clock neck exerciseStretching the neck muscles can be challenging and confusing.  Here is a simple, centering neck exercise that can help alleviate neck pain.  It is called “The Clock.”  This is the same pattern of movement as used in the article entitled, Computer Eye Strain Exercises.

Lay on the floor in supine position (face up) on a yoga mat or towel.  You want the surface to be firm but not too hard.  First, feel the muscles of your head on the ground beneath you.  The floor will be your guide as you move through the exercise, so maintain contact with it without too much effort.  Also,  you will be gently massaging these muscles via the pressure on the floor as you move through this neck exercise.  Make sure your head is in good alignment.  Your neck should not be flat on the floor and your chin should not jut out.
Look up and imagine a large clock above you. Now move your head up towards the twelve and then down to the six slowly three times. This will mimic the “yes” movement.  Now, move your head from the three to the nine three times slowly. This will mimic the “no” movement. You can use your  nose as a guide. Remember to maintain contact with the floor beneath you. Now you can hopefully sense your neck in a more centered alignment. Maintain this centered feeling for the rest of the exercise because you will want to return to it as your reference point for these next steps.
Next you will do the opposite diagonal movements of the clock. Look up at the one and down at the seven three times slowly. Place the one right next to the twelve and the seven right next to the six. This will be a more specific stretch. Next do eleven and five o’clock again, imagining them right next to the twelve and the six on your clock. Pause in the center as mentioned before.

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As new parents, there is this feeling of constant momentum inherent in taking care of a baby.  A feeling of always having to do something:  to prepare something, to do research on something, and of course to clean up something!  This article for parents is helpful in reminding us all to re-charge.  We get so used to going and going, it is often very hard to find discipline in letting ourselves rest and decompress.  Somehow we get addicted to this feeling of constantly moving and we feel we are being more productive if we keep up this momentum but it is not the case.  This last part is true for many people, not only new parents.

So, what can we do?  First make a choice to not run in that impossible race that does not exist.  Remember there is always going to be something else to do.  The house may not look close to perfect for a while and even if it does it will only last a day!   Make a conscious effort to force oneself to do nothing and to rest at times or reconnect to something that rejuvenates you.  Your vitality and good mood are equally and probably more important to the health and well being of your little bean than most of the “Tasks” we need to do.  Burnout is not something that benefits anyone at any time especially not as a new parent.  Please use this article for parents as a reminder.  There is of course true postpartum depression which is not what I’m speaking about.  If there are symptoms of depression seek professional help immediately.

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spa imageOver the last ten years I have worked in a variety of settings including Medical and Day Spas, Yoga studios, Gyms and Chiropractors offices.  This wide and varied experience has given me a very sensitive and shrewd understanding of the spa experience.  I understand what goes on behind the scenes and can spot a shotty establishment pretty quick.  My background and New York State License in Massage Therapy also makes me an extra picky consumer.  Over the next few weeks and months I will be reviewing several New York Spas and sharing my experience for those of you who live in or are visiting the New York City area.

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havenNestled in the bustling side-streets of SoHo is a true Haven amongst the busyness and at times, this chaotic center of shopping, restaurants and art galleries.  Haven has been around since 1998 and is one of New York’s original and affordable day spas. The ambiance here is incredible in that as one walks through the halls it  feels less like a spa in SoHo and more like a retreat in a remote and quiet place in New Mexico.  Haven is gently well lit and inviting with warm hues of mauve and plum.

I have enjoyed a variety of services here as I proudly was employed for five years at this spa.  This makes me favorably biased which is a good sign.  Not everyone can recommend places they were previously employed.  The owners have diligently put together a spa menu that is a head to toe fantastic and rejuvenating experience.  From body treatments to specialized manicures and pedicures.  I witnessed them consistently experiment till they would find the right combination of essential oils, scrubs and other delicious products for their services.  It would be difficult to review all the services offered here but I recommend Haven highly as a full service spa for grooming and relaxing.  Waxing is also available with both regular and organic wax for sensitive skin.

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