Workout Wednesday #9 – Yoga Prop: The Wall

Do you know what a yoga prop is? It’s a tool that allows you to do your yoga better or differently. For most people practicing yoga involves a mat, music, and the occasional instructor. Other yoga props that people may be more familiar with include:

Some people are scared to use props because they think that it’s not “REAL YOGA” or that it makes them look weak. Not true! Props are essential for some people and may be the only way for them to experience yoga at all (think Chair Yoga). These props are great, but even more important thank all of the others (for some participants) is the WALL!

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…

Have you tried props yet in your practice?

Why or why not?

Workout Wednesday #4 – Beginners’ Yoga Sequence

So, this morning I did it…..I got up when I heard my kids up; I got ready; I committed to running before the rain; and I did it! Now it’s rainy and gloomy here and my body feels awful because I haven’t slept well and I’ve been terrible about exercise.

It’s been 5 weeks since my last run and I’ve only done 3 all year, but running is not my only measure of success. I’ve snuck in a few walks, I’ve been HIITing, and Yoga has been there for me A LOT lately!

For today I’m sharing with a you a video I made today, by request, of the yoga sequence that I did last week with my CFCC ConEd Beginner’s Yoga class. Ann and Kelly…..here’s to you! Enjoy!

No modifications are offered in this video, so remember that you should only work within the limits of what your body can reasonably do without being guided directly by an instructor. Hope you enjoy and Namaste!

Workout Wednesday #3 – Intermediate Yoga Flow

So, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I had a total brain lapse as to what day yesterday was…. to re-iterate what The Bloggess had to say this week:

This week is hard, y’all.

Just imagine it’s still Wednesday…..

After a great start via this weekend, I have fallen down a little. I chose not to do my HIIT workout on Monday (I’m doing it Friday instead) because I knew I’d taught all weekend and was going to Defy Gravity on Tuesday to jump my heart out….and I did. Plus, I attempted several different elements on the Ninja Warrior course and almost dunked a basketball on the warp wall trampoline. And today I’ve skipped my run in favor of tomorrow’s long day of yoga (I’m going for a long run Saturday instead). This has also left me with low motivation for making you a new workout video, so I thought I’d share one that’s “old”, but new to the blog:

Remember that you should only work within the limits of what your body can reasonably do without being guided directly by an instructor. Hope you enjoy and Namaste!

How is your week shaping up?

Workout Wednesday #2 – Breath of Joy

Last Thursday my classes at CFCC started the semester with breathing exercises. We end that first day with the Breath of Joy which I mentioned back in my 30 Days of Yoga post. They leave to start the new semester feeling awake, energized, and smiling big (mostly because it’s one of their first silly things I ask them to do in class).

Last night I was struggling with what to share today for my second Workout Wednesday post/video and during the Farewell Address by President Obama, it came to me: Breath of Joy! Why? Because it makes you happy and this week for me has been about being happy. See Monday’s post for more on that…..and without further ado:

What makes you happy right now?

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 #4 – King Pigeon Pose

I tried again yesterday after my post to go back and get a video of My Donkey for you to give you two videos today for the price of one….but he was still gone and I had to come home. So, instead, enjoy this gem on how to prepare your body for King Pigeon Pose!

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 that need treatment.

Here is a photo of the full version of King Pigeon Pose well executed and where I hope to be someday!

Please share with me your own stories of King Pigeon Pose!

Training Plan Tuesday #2- 3 Part November and 30 MORE Days of Yoga

Is anyone else confused about why it’s almost 80 degrees on the first of NOVEMBER?! Well, I guess I have to keep the shorts and t-shirts in the rotation for awhile longer and with that in mind, let’s talk about the new month. It’s TURKEY TIME and here is my 3 part training plan for this month and a third stab at 30 Days of Yoga. If you read my recap yesterday, you’ll see that October didn’t quite hit the mark….. Continue reading “Training Plan Tuesday #2- 3 Part November and 30 MORE Days of Yoga”

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!

Currently September 2016 – The Yoga Project

Biggest Pet Peeve – Posts that don’t post on time!

So, it’s Friday the end of September and I’m sure some of you are wondering: How did the 30 Days of Yoga go?

Well, it went better than expected and reignited my love of a daily yoga practice so much that I have a new plan for 30 Days of Yoga in October! But we’ll get to that in a minute. First a little reflection on the process.

At the beginning of the month my practice was heavily focused on the Asana and Pranayama limbs of yoga, but I ended up spending the end of the month in Dhyana….meditation. In total I meditated for 16 days this month using the Gates book and finished the section on Yamas just in time for the end of the month. The biggest portion of my meditations were spent on the idea of Aparigraha or Letting Go. There’s a lot of that needed in my life, but the best part of letting go was opening space for something new…..for more yoga!

This week’s meditations and reflection on the month, in particular,  have taught me that I still have some work to do on the Yamas. It’s a daily struggle and not something that comes easily in certain areas.

  • Nonviolence
  • Honesty
  • Nonstealing
  • Moderation
  • Nonhoarding

Which brings me to October and the start of the Niyamas…The Sustaining Practices.

How will I be sustaining my Yamas? By having 5 Yamas Friday for the month of October.  I will look back at the week and reflect on the best example of me living My Yoga Life through the Yamas.

How will I be sustaining my physical practice….my Asanas? Every odd numbered day of the month I will be working on the first of the three poses that I wanted to master this year. October’s Pose of the Month will be Garland because it pairs best with the knee recovery exercises I’ve been working on. I also plan to take pictures along the way to chart my progress.

How will I be sustaining my Dhyana? On the even days of October I plan to meditate using the Gates book. It has taken me 795 days to get from the intro of Meditations from the Mat to Day 61 in the meditations. I had planned to finish that book in one year and now it seems necessary for my continued progress in life.

So, expect updates along the way and 5 Yamas Fridays each week. Come back Monday for Mini Movie Monday – Exercises for My Back! I hope you have a great weekend and Join Me for 30 Days of Yoga October!

How are you living the Yamas?

How are you sustaining your yoga?

 

The Yoga Report

meditationI am still finding time to meet the demands of my self-imposed 30 Days of Yoga challenge, but finding it harder to make the time to write about it. Some of that is because it’s a personal practice and sometimes I just want to do it and not mention that I did it. Other times I just allow life to get in the way of writing.

So, here’s a quick recap of the practices I did last Wednesday through Sunday and my plan for this last week of September. Continue reading “The Yoga Report”