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Hope in Times of Fear. Obstacles Make us Stronger.

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Hope. The sky is alive with light tonight as I look towards our beautiful Malibu from Santa Monica. Our community is reeling from the effects of the wildfires this week.  I am moved by the grace of our heroic first responders and community members reaching out to one another.  I am personally so grateful to loving friends who have provided me and my dog with a home away from home, the Air BNB Open Homes Program and the lovely family that has opened their space to me here for shelter, the pilates community that welcomes me to teach my Malibu students here in Santa Monica, (thank you Pilates on Pico and Sandpiper Pilates) so that we can work and move forward through all of this.

Finding myself in the open, loving arms of beautiful friends in Santa Monica as I fled from the Malibu Fires was a beautiful gift. Thank you dear friends, Kira, Barb, Eric, and Marlowe for welcoming me. Providing shelter, friendship, insight and patience. What a delight to share morning walks, stories, ideas, and playtime with you! You have a very special place in my heart forever. Your kindness and radiant spirits are ever inspiring.

I am most grateful for the Grace that saved our stronghold Malibu Fitness, and the warrior spirit within us all.  I look forward to beginning together again at Malibu Fitness when living and working conditions are restored.  Malibu we are strong, we are grateful, we unite, and we bring light to the darkness. Thank you to our valiant community that is working round the clock to rebuild, recover, and reinvent.  We become stronger with each obstacle we rise above.

Movement is Medicine. Thank you to Live Athletics for giving me the gift of working out with them today while I am in fire evacuation mode. Hope all of you out there recovering from the fires are safe, and finding ways to take excellent care of yourselves, especially now.  Once shelter is in place, prioritize optimal movement, nourishing food, quality sleep and positive mindset to create vital energy for yourself.  We will all need this energy to rebuild together and to rise optimally again.

Thank you Fire Fighters for your heroic work. So much sorrow for all who have lost. Gratitude for lives saved. Good intentions being sent to all. Be safe. We will rebuild our strong, beautiful community together.

Love and light to all,

Jennifer

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Adventures in Croatia

Exploration invigorates the mind, body and spirit.  Lured by photos of the crystalline azure blue waters, rugged coastlines, and the rich history of Croatia, I envisioned a journey to this land quite some time ago.  Led by my curious spirit and insights from Lonely Planet and Rick Steve’s guidebooks, I am very grateful to have realized this dream.  Welcomed by the Croatian people, I found them to be truly lovely, with warrior spirits.  As a solo traveler, I felt very safe here and was astounded by the low levels of crime.   Here, I include some notes and photos from my travels, hoping to inspire and empower you to envision your dreams in vibrant detail, determine the steps to make them happen,  and to take action!  The rewards of exploring the unknown, and creating new connections around the world are invaluable.

 

 

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Day 1; Dubrovnik, I love you. Majestic natural beauty, warrior spirits and rich culture meet here. Tonight Old Town Dubrovnik is alight with the magic of the Dubrovnik Philharmonic’s Jazz performance. Music and movement are everywhere!

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Day 2: We were blessed with one of the most stunning sunsets of the season tonight in Dubrovnik, according to locals. From the top of Mt Srd by Napolean’s fortress, a group of us perched on rocks along the mountainside watching the colors dance across the expansive sky above the bustling city and ports below. Possibilities are endless with such inspiring beauty.

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Day 3: Hiking the magical island of Lokrum, with peacocks and rabbits guiding my way. Beauty is everywhere. May curiosity lead you to beautiful discoveries today.

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You are powerful. Create the life you want to live. Keep moving and seeking discoveries of your highest potential everywhere. Step into the unknown. Happy weekend to all!!

 

 

“In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.” Yuval Noah Harari. Playing on the mystical island of Lokrum, I am enjoying clarity and living by the Primal Blueprint laws of spending time in nature, moving frequently at a slow pace, being in radiant sunshine, and playing! Swimming sprints sprinkled in with primal essential movements create optimal energy to discover new places and connect with the fascinating people of Croatia. Croatian fare of grilled fish, squid, vegetables and roasted lamb are primal delicacies to enjoy here.  Thank you Brian Johnson (www.optimize.me), for your ever inspiring work, and encapsulating Harari’s ideas so optimally! Fabulous to travel with. Wishing you all a revitalizing weekend and times of clarity.

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Day 5: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain.” Vivian Greene. Indeed, that is what happens here in Hvar.  In this land of lavender and sailing ships we all danced, played and laughed together in the downpour, celebrating life! Following a five month dry spell, this storm created rivers in the streets and waterfalls from the rooftops.

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Dance wherever you go.  In the Hvar Town Fortress . Happy World Ballet Day 2018.

 

 

 

Day 7: Revitalization in the fragrant forests of Plitvice National Park, waterfalls cascading powerfully all around into crystalline pools below. Wonder. Astonishment. Go after your dreams with a bold spirit, a courageous heart, and a curious mind.

Vitality evolves when living by the Primal Blueprint Laws: moving frequently at a comfortable pace, eating nourishing plants and animals, enjoying adequate sunlight and time in nature, using your brain, avoiding stupid mistakes and toxins, lifting heavy things, sprinting once in a while, and getting adequate sleep.   These are powerful laws to live by, especially in the midst of such majestic nature and while navigating the puzzles that international travels present.

Move out of your comfort zone. Expand your horizons. And climb one step higher towards your goals each day.  Wishing you revitalizing time moving forward in all your explorations this weekend, and ever more.

Here’s to vitality!

Best to all,

Jennifer

Pilates in the Sun and Sand! Triple Your Benefits.

08/13/2018

As Coach Mark Sisson teaches us, follow the wisdom of the Primal Blueprint Laws: Spend Time in Nature and Get Adequate Sunlight. Feet in the sand, and cool ocean breezes amidst the warmth of radiant summer sun. Sounds delightful, right? And science documents how this is essential to optimal health. Barefoot time in the sand not only enhances the health of the immune system and gut microbiome, but also connects one to the Earth’s electrical field (“Earthing” or “Grounding”), reducing inflammation throughout the body. Negative ions generated when air molecules are split by solar radiation, wind or water energize the body at a cellular level. Isn’t it invigorating to go for a walk in the wind, the rain, or by the ocean? Negative ions are at work, revitalizing your brain and body with restorative energy.
Our bodies rely on sunlight to convert cholesterol into Vitamin D, an essential hormone that regulates cell growth, calcium metabolism, immune, cardiac and neurological function. Vitamin D is a key regulator of gene expression, and plays a pivotal role in preventing cancer. The best way to optimize Vitamin D levels in the body is with a 10-20 minute sunbathing session mid day, with attention to never burn.

Ability to make Vitamin D varies with latitude, angle of the sun, skin pigmentation, area of exposure, and reflective surfaces. It is important to protect overexposed areas of the body such as the hands, shoulders and face with a zinc based non toxic cream that blocks UVA rays, and/or clothing. Aim for a tan, not a burn!

It is fascinating to note that for every skin cancer diagnosis due to overexposure to sunlight, there are 55 diagnoses due to insufficient sunlight. Be smart. Enjoy the sun and time outdoors. Use your brain, play, and enjoy the gift of powerful, beautiful movement!

Best to all,

Jennifer

Primal Blueprint Law; Lift Heavy Things

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08/06/2018

Great to see you, Coach Sisson! Thanks for dropping by the pilates studio today at Malibu Fitness.   Here, Mark demonstrates how to Lift Heavy Things in a new dimension with the pilates trapeze. Excellent form and core power! From this reverse plank, pull ups are performed with attention to stabilization of the core, and shoulder and hip joints. Lift heavy things 2-3 times a week as part of an intelligent movement program. Start with your own body weight and the Primal Essential Movements: planks, squats, push ups and pull ups, scaled to your personal ability. And most of all, have fun feeling your power!!

The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid

The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid points to Vitality! Nourishing ourselves with nutrient dense foods, consisting of primarily vegetables by volume, but meat/fish/fowl/eggs and healthy fats by caloric density, and topped off by sensible indulgences (💖dark chocolate!) provides the foundation for all systems to rise to the highest potential.  Just say NO to sugar, grains, and chemically refined veggie oils and feel your energy, mood, performance, immune function and clarity elevate!

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The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid

08/06/2018

Are you seeking vitality, lean body composition, longevity, great energy and disease prevention?? Here is the answer from the fitness perspective, Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid. With just the right balance of intelligent movement, nourishing whole food, quality rest and positive mindset, we can reprogram our gene expression towards thriving health.  As a Primal Health Coach, I guide people to understand the science behind optimal health, and empower them to achieve their personal goals to living with vitality.

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Here’s to enjoying radiant health!

Jennifer

 

Learning From Injuries: How to Quickly Turn Frustration into Empowerment

07/16/2018

One’s identity as an athlete can be shattered when injury prevents optimal performance.  As a professional dancer and lifelong athlete, I have pushed my body to extremes time and again.  I have sustained injuries in almost every part of my body and I am very familiar with the frustration, stress and anger that can ensue.

 

Early in my career, I realized the power of mindset to shift away from anger/frustration at myself, my body, and my environment, towards seeing obstacles as a way to grow stronger, more resilient, and adaptable.  This has been transformational not only to my performance, but also to my life experience.   I hope that by writing this, I can inspire others to discover this power in themselves.

 

Guided by the brilliant work of some of my favorite authors, Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch, I learned pivotal ideas about turning injury and setbacks into opportunities to excel, simply by shifting my mindset. Their book, Thinking Body Dancing Mind, TaoSports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business and Life, moved me deeply. The following passage inspired me to shift the way I approached injuries and to rebalance my life, towards healthier, more effective training;

 

“In your state of relaxation, imagine your pain.  This suffering has come your way to enable you to bring about positive change in your sport and training program. This injury is a challenge, a blessing in disguise.  With this new way of viewing the injury, you are ready to hear what meaning it has in your life. Do not ask, ‘Why does it hurt so much? Why did it happen to me?’ Rather ask, ‘What is this pain telling me? Why is it here at this time?’….Your injury is nature’s way of reminding you that you deserve a rest.  …Focus on your life, and put your sport in perspective with everything else…Permit your body to relax and rest and follow its natural healing process.  See yourself healing and whole, and carry this image with you, brining it up at least five times a day.”

 

By visualizing an injury as a messenger, I learned to ask what lesson it had for me.  What can I learn from this?  How can I use this to my advantage and begin to train more effectively?  Am I overtraining?  Not sleeping optimally?  Not investing enough time in recovery?  Can I be more strategic in my training? Smarter about what I am doing? Is my ego taking priority over intelligent training, rest, recovery, nourishment, hydration and stress response?  Is this an opportunity to rest and develop other parts of my life that I have sacrificed for my sport such as relationships, play, spending time in nature, studies, travel, or rest?

 

Following this inner dialogue, I learned to thank this messenger, befriending it, and thereby turning around a cascade of stress hormones into a more calm, introspective, healing state.   I would bid the messenger farewell, appreciate the lesson, and commit to proactive steps to growing stronger physically and mentally.  I learned to shift my mindset; Injury was not happening to me, rather I was creating an imbalance and my body’s alarm signals were going off.  By owning this, I held the power to turn it around, to create a more optimal life, and heal to be stronger than ever.

 

When facing injury, it is essential to seek the help of professionals (doctors, physical therapists, pilates teachers, health coaches, biomechanists and others) who can explain the science of healing, and who instill hope.  The scientific power of hope is undeniable.  Part of this includes recalling times when you have previously healed from injuries.  And studying the stories of other professionals who have healed from an injury you may currently be facing.  Know that it can be done, it has been done, and it will be done if you set your mind to it and invest in the correct information and strategy.  Essential to the process is committing to the fundamentals of health: nourishing anti-inflammatory food, intelligent movement, quality rest and positive mindset.  This allows the body to build its internal healing machinery and surge forward with power.

 

Every time we shift from a threat response to a positive challenge response, we create new circuits in our nervous system and a new balance of neurotransmitters.  We can learn to change our own brain with constructive thought patterns. See my previous blog entry on rewiring the brain with the science of positivity for more strategies.

 

Some of my other favorite books on creating a champion mindset include;

Spirit of the Dancing Warrior, by Lynch and Al Huang

The Way of the Champion, by Lynch

Body Mind Mastery, by Dan Millman

Working Out, Working Within, by Lynch and Al Huang

Everyday Enlightenment, by Dan Millman

 

As an athlete, one’s identity can be shattered by an injury.  Yet with a shift in mindset, we can use injury as an opportunity to grow stronger mentally and physically, to expand our identity, to be more resilient, adaptable, and to diversify our lives.  All of which lead to ultimately enhancing peak performance.  And to living more meaningful, empowering, fulfilling lives.

Create Solutions. Turn injuries into opportunities.  And set your mind and body to optimal living.

Best to all,

Jennifer