Hali and I are going to co-teach a workshop on Tuesday night November 29th 6pm-7:30pm! Hali is in back town from her new home in Washington state to visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday and we thought it could be awesome to combine our superpowers into a fun, inspiring evening practice. We can guarantee it will be a creative mixture of mobility and strength exercises, Pilates, Yoga, arm balancing drills to improve your Inversion skills and lots of powerful positive energy! All levels are welcome!
Please come play with us! We would love to have you there! Let us know if you are coming ASAP because the room can only hold 20 -tight!
Hey, hey, HEY! It’s been almost two years since we’ve posted here on this blog. WTH, right??!! It’s been a ghost town up in here for lots of reasons – the biggest being my trying to get pregnant…failing after many tries…trying to figure out why…then having major surgery to feather the nest and make it ready to hold a human…then trying again to make a human…then having said human in all of her uniqueness and down right cute-as-hellness (yet still a baby and kicking her moms’ asses.) If you care to read about the last two years, you can read all about it on our personal blog.
The Night Before Skylar Joined Us!
And now, back to business! We wanted to get ourselves back in the swing of writing and sharing and stimulating discussion here on this blog by first simply introducing you to some of our favorite Brute Yogis. The Brute Yogi Tribe is tight and we couldn’t love what we do as much as we do without them!
Last Brute Yoga class before maternity leave!
Our first victim is Rana Parham. Rana is something special and one of our favorite faces to see in the gym. Really, when you meet her, the brightness of her light is obvious. She gives really good resting bitch face, but it’s all a front. Rana is powerful beyond her own comprehension and even though she complains about every single damn thing the entire time she is at the gym, she always finishes with a smile. She’s usually up for anything – just no planks in Brute Yoga. What I especially love about Rana is that she can stroll into the gym with nails done, hair on point, and skin glowing – and then still look that way when the workout is over!
How did you meet Lisa and how did you decide she was worth working with?
I met Lisa at Brute Strength Gym one morning after a Crossfit workout and observing her working with a client and asking her some random questions about improvement of my horrible squat movements and mobility. She was sooooooo nice and I could tell she knew what she was talking about and her methodology sounded completely feasible for where I currently was. I had signed up for my first Powerlifting meet and knew that I had some work to do and needed a movement coat in order to get there.
What were your goals? Was she helpful in reaching them?
My goals were at that time to gain depth in my squat, plain and simple. After working with Lisa, those goals actually expanded because I began to see how many other areas of my mobility needed work and I could no longer ignore and expect improvement. I have to say without question working with her has been the sole reason I have any depth in my squat at this time and many of my other movements have improved and are steadily improving. I am not currently competing but as I continue to train she has helped me to get some clarity of expectations for how an athlete my age should prep, train, and compete. It has been extremely valuable.
Would you recommend Lisa as a trainer – massage therapist or yoga teacher? What makes her so special?
I have had the benefit of having Lisa as a trainer, and massage therapist (she has literally put me back together before meets), and as a yoga teacher. Without question I would and do recommend her every opportunity I can. Prior to meeting Lisa I had one yoga experience in my life and I can assure you it was frustrating and uncomfortable. When I attended Lisa’s first class I felt welcomed and I really felt she wanted me to be successful at the level I was at. There is no question when I attend class I am her problem child, but she creates such an environment of acceptance that I cannot help but find some success in the movements I am attempting.
As a trainer she disguises her toughness under that nice sweet spirit. She pushes me past what I think my limits are and I always feel so much better after the training session. She has taught me not compare myself to the progress of others around me because I am uniquely me and that I can do much more than I give myself credit for.
What is your favorite thing about working with Lisa?
I have many, but one of them is that she lets me fuss and complain, yet still pushes me to do more and to be better. She gets me! That is always important to me when I am training in any capacity because I know I can be a handful and I appreciate that she let’s me be who I am (LOL) yet doesn’t take any stuff from me.
Lisa and Tina are taking their hip mobility seriously!
Some friends called me directly on the brute yogi hotline with some very specific questions about my first ever video on releasing the hips to help soothe back pain. After I finally went live with this website (and almost threw up several times in the process) and (with anxiety that I thought would swallow me up) posted my first blog post, they scoured my site like any beloved friends would, to peek at what little information I’ve put out there so far, and found the video. They both started doing the simple mobility movements right away with high hopes of relieving their back pain and they were sold! They even wrote the sequence on their white board in their kitchen!
What really made me struck me was how they improvised props with what they had around the house – they had one yoga block, the tie for a robe, and couch cushions. I was so proud of them! They wouldn’t let anything stop them from moving in a new way to feel better!
Only got one block and two pillows
You can use anything as a yoga strap!
Their excitement was contagious! It literally makes my day to know that I’ve helped someone, especially when they get so pumped about the idea of being empowered to take care of themselves! Their one burning question though was about the “killer penguin” (my yoga buddy, Amber , gets the credit for this pet name.)
In the interest of full disclosure, this is not technically a yogasana – it is a mobility exercise and it goes by many names – the frog, the penguin, the baby maker, groin sprawl, or just simply a groin stretch. My friends decided to call it the sex pose (LOL?!) Here is a picture of another lovely friend and fellow yoga teacher, Gayle, demonstrating the killer penguin for us.
Gayle in killler penguin – dead or resting?
Get those hips down, Gayle! No-ass up poses!
Let me take a moment to describe *why* this can be such an effective hip opener for back pain relief. The adductor muscles on the inner thighs play a major role in the position and the stability of your pelvis. If there is extra tension and gripping in the groin muscles, the pelvis can tilt too far forward and put unhealthy strain on the lumbar spine, especially if you are lacking in core stability.
**Be sure you have some padding under your knees before you get going on this groin opener**
~ Start on your hands and knees.
~ Turn the feet out 90 degrees and flex them to protect the inner knee.
~ Gradually spread your knees apart keeping the knees and thighs line with the pelvis. In this first variation, the feet are apart and the ankles are in line with the knees – so that there is a 90 degree angle behind the knee.
~ While sliding your hips back to line up with the knees, keep the spine long (this isn’t Penthouse, asses down people) by either propping under the torso with blocks, pillows, a bolster, blankets, or just simply hold yourself up on your forearms.
~Now, WAIT…hold…pause…be still…be like a killer ninja penguin…breathe and await the opening…
Moving dynamically here can also be effective. In Yoga for Athletes, we like to laugh at ourselves as we awkwardly “saw the groin open” or “hump the penguin.” Basically, just carefully shift your body back and forth to change the angle and depth of the stretch in your hip socket and in the groin. As you do this, and your adductor muscles loosen up, be sure to spread your knees wider…and wider…and wider…
Now, Tina and Lisa were wondering more specifically if there were other ways to get the same release in the adductors without so much weight on the inner knees. There sure are!
Praying to the Frogs
Just simply bring the feet towards each other – then it is technically more of a yogasana (adho mukha baddha konasana) and in the movement and exercise world, this is usually called, “frog.”
Seated Butterfly – Baddha Konasana
* pressing down gently on inner thighs or using weights on the inner things* Siamese cat not required.
These versions of this groin opener aren’t quite as effective at getting to the inner groin and adductors. There is more torque placed on the femurs in the hip socket when there is a right angle at the pelvis and knee (like in the killer penguin) which creates more lengthening and stretch in the tendon attachments around the inner bowl of the pelvis. And, as a bonus, gives the femur a rotation that it rarely gets deep in the hip socket and at its gluteal attachments. But these will do if they don’t “kill” your knees as much!
Here are some versions that create that more effective torque that penguin gives (for some reason, I love that word, “torque!)
Reclined Butterfly with or without weight on the inner thighs- whoah
Supta Malasana – Squat on the wall – Dead Penguin – Baby maker?
Seated with legs in penguin position. Seated with legs in same position as “killer penguin.”
Half-Kneeling Groin Stretch – so good!
One leg up on edge of couch or chair or box in same position/angle
Flex that foot! Protect the knee and you open and torque that hip/femur!
In conclusion…not sure how to end this whirlwind of hip opening ideas being tossed your way…
There is always a way – to make changes – to ease discomfort – to open the hips. Excuses cannot be excused. A few years ago, I had a rare opportunity to work with nationally recognized yoga teacher, author, public speaker, and paraplegic (yes, a paraplegic yoga teacher!) Matthew Sanford who said, “You cannot overcome your life.” I imagine that what he meant is that there are circumstances of our lives and our physical makeup that we cannot ever change, but we have the creative will, the fortitude, and the CHOICE to work with what we were given. He cannot “overcome” his disability and he doesn’t make excuses – he finds a way to work with his physical karma, he has the courage to go for what he knows is possible for him and his physical vehicle.
So, go forth and take care of your vehicle – post any questions below and epiphanies below!
The hips continue to get weaker and more immobile, and the spine continues to pick up the slack to compensate. Then you have pain. We must learn to move from the hips and not the lower spine. The first step in this process is to find mobility and full range of motion in each of the six directions the hip moves.
Try these six no-nonsense yoga moves to help your back pain go away for good.
How did it work for you?
Did these stretches help your back pain? Do you have any questions or need modifications for these poses? Leave a comment and let me know.