I want to give a huge shout out you to all of you that joined us in our summer Neutral Spine challenge. At The Dailey Method we know that neutral spine is our healthiest position both in and outside the studio and it looks like our community truly embraces our belief! There were so many amazing pictures taken, it was really hard to choose. But we buckled down, worked hard and here’s what we decided.
These are our favorites! And why…
@kellybertelson– maybe there’s a filter but what a sunset! And NS is always a little easier when you have someone (or something) to hold you up.
@tdmboulder– Seriously? These women have a lot of core strength, enviable balance and a strong sense of fun!
@tdmbirmingham– Rumor has it there were more than 100 people here doing neutral spine. That’s what we call community! Thank you Birmingham.
@davidsonlori81– You know they have to love each other to pose like that. And with a rainbow? Wow!
@thedaileymethodrbp– We swear all our kids have started having better posture this summer. It’s been such a focus for us. I hope it translates everywhere.
@drewbirdonesloane– I actually like the background best… “I’m going to shoot myself if I see one more neutral spine this summer.” We won’t… keep it up. It will only make you live longer and feel better.
We challenge you to stand, sit, walk, drive and BE in neutral. To look and feel your best. #livingadaileylife
9 Days later and I’m still reaping some rewards of our Dailey Method international Align & Shine Challenge. One of them being given the opportunity to hear how something we created- for fun and for community- ended up having a beautiful impact on so many people. And, how it even moved forward from there! Here are some of my favorite testimonials-
Keep on Shining on!
“When the Align and Shine challenge started I was excited to add an intention that would span across the entire month. The challenge gave me something to look forward to every single day. Being able to scroll through people’s journey helped me push through and feel successful. My life can get crazy and push me away from my goals. The challenge helped me remember those goals and showed me that others were pushing through too.” – Tamara M. (The Dailey Method – Lamorinda)
“After 16 years at my last job working 12 hour days with a 2 hour commute and sacrificing weekends to get office work done, I realized it was time to make ME a priority. I reinvented myself at a fantastic organization 5 minutes from my home and gave myself back the gift of time. Knowing the secret to a healthy life and longevity is daily movement I searched for a physical routine that would motivate me to wake up early and look forward to group exercise. After researching a number of studios and a variety practices around my home, I stumbled upon The Dailey Method Elmhurst with Stefanie.
I have always been a physically active individual, playing High School basketball, track and field and continuing my competitive track and field in college. After college, life started to happen, and making time for a regular fitness routine was challenging. At the age of 28 I was diagnosed and treated for Stage II thyroid cancer and luckily now, 22 years later I have celebrated many years of being cancer free but fighting weight gain every day.
Realizing that the scale is just a number, I no longer focus on the dial and rather on how I feel and how my clothes fit. The Dailey Method has “made me shine” from the inside out. I love seeing and feeling the mental, emotional and physical benefits of my barre and cycle practice. The support of my husband has been tremendous, he has been applauding my early morning routine and he even surprised me with new cycling shoes!
I am passionate about my classes; my instructors are very cognizant of alignment and the purpose of each movement. They motivate me and the entire class to bring the best out of ourselves. The practice is challenging and yes, there are many barre poses and cycle movements that this girl just hasn’t mastered yet but Stefanie and the other instructors teach me modifications that will help me build muscle and strength to power through the class safely and achieve maximum benefits.
The sense of camaraderie and community created at TDM Elmhurst is extremely inspiring with the early morning crowd. Without sounding corny, I often think of these 5:45 a.m. classes as having dessert for breakfast or starting my day off with recess! I compliment my Dailey Method practice with yoga and golf because I know the more I move, the stronger my bones, the more lubricated my joints and the better my balance and overall health will be as I age.
To track my success, I invested in a small notebook that serves as a personal journal in which I track my daily exercise, everything I ate that day and how I feel. It serves as a good reference of my daily and weekly accomplishments and inspires me to continue on my journey!” – Stacey R. (The Dailey Method – Elmhurst)
“Let me start by saying that I did not think I would enjoy this very much. I mean, I knew that I would like the challenge part of things (competition is my nature, I just can’t help it, even if I’m just competing against myself!) but I wasn’t looking forward to a better diet, dedicating time to myself, and all the other tasks that seem insurmountable when you’re a busy mom of 2 toddlers.
Still, I wanted to participate in the Align & Shine challenge AND tell the world about it because I think mine is a unique perspective. There are so many gorgeous, thin, fit, fine specimens who display the results of the TDM workout, but I wanted to show that it is for everyBODY – even the frazzled, mismatched size 12 who can barely process a thought at 6am but goes to class anyway.
I figured all of my friends and social media acquaintances would be unfollowing amid groaning and eye rolling. In this day and age, we live in social media world where we are often sold to, directly or indirectly, and the last thing I wanted to sound like I was trying to SELL this workout, or this lifestyle, or this…being.
My friends weren’t the skeptical ones. It was ME!
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The feedback I received over the course of the challenge via Facebook, via text message, or via private message was just amazing. I had friends telling me they want to come try TDM. I had friends telling me they’ve been motivated to get off their butts and go to the gym because if I can do it, they can do it. I had friends telling me that I have been giving them inspiration to do better, and be better. Me. ME! No eye rolling, no unfollowing, just pure positivity. How freaking cool is that? It was the perfect culmination to the challenge. I had made change in more ways than one…
I wish I could do these kinds of challenges all the time. It’s been so valuable for me physically, mentally, emotionally. I’ve found myself connecting better with my friends, my kids, my husband and newly – my classmates! My teammates, these people that really do make me keep coming back. Not to mention the teachers. They just KNOW what to do to make me reach higher. And when to play a little Bieber.
The Align & Shine challenge was just like class, the beauty in the structure is that it could be unstructured – modified, made to be my own, done on my time. All along the way, it still made me focus. Focus on myself, focus on my world around me. There is such purpose behind what might otherwise seem like “simple” tasks.
“My experience with The 30 Clean through my TDM studio was excellent! I have always thought of my diet as relatively healthy and balanced. But after the experience, I realized I had been making many mistakes. The support and advice of all the coaches really helped me to understand some of the simple changes I could make to have a better cleaner and healthier lifestyle. My husband was very skeptical but after the experience feels he understands how his diet and consequently his health is much better. We both feel more energetic, healthier, leaner, and we have better skin!! We both love the lifestyle change we have incorporated into our life and plan on continuing to eat clean. I am telling all my friends to try the program because I feel the results are so worth it! Thank you Dailey Method and The 30 Clean!” – Saira S. (The Dailey Method – Loudon)
“New to The Dailey Method, I’ve been incorporating it into my routine since late December, when I was taking a break from my usual running routine. I could tell within the first month that my core strength and posture had improved. Dailey Cycle has been a refreshing change of cardio workout and I had not been running as consistently as I used to. Despite this, I ran a 10k race in early March at my fastest pace in over 4 years! I was under 30 seconds from my 10k personal record. Then came the May Align and Shine Challenge, increasing my usual 2-3 class per week routine into a consistent 4 per week. At the end of the month, I came into a vacation at Acadia National Park feeling the strongest and most centered I’ve been all year. We did some pretty intense hikes in a short period of time that I couldn’t have done a month prior without my body feeling much weaker and sore. Recovery was so fast I was at a Dailey Cycle class just a couple days later, achieving my highest average and maximum power I’d seen on the monitor. As a runner, it’s hard to find the right balance of cardio and core/strength conditioning. With TDM, I’ve found one just adds to the other and vice versa. It seems everything TDM strengthens me for goes right back into better workouts at the Dailey classes. I feel like I’ve finally found my perfect balance.” – Kathy P (The Dailey Method – Washington D.C.)
I chose the word REFLECT for June because I would love to have everyone that participated in the Align and Shine Challenge join me with intention to reflect on our experiences. We grow by reflection, by thinking about what we did right, and what we did wrong (or where we could grow). What felt great, and what didn’t feel so great. By looking back at, and reflecting, on our experiences and feelings it allows us to make our best choices moving forward. To be on our best path, for right now. Reflection is vital to learning and growing. Experience is the best teacher, if you couple it with reflection even better!
It’s such a simple thing, but when I get in a place where I’m really frustrated, stressed, or overwhelmed, just the quick act of writing 5 things I’m grateful for in a journal make a daily difference. Allowing me the time to reflect on what’s important and positive and right here.
I try to be present, be focused, to have intention. Yet there was something so powerful to wake up every day during the Challenge and have my focus dictated to me. To be given my two little challenges towards mind and body health, to not have to come up with it on my own AND to be doing it along with 1,000s of other motivated inspired health conscious individuals. And lots of you posted amazing pictures and videos of yourselves Aligning and Shining!
I had an Align and Shine Challenge closing party debuting our amazing new Dailey Fusion class Sunday night. I know how enjoyable this challenge was for me, but I loved I hearing the stories about the difference it made for some of the women in my community- it also made me want to hear from you!
I learned a lot about myself and about some of my Students last month. My Mantra was “I am strong” and I learned that having that on my computer to wake up to every day really did make a difference. I am going to continue to post my WOM on my computer to keep the reminder.
Take some time to reflect upon the last month and the Align and Shine Challenge. One of our missions at The Dailey Method is that we strive to empower individuals to become their most vibrant and authentic selves, through mind/body transformation within a compassionate and supportive community. I would love to hear your story! Your story could give others the motivation to take the first step to better health!
We hope you continue to ALIGN AND SHINE all summer long! If you will be traveling and exploring (like I will be) this summer, don’t forget to check out our streaming options. And share your pics with the hashtag #livingadaileylife.
“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”-Laozi
There are times when I go out to dinner with new friends or a group of colleagues and choose to pass on dessert or that second glass of wine. I get a variety of comments from, “You are so good.. how can you not eat dessert??” to “You look great, why are you skipping dessert? Go ahead and enjoy yourself.”
What many of these people do not know is that I am a food and sugar addict. Not only that, but I was a closet eater growing up and have had a lifelong battle with body dysmorphia. It seems completely unbelievable to many. Here I am, the co-founder and CEO of an online community-driven wellness company where we host challenges to help people eliminate most of the foods I have been (and, as an addict, still am) addicted to. But isn’t that how we fall into our most passionate work? We live it, we know it, we relate to it, and we want nothing more than to help others overcome the very things we have fought tooth and nail to conquer.
How it All Began…
I grew up with a family that was not fit, not active and definitely not conscious of the latest health trends. I enjoyed after-school snacks like mini-pizzas, daily sodas, nightly ice cream after dinner and, even more, weekend trips to 31 Flavors with my mom for double (or on a super-good night triple!) scoop sundaes!
Unconsciously, sugar became something I relied on for many things: to lift my spirits, to cure my boredom, to distract me from school work and to make me a hero when my friends would come over – no one had the kind of pantry stash that I did. And it wasn’t just sugar that I turned to. Food, in general, became a comfort to me as I grew up. I went from a tween riding my bike to 7 Eleven to binge on candy (which I would hide in my room), to a sixteen year-old hitting up the drive-thrus in desperate need of French fries or hot apple pies when no one was looking. Needless to say, this took a toll on both my physical and emotional well-being.
While I was inexplicably fortunate enough to never gain an extraordinary amount of weight, I did carry around enough inflammation that the word “chubby” could easily have been used to describe me – in my mind, at least. I am sure the body dysmorphia grew out of the secretive way I ate, which led to a lot of guilt and self-loathing. Intuitively, I knew how unhealthy all of it was for me. The sugar from both sweets and other processed foods left me completely and utterly emotionally imbalanced. I spent my childhood to young-adult years riding the ups and downs of an emotional rollercoaster. My parents just thought I was moody. Ping-ponging between feelings of happiness and sadness disrupted my school work, my focus and my self-confidence and I was regularly sick. Not one person or doctor ever questioned my diet or lack of exercise.
The pattern continued into my college years, where I tried too many diet pills to count. But what good are diet pills when you exchange food for drinking? Yes, I was the weekend keg stand queen and a late night taquito junkie. Yet, I was surprised that at the start of each new week, anxiety would hit; tears, fears and promises to myself that I would stop eating and drinking my way to fun. Nonetheless, I would soon find myself in another drive-thru or drinking with friends.
The Cycle Finally Ends
Years of these habits finally came to an end at the age of 29 when my mom passed away from lung cancer. It was not only her death, but a cancer diagnosis for my father and my sister one year later, that truly caused me to do a complete 180. For the first time in my life, I took my health into my own hands. I started by finding a trainer who threw me into a hardcore bootcamp. It was intense, but fun. Fitness led to a desire to look deeper into my nutritional habits.
I took baby steps, and went from sugar addict to Splenda junkie. I started drinking protein shakes and spent a few solid years on the low-fat, sugar-free train. Of course, I dropped weight. And I even competed in a figure show! Yet, something still wasn’t right. My body looked great, but my mind and emotions were still riding a giant wave just waiting to come crashing down. My hormones were all over the place.
In 2006, on a mission to understand myself better, I became a certified fitness trainer and began learning about nutrition. I attended a life-altering workshop with JJ Virgin and learned all about the paleo and primal lifestyle. I understood that chemical sweeteners and so-called “healthy” packaged goods were just as harmful for me as white sugar and Hostess. I learned a lot about grains and the problems we have with them in their current processed form. And, I learned that all of these things, along with the foods I had already eliminated from my diet, were the possible cause of my hormonal issues and mood swings. Oh, and the eczema I had somehow began to develop? The result of over-consumption of peanut butter!
I made a personal decision to do a 30-day whole food challenge, giving up the most universally inflammatory foods, including my beloved peanut butter!
Within 30 days, I kicked Splenda to the curb, started substituting my morning oatmeal for sweet potatoes and doubled my veggie and fat intake. It was almost exactly at that 30 day mark that I also began to notice a difference in my energy, my focus and, let’s be honest, my bathroom habits – hallelujah! I felt stable. I actually liked myself and my body. I felt amazing and kept weight off with ease. After the 30 days, I began to experiment with some of the foods I had eliminated. I realized that dairy was out of the question, peanut butter was crack for me, non-gluten grains like basmati rice and amaranth worked well for my body, but gluten, quinoa and corn immediately bloated me.
The eye-opening results of this personal experiment served as the launching pad for The 30 Clean. I wanted nothing more than to share my personal journey with everyone, especially my personal training clients. I became a holistic health coach and have since had the pleasure of watching hundreds of personal clients and now thousands of 30 Clean challengers transform their lives. While, at first glance, eating clean may seem restrictive and intimidating to some, our 30-day challenges are an incredibly effective and simple way of hitting the “reset” button for your body, so you can begin with a clean slate and find the perfect nutritional plan that works for your lifestyle.
I believe wholeheartedly in balance, moderation and living a joyful life! I also know that sometimes it takes a little dedication and mindfulness to achieve the things we desire most in life, like feeling and looking our personal best. When you add to that individual focus a degree of accountability and a supportive community of like-minded individuals, success is almost guaranteed. Once you have the knowledge and once you truly give yourself the gift of a whole food diet, the emotional and physical changes you receive are worth their weight in gold!
Join our national challenge or try it on your own, with our 7-Day or 30-Day Simple Start programs. You truly will Come Back to Life!
“Shine with all you have. When someone tries to blow you out, just take their oxygen and burn brighter.” ― Katelyn S. (Irons) Bolds
I picked the WOM this month to reflect how we want to feel from our efforts during The Dailey Method Align & Shine Challenge. Make it a daily practice to take care of our bodies AND our souls. I’m personally so excited for this 4- week period, to have a new intention each day to help me continue to find balance in my life. Tonight, I’m also excited about my newly clean refrigerator. I thought I had a funny story about the moldy applesauce I found in the back of the top shelf- but my class tonight informed me I needn’t necessarily overshare. So I’ll just say… thank you Align & Shine Challenge Day 3! My life/space feels more organized already.
I also love that this challenge is coming right after 4 full days of our annual Dailey Method owner’s retreat in Fairfax, CA. It was truly amazing! Talk about SHINE! The men and women that own and operate The Dailey Methods around the world truly do shine. And when we get together, we reflect off of each other and all walk away, I believe, burning a little bit brighter. The energy in the room is infectious. It inspires me to be better in life, as a person, a parent, a sister, a daughter, a friend – and it makes me so happy. (Some behind the scenes shots for you: https://flipagram.com/f/oXPmuDBsKO)
One of our keynote speakers was Lara Galloway. Lara personally coaches me and has created fantastic tools filled with guidance, advice, and exercises based on years of coaching entrepreneurs. Her presence was empowering and engaging. As part of her discussion, she urged us to think about our definition of success, our priorities, and how much of our day we spend on our actual priorities.
Now, in your first week of the Align & Shine Challenge, it’s important to align your daily actions with your priorities, not the things you think you need to do, but the things you have determined are the most important to do. Take a look for yourself. Find, or create a moment of quiet, and fill out this worksheet. Ensure that your actions are aligned with your priorities. For instance, family is one of my priorities and tonight that means a school project with my son. I also have twenty other things that need to get done (don’t we all?), but at the kitchen table, by his side, is where you’ll find me. That’s the top of my list and I’m (slowly) learning that oftentimes that means I have to let some other things go.
To me, to shine, means to burn my brightest, to be my best every day. To give light forward in order to move in my own direction but also to reflect it to others to spark them to shine their brightest light. What does Shine mean to you? I’d love to hear.
A hike with Dailey Method owners definitely also means Shine to me.
Let’s “Burn Bright like a Diamond!” all month long- together.