Fitness Friday Week 17: Boat Pose Core Work

Follow the instructions on the video and let me know if you have any questions.

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Fitness Friday Week 16: Tennis Ball Release

Follow the directions on the video to enjoy a lovely deep tissue pressure point using 1 or 2 tennis balls.

(Click on the title to view the video.)

Tuneful Tuesday Week 40: AHS Christmas Production from 2003

After living with a bit of a stomach bug for the last week, I’ve decided to take a week off from my Tuneful Tuesday and share with you this blast from the past. 2003 was my senior year at Atascadero High School and I was blessed with the opportunity to write the script for this Christmas show and to star in it as “Jingles The Elf.” This was the year that I learned to love music. This was the year that music became my life.

I was riding high as the Choir President and Assistant to the Director and every moment I spent in the choir room was bliss. Inside those rundown walls, I learned to sing with joy. I found ease and peace through my voice…. something that my years as an undergraduate and graduate voice major beat out of me in the quest for “technique.” It has taken me years to undo the perfectionism, tension, and stress that those 6 years of schooling (and my competitive nature) inflicted on my voice.

Seeing this performance reminds me of the pure joy that is possible when you just enjoy singing for singing’s sake. I wasn’t trying to win any medals. I wasn’t trying to audition for a show. I wasn’t trying to prove myself in any way. I was just loving to sing. Yes, having an understanding of my vocal mechanism and a strong and well-educated technique is all well and good; but sometimes you just need to let that all go and have fun with your voice. I hope that next week I’ll be able to channel that joy into my next Tuneful Tuesday.

(Click the blog title link to view video.)

Fitness Friday Week 12: Legs Up The Wall Part 2

Here is the continuation of last week’s Legs Up The Wall Sequence. Visit the Facebook page or blog to view last week’s portion. Time permitted, hold each pose for 5 minutes before moving on.

Enjoy!

(Click the blog title link to view the video.)

Fitness Friday Week 9: Happy Hips

Follow the directions on the video for a happier pelvis and better singing stance. 

(Click on the title to view the video.) 

Fitness Friday Week 8: Bridge Pose Sequence

Bridge Pose is my go-to for helping my students strengthen their cores, create awareness of the inner thighs through adduction, and to recognize how the abdominal wall can be both strong and supple simultaneously.

You will need a yoga block or a few hardback books for this sequence. 

Start off on your back with your feet planted on the ground as close to your pelvis as possible. Keep your hands alongside your hips with your palms facing down. It is important that you keep your nose pointing towards the ceiling during this entire sequence. On your inhale, press into your hands and feet and lift your hips off the ground, focusing on engaging your abdominal muscles and inner thighs for support. On your exhale, allow the pelvis to slowly return to the floor moving one vertebra at a time, ending with the tailbone. Do several rounds of this to warm up the spine. Then end with the hips up and place a block or a stack of hardcover books underneath your hips right at the crest of your buttocks (the top of the tailbone.) Pick a height that is closest to your active bridge pose. I give examples of all three block height options in the video. To add more variety to the sequence, you can take “butterfly” legs by bringing the soles of the feet together and knees apart. You can also walk the feet away from the block and extend the legs to fully lengthen the abdominal wall and the psoas (front of the hip bone). To come off the block, walk your feet back so your knees are bent, lift your hips off the block, remove it, and keep the hips lifted for several breaths—allowing the muscles surrounding the spine to regain control. Then, with an exhale, slowly release down and rest for a few breaths with the legs extended. 

Try singing both before and after this sequence and witness how your breath and posture have been altered. Enjoy!

(Click on the blog title at the top of the email to watch the instructional video.) 

Fitness Friday Week 7: Strap Shoulder Work

Continuing with our theme of shoulder tension release, I offer you this short and sweet strap sequence. If you do not have a yoga strap, a simple belt or thick piece of ribbon or rope will work fine. To begin, take a strap into both hands and bring your arms up in a wide “V”. Then take your right arm alongside your head while keeping the arm straight and swing your left arm back as far as possible, keeping your shoulders down. Feel the scapula/shoulder blades pull towards one another, keeping your chest wide and open. Then repeat on the other side. 
Next, return to the “V” shape and lean your torso to the left, taking several deep breaths into your side waist to expand your ribcage and open up your side body. Repeat on the right side. 

Hold each pose for 5-10 deep breaths.

(To view the video, click the blog title link at the top of the email.)