Hey everyone, in case you didn’t know already, my name is Dr. Connie. I’m a professional student with over 20 years of clinical experience and advanced degrees in Psychology, Nutrition, Physical Therapy, Functional Medicine, Yoga, Pilates and Traditional Chinese Medicine. “Why so many disciplines?” you may ask. It’s because of my own personal struggle with a life-threatening autoimmune disease for over 20 years and my efforts to find answers in my own self-healing journey. Today, I will be discussing how to get clear on your “core” values to live a purposeful life as well as proper core activation in Yoga for optimal stability. But first, here is a little more about me.
I’m the founder of Alkaline Method™ Academy, Alkaline Wellness and Lupus Rebel where I help health and wellness professionals have greater impact using Yoga as Functional Medicine and bridge the gap between sick care and healthcare. I also help Yoga students and Autoimmune patients catapult their health and life in ways they never imagined. I empower health and wellness professionals, students and autoimmune patients to find inner healing, happiness and clarity from within.
I’m on the path to create a flexible, dynamic approach to help meet the needs of my clients and patients. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 15 years, moving away slowly from the conventional ways to better ways. I love entrepreneurship because it’s uncomfortable and hard. It’s truly self improvement on steroids.
I’ve worked with physicians, functional medicine practitioners, dietitians, physical therapists, massage therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, chiropractors, Yoga/Pilates teachers, energy healers, acupuncturists, traditional Chinese medicine, you name it. And I can tell you that each discipline can provide a complete approach. It only keeps them defending their occupation within the bureaucratic system or “locked” into linear thinking that prevents expansive growth and opportunity.
The Gap in Healthcare
Many of you reading this are medical doctors, acupuncturists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, personal trainers and massage therapists. Do you know what you all have in common?
You help clients with their health. But many of you are beginning to realize that within each profession, everyone does things the same way, the way we are all taught. Every functional medical practitioner, for example, is taught to focus on the root cause, starting with the gut, detoxifying, etc. Each physical therapist is taught the McKenzie method, TPDN, manual therapy, or Ther Ex, etc. And every Yoga teacher is taught a certain style of yoga and how to yoga etc. Within each field the tactics cause the very practice to be marginalized because everyone goes out to do exactly what they were taught. I’m here to tell you that it’s time to step into leadership and greatness, dare to differentiate yourself and begin to critically think about how you can leverage your knowledge and impact.
How? By thinking outside the box and looking at the big picture. I’m going to show you how you can pull all the fragmented tactics from different disciplines together to provide coherent and complete care to your patients to help them to move, eat, sleep, and think better. But, you’ll be the go-to advisor for their health because you help them in ways your competitors aren’t doing.
As an autoimmune patient for over 20 years, I’ve tried just about every tactic from functional medicine to Yoga and everything in between. While they all provided me with short-term results, none of those tactics or services were able to sustain my health and wellness long-term. Twenty years as a patient and a clinician chasing after every kinda tactic taught me that healing is an inside job.
I want you to understand that there is no new information on the internet. Someone has said it before. Every expert is regurgitating information that they learned from their respective disciplines. Our clients are with too much conflicting information. I’m going to show you how not to add to the echo chamber of information on the internet. Instead, you will be able to speak your message to your people with clear lifestyle interventions that will empower them on their self-healing journey.
Too much knowledge is toxic too because it paralyzes us. We have decreasing attention spans and are constantly in a state of “gotta gotta gotta mode” to get more, know more and everything more. Completely externally focused.
You must realize that there’s a significant shift happening in the world today. It will affect the way we practice medicine, yoga, therapy, fitness and nutrition. You must prepare yourself right now to meet the demands of the market.
We don’t need another “training” program. We need to refocus our attention on the fundamental needs of our clients today. They need help with behavior modification toward health. Whether you’re helping to heal from disease or simply to lose weight, they first need a shift in their mindset.
Connecting to Your Clients
The internet is full of people who are driving each profession into a commodity or mediocrity. It’s important now more than ever to set yourself apart and differentiate yourself by becoming the best in your industry. By providing timeless, strategic, long term solutions that your clients truly need to be on their path for longevity and health.
With the world turned upside down, you are likely forced into entrepreneurship. This means you’ve got to go out and create your business. You must get clear on who you are serving, why you’re the best choice for them, what you’ll do differently, how you’ll give them results, and most importantly, learn to market yourself.
In order to provide results, you need to truly “connect” with your clients or patients. Connection happens when your clients resonate with your message and can feel that you are invested in their well being. It’s something that can be felt by your clients and patients.
If you’re a medical professional, you’ve got to do more than “tell” them what they need to do; you must “show” them. If you’re a Yoga teacher or personal trainer, you’ve got to gain enough knowledge to help them move toward their goals. Give them what they want and provide them with what they need as they progress in their self-healing journey for long-term success.
Tactics alone will not suffice. You need to be the only trusted advisor that your clients are searching for to help transform them. Day by day, not merely doing what everyone else is doing.
Focusing on Long-Term Success
The current pandemic has and will change the way we live forever. Because there’s a significant shift in the consciousness of the world, we also must shift our perspective. It’s time to deep within ourselves and decide what, why, how, you will provide health for your clients.
Our clients don’t need another tactic to apply for short term gains. We need to take a step back and really think about their core needs. They need a strategic way to direct their own minds back to their bodies to get in touch with their sensory system and learn to listen to their body.
No matter what your medical background is and no matter which Yoga lineage you were taught, it’s time to step out of our linear thinking and expand our thinking to exponentially improve the lives that we serve.
Every discipline is limited by dogmas that keep them in a linear mindset that only can provide incremental growth. But as a trained professional in multitudes of disciplines, when we combine the best practices of each discipline, we can drastically improve outcomes. Why? Because humans are whole beings, not the sum of our parts. All systems work together to create miracles. We must help our clients become whole again, mind, body and spirit.
Yoga to Connect Mind, Body and Spirit
Yoga is the most effective way toward the self. It’s the ultimate self-healing journey that all of you can powerfully use to elevate everything that you do. Medical professionals especially in functional medicine, chiropractic, holistic medicine, etc all recommend yoga and meditation. Imagine how impactful it would be if you are the medical practitioner “showing” the way?
For you Yoga instructors, think of most of your students. Most of them are struggling with health in some way and find themselves in a Yoga class. I know that many prefer Yoga over physical therapy. Are you ready to serve those who are looking to rehabilitate from physical and emotional injuries?
Yoga is a way to connect the yin to the yang. Knowledge and applied knowledge that leads to self-realization, self healing and ultimately to self love.
I want to challenge you health professionals to be open to using Yoga as a tool to get to the core of what’s important for your clients. It’s a powerful introspective and reflective tool to get them back into their bodies.
I also want to challenge the Yoga teachers and fitness professionals to elevate yourself by learning the proper anatomy, alignment and physiology of the body to set yourself apart by providing quality instruction to help your clients heal.
Metaphorically we all need self-healing ,which will allow for us to connect with the core of who we are. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Yoga can set you on your path.
Becoming the embodiment of health is what I’m suggesting for all of you.
Yoga has levels of healing, physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual. But today we will focus on the physical aspect of Yoga.
Our Foundation is From Our Core
Let’s discuss the tangible side of Yoga, which is the physical practice of Yoga today. And let’s understand the principles of anatomical relevance and the importance of core activation in Yoga for optimal stability. Just as the foundation of the house is everything for longevity of it, our foundation for movement comes from the core. Foundation of the house keeps our house from destruction even through earthquakes, heavy winds and storms.
To understand the function of the core, we must understand the overall anatomy and physics that apply to movement. When we understand the why, we can then practice more intentionally to ultimately achieve mind-body mastery. The two essential functions of the core are 1) to protect the spine from excessive load and 2) to distribute the force to all joints required for the movement. This keeps the body balanced, which allows longevity and health in all the joints of the body.
Our movements are subject to the laws of physics. We are subject to gravitational forces, which are compressive. The primary function of our muscles are to help defy gravity by contracting to create a decompressive effect in our joints.
The Three Essential Functions of Our Bodies
Just as we need proper mechanics for our cars to move smoothly, our bodies are the same way. There are three essential functions of our body for health: metabolism, detoxification and elimination. If these three functions are optimal, then health is inevitable. In order for our body to function at optimal capacity, we need to create a healthy balance.
When the body’s metabolic, detoxifying or elimination functions are disrupted, the body will gain weight. As in the car example, the lighter the load, the more efficient the cars can run. The heavier the load on the car, the less efficiently it’s able to run. Similarly, when we gain too much weight, it takes a toll on the mechanics of the joints. When overloaded, we have a metabolic issue where the joints wear and tear. This causes a biochemical imbalance where the inflammatory chemicals are released causing a systemic effect.
Anatomy of the Body
Let’s talk about Anatomy. Our anatomy consists of the spine (neurological system), which is our control center. We have the upper extremities which include the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. The lower extremities include the hips, knees, ankles and feet. Our control center, the brain, and the spine control all our organs in our abdominal cavity and all the muscles of our body enabling us to move when we want.
As we get older, we lose muscle mass. Aging is inflammatory, so we begin to get stiff and sore. But too many of us are not thoughtful about keeping ROM, stability, strength ND activation into our joints. Our control center, neurological system, transmits signals through our nerves from the brain to the spinal cord into our extremities. If our posture is poor, over time, the connectivity will be altered and the signals won’t be transmitted in the manner that they needs. This is when poor muscle memory and poor alignment in the limbs can result in surgical intervention. Yet, this only keeps perpetuating the issue.
Rethinking the Yoga Poses
So, when teaching Yoga, it’s important to remember who your ideal clients are. Many feel completely disconnected from their bodies and are seeking some solution in a Yoga class. Their Yoga teachers teach them how to “pose,” but lack the ability to help their students deeply connect to their core through breath, awareness and focus.
The problem is that Yoga poses can be expressed without proper muscle activation. Yoga poses also can be expressed without proper alignment and posture. But think about a car that you drive, you hit over the curb, bump into the mailbox or hit other cars, but you keep driving it with the tire alignment completely off. Over time not only will you have to replace those tires, but there’s structural damages to the car in ways where it wears out the life of the car so much faster.
Muscle memory is what’s super important. Under the guise of healing Yoga practice, poorly trained Yoga teachers take their students through poses as if the end result is the full expression of the poses. I don’t know about you but I want to do things that will improve my health span, not hurt my health span.
So ask yourselves, when you go into a hard pose in Yoga, what is your reason for wanting to do that pose? Let’s take for example the ability to go into a full split. When you’re in your fifties and sixties, why would you want to go into the full split? What functional value will that have? I’m not saying there’s something wrong with wanting that, but I want you to become flexible properly by activating proper muscles to support the pose versus overstretching and tearing your ligaments.
Anatomy of the Core
There are four muscles of the core: TA, Multifidus, pelvic floor and diaphragm. Our core triggers all our joints to be in a biomechanical advantage to move with efficiency.
Our core provides a firm foundation for optimal posture and alignment but again, the switch is on the inside. For the health professionals here, think about the autonomic nervous system and all the vital organs in the abdominal cavity. If you can help patients to improve core activation in Yoga, improve posture, will it not improve the energy flow by a simple mechanical adjustment?
The spine is our central nervous system, and the core allows us to have a decompressive effect on the spine, which allows for better nerve connectivity to all parts of the body. With biomechanical alignment, we improve our movement. And, we lessen our pain, impingement and neuropathic issues. For my physical therapists, how many of your patients with low back issues are stuck in a posterior pelvic tilt due to poor posture? Pain = inability to move = weight gain = metabolic dysfunction = high cholesterol, high stress = depression = vicious cycle. You have the power to impact the whole body in mind, body and spirit.
Stop limiting your skills to what’s expected and what’s taught within. Use Yoga to bridge the gap and make the body whole again. If a client is able to improve their movement, they will begin to look and feel better. This has a domino effect into all other areas of health and life. To learn more about core activation in Yoga, join our free Facebook group, the Tribe of Alkaline Method Yogis.