Changing Fascia with the Melt Method

I thought some of you might appreciate reading about this rather new fascial relief method developed by a former athlete and used to good effect by dancers as well. Note that at the end of the article, the author mentions that the method “doesn’t last” after she leaves the class however most of your reading this blog will understand that a casual approach to any change of habit requires the discipline to work at those goals on a very regular basis. In other words, three sessions a week may maintain a beneficial habit but to actually develop, improve or change body structure, an even more regular schedule of 4-5 times a week is necessary. And those of you aspiring to a professional career, 6 days of work and one day of rest is probably your best bet 🙂

The MVE Chair Machines

My health club has 16 new MVE chair machines and twice a week, I’ve been taking classes to leUnknownarn how to use them. As most club classes go, each session is filled with new, curious people which is a good thing although now that I’ve been on this chair for a few months, I’m wanting to go to the next level.

The chair is actually a Pilates apparatus – made by Pilates for either small group or private classes. The instructors at my club run double duty by trying to rotate the more than 16 people in class between mats and chairs. Of course, most of us who’ve been teaching for many years know that class size is the one constant we all complain about so some things don’t change no matter where you teach.

The movable springs that control the pedal can be tightened or loosened depending on your strength, flexibility and balance much like other Pilates machines. Some exercises are done sitting on the bench moving one leg  or two, some lying on the bench (mainly core work), some exercises are done with the body in a plank pose on the floor while moving the pedal with one arm, sometimes you stand to the side with one leg moving the pedal, and even stepping w both feet on the pedal and hoisting the upper body into a handstand position- the possibilities seem endless.

So unlike other activities I’ve tried lately, except for yoga on the paddle board, I am really feeling a difference along all sides of my spine. Now we tend to think of the ‘core’ as being fairly broad in many respects- ya know, that large 3 dimensional X between shoulders and hips that includes the pelvic floor. Or should we think of it as a large beach ball obcbc_2_musclesn account of it’s summer. In any case, I’m becoming more aware of the smaller stabilizing muscles of the spine, the multifidious and the erector spinea (see diagram on left) and their important role. Forget all those silly crunches we’ve come to think of as core muscles because without these smaller babies turned on, those more superficial muscles aren’t working for you anyway.

There’s also the sling muscles – the pelvic floor muscles. Never mind their names. And guys, listen up! You have them too and ALL OF US want control of imagesthese muscles, right? So you have to work them – use them or lose them – pretty simple concept. Well, again, working the chair with one leg while balancing on the other forces you to keep the trunk stable, the focus closer to your center of gravity,  and thus use those really deep muscles with funny names.

Give this a try if you’re into keeping your workout working for you. And remember my #1 rule of staying with any fitness routine and why all those dancers don’t leave studios that clearly aren’t teaching them anything – find a work out buddy. Really, it works!

10 Simple Postures That Boost Personal Performance

“Psychological research suggests simple actions can project power, persuade others, increase empathy, boost cognitive performance and more.”

From Wake Up World Blog, some insight into the world of body language. And these will not be what you think… or what you expect.

“Many of these studies support a theory about human life (and indeed all life) called ‘embodied cognition’. The idea is that we don’t just think with our minds, we also think with our bodies. Our mind isn’t a brain in a jar, it is connected to a body which moves around in an environment.

As life becomes increasingly virtual, played out on screens of varying sizes, we need reminding that the connection between mind and body is two-way. Human intelligence is more than abstract processing power; it’s about the interaction between mind, body and the world around us.”

The Changing World of Yoga

The yoga world is changing almost as fast as the dance world with the many forms and iterations tumbling over one another, trying to be first in line for your attention. The public never tires of the novel ways to move on their mats but having done it all, or so it seems, I’m all about the focused and meditative in my own practice. Oh, I can teach it all- yoga on the beach, fitness yoga, hot yoga, morning yoga, yoga at the park at sunrise, flirty girl fitness yoga, yoga to drums, etc etc etc…. And I’m glad to and even enjoy the challenge of teaching all those forms and helping students understand how awesome yoga can be. But what’s so special about the diversity is there’s something for everyone with yoga. And all it takes is the discipline to get yourself to the class, the willingness to accept the redundant nature of routine as master and teacher, the compassion to treat yourself well, each and every day.

The Mystery of Stretching Revealed

To paraphrase the great dance kinesiologist Sally Fitt, of all the principles of conditioning, the most frequently overlooked is effective sequencing. Five teaching principles:
1. start gradually- warm-up first
2. After fatiguing a muscle group, take time to recover and loosen (the primary problem w most gym programs)
3. before stretching a major muscle group, ‘set up’ by doing a maximal contraction in the opposing muscle group if it’s equal mass
4.consider joint actions
5. listen to the body
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