Core Reform Coming to Peakland Pilates

Wow, I’m so excited about this new class!  Core Barre creator, Monica Hoekstra, has designed a new small group class.  Core Reform class  is specifically designed to bring together the best from Pilates, resistance training, stretching, and fast flowing movement all set to inspiring music.  If you like Core Barre, you will love Core Reform.  Peakland Pilates will be adding Core Reform classes at the end of January!  Please contact for more information.

OM Yoga Basics

Cyndi Lee’s Happy Hips workshop went so well
we decided to add OM Yoga Basics to our schedule!
Come try out this class on Thursday June 5, 12, 26 from 10:15 – 11:15
Start where you are!  Basic level classes build physical awareness and confidence through the fundamentals of standing poses.  You will also open up areas of tightness in hips and shoulders and get moving with basic Sun Salutations sequences — always with safety and a lot of attention from Cyndi. You’ll be introduced to your breath, your mind and other people who think it’s fun to twist and breathe.

A great pre or post workout snack!

healthy-energy-bites-tallI absolutely love this recipe!  They are quick and easy to make!










Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

The Benefits of Probiotics

I was very excited to attend Energetics of Food at Maryland University for Integrative Health this past weekend.  The instructor, Paul Pitchford, is a teacher and nutrition researcher.  His book, Healing with Whole Foods, combines Eastern Asian medicine with modern nutritional traditions.  I wanted to share some of his knowledge regarding the healing power of probiotics.  As many people know, probiotics are a fundamental live organism that confers microbial balance in the intestines.  In the presence of illness, poor eating habits, and overuse of antibiotics, most people deplete these beneficial microbes and reek havoc on their digestive system and in turn can increase their risk of illness.  Of course, yogurt has become one of the more popular probiotic foods, but it’s not necessarily the highest in probiotic concentration.  If you are someone who is dairy-free, many companies now make coconut and almond milk yogurt, which is actually quite tasty.  There are several other methods for increasing your probiotic intake to keep your belly happy!  Anyone like pickles, sauerkraut, or kombucha?  All of these foods have beneficial microbes for increasing intestinal flora.  I recently tried a sauerkraut from a local Charlottesville company, Farmstead Ferments.  This yummy fermented cabbage concoction was made with broccoli, scallions, and garlic.  Other varieties include garlicky greens kraut, apple kraut, and winter soltice sauerkraut.  Needless to say, this is not your typical sauerkraut!  This sauerkraut is made with celtic sea salt. However, low salt or saltless sauerkrauts can be made at home.  

Kombucha is fermented green tea which is loaded with probiotics and offers a little “pick me up” for the mid-day slump.  Farmstead Ferments also sells both Kombucha and Kombucha started kits to make your own at home!  Another local Nelson County company, Barefoot Bucha, is wonderful and sells on tap at Whole Foods in Charlottesville and select flavors are sold at The Health Nut in Wyndhurst.  Barefoot Bucha comes in six flavors.  This Kombucha is very good… ginger is my favorite.  Just beware of drinking too much as they are made with some sugar.  I hope you will branch out and try some other probiotic foods!  Fermenting at home is not that difficult.  Explore new ways to increase your health!  

Making Exercise and Diet a Top Priority


People often ask me how I keep myself healthy?  How do I eat well 95% of the time and exercise most days of the week.  My simple answer is “It’s what I like to do.”  I value my health.  I value how I feel:  my energy, my vitality.  I believe it is human nature do things because we place value on them.  Sure, a little extra “will power” doesn’t hurt, but in essence it is passion and value that drive our lifestyle habits.  In my health coaching program I focus a great deal on values and why they are so important.  Values play a key role in my clients overall health vision.  When you value something you will commit your time, your energy, and the heart of your being.   Once you determine what is truly valuable to you, doing what is meaningful becomes less strenuous.  Saying no to things that don’t fit into your life becomes much easier too!  It’s all about finding that balance that works well for you.
Try answering the following questions regarding the vision you have for your well-being.   Your answers may surprise you!
What is your Optimal Health Vision?
What is most important to you as you think about your Optimal Health Vision?
What values does your vision represent?

Exercise and Chronic Inflammation

6792472882_6f45c4564f_mMost of us like to think the more exercise the better.  However, this is not always the case as exercise can cause chronic tissue inflammation if done at a high intensity over several days in a row. Inflammation occurs during exercise due to the bodies response to stress and the breaking down and rebuilding of tissues.  If you are exercising often, it’s beneficial to exercise at a high intensity for 30 minutes or less or a lower intensity for 75 minutes or less.  Anything more could put you at risk for chronic inflammation.  When the body is constantly inflammed, it’s hard to rebuild tissues properly or increase immunity.  We all know what chronic stress can do to our bodies and minds.  So what does all this mean?  Research shows that moderate exercise (for up to 60 minutes) at a lower intensity can actually reduce inflammation and stimulate a healthy immune response.  The key to understanding inflammation in your own body is to keep an exercise log noting type and time.  It is also a good idea to note how you feel within hours and even days of the workout.  Remember-the body is always striving for balance so too much of anything isn’t always best.  Rest is good!

Mindful Eating & Digestion

IMG_5451-2Have you ever thought about how stress can affect your ability to digest foods properly?  How many people suffer from chronic heartburn, IBS, Crohn’s, and other digestive disorders.  Our brain and stomach are in constant contact by way of the vagus nerve.  Ever had butterflies before a speech or interview?  That’s your brain sending signals to the rest of your body…”I’m nervous!”  A little stress is normal, but when we live with constant stressors, our brain can send out signals that slow digestion which creates major problems throughout our bodies.  If you don’t digest, nutrients are lost and then disease may follow.  When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system is triggered and many normal functions such as digestion slow down.  Basically, your brain is telling your body to stop doing the things that aren’t necessary until you deal with the stressor.  It’s like being chased by a lion, you probably aren’t thinking about eating.  So how can you help your digestion by making small changes in your life?  You may not be able to reduce your stressors, but you can take action to keep your mind more serene.  Mindfulness is a great place to start. Being mindful is being present and in the moment. Mindfulness is paying attention to our bodies and recognizes our own needs.  It is a self-care tool which we all could use a little more of!  Mindfulness can also be helpful with our eating patterns.  Eating to much? Eating the wrong foods for your body?  Try paying attention to feelings of fullness, and how foods affect your moods and overall energy and health.  Stress reduction can also occur through mindfulness based exercise programs such as yoga, Pilates, and Tai chi.  Try incorporating some of these techniques into your life.  You may improve your mood and your digestion!


What is Your Story?

storiesHave you ever heard someone speaking about a particular event and thought “that’s not the way I remember it”, or ” they have a totally different story then I do”.  The stories we hear from others and often from our own minds can be different from what is factual and real!  Often times it’s the stories we tell ourselves that hinder our movement toward changing a behavior.  Stories can be comforting and also create unneccessary suffering.  I can sometimes find myself locked in my own stories, and I have to consciously choose to change it!  I guess you could say, I find a new perspective.   Shifting our stories is like exercising different muscles in a workout.  It can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding.  What are some of the stories you have created about yourself and others?  Can you state the facts and change your own stories and judgements about yourself and others?  Can you hear your stories of pain and suffering and move toward a different story that creates positive and empowering energy in your life?

From Louise Hayes (one of my favorites)- “The quickest road to health is to fill my mind with only pleasant thoughts.”

Happiness Is An Inside Job


That’s the title of a book I just read-and Happiness really is an inside job.  I don’t know about you, but I have spent many hours thinking about what exactly will make me happy?  Positive Psychologists believe that most people have a range of happiness.  Even when something very exciting occurs, most people will eventually go back to their original measure of happiness.  I suppose it’s kind of like a genetic code for how happy we are destined to be.  I have often felt as if something “out there” must be able to make me happier than I already am.  Is something missing?  It’s a hard thought to shake, particularly in this culture of always searching for more and better.  I find solace in noticing that my happiness does not come from a person, place, or thing but in living in the moment and noticing life in general.  It’s easy to get side tracked with my past and future worries, and staying in the moment is challenging.  Happiness is already here, it’s where you are.  Happiness is seeing things differently.  Make goals, reach for those goals, but always remember to make this moment the best moment.  If you do this, you will find the silver lining in any situation.

Clean Fifteen & The Dirty Dozen (Plus Two)

The Environmental Working Group has recently updated and released new information regarding the best and worst fruits and veggies.  And by best and worst I mean which fruits and veggies are typically laden with pesticides residues and which ones are not.  There has been a huge movement towards organically grown food, which I am all for.  However, I am not so inclined to pay 2 or 3 times as much when it really doesn’t make any health difference.  In today’s economy most people are much more inclined to look at the amount of money in their wallets rather than the amount of pesticides on their food.  EWG gives a general overview of which foods you should consider buying the organic equivalent.  Next time your shopping make sure to keep the following list in mind:

Dirty Dozen Plus Two 
Sweet Bell Peppers
Nectarines, Imported
Blueberries, Domestic
Green Beans
Kale/Collards Greens

Clean Fifteen
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas
Cantaloupe, Domestic
Sweet Potatoes

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