by Kathy Kleiver, Pilates Teacher at Bodytree Studio
Have you ever been behind a truck that appears to be driving at an odd angle even though it’s traveling straight forward? Or perhaps you’ve noticed a car with wheels that tilt inward or outward when viewed from the front or the back, and you think, “That can’t be good for the tires!”? You’re right: it’s not! These are signs a vehicle is out of alignment and needs to be serviced. Let these issues go and they’ll likely cause uneven and/or premature tire wear, steering wheel vibration, or a pulling sensation to the left or right making it harder to control the vehicle, any of which can ultimately pose a safety risk.
Now take a moment to stand up and walk a few steps, then stop and look down at your own feet. Yes…now! Are your feet pointing mostly straight forward, or is one (or both) angled in or out from your centerline? Just as wheel imbalance causes additional wear and tear on a car, foot imbalance can lead to bigger issues in our bodies that can compromise our health. There are obvious ailments like bunions and bone spurs, corns and calluses. But did you stop to think that if your feet aren’t working properly, your ankle, knee and hip joints can be adversely affected, having to create compensatory movements? Or that something as seemingly innocuous as your choice in shoes can lead to arthritis, decreased bone density and nerve damage?
Thanks (mostly) to Katy Bowman, MS, a biomechanist, author, blogger and podcaster, I’ve become obsessed with foot health. Her insightful book, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet, was eye-opening to me, having myself suffered from foot problems and pain over the years. I can honestly say that incorporating a few of her recommendations and guidelines into my life the last six months has had a positive impact not only on my feet, but on my entire body.
Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from her book:
by Sara Dwyer Lane, Yoga Teacher at Bodytree Studio
During your yoga asana practice you are responsible for making continuous decisions while you move. How is your breath in a posture or during transitions? Have you reached your edge? Should you push further? Should you back off? Is your movement serving your body and mind in the way you need it to today? Do you need to sweat or is your body telling you that you need something more restorative? These are important questions you should be asking yourself, instead of trying to attain that picture perfect pose. It’s more important to listen to your body than listening to anything else!
As I explore my own ever-changing practice, most recently I spend a lot of time thinking about the spine. I think a lot about the way I use and move my spine. And I spend a lot of time thinking about how I teach others to be aware of how they are moving and using theirs. Why pay special attention to your spine? You have heard people say ‘you are only as healthy as your spine,’ right? If you think about it, the mobility, flexibility, and strength of your backbone is absolutely essential to ALL other movements. These vertebrae that are so elegantly stacked and curved atop one another, carry your nervous system from your brain to each and every part of the body. It sends all the information our brain conveys to our various body parts and then returns the feedback to the brain. Besides students saying they aren’t flexible enough, the thing I hear most often is that their backs hurt/ache in various ways. Much of this is under-developed core strength, but more so it’s about being thoughtful about how we treat our back. I want to share a few common alignment myths to keep in mind as you navigate your own body, while being mindful of your spine, in your practice. These are some simple places to start.
by Mira Naaman Iskandar, Co Owner of Nectar
Summer is wrapping up! Long summer days intertwined with ice cream and sun kissed skin fade as the fall enters with new goals, clean living and cooler months. In honour of summer days and getting back on track, my “go-to ice cream” is this creamy, vegan, peanut butter and jam creation. Peanut butter reminds me a fall and the back to school routine… what better way to celebrate it with a fun play with this treat. The texture of this “nice-cream” surprises me every time, its lusciously velvet, smooth texture will have you ditch the processed, sugar heavy dairy ice creams for this versatile blend. Have fun with the toppings and create your own signature blends.
- 3 frozen bananas (chopped before freezing)
- 1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk (almond or coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 T creamy natural peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon cocoa nibs
- 1 teaspoon bee pollen
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon roasted peanuts (chopped)
with Anissa Lickrish, Co-Creator of BTB and Dance Teacher at Bodytree
Welcome back to Bodytree after a well deserved break. If your summer was anything like mine there was a giant record scratch on diet goals. Hopefully all that cheese, bread, ice-cream and, possibly, wine were amazing. But it is time for us to get back to reality!
Now that it’s September, the timing is perfect for a healthy lifestyle reset.
Here are my top 5 tips to get us all back on track!
A conversation with Nadia Sehweil, co-founder of Bodytree & co-owner of Nectar and Suzan Terzian, Certified Nutritionist, Health & Wellness Consultant
Nutrition is an ever evolving science and we know that for years people have been bombarded with confusing and contradictory information telling you to avoid fats, that they are bad for your health and lead to many negative health consequences. Meanwhile, the low-fat and non-fat food industry grew and became the norm, while levels of heart disease, obesity and blood cholesterol increased.
So while everyone was eating less fat in an effort to get healthy, the result was the opposite due to the high carbohydrate content of these low fat products. Today we would like to end this fear associated with eating fat. Eating less fat has not led to better health, so let’s change this perspective and reconcile our relationship with fat that seems to have taken a wrong turn in the midst of all the false information out there. So let’s have an honest conversation about GOOD FATS!
with Michelle Alistoun, Yoga Teacher at Bodytree
Today begins just as any other day. My husband disappears from his family and husbandly duties and retreats into the office bathroom, not to be seen for the next hour. It is in this bathroom that he will meditate and he has been doing this longer than when I first met him eight years ago. This is where he sits daily in order to prepare for the daily challenges that lie ahead for him in the office and with life in general. I’m not sure what he does in there exactly, but what I do know is that he is undoubtedly the most mindful husband and father that our family could hope for and in eight years, I’ve never seen his cage rattled – so I won’t disturb him (and the kids also know to do likewise). Later in the evening he will take to his asana practice, but his primary priority is to first take care of his mind.
with Vearle Avni, IBCLC Lactation Consultant & Midwife
Dr Jack Newman, Paediatrician and the world’s much loved breastfeeding guru says …”Breastfeeding is a relationship over and above a feeding method. Breastfeeding should never be expendable. Only under extraordinary circumstances should breastfeeding be interrupted. It is too important to the physical and mental health of the child and the mother for them to give it up the way one might give up ice cream.”
So considering what is healthy for moms, breastfeeding has many immediate and longterm benefits for mom’s health too, such as helping prevent postpartum hemorrhage and help the uterus remain contracted after delivery promoting uterus involution. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteporosis, while helping you lose weight gained during pregnancy. Breastfeeding provides positive psychological benefits too for both you and your baby. So let’s look at the nutritional requirements for breastfeeding moms to successfully breastfeed and enjoy this peace of mind.
with Huda Osman, Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor at Bodytree
Amazing posture is more than just looking incredible and increasing your confidence. A good posture can have health benefits such as; decreased back pain, less headaches, increased basic mobility and flexibility, increased lung capacity and blood circulation. Proper alignment in your body will also will give you balance and coordination in workouts, so you can be active while staying safe and getting the most out of all your hard work.
By Cecilia Rubio
I have been studying a lot about functional medicine lately and one of the things I learned and wanted to share with you is the benefits of bone broth. There are 4 very important reasons you should be drinking bone broth every day.
By Joelle Beyrouthy
If you are among the many thousands of people striving to lose weight and lead healthier lifestyle; who every year set resolutions to exercise and eat well, you may feel encouraged to learn that something else might also help and may be the secret ingredient to a healthier lifestyle: mindfulness.
By Dr Koyes Ahmed, Family Medicine Consultant, Intercare Health Center
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the digestive system, and describes a wide variety of symptoms which can vary from one person to another. IBS affects up to 1 in 5 people at some point in their lives, being twice as common in women as in men, and usually first developing when a person is between 20 and 30 years of age.
With Lynne Whelehan Sheehan, Food and Lifestyle Blogger
Recently, I was researching almond flour recipes and came across a recipe for Blondies. A Blondie is essentially a Blonde Brownie. The recipe I had found online called for ½ cup of coconut oil and 1 cup of sugar. According to myfitnesspal.com a ½ cup coconut = 960 calories and 1 cup of sugar = 720 calories. I challenged myself to re-create the recipe omitting the above and decreasing the overall calorie content whilst keeping the delicious gooey Blondie consistency and texture. Baking with almond flour creates a dense, moreish Blondie, as you can see from the image. Allow them to cool before cutting into bite size pieces, this allows the mixture to set and easier to cut.
With Dr Koyes Ahmed, Medical Director of Intercare Health Center and Family Medicine Consultant
Fever is defined as a temperature of 37.5c (99.5F) and above, and can be caused by a number of different things. When your child has a fever, it can be an anxious and worrying time, however it is very common and, in many cases, clears up itself without any specific treatment.
With Dina Ghandour, Dubai-based certified Jivamukti teacher
Jivamukti is a physical, ethical, and spiritual practice, combining a vigorous hatha yoga, vinyasa-based physical style with adherence to five central tenets: shastra (scripture), bhakti (devotion), ahimsa (nonviolence, non-harming), nāda (music), and dhyana (meditation).
This integrated yoga method that brings back many of the traditional facets of yoga that have been stripped away in our modern practice. Here are three facts you didn’t know about Jivamukti…
With Laura-Helene Kopinski, Kids and Pre Natal Yoga Instructor at Bodytree
SO MUCH TO DO AND SO LITTLE TIME!
It’s everyone’s favourite time of the year and especially for the little ones! We all know how exciting and chaotic it can get. But It’s time for everyone to take a break and enjoy the upcoming festive holidays.
Who knew that the day would come where parents would schedule YOGA dates for their children? As we are living in the busiest and most stressful time in history, it only means that our children are getting also affected by this energy. If you ask me, YOGA is the best activity you can offer your kids. Had I known about yoga when I was younger and the positive effect it has, it would have helped me manage my expectation, thinking and emotions in many ways.
Yoga in the great outdoors…
Bodytree is proud to provide a weekly community yoga class at Ripe Market Abu Dhabi. Join us in Umm al Emarat Park from 4:30 – 5:30pm every Saturday afternoon for a 60 minute, all levels, Vinyasa flow for women and men. Please bring your own mat!
We love this new initiative from Intercare Health Center! A new ‘Wellbaby’ clinic starts this Thursday 13th October and runs every week.
To celebrate the launch this month, every session in October (for the next three Thursdays – 13th, 20th and 27th of October) will be absolutely FREE for anyone who attends for the first time. This will include a baby/young child (up to 4 years old) having their height/length measured, as well as their weight, and all of this will be plotted on a WHO Growth Chart. In addition to this, for all three of these sessions, their very experienced and senior midwife Vearle will be on hand to answer any questions and have a chat, also FREE of charge. The doctors, as well as members of the therapy team, will be around too, in case there are any further questions or assessments required.
With Justine Rowan, Visiting Yoga Instructor at Bodytree Studio
Remember: You can’t be bad at yoga! It is not about being flexible or super fit. It is about exploring and working with your own body’s current needs, challenges and potential and developing mind-body awareness through the medium of movement and breath focus.
Whether you are new to yoga or an experienced student one thing to bear in mind is the importance of respecting your limits. Learn how to protect yourself in any class to help prevent injury and maximise the power of your practice.
with Lindsey, Pilates and Xtend Barre Instructor at Bodytree Studio
Recent research has shown that gentle exercise like Pilates can be a vital part of recovery for breast cancer patients. Not only does Pilates help to relieve pain and restore energy, joint mobility, tissue integrity, and overall strength during and after treatment but also help to increase self-confidence and improve the overall quality of ones life.
Here are 5 easy exercises to try at any stage of recovery. Think of completing the exercises in two phases: first on their own then progressing with light resistance (i.e. weights or flex band). Keep repetitions low (5-8) and only go within a range of motion that feels comfortable for your body. If there is any pain then stop the movement.
With Jade Lucas Read, Qualified Womens Health Physiotherapist
Do you ever think how awesome it is how much your body has changed after pregnancy and childbirth?!
As a Women’s & Pelvic Health specialist Physiotherapist I have come across many issues that arise due to childbirth and how tough women can be on themselves to put their bodies back together after birth.
Realistically, it takes at least a year before most new mums start to feel like they are a fraction of their former physical self. Unfortunatly, post partum & pelvic rehabilitation care often go neglected. It is so important for all mothers (regardless of how many childbirths they have had) to be well educated on what to expect and more importantly what is safe to do post partum.