I hope everyone had a blessed and wonderful holiday celebration with their loved ones. I am sure you ate great and now have a little belly action as a result. I am here to tell you that all is not lost and give you some small tips to help you get back to feeling great!
If you have not already started enjoying the weather we are having in Chicago, please go for a light 15-20 minute walk. This will get you started by warming up your muscles and allow you to fully reap the benefits of a post-holiday workout. Make sure you drink lots of water prior to and after your walk.
After you go for your walk, you are going to need to stretch out those muscles you just warmed up. Nothing too major, you can do a toe touch, hamstring and calf stretch and make sure to stretch your arms and neck as these can be the tightest areas in your body and where most people carry their stress.
From there, you should begin with setting your intention: “Today I want to workout for (choose your time frame).” Then, begin your workout. I’ve listed below some exercises you can use in your practice; however, you are more than welcome to create your own workout.
- Jumping Jacks: 3 reps of 15
- Squats: 3 reps of 15
- Lunges: 3 reps of 15 on each leg
- Arm Circles: 30 forward & 30 backward
- Push-Ups: 10-20 (or however many you can do with proper form still intact)
- Plank: Hold for 30 secs – 1 minute
- Alternating Push-Up Plank: 3 reps of 15-20
- Tricep Dip: 3 reps of 10-15
- Hip Raise: 3 reps hold for 20 secs each
- Sit-Ups: 3 reps of 10-15
- Leg Spreaders: 3 reps of 15
- Supine Bicycle: 3 reps of 20 to each side
Cycle through each exercise and rest for 30 secs – 1 minute in between reps. You can also take a rest for 15-30 secs every time the exercise switches focus to a different area of the body.
I hope you find this helpful and that you have a great new year of healthy choices in front of you. Enjoy!
Knowing how to begin can sometimes seem difficult and overwhelming. It feels like no matter how hard you want to start, you can never find the time to do so. Does that sound familiar? I have an easy way to help you get started and stay on top of your new (or help to improve upon your current) yogi lifestyle practice. These suggestions are so easy to follow that you can start right now today.
For starters, you will need a few supplies if you do not already have them. They can be found in most stores and online:
- A yoga mat 🙂 okay that one was obvious
- A blanket or towel
- A strap, or you could use a belt
- Two yoga blocks
- A calendar, you will need a paper one and you can use an app
Make sure your calendar is where you can see it everyday when you wake up and go to sleep. We have to first start by making a schedule. Do you already have a morning routine? A night time ritual? If so, you will understand how using a schedule can come in handy. If your calendar does not have already have it, feel free to begin by writing out your typical day in half-hour increments. From the time you wake up, say 5:45 AM, until the time you go sleep around 9:30 PM.
Now look for times when you are the least active. Whether is first thing when you wake up, or part of your lunch break, or before you eat dinner. All you need is 15-20 minutes of time to squeeze in your yoga practice. Write in the times you plan to practice yoga for a week, making sure you have a time scheduled each day.
If you plan on doing some morning yoga as part of your routine, you can do some easy stretches and poses right in your bed before doing anything else to help you wake up and feel energized for the day. If you plan on doing yoga during your lunch break, make sure you do it before you eat. You can do some simple office chair poses and stretches. When you get home for the day, you should schedule your yoga practice before you have your dinner. That is, should you choose to schedule your evening yoga practice.
Did you notice the pattern there at all? Yoga should be performed on an empty stomach. You of course should drink water to stay hydrated; however, you will do some inverted poses and it is best not to have food on your stomach.
Once you have your schedule together, then you will want to duplicate this process each week so that you can fully embrace your yoga practice.
Chakra – The Sankrit word for wheel or disk
In terms of Ayurveda, yoga, or meditation chakras are the energy wheels that are aligned along the spine; starting at the base of your spine and going all the way up to the crown of your head. There are seven (7) main chakras and the energy that travels between the chakras is called Prana — vital life force energy.
When your chakras are balanced, energy flows seamlessly through your body and you feel great. However, when your chakras are imbalanced, one might experience things such as headaches or anxiety. The seven (7) main chakras are:
- The Muladhara is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. It encompasses the first three vertebrae, the bladder, and the colon. When this chakra is open, we feel safe and fearless. This chakra is represented by the color red.
- The Svadhisthana chakra is our creativity and sexual center. It is located above the pubic bone, below the navel, and is responsible for our creative expression. This chakra is represented by the color orange.
- The Manipura chakra means lustrous gem and it’s the area from the navel to the breastbone. The third chakra is our source of personal power. This chakra is represented by the color yellow.
- Anahata. Located at the heart center is at the middle of the seven and unites the lower chakras of matter and the upper chakras of spirit. The fourth is also spiritual but serves as a bridge between our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The heart chakra is our source of love and connection. This chakra is represented by the color green.
- The Vishuddha chakra is the fifth chakra, located in the area of the throat. This is our source of verbal expression and the ability to speak our highest truth. The fifth chakra includes the neck, thyroid, and parathyroid glands, jaw, mouth, and tongue. This chakra is represented by the color blue.
- The Ajna chakra is located in between the eyebrows on the forehead. It is also referred to as the “third eye” chakra and is our center of intuition. We all have a sense of intuition but we may not listen to it or heed its warnings. This chakra is represented by the color indigo.
- The Sahaswara chakra or the “thousand petal lotus” chakra is located at the crown of the head. This is the chakra of enlightenment and spiritual connection to our higher selves, others, and ultimately, to the divine. This chakra is represented by the color violet/purple or white.
Well, I finally did it. I had decided that yoga was for me a long time ago. It’s low impact and keeps me exercising. Back in 2008, I fractured my spine and for a long while could not hyper-extend my back. Now I’m working on a backbend again! It has definitely been an exciting and trying road, but one I could never regret. I love sharing knowledge and I can’t wait to really put my certification to use and begin teaching yoga to others. More excitement to come!!
Okay so this is the day I cheated myself. I ate late, more than once and had beers and cocktails. Oh My!
Not a great idea, but everything I had was amazing. I found a hidden gem near my house! Our very own neighborhood brewery! One way to keep your stress down is to just go in your neighborhood and try a place you’ve never been before. You are allowed a reward day for all the hard work you put in throughout the week. I definitely did that. Fridays are usually the day I pick. After a long week of work and all the tasks that are completed, sometimes it’s really needed.
Splurge days are always fun, just have to make sure not to overdue it. You don’t want to feel horrible the next day because you stuffed yourself the night before. It’s best to still enjoy things in moderation. Rewards are needed when you workout and eat right all the time. You treat it as an incentive to keep up the good work going forward. So make sure you set a splurge day to reward yourself and your health will continue to improve.
Ever wonder why there are so many ways to take of not only your body, but your mind and soul/spirit too? Well I found something that pretty much lays everything out there for you in a nutshell. These findings in the photo shared are actually what motivated me to want to share the information I’m learning. I myself, have already begun to follow some of the suggested ways mentioned in the photo below. I struggle with inflammation, insomnia, depression and anxiety and also finding out what would help me combat these ailments and still lead a healthy and productive life.
Now as always, the information given is just a suggestion (or a stepping stone). However, I encourage you to try incorporating some of these soulful ways into your life and routine. They literally make a world of difference. Let me know how it goes.
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest healing systems, beginning in India over 5,000 years ago. Its principal belief is that all things are connected, whether living or not. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translates as “the science of life” or “the wisdom of life” or “the knowledge of longevity”. According to Ayurveda, in order to be healthy your mind, body, and spirit have to be aligned and balanced with the universe. Being healthy is not just the exclusion of disease in the body.
Ayurveda has a few basic principles:
- Reaching your unique state of balance in your whole being (body, mind, spirit) is fundamental to your well-being.
- There are 3 doshas (that describe who we are): vata, pitta, and kapha – I’ll get into these more in future posts.
- If you are imbalanced, get rid of what’s causing the problem. If you are still experiencing imbalances, counteract with opposite (ei. spicy foods cause indigestion so eat something less spicy).
- Always support your digestive system, it is here that the good nutrients is absorbed and the bad waste is expelled.
- The universe is made of the 5 basic elements air, water, fire, earth, and space.
When you hear about Ayurveda, mostly it’s about learning about your body’s unique composition of the principle energies (doshas) and keeping them balanced. Vata (space & air) is the energy of movement, pitta (fire & water) is the energy of digestion or metabolism, and kapha (earth & water) the energy of lubrication and structure.
It’s a common concept that gets tossed around in numerous situations. With so many reasons to be negative, we have to find it in ourselves to be positive everyday and not let things get to us. It’s sometimes harder to keep positive on a regular basis, especially with all the crazy things that are going on in the world today. Why is it so important to keep positive? Well the energy you put out is the same energy you’ll receive back. If you emit positive energy, positive things will happen for you. Don’t believe me? Try it!
We constantly have a million and one thoughts going through our minds, not all of them are positive. So how do you change a negative thought into a positive one?
When that negative thought comes in your head, you have to immediately change it. Seems simple right? Not completely, not for everyone. Even I find myself having moments where I should have turned a negative thought into a positive one and instead I have just let it slide on by. However, with practice, comes the ability to really be able to succeed at this. Getting rid of the defeatist thoughts can be a challenge, but it’s very rewarding.
No more saying to yourself “I can’t do this,” or “the task is just too hard,” or “I’ll never get it right.” You have to say instead “I can do this, nothing is too hard for me, and I can get this task completed correctly.” One thing I always find that helps me to get rid of the defeatist thoughts is a scripture: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
That scripture is so powerful and it reminds us that we can do anything we set out to do with the strength of God through Christ. I also like to hum a tune in my head that sounds upbeat and sunny. Sometimes it’s a children’s song like BINGO or Pop Goes the Weasel, and other times it’s funny song I heard on YouTube. Either way it helps bring you out of your thoughts all together.
So give it a try and see the difference it’ll make in your life.