Vacation: Where We Love to Get Away

Vacation season is upon us, and in the spirit of getting away, unwinding, traveling and visiting beautiful, exotic and far-off (or nearby) lands, Team LPS answers the following question: Where is your favorite place to vacation? 

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Alik Minikhanov, Acupuncturist: The ocean, pyramids, Holy  places, space travel! 

 Mount Cook, South Island, New Zealand 

Mount Cook, South Island, New Zealand 

Brynn Cunningham, Yoga Instructor: Anywhere new that involves camping, outdoors adventure, accents or different languages. My husband and I once spent three months traveling by camper van throughout New Zealand - spectacular. This year we're spending three weeks in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York doing our favorite activities - biking, running and camping!

Doug Rector, Massage Therapist: I lived in Maui for two years.  It was nice.  Hiking and camping in backcountry section of Dolly Sods.  

 Peru - photo by Kari Garber-Hynek

Peru - photo by Kari Garber-Hynek

Kari Garber-Hynek, Aroma Acupoint Therapist: Count me in for anywhere with sun, sand and sea…boats and coconut drinks are an added bonus. (Seriously, let’s go now!)

Wherever in the world we end up, we love to dive into the culture of the region through its food, music and art. Some favorites have been Morocco and Peru.

Laura Patterson, Foundress & Yoga Instructor: I love the ocean - doesn't matter where!

Laura Scoville, Yoga Instructor & Ayurveda Yoga Specialist: Ohiopyle. Our staycation destination :)

Leah Staley, Massage Therapist & Yoga Instructor: It depends on the season. The next vacation I have planned is to Las Vegas in June for an advanced sports massage clinic. Afterward, I’ll take a week to explore around the Southwest and check out the rock climbing around there.

 Tara Fronczek and husband, Brian at the beach

Tara Fronczek and husband, Brian at the beach

Dr. Selina Matis, Life Coach & Counselor: A day at the beach. The sand, water and ocean breeze are a great combination.

Tara Fronczek, Chair Yoga & Barrie Instructor: The beach. Any beach. My husband and I recently went to Duck, N.C., to celebrate our 10th anniversary. 

Tara Morris, Barre & Yoga Instructor: The Chattooga River on the borders of Georgia and South Carolina. It's a magical mountain getaway - I lived there for three years and love re-visiting! Also, I love the beach, preferably one that is a quiet, uncrowded place of solitude with cozy accommodations and warm water, like Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. It’s beautiful and off the beaten path.

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2 Favorites by Massage Therapists Leah & Doug
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Recently I asked LPS Massage Therapists Leah Staley and Doug Rector about two of their preferences relating to what they do. Here, they give us their answers. 

BC: What is your favorite type of massage to give?

LS: Resistance release, sports massage or deep tissue. Essentially, they’re all different techniques that accomplish the same goal of releasing tension or trigger points in muscles. I really enjoy working through a challenge and feeling the muscle give up and release under the press of my fingers.

DR: Intuitive bodywork that combines massage and subtle energy-balancing techniques.  It varies by the individual, and as a results-oriented practitioner this has helped many clients to effectively make strides toward a happier life and reduced pain.

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BC: There are many self-massage tools on the market. Is there one that is your favorite to use?

LS: I’m totally old school - lacrosse ball for life! It's denser than a tennis ball, cheaper than any specific self massage tool and easy to find at Dick’s or similar sports goods stores. 

DR: Sacrowedgy. It is great for lower back pain. I use this during craniosacral and polarity balancing session sometimes.  

Stay tuned for more massage blogs!

Namaste,

Brynn :)  

Therapeutic chair yoga: The Who, What, When, Why & How
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Fellow LPS Team member and Physical Therapy Assistant Tara Spaw Fronczek began our Therapeutic Chair Yoga program last year. Recently, I picked her brain to gain a better understanding of the details of the class. 

BC: Tell us what Therapeutic Chair Yoga is intended to do.

TF: Chair yoga is intended to gently stretch tight muscles and strengthen the whole body in order to help improve functional mobility and prevent injury. 

BC: For whom is Therapeutic Chair Yoga best suited?

TF: Chair Yoga is suited for EVERY body at any level of yoga experience.  We have clients who have had joint replacement surgery, back surgery, as well as shoulder and lower extremity injuries, and they all perform this class beautifully.  Chair yoga is great for those who have difficulty getting onto the floor, as most exercises are performed while sitting or standing. My intention for those clients is that this class will prepare them to participate in a beginner or gentle yoga class. 

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BC: As a full-time Physical Therapy Assistant, do you use physical therapy techniques in the classes?  

TF: Absolutely!  My entire approach is from a therapeutic basis. This class should “feel good.” We are careful to avoid pain while still producing great results. Modifications and variations are always available. And questions are encouraged. We often discuss the benefits of the exercises and how that translates to daily life. I feel it is important for our clients to understand the lasting effects of Chair Yoga. 

BC: Describe the flow of a Therapeutic Chair Yoga class.

TF: Chair Yoga class begins with simple movements and breathing techniques to awaken each area of the body. Then we progress to gentle strengthening and balance exercises and finish with a serious of stretches to quiet the body and the mind. 

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BC: Are yoga mats used?

TF: We do use yoga mats under our chairs for safety and during an optional Svasana, or final relaxation pose lying supine on the mat, at the end of class. 

BC: Do students spend their entire time on the chair, or are they guided in floor poses as well? 

TF: The chair is used during the majority of our class. It is especially helpful when practicing seated/assisted versions of warrior and triangle poses which help our clients progress to an unassisted version of these poses; again helping them transition to a gentle or beginner class. We also use the chairs to assist with balance during standing exercises. 

BC: What should students wear to class? 

TF: Attire should be comfortable and allow the client to move easily. Shoes can be worn for clients who prefer the support. Bare feet are always welcome. 

BC: Do students need to bring anything with them such as a yoga mat or blanket? 

TF: LPS provides all necessary class-related items. However, the client is welcome and encouraged to bring a bottle of water. 

Join Tara for Therapeutic Chair Yoga 10:30-11:30 a.m. every Saturday.

Light & Peace,

Tara & Brynn :) 

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Get Blissed Out on Your Next Run with Our Yoga-Inspired Playlist

Is it just me, or do pre-made running playlists grate the nerves with their fast tempos, aggressive words and harsh sounds?

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It happens all the time - I download a new running playlist created by a world-famous running publication or renowned running resource. I think, "this is it, this is going to be a good one." Scanning the list of songs and not recognizing any of the artists, I become even more eager, so I save it to my Spotify.

Then I drive to one of my many favorite local trailheads, hop out of my Land Cruiser, hit play, toss my phone in my running pack and set off. Within 20 minutes, the playlist disappoints because of the nervous and agitated feelings evoked from the beats blaring from my pack. I shut it off and settle into the tranquility, clarity and positive vibes of the silent run.  

Yet, sometimes we just want to run to music, right? Thus, I thought, what if I make a playlist consisting of yoga-inspired songs, the same ones that carry us through and inspire us in our Vinyasa, Power, Slow Flow, Ashtanga, Yin and specialty yoga classes? 

Here's what I came up with - a 60-minute playlist for the relaxed, happy run. It blissed me out on a four-mile loop trail run on Easter Day. Bonus - I finished before the hour and had some nice tunes for background during a post-run yoga session.

Enjoy!

:)Brynn

 

Join me Saturday for our next Inhale Exhale Run series event: 

Yoga Run Yoga

8:30-10 a.m., Saturday, April 7 (must pre-register by 1 p.m., Friday, April 6)

Warm up at the studio with a dynamic yoga sequence, run 30 minutes (at your own pace) around Uniontown and cool down with yoga in the studio. No yoga experience required. Participants must be able to run for 30 complete minutes prior to this event. $25.

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From Pain to Yoga: How Injury Led LPS to Yoga & Advanced Teacher Training

In the fall of 2017, Laura Patterson-Santore, studio owner and operator, attended the Therapeutic Yoga for Pain Workshop at the renowned Asheville Yoga Center (AYC) in North Carolina. Here she sits down with fellow instructor Brynn Cunningham to tell us how pain and injury led her to yoga, about the AYC training and information concerning LPS Strength & Meditation's current Yoga for Pain Series. 

BC: The workshop was led by three wellness professionals: a pain management researcher/ Ph.D., an acupuncturist/yoga instructor and a physical therapist/yoga instructor. Could you tell us how their combined expertise added to your educational experience?

LPS: The three professionals facilitating the workshop explained the physical and neurological understanding of pain as well as the efforts of the ancient healing arts of Traditional Chinese Medicine and yoga along with modern physical therapy to help create a comprehensive understanding of how mindful movement, visualization and acupressure (and acupuncture) can work together to help alleviate physical symptoms of pain while strengthening the body beyond what was thought possible by the student. 

BC: What were your top three take-aways from the workshop? 

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LPS: 1. That visualizing movement along with the breath - while remaining still - can help students feel safe while reconditioning the brain and the body to let go of physical pain and trauma.

2. That pain is strongly linked to trauma memory and muscle memory - that the mind/body connection holds the key to our understanding of pain and our daily perceptions of the physical and mental self.

3. That it is enough to just breathe - we don't have to twist and stand on our heads to experience the benefits of mindful awareness of our bodies and our minds.

BC: Tell us how your personal experiences with yoga have healed pain in your own body.

LPS: I have experienced three distinct ligament replacements in both of my knees along with a reconstruction of my right ankle. When these surgeries ended my athletic aspirations, I continued to work out in the gym with free weights and impact cardio training.  I literally came to yoga a hobbled mess at age 23 - aching as a climbed the stairs to my third-floor city apartment.  Once I began a regular yoga practice, there was no turning back - I became stronger with a greater overall range of motion in my total body.  I still have the occasional ache from the trauma and deficiencies of the injuries, but I live relatively pain free and maintain a very active lifestyle that would not be possible without a regular practice that includes both active, strengthening vinyasa and passive, yin and restorative styles.   

BC: The LPS studio Pain Series has been popular! What feedback have you received from clients?

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LPS: The positive response has truly been overwhelming, not to mention humbling!  The genuine benefit that people have experienced with a regular bi-weekly practice has led to increased range of motion, decreased pain and liberation from pain as an identity.  Having people express joy and gratitude for regaining an improved lifestyle and a new perspective on life (and yoga) is truly amazing!

BC: What other classes or services would be suitable for clients who enjoy and benefit from the Pain Series?

LPS: I cannot emphasize enough the need for balance in a regular yoga practice or sport-specific training.  If you are attracted to and frequent an active class (Vinyasa Flow, Barre, etc), you must create time in your schedule for Yin and Restorative.  For those with chronic pain, stress and anxiety, I highly recommend Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Therapeutic Chair Yoga and other Gentle / Pain Specific Yoga classes on our regular schedule. Simply reducing stress and anxiety can have a significant impact on how the body perceives pain and responds to it, while cultivating a mindful movement appropriate for your body that strengthens, increases range of motion, and creates space within the joints can help reduce inflammation and pressure on the joints, fostering a cumulative effect unlike any other exercise.  I also highly recommend exploring acupuncture as a regular complement to the practice as well as targeted focus massage and resistance release work. 

Upcoming Pain Series

Yoga for Chronic Pain & Arthritis: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, March 29

Yoga for Neck, Shoulder & Back Pain: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, April 12

Yoga for Hips, Legs & Feet: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, April 26

Yoga for Hip & Knee Pain: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, May 10

Yoga for Chronic Pain & Arthritis: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, May 24

Regular class passes apply/$12 drop-in/$40 Series Pass

Ages 65 and above: $7/class or $20/Series Pass

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Luminous*Powerful*Spirited: LPS Gets a New Meaning!

A few weeks ago, we announced that we gave the L, the P and the S in our studio name a new meaning, aside from the initials of Laura Patterson-Santore, studio foundress/operator. 

If you attended the March 1 Open House, perhaps you heard the new meaning or noticed it on the chalk boards that were displayed around our beautiful space.

If you did not attend or were too busy chatting or perusing the crowd, here it is! 

We chose these words based on how we want you to feel in our space and after you leave.

LUMINOUS

"The light in me meets the light in you," is what we mean when we say Namaste in our yoga classes. We want your inner light to grow within each time you treat yourself to any of our services, from massage to group classes to life coaching. We want you to shine from the inside out, to feel light in your heart and on your feet. We want the burdens lifted and the darkness illuminated. 

POWERFUL

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Strength, stability, balance and focus - these are all powerful characteristics that can develop and flourish when a disciplined yoga, exercise and meditation practice meets a soothing self-care regime of massage, sauna, reflexology and/or acupuncture. Dedication and commitment to self-improvement and physical health creates a powerful, strong energy that, when used positively, can transform you and those around you. 

SPIRITED

Oh, what fun we had choosing the 'S.' We at Team LPS possesses great passion for the work we do. We are happy, positive people. Spirited defines our team, and we want to be your cheerleaders! We are your biggest fans in your health and happiness journey. We have your happiness and joy in mind when we plan our classes and special events or treat you for aches and pains. From this jovial place we strive for creating peaceful contentedness for all of our guests.

We hope you like your new studio name! Spread the word, spread the love.

Namaste,

Brynn :) 

 

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three yogi runners answer 5 questions about yoga, running & their connection

Meet the yogi Runners

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Tara Spaw Fronczek

Physical Therapy Assistant/ Dance Teacher/Barre, salsa & sangria and Chair Yoga Instructor 

number of years since first doing yoga: 22

number of years running: 6 


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brynn cunningham

stay-at-home mom, yoga instructor, trail runner, coach & owner of inhale, exhale, run, llc

number of years since first doing yoga: 17

number of years running: 24


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leah staley

yoga instructor/massage therapist

number of years since first doing yoga: 12

number of years running: 10


1. How do you incorporate yoga into your running routine? 

TF: I use yoga as much as possible to maintain and improve my flexibility. Even if I don’t practice a full yoga class, I at least use several yoga poses (my favorites, you know, the “feel good” ones like down dog and pigeon) after each run. 

BC: I use the physical aspect of yoga to warm up before runs, cool down after runs, strengthen, stabilize joints, rest, recover actively and passively, to cross train and to set the tone for my body each morning. I use the mental aspect of yoga to focus in races, on long runs or on tough training runs and to set intentions and use running as a form of prayer or dedication. I use pranayama to find deep relaxation in order to decrease recovery time and to exercise my lungs and breathing power when I’m not running.

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LS: In the summertime, one of my favorite things to do is run some of the trails around Ohiopyle, run directly to the community center for 90 minuets of yoga and then finish with swimming across the river. In the wintertime, I’ve found that I’m generally less sore when I take the time to warm up my muscles with some gentle yoga before I head out. 

2. Was running love at first step? If so, describe how it felt. If not, why? 

TF: Running was not love at first step for me. It was HARD!  But over time it got easier, I began to feel accomplished, and I learned to appreciate it. There are many days I have to force myself to go but there’s never been a run that I didn’t love afterward. Every time I think, “I’m so glad I did that.” Since running a full marathon in November 2016, my running practice has dropped off drastically. I was burned out and felt unmotivated. BUT the LPS running series has given me the drive to get back at it. 

BC: Absolutely. At age 11, it was a moment of profound happiness, as if I had found my dharma in life. As an incredibly shy child, running gave me confidence and boosted my self-esteem. It made me feel strong, empowered, calm and balanced, and it became an expression of who I was. Running taught me to love myself as a young girl. The creative outlet and time spent alone yet with a team brought me a sense of worth and belonging.  

LS: Ehhh... I remember crying and begging my mother to let me quit the team. But I’m pretty sure that’s just because practice was at 7 a.m. or something ridiculous (I’m really not a morning person). Even though I liked it, I definitely didn’t appreciate it in the way I do now.

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3. Were you a runner or a yogi first? 

TF: I was first exposed to yoga as a dance major in college. I LOVED it because it felt like a slow piece of choreography to me. Yoga is perfect for building strength and increasing flexibility, exactly what every dancer (and runner!) needs. 

BC: Runner. After remaining undefeated in the 400-meter dash and breaking the school record in the event as a senior at Uniontown Area High School, I sought out yoga because I was told it was beneficial to athletes. It was during that time, at age 18, when I began attending yoga classes at the YMCA and doing yoga between and during track meets. After attending college, I ditched the yoga practice for a long time and didn’t return to it until my mid-20s, when my running body was screaming for it.   

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LS: These two things go hand in hand for me. My mother made me do both with her when I was young, and I didn’t really have a choice. I stuck with both as I got older, and I used both as a negative outlet in a difficult part of my life- it was a way to keep me skinny, or something I would pressure myself into doing, and I would judge myself if I didn’t follow through. I gave up on both for a few years. But when I started to make big lifestyle changes and began to grow into the person I have become today, running and yoga were two things that I missed equally. I approached both in a way I never had – slowly, gradually, knowing that I didn’t have the strength, balance or endurance that I once had – and it taught me that both yoga and running are great ways to show self-love. 

4. What are the greatest benefits of doing yoga as a runner?

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TF: Yoga has been a saving grace to my body especially after becoming a runner. It has helped me maintain as much flexibility as possible and is great for improving mental clarity and minimizing stress. 

BC: The versatility of yoga is what makes it the perfect complement to running. All and any type of yoga is good for runners. Then, once yoga becomes an integrated part of a runner's life, it is then that the practice can be altered to suit any stage of a race training cycle or running schedule. TIMING yoga to suit running is when the most benefits are reaped from both disciplines. Furthermore, yoga acts as a barometer for the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual sides of running. For instance, a pose or the breath can indicate where strength needs to be built, or where anxiety needs reduced or burnout in the mind or feet needs addressed.   

LS: Injury prevention. I see a lot of runners with problems (specifically in the feet or hips) and it’s like, dude, do you stretch?! We put so much strain and stress on our muscles, and it’s important to take the time (even if it’s not before or after a run) to give them love! Releasing tension in your muscles or myofascial tissue is crucial for preventing injuries. And it’s only going to improve your abilities.

5. What are the greatest benefits that running has brought to your yoga practice?

TF: Running has given me a new appreciation for the physical benefits of yoga. Quickly after becoming a runner, my hamstring flexibility decreased drastically. (I was a dancer so my hamstring flexibility was well above average.) Yoga feels much different now, and I see just how great it is for increasing mobility. Every runner should do yoga as often as possible! 

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BC: Running balances my yoga practice and acts as a means of literally taking yoga principles off the mat and into the daily life of a runner. Running clearly shows how yoga is transferable by finding yoga principles, such Tadasana alignment and drishti, for instance, while running. From there, yoga becomes even more transferable - if I can apply these principles to running and racing, then I can apply them to other aspects of life. 

LS: It helped me find my breath. That probably sounds weird because you typically find your breath in yoga and then transfer it into other parts of your life, but I had a really tough time following my breath in class (something I still struggle with on off days). I was taught as a runner to control my breath, to inhale and exhale with purpose, instead of just gasping for air. Once you do that you can find rhythm and link that to the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground. Even further, you can calm your body down until you feel your heart beating, then you can slow your breath down to control your heart rate. The feeling you get when your breath, feet and heart rate are all in sync is arguably the greatest high ever. Finding that feeling and applying it to yoga is what made me the yogi I am today. 

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8 Reasons to Attend the LPS Open House
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1. To become an LPS Unlimited Member at a one-time special rate of $50 for the first month and $85 for each month after. Available ONLY AT OPEN HOUSE! Membership includes unlimited access to all group classes, 15 percent off all workshops, events, massage, acupuncture and bodywork treatments, one complimentary late appointment cancellation and early event/retreat pre-sales. The first 10 to sign up receive a gift.

2. To see our newly remodeled third floor, home of the Healing Arts Center with LPS (pssst... that's where the free food from Marilyn's on Main will be;)

3. To learn more about our retreats and excursions and sign up for the July 2018 Women's Wellness & Adventure Retreat (limited space - act fast). 

4. To take a free Wellness Assessment, enjoy free chair massages and eat free yummy food!

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5. To receive discounts on acupuncture, far-infrared sauna therapy, the LPS Unlimited Membership (see Number One), wellness coaching, massages and MORE, only available if you sign up in person at the Open House. 

6. To meet our expanded, expert, licensed and highly trained team, including Dr. Selina Matis, LCSW, whose services include Life Coaching and Counseling. Find Dr. Matis on floor three.

7. To enjoy an exclusive Happy Hour and dinner/drink specials provided by Marilyn's on Main, located on the first floor of our building. Drink specials: LPS Down Dog, a signature cocktail created especially for Open House, Sam Smith Organic Pale Ale and Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter. Dinner special: Petite Veggie Pizza and Loaded Quinoa Bowl with choice of chicken or portabella mushrooms. 

8. To find out the new meaning of the L, the P and the S...  Like I told you in last week's blog, we put new words to our name. Come see us Thursday, and you'll see just what they are! 

xo,

Brynn :) 


LPS Open House

4:30-7 p.m., Thursday, March 1

Ribbon Cutting with the Chamber of Commerce takes place at 4:30

We will be on a modified schedule in light of the Open House: 

12:15-12:45 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28 Meditation for Stress Relief

6-7:15 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28 Full Moon Flow & Yin

7:15-8:15 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28 Salsa & Sangria

No classes or appointments Thursday, March 1

6-7 p.m., Friday, March 2 FREE YOGA FRIDAY

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5 Things You Didn't Know About LPS Strength & Meditation
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1. When you receive a service in our massage rooms, Himalayan Salt Therapy is working it's magic upon you.

2. Your acupuncturist has been healing people since 1989. 

3. Our 10 yoga, barre and group class instructors have been practicing their disciplines for 139 years and teaching for 51 years.

All of our instructors have practiced their art for, at a minimum, three times longer than the number of years they have been teaching. What does that mean? That we at LPS have respected the journey of being a student before becoming a teacher. Even more, we have all been in deep self-study through our practices and have lived, explored, loved, maybe sometimes hated, our practice for many years before deciding to teach. None of us jumped into guiding others as a newbie (that's a good thing!). We take pride in the fact that we have on-mat and on-floor experience that slowly guided us toward sharing the practice with others.

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4. We have a multi-day Yoga Trail Running Retreat planned for 2019!!!

You've seen the July 2018 Retreat. Now, runners, get ready! This one is for YOU! In the meantime, check out what we have in store for our spring Inhale Exhale Run Series.

5. Our five massage therapists and energy workers have 90 total years of experience. Two have practiced internationally, in Russia and Italy, to be exact, and all five have resort experience. 

5.5... The L, the P and the S got a brand new meaning!

We are often asked, "So, what does LPS stand for, anyway?" It is simply the initials of Foundress Laura Patterson-Santore. But, now it means even more! We at Team LPS decided to give the L, P and S a brand new meaning, one that elicits what we want you to feel when entering our downtown sanctuary. 

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I know what you're thinking, "just tell me already!" But you'll have to wait until next week to find out! We'll talk soon.

Hugs and Namastes :) 

Brynn

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Why Salsa then sangria? tara tells us why!

How did the idea of this event develop? 

During our Dance Mix classes previously held this past fall, I introduced several Salsa and Cha Cha steps. Selina, who was our most frequent Dance Mix class participant, had the brilliant idea of a class dedicated solely to Salsa.  She likened it to our extremely popular Bends & Brews, and Salsa & Sangria was born!  

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What is your Salsa dancing background? How many years have you been practicing/teaching it?

I have been teaching ballroom and social dancing for nearly 20 years. I was first exposed to Salsa dancing when I was a dance major in college. I instantly loved the energy of all Latin dances but especially Salsa. 

Why does Sangria pair so perfectly with Salsa dancing? 

Salsa & Sangria are a perfect pair because both are rooted in Caribbean and Latin nations, but their histories and the true founder of each are a bit of a mystery. Many cultures claim to have discovered the famous dance and beverage. As a result, there are many different versions of each. 

One thing is for sure – a beautiful glass of Sangria is the perfect finish to a great Salsa class!  

Why does Salsa dancing appeal to so many? 

First and foremost, Salsa is so much fun!  The great energy of Salsa music lends the class to be upbeat and exciting. 

Also, Salsa is a Latin social dance where the movement feels very natural to most participants, making it a great style of dance for beginners. 

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Describe the space where the dancing happens.

Our Salsa class takes place in the beautiful party room at Marilyn’s On Main. It’s a well-lit, open space with a new stunning floor that’s perfect for dancing. 

What type of workout does it provide? 

Salsa dancing is a great low-impact workout that gets your blood pumping without stressing your joints.  It’s great to do with a partner, solo or a group of your friends.  

I hope to see you on the floor! 

With love,

Tara Spaw Fronczek

P.S. Enjoy my playlist below ;)

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Four Men Talk Yoga: Why They Practice & How Yoga Changed Their Lives

The Men

  Beau Phillis, age 50. Gas & Oil Mineral Buyer. Favorite Yoga Pose: Warrior II

Beau Phillis, age 50. Gas & Oil Mineral Buyer. Favorite Yoga Pose: Warrior II

 
  Shawn Murray, age 44. Caseworker. Favorite Yoga Pose: Pigeon.

Shawn Murray, age 44. Caseworker. Favorite Yoga Pose: Pigeon.

 
  Chuck Durso, age 53. High School Teacher. Favorite Yoga Pose: Tree.

Chuck Durso, age 53. High School Teacher. Favorite Yoga Pose: Tree.

 
  Joe Barantovich, age 65. Retired Teacher & Football Coach. Favorite Yoga Pose: Fish.

Joe Barantovich, age 65. Retired Teacher & Football Coach. Favorite Yoga Pose: Fish.

 

What types of yoga classes do you attend most often?

BP: Warm Flow and Yin

SM: Kundalini. Hot Vinyasa. Hatha

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CD: Hot Power Yoga and Bikram

JB: Mostly yin, vinyasa and an occasional Ashtanga. I've tried Bikram - not really a fan.

What would you tell other men about yoga?

BP: Just try it!  It’s harder yet more rewarding than most people would think.

SM: Having joint problems, weight lifting has been difficult, but yoga helps me to build full-body strength and flexibility.

CD: That it is true exercise, can be much more difficult than some may think and is exhilarating.

JB: Yoga is a great way to practice anti-aging. Balance and flexibility are needed as we age. Also, it's a great way to treat and prevent injuries from other types of workouts like running and lifting. 

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How do others respond when you say that you do yoga?

BP: Most are shocked.  I guess I don’t look like a yogi?!?  They usually want to learn more about it… where I practice, what classes are available, what I think of it, is it hard, are the classes full, will they know anyone else there, etc.

SM: It’s become so popular over the last few years, I get less negative reaction. However, when I first began, it was definitely more stigmatized.

CD: Usually raised eyebrows and a "hmmm." :)

JB: Mostly positive. Even those who don't practice seem to understand the importance of staying active. 

What is your favorite thing about the practice?

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BP: It’s my time for me.  My mat helps me escape the troubles of my world and focus on me.  It’s just that simple.

SM: The blissful feeling afterward.

CD: That it is a constant challenge, it is individual and I can be content with wherever I currently am in my practice, even while I am striving to improve.

JB:  The peaceful feeling that you get after a good class. The enhancement to my other workouts that I realize I'm getting as i practice. It minimizes the soreness from lifting and running.

Why did you start doing yoga?

BP: An old friend suggested I give it a try.  So glad I did! 

SM: I was working with a holistic bodywork healer - and was recommended that yoga would be a perfect balance to the results I was trying to achieve.

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CD: To maintain some flexibility as I got older.

JB: When my wife became a yoga instructor she made me go to her community classes so she would be assured of having one friendly face in class.

Describe your first yoga class experience.  

BP: At first it was very awkward and intimidating.  I was the only guy in the class.  50-year-old guy in a room with a bunch of experienced yoga women?!?  Why did I sign up for this again?  I had no idea what I was doing.  Where should I unroll my mat?  What if I take someone else’s spot?  Do I need a bolster? Block? Why the hell is the heater on?  Is this a female-only class?  What if I can’t do this?  What if I fall over?  Can I just leave now?  Ugh… 

So, I took a spot in the back.  Once class started everything else just didn’t matter.  It was my mat and me.  Well, my mat, me, the wall I kept using to keep myself from falling, the person next to me that I bumped into a couple times, and still that damn heater.

SM: I almost didn’t go back.  

CD: Total fish out of water! I had no idea what I was doing, what went where, or why I thought this was a good idea! But as the class went on, I began to focus on what I was trying to do, and I realized that this was for me, both mentally and physically. I had a great instructor, and she helped me forget about whether I was doing it well and just focus on trying to get it right, and just live in the moment. By the end of the hour, I was hooked!

JB: I really can't speak to my first class...I don't really remember too much. My first realization that yoga was beneficial is another matter - after i started doing  yoga when my wife became an instructor I ran a half marathon and didn't have the usual soreness I've always experienced after runs of that length. The only thing that changed was my doing yoga...so I made the connection between the two.

What is your favorite yoga pose?

BP: Svasana. It forces me to relax and let everything in my mind disappear. And Warrior II.

SM: Pigeon. It helps with the issues I have in my hips

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CD: Tree.

JB: Svasana! Second favorite...Fish. I took a SUP class in Costa Rica, and we did Fish pose on the board. As I looked behind me I saw the ocean, an island, blue skies with the brightest white clouds. When i do that pose, I always close my eyes and see that scene in my mind's eye.

How has yoga enhanced your life off the mat?

BP: It’s made me a calmer person. I’ve made new friends, and the improved balance and flexibility has helped my golf game.

SM: I have been able to maintain an overall healthy and active lifestyle despite health concerns and joint issues - it has been a wonderful management tool.

CD:  I can be laid-back at times, but as someone who has competed in sports my entire life, I tend to be very intense in a competitive situation. Yoga has assisted in my ability to focus, to block out distractions and to remain calm in a stressful situation. 

JB: Besides the already mentioned physical and spiritual benefits, yoga has increased the circle of people I truly like and count as friends. It allows me to meet new people wherever I travel. It opens up new possibilities to life.

Do you have any encouraging words for other men who may be interested in practicing but might hold misconceptions that yoga is too easy, that you have to be flexible or that only women do yoga?  

BP: I think for most men it’s an intimidation factor. They don’t want to be shown up by a bunch of women if they can’t do it. I can’t encourage you enough to just try it. You don’t have to be flexible - you’ll gain flexibility. Yoga is much harder than you think, and it’s certainly not just for women. 

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SM: Do what you can and don’t worry about what others think.  You will find that yoga works for almost everyone.

CD: Yeah, you're over-thinking it! It's not easy, which is good, but if you can't bend into a pretzel, so what? You do what you can do. More and more men are discovering yoga, so the odds are, you won't be alone, but if you are, so what? The women in the class won't care, they are focused on their practice, not you! And yes, you might feel a little awkward the first time. That goes away, and it goes away pretty quickly. Come join us!

JB: Yoga is definitely not easy...I've gotten my ass kicked by more females than I care to mention! Although you can start with easy classes, yoga is supposed to be non-competitive, although that's maybe the most difficult thing for most guys to try and change. You do what you can, how you can. A good instructor, which LPS has a plethora of, will always stress modifications that can be utilized to accommodate any inability (lack of flexibility) to do a pose.  

 

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The Best of 2017

2017 was a year of big changes for LPS Strength & Mediation. Here, we give you our top five bests from the year.

1. We moved.

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From a shared space with CrossFit that housed a single practice room and one massage space to... BAM! Our beautiful second floor loft-style space consisting of Studio A and Studio B, multiple therapy rooms, a sauna with shower and lockers and a spacious lobby for guests to enjoy a warm cup of tea, infused water and our small library of yoga reading material. Nestled in the heart of downtown Uniontown amongst Marilyn's on Main, the State Theater and Joyce's Jewelers, we couldn't be happier with our new home!

2. We expanded. 

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Not only have we grown in space, but our services have more than doubled with the addition of a talented roster of instructors and therapists. In the past year, we've added barre, acupuncture, dance, energy work, fusion fitness classes, private group sessions, facials and more!

3. We went from yoga as our focus to wellness as our goal.

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Yoga was the first offering by LPS Strength & Meditation when the doors opened. With yoga still at our core, we have evolved from offering simple yoga classes to sessions with specific goals, such as Yoga for Stress & Detox, Foot Yoga, Ayurveda Yoga for the Seasons, YOMAs (Yoga with Massage) and our upcoming Yoga for Pain Series, beginning in January. While the hot, sweaty power yoga classes do reap positive benefits, they are limiting (not all humans need or want hot power yoga!) and not all-inclusive (the pregnant, the postnatal, older individuals, beginners). Our goal is to offer something for every BODY, every condition, at all stages and phases of life.

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4. Special events came to the forefront. Need I say more? Simply visit our events page to see the upcoming exciting list already in place (and growing!) for 2018. This past year, we brought in guest instructors and offered our own in-house workshops in order to inform and enhance your practice, demonstrate how wellness can work in different ways and to share the love of yoga and all it encompasses. 

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5. Our instructors and practitioners stepped up their game with advanced trainings. Laura Patterson-Santore attended a weekend training in therapeutics and yoga while Brynn completed an advanced pre/postnatal yoga training, both at the Asheville Yoga Center. Tara Morris received a Barre Above certificate, and Laura Scoville began her studies as an herbalist. The massage team continues to train in various body work methods, and Alik attended a Qigong summit with the world's leading instructor. We prize education as a means to improve our services and to stay up-to-date with the industry's trends and new techniques. 

All in all, it's been a good one, 2017. Thank you, universe, and thank you, our guests, clients and community for taking this journey with us.

Much love,

Brynn & the Smiling Faces of Team LPS

 

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A Tribute to our beloved yogi, Mary Campbell-Spegar

January 17, 1963-November 12, 2017

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She was walking toward me at a brisk, perky pace. I was running toward her at an upbeat, fast clip. Her hair was flowing freely in the wind. Mine was tied tight in a top knot. 

As we neared one another, our eyes met and sparkled. I waved, and so did she. We beamed at one another with wide smiles, as if we were long lost friends. "Hi!" we each said.

Old Mill Road is where Mary and I first met. We continued to meet this way over the years - Mary power walking and I running, no matter the weather or season.

Our encounters were brief, just bypassing one another, but impactful. The smiles we exchanged radiated gratitude for simply being outside, for putting one foot in front of the other. This was Mary, a woman of my own heart, I thought to myself each time we greeted each another on the road. I learned that Mary, like my family, was part of the Deer Lake community.

Over time I recognized her at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Parish. She would engage my son, Avie, and gush over our family, and then our growing family, as I became pregnant with Grey. After Grey was born, she would gaze at us with a soft grin and eyes of adoration. Again, we were part of a second community. 

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Finally, our paths united a third time. It was the tie that bound us in a deeper way. She joined LPS Strength & Meditation and became an active member, attending more classes per week than any other guest and getting massages with Leah and Leann. She spent countless afternoons sitting and drinking tea in the lounge and chatting with LPS instructors and team members. We delighted in her company as much as she enjoyed our services. Everyone looked forward to Mary walking through the door, adorned in bright colors and patterns, often late but always full of stories and good cheer. She made us feel good, and yoga made her, a public defendant, feel great.

When I was at LPS for meetings, massages or yoga, I almost always had my son, Grey, several months old, whom I would breastfeed on the couch. Mary would plop right down beside me and share stories of nursing her own son, Michael, the light of her life. We laughed with an understanding only mothers have of the joys and challenges of it, and we bonded over balancing running and motherhood as well as work and motherhood and how we lived to love our children.

Yoga brings peace to the heart of the struggling. In some way, we all struggle, and it was no different with Mary. Yoga alleviates heartache and fills the soul with hope, particularly when shared with others. 

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Thus, when we at LPS Strength & Meditation learned about Mary's tragic death in a house fire, we decided to bring our community together to celebrate her life and process her passing. We were devastated and alarmed that in such a fleeting moment we had lost our dear Mary, who became part of our yoga family in the last several months of her life.

So we held two donation classes in honor of Mary. Tara Morris, my twin sister, whose classes Mary always attended, taught both classes - no easy task. Nearly 40 people attended, and we raised about $1,000. Per the request of her family, we will donate the proceeds to the Fayette County Children and Youth Advisory Board.

Often in the face of tragedy, emotions fall flat. It is difficult to cry or grieve when stunned with mournful events. For me, the class my sister taught stirred emotions and allowed me to finally cry. I cried for her son, Michael. I cried for her mother, my neighbor, and her sisters, nieces and nephews, also my neighbors. I cried for the LPS team members who grew so close to her.

I cried for Mary's final breaths. Perhaps they brought her peace and paved the way toward bliss, as the breath is intended to do in yoga.  

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And I cried because I'll never meet her on Old Mill Road again. I'll never see her walking toward me at a brisk, perky pace as I run toward her at an upbeat, fast clip. Yet I hold the memories dear to my heart, and with each footstep, I picture her merrily making her way along, with eyes present yet far away, making the most of her life, her hair flowing wildly, her inner light trying as it might to beam brightly, to share love.  

Namaste, Mary. Namaste. May the light within me and within your yoga community meet the light within you, the light you left with us all. We miss you every day.

To share your yoga story of Mary, please email me at brynnestella7@gmail.com. I will compile all the memories in a book for her family and the studio. Thank you, and may we all hug and love one another as Mary did.

Through applying intention as well as attention to an experience, a person is able to shift the meaning of an experience from a painful or intolerable context to one that is tolerable or pleasant.
— Yongey Mingyur, The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

xo,

Brynn  

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Four Easy Ways to Align with Autumn the Ayurveda Way

By Laura Scoville, RYT-200 & Ayurveda Yoga Specialist

Fall brings with it the Air element. The ancient healing system of Ayurveda considers Autumn as the Vata season. It is characterized as dry, rough, erratic, cool, subtle and clear. These qualities also make up the Vata dosha.  Ayurveda believes that wellness resides in the idea that like increases like and that opposites balance. Thus, to stay in balance during the Autumn/Vata season, we must practice the opposite qualities of the Vata dosha. Here are four easy ways to align with the season:

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1.     Embrace Routine to balance out the erratic quality. Try to eat meals at the same time each day and instill a regular sleep schedule. Keep a daily rhythm going!

2.     Self-Massage (Abhyanga) with warm sesame oil to balance out the dry quality. Practice using long strokes moving toward the heart.

3.     Wear Warming Colors to balance out the cool quality. Dress in Autumn colors of reds, oranges and yellows and be sure to wear enough clothing to stay warm throughout the day.

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4.     Eat Cooked, Seasonal and Warm Foods, both energetically and in temperature, to balance the rough quality. In the Summer, we eat a lot of raw salads and cooling foods, but if we continued that practice into the Fall we would become unbalanced. Focus on eating more soups, oatmeal and foods that are naturally sweet, sour and salty. Add warming spices such as ginger, black pepper and cinnamon to foods.

At LPS, we are happy to provide you with special classes and offers to facilitate your seasonal transition and optimize your Autumn experience. 

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For one, we have crafted Ether and Air essential oil rollers to balance the Vata dosha. They are available for purchase at the studio for $18.

Ether: promote happiness, uplift mood, filter out negative energy and restore confidence

Ether ingredients & benefits: 

o   sacred frankincense - spiritual wellbeing

o   tangerine - uplifting

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o   ylang ylang - sweetness

o   frankincense - earthiness

o   sweet almond carrier

Air: heighten relaxation, beneficial in evening

Air ingredients and benefits: 

o   lavender - calm

o   vetiver - grounding

o   sacred frankincense - spiritual wellbeing

o   sweet almond carrier

 

In addition to our carefully formulated rollers, Laura's upcoming classes can facilitate your synchronization with the season. 

Yoga & Ayurveda for Healthy Digestion - 9-10:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 4/ $20 pre-registration/ $25 drop-in / LPS members receive 15 percent discount

Ayurveda Yoga Flow for the Season - 5-6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 12 & Dec. 17/ regular class passes apply/ $12 drop-in

Finally, our Far-Infrared Sauna can add the extra warmth needed with the chilly autumn air.  Read more about the sauna and book your session here. Your body will thank you.

We hope to see you at our downtown sanctuary soon. 

Be the light, share the light. Namaste.

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Three Things Every Student Should Know About Kundalini, Tai Chi and Qigong

By Brynn Cunningham

First, I'll give you the standard Wikipedia definition of these movement-based, meditative, healing practices. 

Kundalini Yoga derives its name from a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of meditation, pranayama, chanting mantra and yoga asana (postures). Called by practitioners "the yoga of awareness," it aims to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.

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Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. The term refers to a philosophy of the forces of yin and yang, related to the moves. Though originally conceived as a martial art, it is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons, including achieving greater longevity. It is purported that focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity.

Qigong is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing and meditation used for health, spirituality and martial arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi), translated as "life energy." According to Taoist, Buddhism and Confucian philosophy, qigong allows access to higher realms of awareness, awakens one's "true nature" and helps develop human potential.

Now, here are some things every student should know about these practices: 

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1. Your Teacher Matters. Most yoga instructors receive the same 200-hour training, but true, quality Kundalini Yoga instructors receive a separate Kundalini Yoga teacher certification. Furthermore, an authentic Kundalini instructor has a direct relationship with a guru or teacher who guides them on their path toward sharing such a sacred practice. Similar qualities of standard are true for Tai Chi and Qigong. So, do your research - ask your teachers about their practices and training, read their bios and seek out the best!

2. You Can Do It! These are gentle, progressive practices suitable for every single BODY - from the very physically active to the older body with physical restrictions, from the advanced power yogi or gym rat to the novice who detests exercise. Each one provides just enough challenge to create positive change, whether in the form of mind, body or soul. And that change, that transformation, is where the power of the practice lies. 

3. Different Journey, Same Destination.  In other words, the actions and movements of each practice - Kundalini Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong - differ from one another in a big way, but the end result of each is similar. Each is a system toward complete health - mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. They all soothe the nervous system, work the energetic, subtle body and life force and balance the anatomical structure. All three provide a sense of calm, clarity and connectedness. They improve livelihood and quality of life, decrease stress, increase happiness, and give the practitioner a means toward wholeness and radiant health, from the inside out. 

With that said, join us! We offer you the best instructors, those with decades of experience and dedicated to their art. We want to share these healing systems with all shapes, sizes, ages, levels and walks of life. And we want to provide you with a journey toward a fulfilling, blissful destination. 

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Tai Chi - 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19 with John Jarboe/ $15

Kundalini Yoga Workshop: Grounding to the Earth Element - 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21 with Peggy Pavlik/ $35

Qigong - 6:30 p.m. Fridays with Alik Minikhanov/ $12/ regular class passes apply/ check for change in weekly schedule based on special events

Click for event details. 

Register here.

  

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A Yogi's Love for the Barre

By Tara Morris, RYT-200 & Barre Above certified instructor

For the past eight years, I have been on a mission to live a pain-free, active life after sustaining multiple low back, sports-related injuries. Yoga offered an element of strength and flexibility and the mindfulness to overcome the anxiety and depression associated with the struggle to heal.

Yet, I continued to seek out traditional strength training programs to complement my yoga practice. I went to physical therapy. I researched. I began Jillian Michaels programs. I spent time at the gym. I started the Hammer and Chisel workouts.  All of these avenues revealed what was and was not working for my body, but I struggled with establishing an effective workout program catered to my body’s needs.

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In 2015, I discovered barre and was instantly hooked. Barre drew me in because of its combination of lengthening, strengthening, cardio, core work and fluid dance-like movements.  It is low impact yet challenging and complements yoga well. It was the missing piece I had been desperately seeking to feel strong and pain-free. 

When we brought Danielle Crum, RYT-200 and Barre Xtend certified instructor on board to teach Yoga Barre Fusion at LPS, I was ecstatic!  I was even more ecstatic to be given the opportunity to teach in preparation for Danielle’s move back to her home in North Carolina at summer’s end.  Once I knew I would be teaching, I began heavy research.

“Being a yoga and barre instructor is advantageous to not only me but to LPS and our students,” I thought. I was eager to share this passion with our students, whom I often encourage to seek out ways to strengthen in addition to yoga.

Upon arrival to the University of Maryland on Saturday, September 30 for the Barre Above training, I was excited yet anxious, nervous yet optimistic.

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Within the first hour of Carolyn Erickson, the master instructor, speaking, I knew I chose the right program. Carolyn is the president and CEO of CE Fitness Cosnulting, LLC, and a 32-year fitness industry expert. She is a master trainer of Barre Above, Tabata Bootcamp, Jillian Michaels’ BODYSHRED and GOFLO Trainer. She was enthusiastic, down to earth, REAL and experienced.

“Barre Above does not tell you how to teach. We want you to be creative. You will have all the tools you need to teach an effective and safe barre class when you leave,” Carolyn stated.  I was relieved. That is exactly how my yoga teacher training at Yoga Flow Pittsburgh was. No rigidity. I live to be creative!  

The day was fun, physically demanding (I'm still limping and SORE!), informative, casual...everything I was hoping it would be. Eleven women of diverse backgrounds formed our group, whom I loved! Carolyn taught a 70-minute master class to demonstrate what a Barre Above workout was like. I was bursting with joy because it was the most fun, well-rounded barre workout I had ever done, and I could not wait to share it with our community. When it comes down to it, I thrive on helping others find their strength and balance. 

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All in all, Carolyn and Barre Above provided the inspiration and motivation I was seeking. As fitness and yoga teachers, our passion and expertise only grow by continuing education and connecting with strong forces in the industry. Mission accomplished. 

Join me! You'll see results, feel energized and experience a killer workout. Sign up online or arrive early - classes fill up quickly. See you at the BARRE! ;)

4:45-5:45 p.m. Thursdays: Yoga Barre Fusion

5-6:15 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15: Yoga Cardio Barre

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Massage Music by Leah

LPS massage therapist and yoga instructor Leah Staley loves her music! Here she shares a playlist that one might hear during a massage with her, or possibly even in one of her yoga classes. Turn it on during a lazy Sunday afternoon, while driving in the car or at a backyard cookout with friends. It makes for some soothing, easy listening - we hope you enjoy!

Join Leah for her upcoming special events: 

4:45-5:45 p.m., Monday, Oct. 2 Yin Yoga & Mobilization Tools (all levels/beginner friendly)

6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5 Ashtanga Yoga Mix with Black Lights & Hip Hop

Register here.

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A Story About Acupuncture

By Brynn Cunningham

The first question I am asked when telling others about recent acupuncture sessions is this: "Does it hurt?" Sometimes the response is, "I'm terrified of needles!"

I tell them what I'll tell you - acupuncture is meant to make you feel better, great, even! Besides, the needles are thin and not meant to hurt. They are certainly not similar to vaccination needles or those used to draw blood. 

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The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) describes it this way: Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. It is one of the practices used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Another common question or inquiry I receive about acupuncture is why one would need it, or what it treats. Keep reading, and I'll tell you!

I've been receiving acupuncture since my early 20s for many reasons - emotional, physical and psychological. I traveled around a lot during those years, so I saw many different practitioners in addition to our very own Alik Minikhanov and guest acupuncturist Melissa Murtha, who will be joining me at LPS at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22 for the Acupuncture & Yin Yoga for the Autumn Equinox event.

Below is a list of personal situations that have been treated by acupuncture with positive, effective results: 

Graduate school-related stress

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Bronchitis (on two different occasions) 

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being held at gunpoint - the assaulter stuck a 9mm into my stomach

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Muscle tension and tightness from running, white water kayaking, mountain biking and rock climbing

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Facial scarring and concussion recovery after a downhill jump, over-the-handlebars mountain biking accident

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Injury (plantar fasciitis & heel spur) 

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Fear of infertility (because I was told I would have difficulty conceiving by three health practitioners throughout my life - it turned out not to be true)

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Morning sickness and pregnancy (from the first to third trimesters)

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Grief from my father's death and simultaneous postpartum emotional healing (my father died four weeks before my first son was born)

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You see, acupuncture is an ancient holistic healing art effective for prevention as well as cure.

Give it a try with Alik or join me and Melissa this Friday for Acupuncture and Yin Yoga for the Autumn Equinox, suitable for those new to acupuncture and yoga as well as advanced and experienced individuals. Register here.

 

 

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