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,

genevievenedderwithmandala

 

 

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

Pilates and Perfect Health: The Path to Perfect Health begins April 2016!

Balance-perfecthealth post

As many of you know, last August I became a Chopra Center Instructor. I am very excited to announce that I’ll be teaching the Perfect Health Program at  Body Fundamentals on 5 consecutive Sundays beginning this April 3, 2016. Every Sunday covers a different lesson, each building upon the other.

The Perfect Health program was created by Drs. Deepak Chopra and David Simon.  It represents the integration between the principles of modern science and insights from the world’s timeless wisdom traditions. It’s received worldwide acceptance in both the medical and nonmedical communities and is a comprehensive  movement toward total health.

Spring 2016 Perfect Health program dates:

  • Sunday, April 3rd, 1-3:30pm Lesson I
  • Sunday, April 10th, 1-3:30pm Lesson II
  • Sunday, April 17th, 1-3:00pm Lesson III
  • Sunday, April 24th, 1-4:00pm Lesson IV
  • Sunday, May 1st, 1-3:00pm Lesson V

June and Sept. 2016

I’ll also be offering the Perfect Health program as a mini retreat in June (23rd-26th) and in September (22nd-25th). You can take the full program as often as you like (see 2016 dates here).

Pilates and Perfect Health- a powerful combination.

The Perfect Health program is a natural complement to the Pilates focus that continues to be the foundation of our work at Body Fundamentals. The program will assist you in creating healing and transformation in your life through using the best practices of mind/body medicine from around the world combined with the beautiful wisdom of Ayurveda.

You’ll learn: meditation techniques, how to develop a daily Ayurvedic routine, understanding Ayurvedic herbs and nutrition, cooking and eating for better health, conscious communication techniques to improve your personal and professional relationships and gentle yoga postures. For more information, please visit my blog Page here.

Please call me with questions or to pre-register at 520-299-6541.

With gratitude and love,

Geneviève

Recovering from an Injury #4

bailey_200x200The Lesson in Taking the Time It Takes

“Appearance is absolute, but reality is not that way.
Everything is interdependent, not absolute.” Dalai Lama
Taking Charge: Self-Guided Recovery

To be pain-free is often confused with being ready to pick up right where you left off. The problem is that athletic skills require a commensurate level of strength to execute without injury. Strength builds in increments. Nobody wants to start over when they graduated years ago! What you believe you can do is indeed what causes everything to change—and sometimes not for the better if the reality of an appropriate starting point is ignored.

Say, for example, you could ride a bike for more than an hour before one knee started hurting so badly you could not ride at all. You have no clue what happened or what you did that caused this problem. The first order of business is to review or rule out possible issues including, but not limited to, the following:

• Proper adjustment and fit for all gear
• Dietary cause of inflammation such as allergy or excessive sugar intake
• Joint injury requiring surgical intervention
• Muscular imbalance
• Improper technique
• Genetic predispositions and conformation factors
• Overtraining or inadequate rest
Get the help and advice necessary to make informed decisions. Talk with people who’ve been through something similar as well as professionals. Your network plays a major role in long term fitness and health. If cross training is indicated to build a better foundation, go for it. This is a pay now, or pay dearly later, life moment. Knees and shoulders are missed once they are gone.

Assuming all of the aforementioned have been either ruled out or confirmed and corrective action taken, a great plan for the first solo ride on the bike might be slowly spinning for 5 minutes in front of a mirror to watch alignment, going both forward and backward. Then a wait to see what happens. No news is good news since that means you get to do it again instead of wait even longer for new pain to go away. More is not better. It is just more. The lesson of increments means to work smarter rather than harder.

To keep moving forward is to quit while you are ahead; that means to stop on a good one instead of pushing into fatigue. Hold the belief that smart work will continue the upward trend. Use the rear view in this instance for a quick survey to establish progress and perspective. A relative progress check is a one to two-week previous comparative, and the perspective check is 2-4 months back depending on the nature of the injury. Absent pain, the finding of no progress is a red flag that indicates a consult or program revision is necessary. No more and no less.

Doing just enough is the key. Being willing to discover what just enough means for you as an individual is the tipping point of reclaiming active health.

Recovering from an Injury part #3

bailey_200x200By Guest Writer Diana Bailey

“Appearance is absolute, but reality is not that way.
Everything is interdependent, not absolute.” Dalai Lama
Taking Charge: Self Guided Recovery

 

At a certain point, you may choose to guide your own program. If you look to activities that are familiar, enjoyable, and easy, the results are usually okay. Let pain be your guide. If it still hurts, you really are better off getting some help or at least finding an activity that does not cause pain. When you find one, do parts of it differently so the answer (what you “should” be doing) is not immediately apparent. The change of context reduces reflexive guarding and rebuilds confidence if the challenge is appropriate. An appropriate challenge means there is no pain in the doing and none after!

High pain tolerance is not your friend when it comes to injury because it results in ignoring important warnings or overdoing. Low pain tolerance and micro-focusing on pain is not useful either. Developing an accurate pain scale is worthwhile; that means you know the difference between the discomfort that may be necessary to reclaim motion, and a warning that something is about to get serious. In the beginning, the distance between those two points, and the time to respond, is small. Moving and working slowly provides the space to back off. Enduring and ignoring are not the same as noticing and exploring.
The goal is to accurately interpret the message and respond.

Begin any activity with very short exposures. A marathon runner with over 20 years of experience once told me she begins with about a ten minute run her first time back. That idea seemed wimpy and stupid. The real lesson came from first ignoring her suggestion, and then, after another setback, trying it.

Experience teaches what direction cannot.

In the beginning, it has to feel like nothing! No pain means all gain every time. A “wait and see” attitude pays off big in early trials. The discipline to stick with a plan, and to stop before there is an issue, is far more important than any single workout.

Recovering from an Injury- part 2

bailey_200x200Recovering from an Injury-Part 2
By Diana Bailey

To continue treating the body like a machine ensures installation or removal of a few parts over time. Approaching any injury with the attitude of “let’s get this over with” means it may be over or, at the very least end quite differently than was hoped. There is no magic bullet to put this life event away. Cutting and medicating, no matter how necessary in the moment, address a symptom rather than the abiding issue. This path is understandable because the human tendency is to fix what can be seen and touched rather than what is believed. The results speak for themselves.

Absent direction from a professional, and often even in spite of it, injuries are rarely viewed as a personal reason for more accurate observation and examination of underlying mental habits. Damage to the body is not somehow separate from the decisions that caused it. To ignore, blame, justify, or rationalize this critical aspect of the injury won’t make next time not happen.

Gravity exists whether we believe it or not.
Lack of belief merely guarantees another painful outcome.

It is a curious truth that when people get beat up enough, they become willing to entertain new options. Injury is an indicator that at the very least, a review of mental habits is warranted.

The more you are able to abandon your “self” to the process, the more productively rehabilitation time will be used. Rest assured that if you hug your diagnosis, it will never let go of you first! Ignoring a diagnosis ensures other consequences, because ignoring something does not make it go away. The best use of any qualified opinion is as a place to begin rather than the final answer.

Both physical therapy and post-rehab Pilates essentially conspire to take every day motions out of context in order to restore physical ability. The movement is the same, but the reason for doing it becomes different. So, there is no fixed idea about what “should” happen. Curiosity is the root of recovery. This necessary shift in perspective, provided by varying the context, makes a place for possibilities rather than conclusions. In effect, people see and do what they could not before because their mind was too certain of the result.

Once awareness has expanded and the body learns that it can again move without pain, confidence returns along with more efficient movement. Guarding* disappears. Pain ceases to chip away at peace of mind. If you can’t find a way to move pain free, get help! There are people who can teach you how, and this is worth every penny with respect to quality of life.

Change does not have to be difficult, but it may test some limits. Great teachers can make necessary moments doable and even enjoyable. The essential ingredient is to train awareness over exercises. The moment awareness broadens, capacity shifts. A great teacher won’t ask outright for a change of belief, but you may later discover you have because it made sense to do so.
*Guarding is the body’s automatic reaction to delay or avoid pain. At first, this happens to protect the muscles and joints involved. Guarding is evidenced by restricted movements that partially or totally bypass the use of the painful area. The long term result, if the guarding remains, is an adaptive pattern that eventually causes further dysfunction and pain.

 

 

Recovering from an Injury -Part 1

 

bailey_200x200By Guest Writer Diana Bailey
Part  1

“Appearance is absolute, but reality is not that way.
Everything is interdependent, not absolute.” Dalai Lama
The Overview and Approach

Personal and practical experience with a multitude of soft tissue injuries indicates that the attitude regarding rehab challenges does more to determine the outcome than even the available level of care. It is clear that over the course of a lifetime injury is likely to occur. The usual mental approach arrives as a scale that ranges from inconvenient to completely devastating. Injuries do feel absolute! It takes a split second to happen, and a relatively long time to “get your body back”.

In simple terms, recovery from damage tends to unfold in a couple of ways depending upon personal outlook:

Believe first. Do second. Understand later
Do first. Believe second. Understand later

In between, regardless of choosing to be an optimist or a skeptic, there will be some aching, some ouches, and several wows!

The pivotal issue in recovery for either personality is actually curiosity; that means to become more interested in what will happen next than afraid of it. While expert guidance is useful and important, direction that inspires genuine interest in the process expands the realm of probability. Focused curiosity is a powerful tool for progress. Healing is easier when a question of wonder helps to engage the necessary work.

The greatest lesson an injury has to teach is not patience.

It is to pay attention.

It’s called paying attention because it is an investment.

Understanding is at the end of recovery for the same reason that rear view mirrors are smaller than windshields. Perspective comes from experience, not just hindsight. It saves a lot of potential problems to get assistance formulating a plan, but that does not mean mistakes won’t occur. Setbacks can and do happen even with the best of plans because knowing what is just enough is for one individual on any given day is an experiment.

If you decide to seek professional advice, look for experience over opinion and results over credentials. Everybody has opinions, and there are lots of credentials. These are a great starting place as long as they are not equated with experience. People who have paid their dues on the front lines look at issues very differently. Their wisdom is priceless in helping to set a constructive frame for a return to a full range of movement.

Keep in mind that incremental goals deliver excellent cumulative results. Historically, giant leaps in capacity are often injurious. Re-injury halfway through the process tends to expand the problem, and interfere with happy endings. It works well to get reliable information, go slower, and take a little longer. Sometimes that’s a lot longer than expected. Injuries take the time they take. To be invited and inspired to learn how your body moves and works best for you is the goal of recovery.

 

 

Pilates 100 on the Foam Roller

Many of you have asked:

Can I practice the 100 on the Foam Roller?                                                                                       Stevie demonstrating a modified Pilates 100 with legs at Table Top

Yes, absolutely. I like to work the 100 on the Foam roller in a progression. This is a fantastic way to challenge your balance while working your core.

Instructions for the 100 on the Foam Roller

  • Lift your arms to the ceiling and curl up.
  • Bring 1 leg to table top.
  • If you can maintain your balance with 1 leg, lift your other leg.
  • Hold this position as you begin pumping your arms
  • Inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts up to 100.
Preparation for the Pilates 100 on the Foam Roller

Stevie preparing for the Pilates 100 on the Foam Roller

Try it!  If you’re incorporating this into your home Foam Roller program from the studio, finish with the 100.

Let me know how it goes.  Love to hear of your progress.

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Previously published on Changing Through Movement in June 2014.

How to approach yourself in movement.

Diana Bailey Essential Motion PilatesLet your Brownies bake!
By Guest Writer Diana Bailey

Approach your work in Pilates with this general frame of awareness:

  • stsack of brownies.First you organize yourself in the movement much
    as you would assemble and mix ingredients to bake.

Second you refine the mix and maybe make a couple
of adjustments.

     The last and most important thing is to let it bake.

                                                   In my experience, I have to train myself to do this. To
accept whatever happens.

                                                           Brownies do not cook if you keep opening the oven and poking them. So cut it out!  Have some fun with it and give yourself permission to be okay with today’s result.   Practice leaving room for more AND being happy with what is.

 

Personalized Pilates on the Wunda

Seated Mermaid on the Wunda ChairI was speaking with a client the other day, who had just finished a Beginning /Continuing Wunda Chair class, complimenting her on excellent form. “Thanks – it helps to have someone correct me with my form. Plus I’m loving the anti-gravity results!” she enthused, patting her glutes. I laughed, but  later I thought, here I am being a little “in my head” about Pilates benefits and what it often comes down to is that most of us, regardless of our age, want results quickly.  We strive to accomplish a lot in our workouts and yet most of us don’t have two or three hours a day to exercise. We are busy! We are likely sitting far too much in front of the computer and we’re trying to perk up suddenly sagging, soft areas!

Now it is also true that when the same client mentioned that she noticed how great her arms looked in a sleeveless dress, she followed it up with, “And I just FEEL stronger. Have never had upper body strength before. That’s what I like about the Wunda Chair work, besides the small class size, I feel stronger and look more defined.”

That was satisfying for me to hear, because when I designed the Chair classes in 2011, no one else in the Tucson area was offering these kind of specific progressive Chair classes. I started out with custom-designed classes based on progressions at four different levels and we’ve stuck with that model. When I talked to long-time clients about what they wanted from an equipment class, I heard two things repeatedly:

  1. We want to see results as quickly as possible and we want to exercise without risk of injury.
  2. We are much more likely to show up regularly to a small class with personal attention than a big class where someone just calls out moves from the front.
As a result, that is the Pilates class I created and this is what we offer:

Multiple Pilates Chair Quartet classes at different levels, incorporating Reformer,  Magic Circle, and Pilates Mat work.

My studio is private and maintains small classes, which appeals to those seeking  such. When our clients walk in, they don’t see rows of Wunda chairs.

My studio, because of the personal attention we’re able to provide, teaches a range of students both in age and fitness level. We have clients who have never taken a Pilates class before. We also have classes where colleagues and fellow Pilates instructors come to challenge themselves and practice advanced techniques. The level of strenuousness for each workout is decided by the client (and of course, by fitness level).

So if you are looking for a private setting, small classes, personal attention and the ability to choose to work at an easy or strenuous level and everywhere in-between, call us (520-299-6541)!

Geneviève sign off avatar

 

 

Tell A Different Story

Diana Bailey Essential Motion Pilates By  Guest Writer, Diana Bailey

Acceptance is the starting place. It has nothing to do with being a “door mat” by allowing others to make decisions that are yours to make. It is not about giving up, giving in, or tolerating particular circumstances and behavior. Acceptance is seeing something for what it objectively is, so you can be free to decide how you want to respond. It is the ability to drop or question your beliefs in order to act wholeheartedly. It does not magically appear or disappear. You choose it.

There’s a joke that makes the rounds in Colorado every winter that is a great example of acceptance:

Know how you can tell you’re driving in the snow with a Colorado native? Because the car’s sliding sideways into oncoming traffic, and they ask you to hold their coffee ‘cause this is gonna get interesting….

Freedom to act comes from the ability to consciously direct the mind to observe and acknowledge what is happening right now. That’s acceptance. No resentment, no why me? No more the entitled approach of I deserve this, but I don’t deserve that. No he should have, or I could have. No leap to the aftermath of mopping up a coffee stain on car upholstery. Just this: Here we are. This is it, and NOW WHAT?

The story becomes entirely different. That’s what.

Acceptance underpins creativity because it is the receiver; the heartfelt seeing of a person, place or thing for what it is without dressing it up or tearing it down. It is the simple realization that there is no real control of any outcome…. especially for anyone or anything else. That understanding alone will make a positive difference in whatever the outcome actually is.

This simple spiritual principle dramatically changes every situation without adding any personal drama. Imagine one guest or family member in the room at a holiday gathering who was truly still inside…no drama. Talk about a social magnet. Acceptance remains clear that there is no reason to make anyone else’s drama yours. What for?

Acceptance abides with the personal responsibility that lies behind a choice to do or not do, think or not think, say or not say.

For me, this simple practice is moving forward at peace with what is here, what was before and what may or may not be. That’s a “now what?” that makes getting up in the morning a great idea, an engaging and expansive look at being here and doing what I’m doing today with all that I am.