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That’s one creative way to encourage male health!

A great TedMed video on testicular health and cancer prevention.

Check it!

Are you Nuts for Prevention?

The Brain: A noun or a verb?

Photo Credit: Elephant Journal (elephantjournal.com)

Photo Credit: Elephant Journal (elephantjournal.com)

Is our brain just the passive master of our bodies, receiving and sending information? Or is it more of an active organ, capable of controlling and managing much more?

According to Deepak Chopra, MD, he feels that the brain is more of a verb, a doing organ, and that with conscious thought comes better control not just on how we feel psychologically, but also the physical aspects of the brain. Here is a great excerpt from the original Forbes article:

“In the workplace, amidst expanding technology and uncertain economic conditions, employees and managers are on edge. Is burnout around the corner?

The sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is on overdrive. If you continue to be in overdrive you will crash with physical exhaustion or illness. However it would be a mistake to attribute this to our work, or to technology, or the demands of our life. It’s our responsibility really, whether we feel stress or not. Stress is not in the environment, stress is not in you, it’s how you and your environment interact. It’s like the waves on the ocean. If you are a skillful surfer than every wave is almost an exhilaration, if you’re unprepared than every wave is a disaster.

Those waves can come at a tsunami-like deluge in our work-life merge. What are your thoughts from a neurological perspective on multi-tasking?

Your conscious brain cannot multitask. If I’m speaking to you and checking my I-Phone at the same time, I’m doing neither. This is why our society is frazzled; this misconception that we can consciously do more than one thing at a time effectively. Most neuroscientists I’ve spoken with agree on this, you have to parcel out your time. And, there are many techniques to manage stress, meditation is only one. Mindful awareness of your body, your breath, transcending reactivity, imagination and visualization etc.”

You know also provides improved mindfulness? Pilates of course! While moving, pilates trains you to focus your breathe, become connected to your body, and leave your troubles at the door while you work out. Not to mention, working out can help to relieve stress! It is like a two in one deal over here.


For the full article, check out Forbes website.

Kind of what we are needing with the change of season we are experiencing!

Credit: Harold's Planet

Credit: Harold’s Planet

Another pilates success story!

Photo credit: Globe and Mail

Photo credit: Globe and Mail

Pilates in the news! Canadian figure skater Kaetlyn Osmund training for the 2014 Winter Olympics. She says that pilates has upped her game by helping to strengthen her core which improves her jumps and balance throughout her programs.

For a full look at her opinion on how pilates has helped her, check out this Globe and Mail article.

The importance of conscious breathing

Breathe in and breathe out. It is what we do all day long without a single thought. The brain has made this an automated process, yet there is a certain power behind learning to breathe consciously. We can slow down our heart rates, let our breathe lead us into a meditative state, and even help relieve health ailments including high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, and stress.

However, sometimes it can be exceptionally difficult to learn how to consciously breathe, either while laying down in silence, or while moving throughout your day. Exercise programs like yoga and pilates have conscious breathing as a focal point of each movement. You learn to use your breathe to strengthen your muscles and relax into stretches. If we may so say, a great start to practicing conscious breathing!

What are some of the key points?

  1. Learn to breathe deeply. Many of us breathe just with the tops of our lungs. Try breathing deep into the belly and back, like you are trying to stretch out your torso in both directions. Breathe in and out, deeply and slowly.
  2. When you do physical work, exhale when the muscles are required to do work. This will help guide you through the tension.
  3. Relax when you are done with physical work. Take slow, deep, and easy breathes when you relax. Try letting your breathe guide you into sleep. Winding down like this at the end of the day can help to improve sleeping patterns.
  4. Practice regularly!

With so many pilates and yoga places available in this city, find somewhere that suits you and go often! The more you practice, the more natural it will become to breathe consciously.


Congratulations Tiffany!

We are happy to bring attention to the fact that one of our instructors, the lovely Tiffany Bilodeau, has just qualified for Triathlon Canada World Championship 2014!

Tiffany has only just started participating in triathlons this past year, with her very first competition early this last Spring. It is quite an achievement to perform as she has in her last few competitions.

Congratulations Tiffany! We are so proud of you and look forward to rooting you on.

Sleep debt- Can you ever really pay it off?

During the summer, we are lucky enough to have super long and beautiful days with tons of sunshine and warm nights. However, for some of us, this means getting to bed way too late and feeling quite tired the next day.

Unfortunately for many North Americans, this is not a trend that is observed only during the summer months but year round. Due to 9-5 jobs, artificial light, and technology that stimulates your mind almost 24/7, it can be hard to get to sleep. Is this harmful though? And, if you do rack up a “sleep debt,” what does it take to pay it off?

According to an article in Scientific American, offsetting sleep debt can take months to pay off. In order to really get that time back as well, you have to go to bed when you start to get tired and wake up when your body is ready (no alarm clocks allowed!!).

How exactly is this debt accrued you might ask? Sleep debt is the amount of sleep that you lose compared to how much you “should” be sleeping. So, if you should be sleeping 8 hours per night and you only get 6 hours, you add approximately 14 hours of sleep debt to your life every week. It’s going to take quite some time to pay that off…

However, there are a few things that can definitely help.

1) TURN OFF THE ELECTRONICS. Preferably at least an hour or two before bedtime. The sounds and lights electronics give off make it exceptionally difficult for your brain to turn off, making it tough to fall and stay asleep.

2) Make your room as dark as possible. Melatonin, the chemical in your brain that aids in helping you get to sleep and set a natural sleep rhythm is released in darkness. Get that melatonin flowing!

3) Try not to eat for a few hours before bedtime. Food, especially food high in sugar, feeds your body energy. Therefore, if you eat before bed, it is not unlikely that little boost in energy will keep you awake. Try to have dinner a few hours before bedtime.

However, if you truly struggle with getting and staying asleep, contact your doctor. They will help you figure out how to improve your sleep schedule.

The good news you can definitely take away from this article: paying off sleep debt finally gives us a reason to sleep in!

Something to consider with this beautiful weather.

Photo Credit: Harold's Planet/The Last Lemon

Photo Credit: Harold’s Planet/The Last Lemon

Mighty kale and all of it’s glory

Photo Credit: WebMD.com

Photo Credit: WebMD.com

Ok, it’s been out there for awhile that kale is no ordinary green. Particularly in Vancouver, it draws a LOT of attention because not only is it delicious and versatile, but it grows throughout the winter months which is pretty cool when you’ve got weather like ours.

So what is special about kale other than the taste? It is the epitome of a superfood! Here are some quick facts (from WebMD) about kale’s nutritional content:

-One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

-Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

-Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

-Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

If you have seen this green in the market but have shied away from it because you have absolutely no clue what to do with it, here are some super tasty recipes that incorporate all the might of kale:

This light yet fulfilling salad: http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/01/spicy-peanut-ginger-kale-salad.html

This refreshing smoothie (get ON that green drink bandwagon, they rock): http://www.wholeliving.com/185519/kale-pineapple-and-almond-milk-smoothie

This tasty side to an Indian feast: http://www.holycowvegan.net/2009/03/kale-subzi.html

These chips that you have nothing to feel guilty about (seriously, if you try any of these recipes, give this one a try first): http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2010/07/totally-addictive-kale-crisps-2/

Or, if you are like me, you can always massage some raw chopped kale with ginger-garlic-miso dressing and throw in any other favorable salad topping. Sauteed tofu or pumpkin seeds are always a tasty addition.

For more health info on kale, check out WebMD’s page on it.


Happy Canada Day!

Photo credit: Newstalk 1010

Happy Canada Everyone!! Enjoy the sunshine, the good eats, and hopefully the fireworks!

The Movement Studio

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