Develop your posture to relieve tension from sitting

Develop your posture to relieve tension from sitting

Hi everyone!

It’s Dawn Strom from CARE Bodyworks and Gyrotonic Fit, and today I just want to talk a little bit about how your Gyrotonic training can help you work on your posture on a day-to-day basis.

Most of us spend a lot of time during the day sitting, and what can tend to happen is, if you’re sitting in a position that’s really misaligned, or you’re slumping, or you’re holding your shoulders and tightening your shoulders, you can create some different tension patterns that evolve over time, and that can cause back pain, shoulder and neck pain, and leave you feeling really awful by the end of your day.

So one simple thing that we work on in the beginning of your Gyrotonic training is how to use your grounding down into your feet to help support and strengthen the uprightness of your spine. And this is a simple tool that you can use all day long, whether you’re driving in the car or sitting at your desk.

So the basic exercise I want to teach you to work on will help you ground into your feet to help you create better posture. Firs we will  start in a seated position, and then you can apply it to standing as well. So get in a chair where you can sit on the edge of your chair and have your feet comfortably on the floor.

And I want you to think about making sure, in this position, that your toes are a little bit in front of your knees so you can gently press down and ground into your feet and get a little traction into the floor.

And then before we start with how to connect your feet into the floor to help stabilize your spine, I want you to just make sure your spine is in alignment. So this is a little check-in you can do with yourself to check in on the alignment of your spine.

You can close your eyes to do this, or keep them open, whatever works for you. I just want you to go ahead and drop into how your body feels and is organized in space with your inner eye.  And just notice if your pelvis is tipping forward or tipping back, or if it’s just in a nice upright alignment. You want to bring that pelvis into a nice, upright alignment and then you want to make sure that your rib cage is just easily balancing over your pelvis, and your head is in an easy balance over the top of your spine.

Just practice that little check-in on a daily basis. Start from the base and work your way up, making sure you’re aligned from the pelvis all the way through the top of your head. And when that feels good, just go ahead and just add a little grounding into your feel

I want you to reach down through your feet and give a little pressure into your feet and you’ll feel that feedback all the way up into your hips, and it’ll give you a little sense of lift and length from the base of your spine up.

It’s a really simple action that can just help to take that upright spine and just strengthen it and give you a little support from your base.

This is something that you can practice sitting on the bleachers at your kids’ game, or you can practice it in the car. If you’re driving your car make sure you’re grounding through your feet, and keeping your spine lengthened and upright.

Even if you’re standing, you can practice grounding down into your feet to really strengthen and lengthen that upright spine.

This is something that we teach in the beginning of your Gyrotonic training, and it’s fundamental to how Gyrotonic training helps to really strengthen your postural muscles and help you to create length and space in your spine. So if you want to learn how Gyrotonic training can help you with your posture and help you create greater awareness and balance in your body, you can give us a call and we can schedule a  FREE Discovery Session with you and talk to you a little bit more about Gyrotonic training and your wellness goals.

Let me know in the comments section what you think, and take care for now!

Take Care,

How Meditation Can Help You To Connect To Your Body And Change Your Brain

How Meditation Can Help You To Connect To Your Body And Change Your Brain

 

 

Hey everyone,

This is Dawn Strom with CARE Bodyworks and in this month’s blog, I am exploring the connections between meditation and the somatic movement techniques I teach in my Somatic Movement Therapy work.

Meditation is a tool that has long been used to quiet the mind and connect to the spirit. It is a practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference, such as focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. The goal is to focus on the present moment and to use this presence to cultivate peace of mind and well being.

In recent years, the practice of meditation has been applied to research in health and wellness, specifically for treating depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. In connection with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, John Kabat -Zinn created a mindfulness-based stress reduction program that has been used as a protocol in much of the research that is done on meditation.

Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. She used the MBSR Program in her study, and what she found surprised her — that meditation can literally change your brain

Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain via Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain and creates the effects of empathy, emotional regulation and a decrease in stress.

I have been utilizing meditation techniques in my movement private practice for years as a way to approach the mind body connection. I had the opportunity to take a course in graduate school on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program of Dr. Kabat -Zinn and was struck by the similarities between the visualization exercises that were used to help ground me in my body and the somatic visualizations that I used with clients in my movement therapy and Gyrotonic Training practice on a regular basis.

The two practices that I saw as similar were the body scan technique to connect to sensing and feeling your body and the awareness of the breathing.  They are both used in my Movement Therapy and Gyrotonic Practice as a way to get out of your head and drop into your body, to develop a practice of sensing and feeling your body and regulating your breathing to balance your body.

 
I have created a short video to highlight the similar exercises I learned in my mediation class and the ones I teach in my movement therapy practice.
 

 
 
 

The first technique is doing a simple body scan.

To get started, get into in a comfortable position, either seated on a stool or lying on the floor on your back with your knees bent. You want to be comfortable, so choose whatever feels best for you. Go ahead and get into your chosen position and close your eyes. Bring your perception inwards and just take a couple of deep breaths. Next, I want you to bring your perception down into your body and think about bringing your inner eye all the way down to your feet. You’re going to do a little internal tracing of how your body feels starting from your feet and coming all the way up your spine, up to your head and down through your arms.

Start with your feet. Feel your feet on the floor and notice what they feel like. Notice how you’re holding your feet to the floor, how you’re touching the floor with your feet and if you have even weight in both feet. And then go ahead and trace your legs with your inner eye, noticing how your legs are balanced from side to side. Then come up into your hips and your pelvis and then all the way up your spine and all the way up through the top of your head. Notice how your spine is aligning, whether you feel like you are sitting upright or you’re a little collapsed. Just notice how your body is aligning and then bring your awareness all the way down and out through your arms. Notice how your arms are hanging at your body and how they feel side to side.

 
Make a note of any information you want from that scan. Then, start from your feet again. Grounding down into your feet, do the tracing process a little bit more quickly this time. You can repeat this exercise a couple of times. Notice if your body shifts and adjusts based on your new awareness. You can also use this in your meditation practice to connect into your body and get situated with how you’re sitting and feeling in your body before you begin.

 
 

The second technique is the simple awareness of your breathing. It starts the same way.  Find a good place to sit comfortably in an upright position or lay on your back. This time bring your awareness to the feeling of your breath, and how you’re breathing. Notice how your lungs are expanding and contracting, and notice where you feel your breathing.

 
Do you feel like all of the movement of your breathing is up in your shoulders and chest? Can you really expand your rib cage as you inhale and let it gently condense as you exhale? Notice if your abdominal area is able to really release and inflate a little bit on the inhale and just gently come back in on the exhale.
 
Notice how you’re breathing. Then, place your hands on your abdominal area, and take a few nice deep breaths there just to bring awareness to the area, allowing it to inflate and deflate. Move your hands up to your sternum and take a couple deep breaths and let that area really fully inhale and exhale, and try one more time. Lastly, let your arms hang at your sides and take a few nice deep breaths, all the way up from your belly, allowing your whole chest to inflate and the whole body to deflate as well.
 

That is the second element of a simple somatic awareness practice. Developing your somatic practice also provides a foundation to go deeper into using mediation to work with your thoughts and emotions. We will talk about that in another video.

 
I hope you all enjoyed this video and blog. Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions.
 
Have a great day.
 
Take care,
 

Signature 2016-11-05 15-06-57 xvbJfI

7 Reasons to Love Gyrotonic

7 Reasons to Love Gyrotonic

Imagine how great it would be if you were to do GYROTONIC® exercise for a few sessions and with in that short period, …and within a few weeks you would understand the power of Gyrotonic exercise – and how it can help you get back the active and healthy lifestyle that you’ve lost, or are in danger of losing…

 

The Gyrotonic System can transform how your body moves and how you feel in your body from day one.  GYROTONIC® Training is Apparatus based sessions that utilize a unique pulley tower system that offers supportive resistance to the body in all ranges of motion. Other specialized equipment like the Jumping Stretching Board, Leg Extension Unit and the Ladder, offer a variety of exercises for developing strength, flexibility, balance and coordination through fluid movement.

At C.A.R.E. Bodyworks & Gyrotonic Fit, we offer Gyrotonic-Based Rehabilitation with a Licensed Neuromuscular Therapist or Somatic Movement Therapist and Gyrotonic Fitness training in private, duet or small group equipment classes, as well as group Gyrokinesis Classes with our Resident Master Trainer, Dawn Strom, or a Certified Gyrotonic Instructor.

Gyrotonic exercise is a three dimensional, ‘Functional’ method of exercise. In our daily lives, we all bend, twist, reach, extend, lose our balance and catch ourselves from falling on a daily basis. These are movements that help us to function in our daily lives. But often times our daily habits compromise and limit our movement and these functional patterns start to become compromised. Gyrotonic training can help you to counteract the everyday stresses and poor movement patterns that keep you from feeling strong and healthy in your body.

Gyrotonic exercise teaches you to build a stronger and more efficient body as a whole, rather than isolating individual muscles. Gyrotonic exercise first works on building a strong spine and then uses the core’s strength to help balance out the rest of the body in a way to improve the stability and agility of the body’s functional, daily performance. In Gyrotonic exercise the aim is to lengthen tight muscles, strengthen weak muscles, align the spine, and bring the body into a better and more harmonious balance.  It establishes equilibrium to keep the body moving and performing at its best.

So here are the 7 reasons why a gyrotonic practice will help get moving and stay moving for a lifetime! 

1.It is a  huge stress reliever-

The Gyrotonic method has grown in popularity in the United States for a number of reasons. You feel – and see – results quickly, which provides great motivation to keep coming. The classes can be intense – but it’s a full body workout. Not only can you feel the exercises working, but you feel great afterwards – an endorphin Buzz!  It’s also time-efficient – you can be in, worked out, and out of the studio in just over an hour. Last, but not least, it’s a great stress-buster. Whether first thing in the morning or after a long day at work, Gyrotonic exercise provides a great escape where the focus is on breathing and movement. The combination of breathing properly, while carrying out the exercises, along with stretching, helps to relieve stress and tightness in the body.

2-It’s Exercise without the Fuss-

Sometimes the thought of going to the gym is dreadful and then you keep putting it off. Gyrotonic exercise lets you tailor your workouts and even complete sessions at home. The ideal way to keep up with your training is to have a Certified Gyrotonic In-structor design a series of exercises for you to complete between your sessions in the studio.They will also plan a review session every so often to make sure your technique is still sound and you are getting the most out of your training. So, you might be stretching, but you could be doing more damage than good. Checking whether you’re performing the moves correctly will ensure your results.

3- Improved Posture-

Often times repetitive patterns of inefficient posture and alignment keep your body out of balance and can cause areas of stress and tension in the body. Gyrotonic exercise start by strengthening your spinal alignment and helping you develop your postural muscles. Then, you work your body in symmetrical and balanced movement exercises so it can naturally help you to relieve chronic patterns of tension and strain caused by poor movement and postural habits. If you are in need of assessment and treatment of a particular issue, our neuromuscular care therapist can do an assessment and offer structural balancing work to help augment your gyrotonic training.

4- Less Back Pain-

Most back pain results from faulty posture and a sedentary lifestyle. Gyrotonic exercise addresses the muscle imbalances that typically contribute to back pain, namely weak abdominals and buttock muscles. Gyrotonic exercise also stretches out the tight and overworked back muscles. Proper alignment is the main factor that helps to alleviate back pain. If you do Gyrotonic exercise carefully, you’ll understand how to use your body in ways that protect your back from injury. Gyrotonic exercise was initially developed as a rehabilitative tool by Juliu Horvath, a professional dancer that injured his back and leg. He believes that by having awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, one can strengthen the body, and recover from injury.

5- You will increase your strength and flexibility-

Every Gyrotonic exercise focuses on using your deepest abdominal and spinal muscles to power movement in your limbs, literally moving from the core. Whatever activity you do, you’ll find that Gyrotonic exercises improve strength in meaningful ways and can help with the overall health of your spine. Doing Pilates can help prevent injuries, too! Any exercise regimen should increase your body’s overall strength, or else what’s the point? But Gyrotonic exercise strengthens the muscles in your body that you may actually notice on a day-to-day basis. Gyrotonic exercise is meant to improve your daily life: It can help you get up from bed, if that’s hard for you, or it can help you get stronger for playing sports.Gyrotonic exercises stretch the muscles and the joints while they strengthen the body. If you have found that your spine has lost some of its range of motion and flexibility, Gyrotonic exercise very quickly addresses this problem.  Everyone has physical limitations that depend on age, genetics and lifestyle. Gyrotonic exercise is not a magic pill, but with a regular Gyrotonic exercise program, your body can reach its potential in the areas of flexibility and strength.

6- Improved Athletic Performance

Improved Athletic Performance- Do you feel stiff or sore from doing your favorite athletic activities like golf or tennis? Gyrotonic movement can help you loosen up your stiff joints and cross train for your favorite activities. Gyrotonic is three dimensional and can help you correct imbalances that come from your golf or tennis game and . Do you want to improve your hip and shoulder turn, create more power in your swing and learn exercises that can help to prevent sports related injury and back pain? Then the Gyrotonic program applied to Golf or Tennis program is for you. They are taught by Gyrotonic Fit’s neuromuscular care therapist and corrective exercise specialist who can teach both programs as well as offer movement assessments and neuromuscular therapy for specific pain patterns.

7-Live More Consciously-

Gyrotonic exercise forces you to pay attention—you’ve got to focus on your breath while working through each movement and concentrating on proper Form.Gyrotonic exercise will help you to tune in to your body in order to activate the muscles. You need to listen to the instructions carefully in order to be safe, and you need to pay attention to the feedback you are getting from the equipment. You cannot think about your grocery list, tomorrow’s board meeting or what you are eating for dinner. After a Gyrotonic session, you’ll feel refreshed and relaxed.

In summary, Gyrotonic exercise can help you and make a difference in your life. I could go further in-depth on exercises, classes and our programs, but all I ask you to do now is take a moment and think about what your next step will be.

So, here is my challenge to you…now that you have this information in hand, take the time every day to do Gyrotonic exercise. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much better and healthier you will feel in doing so. The benefits I’ve shared with you here will make a huge difference to the quality of your life.

How to get started and see if Gyrotonic exercise is a good fit for you…

So now you know a little more about how Gyrotonic movement can help you de-stress and stay active and help you reach your goals for lifelong movement, injury prevention, sports cross-training and overall well-being. But the most important factor is how you FEEL after a Gyrotonic Session! So if you are interested in learning more about how Gyrotonic movement can help you to de-stress and stay active, schedule a FREE Discovery Session to get started. We will meet with you in the studio or on the phone to discuss your needs and goals and see if one of our programs could be a good fit for you.

To apply for a Discovery Session click HERE

And download your copy of this FREE Guide below and let me know if you have any questions!

Take Care,

MLS, Holistic Coach, Registered Somatic Movement Therapist, GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Specialized Master Trainer

How Can Your Gyrotonic Practice Help Your Heart

How Can Your Gyrotonic Practice Help Your Heart

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week, but only one in five adults and teens get enough to maintain good health.

Are you fitting in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of heart-pumping physical activity per week? If not, you’re not alone. Only about one in five adults and teens get enough exercise to maintain good health. Being more active can help all people think, feel and sleep better and perform daily tasks more easily. And if you’re sedentary, sitting less is a great place to start.

These recommendations are based on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and are based on current scientific evidence supporting the connections between physical activity, overall health and well-being, disease prevention and quality of life.

Recommendations for Adults

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.
  • Spend less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
  • Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week.
  • Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

    How do you know if you are exercising at the right intensity?

    Physical activity is anything that moves your body and burns calories. This includes things like walking, climbing stairs and stretching….and Gyrotonic Exercise!!!

    Aerobic (or “cardio”) activity gets your heart rate up and benefits your heart by improving cardiorespiratory fitness. When done at moderate intensity, your heart will beat faster and you’ll breathe harder than normal, but you’ll still be able to talk. Think of it as a medium or moderate amount of effort.

     

    Know Your Numbers: Maximum and Target Heart Rate

    This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. Your target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate.

    The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.

    Age Target HR Zone 50-85% Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
    20 years 100-170 beats per minute (bpm) 200 bpm
    30 years 95-162 bpm 190 bpm
    35 years 93-157 bpm 185 bpm
    40 years 90-153 bpm 180 bpm
    45 years 88-149 bpm 175 bpm
    50 years 85-145 bpm 170 bpm
    55 years 83-140 bpm 165 bpm
    60 years 80-136 bpm 160 bpm
    65 years 78-132 bpm 155 bpm
    70 years 75-128 bpm 150 bpm

     

    How to bring more cardio into your Gyrotonic Practice?

     

    To get started, you will want to know your target heart rate and become aware of it in your Gyrotonic Session. You can do this by wearing a fit bit or heart monitor or stopping for a moment and taking your pulse.  You want to be in the 50-70% range of your Target Heart Rate during at least 30 minutes of your session..or more!

    If you want to increase your heart rate, you can increase your rhythm, or the resistance on the equipment.   You can also focus on short bursts of more intense Gyrotonic Movement to bring up your heart rate as a kind of circuit training.

    Move your Body and Open Your Heart…One more point

    I want to point out one other way that Gyrotonic Movement can help your heart. Gyrotonic Movement not only moves the body, but moves it in a way that let’s you drop into your body, take a deep breath, open your heart and step into a powerful place of openness in your body and your mind.  And this may be one of the best results of all for your heart and mind!

    All the best!

    Dawn

     

    Setting SMART Goals

    Setting SMART Goals

    Hey  everyone, 

    This  is Dawn  Strom with  CARE Bodyworks  and what I want  to talk to you today about  is creating health and wellness goals.   So when you think about setting your goals,  I know it can seem a bit daunting sometimes,  like how do you set the right goals, how do you  set ones that you know you can achieve so that you  can have success with them. But I think there’s a couple  ways that you can set goals that make them really simple and  really easy and can really help you to achieve your goals in a simple  and doable way.

    So  one of  the first  things that  I like to use  when I talk about  goals is an acronym  called SMART. So SMART  goals are going to be Specific,  Measurable, Attractive, Realistic,  and Timed.

    So  to start with, you  want your goals to  be very specific. So rather than saying, “I want to lose weight,”, you would say, “I  want to lose x amount of pounds in x amount of time”, for instance.

    And  the second point  is you want your goals to be  measurable. You want to make  sure that your goals are something  that you can measure over time that  you can actually track. So if it’s weight  loss or it’s flexibility or strength, that it’s  something that you have a way to track.

    And, thirdly, you  also want your goals  to be attractive, so you  want the goal to be inspiring  and something that you know you  want so you can reach your goal. You also want it to be  realistic and achievable. So, it needs to be something that is possible for you at that moment.  And this is going to be different for each individual. So if you’ve never been a runner before  and your goal is to run a marathon in 2 months, that’s a great goal, but it’s probably not realistic in that time frame. But  if you’ve been running half marathons, it’s going to be more achievable goal to say I want to run a marathon in two months.  

    And, lastly,  you want it to  be timed. And this  is something that has  to do more with how you  talk about your goal. So to  have it be timed means to speak  your goal in the sense that it’s actually  happening. Okay. So rather than saying, well,  I will be able to run a marathon in the future. You say, “ I am a marathon runner”. You step into being what you want to become. And  that’s a way to really talk about your goal to yourself and to other people in a way that actually brings it into  being, as you say it.

    So  think  about this  with your goals.  If you have any health  and wellness goals, and everybody  does, think about making sure that  they’re specific, they’re measurable, they’re  attractive and inspiring to you, they are realistic,  and then practice stating them in a way that makes them  present as you say them in a timed way like they’re actually  happening.

    And  then just  a little tip  that actually I  love to do. We all  have smartphones. So if  there’s something that I’m  really trying to accomplish,  a lot of times I’ll automate  it. This sounds a little techie,  but you know, you have those little  reminder apps on your phone. So if there’s  a goal that you have that you really want to  achieve, you can set it to pop up as a reminder. And you would want to write the reminder as your smart goal. So if my goal is to get up and train for my marathon, I would put that “I am a marathon runner heading out for my training run” as the pop up reminder. So  something that really both inspires me, states my goal as if it’s happening and also reminds me to do it. It’s a very positive way to remind yourself of your goal in a way that it helps you really feel like you’re actually stepping into realizing it.

    So  if that  helps you  as a helpful  tip, go ahead and  use it if not, let  it go, but think about  any goals that you may have  and see if you can weigh them  against the SMART acronym and if  that helps you to clarify them a little  bit more, then just try your hand at automating  them.

    Thanks  so much.  I hope this  was helpful and  go ahead and leave  any comments or, or you  can also email us too if  you have any questions.

     

    Take Care,