Health and Wellness

Pilates Potatoes

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes - four 
Five potatoes, six potatoes, seven potatoes - more 
Eight potatoes, nine potatoes, ten potatoes - all

Sometimes we can get a little discouraged with the parts of our body that do not seem to improve in Pilates as fast as we would like. For me, it is my lower back.  It's difficult, but crucial, to constantly pull your belly button to your spine to activate your deep abdominal muscles throughout the exercise. Sometimes I forget to concentrate on this which causes some soreness after a class. 

The strain in my lumbar spine, or small of my back, could possibly be caused by tight hamstrings or I could be overextending my lower back by forcing my legs to straighten. Weak ab muscles and tight hip flexors could also be the culprit.  If I stay consistent in modifying the exercises below, my lower back actually feels strengthen and unstrained after a Pilates workout.  

1.      Keep the spine neutral- (using the natural curvature of the spine) is the only place where the muscles can work safely and effectively to support the spine in all movements.

In neutral spine, we work the transverse abdominis, this muscle spans from the front of your belly to the connective tissue on each side of your spine. This is quite often an overlooked muscle, and it’s generally weak. It’s also difficult to access properly unless you are working with an experienced instructor who will know how to cue for proper muscle activation. You can continually connect with those muscles as you focus on the exhale of breath through each movement.


2.      Be careful with Roll-up movements- motion that moves from laying flat to sitting up.

This Pilates motion can cause lower back pains and injuries when done repetitively and with tight hip flexors and weak core muscles.  By jerking yourself up repetitively to try to accomplish this exercise, you can really damage your back over time.


Use a mini ball at your lower back to help support the spine as you roll into it only half way down, or, use a stretch band looped around the feet to give yourself a little bit of tension to go up and down easily.  Make sure to keep your arms long and not pull yourself up with your arms, but use the rolling action of the spine and deep abdominals.

3.      Laying on Stomach movements- like swimmers, “Superman” pose, laying on long box on stomach

While doing these exercises, only lift gently and maybe even just one leg and arm at a time, making sure to draw the abdominals up off the mat.  These movements, lifting the arms and legs too high, can cause the back to hyperextend and cause excessive disc compression.  Also, keeping the neck alignment in neutral will keep strain off the lumbar spine.


4.      Teaser movements- advanced movement requiring you to come up into a V - sit movement.  

If you don't have strong and developed transverse abdominal muscles then you will not be able to properly execute this advanced movement. You will strain the lower back when rising up into the V-sit with your legs straight.


When the class does this move, instead, bend your legs grabbing under your thighs as you gently rock yourself forward and then up into a balanced position.

As your hamstrings and hips loosen up and your abs become stronger all these Pilates moves above will start to feel easier. Easier on your back that is; Pilates is always going to be a killer on your abs, which is why we love it so. Also be careful to work within your range of motion when doing the exercises and only straighten and/or lower the legs if the low back can remain glued to the mat or carriage.  

Don’t be discouraged if you have lower back pain or strain, but DO let your Pilates instructor be aware so they can help make adjustments and cue moves to help strengthen your core and loosen your hamstrings. 

Five Potato, Six Potato, Seven Potato More Pilates

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Eight Potato, Nine Potato, Ten Potato ALL Pilates moves!

Chesacanna, a New Medical Cannabis Destination Dispensary

For Immediate Release                                                                                                          July 6, 2018

Media Contact: Lisa A. Shenkle                                               410.227.5899/

Chesacanna, a New Medical Cannabis Destination Dispensary, opens in Maryland                  Baltimore County is home to new health and wellness hotspot

Baltimore, MD – Chesacanna, a new medical cannabis destination dispensary and wellness center in Baltimore County officially opens Wednesday, July 18, 2018 (Grand Opening - Wellness Day, Saturday, July 21, 12 Noon-6PM). Serving patients locally, and from throughout the region, this community-centric, whole-health based network of healthcare practitioners and cannabis experts brings a fresh, holistic approach to natural treatment methodologies. 

Chesacanna is located at 10534 York Road, Suite 101, Cockeysville, MD 21030, 410.650.6555. Store hours: Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. -7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Sunday: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. The dispensary is available only to qualified patients or caregivers registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) and who possess a state-issued photo ID from the Commission. Cannabis will be available to patients in the form of flowers, concentrates, tablets, tinctures, droppers, patches, and topicals.

Owners Marc Spataro and Brenda Liscinsky are health-focused entrepreneurs; community outreach and education is at the forefront of Chesacanna, as well as their other wellness-based initiatives. As owners ofFITnologyand Blis Pilatesrespectively, their philosophy of integrated health and wellness practices resonate throughout their approach to teaching and instruction, but also via the standing-room-only wellness seminars which they sponsor and are free to the community.

“Chesacanna is a culmination of our commitment to the community,” says Marc. “We believe education, as well as our desire to create health and wellness connections for long-term, meaningful pain-free health maintenance, is the overall mission of Chesacanna.”

“Marc Spataro and Brenda Liscinsky have a well-established reputation in the health and wellness industry,” says Shellee E. Nolan, MD, FACC, Medical Director, Johns Hopkins Cardiology at Greenspring Station. “Their expertise goes beyond physical training as they have a holistic approach which includes wellness, nutrition, and functionality. Chesacanna is the natural extension of their life’s work. As the Directors of Health and Fitness, they will bring what they have been practicing for more than 30 years to their patients at Chesacanna. Patients will not only have access to an alternative medicine but a pathway to achieving a better quality of life.”

Chesacanna boasts a board of credentialed physicians and experts, featuring Dr. Michael Auerbach, Medical Director, who has been a licensed physician in the State of Maryland since 1986. He currently practices at Auerbach Hematology-Oncology, in Rosedale, Maryland. Dr.  Auerbach has authored or co-authored over 125 publications during his extensive career as a healthcare professional and researcher.

Wellness Director, Dr. Ariane Cometa, is a licensed physician, since 1998, who practices Integrative Medicine through a mind-body approach. Dr. Cometa has invested her time studying nutritional medicine, homeopathy, herbal medicine, and bio-identical hormone prescribing; most recently she has indulged in the latest medical cannabis science relating to the human endocannabinoid system and the effectiveness to treat medical conditions with cannabis. She is founder of the Cometa Wellness Center in Cockeysville, Maryland. Other team member bios can be located on the website.

“We want our patients to have a sense of community, where they can start their journey towards living a healthy life style by networking with our practitioners to help them achieve their goals,” says Brenda Liscinsky. “Patients who come to us are taking the first step to change to a natural way of treating their body.  Change can be difficult and over-whelming,” she says, “but the staff at Chesacanna will help patients break it down into a one step process to help them be more successful in meeting their individual goals.”

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Chesacanna is an ADA (Americans with Disabilities) accessible, whole-health and wellness, destination cannabis dispensary in Baltimore County, Maryland. More information can be accessed at

Chesacanna was created by a group of medical, health and fitness professionals, whose passion is to help people become healthier through their knowledge of medicine, medicinal alternatives, supplements, exercise, and lifestyle change. As advocates of the Chesapeake Bay, Chesacanna encourages environmental stewardship of the bay, and the wildlife in and around it.


The Chesacanna board boasts a combined 100+ years of expertise in the health, wellness, medical and cannabis dispensary fields. Its dispensary director is a long-term medical professional with 28 years of experience working with patients of all populations and conditions. Health and fitness directors, Marc Spataro and Brenda Liscinsky, have a combined 30 years of experience coaching clients on fitness, nutrition, and supplementation. Their careers have addressed populations from children to seniors including clients affected by: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Cerebral palsy, cancer, and joint replacement.