Workout Wednesday: Yoga Inspired

Between working from home and working out, I spend a lot of time (okay, most of my time) in workout clothes or athleasure wear.  This yoga inspired collection is what I'm wearing now, whether it's teaching a class or taking one myself, the fit of each of these pieces is perfect for a studio workout (barre, Pilates, yoga.)

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The Voice

No, not the TV show, but the voice of doubt.  The one that creeps in when you're in the middle of a workout.  The one telling you to quit, slow down or not head out for the workout altogether. I heard this voice, while standing in tree pose during yesterday's yoga class. For those new to the practice, one can practice Tree pose with different foot positions.  The first, is with the toes on the floor and the heel pressing against the inside of your ankle.  The second is with the foot flat against the calf of the opposite leg and the third is with the foot squarely planted into the inside of the opposite thigh.  Standing tall, with the leg planted squarely into the mat, I took my arms above my head, which looked like tree branches.  The swaying is natural, as with a tree, but I felt myself slipping and had to drop my foot in an effort to not fall over.  When I first noticed I was coming out of the pose, I thought to myself "What's wrong with you? You've been practicing yoga long enough that you should be able to do this perfectly, stay still and stand tall."  Every these words would circulate through my thoughts, I would fall out of the pose and get more frustrated.  Ugh.  That voice!

I couldn't ignore it, so I acknowledged it.  I heard it and then imagined the words leaving out the top of my head, similar to a cartoon bubble.  I didn't fight it or tell myself I was stupid for having the thoughts, setting up an internal battle, but focused on my breathing, the strength in my standing leg and smiled.  Sometimes, the small gesture of a smile really does melt away stress.

This is the class where we take our pressed hands to our head, to think nice thoughts, our mouth, to say kind words, and to our heart to do kind deeds.  I left feeling happy and relaxed.

Today is a combo strength/cardio workout; strength first followed by a long cardio session on the trainer (bike).

Happy Friday... Namaste!

 

Yoga-ahhh

Today is my favorite yoga class and it couldn't have come soon enough!  I enjoy the teacher and I find myself looking forward to her class each Thursday.  For me, taking a class, rather than a self guided practice, allows me to do poses that I often leave out of my rotation.  When I do my own practice, I stick to the ones I like and avoid the ones that aren't my favorite.  It's good to branch out!

At this point, I was expecting to jump out of bed with energy in the morning, which I haven't quite found.  I am sleeping better.  Much, much better.  For me, that means sleeping through the night and not having a tough time falling asleep.  Once I climb into bed, I have no trouble drifting off.  That is a huge benefit of a regular workout regimen.

As the unofficial start of summer approaches, with a weekend of pool openings and cookouts, I'm planning a healthier route.  First, is to workout all weekend.  When I'm active, I find that I make better food choices.  Second, stay hydrated by drinking more water.  We often mistake dehydration for hunger, so even a slight hydration deficit can lead to over eating.  Third, eating a nutritional breakfast before heading out to any functions where eating is front and center and making sure I eat fruits and fresh veggies first, before putting anything else on my plate. With tempting desserts, pasta salads and burgers at every turn, it's easy to "go food wild" this weekend.  But, Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance, so by going into the food festivities with a plan, I'll be more likely to come away unscathed!

Until tomorrow...

 

*Image from the Under Armour Be Beautiful Campaign. Inspiring. For more information, click here.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a part of my weekly regimen.  I would like to say daily, but to be honest, it isn't.  It feels good to my body to move and stretch, especially after traveling, and it calms my otherwise busy mind.  The yoga studio is the one place where one doesn't have to compete with the gal on the mat next to you or do the pose perfectly.  Sometimes, the mere fact that you're in the class is enough to calm the racing thoughts and relax the tense shoulders. While yoga doesn't torch as many calories as a spin class, it does alleviate stress and creates a mind-body connection.  When we're stressed, our bodies go into fat saving mode and produce a hormone called cortisol.  The fat saving kicks in, especially around our belly, to protect our organs.  When we practice yoga, we focus on what we are doing in that moment, not the issues or worries that are waiting for us outside and are able to relax.  The deep breathing helps to clean our blood of toxins and postures such as twists, help us to detox our organs.  The balancing postures help us to strengthen each side of our body, as most of us have a dominant leg, arm and hand.

Most gyms have yoga classes and yoga specific studios offer new students a discounted rate to try out a few classes.  (Not Bikram which is more strenuous to the body or Ashtanga which is not ideal for beginners.  Look for the words Hatha, Vinyasa, Sivananda or Flow yoga).  And if you're new, tell the teacher so she/he can help you with poses and alignment.  We all started somewhere and were all new in our first class!

Off to do my yoga... Namaste!