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July 2016

Just because it's summer doesn't mean your days are any less busy. There are just more daylight hours to do them in.
We can guess a pretty typical day for you.
You work - maybe full-time, maybe part-time. Maybe you're a stay-at-home parent. But you spend a lot of your day answering to a boss (even if she is 2 years old!). In the evening, you try to get a healthy, fast dinner on the table before your daughter's ball game and your son's karate practice. If you're lucky, you and your partner will have a few minutes to get caught up before you fall into bed, ready to do it again the next day.
You take care of everyone else but what are you doing for yourself? You'll find a few ideas below. 
A student wondered after class a couple weeks ago if she could build strength by practicing yoga. The short answer is Yes! Find out find out how.

No need to give up hot yoga for the summer or even let it stop you from trying it. Read why practicing hot yoga in the summer  isn't crazy

  • NEW! Beginner's Yoga, Sundays, July 10-31, 4:30-5:30 pm. 
Check out our calendar as we offer a wide variety of classes and times as well as services to give you a pick-me-up.  

Theresa Franklin, NCTMB, LMT, RYT, CMT
Olivia Kelly, NCTMB, LMT

Feature Article

massageCan Practicing Yoga Really Build Strength?

You've heard the phrase, "Use it or lose it."
Think of a car that isn't driven for months. When you go out to start it, the battery has died. The oil in the crankshaft is gunky. It's starting to corrode.
chair pose Now imagine your body is that car. Left idle too long and we begin to get stiff. We lose our strength. We might even start to "corrode" on the inside!
In order to maintain our health, our bodies need to move. And the advantages of keeping moving are many:
  • it builds strong bones
  • it encourages cardiovascular and respiratory health
  • it alleviates depression
  • it lets us maintain our independence
Believe it or not, we begin to lose muscle mass at around age 30. If we haven't made exercise a habit by the time we're in our 50s or so, we're setting ourselves up for trouble later on. One of the reasons people find themselves in nursing homes is because they can't take care of themselves. They don't have the strength to get up off a toilet unassisted or in and out of bed.
We lose bone density as we age and that can weaken us as well. This leaves us more vulnerable to falls, which can lead us down a path of broken bones and time spent in nursing homes and rehab centers.
But can yoga really make us stronger?
Yes, with a regular practice and keeping the information below in mind.
You build strength either through isometric muscle contraction or resistance training.
Using static poses to build strength
Holding a pose is an isometric move. But standing in Warrior II with your arms outstretched isn't really an isometric muscle contraction on its own. You must add in conscious muscle activation. To do this, first relax the muscle, allowing it to lengthen. Then gently firm the muscle to the bone.
Taking the example of Warrior II above, relax your arm muscles, feel them lengthen. Then, without using a strong contraction, pull the bicep and tricep to the bone. If you're in a bone-strengthening pose such as Downward Facing Dog, you can firm all the surrounding muscles around the bone as well. In this example, you'd firm all your arm muscles and shoulder muscles toward the bone. When you want to strengthen your hip area, in a standing pose, for example, you can slowly engage the muscles all around your hip joints, ensuring that this action does not pull you out of good alignment. 
How long to hold the pose? For muscle strength in static poses, you can either work on muscle strength or endurance. To work on muscle strength alone, hold the pose at least 8 to 10 seconds and consider repeating the pose several times. To work on endurance, hold the pose as long as you safely can, gradually working up to 1-2 minutes or longer.
Resistance training for strength
We're all familiar with resistance training for our muscles. We see bodybuilders lift weights or people in the gym using resistance bands and other equipment. You can do a lot with just your body weight. Think of a vinyasa flow such as inhaling to Downward Facing Dog, exhaling to Plank.
Here, you're "resisting" against the floor to build muscle as well as putting your muscles through a range of motion as you get into and out of the pose. This is very different than just holding a pose for the same length of time.
What about our bones?
A few words about how static and dynamic poses help our bones, because as noted above, bone density also decreases with age and can also lead to a stint in a nursing home.
For bone strength, holding a static pose (i.e, Vrikasana or Tree) for 30 seconds or more has been proved to be effective. For bone strength in dynamic poses, based on what is known about weight-bearing movement such as walking and running, practicing poses dynamically in sets of six repetitions is recommended.
Which one should I do?
Neither is better; doing both is best. A well-rounded practice will include both static and dynamic muscle training for building both bone and muscle strength.
Several Yoga for Health Aging blogs were a basis of this article. The blog is written by Nina Zolotow, RYT-500 and Baxter Bell, MD, eRYT-500.


Too Hot for Yoga?
If you want to practice hot yoga during a St. Louis summer, you can just step outside to do it, right? But why would you even want to practice hot yoga during the summer?
Well, here are a few reasons, along with some tips for safely managing the heat.
  • You'll be better acclimated to the heat outside. If you continue (or start) a hot yoga practice during summer, the heat and humidity will start to bother you less.
  • You'll build endurance for outside recreation. Because you're more acclimated to the heat, you're endurance for it will increase and you'll be able to participate in outdoor activities longer.
  • You'll develop good habits for hot weather self-care. You'll be able to take what you've learned from your hot yoga practice to taking care of yourself during outside activities.
Take care of yourself during your hot yoga practice or your outdoor activities with these tips:
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and do it before you even feel thirsty. If you're sweating a lot, replenish your electrolytes with a sports drink or coconut water, which is lower in sugar.
  • Breathe! When our breathing gets shallow, we can start to feel anxious and panicky, especially if it's super-hot out. Long, slow breaths can kick into our parasympathetic nervous system and keep us feeling calm and cool.
  • Listen to your body and don't push yourself. Don't let your ego take charge but instead, take a resting pose if you need to. You're not there to prove anything to anyone.
Put these tips into practice with Mindy Griggs, who teaches Hot Yoga Detox, Sundays, 9-10 am. $12 drop-in; $40 4-week class card.

bellydancing Finding Time for Yourself
Find a sacred space. We all need a room of our own, a place  where  we can get away from the chaos of life and reconnect with our inner selves. It doesn't need to be a big space. It could be just a corner in a room where you house some treasured items, creating an altar of sorts.
Meditate. Meditation teaches us to focus our attention inward, to develop equanimity so we are better able to manage stress and crises in our lives. And when we're feeling more balanced and happy, those around us will benefit.

  dog_leather_leash.jpg Take the dog for a walk. Don't see it as another task on your to-do list but as an opportunity to have 15-20 minutes or so to yourself. And no matter how your day has gone, your dog will give you unconditional love with a wag of its tail and a wet kiss.

  shimmy     Mind, Body, Spirit Summer
                Series Workshop
All workshops 2:30-4:00 pm, Sundays
The longer, slower days of summer give us more time to focus on ourselves. Be Well Now is offering 5 classes designed to keep you in optimum health. Co-taught by Lety Murphy and Danette Watt unless otherwise noted.
July 10 - Creating Sacred Spaces - $25, includes cost of supplies (Lety Murphy)

Join Lety and learn the importance of Sacred Spaces and how to arrange one for yourself. You'll create a sacred candle that you can take home for your own Sacred Space.
July 24 - Yoga and the Chakras - $20
When our chakras are blocked, we experience imbalances that manifest as a host of mental, physical and spiritual problems. This class will teach you the basics of chakras while bringing them back into balance.
August 7 - Yoga and Your Emotional Health - $20 (Danette Watt)
Yoga can help alleviate depression, anxiety and stress through meditation, asanas and pranayama (breath work). This class is designed to give students the tools they need to face life's challenges.

Preregistration required. Sign up for 3 and get a 10% discount; sign up for all 5 and get a 15% discount.

Download the registration form here or pick one up in the studio.

Questions? Call Lety ( 618- 580- 2454) or Danette (618-467-8827)

The Be Well Now newsletter is edited by Danette Watt. For suggestions, comments or concerns about the newsletter content, contact her at 
In This Issue
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Our schedule of classes

Our services

bodymovementfusion  NEW! 4-Week Beginner's Yoga

Yoga has so many physical and mental benefits, it's hard to believe there are still people who have never tried it.
If this describes you, why not sign up for Mindy Griggs' 4-week Beginner's Yoga Class. 

For four Sundays, 4:30-5:30 pm, July 10-31 Mindy will guide you through learning the fundamentals of yoga. Get more info here.

Call 462-3900 to register. Or sign up the first day of class. $40/4 weeks 

bodymovementfusionDon't Let Anxiety Keep You Trapped

Don't let anxiety and panic disorders keep you from living the life you want.

Mindy Griggs, 200-RYT, and Lety Murphy are co-hosting a workshop on Yoga and Anxiety, Friday, 6-8 pm, $20.

It starts with a discussion of how certain poses work for anxiety, panic, depression disorders.

Then Lety Murphy guides the group in a calming meditation. This is followed by a slow flow of poses and ends in Svasana, when Lety will again lead the group in a meditation.

 Call 462-3900 to register or contact Mindy at  
ourclasses Our staff 

Angie Becker
Theresa Franklin
Mindy Griggs
Danette Watt

Theresa Franklin
Olivia Kelly
Holly Pruiett
Daniel Sheets

Jenna Dalllman
Lety Murphy
Conchita Russo


Jerry Whitten

Matt Hawkins

  ourclasses Our classes
Please check the website calendar to confirm class times. Friend us on Facebook for updates and cancellations.

9:00am Hot Yoga Detox 


9:00-10:00 am - Hatha

6:00-6:40 p.m. - Meditation 
9:00-10:00 am - Hatha
6:00-7:00 pm - Hatha 
6:00-7:00 pm -Balance & Restore

5:30-6:30 pm - Intro to Chen Tai Chi
6:30-7:30 pm - Int. Tai Chi
7:30-8:30 pm - Adv. Tai Chi

Intro. to Chen Tai Chi
10:15-11:15 am 
8:00-9:30 pm