Turn your functional fitness “wish list” into realized goals with targeted exercises and movement explorations drawn from multiple modalities, custom-tailored to your individual needs and unique alignment patterns.
Movement Integration Sessions & Series
Movement Integration sessions and series can take many forms, depending upon the particular combination of goals one is working toward such as balance, flexibility, strength, alignment, and/or reducing/eliminating chronic joint pain. Sessions utilize an individualized combination of Pilates, Yoga, Reusi Dat Ton (Thai Hermit’s Yoga), and functional movement exercises, as well as concepts derived from myofascial/neuromuscular bodywork and a variety of movement explorations designed to deepen one’s understanding of alignment, posture, and subtleties of neuromuscular coordination. Depending on one’s goals and preferences, sessions can take the form of customized workouts, slower-paced sessions focusing on post-rehab fitness transitions, or detail-oriented experiential workshops to refine particular alignment concepts or Yoga postures.
Why Movement Integration?
Each body is unique, both in terms of overall alignment and movement preferences/habits—we all have things we tend towards and shy away from in our workouts and day-to-day activities. When one hits a long-term plateau or struggles with a stubborn/chronic issue, addressing fine details of functional alignment and movement patterns can often be highly beneficial. Movement Integration’s foremost strength is its ability to work with measurable goals to solve for highly specific issues in an efficient and effective manner, rather than emphasizing abstract objectives or general fitness.
When trying to solve for specific or long-term issues, consider examining the things you habitually overlook. For example, a yogi whose main focus is flexibility might quickly advance their practice of inversions and arm balances by strengthening the functional connection between the deep abdominals, shoulders, and arms—this can often be readily achieved with a few targeted Pilates exercises offered within the scope of a mainly yoga-based strength-building practice. Alternately, if neuromyofascial restrictions are the root cause of the issue, it will be spotted quickly and can often be more easily resolved via targeted bodywork sessions in conjunction with movement-based work. Each individually-customized Movement Integration experience combines the benefits of multiple methods, infusing your preferred movement style with helpful exercises and movement explorations that you may have previously overlooked, aiding you in reaching your goals more efficiently.
Compression vs. Elongation
When working to improve the function/coordination of postural stabilizer muscles, one key to effective targeting is creating a sense of elongation during each movement. If one relies heavily on global mobilizers/large muscle groups, exercises often have a somewhat compressive feel. For example, a traditional crunch focused solely on the rectus abdominis (“6-pack muscle”) compresses the chest, while an elongated mini-crunch activates the deeper transversus abdominis (“waistband muscle”) allowing for spaciousness through the chest and collarbones. When an exercise feels like you are lengthening the body in opposing directions and refining your sense of stability, precision, and control, you are targeting the right balance of muscle groups!
As one advances, it is perfectly possible to do a full crunch or sit-up (and much more!) with a sense of elongation, but this requires many small and often-overlooked muscles throughout the body to be working in a coordinated fashion with the larger “prime movers” and global mobilizer muscles. The body’s fascia also has mildly contractile properties that, when properly utilized, can further contribute to efficiency and economy of movement.
Each session’s focus evolves and builds on previous sessions, matching pace with the evolution of one’s goals and changing needs as one’s functional alignment improves over the course of a series. Long after a series is complete, one can continue applying the movement concepts learned to other activities and ongoing fitness routines. Ultimately, the overall goal of each Movement Integration session/series is coordination and balance between the various large and small muscle groups throughout the body—including the neuromuscular and fascial systems—cultivating a sense of ease and grace during everyday life even while performing challenging movements, exercises, and activities.
Walk Through A Session...
Step 1 - Creating Two-Way Stretch & Elongation
A variety of alignment-based movement explorations and Thai/Yoga stretches aid in developing a sense of two-way stretch and the ability to elongate through the spine, crown to tailbone. Utilizing the concept of tensegrity, activation of small postural stabilizer muscles, and the contractile properties of the body’s fascia system, a sense of internal support and buoyancy is cultivated.
Step 2 - Activating Deep Core Stability
Targeted, alignment-based abdominal work further refines the movement principles learned in the previous step. Core strengthening exercises encourage balance and stability in an elongated, aligned state throughout one’s active movement-based pursuits and can reduce or eliminate chronic aches and pains such as lower back pain when sessions are combined with simple homework exercises.
Step 3 - Strengthening With Precision & Control
Using full-body exercises, deep core stability is extended through the extremities. Inhibited muscles are targeted and trained in coordination with one’s more dominant muscle groups, restoring balance to the body and improving overall function. Exercises are based on Pilates principles and concepts from myofascial/neuromuscular bodywork, and may incorporate a variety of movement modalities.
Sessions are generally taken weekly over the course of a series. For those who frequently attend group classes at a studio or maintain an avid independent practice, monthly, quarterly, or occasional “tune-up” sessions are also an option. We also offer goal-driven, alignment-based KMI Structural Integration and Thai Structural Bodywork sessions to further aid you in efficiently achieving your functional fitness goals.