Move better with SMARTer Bodies!

Do you believe in the body's wisdom to heal itself? Do you believe in treating the body as a whole functioning unit, and not a sum of parts? If you do, then SMARTer Bodies is for you. Melissa Gutierrez and Kim-Lien Kendall, the founders of the practice share that conviction and have created SMARTer Yoga ™ to help people heal and move better.
I first spoke with Melissa about writing a blog on SMARTer Bodies in the summer. We arranged a time for me to visit to experience first hand what they do. Due to both of us being super busy, our appointment kept getting shuffled and rescheduled. In the mean time, I found myself busier & busier & skipping my workouts. The result of this turned out to be more than just a 5 lb weight gain. In the end of September I made a pact with myself to get back into shape. 

So one Wednesday morning I put on my running shoes & went out for my usual jog. Long story short I hurt my back so badly I had to stay in bed nearly 3 days & take muscle relaxers. It was an injury I had never experienced before. Just as I was getting discouraged, I got an email from Melissa saying they had some time to see me that week if I was available. I was so excited! I immediately responded to her & explained my situation & that I actually needed to see them, not only for the blog but for my health. 

I arrived to their office & was immediately at ease. It is a very cozy, modern space with a great vibe. Melissa & Kim worked separately with me, asking me questions about my pain & showing me ways to move. I was able to bend forward for the first time in over a week. I realized that what I had been doing to try to protect my back was actually making it worse. I realized that had I gone to see them before my injury, I would never have realized what amazing work they do. 

Both of them come from different backgrounds. Melissa comes through Reiki and Yoga and Kim through allopathic medicine, personal training and Yoga. They both realized that although all of these modalities are legitimate pathways towards healing, they all seemed to be missing something. “We believe in treating each person as a unique individual and not a statistic and we believe in the person being the one to facilitate his or her own healing.” Considering all of this, combined with all of their studies, they created a method of education through movement that is aimed towards helping people connect to their own bodies and tap into this potential.
SMARTer Yoga ™ stands for Synergistic Movement through Awareness and Repatterning Techniques. This is what stands behind the mission statement of the establishment. Other systems of Yoga are based off of traditions passed from teacher to teacher, mostly originating in India. Their system uses yoga-like movements and principals, however their methods are based in human movement from a biomechanics and kinesiology standpoint. “We take a more critical, scientific and individualized approach” says Melissa.  
What’s in the name? One of their services is Movement Repatterning that deals with movement dysfunctions. “Everyone has them, it's just a matter of finding them” says Kim. Varieties of techniques are used, whether it is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, developmental movement patterns (movement patterns that are supposed to arise in infancy, but are sometimes skipped), manual assistance and breath awareness to help facilitate healthier movement choices. The explanation behind it is that we all unconsciously choose a specific movement pattern to a stimulus because of past conditioning or so that our bodies can feel safe. SMARTer Bodies help their clients to first identify the pattern, then to be aware of the stimulus that causes the compensation, then to find a safer or more efficient pattern, then to integrate the new pattern in such a way that the body will now unconsciously find the new pattern.
SMARTer Bodies work with people with all types of injuries, pains, discomfort or athletes and dancers who just want to move better. They deal with people of all ages and stages in life.

I am so thankful I was able to meet & work with both Melissa & Kim. I most certainly will continue to work with them on a personal level to continue to learn more about how to take better care of my body. Even if you are not experiencing pain, I highly encourage anyone who is interested in a stronger, healthier body through Yoga & other techniques to contact them & set up an appointment. You will be so thankful you did!

Sarah Harper
Administrations Coordinator

Evidence Based Fitness Academy
"Applying Research - Achieving Results!"

To learn more about SMARTer Bodies or to schedule an appointment with either Kim or Melissa - please visit    You can also find great articles on their Blog and follow them on Facebook!

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