Category Archives: Boomin Body of the Month

Each month, a boomin body student or client is highlighted. The blog will introduce the person, her fitness and wellness perspectives and a little about her life and the important things to her.

IMG_9185Meet Sarah Brown, our Boomin Body of October AND Boomin Body Yoga Instructor. Perhaps you’ve seen her in a Boomin Body Zumba class. You know, the beautiful girl-next-door-looking one with a Zen vibe? The one who often brings her gorgeous blondie children to class? Well, she is also a remarkable yoga instructor and a nurse.  Her first 3 years of being a traveling nurse took her to Virginia, Hawaii, San Diego and New York City which delayed her relationship with Drew, the man of her dreams. They met at a bar on New Year’s Eve shortly before going their separate ways to pursue their career ambitions. But they reconnected in Denver 4 years later, got married and moved to San Diego, where they worked, enjoyed surfing and beach-going and started their family. Lucky for us, Drew is a Bay Area native, and in the Spring of 2014, his job opportunity at Stanford brought them back. After settling their family of 4 in Los Altos, Sarah’s new neighbor Abby brought her to my Zumba class, and she was hooked!

Through her work as a nurse, Sarah has developed a strong sense of compassion for those in ill health, both physical and mental. Nursing has given her an appreciation for her own health. About 10 years ago, her work in the in-patient psychiatric unit was particularly stressful, so she decided to try yoga and quickly discovered its therapeutic benefits – better sleep, feeling more grounded and more physically fit. She became “addicted” to the way she felt by the end of each class. With the dizzying multitude of drugs used today (both prescriptive and recreational), Sarah strongly believes that a holistic approach to human health is best. She says Yoga is her “drug of choice”.

In 2005, while still nursing, Sarah certified as a Yoga instructor so she could share her newfound love and its healing power with others. She teaches her favorite style of Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, which means “breath with movement”. It is a faster paced yoga which trains your breath and your body to rhythmically move through various poses with occasional holds to lengthen and enjoy the position while maintaining a state of grateful self awareness. Sarah says,

“For me, Vinyasa Flow Yoga is the perfect workout.  I feel the cardiovascular benefit, and truly am able to tap into my breath and calm my mind.”

When asked what students get out of her yoga class, she said hopefully, it helps them develop a positive self body image – contentment, confidence and appreciation of their own bodies. In her own words,

“I hope people can simply enjoy moving their bodies in ways that feel good…at the very least, a smile on someone’s face because they were able to laugh, appreciate, get
lost, let go, even for a few breaths. …Yoga is a constant reminder that everyone is built
differently and looks differently. I think there i
s so much beauty in that alone.”

IMG_9456-EditIn addition to her Yoga practice, Sarah stays strong and healthy by regularly running and doing Boomin Body Zumba. She enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, swimming, and leisurely bike rides. Also, this past year, Sarah participated in Cycle for Survival at Equinox in Palo Alto and the Tahoe Tough Mudder.
“I believe in a healthy diet and a healthy relation to food.”
Sarah eats well as a pescatarian and enjoys trying out new recipes with and for others. She’ll eat any recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook, which she often recommends and gifts to friends and family. She seems to share a green thumb with her husband as they have a plethora of fresh herbs growing in her garden, of which I am quite envious and very thankful that she has been willing to share. 😉
“Besides yoga, what are your favorite ways to meditate and center yourself?”
“It may just sound like housework, but I really enjoy cooking, folding laundry (please don’t tell my family), working in the yard, and finger knitting.  Essentially anything that slows me down and connects me to the earth.”
I’ve become fast friends with Sarah, and I am delighted that she is now leading the most exhilarating Yoga classes for Boomin Body members to enjoy. Sarah is one of the best instructors I’ve ever seen. Her unique background as a psychiatric nurse brings an authenticity to her class. She truly wants to help people. When yIMG_9207ou come to her class, she respects your body and your space and makes you feel comfortable. You can sense her genuine intention to help you learn and strengthen your mind and your body. She helps you get the most out of each yoga class with her calming voice, helpful verbal cues and gentle adjustments or enhancements. I hope
you get to experience one of her upcoming classes for yourself. If you’d like to sign up, just click here.

To be able to Move – it is a celebration!

photo 4 (15)
Greeting her 4-yr-old twin grandchildren

It has been such a joy having Debby Hagenmaier in Zumba and Strong classes for almost 5 years now. She is our boomin body of September! You’d never guess it by the way she moves and dances, but Debby is a Grandma! How many Grandmas do you know that worked at Disneyland? Debby did! When I have grandchildren of my own, I hope to be as vivacious as Debby. She is beautiful, classy, fun and fit! So inspiring!

Debby has a master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing. She cowrote the curriculum for a stress management course called Heart Matters which she currently teaches for El Camino Hospital and for Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF). Working closely with heart disease patients, Debby recognizes the importance of exercise for the prevention of cardiac and other diseases. But her real motivation for staying fit is that “…I simply feel better—in body and soul—when I can move! My husband says I am nicer to be around on the days I’ve exercised.” 😉 I can’t imagine Debby being not nice, but I can totally relate! You too?

Speaking of Debby’s husband, she has been married for 37 years! Wow! Her advice for a good long marriage (all of us could use it, right?) is to express appreciation for each other in even small ways at least once a day. She and her husband have two remarkable daughters. One was once a lead ballerina for the San Francisco Ballet School and now dances around her Madison, WI home with her 3 children. Debby’s second daughter works as the digital archivist for Georgia Tech in Atlanta. It’s difficult for Debby to be so far away from these women, but I imagine the close relationships she has formed with friends and neighbors, having lived here in Los Altos for 29 years, make it easier.

Debby and her fellow boomin bodies, ready to move at Zumba!

In Debby’s free time, she likes to “..move in one of Shannon’s classes, of course!  I can’t imagine not dancing in some way! …when I hear music—any music– I want to dance!” She also enjoys reading and good conversation. She brings out her creative side while setting a table for small dinner parties. And when inspired, she gets out her watercolors and paints. “Painting can be like dancing for me—I’m in the zone.” 

Debby hiking in Yosemite, 2013

When I asked Debby if she had any personal health stories to share, she said this: “Breast cancer has left its mark on so many in my family—my mother, my uncle, my older sister. So when my younger sister and I were diagnosed with an early stage breast cancer, we both took the plunge and opted for mastectomies.  That was ten years ago, and we seldom look back. Recognizing this family history, my two daughters vigilantly care for their own health, and I’m so grateful.”

Inspiring words from Debby: “Each time I dance, hike or do a sit-up, I’m reminded of just how fortunate I am to be able to move. It is a celebration!”

1st Boomin Body of the Month

Boomin Body is made up of so many incredible people! I would like to help us all get to know each other better. We can inspire each other to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Also, I’d like to recognize members who have been dedicated to their fitness goals. So I have decided that each month, I will announce a “Boomin Body of the Month” beginning in August. I am pleased to announce our first official Boomin Body of the Month (drum roll, please…) – Abby Stucker!

I can not take credit (though I would like to) for Abby’s boomin’ body – she had that before she joined the Boomin Body Family – but I think, and I hope she would agree, that Boomin Body has ignited even more BOOM within her. She came to her first Boomin Body class about 2 years ago, after we’d just met at Grant Park for a Children’s Center playdate and then bumped into each other again at Gold Star Gymnastics. After telling her only a little bit about Boomin Body, I was thrilled that she actually came to Zumba, was even brave enough to stand in front with me, and when the dance party was over, she said “I loved it!”

Since then, she comes regularly to Tuesday and Saturday classes, bringing along her bright smile, 1-3 of her sons when necessary and sometimes her mother, sister or friend from out-of-town, and always promising her husband to make pancakes as soon as she gets back on Saturday mornings – as it is Stucker Family tradition. You see, although Abby is dedicated to her workout regimen and her newfound love for social fitness, she is and always has been a die-hard Family Woman – an amazing mother, a wonderful wife and an exceptional homemaker. She gives so much of herself to her children, especially her creativity and fantastic story-telling skills. Abby tells the silliest, most suspenseful stories to these kids – made up right off the top of her head and delivered with such dramatic fun and conviction. In today’s world of kids’ eyeballs staring at smartphones or iPads, it’s very impressive the way she captivates her child audience – they hang on her every word! She’s also a fabulous cook – always looking for new, healthy recipes to serve to her family and friends. She completely transformed her kitchen in record time – much faster than the gazillion other remodels currently underway in Los Altos – and it is absolutely gorgeous. And with all her spare time 😉 , she manages to volunteer regularly for her children’s schools.

So you’re probably wondering – what is her workout regimen? Having just joined the 40-year-old club last month (Happy Birthday Abby!), how does she keep that boomin’ body? On most days of the week, she has already done a workout before 7:30 AM which includes 3-6 miles of running or 40-minutes on her Nordic Track, lots of ab crunches and push-ups, weight-lifting once per week, Zumba twice per week, boot camp on Fridays and occasionally Yoga on Sundays. This program works for her, and coming to Zumba has been a great compliment to her routine. She admits that dancing, laughing and letting loose with our group of friendly women is much more fun than working out alone.

Abby recently completed a Tough Mudder with a group of Oak Elementary parents. I remember that Abby was a great sport when she first told us she was going to do it. Having never heard of it before, we were teasing and giving her a hard time because it sounded like a young mothers’ mud-wrestling match which may or may not involve white tank tops and spraying water hoses. To be clear, it is absolutely NOT that! Tough Mudder is an endurance event including 10–12-mile-long military-style obstacle courses, designed by British Harvard post-grads to test mental and physical strength. Not knowing for certain what to expect, Abby prepared for and completed the 5-hr event in Tahoe and was emotionally moved and visibly invigorated by the whole thing. I commend Abby for taking that risk and persisting, despite some hesitance. Clearly, it was a very positive, respectable, healthy experience. In addition to her fitness endeavors, Abby consistently keeps an active lifestyle for herself and her family – heading out to parks, beaches, swimming pools, whenever possible, and she is very supportive of her husband’s love of tennis.

Lastly, I want to point out that Abby, like myself, has developed an outlet for her passion. Abby is very crafty! Her passion is sewing and crafting, and she is so good at it! She owns her own business, Phoebe & Claire, where she designs and sells her hand-made tote bags (perfectly sized for water bottle, hand weights and towel), aprons, cute hair bands (for keeping hair out of your face while you exercise) and tooth-fairy pillows. Click here to check out her Etsy site. You’ll see her products are bright, colorful and stylish – a fitting representation of Abby’s zest for life!

So, thank you Abby for being a strong woman, a dear friend, a healthy, cheerful person, a loving mother, a dedicated wife, an avid supporter of Boomin Body, and an inspiration to all of us! You are the perfect first Boomin Body of the Month!

Happy August (Back-to-School Month) to all of you, Boomin Body Friends and Family! Click here to view or sign up for your next Boomin Body fitness class. Please comment, share and check back with this blog for weekly health and fitness posts and to find out who will be the Boomin Body of September!?11220140_10204884976674261_9150692219475924521_n