How To Re-Wire Your Brain

“Neurons that fire together wire together.”


What if you could rewire how you feel? Well, you can! I have alway loved learning, yet as a child I was challenged by understanding numbers, clocks, and the organization of words. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and received the support of a play therapist and a doctor who helped me re-train my vision. This childhood experience contributed to my commitment to study the Z-Health Education system and use this knowledge to support my clients with their vision as it relates to movement.

I recently listened to a talk about how the brain has a negativity bias. For example, ten positive, feel-good events could happen in a day, coupled with one stressful, negative event. The negativity bias of our brains will focus on the one negative occurrence. However, we now know we can change this pattern. When those good moments happen such as noticing the warmth of the sun, a pain free movement/exercise, laughing with a friend, an inspiring song or any moment that feels good to you, instead of letting the moment pass by you can choose to stop, take a few breaths, let the experience sink in and make a mental note. Even reward yourself for doing so by saying, “nice work you, you noticed!” Seemingly cheesy or too simple, yet this my friends is a game-changer. You literally can begin to rewire the firing pattern of your brain’s neurons and change the way you experience your life.

When you consistently do anything over time, that pattern becomes wired in your brain. When I work with my clients, remapping new movement patterns is one of the primary goals of each session. In the beginning stages of learning it can feel a bit awkward - this is normal - it takes consistent repetition over time to change our movement patterns, our thinking patterns and our feeling patterns.

For more information on neuroplasticity check out the links and resources below:

Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=121&v=ELpfYCZa87g

www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0td5aw1KXA

Books: 
The Brain That Changes Itself - By  Norman Doidge
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The more we can challenge our “blocks,” the more we grow and the more we fully live. Please join me in classes or in one of my upcoming retreats. I look forward to growing with you.

In love and movement,
Lila
 

Our Favorite Photos From Journey To The Heart 2019


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining Joerg and I on this retreat. We had a blast at the beautiful Mar de Jade retreat center with you, sharing movement, nature, delicious food, adventures, and more! Reflect on the week with this photo gallery, and please join us for another amazing Journey To The Heart retreat in February 2020. And, you can come away with me to Sicily in June 2020 for a special week of movement and mindfulness, all while surrounded by deserted gold sand beaches, nature reserves, and vineyards.

With love,

Lila

Letter of Love: 2019 Brings The Light

“May the long time sun shine upon you.
All love surround you and the pure light within you,
guide your way on.”


I am grateful for each and everyone of you. A BIG thank you for coming to my classes, workshops, retreats, seeing me for one-on-one training, sending me your friends, sharing my posts, giving me feedback, writing testimonials, sharing your precious time, your growth, your dedication, your love of learning, your hugs, your ups and downs, your expertise and your light!

Every time I teach, I learn. I learn from each and everyone of you. I am committed to continuing my growth as a teacher in order to give you the highest quality training and coaching. YOU inspire me to seek out the top educators in the field of health/ fitness and well-being.

May 2019 be a year that continues to ask us to be our better selves, may we inspire each other through our actions of self-care, self- love and ultimately service to the greater good of humanity. Below are some upcoming retreats and workshops in 2019. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.

With a Grateful Heart,

Lila

Letter of Love: Slowly We Go

Life moves pretty fast.

If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

-Ferris Bueller

When is the last time you stopped in the moment of doing something and realized you were somewhere else entirely? For me it was yesterday. My daughter was telling me a story about something she did at school. I was busy looking for something, while I was also trying to text someone and jot something down on a list before I forgot it.… I mumbled to her, “uh-huh…” She didn’t fall for it. ”MOM!” she yelled. “Are you even listening to me?”

Now, I’m a person who prides myself on taking the time to listen - it’s how I best serve my clients… so this shook me a bit- and it’s not the first time.

I responded, ”Sorry, honey. I wasn’t. Can you tell me again? Please?” I stopped multitasking and sat down in front of her to listen.

We rush. We rush as a culture. We rush to talk. We rush to get it all done. We rush to accomplish and achieve. We rush to feel better. We rush so much that these moments tend to slip by us.

I do believe that one of our greatest gifts as humans is our presence to one another. Especially now. This requires one main ingredient: slowing down. Slowing down to enjoy it, to taste it, to hear that which is being said, to feel and emphasize. Slowing down enough to do the right thing (like taking your own bags to the store, stopping to ask “do I really need this,” to open the door for someone).

Slowing down to listen to our bodies. These bodies that have an endless source of energy and knowledge to offer us. We just have to pay attention. Movement and breath are some of the best tools to bring us back to the moment.

This year, my goal is to slow down long enough to enjoy it. Will you join me?

Below I’m sharing my gratitude list. I spend about 5 minutes every morning writing down what I am grateful for. I invite you to practice this with your loved one’s this holiday. Share with each other three things you are grateful for.

I would love to hear how you slow down, take time, listen. Please reach out. I promise to write back.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

In endless gratitude,
Lila

STRAIGHT FROM MY GRATITUDE JOURNAL:

  • My daughter and her sweetness

  • Hot tea in the morning

  • A good night’s sleep

  • My job and the freedom it allows me

  • My sisters and nephews

  • Early mornings

  • Help and love from friends and family

  • My bodies ability to heal

  • Quiet mornings to myself

  • Exploring new movement and places

  • The growth relationships bring

  • Good food

  • My clients

  • Water

  • Clean air

  • Workout sessions

  • Patience

  • New beginnings

Letter of Love: Falling In

And one day. 
You’re just standing there. 
When your jaw softens. 
And you realize you’re no longer the same as when you first walked in
.
- Danielle Doby

What is a story if not told? What is life if not shared? Our past is part of who we are today. Through sharing ourselves we give the gift of closeness, of connection. Here’s a little glimpse into my past and some of the factors that have influenced the work that I do and who I am today. I am a movement educator.

I am passionate about creating a safe, fun environment for my clients to learn. I am committed to living a life that is from the heart and I infuse my teaching with presence and love. Movement is vital to a healthy life. I love teaching and helping my clients find their inner and outer strength. I believe that doing good in the world is greatly dependent on how we feel in our bodies. During retreats, my greatest joy is bringing people together in community, in solidarity, a place where people can let go of the outer pressures of the world and discover a bit of childlike wonder again.

My name is Lila. It is a Sanskrit word meaning “the divine play of life.” Many cultures believe that your name is literally who you are to become in life. I was born at home under a full moon in January.

I am the middle child of two sisters. We were raised in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, in a small alternative community called Takilma.

I spent my summers outside, mostly barefoot and running free; riding bikes, swimming and climbing trees with my sisters. Being active was a natural part of our lives.

My family lived in a one bedroom cabin and had an outside shower and an out house (toilet) for many years. My parents had a strong vision for our family and worked hard to make that happen. They built us a beautiful home, gardens to grow our food and - yes - indoor bathrooms. I saw early on what it means to work hard towards your goals, to be a true pioneer an entrepreneur.

The first time I entered public school was in 8th grade. Before that, I had gone to a Seventh Day Adventist school, a community school and was homeschooled.

My parents taught me meditation, chanting, yoga and various religious beliefs, specifically Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, paganism and Christianity. A common mantra in our house was, “love all, serve all.” My sisters and I are all in the service fields.

I now see that this eclectic background and exposure to different religions and viewpoints is why I do not subscribe to one ideology about movement. Each of us is unique and I believe there is not one “right” way to heal or to move - exercise.

If you had told me then that I would teach for a living, I never would have believed you. I didn’t like being the center of attention or being watched. I went to school late every Friday, for a whole year, so that I wouldn’t have to give a speech. As I grew into my teens, I started taking dance classes - everything from West African dance to modern dance and ballet. It was then that I fell in love with movement, with music, with dancing, and with the cultures associated with them.

I was first exposed to Pilates in 1999 after a car accident when I was 19 and it greatly helped my recovery from whiplash and a concussion.

In 2000, I joined a dance company in Oakland, The Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble, which led me to Salvador, Bahia Brazil, where I studied dance for two years.  While I was in Brazil I took my first Pilates training. Pilates changed how I danced. I finally understood what my center was! I became stronger and more confident in my body. I was hooked.

I knew I wanted to bring my passion for movement to a field where I could help others feel this way as well.

My practice of dance, meditation, Pilates and Yoga have given me the tools to take steps towards my dream of creating retreats. My goal with retreats is to create experiences where people learn to feel strong and free in their bodies and experience connection to all that is. My own health and well-being (self-care), my fitness goals to be stronger, braver and more capable as I age, have all been great motivators along the way to help me bring inspiration and success to my clients.

I’m learning every day with every body that I work with. Each client, each group of people teaches me something new.

I love to hear from you. I look forward to seeing you soon in class, on retreat, or in an upcoming workshop!

In Love and Movement,

Lila

Gratitude and Affirmation Practice

I invite you to do a practice of gratitude and affirmations that I do every morning and one that I share on my retreats.

1.) Have a journal and pen ready. Find a comfortable seat and take a few slow deep breaths.

2.) Write in your journal:

Three things I am grateful for in this moment.

Example: “I am grateful for a good night's sleep. I am grateful for this time to sit and reflect. I am grateful for my breath.”

3.) Now write a daily affirmation. You can use this frame if you’d like: “I am... May I... I am…”
Example: “I am loved. May I be blessed. I am perfect just as I am.”

Come on retreat with me to do this practice daily and reap all the benefits of gratitude and movement.

Letter of Love: The Balance Game

Make your
Growth sustainable
By moving at a pace
That is challenging.
But not overwhelming.

-yung pueblo


Everyday I hear from clients the challenges they go through in order to try to find balance in their lives. 

I too, aim to find the balance point where everything is in perfect order. 

My idea of a balanced day looks something like this: I work out, meditate, journal, make dinner, pack my daughter a perfect lunch, communicate and listen, call mom, call dad, get 8 hours of sleep, call my closet girlfriends and make a date with them, clean the house, shop, and work a full day. It’s overwhelming and honestly, sometimes I just want to cry. But then I hear my mom’s voice, “Lila, it’s just one day. Do your best. That’s all you can do, and try to simplify and prioritize. And do what feels good! Life is to short not to.” Thanks mom!

Balance in the body is not somewhere you finally get to, but an action that is ever evolving and requires many systems of the body to work together. 

It is always moving and changing. 

Closing our eyes, standing on one foot, and walking are all balancing acts. There is a wobble, an unsteady feeling at times. Then for a brief moment you find it - the balance point.  Until you add another challenge and have to navigate all over again.

The reality is that life is a balancing act.

 It’s not somewhere or something we may ever truly arrive at. 

An exercise to decrease anxiety around finding balance:
write down what your expectations for the day or week are. 
Be explicit about your idea of balance so you can get a good look at it. 
Try writing down the things that help you to feel balanced on a daily basis. 
Choose one. 
Do that. 
And as always, acknowledge your efforts. The brain likes rewards. So don’t forget to pause and treat yourself too!

I would love to hear from you, your thoughts, comments, topics you want to hear more about. Reach out. 

I look forward to seeing you at one of my upcoming retreats, classes, and workshops.

In love and movement,

Lila

2018 Brings The Light

“May the long time sun shine upon you.
All love surround you and the pure light within you,
guide your way on.”

 
I am grateful for each and everyone of you. A BIG thank you for coming to my classes, workshops, retreats, seeing me for one-on-one training, sending me your friends, sharing my posts, giving me feedback, writing testimonials, sharing your precious time, your growth, your dedication, your love of learning, your hugs, your ups and  downs, your expertise and your light!  
 
Every time I teach, I learn. I learn from each and everyone of you. I am committed to continuing my growth as a teacher/trainer/ movement coach in order to give you the highest quality training and coaching. YOU inspire me to seek out the top educators in the field of health/fitness and well-being.
 
May 2018 be a year that continues to ask us to be our better selves; may we inspire each other through our actions of self-care, self-love and ultimately service to the greater good of humanity. Below are some upcoming retreats and workshops in 2018. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.
 
With a Grateful Heart,
Lila

Winter Letter of Love: Ways to Practice Gratitude

“Dearly beloved,
 We are gathered here today 2 get through
 This thing called life.”

- Prince 


Breathing in I calm myself. Breathing out I smile.  
In the beginning there is you, in the middle there is you, in the end there is you.

Everyday seems to pass faster than the last. Weeks meld into months with a few breaths. I wake up and go to bed with two predominant thoughts: Let go. Be Grateful.

Letting go of little things, big things, and all things in between. Expectations … serious and silly. Friendships … when people grow apart. Sadness … when a loved one dies.

Practicing gratitude alleviates life’s disappointments. It helps us deal with our challenges — especially the constant process of letting go. Granted, some days it’s hard to feel grateful when faced with unexpected disappointments or news of injustice. 

Gratitude is the ultimate healer; an emotion that is so closely linked to love that they seem like soulmates. In order to stay sane in the chaos I have been taking moments each day to count my blessings. 

Here are a few inquiries for you:
1. Start by paying attention to all the things that you are asked to surrender to on a daily basis. 
2. Are you able to let go, or do you hold on?   
3. Can you refocus on gratitude in these moments? 
4. And, What are you grateful for?

Here is a little snippet from my grateful list:
- Love notes from my daughter and cuddles
- I love you’s
- Laughter
- My work
- Moving my body
- Breathing
- Holding hands
- The warm sun on my face
- My mom; her wisdom, sensitivity and her heart
- My sisters and their deep caring
- My papa and his humor
- A warm cup of tea in the morning
- Meditation
- Learning
- The ability to change my mind
- Music
- Birdsong
- Seeing people be kind to one another
- The farmers' market and the means to buy food that nourishes me and my family
- Eye contact
- Being human
- YOU.

This fall one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer and is in the middle of intensive treatment. I and another good friend of her’s have set up this GoFundMe page to support her. Any amount will help. Thank you.

With a grateful heart,

Lila

Ground. Expand. Connect. Portugal Reflection & Reviews

"We had a wonderful time! There was a nice balance between the pilates and yoga sessions and free time (leaving us time to explore the coastal towns and relax). The retreat center was beautiful and the staff was attentive and helpful. We will absolutely go on future retreats with Lila!" - Copely K.

"My limited vocabulary does not allow me to describe how great this trip was. Accommodations were very comfortable, the food was wonderful but the pilates and yoga sessions were off the charts. The staff of Monte Velho deserves special mention as their courtesy and friendliness is genuine and sincere (shout out to Ariadna). Didn't want to leave." - Paul Z.

WeTravel Interview: Travel Influencers

"Which is Better: Yoga or Pilates? Lila Heller Combines Both!"

By Eva Casey

Which came first, pilates or yoga? For Lila Heller, the philosophy of yoga was her birthright, being raised part Hindu. In fact, her name, Lila, means ‘the play of life,’ a practice she brings to all of her offerings: yoga, pilates, and otherwise. The spirituality of yoga: meditation, mantras, and the values of ‘love all, serve all’ were instilled at a young age. As far as a regular practice, though, it was dance that started it all.

Lila Heller went to school for anthropology, sociology, and dance. A guest teacher from Brazil at the Oakland Dance Company in which she was performing invited her to go to Brazil to study. So she went, falling in love with Salvador, Brazil in the process. This was 12 years ago when pilates was gaining rapid popularity, especially amongst dancers. Lila began a year-long certification program in pilates so that she was able to stay in Brazil.

The idea to lead retreats came to her on a vacation to Sayulita, Mexico. A woman came to the house she was staying at to teach yoga. She informed Lila of her yoga studio in Mexico where she loved to bring people to do retreats. Lila agreed to bring a group of people back the next year for a retreat, having no structure around how to lead a retreat. But the next year, as promised, she returned to Mexico with a group of students in tow. That first retreat was mostly pilates focused with a bit of qi gong. Some of those people on her first retreat still go on retreats led by Lila today. That was seven years ago.

But why Pilates AND Yoga? Certainly practicing one or the other will offer enormous benefits, but what’s to be gained by combining the two disciplines?

Yoga has a spiritual component that Lila loves. The actual physical practice of Yoga (also known as ‘asana’) is only a small part of the practice of Yoga. The awareness that you cultivate doing Yoga can be brought to Pilates. The energetic breath work also feeds the Pilates practice.

And as for what Pilates can bring to your yoga practice? Pilates offers a different way of experiencing your body. By strengthening certain muscles and gaining an awareness of what’s actually going on in your body, your Yoga practice will be undoubtedly improved.

Combining Yoga and Pilates on a retreat then seems a natural choice. In Lila’s words, “when you do something for a week, two times a day, you feel like a different person.” Her retreats teach you how to move WELL in your body, not just achieve something. You will cultivate an ease of movement.

Lila says that often on her retreats, people come who never thought they’d able to practice Yoga again. They feel intimidated, but by the end of the retreat, they feel empowered and at home in their bodies. Or the opposite: Yoga practitioners will come to the retreat with a bias towards Yoga. Then after seeing how their bodies respond to practicing Pilates in combination with Yoga, they are floored.

On an upcoming Lila Heller retreat, at Monte Velho Eco Retreat Center in Portugal, she is teaming up with Lea Udry who owns a Pilates studio in Switzerland. Lea will be teaching Yoga classes, and Lila pilates. In between classes (there is one in the morning and one in the evening), you will explore the natural beauty of Portugal. The retreat center is located in the hilly mountainside, but near the beautiful beaches. You’ll have the option to ride bikes, learn to surf or simply relax in the healing atmosphere. This retreat is 7 days and 6 nights, a bit shorter than her usual retreats. But she wanted to allow retreat-goers the option to extend their trip on either side to experience more of Portugal’s culture.

From now until December 31st, Lila Heller is offering an Early Bird Special on the Portugal Retreat. Claim your discount by clicking this link!

Letter of Love: THANK YOU!

“May the long time sun shine upon you.

All love surround you and the pure light within you,

guide your way on.”

This is a thank you letter. I am grateful for each and everyone of you.  A BIG thank you for coming to my classes, workshops, retreats, seeing me for one on one training, sending me your friends, sharing my posts, giving me feedback, writing testimonials, sharing your precious time, your growth, your dedication, your love of learning, your hugs, your ups and  downs, your expertise and your light!  

Every time I teach I learn.  I learn from each and everyone of you.  I am committed to continuing my growth as a teacher/trainer/ movement coach in order to give you the highest quality training and coaching.  YOU inspire me to seek out the top educators in the field of health/ fitness and well-being.

 May 2017 be a year that continues to ask us to be our better selves, may we inspire each other through our actions of self-care, self- love and ultimately service to the greater good of humanity. Below are some upcoming retreats and workshops in 2017. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.

 With a Grateful Heart,

Lila

Tools to stay Grounded in Ungrounded Times

...After all, it is the root that looks after the survival of an organism. It is the root that has withstood severe changes in climatic conditions. And it is the root that has regrown trunks time and time again. It is in the roots that centuries of experiences are stored, and it is this experience that has allowed the tree’s survival to the present day.
- Excerpt from The Hidden life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
 

How do you regrow? What are your roots? How do you stay grounded in turbulent times, in times of calm and the times in between.  What are the tools that help you to feel connected? Feeling connected, rooted, grounded, belonging… all stem to this idea of having roots. In a conceptual way we are all connected in our human - ness. Yep, we are human. And that is what is. We need water, food, love, touch, air and movement in order to survive and thrive here on planet earth.
 
We are alive now. These are turbulent times in many many ways. Some of the things that unground  us are: self- criticism, trying too hard, taking on more than we can handle, social media, politics, news, un-restful sleep, unhealthy food choices, too much sitting, worry and anxiety to name a few. And guess what, often we are affected by some combination of these things. I find it is important not to beat myself up, but rather have some solid tools I can rely on to pull me back to center. Back to my roots. 
 
Here are my top 10
1. Consciously breathing
Practice Counting breath:

  • Breathe in for 3-6 counts filling up from the belly to the collar bones
  • Hold the breath for 3-6 counts (staying relaxed is key- if you notice you are over tensing as you hold please hold for less counts!)
  • Exhale 3-6 counts
  • Hold the breath out 3-6 counts (again without tension)
  • Work your way up slowly. If you do not have a breath practice already start with 3 counts on each cycle of breath. 
  • Repeat about 5-8 times.

2. Slowing down: it’s the little things… taking the time to chew your food, drinking a cup of tea for 5 minutes, practice active listening, strength train slowly
3. Yoga
4. Standing/ walking on the earth barefoot 
5. Being in nature in silence
6. Hugs for at least 20 seconds
7. Meditation 
8. Taking a social media break
9. Eating whole fresh foods (ideally from your local farm) the nutrients in freshly harvested food will give your body a boost of alive-ness and grounding
10. Saying no when asked to do one more thing that even if sounding good would really just tip us over
 
Try out some of the tools above and see if they help.
 
We must do our practices - root ourselves - ground ourselves so that we can shine our light out into the world. This world needs you and me to be our best kindest, warm hearted humans that we can be. What are the ways in which you stay grounded, that help you to show up as the bad-ass loving human you are?
 
Please stay in touch. 
 
I wish you all a beautiful grounding summer and hope to see you soon! 
 
With utmost gratitude,
Lila