If you ask an average person why they exercise they are likely to answer: to lose weight, to look more trim, or to increase stamina. However, Rivka Matluk, exercise physiologist and yoga therapist, believes that these outcomes, positive though they are, reflect a limited view of the benefits of physical activity. “The power of exercise goes way beyond weight loss – I believe that it can help people be happier in their daily lives.”
This conviction led Rivka to pursue a Master’s Degree in exercise science and rehabilitation over 19 years ago. Her rich experience includes five years working in the field of cardiac rehabilitation in the USA, and since her Aliya, 13 years as an exercise teacher and personal trainer. Throughout her career, she has expanded her knowledge, so that she is now certified to teach yoga (including mat, chair, water yoga and therapeutic yoga), Pilates and Yogalates, a fusion of these two disciplines.
Rivka views these fitness regimens—and other forms of exercise—as powerful antidotes for the chronic conditions that crop up in the pressures of daily living. “The right exercise can help a person alleviate diseases such as scoliosis, hypertension, osteoarthritis and Type 2 diabetes.” Delving a little deeper about diabetes, a disease which is on the rise around the world,1 Rivka explains: “People with type 2 diabetes have too much glucose in their blood. When you are exercising, your muscles can consume this glucose, even without the presence of insulin, and thus exercise can reduce this excess.”
An avid walker, Rivka encourages healthy people to pursue a fitness routine that they enjoy. “If you want to bring your body into good health, you need to find a discipline that excites you.” Nonetheless, as is evident from her credentials, Rivka has an affinity for exercise that challenges both mind and body. “I love yoga and Pilates since, on top of all their other benefits, they tap into the mind-body connection.” Rivka adds that these types of exercises also help us be more attuned to signals from our bodies. “People who are trying to get fit might absorb a message from society that says, ‘Keep pushing; ignore the pain and fatigue.’ This is counterproductive. We need to respect our bodies’ limits.”
At the same time, Rivka acknowledges that there is a fine but unmistakable line between respecting the body’s signals and avoiding all physical challenge. “When you exercise, some discomfort comes with the territory, especially for beginners,” she says with a smile. On a more serious note she adds, “If we don’t challenge the body, we might lose our physical capacity. I saw this early in my career when I was working with a woman who was suffering from shoulder issues. She and her family had set up everything in the kitchen on the counter tops so that she would not have to extend her arm to reach anything. She was scared of triggering pain. As a result of not being used, her shoulder joint became more restricted and she couldn’t reach her arm behind her. We worked together and in just three sessions, she regained her full range of motion.”
When working with her private clients to help them resolve specific ailments, Rivka draws upon her vast knowledge about physiology, accrued through years of training and experience. Beyond this, “I do research as needed about whatever issues they are going through so that I can provide the most effective assistance.”
Rivka’s students also benefit from a personalized approach. She keeps her classes small, so that she can observe each person’s work. “During class, I demonstrate poses and exercises, but only part of the time. The rest of the time, I move around, trying to help each person, at whatever their level, perfect their movement. I also provide each student with individualized guidance about body awareness during daily living, so that they can feel better outside the classroom as well.”
Rivka’s students acknowledge that her ability to hone in on individual needs makes her classes stand out. As one student expressed, “Rivka recognizes that each student has their own skills and limitations. She provides individual attention and modifies movements for each student without judgment.” Another student echoed, “Rivka manages each class in a way that makes it work for students of varying levels, and encourages each student to take responsibility for her own progress, while constantly providing feedback. I really feel a difference in my body after every class.”
Rivka’s warm personality is another factor that keeps people coming back, as one student shared, “Rivka loves and believes in what she teaches, and it’s contagious!”
Harnessing her enthusiasm, expertise and yes, compassion for her hard-working students, Rivka helps each individual be more connected to her mind and body. More specifically, she says, “My aim is that each student exits my class better equipped to function optimally throughout the day.”
Rivka is a certified Yoga and Pilates Instructor with a Master’s in Exercise Science and Rehabilitation and certification as a Yoga Therapist. She has extensive experience working with individuals with diverse health issues in classes and on a one on one basis.
She can be reached at 050-992-1033 or firstname.lastname@example.org