Chapel House Studios

Chapel House Studios
Station Road,
Totnes, Devon UK TQ9 5HW

http://www.chapelhousestudios.com

info@chapelhousestudios.com

01803 866461

Classes offered: Ballet, Latino Dancercise, Contemporary, Tap, Belly Dance, Dance and Stretch

Description via website: “‘We believe dance, movement and holistic practices are powerful vehicles for change. As you witness your body developing strength, you start to believe in your own potential.’Live a life you love in a body you love. Chapel House Studios opened in early 2012. The exciting initiative was derived from a very real need for town centre, beautifully maintained, clean space, that was specifically designed to host dance, fitness and holistic practices.”


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Squats Challenge and Splits Challenge

Although I’ve loved doing challenges (ab challenges, splits challenges, you name it), I’ve been horrible at actually keeping up with them. This time I have some fellow bloggers keeping me motivated with this awesome 30 day Squat challenge, and a competition with HQ of Run Play Sleep (my boyfriend) to keep me motivated to get my splits.

30 Day Squat Challenge

Syreeta of Sincerely Syreeta started this challenge on Instagram and invited other people to join her so we could keep ourselves motivated. Today is my Day 3.

squatchallenge

I’ve split my squats between plie/sumo squats and normal body weight squats.

If you’re interested in joining us, you can learn more and connect with Syreeta on Twitter. Read more about Syreeta in my interview with her for Campus Philly.

Splits Challenge

This is more a competition than it is a challenge. Hq and I are competing by safely stretching every day to see who can get their splits first. The person who achieves them first owes the other a dinner out. I’ll be posting updates relatively frequently on this challenge.

How do you motivate yourself? Do you participate in challenges like diet bets and 30 day challenges?

Stretching Series: Stretching Tips and The Back

In my previous posts, as well as on the Adult Ballerina Project Facebook,  I mentioned that I would be doing a post on stretching. I got some good requests and feedback on what type of stretches you’d like to see and I decided that rather than squeeze it all into a horrible 5 page long post or a short one without pictures that I’d do a series instead. So this will be the first of my stretching series and I’m starting with my favorite part of the body to stretch: The back!

83eb6bb7f3e5113d03859d2cf0cfcc79Before we begin with that, I’d like to give some of my general tips on stretching.

1. Bundle up. Ok, this may sound really unpleasant. Especially because it’s summer. But this has been a huge help in increasing my flexibility. When I stretch I typically wear tights, legwarmers, shorts, sweatpants, a leotard, and a sweater. As I heat up, I strip layers but I tend to leave my legwarmers and shorts on to keep my legs and hips nice and toasty. One word of caution if you do decide that this tip is something you’d like to try… don’t overdo it. Make sure you’re hydrated and that you’re not pouring sweat. It should serve to help get and keep your muscles warm, not to make you pass out from heat stroke.

2. Warm up for your warm up. This may sound silly but when I stretch I like to walk around the room fast for a few minutes, do a few jumping jacks, or something similar. Getting your blood flowing just a little bit will help your muscles warm up and be more flexible.

3. Use Therabands to help add some resistance or to help you grab your leg when your arms cant quite reach yet.

4. Make good use of fences, counters, doorways, couches. I love to stretch my legs out by just resting one on my counter like its a barre. When I’m at hotels I use the door frame to help me stretch my back out. Be creative and use whatever is safe that you can use to help aid you in stretching.

5. Don’t push yourself too far. Stretch just enough for a little discomfort and hold for 15 seconds. Then next time hold for 20, then 30 and so on. When it becomes “easy”, then push yourself a little farther and repeat the process. This will keep you from torn muscles.

6. If you’re having a stiff day, stretch after a warm bath.

7. You might not look like the hot babes in the yoga pictures you found online- and that’s ok! I get annoyed with this all the time. I imagine myself doing a stretch I see online and when I do it it looks TOTALLY different (and much less cute) than the pictures I saw. But lets get real- that’s what the person in the picture does for a living and they usually have also sat through hair and makeup (and get touched up) and are taking a full day to take like five pictures. Stretching isn’t about the visual product as much as it is making sure that your body is flexible and ready for dancin’.

Ok so now I’ll start with my favorite back stretches. I do these almost daily, if not twice daily. I have found that my posture has totally changed with these stretches and that my arabesque and port de bras have also improved as well.

back2

 

1. (Left to right) I start with a cobra pose focusing on keeping my shoulders down and pushing up with my sternum rather than my lower back.

2. Once I’ve reached that pose and have held it for about 30 seconds or longer, I bring my feet up as close to my head as I can get them. It’s ok if you can’t get them to your head yet, just keep trying by bringing them up as high as you can.

3. I always like to reverse my stretches. When I stretch one muscle group, I stretch the opposing muscle group. I find that this helps me avoid soreness and keeps me from having any part of my body from being more flexible one way than the other. Soooo, to reverse these back stretches I do a cat pose, remembering to pull up from the back as well as pushing up from the core.

back

 

4. From there I turn over and do a back bend, feet and hands flat on the floor. After holding as long as you’re able between 15 and 30 seconds.

5. Slowly go down onto your elbows one at a time. I like to put my hands together in the center but you can also put them parallel to each other on the ground. Start by staying on flat feet and holding for a few seconds, then go up on demi pointe. Hold.

6. Walk your feet outward as far as you can to see if you can straighten your legs. I’m still unable to straighten completely but I’m getting there. I find that the easiest way to get out of this pose is to just keep sliding until you’re laying on your back.

7. Last I like to lay on my back and sort of just wiggle around, loosening everything back up. It seems super counter intuitive that stretching would make you tight, right? But I’ve noticed that sometimes with back stretches, your back wants to revert back to it’s previous happy place right away after you’ve pushed it so I just roll out my back, twist around, and try to loosen it back up before I go about my business. 

This is also a great video that can be really helpful. Click here.

What stretches do you do to increase your back flexibility/strength? Also, what parts of the body do you want to see stretches for in this series? (I know that we got one request for knee stretching and I will be certain to get that done!)

Happy Stretching!

**Keep in mind, these are just MY favorite stretches and you definitely need to make sure are careful trying anything new.

Dealing with Sore Muscles

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The best thing you can do is stretch

Oh boy! I just finished my first class in a few weeks and I am hurtin’! It was a really strange circumstance of me leaving my studio just in time for the new studio to be closed for two weeks, then I was out of town. So It had been three weeks of no structured class. I have been stretching and trying to practice at home as much as possible but I think that there is definitely something to be said for the rigor of a structured class. I got to class a bit early to stretch and speak with the instructor and thought I was ready for anything- I couldn’t have been more wrong! Haha. It still surprises me, adjusting to my body as an adult and how it works, to see how just a little break in activity can send me right back to square one (okay maybe like square five, but still not where I was at!). I got home a sweaty mess, plopped down on the bed, and told my fianc√© that I know I need to eat but I’m not sure how to go about it because 1. I can’t move my legs and 2. I’m nervous that the second I put food into my mouth I might throw up. Ok, I’m slightly dramatic but I really was whooped! I knew that I instantly needed to get on top of making sure my muscles don’t tighten up much because I knew if I didn’t I probably would be in a world of hurt tomorrow. I thought I’d share a few of my tips for avoiding that next day of crying when you drop your keys because you know how much it will hurt to pick them back up. ūüėČ

1. Stretch it out: I like to lay on my back on the floor, stick my leg straight up at a 90 degree angle and just make slow circles of varying sizes with it. The slow motion really makes you stretch it out. Then I bring my leg straight over across my body for a while, bend it for a while, then I bring my knee to my chest. I also like to borrow some yoga moves like these here.¬†I particularly love doing the cat, cow, child, and half downward dog because they feel so relaxing but they also really do stretch those muscles out. The key is to keep stretching throughout the day so that the lactic acid doesn’t settle in your muscles which is what makes you sore. It seems like the most obvious tip but I also think that it’s the first we forget.

2. Soak! I love a good, warm Lush Bath Bomb (or essential oil) and epsom salt bath. I find the that the combination of heat and scent take the epsom salt to the next level because you’re not just relaxing your muscles but your mind too. Personally, I get super stressed from being so busy and having a stressed mind leads to a tense body and there’s no amount of salt that can take that away. So lock the bathroom door, tell the kids or partner that you’re out of commission for 20 minutes and relax! I also enjoy partaking in a good foot soak, perfect for a dancer. I love trying new “recipes” that I find on pinterest. Today I tried one with green tea, baking soda, vinegar and epsom salt. The result wasn’t too pretty… the water, well it looked a little gross. However, my feet felt AMAZING after.

3. Enlist a loved one for a massage! This is self-explanatory and can be fun!

4.¬†Fuel your body properly. This one is hard. There are so many different resources with conflicting ideas about what to eat in general, but when you add in what to eat for working out there are one thousand more ideas. What I have found that has really worked for my body is to have a protein AND carb heavy snack about an hour before I go to ballet. Something like bagel with peanut butter or hummus. Occasionally I throw an apple in as well. I also make sure to follow my class up with a balanced yet protein and fresh food heavy meal or snack. For example, today I had a burrito in a whole wheat tortilla with eggs inside, lots of lettuce, carrots, avocado, and cabbage. I feel that I almost always feel so much better when I have something that is substantial but not heavy. I’ve read in a few places that blueberries (or any antioxidant heavy food) work well because they soak up all the free radicals left. Anti-inflammatory foods like kelp, salmon, ginger, green tea, ¬†and sweet potatoes are also supposed to be really helpful in telling your muscles to calm the heck down. And, of course, stay hydrated!

5. Try some topical treatments like white flower oil, icy hot, peppermint oil, or salonpas. My personal favorite when it comes to this is to, right after my hot bath, rub a little white flower oil diluted in baby oil all over my legs, bottom, back, arms, and shoulders and then bundle up in warm clothes for a while. This really lets it soak into my muscles and feels SO nice.

6. Finally, don’t be too afraid of the occasional ibuprofen or Tylenol. Sometimes the pain is just too much to manage with home remedies and that’s totally fine. You don’t have to do without!

Hopefully some of these tips are helpful/new to at least one person. What do you do to keep the aches and pains away?

-Caysie

Squat and Plank Challenge and April 30 Day Challenge

 

Through the Sweat Pink Ambassador network I found an awesome Squat and Plank challenge–which I figured would be super useful for helping to get my core muscles and my legs into better shape. It’s being run over at Live. Sweat. Sleep. Repeat. (you can find the chart on her blog!).

 

Plank on The Mat

Plank on The Mat (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

 

It starts off fairly easy–but at the end of the 6 weeks it gets more intense (Hello 3 minute plank!). I’ll probably be adjusting to do more squats each day (say, like 3 sets of X) and cutting the plank time in half of what’s planned and doing two of them instead (I’m a wimp, okay? And planks are tough.)

 

There’s also a super awesome Facebook Support Group for it as well which I’m part of. Motivation for a workout challenge never hurts.

 

I’ll also be doing another 30 Day Challenge for ballet-related muscles (the idea sprouted from Thanks & Kittens). Like she recommended, I’d suggest working on whatever you feel you need to. Back Flexibility? Splits? Turns? Do it. I’ll be making a slight adjustment and making my goal to wake up every morning and do this runner’s yoga regime, since it will help with my hip flexibility as well as help prep me for running.

 

If you’re doing either of these challenges, let me know and if you have a blog, link me to your challenge posts! I love hearing about how everyone else is doing and we can motivate each other.