I truly believe in the healing benefits of massage therapy for dance and sports related injuries. Personally, massage therapy was my treatment of choice for my own dance related injuries. I was so impressed with the results I received from massage treatments that I became certified in the technique when I retired from my professional dance career in order to help others experience pain relief.
Pilates and yoga exercises are highly beneficial cross training tools for boys who play a variety of sports. Specifically, pilates and yoga are examples of neuromotor exercise (proprioceptive training) and functional fitness that develops balance, coordination, gait, and agility. Adding pilates and yoga to a sport specific program can help young athletes gain balanced muscular development, flexibility and stability about joints, and reduce injury.
Below are 5 ways pilates and yoga can help boys increase their athletic skills:
- Reduces injuries due to repetitive motion. Pilates and yoga can help by strength training both sides of the body equally to prevent misalignments and to develop joints that have both stability and mobility.
- Improves precision and coordination needed to execute intricate movements in dance, tennis or baseball. Pilates and yoga focuses on the mind/body connection which enhances proprioceptive skills creating precise movement patterns.
- Increases flexibility essential to all sports. Flexibility training is necessary in sports, especially for dance and golf when the spine needs to rotate, flex, and extend.
- Increases abdominal/torso strength which will limit compensatory movements that can lead to wear and tear on the spine.
- Improvement with ADHD symptoms. Studies suggest that boys who practice mind/body exercises have greater concentration and show a reduction in ADHD symptoms.
If you are vegan like me or have gluten sensitivity you may not want to use personal care products or cosmetics that contain ingredients of animal origin or gluten. Finding cosmetics can be difficult because many companies use wheat, animal products, and an ingredient called carmine which is obtained from the carminic acid of scale insects and is often used in lipstick.
I wanted to recommend some of my favorite natural lines that carry vegan and gluten free cosmetics. Of course, always make sure you read all ingredients when shopping.
• Gabriel Cosmetics
• Neal’s Yard Remedies
• Jane Iredale
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Asana (physical yoga posture) is described in Chapter Two, sutra 46, as “Sthira Sukham Asanam.” This sutra is translated as meaning “Asana is a steady, comfortable posture.” With the explosion of yoga fusion classes here in the West, the basic idea of finding grace, ease of movement, comfort, and a calm, steady focus in hatha yoga classes can sometimes be lost.
In light of this, I enjoy teaching yoga postures that are simple, so that students can focus on breath and alignment. To help in creating a steady, comfortable posture, I would like to offer a few of my favorite postures that can be done from the comfort of your own bed. The sequence of postures below will help you relax before bed and it doesn’t get any more comfortable than practicing yoga on your mattress.
• Apanasana (Wind Relieving Pose) – Lie in a supine position with your knees bent and gently bring your knees toward your chest. This pose stretches the lower back and can aid in digestion
• Jathara-Parivartanasana (Stomach Revolved Pose) – Lie in a supine position with the knees toward the chest and simply twist to each side.
• Supta Padangushtasana (Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose) – Lie in a supine position and gently reach behind your thigh, knee or lower leg and slowly straighten the leg to stretch the muscles of the posterior thigh/ leg.
• Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) – Lie in a supine position and lift your legs up, resting your feet against the wall. This pose has a calming effect and can help relieve insomnia and anxiety.
• Savasana – Lie in a supine position and simply relax and focus on your breath
• Hand on your Heart – In Savasana, place your hand on your heart and breathe deeply into your chest and focus on thoughts of gratitude
Grains are a great source of vitamins, protein and healthy carbohydrates that we need to sustain energy. Some people shy away from grains because they fear gluten sensitivity. Truth is, for most people, gluten is not an issue. It is an problem for the one percent of Americans who suffer from celiac disease or approximately six percent of the American population who have gluten sensitivity.
If you are sensitive to gluten you want to avoid wheat, barley and rye. Here are a few gluten free grains to try: amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and rice
Below are a few tips on how to spice up your grains:
For brown rice – long grain brown basmati is good, healthy and fairly quick to cook.
• Instead of using water, use a vegetable broth or stock. Either low sodium or regular.
• Add any or all of the following dried spices to the pot (a few shakes are fine): Paprika, garlic, minced onion, red pepper flake, cayenne, turmeric or chili powder.
• For more depth of flavor consider a squeeze of lemon or lime and a dash of tamari sauce.
• You don’t need to add any oil or fats – it doesn’t do much for the dish except to add completely unnecessary fat and calories.
• To make a simple Mexican inspired rice add a few tablespoons (per cup of rice) of your favorite red or green salsa