|Hanging out in the free yoga room at SFO airport. We need these everywhere.|
I am blogging from 10,000 feet since apparently the Virgin WiFi isn't butch enough to handle Netflix instantview (I was hoping to dork out and watch LOST for 3 hours, but tis not to be.) So you get an update instead.
I've been in my Bay Area hometown for the past week, embracing my crunchy heritage. Its kind of luxurious to be in a place where the food is organic everywhere you go, and you can buy kombucha at the mexican corner store. It's fucking expensive, but really nice. I spent $17 on a tin of imported French tea, and $27 on pastries and coffee at Tartine. Not exactly a sustainable lifestyle but a pleasant way to spend a week.
Anyway, today I want to talk about my various gadgets I used to stretch my back and neck. I have giant boobs and a giant head (seriously, hats don't fit me, ever) and a desk job, so I have chronic neck and back pain as a result. I do a fair amount of yoga, pilates and stretching as a result, and have invested in some cool tools to help with this.
Himalaya Acupressure Mat. I am super into acupuncture and shiatsu, and this mat sort of provides a DIY quick fix. It's small and portable piece of foam (it's the thing I'm standing on in the photo above) with a cloth cover adorned with flower-shaped plastic spikes. You can lay on it on your back or stomach, even your neck or face (though it will leave indentations in your skin for about 10 minutes). It's incredibly painful the first time you use it, and then it feels really GOOD as it releases endorphins, stimulations circulation and accupressure points, and relaxes body and mind. (Kinky masochists need this thing like whoah, it feels almost as good as getting flogged.) I took mine with me on my trip and I actually have it under my back on the airline seat, and my back is not getting tired AT ALL. At $29, it's totally worthwhile.
My other favorite thing is my black foam roller. This baby will run you about $20 but it's good for so many things- rolling out your back, legs and IT band (esp. important for runners) and you can also lay on it lengthwise, stretch out your arms and totally relax. You can use it for Pilates exercises too. When I am feeling tired and tense and want to re-set without taking a nap, 10 minutes with this thing will usually make me feel human again. However, my mom apparently dislocated a rib using hers, so use with caution!
Real-Ease Neck and Shoulder Relaxer. You lie on your back with your neck resting on this plastic and foam contraption for 10 minutes and it puts your junk into proper alignment. You can allegedly also use this while watching TV or whatever, but I haven't tried it that way. People tend to either love or hate this thing: My parents love theirs, I like mine, though I don't find the results are as dramatic with my other gadgets. At $30 it's kinda pricy for what it is, but it's a nice little relaxation ritual, especially if used in tandem with the acupressure mat.
So there you have it! I also have a yoga brick, strap, and other stuff, but these are probably my favorites. Self care is the bomb, especially if you can do it at home!