Celebrating 7 Years at Faith Davis Massage & Yoga!

Celebrating 7 Years at Faith Davis Massage & Yoga!

When I started my massage practice I had no idea what would happen. Would it be a success? A failure? Would I even enjoy being a full time massage therapist? It’s hard to believe it’s already been seven years and I’m happy to report that I love it just as much (possibly even more!) than the day I opened my doors!

As I celebrate seven years in practice I am also announcing raising my rates (for only the second time since I opened). While many of you have experienced some of the changes this is a great opportunity for me to share with you the top five reasons why my rates will increase September 1st:

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Summer Yoga Outside (June 2011)

By both the solar and the social calendar summer is fast approaching. BBQ invitations are in the mail, camping trips are in the plans, and warm weather has arrived. With the warm summer months comes the chance for outdoor yoga. Last year I headed up to New York City’s Solstice in Time Square and had an amazing experience settling my mind and body with hundreds of other people doing yoga in the heat of the New York summer and the hustle and bustle of Time Square. While I do not have plans to return to New York’s yoga scene this summer, I will be out on decks, beaches, rooftops, and in parks celebrating the practice I love surrounded by the scenery I love. I invite you to join me!

 

The Master Cleanse (May 2011)

Springtime Cleanses

  I have always been anti- Master Cleanse. And now, here I am blogging about it. Although I know many people who have great experiences and say they feel the best they ever felt while doing the cleanse, I just wasn’t sure. The infamous master cleanse, is a diet of only liquid with all of your calories coming from a drink consisting of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne, and water. My initial concerns about the cleanse were that the mixture contains a lot of sugar and that I would not get enough calories for my active lifestyle. The cleanse is really as simple or complex as you want to make it typically lasting between 3 and 40 days. Very much a “choose your own adventure”. The full event includes: “Ease-In” days, the cleansing liquid period complete with laxatives at night and a salt water “flush” each morning (you can imagine), and then “Ease- Out” days. For a great explanation and guide check out the website insert website here. You are not starving on this cleanse because of the calories you get from the Maple Syrup and it can a great way to become more away of your own mental- emotional eating habits versus your bodily needs. 

I chose to try the cleanse for a variety of reasons. I had always wanted to try cleansing. Being involved so intensely in the yogic and bodywork community I had heard lots about cleansing from clients and practitioners alike and felt like I needed to experience the hype for myself. I also found myself transitioning from winter to spring with a strong sweet tooth, some eating unhealthy eating habits, and a deep desire to start fresh. While there is no bad time to start a cleanse, there is also no good time. I skipped the ease in days and simply tried to eat a little cleaner (more whole foods, less processed) for the 3 days leading in to the cleanse. And then, I simply dove in. I will share a little here:

I did the cleanse for 6 days with one day of “Ease-Out”. I knew I wanted to go for atleast 5, but ended up choosing 6 because that was the day that I finished my jug of maple syrup and I really couldn’t imagine consuming more than this large jug of maple syrup in one week. 

Day 1-The first day was the most challenging for me because I have a black tea habit that gets me up in the morning and keeps me going throughout the day. I felt so tired that first day, almost as if my eyes were closing while I worked, but the hunger was no big deal and the mixture was delicious and saved me lots of time compared to my usual meal-prep schedule. 

 Day 2- I was busy with work most of the day and loved having such and easy meal to make. In the afternoon I was out having tea with a friend and the tea was really bitter. With nothing in my stomach I ended up throwing up the tea while we were out, so that was a minor setback, but mostly a funny story.

 Day 3- I continued to love the drink, but started to wonder how delicious it would taste if poured over ice and a little bit of gin. Instead of going out with friends (I was pretty tired) I stayed at home and watched Food Inc. If you need motivate to cleanse or change your eating habits- this is the movie for you! 

Day 4- On this particular Saturday I was not working and while I kept myself busy, I also spent much of my time thinking about how much I enjoyed cooking and how much I was just plain ready to eat.  

Day 5- I went to Shoshoni Ashram to teach a yoga class and have lunch. “Lunch, on a cleanse? Rookie mistake.” you may be thinking to yourself.  I had the same concern about whether my digestive system was as prepared as I was to receive solid food. But, I figured this food was vegetarian, nutritious, and prepared with love. Let’s see what happens. Although I did spend some time in the evening curled into the fetal position with gas bubbles in my belly, overall things when well with my lower GI. I did make a fatal error that afternoon by reading a gourmet cooking magazine and getting into some serious fantasizing about the kitchen creations I would make at the end of this regime. It definitely got a little out of hand.  

Day 6- The last day was all too easy to get through because I was excited for the next day on which I would resume EATING (albeit liquids only- or so I thought). 

Day 7- I did pretty well. I had juice, broth, and a chocolate cookie (not quite a liquid). It called to me. I swear.

At this point you may be wondering the same questions I heard most often after doing a cleanse are: did you like it? would you do it again? did you get the “high” everyone talks about? Mostly, Probably, & No. 

Did I really like it? No, but did I find benefit from it? YES. I definitely learned about my own emotional eating patterns versus what my physical body needs. I broke some eating habits and am starting fresh with much less caffeine, meat, and sugar than I had was consuming.  As for doing it again, it is a really simple cleanse on which I felt mostly good. I liked the challenge and I definitely like the ability to hit the “reset” button on my system. Next time, perhaps I will do it for longer to catch that fasting high everyone talks about!

  

Travel Yoga (November 2010)

We are rapidly approaching THAT time of year. No, not the time of presents, holiday parties, and general indulgence- although that too is coming. I am referring to the TRAVEL time of year. Whether you are flying home to see family, driving to the mountains for snow sports, or taking a vacation somewhere tropical, winter in America often involves some amount of sitting on buses, trains, planes, or in cars. On a recent visit to see my family I remembered just how sitting on planes and buses for an extended period of time made my body feel and I didn’t like it- neck kinks, shoulder tension, back pain.  Let’s face it, how many of us can sit truly comfortably in an airplane seat?

So what to do? Try out some layover yoga. 

   (It could also be rest stop or mid-drive yoga if you choose.)

Of course you can stick to the standard neck and ankle rolls, but here are a few more options for those brave enough to look a little (or more than a little) ridiculous in terminals and on roadsides. 

Side Body Stretch:

- Relieve body stiffness from not moving for ours on a plane. Opens the sides of the lungs and allows breath more freedom.  

Ground into feet feeling all four corners of the foot. Arms overhead in line with ears encircle left wrist with fingers of opposite hand. Inhale to extend upward and exhale stretch to the right maintaining weight in the left foot and lifting through both left and right side bodies. Continue to inhale to extend upward and exhale to deepen the stretch.

Repeat to opposite side and as many times as you like. 

Seated Spinal Flexion and Extension (Seated Cat/Cow):

- Revives the spine after long hours sitting in one position, opens the chest, and brings shoulder blades back to neutral position.

Sitting or standing in any available chair or floor space (if in a chair press the feet firmly into the floor), take a few rounds of inhales and exhales to ground and feel your sitz bones sitting tall with your hands resting gently on the thighs. On an exhale round the spine pulling the belly back and curling the chin toward chest. Let the inhale raise you tilting pelvis forward, opening and lifting the chest, sending shoulders back, throat opens, and face tilts toward the ceiling. Exhale and inhale continue in this manner closing inward on the exhale and expanding open on the inhale. 

Hip Circles (or squares) and Bear Twists:

- Open the hips and give space to the core of the body after too much stillness. 

Stand with feet firmly planted outer hip width apart and hands on hips. Move the hips in the shape of a square being sure to move into all four corners and in each direction. Keep a slight bend in the knees. As you move more fluidly through this movement let it become a circle. Repeating and gently massaging any juicy areas of the stretch.  

Arms rest loosely to the sides of the body for bear twist. Shift the weight to the balls of the feet and allow heels to come up as you twist. With control swing arms around body allowing the torso to follow.  Letting the heels come up protects the knees. Repeat with fluidity at whatever speed feels best while maintaining some control and core strength to not over-twist through the sensitive SI joint.

Standing Forward Fold:

- Stretches the entire back body and allows a fresh flush of blood to the legs. Having head below legs can also be very refreshing. 

While not necessary, it can be nice to find a little wall space to do this pose so that you don’t feel like you are exposing yourself to all of your new holiday traveling friends. Stand with feet either hip distance apart or big toes touching. Inhale your arms up overhead and on the exhale arms swan dive or come through prayer position, hinge at the hips and bend forward. Remember that the abdomen stays engaged as you fold to help stabilize the lower back. Keep the knees deeply bent for the first few and as you feel more warmed up try straightening the legs. Inhale pressing through the feet and with a flat back come halfway up. Hands can be at the knees, shin, or floor. Exhale to release down to the floor again. To come up, inhale and round the spine rising one vertebrae at a time. Repeat to continue the back body stretch. 

Try these during a long travel day and hopefully arrive at your destination feeling more rejuvenated and less drained than usual. Remember to get plenty of rest, good food, and water on your journey. Bring a water bottle to fill once you go through security while flying to reduce use of disposable plastic water bottles. Consider bringing a homemade sandwich or some sliced veggies to tide you over instead of eating greasy, calorie high rest stop and airport foods- just remember items like yogurt don’t make it through security! On that note, keep in mind that travel can be a great time to step out of your comfort zone, break some of you own rules, and take a hiatus from our often high paced lifestyles. So give yourself permission to have some fun and enjoy wherever your travels might take you!

  

Prenatal Yoga and Time Magazine (Oct 2010)

Yoga instructors and massage therapists have known for years what science is finally beginning to examine and take seriously; our nervous systems affect our health. We recognize this most basically when stress is linked to disease or in studies of how environmental exposure can create effects in the body many years later.  Currently, the science is getting even deeper. New and continuing research is showing that a woman’s health and state of mind during pregnancy may have much to do with both their child’s health as a baby and perhaps even into adulthood and old age. This is the science of fetal origin. Its ideas and research are becoming mainstream enough to be the cover article of Time magazine’s October 4th issue. 

This article hit the newsstands just a few days after I returned from a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training at Shoshoni. As we learned there, prenatal yoga (in the tradition of Hatha yoga from this particular school) is not about prenatal fitness. It is about the more meditative aspects of yoga: breathing deeply, quieting the mind, becoming more connected to and aware of the body, and (YES) settling the nervous system. As a prenatal massage therapist, this came as no surprise to me. Although I always treat areas of pain or tension in a prenatal session, I also always spend time tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system creating increased levels of endorphins, seratonin, and decreasing cortisone (endorphins & seratonin= feelings of well being and happiness, cortisone= stress). The important thing to know here is that mom and baby are sharing everything from nutrients in food, to levels of hormones in blood, to oxygen, to feelings of stress or well-being. 

As Annie Murphy Paul, the author of the Time magazine article suggests, this research could be added to the laundry list of pregnancy do’s and don’ts, or we can put our hope into this research leading to positive changes for affected women. I can easily see this becoming one more area for a pregnant woman to be stressed about (“Now I am not only stressed, I’m stressed about being stressed!”), but like Paul I prefer to see this research in the positive light. It gives pregnant moms one more excuse to make yoga and massage a regular (and from this research, integral) part of their prenatal routine. We all know that life does not stop and become a blissful cloud 9 just because you are pregnant and it hasn’t for most generations, through most times in history. (Some very lucky few women belong to social units that believe pregnant women should be pampered, pampered, pampered.) 

So, we do the best we can. Adding prenatal yoga can give you time to really connect to your baby and your body in a positive way during pregnancy. Practicing prenatal yoga increases levels of oxygen in the blood, teaches the body about endurance and strength in challenging poses, and allows a conscious connection to release and deep relaxation in restorative poses. And, maybe most importantly, yoga creates a time in your day where you can let go of other stresses and cares and just share a few moments with your baby.