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Posts tagged ‘yoga’

Wherever You Are, There You Are

Three great learnings/reminders from tonight’s yoga class:

  1. If we can let our breath guide our yoga practice, we can let our breath guide our daily lives.  Throughout the flow practice tonight, we focused on a cadence of a one-count breath in and a two-count breath out.  INNN.  OOUUTTTT.  INNN.  OOUUTTTT.  It takes training and focus to do this, but when I let my breath guide me, the poses become easier.  My body feels lighter.  Everything feels more achievable.  Read more

At the Core

photo by anya quinn via flickr creative commons

photo by anya quinn via flickr creative commons

Fitness magazines seem to include a piece on core strengthening exercises in every single issue.  You know the drill – a multi-page spread featuring a 20-something-year-old woman in little shorts and a high pony doing a series of exercises on a beach or next to a worldly monument or in an exotic looking grass hut.  After all, who wouldn’t want to spend their mornings doing plank pose in a little grass hut?

For those of us whose mornings look more like “get up and stumble to the coffeemaker, slurp down some coffee/check my email/start blog post/go for workout/race into shower/read books with kids/take kids to school,” there is no side plank and there is definitely no grass hut in sight.  But this doesn’t mean we don’t need to work on our core strength.  We all need a solid core in order to do everything from cleaning our houses to playing sports to having sex.  So if you’re like me, and struggle to find focused time for core work, here are three simple ways to fit it in:

  • Just stand up straight.  Seriously, just focusing on your posture can make a huge difference.  Stomach muscles pulled toward the spine and tailbone tucked under.  Yes, it’s easier than it looks.
  • Move during the day.  Pick up toys off the floor.  Reach for things on the top shelf.  Work standing up.  All of these little movements add up.
  • TRX, TRX, TRX.  TRX is an amazing tool that works your abs while you work other muscle groups.  It’s a great way to work your core while you work other muscle groups at the same time.

If you still need convincing that core strength matters, check out this article from Harvard’s Healthbeat newsletter.  And if you’re a runner, here’s some great advice about core workouts for running.  Oh, and if you can figure out how to make that grass hut thing work on a regular basis, please let me know how.

How do you keep your core strong?  And how has having a strong core helped you in your workouts and in your life?

Yoga in the Living Room

admittedly not my living room, but only yoga photo i could find!

admittedly not my living room, but only yoga photo i could find!

I wasn’t able to get a workout in during the day yesterday, and even worse, I spent most of the day sitting (blech).  So I was bound and determined to get some sort of exercise before the day’s end, even if it meant after getting the kids to bed and returning some emails…which is what it indeed was.  And at 9pm, I finally started moving through a vinyassa yoga practice guided by Jason Crandall on YogaGlo.  YogaGlo is an online yoga experience, streaming hundreds of classes (some taught by famous teachers, including my favorite NYC yoga instructor, Elena Brower), into your home.  Classes range from 5 minutes to 120 minutes in duration, and easy to very challenging in difficulty.  A “membership” offers unlimited streaming for $18/month (you can do a 15-day trial first, which is what I did last night).

Before weighing in on the class, three disclosures:

#1: I’m admittedly a total snob about fitness classes

#2: The idea of a “canned” workout on TV conjures up weird images of Richard Simmons and unpleasant memories of the old Buns of Steel tape I used to do with my friends in high school

#3: If you would have told me a few years ago that I’d be streaming a yoga class on my computer with my Spotify yoga playlist in the background, I never would have believed it.  But there I was, hanging on Jason’s every move for 60 minutes

So, the final verdict?  While I didn’t love it and would have rather been in a live class with candles and drums and fire dancers and beautiful, sweaty people…I actually didn’t mind it.  It did the job.  It motivated me to finish 60 minutes of yoga at a time of day when I was highly unlikely to do it on my own.  And it was actually moderately difficult (fast pace, lots of arm balances).  I even think I’ll try another class before my trial runs out.  It’s definitely not the same as a real, live yoga class, but if you live in a place where there aren’t great teachers/studios available, or if your only option is to do a class while your kiddos slumber, it’s a pretty darn good option.

How do you feel about home workout DVDs?  Love them or loathe them?  Have you found any that work well for you?

Virayoga Inspiration

I’ve posted in the past about the power of mantra, or “a sacred utterance (syllable, word, or verse) believed to possess mystical or spiritual power. Mantras may be spoken aloud or uttered in thought, and they may be either repeated or sounded only once. Repetition of a mantra can induce a trancelike state and can lead the participant to a higher level of spiritual awareness.”  So on the three-month anniversary of starting this blog, I thought I’d post another simple one that has guided my life ever since I came across it in a Virayoga newsletter a few years ago…

virayoga quote

This simple set of phrases migrated from an e-newsletter to a post-it note to my chalkboard to a deep part of my memory where it lays the foundation for what matters most.  What mantra do you rely on?  Where did it come from, and why did it stick with you?

Yoga: For You or For Them?

My yoga teacher busted out an insanely difficult pose during our Sunday morning class. It was the sort of pose that left me dumbfounded and wanting to curl up in a ball on my mat until it was over (this is essentially what I did). I don’t know what it’s called, but I just searched the web for a picture of it (below).

hard headstand

It’s a headstand with outstretched arms (not the usual hands-behind-head style); and just the sight of it terrified me that I was going to do some major damage to my neck and/or my neighbor if I attempted it. Read more

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