Balanced Muscular Action with Ken Blank

Introduction to Postural Yoga

As a yoga practice becomes more nuanced, you may begin to notice certain dominant patterns in your body. In other words "your natural tendencies."   Feet may turn in or out slightly,  a shoulder may roll in or sag,  knee caps may not face forward, etc. These postural dysfunctions if not corrected can become more and more pronounced as we age limiting range of motion with the possibility of needing surgery to correct.  (Knee replacement, hip replacement rotator cuff surgery, etc.)

The questions become What causes these misalignments? and How do we fix them?

1st The Cause:  

Research by Dr. Vladmir Janda in the 1970's showed that the problem is muscle imbalance.  Each muscle has an opposing muscle. If one is too strong relative to the other, a joint can be pulled out of its correct alignment increasing the probability of an injury.  One of the first yoga principles taught to me was balanced action. The muscular actions of the body should be balanced front to back, side to side, top to bottom.  In other words the agonist (muscle that takes an action)  should be balanced against its antagonist(muscle that apposes that action).  As an example, the bicep opposes the tricep.  If the bicep is too strong relative to the tricep, there may be difficulty straightening the elbow. If the tricep is too strong relative to the bicep, elbow hyper extension may result. 

2nd The Fix:  

Dr. Janda's research found that certain muscles in the body tended to be tight and strong(Postural Muscles) and others tend to be weak(Phasic Muscles). Over time the postural muscles will over power the the opposing phasic muscles causing a potential host of joint problems. A yoga practice that encourages balanced muscular action is good for both prevention and cure. 


About Ken:  

Ken has been teaching yoga since 2003. He evolved into his yoga practice after teaching karate for 16 years, earning a 4th degree Black Belt. He has learned through his varied experience that yoga is the source of many other physical, intellectual and spiritual disciplines. Ken has the ability to clearly and simply explain complex information in an understandable format. Helping students connect with the bigger energy to feel the flow of Prana, Chi or Ki has always been his primary focus. 

Be sure to look for Ken's next blog: 

1.  Identifying Postural and Phasic muscles

2.  The basic Postural Yoga alignment Principle


Love Letters from Liz Fullen!

Dear DIG Community,

I have just realized that my two-year DIG anniversary was last week. What better way to celebrate than writing a love letter to my shining community? The last two years have been up and down for me, but you have always been there to support me and I hold so much gratitude for you all.

Thank you. Thank you for continuously showing up. Thank you for your kind words, and the flowers from your gardens, and the jokes you’ve told that have given me that deep belly laugh (the kind that feels medicinal, leaving you feeling lighter afterwards). Thank you for sharing your hearts, your honesty, and your handstands. Thank you for allowing me to show up exactly as I am. Thank you for giving me the safest space to cultivate my voice as a teacher. Thank you for playing with me, and not taking yourselves too seriously in my yoga classes. 

Each and every one of you has brightened my day at one time or another. I am in constant awe of the love and support that is cultivated in and out of the studio. Whether you have been in my classes or we have just had pleasant conversation while I was working at the front desk, I love and appreciate you all. 

The past couple months have held incredible change and transformation for me. Namely, I moved from Lambertville to Philadelphia. Not to worry. You can catch me at the studio on Tuesday nights for my back-to-back Restoratives / Basics combo. Monthly workshops are for sure on the horizon as well!

I walked into DIG two years ago a scared, unsure baby yoga teacher. Today, I am grounded, confident and connected to my true purpose as a yoga teacher. YOU helped make that possible just by showing up. Thank you forever. See you on Tuesday.


Peace, love, and bouncy downdogs, 


mindfulness is the new black by valerie driscoll

MIndfulness is a brain-training practice of sorts that is simple, secular, and science. It teaches us to recognize when our mind has wandered and to return our attention to the present moment, which when you think about it, is the only moment in which we can effect change in our lives. Most importantly, it shows us how to do this with curiosity and self-compassion rather than judgement and criticism. It is the new black with good reason: the development of sophisticated brain-imaging technology over the last 15 years has allowed researchers to study brain function in spectacular detail. This research has lead to hundreds of studies showing mindfulness provides some level of relief from conditions as varied as the following:

  • elevated blood pressure
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • chemotherapy side effects
  • anger management
  • behavioral issues
  • addiction

Mindfulness teaches how to stay both with experiences that are pleasant or not so pleasant; by doing so we learn to come to an easier relationship with whatever comes our way. The practice helps to give us the choice of how and who we want to be at any moment in our lives. Living in this place of choice is true freedom. 

As a coach who specializes in habit change around eating and clutter, I successfully use mindfulness as a tool to help clients realize how often autopilot mode causes a knee-jerk reaction (chocolate-chip cookies) to a trigger (stress), and how choosing mindfully(an apple) keeps them more in line with a desired goal (healthful eating). It is anti-willpower, or perhaps a new definition of it.

Mindfulness is an easy, practical and inexpensive way to work with brains that are often glitchy and overtaxed. Personally, it has allowed me the space to examine, with more wonder and less bludgeon, the workings of my difficult brain. By doing this, she and I have developed a more productive, compassionate, and easier friendship.

Join Valerie for a workshop on bringing Mindfulness practices into your daily life to foster a healthy lifestyle. Saturday, March 18 from 12:30-4:30 at dig yoga. Register here:

If interested in learning more about Mindfulness, visit: 


Yogify Your Holiday Season

The Holidays are in full swing. You made it through Thanksgiving,

and depending on if you were in charge of the feast maybe even enjoyed

yourself? :) But we still have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New

Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Bodhi Day (did you know that January

5th celebrates the day the Buddha reached enlightenment?) to survive,

and even for people with few familial obligations the Holidays can be

stressful at times. Who wouldn't want the gift of less stress for

Christmas? Let's explore how our yoga practice can help ground us and

reduce stress over the holidays.

Our expectations for the holidays start when we were young children

ourselves. We learned about family traditions and celebrations and

perhaps saw adults running around frantically at times or having to

bake loads of cookies or even fruitcake?! We consumed holidays movies

and commercials selling high expectations for holiday miracles. Life

doesn't always look like the movies, and that can stand out poignantly

at Christmas for some. What is your internal state like over the



Take some time to think about some beliefs about these holidays you

may have brought from your childhood with you into adulthood. Are

there any hurtful experiences from your past you are holding on to and

may be able to let go of? How do you let childhood shape the way you

and your family celebrates, either negatively or positively. Take an

assessment of your background, practicing non-judgement, and breathing

compassion and healing into spaces that need it. Come to the present

and look at what lies ahead, what are you excited about, what is most

important to you this holiday season?


Sometimes when there are so many parties to go to, gift expectations,

plays, and ornament or cookie exchanges, we start to get distracted by

obligations and consumerism, but isn't what's the most important goal

for many to just enjoy spending quality time with loved ones? Let's

step back and take charge of our wellbeing during the holidays with

these and other stress-reduction strategies.


5 Tips to Refocus and Reenergize Yourself During the Holidays

Practice your breathing. Department store lines getting under your

skin? Tense political conversations arise with in-laws? Take a few

deep, grounding breaths. This is something you can do anywhere in the

moment, or, if you can slip away for a minute, close your eyes and

root yourself in mountain pose, imagine your connection to the earth,

grounding you and making any present moment more palatable.


Visualize a peaceful holiday. As in the exercise above, ask yourself


what your priorities are this holiday? What key words do you want to

espouse- love, joy, compassion? Keep these in mind as you visualize

peace for you and your loved ones. Maybe that means you will have to

graciously decline a party or offer up that your adult siblings just

donate to charities instead of trying to find gifts for people that

are hard to shop for.


Allow yourself to come first. “What!? That sounds selfish!” Think of

it more like they recommend on a plane- put your oxygen mask on before

you help others. Make the necessary choices for yourself so you don't

get burnt out or sick and unable to do much of anything! As a child

you may not have had the authority to choose how much holiday folly to

subject yourself to. You are an adult now and can choose new ways to

celebrate or how much you want to commit to. Maybe this means letting

go of a time-consuming tradition that just doesn't ring true to you



Be forgiving. This goes for yourself and others. We all make mistakes!

Just because you can't afford (or don't want to pay an arm and a leg)

to get your child a Hatchimal (the latest toy craze), doesn't mean

their Christmas will be completely ruined. If we are all compassionate

and understand if someone can't make an event then everyone will have

less pressure to squeeze in all these events!


Make time for self-care. Come up with a list of four or five things

you can do when you are starting to get overwhelmed, and make a point

to do one or two a week. These could be taking a bath with oils and

epsom salts, getting therapy or a massage, or, of course- coming to

Dig Yoga to continue a regular practice that will keep your blood

pressure down and give you some much-needed endorphins.


Whatever it takes to get you to not only survive, but to thrive this

holiday season, do take the time to grant yourself your own wishes.

Carving out time for self-care and wellbeing will allow you to do more

and be more present to truly savor these important moments. Whether

you're sticking with old traditions or making some new ones, remember

to breathe and to be here now.


About the author: Amanda Childs is a recent yoga addict, thanks to Dig

Studios, and a teacher and writer. While living in California from

2013-2016, she and her now-fiance spent every Christmas just the two

of them (very different from big family get-togethers in the midwest

or east coast they usually had), starting new traditions together like

hiking by the ocean! Now again living back on the east coast, they

look forward to holidays with friends and family, and also intend to

use some of these tips over the next month!!!

Six Ways to Renew Your JOY Everyday:

Close your eyes: This boosts your brain power! It also helps you soften tension and relax into your Self. Check in, listen, pay attention to all of it ---even distractions. Notice what's been affecting your inner state. 

Connect to a deeper breath: Let your inhalation create an inner widening, like a smile. Feel your breath expand your diaphragm, filling your entire torso. Breathing does wonders!

Go outside: Nature has a way of calling us back home into our hearts. Spend quality time away from technology, shut off the phone periodically or at least don't be actively on it. 

Keep Good Company: Be with those that uplift you, inspire you, and love you. Re-frame challenging relationships so they teach you more about who you want to be. 

Make time to play and smile: Allow your creative side to come out every day, even if it's just while you're cooking or hanging with your friends & family. 

Affirm your life: Say Thank You for all you already have. Continue to look for the gifts that are sent to you every day and savor the moments that put a smile on your face!

And One for Good Luck...

While we're not particularly superstitious, we do believe in the tradition of adding an extra candle on the birthday cake for the year to come. Since we didn't have a cake (yet!) we decided to share a little something extra sweet for good luck! A lucky number 7, if you will. ; D 

Kim's Matcha Shake:

1 cup Vanilla coconut ice cream
1/2 cup raw coconut water or more for consistency
2 Tbsp Matcha or Sweet Matcha tea powder (I use Rishi brand Matcha)
Optional: 1 packet stevia or your sweetener of choice

Place all ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Sit back with your favorite book and enjoy!

6 Asanas to Wake you Up!

Last,  but certainly not least, 6 poses in 6 minutes to jump start your day! Finding 6 minutes to practice can be hard, we know! But the next time you find yourself with 6 minutes to spare, give these a try.

6 poses in 6 minutes to jump start your morning:

Down dog- 1 minute

Plank (hands or forearms)  1 minute

Cobra lifts- 1 minute

Lunge jumps (hands on floor or on hips)  - 1 minute

Utkatasana (pulse up and down)- 1 minute

Uttanasana - 1 minute

6 healthy Recipes for Summertime!

In celebration of our 6th year anniversary, we are sharing 6 of our favorite things with you both online and in the studio! Below some of the Dig Family has sent in their summertime favorites: 

Kim's Green Juice:
1 head lettuce
I cucumber
1-2 green apples
4-6 celery stalks
1/2 bunch parsley
1" fresh ginger
1 lemon

Julie's Smoothies:
 Chocolate Cherry Banana Raw Vegan Green Smoothie for Energy
Ingredients:  1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 cups fresh spinach, 1 heaping tablespoon cacao powder, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon almond butter

Instructions:  Place almond milk, spinach, and cacao powder in a high-speed blender.  Blend up until liquid.  Add frozen cherries.  Blend again.  Add frozen banana and almond butter.  Blend again.  Serve.  Makes one large Mason jar size.

Kale Pineapple Lime Mint Raw Vegan Green Smoothie for Detoxing
Ingredients:  1 cup unsweetened coconut water, 2 cups fresh kale (remove stems), 2 tablespoons fresh mint, 2 slices lime, 1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in water 5 minutes, 2 cups frozen pineapple

Instructions:  Place coconut water, kale, and mint in a high-speed blender.  Blend up until liquid.  Add lime, chia seeds in water.  Blend again.  Add frozen pineapple and blend again.  Serve.  Makes on large Mason jar size.

*Notes for Success:  Get a high-speed blender.  If you don't have a high-speed blend, blend up ingredients in layers.  Try to purchase organic if possible at local farmers markets and produce stands.  Spinach is milder than kale.  If you like thick smoothies, add 1/4 avocado to any recipe.  Adding frozen fruit as opposed to ice cubes keeps things cold, fruity and sweet without watering things down.  Adding ingredients such as hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds ups the Omega 3 fatty acids.  Adding protein powders will up the calories so beware.  If things turn out too "green" - add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract (non-alcohol).

Salad with Melon, Blackberries, and Feta Cheese:

1/3 Melon
 1 cup of blackberries
Feta or Cottage Cheese
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Optional Honey Ginger Dressing:
2 tbsp Honey
2 tsp Grated ginger
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, goat cheese and (optional) bacon.

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces (optional!)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 . Cut about half an inch off of the top and bottom of the spaghetti squash, and discard those pieces. Cut the squash crosswise into rings about 1-inch thick, and run your knife around the inside of the rings to cut the seeds out. Drizzle the olive oil over the baking sheet, then spread the squash rings over it, moving them around a little so that the undersides are evenly coated with a little bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper, then flip the rings over and season again.

3. Roast in the preheated oven until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. When the squash is done, set it aside on the counter while you cook the bacon and spinach. It’ll be easier to handle if you let it cool for 10 minutes before taking it apart.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the bacon slices. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, just until the very edges of the bacon start to brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered out, about 5 more minutes.

5. When the bacon is done, turn the heat up to medium and add the red wine vinegar while stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet. This will deglaze your pan, so that all of the caramelized bits of bacon end up in your food and not stuck to the bottom of your pan. After about 20 seconds, turn the heat back down to low and add the maple syrup. Stir everything together just to combine, then add the spinach, one handful at a time, stirring after every addition so that the spinach wilts and there’s room in your skillet for more. When all of the spinach is wilted, turn the burner off under the skillet and let everything sit in there while you finish the squash.

6. Peel the skin away from the squash, then use a fork or your hands to pull the strands apart, adding them to the skillet as you go. When all of the squash is in the skillet, add the goat cheese and toss everything together just to combine.

7. Divide between two plates and serve immediately.

Lemony Quinoa and Avocado Salad

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 avocado, diced

In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa and water until boiling. Reduce heat to low/medium and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed the water fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Drain any extra water and set aside to cool.

Make the dressing while the quinoa is cooking.

Toss the cooked quinoa, cilantro, red onion, bell pepper, and half of the dressing. Add more dressing to taste. Toss the avocado in last.

Tahini Dressing
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin it out a bit and then the salt.

Set aside until the salad is ready to be tossed.

6 Inspirational Quotes from Our Favorite Yogis.

In celebration of our six years in the community, we want to share with you six of our favorite quotes, that help us when we need a little something extra!

" Your heart knows the way, run in that direction."

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."
~ Maya Angelou

"Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn on the way down."
~ Jigar Gor

" When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love."
~ Marcus Aurelius

"What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine you create."
~ Buddha

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage."
~ Anais Nin

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray."


6 Essential Oils for Summer!

As you all know, we are big on using oils to give us little boosts and help us with certain things throughout the day! Here are some of our favorites for summertime: 

Lemon- air disinfectant, insect bites and swelling, hair highlights (do not put in skin and go in sun!).

Ylang Ylang- aphrodisiac, soothes insect bites, a tonic for the nervous system.

Peppermint- good for nausea, cools body during hot days, refreshing, reduces inflammation.

Clary sage- balancing, inspiring, revitalizing, treats infections and reduces swollen tissue.

Lavender- helps wounds, burns, insect bites, skin issues, motion sickness, muscle pain, rheumatic conditions, stress, insomnia.

Chamomile- good for stings, bites, coughs, migraine, cramps, sunburn, anger, insomnia, stomach ache.

Aging Gracefully with Ayurveda and Yoga

“Old age is not a disease, it is a triumph” —Maggie Kuhn

We all age, that is a fact of LIFE. But, aging with grace and in alignment with your unique constitution, that is the true teachings of Ayurveda. Consider Ayurveda the sister science to Yoga, both emerging over 5,000 years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine has been supporting individuals needs to ensure that the mind stays alert and clear and the body in optimal health and balance. With both Yoga and Ayurveda we find effective paths to cope with stress; from asana, pranayama and meditation to lifestyle shifts, wholesome diet and working with herbs. 

Aging is not about loss, it’s about taking the moment to seize opportunity and make your dreams come true. Successful aging means reaching forward (not back) and moving into an expanded and interesting future. With every breath, another moment passes, choices for that future emerge, and another opportunity for a new you presents itself. Through Ayurveda and Yoga we learn to observe ourselves with more clarity and less judgement and develop the courage to open to change. 

For thousands of years, Ayurveda has been teaching about the impact of stress on the body and mind and offering simple guidelines to identify the root causes that keep us engaged in unhelpful habits, such as; inadequate sleep and unhealthy diet. Ayurveda offers practical lifestyle tips, addressing everyday bodily concerns. And yoga addresses the spiritual faith practice that undermines our desire to know the true nature of the invisible force that lies at the core of our being. 

Jeanne-Marie Derrick C.A.S.


Jeanne-Marie is a veteran of Iyengar Yoga, have been practicing and teaching for 35 year. She holds certifications in Iyengar Yoga and Yoga for Scoliosis. She is also a practicing Clinical Ayurveda Specalist and sees clients in Bucks County area, Philadelphia and New York City. 

Come join Sue Elkind and Jeanne-Marie Derrick on Saturday, May 7th from 1:00-4:00 PM to learn the basic principles of Ayurveda in relationship to aging. How the latest scientific findings are supporting the age old teachings of Ayurveda and Yoga.

An Invitation to Restorative Yoga by Jeanne-Marie Derrick

An Invitation to Restorative Yoga by Jeanne-Marie Derrick

A renowned yoga teacher once observed that restorative yoga is like your own internal savings account. You are investing in your self when you practice the slow, calm postures of restorative yoga. Prana, the cosmic intelligence that maintains our lifestream, is stored or invested into our cells while resting in poses designed to allow stress to seep out.

In our hyperactive culture we tend to overlook the importance of slowing down, resting and utilizing simple breathing and inner awareness. If we only spend our energy and never invest in our cellular bank, we may someday wake up to realize that we are broke. That fatigue runs so deep in our nervous system that our ability to root and stand tall is lost.

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What is Kundalini Yoga? by Ogden Kruger

What is Kundalini Yoga? by Ogden Kruger

Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of awareness. It is the supreme method to awaken your awareness and take you into your infinite self. It is a natural unfolding of your own nature. Kundalini means awareness, it is the technology of human consciousness. Normally this awareness is sleeping within you and you experience your own capacity and reality in a limited way. Kundalini truly is a workout for the mind, body and soul.

Here are some of the benefits you may enjoy if you introduce this practice into your life:

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Y12SR by Felicia Ruth

Y12SR by Felicia Ruth

Felicia has a deep educational background, holding a Master’s degree in Education and certifications to teach Yoga, Reiki and Grounded Kids Yoga, most recently completing coaching programs for Yoga and Meditation for Recovery.  Her initial 500 hours of training included a focus on Structural Yoga Therapy, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, Vinyasa and Tantric teachings.  Felicia later found and was influenced by the teachings of Sri Brahmananda Saraswati and the meditative practice of Yoga Nidra.  Alongside her work with adults, she continues her work in education teaching yoga, mindfulness and self-regulation skills to students, faculty and parents of The Quaker School at Horsham.  Felicia believes that well-integrated body alignment reveals the capacity to go inward and discover one’s unique and inherent gifts.  As a practitioner, she has discovered her own love of music and shares this joy with her students.  Felicia is dedicated to helping people of all ages find greater ease, strength, freedom of movement and peace of mind.  

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Kundalini Yoga: Taking You to the Center of Yourself

Kundalini Yoga: Taking You to the Center of Yourself

Kundalini yoga is the yoga of awareness. It is a direct method to awaken your awareness and take you into your infinite self. It is a natural unfolding of your own nature. Kundalini means awareness, it is the technology of human consciousness. Normally this awareness is sleeping within you and you experience your own capacity and reality in a limited way. Kundalini truly is a workout for the mind, body and soul.

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The Alchemy of Breath - Integrative therapeutic breathing Written by Kim Kemper

The Alchemy of Breath - Integrative therapeutic breathing Written by Kim Kemper

Alchemy: process of transmuting a common substance of little value, into a substance of great value.

Integrative breathing uses a diaphragmatic breath, originating in the lower abdomen as a conscious unification of the inhalation and exhalation without pause. Setting up a circuit to clear previously blocked breathing patterns.

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Liz Fullen: the Journey Towards Digging Deeper

Liz Fullen: the Journey Towards Digging Deeper

By Elizabeth Fullen

My first svasana doubled as my first meet-and-greet with myself. Lying there, I was free to just be. I didn’t have to be “Liz the cheerleader” or “Liz the thespian” (yes, I was a walking contradiction in high school). I found the place where all the labels dropped away and what I was left with was pure, unadulterated Liz. I quickly realized that yoga class was going to help me find the balance I longed for but had not yet known, and found a studio near my house and began a dedicated practice. Almost immediately, it became apparent that the practice of yoga was invaluable to my well-being.

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