Meditation Monday #40 – How to Meditate: The 5 Koshas (Annamaya)

Welcome to another rainy Monday at the beach. Do you know I haven’t taken my kids to the beach at all this summer? How terrible is that?! Last summer our beach days were play dates and there were many of them, but this summer our beach buddy is also my running buddy and play dates have been of a different nature. *Sadness*

Alright, enough about the rain….today I’m here to talk to you about meditation again. Why? Because it’s something that I’m making a priority in my life these days. Over the weekend I was in Asheville teaching the NETA PT Review Workshop to a great group of people at the Woodfin YMCA. They were wonderful to hang with and chat with and to work with. I love it when I have great weekends away like that!

I had intended to go and scout the 8K course for the race this fall after I got done teaching on Saturday, but it was raining….and I had left my car windows open….and my lunch from Whole Foods was disappointing. I had also missed breakfast and hadn’t drank hardly anything all day. I think the run would’ve sucked if I had attempted it.

Instead I chose to go back to my creepy hotel (don’t stay off of Tunnel Road) and work on the Inclusivity Training and some NETA writing. I experienced some seriously great meditation practices in this course that I cannot wait to share with you! And that motivated me to start back up with the How to Meditate series again today.

So now, after that seriously unnecessary introduction to this post, I want to talk to you about Koshas….which is not a slang way of talking about Jewish foods or pickles. Koshas are the five layers or sheaths of the body; the outermost of which is called Annamaya or the “Food Layer”.

First off, this has nothing to do with the food you’ll eat (we’ll talk about that layer later), but rather with the fact that we all must die someday and (if buried) eventually become food for the earth and other creatures on it. We liken these layers to nesting dolls with each successively deeper layer representing a deeper part of the self. However, unlike nesting dolls, the layers cannot be separated.

Annamaya is most often cared for where people start their yoga practice….with Asana (postural practice). Both Asana and Annamaya deal with the muscles, the bones, the flesh. Consider your Annamaya layer and ask these questions from Rebecca Pacheco’s book:

  • What physical experiences nourish me?
  • When am I most comfortable in my skin?

For me the obvious answer for both is exercise. But, during meditation I often find more.

When am I most comfortable in my body? When I’m taking care of it. And that includes eating well, getting enough sleep, making time to move and rest. Not just exercise, but when I’m playing with my kids and when I’m not thinking about the body and all the ways in which I’ve judged it in the past.

What physical experiences nourish me? The little things like putting lotion on, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth with a new toothbrush, drinking warm tea, wrapping up in a cozy blanket, hugging my children, snuggling close to my husband, holding his hand, laughing with friends.

My Happiness Project is all about my body and I started with health and now I’m working on eating (again), but I am not neglecting the Annamaya layer in this process. Perhaps you should give your Annamaya layer a little more attention this week?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on/response to the questions posed above.

Advertisements

Workout Wednesday #8 – The Ball

Happy Wednesday All! I don’t know about you, but I love my physio ball! I’ve posted a few times about my physio ball

And you can see me use it in my HIIT workouts, but today I want to talk a little more about all the ways you can incorporate it.

Here’s the chart for sizing your ball

And, as always….

While I am a fitness professional with multiple degrees and certifications, this workout is unsolicited, un-sponsored, and not intended as advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything; nor is it an exercise prescription that will meet your personal needs, likes, and abilities. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having health problems and before starting any new exercise routine.

Just curious…

What’s your favorite physio ball exercise?

Workout Wednesday #6 – Loving Your Exercises

I’ve been doing my HIIT routine for awhile now and have missed very few weeks. There have even been a few times that I’ve had to double up on HIITing for the week due to lack of options for running or time. However, I’ve come to realize two things:

  1. I don’t truly love each of the exercises that I’ve chosen as much as I thought  I would
  2. Some of the things I set the bar a little low on

So, changes to the HIIT routine this time around include new exercises and variations on others, but still sticking with 8 exercises for 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 3 rounds. I hope that the next time I’m ready for a change it will be the 4th round!

If you’re interested, I also read this article from ACE the other night

ACE-SPONSORED RESEARCH: HIIT VS. STEADY-STATE TRAINING

it doesn’t seem to matter what type you’re doing, after 8 weeks interest starts to decline….we’ll talk more about motivational strategies, variation, and other principles of training again soon!

And, as always….

While I am a fitness professional with multiple degrees and certifications, this workout is unsolicited, un-sponsored, and not intended as advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything; nor is it an exercise prescription that will meet your personal needs, likes, and abilities. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having health problems and before starting any new exercise routine.

Want more posts on HIIT?

Want more posts on Principles of Training?

What types of exercises would you like to see in Workout Wednesdays?

Workout Wednesday #5 – 5 Favorite Pilates Exercises

Pilates is one of the things that I wish I gave more attention to in my life. I spend a lot of time (until recently) doing yoga and running. I had originally intended to share with you some running warm-up drills, but decided instead to share instead, my 5 Favorite Pilates Exercises in the hopes that it will also help me to get back into the habit of doing them! I am traveling to one of my favorite out of town workshop sites the end of March to teach a Mat Pilates workshop for NETA, so it’d be great if I could get a little more regular practice under my belt before I get there!

Here are a few other posts I’ve written about Pilates in the past:

Prepped

You Mean Pilates Was a DUDE?!

Fast Friday Tips: Nayoya No-No

And, as always….

While I am a fitness professional with multiple degrees and certifications, this workout is unsolicited, un-sponsored, and not intended as advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything; nor is it an exercise prescription that will meet your personal needs, likes, and abilities. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having health problems and before starting any new exercise routine.

Workout Wednesday #1 – Body Weight Basics for HIIT

So, I’m going to try and make this a weekly endeavor to share either a yoga series or some other workout with you. Try being the operative word here as some of these goals have fallen by the wayside in the past. This week I want to share a short video with you of the HIIT routine I am doing.

While I am a fitness professional with multiple degrees and certifications, this workout is unsolicited, unsponsored, and not intended as advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything; nor is it an exercise prescription that will meet your personal needs, likes, and abilities. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having health problems and before starting any new exercise routine.

I decided that I like a very short workout on Mondays to get my week started and not to set myself up for disaster. It’s something I can do in my upstairs, so no need to worry about the weather. It requires little or no equipment, depending upon how you choose to do the exercises. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete and works almost all major muscle groups. I’ve done it twice now and have decided that it will stick for awhile for sure. (I usually know after the first few times if it’s something I’ll keep up.)

Two years ago in April I tried to HIIT regularly for awhile and I enjoyed it, but something told me that I should do MORE and that didn’t workout too well. I had some great links to more about what HIIT training is in that post and I’ve talked about it a few other times in regards to other types of HIIT/Tabata/Interval training. For this go around I found a Tabata timer that I liked and then wrote out 8 different exercises I knew I could accomplish multiple times for 20 seconds each. I am able to complete 3 rounds right now in the allotted time I have each Monday and with how little my body has truly exercised over the last month or so.

After 3 takes and much editing….hope you enjoy!

Have you done HIIT/Tabata/Interval Training before?

What is your favorite short workout?

What do you do to start out the week?

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?

Mini Movie Monday #3 – Exercises for My Back

Welcome to my first official post in October….not counting the non delivered Currently September post that showed up on Saturday instead of Friday as planned. But enough about technological mishaps…today we are here to talk about Yoga and our glorious spines!

As always, this is not advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having problems with your back.

I'm practicing against the wall in order to try and get my feet to face more forward with the heels on the ground, but really I look like the Unabomber as does anyone in a hoodie.
I’m practicing against the wall in order to try and get my feet to face more forward with the heels on the ground, but really I look like the Unabomber as does anyone in a hoodie.

And, in case you’re wondering, I’m off to a great start on the 30 Days of Yoga October. I plan to write more about it later this week, but for today, here’s a hilarious photo I let my 3yo take of me this morning while practicing Garland pose before our run. Have a great Monday and leave you’re thoughts below!

Day 7 – Loving My Leg Day!

Today is my 7th straight day of Yoga! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read here to find out:

30 Days of Yoga

Yesterday I spent some serious time in Wide Leg Forward Bend or Standing Straddle Fold. The pose has a million English names. In Sanskrit it’s Prasarita Padottanasana “prah-sar-ee-ta-pah-doe-than-ah-sa-na“. image-120While there I was contemplating a lot of things, but especially saying to myself….Don’t Judge. But mostly I was feeling my hamstrings and noticing that as I hold the pose for awhile I begin to get weak in the knees…..or rather weak in my holding of the knees. You’re supposed to be long and strong in the legs, but soft in the knees. It’s confusing to be almost fully extended in the knees, but not locked out and I often start to sag.

When I was done with my five minutes of thinking about the quote from yesterday and reminding myself not to judge myself or others, I immediately thought something positive about my legs Continue reading “Day 7 – Loving My Leg Day!”

Mini Movie Monday #2 – Saving my knee

Happy Labor Day to all of you in the US! I can’t believe that it’s already September and that fall will soon be here!

I have been talking all summer about this knee and the weird things that have happened with it. I’ve been telling my friends, my family, and my coworkers/students about how out of whack my body is. So, for today, here’s a little video on some of the yoga poses and other exercises I’m doing before my yoga workouts and after my runs to help with that knee issue. Our next Mini Movie Monday will show you some yoga poses and other exercises I’m using to combat the problem with my back…..

As always, this is not advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having problems with your knees.

My yoga practice update for Labor Day weekend: Lots of deep meditation going on with the Gates book for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday….a post about these is coming tomorrow or Wednesday.