April 11, 2019

My inversion for the day. I try to get upside down every day and there are lots of opportunities to do that with yoga, but normally my head is on the ground. It’s a good way to get all stale air out of the bottom of my lungs. I exhale fully - as much as possible, pulling in my stomach.

Plus, it’s a lot of fun getting a new perspective on life. The world looks different upside down.  

March 29, 2019

I recently learned this from Dr. Alan Mandela (https://www.youtube.com/user/motivationaldoc).


Dr. Mandela wrote that Japanese actor Miki Ryosuke recently discovered an interesting method that helped him lose 28.7 pounds and 4.7 inches from his waist in just a few weeks. This result was a side effect of a back pain relief exercise that a doctor prescribed for him, and the best thing is that this exercise only takes two minutes a day.

Ryosuke named it “long-breathing diet.” The technique is to stay in a certain position, inhaling for three seconds, and then exhale vigorously for seven seconds.

Most European doctors support the use of breathing exercises for weight loss and explain their effectiveness as follows: fat consists of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. When the oxygen we breathe reaches the fat cells, it divides them into components (carbon and water). Therefore, the more oxygen our body uses the more fat we burn.

Here is the exercise:

Stand up and put one leg forward and one leg back. C...

March 28, 2019

I always ask people to start to practice balance by standing at their kitchen counter and holding on to the sink edge. The front of your feet can fit into the toe space under the cabinet doors. This is a safe spot to start strengthening your feet. Rise up on your toes ten times, keeping your body against the counter so you can start to determine what “being on your vertical axis” feels like. Now you are ready to start standing on one leg for 10 to 15 seconds. Bend one leg slightly and lean it into the cabinets, raising the other leg slightly behind you. Don’t let your hips twist. Keep them against the counter. Switch legs and repeat ten times on each leg. Try closing your eyes while holding on to see if you can sense your center axis. When standing on one foot, the center of your body should be over the balancing foot’s arch, so line your nose, sternum, belly button, and pubic bone up over the arch. Then think of the other part of your axis that is perpendicular to that forward axis. Y...

March 19, 2019

Good relationships help our bodies and our brains. We have clients whose dance lessons with us are part of their weekly “date night.” They replace screen time with people time. They get out of the house together and come over to my home studio for a 50-minute dance lesson, sometimes followed by dinner together afterwards. Dancing has helped them do something new, which has brought new life to their relationships. Through leading and following, couples learn better how to rely on each other. When mistakes occur, as they inevitably do, one partner covers for the other so that anyone watching might think everything went smoothly. It’s a beautiful life lesson we all can learn through dancing.

March 18, 2019

A Japanese study found that women between ages 75 and 84 who danced regularly were more likely to maintain their independence in five types of activities, including bathing and dressing, than those who did not exercise. In addition, they were more like to carry out those activities than counterparts whose exercise was walking or calisthenics. Researchers believe dance is so beneficial because it combines movement, balance, endurance and focus. (Source: Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, December 19, 2018)

Another advantage of dancing is that you can look into each other’s eyes and embrace each other. Life is good – and better when you dance!

March 15, 2019

Dancing requires a leader and follower. From my point of view, the beautiful thing about following is that it is fun. A lead is an invitation, and if I don’t follow the invitation, it’s okay. Dancing is a game. There’s great wonder about where it will take me if I do follow. The leader has a plan. His job is to keep me safe, comfortable, and entertained. Each moment - new! And if I don’t feel comfortable with what my partner is leading, I can say to myself, “Later.”  He can hold his hand up to lead an underarm turn, and I take it when I feel safe, comfortable and entertained. It’s good to know leads are not commands but are invitations to do something new together. It’s such a great way of experiencing life. 

March 13, 2019

Recently, I listened to a TedTalk, “What makes a good life?” It was lessons from the longest study on adult development, which covered 75 years, by the study’s director, Robert Waldinger. The clearest message from the study was that good relationships keep us healthier and happier. Social connections are really good for us. Living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective, and this type of atmosphere helps our body and helps our brain. Memories stay sharper longer when people are connected, and surely dance is connecting to people’s eyes and embrace, but I have sensed a connection to the whole dance community. Although I am not retired, it is a great place for replacing workmates with playmates. Dancing is a form of play, and when we are on the dance floor, no one is judging us. Everyone is moving to the music within the tempo and having a great time. After I have learned the steps of each dance, I hardly ever think of the steps. That would seem like work, and dance is mor...

March 12, 2019

We are at the Mardi Gras dance with Beckley Area Shag Club on Saturday, March 2. We became members last month, but we did not know anyone in this club until the dance. I wanted to take this moment to express my appreciation for the hospitality and welcome we received. Although we are willing to learn Shag dancing, our expertise is in Ballroom and Latin dancing. We know West Coast Swing, which is a slot dance similar to Shag, and we know East Coast Swing, which has the triple step, triple step, rock step of Shag. I want to thank the Shag Club in Beckley as well as our local chapter in Charleston for their willingness to accept our diversity. They treat each of us as one of them. It’s a beautiful feeling to sense connection in diversity.

March 12, 2019

Bad moods can be caused by ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. The good news is that mental problems can have physical solutions. By just starting to move, we can elevate our mood. Active people are happier, in general. I think it’s because movement is a way we progress in life. Movement gets us out of feeling stuck and stagnant. Movement causes oxygen in our blood to circulate and decreases inflammation on our tissues, but it seems there is more to it. Movement to a tempo tethers us to the present moment, which seems to make us happy and good tempered. Our brain benefits when it has less stress. Studies show moving to a rhythm helps to prevent and slow dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Joining an exercise class or social dance group can change our lives by getting us into better moods. 

March 5, 2019

Our joints cannot remove toxins unless they are moved enough to warm up their synovial fluid. Synovial fluid responds much like motor oil. We want to warm it up to go from thick to slimy. Slimy is good when it comes to joints working properly and being able to release the normal toxin buildup of waste products in our systems. I personally have a plan every day to articulate my joints for great happiness and joy.  

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