Get In the Best Shape of Your Life

Here we are in February 2019. Many folks have already dropped their gym regimes and the celery shortage has come and gone. In other words, the urgency of new year’s resolutions has slowly abated for many.

But just because the resolutions have waned doesn’t mean the barrage of ads for diets, fit bodies, and lifestyle trends has. In American culture, there is constant noise barking: “Get in the best shape of your life!” “Finally keep off the weight this year!” “Try this new lifestyle plan/supplement/eating strategy and be the happiest you’ve ever been!”

What does it actually mean to be “in the best shape of your life”?

Think about that question for a second.  

What images come to mind?

What beliefs about bodies and health does that bring up?

Many folks associate being “in shape” with weight loss. But is this a true representation of “best shape of your life”?


First of all, it’s exclusionary to think about thin, able bodies as the only kinds that can be in shape. Body diversity is a very real, very important aspect of being human. Second, this view leaves no room for the reality that your “best shape” will change across the lifespan.

Being in the best shape of your life actually has to do with how well you function. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not you can touch your toes at age eighty or how sexy you look at age forty.

Functional fitness refers to movement that improves daily activity. It prepares you for life: pulling, pushing, squatting, balancing, etc. In essence, functioning well is the thing that keeps you able to do the things you take for granted like opening the pickle jar without the rubber grippy thing or balancing while you get in and out of the shower.

When you think about functional movement, think about combo activities: lifting using your back, legs, glutes, arms, and torso. There’s coordinated effort between these muscle groups, the nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. On the other hand, doing isolated exercises at the gym may give you the look of a toned butt, but not give as much “bang for your buck” or benefit in the long term (think getting up from a low chair when you’re seventy).  

In addition, functional fitness reduces the risk of injury. When you meet the body where it is instead of pushing or overdoing, the body is going to build more strength across multiple muscle groups and increase endurance. Furthermore, your nervous system will thank you for actually listening to it instead of overriding cues that you’re reaching your limit.

Functional movement meets the body where it is. What is functional for a typically abled body may differ from one with disabilities. What’s functional for a twenty year old will be different for someone in their eighties. But they’re both functional. Thinking in rigid terms like “best shape” (i.e. it’s either the best or not good), limits our ability to think flexibly and creatively about how to maximize the potential of our bodies no matter what their ability or age.

So much of our time is focused on big goals like running fast or lifting more. But this is about much more: meeting the challenges life throws at us. Considering functionality as a “best shape” criterion, how do you want to be in the best shape of your life?

Would you like to be able to chase your kids around?

Be able to reach and grab things from a tall shelf?

Get up from sitting on the floor?

Carry more than one grocery bag at a time?

Let us know in the comments below! We love helping people think creatively about sustainable movement and wellness goals. If you have questions about functional fitness or our offerings, feel free to email us or come by the studio to take a class.

Level 2 Tai Chi Series: For Returning Students

tai-chiThursdays, February 21 – March 29, 2019
$75 Early Bird /$90 after February 14

sign up


Erin Tracy will be leading instruction in Returning Tai Chi Chu’an form.

Pre-requisite: Must have taken the Pangu Tai Chi class from Erin Tracy, Mark Paris, or Vincent Chu sometime in the last 3 years or talk to Erin first.  This class will go a little faster than previous versions and will be tailored to meet the needs of the students.


2019 90 Day Challenge

Enroll in the studio January 1-15, 2019
$8 entrance fee

The Challenge

Students can choose to do anywhere from 1 to 6 classes a week. Being consistent is the name of the game. No more than one hot class a day.


Our goal this challenge is for each student to build the skills needed to create a balance of work and rest to take care of themselves. Practice 90 days of meeting your own personal expectations. Step outside your comfort zone, be consistent, and ramp it up or ramp it down.


2019 Opening Practice: Evolve  

New Year’s Day
January 1, 2019
12PM – 2PM
$32 for members / $40 for non members

Love your Body with your Mind: this class will begin with gentle movement and massage ball work to wake up your sensory system and feel all the feels.

We will then do slow movements on the floor that may ask you to work in different ways than normal that will add awareness and nuance to your joint movement. Finally, we will take a little break and get ready to finish class with yummy restorative postures.

While there is a little bit of everything in this class, you will be encouraged to work at your own comfort level and given lots of space to pay attention to your personal boundaries and edges. This is the perfect class to rest your whole system. What a treat after the holidays and a pretty hectic year for our communities.

sign up now

Registration open for members. Registration for non-members opens Friday, 12/21 at 12PM


2018 Closing Practice: Resolve

New Year’s Eve
December 31, 2018
3PM – 5PM

$28 for members / $35 for non members

Join studio owner Monica for a two hour journey of slowly building heat in the joints and steadiness in the breath. You will work hard in small subtle ways that both educates and challenges, which is the Open Door Way.

We will start on the floor building core reflexes, progressing through all fours, kneeling and then standing. Once standing we will do short sequences that challenge coordination and control while holding space to feel like a humble beginner (because there’s always so much to learn!). We will do simple variations on familiar poses as well as have time to sit quietly and luxuriate in soft whole body stretches before an extra long savasana.

Cool eye towels will be available as well as snacks afterward.

All levels welcome.

Sign up Now

Registration open for members. Registration for non-members opens Friday, 12/21 at 12PM

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