Sunday, January 24, 2016

I thought this would be helpful to many clients.  As instructors, we hear, "Am I in neutral?" or "Is this neutral?".  A few tips to help out.

Thank you to Karyn Staples for allowing us to share her knowledge.

How To Find Neutral Spine


How to find your neutral spine aka “the optimal alignment for your body”:

  • Lie on your back, feet in parallel and about 2-3 inches apart, knees bent. Relax your shoulders and with your next exhale, feel your tummy tone. Keeping your abdomen as firm as possible, maintain a small space between your low back and the mat.

  • Draw your ribs down. Think of drawing your ribs away from your clothing.

  • Challenge yourself and your ability to stay organized by lifting your arms towards the ceiling. As they lift, keep the tone in your abdomen and your ribs connected.

  • If you feel your back arching and ribs flaring, you’ve reached your end range of motion. Practice moving maintaining your neutral spine to build up strength and improve your posture!


About the author

I am a physical therapist, Polestar Pilates educator, wife, mom of 2, world traveler, business owner, and researcher. Helping people move better is my passion and Pilates is the way to make it happen!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Happy New Year!!

One of our instructors posted the following on her Facebook page. 

In light of the New Year, I've had some thoughts on my mind I wanted to share. I do believe in new beginnings, fresh starts. I do however get troubled by what I hear and see at the start of a new year. Being in the business I'm in, I feel like I should tell you my feelings on being "healthy".
As many of you know, I have lost both of my parents. My Father died from Alzheimer's and my Mother died from Dementia, kidney disease and heart disease. They were 68 and 71. Frankly, I got scared. I started to imagine what I wanted the rest of my life to look like, but based my my family history it didn't look to promising. At the time of my Mom's passing my husband Troy was on medication for high blood pressure and he pretty much felt like crap. I had also had a bout with high blood pressure myself brought on by anxiety. Things had to change.
I started practicing yoga. Life changing at the time. Not only did it teach me about the importance of meditation, I heard something that I will never forget. HONOR YOUR BODY. I now had a new perspective and one that needed to be shared.
How does one "HONOR THEIR BODY"?

Nourishing your mind, body and spirit. So, I decided to start teaching Pilates again. I started learning about disease prevention through whole foods. That's when I was introduced to Juice Plus. Life changing for me as well. The power of fruits and vegetables. Simple and it made sense for my family.
Food is powerful. Food is beautiful. Food is healing.
We as a society are so hyper focused on our outsides, that we forget about our insides! Especially this time of year. What if we made changes for our bones, joints, muscles, organs, our minds and our spirits.
My word for 2016 is NOURISHMENT. I will nourish my body with food, ALL KINDS, but especially with more fruits and veggies. I will nourish my mind through learning, cooking, and meditation. And I will nourish my spirit by trusting God's plan for me and by using the power of prayer to lift others up.
I have been so blessed in my life. I have an amazing family, I have wonderful friends and most of all I am a child of God. May God bless you in 2016 and may you find nourishment. xoxo

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Yummy soup to try now that the weather has gotten cold... healthy too!

After having seasonably warm weather on Christmas day, it is finally feeling like winter.... 18 degrees when I woke up the other morning.  Here is a perfect recipe to try on those cold nights.  I also love that it can be frozen for a future dinner.

Autumn Vegetable Soup

Serves 6-8 as a starter; 4 as main course

2T olive oil
3 medium carrots, medium dice
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2C 1/2 inch cubed and peeled butternut squash ~half a 2# squash
1/4 t ground allspice
pinch cayenne pepper or more to taste
kosher salt
1 Quart low salt chicken broth *I use veggie broth*
1 14.5 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 C lightly packed, coarsely chopped kale *I sometimes sub with spinach*
1 C low salt canned chickpeas

Heat the oil over med-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. more.  

Add the squash, allspice, cayenne and 1 t salt and stir to combine.  Add 
the broth, tomatoes with their juice and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the kale and chickpeas and cook uncovered unitl the squash is tender and the kale has wilted, about 10 minutes more.  Discard the thyme sprigs before  serving.  Season to taste with s/p and more cayenne.

Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze for 2 months.

From Fine Cooking Recipes, Sept. 2009