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strength

General Fitness and Well–Being

The Importance of Stretching Correctly

January 22, 2018
the importance of stretching correctly

Most of us stretch when we wake up in the morning or when we feel stiffness in certain areas. However, we should make stretching a part of our daily routine.

Whether you’re an office worker, runner, or fitness enthusiast, here are a few reasons on why you should be stretching correctly.


the importance of stretching correctly

To Improve True Flexibility

Forced stretching leads to opposite effects of stretching. If you’re just beginning (or just really tight) and find the muscle(s) not wanting to release, first relax into it instead of forcing the stretch. Only go as far as you can.
Relax and release a little at a time with every exhale (passive stretching). This way you’ll work with you true stretch and see more of an improvement in your flexibility. In fact, there are many types of stretching, choose the one that will work for you.

To Avoid Overstretching

Reduce the chance of injury from overstretching. The main reason to stretch is not only lengthen the muscle but to create more space in your joints and ligaments so there is less impact and so the bones can rotate properly to maintain appropriate range of motion.
Take one day at a time, and be careful not to go beyond your limit. Each day will be different. Know the difference between when you’re pushing yourself safely and when you’re over doing it.

the importance of stretching correctly the movement blog kindall payne

To Release Deep Muscle Connections

When stretching is done correctly and frequently enough, those aches and pains in deeper muscular areas can finally begin to release. Why? This is because deep muscle connections are all intertwined with each other. The psoas muscle, which connects to the lower back and top of the hamstring) is fantastic example of why the body needs to move and stretch as an entire system.

To Stretch Right for Your Body Type

Every type of body is unique and every type of body will need slightly different stretching techniques. Pay attention to your range of motion each day and where soreness and tightness may lie. Being aware about what your body needs each day will set how you perform, exercise, cool down, and stretch. Listen to your body and stretch mindfully.

Want more tips? Read this:

Tips for Working at Home

Ways to Release Tension

Dance Short Stories the Gyrotonic Method

The Importance of Breathing & the GYROTONIC® Method by Lucia Vergnano (GUEST POST)

April 29, 2017
guest post: breathing again, lucia vergnano

 Lucia Vergnano is a Dancer with Aterballetto Dance Company, a Mother, and a GYROTONIC® Trainer based in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Vergnano now contributes to an blog called Mamma, Mi Racconti (Italian for Mom, Tell Me).

In this post, Vergnano shares her thoughts on breathing, the importance of oxygen, and how the GYROTONIC® Method helped her further understand this necessity.


BREATHING AGAIN by Lucia Vergnano

[Translated by Lucia Vergnano from ‘UNA MAMMA IN GYRO‘ (A mother in Gyro) – ‘Juggling family, dance, travels and the Gyrotonic Method’]

guest post: breathing again, lucia vergnano

Each of us as a child breathes, breathes well, without any constraints or problems. Then, with time, we forget. We get stuck. The mind begins to control our breathing unconsciously. We do not think it’s so important anymore.

What are the consequences? Aches, muscle pain, joint pain, stomach ache, headache to name a few… I am not saying it all depends on how we breathe, but it is certainly influential, and knowing how to breathe well could help to prevent these problems.

For example, musicians use instruments to make music, painters use brushes and colors and dancers use the body. The body and soul of the dancer are their tools and, as every tool must be treated with care, it should be cleaned, polished and pampered.

What better ingredient to feed your body than oxygenOxygenating  your blood, muscles and mind correctly means preventing contractions. It means learning to maintain a correct posture and dealing with stressful moments (which are plentiful!) in a more conscious way. 

In addition, the diaphragm is the muscle that has the main role in breathing, in which the Gyrotonic Method truly teaches how to make the diaphragm more elastic and, at the same time, stronger in order to control it voluntarily.

The Gyrotonic Method also teaches us that a certain type of breathing must be associated with each type of movement: a gentle and deep breath when movement is wide and slow; a more rhythmic one if the movement is fast and small; and a stronger and more intense one if the movement requires greater physical strength.

Improving my breathing has greatly helped to increase my physical strength, mobility and prevent injuries. I feel that Gyrotonic is a method that can really work for anyone, regardless of age or physical fitness. It is a method that helps people to breathe consciously to oxygenate both the body and mind.

After practicing the Gyrotonic method and its breathing techniques for years, it has definitely made a difference. Just couple of hours a week and you will see a change in your life, because knowing how to take a deep breath at the right moment can change your day. 


More About Lucia Vergana

guest post: breathing again, lucia vergnano

Lucia, 33, was born in Turin but moved to Florence to follow her dream to become a ballerina. And she did. In the last 15 years Vergnano has been working as a professional dancer, first with Balletto di Roma in Rome, then with Aterballetto in Reggio Emilia.

However, while dancing in Rome, Vergnano became injured but was fortunately introduced to the Gyrotonic Method. From that moment on, she realized that she didn’t want to be without this method, so pursued to becoming an instructor.

She has been married to Hektor, who is also a dancer, for 3 years. They met in Rome in 2000 and after a difficult start they decided to try to build a life together. A little more than 2 years ago she became a Mother to Lorenzo, which is her “greatest pride and joy.”


Follow Lucia Vergnano here:

Mamma, Mi Raconnti

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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

A Journey Back to Dance #3: Preparation

February 16, 2016
journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

It’s important to adhere both mental and physical preparation especially when returning back to dance and performing.

There are quite a few ways to mentally and physically prepare for a journey back to dance. Whether you’ve taken a year or a week off, your body and mind will need the upmost care (and respect). Some key elements involve cross-training, ‘letting go’, and knowing when to rest. Know why these are important and how to achieve them.

journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

Practicing the GYROKINESIS® Method with friend and dancer, Brittanie Brown.

Cross-Train

My current schedule, other than dance, consists of GYROTONIC®/GYROKINESIS® (of course), yoga, pilates, running, and strength/circuit training. I’m a huge fan cross-training because it keeps my schedule interesting and I can feel improvement more rapidly. There are also a number of studies that prove a dancer’s schedule should include specific and complimentary training.

Thankfully ‘cross-training’ has become more popular within the dance community (thank you, Misty and others) as it was previously feared that a dancer would become ‘too bulky’ or ‘too tight’. Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a balanced workout could actually help avoid over tightening, over stretching, and, most importantly, injury.

Why is this important?

A number of studies have recommended other training regimes to supplement dance training. Cross-training helps to reduce tiredness and improve muscular endurance. Fatigue contributes 90% of injury and ‘overuse’ cases therefore, cross-training can help to reduce this risk. In turn, it could also help with enhancing power and stamina needed for unpredictable phrasing/choreography.

Ballet Master, Dominic Antonucci, states that, “boxing improved my strength and stamina, but also provided psychological advantages […] by working on something else physical in my free time, I could return to ballet with mental vigour”. Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer, Jamie Bond, also states that, “[…] training with specific goals in mind is key in preventing muscles from ‘bulking up'”.

How to do it:

Keep it low cost and convenient. Look for deals and reasonable class packs near where you live and/or work or use site like Class Pass. Teachers or Trainers could ‘swap’ sessions with each other or take turns leading a class.

Use a fitness app. My favorite go to: The Nike Training Club App. There are many free apps out there.

Create a ‘buddy’ system. Create a group where you and your friends can schedule days to go to the gym or class together, like WhatsApp.

Choose something that you enjoy. Once you begin to enjoy a new activity or class, make it a part of your routine. However, if this new activity or class is proving to become detrimental, it’s important to know when to stop.

journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

Video Still from Valeria Caboi‘s Red T-Shirt Video Project, where I was free to forget what I knew about technique and just move.

‘Let Go’ When You Can

At the end of the day we’re just practising […] I don’t really worry about what happened before because I think that can really restrain you. I just try to be really present, to be true to what I’m thinking and working on at that moment, and hope that that resonates with other people.

Wayne McGregor

Why is this important?

Letting go of preconceived notions is a tough task as our brain mainly works around things we’ve seen or done before. It helps you to move forward, progress, and enjoy new information. In addition, obtain weekly, daily, and hourly goals, but be prepared for these goals to change. What you’ve done last year, yesterday, or five minutes ago will be completely different from you need to do ‘now’. This is also a great tool for creativity.

How to do it:

This can be done on your own time whether you’re practicing or performing. Each class, rehearsal, and/or performance can be a new opportunity to approach movement differently. Learn from what you’ve done before but also make room to focus on something different and to create something new. This may also mean to push beyond your limits with reasonable risks. “It’s not what you’re doing, it’s how you’re doing it […] have a real experience (Alonzo King)”.

journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

This is when I finally took advantage of a cheap flight deal from London to Lisbon, Portugal. Worth it, in every way.

Rest

Why is this important?

Don’t be afraid to take a day or two off, or a well-deserved vacation. There are many benefits of rest. One of the most important reasons for rest for a dancer is avoiding burnout. Constructive rest is also beneficial  as this practice helps to restore balance in the body (and can take up to as little as 2-5 minutes). This is also great for when you may be feeling overwhelmed or overworked during the day.

How to do it:

Sleep Well
Can’t fall asleep? Clear your mind with apps like Headspace that can provide an effective way to meditate, relax, and reduce stress.

Nourish Yourself 

Eating good, healthy food is another great way to replenish the body and provide relaxation (why, hello dark chocolate).

Go to the Spa
Yes, and get a massage if you can.

Practice at Home
Take it easy with self-massage techniques such as foam and ball rolling, or yoga or Gyrokinesis practice with a guided video.


Read up:

Try Something New for 30 Days

Fitness & Strength FAQ’s – Dance UK

Cross-Training and Injury Prevention – Gaynor Minden

Importance of Dance Fitness – IADMS

Rest for Dancers- Dr. Glenna Batson

Top Dancers Who Cross-Train

Alonzo King on Art, Discovery, and Creativity

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!