Traps

Tightness of the Trapezius muscles affect many people in various situations. Maybe you’ve just started working out regularly. Maybe you have been doing too many overhead activities such as swimming or playing tennis. You might have carried heavy objects or been sitting in one position for a long period of time. Maybe you’re just stressed.

1. Check for Tightness Throughout the Day

Whether you’re sitting at your desk or out for a run, periodically check where your shoulders are. Are they relaxed or are your traps contracted? Are you shrugging your shoulders?

In the ideal state, your shoulders should be in line with your collarbone; not higher or pushed forward. You can easily check this by simply letting your shoulders “fall.” You may realize you have them in a shrugged position too often.

2. Do Shoulder Shrugs

To prevent your traps from tightening, and to release tension from the traps, do shoulder shrugs regularly throughout the day.

Exaggerate the movement by pulling your shoulders all the way to your ears, holding them there for a few seconds, and then letting them fall to a relaxed position. You can also loosen your traps by rolling your shoulders in both directions.

3. Stretch

Here’s how to stretch tight traps, or those that may become tight after a long day or work or training:

Positioning: You can do this sitting or standing. Always have your hand on the shoulder you want to stretch to prevent it from moving up. The other hand should be on top of your head with your fingers pointing towards the back. Your neck should always remain inline with your back and the only body part that is moving is your head

Forward stretch: Gently pull your head forward with your chin toward your neck as if you were nodding. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.

Side stretch: Gently pull your head to the side so your ear approaches the opposite shoulder. Switch sides. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.

Diagonal stretch: Gently pull your head diagonally forward so your chin approaches the opposite shoulder. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.

Repeat these stretches for the other side. Start with the forward stretch, but this time, your hand should be on the opposite shoulder. Go through these stretches 2 to 3 times in one sitting and repeat throughout the day.

4. Get a Massage or “Tennis-Ball” Your Traps

If you have the time and resources, get a massage. This will relieve you from tension and make you feel a lot better.

Don’t have the budget flexibility for a massage? No problem. You can do it on your own. All you need is a wall and a tennis ball (it can also be any other ball, or round durable item).

First, massage yourself by rolling the ball on your traps, with some pressure. You will feel how tight it is and there will likely be one spot that hurts the most. Wherever that spot is, stay there with your tennis ball and slightly push. Hold that for at least 90 seconds or until you feel a release of tension. Repeat this until you feel that they have gotten looser.

If you feel the tightness on the back, more in your middle traps and between your shoulder blades, you won’t need to do yoga exercises to reach there with the tennis ball. Find a wall and lean against it with the tennis ball between and roll up and down. Again, when you find a tough spot, stay there for a while. Repeat the rolling until you feel the tension ease.

Since massages are also helping to release toxins back into the blood stream, be sure to drink plenty of water after.

Follow these guidelines to get rid of tight traps faster and return to your daily activities. It’ll be like a weight lifted off your shoulders.

Don’t forget ice and heat.

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Let Yourself be Drawn

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love, it will not lead you astray” ~ Rumi

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“A Beautiful Red Flower” For My Father

To welcome the new year, we’re bringing you an amazing performance from two American banjo player legends, Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck. They perform Hao Huo Hong literally meaning Good Flower Red.

The lyrics speak about the small red flowers that make up the blossoms of the pears trees on the mountains above the Yan River. Abigail Washburn relates the song’s history and the significance of the red flower in China:

“Hao Hua Hong is an age-old folk song from the native Buyi people who live in the high mountain forests of Guizhou. I learned the song from a record of the artist Gong Linna called Traditional Chinese Folk Songs. Every time this song would go by as I listened to her record I was moved by the quality of her voice and the idea of one small red leaf making a mountain to look of fire.”

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On the Octave Day of Christmas: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary


When you know your mission, be astonished by what God has done, and never stop treasuring it.

This week I was asked twice what Buco means in the dish, Osso Buco. Buco is the bone marrow that offers the flavor to the meal, the richness.

On this feast of Mary the mother of God, I would like to emphasize specially the word today’s Gospel associates with her: treasured. “Mary treasured these things and reflected on them in her heart.” She pondered them, turned them over, sought out their causes, saw their implications, allowed them to work their way into the marrow of her bones.

May the Mother Mary, God’s finest human creation, guard and keep this year, and bring the peace of her Son Jesus to our hearts and to our world.

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Christmas Eve Greetings

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Find The Place

You have to find the place
of no effort within yourself.
But don’t employ the mind for this.
Your mind itself implies effort
and it will try to ‘do’ no effort—and to ‘be’ nobody.
This itself takes great effort and, in fact, is impossible.
But even ‘great effort’ and the one apparently making it
are seen in a space of no effort.
In the ‘no-effort’ place—you are.
– mooji

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Praying Mantis Symbolism

Two weeks ago I noticed this enormous insect at the entrance of Fafa, then this week he hung out around the fern at the yellow triangle door. Finally looked up to find it was a Praying Mantis, mantis means prophet in Greek. Here’s some info I’ve compiled about our visitor while he stayed for a time.

If you know anything about the praying mantis, it will come as no shock that this insect is the paramount spiritual symbol of stillness and patience. The praying mantis takes its time in all that it does. It takes care to pay diligent attention to its surroundings, and moving through life at its own pace. It serves as a reminder for humans to slow down in our chaotic, fast-paced lives.

The praying mantis also teaches us how to still our bodies and go within our own mind. By doing this, we can connect with ourselves, drawing up greater physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual power. This stillness and concentration is a form of meditation, a practice that the mantis places much importance in.

Wisdom emerges when we are still and quiet, sensing and feeling rather than thinking critically. It comes with experience, age, and being, rather than traditional schooling. It cannot be obtained through arrogance.

The praying mantis meaning has a variety of traits: temperance, quietness, awareness, calmness, clairvoyance, patience, mindfulness and innovation. These insects are well known for their pre-strike pose, which is a popular symbol of balance and patience in and of itself.

In fact, the Chinese honor the praying mantis for its elegant, mindful, and contemplative movements. By reminding ourselves to have patience with ourselves in our own movement, we, like the mantis, can grow in our wisdom. They remind us to have patience in acquiring the things we want and to remain balanced throughout the duration of the wait.

If a praying mantis strikes too soon, its prey gets away. Because of this, it has evolved to be patient: so patient, in fact, that it will not budge unless it is 100% positive that it is the correct thing to do. This acts as a direct message to us, reminding us to contemplate our movements just as carefully and precisely.

When our timing is off, we may generate an unnecessary (and unpleasant) struggle or blow an opportunity entirely. Through stillness, awareness, and balance, we can hear and recognize the perfect moment. We must listen to the voice that speaks to us with openness, not fear. If we have patience, the right moment will come, and we will succeed.

 

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Man is a unity of body and spirit

Man is a unity of body and spirit which makes him utterly distinct from the rest of creation. “Man is not merely an evolution but rather a revolution,” muses G.K. Chesterton.

What makes humans so special
Immortal Spirit
Made like God
Saved by God

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September 2017 Full Corn Moon

Often, the September Moon is also called the Harvest Moon, but this year the Harvest Moon occurs in October. The Harvest Moon is the Moon that falls nearest the autumnal equinox; this full Moon provides the most light at the time when it’s needed most—to complete the harvest!

Technically speaking, however, the moonrise for the September 2017 and October 2017 full Moons are very close this year. For several days after both full Moons, the Moon rises a shorter-than-usual time after sunset, creating more light during harvest time. During both months, the Moon will hang large after sunset, casting its beautiful light on our fields of grain.

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Sahara’s Fresh Finds

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