Maximum or Optimum

What we do creates the shape we are in.

“Your body is never out of shape.  It is always in a shape created by how you have moved up to this very moment.”  Katy Bowman. 

This includes driving and sitting at a desk for hours.

As well, many exercise programs with a hard-core attitude ultimately cost rather than enhance health due to over-training and injury. (T. Sitt)

This was the environment Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas were facing in 1983 when they created nia and also Sue Hitzmann when she researched MELT Method to heal her own injuries.

For example, 80% of all orthopedic injuries are sports or exercise induced. (Hitzmann)

When you consider the stats on chronic pain and injury especially in the fitness world one might wonder if we need to adjust our thinking a little. 

There is a real push in fitness (and in lots of areas of life)  that favours the idea MAXIMUM.   Both science and real life observation shows what we really want for health is OPTIMUM.

“Systems have an optimum level of performance. It’s the output that permits the elements to do their best work, to persist at it, to avoid disasters, bad decisions and burnout.

One definition of maximization is: A short-term output level of high stress, where parts degrade but short-term performance is high. 

And it’s not a good way to treat systems that we rely on.” Seth Godin 

One key flaw in the traditional maximum fitness model is thinking we can improve function by strengthening individual muscles.

  1.  In reality muscle strength is not the same as structural strength of the system. Strong muscles can actually overpower good alignment.
  2. The brain does not send impulses to individual muscles.  In reality, the brain sends and receives information about the position of joints. It’s focus is on movement,  stability and patterns of movement.

At Born to Move the focus is OPTIMUM. The sophisticated and organic nature of your whole body in movement and what it needs at this time is part of this complex picture (unlike many models, your body is not like a machine.) 

The goal here is to create space where you can consistently do your best work leading to increased health and vitality without injury or boredom.  Sometimes BEST is more mindful.

Where does MAXIMUM fit in at Born to Move?  There is a place for it in class when you want certain results such as increased cardio or a new level of strength an mobility.  It is one tool.  We use MAXIMUM in varying degrees not as an end in itself but to help you find your OPTIMUM.

Making choices to explore deeper fitness.

In the classic Nia class and especially Moving to Heal maximum is rarely the focus .  It is an invitation and choice to anyone who want to go there.  For example, in Move to Heal you may carefully find and move the maximum range of motion of your shoulder joint. Perhaps not for the whole class for for some of the time.


In the more intense Move IT nia class the idea of MAXIMUM is built into the 55 minutes.  Your focus is the sensation of conditioning; for example moving until you can not maintain movement speed (anaerobic conditioning) or fast changes to help you respond without thinking (reflexive conditioning). The goal is self-mastery. (more details on the benefits of Move IT conditioning in future posts.)

Like Nia, MELT Method is based on OPTIMUM.  Both were born from the MAXIMUM ideology gone astray and out of control.   

In the 1990’s, fitness in the USA grew into an 18 billion dollar industry; soon followed by an 11 billion dollar physical therapy industry. (Hitzmann)

For me, the saddest part of “go hard and work thru the pain” ideology is it has excluded so many people from confidence building, life enhancing body centered activities. It sets up a self defeating and unreachable standard.

As well, adults ages 50-79 identify chronic pain and injury as the greatest obstacle to regular exercise. 

I am excited that Born to Move has two new offerings: Moving to Heal and Move IT to help you find the right balance of OPTIMUM and MAXIMUM that fits your unique needs.

How hard to you have to go to feel you have any results? How do you view exercise?  

Have you tried Classic Nia, Nia Moving to Heal or Move IT class?  If so, add a couple sentences to describe your experience below.  If not, which one do you think suits you best?

Move or Die: How the Sedentary Life is Killing US and How Movement not Exercise Can Save Us By Tim Sitt 

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman

New Science of the Human Body by Sue Hitzmann

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Cellulite Before and After Photos

It may surprise you to hear the phrase “healing cellulite”.   But that is how I think of reducing the appearance of cellulite.

In MELT cellulite is a condition that occurs when the superficial layers become dehydrated- primarily from sitting.  In a simplified version of this complex system: Imagine a sponge with pressure on it squeezing out water. Eventually that sponge will be dried out and no longer springy.   Imagine this like the back of the thighs compressed with sitting in an already dehydrated body.

Where are the natural fat deposits that all of us have (for a reason) supposed to go?
Your fascia (connective tissue)  is like a web of fibres (mostly collagen fibres btw.).  Fat (adipose tissue) is happy to take up residence in the fluid filled fascial spaces. Your fat pushes through these fibres to appear dimpled as cellulite.

I have handed out many copies of the Cellulite reducing MELT protocol. When a student decided to follow through and sent me her results (posted here) I had to share it to inspire others to do this 10 min simple daily protocol.  Originally this person had no intention of sharing her results (which is why the photos are a little inconsistent – but it gives you the idea!) but she couldn’t resist showing me the power of MELT to make a difference. And she agreed to let me show you.

On an interesting note, the specific MELT moves to reduce cellulite are not done on the front of the legs. Yet in the photo there are changes on the front thighs.  As a body wide fluid based system, if we  re hydrate fascia in one area, a much bigger area of the body is effected, including your low back health, hip flexors and body stability.  We are not simply “rolling out” like rolling pie dough.

 This is another bonus: Hydrated fascia has an important role to play in your whole body health, for example it’s part of your body-brain communication system! 

So when you have completed 30 days of the MELT cellulite program you not only  feel more confident  and your legs look more toned, you have improved your overall well-being.  I call it collateral improvement.

You can download the MELT cellulite protocol for free HERE.

The thing is, I have handed out so many copies. But almost no one follows through for the 30 days. Life is hectic.  

The MELT Cellulite program gives you support and strategies to keep at it for the month.

4 kick off workshops/orientations start next Friday to Monday June 9 . 12.  You choose one and get set to go.

It includes teaching you all  the moves (or tweaking technique for experienced MELTers), audio recordings to follow at home, group support, both a phone app and written habit tracker, tips and inspiration to your inbox and more.

It is designed to help turn that sheet of paper into real daily action in your life.

Here are the  details:

30 days to reduce cellulite starting soon

Note Experienced Students may register for the whole protocol or the fast-track dates

PS Can’t make the workshop orientations or prefer a private VIP day to get started?  Email: for future dates and options.

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My Biggest Take Away from Move IT Training

Nia works hard so you don't have to.

Nia works hard so you don’t have to.

The head librarian where I work was excited to show me a book she ordered called: “Move or Die”.  I can’t wait to read it.  It is pretty clear where the science is going…

Last weekend a bunch of movers gathered to learn how to condition through movement with Nia trainer Kelle Rae Oien.  The information was exciting, deep and rich.  It has already helped me deliver both nia and MELT in a more powerful way.

The one take away that seemed most relevant to you the student is the fact that Nia and MELT work really hard at delivering results so you don’t have to.

Nia is based on 52 moves for whole body conditioning.  Each move is designed to deliver health and fitness from your head to the tip of your toes.  Your job is to show up consistently to class and enjoy moving to the music following to the moves in your body’s way.

As for MELT Method, Sue Hitzmann spent years using science and experience to find simple ways to make helpful changes in the fascia which supports, protects and stabilizes us.

I could tell you to roll around on a roller until you feel better.  I could put on some music and say dance and condition yourself.  Along with the fun would be habits and compensations that may not be harmful at the time, but may take you down a familiar path; to your habitual movement patterns. 

The parts of your nervous system that fire together wire together.  Nia’s 52 moves helps the body take a different direction from the habitual and find new connections without taking you away from the fun.

MELT targets specific properties of connective tissue to help you get to the root of discomfort or problem areas.

They are both deeply and carefully created based on the design and function of the human body-your body -and what it needs to be balanced.

I am in awe of how much work they have done to be sure you get results simply by participating.

Both Nia and MELT feel good.  They empower.

They make you more mobile, flexible, stable, agile and stronger (and happier).

 Especially if you can’t get to regular weekly classes, a retreat to learn and process is a true gift we can give ourselves. I am excited to be offering both MELT and Nia with Wendy Roman at our 3rd annual retreat on the Bruce Peninsula Aug 12-13, 2017  Registration is open. Email for more info.

Posted in Born to Move, Conscious Person Trainer, fitness skills, healing, hoilistic fitness, MELT Method, Movement, nia, power of fitness | 2 Comments

Two Antidotes for Self-sabatoge

Class Card Box

Class Card Box

The new Nia and MELT session begins next week. 

This morning while placing new winter class passes into the card box, I felt happy and honoured. 

It isn’t just full of paper cards.
It’s a box of potential; of commitment to self-care, health and feeling good.

I feel like a sacred box keeper holding all those plans becoming action!
There is one word you may find yourself saying in this busy holiday season as the New Year resolutions approaching;  It’s the word gunna.  
I’m gunna do this and gunna get to that.

Getting to something in the future never happens.

12 weeks of potential

12 weeks of potential

When I have too many plans I’m gunna get to, guess what?  I end up feeling overwhelmed and crappy about myself.
There are two great antidotes I use for this self sabotaging cycle including a free awesome habit tracker download from Danielle LaPorte.  

Here are 2 great antidotes to this self-sabotaging cycle. 

  1.  Tell someone, make an appointment or register and pay.
    If more massages are in your future book one now. No excuses. This may seem obvious. But this clarifies what’s important to you. You can always cancel. Once you pay, it is your investment to yourself to clear the calendar and follow through.
  2. Commit to actions that feed your soul not your “shoulds”.  Ask yourself how you want to feel and think of one or two small actions that will help you feel this way. I find Danielle LaPorte’s free Soulful Habit Tracker a great tool for this.

A Soulful Habit TrackerMine is taped to the inside of my daytimer for a continual reminder.

It will help keep your actions small, consistent and most important: truly supporting what feeds your deep desires.

Here is your free “Soulful Habit Tracker”. Plus there are a lot more great supports and inspiration at

Your Soulful Habit Tracker

These are the three feelings listed on my habit tracker cared-for, organized, and outrageously happy!

danielle-l-feeling-graphicEvery day  take small actions that cultivate these feeling. Believe it or not, putting your card into the registration box helps me feel this way (Deep gratitude to you.)

Whenever the “Someday I am gunna” comes into your head. Let that little red flag reply when and where and maybe even why? Because it may be an action not aligned with YOU and your deep desires.


…And if it really will enrich your life? Best start it right now.

Love, mary

PS This is why the Born to Move session begins next week on Dec 5. It avoids any disappointing New Year hype and provides a healthy boost of energy sooner than later before the holiday frenzy.

It is my wish for you to feel better now.

It is a matter of choosing a start day and emailing to start your intention. for class info and to register.

Write below one or two ways you want to feel in your life:

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Space Is the Final Frontier

You may know I’m somewhat obsessed with space.

Mostly about finding a place where there is space to move without lots of furniture. With a floor that is kind to the joints; some bounce and softness. 

Unfilled space is surprisingly hard to find.

Oxygen Pilates and Fitness Studio

Oxygen Pilates and Fitness Studio

So I’m happy to find Oxygen Pilates and Fitness Studio in Milton for our upcoming MELT workshop.  It has a sprung floor and lots of room for movement.

But there are other kinds of space that are tricky to find in our culture too.  

Silence for example.

Have you ever found yourself chatting about something you don’t care about to fill the space with another?

Maybe the best measure of an intimate friendship is how comfortably we can allow space for easy silence.

And then there is the space inside.  

A studio space is a place to gather and find more internal space.

This includes the physical body. MELT Method actually returns space by hydrating tissue and helping joints decompress. MELT literally helps you return to full height.

Finding space through movement

Finding space through movement

Nia helps the physical body feel more spacious and lighter with more capacity for laughter, joy and sensing vitality.  It is a little more elusive and all encompassing.

And that brings us to the trickiest space of all.  One that can be so full of clutter, yet empty in an instant.

The internal space of the present moment.  

And that brings me back to why I get excited about a a new studio space; because it is here I get to deliver the classes, retreats and workshops to help you find more peace and well…space in your life.

Where in your life are you looking for more space?

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Your Potential

Quiet waters behind the damnWith my daughters both away at school, I am suddenly more aware of the freedom to create what’s next.  It is the feeling of potential.

The day after taking my youngest to college my husband and I thought to celebrate with a hike.  On the hike we descended a long set of stairs and found ourselves on a bridge over a damn.

Looking downstream from one side of the bridge, the river rushed out from the damn.  There were white caps and the fresh sound of crashing water.  It was an exhilarating spectacle.

The other direction looking upstream was very different.  A calm expanse of the damned-up water relaxed the eye and made it easy to take in the quiet vista.  Less urgent and noisy, it seemed suspended in time.  When I looked closely, I could see large underwater plants swaying slowly stretched in the the direction of the current.

It reminded me of high school science, when we learned about potential energy; stored, unreleased energy.  Our teacher used the top of a damn as an example.

It seems easy to understand the power of the rapids moving downstream, but what about the power of the water waiting and building up like a force behind the wall upstream? Whew.

You probably know this force; the power of anticipation-the build up.  It can be more intense than the thing itself.

Autumn is like this.  A time for potential, when new hobbies and programs start registering. A time for you to decide what will move you and exhilarate you.  What you need. Once you’ve committed and start going full speed it can be tricky to stop and reassess.

I love this time of potential; of sitting with the yearnings of what you want and the anticipation of what will happen next.   When possibilities are endless and before a headache or snow storm has you heading for cover.

I love it best because it is hopeful and optimistic.  At Born to Move, I plan my year  and create classes events and workshops with great anticipation.  I am excited  to nurture the wonderful relationships and community around me, excited about the new movement and body knowledge you will experience. I am excited about making a difference in someones life.  About helping someone feel better, empowered and more connected.

At some point potential moves somewhere; dreams fulfilled are action with a plan.  If you dream of feeling more joy and health in your life, I invite you to Born to Move to join us for a class or event.

List one cool thing  you would learn with unlimited time and funds.  

Personally, I would travel the world learning folk dances (Yes, I would absolutely share in class). What’s one of yours?





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Staying Silent for the Day

Nia White BeltIt was  a challenge finding time to attend a silent meditation retreat last Sunday.
You may know Born to Move is hosting international Nia trainer Martha Randall for a week learning intensive called the Nia White Belt.   This Friday, 20 people from across Canada are coming to Georgetown.

So, I headed off wondering if it was a wise choice to go in light of the upcoming work.
Soon after arriving, I realized the value is spending time in silence and deep listening.  In what some of us refer to as meditation or mindfulness.

It seems to open up a path of calm and flow for correct action.  I am less prone to distraction and self defeating thoughts.  In short, I am more productive, confident and happy.

This summer southern Ontario has been hit with a drought.  Many plants have died except for  diligent watering.  Today, I had a clear image of meditation as a metaphor for watering during a drought.

If I run jugs of water around to my plants they will get the moisture needed to survive.  If on the other hand, I simply turn on the hose they will also get moisture.

Which is better?  You might look super busy and indispensable with your jug; yet, I bet most of you would opt for the hose.

When we meditate, it is like connecting to the hose.  The part that avoids stillness feels important running around creating details to manage.  How exhausting.

Really, we are more powerful and in the end much more productive when connected to a deeper source.  (Even if at the same time its quite mysterious and tricky to put into words.)

Meditation may not look like  work, but honing a disciplined mind is a tough- but rewarding- skill to master.

The Nia and MELT Method at Born to Move are other tools you can use to reconnect to this power.  Nia uses movement, music and community to evoke feelings of joy and connection.  As well, like meditation Nia helps you focus on your body as a field of sensation which keeps you in the present moment (where life has its power).

MELT Method is more like making sure the hose is in good working order with no breaks kinks or knots.  MELT helps keep your body primed, free from pain and able to fully sense the joy of mind/body practice.

Now, Born to Move has teamed up with Chantal Garneau to help add meditation to your Nia and MELT Method experience with a meditate in nature morning MON AUG 29 at 10am.


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The Stray Kittens

OmalleyIt was still cold in May when the stray Mama cat birthed 5 kittens in our garage at Born to Move Studio.  The sixth little kitten, who did not make it lay cold on the gravel close by.  The scene was both heart warming and gut wrenching at the same time.

My thoughts went straight to Mama.  And we kept her well fed and watered so she could attend to her kittens.

Luckily some Nia and MELT Students have great knowledge about kittens.  We learned to not touch them for the first couple of weeks.

Now  eight weeks later we have watched them learn to mew, open their eyes, climb out of all our shelters and develop delightful and varying personalities. Each one unique.  Each one a delight.

Kittens at Six Weeks

Kittens at Six Weeks

Many students have stopped into the garage before or after class for a visit and to hold a kitten.

I call it kitten therapy.

Which brings me to something else on my mind.

Another nia teacher emailed me.  She loves her students, yet, she was having an unconfident moment. Wondering about being good enough to stand at the front of the class.  Wondering if maybe she was too fat and low key to lead people in movement. If her gentle classes fell short of the exercise promises supported by tanned, buff fitness models in the magazines.

I think most of us have these moments.  (and yippee to you for the courage to reach out.)

I emailed her back.  I reminded her many people feel excluded from health and fitness because of those magazines.  Every body wants to move.  That is what bodies do and there are lots of gyms that cater to that magazine ideal (and how wonderful to have them).

I told her the people she serves are there because she has given them a doorway.  If my friend was a tanned twenty-something booty blaster she would have nothing to offer the students who show up for her class.

What she has is unique and I celebrate that and so do her students.

Comparison is the thief of joy BtM

Which brings me back to the kittens.   We have found homes for them.

Our final kitten to be adopted

Our final kitten to be adopted

This last little kitten was adopted by her new family; so kittens won’t be a unique studio feature anymore.

What does remain is a welcoming, unique countryside space with lots of trees and friendly students.  Where the Nia and MELT classes meet you where ever your body is at the time and then invite you to take it up a few notches in vibrant heath, fitness and feeling good.

All classes strive to be a place where your shape, size, age and ability bring something new and wonderful into the room each week.  “Comparison is the thief of joy”

And of course we also get to that booty of yours…

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How My Daughter Stopped Being Anemic

Adding Structure

Adding Structure

My 17 year old, Tess, was struggling with anemia.  Her iron was super-low. Her marks really dropped. She was forgetful and too tired for anything. Both the MD and naturopath were helping with correct supplements.

A subsequent blood test revealed is was getting worse not better!

I did a little digging and found out with her tiredness and busy schedule, she was not taking her pills consistently.  We found a simple solution.

I took the pill box (above) and we filled it with her meds. She took them on schedule. She didn’t need to think about it.  She feels better.

The best solutions are the simple ones.

I could have berated her about being irresponsible and not following through.  I could have found a therapist to dive into her tendency to procrastinate. I could have set my timer to remind her every day to take them….I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

These days people are looking for activities that are self-enriching and life enhancing.

Yet we are busier than ever. Tess knew the pills could help, but couldn’t get herself there.  It took a bit of structure to make it happen.

You probably have some life enriching activity  to add into your week.   Imagine that pill box; or get a real one.  Take a symbol of that activity and drop it into the days you will do it. Every week.

Born to Move’s  weekly class schedule is like the pill box.  You to choose a specific class day and we slot you in.  Done. Now you don’t need to think about it.

In truth, to accommodate your busy schedule, you can come to any of the 7 classes offered.

Registering for an actual class helps with students success; allowing you to move between classes helps with success.

Simple Solutions

Looking for complicated solutions may not help you find the well-being you seek.

It fact, it may make you say nasty things to yourself about your wellness habits. We are doing the best we can. Feeling shame adds more complications.

List one or two things below you would add in to your weekly “pill box” and what days you would do this?

I know Nia and MELT classes can help to enrich your wellbeing. If getting to a class is medicine you would add to your pill box,  all weekly classes have a space (even Tues morning is now open) and you can begin anytime.

Simply email to slot yourself in!


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Movement or Fitness

“Movement is the mother of fitness”

The human body craves movement

The human body craves movement

One reason Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas created Nia over 35 years ago was due to the number of injuries they were seeing at their gyms.  

I just finished a Move to Heal training with Debbie Rosas where I learned many ways to help people who have something to heal. (anyone relate?)

One of the best ways to keep your body healthy is to move it.  Could it be that simple?

You have over 200 bones and 700 muscles.  Even in your lifetime you could never move all the possible combinations.  

Your body’s potential for movement in virtually endless.  The body craves it.  You crave it. 

AND your fitness depends upon it.  Finding ease in movement makes fitness safer and more effective. 

Movement is key for effective body fitness and this is just the tip.  It certainly adds more than this to our wellbeing.

It keeps our minds sharp and our moods even; it adds pleasure to our lives.

I like to focus on movement over fitness. It makes health and fitness available to everyone; to a full range of body types, ages and abilities.  Even outside the gym.

Movement makes all activities body centred with potential for better fitness.  It reminds us that fitness is best when it rests on the design and function of the human body.

Get up and down off the floor continuously for two minutes (include no hands if you’re really fit) In nia we consider this a good sign of true full body fitness.

MELT,  by the way, helps us to reintegrate areas that have become dehydrated, stuck and uncomfortable (like a dried out sponge) –  yup, more access to movement.

Body pump, soccer, soul dance or a marathon can help us feel great; it is your style that matters.  To get the most out of it, do it with movement in mind.

If you want to check out why people love Nia and MELT at Born to Move there are new student options. Drop me an email:

If you could heal one thing by moving more…what would it be? (emotion & thinking are possible here too)  List it below:


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