TOLT #75 – The Daily 10

So, remember way back when I did the Sun Salutation Challenge? I wondered what would happen to my yoga after it ended….and I found out.

Well, I stopped doing my yoga and it has cost me dearly! Last summer I killed it at running for A LOT of the summer. This summer, not so much….what’s the difference? Well, firstly is that last summer I was coming off of a great semester of teaching yoga, I was teaching yoga twice a week in the early mornings, and I was teaching Summer I and Summer II yoga. I was mad about yoga at the time and I knew that the fall semester would change my activities. Continue reading “TOLT #75 – The Daily 10”

Meditation Monday #52 – My 108 Sun Salutations

Welcome to March!

I’ve been sitting on this post for awhile now….unsure of what all to write and which day to post it under. I’ve got a lot to write about this week and so I thought I’d start here with some yoga. Last fall I started building up to performing 108 consecutive Sun Salutations. Don’t know what a Sun Salutation is? Check out my post about how I do mine here. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #52 – My 108 Sun Salutations”

Meditation Monday #51 – Impromptu Meditations

Last Thursday my youngest didn’t want to go to school….it’s preschool and to some people that doesn’t “really” matter. However, I have to go to work on the days that he goes to school. I specifically scheduled work while he was in school so that I don’t have to have childcare any more. I also pay for his preschool and it’s not cheap. At preschool he’s learning A LOT of important lessons and by making him go to school (even when he doesn’t want to), I’m trying to teach him another lesson: sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.

On Thursdays I usually workout after I am done teaching. Sun salutations or swimming are the norm, but this Thursday I had another matter to deal with: parking ticket. I went to the parking office and appealed my ticket. I won. It was a good day. This left me some extra time before the little guy was done with school. Because he hadn’t wanted to go in the first place I had promised I would pick him up early. Once I arrived at his school I thought about the importance of two things: keeping my promise and his need to be in school the full time. I opted to pick him up only slightly early (I’m usually one of the last parents to arrive for pick-up) to meet both.

So, I took a seat on the bench outside the school. It was a nice day and no one was around. I sat in Sukhasana (easy pose), closed my eyes, turned my face up to the sun, and started an impromptu meditation. I haven’t spent enough time meditating lately. I’ve done a lot of journal writing, which has been good for my soul, but is not the same thing as meditating. I decided that day that I needed to just listen to the world around me and within me.

In general I recommend that you have a focus for meditation before beginning. However, I know the need for impromptu meditation is strong; especially in the world we live in today. So, I encourage you to take the time today to be in the moment. Give yourself the present of impromptu meditation…..maybe even this minute. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and listen. Listen to the sounds around you (or lack there of) and be aware of your present surroundings. Listen to the voices in your head (don’t think about them, but hear them passing through). Listen to your body and all the things you ignore that are both good and bad. And, if like me, allow yourself to smile or cry or both.

Life is tough for me these days….hence the reason I stepped away from the blog mostly. However, life is also life and being alive is good. Impromptu meditation reminded me that warm sun, the sound of garbage trucks/traffic flowing by, and the ability to breathe freely are all great things in life because it’s life itself.

Happy Monday! You’re alive!

Please feel free to share your impromptu meditation moments or any other thoughts in the comments section below.

The Home Stretch

Wait a minute…..MapMyRun, Where is my Q3 Performance Report?!

Just this last week I realized that I had never done a post at the end of September about where I’m at and what I’ve achieved so far. I mean I did the Q1 for 2017 and the Mid Year Performance Report, but I have checked all of my emails and there’s no Q3….

So, with just over 2 months to go in 2017 I thought I would give a quick update and set out the plan for the home stretch of this year.

Mileage totals as of October 25, 2017 – 333.7 (prior to today’s run) Mileage consists of runs, walks, jogs, bikes, and swims

Sun Salutation Progress – Today is the “half-way” point to 108, although I do have to modify some of the poses from time to time to accommodate sore shoulders

Lifting – I have successfully completed 3/4 lifting weeks since starting the habits project. It’s all light weight (and I will be doing a video for it in an upcoming WOW post), but it’s something that I am able to keep relatively consistent at the moment.

Swimming – I have only missed one day of swimming since I started (due to shoulder pain) and am working hard on learning to breathe to both sides.

Going forward:

  1. November will bring back 3 days/week running along with Wednesdays being specialized for speed
  2. Mileage goal by the end of the year is 500 (my most mileage ever!)
  3. Weights will remain a Tuesday thing
  4. Swimming a Thursday thing
  5. Still on track to hit 108 Sun Salutations on Thanksgiving Day

Still need to register for my spring race….although it’s been decided. Come back next week for more WOW Yoga videos. Until then:

Where are you at on your 2017 Fitness Endeavors?

Workout Wednesday #11 – Sun Salutations

I bet you thought I forgot about you….I haven’t, but I have missed “chatting” with you this week. I promise more to come! But, for today, let’s workout…

You may or may not remember a long time ago on the blog when I started talking about wanting to do a Spartan Race some day. I was attempting to do Burpees. Well, Sun Salutations are the Burpees of the Yoga World (something I say a lot). (You can click that post to see a graphic of the Sun Salutation I teach here.) So today, for your viewing pleasure….Sun Salutations!

Check out Traci’s 108 Sun Salutation post here!

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.

Tone It Up Tuesday #4 – We can tone on Wednesdays too……

My Tuesday got away from me as often happens to various days in my weeks. I feel as if a migraine is coming on any day now as I’ve been suffering from a lot of pain in the back of my head and neck area. I have even had weird moments where my arms fell asleep while laying on the couch. So, yesterday I was going to talk to you (on the real Tone It Up Tuesday) about ways to realign your posture, but I’m just not feeling that topic this week, so I’m going with my original plan on this rare Tone It Up Wednesday. That just doesn’t have the same ring, so expect it to be back on Tuesday next week.

Remember back in July when I learned about the Spartan Races and started doing lots of burpees despite the fact that my husband walked in on me doing some and began laughing? Well, I decided to start with something I knew a little better than burpees and work my way up. If you’re not into the jumping part of burpees, but would still love a lot of the same strengthening benefits, then I have the workout for you: SUN SALUTATIONS!

Sun Salutations are essentially the burpees of the yoga world, but in a slower controlled manner of practice. They involve a series of movements linked to an inhale or exhale that have some aerobic benefit. You can definitely get your heart rate up while doing sun salutations! You will also gain a lot of strength and flexibility in the process. What could be a better anytime workout?

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • A space to move around in at least as long as you are tall
  • Bare feet so that you have some grip
  • A surface that is easy for your feet to grip to – usually a yoga mat would be recommended, but if you don’t have one, a towel might work as long as it won’t slide around on the floor you’re on

I recommend that most people begin with what is commonly referred to as the Half Series or Modified Sun Salutation Series:

Begin at the top in child’s pose, then slowly inhale into a modified plank position. Here you’re looking for some of the same alignment principles as you would in the standard plank. Align your ear with your shoulder with your hip and your knee. Keep your elbows soft and the tops of your feet in contact with the floor. As you finish your inhale and begin to exhale, slowly lower your body down into a hover over the floor or all the way down to a prone (face down) position. My pic here isn’t that great because the rear end is high in the air and not maintaining the strong torso alignment of the plank position. At the end of your exhale and as you begin to inhale, lift through the upper back (without using your arms to push the body) while opening the chest upward into cobra pose. At the end of your inhale and as you begin to exhale, push back through the heels of your hands to return to child’s pose and then repeat the cycle.

This will build strength through the upper body, upper back, abdominal muscles, and improve breathing while also providing some mental release. I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to try this series unless you have one of the following contraindicated conditions:

  • Chronic knee pain or problems
  • Diagnosed disc disease, spondylolysis, spondylolistheses, or lumbar lordosis
  • Wrist or shoulder issues
  • Women who are in later stages of pregnancy (the weight of the uterus can put pressure on the abdominal muscles during some poses while other poses will put pressure on the growing fetus)

If you’re in a good routine and consider yourself fairly strong through the upper body, core, and legs, you may want to try out the full sun salutation presented here:

Here you want to begin in a standing position known as mountain pose. It’s basically a pose where you stand with your feet hip width apart, arms relaxed at your sides, and the proper alignment of ears/shoulders/hips/knees/heels from a side view. To begin, inhale and raise the arms up overhead with a slight back bend through the bra line, then exhale as you fold forward keeping the knees soft as you reach for the toes. As you inhale again choose one leg to step back into a low lunging position as the hands touch the ground if they aren’t already there. Exhale as you step back the other leg and raise the hips behind you into downward facing dog pose. Inhale as you roll the body forward into a full plank position and then exhale as you lower down into down plank or all the way to the floor. Inhale again into either cobra as described above or a more challenging variation, upward facing dog. In up dog your flat hand and tops of your feet are the only parts of the body in contact with the floor while the rest of the body floats strongly off of the floor with a slight back bend. Exhale as you roll the feet over and return to down dog. On your next inhale, step your foot forward into a lunge on the opposite side, then, exhale back into that standing forward fold. Inhale as you roll yourself up one vertebrae at a time with your knees soft and exhale into chair pose (a standard squat). As you inhale coming out of the squat, return to the raised arm mountain pose and repeat the cycle. At the end of your cycles, exhale to lower the arms back to the starting mountain position and breathe slowly to ground the body into a good standing posture.

This series builds strength in EVERY area of your body, but is not right for everyone. You can even sub in elements of the half series through the bottom part of the cycle. Here are a list of the conditions for which the sun salutation may not be right:

  • Low blood pressure (for standing postures like mountain and chair due to the possibility of blood pooling in the legs)
  • Glaucoma, retinal problems, hiatal hernia, sinus infection, head colds and sciatica (for the forward fold and down dog due to the pressure created by placing the head below the heart and forward fold for the stress on the hamstrings)
  • Knee problems (for lunges and chair)
  • Wrist and shoulder issues (for down dog, plank, down plank, and up dog, for weight placed in those areas on purpose or with incorrect positioning in down dog and for upward mountain and chair by raising the hands up)
  • Women late in pregnancy due to the weight of the uterus pulling on the abdominal muscles (for down dog, plank, down plank, and up dog)
  • Back injury and diagnosed disc disease (for forward fold, up dog, and the back bend of the upward mountain because of the stress placed on those areas)
  • Persons with headaches or insomnia (eliminate chair from the series)

Don’t let the long list drive you off. It’s very easy to modify this series to move with how your body moves and you move at your own breathing pace. You can even stop and rest for a few breaths in a pose which feels really great to you. This is a really great way to wake up in the morning, get your body going again when you need a mental break, and also to slow yourself down and stretch out before bed.

As we approach these cooler fall days: