Welcome back to Pilates classes and Health4Life

czech pilates

Hello, and welcome to new Pilates students. I look forward to meeting you and working with you.

With a beautiful spring and early summer now behind us, we are moving into late summer and early fall. Everyone is starting to settle back into a routine.

Fall Classes are an important and successful way of realigning your body and loosening tight muscles after summertime activities.

The first classes in September will be aimed at slowly working out the knots and limbering the joints and muscles. WHY? To prevent injuries “Prehab not Rehab

In October and November classes, be ready to increase the pace! We will be using weights and elastic resistance bands to help increase joint mobility and muscle tone.

See you soon!

Keep breathing

Joan and Arienne

When the Best Treatment is No Treatment

What do you consider to be one of the major health hazards today?

I think it is being a patient in the modern health care system. Don't get me wrong - modern medicine has much to offer today, and millions of people benefit from improved quality of life, increased length of life and decreased illnesses.

However, modern medical strategies may also create problems because of the goal to "fix". Consider David's story.

Joan Buna's all time top favorite fitness quotes

We hope you will enjoy these and that they may inspire you.


If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If your spine is flexible at 60, you are young.    Joseph Pilates


Your Pilates fitness is 100 percent mental.

Your body won't go where your mind doesn't push it

 mental fitness
 fat cells crying2

 Sweat is fat crying


What you do today can improve all your tomorrows


healthy pilates

Pilates class is not about being better than someone else......it is about being and feeling better than you used to feel








Choose the best class for you!

We now have three levels of classes – something to suit everyone’s fitness goals. Check out the descriptions and choose the one the sound the best for meeting your fitness goals and skills.

Level 1 Classes

This class introduces you to core strength, back strengthening and range of motion exercises. Ideal for a person new to Pilates, and for people recovering from an injury or surgery.

Building mental resilience helps build strength, fitness and flexibility

We might not want to acknowledge it, but it’s hard to ignore that our attitude in difficult or challenging situations often determines the outcome. I’ve heard it said that “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’ll be right.”resilience

As part of the New Year, many people begin new routines and regimens to improve their fitness and health. It is always sad when so many of these people abandon their fitness goals early into their challenge. I applaud all of you who have set a new challenges for yourself. It can be quite intimidating to start a new sport, a different workout, attempt a higher level of fitness, or take on a new fitness challenge.

What can you do to stick to your new challenge? How can you best get past feeling intimidated and set yourself up to succeed?

Looking for that special gift? Or new ideas?

Give the gift of renewed health!

Consider a gift certificate for pilates classes!

There are classes that fit the fitness level and needs of every person. Plus these gifts won't clutter up your home!

Want to indulge that special person? Consider a certificate for personal training sessions with Joan.

One-on-one training with Joan helps identify issues and maximize progress. Contact Joan to help decide what would best meet your person's needs.

Call our office for more information - 250 384 2412




Keeping a healthy brain - what type of exercise is best?weight training brain

We know that exercise is good for the brain. However most of the research has been focussed on the effects of energetic aerobic activities on brain health. New research by Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, at University of British Columbia, suggests that light resistance training might be effective at slowing the age-related shrinking of some parts of our brains.

It is normal for brains to change constantly and accumulate lesions

Our brains are, of course, dynamic organs, adding and shedding neurons and connections throughout our lifetimes, remodelling and repairing in response to our lifestyle. Similar to the rest of our body, the brain is vulnerable to changes that accumulate over time. Many brain studies have found that, by late middle age, most of us have begun developing age-related holes or “lesions” in our brain’s white matter. The white matter is the material that connects and passes messages among different brain regions. But what do these lesions mean?

intervertebral foramen

Joseph Pilates stated “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” And he was right. Life is complicated and unpredictable. That’s what makes it interesting. To give yourself the best shot at avoiding injury, focus on a healthy spine.Because a healthy, flexible spine is less vulnerable to spontaneous and age related injury.

Vertebra provide a safe passage for spinal nerves

Today I am talking specifically about your lower back spine, known as the “lumbar spine.” The lumbar spine has 5 vertebrae just like the 5 tins of tuna I have in the studio. The vertebrae provide a “house” – a solid, protective structure, for your spinal cord and passage of spinal nerves. Spinal nerves branch off of the spinal cord through passage ways known as intervertebral foramen, providing signals to appropriate body parts (see Figure 1). The spinal nerves for the lower part of your pelvis and legs originate in the lumbar vertebrae.

Being Flexible Helps You to Live a Longer Happier Life 

The second area I’m working on is my flexibility. Seeing patients have difficulty putting on their shoes or trouble getting off the chiropractic table has made me check my flexibility. Flexibility is important to so many normal movements on a daily basis. A lack of flexibility or imbalances in flexibility are often what I see as causes of pain in my chiropractic practice.

How did my flexibility measure up? My upper body flexibility isn’t bad but flexibility in my lower back and pelvis is poor. I used the “Can I touch my toes?" measuring stick. The answer? Nope. 3 inches short. Test yourself now – try touching your toes.

If you can't touch your toes, then you may be in trouble. First though, I want to help you understand what flexibility is, why it is important and how to make it work for you.

Does stretching make you more flexible? The obvious answer is “yes” based on what we’ve all been told about the merits of stretching. touching toes is a good text of flexibilityHowever, this is one of those sort’a true and sort’a not true answers.

Stretch your muscles or stretch your mind?

I’ve been reading the latest on ways to stretch muscles, because I always want to know if there is something new that will help my patients in my chiropractic practice. I am rethinking one of the common beliefs about stretching. “If you stretch a tight muscle, it will become longer, more flexible and more supple” And ideally less prone to injury. This is partly true.

Your central nervous system runs the show

In reality, we are not lumps of clay that can be molded by persistently tugging on things. This is because our central nervous systems is running the show.

So what does that mean? It means that unless you are under anesthesia (where you will miraculously gain full and even excessive range of motion, but I do not recommend attempting to go through life under full anesthesia simply for its flexibility gains), your ability to stretch at any range is determined by your nervous system’s tolerance to that range.

For example, if you have very, very short hamstrings and you try to fold your torso forward over your knees, you meet rigid resistance. You cannot pull on your hamstrings like they are inanimate taffy, and expect them to stretch. That is because your nervous system gives you a firm end range for that movement, basically saying “Nope. Sorry buddy. I don’t feel safe there, so I’m not going to let you go there.”

Getting pushy about it and trying to force your hamstrings into ever deeper end ranges will have one of three outcomes:

  • Nothing will change
  • Your hamstrings will get shorter (yes they can!)
  • You injure your tissue (which, by the way, has about a two-year healing period if we’re talking about a tendon injury).

For these reasons, I do not recommend overriding your nervous system on issues of flexibility. It will win and the consequences will be unpleasant.

The nervous system is your body's emergency brake

Why would the nervous system not feel safe and limit your mobility? Because the range of movement you are trying to reach is unfamiliar. Your body has compensatory mechanisms that allow certain parts to function as an emergency brake in order to hold it all together and prevent injury. Two main laws are in play here: motor control (the neurologic action involved in movement) and re-organization (tissue growing in the manner we want it to). This second part can be (over) simplified to, “Use it or lose it.”

Let’s talk about the motor control. In the case of the hamstrings, chronically short-hamstringed people constantly use their hamstrings to compensate for some bad pattern of movement or posture that they are using somewhere else in their body. Tight muscles mean that the system is working hard compensating for something else that isn’t doing its job. Reasons that my hamstrings are tight may be:

  • Under active deep core musculature
  • Too rigid core musculature (And yes, underactive and too rigid can come together)
  • Weak adductor muscles.

If these or other key stability structures can’t fully do their job, the hamstrings stand alert and ready to do their job. They provide support when the support is missing elsewhere in the body, by tightening down.

To go back to the emergency brake analogy - if you were in your car and it was parked on the edge of a cliff, held there only by its emergency brake, would you release it? No. (Not if you are sane!).This is the same decision your nervous system is making when you attempt a forward fold and stop before you reach the toes. It protects you from extending yourself so far that you injure tissues.

If you have really tight muscles it means the emergency brake is on, and that some other part of your body isn’t working properly.

Next article: Getting flexibility into those really tight muscles

Tricks for avoiding the sugar overload

Hallowe'en was great this year.  The kids trick and treated under clear skies. The wind and rain both disappeared from the pacific northwest! Goody bags came home overflowing - everyone thrilled at the haul of candy.hallween

Most parents put lots of thought into helping their kids to moderate the candy intake.

But how about your candy intake?

Before I became a chiropractor, I completed a Bachelor of Science at University of Victoria. It was there that I learned about the metabolic processes of the human body.

In a recent post I talked about treating your body like a finely tuned car. In this example however we are not like a car. If you fill a car with too much fuel, the extra flows onto the ground (oops there goes your money!). The car's engine is not affected.

If you add lots of fuel (sugar) to your body, the extra doesn't flow out onto the ground. That fuel is inside the body and the body has to work to deal with it. For some, this means a sugar headache. For others, extreme thirst as your body tries to excrete the sugar in the urine. For everyone, the extra sugar is a load on your body. 

You might not know that excess sugar (glucose) increases inflammation. It also slows healing. Depending on your lifestyle, excess sugar can cause ripples in your metabolism that can last for weeks and months.

Which means there are many reasons to avoid the sugar overload.

What happens when you get to work and the candy is EVERYWHERE!

Or there is leftover candy at home?

Two surefire tips from Dr Buna to help you to avoid eating (too much) of the leftover candy

1. Avoid the bowl. Move the candy at work, or at home, to a place that you are not near it or will not be walking past it frequently. Out of sight and out of mind.

2. Bring gum and water. Chewing gum will prevent you from grabbing a treat and water will give you something else to do besides unwrapping and eating treats.

As always, go out for a brisk walk to clear your mind.

Keep breathing.




a.k.a. How I started exercising (again) at the age of 61

As I enter my 61st year, I have started considering my overall being – the whole enchilada. The whole meal deal. The whole me. Whew! There are some miles on this body.

I’ve started looking around me – at the people I see through my work and play. I looked around me at my friends to see what they are up to and it was interesting. There’s a small group that are doing a really great job of taking care of themselves – they exercise regularly, eat healthy, organic, some do yoga, and overall are treating their bodies as if it were a treasured possession. A Maserati sports car or a luxury yacht.

I’ve also realized there is a LARGE group that are not treating their body very nicely. I’m not naming names but WOW! Finally I looked at my patients. Some are over-weight and don't care about it. Some experience restricted ranges of motion in all directions. Some still smoke, and some drink too much. What was surprising is that so many do not do any kind of regular exercise at all. Some do not see their doctor regularly for preventive checkups. Some don’t see their dentist for preventive checkups either. These people treated their bodies like old run down jalopies. Not worth the effort. Have they decided someone else is responsible for maintenance?

I considered which group I might belong to – the Maserati owners or the jalopy owners. Hmmmmmmm.

It didn’t really matter because my next thought was “I want to golf, swim, surf Dr. Michael Buna, chiropractor, 2015and play with grandchildren (no pressure yet kids!) for years to come." And the thought after that was,

"I need to make a fitter, more flexible, stronger me!"

There’s a popular book out right now called “Aging Backwards - Reverse the Aging Process and Look 10 Years Younger in 30 Minutes a Day” by Miranda Esmonde-White. It seems to be the hot ticket item out there right now. One of her important messages is that we need to move to heal any type of injury. I totally agree. Even though it might hurt a bit, move gently, consistently and regularly.

“Healthy cells prevent joint pain, muscle loss and weak bones—helping to control weight, increase energy, and improve strength and mobility.”

We will feel better and live longer, healthier lives.

So how do I make a new me?

It turns out I didn’t need to worry. My first decision was taken care of by my daughter. She challenged me to run a 10K race in Vancouver. This was great because I needed that kick in the pants to get moving again. As the parents out there will understand, this also gave me a chance to engage in a common pursuit with my adult daughter. An opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

Once the challenge was accepted, I started planning. You may now know this about me, but in my 20's I ran 2 marathons. I ended up letting go of running because my schooling became more important. Always told myself I would get back to it really soon (does that sound familiar to you?)….and here I am 40 years later. Starting again. At the ripe old age of 61. Wow. Fortunately I have researched how to begin running again and have put together a program that will prepare me for the 10k race with a minimum of discomfort. (and I don't have hip and knee problems!)

My training began by walking quickly and then power walking, and then running at a pace that keeps my heart rate at about 120 bpm. As I become accustomed to the exercise, I slowly increased the pace and heart rate as was comfortable. Initially, I could walk 5 kmh and I am now up to 6.3 kmh. YAA! That progress feels great. The movement feels great. And my energy level is great.

Going back to you. What can you do to create a fitter, more flexbile, stronger you?

The key is to get yourself moving. Moving will build the strength and capacity.

There are only three steps to a new you:

  1. What activity will you consider doing?
  2. Who could you challenge to join you in this activity?
  3. What kinds of goals can you set for your challenge?

I’d love to hear about your challenges and goals and how you are progressing towards a new you!

Call me or drop by and share your experiences.

See you soon!

Dr. Michael Buna,


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