If You See Something, Say Something


Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic Cover

Read this book.

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book, Big Magic. In the book, she offers advice for the perfectionist that “done is better than good.” Now, in the world of creative living without fear, done is precisely what one needs. Perfection when you are attempting to create is a roadblock and can prevent you from doing big things. BUT, in the world of human movement, perfection is a requirement to keep your body safe.

When you are doing something with your body, whether it is yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, running – done is not better than perfect. Perfect, in my opinion, is the only thing you should be striving for. Perfection in every repetition, stroke and movement to ensure that balance is being created throughout your body. We have enough imbalances brought on by technology and our daily life that hammering them into your bodies even more with your movement practice is far less helpful than beneficial.

Have you ever had a cut on your right hand that kept you from using your hand? How many times did you have to switch hands and do something with your left hand that day? Or few days? Or week? Chances are that you default to using your dominant hand every day without a second thought, which means that without even trying, one side of your body is already stronger and more dexterous from extensive practice for many of your daily movements. read more…

Banish Back Pain with this Simple Stretch

During my junior and senior year of college, I had the awesome opportunity to serve as a student athletic trainer in the athletics department at UC Davis. As students, we helped monitor practices and the training room, including a rehab room for injured athletes. We spent so much time serving others and being concerned for their health and safety, that it was sometimes difficult to flip the script when you were the injured one.

"Saving" lives on the field at UCD.

“Saving” lives on the field at UCD.

During the summer, when the temperature would easily get over 100˚, we would fill large ice buckets for the teams to hop into after practice. Once all the athletes had finished practice for the day, we would dump the ice buckets out for cleaning.

I am super lucky to not have experienced many injuries in my life, but this one is seared into my memory. I twisted while pushing the ice bucket over and felt an immediate and sharp pain in my lower back. I finished cleaning up and then went into the athletic training room for some ice (Ice and its effects is a whole other story that we’ll have to get into another day 😉 ). Other than ice, I did nothing. I was a college student working two jobs in addition to school – the fact that I didn’t have money for a massage or any hands on therapy was negated by the fact that I also didn’t have free time. read more…

Less is More

One of the perks of being a Yoga Tune Up® teacher is that we have monthly coaching calls where Jill and the community share their insight on specific topics. This month, Jill and Sarah Court (fellow YTU Teacher Trainer and soon-to-be DPT) shared their learnings from the recent Fascia Research Congress.

First of all, I love to be reminded that the YTU community is so deep when it comes to specialties and knowledge – such a treat. Also, it is very important to surround yourself with people who inspire your curiosity and excitement around whatever your passion topics are! Needless to say, I hung up from the call so EXCITED with what they shared. read more…

Finding Your Tribe

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Anchorage and lead the Yoga Tune Up® Integrated Embodied Anatomy Training. The 3-day training culminates in a mini Retrofit Your Downdog class experience that puts the weekend’s learning together in a practical way. For all of the students in Anchorage, this was their first experience with Integrated Anatomy and for many, the first time they had broken down and thoroughly examined yoga’s beloved pose, Downward Facing Dog.

Downdog is best done with a dog.

Downdog is best done with a dog.

Downdog is the epitome of yoga poses. Ask anyone about yoga and it’s probably the first and only pose they know about. Many yogis define themselves and their practice by their Downward Dog. But the shape we are trying to achieve during DownDog is not possible for every individual’s shoulders. Whether it’s limitations because of flexibility, injury or your bone shape limiting your range of motion – we are not all cut from the same cloth and can’t expect to do poses identically. read more…

Rolling is Not The Only Answer

A study from earlier this year compared static stretching, foam rolling and a combination of the two to see if one method was best to increase range of motion. Range of motion is how much movement you have at a joint and static stretching is just what the name implies – a stretch that has no movement, like touching your toes and holding it, for example. Foam rolling, while obviously not my favorite form of myofascial release, is a way to increase range of motion (how far you can move a joint) without decreasing force production. Static stretching can decrease the reactivity of your muscles, so finding a method to improve range of motion without losing performance makes sense.

The researchers found an increase in range of motion for all options (static stretching, foam rolling and static stretching + foam rolling) even when the length of time the intervention was applied was only 3 sets of 30 seconds with 10 seconds of inter‐set rest. They found that the combining foam rolling and static stretching was the most effective at increasing range of motion.

I thought it was very interesting that all three improved range of motion even when the total exposure time was less than 2 minutes – it truly does not take a lot to affect your tissues or nervous system. This information is helpful for athletes or those who are using myofascial release before workouts/activities that even short applications are effective, whether it is with a foam roller or YTU therapy balls.

BUT, across the board the results were short lived – range of motion returned to what it was within 10 minutes. The take home message?

Rolling is not the answer to all of your problems.

GASP! I know, right? The release and relief we get from rolling is short lived. You may have felt this is as you worked on a particularly tight area – it feels great after you roll, but may tighten up within the hour. Rolling only address a piece of the posture and movement pie, but you should be using the window of opportunity post-rolling to train the new range of motion and positions into your brain.

If your chronically tight shoulders are not able to go all the way overhead in full flexion without your spine and ribs going along for the ride, rolling out your shoulders and latissimus dorsi is a great idea. But don’t call it a day after you roll! Use the new flexibility you’ve created through your rolling program to work on strengthening in this new position. If your shoulders are chronically tight, chances are there is an imbalance in your shoulders, with muscles that are on vacation and others that are working overtime and need a break. While your shoulders will return to their most familiar range of motion, training in the post-rolling window may have improved things. Even if the change was only 1% – that’s 1% more than last time, and you can continue to bank the improvement away.

This is why I love teaching my Yoga Tune Up® and Mobility for Performance classes so much. Yes, we could roll the whole time, and sometimes we do, but training within this window offers you the chance to make drastic changes with your pain, posture and ultimately, your performance.

See you on the mat 😉


Upcoming Events:

  • October 11: Yoga Tune Up® Weekend! (Black Dog Yoga, Sherman Oaks, CA)
  • October 18: Mobility for Performance: Total Body Treatment (CrossFit SolCity, Hollywood, CA)
  • November 7: Banish Back Pain (Yoga Vibe at the Village, Glendale Ca)
  • November 8: Tackle Your Tension: Total Body Treatment (Unfold Yoga, Brea CA)

Learn More About Upcoming Workshops

Learn More About Upcoming Trainings

Shift Happens When You’re Willing To Work For It

Change is inevitable. Shift happens.

We’ve heard these sayings over and over again, and yet, when we’re in the thick of a difficult time, they never seem to be true! I know I am preaching to the choir when I say that things would be so much easier if you could come to a decision and then instantly reap the benefits. This goes for business, life, body – whatever – but how nice would it be if you realized that a change needed to be made, and then it instantaneously resolved itself?

Take posture for example, when I shined a light on my own posture and began to work towards improving it, change came so stinking gradual. To this day, years later, I am still working on keeping my feet in parallel (damn you left foot) and not hyperextending my knees. I wish there was a special fix that would INSTANTLY remove hypertension from my joints’ vocabulary – many of my body issues stem from this hypermobility.

The people who experience the most beneficial change are the ones who are willing to put in the work and rumble with the un-comfortableness of being in the moment. I am currently listening to Brené Brown’s book, Rising Strong. (Yes, listening – audiobooks are a great way to feed your brain and creativity while in the kitchen or car.) You should go get this book in any of it’s formats and read it immediately – Brené asks all the questions you may not be asking of yourself and does it through story telling – all my favorite things! The book is about picking your self up after a fall and what it takes to rise from the ashes strong and empowered.

We all want the quick fix and tell ourselves that it would be so much simpler to close your eyes and have all your dreams and wishes come true, but the process of change is just as beneficial as the result. Getting from point A to point B is great, but its the crumbs in between that help to shape and craft our understanding and appreciation for when we finally arrive at point B.

For many people, their first time on the YTU Therapy balls is uncomfortable. The balls force you to FEEL. This feeling can be what you’ve been avoiding, what you’ve been compensating for, or what has been screaming at you for the last few years. The Therapy Balls have no biases, they don’t lie to avoid hurting your feelings, and they simply report the truth of the tension in your tissues. It would be nice to have the knot in your upper back unwind completely after one session, but it’s not going to work that way. It may take a few hours, weeks, or years of dedicated, regular practice to finally feel change, but in the mean time you will feel the other benefits that only rolling can provide.

It’s work to make change in your body, especially when the habit has been firmly rooted for a lifetime, but change is inevitable. Since your bodies’ cells are constantly turning over (you’re an entirely new you on a cellular level every 2 years!), gradual micro changes will eventually add up to a bigger shift. It will get better, it just takes work and time.

Are you willing to rumble?


Upcoming Events:

  • October 2-4: Integrated Embodied Anatomy (Evolve Yoga, Anchorage, AK)
  • October 11: Yoga Tune Up® Weekend! (Black Dog Yoga, Sherman Oaks, CA)
  • October 18: Mobility for Performance: Total Body Treatment (CrossFit SolCity, Hollywood, CA)

Learn More About Upcoming Workshops

Learn More About Upcoming Trainings

Here’s the trailer to Brené’s Book:

How Lifting Weights Taught Me To Love My Muscles

I have never been the strongest, fastest, shortest, tallest, blondest, skinniest, smartest or best at anything – and I’m ok with that. I have always strived to do my best at any task, and as long as I’ve worked hard, win or lose, I am satisfied with the outcome.  As far as my relationship with the layers of my body goes, I learned to love my muscles when I finally started using them.

As is common with women, my hesitation to lift weights had a lot to do with the fear of “bulking up”. The dreaded fear of actually being strong enough to pick stuff up without hurting yourself, and god help you if your develop quads instead of twigs for legs. (PS any jeans bought off the rack feed into that fear and are SO DAMN TIGHT. Who are they made for!?) That fear was still in my head when I began working out 5 years ago and even more so when I began CrossFit 3 years ago. While I expected to get “in shape”, I didn’t expect to build an appreciation of a layer of my body that had long been insulated and forgotten. read more…

Reverse Text Neck

My current podcast obsession is the Industrial Strength Show with Joe DeFranco. Joe is a strength and conditioning coach who does a lot of work with NFL players and is also a masterful teacher and storyteller. I first listened to this podcast for an interview with Jill Miller (as a side note, you should really listen to the episode – it’s a great one) and was blown away at his humor, sensitivity and ability to relay lessons simply with his voice. He’s super easy to listen to and drops knowledge bombs all over the place.

Now, most of Joe’s audience is heavy-duty strength and conditioning coaches and some of the time, I have no idea what he’s talking about, but because the human body is the human body, regardless of the type of training you are or are not doing, his suggestions always can carry over. read more…

Upper Back Unwind

Do you wish there was a way to unwind the tension in your upper back with one simple move? The Thoracic Mow with Yoga Tune Up Therapy balls is just what you’ve been looking for!

It’s so simple, you can literally do it anywhere. Just grab any sized pair of Therapy balls, I have the Therapy Ball PLUS, and place them on either side of your spine, just below the nape of your neck.

Interlace your hands behind your head and draw your chin in towards your chest. This helps to put the tissues of your upper back and spine on small amount of stretch so as your therapy balls roll down the back of your rib cage, they can seriously work their magic. Lift your hips off the floor and push with your feet so that the balls mow down your back, combing through the multiple interconnected layers of back muscles and fascias. Pulling with your feet, slowly roll the balls back up to start and begin again.
If you find this to be too sensational on the floor, take your balls to the wall – the movement is the same, even when you’re in standing. Watch the video below for the how to and then try this out and let me know what you think!

This is one of my daily go-to’s, mostly because it only takes a few minutes and can make a TON of difference in your breathing, stress levels and overall feelings of well-being.

My Vulnerability is My Strength

My Vulnerability is My Strength

My vulnerability is my strength. Far too often we think that we have to “save face” and keep a brave face when things get tough. I feel this pressure especially as a movement educator/group fitness instructor. With social media documenting every moment, each thing that is shared is so highly curated. One Instagram may have taken 50 shots and multiple rewrites before it was published.

I always strive to be ME. I still don’t understand when people can’t believe I eat meat (I’m a yogi right? Shouldn’t I be a vegan?), or that I workout 24/7 and never am injured – all of which are untrue.
As I write this, I have fallen off my Whole30 wagon (been on the road for 12 days and traveling sucks), haven’t worked out for two weeks and have sore shoulders from carrying suitcases, backpacks and the Drool Model. And it’s OK. read more…

Upcoming Events

December 5
Bulletproof Shoulders
Hollywood, CA

January 23-24
Roll Model® Method Weekend
Anchorage, AK

and more…

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