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General Fitness and Well–Being

General Fitness and Well–Being Pilates the Gyrotonic Method

What I Learned from ‘Swapping’ Sessions with Other Trainers

April 18, 2016
swapping sessions

As a huge advocate of cross-training and challenging myself to never be comfortable with only practicing one dance technique or exercise method, I’ve always loved the many benefits of doing so. Although difficult at times, it doesn’t take long to see and feel the results. This became especially apparent when I began using the Pilates equipment with Classical Pilates instructor, Maria Baez (who is also my client).

1) No one method is the answer to all types of problems.

Kinespirit, based in New York, succinctly explains the differences and similarities between Pilates and Gyrotonic and how both methods can be a part of anyone’s training. Trainers are often aware that individuals have different needs for their bodies, therefore it’s necessary to educate the client about both methods to help in corporate Pilates or Gyrotonic or both into their routine. This goes for therapies such as Physical Therapy and Osteopathy.

swapping sessions

2) Cross-refer clients.

Cross-referring clients has proven to be successful in the fitness industry around the world. Kona Pilates, based in Hawaii, found that 80% of their clientele train in both Pilates and Gyrotonic. Reform Pilates, based in Oregon, highly support the practice and benefits of both methods and deems Gyrotonic and ‘the perfect companion’ for their clients.

Lisa Maria Goodwin-Rice, one of the 16 Authorised Specialised Gyrotonic Master Trainers wrote great article on ‘How to Introduce the Gyrotonic Method to Pilates Instructors’. These explanations emphasize that both methods require different teaching methods, both of which are just as important. This is another important asset in giving necessary information along to our clients. It’s also useful for trainers and therapists to swap notes and conversations about their clients so we can help each other deal with their problem areas more efficiently. 

swapping sessions

4) Offer cross-training deals.

In an interview with Gyrotonic Master trainer / Pilates Instructor, Angela, and Personal Trainer / Gyrotonic Trainer, Mike Luque, they spoke about the ‘Gyrotonic and Pilates cross-over’. Angela mentions that it’s best to try Gyrotonic without a ‘Pilates brain’ and vice versa. It might be best to not even compare the two.

The only way a client can experience something fully is to practice different methods that are being offered within a studio, says Angela. For example, studios, like Kona Pilates, also offer a ‘cross-over’ program where their clients can utilize training in both Pilates and Gyrotonic as both methods heavily compliment each other. This way we can not only improve business but the client’s well-being. 

Keep (cross) training!

XO

General Fitness and Well–Being Travel

Travel-Sized Fitness and Well–Being Items

December 11, 2015

As it’s holiday season, here’s a compiled list of some essential ‘travel-sized’ fitness and well–being items.

After hours of getting to the airport, standing around, and flying you’re bound to be exhausted, dehydrated, and pretty sore. Travelling requires being (somewhat) prepared before, during, and after. This could also mean remembering to adhere to your fitness and well-being needs. Here are a few essential fitness and well–being items that could be beneficial for pre, during, and post airplane travel, although these items could be used for any other mode of transport as well. Here’s to Zen, Rock and Roll, and feeling refreshed.

travel-sized fitness and well-being items

Snoozing Must-Haves

Ear Plugs 

Protect your ears, drown out chatter and outside noise, and get a good snooze.

Eye Mask

Continue said snooze by drowning out that awful cabin light while refreshing the skin around the eyes (win/win).

Neck Cushion

Maintain proper sitting alignment by providing support for your neck to avoid awkward spinal positions.

Essential Oils

Try soothing scents, such as Chamomile, to help you relax and rest.
Poignant scents, like Grapefruit, can also help with jet lag and staying alert.

Comfy Gear

Gone are those days of high heels and your best threads. Embrace your favorite workout gear or oversized sweater.

Headspace/Mediation

Very helpful for nervous travellers or needing to fall asleep quickly to help adapt to a new time zone.

La Musica

Nearly all international flights now provide a variety of free music (and audiobooks).
Consider making your own off-line playlists.

Water, Water Everywhere

In a previous post, I mentioned the daily importance of staying hydrated. There’s no better time to practice good hydration than on a plane as flights are extremely dehydrating. You can easily give yourself a hydration boost with plenty of water, face mist, lip balm and moisturisers for the face, body, and hair. Vogue has even suggested using a hydrating face mask the night before and steaming your face from the bathroom sink once you’ve reached your destination (ooh la, la).

In addition, most airlines now allow free refills via their drinks cart or water fountain whenever you like during the flight. However, airplane tap water hasn’t received the best reviews due its potential health hazards. So, if you prefer, bring your own (empty) water bottle and help reduce plastic waste. Seize your filtered water journey by researching and comparing these top 10 water bottle filters, for instance. Filtering water helps to kill bacteria, absorb chlorine, and remove heavy metal ions (just to name a few).

Stretch It Out, Work It Out

travel-sized fitness and well-being items

Walking around and onboard stretching is a must, especially for long haul flights. For those who want more full-bodied approach can turn to yoga and GYROKINESIS®, which are especially useful in these situations as they can be done sitting or standing. Both exercise methods involve spinal motions, a core workout, and stretching of the entire body. Moving the spine and stretching the legs are generally beneficial to maintaining good health, so why stop on a plane?

Travelling for work or pleasure usually involves a considerable amount of walking, standing, and/or sitting more than your normal day to day routine. Take care of the body by exercising and stretching a little bit each day. Therabands/Resistabands are travel friendly and can provide a mini workout for the entire the body. Using resistance is useful for maintaining fitness and can be used as an aid for stretching.

Another favorite: tennis balls and spikey massage balls. Both tennis and spikey massage balls can be used to eliminate muscle knots and/or release myofascial trigger points. There are a series of simple exercises that can help relieve major points of the body such as the calves, hamstrings, back, hips, and gluteus, which can be done anywhere standing, sitting, or lying down. Excellent as a quick (and cheap) post-flight ritual.

Injured? Try Air Activated Ice/Hot Packs

If you’re injured or suffer back and joint pain, you’ll may need ice or heat to reduce inflammation or pain. Using air activated ice or heat packs are great way to continue your healing process. They are usually inexpensive, compact and, most importantly, are allowed in cabin luggage. Ask your doctor or therapist whether you should treat your pain/ injury with ice, heat, or both during your travels.

Bring ‘Airplane Food’

travel-sized fitness and well-being items

Another important aspect to consider, in turns of well–being, is the food we eat on the plane. Bringing healthy snacks can help us avoid overeating carbs and sugar. It can also help us feel better, improve potential jet lag, and have less swollen hands and feet. What we drink the plane is also an important factor, of course. Some sources say avoid non-water beverages due to dehydration (as mentioned before), however minimal intake of alcohol, tea and coffee can be all right when followed by plenty of water.

Check out these sources below for recipes and more information about eating and flying:

Deliciously Ella: How to Stay Healthy on the Plane

Packing Healthily

Meals You Can Carry On

Airplane Food and Cabin Pressure

Safe travels & Happy Holidays! xo

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being

Apply Both Movement and Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

November 23, 2015

Doing one activity is enough, right?

As I’ve been a dancer for most of my life, I usually avoided other strenuous activities such as running.  This may be because Ballet and Contemporary dancers, for instance, are often given time in between exercises and/or combinations to go through movements, stretch and prepare mentally and physically.

However, after taking up running for the first time and eventually doing my first 5K, I finally realized what was missing in my dance training all of these years: some good old fashioned cardio. Does this mean that movement and exercise are different? Here are a few reasons why we need both movement and exercise.

What constitutes as movement?

Movement‘ is seen as any physical activity that contracts the muscles to burn calories and requires more energy than resting. However, the goal of ‘movement’ tasks often focuses on how the muscles work together rather than problem areas. In addition, practicing mindfulness can also play a key role in enhancing body awareness, spatial awareness and movement. Using mindfulness during movement, therefore, allows the body to move more naturally and less static.

Practicing mindful movements can provide:

  • Increased parasympathetic relaxation, which reduces stress
  • Mind-body connection
  • Coordination and control
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved postural alignment

How is exercise different?

Exercise can be categorized into 3 assesets: mode (what type), duration (how long), and intensity (how hard).  Therefore, exercise often contains structure and repetition that is specially planned. There are, however, different types of exercises (and many classes to choose from). Fortunately, combining different exercise types (e.g running and dance training) can have significant positive effects on overall health.

Maintaining an exercise routine is beneficial for:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Focusing on problem areas directly by isolating muscles groups and joints
  • Muscular endurance
  • Weight control
  • Bone strengthening
  • and also, stress reduction

Should we practice both movement and exercise?

Combining cardiovascular exercise and movements that allow mindfulness and body awareness can further increase health benefits, such as mood and efficiency, and can be an effective way to improve technique. This also means continuing to engage in human movements (i.e. walking, stretching), whether you have an exercise routine or not, to break up the potential sedentary lifestyle. This can also serve as time for mental and physical recovery and/or a ‘reboot’.

As a GYROTONIC® Trainer, I often remind my clients to ‘keep moving’. Ridding of rigid, restricting movement is the ultimate the goal of each class (and also outside of class) to focus on the mind and body as a whole to help establish both stability and flexibility. Therefore, after learning the order of an exercise, we must continue find both freedom and control within each movement. This could be considered as a ‘guide’ for one to achieve optimal fitness and artistic levels.

Learn More:

Dance Fitness

Artistry and Technique

Cardio and Strength Training

Benefits of Slow Movement

How Exercise Benefits the Brain

Swimming with the Alexander Technique

5Rhythms

Gaga: the movement language

xo

General Fitness and Well–Being

Stay Hydrated, My Friends

July 25, 2015

IT’S SUMMERTIME!

(Well, in some places…)

Whatever the weather may be, it’s essential to stay hydrated. Whether you’re mooching around in the sun all day or spending everyday in a sauna keep from frost bite, it’s good practice to pay attention to your water intake.

Why hydrate?

It allows nutrients and oxygen to flow through the body properly,

helps to boost performance,

can aid in digestion,

& we sort of can’t live without it.*

Here are a few ways to remember to drink water and other healthy fluids throughout the day.

Hydrate first thing in the morning.

Drink a glass of warm water with lemon in the morning before eating or any exercise. After a full night of sleep the body becomes dehydrated and is in need of a little jump start. This ‘jump start’ helps to aid digestion and allow the body to obtain necessary nutrients throughout the day. Too lemony? Try adding honey or ginger or both. Thereafter, tea and coffee also count as your water intake for the day (boom).

Fuel exercise routines.

One of the most important times to consume water and avoid dehydration is before and after (sometimes during) your exercise routine. Not only do we lose water through sweat but also salt. Too much lost of water and salt can result in dehydration, which is not good for your joints and muscles. Like my client once said, ‘If you’re thirsty, that’s it–you’re already dehydrated’ (he’s a gem).

After exercise, one way to replenish both water and salt lost is by replacing with electrolytes, which can be added to your water. Simply make your own ‘sports drink’ by combining fruit, water, citrus and a tiny pinch if salt and sugar. Coconut water can also be an enjoyable as it contains a little bit of potassium and sodium, which can be great to refresh your electrolyte levels (but not necessary to indulge).

Treat yourself.

Ah yes, smoothies & juices in the summertime- what a pair. Although slightly controversial due to their potentially intense sugar levels, these quick snack-like drinks can be another source of hydration. Just ease up on those store-bought ones! (Remember what happened to Naked Juice?)

On the other hand, blending or juicing fruits and vegetables yourself are a great way to get a load of vitamins at once. You can use almost any milk or yogurt as a base (i.e. Cow, almond, soy), with water and a combination of your favorite fruits and vegetables (here are some great recipes). No time in the kitchen? Just grab some fruit and/or vegetables to-go.

Make It Fancy

Try infusing your water by using fruit and/or herbs. It’s super easy to make plain ol’ water look and taste so fancy, especially is it’s tap water (or if you hate water in the first place). Some sources even recommend adding fizzy water, if you really want to show off.

Also, carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. You can get a filtered one like the Brita Fill & Go bottle (clearly my favorite). There are also loads of useful water bottles that can help gauge how much water you have throughout the day (and save the environment, of course).


*On a global note, I know that we’re all aware that not everyone is able to acquire the right amount clean, safe water to maintain their overall health. So let’s all take a minute to donate to charities such as Water Aid (which was, thankfully, recently reported as trustworthy). Try to trade in those extra coins and lattes to support the crucially important need of hydration around the world.

General Fitness and Well–Being Yoga

Fitness and Well-Being Spots in East London

June 13, 2015

Here are my absolute favorite fitness and well-being spots here in London (Eastside).

The Refinery E9

If you’re not seeing their website right now, you won’t understand how it’s killing me with its goodness (and class offers!). This studio has many styles of Yoga and Pilates along with Kettlebell Cardio, GYROKINESIS®, Massage, Teas, Coffees– what more could you ask for?

Be sure to check out: A.) Esther for an amazingly thorough coconut-oiled Deep Tissue Massage and B.) Allison for enriched movement and strengthening with a GYROKINESIS® and/or Pilates class. This studio even has a Disco Ball on the premises and it’s own App.

York Hall Day Spa LONDON

This York Hall location houses a Thermal Spa for only £25 a pop (£18 for Tower of Hamlets card holder residents). Keep in mind, that the price is inclusive of a good 3 hour time slot. Alongside the commonly known sauna, steam rooms, plunge pool and chilled lounge areas, they offer a three room Turkish Baths (or Hot Rooms). The rooms range from warm, hot to very hot.

In the Turkish Baths you sit or lay on heated marble. This is beneficial for reducing Rheumatism (problems in the muscles, joints and connective tissue).  After that, it’s best to follow up with somesteam room action to cleanse the pores and calm the nervous system.

Yoga Place E2

Quaint, simple, and does the trick (in the best possible way). With acquiring only two yoga rooms, this studio really builds a sense of community. It also provides an open kitchen and loads of books to dive into before or after a class and/or a therapy session.

I mainly go here for my Ashtanga practice but there’s a large variety of classes where you can come in for whichever one as you please (no booking required). For the serious yogi? There’s a load of courses and workshops available too.

London Aquatics Centre| Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Fine, I’ve only been once, but perhaps let’s take a moment to realize its epic nature and the benefits of swimming (by clicking on those links). This Aquatics Centre is equipped with gym, swimming, and diving facilities (thanks, Tom Daley!). It’s practically a swimmer’s indoor paradise.

With it’s opening hours from 6AM to 1030PM there’s plenty of time to get a few laps in no matter what your schedule. Swimming lessons and courses are also offered at a very decent rate. So book now (that’s you and me both).

Triyoga, Camden

OK, I cheated, but I didn’t want to leave this one out. Located only 15 minutes from Hackney on the Ginger Line, this multi-faceted Yoga, Pilates, GYROTONIC®, Barre and Therapy studio features one of my all-time favorite things in life: the Far Infrared Sauna. This means right after any of your classes, you can hop in for a lovely post-workout treat.

There’s, of course, loads of other wonderful studios, spas, and pools to check out. So, if I were you, I would start by using the Dojo App and clicking on their ‘Get Fit’ category. Fitness on the go? Check.

General Fitness and Well–Being the Gyrotonic Method

10 Reasons to Cross-Train with the Gyrotonic Method

May 26, 2015

Here are 10 reasons why you should cross-train with the GYROTONIC® Method.

Excellent for those wanting to expand and improve their existing workout routines.

Firstly, do any of the following (or anything similar)?

Pilates

Yoga

Cycling

Running

Walking

Gym training/Weight lifting

Tennis

Golf

Swimming

Rowing

Baseball

Football/Soccer

GYROKINESIS®

Dance

Perhaps consider cross-training with Gyrotonic to boost your existing routine.

Secondly, what does this ‘cross-training’ mean?

Cross-training is a combination of exercises from other disciplines. It can also be defined as a form of specific or non-specific training or both, which is beneficial for general conditioning and reducing injury risk.

For example, to enhance endurance during your running routine you would need to include cycling rather than stick to a ‘run-only’ routine.

Why else is cross-training important?

By only doing one activity, you are essentially working the muscles that are only used for that particular activity. For example, you may run or cycle almost everyday, which is an excellent workout, but then only to find something like yoga extremely challenging and vice versa.

Not being able to physically interchange between exercises can increase injury risk.  This also means changing the impact, for instance alternating running with swimming. Thus alternating workout regimes will benefit you in the long run (pun intended).

Studies have found in participants with Osteoarthritis in the knee who cross-trained with aerobic, strength and stretching exercises were able to walk and bend the knee more efficiently. This also improved their back and hamstring flexibility and the strength in the quadriceps.

In another perspective, studies have also shown that specific and non-specific cross-training can improve performance quality in endurance athletes. This because these athletes also need anaerobicabilities and strength, which has to do with optimal muscular production and density.

Lastly, why cross-train with the Gyrotonic Method?

  1. Gyrotonic offers a non-impact, circular and three-dimensional workout
    (a perfect match for any other form of exercise)
  2. Uses a mixture of movement styles and principles
    (think swimming, yoga, and tai chi)
  3. Enhances initiation and control of movement 
  4. Relates to the spirals of our anatomical make up
  5. Emphasizes proper core engagement
  6. Focuses on the alignment of the body as a whole
    (which enhances awareness)
  7. Excellent for jointand spinal health
  8. Increases flexibilityand strength
    (which enhances range of movement)
  9. Reduces risk of injuryand pain
  10. Beneficial for rehabilitationand pre/postnatal

Don’t wait until you’re injured and your Physiotherapist prescribes another mode of exercise. Do yourself a favor and build more with your exercise routine sooner than later (pretty please). You can start by seeking Gyrotonic discounts and specials from around the world.

While it’s pricey to keep in your routine, remember you can still benefit even if it’s once every other week. It can provide as a ‘check-in’ with your progression. You will really feel the difference. Maybe consider exchanging your weekly/monthly nail or hair appointment with a private or duet Gyrotonic session instead (wink).

Now, get to steppin’.

xo

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being the Gyrotonic Method

My Top Fitness and Wellness Websites in 2015

May 7, 2015

Here are my top Health and Fitness websites on the GYROTONIC® Method, Dance Science, Running, & Nutrition

From California to London, check out what these professionals have to offer.


1) Mike Luque Training

Mike Luque is a jack of all trades. Mike has a diverse background ranging from Massage to Gyrotonic to Kettleball training. Therefore this website is able to provide a multitude of information as well as really good facts about the GYROTONIC® method. Other topics include healthy eating, recipes, breathing, and meditation. His website also features an active blog where he and some guest authors (like moi) keep you up to date on the happenings in health and fitness to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

2) International Association of Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS)

From studying Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, I have become promptly familiar with IADMS. Along with their membership and annual meetings, they have just started their own blog! This is exciting (and important) as it brings real-time information for dancers, teachers and educators. Each post is written by a different researcher from the IADMS education committee to enhance the reader’s knowledge of health and well-being in a dance context. One of my favorite posts is The Pelvis: The Meeting Point of the Body written by colleague, Clara Fischer Gam.

3) Runner’s World

As a 5K race newbie, I needed all of the help I could get! Being a dancer for many years, aerobic fitness was always quite challenging. So to make things even more challenging for myself, I signed up to my first 5K (as you do). However, their beginner’s training schedule helped me out the most (along with dog-sitting). This website offers a lot inspiration and information about running that I never knew existed. It also helped me, as a beginner, to just get out there. From essential running gear to ‘survival tips’ this just might be your one-stop shop.

4) Live to 110

Where do I start? This fantastic website has been created by Wendy Myers and it is very in depth. I met Wendy back in Los Angeles at In-Spiraling Movement Arts (where I used to work) a few years back. She first told me about her post on the Infrared Sauna, that she often came in to use. Ever since then I was hooked. The website focuses on detox, nutrition (currently Paleo), dealing with health conditions, and how to pursue longevity. Not to mention her recipes are a downright blessing.

Keep exploring my fellow health and fitness enthusiasts!

General Fitness and Well–Being

Why is Physical Activity Important?

April 22, 2015

Dear Kids and Adults, physical activity is super important.

Studies show that participation in physical activity has been decreasing with age, which we probably have already gathered from out own personal experience. Participating in physical activity (now) will help us to age gracefully (later), your heart and your brain will thank you. Being physical also means that your psychological well-being will be better off in the long run. So let’s all take a step back and go over why we even need to move at all.

Sometime we completely put off exercise due to life demands.

Overtime we become tired, busy, and often lacking the facilities or environment to exercise as much as we want (well, need). For example, sitting in a car for hours to get to work, sitting at work, then the same thing on the way back home, only to then pass out!

Perhaps the real problem lies with not knowing or remembering why we need to move in the first place. With knowing the benefits and incorporating exercise into our (extremely hectic) lives we could increase our overall health and training effectiveness. So what are some benefits you may ask? Let me guide you.

Some Benefits of Daily Exercise:

  • a healthy intake of oxygen to the brain and through the blood
  • joint flexibility
  • muscular strength
  • long-term health

Some Dangers of Being Sedentary:

  • decrease in bone density
  • increases blood pressure
  • muscular pain and tightness
  • more difficult to burn fat (just to put it out there)

Easy ways to get exercise:

  • walking/ jogging/ running (or, take the stairs!)
  • swimming
  • dancing (yes, even at the club)
  • bicycling

Please remember that taking precaution and consulting a professional about pain or discomfort during exercise is extremely important. Besides, incorporating exercise into your daily routine is meant to be fun and help you feel good.

Just for you

Merkel, R., Judge, L., Stodden, D. and Griffin, K. (2014). Importance of health-related fitness knowledge to increasing physical activity and physical fitness. The Physical Educator, 71, 218-233.

Springer, J., Lamborn, S., and Pollard, D. (2013). Maintain physical activity over time: the importance of basic psychological need satisfaction in developing the physically active self. American journal of Health Promotion, 27 (5).

Quantum, M., Tammelin, T., Ebeling, H., Stamatakis, and Tania, A. (2015). High levels of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with good self-rated health in adolescents. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 12, 266-272.

General Fitness and Well–Being

Simple Ways to Release Tension Everyday

April 9, 2015

Releasing tension is something we can work on everyday. It can also help bring a sense of calm and clear-headedness.

Here are a few ways we can release tension.


Have you actually noticed when you hold unnecessary tension? If so, it could be due to a number of reasons such as doing a task that’s difficult, recovering from injury, or just feeling uncomfortable in a particular situation as it’s in our nature to ‘protect’ ourselves. If not, you’re in for an awakening.
Everyone’s body and ability is different, but there are a few ways we can at least gain more awareness about why we are tensing up in the first place. The most common problem areas are the neck, shoulders, and jaw. There are, of course, many more. Take time to find out yours.

Some causes of tension:

  • Stress and/or anxiety
  • Poor postural alignment
  • Poor abdominal/core strength
  • Sitting for long periods of time (why yes, I am standing as I type this post)
Enhance alignment and core strength when standing:
Align your bones ‘on top’ of each other:
  • Head over the shoulders
  • Shoulders over the hips
  • Hips over the knees
  • Knees over the ankles
  • Feet in-line with the knees
  • Imagine energy going downward through the feet and lengthen upward through the spine simultaneously
  • Continue to support your posture through your centre

Enhance alignment and core strength when sitting:

  • Use a pillow behind the back for support
  • If in a hard chair or on the floor, sit on a book and a pillow
  • Sometimes adding a book under the feet is nice too
  • Keep head in a slight nod, not too high or too low

Ways to find release:

  • If able, alternate between sitting and standing (I’m looking at you, office workers)
  • Draw your attention places of tension and relax those areas
  • Add deep breathing to your routine
  • Take a break already, you owe it yourself (and probably your computer)
  • And/or do one of the following:
    • Gyrotonic homework (nudge nudge)
    • Stretch or Yoga
    • Walk or cycle
    • Even just getting up to make tea or coffee will do
Why is proper alignment and relaxation important?
When can you practice?
Every day, every minute. Try releasing unnecessary tension while walking, at your desk, working out, texting, driving, on the tube– honestly, anywhere, anytime. Practice forms habit.
If you are still having problems, consider taking up Gyrotonic, Yoga, Pilates, or all three to cross-train your muscles. For severe problems, consider seeking treatment (i.e. Massage, Physiotherapy).
Have a good rest of your week!
General Fitness and Well–Being Tips Yoga

Resting Tips for Your Long Weekend

April 3, 2015

“Are you tired? Run down? Listless? Do you poop out at parties? “

Well, I’ve got a couple of resting tips for you.

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Viparita Karani literally means “inverted action”. It’s so easy, you won’t want to do anything else. Sit down on the floor or bed, shimmy your bum against the wall, put your legs up and lay down. Then just relax with your arms to the sides. As beautifully demonstrated by yogi, Katie Pearson, you can see that this pose can be done anywhere, for any reason.

This pose also plays a key role in improving sleep amongst many other vital factors in well-being. For example, it can serve as a refresher after standing or sitting for a long time, in which some of us are most guilty! ‘Legs up the wall pose’ is a contributor to calming the mind as well as releasing physical tension.

Yoga Journal’s columnist, Jeanie Manchester, states that combining restorative poses (like ‘legs up the wall’ with deep breathing (inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling even longer through the mouth) can activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS, which is connected to the cranial (brain) nerves, is what’s responsible for allowing our body to achieve a state of rest. So please, don’t forget to breathe.

YogaToes® Toe Stretchers

I wear my YogaToes® for legs up the wall pose because it’s the best (and I actually can’t function without them). These funny little ‘pedicure-style’ toe separators help to open and realign the foot’s joints and tissue. They also help to optimize mobility and reduce pain. Perfect for the end of a long day/ after a night of dancing (er, stomping).

No YogaToes®? Go to your local pharmacy and grab some standard pedicure toe separators in the meantime (yes, that’s an order).

It’s completely essential to incorporate rest into our daily schedule. It allows the body to rejuvenate and protect itself from messy things like anxiety and illness.

Happy 4 day weekend!