May 15

How Aerial Yoga Battles Back and Neck Pain

When people think of aerial yoga, their thoughts usually go straight to impressive acts of flexibility and balance, often performed many feet in the air. However, this view of the practice leaves out some of the best benefits that aerial yoga can provide. This type of yoga is especially good for neck and back pain. A few reasons why:

Aerial yoga makes you feel weightless.

This style of yoga is performed in a soft hammock a few feet above the ground. When you are suspended like this, you do not have the pressure of the floor or mat beneath you. This means a more comfortable yoga experience if you are already dealing with back or neck pain.

Deep stretches are easier.

When you have gravity working on your side, it is much easier to get the deep stretches that help you work out kinks and pain. Simply relax into positions and discover how easy it is to get the full benefit of each stretch. Stretching helps relieve pain in the short term by relaxing tight muscles. In the long term, it helps you build flexibility to avoid injury.

Aerial yoga is invigorating.

When we exercise, it releases endorphins. These feel-good chemicals are powerful pain relievers. When you engage in the graceful, weightless practice of aerial yoga, you will get a good dose of that beneficial reaction. You’ll find that you are relaxed and less likely to feel back or neck pain.

Aerial yoga allows you to breathe more deeply.

Breath is at the center of yoga. Maintaining smooth breath flow helps you relax into the positions and get the calming benefit from your practice. With aerial yoga, you will not find yourself tense and straining for a position. As a result, you will breathe more deeply, which in turn helps combat neck and back pain.

Almost anyone can do aerial yoga.

As long as you are within the hammock’s weight limit, you can do aerial yoga. Do not feel that it is something reserved for people with the bodies of acrobats. Anyone can start with aerial and begin getting the benefits right away. Aerial yoga’s graceful movements help you build confidence right away. This, in turn, makes it easier to commit to a regular yoga routine that will help you grow stronger and more flexible. You’ll find that the better you get at aerial, the fewer neck and back problems you will have.

We offer several aerial classes every week for people of all yoga skill levels. Check our calendar to see one that fits your schedule. Our instructor can answer your questions before class and help you achieve the right moves to help you become more flexible and cut out back and neck pain.

May 01

What are isometric moves?

If you’ve ever watched a ballet barre workout, you have probably noticed that there isn’t a lot of movement going on a lot of the time. Participants will either stand perfectly still or move in tiny inch by inch movements. Why is that? Isn’t barre supposed to be an intense core-focused work out. It it. It’s just that the poses themselves, known as isometric exercises, can help you get fit without having to make it look intense.

Isometric exercises involve tensing muscles without really moving them. Try pressing your hands against each other, palm to palm. They won’t move very much. But, you’ll feel tension and activity through your arms and chest.

In barre workouts, you hold poses that activate the muscle fibers, even though there won’t be movement. In many cases, you will either hold still or move in tiny one-inch increments. While you won’t move a lot, you’ll definitely feel like you worked out.

These exercises need good technique to ensure that you get the highest level of benefit. To make your ballet barre workout pay off, remember the following:

1. Breathe.

When you are tensing muscles, you can wind up unconsciously holding your breath. Concentrate on keeping your breathing as deep and steady as possible, just as you would during yoga. Pull breaths deep into your belly to get ample oxygen during your workout.

2. Work on your form.

Your form during a barre workout should have turned hips to keep you stable. Watch your instructor for the correct movements and poses. Doing it right means a more effective workout and a lower chance of injury. It’s also important to remember that class is not a competition. If you need do to modifications at first, talk to your instructor about the best moves for you. It’s better to go softer and build up than to injure yourself and miss classes!

3. Squeeze!

Since you are not moving during isometric exercise, good pressure is important. You should aim for about 60 to 80 percent of your strength. This is enough for you to get the maximum benefit without wearing yourself out with maximum effort.

4. Mix up your workouts.

Doing different types of exercises throughout your week can help you gain endurance and build strength throughout all your muscle sets. Consider mixing ballet barre workouts with yoga to get flexibility, strength and a long, lean dancer’s body. We offer a range of class times throughout the week so that you can catch whatever one you want to do.

Ballet barre workouts are hugely effective. Most people start to see improvements within a couple of weeks. While this exercise can be challenging, the pay-off is huge. Start with ballet barre now and start seeing the benefits in strength, flexibility and confidence right away.

Apr 15

Avoiding Injury During Ballet Barre Workouts

Ballet barre Pilates offers a great core workout; but, like any exercise, there is a risk of injury. To keep yourself off the sidelines, remember these important injury-avoidance tips during every barre workout:

1. Watch your posture.

Barre exercises are meant to be performed with your hips, knees and ankles turned out. If you do not have a background in dance, this can feel unnatural. However, this posture is necessary for the movements in class. A good teacher will help you attain the right position for every move during your barre workout.

2. Remember that it is a class, not a competition.

It is important to always work to your own abilities instead of trying to keep up with the people around you. By working at your own pace, you can gradually increase your abilities without risking painful injuries. The only person you are in any competition with is the person who you were yesterday. Focus on individual improvement instead of being as good or better than everyone else.

3. Focus on your core.

Draw your abdominal muscles up and in during each movement. This keeps you safe during exercises. It also helps you build more core strength over time; this will protect you from injury not just at your ballet barre class, but also during other day to day and athletic activities.

4. Tell your instructor about any past injuries.

If you have an old knee injury or another issue, this can increase your chances of being injured at barre class if you do not make changes. Take a few minutes before your first class to discuss any limitations with your instructor. She can help you with modifications to poses that are easier on your body.

5. Don’t overdo the tuck.

Tucking your pelvis is part of how you get the proper poses in ballet. However, in a barre class, excessive tucking can do more harm than good. This position can put more stress on your back, knees and hips. Instead, keep your spine in a neutral position. You will still get the benefit of every move. You’ll also avoid damage to delicate tissue.

6. Don’t try to push through pain.

The old adage “no pain, no gain” has been proven wrong in study after study. If you are experiencing pain that is more intense than the feeling of effort, it is time to stop. Do not try to push farther in a pose when your body is resisting. Listen to your body’s cues and stay within your limits. This allows you to build up endurance and flexibility over time.

As with any exercise, it is important to take on challenges gradually and to avoid pushing yourself beyong your body’s limits. Common sense precautions can help you keep your barre classes challenging and fun without leading to painful injuries.

Apr 01

Can I Do Yoga When I’m Sick?

Feel a bug coming on? One of the decisions to make is whether to continue your practice as normal or whether it’s better to take a few days off to recuperate. The answer is that it’s not as simple as a yes or no question. When you are under the weather, consider these tips about when you should practice and when you should hold off:

You’re never too sick for meditation.

While most of us think about the physical activities associated with yoga, the mental ones are just as important. If you are feeling too achy and fatigued for a full asana, at least spend some time in quiet meditation. It will help you stay centered and focus more fully on getting well again.

Just do what you feel comfortable with.

If you have a headache, a full aerial yoga session complete with inversions is probably not a good idea. When the flu leaves you stiff, it is likely that any poses that push the limits of your flexibility will be out. Listen to your body and adjust your workout to fit what you are currently up to. When we first begin yoga, we are told that the goal is not to push as far as you can but to do only as much as you can while keeping your breathing smooth and even. Do what you can while focusing on your breath, even if it is less intense than your usual routine.

Make sure you stay nourished and hydrated.

Having enough fuel and water is important even when you are at 100%. When you are sick, it becomes even more important to ensure that you are feeding your body. If you can’t keep down full meals, sip broth and eat foods that are gentle on your body, like yogurt. Drink tea to ensure that you are getting enough liquid even when it hurts to swallow.

Simple stretches can help.

If you are feeling sore and stiff, doing a few gentle stretches can be just the right thing. These restorative movements can help ease pain and aid in relaxation. Aim for about 60 to 70% of the intensity of your usual routine to ensure you do not push yourself too far and add injuries to your illness.

Make sure you don’t pass it on.

Above all else, it’s a good idea to stay away from the studio if you might be contagious. Even though yoga mats and aerial yoga hammocks are cleaned and disinfected regularly, the chances of infecting someone else in your class are too high.

Careful attention to your body’s needs can help you get through your illness faster and get back to full health. Stick with whatever level of activity suits you best, get plenty of rest and come back to join us when you are back to full health.

Mar 15

How Aerial Yoga Builds Confidence

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Ever looked at an aerial performer with envy? How do they get that ability? Don’t you just wish that you could do what they could do? Surprisingly, these skills are not as elusive as they’d seem. Aerial yoga is accessible to people of all levels of mobility and all skill levels. You will be surprised at the things you can get your body to do once you trust yourself enough to try.

Most aerial moves are adaptations of the same ones you’d do in a yoga class on the ground. You rest in a soft but strong nylon hammock during class. Aerial yoga hammocks are only suspended about three feet above the ground. Most moves are perfectly safe and there is no need to fear falling. You are just high enough for full movement; even if you did fall, it’s a short enough distance that there is little chance of injury. However, once you gain skill in this area, you will find that most moves come with no risk of falling at all. You can do the same things in class that others are doing far from the ground. Most of us will never perform on aerial silks in public, but knowing that you have worked for the same abilities is a thrill.

The biggest difference between traditional and aerial yoga is the increased range of movement. Aided by gravity and the additional space, you have the ability to extend each move farther. Over time, this means that you can build a higher degree of flexibility faster. You will find that your abilities in other yoga disciplines are increased, giving you a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. 

Aerial yoga is supremely relaxing. During your practice, you will have less pressure on your body. You will enjoy a higher level of focus, making every minute of your yoga workout work for you. When you come out of class, you will feel more calm and collected than when you went in. All of this leads to strong self-assurance and an easier time dealing with whatever the day throws at you.

This is a form of yoga that can also make you stronger more quickly. In many poses, you are working against gravity, giving you a more intense workout. When we become physically stronger, it can make us feel emotionally stronger, too. This translates into a higher degree of confidence in your day to day life.

By taking on a more challenging form, you can make a connection with deeper, more confident parts of yourself. Aerial yoga is accessible to you no matter what your previous experience. Looking for something that is fun, healthy and can make you feel better about yourself all at the same time? Check our schedule to learn when you can join us at an aerial yoga class.

Mar 01

Strengthen Your Core with Barre Workouts

barre workouts

We all know how important core strength is. A strong core gives you better posture. It protects you from injury when you are taking on new athletic challenges. It helps you keep up your stamina when you are faced with a long and hectic day.

The problem is finding the exercises that will help you develop that powerful core. Ballet barre Pilates allows you to develop strength in an engaging and challenging class. Barre classes can be intimidating to people who have not tried them before. After all, not many of us are ballerinas! However, ballet barre just refers to the inspiration and the equipment. 

Barre Pilates classes are hybrid classes that take the best of both disciplines. There is no need to come into class with dance training. Our instructors can work with you to help you through the movements. Even if you worry that you won’t get it right away, you can participate at your own pace. There are modifications for every skill level and every age; there’s no need to feel like you are affecting anyone else’s workout or holding the class back. Don’t worry about keeping up with others in the class; the only person you need to compare yourself with is the one who you were yesterday.

Barre classes allow you to get the muscle development you need without putting extra stress on your spine, your ligaments or your joints. Not only do they help you avoid injury by increasing your core strength; they also help you avoid injury while you are developing those important muscles.

From your first class, you will see how effective barre Pilates’s small movements are. Every muscle from head to toe will feel like they worked. You will find that you are getting stronger everywhere, including your core.

You will also find that your level of flexibility increases along with your strength. As you increase your range of movement, you also will increase your abilities in other areas, as well. Have trouble getting into some of the tougher yoga poses? Your work in barre Pilates will make those difficult moves far more attainable.

The best part is, you can see improvements fast. This is not an exercise routine that requires months of faithful dedication before you see a result. You will find that you are stronger, more flexible and more capable before you know it. Many people begin to see dramatic results just after two to four barre workouts a week for one month.

If you are looking for a shapelier, stronger and more capable you, join us for a barre class. We promise to work you to the edge of your abilities, keep you challenged and help you build the strength that will open up the opportunities you crave.

Feb 15

What Is Yin Yang Harmony Yoga?

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In the Chinese Taoist tradition, energy is understood through the paired concepts of yin and yang. Together, these energies bring balance. In our Yin Yang Harmony yoga classes, we draw from each of these energies for a class that is equally invigorating and relaxing.

The concept of yin and yang dates back to at least the third century BC; it is possible it is older than that.  The yin yang symbol represent harmony between dark and light. It is a calm balance that came out of chaos. Each energy is intrinsically linked to the other, and each contains some of the other. This is why there is a small spot of the opposite color in the heart of each side of the yin yang symbol. The sides are drawn to each other and complement one another. To have a harmonious existence, you must draw from each side, keeping the two energies in balance. In Taoist beliefs, a surfeit of either energy is harmful. You need to be both passive and active to get access to a full life.

Yang energy is masculine, warm, active and striving. The word “yang” comes from one that translates to “sunny side.” This is the energy that imbues our actions when we are working hard toward improvement, whether that improvement is in our work lives, our relationships or in ourselves. The yang half of our Yin Yang Harmony class is active and dynamic Vinyasa Yoga. This is a challenging style that helps us build strength and flexibility. We are striving toward change and improvement.

The word yin means “shady side.” It is energy that is passive, cool, feminine, soft and accepting. It is the act of being gently transformed. Yin energy is malleable; it moves like water, effortlessly adapting to fit the world around it without changing. In Yin Yang yoga, yin energy symbolizes softness and flow. During the yin portion of the class, we focus on acceptance. Calm meditation and self-love help us accept the parts of our bodies that we never feel are good enough. We hold deep stretches for three to five minutes at a time, gently stretching connective tissues and relaxing into a state of bliss.

By balancing these active and passive energies, we are able to craft a yoga practice that gives us both a vigorous and strengthening workout and a calming and relaxing moving meditation. We gain the strength and endurance to push through our toughest challenges and the serenity to move through them peacefully. We look forward to the opportunity to share this aspect of our practice with you. Check the schedule to join us in a Yin Yang Harmony class.

Feb 01

Benefits of Aromatherapy

benefits-of-aromatherapy

They say that scent is the sense that is most closely tied to memory and emotion. Because of this, aromatherapy has powers to help you relax and to focus more completely during your yoga practice. We put this to use for a more total mind-body experience during our aromatherapy yoga class.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils, which are volatile plant-based materials. These aromatic oils have been used therapeutically for at least 6,000 years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used them in medicines, cosmetics and perfumes.

Aromatherapy came back into popular use in the 1950s, gaining momentum through the 1980s. The scents each oil used in aromatherapy stimulate brain activity to affect emotional, mental and physical health. A French chemist discovered that, when he applied lavender oil to a burn on his hand, he experienced pain relief and quicker healing. Modern scientists theorize that the scent of lavender stimulates a region of the brain known as the amygdala, providing relaxation. Different oils have been found to have different effects. While lavender aids healing, the scent of neroli, the essential oil of bitter oranges, helps reduce blood pressure and anxiety. The scent of lemon improves mood. In other tests, essential oils such as rose and frankincense helped ease pain and improved participants’ sense of well-being. While there are still few human studies, the information is encouraging and inspiring.

Yoga has also been clinically proven to assist with pain relief, building strength, increasing flexibility and helping with mental and emotional health. Studies show that people who practice yoga regularly are more resilient in the face of stress and are more likely to stay healthy and have strong immune systems. By incorporating yoga into your life, you are able to become stronger and more effective in other areas of your life, as well.

During our aromatherapy yoga sessions, we use the power of scent along with the known relaxing and centering power of yoga. Together, these movements and scents provide healing, uplifting and calming effects. The result is a complete mind and body experience that incorporates all of your senses. This is one of our most immersive and satisfying yoga classes. You will emerge from this class relaxed, balanced and ready to face the stresses of the week with calm. We offer this and other yoga classes on a regular basis to fit your needs and your schedule. Check our class schedule today to schedule a class that provides the movement and calm that you need. Whether you indulge in aerial yoga, aromatherapy or another class, each provides unique benefits that can enhance your health and your life.

Jan 15

Yoga for Weight Loss

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Many of us wind up overindulging during the holidays and picking up a bit of extra weight. With regular yoga practice and healthy eating, however, you can get back to fighting fit. A few of the reasons yoga is a great for weight loss:

1. Yoga helps you develop self-compassion

When you make a commitment to healthier eating habits, a few slip-ups are inevitable. When you are feeling self-critical about these lapses, it’s easy to give up and fall into bad habits again. Regular yoga practice helps you feel more compassionate toward yourself; if you slip up or overindulge, it is easier to let it go and continue with better habits the next day.

2. Yoga can help with weight distribution

While genes have the most impact on where you will carry weight, hormones play a part, as well. When we are under a lot of stress, our bodies release cortisone. This stress hormone makes us more likely to carry weight around our bellies. With the relaxing power of regular yoga, we reduce stress hormones, allowing us to distribute whatever weight we do carry in different areas.

3. Yoga burns calories

Gentle hatha yoga burns around 160 calories for every hour of practice. More vigorous styles like vinyasa can burn over 500 per hour. While exercise alone doesn’t lead to a large enough calorie deficit for weight loss, paired with a healthy diet, you will be on the way to feeling better and looking your best.

4. Yoga can change how you deal with stress

When researchers talked to psychologists about the factors that affect diet, they said that emotional eating was one of the most important. Our hectic daily lives can leave us feeling stressed out and reaching to food for comfort. When we add our yoga practice to our daily routines, we change the way that our brains react to stress. We become more level headed and able to keep calm even during trying days. This allows us to better regulate how and what we eat. You will find that you are less likely to reach for a sugary snack when stress comes up and more likely to cope with healthier habits.

Yoga helps us connect our minds and our bodies. We are better able to form the habits that will serve both best. Over time, we will find that, when we practice yoga regularly, we eat better, are gentler with ourselves and that our bodies are stronger, slimmer and healthier. Book a class today to work toward the best version of yourself.

Jan 01

The History of Ballet Barre Pilates

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Barre workouts are trendy now, and a popular way for a number of celebrities to stay in shape. However, many people are surprised to learn that this full-body workout is not new. For over 50 years, barre classes have been helping both men and women attain higher levels of fitness.

Dancer Lotte Berk first developed the barre method when she suffered a back injury. By combining her ballet barre training with physical therapy, she was able to recover and get stronger. She opened her studio, The Lotte Berk Method in London in 1959.

Her method came to the US in 1971 when one of her students, Lydia Bach, opened The Lotte Berk Method in New York. According to Bach, the benefit of barre workouts is how they balance toughness and safety. People who participate in barre classes are able to push themselves with less risk of injury than in other high-energy workouts.

Since its beginnings, barre workouts have been known for their ability to provide toning and flexibility in a fun setting. The combination of ballet moves, yoga and pilates creates a highly effective workout. Instructors have a great deal of flexibility and will add their own unique spin on this well established and effective form. As the workout has developed over time, it has benefited from the input of sports scientists and modern exercise efforts to make it more effective.

The ballet barre pilates studio looks like a traditional dance studio, with barres along the walls to help you balance and open floor for other activities. Shoes are not worn in class; typically, participants will be barefoot or wearing grip socks or ballet shoes.

he barre exercises help you develop your core muscles. This helps you burn fat, improves your posture and can make you more effective in your everyday life. Whether you are engaging in another athletic activity, in the middle of a fast paced day at work or making the most of a day off, your barre training will give you a boost.

Our barre classes use modern, high paced music to get you moving. Intervals of strengthening and lengthening exercises help you flatten your stomach, lift your bottom, tone your airs and develop shapely thighs. The class is challenging, but addictive. Each time you practice the movements, you build the strength and endurance to make it easier next time and to give yourself the ability to move up to the next level.

Barre has the power to help you feel changes in your body right away. Over time, you will see your body improve and feel stronger, sexier and more confident. Book a class today.

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