May I tell you a really poorly kept secret? I love the Groove! Like, from the depth of my very being, I love it! Let me tell you why.... I've spent most of my life as an athlete. Since childhood, I've been involved in some form of physical activity, including soccer as a kid, into triathlons and running as an adult. Even though I always enjoyed being physical, it was really in my 30s that I embraced athletics purely for the joy of it. To be honest, the athletics of my 20s typically involved a lot of beer, but I digress. Over my years, I've bounced back and forth between being a "typical" athlete and being an "atypical" athlete. I've had periods of time in my life where I've been the lean, mean, fighting machine kind, and periods in my life where I've been the round, sound, glorious mound kind. But no matter my shape, I've always been an athlete. Unfortunately, the mindset in our society, and even in my own head on my less confident days, is that we're only healthy and an actual athlete if we're the former, not the latter. That somehow, our accomplishments, efforts, and movements are less real or meaningful if we're not at the top of our game, the king of the heap, and most importantly skinny! Which is kind of mean and, more importantly, utter bullshit. Even in my peak running days in my 30s, I was never on the podium. I was solidly, joyfully, and enthusiastically middle of the pack, and I DID ALL THE THINGS! But, as the years packed on, so too did my middle, as well as my body being less and less able to do and be the way it was. Those less confident days grew in number as my weight climbed higher, my recovery days grew longer, and my injuries became more frequent. It steadily became harder to do all the things, and some of the things became out of reach. For example, given the arthritis in my 13-times sprained ankles, learning Parkour is simply out of the question. In this aging body, I was losing my identity as an athlete. Then, along came Groove! I took a class from Natalie, and I was hooked! Dancing? AWESOME! Sweating? Bring it! Movement my own way? PINCH ME! When Natalie provided the opportunity for me to become a facilitator of the Groove, I joyfully shimmied my way down this awesome path! The very premise of this movement experience is that you are perfect, just the way you are. Groove doesn't simply say you don't have to look like anyone else -- it emphatically dares you NOT to look like anyone... except you. We are uniting on the dancefloor as a unique community, doing the same moves together, but expressing them in our own, delicious way! Movement is exceptional for the mind, body, and soul, and Groove is bringing that in ways the feel delectable, yummy, and accessible to YOU. There is no agenda, no end game, no expectations in a Groove class. However it is that you want to express our united moves, whatever modification you need to make (need a chair? Let's do it!), in all the glorious ways of being authentically yourself, that is the gift of Grooving.
Come Groove with me! We'll be athletes together, in our very own uniques and marvelous way!
What is your profession? I have worked for the last decade in Kitchens. I am now beginning my Yoga teaching career, and I have been shooting Photography for over half my life. How many years have you been practicing? I have been practicing yoga in different dedications for 10 years and over the last 5 have become much more invested in my yoga path with regular Asana practices and living the yogic path off the mat. What is your favorite thing about what you do? The part I love the most is the fulfillment of a smile from my students, customers or clients. That through our sharing they have had an experience that leaves them better than before and I carry that with me as well. I think this comes from doing my best to be 100% present within that which I am doing, whether photos, cooking, or yoga. What’s your motto? My mantras and intentions shift moment by moment but I think the four agreements are great guidelines for life: •be impeccable with your words •don’t take anything personally •don’t make assumptions •always do your best Favorite hobbies? Fire dancing, dancing in general, beach in the sun, wine at sunset, hiking, climbing, yoga, cooking, photography. Tell us something most people don’t know about you. I am often quite nervous...however my yoga practice really helps me to be in my most grounded highest self, easing the nerves of being socially awkward : ) What makes you happy? Love : ) for myself, family, community, partner. Give us a little advice… Life like Yoga Asana, is a practice. It takes dedication, focus, and showing up every moment to the present of what is REALLY happening. Having an idea of what you want in the future yet allowing it to unfold through what you do in the now, naturally. Allowing awareness we gain through our practice to show us our path. Stop, ground, and listen. It’s all happening because of you ...as we create our own experience, keep trusting positive thoughts and energy and enjoy what begins to show up.
As a Massage Therapist, one of the most common complaints of discomfort seems to come from the shoulders. Its often described as a coat hanger shape moving along the tops of the shoulders and up the neck. This is why the trapezius muscle is nicknamed “The Coat Hanger Muscle.” But what if I told you the problem may not be coming from your traps but from the front of your body? It may be coming from your pectoral muscles and the surrounding support. Your muscles exist to support your bones and execute movement, in order to do this they work on a well balanced pulley system. So basically when relaxed your muscles are still holding slight tension in order to hold you up right and in place. Now for example, movement occurs when the contracting groups of muscles “the agonist” or the biceps shorten causing your arm to bend at the elbow while simultaneously “the antagonist” or the triceps have to relax and extend to allow for this movement to happen, while also still holding some tension so you don't smack yourself in the face every time you bend your elbow. There’s this constant controlled tension between the two sides, its quite amazing if you stop and think about it. Your body does this unconsciously all the time, while sitting down, working out and even typing! It’s always working. So, think of your body as this well oiled machine that’s constantly working to help you move and go about life. Hopefully, this makes it easy to imagine sometimes things don’t always work as they should. This pulley system is what gets your traps in trouble. Think about some of the repetitive things you do all day, drive cars, sit at desks and type on computers, maybe you work on repairing machines all day. What all of these things have in common, is holding your arms in front of you for extended periods of time. This means the front of your body is hard at work producing movement while your upper back muscles are holding a slight extension which can be very fatiguing especially since we don't prepare our bodies to do that. What’s crazy is people spend their whole lives thinking that the problem is their traps, and there is some truth to that, but you also need to be looking at the pecs and how tight they are. I find the most effective way to relieve the traps and shoulders is by first focusing on the pecs; by opening and releasing tension in this area this allows the upper back muscles like your traps and rhomboids to relax and sit in a more natural position, relieving some of the discomfort in your shoulders and neck. Next time you stretch or get a massage make sure to spend sometime on your pectoral muscles and even your anterior deltoids. Consequently, then you may start to notice better posture, less discomfort and a better ability to move.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about discomfort in these areas and would like a massage, or need some help improving your posture and movement.
What is your profession? - Certified Neuromuscular Therapist (aka Massage Therapist) How many years have you been practicing? - 3 years! What is your favorite thing about what you do - Massage face! It's the face people have when coming out of a massage. It’s the expression that tells me I have done a good job helping someone relax and relieve some pain. It's the best! What’s your motto? "My mission is to help people move better, feel better and live better by getting the best understanding I can of their bodies and lifestyles, and to assist creating a partnership between mind and body again. " Favorite hobbies? - Hiking, camping, running, yoga and most things outdoors. Also, I love finding and exploring farmers markets! You can always find the best trinkets and food. Yum! Tell us something most people don’t know about you. - I lived in Mexico City for 11 years, so I am fluent in Spanish. I’m also half Chilean! What makes you happy? - My pup Frankie, friends and family, a really good cup of coffee and days of fun. The simple things in life. Give us a little advice… - Go about life with curious eyes and an open heart. Drink lots of water!
Rob and Melissa are Bhakti Yogis, recording artists and Kirtan singers devoted to celebrating the divine through the practice of Kirtan. Their latest CD " Tejase" has been described as "Heart-opening Bliss," "joyful medicine," and "love and devotion materialized!" Kirtan (call and response chanting) is the heartbeat of Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion. Rob and Melissa's kirtan is a fresh take on ancient practice and their heart-filled songs blend Sanskrit chants with modern, accessible melodies and lush harmonies. Join Rob and Melissa for a heart felt celebration of the divine! Cost $25
Here are a few of my favorite things! Last week Yin Yoga, this week Yoga Nidra. I have to admit, when I went into Yoga Nidra for the first time, yes with an open mind and ready for some good ol meditation, I never expected what I got. And what I got blew my mind. I have spent most of my adult life doing some sort of yoga and meditation, and quite honestly I like guided meditation, but hadn’t really found one that made me tingle — that was until my Dear yoga instructor extraordinaire Sylvia brought me Yoga Nidra. I resonated with Yoga Nidra like no other meditative practice I have ever tried. And the more I learned about this practice well … I was and am totally hooked. It is interesting to me to say that a practice so calming and relaxing is powerful, yet that is exactly what Yoga Nidra is powerful! Yoga Nidra or Yogic Sleep is a simple yet profound practice developed from traditional Tantric practices. Yoga Nidra is a meditative technique with evidence-based, scientific research backing its effectiveness. The intent of Yoga Nidra is to create full body relaxation and a deep meditative state. We live in a world of chronic exhaustion and overstimulation, Yoga Nidra is a simple practice of inducing complete physical, mental & emotional relaxation. I am absolutely fascinated by the science behind Yoga Nidra, yet it is the results that keep me practicing! More energy, quiet mind, and better sleep, are a short list of the top results I have received from Yoga Nidra. Bottom line: Yoga Nidra makes me a better human! And a human that feels better : ) With yoga nidra you are invited to recline in a comfortable position. Most of us enjoy Yoga Nidra lying down, however it can be practiced in a sitting position if that is more available to you. You are then guided (similar to a guided meditation) to a state between sleep and wakefulness. It really is one of the most effortless practices I have experienced. Yes very simple, easy to practice and available to everyone! So a huge heartfelt Thank you to Syliva for bringing Yoga Nidra into my life! It has changed me for the better. Spa Eir has added more Yoga Nidra to our schedule. During this busy summer season it is great to add a bit of calm to the hectic, and Yoga Nidra is the perfect solution. Check out the new class times online or give us a call and we will be happy to give you more information. Blessings, Natalie
Over the last few weeks I have been asked by several clients what type of massage technique I practice. One young man from Europe told me he wanted to go back home and find a therapist who practiced my technique! I was also told that I have empathy for your muscles! Love that one : ) I believe that by quiet mindfulness and concentration, one can hear with one’s hands, what clients bodies most need. When you hear what the body is saying, a massage therapist (and nurse) can respond with the touch, pressure and technique that each specific body needs. And even more specifically, what the muscles, tendons, or joints are asking for. I can’t tell you exactly what my technique is, as I use a combination of techniques I learned through rigorous massage and nursing education and 25+ years of hands on practice. But I can tell you some massage technique basics. The two most commonly known types of massage and two that played a large part in my massage education and my practice, are Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage. Swedish massage was developed by a Swedish man, Per Henrik Ling and introduced to the US in 1858 as the “Swedish Movement Cure.” The main goal of the Swedish massage is to relax the whole body by massaging the muscles with long gliding strokes. As well as overall relaxation and tension release, Swedish massage can increase the level of oxygen in the blood, decrease muscle toxins, and improve circulation and flexibility, all of which benefit your health, wellness, and mood. A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Volunteers also had an increase in their number of lymphocytes, the white blood cells that are part of the immune system, this boost in the immune cells may help fight infections such as colds and flu. Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage, yet uses deeper pressure to produce release. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that participants blood pressure fell after just one 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. And, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage like deep tissue reduces stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by increasing the release of oxytocin and serotonin (feel good hormones). These are two of the most common massage practices and two that I use routinely and have studied and practiced for many years now. Remember it is always important to fill out your massage intake form completely and have a conversation with your massage therapist before, during (don’t be afraid to speak up during a massage), and after each massage to ensure that your massage needs are being fully addressed. And really finding a massage therapist that you click with and can work with you to get the results you are looking for is the bottom line! Leave the training and techniques to us! Just relax, enjoy, and feel good! Blessings, Natalie
Your friend says to you, “I’m tired, sad, sick, hurt, angry, frustrated,” and you say “Hmmm… sounds like you need yoga.” Your friend responds, “That is your answer to everything!!” Then, you sit back and think, Yes it is… Because it works. Are you curious why yoga can be the answer to almost problem? The practice of yoga is just a drop in the ocean of our lives. Like the drop creates ripples, yoga ripples into all aspects of the yogis life. The work the yogi does on the mat is more than just sweat and struggle, it is a cultivation of the authentic Self, a return to the Self that exists behind the veils of the manifest. It is this Self that creates the manifest, the mastermind designing your experience. By building or renewing/strengthening this relationship there is an opportunity to alter/heal this Self some people refer to as the spirit. The spirit can be a lot like a small child. Trauma, pain, ridicule or judgment may have caused it to flee long ago or like a fragile vase that has been tossed about, it may have shattered into a million tiny pieces. This practice is about developing trust and an environment that is safe to heal all the cracks and invoke a reunion. The spirit is our eternal life force bringing super-natural powers like eternal youth, fire, passion and enthusiasm. Spirit can flow in and fill all your cracks, bringing light to all the darkness and heal your soul. Spirit will leave you wanting for nothing. Needs and desires will temporarily dissolve as accessing the spirit takes presence and in presence you inevitably discover everything is here, exactly where you are. How do you connect with this Self through yoga? View your practice as an open invitation to the mind, the body and the spirit to reunite on the mat. No matter how long it has been since their last reunion the mat becomes a sanctuary, a sacred ground, a place that is safe and secure. You can step onto the mat and begin the process of peeling off all the layers you may have placed between you and your Self to become all those things the world demands of us; Mom, dad, sister, brother, friend, employee. It is the only place where the only expectation is to be present to what is. In presence, there can exist no judgment, ridicule, expectations, dread or worry. In true presence, there can only be acceptance of what is. This acceptance sometimes called surrender can be the path to liberation from all suffering that begins in the mind. Once the mind is in presence it will align with the divine teacher/wisdom that exists within you that we are often too busy worrying about the future or dwelling on the past to listen to. As the breath and movement combine we can control the movement of vitality throughout our cells this purifies the body. Once pure in body and mind the yogi can extend an invitation to the spirit.