As you may have read in a previous post, my workout regimen consists of attending The Dailey Method (TDM) classes in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago.  I had attended some of these classes in 2010, and I really enjoyed it.  When people ask me what it is, I say it’s a mixture of pilates (focusing on your core strength and postural alignment), yoga (focusing on breathing, stretching, and lengthening your muscles), and body sculpting (strengthening your muscles).  They work to isolate specific muscles and through repetitions, different positions, and vicious holds, your body will transform.  I typically attend classes 4-5 days a week.

In every class, they work on strengthening your arms, thighs, seat, and core.  Core exercises include planks and abdominal work where you do multiple contractions in a sit-up like position where your shoulders are at different heights relative to the ground (not sure if that makes sense, but that’s the best I can do to describe it).  Basically, your core is definitely worked to the…core 🙂  Here are some pictures to illustrate these different strengthening positions.  The abdominal work photo is what I was trying to explain before.

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These are just a few of the types of positions I somehow manage to get (and try to stay) into…it ain’t easy.  Even after almost 4 months of taking classes, I am still taught new and challenging variations that work my muscles in a way I didn’t know was possible.  Then of course there are the stretches.  Now, I am very inflexible.  Before I started attending TDM classes, I couldn’t touch my toes, I had lower back pain, and I hunched forward pretty much all the time.   Within 2 weeks of taking classes, there was a noticeable change in my posture.  I started standing taller and my shoulders naturally went backwards rather than forwards.  After about 2 months, I could touch my toes and hold it for a very long time.  I also noticed that I no longer felt much, if any, lower back pain when I was sitting in a chair, driving, or walking.  I can single-handedly attribute this to taking TDM classes.

I also have been amazed at what the classes have been doing for my mind.  First of all, I am prioritizing exercise as a part of my life.  That already puts me in a great mindset where I realize that self-care has to be present before I try to do anything else.  Through breathing, stretching, and strengthening, I leave every TDM class feeling more relaxed, motivated to start my day, and less irritable at those little things that can easily turn into big things.

When I walk into the studio, I am warmly greeted by staff and instructors.  The instructors are amazing.  They help to correct your posture, but they never make you feel not good enough.  They are understanding towards people of all levels, beginners through advanced.  They also explain in detail how to transition into various positions and how to really target specific areas in your body.  Who knew that pushing your foot into the ground in a certain position would work your gluteus maximus?  The tunes are also quite excellent.

So…there you have it.  I love The Dailey Method, and one day, I will be able to hold a plank without going to my knees at all!  If you live in Chicago or near their other locations, I encourage you to try it out!

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