To Feel Again

Nina twirling in a green dress in mexico at azulik uh may

To Finally Feel

cat paw

Here is an excerpt from a time where I was moving through a deep healing, allowing years of suppressed emotions in my very active Solar Plexus to come up and be expressed and released. I wanted to share this because I don’t know that people truly understand what it means to “decondition.” It’s a truly deep and transformational process of unbecoming and shedding layers of identities in order to truly step into your highest self. And as an emotional authority/being, this has been my process. To finally feel my emotions, to allow them to move through my body. To not be ashamed of how I was feeling, and to cry when I needed to cry, and to express how I felt by using my voice. I’ve never known how to do that. 

I suffered from chronic digestion issues and no diet or supplement or plant medicine under the sun did anything to help. It’s only then that I realized I had to go within, that nothing external could “heal” me. I know everyone’s journey is so different, and in my case, it was years of unprocessed emotions that were making me constipated and making the lymph nodes around my neck so swollen because I didn’t know how to express myself (among other things). There was nowhere for my emotions to go.

I am speaking specifically about the Solar Plexus, and when in an unhealthy state, can cause chronic health issues. It isn’t just a dumpster – it’s a motor and it needs to process and move what is being filtered through it. When there is no way to express emotions, there is build up and stagnation, sitting there for years until you realize something isn’t right.

And when you do, it’s not an overnight fix. it’s not fun, and it’s not pretty, and its scary and confusing and some days you feel like you are losing your mind because you are learning how to actually FEEL again. To feel and not have any judgement towards it. And it takes time. There might be days where you are crying non stop, and weeks where you just want to laugh all of the time. This is the journey of the emotional wave – you MUST learn to feel your emotions and to embrace them, to allow them to flow THROUGH you, and to not stay inside. This is the beauty of the Solar Plexus. It’s here to provide depth, and this is its process.

So know you aren’t alone, you aren’t crazy, you aren’t overemotional. You are just a human being who was taught to judge your greatest gift.

So go feel – feel it all.   

Excerpt from the diaries of a healing Emotional Manifestor

When a person truly gives themself space and time and stillness to sit with and process and untangle years of pain and suppressed emotions, it’s not an overnight healing journey. The pain can come up in so many ways and at any time.

It can bubble up and burst, crying in a yoga class or just walking down the street. It can come up in the form of deep anger or regret and a deep need to talk or shout it out or punch a pillow.

And maybe you sit in that anger and sadness for a few days or a week, as long as you need to.

The important thing is that you are finally allowing yourself to feel, to feel the years of madness that you pushed down & repressed for so long, not allowing yourself the luxury to fully express yourself.

But now…

It’s time. You can let it all out. And you may feel reckless and up and down and depressed and manic, and your friends may be concerned because of what you are saying to them and how you are feeling and expressing yourself, but I want to say to you…

how beautiful it is that you are allowing yourself to finally feel.

Be up, be down, be happy, laugh for no reason, and cry to release that lump in your throat that always seems to show up when you don’t feel loved or cared for. These feelings are coming up to be felt, to be free from the prison they’ve been in. Stuck in tiny pockets within your body, showing up as aches or disorders or lumps or sickness.

And until we allow ourselves to be open and vulnerable and to be wild and free and crazy, we will hold in this pain and sickness, wondering why our multivitamin and expensive juices aren’t healing us.

And it’s because they can’t.

Only you can heal yourself.

Only you can go within and begin to release those pockets of pain stored so deeply in the crevices of your body. Only you can allow these emotions to surface, to be seen, to be felt, to be loved.

And then, and only then, can you begin to heal.

little by little.

poco y poco.

Taking one step in front of the other, day by day, feeling like you are moving through quicksand, with no solid land or help in sight. But you are committed. You committed to this work, and you’ll see it through. 

Some days you’ll sink, and some days you’ll make sense of the wild, crazy, path you are on. And in the end, when you’ve gone through the hero’s journey, when you’ve cried all of the tears and screamed the pain out and you’ve laughed all of the joy, you’ll find your peace. In that emptiness, in that space of purification, you will find your peace. That big, empty hole will feel dangerously lonely at first, but it’s not. It’s freedom and liberation and space to create and build a new you, a space to fill with new emotions and feelings and a life that you want…. And you’ll realize that you never heeded to hold onto any of what you just released, because it was filling that hole that needed to house the freedom that you so desperately ached for in your life. 

This space is so sacred.

It’s a turning point in one’s life. It’s a reclamation of life, of love, of creativity. This space is a representation of the work and the healing and the experiences you’ve lived and finally…. let go.

When a person has the strength and the courage to let go of such big things, you know the love they carry for themselves. To face and to feel and to love all that was within them, yet releasing it all, becoming weightless, valuing themselves so much that they hold onto nothing, yet love and value all that they are and what they’ve been through. 

This is strength. This is service – not just to ones self, but to humanity. To dig so deeply and go so far into the depths of themselves that they come out on the other side, no longer the same person, yet open and free, discovering the love they had within all along.

And in that realization, there isn’t just love for ones self. There is love for all. Because when a person seeks and goes so deeply, they can’t help but come out loving everything and everyone. To experience it all – the pain, the sadness, the happiness, the anger, the neutrality… to face it all, at such an intensity, they can’t help but develop deep compassion and softness and love for any that come across their path. For they know what it feels like, to feel so deeply, and that compassion shows up as pure love, as  gentleness, or a hug in vulnerable moments. It shows up as a smile, a kiss, and a feeling of gratitude and respect for all there is. 

How could you not love someone deep in the throws of addiction after discovering ones own unmet needs of love? Of experiencing abandonment or rejection as a child, realizing that addictions just come from that lost place of a child’s yearning for love and connection? When one goes into the depths of their pain, it becomes healing for all.

And this is when the healed becomes the healer.

My 6th Line Experience

Nina Elise Barcelona Sunset

My 6th Line Experience as a 4/6 Emotional Manifestor

When I look back on my 1st 3rd line phase with my now awareness of being “on the roof”, all I can say is OOF. The amount of times I jumped into something 150% and made 3953290235 mistakes without having the awareness of what I was doing is ridiculous. I’m not mad about it – now, I can gratefully reflect on the first 30 years of my life with more knowledge of WHY my life was the way that it was and the many lessons I learned.

My 6th line is unconscious, which is why I was so lost in the trial-by-error phase of my life. However, as I learn more about Human Design, I am developing a deeper awareness of the unconscious aspects of my design.

Try harder would be a great way to describe my first 30 years. Everything I did, it seemed to never be good enough (my completely open heart played a role in this as well). The companies I launched never seemed to be successful, I didn’t make a lot of money, even though I did everything right by the books. I was really hard on myself for it, and felt like a complete screw-up at times.

Resiliency is definitely something 3rd lines develop naturally, but as a 6th line in their first phase, it can feel very defeating. We just can’t take as much as true 3rd lines.

There was a shift between the ages of 29 to 32 that I felt very deeply – groups of friends changing, relationships ending, my need to go out and try everything, my need to physically try new things – all began to diminish. It was like I was slowly climbing a ladder onto the roof, looking back on the life I used to live, wanting to live it, but was being pushed forward to chill the eff out. It felt a bit like pulling teeth. I wasn’t sure WHY I didn’t have the same drive to travel, to experience new things, to hang out with the same people… and the more I tried to do it, the more resistance I felt within and around me.

I felt the biggest shift at 32 – I had to stop running, because of a chronic injury in my right side that cramped up. I kept trying to surf, but was getting knocked on my butt every.single.time. until a freak accident of tearing ligaments in my foot made me sit still for a few months. It seemed that everything I was trying to do, I was being told to STOP. To reflect on my life, and see what was worth doing, or not. What was I doing that wasn’t necessary? What could I change?

It felt a bit foreign, as I still longed for the feeling my old adventures provided me, but there was a new me emerging. I didn’t feel as strong of a pull to DO. I just wanted to sit back and observe. I wanted to evaluate why I did the things I did, and determine if they were still of value to me. I became very picky about the people I hung out with. I stopped talking to people I didn’t want to talk to. This climbing onto the roof thing was not something I could control – it was just an organic emergence of a deeper shift, something that provided more meaning and consciousness to the decisions I made in my life. 

I’m finding that it is reallllly cozy up here. Does something or someone add value to my life? Is it worth my time? I am a lot more picky, but it feels right. It’s like I’ve been given a chance to curl up on a cozy couch and just people watch for the next 15 years. How could anyone say no to that?

And while this roof thing it’s still new for me, I am fully embracing it for as long as I can. I’ve heard Ra talk about 6th lines that come off the roof become 3rd lines again. Definitely with more awareness, but I think I’ll enjoy my time up here for now ;).

Want to learn more about being a 6th line? Watch experiential videos on being a 6th line here. You can also follow along on IG here

Manifestors are Cats

cat with glasses
cat paw
  • We do our own thing
  • We will find you if we need something or want your attention
  • If you get too clingy, bye!
  • Everyone stares when we walk into a room
  • Watch out for our claws
  • If you try to keep us captive, we will resist
  • We’re independent
  • Not afraid to fight
  • Self-sufficient
  • You either love us or hate us
  • We move quick when we get an urge to do something
  • We can be feisty, but deep down we are cuddly and sweet
  • Others are impacted by our presence
  • We carry a sense of regalness & DGAF attitude
  • We are loyal to those who nurture but give us space
  • We ignore people we don’t want to engage with
  • We only remember what is beneficial to us
  • We make the first move
  • We make soothing, gentle sounds when happy
  • We nap in the middle of the day
  • We disappear for several days without telling anyone

Manifestors & Space

Nina Elise sitting on a fallen tree on a beach in Washington

Ever since I was little, I loved being alone. I would go off for hours at a time, dancing in nature, playing dress up, and serving tea to my stuffed animals. It was a time for my creativity to come out, to get lost in my own world so that something beautiful could be birthed.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like people – in fact, I loved being around people. However, I needed time to retreat, to recharge, to get lost in the flow so I could tap into my own frequency. My energy needed to be protected, which my aura did a lot for me, but to be in my own space – that was heaven. There was no outside energy trying to take my energy, no conditioning in my open centers, no one trying to control me. Space always felt like a relief – no outside static or noise that could disrupt me refilling my tank or interrupt the process of my next creative urge.

*Side note – I feel like Manifestors carry a lot of similarities to 2nd lines, no matter what profile our charts show. We can really exhibit hermit-like tendencies, where we retreat and learn and create and grow until it’s time to step outside of our cave and share/initiate what we’ve been working on.

It became an issue when I moved in with my first long-term partner in my 20’s (an MG) – the closer the proximity, the more I needed to go off and explore and do my own thing without being interrupted. I became frustrated and angry and a ticking time-bomb, unaware of the need to inform or share my feelings. That relationship ended, and 2 years later, I found myself in a similar situation with a Projector. For 5+ years, we lived in various 1 bedroom, 800 square foot apartments. The penetrating aura of my projector partner became increasingly intense, and since I still hadn’t learned about HD, I repeated the same patterns. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. Why did I want to be alone all of the time?? And the more I pushed away, the more energetically I felt trapped and smothered in the relationship. When I learned about HD, it changed everything. It took time, but I let go of that looping thought that there was something wrong with me. It was purely mechanics – no ones fault.

After leaving my last relationship, I felt so free. I had all of the space in the world, and I loved it! I consciously chose to be alone as I embarked on my deconditioning process in order to reflect on aspects of myself that I had previously judged or reflected. I had gotten so lost in the person I was around 24/7, that I didn’t even know myself anymore. And the parts that I saw, I was constantly rejecting and judging them.

Having time to take a step back and reflect, it’s provided clarity on what I need the most: space!

When I get close to people who get attached, I NEED to get away from them. The more others try to pull me close, the more I will push away. I feel smothered. This is why, as Manifestors, we have such a powerful aura. It is here to protect us, to block others from dipping into our beautiful energy stores (that are meant for our creative urges!). We aren’t here to be a crutch for others. We aren’t meant to be an all-you-can-eat energy buffet. We aren’t available 24/7. As soon as are, we are drained. We become angry and resentful – especially when we aren’t informing.

Because of this, I’ve realized that the more space you give a Manifestor, the more love and appreciation and loyalty you will get from us. When we have time and space to decompress, we have more energy – and are able to embody and step into our power and lead the way.

This clarity has provided insight for anyone I enter into a relationship with. I need time alone. I need to inform others. I need the freedom to explore and to bop around without resistance.

I understand there are many aspects of a person’s chart that may affect the amount of space a Manifestor may need. As a quad right, I absolutely need to be in flow in order to tap into my gifts. I’ve witnessed Manifestors who are more left need less space. And when my 12/22 is NOT feeling social… just don’t even try to come near me. I will retreat into my cave until my mood has shifted. That melancholic time is needed in order for creativity to be birthed.

And while everyday provides more and more clarity as to how I best operate as a Manifestor, I am still learning. I am on the roof in my 2nd 6th line phase, so I am learning less through doing, and more through observing. It’s such a beautiful process. Human Design has given me so much – mainly the awareness to really see ME. And to accept ALL of me, and to work with it.

A lot of times that means letting things and people and hobbies and jobs go, which is not an easy thing for anyone to do. But I feel more and more committed, every day, to doing what feels good. To move in the direction of such total alignment within myself, that my physical health issues continue to disappear. That my emotional waves become easier to observe, and that my creative gifts emerge from my time alone. I decided at the beginning of my HD journey that I would choose a life that I wanted, no matter what. It’s been a bumpy ride, but it’s been the most empowering, liberating, and happiest time of my life. And all I needed was a little space ;).

Yoga Poses After Knee Surgery

Yoga for Knee Surgery Recovery

Hi Everyone!

In this blog post, I am going to go over a handful of yoga poses that you can safely do (or do with modifications) post-knee surgery. This is more specifically aimed towards those who are recovering from ACL Reconstruction surgery, but can also be applied to anyone looking to get back into yoga after recovering from a knee injury or surgery.

Before I begin, I must preface with – please check with your surgeon and/or physical therapist before getting back into yoga post-surgery! They will have a MUCH better idea of where you are at in your recovery process, and can recommend which movements are safe and effective for you. I am not a physical therapist or a doctor – the yoga postures I am posting about are purely recommendations for those who are in a safe and stable place in their recovery (or on a structured path for their recovery). These are postures I have chosen based on my knowledge of the body (as a yoga teacher and personal trainer), and from my own yoga journey post-ACL surgery. Everyone is different, so please go slowly and at your own risk!

With that being said – the ONLY person who knows how your body feels, is YOU. While my surgeon and PT didn’t know much about yoga while I was going through my recovery process, I listened to their advice and ventured slowly, listening to my body and did not force myself into any poses.

If any of the postures are difficult to get into, please pause and check in with yourself to see if maybe you can hold off on entering that pose at this moment in your recovery. OR, maybe you just need a wall or chair, something to help you balance in case you fall out.  If any of the poses cause any pain, please stop immediately and consult with your surgeon and/or physical therapist.

Ok Great! Let’s Begin.

Depending on where you are at in your recovery, some of these poses may be easier than others. And that’s ok! Recovering from an injury is incredibly humbling, and the best way for the body to heal and strengthen is to GO SLOW and love on your body! Check in with yourself before, during, and after each pose, and see how you physically feel. Stop or modify when needed. If you feel comfortable in these poses and are coming along nicely in your recovery, feel free to hold these postures longer, or begin to piece them together for an actual yoga flow.

The poses in this post are obviously not every yoga pose out there, but these are some postures I explored when starting out post-surgery. If you have any questions on other poses not mentioned, leave a comment below!

If it is helpful for you to have someone instruct you, check out the free ACL recovery yoga videos on my Youtube channel here.

If you need more structure, I  created a 2-month Yoga for Knee Surgery Recovery course that progresses you starting at 3+ months post-surgery. This is for anyone who is committed & looking to improve their ROM, strength, and flexibility.

Seated/On the Ground Postures

Upward Facing Dog

This pose can take a little longer to get back to, as it puts pressure on the knee and can feel a little weird while your body is still recovering. I recommend only doing this posture if you are at least 3-4 months post-knee surgery.

In the meantime, you can stick with low cobra for a heart-opening & back-strengthening alternative.

low cobra

Benefits: Opens up the front body, upper back, and shoulders. Engages the glutes & quads.

Modification: Low Cobra

locust pose

Benefits: Strengthens the upper and lower back, improves shoulder flexibility, engages the glutes and quads

Locust Pose

This can be easily done around 2+ months post-op. If laying on your stomach/knee bothers you, place a blanket or something soft under your knee.

Seated Forward Fold

This is a gentle stretch that can be done 2+ months post-op. Start with bent knees, and allow yourself to fold over the legs without force. By keeping your knees bent, you are releasing any tension in the back, which helps you stretch deep in the belly of the hamstring muscles.

seated forward fold

Benefits: opens up the hamstrings and calves, releases tension in the lower back

Janu Sirsasana with block
Janu Sirsasana

Benefits: Opens up the hip joint, hamstrings, and lower back

Janu Sirsasana

This pose can be done in a few ways 2-3 months post-op. Remember it’s ok to bend the knee in this stretch, as this allows for a safer and deeper stretch in the hamstrings.
1. Full expression is one bent knee, folding over the other leg
2. If there is pain or limited ROM, place a block/pillow/blanket under the knee
3. For a lower back stretch, walk your hands to the outside of the straight leg

Seated Twist

This posture can be done safely 2.5-4 months post-op, depending on where your ROM is. Go slowly, and don’t force. Keep your spine straight, and breathe deeply.

seated twise

Benefits: Opens up the spine, shoulders, and side body. This helps to free up any tightness in the muscles attached to the hip, which can restrict movement down to your knees.

reclined knee to chest

Benefits: stretches the lower back, stabilizes and stretches the pelvis, improves digestion (and helps release stuck air! haha)

Reclined Knee to Chest

Try this posture 2+ months post-op. Depending on your ROM, this may be easier or more difficult. Be patient – the goal here isn’t to force. This posture has benefits other than bending the knee 🙂

Downward Facing Dog

This pose is a little bit trickier, as it requires a little more upper body strength and flexibility. If you feel comfortable supporting yourself, go ahead and try this around 2.5+ months post-op. Keep the knees bent and play around with gently straightening out the leg. As you ROM and strength in your leg improves, this pose will get easier.

downward facing dog

Modification: Place hands on an elevated surface, like a couch or chair, and come into a down dog shape

Benefits: Opens up the entire fascial tissue from your heels all the way up to the back of your neck and head, stretches the calves & hamstrings, opens up the shoulders and back

Standing Postures

chair pose

Benefits: Strengthens legs and core, opens up and strengthens shoulders

Chair Pose

This is a pose you can do earlier on around 2 months post-op, as it doesn’t require a lot of strength. However, if you struggle with balance, make sure to have a wall or chair nearby to help out. As you get stronger, you can try lifting your heels and balancing on your toes.

Crescent Lunge

Depending on where you are at post-surgery, I recommend holding off on crescent lunge, as it requires more balance + leg & core strength. If you feel confident, give this a try around 2-2.5 months post-op. If you struggle with balance, have something nearby to hold onto for support. If you need a little more time, wait 3+ months post-op.

crescent lunge

Benefits: Strengthens the legs, improves ROM in the knee, stretches the hip flexors, Strengthens and opens the shoulders

tree pose

Modifications: Keep toes on ground or at ankle

Benefits: Strengthens core, legs, and improves balance

Tree Pose

Tree pose can be done a few different ways at different times in your recovery. Start off modified, with your foot still on the ground or at your ankle, with something nearby to hold onto. I recommend starting out at 2 months post-op, then work your way up to a full expression once you have more ROM in your knee and improved hip mobility. Don’t ever place your foot on the inside of your knee – only above or below.

Pyramid Pose

Pyramid pose can be done with modifications 2.5+ months post-op. Make sure you have blocks or something to support you on both sides of your leg, and keep your knee bent. Don’t fully straighten the leg in this posture so early on in your recovery, as it will put too much pressure on the knee joint. Wait until 4+ months post-op to really work on straightening the leg.

If doing the other way around with your “good” leg, make sure to keep the recovering knee bent, with more of the weight shifted to the front foot.

pyramid pose

Modifications: bend knee, use blocks

Benefits: stretches hamstrings and lower back

warrior 2

Benefits: strengthens the inner thigh, quads, glutes, and core

Warrior 2

This is a trickier pose, as it puts pressure on the knee and puts your new ACL to the test. Because of this, I recommend waiting 3.5-4+ months post-op + have decent strength in your quads.

If you are doing this posture with your “good” leg forward, wait until 3+ months post-op, making sure to keep a slight bend in the back leg + put a little more weight in the front foot.

Side Angle

Side angle is another tricky pose, as it puts pressure on the knee and also tests out your new ACL. I recommend holding off on this posture until 3.5-4+ months post-op, as this posture requires more leg + core strength. If you are lacking in the strength, you can put too much pressure on the knee or fall out of the posture, putting yourself at risk for reinjuring yourself.

If you are doing this posture with your “good” leg forward, wait until 3+ months post-op, making sure to keep a slight bend in the back leg + put a little more weight in the front foot.

side angle

Benefits: Strengthens the core, legs, and opens up the side body & pelvis

triangle

Modification: bent leg + block

Benefits: Stretches & opens up the side body and hip, strengthens the legs and core

Triangle

Triangle pose is a bit more difficult, as it can put a lot of pressure on the knee. Even when bending the leg, you can end up dumping a lot of weight into the knee, especially if you don’t have the upper body & core strength. I recommend waiting until 4+ months post-op to really get back into this pose, and always have a slight bend in the knee w/ a block or something underneath the hand to give you support. NEVER lock your knee out in this pose!

If you are doing this posture with your “good” leg forward, wait until 3+ months post-op, making sure to keep a slight bend in the back leg + shift a little more weight into the front foot.

And that’s it! I hope this was helpful to anyone going through an ACL surgery, or recovering from any knee injury! It’s so important to check in with your body when embarking on any new exercise routine, so go slow, be kind to yourself, and don’t push yourself to do anything that your body may not be ready for.

ACL Guides

If you enjoyed reading about these yoga postures and are ready to get back into yoga after knee surgery, head over to ACLYoga.com and sign up for The Stronger Knee™ Yoga Course.

You’ll also receive a free copy of The Complete ACL Surgery Recovery Guide, which has a complete timeline of my own recovery, every single physical therapy exercises I did week by week through month 6, how I decided what graft to get, and more!

This course can be done at any time 3-months post-op and out, and includes weekly yoga videos that progresses you along in your recovery (in addition to your physical therapy!). The course will help strengthen the body, improve range of motion, balance, and flexibility, and build overall confidence as you recover.

How to Improve Your Posture

Do you sometimes feel like you are a slumped-over, hunch-back-of-a-human? Are your shoulders rounded, and you don’t know how to sit up straight without consciously putting your attention on your posture?

This is something I’ve struggled with in the past, and I’m here to tell you – there is hope! Having rounded shoulders is normally due to a muscle imbalance, which can be fixed fairly easily when consistently doing specific exercises to strengthen & lengthen specific muscles. 

So why do we have rounded shoulders?? One of the biggest causes is sitting at a computer for a large amount of our day, as well as looking at our phones.

 

I like to explain the anatomy part, as I firmly believe it creates a very strong mind-body connection. It helps you do each exercise with more intention, and allows you to be more present while doing them.

Tight/Contracted Muscles:

The pectoralis minor is located on the front of the chest, and is connected to the front of the shoulder blade. It helps to elevate the ribs, and draws the shoulder blade down & close to your ribs. When tight, our shoulders round forward, and certain back muscles become weak & over-stretched.

The serratus anterior can be weak and/or tight – this muscle protracts the shoulder blade & also keeps it close to the spine. A lot of times, this muscle isn’t activated, which creates instability in the shoulder girdle. When the serratus is properly activated, the shoulder blade moves correctly on the back of the ribs + works in conjunction with the rhomboids for better posture.

Weak & Stretched-Out Muscles:

When you round through the shoulders, the muscles in between your shoulder blades – the rhomboids – often become weak & long. This also creates instability in the shoulder girdle, and can cause other issues like a winged scapula.

The levator scapulae is the muscle that helps prevent your head from jutting forward – AKA text neck. However, since we are constantly pushing our head/neck forward, this muscle get stretched out and tender (find the top-point of your shoulder blade – the muscle attaches here and is tender/sore on basically everyone!).

Pectoral Stretch

Grab a band or towel, and lift up, over your head, and behind your back. Loosen up the grip if you feel pain. You should feel a stretch in the front of your chest.

Repeat 10 times

Pectoral Release

Grab a tennis ball and place just inside your armpit/shoulder (see pic of pectoral muscle above so you can see where the muscle is located). Roll around and hold in tender spots and breathe.
Repeat on other side.

Serratus Release

Grab a tennis ball and place just inside your armpit/shoulder/side rib area (see pic of serratus muscle above so you can see where the muscle is located). Roll around and hold in tender spots and breathe.
Repeat on other side.

Rhomboid & Lower Trap Activation

Grab a band or towel, and lift above your head. Slowly & with control, feel the shoulder blades lower down the back and squeeze them closer together. Slowly lift up. This helps strengthen your rhomboids/lower traps & trains your shoulder blades to move correctly.

Repeat 10x for 2-3 rounds.

Lower Trap Shrugs

Grab a weight/ball ball and place between your legs (to activate the core). Hang from a bar/pull up machine until your shoulders touch your ears. Start to pull the shoulders down & away from the ears, externally rotating the arms, feeling the shoulder blades lower & slightly wrap away from the spine. Hold for 1 second, then release & bring the shoulders back up. This strengthens the shoulder girdle, lower traps, and helps train your shoulder blades to move correctly. 

Repeat 10x for 2-3 rounds 

Standing Rows

Grab weights & stand with feet hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent. Bend halfway over, back straight, with neck in line with spine. Put your attention between your shoulder blades, using your rhomboid muscles to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you row the weight up by your sides (elbows hugged in close to the ribs). This helps strengthen the rhomboids. If you feel the strain in another muscle, use lighter weights to start out.

Repeat 10-15 times for 3 rounds

If you would like to see these exercises done in a video, click here.

I recommend doing these exercises 3 times a week for 1-2 months. As you progress, you can use heavier weights & stronger bands.

A few final tips

When sitting at a desk or looking at your phone, be mindful of your posture by:
1) Pulling your chin back so that your spine is in one line
2) Pull your keyboard/computer closer to you so that you aren’t having to hunch forward to look at your screen
3) Wear a pair of blueblockers – this helps decrease eye strain from the amount of light coming from your screen, so you are less likely to lean forward/squint/strain your eyes
4) Sit with your back glued to the back of the chair

While these are all great exercises & tips for your posture, there may be other muscular imbalances that are occuring besides what is mentioned in this article. However, this is a great place to start and worth trying – and the information is FREE to try 😉

Give these exercises a try and let me know how you get along!

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