Hurricane Sandy took the East Coast by surprise and, as a result, people lived through incredible events. As the owner of a health and wellness center, I wondered what we could do in the face of such a tragedy. What good would biomechanical realignment and injury prevention or strength training do when people so geographically close had lost everything they had, and nearly everyone they knew was simultaneously displaced? I wondered if I should cancel all sessions and take the week off to volunteer. That didn’t seem financially possible, but I considered it.

It became apparent that keeping our business open, as regularly as possible, was proving helpful. People needed connection, and they desired ritual. Many people visited the studio looking for heat, a hot shower and a place to charge their phones. Clients and trainers did everything in their power to come at their allotted time, despite a drastically different commute and a complete disruption of their typical schedule. People who had never biked made the long ride to our facility from Brooklyn or uptown. People who normally didn’t take an opportunity to speak after sessions gathered to check in with one another. All people seemed reassured by the normalcy that attending their weekly session afforded them.

Many individuals who visited the studio voiced that they felt altered or “out of their body.” Having myself once been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, I wondered if the events had spurred a traumatic response in some people—despite their homes, jobs and livelihoods remaining intact. In conversations with trainers about their sessions during this time, I noticed a common theme. Many clients’ bodies had regressed to past states of injury or prior tension patterns. It seems as if people were unwittingly placed into survival mode as they were forced to adopt new modes of survival that some had never experienced or expected. One client I spoke with mentioned that this event “emotionally felt like the attacks on 9/11,” particularly since there was a similar divide between uptown and downtown Manhattan.

I began to consider that the pain and physical discomfort many people were now experiencing, more than 2 weeks after the storm, was the residual emotional impact of the hurricane. Susanne Babbel, PhD, MFT, in a blog post on the Psychology Today magazine website (April 8, 2010), suggested that “although one might not be aware of the lingering effect of the trauma, or believe that the traumatic event has been put behind them, the body could be clinging to unresolved issues.” Therefore, it seems important to address alignment through postural education, energy work and myofascial re-patterning. These and other physical techniques have proven to be effective and a logical approach to healing trauma in such instances as recovery post-Sandy.

For now, there remains plenty of work to do to help those most affected by this superstorm. In my attempt to take whatever lessons I can from this event, I have realized anew our innate desire as humans to connect. In difficult and dark times, we look for one another. In a world in which we are constantly available to each another at the click of a button, what we truly desire is physical connection and peaceful self-embodiment. May we keep the body and its well-being in mind as we collectively pick up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy.

Whitney Rippelmeyer-Tucker

Co-Founder, Studio 26

New York, New York

IDEA Food and Nutrition Tips: Clients’ Holiday Survival Guide

Yesterday I received the holiday-themed IDEA Food and Nutrition Tips newsletter, a supplement to the November–December issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. I was extremely impressed with the scope of research-based information, the easy-to-understand tips and the overall look and format of the publication. In fact, I wanted to order 50 copies to give my clients and class participants as holiday gifts. I hope you will continue to provide this publication, and although it is only currently available to share online, I would appreciate the opportunity in the future to order paper copies for my clients.

Ellen O’Hara

Core Asset Fitness Training

Westwood, Massachusetts

I just had to take a moment to let you know how thrilled I was when I received my latest copy of IDEA Fitness Journal and found that IDEA Food and Nutrition Tips was included. Wow! Love the concept. Love the recipes—especially the vegan, gluten-free options. A job well done.

Marsha Watson

Operations/Expo Manager, Empower Fitness Events

Sandy, Utah

Diving Deeper Into the Hunter-Gatherer Study

I read the article on the hunter-gatherer study (“Energy Expenditure Levels: Hunter-Gatherers vs. Westerners,” Making News, October). Since I have a master’s degree in exercise physiology, my clients and others who were confused about the study asked me to explain it.

1. One big thing the study proved is that hunter-gatherers don’t move/run as much as we thought. They don’t run after gazelle or walk miles and miles from a stream with water on their heads—they have figured out much more efficient ways to do their work. This may have been the case for hundreds of years.

2. If one were to look into the study’s references, one would find that the “Westerners” weren’t all North Americans; they were from different parts of the world. These studies did not include their subjects because they were “office workers,” but because they were overweight.

3. We must remember that the more weight we have to carry, the more calories we burn when we do move. These tribespeople were small—about half the weight of the Westerners. This was not taken into account or discussed. One can take this to the next level and see that if we do the calculations (calories burned per kilogram of weight), the tribespeople burned many more cal/kg.

Luci Gabel

Founder and President, LuciFit LLC

San Francisco, California

Variety of Mind-Body Practices Creates Connection

I am writing in response to the question of the month about Brain Fitness (Mind-Body-Spirit News, November–December).

Core Connections is a Pilates and yoga mat-based studio in Rapid City, South Dakota. We offer over 60 group practices each month for beginners to advanced practitioners. Each practice consists of mind-body awareness focusing on the six primary principles of Pilates (centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow). Clients are responding to the classes very well! We have expanded the offerings to include classes for individuals who seek solace and meditation through restorative stretching as well as classes for advanced Pilates practitioners who want to really challenge themselves through focus and breath. Pilates and mindfulness is a beautiful thing and truly is for every BODY!

Tuula Dadah

Core Connections

Rapid City, South Dakota

Sharing Food Knowledge With Clients

I saw the “Burn and Learn Walking Food Tours” item (Food For Thought, May). As a health educator and weight management coach, I want to share some of my food-related business concepts with IDEA members.

I teach busy people how to eat well conveniently with my “Quick and Healthy Meals From Costco® and Trader Joe’s®” and “Simple and Healthy Crock Pot” cooking classes. I help clients fit into their smaller-size clothing with my “What Works? Weight Loss” classes and private weight management coaching practice. I also have written two healthy-food cookbooks using Trader Joe’s products, and I recently converted my cookbook, Simmering Solutions: Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes, to an e-book.

Jamie Davidson, MS

ReSolve Health and Weight Management Services

Walnut Creek, California

IDEA Pilates Today Pleases

I really enjoyed reading the November issue of IDEA Pilates Today, and I loved the piece for teachers. Bravo!

Dawn-Marie Ickes, MPT, PMA-CPT

Owner, Evolve Integrative Wellness Physical Therapy & Pilates Education Center

Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Postpartum Core Support Program

I am an ACE-certified personal trainer, a group fitness instructor and a mom to a three-month-old baby. After reading “Postpartum Core Support” (Core, November–December), I felt compelled to share my own regimen, which I’ve also used to help many other moms. My workout for core rehabilitation is more comprehensive; it also treats the low back—which gets pulled on and weakened during pregnancy—and takes into account the possibility that you may need to repair separated muscles. In order to properly reshape the core and attack belly fat, you have to incorporate back exercises and make sure you’re pulling in, not pushing out, when working your abdominals.

My plan works from the low back to the front, pulling everything back in and restrengthening weakened areas. We start with glute bridges, then move to pelvic tilts and Pilates leg circles. Any crunches involve a towel splint. Afterwards, we flip over for superman and planks.

Katie Roy

Kailua, Hawaii

2012 Inner IDEA Conference®: “My Favorite!”

Thank you for inviting me to present at the 2012 Inner IDEA® Conference (“Research to Practice: Brain on Exercise” and “Healthy Aging Survival Kit”). It was a great honor and pleasure to be a part of this incredible event. It is my favorite conference!

Terry Eckmann, PhD

Professor of Teacher Education and Human Performance, Minot State University

Minot, North Dakota

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