I find it really hard to practice what I preach and attend a class just for me on a weekly basis. Being a parent to a two year old,heading out for a third night in the week is sadly not feasible right now.

So for those of you who are committing and showing up once a week or even twice a week, amazing effort and thank you. I admire you!

This got me thinking about how I move and view movement. Movement doesn’t need to be viewed as a a weekly exercise class if like me you struggle to squeeze in time for a class.

I know I need to move my body daily, sometimes more often than that and these are three fun, simple ways I find JOY in movement.

When I deliver my classes, I aim to make my classes fun and as simple as possible. Using a three tiered approach:

1) Full body alignment
2)Thoracic breathing
3) Simple layered functional exercise info

This allows you to find your own joy in the movement, rather than pushing yourself to change your body and  seeking immediate results. You can also do most of the exercises at home smattered through the day which will present long term results.

Pick out some oldies but goodies. Playing a few of my faves in barre class always bring a smile to my face.  My seniors class often reminisce and comment on my playlist in their class.

Pump up the volume! Having a dance round the kitchen with or without my son brings me to my happy place. I love dancing and getting my groove on, even when a little person is bossing me around telling me not to dance.

Over to you, what is the one thing that can instantly help you find joy in movement? Comment below or email me sam@sammace.com

 

I am sharing my fertility journey with a nod to Christmas and how s*** it is if you are facing loss, have just had another disappointment or you are struggling with poor health due to fertility struggles.

Everywhere the message of joy, family and merriment is being spread and for many it can feel like sadness and darkness is forgotten.

My own personal experience of building a family and creating the “magic” was oh so difficult to find back in December 2016. My “Merry Christmas” was just not there, having experienced another miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy after our first try at IVF, followed by a TOPFA (termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly). I had clocked up 7 losses. That particular Christmas was spent with my family and watching my 13 month old niece delight in the magic. For the sake of her and my family I channelled my inner jolly elf.

I didn’t give myself a year off to not be that jolly elf and now in hindsight my top tip to you is, it is ESSENTIAL to do this! Show yourself some self care, set some boundaries, be kind to you! It’s ok to not celebrate, or celebrate just a little, whatever you feel is right for you. It’s ok to feel sad for the entire Christmas.

Here are my tips on how to look at this festive period with a different perspective:

Build some time for you!

This little yellow book was a way for me to process my emotions on a daily basis. I set myself a task of writing three good things that happened to me each day. Some days it was a chore, other days things flowed. What it did was made me fall asleep with a less anxious mindset. My treat to myself was the purchase of the little yellow book.Take the opportunity in December to slow down, finding a good book to read or treating yourself to a massage.

To Decorate or not?

I actually found decorating the tree quite fun because we have a menagerie of animals and watching the cat attack the baubles was quite amusing. Go nuts, if it makes you feel happy.
If decorating is not your thing, give yourself time off. Next year you might feel the same or different. Hope will return.

Start a new habit or dig out an old one!

Now is a good time to try something new. I learnt to scuba dive, the Friday evening trips to the swimming pool were fun and I was motivated by the booking of a holiday to finish off the course in more tropical surroundings. Pick something that inspires you, if you are not ready to commit to a full on course. Check out workshops which give you a taste of what it could be like.

Gift yourself a dose of nature

Walking outside and going to my favourite place featured a lot in my little yellow book. Turning off my phone and actively looking for something that brought me joy really helped to lift me out of my rut.
If there is a favourite space you like to visit, take the time on your walk to acknowledge your feelings and observe your surroundings. If you can leave your phone at home or turned off in your pocket. Feel the cold air in your cheeks, get your heart pumping as you stride, you may even notice a skip in your step.
Then, reward yourself, head back to the warmth and nurture with a hot chocolate with or without cream. Now is not the time to deny yourself!
These are just a few of my tips to help you rebuild hope, find joy and peace over the festive period.

It really helped me to visualise these tips in a first aid box and access them when I felt I needed them. Maybe a first aid box isn’t your thing, if there is a nice, pretty box you can visualise it helps on those dark days. On a good day, be curious and anticipate what could be next.

May you enjoy and find peace, learn to enhance your well-being on this difficult journey. My wish is for you to keep finding joy in the simplest of things and most of all hope this Christmas.

 

After a good nights sleep we often feel stiff and achy in the morning or just need a good stretch! Start with some easy stretches while lying in bed, then sitting up in bed, such as bending to the front and sides. This will stretch and loosen the muscles and help flush them with more blood.

Our bodies very cleverly know how to protect themselves. Our stretch reflex controls the length of our muscles which help keep our bones where they should be and our joints working well. 

Hands up who has had that, “I can’t stretch any further” feeling in class?! If you need to work on your flexibility, let’s be honest most of us need to, then the good news is that you can reset your stretch reflex – aka become more bendy. The most important note is to stretch regularly – as a rule of thumb you need to stretch at least 3 times a week to maintain or improve your range of motion.  Light (not too intense) stretches are best before you get moving in the morning then once the body is warmed up as the day progresses you can go deeper into your stretches.

Moving on a daily basis (a simple walk while swinging your arms) is a great way to release those feel-good endorphins, get blood moving, and help clear nasty toxins from the body. Movement practices like Pilates , Barre and Yoga also help with your flexibility as the exercises are designed to work your muscles through their full range of motion.  These classes often incorporate some stretching and release work to prepare the body for more challenging sequences as well as to relax and recover at the end of class.

Adding a specific stretch class into your week also helps to compliment these movement based classes. 

Supple, flexible muscles makes correct positioning easier, the more accurate the alignment is, the longer you can hold these positions for, and then increase the number of repetitions. 

Our unique combination of fascial release techniques and lengthening stretches will increase your flexibility, aid muscle recovery and ease any stiffness, aches or pains in your body. This will encourage your muscles to elongate, detoxify and ultimately become more flexible. 

We highly recommend adding one Stretch class a week to your workout routine, to achieve transformative results even faster.

Sometimes it is important to take note of muscle soreness, constant aches and pains and understand that stretching might not be the answer. Also if you’re naturally bendy and suffer from hyper mobility your aches and pains might mean that you need to do more strengthening and stabilising work and attend more Pilates, Barre or Yoga classes.  

Overall, a good stretch has its place. All of our classes at The View Studio compliment each other and help you find that balance for your body.

If in doubt about your aches and pains the best way to find out exactly what is going on is to get assessed by a professional – e.g a physio, chiro or doctor.

Is there a stretch you are struggling with and feel like you are not making any progress? DM The View Studio or comment below and we will give you some helpful tips.

Knee pain is pretty common in ageing, pregnancy, after birth and truthfully with many other humans on this planet.

Here are some very simple tips to help you understand what is going on with the knee and when you are feeling pain.

Do you notice when you are climbing the stairs or walking up a hill/ incline you are getting pain in the knees?

The primary for reason for this is because you are NOT using your glutes (your bottom).  Your knees are doing all the work whilst your big bottom muscle is totally underused. Glutes is short for a few muscles the big one being gluteus maximus obviously!  It’s not just the sheer size of this muscle, it’s also the strength of it. Strong leg muscles particularly at the back of the leg help to stabilise the knee. 

If you think about sprinters with their buns of steel, they are getting to that finish line by propelling themselves forward using their butts.

My first top tip is think about how many times a day do you climb the stairs. If you are propelling yourself up the stairs by pushing your knee forwards. Please stop! Go back and climb the stairs keeping your knee in line with your ankle and then use your butt to power up the stairs.

Next top tip, our good old friend the squat!

Stand up out of the chair you are currently sitting in… I know you are sitting… most people are these days. 

Did you just use your arms to lift you up out of that chair?

You did didn’t you!

Sit down again and use your bum to lift you out of your chair. This is the reason WHY I teach squats correctly in all my classes to plant the seed of using your bottom to get out of a chair.

Hinge forward and lift that tailbone.

Last top tip, reach down FROM STANDING and pick something up off the floor. Did you push you knee forward? Did you? 

There is only so much load our poor old knees can tolerate and by not keeping the knee in line with the ankle puts pressure on the knee. 

In Barre and Pilates I teach you to keep your knee joint vertically stacked on top of your ankle and to use your butt when you do squats and lunges.

Join me now having finished reading my top tips – poke you butt out as you return to standing! 

Oh you already were standing!! Great!

If you are reading this sitting at your desk in work, I run a variety of classes where you learn to stand, sit and move better. I can even come in to your place of work and do a Desk Energiser with you and your staff.

What do you do to log off?

In a world where we all feel the pressure of digital overload. How do you re gain balance other than leaving your phone in a different room?

We have recently acquired bees and although I can’t take the credit for the time I spend checking on them or the 15 jars of honey we have harvested. Just walking up to the paddock where their hive is and standing listening to their hum, watching the bees flying in and out of the hive going about their work is mesmerising before I know it I have been immersed and off looking at my phone for a good hour!

As we moved into the toddler zone and I stopped breast feeding my son I found the time to enjoy reading a good old paper book again. Something in the early days of having a baby I thought I would never see again. Setting up The View Studio book club has also been an incentive to read different books and enjoy discussing them.

My most recent effort to shine offline is knitting. I am the tightest knitter and can only knit straight things CANNOT follow a pattern but I do enjoy the simplicity of it. Unfortunately my most recent attempt at a smaller blanket for my son to take to nursery got lost on the first day he took it. So I am back at square one quite literally!!

What do you like to do to regain balance and shine off line?


This is Charlie Brown occasionally spotted hanging out in the studio. To celebrate my friendship with Charlie and to help create a more mindful walk with her. I am sharing 5 top tips on how to create a more calming, mindful walk with your furry pal!

1) Enjoy a sniff walk

The nose is the queen bee when it comes to dogs. The part of the brain for sniffing is 40% larger than humans. Dogs have 300 million scene receptors up their nose we have 6 million.

Ditch the ball, the repetitive movement is jarring on your dogs body. Sniffing on the other hand has stress reducing benefits.

Whilst your dog is enjoying a good sniff no need for you to follow suit and get down and sniff everything with them.

You can enjoy your walk by practicing inhaling through the nose for 4 counts and exhaling out through the mouth for 5 counts.

2) Connect

When you talk to your dog do you notice how your dog cocks it’s head to understand the ‘meaning’ of the word you are saying? Rather than having a full on conversation try getting to the point with one word consistently. ‘Sit’ is easier to understand than ‘please sit down now’

Tone of voice is very important for a dog as discovered from MRI studies. This research has shown higher pitches or baby talk being the most engaging.

Be mindful on your dog walk of using consistent one word cues and a calm, cheerful tone to your voice.

3) It’s all in the journey
I’m guilty of charging along on a walk desperate to get on to the next thing on my to do list. How often have you charged along desperate to get to the park/ woods where you can let your dog off the lead?
Try to mix up your approach at the start of the walk put your dog on a lead and use this section of your walk to engage with your pooch. One of my dogs is a big puller on the lead (working cocker) when I tried the following it did help to calm me down rather than getting irate with the pulling.
Take some deep breaths and if you have a dog like mine that likes to pull on the lead try some strokes up and down a section of the lead to remove tension and help to instil a sense of calm.

Apparently these calm strokes give you both a boost of oxytocin, the bonding ‘love hormone

4)Leave your phone at home
I find my anxiety ramps up if I look at my phone during a dog walk.
Smart phones may allow us to stay in touch but they also prevent us from making meaningful connections with ourselves and our dogs.
I try to either leave my phone at home or put it on silent in my pocket. Taking the time to meaningfully look around as I walk. Listening to the birds, noticing the colour of the leaves. Saying hello to others I may come across on a walk and where appropriate enjoying a friendly chat.

5) Be present
To appreciate what is going on around you on your walk. Try engaging all 5 senses.
No zoning out
No criticising
No comparing

Just be!! By describing to yourself your surroundings right here, right now in detail.
Just notice and be with your best friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you attend one of my barre or Pilates classes you will hear me talking about stacking the ribs on top of the pelvis and not popping the ribs.


What the heck does, ‘don’t pop the ribs’ mean? Do I mean not to pop them like a balloon? Well not exactly!! The ribs insert into the spine. The thoracic spine is the upper part of the back.
If you check out the image of Regulus our studio skeleton.

Regulus, in excellent posture!

Notice how the ribs are in line with the pelvis. The spine, when the ribs are in this position is what is called a neutral spine. There is a natural curve to the thoracic spine.


When the term “popping the ribs” or “thrusting the ribs”is used this means the ribs are pushing forwards in front of the pelvis and the thoracic spine is flat. What is happening is you are physically pushing the bottom of your rib cage out in front of you. Which can lead to upper back pain and abdominals that are no longer working efficiently, due to moving the ribs away from the pelvis, day-in-day-out. Your core is unable to switch on when you keep moving these muscle attachments away from one another.

Regulus popping it like it’s hot!


The human skeleton should be aligned so that the front of the ribs actually sits flush with the front of the pelvis. Think vertical line!
If you catch yourself slumping or slouching, whether it’s seated or standing, do you automatically lift up your chest to accommodate and re-align yourself?
Or perhaps a parent/teacher/significant person in your life may have said one of these phrases:
“Sit up straight!”“Stop slouching!”“Stand up taller!”“Pull your shoulders back”


Sound familiar?


Maybe you are getting pain in the upper back between the shoulders and compensating by pulling your shoulders back…
When you pop your ribcage out in front of you on a regular basis, believing it looks better for your overall posture, you’re effectively closing the space at the back of your rib cage which:
Makes it harder to get oxygen into your lungs and breathe optimallyDoesn’t allow your spinal cord to properly lengthenANDCan be a contributing factor to the cause and rehabilitation of abdominal separation

Go back up and look at Regulus the skeleton again….go on take a long hard look at it. From the side view, Regulus skeleton IS aligned with:

Ear on shoulder

Shoulder on rib,

Rib on pelvis,

Pelvis on ankle

I hope this helps, next time you re-align use the above alignment points to help you address the basic improvement of posture.
If you are pre/post natal and experiencing pain between your shoulder blades or any other area. Book a bundle of 3 x 1-1 sessions and I will help to address strengthening and releasing these muscles.
If you sit at a desk all day, I can come to your office and offer simple exercises to do throughout the day to counter balance sitting with a Desk Energiser session.

 

Creativity. Some people seem to have it in quantities. Every idea they have is brilliant, and
you’re surprised at how much they can create. Meanwhile, others suffer from a creative block.

Why is that?

While some people are more naturally creative than others, the most creative people still have moments where they have doubts or a writer’s block. However, many of them learned that exercising one’s creative mind is important when being creative. Here’s how.

But First
Sometimes artists struggle with getting started, or need help with creative exercises. It may just be a block, but a counselor or a therapist can help in those severe circumstances. Thanks to online counseling, it’s easier than ever, too. Sites such as Regain.us can help you grow as a person and help you stay creative.


Exercises to Do
Just like yoga or barre, creativity is an exercise you can perform, a muscle you can train. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Set a Timed Amount to Be Creative
With exercising, you always have to set a certain time in the day to work out. The same applies to creativity as well. Set a certain time out of the day. The location doesn’t matter; some people get inspired in their office, while others like nature. Then, there are those who like to mix up their locations. Anyway, you can take as much time as you want, or you can time yourself. Sometimes, creativity happens when you are in a crunch. Experiment and see what you can come up with.


Don’t Be Afraid to Think of a Lot of Ideas
Some creative people believe that they need the perfect idea in order to proceed. This is simply not true. Sometimes, an idea can be simple, and even sound a little silly, but if you expand upon it, it could be awesome. When doing creative free time, why not jot down a bunch of ideas and see what you can come up with. Many of those ideas may be trash, but a
few of them may have meat on the bone and inspire you to proceed further with your ideas.


Set Time to Inspire

If you’re going to be an artist, you have to have inspiration. If you are a writer, read a lot. If you are an artist, look at some art and see how the artist draws. Obviously, these works are things you shouldn’t copy, but instead be inspired by. Try it and see what you can come up with.
Chances are, you can take someone’s else’s idea and make it your own.


Hone in on an Idea

Is there an idea you like? If so, why not hone in on it? If you’re an artist, try drawing the idea in many different ways. If you are a writer, try writing different writing prompts based on it. Your skills and ideas towards this concept will indeed improve over time, and you can perfect your
craft until that idea is ready for the world to see.


Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help
Finally, the best idea we can tell you is to get help from others. Ask your friends and family for inspiration. Talk to other artists, both online and offline. It sometimes takes a village to create your idea, and by getting some assistance, you may be able to improve your idea even more.

Speaking of family, if you have kids, you should learn how to exercise their creativity. For more ways you can teach kids to be creative, click here or look here. You can help everyone grow as a person, including yourself.

I remember when I was studying Shiatsu and one of the 3rd Years who had just graduated made a leaflet that always made me smile.  It asked the same question “What is Shiatsu?” and then said 

‘It’s not a dog….’ 

‘It’s not a kind of Japanese noodle’

‘It’s not a kind of Martial art’ 

I’ve seen other practitioners do versions of this too.  After all, when it can feel so amazing and works on so many levels of our being, how do we start to explain what Shiatsu is?

Read more