Tag: Movement

GYROKINESIS Applications for Yoga

GYROKINESIS Applications for Yoga

GYROKINESIS® Applications For Yoga Practice

The GYROKINESIS® method was created by Juliu Horvath. It is a movement method that addresses the entire body, opening energy pathways, stimulating the nervous system, increasing range of motion and creating functional strength through rhythmic, flowing movement sequences. Spiraling and undulating movements increase the functional capacity of the spine and create a spherical and three-dimensional awareness, resulting in total equilibrium. Exercises, synchronized with corresponding breathing patterns, enhance aerobic and cardiovascular stimulation and promote neuromyofacial rejuvenation.

GYROKINESIS classes can be adapted to fit anyone’s ability. People from all walks of life including accomplished athletes, fitness enthusiasts, senior citizens, and people recovering from an injury or dealing with a disability take GYROKINESIS classes. By the end of a GYROKINESIS session, one’s entire system is awakened and brought into greater balance. Focus on the breath stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in a sense of calm, well-being and mental clarity.

In this workshop, we will introduce basic GYROKINESIS principles and concepts while moving through seated spinal motions sequences. We will then move to the floor for a more rigorous exploration of GYROKINESIS exercises and methodology, and we will apply what we learn to improving and refining our execution of classic Yoga poses.

You can expect to experience new-found stability and satisfaction from Yoga poses like Chair Pose, Downward Facing Dog, Upward Facing Dog, Upward Plank Pose, Sphinx, and Locust.

Bring a yoga mat and come prepared to move!

Michelle Spinner

Michelle is the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer and a Senior Pilates instructor at the Kinected Center in New York City –home of the Kane School Pilates teacher training program, where she mentors teacher trainees. She is the creator and official teacher of GYROTONIC® Applications for Equestrians and GYROKINESIS® Applications for Vocal Production, and creator of the CorEquestrian™ and Vocalates™ methods. Michelle is a guest GYROKINESIS® presenter at Rancho La Puerta wellness resort and spa in Tecate, Mexico.

Michelle was a long-time student of “first generation” Pilates Master Teacher Kathleen Stanford Grant. She was certified at the Kane School, and she is one of the “pioneer” instructors certified through the Pilates Method Alliance. Experience with the Alexander technique, yoga, and Chinese internal martial arts also informs her teaching.

Injuries and chronic pain ultimately led her to the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®. The successful rehabilitation of those injuries has given Michelle deep insights and tools to help others with their challenges – plus a passion to bring joy and freedom of movement to her students. She continues to study with the system’s creator Juliu Horvath.

Michelle’s ongoing study of human anatomy and biomechanics coupled with her background as a performer give her teaching an intellectual rigor combined with creativity, intuition, and a sense of play.

Better Your Balance (and More) with Tai Chi

Better Your Balance (and More) with Tai Chi

Better Your Balance (and More) with Tai Chi


by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team

Perhaps you’ve heard of tai chi, but don’t really know what it’s all about, or perhaps you do know what it’s all about, but don’t really understand the many ways it can benefit you. Maybe you even remember it from the Patrick Swayze film Road House.


Tai chi is a martial art, an elegant marriage of moving and mindfulness. You are slowly moving without stopping from one posture to another. Deep breathing is also a part of it. As with any mindful activity, it takes concentration. You can’t just put your mind on autopilot and blast some tunes like you might be able to on the treadmill!

Tai chi involves no special equipment, is not competitive, and is a great low-impact workout. As WebMD points out, it does not place a high burden on muscles or joints. This makes it a nice, gentle exercise for seniors, allowing them to keep moving into their golden years, while enjoying the social aspect of a group activity. “It’s particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Dr. I-Min Lee of Harvard notes. Tai chi is also perfect for those who have arthritis, are pregnant, need to sit during workouts, or are in a wheelchair.

In addition to helping balance and potentially preventing falls, tai chi can also help circulation, cholesterol, the heart, strength, flexibility, energy and even the way the body aligns. The results may not even take that long to see – one tai chi teacher said he saw improvement in tai chi students in only 12 weeks. As this is also a mind exercise, it can help stress – everything from your adrenaline to blood pressure.

A recent medical study said that it could also help those who have fibromyalgia. This was the first big study that looked at fibromyalgia and tai chi. Two hundred and twenty-six folks with fibromyalgia were monitored for a year. After 24 weeks, impressive results were already in – those who had been taking tai chi classes were doing better than those in the aerobic exercise group. And those who did tai chi for a bigger stretch of time made more headway in controlling their fibromyalgia than those who took tai chi less often.

What’s so special about tai chi when it comes to fibromyalgia? Any exercise may help blood flow, but the relaxation aspect might make it a more natural fit for this population versus aerobics, which might aggravate physical and/or psychological issues.

Who should not do tai chi? Even though it is gentle, you should always check in with your doctor before beginning any exercise regime. Those with diabetes or circulation issues might want to reconsider, and tai chi can also be contraindicated if you’re taking certain medicines that induce dizziness.

You have lots of options when it comes to tai chi, but I think we have one of the best classes here at L’ifestyle Lounge — our all-ages Tai Chi w/Philip Cross. It is an especially light class that is ideal for beginners. Philip focuses on stretching and improving energy. The class features the 12 classical tendon exchange exercises that help strengthen the tendons and bones. There is also the Tai Chi Long Form which brings the mind into the mix. The goals of the class are to have a healthier immune system. lower stress, better your posture and slow aging. Philip has studied at Peter Kwok’s Kung Fu Academy, he is trained in Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan and Yi Gun Gin, and has taught at Blauvelt Library, Nanuet Community Education and Orangeburg Library. If you can’t join Philip over the summer, he’ll also be part of our Fall class schedule, starting September 12, with an 8-week class on Wednesday nights. It’s the perfect way to get over those Hump Day blues, and who doesn’t need better immunity during cough and cold season? I hope you’ll embrace tai chi and all its benefits for a healthier mind, body and soul.


5 Weeks to Mindfulness: Lunch Series for Beginner to Intermediate Yogis

5 Weeks to Mindfulness: Lunch Series for Beginner to Intermediate Yogis

5 Weeks to Mindfulness 

Lunch Series for Beginner to Intermediate Yogis


Bring a mat, take a seat to learn the definition of mindfulness and how to apply it to every aspect of your daily living from walking to eating to practicing yoga.

Over five Tuesdays, you will transform your lifestyle with Closter’s L’ifestyle Lounge Lunch Series led by registered dietitian and registered yoga teacher, Elyssa Toomey. Starting Oct 10th from 12:00 to 12:50 pm, you will learn what mindfulness is, how to eat mindfully, breathe mindfully (mindfulness meditation) and live a more mindful, healthy life. The practice of yoga – binding breath with movement will be introduced sessions three through five.

Dates: Oct 17 through Nov 21; No class Oct 31.

Cost: $195.00. Please bring your own yoga mat. Expect to move sessions 3 through 5.

Session 1

Mindfulness 101

Basics, mindful breathing and eating

Session 2

How To Do

How to eat and walk mindfully

Intro to basic asanas/yoga poses

Session 3

Stress Reduction 101

Mindfulness and stress reduction

Yoga practice 20 min

Session 4

Mindful Eating Challenge

(The art of eating chocolate cake and chips, mindfully)

Yoga practice 30 min

Session 5


Mindfulness meditation and yoga 45 minutes


Email: lifestylelounge@lauracipullo.com for more information or sign up here.

Why Athletes Should and Do Yoga

Why Athletes Should and Do Yoga

Why Athletes Should and Do Yoga

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD

Practicing yoga has the potential to improve your athleticism on every level. Regardless of the sport, give time to learn this ancient practice. In fact, most professional and collegiate level sport teams have their very own registered yoga teacher! Yoga has become a standard practice included in the training regimens of athletes for the purposes of (but not limited to) increasing balance and flexibility, while decreasing oxygen consumption. Read on to identify why yoga is beneficial to all who participate in sports.



As an athlete, your body is a finely tuned machine. L’ifestyle Lounge’s Elyssa Toomey, RD, RYT and trained yogi for athletes says “Yoga can teach you how to connect and how to carefully listen to your body’s cues. You can then recognize its’ cues in order to know when to slow down, speed up, work harder, or take a break.”


Muscular Symmetry 

If you solely practice one sport, you may be building strength in just one or two areas of your body.  If your sport is one-side dominant such as tennis, you may be further creating an imbalance. Toomey says, “A consistent practice of varied yoga poses will help you build strength in almost every muscle, including under-developed, but oh so important supportive muscles.” Practicing each sequence on both sides of the body helps to develop muscular symmetry.

Did you know that consistently holding your own body weight enhances your strength more than lifting free weights?

Elyssa Toomey, RD, RYT L’ifestyle Lounge



Yoga can increase your muscular endurance. In fact, research found women who practiced yoga three times a week, benefited from both increased upper limb and abdominal muscle endurance (Shiraishi and Bezerra, 2016) Yoga helps to loosen physical tightness and expels lactic acid from building up in the muscles, raising your energy level for continued practice and performance.


Flexibility and Balance

The sequences of the asanas, also known as postures, are designed to help the athlete increase flexibility and ease of movement both on and off the mat, specifically by increasing muscle, joint and tendon flexibility. This increase in range of motion translates to an increase in the performance of all the muscles needed for your particular sport. Research reported in the International Journal of Yoga found an increase in both flexibility and balance in Division II college athletes who practiced yoga just twice a week for 10 weeks (Polsgrove, Eggleston and Lockyer, 2016). Hint – get to the yoga studio two or more times a week.


Injury Prevention & Recovery

Yoga helps strengthen all the stabilizing muscles, vital to protecting your joints. Toomey shares, “specific poses elongate and stretch the muscles, which counter the contraction created during most athletic pursuits.”


Stress Relief and Mental Focus

While the pressure to perform can be overwhelming for the competitive athlete, yoga and pranayama, the practice of controlled breathing, reduces stress hormones such as cortisol. Controlled breathing is proven to increase your oxygen capacity while simultaneously keeping you calm. The athlete can remain mentally focused without tensing/tightening the muscles. “The practice promotes equanimity by working to quiet the seemingly continuous mental chatter that permeates our daily experience.  As we learn to quiet and direct the mind, we have the opportunity to connect more fully with and express our “best self”” says Toomey.

In a literature review, Psychophysiologic Effects of Hatha Yoga on Musculoskeletal and Cardiopulmonary Function, James Raub, MS concludes that the practice of yoga is clinically beneficial with studies showing improved lung capacity, increased oxygen delivery, decreased V. O2 and respiration rate, and decreased resting heart rate, resulting in overall improved exercise capacity. The stretching and conditioning that occurs while holding yoga postures specifically in Hatha yoga “increases skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and decreases glycogen utilization” which can translate into a more efficient metabolic system while performing exercise (Raub, 2002). Thirty minutes of passive muscle stretch can be just as beneficial with increased muscle growth and contractile strength (Frankeny, Holly and Ashmore, 1983; Holly et al., 1980).

It is clear, there is evidence to support the many benefits of practicing yoga. Whether you or your children are soccer enthusiasts, football players or any type of athlete, yoga is now considered to be an advantageous tool in increasing athletic performance and flexibility. The L’ifestyle Lounge philosophy encourages all athletes including casual fitness goers who spin and run, to complement their physical activity with yoga, especially forms of Ashtanga and Hatha. For further inspiration, our Registered Dietitian and Registered Yoga Instructor, Elyssa Toomey recommends reading The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga An Integrated Approach to Strength, Flexibility, and Focus, (Roundree, Sage. 2008), signing up for our  Breathe and Bend class, to increase flexibility and learn the breathe work, and/or our Rock, Sweat Glow class for strengthening and balance.



Frankeny, J., Holly, R. and Ashmore, C. (1983). Effects of graded duration of stretch on normal and dystrophic skeletal muscle. Muscle & Nerve, 6(4), pp.269-277.

Holly, R., Barnett, J., Ashmore, C., Taylor, R. and Mole, P. (1980). Stretch-induced growth in chicken wing muscles: a new model of stretch hypertrophy. American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology, 238(1), pp.C62-C71.

Polsgrove, M., Eggleston, B. and Lockyer, R. (2016). Impact of 10-weeks of yoga practice on flexibility and balance of college athletes. International Journal of Yoga, 9(1), p.27.

Raub, J. (2002). Psychophysiologic Effects of Hatha Yoga on Musculoskeletal and Cardiopulmonary Function: A Literature Review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 8(6), pp.797-812.

Shiraishi, J. and Bezerra, L. (2016). Effects of yoga practice on muscular endurance in young women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 22, pp.69-73.

Chakras 101

Chakras 101

Chakras 101

By Shannon Herbert, RYT 200

You may have heard of the chakras. Perhaps a yoga instructor talked about them in class or you read something about them. But exactly what are the chakras and why are they considered important not only in our yoga practice but our daily lives as well?

Put simply, the chakras are energy centers within our body through which energy flows. In an ideal state, the chakras are aligned and energy can flow freely throughout the body. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Unbalanced or blocked chakras can lead to a feeling of unbalance or uneasiness and can manifest in many ways including physical illness. Because of this, it is important to keep the energy flowing freely through the chakras in order to feel our best!

We have seven chakras within our bodies starting from the base of the spine and working up to the top of the head. Each chakra represents something different and expresses its imbalances differently. Below is a list of the seven chakras, where they are located, what they represent or are associated with, and what asanas (yoga postures) target that chakra.


Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)

The root chakra is found at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor. The root chakra is the base of the energy system. It represents the foundation of our body and the feeling of being grounded. The Muladhara chakra hosts our food, sleep, sex, and survival instincts. Poses that help ground you are useful in aligning the root chakra. Asanas such as Warrior Stances, deep lunges, and chair pose bring awareness to this area. Similarly, poses such as forward bends and child’s pose help to ground us, aligning this chakra.

Sacral Chakra (Svadishthana Chakra)

The sacral chakra is found in our lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel. It is the home to our reproductive organs and desires. It is associated with our well-being, pleasure, sexuality, and sense of abundance. Like the root chakra, asanas such as forward folds, lunges, squats, and hip-openers such as pigeon pose and cow face pose, help align and bring awareness to this area.

Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura Chakra)

The solar plexus chakra is located in the upper abdomen, right above the navel. It is considered our body’s energy power-house. This chakra is associated with self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. It also relates to our feelings of power and the ability to control our lives. A blockage in this area may express itself in heightened ego and aggressive ambition. Twists are wonderful for aligning this chakra.

Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra)

The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest and is proposed to be the most powerful center of all, according to Himalayan Tantric tradition. When open and freely flowing, this chakra is associated with inner peace, love, and joy. But when blocked, it can cause us to radiate disappointment, loneliness, fear, and insecurity. Pranayama practice is a wonderful way to bring more attention to the heart chakra. Backbends, such as camel pose, bridge pose, and wheel pose, are also great to open the energetic centers of the Anahata chakra.

Throat Chakra (Vishuddi Chakra)

The throat chakra is located in the throat, no surprise there! This is the home to our communication abilities of speech and hearing. It is associated with the expression of our feelings and the truth. To purify this chakra, try to incorporate asanas such as plow pose, camel pose, shoulder-stand, and fish pose into your practice.

Third Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra)

The third eye chakra is located in between the eyes. It is considered the command center, as it is the meeting point between two other major energetic streams in the body, the ida and pingala nadis (more on the Nadis to come), and the place where the body and mind meet. When aligned, the Ajna chakra is associated with imagination, wisdom, intuition, and our ability to think and make decisions. Sitting in sukhasana, easy pose, and working on your pranayama can help align this chakra.

Crown Chakra (Sahasrara Chakra)

The crown chakra is located at the top of the head. It is associated with our connection to spirituality, inner and outer beauty, and pure bliss. Savasana, corpse pose, is a great asana to promote balance in the crown chakra.


Try out this yoga flow to open and align the chakras to create a balanced flow of energy throughout the body.


1. Tadasana/Mountain Pose (Root Chakra)

2. Gomukasana/Cow Face Pose (Sacral Chakra)

3. Navasana/Boat Pose (Solar Plexus Chakra)

4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana/Bridge Pose (Heart Chakra)

5. Salamba Sarvangasana/Shoulder Stand (Throat Chakra)

6. Sukhasana/Easy Pose (Third Eye Chakra)

7. Savasana/Corpse Pose (Crown Chakra)

If not sure which chakra of yours might be unbalanced, Yoga Journal has a great, quick online quiz you can take to see which, if any, chakras are unbalanced! Feel free to check it out here: https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/quiz-chakras-out-of-balance and incorporate some of the poses that target that chakra into your yoga practice to realign yourself.


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