Evening prayers, insomnia, and world peace….

   When I was a little girl, evening prayers were part of our bedtime ritual. From as early as I could remember, my mother would kneel with me and my sisters at our bedside and lead us in prayer. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Well, I guess that explains my insomnia. If there was a chance that I may die before I wake, I wasn’t about to fall asleep.

    Then we learned “Our Father, who art in Heaven….” When I asked my mother who “Art” was, she explained, “You know, like your father, who art in the mill.” Oh, well, that made sense since our dad worked in the steel mill. She was really good at explaining things. I swear she had a glint in her eye when she said that. My mother often had a gleam in her eye, especially at bedtime.

    One night she looked visibly upset when she led us through our prayers. When we were finished, she told us we were adding one more prayer, “And let there be peace, all over the world.” We recited those words and crawled into bed.

    It was obvious she was worried, and scared. I could hear her and my father talking in the next room, and I struggled to hear what they were saying. After all, if I wasn’t going to take the chance of falling asleep, I might as well be productive. I couldn’t make out their words, and in spite of my efforts I fell asleep.

    The next few days were pretty tense. Not only were my parents solemn and preoccupied, all of the adults were as well. Our teachers were so distracted that they forgot to yell at us, and they gathered together in clusters to whisper among themselves. You know, the kind of behavior that always got us in trouble.

    It took a few years for me to understand the tumultuous times in which we were living. Words like the “Cuban Missile Crisis” meant nothing to me except that it upset grownups. Once things began to return to normal, a young President was assassinated, and violence seemed to be all around us. “Let there be peace, all over the world.”

    Here we are, many years later, and still living in tumultuous times. But, peace is a choice that each of us make; in our own lives, our thoughts, our hearts and our actions. It may not be the kind of peace that my Mom had in mind the evening she made up that prayer, but it’s a start. And it gives me the peace to sleep at night.

Be healthy!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP

The green machine and driven to drink….

    I work hard to keep up with the current trends in health, wellness, fitness and nutrition. It’s more than my  profession; it’s my passion. However, I’m a natural born skeptic, and I question everything. My skepticism is coupled with an adventurous spirit and a desire to try new things. Especially when it comes to the subject of health, wellness, fitness and nutrition. I know, it’s a conflict, but maybe you can appreciate my confusion.

    I heard about green juicing several months ago from an acquaintance online. The scientist in me could understand the value of drinking raw vegetable juice. The skeptic in me wondered if it really would boost my energy and my immune system. The dancer in me wondered about the calorie content in the juice. The practical part of me wondered how much it would cost, how much work it would be, and if it was worth the effort. After balancing the pros and cons, I decided it wasn’t for me.

    However, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A friend of mine told me she was juicing and feeling remarkably better, but I still wasn’t convinced. I wasn’t sure I could drink something that looked like the pond water behind our house where we went looking for tadpoles each spring when we were kids. It wasn’t until a client of mine walked into my office after being gone for a month. She looked fabulous! Her eyes were bright, she had a spring in her step, and her skin positively glowed. She was juicing. Bring on the tadpoles!

    The skeptic in me got in my own way, and instead of buying the high quality juicer that was recommended, I bought a cheaper brand. The motor blew out four days later. Sheesh! I returned it and tried a different brand, but still a less expensive one than the one everyone raved about. I am not only a skeptic, I am also frugal, and I didn’t want to invest in a high quality Goodwill donation.

    The new juicer worked just fine. For the first week. Then, one afternoon I had it loaded with vegetables and hit the “on” button. Nothing happened. I checked all the connections, made a few adjustments and tried again. Nothing. I unloaded it, reloaded and tried one more time. Still nothing. Frustrated, I walked away, thinking that ordering a pizza and opening a beer might not be as healthy, but it certainly would be easier. After a few minutes, I tried one last time. Viola! It worked.

    From that moment on, my juicer had a mind of it’s own. It decided when and under what conditions it would work, until it finally gave it’s last gasp. In two weeks I had gone through two juicers. Time for another one. Still not ready for the high end yet, my third juicer is the cheapest one I can find, but it’s been working beautifully for the past month.

    I have been juicing every day since then, and I have graduated to green smoothies. I even bought a new blender, but I didn’t go for the high end quality blender. I figured that would be far too extravagant considering how much money I was spending on juicers. Besides, in case I didn’t like smoothies I didn’t want an expensive blender sitting in my pantry collecting dust.

    I’ve noticed a few changes in myself since I started juicing. Instead of moaning for coffee as I crawl out of bed in the morning, I now gleefully tap my fingers together and wonder what I can pulverize for breakfast. I get giddy grinding greens, and I love watching those liquid phytonutrients come spewing out. I have more energy, my eyes are brighter, clearer, and less puffy. I even have a nice glow to my skin.

    I suppose it’s time to upgrade to the high end juicer now, but I’m still not quite ready to make that leap. after all, I may not keep up with it. In the meantime, I better sign off. I have some greens to grind.

Be healthy!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP

The Feldenkrais Method(R) and the born again Pilatean.

    After my first Feldenkrais workshop, I knew I wanted to become a practitioner. I wasn’t exactly sure what was involved in the four long years that it took to get through a Feldenkrais training, and I really didn’t care. At first.

    However, once I made the decision, I started to have second thoughts. After all, four years is a long time, and I was feeling uncomfortable with all of the touchy-feely communication coming from my instructors and my classmates. I was also getting pretty nervous anytime I heard how a training transforms you. I didn’t want to be transformed.

    Before I started the training, I worked with two clients who did Pilates together. They both had some experience with Feldenkrais. As a matter of fact, both of them had more experience in the Method than I did at the time, and they often shared their perspective with me, whether I wanted it or not.

    One of them had considered taking the training herself. However, she told me that she wanted the information, but didn’t want to go through the process of getting it. She wiggled her eyebrows at me in a knowing way. Her friend laughed and said, “No kidding! Who would want to go through that?”  I had no idea what they meant, but I didn’t want to appear uninformed, so I just nodded my head and pretended I understood.

    They began to discuss the pros, cons, perils and pitfalls of going through a Feldenkrais training. In an attempt to change the subject, I redirected their attention to their Pilates workout. I guess it didn’t work, because they continued, “Speaking of Pilates, it’s going to be real interesting how you feel about this after the training.” Once again, they wiggled their eyebrows and exchanged knowing looks. Sheesh!

    They explained to me that Pilates violated all the principles of Feldenkrais. According to Feldenkrais, Pilates was the anti-‘Krais, so to speak. I don’t know how they knew this, but according to my clients, I couldn’t possibly teach both Methods, and I would have to choose between the two. They wondered what I would do. So did I.

    I soon found out. After my first training segment, Pilates just wasn’t the same, and neither was I. I had more fun teaching Pilates than I ever had before. I had my clients sense their contact with the Reformer. I encouraged them to move from their skeleton instead of their muscles. I coaxed them to experience the sensation of each movement pattern. I had a renewed interest and enthusiasm for Pilates. I loved it, and so did my clients.

    The truth is, Feldenkrais doesn’t replace Pilates, or any other physical activity. Feldenkrais makes everything more interesting, more fun and more pleasurable. It also makes everything easier and effortless. Feldenkrais makes the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy effortless. And that’s how Feldenkrais turned me into a “Born Again Pilatean.”

Be healthy!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFPeasy and effortlesseasier and effortless