Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lessons Learned From My Broken Ankle

It’s been over 6 weeks since I broke my ankle and I spent 4 weeks on crutches and 2 more weeks in a boot. I’m a proponent of trying to take the things that happen to me (good and bad) as an opportunity to learn and grow and this experience was no different. In the beginning 6 weeks seemed like forever, and now it seems like it was nothing. Yet another reason perspective is everything!

What happened? I was hiking with my 115 lb rhodesian ridgeback Toney and his girlfriend Harley. They were playing, got out of control, and flew into the side of my shin. I rolled my ankle and broke off the maleolus of my left fibula. I had no idea it was broken. I’ve never broken a bone before and figured it would have to hurt worse than it did. I walked down the mountain, did the proper R.I.C.E treatment. Taught a class the next day, came home and R.I.C.E’d again. I taught two more classes the next day and finally accepted that it wasn’t getting any better. When I went in for an x-ray, the prognosis was a clean break. That’s when I finally cried “I do not have time for this!”

The moment I fell I had two things simultaneously go through my mind: vanity thought “what if I won’t be able to wear high heels?” (I still can’t and have a feeling it will be a while...). But then I thought “the Universe just knocked me over to force me to slow down, sit, be present and vulnerable” and that is what I have been focusing on - thank you Universe!

Some other lessons I learned from this experience:
  • I definitely had to re-learn how to ask for help. I needed people to do everything for me! I tried to take my kids with me everywhere to be my sherpas and doormen but that wasn’t always possible. I couldn’t even carry a cup of coffee from the counter to a table. One night early on I tried to get a glass of water up the stairs to my bedroom and it took me 20 minutes!
  • I learned that my kids are way more capable of doing chores and helping out than I give them credit for or expect of them. This definitely shifted the "mom does most and you do a tiny bit" paradigm in our house!
  • I learned to look at and approach things differently, especially when it wasn’t the easy route. I had two trips to Southern California planned during my crutches phase. One for the Vimmia retreat and the other for the Venice Beach Intensive workshops. My first instinct was to cancel at least the first trip, way too hard to do- right? I was advised by a friend that was crippled for a long time to do everything I could during this time and to learn as much as possible. It wasn’t easy, but also not as hard as I thought it would be. Being out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens- right?

  •  I learned to say “I am grateful for my broken ankle.”
  • Professional lesson? Huge! From the second day I was in the boot and crutches I took class, primarily sitting on a small stool, and figured out how to do at least 80% of class. My mantra was: “when in doubt just plank”.

It was an amazing “intensive” for me on how to help people modify the entire class for foot, ankle and knee problems and made me even more proud of this Method for how accessible it is no matter what condition you’re in.

With love and solid bones,

-- Jill

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall Workshop Series

My favorite CoreValue of all? Always be a Student.  

This is the reason why the I love my job the most in the Fall. Six times a year we hold what we call our “workshop intensives”, offering continuing education for all of The Dailey Method trainees, teachers and owners around the world. In the Fall we hold them once a month September through November, beginning in Chicago, then to Southern California (this year Venice Beach) and wrapping up this weekend in Fairfax and San Francisco.

Undoubtedly my favorite part of my job is teaching classes and training teachers. I get to do this in mass along with the Dailey Method Master Teacher Trainers because we generally have 50+ people participate on any given day. Our workshop intensives are also an incredible opportunity for me to continue to learn and be inspired by the many talented, intelligent people that are part of our Dailey Method family. Our shared passion for The Dailey Method and it’s continuing upward evolvement creates an energy that feeds the love of learning in all of us.  

We vary the workshops’ subjects throughout the year and this series was my favorite to date. We continued our training using our new resistance band props, defined The Dailey Method language through our primary (Align, Engage, Move) and secondary (Stabilize, Space, Support, Smile!) alignment principles and got a deeper understanding of the shoulder girdle and how to optimize the strength, support and fluidity of movement in this complicated part of our anatomy. Dailey Method anatomy training is offered as well as master classes to illustrate how to take all of the information from our workshops and use it in a real class setting. There is something for everyone in our intensive series. From brand new teachers in training to seasoned teachers and studio owner’s, everyone leaves inspired and armed with the tools and knowledge to bring the ultimate in alignment, balance and results home to Dailey Method students around the world.

My biggest take-away from the workshops this year was truly appreciating how the language of the Dailey Method and our secondary alignment principles in particular apply to my world outside the studio as well. I left the workshops feeling inspired not only to continue to grow in my practice as a Dailey Method student and teacher, but also in my life as a friend (to myself and others) mother and partner.

Here’s to always being a student,

-- Jill

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Word of the Month: Support

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The word for November is SUPPORT, continuing the exploration of The Dailey Method Secondary Alignment Principles: Stability, Space, Support and Smile!

SUPPORT comes from within. Just like The Dailey Method practice, support is an inside-out practice. There is a tendency to think of support as something I give or as something I receive. While giving and receiving support is a beautiful thing, we’re not really capable of doing either fully until we learn the art of supporting ourselves. When we talk about support, we’re talking about STRENGTH. And self-support is where our power begins!

In the physical sense, support relates to the engagement of our muscles around our skeletal structure. Ideally first we stabilize through foundation and then create space on the inhalation so that we can exhale to support our ideal alignment by hugging muscle to bone and to the midline through muscle contraction. Our focus on engagement at TDM is to start with the deepest layers of support- pelvic floor, transverse abdominis- and then layer the muscular support outward from there. This is the truly physical inside-out support you can achieve from your Dailey Method practice.

Self-support translates not just to our bodies and the physical, but also to our lives! Oftentimes we find ourselves so focused on supporting others (children, partners, friends, co-workers, clients, etc.) that we have very little left for us. Oftentimes our best energy goes to others until we find ourselves feeling drained and depleted. Do you take care of everyone else’s needs, and put your own last?

Try to visualize how great it would feel to start each day feeling centered and calm,  stable and spacious - knowing you are fully supported all the time, and that in every moment you have abundant energy and strength to tap. It’s so easy to be pulled and eventually drained by strong external energies (the people we love, the things we love, and the obligations we feel) so it is a life practice to keep coming back to our internal compass, creating and feeling support from within, from ourselves.

Here are some ways to practice real SUPPORT and create real STRENGTH in your life:

KEEP NOTICING – Hopefully you’ve been doing this for the last couple months. Keep doing it. Every time you arrive in your practice, take a few seconds to notice your body (sensations), your mind (thoughts), and your heart (emotions.) This month, take it another step and notice how you are also SUPPORTING YOURSELF.

CHECK STABILITY – It’s impossible to feel strong if we don’t feel stable. Make stability priority #1 for your deeper self-support practice. Practice in class beginning with foot and hand foundation and then add in your powerful breath, for space. Focus on using your deepest muscles first to hug inward, narrow and support your alignment prior to layering on your movements. Come back to this concept throughout your day. If you find yourself feeling anxious or freaking out about something, notice(!) what’s happening and give yourself a minute. Take a deep breath. Focus on the ground underneath you and try to center yourself from there. Make some space for yourself. You’re ok. You’re more than ok! Create more stability in your body and life, and you’ve established the foundation for great things. Give yourself ROOTS to RISE.

BREATHE – Breathe better by breathing mindfully. Use your inhale breath to expand your heart and lungs, and to create space and length from your heels through the crown of your head. Use your exhale breath to hug muscles to bone and muscles to midline, providing muscular strength, support and added stability. Inhale... Exhale... feel your breath support you.

BALANCE SPACE AND SUPPORT – If you feel “tight” in your body, you probably need to focus on more space. If you are more naturally flexible (or looking to challenge your body) focus on support. In an ideal balanced practice, space and support work in the body harmoniously together. Your practice should balance ease and effort, just as in life.

FOCUS YOUR SUPPORT - Your TDM practice gives you a great opportunity to learn how to focus where and how you use energy. When we’re not thinking about it, we tend to spread our energy all over. Be intentional and specific about where and how you create support in your body. Make brain/body connections to focus on the areas of the body targeted in each section of class. In Arm Work, really focus on the muscles of the arms, shoulders and upper back. In Thigh Work focus on the quadriceps, working them in their most lengthened shape. In Seat Work focus on feeling how the muscles of the pelvic floor, abdominals and seat work together in opposition (or balanced action) to build strong gluteals, which in turn support a healthy spine! Listen to your teacher for support, ideas, and refined cues. And notice what your body needs each time you practice.

TAP YOUR SUPPORTS – Support is an inside-out practice, but know that you are also always surrounded by supports! Your breath, your foundation, your bones and your thoughts are all supports. When we are centered, connected and “in the flow” of our lives, the whole universe supports our path and well-being, and “supports” start to appear everywhere. Even sadness and setbacks (like a broken ankle!) can be supports disguised as challenges. In class: props, teachers and the students around you are supports and sources of shared energy and shared intention. Every time you inhale, visualize yourself breathing in your best energy. Feed that energy, nurture that energy, and know that energy is always there for you to tap when you need it.

SHARE YOUR SUPPORT – Once you’ve developed your inside-out practice of tapping and nurturing your own best energy, you may find you have a lot more of it to share. When you are able to come to situations and interact with people from a grounded, centered, positive place you create a shared space that IS supportive. And when you are mindful and intentional about how you are sharing your energy, you won’t feel so easily drained or depleted. And when you do get run down, you’ll know how to start at the beginning and practice self-support. Because it should always start within.

This month practice self-support. And notice the power of the supports within you – and around you – every day. We believe in you to the core!

With love and tons of support,

-- Jill & Lorna