Movement Blog

Get to know Yoga Therapy + Lawrence Sullivan

Here at Swell we’re always interested in thoughtful, educational and beneficial body work.  Yoga Therapy is the way to learn yoga’s movement vocabulary and  breath work in a one to one or duet environment, addressing who you are that day, your body history and goals.

Here is a little interview between Lawrence and I to introduce you to him and the work.  Check out our Instructor Bio page and the Yoga Therapy Swell Body Page to learn more and contact Swell directly to set up sessions.

E:  Where, when and why did you begin your personal journey with Yoga?

L:  I think a seed was planted in me when I was in the Peace Corps in 1998. It was during our in country training in Zambia and one of the other volunteers would sit and meditate under a tree every day for 20 minutes before lunch. He never missed a day in the 10 weeks of training and he would sit motionless like a Buddha. I got interested and he taught me a transcendental meditation technique. 

E:  Can you elaborate on the specifics of Yoga Therapy as a private practice?

L:  Specifically Yoga Therapy utilizes the techniques of Hatha Yoga to correct imbalances in the body. A few of those tools are mudras, breath work, asana, and meditation. It also brings in the newer technology of myofascial release using various props.

E:  Are there any limitations as to who can practice Yoga Therapy?  How can movement be modified? 

L:  There are no limitations as to who can practice Yoga. In the west we associate yoga with the very flexible bodies we see in the media practicing asana poses. But Yoga incorporates much much more than just asana poses and we work with many of those tools in Yoga Therapy as well as modifying movement for those with physical limitations. 

E:  What kind of clients have you had experience working with?  

L:  I have had experience working with people with many different challenges including Parkinson’s, PTSD, spinal stenosis, knee and hip replacements as well as healthy individuals taking regularly yoga classes but feeling stuck in their practice.

E:  When we had a chance to do body work together, I greatly appreciated how you and the work you do took into account that the body needs both effort and release to get where it want/needs to be.  What is universal about all of the modalities at Swell is the concept of creating space in the body.  Can you talk a little bit about how Yoga approaches space both in physical and energy body?  

L:  From a scientific perspective inflammation is the cause of most disease in the body. It cuts off the natural flow of energy in certain areas of the body and if it is a part of the body responsible for bringing energy into the entire body then it cuts of that energy supply systemically. So yoga seeks to open these spaces so that Prana, life force energy, can flow freely.

E:  When you begin your day, what is your first mindful movement?  

L:  Right now it’s getting out of the bed first thing in the morning. I am working with an SI issue right now so I’m careful not to aggravate it when I get up. For a long time it was noticing what nostril I was breathing out of before I got up. I found that very helpful.

E:  In general what do you believe people need to find in themselves that is actualized through movement?

L:  I believe it’s the qualities that we are looking to develop in ourselves that we have to embody in our movement. Whether it’s confidence, kindness or inner peace, we can develop and radiate those qualities as we move. 


I Want Candy

Just in time for Halloween!

I have just learned about this amazing candy company,  UnREAL who are producing healthier treats sans GMO’s, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, artificial color and dyes and preservatives.

Candy is still an indulgence, but check out this video to feel a little better about it:


Happy Birthday Swell!

It’s been a big year and we could not be a healthy body work studio and boutique without lovely clients and customers like you.

Look good, feel good is our motto and we look forward to continuing to dress you with aplomb and through a fusion of bodywork, help you achieve balance, strength and a sense of freedom in your body.

Help spread the Swell word!  Tell a friend, Yelp review us, Like and Friend us on our Facebook Page… And as a thank you enjoy 15% off Fall Collections online + in store today!

Promo Code: HappyBirthday



The Biological Imperative to Move


I am not a big runner.  I’ve tried periodically throughout my life, joining a friend on a run, or just trying to get in some quick exercise.  But I have never really found the joy in putting one foot in front of the other fast.

However, we’ve all heard the term “Runners High”.  Gretchen Reynolds, The Evolution of the Runner’s High, reports on a study done comparing an inactive non running animal, with an active running one.  We humans are the latter, having evolved to distance run.  What the study found is the animal the evolved to not run do not experience any chemical runners high.  The humans and dogs tested showed significantly increased levels of endocannabinoids,  the same chemical found in marijuana, that lightens mood creating the runner’s high.

At one point we needed to run long distance for survival.  But as humans have evolved we no longer have that necessity.  So why have our bodies kept this natural high which gives our bodies incentive to run long distance?  The study further asks, how is it then that the modern human does not choose or like to run?

“That’s the million dollar question,” Dr. Raichlen says. “It appears from our study that we have the evolutionary drive” to exercise. But modern man has learned to ignore it.

Huh, interesting right? Here’s the silver lining:

“Our results are very preliminary,” Dr. Raichlen says. “But if they have a message, it’s that our evolutionary history appears to have included this kind of endurance activity and rewarded it. And as a result, we continue to have a biological imperative” to move.

Modern Art meets Dance

You may recall the Nick Cave image from the Moving Target Dance blog a few weeks back?  Well it’s about time I followed up and introduced you to the former modern dancer turned artist Nick Cave.

Creator of the Soundsuit hee has taking art into mixed media, movement land complete with noise, shape and joy!


Edible Education

16 years ago Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters founded the Edible Schoolyard Project at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, CA.  The program goals were simple: to build a garden and a teaching kitchen.  The program’s success has resulted in an entire Edible Schoolyard Curriculum, teaching children about food source, nutrition, food preparation and a general appreciation of health that can transform their lives.  Part of the funding goes to providing each child with a healthy lunch from their own garden.
The idea has been taking into different cultures and climates – now edible schoolyard curriculums are growing across the country.  Edible also provides resources for teachers and parents on how to include gardening and health into your everyday lives.  




Moving Target Boston

Brilliant!  Briiilllliannnt!!!!

Moving Target Boston offers a weekly contemporary dance class at Green Street Studios in Cambridge.  This group of rotating instructors offer a wide variety of under -represented modern styles and themes ranging from injury prevention to project development. Founders Annie Kloppenberg and Lauren Simpson are filling a hole in the Boston dance scene by providing release based movement.  Bringing in both local teachers from companies and out of state such as Liz Lerman, Caitlin Corbett, David Dorfman, Monica Bill Barnes, Bill T. Jones, etc.

I can’t resist pulling a quote from Lauren about the juicy, weighty, organic movement that is… r e l e a s e… collective sigh… Her comment on what she missed by not having this style of work in the community:

“…I just plain missed putting weight in my hands and finding my sitz bones to heel connection.  It wasn’t the look of released limbs and funky invertions I missed; it was the sensation of doing them in a room full of people also doing them.  I missed falling and disorienting, find the crease in my hip sockets, letting gravity take over in a big Bartenieff X on the floor.  And possibly even more then missing these sensations, I missed the values, metaphors and opinion embedded in those sensations…”

Thank you for bringing more freedom of movement and knowledge to the community!


As I’ve written before, I am cleanse curious and cleanse wimpy.  I want to do it… next week.

However, I am warming up to the idea of a juice cleanse.  I think it allows for enough daily calories so I won’t fall over and looks delicious.  Fairly new to the juice scene, or at least to me, is pressed juicery out of LA.  They remind you that a meal takes up to 18 hours to digest – if you think of the constant taxing on your organs it really does seem logical to give it a rest once in a while.  They offer 3 different cleanses from novice to seasoned cleanser and even kids kits just for some healthy goodness.


Motherload Summertime

Motherload, NYT parenting blog, is full of thought-provoking idea’s and information.

This article, The Genuis of Unstructured Summer Time by KJ Dell’Antonia stood out as both an exploration of what happens when a child is left to their own resources to self – entertain and a larger statement about over stimulating and/or under valuing free play.

First, I think everyone should watch this highly entertaining and inspired mini-doc on Caine, a 9-year-old boy, who spent his summer constructing an arcade out of cardboard boxes at his Dad’s auto parts shop.

Then we can explore this idea of not enough free play in our well-intentioned, enriched family lives.  I admit I feel a little damned if I do, damned if I don’t when it comes to school, classes, lessons, etc.  I often feel our “down time” as a family is so little and my 4-year-old should be getting enough socialization in her 4 half days of school, that little else organized is needed.  Simultaneously, I think she would enjoy yoga classes, benefit from swim lessons and that it would be smart to introduce her to a foreign language early while she’s sponge like.

KJ writes clearly the lustre of a bright Caine making creative and productive use of his time is appealing, but will all children use their time wisely?  I don’t know, but it’s compelling.  What do you think?

Unshoes: Newest Barefoot Sandal


I’ll admit, I do not wear Vibrams or barefoot sneakers when I am not teaching/exercising. I just like fashion too much to forgo a great shoe.

However, I do believe in the barefoot concept and think this growing market is a cool one and worth supporting.  To refresh your memory taken from the folks at Unshoes, “Shoes have altered the natural gait of human movement. Rather than landing on the forefoot or midfoot, shoes create the tendency to heel strike. When the heel takes the main force of walking or running the shock is absorbed by the joints and can cause ankle, knee and back problems. Minimal footwear supports a natural forefoot or midfoot landing where the muscles absorb the shock.”

These huarache style sandals are a great summer “barefoot” shoe… and they have just added a kids line!