Recently, I received a YouTube question regarding how to correct the injuries associated with arabesque. I am posting my response here as well.

I think, unfortunately, the problems associated with arabesque are not so much a correction issue, but rather an overuse injury. The movements needed to execute arabesque are not therapeutic in nature. Therefore, we need to cross train to alleviate some of the negative impact of the movement. The same problems occur with the Yoga pose called “Dancer/Natarajasana.”
What I would suggest to counteract the repetitive wear and tear of performing an arabesque would be to stretch and strengthen the opposing muscle groups.
To execute the arabesque we must extend the trunk at the spinal joints, anteriorly tilt the pelvis, externally rotate the thigh at the hip joint, and rotate the trunk at the spinal joints.
Here are some exercises you may try to stretch and strengthen these areas. To view some of the exercises see my video “Core exercises for Dance and Yoga” from Youtube.

• My first suggestion is to take a break from turn out and work in parallel sometimes. For instance, teach arabesque in a parallel position with a flat back which elongates the trunk and strengthens the muscles of the trunk (see Warrior 3 pose in video)
• Lie on your back and bring the knees to the chest.(see Apanasana pose below #2) This puts the spine in a posterior tilt and stretches the lower back.
• To stretch the external rotators of the thigh/hip, in the same back lying position place your right foot on your left knee, grab the back of your left thigh and gently pull the left leg back toward your chest. (see Eye of the needle pose below #1)
• Strengthening the back extensor muscles can help. Simply lie in a prone position and gently lift the chest off the ground.
• Strengthening and stabilizing the abdominal muscles will also help. The Dying bug exercise (in video) works nicely because the spine is stabilized. The Bird Dog pose (see below #3) is also good for spinal stabilization.
• Rotation of the trunk, especially combined with posterior or anterior tilt can cause irritation to spinal discs. Therefore, if you are in acute pain avoid rotation of the spine.
I hope that helps!

Eye of the NeedleApanasana Bird Dog


yoga health coach

Many people are gravitating towards a plant based diet for a number of reasons including weight loss, compassion for animals, and the environment. If you are thinking about trying a plant based diet, especially for health reasons, here are a few tips:

1. Limit Fat intake. Avoid oils when cooking or in foods. Oils add a considerable amount of fat. Read labels thoroughly to make sure there is little to no added oils. Limit consumption of avocados, nuts, and seeds. Use these foods sparingly because they do contain quite a bit of fat.
2. Keep Protein intake at 8-10% of total calories. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, humans are incapable of using protein for tissue building purposes above the level of approximately 1.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. Excess protein greater than this amount is either burned as energy or stored as fat. Both of these options are undesirable because we do not want to gain fat and getting rid of nitrogenous waste from excess protein can cause dehydration.
3. Chose high fiber foods (ex. beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains). Foods high in fiber will provide satiety and help maintain a steady blood sugar.
4. Avoid processed foods and fake processed soy products (isolated soy protein). If you are considering soy products, choose tempeh, edamame, miso, and tofu.
5. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index (ex. white bread, bagels, and large baking potatoes). These foods will raise your blood sugar.


Plant Based Nutrition Fairfield County

I have received several questions on the protein and carbohydrate content of plant foods recently. The truth is, you will get all the protein you need on a whole food plant based diet and you will not gain weight, even though it is a high carbohydrate diet.
Firstly, protein is an essential macronutrient that is a chain of amino acids which contain nitrogen. Protein quality is determined by the presence or absence of essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be taken in as food, while non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by the body. Although plant proteins are considered “incomplete” because they are deficient in certain amino acids, all the essential amino acids are present in a variety of plant foods. Therefore, all you need to do is vary the plant protein sources you consume each day. There is no need for specific food combining. You will easily meet the RDA requirement for protein of 8-10% of total calories per day.
As far as high carbohydrates and weight loss are concerned, according to the American College of Sports Medicine “fat burns in a carbohydrate flame.” There is nothing in the scientific literature that suggests that lowering carbohydrate intake improves exercise performance or weight loss. In fact, high animal protein diets have been associated with kidney problems and kidney stones.

For more on this topic read my paper: “The Nutrient Quality of Whole Plant Foods.”

For more information on Plant Protein read Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s recent article in Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine:

Visit our Food Blog for Plant Power Pictures & Recipe Ideas.

Living Beauty

Yoga Instructor and Life Coach Norwalk CT

As we close out 2013 I find myself feeling grateful for all that I have loved and learned this past year.
At this time of year many people are thinking about individual resolutions, but another approach is to think about embodying the whole of who you are, where you want to go, and your personal Dharma. Dharma in yogic terms can be thought of as duty, the pursuit of self-realization or purpose, and the drive to carry out your potential. Becoming clear on the aspects of life that are important to you and how you would like to share your gifts with the world will help define your life’s purpose. Outdated habits and patterns will naturally fall by the wayside because they do not support your true purpose. Truth and beauty rise to the top.
I would like to share a few ideas to help you live in beauty and move forward into this New Year pursuing your Purpose Driven Mission and Dharma.

1. Meditate daily to quiet the mind, receive insight, and discover what is important to you, at least 10 minutes
2. Based on this new found discovery, write down your thoughts daily in a journal
3. Define your mission
4. If you can dream it, you can become it
5. Design your plan of action toward your Dharma and follow your heart
6. Take action daily toward your goal, no matter how small
7. Action delivers results
8. If Gandhi can “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” you can as well.
9. Daily Affirmation: “I am living my Dharma (be specific, ex. “My mission is to___”) because I am embodying my purpose daily (be specific with daily action, ex. “I am eating healthy food).”
10. Daily Mantra (can be silently repeated during meditation): “Om Namah Shivayah” “Om and salutations to the Divinity within me”

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
-Carl Jung

Green Drink

Mango and Peach Green Smoothie to Jump Start Health in the New Year 2014
• 1 Mango
• 1 Peach
• 5 ounces of Organic Baby Spinach
• 6 ounces of Water


Organic Skin Care Norwalk CT, Fairfield County

Welcome to my new website! I am looking forward to sharing information on natural health solutions and fitness with you this year. I will be offering exciting new programs to help you feel great and look great! Visit the Aloka Life School page to learn more about the programs and sign up for the newsletter to receive updates on workshops and special offers on Health Coaching. I wish everyone health, happiness and peace in this New Year.