Apr 07 2017
We all know that warm, relaxed (and of course sometimes a bit sore) sensation we’re left with after an appointment with an RMT. Tension that earlier in the day was the centre of attention is now taking the bench, and hey, our stresses seem to be over there too.
While nothing beats the skilled touch of an RMT, here are a few restorative yoga postures you can do at home to give you that ‘back to balance’ feeling in between sessions.
1. Child’s Pose
The one yoga pose to rule them all, and for good reason! Not only are you alleviating spinal pressure in Child’s Pose, but you are simultaneously bringing openness into the hips, thighs and upper and lower back muscles, all the while in a passive position that can invoke a deep sense of calm and security. Child’s pose can also help activate your digestive processes, and provides us a welcome opportunity to turn inward and enjoy a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle.
2. Legs up the Wall
A favourite of many, legs up the wall is one of the most beneficial and effortless postures in yoga and is considered deeply therapeutic. Simply inverting for a period of time everyday allows gravity to help regulate tension, promote circulation of fluids within all extremities, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure. You may find that holding this position for an extended length of time provides intensely relaxing effects. Try 5-10 minutes to start, and increase to as long as you feel comfortable with. Try placing soft pillows under the arms, lower back or neck for even more support. *Note: You do not need to lay on the hard floor for this to take effect. If your bed is up against a wall, do it from here for maximum comfort!
3. Reclined Twist
They say you are as young as your spine is flexible. As the fluids in the spine don’t move by themselves and can be a storing ground for built up toxins and free-radicals, this is a great reason to bring a gentle spinal twist into a relaxation routine. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and arms out to the sides. Softly lower your knees to the right, looking over the left shoulder. Pause here and breathe deeply. Repeat on opposite side.
4. Seated Forward Bend
All the feels of a morning stretch but at any time of day. Seated Forward Bend targets the back side of the entire body, while promoting digestion and washing away stresses as we turn inward. Approach this posture lightly, your body will do the rest. Close your eyes.
Although it is a pose of complete surrender and relaxation, this can make it slightly more challenging. Still the mind by focusing on each part of the body you are hoping to bring ease. Mentally relax this part, and move onto the next. If you feel the mind wander, just come back.
Enjoy knowing that with only a bit of effort, these poses are helping to revitalize the body and mind, restoring balance and promoting your wellbeing from the ground up.
Oct 10 2013
Do you want to win a 60 min massage at Soma? Yes, I think you do… here’s how!
- Step 1: Like us on Facebook and you get your name added to the draw. Click here! If you already like us (yay you!) then you name has been entered already!
- Step 2: Write us a review on Yelp and you get your name added to the draw AGAIN!! Click here to write a review!
Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving!
Aug 06 2011
I had the great fortune to be the daughter of a wise woman. My mother was ahead of her time in many ways; most notably, her interest in herbs, alternative wellness, yoga and massage. This was revolutionary stuff in small town Saskatchewan at that time. When I was 12 years old, she became a Registered Massage Therapist and started a small practice in our home. I have known massage therapy to be an alternative to pain medication since I was quite young. As a figure skater, I benefited greatly from her abilities.
One of the myriad things that Mom taught me was that people use massage for many different reasons. I hope to clarify for you how massage therapy can be used in your life.
Some clients are referred to a registered massage therapist (RMT) by their MD, chiropractor or physiotherapist, for a specific health concern. It may be headaches, back or neck pain, injury from a car accident, sport injury, stress or depression. Often these situations require urgent attention and a patient might see an RMT twice a week. For both therapist and patient, getting the symptoms under control is a priority. After seeing an RMT for 3 weeks or so, the main issue may be alleviated or at least under control. These clients may then stop coming for treatments until some other problem arises.
Other clients choose to come for treatments as part of their wellness plan. There may not be an obvious problem to work on or a nagging injury; this is more of a preventative approach to wellness. Clients book a treatment once every 2 weeks or once per month, on a regular basis. They reserve the time and make it a priority, like exercise. Usually this type of treatment involves relaxation. Relaxation time should not be underestimated! We live in a stressful world, with stress-induced illnesses. When the body knows how to relax, it can deal more effectively with what we put it through on a daily basis.
Some of our clients have chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia. Massage therapy lessens the effect of the condition and adds to the quality of life for someone who faces these additional challenges.
At Soma, we are all trained in pre and postnatal massage therapy. We’re very comfortable helping pregnant women cope with the many changes of the child-bearing year. Many clients begin treatment at the beginning of the 2nd trimester, although massage therapy is very safe during the first trimester as well. We recommend treatments once every 2 weeks in the beginning, increasing to once per week for the last month. Regular massage during this time helps to reduce swelling, lessen fatigue and decrease back strain. We also suggest that massage treatments continue for at least a few weeks after the birth, to help with hormonal adjusting, fight fatigue and reduce strain on the body. Some women continue with regular treatment even after the baby is born to help with strain from breast-feeding, or simply for some “Me” time.
So you see, massage therapy can be useful for everyone, at all stages of life! Listen to your body, and be good to it. Bring it in to Soma once in a while for a tune-up; you’ll be happy you did.
Wishing you health and vitality,
Jun 11 2011
Hi all, I’m Carleigh, and I’m thrilled to be here at Soma Studio. In addition to my reception duties, I’ll be editing Soma’s Blog and monthly newsletter. I’ve already met a few of you at the front desk, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you all in the months to come. One of the things I’ve noticed about Soma is the compassionate, personal feel to the place. So many of our clients have been coming here for years: through pregnancies, recovery from an injury, or simply to nurture their body and spirit. Massage is an integral part of a preventative, holistic approach to wellbeing. So yes, I’m a writer, but I’ve also had a longtime interest in holistic health, so I thought I’d tell you a little about one of my interests: Vipassana meditation.
You don’t have to go to a retreat to meditate, but for those who appreciate the baptism-by-fire approach to spirituality, this is it. The Vipassana course schedule is intense. For ten days, I meditate for eleven out of the sixteen hours I am awake, mostly in 1-2 hour intervals. For the duration of the course, speaking is only allowed if I need to communicate with a course instructor.
I’ve been going for a few years now, but here’s a story from my first time.
Two days after New Year’s Eve, I pack up the bare essentials and head to Chilliwack, to the Po Lam Buddhist centre. I haven’t given this much forethought. It seems like a great way to start the new year, I suppose. Some people go to Thailand to find themselves. I’m going inward.
I arrive at the Po Lam around 4 pm, and tearfully kiss my boyfriend goodbye. I’ve been told not to bring any books or journals, and no cell phone. Nothing to distract me from the practice. All our food—simple vegetarian meals—is provided. There is no charge, though you’re encouraged to donate at the end of your stay if you feel you benefitted from the course. After a meal and a brief introduction, myself and 19 other women are sent to our rooms and told to prepare for our first meditation. This makes some of the new students laugh. How on earth do you prepare for this?
It’s hard to be quiet for 10 days. It’s hard to sit still for an hour at a time. It’s hard to keep my eyes closed for the better part of the day. For three days, we breathe and focus on the feel of breath as it moves in and out of our nostrils. As I slowly quiet my mind and become more aware of my body, I become exponentially more conscious of how uncomfortable I am.
My back is on fire. My legs are numb. There is frustration, and a feeling of being out of control. If I were at home, I could stand up, stretch, scream at the top of my lungs. Anything to relieve the tension. Here, I feel trapped inside my body. Pain from old injuries re-surfaces to taunt me. A torn ligament in my ankle from volleyball. The time I slipped and fractured my tailbone in third grade. I start to feel doubt; what If I can’t do this? It’s only day three! I know I’m not alone, many students have caught colds, and I can hear their sniffles and wheezing all around me. Most Vipassana courses lose a few new students. I want to see this through to the end.
The instruction we’re receiving in between our meditation sittings is all about compassion. Compassion for others, but also, compassion for yourself. Around midday on day four, I realize that maybe I’ve been doing this wrong. I’ve been trying to power through the course. Forcing my back to stay as straight as the nuns, and begrudging my knees their creaky complaints. Mentally punishing myself for not being some kind of meditation superhero from day one. So I try, for the first time ever, being compassionate with my body.
We have a little dialogue. Might as well, since I’m not speaking to anyone else. I tell my back that it must be difficult to support this posture for so many hours a day. I respect the work that it does. I thank it. I tell my legs that I’m truly sorry about their situation. Tell them if they’re willing to work with me on this, I’ll be sure to take extra time to stretch on my lunch break. At first, they’re not speaking to me, and I can’t say I blame them. But I keep at it. By the end of day five, I have a breakthrough. I’m not sure if the pain recedes, or my acceptance of its presence grows, lessening its power over me. I suspect the latter.
There, in that modest meditation hall in Chilliwack, the experience of being kind and generous to myself makes me weep. I cry for the thirty years I’ve never once considered my body an ally. It had seemed more like an enemy: menstrual cramps, chubby thighs I’d abhorred, bad knees that made exercise difficult. So we kiss and make up. I promise to love and nurture it, as I would any dear friend. And through Yoga, massage, healthy eating and regular meditation, I’ve kept that promise. There’s compromise, like coffee. And wine. But compromise is okay. It’s a necessary part of any loving relationship.
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I would love to hear your stories, testimonials and personal experiences with massage, meditation, or anything you would like to share with us here at Soma.