Feeling Uplifted with Upward Plank

I don’t usually like spending a lot of time in front of the computer but the past few weeks, I had to for various reasons. I can feel the extra tightness in my shoulders and upper back. When I need to re-balance my body after a long day of working at a computer, I like to do Upward Plank Pose.

Practicing upward plank can be a great way to counteract the negative effects of desk-slouching, driving, and other forward-facing actions that can cause rounded spines. ¹ Purvottanasana opens up the whole front side of the body and it is invigorating!

 

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Benefits 

Upward Plank is a very good yoga and Pilates exercise for improving your posture, building strength and flexibility. It stretches the shoulders, chest, abdomen, forearms, tops of the feet, and ankles; while strengthening the arms, shoulders, upper back, legs, glutes, and wrists. Practicing this skill regularly, builds core strength, and increases energy levels.

How to do Upward Plank:

Sit up with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, your feet together and spine erect.

Bring your hands several inches behind your hips, shoulder width apart. Rotate your palms so your fingertips point in the same direction you are facing (toward your feet).

Draw your shoulder blades together, lean back and support the weight of your body with your hands. Do not bend the arms.

Breathing in, raise the pelvis up toward the ceiling keeping the whole body straight and long. Your chest is lifting and the spine is in one straight line.

Keep your knees straight and bring the feet flat to the floor. Point the toes towards the ground and let the head fall back. Your hands should end up under your shoulders.

Hold the pose and continue breathing. As you exhale, come back to a sitting position and relax.

Do not practice Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana) if you have carpel tunnel syndrome, a wrist or shoulder injury. ²

Upward Plank (also called Reverse Plank or Incline Plank) requires a lot of strength. Beginners can take some of the weight off their arms by practicing with their hands on a raised solid surface like a step or sturdy bench. If the intensity of the pose is too much, try Reverse Table Pose instead. Reverse Table has similar benefits.

For the Challenge

More advanced students can come into One-Legged Upward Plank Pose (Eka Pada Purvottanasana) by extending one leg off the ground and up into the air. Just remember, take it slow and don’t push the pose too far. Safety and form is first and foremost.

 

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My head is turning towards the camera in this One-Legged Upward Plank Pose; but normally, you would hold your gaze straight up.

 

Have an uplifting week, Linda

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:24

 

Please visit my website: http://www.lindaeichberg.com

©All Rights Reserved. This blog is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice; consult your doctor before starting any new physical activities.

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-upward-plank-pose-in-yoga/
  2. https://lifenlesson.com/upward-plank-pose-and-its-benefits/
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Pain Prevention For Your Knees

It is not uncommon for my fitness clients to ask how they can alleviate their knee pain. Pain prevention may be as simple as doing a few quadriceps stretches. The quads can be a source of knee problems. The quadriceps provide support and mobility for the knees, when they are tight, you can experience knee soreness.

In general, it is important to have a well rounded exercise plan that includes stretching. Stretching is essential for optimal joint and muscle function. Even if you are only taking a walk or short jog, it is key that you stretch your quads if you want to preserve your knees. I learned this the hard way. In my younger years, I was a jogger and had aching knees just from skipping my quadriceps stretches.

 

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Lunge and pigeon quad stretches work deep and excellent options to the typical standing quad stretch.

 

Yoga and Knee Pain

Strengthening the quadricep muscles can also be helpful to those suffering from knee troubles. Warrior poses are often useful, says Dr. Sydney Pardino. “In these poses, the front leg is bent, while the back leg is straight. In a well-aligned warrior pose, the knee is positioned vertically over the heel – this is an excellent pose for strengthening the vastus lateralis, the largest and most powerful of the quads.” 

 

Linda Eichberg-Maria Lauren-Alberici Sisters-warrior_

Alberici Sisters – Warrior Pose modification

 

Yoga is a form of dynamic stretching that takes a muscle through the full range of motion. The practitioner moves slowly from one pose to another, which makes it ideal for those who are new to a fitness program or who have knee discomfort. ¹

Yoga and well as Pilates can correct postural alignment which will improve your gait, taking stress off the knees. Knee pain may be a sign of a serious problem. See your orthopedic doctor or Chiropractor if you experience pain or swelling that lasts for more than a few days or if you are unable to put your full weight on your leg.

Blessings in health, Linda

 

“For who is God besides the Lord? And who’s the Rock except our God?”  – 2 Samuel 22:32

 

© All Rights Reserved

Footnote

  1. https://deserthealthnews.com/stories/advantages-stretching-knee-pain/

 

A Twist of Fate

My Yoga Story

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Becoming a Yoga teacher was punctuated by an enlightening God moment for me. While I was on vacation in Hawaii I signed up to take a yoga class at the hotel where I was staying and the teacher never show up for the class. I waited for a while and then started doing my own yoga exercises. Several of the people who were waiting with me asked me to please show them some of the poses.

I had never taught yoga before but I had been practicing it for a long time. My fellow vacationers began following me. I taught for an hour without missing a beat and, incredibly, everyone stayed for my entire impromptu class. At that moment I knew I had evolved from student to teacher. I felt God saying to me, You’re ready; what are you waiting for?

You’re never too old to do something great! 

I was in my early 50’s when I completed my training  and started my new career in yoga. This path led me to develop different styles of yoga classes for my students. I sometimes use guided imagery while my students are holding a posture. For example I might coach them to picture each of their internal organs healthy and vital as they rotate in Belly Twist Pose. 

Yoga for Healing

At times in my life, when I have been in stressful situations either physically or mentally, I have been drawn to yoga for healing. I have always been active, I danced and practiced yoga for many years until I sustained neck and back injuries in a car accident. After a year of rehabilitation, I was able to slowly return to yoga but I was still in some pain and not physically able to do all the things I had been doing before. It was a very frustrating time for me. That’s when I discovered Pilates and how important core strength and muscle balance is.

Getting Back In Balance

I realized I had strong abdominal muscles but my back muscles were significantly weaker. A good Pilates practice includes exercises for the entire core, so a girdle of muscle is built around the mid section, equally balancing the muscles front, sides and back. I began focusing on proper body alignment and building up the deep supporting muscles of my ‘powerhouse’.

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Variations of Tree Pose – beneficial for improving balance and core strength

A strong core is the foundation for safety in all fitness practices and well as for everyday functioning in life. Through Pilates, I was able to attained the muscular support I needed for my injured back and neck. I made a full recovery and returned to dancing and doing the activities I loved. I have better back health now, than I did 15 years ago.

Our bodies are amazing miracles. My personal journey to recovery from my car accident gave me the passion for helping others heal and has given me insight to becoming a better fitness instructor. I am an AFAA certified group fitness instructor with additional certifications in yoga and Pilates. In my classes I spend a moment with my students in gratitude for how the body works so perfectly, doing the most complicated biological processes, without us having to tell it what to do. Simply incredible!

Mindfulness

Just as muscle imbalance can lead to injury. Imbalances in health are sometimes created when the mind and body are on two different paths. Being in the moment or mindfulness, will help keep you in sync body, mind and spirit. Lapses in memory or in your emotional, spiritual and physical health occur when your mind wants to do something different than your body does or vice versa.

The body mind and spirit are deeply connected an imbalance in one will effect the other parts.

Let go of any mental and emotional ‘baggage’. Deal with one thing at a time truthfully and courageously. It’s okay; you are not the sum of your environment or circumstances. You can create a positive transformation in your life. Yoga, Tia Chi and Qigong are good physical disciplines for reducing stress and calming the mind. Journaling, meditating, prayer and reading spiritual books or the Bible can also be helpful tools for attaining holistic health.

This inner work is as important as exercise, rest and nutrition for your overall well-being. Explore what helps you open pathways in your mind for renewal with Divine intuition. When you are whole, you can pass on this wholeness to everyone you come in contact with and that is a beautiful gift.

In gratitude, Linda

 

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:2-5

 

http://www.LindaEichberg.com

Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

© Materials contained within this blog may not be used without written permission.

 

Keeping Your Split

I love my work as a fitness instructor! I have the opportunity to teach wonderful woman of all ages in my job at Total Woman Gym. Although I am beginning my senior years, being a dancer in my youth, I am very grateful to have retained most of my flexibility and core strength.

About two years ago I challenged the women in my Yoga and Pilates classes to try and do a split. I heard a few giggles and groans when I went into my split for the class. I know they were saying to themselves, “Ha ha ha, you’re funny Linda; that’s not going to happen.” I’m happy to say, a couple of adventurous ladies did try it.

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I continued the challenge every other week or so (I didn’t want to scare away the new people). Now I have several ladies in my classes, from their 20’s to their 60’s, doing splits. Many are only a few inches away. They kept coming to class and they kept trying. Class by class, inch by inch, and then one day, they had it, a full split!!

Together, my sister and I enjoy giving ‘infotainment’ talks on fitness and woman’s empowerment. Maria is also a fitness trainer and she is a lifestyle educator at Kaiser Permanente. We both have a passion for helping women be the best they can be in body. mind and spirit.

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ALBERICI SISTERS Maria & Linda talk YOU GOT THE POWER – Be Positive, Be Fit

During a recent wellness forum and fitness demo, Maria and I talked about “keeping our split.” I have to say, when we simultaneously demonstrated our splits for the women, they were surprised and really perked up! In addition to speaking on exercise, gratitude and positive thinking are key talking points for us as well as the value of eating fresh whole foods.

Iron Sharpens Iron [1]

Maria and I influence other instructors as well. My gal pal, Colleen Kincaid Jackson, who is a fitness and water aerobics instructor came home from one of our presentations with a fresh vision for herself. She told me, “I warned my students, they are ‘in for it’, now that I have the goal of recovering my split!” Colleen is equally inspiring to me as she exudes the inner beauty that comes with a close walk with Jesus. She and her husband, Randy, have poured out a good portion of their lives into their ministry in “Young Life”. [2]

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Linda Eichberg and Colleen Jackson

Colleen, Maria and I met up again last month at a national reunion of the Dean Martin Show. We were all singers and dancers on that show in the “Golddiggers” group. So many of the cast and crew showed up for the reunion. It was a blast!

Photo: Colleen, Maria and I back in the day as Dean Martin Golddiggers

The Golddiggers - 1973, from left to right: Patti Pivarnik Gribow, Linda Alberici Eichberg, Robin Hoctor-Horneff, Maria Lauren. Colleen Kincaid Jackson, Deborah Pratt, Susan Buckner, Lee Nolting

THE GOLDDIGGERS – 1973, from left to right: Patti Pivarnik Gribow, Linda Alberici Eichberg, Robin Hoctor-Horneff, Maria Lauren, Colleen Kincaid Jackson, Deborah Pratt, Susan Buckner & Lee Nolting

Some of Dean’s celebrity guest stars from the television show also made an appearance at the event. I had the pleasure of sharing some TV memories with Florence Henderson. You might remember her best as the mom from The Brady Bunch TV series. She has a lovely spirit. I enjoyed talking with her.

Florence Henderson with Linda Eichberg

Florence Henderson with Linda Eichberg

This occasion brought together all the different generations of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers groups. It was great to reconnect with the ladies I performed with for so many years and have the opportunity to meet other woman who shared the “Golddiggers” name. The highlight of the “Gold Event” was when we all came together for some singing and dancing!

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THE GOLDDIGGERS of the Dean Martin Show – 1968 to 1991 at the 2013 “Gold Event” Reunion

“Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.”… as in “Golddiggers.” 

I have great appreciation for everyone who put this reunion together. There is something to be said for being with and working with friends who have known you for so long and know the good and the not so good about you. True love to be sure!

“If power doesn’t mean that you have the opportunity to work with the people that you love , then you haven’t really got any.” – Frank Sinatra

Working on the Dean Martin Show and touring with the Rat Pack, was an amazing time in our lives. Check out our book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS. It’s a fun read that will transport you back to that glamorous time!

~ All the best, Linda

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS by The Alberici Sisters, is available at Amazon.com and BarnesNoble.com.

 

References:

1) “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

2) Young Life – http://www.younglife.org/us

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. This blog does not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employers. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.

Healthy Hips Rx – Gaga’s Hip Tear

The pop icon had been hiding a show injury for a while. Not wanting to disappoint her fans she ignored the chronic pain she endured. “I’ve been praying it would heal. I hid it from my staff,” wrote Lady Gaga. ¹ Eventually, she was no longer able to walk and had to cancel her tour. Lady Gaga, underwent hip surgery, last month, for what turn out to be a right labral hip tear. We might not think of this type of injury happening to someone as young and physically fit as she is, but according to Allston Stubbs, an orthopedic surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, “(A labral tear) affects a younger subset of patients,” ²

I don’t usually ‘follow’ Lady Gaga but when I heard her unfortunate news, I was eager to learn more about how labral injuries develop so I could safe guard myself and my clients from the pain and discomfort associated with them. As a singer/dancer and a fitness trainer, certified in Pilates, I frequently get asked questions about hip pain and tightness.

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Lunges like peaceful warrior and warrior one from yoga are excellent for opening the hips and increasing blood flow. For people with sedentary occupations, it’s important to correct the prolonged hip flexion of sitting. 

Risk Factors For Hip Tears
The labrum is a ring of soft cartilage formed around the edge of the bony socket of the hip joint. It helps provide stability and flexibility to the joint. Lady Gaga’s high energy routines require repeated high intensity movements which can lead to hip labral damage. UNFORTUNATELY, Dancers and athletes are at higher risk for this type of injury. That would include my students who participate in multiple dance aerobics classes that involve repetitive twisting and pivoting motions. In addition to overuse, pre-existing conditions are also risk factors.

A tear can occur from an isolated traumatic event or from repetitive trauma. It can also form from the natural progression of aged joints. [4] 
Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • A locking, clicking or catching sensation in your hip joint
  • Pain in your hip or groin
  • Stiffness or limited range of motion in your hip joint. 

Recovery – Maintenance – Prevention

After a period of rest and recovery, in her stylish 24-Karat gold-plated wheelchair, Lady Gaga will most likely have a program of physical rehabilitation. Integrating Pilates into her physical therapy is important in that it would open up a wider range of new exercises an experienced dancer like her needs to keep from getting bored. The beneficial qualities of Pilates in enhancing flexibility, core strength and muscle balance are valuable. Combined with physical therapy, Pilates can greatly improve function with labral injuries. [5]

A predictable pattern of muscular imbalances in the pelvis, has been discovered with labral tears, known as lower crossed syndrome. Tightness of the hip flexors and lumbar erector spinae with weak abdominal and glutial muscles are typical of this syndrome. The imbalance leads to increased hip flexion, anterior pelvic tilt and a hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine. [6] These problems may be improved by a Pilates program prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist. Most important, before problems occur, consider making Pilates part of your fitness training while your hips are healthy.

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Sitting for long periods can tighten the hip flexors and weaken the glutes. This standing bow pose (dancers pose) I am demonstrating, can help correct this imbalance by lengthening the hip flexors and strengthen the glutes.

A Better YOU

We often neglect ourselves while striving to take care of the needs of others until mental, emotional or physical discomfort occurs. Lack of exercise, stress and poor nutrition all lead to dis-ease. I help my clients aspire to achieve their best physical condition in body, mind and spirit. I do this by encouraging them to combine their fitness with several factors considered valuable to overall wellness. You can have radiant health and together we will enjoy achieving it!

Fitness is Better Together

Exercising with a friend is fun and it will help you stick with it. My sister Maria Lauren and I love presenting positive fitness techniques together. Here, we are doing a modified back bend or half camel. This is a great stretch for the front of the body and for improving spinal flexibility. A wonderful remedy for tightness if you spend a lot of time hunched over a computer.

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It’s important to remember that camel pose is not about reaching your heel. It’s more about opening your entire spine in a large arch. Keep in mind that with half camel, your hips should press forward, your heart needs to open and expand upward and your glutes move away from your heels.

Diagnosing Hip Pain

The source of hip pain can be very difficult to interpret and treat. Pain can result from under or over use of muscles, tightness, or excess length. These muscular imbalances may be the result of neurological changes, not only structural changes in the muscle. [7] Diagnosing anterior hip pain is very complicated because the multiple structures in the hip have the potential to produce similar pain syndromes. [8] If you are experiencing pain please see your doctor or physical therapist for a proper evaluation and discuss any new exercise programs with them.

Enjoy daily hip flexor stretches. Take a deep breath and spend a moment being grateful. May you be blessed with a lifetime of healthy hips,

In health ~ Linda

http://www.LindaEichberg.com

“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

References:

1) Facebook – Lady Gaga, February 12

2) CNN Health February 15, 2013 Gaga’s injury related to ‘being active’ by Caitlin Hagan

3) Hip Laberal Tear – Symptoms, Causes – Mayo Clinic  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hip-labral-tear/basics/causes/con-20031062

4) A comprehensive review of hip labral tears – Megan M. Groh and Joseph Herrera PMCID: PMC2697339, 2009 April 7

5) Pilates Program Design for Acetabular Labral Rehab, , Kristine Reynolds – Put Me Back Together

6) Janda, Vladimir. Evaluation of muscular imbalance: rehabilitation of the spine. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1996. p. 97–112

7) Rehabilitating Psoas Tendonitis: A Case Report Jaime Edelstein, PT, MSPT, CSCS – PMCID:2642547 HSSJ (2009) 5: 78–82)

8) Anterior Hip Pain – John W. O’Kane, M.D., University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington – American Family Physician. 1999 Oct 15;60(6):1687-1696.

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal Blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.

Expressing Gratitude

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Expressing Gratitude

As the sun sets on a beautiful day at Crystal Cove, my soul sends up a grateful salutation to our Creator.

“Gratitude is the path to the joy and peace we all desire. Our soul longs to express gratitude.” – Linda Alberici Eichberg

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:16 (NLT)

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted. Photo credit is given when know but some photos of unknown origin may appear on this blog. Please contact me if you have additional information about photo credits.