|Posted on December 28, 2017 at 11:20 AM||comments (0)|
How to reduce stress in your life using breath, movement, and meditation:
Have you ever been so stressed that you hear a ringing in your ears?
Or you feel like you are in a pressure cooker?
I have. At times I have reached for food, drugs, alcohol, sleep and other people to manage my stress, and now I have learned tools for self-regulation through breath, movement and meditation.
On a scale of 1-10, ten being the highest stress, take note of your stress level right now.
Practice some of the tips in this blog and observe your stress level again at the end.
At any given moment we have the power to focus on our breathing. How do you focus on your breathing?
1) Count the length of your inhales and count the length of your exhales using your fingers. Can you inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 4 counts. For some starting with a 4 count can be challenging. Starting by inhaling and exhaling for 3 seconds can be easier. “Inhale, 1, 2, 3. Exhale, 1, 2, 3.” Then try 4 counts, and then 5 counts. Gradually lengthening your inhales and lengthening your exhales, make your goal inhaling for 10 counts and exhaling for 10 counts.
2) Listen to the sound of your breath. When you listen to the sound of your breath it brings you into the present moment. Hearing the sound of your breath encourages your thoughts to clear since your focus is on the sound of your breathing. Mixing listening to the sound of your breath with the counting frees you from the constant cycle of thoughts, clearing your mind, and reducing your stress. Often our thoughts are what cause us stress. Taking a temporary break from your thoughts to breathe consciously shifts your mood, and makes you more equipped to address the stresses in your life, and the power to release and let go of thoughts that aren’t relevant. When you can let go of stressful thoughts that aren’t necessary, you can experience peace.
3) Feel the expansion and contraction of your body while you breathe. Feel your body expand on the inhale breath, and feel your body soften or contract on the exhale breath. As your body expands with the inhale you can feel your skin press out against the air around your body, and as you exhale you can feel the air press back against you. Allowing your body to move while you breathe reminds you you are connected to everything. And when you remember you are connected to everything, you remember God created everything. And when you remember God created everything, you can remember God created everything in Love. When you meditate on God and Love, stress reduction is natural.
4) See. In your mind’s eye, imagine your body filling with breath. When you visualize your body filling with breath, notice if there are parts of your body you see filling and parts where maybe the breath hasn’t reached yet. As you lengthen your inhales and lengthen your exhales, can you fill all of your body with breath reaching the areas maybe you weren’t able to access before. As you see your entire body filling with breath, think about oxygenating your cells. In a process called cellular respiration your cells take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Imagine all of your cells filling with oxygen. Think of oxygen as love, imagine all of your cells filling with love.
Check in with your stress level now and observe if it has changed with practicing the long slow breathing explained above.
Even using those four exercises you experienced breath, movement and meditation. As you breathe, your body moves with the breath and long slow deep breathing is a form of meditation. I have heard people say, “I can’t meditate.”, but I think people have a pre-conceived notion of what meditation is and what meditation isn’t. Focusing on your breath is a form of meditation. And although ceasing the turning of thoughts is the “goal” of meditation, if you think a thought that doesn’t negate your meditation practice. Everyone thinks thoughts. In fact the process of thinking is natural and rhythmical. Thoughts come and go. With time, practice and experience, one who practices mediation can begin to observe their thoughts. When you can observe your thoughts, you can also witness them pass like clouds and return to silence, especially if you give yourself permission to do so without beating yourself up for thinking thoughts. Simply naming the act, “oh look, I am thinking a thought”, and then returning to the sound, feeling, and seeing that happens during active breathing focuses your attention back to your breath and away from your thoughts. And you might repeat that process over and over again. Perfect meditation is not the goal. Consistent practice is the goal that creates lasting results, stamina, and the clearing of mental stuff.
Maybe sitting and focusing on your breath hasn’t improved your stress. Movement is a great stress relief. There are so many different forms of exercise, sports, and art forms that include movement. I happen to love Pilates and Yoga which I consider moving meditations. Walking is another easy and accessible form of meditation which includes a great way to regulate your breathing.
1) go outside and walk
2) count your steps
3) Inhale for 4 steps
4) Exhale for 4 steps
6) See if you can go up to six, eight, or ten counts or steps per inhale and per exhale
7) Come back to your four count to finish
Meditation can come in so many forms. Some say art is a form of meditation. We have talked about exercise as a meditation. And we discussed breathing as a form of meditation. Anything that brings you into the present moment freeing you from your thoughts, the past and the future counts as meditation.
How do you achieve sitting silently without thought? Ask God for guidance as to how to achieve this state and I am confident the practice that is right for you will reveal itself. I love Kundalini Yoga for this reason, and Yamuna Body Rolling because I find myself in an effortless state of silence at the end, dynamic silence, and it is delicious. If you are having trouble accessing this state and you have tried some of the tips in this blog, check me out at Lake Pilates. Schedule an appointment, take a class or come to a workshop. Please send me an e-mail, email@example.com, and share with me what was revealed to you when you asked God for guidance, I am so interested to know what works best for you!
In conclusion, stress can be caused because God is asking us to level up. We are in a time of ascension right now doors are opening for us to know higher levels of consciousness. To stay where we are can cause a build up of pressure internally, and the answer is to walk through the doors God is opening for us. Although it may feel temporarily like constriction, expansion is the inevitable result of committing to practices physically and spiritually. Practices that assist with ascension are offered at Lake Pilates. Merkaba meditations that activate the light body are included in the Pilates and Yoga classes, Sufi Chants of Love to purify the heart, soul, and secret, and workshops such as "The Unity Healing" and "Your Heart is the Doorway".
Looking forward to seeing you at Lake Pilates soon.
Peace, Hawa Robin Cahn
copyright December 2017
|Posted on July 27, 2017 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
We live in a dualistic plane. In order to know Unity, we must know the duality. When we meditate on both we will know that they are not mutually exclusive. Knowing the Unity and the duality both exist helps us to understand both planes exist for a reason. God asks us to know Him/Her. We know God through the Unity or the Oneness and the Qualities or Aspects of God that trickle down through the spiritual planes to the material world, the duality. These Qualities are divided into two dualistic aspects, the Beauty and the Severity. Below are guided meditations, or leading questions to help you have an experience or taste of the Beauty and Severity within yourself. Since God breathed His/Her light into the human being, we can know God by knowing the Divine Qualities within ourselves. Start by taking a few long slow breaths to feel your heart, and connect with the Diving Light in your heart. Ask God, “dear God, please turn my heart to face you”. Breathe and wait for the Divine Response. How do you know God has responded to your prayer? Imagine as if your prayer was like a text message you sent to God, and you can feel the pulse of God texting you back, like you have received a message in your inbox. When you feel ready, continue. Throughout the blog, I’ll remind you to pause to breathe. Three breaths is the least amount of time recommended for contemplation, and if you’d like to stay longer on any given part, take your time.
Take 3 deep breaths and meditate on the word Beauty. As you are breathing ask “God, what do you want me to know about beauty?”.
What comes to mind or heart when you meditate on beauty? A place, a thing, a person, a memory? What reminds you of beauty? Ask God to help you see God’s hand behind those images. Take time to breath and wait for God’s response.
What is your relationship to the word “beauty”? Pause and breathe. I ask because I wonder if you think of yourself as beautiful. Whatever resistance you have to the word reveals where you haven’t fully accepted yourself as beautiful, and is a lie. Be willing to question the lies you tell yourself that keep you from believing you are God’s beauty incarnate.
Notice if there are any words or faces of people that come to mind that reinforce the lies that cover over your true beauty. Ask God to remove those imprints from your perception to reveal your true beauty. Take three breaths.
Ask God to know the truth of who you are. Take three more breaths.
Thank God for what you have received.
Is beauty an emotion? A state of being? What is beauty? It is an aspect of the Divine and the flip side is God’s severity. Why focus on beauty? To balance life’s severity. Carving out time to consciously meditate on beauty trains us to be more aware of the beauty that is everywhere so as to not be overwhelmed by the severity, and to remember beauty lies within our own hearts. In Sufism the Beauty and the Severity are translated as the Jamal and the Jalal, there is a balance of both in the world.
Now take a moment to meditate on the severity. Take three deeps breaths and ask “God, what do you want me to know about severity?”.
Depth is a quality of the severity. Ask God to help you know the depth of who you are, to open the doors to the unconscious and subconscious awareness. As the doors to the unconscious and subconscious open ask for God’s strength to see what is in you that you may not be willing to look at. As beliefs bubble up from the unconscious and subconscious, look at them. Be the witness; look at the beliefs objectively suspending judgment and criticism. Observing, allow the beliefs to rise and if not needed clear. Take at least three minutes for this part, breathing slowly and deeply, asking God for help moment to moment.
Once you have allowed a handful of false beliefs to rise and clear, take a break. Have a glass of water. Practice self-care. Do something you love.
May the peace and blessings of God be upon you.
Meditation, Spiritual Healing, Craniosacral therapy, Pilates, Yoga, and Yamuna Body Rolling are all offered at Lake Pilates.
Please schedule your appointment to come to Lake Pilates by e-mailing Hawa@lakepilates.com
Sykpe sessions and phone sessions are available.
Copyright Hawa Robin Cahn July 2017
|Posted on June 9, 2017 at 2:20 PM||comments (0)|
Bringing the Body to Balance
Daily movement is needed to bring your body to balance. Life is unpredictable; we move in whatever direction our lives require us. Frequently there are repetitive movements that we do unconsciously that create movement patterns in the body. Repetitive stress can cause pain, tightness, or even injuries like herniations, pinched nerves, or numbness and tingling in the body.
Getting on the mat daily brings your body to balance. Moving the spine one bone at a time can help to decompress the discs and return them to their optimal position between the vertebrae. Moving the arms and legs in directions that your body doesn’t normally do on a daily basis preserves your full range of motion in the joints, which can become limited over time if not used.
Breathing can become restricted if one doesn’t practice long deep breathing. Every Pilates, Yoga, and Yamuna Body Rolling class at Lake Pilates starts with a scan of the body, a progressive relaxation, and long slow breathing. Consciously observing your breathing and lengthening your breaths increases breath volume and capacity. Core strength is dependent on long deep breathing, because your primary muscle of respiration, your diaphragm muscle is the top of your core. When your diaphragm muscle is strong from long deep breathing, your ribs float on your hips, lengthening your waist and toning your abs. Diaphragmatic breathing relieves low back pain, neck pain, and heart ache.
Bringing the body to balance is also a metaphor for bringing your life to balance. Do you work all the time? Feel like you’re constantly on the go? How do you slow down? Teaching yourself to breathe slower, move slower, and BE is a way to bring your body to balance and ultimately your life. When you carve an hour out of your day, every day if possible, but even 2-3 times a week is great, you shift into balance in your body and in your life. Have questions about how to get started? Lake Pilates has a full class schedule that helps to unwind the body, bring it to balance, and strengthen optimal posture.
Three tips for bringing your body to balance.
1) Long deep breathing
2) Schedule a class 2-3 times a week to learn new movements
3) Find an activity that takes you outside to breathe fresh air, feel the earth under your feet, and helps you connect with nature.
|Posted on May 5, 2017 at 8:45 PM||comments (1)|
How reading Tami Lynn Kent’s book Wild Feminine affected my Pilates and Yoga practice, and why Wild Feminine is a must read for all women.
My world changed profoundly when I started reading the book Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent. Through my Pilates practice I had a relationship with my pelvis and body from an exercise perspective, and as I moved through the chapters of Wild Feminine, I cultivated a deeper relationship with my body from a meditative and energetic perspective. The body speaks to us, although we must attune our hearing to understand its messages. Practicing the Wild Feminine meditations opened my mind and my heart to what Tami Lynn Kent calls “Root Wisdom”, the knowledge, understanding, and dialogue that come from consciously relating to your pelvis.
The Landscape of the Wild Feminine is broad and is unique for each woman. My profession is teaching Pilates, Yoga, Yamuna Body Rolling, Craniosacral Therapy and Spiritual Healing, so the cultivation of the Wild feminine for me reveals my passion for movement, breath, and healing. How the Wild Feminine speaks through you may be wildly different, as God made us each unique with our purposeful spots around the circle and our individual gifts to offer. This is my tale of how reading Wild Feminine has affected my practice of exercise and exploration of healing.
As a teacher of Pilates, in our training we are encouraged to learn where the muscles attach to the bones and the lines of pull those muscles create. Finding which movements bring the body to balance is also part of my training. As my Wild Feminine meditations became more regular, I had an epiphany one day when I was taking a fellow instructor’s class. She reflected back to me that my pelvis was misaligned, one hip higher than the other while I was lying on the mat. Almost instinctually I took a mental walk around my pelvis, exercises Dr. Kent describes in her book on p. 49 “Clarifying the Energy of Your Bowl” and p. 36-39 “The Pelvic Bowl: the Root Place”. Since I had been practicing these meditations more regularly it took just a moment, and the instructor immediately noticed, and said, “oh wait, you’re fine, they’re aligned". The words, “I’ve been doing these Pelvic Bowl Mediations” came out of my mouth. And so I realized how the Wild Feminine was expressing itself in my Pilates work.
I started including these short, guided meditations of walking around the pelvic bowl and breathing into the bones of the pelvis into my Pilates classes. The concepts of directing the breath intentionally came from my Yoga and Yamuna Body Rolling practices. The results were nothing short of miraculous. Rather than having to use movements or exercises to align the pelvis, the bones magically aligned. We ended classes resting in our pelvic bowls. My experience of that energy that is calm, slower than the pace of life, and clarified.
Dr. Kent also addresses the commonly used Pelvic Floor exercises called “Kegels”. When I read her commentary on the Kegel on p. 34 and 35 of the Wild Feminine, I thought, “Every woman has to know this”. She writes, “Ideally, the muscles are engaging in each quadrant of her pelvic bowl, but typically only part of the pelvic floor is activated. Muscle fibers holding tension and pain (and diminished energy) will have much less movement, or squeezing action, during a Kegel." Dr. Kent goes on later in her book to describe how to self administer internal pelvic massage or vaginal massage as the solution for these tension patterns, relieving them so that all of the fibers of the pelvic floor fire optimally.
If you have ever been to a Pilates class, you will quickly realize some Pilates instructors are obsessed with the Pelvic Floor muscles. Why? Because the Pelvic Floor Muscles are the base of your core.
In my previous article “Take it Easy”, I wrote about how the diaphragm muscle on the inside of the rib cage is the top of the core. In a long diaphragmatic breath, you should feel pressure, sensation or stimulation at the base of your pelvis, because the muscle tissue is connected by means of the abdominal muscles. My students often hear me say, “Breathe all the way down your spine into your pelvis". So technically speaking you can start to stimulate your pelvic floor muscles by exaggerating your long slow breathing. I like to imagine a balloon in the space between my ribs and my hips. On the inhale breath, the balloon inflates down the spine into the pelvis, and on the exhale breath, the balloon empties up towards the ribs. On a long slow inhale breath you can visualize your pelvic floor muscles expand or stretch, and on the exhale visualize the pelvic floor muscles soften or return to resting length, which can also translate as a contraction.
But what happens if you feel nothing? If you’re not sure you’re doing it right? Or you have pain or discomfort in your pelvic floor muscles? All of these questions are normal and common for women.
Where are the Pelvic Floor Muscles? If you visualize your pelvis, you have a right pelvic bone and a left pelvic bone. When you place your hands on your “hips”, the top part of your pelvis is called the Iliac crest or the Ilium. In the back there is your Sacrum, a heart shaped bone at the back of your pelvis. The Sacrum is part of the spine and connects to the tailbone, known as the Coccyx, or the tip of your spine. In the front of the pelvis are your pubic bones where the right and left pelvic bones meet with a small piece of cartilage in between the pubic bones. At the base of your pelvis are your sitting bones or Ischium. If you rock back on forth while seated you can feel those sitting bones known anatomically as your Ischium.
Thinking about the bones at the base of the pelvis, in the front are your pubic bones, in back is your tailbone or Coccyx, and on the right and left are your sitting bones or Ischium. The base of the pelvis makes a diamond. If you put your hands together to form a diamond with your pointer fingers touching, and your thumbs touching, you can imagine the pointer fingers are the pubic bones, the thumbs are the Coccyx, and your hands are the Ischium. The Pelvic Floor Muscles are on the inside of this diamond, connecting these four bones, including some attachments to the Sacrum.
The pelvic floor muscles are the base of the core. When taking long deep breaths, if you gently engage, contract or lift your pelvic floor muscles (using 5% effort), your deep abdominals, transversus abdominus, should naturally wrap around your waist like a wide belt from your ribs to your hips. “The transversus abdominus (TVA), mutifidus, and pelvic floor muscles are on the same neurological loop." (p. 17 Paul Chek, Scientific Core Conditioning) If you’re noticing that while you breathe deeply and gently lift your pelvic floor that your abs don’t respond, scheduling an appointment with an exercise professional that understands core assessment is recommended.
The Pelvic Floor muscles are related to topics such as incontinence, prolapse, sensation during sex, pregnancy, giving birth, recovering from child birth, and core strength. Knowing where your pelvic floor muscles are, how to activate them, and how to release them is an act of good self-care. Understanding what the sensations mean psycho-spiritually takes refinement, time, and the willingness to get to know yourself, revealing your inner wisdom. Collectively a huge shift is happening as women do this work. The rise of the Sacred Feminine.
Do you have questions about your pelvic floor? Getting together with a Pilates instructor, Yoga Instructor or Physical Therapist that can have an honest discussion with you, give you appropriate treatment, and can give you exercises to heighten your awareness of your pelvic floor will change your world, physically, emotionally, and energetically.
If you have questions about this article or want to schedule an appointment at Lake Pilates, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Dr. Tami Lynn Kent check out wildfeminine.com
Dr. Kent is a women’s health physical therapist, founder of Holistic Pelvic CareTM for women, and author of the books Wild Feminine: Finding Power Spirit & Joy in the Female Body, Wild Creative, and Mothering from your Center.
Tami Lynn Kent, Wild Feminine: Finding Power Spirit & Joy in the Female Body, 2011, New York, NY Atria Books, Hillsboro, OR Beyond Words, p. 34, 35, 36, 39, 49
Paul Chek, Scientific Core Conditioning Correspondence Course, 1992-2005, Vista CA 92801, USA, chekinstitute.com, p.17
Pelvis Image by BruceBlaus. Blausen.com staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27796968
Pelvic Floor Muscles by Henry Vandyke Carter - Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See "Book" section below)Bartleby.com: Gray's Anatomy, Plate 408, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=531382
Copyright Hawa Robin Cahn 2017
|Posted on April 30, 2017 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise daily for adults and 60 minutes for kids. Are you getting that much movement? Although the benefits are endless, here are 6 Reasons Why Daily Movement is Key.
We all have our reason why, write me and let me know, what are you reasons for daily movement?
1) Disc Health: The Discs between the vertebrae are like sponges and can actually get dried out. Movement, compression and decompression of the discs hydrates them. Twisting, side bending, and articulating the spine one bone at a time like in a roll-up or bridging exercise are all great for spine health and disc health. If you are already dealing with a disc issue, bulge, herniation and/or slipped disc, you will want to be careful or avoid those 3 kinds of movements until you have rehabbed the disc. How do you rehab a disc issue with Pilates? The Pilates Reformer is an amazing piece of equipment built by Joseph Pilates. It works against the resistance of springs. Lying down on the reformer mat you push your feet against a foot bar, and the mat rolls out on wheels along tracks. The spring tension attached to the bottom of the mat by hooks can be adjusted. Starting with a light tension to heal disc issues is ideal because you are created length and strength at the same time. Using the reformer to traction the body decompresses the spine and makes space for the disc to heal. Strengthening the feet, leg, hip, abdominal, and spine muscles is key for when you stand up and are required to push down into your feet and lengthen your body up against gravity.
2) Joint Health: The Joints have fluid in them too, called synovial fluid. Daily movement redistributes the synovial fluid lubricating the joint and making movements fluid. You may notice when doing a new movement like arm circles that the circle isn’t smooth, it’s jerky or uneven. With daily movement exercises become more smooth, even and symmetrical because synovial fluid is redistributed healing the joint. The muscles more optimally support the bones, and the alignment of the bones improves. When the alignment of the bones improves, grinding, wear and tear at the joint is minimized, improving joint health. Ideally the bones should all float, and when you walk out of a Pilates, Yoga or Yamuna Body Rolling class, that is often the delicious statement I hear from my students, “I feel like I’m floating!”
3) Bone Health: Osteoporosis and osteopenia can both be addressed by moving more. Bone health is directly related to the amount of force the bone is asked to withstand. We hear the term weight bearing exercise and automatically think of weight training, but did you know that bone density is also affected by the force of the muscles pulling on the bones? Which means moving without weights can also positively affect your bones! Gentle daily exercise like Pilates, Yoga, and Yamuna Body rolling all work to enhance body density.
4) Mental Health: Screen time in our society is an inevitable daily habit. Sitting and looking at a computer for many hours have implications mentally, physically, posturally and psychologically. Balancing work and screen time with nature and exercise is key. Getting outside to walk or scheduling an hour of your day to lie down on a mat and exercise is a priceless balance to our technological advances. Literally unwinding stress patterns in the mind, when you lie down on the mat and start to focus on your breathing you release stress, the mind relaxes, and the nervous system settles repairing the ill effects of stress. Psychological diseases like anxiety, depression, and attention disorders can all be improved with daily movement.
5) Cardiovascular Health: Breathing and heart health are related. As we breathe the blood is oxygenated and so is our brain. I think people believe they have to run or cycle or swim to receive cardiovascular healing. And I love all of those activities, but when healing injuries, low impact exercise can keep you moving and still deliver cardiovascular benefits. Have you even noticed your heart rate at the end of a sun salutation? Even during a Pilates flow you’ll noticed increased breath volume and an elevation in heart rate. On the flip side, learning how to take long slow deep breaths can calm the heart rate, healing and strengthening the lungs and settling the nervous system.
6) Spiritual Health: Just like you take your car in for maintenance, your body is the vehicle for the soul and requires daily maintenance in the form of movement, exercise and deep breathing. I find that when I lie down on my mat and carve out an hour in the day for self-care and self-love, my heart softens, opens and sings. I am amazed at how my moods lift, questions I was trying to find answers to become clear, and I feel more present after a workout. My mind clears because I took a break and focused just on my movement and breath for an hour, letting go of all the other thoughts in my mind. Generally I give students 1-3 breaths to rest in between exercises for recovery. During the short time it takes to breathe 1-3 times, there is a replenishing of chi, energy or light. As you make the body more supple with movement you make space for the spirit to fill you. We are beings of light. The more I study anatomy the more I am in awe of God as the Ultimate Artist.
Check out the Lake Pilates group class schedule to help you move daily. If you are new to exercise, scheduling a private appointment is a good place to start. Please contact me at email@example.com with your questions or to schedule. And definitely let me know your reason why. Thank you. Peace.
copyright Hawa Robin Cahn April 2017
|Posted on March 13, 2017 at 8:25 PM||comments (0)|
Why a gentle exercise program may bring you closer to your fitness goals rather than high impact to start.
Consistency is key in any workout program. Pilates and Yoga both encourage core strength, flexibility and breathing. What makes them unique is that they are low-impact. All movement has benefits. And although high impact exercise might seem like it will get you there faster, harder isn’t always better.
Exercise is best applied in progressions. Pilates workouts generally starting lying down on your back working the front of the body, then lying face down working the back of the body, and then side-lying incorporating the front and the back together. Starting lying down is easy on the spine and encourages the back to decompress. From there, practicing exercises seated, kneeling and then standing help to understand how the body works with gravity in natural progressions.
Understanding deep breathing is an essential component of core strength. Imagine a muscular dome on the inside of your rib cage. This muscle, called the diaphragm, acts like a bellows to draw air into your lungs. The diaphragm stabilizes the rib cage and spine, and allows the rib cage to float on top of your hips. Your diaphragm muscle is the top of your core, and can relieve low back pain in a long deep breath because the diaphragm tendons attach to 3 of the 5 low back vertebrae. If you’re suffering from neck pain or low back pain, adjusting your breathing techniques by diaphragmatically breathing can change your symptoms quickly. A Pilates session will typically start with long deep breathing and a Pilates instructor observing to make sure you are accessing fibers of the diaphragm muscle 360 degrees around, optimizing your breath volume and core support. Although this may not seem like “hard work”, diaphragmatic breathing is key to establishing a safe foundation for movement both in low-impact and high-impact exercise.
The body has groups of muscles that work together, like friends holding hands I say. Getting the rhythm of these muscle groups working together can be done with slow and deliberate movements, which becomes like a moving meditation. Moving slowly at first can be deeply relaxing and satisfying because your body sings when the right muscles work together and pain is relieved.
Using the massage technique, Yamuna Body Rolling is a compliment to the Pilates and Yoga because sometimes we have muscles that are overactive or tight that inhibit this rhythmic collaboration of the optimal muscles working together. Combing myofascial release, or self massage with a ball will take your workouts to the next level. Yamuna Body Rolling is one of the best ways to get those segments of muscles working together because the fascia or tissue that encases the muscles connects those lines of muscles that I described as “friends holding hands”. As you body roll, it’s like a game of connect the dots, as your hamstrings release, your calves might be next, and then your spine, connecting the back line of the body. When it’s time to stand your body will be organized, aligned, relaxed, released, and optimally supported by your diaphragmatic breathing.
Coordinating diaphragmatic breathing and understanding how to incorporate the other muscles of the core are next. This includes the deep abdominals that are like a belt around the waist, the pelvic floor muscles, and the Lumbar multifidi or muscles that connect the vertebrae of the low back. Learning how to breathe and hold in your abs correctly is the number one question I get in Pilates, and takes time to master. Eventually your deep breathing will naturally or unconsciously encourage your deep abdominals to wrap around your waist and support your spine. All of this is necessary before starting high impact exercise or adding weights or resistance. Preventing injury is the key way to keep your workout program consistent.
Want to make sure you’re doing it right? I am happy to observe you exercise, give you movements that are best for your body, and body roll with you to align you for success.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a breathing and core assessment.
Copyright Hawa Robin Cahn March 2017
|Posted on May 14, 2016 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Stress hormones may be telling your body to hold on to the fat.
Do you feel like you are pushing or always rushing?
Those feelings may be clues that cortisol is pumping in your system more than is needed.
How can you make changes in your lifestyle that make you feel like you have time and space to be?
We are a society focused on doing, but making time to BE is essential. Learning how to settle the nervous system through craniosacral therapy, can bring you closer to your goals for weight loss. Craniosacral Therapy is a hands on technique that helps to heal the nervous system. The nervous system has two functions sympathetic and parasympathetic. Sympathetic can be described as fight or flight. Some of the functions of the sympathetic nervous system are to increase the heart rate and decrease digestion. Parasympathetic can be described as rest and digest. Some of the functions of the parasympathetic nervous system are to slow the heart rate and stimulate digestion. When these two systems are in balance we have health. And when the sympathetic nervous sytem is overactivated, long term stress can negatively affect health.
Why should you receive CranioSacral Therapy?
Long term stress can cover over your health. Reduced energy levels and weight gain can be examples of how stress is affecting you. Scheduling time to consciously rest, you will lay on a massage table fully clothed. A CS therapist will lightly place her hands at specific parts of the body, including the feet, legs, torso, and cranium. Listening for the cranial rhythm, literally a pulse in the body called the primary respiratory mechanism, the CS therapist acts like a tuning fork, slowing the rhythm, and finding the deeper currents called the midtide and long tide. At some time during your treatment you may experience a still point, which is a time of reorganization in the body, and is deeply healing. Setting your intentions to reduce stress, lose weight, or experience health can all bring you closer to your fitness goals.
What kind of workout can I do that is not stressful?
Gentle workouts like Pilates and Yoga also help to settle the nervous system. They give us a feeling of being grounded, centered, and embodied. When we are fully embodied we naturally move at a slower more sustainable pace. Living at the speed of life I call it. Or the speed of breath. Harder, faster, and stronger isn't always better especially if it is breaking you down, rather than building you up. Pilates and Yoga combine strength, flexibility and balance in a way that progresses gradually at your own pace. Allowing you to find your own rhythm, you will discover a life force current that helps you to know timing that is both livable and helps you know when you are pushing.
Why should you slow down?
Taking it easy may be the secret to weight loss if it means learning how to rest down into your kidneys and adrenals. Rest and recovery are the best friends of exericse. When you exercise, although this is good stress on the body, there are tiny microfiber tears that occur in the muscle tissue. When you rest the muscle tissue builds back stronger than it was before. So essentially it is the rest time that makes us stronger.
Pushing and rushing decreases breath volume. Often when I am stressed I notice I am holding my breath. Even taking 3 long slow breaths can be a start to slowing down and settling the nervous system. If you can, right now, pause, take 3 long slow inhales and exhales. Notice how you feel before and after. Peace.
Hawa Robin Cahn copyright 2017
|Posted on May 10, 2016 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
Why workout with a fitness professional?
There are so many options for fitness nowadays, videos, gyms, classes. Why should you schedule a private session with Lake Pilates?
Accountability, passion, and excitement are all elements of making your workout fun and consistent. When you schedule an appointment with me for a workout, you are also scheduling an appointment with yourself, prioritizing yourself, and carving out time in your scedule to exercise. Consistency, meeting 2-3 times a week is ideal, but even meeting once a week can jumpstart your fitness lifestlye.
I am in love with anatomy, movement, and good alignment. Exercising with less than optimal alignment can cause injuries and wear and tear in your joints and muscles overtime, taking you further away from your fitness goals. Optimal alignment and good form are hugely important for safe exercise. After 14 years in the fitness industry, I can sense when your muscles are properly firing or not. And I know which exercises to choose to safely and gradually strenghthen and stretch your muscles. Improved posture is a natural effect of stimulating the muslces to support your skeleton.
Some students have said that I have "x-ray vision", becuase I can see the alignment of your bones, and how your muscles are pulling on your bones. I think about what would be the best way to bring the body to balance. Each session starts with a postural check, and I ask, "what does your body need today?". Your program unfolds from there revealing the exercises and movements that would be essential for you.
Balancing the body front and back, right and left, upper and lower is a part of good programing. Incorporating side bending, twisting, internal and external rotation of the shoulder and hip joints, and expoloring movements that the body does not do on a daily basis. The body has a huge potential of movement choices. When we walk, bike, or sit, mostly our movements are forwards and backwards, and eventually our range of motion in the joints and spine decreases. Some say that limited range of motion is due to age, but truthfully, limited range of motion is due to lack of movement; not using our full potential of motion on a daily and weekly basis. The more you use it, the less you lose it is the saying for maintaining healthy range of motion in the body.
Progressions are a great way to make exercise fun and creative. Once you master the basics and have a solid movement foundation and vocabulary, adding progressions keeps your mind and body guessing. Layering the movements prevents you from getting bored. Workouts that are too intense and leave the body too sore can be stressful over time, leading to burnout. Although exercise is good stress on the body, gradual progressions are the secret to daily movement and improvement. The variations are endless.
Making exercise a daily habit can lift moods, decrease musculoskeletal pain, and increase health and resilience. Looking forward to seeing you on the mat.
Hawa Robin Cahn copyright 2017