This is one of my favorite dance conditioning sequences that I developed to challenge balance, core and coordination. Using a small pilates ball increases the level of difficulty to maintain the lines in the lower limb and spine. Breath control and ease of movement are all challenged here. This exercise prepares for choreography and provides musicality that gets you out of your head and back into your body.

In one exercise, the following will be developed and challenged:

1. Dynamic core stability
2. Ability to move in neutral spinal alignment
3. Strong leg lines
4. Controlled, graceful ports de bras
5. Diaphragmatic breath without compromising transverse abdominus engagement
6. Thoracic extension
7. Lumbopelvic stability
8. Pelvic floor activation and endurance (hello!)
9.Musicality

And most importantly,

You are conditioning while you dance.

Dance gets you out of your head and back to your body so you can begin again.

You don’t have to be a dancer to try this out.

What dance skills do you think this will prepare you for?

Here are 2:
1. Barrel turns
2. Side tilts

Comment below to add to the list.

The Pilates Half Roll Back with a flexband helps to promote the opening of the Lumbar Spine in flexion and the activation of core musculature.

Chronic back pain is often caused by posture that is the result of weak abdominal strength which leads to an anterior tilted pelvis and arched low back.

If you sit most of the day, have tight hip flexors or just had a baby, this exercise below is very helpful to counter this postural effect.

Turn up the sound and try it out. Comment below and tell me what you think!

Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life.


I forgot where I put my keys…. Then I forgot where I put my wallet. Where did I put my glass of water again?

Overwhelm.

Anxiety.

Analysis Paralysis.

A high speed life, can lead to anxiety and panic. This activates the stress response which believe it or not can work against you when it comes to finding clarity and solutions for problem solving.

Clarity Emerges from a Grounded Mind.

Dr. Blessyl Buan

Grounding is the act of slowing down.

Return to your breath.

Return to your senses.

Reset your mind.

Stop the stress and defensive response.

Ignite creativity, innovation and flow.

Chronic pain, headaches, upper body tension, jaw pain and hand and wrist pain are physical manifestations of stress. In my practice, I prescribe the following grounding exercises to help my patients to find inner piece and to free their brains from the stress response. This in turn, promotes their power to heal.

1. Get your hands dirty

As adults, we don’t do this as often as we should. Planting, baking, painting, working with clay are all examples of ways that we can bring the tactile experience back to our life. Being tactile, allows us to be fully present with the experience. Perhaps this is why the slime craze is so popular among kids and adolescents. They need the slime for stress relief!

2. Immerse yourself in nature

It’s often advised the walking in nature is healing. It prompts you to look, listen and feel what is around you. They don’t call it “forest bathing” for nothing.

3.Surround yourself with art for a dose of inspiration

Beautiful objects and images inspire. They make your heart sing. They give you ideas of what you want to manifest for yourself. Beauty is everywhere if you open your eyes to it.

4. Journal on paper

Typing thoughts don’t have the same tactile experience of writing it down on paper. You are forced to slow down. Feel the ink interact with the paper. Doodle. Draw. Avoid writing inside of the lines. See the magic emerge.

5.Turn on Music and Dance

Music is like a portal that can take you to another world where all things are possible. Allow your body to embody the music. Feel the down beat, the crescendo and decrescendo of the music. Where does breath lie in the music? How does the rhythm allow you to breathe?

Try it out. Embrace your inner child and note how you feel. If you have children, it’s also important they have a chance to feel grounded.

Grounded families are happy families.

On November 15th, the Canadian Olympic Committee hosted an event at the Berkley Church Theatre in Toronto to celebrate the achievements of the Olympic Athletes and the corporate sponsors who supported them. I performed in a Flash Mob, choreographed by Janet L. Castillo. The choreography changed tempo often and portrayed the highs and lows of the athletes during their training and Olympic victory. This night was also special because I was 4 months pregnant and embraced the opportunity to perform.

It was a great experience to be a part of this night. Below is the video shot and edited by my husband, Ryan Buan. He did an excellent job capturing the performance despite the challenges of the venue and the nature of the performance.

Check it out and feel the Olympic spirit!

Like Santa, we lift, stand for long periods of time and work around the clock.  During this holiday season, ask yourself this:

“Why am I so quick to invest in material things and not my own body?”

Being young and full of vitality takes work. A healthy lifestyle trumps depending on “good genes”. (oh yes it’s true)

Image
image taken from The Chiropractic Journal

See a chiropractor. Learn about your posture and alignment. Prevent unhealthy alignment and pain. Get on the right foot.

Dance inherently trains the body about spatial awareness, balance and the emotional connection to music.  It is the simplest way to develop your ability to listen to your body’s internal cues.

Many of my patients are disconnected to their bodies. The onset of injuries shock them, their strain is annoying and pain is an inconvenient symptom. What they don’t realize is that the body has been whispering messages to them for many years. It is only until the body “goes on strike” with a debilitating injury, that my patients start to listen then come to my office.

Move!  Fshutterstock_109846025eel joy in your movement, are you free? are you restricted?

It’s time to listen.

Look what a corset can do…. You can use your abdominal “corset”: the transverse abdominus muscle to achieve the same effect.

Photo taken from

http://pinterest.com/pin/421016265134695384/ via @pinterest

The transverse abdominus is the deepest layer of abdominal muscle and is a muscle that stabilizes the spine and improves posture. It’s a muscle that requires endurance. Pilates is a great way to strengthen this muscle.

It’s important for me that my patients understand what is happening in their body. This is why I come up with analogies. A lot of times, they come so spontaneously I surprise myself.

When a patient complains of pain and numbness and tingling that radiates from the neck to their fingers as a result of postural strain from sustained desk work and excessive sitting, this is what I say:

“Your nerve is like a USB connection to your computer which is your brain.  Sensory nerves are responsible for giving messages about sensation (hot, cold, vibration, pressure) to the brain and the brain uses motor nerves to send messages to muscles to move.  When muscles are chronically tight, they compromise your posture which compromises your nerves ability to relay those messages like a really poor USB connection.  As a result, you feel numbness and tingling or pain”.

Suddenly the patient’s “inner light bulb “goes off and understands this concept much better. In the digital age, you need to think of the nerves like USB connections.

Being aware and connected to the messages that your body give you is the first step in healing. How can you correct something that you don’t understand?

My analogies are simple and are not meant to be very physiological to the point of confusion. My intention is for my patients to understand CONCEPTS not become adept in neuroanatomy (for those of you hardcore anatomists who find this analogy too simple).

Chiropractic helps to restore those connections. I also layer in myofascial work , acupuncture and exercise prescription so that proper alignment becomes a lifestyle choice.

Take care of your USB connections. Take care of your body.

It is often emphasized that balance is the key to good health, but really balance in the sense that all aspects in life have an equal part of your “energy pie” never happens.  The the amount of energy that you give to each part changes in ratio with each day or season of life.  For example, when I was a student, most of my waking hours were dedicated to being in class and studying. Socializing, housework, saving money, etc. took a very small portion of my energy. Is that bad? Not really. It’s realistic for that moment in time. Is it balanced? No. But was I healthy? Yes, as much as I could for that moment.

Similarly, in my phase of being a mother to two young children I am content if on top of keeping my kids  happy and healthy that I can get in two days of exercise per week, sleep 4-5 hours a night , eat regularly, connect with my husband and keep my business afloat. Isn’t that nuts? Yes! It’s hard for me to swallow sometimes, but it’s as balanced as I can be for the time being. (Also note that housework didn’t even make the list).

So really, balance is elusive. Priorities shift and chaos ensues. The key to staying afloat of this chaos is the feeling and connection with being grounded.

Grounded? What the heck is that?

I would argue that most people do not even recognize that they are not grounded. Being grounded means having complete control of your breath, not being emotionally connected to the possibility of failing and having a consistent positive outlook on life. I’m touch and go with being grounded and currently I am working towards getting back there.

For me, I know I’m grounded when I can feel the ground beneath my feet. I get this feeling after a chiropractic adjustment or a yoga/pilates class. It’s very important for you to have the kinesthetic awareness of the ground beneath your feet. It means you feel stable. This stability is both figurative and literal.

I can empathize with my shallow breathing patients who feel like a “chicken running around with their head cut off”. Their minds are racing and they feel like a helium balloon floating away, disconnecting from the earth and their bodies.

Shallow breathers, return to belly breathing

Shallow breathing happens when your adrenaline is activated. Think of your adrenaline as your body’s internal espresso machine or “Red Bull”. Inherently, we have this mechanism to react to life-threatening dangers, but in the modern world we activate this hormone to meet deadlines, apease relationships and satisfy material needs. Ideally, adrenaline should be used transiently until the resolution of the stressor, however most people maintain adrenaline levels until it turns into complete disconnection with your body and eventual burn out.

Please acknowledge this: Constant shallow breathing leads to chronic tension in the neck, chest and shoulder muscles, dysfunctional ribs and anxiety. Like hyperventilating, your head is floating away like a helium balloon. Only you can keep yourself from flying away.

Pull that string

Bring yourself back to the ground by doing the following:

  1. Belly breathing:  As you inhale, your abdomen should be relaxed and your belly button should move away from your spine. Shoulder and neck muscles should be relaxed and stop gripping your jaw, eyebrows, fist, hips etc. There’s no reason for the tension!
  2. Meditate: Visualize the connection of your feet to the ground. Imagine the helium ballon returning to the rest of your body. Use whatever imagery, (ex. creating roots from your feet into the soil) that makes sense.
  3.  Go outside. Be present. Walk barefoot and feel the breeze against your face. City people spend too much time in front of machines.
  4. Get body work. See a chiropractor, massage therapist, osteopath, acupuncture or whomever you feel comfortable to help you release tension and reconnect with your body. 
  5. Move. Take a yoga or pilates class  or move in any way that nurtures your soul. Stretch and strengthen.
  6. Practice Gratitude. Be grateful for what your daily victories are instead of what the holes in your list are that need to be accomplished.
  7.  Acknowledge that balance is not the key
  8. Acknowledge that being GROUNDED is the answer.

I hope this helps.