So, you’re not really keen about stretching but your friend was raving about how great yoga class is. Maybe you read an inspiring article about how many benefits stretching has. And yoga now is so popular, virtual classes are popping everywhere and just at the click of your finger you’re in a classroom.
The core of the reason why i’m doing what i’m doing now came from the passion and beauty for the true artistry of dance and the ability to perform to convey emotion, passion and artistry, grace that’s what made all the hard work possible for during my professional dancer days.
For me optimal performance is when i was on stage i felt an out of body experience and I was a different person, confident, liked, attractive, special. The times when (and it was rare) i felt effortless, my movements was in a perfect flexibility, balance and power.
Optimal performance for a Professional Dancer is all about reaching and maintaining peak balance, balance of body, balance of mind. Yet it goes beyond that, for me optimal performance is about transcendence. It’s about stepping out of ‘who you are’ – your identity, beliefs and limitations and becoming something more. Perhaps that person you’ve always wanted to be, deep down. Everytime I step out on stage it’s an opportunity to come ‘out of body’ and for a time access hidden potential.
Whenever I am asked how I found my path to do what I do it creates a surge of memories of all those hours of practice, the stretching, the stress, the pressure and the unbridled joy of performing to the best of my abilities. I’ve come to understand dance as art form, a medium by which we can convey emotion, passion and artistry.
It is always a rush of emotions because that is where I discovered my path in helping other Dancers to reach optimal performance, to go beyond themselves, through Emotion! To understand the emotional energy (good and bad) trapped in your body you need to understand that you are an individual and be treated that way:
“I have taken pilates from Shoshi for many years. Expert instructor. What I like about Shoshi is she molds your workout with the client’s individual needs. She keeps advancing in her field so the client’s experience is also enhanced. She keeps the workouts versatile so you are never bored.
Shoshi adds her knowledge about nutrition, which she adds to her instruction. Great results”
The flexibility of movement and the art of dancing takes many different forms, I for one was on stage for over 20 years covering modern dance, contemporary, jazz, latin, lyrical and from my beginnings in Israel I have travelled the world performing. What I discovered and dedicated myself to helping people with was finding joy in understanding the emotional connection to their movement and unlocking levels of flexibility, energy and enjoyment, just like Shirl:
“Shoshi is an expert in her field. Always a professional, detailed, and creative.
She has worked with me more than one hundred times, yet every time is new and different. An individual with her integrity and personality is very rare. I am honored to work with Shoshi.”
I am lucky enough to have chosen an excellent base for helping people: Las Vegas!
Las Vegas has many different types of dancers and performers, it has been a never ending journey of challenges, personalised needs and of course the want to optimise what you do. Dance like yoga, like pilates, like intelligent movement is about mastery of self. To transcend your current identity and unleash the best version of yourself you need to look at the bodymechanics you currently have and also the mindset you currently have. I help people with both because personal circumstance can alter your challenge, just like your ideas or when injury depletes your self belief you need a customized program that respects you for the person you are.
“My experience in working with Shoshi has been transformational. Each time, upon leaving a Gyrotonic session with her, I am renewed and open, vitalized and ready to move through my day with a grace, ease, and power that I did not have prior. Her instruction is such that she instructs like an artist paints. Using the client as the centerpiece, a masterpiece is created, one of beauty. The client leaves ready to be presented to the world,. I am delighted to recommend Shoshana as an exceptionally gifted instructor and guide in healing and rehabilitation of all that ails you. She is an amazing gift!”
Like when I was performing on stage the emotion I feel when setting someone free (in mind and body) to find their optimal performance is unbeatable, just like how I want my clients to feel.
We dance, we move, we run, we jump, we stretch, we flex and above all else we feel…
…I love to help performers feel the joy of optimal performance, to go beyond what they think they are.
State Management is a science, a skill, something we should all be aware of and work at to get the best out of ourselves and give ourselves the best opportunity to excel and reach our potential at any given time.
Think of your life, an average day and the various states that you feel throughout any given day such as anger, confidence, love, happiness, fear, excitement and more. These states all impact our ability to perform at a given time and for the most part, when we are not aware of their influence on us or in control of our own state, they simply come and go based on a series of factors impacting us all the time and the effect they have is hard to truly understand.
What is important to recognise here is that these states are not simply applied to us and we then have to cope or hope for the best, these states are entirely ours to control and utilize to our own benefit. However, we can only hope to do this once we both understand and have developed our own ability to control our state of mind.
Physiology is a large part of this and a fundamental understanding we work to develop. As you start to better understand your body, the way you hold your shoulders, your rate of breathing and other physical aspects which influence your emotional state you will start be able to control your mental state through a combination of these influences.
Mastery of this science is a huge contributor to the personal success you can achieve through more comprehensive control of your mental state. As you start to develop a deeper understanding of your emotions and the ability to not only recognize your state, but more importantly influence and manage the mental state you are in, you can actually put your body in a state that benefits the situation you find yourself in.
We focus on all aspects of this experience as we look at not only developing and exploring the physical elements and core of your body but the relationship between your physical movements and mental state as well.
Once you have developed a deeper understanding of your physical self and these ties with your mental state, you will be able systematically identify physical elements in your movements and posture that tie in with your mental state. This is what leads into the mastery of state management.
As you develop this understanding, putting yourself in a specific mental state is not just a matter of telling your mind how you want to behave, but it becomes a fundamental shift in the way your body is behaving. Your body will adopt the movements of the state you are selecting as you have the understanding of the relationships between all the elements.
As your mind works to put yourself in the emotional state you desire, your body reinforces the behaviour through movements that portray and project the same state as your body and mind behave as one.
Think of the potential application mastery of state can have in your day to day life – emotion is one of our strongest resources, but only when it supports us in our endeavours. If we can harness the emotional state that sets us up for success there is whole new potential ahead of us.
The term artistry evokes many images and feelings. A common problem has been that we often load the term in a particular direction – that is artistry can mean creative expression such as drawing, painting and so on. This narrow definition often only succeeds in making some us feel that somehow we’re not quite ‘artistic’ enough. Perhaps we’ve not had lives or careers which we feel have been centered on unleashing inner expression, or so we may feel. It’s not many times we’d use the term artistry in the same breath as consultant, corporation or finance.
In 20+ years as a dancer I’ve come to realise that regardless of expression we’re all artists in our way. For some that expression takes the form of drawing, for others they may express it through sports, the way they engage in conversations for example. The important thing is that we all ‘access’ this artistry in different ways.
The creation of a state of optimal living is in itself an artistic endeavour. As a dancer and teacher my task has been to help my clients unleash an inner creative confidence which, at times, they may not have understood they even possessed. This process is not a simple case of posing a few questions, instead it’s a process of understanding the thoughts and feelings of those I work with. Each of is a unique ecosystem, packed with a range of different motivating factors, belief and experiences. It’s this ecosystem which provides the starting point for our journey to optimized living.
At Create Health we believe that optimizing our health is a process of understanding but also choice. How do we, how do you wish to live your life? What are the experiences that we wish to see more of? This inherently creative process asks a lot of us. It calls for us to envisage a world without limits or a space in which we access the very best of ourselves and others.
This conversation is starting to infiltrate the workspace more and more every day. As the responsibility of corporations change, we can see them becoming more than just places of employment. Corporations now have a duty to facilitate the well being of their employees. You could say that unleashing the inner artistry of employees and their overall well-being is now ‘company business’.
How will you start the conversation amongst your employees, community or organisation?
Mind and body
The past 10 years have seen an explosion in health consciousness in the West. As a whole it would seem that we’re taking our health more seriously than ever before. This has mainly manifested in an explosion of gyms, exercise classes and yoga mats. More than ever, as a society we seem more active, there are now more options than ever before if you wish to burn some calories.
Yet with all this activity it seems that more than ever we’re all clamouring for some quiet time. We can call this need many things, but if there’s something that we can agree on, it is that we need balance. The human mind and body yearn for stimulation, they thrive on challenge yet at the same time require these things to be balanced with space for downtime. Downtime doesn’t necessarily mean inactivity, instead it’s a call for temporary disengagement, not so that we may avoid our day to day lives but instead, return refreshed and go deeper.
At Create Health we pride ourselves fuzing everything we do with a complex understanding of the human body and its alignment to the mind. So much of what we see nowadays relates to an overfocus on the physical health with little attention paid to the mind. Ultimately our minds provide us with our greatest sense of wellness. They’re a space which can contain the memories of our greatest experiences and also some of our greatest pain. Think of the mind as a storehouse which has the potential to become overloaded. We believe that in balancing the body and mind it’s crucial that we look at the storehouse as well as our physical form.
This process is not one of ‘attack’ – think of it instead as a process of finding our own internal balance. For everyone that will be a unique journey, one which will require an examination of where you currently are in your life and where you see yourself going. There is no one size fits all type of solution for any of our clients, instead we prefer to ‘deep dive’ and really build an understanding of the external as well as internal factors at play.
We recognise that life does provide us with plenty of day to day challenges. The constant need to take care of responsibilities whilst ensuring that we, as adults are exercising the right amount of self-care. We can’t live in a bubble, neither can our methods or the way in which we work with our clients. We recognize the need to find balance between body and mind is never an easy path. But what we don’t ask for is ‘ease’ – anything worth having is worth fighting for as they say. Crucially, the most important part of any journey is actually just starting.
Wherever you are it’s likely that you’ve heard of Pilates. It’s been around since the 1920s and places special emphasis on developing core strength to improve general fitness and well-being. Paired with the emergence of yoga we’ve seen a wave of different studios, organisations and teachers emerge over the last 5-10 years. This emergence has been a good thing, right? More so than ever before it would seem we’re getting healthier, more active and open minded in terms of the type of methods we use to maintain our overall health and well being.
For many who undertake a course of Pilates, the initial motivation of improving general fitness and overall well being is indeed valid. Everyone should ultimately be motivated by a desire to improve their day to day lives. Yet when working with our clients we find it crucial that we go beyond surface motivations. Pilates does indeed have the potential to improve and radically transform posture, muscle tone and joint mobility.
At Create Health Nevada we pride ourselves on understanding exactly what our clients are looking for but further to that, designing and providing a pathway which helps them meet their objectives. We believe that when it comes to any practice, but especially Pilates, there is no such thing as ‘standard’. The quality of your Pilates practice will be impacted by several factors such as rapport with your teacher, frequency and most crucially your body type.
In preparing you for pilates it’s important that we work firstly to understand your body from a holistic point of view. Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates actually designed more than 500 unique exercises. The key question is ‘what will work for You?’ – how can we create a programme which is personalized for your own specific circumstances?
“ I have taken pilates from Shoshi for many years. Expert instructor. What I like about Shoshi is she molds your workout with the client’s individual needs. She keeps advancing in her field so the client’s experience is also enhanced. She keeps the workouts versatile so you’re never bored. Shoshi adds her knowledge about nutrition, which she adds to her instruction”
As with Connie’s experience the focus will be tailoring our programmes for your specific needs whilst, at the same time ensuring that you benefit from the deepening of our knowledge in the area. Any programme which intends to improve your overall fitness and well-being must be supported by an overall nutrition strategy. In terms of Pilates, we aim to match the physical nature of the discipline with a focus on your eating habits and nutritional needs, ensuring the overall fitness benefits are matched by a programme of nutrition which supports that.
The challenge with chronic pain is that it reaches a point where the road feels like it will never end, there are only so many times you can try, there are only so many times you can believe there is hope, there are only so many times before the light of hope diminishes from a fire inside to a mere flicker.
We have dealt with this loss of hope 100’s of times with 100’s of clients, it is often our starting point on the client journey. To understand why, we asked one of our clients to break down their perspective as we use this as a case study to explain why there is much more than hope of lighting the fire once more.
The case study was based around Marty, we asked him to explain his injury:
“I had a slipped and bulging disc at the base of my spine, I couldn’t walk properly for nearly three months to the point that it beat me into submission and I had an operation. I felt a huge sense of relief post operation until the pain returned and then began a whirlwind tour of supposed therapies culminating in 7 years of chiropractic visits twice per week, it helped alleviate pain but never cure it. After so long you accept that as normal, painkillers and continuous pain becomes your normal”
I appreciate Marty sharing this and you could easily swap out his injury and experience to all kinds of injuries we hear about. The back is certainly a strong theme for chronic pain, although not everyone we see is aware of that, you see the thing with injury is that the body compensates for it in other ways. In Marty’s case when he first came to see me I could see the issues:
“Honestly, I went to see Glenn as a last hope, I’d heard wonderful things about him from a friend but I doubted he could help where so many others had failed. Looking back what was truly incredible was that I walked in and he told me inside two minutes that my back had created issues in my core, shoulders and upper back”
At this point I should share how I knew this, I have studied and mastered a range of martial arts, body language methods, therapies, physiology and mindset techniques. Over time you create a sixth sense for movement and the ability to read people’s bodies. I call it biomechanics but in its simplest sense I can see the issues, all of them, which is key, it’s never one simple key but a myriad of changes. That is why I can help people in ways others cannot. Take Marty, since he’s our case study, his L5 disc was the starting point but to avoid pain his mind had decided to change how he walked, his posture and his balance were all different.
“I was extremely cynical as most people get with such ongoing pain, I think that is completely fair, you lose hope. The first session was incredible, we spent little time on my lower back and instead Glenn was releasing all sorts of areas of pain which I figured were never curable, what do I know”
At this point I could see Marty’s body had changed how he walked, sat and moved. I set about gently but firmly understanding his mechanics and then began releasing some age old knots, muscles and flexibility. This where the emotional side comes into play, bad injuries lock in the emotion of the moment, it’s like memories which get trapped in time, in this case trapped inside your body.
“The emotional side was challenging, Glenn educated me stage by stage and I just felt memories flooding back to me when he found points of release for me. You are flooded with different moments when the injuries occurred and as it went on I felt freer and just full of energy, I felt younger”
Once you release the old emotions, everyone feels more alive, awake, flexible and of course this was just the first visit but over time we created more and more freedom for the mind and body for Marty. We have many testimonials about our work, we are very grateful but what really makes me feel like we have changed lives is when people realise that chronic pain is not just curable but can help to light that fire inside you again:
“I will never forget the moment at the first session when I stood up and stretched my back BACKWARDS, it was automatic and yet I couldn’t recall doing that for 10 years. I felt free and each visit is just a joy, many people talk about balance of mind and body, few live it. I’m forever grateful for Create Health and their mastery of pain relief!”
So yes we can help with chronic pain, you just have to look past lost hope and to believe that defeat is not your road. You deserve more, the fire can burn again.
There have been many trends and exclamations to the importance of our mental health in recent years, which is a very positive thing – we are not just acknowledging the importance of a healthy mental state, but furthering our understanding of the linkages between our physical and mental self too.
As we continue to allow ourselves to explore our emotional state and accept the fact that we are not always happy however, we uncover an entirely new problem – if I admit I am not happy, or depressed, or in pain, how do I go about recovering from this state?
An important element to understand and embrace is the fact that pain is both a physical and mental symptom – we can suffer emotionally as a result of a physical injury and vice versa. That is not to say that all mental pain and emotional stress is rooted in a physical injury, but nonetheless it is common to experience depression or other emotional states of distress in conjunction with physical injuries and pain.
There are several areas of research which have been conducted into the connection(s) that exist between physical pain and mental awareness and state. Psychologist Rex Schmidt at the Nebraska Medical Center Pain Management states that
“Depression and pain happen to share a part of the brain that’s involved in both conditions, which means that mind-body techniques that affect those areas can be efficacious for both.”
The logic here is that when you are suffering from a physical injury, your emotional well being is at risk for a series of factors and the well being that you feel from a full recovery, is not just the fact that the pain is gone, but the recovery can be mental too.
Depression can take many forms and is often very subtle which is why it is such a tough state to acknowledge or recognise when we are suffering.
The upside, is that by taking care of yourself, and working to recover and actively target and release areas that may be causing you pain, you are actively targeting potential depression too.
It is well recognised that endorphins are released as a result of exercise – this is a process in the brain that is releasing chemicals through our nervous system, but again the link between the mental and physical is vital here as endorphins can also serve to relieve pain and establish feelings of euphoria.
Mindfulness is another area that has received growing attention when it comes to pain relief and managing depression. Specifically, meditation is being advocated as a great technique to focus on ‘the now’ and manage pain by controlling your stress levels.
Specifically, researchers at Brown University in Providence, R.I. found that when women with chronic pelvic pain participated in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program, their pain decreased and their mood improved. This was part of research initiative to determine whether mindfulness meditation — focusing on your breath and each present moment — could serve to lessen cancer pain, low back pain and migraine headaches.
As we start to consider these relationships in increasing detail, the great opportunity here is clear – whether or not we are in physical pain, there is an opportunity to free ourselves from pain through mental application.
More importantly, when we are in pain, there is an equal opportunity to free ourselves from emotional and mental distress by freeing ourselves from the physical pain that is burdening us.
Whether that is recovering from an immediate injury, or longer term release from a lifetime of bad movements that is causing our body constant distress that we may not acknowledge, there is great potential for mental well being by taking care of our physical selves.
As you read this, consider what is Biomechanics?
Have you heard of it?
According to the dictionary, biomechanics is “The study of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms”.
If you are drawing a complete blank at this stage, do not be concerned – most people have never heard of this concept, and in all honesty, that explanation does little to clarify the concept in question.
Think of it this way instead, the human body, while anything but a machine, actually behaves in many similar fashions to the machines we create and distance ourselves from when looking at our own behaviour and performance.
As a matter of fact, many of the basic principles of mechanics can also be applied to the human body and our movements. Biomechanics is actually a large field which covers many things like the mechanical function of muscles, connective tissue, cartilage, skin, nerves, bones and joints. There is also extensive research being conducted in the field of biomechanics, typically focused on human movement and performance, including both internal and external forces that the body uses to produce movement. By applying the laws of physics and engineering to the human body, we can actually begin to analyze the relationships that exist between our body’s movements and the resulting outcomes we experience.
As we take our understanding of biomechanics further we are able to develop a stronger understanding of why the body behaves and reacts the way it does. Why do certain movements and actions result in specific injuries? How do understand and reverse the effects of these injuries?
As we continue to develop stronger insights, these are the types of questions we can answer. More importantly, you as an individual can better understand and protect your own body by developing your own understanding of biomechanics.
You don’t need to become a leading authority in the field, but as you start to understand the mechanics of your own body and signs that you are receiving you can better protect yourself from injury as you learn to interpret the movements your body is not accepting of.
There are many benefits to developing this understanding and expertise – our bodies are inexorably linked to our minds, and more often than not, pain and injury that is physical can manifest and develop a mental edge in tandem with our physical injury. As you develop a stronger bond between your mental and physical self you can not only better understand and attend to your physical ailments, but allow yourself a further mental release as your body unburdens itself physically.
In some respects, biomechanics is also used as a study for acting. In this respect the discipline focuses more intently on the mental awareness and control of your body, hence the application to the acting craft, however the fundamental principles remain the same.
The important thing to understand is that our body is linked in so many ways, but the movements and muscles we possess are still subject to the laws of physics. With further understanding here we have the potential to not just understand why we move the way we do and how we should move to best protect ourselves from injury, but we can begin to train our mind to influence our movements to achieve this.
Most of our movement is subconscious as we develop habits through life, and these are not always the best habits that protect our bodies. The more aware of our body and movements we are, the better we can protect ourselves and strengthen ourselves through our everyday actions.
This is the potential that biomechanics brings to us all.
If ever there was a sport specifically designed to take you from madness to happiness shot by shot it would surely be golf. We have spent many years educating, balancing and putting bodies back together mainly because of the passion to just keep going that is present in many golfers we treat (professionals, amateurs and those dedicated people in the middle!). What we find is that golf can create some very bad habits that can have a detrimental affect on your swing and also your quality of life.
To give this some context our experience of the golf swing and optimal performance goes back as far some of the great names who had to change their swing:
Ben Hogan – His swing change was because of his accident and injuries to his knee, hip and shoulder. Pain caused him to alter his swing and he lost some drive but still performed unbelievably well and understood how to hit his optimal performance level.
At Create Health we call this body mechanics, I will let one of our clients describe the gain:
“Shoshi is an excellent trainer. She uses her knowledge and experience to individualize workouts to the needs of each each client. Both my wife and I have gained significant flexibility and strength since we began working with Shoshi, including a positive impact on my golf swing.”
Like a good golf swing we know that agility of method is key, as is understanding that the body compensates for a bad swing technique by changing the dynamics of your body. Example two is a little different to Hogan:
Nick Faldo – The change was not because of injury but more to do with his obsessive competitive nature. He became more compact, efficient and productive in his swing. We know it worked and then some!
What Nick was doing was changing his mechanics but it runs counter productive to what you often see on the course of someone hitting the ball literally as hard as they can. He understood his body and focused on what he could understand and improve. The last part is key and also the most difficult part is understand. What the body has changed is not clear to us, we have treated celebrities, CEO’s, sports people, dancers and the most common example is uncovering for each of them the unique elements their body has created. Sometimes it simple a jarred back, a minor injury and sometimes it is more severe, if you understand AND fix these elements that is when the amazing occurs:
“Thank you, Glenn, for being there at the beginning when the back was as hard as a board and the spine was as twisted as a pretzel. Since the climactic session, I have walked 18 hole rounds of golf. I am sitting, standing, swinging a golf club, sleeping and FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 35 YEARS——LIVING PAIN FREE, AND WITHOUT PAIN MEDICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Now John was a very interesting case, the back is often the direct cause of so many alterations in other parts of the body. We know of a pretty famous golfer who lived this:
Tiger Woods – The evolving swing can be seen in that wonderful slideshow. We know Tiger had some serious injuries and kept motoring on. The Tiger of 2016 just had one back issue too many and perhaps should have followed the advice to take time off a long time before it reached this stage, an incredible player with broken mechanics.
As you can see pain, injury and performance was a common thread to all three.
We put pain relief and education of the cause first in our priorities
Once you cure the pain you understand the causation
Once you understand the cause you can improve your movement & flexibility
Once you optimise flexibility you could win some Majors…
….or at least feel a lot happier inside and out as you take down your buddies on the course.