Author: Andy Sharry

Nicole Apelian

worcester-fitness-nicole

Nicole Apelian

NICOLE APELIAN

"Having the right mindset was my new best friend."

worcester-fitness-nicole

Nicole Apelian has been personal training with Fitness Director Andy Sharry five days each week over the last eighteen months. Nicole came to Worcester Fitness when she was at her physically weakest point, barely finished with her cancer treatments and sapped of her usual strength and energy. But, with a very strong spirit.  Nicole enjoyed her training sessions with Andy and within just a few short weeks, she was achieving monumental accomplishments.

"Nicole lifts weights, runs and jumps unlike anyone else I train." says Andy,  "Despite her petite statute, I don't train anyone who can bench press, squat or overhead press more than this 110 pound beast-combination of determination and grit."  Andy and others at Worcester Fitness are inspired by Nicole, and the manner in which she has handled her adversity.
 
"She just comes in with a smile, works her tail off, and does this days after day." says Andy,  "She respects her illness but also isn't defined by it, or limited in any way by it.  I really look forward to my time with Nicole."
 
Nicole’s story should emphasize to all of us the importance of being fully aware of your family medical history and mindful of the changes in your own body. Breast cancer has afflicted many people in Nicole’s family. She has been diligent about getting routine checkups every six-months since she turned twenty-five years old.
It was in the time between one of those biannual visits that she felt a lump in her breast and immediately scheduled to see her doctors. 
 
"That day in July of 2015 my whole entire world was forever changed." Nicole adds emphatically, "I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I was in the best shape of my life. Training five days a week, eating right, and  my daughter was starting kindergarten. how could this happen to me? I was feeling a million different emotions but fear wasn't one of them. Having the right mindset was my new best friend. It got me through surgery, chemo, and it got me out of bed even on my sickest days. Today I feel the best I've ever felt and with the right mindset I won't have it any other way!"
 
Nicole now enjoys her time with her husband Dan and daughter Samara, who is enrolled in swim lessons at Worcester Fitness and occasionally accompanies her Mom in personal training sessions with Andy.  "A  healthy lifestyle is something I want to instill in Samara so she has a love for swimming, running, playing and being active and Worcester Fitness is a place she really enjoys being."

Our clients and their stories.

Everyone is an athlete at Worcester Fitness

Lately, we've had the chance to reflect on the work we do here at Worcester Fitness.
 
As our team talked to each other about clients past and present, we were overwhelmed by the incredible diversity of our members. All ages, all sizes, all with their own unique and personal motivations. That is what puts the "personal" in Personal Training. All of our trainers agreed that most of the time it is the CLIENT that is doing a large amount of the motivating and inspiring. Inspiring them to excel as trainers, grow as coaches and exceed their clients expectations.
 
So, from all of us to all of you- thank you for making us better trainers and better people!

 
Here are a few short stories that we hope motivate YOU!

Worcester Fitness Leo McCarthy

Client - Jack
Trainer - Andy Sharry

Jack is down 50+ pounds. He trains with Andy two times per week, takes Small Group Training sessions and is on the Spartan and Running team.

Clients - Pat and Colleen
Trainer - Picky Lanigan

The dynamic sister team of Pat & Colleen use the pool to help in their battles against cancer. Breast cancer doesn't stop them from strength, cardio, flexibility and aqua fitness.

Clients - Warrior Women
Trainer - Janine McCarthy

What a great group! New class for the fall Warrior Boxing & Fitness. 
Thank you Janine and all your WARRIORS!

Client - Pastor Gloria 
Trainer - Leo McCarthy

Pastor Gloria tends to her flock around the clock. Unless she's taking care of herself in her personal training sessions with Leo.

Clients - Cherie
Trainer - Andy Sharry

Cherie trains with Andy, takes Small Group Training classes and has weekly massage therapy sessions with Steve Dozois. We're your comprehensive health and wellness team! 

Clients - Linda
Trainer - Picky Lanigan

Master Trainer Picky has embarked on a journey to wellness with Linda. Her Goal? To move and feel better. What's better than that?! 

Client - Kevin
Trainer - Dianne Durand

Dianne trains Kevin. Kevin has a newborn. Kevin NEEDS his time at Worcester Fitness.

Clients - Meredyth
Trainer - Picky Lanigan

Meredyth values her personal training time with Picky. It helps her lead and inspire the folks in her church. 

Clients - Kristen
Trainer - Janine McCarthy

Janine has worked with Kristen during the summer. She's headed back to the classroom on Monday feeling great, strong and ready for her students. 

2017 Mid-Year Review • Yoga For A Cause

Back in February of this year, Worcester Fitness Yoga Instructor Jeanine Mchugh Skorinko went to Director of Fitness and Wellness Andy Sharry with an idea. Worcester Fitness would create a monthly event, centered around a yoga class, that not only introduced the positive effects of yoga, but also helped a local non-profit organization by raising money during the event.

Yoga for a Cause was born! 

Now over six-months later, Yoga for a cause is now one of our most popular events with members and friends alike.
 
As we approach another beautiful New England Autumn, we wanted to update you on the results of the program.
 
Yoga For A Cause is a monthly yoga class. It generally is scheduled for the first Saturday in each month. The class is unique in that both members AND non-members are invited to participate. Members and guests are asked to contribute $5.00 per class for the charity or non-profit organization supported that week.
 
Participants can sign up via the Worcester Fitness Mind Body app and can convienently access the app via Facebook or a blog post on worcesterfitness.com a few days prior to the event.

Events

Here is a complete list of charitable organizations supported by Worcester Fitness through the Yoga for a Cause program along with the total amount donated as a result of the event. Donations are delivered directly to each organization.
 
Sherry's House/Why Me - $160
Worcester Animal Rescue League - $125
Abby's House - $50
Rachel's Table - $65
Veterans, Inc - $106
Ivy Child - $60
Planting the Seed Foundation - $100

Next Event

Yoga for a Cause at Worcester Fitness will be in support of the Dana Faber Cancer Institute on Saturday October 7, 2017 at 10:00am. We would love to see you there!

Details

SATURDAY Yoga Class (Dana Faber Cancer Institute)
10-11am
Worcester Fitness, Grove Street
Price: $5 for Non-Worcester Fitness Members (all proceeds go to Dana Faber) & Free for Worcester Fitness Members.

This is open to anyone—you don’t have to be a Worcester Fitness Member to participate.

Bring: your own mat (blocks and straps are available at the gym), water, & any donation you want to make to Dana Faber Cancer Institute.

Massage Therapy and Oncology

Oncology Massage

By Dani Eagan, Massage Therapist
Worcester Fitness • Email Dani 

Over 1.5 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone. Chances are cancer has effected you or someone you love.
Oncology Massage is tailored and unique to every individual based on many factors including but not limited to their treatment and their symptoms.

1.5 Million New Cases

A trained Oncology Massage Therapist will complete an assessment to your individual treatment plan. This will include a full health history including your cancer history, treatments and symptoms. We will also discuss any and all goals you may have. Session goals as well as long term treatment goals. Goals can consist of anything from scar tissue and increased range of motion to something as simple as relaxation and general pain relief. Goals can be changed at anytime. Even with goals and constant treatment limitations and modifications may be life long. A part of this process is finding your new normal and to going from there. Due to contraindications and treatments you want to make sure that you are seeing an Oncology Certified Massage Therapist.

Oncology Massage

The majority of Oncology Massage is meant to be comfort oriented focusing on relaxation and pain relief. the other side of that may be more therapeutic and include techniques that can help with your rehabilitation. Regardless of what stage you are in Oncology Massage has proven to increase quality of life and your over all wellbeing.
A 2014 study showed that 100% of patients who received a 1 hour relaxation massage 3 times a week for 7 weeks experienced: Stress reduction, Increased comfort, relaxation and quality of life. As well as Decreased fatigue and nausea.

Relief

Oncology Massage has been proven to provide help with many ailments, including but not limited to: Anxiety, depression, Pain, Nausea, fatigue, healing, peripheral neuropathy, immune system support, symptom relief, as well as physical, psychological and emotional side effects from the cancer as well as the treatments.
There are many forms of cancer. Oncology Massage helps with Physical, Psychological and emotional relief, not only for patients but caregivers as well.

Learning How to Befriend the Body.

Daniella Wittern Bush - Yoga Instructor Worcester Fitness

In an oft-repeated phrase, the American actress Mariel Hemingway once said, “Yoga teaches you how to listen to your body.” This is exactly what yoga should do. But the irony of the way yoga is practiced in our society—perhaps because we are so programmed to always be competing, whether with ourselves or with others—is that even if we begin our yoga practice by slowing down enough to listen to our bodies, by mid-way through a class we’ll hit a challenging pose or flow and turn away from what our bodies tell us. Or we’ll hear a yoga teacher offering modifications and variations of poses, and rather than staying in the variation that most suits our bodies in this moment (and not yesterday or ten years ago!), we’ll feel like we have to try every single variation until we get to the ‘deepest’ or ‘most advanced’ version of the pose.

Listen

As a yoga instructor, I can see this happening when I look around a room: breath being held as you try to hold your balance in tree pose; jaws clenching as you try to sink deep into pigeon pose; brows furrowed as you lift into upward facing bow pose. Perhaps we stop listening to our bodies because we are so used to the “no pain, no gain” mantra that at one time defined the fitness world. Or perhaps it is because we live in the era of Instagram and Pinterest, so that when we envision our yoga practice what we see in our mind’s eye is a photo of a skinny yogi or yogini twisting him or herself up into a handstand or arm balance in front of a gorgeous backdrop, "memed" in a beautiful font with the message, “Your body can do it. It’s your mind you need to convince.” But what if it never was your mind that you needed to convince to do more or push harder? What if it was simply that you needed to allow your mind to listen to what your body was already telling you?

"Yoga is not about being good at something—at least not in a way that a photograph or a PR can capture. It is about being good to yourself."

Experiences

Don’t get me wrong. I am a lifelong athlete, and I believe in hard work. I played competitive soccer in men’s leagues and qualified for Boston in the first marathon I ever ran, and I couldn’t have accomplished any of that without a lot of willpower and thousands of hours of training. But I also proceeded to run all 26.2 miles of Boston on a torn meniscus with a surgery scheduled for the following week—completely ignoring my body for the sake of a goal. I no longer have a medial meniscus in one knee. I can’t run marathons—or even 5ks—anymore. It took three knee surgeries and about three decades for me to realize that sometimes just because you can or want to doesn’t mean you should.

worcester fitness yoga
“Each body is a universe. As good a universe as you could conceive.”

Be good to yourself!

This is where yoga comes in. Yoga is not about being good at something—at least not in a way that a photograph or a PR can capture. It is about being good to yourself. About befriending our bodies. About finding ways to move that can make our bodies sing, that can remind us how to be playful, and yet at the same time can teach us about the way we hold ourselves and our stresses all day long. When I teach, I tell students that they can spend the entire class in child’s pose if they need to, simply being mindful and focusing on their breath and the sensations in their bodies, and they would still be doing beautiful yoga. I offer multiple levels of poses, and if I see everyone in the room going straight for the “deepest” variation, I ask if you can still breathe there, if you can smile, if this variant feels like a friendly thing to ask your body to do. And if it isn’t, why not allow yourself to back off a little bit, at least until you feel that your breath can flow without constriction? Why not cultivate, as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras tell us we should, sthira sukham asanam: a steady and easeful posture?

worcester fitness yoga classes
“The best yoga classes are the ones where you don’t ever look up to see the clock. I didn’t want this class to end!”

The Best Yoga...

When I teach this way, people respond. After class last week, one student commented, “The best yoga classes are the ones where you don’t ever look up to see the clock. I didn’t want this class to end!” Another, with her phone in hand, told me, “Two of my friends were supposed to meet me here for this. I can’t wait to text them and tell them they have no idea what they just missed out on!” And a third, walking out with a look of bliss on her face, said, “I feel like I just walked out of an hour-long, full-body massage.”

So the next time you find yourself on a yoga mat, I invite you to try this: to make a practice of befriending your body. If you find yourself working too hard to hold or find a pose, consider what you could do within that pose to treat your body kindly. And if you find yourself frustrated or irritated because you have fallen out of balance, or your body isn’t arriving at a shape you would like it to make, I invite you to take a step and ask yourself how you can respond as though you were responding to a friend. Because, as Swami Amar Jyoti says, “Each body is a universe. As good a universe as you could conceive.” And in the words of Ekhart Tolle, “Look after your body, or you’ll have nowhere to live.”

The Mom Olympics

By Steve Dozois, LMT, Worcester Fitness
Contact Steve 

Here at Worcester Fitness, everyone is an athlete.  Today I'd like to highlight the moms who do so much in what I call the Mom Olympics.  One big difference from the real Olympics is that mom's don't compete for medals or even recognition.  Many moms out there may not consider themselves athletes if they don't get to the gym often or have any other regular fitness training, but I'd argue otherwise!

Every Day Power Moves

Here are just a few things that mom's do or have done regularly that require some physical activity that don't include fitness training.  Carrying babies and toddlers, bags, and bags, and bags!  Racing strollers from place to place, lugging kids in and out of the car to all kinds of events like sports, dance, gymnastics, play groups, school, and more.  There is the constant running around the house to get things for the rest of the family, cleaning up after everyone, and hurdling over toys.  

Every Day Lifting

Some moms spend half the day cleaning the house until they can't clean any more.  Shopping for groceries and preparing the meals can often be a contact sport, especially when their kids are around.  Think of all the heavy lifting involved with doing the laundry!
Now, I know not all moms do all of these things and sometimes they have help, but let's face it...all of our mom's deserve a gold medal for everything they do every day.  

If you are interested in Worcester Fitness, we want to meet you!

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Our Athletes Rock the Weekend!

By Roland Hamelin, Contributing Writer
Worcester Fitness 

For years now, Worcester Fitness has described itself as a "club without walls"...with good reason!

To us, membership to Worcester Fitness means significantly more than coming to the club a few days each week and using the equipment. We are "More than a Gym!" Our memberships are more about the love and passion that EVERYONE in Worcester Fitness Nation has not only for fitness, but also for each other!
Our club has NO WALLS because our members become friends, teammates, supporters, coaches and collaborators inside the building AND beyond the walls of Worcester Fitness.

One Weekend

Saturday April 29, 2017 and Sunday April 30, 2017- one particular weekend that has become the single best example of what it means for Worcester Fitness to be a club without walls. Our members were competing in events all over New England, New Jersey and Nevada! Outside the club. Competing as one, winning as a TEAM.

Worcester Fitness Nation's Deb Servidio powers through the Spartan Beast Race in New Jersey
Worcester Fitness Nation's Deb Servidio powers through the Spartan Beast Race in New Jersey.

Incredibly, there were (at least) FIVE different events held the weekend of April 29 and April 30 that featured Worcester Fitness athletes!

These events included:

• Spartan Beast in New Jersey
Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon and Half-Marathon
• Craft Brew 5k
• Jay Lyons 5k
Tarentino Strong Roadrace

That's an incredibly impressive weekend of accomplishments. It's also a perfect example of just how active, committed and passionate members of Worcester Fitness Nation are- not just about exceptional fitness and athletic performance, but more importantly, how they see their role as strong community leaders and advocates for important causes close to their heart.

Worcester Fitness Nation and the Craft Brew 5K
Worcester Fitness Nation Craft Brew 5K participants Molly Eastman Burnham and her sister Lexy.

Their Stories

"Participating in this race was a real gut check and eye opening experience. The level of unselfish, caring and concern shown by participants was extraordinary. Commitment to complete this race was everybody's goal irregardless of injury or illness. As we were ascending a steep hill, there was this one girl that was wearing shorts in the design of an American flag, obviously having difficulty. As she reached the crest of the hill, she collapsed to the ground with several people running to her aid including WFST members. She was having a pretty bad asthma attack. After assisting her with water, food and her nebulizer we continued on our way thinking, "sucks that she won't be able to finish". Well, a few hours later we crossed paths with this girl again. She explained that she had two asthma attacks but was determined to finish the race so she could give her medal to her friend who could not compete as a result of a recently diagnosed illness. Adversity defined."
 
"At the 11 mile mark, a WFST member became hampered with an excruciating knee injury. Despite the injury she was determined and pushed and carried on until finish. But it's Wht happened from this point on that defined the team. One member took it upon himself to give up his pack, put her on his back and proceeded to run downhill over rocky terrain to give her knee a rest. This would go on a few more times during the remainder of the race. Then, another member went into the woods and emerged with the perfect walking stick. Finally, the team was encouraged to move on by the injured member to finish the race, but they refused too leave her side. They encouraged her to keep pushing on. To the commitment to each other, they finished together. Coach Riley met the injured member at the crest of the final hill and assisted her to the finish line."
 
"The rope climb was the final obstacle before the fire jump. After just finishing two previous difficult obstacles in a row, the bucket carry and the twister, the rope climb was going to be a bitch. Mark Huard began the rope climb and it became obvious he was slowing as he got near the top. He stopped at one point about 2 arms lengths away from that cow bell just staring down to the ground. He had met his moment of adversity. He was was like hanging there for an eternity deciding what he was going to do. With the encouragement from his team members below, he found the inner strength to grab those 2 arm lengths to ring that FU'kn bell. Adversity at its best."
 
Gerry Montiverdi- Worcester Fitness Spartan Team Training

 

Worcester Fitness Takes the TEAM GYM award at the Jay Lyons 5K!
Worcester Fitness Takes the TEAM GYM award at the Jay Lyons 5K!

"WF Spartan Team completed NJ Beast, 13.8 miles, over 4000 ft of elevation changes, 32 challenging obstacles defining teamwork, adversity and perseverance !"

Gerry Montiverdi - Worcester Fitness Spartan Team Training


"(I finished in) 27:33 in Jay Lyons and won raffle (prize) for (free entry fee for the) Wachusett Mountain Race! (Plus) Worcester Fitness Team Award!"

David Lamontagne - Worcester Fitness Running Team


"I did a 33:11(finish) at (the) Jay Lyons (5k)!"
Kelly Chandley - Worcester Fitness Running Team


"29:06 (finish) at Craft Brew (5k)."
Katie McCartin - Worcester Fitness Running Team


"31:15 finish at the Craft Brew Race. I had a really hard time with the heat."
Amanda Gregoire - Worcester Fitness Running Team


"I ran Tarentino! Not sure of my time...but i didn't pass out so thats my victory!"
Stacey Pignataro - Worcester Fitness Running Team

Worcester Fitness Team Spartan Training Team at the Spartan Beast April 29
Worcester Fitness Team Spartan Training Team at the Spartan Beast April 29

You belong here.

Not everyone is cut out for 13 plus miles of obstacle racing or even running a 5K.
 
BUT, if you ever even had a passing thought, deep inside your mind, that maybe, JUST MAYBE you'd like to try...then the incredibly supportive and powerful people that you will meet at Worcester Fitness will help get you to YOUR finish line.
 
That's what Worcester Fitness is all about- winning TOGETHER.

Thank you to each and every one of our amazing Worcester Fitness Athletes. Every class participant, every training client...everyone who walks through our doors. You are all incredible athletes and it is our immense privilege to serve you.

If you are interested in Worcester Fitness, we want to meet you!

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Picky Lanigan MS Exercise Specialist

By Roland Hamelin, Contributing Writer
Worcester Fitness 

Worcester Fitness is very proud to announce that Personal Trainer Picky Lanigan has recently become a certified Aquatic Exercise specialist for clients with Multiple Sclerosis through the Aquatic Exercise Association and MSAA Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.

Latest Certification

Picky has been working with clients with serious pre-existing conditions for many years utilizing her experience as a nationally recognized water fitness expert. She has also been certified through the AEA for over 25 years!

What is MS?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society "Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.The cause of MS is still unknown – scientists believe the disease is triggered by as-yet-unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond.

The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease."

Aquatic Therapy and MS

Benefits of aquatic exercises*

The unique qualities of water provide exceptional benefits to people with MS. Water helps people with MS move in ways they may not be able to on land. Here is why:

Buoyancy: The feeling of being lighter in the water; of floating.

Provides support for weak limbs.
Movement takes less effort. A greater range of motion can be achieved.
Promotes muscle relaxation.
Viscosity: The sensation that there is resistance to your movements; that you move slower through the water.

The resistance of water can be used to improve muscle strength.Slower movement in water provides an opportunity to work on skills such as balance and coordination which may be harder to do on land.
Hydrostatic pressure: The sensation of compression while the body is in the water. Pressure increases with depth.

Compression can provide support for standing activities, such as walking, with less effort than on land.
Temperature control

Cooler water can help maintain lower core body temperature even during vigorous activity. This is especially helpful for people with heat sensitivity issues.
*Information obtained from National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Congratulations Picky!

Now Picky will be working with Physicians who specialize in treating patients with MS by offering on-site exercise programming right here in the Worcester Fitness pool. Congratulations Picky and thank you for your continued passion for making the lives of your clients better and putting smiles on EVERYONE'S face here at the club EVERY day!

If you have MS or know someone that has MS, please use the contact form below to find out more about how Picky may be able to help you with Aquatic Exercise Therapy at Worcester Fitness.

Rock Tape

By Roland Hamelin, Contributing Writer
Worcester Fitness 

Worcester Fitness Massage Therapist has been offering free Rock Tape seminars at Worcester Fitness lately and they've created quite a buzz amongst our more performance driven athletes.

What is Rock Tape?

According to the official Rock Tape web site ( RockTape.com ) :

"All of the effects of kinesiology tape came from the mechanical and neurosensory actions of the tape. When kinesiology tape is placed on the skin, some pretty cool things start to happen. Because of the stretchiness of the tape, it mechanically lifts and, in some cases, compresses the skin it is applied to. When you consider a cross-section of human skin and the underlying tissues, you see that each layer of tissue is connected to one beneath it through slips of tissue often referred to as, “skin ligaments.” Because of this, if you create a lifting effect with tape on the skin, this effect transfers to deeper layers, effectively decompressing the tissues beneath where the tape is applied."

Testimonial

..."some of you attended Steve's presentation last night as part of the Wellness series where I was able to get a demonstration of the Rock Tape process. All I can say is WOW - usually I have "cement " legs after a long run but I just got back from a 10 miler with Kate (she did 20!) and the calves feel AWESOME! Now I just need to find if it comes in a body suit! Check with Steve on what other services he offers runners and all athletes as we enter the busy race season!"

David Lamontagne, Worcester Fitness Member

Back Pain

"Had my back taped right before noon HD class. It is about 1 hr post class. Back pain at this point much less than normal. Looking forward to see how tomorrow will be after morning classes."

Mark Oliver, Worcester Fitness Member

Learn more

 

If you are interested in learning more about Rock Tape and how it can benefit you and your fitness performance, please contact us by filling out the contact form below!

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Personal Trainer Janine McCarthy

Worcester Fitness Nation welcomes Personal Trainer Janine McCarthy!

Janine returns to central Massachusetts after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania and her Master’s Degree in Adapted Physical Activity from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.

Janine is a Certified Disability Sport Specialist Level 1 with BlazeSports and a Certified Personal Trainer through NASM. She specializes in working with people who have either short term or long term disabilities.

Janine also specializes in rehabilitative exercises and athletic training geared towards clients looking to prevent future injuries and also improve their athletic performance. If you are interested in training with Janine or talking to her about your goals..send us a message!

https://worcesterfitness.com/personal-training/

SOMETHING NEW : LITTLE YOGIS!

Yoga in an active, safe, and inclusive environment that incorporates mindful movements and breathing techniques with stories and games. In this class every child will feel supported and encouraged.  It will help kids grow confidence, promote healthy bodies, coordination/balance, and improve concentration. In addition this will help preteens learn how to cope with the pressures of school, and emotional “ups and downs.”

 

INSTRUCTOR - DENLEIGH • Classes start April 11, 2017

Tuesday’s • 9:30am ages 2-5 • Wednesday’s 5pm ages 6-12
Free to members.  $10 for non members.

Sign Up

Practicing Yoga

By Robyn dos Santos, Yoga Instructor, Licensed Therapist and Counselor
Worcester Fitness 

As the winter months come to a close, many of us begin to plan a well-deserved vacation. Good vacations often include a chance to renew ourselves, to simply exist in a relaxing environment without the demands of everyday life and the expectations of others. We look forward to new experiences of our choice, and opportunities for play. We never want vacations to end.

Beginner's Mind

In many ways, the practice of yoga can be like a vacation from the stressors of life, the demands put upon our bodies and minds which can become excessive and cumulative. When we choose to enter a yoga practice with the simple intention of being curious and open to new experiences, free from expectations (called “a beginner’s mind’), each class has the potential to put us in touch with ourselves at a deeper level, increasing self-awareness of the sources and sensations of our stress.

Asanas

Practicing the yoga postures, (asanas) encourage us to attend to the multiple sensations; the slow, rhythmic movements of the body, as it moves in and out of the postures.  This asks us to be attentive to the present moment, the “here and now”.  It allows the opportunity to let go of repetitive thought patterns and worries.

The breathing component of yoga practice focuses on energizing and relaxing with the cycles of inhale/exhale.  This simple, yet profound action assists in releasing tension and improving vitality.

Relaxation

Finally, complete relaxation of body and mind allows for integration of the yoga practice on a more holistic, complete level.  For this reason, relaxation pose is often done as the final component of a yoga routine.

Yoga has often been described as a natural prescription for health and stress management.  It has numerous benefits, one of which is renewal at the levels of mind, body, and spirit.

Robyn dos Santos is a professional, licensed therapist and counselor.  She is a yoga instructor and therapist.