[Perspectives in Foot Reading #1] looking at the groin

Here we have a Fire marker – the popped anterior tibial tendon. This dorsal area of the foot is the general reflex for the pelvic region, including reproductive system, inguinal region and lymphatics, and the muscles and bones of the lower core.

The popped tendon indicates potential pain, inflammation, overuse and increase in muscular tension somewhere in this area.

The excess tension here has created a little cave just below the popped tendon, indicating strain, fatigue and weakness. The little cave would be regarded as an Air marker, and this would make sense that the Fire from the inflammation is leaving deficiency (burnt out).

In addition we can also see an inflamed and over-protruding lateral malleolus (ankle bone) showing that the hip is also affected.

This male client suffers with groin pain on the left side, stemming from a childhood injury (a tear), and continues to have problems while playing sports.

To balance Fire we want to reduce the forest fire to a gentle hearth-side glow, so activities like restorative yoga and gentle swimming would be recommended. Other activities such as Tai Chi might also benefit. In addition, ensuring hydration and diet are optimal.

From a mental/emotional perspective, this would indicate fiery and inflamed relationships with family and those whom we are close; sparks could well be flying and as a practitioner I tread very carefully. Venting and letting off steam about these issues would help, either with a neutral party or by journaling. Routine and boundary setting within the relationship is also needed, as a raging fire can easily get out of control.

Once the Fire has gotten under control, it is then time to gently nourish and strengthen the remaining deficient terrain.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, clinical acupuncturist, and foot reading practitioner, working from Elder Cottage Clinic, Warton, nr. Preston.

Foot readings are offered in clinic and remotely. 

 

[Yoga Series #5] Discipline. Are you worth it?

Some days I find it hard to come to the mat. I will divert and do all manner of jobs and tasks to avoid it. To get onto the mat every day takes discipline.

But isn’t it the same with anything in life? To meet the challenge and to move forward we have to be disciplined. Whether you want to build a business, learn a new skill, get better at something, lose weight, meet a target or achieve a goal: discipline is involved. We can’t just coast our way through life and expect things to drop into our laps.

ID-100423155Bearing in mind I am still a fairly new yogi: yoga is teaching me about practice. The more I practice the more I am understanding my body. The more I understand the more I want to learn, and the more I want to discover. Parallels to my reflexology journey. You can’t be a good reflexologist unless you practice, no matter how much reading and theory you learn.

The more challenging poses are becoming less of a dread and more of a journey of revelation. The poses I can’t get into fully are less of a brick wall and more of an acceptance of where I am at this moment. I modify to suit me at this time and that is perfectly OK (wow did I just say that?)

But all of this comes from discipline. Being disciplined to practice every day is hard. But look at the rewards. I feel great during and afterwards. Better than if I don’t practice. And if I don’t practice there is always the guilt, the feeling of letting myself down, the weakness to come and consume me. Because I know that I am worth more.

Once the discipline sets in, whatever you are doing becomes less of a “chore” and more of a good habit. Something you just do because that’s what you do and who you are. Good habits are difficult to form. That’s where discipline comes in. But I know that I am worth it and that’s what keeps me motivated.

Image courtesy of kdshutterman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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[Yoga Series #4] Essential Oils for Yoga

I’m not a big fan of incense. I don’t like the burning or the smell. Its just my personal preference. Of course if I’m practising yoga as part of a class then I don’t complain; I’m not that adverse to it. However when I’m at home during my self-practise I prefer to diffuse essential oils.

ID-100120457Using a diffuser, the essential oils are diffused into the yoga practice space to create an inspiring and motivating mood and to enhance breathing.

The successful practice of yoga requires some motivation and dedication.  Yoga is a journey to a balanced body that is properly aligned with mind and spirit (yoga means union). Incorporating the intensely therapeutic properties of essential oils into the practice can help for a fulfilling journey. The following essential oils and benefits can help make yoga practice a much more unifying experience of body, mind and spiritual well-being. [1]

Vetiver, ginger and patchouli will be grounding and earth-connecting, while sandalwood and cedarwood are stabilizing, strengthening and centring. All of these essential oils will help with balance and stability in the yoga poses. A great blend for this is the Aromatherapy Blend – Vitality.  Energising ginger and clove help a depleted system recuperate, giving you essential support and vitality when you need it most. A pure essential oil blend which brings renewed vigour for life.

Myrrh, frankincense, eucalyptus and rosemary encourage the flow of energy and self-expression while helping you achieve steady, deep inhalations and exhalations. As I explained in my previous blog, the breathing process is hugely important to successful yoga practice in order to support the spine during the poses. [1]

Frankincense and Myrrh aromas have been used throughout time as aids for spiritual transcendence and peace, to manifest Heaven on Earth.  Frankincense is an excellent oil for yoga as it is fantastic for the respiratory and nervous systems. [3]

Myrrh is known to unite Heaven and Earth in a person, the spiritual with the physical. It is aromatherapy for manifestation of the spiritual in oneself.  Like with Frankincense, Myrrh works therapeutically on the nervous system, to calm the mind and instil tranquillity. It is an aroma to bring peace and inner stillness. Also like Frankincense it is also a very earthy aroma. Both Frankincense and Myrrh are ideal in supporting the philosophy of yoga! [3]

Lavender, geranium and chamomile are calming and relaxing. Try the Aromatherapy Blend – Women’s Balance, especially good for balancing our emotions relating to our female cycles.

FocusBergamot, lemon and orange are all citrus oils and can provide an uplifting and energising sense to the practice. Try the Aromatherapy Blend – Focus to help you take your mind into the body for those more challenging poses, focus on your breathing and even help you onto the mat in the first place (I know I sometimes need some encouragement!)

Neroli and ylang ylang promote transcendence and spiritual expression. Try the Aromatherapy Blend De-Stress to transport you to a place of tranquillity. This one is a favourite of mine for yoga, as it smells very earthy and deep.

[1] https://www.auracacia.com/community/be-inspired/how-to-use-essential-oils-in-your-yoga-practice

[2] http://www.yogabasics.com/connect/yoga-blog/using-essential-oils-in-your-yoga-practice/

[3] http://www.care2.com/greenliving/frankincense-and-myrrh.html

Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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[Yoga Series #3] Engage the Pelvic Floor for Spinal Health

When we talk about pelvic floor muscles it is usually relating to urinary and sexual health, pregnancy or post-partum issues and problems. But actually the pelvic floor is also fundamental to our spinal health.

ID-100197696The deepest muscles of the pelvic diaphragm run from front to back (pubic joint to coccyx). The more superficial layers are those including the anal and urethral sphincters. During yoga the focus should be on engaging the deeper fibres which encourage an upward motion of energy, permitting the diaphragm to lift the base of the rib cage forward.

I have a tendency to over extend my lumbar spine and stick out my bottom: this isn’t good for spinal health, and my yoga journey is now showing me this.

To be able to flex the lumbar spine, the psoas, abs and pelvic floor must concentrically contract. So my natural tendency to over-extend, in combination with attempting postures of deep lumbar-flexion (for example a standing or seated forward bend) without engaging the core muscles properly will lead to pain. Combine this with other personal issues such as emotional stress and poor posture during work (treatments, sitting at desk, driving) has led to much discomfort.

In yoga there are three main diaphragms (pelvic, respiratory and vocal) which come together in movements that are coordinated with inhaling and exhaling. These coordinated actions of the diaphragms (in yoga these are known as “bandhas”) create more stability in the body, protecting it from injury by redistributing mechanical stress.

For example, when performing a forward bend, if the thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities are not supported with the breath, then there is no single centre of gravity. This puts extreme pressure on the posterior spinal muscles with a pivotal point in the lumbo-sacral junction, which is vulnerable to damage (exactly where my back pain has been!)

Have you ever reached or bent over to do something and automatically held your breath? The body does this to try and protect our spinal structures.

Actively employing the breath which engages all three diaphragms including the all important pelvic floor muscles, offers the spinal column complete support during a forward bend, by centering gravity in the pelvis, legs and feet, and allowing the spine to relax and allow in space. Remember – build the foundation! This is explained beautifully in [1].

In understanding this during the yoga practice, as well as daily activities, I have managed to reduce my lower back pain considerably. As always, stepping onto the yoga mat takes us on a journey inside the body.

For some fabulous diagrams of the pelvic floor muscles see [2].

[1] Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews

[2] http://www.dailybandha.com/2015/05/the-pelvic-floor.html

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

Growyourbusiness