After working with many dancers privately and in an group session over the years, it became evident that accountability is a huge determining factor on the success of the dancer.
A major roadblock for the developing and professional dancer is comparison. This is not surprising since training hours are for the most part in front of mirror.
Mirrors have a powerful influence to feed a dancer’s negative bias. This stunts a positive growth mindset. I’ve experienced this personally in my dance journey and also observe this in clinic and in the studio.
To offset this, I designed My Dance Goal Worksheets.
My Dance Goal Worksheets were designed for the developing and professional dancer who are looking to find clarity in their goals for their mind, body and dance movement. It is important to be able to track daily progress, create positive affirmations and to map out short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. This accountability is what turns the dream into a reality.
These sheets improve communication between the dancer and their conscious awareness, the dance teacher, parent, colleagues and health practitioner.
It brings the focus on what the dancer can do for themselves instead of prematurely “pigeon-holing” their baseline skills into a self-perceived trajectory.
In exchange for this resource, please take a picture of you using the sheets and post it on social using #mydancegoalworksheets and tag @drblessyl to help spread the word to other dancers who can benefit.
My goal is to create a workbook to make it easier for the dancer to track their progress. I would love to hear your feedback! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initial visits are typically longer because it is important to gather information about your symptoms to create a diagnosis.
The history is where you tell your story.
This is the part where you tell me where it hurts, when it started to hurt and what makes it worse.
Then, I will ask you to go deeper.
There are injuries and medical conditions in the past that can have an impact to today’s issue. For example, being an elite figure skater during childhood can create issues with the way you activate your core at the gym. We develop motor patterns that become subconscious and as adults, we don’t know how to adjust these patterns to different types of activities. This “go to” motor pattern, can cause injuries like hip and knee pain for example.
I know, it’s hard to recount past traumas, however even the smallest perceived trauma can have lasting effects. I’ve had patients in my office who downplayed past accidents where they lost consciousness, the car flipped over and the “jaws of life” were required to remove them from the scene. As they recounted the trauma, they said it was “no big deal” and that “no follow up treatment was required.”
Trauma gets stored in the body.
And so, as the holistic detective I gather information about your lifestyle, level of activity, quality of sleep and stress levels to get the whole picture.
In this phase, I do a postural assessment as well as a joint specific assessment in the areas that need to be assessed.
Chiropractors assess beyond the spine. I also assess shoulders, wrists, ankles and hips. Basically if it’s a joint or a muscle, I will assess it if it part of your symptoms.
Specificity and Big Picture
I also investigate kinetic chains. In this way, I don’t “spot search” or “spot treat”. I keep the biomechanics of the movement in mind.
The goal is to improve performance, therefore if you have knee pain, but we don’t address foot posture or the stability in your spine and pelvis, then we won’t get a full reason why your body is functioning the way it is.
After the assessment is complete, I will sit with you to discuss the findings and teach you a mini anatomy lesson so that you understand WHY and WHAT is happening.
When you are empowered to know what is going on, then you can make a positive change.
Report of Findings & Consent
A copy of the summary of findings will be emailed to you with a list of self-care action steps to support your treatment plan.
Treatment options like: Chiropractic, Medical Acupuncture, Myofascial Release, Kinesiotaping and Prescribed Exercise Rehabilitation will be offered.
Once you decide which tools you feel comfortable to heal your issue, then formal consent it taken.
Then it’s healing time.
Treatment is always offered at your initial visit.
Every new patient will be prescribed a curated set of exercises and stretches that will support the healing of their condition via the Physitrack app. The app is free and you will get a complete video library through which you can track your pain levels and your attendance.
It’s all about accountability when you want transformation.
Well there you have it.
The initial visit is all about:
Assessing your body’s mobility, strength and neurological signs
Empowering you with information
Tools for your successful transformation
Now over to you.
If you have a goal that you want to accomplish, comment below.
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!)
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?
When you think of Self-Care, what is the first image that comes to mind? Is it a vacation? A massage? Time with people you love? These are wonderful things.
Self-care? Maybe later.
Now, once you visualize these things, how quickly do you take action to make your day dreams happen? Or do feelings of fatigue and procrastination immediately derail your plans? If you can relate, then it’s likely that you are lacking in one or more of three fundamentals of Self-Care.
The 3 fundamentals of Self-Care are Sleep, Nutrition and Movement.
Catch some zzzzs
Sleep is important. When you sleep your body heals, recovers and integrates the information that you learned during the day. Lack of sleep is a primary cause for reduced brain function. This manifests as poor short-term memory, brain fog, mood changes, anxiety, depression and reduced motivation. When your brain is not functioning optimally, then finding the motivation to make healthy decisions is hard to find, in addition to being overwhelming. Transformation does not happen with a sleepy brain.
Don’t skip a meal
Nutrition is important in order to feed your body’s system with the essential nutrients and minerals to survive and perform optimally. Skipping meals or fuelling your body with unhealthy options in the short, or long term can have negative effects on your metabolic rate, energy levels, body composition and stress levels. Transformation does not happen with a nutrient deficient diet.
But I walked to my car.
There is movement, and then there is moving well. Moving well means you’ve moved for at least 20 minutes continuously. This is enough time to get out of your head and into your body. Movement, no matter the method releases endorphins which are the “feel good hormones”. Healthy movement is the antidote to mobilizing fear, stimulating creative flow, improving physical strength, flexibility, brain function and more. I think that’s called transformation!
Need a vacation?
The key to understand here, is that when you are sleep-deprived, hungry and sedentary you are STRESSED. Sleep, food and movement are basic metrics to keep the body happy. If you are missing any of these daily, then the stress response is automatically triggered. Chronic stress leads to the development of chronic illness and morbidities like high blood pressure, obesity, Type II diabetes, Thyroid dysfunction etc.
Hijack Your Stress Response
The secret to Self-Care then is making sure that your body isn’t stressed by taking inventory of the three fundamentals. Of course, there are many other triggers of stress that exist. Even during other stressful events, your resilience to these factors will be highly dependent on the quality of sleep, food and movement that you’ve committed to at any moment in time.
Self-Care doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
It’s often during healing that self-doubt creeps in, because on the other side of healing is great power. An injury or sickness is like an initiation or call to action. What is required of you to make a change? What actionable steps do you need to commit to in order to change your current trajectory for the better?
When it comes to positive change, most people wish they were stronger, leaner, resilient etc. Yet, most people are happy to continue with their status quo. This complacency is so common because it’s easier. The truth is this: It is very uncomfortable to make changes in the body. The process is gradual and the chance of quitting is high.
Success is highly dependent on how accountable you are to make it happen.
In my practice, I give my patients the tools to discover how they can layer in regular self-care to support their healing. I even prescribe personalized exercise videos they can access via the app Physitrack on their smart devices. Despite this, compliance is not always stellar.
Success in healing lies in how badly you really want it and how much you believe that you deserve it.
This is perhaps why the self-care, self-love and self-development industry is quite lucrative. Many of us will research, but few of us will implement. Think of the ways you avoid action to make a positive change in your life. I know that I often skip going to the gym, don’t always take my vitamins, sometimes skip out on brushing my teeth after putting my kids to sleep….the list goes on and I accept the consequences.
This year however, I am taking the reigns on my accountability and making small actionable steps achievable to improve my sleep, my brain power, my creative drive, my strength and flexibility so that I can be of service to my family and to the world.
So realize this: healing is messy. It’s a stop and go journey. There will be successes and there will be relapses. It is after all, part of being human. So as you continue on this messy journey of healing, just know that on the other side of it is a great story that you will one day be proud of sharing.
In the age of constant smart phone use, raising young children or having a full-time job that requires the use of your hands, it’s not surprising that your wrists can hold you back when practising Yoga or Pilates. Repetitive strain can cause tension and pain in the flexor and extensor muscles that course along the forearm and control the movement of the fingers. You will also find that the muscles that control movement of the thumb are also stiff and painful. This chronic muscular tension can negatively impact the alignment of the carpal bones of the wrist, thereby reducing joint mobility.
This misalignment can be experienced as a “pinching” sensation when weight-bearing on the hand. Wrist extension is required while doing Plank exercises, Chatturanga or Downward Dog. Even more advanced asanas like Astavakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose) or Pilates Leg Pull Front depend on strong wrists.
If you can relate, warming up can help to improve joint mobility and reduce pain during your practice. Here are 3 exercises to do before your class begins:
Wrist rotations: Circle your hands clockwise eight times then repeat counterclockwise eight times. This improves circulation and warms up the joints.
2. Wrist flexor stretch with overpressure: Positioning yourself on all fours, place the heel of your hands on the mat in front of you with your hands palms down and your fingers pointing towards your knees. Place a gentle over pressure on your wrists by leaning forward and backwards. You should feel a stretch along the surface of your forearms that face away from you.
3. Wrist extensor stretch with overpressure: Positioning yourself on all fours, place your wrists on the mat in front of you with your hands palms up and your fingers pointing towards your knees. Place a gentle over pressure on your wrists by leaning forward and backwards. You should feel a stretch along the surface of your forearms that face away from you.
If during your practice your wrists are still sore, you can roll the end of your mat several times to create a cushion that will support your wrists in slight flexion. If it is still painful in certain poses, take a rest in child pose. As you continue to practice, stretch and strengthen, your tolerance in wrist weight bearing will improve. If recovery is too lengthy and you are starting to feel concerned, see your health care provider.
Today I treated a nurse who works in the Neurotrauma unit at St. Mike’s Hospital. Her description of her duties is admiral but also stressful. When you are running on adrenaline, your breath becomes shallow and your body will store tension in your upper body. Especially when you are trying to deflect the emotional aspects of caring for your patients and their family members. Take the time during hand washing to slow down your breath and luxuriate in the brief moment that you are taking care of yourself. Small moments of belly breathing are enough to give you energy and mental clarity to be your best. Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life.