Category Archives: Health

Doing Bikram Yoga Again because I’m Vane and Need Some Pain

We started going to Bikram yoga again.

I went to maybe four or five Bikram yoga classes in total over this last 9-12 month period.  One of them was accidental (ie I walked into the wrong room and sat there not realising, long enough to be too late for the class I was supposed to be in) and the other was forced (ie I couldn’t get into the class I wanted because it was full / booked out so went to Bikram instead).

The last 2 classes however were voluntary.  We went because we felt we needed it.  It only took a year to miss it 😉

The strange thing is, it’s not as bad as I expect it to be while I’m in there but by gosh I feel horrible afterwards.  My body aches and I’m always tired and I seem to be straining my neck a lot because I feel my shoulders and neck are so tense they cause me headaches for the next 2 days after class.

I’m also still losing large chunks of hair afterwards because my head drops hair when my body is hot and/or stressed.

Surprised I can still do the postures even though I hadn’t done them in ages.  Though my eagle is looking crooked these days and my initial back bends are more or less upright.

The rest of my postures are probably the same standard as they were before we stopped.  That is impressive.  It means vinyasa and yin have maintained our strength and flexibility overall so we can still do the movements we hadn’t done in ages.

So why did we feel we needed to do Bikram yoga again if the other yoga styles were maintaining/improving strength and flexibility already?  Vanity.

Bikram yoga is the only yoga that gets our skin soft and supple.  It gets rid of any lumps and bumps.  All the pimples and blackheads disappear because your pores open up and you just sweat it all out.

Bikram yoga is also the only yoga that’s gotten rid of my bingo wings, which have returned regardless of all the damned chaturangas I do and it’s not got to do with the postures but our diet.

You see, the only yoga that makes me change the way I eat is Bikram yoga.  That is because when you don’t eat well, you will feel it in that room or afterwards and after a while, you just get sick of feeling like sh*t all the time and so you either stop the Bikram or you change your diet.

Evidently I’m vane enough to go back just because I don’t like all my blocked pores or my wobbly arms and it’s the only way I know how to fix both.

Tony doesn’t like feeling “toxic” and according to him, Bikram yoga is the only thing that makes him feel like he’s eliminated all the toxins from his body.  He is convinced he’s wrung all the toxins out of his body through his sweat.

He is always the one moaning about not having enough vegetables and “eating too much junk”.  Those words are in inverted commas because he uses them every time he complains about the food we’ve eaten.  At the same time, he’s the one that’s always buying said junk and brings some home with him every day.

We now eat biscuits, cakes, crisps, crackers, chips, takeaway multiple times a day, every day and the only thing that’s going to stop us from continuing to do it is if we feel horrible afterwards.

Except, if you take the Bikram Yoga out of the following equations, we don’t feel anything but satisfied and full!

Eating Junk +  Bikram  Yoga = Feel Horrible / In Pain

Eat Well + Bikram  Yoga = Feel High as a kite

Whether you’re motivated by pain or gain, when it comes to diet, Tony and I have both found that Bikram Yoga is what is needed to make us change it.  So, we’re back.

Well, we all need something to motivate us to make changes / get in that room right?

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Journey From Periodontitis to Super Healthy Teeth and Gums Naturally (plus my tooth powder recipe)

“THIS IS THE BEST THEY’VE EVER BEEN!!!!!!!!!!”

Those were the EXACT words of my dental hygienist after she peered into my mouth, during my visit to see her this week (yesterday) and checked my teeth and gums.  Yes, she was THAT enthusiastic about it.

My teeth and gums are now officially, “… so clean, I don’t have anything to do!!”  Yes, those were her words again.

I was really happy and still am.  It’s been 6 months since the last time I saw her.

She looked so baffled for a while.  She kept saying, “I don’t understand.” while she poked and prodded my gums and teeth looking for plaque to extract.  After 6 months, she expected that I would have accumulated at least some plaque but perplexed she said, “I can’t find anything!”

She even asked me what my dental routine was and if anything had changed because she was having such a hard time finding plaque she was “questioning (her) own eyesight”.

You don’t know how happy I am, much to the dismay of my hygienist – she cheered when she found a tiny bit of plaque.  “YES!!! I got some!!! FINALLY!!!”

It’s great when someone loves their job so much that she’s slightly offended when you turn up and don’t allow her the privilege of doing it!! Hahaha

I’m sure anybody would be happy to hear this kind of news but none more so than me.  You see, this was 3 years in the making!!  It sounds like a long time but then again, how long did it take for the periodontitis to develop?

After all, I suffered from severe “toothache” for at least 2 years before it became completely unbearable and by that point, the gum infection was so bad it was almost eating away at my jaw and I had a big cyst growing in my gum too.  Yup, that was my point of unbearable that made me go see the dentist.

There was nothing wrong with my tooth but the gum around it was pretty much infected and so swollen that the tooth had to be extracted so that the area with the biggest infection (and the cyst) could be cleaned out and given room to heal.

I was in a lot of pain, my gums bled all the time, they were very inflamed and they had receded to a point where I now have a huge gap between my two front teeth and slightly smaller gaps between all my teeth, when I didn’t have gaps before.

Initially, thinking it was gingivitis, the dentist told me to use Corsodyl for my toothpaste and mouthwash to help heal the gums.  I used it for as long as I could, to no avail.  Not only did my gum problems remain, my whole tongue went black!!!  Literally, black and the periodontist had to be called in.

This gum problem didn’t happen overnight.  This was years and years of poor dental hygiene.  Oh I brushed my teeth, thank you very much but for all my good intentions, I wasn’t doing it properly.

Not until after I lost my tooth, did my mum tell me that we have a family history of bad gums so I was “genetically prone” to gum disease.  Someone like me needs to take extra care when dealing with their gums!!

Thanks mum for telling me AFTER the fact!!  So, the outlook for my gums to ever be healthy, were not good.  I was told that it was going to take a lot of work.

After that entire ordeal and given my age (too young to be losing teeth), I was put on the dental surgery watch list and had to visit the periodontist and the hygienist, every 3 months, each for an entire year (They would call me and send me letters to make sure I booked in!).  That’s 8 visits to the dental surgery in the year after my tooth extraction!

In the second year, I had to visit the hygienist every 4 months and the dentist every 6 months.  I didn’t have to see the periodontist anymore.

Now in the third year, I’m back to normal and off the watch list and back in the good books, with only the normal half yearly visits.  With each visit, I got better and better feedback and it seems, my teeth and gums are now the best they’ve ever been!! YES!!!

So what’s the routine?  How did I do it naturally?   Here’s everything you need to know:

The Routine
Morning – Oil pull
Evening – Brush, Floss, Tongue Scrape

That’s it.  The hygienist looked at me funny when I said I only brushed once a day which made me think I should up it to twice but after seeing my teeth and how clean they were, she said, “Well, if you’re doing it thoroughly, I guess once a day is enough!”

So, here’s how you do it all (thoroughly):

Oil Pull
You will need 1 x spoon (we use a teaspoon) and coconut oil.

Get a spoon  full of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 20 mins and then spit it out.

You can read up on it elsewhere for more detail (there are books on this process) and I think you’re supposed to use a tablespoon of oil but my mouth ain’t that big, so 1 tsp is enough for me.  Also, you can use different types of oil but we like to keep it simple and use coconut oil for EVERYTHING.

The long and short of it is, the oil is supposed to pick up all the toxins and bacteria in your morning-breath mouth and then you expel it all when you spit it out.

The bacteria collected by the oil will be the type that likes to infect your gums and sit in/make your cavities, plus the toxins you’ve been emitting during your sleep. ie all the stuff you don’t want in your mouth!

We oil pull first thing in the morning, every morning.

Brush
You will need 1 x electric toothbrush and my special homemade toothpowder 😉

I used to use normal/manual toothbrushes but when you have bad gums, you’re just not going to do as good a job as the electric brush and you need all the help you can get!

This is the one thing that made a huge difference to my gum health so if you don’t have one and you have bad gums, get an electric toothbrush NOW!!!  It’s worth the investment – it will be a lot cheaper than the cost of tooth extraction!  Believe me, I know!!

To brush your teeth, simply wet the brush head, dab it quickly into the toothpowder and you’re ready to brush.

The trick here is to BRUSH YOUR GUMS and not your teeth.  Angle the brush so it’s brushing that section where your gums hold onto your teeth.  The brush will massage / vibrate / jiggle the gum so anything (no matter how small) that’s sitting between the gum and tooth will come out.

You don’t want ANYTHING to sit between gum and tooth, the relationship between your gum and tooth must be tight!!!  If you let anything get in between there, it festers and it’s all over red rover –  the hygienist will have a field day.  That festering is what causes your gums to bleed.

The periodontist told  me to concentrate all the time brushing, on the gums and if I want to, I can use the last few seconds to go over my teeth but it wasn’t necessary.

How many years had I spent doing it all wrong by spending all my brushing time on my teeth?!! I wish someone told me this a long time ago.  I really do.  Now, you’ve been told!

Another thing to note is that if you have a small mouth like me, you must find a toothbrush head that is small enough to fit all the way to reach behind the very back teeth!

As for the toothpaste / powder.  We don’t use store bought toothpastes anymore because after my tongue turned black and I couldn’t taste anything for a week, I decided to opt for a more natural approach to my gum health.

I’ve been changing and tweaking my toothpowder / toothpaste recipes for the last 3 years and we’ve been using a certain recipe which I thought was awesome for about 6 months prior to this one but it has caused staining / yellowing of our teeth over time, so since it turned out not so awesome, I’ve tweaked it again.

This one I’m sharing with you now is the one that’s got the best result so far (as per my hygienist’s comments above), minus the two ingredients which I suspect were most likely to cause staining.

Toothpowder** Recipe
Put all of the following ingredients into a pestle and mortar and grind until it becomes a fine powder and mixes evenly, then put the powder into an air tight container.  I use an old lip balm container that has a screw top lid.

1/4 tsp bentonite clay
1/2 tsp himalyan salt
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/8 tsp stevia (leaf powder)
2 drops clove essential oil*
3 drops peppermint essential oil*

*I made sure to find ones that were food grade and FDA approved for ingestion.  Even though we’re not swallowing it, we’re putting it into our mouths!  If at any point you do accidentally swallow, then all the  ingredients are edible.

** Note this is a POWDER not a paste so it won’t bubble in your mouth or even be the consistency or taste of your normal toothpaste in the slightest.  If using for the first time, expect something very different.  It will taste salty (I put the stevia just to mellow the salty taste), a little grainy until it melts, with a hint of mint.  You get used to it after a while.

This powder will last 1-2 months (maybe more) because you don’t need much at all.  As mentioned, just dab a wet toothbrush head onto it and whatever sticks to the toothbrush is all you need.

While I was researching different ingredients I noticed people would get all crazy about using bicarb because it’s harsh on the tooth enamel.  When you see how little is used on the brush and the fact that we’ve been doing this for 3 years and our dentists have told us both we have zero cavities and healthy teeth and gums, from personal experience, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Floss
I use interdental brushes.  They look like tiny bottle brushes and are what you need to use if the gaps between your teeth are too wide for floss.

Tips – Use a back and forth  motion approx. 10 times per gap.

Use a mixture of floss and different sized interdental brushes depending on the size of the gaps between your teeth.  There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to interdental brushes.  For myself, I have 4 different sized interdental brushes!!

You seriously need to test all the different sizes and use the size that fits perfectly.  How do you know which that is?  Try one size and if it’s too big (it bends when you try to push it through the gap), use the size just below.  If you push the brush and it easily slides through your tooth gap, you need a bigger size.  You push the interdental brush into the base of the gap (at the gum line).

Make sure you brush (interdental) / floss YOUR GUMS.  The goal is to get any bits out from between your gum and teeth that the toothbrush missed (as per my comments on brushing).  The interdental brush must fit snuggly into the gap so it brushes your gum and the bases of both teeth, on each side of the gap, all at the same time.  The floss must slide between your gum and the tooth you’re cleaning.

My dentist recommends dental tape over floss, I can’t say from experience because as mentioned, I use interdental brushes.  If you try to use the smallest interdental brush and it just bends because it doesn’t fit in the gap, then use floss/tape.

Tongue Scrape
We use a tongue brush to get rid of any residue left on the tongue before a final rinse.  This doesn’t contribute to healthy gums but I mention it because it’s part of our oral health routine.

These days, if I’ve ever been naughty and lax in my dental hygiene and my gums start bleeding (eg. several late nights falling asleep without brushing, sleeping over at other people’s places without your toothbrush, eating lots of chips and sugar and not brushing for whatever reason like that time when Rome rabbit chewed through and severed our toothbrush charger wire so our toothbrush ran out of batteries), I pretty much can stop the bleeding and get them back to healthy and normal within 24-48 hours just  by doing what I mentioned above.

I’ve been considering making a mouthwash but after you’ve cleaned your tongue and when you feel how clean your teeth are, a mouthwash really is not that necessary.   All you’ll really need it for is to get a burst of minty fresh!

Perhaps I’ll make one just for fun.

A note if you’re just starting out / need to get back on track:
I’ve noticed that the gum bleeding and pain reduces faster, if you add a drop of clove oil into the coconut oil you use for oil pulling and oil pull using that mixture, twice a day.

For severe gum pain, rub a drop of clove oil directly onto the gum before you go to bed (as mentioned, use food grade/ingestible essential oil that is safe to put directly onto skin) and the inflammation and pain dies down / is gone by morning.

Perform all the above dental routine twice a day until your gums stop bleeding (usually 24-48hrs for me) and then you can reduce to once a day.

Note that at the beginning, the gums will hurt and they will bleed so the feeling will be to avoid rubbing them with brushes but you must persist with it.  When I brush or floss (interdental brush) and the gum bleeds or is painful, to encourage myself to continue, I imagine that the blood is pushing the gunk out with it which is a good thing!

Just know that if you continue to oil pull, brush and floss (interdental brush), every day, twice a day, the gums will be a little less inflamed each time and eventually, they will have no more gunk to push out and they will stop hurting/bleeding.

Lastly, if it doesn’t work within 24-48hrs, visit the dentist/periodontist so they can monitor your current state and progress.

I used to hate seeing the dentist because it hurt every time they prodded in my mouth, I thought I had sensitive teeth/gums but that’s the whole point, it’s actually not supposed to hurt at all.

When your gums are healthy, they won’t bleed and the dentist prodding with their sharp metal tools, doesn’t feel like anything but pressure!

So if you’ve been struggling with your gum health, I really hope this helps you get it back to healthy and if you’re currently experiencing gingivitis or periodontitis, it takes work but you can fix it.  There is hope!!

All you need are the right tools and technique!  I might have taken close to 3 years but that’s because I was experimenting with various oils and recipes for toothpastes and toothpowders and getting tooth brushing lessons from my periodontist and feedback from my hygienist on whether my tooth paste was working!

You now have all of the information, for the things that worked, in one spot so should be sorted within days/weeks!

I’ve specifically  not put any brand names, sizes or types of brushes that we use (as you need to work out the sizes for yourself), or brands of ingredients used but if you want that information as a point of reference or if you just want to use the same stuff we do, feel free to ask.

If you do try this, let me know how it works for you.  I’d be really keen to hear how you get on and how slow/quick it takes.

Right now, all Tones and I have had is each other and our periodontist, dentist and hygienist and 3 years of experimenting on ourselves experience for feedback but since it’s worked for us, I really think it can help others which is why I’m sharing the info.

May you now have naturally healthy teeth and gums!! ❤

Avoiding Bikram Yoga and now Starting to miss it

It’s a short one today just to say that I’ve been avoiding Bikram Yoga and people are noticing.

“We don’t see you in the classes anymore!”

Well, it’s simple, I’ve probably done all of 3 Bikram classes in the last 5 months.

I actually lose less hair by staying away.  That is, I now have much more hair remaining on my head because I’m not exposing myself to the heat – I drop hair like crazy in the hot room.

But there are disadvantages like I don’t get to do toe stand anymore and camels are just as non-existent.  Not that I liked camels, I hated them.  And, I’m getting fat around my belly again.  Hey ho.  You win some you lose some.

So what am I doing instead?  Yin and the occasional Vinyasa.  On the upside my hips are opening up and my crow is getting better.  I’m hating the chaturanga dandasanas but hey… you win some, you lose some!

I’m loving the yin though.  Yesterday I fell asleep and only woke up to switch postures.  Ahhhh my life feels so much more balanced when I do yin.  Being a very yang person within my entire being, the yin actually helps a lot.

So yes, I’m starting to miss Bikram yoga.  I don’t miss the heat, I miss the postures and feel like I’ve forgotten how to move my body in those ways (eg holding awkward pose).  I probably won’t be able to do any of the postures when I go to a class.

Methinks it’s time to start looking at my posture progress again to see if having spent time away has made a difference.  Curious to find out.

Has it been a week already?

When you’re young, a day feels like eternity but it seems the older you get, 1 week goes by in a blink of an eye.

Highlights of the week:

Ada’s Visit
A friend from Australia that I hadn’t seen for over a decade visited.  She was in London for less than 24 hours but still managed to squeeze me in for a catch up.

I chose a restaurant near where she was staying.  It was the German Gymnasium at Kings Cross.  They serve… German food.  Ha!

Anyway, it’s in a Grade II listed building and named German Gymnasium because the building was the first, purpose built Gymnasium in England with funding coming solely from London’s German community.

The building was built in 1865 so we ate dinner (I had a German afternoon tea) inside a 150 year old building.

Yin with Sharky
Yoga which has been my life for so long, was pretty non-existent because – January.

You have to book ALL your classes in otherwise they’re all full due to all those well-intentioned New Years Resolutions people who disappear by Feb.

I managed to book classes from mid Jan through to Feb and thought by February for sure, the classes would start being freer but it wasn’t to be.

So I have spent many days not going to yoga because the classes have been booked out and I hadn’t booked myself in, in time.

Can you imagine?  Attempting to book yourself in 2 days in advance is still not long enough.  FARK!

I did manage to get to one of Sharky’s first Yin classes and I loved it.  She did a different method to the other teachers and allowed time for “rebound” between each posture.

Rebound is a savasana in between every posture to allow whatever released in each posture, to move through and exit or integrate into, the body.

The result?  I ended up getting really teary and emotional.  I actually felt emotions releasing from my body and I was so grateful to be able to feel them so I could let them go.

It only lasted a few seconds though because as soon as Tony saw me looking teary, “WHY ARE YOU CRYING?” came out of his mouth and it was so abrupt and harsh, I immediately cut off all emotions and went back to thinking mode.

I got skillz like that.

Actually, he managed to say it just like my mother used to.  I know he said it out of concern but I heard it the way my mum said it which meant “Stop being a pussy, you have no reason to cry and if you don’t stop I’ll fucking give you a reason to cry.”  That’s the mild version. 😉

So I stopped.  IMMEDIATELY.  I’ll just have to find a way to cry at times he’s not around so I can release emotions in peace.

Paris & Rome
Another week in peace.  Both boys are really happy and binky every day.

Paris does the cutest binkies ’cause he’s so chunky like a bulldog and bottom heavy.  So he looks more like a jumping goat or ram when he binkies.

Rome has started to jump on my arm and shoulder.  Last night he sat on my shoulder and every so often would turn to lick my face – cheek, eyelid, eyebrows, temple, forehead.  Then he’d jump down and jump up onto my other shoulder and tug at my hair.

I know he’s just looking for a way over the fence and using me as a viewing platform but I like to think we’ve developed a good bond plus I’m loving all my bunny kisses!  He loves kissing my nose.

He’s still incredibly mischievous, spends a lot of his time in meerkat position, listening out for what Paris might be doing and he’s completely chewed up the skirting board instead of the chew mat we gave him because he thinks breaking the skirting board will help him escape the fence.

We keep him fenced because although the more loving of the two, he’s also the trouble maker.

He is so curious he gets himself into all sorts of trouble – biting things he shouldn’t, falling off things he shouldn’t have jumped on in the first place and starting fights by annoying the crap out of Paris by not letting him have space.

The other day he fell down the stairs 3 times in one day (that I saw)all because he kept standing on 2 feet on the edge of the step and then leaning backwards.  Don’t ask.

He’s been contained in the hallway with plenty of run space including the stairs and the bathroom but it doesn’t stop him from attempting to  break the fence and looking for FREEDOM!!!

I’m also having a battle of the bathroom with him.

After a week of watching Tony and I go toilet (he’s in the hallway so we have to pass him every single time and sometimes he follows us into the bathroom), he stopped pissing and pooing anywhere but the bathroom!

He just chose to go in the shower because he can’t reach the toilet.

Unfortunately, we have to keep clearing his poo and pee before we have a shower and he gets very frustrated with us because every time we clean it, we’re effectively saying he’s not allowed to pee and poo there, and therefore he has nowhere to go toilet.

So then of course he’ll poo and pee outside of the shower as well as in the shower, using the entire bathroom floor as his toilet which makes it difficult for us to go in there and use the toilet ourselves.

I put a litter in the bathroom for him and it’s taken a couple of days but I think he’s coming around to the idea that this is his new place to go toilet because there is much less poo anywhere but the litter.

Although the chew mat I bought is completely intact for Rome, Paris’ is almost completely torn apart and non-existent.

Paris actually only chews the things we give him to chew and he knows EXACTLY which is for him and which is not.

A perfect example is that he has a cardboard box he chews on, we give them cardboard boxes a lot.  Yet, I’ve left cardboard boxes full of my eBay stock out right next to his play area without any fences.

He can walk right up to them and start chewing on them, pissing on them, whatever he likes really and he leaves them untouched!

He has identified what is ok for him and what will get him into trouble and he really has behaved himself so we’ve removed the fence and he’s running “free range”.

He actually just stays in his area!!  He’s recently started to explore under the couch but he has steered clear of the hallway and gone nowhere near the only fence that keeps him apart from Rome.

So far so good.  Unsure how long this will last but we’ll see.

Paris has also started to approach us more and nudges us for treats which is much better than running away!

Still hates getting patted but he tolerates it a bit more before running away.  He also has no problems standing on our feet when he’s begging and asking us for treats.  We didn’t teach him, he just does it.

Overall we have 2 very happy bunnies and we’re finally starting to understand their personalities.

Because only their scent is on their stuff, they’re not marking territory as much as they used to.

That means there’s barely any poo outside of their litter and hutch and they’re not pissing outside of their designated litters at all.  I knew they were supposed to be easy to toilet train!!

All they needed was to be separated and feel safe about what is THEIR space.

Our house no longer smells as bad (either that or I’m used to it) and I’m back to normal amounts of laundry.

That makes 2 good weeks in a row with them out of 5.5 weeks together.  It was a hectic start but we’re getting there!! YES!!

Last thing… last night I attempted to feed them rocket (again, I think it was my 3rd attempt at feeding them rocket, probably the 15th time to attempt to feed them some sort of fresh veg) and THEY ATE IT!!!!  That was their first ever fresh vegetable they’ve eaten.

And to test trust, I held the rocket with my mouth and had them eat it from me.  BOTH of them did it which means they’re both cool with sharing food with me.

YES!  After many weeks of rejection, I finally got acceptance.

I can’t have asked for more.  Patience, persistence, trust and love. That’s what these boys are teaching me.

And restraint… I’m learning restraint.  Sometimes I wish I could just SQUEEZE them and smother them with kisses because they’re so damned CUTE but that’s probably why they don’t let me hold them!

Here is a picture of them when they used to get along:

Paris & Rome

 

 

This is them in rapport even when separated.

sleepy-paris
Sleepy baby Paris
Sleepy Rome
Sleepy baby Rome. Notice the completely intact chew mat next to him (on the right) and our chewed up door frame (on the left). That’s just paint on the door snake.

 

Seriously, Tony skyped me one pic while he was with Paris in the lounge and Rome was doing the exact same thing while with me in the hallway!  In rapport, even when apart – there is hope for them yet!

I love my Dentist!

The dentist was updating my medical records today and asked me if I was allergic to certain things and then if I had to avoid certain toothpastes because of it…
Me:  Well, I don’t actually know because I don’t use any store bought toothpastes.
*awkward pause*
I don’t know if I should tell you but I make my own tooth paste and tooth powders.  I’ve been doing so for over a year now.
Dentist:  Really?  WELL, you’re the first person I’ve ever come across to make their own toothpaste.  What do you put in it?
I tell him, he seems to be confused by the list of ingredients I’ve given him (bentonite clay, bicarb, salt and cloves are in my latest concoction.. ie food.  My tooth cleaning powder is made of food).  He just becomes really eager to look into my mouth to see the effects of my DIY job.
I panic.  Time of reckoning.  That tooth powder better have bloody worked!!  He knows now so he’ll be looking!!!!
I chipped a tooth 4 months ago too.  I hope he doesn’t think it was my tooth powder.
He checks my mouth, he checks my teeth, he checks my gums.
Dentist:  Well, apart from the chip, your teeth are good.  You have zero cavities from what I can see.  And your gums are really good.  Whatever it is you’re using, just keep using it!  I’m really intrigued!
I’m relieved.  Actually even impressed.
I’m impressed that he was OK with me being “all natural” and DIY-ing my oral health as long as it was doing the job.
I’m impressed that the only time the dentists and hygienists have ever said my teeth and gums were good were now… when I’ve been DIY-ing my toothpaste!!!
I’m impressed that the chip in my tooth has been there for 4 months and actually left a hole where lots of food and sugar can actually go in and get trapped, to cause plaque build up and gum infection and yet even through xmas and travelling holidays, I have nothing wrong there at all.
Considering my long term suffering and history with gum disease and the fact I’m now on high alert with the dentist when it comes to my gums, I’m impressed that he’s telling me they’re in good shape!!!
For any dentists out there…. my scoring code was 0 everywhere except for back right top (’cause I’ve been eating a lot of chips lately) which scored 1.  That’s pretty phenomenal for someone who lost a tooth due to gum disease and had to have frequent quarterly visits with the periodontist for over a year.
I’m impressed he looked at my chipped tooth and knew I did it by grinding my teeth at night.  I told him I’ve had several mouth guards and grind so hard, I’ve chewed holes in them which is why I stopped wearing them and that I’ve chipped a different tooth before just by tooth grinding at night. as well.
I’m impressed he treated me like I was normal and just gave me better mouth guard options for my strong jaws!  😉
Overall I really like my dentist and am impressed with his open mindedness to my oral hygiene practices.  I’m also now really REALLY happy with my DIY tooth powder too.
Finally I can see the light at the end of this long dark tunnel.  My oral health will be tip top perfect really soon!!!  Thank you God!

Handstand – It’s the little things!

Yesterday I did my first ever handstand without a wall!

Can you believe it?  I’m so excited about it I was beaming from ear to ear after class.

So first of all, I have to clarify, I did my first ever handstand about 2 years ago.  It was against a wall where I faced the wall and I got there by doing almost a cartwheel with the wall preventing me from flipping backwards.

That is, I used momentum to get myself up, the wall as a break and held myself up by sheer will, using my heels to grip the wall so I wouldn’t fall side ways.

I have done handstands since but very rarely because I’ve been such a scaredy-cat about them.  I always think I might bust a hole in the wall from kicking too hard so every time I did a handstand against a wall, I’d climb my feet up slowly.

So, I faced away from the wall, touched my toes, put my hands on the ground, then walked my feet up the wall.  This too was a rare event because I’d only be confident doing this with someone around, in case I fell.

Also, I’d keep my toes on the wall and never take them off so I was never actually upright, always on an angle.

Yesterday however,  we were asked to do handstands with a partner.  The partner’s role was simply to touch your legs when you kicked up so you could gauge how far you had to kick to be upright.  Once you were up, your partner just had to keep your legs in place (not by holding you but by keeping their hands near your legs,  just to give you confidence that they will catch you or stop you from falling over).

I have no idea what happened.  I kicked up once, twice and then on the third time, my leg tapped my partner’s hand and the next thing I know, both legs were up and I felt like I was flying.

“You did it!” she said.

“I did it??” I screamed back.

Partner:  “Yes, this is all you!  You’re doing it!”

Me while upside down in a handstand, getting really excited:  “I AM???!!!”

Partner:  “Yes!  You’re doing great!  Are you getting tired?  Do you want to come down?”

Me:  “Um… no, but yeah, oh… yeah OK I’ll come down.”

It was the strangest thing, when I was back on my feet, my partner told me that she didn’t hold me up, that I was doing it all on my own.  It was hard for me to understand.

Here’s the thing.  When I’ve done handstands against a wall, it’s HEAVY.  My arms and shoulders hurt and tire easily.  I feel my entire weight of my body and legs all on my arms, wrists and shoulders.

However, without a wall, I felt no weight… that’s what I  meant by I felt like I was flying.  I don’t know what happened or how I did it.  I can only guess that I stacked my bones up to get the right balance.

I attempted kicking up with the opposite leg.  I was having a really hard time with it.  The worst part was that the rest of the class has finished theirs and so were watching me and cheering me on.

I think my partner had to collect the kicking leg (ie catch it and pull it up) and put my legs in line with each other.  Not as great as my first leg but I still managed to hold myself up there.

I tell you what, I’ve never in my life EVER done a handstand by myself.  Not as a kid, not as an adult.  But now, for the first time ever, I can see it as a possibility for me.

You know, it’s not the full posture and I didn’t do it by myself but it made my week.  I think that’s all you need to be happy in life.  Progress, possibility, learning new things and little wins!!

 

Introducing Myself and You To The Sauce (Psoas)

My first introduction to the Psoas was by Sofia Vergara, when I watched this video of her playing “5 Second Rule” with Ellen DeGeneres.

Here is the clip, though she doesn’t introduce us to the Psoas until 5:14

To any person who was unfamiliar with the Psoas prior to watching that video, she definitely said “sauce” right?!  What a strange muscle to mention.

Now I know of its’ importance, I understand why she mentioned it and I question why it isn’t more commonly known.

However,  after looking into it, it seems to be something that people write books about.  I was just one of those common people who was oblivious to the mighty Psoas or Sauce if you are Sofia Vergara!

So last night I went to my first i.flo class with Baris Yazar and died.  I’m not talking about dying like Taylor Swift fans who claim to be “deaded” when they see her either.

I’m talking about, not-being-able-to-do-a-push-up-or-a-sit-up-to-save-my-life-and-so-I-died kind of dead.

You would think having done yoga, I’d be able to do a push up right?  Well, no.  Unfortunately, Bikram yoga offers no familiarity nor acquaintance with Mr Chaturanga and my big shoulders have proven that they are simply ornamental.

Add to that my 9 weeks off of any form of exercise and me only just easing my way back into exercising 3 times a week this week and you’ll get an idea of how much I died.

Having said that, i.flo was fun and it pointed out certain malfunctioning muscles of mine.  Namely, my second and most important introduction to the sauce.  Psoas.  Sauce.  “What did I say wrong?!”

i.flo highlighted my psoas’ existence because it appeared to be non-existent.

So let me tell you what I know about Mr Sauce so far.

The Psoas / Iliopsoas muscle is important to human movement.  It’s the muscle that helps you run, jump and walk by flexing your hip.  It connects the inside to the outside and the back to the front.  It connects your spine to your legs!

iliopsoasThat’s a picture I googled for illustrative purposes.

From the picture above, you can see the Psoas major connects to the Lumbar Spine (lower back) and then comes forward to the front of the body.  There is also another muscle called the Illiacus muscle which is attached to the illium (pelvic bone) and also comes to the front.

120px-iliacus_muscle_-_animation05

The Illiacus muscle is shown in the GIF above, in red.

Both the Psoas major and the Illiacus muscles combine at the front and are called the Iliopsoas.  They (Iliopsoas) share the same ligament which connects to the inner pelvis.

As mentioned, the Psoas connects your spine to your legs.  If it works, you should be able to do an L-sit.  Contract the Psoas and your legs will lift up towards your spine.  Mine did no such thing.  “My sauce is weak!”

Yes, the L-sit also requires arm, ab and leg strength but the only thing that’s going to get your legs higher, will be a mightily contracted psoas muscle.  It is the secret psoas!  (Did you see what I did there?  Ha!  I’m slapping my thigh and giving myself a high five right now!)

Next, Baris said, “Lay down on your back with your legs straight and your lower back flat on the floor.  No banana backs.”  He then gave a demonstration.

I’m a stickler for following instructions but no matter what I did and how much I tried to round my back, I had a little bridge – a banana back.  There was ALWAYS a gap between the floor and my lower back while my legs were straight.  The only way I could eliminate that gap and have my back flat on the floor was to bend my knees.

psoasanteriortilt See that picture?  I got that from SequenceWiz about Stretching the Psoas and it’s a good read so head on over there for more info.

That diagram totally explains the back curvature I have and why I couldn’t get my lower back flat on the floor.  Low and behold, the Psoas is involved again!

According to this picture, the psoas has been overstretched, constantly being pulled forward and downward, due to the pelvic tilt, taking the spine with it.

The result is a curved spine, duck bum and an overstretched psoas.   Overstretched muscles fatigue easily.  It’s hard for them to contract back to normal (let alone tightly) when they’ve gone too far one way.  “So that‘s why my sauce is weak!”

So here’s some more info about the sauce.  The Psoas regulates spinal and pelvic alignment but it isn’t strong enough to do it on its own.

When the surrounding muscles such as the abdominals, glutes, spine and quads are tight or weak, the pelvic bone will tilt one way or another and the Psoas will get pulled or contract depending on the angle of the pelvis and spine.

It will, attempt to regulate but there’s only so much it can do, poor psoas, with so many things pulling it up, down, front and back.  Eventually, it all becomes too much and it can’t do its’ job, one of the stronger / tighter outer muscles will win and imbalances form in the lower body.

psoasbackpullSo my understanding now is that a happy psoas takes a lot of work.  It seems it will only be happy when all the surrounding muscles are also co-operating instead of pulling against each other.

Happy and balanced outer muscles will make for a happy and effectively functioning psoas.  Once it’s functioning happily, then it can be strengthened.

More research will have to be done on my part to figure out which muscles I need to strengthen, stretch and how but there you are.

Now that I’ve introduced you, I leave you to get to know your own psoas better.  It’s worth getting to know because knowing and understanding your psoas will actually help you work out how to re-balance your entire lower body!

Voila!  You are very welcome.