Announcing Alkalign Unplugged!

Alkalign founder and owner Erin Paruszewski and Master Instructor Cathy Purnell join forces as newbie podcasters to have conversations on health and wellness in their brand new podcast called “Alkalign Unplugged.”

 

As a lifelong athlete, Erin is passionate about health and wellness and Cathy is one of Alkalign’s  Master Instructors. Cathy and Erin were inspired to start a podcast by the amazing clients they interact with each day. “We have so many wonderful men and women with a wide range of talents, experiences, and careers, we thought it would be fun to get to know our community and share that with listeners,” says Erin. Between Cathy’s secret desire to be a talk show host and the duo’s gift of gab, Alkalign Unplugged was born.

 

“People should tune into our podcast to learn something new about a whole host of topics they will find relatable and, ideally, entertaining!” says Cathy. The show’s focus is on health and wellness topics that are relatable to everyone. Cathy and Erin’s style is authentic and will feature a wide range of topics including mental health, nutrition, stress management, injury prevention, mindfulness and much more.

 

Alkalign Unplugged is more than just another fitness podcast. It’s an opportunity to connect with life stories that engage us on a real, raw and human level. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or PodBean.

 

 

3 Reasons Alkalign is Good For Your Mental Health

“In case of emergency, air masks will drop from the ceiling. Please put your own mask on before helping others.” We’ve all heard this on airplanes and perhaps half-heartedly pay attention to those safety instructions before taking off, but there’s validity in that phrase…..both on a plane and in life. The message is clear: take care of yourself first so that you can help others. Unfortunately, we don’t always do that and our own self-care is not prioritized.

 

At Alkalign, we put the mind/body connection at the forefront of our practice. Here are 3 reasons why you should commit to your overall health and join us in our studio on a regular basis.

 

1. Physical Activity Improves Your Mood. If we sound like a broken record telling you what you already know, that’s probably because many people don’t make physical activity a priority in their self-care practice. So here’s your reminder! Exercise helps your body produce endorphins, aka the body’s natural ‘feel good’ hormones. The simple act of devoting an hour a day can de-stress and focus you, improving your overall mental health. Simply put….exercise feels good from the inside out.

 

2. Community & Human Connection Are Essential for Happiness. In our digital world, the need for human connection is more important than ever. Our studio is full of upbeat music, positive energy and Alkalign buddies that help you feel more connected in an increasingly disconnected world. You will also find camaraderie, accountability, support and motivation to move beyond your workout plateaus by positioning yourself next to a friend who pushes you!

 

3. We Invest in the WHOLE You. Alkalign provides the tools to help you change your life. We are built on the belief that balance is the foundation for life. Balance is what keeps us grounded and what challenges us to push our limits. Whether your life has become unbalanced or you just need a little alignment in your life, Alkalign aims to care for the whole you.

 

Ready to commit to your self-care routing? Check out your local Alkalign studio for the schedule!

Self Care is the New Health Care

As I reflect upon the past year, I would never have dreamed that I would do one Alkalign class, yet a year later I’m at almost 200 classes! I never considered myself an “excerisey” person, and definitely not a barre class person. No way. Not me. I tried a barre class years ago and I was so sore for so long that I never wanted to go back.

 

A year ago, struggling with insomnia and joint pain from hypermobility was my normal, and it was exhausting. I knew this was not the life I was meant to live. It was time for me to focus on my health and time for me to find help.

 

On Valentine’s Day in 2018, I tried my first Alkalign class as a ‘love note’ to myself. My very first Alkalign class was a 101 class with Danielle. I was pleasantly surprised that the class practices the exact exercises I was instructed from my physical therapist to do daily but NEVER did them.  Using a block between my feet reminded me to think about my gait. My Alkalign instructor helped me recognize that my shoulders, my neck, my knees, all my body needed to be in alignment. I described the class as “group PT”, and YES I would be back.

 

Eventually, I graduated from 101 to Align and I even was brave enough to try Cardio! I was hooked on feeling healthy, I was falling asleep easier and waking up without SI pain.

 

I am overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness. I have had the longest stretch of pain-free days in many years. The sharp, stabbing, fire pain of my SI (sacroiliac joint) has subsided. Alkalign has taught me life lessons in a supportive community with genuinely caring instructors. The most important thing for me, which I constantly repeat to everyone I meet, is “self-care is the new health care.” How true it is.

 

I’ve learned that taking care of myself helps me live pain-free and my feelings have trickled down to my relationship with my family. Here’s to 300 classes! Thank you Alkalign.

 

Sarah Wong – Alkalign Client

Testimonial: ALKALIGN Stands For…

Every challenge we host in our studios brings out the best in us all! We are happy to end our March Madness Buddy Challenge with this amazing testimonial from one of our Los Altos studio clients, Kristen Stothard. She shared with us what ALKALIGN stands for and we couldn’t say it better than this!

 

A: Awareness. I now pay attention to everyday movements like bending over, turning around, reaching back, picking up, and more. I realize now that doing these things while aligned properly makes a difference in how I feel at the end of the day.

 

L: Love group exercise classes! I was never one to go to the gym to workout. I had a perception in my head on what it looked like and it didn’t appeal to me. Boy, was I wrong! The community aspect at Alkalign is just as important as the exercise itself.

 

K: Keeping it real. The classes at Alkalign work for everyone. It doesn’t matter your age group, your levels of fitness if you are a new mother or a grandmother – the class is designed to fit my needs wherever I am that day.

 

A: Attitude is key! Rather than dreading the time I carve out for myself and my body I’ve discovered how to appreciate it and embrace it. This change in my attitude has made a huge difference in my personal fitness.

 

L: Listen to my body. After hitting 45 I realized my body is telling me a lot! Alkalign is teaching me to listen to those muscles and work to make them leaner and stronger, to stretch and roll consistently, and to pay attention to my balance and alignment.

 

I: Instructors rock! Oh my goodness. If it wasn’t for the amazing instructors at Alkalign I would never make it. Having them there to correct, adjust, and push me is so important. Hanging out with them after class is even better. 🙂

 

G: Get it done! Rather than look for an excuse to get out of class I look for a reason to get there and get it done. I feel better afterward and have never regretted taking the time out of my day for Alkalign.

 

N: New things my body can do. It never fails that during class I realize something my body can do that it couldn’t before. Hold the position longer, squat a little deeper, point a little straighter, etc. etc. It’s because of this that I keep coming back for more.

Looking Back and Growing Forward: Embracing a Growth Mindset

The 10 year Anniversary of the opening of our Menlo Park studio has given me pause to reflect and look back and how my own life has changed since 2009. There are a few more candles on my birthday cake and more “laugh” lines on my face. All a testament to a decade of a life well lived!

 

In 2009, I was a full-time mom raising my 3 daughters. Amy was 17 and a junior in high school and beginning to look ahead to college. Molly was 15 and a freshman at St. Francis. Abby was 12 and attending St. Simon’s school. I was a part-time chauffeur, laundry service, short order cook, counselor, volunteer, etc, etc…And I LOVED every second of those years. (Well, maybe not every second!). While the girls were at school I was running a lot of miles at Rancho San Antonio with my running partner. We logged close to 40 miles per week when we were training for marathons, qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon twice. The endorphin rush of a good long run is something I still enjoy, albeit at a much slower pace. Looking back, I could mourn what is no longer… our home filled with the laughter of my girls and their friends (especially during high school when our home became home base after school). Oh, how I loved spending time preparing snacks at the kitchen island, silently listening to the deep inner workings of the teenage heart and mind. I still manage a run with my running partner on Friday mornings but they are shorter (and slower) and we don’t spend an hour afterward lingering at Starbucks over a non-fat latte. Yes, those years were fantastic but instead of longing to go back, I have learned to look forward. To “grow” forward and embrace a growth mindset.

 

In roughly 2010, our therapist posed the question of “what is next for you, Cathy, once your girls grow up and your nest is empty?” I had to give some serious thought to the fact that I was nearing a “forced retirement” of sorts. What would my next chapter be? I still had a few years to ponder my options. Would I go back and renew my teaching credentials? Go back to work? Devote time into more volunteer endeavors? Be a lady of leisure? 😉

 

Fast forward to 2011, I was taking classes at the Los Altos studio (after an IT band injury after the Boston Marathon). I worked at the front desk and grew to love the community of instructors and the clients. When Erin approached me to ask if I would be interested in training to teach, I thought she had lost her mind. I was 49 years old!!! A fitness instructor??  After consulting with Jeff and the girls, I leaned into my self-doubt and said YES! Was I scared? You bet I was! Would I be able to get up in front of clients/friends who once viewed me as a student, put a mic on and lead the class?? Would I remember what to say to cue them into position? Would clients be put off by my age? My inner critic was large and in charge! Training to teach allowed me the opportunity to confront that inner mean girl, lean into the challenge and flex the muscles of a growth mindset.

 

The decision to teach at Alkalign has changed my life in more ways than I can say. This chapter of my life has been incredibly fulfilling.  I love what I do and look forward to what is ahead at Alkalign and in other areas of my life. My three teenagers from 2009 are now embracing their own growth mindsets. Amy is 27 and getting married in August. She and her fiance, Max, will be heading to Germany in September so that he can pursue a master’s degree.  Molly will be moving from Washington, DC where she has been a pediatric transplant nurse at Georgetown to Seattle for a job at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Abby will graduate in May from Villanova University and is heading to NYC to work as an Economics Consultant. They are fearlessly embracing the unknown of what is to come. I couldn’t be more proud of them and I look forward to watching them continue to blossom.

 

My nest may be empty but my life is full because of my connections and community at Alkalign. As for Jeff and I, we are excited about what life has in store for us. We look back with so much gratitude while setting our sights ahead to a bright future.  

Human Beings Need Human Connection

Those of you who take my class frequently have heard me joke about cuddle parties and eye contact parties (yes, they are a thing).  And while we often laugh off those ideas as yet another “weird Bay Area thing”, it’s actually not niche or fringe.  Activities like these are speaking to our deep-rooted need for human connection.

 

In our world of social media, screens, and virtual assistants, we are more starved of real, authentic human interaction than ever.  The New York Times just published a piece on human interaction being seen as a luxury good. Some of the fastest growing health and fitness brands are entirely virtual and you participate from behind a screen in your own home.  While I’m all for reducing barriers to increasing how much you move, some things can’t be done from behind a screen.

 

Alkalign prides ourselves on bucking the tech trend.  Yes, we put down roots in Silicon Valley – the tech capital of the world – but we are committed to offering a community-based brick and mortar experience. Our physical studios and group class environment offers our clients a more effective workout because you get immediate visual, verbal and hands-on feedback from our highly trained instructors.  We can adjust your alignment, rub your feet, and greet you with a hug.

 

What’s even more powerful than what we do for your workout is the relationships created, fostered and nurtured from within our four walls.  I am constantly humbled by the support and encouragement our clients offer each other through the good days and the bad. All you need to do is check out our client testimonials to read about the power of our community or better yet, come in and take a class to experience it for yourself.

Everyday is a ‘Full Body’ Day

Your body is a system of systems that work together to help you functionally move in everyday life as well as perform better in every activity you engage in. Why would you treat your body as separate parts on your workout days? We’ve all heard the infamous line from friends, family, and coworkers: “It’s leg day.” We’ve listened to it so much we fail to question why people isolate their body parts in their workouts. We assume that’s how strengthening should happen because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to believe.

 

Alkalign believes your workout should work your whole body, every time. Your body is smart and dynamic…isn’t it time you start treating it like it is? Your mind isn’t separate from your body, your legs and arms don’t work in isolation without your core. Mindful movement combined with paying attention in class is not only great for your body, but also for your mind and mental health.

 

For most of us, most of the time, total-body training that incorporates functional training is the best thing for your body. Workouts (like the kind at Alkalign) that rely on combination strength-training moves, stretching and mobility that engages your mind and muscle groups all at once with are the best way to get what you want out of your fitness routine and overall wellness for long-term.

 

Whether you are an endurance athlete looking to up your game, have an injury that has sidelined you from exercise, and you want to get back into it, or a regular Joe/Jane who just wants to feel better in your body, we have a workout that’s perfect for you.

 

Whole body. Whole person. Whole life.

Your Smart, Dynamic Body

Earlier this month, I had the incredible opportunity to spend the weekend at 1440 Multiversity to take a course on Dynamic Aging co-taught by movement and yoga/mobility pioneers Katy Bowman and Jill Miller. While I am still processing all of the juicy content from the weekend, the one overarching message from the course is that our bodies are smart and they adapt quickly.  As you delve into the details, this can be both good and bad.

 

The benefit of quick adaptation is that we are resilient.  For example, if you’ve ever broken your toe, you know that your body adopts a new walking pattern so that you can still walk while giving the damaged toe time to heal. However, once your toe has healed, you likely still walk like a person with a broken toe because your body has adapted to that new movement pattern. The magnitude of the movement change depends on the severity and duration of the trigger that caused it. This change in movement pattern can cause excessive wear and tear on tissues and joints and be a trigger for chronic movement dysfunction and pain.

 

The good news is that you can break this cycle (and Alkalign can help). First, identify your (bad) adaptations. Do you have imbalances in your strength, coordination or mobility on one side vs. the other? What is your body compensating for and why?  Alkalign’s balanced strength building classes and trained instructors can help you identify this for yourself. Then, restore and maintain mobility by staying for the final stretch and taking Recharge and + Recharge classes.

 

Finally, move mindfully and diversify your movement.  All Alkalign classes help you learn how to do this. However, 1 class is only 4% of your day.  Take your education outside of our studios and into your car, office, and home. Sit in as many different ways as possible; put your pants on with your left leg first; walk to places that are less than 1 mile from your home.  Your body will thank you today and for years to come.

 

Want to learn more? Check out this video on the Alkalign YouTube Channel on how Alkalign can help you rehab your movement.

 


CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO ALKALIGN’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL


 

Bruised But Not Broken

Barry’s Bootcamp recently opened in Palo Alto, CA and my Co-Director of Innovation, Lizzie, invited me to join her for a class. We alternated between running on the treadmill and heavy weights on the floor. During the second set of treadmill sprints it happened: the dreaded treadmill tumble. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to process. I fell off the treadmill. OMG. I fell off the treadmill! Ouch. Right away I could tell my fall was going to leave a mark. I had road rash on my arm and bloody knuckles. Despite my embarrassment I got back on and completed the workout. Surprisingly no one even seemed to notice it happened, which only made it all the more awkward.

 

After the fall I replayed the scenario in my head. I am a movement specialist who studies and coaches movement for a living. I am a functional fitness expert. Running is a faster version of walking and walking is the beloved 7th functional movement. It’s the one functional movement that we do most in our daily lives. I’ve run 7 marathons and thousands upon thousands of miles in my life. How could I, of all people, fall off a treadmill?🤦🏻‍♀️

 

The truth is I lost focus. I got distracted and stopped paying attention. I went into auto-pilot and my movement became mindless. It happens to all of us every day. We are so busy that we occasionally miss a step or mis-judge the distance between our hip and the corner of the counter. Sh*t happens. Unless we wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and never get out of bed, that will never change. We can’t control the universe but we can impact the way we respond to it.

 

The key is resiliency. Train your body to respond to its surroundings and circumstances with mitigated risk. All the work I’ve done at Alkalign to improve my strength, balance, core stability, mobility and mind body connection made the difference between a serious injury and being relatively unscathed. Alkalign doesn’t guarantee you won’t stumble or even fall, but should you get knocked down, a regular, functional movement practice helps you get up again with the grace of Chumbawamba.

 

My elbow, knee and ego may have been severely bruised, but I was not, am not, nor will be broken. To me, the investment in myself and my health is worth it.

Podcast Alert! Improve Your Functional Movement
Erin Paruszewski interviewed by Drew Taddia on Exploring Mind and Body.

Alkalign Founder Erin Jennings Paruszewski was recently featured on Drew Taddia‘s podcast, Exploring Mind and Body. In the episode, Improve Your Functional Movement, Erin talks about what Alkalign is and why everybody needs mobility and functional strength training.

Drew Taddia travelled the world as a professional baseball athlete for 10 years before following his entrepreneurial spirit started his health and fitness business. Seeking a larger platform to reach more people and help change their lives for the better, he started sharing his information on radio and podcasts. Find Drew Taddia’s show iTunes, on his website or on Facebook.

Why We Ride: Cycle For Survival

Every February we gather and ride to raise money via Cycle for Survival, a a rare cancer research fundraiser that supports Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We ride because we have been touched by cancer, or because someone we love has, or because we see 1.7 million people in the United States diagnosed with cancer and 50% of those people are suffering from a rare type of cancer and feel called to action.

Everyone has a story about how cancer has effected their lives. Here are just a few of ours:

Lizzie:

Just over 3 years ago, I did the hardest thing I had done to date – I wrote a eulogy for my best friend of 30 years.  I started with “what” she was; mother of 3, lawyer-turned-owner of 2 successful businesses, a great dancer. None of that captured who she really was and how her unforgettable charisma left an impression on everyone she met. None of this ever came easy to her and she fought for the things she accomplished with ferocity, dignity and grace. She fought Lymphoma the same way. I continue to fight in her memory through Cycle for Survival.

Lori & Joshua:

My nephew, Josh, who I rode for the last 3 times had testicular cancer that traveled to his lungs. We recently found out that he has throat cancer and had surgery over Christmas. It’s WAY MORE PERSONAL NOW MORE THAN EVER!!!

Lauren:

“I found out about Cycle for Survival from my amazing instructors Lizzie & Pauline at Alkalign three years ago. My mom had just lost her 15 month battle to a very rare liver/bile duct cancer a few months prior so Cycle for Survival hit very close to home. It’s hard to put into words the emotions and feelings I felt after that first ride with Cycle for Survival, but the energy in the room was unbelievable, it was contagious! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never rode a spin bike before, (I certainly hadn’t!),  everyone is there with the same goal, to come together and raise money and awareness for rare cancer research!

What I also love is that not only are you riding alongside with your own teammates, but with a room full of other amazing, inspirational riders, who too have been affected in some way or another and want to make a difference.

I truly can not say enough about this incredible event! This will be my third year riding with Alkalign C4S stars, and I ride in memory of  my mom, and all those who have battled or are currently battling this terrible disease.

You can support this amazing cause by donating online. Help us beat last year’s fundraising total of $27,000! Live Present. Pay It Forward. Team Alkalign.

Testimonial: My Alkalign Muscles

We love hearing about our client’s successes and Liz Rhodes is no exception! Liz has been with Alkalign Menlo Park since March of 2015 and takes about 3 classes a week. Liz’s lifelong dedication to her health is impressive! She’s an early bird and gets most of her workouts in at the 6am Express classes, but also takes the occasional Align or Elevate class.

Health isn’t something you can acquire one day when you decide you want it, need it, or have time to invest in it. Health is something you have to make a priority and commit to throughout your entire life. Liz is a perfect example of this! She is strong, vibrant and committed to ever-evolving her practice. She recently joined us to dig deeper into her nutrition by joining our Nourish group. Here’s what Liz has to say about Alkalign. 

I am a fan of Alkalign for many reasons.  I love the muscles, strength and balance I have acquired.  I appreciate that my core is strong.  Erin and her staff are very proactive in educating us about the parts of our bodies that we are working, I love learning about my body!

Erin also sends out emails with recipe suggestions, and I am participating in her Nourish program. I’m looking forward to learning more about my nutrition.  I will find out in the 3 week elimination program my reaction to corn, dairy, gluten, soy and sugar.  

I work full time as a Realtor, and family is my priority.  We have a blended family with 12 grandkids with number 13 on the way! I am always very busy with sleep overs, visits and of course the kids’ sports activities. Keeping up with all of these activities take energy, and my exercise and diet help to keep me on the right track!

Alkalign provides so much more than any other gym setting.  Erin and her staff are passionate about loving and caring for your body in the most healthy fashion.

Thank you, Liz, for being a part of our wonderful community and inspiring us all in our pursuit of lifelong health. 

Instructor Testimonial: Aligning Priorities

The funny thing about life is that sometimes it gives you what you need before you know you need it. While exercise and sports have always been a part of my life, I never envisioned myself being an instructor of fitness. I spent almost 20 years as a Graphic designer & consultant in the ‘land-of-deadlines-and-adrenaline.’ I was always looking for the new idea and rushing to beat the clock for clients. I was stressed out. There were never enough hours in a day. I always said yes to everyone except myself, and I was exhausted.


Around the same time that Alkalign was looking for instructors in the summer of 2017, changes had been made in my full time job as  Creative Director for the company I was working for. I had been a client since the studio opened earlier that year, so I decided to take the leap back into self-employment as a freelance designer and also took on the adventure of becoming an Alkalign instructor.


Over the course of the training I learned so much about the practice that grew to love it more than when I was a client. I became part of an inspirational group of people who all hold the same values about movement. My brain was working in new ways it needed, and I was moving my body more than I ever was sitting in a chair for 40+ hours a week.


The biggest surprise was that becoming an instructor changed my family’s household dynamic. According to my husband, we all went from stressed and rushed (the state I was always in), to positive and balanced. He has been my biggest supporter because he says Alkalign makes me a happier person, partner and mother. I’m blessed to work with a community who values family time and schedules. Becoming an Alkalign instructor gave me back the most important parts of me that I didn’t know I was missing. I learned that when life throws me big changes, it’s because I need to ALIGN my priorities.

I’m always happy to talk to anyone who is considering becoming an instructor, so please get in touch with me if you’d like my personal experience by responding to this blog post! If you’re ready to take the plunge and have more detailed questions, contact our amazing instructor-trainer, Cathy, at cathy@alkalignstudios.com.

3 Reasons Why You Should Nourish

As the holidays approach, are you starting to think “Wow, I need to dial in my nutrition” as another plate of cookies from your aunt shows up at your door? Are you ever curious why so many people (maybe yourself included) feel so down over and after the holidays? Have you considered that maybe it’s the food you are (or are not) eating? If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, it’s time to stop wondering and start Nourishing!

   

Nourish is our 21-day group health coaching program that helps you take a more holistic view of your health. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should sign up for Nourish in 2019!

   

1 – LOSE THE WEIGHT AND PUFFINESS CAUSED BY INFLAMMATION Do you have extra weight/puffiness you would like to stop carrying around? Weight, inflammation and food sensitivities are all closely related. Spend 21 days discovering if one, or 5, inflammation-causing foods are standing between you and your health goals. 

   

2 – COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY We are more likely to reach our goals when we tell others about them. We are also more likely to succeed when we have support, help and encouragement along the way. Nourish will give you all of this and more! Join Nourish and you will join our private Facebook group lead by our Nourish team which includes certified health coaches.

   

3 – REDUCE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION, INCREASE ENERGY Are you feeling less than amazing these days? Are you blaming it on the holidays or shorter winter days? Try something new! Take 21 days to eliminate sugar and explore what it has been doing to your mental health and energy levels. We FEEL how we eat and a healthy diet can help balance your mood and increase your energy.

   

Now that you have our top 3 reasons to join, sign up with us today and start feeling like the best you possible. Make 2019 YOUR BEST YEAR YET….same you…only healthier! 

   

CLICK HERE for a free recipe book and preview of the delicious food ideas you will get by joining Nourish!

   

Core Plus Unlimited Members and returning nourishers, email us for your discount codes at info@alkalignstudios.com.

Be True. Lean into You

Erin

It’s not easy being a woman. We are told from an early age we can be anything we want to be, and we must also be  everything. We are told to be smart, educated, career-driven, athletic, thin, pretty, outgoing.  We have to be an amazing mom/daughter/sister/friend/family CEO and, of course, the perfect spouse. We are also supposed to make it look as easy as pie….as in the one you just whipped up and popped in the oven.

The expectations society places on women are ridiculous. The expectations we place on ourselves are even worse.

I have 4 decades of experience as a woman and a decade of experience owning fitness studios primarily comprised of women. I am also raising two daughters. The struggle is real…the feelings of doubt and inadequacy are raw. And that’s ok, after all, we are human.

I recently participated in a workshop about our inner critic. We were asked when our inner critic first appeared in our lives. For me, it was in second grade! Who knows where she came from, or what experiences up to that point influenced how she presented herself. It was likely a combination of relationships, conversations and observations that began at birth. In general, as we grow up and  into who we are, our sphere of influence gets bigger and our inner critic opens the door for more opinions, judgment, insecurity and vulnerability to seep in. Family, friends, media, teachers, coaches, celebrities, infomercials, articles, fake news, false advertising and social media all contribute to our basic understanding of who we are and the expectations of who we should be.

I see the impact these expectations have on my clients, employees, friends and family. I see the light inside being slowly extinguished by the damper of expectations. It’s devastating and destructive. I have spent years working on my own self-care and self-love. I’m not perfect, I gave up on that a long time ago, but I am in a better position to help others navigate these tumultuous waters. I also see it as my life’s mission to help others feel better from the inside out.

When I founded Alkalign, establishing a culture of acceptance and authenticity was my top priority. Even more than offering a safe, sustainable workout, I wanted to offer a safe place where people could feel comfortable spending their time on good days and bad. My goal was to provide something that would leave people feeling better than when they came in. Community is the heart of Alkalign. Human connection is the glue that holds us together. It is important to surround ourselves with people who support us in bad times and champion us in good times. That is the sign of true friendship.

Here are a few tips I regularly incorporate into my life. Try them for yourself! What’s the worst that could happen?

Detoxify Your Life
Out with the old. In with the new. This goes for anything toxic, everything from the food you consume to the relationships that consume you. Get rid of what doesn’t serve you and make room for what does.

Practice Self Care
Invest in you. No one is going to take care of you, self-care is an inside job. Michelle Lam, founder of True & Co. said, “Self care is about carving out space, making sure you realize that you deserve time for yourself.” Nourish yourself with food that provides you with the fuel and energy you need to feel well from within. Make time for exercise that is as good for you now as it is 20 years from now. Prioritize sleep, which is evolutionarily your way of resetting and restoring your mind and body every day. You only get one body, take care of it for the long haul.

Tell the Inner Critic to Take a Hike
First, acknowledge the inner critic, then turn down her volume. You will never have more conversations with anyone in life than you will have with yourself. Ensure the inner dialogue is as constructive, productive, compassionate and loving as the one you would have with your friend or child.

Give Yourself Some Credit
Perfection doesn’t exist and if it did, the world would be a really boring place. As the saying goes, life is tough and so are you. Things won’t always go according to plan. Embrace that life is dynamic. Balance is dynamic. Sometimes you crush it, sometimes you get crushed. On those days, pick yourself up and turn the page. Give yourself some credit for all that you are and all that you do. You are enough.

Note: If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend a book called ‘Enough As She Is’ by Rachel Simons. A must read if you are a woman or want to better understand the women in your life.