How to Work Smarter with Pilates

It's not just about sharing juice recipes and stretching in patterned spandex, although we all wish that was the case! Pilates is about a lot more. The benefits of Pilates and yoga go way beyond the studio, popping up to guide you through that 8am meeting right up until that 3pm deadline. Pilates and yoga teach you the following benefits to improve your work life: 

1. How to focus: Just 10 weeks of Pilates practice has been linked to improved brain function, can improve your focus and help you process information faster. Posture practices are effective for concentrating and drowning out other distractions. 

2. How to sit smarter: Text neck is a real thing! Pilates improves your posture and the strength of your core and back, which makes sitting more comfortable. Solid posture is also linked with more efficient breathing, fewer headaches, and less stress, which - in my opinion - is one of the best benefits of Pilates and yoga there is. You can strengthen your lower back at home through superman holds, use dolphin planks to build up your core and get a really good back and shoulder stretch with upward facing dog. 

3. How to chill out: As far as stress boosters go, yoga and Pilates have proven to be the brain's natural anti-anxiety drug of choice. Yoga has been linked to a boost in mood and reduced anxiety, thanks in part to an increase in Gaba receptors (neurotransmitters linked to stress relief) in the brain. Meanwhile research shows the mindfulness techniques used in Pilates have been linked to lower stress and improve sleeping habits. 

4. How to breathe through a situation: Breathing is, thankfully, one of those automatic functions done without thinking. But there are times when focusing on your breath (and not holding it) can serve you well. In both Pilates and yoga, both breath awareness and intentional practices (like a long exhale) make practicing controlled breathing in real life a no brainer.

5. How to focus in the moment and forget about your day: When I focus in the moment during my class, my to-do list melts away. Students are in that room - both physically and mentally and when the workout is over, students are refreshed, relaxed, reinvigorated and most of all DE-STRESSED! 

Start living the benefits of Pilates and yoga today! Become a Founding Member, only $199/month.

 

8 Ways To Stay Fit While Traveling

Our normal routines get completely thrown out the window when traveling and staying true to your fitness routine on the road may be the last thing on your mind as you negotiate the airport or highways this holiday season. Exercise, however, could be your best defense against holiday stress, illness and the dreaded holiday weight gain. 

The best exercises are often ones you can do with your own body, you can leave your dumbbells and weight resistance bands at home. Here are 8 tips to stay fit while traveling: 

1. Exercise needs to become your constant while traveling. Make a commitment to yourself that you will find 20 minutes every other day to exercise - NO EXCUSES! 

2. Work out where you can. You might have a decent hotel room, you might need to do lunges in your mother's hallway, or maybe you can find a park or school playground somewhere. Turn any environment into your personal gym. 

3. On travel day pack some healthy snacks with you in your bag. Apples and almonds are my go-to.

4. If you're going out to eat, find the restaurant online and decide what you're having before you get to the restaurant. Stick to high protein and veggie options. Doesn't hurt to ask for double veggies on the side. 

5. Ask around the neighborhood for a nearby boutique gym or studio that takes walk ins and join in on a class or two. 

6. Go on walks. Walking is a great form of aerobic exercise almost anyone can do anywhere. If you're driving take the rest stops at parks or near a trailhead, and take a brief walk before hitting the road again. 

7. Wear comfy sneakers to the airport and get your steps in. Walk instead of taking the shuttle or moving sidewalks. 

8. Yoga is a great way to stretch after a long and cramped flight. Some airports offer yoga or meditation rooms to help you create your moment of zen. 

If you follow these few tips and understand the importance of keeping up your regular routine even while traveling, you'll be able to come back without skipping a beat. We are creatures of habit at the end of the day. Add a workout to your calendar, set up an appointment reminder, do whatever it takes, but don't take no for an answer. 

Happy Holidays! 

Real Men Do Pilates

LADIES, stop what you're doing, grab your man and start reading! 

To my loving husband who refuses to go to my pilates classes with me,

There's a reason why your wife can't get enough of her pilates classes. Whether you're a power lifter, a golfer, a swimmer or even a marathon wannabe, a pilates class can help fine-tune your performance, even in the bedroom! ;)

Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates, a MAN. Pilates was a boxer and gymnast who trained military personnel. Pilates was first created as a workout to help wounded soldiers with limited mobility rehab from their hospital beds. Today, Pilates is for a number of male professional athletes, including LeBron James. Pilates will leave you feeling challenged, refreshed, leaner and longer, without feeling the draining side effects weight training and other "manly" exercises have on your body the next day. 

1. Pilates helps you develop new muscles. Some of your muscles, like those that dominate your daily movements, are stronger than others. Pilates focuses on your neglected muscles - muscles that don't get a lot of attention.

2. Pilates helps improve your flexibility. Fact, the more muscle mass you have the less flexible you are. Stretching helps prevent injuries, negates muscle strain and increases your range of motion. 

3. Pilates helps build core strength. Every Pilates exercise utilizes your core to power movement to your limbs, specifically your transverse abdominals (that base ab muscle under your six pack). 

4. Pilates improves your golf swing. Sometimes the key to a better swing isn't on the green, but on the reformer. Pilates has been proven to help golfers hit the ball in a straighter direction, hit the ball more accurately and even further distances.

5. Pilates improves your sex life. As mentioned above, Pilates helps strengthen your core but also helps strengthen your pubococcygeus (PC muscle). In other words, you'll have greater control over your pelvic region - need I say more?!

So there ya have it. Pilates can get you better sex, a better golf swing, builds out your core, improves your flexibility and helps develop new muscles. Real men do Pilates. I encourage you to try a reformer class on us to discover what real strength feels like. 

Get moving today! Use promocode movember2016 at check out. Click here to sign up. 

 

 

 

 

School + Schedule = Time for Fitness

School + Schedule = Time for Fitness

This week the kids headed back to school and whether you were the mom that cried in the parking lot or the mom the popped some bubbly to celebrate it's impossible to deny this school year brings with it a flurry of activities and with that less "me" time.

Below are tips to maximize your time and energy this school year and be the fittest and healthiest mom you can be! Tips apply for all working moms, homeschool moms, wannabe trophy wives and ordinary women just like me! 

Teaching Privates made me a better person.

Teaching Privates made me a better person.

How teaching privates made me a better overall person and a more well round teacher.

I thought I knew alot about teaching. I had been a teaching since I was very young, starting at the  Ymca, then a captain of my soccer team and dance team, and then on to dance for the Milwaukee Bucks.  Movement was a way of life.  But I didn't know anything until I started teaching privates.

Massage: Get in touch with it's many benefits

Massage: Get in touch with it's many benefits

Massage can be a powerful tool to take charge of your health and well being. With every touch, the benefits of massage go much deeper than rest and relaxation. In an age of technical and, at times, impersonal medicine, massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. 

So what exactly are the benefits to receiving massages on a regular basis? 

Kids Mindfulness

Kids Mindfulness

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, which means that classrooms everywhere are exploring the ways fitness can cultivate healthier, happier, and more productive students.   On a recent trip to the Brightwood Education Campus in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Education (ED) observed an entire student body committed to mind-body awareness and health. Many schools around the country and beyond have already incorporated yoga and meditation into their curriculum, so this news might seem old hat for those of us in the mindful community. But how often does the Department of Ed actually drop by these mindful classrooms and experience the effects first-hand?

“Consistency” Wins The Race

“Consistency” Wins The Race

Committing to a fitness regiment doesn’t mean running for five miles on one day only to avoid exercising for the next two weeks. Committing to a fitness regiment means mapping out a plan that can be done, and yes you’re going to hear me say this word a lot, a plan that can be done “consistently.” 

Creating a workout plan will help you achieve greater consistency and improve your overall health and well being. 

Aromatherapy for Perfect Balance in Every Season

Aromatherapy for Perfect Balance in Every Season

Aromatherapy, in the form of floral and herbal extracts and incense, has always been an integral aspect of ayurvedic healing. From sandalwood incense to enhance the benefits of meditation to water infused with holy basil for purifying the environment, aromas have been a pleasant way to infuse the human psycho-physiology with the healing wisdom of plants.

Cuddling, A Springboard for Deep Relaxation and Transformation

I am usually shocked when a person tells me they were not shown affection as a child growing up. When someone tells me they were never touched or hugged by their parent, I shutter. I shutter because as a Holistic Practitioner and Intuitive Healer, I know what happens when a child is not shown physical affection by their parents. Our source relationships (parental connections) set the programming for how we live the rest of our lives. That does not mean our life path is set in stone, we can ALWAYS change our programming. However, some programs are more difficult to change than others and the ones that involve physical abuse and/or neglect can be some of the most difficult programs to change.

 

In his book, Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind, David J. Linden says, “Child-rearing advice of the 1920’s from the psychologist John B. Watson (the founder of psychological movement called Behaviorism) cautioned parents about spoiling their children with physical affection: “Let your behavior always be objective and kindly firm. Never hug and kiss them. Never let them sit on your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say goodnight. Shake hands with them in the morning. Give them a pat on the head if they have made an extraordinarily good job of a difficult task.” 

 

This was in the 1920’s, so anyone that subscribed to this philosophy when raising young children, would have raised children that did not know what it was like to be touched or shown physical affection, possibly resulting in mild to severe disorders in their human development.

 

In Touch, David Linden goes on to say, “…when deprived newborns of social touch, as occurred in grossly understaffed Romanian orphanages in the 1980s and 1990s, disaster unfolded: Growth is slowed, compulsive rocking and other self-soothing behaviors emerge, and, if not rectified, emergent disorders of mood, cognition, and self-control can persist through adulthood.” After only an hour per day of touch and limb manipulation from a caregiver, these debilitating problems can be circumvented if applied early enough in life.

 

Simply put, touch is a necessity for human development.

 

Cuddle therapy is becoming widely popular all over the world for the reasons previously mentioned and for the research that is being done worldwide. Researchers at the Metropolitan University in England found cuddling lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and generally combats stress. The study also found a third of the population receives no hugs on a daily basis, but 75% want more. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that couples that hugged for prolonged periods had higher levels of oxytocin -- the so called "cuddle hormone." Oxytocin creates feelings of calmness, eases depression, and reduces stress.

 

Cuddle sessions cannot be mistaken for anything other than cuddling. Cuddle space is non-sexual space.  Clothing stays on at all times. Establishing boundaries and open communication are essential for creating a space conducive to emotional healing and relaxation.

 

So, what if someone gets aroused while cuddling? Arousal is a natural physiological response and much like a meditation, just because we have an itch, does not mean we must scratch. Changing positions and/or taking a break is sometimes helpful in this situation.   

 

Being held in a safe, relaxing, open, and honest environment could help to begin the healing process. It allows us to be vulnerable and therein lays tremendous strength. In our patriarchal society we have been taught that weakness and vulnerability are synonymous. Many men (and women) do not allow themselves to cry, fail, hurt, grieve, or show emotion of any kind. There is now a safe place to do that. 

-Brandy D.

Join us Sunday February 14th for our Cuddle workshop.  Details can be found at www.happybellystudios.com or by emailing Info@happybellystudios.com

For many of us, 2015 was not an ‘easy’ year, but one of immense growth (it certainly was for me), and I knew it was important to take space to release that.

 

 

For many of us, 2015 was not an ‘easy’ year, but one of immense growth (it certainly was for me), and I knew it was important to take space to release that. 
 

I want to pass on my version of the process, so that you too can bring closure and gratitude to 2015, then have a big breath and a pause before welcoming 2016.

You’ll want to grab a journal and a candle.

You’ll also need about 30 minutes to take time to get into your heart – 

Light your candle and ask to be connected to your heart (not your head) and start answering the following questions in your journal:

Let your pen guide you and don’t judge the answers, just let it all out onto the page.

Q1. What am I most grateful for from 2015?

Q2. What has expired in my life now?

Q3. What’s no longer in alignment in my life?

Q4. What’s rising in me now?

Wrap this up with another mini-meditation and release the process for a few days.

Please be kind to yourself as you allow 2015 to fall off you in the coming days (there’s no rush here. We’re not ‘cutting off’ 2015. We’re releasing it gently; It served us well).

During this time you might take some time to connect with family and friends; to really prioritise joy, fun and self-care.

Setting 2016 intentions based on what unfolds for YOU.

breathe, stretch, shake- let it go.

breathe, stretch, shake- let it go.

You need a way to calm your kid(s), eh? S/he is active and you just can’t seem to calm them down. Maybe, just maybe your kid struggles with anxiety, depression, add/adhd. And that’s okay. That DOES NOT make your child/children bad. They just need someone who will be patient with them and slow them down a bit. Let them know that it’s okay to come from 100% down to maybe…90%? Kidding. :)

Are ‘New Year weight loss/gain’ in your resolutions for 2016?

We make the same New Year Resolutions and how many of us stick to them? Maybe for the first three months? I’ll even give it six, but after that, what happens? The New Year celebration has come and gone. Valentine’s Day has come and gone (and let’s not act like we’re not trying to stay wine fine for our hunny on that special date night). Spring Break has come and gone and then, we start to feel unmotivated when summer starts. But, you’d think that we’d WANT to stay in shape for the summer? Life simply gets in the way.

One to One Stretching: A customized approach to stress relief

Is your inflexibility causing problems with balance, agility, or simple day-to-day functioning?

Is a stress-related illness affecting your health? Relationships? Work productivity?

Do you want all the benefits of stretching but don’t want to work that hard?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you would likely benefit greatly from One 2 One Stretching.