Category: Fit Tip
Word of the Month: Magic

 

 

 

 

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t” – rikki rogers

 

 

 

 

 

Plank.

A true metaphor of all things challenging – sometimes unstable – oftentimes seemingly impossible – and yes, Magical.

Think of it.

At Dailey, we take this core exercise and build into it additional challenges to make the difficult – even harder. It’s done with thought, yet each one of you, whether you are a new student of TDM, a veteran of our method or someone schooled only in other workout modalities, knows that when we plank…Magic happens.

Align

From the placement of your hands to the energy in your legs, building onward to the awareness of where your head is, what your ribs are doing and whether or not you feel your deep core muscles in both your front and back body: You are IN it.

Take a breath.

Feel weight bearing in your shoulders, sense fatigue in your back, understand the guidance of your teacher’s virtual support through a screen and then reset as you need when we start to layer the challenges in – to your obliques, your shoulders, your hips.

Listen.

From a place inside of YOU there comes a force – this magical energy of powering through adversity and knowing that you intrinsically trust that this plank will be over soon and that we’ll be onto another body part, movement sequence or exercise in 90 seconds.

Feel your strength.

It’s that moment it took you to get to the place where you almost want to give up – but you don’t. It’s that little bit of space and chasm where you discover perseverance and then with the encouragement of your teacher, you attempt again. You commit 3 – 4 times over and over. And guess what? You complete the plank series – WITH us.

This is Magic.

And it translates to the year we’ve each just walked through.

Together.

We, at The Dailey Method, set our Word of the Month out almost one year in advance. Yet when “Magic” came down the pipeline for December, Jill and I both kind of looked at each other and truthfully just rolled our eyes. How do you inspire people to believe in Magic – after the year we’ve just lived? After all, 2020 introduced an unprecedented level of difficulty, upset, uncertainty, disappointment and struggle as it relentlessly embedded its tendrils deep inside each one of our stories.

Oh – But isn’t that what plank does?

Hence, the Magic.

We all have a plan for our lives and at some point, we each align our efforts in order to author an outcome. A million times over we adjust to the new challenges forced our way and prepare for unexpected change when it presents itself on our paths. We make subtle shifts when confronting difficulty and then find alternate ways to move in an effort to see if we’re able to redistribute stress and help ourselves towards success. We stop. We give up for a second or a few days (maybe even weeks!) but then we recommit to showing up – just one more time. We lean on friends as our cheerleaders to motivate us to try again and understand how change is the one thing in life that we are able to count on. Through it all; Life, I mean, (and plank too!) we may put our knees down but 100% we finish and there is reprieve.

It’s true that initially, all the magical things in everyday life that we continue to celebrate when we think of MAGIC come to mind like; babies being born, a mind-blowing card trick, a loved one unexpectedly healing from a terminal illness, stars in the sky, falling in love, the sparkle on water in the sunshine and those moments where something or someone just synchronistically shows up with just what you need. Yet still, what I am left with while reflecting on the magic of our day to day is giving immense gratitude to the muscles we’ve each had to contract, the various positions we’ve had to morph into, the constant resets we’ve had to make permissible, the amount of trust we’ve been asked to haphazardly believe in, the unending support from others we’ve been challenged to ask for – all of which, undoubtedly, have been the most rewarding.

2020 may, in fact, be parallel to the longest plank we’ve ever had to push through, yet what I know for sure is that there is no other community nor people I’d rather be surrounded by.

We will see this forward.

There are dreams to fulfill.

There is family to fold into.

Friends to lean on.

Love to have.

And if we need to plank this long a second, third, a fourth, or a fifth time, we will find inside ourselves, the same incredible Magic – again.

Yours,

Katina

Keeping Sanity During the Current Craziness!

I’m still trying to conceptualize how just a couple weeks ago we were in groups of people, connecting and touching and now we’ve been confined to our homes and immediate circles. The loss of community, something so many of us take for granted, is massively affecting me.

I’ve found a couple hacks if you’re interested…

  • Houseparty appYes, I know you could do the same thing through zoom or google hangout, but just the name of this app makes it more fun. Not to mention the fact that my kids think it’s hilarious that we’re all on it. Here’s a call to action- right now! group text your friends, find a time that works and have a virtual meet up or happy hour. I did this last weekend and the laughter (clearly as you can see from the photo) and connection filled me up. Before we ended the call we gave the space for each of us to have a few minutes to talk about what we personally were experiencing. It was good to hear some positivity but also be able to be there to support each other – and to hear that even though our struggles are different, we’re definitely not alone.

 

 

  • Create a safe workspace for yourself and have consequences if your children don’t abide by them. Just kidding. Do make sure you find a space where you can be alone, take a few breaths and take care of yourself AND also search for humor and the little things that make you smile. When something makes you laugh (like this picture!) share it out. Smile at people (from 6 feet away) even when you’re feeling frustrated or out of whack..

  • Keep consistent practices. Wake up at the same time every day, eat dinner and maybe even breakfast with the people you’re sheltering with. It’s okay- your new consistency might be inconsistent with what you used to do. Take advantage of this different daily structure to do something you love: read a book, watch a movie, take a bath, meditate more.

  • Take this time to grow. Our Dailey Method studios had to change our business models quickly in order to provide the consistent and quality classes you need more than ever when you’re confined to your home. It’s amazing to me how quickly people have learned to embrace change in order to maintain something familiar and comforting (although if we’re talking about something like fold-over -not necessarily comfortable!). Some students are taking even more classes now than they did at the studios. We’re calling it “Prison Fit”! Check out our website for the virtual classes offered through the local studios, and if that doesn’t work for you there’s always an option to Dailey Online….. Your first two weeks are free! And beginning next week we’re trying something new there- you don’t want to miss out!
Fit Tip- 5 Minutes to Fitness

We think of August as a relaxing and fun time where we can still play and are able to enjoy the end of our summer. Right?

That is definitely not how I’m feeling at the moment! My kids are about to head back to school and rather than feeling as though a break is near, I’m finding it difficult to shift back into a schedule. Believe me, I love my kids, my time with them, AND my summer, but I always forget how difficult the transition back to the school year can be. I won’t be SO vulnerable that I let you know all of the things I’ve let slip recently, but let’s just say I’m feeling very human.

So in honor of our word of the month PLAY – and due to the fact that inspiration often comes out of chaos, I have been “playing” with an exercise series that is incredibly quick and efficient for those times you lack the mental focus and time to fit in a class.

This series takes a little over 5 minutes and focuses on seat work, yet has the intensity and efficiency of continual muscular engagement paramount for optimal results gained from our Dailey Method fundamental principles. I incorporate functional range of motion for multiple joints, tempo varieties to target core stability and balance and also muscular strength/endurance for multiple muscle groups. All at the same time!

With a strong focus, first on balance, these exercises require stabilization and support of your small muscle groups, especially your primary pelvic stabilizer – Gluteus Medius. Gluteus Medius is called into action when you have to move slowly between two points of foundation to one point. Then, tapping into your new found stability, you’ll start working with a quicker tempo to increase your heart rate and target deeper into the gluteal muscles, core stabilizers and muscles of your shoulders and arms. The final set is less range of motion of the stabilizing side, and will burn out your seat while additionally getting your heart rate up. Intrigued?

Deep Lunge to knee lift:

Start in a crescent lunge with your right leg forward and left back. Using your arms for contralateral support reach left one forward and right arm back. Find squareness of your pelvis by drawing front thigh bone back and back hip point forward. Very slowly (counts of 4) stand on front leg and lift back knee towards chest, moving arms in opposition. Move back to starting position in 4 counts. – 8 times

Pick up tempo- lift in two counts and lower in two counts. – 8 times

Bend your arms at 90 degrees (to protect your shoulders) and pick up tempo – lift on one count and lower on one count. 16 times

Stay in a deep lunge with arms stabilized by side (to strengthen rotator cuff) and do knee pulls 32 times. Repeat other side.

Want to see this in action? Check out my instagram handle

We’ve got this! Embrace transition. Figure out what you NEED to get done. Give yourself the space to do it. And then let go of needing to do it ALL! Self love and Self love and self care is enough.

Even if and especially in small doses!

Fit Tip- Find Deeper Connection in Flat Back Floor

 

 

Flat back floor (FBF) is potentially my favorite abdominal exercise! Over the 18 years that The Dailey Method has been practicing this exercise it has continued to be refined, possibly more than any of the others, due to its complexities and its benefits. Yes, we’ve geeked out on it a bit-but with that attention to detail we have acquired tons of knowledge and have developed cuing to go along side it. The end result is helping you find your ideal position to work most effectively. When executed mindfully, FBF works to strengthen the smaller and deeper muscles that stabilize your entire core. This gives you a corset of core support from the inside out, front, side and back. There is a common misconception that your abdominals are your core- but your back and sides are also part of your core. Targeting these muscles is just as important as engaging the abdominals to achieve strength and stability for your spine and pelvis. FBF also directly targets your transverse abdominus, which is the deepest layer of our abdominal muscles. This layer is the most difficult abdominal muscle to connect with, especially if not in your ideal alignment. This layer is most accessible when you’re in a true neutral spine and pelvis. When people think “flat back” they generally think of removing the spinal curves and flattening their back to the floor. But that’s not where you can achieve the greatest benefit. We teach it with a neutral spine and pelvis while trying to maintain what’s called axial elongation. Axial elongation is the proper alignment of the head, spine and pelvis, with as much length as possible, so it provides optimum spacing between the joints during movement. When you are in alignment you have a better capacity to engage your muscles properly. Alignment of your spine is the key to getting your best benefit out of every exercise at The Dailey Method and in life. The cuing focus for this exercise is the back body integration into the ground. By energetically connecting your entire back body to the floor you have greater ability to fire up all of your trunk stabilizers.

Set up:

  • Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rock your pelvis back and forth to find and then settle your pelvis and spine into neutral.
  • Inhale length to your spine and try to reach sitz bones and the crown of your head as far away from each other as possible. This is what is defined above as axial elongation. You’re actively creating more space between each of your vertebrae while still maintaining optimal alignment.
  • Press the energy of your back to the ground without changing the position. Feel your sacrum root down, your rib cage and shoulder blades press down, and the sides of your waist connecting into the floor. Your low back will likely still be slightly off of the floor but you are energizing the musculature of your entire back to the floor. By activating the muscles of the back body you create a corset of support. You’ll notice that the action of pressing down with the back body will naturally create a deeper engagement of the abdominal muscles.
  • While maintaining stability, lift your legs up and straighten them out over your hips (if you have tight hamstrings keep the legs slightly bent.
  • In counts of 2-4, lower one leg towards the floor as far as you can without losing alignment or engagement, and then alternate.

The simple action of maintaining focused energy of the musculature down towards the floor will have a positive strengthening impact. Taking the weight of the legs moving further away from your center line to challenge the engagement can progress with time as you get stronger and more aware of what muscles you are engaging.

Have fun!

Fit Tip: Discover deeper alignment in Reverse Plank by using your breath.

TDM Master teacher trainer Maggie Calegari in Reverse Plank

 

Reverse plank is a very challenging position, especially when done correctly, and it’s one of my favorite challenges to add into a class. Reverse plank works your entire body and emphasizes chest opening with the added benefits of gaining powerful back body strength.

Here’s your set-up:

  • Sit with your legs straight in front of you, internally rotate your thigh bones in your pelvis and press your big toes together.
  • Place your hands directly behind your hips with your fingers pointing straight towards your seat (if your chest is tight you can fan your fingers out slightly as Maggie is doing above).
  • Bend your elbows backwards, tip your pelvis under, and lift your hips as high as you can.
  • Focus on finding one straight line from your toes to your head, lengthen the sides of your neck maintaining a neutral cervical curvature.
  • Use the strength of your back body to keep pressing chest, hips and legs upward.
  • If you need a modification bend your knees at a 90 degree angle and press your hips up from there. Aim for a straight line from knees to crown of head.

Once you get yourself aligned in position, use your breath to help you deepen the pose and discover the ability you have to align even deeper and additionally stay in the position a little longer. Find your new edge. Breathe to aid in helping you stay more aligned while finding new levels of challenge each time you resume this position.

  • As you inhale reach your toes (or knees if modifying) and head as far away from each other as possible and feel the sides of your ribs lengthen.
  • On the exhale root down into your hands, broaden your collarbones (roll your chest open) and press your hips as high as possible. Repeat with the emphasis on your breath. Aim to hold for one minute.

Remember – breath is a powerful tool that allows you to work through difficulty and can help you discover then push past self imposed limitations. You are stronger than you think!

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