Here's my go-to trick for relaxing the low back while doing ab work:
1) Repeat the same exercise as above, except this time practice doing this exercise in imprint.
2) "Imprint" is when you scoop your low belly in as if to draw your low back towards the floor. Engaging your pelvic floor muscles will help you to activate your transversus abdominals which help to create a deep, flattening action in the low belly. These transversus abdominals are the missing link in relieving low back pain.
Remember, go slow, move consciously and be patient with yourself.
Learning how to engage the abs is truly a process that takes a lifetime.
For most of us, our lifestyles don't support proper functioning of the abdominals. Whether you spend your days playing golf or sitting at a computer, how you spend your time determines how your fascial system organizes itself to best suit your needs.
Yes, you did indeed hear that correctly. Your fascial system is quite literally continually remodeling itself to meet the demands you're placing upon it.
Sit with me now and take a deep breath.
Take a deep breath.
Notice how your body responds. Did you relax or tense up? Or didn't you notice anything at all? Whatever the response is, don't judge it, just be with it.
Imagine that your lungs function similarly to an umbrella. As you inhale sense that your rib cage is rolling out and up. As you exhale, sense that your ribs are rolling down and in.
Notice how your belly naturally responds to your breath.
Usually, the belly will expand out and relax on the inhale and deflate and gently contract on the exhale. This is natural and good unless you're in the middle of doing an abdominal exercise, and thus taking a big, deep belly breath could equate to straining your back.
Next time you exhale, purse your lips and imagine you're blowing out a bunch of candles on a cake. Notice how your abdominals respond. Can you sense how your waistband gently compresses in? Congratulations! Those are your obliques responding to your exhale! And when you purse your lips, the natural action of the obliques is amplified.
Next time you inhale, continue to imagine your ribs are rolling out and up like an umbrella, and simultaneously maintain a sense of compression around your abs, i.e. as if you have a tight pair of pants on.
Not only will this breathing exercise strengthen your abs, it will actually encourage a stretch throughout your rib cage by way of expanding areas of the rib cage and lungs that don't often receive a big influx of air.
You can practice this anywhere you like! Cue yourself to practice this while washing dishes or even while sitting on the couch watching t.v.
As your body becomes more familiar with this practice, it will be easier to apply it when you do abdominal exercises. Over time, you'll notice a significant shift not only in how you engage your abdominals but how you support your skeleton overall.