Baxter Humby, "The One-Armed Bandit"

When I was in my 20's, I wasn’t as "in" to yoga and physical fitness as I am now. I much preferred dancing my calories away in a nightclub or at a music festival. In my early 30’s, after marriage but before my kid, I was introduced to kickboxing by a neighbor friend of mine. It was then that I would meet Baxter Humby, "The One-Armed Bandit" and my kickboxing instructor for many years to come. The class met twice a week at the YMCA and I rarely missed it. It was awesome! I was hooked! The thrill of punching and kicking with all my heart and soul to the sound of Shakira and Wyclef Jean’s “Hips Don’t Lie” was invigorating and I was good at it.  All those years of dancing supplied me with a round-house and side kick to be proud of. I was in the best shape of my life. 

It was around that same time my Husband and I were invited to his best friend's wedding in Cabo San Lucas. On the first morning of our trip, while my Husband left for rehearsal to fulfill his duties as "Best Man" I was free to do whatever I wanted. I decided to go for a run on the beach. It was meant to be a good thing, a time to clear my head and enjoy the views from the ocean shore. The unfortunate truth is I was attacked that day. Alone, far away from anyone to hear my cries, I was left to defend my attacker. In nothing more than a bikini and a pair of sunglasses, I fought for my life as we struggled violently on the sand.

I fought like hell and got away that day. It took me a long time to get over the trauma that came with the attack. Eventually I found writing as a way to heal and release the experience. My one regret as I painstackingly wrote the story, reliving every detail until it seemed like it was no longer me that the story was about, was that I never mentioned my training with Baxter. I was told in edits that the story was not about my training or my physical fitness, rather my will to survive and perservere. As I edited the story down, any mention of my kickboxing was left out.

I never thought I would have to use the kickboxing training I received to defend myself in real life, but in hindsight I truly believe the stamina and strength I needed were a direct result of the classes with Baxter. As I processed everything, I always knew I would find a way to honor Baxter's story. My way of saying "Thanks". So when "The Palisades Magazine" agreed to have me write a story on him, I was thrilled! Baxter has an amazing story of perserverence and never giving up. I hope you'll enjoy hearing about his amazing life! 

In Gratitude, 

Baxter Humby, "The One-Armed Bandit"









Bold at any age!

Recently I joined forces with Bold, an on-line fitness platform for the 65 + demographic.

The workouts are designed to meet you where you are at and progress as you get stronger.


As an extension of their on-line presence we will be hosting community events with a focus on strength, balance and flexibility.


If you are interested in creating an event for your community, please let me know!

Together we will all grow Bold together!





What about Bob?

Have you ever met a Bob you didn’t like? Personally, I love me a “Bob”.  My late Grandfather was a Bob, my older brother is a Bob and my Mom’s brother, you guessed it--Bob. According to David Rensin and Bill Zehme, Authors of “The Bob Book”, there really is something about Bob... in a detailed survey they document that men named Bob “are decent, dependable types who instinctively make the most of a bad situation. Bobs are sensible, approachable, likable and reliable.”  So as I sat down to interview Dr. Robert Hamilton, founder of Pacific Ocean Pediatrics in Santa Monica, creator of the “Hamilton Hold”, Author of the “7 Secrets of the Newborn” and co-developer of “Hamilton Babies” skin and hair care products, I had to ask him, “What do you like to be called?” You can imagine my delight, when his answer was, “Bob”.



Jun012019's not what you think

There is a lot of "buzz" around meditation these days, like it's "hip" to meditate--but what does it actually mean to meditate? One thing is for sure, it's not what you think.  Meditation does not mean sitting in lotus in front of an altar of candles with Buddha statues and crystals.  It can simply be setting aside time in your morning and/or night to not to think!  Personally when I meditate, I sleep better at night and function better througout the day.

According to Wikipedia, Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.  

For some, meditation (or prayer) takes on a more spiritual connection with God or “source” as an “effort to realize and express that pure consciousness which is the reflection, or image, of God within you.” ~Parmahansa Yogananda

While for others, meditation is just plain impossible.  It is for the “others” that I write this piece.  If visualizing a light flowing around your body, using the power of positive thought, repeating a mantra or even prayer all seem a bit out of reach for you, then read on.  I'm here to suggest meditation is not what you think, it's how you breathe!

Mindfulness, Yoga Meditation (any type), Vipassana, Mantra, Taoist, Qigong, if you’ve ever tried these or any form of meditation you know, it ain’t easy.  Like anything worth doing, meditation takes practice and consistency and unless you know how to do it, meditation also takes guidance.  Guidance can come in many forms.  There are audio recordings with people like Deepak Chopra and Jack Canfield and Apps like Headspace and websites like Relax Like A Boss to talk you through it.  There are places you can go like Unplug and Self Realization Fellowship for classes and workshops.  For some people sitting still to meditate is really hard. For these folks cardio exercise such as running, biking, swimming and/or practicing yoga asanas serve as their “moving meditation”.  The physical practice of yoga evolved over the years to exercise every muscle, nerve and gland in the body.  But the real importance lies in the way the asanas train and discipline the mind.  If it weren't for the physical practice of yoga most of us Westerners would never even begin to realize the possibilites of meditation.

There is no one right or wrong way to meditate, but one thing I have noticed is, no matter what form you practice, breathwork is key.  From a scientific stand point it makes sense.  When we breathe deeply and consciously our bodies receive more oxygen (inhale) and release more carbon dioxide (exhale).  Oxygen is loaded onto the red blood cells while carbon dioxide is unloaded from them into the air. The oxygenated blood then flows through our veins to the heart where it pumps all the oxygen goodness in the blood throughout the body.  The more oxygenated our body and brain are, the less they have to work, and as a result our restless bodies and minds get to sloooow down.

I began doing breathwork at a young age when my drama teacher, also a Yogi, started and ended the class with breath exercises.  It wasn’t until years later that I realized the immense benefits of these exercises.  Now I practice breathwork or pranayama (prana=breath, life, energy) both in my practice of yoga as well in my every day.  While sitting in traffic, soothing my daughter, calming myself (while sitting in traffic with my daughter) and while drifting off to sleep, breathing consciously helps me feel peaceful and relaxed.  As with meditation, there are several different breath techniques to choose from.  With so many available, I thought I’d highlight three of my favorites.

To watch a video on the three techniques discussed, click here!


(Or as I like to say, 5/5/5)

The idea is that the inhalation and exhalation are equal parts including holding the breath at the top for the same count.  With the goal being 20 seconds for each equal part, a more realistic count is 5 seconds.  Depending on when you use this breath, the exhale can be with an open mouth to release carbon dioxide or with a closed mouth (as in Ujjayi Breathing) for control and a front lobe cleansing.  With each round of breathing watch the breath flow in, hold and out.  With every inhale fill the belly with air, expand the rib cage to the top of the lungs, hold and with every exhale release the breath from the chest down to the belly pressing all the air out.  Repeat several times until you begin to feel a calm wash over the body.

Double Inhalation/ Exhalation

The idea behind this practice is tension and release.  When our bodies are tense it is nearly impossible to sit quietly.  Take two deep breathes through the nose filling the belly with air, expand the chest and tense every muscle in your body.  Hold the breathe at the top and feel the vibration the body makes as it holds the breath and muscles tight.  Then, on a double exhalation, release the breath through the mouth with an audible, “hah, haaah” and relax all the muscles in the body.  Notice as you inhale any areas of tension you may be holding unecessarily in your body, and pay close attention when you exhale to release them.  Repeat several rounds and on your final round hold the breath at the bottom of the exhale for as long as you can and notice the stillness come over you.

Ujjayi breathing is a breath technique employed in a variety of Taoist and Yoga practices. In relation to Yoga, it is sometimes called "the ocean breath" because of the sound it makes as the breath rushes across the back of the throat. Unlike some other forms of pranayama the inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose.  The ujjayi breath is typically done in association with asana practice which helps to guide smooth transitions and steady the poses.  Similar to the other pranayama, the inhale fills the lower belly (activating the first and second chakras), rises to the lower rib cage (the third and fourth chakras), and finally moves into the upper chest and throat. The length and speed of the breath is controlled by the diaphragm, which as a result each breath strengthens the core making it a mini ab exercise!

If you are still not convinced that there is a place for meditation consider this. A meditation practice can be very simple. It could be something like, every night before bed, do a body scan, relax each muscle in the body while taking a few breaths. Every morning, get out of bed, set a timer for 20 minutes (even 5 minutes to start), sit quietly, breathe and just do nothing. Believe it or not, but some of my clearest, best thoughts emerge from this time in my day when I commit to do nothing. If you are at all stressed, lacking sleep, feeling overworked, living with aches and pains or seeking peace in your life, what do you have to lose? Meditation, it's not what you think...  


Alison Burmeister


Balanced Beauty 



What ever happened to the days of Summer

where your Mom handed you a bike (no helmet)

and said "I'll see your for dinner"?

Now it's all about the Camps! Sports camp, beach camp, sew camp,

art camp, tech camp, gymnastics camp, chef camp,

entrepreneur camp, tennis camp, surf camp...did I miss one!?

I got to thinking there needs to be a camp...for adults! 

Why should kids get to have all the fun? 

Introducing Adult Yoga Camp!

Adult Yoga Camp

What it is: 8 weeks of Yoga Tuesday and Friday's @ The Pacific Palisades Woman's Club

Starting the week of June 10th-August 2, 2019

Tuesdays: 9-10 AM Vinyasa Yoga Flow

Fridays:  9:45-10:30 AM Chair Yoga Movement


Thursdays: 2 Yoga Hikes!! (June 27 & July 11, 9-11 AM)

Thursday: 9-11 AM @ Temescal Canyon Gateway Park


If you are thinking...wait a second, this sounds a lot like the regular yoga schedule with a couple yoga hikes added'd be totally right!  Here is the "Camp Deal"! 

Camps are all about the "Package Deals", so I've created the "Self Care Package Deal"! 

Reserve your space by paying for classes ahead of time and receive a savings on each class! (Plus it helps me to know who is coming!)

Summer gets busy, why not pencil in time for yourself today and make a commitment to create a habit that will serve you not only this Summer, but all year long!


Here's the Deal!

8 days (Tues or Fri Class/Or Mix it Up!) of Yoga for $80


8 days of Yoga (T/F/Mix) + One (1) Yoga Hike for $108


Session start:

June 10-August 2, 2019  

Yoga Hike:

June 27, 2019 & July 11, 2019

(additional hike dates available upon request)


"Self Care Packages"