Wellness Wednesday #11 – Game Changers

It’s been a hot minute since I was able to write anything on the blog, let alone anything about WELLNESS. I have been keeping myself busy in other ways and not putting too much pressure on myself to be superwoman. Thus, some things I love have slid a little this semester while doing other things I love…..like teaching and being involved in my kiddos school/sports/lives.

But, today I am thinking hard about a movie I watched lately…..Game Changers.

If you haven’t seen that Netflix documentary yet you may be thinking that it’s just like all of the other ones out there about sport and nutrition and it’s going to be preachy and annoying…..well, it’s not.

While Game Changers doesn’t teach me anything that I didn’t already know, it just keeps reaffirming for me the things that I do know in my head, my heart, and my gut about my diet. Lately I feel this strong urge to stop eating meat. It’s not enjoyable to me, it doesn’t make me feel positive about my food choices, and for many years it plagued me when I traveled. I also feel detached from eating dairy. We have already replaced a lot of dairy in our house with almond/coconut/cashew alternatives. I just feel like I want to do more.

For lunch today I had a burrito bowl….a staple meal at our house. I added leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving and some avocado. I was tempted to put in cheese and sour cream, but I didn’t because something in my head reminded me that I didn’t need it. I used the only chips we had that were covered in cheese, but as I added them I wished that we had some corn at home that I could have added instead. I like the salt and crunch, not the chips themselves, so I could have had something else that met that need.

The biggest hurdle to eating the way I want to eat is the people I live with. I get a lot of push-back about not having meat because it’s something that we’ve become accustomed to. But, just because you’re used to something doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Smokers know that smoking’s not good for them….abuse is not good for you, pollution is not good for you…..we know that just because we have done it that way doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it that way. Habits are hard to change.

Recently a friend of mine who had been so against my messages of less animal product consumption messaged me. Their family had gone vegan after finally looking at the scientific research that supports a plant based diet. All of a sudden they have more energy and feel better and not just physically, but better about their life and their choices and about how they’re living sustainably!

Yesterday a different friend of mine was lamenting about the same issue I face….the family push-back. I know I have done this to myself. I was the one who gave my children dairy and eggs and meat. Now I am trying to take it away. I do this for their health and their wellness and the sustainability of a lifestyle that comes with it. I just wish I had someone to back me in this process. On this issue my wellness suffers not just because of the animal products we’re consuming, but because of the lack of community and support I feel on this journey.

I don’t know if I will ever be fully vegan, but I am on a journey in that direction and would love it if you’d come along. Go plant for yourself, your planet, your family, your future, your happiness, your health, your wellness!

Throw Back Thursday: PLANKSGIVING!

Three years ago I shared a fun little workout for you to do before turkey time. This year I will be in the “mountains” of North Carolina and hopefully going on a beautiful hike with my boys while also squeezing in a quick Planksgiving of my own. Follow me on MapMyRun to see how far we walk and get your own quick resistance training in with the workout below:

Originally posted 11/24/2016 at https://onegirlbreathing.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/planksgiving/

In case you’re out here in internet world today….I thought I’d drop a little workout on you for your Thanksgiving weekend. This year I’m celebrating PLANKSGIVING! And I have four different planks for you in the following photos. I plan to do at least one style each day for the next 4 days, but you could easily do all four today and then give yourself the appropriate rest before repeating the series. Appropriate rest for resistance training (including body weight exercises) is a minimum of 48 hours between same muscle groups and a maximum of 72 hours rest.

plank
Standard Plank: Notice that I need to drop my hips a little here in order to get my ear, shoulder, hip, and heel on a diagonal line. This is partly due to the fact that I am also looking slightly forward. The key to a great plank is the engage the transverse abdominus by pulling the belly button to the spine. Then have the feeling that your body is pushing out through the heels. This allows you to breath better, support the core to the maximum, and hold plank for the longest possible time.
down-plank
Down Plank: Again my head is slightly too far forward and this time it has caused my hips and shoulder to be dropped from the line. By tilting my head down and pulling in my navel (which is different than sucking in) I can lift the hips and engage the core a little better. Keeping the elbows tucked in during Down Plank is a MUST!
incline-plank
Incline Plank: This is one of the most difficult plank positions (many people opt for a Table Top position instead) and requires ankle flexibility, glute strength, and the ability to neutralize the head/neck as part of the spine. As you can see here, my head/neck is a little too far tucked instead of aligned and this is partly because my glutes are not engaged enough to pull my hips up. Avoid throwing the head back in this position and note that the fingertips are pointed toward the toes.
side-plank
Side Plank: In yoga we tell participants that they should not attempt even modified side plank versions until they have mastered all other plank versions. This one is AMAZING for engaging the core muscle groups and specifically focusing on isometrically engaging the lats and obliques. However, it requires balance, stability, and strength in the upper body and core. Note the my hips are a little high for the side diagonal line, as well as my head. It is important to keep the front of the body open and “flat” by pushing the hips forward and not sagging backward.

And check out this article from ACE for more training ideas this holiday season:

EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES TO HELP CLIENTS STAY FIT THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAYS

Are you PLANKSGIVING this year?

Open to Options by Demiya Long – Guest Post

I love asking students at the beginning of the semester why they signed up for my class. Lots of times it is because it fit their schedule or it seemed like it would be easy. No matter the answer, all are welcome in my class and I approach the semester with the enthusiasm that I want to share the gift of yoga with them all.

At the end of the semester, those who stick with it are often surprised by how hard it was to learn yoga. Whether it be the mental aspect or the physical aspect. For many students it’s the only time they do yoga…in my class for 1 hour and 50 minutes a week. For others it’s a lifelong journey. And, for some, they’re still not sure when the semester ends…..

Taking yoga for the first time I I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I figured it would be a lot easier than the cycling or walking classes. I was assuming it would be a lot less work. To my surprise it was a lot more challenging than I’d thought. During the semester I’ve learned that yoga is not only physical but mental as well. A lot of mind and body connections are made through yoga. From the first class until now I’ve grown to appreciate yoga and understand that I can have multiple purposes and it’s not just a physical practice.

Although yoga was a bit more tedious than I would have liked it still taught me quite a few things. Yoga taught me how to breathe into different parts of my body. Yoga also taught me how to relax and meditate. Yoga has taught me how to focus on the important things and push out the extras. In the future I’m not sure if I will utilize yoga. it’s not my favorite form of exercise but it’s not the worst either.  I do work at the YMCA and I get to take any Fitness classes for free so I think I should try it a few more times before I give up.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

A Long and Patient Practice by Calssidy Matthews – Guest Post

Quite often my students are so much younger than me that they can bend and twist and hold postures in ways that I cannot. Some of this is because I cannot devote my total fitness practice to yoga due to the many other classes I teach and my own fitness goals. Some of this is because of youth and natural talent that I lack. Some of it is because of pure desire to be able to do something so amazing that students surprise even themselves in their abilities. This past spring I had a student who was also a parent; who had also suffered from physical injuries throughout a long and active lifestyle. Though he was strong and fit, yoga still had more to give him.

Calssidy in hand stand at the beach with his daughter.

In my journey through this semester, there have been times where stress was abundant and stress relievers were not. Taking yoga has been one of those stress relievers needed. I have been working out heavily as well as training for competitions throughout the semester, so needing something that will allow my body to grow maturely as a good commodity. Also, stress from the classes I was taking needed attention too.

During the yoga practices this semester, there were some moves that were difficult to execute and even harder to hold for an extended periods of time. So learning how my body can cope with something new like that was pretty neat. There were some moves that I had already known from the past, and it was great to relive those moves and see how my body maintained the memory of them. Overall I enjoyed the class and would like to continue my yoga journey over the course of my life.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

In Over My Head

It’s been almost two months since I’ve written on the blog and the only reason I am doing it right now is that I have four minutes until I have a student meeting and I figured I could crank out a quick post.

As I’ve written so many times before, this blog is something that is so incredibly important to me, but which I don’t always take the time for. This semester I took on 7 classes that I am teaching between the university and community college. I am in over my head.

I have often wondered what it would be like to have a full-time job and now I kind of know…..I can’t handle it at this point in my life. I am not a great multi-tasker and although I have gotten better at saying no to things I don’t really want to do, I am not great at saying no to all of the things I don’t have time to do.

The best thing I have done for myself of late is to prioritize my training FOR REAL! For instance, I have started coming to the rec center on my days off as soon as I drop my kids off. This way I am sure to get my workouts in. It may take up a little more of my time in that I am traveling across town to get here and back, but totally worth it because it’s keeping me fit and sane.

I have decided that I can’t do 7 classes in the future….at least not with my other commitments and how much I want to work out. So, I’m back down to 5 in the spring and that means more time for the blog and life in general.

I hope to be able to get some posts up soon about the race I did and my half-marathon training. I also have some great student posts left to share. Until then, if you’re still out there reading, I could use a few comments to let me know you’re here and what you’d like to know!

 

Thanks and Namaste!

Training Plan Tuesday #10 – August 2019

Writing about my monthly training is helping me to stay focused on it. However, I was in Iowa last week where the weather was beautiful and I didn’t have access to internet, so no post then. And now it’s Wednesday and not Tuesday, so I’m not sure it’s keeping me consistent on the blog. Take a look at what I did and what happens next… Continue reading “Training Plan Tuesday #10 – August 2019”

A Unifying Practice by Ayerland Baker – Guest Post

One of the unique things about teaching where I do is that I have both a community college setting and a university setting in the same town. Many of my community college students are working on their gen ed classes before transferring over to the university. Occasionally that means that I get a student twice or their roommate or friend will be in my class at the opposing location. Sometimes they even have a different yoga instructor at the same time and the yoga becomes a shared experience. Here’s one such story from a student of mine:

 

When first signing up for yoga class at Cape Fear Community College, my initial viewpoint of yoga, before ever taking a yoga class, was that it was all simple stretching and positions that helped you relax. Though yoga does include these assumptions, I soon realized that yoga can be a sufficient workout as well. Not only did yoga begin to stretch my ligaments and muscles in a positive manner, but it created a workout that didn’t necessarily feel like a workout while participating. I would find myself forming sweat as we ran through flows and noticing tenderness and soreness in the days following my yoga class. I realized quickly that I enjoyed the process of yoga much better than I had enjoyed going to the gym or working out in the past. 

As the semester continued I noticed myself getting better at the positions we were practicing in class, able to stretch further, and enjoying myself more and more. While I attended a yoga class at my college, my roommate also was attending a yoga class at her college as well. We were able to use our own experiences in our own practices at home, as well as at local yoga studios where we both fell in love with hot yoga. I found that I could meditate and clear my mind a lot better in a professional yoga studio versus a classroom and that I enjoyed it even better than the class I was already attending and enjoying. Though the semester is coming to an end, I can now take the knowledge I’ve learned from this class and bring it into future classes and my future yoga practice in general.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

TOLT #? – If I Could Turn Back Time

It’s been a hot minute since I posted on the blog and even longer since I posted a Think Out Loud Thursday post. I mostly stopped doing those because Amanda at Running With Spoons just suddenly went MIA after my last post. I still haven’t been able to find out where she disappeared to in Canada and if she’s ever coming back. So, on I press with my summer and my blog….. Continue reading “TOLT #? – If I Could Turn Back Time”

Finding a Mindful Approach to Exercise – Guest Post

I haven’t gotten around to posting the stories from my Spring yoga class yet, but I’m starting today. Here’s a great one from someone who wasn’t a stranger to yoga on the first day, but still walked away with something new.

Yoga has always been a familiar concept to me since I can remember. My mom and dad both have done yoga since I was little, and we were always very active as a family. I danced my whole youth, and loved it, but got burnt out about half way through high school. I had began running cross country and track and was fully immersed in the team and decided to quit dance. My body took naturally to running, and it came easy to me. I loved it! After running extremely hard for four years my body began to show it. My ankles were shot, and I had developed some severe asthma and cardiovascular issues. I knew that I could not continue running at the level I had been, and just decided to forfeit any kind of physical activity. As I started college, I knew that I had to start moving my body again. I felt jaded towards running, and a friend told me about thirty dollars for thirty days of unlimited yoga at Wilmington Yoga. I had never personally practiced yoga, but I committed to myself to going every day for the full thirty days. I was shocked at how easily I transitioned into developing my own practice. Not only that but I was surprised at how strong my body felt. I had always seen yoga as more of a stretching, and meditative exercise. My arm strength was the best it had ever been, and I felt so confident. I continued to practice yoga on my own, but less and less as the years went by.

This past summer when I was signing up for classes I saw yoga offered, and remembered what a great experience I had had with yoga in the past and signed up! I felt very welcomed in the class and comfortable. Coming into the class I had practiced yoga before but never really understood the different kinds of yoga, which poses were helpful for flexibility or strength, I was just told how to do them. I think as with anything you can develop a deeper level of appreciate if you know why you are doing something and how it can benefit your body and mind. I learned so much more about the mental aspect of yoga in class than I expected. It was helpful to connect the poses with focusing my mind on my breath. I also enjoyed how we were guided through different exercises and meditations, like the affirmations and mindful eating. It helped to experience it on my own than just being taught about it. Since the class was only once a week, I did not practice as much as I would have liked. I still felt stronger in my body and more mindful and knowledgeable after taking this class. It has encouraged me to think more about my words, actions, and thoughts towards myself and others. I feel that I also really benefited from the mindful eating exercise and gained a lot of awareness about some disordered eating habits I was beginning to develop. I have also made it a priority to move my body every day in a meaningful way. Even if that doesn’t look like going on a five mile run that’s okay. I have been able to listen to what my body needs and come to terms with that. More than anything this class has just challenged me to think differently about what “exercise” looks like, and how to be mindful of my thoughts on health.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.