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Meet the Muse

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Erica B, is a Muse OG. She's been delighting us with her presence in classes since April 15' and we couldn't be more grateful. Beatson, as she is affectionately referred to by Keri, appreciates our -ahem- unorthodox sense of humour and despite looking and being the sweetest is a bit of a devil. We have loved watching her grow from a hard working student to hard working professional who helps people as a therapist who practices from a feminist, trauma-informed lens in her work with clients.

MM: How does Pilates Help you in your daily life and or with work?

EB: As a therapist, I believe the body provides us with so much valuable information about our past experiences, feelings, and how we relate to others. Pilates allows me to feel centred, grounded, and mindful when I approach my work with clients. In turn, I encourage clients to notice their own relationships to their bodies and to feel supported in this process. 

MM: What's your fave class?

EB: Pilates Flow

MM: Move you love to hate?

EB: Half rollback - my hip flexors are really cranky but I also feel that this move strengthens my lower abs so my hip flexors can learn to back off. 

MM: Fave summer activity?

EB: Jumping off the dock into the lake!

MM: Pilates goals?

EB: I like to notice what shifts week-to-week; ultimately I would say my goal every class is to complete a whole class without dropping the weighted balls. 

MM: Who or what is your muse?

EB: My dear friends! They are driven, compassionate, and brilliant! They are a constant source of support and I am so grateful for each of them! 

MM: What are you listening to right now - song that inspires?

EB: June from the new Florence and the Machine album.

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Meet the Muse

This week we'd like you to meet Meg S.  Its pretty apparent from her interview answers why she's an inspiration to us. 

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MM: What part of Toronto do you live in?

MS: I live at Bathurst and Dundas in a ramshackle row-house with two wonderful friends, a very controlling cat and a cherry tree in the backyard. 

MM: What do you love about TO and your neighbourhood in general?

MS: I feel like there are so many opportunities here, like this city makes it possible to live many different lives. I also love how people, ideas and projects from all over the world converge in Toronto--I like the results and I feel honoured to participate in the mashup;) Also, in spring and summer at least, there are beautiful men everywhere. I like that part very much. 

MM: How often do you practice? Do you do any other activities?

MS: Usually twice a week. I also do Tai chi and dance samba, and I bike all over Toronto (I love me some calculated risk).

MM: What do you love about Pilates

MS: Ohhh, it makes all other movement smoother and easier. When I'm doing Pilates regularly, I walk, stand, cycle, dance and just generally do everything with greater ease. I especially love all of the work we do with our hips, thighs and glutes, and also with the shoulder girdle. 

MM: What have you learnt about your body through Pilates

MS: When I am strong, coordinated and supple in my hips and pelvis, I feel like I can do anything. It's my powerhouse area. I never knew before how connected this part of my body is to my sense of pleasure, agency and strength in the world. 

MM: Who or what is you Muse?

MS: I work with people who have experienced violence, and their commitment to re-finding pleasure, safety and joy in their bodies blows me away. My survivor ladies are my muse! :)

MM: What s a big ft hairy dream of yours?

MS: I want a world where girls and young women grow up sure of their worth and in touch with their desires, boundaries, dreams and inherent right to be here/kick ass. Step by step, we're getting there! 

Couldn't have said it better girlfriend. 

 

 

See More from Keri O'Meara

 

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Meet the Muse

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If you haven't met Alan P., then you have not been coming to the studio. A fixture at the Muse, often taking two classes a day, Alan is the guy you hear whistling down the hall or sometime even along in class.  We enjoy his humour and his dedication to not only to working his body but to learning about it and how it functions. 

MM:  Why Pilates?

AP:  It’s the straw that stirs the drink. The perfect compliment to strength training or running it just makes everything easier. Even just walking around I feel stronger and more balanced. 

MM: Why MuseMovement?

AP: Too many reasons to mention. The secretly mean teachers.  The energy. The space. The community. The playlists. The jokes. 

MM: Fave exercise?

AP: Plank for days yo. 

MM: Exercise you love to hate?

AP: Keri’s Obleek Week was pretty rough. And anytime I hear the words reverse those circles!

MM: When is a time you were truly inspired?

AP: Anyone seen phish at red rocks or the gorge? 

MM: Fave class?

AP: Pilates Strength aka Aerobilates. The community classes with the rotating cast of new muses are also pretty dope. 

MM: Whose your Muse?

AP: My dog, Rider. His side plank needs work but his downward dog is on point. 

MM: Whose funnier: Keri or Leslie?

AP: Amanda

MM: Song that inspires you?

AP: Whipping Post by the Allman Brothers Band 

 

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Meet the Muse

Introducing this weeks Muse Chloe S. 

Chloe, a resident of Trinity Bellwoods,' enjoys the "smaller  community vibe" of MuseMovement. 

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A newer and extremely welcome member of our community (we cannot resist her chill vibes and beautiful smile) what brought Chloe back after her intro month was how engaged Pilates made her feel.

"I've been doing yoga for the last 5 years and I was finding that I had hit a wall, I felt less engaged then I used to. When I tried pilates with Muse..., I felt like I was developing different, more targeted muscles that I hadn't been able to before in the same way. And important areas to me - like my core. " 

Chloe is a creative and when she's not on the mat she's working as a documentary film director and producer.  Her Muse is Agnes Varda and a song that inspires her is Cat Power's 'Nothing But Time.' 

Chloe's fave body part to work is her Abs and Hip Flexors. She's not a huge fan of the moves on the wrist- thought she does them diligently and never complains. We think she must love a good booty workout too cause her fave move is side lying leg lift.

 

 

 

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Unravelling Fascia

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Ok WTF is fascia? You probably hear us talk about it all the time and might not be surprised that we get super nerdy and excited when we talk about it amongst ourselves. Keri has even taken a course that involved watching six hours of cadaver videos of the dissection of the stuff.  But Danielle is our resident expert on the elusive and beautiful stuff that is fascia. 

Fascia is connective tissue. It is the fat under your skin, it is the slimy, fllmy lubricating material between in and around joints, muscles, tendons ligaments. It is a protective layer separating your organs. It helps you stabilise, mobilise, breathe, move, function.  It's so difficult to describe as there are different types and a multitude of layers of it throughout your body and its kind of like trying to describe a snowflake or a spider web.  But if any one can do it its Daniele. 

And she will on May 5 from 2-4 in our Workshop: Unravelling Fascia.  

Fascia like muscles need to be worked and stretched and lubricated and loved.  Among a million other things this is why Pilates is so amazing because the practice considers the whole body- down to the connective sheaths, layers and intricate webs of fascia.  In Unravelling Fascia you will do just that. Danielle will break it down intellectually, metaphorically and visually so you can apply it to your practice to take it to a whole other layer- literally.  She will then guide you through a fascia focused class that will have you feeling strong and supple and deeply in and connected to your body with a spring in your step!

Register Today

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Meet The Muse

Meet this weeks Muse, Blonde Beauty Kristen C. 

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An account manager at Yelp, Kristen travels for her Pilates, from Davenport down to Dundas. "Its a little north but I like having a backyard." Fair K.C, so fair. And we love that she comes and moves with us at least three times a week and brings her quiet but sunny disposition. 

She didn't know what they were three months ago (about when she started coming to MuseMovement) but now her hip flexors are her fave body part to work. "I realise the effect they have on the rest of my body," Kristen says.  We see she's been paying attention.  

MM: What do you love about pilates?

KC:  I love feeling stronger, and more toned. But what I really found I loved was learning about the human anatomy - how it all connects and why you're body acts a certain way. The teachers  all really know their stuff!

MM: Fave Pilates move?

KC: Side planks. Never thought I’d say that, but it’s the move that I most notice the strength I’ve build since starting Pilates. 

MM: Move you love to hate?

KC: Teaser. It hurts so good. 

MM: Who or what is your muse?

KC: Keri’s butt

MM: Whats a song that inspires you ?

KC: Andy Shauf - You’re Out Wasting (MM- Look out for it on a Muse Playlist coming your way)

MM: Whats your fave class ?

KC:  Strength & Stretch at the end of the work week.

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Meet The Muse

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Meet Alexa, a vixen with a heart of gold and the soul of a Unicorn.  Alexa started coming to Muse about a year ago when she saw our sandwich board while wondering around Artscape Youngplace. She immediately became a regular fixture in mat classes and in our hearts.  This gal travels all the way from the Junction Triangle to hit up Muse classes because "I just love being here."  What she loves about Pilates is that "Its more about feeling good and going at your own pace than it is about rushing though the workout to get it over with." It just works." 

Alexa says her Muse is Keri which is the most flattering but we think she must have a lot of them cause this is one creative gal.  We love seeing what Alexa, a kick- ass Stylist, changes into after class and her outfits often spark a group conversation which usually ends in us reminiscing on 1970's fashion and Girl Power. 

Alexa will always move her mat for fellow Muses to make room for them and loves chatting to newbies and making them feel like a welcome member of our community. If your mat is next to Alexa's you'll hear her giggle in class when a sequence or exercise gets particularly challenging. Her favourite thing to do in class: "I love a good quadruped position, small pulse butt kicks- doggy style!"  The exercise she loves to hate: "Anything triceps."

Guess what we'll be working next time you're in a class with Alexa?

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Essential Oils 101

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" By harnessing pure & potent essential oils on a daily basis, you can change the state of your health and that of your family. " 

Hello.

Im Kelsey and Im stoked to be partnering with MuseMovement Studio to bring you another Intro to Essential Oils Workshop this Wednesday March 28th at 7:30pm. 

Have you ever thought about how much better you could feel in your own body? Perhaps you've thought about incorporating essential oils into your health care game plan?

Whether you've crushed peppermint leaves to make a mojito, have driven by a field of lavender, or squeeze fresh lemon into your water — you’ve experienced the powerful effects of essential oils and you may not have even known it!

Essential oils are pure aromatic compounds that come from plant matter. They are 100% natural (as opposed to synthetically created fragrance), and when the plants are grown in their natural habit, essential oils are very powerful and therapeutic.

As a holistic health coach & nutritionist, I’ve been using them in my life for many years to assist with a variety of ailments. Everything from sleep, stress, post workout recovery, detoxification, air purification, immune support and so much more.

Because of the benefits I've experienced in my own life, and by sharing them with others. I really LOVE these workshops that I get to teach both in-person and online that show you how to easily incorporate essentials oils into your life.

In addition to chatting about oils, there will also be time to ask questions and get practical advice on whatever ailment you're currently struggling with.

Hope to see you there!

Register here. 

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Change Your Life

Hey Y'all,

It's Keri here. I wanna share a story with you. 

I started doing Pilates in my late twenties and it changed EVERYTHING.  I was already pretty physical, going to the gym about 4 times a week doing a combination of strength training and cardio.  Those workout weren't changing my body in any way though and they were leaving my joints tired and painful.  As a gal with rheumatoid arthritis that was concerning. So when my mother suggested I try Pilates with her I said 'fine,' though a little reluctantly. I, like a lot of people had misconceptions about Pilates. I  thought it was a workout for women over 50, bored housewives and b list celebrities.  Thats the thing about preconceived notions, they are usually hella wrong.

What I discovered was that Pilates is for EVERYONE.  Within two weeks I was hooked. Within a month I had given up my gym membership and within two months everything changed. I lost inches and gained muscle weight;  my posture improved; I slept better and had more energy and focus; I looked forward to going to the studio because there was a supportive community and,  I knew I was going to enjoy my workout and feel amazing after class.  At the time I was a server and long shifts on my feet were causing a lot of back pain. That went away as my core got stronger.  My joints hurt less and less and and felt stronger and supported. The biggest change was with my relationship with my body. I have had arthritis since i was four. I had come to get used to pain and I was pretty disconnected from my body as a result, like 'i just didn't want to deal.' Pilates made me curious about my body, and 'the body:' how it works, how it moves and ,all of its wondrous functions.

I was amazed at how taking an interest and creating a connection could change how I felt both physically and emotionally.  I remember being in class one day and my knee, which was the main sight arthritis, was hurting.  I had a conversation with it. I said 'listen, this movement is really safe, we are doing a good thing for you here buddy so can you just ease up a bit surrender?' Guess what? It did. That was an aha moment.  I realised there was some real truth and power to Joseph Pilates' claim that "it is the mind itself that shapes the body." 

I digress, because this is not a story about how awesome Pilates and movement is, you all ready know that for yourself. This is a story about finding myself. 

After 8 months of practicing I decided to do my teacher training. I was, at that time, pretty unclear about what I wanted 'to do with my life,' and it was causing me some grief.  My best friend had recently completed her 200 Yoga Teacher Training and I saw what it did for her soul. Even though she didn't plan on teaching she just seemed so much more grounded and happier.  So I thought ' *&^% it, what do i have to lose?' I had no visions of being a teacher, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that this practice had started to change my body and my life and I wanted to explore that further. 

I mean y'all know how this story goes now.  I wouldn't be here writing to my beautiful community of Muses if I hadn't fallen further in love in that training.  It was a real shock to me, but I learned that anatomy made me excited and that I loved teaching.  I had always wanted to be a writer and teaching Pilates allowed me to explore the use of language and metaphor and to indulge my creative side.  I was also very academic at one point in my life and Pilates, dissecting movement and the body satisfied my analytical mind too. I value deep and meaningful interactions with people. There is no doubt that the connections you make with people when you are exploring body and movement are sacred and invaluable.  The most meaningful for me though was discovering that moment when you see you have may have made a difference in someones day, maybe even in their life. That, that is the heart of teaching. 

My point is this.  You don't have to make a career change and become a Pilates teacher to get value from a teacher training. You might realise that teaching movement is your dharma or you might not. You will unearth a lot though.  No matter the outcome the journey will change you.   You have nothing to lose from learning about how your body works, how to move it safely, functionally, creatively. You will discover how to communicate better and how to teach and you will gain more confidence in your practice and in life. Those are skills that are invaluable no matter where the road takes you. This is a promise from me to you: This training will make you get closer to and understand yourself more. You will move body, mind and heart.
 

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Get to know your teacher- Leslie Hopkins

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Leslie before then your life in incomplete.  She's basically the funniest weirdest gal around town who teaches a slow, sneaky, burny class and is Muse's biggest anatomy nerd- and we got a lot of anatomy nerds.  Leslie recently started a masters in Occupational Therapy, so when she's not teaching a kick ass Pilates class you can find her cadavering (her newest favourite activity), eating chips and studying. Here's a few other things you may not have known about her. 

Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Leslie was brought to you by the letter O. 
Born in Ottawa, grew up in Owen Sound.  

What is your favourite tv show?
Buffy The Vampire Slayer 

What song do you wish could be playing everytime you walked into a room?
Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot (mostly wishful thinking) 

What moves you?
Music, wine, travelling, dogs, and especially the combination of all of those things together.  

Who/What is your Muse?
Chicks that slay. 

When were you happiest?
Cuddling in bed with people and animals that I love.  

What motivates you?
I've had the amazing opportunity of working on a therapy team at a pre-school for children with disabilities. The children I have worked with me are pure inspiration and motivation for me in my personal and academic life.  

What does your practice regime look like?
My practice is more sporadic than I'd like it to be. It looks like the "snack time" version of working out. I pop onto a Reformer machine for ten minutes before a class. Or I hop on my mat mid study break for 30 minutes. When I'm lucky to have the time I get to take a class at Muse and loooove when I make the time to do that.  

What is your favourite muscle?
I'm a hog so I'm picking two...the Obliques (external obliques and internal obliques). I love the way they feel when you're working out. I also love what they do for my spine when I rotate. 

If you could be something else what would it be?
Unicorn. 

Ocean or Lake?
Ocean. 

Where is your favourite vacation spot?
Oliphant, Ontario. I was spoiled growing up minutes away from this beach. It's got an epic sunset.  
What is your spirit animal?
Unicorn. 

What is a ritual that you do?
I'm a life long learner, and anytime I take an exam I always spend a bit of that morning on my mat.

What brought you to movement?
My sister and I have been dancing since before we were in school, we danced a lot together. In high school my sister bought her first Pilates Video and we would follow along on her bedroom floor. I'm also happy to say we are both still dancing and doing Pilates (many, many years later). 

Whats you favourite snack?
Chips, Chocolate, Candy (so healthy).  

Whats your favourite meal?
Thai basil noodles.  

What is in your purse?
Granola bar crumbs, granola bars in their entirety. Old paper receipts that I'm "saving". Chapstick, sunglasses, wallet, and keys. A random dog poo bag, 'cuz you never know.  

Five Random Facts
1. I absolutely love making lists.
2. I have to set my alarm clock to a palindrome.
3.  I have had a giant tattoo covered up with an even more giant tattoo.
4. I love the smell of vanilla.
5. I have always been able to do the splits. 

Motto
If you can't change the situation, you can still change your reaction to it. 

Piece of Advice
If you feel like swearing do it, it feels fucking great. 

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Exercise of the Week: Teaser

We are kickin' it old school with this one.  We've taken a lot out of the classic repertoire in our modern pilates classroom but this one makes the cut! Why? Because it's awesome. Its safe, its challenging. it works your whole bod, abs abs abs, back, inner thighs, shoulder stabilisers, psoas, did we mention ABS.  And of course endurance. If You can do five of these babies back to back you can run pretty much run a marathon. And it feels so damn good when its done.  Don't worry we aren't gonna throw you into it right away. We want to set your bod up for success so there will be a lot of prep - read: abs abs abs- to get you into it.  Its one of those exercises that makes you feel the burn but also a lot of accomplishment. It's gonna make you stronger, taller and more even more kick ass than you already are!  It also looks really pretty as shown by our own Olivia Yung.  

Wanna know more. Come to class and we'll tease (pun so incredibly intended) this one out. 

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Seasonal Transitions, Top 5 Beauty Tips From Our Friends at Province Apothecary

We are huge advocates of customization + tailoring your beauty routine to suit  skin's needs as the seasons change. Educating clients on how to adapt their skincare regime effectively is at the forefront of what we do! Here are Holistic Aesthetician Cassandra Bradshaw's top 5 tips for taking care of your skin this season. 


1. Oil-based skincare
It's no secret that we're obsessed with oil. Using oil-based skincare products acts as a preventative measure against dehydration and dullness. All skin types and conditions can benefit from using this form of skincare, especially during Fall when common formulations (gels, foams) can be overly drying and irritating. Some people are afraid of using oil on their skin, as they believe it may lead to breakouts and congestion. The opposite is true, as oil actually prevents and clears acne. Oil products maintain hydration levels within the skin, keep our PH levels balanced and impart a natural, healthy glow. Use an oil cleanser every night to easily remove makeup and reduce excess oil. Especially if you are dealing with dry, dehydrated, cracked or flaking skin, oil will be your best friend!

Recommended product: Moisturizing Cleanser + Make Up Remover

2. Layering

Fall is all about layering - sweaters, scarves, and your skincare! During the hot humid months of summer, we tend to use less products on our face as added moisture is not always necessary. In the colder, drier months of fall I recommend using a face serum followed by a lotion or balm on top. The face serum will penetrate to the deeper layers of your skin, and the lotion or balm will protect the top surface. This is a great way to protect your skin from becoming dehydrated, chapped and irritated by harsh winds. I bike a lot through the city, so I prefer a beeswax based balm as it really seals in the moisture!

Recommended product: Protecting & Restoring Face Balm

3. Exfoliation
Exfoliation is an integral part of a skincare regime any time of year, but most importantly during the months that we notice more flakiness on the top surface. Since our skin's can be more sensitive during the colder months, it's important to use a gentle but effective exfoliant. Province Apothecary's oat + green tea based exfoliator will leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and refreshed.  Try to exfoliate every 3 days and your skin will thank you with a youthful, natural glow and radiance. 

Recommended product: Regenerating + Stimulating Exfoliator.

4. Seasonal eating
With regards to our holistic approach to beauty, I always recommend following a seasonal and local diet whenever possible. Fall is the time of harvest - with so many nutritious local fruits and vegetables available to us at farmers markets throughout the city, it's an easy time of year to eat seasonal! Eating seasonal works well with our body's digestive system and boosts our immunity, thus providing a positive effect on our outer skin. A healthy digestive system will show on your skin by reducing inflammation and blemishes. Warming, grounding foods like squash and pumpkin are in abundance. Try this recipe for Healthy Pumpkin Pie Squares!

5. Movement practice
It's easy to feel more energized during the long, sunny summer days, but it's imperative to carry that energy through to Fall, and cultivating a regular movement practice is a key way to do so. Wether it be attending a yoga or pilates class at the gorgeous Muse Movement studio, getting outside on the waterfront trail for a morning bike ride, or jogging along Dundas West after work hours - whatever activity you choose is sure to bring more vibrancy and life to your skin. 

By: Cassandra Bradshaw

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Transitions

There's no question: fall can be a really hard season on our both our bodies and our emotions.  As we move into colder weather, new routines and, intense transition, we need to find ways to stay sane, grounded and make sure that we are taking care of ourselves.  Tried, tested and true, movement always helps. But what about changing your music too? We've got a new playlist that is sexy and cozy like autumn but also light and happy to help you keep your mood that way. These songs will help you transition through exercises and poses and into fall, smoothly.  Keep dancing. 


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Asstassic A Playlist

Many moons ago I used to teach a class by the moniker Asstastic. I recently rediscovered this playlist and had a little giggle and a wiggle. And sure enough these tunes will get your booty moving.  Hope you enjoy!


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An Oldie But Goodie

Found this in the attic. So excited. This is what we'll be listening to at the Studio. Among others but can't share them all at once. ENJOY. DANCE. MOVE. 

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Amanda on the Reformer

Here's a little taste. if you haven't tried one of Amanda's classes you should. She is so stoked to be teaching reformer and she's darn good at it.  Full of knowledge and creative and awesome for the body tricks up her sleeve Amanda's classes are challenging, mindful and fun!

Amanda is teaching a 6 week Pre- Registered morning reformer class.

Fridays, 9 am May 8, 15, 22, 29, June 5 and 12. 

You can register here


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Playlist: Spring 2015

This one will help you come out of hibernation mode, greet the longer days and sunshine and get you clapping your hands, tapping your feet and moving your body!


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