Tag Archives: fitness

Run Yogi Run

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I’ve been running lately. I know many of you are very passionate about it, but I can’t honestly say I enjoy it, yet. I began running to train for an event next year, the Warrior Dash, a 5k with many cool obstacles along the way. But what is bringing me back to running my three mile loop 3ish times a week is getting out of my comfort zone, enriching muscles in my body that may be otherwise neglected, and getting into the rhythm of my feet. Doing yoga, Hot Power Vinyasa specifically, has helped my endurance and strength so much. I cannot say enough about the benefits of this practice, I was shocked when I first went for a run and went 3 miles! This confirms something I truly believe- Whatever you do, yoga makes you do it better.

I follow many bloggers who are experienced runners. It is an empowering form of moving meditation. Stay tuned for some simple yoga moves for runners, don’t skip your stretching!

Does anyone have any tips for a yogi starting out on her running journey?

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Defy Gravity

Yesterday I tried aerial conditioning at Lab5 Fitness in Capitol Hill. I was excited, this is a new thing not many places offer. Basically you perform core strengthening moves supported by long, non-stretchy straps suspended from the ceiling. This intensifies a lot of regular exercises. For instance, doing a crunch with the strap on your sacrum leaning back forces you to lift about 60% of your body weight as opposed to a normal crunch’s 30%.

It’s a difficult learning curve, so I think the second class would feel much more like a typical workout as opposed to experimentation. In yoga, we learn to trust our limbs. Our arms holding us up in handstand, our leg balancing us in warrior III. Trusting the extra appendage was difficult for me. Even though the teacher insisted it could hold up to 3,000 lbs, it was hard to fight my natural instincts and put trust in this accessory.

My favorite part of class was being upside down, shown here, you lean back with the strap around your sacrum and wind your legs above you. In this position, even the smallest movements are challenging because you are supporting the weight of your entire upper body. It was amazing to do wheel and bow pose with the strap holding you, you could really see the range of motion in your spine without having to hold yourself up.

In the end, we ‘cocooned’ ourselves for a five minute savasana. It was amazing, your own little microcosm, rocking you gently back and forth. It was fun and different, if it’s available in your city give it a try. Be fearless!

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Asana of the Week: Flip Your Dog!

Flippin’ the dog

I couldn’t find a specific Sanskrit name for this, but I believe it’s a variation of Camatkarasana or ‘wild thing’ pose. A beautiful heart opener and upside-down-dog. I fully intend to bring this into a full wheel some day…

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Yoga for Cyclists

On Sunday my father and I went to a “yoga for cyclists” seminar hosted by teacher Kelli Refer from The Grinning Yogi in Seattle. I do not cycle, but my retired father rides every day, about 100 miles a week, sometimes more.

One thing I know for sure- whatever you do, yoga makes you do it better. So, I dragged him to the seminar, thinking something catered to cyclists would be a better time for a somewhat inexperienced yogi.

It was a great seminar, it was obvious the girl leading it had spent much time and energy writing and illustrating a book of yoga poses and breathing techniques for a cyclist.

Everything was very appropriate for the typical cyclist- there were sequences for 2 minutes and 5 minutes. Modified half sun salutations, quads, heart openers, and hips were emphasized.

At the end I asked what two stretches would be the best to do. I couldn’t imagine my father in our garage busting out sun salutations. She decided on a modified ‘wing pose’ and a modified dancer’s pose. My very favorite stretch was a super intense quad stretch we did by placing our shin flush to the wall and bending the opposite knee.

We all left with a poster and information sheet to refer to.

Kelli’s official Yoga for Bikers blog is here.

Buy a copy of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe here.

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asana of the week- wheel

my wheel… more of an ellipse.

Chakrasana

Oh yes, we’re back-bending on this fine Friday. I recently did a yogathon at Urban Yoga Spa– two hours of hot power vinyasa, two hours of hot hatha, and two hours of yin/yang yoga. Sometimes I think I’m a special brand of insane. During the first two hours of power vinyasa, we did 5 wheel poses.

The teacher, Odessa, quoted Baron Baptiste saying: “Wheels are like pancakes. The first two are never any good” So we did two more. And when called up for the fifth, she invigorated us with another Baptiste quote. “This last wheel…is the difference between walking out of this room, and FLYING out of this room.”

I can’t say no to that, I want to fly.

  • Begin setting up for bridge pose, heels drawn close enough to the sit bones that you can brush your heels with your fingers.
  • Bring your hands mat-width next to your ears with your fingers pointing towards your feet.
  • Press into the four corners of your feet, inhale and on your exhale life your tailbone to the sky.
  • Push firmly into your hands and forearms to lift yourself up. I like to take a little pit-stop with the crown of my head on the floor, so I can go up with strength rather than momentum.
  • Draw the shoulder blades down the back, straighten the arms as much as possible.

More articulate instructions here.

Troubleshooting. If you think you’re going to die, stick with bridge for a while strengthening your back by NOT clenching your glutes. If your low back is yelling at you, make sure your feet are parallel in a number 11 and experiment walking them closer or further from you.

More. Come to your tippy toes, bring one leg into your chest and straighten it to the sky. Repeat on the other side. If this still hasn’t got you sweating, try some wheel pushups by simultaneously bending arms and legs…as if you’re doing an upside down pushup on the ceiling?

I’m still perfecting this one, any tips?

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fuel I

I do yoga every day. While intention, self care, positive thinking, etc. are all good ways to drive a healthy practice, you have to remember that this is work, and your physical body has needs. Being a physical practice, you need protein(not too little, not too much), hydration, and overall proper nutrition to keep you going.

I am a vegetarian, so many people ask, “where do you get your protein?” This is easy. I drink smoothies every day, and add in my SunWarrior Protein. This is a raw, vegan protein that is not only for people with dietary restrictions, but any person who works and plays hard. I eat almonds, and protein rich whole wheat bagels.

Hydration is also really important, especially for those of us who do hot yoga. You always over-estimate how much water you drink, but I think 120 oz. of water is a good place. It sounds like a lot, but your body needs it! I also often drink a coconut water before or after class and hungover mornings. My favorite brands are Harmless Harvest, or if you are in Seattle you can pick up an Evolution Fresh coconut water at any starbucks. And of course, straight from the coconut!

This video (a promo for SunWarrior) does a great job of explaining just why plant-based protein works so well.


I don’t mean to throw a lot of product placement your way, I just wanted to make some healthy suggestions on fueling your practice. I love these products and will only ever write about products I love.

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sex cells


Last post I talked about was about some real, honest-to-goodness, less than perfect bodies doing yoga. Now let’s talk about this controversial video posted by Equinox, a luxury gym popular in Los Angeles and New York. Briohny Smyth is the scantily clad yoga instructor featured in the video that has put a bee in the bonnet of the yoga community.

It has to be said- the yoga in this video is remarkable. Her body is flawless and her alignment is outstanding. Some of the things she does seem to defy gravity, and personally it inspires me to work harder to experience these amazing benefits that yoga allows. I am not prudey, I think her body is a work of art and it was probably a serious, conscious decision to dress her like she is. I don’t know why anybody would be offended by that aspect of the video- if you’ve got HBO you’ve seen worse.

Yoga being accessible to everyone is important. I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated by these beautiful freaks of nature like  Briohny Smyth. Yoga is not just for fit, flexible, skinny people. However we must consider who Equinoxs’ audience is. Equinox is known for its cutting edge workout strategies, (IntenSati, Urban Rebounding) and a plethora of ‘celebrity’ trainers and yogis such as Smyth. They attract the wealthy, athletic individual who wishes to perfect his or her body in an ilitest environment. That, to me, is far from the intention of yoga.

So it seems, it all depends on your perspective. I see it as inspiring and artful, while people considering beginning a yoga practice may find it intimidating. I hope all viewers can keep an open mind and maintain sense of self while watching this. Cheesy as it is- I like to respect that my yoga practice is a journey, not a destination. It makes accomplishing goals more gratifying and helps me appreciate all of the small successes along the way.

Someday I’ll have a perfect handstand, until then, I’ll work with what I’ve got.

What do you think?

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