The importance of good posture.

posture-picture” Never slouch as doing so compresses the lungs, overcrowds other vital organs, rounds the back and throws you off balance” —Joseph Pilates.

A good posture is a good habit. It means that we all have to work at our posture. You my ask “Why should I worry about my posture?”, well to say straightforwardly, poor posture can lead to chronic pain and in the long-term to irreversible damage in your muscles and bone structure. Some might not know this, but even things that sound as sinisterly medical as Scoliosis, a three-dimensional abnormality that occurs when the spine becomes rotated and curved sideways, are things which are often born out of postural issues. The way we move is often a reflection of who we are, lifestyle choices can take a physical toll and even personality traits can be clear in the way we carry ourselves.

Good posture is vital for our breathing.  The breath is one of the most important natural rhythms of the body and can play a vital role in the health and well-being of every physiological system and psychological state of mind. However, sometimes this natural process can be interrupted by stress, injuries, illness which can affect the way we breathe. If the breath is trapped, restricted, or underused good posture cannot happen. We can lose our flexibility, strength, resiliency and mobility of the spine and joints.

Poor Posture (bending forward, backward or sideways) invites distorted, restricted, shallow breathing and can be a host of other problems.  If the spine is incorrectly balanced, your muscles need to work harder to keep your body upright. “Lazy” posture also causes your upright structure to collapse in some places, like a poorly constructed building, and that in turn can  cause lower back pain, headaches, chronic low energy, shortness of breath among others.

The Pilates Method and Integrated Movement Therapies make posture a priority by balancing the body and distributing the normal physical stresses of standing and moving among the appropriate bone and muscle groups.

Why is it important to pay attention to your posture:

  1. Good posture looks and feels great
  2. Puts less pressure on the joints
  3. Saves your knees and hips
  4. Helps you feel younger and better with age
  5. Helps you with balance
  6. Keeps you body flexible and mobile
  7. Improves muscle function
  8. Radiates an attitude of confidence
  9. Allows us to move efficiently
  10. Allows us to breathe deeply and fully

Does it sound good to you? One way to find out is to try it out !

With Love,

Katarina

Posture and your precious heart

As we get older our posture changes. It affects way more than your appearance, bad posture can harm your health and happiness. How we sit, stand and walk affects our circulation, breathing and the health of the heart. Imagine that you are in a slouched position most of the time. The Slouching position puts not only pressure on your bones where discs are becoming compressed, but also makes you vulnerable to back pain. It also affects your heart. The diaphragm can barely move down during inhalation which keeps you from filling up your lungs completely. Since the diaphragm provides nearly all oxygenation of the arterial blood, slouching will lead to reduced blood oxygen levels. It also stops lymphatic drainage of the lymph nodes from all organs located under the diaphragm. Forward-head posture causes a loss of vital lung capacity, by as much as 30 percent, which can lead to heart and vascular problems. All this compromises the overall health of the body, including the heart. Through Pilates and Yoga, you will feel immediate effects in your posture. Many of us will say : ‘Oh, I don’t have time, I’m so busy’. Busy for not listening to your heart, as she cries ‘ open your chest and breathe freely’.
Restorative-Yoga-Poses Simple restorative, even passive postures, not requiring going to a studio, are e.g. laying on a bolster or foam roller. It will open your chest, lungs and rib cage without effort. If you don’t have a bolster, you can place a rolled blanket or firm pillow lengthwise along your lower back. Place another rolled blanket or pillow perpendicular to the other. With your feet still drawn together toward your pubic bone, lay back onto the blankets and open your arms out making a cross with your body or just keep your hands by your sides.  The blankets help to create a gentle slope with your body – your head is highest, then your heart center, and then your pelvis is on the floor. If your groins are too tight or loose, place pillows under your knees for added support, helping the pelvis relax, or keep your knees bent with feet anchored on the floor. Breathe deeply into your belly and feel the chest expanding. On the exhale, feel the chest fall and, again, the belly follows. Envision a ball of orange glowing light in the center of lower belly, nourishing and toning it. And just breathe. Breathe into any tight place and relax. For greatest benefit stay here for 5 to 15 minutes.

Delicious and healthy Almond Butter-Cocoa Balls

Almond Butter Cacao Balls

I was almost in hibernation mode, spending my day under a warm woolen blanket, recovering from a flu, when I felt this urge to devour something sweet. Since, I don’t eat gluten which also means that I don’t keep cookies or any other sweets (except chocolate) in my house, I had no choice but to improvise. It had to be something which did not require baking.  This delicious treat is gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free. Cocoa is a top source of antioxidants, contains an abundance of magnesium and zinc among others,  raw honey contains immune boosting and anti-viral properties, is super high in B vitamins and promotes sleep. Almonds are filled with minerals such as magnesium, copper, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and B vitamins, and hemp seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids.

So, here is my creation:

INGREDIENTS:

• 1/4 cup of organic almond butter

• 1/8 cup of cocoa powder

• 2 tablespoons of raw honey

• 2 tablespoons of crushed almonds

• 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds

• 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds

• 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

• a dab of chili powder

• grated coconut flakes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put all the ingredients, except coconut flakes, into a bowl and mix with a fork until the mixture comes together and ball starts to form. You could use a food processor, however I decided to use a fork (trying to conserve energy).
  2. Take a spoonful, roll it in the palms of your hand in a ball shape and cover with coconut flakes. Set aside in tupperware container, or any other container to be stored in the fridge.

Enjoy it with a cup of tea.

Bon appetit !

 

Winter in hiding….


Well, we have been so proud of our Canadian Winters, cold and snowy. However, it seems the winter is hiding from us, or perhaps hibernating.  I’m starting to miss it. Is it because we subconsciously would like to ‘hibernate’ – slow down and cuddle up.

I do find myself  wanting to sleep more, eat more and curl up by the fire, or just under the warm blankets. Do you?

We often behave as if seasonal changes are not relevant to our modern lifestyle. After all, in many ways, civilization is all about overcoming nature. But our bodies are evolutionarily old and remember how weather once dictated our behavior. In winter, we gathered around a fire, reading and telling stories. We packed our bodies close and slept long hours.
Now we act as if it’s always Summer, demanding consistently high productivity not only at work but at home as well. But our bodies require cycles of activity and rest. Daily and annually. When days are long, our metabolism and energy levels amp up. In winter, we produce hormones that make us sleepy, giving us time to restore body, mind and soul. We can’t  force ourselves to operate at summer levels, as it is against our nature. So, Winter please come and let’s ‘hibernate’.

Warming Chai Latte during cold Canadian Winter mornings, dairy free and delicious

It’s official, Winter has finally arrived, and temperature dropped to -6 degrees Celsius. Yay! How can we keep warm and cozy during those chilly  Canadian mornings.  After looking for different breakfast options, I found a breakfast drink, that would make you feel warm and happy.  A dairy-free Chai Latte,  a delicious hot drink which could make a great breakfast.
 

IMG_3534-3
Dairy-free Chai Latte


  •  I combined eggs, almond milk, coconut oil and chai spices i.e. cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and star anise seed. As you can see from the ingredients, this delicious drink is full of protein from eggs and full of good fat from coconut oil.
If you are concerned about the raw egg, the boiling  water will poach the egg a little bit.
 

Chai spices
Healthy and delicious Chai spices

 

Ingredients for one person 

  • 2 eggs, preferably organic (wash the shells before)
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 – 4  cloves
  • 1 – 2 pitted dates to sweeten
  • 1/4 cup of home made almond milk (depending how big is your cup or mug)
  1. In a blender ( I use magic bullet combine eggs, water, almond milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and dates
  2. Blend on high ( in the blender) until mixture is frothy
  3. Serve and enjoy 🙂

Benefits of good posture


Why is it important to have good posture?

Bad vs. good posture

• to keep bones and joints in correct alignment, so muscles are being used functionally,

• to help decrease abnormal wearing of joint surfaces which in turn could prevent arthritis

• to decrease the stress on the ligaments holding together the joints of the spine

• to prevent fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently allowing the body to use less energy

• to prevent backache and muscular pain

• to improve emotional and mental balance

• to contribute to better physical appearance

Adding any exercise that improves your posture will make you more vital and improve your life!

 


Pilates ‘swimming ‘

 

This pictures shows Pilates ‘Swimming’ exercise. Swimming is a fun exercise, but it is also quite challenging as it brings every part of the body into play. This exercise is good for core stabilization, upper back extension and hip extension. This is good to improve back strength and those deep abdominal stabilizers. 

Pilates, IMT® and Bowen Technique is the answer to improve your posture! So, don’t wait !