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?

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(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!

Power Hour – Fridays at 12:10pm

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Take your pick!

Clare MooreJennifer Cataldo
Clare selfieJennifer2
Power Yoga in the Big ClassroomAdvanced Pilates in the Small Classroom

Either way you go – they’ll be serving it up strong!  See you on Fridays.

Ponderings on Anatomy

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The human being—amazing and beyond my ability to reason and my simple logic.  Awe and wonder.  I’m here prepping for this incredible 16 hours of working with the concept of the human body in motion with fresh inquiring “teacher minds”—future teachers of movement, Pilates, Yoga, Physical Training, Dancers…and curious folks inhabiting one of these amazing ever morphing vessels. I cannot help when  “studying”, I become  emotional with the opportunity I have been blessed experiencing human bodies in motion with all my lovely clients for over 20 years. More than all the body geek courses and workshops I take, my movement clients have become my teachers extraordinaire.  

I must admit that there has been a recent workshop that I took in January that has rocked and catapulted my perceptions and past body geek experiences to another dimension. This amazing intense 5 day experience was with frozen cadavers. I am forever grateful to Todd Garcia of Laboratory of Anatomical Enlightenment and Tom Myers of Anatomy Trains.  This spiritual experience has left me the indelible visceral memories of gingerly holding human hearts and lungs, running my latex glove over the dura of the human brain, delicately embracing the uterus and ovaries one of my incredible “teachers” (my “teacher” was a tiny scoliotic  woman we respectfully named Bella).    

I have chosen to invest my limited experiences on this earth delving deeper into the human form with love, respect, awe and wonder.  With the simultaneous ongoing study of my yoga lineage, with one teacher, addressing how to manifest joy on earth for myself and others,  how will all this messy exuberance culminate this weekend in my teaching?  It is not just a crap shoot.   I am visualizing all participants in 3D Anatomy, with their smiling faces, fearless bright eyes, open hearts molding clay in their hands, sharing personal perceptions with their voices,  creating new synapses in their brains and creating new ways of thinking of human movement that will  manifest in the compassionate and innovative ways of relating to their movement students.  The result will be spreading the word of efficient, smooth, flowing movement that enhances well being and health.  The result will create a healthy new approach to respecting and loving ourselves and others.  They will discover in their own journey, the continuum of the human experience.  I am blessed and grateful for all the teachers along the way and the encouragement of all who will listen to my messy processing of my experiences in movement and life.  Let the party begin! 

 

Gooey Zumba

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Since I have been reading blogs and watching podcasts and youtubes of late, I have come to the conclusion that my writing style is more about my sensory experiences.  I am an artist and a scientist so my notes and mind organization have components of both.  I love bullet points.  I love simplicity in graphics.  I love emotional words.  I love the tactile qualities of “seeing and touching” what I am reading.  That being my preface, have I mentioned that I love teaching Zumba?  This is the ultimate of seeing, hearing, feeling, bumping, moving, sweating, yelping, playing in community. 

Here is my thinking:  What is not to like?  I get to listen to music I like.  It is like dancing in my kitchen.  I get to wear comfortable clothes.   I get my sweat on.  I love to dance and shake my sh…  it feels good way down in my viscera.  I love the sensation of my psoas vibrating to the depths of the bass in the tunes.   All the folks I zumba with are kind and playful.  I don’t feel judged for having fun or forgetting a step.  Zumba does not feel like exercise and I don’t consider it exercise. Have I told you that I don’t like to exercise? ..I like to play…exercise in my book is “should work”… googled play:  

verb

  1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.  “the children were playing outside”  
    • synonyms: amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun

I consider it playful movement.  I feel I help others to feel goodness as demonstrated by their whoops, hollers, sweaty smiles, belly laughs, beautiful shaking, high fives.  I imagine all of us splashing in the goo of the good-feeling hormone, oxytocin.  Oxytocin is the hormone of love and community.   Oxytocin is contagious and spreads easily.  I’m sure you have seen that Coca Cola commercial of one person helping another stranger on the street pick up their papers flying out of their brief case.  Other onlookers, begin to help.  Smiles start to happen.  Then an elder needs help across the street and someone who witnessed the flying paper incident with all hands helping, gladly stops their direction to help this elder across the street…the chain reaction of kind deeds continues as the camera pans up to the sky with the Coca Cola bottle fizzing.  Hokey.  And I do not condone Coca Cola at all.  I think Coca Cola is evil stuff.  I think the Coca Cola marketing team understands human nature and the strong effects of Oxytocin.

Being a body geek, I know that joy is good for holistic health of any being.  I also know that repetitive movement can be hard on the muscular skeletal system yet each dance offers the opportunity to move differently by virtue of the uniqueness of each song I choose.  I know that my heart rate fluctuates with each dance and more contemporary movement thought is this is healthier for the heart than sustained-even-tempoed “cardio”.  Taxing the heart and then resting and bringing the exertion up and resting is good for us.

I’m sure you have heard me yell “ breathe through your nose” or point to the nose after each song.  Zumba is also an experience that can help us oxygenate all our cells—good stuff in, bad stuff out, which is optimized by nasal breathing.

 Doing Zumba can also boost your metabolism.  After a nice session (I’m talking about mid day sessions) is the optimum time to sit and eat our largest meal of the day.  Our metabolism is revved.  This is the time (between 10-2) that our bodies are built to eat.  We feel good and happy hopefully, so food will be digested even more efficiently.

I just listened to a podcast on Alzheimers disease.  The good news is that we can “prevent” the progression of this scary disease through eating healthy, getting good sleep, and moving.  From another study, dancing, the communion of movement with music with people, is a winning combination to stave off the affects of Alzheimer’s .  Who knew that “good medicine” came in a dancing package?

Now I haven’t addressed injuries.  Have you noticed I’m not jumping so much anymore and my choreo is pretty low to the ground—I’m not a Tigger type but more of a “get low and groove” girl.  Dancing is not about perfection during this era in my life.  Dancing is about the playful movement and community that feeds not just my body and mind, but feeds my soul.  Yeah, that’s it, I love soul food.

Recap:  Zumba is so much for me, from play to soul food.  I invite you to come play in a Zumba class or a dance class. 

“Sitting is the new smoking”

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Star date June 30…”30 days has September, April, June…” last day in June of 2015!

Watch out! I’m listening to podcasts and reading some contemporary books about movement!   One of the latest podcasts that I listened to was by Dave Asprey,  an American entrepreneur, businessman, and author. He is the founder of “The Bulletproof Executive” and chairman of the board of the Silicon Valley Health Institute.  He was interviewing Dr. Joseph Mercola, an alternative medicine proponent, osteopathic physician, who markets a variety of controversial health stuff.  It was interesting to hear a physician and a body hacking geek go at it in a podcast format about current health issues.    One of the take aways that immediately stuck in my psyche was “sitting is the new smoking”–a term coined by Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. Levine has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and has summed up his findings in two sentences.  “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”  

I must admit that the presentation and the claims seemed pretty dramatic until I started reading about the studies.  Prolonged sitting can increase the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression and heart disease.  Sitters also have an increased likelihood of muscular skeletal problems to boot because desk chairs are not conducive for our moving working bodies.   But what twisted my mind was the statement that “Another reason the smoking analogy is relevant is that studies have repeatedly shown the effects of long-term sitting are not reversible through exercise or other good habits.”  WAIT!   I teach exercise and encourage good health habits as a profession.  And what do most of my students and clients do?  They sit because they are hard working folks or creative folks who sit on their butte’s working on their computers.

If you want to continue to freak yourself out on this subject, just Google “sitting is the new smoking”.  

What can we do if we love the productivity of our computer?  In a nut shell, stand up.  If you have a job seated for hours, see if you can make your desk a standing one.  There is a Pintrest page on standing desks.  There are all kinds of ideas for making our working areas more healthy.

I have a client that is marching in place at her standing desk until she gets a “desk treadmill”.  I have another client who had back problems and found that a standing desk helped alleviate his low back pain.  He was ahead of the time by converting to standing 5 years ago.

I have also recommended to so many of my folks to drink more water so they have to get up off their desk chair more often to relieve themselves.

I was reading some supporting articles and one recommendation was to cut your 5-6 hours at your desk to a max of 2-3 hours a day.  It just takes a conscious, seemingly worth while effort  to avoid a horrible disease or diseases.

Walk…walk…walk…walk…walk your dog, walk your partner, walk with your bestee, walk with a neighbor, walk the golf course…

Find “standing funness”.  There is a game called Spike Ball.  If you are a word game fanatic like me, how about lawn Banana Grams?

For me as a movement teacher, I am teaching at least half of my mat classes standing.  I’m encouraging folks to walk barefoot on beaches. (One of my favorite things to do on this earth!)   I’m encouraging folks to find a dance class.  Put some music on and dance in your kitchen.  One of my greatest joys is dancing in Zumba.  I find music that I like, choreograph in my kitchen, and then share and shake it with some of my favorite folks at Tone. 

Do your computer work standing at your kitchen counter.  Take yoga classes.  Take Pilates classes.  Taking Tone classes will help your posture so you can stand with more efficiency.

Get up!  Move it, Baby!

…Oh  I’m squatting on the floor with my computer on an ottoman typing this.  

How are you reading this?  Seated or standing?

All this wrapped up with nasal breathing!

~Monica

Blog ness

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Star date June 23rd 2015

I’m standing at my desk typing this entry.  Yes, the more body geek research and podcasts and books and journals I am exposed to of late are saying “sitting is the new smoking”.  More on that later when I type a few more articles standing up. 

 Today I’m talking about “health”.   “Health” has many faces.  “Health” has been defined as “the state of being free from illness or injury”.  Wow, that definition really is a  Debbie Downer (sorry folks if your name is Debbie).  In order to be “healthy” I need to be free from illness or injury?  I have old injuries.  Do they count as not being  “healthy”?  What if the old injuries don’t bother me anymore.  Am I still not “healthy”?  How do I know if I have an illness.  Some folks have illnesses and don’t have symptoms.  Are these folks “healthy”?  What if you have an illness and don’t care and are enjoying life.  Are they “healthy”?  

Another definition of  health is the “ability to adapt.”  The word “adapt” has the feeling as if I don’t fit so I need to change or “adapt”.   And another question is “adapt” to what?  What if I’m happy being different?  

 I experienced a beautiful affirmation of “health” a couple weeks ago on my family vacation in Maui.  The “health” that I experienced was warm balmy humid air, only a few biting bugs, sound of the ocean outside my window, all of my children and grand boyz and my hubby in shorts lounging around talking, laughing, and making important decisions of what we should have for dinner and should we snorkel before or after our pina colada.   This definition  of “health” did not take away my inability to run on the beach anymore,  but accepting that painless walking is wonderful and I don’t have to run. This definition of “health” was that warm feeling that my entire family is within 1/4 mile and my umbilicus was not screaming that my kids are not within 1 plane ticket away.   This “health” seems more like the word “happiness”.  I know that this wonderful feeling cannot last forever and I really don’t want to live in Maui all the time.  AND I can enjoy this almost effortless state for just a moment in the year.  It is the situation.  I’m unconsciously and consciously saying  “thank you” and “I’m so grateful” followed by a deep inhale and deep sigh every few minutes of the entire week!   Every one of us has our own definition of “health” or a “happiness” moment.  I am so glad to be back in Sonoma county, coming to Tone every morning and being and smiling to everyone in this beautiful community.  I wish everyone a “happiness” moment every so often. If we are talking about “health”,  I know deep down that I added a few more breaths to my life span and a many more memories to savor.  Is not “health” and “happiness” translated into “mahalo” and “aloha”?

I’m enjoying this!

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Star date June 3rd 2015

Feeling great!  After being a bit buggy and now having my digestive system working again is such a gift!  (Or “present”) Phew!  Can you hear all of the exhales of relief?  It has been an interesting week not because of physical causes but by the mental and emotional ones that effect my physical being.  So the first 2 entries in my body hacking journey were about causes of concern from within my physical body.  The physical congestion and ailments of this past week were caused by outside sources—something beyond my control.  The “beyond my control” are circumstances AND how I DEAL with them in terms of “worry” and “disgust” and “distaste” and “survival” and “disappointment” is what I CAN control.  My physical sensations when I experience these subjective feelings bring on insomnia, anxiety, stomach growling, indigestion, general malaise.  So what did I do? The first thing I did was ruminate—wrong!  This caused me more suffering.  My mind started coming up with made up scenarios of what if and sinister plots that are highly illegal.  Stop!  I started to slap myself with gratitudes—recalling all the reasons I love my life.  I have the most wonderful family.  I have my health—I dance, I walk, I choreograph, I practice my breath centered personalized asana.  I have the world’s best bestie.  I have the most brilliant biz partner.  I have a faith.  I love teaching and I get to do it daily.  I love learning and masticating and innovating how to disperse understanding.   I read and attend workshops I want.  I have a yoga teacher/coach.  I live in the most wonderful place in the world.  I help folks everyday to find their health path.  I have the most incredible community that I founded 15 years ago and help to sustain daily…the gratitudes go on and on. :)   I realized after this exercise that the human mind can be exposed to one frickin nasty and dismisses all of the wonderful “gratefuls”, when one ruminates.  I took action after that exercise.   I went to playing word games to relax (highly addictive!), talked with my support (my biz partner, my husband, my daughter, my friend), called my yoga teacher and went to my mat to breathe and practice.  With taking action (tapas, for you yogis), my physical symptoms started to fade and I was able to smile and make plans for clear action.  Feeling great!  These wonderful feelings are contagious—it’s biology.  I am feeling the oxytocin!  (More hormone explanation next entry—”hormones  run the world”) 

~Monica

$40 Private Pilates with Student Teacher Delphine

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We now have Student Teacher Delphine Adams on our Private Equipment schedule. She has gone thru the BASI Pilates Teacher training program founded by Rael Isacowitz – a leader in the Pilates community.

As Delphine finishes her student teaching hours, you WIN with an awesome Pilates equipment work-out offered AFTER WORK at a PRICE you can’t beat!

TIME: Mondays and Wednesdays – 6, 7 and 8pm timeslots

COST: $40 per session

Click here to schedule your appointment today!

My Health Journey – part 2

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May 20, 2015

I’ve been consistent!  I diligently take my little blue pill every night before I go to bed.  Thus far, I have had no traceable side effects…done and done.  

This past week I got hit with a “pedi” bug.  Wednesday morning at 6 AM I staggered to the bathroom and lost it…going back a couple days I had a “Lola” day.  Mondays are my days to be “Lola”.  “Lola” is gramma to 2 wonderful young young men.  One young man is 4.5 years old and the other  is 18 months.  Every Monday morning for the past 4.5 years, I sleep in to  7 am, dress in comfees and walking shoes, take off all jewelry,  take my recharged iphone, traveling cup of chai with ghee and take a drive east to Napa.  I say my mantras from my home to highway 12 then push play on my iphone to listen to a lecture, a book on tape, or a podcast for the 1 hour drive to a little house on Spring street to focus all, I mean all, of my attention to these 2 young men.  

This past Monday was no different.  When I got to Napa I was greeted with a sweet smile by a naked bathing 18 month old making sounds and splashing and laughing.  The older young man was already at pre-school.  I look forward to his returning later in the day–Mondays he practices Yoga with Mr. Trout.  This morning as she was getting ready to take advantage of her 6 hours unencumbered by smaller beings, THE mom mentioned that yesterday the younger had “thrown up once” and readily took a 3 hour nap, no fever.  He was all smiles yesterday and this morning.

We had a great 6 hours together reading books over and over again, talking about birds in the sky, singing his name, eating blackberries I had brought to just pop for snacks.  After about 2 1/2 hours of just talking about everything, chasing, eating, laughing, singing, reading, this baby’s sweet face looked into mine and his arms went up and I  instantaneously was right there.    He melted into my embrace and closed his eyes.  I got his blankee and wrapped him up and put him in his reclining stroller and off we went for 2 hours walking new routes in downtown Napa.  He slept the entire way.

When I came back he was still asleep so I melded his small warm body into mine until Mom returned from her errands… All was well until I woke up the next morning.  Stomach cramps and my body pushes “eject”.

Fortunately, after an hour or so, I sipped ginger tea and in a slightly weakened state attended the Maria Carrillo’s Economic Summit as a volunteer for the entire day–good thing I got to sit–no appetite and surging stomach cramps all day.  I made it.

Each consecutive day, “not as bad”.  Today is Sunday and I’m eating normally and breathing a sigh of gratitude of what a healthy day feels like.   I can’t help but think how that little man must have felt when he was going through the stomach cramps.  I guess that is why he just checked out for a 3 hour nap each day.  I wish I could have slept the past couple days when I felt like it.  

Today I’m just breathing fully, eating tentatively, exercising gingerly, and being in the healing moment and that is all of my bandwidth. I had all kinds of plans to blog about how I’m sure hormones are the motivation for our movement choices but alas, next installment.  Just grateful.