Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I have put together a remarkable, 12-week fitness program targeted to meet the unique and specific needs of performing artists. My JAGfit program meets three times per week for 12 weeks. Each week we’ll have an Energy Flow session which is devoted to strength building and fat burning, one Yoga Tune Up® session which is devoted to stretching and toning muscles and joints for optimum functionality and one Nia session which is devoted to creative, expressive movement. The combination of these sessions establishes a superior level of fitness and will translate into being ‘at ease’ in one’s own body, moving gracefully and being fully, emotionally present in one’s body while moving.

Although this program was put together specifically for the actor and other performing artists, it is certainly appropriate for the general population, too. Performing artists have to rise to some specific challenges and demands in order to excel in their craft. They must be able to move freely and easily, which requires the body to be strong and flexible. They must be able to project with a loud and relaxed voice, while moving freely, and must be able to use their bodies to express emotion.

Being creative while being “in the body” is a skill that can be developed.
This program will develop that skill and, at the same time, improve all-around fitness

During the course we’ll have many sessions devoted to:
Voice control
Breath strength and control
Body strength
Easy, flowing movement
Expressive, creative movement
Emotionally connected movement

We’ll have sessions devoted to:

Tai Chi movement
Alexander Technique
the work of Moishe Feldenkrais
Ai Ki Do movement
Tae Kwon Do movement
Jazz dance
Modern dance
Free dancing
X-ray Anatomy
Five Stages of Self Healing and Human Development based on Stanley Keleman's Emotional Anatomy work

We’ll focus on:

Gaining useable strength
Losing excess fat
Improving flexibility
Moving with ease and confidence
Being connected to our bodies in a creative, loving way

By the end of the 12 weeks you will have:
Learned many techniques for meditation / relaxation
Learned warm up and cool down techniques that you can use before and after rehearsal or performance
Learned proper body mechanics for moving the:
Focused on the base (legs and hips)
Focused on the core (spine, pelvis, chest and head)
Focused on the shoulders, arms and hands
Your own workout program that requires no equipment and that you can take with you to stay in shape on the road; even when there is no gym available
Learned and perfected a full, personal yoga practice

This program can also include an optional “Bliss Out” workshop on self-massage using therapy balls. Anyone attending the workshop will receive a pair of these fantastic self-care tools to keep. This technique replicates a full body, deep tissue massage and is indispensable for anyone who works with their body and needs move freely, easily and pain-free.

Here is an example of what a Nia class could be like:

Here is a video with testimonials of students of Yoga Tune Up®

And here is a description of what the Energy Flow workout is like and where it came from:

Attendance to every session is not required, however, for the best results, one would attend every session. Missing sessions now and then will not prevent anyone from gaining and improving fitness and learning valuable information, skills and tools that will be useful throughout their career and their lives.

This program is valued at $900 without the Bliss Out workshop. With the workshop the value is $950.

I am offering this to theater companies free of charge!

Here’s what I need to make it work:

You supply the space. A rehearsal room is ideal. Ideally, it would have sprung wood floors and at least one mirrored wall, but that’s not crucial. I would like to have 2000 square feet, but again, I can often make it work with what you have.

There are no costs for you. Anyone from your staff or company is eligible to participate. I just ask that each person registers with me and pays a one-time $15 registration fee. Anyone who isn’t a company or staff member can participate at my regular class rate.

The way I am able to offer this program to your company free of charge is by inviting students in from the general public who would pay my regular class rate. I typically have an average of 2 to 5 students per class. I will bill these students directly.

Please consider how beneficial this program would be to your company. Administrative staff members would also benefit a great deal. Studies have shown that regular exercise improves mood, lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety and improves work performance. Other benefits include improved sleep, improved digestion and more energy throughout the day. Having a complete fitness program on location helps improve consistency which, in turn, improves results.

Get in touch with me and let’s talk about getting this program going at your theater.

All the best

Saturday, March 13, 2010

notes from Bliss Out Playshop - March 2010

We spent two hours rolling out our muscles using the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls. There were moments of sweet agony, anxiety sweat and endorphin highs. My goal was that the playshop inspires you to make a daily habit of exploring ways to roll out your tension.

First, a bit about the use and care of the balls. With a bit more give than a tennis ball, the soft, pliable rubber texture of these balls perfectly mimic the touch of a human. Being a natural material, they will decompose over time. You may notice them becoming softer and softer over time and eventually you’ll want to replace them. You can prolong their life by keeping them away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. So don’t store them outside, or in your car, or leave them sitting out all day. I keep mine wrapped in my yoga blanket.

As I have said, the balls will tend to release your muscle tension pretty instantaneously. If you’re working on a muscle that doesn’t seem to be giving up, it may be a sign that there is a bigger issue going on, as was the case in my 2009 injury. Be careful that you don’t exacerbate an aggravated muscle with excessive pressure if it’s not releasing.

Here is a list of the muscles, how we found them, how we rolled them out and some of the body actions we did to activate the “pin and stretch” or other massage techniques:

Piriformis - between the sacrum and the greater trochanter* - one leg at a time - tased & bicycle motion

Gluteus Medius - just below the posterior ilaic crest - tased, tiny hip circles, lift leg with external rotation, air bicycles

Tensor Fascia Latae - when you put your hands in your jeans pocket, your palms are on this muscle - laying on your side, chug

Iliotibial Band - the adidas stripe from your knee to your greater trochanter - roll the length

Hamstrings - put the ball at the “sits” bone attachment and roll the length of the hamstrings

Calves - place the ball in the knee pit and sit on your heels, move the ball down and do three or four different spots

Calves - sawing action in the space between the shin bone and the calf muscle, rolling on top of a ball and squishing the other ball into your calf from the top

Achilles tendon - pinch the tendon between the balls and make ankle circles

Feet - place the ball just forward of your heel. Keep your heel on the ground and crush the ball, trying to get your feet all the way down. use the other foot to stretch the top.
squeeze the ball with your toes and practice picking it up.

Bunion Fixer - heels together. ball at the bunion. hold the little toes down and lift the big toes up, then use your hands or a big rubber band to pull the big toes towards each other

Forearms - sawing action, using the mesh bag for more traction

Trapezius - in the bridge position, chug and shimmy, tased, phantom arms, mommy pick me up, hug yourself and tilt, stick your thumb in the ground overhead

Seven points along the inner aspect of the scapula - all the arm positions mentioned above

Mid back - the bra line, crunches and pulling one leg into the chest

Lower back - just above the crest of the pelvis, pelvic tilts

Quadratus Lumborum - deep side lower back muscle that I stuck my thumb into, drop the leg to one side and ‘bite’ the ball by sideways bending at the waist

the Rotator cuff series:
Supraspinatus - above the spine of the scapula, same arm movements as in Trapezius

Infraspinatus - below the spine of the scapula, same arm movements as in Trapezius

Subscapularis - this muscle is flush against the front aspect of your scapula, we put the ball on the ground and laid on it and then stuck our hand in the armpit area to make a subscapularis sandwich

Teres Major and Minor - posterior, lateral aspect of your armpit, the cleopatra position with a little chug

Occiput - the back, lower aspect of your skull, where your head meets your neck.

Third Eye - rest on it

Orbital space - eye socket

All around the face and scalp including above and below the jawbone*.

The SternoCleidoMastoid, neck muscle that goes from the rear of your jaw just behind your ear to the medial aspect of your collarbone, rolling ball in hand.

Subclavius - just below the collarbone* - we put a brick on the ground and laid on it, roll just beneath the collarbone along the length of the bone

Pectoralis Minor - from the anterior aspect of the shoulder to three ribs in the middle of each pec major muscle. Face down, arm movements, palm down lifting out to the side perpendicular to your body, and with palm up lifting arm right by your side.

*beware of a nerve highway in this area. If you land on it, you’ll feel an electrical ZING. Just move over a bit to the left or the right and the ZING will go away

Keep exploring. What I showed you is not everything. The more you play around with the balls, the more you will discover ways to roll out your tension and roll in your bliss.

If you're interested in getting more balls, please contact me. I can also offer private lessons in the rolling technique.

A set of balls and a private lesson makes a wonderful gift. The balls are $10 a pair and the private lesson is $147.

I will also be having another Bliss Out Playshop this summer. If you're on my mailing list, you will be notified.