Category Archives: Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Factoids

PT ServicesThere are many events, situations, and conditions that can keep us from feeling healthy and whole.  At Posabilities we offer a variety of healing modalities.  In this post we will focus on Physical Therapy services offered by Katey Hawes, MS, PT.

Physical therapy is a therapeutic intervention where the Physical Therapist (PT) and patient or client work in partnership to address physical impairments and promote mobility, function, and quality of life through assessment, care planning, education, and physical interventions.

Education and credentials: Physical Therapists (PTs) are licensed and have received at least a Bachelor’s degree. These days most PT’s have a Masters degree in Physical Therapy, and all training programs are now at the Doctor of Physical Therapy level.  Some practices and facilities also utilize Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs).  PTAs have completed at least a two year associate’s degree program and are also licensed by the state.  PTAs are supervised by PTs, who do all evaluations and set up the plan of care which the PTA then follows.

Direct access – In Maine, you do not need a physician’s referral to be evaluated or treated by a Physical Therapist.  Some insurances may require a physician’s referral or approval of the PT plan of care, so check with your insurance company.  Medicare patients can be evaluated without a physician’s referral; however, the PT’s plan of care will have to be approved and signed by your physician (the PT should send this to your physician and get the needed authorizations.)

Freedom of choice – Your primary health care provider may suggest that you pursue Physical Therapy and may suggest where you go for your Physical Therapy.  You have the right to choose your Physical Therapist, and you are not obligated to receive Physical Therapy in any particular facility.  These days many health care systems are encouraging providers to refer within the system where they work.  If your health care provider is recommending a particular PT or PT practice, ask them to clarify their reasoning.  It is your choice where you receive your PT services.  You should choose a PT that you can easily communicate with, that you trust and is convenient for you to see.

Physical therapy costs and treatments vary – When selecting a Physical Therapist or PT practice ask what the typical charge is per PT session, what the typical length of each session is, and, if you have insurance, what your co-pay or co-insurance may be.  Insurance companies negotiate different prices with different PT practices and facilities.  If you are paying out of pocket, have a high deductible, or co-insurance costs this is important information.  Even if you don’t pay more out of pocket for higher cost services, these costs may eventually trickle down to you in future premiums, co-pays, co-insurances, and deductibles.  Despite the fact that a practice may be out of network for you, with prompt payment discounts and longer treatment sessions you may be able to save some money.

What to expect – At your first visit your PT will evaluate you and your primary complaints to identify current and potential problems.  Based on these findings, and your personal goals, your PT will set up a plan of care including specific interventions, goals, and an estimated time table to meet your goals.  You will probably be given instructions and home work to support you between your PT visits.  You should be comfortable asking your PT any questions regarding your care including planned interventions and goals.  Also, when shopping around for a Physical Therapist or PT practice, you should ask whether you will be seen by the same PT each visit or if this will vary.

Physical Therapy at Posabilities

Katey Hawes, MS, PT, RYT is the owner and operator of Posabilities and is the sole Physical Therapist.  Katey has over 20 years of experience as a Physical Therapist and has her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University.  Katey has experience working with a variety of patient populations and problems from infants to centurions.  Physical Therapy sessions at Posabilities are booked to allow up to 60 minutes of treatment, and every visit is with Katey.  Posabilities is a preferred provider with a variety of insurances and bills your insurance directly for services provided.  Posabilities also offers a prompt payment discount for those whose sessions are not covered by insurance and are paying privately.  In her treatments, Katey strives to provide:

  • A balance of manual techniques to help your body find greater alignment,
  • Education to help you understand how your body functions, where your imbalances may be coming from,
  • Homework and home exercises to help you manage your challenges independently between PT visits and after you have completed your course of Physical Therapy.

PosabilitiesIf you have questions about Physical Therapy services at Posabilities or wish to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us 207-743-0930 or email For more information on the PT services at Posabilities, click here.

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist. You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

What is Somatics?


thomashannaquote-1Somatics is generally understood as being an approach that addresses mind-body integration.  Pioneers in the area of Somatics were Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna.  The term Somatics was coined by Thomas Hanna in the 1970s.

I was first introduced to Somatics during my Physical Therapy training as part of our exposure to “alternative” therapeutic techniques.  Since then I have attended Feldenkrais continuing education courses, and Hanna Somatic techniques have been an integral part of my Yoga Therapy training.  Over the years, I have enjoyed using these techniques with Physical Therapy and Yoga Therapy clients, in Therapeutic yoga classes, and for myself when I have suffered from restrictive tightness or discomfort.

The term Somatics is derived from the word somatic which pertains to awareness of the living body as it is experienced and regulated from the internal environment.  Somatics techniques strive to strengthen integration between the mind and body and to decrease restrictions within the mind and/or body.

So, you may be saying to yourself, “That all sounds great Katey, but I’m still not sure that I understand what Somatics techniques are.”  Essentially, Somatics are movement sequences that have been designed to support natural patterns of the body and mind.  These movement sequences can be performed as independent exercises or as guided movements with the supportive touch of a Somatics practitioner.  Each movement of the sequence is repeated a number of times using small, subtle motions while bringing your attention to any sensations that may arise in your body, breath, or thought patterns.  Between each movement in the sequence, you rest quietly.  Many of these sequences you can complete in 5-10 minutes.  I always encourage individuals to practice these techniques in a quiet, relaxing setting free of distractions, and at a time when they are not in a hurry to rush off to something else.  This way the full benefits of these techniques can be experienced.

Frequently people share that they are amazed how doing so little can make such a big difference.  Truly an exercise in the concept of less is more.  The benefits from Somatics can be many and varied, including:

  • photo-9Control of acute and chronic pain
  • Improved flexibility and strength
  • Increased voluntary control over habitually tight muscles
  • Enhanced mobility and coordination
  • Improved posture
  • Re-established normal breathing patterns
  • Improved balance and awareness of the position of one’s body
  • Stress relief and relaxation

Through the practice of Somatics, you can support your mind in becoming more in tune with your body, and experience growth, change, and transformation regardless of your health status or age.  If you are interested in learning more about Somatics or experiencing Somatics I would encourage you to visit the Hanna and Feldenkrais websites, find a trained Somatics practitioner in your area, or a Physical Therapist or Yoga Therapist in your area who has training in Somatics.

Less is more.” ~ Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

What is … Yoga Therapy?

The topic of last week’s “What is” blog was Physical Therapy.  Most people are somewhat familiar with Physical Therapy, but Yoga Therapy is much less familiar.  I have to admit, I didn’t even know that Yoga Therapy existed as a discipline until two years ago!  Although Yoga Therapy is fairly new on the scene in the Western World, it is gaining more and more recognition in the medical community.

Yoga was first introduced to the US in 1893 by Swami Vivekananda.  A little less than 100 years after that Yoga Therapy became recognized in the United States with Dr. Dean Ornish’s study that showed that therapeutic yoga, meditation, dietary changes, and other lifestyle changes could reverse the effects of heart disease.  Dr. Ornish’s “Program for Reversing Heart Disease” got approved for health insurance coverage in 1990, and it opened the door for yoga therapy gradually to make its way into mainstream medicine.

So, what is Yoga Therapy?  According to one of my Yoga Therapy teachers, Joseph LePage, M.A., “Yoga therapy is that facet of the ancient science of Yoga that focuses on health and wellness at all levels of the person: physical, psychological, and spiritual.  Yoga therapy focuses on the path of Yoga as a healing journey that brings balance to the body and mind through an experiential understanding of the primary intention of Yoga: awakening of Spirit, our essential nature.”  (Integrative Yoga Therapy (U.S.A.), Joseph LePage, M.A.)  

OK… So, what are the differences between Yoga, Yoga Therapy, and Physical Therapy?

This is not a simple question to answer, but I will try my best using the table below.

Yoga Yoga Therapy Physical Therapy
Systems addressed May address physical, psychological, and spiritual levels of the student. Addresses the 5  Koshas – Physical body, energetic/breath body, emotional body, wisdom/ witness body, and bliss body or the essence of the individual. Addresses primarily the physical body – with a focus on the musculoskeletal & neurological systems, may incorporate breath work in support of the physical systems.
Techniques used In the US primarily Yoga postures/ Asanas, as well as breath work/pranayama, relaxation, & meditation. Yoga postures/Asanas, somatics, breath work/ pranayama, techniques to direct energy including mudras, self inquiry with the support of yogic texts, relaxation, meditation, and yoga nidra. Hands on manual techniques, physical agents to address pain and inflammation, education, therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular retraining, functional retraining.
Approaches Classes or sessions that may be centered on a specific intention such as hip openers, strengthening the core, quieting the neurological system, etc. Guided self inquiry –  support of an inquiry of where imbalances may reside, and how to bring greater support to the self as whole to decrease pain and suffering. Hands on techniques, modalities, education, and prescriptive home exercises/ activities to decrease pain and increase function

So, which is the right one for me?  

This does not need to be an either/or proposition.  Any of these approaches can stand alone, or complement the other.  Additionally, I did not discuss the role of Yoga Therapy in addressing psycho emotional challenges.  Yoga Therapy may also be beneficial in addressing depression and anxiety.  If you are unsure of the appropriate approach for you, discuss this with a trusted health and well being professional.

If I am interested in Yoga Therapy, how do I find a Yoga Therapist?  

Currently, there are no regulations around who can claim to be a Yoga Therapist, so buyer beware.  This may soon be changing though.  The International Association of Yoga therapists has passed requirements for Yoga Therapy training programs including an additional 600 hours of training beyond the initial 200 hours of teacher training.  (  If you are considering a Yoga Therapist ask them where they received their training, and then check out that program.  As in any profession, credentials don’t guarantee anything except that an individual has met minimum requirements of training and education.  Beyond that, talk with the therapist that you are considering and look for reliable references to ensure they will be a good fit for you.

kt-photo-300-frameOK Katey, so what is your training?  

After completing my 200 hour yoga teacher training, I completed one months worth of intense Yoga Therapy training through Integrative Yoga Therapy  (  I am preparing to begin my final stage to receive my initial 500 hour PYT (Professional Yoga Therapist Certification) and then will continue on to complete my 1,000 hours of training as a Yoga and Yoga Therapy professional.  I know that to some of you Yoga Therapy may sound a bit fluffy, but I can assure you that after 20 years of practice as a Physical Therapy,  I was amazed and impressed with the depth of knowledge and teaching that was provided in my training.  I feel very strongly that my abilities as a Physical Therapist have been boosted by my Yoga Therapy training, just as much as I feel that my Physical Therapy background has supported and strengthened my abilities as a Yoga Therapist.  I truly feel blessed by the lineage and professionalism in both of these fields.

The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”  ~ Plato

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

What is … Physical Therapy?

For the next several weeks I will be offering a “What is?” series of blogs.  There is power in knowledge and understanding.  My hope is that by offering this “what is?” series I can offer the support needed for individuals to open to opportunities to increase their sense of control over their current situations – whatever those may be.  This week, I would like to start with letting you know about Physical Therapy.

So, what is Physical Therapy?  

Physical Therapy is a healthcare profession that dates back to the time of Hippocrates and is dedicated to treating the nervous and musculoskeletal systems to help individuals maximize their functional independence.  Physical therapy is provided in a variety of settings from the hospital and nursing home, to outpatient and athletic settings, and may be provided to individuals all the way through the life span from newborns to individuals 100+.

How do you know if you need, or could benefit from, physical therapy?  If you are experiencing functional deficits due to pain, weakness, decreased flexibility, poor balance or coordination, or other neurological or musculoskeletal imbalances you may benefit from Physical Therapy.  Functional deficits may relate to decreased ability to participate in occupational and day to day activities, as well decreased ability to find positions of comfort, to concentrate, or to sleep.

What happens when you receive Physical Therapy?  

At your first visit your Physical Therapist will evaluate you and set up a treatment plan that will include functional outcomes or goals, planned interventions, and the anticipated frequency and duration of treatment.  Treatment sessions may include education, soft tissue work or manual techniques, modalities (such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, infrared), and almost always exercises to help improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and/or postural awareness.  Frequently you will be given a home exercise program as part of your “homework.”

What can I expect from Physical Therapy at Posabilities?  

With 20 years of experience as a Physical Therapist I recognize that every individual’s body, imbalances or injuries, and healing processes are different, so I take the time to gain an understanding of your body, your issues, and what approaches will work best for you.  My focus is generally on education, improving movement and holding patterns that may have become dysfunctional, and bringing balance back to the body through specific exercises and activities that you can practice at home between visits and after you have completed therapy.  I use manual techniques and other approaches as needed to help support you in your self healing.  With the increasing number of individuals with high deductibles, high co-pays, or no insurance my intention is to remain flexible, and to provide you with a “tool box” to support your own health and healing as much as possible.

How do I get started with Physical Therapy at Posabilities?  

photo (3)Maine is a direct access state, so you do not need a physician’s referral to be evaluated and treated by a Physical Therapist.  However, your insurance may require a physician’s order for PT services to be covered.  If you are interested in Physical Therapy services you can call or email me and we can set up an initial PT assessment.  You can expect your first assessment to last 45-60 minutes.

Thank you for reading my first “what is?” blog.  If you have other topics that you would like me to cover in this series please let me know.  Next week… “What is Yoga Therapy?”

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”  ~ Plato

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Compete or collaborate? That appeared to be the question…

instructors-4It was so exciting!  We were a couple of months away from completing our Yoga Teacher Training.  Soon we would be able to go out and share our yoga in our respective communities.  But wait – three of us lived within a three mile radius of each other, in a relatively small community of 12,000 that already had three yoga instructors.  Would the Oxford Hills community support an influx of three new yoga instructors?  After seven months of supporting each other, would we now have to compete against each other?

ohyoga180-blkRather than the wait and see approach, we began to hatch a plan.  First, we discussed pooling our resources for marketing – making flyers, posters together, etc.  Next, we decided to work together in securing a place to provide each of our respective classes.  It appeared that we were collaborating, so we decided it was time to have a meeting and start to map out a plan of how our collaboration would work.  First item of business – a name.  The first few ideas fell flat.  Then Oxford Hills Yoga?  Boring.  O.H. Yoga?  No.  OH Yoga?  Hmmm.  OH! Yoga?  Not quite.  OH Yoga!?  Yes, that’s it!  We had a name – OH Yoga!

On June 3, 2012, we offered our first OH Yoga! Community Class.  Over 40 people braved the flooding rains and arrived at the Center for Movement and Meditation to practice with all three of us.  From there we continued offering our own perspective classes in the space – still collaborating and supporting each other as much as possible.

It was all going so well!  Then along came my opportunity to open Posabilities in my own space.  (See my blog – The Path to Posabilities)  Once again it appeared that we were faced with a decision – compete or collaborate?  If I moved to the new space would Kathryn and Katey join me, or would I have to make a split from OH Yoga!?  There were lots of questions.  If we all made the move would we still be OH Yoga! or would we all become Posabilities?  Would we be able to offer a studio experience, or would we operate independently in the space offering our own classes?  If OH Yoga! continued what would that look like?  Many questions, a few answers, quite a few unknowns, all balanced by a strong bond of mutual trust and respect.  We were going to make the move together!  Classes would be offered by Posabilities, but they would be designated as OH Yoga! classes to distinguish them from other classes that might be offered in the space.  .

posa-logo-190We have now been offering OH Yoga! classes at Posabilities for four months.  In that time, we have grown – we have increased from three instructors to four instructors (Welcome Julie!), our classes have grown, and we continue to add new classes.  But it has not been a process without challenges.  Yeah, you may be thinking, “Come on – four yoga instructors – it must be all peace and love – what challenges?”  Well, yes there is plenty of peace and love, but at the same time I have learned that, as yoga instructors, we have an incredibly strong sense of self and that which we hold true for ourselves.  I have also learned that those truths do not always conform to each other.  Uh oh, does that mean that our truths, ideas, and desires sometimes, dare I say, compete?  Yup, the other C word.  So, here’s the thing.  I did a little research and found that the Latin roots of compete are com- together + petere to seek.  The Latin root of collaborate is collabōrāre – to work together.  (  When we find that we have competing ideas within our group we seek and work together to achieve a solution that honors each of our truths.  Usually the end solutions are much better as a result of the competitive and collaborative processes.  That, I believe, is the key to our continuing evolution as instructors, as OH Yoga!, and as the greater Posabilities community.  The question is not “compete or collaborate”; the question is how to balance collaboration and competition.  After all, Yoga is all about balance, isn’t it?

Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.   ~ Rumi

Please join us for our 2nd annual OH Yoga! community class @ Posabilities, this Friday, June 7, 2013 – 5:30-6:30.  

For more information, click here.

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

The Path to Posabilities

Posabilities was not a life long dream come true.  If you had asked me two years before I started Posabilities, it would not have even been on my radar!  So you might say it came pounding on my door and said, “Katey, you’ve got to do this!”

Flashback about two years ago.  I had been practicing as a Physical Therapist for 20 years and held a comfortable (if not always fun) middle management position with a large health care provider.  I love being a Physical Therapist, but after 20 years I was feeling like I needed a new challenge.  At the same time, I was enjoying the many benefits of my own regular yoga practice.  So a reasonable option seemed to be to pursue my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).  I could continue with my secure full time job, and teach a yoga class or two as a side “hobby job.”

I started down the path of finding an YTT program that I could attend in my spare time.  One day, I casually  asked Amy Figoli, owner of the Maine Yoga House, if she knew of any YTT programs that would fit my schedule, and lo and behold she was preparing to offer her first one that next fall and it would be a weekend format which was perfect for me!  Rap, rap, someone’s at the door!

Fall arrived, and I began to open the door a crack as I started my YTT.  How exciting!  Wait, this is intense.  In addition to the once a month three day training, I have to show up at class twice a week?  I need to practice yoga every day?  I need to write papers, read books, and OMG! I have to delve into some deep self-inquiry?  My employer had allowed me some flexibility around my seven month training, but I was going to need way more flexibility than they could offer.  I’d opened the door a crack to check things out, but I was being asked to open it even wider.  What to do?  Open it some more? Close it?  Stand back a safe distance and peak through it?  Rap rap.

I opened the door a little more, left my secure middle management position, and went back to direct patient care which allowed me greater flexibility.  This was great!  In addition to greater flexibility in my schedule, I was occasionally able to use yoga postures with patients on their road to recovery. After 20 years as a Physical Therapist I was having an epiphany.  These yoga postures were having significant positive effects on my patient’s outcomes.  Calming of the nervous system, decreased pain response, improved posture and body awareness, and the patients loved it!  At the same time, I made the discovery that there was a whole field out there called Yoga Therapy.  The rap rap was becoming a knock, knock.

My pursuit of a hobby job was becoming a calling.  Knock knock – “Come on Katey.  Open the door and step through it.”  Despite some misgivings, with the urging of my husband, Jeff, I opened the door wider.  I committed to a 300 hour Professional Yoga Therapist trainingand headed out to Tucson for my first two week module.  Surrounded by inspiring instructors, Yoga Therapists, and fellow students the knocking at the door was becoming more and more persistent.  I began to formulate a vision.  My vision included a space housing a studio and a clinic space where I could offer Physical Therapy, Yoga, and Yoga Therapy, other instructors, and health and wellness providerssharing that space with me, and the space would be close to Main Street. This vision had a name, Posabilities, and I envisioned a time line of three to four years…

Bam, bam, bam – come out from behind that door!  Four months (not years that I had planned) after my vision had begun to gel my husband found a building one block off of Main Street, Norway that could be retrofitted to be fully accessible, and include a studio and clinic space for myself and other practitioners.  Again, I had my misgivings, but the universe rarely knocks twice, and Jeff continued to support and urge me forward.  So I stepped through the door and headed down the path to Posabilities!

Posabilites_11082012_GraphicPosabilities has now been open for four months, and I have been blessed by the many people that have traveled and continue to travel the path with me.  My YTT instructor, Amy Figoli, and my sister in law, Ruth lead me to the door and urged me to open it.  The OH Yoga! instructors (more on OH Yoga! next week), and the other collaborators at Posabilities have brought  richness to the journey that I could never have manifested on my own.  My husband, Jeff, has been with me every step of the way – sometimes leading, sometimes following, but usually right by my side, and never letting me turn back or take the easier path.  And finally, the members of the growing Posabilities community who sustain and nourish me as we continue to forge the path forward!

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”  ~ Tony Robbins

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Accessing the Core

There is a lot of talk about “the core”, and just as much confusion.  In functional anatomical terms what are we talking about when we discuss the core, why is it important, and how do we access it?

When we talk about the core we typically are referring to the collection of muscles that surround and support the abdominal region, and that stabilize the spine.  These muscles include all of the abdominal muscles, the posterior spinal muscles, the pelvic floor muscles, and the diaphragm.

When these muscles are strong, flexible, and working together in a coordinated manner we experience greater strength, ease of movement, and vitality.  It is when these core stabilizers become imbalanced with each other that we can get into trouble and begin experiencing dys-function and possibly pain.  Your spine is naturally curved in a gentle S-curve when viewed from the side.  This curve allows your body to evenly distribute body weight and provide shock absorption as you move through your daily live.  If your “core” muscles become overly weak, strong, flexible, tight, or are not working together in a coordinated manner the curves in your spine can begin to distort leading to degeneration, pain, and eventual decreased functional abilities.

There is no one, (or two or three…) magic exercise for the core.  The first and most important step is to bring your awareness to your core muscles and learn to engage them in a balanced and coordinated manner.  Here are a few of my favorite approaches to do just that:

  1. Table push downs:  Sitting in front of a table with your feet resting flat on the floor, and your hands on top of the table palms down, focus keeping your elbows in at your sides and your shoulders down as you press your hands down into the table.  Exhale as you push down and hold for a count of three, and then relax.  As you do this you should feel a gentle tightening and drawing in of your lower abdomen.  This is your TVA (transversus abdominis) which is your deepest abdominal muscle.  The great thing is that when ever you engage your TVA your pelvic floor muscles are engaged also, so this is a 2 for 1!
    (It has been estimated that the contraction of the TVA and other muscles reduces vertical pressure on the intervertebral discs bays as much as 40%.  *Hodges P.W., Richardson C.A., Contraction of the abdominal muscles associated with movement of the lower Limb.  Physical Therapy. Vol. 77 No. 2 February 1997.)
  2. Table push ups:  Still sitting in front of the table, bring your hands into loose fists with the thumb side of the hand facing up and place your hands underneath the edge of the table.  Continuing to keep your elbows in at your sides and shoulders down, inhale and press your hands up into the table for a count of 3, then relax.  When you do this you should feel the small muscles on either side of your lower spine engage.  These are your multifidi muscles.  These muscles are a group of deep spinal muscles that run up and down the spine each spanning 3 joint segments.  These muscles offer stability to help the vertebra work more effectively, and reduce degeneration of the joints of the spine.
  3. Weighted inhalations:  Lying down on your back with a 1-2 pound bag of rice or beans on your belly right below your ribs, breathe in deeply through your nose filling out your belly so that the bag rises, then exhale relaxing and softening the belly.  This helps engage the diaphragm as you breathe in.  The diaphragm is your primary respiratory muscle and separates your thoracic cavity from your abdominal cavity.  This muscle connects with your TVA, as well as the top 3 vertebrae of your lumbar spine.  You can gradually increase the weight of the bag up to 5 lbs as long as you do not have a compromised respiratory system (COPD, asthma) and using higher weights is not indicated with young children or the elderly.
  4. Somatics:  Most Somatics sequences (Feldenkrais, Hanna) focus on coordinating movements in the core, alone with the breath.  These are a resting exercise of mindfulness of movement and can help you increase your awareness of your core, and improve your engagement of the core.  In addition to Somatics, Yoga and Pilates are two great ways to improve balance and coordination in your core since they focus on the entire body, rather than just isolating out one muscle at a time.  Enjoy taking some time getting familiar with your deepest core muscles and reaping the results in increased health, well being, and vitality.

“My strength comes from the abdomen.  It’s the center of gravity and the source of real power.” ~Bruce Lee

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Note to Self: Breathe


We all do it, we do it every day, and we’ve done it since the day we were born.  Yep, let’s face it, we all breathe.  But, have you given serious consideration to this vital function and all the important roles that your breath plays in your day to day life?

First of all, you know that you need to breathe to stay alive, but your breath does many other things for you including:

  1. Stress reduction– Deep, slow breathing with long exhales has been shown to reduce the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system, and help the rest and digest parasympathetic system.  This can help reduce our stress, pain, and other chronic conditions associated with stress.
  2. Chronic disease management – It has been scientifically proven that deep breathing can positively affect the heart, brain, digestive system, and the immune system.  According to Mladen Golubic, a physician in the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, breathing can have a profound impact on our physiology and our health.  “You can influence asthma; you can influence chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; you can influence heart failure,”
  3. Pain control – Scientific studies have found that participants who practice deep breathing in conjunction with pain medications during medical procedures experience less pain, discomfort, and emotional upset.
  4. Communication – Try to talk without breathing.  You can’t do it!  Have you ever noticed how hard it is to finish a sentence when you are short of breath?  Any singer or public speaker can tell you that as your breath control improves your ability to communicate improves.
  5. Energy regulation – With training we can learn to use the breath to energize or relax us, or move our energy into better balance.

As a Physical Therapist, Yoga Therapist, and yoga instructor, I often guide individuals in bringing their attention to their breath, and in breathing techniques targeted at different outcomes.  There is no one way of breathing that is “right” for everyone, at every moment.  The first step is to become attuned and aware of your breathing – mindfulness of the breath.  If you would like to explore the power of your breath further, there are many practitioners trained in this powerful tool, including yoga therapists and instructors, meditation instructors, respiratory and physical therapists, and voice coaches.

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Shades of Green

It’s not easy being green, but when my husband and I decided to start a business that would provide a spectrum of integrative health options, including Physical Therapy, Yoga, and Yoga Therapy, it became clear that going green was an important consideration.  The question became how green could we realistically go with the green ($$$) we had available?  After all, it is all about balance.

Why green? Sure, going green is a popular notion these days, but beyond feeling as we were doing the “right” thing, the reasons we considered green options in setting up our business included:

  • Providing a healthy environment within our building.
  • Limiting our carbon footprint and supporting sustainability.
  • Conserving the other green, our $$$ bottom line!

SO, what steps did we take to be greener at Posabilities?

  1. Heat – One of the biggest decisions we had to make in retrofitting our building was whether to keep the oil burning furnace and accompanying oil tank in the building.  I felt very strongly about not having an oil tank in the building due to the potential of fumes that can be irritants to people.  After considering all of our options and the associated cost, we settled on a high-efficiency propane furnace.  Additionally, as we increased the insulation in the building, we used insulation which is green by being brown. ( Lastly, we do not run a “hot yoga” studio but keep room temperatures between 74-76 F during yoga classes.
  2. 20130127_141532Flooring – About ⅔ of the building did not have flooring other than the cement slab, so we had many options in this area.  Much of the clinic side of the building was already completed with laminate wood flooring, so we matched this flooring in the rest of the clinic rather than tearing up the existing flooring and adding it to the local landfills.  In the studio, we immediately ruled out carpet due the chemical fumes that carpets emit, the potential allergens, and difficulty in keeping it clean and healthy over the long haul.  In the studio space, we went with hardwood, which is easier to keep clean, and allergen free, is a replenishable natural resource that can last for 100+ years.  (  In the lounge, we went with Marmoleum click tiles.  These are cork blocked linoleum tiles.  Linoleum is natural and is one of greenest floors on the market.  It’s bio-based, highly durable, non-toxic, anti-microbial and easy to maintain. (
  3. Paint – Next came the walls. I wanted deep, rich colors, and was very happy when I could find what I wanted in Behr’s zero VOC paints.  VOC are volatile organic compounds found in many paints that can emit toxins into the air for years after application.  Zero VOC paints are much healthier during application and after.
  4. Furnishings – Though we did buy a number of new furnishings for the space, where we could we re-purposed 20130127_142058furniture that we no longer needed in our home, or that we were able to buy used.  We found our check-in desk on Craig’s List ( and I was pleasantly surprised, when I found out that the seller came from my mother’s home town (8 hours away), and quite possibly was a distant relative!  Additionally, we were able to find a truck full of great used furniture at surplus business assets in Sanford.  (  Again, we had a great conversation with the owner, who finds new homes for perfectly lovely and high quality office furnishings.

So, as it turns out, being green isn’t really all that hard.  We will continue with our intention to be as green as possible by using green cleaning products, using our filtered water cooler – rather than selling water in plastic bottles, and making as many green decisions in our building and business as possible.  Please visit the links that I have shared to find ways that you can improve your health in and outside of your home, and limit your footprint!

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .

Keeping Your Balance

Balance can be ever changing, and can tend to become more and more elusive as we age.  While there are many factors that may contribute to decreases in balance, there are also many interventions that can be used to improve balance. Albert Einstein put it simply, “Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

In adults aged 65 or older, one in three suffer from falls, and two million older adults are treated in emergency departments for injuries related to falls (  These falls have significant effects on older adults’ health, independence, quality of life, and longevity.  By recognizing the risk factors associated with decreased balance and falls and the steps to modify those risk factors, we can decrease the risk of falling or having a loved one fall.

Common risk factors contributing to falls include:

  1. Sedentary lifestyles that lead to declines in core and lower body strength.
  2. Decreased flexibility and range of motion.
  3. Changes in posture and body awareness.
  4. Fear of falling and decreased confidence in mobility.
  5. Incontinence.
  6. The need to take multiple prescription medications (>4).

Here are some tools that can be used to improve balance and decrease the risk of falling:

  1. Balance activities, coupled with strengthening and flexibility exercises.
  2. Activities that help improve your posture and body awareness – including Tai Chi and yoga.
  3. A regular walking program, when indicated and safe.
  4. Bladder training programs – which may also help strengthen your core.
  5. Regular socialization.
  6. Lifestyle modifications regarding diet and exercise that may help you decrease the number of prescription medications that you need to take.

If you or a loved one has experienced declines in balance or recent falls, please consult with a medical practitioner to make sure that there are no underlying pathologies contributing to these changes.  A practitioner specializing in balance and mobility can help you get back on your feet by developing a program customized to your individual needs and goals.

Katey Hawes, MS, PT, RYT, owner of Posabilities, has years of experience working in this area and would be happy to help you or your loved one.  Katey can help you determine if one-on-one Physical Therapy is indicated, or if you would benefit from a group exercise program, or other form of therapy to get you back on your feet!

Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.

You may find her at, Twitter @Posabilities4u, and .