Tag: posture

Feldenkrais Workshop Series

Mind-Body Studio | Saturdays (see below for specific dates) | 2:00pm-4:30 p.m.


What is Feldenkrais?

The Feldenkrais Method® is based on principles of physics, biomechanics, and how the human nervous system adapts and develops. Specific exercises teach the body better ways to move, resulting in better posture, improved flexibility and balance, less pain, decreased stress, and an overall improved quality of life. This approach is highly complementary to any fitness program and is usually appropriate for all levels, ages, and abilities.  


What should I bring/wear?

Please wear layers of clothing that you can move in.  We will supply the mats, blankets, bolsters, and a demo skeleton. Peggy will be handouts and some “homework” materials.


When are the Workshops?


Improving Balance the Natural Way

  • Saturday, November 5th |  2:00pm – 4:30pm
    • Many factors can affect balance – injury, posture, age, or habit. Regardless of your physical condition, however, it is possible to improve your sense of stability and feel more “balanced” in your body. Using simple exercises, connect to your body’s natural ability to balance itself as you move with increased ease, grace, and flow. Get tips for applying what you’ve learned so you can access the freedom of better balance in a variety of activities.

Breathe Easy: Relax and Refresh for the Holidaze

  • Saturday, December 3rd | 2:00pm – 4:30pm
    • Take a breath and listen to your body. Enhance your enjoyment of life this season by reconnecting to your innate ability to feel relaxed and at ease in your body. Using gentle movements and breathing techniques, experience how your body can be an anchor during times of stress. Learn ways to apply these simple body-based practices to relax and refresh yourself at any time of day, whenever you need to.


Who is the instructor?


  • Peggy Protz has studied and taught a wide range of movement and exercise techniques. She holds a BFA in dance, was a Pilates instructor for 15 years, trained in yoga and massage, and has been a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner since 2001. Using the Feldenkrais Method, in addition to aspects of dance, pilates, and other modalities, Peggy helps people discover more pain free and comfortable ways of being in their body.


Is there a fee?


  • Yes. The fee for each workshop is $40 for members, and $60 for guests of SAC.


What if I can’t make it?

  • Then you can attend Peggy’s weekly Feldenkrais Class at the SAC, complimentary with your SAC membership!  It’s in the Mind/Body studio, 9:15-10:15 every Friday.  Drop in anytime!


For more information or to sign up, please contact Peggy Protz at peggy@peggyprotz.com or Danielle Zack at dzack@sacdt.com


More about the Feldenkrais Method:

(Better Movement for a Better Life Feldenkrais Method® changes how you live in your body)

Tired of a nagging sore neck, stiff hips, or a painful back? The Feldenkrais Method is a specialized approach that uses movement to improve physical comfort and enhance ease in living. Exploratory exercises are designed to improve flexibility, posture, and balance, leading to increased energy, faster recovery from injuries, and heightened athletic potential.

But what is it and how does it work? Developed by Israeli physicist and judo black belt Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), the Method was first introduced in the United States in the early 1970s. Using principles of physics, biomechanics, experiential learning, and human development, it’s purpose is to awaken the body’s natural ability to move with efficiency, grace, and comfort…

To read more – (click here)

——  by Peggy Protz

Analysis of Posture Cueing

As a trainer, there is a lot of information to convey in a short period of time and in a way that is easily understood by the client. The largest role a trainer plays is as a teacher. Sometimes it can be a challenge to communicate effectively in a concise way using as few words as possible. Each trainer has there own style of communication and usually uses verbal and kinesthetic tools. This said, there are a few cues that trainers use more consistently that will be explained in detail in this blog to provide more clarity.

Shoulders back and down-
This is a cue that most people are familiar with; however, there is a lot of confusion around its interpretation. The action of back and down is a description of the shoulder blades in an action of retraction and depression. One reason this is so widely used as a descriptor among trainers is because the shoulder joint is susceptible to injury when it is unstabilized. These actions of the shoulder blade give the joint a stabilized position to work from when manipulating heavy weight. Another reason this is used is because it counteracts the position of excessive kyphosis (rounding of the thoracic spine) to bring the spine in a neutral alignment.

New research has shown that the lazy posture brought on by sitting too much leads to weakened muscles in the upper back, but without creating this excessive curvature. When the shoulder blades are retracted and depressed this can overcorrect the posture and cause other ailments. If the shoulder blades are in the proper position the shoulder joint should not be anteriorly rotated and the blade should be in the shape of an upside down triangle with the apex pointed slightly out. This allows the proper curvature of the thoracic spine. Your trainer should be able to help explain and show this too you so you can ensure you are putting yourself into the right posture.

Squeeze your glutes-
The gluteal muscles make up a large system of muscle on the back side of the hip joint that stabilize, extend, and protect the hip joint. For adequate stabilization during certain exercises, increased core activation and protection of the knees and lower back squeezing your butt muscles is important.

This cue can be enhancing a posterior pelvic tilt in many people. This is when the pelvis is curled under and usually accompanies a forward shearing motion at the head of the femur. The important thing when squeezing is to maintain a float inside the hip joint, contract without tucking or thrusting forward, and focus more on the internal hip stabilizers and lower part of the glute complex.

Draw in your core-
The core muscle system includes 29 different muscles that perform big and small motions of the hip, sacrum and lumbar spine. Many of the muscles protect the organs and act as a hammock for the pelvis. To contract these muscles in preparation for movement the muscles perform and upward and inward motion; primarily in smooth muscles such as the transverse abdominus. This gives the muscles a contraction that acts as a support structure around the lumbar spine to protect it when heavy weight and when impact is applied.

The problem with this cue is it is often associated with sucking in, or can be misinterpreted to include diaphragmatic musculature. This tension can travel through the body, make your breathing improper, your spine tense, and impede movement.

Although these are common cues trainers use with clients, a deeper understanding of them can give you a better understanding of proper movement and positioning. For further information contact Personal Fitness Trainer Amber Walz.

Posture at Work and Pain

Often, people suffer from pain while they are working, particularly those who work at a desk all day. This can range from neck pain and headaches to low back pain to cramping hamstrings. Posture plays a vital role in all of these areas of the body. Poor posture will tighten certain muscles, loosen others and cause nerves to over fire, causing pain. If you have pain, look for these signs:

  1. Are your shoulders rounding forward? This is usually a weakness in the external rotators of the shoulder and tightness through the chest. By strengthening the rotator cuff your shoulders will pull back more naturally. You can stretch the chest in a doorway by placing your arms at 90 degree angles and leaning the weight forward. Take a deep breath and allow the stretch to deepen. This stretch should be performed as soon as you get to work. It will help to keep your open for the rest of the day.
  2. Are you tensed in the neck talking on the phone or do you reach your head forward looking at a computer screen? Every so often take a deep breath and sigh out the mouth. This will help calm the mind and relax your body. Also, perform cervical spine stretches while sitting.
    • While looking forward drop the ear towards the shoulder. Take a few deep breaths to deepen the stretch. Perform 3 times on each side
    • Drop the head down, pointing your nose towards one of your armpits. Again, take a few deep breaths. You will feel this one more behind your ears.
    • Turn and rotate the head as if you were trying to look over your shoulder. With each breath, try to look a little bit further.
  3. Do you get back spasms while seated? You may be flattening your back against your chair, giving it an unnatural curve. When this curve occurs, the lower vertebrae take on more weight than they were designed for. To help take the strain off the vertebrae, different muscles will begin to over fire, causing pain. While sitting, reach the crown of your head up and maintain this position. Sitting on a Swiss Ball helps with this. Since no back support is provided the body is required to be in the correct posture.
  4. Do your legs or knees hurt while sitting? You may be sitting too long. While in a seated position the hamstrings are slightly contracted and the quadriceps are slightly stretched. This position can be taxing on the muscles if maintained over an extended time period. While sitting, stretch one leg out straight, placing the heel on the ground. Keeping the spine straight, lean forward and feel the stretch up the back of the leg. Also, try to stand up from your seat every so often to get the blood to flow back to your legs. Even just sitting down and standing up a few times will help loosen up your legs and back.

How many cyclist do you know with good posture?

Many Seattleites enjoy the vast terrain of Washington through the means of biking. Weather permitting many people hit the outdoors and enjoy all of its scenery using a road, mountain or on a hybrid bike. While the true enthusiast might brave the Seattle downpour, most people come inside the club and enjoy one of the many different spin classes offered at the club.

One Factor that is constant with all cyclists, indoor and outdoor, is that their posture will start to take a turn for the worst. Having correct posture consists of maintaining a balance in the strength and flexibility of the front side (chest and front deltoids) and back side muscles (rear deltoids, mid traps and upper lats) of the upper body. As we ride any type of bike we maintain a slight or extreme forward lean, sometimes for hours. This forward lean eventually causes a strengthening and tightening of the front side muscles, while never addressing the backside muscles. If this continues without constant stretching and strengthening of the backside muscles a kyphosis or mid back hunch back look will start to form. So now that we cyclists know what the issue is, how do we address it? Some of the great options offered at the club are to take a yoga class and ask them to add a cat and cow sequence to their class. This sequence is performed by getting onto your hands and knees and alternately depressing your chest as far as possible (cow) and then pushing your shoulder blades as far upward and apart as possible (cat). Another possible rehab solution would be to try pilates, where everything involves lengthening the spine and strengthening the core. If these are not addressing the posture problem then you could always get a personal fitness trainer to make a rehab workout to strengthen all the backside and core muscles as well as show you upper body stretches.

Cycling should be a fun and enjoyable sport that we can enjoy both indoor and outdoor until we are in our later years; in order to keep it that way and not create muscle imbalance problems for ourselves, we need to make sure that we stretch our chest and strengthen our back muscles as often as possible. If we keep our posture safe, we keep all of our daily activities safe and enjoyable.