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May flowers are here! There are young veggies and berries in the farmers market. The days are long and the light is wonderful. I hope your May is full of promise and productivity.
This is the time of year when classes are full and energy levels are high, but it is also the time of allergies and ambition-we can be so full as to be clogged up. See below for some helpful tips to stay balanced and well.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also forward this message to friends. I look forward to seeing you soon.
We are now more grounded in reliably warmer temperatures and sunny days, but the chill is still in the background.
We’ll be working on having a strong and warm core throughout the month of May. This means abdominal work, of course, but also finding stability and opening in the hips.
We’ll be working on strength and movement in the core of the body. This will include moving the ribcage and individual ribs, alignment of the torso, and mobility in the spinal column and hips.
Breath work: Maybe you’re noticing some sinus and nasal congestion. Pranayama, or yogic breath work, can help to clear passages and help steady the mind. Take a comfortable seat and give it a go.
Try breath of fire, a quick sniffing breath in and out through the nose. The inhales and exhales are of equal length. Use this breath to build heat in the body and to rev up your energy centers. Skip this one if you’re pregnant, ill, or already hot.
Skull shining breath is a series of strong exhalations through the nose. Breathe in fully and exhale fully. Inhale halfway and begin the pumping breath. The inhalations are passive, they just happen on their own. Your abdominal wall will contract strongly on each exhale. This is a very cleansing breath (have tissues available).Try a round of 32 exhalations and then inhale fully and retain the breath. Let the breath out slowly. Skip this one if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or are agitated.
Equal length breath is exactly what it sounds like. Begin by observing your breath as it is- is it short, long, deep, shallow, or obstructed in some way? After about 10 breathing cycles start to control the breath by inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of four. Stay with this until the breath is balanced and then add a count to each exhale and inhale. Stay with it, adding counts as long as you can keep the breath even. This breath is very balancing and is appropriate for all.
A self-massage for the organs of digestion is a great spring cleaning. Your intentions should be to let go of anything left over from the heavy winter months. Your strokes should be purposeful but not painful, penetrating, but not too deep. Imagine your abdomen as a clock. Just below the southern most tip of your sternum is 12 o’clock. The bottom rib points are 3 and 9 o’clock, and the space above your pubic bone is 6 o’clock. Work clockwise massaging small circles around the perimeter of the clock. Make three passes and then repeat making larger circles that work into the navel. To finish make large sweeps of the entire clock, working into smaller and smaller circles until you are circling the navel. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
I hope that the recent holidays and warm weather have given you increased energy. I know that my own mood is on the upswing! Every time I see a bud or a blossom I feel lighter and brighter.
I haven’t written in a while, so there is much to report. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also forward this message to friends. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Seasonal transitions can be rough-it can be 60 and sunny in the morning and 35 in the evening! And the WIND! It is especially important to get connected to our legs and center during external turbulence. If you look at the plant shoots coming out of the ground you realize how much courage and strength it takes to grow- actually and metaphorically. Plus, when the wind and elements shake you around you must stand firm from a strong, rooted foundation. Mentally we must also have this fortitude as we begin new projects or transition to new phases of our lives.
We’ll be working on having a strong foundation throughout the month of April and into the (hopefully) steadier month of May.
Group Classes: I am teaching two new group classes at Waterside Swim and Health.
Cardio Tone on Mondays at 730pm will get you lean and strong. We work with light weights, step platforms of various heights, and a variety of other toys (such as foam rollers to lend instability to core exercises; Pilates rings for inner and outer thigh strengthening). We cycle through intervals of high intensity and functional, active recovery.
Mat Pilates on Wednesdays at 11am focuses on increasing strength in the abdominals and hips to gain a greater control of the body while moving. Core strength is essential for posture and stability. We work from a base of classical Pilates and incorporate teachings from yoga and ballet.
Continuing Education: You may recall I traveled to Bali last year to study yoga sequencing, pranayama, and philosophy. I continued my studies this winter, earning advanced certificates in teaching inversions and arm balances, and in hands-on assists. Thank you all for your patience and for inspiring me to continue this journey. I have 100 more hours of study to complete to achieve the 500-hour certification.
One-on-One: You can book one-on-one yoga sessions as part of your personal training packages. These sessions are great for absolute beginners who want to explore the foundations of a practice as well as for advanced practitioners looking to refine their alignment or work on more complex asana.
Exhale Spa: I am excited to announce that I have accepted a position as a Massage Therapist with Exhale Spa. I am at the Upper East Side spa on Friday mornings and early afternoons, and at the Central Park South spa on Sunday afternoons and evenings.
At-Home Sessions: In addition to Swedish and deep tissue massage, I also offer the modalities listed below. Not sure which type is best for you? Please ask! Each massage session is tailored to your individual needs.
Shiatsu – energy work involving compression and stretches.
Myofascial – deep tissue work to restore movement among and between bodily structures.
Thai yoga massage – slow and gentle, but deep stretching to promote free movement.
Massage Special: Refer a friend for an in-home massage. You receive $5 off your next massage when they book.