Reflections from Monica

Amazing beings of Tone,

It is another momentous time to reflect about the past year of challenges and wondrous moments of space and levity. During the longer nights and shorter days, we have opportunities to check “in” and reflect, digest, and process. I am often asked if I’m an optimist or a pessimist.  In trying moments, I fake it (optimism) until I literally create light. In light and beautiful moments, I expand and breathe in longing to savor. What I know is that all the relationships that I am exposed to at Tone, have attributed to my personal growth and health. I love hanging out with folks who believe that fun and conscious movement of their bodies and spirits elevates the world and relationships we choose to be in.

Thank you for your continued commitment to that which is good and positive. My goal is to continue to share this tool of possibilities so that the path is lit for all of us to be the best versions of ourselves.

My request for 2019 is that you too share this amazingness. Bring folks into classes. Try new
classes and experiences. Reach out in the space and get to know a new being. Say”hi” to a
stranger. Encourage others to take care of themselves. Practice random acts of
kindness—maybe take 30 seconds to have a meaningful conversation over a glass of wine
after the Friday Pilates class. Give yourself a private session to learn more about you.

These ideas are not resolutions. These are ideas to enhance the quality of your life—to breathe and act with mindfulness and kindness.

“Be the change you want to see in this world”  Mahatma Gandhi

It’s breast cancer awareness month. Let’s move through it together.

Cancer. It turns lives upside down and inside out, and even takes them away. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. We look around the studio and see strong, powerful women who will likely have to deal with a positive diagnosis — some who already have.

Despite all the pink that is wonderfully fashionable every October, breast cancer isn’t really a gendered problem. It balloons medical expenses, puts life on hold, and challenges the fabric that holds families together — no matter your sex; men and women alike deal with the ramifications of breast cancer. In fact, mortality rates are higher for men because awareness tends to be lower, so detection happens later.

And while daunting, a diagnosis now includes access to more tools and options. Science and medicine are doing remarkable things, and ever-increasing awareness has led to more women and men performing self-exams, catching things early, and giving their bodies plenty of time to respond, react, and recover.  At Tone, we’re available to help clients with the recovery part, offering specialized training to help survivors deal with their very specific circumstances and needs.

If you are working with a breast cancer diagnosis, exercise might not be your top priority… but the truth is, exercise can help jumpstart your recovery and help you avoid certain setbacks. Our clients come to us for a wide range of movement practices, from yoga to pilates, boxing to dance, but it’s tough to do anything when you’re physically and emotionally exhausted.

Exercise to Recover.

With its focus on alignment and core strength, pilates is a great discipline for improving posture and reshaping body mass. And honestly, sitting up straight, taking mindful breaths, feeling strong, can go a long way toward boosting self-esteem and confidence. Pilates can also help survivors regain range of motion throughout the chest and arms. Lymphedema is a real threat for survivors, but movement like you’ll find in pilates can help to keep lymph fluid moving through the body.

If you’re just starting out and need to take it easy, we recommend private pilates sessions. It’s an opportunity to slow down and get the attention you need. Our teachers are well-versed in modifications for Lymphedema and will work with you to assess your fitness level and build a program that’s aimed at developing strength, improving dynamic movement, and getting you back to feeling healthy. This isn’t a race. It’ll take time, but know that Tone is here to help you get there.

Some other thoughts as you (or a loved one) approach recovery after successful cancer treatment:

  • Dress comfortably, especially if you’ve had a lumpectomy or mastectomy.  Clothes that you can easily move in.
  • You set the pace. Don’t worry about a breakneck training regimen.  Work with your teacher to develop a program that suits your needs and gets you stronger.
  • We move to feel, and you might feel a lot. Don’t be afraid of letting that emotion out… we’re right here with you.

If you’re a breast cancer survivor, stop by Tone. We’d be honored to help you get back to where you need to be, and we really like hugs. Let’s move through it together.

**This month, schedule a private pilates session and receive a complementary kinesiotaping for lymphedema within your session.

This Weeks Ayurveda Tips with Enrica

Benefits of Sleep

Simply put, proper rest is essential for well being. In Ayurveda, it is one of the pillars of the three pillars of optimum health and well being. The body uses sleep as an opportunity to heal and repair damage done to the body while we are awake. When considering sleep, the quantity, quality and regularity must be assessed. Too much or too little sleep will, over time, have negative consequences.

Vata types: tend to be light sleepers, who are sensitive to noise. They awake easily often between the hours of 2-4 am and have difficulty falling back to sleep. When they do, it’s usually between 5-6 am and then they tend to over sleep. They wake up tires and use coffee and energy drinks to keep them going throughout the day. Too little sleep upsets vata types mobile light qualities, weakening tissues, aggravating nervous system and lowering immune systems.

Pitta types: tend to be good sleepers, except when they too much on their mind and stay up late working on projects. They feel their most productive or get a second wind late into the evening and early morning. This tendency to stay up late causes them to burn out, become intense and grumpy. When they do get to bed they toss and turn reviewing the things they have not done or need to do. This aggravates their already hot, light mobile qualities.

Kapha types: tend toward too much sleep. They have difficulty waking up and moving. If they didn’t need to get up early, they would sleep in until 9-10 am. Upon waking they feel sluggish and reach for coffee to get going. Excess sleep increases their heavy, static qualities.

Creating routines conducive to sleep:

  • Commit to a bedtime between 10-11 pm.
  • Wake early. Kapha by 6 am, Vata and Pitta by 7 am.
  • Eat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Ayurveda states the body does internal cleansing during sleep.
  • Disconnect from all electronic media a few hours before bedtime.
  • Switch off the lights and burn some candles for a softer environment.
  • Diffuse essential oils like lavender or chamomile.
  • Drink something warm like chamomile tea or milk with 1/2 teas., of fresh nutmeg and honey.
  • Do Abhyanga oil massage followed by a warm bath. Pay attention to oiling feet/scalp.
  • Jump into bed with a good book.

For more helpful Ayurveda tips, join Enrica every Monday morning at 8:10 am!

Quick Tips For July (Pitta Season)

Ayurveda Tips from Enrica

Eat more of:

Asparagus, Cilantro, Broccoli, Leafy Greens, Summer Squashes

To stay satisfied:

Eat fatty foods like avocado, seeds (pumpkin and sunflower), nuts like coconut, eggs, and raw cheese (in moderation), fatty fish (salmon, sardines).

To stay hydrated:

Cool, room temperature water with cucumber slices, eat more ripe fruit, make coriander tea.

Other cooling summer teas:

Chicory, Dandelion, Mint, and Hibiscus.

For more tips like this, come to our Monday, 8:10 am Yoga with Ayurveda Tips class with Enrica!

This weeks tips from Enrica’s Monday 8:10am Yoga w/ Ayurveda Tips class!

Food is Medicine – Herbs that cool for Pitta Season

  1. Tumeric – Healing is in this brightly colored spice. It helps reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, calm digestive problems, and heal the largest organ in the body, skin. Benefits also include, helping shield the body from allergens: pollen, poison ivy, oak, sunscreen chemicals and mold. Tumeric prevents the release of histamine, which reduces allergic reactions.
  2. Mint – Meals in summer can sometimes produce heartburn and indigestion. Mint leaves have medicinal properties that benefit the nervous, digestive, respiratory systems and skin. The herb relaxes stomach muscles, which improve digestion and can also treat irritable bowel syndrome.
  3. Fenugreek seeds – Is used for common skin disorders. Helps to cool the skin down and used externally to treat eczema, ulcers and inflammation of the skin.
  4. Fennel – Is cooling and moistening, which naturally cools the body in summer. It’s a carminative herb, helps with flatulence, and the soothing attributes of fennel may reduce anxiety and stress.
  5. Cumin – Values for its antibacterial, analgesic, antioxidant and anti-stress properties. It also helps to absorb more nutrients from food eaten. It is a nervine. Which is agents that affect the nerves. So, it helps support the nervous system.
  6. Cinnamon – Is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, heart friendly and has immune boosting qualities. It will also give a cooling effect in your body. Which may improve gut health and digestion.
  7. Cilantro – Has powrful health properties, helps clear up skin disorders, prevent heartburn, gas, bloating, food poisoning, and it stimulates digestion. Cilantro’s high antioxidant properties could prevent the body from oxidative damage of the sun.
  8. Cardamom – Boosts digestion, helps to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, factors that increase body heat. It aids to digestion of dairy products also.

For more, join Enrica every Monday at 8:10 am.

Our offer to help in moving forward

As the fires broke out in early October, I was sitting in Salem Oregon enjoying a late night visit to the library with my oldest daughter at her college. She and my younger daughter at home in Santa Rosa are so connected to social media that we became aware of the concern and devastation as it was developing. I was so proud of my business partner Monica and her husband Bob as they opened up Tone, that night and for the next week, as a non-official evacuation center. They hosted my husband and daughter along with many other scared folks and their pets that first night – continuing to keep it open the rest of the week.

Tone was closed for business for a few days as our teachers and clients were scattered. As soon as we were able, we opened up a limited schedule and folks seemed so grateful to resume some movement and normalcy. By the following Monday, we were open for our full schedule. Gratefully, none of our staff lost their homes but many of our clients did.   Tone, like so many other local businesses, took a heavy financial hit and there are no grants for loss of income to businesses – only loans. And business insurance only covers physical loss. So we did what we love to do. We dove back into our business – offering events and options for folks to come breathe and move. Tone, along with a donation from a dear client, are giving classes to folks in our community who have lost their homes and folks are taking us up on our offer. It is a blessing for us to help.

Time continues to tick and every day still brings a connection to the fire – a remembrance of a lost recipe, finding new routes to familiar spots, spontaneous tears as we come across places we haven’t dared to go. Folks have said this is a marathon. And marathons take training. We know a little bit about that. ;) Please come and take care of yourself so that you can move forward in strength.

If you know of anyone who would enjoy classes at Tone who lost their home in the fire, please have them contact us or if you send me their name, I’d be happy to reach out to them. We would love to offer them time here at Tone. To move. To breathe. To heal.

My best,


Sonoma County Proud

Tone Community,

As I write this, I am rested, showered and grateful to be at Tone.  This past week has been a blur for us all.  All Tone’s staff is accounted for and safe.

Everyone is doing their best and beyond.  Every act of kindness and patience is important – no matter how overt or how perceived small.  Tone is across the street to a major help center – FEMA, Red Cross, Insurance Companies . . .

We have heard from a number of our clients who have lost their homes.  Know that we are sending love and will extend what we can to all.


Breathing and visualizing a joyful and hopeful New Year 2017

I’m reading, listening, and studying (fuel and food for my yoga teachings–Yummy!) , the Book of Joy , a five day discussion fest with the Dali Lama and Rev. Desmond Tutu about “joy”.  As the intro eludes, this is a “3 layer birthday cake”. The first layer records amazing insights from two spiritual beings on the subject of “joy” (a fave Yoga Teacher Training discussion– one of the definitions of yoga is “Sustained Joy for Me”).  The 2nd layer is the infusion of the science of “joy” from esteemed brain and psycho and social researchers.  Oh , if you don’t know me,  I love science. My undergraduate minor was Anthro/Bio.   The 3rd layer of this wonderful cakey treat is the personal human stories of these 2 spiritual and happy beings. Just a warning, their personal stories are wrought with turmoil, pain, and suffering interlaced with forgiveness, integrity, and compassion.   Then look at the photos of them and one can sense “joy” and “love”.

Why a personal book review for a New Year wish?  This is the context for an encouragement to all you lovely beings who touch my life.  I am wishing you “joy” and “hope”  in the 2017 instead of “happiness” and “optimism”.  There is a depth and understanding in these two 3 letter and 4 letter words.  To me, “joy” is knowing that life is messy and at times absolutely horrible at the outset.  We have the choice how to react to life–we have a choice to choose our attitude.  We may not be able to control the events.  “Happiness” seems to be more related to passing and fleeting moments–pleasurable all the same.  And my wish to you is to breathe in the depth of love that joy carries with it.

I have been accused of being an eternal “optimist” but I relate more to the concept of being “hopeful”.  Optimism, in my being,  is associated more with magical thinking or being more “Pollyannaesque”.  “Hope”, in my perception, is a depth of knowing that humanity is wired for good and that there are always more sides to a situation.  Altitude, clarity, and experiences do wonders for perception.  My “hope” is built on faith–something bigger and greater than myself and my limited understanding.

So with above wish, may you find a daily practice that incorporates essence of the “Eight Pillars of Joy”

1)  Perspective
2)  Humility
3)  Humor
4)  Acceptance
5)  Forgiveness
6)  Gratitude
7)  Compassion
8)  Generosity

In breath and love,

Put those dance shoes away! Don’t you know you aren’t 18 anymore?!

On a recent afternoon following a particularly challenging day at work, a young, disgruntled woman sat in her car desperate to find somewhere she could channel her energy and let go of the previous eight hours in the way she most craved—she wanted to dance, and she wanted to dance NOW. Even though she had embarked on an identical search just a month before, she still held the slightest hope that a new development could have popped up since she last took to Google. Alas, nada. It was Berkley or bust, and unless a Delorean were to materialize and whisk her off southbound at 88 mph, it wasn’t going to happen. Yet again, she was left stunned that such a void existed in the North Bay dance community; that dance classes offered to experienced, passionate dancers above high school age just didn’t seem to exist. She asked her dashboard, the road, the sky above—anything in audible range, “How is this possible, and how can this change?!” Siri, per usual, couldn’t give her a satisfying response either.

That woman, who at that very moment could picture just a few more particles of dust gathering onto her stack of leotards at home, was Amanda Barragán. Having been given the opportunity for the last year teaching a casual Contemporary dance class at Tone to have met several dancers in the same rut, she knew it was time to shake up some serious OJ and offer a class that is so greatly in need: Contemporary Dance for Experienced Adults – aka Contemporary Dance Master Class.

CDMC is a full 90 minute class, structured traditionally. Class will begin with a general warm-up to be followed by technique, strengthening, a good long stretch, across-the-floor movement, and finally, the combination (Woohoo!!).  The vast possibilities of “Contemporary” dance will be explored, discovering its roots from several dance genres including Modern and Jazz. This is a class offered for all levels and capabilities, however previous dance experience is highly encouraged, as the pace of the class will move fairly quick compared to that of a beginning level.

If you’re a dancer that hasn’t yet found the opportunity to nurture your visceral need to create and emote through movement, this class is your chance! Once a dancer, always a dancer, no matter our age. Let’s feed our artistic spirits, succumb to the music and just have fun!

Join Amanda Barragán on the First Tuesday of every month from 7:30 to 9pm for her Contemporary Dance Master Class.  Also, join Heather Visser on the First Thursday of every month from 6:30 to 8pm for her Jazz Dance Master Class.

What is HIIT?


(cue Tower of Power music)

Wait!  Not, what is hip?  What is HIIT?  High Intensity Interval Training.  As our team took a look at this form of exercise, we decided it is an awesome way to get your cardio workout in.  So we are taking HIIT and wrapping it in Pilates to equal (drum roll please) HIITone.  We have switched our Cardio Toning classes to this new format – not a huge shift from what we were teaching but enough to fill you in on the details.

HIITone is a high intensity interval training class that incorporates the safety, form and functional benefits of Pilates. You will be guided thru a series of high intensity bursts (20 to 45 seconds) followed by rest (10 to 15 seconds). This trains your body to recover quickly from exertion. This type of workout promotes a high calorie burn not only during the workout but also for the rest of the day. While exercises will be presented at high intensity, modifications for less impact and intensity will be given. The class will end with 10 to 20 minutes of Pilates and stretching. How do you know if you are ready for this class? Sculpt and Tone is a great preparation class – helping you learn proper squat form, developing the core strength to stay in safe spine positioning and learning how to handle hand weights. Shoes are required for this class.

Wanna give it a try?  Here are the times it is offered:

What do you think?  Wanna give it a try?  Lots of options here at Tone.  See you soon!