Friday, December 31, 2010

Gratitude & Goodbye: 2010 The Year in Review

Wow! 2010 has come and is on it's way out. Thank God!!

I know that I am not alone in thinking that 2010 has been an extremely challenging and difficult year. My motto for 2010 has many times been "That which doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger".  Let me say I am ALIVE and STRONG! I like to think that we are only presented with what we can handle and that there are lessons to be learned from extreme difficulties. That said....I am ready to close out 2010 and welcome a fresh start to 2011 with hope, optimism, and positivity.  

I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year! May it be filled with joy, love, laughter, friends, fortune, knowledge, growth, and complete fulfillment of your dreams and desires.

Watch out 2011, here we come!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Checking in on Resolutions Made...

Every year I wrtie a list of things that I would like to work on throughout the year. Checking in on what I wrote last year, I was surprised to find how successful I was. For me, writing something down puts it out there and holds me a little bit more accountable.

Here was my 2010 Resolution List:

  1. Build my business and network with social media. Research, dream, and aspire towards my 5 year plan and business dream.
  2. Move towards a Vegan diet at 3-4 days/week
  3. Healthy workout plan: 2-3 day yoga, 3-4 days cardio, 1-2 days weight training, 3-4 days Pilates
  4. Financial Health
  5. Love myself enough to find a partner to share my life, hopes, and dreams with
  6. Start planning trip to Greece
  7. Plan a Pilates retreat for winter 2011.
Definitely did #1, #2, #3 (so-so numbers were a little lower) and #7 (happening Feb 19-26, 2011). YEAH!!

#4 Financial health a little harder to attain this year, but I am still working on it and looking into options to move forward in that direction for 2011. #5 suffered. Hard to put myself out there to find a partner when I was so focused on business, finances, and trying to stay afloat myself. A sinking boat needs a life raft, not another person hanging onto them. #6 Got the books. Started reading and dreaming. Alas, no finances and wasn't emotionally in a place of travel as I was struggling with my last moments with my 13 year old Golden Madison. :(

All in all I did accomplish quite a lot of what I put out to do in this challenging year. I am looking forward to the closing of this year. I am optimistic about 2011 and what it may hold. Starting to put together my resolution list for this year. The ones I didn't accomplish will make a repeat as well as a few new ones. 

What did you accomplish this year that you are proud of? What did you miss this year that you would like to retry? What are some of your resolutions or goals for the upcoming year of 2011?

*Not sure what this means but I just referred to next year as "2012" throughout the entire post and had to go back and edit it read "2011". LOL! Hopefully not a forecast as to what is to come.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Escape

A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security.
This February, find tranquility, peace, and warmth, while enjoying your physical surroundings and pampering your body and soul. I have always found Retreats to be most beneficial to my body and mind. When I allow myself the well deserved time and utmost priority I can come back to my business, clients and family a better me. Well rested, reflective, meditated, nurtured, inspired, invigorated, and fed both spiritually and physically.

There are many places that offer Yoga and spiritual retreats, however I had a hard time finding a space that inhabited a full Pilates studio as well as a beautiful retreat space. I wanted to be able to offer Pilates Mat Classes, as well as Group Reformer and Private Sessions. And in this economic time, make it as affordable as possible without spending a ton on travel to a foreign country. Rancho La Puerta is just that place. Located in Tecate, Mexico. Rancho La Puerta is the perfect retreat spot, even voted by Travel & Leisure's 2010 voters as a Best Destination Spa. With it being located about an hour outside of San Diego, California residents would even be able to drive to the resort without any air fare.

Currently living in Chicago, winter and cold last a good portion of the year. By the February month I am ready for an escape and rejuvenation to get me through until May, when Chicago finally starts to warm up.

This February join me at Rancho La Puerta for either a 4-day or 7-day retreat. Visit for more info. Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Modern "Pilates Studio"

As Pilates is becoming more and more mainstream and Pilates studio owners are looking to monopolize their space other modalities are being added. I wonder what modalities studio owners find that draw in more business while still adhering to their mission statement? And what clients would like to see offered within their studio?

It used to be that when you walked into a Pilates Studio you could expect to see the traditional Pilates apparatus; Reformers, Cadillacs, Wunda Chairs, Ped-a-Pulls, Circles, etc. Now you may be suprised by what you see in addition to the Classical Pilates equipment.

This was very apparent at The Pilates Method Alliance Conference. Within the convention hall Gyrontonics, ActivCore, and Xtend Barre all had very popular booths. Some studios do a very coherent job of adding other modalities while still maintaining Pilates Principles. It is a tricky line to walk. Here in Chicago, Harmony, owned by Laura Dixon, does a fabulous job of offering Pilates, Gyrotonics, Xtend Barre, Cardiolates, and TRX all while maintaining a strong Pilates foundation. I believe her model is why her studio has been so successful over the years and why her clients keep coming back for more. Body Endeavors has added ActivCore, a strong massage network, and has cardio equipment available for use by their participants. Other studios have remained constant by teaching strictly Pilates and are known for that.

Does opening up your studio to other related modalities help the business and clientele? What are the parameters that you set when considering adding another modality? What do your clients want to see in the studio?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Internal Shower

In Return to Life, Joseph Pilates describes the "Internal Shower":

"The exercises (Pilates) have stirred your sluggish circulation into action have begun to discharge through the bloodstream the accumulation of fatigue-products created by muscular and mental activities. Your brain clears and your will power functions."
"These exercises induce the heart to pump strong and steadily. As a result, the bloodstream carries and discharges from your system more of the accumulated debris caused by fatigue. Contrology exercises (now called Pilates) drive pure, fresh blood to every muscle fiber of our bodies, particularly to the very important capillaries which ordinarily are rarely ever fully stimulated once we reach adulthood....The result result is that the organs of the body, including important sweat glands, receive the benefit of clean fresh blood carried to them by this rejuvenated bloodstream." 
The "internal shower" warms you from the inside out. It makes the need for external heat, such as a sweatshirt or heated room unnecessary. Probably why I despise Bikram and overly heated studios. My body and breath take care of this function on their own. I always love the feeling and sight of my rosy cheeks after completing the Hundreds at the beginning of my workout and carrying it through. It also happens from the breathing of a Yoga class for me. Not an exhausted redness but a rosy glow that heats me internally, and makes me feel beautiful inside and out. I always feel most healthy and connected after experiencing this cleansing.

Look for this glow in your clients it's a great sign of knowing that they are connecting properly to their breath and movement.

Be sure to "internal shower" your body daily.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tis better to Give than Receive

An old saying that has never been more relevant. In these hard economic times (for some) it is important to remember to support, share, and aid those less fortunate. Try making giving a new tradition for your family. Teach your children and loved ones how important it is to help those less fortunate, to appreciate what they have, and start a new holiday tradition. The joy of helping someone can be so fulfilling and better than any box found under your menorah or holiday tree. Here are a few ways of giving available in most communities.

"Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which donates toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for the Holiday season. Founded in 1947."
Have your children help shop for and go with you to the donation site to get involved and see what the organization is all about. 

"PAWS Chicago is the city's largest NO KILL humane organization, focused on implementing solutions to end the killing of homeless pets. Founded in 1997, the number of homeless dogs and cats killed annually has dropped more than 50 percent. PAWS Chicago will find new homes for more than 4,000 homeless pets in 2010 through their state-of-the-art Adoption and Humane Center. This cageless Adoption Center provides homeless pets with the care and dignity they deserve."
There are many ways to give to PAWS either through donations or volunteering your time. I highly encourage you to visit their site. If choosing to donate funds, I encourage you to take a trip with your family or friends to the Adoption center to see where your funds are going and experience this amazing organization.

I have donated money on several occasions to PAWS and volunteered walking and playing with dogs and the facility. It is a truly rewarding experience and brought me my Logan who I adopted on Mothers Day 2009. 

If you're not in Chicago find an animal shelter in your area or donate nationally at ASPCA.

"The Food Depository distributes 66 million pounds of food, including more than 12.8 million pounds of produce, to 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Cook County. Nearly 142,000 men, women and children turn to the Food Depository's network each week, and nearly 678,000 people turn to the network annually."
You can choose to volunteer and/or donate. This holiday season this is the charity of my choice. Over Thanksgiving I participated in a Food Drive with a FREE Mat class on Thanksgiving day and I have extended my work with them through the holiday with a virtual food drive. Click here to donate online through my virtual food drive.

Hope this gives you some great ideas of how to give more this holiday season. The reward of knowing that you helped a child, family, or animal is the best gift you and your family can receive. If you have a favorite charity or organization that you like to support during the holiday season, please feel free to list it below in the comment section. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

The holiday season is abounding. This year why not give the gift of health. Here are a few healthy gift giving ideas in a variety of price ranges.

A month's worth of classes at their favorite yoga, pilates, or dance studio. In Chicago, studios like Yogaview and Bar Method offer Gift Certificates in any amount. Nature Yoga offers packages like an Intro Pack for only $79 or a monthly unlimited for $150. Ask your favorite yoga or pilates instructor if they are offering gift certificates this holiday, piLALAtes is. What better way to help your loved one reach their New Year's Resolution than with the gift of Physical and in some cases Spiritual health.

A gift certificate for a relaxing massage with your favorite therapist. Either in home or at their location. This is a great way to treat your loved one to some holiday de-stressing and also to compliment your therapist with a referral that may potentially become a new client. Note: I think it is proper when giving a gift of this nature to include tip, so the recipient is not reliable for this.

This is one of my favorites, a homemade spa package. Put together some of your favorite products. I like to bag up some of my favorite bath salts or scrub, a relaxing scented candle, a face mask, homemade body oil with essential oil added to it (can be used for bath, moisturizing, or massage), a few tea bags, and some chocolate. A decadent gift of relaxation and time. Maybe try adding an Itunes playlist of some relaxing tunes. This gift can be as simple or extravagant as you choose.

Or try a spiritual or healthy living book. There are so many great ones to choose from. I suggest The China Study, The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Tipping Point, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or Light on Yoga to name a few. Give a book in Kindle or Nook to be even more environmentally friendly and save the paper of an actual book.

Do you have a favorite gift of health that you have given or received?