Swedish Balance

A balanced approach to pain relief and injury prevention

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A Quick Refresher, Relaxer, and Foot Exerciser at the Beach….. or wherever you are……

Posted on 8 October, 2017 at 17:12 Comments comments (262)

Sit down comfortably in the sand. Make sure you’re sitting in a way so that you’re able to take a couple of deep breaths. Cross legged is great as that opens your abdominal area, your psoas and pelvic area. The lungs and your ribcage has the freedom to move and expand to full capacity when you sit cross legged. 
As you breath, feel the air/ and the wind against your skin, against your forehead, against your cheeks, your hair, and wherever your skin is exposed. Put your attention to each part of your face. Let go of any tension between your eyebrows and around your mouth. If you have a hard time letting go of tension, it might help you to put a hand or a finger on the area. 
Let the air flow in and out of your lungs.
Feel your feet. 
Feel the sand. 
Put your feet in front of you in the sand. 
 Feel the temperature, wiggle your toes, the whole foot.
Feel the sand under your arch fully supported. 
Feel each particle of the sand. 
Let sand run in-between each toe. 
Flex your feet and point the toes up to the sky.
Inhale, take a deep breath, and as you exhale all the air out of your lungs, push the sand away from you.
Inhale as you point your toes and start scooping sand back in towards your body. Try it 10-20 times.Then, reverse direction, and try it another 10-20 times.
Now your head should feel clearer and your senses more vibrant. 
Make sure your shoulders drop down and away from your ears. 
If you’re not used to used to use your feet much, or you always keep them in shoes, this might be a huge workout for your feet and calves. You might feel cramping and the like, but don’t be alarmed-
that just means your feet need the work. Stretch them out, massage them, and let them be free in the sand. 
If you can’t make it to the beach, instead of sand; try dirt, grass or water- an element true to nature. 
Sit under a tree!
To finish, lie down on your back. 
Open up your chest,
your heart,
to the sky.
Turn you palms up to the sky,
 or put them behind your neck.
Walk back to your car barefoot! 
Let your feet feel the ground.
Walk heal to toe.
Walk lightly, as if you were walking on clouds. 
Let me know how you did!

Enjoy you day!

Pilates or Yoga?

Posted on 22 January, 2017 at 13:57 Comments comments (90)
I get asked all the time:
"Kicki, should I do pilates or yoga? Which is better?"
I also often hear from long time yogis, that "I just like yoga. Pilates is not my thing."
Yet, they know something is missing when they consistently are bothered by a tight shoulder or painful lower back. 
My answer to the above question is: Do both!
You get the great healing benefits from both yoga and pilates. When we try to recover from an injury several modalities are often needed. 
My experience is that most yoga classes focus on opening and stretching the body. Pilates both stretches and strengthens the body on a deep level but is more focused on strengthening. 
The body needs both. 
If you focus on only opening and stretching your body, you will lose strength and you are more prone to injuries. 
Have you ever heard/ or have you ever said yourself: "I'm falling apart" when in pain?
I hear it all the time- and yes, it is true!You are!
As we age we lose collagen, our hormone levels change, mother earth is preparing to kick us off the earth by breaking our "cushions" (cartilage, collagen, disks, bursas) down. Your joints might start to hurt, or you feel tighter than you used to, and maybe you have less "spring" in your strides when you walk or run.
Joints are supposed to hold our limbs in place. When joints throughout life have been stretched out, and in some cases ripped, the muscles try to do the joints job; keeping your limbs in place. Muscles become fatigued from overuse, you get tired, and before sooner than later, you are injured. 
With pilates we work on a strong midline of the body- a strong core. Every movement should start from there. As your center becomes stronger, you will soon notice that you feel more flexible and have more energy. 
Some think that pilates is all about squats and sit ups. This is absolutely wrong!
Pilates is an exercise system for the whole body, with every movement starting with the center engaged, but nothing could be more wrong than thinking pilates is about pushing your body to do squats and sit ups. If you have encountered that class, I would encourage you to stop, and instead seek a professional and fully certified pilates instructor, who knows how to help your body build up the strength from deep within.