Align.  Align with.  Be in alignment.  This word has such physical footing—arrangement in a straight line or in correct or appropriate relative positions.  The deeper definition radiates from that foundational physicality.  B.K.S. Iyengar, credited with popularizing yoga, first in India and then around the world, was certainly on to this notion.

“It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered
the alignment of my mind, self and intelligence.”

I’m taking a step back here, maybe you want to as well. I’m considering the lifelong physical journey of my own body.  This quote just resonates.  Completely.  So many childhood experiences knocked me off center and then delivered me to young adulthood.  Yet even on the brink, such a ripe moment for potential awakening, alignment remained a physical therapy plumb line connecting ankle bone, hip, shoulder, ear.  By the age of 25, left neck pain kept pulling me out of alignment.  Relentlessly, more than ten years.  The connection of this physical pain to the pain in my heart was somewhere on a way back burner, obscured by the tasks of launching into middle age.  When I turned 34, shortly after my mother’s death, slow healing began. Only in retrospect do I wonder about that connection.

The pull out of healthy physical alignment in tandem with a gritty bundle of unresolved feelings kept this suffering in motion for decades.  Years of physical turmoil: shoulder issues, low back pain, foot owies.  A body part would heal, there would be a period of relative calm and then another trouble would crop up.  It was the most intense, 40 year post-graduate training a physical therapist could undergo.  Learning from the inside out.  Incredible.  Not recommended. Not regretted.

Twenty plus years ago I began to dance again.  Gabrielle Roth had stuff to say about being out of alignment.  She called it trizophrenia – thinking one thing, feeling entirely something else and then acting in a way that had nothing to do with either.  I immersed myself in a practice that ruthlessly called me out when my actions did not jive with my feelings and thoughts.  Of course, as per usual, awakening did not lead to immediate cessation of suffering.  In fact ten years ago left hip pain completely took me for a ride.  This wake up scream was so loud, there was no choice but utter surrender.

I had to discover new ways of molding my body toward alignment.  And on a barely conscious parallel track I was creatively finding ways to spend time with my father.  My heart just kind of melted into a forgiveness I never considered possible.  I sat bedside with him as he passed two years ago and realized I had been physically pain free for quite a long spell. This time, with his passage, the coincidence of aligned healing was not lost on me.

“Ecstasy is an egoless, timeless state of being, a state of total alignment and unity of body, heart, mind, soul, spirit.”  Gabrielle Roth

Of course, who knows what the future holds?  My 72nd birthday, a couple weeks away, I’ve never felt better.  My body is fluid and free…my heart is love-filled, my mind quietly brims with wonder. Doing the work in the world I was meant to do.  Spirit unfalteringly turned toward this final chapter.

The re-name of Essentials to Roll, Release, Align is not random.  Whether it’s in class or in treatment, we roll in pleasure-filled ways to release what holds us in check.  And then we align.  Powerfully.  And without overtly teaching spiritual alignment per se, the deeper definition of alignment radiates from that foundational physicality.  It always has.  It’s just taken me years to feel it so completely.

Let’s align together…❤️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

 

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

We began June 2020.  Now it’s been happening seven consecutive seasons. Dancing in fertile farmland adjacent to the Sacramento River.  Nearly every Sunday.  We’ve danced through sprinklers in the heat. Watched dogwood turn green to red…twice.  Layer-bundled circulating like the fog, dance floor muddier by the week.  Now spring approaches again.  We’ll watch the land bud and blossom into aliveness. Just like last year. Through every season sky serves as ceiling, trees as wall, earth as floor.

And me?  Apparently a very slow learner.  An embarrassing bastion of the status quo.  Instead of accepting this situation, looking around with gratitude and wonder and deep appreciation, instead of being right here, right now…you guessed it.  I’ve been waiting for there and then, wondering where and when.  Biding my time until we can at long last return to the great indoors.  Well, not entirely.  But I have had my moments of literally not seeing the forest for the trees.

A couple Sundays ago it swept over me like some kind of epiphany.  Hey!  This is where we are.  Now.  This is what we are doing.  Here.  This is what we are offering.  Now.  What am I waiting for?  Because look, there is a ton of info on nature deficit disorder.  Which is not a medical diagnosis, but a very apt metaphor.  And it’s not just about our children.  Can you feel that title ring in your house-weary bones?

There is a human cost to spending more time in doors than ever before in human history.   And some brave new world research bears it out.  It turns out this divorce, this weird cultural reality actually results in senses dulled and challenges with focus and attention.  Lack of outdoor time correlates with physical and emotional illness, a rising rate in myopia, obesity and vitamin D deficiency.

I know this.  Five years ago I vowed to get out of Dodge three consecutive days at least once a month.  And I’ve held myself to this promise.  Recently I added going outside first thing in the morning BEFORE looking at a screen.  But it’s taken me this long to wake up to how medicinal a two hour mini-dose of moving with Mother Nature is.  And two Sundays ago when I bone felt it and then looked up and saw each person present feeling it too….well, I decided to give up on there and then and where and when and just sign on for here and now.

Sweat Your Prayers    Sun February 6 10-noon

So that’s where you’ll find us on Sunday mornings.  An email communication comes each Saturday to inform participants in case we have to weather cancel.  So rare!  Reply to this newsletter if you want to be included in that.  All that being said, some day we would still like to be indoors some of the time.  And we are curious about what you think about that.  Can you take a moment for this survey?  https://forms.gle/hZ1M8p7u5BFZifW28  Thank you so much.

For me, dance just does not translate to Zoom.  And for many it’s just the ticket.  To each his own.  So my enjoyment with teaching Essentials on line is a considerable source of wonder and joy and fascination. I hear you love it, too. Last Saturday’s one hour foam rolling intro, was the first of four classes to introduce all practices Essential.  So fulfilling.  Missed it?  Want to be guided through the basics of foam rolling in the privacy of your home?  It’s now available in the Video Library.

Essential Tennis Ball Release      Sat Feb 5 9:30-10:30

I’ve had a hot and heavy transformative relationship with this handy release tool since 1984.  So it cracks me up that it took me so long to discover the pleasure of using two sets at once. Relationships can be like that.  Please have your roller and TWO sets of double-wrapped tennis balls. Wondering how to wrap?  And here’s a quick view of what we’ll be moving through really slowly:

What else you may ask?  This week in Friday morning Essentials we explore the distinct place neck meets rib cage.  Geek-ily known as the cervico-thoracic junction.  If the thought of how not to develop a dowagers hump intrigues you, join us on line Friday.

I’ve been seeing one physical therapy patient a day in my studio or on Zoom the past few months.  It’s been a total source of delight to be your guide on this very unique healing pathway.  Want to explore how that might be for you?  A few minutes on the phone is the best (916) 267-5478.

Since there and then may or may not happen, let’s take a breath together.  Right here.  Right now.  It’s all we’ve got…grateful to share even one breath moment with you.  ❤️Bella

Let’s talk about all things foam roller.  This inventive tool slipped into my life in 1992, introduced by a PT who worked in my clinic.  Absolutely love at first sight, such a potent creative memorable chapter. We were all over the infinite ways rollers could be used for enhancing mobility and stability.

But where did they come from originally?  Because now they’re ubiquitous.  You can friggin’ buy one at Target.  Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli scientist born 1904 was the first known user of the foam roller.  He worked in Paris as a nuclear physicist and also was the first European to earn a black belt in judo.  This martial arts/science blend set him on his own path to healing a gruesome knee injury.

Eventually he developed the Feldenkrais method, a movement discipline blending physics and neurophysiology, a unique way to foster nervous system re-wiring.  When he started playing with packing foam rollers in the 70s, he quickly incorporated them into his teaching.  It wasn’t until the early 90s that foam rollers began to spread in popularity. Physical therapists were early adopters and now four decades after Feldenkrais first started using them, they’re a mainstay.

Except for many of us they are a mainstay in a dusty corner of the room.  And there are so many reasons they can end up there. At the top of the list? Less than optimal guidance for use.  If you’ve not had expert instruction in technique and sensory attunement and easy modifications…well, you just don’t know yet what you’re missing!  Right up there on that list of reasons…density.  If you have a roller that is too hard, painful to use…well, it’s gonna sit in that corner.  And just as true, if you have one that is too soft and you just don’t feel like it does anything…corner.  Read about densityhere.

Next thing on the corner list?  Time/discipline/interest.  Lumped because maybe you’ve never had the experience of utter pleasure that rolling can offer.  Because is you’ve felt the “hurts so good” effect….hopping on that roller is a natural, only takes a moment and the release feels so awesome.  And the release is reason numero uno to use one.  We’ve all got connective tissue (AKA fascia) that is bound up secondary to injuries, genetics and basic gravity wear and tear over a lifetime.  And this less than optimal tissue wreaks havoc that shows up in so many ways.  Releasing is almost always the first step in healing.

So on Saturday January 29 we’re gonna take it REAL SLOW for an hour.  By 10:30 you will feel soft and mushy and have a real clear sense of how to hop on again for some more pleasure.  Want the recording cause you can’t make that time or you were there and want to do it again?  It’s all yours.

Now we are going to take it slow but this video is a quick run through of the territory….

https://vimeo.com/668800743/910b682163

An Essential Introduction: you can enroll for just Saturday January 29 9:30am.  Or if you want to be introduced to all things essential, enroll for all four Saturdays: rolling, tennis ball releases, core strength, stretching it out.

Let’s be on a roll together soon…❤️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

The practice space pictured above? I’ve rolled around on the floor enjoying this same view periodically over twenty years. There is something so child-like nourishing about tumbling around on the ground…no matter what the view. You and I could have an intellectual conversation about being grounded, the pull of gravity, negotiating body weight, feeling fluid. But when we get close to the earth, moving with or without these toys, abstract concepts become physically embodied. This embodiment creates literal groundwork for healing and positive change.

Vitality: exuberant physical strength or mental vigor;
the capacity for the continuation of a meaningful existence;
the power to live or grow

Who doesn’t want that? A nimble body, flexible and supple, underpins vitality. The foam roller, which entered my world in ’92, is a limberness generator. Me and the double tennis balls go further back to ’84. Years of personal exploration inform my personal practice, key to maintaining vitality, a fluid ability to move with ease in the world. Intimate comfort with moving parallel to the earth. It feels non-negotiable essential. And it is my own practice/play that continues to infuse the treatment offered to patients and evolve the fundamentals of what and how I teach.

Most recent vitality discovery? All the interesting ways two sets of double-wrapped tennis balls expand the world of release. Why did it take me 38 years to dream up using two sets at once? Apparently evolution has its own timeline! Please have two sets ready for practice.

Ready to roll your mat out at home with inspiration and confidence and expertise? Ready to experience the pleasure of creating fluidity and ease and vitality? Join me on line these four Saturdays 9:30-10:30 to enjoy building loose, long and strong essential skills.

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 all four to receive one free class or Video Library session. Or drop-in to any one class. 15 minute Q&A session follows at 10:30. Want to practice twice? Timing doesn’t work? Recording sent to all enrollees.

Once you get the hang of these four basics, you’re ready to practice Friday morning Essential classes or a Video Library session. Every practice includes the basics of loose, long and strong. And week by week, throughout the year, we systematically bring focus to particular body regions. Join at any point along the way; the incredible undulating spine inspires our January practice.

So this is an invitation to those of you who already love to roll around on the ground AND for those of you who want to cultivate an ease with just that. 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