Monthly Archives: January 2017

Your Back Is In Pain: Here’s How Your Feet Can Help

Let’s talk about back pain. Most people who come to our studio have had it and it’s a big reason why they go to our yoga classes. And according to a 2009 study done by The Work Foundation, 1 out of 8 Canadians reported having a chronic back problem.

But how do you fix that pain with your FEET?

Let’s say you’ve already gone to get an x-ray or MRI and the specialist couldn’t identify a problem. Let’s say you’ve already consulted with a chiropractor about your back pain and they gave you a physiotherapist’s number. You did physiotherapy for months but it had no effect…or maybe even a negative one. Let’s say you even went as far as to go to a personal trainer because you thought, ‘Maybe I’ve just got to add muscle. Maybe I’m too weak.’ (Hmm, you’re getting somewhere but not close enough.)

None of these people can get it right yet they all seem to be experts on the human body.

So why can’t they get it right?

They’re experts on the human body, but not your body.

You know your body better than anyone. You’ve lived with it since day 1. You know what effect every type of food will have on you. You know how different types of exercises make you feel. You know how one single movement affects a completely different area in your body.

So why are you going to the doctor? To get the same generic solution he or she gives to everyone with that injury/problem/nuisance/trauma?

Here’s a secret: I don’t know the last time I’ve gone to the doctor…

AND I’M PRETTY HEALTHY!

The thing is, most people and even doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, etc. forget about how one part of your body can drastically affect another. You never consciously think about it. But you should start doing so right now.

Start with these 5 easy feet exercises, specifically targeted for your lower back

This isn’t to say that the cause of your back pain stems from your feet. It is just ONE possibility. We’ll be covering so many more possibilities in the months to come, don’t you worry.

But for now, let’s talk about why your feet are relevant to your back.

 

Let’s look at the human body from an architectural point of view.

What building do you imagine comparing your body to? My city is Toronto so I’m going to say the Aura Tower at Yonge and College because the CN Tower just isn’t as cool anymore.

aura-tower-is-cooler-than-cn-tower

Every tall building, just like every human body has the same core elements. These elements allow for the building to function properly.

  • It is made out of certain materials
  • It has elevators (and hence, lots of floors)
  • It is closed with windows (and other things)
  • It has to withstand a considerable amount of weight
  • It usually has electricity going through the whole thing
  • It has a base

Hopefully you’ll understand the comparison between these elements of a building and elements of the human body. I’m the Aura building so I also have shining lights that come out at night to dazzle everyone who’s watching.

But we’re going to focus on the last element I mentioned: the base.

The base = your feet

So can we agree that the middle of the building is your back?

………….

Yes, we can agree.

What can affect the middle of the building?

A tornado, a fire, a thousand fairly large men, the other floors, etc.

Literally anything can affect the middle of the building. But as I mentioned, let’s look at the base.

What happens to the middle of the building if the base starts to wear out? Well, nothing initially of course. Nothing big. But eventually, it will all come falling down.

leslie-knope-falling-down

Original source here

BUT A BUILDING…DOESN’T EVEN MOVE!

A building is much less complicated to map out. We’ve got so many architects of buildings. But how many architects do we have of the human body?

😲

Our body is much more complicated than a building. The base is two feet and they don’t stay in one place. They can be used to:

  • Run!
  • Jump!
  • Stand!
  • Swim!
  • Squat!
  • Kick someone in the face!

So imagine how much more precise the architecture of the human body has to be. How much more complex.

Let’s try a challenge. It’ll be fun! All you need is a paperclip. (Who needs those anymore? Everything is digital.) Got your paperclip? Good. Now clip it to your baby toe and try to walk around. Just for one minute. Give yourself a break from the screen.

paperclip-on-baby-toe-injures-back

…………………………

Can you imagine walking around with it for 5 minutes? 40 minutes? A week? A few months?

You probably gave up before a minute went by. It’s not very comfortable is it?

Try sitting with it clipped to you for the rest of the day.

HAHAHAHA, There’s NO WAY I’m going to do that! – You say

Well, you’re sitting every day with your back pain and not doing anything about it. So that’s equally as ridiculous in my books.

And this challenge was just simulating an injury. Keep it up long enough and you will start to feel yourself leaning more towards one side. When you have pain in one area, you try to alleviate that pain by altering the way your body normally moves. But you’re not dealing with the problem. You’re just trying to avoid it. In turn, this is what happens:

Pain from feet –> Up The Legs –> Up Through The Spine –> Up To The Neck

 

This is because your body is interconnected. Especially through the Nervous system.

nervous-system

Image Source: Google

 

Your nerves go all the way from your head to your feet. So throughout the years if you’ve sustained injuries in one area and have been too lazy to deal with them, guess what? Other parts of your body are going to be pretty mad at you.

You like to call it “aging”. You think that so much is hurting in your body because you’re getting older. Ridiculous! Have you never heard of 80 year olds in swimming competitions? People over 50 are doing bike marathons. 90 year olds have fun going on runs. It’s not because of aging that you feel so stiff and in pain. It’s because you are not taking care of your body and you think that it’s natural to be in pain at the age you are in.

But there’s nothing natural about it.

So the right terminology is “laziness” or “ignorance”. But now you know, so if you don’t do anything about it, only the former applies.

How to Fix the Damage

Earlier on in the article I mentioned adding muscle. If that’s what you were thinking too, you’re absolutely correct.

I wrote down a great quote that famous Martial Artist Ilan Rosenberg said in an interview we had years ago: “When you injure the joint and want to restore it, make the muscles around it strong and flexible. And the joint will be like brand new.”

Absolutely. In focusing on strength and flexibility, yoga practice does just this.

And your feet, though small, can do A LOT. Here’s what you can do with the feet. You can press the link to the video at the end to understand more clearly.

– You can curl and uncurl your toes.
– Spread your toes and then press them down all together onto the floor.
– You could stand on one foot and try to lift your big toe and then your baby toe.
– You can walk on the outer sides of your feet and then the inner sides of your feet.
– Roll back and forward on your feet.

This is just a baby list. There’s so much you can do with every part of your body which will have a direct impact on a different part of your body. We have the master list but we want YOU to figure out what the deal is with your pain. Every injury is different because every body on this planet is different.

There’s no set time when your injury will heal. No set of exact exercises you should do to strengthen your muscles around the affected area. And definitely no exact list of foods you should stick to heal yourself.

Listen to your body and it will respond back.

We all start somewhere, so why not start here:

Feet Exercises to Start Healing Your Back—Even a Cat Can Do Them (Almost)

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How to Detox Daily (Hint: You’re Already Doing It)

Every January health and medical professionals gear up to fight something exciting:

a long line of New Year’s resolutionists who thought that they knew what the word ‘detox’ meant. This line has become so long that ‘detox’ now comes with a negative connotation.

detox-news

But that’s not because detoxing is bad for you. It’s because mainstream media has painted a faulty picture for us all. Instead of correctly defining it, they tell us what you shouldn’t do, rather than what you should do.

And because of these incorrect definitions, you get people like this:

cat water drinking morning sink

Original source: here

(Not a person, but an accurate portrayal of what some think is ‘detoxification’.)

Or you get people who think that Detox = Diet. Ugh. No.

THIS is what ‘detox’ means:

detox-definition

Detoxification: Getting rid of toxins from your body. THAT’S IT.

When people talk about the right diet or the right exercise, it isn’t a form of detoxification. It’s a way to aid the detoxification process. And a lot of people get even this stuff wrong too.

How do you detoxify then?

Let’s look at 5 natural ways in which the body goes through detoxification:

  1. Perspiration
  2. Vomiting
  3. Urination
  4. Excretion
  5. Nasal Discharge

Yup, you probably didn’t think it was that easy.

But you may be wondering, “what can I do about it? What can I do to help my body speed up the process?”

Let’s talk about it.

Perspiration

Who likes to sweat?! Sweating is a great way to get rid of toxins and if you didn’t think that was true, just think about how much better you feel after you’ve gone to the gym.

…AND EVEN better after showering. The sweet glory of a high-pressure shower-head is all I can think about after deadlifting my body weight.

So how does this relate to detoxification?

When you sweat, toxins come out of your pores (and that’s why showering after a long day is always a good idea). You can sweat without even trying.

You do it every day without even noticing, especially if you’re one of those people who apply deodorant vigorously (which impedes the release of toxins but you like to smell nice so you think it’s a good thing to wear deodorant).

Here are some things that make us sweat:

#1 Not wearing deodorant. A lot of people may think that it’s gross, and sure it is in an office setting. But it’s unnecessary to wear to the gym. What’s the point of exercising if you’re going to keep all those toxins in your body? Sure, you may be primarily going just to lose fat or build muscle, but if you goal is to “detox” and you think that exercising is the way to do that, you should do it right. Don’t wear deodorant when you don’t need to!

#2 Wearing deodorant has the impact on your body as wearing skin-tight clothes in fabrics such as polyester or spandex. A lot of active wear is made from this, but if you don’t want those toxins sticking to your body, opt for fabrics such as cotton, silk, wool, linen, or hemp (okay maybe not silk or wool for active wear, but it’s natural, so it’s better to wear daily than a lot of other things in your closet). Make sure you’re working out in the least amount of clothes as possible so that you can get the most sweat out. For example, choose a tank top and shorts over sweatpants and a long-sleeved shirt. Closely examine what kind of clothes you’re buying. The difference is incredible over the long-term.

#3 Is it a hot day? (Well, not for another few months for all of us here in Canada) Chances are, you’re sweating. Here’s a better one: are you burning up near the fireplace? Chances are, you’re sweating.

#4 Go to a steam sauna or a dry sauna. Either one will do the trick. And it’ll feel great! So many different cultures have had baths for thousands of years. It wasn’t just to look lazy. Detoxification was relaxation. The temperature rises. Your body sweats. Ahh, the sweet release of toxins.

#5 Stressed out? When this happens, your brain thinks that you are in danger. The part of the brain called the hypothalamus gives a command to the sympathetic nervous system. It then activates your “fight or flight” response, sending a signal to your adrenal glands. In turn, the hormone ‘epinephrine’—adrenaline—gets pumped into your bloodstream, causing your heart to beat faster, your breathing to be more rapid, and your strength to increase.

…and it causes you to sweat more!

When the perceived threat is gone, you go back to less sweating!

#6 Exercise! When you start to exercise, your body feels as if it is going through the same danger as what happens when you are stressed out. To fight this response, your body releases two elements: endorphins (the one most people are familiar with), the chemical that gets released in your brain which causes you to feel a sense of euphoria AND—the one people are less familiar with—BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is a protein that protects and repairs neurons. Together they create this great feeling, especially in the first 20 minutes of your work out. In fact, this effect is addictive and can be compared to that of heroin or nicotine. So if you want to feel addicted to a great habit, we suggest starting with this 5 min video:

Get my groove on now

Vomiting

This method of detoxification is probably the one you’ve done least in your lifetime. It can happen naturally and unnaturally.

It happens naturally after you’ve been poisoned via food or alcohol (or anything else that your body deems to be a threat). It can also happen when you pick up a virus. Just because it’s unpleasant, doesn’t mean it’s not natural detoxification.

Vomiting can also happen unnaturally. This is when you induce it yourself.

#1 TIP: Don’t induce it unless your body asks for it.

Urination

We can all agree that we do this every day. It’s an easy way to get rid of toxins. You can help speed the process up by drinking lots of different liquids, especially water, coffee, and teas—the best kind for this would be green tea and Ivan Tea. Lots of fruits have a high percentage of water in them. Have you ever noticed after eating certain fruits you almost instantly have to go to the washroom? This happens a lot with fruits such as strawberries, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, and grapes.

Excretion

This SHOULD be happening every day, even multiple times. Coffee helps a lot with this process. There are also plenty of foods that help to naturally move the process along.

These include:

Prunes

Flaxseeds

Oatmeal

Chia Seeds

Brown Rice

Avocadoes

Spinach

Blackberries

Nasal Discharge (Mucus)

This happens naturally when you’re sick! And yes, you can get a common cold after overeating during the holidays. Maybe you got a cold from stress. This is your body’s natural way of telling you to take it easy with all the toxins you’re eating and drinking…because they’ll just come out of your nose anyway! And that’s why you’re not that hungry when you’re sick. You don’t need the food. You won’t be able to taste it anyway.

If you don’t have a common cold, the easiest way to get a runny nose is to go outside right now. It’s the perfect month to do that.

And if you’re determined, exercising at a high intensity will get that nose running (no pun intended).

The Last Secret Way to Get Rid of Toxins:

Crying

Now let’s all get back to work and shed some tears because it’s way too cold outside.

But before you do:

Let’s see if you can sweat it out