Category: Advice
Chest Openers for an Open Heart

14705090_337920389876145_1556688395101536256_n(1)With the word of the month being Passion; and, knowing that generally passion is an expression of the heart, I felt like it would be a great time to focus on heart openers, or chest stretches.

 

At the Dailey Method, we know from experience and research how important it is to find balance in our bodies. In general, from our daily postures our back muscles tend to be weak and our chest muscles tight. This combination can negatively affect our posture, our back health and the confidence we project. In a Dailey Method class we make sure to give you a good balance of back work and chest stretches. However, doing a few additional on your own can make all the difference. Especially if you like to use your phone or computer a lot!

 

 

Single arm wall stretch:

Stand with your side to a wall and put your hand flat on the wall, fingers spread wide. Turn your focus towards the center of the room to increase the stretch. You can place your hand at shoulder height or a few inches above or below shoulder height to lengthen different fibers of the pectoralis muscles.

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Spine extension with chest opening:

Double benefit of working the extensors of your entire spine to create back body strength and chest flexibility. If you can’t keep your palms together it’s okay to just clasp your fingers. Try to reverse your grip ½ of the time and keep your focus on the ground to maintain length in your cervical spine.

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Kate Winslet stretch:

No wonder she had such great posture! This is my all-time favorite. You can use a counter if you’re not fortunate enough to have your own barre. Maintain your hands wider than hips, roll your chest open and lean your heart forward.

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Try to incorporate these simple, effective stretches into your self-care on a regular basis. Notice how you will feel more open with a little consistency.
Now you have even more reason to lead with your heart!

-Jill

January Word of the Month : Authentic

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“You were born to be real, not to be perfect.”

– Claire Baker

 

As we move out of 2016 and into 2017, I chose “Authentic” as the word of the month because I want to practice evolving myself, not changing who I am. January is typically a month where we chastise ourselves for past actions and set intentions for the things we want to change. But instead of trying to be something we’re not or do things differently, why not embrace exactly who we are first and then from that place of self honesty discover how to be that best version?

To be authentic is to aspire to be real, genuine, pure, truthful and original. We should still be accountable for our vulnerabilities and imperfections, but do so with self compassion. That is when authenticity makes us truly beautiful.

In a world full of the artificial and unreal we yearn for what’s real. And what could be more real than facing and embracing what’s already inside of us? That takes courage and honesty.

 

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we really are.”

-Brené Brown

 

How to thread your authentic self into your Dailey practice?

  • Be real with yourself, leave all judgement at the door – for yourself and for others
  • Avoid excuse and denial and instead recognize and develop
  • Work on yourself from the inside out- not the outside in
  • Accept your abilities and push yourself, find how deep you can go
  • But also accept that sometimes you need to back off
  • Love your body and what it is capable of every day
  • Say thank you to yourself before you go to bed at night

 

The best way I can be authentic is to practice self recognition and through that – self love. I know this isn’t always easy. Of course there will be times when we say or do things that are counter to who we are. We’re human and we’re on a journey to find the proper balance. We can aspire to recognize and not deny our failings, but rather than dwelling on them or insisting we’ll never do that again (a quick set-up for a blame and shame cycle), look inside and see who you truly are and see the beauty that is there. We all have that inner light within us and if we can focus on that we will be the true beautiful kind and loving soul that resides within us. Authentically. And then that beauty can be passed on to others.

 

“When you show up authentic, you create space for others to do the same.”

– Author Unknown

 

Authentically yours,

Jill Dailey

Getting in The Zone and Back on Track

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My A game. I know what it feels like and when I am bringing it, but just like a game it’s a combination of plays that get me there. It is so easy to fall off track and out of the zone over the holidays, this week I thought I’d share some of the tips I find most helpful in getting back on track in order to bring my A game year-round…

Focus – It literally means to find your center of attention. When I am busy, I always try to focus on what is most important to me in the moment. If I am spending time with my family, that is exactly where my focus should be. In class, I focus on getting the most possible out of the hour I have given myself by drawing my attention inward (especially during Savasana.) To nourish my body through the season’s activities, I focus on what will give me the most energy and keeps me feeling my best.

Forget All-or-Nothing – Imagine if the world’s top athletes said “Well, I didn’t do my best so I will just start again next year.” Not a chance. So why do we find ourselves with the all-or-nothing mentality this time of year? If I have a day where I’m not eating the way I intend, instead of saying to myself that I will start again Monday or in 2017, I always remind myself that NOW is the moment to do better, eat better and feel better. Didn’t make it to class today? Do not throw in the towel, luckily you have a whole schedule of classes to choose from tomorrow. (Or you can even stream a 30-minute Dailey Method class when you get home!) It’s okay to derail now and then, just be kind and allow yourself to get back on track.

Find Balance in Your Schedule – Like probably everyone else, I tend to overcommit during the holidays. With all the holiday parties, family events, kids’ activities, I am constantly running from one thing to the next. It’s okay to be selective in where you commit your time. Last week I gave you Tips on How to Stay in Shape When You Have No Time. If this includes prioritizing your schedule so that you are putting ME time or family time aside, it’s okay and can actually make you more effective. Remember – quality over quantity! Saying no isn’t always a bad thing.

Feed Your Mind With Positivity – Getting and staying in the zone is so much easier when you support yourself and your abilities. When I reinforce the things I’m doing well, I’m giving myself fuel for more good things to come. This includes not beating yourself up for things you wish you had done differently. Instead, use these as opportunities to grow, and move on. Replace your “I should” with “I will”.

Fun! – Your A game shines when you have fun. Be sure to enjoy what you are doing. When I want to adjust my eating habits, I don’t deprive, I explore! Try a healthy new soup recipe, stay in for date night for an interactive cooking session with someone you love, or take a trip to a new farmer’s market to see what you can find. In class, find Joy (our WOM) in your workout. You would be amazed at how much letting the fun in can keep you present and motivated and actually help you deepen your practice.

So be kind to yourself this season, keep consistent and allow room for small bumps along the way. It will help you to keep feeling amazing in 2017. In fact, maybe that’s why they call it your A game…

Bring it!

-Jill

The Dailey Method Holiday Gift Guide

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It’s here again – the time when we get to give to the ones we love. I love the gift giving ritual of the holidays and picking out something perfect for each individual; but sometimes it can get overwhelming, expensive and can lose some of the fun. Especially if you’re a last-minute person. So, I thought I’d give you a few recommendations of some of my favorite things to help you with your holiday gift giving.

Bespoke– There is a reason their tagline is “The Box of Awesome.” I wrote about this company in my Father’s Day blog but it merits mention again. Men, I find to be the hardest to buy for and this site makes it simple and FUN. It’s a box membership you can join but you don’t have to commit to the ongoing membership. There are multiple pre-set boxes you can purchase for $45 that are of great quality and seem much more expensive than they are. There are also individual items and ideas for the men you adore. I got one for every single one of my male family members (and hope they don’t read my blog!)

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LA made scarf– this may not look like much when you pull it out but quickly transforms into a cool edgy-looking scarf that will keep you really warm, at a price point any woman can love. It also transforms into a great blanket for the airplane when taking the red eye. Did I mention that these scarves are made entirely in the U.S.A.?

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Onzie high waisted pants– I know I’ve written about these before but I love them. The fabric is great and the high waist is incredibly comfortable. They come in several different hip prints (snake skin is my fave) and for workout pants they come at a great price!

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Argan oil– I’m a huge fan of argan oil. Saadia Organics produces premium, raw, authentic Argan Oil that is entirely cold-pressed by hand using traditional methods. Saadia Organics also supports the cause of hiring single mothers in Morocco at excellent wages in order to offer you oil that is truly making a difference in countless ways. I mostly use it on my skin but it’s great for hair, nails and safe for children and pets. If you use the code HAPPY15 you’ll get a discount at checkout.

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Fitbit bracelet covers- great for your friends and family who may want to add a touch of style to their activity tracker when going from the studio to the office, or out to dinner.

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TDM gift certificates- give the gift of health? YES!!! What could be better to receive? It also gives you another excuse to exercise with someone you love. Pick up at your local Dailey Method Studio or online.

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December Word of the Month: Joy

swing“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” ~ Buddha

Joy is many things, however, the ability to embrace joy in the simplest of things is where I always find my deepest connection to this emotion.

For me…

Joy is the uninhibited sound of children laughing. It’s the “pee in your pants/lose your breath” kind of laughter. Reckless, unabashed, unfiltered noises that fill a room and light you up from the inside.

Joy is the second you witness from afar – a teenager carry a shopping bag to the car for an elderly person.

Joy is watching the magic of clashing fireworks in a sky that is quite literally over in seconds.

Joy is feeling the warmth of a hand you are holding of a person you love. Not the mindless kind of “holding” but that conscious moment when you are present enough to truly feel the wrinkle of their knuckle, maybe the twitch of one of their fingers – or maybe even the way they repeatedly caress one of yours.

Joy is walking into a room and seeing a friend you have not seen in decades.

Joy is nuzzling a new kitten or puppy against your neck.

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Joy is watching a newborn sleep; when you stand still enough to watch the rise and fall of the same chest that will one day be the body of an old woman or man.

Joy is soaking the warmth of sunshine on your face. You feel it when you close your eyes and sounds become more refined and echo inside of your cells.

Joy is the heat of bourbon on the back of your throat as it goes down, or the chill of cool ice tea on your tongue and cheeks on a hot summer day.

Joy is watching someone’s face when you make eye contact with them and let them know how much you appreciate them and why.

Joy happens when you study hands that play a piano or a guitar and is when you are present enough to take in the sound they are able to create with the dance their fingers choreograph.

Joy is seeing love in the face of someone whose name you remember when maybe inside that someone felt insignificant to you and forgettable.

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Joy is moving in our bodies. It’s remembering to take a moment to feel gratitude for the demands we place on it everyday without zero consideration on most days that our body could ever one day tell us, “NO”!…..until that potential regretful day that it may.

Joy is a kiss. A hug. A hand placed on your shoulder from behind for no reason. It’s being present for every connection and how the tactile sensations made our insides sing.

Joy is nature growing around us that we oftentimes forget to stop and stare upon.

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Joy is the effortless blessing of the rise of the moon, the setting of the sun and the placement of the stars speckled in our galaxy on a warm or even cold night.

There is no end to all of the things that illicit Joy inside of each of us.

As a child and in a magical-thinking kind of way, I always believed that Joy was an emotion unworthy of being welcomed or held on to because I understood so young – that it was but fleeting. After all, why hold onto something good, when just around the corner – hardship lurked?

But what I eventually came to know was that Joy was the high octane fuel that I needed to fill my tank up with everyday at each “Joy station” that came across my path. I sucked the nectar out of each of those moments because at the times when my tank was empty – when I stalled by the side of the road in my life – when I crashed and experienced the pain of brokenness and self defeat – it was the Joyous times of seconds past that saw me through.

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None of us get out of here alive. Our lives are but ticking grandfather clocks sounding at every hour. There are a MILLION moments in a 24 hour cycle that we can choose Joy – where we can lather our minds and our hearts with the textures of a spirited feeling meant to lift us up when times get heavy.

Soak them up.

Find Joy hidden in even the roughest corners of your day and then commit to sitting inside of it!

Fill up your tank.
Live the life you were destined to author and then dance CRAZY wild into this beautiful season Joy!

And should this December season birth sadness or strife of any kind, stay seated in the knowing that Joy is simply on pause – and remember…another station where you can fill up again lies just around the bend.

Love,
Katina

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