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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Working against the waves....

Those of you out there that have surfed or paddled know what it is like to have different wind and wave conditions; never is one trip out on the water like any other.  We still train for this, we still need strength and stamina, but we also need balance, focus and a sense of humor!  I was told more than once that the "hot yoga sequence" where the original 26 poses are repeated twice every time the practitioner does their yoga practice is the most marketable yoga due to the fact that it becomes easy for people.  In like situations, many fitness classes or personal training sessions, exercises get repeated week after week; people like it that way.   Too often we know exactly what our workout will be because we've been doing the same things for months, if not years.  The problem with that scenario is that your body begins to know exactly what to expect and how much effort is required.  Notice the next time you do something different in a workout, or even just try a completely different sport.  You will be SORE!  This soreness represent you stretching or moving muscles and connective tissue in a manner that they are not consistently used.  This "mixing it up", challenges the body and the mind, as well as the muscular and sometimes the cardiovascular system and IS VERY HEALTHY!  Most good trainers know this and will do the mixing it up for you.  If you do most of your workouts by yourself or want to find out whether you are mixing it up enough, read on......

We relate well to challenging the muscular or cardiovascular systems, adding more weight and pushing at a harder pace will do that, but what about the nervous system?  This system kind of runs those others, so why not improve it as you go?  BKS Iyengar, one of the most highly respected professional in all of the field of yoga says that one of the main reasons for a physical focus in yoga (which is the yoga class, the asana practice) is imperative, since we need to keep the nervous system toned and responsive.  This not only enhances our physical workouts, it enhances our health and wellness!  Next time you are doing bicep curls, you could; try balancing on one leg for a set, or really challenge yourself and stand on a wobble board or upside down bosu ball.  Include some squats on the ball too!  The neuro-muscular feedback from a stability ball adds a whole new dimension to chest flies.  You can get alot more work done with less weight when you create a more complicated challenge.   When you begin to learn how to challenge yourself with less weight, then really go for high repetitions, when you can, try 50, you may also see more improvement when you are using your chest to paddle that SUP!!
Laird Hamilton just did an article for Men's Journal which I find as a viable source for some great information in the fitness world and beyond (ladies check it out).  When I was reading that he not only agrees with this theory of challenging the body, he uses it too.  I have been teaching a Core Functional Training class that I developed over the last 8 years to ensure that many of my Pilates clientele learned to transfer this "core" concept to the rest of the body in life and sport like postures and movement situations. 

Example:  your sport or even your job has you in a "held" position of a limb or your spine for lengthy periods of time, just like a new mom having to hold the baby, or possibly positions you use when cooking or working in the yard.  This means your nervous system, along with the strength and flexibility of the muscles are challenged specifically.  You can take this into your workout by  possibly include holding the weight at intermittent places throughout the range of motion for periods of time instead of just moving through the range of motion.  In a squat (paddleboarders), or a bicep curl (mom's with babies), you can try this; it's a challenge!  A great way to design some of your "sets" instead of doing what you have always done before.  Remember that what you have always done before, only reaps the benefits that you already have!  Many chiropractors will be the first ones to acknowledge to their patient that the subluxation that they are treating in your low back could have taken place simply by bending over and picking that one weed as you walked through the yard, it was just timing (and lack of nerve to muscles integrity!)

Honestly, think about exposing your weaknesses at times and learn what and where you really need to work, instead of just going through the motions!  This does not mean that you have to try something new every time.   We will all gravitate towards what we like best, and what we do best.  The best advice from one of my yoga teachers years ago was:  "the poses you don't like, are the ones you need", this is so true.  As a yogi, we include a mental focus, the breath, and an attitude of "no ego".  If we could take this into most of our other disciplines, we'd  have a chance of having a much healthier and stronger body.    Let yourself "play" in your workouts, it's fun!  Just think of it as a windy, wavy day, it's just water!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beyond the Asana

This week, I am taking the opportunity to blog about a series of yoga classes that I will offer for the end of 2012:
Beyond the Asana

Shannon Kennedy in Padmasana

Each class will focus on parts of yogic philosophy that bring us more in touch with our real "self".  You may be a beginner to this yogic journey, and may find a deeper understanding of the broader scope of yoga, beyond the physical practice.   If you have been on this path, the classes can take you deeper in theory and application in your life through meditation.  

Each class will be embedded with practical uses of yogic philosophy, while practicing some general hatha, yin or restorative poses.  Each practice ends with 15-20 minutes of quiet or led meditation.  The practice will be open to all levels of participation.

The series:  Wednesdays, November 28-December 19, from 5:30-6:45pm
The topics:  Yamas and Niyamas: A way to act!
Pranayama and Meditation:  Calming moments
Chakras:  Knowing on a deeper plane
Koshas:  A journey within

Sign up for the whole series at $40, or pay $15 per class, namaste,  lisa

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yoga, self study in a world of diversions.............

As you find your balance in asana practice, refer to Sutra 2.46 in The Yoga Sutras of Pantajali:

2.46 Shtirasukamasanam:  Asana having the qualities of stability and comfort.

Shtira - stability, support, strength
Sukha - ease, comfort, yeilding

Each pose (asana) holds knowledge when the practitioner finds this balance.   This  knowledge brings us to a place deep within, to the presence of "self".  We can plant seeds there of loving kindness during each practice.  Then as we return, again and again we know that as the great teacher pronounced: "practice and all is coming."

Monday, October 15, 2012

First Post [:

Hi everyone! Just want to get everyone excited for our upcoming blog! Follow us & get involved.
Here's a sneak peak into our last workshop.
[Acroyoga: a physical practice which blends elements of yoga, acrobatics, and healing arts. These three ancient practices form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, connection and playfulness between partners.]