Word of the Month: Envision

Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.  Joy Page

As I get back into somewhat of a rhythm every Fall, I like to envision the energy and intention I hope to bring to this new season. Kid routines, work commitments, balancing time both for my family and myself can all be stressful, but if I set my sight on what it is I want for the outcome, I usually find a way to make it happen.

Envisioning my own process in a positive way, no matter how chaotic, definitely helps me to grow in ways I never thought were possible. It’s easy to let the little things get to you or for the small stresses in a day to add up to a very big deal. However, taking a moment to just breathe, hug a friend or my kids, laugh at something mundanely ridiculous, always allows me the space to believe I can conquer any adversity that I come up upon. I first have to accept WHAT IS and then envision that at the end of the day, it’s all going to work out fine. And generally I’m surprised and things actually come together just GREAT! I had a good reminder a couple weeks ago. I was very overwhelmed and my son Julius looked at me and said “it’s all going to be okay Mom”. I said “how do you know that?”. He said “because it always does end up being okay in the end- right?” Wisdom of a 13 year old! He’s right!

While reflecting on September’s Word of the Month, “Envision” ask yourself what it is YOU need to achieve your best start to this Fall. Who do you want to show up as in your life and how do you want to be there for the people most important to you?

When you find yourself spinning in your own attempt to secure a steady and smooth rhythm, look at your glass as 80% full. Accept yourself and your efforts and believe that where you are, and that each choice you make in the moment, is exactly right. Stop to envision a different outcome if the path you are on needs to be adjusted. In the same way, you need to make small adjustments in class on your form – the same is true in your daily life.

And lastly, notice if you need additional support in making that shift by using the help of those who love you.

After all, if you believe it – it will happen. Envision the best possible scenarios during September.

The strength to live this way is inside us all. We just have to believe.

Love,

Jill

Fit Tip- 5 Minutes to Fitness

We think of August as a relaxing and fun time where we can still play and are able to enjoy the end of our summer. Right?

That is definitely not how I’m feeling at the moment! My kids are about to head back to school and rather than feeling as though a break is near, I’m finding it difficult to shift back into a schedule. Believe me, I love my kids, my time with them, AND my summer, but I always forget how difficult the transition back to the school year can be. I won’t be SO vulnerable that I let you know all of the things I’ve let slip recently, but let’s just say I’m feeling very human.

So in honor of our word of the month PLAY – and due to the fact that inspiration often comes out of chaos, I have been “playing” with an exercise series that is incredibly quick and efficient for those times you lack the mental focus and time to fit in a class.

This series takes a little over 5 minutes and focuses on seat work, yet has the intensity and efficiency of continual muscular engagement paramount for optimal results gained from our Dailey Method fundamental principles. I incorporate functional range of motion for multiple joints, tempo varieties to target core stability and balance and also muscular strength/endurance for multiple muscle groups. All at the same time!

With a strong focus, first on balance, these exercises require stabilization and support of your small muscle groups, especially your primary pelvic stabilizer – Gluteus Medius. Gluteus Medius is called into action when you have to move slowly between two points of foundation to one point. Then, tapping into your new found stability, you’ll start working with a quicker tempo to increase your heart rate and target deeper into the gluteal muscles, core stabilizers and muscles of your shoulders and arms. The final set is less range of motion of the stabilizing side, and will burn out your seat while additionally getting your heart rate up. Intrigued?

Deep Lunge to knee lift:

Start in a crescent lunge with your right leg forward and left back. Using your arms for contralateral support reach left one forward and right arm back. Find squareness of your pelvis by drawing front thigh bone back and back hip point forward. Very slowly (counts of 4) stand on front leg and lift back knee towards chest, moving arms in opposition. Move back to starting position in 4 counts. – 8 times

Pick up tempo- lift in two counts and lower in two counts. – 8 times

Bend your arms at 90 degrees (to protect your shoulders) and pick up tempo – lift on one count and lower on one count. 16 times

Stay in a deep lunge with arms stabilized by side (to strengthen rotator cuff) and do knee pulls 32 times. Repeat other side.

Want to see this in action? Check out my instagram handle

We’ve got this! Embrace transition. Figure out what you NEED to get done. Give yourself the space to do it. And then let go of needing to do it ALL! Self love and Self love and self care is enough.

Even if and especially in small doses!

Word of the Month: Play

Yes, I’m late with this blog because I’m taking our August Word of the Month – Play- very seriously. I’m enjoying three different trips in three weeks, with work interspersed (cannot completely escape that!), but I’m definitely prioritizing Play!

I believe that summer is a time to relax and to be with our friends and families. It’s a time to travel and take time for ourselves. This is what I am embracing this month.

I’m currently on a trip in Toronto with my youngest son, Damian, who is 10 years old. Watching him – I witness that playing is something kids embrace SO easily and SO well. When you hang out with a 10 year old it’s clear that playing is a priority! We’ve taken tours, appreciated views, baseball games and ice cream together and yes- dropping the devices to stay present with where we are has been a welcomed and successful challenge. Makes ME feel like a kid again. This attitude and action of integrating PLAY in my day to day – could very well be the magical anti-aging technique. Next week I’m going to Lake Tahoe with all three of my kids. The Play will be priority but probably a bit more of a challenge with dropping the devices! But I’m up for it. I’ll post on instagram the horrified faces when they realize the threat of an entire 48 hours without devices is a real. Ha!

At the Dailey Method, we believe in balancing the mind, body and soul, fitness and fun, work and relaxation. And I’m firmly aligned with that belief (thank goodness!). We design our classes to incorporate balance between these factors and I’m thrilled that now, we are designing retreats to allow you to immerse yourself in this life practice. Don’t we all want to have childlike energy – forever?

When I can’t find the time or haven’t planned an extended vacation – or even when I need a day or two to simply escape – I head North to my favorite retreat spot at Indian Springs in Calistoga. And this is where we are holding our Fall retreat. I’m so excited!

I’d like to personally invite each of you to join me at this amazing place November 7- 9th, 2018.  We will definitely “Play” but with practical purpose! We’ve designed this Dailey Method Wellness Retreat to help you deeply relax, enjoy great food and experience fitness within a community of like-minded people. It’s also a great means to help you deepen your practice inside our studio and your life when you return to your regular routine.

You’ll experience multiple Dailey Method classes from myself and two other of our amazing Master Teacher trainers, healing hot springs, healthful meals and much, much more! There’s hiking, spa treatments, bikes, wine tasting and other adventures available for you to take advantage of outside of the curriculum we’ve created for you. And the best part – which I know doesn’t happen very often – is that we will take care of everything for you. Our goal is for you to relax, be present and Play.

Will you join me? I hope so!!

 

Fit Tip- Find Deeper Connection in Flat Back Floor

 

 

Flat back floor (FBF) is potentially my favorite abdominal exercise! Over the 18 years that The Dailey Method has been practicing this exercise it has continued to be refined, possibly more than any of the others, due to its complexities and its benefits. Yes, we’ve geeked out on it a bit-but with that attention to detail we have acquired tons of knowledge and have developed cuing to go along side it. The end result is helping you find your ideal position to work most effectively. When executed mindfully, FBF works to strengthen the smaller and deeper muscles that stabilize your entire core. This gives you a corset of core support from the inside out, front, side and back. There is a common misconception that your abdominals are your core- but your back and sides are also part of your core. Targeting these muscles is just as important as engaging the abdominals to achieve strength and stability for your spine and pelvis. FBF also directly targets your transverse abdominus, which is the deepest layer of our abdominal muscles. This layer is the most difficult abdominal muscle to connect with, especially if not in your ideal alignment. This layer is most accessible when you’re in a true neutral spine and pelvis. When people think “flat back” they generally think of removing the spinal curves and flattening their back to the floor. But that’s not where you can achieve the greatest benefit. We teach it with a neutral spine and pelvis while trying to maintain what’s called axial elongation. Axial elongation is the proper alignment of the head, spine and pelvis, with as much length as possible, so it provides optimum spacing between the joints during movement. When you are in alignment you have a better capacity to engage your muscles properly. Alignment of your spine is the key to getting your best benefit out of every exercise at The Dailey Method and in life. The cuing focus for this exercise is the back body integration into the ground. By energetically connecting your entire back body to the floor you have greater ability to fire up all of your trunk stabilizers.

Set up:

  • Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rock your pelvis back and forth to find and then settle your pelvis and spine into neutral.
  • Inhale length to your spine and try to reach sitz bones and the crown of your head as far away from each other as possible. This is what is defined above as axial elongation. You’re actively creating more space between each of your vertebrae while still maintaining optimal alignment.
  • Press the energy of your back to the ground without changing the position. Feel your sacrum root down, your rib cage and shoulder blades press down, and the sides of your waist connecting into the floor. Your low back will likely still be slightly off of the floor but you are energizing the musculature of your entire back to the floor. By activating the muscles of the back body you create a corset of support. You’ll notice that the action of pressing down with the back body will naturally create a deeper engagement of the abdominal muscles. 
  • While maintaining stability, lift your legs up and straighten them out over your hips (if you have tight hamstrings keep the legs slightly bent.
  • In counts of 2-4, lower one leg towards the floor as far as you can without losing alignment or engagement, and then alternate.

The simple action of maintaining focused energy of the musculature down towards the floor will have a positive strengthening impact. Taking the weight of the legs moving further away from your center line to challenge the engagement can progress with time as you get stronger and more aware of what muscles you are engaging.

Have fun!

Word of the Month: Connect

WOM Connect

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.  Herman Melville

One of the things that I appreciate the most about The Dailey Method is that it’s an environment that invites and nurtures connection in a number of different ways. We all desire and crave connection. Connecting with our students and our communities is something that we value and is at the core of our training. Here are different ways we train our teachers and staff to connect, and can help you to focus on connecting with others and yourself this month.

  1. Connect with someone through eye contact. With a store clerk, the local barista and definitely with people that are important in your life. This is my absolute favorite way to connect with people. It lets them know I’m present with them, I see them, and that I am truly listening to what they’re saying. It’s even better if a smile accompanies it!
  2. Connect to what it takes you to get to class in light of your busy life. Notice the steps you took to be here 1, 2, 3, 4  or 5 times a week. Thank and appreciate yourself for taking those steps.
  3. Connect to one to two steps you can take in class to deepen your practice versus doing an exercise the same way you’ve always done it. Try holding the depth in thigh work a little longer than you normally would, resetting plank by going onto your knees to find deeper engagement, or self adjusting in back dancing with your hands on your hips to sense the squareness of your pelvis and achieve better alignment.
  4. Connect to your breath. Only by leaning into challenge or adversity do we ever see it through. Breathe and lean in so that you can meet physical challenges in class today in a new way. Let it help you find length and depth of engagement or push you through a difficult section of class. Take this breath and connection with you into the remainder of your day.
  5. Connect internally with your mind and your body. At The Dailey Method we work on cuing micro adjustments so you can achieve better alignment and get deeper into a position. This focus can also translate to a much needed meditative focus on your body and breath. Connection to oneself requires that we carve out the space to be present with ourselves and get out of our head. It can feel overwhelming, I know, but it’s as important in creating a more balanced and peaceful life. Just think how your might be affected by this small shift!
  6. Commit to connect with or to say hi to someone in the studio today, before or after class. It could be a person you’ve seen in passing, have always thought was interesting, or that you just happen to be standing next to. We spend so much of life with our heads down and on our to-do list and while you may not know this person, it’s possible you could be missing opportunities to meet amazing people you were meant to become connected to in this lifetime. The more we can connect with our communities the more potential support we can both give and receive in our lives.

 

With eye contact and a smile!  Jill

 

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