Some know it as energy

Sarkice Nedder Tai Chi at Body Fundamentals studio

By Guest Writer Sarkice Nedder

More than any other time in the history of the world this is the time of awareness about the need to condition our bodies. The variety of types of ways to do so abounds, from boot camp to Tai Chi; the craze is on. There are tried and true standbys that have worked for generations:  Martial Arts, Dance, Yoga, and Swimming etc.

Then of course, there are the unending new fads of the week, the month or the year – all of which eventually fade away. There is notably one factor that ensures optimal conditioning of the entire inner and outer body. In fact, it has been said that, when it is used, physical conditioning improves dramatically. Some know it as energy and some with the oriental bent understand it to be “chi” – “the life energy”.

Unfortunately, although today there is scientific affirmation of its use and general public awareness of its need, few understand how to incorporate it for physical training. The most common misconception is that by simply learning to feel the energy the conditioning follows. This of course simply is not true. For benefit one must, among other things, not only learn how to recognize and feel it but rather one must learn how to move it in specific ways throughout the body and apply it internally and externally for general health. The ultimate secret however is to learn how to change the energy into something more, something greater, something profound.

The ultimate secret however is to learn how to change the energy into something more, something greater, something profound.

This is the essence of what I teach at my Energy and Tai/Chi Seminars.

For details contact Body Fundamentals studio:  520-299-6541

 

Top 7 Tools for Living a Happier, Healthier Life – Part 2

by guest writer Heidi Hackler, CHHC

Check out Tools 1-3 for Living a Happier, Healthier Life if you missed them. The following 4 Tools will help to complete your healthy lifestyle journey.

Tools 4-7 for Living a Happier, Healthier Life

4. Eat a Rainbow of Veggies & Fruits

rainbow of fresh produceEat veggies of all colors of the rainbow, and eat more veggies than fruit (see “Eat Less Sugar” in previous post. Yes, fruit sugar is “natural” sugar, but it’s still sugar), also try these tips:

  • Strive to eat 9-to-12-servings of veggies and fruit per day. A “serving” equals 1/2-cup, so you’re looking to eat 4.5 to 6 cups of veggies and fruits every day.
  • Eat organic produce when ever possible, not only is it healthier for you because you’ll be consuming fewer pesticides, it’s also healthier for the planet, and the farmers who grow your produce, so it’s a win for everyone when you eat organic.
  • Check out the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 produce list.

5. Detox Your Health & Beauty Routine

Could your health and beauty routine be toxic? If you’re using big-name brands of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, and even toothpaste from the average grocery store or drugstore shelves, there’s a good chance they contain toxins.

Here are some facts that may amaze you:

  • The average American woman puts between 12-20 toxic chemicals on her body every day.
  • 60% of everything you put on your skin is directly absorbed into your body.
  • A little known fact: the FDA does NOT regulate health and beauty products, they leave it up to the individual companies to decide if their products are “safe.”
  • Over 1,300 toxic chemicals have been banned in Europe but are still used today in US health & beauty products, and most of those have not been tested to see how they interact with each other.
  • In the the U.S., terms like “all natural” and “organic” mean little to nothing on health and beauty products. The Organic certification in the U.S. is based on agriculture certification, and doesn’t pertain to health and beauty products. Because neither the FDA nor the USDA police health and beauty products, no one is overseeing the use of “USDA Organic” labels on these products.
  • In Europe, the Soil Association certifies health and beauty products as organic under very stringent regulations. I’ve recently discovered Neil’s Yard Remedy Organic health and beauty products from the UK, which have received the highest certification for organic, ethical, sustainable, carbon neutral, cruelty-free, non-GMO products.
  • Check out this infographic of known toxins to avoid in health and beauty products, and compare this list to the products you use. You may be surprised.

6. Exercise

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely already into Pilates or body movement, which is great! I’m also a big fan of Yoga, Dance, and Zumba, but don’t really care for regimented gym-type exercise myself. If you’re like me, try thinking outside the gym to get your body moving. Here are a few easy ways to get fit and add more exercise to your day.

  • Take the stairs whenever you can, your glutes will thank you.
  • Park at the other end of the parking lot from where you are shopping.
  • Get together with a few friends and walk at lunch or after work. Walking and talking makes the time fly by. Consider using a FitBit or other device to track your steps, and try for 10,000 steps per day.
  • Do a lap around the floor of your office building or house each hour. Set a timer to remind yourself to stop working, get up and walk for 5-minutes. Studies have shown moving for 5-minutes each hour can boost your metabolism all day long. And while you’re at it drink a glass of water before you sit back down.
  • Try some chair-yoga, like this video from Amanda Ringnalda at the Chopra Center.

7. Meditate for Happiness

As someone who’s practiced meditation for over 25 years, I can attest to its grounding, calming and happiness factors. Meditation has been scientifically proven to improve overall happiness as well as brain function.

  • Guided meditations are a great way to start if you are new to meditation.
  • The Chopra Center offers free guided meditations online.
  • Deepak and Oprah are once again offering their 21-day Free Meditation, starting on Monday, March 16. You can register here; this is my favorite way to start the day.

I offer a free Kick-Start Your Health Strategy Session, and virtual holistic health and wellness coaching to help you through these steps. Please contact me for more info.

Heidi Hackler of Happy Well LifestyleHeidi Hackler is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC) and blogger, who received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She Inspires Healthy Habits Into Action via her blog at HappyWellLifestyle.com, and her holistic health coaching programs. She has also written articles for Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine, and blogs for Chopra Centered Lifestyle.
 
Heidi lives with her husband and two kittens aboard their 40’ sailboat. They have a zest for living the Happy Well Lifestyle: a happy, healthy, active, fun-filled life where they practice yoga and meditation, eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, veg-aquarian diet, and laugh a lot. She welcomes new followers at:

The Body as Teacher: What I’ve Learned Beyond the Power of Pilates

The human body is a terrific teacher; a miraculous, complex multi-layered marvel that most of us know very little about. In our Western world that spends so much time focused externally on the material world and identified with the mind, it’s important to consistently stop , find moments of stillness and quiet, and trust the body’s intuition and wisdom. Personally, I do this through daily meditation practice and by consistently moving my body in ways that allow for me to be more fully present with my breath and in my body.

I’m continually reminded that simply “thinking things through” or strong determination can force an outcome; however, it might not be the wisest one.  In fact, from a spiritual perspective, thinking it through and making things happen by sheer will are the least effective ways to encourage healing and nourish transformation.

Although I’m over twenty years into the practice of Pilates, and recognize the numerous benefits of Pilates, I continue to be most inspired by the body’s ability to change and heal, and transform.

My own transformation through movement and passion for mind/body medicine informs my teaching as well as the way I live and move in the world. It gives me great pleasure to share this with hundreds of clients, students and fellow Pilates instructors, whether individually, in small groups or in retreat settings.

It’s inspiring and rewarding to see clients empowered, confident and awakened to the experience of vibrant health  as they experience the external changes of  better posture, flexibility, a strong core, improved balance, defined muscles and increased grace of movement.  On a deeper level, the benefits of relaxation and sound sleep help to decrease anxiety and stress, promoting an overall feeling of ease and calm.

A piece of movement or a moment in time, even, continuous, connected to our breath, centered in our body, is a beautiful thing, and a profound way to experience our natural and creative selves.

Part Five of Five of the article: “An Unexpected Cure: My Journey from Pain to the Transformative Power of Pilates” by Geneviève Nedder.

The Healing Path of Pilates

Before surgery, the physiatrist recommended  Pilates as one way to help prepare for surgery.  He recommended Amy Anderson (A Living Art Centre), who specialized in Pilates rehabilitation. I’m forever grateful to Amy for introducing me to Pilates and setting me on the path of my healing journey.

I walked into Amy’s studio, looking around the small room filled with strange balls, barrels, beds and other odd-looking equipment. We spent the first several hours together “learning to breathe” and with her gently guiding me through the practice of simply lifting and lowering my arms. Next sessions focused on turning my head slowly from side to side, more breathing and more engaging of abdominal muscles.

Within sixteen sessions and four months, I’d show up to Pilates rehab sessions without a neck or back brace. I had more feeling in my hand and fingers than in years. In a few short months, Amy helped me build mobility, have less pain and most importantly, begin to reclaim my body.

I was elated. Something other than surgery worked and I was making it happen! Re-energized and re-focused, I continued Pilates rehabilitation and moved on to Pilates conditioning for well over a year. In Boulder, I entered a pre-pilates training program at the Pilates Center (Amy Alpers and Rachel Segal), and continued to be impressed with the results and newfound body awareness.

During my year at the Pilates Center, my low back pain disappeared completely. The Pilates regimen prevented the need for surgery. I was realizing the body’s ability to heal, how to recognize and listen to its wisdom, allowing the universe of information and energy to flow. I came to believe firmly in the transformation that can come when we allow the body’s natural healing process to occur and make the time and space to truly listen to our bodies.

Part Three of Five of the article: “An Unexpected Cure: My Journey from Pain to the Transformative Power of Pilates” by Geneviève Nedder.

The Best Laid Plans: The Life-Plan Derailed

The life I’d planned out carefully now seemed unattainable. I couldn’t exercise, dance, act, direct. Some days I couldn’t even drive a car. Forced to be sedentary, depression crept in, combining with constant pain to make even part-time work an endurance contest. I was thankful just to push through a day and even more so to sleep through a night.

The accident threatened to completely derail the reason I’d moved to Denver, a directing internship with the National Theater Conservatory, an acting school at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. I’d planned to build on my undergraduate studies in acting, and directing, to use the internship as a stepping-stone to a graduate directing program. That life-plan brought me to Denver.

Determined to find pain relief and continue to pursue my dream, I tried every traditional approach, including, physical therapy three times a week, and  steroid injections from a physiatrist. I also pursued non-traditional and holistic therapies  chiropractic treatment, weekly massage therapy,  and acupuncture.  I wouldn’t be satisfied with just a magic bullet, I wanted a sense of normalcy.

Because of nerve compression from the neck injury, I had very little feeling in my  left hand and fingers, and frequent tingling and burning.  Often I couldn’t pick up so much as a glass of water  without dropping it. Many glasses and dishes were broken during those first few years of healing.

The medical recommendations were overwhelming. The neurologist: pain medication and a back surgery to relieve constant low back pain. Plus, a rib resection to alleviate nerve compression. TMJ specialists: jaw surgery on my right temporomandibular joint. The physiatrist injected steroids and encouraged continued physical therapy.

It’s almost comical now when I look back at the array of appliances and props. A neck brace to drive and really, just move around, a bite-like retainer for my TMJ, a lower back brace to help with the pain and special pillows and medications to sleep.

Finally, in the fall of 1995, I gave in and decided to take the path of surgery. The first: rib resection in hopes of decreasing neck pain and possibly regain the use of my  left hand and fingers.

Part Two from the article, “An Unexpected Cure: My Journey from Pain to the Transformative Power of Pilates” by Genevieve Nedder.

Consistent Pilates Practice Benefits Runners

In an earlier post, I covered some primary benefits of Pilates for cyclists, particularly in preventing injuries and strengthening for a better cycling experience. In my Tucson Pilates studio, Body Fundamentals, I’ve seen that those same benefits that cyclists experience also often apply to runners who incorporate the Pilates method into their training.

Jen_5K_record_runningpostWhen you consider that a regular Pilates practice makes you more aware of your body’s alignment, whether at rest or in motion, as well as promoting better body mechanics, it makes sense that a runner would experience many benefits of Pilates. More importantly, learning to move from your muscles instead of your joints benefits runners by protecting the joints more effectively during running.

And if you’re a runner who’s recovering from an injury, Pilates can be a tremendous compliment to your post-rehabilitative process. In fact, your physical therapist may incorporate Pilates-based exercises or even teach Pilates on the reformer as part of their program for you.

Breathing , body mechanics, and protecting the joints are key benefits of practicing Pilates and crucial to a healthy runner.

How do you approach your run?

Think of your posture and breathing. Do you consciously prepare yourself each time you set out for a run? Of course you do! Now imagine how much more effective your results could be if your conscious preparation were supported by Pilates. You’d gain:

  • increased awareness of gait patterning and body mechanics
  • improved posture due to greater core strength and alignment
  • longer, steadier runs thanks to better breathing patterns
  • Mos importantly, you’ll do less damage to your joints!

The best part about Pilates? As a runner, you’ll see and feel the benefits quickly.  No matter where you are with your training and fitness level, I encourage you to find the Pilates class that fits your level and goals – and a teacher you connect with.

For example, here in Tucson, I’ve created a number of Pilates Chair Quartet programs that use a combination of the Wunda Chair and Classical Mat work to address Pilates progressions in specific and challenging ways. Because it’s a private studio, each participant gets close personal attention with a focus on form and precision.  So find your Pilates home and keep on moving!

Simple Solutions for Back Pain #8: Foam Roller Stretch & Arm Lifts

 Foam Roller Series for Home and Travel by Geneviève Nedder Shoulder stretch on the Foam roller

Geneviève headshotI’m in the process of completing a Foam Roller Series to post with the goal of launching it to you this winter. In the meantime, you can find many of the Foam Roller  exercises in the Back Pain Relief category of the Changing through Movement Blog.

How the Foam Roller can help You stretch Chest and Shoulders

Lying on the foam roller effectively releases tension and also aligns your spine, improving posture. When you add shoulder range of motion exercise, you open your chest, which releases your upper back and stretches shoulder and arm muscles safely.

Stretch Your Chest & Shoulders with this Simple Foam Roller Exercise

Arm Lifts

Lie on the foam roller lengthwise and imprint your spine; start with your arms by your sides on the floor.

  • Inhale – Lift your arms in line with ears while keeping your spine imprinted.
  • Exhale – Lower your arms to 3 or 4 inches above the floor.
  • Repeat 8 to 10x

Reminder: keep your abdominal muscles engaged to help protect your back and strengthen your core.

For optimal alignment, make sure your head is on the foam roller completely and if possible, your tailbone too.

Simply lying on the Foam roller and allowing your spine to imprint can improve your posture significantly. The arm lift exercise lengthens your spine while also opening the chest and shoulders.
Have you been on a foam roller yet today? Be good to your spine and add more foam roller work to your private Pilates sessions and home routines.

For more back pain relief and foam roller exercises, simply Search the Changing Through Movement blog using the “Search this website” option in the right column. Find a post you really like? Please share on social media!

Thought for the day- Excellence.

Dancer- Geneviève Nedder  changingthroughmovement“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

 

 

 

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Simple Solutions for Back Pain-#6 Hydrate

Geneviève headshot      Hydrate consistently.

I know, I know, I’m a broken record with hydration reminders and  especially for my Tucson studio clients.  This is important though.

 Back pain and Muscle aches are often caused by dehydration.

Even mild dehydration can bring on pain.

When Back pain or muscles aches come on, drink 2 to 3 glasses of water immediately.

Many factors can cause dehydration; including, certain medications and high temperatures. In our extreme desert temperatures, it’s even more vital to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.  Try drinking a glass of water  a half  hour before meals.  In addition to staying well hydrated, drinking a glass of water 20 to 30 minutes before your meal aids digestion.

Consider starting your day with a few glasses of water.  I like to mix things up by adding a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or a few  sliced cucumbers.

Vegetable soup- a healthy snack alternative

cup of vegetable soup.Balancing our food choices, cooking and eating at regular hours  with daily exercise, and meditation can be challenging. We don’t want to create more stress by designing our Stress reducing lifestyle!  In short, creating and living a healthy lifestyle requires conscious attention and practice.

In my own practice of healthy eating and passion for cooking , I’ve amassed a library of recipes.  28 years of eating and living a Vegetarian  lifestyle  informs my choices and blog posts. The following series is focused on  healthy snacks, and desserts.   I look forward to sharing more recipes and tips  with you in the months to come. Some of them are made up recipes  I’ve created from trail and error and some are simple, easy purchases from the market to grab in a pinch.  I try to eat organic as much as possible.

Consider a cup of  organic vegetable soup as an afternoon snack. Most days I choose a handful of raw almonds, a protein shake with organic fruit, but a cup of  soup is a good option!

healthy snack ideasA small snack a few hours before dinner not only helps stabilize blood sugar levels, it ensures you won’t be ravenous for the next meal. Ayurveda recommends Dinner be the smallest meal of the day.  When i have a rigorous teaching or work day in general, stopping for a protein, nutrient-rich afternoon snack makes it much easier for me not to overeat at dinner-  or reach for the carbs a few hours after dinner.

Too tired to cook?  Try Trader Joe’s Carrot/Ginger soup in the box.  Slice some organic celery, carrots and red peppers and “zoup” it up a bit.:)  My husband loves this alternative on the basic soup so much he’s created all kinds of creative soupy  veggie combinations.

 

What’s your favorite afternoon snack right now?

 

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