Not only is that true on Stranger Things, the Netflix series that has me feeling so nostalgic for my American, suburban childhood and Christmases, but it's also true when we invert our relationship to gravity.
There are very few goals I set for myself, not because I'm not ambitious, or because I'm not motivated. It's because for me, if I set a goal, I have typically found a way to reach it - regardless of how it suits my emotional and physical health. In my twenties, it seemed like a totally logical and good idea to trek the 40 miles of the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trial in one day. And to get up at 4:30 am to go for a run to beat the summer Washington, DC humidity.
Now, in my late thirties, I realize that my body is different every single day, and I want to listen to it more. Now, I seek out ways to balance myself, my life, and my day-to-day emotional state. Goals sometimes hinder my own bodymind connection.
This all may sound counterintuitive. But so is floating in a bridge with the Wunda Chair. Really, Stephanie? you want me to push DOWN on the pedal to float UP?
I've discovered over the years of moving and teaching movement that when it comes to waking up the body, nothing beats the bodymind work of Pilates. It comes down to this: some exercises and ways of moving simply are better than different kinds - especially in the morning. Now, I need to qualify that word, "better". By "better", I am referring to methods of movement that engage our body and wake up neuromuscular pathways in a more mindful, efficient, and holistic way. I love cardio. I love riding my bike and getting outside. But Pilates, though quite intense, as you well know, is designed to use the least amount of energy to achieve the deepest work. That's why I practice mat Pilates in the morning to wake up my body, I take deep breaths before I look at my phone, and the first thing I ingest is H2O - and lots of it! And you should too. Yup. Here's a few more tidbits why being good to your body in the morning sets you up for the rest of your day - let's make it a good one.
You know what I love best about our sessions? When you correct your renegade shoulder creeping up to your ear without a cue. When you "do-over" Hundreds prep because you knew you could have reached more through your legs (and perhaps you knew I would ask you to do it again anyway because I knew you could have reached more). When we’re working on plank, and I say, "Ok, come on down" but you hang on for an extra extra 10 seconds. When you finish leg series on the Spine Corrector and sigh with a big smile on your face. Or you come in and tell me that you used your abdominals yesterday while gardening.
It's amazing for me to watch you grow into your own awareness, take pleasure in movement and feel satisfied after the intensity that comes with this incredible bodymind work.
Because Jennie has such a vast amount of knowledge with her osteopathy, dance, and even psychology background, here's some simple takeaways to remember and practice. Everything I'm about to share with you is from that workshop, and it includes the newest research and protocols on stretching. Enjoy!
What a simple, supportive and effective piece of equipment a chair is! Yup. We love ourselves some chairs for sitting, lounging, laying, relaxing. I'm afraid, however, research shows that sitting for extended periods of time is just not that great for our health. In fact, it shows that sitting is the new smoking. Sitting too much is linked to a host of serious diseases and overall is detrimental to our health. The good news? As long as we get up a few times each hour and simply walk around for a few minutes, we'll do our body a host of goodness. We can all do that, right?
Sitting too much affects our upright posture. Typically we sit comfortably, and that means with a bit of a curl in our low back and a hunch in our upper back. It's not really our fault. The body takes the path of least resistance. No need for blame; but now that we know, we can correct our posture all day, every day. YAY! Plus, remember what the research says? All we need to do is get up and walk a little bit, and now that spring has indeed sprung, you may feel the pull to be outside more. Walking outdoors is a great way to get in some cardio, some Vitamin D, and to feel the flow and counteract all that "computer posture". Today, I'd like to focus on specifically how the hamstrings (yup! we have 3 on each leg) help us to walk better.
i'm stephanie. my last names mean "hedgehog" in Czech and "pretty calf" in French. i have an MA from Oxford in English lit, and a MFA from Riverside in experimental choreography. i like to write. i have lots of thoughts on the body. and i want to help you understand your own better. oh, i'm also plant-based and love to bake with vegan ingredients.