Pros of Probiotics

House Kombucha | Alkalign Studios Nourish Probiotics

Did you know that the majority of your immune system is located in your digestive tract? Improving the type and quality of food you ingest is the first step toward improving overall health. In addition to eliminating foods that cause inflammation in the body, try adding probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that enhance gut health.


You can consume probiotics two ways: eating certain foods or taking probiotic supplements.


Fermented foods contain probiotics, so try fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi or fermented dairy such as kefir and Greek yogurt. Kombucha (fermented tea) is also a good option, but watch the sugar content (≤ 4 grams per serving).


There are a lot of options when it comes to supplements. For a probiotic to be effective, it has to be live bacteria. Many of the brands on the market are dead by the time they hit the shelves. Go for refrigerated products so that you know you are getting live bacteria.


Experiment with different brands to see which is right for you. Each brand features different bacteria strains or combinations of strains. Take note of the way a brand affects your digestion, mood and energy (allow for 30 days with one brand to assess the impact). You may find the best results by rotating different brands to get different strains into your system.


In addition to improving gut health and digestion, probiotics can help with thyroid imbalances, chronic fatigue, joint pain, psoriasis, autism and many other conditions. Moreover, they can prevent urinary tract infections, heal inflammatory bowel conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and fight food-borne illnesses.


Try some and see. You might be surprised by the results!


Editor’s Note: This post features content from Alkalign’s Nourish program. Ready to learn more? Join our Holiday Mini Challenge or email for info on our full session starting January 2017.


Guest Post: Juice Co. LG Co-Founder Katelin Slifer

Juice Co. LG via Alkalign Studios

Convenient health. That’s what we’re striving for, right? Making a kale smoothie as we run out the door each morning + squeezing in our favorite barre class before the first meeting of the day. Making healthy choices can be time consuming and inconvenient. We live in Silicon Valley, one of the most successful communities in the world and there are still never enough hours in a day.


Research now shows that we need nine servings of fruits + vegetables daily. We believe in a truly healthy lifestyle but also prioritize life balance and this number can feel overwhelming. Meet juice co. LG. We’re a boutique cold-pressed juicery, making handcrafted, small batches. Our ingredients are 100% organic, locally sourced and raw. By choosing the cold-pressed method, you’re selecting the most nutrient dense juice on the market.


Different from masticating or centrifugal juicers, the cold-pressed method maintains the max amount of vitamins + minerals while also maintaining freshness. The term “cold” refers to the lack of heat applied to the produce when it’s ground, therefore maintaining all of those vital nutrients. We then press each recipe individually, very slowly, through a hydraulic press, adding nine tons of pressure. This extracts every last drop of juice out of the pulp. (People always ask me what we do with our left-over pulp. It is donated to the San Martin Milk Company, where they feed the pulp to livestock and use it as compost on the farm.)


The more fiber you consume, the fuller you feel. This does not always mean you are getting more nutrients. You get 2-4 pounds of produce in each of our juices. I recently posted a picture on our Instagram that shows just how much produce truly goes into one bottle of juice:




By drinking your fruits + vegetables, you’re maximizing your produce intake while maintaining nutrients. You’re also consuming a massive amount of produce without any additives (think dressing on salads). It would actually take quite a bit of energy to eat that much produce. When you’re able to consume nutrients in liquid form, your body naturally absorbs those nutrients quickly. This is why the cold-pressed method is crucial. It is proven to maintain the highest amount of nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, etc.


Over the past two years we have worked to create a product packed full of healthy produce—two to four pounds of organic produce per bottle to be exact. This alone is more than four servings of your RDI of fruits + vegetables, in one 16oz glass bottle! This development process created a product that not only tastes good, but is actually good for you. The final result? Convenient health!


You can now purchase our juices at both the Los Altos and Menlo Park Alkalign studios. Purchase directly from the Alkalign Nourish fridge or place a specific order to be delivered to the studio, with no delivery fee. Visit our website at or follow us on social media @juicecolg to learn more.

Testimonial: Kristy Taves Alkalign Experience

Alkalign Testimonial

I discovered Alkalign at age 17. After my first Barre 101 class, I was immediately captivated. It only took a few more classes for me to fall in love with a workout unlike anything I had ever known as a high school athlete. Alkalign is so much more than a fitness studio. It is a lifestyle driven by an inspiring community of kind, dedicated people who strive to support each other. Alkalign had a larger impact on my life than I ever thought it would.


I began working in the Playroom and as a Client Relations Specialist at the front desk. Working at the studio strengthened my relationship with the amazing clients and instructors. As a Client Relations Specialist, I was accountable for a large part of the client experience. I maintained the member database through MindBody software and recorded member attendance. This responsibility demonstrates a comprehension of computer skills and data entry, as well as an expertise in customer service. Working behind-the-scenes also includes cleaning and upkeep in every part of the studio. I managed the cash drawer, payments, membership sales and retail transactions. Handling finances and working with merchandise are two excellent skills to posses. Lastly, I often held the responsibility of closing and locking the studio, which exhibits trust from management and the instructors.


As I went off to college at New York University, I began thinking about applying for internships. My work experience at Alkalign was one of the only things listed on my resume, besides a bit of babysitting and volunteer work. I utilized my involvement with Alkalign on every cover letter and in every single interview. I was successful gaining my first internship with Louis Vuitton in New York, thanks to my wonderful experience working at the Alkalign front desk.



With this remarkable array of skills under my belt, I was able to enter the corporate world confidently. Since my first internship, I have interned for Harper’s Bazaar magazine in Manhattan and Adobe here in the Bay Area. As I head back to NYU this fall, I look forward to interning for NBCUniversal. Alkalign has not only propelled me forward professionally, but it has also helped me grow mentally, physically, and emotionally stronger.

Testimonial: Kim Johnson + Alkaligned

Alkalign Studios Review 

It’s amazing how quickly we get absorbed in our busy lives and often forget to really take care of ourselves. Are we eating well, exercising, sleeping well, drinking enough water, doing something quiet or peaceful for ourselves? I realized I wasn’t, and I was paying for it. My energy was low, I became a restless sleeper, was gaining weight, and catching more colds throughout the year. I got caught up in this whirlwind blaming my new career as a nurse as the source to how I was feeling. Though I’m sure my new schedule and balancing a new career played a hand in how I felt, I sure wasn’t doing anything to change or help myself.


Finally, in April 2016, tired of feeling like crap and putting things off, I decided to get a body fat scan done. Wow, did the results shock me. I was off the charts and not in a good way.  I knew I lost touch with myself, but I didn’t realize how far down I fell. This was the start to regaining control of myself! I set three goals:


+ This had to be a lifestyle change, not a fad or a diet

+ It needed to be practical and efficient to fit my ever-changing schedule

+ Maximize change by burning fat and building lean muscle


Already being a member of Alkalign Studios, I figured I would start here, attending classes 2-3 times per week, incorporating at least one Barre Align and one Cardio Align class each week. Luckily, at this time, Alkalign Anywhere rolled out, and I could add in doing the videos in my own home or when I was out of town. The online workout videos were a game changer for me because of my inconsistent schedule. I got the same great muscle burning workout that allowed me to increase my workouts from 2-3 times per week to 4-5 times per week. I quickly developed a practical routine that was both efficient and enjoyable.


Now that I began tackling my exercise routine, it was time to make adjustments to my diet. I am firm believer of “everything in moderation.” And though I still don’t believe in completely cutting anything out of my diet, I instead learned what works for me and my body. I had already started making small changes when Alkalign Nourish 1.0 started, but I decided to join and embrace it and see what else I could learn. Nourish seemed to hold the same values I did about learning what works for you and making changes that fit your lifestyle. I learned so much about how food affects my mood, my energy, my sleep patterns, and even my skin.


Three months later, July 2016, I already felt a difference in my energy level, sleep patterns, and weight but I wanted a repeat body scan to see if my changes were making the difference I was looking for. Answer: yes they were! I was down 5lbs in body weight, my body fat percent was down 4%, and I was up 1.5lbs in lean muscle. Wow! I couldn’t have been happier. Four months later, I was even down a full size in pants. Even though I love these numbers, and I can’t wait to see the progression, I truly just love how I feel. I look forward to the mornings, I love crawling into bed at night knowing I’m going to sleep peacefully, and I have the motivation and energy to workout and prepare healthy meals. I set out to find a routine that fit my busy life schedule and instead I have adopted a routine that is just apart of my daily life.


Testimonial: Erin Moritz + Post-Pregnancy Workout

Alkalign Studios Post Pregnancy Workout

I am a first-time mom to an adorable baby girl, Sloane. I have been petite with an athletic build my entire life and assumed that I would gain the “suggested” 25 pounds (which is nearly impossible) and bounce right back after baby. While attempting to eat healthy and maintain some sort of physical exercise during my pregnancy I was astounded to find that I had gained over 50 pounds! After a rather traumatic birth story, I left the hospital weighing 10 pounds more than when I had gone in. I had over 60 pounds to shed. I was able to lose most of the water weight within a week or so but the other pounds were going to take work. Given that I had a cesarean section, I knew that I was going to need to find a workout that would help me not only get back into shape but also help me to heal my body and retrain my muscles.


Before being cleared to work out, I would walk two miles to Woodbury Town Center each day to pick up my Starbucks with my daughter. While walking, I came across Alkalign Irvine and stopped in to see what it was all about. I got a chance to meet Kate and ask some questions. Having never taken a barre class or a Pilates class and not being a fan of yoga, I assumed I would (like most classes) hate it. I ended up joining a class and LOVED it. The class was amazing!  Many of the positions and movements did not look challenging but my muscles ached in a good way the next day. The instructors were able to modify movements to help with my recovery after having a cesarean section, while still ensuring I was building muscle and making the most out of my workout.


I ended up purchasing a monthly membership to attend class at least five times a week. My goal was to heal my body and become comfortable enough to sport a bikini this summer. I knew that I would quit and not be able to stick to my goals if I did not see progress so I decided to start taking a picture every 30 days.  Each month I would compare my picture to the month prior and was surprised that I was noticing results. I could visibly see the progress and wanted nothing more than to push myself further.


After only two months, I felt like myself again. I had rebuilt core strength that I honestly never thought I would feel again. I am stronger and more physically fit than I was going into my pregnancy. I love Alkalign because you get what you put into it. I am able to push myself past where I felt possible on some days while scaling it back on other days. I have not only been able to help myself physically but I have built confidence that helps my mental state. I hope to continue my practice for years to come.

Say Goodbye to Monday Blues


Erin Alkalign Studios Founder | Fitness Barre Studio FranchiseDo you live for the weekends and dread Mondays? Do you start getting bummed on Sunday evening thinking about Monday? It may be time to consider a career or lifestyle change.


I spent several of my nine years in corporate America feeling sad on Sundays. For awhile I thought it was just the foggy weather in San Francisco bringing me down. I worked hard. I gave my company my all. I had some great opportunities over the years. But no matter how many times I received a promotion or a raise, at the end of the day, I was just a cog in the corporate wheel. I wanted more. I wanted to get out of my career as much as I put into it. If I was going to spend more than half of my waking hours working, I wanted to do something that I was passionate about.


For me, health and wellness combined with business was the perfect combination. In January 2009, I resigned from my product development job at a Fortune 500 healthcare company and opened my first barre fitness studio in March 2009. I haven’t had a case of the Sunday or Monday blues since. Honestly. I love what I do. How could I not? I get to be the best part of clients’ days. I have an opportunity to truly impact the communities we serve for the better. Sure, there are tough days. There are stressful moments. But it’s surmounting the obstacles that make it all worthwhile. Even on the most challenging days I have never once regretted the leap I took eight years ago or wished I was anywhere other than where I am right now.


Not sure if your current career is forever? Do some soul searching and really evaluate what makes you happy.


+ What lights you up?


+ If you could do anything as a career, what would it be?


+ What are your strengths?


+ What is stopping you from making a change?


They say if you do something you truly love, it doesn’t feel like work. It is true. Find something you love. Life is too short…


Erin Paruszewski is a balance evangelist. As the Founder and CEO of Alkalign Studios she is passionate about alignment and functional movement. Alkalign is more than a challenging and effective workout, it’s training for life. Learn more  about Alkalign and how to live your dream and open an alignment based holistic barre studio in your community.


Prevent Pokemon Go Injuries

Prevent Text Neck + Pokemon Go Injuries at Alkalign Studios


Spending your days walking around catching Pokemon? While you are logging steps on your pedometer, you may be doing serious damage to your neck. An adult head weighs somewhere between 10-11 lbs. For each degree your head is out of alignment as you look down at your phone, it adds an additional 10 lbs of load to your cervical spine. And when your neck is out of alignment, your shoulders round forward, then your low back rounds and before you know it, you have all sorts of injuries due to poor posture and alignment.


A few things we do at Alkalign to promote great posture:

+  Align the spine, including neutral cervical spine. Chin parallel to the floor, ears back in line with the shoulders.

+  Strengthen the upper back, including the rhomboids which help to hold up your heavy head.

+  Open the chest by externally rotating the upper arm and shoulders, preventing the forward slumping posture.  


Save yourself some serious issues later on and hold the phone up in front of you! Plus you may even prevent the embarrassment of running into that flagpole, tree or Pikachu.


Erin Paruszewski is a balance evangelist. As the Founder and CEO of Alkalign Studios she is passionate about alignment and functional movement. Alkalign is more than a challenging and effective workout, it’s training for life. Learn more  about Alkalign and how to open a alignment based holistic barre studio in your community.

Instructor Spotlight: Seychelle Hicks

Alkalign Studios Instructor Spotlight Seychelle10 Things you may not know about Instructor Seychelle


+  I’m a fifth-generation Coloradoan (before it was even a state). Grew up in Evergreen, in the foothills above Denver.


+ Kayaked with whales and penguins in Antarctica—it’s an unworldly place of ice, snow and jagged mountains.


+ Lived in NYC for nearly five years on the Upper West Side. My favorite NY activity is to run in Central Park at daybreak and see the midtown buildings glimmer in pink hues as the sun comes up.


+ Herniated two discs when I was 15 years old from years of competitive tennis. Rolfing (deep fascial massage therapy) and strengthening my core prevented surgery.


+ Climbed + trekked in Nepal and India for nearly four months, including living on glacier for 30 days. Toughest full body sport—ice climbing…


+ While it is not news that I am 6 feet tall, I also have a 6 foot wing span and size 11 feet. These metrics helped me land a large single room at college. Yep, I wrote an essay about being tall and needing space, which the housing dean found to be quite amusing. Bring on the double blocks…


+ Worked on a natural skincare beauty start-up. If you want to know about beauty products, just ask.


+ Gluten-free (for 8 years) and dairy-free (for 6 years).


+ Graduated from The Wharton School in Finance and Management, but also minored in English Literature proving that math vs. verbal or right brain vs. left brain are not mutually exclusive.


+ I love the ocean, but will always be a mountain girl. Climbed in the Himalayas, Patagonia, Swiss Alps, Grand Tetons, Yosemite and Appalachian Trail. Top of the bucket list: Denali (Mt. McKinley)

Instructor Spotlight: Lauren Fulcher

Alkalign Studios Instructor 10 Things you may not know about Alkalign Instructor Lauren:


+ I have a degree in architecture and manage corporate office build-outs by day


+ I went to the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I met my husband when we were 18.


+ I am a Delta Gamma


+ I’m from Illinois, a midwestern girl through & through.  I don’t cook anything without lots of cheese. Or butter.  🙂


+ I’m the oldest of 3 girls—my younger sisters are twins.


+ I’m Norwegian


+ In my “free” time I like renovating houses—preferably not my own.


+ I love the show Fixer Upper because of the remodels, but also because my brother-in-law plays baseball for Baylor University in Waco, TX


+ I have a travel addiction, and my daughter has been on 10 round-trip flights, and out of the continental US twice before the age of two!


+ Favorite vacation spot: Palazzo Avino in Ravello, Italy. Go there!



Skincare: Clean Beauty

Clean Beauty by @DenaRochelle @AlkalignStudios I began switching my beauty products to clean/natural/safer options when I was pregnant with my son. What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. Never was this more relevant to me than when I was growing my first tiny human in my belly. Like many people, I actually didn’t know that so many personal care products contain toxic ingredients. Why wouldn’t we assume that the items on the store shelves were safe? Turns out they are most definitely not, which is why I’ve spent nearly a decade swapping out all my personal care and household items. Most of it was easy to switch at the time my son was born and the offerings continued to improve after the birth of my daughter. I can honestly say that my beauty cabinet is now as clean as can be, with nail polish, hair care and makeup being the last to switch (a couple of years ago when there were finally products available that did the job well).


I’ve been a beauty product connoisseur for as long as I can remember. My mom sold makeup in department stores when I was a kid so I had access as soon as I was old enough to wear it (age 14-ish). I spent my 20’s + 30’s with various contributing editor/writer posts on my resume that gave me access to the latest high-end beauty products. I’ve done my fair share of spa and hair salon reviews as well. It wasn’t until I found out the personal care + cosmetics industry is surprisingly unregulated in the U.S. that I made a full commitment to clean beauty. I believe this switch to clean beauty products, without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and other known harmful ingredients, is very necessary. Goop has a great article full of facts on this subject and I encourage you to give this a click if you are not already aware.


I have an assortment of products that I love and switch from time to time to try new things, as well as a number of items that are always in rotation (and have been for years). Having turned 40 recently, I’ve definitely begun to play favorites. Here are some of my current selections:


+ Kypris SPF Pot of Shade: Heliotropic

I’ve been searching for the perfect facial SPF/primer for a while now and this is the first one that is perfect for my skin. It feels like silk. “A multifunctional, translucent veil of non-nano, broad spectrum SPF 30 and moisturizing botanicals to prime skin for daily radiance.”


+ Kypris Antioxidant Dew

I apply this morning + night to my face, neck and chest. “Featherweight texture. Intense hydration.”


+ Tata Beautifying Face Oil

No matter how many times I refill my S’well bottle each day, my skin tends to be on the drier side if I don’t moisturize enough. Serums and facial oils have been part of my beauty regimen for a couple of years. I have a few faves that I rotate between and am always happy to try new + different formulas from my most-trusted brands. This one is a welcome addition to my rotation. I use it AM + PM on my face, neck and chest. “This luxuriously lightweight, fast-absorbing face oil helps to instantly energize the look of the skin, leaving a silky-soft, hydrated surface with a brighter and firmer appearance.”


+ Tata Restorative Eye Creme

Oh my tired eyes… “This silky, ultra-hydrating formula protects the eyes’ delicate skin from dehydration and helps visually reduce under-eye bags and dark shadows for a revitalized, lifted look. Minimizes expression lines and deep wrinkles, helps to firm appearance of the eyelid, and reduces signs of fatigue and stress.” Yes. Please.


+ Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner 

I’ve never been a fan of the way lipstick feels… maybe that’s because most are full of nasty ingredients. Ilia is not and it remains my go-to choice for lips. This one feels like a balm but delivers serious color in an impressive palette. “Combines organic ingredients to soothe and condition the lips. Each shade carries a sheer touch of color that increases in intensity when applied liberally.”


+ Fig+Yarrow Cleansing Nectar

Sometimes I want to go waterless with my cleanser. Saturate an organic cotton ball with this magic potion and you’ll cleanse, exfoliate, nourish + restore the pH balance of your skin. “This low-maintenance daily cleanser is beneficial for all skin types.”



+ Beauty Counter Citrus Mimosa Hand Cream

This is a more recent discovery and has become a daily must-have moisturizer. It’s lightweight and smells lovely while providing much-needed hydration. I use it a few times per day at home. “Dries quickly with no stickiness, leaving a subtle, refreshing citrus scent.”


Stay tuned for more in this series. Next up, more makeup.


Leaping forward + Developing a Growth Mindset

Cathy Alkalign Studios Plank Pose

If you had asked me five years ago if I could see myself becoming a barre instructor, I would have said you were nuts!


After my first daughter was born in 1992, I stepped away from my job as a special education teacher. The decision was easy for me. Thankfully, I was able to make the transition from teaching to being a full-time mom (something I will always be grateful for). Fast forward (and I really do mean FAST forward) to 2012: I had been a stay-at-home mom for 20+years raising my three daughters. Countless hours of driving carpool, attending various practices and games, volunteering at schools and relishing every moment. My youngest daughter was in high school when I realized that I was about to be “forced” into retirement. Abby was about to graduate and head off to college. My girls would no longer need me day to day. What on earth would I do to fill my days?  Couldn’t help but wonder… what’s next?


I was literally at a crossroads. The last 20 years had been both meaningful and extremely rewarding. I LOVE being a mom. How could anything else bring me joy and fulfillment? After being “retired” for two decades, what was I qualified to do?


Timing is everything, and I believe that opportunities present themselves exactly when we need it the most. In the fall of 2012, Erin approached me asking if I had ever considered teaching. My first response was “Um no! I could never do that!”. The thought of putting on a mic and standing in front of my fellow clients and suddenly becoming their teacher was terrifying! It was then that I realized I had two choices. 1.) I could let fear hold me back because seriously, who wants to take a fitness class from a former client who is the oldest instructor on the team? (“fixed mindset”) 2.) I could embrace being a lifelong learner and adopt a growth mindset… embrace the idea that you really can teach an old dog new tricks!


After careful consideration and with the support and encouragement of my family, friends and now fellow instructors, I made the bold and brave leap of faith and said YES! Yes to going through the rigorous training to become certified to teach but more importantly, yes to committing to developing a growth mindset. What does that mean? A fixed mindset believes that all talent, skills and capabilities are fixed traits. You either have it or you don’t! You are not a work in process but a finished product. In contrast, A person with a growth mindset focuses less on mastery or perfection and more on the process and what they can learn and how they improve + grow along the way. They find setbacks or challenges motivating. They enjoy challenge!


According to Carol Dweck of Stanford University, people with a growth mindset learn:

+ Trying and failing is a part of the process

+ Learning requires stumbling, correcting, and growing

+ You don’t have to know everything in advance

+ Practice and skill-building are more important that embedded talent

+ You’re always a beginner

+ Life is about lifelong learning


I am committed to challenging myself, and to taking risks knowing that “failing” provides an opportunity for learning and growth. With every class I take, every class I have the privilege to teach, every client interaction, every workshop or master class I attend, I learn something new. I am growth minded not because I am striving for perfection but because I want to focus on being the very best version of me!  #TeamAlkalign

Testimonial: Francis Oabel Recharge + The Roll Model

Alkalign Studios Recharge Myofascial ReleaseIn the years since my involvement in a harrowing car accident, the state of my physical disposition has affected my life in ways that have served to change me. Though I managed to survive with no visible injuries, the underlying effects of that event, have impacted my life from that day onward.


As a result of the car crash, I’ve been left with a rather painful condition that has since affected the feeling and mobility of my neck and upper back. Based on the nature of my situation, I’m often privy to experiencing severe headaches and paralyzing muscle stiffness by what I’ve described as a low-voltage current running through the nerves and musculature of my backside. Coupled by years spent at a desk job while gazing at a computer screen, the sensation never subsided. On some days, it was absolutely debilitating… until recently.


Though I’m well-versed in using self-myofascial release (SMR) to ease muscle pain and tension, I’ve only ever used it on larger muscle groups (i.e. quadriceps and hamstrings). This is because a foam roller has become the most commonly used instrument for SMR. While it may serve as an effective tool in some cases, a foam roller is void of the precision needed to target certain areas of the body, due to its size. Given the nature of my circumstances, a foam roller did little to help my situation. With that said, I decided to heed my bosses advice of using Yoga Tune Up Balls instead.


What I immediately noticed about this method of implementing SMR was its calming, mindful, and targeted approach towards self-care, which is vastly superior to foam rolling. At a time when so many of us opt out of tending to the body in which we live, Yoga Tune Up focuses on exactly that. It strengthens the mind and body connection because it helps to uncover areas within ourselves that are prone to harboring mental, physical, and emotional stresses. It’s really quite remarkable.


Thus taking a moment each day to work on the area that was most concerning, I sought to rehabilitate, revive, and recharge. And through this conscious approach I was able to reclaim what was lacking—a sense of physical and functional wellbeing. For the first time, the fog had lifted as the discomfort which became part of my day-to-day was actually gone. So while the memory of that accident is likely to stay, its imprint has faded in a way that I no longer recognize it.


And in light of sharing my experience, I’m excited to know that our studio will be integrating the use of Yoga Tune Up Balls in our upcoming Express + Recharge formats. This is because I believe our clients will appreciate the value of this empowering and thoughtful process towards wellness, just as I have.


Props: Balls, Blocks and Bands Oh My!

Alkalign Studios PropsAt Alkalign, we don’t use big heavy machines or equipment or the latest fitness gadget (ahem, Shake Weights and Thigh Master). We believe your body is your best asset when it comes to improving your balance, strength and mobility. However, there are few simple props we love to use because they enhance the work we do in class. Like tools in a tool box, our props are the resources we use to educate our clients on alignment, push them to work a little harder, or provide a little extra help when needed.


Barre: Contrary to popular belief, the “barre” does not equal ballet. Rather, it is a stationary object to hold on to. It assists with balance; it allows us to deepen our stretches by providing something to press against (ie: active release of the lower leg and hamstrings during standing stretch) and it provides greater options for strengthening certain muscles groups (ie: barre pull-ups). Some days we work with the barre. Some days we go “Beyond the Barre” to challenge core stability and balance. It’s variety that keeps our bodies guessing and prevents the dreaded fitness plateau.


Bands: Unlike the barre that is very stable, bands are dynamic and allow us to take engagement to the next level by activating additional muscle groups while challenging core stability. During resistance band training, both the concentric and eccentric part of the exercise has resistance, resulting in more efficient and effective strength training. Because the band is less stable, it helps our clients develop improved alignment and body awareness through deliberate and strategic use.


Block: Yoga blocks are my personal favorite. They are modular, portable and can be used in many different ways to improve alignment, increase engagement and challenge balance. Do you have tight hamstrings or hip flexors? Use the block in floor stretch to bring the floor closer to you. Need a little more challenge in your tree pose? Try standing on the softer surface of the block to activate the muscles in your lower legs for balance. Are you having a hard time with shoulder blade stability in your forearm plank? Place the block between your hands and feel the difference. I believe the block has transformed our clients’ alignment. I already wrote a blog specifically about yoga blocks: 8 Reasons Why We Love Yoga Blocks


Balls: Hard, soft, blue, green and purple. Balls come in all shapes and sizes. We use the large squishy Alkalign ball for a variety of exercises. Like the block, the ball assists with alignment and engagement. It can also provide a more dynamic (and often more comfortable) way to assist you with your spinal flexibility in abdominal exercises. Flip onto your abdominals and the big ball is a great way to massage the abdominals and hip flexors, improve your breathing, activate the parasympathetic nervous system (think “relax and restore”) and release back pain! The smaller massage therapy balls used in Recharge classes are beneficial  for releasing tension in every nook and cranny of your body. The benefits of myofascial release are endless.


Weights: We utilize light weights for arm work. Using lighter weights and more repetitions allows our clients to safely move through a larger functional range of motion while still fatiguing the muscles.


Yoga Strap: This one is another prop that helps with posture. Deepen your stretch by using it as an extension of your arms.


In addition to the more obvious props, there are things in and around the room we leverage every day to challenge you to step outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s the wall, the baseboard, the weights or the mat, we are committed to educating you about the options and empowering you to listen to your body every single day and use the studio props necessary to get the most out of your workout. My hope is that we can all take this improved alignment and posture into all of our daily activities and movement.


Instructor Spotlight: Nora Allen

Nora Allen Alkalign Instructor

10 things you may not know about Alkalign Instructor Nora:


+ Only child of two only children, what are the odds of that!?


+ Nora and fellow instructor Kasey are not only #BarreBesties but they are sorority sisters (Alpha Phi) and have know each other since high school.


+ Alkalign was the first group exercise class Nora had ever taken and her first class was with Meigan at the Los Altos studio almost two years ago!


+ She is a lifelong foodie and loves checking out all the amazing food around the bay!


+ Cat person: two named Cali and Lola.


+ Used to be a preschool teacher.


+ Nora’s mom Tina has her own hashtag it’s #ohtina


+ Always has snacks in her purse for fear that she will be hungry and without a snack.


+ Favorite movie of all time is When Harry Met Sally. She watches it at least once a month!


+ Nora was a tennis player from age four through high school and if you asked 4-year-old Nora why she liked tennis she would say “because i get to wear skirts!” She always loves a good outfit.


Testimonial: Sam Park Injury + Alkalign Recovery

Sam Park Alkalign Studios

I first heard about Alkalign through my wife who went to classes on a regular basis. She raved about Alkalign and encouraged me to give it a try. And so I did, with some hesitation. When I walked into the studio (not alone, but with my wife, of course), I immediately felt self-conscious and had my doubts. You see, here I was, a middle-aged, 45-year-old male, set in my ways with my exercise routine.  This typically involved running 10-20 miles per week and doing some manly weight training at the gym, such as seeing how much I could bench press. So what was I now doing in a barre fitness studio where I stood out like a sore thumb? Nevertheless, I went into the class with an open mind as I trailed behind my wife.


Well guess what? The class was actually quite challenging, and I was pleasantly surprised. It gave me a great workout of all the major muscle groups. I kept going back and soon I started incorporating Alkalign classes into my exercise routine but only whenever my wife was available to go together.


Then came ski season 2015. I am an avid skier and skiing is an activity that my family loves to do together. On one of our trips to a ski resort in Lake Tahoe, I (foolishly) attempted a big air ski jump for the first time and landed awkwardly. I knew immediately that something went wrong as I grabbed my left knee in pain. But even in my moment of pain, I was in denial. Laying on the ground, I kept replaying back various scenes from my youth—how I had fallen so many times playing sports, yet was able to bounce back up and keep going. Surely, this time would be no different. However, when we got to the hospital, I was informed by the doctor otherwise. I had torn both my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and my medial collateral ligament (MCL) on my left knee, and surgery was a possibility. I was in shock.


I started to imagine all sorts of worst-case scenarios. What if I could never ski or run again? You see, physical fitness is very important to me. It’s not just an activity, but a big part of who I am.


I eventually came to accept what happened and accept the fact that I’m no longer in my youth. I was motivated to work hard towards a quick recovery, surgery or not. The recipe for recovery initially involved RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), but soon expanded to include stretching and physical therapy. Over time, I incorporated the stationary bicycle, weights, and Alkalign classes. I noticed that a lot of my physical therapy exercises focused on strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings, to help strengthen the muscles that can actually compensate for the weaker torn ligament. Alkalign really took my recovery to the next level with all the focused thigh, seat, and hamstring work, and helped build strength and alignment in my knee, all while avoiding the chance of further injury. My knee was recovering so well, so quickly, that after three months, the orthopedic surgeon ruled out the need for surgery! I was ecstatic and grateful.


Fast forward one year later to now. My knee feels great and is back to functioning normally. It feels so great in fact that I am not only able to walk, but I am able to run long distances again. And I skied more than 30 powder days this season with no knee issues whatsoever!


Alkalign is not just another barre class. And it’s not just for women. It’s much, much more. It’s a complete program that combines the best of barre, yoga, pilates and personal nutrition to really offer fitness in the safest and most effective way. Whether you’re getting started or a star athlete, young or old, male or female, it really works.


And as for my manly exercise routine, I don’t check to see how much I can bench press anymore. But I do go to more Alkalign classes. A lot more, even without my wife.