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Interviews the Gyrotonic Method Tips Wellbeing

Lisa Roche: On Self-Care & Reevaluating Our Priorities

January 30, 2021
Lisa Roche: on self care and reevaluating our priorities

“Deal with what’s happening. Move that out of your body, and as that moves, you’ll start feeling – ‘Wow, I was hanging on to a lot of stuff’.”


Lisa Roche is the founder and owner of a 1 to 1 GYROTONIC® studio, called Nagare, based in New Jersey. Her studio also shares the space with other holistic therapies, such as Reiki and Massage.

We speak about the importance of acknowledging wellbeing, looking at the body as a whole, as well as how self-care is changing with this universal shift of the pandemic. Lisa also provides some great tips on how to deal with this.

She takes us through her life before discovering the GYROTONIC® method – from political science, to being a mother, to studying music – then flash forward to when she began Adult Ballet classes and her long history of back pain started to flared up.

Listen to her enthusiastic and generous story.


Follow Lisa & Her Work

@nagareprivatestudio

www.nagareprivatestudio.com

Dance Interviews Tips

Rachel P. Fallon: On Joining Hofesh Shechter & Living in London

March 31, 2018
rachel partice fallon hofesh schecter the movers and the makers podcast

Meet the lovely Rachel Fallon, a dancer with the Hofesh Shechter Company. This New York native shares stories about her journey with dancing abroad, moving to London, and discovering the gift of teaching. She gives a lot of great tips for budding and professional dancers alike.

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being Tips

A Journey Back to Dance #7: Improving Technique

February 25, 2018
a journey back to dance improving technique again kindall payne

Getting use to your own body after time off might take some patience. Thankfully we have the visual memory and muscle memory systems to help us return, but how else can we continue to improve technique in the present body?


a journey back to dance improving technique again kindall payne

“Technique” is thus understood as the skills experienced in practice and inscribed into one’s own world of understanding – Jenny Coogan, Practicing Dance: A Somatic Orientation.

Practice

Depending on what style of training and/or performance, it’s often through consistent practice that a technique or style becomes enhanced. This may mean that practice can create a fuller understanding and meaning to the work both physically and mentally. Therefore the goal with practice is to explore, especially the challenges.

Move 

Move the body as it is today, right now. When this happens there isn’t time to fixate on how we pliéd, jumped, or pointed our foot in the past. When returning to a technique, this is the time to move and listen well with the mind and body.

Feel

With having past experiences in a particular technique or style, it might be tempting to just go with the motions. How can we continue to generate new feeling and new meaning in our movements? Using imagination, small tasks and goals are very useful. Never allow the mind and the body to become unresponsive to feeling and challenges.

Inquire

Ask questions amongst your teachers, peers, and colleagues. Also maintain an inner dialogue which can help with problem solving when learning or rehearsing something new (or old). This inner dialogue could also help with maintaining curiosity and a fresh outlook.

Enjoy

The process of practice and improving don’t really end. Therefore, it’s pertinent to enjoy the process. For some of us, this can be difficult as progression and improvement are hard to see with our own eyes. Think about what elements that you’ve enjoyed within a class, performance, research development, etc. Do more of that!
General Fitness and Well–Being Tips

Tips for Working at Home

November 8, 2017
sit up, stand up, and move tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Are you an office worker, freelancer, self-employed or ‘digital nomad’? This one’s for those who tend to sit for long periods at a time on a laptop, desktop computer, and phone. Let’s talk about finding good posture while on our gadgets.

I spend a lot of time blogging and looking for freelance work online, so I can definitely relate. Here’s some useful tips to help us sit up, stand up, move and, most importantly, work more efficiently.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Try to Sit on the Floor

Sitting on the floor allows the body to readjust and be in its natural form. To adjust the laptop height, use a few pillows. You can also sit on a pillow or put one behind your back. Folding the legs (as pictured above) can help release the hips and keep the knees healthy. If you’re leaning against a sofa, during break you can lean back, creating an arch in the spine.

Maintain the Head Over the Shoulders

The skull is one the heaviest points on the body. When the skull is no longer supported by your spine, it creates stress and impact on the neck. Forward head posture and rounded shoulders are one of the most common postural deviations, but can be avoided when repositioning the head to balance on top of the skull. To allow the head to be supported by the spine, change the height of the computer screen to eye level. Just prop a few books under the laptop.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Stand Up Correctly

 Something as simple as standing up is a great way to give the hips and legs a break from compression. However, standing upright can be tricky. First, readjust the height of your computer screen to ensure proper head-spine alignment. Make sure your feet are comfortable with or without shoes. However, don’t stand too long, it’s best to alternate between sitting and standing every 1-2 hours. This helps the body to keep moving.

Mobilize the Hips

Lie down on your stomach, and bring yourself upward with your hands by the shoulders so that the hips are off the floor, like in Upward-Facing Dog Position. Relax the ribcage downward and bring the belly button inward to support the lower back. This position can help to recover the body from a constant frontal, folded position. If you would like to stretch more, come into a Lunge Position. Send the tailbone toward the floor and gentle engage the abdomen.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Unlock the Jaw and Neck

 Treat yourself with a few minutes of self-massage starting with the the large jaw muscles then work your way around the muscles around base of the neck as well as the bones of the face.

Mobilize the Wrists

Especially after typing/working for hours on end, the hands often get left out. Clasp your hands together and straight your arms forward with the palms facing outward. Next, bring the clasped hands together and roll the wrists around, alternating each way.

Blink the Eyes

The eyes becomes fatigued when they become dry. The eyes become dry when there isn’t enough blinking happening. When we stare at a backlit screen for long periods time we often don’t blink enough, causing dry eye and blurriness. It may also be useful to make the text larger.

Go Upside Down

Or partially. Try a gentle spinal flexion roll down from the standing position is easy yet effective. Allowing the torso to be upside down releases tension from weight we carry due to gravity. Begin standing in a neutral, upright position. Slowly roll down, knees slightly bent. It’s OK if the hands don’t touch. Reverse the direction, with the chin into the chest until fully standing.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home

Incorporating these intermittent sitting, standing, and movement strategies every 20-30 minutes can help you work more efficiently, longer, and with more ease. Remember to take real breaks.

Set a timer if needed. Perhaps encourage your colleagues around you to do the same. We only have one body, let’s take care of it.


Other Useful Links

Computer Work Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain the Neck – NYU

Computer Desk and Stretches – UC Santa Cruz

Damaging Effects of Forward Head Posture (PDF)

Correct Sitting Posture: Sitting at a Desk

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being the Gyrokinesis Method the Gyrotonic Method Tips Travel

A Mini Dance & Fitness Guide: the Pacific Northwest

February 8, 2017
dancing up the pacific northwest

Being in the States for Christmas and New Years for the first time in a while meant being able to visit family, friends, teachers and studios I know and love along the Pacific Northwest.

After a very relaxing time in Los Angeles, it was time for an adventure to discover something new. This meant travelling (and dancing) for at least one week along the Pacific Northwest coastline from San Francisco all the way to Vancouver by train or bus. Consider this to be your Mini Dance and Fitness Guide to these prominent and inspiring cities. Enjoy!


San Francisco Bay Area, CA

dancing up the pacific northwest

Home to San Francisco Ballet, LINES Ballet, Smuin BalletODC Theater, AXIS Dance Company, Tiny Pistol, and many other beautiful dance companies. The Bay Area also contributes heavily to the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® scene.
As my former stomping ground, this visit included a class at Alonzo King LINES Dance Center with ever evolving Erik Wagner and a catch up with my former Gyrotonic Master Trainer, Debra Rose from SF GYROTONIC®.
Before leaving the Bay Area, I was able to squeeze in a Gyrotonic group class with Trainer Mike Luque from The Working Body in Oakland (whom I wrote an article for his blog but never met). Luque’s new space offers a lot of other types of classes too such as boxing, pilates, yoga and personal training.
What Else to Check Out
Dance Companies
Inside Out Contemporary
Dawson Dance
Liss Fain Dance
LEVY Dance
Robert Moses’ Kin
Gyrotonic & Gyrokinesis Studios
The Seed Center
Marin Gyrotonic


 Portland, OR

dancing up the pacific northwest

Home to the infinitely cool Northwest Dance Project and BodyVox studios. Unfortunately during my January visit, this city was literally iced over, which made it difficult to get around in a short amount of time.
However the beauty of the Coast Starlight sleeper train from Jack London Square, Oakland satisfied my travel appetite with its stunning views and spacious cabins.
I did, however, briefly speak to Emma Kingston, the Gyrotonic Master Trainer and owner of Center Gyrotonic, to discuss the happenings of a future interview with her about the Gyrotonic Method, dance, fitness, and all of that good stuff.
What Else to Check Out
Dance Teacher and Choreographer
Katie Scherman
Gyrotonic / Gyrokinesis / Reformer Pilates
Kinespirit Circle

Seattle, WA

dancing up the pacific northwest

Velocity Dance Center on 12 Ave. Seattle, WA. January 18th, 2017.

This is the quaint (and very rainy) hometown of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Velocity Dance Center, and Cornish College of the Arts. Here, I took a Masterclass with Lavinia Vago from Montreal’s renowned RUBBERBANDance Group.
We moved, danced, and increased our heartbeats continuously for nearly 1.5 hours (in the style of Gaga‘s movement language), then learned some the company’s repertoire. IT WAS AMAZING. Keep an eye on Velocity Dance Centre for future workshops and masterclasses.
What Else to Check Out
Open Dance Class Program at PNB
 Sessions with Magali Messac at Gyrotonic Seattle
Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis and Yoga at Seattle Changing Rooms

Vancouver, B.C.

dancing up the pacific northwest

English Bay Beach. Beginning of the waterfront bicycle path around the Seawall at Stanley Park. January 20th, 2017.

Crossed the border for the last stop and lucked out with a sunny day. However, I had an even shorter time to explore the city, so spend the only full day to explore Vancouver by biking the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the Seawall at Stanley Park.
28km later, this waterfront-only pathway was very fulfilling. I also got to practice photographing this city’s stunning scenery with my new camera. For skiing enthusiasts, this is your city. Vancouver’s known for their local ski resorts, just 20 mins away, also includes night skiing.
What Else to Check Out
Organic Eats
Cafe Medina
Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe and Pie Shop
Dance Companies
Kidd Pivot
Ballet BC
Exercise & Nature
Grouse MountainCypress Mountain, Mount Seymour
Local Day and Nighttime Ski Slopes
Whistler Blackcomb
Larger Ski Resort with Hiking Trails

This jam packed trip opened my eyes to the Dance, Fitness and Gyrotonic world. Taking class and understanding the style and vibe of the city was definitely the highlight of the trip. Looking forward to the next adventure.

dancing up the pacific northwest

Mendocino Bay, Northern California.

General Fitness and Well–Being the Gyrokinesis Method the Gyrotonic Method Tips

Health & Fitness Goals: How the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods Can Support You in the New Year

December 31, 2016
how the gyrotonic and gyrokinesis methods can support your fitness goals

As we move on towards another new year, here we go again with our resolutions and goals. According to sites like Statistic Brain and The Guardian, in 2015, people’s top ten resolutions included: losing weight, staying fit and healthy, and wanting to learn something new.

In fact, 38%-47% of people set fitness and self-improvement related resolutions for the new year. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for start of a new year for us to reset our goals. It’s OK to have ever-evolving goals, so change it up and be very specific.

how the gyrotonic and gyrokinesis methods can support your fitness goals

I personally believe that everyone is a mover, a dancer, a groover and, yes, we should want more health and fitness goals for ourselves. When it comes to resetting goals it might be best to take a different approach. If I want to incorporate more exercise into my new year goals but know I’m not a big fan of running, then my goal should be to ‘find a new exercise that I enjoy’ instead.
From teaching the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Methods, Dance and even Barre classes – a lot of people are aware that they are ‘not a dancer’ and become timid with three-dimensional movements. Anything from walking, running to the train, standing up to get a cup of coffee, to sitting for long hours requires proper alignment and a certain level fitness. Posture, alignment,and fitness awareness can help maintain a healthy body for the long term, which I’m sure will compliment any other fitness goals you may have for the new year!

Here are a few important ways the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Methods can help you with your fitness goals.

how the gyrotonic and gyrokinesis methods can support your fitness goals

GYROKINESIS® Floor Exercises contribute in stretching the hamstrings, adductors, abductors, shoulder, pectorals & strengthening the abdomen, biceps, deltoids, back extensors, and arches – just to name a few.

Awareness of Posture

Posture is such a big deal. We’ve heard it from our elders and our mothers and now you’re hearing it again. There are even posture apps that exist to support this importance. Posture isn’t just the spine. There are a lot of muscles involved in both sitting, standing, and walking. In order for us to adhere to those muscles we must focus on how the body should be moving as a whole. Clients have told me that they’ve felt improvement within their alignment the minute they’re finished their session.

Improved Alignment Overtime

Realigning the body, both muscularly and skeletally, from years and years of bad habits take time and over that time it’s important to realign correctly and efficiently. Alignment is especially important for balance and appropriate range of motion in the joints. Without this, the joints become impacted and no longer have room to move causing unwanted pain. Therefore, these methods (and its equipment) focus on the prevention and reduction of joint impact. Therefore, when this kind of alignment is maintained, usual areas of pain and stiffness are less present.

Strengthens While You Stretch

Functional flexibility supports strength and strength supports flexibility. Without one or the other your body could be in danger or prone to injury/pain. Both methods allow the body to move in its natural three-dimensional makeup. Without this type of movement the body can become rigid and resistant. In other words, we want our body to be able to respond to movement and impact like a rubber band: with elasticity (longevity) and strength (sustainability).

Improves Other Workouts

I always see more  improvement in my dancing, yoga practice, standing, walking, and even running when I’m taking Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis classes regularly. This also goes for all sports enthusiasts and professional performers (i.e. Andy Murray as pictured in the cover photo). Many of my clients who play football, swim, row, etc. said that they’ve never have felt or performed better. It’s completely necessary that the body is challenged in all ranges, so when you need to focus on a specific area or exercise the entire body is all set up to support you and these methods do just that.

how the gyrotonic and gyrokinesis methods can support your fitness goals

No matter what your fitness goals are this year, next year, and beyond, be sure to try something new. In addition, you’ll never know what kind of positive reaction your body may have with experiencing full bodied movements that the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods have to offer. It might be just the thing you’ll need for you aches and pains to be relieved once and for all.

Happy New Year and Beyond!

Love,

Kindall & Rob

TheMovementBlog

How the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods Can Improve Health and Fitness Goals

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being the Gyrokinesis Method the Gyrotonic Method Tips Yoga

Best New Blogs in Dance, Health, and Fitness in 2016

October 7, 2016
best new blogs in dance health and fitness

Above: Mara Cimatoribus, founder and blogger of SHE-SMILES

In no particular order – these new blog platforms are equally amazing, inspiring and necessary for dance, fitness, health, and wellbeing enthusiasts alike.

One thing these blogs have in common is that all of the founders/creators/directors/bloggers took the initiative to use their experience and knowledge to create a fun, enthusiastic place for other like minded people out of the goodness of their hearts. Check out these topics ranging from ballet fitness to self-esteem improvement to yummy innovative recipes.

Lazy Dancer Tips – Best New Dance Vlog

best new dance health and fitness blogs

Former dancer of Royal New Zealand Ballet and current dancer in New English Ballet Theatre Lugoboni seriously doesn’t miss a beat in her new blog. Nearly everyday, dancers have access to exercises and tips on everything from ‘how to tie your pointe shoes’ to ‘how to exercise on the beach’.
Lazy may not be the case ‘per se’, but this lovely laid back approach to using ballet as fitness is accessible to anyone for anytime and everywhere. It is, of course, also great for those already deep in the ballet game. She’s got your back with in depth yet simple explanations of how to improve leg extensions, balance, and port de bras, just to name a few.
In addition, Iacopo Di Luigi, Lugoboni’s other half and business partner, works in Visual Effects and clearly has an eye for detail. This great collaboration manages to create the dynamic combination between video and blogging, which works flawlessly with both depth and clarity.
Follow this blog and you’ll never be out of touch with improving your fitness, ballet technique, and the cuteness of Lugoboni’s cats!

Sweet Om Yoga – Best New Yoga Instagram Account

best new dance health and fitness blogs

Not a formal blog, but Filitsa Thomopoulou’s photos are extremely well shot. She manages to capture some of the most intriguing yoga poses in unique angles. They all seem to tell a story, like a dance. This former ballerina ( á la the National Greek Opera School of Dance) has transformed her life from the stage to the mat after foregoing hip surgery. After living and dancing in London she returned back to her home in Athens, Greece and now teaches yoga full time.
She’s now beginning to incorporate video on her Instagram account, which further adds to the dance-like element; flowing into poses as if one sentence. Instagram and yoga have quickly become the perfect combination – and it’s everywhere. So what sets this account apart? Her precision and poise. Suitable for those who want to see how someone uses their technique to the fullest, safely and beautifully.
Traveling to Greece? Contact Thomopoulou for her class schedule here.

Wavelength – Best New GYROTONIC® Blog

best new dance health and fitness blogs

Thanks to Cina Canada, founder/producer/director of Human Picture Initiative and now (thankfully) Media Coordinator at GYROTONIC® International Headquarters, the very much global yet exclusive Gyrotonic community official have outlet direct from the source. Here – trainers, clients and anyone else alike can be informed with what others trainers and master trainers are doing  and, most importantly, read what they have to say.
Useful sections and series includes ‘Tips for Trainers by Trainers‘ and  specialized course highlights where Master Trainers are interviews to further explain the development of the course and, basically, ‘what inspired them?’. Gyrotonic headquarters also have a YouTube channel that features ‘The Gyrotonic Interview Series‘ (a must-see).
I have a great gut feeling that the Gyrotonic community fully appreciates to finally have this kind of dialogue accessible and out in the open. Always wanted to know more about the Gyrotonic Method and how it can improve your technique, posture and alignment? This blog is not to be missed.

Dance Longer, Dance Stronger – Best New Dance Science Blog

best new dance health and fitness blogs
Insights on dance, dance science, and injury prevention? Yes, please. Dance Longer, Dance Stronger was founded and entirely created by, budding entrepreneur, Claire Farmer. Farmer doesn’t seem to take ‘no’ for an answer, especially when it comes to improving the dance community. So much so, she’s just created an app called The Performers Health Hub, which is now available!
During and after obtaining her MSc Dance Science degree, Farmer seemed to quickly know in which direction she was headed. Her goal was (and is) to find ways that important and useful information is available to dancers, especially involving health-related issues as she clearly describes on her website.
Want to know more about Dance Science and how to get involved? This one is definitely for you. You can also check out a range of articles that Farmer’s arranged that include topics such as “Anxiety and the Dancer” and “Health Before Money”.

Lucy Panou, Best New Lifestyle Blog

best new dance health and fitness blogs

Lucy Panou is so matter-of-fact and to the point,  I can only imagine that girls around the world are feel like they finally relate and feel right at home with her insightful and plentiful posts. Clearly written and driven from personal experiences, Panou dons an MSc in Dance Science as well as a certification in Lifestyle Coaching.
Her background as a dancer and the experience she’s had with body image further proves that she’s hugely passionate about what she courageously brings to the surface. Her straight to point blog posts include topics such as “Why Perfectionism is a Pain in the Ass […] and “How to Conquer Resiliency“.
In addition, she currently has a free package called “Discover How to Love Yourself and Your Body”, which includes an ebook amongst other useful information, like how to ‘Stop Worrying About the Mirror’. Don’t just take my word for it, see what Lucy’s clients have to say by scrolling down to the bottom on her home page.
Want a self-esteem boost? Contact Panou directly for advice here.

She Smiles, Best New Food Blog

best new dance health and fitness blogs

If you love acquiring new ideas for food then you’ll fully appreciate this one. The blog was created by Italian native and now Londoner, Mara Cimatoribus, after she realized she wanted to live and eat healthier. Within first glance, you’ll be able to tell you’re in for dozens of treats. Cimatoribus’s recipes are original, innovative and fresh, and provides mostly vegan and plant-based recipes.
She’s begun a section that documents her travel experiences. Here, she shares ‘where to stay’ and, of course, ‘where and what to eat’. Her photos are stunning and will no doubt will inspire you to visit said places and eat all of the food! So far, she’s documented her stays in Marrakech, Puglia, and Albuquerque. Stay tuned for more.
Cimatoribus also usefully puts together a range of suggestions for beauty, wellness, kitchen products, books and more (here’s an example). Once you’ve opened the menu on the homepage, scroll down and click on ‘Shop’ to explore.

Enjoy!

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being Tips

A Journey Back to Dance #6: Dealing with Old and New Injuries

July 31, 2016
journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries

(Above: Teaching a GYROKINESIS® class via Video Chat to help dancer, Valeria Caboi, recover from an old hip injury.)

Often times dancers have to deal with either old and/or new injuries, especially when returning to training and performance.

Even when we train, retrain, and cross train to prevent and reduce injury old or even new injuries could flare up when the body is doing something . New injuries can be caused by overexertion, fatigue, or accidents like falling or tripping. So how should a dancer cope when getting back to dance, movement, and performance?

 Here’s some basic advice that every dancer should know and implement.

journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries

An example of Kinesis-Taping given by an Osteopath to ensure proper healing and support.

1) Deal with the injury.

  • Rest, ice, compress, and elevate (RICE) the injury area if needed. In addition, the UK’s NHS website notes ‘Protection’ as the first protocol (PRICE), which means to protect the injuries area from further harm.
  • Whether it’s a new or recurrent injury, book an appointment with an Osteopath, Physiotherapist, or with a  Doctor to ensure nothing is torn or fractured and to determine whether it is an acute or chronic injury.

2) Listen to your body.

  • Avoid ‘pushing through’ and continue resting and any recommended treatment, especially if the injured area is still sensitive.
  • Know your limits. Consider taking only the first half of a class to protect the injured area and to ensure the injured area has healed properly.
  • Don’t be ashamed to let teachers know. Although we aim to avoid injuries when at all possible, dealing with an injury properly is just as important.

3) Slowly get back in the game.

  • Focus on proper alignment, beginning and finishing movements correctly, and using true range of motion (i.e. turnout).
  • Know what areas to strengthen and stretch and continue recommended exercises given by therapist or doctor if necessary.
  • Stay aware of what may have initially caused the injury to help prevent and reduce re-injury.

journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries


Want to try something new to ease any pain or discomfort within your dancing?
Check out my GYROTONIC® Case Study Recruitment for discount sessions.

Healing Sources

Lazy Dancer Tips by Alessia Lugoboni

Technique Class Participation Options for Injured Dancers

RNOH NHS: Centre for Dance Medicine (UK)

Osteopathy & Massage Clinic (UK)

Harkness Centre for Dance Medicine (US)

Perspectives on Dance Injury

Dance the Gyrotonic Method Tips

Take Home Tips #1: For Dancers

March 1, 2016
journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

Here are a few tips my dance clients receive during and after a GYROTONIC® class that I would like to share.

These tips are essentially all taught during a dance class, however, private and semi-private training allows an individual to focus on the areas that need more improvement to provide even more depth and clarity.

Private or small group training also allows the individual to understand their own body and in their own time. Although these tips and suggestions are a few out of many, it provides an idea of what goes on in a GYROTONIC® class and how it can be beneficial to further improve dance performance.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Maintain a Neutral Pelvis

Often times dancers (well, anyone) tend to have either posterior or anterior tilt in the pelvis, in which they also tend to use during movement. While moving in this way may appear successful, problems and injuries that may occur (i.e. stiff hips and back) is, of course, not very useful to maintain longevity.
A dancer can avoid this common mistake by maintaining a neutral pelvis, especially while standing. This connection can help provide the dancer a great way to practice and ‘preparation’ (the moment before you begin to move).
An example of a pelvis that’s not in neutral is when a dancer is ‘tucking’ or arching in the lower back. So when this happens, when the working leg comes back into a position, the rotation muscles aren’t able to engage properly. When this leg movement is done properly with a neutral pelvis this means that the inner thighs and abdominals get the chance to work.
Therefore, I encourage dancers to practice maintaining a neutral pelvis (and spine) before a class/performance by either doing homework given from the sessions or a few tendus and pliés with the same principle.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Rotate the Whole Leg

Another common sight in dancers is over rotation, of the foot in relation to the rest of the leg. While this may be aesthetically pleasing, this often means that true rotation is not being used. This is especially important in plies and tendus.
Using rotation the of the whole leg is will also help avoid injuries such as knee and ankle problems. In the Gyrotonic hamstring exercises, clients are able to work on proper rotation (both internal and external) lying down which reduces pressure in the spine and allows more freedom in the hip. This way, the body can be more prepared when standing.
During the hamstring exercises, it is reiterated to use energy through the entire leg to rotate from the hip, where the foot and toes will follow. Maintaining this connection will help to engage the appropriate muscles and therefore improve turn out.
I advise my clients to take time before class, especially those with hips problems/ pain, to warm up the turn out muscles by practicing the corrections and homework exercises learned from our sessions. This way the dancer can notice when old habits come back or when the pelvis tends to move unnecessarily as mentioned above.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Shoulders Wide Not Just Down

Dance requires a lot of upper body movement thus, it can be easy to overuse the muscles that surround the shoulder girdle as well as the muscles that are used for rotation.  The aim is to engage the appropriate muscles to support the back especially within movement. Instead reach the shoulders wide not just down. This way, when the arms are moving, the back is engaged and the arms can move more freely.
In addition, a common theme in the Gyrotonic Method are arm movements that lead with the elbow while maintaining a long bend (often the same for leg movements as well), which is very useful for the use of port de bras.
Leading with the back of the arm while maintaining a long bend in the elbow can further aid in the correct use of the shoulder girdle and rotation in the arm. The wider the shoulders, the longer the line, and the more efficient the arms will be when passing through positions quickly (like this amazing example).

take home tips #1: for dancers

Rib Cage Connection

Due to dancers usually being flexible or hyperflexible, I often see a few common alignment deviations. One of them being a lack of rib cage connection standing, sitting, and in movement. Finding and maintaining this connection helps to support the back and maintain balance.
The ‘back support’ that the ribcage connection provides is also important for use of the back of the leg. However, feeling this is a dance class is difficult of course, therefore I often instruct my clients to actually relax the ribs and lengthen the back of the body to then move.
Being too far forward or backward throws the body out of alignment, which makes it difficult to stand, use the legs, and turn. Use the connection of the ribcage as an aid to stand taller, feel the legs, and become aware the the ‘back body’.
Gyrotonic exercises emphasize maintaining a ribcage connection in all planes of movement (i.e. lying down, sitting, standing, rotation). Breathing also helps to find less tension, the proper amount of engagement, length, and expansion.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Not Everything is a Stretch

It can be difficult to resist the temptation to use a pilè or cambré forward as an opportunity to stretch maximally during the beginning of a class, for instance. Warming up allows the body to engage and maintain stability throughout the rest of the class (while reducing the change for injury).
Exercises taught in the beginning of class may require the dancer to already be warm. Otherwise, use the beginning of class as an opportunity to warm up. Additionally, obtaining a ‘long line’ in the body requires both proper alignment and strength to achieve an appropriate range of motion.
The Gyrotonic Method focuses heavily on drawing energy internally to create external movement to then provide the desired length and/or stretch. Thus it’s important not to focus solely on the aesthetic of the movement.

take home tips #1: for dancers

Stay with the Tempo

Timing is often crucial as it helps to make a dancer more musical. This, in turn, can help the dancer fire necessary muscles needed, which allows the dancer to overcome bad habits. Knowing how to stay with the tempo when learning a movement or phrase can further improve personal interpretation of musicality, coordination, and expression.
What makes the Gyrotonic method different from other forms of exercise is how it helps to create long, full movements with different qualities and playful rhythms. Within a Gyrotonic class, different tempos and rhythms are also specifically used to help increase awareness and strength (just liked dance).
It’s important to remember that movement can involve different qualities, textures, and phrasing. Within a Gyrotonic session, clients are allowed to first learn the movement properly while gradually adding the breathe and the rhythm. If movement proves to become difficult to keep up, I ask my clients to ‘check in’ to see what connections/engagements may have been lost.

Taking class and practicing movement is a time for an individual to become more knowledgeable and attuned with the body. Take time to ‘check in’ with what your body needs and how you need to achieve it.

Happy dancing!
xo

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!