Stiffness, Muscle Spasms, and Yoga


Do you have joint pain or stiffness?  Does it hurt when you’ve been sitting and you try to get up and walk? Have you tried to stretch and either it feels good for a few minutes and then you’re back to square one, or maybe even worse, it hurts more than it did before? Do you sometimes feel like your joints are just tied down and you’re no longer flexible? Do you maybe even blame it on “old age?”  The odds are extremely high that all that’s happening is your muscles are in spasm.  If any of these statements fit you, you’ll really love today’s message.  As a bonus, at the end of this blog I’ve posted a self-treatment that you’ll love if you ever have hip pain.

I know I’ve mentioned many times that a tight muscle pulling on a tendon will cause joint pain, just like pulling on your hair will cause your scalp to hurt.  And, just like the only way to stop the pain in your head is to let go of your hair, the only way to stop the pain in your joint is to release the tight muscle.

Another analogy that I use frequently has to do with stretching and why you may feel worse AFTER you stretch than you did before you stretched. If you took a 12” line and tied enough knots in it so it is now 11”, and then you try to stretch it back to 12” without first untying the knots, you can see what would happen.  The knots would become tighter and the fibers on either side of the knot would be overstretched and could possibly even tear.  If the line was attached to a fixed point on either side you can imagine the strain that is happening to the attachment points.  This is exactly what is happening to you when you when you stretch a muscle that is tied up in knots (spasms).  You can see how important it is to first release the spasms before stretching.

I have been wanting to talk about TriggerPoint Yoga for so long, and today I have a chance to fill you in on how people have been responding to our unique combination of the Julstro self-treatments and yoga practices.

A few years ago Ana Johnson, a yoga teacher in San Marcos, TX, was having a calf pain that she couldn’t release by doing yoga.  Ana was accustomed to yoga solving all of her aches and pains, but this time it didn’t work.  She started to search on the internet and found my explanation of why muscles cause pain and why stretching doesn’t always work.  It made sense to her and she contacted me for a telephone consultation.  With the consultation you receive an ebook version of Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, and after sending me an initial email to explain your problem, you do the treatments I suggest for two weeks and then we talk.

Well, in just 2 days her pain was gone, but since she had 12 days to wait for our phone conversation she decided to see if she had any knots in her hips (she thought her hips were just fine) and she was shocked to find lots of spasms.  She did the Julstro self-treatments and was even more surprised to find that her yoga improved.  Then she decided to work on her shoulders, and to her great pleasure she found that her yoga improved again.  By the time we spoke two weeks after her initial email, Ana knew my self-treatments almost as well as I do!  It was a happy and lively conversation and out of it TriggerPoint Yoga was born.

Ana never does anything half-way, so she hired a professional video producer to first film me teaching her husband Scott how to do all of the self-treatments taught in Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living.  This DVD shows you how to self-treat everything from head to toe – headaches, TMJ, and sinus pain to sciatica, shin splints and foot pain and everything in between!

Then Ana wrote out, word-for-word, four sessions that start with 15 minutes of doing the Julstro self-treatments on each muscle that will be stretched during that session, and then 30 minutes of very precise yoga for beginners.  Ana is a stickler on posture so you really learn how to do each movement correctly.

Next she recorded the voice over, perfecting it for timing, and then the producer used the voice over while Ana and a second person did the sessions. Next, Ana was able to meet with Mathew Dixon who is an amazing classical guitar performer and he played all of the music that is on the DVDs.

Ana tested each session by teaching it during her regular yoga lessons in San Marcos, so there are a lot of people who can speak confidently about how the session worked for them. The results were outstanding!  Everyone reported back the same thing – they were able to do their yoga better and the results were not only more flexibility than ever before, but were more long-lasting.  We are thrilled!

I’ve always taught people to use a ball and a 12” length of 1” PVC pipe, so the videos show that as our “tools,” but Ana decided that she wanted something more in keeping with the philosophy and feel of yoga, so she found a source for bamboo and she cuts them into the proper length.  Since it’s a natural product we can’t guarantee that each piece is 1” in diameter, but she’s particular about using the best pieces she can buy, with the fewest flaws (and even those are minor).

The final result is BEAUTIFUL!  Three DVD’s; two upper body sessions and two lower body sessions that releases the tension in the muscles so you can then stretch safely.  We have been sharing the TriggerPoint Yoga with people on our Facebook page and they are reporting the same fantastic results.

I’m happy to say that we are now bringing not only the TriggerPoint Yoga DVDs out to the world, but we are teaching yoga teachers how to become TPY certified. We only teach people who are already yoga-certified, there are so many different styles of yoga and they all have their following, so the only thing that needs to happen is for the yoga teacher to become certified in doing the Julstro self-treatments and we can then put them onto a data-base of TPY instructors that we’re gathering. It’s our intention to post the list onto our website so people can find a certified TPY instructor in their area.

If you are a yoga instructor, or you know of someone who you believe would be interested in adding this to their practice, please contact us directly and we’ll be happy to bring it all together.

Today I’d like to share with you how to do one of the treatments that we teach on the Julstro self-treatment DVD.  So many people have hip pain that I’d like to explain how to treat the tensor fascia lata muscle which is located on the outside of your hip, between your hip bone and the top of your thigh bone:

Using a tennis ball (hollow in the center so it is a bit less intense) or a Perfect Ball (solid in the center so it gets in deeper), place the ball right where the side-seam of your pants is located, between the two bones.

If you want to go deep into the muscle, lie on the floor on top of the ball.  You may need to move an inch or so to find the “epicenter” of the spasm, but you’ll know immediately when you locate it.  Always make sure you keep your pressure to a “hurts so good” level, you’re in control so don’t over do.

Or, if you’d like to go lighter, you can put the ball on the point and then just lean into a wall

Once you find the spasm, which is also called a “trigger point,” just stay still on it for 30-60 seconds. Lift your weight off the ball for a few breaths and then press into the ball again. This second time you’ll find that it won’t be as painful as the first time because you have already pressed out some of the H+ ions that are causing the spasm (and the pain).  Keep repeating this for a few minutes and then slightly move your body so you can find other trigger points that are around your hips. You’ll probably find points that are a little bit toward the front of your hip, so make sure you rotate your body so you’re facing more toward the wall or the floor, and then rotate your body so you’re back is more toward the wall or the floor.

This one technique has save several of my clients from thinking they needed hip surgery! It will help you move easier and with less discomfort – and often it will totally eliminate the pain from your hip completely.

If you are searching for a gentle way of effectively stretching your muscles, I highly recommend TriggerPoint Yoga.

Wishing you well,




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