I know, kind of an odd Word of the Month. Generally we encourage you to set an intention around the word and focus on what you can learn from it. This WOM, we are able to take it literally and focus on its actual structure. Our spine is the very center of us. It is our axis and thus deserves our attention. To concentrate on your spine is the basis of The Dailey Method. It’s our first alignment principle and the root of every exercise we teach. Align.
There are three components involved in taking the best care of your spine:
Space: with ease, breathe as much space as possible from head to toe, head to tailbone – based on your position. This creates an ease in your structure. Creating space also helps encourage disc health. It helps the bones to be able to settle into the joints most optimally.
Find your neutral: We work in neutral spine in 75% of class. This is the healthiest position in our bodies. We should move through life primarily in this position. It’s still important to work the body in other positions because we need mobility and the ability to move multi-dimensionally. But if we focus on strengthening our bodies in their most functional position, it will translate to many facets of our lives.
Support: This is the act of keeping the space, keeping the alignment and hugging in and engaging muscular support for that optimal structure. It’s an inside out, supportive and easeful balance. Ease and effort.
Give yourself the gift in April of listening to the positions of your spine. Pay attention to whether you are capable of creating a little more space, a little better alignment and then, and only then, layer on the muscular energy that we all love so much at The Dailey Method. Your spine will thank you.
“You are only as old as your spine.”
-Joseph Pilates (my first inspiration to truly delve into training bodies.)
I chose Soul for the Word of the Month because of the depth it represents. It’s akin to February’s WOM Passion and the fire within but brings to mind an even deeper sense of self. A powerful notion, it is often thought of as our life force, our vitality or our true essence.
I love the phrase “Let Your Soul Shine” which may have been coined by Spiritual Gangster – the masters of making us exclaim our soul’s intent on our tank tops. But if our soul is shining it results in a true inside-out radiance, a raw bare-it-all of who we are.
The simple act of nurturing our soul should be a priority for full contentment. Do what you love and what speaks to the inner you and it will show.
I chose Passion as the WOM for February. Passion is a big word! It is generally related to desire, affection, love and devotion. But I feel that so many aspects of our lives can relate to passion – if we live fully. It can be the way we feel about a cause that is important to us, a hobby, or a job. It can be for anything or anyone that really turns us on and lights us up.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style
– Maya Angelou (One of my personal favorites!)
Passion doesn’t have to feel intense or singularly-focused. I picture it as something that feels like it’s shining or glittering, drawing me in; something that I know incorporating in my life just might encourage greater happiness. It can be something grand (like the love of your life) or something small (the book you’re reading that you can’t put down!)
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
-Harriet Tubman (Another incredible inspiration. I love strong women!)
I thought about it and came up with the list of what I’m feeling passionate about it my life right now:
The evolution of the Dailey Method practice: I love every aspect of the training, teaching, development and growth of the curriculum.
The ability to always be a student. I am currently becoming Dailey Cycle trained. Even though I’ve been strongly involved in the development of this product I haven’t taught it nor owned it. I am in the process of building my own Dailey Cycle studio in Fairfax and am so excited to become stronger and more knowledgeable in a new direction.
I’m very passionate about raising my kids well.
I also experience passion personally in the studio. As a student being in the moment and feeling strong, or allowing compassion for myself and being okay with the need to back off. We want everyone to be their most authentic selves. Don’t compete unless you WANT to.
OMG as a teacher. I can wake up tired. My kids can be a pain in the &#% getting off to school. I “expect” to arrive a minimum of 15 minutes before class. Kids don’t always cooperate. The moment I turn on my mic and warm up song, however, I’m good. I’m happy and I’m present.
Traveling and expansion. Talk about PASSION. I love to travel. There’s so much I want to see and experience. It is true that travel is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer.
I know, should have been 1, but if you really know me you understand. You know where I stand. I support it because it’s right. Not because I know it. Right?
Being supportive and supporting to people, especially women.
What turns you on the most? Or what are the things you crave for in your life in order to make you thrive.
Take a bit of time to think about what you’re the most passionate about. Or what you’d like to be passionate about. Don’t hesitate. Reach for it. Let yourself be your most expansive self.
As we move out of 2016 and into 2017, I chose “Authentic” as the word of the month because I want to practice evolving myself, not changing who I am. January is typically a month where we chastise ourselves for past actions and set intentions for the things we want to change. But instead of trying to be something we’re not or do things differently, why not embrace exactly who we are first and then from that place of self honesty discover how to be that best version?
To be authentic is to aspire to be real, genuine, pure, truthful and original. We should still be accountable for our vulnerabilities and imperfections, but do so with self compassion. That is when authenticity makes us truly beautiful.
In a world full of the artificial and unreal we yearn for what’s real. And what could be more real than facing and embracing what’s already inside of us? That takes courage and honesty.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we really are.”
How to thread your authentic self into your Dailey practice?
Be real with yourself, leave all judgement at the door – for yourself and for others
Avoid excuse and denial and instead recognize and develop
Work on yourself from the inside out- not the outside in
Accept your abilities and push yourself, find how deep you can go
But also accept that sometimes you need to back off
Love your body and what it is capable of every day
Say thank you to yourself before you go to bed at night
The best way I can be authentic is to practice self recognition and through that – self love. I know this isn’t always easy. Of course there will be times when we say or do things that are counter to who we are. We’re human and we’re on a journey to find the proper balance. We can aspire to recognize and not deny our failings, but rather than dwelling on them or insisting we’ll never do that again (a quick set-up for a blame and shame cycle), look inside and see who you truly are and see the beauty that is there. We all have that inner light within us and if we can focus on that we will be the true beautiful kind and loving soul that resides within us. Authentically. And then that beauty can be passed on to others.
“When you show up authentic, you create space for others to do the same.”
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” ~ Buddha
Joy is many things, however, the ability to embrace joy in the simplest of things is where I always find my deepest connection to this emotion.
Joy is the uninhibited sound of children laughing. It’s the “pee in your pants/lose your breath” kind of laughter. Reckless, unabashed, unfiltered noises that fill a room and light you up from the inside.
Joy is the second you witness from afar – a teenager carry a shopping bag to the car for an elderly person.
Joy is watching the magic of clashing fireworks in a sky that is quite literally over in seconds.
Joy is feeling the warmth of a hand you are holding of a person you love. Not the mindless kind of “holding” but that conscious moment when you are present enough to truly feel the wrinkle of their knuckle, maybe the twitch of one of their fingers – or maybe even the way they repeatedly caress one of yours.
Joy is walking into a room and seeing a friend you have not seen in decades.
Joy is nuzzling a new kitten or puppy against your neck.
Joy is watching a newborn sleep; when you stand still enough to watch the rise and fall of the same chest that will one day be the body of an old woman or man.
Joy is soaking the warmth of sunshine on your face. You feel it when you close your eyes and sounds become more refined and echo inside of your cells.
Joy is the heat of bourbon on the back of your throat as it goes down, or the chill of cool ice tea on your tongue and cheeks on a hot summer day.
Joy is watching someone’s face when you make eye contact with them and let them know how much you appreciate them and why.
Joy happens when you study hands that play a piano or a guitar and is when you are present enough to take in the sound they are able to create with the dance their fingers choreograph.
Joy is seeing love in the face of someone whose name you remember when maybe inside that someone felt insignificant to you and forgettable.
Joy is moving in our bodies. It’s remembering to take a moment to feel gratitude for the demands we place on it everyday without zero consideration on most days that our body could ever one day tell us, “NO”!…..until that potential regretful day that it may.
Joy is a kiss. A hug. A hand placed on your shoulder from behind for no reason. It’s being present for every connection and how the tactile sensations made our insides sing.
Joy is nature growing around us that we oftentimes forget to stop and stare upon.
Joy is the effortless blessing of the rise of the moon, the setting of the sun and the placement of the stars speckled in our galaxy on a warm or even cold night.
There is no end to all of the things that illicit Joy inside of each of us.
As a child and in a magical-thinking kind of way, I always believed that Joy was an emotion unworthy of being welcomed or held on to because I understood so young – that it was but fleeting. After all, why hold onto something good, when just around the corner – hardship lurked?
But what I eventually came to know was that Joy was the high octane fuel that I needed to fill my tank up with everyday at each “Joy station” that came across my path. I sucked the nectar out of each of those moments because at the times when my tank was empty – when I stalled by the side of the road in my life – when I crashed and experienced the pain of brokenness and self defeat – it was the Joyous times of seconds past that saw me through.
None of us get out of here alive. Our lives are but ticking grandfather clocks sounding at every hour. There are a MILLION moments in a 24 hour cycle that we can choose Joy – where we can lather our minds and our hearts with the textures of a spirited feeling meant to lift us up when times get heavy.
Soak them up.
Find Joy hidden in even the roughest corners of your day and then commit to sitting inside of it!
Fill up your tank.
Live the life you were destined to author and then dance CRAZY wild into this beautiful season Joy!
And should this December season birth sadness or strife of any kind, stay seated in the knowing that Joy is simply on pause – and remember…another station where you can fill up again lies just around the bend.