Science and Anatomy of the Sixth Chakra

Hey all- it's been a few weeks but I am back from travels and excited to write you all another piece of the puzzle. 

This week we will dive into a unique chakra and energy center. This chakra has less to do with the physical self, albeit its many connections to the physiological body. Per usual, we will dive into the anatomy and some physical pathways. Then, we will dive into the energetic anatomical connections within the Self. 

To start out, I will be honest in saying there are no true trigger muscles connected to the sixth chakra. One could hypothesis that it is connected to the muscles of the Jaw and Forehead, due to its location near the eyes and the nerve connections to the eyes and face.  

The most important part however is its associations with the pituitary gland. Thia gland is considered a master gland, governing over many of the glands below it. It also has ties with the Hypothalamus, which in western medicine and Chinese medicine is seeing as having a pivotal role in endocrine glands and their functions. 

The pituitary gland has massively close associations and ties with the hypothalamus, which governs the pituitary's firing of hormones. The Pituitary also helps to monitor cortisol release in the body, bringing it closer to it relation with the adrenal glands. 

It also has innervations with the carotid nerve plexus.

Many call this the third eye chakra, or the third eye in general. It also is used in mediation and yoga as a place to focus one's attention. 

The sixth chakra is also known as the Ajna chakra, or the third eye chakra. It is known as the seed of the soul. It is the center of intuition, clairvoyance, spiritual guidance, and visualization. The mantra of the sixth chakra is "Aum" or "Om", which is the sacred sound of the Universe. It is also known as the sound of the beginning, the middle, and the end. 

The Ajna chakra is all about Detachment. This does not mean to stop caring. However, it means to stop personalizing the results of situations, events, and relationships. It means to be able to take one's Self out of the situation and see the big picture. It also means to become non-attached to the results of our actions. That there is a bigger picture at play. 

The sixth chakra is also the seed of visualization. Being able to see one's success and the path of the future by connecting to spiritual guidance is the essence of this chakra at play. Cloudiness of choice and goals, misguidance, uncertainty, and losing trust in one's self are all signs of a sixth chakra imbalance. 

To help strengthen this chakra:

 

- Meditation. There are many many many meditations on youtube and apps for phones to connect to this area. You may also find yoga teachers and meditation teachers that have trained in chakra work and energy work to help uncover this area of the mind and body. 

-Visualization work- Working on visualization can not only help mentally but also physically. There are studies that have shown visualizating your future and what you want to have happen fires similar brain areas as the actual physical act of taking those action. Many high performing CEOs as well as Athletes use this practice to help create mind body connections. 

 

 

Happy Chakra Strengthening and looking forward to writing the final installment for you all!

 

- Peak Body Integration

 

 

 

The science and the anatomy of the fifth chakra

Home-remedies-for-Thyroid.jpg

Hey all. Sorry a bit delayed on this one, but the fifth chakra is definitely an intriguing one as it affects all the chakras. I'll start with the anatomical locations of the fifth chakra and then dive again into the energetic qualities of this energy center. 

 

The anatomical location of the fifth chakra lie in the Thyroid gland and the cervical ganglion. The Thyroid is a massive endocrine gland in the body in the sense of the tasks it controls. It helps to manage everything from heart rate to weight gain/loss as well as breathing rate. It also has connections to the small intestine and gut motility. If this gland is not functioning properly, it can wreak havoc on everything from mood to gut health, just to name a few. If you are ever curious about it, there are plenty of endocrine articles on the web and books on the Thyroid and its function and dysfunctions. 

The Fifth Chakra, or Svadhisthana, also has trigger muscles associated with it. The Scalanes as well as the Masseter muscles are connected to this energy center. I would also personally include the Sternocleidomastoid muscles as high charge muscles as the play a pivotal role in neck stability. These muscles tend to be quite tender on a lot of people when massaged or touched.

Physical unbalances occur in almost every chakra. As I state in every article, collaborating with an MD or an Osteopath is always recommended. From a chakra perspective, physical issues can include constant sore throat, hoarse voice, neck pain, TMJD or also known as TMJ. In addition, mouth ulcers, laryngitis, and trouble speaking have been correlated to this area. 

 

From an energetic and vibrational stance, the fifth chakra is a powerful mastermind that can alter all of the chakras in the body and beyond it. Fear of expression and fear of all sorts in regards to communicating wants and desires or terrors reside here. Withheld intentions and communications block this chakra, but then can alter the associated chakra (fear of survival would be first, fear of relationships and intimacy being the second, fear of personal power would be third, and so on and so forth.)  This Chakra is all about choice and will and consequence. Any triggering of sorts around those areas will hamper the balance of you physically and energetically. 

 

The Mantra for this Chakra is "I Speak" or also "Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will." Whether you believe in a higher power or energy or not, finding some way of surrendering to the unknown and to the future is key for the vibration of this chakra area to expand and grow. Being able to express your own voice while also giving up control of the future and what it holds as you still take action is powerful. The dance of action and surrender is vital not only to your own energetic success but also your successes in real time. 

 

Things you can do to help balance this chakra are as follows:

 

1. Sing/Yell/Rap/Make sounds- Learning how to use the full range of your vocal cords and make sounds is super helpful for this chakra to be released. If it is too hard to admit the bigger truths, start small;. Take small steps to express, even if they seem small and mundane and stupid. This personal practice has helped save my own sanity and usually helps to mend barriers between people in the past and current relationships. 

2. Fish Pose/Camel Pose/Reclined butterfly- All three yoga postures help to open the throat physically as well as energetically. You may feel a rush of fear or anger or sadness when doing so. Please be patient and compassionate as you mov through this space. Finding your voice again can be scary and anxiety ridden. The process is different for every single person.

3. Make a list of the top five things you say to yourself that hurt you and the top five things you wish you could say to someone but haven't- In a leadership course I took we did a practice called locked in-locked out. See what ways you are locked in to talking about yourself to yourself or locked into ways of relating to others. Also, look at what ways you are locked out of expressing to yourself and others. Always nice? Try being a little more assertive today. Always blunt? Try being a little nicer in your communication. You'd be surprised about what can unfold because of it. 

 

Happy Fifth Chakra exploring- 

 

 

Peak Body Integration

 

The Science and Anatomy of the Fourth Chakra

Hey all. Thanks for continuing to read on and let me share my passions of anatomy and energetic work. This week we will focus on the Fourth Chakra, called the Anahata Chakra. This Chakra is the middle ground between the physical self and the spiritual self, and personally, one of my favorites. 

 

Let's start with the anatomy of the Fourth Chakra. The Lungs, the Thymus, the Pericardium, The Heart, and the Cardiac Plexus are all associated with this area. This heart space has connections with the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, and the immune system. Because of the area's close ties to the lungs and the heart, oxygen uptake and oxygen regulation play key components in keeping the heart chakra balanced and in check. Pranayama, or breath work, is a potent practice to help this space of the energy system in the human body. With its correlations and associations with the heart, blood pressure, and overfall heart health are vital to successful Fourth chakra energy. 

The gland intertwined with this chakra is the Thymus. Although the Thymus is a gland, it has many links to the immune system. It is known for producing and modulating T -Cells. These T Cells help to fight off foreign invaders and to keep your immune system healthy and functioning properly.  Interesting fact to note as well, the Thymus is largest when we are young. 

The trigger point muscles of the Anahata chakra are the Rhomboids and the Pectoralis Muscles. The pec muscles are associated with love to others and compassion to others. The rhomboids have associations with love to the self. 

 

The energetic aspect of the Heart Chakra is one of love and divine power. This energy center is the meeting ground between the spiritual and physical self. It is also where the energy of the physical self stems from. It is where you learn to trust and have faith in the self to lead life from the heart.  The energetic qualities of this chakra infiltrate all 7 spaces or Chakras connected to the individual. 

The mantra of this chakra is "I Love" or also the state of "Love is Divine Power." This mantra plays inside of the concept of self- awareness, self- exploration, and forgiveness. It is within this chakra we start to learn and love aspects of ourselves and discover what makes our independent self feel worthy, loved, and respected. It is from there that we start to build healthy and non- co dependent experiences and relationships. The hands and arms are also part of the working organs to help express love and compassion to others.

Imbalances that can occur in the chakra are ones of anxiety, fear, anger, detachment, disassociation, asthma, breathing conflicts, bronchitis, asthma, heart attacks, heartbreak, shock, fainting, fight or flight, and many others. As I state each week, please see a medical doctor in collaboration with doing the self work to untangle what i at the individual source of your concerns. 

To help balance this chakra, there are three easy things to do:

 

1. Backbends- for those who feel their fourth chakra is underutilized, back bends can help to safely open up the space physically. With the new found opening structurally, one may start to feel more confidence in opening the heart emotionally. Vulnerability is a vital aspect of this Chakra. Opening the floodgates does not happen in one fell swoop. If overused and spread thin with the amount of love to others, coming back to your own heart is needed. Using things like child's pose and forward folds are a great way to bring more of an internal heart space back into you. 

2. Pranayama- Because the heart and lungs are a part of this chakra, using breathing exercises is a great aspect to revitalizing this space. YouTube as well as many other apps have great breathing exercises to help you gain confidence on when to use what type of technique. 

3. Loving Kindness Meditations- There is a whole type of meditation practice geared towards bringing you to a loving and kind space of the heart. Compassion Mediation Practices have been proven to help with immune responses as well as overall mood in the body. 

 

 

I hope you all have enjoyed the reading and looking forward to next week's article on the Fifth Chakra, which is all about communication and finding your voice. 

 

 

Happy Reading-

 

Peak Body Integration

 

The Science and the anatomy of the Solar Plexus Chakra

Hey all! Thanks again for reading the blog about the science and the anatomy of the chakras in the human body. For those of you, joining for the first time, thank you for stumbling across and my page and continue to read any of my other blog posts. There will be many more to come!

Today, I have the pleasure of combining the solar plexus chakra and the nervous system as well as organs into play with your energetic body and physical self. The third chakra, or Manipura Chakra ( "illustrious  gem") is a near and dear Chakra to me. To me, this is one of the key Chakras of the body, as when it is in place and balance, you are unstoppable; however, when it is unbalanced, it is a whole heck of a mess. 

As I usually do, I will start with the anatomy of the Chakra, the common threads of trigger point muscles, and also organs it may be connected to. As I state with any of these Chakras, these dysfunctions occurring in each area may have energetic and also structural connections to these area. Please always connect with your local Doctor or Primary Care in your health care system. 

 

Anatomically, the third chakra has associations with the lower back (the nerves typically associated with this area are connected to the lumbar nerve ganglion) , but also has connections with the diaphragm, stomach, pancreas, and a majority of the digestive system. A lot of the connections to the digestive system have its correlations because of the element of the Chakra, which is fire.

The fire of the digestive system helps to move food and nutrients through the body properly and efficiently. The pancreas is the organ correlated to the area because of its deep integration into the digestion of foods, among other actions it take. The diaphragm is the trigger muscles of this area, and one could then theorize that the sympathetic nervous system, as well as the parasympathetic nervous system has innervations to this area as well. Breath is a key component to overall health and well being, and when breathing patterns go awry, other dysfunctions can occur to organs, the brain, and mood.

The secondary muscles of triggering in this area are the erector spinae muscles. The erectors are a muscle of interest in this area as they are the muscles in a metaphorical and physical sense that help us stand tall and upright. I will go into further detail about this in the subtle body portion of this blog post. 

Some of the "dysfunctions" that can cultivate in this area is IBS like symptoms, Acid Reflux, Leaky Gut, and other GI tract issues. If we look above at the previous paragraph, we will also see that breathing patterns can also be an area of concern in this chakra. 

For the subtle body, the problems arising in this area include Will, Power, and Choice. Your relationship to all of these will affect your power in this area. In addition, the mantras of this chakra are I can as well as Honor Oneself. This is the first chakra in the body that deals with the power internally, rather than power connected to the external.

Will is the conscious decision to take an action. When one's will power is in check, actions happen with purpose and with ease. The challenges that arise from your will power not being in check can result in taking actions with no purpose, impulsive decisions, and a disassociation to the impact of your choices and actions. Keeping will in agreement towards your goals and wants is key to this area.

Power is a huge issue and benefit in this area. Like I had stated above, this is the first energy center in the body that puts the self into concern. Gaining your own personal power, without over extending it to prove it to others, is a key dance for this chakra. Underuse your power, and you become a doormat. Overuse it, and you blow out your power and exhaust yourself at expense of your own self preservation.

Finally, choice ties in with both. When you make a conscious choice to take an action in a certain area, it has an impact on your future. When your choices have no intention, purpose, or connection, they are often taken out of impulse, fear, or indecision. 

 

To help balance this chakra, I will provide you with three key components.

1. Yoga Postures such as plank, twists, and crow are solid ways to connect to this area. Also, as I will do this week on my Instagram, I will show you all a few breaths to help ignite this area. 

2. If blown out for over usage, take a look at the deeper level to these actions. Is it out of fear of being less than? Is it out of feeling of powerlessness? Is it out of self esteem issues? Write down your experiences that you feel may be contributing to this.

3. If underutilized, do actions that build heat and confidence in the body. Whether that is dancing, writing, running, a heavy and hard workout, etc., find an action that has purpose and meaning to you and crank it up times ten. 

 

 

Once again, I can't thank you all enough for reading these articles. Continue to share and comment and spread this as I want everyone to be able to experience the blend of east meets west. 

 

Much much love- 

 

Peak Body Integration. 

 

 

 

The Science and Anatomy of the Sacral Chakra

Sacral Spinal Ganglion

Sacral Spinal Ganglion

Hey all! Happy New Year and it is time for another post. Today we are going to talk about the science and the anatomy of the second chakra, also called the Sacral Chakra.

First, let's start with the science and anatomy of the second chakra. It is connected with the Sacral Spinal Ganglion, and has connections with the diaphragm, psoas, as well as TFL. Because of it's connections with the diaphragm and psoas, it also has connections to respiration as well as the fight or flight response in the body. Since the diaphragm for the most part is under reflexive, or autonomic, response of the brainstem and brain, one could theorize that the psoas is also connection to this fight of flight response in the body. I haven't done research from Liz Koch's book, The Psoas Book, but I have heard many great things about its connections to structure and beyond. 

In proximity of its location in the body, the endocrine organs that  associate in this area are the adrenals as well as the sex hormones. The second chakra is about relationship, partnerships, creativity, and emotions, among other things. I will get more detail into the subtle energetics later, but for now, let's focus on the hormones. The sacral chakra's focus on relationship and creativity put the sex hormones in the limelight, as well as cortisol for its responses to fight or flight in the body. While I say this in every article, I always recommend you see a doctor and hear their medical expertise on symptoms and dysfunctions from this area. From an energetic symptomatic perspective, issues can include sexual infertility, impotency, IBS like symptoms, gut issues, hip and abdominal pain, to name a few. If you are ever more curious to find out of chakra dysfunctions and imbalance, I highly recommend Anatomy of a Spirit, by Caroline Myss or Wheels of Life by Anoeda Judith. 

From a subtle body science stand point, the Sacral Chakra (also known as Svadhistana Chakra) is all about power, partnership, finances, and emotions. Any loss of power in these areas can lead to a  Second Chakra dysfunction. Whether it's the loss of a job, the failure of a relationship, the fear of creating your passion, or losing your position in a community, all can lead to energetic seepage in this area of the physical self. The element connected to this Chakra is Water. A lot of the focus on this Chakra is to allow impermanence and choice to go hand in hand. The statement involved in this area is Honor One Another. It makes sense as the focus of this part of the system is about relationships, whether they be business or sexual or other. 

This area of the abdomen and its energetic sources also focuses on boundaries. Without proper and healthy boundaries, our ability to honor one another while standing for our own morals and ethics can be compromised. A lot of empaths, including myself, can struggle with this area; we allow another's wants and needs to blur our line of ethics and morals and boundaries, making it difficult to say no or go with our gut intuition. 

Sacral chakra also has its ties to birth. This may not mean physical birth. It can also mean the birth of an idea and having said idea become a reality. The notion of birthing a human being or a piece of art or music stems from this connection to the sex hormones as well as the connection to power. 

 

To help balance this area out, there are a few things one can do. 

 

1. Be out near water or in the water itself. As you start to be connected to this natural element, the connection of water can help you get a metaphorical and physical connection to the strength of water, and yet how malleable it can be. It can create boundaries while still respecting the power of the other elements around it. 

2. If you find yourself on more of the artistic side, or have stepped away from that part of you, continue creating art. Sing, Dance, Move, Photograph, whatever your art form may be. This can help to integrate and activate this Chakra again. 

3. Practice twisting poses of yoga or belly opening yoga postures. Childs Pose, Dancer's Pose, or a simple seated twist are all great physical efforts that can be added to help you get a deeper connection to this Chakra.

I'll be posting a few things this week including videos and photos on my instagram and facebook page to give you all in person tips and exercises to try to connect to this area. Looking forward to what you all have to think and what you get out of this yourself!

 

Much Love-

 

Peak Body Integration

The Science and Anatomy of the Root Chakra.

Coccygeal Ganglionic Root

When I started to think about how I wanted to write this next series, I had a moment of pause. I wanted to do my best to express my love for science and research, but also have a passion and curiosity of things that have not been explained in the western science world. 

As a yoga teacher, a personal trainer, and a man whose thirst for knowledge and best practices never ends, I want to use these next weeks of writing to try my best to merge and blend the two worlds of science along with eastern medicine and yoga philosophy all into one group. So, here goes:

 

The First Chakra, or Energy Center of the body, is called Muladhara. Its translation is "root chakra." From an anatomical perspective, it's location is based at the root of the spine, the coccyx, among having connections to the adrenal glands. It's physical manifestations include the skin, the spine, the legs/knees/feet, as well as the immune system and the teeth. The adrenal glands are connected because the root chakra has associations with Fight or Flight in the body. The adrenals are also connected to this Chakra because of its correlation to Fear or Insecurity of the future and what it holds. Whether you lost a job, fear of losing a house or spouse, or feeling insecure about a family environment, cortisol and the stress hormones kick in to get you into action (Think Sympathetic Nervous System.)

 

The additional connections physically to this area are associated from a blend of western medicine (i.e. the teeth to chew food, which is key to survival, which I will talk about later with the energetic sciences behind it) and eastern philosophies. 

There are certain trigger muscles to certain chakras that hold high charge, and tend to cause us discomfort or dysfunction when a Chakra is imbalance. According to Julian Walker, the First chakra muscles that are connected to it are the periformis and the adductors. From an anatomical perspective, the sciatic nerve runs either through or behind the periformis (depending on your physical structure) and can be pinched, causing discomfort in walking, sitting, and sometimes lying down. The adductors are connected via the Emotional Motor System. This system has muscles and emotions associate with each other as well. 

 

Now on to the Energetic Philosophy to this Chakra.

 

 

The First chakra has a few mantras or statements to it. The first one is All is One. The second one is I exist/ I am here. The root chakra main ideas surround the concepts of Security, Tribe, Community, Survival, and Emotional Stability. 

The root chakra from an energetic perspective is surrounded by your right to exist and your right to survive on this planet. When key themes of financial survival, the ability to afford food to eat, shelter, and job security are threatened, the Chakra can become imbalanced. 

WhIle I will always recommend seeing a qualified doctor if symptoms do show up to make sure they are not coming from another source, symptoms of imbalance in this chakra can include sciatic pain, low back pain, hemorrhoids, rectal discomfort, knee and ankle discomfort, TMJ discomfort (connection to survival of food and right to be here), among others. If you want to do more research into this, Please Read Wheels of Life by Anoeda Judith and Anatomy of a Spirit, by Caroline Myss. 

Ways to help balance this Chakra include yoga, meditation, eating foods with sufficient proteins, as well as being in nature. Many studies are coming out about how Earthing and Grounding can be beneficial for the body structurally as well as energetically. There are some key yoga poses that are connected with this Chakra that I will be putting on my Facebook Page (Peak Body Integration) 

Other exercises include walking, riding, running, dancing, as well as bouncing on the heels to cause a piezoelectric response through bones, altering charge and energy in the body.

 

I hope you all have found something valuable for yourself out of this article and I will continue to write about each Chakra to give you all multiple tools. Please check out the Facebook Page for videos on the exercise as well as tips to keep the chakras balanced. 

Also follow me on Instagram here to deepen your knowledge of other lenses with this new knowledge.

Many thanks to all of you and feel free to share this forward! Happy New Year

 

-Peak Body Integration

How I went from being in the Hospital to helping others find health and fulfillment.

How I went from being in the Hospital to helping others find health and fulfillment.

Me - Junior Year of College

Me - Junior Year of College

Well, I was going to post something all science-y and geeky tonight for my blog post. However, a friend of mine's post about her road to recover for her health inspired me to write about my own. 

Some people know the full story of how I went from 10 Centimeters of Ulcers in my GI Tract to teaching others to become in charge of there own health and wellness. Well. Here goes nothing. 

It all started in 2010 in early March. I went to the Emergency Room over a bout of GI issues that didn't seem to go away. As I waited in the office, I thought to myself, "This will solve it. Get a few antibiotics and I will be okay." I waited around for an hour or so as my issues weren't life- threatening, but at some point, I did see the doctor. I explained to them my issues of not being able to keep any type of food sensibly down, among other concerns. They had me take some antibiotics, and sent me on my way. Little did I know, that visit would send me down a spiral of a good solid month being in and out of the hospital. 

My memory of the month and a half afterwards was definitely a blur. Mind you, at the time I was working at Starbucks, going to school, and doing a show, with rehearsals running late into the night. Having to get up the next morning at 5 AM to open at 5:30 was no easy feat. 

As time would on, the symptoms would get worse. I was constantly losing weight (at 6' 9, losing weight was not something I could afford considering how active I was.). I was having trouble sleeping, and my concentration in school was failing miserably. You could ask anyone in my class group that the typical Lee was no longer showing up to classes or rehearsals. I was starting to fall asleep in classes due to fatigue and my body being in overdrive. I couldn't dance because of the constant pain and agony I was in just trying to function. Food seemed to be my worst enemy and the only thing that felt better was sleeping in bed and doing nothing. 

Fast forward to about a few weeks after the first visit, and I was walking home from school, and half way home, I buckled over in pain. I couldn't make my way home, which was less than a 15 minute walk from the school. 

During this time, I was in rehearsal for a show. I was miserable, could barely focus, and was constantly running to the restroom. It got so bad, that I guess the choreographer of the show had to come check up on me. She was and still is a wonderful human being who gave me the hard look I needed to go back to the hospital. 

That was one of my two overnight stays in the hospital. My first stay was about 4 days if I remember correctly, and I was starting to feel like I lost hope of the future of my health and vitality. 

They ran blood tests among other tests during my stay. (Magnesium citrate is NO FUN. Forewarning you if you google it.) All the typical results showed up negative. No Ulcerative Colitis, No Crohns, No Lymphoma, No Diverticulitis. Nothing. 

Fast forward some time later and I am back at the rehearsal for the show. I felt my health slowly getting somewhat better. Some energy was improving and I thought to myself, "maybe it's over." 

I was wrong, again. 

near Easter, I went to a friend of mine's get-together where a few of us were eating at the table. I felt fine as we were hanging out. Mind you, she lives a single block away from me. Not a long walk. Half way down the block, I buckled over in extreme pain. Back to the hospital I go. 

Another round over 4-5 days in the hospital and more tests. At the end of it, I had to quit the show since it was so close to opening. I had to quit all my dance classes. I didn't know who I was anymore. I was 50 lbs or so light than when I was in early March. I missed my family terribly ( three people I know during this time also passed away, one of them being my dear Aunt. Screw you, Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.) I saw no hope in sight. 

During this time, I continued to work partially, and tried to hold it together at school. I was trying to keep my grades up and gain back the life I had. 

 

Little did I know July 23, 2010 would be the day that changed my life forever. 

 

 A friend of mine, Hunter, whom I will never forget for the rest of my days, recommended I go to yoga. I was reluctant at first. I thought, " I am a dancer. I don't need yoga." 

Hesitantly, I said and we booked a bus to NYC to go get some R and R and go to his friend Catharine's yoga class. We met her for dinner the night before, and I felt some semblance of myself coming back together.

We spent time relaxing in the pool and the hot tub prior to class and taking in the view from Chelsea Piers Gym. Time rolled around for the 5:45 yoga class, and I was a bit anxious but eager to see what it was about. The class flew by quick, and was a challenging class, but it felt unfreakingbelievable to move again. Near the end of class she had recommended that we think of something we care for.

 

Now, I am a huge huge huge momma's boy. She has and is my rock and my confidant. We talk and share about everything and anything and I will always have a special place in my heart for her. 

I started to feel the tears stream down my face, and Catharine came by and assisted my shoulders to relax.And just like that, the sob fest welled its way out of my body. All of the pain of the ulcers, the grieving of the people I didn't get to say goodbye to, the stress and anxiety of school, the resignation that I had to leave my show, my bitterness towards people that were healthy, my anger for not being able to do it all, all of it had shown up in this moment. 

Granted, there was only me and hunter and one other guy in the class. So , you gotta imagine the embarrassment but also relief running through my body. 

After that, I was hooked. 

That same August, I walked into Back Bay Yoga and took my first public class at 4PM on a Monday. The teacher's name was Bonnie Argo, and I remember being in this class, my second class ever, having the realization that I wanted to teach this sacred practice. 

She and I kept in contact as I finished my senior year at the Boston Conservatory. I knew that NYC would not be where I wanted to live, and so after my senior year, I got a job at lululemon and worked there for about a year while I finished my yoga teacher training. I cannot thank lululemon enough for the gifts they have given me to go after what I want, and to find my own trail, however hard that may be. 

I finished up my yoga teacher training, and well, the rest is here in the present moment. I continue to teach yoga and now also strength train privately. I add a ton of different lenses to how I teach, but it all comes down to one mission:

You. You and your health and vitality. What fulfills you. What lights your soul and body on fire. 

Fulfillment will always be the path. The rest will change inevitably. 

The biggest lesson I had learned in this whole process is that circumstances will come and go. Your health has and will always come first. It is not worth suffering in agony to fill a dream that doesn't align with you. It takes brutal honesty to have the difficult conversations that will set your path that is a match to your spirit, your wants, and needs. Fulfillment is no easy task, but it is so damn worth fighting for. 

 

Follow your path. Blaze it Brightly. Much much much Love from this tall man.

 

-Peak Body Integration

Why I stopped training like my clients were weaknesses and assessments to fix.

When I just started personal training, I had no clue to what I was doing. I knew some semblance of muscles and bones from yoga teacher training as well as from being at a conservatory where in movement classes were required. 

When I was handed my Certified Personal Training certificate, I thought, "Great! I am going to be able to help everyone with there issues!"

Now, don't get me wrong. Being optimistic and passionate can help a trainer to keep going, but I am going to pause, and say this clearly. 

It is never the job of a personal trainer or yoga teacher to fix or think for a second we can heal a person. What we can do, however, is set up an environment for another human being to help themselves engage in their own process of coming back to peak health and function. 

As I become a more studied trainer, and started to study things like neurology, immunology, energetic medicine, biomechanics, and other modalities, something hit me square in the forehead. 

reating the body from a one size fits all assessment process is a dangerous path to go down.

 

In the beginning, I would catch myself being a naive trainer saying "Oh! It's this muscle doing this thing causing this." I stopped myself rather quickly. Reason being? Well, I can't say I know exactly what causes what in the body. One person's pathway of what is happening may be different from another.  It isn't in my licensure as a trainer and there are too many lenses to look at the body for me to say what may be causing what. 

 

As a trainer and a movement coach, my job is to set up the optimal conditions that will provide an environment for clients to gain strength, and the tools to move and stand with the least amount of dysfunctions as possible. It is my intention to support them in their success of their own goals. If my conditions can't provide this, then I refer out to the proper person ( i. e. chiro, doctor, physical therapist.)

 

When you take a step back to pause and look at all the ways a trainer can help facilitate change in the body, I personally feel the typical assessments seen in CPT Manuals don't quite make the cut. Yes, they can be a great place to start, especially if you are just gaining an understanding of movement patterns. However, one must be careful with clients to say "x is causing y to do this, and that is why z is showing up." To say that as a trainer or yoga teacher can put you in a tricky bind that I prefer to stay out of. 

 

Not only do the assessments we see commonly in the training world borderline on diagnosing, they can be quite reductionist in their platform. To say only one thing is causing another things to show up is like trying to tell a kid to pee in one side of the pool only. Admirable, but probably not likely. 

 

Being able to have the client look at their health and well being not just from a muscular standpoint, but from a whole systems picture, is where I personally see the results stick. 

It isn't just about the bench press or the speed of their kettle bell swings. Factor in stress, environmental situations, spiritual practices, food and nutrition, pain and movement issues, sleeping, etc. and you will start to get a bigger picture of what may be dancing with each other.

It can be an overwhelming realization to think of all the ways these systems collaborate with each other, but it may be the keys to the kingdom to help you or your clients succeed in having your results last and improve. 

When starting out with this, keep it simple. Trying to be a jack of all trades leaves you being a master of none. Take 6 months and really focus on one key system that peaks your interest and how it could be moving with what is going on with your clients. Maybe it's how they sleep, maybe it's their stress levels, maybe it's general food guidelines. 

As I say over and over again in my writings, finding a proper physical therapist, doctor, and other licensed practitioners will help not only keep your clients strong, but will help to inform you and create a powerhouse team for success for everyone. 

Happy Sunday and keep moving!

 

-Peak Body Integration 

 

 

Breathing: the silent crusher of performance and mood

Today I am going to talk to you about breathing. Well, breathing and how that can impact everything from gut function to anxiety levels in the body. 

But how ? You might be thinking, "how does my inhale and exhale affect more than just oxygen in my body?"

The article explains the scientific reasons for the diaphragm muscle being an important crossroads for information involving the entire body. The diaphragm muscle extends from the trigeminal system to the pelvic floor, passing from the thoracic diaphragm to the floor of the mouth. Like many structures in the human body, the diaphragm muscle has more than one function, and has links throughout the body, and provides the network necessary for breathing. To assess and treat this muscle effectively, it is necessary to be aware of its anatomic, fascial, and neurologic complexity in the control of breathing. The patient is never a symptom localized, but a system that adapts to a corporeal dysfunction.
— https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731110/

Your diaphragm muscle can impact not only muscles of the pelvis, but all the way up to the jaw as well as your organs.

On Anxiety and Breath

Recent evidences support the presence of subclinical changes in respiration and other functions related to body homeostasis in PD patients. The fear network, comprising the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala and its brainstem projections, may be abnormally sensitive in PD patients, and respiratory stimulants like CO2 may trigger panic attacks. Studies indicate that PD patients with dominant respiratory symptoms are particularly sensitive to respiratory tests compared to those who do not manifest dominant respiratory symptoms, representing a distinct subtype. The evidence of changes in several neurochemical systems might be the expression of the complex interaction among brain circuits.
— http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-44462012000500004

In short, anxiety levels can be impacted by the capacity to breath fully and breath effectively. 

 

Well, how can we help facilitate our breathing patterns to be more effective?

As I am not a doctor or a physician, these suggestions are to be taken at your own precaution. they are simple and non invasive. However, if symptoms do worsen, please do not use these and find a certified health practitioner in your area to further diagnose.

 

Exercise 1- 

Counting Breath. A simple exercises you can do anywhere to modulate breath. Take a few easy inhales through the nose (KEY!) and out the mouth to start. Then on an inhale through the nose, count to 4, and as you exhale (either out the mouth of the nose), count to 6. Repeat 8-10 times. Assess yourself to see how you feel.

 

Exercise 2 -

 

Belt Breathing. I used to do this as a singer, and does wonders to help re proprioception the area. Taking a belt, or a theraband, gently wrap it around your lower ribcage. As you inhale, visualize and focus on your inhale filling up the band, and as you exhale, repeat. Taking about 5-10 rounds of breath and re assess. 

 

Exercises 3 -

Straw breathing. Either lying, sitting, or standing, use an inhale through the nose, and slowly, with control, exhale through the straw. This one can be harder than you think! Use patience and practice to build stamina up. 

 

Your breath can do wonders to help facilitate or be a detriment to your movement and life goals. Which one it does is up to you !

Happy Breathing!

 

-Peak Body Integration

 

The Gut has a Mind of its own.

The Gastrointestinal Tract

The Gastrointestinal Tract

Ever had stress and anxiety and been curious why your gut acts differently? Ever eaten something or taken medication and wondered why anxiety may be an after effect? 

Well, your gut has a mind of its own. 

Simply speaking, the main job of your gut is absorb nutrients in appropriative spaces, and then after one part of the gut has does its job, it should pass it on to the next junction, and so on and so forth. Ultimately, the body absorbs nutrients and chemicals appropriately and everything else is secreted through feces and urine. However this isn't always the case. 

 

Studies have shown that those with IBS and other gut issues correlate to levels anxiety and mood imbalances. How is that?

Well, another job of the Gut is to protect the body from pathogens that shouldn't flow between the gut and the brain.  It is called gut permeability.  If functioning properly, the gut repels harmful bacteria and chemicals from passing through the mucosa and other layers of your gut. 

When not functioning properly, spaces happening in the mucosa and in the cellular wall of your gut. This leads to an inflammatory response within the body, and can then later lead to altered focus, mood, and confrontation, among other issues. 

Your gut contains just as many neurotransmitters as your brain does when it comes to mood and other functions in the body. One of the big guns is GABA. GABA in short is a transmitter that can help to balance muscle tone, but also, helps regulate the firing of your neurons.  Along with our trusty friend GABA, is Serotonin. Serotonin helps to regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and relaxation.  Some scientists have found that 90 % of your Serotonin levels come from your gut! 

 

So, how does one help to keep this in balance? Well, I am not a doctor, so I cannot prescribe certain medications or chemicals. However, there are some simple easy things you can do as lifestyle choices to help keep your gut in check. 

 

1) Meditation. Mediation has been shown to help keep the central nervous system in check and to help modulate pain pathways. 

2)Yoga. Gentle yoga and restorative yoga to help de load the stress pathways of the body. 

3) Lower your stress levels. Stress has been known to decrease immune function as well altering the GI tract. 

4) Probiotic and Prebiotic. I will freely admit, this isn't my area of forte. But from colleagues of mine, I have been told both can help when taken with proper regulation and research done with the companies of interest. I would personally check with a friend or colleague who is an RD on this. 

5). Enjoy being in nature and having your feet on solid ground.  Dr. James Oschman has some great material on why earthing and being in nature is so vital. Check out his book, Energetic Medicine, on Amazon. 

 

Looking forward to seeing what you all think and happy Sunday!

 

-Peak Body Integration

 

Sources

http://bodyecology.com/articles/your-gut-can-influence-how-you-feel-it-all-starts-with-serotonin

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2982.2012.01906.x/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209/

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

Enhance your vision, enhance your whole body

In the hierarchy of movement basics, vision is top of the ranks. Some of it's main functions include gaze fixation, smooth pursuit of objects, light integration, focus, and many more. 

But they play much more of an impact on the body than that. They have deep connections with the vestibular system, which is part of your auditory system of your body. It helps to track which direction you are going and which way is up. 

The two work hand in hand to help avoid threats external to the body. They are constantly firing to ensure the safety of the body. 

The two work hand in hand to create something called the Vestibule-ocular reflex. This helps to maintain your head in space while fixing on an object.  

You might be thinking.... well this sounds a little too science-like, what does this have to do with my muscles and movement? 

 

Well... it has everything to do with it. 

Think about it for a second. If your body in space is trying to get a sense of which way is up, and where to focus, and then you add a complex movement on top of it, things could go awry. Your visual system is constantly looking for its relation externally. Your vestibular system is trying to map which way is up. Your muscles are trying to add a load to the body. 

 

All three of these need to go hand in hand. 

Eye placements and focus have muscular connections to Extensors of the body, as well as certain parts of the cerebellum that work on gait and posture. If these are misfiring, muscles may show up as weak or movements may be impaired. 

If your vestibular system doesn't know which way is up, it can wreak havoc. Think about being on a rocky boat. your vestibular system is constantly firing to keep itself related to being upright. Not so fun when it starts to mismatch. Symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, cognition issues, and a few more. 

 

So how does this affect your lift, run, or favorite athletic sport? Tremendously. If you think small picture like we just did to larger picture, those eyes not relating or function well can impact the vestibular system as well. On top of that, if the eyes aren't functioning at peak performance, posture could be affected,  muscles could be undermapped and not firing as efficiently, and balance and agility could be altered. 

 

How to train this?

There are a few ways. 

a) make sure you are medically cleared. If you had a recent concussion or traumatic brain injury, please please please connect with your doctor to have clearance. 

b) search on youtube for Z- Health Performance Eye Drills. This company has helped me grow (Along with Applied Movement Neurology) on ways to make drastic impacts on the body and brain to help you moving at peak performance and function. 

c) contact me for a session. We can start to see ways to improve your muscular function, range of motion, etc. all by looking at the eyes. 

 

amazing stuff!!

 

 

-Peak Body Integration 

 

***Disclaimer- I do not claim to be a doctor or physician. I do not claim to diagnose, treat, or fix bodily functions. Please always check with your doctor ahead of time for clearance to perform neural drills as they can be quite impactful and taxing on the body.