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©2017 BY BODYWORK BEYOND MASSAGE - SOARING SPIRITS GROUNDED BODIES. PROUDLY CREATED WITH WIX.COM

A Collection of Posts, Including Shoveling and Other Wellness Tips, and Thoughts about how my work has evolved

May 21, 2017

 

 

 

February 23, 2017

I usually do not post anything even slightly political, but I believe what has been going on in our country has increased stress and anxiety levels in many people.  So, although this post may have a slightly political "tone" to it,  the emphasis is on how we can take care of and nurture ourselves when living in stressful  times.

 

Last year studies were released that found high levels of toxins in teas.  But, hey,   there are poisons in our water, so…….

Rather than panic every time a new “study” comes out, try to eat fresh, whole, foods (I do believe that supplements are a good idea, and I like Juice Plus as a basic one); drink enough water (blessedly, many of us still have access to fresh, clean, drinking water); get enough rest; MOVE AROUND throughout your day; take time to be still, to gather your thoughts and pay attention to your breathing; interact face-to-face with people who are supportive of you; spend some time outside…..

 

Usually when I write here I focus on how we can take care of ourselves physically, and I believe that taking care of ourselves emotionally/spiritually/mentally is a part of that.

Many people are feeling increasingly stressed and panicked about what is happening politically.

We are living in interesting, and challenging, times.  And yes, I understand that this post is written from the perspective of someone who is relatively fortunate and relatively safe and privileged.

Right now, the question of “How do we stay centered, yet engaged in the world around us?” takes on new meaning.

For some of us, that may not be the question,  but perhaps the questions are more along the lines of, “How do I focus on my daily life, when I/people I know are in danger of being deported or attacked? When I/people I know, who have finally come to believe that they can be who they are in our society and not be in danger as a result, are now seeing that safety torn apart, and are once again in fear for themselves?”, or, “I am watching our civil rights be stripped away, and I am worried that we may wake up one day soon and find we have none left”??

 

We can choose to panic about everything, to put ourselves into a state of paralytic fear; or we can choose to find ways that allow us to continue to remain present in our lives and calm enough to function well.

The trick is: you need to find ways that work for YOU.

It does not help anyone/thing if you are trying to force yourself to take certain actions because, for example, your neighbor or friend has taken them, yet you are unable to get yourself to do them.

 

After the election in November, I found myself in a state of paralytic fear much of the time.  For me, it was important not to “normalize” and “legitimize” what we were seeing.  After the inauguration, my panic level sky-rocketed. Fortunately, in the past few weeks I have begun to refind my internal balance.

 

I realized that I could not continue to function in such a state of heightened horror.  I realized that I truly do believe that most of us would chose to help another person rather than trample on them.

I realized that, since I do believe that thoughts/experiences create vibrations, and vibrations create reality, that my thoughts and fears and hopes DO matter.

 

For many people, marching and protesting/phone calling/ letter writing have been where they have felt drawn to put their energies.  Others have found themselves working to elect people to office, or to run themselves. Many people have pushed themselves outside of their “comfort zone” to do these things.

This is great!!!

But if these options are not calling you enough for you to get out there and DO them, consider other ones: volunteer at a food pantry/soup kitchen/homeless shelter/with refugees; create a group to set up backpacks filled with supplies for locals in need or newly arrived refugees.  Come up with something that calls to you enough so that you will get out there and do it.

 

Because I do not want to “normalize” what is going on, it is important to me not to just “Pollyanna” the situation: “Everything will be fine”.   I don’t know that.  I am pretty sure, that, if left on this path, things are going to be far from “fine” and, in fact, for many people, things are already far from “fine”.

 

One of the things that I have decided to do is to continue to acknowledge how horrific or even just plain stupid much of what has been going on is, and follow every one of those thoughts/comments with thought of the wonderful things that exist- the wonderful kindnesses people show each other, the beauty of nature, etc..

 

Remember that, for the most part, people share the same basic aspirations and dreams, for themselves and their loved ones: to be safe, and to have enough decent food, shelter, and clothing.

 

I offer you the idea that you can create a space of 10 minutes daily when you sit in silence and stillness and allow your thought to focus on the kindnesses and love that you have experienced in your own life.  Allow your thoughts to imagine what it would be like if we each extended kindness and love to those we come into contact with as we go about our daily lives – at the grocery store, at the bank or the gas station, as we stand waiting on a line…..

I encourage you to then put that into practice……

I encourage you also to find ways to actively care for yourself right now.   Get enough rest, enough water, enough healthy foods; sign up for regular therapeutic bodywork sessions – you will find they help more than your physical body, and if finances are an issue, many practitioners have sliding scale fees, or a lower rate for regular visits;  make sure you are physically active – do not give in to that desire to curl up in a ball and hide until it’s over!; connect with others; take actions in ways that make sense to you……

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 9, 2017

 

Hello…..It has been a long time since I posted.  I am still rather technologically incompetent, and thought I had posted a few times since February 2014 but they seem to have gotten lost in the ether....

I do post a lot on my facebook page (Bodywork Beyond Massage Soaring Spirits Grounded Bodies) so check  there as well.

February 2017 and 12+ inches of snow and still snowing.

Look at   for my blog on shoveling.

I would add to it:

Keep your nose level with your shoulders. If you find the tip of your nose pointing up toward the sky, bring it level with your shoulders.  This will make your neck much happier.

 

 

August 9, 2015

Why I no longer consider Massage Therapy as my top treatment choice for Stress/Pain Reduction

 

Over the past decade, many more people have become familiar with, and seek for themselves, massage therapy.
I believe taking that time, even be it an hour or less, away from demands on our time and psyche, can reduce our stress/pain levels; helps us to “wipe clean the slate”, so to speak.
I also believe that for many of us, expecting that we can walk into someone’s office periodically and during our time in their office, have them (externally) do something to us to reduce our stress/pain levels, release muscular tension, etc., and have that create lasting change or relief for us, can lead to disappointment and a sense that we do not have control over/choice about how we respond to stress/pain, both emotionally and physically.
Certainly, any release from stress/pain, either physical or mental/Spiritual/emotional, can be good.
And yes, we can set those appointments weekly and keep lessening our stress/pain levels.

But what happens in between those appointments? And are we really lessening our stress/pain levels, or just “bailing out the boat” as it repeatedly fills with water?

How many of you have had a lovely massage, left the site feeling relaxed and loose, and the next day, felt just as you did before walking in for your appointment?
I will address why I do not feel massage is often the best choice for treatment (although I have been a licensed massage therapist for 30 years) in a moment, but first, I want to address the general concept of stress-filled lives.

STRESS FILLED LIVES
Many of us lead high stress lives, for a variety of reasons. I believe it is an oversimplification to tell people, “Just slow down; breathe; don’t sweat the small stuff”, or “Just think positive thoughts”.
I also believe that to expect someone else to “take care of it” for us keeps both the problems and the solutions external and out of our control, allows us to not participate, to not acknowledge that the stress/pain, and the solutions, belong to us.
Rather, I believe if we can learn methods that help us to stay calm and grounded, we regain a sense of
control/choice over our responses, and that alone can offer us a less anxiety-filled perspective.
I believe also that if we can begin to understand how and why our bodies move and respond in certain ways, and this includes how your individual body moves and responds as well as how we are designed to move and respond, we can markedly lower our negative/depleting responses to stress/pain.

One way I do this with clients is by coaching/guiding them to become more aware of their internal landscapes – helping to bring to their awareness how their body is holding tension, how our bodies are designed to support us and how they might be hindering that support, where energy flow is blocked, how they can use certain techniques to develop more awareness, increase energy flow and ease in motion and stillness, and ultimately have more choice.
I approach this through use of physical touch, guided imagery, and guided movement.
If I am seeing a client for bodywork, I may use verbal guidance (bringing awareness to breath or areas of the body, etc.) during their session. I may offer suggestions for things they can do on their own.
If a client is coming to me to help change their moment patterns, I will usually begin with a short bodywork session (during which I gain information about patterns in their bodies in general, and specifically on that day) followed by some physical movement; verbal guidance is given as needed.

In order to reduce/change our responses to stress/pain, we may need to look at the “entire picture” of our lives: What, and how often, do we eat? Drink? What are our sleeping habits? How much time do we spend on a screen? What kind of environments ( chaotic/isolated/ intimidating/supportive etc.) do we spend our time in? What kind of support do we have from community? What type/how much physical movement is in our lives? What is our breath flow like? What is our interaction with the world around us like?

MASSAGE AND OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS
I have been a licensed massage therapist for 30 years.
Massage therapy is the treatment option most people are familiar with, and it can be a great option.
If someone is having chronic pain issues, it has been my experience that massage therapy often does not get to the heart of the problem.

For example, with a massage treatment, I can release tension from muscles, but if the postural patterns of my client keep pulling them askew, those muscles will again become torked/tight/uncomfortable.
ZERO BALANCING
I have been a certified Zero Balancer since 1998. Zero Balancing was developed/codified by an osteopath for his Master’s project in acupuncture. Unlike most systems of bodywork, Zero Balancing looks at both energy and structure, simultaneously, in our bodies, and in our energy fields. Zero Balancing approaches and works with the body at the level of bone. Sessions are received while clothed, and no oils/lotions are used. See my website, soaringspiritsgroundebodies.massageplanet.com, or zerobalancing.com for more information.
My experience has been that, for most people, Zero Balancing reaches the body, and psyche/Spirit, on a deeper level than massage, and the effects are longer lasting. Zero Balancing also offers us the chance for personal growth in ways that massage therapy does not.

FASCIAL WORK
Fascia is a network of elasticlike tissue in our bodies; it is everywhere, runs through muscles as well as in long runs spanning across joints, weaves into bone, etc.. When fascia gets kinked/dried out it becomes akin to stuck plastic wrap/ cement. Stuck or dry fascia inhibits not just larger movements but fluid flow and organ/gland function. Fascia can be released and rehydrated.
My fascial work sessions are also received while clothed, and no oils/lotions are used. Clients may be worked on while standing/seated/lying down.

DYNAMIC BALANCED MOVEMENT
Over the past few years I have begun working with fascia in different ways, combining fascial work with Zero Balancing work, while viewing and treating the body as a dynamically balanced, energetically enlivened, 3 dimensional instrument, designed for movement.
I have developed a lens through which I view the body called Dynamic Balanced Movement. I use this approach when doing bodywork, and while teaching movement classes (I teach ballet, modern dance, yoga, conditioning, and functional movement repatterning).
Using this approach, I am working at a deep level of posturally created patterning through fascia, bone, and muscle.
This means that, among other things, the work I am doing is deep, gentle, and has long-lasting effect, much more so than massage therapy alone.

Hence, I no longer have massage therapy treatment at the top of my list of options for treatment, and ask readers to explore/be open to the ideas I have put forth here.

 

 

April 16, 2015

GENERAL WELLNESS TIPS

DYNAMIC WELLNESS Soaring Spirits Grounded Bodies
(Please be aware that what is listed here is a generalization of basics, and that what I might actually recommend might vary for each individual)

~ HYDRATION:
Are you drinking enough on an ongoing basis? Tea (non-caffeine, herbal), broths, water, diluted juices are the best choices.
( Two good choices: Green Tea: at least 12 ounces; Peach Detox (brand name: Yogi Tea) at least 8 ounces)
You could take a thermos of each to work and sip them throughout the day (Some people feel it is not helpful for the kidneys if we continuously sip fluids. Other people feel it is not helpful to drink 8-12 ounces at a sitting. Find a “happy medium” that works for you.) You may drink them warm or at room temperature but generally speaking, try to avoid cold drinks.

~ DIET:
What foods do you eat? Are you getting enough fluids? Fibre? Proteins?
Quinoa: you can make hot quinoa flakes for breakfast (cooks fast, like quick oatmeal), or a cup of the grain and eat a portion with your lunch or dinner every night. Quinoa is a food that offers our bodies a lot of good things, in a good balance. Other healthy grains include millet and amaranth; for some people, brown rice.
Some people like to begin their day with a broth or miso soup. This can be sipped throughout the day as well as teas.
If one eats eggs, they are a good way to begin one’s day. Dry cereals are not. Eating nothing is not.
Do you know if you are sensitive to gluten or wheat? You can try eliminating these for 6 weeks. If you eat bread regularly you can buy gluten free bread (I recommend Glutino brand, seeded); if you eat pasta, instead use gluten free pasta.
Fresh/raw vegetables: one easy way to include these is to make sure you are eating them at lunch and dinner, and for snacks in between – even if you buy prewashed salad greens (the freshest, most local you can find) and add some carrots with a meal once every day; snack on baby carrots, apples, oranges, or other fruits/vegetables; etc..
Make sure you are eating some fat in your diet –avocado is an easy way to get some fats – and if you are not opposed to eating fish, it is great to eat fish a few times a week. If you do eat meat, try to only eat it once a week, and avoid fatty meats.

Some people avoid dairy, some don’t – some find a small amount of cheese daily to be helpful- this would depend upon the individual; usually feta or goat cheeses.

Be sure to eat regularly, even every few hours. If you chose to eat “protein bars”, check the ingredients and the sugar and salt levels.

Pay attention to how you feel immediately after you eat, and a few hours later.

Pay attention as you are eating – eating “consciously” rather than “mindlessly” is wise for many reasons, among them: we then tend to chew more thoroughly, eat more slowly which aids digestion, and notice when we are sated.

~ BREATH:
Bringing one’s awareness to breath can help to soothe the central nervous system, and to release any holding/locking that might be occurring in the digestive tract.
Diaphragm breath
Vocal diaphragm breath
Bubble floats to Inner Skull breath

Breathing/resting in certain postures can be very helpful.
Postures:
~ On one’s back atop a firm bolster or two rolled up yoga mats; resting with arms a bit to sides, palms up; belly and low abdomen supported in; pelvic floor supporting up. The level of the base of the bolster/yoga mat can vary. Make sure your head and neck are properly supported.
~ On one’s back, soles of feet on the floor, feet /legs parallel to each other, in line with your “sitz” bones. Arms folded on torso (take care not to “glue” upper arms to the sides of your upper rib cage).
~ On one’s back, legs bent, lower legs and heels placed on a couch, legs parallel to each other and in line with your “sitz” bones.

~ MOVEMENT:
Many people will go to a gym or an exercise or yoga class. The movements they do there can be counterproductive to their health. If you have shoulder/neck problems do not use weights while lifting our arms up above your shoulders; if your neck, knees, or low back feel strained afterwards, then it is likely your body is not properly supported or aligned as you are exercising.
Walking can be good exercise. Putting music on and dancing can be good exercise.

Our bodies were designed to move, not to sit still all day.
Whatever you chose to do for exercise, do it with attention to your body alignment, breath flow, and the quality of how you are supporting yourself/moving.
Alignment should be easily held, not gripped for dear life: Some basics: Rib cage floating and stacked above pelvis; head floating atop a supported neck and stacked above rib cage; hip, knee and ankles working in unison, pliable, and stacked above each other.
Breath should be continuous, versus held. Imagine a rainbow shape inside at the level of the base of your ribs. As you inhale this changes into a smile shape; as you exhale it changes into a rainbow shape.
Although you want to be supporting your back and torso, your breath should still create gentle expansion of the ribcage 360 degrees around.
Quality of Movement: Is everything locked tight? Gentle support rather than locking is good- think of buildings built to withstand earthquakes: they are built to accommodate some amount of sway, yet they support a lot of structure/weight. Think “Pliable, yet strong”. Is your breath/are your movements jagged and jerky? Smooth and continuous is usually more healthful.

~ THOUGHTS:
We tend to think in types/ “flavors” of thoughts: a person may frame things in terms of “Win or lose”, “Us against them”, “Everything’s fine”, “No matter how hard you try, you can’t win”, “I can never earn enough money”, “No matter what I do I will always be fat”, etc..
If one pays close attention, one can see that these themes express themselves throughout that person’s life, and one can see that we may put ourselves in/create situations that support these thoughts. On some levels, thoughts become beliefs, and we function with those beliefs forming the basis for our behavior/actions.
Over time, the way we view the world around us creates patterns of chronic unbidden inner responses. This effects our body systems – our hormone levels, our organ and muscle functioning, even our cells (see Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion, books by Dawson Church and Bruce Lipton).
Becoming aware of the language we use as we think/speak to ourselves and to those around us is a good way to begin bringing change into our lives. Once we begin to hear our “flavor” we can listen to what we think/say and decide if we want to phrase/respond to things differently.

Soaring Spirits Grounded Bodies
 

 

March 26, 2015

THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW TO EXPLAIN WHAT I DO

 

I was talking with a relative yesterday about marketing my business. She asked some interesting questions, including, “But what exactly IS it that you do?”
Hmmm…… I answered, “Therapeutic Bodywork and Movement Education”.
“But what does that really mean? “, she asked, “What is it for?”
I answered, “Therapeutic Bodywork and Movement Education geared towards releasing pain and restriction, while increasing ease and well-being”…..
“But what does that mean??? What does “Therapeutic Bodywork” mean?”
We talked for a while.
It is, clearly, hard for me to explain what I do and who I am “marketing” to

I do not want to sound like a “jack of all trades and master of none” when I say that people who would benefit from/enjoy my work include those “experiencing acute or chronic pain” or those “seeking bodywork to integrate high levels of physical activity” or “desiring increased wellness”.

Initially my training was in a form of deep tissue massage, and I was always interested in “energy work”, which, to me, is how the energy flows (or not) through the body – across joints, through muscles and fascia, where does it get stuck and why, etc..

Zero Balancing was developed by an osteopath who is also an acupuncturist, and works a lot with bones and joints, and with energy moving through the body.

I have also studied some different massage techniques and other forms of bodywork.

I call my bodywork sessions “THERAPEUTIC Bodywork” because they offer the client the opportunity for change to occur, and the opportunity for deep rest and release. Usually (I would never claim “always”) clients who have arrived with areas of soreness/pain feel relief by the time they leave.
I call my sessions “Therapeutic BODYWORK” because, although I have been a licensed Massage Therapist since 1985, I often will do Zero Balancing and fascial work, perhaps with some soft tissue manipulation, rather than/ along with massage therapy, in a bodywork session.

I am also very interested in how, functionally and biomechanically, we do movements that we do. This is the MOVEMENT EDUCATION piece of what I do, Functional Movement Repatterning.
For example: One can bend over and reach for something in many different ways. If, for example, one’s knees roll inward and one’s bottom slides backwards and one keeps one’s forehead angled upward, that will feel very different than if one’s knees stay aligned over/in relationship to one’s legs, one’s bottom stays aligned over the top of one’s legs, and one’s forehead faces the direction one is moving.
I will look at how people do certain movements, and help guide them to create new and more desirable patterns of movement.

Zero Balancing, fascial work, massage, and Functional Movement Repatterning are, for me, all parts of the same “whole”: they are all related, and enhance each other and work well together.

So how does all of this translate into how I can explain what I do and who I am “marketing” to?

I am still trying to figure that out!!

 

 

 

 

 

March 9, 2015

Hello…. It has been quite a while since I posted.
This post is a little bit about how my bodywork/teaching has developed, and why I am drawn to certain kinds of bodywork.

When I was a dance major in college, I would sometimes ask my teachers about a certain movement/exercise: does one think of this or of that? Does one envision or feel one’s body moving this way or that? My teachers basically told me that it did not matter, or they had no idea what I was asking about.
I did not realize at that time that I was experiencing an inner awareness of energy flow, and an awareness of smaller body structures. I did not realize that I could see (when others could not) the flow of energy as it moved through bodies, and see where it was restricted.
(How different those experiences would have been had I been fortunate enough to have had some of the wonderful teachers I have had the opportunity to study with these past few years – a number of them, but mostly Joanna Duncan, Paul Dennis, and Donna Bonaserra..)….
I ended up feeling very befuddled, inadequate, and stupid; and my body became very very confused: confused motor pathways were laid down, and inefficient and counterproductive patterns were formed.
This is not to say that, prior to this, I had incredible alignment and skill.

Rather, I mention this because many of us have experiences, both physical and emotional, that contribute to/form confused motor pathways and inefficient and counterproductive patterning.

As I moved onward through Life, I noticed how others moved/danced. I became a massage therapist, and later a certified Zero Balancer ( this has truly changed my life, for the better, in every way…thank you, Dr. Smith, Jim McCormick, and the Zero Balancing community for your teaching and the incredible integrity that is at the core of it all), and then a certified Embodyoga teacher – here finding so many answers to those questions I asked in college .

I began the Embodyoga teacher training after having studied Bikram yoga for less than two years.
I never understood why Bikram yoga teaches that one cannot modify poses: well, if one cannot do the pose “properly”, what then is one supposed to do???

I would watch other students in those classes and wonder about how their alignment, body support, relationship of joints to each other and to gravity, relationship of various other body parts to each other and to gravity, etc., were hindering/helping them to achieve the desired pose.
Actually, I wondered a lot about myself: what was I doing “wrong” that was preventing me from achieving, for example, a calm balance in a pose?

My Embodyoga teacher, Patty, had many of those answers.

At around this time I had also begun teaching dance again, and was watching the children and teens I taught and who studied in the studio where I taught.
Then Ms. Joanna arrived…… suffice it to say that she is an incredible teacher, and my journey became so much richer and clearer as a result.

So now I had: Zero Balancing, for understanding how energy and structure can be balanced in the body; Embodyoga, for seeing how this translates into yoga, alignment, and asanas; and Ms. Joanna, for experiencing how this translates into movement, stillness, and balance…….
This all led me to realize that what I have seen and understood since I was quite young is a viable and quite practical and efficient way of achieving movement, stillness, and balance; and that to perpetuate imbalanced movement (in which the relationship of joints and body parts to each other and to gravity are out of balance) and an energetic quality that hinders/restricts rather than supports, serves no one.

I am drawn to certain bodywork techniques because I feel they support how I look at Functional Movement and energy.

When I teach dance, yoga, Functional Movement, etc., I do so with the belief that quality of movement and the relationship of parts to the whole is integral to efficient and ease-filled – and thus beautiful – movement.

I believe that by not paying attention to these things, one restricts one’s capacity for ease of movement and stillness, and one perpetuates inefficient and imbalanced patterns and confused motor pathways.

When I teach movement and ask my students to pay attention to these things, I do so because I believe this will serve them the most.

 

 

 

January 30, 2014

 

Hello…..It is again winter in New England….We received 6-8 inches of light fluffy snow earlier this week (unlike areas 30 miles from here – some received over 25 inches of snow, some received no snow…).

I had hoped to offer a shoveling clinic at our local library tomorrow afternoon but it was thought to be too late in the season…..so instead, I remind you to see my post from last winter about shoveling!

Taking the time to shovel properly (good stance, not too much snow at one time upon your shovel, etc.) can leave you feeling invigorated rather than depleted.

In my still semi-inept at the computer state, I typed a beautiful post on snow and winter and accidentally (and much to my surprise) deleted it…..

The area in which I live is semi-rural.  Snow does not create the problem here that it creates, for example, in a city.  After a snowfall, driving/parking do not present the same challenges they might in a city, and the snow stays white and pretty.

It is easy to appreciate snow and winter here.

During a snowfall, if one pays attention, time and sound suspend.  Colors become clearer; one can see the varying shades of white, the silvers and grays and blues that are also snow.  The bare tree branches are  clearly outlined against the sky, tree limbs here and there are carpeted with snow,  the green of the pine branches stand out against the white of the snow and the grays and browns of the trees themselves.  The snow  blankets the trees and the ground.  The air feels thicker, more dense, and as a result, sound becomes muffled, and time seems to slow.

These things remind me of the opportunity to slow down internally, and to appreciate what is around and within me.

If one thinks only of the logistical challenges of snow – driving/parking/shoveling – it is hard to see its beauty; it is hard to see and appreciate the different facets of a snowfall and it’s aftermath.

So too in our lives: if we never allow time and sound to suspend – sound to muffle and time to slow – , if we never allow ourselves to see the different shades of color around us, to appreciate the different textures in our lives,  we miss out on so much……

 

 

 

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February 14, 2014

Shovel again??

 

Shovel again??

A bit  late now, I suppose, but…….Remember to warm up a bit before shoveling.  Simple small swinging movements: arms, swaying back and forth from one leg to the other, etc..

Do not reach far from your body with a shovel full of snow.    Rather than take the entire 6 inch depth of snow onto your shovel, take only the top half/layer first.  

It sounds as if we may have one more round of snow to shovel; take it slow!

 

 

 

 

 

February 7, 2014

SHOVELING TIPS

 

 

New England in the winter…….Here are some helpful hints for shoveling:

For a deep or heavy snowfall, it is better to shovel in layers:  Shovel only the top few inches first, and then the bottom half.   Although this may at first seem like a lot more work, your body will be happier after you are all finished.

Choose your stance with care:   I suggest a parallel stance, with your toes and knees facing directly ahead, and your heels directly behind.  Widen your stance so your legs and feet are slightly wider than your sitz bones, perhaps as wide as the outer edge of your shoulders.     Place one foot/leg slightly ahead of the other, about a half of one of your foot length’s distance.

Shoveling in this manner will create a bend and release at the knee joint – a bend at the knee is really also a bend at the hip joint, and in this case also at the ankle joint –  and a slight rocking motion as you will be shifting  your weight forward onto the front foot and backward onto the back foot.

Holding your shovel and standing in the stance described above,  shift your weight a bit to the back foot and as you come forward to the front foot, slide your shovel into the snow (remember, attempting to lift 6 inches of heavy snow at once is not desirable). Shift your weight towards the back foot, allowing the snow-filled shovel to move back with you.   “Steer” or direct the shovel to a slight upward diagonal, shifting your weight forward again as you “toss” the snow.

It is okay to let the back heel come off the ground a bit as you shift forward/front toes come off a bit as you shift backward.  It is okay to widen your stance left-right or front  back .   You may want to practice this slight rocking before you begin shoveling.

As for how to hold the shovel, and the best positioning for your upper body:   It is best to keep your knees, hips, ribs, and shoulders facing the same direction  (front, or as close to it as possible) as much as you can.  Tossing the snow over your shoulder behind you isn’t  what I am describing.  Tossing the snow in front of you and perhaps a bit to the side front diagonal is.   You might want to position yourself so that rather than standing sideways to the snow you will be shoveling, you are on a slight diagonal to it.

Switch the side you hold the shovel on frequently,  with the arm of the side of your body the shovel is on highest on the shovel handle  (if the shovel is on the right side of your body, the right arm should be higher).   Notice if you tend to use mostly the same arm  for strength and steering,  and if so, try to actively engage the less used arm .

Use your arms, not your wrists, to lift and toss the snow.   Keep a fairly straight back!    Use your abdominals (more about that in future  posts)!   Use your back muscles!  Use your feet!    “Use” does not mean “clutch rigidly”; it means engage and support.

Let me know how this works for you.

 

Sorry I did not get this out sooner... I was busy shoveling......

 

 

Sorry I did not get this out sooner… I was busy shoveling…….

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