let's get physical

Assume the position: Lotus pose

If you’re like me, you might be humbled by your yoga practice. There are some poses that I look at and think “Um…That‘s not going to happen. Not yet…” Meanwhile, there are others that are not too difficult. (Thank you, Warrior 2!)

And then there are the ninja poses. You know the ones. They’re like wolves in sheep’s clothing. You might see a photo of a pose in a book or watch it on a DVD, tell yourself, “I am so there!!” And then, when you try it, you realize that you’re about as flexible as a nail.

That’s me when it comes to the lotus position. I’ve seen it more than once, and every time I give it a shot, I come up with nothing but a big, fat fail.

“WTF is wrong with me that I can’t fold my feet like a pretzel in front of my crotch?”

I mean, really.

In lieu of lotus, I’ve taken to doing either a lazy version of bound angle pose, or a simple cross-legged posture. Still, I don’t want to give up. A few days ago, I found this video.

I have yet to do lotus perfectly. But at least I know that there are folks out there who offer tips on technique!

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let's get physical

Work It Out: Yogify

For the past little while I’ve managed to do a yoga workout every day. In addition to books, I have a couple of reliable DVDs. I also own a pair of yoga apps.

Last year, I downloaded Yogify, and purchased their Level 1 bundle.

Back then, I didn’t try any of their workouts. Not even their freebies.

However, on Saturday, I got the notion that I ought to get down to business. Yogify’s routines are divided into 3 categories–strength, balance, and flexibility. Under each of these, there are five workouts which vary in length, from fifteen minutes to an hour.

So far, so good. As for caveats, the only one I can think of is minimal. Specifically, the pace of each workout. Apart from the obligatory pauses for plank and downward dog, I feel as though Yogify leads users swiftly through routines–faster than what I’m used to on DVDS or other apps such as All-In Yoga.

Meanwhile, the postures seem realistic. Asanas such as half-boat pose may be challenging. But if they weren’t included in these early routines, an amateur like me might not have anything to strive for.

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let's get physical

Guys, downward dog is the worst.

THE. WORST.

downwarddog
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I’ve done yoga every now and then in the past, and now I’m trying to make it a regular part of my life.

There’s just one problem. I hate downward dog.

It’s a very basic pose, but I keep feeling like I’m doing it wrong.

Which just means that I have to work to make it my b!tch. Right?!?

Really, though.

Whenever I assume the position my feet never completely touch the ground, and my arms burn.

Still, I have to believe that I’ll get better.

If like me, you’re frustrated, here are a couple of links to tips on doin’ the ‘dog:

What Not to Do in Downward Facing Dog – from Fitsugar

What Yoga Beginners Need to Know About Downward Dog – via MindBodyGreen. I love the title of that article. It sounds like they’re preparing me to join a secret society. 😉

I look forward to improving!

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let's get physical, self-care/self-aware

Thank God for yoga.

Before I begin, watch this video. I chose it because it presents the main argument(s) I’ve heard against yoga in one concise package.

Now then. Let’s consider reality. I’ve been doing meditation and yoga for a little while. I’m not a pro. Still…A demon has yet to visit me.

Among Christians I notice that objections to yoga are due to ignorance. And fear.

Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about why people who are around my age are leaving the church. I don’t believe that they’re leaving merely because they think that it lacks relevance as an institution. Among other reasons, I think that people are fed up with organized religion because certain leaders insist on promoting ideas that are based on lies.

I long for the day when religious folks stop wasting time on imaginary boogeymen.

Hence, for the sake of this conversation, I’ll share a bit with you about why I meditate. (When I say “meditate” at this point, I’m also thinking of “yoga”. I once read that yoga is a form of meditation. I also know that some classes begin or end with it.)

Do you know what it’s like to have something on your mind all the time? I do. I find myself constantly thinking–usually about more than one subject. The sad thing is that this often happens when I’m supposed to be focused on something else. And in all honesty, it’s overwhelming.

In order to counteract all of this noise, I need a break. That’s what meditating offers me. It provides me with a mental detox. Practicing it does not ensure that I will be visited by evil spirits. Rather, it’s a great way to de-stress. When I pray, I’m still expending energy, outputting information. Meditation offers me the opportunity to take time out of my day and simply be still.

Also, contrary to what others would have you believe, there is nothing wrong with focusing inward. Not if doing so allows a person to obtain a bit of balance. The act of practicing meditation does not mean that one is turning his or her back on God. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the opposite takes place.

Have any of you done yoga or meditation?

What’s your favorite pose?

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let's get physical

More than moves.

bellyfat

I’ll admit it. I took that copy of Women’s Health home with me.

How could I refuse?

It looks like 100+ pages of fitness and fun. (And it is.)

Yet from what I know about belly fat, it can take more than exercise moves to tone a tummy.

I’ve been studying cortisol (stress related fat) for a while. It’s a hormone that can thwart your quest for lean abs.

Here’s a post that offers further information, along with a fitness regimen that I’ve been considering.

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let's get physical

Namaste = “Nah, I’mma stay.” :)

That title came from this song:


What are you doing for yourself these days?

As I look ahead at my life’s next phase, I’m eager to prepare myself. For me, that involves removing a mantle of stress that has built up over the years.

I find yoga’s helping me out along the way. The more I try it, the more my body craves it.

You’ve only got one you. Take care of yourself.

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Food, let's get physical

RUNday: Resolution #1

There are many goals that I’d love to see come into fruition this year. And in this season of surrender and promises to self…Here’s one thing that I’m going to do my best to give up.

C0109_JunkFood_01
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Junk food.

A small thing to some, I know. Still.

Eating trash hasn’t served me well. It’s left me looking a lot like the before pic on this page.

Along with my cousin and her cronies, chickentuna‘s photo is my new fitsperation. I lost a few pounds last year. However, her “before” photo is similar to my present.

I came back into this post to edit the above so I wouldn’t sound that bad. But big or small, a tummy is still a tummy, no?

I almost wish I was the type of person whose mass increased at an even rate. Because at least then, my body type would make sense to me.

But no. If I eat too many bad calories, a dash will show up on my thighs, a wisp on my butt…

And a TON on my tummy.

Which is fine for some people. But I’ll be honest. I don’t like having a one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other physique.

And it’s been funny. I’ve tried not to tweet about my dietary concerns. Because I’m slim everywhere else, I worry that people might look at my profile photo and assume I’m one of those women who whines about what she eats while sporting a perfect figure.

Meanwhile, these new rules that I’m trying to adopt really aren’t all that new. Some today refer to the practice as “eating clean”. I call it common sense.

I was raised by a health nut. I eat well most of the time. And yet…I remember the week last year when I baked at least 3 different times. During that period, I binged on just about everything. (Here, the word “binged” means “sat down and munched half-to-all-of what I made within a few hours”.) I enjoy a salad as much as any other girl. But when it comes to “bad” foods, I have almost no impulse control.

So here we are at the dawn of 2013.

I can’t bring myself to start P90X. Instead, I want to give chickentuna’s method a try. I’ll keep doing normal exercises. I won’t make any special effort, apart from me being at my best. My main changes will be culinary.

They say abs are made in the kitchen. I intend to see if it’s true.

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Food, let's get physical

RUNday: Smooth Moves

Lately I’ve been making smoothies featuring my staple ingredients.

A Banana – I’ve tried to make smoothies without a banana before. I can’t help feeling as though something’s missing. Maybe I have a potassium deficiency?

Fruit – It doesn’t matter to me if it’s fresh or frozen. I enjoy adding strawberries and other goodies.

Pineapple Juice – I’ve had smoothies that use almond milk as a base. I’ve tried other juices. Pineapple juice is my favorite. I know some people will read this and gripe about the sugar that most juices contain. However because it’s natural sugar, I’m willing to look the other way. Plus, pineapple juice has other benefits.

Extras:

Hemp Powder – This time around I picked up a jug containing maca and ground flax. And I’ll admit it. Hemp powder makes my mixes taste a bit…Sandy Healthy. But it’s a great source of protein. These days, I like to sneak in my nutrition any way I can.

Avocado – Avocados do a body good. Every now and then I’ll stick a chunk in the blender.

What do you like in your smoothies?

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let's get physical

RUNday: RunKeeper

Let’s talk about exercise and technology.

Do you use any apps when you work out?

My phone already had Nike+ iPod preloaded on it. But as popular as the Nike name is, their software and I got into one too many fights. (In short, it refused to sync some of my runs.) Furthermore, I was fed up. I found their insistence on using their chip to track me a little unnerving.

What if my next pair of shoes aren’t Nikes? How would I record my runs?

(I knew I could by a device like this to hold Nike’s chip. But I didn’t feel like getting one.)

Enter RunKeeper.

Not only is it a free app, but it records my workouts via GPS. Which means I can wear any shoes that I like.

It also keeps track of things such as my pace and distance.

Since I first began using RunKeeper, they have made improvements. Recently, they launched a set of free training programs. These include useful features such as pre-programmed intervals.

Thus far, I have only two complaints.

Firstly, RunKeeper automatically pauses its recording when you aren’t moving. Say, if you stop to re-tie a shoe. However lately the “pausing workout” prompt has been going off without warning–while I’m still jogging.

You can also listen to music while you run. Yet users should know that the software will only accept your music if it’s a part of a playlist. If I want to listen to a particular artist or a podcast, I have to go outside of RunKeeper into my Music app.

Now, this may not sound like a problem. But in RunKeeper when you play music, it pauses the music so that its audio cues can remind you of things such as your speed. Outside of RunKeeper, the app’s voice and your music will overlap. I found this out the hard way one day when I tried to listen to an episode of This American Life.

In hindsight I realized that there’s a way to work around this problem. I should have turned off the prompts or changed their frequency.

Ah well. You live, you learn!

Overall, though, RunKeeper’s a useful program. I figure over six million users can’t be wrong.*

*I was looking for statistics on RunKeeper’s users. I found that information here.

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