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MUSCLE ACTIVATION TECHNIQUES: WHAT IS IT AND HOW CAN IT BENEFIT ME ?

David Powell MAT-Certified Specialist explains via an excerpt from Eric C. Stevens…..

Eric C. Stevens – Coach

Denver, Colorado, United States

Martial Arts, Sport Psychology, Boxing

As I sat down on the therapy training table to get to work with my Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) specialist, Ian, I asked him point blank, “Is it true the reason Peyton Manning plays in Denver is in large part that his MAT specialist, founder Greg Roskopf, is based in Denver?”

“Where did you hear that?” Ian asked raising an eyebrow. “Actually, it is true,” he responded easing the mood. It really isn’t earth-shattering news anymore. In fact, it was well documented in a recent Sports Illustrated article. Peyton Manning, unquestionably one of the top five quarterbacks to ever play football, swears by MAT helping him resurrect his career and allowing him to continue to play at the highest level.

In the Sports Illustrated piece, Manning stated, “The greatest investment you can make, is in your body.” Manning, while playing for the Colts, would regularly fly Roskopf to Indianapolis to work on him.

Now, Manning saves on the airfare. Former Broncos safety John Lynch, also mentioned in the article, also swears by MAT and referred to it as having helped him to “reboot” the connection in his body. In essence, that is what Muscle Activation Techniques is – reestablishing the proper neuromuscular function in our bodies by getting our muscles to fire properly again. It should be noted that some people mistakenly refer to it as Muscle Activation Therapy. Therapy has a different goal though – range of motion (ROM). When our bodies are chronically injured or declining, the bodies’ way of protecting itself is to tighten. We see this any time we are in danger.

My specialist, Ian, used the analogy of a stable tent structure with four straight rods versus one with three good rods and a broken one. He also pointed out that MAT isn’t as much therapy but instead more akin to actually exercising – that is, getting muscles to fire and work correctly.MAT’s premise is that the therapist does a multi-point inspection of checks and balances of sorts. Push against this and pull against this. The practitioner is able to check his or her work. Checking the left side against the right and the pull against the push. It’s almost as if to remind the brain, “Hey, use this one. Remember me?’

So, taking a page from Peyton Manning and several other colleagues here in Colorado who swear by the MAT results, I hired a practitioner myself. And that’s how I wound up sitting with Ian. We sat down to discuss my issues and the nature of pain.

He said, “Pain is like a check engine light going off in your car. The sooner you address it the better. If you were on a long road trip you wouldn’t wait until you were 200 miles down the road to address that light. The check engine light tends to turn into bigger problems down the road.”

Good advice for sure, and these days I can certainly relate. I’m hoping that since I pulled my vehicle immediately into the shop we can get my engine running optimally again. While I am not a professional quarterback, just a coach and a writer, I have to invest in my body as well. We only get one of them.

After trying a lot of treatments from ice and stim to chiropractic care, I realized I had to move beyond pain management to the root of the problem – my body and muscles aren’t working right and pain tells me so. Pain also moves over time. As our body faces pain, it adjusts to help alleviate the pain and keep us moving forward.

The problem is the root imbalance isn’t necessarily being addressed. To keep us going, our bodies end up overcompensating for the original problem, working overtime and creating further imbalances. The pain may go away, but if we still have that imbalance, some day it will come back to hurt us down the road.

It’s the same with masking pain with drugs. Certainly it’s understandable to do so, but ultimately it’s faulty logic and solves nothing. The root of the problem hasn’t been addressed.

This is the case with my fairly pronounced piriformis syndrome, as the severe discomfort in my glute has caused radiating hamstring pain as well as knee pain. (The piriformis is in red to the right.)

Unfortunately for me, my check engine light has been going off for some weeks now. While I immediately addressed the pain issue, my approach has been to manage the pain and go right after the source without necessarily going beyond it.

However, solving pain in the long run can be more complex and can often be a riddle of sorts. There are lifestyle variables to consider such as stress, sleep, nutrition, and our emotional make-up. There are performance issues to analyze and we have to look deep within the vehicle itself – the human body.

And a thorough check of the vehicle is what Ian did. He must have had me perform the same test ten different times. After a full inspection, he then went to work poking and prodding different muscles, getting them to fire, and making that connection again for my brain.

Applying MAT is like putting your body through a course in muscle communication 101. It’s about retraining our neuromuscular system to work properly and harmoniously. So, instead of slamming handfuls of ibuprofen to get through my day, my body now has my full attention and I intend to retrain it, as long as that takes.

There are many that swear by MAT from professional athletes down to us little people. Many claim its benefits are or can be instantaneous. What I can tell you is I was able to see some (although not dramatic) differences immediately, with both my pain and range of motion. I also woke up the next day feeling improved.

My specialist indicated that those with the greatest muscle memory, like athletes, often have the quickest results. He indicated that younger athletes can also see rather dramatic results.

While I didn’t walk out of the office a cured man, I did gain insight and some improvement, as well as a bit of pain relief. In doing such treatments, I feel like I am going in the right direction. MAT makes sense at a fundamental level and works on a premise of science and balance. It’s something worth considering.

References:

  1. King, Peter “Stretching the Field” Sports Illustrated (November 5, 2012)

 

Muscle Activation Techniques are available now at Be Well Studios inside The Local Grocer. Invest some of your time to participate in a Free Demonstration so you can see and hear more about what MAT is:

  • A REVOLUTIONARY APPROACH TO THE ASSESSMENT AND CORRECTION OF MUSCULAR IMBALANCES, JOINT INSTABILITY, AND LIMITATIONS IN RANGE OF MOTION WITHIN THE HUMAN BODY.
  • A NON-INVASIVE TECHNIQUE, DESIGNED TO BALANCE THE MUSCULAR SYSTEM OF PEOPLE OF ALL AGES.
  • A UNIQUE SYSTEMATIC FORMAT USED TO “JUMPSTART” THE MUSCLES IN ORDER FOR THEM TO FUNCTION WITH MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY.

Please join me, David Powell MAT-Certified Specialist to a

Save the date

event

downstairs @ The Local Grocer on

October 7th @ 6:30pm

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It’s The New Moon… So What Does That Mean?

August 1st- The New Moon

The New Moon Phase occurs when the Moon is completely dark with zero-percent luminosity, while the Full Moon Phase is completely bright with 100-percent luminosity. While today is the day of the New Moon, the exact new moon is really just a split second before illumination starts to occur again.

“The new moon signifies the start of a new cycle. It’s a time to formulate new intentions and reevaluate existing ones. This is a lower energy phase, so get plenty of rest and give your self the space to connect with your true purpose, passion, and mission. Set aside time for  meditation, journaling, spending time with nature, and yoga. From these places, you can set intentions which are aligned with your authentic self. When you feel ready, write down your intentions and go through your existing list to make sure they are still valid.” -From the “Moon Calendar”  Ap

Currently the moon is in Leo which reminds us to honor and be kind to our heart, chest, spine, and upper back. Consider taking up yoga or pilates or spending a few days getting deeper into your practice if you already do it.

This is likely to be a time where you are surrounded by ideas and new input, which may have an impact on how you perceive and understand the world around you. Your interactions with your local environment and the people you are closest to are also likely to be in focus.

For more information on the various moon phases, click here.

Congratulations Dana

We are excited to officially announce that Dana Deschenes will be the new Be Well Studios Yoga Coordinator, starting this Friday 7/26/19.  Dana has been a key yoga instructor with us since our first year…six years in total now! We are psyched to welcome him into this new position and help BWS keep growing, branching out, and moving forward.

In addition to coordinating the yoga schedule, Dana also teaches at Be Well four times a week. Be sure to check out our calendar here for dates and times. From restorative yoga, to easy ashtanga, to energetic ashtanga, Dana brings great talent and  energy to the wide variety of classes he offers. For more information on Dana’s background and class descriptions, check out his teacher profile.

Congratulations Dana!

 

 

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Meet Robin!

” When I am not in the studio or at my other full time job, you can find me doing a wide variety of activities outside. I enjoy running, biking, hiking, paddling, and rock-climbing. I grew up in the hills of southern Vermont and spent my summers as a kid on Squam Lake. I’ve been living in the Mount Washington Valley for five years, and every day I am still amazed by the beauty of this place.”

Robin teaches Roll & Renew on Monday’s from 8:15 AM – 9:30 AM

 

Meet Christie!

 

“I love teaching Yoga and Ayurveda for a living, but when I am not working on both of my businesses, Zenergie Yoga & Ayurveda + Zen Union, I am hosting for the local television station, White Mountains TV via Outside Television on Explore the White Mountains and White Mountains Today!

In my free time, I am creating balance for myself and cherishing relationships with loved ones, such as my fiancé, Justin, and my kitty, Aura Luna. Nature, particularly water and especially the ocean, are always calling to me! Sunshine on my skin is one of the most nourishing sensations for me. Meditation and music are both healing modalities that are part of my daily routine. Actually, I just began guitar lessons again recently! Singing in the car is quite common for me and I jokingly refer to it as CARaoke, since those are my initials, as well. Reading and writing are a couple of my favorite things to do, too. Traveling, meeting new people, and trying new artistic or athletic activities are always fun!

My life well-lived involves being a lifelong learner, creating my own reality, and continually trying something new! If you decide to join me for class, I am looking at Yoga through the lens of Ayurveda, so there will be a balancing of feminine, Yin, and masculine, Yang, energy along with a variety of styles, such as Yin, Vinyasa, and Nidra.

I will end with one of my favorite lyrical quotes by Jay-Z, “Do not ever go with the flow. Be the flow!” Namaste.”

 

Christie teaches Ayurvedic Yoga Flow On Saturdays At Ten A.M. 

Meet Sam!


“I’m an avid adventurer that is always eager to get outside and explore! I am blessed to have amazing adventure partner in my husband, Perry, and dog, Ike. In snow season, you can find us back country skiing every day we can. In the non-snow seasons, we love to mountain bike, climb, hike and paddle. My full time job is with NH Fish and Game researching an endangered alpine butterfly where I spend my work days hiking in the White Mountains. Keep an eye out for me with my big butterfly net!
Every day that I practice yoga, I simply feel better. My class, Dynamic Hatha, was created to inspire everyone to practice yoga and, hopefully, feel good too! Yoga can fit into any moment in life and my class helps build strength, stamina, and flexibility, while exploring mindfulness and clarity that one can use every day”

Sam teaches Dynamic Hatha on Wednesdays at 10AM

Meet Sue!

Meet Sue!

When she’s not sharing yoga, she loves to hike and ski. “Winter is the best time to hike; no bugs, no crowds, and amazing beauty! I feel so blessed to be living in this very special place with the mountains so close, and I take every spare moment to be out in the woods all year round! In the winter it’s hiking, skiing downhill and Nordic, and snowshoeing. In the summer I love to find those ice cold mountain streams and jump in! I also love reading and spending time with my family, and our two dogs.

In my classes, I try to help people relax and breathe, first and foremost. It’s fun to get some heat and strength building movement happening, but if you’re struggling to push yourself into “doing it right” it’s easy to get injured. Simple is better, and to quote a favorite teacher of mine, “Gentle is the new advanced.” Yoga should be a practice that everyone can use throughout their whole life, whether it’s a strong asana, or quiet conscious breathing. I try to offer this openness for people to practice in the way that works best for the individual body, and state of mind in the moment.”

Sue teaches Tuesday’s at 6PM, and again on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8:15AM.

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Happy Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice from all of us at Be Well Studios.
What is the summer solstice?

On Friday, summer finally begins. The summer solstice is at 11:54 a.m. EDT on Friday, June 21. From an astronomical standpoint, the summer solstice marks the beginning of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the exact moment that the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer. And good news for all of you sun worshipers, it’s the day that has more daylight than any other day of the year – 13 hours, 46 minutes and 41 seconds of daylight, to be exact!

The solstice is a popular holiday in the yoga tradition, being that it represents the longest day of the year, and the first day of summer. It is also International Yoga Day and has always been an opportunity to reconnect with nature.

There are so many great ways to celebrate the solstice, including joining us for practice, getting outside for a hike, or reconnecting with friends.

Here are some favorites:

1. Salute the sun.

Solstice is symbolic of transitioning from the short days of winter to the bright, long days of summer. As yogis, so many of our practices revolve around the sun, including, of course, Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). The origin of “saluting the sun” is not about getting the perfect Chaturagna/Upward-Facing Dog alignment, it’s about bowing to and taking in the fiery solar energy of the sun, to wake us up, energize us, and start our day. The practice was originally taught to be done in the morning, with the torso facing the sun.

2. Revamp your morning routine.

Since Solstice is the longest day of the year, it’s a great time to take advantage of the extra sunlight to wake up early and do something that makes you feel great, whether it’s meditation, yoga, or taking a revitalizing bath or shower infused with essential oils. Our yoga classes begin at 8:15 AM! 

3. Get outdoors.

A great way to celebrate Solstice is to simply get outdoors and enjoy the sun. It could be as simple as taking a walk by the water or in the park—just making the time to connect with nature. When you’re finished swing by The Local Grocer for a fresh organic breakfast. We proudly feature locally sourced food, included home made juices, smoothies, and breakfast bowls.

No matter how you decide to celebrate, we wish you a Happy Summer Solstice and hope to see you in class soon.
Be Well!

June 21st is International Yoga Day

 

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.

Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.

The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

2019 Theme: Climate Action

The fifth annual International Day of Yoga will be celebrated at the United Nations on Thursday, 20 June 2019, with “Yoga with Gurus,” followed by a panel discussion on 21 June.

Read more about it here

Welcome New Instructor, Robin Whatley

As of June 1st, we have a new summer schedule, which you can find HERE. Please welcome our newest instructor, Robin Whatley, who will be teaching Roll & Renew Monday Mornings at 8:15AM.

Robin Whatley

 

BIO

After attending college in NH, I moved to the valley to start my career with the AMC back in 2015. As for many people, my practice with yoga was inconsistent for many of my youthful years. It wasn’t until I moved to the valley that yoga became apart of my everyday life. The summer of 2018 I had the pleasure to volunteer at the Wanderlust festival at Stratton Mtn Resort in Vermont. Stratton also happens to be where I grew up and spent all my childhood skiing and playing in the hills of the Green Mountains. I knew that once I arrived that I was right where I needed to be in that moment in time. My experience was eye opening and the people I met along the way helped me realize what my next step in life had to be. With a background in Adventure Education and a passion for everything outdoors, I knew that teaching yoga had to be my next chapter. This past winter I attended the Kripalu 200-hour yoga teacher training in the Berkshires. My experience at Kripalu enhanced my passion for teaching yoga and allowed me to find what is true and real for me.

I have also made a great connect with a company based out of Colorado called RAD Roller. They have helped me remotely with gaining a certification in RAD Mobility. RAD’s mission is to “Improve body movement and propel radical lives through innovation tools and education”. My goal is to combine my skills with RAD into my yoga classes to educate the those on the general functions of our bodies movement and mobility.

 

Class description

This 60-minute class is designed for all levels and will be focused on movement, mobility and release. Our body’s all move in different way, but our joints all have the same general function. By release and rolling out our tissues located around our muscles and joints, we can allow the bodies movement to function with ease. During this class, we will flow through a gentle warm up to awaken our muscles, joints and tissues, followed by a full body release using props, tools and our breath. My goal with teaching the roll and release class is to not only educate people but to allow for a comfortable space for those looking to release tension that we carry with us throughout our daily lives.