Special May Workshops!

We’re bringing you some special offerings in May and hope to see you come out for something a little different! All workshops meet on Saturdays at Wallingford Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall. Click on photos for more.

Balance 101 Workshop

Saturday May 11th: Join us for a fun workshop all about balance! Explore new ways to assess and improve your balance. 9:30-11am / Wallingford Presbyterian Church.

Learn how our vision, inner ear, and the strength of muscles and joints all work together to help us balance. Improve your sense of balance through fun exercises while creating good balance habits that can be incorporated into everyday situations. In this workshop, we’ll:

  • Evaluate our balance using a timed exercise.
  • Get mindful: create a mind-body connection by focusing on the breath to improve awareness.
  • Get in touch with our feet, the foundations of balance.
  • Learn new postural habits: good alignment means stability.
  • Stretch and strengthen muscles used for balance.
  • Learn new visual habits: lift the gaze to encourage use of peripheral vision.
  • Practice increasingly difficult balance challenges in a supportive, non-judgmental environment – such as: standing yoga balance poses, walking a balance beam, ball-handling, and other exercises that challenge our balance.
  • Explore the “edge” of our balance ability.
  • Celebrate our victories no matter how small by supporting and encouraging each other!

Participants of all ages and mobility levels welcome. Chairs will be provided, and if you have a yoga mat, please bring one. (Or borrow one from Team Sun Wellness, supplies limited) We will be placing chairs on the mats to create a non-slip surface. Class size limit 30.

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans is a certified yoga instructor (EYT-200) and teaches yoga, meditation, and balance classes in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness.

Balance 101 Workshop

Saturday May 11th 9:30-11:00am / Wallingford Presbyterian Church

$25.00

Thoughts on Finding Balance

In this morning’s meditation, I weighed the concept of balance. At first it was a lot of thoughts, then it was more about the feeling of it, and then it was both. In those thirty minutes or so, I must have had a hundred thoughts come and go before I really started to pay close attention to one thing: my breath. Maybe after about ten minutes, some equilibrium was achieved between my in and out breaths. Just breathing in, breathing out, for equal lengths of time. Feeling the inside of the body, feeling the outside of the body. Noticing how after a while, there did not seem to be much difference between the two, and a certain state of wholeness was felt. I was in my mind and my body at the same time, without noticing one or the other too much.

This state of balance between mind and body, of just being, can transform everyday well-being.

As human beings with overly active minds, we love to categorize and assign value to things. We make instant internal pronouncements about everything! Personally, I notice myself closing up or getting ready for a fight when something is not to my liking, or someone is doing something that offends me. I always want a smooth ride, for my life to be happy all the time – without acknowledging pain, by resisting suffering – even though sorrow is a regular part of being alive. Just like everyone else, I place a greater value on joyful happy experiences. When I feel pain, I don’t want it! And that’s all perfectly natural.

“Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both… One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”

-Pema Chodron

How we react during uncomfortable moments is key: maybe we get angry and lash out at anyone who enters into our crosshairs, try to numb our pain or loneliness with excessive exercise or alcohol, or just run away and leave our jobs or marriages. Maybe we keep telling ourselves the same story about how unfair it is that we have to experience this type of suffering, and that the world really owes us something for having to go through this. And we continue to marinate in more suffering, except now we have created it for ourselves. By reacting, resisting, and complaining, we deny ourselves the full experience of being human and quite possibly the transformation that our pain might bring.

Being “mindful” or “in the present moment” helps us find balance throughout our day, experience more joy in little things, and facilitate a wiser navigation and acceptance of our suffering as part of our human existence.

I’m trying a new approach for myself. When I feel myself wanting to pull away or get angry, or something just really hurts, I try to give it some space by breathing. Maybe little by little, I can begin to open to the idea of accepting it so that I can move through whatever it is more gracefully. And in turn, when things go right, and I feel on top of the world, I’m trying not to get swept away by my own ego. We’ll see how it goes. For me, it all comes back to the breath. By practicing balance between the in and out breaths, practicing this non-dualistic non-judgmental approach, I start to experience a larger sense of balance. I know there’s suffering, I know there’s joy, and I also know that in a way they are the same. They are things we experience as part of being alive. So I’m brought back to balance and being alive and just being.

By just sitting and breathing, we become more aware of our own everyday well-being, which is shifting and changing with each breath.

Would you like to practice this with me? Try the Balancing Breath Exercise as a step towards transforming your own everyday well-being!

Registration Now Open for Spring Yoga and Balance Classes through WSCC

Spring registration is now open for Wallingford Swarthmore Community Classes. Each of the classes I’m teaching spans eight weeks, starting in the first week of March, and since classes typically fill up fast and often have waiting lists, try to secure your spot.

WSCC is a non-profit organization that provides a range of adult classes at a low cost in community venues. I feel lucky to be one of their teachers in the place where I grew up, where most of my family still lives, and where I do most of my teaching. I have met some extraordinary souls (some of whom I already knew, or went to high school with their kids!) and each venue brings its own set of community-minded folks to the mix.

Gentle Yoga meets on Tuesdays at 9:00am at the Wallingford Presbyterian Church, beginning on March 5th through April 23rd. This venue is exceptional for its beautiful Fellowship Hall with hardwood floors and stained glass windows, and its feeling of sanctuary for all kinds. Our largest class, you’ll find an age range from twenties and thirties all the way into the eighties! The sessions are accessible for all levels, and blocks and straps are provided to help deepen and achieve poses. “Gentle” refers to an attitude of taking exquisite care of ourselves in each moment throughout the class. Sign up through the WSCC website: https://www.wscclasses.org/events/39-gentle-yoga/ CLASS IS NOW FULL / PUT YOUR NAME ON THE WAITING LIST

Balance 101 meets on Thursdays at 1:00pm at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, beginning on March 7th through April 25th. At SUMC, our carpeted room is stocked with comfortable straight-backed chairs and a quiet environment for us to explore the challenges of balance. Growing older does not have to mean a loss in balance! This class will deepen our understanding of the intricate balance system and our own personal balance point, which will be measured throughout the eight weeks. Exercises are aimed at bringing awareness to posture, breathing, as well as strengthening and stretching muscles used for balance. You’ll try new seated stretching to incorporate into your everyday routine, the flamingo pose (standing on one leg,) which if practiced regularly, is said to reduce the risk of falling! We’ll even tackle hand-eye coordination with ball-handling, and when the time is right, walk the “balance beam.” Sign up through the WSCC website: https://www.wscclasses.org/events/40-balance-101/

Hatha Yoga meets on Thursdays at 6:30pm at Strath Haven High School, beginning on March 7th through May 2nd, with no class on April 18th. This class meets on the 4th floor in an open hallway, and the temperatures run warm so dress in layers that allow you to breathe. SHHS is my alma mater, many moons ago, so I feel wonderfully blessed to return to the halls I once walked as a rebellious teenager. Not so much has really changed, you’ll find, and we will explore a range of postures that challenge our bodies and minds. Whatever your age or level of fitness, you’re welcome to join this accessible yoga class with a real group spirit. Come practice with strangers and leave as friends! Sign up through the WSCC website: https://www.wscclasses.org/events/33-hatha-yoga/ CLASS IS NOW FULL / PUT YOUR NAME ON THE WAITING LIST

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

Check out our Classes.

Post Thanksgiving Gentle Flow

Join us at 12:00pm on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for an all levels Gentle Flow class! We’ll  breathe, stretch, and move to restore precious vitality. This class is safe for all levels: whether you’re a total beginner, haven’t gotten to the mat in a while, or have a regular practice. Show up in whatever state you are in, and be guided through an accessible fun sequence designed to connect mind, body, and spirit.  Blocks and straps are provided, and some extra mats are available as well. $10 to drop in or use your existing class card.

Saturday November 24th – 12:00pm-1:00pm
Wallingford Presbyterian Church – Fellowship Hall
110 E Brookhaven Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086
  • Drop in for $10!
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card using the buttons below
  • Or arrive and pay with Cash

 

Post Thanksgiving Gentle Flow Yoga Class

$10.00

Ann_Jump!About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

“I have been a grateful student in Ann’s yoga classes for a couple of years. I have especially appreciated her non-judgmental and very encouraging approach. Her classes offer increasing challenges for students to stretch their bodies and their repertoire of yoga poses, but always in a compassionate, supportive, and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, her subtle humor and intention to connect personally with her students makes practicing yoga just plain fun. As Ann expands her teaching opportunities, I hope to follow her for as long as I can move my body!” -Judy S.

*Affordable yoga in a supportive community environment*

Balance 101 – Spring Session

Learn the basics of balance – how our vision, inner ear, and strength of muscles and joints all work together to help us balance. We will focus on techniques and exercises aimed at improving balance for all ages, and create balance habits that can be incorporated into everyday situations. Click the video below to view an exercise we’ll be doing in most every class: toe lifts!

 

Thursdays: March 8th-April 12th – 1:00-2:00pm

Swarthmore Borough Hall – Council Room – 121 Park Ave – Swarthmore, PA

$56 for 6 sessions: Sign up through Wallingford Swarthmore Community Classes website, spaces fill up fast!
REGISTER HERE>>>WSCC – Balance 101 – Spring 2018<<<REGISTER HERE

Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches yoga, mindfulness, and movement classes. She is dedicated to helping people establish greater awareness through breath and movement in their homes, workplaces, and communities.

Hatha Yoga – Spring Session

NOW FULL – check back for a summer session!

Unwind with this gentle but challenging ancient form of exercise. Learn basic yoga asanas or postures to improve strength, balance, and flexibility while focusing on the thread of the breath that “yokes” the mind and body together. Bring a yoga mat.

dancersThursdays:  March 8th – April 19th – 6:30-7:30pm
6-week series, no class on 3/29 because the school is closed for Easter Weekend!
STRATH HAVEN HIGH SCHOOL – 205 South Providence Road – Wallingford, PA – 4th Floor Hallway
$34 for 6 sessions: Sign up through Wallingford Swarthmore Community Classes website, spaces fill up fast!
REGISTER HERE >>>WSCC – Hatha Yoga – Spring 2018<<<REGISTER HERE

Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance.  Ann has also completed Adaptive Yoga Teacher Training, Trauma Informed Yoga Training, and the 8-week foundational course in Mindfulness through Penn Medicine.  She is insured and registered through Yoga Alliance.

Gentle Yoga – Spring Session

Create balance between mind, body, and spirit by connecting the breath with slow movement during gentle reclining, seated and standing postures. Calm the mind and focus inward with guided breathing and meditation techniques. Great for increasing flexibility, improving strength and balance, and reducing stress. Bring a yoga mat and an extra large towel. Blocks and straps provided. All levels welcome!
IMG_3742
Tuesdays:  March 6th through April 24th – 9:00am-10:00am, 8 week session!
Wallingford Presbyterian Church – Fellowship Hall
110 E Brookhaven Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086
$45 for 8 sessions: Sign up through Wallingford Swarthmore Community Classes website, spaces fill up fast!
REGISTER HERE >>>WSCC – Gentle Yoga – Spring 2018>>>REGISTER HERE

Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance.  Ann has also completed Adaptive Yoga Teacher Training, Trauma Informed Yoga Training, and the 8-week foundational course in Mindfulness through Penn Medicine.  She is insured and registered through Yoga Alliance.

 

Balance

Our sense of balance is something most of us take for granted. Behind the scenes, three complex systems work together to keep us upright.

  1. Visual:  The eyes supply information to the brain about the objects surrounding the body in the physical environment. To better understand the role of this system, try balancing on one leg with the eyes open and then again with the eyes closed.
  2. Auditory:  Our inner ears contain a series of canals filled with fluid and fine, hair-like sensors. These monitor the position of the head in relation to gravity (in an elevator or airplane) and linear space (in an automobile).
  3. Proprioceptive:  Sensory nerves in the muscles, tendons and joints provide awareness of the body’s posture and position in space. For instance, the ankles, knees and hips help us to recover after tripping on a crack in the sidewalk.

 

It is important to note that these three systems rely upon the core muscles as well as the joints, particularly the hip, knee, and ankle, to perform the physical adjustments required to maintain balance.

Hospital corridor and doctor as a blurred defocused background

The consequences of suffering a fall can last a lifetime and affect not only individuals, but families, workplaces and communities. A fracture can bring pain, financial strain, loss of mobility, and many challenges that come with adapting to new daily routines.

FALL PREVENTION

  • Build strength and flexibility through regular exercise (see below.) This is particularly important for those with injuries in their past who avoid exercise due to their fear of falling. This decreased mobility further weakens muscles and bones.
  • Be aware of tripping hazards such as pets, area rugs, electrical cords, wet surfaces and objects on stairways.
  • Address unsafe conditions in the home or workplace such as inadequate lighting, open drawers, cabinet doors and furniture obstructing walking pathways.
  • Correct any vision/hearing issues, which can impact reaction time.
  • Use caution with medications that can interact, causing loss of balance.

EXERCISES TO IMPROVE BALANCE

Just like any other physical activity, balance can be improved through building strength, flexibility, mental focus and overall body awareness. Simple exercises like these can be safely practiced daily at home or the office.

First, start with the Seated Abdominal Crunch.

  1. Sit with a straight back and ankles below the knees.
  2. Inhale and lift arms up and out to the side like a goal post or the arms of a cactus.
  3. Lift the left foot 12” off floor.
  4. Exhale and bring right elbow down toward left knee, maintaining a straight back.
  5. Switch sides

Next, take a break and stand up. We love practicing the Calf Raise to improve balance,  stretch the calves, and strengthen the arches of the feet. It’s also an effective foot massage! Over time, try this exercise without the chair, or for an added challenge, with the eyes closed.

 

Now you’re ready to try Tree Pose.

tree_chair_together

  1. Use a wall or chair if need be.
  2. Put all your weight on the right foot.
  3. Lift your left leg with a bent knee, opening your knee out to the right.
  4. Place the sole of your foot inside the right leg above or below knee.
  5. Bring first one palm up at heart center, and then if you feel steady, try pressing both hands together. Find a place to gaze that is not moving.
  6. Switch Sides.

We love practicing Tree Pose outside, grounding down through the standing foot in order to actively rise through the chest and uplifted arms, while pulling the belly up and in.  Check out our Tree Pose video– shot at the Philadelphia Navy Yard!

BALANCE AND EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES

Active attention to improving our balance can be easily integrated into daily routines and activities. Remember that both the posture and breath are closely tied to our sense of balance. Many exercises focused on improving posture and breath will also improve balance. Refer to the Posture and Breath pages for more details.

  • Keep Moving! Find opportunities to integrate several short walks into the day. Even basic movement is key to maintaining balance, as it keeps the muscles and bones strong while also relieving stress and anxiety.
  • Strengthen the Core While Sitting: Squeeze a yoga block or folded pillow between the thighs while working at your desk,  watching TV or speaking on the phone. The inner thigh and hip muscles are critical for stability when standing, walking or running.

CORE MUSCLES

The muscles of our core provide the stable foundation for all our daily activities, from brushing our teeth to lifting weights at the gym. “It doesn’t matter how strong your arms and legs are if the muscles they’re attached to aren’t equally as strong.” (Steven Ehasz, MES, CSCS). Pictured here are the stabilizing hip and abdominal muscles: Psoas, left, and Rectus Abdominus, right.

Ease of movement and injury prevention are two critical factors in maximizing our quality of life. It’s never too late to begin improving your balance!