Category Archives: fitness

Get Clean

I haven’t been good lately. I’ve been strictly vegetarian for sure.. but I’ve been a booze-atarian bordering on drunkorexic. I’ve fallen into the same trap as millions of people. Working 60 hours a week resulting in eating shitty food, lapsing in self care, and self-medicating with beer, chocolate, and even vegan junk food I trick myself into thinking is healthy.

I will never be happy being just okay. I know from being on a high raw diet for years that my mind and body can do extraordinary things when I give them the right care. I believe a good diet can cure my chronic inflammation, help me shed unhealthy belly fat (the worst kind!) and help me be a more peaceful, happy person.

What prompted this was on Thursday I reached a breaking point. I knew my pathetic work/life balance (if you could even call it that) was not sustainable and my body felt like a dark heavy lump I was dragging around from job to job. A couple tears and $70 at Whole Foods later and I made about a gallon of green juice that I am nearly finished with after two days. I feel so much better.

Here’s the plan. February 28 starts the detox and rehabilitation process.

GOALS:

  • Fresh green juices: At least one a day. Other fruit/veg juices are bonus but getting the greens in is essential.
  • Green Smoothies: Daily. I already do this almost every day but having this goal will keep me on track.
  • 30 minutes of meditation a day: This is a huge goal and a time investment for me. After my vipassana retreat in 2013, my meditation practice has been confined to the 5 minutes of Savasana after yoga and the couple minutes when my eyes are closed before I fall asleep. 15 minutes, morning and evening. I will make time for it.
  • Practice yoga 5 times per week.
  • Work-out/Lift weights 2-3x per week: I feel 100000x better when I do this.
  • Strive for a high raw/paleo diet. Cutting out grains, dairy, legumes, processed sugar. I am not cutting out alcohol or coffee but I’m going to try to keep it to a minimum. Wine, cocktails with soda water and lemon or lime, and when possible fresh fruit juices.
  • Supplementation: Apple cidar vinegar, Algae Oil, trace minerals, and turmeric DAILY. These are things that have been recommended to me from healers but I haven’t quite been able to commit to, even though they’re sitting in my cupboard. It’s time.
  • Sunday Technology Detox: Take sundays off to be with friends, alone time, play the piano, practice yoga, rest. Keep phone/computer time to a minimum and don’t work.

February 28 I will weight myself, take measurements and photos. Because who doesn’t love a good before and after post?

Any suggestions, encouragement, words of wisdom?

love always,

little windmill

Advanced Poses with Blocks

Learning advanced poses can seem overwhelming and discouraging at times. Using blocks can help you build strength in these poses and just simply feel the shape of the pose.  Shamelessly allow the blocks to be an extension of your pose.  Here are a few ways you can use blocks to deepen your practice and learn some new poses.

Peacock:

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Pincha Mayurasana/Forearm stand: Holding a block between the hands reminds you to keep pulling inward and keeps your elbows from bowing out.

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Sukhasana Hover/Jumpbacks:craig-2

Hanumanasana/Splits: Most blocks have three different heights so you can adjust to the level of openness you’re feeling on any given day.

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Shoulder squeeze/Titibasana: Having the block as insurance takes away some of the fear of falling when trying poses like shoulder squeeze and firefly.craig-5

Bakasana/Crow Pose: Use a block to rest your forehead on and ‘teeter totter’ on until you find that sweet spot of balance.

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Koundinyasana A:

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Handstand Challenge

handstand

Handstands and inversions in general have always been a problem for me. I’m not sure if it’s self trust, or just fear of having my hips over my shoulders, but I’ll elaborate that in a future post.

I’ve studied friends in inversions carefully and taken various workshops to try to get over the wall, but I can’t seem to shake the heaviness that I feel when I try them. Even jumping forward, I can’t seem to shake the fear of putting the weight of my body into my hands. I excel at low-to-the-ground arm balances, but when it comes to throwing my limbs in the air, it feels exhausting and out of reach.

Today I found this article via twitter from the folks over at Mind Body Green written by Lara Heimann:

Handstand Therapy:
1. Get on all fours and push down into your hands as you lift your belly up. Gently lift the knees off the ground and hover, challenging the arms and core. Lower the knees and repeat 5-10 times.
2. In Down Dog, walk your feet forward 6-12 inches, press into your hands, and keep your collarbones spread. Then walk your feet back. Repeat five times, keeping your hands fully pressed into the floor the whole time.
3. For Down Dog on the wall, first come into a Down Dog with your heels touching the wall. Walk your feet up, ideally at a 90-degree angle. With your neck relaxed and arms pressed straight, roll your biceps in and pull your front ribs and low belly toward your back. Hold 15 seconds, increasing the duration to progress. You’ll likely shake, but this means you’re truly building the strength that you need to hold a handstand off the wall.
4. In standing split, keep your top leg at a 90-degree angle, with your toes facing the floor. Cobra the spine forward, gazing out slightly. Press down into your hands, lift your belly up, and lightly press your bottom foot down to push off. Do not kick your top leg. Focus on pressing down into your hands to get off the ground.
Handstands are fun, and are great for the body and the brain. So go and play!
I am going to make my best effort to practice these techniques at home a couple times a week, and I’d love for you to join me! I need to challenge myself to develop the muscle memory to improve my inversions, even though #3 is my least favorite thing to do and the cause of a near panic attack most of the time. But hey- getting out of the comfort zone is where the magic happens, right?
Handstand inspiration from Kinetic Vigilantes:
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Good morning yogis!

I finally got to watch this episode of MTV’s Made featuring Baron Baptiste! I thought it was really cool how they got some yoga on there at last! This gave me such a warm and fuzzy moment.

Click to watch the full episode! Baron comes in at around 25 minutes

Click to watch the full episode! Baron comes in at around 25 minutes

If you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s a brief-ish synopsis:

The subject of this episode, Derek, aspires to be ‘made’ into a boxer. His father was Smokin’ Joe Frazier, so as you can imagine those are some pretty big shoes (or gloves?) to fill.MTV set him up with a professional boxing coach and a personal trainer that worked with him daily for over a month! He was getting stronger and losing weight, but his boxing was not improving because his father’s death was still too fresh and painful for him. He didn’t have the confidence and drive to fulfill his goal because he was still dealing with his father’s death and the circumstances surrounding it. So MTV brought in Baron. And as usual, yoga came to the rescue! This is where things turned around. Baron spent just three days with Derek, teaching him power yoga and talking through what he had not faced that was holding him back. One of the ‘yes!’ moments(at 29:30) came when he did an assisted wheel pose(baron’s favorite) when he was literally saying, “no way, no way I’m doing that.” Love it! I also have to give Derek major props for really emotionally opening up, especially in front of millions of people. He really exposed a vulnerable part of his past which I know attributed to his healing.

After that, everything started to fall into place. He began winning matches and began feeling lighter all areas of his life.

I just love seeing yoga transform people’s lives!

Yoga on MADE

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The Yoga Recipe: A Resource for Teachers

The Yoga Recipe is an interesting new concept site designed for yoga teachers. A yoga teacher applies for an online ‘shop’ and then creates class ‘recipes’ for other teachers to purchase. There are a limited amount of shops and teachers are selected to give the site varieties of styles and experience. I would love to hear what teacher and students alike think of this idea! It’s certainly intriguing.

The Yoga Recipe is currently in beta mode, but you should definitely check it out! My shop is called Little Windmill Yoga.

About

The Yoga Recipe is a community for yoga teachers to create, share and inspire – all things yoga! Visit www.TheYogaRecipe.com for the full experience.
Mission

Our mission is to create an energy and monetary exchange between seasoned and new teachers that elevates both parties, the yoga community and most importantly the students.

Company Overview

We help make yoga teachers lives awesome.

Description
We are an online marketplace for yoga teachers to upload original content (sequences, playlist, themes, etc), share it with other yoga teachers (via a “shop” that is totally free to create) at a price you set, and earn profits to keep or infuse back into your community via a favorite charity or a non-profit of choice.
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Practicing Jump Backs

I recently attended an Ashtanga class at Salt Room Yoga in Pioneer Square. The teacher, Rhonda, provided a great way to practice jump backs from sukasana/criss cross apple sauce to chaturanga dandasana. I’d always just assumed I’d build core strength in other ways to achieve a jump back, but this is really using different core muscles than you get from bicycle crunches!

  • From sukasana, easy pose, scoot your feet close to your body and squeeze your knees into your chest.
  • Place your hands a few inches in front of your hips.
  • Press into the floor, doing your best to transfer all of your weight into your hands while simultaneously using your core to squeeze your knees and ankles into your chest. Flex your feet!
  • If you’re like me, you’re not quite there yet. So a good way to build strength is to start shuffling your feet under your body as best you can and then jump back to chaturanga dandasana. When you do this, squeeze your knees together so they fit between your arms. OR if you are a little past shuffling, start by taking 2-4 hops on your feet.

When you do this little shimmy, you really feel your core working. I love when a teacher presents a way to practice something that makes something difficult seem much more accessible! Try it out and let me know about your progress!

Kitty-in-a-rolled-up-yoga-mat.

Yoga kitty says ‘have a great weekend!’ Meow!

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Baptiste Yoga – Adventure Time

Tomorrow, I fly to Hawaii for Baron Baptiste Power Yoga Institute’s 7 day Level 1 training. I have NO clue what to expect! We will be at Kalani, a somewhat remote retreat center in Hilo where there will be no coffee. BUT lots and lots of yoga! I’m prepared to feel on top of the world. I have my moleskin, hydration tablets, and yogitoes ready for this adventure. I will update you soon!

Aloha!

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Yoga for Runners

Long down dog on a wall. Gently stretches your shoulders and back.

Long down dog on a wall. Gently stretches your shoulders and back

Low runner's lunge with a quad stretch

Low runner’s lunge with a quad stretch

Dancer's Pose/ Quad stretch

Dancer’s Pose/ Quad stretch

Runner's head to knee pose

Runner’s head to knee pose

Wall dog with a calf stretch

Wall dog with a calf stretch

A bright, 29° Saturday in January turned out to make the best running weather. I know all you runners know this- but it is SO important to stretch after you run! What do you have to lose?! 5 minutes of browsing Facebook or Reddit? In that time you can prevent injury and increase your range of motion and just feel good.

Most agree that it’s not good to stretch cold muscles, so I usually stretch for 5 minutes about 1.5 miles in (good excuse for a rest!) and 15 minutes when I get back. Mind you- I do yoga daily so this is not the only stretching I do. If you are exclusively a runner I would suggest 30 minutes of stretching or whatever you have time for. Yoga is for everyone!

DO’S & DON’TS

Don’t rush it! Take your time to breath into each muscle group you are stretching, aiming for approximately 1 minute per side

Do listen to your body. What’s feeling tight today? Where could you use a little extra love and relaxation? It might even be your shoulders or low back.

Do stretch each side equally. Don’t fudge on the second side.

Don’t force it. Just like in yoga-only do what feels good and don’t try to force your body somewhere it doesn’t want to go. Sensation is okay, but pain isn’t.

Happy Running!

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The 12 Days of Fitness

This is meant to be done every day for the next 12 days, including today and just like the song, adding in moves each day. For example, you’ll start with the 1-minute plank today (you can split it into 6 rounds of 10 seconds on, 3 seconds rest if you’d like) and then tomorrow, you’ll do 2 pushups plus the plank. It’s a great chance to get a strength/cardio blast and increase power for future muscle-burning activities.

12 sumo burpees
11 weighted squats
10 overhead presses
9 lateral lunges (each side)
8 bicep curls
7 tricep dips
6 pull-ups
5 frog crunches
4 toe touches (each side)
3 mountain climbers (each side)
2 pushups
1-minute Dolphin plank (can be 6 rounds of 10 seconds up, rest for 3 seconds)

Let’s have strong bodies, strong minds, and strong hearts going into 2013! This is a routine passed on from Gina at The Fitnessista, the original post is here. You can even sing the song as you go! I know I will… Don’t forget to stretch, yogis! Challenge yourself! I’ll check in with you on day 12.

DAY 1!

DAY 1!