10 posts categorized " Fix It! "


Lauren Boggi

Dear Lauren & Lithers,

I've been noticing a recent trend in my practice: active women presenting with wrist, hand and elbow pain. This may not seem like anything out of the ordinary in my line of work, except that these patients all seem to blame a common culprit: EXERCISE.

In the past I've been mostly taking care of active yogis, but now I’m hearing a lot more complaints from women doing  “total body work outs” such as boot camp, cross fit etc. I’m thinking this may be related to people ditching the gym elliptical and getting out there to exercise more effectively.

Some of my newer patients are active “Lithers”. Interestingly enough, most of the problems I'm seeing are not related to push ups, burpees etc. The “new” pain is primarily due to old, forgotten about injuries of the hand, wrist and elbow.  An old sprain, fracture etc. is exacerbated as a result of new activity, sometimes improper technique.  As an active Lither myself, I can say that the work out method is extremely ergonomic and will not cause new problems if done appropriately.

I’ve sustained three wrist fractures in my teens. For somebody like me, there needs to be an awareness that a childhood injury will most likely manifest itself in our 30’s and 40’s and 50’s. Having no symptoms from old injuries now is great and we want to keep it that way! I constantly remind myself of this and always do your modifications in class. Sometimes I will  skip the more wrist “pressure point” exercises and lift my 5lbs weights, while the LITHE ladies in the room “wipe the floor” with their gliders or sleeves.

What is OK for most lithers, will not work for my wrist, even if I have no pain doing the exercise.  Because of my old injuries, some stuff is off limits if I want to continue being able to move my wrist in 20 years. NO WORK OUT IS TO BLAME FOR THIS! The 14 year old me is to blame for this!

It’s not the downward dog, the mountain climbers or side planks that did it. There is no need to STOP doing your beloved activity believing that it causes you to fall apart. Please don’t grow to have a love/ hate relationship with exercising and don’t think of it as your enemy.   It’s what I tell my patients and myself.

Giving yourself a day off, stopping when it hurts, not pushing yourself beyond your limitations can be very helpful, but will not always solve the problem. Sometimes treatment of underlying conditions may be necessary.  Also, keeping in mind that certain exercises may be forever off limits (this part is extremely difficult to accept for a Type A personality, I personally struggle with this every day).

All of this seems fairly intuitive, however most of us can’t pay attention to our bodies when we are working out. This phenomena is caused by a rush of endorphins, which block the pain receptors in our body. They are very similar to opiates. Working out is similar to physical dependence. It can cloud judgment.

This is why it’s important to think of what hurt you in the previous class and try to avoid similar activity in the present, never push yourself through the work out. Pain is one of our best defense mechanisms to prevent injury. Believe it or not, pain is good!

Being able to stop and nurse your old injuries is not a weakness, it’s what will keep us doing the things we love for years to come. I’m thinking competing in a “LITHELON”  may be a hot trend for 2023!

Julia Mayberry M.D.

Main Line Hand Surgery PC


Lithe at Bands

Give Your Thoughts a Makeover

Re-define your concept of “thin.Use words! Replace the old ‘fat’-laden language with new language. Or, even better, get rid of that word all together! Words like “skinny” and “thin” carry a lot of unhealthy connotations that we have picked up through exposure to things like the media over the years. I personally try to steer clear of that kind of language. I prefer words like “fit”, “trim,” and “lean.” If I were to define my ideal version of myself, it would be something like, “lean all over with boobs and a butt!” The only “Twiggy” reference in my life is related to Lithe class scheduling.

Stay Positive

Instead of immediately casting- off a negative thought about your body, allow yourself to honor and acknowledge it. Label it as ‘fat talk’ and then promptly replace the thought with something positive. For example:  “I’m stocky” becomes “I’m petite and strong!”

Get Inspired

Get over that ideal ‘perfect version’ of yourself. Try to let go of that and start noticing people with your body shape. Pay attention to how they play up or down certain features for a polished, proportional look. Check out style blogs for different body types, or create a personal style look-book for inspiration.

Adjust the Focus on your Lens

And while you’re at it, zoom out a little bit! Try to avoid hyper-focusing on one particular element or area of the body. Instead of focusing on what your body is not, concentrate instead on what it is, and all that it does for you. Next time you are feeling down, do a set of calf-pumps (arms: your choice!) or drop down for a quick set of burpees!

The Golden Rule

Just as you treat others as you wish to be treated, do the same for your body. Talk about your body respectfully, and honor how powerful it is. I love this analogy I heard once: think about a dandelion. Technically it’s a weed, but it could also be a flower. How you label it, however, will influence how you feel about it. Call it a “weed” and it ends up in the trash. Call it a “flower” and it ends up in a vase on the kitchen table. You will likely take better care of your body if you think about it with respect, awe, and gratitude.

Image of Lithe Instructors via Dom


Lauren breathing

Breathe! One of the defining characteristics of Lithe is the Lithe breath. It's usually the first thing you hear when you walk into (or outside of!) our studios--a group of women breathing in and exhaling forcefully in unison. But the exhale is about more than just producing the proper sound. Exhaling correctly fuels your workout, allows you to work from the core, and breeds life into your practice and your muscles. 

As I look around the studio, I'm noticing Lithers not breathing at all, tongues between teeth, the "CH" breath (characteristic of Ron Fletcher work), snake breathing ("sssssss") and other incorrect exhalations. Think about the fact that your abdominals attach at the ribcage.  Remember that when you breathe in, you want to inhale through the nose and  feel your ribcage expand laterally (out to the sides). When it's time to exhale, you want to blow air out of the mouth, through pursed lips, contracting the abs and knitting your ribs back together. 

This is important:  Make sure you exhale the air out of a small rounded opening of your mouth. Use the visual of blowing out through a straw. You will notice a massive difference in how it works your core, and you will get a ton more out of your time in the studio.

Image of Lauren Boggi Goldenberg via Dom

FIX IT! 11 Oct 2012


We barefoot train at Lithe. Because we don't have shoes providing protection and structure for the feet, we tend to hold a bit more tension in the intrinsic muscles of our feet when new to Lithing. Your body is looking for a sense of stability in this shoeless mode, so your natural tendency is to get your feet to create that stability you're used to feeling in shoes by curling the toes under, OR over-flexing/over-pointing the toes rather than pointing or flexing from the ankle joint. Like our shoulders creep up to compensate (and cheat) for our abs, this incorrect foot position is a cheat for the core!

If you can feel the tension in your feet while you're doing ab, barre work or band work, you can train yourself to relax your lower legs and resist a tendency to hold tension in your feet and toes. Think about using your core, as your power should come from within. As you can see in the incorrect image above, the smallest muscles and bones of the feet are acting to support the weight of the body. The support should fall to the largest bones (the femurs, pelvis and spine) and if you're standing, the job of propulsion and movement should fall to the strongest muscles (the core muscles) assisted by the pull of gravity, and not to the metatarsals.

Image of Lithe Instructor, Shannon Graham, in Hot Legs via Dom


Correct/Incorrect Rib Cage Placement

Hi Lauren, I hear different cues from different instructors during our butt work sequence.  I'm confused!  Some say to drop the rib-cage to the mat and others say to rest your weight between your shoulder-blades.  What is correct?  Thanks, SF

Both! This is a two part answer. You want to use your abs to drop the chest away from your chin and your thoracic/mid-back (where your bra strap or sports bra runs across the back of your rib cage) so that the ribs are grounded to the floor during our glute-work series.  We all have different postures and body types so this will look slightly different on everyone.  Watch that you don't overdo it though:  You don't have to ground the entire rib-cage to the floor since this will cause the spine to flex and your sternum to dig into your core.  We want to avoid being hunched at all times (lift from the heart and pull your shoulders back and down to bring the upper body out of the tuck).  

Check your form: You want to be in one long line from your shoulders to your knees.  What we mean by resting your weight between your shoulder-blades is to just relax and center your weight (be heavy) there rather than resting your weight on the base of the neck and shoulders like in a Yoga bridge (See Kim demonstrating incorrectly above). 

Remember that Yoga is all about opening up and with Lithe, we want to close and knit everything up.  You can see Kim above demonstrating a high Yoga bridge (what we don't want to do at Lithe).  You can see how her back is arched, her ribs are slightly popped, her weight is resting on the Cervical Spine/neck and her chest is way up near her chin.  This also causes some strain the low back during our sequences. I hope this helps!

Image of Lithe Instructor, Kim Sauer demonstrating correct/incorrect rib cage placement during Lithe's glute work sequence via Lauren. 




What you need: Gloves!
Props: Lithe’s Higher Power Band System (Pom Handles)
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you’re comfortable in.
Sweat Factor: Drench City, Soak-afornia.

In the 5th grade--for various reasons I will not detail here, and I’m sure did not fully comprehend at the tender age of 10--I learned that the surface gravity of the moon is only about 1/6th that of Earth’s. What I DID understand however--with the help of my Texas Instruments solar-powered calculator--was that at 60lbs, I weighed 10 lbs on the moon. 10lbs! That’s two 5lb. Lithe dumbbells (in case you were straining to do the math). That’s 10oz less than I weighed when I was born! (My poor mom.)

For the rest of that year, I basically channeled the future Jonathan Lipnicki, and told anyone and everyone my moon weight. When my mother’s friends stopped by for a visit, I would promptly ask them how much they weighed, so I could calculate their moon weight (dividing by 6 was my secret super power). Needless to say, my neat trick wasn’t super popular. Instead of finding out the numbers, I was told how cute I was or what a funny girl I was. Defeated, I would retreat to my room, pop in my Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em tape, and lament that no one understood my genius while humming along to that classic heart-breaker: “Have you Seen Her?”

Recently, while taking Lithe’s newest addition, Weightless, all of these memories came together (yes, even the MC Hammer part), and it was a powerful moment. And an even more powerful workout. Weightless is like Pom and Sculpt and A-list Abs had a baby. It’s got a bit of everything in it. You grab onto the Pom handles and kick off the class with a cardio sequence of jacks and calf pumps and squat jumps, etc.--all moves you already know, if you’ve been to a few Lithe classes.

Then you relive my 5th grade bedroom dance-a-thons with an amazing cardio-cheer sequence that has a move in it called the MC Hammer. No, it’s not the typewriter move (aside from the fact that his mom is knitting through this entire video, this dude is pretty good) made famous by the artist that was Too Legit to Quit. It’s some chest popping, fist pumping good times. And you can’t help but giggle our way through it. As with the the cardio-cheer sequences in Pom, the Weightless Hammerdance takes a few tries before you get the hang of it. Don’t get frustrated. Just imagine yourself in sparkly parachute pants, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

For the remainder of the class, you alternate the cardio-cheer series with sculpting--both at the barre and on the mat--and you take the bands with you wherever you go. You use them to work your arms and back while you do your Liberties and Lunges, and you add them to your ab work while on the floor (this part was KILLER). In fact, it was all super-intense, and according to Lauren, this is just the beginning. She was just “easing us into” everything Weightless has in store since it was our first time. That’s difficult to imagine considering I was SOAKED when I left. Me! The girl who doesn’t sweat. If you sweat pretty good, then you might want to consider bringing a beach towel.

Even if you’ve been Lithing for a while, this class will certainly challenge you. And although, Earth’s gravitational pull leaves us much heavier than we would be if we lived beyond our atmosphere, I think Weightless will have you walking around feeling a little closer to your moon weight anyway.

See you in class!

Image of Sayeh wearing Lithe Wear Leather Leggings and Mojo Vented Top & Lithe Instructor Sheri Tolin via Dom

BEES KNEES. 30 Aug 2011



Ever since I've started lithing I've been experiencing pain in my left knee, I can do some things but not all. I especially have problems with lunges and jumping. I get very frustrated with myself and I feel like I am cheating myself a good workout when I only do a few lunges at the barre. I can do it all on my right side. Do you have any suggestions on what to do about the pain so that I can get through a workout?  JR

Hey J! 

So sorry to hear about your knee.  I know how frustrating that can be.  I'm no doctor, and you could possibly have an injury or "runners knee," but it sounds like your left leg alignment may be off when you're doing barre work. We often see people work too far away from the barre or squeeze the ball too hard during squats which causes the patella (knee cap) to track out of alignment laterally.  Try to pay attention to what your left foot and knee are doing while you're at the barre and/or jumping.  They should be aligned parallel.  Are they lateral or medial? 

With Lithe, the body tends to become stronger from the extremities first, then, to the interior core. As your core becomes stronger (your core is the area from your nipple to your knees), it will free the load from your feet and lower leg/knees.  Beginners tend to work from their feet/lower extremities instead of relaxing them and working from the center. Also, try not to think of liberty/lunges/barre work as "leg work."  You want to lift from your center, engage the glutes and "pull up on your kneecap" so that you engage the quad and track your patella properly. This "pulling up on the kneecap" action also takes the weight off of the feet and lower leg.

Also, you've probably worn sneakers your entire life while working out.  Sneakers really prohibit the foot, ankle and calf from working like we work them while Lithing.  Barefoot training is a totally different ballgame and in the beginning, your feet, ankles and knees are weak.  Good news ls, you and your feet/knees/lower leg will become much stronger. To ease the pain in the meantime, I would stay on a mat, stay flat-footed during lunges and ease your way into stiletto over time (or never). 

Don't rush your progress-staying flat-footed is way better than injuring your knee, overcompensating with another part of your body, overworking your muscles and pushing to hard.  Listen to your body, modify and see your MD/PT if it keeps bothering you!

Image of Lithe Instructor, Nicole Sewall via Dominic Episcopo




Lithe Passport. 61 days. 40 classes. My trip has already begun.

Hot Legs

What you need: Yourself, no gloves necessary
Props: Gam Gear (stretchy, knit thigh-high tights)
Clothing Considerations: Cropped pants, makes pulling the tights up over your legs much easier than flowy yoga pants. (I wouldn’t wear shorts. Your legs might be sweaty and itchy if there’s no barrier between you and the tights.)
Sweat Factor: Get ready to glisten!

If you were to walk into a Hot Legs class in progress, you might think you stepped into a scene from Black Swan* (minus the making out with Mila Kunis). You’d see a room full of girls, wearing uniform tights, standing with one hand at the barre, lifting their legs in unison into the center of the room. You might even hear Krista yelling ATTACK IT! ATTACK IT! like the crazed French instructor that tortures the dancers (again, minus the weird making out).

I know I felt like I was in a warped, yet graceful ballet lesson. The entire 60 minutes is spent at the barre (yes, that’s right; no mat action here), and as such I definitely started hallucinating half way through the class. No wonder Natalie Portman’s character goes crazy! Barre work is HARD! After just an hour of leg lifts, lunges, FOSW and tucking and squeezing, I’m pretty sure my reflection turned around and gave me (and Krista) an evil glare.

You can expect to do any and everything you’ve ever done at the barre in this class. It ain’t called Hot Legs for nothin! The Gams Gear is pretty stretchy (if they fit over my thighs, they’ll fit over your calves), and keeps your legs warm and pulled tight as you take them to the limit. Although, tucking and squeezing was a bit tough for me, as my feet were slipping in the socks.

This class is definitely a challenge. At one point, during a ridiculous push up series (it’s like no other push up I’ve ever done), I definitely thought I saw feathers poking their way out of my skin. I’m pretty sure losing your mind a little bit means you’re getting an amazing workout!

If you’ve never seen Black Swan, this was probably completely useless to you. I apologize. But, you should see it. It’s entertaining. Then take Hot Legs. You’ll see what I mean.


What you need: Gloves!
Props: Lithe’s Higher Power Band System
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you’re comfortable in
Sweat Factor: Time to get your shine on!

I think Waspie is the Beatles of Lithe classes. Everybody likes it! No matter what age or shape or fitness level, I consistently hear people in the locker room talking about how much they LOVE Waspie.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me since it feels like a little bit of Cinch, a little bit of Twiggy and a lot of results! For the first half of the class, you concentrate on the upper body with waist defining moves and rotations. The second half of the class, you focus more on your lower body doing curtsies and several gravity defying moves on one leg that take time to master. And of course the bands ensure that the rest of your body is engaged, regardless of what is being specifically targeted during a series.

Here’s a tip: Really listen to your instructor’s cues. Breathing is key in Waspie. Some moves may not initially strike you as super challenging, but if you truly focus on your Lithe breath, you’ll feel the difference and get a deep ab/waist workout.

I have to say that since I’ve been going to Waspie on Friday afternoons, I can see definition in my midsection that I’ve never had before. It’s a must-take class for anyone looking flatten their tummies. You’ll twist. The instructors will shout. And you’ll walk away feeling like you definitely worked it on out! (worked it on out!)

6 stops down...only 34 to go. Next up? Stems and Walk Star!

See you in class! 

Images of Lithe Instructors, Heather Burt and Liz Galbally in Hot Legs and Lauren Boggi & Bari Rosenthal in Waspie via Dom

BAND HAND FORM. 5 May 2011


I highly recommend taking our band classes.  Like our workout, Lithe's Higher Power Band System is a true multitasking prop.  It really defines the armpit, dynamically works the shoulder girdle AND works the rhomboids and trapezius isometrically while stretching pectoralis minor and major.  They shape the body to absolute perfection-All the way down to your hips. 

We see a lot of funky band hand grips at Lithe.  What's best for the hands, form and proper total body muscle development?  You'll  learn proper hand placement in your Immersion and Lithe 101 classes.  Resist using the Squeeze, Claw and Broken Wrist grips (shown above).  Try your hardest to place the band between your thumb and forefinger and work with your palms facing down so that you can really attack the correct muscles of the arm.  In the beginning you may feel a bit of soreness in the muscles of the thenar eminence and transverse ligaments where the thumb and wrist meet.  That soreness will go away within 4-6 classes. 

I had Carrie work without gloves so that you can really see her hand and wrist here.  In the top 3 photos, you can see how the workload is being taken by the fingers, wrists and forearms - There's so much tension, even Carrie's tendons are popping!  In the bottom photo, her hands and her fingers are loose, and her palms face down which transfers the work evenly throughout the arm and even into the armpit (good bye pit fat!) and down through the back and the waist.

Image of Lithe Instructor, Carrie Gero demonstrating improper and proper hand form.   

FIX THE FEET! 15 Sep 2010


We Lithers spend a lot of time on our feet and depend on strong, supple feet to provide stability, finish a line and support a jump/plyo's landing.  One of the many bad habits that I see during classes is that many Lithers disconnect with the floor. 

How do you know if you disconnect?  Your feet will "lift" off the mat during ab-work or tricep dips.  At the barre, you'll have persistent calf pain, your jump landings will be loud, your mat will slide around... And you can see it-there is no work in the feet while Lithing; They tend to look lifeless with no metatarsal articulation. 

How do you correct it?  As you lift up to do a lunge or liberty, push down through the floor as you use your core to lift you in opposition.  Directing weight through the feet into the mat/floor creates a better quality of movement but it also generates the downward energy you need to propel the body upward during liberty, lunges, sumo's, jumps & plyo's, etc. 

Image of Lithe Instructor, Nicole Sewall via Dominic Episcopo

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