I am hoping that Mother Nature read my post yesterday and realizes that after all this snow and cold and rain, we need some balance with sun, blue skies and warm temps. Soon!
Hope you are all doing well and for those of you on the east coast, you are staying warm, cozy, and safe today in this winter/spring weather.
Yesterday I taught a "Mini-Yoga Mala" to my college students. On the equinox and solstice, it is common tradition to practice a Mala which is 108 sun salutations. Since I only have 75 minutes with my students, I offered them an abbreviated version of 27 sun salutations. Three rounds of 9 salutations each. We used "balance" as our overarching theme for class and then had a separate dedication for each of the three rounds.
Today I share these three dedications with you as a framework for establishing some balance. Remember that the beginning of this challenge is all about creating a healthy mindset and keeping it all simple.
Here are the three dedications:
*Let go of the past.*
*Practice being present.*
*Practice patience and create space for our intentions to manifest."
1. Think about what you wrote or considered yesterday. Where and what are the imbalances that you hope to work on?
2. Set aside 5 minutes today to create three statements using these intentions and the area of imbalance.
My imbalance is sleep. I need more to balance what I do during the day.
Here are my three intentions:
1. I intend to let go of past habits of staying up late to do work, answer emails, read messages on my phone.
2. I intend to listen to my body's cues and go to bed when I'm tired (of course this is after my children are tucked in...which means I gotta get them to bed earlier too!) :-)
3. I intend to make small changes to my schedule and my nightly routine to let my sleep habits improve over time.
1. Maybe you already exercised or worked out today or maybe not. If it's still on your "to-do" list.....get 20 minutes of movement into your day somehow. Use my ideas from yesterday or make time for the gym, a walk, or some snow-shoveling!
Have lovely afternoon.
Here we go friends. First day of Spring and our Spring challenge.
These first few days will be all about mindset and simple acts.
Today is the vernal equinox which means equal night and therefore most of us will have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. Balance. In the fall we get another day like this called the autumnal equinox. Balance.
I hear this word "balance" all of the time. It frequently comes up in conversations with friends, family, clients, and students. "It's hard to find work-life balance." "I'm trying to balance my job and school." "Gotta balance my budget." "Can you balance on one foot?" "I lost my balance and fell."
Seems like a lot of people are striving for balance whether it's to feel more stable, calm, steady, less-stressed, etc. It's not an easy task. Between work, family, school, finances, personal health, and more, it can almost seem unattainable to feel "balanced." I mean if we use the earth and sun as our models, it's even challenging for these two celestial bodies. There are only 2 days out of the entire year when they are in "perfect balance."
This week we will take time to consider this idea of balance and what it means to us in our daily lives. The Spring Training challenge is all about YOU and working on something in your life for 30 days....with the support of all the other awesome participants here. I'm going to give you suggestions, ideas, motivation each day and help you with accountability. It's the first day of Spring and a chance for a refreshed mindset, a clean slate and an opportunity to create positive and healthy change. And maybe find some balance. :-)
(there are two...one intention and one physical)....
1. Set aside 5 minutes to reflect on your day, your week, your year so far. Is there anything that feels perhaps out of balance? Is the see-saw tipped in one direction more than the other?
2. Identify one or two aspects that might feel out of balance. 3. Create a statement that can take these areas of imbalance and spin them in a positive and intentional way.
4. Write it down. Somewhere you can see it. Or share it to our group facebook or instagram page.
Let the statement start like this: "I would like more balance...
Example of imbalance: "I am usually exhausted everyday."
Balance Statement: "I would like to have more balance between sleep and awake time so I can feel healthier and more present during the day."
1. Move your body today for at least 20 minutes. Go for a walk, jog, bike ride. Do 20 minutes of yoga. Take the stairs all day at work. Do squats and lunges every 10 minutes at your desk. Move your body on purpose for 20 minutes.
I've got lots of fun planned for you over the next few weeks. Today we keep it super simple.
1-2 statements and 20 minutes of movement.
Have a fantastic day and Happy Spring.
I wrote and posted this several years ago however I recently was speaking about Ahimsa to my yoga students and thought I'd bring it back as a gentle reminder to be kind to ourselves.
Don’t Talk That Way About My Wife.
Two years ago, a friend of ours (let’s call him Matt) came over to borrow our bike pump. He and his wife (let’s call her Jane) were going to start biking as a way to get back into exercise. They dragged their bikes out of the garage and had flats in all the tires. We loaned the bike pump to them and they proceeded to inflate their tires in our driveway. As they talked about biking and going for a ride, Jane made a derogatory comment about her size, her weight gain and riding the bike. Without missing a beat, Matt looked up from the bike pump, stared her straight in the eye and said: “Don’t talk that way about my wife.”
A bunch of thoughts flew through my head as soon as I overheard Matt’s words.
First thought: “Awwwww….what a sweet, good husband.”
Second thought: “What an amazing way to gently point out to someone how hard they are being on themselves.”
Third thought: “Isn’t it sad how easily and readily we can be hard on ourselves? Putting ourselves down and saying things that we would likely never say to a friend, family member or even a stranger.”
Would Jane ever walk up to her neighbor who was going to ride a bike and say “Your fat butt is not going to fit on that seat” ? My money is on NO. She would never ever say that in a million years to another human. So why could she say it so easily about herself?
Now in Jane’s defense, she was likely nervous and a little uncomfortable. Making fun of herself could’ve been the easier thing to do than to admit that she was anxious. And to her credit, she got on that bike, went for her ride, and that was the start of what eventually became a total body transformation for Jane. But what has always struck me about that encounter were her words and what her husband said to her. “Don’t talk that way about my wife.”
We, all of us, need to stop bullying ourselves. I hear women and men almost daily talk negatively about their bodies and minds. “I’m too fat to work out.” “I’m slower than you.” “I’ll never look like that.” “I’m disgusted by the scale.” I’m gross.” “I’m ugly.” “I’m not smart enough, thin enough, tall enough, fast enough, strong enough, etc." Fill in the blank. Just typing these insults makes me feel like crying. These are hurtful, unkind words, yet why can so many of us go there in our heads so easily? Again. . I would bet my house that none of you would say any of these words about your friends, your kids, your spouses.
As a parent and a former school teacher, I have had a lot of anti-bullying education. We teach our kids about bullying and how to report bullies, how to stick up for the kid who is getting picked on. But what do we do when the bully is us? And we are picking on ourselves?
DON’T TALK THAT WAY ABOUT MY WIFE.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali offers 10 guidelines for living a yogic lifestyle. The Yamas and the Niyamas. If you have been in any of my classes, you have heard me talk A LOT about the first Yama, “Ahimsa.” Ahimsa means non-violence. Non-violence in our thoughts and actions. Another word for non-violence is kindness. Kindness in our thoughts and actions. Initially, many of us might interpret this as being good to others. Treating others with kindness and love. Trying not to hurt others. However. in order for us to love and show kindness to anyone else, doesn’t it make sense that we have to be kind and good to ourselves first?
There was a time in my life, back in my teens and through my 20’s, when I would pinch the skin on my waist and feel disgusted. Others would see it as skin, but I saw it as fat. Even though I have always been athletic and fit, I was able to find things wrong with myself physically. If anyone could’ve eavesdropped on my mental conversations, they would’ve been shocked at how hurtful and cruel I could be to myself. Retrospectively, I chalk a lot of this up to youthful body image issues, low self-esteem, trying to figure out who I was, how I fit in. Without delving too deeply into my psyche, I’m grateful, so very grateful that I have been able to shift my perception of myself over the years. Yoga, having kids, facing down a life-threatening illness have all helped me quiet that negative self-talk and encourage my more complimentary and positive mind-chatter. Getting to this point required me to shift my focus towards all that I COULD do…..all the positive aspects of my life…and softly move away from those negative thoughts. Without knowing it, I have thankfully adapted my friend’s attitude and I try to speak to myself the way I would talk to a friend or loved one.
DON’T TALK THAT WAY ABOUT MY WIFE.
Today I challenge you to shift the way that you think about yourself and the way that you look at yourself. If you feel some negative chatter floating to the surface, see if another thought can intervene. How can you spin that mean thought into a kinder, softer one? Think about what you would tell a friend. Think how nice you would be if you were talking to your child, your neighbor, your grandmother.
Be good to yourselves in your thoughts and actions friends. Try it. You will like it.
My birthday is December 22nd.
Tim's birthday is February 22nd.
22 was my H.S. soccer jersey number.
22 is my favorite number and the theme for this workout.
22 exercises. 22 reps.
Super duper good fun.
Warm up: 5-8 minutes of your favorite cardio/dynamic stretching movements
Equipment: light hand weights (3-8 lbs) , mat, YOU
1. 22 squats
2. 22 alternating forward lunges
3. 22 jumping jacks
4. 22 alternating reverse lunges
5. 22 alternating overhead presses
6. 22 bent over rows
7. 22 anterior deltoid raises
8. 22 pushups (good times!)
9. 22 side-lying leg lifts (target outer thigh muscles here...abductors)
10. 22 side-lying leg lifts (target outer thigh muscles here...abductors)
12. 22 alternating leg v-ups (weight over chest, lift upper body and one leg up and touch weight to toe, then lay back down and repeat with other leg)
13. 22 chest press on floor (option to hold bridge while pressing weights over chest)
13. 22 mountain climber legs while holding plank
14. 22 moving bridge lifts (hold bridge and lower hips down and up, engaging glutes)
15. 22 wide squats
16. 22 burpees (more good times!)
17. 22 alternating side lunges (step out to the side, hips/knees/toes turn in direction of lunge to side, slight hip hinge, step feet back together and step out to other side and repeat)
18. 22 high knees
19. 22 bicep curls
20. 22 overhead tricep extensions
21. 22 v-sit twists
22. 22 alternating knee drops while holding forearm plank
Warm down/stretch: 5 minutes
A ladder drill is a progressive reps workout and a nice way to mix up your strength routine.
This format can get tough so feel free to modify how far up the "ladder" you climb..remember you have to come back down again. This workout could be modified if you are in the gym and have access to either cable machines or other strength equipment.
Equipment: dumb bells (medium weight), resistance bands, mat, a workout buddy (optional)
5-8 minutes of cardio/dynamic stretching (squats, lunges, arm circles, etc.)
2 reps of each exercise, then 4 reps, then 6, then 8.
If you have the time and ready for more, come back down the ladder starting at 8,
then 6, then 4 and 2 reps of each.
1. Wide squats
2. Overhead press with weights or bands
(stand on band, hold handles and press up over head)
3. Side lunges
4. Single arm lat pull downs with bands
5. Partner squats with bands (loops bands with partner, step away from each til there is good tension and sit back into squats...if you don't have a buddy, then loop the band around a pole, tree, etc)
6. Partner rows with bands (loops bands with partner, step away from each til there is little tension when arms are fully extended. With a little bend in the knees and engaged core muscles, draw the handles back, bending the elbows, engaging the mid-upper back muscles and let the elbows slide close to the rib cage in a row, then return to fully extended). Again, this could be performed without a buddy and using the band looped around a pole, tree, etc.
7. Push ups
8. Plank with mountain climber legs
9. Bicep curls
10.Tricep dips off a bench, chair, curb (or overhead tricep extension with weight)
Warm down/Stretch: 5 minutes at least
This is a variation of an AMRAP ("as many reps as possible") workout that my clients and students love to hate. :-)
Set a timer for 8 minutes and work through the exercises and indicated reps as many times as possible for those 8 minutes.
As always, feel free to sub out the exercises for your own based on equipment availability.
Warmup 5-10 minutes
5 pull ups
15 jumping jacks
(repeat for 8 minutes then move on to round 2)
5 plank rows
10 chest press
15 cable core press
10 lat pull down
15 tricep dips
5 bear crawls
10 good mornings
15 high plank/low planks
5 goblet squats
10 bicep curls
15 med ball slams
Warm-down/Stretch: 5 minutes
This workout was created by one of my awesome students this past semester. It's an intense workout so feel free to cut the work times down and increase the rest times as needed. Enjoy!
Equipment: Plyo boxes (or bench/platform), mat
Warm up: 5-8 minutes on cardio machine of choice
WORKOUT: (1-3 rounds)
Warm down/Stretch: at least 5 minutes
Equipment: Cardio machine, free weights, weight machines, cables
Warm up: 8-10minutes on cardio machine of choice/dynamic stretching
WORKOUT: 8-12 reps, 30-60 sec rest in between exercises). Run through the entire sequence and repeat OR complete 2-3 sets before moving on to the next round.
REPEAT from the top! :-)
Warm down/Stretch: at least 5 minutes
Equipment: Cardio machine, bench or platform, free weights, resistance bands
Reps: 8-12 per exercise.
30-60 seconds rest in between exercises
Sets: 2-3 sets
Warm up: 5-8 minutes cardio and dynamic stretching (arm circles, squats, lunges, etc)
Workout (complete in order, 8-12 reps each, repeat.....2-3 sets total)
Warm-down/Stretch: at least 5 minutes
Warm up 8-10 minutes
dumb bells (choose heavy enough so that 8-10 reps is challenging yet possible), pull up bar (or machine) , bench or box, resistance band
2-3 rounds....either go through the whole sequence and repeat. Or stick with one muscle grouping and knock out 2-3 sets and then move on. Your choice. Enjoy!
Back/Chest : 8-10 reps....with 30-60 sec rest in between exercises
Shoulders: 8-10 reps
Legs: 8-10 reps
Arms: 8-10 reps
Warm down/ Stretch at least 5 minutes
Welcome and thank you for visiting this site. I'm happy and grateful to have a place where I can write about fitness and wellness. In addition to blogging about exercise and sharing workouts, I also use this space to tell 200-word stories about the inspiring and amazing people I encounter in this career. I look forward to sharing as many of these journeys as possible, and would love to hear from you if you would like me to tell your story. You can contact me anytime. Thank you so much for your interest and your effort. Think fit...be fit...stay fit! You are stronger than you think. #STYT