All about them Glutes A.K.A yer Bum!

Hello there,

Today we are going to dive into the land of the Glute muscles, the problems they can cause, and simple ways to care for them at home!

It often surprises my clients to hear that the Glutes are the largest muscle group in the body. Even those of us who don’t feel especially bootyful. Their density and thickness also make them one of the strongest muscle groups. Because of this strength, tension or imbalance within the Glutes can cause problems that are a true pain in the bum, the back, the legs/feet, and sometimes even the noggin.

Before going into some of the troubles involved with the glutes Ima get nerdy on you and talk a little about the anatomy of these muscles and their function.

The muscles in your bottom are made up of the: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Piriformis, Gemellus Superior, Obturator Internus, and Gemellus Inferior. That’s a lot of Latiny words to say there’s a buttload of muscles up in there! To keep things simple we’ll call them collectively “The Glutes” and they work together to do a great job of stabilizing, extending, and laterally rotating your hips. This includes movements like: standing from a seated position, going up stairs, lifting from a squat, turning your feet out (duck waddle), and so many more. The Glutes are involved in any large movement of the body and fast paced movements like exercise or dance.

The photo on the left shows the Gluteus Maximus and Medius which are directly under the skin and subcutaneous tissue. If you were to lift Glute Max, you would see the musculature displayed in the photo on the right.

fullsizerender-30                                     fullsizerender-29

Now that you’ve been nerded a little let’s get into some of the problems that can arise with tight/imbalanced glute muscles.

We’ve all heard the term “Sciatica” before or you’ve been unlucky enough to feel this sensation. Sciatica is a term used to describe tingling or pain travelling down the leg from the glutes/low back. There is a whole range of conditions that can cause this type of pain from herniated discs to unique anatomical cases but some individuals are healthy and still struggle with this type of pain. If this is you, surprisingly often, this “sciatic-like” pain comes from overly tight Glute muscles. Specifically tension in the Piriformis muscle, which we term “piriformis syndrome”. Piriformis syndrome causes the same sensation and pain as Sciatica. This is very common in individuals who: have desk jobs, spend lots of time driving, perinatal women, athletes with a recent strain/injury, or following a car accident. Often this tension builds over time so it can seem as if the pain comes out of nowhere. In some cases of severe Glute tightness the numbness and tingling can extend down into the feet and toes or up the spine contributing to tension headaches. Keeping the Glutes strong and limber is so important for long term wellness.

For most people, there are subconscious movements each day that contribute and even cause this tension. Ie: always crossing the same leg over when sitting at your desk, using one leg more than the other when you stand up, leading with one leg during running, moving more forcefully with one side during strength training, leaning on one hip while you stand in the grocery store line, etc.

There is so much involved with the hips when we look at the deep abdomen and quad muscles but for today we’ll keep things simple and go over the 3 most effective stretches I’ve found for these muscles. Otherwise I’ll get too cray on you with my nerdery.

In each of these stretches there are a few things to focus on:

  • Find a point of stretch that is Comfortable
  • Inhale and exhale deeply in a Relaxed way
  • Ensure there is no pain in other areas of the body due to pressure (knees, ankles, neck etc.)

I recommend holding a stretch for at least 5-10 slow deep breaths instead of timing a stretch. Each breath brings oxygenation and the muscles will relax more effectively. Sometimes we lose focus on the breath when we watch the second hand of a clock.

*For prenatal clients in the third trimester, don’t go to a full point of stretch, back off a little from where your maximum stretch is.*

    1. The Seated Glute Stretch:

This is the most gentle way of stretching these muscles. It’s a great option for individuals with extremely tight hips, pregnancy, or arthritis. If you notice your knee is quite high it’s a sign the hips are very tight. Gently put some pressure with the palm of the hand on the top of the knee to bring it down and intensify the stretch slightly. If you have any pain allow the knee to rest at it’s natural higher position without adding any pressure to it. Another way to deepen the stretch is to lean forward slightly while keeping the back straight. This is a great option for during the day at work and I recommend doing it 2-3 times throughout your day to notice results.

img_5701                                                 img_5702

     2. The Reclined Glute Stretch:

This is a wonderful stretch for all levels but is great for getting into a deeper stretch while staying very relaxed. I recommend this version for morning and night, with waking and just before bed. You may have seen/done this stretch with the arms wrapped around the legs for support. That version is fine if you don’t have the space to use a wall or for a shorter duration.

Using the wall for support is effective for 2 reasons; it allows the rest of the body to relax, and it allows a slow shift in angles to access the different muscle groups in the hips. When you look at the anatomy diagrams above, you see each of the muscles have slightly different angles out from the Sacrum (tailbone). When we stretch the Glutes in these 3 positions a more complete release of the hips takes place.

Begin by scootching your bottom close to the wall. The closer to the wall, the deeper the stretch will be. Cross your leg over and be aware of the position of your knee, as with the seated stretch, try bringing it down slightly if it is comfortable to do so. The arms can rest at your sides or straight out for a gentle chest/bicep stretch. Once you are comfortable with the depth of your stretch settle into the first position and breath for 5-10 deep breaths, or as long as you like. For the second position, shift towards the knee (in this case my right hand) slowly. Both Glutes should contact the floor and the shift will probably only be a couple inches. Pay attention to what you feel in the Glutes and see if you notice a difference in the stretch. After holding here, shift through center and then towards the other side. In most cases this will be the most challenging angle which is why we leave it until the other muscles have loosened up a little. Again, the shift will be quite small but you should notice a difference where you feel the stretch. When finished with the third position, move out from the wall a little before releasing the knee down slowly. Take a couple moments and then repeat with the other leg.


    3. Cow Face Pose or Cow Legs:

This is a deeper stretch for the Glutes and hips. It takes flexibility but is a good option for those needing more than the first 2 stretches. There are a few different ways to get into this position. I’ll just go over one option but there are lots of videos on Youtube if you want to see it in action. Begin by sitting with your legs straight out in front of you then bend your knees and put your feet on the floor. Slide your left foot under the right knee to the outside of the right hip. Then cross your right leg over the left, stacking the knees one over the other, and bring the right foot to the outside of the left hip. Try to bring the heels equal distance from the hips: with the right leg on top you’ll have to gently bring the right heel closer to the left hip. Do your best to sit evenly upon both sides of your bottom. Make sure to keep your chest lifted and your spine straight as you breathe deeply for the duration that is comfortable for you. Ease out of the stretch slowly before reversing legs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          img_5710


Stretching and self-care is a big part of rehabilitating this type of tension. A massage is great but taking time at home is equally, if not more, important. It helps you develop more self-awareness in these areas. When you’re standing in line at Sobey’s leaning on that right hip, you’ll feel it and correct it more quickly if you’ve stretched earlier in the day. These little corrections make a whole lotta difference over time and I’ve always felt it’s important for my clients to have tools to use at home. It keeps progress moving forward after a session and it is Empowering to know that you have an equal part in your own recovery.

In a future post we’ll talk about caring for Quads/IT Bands/Hip Flexors and how they are closely linked with improvement in the Glutes.

I hope these stretches help your hips feel more open, whether you’re struggling with pain or tension. Feel free to contact me directly with any questions or for modifications of these stretches!

*In cases of disc herniation or more serious conditions, the techniques can still be of benefit to ease the tension of the muscles surrounding your injury. However, always check with your medical provider before trying new stretches and listen to your body as you go through the movement.*

Have a wonderful weekend,


Building Self Love

Today I want to take time to talk about self love and some simple ways to develop more within yourself. We’ve all heard the term “Self Love”, and for some of us it can sound like a daunting concept.

We live in a world where terms like confidence, acceptance, and self love are a battle. They can seem like elusive or mythical sensations. Our society is one that focuses on the landmarks we needs to achieve, all the objects we need to acquire, and goals or success we need to live up to. This creates a lot of pressure in our self perception and ability to look at ourselves with gentle compassion.It’s great to go out and slay your day, reach your goals, and treat yoself! BUT! It is equally important to feed your soul, independent of what the world expects of you.

It is enriching to give yourself at least one moment of self love each day. What you choose is your own, but making it a daily routine will lead to more actions of self love. When we love ourselves we treat the rest of the world and those around us with more love. Over time your daily practices might change as you gravitate to new little adventures and interests.

Here are three self love moments I practice each day:

  1. The Nomheart~ I loves all the foods! About a year ago I began clean eating full time. This was after a few months of easing into it slowly. I wanted to get back to real food, free of processing or synthetic additives. We have access to all of these amazing natural foods from around the world. Why not fill our days and tummies with tasty things nature just creates! I started a daily pause to appreciate all these incredible Noms and recognize what a gift of self nurturing food can be. Once a day I incorporate a heart somewhere on my plate. Often I make it from spices or draw it with a toothpick. It only takes me 30 seconds to a minute (then I chow down!) but it has changed the way I look at food. I don’t see calories or fat grams anymore. I see the time, intention, and nutrition that the tastiness will give me, a.k.a Self Love in the form of Noms!                                                                                                   FullSizeRender (22)                         FullSizeRender (21)
  2. The Self Hug~ There is something so comforting about a good hug, right?! Sometimes when we really need a hug there isn’t anyone immediately there…except there is! You! A couple years ago I began giving myself a hug every morning when I get up. Often it’s part of my yoga practice but sometimes it’s just a big ol hug. I notice when I receive hugs from my partner, friends, and family I enjoy them even more but don’t “need” them as much as I used to. Plus with a self hug there’s no awkward moment of not holding it long enough, you can hold on as long or short  as you wants to!                                                                                                                                                                                                FullSizeRender (19)
  3.  The Skin Snuggle~ Every night before bed I wash my face and follow it up with 1 special skin moment. Sometimes it’s a shiny eye cream, face mask, herbal compress, or a hot towel. It only takes a few minutes and my face is relaxed and ready for sleeptime. Once a week-ish I do a bigger routine of a bath/mask/favorite tea and bliss out to some great tunes.                                                                                                         FullSizeRender (23)


Today I want to encourage you to find a small self love moment of your own creation. AND! Give yourself a hug right now! You might feel a little silly at first but close your eyes, smile at your sillyness (and mine), and take 3 deep breaths.

Mmm. Self Love. So Good.

Have a wonderful day and shine bright. <3




Simple Moments

Ah hello there!
The past couple months has flown by in a blur of busy sunshine. I realized today that I’ve been so busy in “realtime” I forgot to write something in blog time. 🙂
Today will be sweet and brief.
On a recent morning I bought a lovely little carton of strawberries. That tiny container has sparked a lot of thinking. I chose it quickly because the berries on the bottom seemed plump and juicy, then continued with my hectic day.
Later that afternoon I stopped to snack some berries and when I opened the box I was surprised by a simple life moment.
There, nestled in the center of all the berries, was a perfectly tiny white strawberry blossom.
Although it seems a small thing, this beautiful little flower made me pause.
All of us have the opportunity to experience at least one of these moments each day. On certain days there are many of these moments and perhaps on other days it’s harder to see them because of the whirlwind life can become.
When we take time to recognize these experiences for the beauty they hold, it feeds our soul.
The more you acknowledge these little wonders the more often they appear, because your eyes are open to see them.
Today I’d like to encourage you to see the tiny moment (or big one) and take a snapshot with your mind or camera.
I would love to hear about your simple moments if you feel like sharing in the comments below or in an email.
I hope your day is joyful and your special moment fills your heart.

warm July wishes,


FullSizeRender (10)


Welcome to!

Hello and welcome to the new website!

For my long term clients the new website is very similar to the old. This blog is the only new addition and will be a place to find information we may have already discussed in our sessions! You’ll find stretches, home care techniques, tasty clean recipes, and random tidbits of information I find fascinating!

To any new or potential clients, here is a little window into my practice and philosophy. I truly believe we are all capable of providing our bodies and minds with a lot of the wellness we need. A massage or session with any practitioner is beneficial. However what makes the biggest difference is what you do day to day! Small daily moments of self care and self love may not seem life changing but over time they make a world of difference.

Today take a moment for a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. Feel your mind and body settle from whatever busy thoughts you have going on. Allow yourself to rest here for a few moments knowing you can tackle the rest of the day with a peaceful mind. Perhaps do this as you finish reading my little blurb or drop everything and try it out right now! 🙂 If you are here reading a massage therapy blog, you’re likely looking for some peace. So give yourself a small moment now.

So welcome! Please feel free to ask questions or further explanations on any of my posts.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope your day is truly wonderful!