Movement: Why regular exercise is vital to our wellbeing

exercise and health BFI studio classWe know we need to exercise regularly.  Yet making movement a routine part of our daily lives can be a challenge. For years, I moved energetically and even strenuously daily  – taking dance as a teenager and in college, and then discovering Pilates in my early 20s. Naturally, owning a Pilates and Movement studio for over 15 years here in Tucson, and prior to that running studios in Denver, I’m passionate about the power of daily movement.

That said, it doesn’t mean I feel like it every day. Or even if I feel like it, that I’m able to fit in the time and level of exercise that I’d like. Sometimes daily life can present one obstacle or distraction after another, and my best intentions go astray.

I know many of you experience the same thing.  Yet to improve our mind and overall health, and to age well, demands that we commit to daily and regular exercise.

A dear client asked me yesterday: “Can you give me one tip to help me get up in the morning and exercise? I have good intentions but just can’t seem to incorporate it into my life.”

My answer: “Start small, but be consistent.  For example, perhaps lie on the Foam Roller 5-10 minutes. Or start your day with a few rounds of Sun Salutations. Those are a great way to deepen your breathing and increase your flexibility.”

Another tip: Increase your lunchtime an extra 15 minutes to allow for a short walk after eating.

 There are 3 components to a healthy fitness program:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Strength training
  3. Aerobic exercise

Flexibility = stretching. One thing that we can do to help us lower the chance of injury is to stretch before or after exercise. A favorite of mine is the Sun Salutations series from yoga (mentioned above) – it’s an ideal way to greet the day and focus on how your body is feeling before beginning strength or cardio vascular exercise. If you plan to attend my small group meditation class in April, you’ll learn a chair Sun Salutation series there.

Strength training = weight bearing exercise. Strength training includes a variety of weight bearing exercise. Hiking can be weight bearing- simply place a small back-pack on and chose a walk or hike that isn’t flat.  Pilates is excellent for strength and flexibility.

Aerobic = endurance. Walking briskly just 20 – 30 minutes three or four times per week is a great start to an aerobic exercise habit. If you haven’t moved in a while, try 10 minutes and build up. You’ll be surprised how quickly your stamina increases! Set yourself up for success by calculating your Target Heart Rate. If don’t know yours or would like to learn – just send me a note .

Exercise does not mean diving into an Olympic training program. Although, if you are training for specific event, it is always my pleasure to help you meet you training goals.

As always, please talk to your physician before beginning a new fitness program. You want to improve your health, not risk it.

In health,




Inspired by Lesson 3 of the Perfect Health program, “Perpetual Renewal.” Now registering for the June 2017 program at 520-299-6541.

WellMind: A Natural Way to a Good Night’s Sleep

wellmind natural sleep aidIf you’ve ever taken prescription sleep medication, you’re probably familiar with the “hangover” they can leave. Melatonin works for some, but others experience overly vivid dreams or even nightmares. One homeopathic, natural sleep aid that works gently is WellMind (formerly Neurexan).

WellMind’s ingredients work together to calm the mind, readying it for sleep. There’s not the pre-coma drowsiness some prescription sleeping pills can cause. An overactive mind, or frequent insomnia, can be disruptive to our ability to remain calm in the face of daily life stress. Insomnia in the United States is at  epidemic proportions. A good night’s sleep is key to optimal health.

To give WellMind a chance, adjust your bedtime routine. After you dissolve a tablet under your tongue, consider reading something non-stimulating: i like to spend a half hour ro more with philosophy or spiritual readings. Avoid bright screens and put your technology away-  really, step away from all devices.  In a short time, you’ll begin to feel the effect.

Those clients and friends I know who’ve tried WellMind share that it does calm the overactive mind and really helps them to “wind down” at the end of the day. Used as a natural sleep aid, sleep is generally uninterrupted and best of all, no sleeping pill hangover or grogginess. Several friends and colleagues have replaced their prescription sleep aid with WellMind.

WellMind’s homeopathic active ingredients include:

  • Avena sativa – Relieves simple nervous tension
  • Coffea cruda – Relieves irritability
  • Passiflora incarnata – Relieves simple nervous tension
  • Zincum valerianicum – Relieves occasional nervous sleeplessness

Please ask us if you have any questions about the natural products carried at our Tucson Body Fundamentals Studio, during your next Pilates session or simply give us a ring: 520-299-6541.

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The Ayurvedic Alternative: On the Path to Perfect Health

Perfect Health with Genevieve Nedder a Chopra Center Certified InstructorIt’s a profound body of knowledge to a holistic way of daily living. One that restores balance, increases vitality and brings healing and transformation. In fact, thousands of people worldwide are quietly changing their lives as a result of this program and eventuating their own perfect health.

Personally, I can share that the Perfect Health program and study of Ayurveda has made a measurable difference in my life. I first discovered the program during an anniversary getaway with my husband, Robert in 2014. We were inspired by the knowledge gained and how immediately applicable it was.

Incrementally, we’ve made adjustments to our nutrition, communication style (with each other and others), meditation practice and exercise.  Results are ongoing – as are challenges and daily life! There’s no denying the positive impact we’ve seen in our physical and spiritual health.

I’m very excited to share this effective, healing and transformative material with you.

Perfect Health at Body Fundamentals*

The upcoming September program will be held at the studio, with space limited to 12 people to allow for personal attention. Registration in this retreat includes: daily meditation and yoga, morning Pilates classes, healthy snacks, heart healthy lunches on Saturday and Sunday, Ayurvedic nutrition course, conscious communication techniques, information on detoxification and purification, healing through sensory input, and much more.

Hosting an Ayurvedic lifestyle program

In talking with several clients, I found that the studio dates for some retreats and course dates conflicted with other plans. Since these life changing  programs are so powerful and meaningful to those who attend, I’m considering how to make them more convenient and available. Would you instead like to host an Ayurvedic lifestyle program for your family, friends or clients?

Please talk to me about how I can bring an event or program to you and your group.  It is highly customizable and I’m confident that together we can design the perfect fit for you.

In health,


P.S.  Private Meditation instruction is offered ongoing; please me for information or to schedule a session.

*How to register for Perfect Health

On the path to Perfect Health: Meditation

butterfly meditation genevievenedder.comAs we enter a new year, it’s the perfect time for new, healthful practices. One of my renewed intentions is to expand my personal practice of daily meditation. To be honest, I’m re-arranging my schedule to include an early evening meditation at least twice a week. My evenings at home are more peaceful and relaxing when I make the time after work to meditate. I’m more centered and present with my husband. It’s one of my most fruitful intentions from the past year and a half and a direct outcome of my experiences at the Chopra Center and my Perfect Health  instructor program.

You may have seen the eblast or press release about my new offering of Group Meditation Classes beginning in Feb. Although I’ve had a long-time practice of meditation and continue to recognize its benefits, this coming February (February 20th, March 5th, March 12th and March 19thDue to family concerns, the March 19th meditation class will need to be rescheduled. Date TBA.) will be the first time I teach meditation in a group setting. It is a natural complement to Pilates and Movement, and I can personally attest that as my meditation practice deepens, I am able to be more ‘present’ and deepen my own Pilates practice.

There are many forms of meditation, from guided visualizations to yoga nidra to sound meditation, and more. Each brings its own techniques and benefits. In these first Group Meditation Classes, we’ll focus on breathing awareness exercises and a mantra-based meditation.  I’ll also lead you through some intention setting for greater peace, health and vitality.

“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet.
It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there” – Deepak Chopra

I hope you’ll join me on the path to Perfect Health. The Meditation Classes are an excellent window into the many benefits of the Perfect Health Program, which includes meditation as part of each lesson.

In health,
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7 Tips for Stress Relief at the Office

GenOffice stress is hard on our bodies. Deep in a project, we’ll sit with poor posture, have our computers at the wrong height or angle, and generally do not pay attention to our body’s needs. Here are seven of my favorite stress relief remedies for our hectic office lives.

1. Improve Your Seated Posture

Poor posture can add to your fatigue, inhibit breathing, and create chronic pain patterns. I know.  I’ve spent several decades rehabilitating from injuries and can undo a pain free day with a few hours of poor posture or shallow breathing. Old neck injuries from car accidents in my 20’s are getting worse with age and simply maintaining proper head position can make a big difference in my upper and middle back pain. Check your posture while working at your computer or looking down at paper work.

  •  Be careful about leaning forward in your chair.
  •  Lean back into your chair.
  • Use lumbar support whenever possible.
  •  Place your head in alignment often.
  •  Keep your legs at a right angle.
  • Uncross your legs now and always.  Crossing our legs twists the pelvis causing misalignments all the way up the spine.
  • If possible, allow your chin to be level (parallel) to the floor.

2. Release Low Back Tension

  • Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor hip or shoulder width apart. Avoid crossing your ankles or knees.
  • Reach 1 knee forward allowing your hip to move forward and then release.  I call this “seated hip-swish.”
  • Reach the opposite knee forward and release and continue this back and forth motion of your hips allowing your knees to scissor, 10 to 15 times.
  • Use a back pillow or any kind of lumbar support while working at the computer.

3. Breathe

Focusing on your breath is a simple and quick way to become centered, calm and increase your energy.

  • Slow your breathing down.
  • Lengthen your exhalation.
  • Learn Balanced breathing techniques  with or without meditation.
  • Practice Pranayama (Yogic breathing techniques).

4. Hydrate   overflowing glass of water

Even the smallest amount of dehydration can cause fatigue. Dehydration can also be a contributing factor to back pain.   I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance to our overall health and vitality hydration plays. Even one day of dehydration can throw the body into imbalance. Try to drink 8-10  8-ounce glasses of water a day.  At the first sign of back pain, immediately drink a glass or two of water.

5. Stop and Stretch

Stop what you’re doing and stretch for 5-8 minutes. And breathe!  It will relieve tension, and help bring your awareness back to your body.

  • Neck stretches
  • Neck Rolls
  • Shoulder Rolls
  • Arms Stretches with Rotation
  • Triceps Stretch

6. Get Up and Walk!

Even a quick 2 minute walk can change your state and provide stress relief! Set a timer or your  phone, and give yourself a 2-5 minute break at least every hour, preferably every ½ hour.

7. Practice Gratitude

  • Think about something you’re grateful for.
  • Give thanks for family and friends.
  • Make a short gratitude list and look at it when you feel anxious, overwhelmed or stressed.


Pilates benefits for Cyclists

Pilates for Cyclists: Beyond Basic Bicycle Training

Several of my Tucson clients who are cycling enthusiasts have asked that I write a post that specifically addresses why Pilates is so beneficial for cyclists. Realizing that dedicated cyclists already commit to extensive bicycle training, here I’m highlighting benefits which not only help cycling performance, but also can help prevent cycling injuries.

Benefits of Pilates for Cyclists
  • A regular Pilates practice  increases core awareness and strengthening , enabling greater ease with positioning.  Much time is spent in a forward hinge when riding,  and knowing how to find and maintain a hinge without over using your back muscles is tremendously beneficial.
  • Proper  and specific  breathing techniques  provide additional support when climbing hills.
  • Cyclists gain greater “lat awareness” (keeping the lats engaged and drawing them down ), which helps maintain proper bike posture and keeps tension out the neck.
  • A Pilates practice  focuses on whole body movement and creates even muscle development, a huge benefit as cycling focuses on the larger muscle groups.
  • Pilates practice creates awareness of internal muscles not generally addressed in bicycle training, improving strength development and  safe use of the joints.

I encourage cyclists, runners, and all athletes – to incorporate  Pilates  into their training. Each sport practitioner benefits in unique ways, but commonalities include greater balance, strength and flexibility, as well as injury prevention.

Try a beginning Mat class or an Equipment  class to see the difference. Even the most fit cyclists discover muscles that they didn’t know they had after just a few sessions.

Keep moving!






So What Shapes the Mind? – Part 2

Diana Bailey


Part two: Focus of Intent


Is it a great thing to learn to deal with discomfort? Yes! Because eventually you may discover that there are very few real emergencies in life and fitness training is not one of them. The acceptance of discomfort opens the door of physical possibility. It is not an end all, be all. Pushing too fast and too hard is the mistake of an inexperienced or un-attentive mind. Strength, endurance, power, and flexibility all build in increments. So do the mental reserves to productively govern the body’s building process. Staying fit and healthy is a marathon, not a sprint.

Some time-tested avenues to develop focus of intent for physical training, the second aspect of mental toughness, begin with the following three practices listed in order of priority:

• Calm, even, consistent breathing… It does not matter if it is fast or slow, percussive or silent; just equal out and in without being held. Holding the breath means you are overreaching or working too hard. Back off and quit building tension. Avoid injury. Breathe.

• Non-reactive thinking…that means to challenge yourself without judgment. There’s a big difference between doing something you later decide was stupid and thinking you are stupid because you did something that didn’t work. Give it a shot. So what if you lose balance or fail? Don’t buy in to somebody else either, there’s no comparison here. You will learn about your own edge by finding it, not by comparing it to someone else’s.

• Wholehearted doing without attachment to the result…that means to give it your all. Whatever that is on this day, you accept the outcome so as to be able to continue forward. If an injury has you on the sidelines, then have fun watching movies or researching a good health practitioner to help you. If it feels as though you can work harder than you planned, do that. Honor your purpose.

Achieve these three touchstones regardless of the circumstances in a given moment and you have a focus of intent. This is learning to respond rather than react. It is best to practice the first one (calm, even, consistent breathing) no matter what. Never, ever sacrifice the breath to achieve something. It is critical for staying healthy and grounded in the body’s wisdom. Trust your breath to show you your edge. If you can’t breathe in the way described above, you’re way past it. Add the other two as you can while preserving and maintaining an even breath.

Mental toughness knows mistakes happen, setbacks occur, problems can develop, and it embraces them all as part of a bigger perspective. Cling to nothing but what is right in front of you in this moment to do. Pay attention to what your body is telling you instead of ignoring it. Pain is nature’s way of letting you know something is wrong, not that you lack toughness, or that you will never get fit. Drop that mental bully and pick up the three touchstones instead. That boot camp class gets a lot more interesting if you are showing up with your three buddies in mind.

Training that works over the long-term becomes the evolution of desire and discipline in personal action. It is a gift to know your body well enough to challenge your individual comfort zone secure in the understanding of where there is the room to work and what is best left alone on this day. The gift of mental tenacity cannot be given. It is only earned with time, repeated effort, and attention to results.


So what Shapes the Mind -Part 1

Diana Bailey photo

“The mind shapes the body.” – Joseph Pilates

So What Shapes the Mind?
Part One: Clarity of Purposeimage of water, mountain and clouds

How does repeatedly pushing and beating up the physical body to the point of failure, injury, breakage, or loss prove anything other than perhaps a compulsive tendency of the mind? If you let the mind goad you into over training and abusing your body with the belief that enduring pain will somehow teach you to be tough, then you will certainly endure pain… and maybe you will get tough.

The body is often the first target for proving mental toughness. Yet, proving something is not the same as owning it. You’re not necessarily tougher than the next person because you suffered, pushed, or forced more than they did. What if there was a way to build mental tenacity without engaging in so much bullying and brute force? What if you had a way to possibly enjoy the doing instead of having to “gut it out”?

To care for the body as a loving, attentive parent would care for a young child is to acknowledge the spirit that resides within. Investing the time and effort to listen to your own needs and understand the reason you chose to do something pays big dividends. All worthwhile goals stem from this fundamental research.

A word of caution about clarity of purpose: Avoid the temptation to add, mix, or adopt the motives of others. This can bring less than stellar results because you just can’t change yourself for somebody else, not over the long-term. An example of adopting another’s motive would be deciding to take up running because your spouse noticed you’ve gained weight and suggested you run to lose it because that’s how they lost weight. Contrast this with deciding on your own to take up running because you want to feel better, increase your ability to recover from other activities, or have some fun with a friend. In the first part, you didn’t decide you needed to lose the weight. Someone else did. You just decided to run to stop being a target for their judgment. Not a motivation for great results because the motivation did not come from you. The second part is an example of decisions that are clear and personal. These are great motivators.

The most important part of shaping the course your training will take is choosing a purpose that truly inspires you.

This is the key. The mind does shape the body, and the spirit keeps it. Check in with yourself regularly. Authentic personal desire provides the wellspring for developing and refining clarity of purpose. This is the first step toward owning the gift of mental tenacity



I AM… and I become or maintain exactly what follows. Words are powerful.

Diana Bailey Essential Motion Pilates

By Guest Writer Diana Bailey

The words that come after I AM are powerful messages that you give yourself.  Those words can determine your attitude, your ideas about self worth, your opportunities and, over time, bring either great joy and success or much sorrow and pain.

You are cordially invited to spend a day with a random inquiry into this singular habit. Just noticing how often you say the words I AM…..then what you say the moment after that. This simple “meditation”, done anytime and anywhere for the moments it takes to see, hear, and acknowledge the verbal reinforcement we give ourselves, reveals some interesting results.

I actually got so curious about this, I kept a pocket notebook with me for a day. I wrote down every single thing I said to myself that started with I AM.

At first it was a bit clumsy to do it. But it turned out that within a couple of hours, I caught my mind frantically attempting (over and over) to avoid this whole idea by telling me NO with thoughts such as:

• You’ll remember. So, no need to write that one down. Keep walking.
• Stop it! You don’t need to know this stuff. It’s all fine. Why are you doing this?
• This is ridiculous, no one “meditates” like this.
• You look stupid standing in a grocery line writing in a notebook.
• You have to pay attention to the road. NO, No, NOOO don’t pull over and write that one down, you’re wasting so much time doing that!
Obviously things got pretty creative in the control department! The turnaround came the moment my mind said to me “I AM NOT HAPPY about this”, and some place inside responded with “I know, that’s why we’re doing it.”

The internal resistance to a simple, perfectly harmless exercise told me I was really on to something that could produce some powerful results.

It has. It does. Thank you for that.

Neurexan sleep aid

Neurexan tablet bottleDo you remember the December post about Neurexan, a homeopathic sleep aid that helps with sleeplessness and overactive mind?

Well, as someone with an overactive mind and frequent insomnia, I decided to give it a try. I admit I was skeptical, thinking “can homeopathic really beat my prescription sleep meds?” With my prescription sleep meds, I’d often wake up groggy and be irritable the next day. I had tried taking Melatonin for a while some years ago, but it gave me nightmares. You could say that I was cautiously optimistic about trying something new. sleepSo I’ve tried taking Neurexan as needed for the past month. One of the nicest things about it is that it is gentle, it doesn’t make you start to feel overly drowsy like you’re slipping into one of the prescription sleeping pill comas. In fact, if you take a Neurexan tablet before you get in bed and relax, it seems like you then just have to take another one after 15 minutes. So I’ve adjusted my bedtime routine and after I wash my face and brush my teeth, I dissolve the tablet under my tongue and read something non-stimulating until I feel tired, typically it takes about 10 minutes to kick in for me.

The final verdict: Neurexan sleep aid does work to calm my overactive mind and help me in winding down and drifting off to sleep. I still have to actively engage myself in slowing down at night, but I do prefer it to the prescription pills that would just take over my body and make me drowsy. This gently guides me into a peaceful sleep, and that is definitely worth a “thumbs up” to me. If you’re interested in Neurexan, it is available at Body Fundamentals Tucson studio.


– Guest Writer Hilary Beckovich