Whatcom YMCA

Yoga Isn’t Only About Flexibility

At the beginning of March I attended a Professional Yoga Therapy Course, which taught me about medical therapeutic yoga. I honestly was a little intimidated when I arrived. Many of my colleagues at the course, although physical therapists, are also registered yoga teachers. Deep down I thought, "what am I doing here, I can barely touch my toes!” Years ago I consistently took yoga classes and struggled to find a strengthening component because it seemed like it was all about flexibility (which was fine then because I had more of it at the time). Over the last few years though I’ve noticed my body feeling tighter, less flexible, but I still wanted the strengthening component within a class. There are a lot of wonderful yoga classes and instructors out there, but I didn’t ever find one that resonated with me and what I wanted out of a class.. Strengthening and flexibility. I’ve also worked with so many patients who have been injured in a class or want to take a class but feel they are not “flexible enough”.

If you are looking for any of the previously mentioned, please continue reading as this is for you!

Yoga, as I was taught it, is about quality of movement, use of muscles, function, safety when performing poses, strength, and last, but not least, flexibility. What's ironic is not once during the class did we do "a hamstring stretch" but by the end of the week I was able to more comfortably move through my spine, touch my toes, and felt stronger than I had in a long time. My chronic neck and thumb pain had resolved and although I could feel my weaknesses, I could also feel my strengths and learned how to utilize them to heal heal myself. 

I am excited to be able to bring what I learned to all of you. You do not need to be a “yogi” to be successful in yoga and reap the benefits of it. I would say that yoga is for anyone who wants to move better throughout his or her daily life. It’s for someone who wants to feel strong in what they do and medical therapeutic yoga is one tool that can be used to help you achieve those goals. It's appropriate for a person who already practices yoga, for someone who would like to but doesn't feel comfortable going to a class, or for someone who wants physical therapy due to an injury. We can use yoga as a tool to evaluate, assess and treat to get you back to doing all of the things that you love. I'll be sharing more over the next few weeks so stay tune for more blogs and videos of exercises you can start to do to feel better in your own life.

I so enjoyed the opportunity to be able to learn from Ginger Garner, a physical therapist and RYT who created the Professional Yoga Therapy Institute as well as Shelly Prosko, B.Sc. PT, PYT, CPI.

Here are some links to learn more about the Professional Yoga Therapy Institute, Ginger Garner, and Shelly Prosko, all of which are leading the way in reforming healthcare, both in how assess, treat, and utilize medical therapeutic yoga.




"No Pain, No Gain"…. Right?

Have you ever heard the phrase “No Pain No Gain”? I’ve worked with thousands of patients over the years and have heard many comment to me “You know what they say, no pain no gain… right?” The truth is I cringe every time I hear this comment as it actually only applies in very specific circumstances.

I often tell people if it “hurts so good”, or is uncomfortable but tolerable and you’re not holding your breath, then what you are doing is most likely safe to proceed with. But, in my experience, if someone is holding their breath and counting the seconds until the exercise, stretch, or motion is over, then it is too intense! Holding our breath because something hurts can lead to tensing of muscles you want to relax or not use during an exercise, injury and other situations including passing out!

So the next time you are working out, doing something physical or working with a trainer, physical therapist, etc., remember that many times “No Pain, No Gain” can actually lead to “More Pain, Less Gain”. Listen to your body. If you are unsure if you should be feeling what you are feeling, ask the person you are working with or seek out a consultation to learn more about if what you are doing is safe and how to be effective, efficient and successful in your exercise routine! 

Have a wonderful weekend!


Exciting Announcement!

Baker To Bay is excited to announce that services will now be offered at Joy of Pilates, 2130 Grant Street in Bellingham! Services will continue to be offered at your location of choice and I look forward to serving you, be it in your home or a relaxing treatment environment. Call or email today to schedule your visit!

Have a wonderful day!


Pedaling For Parkinson's

I am so excited to blog today about the Pedaling For Parkinson's Program, recently started at the local Whatcom YMCA. For those who haven't heard of Pedaling For Parkinsons (PFP), I'm going to take this opportunity to give you more information about the program and also tell you where you can find additional info, should you want to learn more or participate and find a program near you. 

In 2003, Dr. Jay Alberts, a neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic, was biking across Iowa in RAGBRAI with several friends and one of their wives who has PD. The couple started out biking on a tandem, which proved to be a disaster. So, Dr. Alberts took his friends' place at the front of the tandem bike, cycling at his usual cadence of 80-90 revolutions per minute.  After several days, his friends' wife stated she no longer felt as if she had PD and had noticed a significant improvement in her handwriting which had been affected by Parkinson's. At that moment, Dr. Alberts decided to research why, after intense cycling, this woman had a significant decrease in her PD symptoms.

In his research, he found that biking for 1 hour a day (10 minutes warm up, 40 minutes cycling at cadence, and 10 minutes cool down), 3 times per week at a cadence of 80-90 revolutions per minute can significantly decrease a PD patient's symptoms by 35%!  Hence, the PFP Program was founded and is hosted at YMCA's and other facilities throughout the country. 

When I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011, I had the privilege of meeting Nan Little and John Carlin, both with PD and active participants in the PFP Program. Both have seen and felt the results of participating in this program consistently. They told me stories of how this exercise regime helped them to manage their symptoms and keep them active in their lives. 

After learning about this program, I contacted the local YMCA to see if they had a program, such as this because so many know nothing of this valuable form of exercise that can give hope to so many who are diagnosed with PD and feel so hopeless. 

I spoke with Tammy Bennett, Healthy Living Director at the YMCA who stated at that time they did not have a program. However, Tammy pursued finding out more about it and as of May 1, 2014 there is officially a PFP at the local YMCA! I encourage you or if someone you know has Parkinson's to look into participating in this program. PFP is typically done on a stationary or tandem bike, inside or outside, with a goal of achieving a consistent 80-90 revolutions per minute. Have no fear though if you are unable to start at this rate! The goal is to start and get moving. As you increase your strength and endurance, you will also be able to increase the cadence to a sustainable level of the 80-90rpms. I guarantee that you will see improvements! Exercise is so good for you, so get moving! If for some reason you are having difficulty getting on the bike or to comfortably cycle for that period of time, physical therapy may be able to help you so that you can begin to participate in the exercise program. 

I hope this information is helpful and if you have any questions or want to learn more information, please see the links below (also located in the Links and Resources section) or feel free to contact me at: bakertobaypt@gmail.com

Have a wonderful, active and fun day!


Important Links:

Pedaling For Parkinsons: http://www.pedalingforparkinsons.org

Local Pedaling For Parkinson's Program located at the Whatcom YMCA:  http://www.whatcomymca.org

Information specifically about the Whatcom PFP Program: http://www.whatcomymca.org/uploads/flyers/FT_PEDALING_FOR_PARKINSONS_blue.pdf

A great article about RAGBRAI and PFP:  http://carrollspaper.com/