Category Archives: Blog

Letting Go

Many of you know that I have had several bummer life events happen to me within in a 3 week period this year. Without getting into the details of my circus, I want to write about how I am choosing to deal with it all.

Letting Go

We have all heard that we need to let it go, but what does that mean? I must admit that there have been many times in the past when someone has said this to me. Albeit true, I just wanted to let them go because I wasn’t ready to hear those words in that moment. So, what am I choosing for today?

Pray – For me, it’s not just the obligatory first item on a checklist. Going to God in prayer is a way for me to examine the situation while also appealing for serenity. A couple of the remainder of my list are closely related to prayer, but they are distinctly different in that they effect an inward focus.

Breathe – God gave us the breath of life. In a previous blog, I mentioned how controlling your breath can calm, center and give you confidence. Since I already went into detail I won’t say more than this: simply breathing can bring quiet to your soul.

Meditate – I am still in the beginning stages of this. However, I have seen amazing changes is my perspective. I choose to think about the positive outcomes. I choose not to be negative. I actively reject the inclination to retaliate with deprecation. Instead I try to see the big picture. Does it really matter? I attempt to remove myself from the situation and look at it from that ‘outside’ perspective. I talk more about meditation in my Savasana blog.

Get Active Studies link exercise, even small amounts, to reduced feelings of depression, higher energy levels, etc. It doesn’t have to be hard. Go for a walk, run, bike ride or do yoga. It can be as simple as reaching down and gently stretching your legs or twisting your torso. Don’t overthink it. Try to be outside in nature if possible. Work out the negativity. Read my blog  Balancing Your Workout for more tips on how to stay active. 

Find a Support Group – Although this is last on my list, it is not less important. The great thing about this is you can make this official (like an AA meeting) or unofficial (like your friend coming over for coffee) depending on what your specific needs are. This blog would not have been written without the help of one of my good friends talking me through it or my husband editing it – they were my unofficial support group. If you don’t have a support group, find one. Even if your life is perfect, you can help other people (and then email me and tell me how to have a perfect life)! You do not have to face life all alone. Somebody has experienced something similar enough to your situation that they can listen to you, at the very least. You are important and have a voice. A person or group with similar goals or interests can help you find that voice.

If you are a person of faith like me, you have scripture** running through your head about each of these topics. That is wonderful! Meditate on those things. What if you choose to have no faith or a different faith than mine? Can you still benefit from these suggestions? I believe you can. Ultimately, it is your journey, and only you can choose your path. Will you still be sad, hurt, lonely, depressed, angry, frustrated, etc.? Yes, and sometimes it can be healthy to feel and express those emotions. Just try not to let these things determine your situational reactions, especially when dealing with people who have nothing to do with the cause of those emotions (e.g. your family). Allow yourself to make the better choice of a positive action/reaction for your well-being and the well-being of others.

Now, let it go and enjoy the rest of your day!

**This isn’t necessarily the purpose of my blog, but since it’s a part of who I am, I cannot separate it from myself. If you find yourself wanting more in the way of scripture or study that relates to this topic (or any topic), email me, and we can talk about it.

February Blog

If this were a “life blog” it would be on procrastination. Since it is not a “life blog”, I am going to answer the most popular question I get about yoga.

What is the best yoga pose or sequence of poses that I can do?

In general*, the answer I give is Cat/Cow flow is the best flow to do daily if you are just starting a daily practice.

Cat Pose: Start in a neutral horse position: on your hands and knees with your shoulders over your wrist and your hips over your knees stacking your joints. On an exhale, round through your spine as if you have a string in between your shoulder blades pulling you up toward the sky. Keep your abdominals engaged and your navel in toward your spine. Your tailbone and crown of your head are pointed downward toward your mat.

Cow Pose: From Cat Pose, on an inhale extend your spine so that your tailbone and crown of your head are going up toward the sky. Your joints are still stacked one on top of each other. Your shoulders are away for ears.

To “flow” you move with your breath. Inhale with cat and exhale with cow. It does not have to be rushed. If you need more than one breath in any pose, take it. If you exhale in cat and inhale in cow, no big deal. Just continue to breathe. To modify, make fists stacking your fists and wrists under shoulders or try Cat/ Cow in a seated position just rounding through your spine. You can also place a blanket under your knees for added comfort. As you continue with your practice, you may want to add a downward dog, hip circles, child’s pose, etc. Have fun with it.

Of course, the “best pose” depends on the individual. What does your body need, and what is your body telling you today. While there isn’t really a single “best pose” for everybody, Cat/ Cow is a great place to start. Even if you are a seasoned yogi, it gives you a couple of minutes to think through your routine and warm up your muscles.

Email me or comment below and let me know how your journey is going.

 

 

*The caveat, as with any generality, is that this completely depends on where you are in your fitness journey. If you are a pro athlete, I probably wouldn’t give you this answer. If you are 95 years old with back problems, I probably wouldn’t give you this answer. Usually people that ask me this aren’t currently doing any exercise, but they are interested in this ‘yoga thing’ they keep hearing about.

Hello Jan 2017

Many of you made New Year’s resolution. If you read my last blog, Goodbye 2016!, you know that I do not personally make New Year resolutions, but I set goals throughout the year. However, I wanted to encourage you all to attain your goals by addressing a topic that I frequently get asked about.

FADS

Yes, the fitness industry is an industry. Businesses do want to make money. Here are some questions that can help you decide which fitness plan or program is right for you and which ones are just passing fads.

  1. What do I need in a facility or program? BALANCE SERIES #3: BALANCING YOUR WORKOUT discusses this in detail.
  2. What is the purpose of a move or pose? Not every move is for everybody. Sometimes you can change a movement or do a totally different pose to work the same targeted area. Sometimes you need to avoid certain target areas (see the next point).
  3. Is it safe? For me this is the key. It is not safe for someone who has never done yoga to try a headstand in their first yoga class. ON that note… Saunas are great! Yoga is great! But Hot Yoga is not necessary. In any yoga class, you should perform a warm up to build heat in your own body. If you’re already hot, you can overextend yourself and cause injury. It becomes more difficult for you to be aware or your own body and any limitations you might have when you have external factors also acting on your body. For example, you can become dehydrated without realizing it. IF you are 20 something or younger these may not be concerns for you. You rock your own workout! Another example is Cross-fit. Just like Hot Yoga, Cross Fit is great if you have developed the stabilizing muscles to perform the exercises (and to perform them in high intensity bursts). But it is not worth injury! Not only will you potentially have medical bills, but you’ll also a gym membership that you can’t use and a goal you can no longer meet.

I’m not trying to be a downer. Fads or intense exercise programs in themselves are not necessarily bad. They get you moving and can help you get through tough life decisions. There is no right or wrong just an awareness of your own body. That awareness concept extends to any physical activity . What motivates you and why? That connection of the mind, body and spirit.  I hope this helps you on your journey. I would love to hear from you either in the comments below or via email.

Related Articles

Why the mind matters

Developing self awareness 

Goodbye 2016!

Supported head stand: I did it!

Being as this is my last blog of the year, I’m going to take a moment to enjoy the successes of the year. Upon reflecting on my failures and accomplishments this year, I noticed that I hit one of my goal poses: The Supported Head Stand. It took me 4-6 months of practicing and strengthening the necessary muscles to nail it. Disclaimer: you should always build up to poses of this nature – you can’t just pop into them without risking injury. This is not something anyone new to yoga should try.

Check out my first Video!

New goal pose: Hand stand!

New Year’s Resolutions

This is the time of year when some start thinking about improving themselves in the New Year. Here is some food for thought as you begin forming your resolutions.

It may seem ironic given the subject of this blog, but I do not make New Year’s Resolutions.  Why not? I believe, generally speaking, you are in control of your own life. I realize you cannot control the seemingly random events nor the actions others take that change the path of your life. However, you do have the power inside of yourself to make choices that put you in positions where there is a probability things will happen the way you intend.

I also question the premise of waiting for a New Year. If you see something that will make your life better, take action now. Don’t wait! After all, none of us are promised the random acts of life won’t take our tomorrow away. It is important to set goals and work toward them throughout our lives, no matter what time of year it happens to be.

I don’t want to be too much of a downer. If New Years is what it takes to get you thinking about improving yourself, then by all means take full advantage of it and make some resolutions! I’ve included some thoughts below to help you with that. This is what I use to help me set goals throughout the year.

Prioritize!

I think we sometimes set ourselves up for failure by making too many New Year’s resolutions. If you do make New Year’s resolutions, consider limiting how many you make. Pick the top one or two things you want to make better and make them your goals. Once you achieve them, set new goals. If you spread yourself too thin, you will have a lot of half met goals, and that could lead you to feeling like a perpetual failure and giving up entirely.

A, B, C

Consider setting goals with varying levels of difficulty.

‘A’ goals would be stretch – if you’ve never exercised, maybe an A goal would be to run a marathon. It’s definitely possible, and if you achieve it you have accomplished a great thing and should feel a deep personal satisfaction. My A goal is to be able to do a Scorpion.

‘B’ goals are still challenging but easier than ‘A’ goals. In my previous example, if you’ve never exercised before, maybe your ‘B’ goal is to hold a plank or dolphin plank for 1 min. Again, definitely possible and much easier than Scorpion or a marathon, but it still takes effort and accountability.

‘C’ goals are your fallback. These should still require effort, but it should be easy enough that you can at least point to it as an accomplishment if you don’t meet your ‘A’ or ‘B’ goal. It may be as simple as making your bed every day. No matter what that day brings in terms of success or failure, at least you have accomplished that first task. That feeling of accomplishment builds and helps you with the next task.

Think About the Future!

When you consider your New Year’s resolutions, think about more than one year. For example, if you stop smoking or get your debt under control, the effect of accomplishing this goal will be magnified over the remaining years of your life. Consider questions like these: What could be a consequence of a choice that I make today? Is this really what I (we, for families) want? How much do I (we) have to sacrifice to get there?

I know our plans breakdown sometimes when things happen outside our sphere of influence. Life happens! But when it does for me, if everything else is in order, I know that I am calmer and can put more energy into resolving the chaos at hand.

Holiday Special

If your resolution is to get active, email me and let’s chat about how I can help you. If you are in the midst of chaos now and need to do some venting on the mat, check out my Holiday Special.

 

Supported Chest and HEART Opener

Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday. It is the only American Holiday set aside to give thanks for ALL our blessings.  While I am grateful for this Holiday, I think we should show (and feel) gratitude every day. There are several yoga poses that can aid us in this endeavor. While pretty much any heart opening pose or meditative pose will work, I want to concentrate on Supported Chest and Heart Opener.

cheast-opener

How

Grab blocks, bolsters, pillows, blankets and whatever helps you to relax. Begin in a seated position. Place a block on the mat directly below under your shoulder blades. Place a block (or several blocks depending on your own flexibility and comfort) and/or a thickly folded blanket under your head. You may like to elevate the top of the bolster (where your head is) with blocks for a slightly gentler variation. With your feet flat on the floor, bend your knees and slowly roll down onto the blocks and/or blanket using your hands and forearms to support you as you roll back. Rest your arms with palms facing up in a receptive and open state and slowly straighten your legs. Keep your arms extended alongside you or place a hand on your heart and one on your belly as you rest and breathe in this position.

Focus on breathing deeply through the diaphragm, allowing the breath to open your chest and heart for approximately 3 minutes. To transition out of this pose, slowly roll to the right and remove the props from the mat. Hug your knees to your chest for a few breaths, then make small circles by rolling your knees around – this should massage your lower back. Roll up to a seated position.

Variations

If you don’t have any of the props listed above, you can roll up a yoga mat or a towel and place it under your underarms. You can also try rolling a blanket into a long, narrow prop and putting it under your spine so it supports your back and head. This should allow your chest to gently open. The towel doesn’t have to be thick or bulky. The idea is to provide a small lift, which should give you some great results. More advanced practitioners may deepen the back bend by removing or re-positioning blocks into a lower level or letting the head go back past heart level.

Why

Just as you can practice a figurative heart opening in your thoughts and emotions, you can also experience opening the heart space in your physical body. When you feel threatened, be it by pain, a challenge, or pressure to perform, you usually hold your breath or start to breathe in shallow, erratic patterns. This can cause muscle tightness in your chest and can restrict the normal movement of the diaphragm. By practicing slow, gentle expansive breathing while in simple, pain-free positions such as Supported Chest and Heart Opener you can combat the stress of the crazy holiday season or a regular day at the computer.

I am currently offering a holiday Special for you to give this gift of fitness and relaxation to yourself or a friend.

Other links

Opening the Heart

Yoga Sequence for Gratitude

7 Yin Poses Gratitude

What Are the Benefits of Yoga Chest Openers

Chocolate, Calories and Yoga…

Do you have Halloween candy in your house tempting you every moment? By the time I finish writing this blog I pray I only eat 1 piece. I will keep you guessing how many pieces of candy I eat while writing. Happy reading!

The Numbers

According to Hershey’s there are 87 calories in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup package. So, if you just eat one that’s only 43.5 calories, right? (Who eats just one?!) While the number of calories a person burns doing yoga or any other form of exercise depends on several factors, I looked up how many yoga classes you would need to burn off that calorie intake.

Simplemost has an article about how many calories you burn doing different types of yoga. The range is between 175 and 550 calories. Of course, the more you put into exercise the more you burn. For a typical beginner of Hath yoga, 175 is a good estimate. So now you are jumping up and down because you can eat 2 packages of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. That is 4 peanut butter cups!

BUT before you do, let’s look at a few other factors. What are in those calories? So I do not repeat myself, check out my Blog Balance Series #5: Balancing Your Menu. Everything is a choice that YOU make. Would you rather eat 4 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or  SOMETHING else around 175 calories that IS healthy?

Another question to ask is ‘How would this make me feel?’ There is not a right or wrong answer, just an honest introspection. It is not BAD to eat candy. That is not the point of this blog. With moderation and a support group we all can improve our lives and the lives around us. Yes, that can mean with chocolate.

Let’s face it, we have excess and should try limiting our consumption. To do that I am trying to get most of the candy out of the house. Of course, I keep a small part of it to use as bribery (for the kids and myself, too).

How I Get Rid of Candy

  • Give to Teachers. Yes, they have a bribery system too, and teachers love getting gifts.
  • Try to buy the healthier options to give out. Things that contain dark chocolate, peanuts or peanut butter or pretzels are usually healthier. Then, if I have any leftovers, I will have healthier options to choose from.
  • Look for ANYONE who may need a, ‘Yes I care’ and try to brighten their day by giving them candy.

How I Try to Avoid Gaining the Extra Pounds

  • Positive Thinking – Thanksgiving and Christmas are yet to come. It is way too early to start putting on pounds (I guess that’s half-negative, but you get the point).
  • Bike/Walk – The more active I am, the more calories I will burn. Plus, I’m not spending money on gas or polluting our beautiful city. It’s hard to gain weight if you are constantly moving instead sitting in a comfortable chair when you travel from Point A to Point B.
  • Make Better Choices – I try to drink more water, be more active and eat more vegetables. There are consequences to all actions. My Hubby is my support on this one because once he gets something in his mind, he doesn’t let it go.

The good news is that we can control the quality of our lives to some extent.

To help you in this food crazed time of year I decided to run a SPECIAL. 2 private (tailored to you) or semi-private (tailored to you and one friend) sessions for $99. That’s less than $50 per private session or less than $25 per person for a semi-private session. Buy it for yourself or as a gift for the holidays. Email me @ humblewarriorerin@gmail.com for more information.

Other Articles:

Fitness for Weightloss

 

Savasana

Savasana/ Final Relaxation/ Corpse Pose

Some people have noticed that I haven’t written in a while. It has been since June 30th to be exact. My explanation: savasana.

How

Lie on your back or in any position that gives you total comfort and relaxation. Let your breath return to its natural rhythmic cycle. Continue to release stress and tension, finding peace and calm within yourself. For added comfort, place a small pillow or towel behind your knees or your head. You can also try placing your feet flat on the floor and bending your knees inward, allowing them to lean against one another. Stay in the present moment breathing naturally and completely relaxing.

Why

By way of example, God rested on the 7th day, not because God needed to rest due to exhaustion but because He took time to enjoy what He created (Genesis 1:31).

The psalmist wrote, “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still” (Psalm 4:4) and “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Even if you aren’t a Christian, you probably know the importance of rest and relaxation. Generally, in our society we are deprived of quiet – a time to be still. Without stillness, the brain and the body become increasingly unable to relax, focus, and learn. I am no doctor, but I wonder if the rise in ADHD correlates to the ubiquitous stimulation our kids have today with the internet, TV, cell phones, etc.

For some, being still and quiet can be scary or awkward. It can be scary because we are left only with our own thoughts. Awkward because we have been trained that we must fill that silent void. Here are a few suggestions to help you still your spirit, body and mind.

  • A heavy or weighted blanket
  • Lavender or a scent that promotes tranquility (but be careful not to overstimulate yourself with scents – the point is relaxation)
  • Eye pillow to block out visual stimulation
  • Focal point such as a fire, candle, painting, etc.
  • Calming music (like with scents, take care not to overdo the music)
  • Guided meditation
  • Try relaxing in a different pose such as starfish, easy seated or butterfly

Conclusion

I was busy with my family and needed to rest in order prioritize my life. That meant the blog got a backseat. I love yoga. I love my blog. This journey has been a blessed one. However, I sometimes need to step back, breathe and grow.

Some say that Final Relaxation is the hardest thing to practice in yoga. Before you start packing up your mat at the end of class and skip out, consider how important it really is and give it a chance. It may just change your life.

Please comment and add to the list of helpful suggestions to relax, meditate or rest.

Related Articles

Weighted Blanket

 

Mommy & Me Yoga

Many of you know I started venturing out this summer with some Mommy & Me Yoga.  Being a mom of three, I know that there are not many venues for younger children. My first session in May was a success. Thanks to all who participated. We had five families show up to The Wellness Studio. There were siblings and Grandparents there pretending to go camping. June was also a success. I had one smart little girl, who loved any and all attention given to her.  Although the attendance was low, we had a wonderful time pretending to be at the beach. The next and LAST session of the summer is coming on Saturday, July 9th.  Please click on this Mommy & Me Flyer link for more information. I don’t want anyone to miss out on the next adventure.

If you register online before July 5th, you get 1/2 off your first private session with me. That is a $30 value.  Let’s fill the studio!