Last week was a break through week at The Fix and The Art of Fitness. By working with Denise in the Pilates studio twice a week she is helping to retrain my body on how to move correctly and rid myself all of my bad habits, dumping into my lower back, hanging out to one side of my body, not lifting my core, slumping, sitting too long yadayadyayada…
Seeing that we needed to revert back to the basics, Denise has been focusing on movement and creating space through the Gyrotonic Expansion System. A machine designed by dancer, Juliu Horvath, to accommodate the natural movement patterns of the human body, and although I have this nagging desire to speed things up and get on with strength training, I recognize the value in slowing down and taking a few steps back. What I’m discovering is that Miss loosey goosey over here doesn’t move very well as I still have issues that scare me from moving in the wrong way, but with Denise there watching and correcting my every move I am able to go to a place I couldn’t get to without her training.
[su_box title=”The Origins of Gyrotonic”]Juliu dreamed of a machine that would help a dancer achieve a better turn or pirouette. This dream and Juliu’s creative energy lead him to the development of Gyrotonic Expansion System®, as we know it today. Now people of all ages and all walks of life have benefited from his system. The Gyrotonic Expansion System® works for anyone wishing to gain strength, flexibility and coordination. It is now found in rehabilitation centers, dance studios, sports training and fitness facilities all over the world.[/su_box]
After training, she brings me to her team at The Fix to break up bonded tissue, ligaments and muscles and create blood flow to stubborn injuries and last week brought my first introduction to Cryotherapy as Anita applied a cryo-elephant local on my shoulder that I fell on, and my ankle, swollen from problematic veins. Next she massaged my very painful Piriformis muscle with the Theragun, a gun-shaped device that helped her to go directly to an area difficult to get relief from and massage it, I was amazed at the release.
THEN I experienced a very soothing combination of acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping with Brittany Buffalino, a national board certified acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist holding a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College and a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Production from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has also studied Japanese Meridian Balancing and SoTai movement therapy with Jeffrey Dann, Ph.D., L.Ac.
Before she worked on my body, Brit taught me that cupping is a form of suction therapy, when the cups get applied to the skin it releases facial adhesions and flushes the lactic acid out of the muscles.
[su_box title=”Acupuncture”]Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine which, in the last 20 years, has become an accepted form of treatment in the U.S. Acupuncture is a proven effective treatment for a wide range of conditions because it improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process. Stimulation the body’s various systems via points on the body can help balance the body’s energy, thereby resolving pain, improving sleep and digestion and enhancing one’s sense of well-being. If you’re new to acupuncture, you can expect to lay comfortably on a treatment table while precise acupoints are stimulated on various areas of your body. These points will be pre-determined by your acupuncturist during an assessment of your physical health and symptoms at the start of your appointment. Most people feel no or minimal discomfort when the fine needles are placed on the acupoints. Needles may be left on an acupoint from anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes. At the end of your appointment, you will feel balanced and relaxed.[/su_box]
My experiences with Denise and her practitioners have felt completely indulgent as they work to relieve my pain, but I am recognizing that is more than just a quick fix as I wake up with less pain (feeling younger with each session) and move with more ease and strength while mountain biking and hiking. Completely elated, I cannot believe the increased strength I feel by switching on the muscles I have been finding with Denise; my serratus, glutes, kegel and inner thighs – giving my lower back and shoulders a break from being over used.
**Coming soon…. Cryotherapy.
Getting Fixed: Part 2 sums up four sessions with Denise at The Art of Fitness.
My pain seems to be decreasing from the work with Denise Searle and Anita Rayburn, (Anita has given me Normatec Pro Compression Therapy and did Feldenkrais work on me at The Fix), but as my awareness of my body awakens, I am finding more spots that are in pain.
Before Denise and Anita, not only did I notice that my right ankle was swollen from varicose veins acquired over pregnancy, and ignore it, I also ignored the screaming pain radiating from it when anything touched it. How’s that for ignoring my body?
Also, pre-Denise and Anita I noticed, but ignored, that not only did I have a winged scapula but that I often pulled my left shoulder out of it’s socket. It’s overstretched.
In addition, seems as though I have completely forgotten to use my Serratus Anterior muscles. I also forget to tighten my kegel muscles, as well as fire up my gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, and my adductors (learning a new language here, bare with me).
[su_box title=”Livestrong.Com“]Several converging muscles and the chest wall form the armpit, or axilla. Major muscles Forming the axilla include pectoralis major in the front; latissimus dorsi, subscapularis and teres major in the back; and serratus anterior overlying the chest wall. [/su_box]
When did I stop using those? I guess you can’t use them if you don’t even know their names? But there was a time I learned the names, four years ago with my first incredible Pilates instructor and Owner of Studio 360, Robin Beck, MSPT, PMA(R) CPT; Physical Therapist, Master’s Certified Pilates Instructor and Peak Pilates(R)Teacher Trainer. Somewhere between when I stopped training with Robin and started up with Denise, I must have gotten lazy.
I’ve been doing my best to change up my habits though and re-pattern my behavior; standing instead of sitting while at my computer; waking up and immediately getting on the roller instead of writing; being lighter in my movements and not dumping into my lower back; tightening my kegel; and most of all, moving, for I am realizing that to stay young one must keep the joints hydrated with blood and oxygen.
By training with Denise weekly, I have an expert analyzing and correcting my every movement, forcing me to pay more attention to my poor neglected body, and teaching me how to keep it all structurally together as I go about my everyday living.
What I am seeing oh so clearly is that movement is an essential part of our existence, and without it our ligaments, muscles and bones grow old rapidly. As much as I love to move, I have not seen it as a necessity in my everyday living. Part of my patterns stem from sitting for long periods of time as I write and edit, and then getting up and going hard — kinda like binge drinking. This has all got to stop.
After our session, Denise and Anita walked me over to The Fix to experience The Feldenkrais Method, an educational system that uses movement to teach self awareness and improve function.
A very peaceful type of treatment, I’m not sure that I had the intellectual capacity and enough connection to my body to grasp the full concept of the benefits I received.
[su_box title=”The Fix”]Anita, also known as “The Neck Whisperer,” is an experienced Feldenkrais Instructor who uses the Method to help her patients recover lost movements due to injury, illness, or surgeries. She believes that Feldenkrais can also help one re-learn how to breathe in order to enjoy another decade of Aspen athleticism. Recently, Anita has worked with Aspen Music School students to teach them well-organized movement through the Feldenkrais Method for lifelong injury-free careers. She is also an accomplished massage therapist now offering Cupping Massage, incorporating an eastern technique for western sensibilities. At The Fix Aspen, Anita also works with the Cryotherapy technology to provide facials and spot treatments.[/su_box]
So what are my issues? And what am I doing to fix them?
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I continue on with Pilates and also head over to The Fix for acupuncture with Brittany Buffalino and a cryo-elephant local treatment on my shoulder.
[su_box title=”Normatec Pro”]NormaTec is the leader in rapid recovery—our systems give a competitive edge to the world’s elite athletes, coaches, and trainers. Our goal is to establish recovery as an integral part of every athlete’s training, and we feel NormaTec systems are the best way to accomplish that. The NormaTec PULSE Recovery Systems are dynamic compression devices designed for recovery and rehab. All of our systems use NormaTec’s patented PULSE technology to help athletes recover faster between trainings and after performance. Our systems include a control unit and attachments which go on the legs, arms, or hips. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery with our patented NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern. When you use our systems, you will first experience a pre-inflate cycle, during which the connected attachments are molded to your exact body shape. The session will then begin by compressing your feet, hands, or upper quad (depending on which attachment you are using). Similar to the kneading and stroking done during a massage, each segment of the attachment will first compress in a pulsing manner and then release. This will repeat for each segment of the attachment as the compression pattern works its way up your limb.[/su_box]
[su_box title=”International Feldenkrais Foundation”]Functional Integration is essentially nonverbal. It is effective because the injured person […] has lost the ability to help himself. Their self-reliance is so compromised that most treatment produces only superficial improvement, if any at all. (In Functional Integration)… the deepest kinesthetic sensations formed in early childhood are affected. The person withdraws from what happens in the outside world and is completely absorbed with attending to the internally occurring changes. The smoother eye movement, the rotation of the head, the change in pressure distribution on the soles of the feet, the reduction of intercostal tensions, the completion of the antigravitational muscular patterns for a clear feeling of vertical upright standing cannot occur without a complete change of neural functioning of the intentional or motor cortex and of the sensory one. The muscular tonus becomes more uniform and is lowered. A feeling of well-being prevails. The breathing becomes regular; the cheeks more colored. The eyes are brighter, wider, and moister and sparkle. At the end, one rubs one’s eyes as if awakening from a restful dream.[/su_box]
In an effort to find a whole body wellness program, I found Denise Searle, Owner of The Fix and The Art of Fitness, and have committed to working with her twice a week in both her Pilates Studio and her Body Therapy studio to “Repair, Restore and Revive” my body which is a bit of a mess at the moment from a few accidents and from sitting for hours on end editing content.
It’s time. Time to give some love back to my body. Time to stop ignoring the pain. Time to get a tune up and reset my foundation so that I can continue to play the way I like to play. I’m not old, I’m just broken.
Until recently, I have been doing well to ward of the pain by strengthening my core and mashing my tissues with a roller but I’ve been pushing it a bit too hard lately in all aspects of my life – both in my work and in my workouts and have been getting hurt.
I know I’m not alone in my bad habits. Many active people live for the endorphins they receive from cardiovascular work but if there is any inflammation, and more than likely there is, body work needs to be done so that our playing and workouts are effectively strengthening our bodies instead of hurting them.
My first warning to slow down happened in the yoga studio muscling myself into a place I had not been before, without guidance. I was thinking so hard on how I wanted to master a handstand, and not on how to be light and strong in my core, that I crumbled, hit my head and sliced it open and had to run to Aspen Medical Care to get 7 pieces of metal stapled in my head. I know, right? How? But that wasn’t what stopped me because as long as I stayed away from hikes where lightening could strike my staples, I could still play. It was when I crashed onto my tail bone when plunging down Iowa Shaft on my mountain bike that lead me to find The Fix, fitness and wellness body therapy designed to give you everything you need to improve your physicality, and thus your quality of living life.
In our first session in The Art of Fitness Pilates studio Denise put me on the reformer and I revisited the movements that I practiced over five years ago back when I had committed to strengthening my core. All these years I carried my body thinking that I had retained what I had learned, but it appears as though I had lost most of it. “I watched you walking over here,” Denise said to me, “You hang heavily within yourself. Stay light. Lift from your pelvic floor muscles, your kegel. Get your body together as a team and we’ll go from there.”
Thus far I have experienced three sessions and one week of homework, and already the pain has decreased. From Pilates, to Gyrotonics to Gyrokinesis, Denise has been measuring my moves and accessing my structure, my issues and my bad habits. She has shown me the importance of rolling out my feet and my body, giving me homework on the roller to mash and soften my tissues so my body is better prepared for the work we are doing in her studio.
Although the knowledge that goes into training someone to retrain their muscles is quite complex, Denise is able to simplify it all and break it down into a language I can understand and I have made a commitment to re-patterning my behavior and eliminating repetitive habits.
I solemnly swear to you, Denise and all of her practitioners, that I will replace my soft addiction to studying my analytics with homework and as we deliver to you this weekly series, it is our hope that you work with us on the homework we assign and break your bad habits. Let us know if you have any pain by commenting here, or on our Facebook page, and we will try to answer any questions you may have.
Homework of the week:
[su_box title=”The Fix Services”]
Cryotherapy: Manage pain and inflammation, increase energy and decrease stress related conditions.
INFRARED THERAPIES: Release toxins and chemicals, relax, relieve pain, increase circulation and purify skin.
ACUPUNCTURE: Correct energy imbalances in the body with this ancient Chinese medicine.
PERSONAL TRAINING: Pick Your Fix: Personal Training, TRX, BAR, Yoga, Stretch, Meditation.
COMPRESSION THERAPY: Increase blood flow, reduce swelling and relieve muscle and joint pain from injury.
MASSAGE: Relieve tension, relax, rejuvenate with several different types of massage therapy.
FELDENKRAIS: Repair impaired connections between the brain and body and so improve body movement and psychological state.
PILATES: Improve core strength, stability, posture, balance and flexibility.
OXYGEN THERAPY: With or without essential oils, oxygen treatment refreshes and revives.[/su_box]
To reach Denise to make an appointment click here, or call 970-544-6800. Tell her AspenRealLife sent ya.
** Disclaimer, I have been receiving in-kind services but all thoughts are my own and I tell it like it is.
It is an incredible site to see when the Tibetan Monks come to Aspen and blend in with our culture, visiting our schools and holding personal and business blessing sessions.
[su_box title=”The Monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery”]The Monks of the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery come to the U.S. with the blessing of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to share their culture, as well as practices and paths to inner peace and compassion. Beginning in the San Francisco Bay Area and hosted by the Sacred Stream Center in Berkeley, the monks will tour the U.S. offering cultural performances, blessings, and the creation of sand mandalas. The U.S. tour will serve to help preserve the monks’ traditions, and fund the building of a community center, prayer hall, and dormitories at their monastery in South India, as well as other needs, including medical and geriatric care for the monks. Cultural performances include teachings from Tibetan Buddhism, cultural performances, musical presentations with Tibetan singing bowls and chanting, rituals, etc. The monks also offer empowerments, private and group healing rituals, private consultations and house and business blessings. There are 4 spiritual masters on the tour, two sand mandala masters, and a ritual and chant master. The Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monasery is part of one of the oldest and most revered monasteries in Tibet, now located in South India. This house has produced many important teachers in the Gelug tradition, including Geshe Thupten Jinpa, the primary English interpreter for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The Sacred Stream Center is seeking volunteers interested in sponsoring the monks in their community who will help find places for them to stay and venues for their events, including private homes, universities, concert halls, etc. We are actively seeking venues for the monks throughout the U.S. to give teachings, perform Buddhist rituals, bless homes and businesses, and create sand mandalas. The Sacred Stream is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the wisdom of ancient spiritual and healing traditions into the consciousness of those interested in being of service to the world. Thousands of students have taken classes since its founding in 2003. The Sacred Stream Center opened in Berkeley in 2009. [/su_box]
** All photos were taken by Alex Blanco of Alex Blanco Photography.
*** Donors, or general information questions, please contact Serene (970) 948-9279 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make checks payable to the Khacholing Center.
Since we have been directing our attention away from our rascally family and more to the other locals of our valley, I haven’t written about him for a while…Baddy, the star of AspenRealLife. But today is a big day as he turns the big fat fitty. Yes, you have been following him for nine years as he has barreled his way through many a challenge (click here to go back to the beginning or here for his birthday toast that seems to be a favorite of our readers….and this one’s incredibly embarrassing but click here to watch me givin’ it all up for Baddy).
Every year at this time we are fortunate to receive the teachings, healings, and blessings of visiting Tibetan monks. This year, since I now live in Aspen, I was determined to attend the daily morning meditations at the Aspen Chapel with the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery brought here by Lexie Potamkin, a human rights activist and former vice president of the International League for Human Rights in New York City, to promote world peace and raise funds for their monastery of 3,000 in India.
[su_quote cite=”Lexie Potamkin” url=”http://www.chukkertv.com/news/2016/7/29/aspen-valley-polo-club-makes-history-introducing-polo-to-drepung-loseling-monks”%5DIt really changed my life when I first met them. They are so dedicated to enlightening people. They generate peace and wish everyone happiness. They are so beautiful in their ways.[/su_quote]
The morning meditations I attended were led by Geshe Lobbing Tenzin, Founder and Spiritual Director of Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc.
In 1994 Geshe Lobbing Tenzin received the Geshe Lharampa degree, the highest level of learning in Tibetan Buddhism. At the suggestion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Geshe Lobsang also completed a Ph.D. at the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emory University. His dissertation examined western scientific and Tibetan Buddhist understandings of the emotions and their impact on health.
And there I was, being led through a guided meditation on self-compassion with this incredible monk as he combined the knowledge worlds of both East and West and strangely, after having beads blessed and after experiencing an enriching meditation, I was incredibly agitated throughout the first day, unable to deal with anything or anybody. I wondered if all this spiritual stuff was shaking everything loose leaving me exposed. If this was part of the road to enlightenment – I realized I had a very gravelly road ahead. But I kept going to the daily meditations. Soon the rawness melted into wholeness and everything calmed down in my life, that is…until I split my head open attempting a hand stand in my absolutely favorite yoga room and had to have lidocaine shots injected and metal stapled into my head (but that’s another story).
I think I’ll go for more when the monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery come to the Third Street Center in Carbondale, Colorado, August 26 – 28th.
In the meanwhile, below are five organizations in Aspen and Snownass who offer free, or low cost, meditation and yoga to ensure that everybody has the chance to stay on the path of peacefulness and enlightenment:
Linda Sandell (Inspire Yoga) specializes in the mindful practice of yoga for body, mind and spirit. Specialty practices include therapeutic yoga, Yoga of Awareness for Cancer, yoga for athletes and considerations such as back pain, low bone density, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and total joint replacement. She enjoys the challenge of creating yoga practices for everyone. Each class is $10 every Tuesday at the Aspen Chapel.
For even yoga and meditation classes click here.
Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, Aspen Mountain provides the perfect natural setting for scenic hikes, outdoor adventures, relaxation, rejuvenation and — naturally — yoga and meditation.
This popular program includes an hour of open-air Hatha yoga at the top of Aspen Mountain! (Note: must purchase foot passenger ticket to ride the gondola.)
$5 per yoga/meditation class.
When: Mon., Wed., Fri.; June 20 –August 26
Where: Meets at the top of the gondola at 10:20am
When: Tues., Thurs.; June 21 – August 25
Where: Meets at the top of the gondola at 10:30 am
High altitude yoga + meditation atop Aspen Mountain five days a week. All classes taught are open to any level and are only $5 per session. No need to lug a yoga matt up the mountain or carry it on the gondola as they will be available for use once you make it to the top.
Yoga Body, Zen Mind: This all-level yoga practices includes traditional Hatha Yoga, Slow-Flow, Restorative, Yin Yoga and includes Insight Mindfulness Meditations, pranayama breathing and guided deep-relaxation. “Beginners Mind” encouraged. All props supplied. Monday 7:00-8:30 am, Wednesday 7:00-8:30 am, Saturday 8:00-9:30 at the Red Brick.
Erica Berens, who usually tends to focus on private clients over the summer months, has been offering a free yoga session every Sunday at 10:30 on Snowmass’ Base Village Lawn. Click here for more information.
[su_heading]Delving Deeper into Meditation with Thomas Droge[/su_heading]
Taking Taoist Insight and Five Element meditation classes with Thomas Droge and interviewing him live on our Facebook feed afterwards helped me to delve deeper into the intellectualization of meditation during Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass 2016.
As our conversation unfolded it was apparent that Thomas Droge has a very intellectual mind that breaks down meditation both scientifically and physically. A practitioner of Qi Gong, Tai Ji and Meditation for 25 years, Thomas is a doctor of Chinese medicine and a seeker of truth and has studied around the world with many great masters. He holds a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has a degree in massage therapy, and has trained at Harvard’s Mind Body Medicine program, he teaches in many of the ancient lineages of Taoist wisdom traditions including, Zhao Bao, Er Mei, and Dragon Gate. It was truly a gift to be in his presence and get to know him as a friend and listen to his wisdom and intellectual insight into meditation (see interview).
[su_quote cite=”Thomas Droge” url=”http://thomasdroge.com”%5DIt’s about Balance: The misconception is that there is one way to do it, or that once you discover “balanced” you are done. What we learn from Tai Qi and Qi Gong is that balance is a dynamic state of transformation, that we must experience, adapt and respond to, and experience again and again. This is the practice of finding the infinite in the moment.[/su_quote]