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Holiday Gift Certificates now in

It’s that time of year again. What do you get the person who has everything? Roland and I over at Eat Well Move Well write a yearly holiday gift suggestion post, where we share the best ideas in health and fitness – from tools to books!

I am offering gift certificates too! Nothing beats the experience of movement and education all wrapped in one! You know that at MOVEWELL STUDIO my goal is to give you not only the ability to move better in your body, but also to understand it better and to be a wiser steward to it.

Whether your friends and family need to improve posture or breathing, or they are looking to get more balance and strength, or beat nagging chronic pain, you can give them a beautifully wrapped gift certificate to see me. Perfect for your kids coming home for the holidays too!

gift certificate

Your friends and family live too far? I offer video sessions through Skype and all the services excluding NKT® can be used over the Internet!

All gift certificates can be redeemed through spring, so your gift can keep your loved ones warm for months!

If you have a special request, such as a group session or a workshop on a special topic, I will custom make a certificate for you at 30% off the regular price, so I get to contribute to your gift giving too!

Wishing you active, happy and joyful holidays!

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This is how we walk

walking group Rancho Santa Margarita

We’ve been talking about starting a walking group for a while now. Since we now live a few minutes from three fantastic walking locations, we decided it’s time to share our Saturday walk with clients and friends.

We started this free group to actively share one of our core beliefs – that walking is a God given right and we should all walk. Barring health obstacles, everyone who can put one foot in front of the other should be getting a significant amount of walking.

And not just any walking. Walking with friends, walking in a nature, walking with good form, all help maintain the many complex aspects of what comprises our vibrant health.

The next date for our walks is already set and it’s in my newsletter. If you don’t get that regularly, you can click the big blue envelope on the top right and subscribe.

In the meantime, enjoy your walks and see you on November 22, at 9 a.m. at the top of O’Neill Park at Montana and Danta, in RSM, CA.

Peace and move well 🙂


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4 weeks to conquer stress workshop series


I’ve been working hard on bringing you content in a way that is easy to digest, yet fun and engaging. I find that workshops in the past have helped many of my clients solidify knowledge, develop new skills and walk away with the confidence that they can apply those skills right away.

We all have stress, sometimes it feels like the daily pace of life overwhelms even the most resilient of us. We are fortunate to live in a time when we understand how to live a balanced life better and better. Expecting to perform daily, meet your own needs and needs of others, keep up with work, and on top of it, prepare and be ready for the holidays with all they add to our schedules, can really make us want to throw our hands in the air.

Now is the perfect time to start a practice of stress reduction. You don’t need to figure anything out on your own. I have developed a thorough and rich curriculum. Over 4 weeks, we will meet once a week and practice skills of relaxation, mindfulness, balancing exercises and simple techniques to help you feel in control of your days, so you can be yourself and enjoy the coming season to its fullest!

For a full description of the course, check out the file below. I have a few spots still open, so RSVP today!

4 Weeks to Conquer Stress

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Movement diet meets elimination diet

When you come to me for advice regarding your pain or performance, we take a very detailed look at your movement diet: that includes not only the brave times when you lift a kettlebell over your head, but also the times you sit, drive, push a stroller, lay on the couch, stretch, garden, do yoga etc. All of these movements comprise your diet.

In a usual session we do a number of assessments and I am often able to give you a few things to do at home. Roll on a ball, meet your foam roller, learn how to relax, breathe like this, do specific exercises to learn a skill that you’ve lost. So far so good.

You wake up the next day, pull out my list of healing suggestions, and do them. 30 minutes later, you are off, driving, pushing a stroller, swinging a kettlebell, sitting on your couch, yelling at your computer. You get it. We didn’t really modify your movement diet, we just added another dish to it.

Sometimes, that addition can be powerful. My husband and I coach nutrition clients and often we add omega 3s and do nothing else to their diet. That simple addition sheds pounds, improves mood and often solves nagging aches and pains.

If we are lucky, adding my movement prescription will be a miracle omega 3 supplement – you will feel better a few days or weeks after you start doing your “homework”.

Sometimes, this is not the case. Enter the elimination diet.

elimination diet

When we talk elimination in nutrition coaching, we remove the most obvious offenders, or foods that people tend to react negatively to. If after a month or so of eating real food you are still not feeling better, we go after the usual suspects and take out a few foods for a month. This gives your body time to take a breath of relief, heal from the possible assault of those foods and gives you a chance to feel better and get motivated to learn more about your body. Once the month is over, we start to introduce one food every 3 or 4 days to see how you react. Say on Monday you have some oatmeal, and you feel great the next few days. We take the oatmeal out and then try eggs. Feeling great with eggs? Fantastic! Let’s add some tomatoes!

There is a lot of value to this approach, because it makes you aware and very sensitive to how YOU react to the things YOU do. There is no therapist or doctor on the planet, who can look at you and honestly say he knows why your shoulder feels like someone is stabbing you with a knife. At best, we are all making an educated hypothesis. Then we devise a plan based on that hypothesis.

To give you an example, say I have shoulder pain. During the evaluation we find that there are a couple of muscles that need strengthening and I will be working on my whole body alignment as best as I can. I start my day by spending 30 minutes doing my strengthening and corrective exercises, go for a nice walk pushing the stroller, drop of the kids with the sitter and then I sit in my car for an hour. I keep driving with my shoulders up in my ears because traffic stresses me. Then I go to my bootcamp class in the lunch break. Then after work, I get the groceries and walk 10 blocks with them. Home, I cook, put the kids to bed, and crash.

The next morning, and many mornings later, my shoulder is still hurting. Is it the groceries? Is it the bootcamp? Is it the way my shoulders go up in my ears when I drive? I don’t know.

Is it the eggs, oatmeal or pasta? The only way to know is to do an elimination diet. Are you up for it?


The big toe matters

When I see a new client for the first time, much of the session can be spent explaining the mechanical causes of different aches and pains. See, when your knee hurts, the cause may be at the foot, ankle, hip, core function and honestly, anywhere in the body. The way our culture works, having knee pain has you putting on a knee brace or seeing a doctor for the knee problem, and oftentimes interventions only give temporary relief, because the root mechanical causes do not get addressed.

I encourage you to be continually curious about what makes you feel better and what makes your condition worse. I also encourage you to always ask questions, look for solutions and trust that the body can heal with appropriate help.

I wanted to share this fantastic video of Dr. Ray that word for word matches what I teach in my foot education sessions.


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Osteoporosis workshop take-aways


bones in the wrist get weak when all we do is type…

Workshops are my favorite way to teach alignment content : between sharing personal stories and good laughs and helping each other out with exercise technique, the information quickly becomes a part of our movement systems and we leave ready to apply it and reap the benefits.

This particular Saturday the weather was extra gloomy so we were all glad to be inside, cozy and ready to stretch and move well.

We started by sharing what everyone knows about osteoporosis: some of the words that came up were: vitamin D, Calcium, weight-bearing, Diet, walking, kyphosis, age, genetics, sports, teenagers, estrogen, menopause.  I am sure you’ve heard those words and even read whole articles and books about them.

While I pride myself on having some of the smartest and brightest students, one common factor eludes everyone: nutrition is not enough, one has to move in specific ways in order to strengthen bones where bones need it. And no, weight bearing does not mean walking with weights in your hands.

Enter Whole Body Alignment – the system that Restorative Exercise Specialists, like me, teach. It’s a very gentle way to reestablish relationships between muscles, joints and bones and allow the body to benefit from walking and other natural movement.

I’m sharing some of the most vital points we made during the session:

1. Stacking your body vertically and practicing whole body aligned walking is a great way to optimize bone loading without stress to the system. Spend as much of your sitting, standing and walking time vertically aligned – hip over ankles, chest over hips, head over shoulders.

2. It’s important to know your sites – for hip, wrist or spine (ribs) choose exercises appropriately. Walking will positively affect the whole body.

3. Eat plenty of veggies with your protein.

4. When you choose supplements look for one that contains K2 and D 3 alongside your Calcium/Magnesium. There are a number of K2/D3 combinations on the market you can take alongside your Calcium/Magnesium. Remember to count on food before supplements to get what you need.  For more information on vitamins and minerals, check Vitamin K2 interview with Kate Bleue

5. Practice your alignment exercises daily. Start with the calf stretch as you can do it anywhere and multiple times a day.

From how we stand to how we walk, to the types of shoes we choose, we have so much power to optimize our cellular health. The ladies who started with me last week are already moving better. Now waiting for those DEXA results to come back and rejoice!

have a great day and move well:


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Can you get off the floor?

Years ago one of my exercise teachers – a physical therapist, was telling a story about a patient he was seeing. They were doing some exercise on the floor. My teacher told him to get up, then turned around to take some notes. When he looked back he expected the dear Sir to be standing, but when he looked down he looked more like a helpless turtle waving arms and legs around, trying to get up and unable to figure out how to do it.

When my teacher asked the patient how long since he’d been on the floor, he admitted it had been more than 35 years, because since his kids grew up, well, there was no reason to go there.

My students know that I recommend couch abstinence (scares the heck out of them, even more than high heel abstinence). It’s not that I have some couch phobia, it’s just that the couch has become your place of passive rest for a large portion of your free time. When you look at your life you probably only get on the floor when you come to do a session with me. In the grand scheme of things this means you are spending a large portion of your day using joint angles and ranges of motion that are the same over and over again and you don’t let your body experience any different.

Why care? Let’s look at your home. If you only cleaned 1/5 of it every day and you clean the same part every day, eventually the rest 4/5 part of your home will become pretty dusty, and will probably start to smell bad too. Noone will want to go there and eventually you will start losing some friends (all the while gaining some dust mites).

Think of your body the same way – when you are only stimulating a small portion of your physical home, other parts of it go dying. In fitness people say: ”use it or lose it”. If you care about the health of your tissues, and the regeneration of every cell, wouldn’t you like for your cells to be getting an equal chance to get blood flow, oxygen, clean out cell waste and get signals from your nervous system? Who wouldn’t want that?

This morning I taught my weekly Move Well class at Athlete’s Choice (you can come and try it free anytime!). The ladies who attended, who I love dearly, had heard me speak at an event two weeks ago, and remembered a study I mentioned about being able to get off the floor relating to health and mortality outcomes.

Below you can see how the study was done, and listen to beautiful Portuguese while enjoying the subtitles!

In the beginning of class I promised we would do some getting up off the floor at the end. What started as guesswork and figuring out which the easier side to get up off was, soon turned into a pretty cool game of getting up. Needless to say, my students were able to learn how to confidently get up.

Note: I am not so sold on the no knee get ups and I do like to use kneeling to get up for a lot of things, especially when mobility is lacking, however the video does provide a great goal for most of us to strive for.

Now you are possibly thinking one of two things: ”I can get off the floor effortlessly, this is not for me!”. I am glad, and I encourage you to keep exploring whole body healthy movement so you can keep improving. Keeping strength to weight ratio appropriate by also learning how to hang. Now if you are finding getting on and off the floor challenging, I urge to you to start exploring your floor.

You can sit on the floor itself or use multiple different cushions and props. It’s ok, just go couch less for a few weeks and write me to tell me how you are doing.  Are you super excited about learning more about this paradigm of loading your body differently? Go here!

Move well, and talk to you soon!


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Build your bones workshop May 24

What are the most common sites with low bone density in the body? Ribs, wrists, hips, spine.


In recent months I have seen a number of middle ages clients who got injured doing well intended but improperly planned exercise in the gym, mostly trying to do ”weight bearing” activities to reverse or prevent bone loss.

When you think of ”weight bearing” you may naturally think of lifting weights, but honestly, how much exercise can you do in a week? How much energy do you have for it and are you really loading the sites that need strengthening?

You can read all about Wolff’s law here, but in short, bones respond to specific loads, not just any load.

I invite you to learn more and do more to preserve your bones on May 24, at 10:00 a.m. We will spend a little over 2 hours covering some basic principles of bone loading, as well as learning specific exercises that will help you prevent and reverse bone loss.

I only have a few spots open, so you can call me or write me to save your spot.

You can see the build your bones workshop brochure here for further information!

I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks, until then, move well 🙂


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Managing your day’s energy

This morning, one of my clients mentioned that she loves the exercises  I have prescribed for homework, but it seems like there is never a good time to do them.

”First I walk, then I come back and I am hungry, and then by the time I eat my snack and clean up, I am too tired to do anything else…”

photo 5-2

You can fit in exercise during your walk as well!

I proposed that we manage her essential exercises by splitting them in two short bouts of 15 minutes that she can do before her walk and later in the day, so she has a better chance of doing them.

As she left, I was thinking of my own routine. There are times during the day when I feel energized and I have 20 or 30 minutes to really apply myself to the harder exercises in my program, such as hanging, swinging, handstands, one leg balances. At other times all I can do is do twists on the floor and psoas release laying on my bolster.

Recognizing the type and amount of energy you have is a great self observation skill to develop, as it allows you to take care of yourself better, but it also lets your body adapt positively to the exercises and movement you have chosen.

So tomorrow, instead of doing an hour of your homework, why don’t you do the harder exercise when you have more desire to move and then leave the stretches and mat work for your afternoon tea time. Let me know how that worked and keep moving well!


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Have body, will travel

Take your coffee with heavy cream or other fats to help with dehydration. Of course with plenty of water on the side.

Take your coffee with heavy cream or other fats to help with dehydration. Of course with plenty of water on the side.

Last fall, I spent over 60 hours in the air, and it took about a month to feel fully recovered physically. I did not fall apart or anything, it’s just old aches and pains reared their furry heads. On top of it, I was in a minor car accident, where the guy hit my car from the left (left neck tightness for months, anyone?). All of this in the midst of 60 hours of air time and teaching, traveling and not having enough self care time.

I am in the midst of a busy season now, with some flying thrown in for good measure. While some flights are short (like getting to Seattle and then being on the ferry and sitting in a car), they are also kind – at the end you land in a house full or Restorative Exercise Institute staff and you stretch for hours every day undoing what damage travel has done. Others are not so kind – as being in transit between LA and Sofia, a total of 21 hours of sitting, and some walking, interspersed with stretching for good measure.

This time around I decided to start preparing for flying earlier. Here’s what I did:

  1. The night before I had a foot and neck massage. The Chinese guy nextdoor to us swears I am one of the few westerners who can handle traditional Chinese massage, which he lovingly calls ‘’ no pain no gain massage’’. He beat me up well, and my neck felt amazing after. Deep tissue is like a mother’s kiss compared to what Andy’s (his real name, ya?) hands feel like. All loosened up and ready to go.
  2. The morning of the flight I had some extra water and creamtop yogurt and almonds for breakfast. Flying is extremely dehydrating and making sure you have enough fat and water in your system is key. This is also my excuse for slathering coconut oil all over my face and neck the night before the flight.
  3. A bit before leaving the house I did a serious psoas release and chest opening followed by laying in the sun on the ground for some gentle grounding. How about this for a though? What if you matched your flight time with grounding time? While I will probably not match the time, I will still do my best to spend some time with bare feet in the grass.
  4. I packed balls for foot work during waiting. I personally love the Melt kits, but even a good old tennis ball will do the trick. While standing around the airport lounge, I did some foot massage and got my feet all mobile after sitting for hours.
  5. I stretched on the plain and at the airport. Here’s the deal: even if you look like a total freak there is a slim chance you will ever see  these people again. (Just like those people who got to look into my suitcase as I was unloading it to meet the baggage limit). Got a good look at my backside doing a double calf stretch? You are welcome!
  6. I took my FitBit with me to measure how much walking I did at the airport. Being conscious of my walking I did 6000 steps in LA and another 9000 in Munich. That’s 6 miles total for me in 24 hours which most people spend doing zero miles.  And yes I did stairs instead of elevators. Being at the airport is a chance to move, not an excuse to sit. Of course I have the freedom of no kids in my care while I travel and while I realize not everyone travels alone, you can always walk, sit in various stretchy ways on the floor and play games with the kids.
  7. I slept a lot before and after – sleep deprivation seems to be what gets people the most – between the stress of flight, the dehydration and the tension of getting places on time and packing your mobile life in a suitcase – you may find yourself overreacting to the smallest challenges. Sleeping builds resilience, so I made extra time to sleep and supplement with magnesium.

What about you? How do you manage flying and traveling in general? While self care is a pattern in my life that I keep working on, I have finally decided traveling will not be an excuse to leave my body uncared for.