Monday, September 1, 2014

September Word of the Month: Stability


The past three months we’ve highlighted our Primary Alignment Principles at The Dailey Method: AlignEngage, and Move. Our word of the month for September is STABILITY, which begins our focus on The Dailey Method Secondary Alignment Principles: Stability, Space, Support and Smile (4S’s)

As we Align, Engage and Move we can refine our practice and get even deeper by focusing on the 4S’s. Stability comes first and relates to foundation and grounding. Settling the body. Connecting with breath. Focusing our energy. Feeling and finding support.  

Stability is a perfect Word of the Month for Fall. This time of year typically represents a “coming down” from the free-flow and breeziness of Summer (even though there is the total joy in occasionally getting to be alone in an empty house). A return to structure, routine and grounding. Nature follows these same rhythms, and as Summer wanes we may start to feel the pull to re-connect deeper within, and with the supports around and underneath us.

Here are some ways to invite a deeper connection with STABILITY into your TDM Practice, and into your life:

Fully arrive & begin with intention. Set a mindfulness trigger point to help you arrive: touching the door knob, entering the front door, grabbing your water bottle, Marching at the beginning of class. It doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is the practice. Making a choice to when and how you will fully arrive in your practice, and then let go of everything but what’s happening right now. Show up FULLY for yourself by being present.

Breathe. One of the best ways to practice mindfulness and presence is to simply pay attention to your breathing. As you fully arrive, start taking deeper breaths. Your body will take cues from your breath, and come to a deeper/centered place. When you are calm and centered all your body’s systems function optimally. Breathe deeply and feel the stabilizing effects.

Notice & use supports. We are fully supported all the time by visible (and invisible/energetic) supports. We have everything we need to feel stable right now, all the time. Feel your feet. Feel your hands. If you are sitting, feel your pelvis. Feel your breath. Notice the people around you. Feel the shared energy and benefits of community practice as you move and breathe together. Feel the support of your teacher, and the cues she offers and adjustments she gives. Props are also supports. If there’s a baseboard, ball, strap or barre there to help you find stability, use it! We often ignore the supports life offers us instead of simply accepting them with gratitude. Use and appreciate all your supports.

Focus on Foundation.  How you connect with your foundation (feet, hands or pelvis depending on you position) impacts your ability to align, engage and move your entire body. Always align from foundation upward. Please take a moment to revisit these great resources for how to connect with your Foundation!  Here is one on FEET and here is one on HANDS. Use this month as an opportunity to learn more about your own hands and feet, and to ask your teachers for help improving your personal foundation! Un-learn your old ways of standing (walking, running) so you can let your smart feet teach you a more optimal way to connect and align.

I hope this focus on Stability in September gives you a feeling of grounding and connection that you’ll carry with you into October when we’ll talk about SUPPORT! THE DAILEY METHOD practice has been my personal rock and stability. I’m so grateful for the ritual of practice, and grateful for all of you and the community that solidifies and strengthens it every day.

Yours in stability,
-- Jill and Lorna


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The 30 Clean Testimonials



This September many Dailey Method Studios (including the four that I own in the Bay Area) will be participating in a clean eating program called The 30 Clean. It starts on September 15th and the final day to register is September 5th. Details on The 30 Clean and registration can be found here. I am a proponent of clean eating programs but also understand the obstacles of participating. They can take too much time, leave a sense of deprivation, make you feel hungry or just don’t fit well with your lifestyle. I participated in the program back in May and was so happy with how truly easy it was to follow and how much I felt like I could continue to incorporate their philosophies into my eating once the program was over. You can even have an occasional glass of wine! I also really appreciate the community component because, of course, we’re always stronger when we work together. In case you’re intrigued, or on the fence about joining us I wanted you to be able hear from others about their experiences. Below, are a few success stories from students and a studio owner.

"The Dailey Method and The 30 Clean have changed my life. I just celebrated my 50th birthday and can honestly say that I've never been in as good of shape as I am in now. Perhaps most important is that I feel great - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Reflecting back, I see how my poor eating and exercise patterns perpetuated a constant state of fatigue and stress. Not knowing what to expect from a barre class, I decided to try The Dailey Method. Wow, I loved it and came back again and again. I became stronger and had much more mental clarity and emotional balance. My body began to noticeably change. When I first learned about The 30 Clean through TDM, I immediately joined the challenge. Always grabbing my meals on the go, I was not sure how I was going to prepare healthy meals. Well guess what - I love, love, love eating clean. The energy and sheer bliss that I began feeling is ever present as I continue to nurture my body and mind with truly healthy food. Like TDM, The 30 Clean team provide an incredibly supportive environment that is rich with information, guidance and camaraderie. With The Dailey Method and The 30 Clean, I've lost more than 20 pounds, but I've gained so much more in energy and peace of mind - not to mention the defined muscles, flat tummy, and healthy glow!" - Marguerite

"I was introduced to TDM in the Fall of 2011. After my first class, I was hooked! A couple months later, I joined the trade staff working Front Desk for the studio. My practice progressed and I became stronger and leaner as months passed by. After participating in the studio's first 30 Day Challenge, I was in the best shape I'd been in for a long time! Then, life happened and it all changed. My work and family schedule only allowed me to attend 2-3 classes per week when I was previously doing 5-6. Pair that with poor eating habits and there you have it...20 pound weight gain! I had no energy, bad cravings, and struggled every time I took class. By the end of last year, I was determined to get back in shape and transition my family into eating clean, whole foods. We joined The 30 Clean New Year Challenge through TDM and that was the first day to a new ME. I'm happy to say that I'm back to my 5-6 classes per week, and am on my third 30 Clean Challenge. Wouldn't be possible without my amazing, supportive husband, Mikey, who does whatever it takes for me to continue on this journey. I've lost 25 pounds and 25 inches since January and am still going. I have energy, I feel strong and can say I'm the happiest I've ever been!" - Renee C. 

"I have nothing but great things to say about The 30 Clean! The effects of the program go way beyond weight-loss. Yes, you will feel lighter, healthier, more energetic, and less bloated, but what really sets The 30 Clean apart is the community support and camaraderie created on their Facebook boards. The studio truly becomes a community all working towards the same goal. Everyone is rooting for each other and everyone wants to see everyone else succeed! Additionally, as a nursing mother, there are not many "cleanses" that I can do, but since this is not about calorie restriction, it's doable! Bonus - you walk out with a bunch of new recipe ideas!" - Stephanie F - The Dailey Method RB/Poway studio owner

I look forward to sharing this journey with all of you in September!

-- Jill

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fit Tip: The Importance of Warming Up


At The Dailey Method we always begin class with either a series of marching or squats. Our warm up helps you to prepare for class in a number of ways.


First, these exercises increase blood flow to all of your large muscle groups helping to prevent injury and improve your performance and stamina throughout the class. The warm up is also a time to bring focus to your alignment. Setting foot foundation and neutral spine alignment during warm up will help you to be more successful throughout the class and carry more functional posture with you throughout your day. Finally, the warm up is your time to prepare psychologically for your workout as well. It is a time to leave the rest of your day behind, set an intention for class, and truly give yourself the gift of focusing on your own body and your own health for a full hour.

Breathing is an integral part of your Dailey Method warm up. As you begin to march or squat your heart rate and your breath rate will slowly rise and your blood vessels will dilate to bring more oxygen to your muscles. Focus on your breath during your warm up to increase your stamina and tune in to the physiologic changes happening in your body. Use your breath effectively during the warm up (let your breath be heard!) and carry that connection with you as you continue your warm up in our Dailey Method plank series.

The value of focusing on your breath goes beyond the physiological. Focused breathing gives you an opportunity to ground yourself in the room and become present. This class is time for YOU so allow yourself to be fully present to receive the maximum physiological and psychological benefits from every class.

Setting an intention during the warm up can change the energy you bring to your class. I find that using our Dailey Method word of the month is a great way to construct your intention. Here are a few examples working with our word of the month - MOVE: 

1) Mindful/focused movement - notice where there is wasted energy and focus on being more efficient. Life practice: choose how to spend your energy versus letting people or circumstances pull you.
2) Moving with boundaries - feel the boundaries created by your best alignment & engagement and stay honest to them. At the same time, work at your edge because that's where the change happens - that's how your boundaries grow & expand. 
3) Move with grace - find the balance between effort and ease. Work hard but use the breath to keep it graceful on the outside. Life practice: be centered & strong on the inside, but stay kind and open on the outside - receptive to life. 
4) Appreciate movement - rock out/have fun/dance/feel sexy & FEEL how lucky we are to be able to experience our bodies right now. Enjoy the dance of life.

It's pretty amazing how much we accomplish in the first 2 minutes of class, isn't it?! Then we move you even deeper into your warm up and small muscle stabilizers when it’s time to plank!

We'll see you in the warm up,

Jill and Kerry

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

8 Tips to get the Most out of Your TDM Practice



1. Come hydrated and fill up your water bottle before class. It’s good for your muscles... and it sucks if you have to miss part of barre stretch to go get water!

2. Find the spot in the room that will set you up for success. If you’re newer to class try to be upfront or near the mirror so can use it to self correct. If you’re hard of hearing then place yourself closer to the speaker. If you’re sensitive to loud music move away from the speaker. Also important - if you have a chatty friend in class separate yourselves so you won’t distract each other!

3. Get there early. There is nothing worse than being rushed. By getting there a few minutes early you will have the time to transition from mom or work mode into workout mode. It also gives you a better opportunity to get your favorite spot in the room.

4. Set an intention for the class. What is it that you want to get out of class today? Maybe you are sore and really want to focus deeply on the stretches or you need some stress release or deep breathing to help you through a difficult time. Take advantage of this hour for yourself to truly connect your mind and body.

5. Be present! Let your time in the studio be about you and only you. No phones, no thinking of your to-do list - I know, easier said than done! Dedicate those 45 or 60 minutes to you and you alone. Coming back to your intention throughout class can help you stay present.

6. Leave expectations at the door. Every day is a different day and that is why this is a practice. Today might be the day where need to hold back a little bit and use lighter weights or it might be the day you can stay full form in plank or press both hands up in round back. Listen to your body, honor it and let it guide you.

7. Practice gratitude. It really is amazing what our bodies are able to do. The next time you fall out of a balance pose or feel the need to reset the position, take a moment to appreciate what you have already accomplished in that hour and the opportunities that allow you to be in the room.

8. Smile! When you allow yourself to enjoy what you’re doing, and not take it so seriously, I promise it’s easier! Attitude has a tremendous affect on experience. Listen to the music or your teacher's jokes - smile at the stupid ones too, it makes us feel good :). Allow the positive energy in the room to connect you to your positive energy.

Wishing you the best class yet,

-- Jill


Monday, August 4, 2014

August Word of the Month: Move



In The Dailey Method, we practice our three Primary Alignment Principles in order: 1) Align; 2) Engage and 3) Move. In June we focused on our base principle to ALIGN our bones in proper position; in July we practiced how to ENGAGE specific muscles to support our intentionally aligned bones. For the month of August, we’ll put it together and focus on our third Alignment Principle: MOVE!

When we are young and healthy, we don’t tend to give movement much thought – we get out of bed each morning, get dressed, exercise, work, play, and relax without much conscious thought applied to HOW that all happens in our bodies. We take for granted the healthy functional movement of our bodies. As we age - and perhaps encounter our first injuries, aches and pains - we may suddenly become more aware and interested in how we can heal injuries that do occur – and better yet, how we can prevent them in the first place. The great news is that an alignment-based practice like The Dailey Method empowers us to stay healthy and strong in our bodies throughout the years. By training our brains and bodies to be more aware and more intentional in our movements, we can experience freedom and happiness in our bodies regardless of age. In fact, many “older” students report feeling significantly better about their body health and strength at their current age thanks to their TDM practice!

So what’s the “secret” to learning how to MOVE with ease and freedom? Structure and boundaries. We experience freedom of movement by having structure (when we ALIGN our bones intelligently & intentionally) as well as boundaries (when we ENGAGE the support of muscles to set safe boundaries). While words like “structure” and “boundaries” may sound limiting and un-fun, they actually are not. The same way children grow and thrive with healthy structure and boundaries, our bodies crave support and balance. If we are sedentary, our body and movement boundaries remain stagnant and typically become more limiting with time and age. On the other hand, if we engage in regular TDM practice, our boundaries EVOLVE continuously! With understanding and practice comes awareness, engagement, support, strength, flexibility and balance. Each new challenge creates change, and each time we practice is an opportunity to meet and embrace our BEST selves here and now.

I encourage students each time they practice to “check in” mentally and physically again & again – notice your alignment, engagement (also notice your thoughts and internal dialogues) and always ask if you are supporting yourself in the best way you can right now. Then notice if you are working at your edge – if you consistently work at your edge, your circle (your boundary) will continue to expand, so the practice never ends. In fact, the practice becomes so ingrained that it becomes part of your everyday life. I truly love how even after 14 years of my Dailey Method practice I still can continually find better alignment, deeper engagement, a new edge and positions of greater ease. I feel like my boundaries will always continue to expand and that’s exciting!

As you bring awareness to how you MOVE this month, I encourage you to do the following:
- Always “check in” to make sure you align and engage to the best of your ability first. Always move from a place of stability and support. Set your safe boundaries with muscle engagement. Every body is different.
- Sometimes, choose not to move. It is an advanced practice to know when your alignment and engagement are telling you to re-set, stay in a base position, or modify an exercise. Often times just taking a moment of stillness and focusing on one or two breaths will allow you to come back to that reset. Every day will be different, so allow that – don’t let a setback, sickness, injury or off-day discourage you; use it as an opportunity to simply practice and let go of expectations. Where you are is perfect.
- When you choose to move, move while maintaining alignment and engagement. Experience those things as your supportive structure and boundaries. Feel empowered by your ability to create that structure for yourself.
- Find your edge. When you feel mindfully aligned and engaged, you don’t have to play it safe right in the middle of your comfort zone – TRUST the work you’ve done & try to move and challenge yourself! Check back in: Are you still aligned and engaged while moving? If so, can you push even closer to your new edge today? Again, every day will be different so embrace your personal change and progress!
- “Move and Breathe.” I stole this from one of my favorite parenting coaches, Cathy Cassani Adams, who is a TDM student. It really is that simple. Be present. Be aware. Connect your movements with breath. Feel your body as you Move and Breathe.
- Feel the Dailey Dance. Movement in TDM should feel fluid & graceful, and there should always be an element of ease. Let your inner dancer shine out. Be in the flow of your practice and your life.
- ENJOY! When you move with the support of structure and boundaries it should feel GOOD. Appreciate what it’s like to FEEL GOOD IN YOUR BODY. Don’t take it for granted, and recognize the work you have done to make this freedom possible.

Move with intention this month. We’ll be with you every step of the way!

-- Jill and Lorna

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#FitnessandFashion


There is so much going on in summer that even I find it hard to keep my fitness routine. But it’s always easier when I can put on my workout clothes in the morning and feel good enough in them to wear them all day- giving me the chance to jump into a class whenever I find the time. Here are a few of my favorite picks, just for summer.

Lace Details: I am definitely not a lace girl - I prefer my tie-dye and fringe, but there are some great clothes for this summer and moving into fall with edgy lace details on them. 




Seamless pants: Nothing beats the ease and comfort of seamless pants. They save me having to stop and hike up my waistband during all the squats in Dailey Interval. This brand has great washes, an excellent fit and good price points.



Birkenstocks: I’ve worn these for years but now they are trendy - and for good reason! There is not a more comfortable shoe and they pair perfectly with any workout outfit. I have the insignia blue but I love how neutral this one is!


Here’s to being fashionably fit!

-- Jill