Master Trainer Domini Anne from Carmel, California. She is an avid mover and maker within the movement community who is constantly delving deep into GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods as well as various styles of yoga, movement and fitness.
I first met Domini in San Francisco many moons ago at S.F. GYROTONIC® where she also sold her own clothing line. It was exciting to catch up to see what else she’s been doing within her movement explorations like: Galileo Training, Yoga Trapeze, and Aerial Yoga.
I was definitely able to understand why she wanted to talk about the usefulness of knowing how to connect yoga and fitness with the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods and why we should continue to showcase their importances both in person and online.
Yoga & the Gyrotonic Method are supportive, [therefore] they are two logical crossovers. So how can we integrate [the Gyrotonic] system to people who are curious about movement?
Follow Domini’s Work
Common questions I hear, “What’s the GYROKINESIS® Method?” “Is it like yoga or Pilates?” Sometimes it seems to difficult to explain, but perhaps it shouldn’t. The ultimate aim is to understand the body, move and enjoy.
This method was originally created as an injury prevention method for dancers, however it became widely used for general alignment and movement enhancement for many walks of life.
“There are numerous benefits to mixing up your workout routine. It’s the key to stimulating different muscle groups and preventing boredom (Arnold Lee, MD).
5 Ways the GYROKINESIS® Method Can Enhance Your Yoga Practice:
1) It can give you a different sense of awareness to the body’s makeup.
Our body isn’t linear and is hardly symmetrical. The Gyrokinesis method emphasizes on a whole body connection and, in particular, the spiral lines. This way the mover can understand that the whole body needs to be involved in both movements small and large as our muscles, ligaments, and bones are connected in many ways – mostly in diagonals and spirals.
Also, the self-massage component of this method gives the mover an opportunity to draw attention to areas we tend to avoid or didn’t even know existed. We tend to forget our organs, what effect our muscular body can have on them, and the places in between. By turning our attention to these areas, the mover is able to awaken ‘dormant’ areas.
©️ Capital Gyrotonic
2) It can help you understand the painful/injured parts of your body.
Instead of working through the pain or avoiding movement altogether, this method helps the mover to avoid unhealthy habitual patterns in the body, which may have caused the pain/injury in the first place. Therefore, this method focuses on creating space in the joints before movement occurs to give the body a chance to find pain-free movement and appropriate range.
3) It can give you insight to the ‘internal body’.
The internal body (like in Tai Chi modalities) can refer to the micro-movements that can occur before movements become come into fruition. Gyrokinesis principles like ‘narrowing the pelvis’, ‘suppling’, and the ‘fifth line’ are queues for the internal body to ignite and guide the rest of the body for fuller, more expressive movements.
4) It can help you reach a fuller movement potential.
Optimal range of movement is crucial to maintain healthy muscles and joints. The Gyrokinesis Method explores all ranges of movement so that over time the body is strong, supple. Therefore, within a Gyrokinesis class the mover is challenged to work on weak, or ‘blind spots’ to enhance overall movement. Without this the mover could have the tendency to only move a certain way, leaving portions of the body behind on movement development.
5) It gently opens areas usually avoided.
You will honestly open areas of the body like never before that don’t get enough attention. As previously mentioned, Gyrokinesis’ unique movement method involving circular and spiralling movements tap into the areas in between our normal range of motion. Therefore, the mover will be able to find an even better, longer-lasting muscular and neuromuscular connection within their movements.
Want to try a GYROKINESIS® class?
Find me at Little Yoga Space Lisboa
Try the Gyrotonic.com’s Studio Finder
Daniel N. is the “Fitness Crab“, a Toronto-based fitness coach and yoga instructor. He’s been helping his clients improve their health and set up their home gyms for over a decade with incorporating the BOSU Ball.
Daniel believes that BOSU balance trainers are a must for any home gym as they are the perfect warm up exercise, and a great low impact cardio workout. He also teaches people how to achieve ideal form with bodyweight exercise as well as machines like rowers and climbers. Read Daniel’s explanation and workout plan on the Bosu Ball.
Enjoy your workout!
How to Use a BOSU Ball to Strengthen Your Core Muscles
A BOSU ball does not look much like a piece of fitness equipment but it is a multipurpose physical fitness tool. It is great for core strengthening since it forces you to enhance your balance and stability. However, if you are beginner, you might want to do these exercises without a ball first. This way you will get a feel of the movements.
What is a BOSU Ball?
A BOSU ball looks like the bottom third or fourth of a large round ball. It can be used in a number of physical fitness movements with either the flat side or rounded side facing up. That is why it is called BOSU meaning “both sides up.”
What is the Core?
The main area of the core is made up of rectus abdominis, inner and external oblique, erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings. The main role of your core muscles is to keep you stable. Therefore, whenever you have to compensate for stability, your body is working the core. So whichever way you use the BOSU ball (with the dome part or flat surface facing up), it offers a very unstable platform. This makes your core muscle into continuous compensation.
Reasons Why Working the Core is Essential
If you fail to work your core you might:
Experience lower back pain
Have bad balance
(rounded shoulders, excessive lower spine curvature or external foot rotation)
Weak glutes can cause your femurs to rotate outward. This effect moves to the feet and does the same thing. This is the reason for duck-feet.
A strong core keeps your back erect when sitting and standing.
The core muscles also help to remain upright for long when riding a bike. For example, when riding a bike up a hill, you will struggle miserably when your core is weak and experience lack of stability. This is because you need power to push hard as you climb the hill.
Moreover, power is important when performing martial arts, playing sports like basketball and football where you need to make hits, fend off opponents, and maintain stability at all times.
Exercises to Perform with a BOSU Ball
I am sure you already know how to do a pushup. So rather than placing your palms face down on a flat surface, you will grab either side of the BOSU ball, with the curved side on the floor. As you push up the same way you do your conventional pushups, your stability will be greatly tested. Several parts of your body will be receiving a workout at the same time. These include your arms, your lower back, your abs, and other core muscle groups. Carry out sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.
Arm and Leg Raise
Place your BOSU ball with the flat surface facing downwards. Sit down in front of it, and gradually lean back. The BOSU ball should support your lower back. Gaze at a place high above you and at the same time lift your right leg and left arm. Keep both your arm and leg straight and bring them together if you can. Do 5 to 10 reps, then lift your left leg and right arm and do the same.
Position the BOSU ball with the round side down and step on it. You will instantly feel your core compensating in order to give you stability. While at this position you can carry out toe raises, squats, and barbell curls.
With the flat side up, grip the sides of the BOSU ball, and hold a plank with your arms extended. Take your left knee to your right elbow and draw it up all the way. Go back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds. Do the same with your right knee.
Side Plank Hip Drop
With the flat side down, do a side plank on your right side by balancing on your elbow. Your shoulder and elbow should be lined up. Stack your legs together and push your hip high up. Drop your hip and return to the starting plank. Do this for 30 seconds on both sides.
With the curved side up, sit low on the BOSU ball. Hold a 3 to 10 pound dumbbell in both hands and extend your arms behind your head. Without arching your back, keep your core tight and pull your belly button to your spine. Crunch up like you are reaching for the ceiling while maintaining your arms in a straight position. Return gradually, extending your arms backwards every time you come back down. You will feel your abs shake on the rear side which is a good sign. Do this 25 times.
– Written by Daniel N., Certified Trainer, Yoga Instructor, and Health Coach
Phone : 647-905-0942 (Toronto, Canada)
Previous Guest Posts
Breathing and the GYROTONIC® Method by Lucia Vergnano
Benefits of Yoga on Anxiety and Depression by The Klinik Blog
Last weekend I attended a very informative Yoga workshop with Beta Lisboa at Little Yoga Space in Lisbon, Portugal. Beta focuses on releasing first the joints and then the fascia to help with emotional and physical trauma.
I was in major need of this workshop because of the amount of travelling I’ve done over the last 6 months. My ankles, calves, and hips in particular were stiff, which began to have an affect on my dancing and teaching physically and emotionally. This workshop also featured an all-time personal favorite: the tennis ball.
Born and raised in Brazil, Beta was a Sports and Capoeira practitioner who later took up Ashtanga Yoga and Sports massage. As she continued to delve into the Yoga world she was also introduced to Yin Yoga and Spiral Yoga from Simon Low and Sarah Powers.
Beta also teaches and practices Myofascial Release, Mindfulness Meditation, Wellness Life Coaching, Dynamic Spiral Yoga, and Vital Essence Breathwork. You can learn more about these techniques on Beta’s website.
What is Yin Yoga?
According to Yoga Journal–
This practice is designed to help you sit longer, and more comfortably, in meditation by stretching connective tissue around the joints (mainly the knees, pelvis, sacrum, and spine). A passive practice, Yin Yoga involves variations of seated and supine poses typically held for 3 to 5 minutes, accessing deeper layers of fascia.
What is Fascia?
According to Lauren Roxburgh–
Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that encases your body under your skin like a wetsuit and actually wraps itself around every muscle, joint, and organ.
What is Yin Fascial Yoga?
According to Beta–
Yin Fascial Yoga combines Yin Yoga with integrative Daoist Yoga in longer held postures with slower movements into the fascia opening up the body meridian system. Blending with Myofascial Release to target connective tissues, supportive structures, called fascia. Incorporating Mindfulness as a powerful tool for awareness in your practice.
About the Workshop
We began the workshop by introducing ourselves and stated why were were interested in taking the workshop in the first place. Answers varied from finding an overall physical release; to combat emotional trauma; to having a general interest in the science behind Yin Yoga and fascia. I, on the other hand, fell right in between these reasons.
“The body knows it’s way home”, Beta explains. We all stood up. Second order of work was to release the joints before we started releasing the fascia. Exercises consisted of rolling the ankle joints, hip/pelvis mobility, and some basic yoga postures standing and on-all fours. Movements were kept soft, almost in a restorative manner.
Next, we begin to release the fascia, starting with the bottom of the foot (plantar fascia). Using one of the tennis balls, we carefully transferred our weight back and forth, massing the bottom of the foot in as many directions as possible. Then we targeted just the middle of the foot (close to the base of the toe joints), to focus on the connection to our organs, like in Reflexology.
We then continue upward along the body interchanging with spiralling movements and stretching, standing and on the mat. This helped the body to maintain its openness and avoid shutting back down into postural habits. My favorite anterior points of release were the psoas and the space right underneath the ribcage using 2 tennis balls. Good for releasing the posterior chain.
A favorite release point in the posterior portion began from the base of the spine, gradually rolling towards the upper back with 2 tennis balls, which proved to be a neglected part of the spine from sitting and being confined on a plane and bus. In fact, these release points have already been added to my daily routines.
Finishing with a few supported bridges and Shavasana, we gradually realigned the body back to where it needed to be. The body tends to release in a chain reaction, especially when dealing with Myofascial Release, the tissues and muscles “spontaneously unwind”. I walked out of the workshop feeling less congested in the joints, aligned, happier and generally more awake.
Follow Beta for Upcoming Classes and Workshops
We are back from our hiatus and are winding down in Lisbon, Portugal for a different change of pace. I’m excited to announce that I will begin teaching the GYROKINESIS® method at the ever-so charming Little Yoga Space in Baixa-Chiado from October 2017. Stay tuned for more details. However, if you’re looking for GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® classes in London feel free to contact me, look at our recommended studios, or check out gyrotonic.com.
Rob and I have missed you all dearly! In the last 6 months, we’ve explored Southeast Asia, got married, and trekked through South America. Therefore to really enjoy our experience, we wanted to take a break from technology. We then spent a lot of our time on buses and trains discussing what 2017/2018 will look like for The Movement Blog. We’ve even experimented with Podcast audio to use for interviewing trainers, dancers, etc. Stay tuned for the launch of The Movement Pod.
Moreover, we have the following lined up:
An interview with Yolanda Corrales, a Gyrotonic Trainer, dancer and actress from Madrid, Spain who is now based in California
A second interview with Nonie Yung, a Specialized Master GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Trainer, Pilates Instructor, and dancer from and based in Hong Kong
Surveys for Dancers – an International Dance census by Rob Jackson
Why the GYROKINESIS® Method and Yoga Can Go Hand in Hand
Spotlight on our recommended studio: Kings Cross Studios, London
Inside: My GYROKINESIS® Certification in Münstertal, Germany
Don’t forget to subscribe to The Movement Blog for updates!
We look forward to catching up,
Kindall & Rob
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!
Home to San Francisco Ballet, LINES Ballet, Smuin Ballet, ODC 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
Gyrotonic & Gyrokinesis Studios
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
Gyrotonic / Gyrokinesis / Reformer Pilates
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
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
Exercise & Nature
Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, Mount Seymour
Local Day and Nighttime Ski Slopes
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The Benefits of Yoga on Anxiety and Depression
A guest post by The Klinik.
The ancient disciplines of Yoga have been around for centuries and are well known for offering holistic benefits to both mind and body. But when the mind particularly is overwhelmed and struggling with clinical issues such as anxiety and depression, yoga can offer extended benefits.
Exercise benefits everybody
There is a basic school of thought, based on research, which acknowledges that most forms of exercise, including yoga, can boost mental health as exercising releases endorphins, hormones responsible for that ‘feel good’ factor generally experienced at the end of a workout.
However, as reported in The Telegraph, research has shown that the levels of GABA, an amino acid which supports brain and central nervous system function, also increases in individuals who practice yoga. With low levels of GABA acknowledged as contributing towards low mood and anxiety, these increased levels of GABA following practice of yoga additionally promote well-being and calm, as well as reducing depression and anxiety.
Calming stress response
In the modern world, the intrinsic ‘fight or flight’ stress responses which kept our hunting and gathering ancestors alive are still very much present. These genetic responses are susceptible to many triggers in the modern world, such as physical and mental stress of the workplace and pressure in other areas of life, such as responsibility, finance and lifestyle. Essentially, the practice of yoga stimulates opposing responses to that ‘fight or flight’ reaction, triggering instead the parasympathetic nervous system to a ‘rest and digest’ response, which literally calms the stress responses and brings balance in the face of pressure.
But as well as the hormonal relief to stress responses, the ancient meditative, relaxation and breathing techniques which are a fundamental part of yoga practice align with modern Cognitive Behaviour Training (CBT) and stress-management techniques, regularly offered as contemporary treatment for anxiety and depression. By learning the appropriate relaxation techniques as part of a yoga class or private tuition, individuals have a wider range of methods to use when stressful situations arise. These holistic benefits of yoga also make it the ideal exercise to prepare for or wind down from the day, in a way which is protective of well-being and can even be preventative against problems.
Breathing control, one of the basic techniques of yoga, can help to reduce stress in difficult situations and offer relief during episodes of anxiety attacks. Mastery of breathing techniques, even at an early stage of participating in yoga, is frequently advocated as helping to relieve stress and anxiety. The breathing techniques used throughout the disciplines of yoga include many cyclical breathing patterns, including slow, focused breathing which calms symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Other yoga breathing techniques include controlled rapid breathing for stimulation, which can also benefit depression by lifting mood, whilst focused breathing can also significantly benefit pain relief, lifting mood and increasing feelings of wellness as pain reduces to manageable levels.
Stress versus spirit
The breathing and relaxation techniques which underpin yoga practice also offer an opportunity to explore and develop a spiritual outlet. Focusing the mind elsewhere can reduce a sense of overwhelm which is often attendant with anxiety and depression, instead offering an alternative way to shift the focus from negative and overwhelming thoughts.
Body and mind
The physical benefits of yoga also play a part in reducing depression and anxiety. Many individuals carry stress and anxiety as tension in the body, which can cause pain and contribute to long-term health conditions. The regular practice of yoga can help to reduce tension hot-spots in the body and relieve the effects of the additional stress this puts on the mind and body.
Additionally, yoga has recognised benefits of offering significant relief to many ailments such as respiratory complaints, digestive difficulties, circulatory problems and Arthritis. The benefits of yoga as a natural form of pain relief to physical ailments can also reduce anxiety and relieve some of the stress and depression related to living with a chronic health complaint.
In this way, yoga may also help to reduce anxiety and depression related to health conditions by improving body awareness. Practising yoga reduces mental and physical stress, reducing strain on the body and improving understanding of how the body works and responds, techniques which, once learned, individuals can use to control responses and calm anxieties.
Although holding a yoga pose may appear to just involve the body, there is both a physical and mental response to each yoga pose (Asansa). To carry out the asansa, correct breathing and relaxation techniques are required throughout, all of which require concentration and a physical response from the brain which sees a reduction in nerve chemicals, such as the stress hormone adrenaline, and relaxes the body’s other stress responses such as heart rate and blood pressure. As each pose targets a different system in the body, all systems respond with a stress reduction.
As such, regular yoga practice can also benefit heart rate and blood pressure, both of which relate closely to those ‘fight or flight’ responses and usually increase significantly during stressful situations. Regulating these with those ‘rest and digest’ triggers can help the body to respond to stress more effectively and help to minimise the impact of anxiety on the body.
The group factor
Finally, it’s also suggested that taking part in an exercise class such as Yoga can also be beneficial to mental health and in warding off depression. As reported by the BBC, following studies at Oxford University, exercising in a group can lead to an enhanced level of endorphin release, those ‘happiness’ hormones which can boost well-being.
Being part of a yoga group also challenges depression by offering a sense of community and belonging, particularly when participating as a group in a therapeutic exercise such as one of the many disciplines of yoga. Those disciplines such as Hatha, Anusara and Restorative Yoga, which use techniques for relaxation and meditation, are particularly beneficial for those looking for support with anxiety and depression.
Content provided by The Klinik.
Selected links researched added by The Klinik & The Movement Blog.
Want to write a guest post for The Movement Blog? Contact Kindall here for more information.
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.
Protect your ears, drown out chatter and outside noise, and get a good snooze.
Continue said snooze by drowning out that awful cabin light while refreshing the skin around the eyes (win/win).
Maintain proper sitting alignment by providing support for your neck to avoid awkward spinal positions.
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.
Gone are those days of high heels and your best threads. Embrace your favorite workout gear or oversized sweater.
Very helpful for nervous travellers or needing to fall asleep quickly to help adapt to a new time zone.
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
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’
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:
Safe travels & Happy Holidays! xo