Category Archives: Pilates and rock climbing

Mel Collie | Computer Says…

Mel Collie | Computer Says…

Uh Oh…Ive just been completely bored out of my tiny mind by doing one of those Facebook personality tests thats come up in your Facebook feed..

What a waste of time

However, what gets me more is that so many people believe them

Everything we read on the internet has a source

Theres loads of information out there in inter web land

Diets. Exercises. Meditation. Coaching. Stretches. How to do anything …and how to self diagnose

I’m guilty of putting information out there in the past on my blog

But now?

I’ll write about stuff that gets your brain thinking

Wondering

Searching for answers

But I won’t give you the answers, because I don’t know you personally

If you are searching for the perfect stretch of your hip flexors, your quads, your neck…I will post stuff, useful information, things that will get you thinking , but I wont tell you that its the perfect and only answer for you

Because it won’t

You are unique

Your painful hip may not need stretching, it may be pissed off because some other muscle in its group isn’t pulling its weight, its telling you, but you are still stretching the hell out of it, weakening it, and it keeps coming back telling you off.

If it isn’t working, why are you still doing it?

Do you drive down the wrong road every day expecting it to take you to your destination

Do you eat cake and donuts everyday and never exercise but expect to have the perfect body

Do you never drink water because its boring and wonder why your body refuses to work well for you

Do you stretch your hamstrings and wonder why you are always stretching them

Do you believe the results of the Facebook (other social media sites are also available..) personality tests, even though they have never ever met you or even give a monkeys who you really are?

You have way more intelligence than that

If you don’t, you can change that.

Stop doing Facebook tests and spend that time doing stuff that enriches you

I’m not going to tell you what that is, but I will bore you with what that is for me:

…spend time with my beloved other half

…be nice to myself (and that can be along the lines of going to bed earlier, read a book that teaches me something or helps me switch off from the noise of social media, go for a walk, have a relaxing bath, massage my feet and do my nails, have a facial, do a gentle mobility exercise or two – after all, we say we have no time for ourselves…)

..be generous to others by giving more and expecting less

..slow down

After all, we tend to expect so much of ourselves and beat ourselves up when we don’t succeed. expecting more from ourselves by pouring more fuel onto the fire…more on that in my next post on what happened when I got stuck on an easy climb yesterday afternoon..yes, I was rubbish, and what that taught me.

Have fun !

Mel

x

www.melcollie.com

 

 

 

Mel Collie | Necking It

Heres what I used to do for my tight neck muscles – get them stretched…

Did they need stretching often ? yes…were they always tight? yes…

Why? Computer..stress..anxiety…forward head posture, clenched jaw..all that stuff means tight upper neck muscles.

Was I fed up with it..not really, after all it was my own fault right?   I knew what to stretch though, so I stretched them, I just told myself off for spending too much time on that computer

Is that you too? Hell yes I bet it is!

Years and years later…still stretching?

Here we go – the tight muscles are telling you a story, and you’ve just read it in a different language.

For all that time…

Remember the yellow fish in Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy?

I got me one of those fish when I started to understand the WHY

I began to understand the language

I stopped chasing the pain and looked elsewhere

What was that pain telling me? Tight muscles, overworking, tired, fed up, pissed off neck muscles.

Why?

Switched off core muscles…even though I’m a Pilates instructor, my abs were NOT working in a correct pattern.

When tested using NKT (www.neurokinetictherapy.com) my Psoas (hip flexor) TA (Transversus Abs) and Rectus Abs were unorganised…thats my polite way of saying they were inhibited. Their pattern of working was all jumbled up.

My left shoulder hikes up when I’m stressed, its been like that forever, it gets tight, I’m aware of it but I wasn’t aware those muscles were working to stabilise my core as well.

As soon as they were released and my Psoas and TA strengthened, stuff changed.

As soon as my Scalenes were released after testing to find they were facilitated (left more than right) and the left ones released (ouch! ) my diaphragm went whooosshhh…and my breathing was lighter.

Oh yes, the diaphragm is a commonly facilitated muscle too, you can practice deep breathing , but for some of us, it wont “let go” if its compensating.

I love testing core muscles when a client compensates by clinching jaw or breath holding, its a common cheat, and tells a story – do you do core work at the gym or in your Pilates class with a clenched jaw and no breathing for those tricky repetitions?

Want to stop that and do the same exercises with good form (check your neck position, if you need a towel under your head to keep it neutral, then use one or you are using your neck to stabilise , not your core)and breathe out with your mouth open, and eyes open, don’t close those eyes, that just means you are searching the brain for answers when it cant find your core muscles to do the work. Bet you are clenching the jaw and toes too …

Get yourself assessed to find out whats inhibited and facilitated, what patterns are unorganised , you will get homework to do thats specific for your unique patterning, which will involve a stretch or a massage with a ball in a tender/tight area, but what you do that follows that release is crucial to allow that “stretch” to hold, for the brain to relearn the new pattern.

It can take up to 3,000 reps for the brain to cement a new pattern of learning…thats a LOT of reps.

Its a lot of wrong reps if you are treating the wrong pattern. Guys thats why I was stretching for years and nothing changed. I was stretching the tight and not strengthening the weak. I didn’t know my patterns were unorganised.

So yes, there you go, get assessed, you can search NKT on You Tube too, to get an idea of how it works..

You will save a lot of years of stretching and chasing pain, you are unique, find out whats working..and whats not.

Phew…

Mel

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | Wonders of the Universe

Mel Collie | Wonders of the Universe

The universe is an amazing thing. Well over a billion light years away. In less than a 10th of a second. 2 black holes – one was 29 times the mass of the sun, the other was 36 times the mass of the sun. Its ridiculous. Its an amazing time to be alive.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03jb3zw
This is exactly how my other half, who has a degree in Cosmology, described this finding to me…as amazing as it is, I do think I glazed over at some point in the conversation and started to think about anatomy and how amazing our own bodies are …being made from star stuff, our own skin, organs, muscles, bones..such a complicated system we still don’t fully understand how our own brain functions or how to use them completely, some of us don’t even know we have a brain ..
We are a wonder
We are amazing
Yet we get stuck in judgements, thoughts of the past, hatred, killing, trying to make others follow the religion WE think is right.
Not eating enough Lemon Drizzle Cake!
Be kinder
Appreciate
Laughter
Gratitude
Fun
Cake
Acceptance
Chocolate (90% Lindt for me please..thanks)
Wonders of the universe on your doorstep
Realisation
Freedom
Movement

Enjoy every second for you only get one go at it..allegedly!

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | Stretching Your Thighs?

Mel Collie | Stretching Your Thighs?

I sit here at my laptop studying, reading, writing, and I do exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. Crossing my legs, tilting the pelvis, shortening the quads – rectus femurs mainly – front of the thigh.

You know what though?

Theres no perfect seated posture! yay!! Stop sitting up straight!

I’m so happy about that because I can be such a fidget. I hate sitting still, well, for too long anyway. I will sit still when I am meditating, or watching a really good movie.

I sat still watching About Time last week, such a sad movie, a bit cheesy, but I adore Bill Nighy! He’s a great actor, but I also love that he is very rarely in the celebrity limelight. He is just himself.

So, anyway, back to those hips – which Bill sways quite nicely in the film by the way when he does a little dance, but also when he’s playing Table tennis.

Tightness, and restriction in your hips can create tightness in the lumber spine, and further up the chain, affecting the head position too. No hip sway, more lower back and shoulder compensation.

So when you stretch the thigh, what happens?

The thigh muscles, the quadriceps – theres 4 of them – one of them attaches at the knee and runs up the front of the thigh to your hip bone. Hip flexor and hip extender.

It can affect the knee as well, but thats for another post as theres other things that can affect the knee like limited ankle mobility and side thigh muscles like Tensor Fascia Lata .

Tightness can affect the knee and pelvis when walking, running, walking up and down stairs.

It can also inhibit the hamstrings from doing their thing and compress the hip joint which can in turn inhibit the glutes.

Pretty amazing muscles then aren’t they?

Stretching:

If you are used to stretching it by holding the ankle, have a look in the mirror and see whatyou do this what happens to the rest of your body

Shoulder must be level

Hips must be level

Knees must also be level

Problems:

Common issues are that the shoulders change position

The ribs lift

The breathing changes, usually gets held

The knees change position, usually the knee thats being stretched moves forward.

Corrections:

Use a band around the bottom of the leg to assist you until you feel you can stretch the quads without affecting any compensational movement patterns in your body, the first picture is how not to do it, and how I see it done often though.

Standing Rec Fem stretch when knees aren't together, missing the stretch of the hip and affecting shoulder levels
Standing Rec Fem stretch when knees aren’t together, missing the stretch of the hip and affecting shoulder levels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretch of Rec Fem using the band, keeping knees level.
Stretch of Rec Fem using the band, keeping knees level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heres what I mean lying down on your front- as long as you keep your pelvic bone ON the floor, if you don’t, your pelvis will be arching and your lower back gets tight. Don’t hold your breath as you stretch. When you lie on your front you can use the surface as feedback for your breath, breathe in press the belly out into the floor/mat, exhale as you gently draw it in.

Rec Fem Stretch Prone.
Stretching the Rectus Femurs on your front – prone – with a band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie Collie is an anatomist and movement therapist who specialise in helping clients out of pain and back into a life of loving movement again. Her studio is where you usually find her with her bands, balls, and circles, mats, circles, weights and TRX. She calls it her torture chamber, her clients call it their little haven.

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | Change Your Posture in a Week?

Mel Collie | Change Your Posture in a Week?

Can you change your posture in a week?

Changes that last and that reduce pain and tight muscles?

Change that reduces tight hamstrings, weak glutes and tight shoulders?

Before you think ‘Ive lost it and 7 days isn’t long enough, then you are right..it isn’t! However, I love to prove you wrong, but I’m not out to to impress you, Im just simply looking for a way that works, that constantly proves its assessments are thorough, and hat doesn’t leave me hunting or guessing.

So, to test my theory, to see if what I have learned was going to work, I needed to test it on real people. Is that illegal in some countries? Maybe!

Anyway, I posted in a local Facebook group(its great for somethings!) for someone who had SI Joint pain, and this lady stepped up. With pain in her SI joint (sacro-iliac), that was my focus in the first sessions.

She is dedicated and did her daily homework, which didn’t take more than 5 mins a day.

She came back in the second week as a follow up, so I could check her homework and she could give me an update.

Those follow up appointment are crucial, the body works in patterns, unravelling the main one can uncover others..and that showed in this second appointment.

A further posture check to see what, if anything, had changed

And rather than guessing at what needs stretching because its tight, I used NKT protocols.

As a pattern detective in training, I assessed her movement patterns.

That means checking how effective was her hip flexion, knee flexion, arm flexion.  What pattern does her brain have in its software to use these movements?

A chat about her history gave me a few clues, checking her posture assessment gave me more clues, and checking her organised and disorganised muscles gave me other clues.

I felt like a proper Poirot!

Assess, I don’t guess.

You are unique

Just because you have SI joint pain doesn’t mean the painful area needs stretching.

Just because you have tight neck doesn’t mean it needs stretching. You could be stretching a muscle thats exhausted , has been hanging on for so long its knackered and is telling you its had enough, its pissed off, it wants you to get those other muscles working pretty quick.

Which muscles to test though?

We looked at her right shoulder which was rolling inwards from a tight pec minor. When thats pulling forward then something in the back changes.

After testing a few muscles, her mid and upper Trapezius muscle turned out to be a little bit unorganised, as well as her Latissimus Dorsi.

The tests don’t take long, checking the work and being thorough means you do take time though to ensure that the pattern you have found holds.

Thats the fun of being a pattern detective..

Before  and After photos in just 7 days, yep, we’ve still got work to do on that hip. Homework in her second week is for glutes, psoas and trapezius. Why those? Because they all showed up as being disorganised by testing patterns.

Its that simple…:)

Change your posture in a week.
Change your posture in a week.
Using NKT to change posture by assessing patterns.
Using NKT to change posture by assessing patterns.posture, NKT, pa