3 Embodiment Exercises to Start Your Self-Care Practice

3 Embodiment Exercises to Start Your Self-Care Practice

Hey there, it’s Dawn.

I’m back to talk a little bit more about embodiment tools and the three embodiment pillars that are foundational to my view of embodiment.

The three pillars of my approach to embodiment are:
1) Grounding into your body
2) Focusing on breathing
3) Using intentional movement

To help you understand how these pillars work together, I want to do a simple exercise that brings them into focus. The first thing you want to do is find a place to sit where you can ground your feet down into the floor, so you want to feel like you can sit upright on the edge of your stool, and I’m going to have you close your eyes. I’m going to keep mine open, but go ahead and close them, and I’m just going to lead you through a short body scan. With this awareness, we’re going to do a little breathing, and then I’m going to do a little movement.

Let’s start with the first piece. Go ahead and close your eyes and sit on your stool with your feet flat on the ground. I want you to notice and bring your awareness into your body and start to sense where you are in space. This practice is called a simple body scan. Start by bringing your awareness down to your feet. I want you to feel your feet on the floor and then go ahead and trace up your body with your inner eye.

Take your awareness all the way up through your legs and feel the upper bones of your legs connecting up into your hip sockets. Then go ahead and trace up through your spine and across your chest and down through your arms. You have a sense of your arms just hanging at your sides. Just notice if your body wants to make any adjustments as you bring awareness to it, so you may feel like you’re slumping a little bit. You want to find a little easier, more upright alignment, so make whatever adjustments, bring your body into more of a sense of ease, and an arrangement where you feel like you can take a deep breath.

 

The second piece, we’re going to go right into that breathing. So bring your hands to your belly actually and take a few deep inhales and exhales. With the inhale and exhale, for the first couple of times, I want you to notice where you’re breathing. Notice if you feel like you’re holding your breath in one area of your body or another or if you feel like you can take a deep breath all the way down into your abdomen. You feel like your abdomen area can expand with the inhale and contract with the exhale. If you feel like you’re holding your breath in your shoulders and your breathing is shallow, try to drop and relax your shoulders and bring your awareness down to your belly, so you feel a sense of filling in your abdomen as well as you inhale. Just see if you can start to deepen that breath.

We’re going to do a couple more breaths, and you will focus on the expansion and contraction of the breath. As you inhale, let your body expand. As you exhale, keep exhaling until you have fully emptied out your lungs, and you feel a deep contraction of the lungs. That exhale is going to help to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and bring you into a more profound sense of rest and restoration.

To add one last little piece to this- intentional movement. Go ahead and open your eyes. And all we’re going to do is just a simple spiral. So we want to connect that awareness of our breathing and our upright spine, and we’re just going to do a little twist side to side. You will inhale as you twist and exhale as you come back to the center. Using your eyes to look behind you will bring our vision into play and help you integrate your body awareness and your breathing as a foundation for movement,

After you have done a few spirals, close your eyes again, and I want you just to check back in, do a quick little body scan again, and notice if you feel any difference in your body. Do you feel more upright? Do you feel sensations in areas that you may not have felt feeling before? Just notice how you feel. Notice if you’re breathing any more deeply and if you’re more aware of yourself in space. And then open your eyes to finish the exercise.

That’s just a simple way to look at those three layers of the embodiment process. The grounding into your body brings you into sensing your body. The breathing piece starts to bring you into the movement of your body. And the intentional movement piece helps you to connect and use your awareness and your breathing to support the intentional movement of your body.

Embodiment is a tool for health and well being. Intentional movement can help you avoid injury, prevent injury and help you feel great daily, but it also helps you to get into your body and feel empowered in how you’re moving and intentionally being in your body on a daily basis.

So enjoy!

All the best,

Dawn

 

How to PIVOT Your Wellness Business Online For Long Term Sustainable Success

How to PIVOT Your Wellness Business Online For Long Term Sustainable Success

To say that the last month was a game-changer is an understatement. All of our daily lives and businesses have been affected in some way by COVID-19. And as time moves on, some of these changes may become permanent, and we may not return to “the way things were”…at least not in the same way.

We will, however, eventually go back to giving hugs and shaking hands, moving, and meeting in person again. But when we do, the landscape will have shifted, and we will have evolved and adapted, and the innovations we create during in time will, in part, become part of our new normal. So how do we move with the change and evolve our in-person businesses?  

The word PIVOT came to mind for me back in early March, and it has sprouted as a catchword for business owners to shift their services online.

The call to PIVOT your business and shift your in-person services online or create new products and programs meets the temporary need for physical distancing. And it offers an opportunity for brick and mortar businesses to envision a new approach to delivering your services with location freedom and a worldwide market.

I know many movement professionals and wellness practitioners that have made the quick shift to transfer their in-person services online.

For some people, this switch has gone relatively smoothly and has allowed them to continue serving their clients and keep revenue coming in their business. For others, switching to virtual is challenging. They struggle to replicate aspects of their in-person work that do not transfer well to virtual, or they are unsure of how to create the same value virtually as they did in person. 

Whatever camp you are in, it is clear that virtual delivery is here to stay for the time being and will change the landscape of how we do business in the future.

So how can you approach your pivot online NOW to stay grounded the value of your work and continue to create and evolve a sustainable business structure going forward?

So what is the best way to pivot online now to sustain your business? And how can the metaphor of the pivot guide your strategy to make the temporary shifts that also support you to evolve your business long term?

Let’s look at what a PIVOT is. 

A PIVOT, in movement terms, is a rotation around an axis. The pivot is a change of direction, but around a GROUNDED AXIS. And the central AXIS of the PIVOT is PIVOTAL. The person performing the pivot is shifting around an axis to align to a different point on the circle. 

To perform a pivot, you first ground into our core, then shift your eyes and focus on the direction you would like to pivot and then move your body to align to your focus.

This metaphor can help you during times of change by guiding the sequencing of your strategy in alignment with your core purpose and long term goals. How do you PIVOT on your AXIS to both sustain and evolve your business?

1) Stay grounded and connected to your physical core, your energy, and your practice.

  • Deepen your practice, keep breathing and moving and stay healthy in mind and body so you can have a clear account and continue to bring your best self to your life and business. 

2) Anchor into your core purpose- align your values, mission, and purpose. 

  • Get grounded in your core purpose, so you continue to anchor into what you value and the impact you want to create so you continue to take action in alignment with what you want to create.
  • How can you deepen your purpose by expanding your potential market and impact online?
  • Continuing to stand in the creator shoes will keep you in an empowered place and allow you to continue to lead and serve others at your highest level.

3) Hone in on your core value equation to align your messaging and service to the evolving needs of your clients?

  • How are the core problems that you solve for your clients the same, and how have new issues or goals emerged during this time? Is there a unique niche that you could tap into online?
  • How can you shift the messaging of offers you already have in place to meet the new and evolving needs of your clients?
  • How can you position your online services as a “new” level of service rather than a replacement for in-person work to leave space to both evolve online work as part of your model and return to in-person work in a new way?

4) Create a Core Strategy to shift your evolving business structures to BOTH sustain your business during the pandemic and to evolve and grow your model to move you towards your long term goals. 

  • What new business systems, structures, and service models can you create now that will sustain your business and keep you moving towards your goals?
  • And how can you evolve a long term business strategy that leverages your online work to elevate your in-person work?

With these point in mind, anchor into the bigger question of the pivot:

How can you BOTH allow your strategy to PIVOT while you stay grounded in your AXIS? How can you can powerfully co-create the evolving new normal in a way that deepens your purpose and leadership, expands your impact, and sustains and evolves your business?

How can you pivot in a way that allows you to stay the course AND navigate the changing path?

Let me know how these lands and what has worked for you? And what success and challenges are you having?

Join the conversation in my Facebook group for Body-Centered Business Owners Online.

Want to brainstorm in person (virtually:) Sign up for a Brainstorming Session to unpack the top opportunities for your business growth right now!

All the best,

Dawn

 

Psoas Release

Psoas Release

Hey everyone, it’s Dawn!

And I want to take a minute to talk about how to release tension in your hips and low back by releasing the psoas. The psoas is primarily a hip flexor and a postural stabilizer. Often clients will come in with a sense of tightness through their hips and hamstrings. And I will usually do some exercises to release their hip flexors and psoas before we get moving to see if it improves how they feel in their bodies. relieves the tightness they are feeling. “Tight” hip flexors and psoas can come from too much sitting, driving, or activities that occur from loading into a flexed position in your hips and spine. And the psoas muscle is also affected by too much stress, which can put you into a chronic sympathetic state in your nervous system (fight or flight mode).

Check out the video below for a simple exercise you can use to release your hip flexors and psoas. (These exercises are subject to our website Terms and Conditions)

 

So one of the straightforward exercises that you can do to help open up that area, create some muscular relief and also help to deepen your breathing, is to lie down on your back and use a little yoga block under your pelvis to elevate it slightly. And you are going to let your pelvis release into the block and then extend one leg and let that create a little opening through the front of the hip. You will fee a stretch through the front of your hip when you do this.

Then bring your awareness to your breathing and take a couple deep breaths with that one leg extended to deepen this experience. And then bring one leg back up and then you’ll reach the other leg and take a couple of deep breaths. And you could do this multiple times, whatever you feel like you need. And I’d also suggest when you come back up, really try to kind of push the heel into the ground a little bit and engage with the back of your leg a little more to come back up. After you finish alternating legs, you can take the block out and just come back to only some simple breathing on your back. And notice if you feel any difference in how you feel in your hips and back.

And I would check in and standing as well and see if you feel more upright and more open through the front of your hips. This is just a great exercise to do at the end of the day to reset and come back to your breathing. Use this exercise to relieve stress and tension in your body caused by spending your day sitting at a desk, in the car, dealing with just the stress of the day today, and you want to bring your body into a state of rest and release.

 

All the best,

Dawn

 

5 Steps To Become A Gyrotonic Instructor In One Year

5 Steps To Become A Gyrotonic Instructor In One Year

Are you a health and wellness coach, movement practitioner or therapist who is looking for a new approach to holistic movement with your clients?

Gyrotonic training attracts people from all walks of life. I have had dancers who want to share their love of movement, elementary school teachers, professionals in other careers that want to make a career change and instructors from other modalities like Pilates, yoga, physical therapy and massage therapy that want to expand their skill range and people who just want to go through the training for their own personal development or to have equipment in their home and to work with family and friends!

If you LOVE movement, and enjoy helping others to understand how their bodies move and how to move to their fullest capacity, feel good in their bodies and in their lives, then becoming a Gyrotonic Instructor may be a great fit for you.  In this blog post, I am going to give you the simple 5 step process to become a Gyrotonic Instructor and tell you how you can get started.

To get started, before you even enter the teacher training process, you will need to have a minimum of ten sessions with a certified instructor to familiarize yourself with the introductory material and to prepare your body for the training. This will also give you the opportunity to get a good feel for the system and make sure that it is right for you!

So, what is so unique about the Gyrotonic Method?

The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® is made up of two methods, the GYROTONIC® Method and the GYROKINESIS® Method. This blog post will focus on the Level 1 Gyrotonic Method Training. The Gyrotonic Method is a holistic system of movement that can meet a variety of health and wellness goals to help you move without pain, develop flexible strength with minimal impact to your body and cross-train for specific sports like Golf, Tennis or Dance.

Exercises are based in three -dimensional movements that help you to align and strengthen your core and move your body as a whole with fluid, flexible strength. Movements integrate breathing principles, mobilize and decompress the spine and joints and work all the major muscle groups synergistically for a full body workout.

The Gyrotonic Method is an apparatus-based method that utilize a unique pulley tower system that offers supportive resistance to the body in all ranges of motion. The level one teacher training process is taught on the pulley tower system. Other specialized equipment like the Jumping Stretching Board, Leg Extension Unit and the Ladder, offer a variety of exercises for developing strength, flexibility, balance and coordination through fluid movement and are available as advanced training courses for Gyrotonic Level 1 Certified Instructors.

My personal practice with Gyrotonic has evolved as a Movement Therapist to working primarily with clients who are transitioning from Physical Therapy and need specific exercise modifications to help them create a new approach to movement. I bring my expertise and experience from working in a physical therapy clinic and as a movement therapist and somatic coach for 15 years to help my students empower their clients to use the Gyrotonic Method to connect to their bodies and find their home in movement.  As a Master Trainer, I teach the first three courses in the Gyrotonic Teacher Training Process.

 

The Gyrotonic Level 1 Teacher Training Process

The Gyrotonic Teacher training process is a combination of four courses that usually take from 9-12 months to complete. All courses must be completed with certified Gyrotonic Pre-Trainers or Master Trainers. You make take each course with a different instructor or all courses with one instructor.

Introductory Sessions

As I mentioned earlier, the first step in the Teacher Training process is to have ten introductory sessions with a certified Gyrotonic Instructor to familiarize yourself with the work and prepare your body for the training. The training is intensive and demanding and you will want to be familiar with the movement before you begin.

 

The Gyrotonic Pre-Training

The first course in the Gyrotonic Teacher Training program. In the Gyrotonic Pre-Training you will learn the fundamental exercises of the Gyrotonic Level One Foundation Course with a focus on individual execution of the movements and understanding of the principles. At the end of the pre-training you will be able to put together a full Gyrotonic workout to lead your self- practice routines. The Gyrotonic Pre-training is a 6 day/30-hour course that can be broken up into two, three-day segments. The pre-training is taught by Dawn Strom or another certified Pre-Trainer.  After you complete the pre-training you will have three months to enroll in and begin the next course, the Level 1 Foundation Training.

 

Level 1 Foundation Training

In the Gyrotonic Level 1 Foundation Course you will learn how to teach fundamental exercises of the Gyrotonic Level One Foundation Course. This course will focus on deepening your understanding and communication of Gyrotonic principles as well as introducing teaching tools and cueing. Upon completion of your Gyrotonic Foundation Course you will be able to teach an introductory session to a new client. You will then enter your Apprenticeship period where you will practice progressing clients through the level one material as well as continue to develop you own integration of the material through self- practice. The Foundation Course is taught by a Master Trainer and is a 12 day/60-hour course that can be broken up into three four-day weekend segments. After you complete and pass the Foundation course, you can continue into your apprentice period.

 

Apprentice Review

After you complete your Foundation Training you will have a 6-12-month apprenticeship period where you will teach a total of 60 sessions, 30 of which must be completed before your apprentice review course.

Once you have completed 30 sessions you will sign up for a 6-day/ 30 hour Apprentice Review Course with Dawn Strom or another licensed Master Trainer. During this time, you will review material and learn any material that was not covered in the foundation training. You will have time to ask questions about your teaching practice. After finishing your apprentice review, you will complete the remaining 30 hours of teaching and then you will go on to your final certification offered at a variety of locations in the USA and in Europe.

 

Certification

After you have passed your apprentice review and completed your hours, you may sign up for your Certification offered through Gyrotonic Headquarter at a variety of locations in the US and Europe. This is a three day course. And upon completion of the course you will be a licensed Gyrotonic Trainer.

 

Cost of Training

The cost of the Gyrotonic Teacher Training process is divided into a combination of course fees and studio fees.

  • The course fees are determined through Gyrotonic Headquarters and are the same regardless of which Master Trainer you work
  • The Studio where you take your course will also have a fee that will cover the costs of using the studio space and may also apply for travel costs of the Master Trainer teaching the course. Studio fees will vary based on
  • You should check with the individual studio hosting the course for a complete list of fees. For a complete list of general course fees click HERE.

 

Continuing Education

Once you are a Licensed Gyrotonic Trainer, you will need to complete continuing education requirements every two years and pay a licensing fee to renew your license. For more information on continuing education requirements, click here.

 

How To Get Started

So now that you know a little more about The Gyrotonic Teacher Training Process, you may be wondering whether it is a good fit for you? If you are interested in joining one of my level 1 foundation trainings, click HERE to schedule a discovery session. I would love to talk with you in person and help give you the information that you need to make the best decision for your career.

To see a list of our current scheduled courses, click HERE . Please let me know if you have any questions!

I hope to see you in one of my courses!

All the best,

Dawn

GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Specialized Master Trainer

How Meditation Can Help You To Connect To Your Body And Change Your Brain

How Meditation Can Help You To Connect To Your Body And Change Your Brain

Hey everyone,

This is Dawn Strom and in this month’s blog, I am exploring the connections between meditation and the somatic movement techniques I teach in my Somatic Movement Therapy work.

Meditation is a tool that has long been used to quiet the mind and connect to the spirit. It is a practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference, such as focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. The goal is to focus on the present moment and to use this presence to cultivate peace of mind and well being.

In recent years, the practice of meditation has been applied to research in health and wellness, specifically for treating depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. In connection with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, John Kabat -Zinn created a mindfulness-based stress reduction program that has been used as a protocol in much of the research that is done on meditation.

Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. She used the MBSR Program in her study, and what she found surprised her — that meditation can literally change your brain

Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain via Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain and creates the effects of empathy, emotional regulation and a decrease in stress.

I have been utilizing meditation techniques in my movement private practice for years as a way to approach the mind body connection. I had the opportunity to take a course in graduate school on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program of Dr. Kabat -Zinn and was struck by the similarities between the visualization exercises that were used to help ground me in my body and the somatic visualizations that I used with clients in my movement therapy and Gyrotonic Training practice on a regular basis.

The two practices that I saw as similar were the body scan technique to connect to sensing and feeling your body and the awareness of the breathing.  They are both used in my Movement Therapy and Gyrotonic Practice as a way to get out of your head and drop into your body, to develop a practice of sensing and feeling your body and regulating your breathing to balance your body.

 
I have created a short video to highlight the similar exercises I learned in my mediation class and the ones I teach in my movement therapy practice.
 

 
 
 

The first technique is doing a simple body scan.

To get started, get into in a comfortable position, either seated on a stool or lying on the floor on your back with your knees bent. You want to be comfortable, so choose whatever feels best for you. Go ahead and get into your chosen position and close your eyes. Bring your perception inwards and just take a couple of deep breaths. Next, I want you to bring your perception down into your body and think about bringing your inner eye all the way down to your feet. You’re going to do a little internal tracing of how your body feels starting from your feet and coming all the way up your spine, up to your head and down through your arms.

Start with your feet. Feel your feet on the floor and notice what they feel like. Notice how you’re holding your feet to the floor, how you’re touching the floor with your feet and if you have even weight in both feet. And then go ahead and trace your legs with your inner eye, noticing how your legs are balanced from side to side. Then come up into your hips and your pelvis and then all the way up your spine and all the way up through the top of your head. Notice how your spine is aligning, whether you feel like you are sitting upright or you’re a little collapsed. Just notice how your body is aligning and then bring your awareness all the way down and out through your arms. Notice how your arms are hanging at your body and how they feel side to side.

 
Make a note of any information you want from that scan. Then, start from your feet again. Grounding down into your feet, do the tracing process a little bit more quickly this time. You can repeat this exercise a couple of times. Notice if your body shifts and adjusts based on your new awareness. You can also use this in your meditation practice to connect into your body and get situated with how you’re sitting and feeling in your body before you begin.

 
 

The second technique is the simple awareness of your breathing. It starts the same way.  Find a good place to sit comfortably in an upright position or lay on your back. This time bring your awareness to the feeling of your breath, and how you’re breathing. Notice how your lungs are expanding and contracting, and notice where you feel your breathing.

 
Do you feel like all of the movement of your breathing is up in your shoulders and chest? Can you really expand your rib cage as you inhale and let it gently condense as you exhale? Notice if your abdominal area is able to really release and inflate a little bit on the inhale and just gently come back in on the exhale.
 
Notice how you’re breathing. Then, place your hands on your abdominal area, and take a few nice deep breaths there just to bring awareness to the area, allowing it to inflate and deflate. Move your hands up to your sternum and take a couple deep breaths and let that area really fully inhale and exhale, and try one more time. Lastly, let your arms hang at your sides and take a few nice deep breaths, all the way up from your belly, allowing your whole chest to inflate and the whole body to deflate as well.
 

That is the second element of a simple somatic awareness practice. Developing your somatic practice also provides a foundation to go deeper into using mediation to work with your thoughts and emotions. We will talk about that in another video.

 
I hope you all enjoyed this video and blog. Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions.
 
Have a great day.
 
Take care,
 

Dawn

Embodied Biz Planning for Coaches Expecting Their First Baby

Embodied Biz Planning for Coaches Expecting Their First Baby

Over the last year I have worked to transform my business to clarify my expertise and evolve my practice towards somatic coaching work that I can offer online to expand my reach and maximize my time and value.  I did all of this while preparing to have my first child! It seems like a lot, but it was well planned and an important step to help expand and reshape my business to meet the needs of my expanding family and my new lifestyle.  I’m excited to share an opportunity I had to talk with a friend and colleague and owner of Universal Coaching Systems about Embodied Business planning for coaches expecting their first baby.  We had a great interview on her podcast, Coach Pep Talk.

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments…

Coach Pep Talk Podcast Episode 8- Interview with Dawn Strom

In Joy!