Embarc Fundraiser – A New Movement

If you missed it last year,  this is your chance to get tickets before it sells out completely — again. A New Movement, and evening of dance benefiting the Embarc organization will be happening on Nov. 1st with six world premier pieces featuring the Joffrey dancers.

The past few years, I’ve been heavily involved with this organization and have gotten to know a few of students who have thrived despite the odds stacked against them. They are now leaders in their school and in their community. They mentor other students through Embarc and are creating their own programs to solve the problems in their community. The transformation that I have seen for some of students have left me awestruck and renewed my belief and committment that hope comes in many packages, and it can have a ripple affect far greater than you would ever imagine.

Even if you can not make it to the performance, you can still be involved. Purchase a ticket on behalf of one of the Embarc students or simply donate to be a part of providing access to real-world experiences that gives students a profound understanding of their own personal possibilities.

Extra bonus, I’ll be there.

 

How Sustainable is your wellness routine?

Sustainability has gotten a lot of press lately and rightfully so. Whether it’s about the environment or your own body, working towards the long term results correctly is a big determinant of the progress you’ll make…or not.

In fitness and wellness, it’s no different. While it may be good to do have a period of intense study, detoxing, and training, I find when people focus on those short term periods to create long term success, they end up falling quite short of their expectations. Any extreme, whether it’s within a diet or a fitness program, is unsustainable and so while you’ll see great short term results, you usually won’t see those same results a year later.

It’s one of the reasons why Pilates and Yoga makes so much sense — at ANY age and ability. Both practices meet you wherever you are. Whether your at the peak of physical fitness, working through an injury, or getting back on the wellness wagon, you can always modify your practice to meet you were you are even as you work towards getting better. It’s sustainable fitness at it’s best.

Is that book in your bag or you just happy to see me?

One of my best experiences as a Pilates student came from working with a teacher that captured my imagination through images and metaphors while explaining an exercise. It kept my attention and focus and made it just as much of a work in as a workout. Since then I’ve tried to incorporate it into how I teach myself and others. Both in Yoga and Pilates, I have found that it really makes a difference in how students approach their practice.

This article from the New York Times sheds some light on the beauty and the intelligence of imagination. Not to mention a great shout out to the bookworms of the world.

Maybe one of the best muscles to work out is our imagination.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-neuroscience-of-your-brain-on-fiction.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Safety First….

Since the beginning of the year, there’s been several articles questioning the safety of yoga for most people. And while the headlines (and ensuing outrage) has done a lot to garner attention, what has been interesting for me personally is that it not till now that we’re finally having THAT conversation. For too long (in my humble opinion) there seemed to be a cavalier attitude about doing extreme yoga poses since popular opinion deemed yoga as something good for you. But like in all body movement, there are inherent risks. By virtue of the amount of ways that you move and different body parts that you use in yoga, the risks becomes greater to hurt yourself if you are doing something incorrectly and at times, even if you are doing it correctly and it is not right for your body.

So whether you’re doing Pilates, Yoga, or any other physically demanding physical activity, you have to deal within the laws of physics and gravity — and no amount of Ohmmming will save you if you disregard that basic truth.

Traditionally, like Pilates, Yoga was taught primarily  one on one from teacher to student  before hitting Western shores. And very early on to it’s exposure in the States, a student would have to commit to rigorous course of study with a teacher of a span of time. In the case with yoga, this not only included the postures, which consists only a small part of the study of yoga, but also breath work, self-study, meditation, a code of conduct all described within the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  Though this particular way of study wasn’t foolproof, having a personlized approach within the teacher-student relationship help the student receive corrections and information that was appropriate to their way of learning. Even within the secular practice of Pilates, Joseph Pilates would only take on students that could commit to seeing him three times a week while he training them. It was a way of insuring that bad habits didn’t creep into your practice and it helped create a sense of discipline in how you approached the work. This is true in Pilates and in Yoga. It was discipline infused and informed with personal responsibility.

So what’s a person to do? Sign themselves into an ashram? Only work out one on one whenever they do Pilates or Yoga? It’s an option. But it really isn’t the only option. I am a big believer in working one on one at least occasionally to an objective eye looking my form and pointing out what I need to be focusing on in your practice.  Even after years of studying and teaching many forms of movement, it’s something that I practice myself and continue to find serves me.  But if this isn’t an option, you must invest in finding out more about your body — where you are weak, where you hold a lot of tension, what leg to you stand on more. This will inform how you make your way into any practice bring you to a deeper awareness of your tendencies.  Awareness, while it can’t guarantee that you’ll be safe from any injuries for the lifetime of your practice, it will keep you more often than not off the injured list.

 

So my personal mission is to bring you the tools, suggestions, articles that you need to help you be more aware and educated in your body. Even if you can’t make to a class or lesson. So let me know what are you thinking. What are the questions you have about your body and your practice?

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Holiday Fitness…or for any time of year

Short on space, time, and equipment? No worries. You can still keep yourself grounded and moving well with these few exercises. The holidays, can be jam packed with activities and obligations, so all of these exercises can be done just about anywhere and the best part, no equipment is necessary.  So even if you’re traveling, you’re only just a few minutes away from inner bliss and outer calm. Continue reading “Holiday Fitness…or for any time of year”

Sometimes the best answer is the simplest

Are you in pain? Check out how you stand, sit, or walk.

Or better yet, have someone watch you do any of these things. While the body is a very complicated machine, sometimes the best answers are sometimes the simplest. Chances are, while you are awake and about in the world, you find yourself in one of these positions. So it makes sense that these activities would also lead to clues on where your imbalances are. Don’t have a friend handy. Do periodic check ins while you’re standing in the grocery line or towards the end of the day and do a mental body scan.

Are you standing evenly on both feet?
Look down. Are your feet both pointing in the same direction?
Does your weight feel like it’s more towards your toes or towards your heels?

Just answering these three questions can make you aware of habits that you’ve created in your body. Maybe just changing that habit can get you out of discomfort, or if not, it’s definitely a clue to what may be going on further up or down your body.