Love him or hate him, you can’t argue with the success that Conor McGregor has created. The man certainly knows what he is doing and has been a game-changer in the MMA, and now boxing, world. Whatever the outcome of his upcoming bout with Floyd Mayweather, the man’s attitude and perspective are something to learn from. Check out the takeaways from the video below… they may be well worth implementing in your own daily life.
- Want what you already have. Realize the solution to your unhappy life is right in front of you. Focus on being content with where you are and what you already have. Learn to appreciate what you already have. Never take anything for granted. Don’t root your sense of happiness in possessions or achievements. Be grateful.
- Everything that happens in the world is neutral. All events have a different effect on everyone. Your reaction and perception is what matters. No matter how you react to an event or situation, the facts remain the same. Instead of overreacting and thinking you are powerless, focus on what you can control. Everything is neutral.
- Practice separation. Separate your life into things you can control and things you cannot. Improvise, adapt, and overcome. You will have a greater probability of success if you don’t waste time worrying about or tweaking things you cannot control. Spend your time and energy on things you can control.
- Turn the obstacle upside down. Defeat negative judgement and turn the obstacle around to suit your purposes. Avoid judging events as purely good or bad. Seek to integrate things you would normally consider negative as positive opportunities. Make a habit to force alternative thought patterns to gain perspective and be able to rationally move forward. See the negative events as an opportunity to practice inner strength, calm control, and level-headedness (improve). There is no such thing as good or bad… only your perception of it and you decide how to deal with it.
- Assume voluntary discomfort. Make your life artificially difficult and uncomfortable for a set period of time in order to gain the perspective that you tried hard to avoid. The more you seek the uncomfortable, the more you will be comfortable. Dissatisfaction in our daily lives is the result of a certain level of entitlement. We expect things to run smoothly. This is the type of mindset that will spiral you into being upset by the little things. Just because you can afford a nice meal every single day, doesn’t mean you should do so. Skipping a meal and experiencing hunger builds perseverance and grit. It demolishes the sense of entitlement that chips away at your happiness. By experiencing discomfort, you will walk away stronger by realizing you experienced what you dreaded and suffered no ill effects from it. Seek the uncomfortable.
- Emotions are created internally. Emotions come solely from within and they are created completely by your choice. Everything that happens in the world is neutral… bad or good do not exist in external sources. If emotions come from within, then what we tell ourselves is what creates our feelings. We are blank slates, but it’s human nature to blame other people and excuse yourself. When you feel resistance in life, don’t look at the things happening outside of you, focus instead on what happens inside…. How you frame that issue in your mind. Remember that you are always in control and nobody can put beliefs in your mind.
- Care less. Don’t ignore everything that’s going on in your life, but stop caring about things you can’t control. Free up your internal resources to focus your time and mental energy on things that really matter. The most precious asset is not money, but time. You can always earn money back, but once a single minute of your life has passed, it is gone forever. Don’t spend your time worrying about external forces that are out of your control. Live as you want right now. It’s all within your control so make a decision and choose to have a better life now.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to travel to Prague to study DNS in its place of origin. I had the opportunity to shadow physiotherapists in the hospital and was able to observe them apply their techniques to actual patients in real time, seeing their thought processes play out.
I then traveled north to a small village for seven days of Part 1 and Part 2 of a course combining Iyengar yoga techniques with DNS concepts and rehabilitation methods. Needless to say, it was a great deal of information and very beneficial. Not just in what I learned, but how I felt! I honestly cannot remember a time when my body felt so good. With seven straight days of yoga and DNS rehab, I can’t really be too surprised. It has been fun to apply what I’ve learned since I have returned to clinic, and I have plenty of notes and videos to revisit as time goes on and I need to refresh. (1 entire iPad wasn’t enough storage to capture all the videos.)
The course instructors were Martina Jezkova, a physiotherapist and DNS instructor from Prague, and Dr. Clive Farrelly, a chiropractor and yoga expert from Australia. They combined their extensive knowledge to deliver outstanding information from two different backgrounds. Throughout both courses, they highlighted and emphasized eight basic principles of human motion that can literally be applied to anything we do. The following is a brief summary of each principle.
This is something we have talked about extensively in previous blog posts (part 1, part 2, and part 3) and various public presentations. Basically, you need to breathe with your diaphragm. Your abdomen should expand out in a 360-degree fashion equally to all sides. You should be breathing all the way down to your pelvic floor as if you are blowing up a balloon. The ribs should expand laterally, but not superiorly. Out, not up.
Lengthen the spine from the tailbone up through the top of the head. Think of growing tall or as if someone is pulling you from the top of your crown to the ceiling. This elongation doesn’t cause excessive motion or flexion/extension at any spinal segments, it is simply a subtle lengthening of your spine in a neutral position.
- Stabilization of the Trunk
The trunk is your foundation for movement. Sure, your feet are your literal foundations but you need a stable trunk for proper movement of your spine and extremities. This is why “core” strength is so important. If you don’t have trunk stability, you are putting yourself at risk for injuring other areas as they develop compensation and/or become overworked. Many times, symptoms of an injury manifest away from the root cause. Believe it or not, this can occur anywhere from head to toe. Trunk stabilization is essential for optimal performance.
Each joint (junction between adjacent bones) needs to be properly centrated. There is an ideal point of contact on the surfaces as the bones move through a particular range of motion. Think of a golf ball on a tee. You want the golf ball centered on the tee rather than up or slightly to the side. Joint centration protects the joint itself and surrounding soft tissue from injury (acute or chronic overuse) and also provides ideal conditions for optimal execution of movement and motor control. This is a great example of the importance of proper form and posture.
You need the ability to isolate movement in one area of the body separate and distinct from other areas. For example, when raising your arm out to the side, you should be able to isolate that movement to the shoulder without bending your spine to the side or lifting up in the upper trap. Another example is the ability to flex your hip without shifting your pelvis and spine. Compensations occur when there is a lack of movement isolation, and many common ailments (shoulder pain, low back pain, etc.) are the result. One simple shift in the pelvis while flexing the hip may not seem like a big deal, but think about how many times you do that while walking throughout the day… it adds up!
The foundation of a building or house has to be solid and so does yours. You need support for any and all movement. Without it, joint centration and the other principles are just simply not going to occur. You need 4 points of contact of the foot while standing: the medial and lateral balls of the foot, and the medial and lateral aspects of the heel. Due to the majority of your body weight landing directly over your heel, 60/40 weight distribution should be favored to the heels vs. the balls of your feet. Many activities require a different support, such as the hand (pushups, etc.) and they still need a solid foundation and proper balance. Even pressure should be distributed throughout the hand.
- Relaxation Through Movement and Breath
While performing a particular movement or activity, you obviously need to have muscular contraction to complete the task. The non-involved areas should be relaxed and diaphragmatic breathing should be maintained. This is a work/flow balance. When you complete a task such as swinging a golf club, notice how you contract to come up into your backswing and start to bring it back down, but you are relatively relaxed throughout the time in-between. Then, right before contact you contract again to get some power behind your swing. If you had complete tension throughout the entire process, you would be very rigid and lack fluidity and the outcome wouldn’t be as effective. See: Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch
You must be conscious and aware of where your body is in space. This allows for better control. Think stability and balance. This body awareness becomes particularly important and more complex when we add in external objects such as barbells, balls, etc.
Whether you are in the gym, out for a run, driving your car, or merely brushing your teeth, these same principles should be applied to any movement or activity for optimal function.
Perhaps the stakes are a little different when there’s a loaded barbell on your back, but what you practice becomes habit.
How many hours per day are you in the gym or out for a run? Those times are extremely importan,t but think of the hours per day that leaves you NOT doing those activities? Being conscious of and adhering to these principles throughout your daily life will also pay great dividends and provide you with function you didn’t know you had. It’s going to prevent injuries that you won’t even realize because you won’t be suffering from them. It’s going to help you perform better… and you will feel great!
Hey!! I’m Ashley and am the mom of 3 littles aged 6, 5, and 3. We had a miscarriage in July last summer and were absolutely devastated.
The pregnancy shocked us as we never knew we wanted 4 kids. Luckily for us, this baby opened our eyes to the love we did had for another child in our hearts. Shortly after we lost our sweet Ashton (named after myself and hubby Tony) we found out that he/she handpicked a sibling for us and we were pregnant yet again.
This pregnancy has been the biggest rollercoaster of my life. From Hyperemesis Gravidarum (extreme morning sickness all day long), migraines, a mini stroke attack, severe anemia requiring 5 iron infusions, gestational diabetes, and all of the other “normal” pregnancy symptoms… on top of tending to the demands of three small children… to the extreme joy of carrying a perfectly healthy baby girl.
Hopefully you were able to read parts 1 and 2, where we discussed some of the reasons why proper breathing is important. Now the rubber meets the road. Time to do something about it! Let’s get into the “how”.
We discussed a pop can analogy in part 2, describing one opened pop can and one that was closed. If you stood on them, the closed pop can would withstand significantly more weight because the inside had more pressure. We want to keep this image in mind while breathing. When this is done you will have more core stability and overall strength, which results in less muscle compensation.
Another pop can analogy can be used to demonstrate core stability. Take the same two pop cans, but this time, they are both opened. Picture a dent in the side of one can and leave the other as perfectly cylindrical around the outside. If you stepped on these cans, the can with the dent would crush much sooner than the cylindrical can. Apply this to the “core canister” of our body, the abdominopelvic cavity: you want to maintain a cylindrical core without a dent to prevent any “energy leaks” and keep it optimally strong. This can be applied to breathing, or pretty much any movement. In most instances, you don’t want to arch your lower back posteriorly or tip your pelvis anteriorly. Just think of trying to prevent a dent in your pop can. Or, keep your diaphragm and pelvic floor parallel. Both of these pop can analogies translate to increased performance and a decreased likelihood for injury. Strive to create pressure and prevent a dent in your core and that alone will help you to make significant changes.
This may be foreign to you and can be very difficult at first. The easiest way to learn is to lay on the floor on your back with your feet up on a couch or chair. Your hips and knees should each be bent at a 90 degree angle. Take your fingers and place them on your lower abdominal or inguinal area. Try to breathe into your fingers when you inhale, while preventing your ribs and chest from moving up toward your head. Your ribs and chest should primarily only expand laterally. Sometimes it helps to cough and feel the intra-abdominal pressure push into your fingers to get some feedback on what it should feel like. Then, try to simulate that same pressure when you breathe.
You are off to a great start. Another visual is to think of your abdominopelvic cavity like a balloon that you are inflating. You don’t want to just inflate it to the front; it should expand out to the sides and back down into the floor equally, as well. Envision wearing a pair of sweatpants, and you want to expand the waistband equally a full 360 degrees around. If you feel an area that seems to be “dead” or not expanding equally, consciously try to breathe down and into that particular area when you inhale. Back to the balloon analogy: the apex, or fullest part, of the balloon should be about two inches below the belly button. This is sometimes a helpful visual to demonstrate how low the actual breathing should be. Once you start to improve, start working on maintaining that pressure while you exhale too, not just while you inhale. Ideally, you should feel the same pressure with your fingers when you exhale as you do when you inhale. This all takes work, but the benefits are profound.
It is best to work on this breathing on a consistent basis. Like any exercise, the more it is performed, the easier it becomes. Consciously work on this for five to ten minutes per day and you will eventually find yourself breathing in this manner unconsciously during your daily activities. That’s the goal! (Remember those motor patterns?)
In part 1, we discussed a few of the many ways breathing affects us systemically. Hopefully it answered some of the “why” breathing is important. Let’s dive into some more “why”, this time looking at the musculoskeletal side of things.
If you have ever paid attention to how a healthy baby breathes, you will have noticed that it is entirely with their abdomen. If they are laying on their back in just a diaper, you will only see their belly move with each breath, not their neck or shoulders or even chest. If you look closely, you will also realize that their belly doesn’t solely expand forward with each inhalation, it also moves out to the sides and down into the floor with each breath as well. It’s as if their abdominopelvic cavity is a balloon, and they are filling it evenly all the way around, 360 degrees. Fullest expansion should occur about two inches below the belly button
Try it. Lay on your back on the floor (preferably not in a diaper). Do you naturally breathe in this manner? Could you if you consciously tried? You should be able to. Believe it or not, we all started breathing in this way. However, we often develop improper motor patterns as we go through life. A motor pattern is the term that describes the order in which muscles are used to accomplish a particular task. For example, you want to take a drink of coffee. The brain sends the “drink coffee” message via the nerves to certain muscles in your arm to lift your cup of coffee to take a drink. Those muscles then respond by contracting in that particular sequence to lift the cup to your mouth. There are ideal and non-ideal muscles that get used for this pattern. The more we use a particular pattern, the more likely we are to use that pattern of muscles again in the future. This is why it is important to use the “proper” motor patterns, whether it be while drinking coffee or breathing or performing a back squat.
Again, we all started breathing properly if we were a healthy-developing infant. Then life happens. We sit in desks at school for a good portion of our childhood, we sit in the car with our head and shoulders rounded forward while holding the steering wheel, we spend too much time on the computer or cell phone or in our desk, and then we throw daily stressors of money, kids, relationships, and our jobs in the mix, and we have a perfect recipe for changing our ideal breathing patterns. You can observe adults and even children that don’t use their diaphragm (the muscle that we use with abdominal breathing) to breathe, but instead use their chest, upper traps, and neck muscles. This leads to chronic tightness from the overuse, one of the reasons people love getting massaged here so much. They also carry all of this stress as tension in these muscles, which is a vicious cycle and perpetuates these improper motor patterns unless something is done to correct it. This also frequently attributes to many headaches, as well as neck, shoulder, and upper back pain or discomfort. All from breathing.
It doesn’t stop there. Take two pop cans. One is opened and the other is not. If you stood on these cans, the unopened can would withstand much more weight before crushing. The only difference between the two is the amount of pressure that’s inside. If you think of your abdominopelvic cavity like this pop can, you will want it filled with more pressure so your core is more stable. This helps protect your low back, creates more strength for every movement you can conceive, and stabilizes everything all the while. How do you fill your “pop can” with pressure? You guessed it, breathing. Well, breathing with your diaphragm along with activating the abdominal wall and pelvic floor.
So, you’re telling me that proper breathing can help with neck, shoulder, upper back AND lower back pain?? Yes! Actually, it can help with a host of other ailments in both the upper and lower extremities too (think core stability). Basically, if the core isn’t stable, nothing else can be either, which puts distal joints and tissues at risk for injury.
Many muscles in the body follow this pattern. The body is very good at compensating and if the entire core and body isn’t stabilized as described above, the brain recruits other muscles to contract to help stabilize instead. Think: “if you don’t do it, somebody else will!” This isn’t the worst thing in the world, because even though these other muscles being used for stabilization is “non-ideal”, it’s better than nothing. They help protect the joints and connective tissues from acute injury or help us get from point A to point B. However, if this occurs for long enough, these improper motor patterns will lead to chronic, overuse injury.
You may be wondering what the purpose of these “other, non-ideal” muscles is. They have a purpose and specific function, but the primary function is not stabilization. Typically, they are larger muscles that are used more for movement than stabilization.
Next up is part 3, where we bring it all home. We’ve touched on a few things that can be done, but part 3 will be specifically geared toward the “how to” of breathing.
I’m light as a feather, but the strongest person can’t hold me for much more than a minute. What am I?
It’s something that most people don’t typically even think about… something so simple, yet so vital. We can control our respiration consciously, but a majority of the time it is controlled subconsciously by respiratory centers in the brain stem. Most individuals don’t even realize that this is an important skill that can be life-changing in a variety of ways. You may think, “I’m still alive, so I must be good enough at it.” Let’s take a look at a few of the many different ways our breathing can affect our bodies, and see if we can do better than “good enough”.
Our body is made up of trillions of cells. That’s what we’re made of. When we break it down and look at it like this, we can see that our overall health and wellbeing is a direct reflection of the health and wellbeing of our building blocks, our cells. What do our cells require for energy? Oxygen. So if we can acquire and transport oxygen more efficiently, the overall health of every single cell in our body is going to increase, which directly improves the overall health of our human body. Better breathing directly affects every single system of the body. This frequently does not get enough attention but when brought to the forefront, makes perfect sense. From the digestive to immune, lymphatic, nervous systems and more, better breathing equals better overall health.
For example, let’s take a look at the cardiovascular system, because hypertension alone is so prevalent. Proper breathing in general, but specifically deep breathing, decreases muscle tension and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This allows the blood vessels to vasodilate (expand), which decreases blood pressure. The PNS also triggers the release of endorphins (our feel-good chemicals). Endorphins make us feel good by relieving stress and acting as pain killers by reducing our perception of pain. The decreased stress produces a calming effect, which increases our mental clarity. Decreased stress also has a profound impact on us, not just in terms of quality of life, but the effects that it has systemically with disease. The cycle goes around, showing us that breathing doesn’t impact every single system and organ and cell in the body solely via oxygen, but also with the stress chemicals that get (or don’t get) produced.
Whoa, all this just from breathing? That is only the tip of the iceberg, as we haven’t even mentioned the musculoskeletal system. Do you know anyone with tightness in their shoulders, upper traps, and neck? That’s the go-to spot when somebody asks for a massage. However, it doesn’t have to be. Stay tuned for part two, where we discuss the musculoskeletal aspects of breathing.
Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Say Goodbye
Recently a photo of a little girl hugging her mom before separating from her so her sibling could be born went viral.
The comments I read on this photo varied in opinion from those empathizing with this mother to those thankful for not having had this experience. Nonetheless, there is something to learn from the feelings that come with viewing the photo.
This is where I am going to give you my opinion. I do realize you have not specifically requested it, but in continuing to read this blog, you are agreeing to hear – or shall I say “read” – me out.
It was when I was pregnant with our second son that the idea was presented to me by my doula to have our oldest attend the birth. I have to admit, at that point I had never even considered it. She had very valid reasons on why this can be beneficial, and encouraged me to read Carol Phillips’ Hands of Love: Seven Steps to the Miracle of Birth. After doing so I knew this was the right decision for me and hoped my husband, Kyle, would agree. He was hesitant at first but also read the book and listened to my feelings and needs in having Terryn present. He agreed and we gave Terryn the option to attend. Terryn is a very inquisitive soul and at the age of 3, agreed to join us. We arranged for Kyle’s sister Kirsten to be his support person. When the time came, Terryn joined us at the hospital. This birth was moving along very nicely, but not necessarily at the pace a 3 year old would hope for, so Kirsten took Terryn and brought him back when we knew delivery was near. We used verbiage that was factual and supportive. Anatomy was (and should be) called what it is. We let him know I would be doing hard work and may make noises he has not heard from me before. Terryn sat on Kyle’s lap by my right shoulder while I delivered Canon Gregory Boland into the water at the hospital. Terryn was quiet and still and in awe. He wasn’t scared and in fact, he didn’t cry until the nurses took Canon from me to bathe him. Who knew that at 3 years old, his instinct that baby should be with mom was spot on?
Here is my point: you have options. Because a practice is common does not mean it is normal and certainly does not mean it needs to be your normal. If you are feeling scared, uneasy, guilty, worried, etc. with a practice, then maybe it is best to question what your need is and whether you want to set a new standard or follow an existing one.
Dr. Phillips points out how beneficial it is for siblings to be involved in the birth process and that it can help with sibling bonding and the older sibling not being confused or feeling replaced. This can have a great impact on the foundation of family for them. It also teaches children that birth is normal and not a fearful event.
We have had “the older siblings” at the births of our next two sons as well and I am forever thankful we did.
My hope in you reading this is obviously to consider this for your family but most importantly, taking the driver’s seat of your pre and postpartum experience. There are ALWAYS options and if something does not feel comfortable to you, explore what you are truly feeling and what you need.
These are photos of our boys supporting me during labor and watching Maclin arrive. The woman with the camera is my sister. She got an amazing photo of when only Maclin’s head had been delivered and Kyle captured the boys’ faces at the same time!
Erica Boland, DC
www.birthfitwisconsin.com : @emomdc : www.birthfit.com
Join Hands on Health, Therapeutic Massage and Coulee Health for:
Painting, Wine and Fun!
Join us for wine and appetizers while we paint the canvas shown below with instruction led by Holly Hanson, LMT
When: Wednesday, August 26 @ 6 pm
Where: Coulee Health: 920 W Cty Hwy 16, Suite A, West Salem, WI
Cost: $25 per person
Space is limited to 10 so call or email to reserve your spot!
We all know that exercise is good for us, yet we lead busy lives. For many, it is difficult to make time for physical activity on top of our already hectic schedule. Well, there is good news (maybe this information will help move physical activity higher on your priority list): a recent study has shown that strength training can help boost our memory, in addition to the other health benefits it provides.
The study, published in the October issue of Acta Psychologica, showed that a resistance workout lasting as little as 20 minutes improved the participant’s recall of a series of photos shown to them 2 days earlier. “Our study indicates that people don’t have to dedicate large amounts of time to give their brain a boost,” the researcher stated.
This is great news for everyone!
This doesn’t mean that longer duration activity or aerobic exercise is not beneficial. There are obvious benefits to other types and durations of exercise as well. It is, however, comforting to know that positive effects can be enjoyed without having to devote an extremely large portion of our day. If you have access to a gym, that’s great. There are also many activities that can be performed from the comfort of your own home with minimal to no equipment. Simple home workouts can be found quite easily online; check out our website or YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbYtN7Q9cdrzSvuWDynpKGA/videos) for ideas. You can be comforted in knowing these are focused on back-friendly, functional movements that we recommend for all fitness and ability levels. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need modifications. Keep checking back as we will update periodically! Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be sent automatic updates as more videos are added. Now block off 20 minutes and get started moving today!