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  971 NW Spruce Ave Ste 101, Corvallis, OR  |  541-224-6566  |  My Account  |

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6:57 pm

Simple yoga exercises for a healthy neck and immune system

Here is a quick yoga break designed to help you release stress and strain from your upper torso and neck.  If you do this yoga sequence as a daily break from your computer, you won't need to see the chiropractor so often.  And I threw in an immune system booster at the end, as a bonus.   It feels good!  Do this sequence daily for optimal health. Sit up tall in a chair.  Come forward so you are seated tall on your sitz bones, and not resting into the chair back. Bring your feet parallel, resting directly in front of you  on the floor.  Alternatively, you may sit cross legged on the floor. Take some long smooth breaths, watching the breath flow in and out of your lungs.   At the end of each exhale gently engage from deep in your pelvis and lower abdomen as if you could squeeze just a little more air from the lungs.  Feel the support and lift of your spine that arises from engaging these muscles.  This is Mula Bandha breath. Take your mind to your lower rib cage and gently engage there as well.  It should feel  as if you knitting your lower ribs closer together to prevent your spine from arching forward with the exercise .  This is Uddiyanda Bandha. Clasp your hands and place them behind your head.  Return to finding the bandhas, the muscular strength of your pelvis, lower abdominals and lower rib cage.  Stay steadfast in the bandhas as you stretch through your arms as if you could touch the walls beside you with your elbows (but keep your hands clasped behind your head, the actual range of motion is quite small). Finally, gently slide your head directly back into your hands, as if you sliding in a cupboard drawer. Again, your range of motion is small.  If the muscles of your lower torso stay engaged and you resist the urge to arch your spine, you will feel the stretch along the length of your sternum and into the front of your neck.  Hold the stretch for 3 to 6 breaths, rest, then repeat a few more times. When you have finished, take the fingertips of one hand and rapidly tap the front of your sternum and under your collarbones.  The thymus gland builds T-cells that fight disease and is located directly under the sternum.  When you tap the sternum you stimulate the thymus for a healthy immune system Do these exercises daily. If you work at a computer, use this sequence as a brief respite once mid-morning and once mid- afternoon.  The sequence will help relieve the neck strain and support a healthy pain-free body. [button color="#297392" size="large" link="https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/adm/home.asp?studioid=13270"]view schedule[/button]

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6:25 pm

Solstice Lessons on Balance

We are falling rapidly toward the Winter Solstice.  Our northern hemisphere has tilted almost as far from the sun as we can.  The days are short and I find myself desiring to crawl into bed early with a good book, struggling to keep myself awake beyond 9pm. We yearn for the sun, we decorate with lights and candles to bring light back into the darkness.  We crave nurturing foods, friends, family, and stories.  The cycle of the seasons and our lives invites inward reflection and rest. It was pointed out to me that balance doesn't occur in any single moment.  Balance is the sum of our actions over time.  The simple act of moving forward, of walking, requires a willingness to fall.  Each footstep is a exercise in trust, we  allow ourselves to fall off balance and then right ourselves again. The earth too falls away from the sun, rights itself and then falls back toward the sun.  We fall off center and return, over and over again in our lives.  When we practice yoga, we manifest this action.   We push ourselves in one direction and then another.  We fall off balance and then find center. As the body finds confidence in the process, it becomes easier to trust the process in the rest of our lives. When the body learns, the mind and spirit follow.  We stop struggling for continuous balance. We learn to fall and recover with grace, our lives cycle through the seasons with ease. On New Year's eve (10am-noon) we'll share a Restorative Yoga practice, turning inward, resting and stretching the body deeply.  Then on New Year's Day we'll greet the returning sun with Sun Salutes.   We find balance between the call to rest and the call to rise.  Life is right here, in willingness to rest and rise again.

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6:32 pm

Yoga or Pilates?

I am frequently asked, “What’s the difference between Yoga and Pilates?”  “Which is better for me?” Here is my short answer. I will start with the similarities.  Both Yoga and Pilates are mind-body exercises.  We pay attention as we move.  We listen to our bodies and we follow our body’s wisdom.  We do not try to escape when we are exercising, rather we drop in as deeply as we are able and pay attention to the body while it moves. By paying attention to the body’s sensations as we exercise, we are honing deep awareness.  We are learning how our bodies move and respond. Our goal is to shift from being unconsciously incompetent (where we are more likely to injure ourselves) to consciously competent (where we begin to feel at ease in our bodies).  As we continue to practice we become unconsciously competent, and that manifests as grace. Joseph H. Pilates developed his system of physical fitness in the early 20th century.  He called his exercises ‘Contrology.’ JH Pilates intended that you gained control over your body’s movements and form, and that both the mind and the body were trained together.  JH Pilates’ exercises were influenced by modern dance, yoga, and the physical culture movement of his day. Pilates focuses on core strength and flexibility, dominantly in the abdomen, back and pelvic floor.  You will spend the bulk of a Pilates class lying prone or supine on the floor.  You will do repetitive movements that isolate muscles in your body’s core.  You will use the movement of your arms and legs to challenge the stability of the body’s core muscles.  You will flex, bend and twist to develop strength and mobility. Yoga originated in India and has a long history. Yoga is not a religion and will not try to convert your beliefs.  In Yoga, the body is experienced as a pathway toward a deeper connection with your spiritual self, whatever your beliefs are.  I have been told that the yoga postures were developed as a way of creating vital health in the body while preparing the body for prayer and meditation. Yoga classes will generally begin with a guided breathing or centering exercise. You will then move through a sequence of postures that bend and twist the body through its full range of movement, building strength, flexibility, balance and grace in the process.   You will practice seated, prone, standing, supine and occasionally inverted poses.  There is less repetitive motion in a Yoga class than in a Pilates class. You work toward a fluid flow from one posture to another timed with your breath.  Yoga classes almost always end with guided rest and relaxation. So which is better for you? My answer: both.   I’d suggest you give each a try.  See what resonates and try that for a while.  Personally, I like a practice that includes both.  I find that Pilates fills holes that Yoga misses, and Yoga fills holes that Pilates misses.  If you prefer a class that is more ‘exercisey’ they you’ll probably like Pilates better.  If you are complimenting an athletic practice for increased flexibility and grace, then you’ll like an active yoga class better.   If you have a back injury or chronic illness, try Gentle or Adaptive Yoga. If you need to build more core strength, try a Pilates equipment class.   If you are mostly interested in stress reduction and relaxation, try Restorative Yoga, Flow Yoga or Yoga Bliss.  If you want a more active fiery yoga practice, give Rocket Yoga a try.  And if you are just feeling bored with your practice, then try something new from the menu. And, we are very happy to guide you to the best class for you.  Give us a call anytime:  541 231 6091

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12:19 pm

Counting Down, Counting Breaths

Just 10 days until we open Live Well Studio.  We are excited, busy, happy, and a little anxious.  It has been many years since I found myself in this kind of elated countdown.  I feel like I did in childhood counting the days until Christmas.   It is easy to fall into focusing on the future rather than living in the present. I am reminded of the meditation practice of counting breaths.  We can count days like breaths, weeks like breaths, months or years like breaths.  Each one passes and we come around again to being in this moment.  The gift of the practice is returning to this moment. Years ago when I just beginning this path a friend told me her story about learning how to count breaths.  She had been sitting with a Zen Meditation Teacher in Berkeley who taught this practice.  After a year or so, when she went in for private instruction with her teacher, she reported to him “Master, I have now counted 10,000 breaths. What should I do next.”  His reply, “Begin again, start at 1 and count to 10, then begin again.” There is no prize at the end of 10,000 breaths, or 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 years, no prize beyond being in the moment.  Being in the moment, in this breath, is the prize. Today I will take a break from the busyness of getting ready to move.  I will go out into the forest and walk and breath.  I will look at the trees, the sky, the birds and be present with my breath for as long as I am able. My mind will wander. I will begin thinking about my family, the studio, and the bigger world.  Then I will notice that my mind has drifted and I will return to my breath and the forest. The gift of meditation is the moment of being present: the moment when I feel alive, happy, and in awe of the world around me.  10 days, 10 breaths, begin again.

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10:18 am

Change and Transformation

David Life (cofounder of Jivamukti Yoga in NYC) says that "yoga is not for people who are interested in staying the same."  His words made me laugh.  Luckily, I am not very interested in staying the same.  No wonder yoga has been such a good fit for me. We never know where the paths of our lives will lead us.   We walk through life as if carrying a small lantern in a dark forest.  Only the path directly in front of us is illuminated. We imagine the path continues forward smoothly toward the destination we have intended. But there is no guarantee as to how smooth the path will be or to where it will take us.  The biggest gifts in my life have largely been unforeseen, unplanned and unexpected.  No doubt, my life will be full of unknowns for a while yet. Yoga teaches us grace in the face of the unknown.  Yoga teaches us that we can sit calmly at the center of a storm.  Yoga gives us stamina to walk into the shadows of our lives and emerge with smiles of gratitude.  Yoga has taught me to be a happier and healthier person.  I hope to continue to share that path with you.

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9:30 pm

Namaste

We traditionally close yoga classes with the word Namaste. Namaste roughly translates “the light in me bows to the light in you” or “the divine in me bows to the divine in you.”  We begin by bowing to the light in ourselves. We acknowledge the divine light we bring to the world each day. The intention of yoga is to clear the fog around  us so that our light can shine clearly and be of service to the world.  We come into the fullness of our lives, refreshed and bright from yoga. Then we bow to all the lights in the room around us.  Taking in the beauty and divinity of our yoga community.  Then we think of the lights in the rest of our lives, the people we work with, our families, people in shops or restaurants we visit. We bow to these divine beings and their place in our lives. And finally, we bow to the lights that are difficult to see. The people we know who hide or dim their lights. The people for whom, because of our own weaknesses, we struggle to see their divinity. When we remember to acknowledge the light and divinity of each person, we become the pathway to a brighter world. Namaste.

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11:28 pm

Beginning with Gratitude

Namaste, I bow to the light within you!  I am excited, blessed, and joyous to be opening Live Well Studio with Kristina Ender.  My prayer and intention is that Live Well Studio is a blessing to all who join us in this wellness community. Experience has taught me that when I begin each day with gratitude  life is good. Appreciation influences every moment and I am able to  meet both the challenges and the blessings of my life with grace.   In this spirit, I offer these words of gratitude at this moment of new beginnings. Thank you Jay for being my partner and best friend for nearly 30 years.  Thank you for supporting me through the ups and downs of life and loving me even when I was unable to love myself.  I love you and look forward to our next 30 years together. Thank you Summer and Gabriel for bringing so much joy and happiness into my life.  You have taught me more than you could ever imagine.  Thank you for being your amazing selves.  I love you. Thank you Dora, Bill, Courtney, Joanna and Mitch.   Dad, I wish you could be here to celebrate.  You taught me to find work that I love and to not compromise or sell myself short.  I am grateful for your presence and influence throughout my life. Thank you Barbara and Eugene.   I am grateful for your consistent love and support, and even more so for the love and support you have given to Jay.  I am grateful for the man you raised him to be. Thank you Richard Rosen, Donald Moyer, K-Lea Gifford, Janet Hochfeld, Lori Gholson, John Friend, Sarajoy Marsh, Vinn Marti, Keith Hennessey, Alito Alessi, Sister Antoinette, Gretchen Woods, Arianna Economou, David Koteen, Karl Frost, Tjeerd van Andel, Martin Stout and all the other teachers I have studied with through the years.  You planted the seeds that have grown into the work I do today. Thank you to all my students.  You are my most influential teachers.  I learn by listening to you, watching you, and moving with you. Thank you for your presence, your support and your love.  I would not be here without you. Thank you to Lily Gael, my bff and conspirator on the path. Thank you Kristina Ender.  I could have not dreamed of a better business partner. Thank you Ellen, Andre, Matthew, Irene, Kelly, Allison, Tina, Christine, Valerie, Brigitte and all of the teachers who have worked beside me at Cedar and Fir Studio over the years. The creation of the studio has been a long learning process and you have helped mold it to become the place it is today. The list of people who have pushed and pulled and molded me into the person I am is much too long to document here.  I send gratitude and love in all directions.  Especially to those whose pushes I fought or resisted for your influence was the greatest in moving me out of my comfort zones and into a bigger manifestation. My greatest thanks and awe to this divine mystery that is this life.  I bow to the wonder of all that is.  I bow to the beautiful and bounteous earth around me.  I bow to the pull of the heavens, the support of the earth, and this amazing place I inhabit between the two. May all know peace.

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4:33 pm

Hello world!

Welcome to Live Well Studio, LLC, a center for healthy movement. We'll be opening in our newly built space in November 2010. Until then, take advantage of one of these great opening specials. 3 Private Pilates Equipment Sessions for $149 (regularly $180) Sampler Package: for $99 (reg $137) 1 private Pilates session, 1 Pilates circuit class, 3 mat classes (yoga, pilates, or dance)

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