Perched poised at her manual typewriter Washington Square, NYC, 2022:

Personal Poem 4 U, by donation
How could I not?  She looked to be the same age I was Golden Gate Park, SF, 1969.  And the Square was alive with the exact same busting out energy.  She gave me this:
And so I sat, surrounded by utter chaos, and penned this:

Poetry for This Grand Little Life

The Square brims with life force,
all peeps called to this promenade.
Pollen & gratitude season the air.
Skateboarder    Tap dancer   Stroller nanny:
hanging out—ecstasy granted.
I see the old rambling folk, too.
And I know I am one.

Barefoot woman flows smearing
grey chalk on stark paper.
Rail thin black man
a punctuation in staccato shape.
Precise, fluid repetition, homage to the ancestral.

Hawkers for pre-rolls & edibles, everybody hustling.
Dark dudes toking, teenagers huddling.
It’s a show-your-tits replay,
a fashion mandate sparked by chimes of freedom.

Microcosm of the world
every hue & life span & he/she
gathered in the communal
celebrating congruent aliveness
to the beat of bass drum chi.

Each & every one of us wrenched
from hum-drum to Covid
two years wrestling with the norm.

And now…here…spring 2022
this desperate grasp for what used to be
side by side with ephemeral grace,
this present lightness,
this carpe diem wonder
moments fleeting as memory.

Each & every one of us
emerging, blinking, yearning
so dubious of what dormancy has incubated
so fucking ready to revel in it.

I put that pen down, carpe-diemed, danced to that band…the trombone was incredible, the place was on fire, if joy was edible you’d be stuffed with it.

Home today…already dipping into pungent memories of Manhattan, a city that has held my urban heart captive since I was a little kid.  Back just in time for Roll, Release, Align tomorrow at 10:00am.  Focused on where that heart lives—the rib cage.  Let your hands rest there a moment.  Feel the breath.  Feel the heartbeat.  Celebrate you aliveness.  Gabrielle energy was abundant in those city streets, so many memories of dancing right there. Sunday morning I’ll be playing tunes out in that garden: Sweat Your Prayers.  Always ready to move with the peeps in the pulse of this west coast urban heart.  Wednesday Waves is back live at Clara—five sessions of Taking More Pleasure before we break ’til September.

Let’s move together, create moments as fleeting as memory….❤️Bella

The smell of Grandma’s kitchen lives on in my cells.  The slope of her spine bending to peer in the oven. Her low drone hum as she mixed and bustled and served.  But despite being a grateful recipient of my own Mom’s inherited flair for cooking, I embarked upon adulthood with a specialty in chocolate chip cookies.  Only.  I remember calling home, scribbling marinara sauce details on a torn grocery bag. Which remained taped to the kitchen wall, often referred to as I floundered through that initiation year.  But apparently the cooking thing ran in my blood.  And when I’m fed by my son or daughter…well it is so gratifying to feel how it has been passed through.

When my mom died I inherited Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  But I never cracked it open.  Too immersed in Diet for a Small Planet and Laurel’s Kitchen.  Who cared about soufflés and coq au vin and all that butter and cream?   I had no idea what a seminal influence Julia Child was until her screen story fascinated me.  First via Julie & Julia, then the documentary Julia and now the current HBO series also named Julia. Not to mention this always-gets-me-laughing 1978 Saturday Night Live parody by Dan Akroyd.

All kidding aside, in her late 30s, living in Paris, Julia Child experienced  “an opening up of the soul and spirit ” after a meal of oysters and sole meuniere and good French wine.  By the age of forty, squarely in mid-life, she graduated from the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris.  Over the next few years she studied, taught cooking and partnered to create a cookbook that Americans could digest.  When her book was published in 1961 the typical American homemaker was caught in the thrall of convenience.

Canned tomato soup and lima beans, frozen Salisbury steak T.V. dinners and Swanson’s chicken pot pies, Wonder bread and Miracle Whip.  You get my drift.  I totally remember gagging on canned asparagus served with a dollop of Hellmans and canned pimentos.  These products were in my home right alongside that homemade marinara sauce and other delectables made from scratch.

Some would argue Child’s influence carried us from the non-chalance of 1950’s American cuisine to our current obsession with all things gourmet and local and organic and fusion.  I have eaten in many places around the world and always appreciate coming home to the freshness and inventiveness of California cuisine. It definitely was not like this fifty years ago.

In 1963 there was no such thing as a TV cooking show.  In fact Julia didn’t even own a television.   She just she had utter confidence in the concept, deep unshakeable knowing that it would prove to be the best way to connect with her audience.  She had to maneuver her way through a cadre of male doubters to manifest this belief.  She never waivered, even funded the first episodes herself.  As ground breaking as all this was, what really captivated me was the juxtaposition of her television show success with her stage of life.  When The French Chef finally hit the airwaves Julia was 51 and smack dab in the midst of hot flashing menopause.

The physical symptoms accompanying the “change” get way more airplay than the more subtle aspects.  A lifetime of biological programming to procreate and rear children does not go away with a shift in hormonal status.  For many, the spirit of creation re-invents itself.  The so-called empty nest can unleash inspiration that has been patiently or not so patiently waiting in the wings for it’s moment.

This was surely my experience.  I flailed for a couple years after kids left the nest.  Comfy home, good relationship, thriving business.  But all this sad poetry, a depressing dissatisfaction, a what’s-the-point attitude.  At the age of 52, in the most synchronous random fashion, I fell into the dance.  It was like a portal awaiting my entrance.  And though it was quite awhile before I realized it, chapter two had finally begun.  Without reservation, I danced my way through menopause, barely knew it was happening until it was over.  And with utter clarity, I sold that thriving business and started over.

So I am head over heels in love with Julia, rooting for her every step of the way in this series that does not complete until May 5.  I’m sure it helps that I absolutely adore creating just about anything in the kitchen.  But really, this is this story of a woman who goes all the way in the second half of her life.  I feel lifted on her wings.

❤️Bella

I laid in funky dread bed this morning, pulled comfort over my head, delayed the rise. Coffee/newspaper (see headlines above) just confirmed the everything-feels-broken sensibility.  And I’m old enough to know it has felt this bad before.  Hasn’t it?  And yet right here, right now, my feet covered in felted wool, nested into this oak hardwood.  My hips sunk deep into a red cushion, the miracle of light rain falling on this teeny urban acreage…breathing.  Still.

And ruminating on the value of my work in the world, when so many same-age friends have laid the work-a-day world to rest.  Beneath the covers I let myself bathe in memory.  And 2005 arose, the year I un-tethered from hard-core work, an attachment that captures so many of us in middle age. The sale of Dreizler Physical Therapy was imminent and I was seeking a name, an identity to facilitate a graceful pivot into what was next.

Except I really didn’t know what that was.  I only knew it was about healing, about bodies in motion, about dance, about yoga.  In a whimsical moment, without much thought, the name Body Joy was coined.  Despite the fact I’ve gone in and out of feeling it as a good descriptor, it has stuck as the umbrella name for three offerings: yoga, dance, physical therapy.

So it fascinates me that I’m back to the Joy part.  A respite, a re-fuel, a release from the everything-feels-broken sensibility.  Sacred moments to touch inside and feel our wholeness/holiness.  Revel in the glory of sensation, luxuriate in breath, take pleasure in the miracle of a body in motion.   We carry so much in our backpacks—personal, communal, global.  It’s heavy.  And each time we gather there’s an opportunity to leave those relentless burdens at the door—on the mat, the treatment table, the dance floor.

Those backpacks don’t go away.  We pick them right back up as we leave.  And sometimes, as they say on the airlines, the contents may have shifted during flight.  So here are ways you can shift the contents, participate in some body joy.   Take respite.  Re-fuel.  Luxuriate.  I’m gonna keep offering what I feel we need. Put your backpack down for a bit:

  • Wilbur Hot Springs  April 25-27:  Ninety minutes from Sac, I’ve been Wilbur soaking for years, always dreamed of teaching on the outdoor deck.  This is my second gig.   Rollers and balls come with me for Roll, Release, Align; mats already there for you.  Release is such a natural pairing with the hot soaks.  All class sessions included with your day pass or overnight stay.  Don’t wait; summer is heat/smoke season.  Class times      Wilbur day use/ overnight reservations

 

  • Taking Pleasure Wednesday Waves April 6, 13, 20, 27:  Seizing the moment to dance together indoors at Clara again.  Four sessions utterly dedicated to luxuriating in the pleasure of being in motion. This is an invitation to move toward ease, tenderness, softening…fun.  Pre-enroll in all four or drop in to any one.

 

  • Roll, Release, Align Friday mornings, on line:   The current chakra map exploration delivered me to this pleasure focus.  Really, this practice is so chakra 1 & 2 derivative.  An utter focus on the body, feeling weight, the affect of gravity, connection to earth AND noticing the juiciness, the entangled dance of sensation and emotion arising.  Loving the return to integrating more yin time in combination with uber-soft release.  Come feel.

 

  • Moving Outside April 14 & 21:  celebrate Spring’s emergence in a large garden on the Sacramento River. Grace of earth and sun, sky and wind; feel the lay of our unique home land.  Co-teaching with Judy Tretheway, proprietess of this property.  We go way back, two elders holding decades of embodied wisdom—Qigong, 5Rhythms, chakras, orienting, forest bathing—guiding a journey through dance, movement, connection and breath, moving with the great outdoors. Come feel.

 

  • Sweat Your Prayers Sunday mornings, live: There is just nothing else like this.  Over two years we have dance-pounded the earth into a natural floor.  Lately I’ve been barefoot out there and it is total pleasure.

So maybe you feel called to create some sacred moments, touch inside, feel your wholeness/holiness.  Leave those relentless burdens at the door.  You never know…the contents may shift during flight…..

💞Bella

Essentials: the body of work blending ball and roller release with core activation and stretching.  Body self-care that supports doing everything we care about.  It was named Essentials way before the emergence of pandemic-related essential workers and essential services.  And, exactly two years ago, in a moment of pandemic-induced fluidity, the name held as I pivoted to on-line sessions.

For two years now, nearly every Friday morning, from my home studio, alone together, we do the essentials.  In the last year I added a monthly live class on my backyard deck.  And I have my eyes on neighborhood space for maybe possibly tentatively semi-regular in person teaching.  See what I mean about pandemic-induced fluidity?

But this name—Essentials.  I know what it means.  Those who practice appreciate the meaning in the most embodied way.  But I’m feeling it’s time for a re-name. A title that calls it what it is.  Instead of one that leaves you wondering.  So here it is: Roll, Release, Align.  We roll to release.  And that release opens the door for strength and length.  And that, my friends, is what delivers optimal alignment.

Why alignment is crucial could be a whole ‘nother newsletter.  But you might just notice the relationship of your head and spine and hips as you read.  Your spine is so happy to rise straight up out of hips while your head floats effortlessly above.  That’s why we roll and release to align.

I’ve been up to this magic for a long time.  But how the magic happens is so fluid (that word again). A continual creation in progress.  Recently two new elements emerged big time: yin release and roller stability.  Two practices that share three intriguing qualities: fun, pleasure, stillness.  Because incorporating more fun, more pleasure, more stillness is exactly the medicine I need.  And I’ve always trusted my own sensibility to move the practice in uncharted directions.  Take a peek:

What’s new on the mat always magically manifests in dance and on the treatment table.  And vice versa; it’s an intimate triangle.  I have 30 of these soft 4 inch balls that I’ve slowly been incorporating in one-on-one treatment.  Especially for the more tender among us.  Wanna dance with them? Because they offer such immediate pleasure, we’ll use them a bit in Taking Pleasure, the upcoming Wednesday Waves mini-workshop at Clara.  You can pre-enroll to save/commit or drop in to any one session.  Take note.  April only, folks.  Stay fluid…total mystery about anything beyond April.  Seize this hopeful moment and move with us to explore all things pleasure.  And I’ll be up front this Sunday, live in the garden just in case your pleasure quotient needs max attention.

Fun, pleasure, stillness, magic…maybe it’s time to make a move toward.
❤️Bella

How’s your pleasure quotient lately?  Can you feel how unrelenting stress has emptied our collective cups?  So you’ll notice a recurrent theme rolling in my mat classes: “This is about pleasure…move toward it.  Nothing we do here hurts. Feel enjoyment.  Let this be juicy.  Have fun with this.  Attend to that dormant kid, the playful curious one. Follow the impulse, the whim, the instinct.  The most intensity would be ‘hurts so good’.  Be gentle with yourself.  Move into breath and relaxation.  Take pleasure.”  You get the gist.

Pleasure deprivation is acute these days but this cushiony orientation to self-release has been emerging for years.  Twenty years ago, fresh out of the clinical setting, I had students and patients using dense black rollers and spiky blue pokey balls.  I let my own experience with uber-firm pressure for fascia release be my guide. Yet I was often showing people how to decrease the pressure so they could get started.

After awhile, I got it. I now offer three different density rollers and ditched Mr. Spiky a while ago.  Except for the hard core who still totally “hurt good” love him.  The double tennis balls are pressure-satisfactory for most.  Especially when I modify using two sets at once and always begin with the most cushy techniques.  I’m not sure why I was so slow to understand this basic fact: when something is pleasurable we move toward it and tend to repeat it.  How many years of rut-building “it has to be hard if it’s going to work” does it take before we try something different?  I know I am not alone.

Guess what?  Now I’m softening even more.  As of April 1, to fully participate in Friday Essentials, I’m recommending Smooth Balls in addition to roller and tennis balls.  Releasing into a soft surface is a wait-for-it experience.  Gentle, quietly pleasurable.  Quite different than a firm surface.  Release into density is a go-for-it adventure.  We dive in and the pressure “hurts so good”.  Firm or soft, we pause and breathe and await the satisfying sensation of release. One is not better than the other.  I’m just inviting a bit more time on the soft side.  Especially in the armpits, belly and hips.  Come feel.

And what has inspired this slow unraveling?  Perspective often reveals truth impossible to glimpse in the midst.  How twenty years of dance has been slowly chipping away old stories, programming about struggle and fixing and working hard.  Sometimes I hear Gabrielle’s voice so loud and clear:  “You didn’t think this was about dance, did you?”  The dance is so seductive and, for me, the first ten years of practice were totally about dance.  Incredible dedicated hours, weeks, months exploring and working 5Rhythms.  But the tables have turned.

During the last decade, I gave up working the rhythms and instead, the rhythms have been working me. They’ve become a subconscious lens through which I sense and feel and look and know.  Softening is the most obvious permeating way the rhythms have worked me over.  On so many levels.  So it’s actually no surprise that my mat and table work have been softening, too.  The serendipitous way 5Rhythms showed up in my life was perhaps part of the Big Plan.  On a mission to wrench me out of a tough way of living and working and being.  Pointing my compass toward easy and tender, pleasureful soft.  Who knew? Just like Ms. G. said…maybe it was never really about dance.

This is an invitation to soften, take pleasure.  Order a pair of those balls.  You’ll know what to do with them.  Come to class and feel.  I’ll offer an intro class in a bit and add to the Video Intro Series .  And we are LIVE back at Clara on the soft oak dance floor, four Wednesdays in April with the same theme: Taking Pleasure.  Let’s fill our collective cups.

This from the lips of Anodea Judith, sussing out  second chakra qualities in her groundbreaking book Eastern Body, Western Mind:

“By moving the body, we build muscle tissue, increase circulation, stimulate nerve endings, and generally enhance
the body’s flexibility and aliveness.
The flow of pleasure and excitation through the nervous system
bathes the organism in sensation and awareness.
Movement has its own pleasure.”
Let’s move together and take some pleasure…❤️Bella

Loss.  Again.  I know you know.  This time a friend, colleague, a soul sister.  You and I, we live in the midst of a great turning.  And, as per usual, some of us are dying.  But these transitions, the losses coming down in these legendary times, somehow they feel different. Cloaked as they are in an urgent layer of meaning. Each one a wake-up scream in the night.  Maybe because she was too young (and what age is acceptable?) and maybe because it happened too suddenly (and what is enough preparatory time?)…this one rocked the community in a way that would have surprised her.

My friend was of Mexican descent.  Years ago, during 5Rhythms teacher training, she swept me into the ritual around Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.  In Mexico, the belief is that people die three deaths.  The first death occurs with that last exhale.  The second when the body returns to the earth.  The final death is a future moment, when your name is spoken for the last time.  If you haven’t seen the totally poignant animated film Coco…well, highly recommended.

Mati…her name has been spoken many times in the last ten days.  Her final death is held off for some future moment.  She was a fertile fountain of ideas, dreams, visions.  Had a weaving way about her, a way of drawing people together.  I’ve been taking calls from people around the world, folks I haven’t spoken with in a long time, affirmation of the tapestry she wove.  When the pandemic blew us all apart, she created ways to hold our teaching community together.   She saw a need, stepped up, fashioned a container for holding.  Bless her heart.

Saturday morning I moved with Mati’s students, her friends, her family, other teachers during a Zoom dance memorial service. Here’s what touched me the most.  Her husband and two brothers attended.  Each one spoke of what it meant to spend 90 minutes witnessing dancers honor their beloved in dedicated practice.  They were blown away.  Not until she died were they able to be present with and have a fuller sense about a passion that was so fundamental to who she was.  To have a deep connection to what her devotion was about.

And, as per usual, death leaves its timeless calling card.  Let’s not wait, folks.  The people who you love….there is no time like the present to be intrigued with their unique flavor of human being. What really moves them? What are their fascinations, their dreams, their fears, their struggles?  Bearing witness happens when we not only see each other, but see our humanity reflected in this other being.  Death invites us to wake up and really look.  Be with.  Appreciate.  Want the simplest of questions to ask?  “How is your heart right now?”   Feel in…what is the one thing you can do today to fall in love more deeply?  Please do it.  Tomorrow is not promised.

❤️Bella

 

Mr. Foam Roller dropped a wisdom bomb on me.  And here’s one thing I know about wisdom: it’s no static thing.  It’s not a place we arrive.  It’s dynamic, ever-changing, fluid.  So here’s how the bomb dropped.  Laying on this roller, head one end, tail the other, that’s how I routinely taught core stability…for years.  Go ahead.  Hop up.  Just try keeping your balance sans support of hands and feet. You’ll quickly feel what I was up to.  But over time I became frustrated with how you can kinda cheat your way through this technique.  The big wobble of parallel roller work obscures a lot of subtlety.  It began to feel like a total bypass of breath and the depth and delicacy of sensation. I was curious about stability subtleties so I completely dropped this practice.

Ditched it and spent twenty years investigating the back-story, how to induct core stability in the most softly discerning ways.  Muted attunement deep inside.   Fascinating for geeks, a bit boring for the rest of the world.  A couple months ago, after two decades of abstention, on a whim, I hopped back on to feel what I could feel.  Oh my gosh.  The subtlety had been there all along.  I just wasn’t fine-tuned enough to sense it.  And this little story goes to the heart of how we land in wisdom bomb land.

First I needed to make the leap from ignorance to awareness.  Frustration is a great indicator something needs to shift. I made the leap the day I ditched the roller.  That move away from old habit toward the unknown propelled me into new learning realms.  Books, classes, teachers…yes. Knowledge is important. But then I had to filter that new information through my own experience.  Listening in, tracking, reflecting.  Paying attention to how my own body, heart, mind responded, resisted, transformed.  Lots of trial and error.  The comprehension had to mesh with real life experience before understanding and integration could arise.

Worthy wisdom isn’t born overnight.  In this case it took twenty years.  Knowledge and experience had to marinate in the crucible of time.  It’s still a total mystery what called me back to that old habit a couple months ago. But hop up I did and, in an instant, I felt everything I’d been missing back in 2000.  The response of patients and students has been phenomenal. This moves stability out of the world of geek-dom and into the world of playful fun. Really.  And the roller is actually a better hands on instructor than I can be…especially on Zoom.  Articulating this practice continues to evolve and is a beautiful example of how dynamic true wisdom is.  It is so not a static thing.

I’ve been teaching a maturing version of loose, long and strong for thirty years now.  It was utterly fulfilling to usher 10 new students into the world of Essentials via the just completed series.  Missed it?  Want some roller hopping?  It’s in the Video Library.  Want some wisdom?  Digest the knowledge encapsulated in those four classes; let it meet and inform your unique experience. After it marinates in the crucible of time, a big chunk of body wisdom will be yours.  Want it tailored to fit?  I just saw a patient this afternoon who just completed the series.  Over the past month she’s been on her mat trying different pieces on.  Today we made a cell phone video of the most important thirty minutes for her unique body.  She is excited to come to Essentials this Friday for the first time.  I know it is just the support she needs to stay motivated the rest of the week.

Wanna play?

  • Essentials 10-11:30 Friday: This week we complete our anatomical exploration of spine.  Next week we begin a seven week journey through energetic spine, travelling the chakras.  We roll, we tone, we stretch.  We laugh, listen to music, commune.  It’s good warm pleasure.
  • Moving Outside 12:30-2:00 Thursday March 3, 10, 17: celebrate Spring in a big garden on the Sacramento River. Practice outdoors graced by earth and sun, sky and wind, feeling the lay of our unique home land. Co-teaching with Judy Tretheway, proprietess of this property.  Judy and I go way back, two elders with many decades of embodied wisdom bombs—Qigong, 5Rhythms, orienting, forest bathing.  Together we’ll guide this experience with dance, movement, connection and breath, moving with the great outdoors. Come feel.
  • Sweat Your Prayers 10-noon EVERY Sunday: out on this same Sacramento River land.  I’m either teaching or out there dancing.  This community is incredibly welcoming.  Get out in nature.  It will do you so much good.
  • Physical Therapy: my studio or Zoom in your room.  The wisdom bombs created over fifty years fall easily in this fertile field.  Bring whatever challenges you and together we’ll find our way through.

There’s so much that connects each of these offerings.  But that piece—  listening in, tracking, reflecting—the supported opportunity to do just that is at the bottom of it all. I’ll keep holding that piece for us.  It is my offering.  ❤️Bella

I remember a moment just like this years ago: Oregon coast, feet-in-the-sand.   Out of the blue, a notion to sell the physical therapy clinic.  It dawned all over me.  A need to bust out of confinement, something expansive demanding space for expression.  Eventually the sale came to pass.

But that dawn all over me feeling?  I heard it described by Martha Beck in a recent podcast.  I hope you know this feeling, too.  It arises when we get quiet, go inside, rest into our bodies.  Take time to sense what’s warm and fuzzy and full of pleasure.  Feels peaceful, tastes like freedom.  What really lights us up.  Because, Martha Beck says, every lie makes us tense and every truth makes us relax.  And that’s precisely how it came down that day on the Oregon beach.

Last week in Yosemite, dallying in a snow-covered meadow, sky other worldly blue, snow-blinding brilliant, air nostril sharp, I had a moment that felt like that one years ago in Oregon.  There was that tell-tale warm, fuzzy inside.  Truth instinctively generating full relaxation.  Body opening to a wave of freedom and possibility and curiosity.  It dawned all over me that I really did not have to do anything or go anywhere or be anybody.  It felt radical.

Seriously, it feels like some deeply ingrained childhood program got hacked.   Perhaps I do not have to be successful or channel ambition or push through to the next thing.   Perhaps at 70+ it’s age-appropriate to have nothing to prove. What?  Maybe this life chapter asks for something else.  Simply being and bearing witness and opening to love.  This truth makes my whole body melt.

And one might ask…so Bella, why are you writing this newsletter, why are you teaching, why are you still seeing patients?  The things I am doing, the ways I am working, the ways I attune to serve community…none of this is required.  And perhaps that’s why I love doing these things.  Because I choose them.  Because they emerge from the authentic well of my being and give me great joy.  Mostly…some days more than others!  No Pollyanna here.  Just like you I’m on this pandemic ride and continue to experience deep dips.  Just like you I’m riding the hills and valleys of aging.

And even though I do not have to do anything or go anywhere or be anybody, here’s a couple offerings on the horizon that might be of interest to you:

Moving Outside 
3 Thursdays      March 3, 10, 17      12:30-2:00
I wrote about nature deficit disorder last time.  Spring is emerging in this garden on the Sacramento River…come experience body and land as one being. Earth, sky, everything in between. Outdoor practice is a natural health-boosting opening to receive this energy.  I’ll be collaborating with the owner of this property, Judy Tretheway  Speaking of aging, we’ll combine many decades of embodied wisdom—Qigong, 5Rhythms, chakras, forest bathing—to guide this journey through dance, movement, connection and breath. Let’s feel the lay of the land…outside together.

Core Strength 
Saturday       February 12         9:30-10:30
The basic power I experience at my core is life sustaining.  Vital.  This strength allows me to be active in ways that would not be possible without quality tone down deep.  It can be yours with 15 minutes on your mat 3-4 days a week.  This short video is my invitation to join me in creating that vitality:

So I hope you can get quiet, go inside, rest into your body.  Take time to sense what’s warm and fuzzy and full of pleasure, what really lights you up. It’s one reason I come to the mat and the dance floor.  Let’s move together somewhere soon….❤️Bella

Stories.  I find myself telling stories these days.  A sign of aging, perhaps.  Yet history has value.  A couple weeks ago I told the foam roller evolution story,  an invitation to the slow easy session last Saturday.  This hour was so juicy, first of four intro classes to Essentials.  The series is all you need to hop on your mat with confidence or take a class in the web library or attend a class Friday morning.  Didn’t make it to that easy rolling class?  Want?  Now in the Video Library.

Session 2 is this Saturday 9:30.  We’ll slow easy explore tennis ball releases.  So what is the story, pray tell, on those double tennis balls?  I just so happen to have a story.  In retrospect, it’s obvious this personal journey set me square on this Essentials path.  I know you have an amazing pain story, too.  But mine begins in 1984 when I’d been struggling with left neck pain on and off for eight years. I kept searching for help.  It took a long time.  I had a lot of ineffective treatment.

This dogged pursuit and frustration pushed me toward finally working in orthopedics.  Where I slowly began to hone a craft I still practice today.  And I finally found a practitioner who knew how to assess my cervical spine and promptly treat my thoracic spine.  Which was uber-bound on the left.  See up top; a picture is worth a thousand words.

When thoracic spine is tight it tends to fall into a deeper curve.  The head, already 12# heavy when perched ideally, gains weight each millimeter it drifts forward of the central axis.  Headache, neck, TMJ and/or shoulder pain are almost inevitable.  That’s why releasing thoracic spine on you is often my first go-to on the treatment table. And then teaching you how to release it yourself is the second move.  Foam rollers are great for this, especially if tightness is severe.  But foam rollers had not appeared yet on the physical therapy scene in 1984.

So I was taught to use the double-wrapped tennis balls.  They were way too aggressive of an intervention.  I was weeping as I used them and asked, “Is this really necessary?”  The answer from the therapist?  “Only if you want to get better.”  A bit harsh.  And I was a tough determined cookie.  That moment initiated the healing of an eight year injury. Another six years before it was way better.  Injuries of that nature are challenging to heal, never really go away.  Long-standing changes produce compensations that wind through the body wreaking havoc in one place and then the next.

This was a professional gift that kept on giving.  I learned shoulders and low backs, hips, knees and feet.  Painfully excruciatingly effective.  I’ve dedicated a lifetime to reaping the positive from this fate.  I’ve learned a great deal from books and teachers.  And my own body has been the most valuable textbook of all.  The emotional healing of the last twenty years was a huge impactful piece as well.  Here I sit at the ripe age of 71 and can truly say I have never felt better, more whole and vital, more at ease in my entire life.  And for that I am so grateful.

So that’s the story of me and the tennis balls.  They initiated me onto this path.  And they do go deeper than the roller.  So I will be sharing easy gentle techniques as well as modifications for the more challenging ones.  If you know you are a tender one, a thick carpet on the floor is your best friend.  All you need is your roller and there’s how to wrap those two pair (yes TWO pair) of double wrapped balls.  Enroll for online 9:30 Saturday February 5 or enroll to receive recording right HERE.  We complete the series with February 12 Core Strength and February 19 Stretching Out.

Here’s a quick look at what we are going to do so slow:

If you’re already dialed in with rollers and balls, know a thing or two about breath and core strength…then join us for Friday morning Essentials.  See that three head picture up there? This week we’re feeling the exact little mountain where neck meets rib cage: the cervico-thoracic junction.  And the next week we’ll dedicate to cervical spine and the way it supports head.

Loving this journey with you…Bella

“What are you selling?”  Inquiry numero uno from business consultant folks.  I went through professional overhaul twice in fifteen years at Dreizler Physical Therapy.  The second time, a creative staff nailed it. “Providing expert hands on care and individualized home exercise prescription.” Everything just naturally flowed out of that mission.  So I get the value of being clear in messaging.

I’ve been out of that business world more years than I was in it.  Yet, in a soft way, the question remains.  What am I selling?  Really, does this question even apply to the exploratory way I’ve been at work for the last twenty years?  Nevertheless, without my pursuing it, a consistent single word keeps asserting itself.  A unifying inspirational concept that has unfolded in its own sweet time.   All on its own, without any corporate assistance.

And that word is vitality.  Dictionary: vitality is a person’s ability to live, grow and develop.  To have energy, exuberant physical strength, mental vigor.  To have the capacity to live a meaningful existence.  Try it on.  Who doesn’t want that?

And its meaning is so much more all-encompassing to me.  I want to be vital of spirit, to look up at the sky and be unfailingly in awe.  To delight in being a part of the immense whole, connected to every living thing past present future.  I want a vital beating heart, with emotional capacity to feel deeply, love tenderly, cry at the drop of a hat.  I want mental vitality: discernment, wisdom, curiosity.  A mind that welcomes challenge, a creative well-spring.  I want a vital soul, one destined to seek why I’m here and what I’m here to do.  While I’m still able and willing and breathing.

And, of course, you know me, I want a vital body, flexible, supple, resilient. Because a vital body is mother source for the rest of it.  Does this require running marathons, doing a perfect triangle pose or dancing like a twenty-something?  No. It simply means breathing and bringing awareness to the body whether it be in motion or at rest.  It’s a vitality booster whenever I’m on the mat, the dance floor, outside walking.  And  as I consciously rest in shivasana, breathe in meditation, rock on my front porch…it’s a revival.

Winter. That resolute time of the year.  Time to quietly take stock. Is there a consistent word that keeps asserting itself to you?  A unifying inspirational concept.  Maybe vitality resonates for you.  Maybe cultivating vitality would support your word of the year.

A vital body, flexible, supple, resilient …that’s what I’m offering in this super easy-to-swallow series.  Want to be at ease when you come to the mat?  Want to mix and match depending on how you feel? I never do the same thing twice.  And some days it is very short.  And it is never boring.  Release and dance and core and a walk and breath and stretch and and and…..

Join me for just an hour these four Saturday mornings.  I’ll guide us through basics of creating a body loose, long, strong…vital.   After just the first hour you’ll be totally inspired to roll your mat out at home with confidence and expertise (and the recording if you so desire).

                    An Essential Introduction (on-line)

Foam Roll        January 29
Tennis Ball Release       February 5
Core Strength       February 12
Stretch Out       February 19

Pre-enroll in four and receive one free class or Video Library session. Or drop-in to any one. Q&A session at 10:30. Wanna practice twice? Timing doesn’t work? Recording sent to all enrollees.

Once you get the hang of the four basics, the pleasure of being on your mat will call to you.  I’m all about pleasure.  And support.  Because support is contagious. Friday morning Essentials or any Video Library recording or a one-on-one physical therapy session provide that support.

So this is an invitation to those of you quietly taking stock, feel that cultivating vitality might be just what the doctor ordered.  In Essentials you start right where you are. On your mat. In your own home. With expert guidance.

Let’s be on a roll together….❤️Bella