Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More Restorative Fitness classes!

Remember when I was hit by a car a while back? The silver lining to that day was that I turned my research and continuing education to corrective and restorative exercise methods. And believe me, I explored a lot of them!

So, now I'm thrilled to share all that I've learned (and continue to learn) with you in my Restorative Fitness classes. That's not to say that I'm abandoning my outdoor fitness classes, or saying goodbye to Tabata. On the contrary! I love them all, and they all make our fitness routines complete. It's just that the Restorative Fitness methods make everything else--running, hula hooping, pilates, Tabata, hiking, desk work. . . well, life in general-- easier. Really, you need to experience if for yourself!
Here's what's on the schedule currently.

Restorative Fitness- Proactive Postural Restructuring Focus 

Thursdays at 5:45-6:30pm

Sign up here!

Restorative Fitness- Muscle Tension Release

Tuesdays 5:45pm-6:30pm
 Fridays at 8:30-9:30am

Sign up here!

Our bodies take on compensation patterns from past injuries, accidents, trauma, desk jobs and stress that result in what's called sensory motor amnesia. Our brains become unaware of what your muscles are doing and we are stuck in a painful loop of tension and muscle imbalances that make us ache.

In these classes I'll blend techniques that include and focus on
  • breathing
  • range of motion moves
  • Proactive Postural Restructuring
  • somatics
  • pilates
  • yoga
  • foam rolling (similar to the Melt Method)
  • qi gong
  • and more
Our bodies often take on compensation patterns from past injuries, accidents, trauma, desk jobs and stress that result in what's called sensory motor amnesia. Our brains become unaware of what our muscles are doing and we are stuck in a painful loop of tension and muscle imbalances that make us ache.

Intrigued? Then come learn to tune into your body's imbalances, turn off that chronic tension and feel relaxed and refreshed. It's truly amazing!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Great Special for Newbies!

-------------------- April Special-------------------
1 Private Session + 1 Month of Classes for $99!

Get a Jumpstart on your Fitness and Lifestyle Goals!
  • private training session to help you establish goals and design a weekly plan targeting your goals
  • enjoy all kinds of classes up to two per week for a month
  • get on track with lots accountability, motivation and sound guidance
  • meet friendly, supportive exercise buddies!
You really should take a look at my Specials Page to see all the details. Then email me to get started with that first session!

And feel free to spread this around the innerwebs. You know, on Facebook, email, smoke signals. Gracias!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If exercise is a pain you're doing it wrong

You know that old adage, "No pain, no gain"? Well, that's a bunch of crap. There's a world of difference between being sore a day or two after doing strenuous exercise and suffering through pain while working out. So, today I'd like to clarify a few things about the feedback your body gives you while exercising. Read on...

This is NOT what exercise should look like.
Pain is one kind of feedback that you can get during a workout. But despite popular belief, it's more like a red flag than a gold star. Pain is your body's way of helping you avoid injury. So, when you're exercising, think of pain as a Tweet from your brain telling your body to rethink what it's doing.

So, how do you exercise without pain? For some people, just getting cues about proper form (alignment and posture) can do the trick. For others, though, it takes stepping back and learning to function properly.

Past trauma, injuries, surgery and even desk work can affect how you function in everyday life and more so when you're exercising. It’s a domino effect — poor function leads to increasingly poorer form, which can lead to injury, which can set you back further from your goals.

One of the first things I tell my clients is: There's a difference between 'Oh!' and 'Ow!'

Oh! is when you connect your brain with your body and feel particular muscles doing their proper job while doing a particular exercise. For instance, when you do a push up (with good form) and feel your chest muscles engage to lower you and then push you up from the floor, that is an Oh! moment. Yes, this can be challenging. You might have a bit of soreness in your muscles later on, but no exercise should hurt while you're doing it.

An Ow! moment, then, is when an action feels painful, which usually means you are doing something incorrectly.

This is a hard point to sell to folks who really want to get in shape and just jump into the deep end of the pool before learning how to swim, so to speak. Too many people aren't functioning well to begin with. Then they hit the gym, load their muscles with weights and think, 'Well, exercise is supposed to hurt, so I must be doing it right!' WRONG.

So what can you do to function better? Well, let me tell ya!

  • Work with a trainer who does assessments—postural, strength, function, flexibility, etc.—to see what's going in your body.
  • Try restorative and corrective exercise methods. There are a lot of these out there, but some of the popular ones are Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Somatics and my Proactive Postural Restructuring courses
  • Work on your breathing patterns and pelvic floor. PT Julie Wiebe has a great webinar covering both of these and how they work together—well worth the money!
  • Slow down and tune in. This is a hard one in this crazy world, but some down time can help you reduce tension. 
  • Stop redoing what you're doing. If you've been doing the exact same exercise routine for years, change it up. Talk to me if you need suggestions.
Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Proactive Postural Restructuring Courses start first week of April!

I have new Proactive Postural Restructuring Level 1 Courses starting this month. This is in my "Beta mode" so this is a great time to sign up and learn at a reduced rate!
There is a morning and evening option. (Sorry, you must pick one series or the other, no mix and match)
  • Please note the dates. Both courses meet 6 times each. Evening classes meet on six consecutive Thursdays. The morning classes meet Tuesday and Thursday for two weeks and then the following Tuesdays for two weeks.
  • There is an option for two 30-minute private postural and altered muscle patterns assessments before and after the course (please contact me to schedule these.)
  • Handouts provided so you can practice during the course and long after it's over
Proactive Postural Restructuring Level 1 Course
Tuesdays and Thursday 9:45-10:30am
Tuesdays and Thursdays 4/1, 4/3, 4/8, 4/10 + Tuesdays 4/, 4/22 = 6 classes total
Course fee: $99 without assessments
or $149 with assessments
Register here!

Proactive Postural Restructuring Level 1 Course
Thursday 5:45-6:30pm
Thursdays March 27–May 1 = 6 classes total
Course fee: $99 without assessments
or $149 with assessments
Register here!

What exactly is Proactive Postural Restructuring? You can read more about it here. Short and sweet, it's a series of simple movements to reeducate and reorganize muscle patterning that bring better balance, ease and comfort to how we feel in our bodies. The exercises help to 
  • restore proper length and width to the back, releasing tension.
  • develop better awareness in your lower back, hips, and pelvis so we separate movement that occurs in the hip from movement that occurs in the spine.
  • restore proper strength and flexibility in the ankles and feet, so they are fully operational which improves our base of support and helps correct stance and gait patterns. 

Other Things to Consider
INTRO COURSES: I offer Intro PPR Workshops so people can "try it before they buy it", so to speak, but you can sign up without taking a prior intro course. It's good idea to sign up for my email announcements!  
IDEAL STUDENTS:  PPR is best suited for those who are proactive in their health and fitness journey. Proactive, meaning that one personally takes action instead of choosing just passive methods such as massage, chiropractic or surgery to release pain. Proactive methods often make the passive treatments that much more effective and speed up the process for recovery and rehab. The student has to tune into her/his body, perform the movements, be aware and practice. 
POSTURAL ASSESSMENTS: I offer pre and post assessments so people can be more aware of their body's alignment, which can help bring awareness to the exercises. It's not mandatory, but most folks find it helpful and eye opening.
RESULTS: Those who have tried it find it extremely helpful and gives quick results for many of them. Even after the first introduction they feel differences in their bodies, joints and muscles. They find that their hips and knees ache less and their feet feel warm and alive. They also recognize that it's not going to remedy everything in one class. It'll take regular practice. 

I'd love to share it with you! If you have questions please contact me

Monday, February 24, 2014

Proactive Postural Restructuring Update

Whoa! I'm so excited to share the latest on my Proactive Postural Restructuring training. I recently hosted a couple of PPR introductory workshops and I got a lot of positive and helpful feedback.

PPR is a somatic exercise method, designed to improve functionality in your a hips, knees, ankles and feet. Over time it can bring better alignment to your pelvis, so that misalignments below and above the pelvis can correct themselves.

As we practiced the moves I'd have the groups get up and walk around a bit. Give them time to feel how their bodies were responding.  To quote some of them, they said they felt taller, straightened out, aligned better, as if their feet were lighter and their ankles moved better. Some people with more pronounced biomechanical deviations--things like feet turned out or weak knees--found the moves challenging but recognized how the exercises could really help them. One person said her knees felt better after just the hour than when she originally walked in the door. Another person even emailed me to say she felt different emotionally the rest of the day. Which just goes to show how powerful somatics can be!

The students thought that this method would be better learned in a series of classes than in a drop in method and I agree. So stay tuned for those courses, coming in March!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No more Kegels!

Remember when I said that CrossFit did a terrible disservice to women (and men) in this video when they said that peeing while exercising is normal? Well, it's not. On the bright side, CrossFit brought a taboo topic for a lot of women out of the (water) closet. :-)

Lots of folks chimed in on the interwebs about how if you're wetting your pants while exercising (or sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc.), it's not a mark of kicking butt, but rather a malfunction of your pelvic floor, breathing patterns, diaphragm and out-of-whack intra-abdominal pressure.  Julie Wiebe, a physical therapist specializing in sports medicine and women's health, had a few thoughts, too, and wants to help.

Julie rocks! She's on a mission to help women with incontinence. This is not just a problem for little old ladies and new moms, either. It can even affect athletes like CrossFitnatics. A lot of women might not know there are treatment options to help with incontinence, or they are too embarrassed to seek help. Julie's so passionate about educating folks that she's produced a very thorough and easy-to-understand webinar to help you help yourself. Just so you know, this is not Kegels! Nope, it's so much more.

Just like when you squat to pick up a laundry basket or reach up to shove your carry-on into the overhead bin, your body should work in a fluid motion, with multiple muscles working together to make an action happen. So, why would we think that just tightening our pelvic floors is going to solve the problem? Julie says there's a team of muscles--your diaphragm, your pelvic floor, multifidus and transversus abdominis (TA)--working together like gears to keep your center stable but supple, so you can lift, jump and sneeze with dry panties. Here are a few things that might peak your interest:

  • First of all, your pelvic floor should not be constantly firing (tightening). It should flex and rebound like any other muscle group.
  • You should not be engaging (holding in) your abs constantly, but they should release and rebound with your breathing patterns. In other words, you could be overtraining your abs!
  • You need to learn what neutral spine is and what it feels like because your postural alignment plays a key role in your pelvic floor health.
  • If you tuck your bum and squeeze your gluteus maximus all the time, please stop! Your butt is not a stabilizer... but more on that later.
  • Your diaphragm and how you breathe affects your pelvic floor.
  • How you hold your rib cage affects your pelvic floor.
  • All of the above lays the foundation for better breathing and pelvic floor health and can help alleviate aches and pains not only "down there," but even in your back, shoulders, neck and jaw.

Once again, the fitness geek in me finds all of this fascinating! :-)

Like some of the restorative exercise methods I teach to my clients, Julie's exercises aren't particularly hard to do. But, they will challenge you to retrain your brain-body connection. This is neurological retraining, folks -- relearning how to function well for everyday life. But somewhere, somehow, we developed some bad habits that will take some time to break. The moves are simple, but not simplistic. And they will take time to reset the way you move, breathe and control your bladder. But you'll be glad you did.

You can buy Julie Wiebe's Pelvic Floor from Zero to Fitness Webinar on her website. For health and fitness professionals, check out Julie's professional bundle pack so you get the research to back up her methods.

I'll be sharing this information with private clients and in my small groups. Stay tuned!

PS This is by no means a substitute for medical care. Talk to your doctor if you have incontinence. But if she just suggests Kegels check Julie's webinar for more help.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

my fascination with fascia continues...

I while back I wrote about my Fascination with Fascia. So when I came across Brooke Thomas's article Why Fascia Matters and her more extensive ebook by the same title, the little fitness geek in me was so excited! Brooke does such an amazing job explaining all things fascia I just wanted to share it with you. You should read up on it. Go ahead, click a link. I'll wait for you.

OK, you're back. That fascia stuff is pretty cool, eh? Now you may wonder "So, why the obsession with fascia, the psoas and all these continuing education courses on restorative/corrective exercise methods, Kristin?" Well, in a nutshell it all started with my bike accident 2+ years ago. That's when I truly started focusing my studies on how the body and brain heal from trauma and soft tissue injuries.

Now, I figure I have to tell you where I'm coming from so I can explain why and how I'm working with clients as well as shifting my business in a new direction. So here goes...

While riding my bike on a sunny August morning in 2011 I was I was hit by a car. Prior to the accident I was fit, functional, had excellent range of motion (ROM) throughout my body, and could do any exercise I threw my students' way. I never got headaches, had no chronic aches and pains in my joints or muscles. Even right after the accident, I thought I was OK. But quickly things began to fall apart. The following day I could barely move my arms and my neck ROM went from Gumby to zombie. I was tired, confused and my speech and thoughts were garbled. But never being significantly injured in the past I figured this too shall pass. I had a doozie case of side-impact whiplash and the fact that I could barely move my neck side to side or move my chin towards my chest, that was my main source of pain and where I focused my attention. To play it safe, I pretty much stopped doing any exercising beyond walking. I had to give up private clients. My small groups were awesome because I could direct one of my established students to demo exercises for newbies.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up. Here's what happened at the scene of the accident: A driver had stopped and yielded right-of-way at an intersection on SE Division, but before I made it across the street, he accelerated and hit the rear side my bike. Initially I thought I had just been been turned 45 degrees and knocked over, but realized later that I had actually been shoved down the road several feet. I didn't think I had hit my head, but I probably did, because I had a serious case of post concussion syndrome for months after the accident. My head whipped to the left, my thoracic spine was shoved to the right, and my whole spine down into my lumbar/sacral area was torqued by the impact and my legs caught in the handle bars of my bike. The hematomas on my legs didn't completely fade for 5 months (I seldom bruise at all), the hematoma on my left elbow actually started to bleed the next day and left a permanent scar and caused nerve damage in my left hand. My jaw was even out of whack, so that my bite no longer lined up, which triggered TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder). Knowing that I was about to be hit didn't help either. Pretty much every muscle on my body tensed up which caused strains and sprains in my back, neck, even where the muscles attached to my skull. I had brachial plexus lesions which explains the loss of use in my right arm. I had PTSD. For months afterwards when I would lay down and rest I would have convulsions, like hypnagogic jerks, that sensation of falling off a curb as you fall asleep, but I was awake. I had headaches all the time and frequent migraines. Good times, eh!?

There were other freaky things that happened during the months of recovery, but this kind of gives you a taste of what I was dealing with. I still deal with some things now, but I'm so much better. And it could have been so much worse.

When someone is injured but without broken bones it can be hard to pinpoint what the exact problem is, because soft tissue injuries don't show up x-rays, or even MRIs a lot of the time. The driver who hit me was beside himself and gave me a ride home. He told me he had been hit by a car once too. I asked him how long did it take for him to recover and he said, "Forever." Yep, soft tissue injuries, all tied up in fascia which runs all over your body, can take a very long time to unwind and heal...

...OK I think I'll wrap it up for now. This is not a "woe is me" post. Not at all! Sure, I wish the accident never happened, but the silver lining is that I've learned so much since then. That's why I'm here. To share my thoughts on what I've learned about recovery, the brain, rehabbing, corrective/restorative/somatic exercise techniques, I might even share some thoughts on insurance companies and lawyers. And of course fascia. :-) Thanks for reading!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Martha Peterson in Portland June 6-8 to lead her Somatic Exercise Coach Training Course

I'm excited to announce that I'll be hosting Martha Peterson with Essential Somatics Friday June 6-Sunday June 8 at my studio!

She'll be leading her Somatic Exercise Coach Training Level One Course. This course is for those in the health and fitness industry, from personal trainers and yoga instructors, to chiropractors and massage therapists. So please share this with your health care providers! 

You can read more about the course, as well as Martha's background and more about Somatics on her website.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Proactive Postural Restructuring Intro Workshops coming in February!

I've been promising to offer some introductory workshops to Proactive Postural Restructuring, and here they are!

Introductory Workshops to Proactive Postural Restructuring 

Saturday February 15 at 9:30-10:45am FULL
If you can't make it or the course is full,
but you'd like to receive updates on additional workshops
and new small group restorative fitness classes, please email me!!

Proactive Postural Restructuring is a set of exercises designed to 
• develop better mind-body awareness in the lumbar spine, hips, and pelvis so we separate movement that occurs in the hip from  movement that occurs in the spine.
• restore proper length and width to the back, releasing tension.
• restore proper strength and flexibility in the ankles and feet, so they are fully operational which improves our base of support and helps correct stance and gait patterns. 
All of which improves posture, alignment and functionality of muscles and joints, and can release chronic aches and pains. You can read more and watch my video further explaining PPR here. And here's some other info about somatic (mind-body) restorative methods.

This course is designed for newbies to experience some beginning PPR exercises. PPR takes focus and concentration, which is profoundly different than most exercise classes. From there, one can participate in my current and upcoming restorative fitness classes, where I blend PPR, somatics and pilates mat and reformer exercises.

This workshop is ideal for people looking for ways to function better so they can maintain quality of life, reduce muscle tension and improve posture and alignment. To participate in this course one should be able to sit, lie down on and get up from the floor. 

I host the course to a limited number of students at my studio behind my home in South Tabor. The exact location is shared with you when you register.

Reserve your spot for this workshop online here.
PLEASE note the date of the courses! There are two options, so be aware when registering.
For more info contact Kristin

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Craft a New Body: Goal Tip Jar

Do you have a new year's resolution? I've touched on ways to achieve our goals in the past, like SMART goals and how Change is Good, but here's a crafty way to keep on task. A Goal Tip Jar! 

This is so simple, but can be quite effective actually; You literally spell out what you're working towards, and you have a visual reminder plus a reward system. Three great ways to stay motivated.

There are multiple to create your "container". It could be a coffee can (does anyone still buy coffee in big cans anymore?) You could use a box or recycle one of those metal gift/cookie tins. Personally I like a clear jar because you can see your progress!

So here's what I did...sans photos. (I get ahead of myself sometimes :-)

  • I gathered a mason jar and lid
  • used a flat head screwdriver and hammer to punch a slit in the top of the lid (put the lid on a scrap piece of wood so there's something soft to drive the head of the screwdriver as you hammer/punch the slit). 
  • I designed my label on the computer and then glued it onto the front of the jar
  • lastly I cut some scrap fabric into circles and cut a slit in it to go under the lid ring (I used a plate as my template).
  •  Voilà! My tip jar!

If you'd like to use the label I made for my fitness tip jar, here's a  PDF. When you print it be sure to unselect "fit to page".

I hope that inspires you to reward yourself for your efforts! Personally my goal is to meditate for 10 minutes or practice one of my mind-body corrective exercise methods for 20+ minutes every day. I'll reward myself with something special after 100 successes.

What about you? Have you ever done something like this? Do share!
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