I remember meeting Silver Kim almost a year back. We met at her past studio on Courtney Street in Bethlehem. I offered my work to her at that time, my DVD for Movement for You, in particular. The meeting felt as if I was connecting with an old friend.
There was a deepness felt even though it was our first time meeting. For me, I remember leaving and having dinner with my husband and kids and saying I feel connected to Silver for some reason. It is almost like her listening spirit was before me to offer me a new path.
I was able to hear and see immediately her passion for yoga, movement, art, and her Kula Family. This passion and fire reminded me of myself in a way. It reminded me of my past mentors too that I looked up to like Jennifer Kries, Susan Gala, and more. A year back, all I was asking for was to meet a new guide, a new inspiration, to help open my heart to more.
A year ago, I truly believe it wasn’t the time for Silver and I to share work or grow from one another. Then Hurricane Sandy came and I saw Silver giving her heart and connecting with my past communities of New York City and Hoboken. I remember seeing her posts and pictures from her giving and I started to shed my own tears. These areas affected by the disaster were my home base for so long as an artist, as a wife, as an early mother. I felt that if I was still there, Silver could have been that positive and protective light to pull me through the disaster.
Through this connection and watching of Silver’s actions and spirit, I found my own heart learning to give more, to open more, to reflect more on everything around me. The reflection took me into an understanding that in 2013 it was a new time for new connections. It was a new time to find more of a grounded feeling in Bethlehem and to accept new opportunities that I could give my talents too. I was craving a home base not only for my work artistically but for my own spirit.
Kula Heart (Silver’s studio) called out to me because of the giving I was seeing. Every time I would visit Kula to drop a donation or to check out the schedule, I found myself wanting to go back. I felt for the first time since living in Bethlehem like I found a studio to possibly call home.
I have been in Bethlehem three years and have offered my talents in numerous spaces from colleges, to studios, to conservatory programs in the arts and I always felt like something was missing. I couldn’t find the “family” feel like I had at Chelsea Piers for so many years. I started to question even if my work belonged here in the Lehigh Valley. But, then Silver’s class was placed before me and the welcoming Kula energy came into my heart.
As I took Silver’s Friday morning teachers’ class at Kula a week after New Year’s, I realized her presence was calling me in. I was intrigued on how her Friday morning class focused in on the importance of teachers. How we should give thanks to all those past teachers that were before us and how they may have given us our inspiration to be teachers ourselves.
The class environment was warm, welcoming, and connecting. I wanted to be in the back of class. Silver’s voice, lead me to the front as if I was dancing at Point Park College once again. With her voice, my confidence came back to not hide from the knowledge, gifts, and talents that were given to me. I realized and remembered everyone in my past dance world, yogi world, academic learning, family, and in life “who” helped to inspire me, mold me, and give me guidance to become “who” I am today. Silver’s words allowed this reflection and internal connection to happen for me. It allowed me to feel connected not only to her, her community, but also to my internal self and heart.
I wish I could visually draw my feelings out after Silver’s class. I believe you would see in my journaling and artistic notebook a melting heart and a hard surface layer being shed. Almost like a bleeding heart releasing its negative to shine again.
Another image may be a playground with teachers around. The playground would be filled with hanging adults discovering how wonderful it is upside down. There would be gentle hands placed on feet/back/shoulders for support, love, and guidance. This is my favorite image since everyone knows my saying in life is- The world would be so much better upside down!
And my final image is of “Mother.” A soft and gentle mother image that takes you in, if you are willing and ready to be guided. I felt the same connection to Silver through every pose and reflective moment in class as I did the first day we connected on Courtney Street. Her mother image in the classroom gives everyone warmth, acceptance, and the ability to trust yourself. Silver was able to pull everyone’s strengths and individual needs into the process of her teaching. That is a true gift to make everyone feel special and connected to their purpose in life. After class there was a state of acceptance and learning and peace.
Silver’s connection to her passion, to her family, to her Kula, to herself inspire me to be more in this year of 2013. I look forward to sharing and offering my talents to the Kula family. I cannot thank Silver enough for the acceptance, the listening, and her gifts as a person, yogi, and educator.
You have broken down one of my walls. That, in my eyes is a gift. I look forward to learning more from Silver in the new days ahead. I am very excited to watch all her new adventures coming before her. I am happy to say I think I found another mentor, A Gem, that we all call~ Silver Kim.
This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites.
This practice can be performed every other day as a 30 minute session. You can also pull out your favorite postures to perform before a walk, start to your day, or before bed. This is a gentle and flowing practice to ease the body of Sciatica Pain and tightness in the hips and buttocks. Remember to breathe and to release the muscles of the buttocks and upper thigh as much as possible in this practice. Gripping the muscles around the hip/buttocks will cause tenderness and sensitivity around the Sciatica nerve. Release through the breath and flow of this practice and your body will become pain free. Enjoy!
Warm – Up
Downward Dog with Prancing
Repeat the entire 5 postures above back to back with continuous breath. Rest and then repeat again for 2 more sets. Try to challenge the body to breathe six times in each given posture.
Standing Yoga Postures
Forward Fold with a Chair or Wall
Hold for 6 breathes, recover, and repeat another set.
Warrior I step backs with sweeping arms
Step back to Warrior I and sweep arms overhead to high open fifth position. Recover to mountain and repeat on the left side. Try to hold each Warrior I posture for 3 breathes.
Warrior II with Side Angle Stretch and Reverse Warrior
Find Warrior II, gently move into Side Angle Stretch, and then into Reverse Warrior. You will shift from Side Angle Stretch to Reverse Warrior up to 6xs. Recover to Mountain and repeat on left side.
Warrior III at the Wall
Start in an L position pushing hands into the wall. Pull your rt. knee in towards your chin and release rt. leg back to Warrior III. Move through this posture up to 6xs on the right and then repeat on the left side.
Hundred with Chair or couch to support legs.
Lay flat on your mat and place your legs over a chair or couch. You will then slowly pre roll up into the hundred position to pump your arms for 60 counts to eventually 100 counts. Your breath pattern will consist of 5 inhales and 5 exhales throughout this posture. Release your legs into the chair or couch until the abdominal core is strong enough to support your body on its own as your arms are pumping.
Moving Pelvic tilt
Lay on your back and place you feet flat on your mat. Gently engage your hamstrings and abdominal core as you press your pelvis up through a bridge position or pelvic tilt. Do not grip in your buttocks or your hips through this moving posture. You can move through this posture from mat to pelvic tilt up to 12xs.
Lay flat on your back and pull your knees into your chest. Release the knees over to the right side for 3 breathes and then fan the legs over to the left side for 3 breathes. Repeat Spiral Twist with fanning up to 6xs.
This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites.
What a better way to connect with spring and the changing of seasons then to take your practice and meditation work outdoors. I have always enjoyed the changing of seasons from fall to winter, winter to spring, spring to summer, and back to fall. In fact when I was living on the west coast I felt such withdrawal from the east coast seasonal changes that I experienced most of my life. In the beginning of each season it is a great time to take inventory of the body and mind to see what we need to connect with mentally and physically for the course of the season before us. This tuning in will allow us to adapt more easily to hard winters or intense heat weather patterns.
I will encourage you through this physical practice to feel your body through changing weather patterns. When the sunshine is hitting your face with joy embrace a Vinyasa Flow based practice. If you find you are dealing with mood fluctuations from dark days, winters, or daylight savings time embrace a Static Holding Practice to refocus your energy. Challenge yourself with this practice by Greeting Spring or the season before you outdoors or at least in front of an open window that looks outside to nature. Try the following practices whether the Vinyasa Flow Practice or the Static Holding Practice at various times of the day. Understand the body will react differently to the practice at sunrise verses sunset.
Greeting your body at the beginning of each season with a sense of newness and change will filter in positive energy. Your body will learn to crave the changing seasons around you with each practice. You will feel fulfilled and rejuvenated to take on new challenges and appreciate the beauty of nature before you. Explore the outdoors with your practice to discover your body’s connection to nature and all the seasons before us.
Vinyasa Flow Practice
Sun Salutation Sequence
6xs with a moving flow pattern and breath. You can add jump backs to plank if your body feels ready for a more active practice.
Chair to Forward Fold with Spine Roll Up
Take Chair for 2 breathes and then release into Forward Fold for 2 breathes. Gently roll up through each vertebra of the spine for 4 counts. Repeat the entire sequence 4xs.
2nd Position Parallel Standing Straddle Sequence
Find 2nd Position Parallel Standing Straddle and release the arms and upper body into Chest Expansion for 2 breathes. Roll up through each vertebra of the spine to standing. Transfer the body into Warrior II on the Right side for 2 breathes and then shift to the Left side for 2 breathes. Repeat the entire sequence 4xs.
Plough to Moving Shoulder Stand
Find Plough position with your body. Allow your legs to extend upwards into Shoulder Stand. You will then release your knees down towards your face as if you are curling into a ball for 2 counts. Return back to an active Shoulder Stand for 2 counts. Repeat the moving legs in Shoulder Stand up to 6xs. Find Plough and rest for 2 breathes. Repeat sequence up to 3xs.
Sitting Forward Fold and Half/Full Wheel
Find Sitting Forward Fold and hold for 2 breathes. You will then roll through each vertebra of the spine to a laying position on your mat. Align the body for Half or Full Wheel for 4 breathes. Release the body back down to your mat and roll up to repeat the entire sequence 4xs.
Static Holding Practice
The following Static Holding Practice will be performed posture by posture. I do not recommend Sun Salutation work in between each posture. Try to hold each posture for 6 breathes and then direct the body into the next posture. This practice should feel as if you are taking a photograph in each posture. The main point in Static Holding Practice is to redirect the mind to stillness and breath.
Standing Chest Expansion in Mountain
Half Wheel or Full Wheel
This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites.
I remember as a young child always being told to be patient. Wait, for this and you will achieve that or be patient and all things will come your way. I now find myself teaching my children the importance of patience with each other, themselves, and with situations that may arise with learning, communicating, and accepting. Patience is the key to understanding life’s plan whether we are a young child or an adult. Patience will help us to Wait for our Time and to see the phases of life in front of us whether easy or difficult.
Allowing ourselves to be patient with each phase in life will connect us to internal happiness. We will start to accomplish goals and dreams by taking baby steps instead of running. We will learn to understand Waiting for your Time is important in connecting to your patient heart. Once we are still with our patient or not so patient heart we will be able to see the whole picture of our lives and how situations connect to one another.
At least one time a week, I find myself placing an intention through my physical practice towards Patience. I remind myself to Wait for your Time to react, accept, or move on from an easy or troubling situation. I find after I place an intention towards patience my heart opens and my practice guides my uneasy heart into understanding there will be more or this is where I should be in this given time.
I give to you a still and sequenced advanced practice for accepting Patience-Waiting for your Time. It is best if you can hold each posture for at least one minute and build up to three minutes with time. Allow your body to move from one posture to the next after stillness. I do not recommend a Flow Pattern of Sun Salutations in between this sequenced practice.
- Forward Fold
- Yoga Toe Lock
- Downward Dog
- Classic Headstand
- Tripod Headstand
- Shoulder Stand
This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. www.movementforyou.com and www.artistsinunity.com
It slips away
Then runs back
It never left
Once a dancer
Always a dancer
Our bodies may change
Our ability to do everything may change
But, our hearts and deep love
For the dance
We are always one with the Dance
A beautiful image
At 60, 70, 80
White loose fabric blowing in the breeze
With hair long and free as the neck releases
The body twirls
Visiting years past
But, present today
Grounds the body
Places me in my pure reality
Eases the body
Into lightness and flow
The body has aged
Beautifully, I may say
I still see the dance
I still feel the dance
For I am still the dance
I am Always a Dancer
I share this next practice with dancers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Be one with your dance to discover your Joy, Acceptance, Passion and the beautiful Movement that is within your Heart! Dance today and love every minute of it!
Grand Plies with Upper Body Swings
Take 2 grand plies in Parallel 6th position. After Plies you will release the arms and upper body forward into two drop swings. Repeat Grand Plies with Upper Body Swings in 1st, 2nd, and 5th position. The Upper Body Swings in 1st, 2nd, and 5th will carry the arms to the side in a circular motion with the drop of the body instead of directly forward in space.
Degage with Lunges and Upper Body Releases
From 5th position you will degage forward and release the body into a turned out lunge in 4th position. The upper body will release forward into a drop swing and rebound back out of the 4th position to find 5th position. Repeat the Degage with Lunge to the Side falling to an open 2nd position with the upper body release. Then repeat to the back falling to open 4th position in the Upper Body Release as you did earlier to the front. Continue the movement sequence to the left side. The entire sequence can then be repeated starting from the back.
Passé Parallel Saute Alternating with Port de Bras
This sequence can be performed on a diagonal or circular pathway. Passé Parallel Saute on your right leg as you carry your left arm overhead to release into a circular Port de Bras. You will then take two steps forward (left/right) and repeat Passé Parallel Saute on your left leg. Repeat the entire sequence for up to 16 counts.
Arabesque Saute Alternating with High Release
This sequence can be performed from upstage to downstage or vice versa. Arabesque Saute on your right leg and allow the arms to carry open in a 2nd position spiral high release. The left arm will carry forward in space as the right arm is carrying slightly back. You will then shift your weight immediately into Arabesque Saute on your left side. Repeat the Arabesque Saute Alternating with High Release for 6 counts downstage and then change direction to repeat upstage for 6 counts.
Alternating Jete with Walking or Running Patterns
This sequence can be performed on a diagonal or circular pathway. Battement Jete on your right leg, then take two steps (left/right), and repeat Battement Jete on your left leg. Repeat the Battement Jete with steps 4xs then carry the body into a walking or running circular pattern to the right for 4 counts and then to the left for 4 counts. Repeat the entire sequence 4xs.
I challenge myself to Move every day different from the day before. I find this helps me to keep the body young and the mind motivated to keep going. Some days I may wake and crave the dance. Others I crave the yoga. There are days when all I crave is to move towards that wonderful cup of coffee and just sit. To me, simplicity is the best form of movement especially for creating.
Artistically speaking, I can find movement within every day activities, words, and even stillness. I always say to my movement students the beauty behind the dance is not moving at all. As a dancer and artist, being still is sometimes the most complicated place to be. It is a skill that needs to be found to master the stage, our audience, and to be more comfortable with ourselves. Finding and connecting to the stillness will help us to understand what our bodies need and crave. Once we are still we will connect to our purest Movements. In return, we will see all the dancing and all the movements we do on a regular basis in our everyday activities without even hitting our mats or diving into center work. Our stories and wanting within our bodies will naturally unfold before us through movement.
The title for this blog “How do you see Movement?” came to me after watching a random commercial where people were walking down the street and breaking into their own craving movements. I thought to myself wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could allow our bodies to speak through movement in this way on a regular basis. If every day when you decided to walk out of your house you broke into movement to express how you were feeling. Some days it may represent anger and other days it may express complete joy. The body through movement would help us to accept the given emotion that our mind was holding on too.
The commercial showed all different people from all walks of life embracing their movements from the beginning to the end of their day. Some were at work, home, or play by themselves or surrounded by community and friends. I truly felt happiness after viewing this commercial. I do not recall the name of the commercial or how long ago it was on air. But, I vividly remember the creativity that sparked inside of me from seeing everyday people move and connect to their own pure movements in this simplistic filming. I started asking myself “How do you see Movement?”
I knew Movement for me was not only hitting my mat or dancing a piece of choreography. Movement to Me is my breath, my voice, my body releasing up, down, standing still and embracing the feeling of flying even if you are only thinking about the next passage of steps. I try to share my vision of Movement with all people who come into my space. The more I can share my vision of movement with others the more we will be dancing our own dance in our everyday lives. We will not necessarily need the stage or the theater to tell our movement stories. We will learn to express the movement through walking, talking, smiling, and all other pure natural movements that are given to us.
The question “How do I see Movement?” changed my daily focus on my personal practice and for my clients’ practices. For a couple of weeks, I started to notice how my body craved certain yoga/Pilates/or dance practices. I started to notice how my clients would ask for specific postures at given times throughout our practice sessions together. I started to embrace what my body was asking from practice and going with the flow on the days it was telling me to focus only on that craving. I did the same with my clients and shifted the personal practices when I needed too. Following this craving of movement is similar to giving into a rich piece of dark chocolate. There are many emotional and physical rewards to embracing Movement in a different light from a boost in confidence, connection to others, trusting, warmth, joy, and understanding of what Movement can give to us all.
This is my practice for today after reflecting on “How do you see Movement?” I hope this practice inspires you all to incorporate all different movements into your daily practices and life. Listen to your heart, if it is telling you to dance or to be a yogi then embrace it in the studio environment and out. Listen to your heart, if it is telling you to run like you never ran before then go and fight the long miles ahead. And most importantly, listen to your heart, when it is asking to be still. Be still for the endless discoveries before you in Life and in our given question “How do you see Movement?”
Sun Salutations with Directional Changes
Come to the top of your mat for Sun Salutation set 1 and flow through the movement with a fluid and slow circle of breath. Sun Salutation set 2 changes your direction to face the other side or the back side of your mat for this sequence. Set 3 of Sun Salutation will face in same direction as set 1. Set 4 of Sun Salutation will face in the same direction as set 2.
Grand Plies in 2nd and 5th Position
Find 2nd position and release into two grand plies with arms in high open 5th position. You will then shift your weight to find 5th position with right leg in front. Take two grand plies in 5th position with arms in high open 5th position. Repeat the grand plies in 5th on the left side. You will then repeat the entire sequence one more time. Try to keep arms in high open 5th for the entire conditioning sequence of 2 sets.
Releves in 1st and 2nd Position
Find 1st position and take plie releves for 8 counts. You will place arms in a 2nd position with palms facing down for the entire sequence. Tendu to 2nd position and repeat plie releves for 8 counts in 2nd. Repeat 2 sets.
Warrior I Flow
Step back to Warrior I and clasp hands in front of you and carry them over your head to high 5th position. You can drop your chin into your chest to release the back of your neck once your arms are over head. This Warrior I flow sequence will take 8 counts. Step forward to Mountain and repeat Warrior I flow for 8 counts on the left side. This sequence of Warrior I Flow can be repeated for 6 sets.
Leg Swings with Chasse
Find 1st position and tendu your right leg back. Bring awareness to your spine and abdominal core. Brush your right leg forward and backwards into small attitude leg swings for 8 counts. On the 8th count, shift your weight forward into a Chasse and then repeat the entire sequence to the left side. Repeat 2 sets.
Coupe Attitude Pulses
Find coupe back position with your right leg. We will be using a flexed foot in the coupe position. You will then lift the right leg from coupe back to a small attitude position of 45 degrees and release. Once you are comfortable with your balance, try to pick up the tempo and create a small bounce/pulse with the leg in this sequence for 16 counts. Repeat on the left side and for one more set on each side.
Dancer Posture with Sun Salutation Directional Changes
Stand at the top of your mat and find Mountain. You will then carry the right leg back into Dancer Pose for a flow of 6 counts. Release the right leg down to Mountain and repeat the 6 counts of flow with Dancer Pose on the left side. Change your direction to face the back side of your mat and come into a Sun Salutation Sequence for 2 sets. Return back to the front or top of your mat to repeat Dancer Posture with Flow on Left and Right side. Change direction once again to repeat Sun Salutation for 2 sets.
Battements with Forward Fold and Yoga Toe Lock
Stand in 1st position with arms in high open 5th. Battement with right leg 6xs to the front and then repeat to the back. Turn to parallel position and fall into Forward Fold with Yoga Toe Lock Posture for 4 breathes. Recover and return to 1st position to repeat sequence on the left side.
Sautés in 1st, Parallel 6th position, and alternating to coupe
In 1st position and parallel 6th you will take 8 counts of sautés in each position. Then as if you are prancing, you will shift into small alternating coupe sautés with right and left leg for 16 counts. Repeat the sequence for 2-3 sets.
Upper Body Swings with Jumps and Walking Patterns
Find parallel 6th position at the top of your mat with arms in high open 5th. Drop into 6 upper body swings and release into a small jump at the bottom of each swing. After 6 upper body swings recover and walk to your right in a small circle and then to your left in a small circle. Repeat the walking patterns to the right and left 2 more times increasing the size of the circle with each walking pattern. Repeat the entire sequence for 2 sets.
I dedicate this practice to my daughter Penelope and to all parents who have young children struggling with Asthma, other Breathing related difficulties, and low immune systems. I started practicing sequences from my Movement for You Practice with Penelope regularly two years back. We have used this Asthma Practice designed specifically for kids to help with the healing process of Mono, Asthma related flare ups such as bronchitis and sinus infections, and general colds attacking the body.
I encourage you to welcome your child into this practice with you. It is designed as a parent and child practice to be explored together 2-3xs a week for significant improvements to be seen. Your connection and bond to your child will improve with this regular Asthma Practice. The stronger bond will help you tremendously during your child’s asthma attacks, asthma flare ups, or low immune days.
You can take part in this practice during sickness and asthma flare ups. Parents may need to assist the child in moving their body if a sickness or flare up is present. The beauty of this Asthma Practice is it will stimulate positive energy between you and your child. It will also help the child’s body to release the sickness or blocked energy at a quicker rate. Some children and parents will see improvements in wheezing patterns, congestion, fatigue, and even behaviors.
I give you this practice from my heart. Dedicate to the Asthma Practice for overall good health for your little one. Parents give yourselves a pat on the back for offering this practice to your child and embrace the comfort, relief, and support you will feel from the Physical Practice. To good breathing days and healthy little bodies!
Butterfly Posture with Hand Play
Sit on separate mats with your child facing you. You will then place the soles of your feet together in Butterfly Posture. Allow your hands to relax over your knees with your palms facing up. You will then squeeze your hands into fists as tight as you can for 5 counts. Focus eye to eye with your child during the squeezing of the hands. This internal gaze will calm and center both of you for practice. Release the hands to a relaxed position over the knees with palms open for 5 counts. Change your eye focus to look down on a diagonal line in front of you. Repeat Butterfly Posture with Hand Play 4-6xs.
Animal Play with Cat/Cow and Lion
Find all fours position with your child on separate mats. Release the body into an exaggerated Cat/Cow posture 1x. Sit back on shins and release your face and hands into Lion Posture 1x. The body will then practice mini Cat/Cow postures with an increased tempo for 3xs. Repeat the Animal Play Sequence 4xs.
Upward Dog with Alternating Arm Stretches
Find Upward Dog or Seal on separate mats with your Child. You will then activate your lower abdominal area and exhale as you lift your right arm up to high open 5th position. Release the right arm down and repeat with your left arm. Upward Dog with Alternating Arm Stretches can be performed for 6 counts. Then rest in child’s pose and repeat a second set.
Downward Dog with Alternating 3 Legged Dog
Find Downward Dog on separate mats with your child. You will then release the right leg backwards and up into 3 Legged Dog. You will be balancing on your hands and one foot at this time. Release the right leg into downward dog and shift left leg backwards and up to 3 legged dog. Repeat Downward Dog with Alternating 3 Legged Dog for 6-12 counts.
Stand in Mountain at the top of your mats with your child. Return back to that eye to eye focus as you did earlier in Butterfly Posture with Hand Play. Lift your left arm up to high open 5th and slowly release the body over into an arch to the right side. You will focus on finding the diagonal line of the body in this Mermaid Mountain Posture. Stretch on the diagonal for 5 counts and keep the eye to eye focus with your child. Return back to Center Mountain and be still for 3 counts. Repeat Mermaid Mountain Posture to the left side. Repeat 2 sets alternating sides.
Find Tree Posture on separate mats with your child. Allow your arms to move upward to high open 5th position. The right leg will be active in Tree Posture. You will then lean towards the right leg in Tree for 2 counts, back to center for 2 counts, and then shift the lean to the left side for 2 counts. Return back to Center Tree and release to Mountain. Repeat on the left side. Repeat 2 sets of Moving Tree alternating sides.
Garland Pose with Spider Arms
Find Garland Pose on separate mats with your child. Garland Pose is a deep open 2nd position squat with heels placed down on the floor. After finding Garland Pose you will relax your hands down by the inside of your feet and cup your fingertips on the floor. Remember to keep all your energy over the whole foot so the knees are protected and not rolling forward in this posture. You will release one hand off the floor at a time to an open 5th position reaching for the sky. Return the right hand down and then repeat with the left hand. Repeat Spider Arms in Garland Pose for up to 16 counts. Take a moment to find a quiet Garland Pose and then repeat a second set. Tempo can be fast or slow in this posture depending on your health.
Rolling Like a Ball with Voice Release
Sit on separate mats with your child. You will then allow the body to fall backwards into Rolling like a Ball and recover to sitting 3xs. On each recovering motion of Rolling like a Ball the exhale breath can use voice/sound. You can make it simple with just saying your name out loud, favorite color, vocal scales such as la, la, la, or create a favorite sound of your own to release. Keep the exhale breath with sound to one word. Repeat the Rolling like a Ball with Voice Release up to 6xs.
Seated Straddle with Port de Bras
Sit on separate mats with your child and find Seated Straddle Position. You will then lift your arms to a high open 5th position. Slowly stretch with a Circular Port de Bras motion with the arms to the right foot and then across to center sweeping your hands on your mat. You will continue the Circular Port de Bras to the left foot and then recover back to center. Reverse the Circular Port de Bras with the arms to the other side. Repeat Seated Straddle with Port de Bras 4-6xs.
Reaching for the Sky into Sitting Sandwich
Sit on separate mats with your child with your legs out in front of you (Staff Posture). Reach your arms upwards to high open 5th position. You will then alternate right and left arms into an extended stretch as if reaching for the sky for 8 counts. Then shift the body weight forward into Sitting Sandwich or Forward Fold. Repeat this sequence 3xs.
Moving Half Wheel with Walking Legs
Find Half Wheel Posture with your child or guide your child into this posture. Once your child is present in the Half Wheel he/she will release the right leg upwards towards the sky for 1 count. Release the right leg back to Half Wheel and repeat with the left leg. If the child feels comfortable with releasing the leg for 1 count then he/she can continue with alternating walking movements with the legs. You will stay in Half Wheel and alternate the legs in a walking motion for 16 counts.
Candlestick with Bicycle Legs
Find Shoulder Stand or Candlestick Posture on your mat with child. You will then start to bicycle your legs for 8-12 counts. Release your legs over to Plough Posture for 3 breathes. Repeat Sequence one more time.
Super Kid Fly
Lay on you front side with belly to mat in X position with your child. Inhale and lengthen your body on the mat. Exhale and extend your full body upwards into a flying X position or Super Kid Fly posture. Your arms will be reaching in front of you as your legs are reaching behind you. Hold the Super Kid Fly Posture for 4-6 breathes. Rest and repeat posture 1 more time.
Child’s Pose with Massage
Guide your child into Child’s Pose Posture. You can allow your child to rest their foreheads on a pillow or towel. Parents can very gently stroke the spine with your right and left fingertips as if you were petting a cat. Stroke the Spine for two minutes from the top of your child’s head to their tailbone. After the Stroking of the Spine you will be still with the hands for 1 minute. Parents can gently place their hands over their child’s spine with a loving touch. Focus on passing breath to each other during the still period. Repeat this whole Sequence 3xs.
I have developed this Immunity Boosting Practice for Good Health. It is a wonderful practice to turn to when you feel run down, stressed, or recovering from sickness. Even though agitation may be present in the body try to be as still as possible in the physical practice. Turn inward and connect to your mental practice of circle of breath or focus point.
Breathe deeply through each posture in the Immunity Boosting Practice. The breath will help the body to rid negative toxins and stressors that are blocking positive energy during recovery from colds or difficult situations. We place focus on the breath to increase the positive energy in our immune system. Once we connect to the breath in our Immunity Boosting Practice sweat will begin to form, the body will loosen, and a clearer mind will be present. Colds will be less in length. Strength will increase in the body mentally and physically and emotions will be more in check. Your body will be on its way to Good Overall Health.
Parallel Squat with Hands in Pray
Hold for 1 minute
Forward Fold with Arms Hugging the Legs
Hold for 1 minute
Chair with Active Arm Swings
Swing arms from the side of body to high open 5th position for 16 counts. Repeat for 2 sets.
Half Moon at the Wall
Hold up to 3 minutes. Repeat on the other side.
Child’s Pose to Upward Dog
6-8xs in a flow sequence.
Locust/Child’s Pose/Downward Dog
3xs in a flow sequence.
Hold for 30 seconds for 2 sets.
Hold for 30 seconds for 2 sets.
Hold for 30 seconds for 2 sets.
As a professional dancer, I learned about the benefits of training in and out of the studio environment at an early age. Yes, technique classes are needed in different genres of dance whether you plan to pursue modern or ballet as a career. Rehearsals for endless hours help dancers to place the technique into action. Then we are given rare opportunities or time to study alternative conditioning for dance and our art. The question is how do we make the alternative study and conditioning class fit into our regular training schedule? How do we welcome the study to our bodies and feel the benefits?
I remember as a young dancer waking early to do my conditioning training. I would start stretching on my mat to increase flexibility in the spine and hamstrings. I would then lead into the Pilates series of five exercises with the classic Hundred, Single Leg Stretch, and Double Leg Extension. Once my body felt core energy awaken, I would hit downward dog with arm and back exercises and finish practice with center ballet barre work. Years ago, my mind and body didn’t even know I was in the process of formulating my Movement for You Practice.
When I was in 11th grade, waking at 5am to train was work. By the time I reached Temple University two years later, I realized all the hard work paid off. I was conditioned for the professional world of dance. I was able to keep up with my classes at Temple and venture into extended class work at Pennsylvania Ballet and Philadanco. My body was able to work as a professional and withstand the long hours that a dancer’s life consumed.
When injuries would hit my body, I was able to turn to my conditioning practice for reflection, comfort, and healing. My conditioning practice carried me through various injuries of the Achilles, shins, lower back, and upper spine. I am still strong and moving everyday many years later. I am grateful to be able to hit mat even today for at least 1 hour a day to reconnect to the purpose of movement. I thank my conditioning practice of past years for being such a strong voice, carrying me through many injuries, and for being the foundation for the Movement for You Practice of today.
I recommend this following practice for teachers and studying dancers. Teachers, try and give this gift of practice to yourselves before your studying dancers arrive. If that is not possible you can even embrace the practice with your dancers before barre work, center work, or rehearsal. I hope teachers you will find more focus, patience, and creativity in your body after this given practice. I always find practice before class helps with overall tightness that sometimes develops during rehearsal or technique class from changing body temperature. Your body will feel much warmer for up to three hours if you engage in this practice work regularly.
Dancers, this is a wonderful practice to train with on an off day from technique class or rehearsal. If you want an extra challenge place this practice before or after technique class or rehearsal. This practice will energize and fulfill your spirit. You will feel closer to your goals as a dancer.
Teachers and Dancers enjoy your learning. Embrace the body and all its potential. Condition and see your body and mind grow like never before. Live to Dance! But, don’t forget to work hard in the process!
2nd position grand plie with bounce and hold
Find your 2nd position and allow the body to fall into a grand plie. In your natural and comfortable 2nd position grand plie you will activate the inner thighs and abdominal core. Release the body into small bounces through the legs for 16 counts. After the set of bounces for 16 counts remain still in the 2nd position grand plie and hold for an adagio 8 counts. Repeat 2xs.
Plie Sequence in 1st, 2nd, and 5th position
Find your 1st position. Take two grand plies in first position with arms in high open 5th position. Recover from the two grand plies and then Port de Bras forward. At the bottom of the Port de Bras release your fingertips behind your feet and swing your arms back behind the body to recover to standing. Repeat the forward circular Port de Bras 2xs. Repeat Plie Sequence in 2nd and 5th position.
Squat, Jump Back, with Downward Dog
Find parallel 6th position or mountain position. Squat down in parallel and place hands alongside feet. Engage your abdominal core, place weight in your hands, and shift your weight back in a jumping motion to find plank posture. Hold plank for 4-6 counts or breathes. Shift your body weight into downward dog and hold for 4-6 counts or breathes. Walk your feet forward to forward fold and roll up through each vertebra of the spine to mountain. Repeat this sequence up to 6xs.
Degage Sequence in 1st position with Passé
Find your 1st position and extend your right foot forward to a degage flexed position. Activate the inner thigh, abdominal core, and find neutral placement with your hips. You will then take 12 bounces inward (or accent in motion of degage) with the extended degage leg without touching the ground. You will feel as if the extended leg is rebounding off of the standing leg. You can work the bounce movement from an open fifth position with the legs. Arms will be extended in an open high 5th position. After the 12 bounces find passé and hold for 8 counts. Repeat this sequence on right to the back and side. In the side sequence work the bounce movements from 1st position. Also, repeat on left side.
Active Lunge Work in Parallel
Find parallel lunge on your right side. Straighten and release the front leg into an active lunge motion for 6xs. After six active lunges hold and release your fingertips forward to the ground alongside the front leg. Activate your abdominal core and reach the fingertips back up to an open high 5th position. Make sure the front leg stays in an active bent lunge position without moving. Repeat fingertips coming forward and returning to high release movement for 6xs. Repeat on left side.
Modern Roll Down and Port de Bras Sequence
Find parallel 6th position and extend arms overhead to high open 5th. Allow your arms to gently drop and release down to your sides as you slowly roll down and forward through each vertebra of your spine. As you are in forward fold, demi plie 3 xs, and then roll back up through your spine to standing mountain posture. Direct your body into Circular Port de Bras to right side leading with your left arm over head. You will fall to the right, to center forward with knees slightly bent in demi plie, carry Port de Bras to left side, and recover back up to mountain. Reverse the Port de Bras to the left leading with your right arm over head and complete sequence alternating up to 4xs. After the circular Port de Bras you will find a neutral mountain and drop into 4 upper body swings in parallel. Come out of the upper body swings and naturally walk to your right making two small circular walking patterns to redirect your energy. Find parallel 6th position and repeat on the left side.
Passé Developpe Sequence in 1st
Find 1st position and Passé Developpe front with your right leg for 8 counts and return to 1st position. This will be a flowing adagio movement. Repeat the Passé Developpe right front for the second time and hold the extended Developpe for 8 counts (static movement) and return to 1st. After Passé Developpes you will take 8 counts of eleve in 1st position. Repeat the Passé Developpe Sequence on the right to the back and side. Repeat the entire Sequence on the left side.
Active Plank to Downward Dog
Find plank posture (push up position) and then shift your weight to downward dog. You will move through plank to downward dog up to 12xs. Repeat 2 sets.
Battement Sequence in 5th
Find a comfortable 5th position. You can even work with an open fifth position in this Battement Sequence. As you did in the above Degage Sequence, find an extended flexed degage position of 45 degrees in height. You will then Battement to naval height (belly button area) for 8xs. You will always return back to the extended degage position. Focus on the movement being controlled and slow in tempo. To transition to the back and side you will hold Passé for 8 counts after battements. Repeat Battement Sequence to the back from open 5th and side from 1st position. Sauté 16 counts in 1st position to transition to the left side.
Rock and Roll with Jump (Plough to Stand)
Lay flat on your mat and allow your body to fall backwards into Plough Posture. You will recover out of Plough and come into Seated Forward Fold touching your toes. Repeat Plough to Seated Forward Fold up to 6xs. Then Rock and Roll from Plough to Standing Mountain as if you were recovering from a forward roll up to 6xs.