Monday, February 28, 2011

pose of the week: eastern intense stretch or upward plank


How to do it:

1. Sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, place your hands by your side fingers pointing towards your toes, and wrist directly under your shoulders.
2. Inhale as you lift your hips up, opening the chest, releasing the head back.
3. Keep your legs strong and straight, feet touching and soles of the feet on the mat (for modification, you may bend your knees keeping your feet hip distance apart).
4. Engage your arms, and hold for 5 deep breaths.

Exhale, gaze forward and lower your hips down slowly with control.

  • Strengthens the arms, wrists and legs
  • Stretches the shoulders, chest, and front ankles

Friday, February 25, 2011

crossfit fail!

With all the latest fitness crazes out there, CrossFit is making its mark in the industry. I’m not here to bash it by any means; I’m just sharing my story. My friends keep raving about this new phenomenon (well not that new, it started in the mid 90’s) but to be honest I don’t care for it. However, I did have the courage to get out and attempt it for myself. Wow, did I feel so out of my comfort zone.
Being a yogi, I feel most at home on my yoga mat, bare foot, no distraction in the world. This time, I had to put on running shoes, get to a gym and share equipment with others. I was lost, shy and completely embarrassed. I felt stupid, and sensed that everyone was staring at me thinking “look at this girl, she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing!” I completed my workout in just over 15mins (which was probably the easiest of exercises). I had no pain afterwards, but the next day I couldn’t move! I hate the feeling of being sore. I know that means I worked hard, but I was angry and depressed. “NEVER AGAIN” I told myself. This is not for me. Yoga provides the same benefits for MY body: Strength, toning, endurance and stamina. So I’m sticking to it.
To all my crazy crossfit friends: you guys are soldiers, and if it makes you happy, keep at it, and I’ll applaud you by the side in my comfortable seated position.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

pose of the week: extended side angle

Utthita Parsvakonasana
How to do it:

1. Stand with your legs comfortably wide apart
2. Raise your arms up to the side shoulder height, as you turn your right foot out 90° and your left toes in slightly aligning your heels.
3. Bend your right knee, until your knee is just above your ankle, and place your right hand outside your foot (you may also bring your forearm to your knee for modification).
4. Open the chest as your raise your left arm up and over your left ear. Gaze up at your extended arm.
5. Keep your back leg strong. Draw your right hipbone back and left shoulder blade down.

Hold for 5 breaths then repeat on the other side.

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, spine, chest and shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve sciatica and a tired back 

Friday, February 18, 2011

a love for a lovebird

This past weekend, I had to take care of a bird. Not any bird, but a lovebird to be exact. His name is Malijack (don’t know what the owners were thinking), but I’ve grown to love it. Over the last ten years that I’ve known him, I was always fascinated with all the things that this little creature can do. When you think lovebird, you assume that there are two in a cage, but no…this one gets all the love for himself. His love comes from the people around him.
He is extremely unique! Malijack does not want to be in a cage all day. Once the chirping begins, he knows he’ll get his way. As the tiny door to his tiny cage opens, he spreads his wings to fly, checks out his surroundings then lands on his favourite spot: your head or shoulder. He can just chill there for hours, while you do your daily tasks around the house, no bothersome in the world. He loves being involved with everything you do: cooking, eating, showering, brushing teeth, putting on makeup, etc…
But at the end of the day, it’s all about him. Giving him kisses, petting his head, or snuggling up in your shirt. Who would have thought a bird would get this much attention?! I shared a special bond with him that no one can take back and I am grateful. In ten years, he finally grew to love me too. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

pose of the week: marichi III

Marichyasana C
How to do it:

1. Start sitting with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee, bringing the sole of your foot onto the mat, keeping your heel in line and close to your right sitting bone as possible. Keep your left leg strong and active by flexing your foot.
2. Bring your right fingertips behind you as you exhale your left arm up.
3. Exhale, hollow the belly as you turn your torso towards your right, bringing your left elbow outside your bent knee. (you may hold or wrap your arm around your knee if the stretch is too much)
4. Lengthen the spine as your turn your gaze over the right shoulder.
5. To deepen the stretch, take your right arm behind the back and bind your hands.

Hold for 5 breaths then repeat on the other side.

  • Massages abdominal organs, including the liver and kidneys
  • Stretches the shoulders
  • Relieves mild backache and hip pain
  • Strengthens and stretches the spine

Thursday, February 10, 2011

love connection

We have all felt it one time in our lives: the feeling of true love. Whether it be for a child, a parent, a significant other, friend, pet or even a place or thing, the feeling is indescribable. The pure joy that something or someone brings to us, making our stomachs turn, excitement blossoms to full height is the greatest feeling ever! The connection is truly unique between the two that only you can understand it. Your senses are intensified to the fullest, and your body in that moment is sending signals to your brain to enjoy this emotion.
Yoga can bring so much connection to any relationship, whether it is with yourself, your loved one, and the world around you. Creating that sense of peace within your body allows your other senses to deepen and truly appreciate the moment you are in. Off the mat, it continues to live within you and carry on towards how you treat others and how you want to be treated. The love connection we have for whatever it is may not necessarily be “it’s you and me”, as in the photo of the couple. ‘YOU’ may signify a deeper love: of the universe, the space you are in, the air that you breathe, and the you within yourself. 

image source: meemsuniverse

Monday, February 7, 2011

pose of the week: tree

How to do it:

1. Standing in mountain pose with your feet together, begin to shift your weight onto your left foot.
2. Bend your right knee, grab your ankle and place the sole of your foot on your inner left thigh, toes pointing down (you may rest your foot on your shin if you have trouble balancing).
3. Keeping your hips even, lengthen your spine up as you bring your palms together at your heart.
4. Stretch your arms overhead and strengthen your standing leg.

Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

  • Improves physical balance
  • Calms your nerves
  • Strengthens ankles, knees and hips

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

catching up on some zzz's

For those of you that don’t know me, I LOVE to sleep. It is actually one of my most favourite things to do. My busy schedule does not allow much of it; however napping is the alternative. I require…no joke, 10-12 hrs of sleep a day! Sounds ridiculous, but I’m like a baby. Question is, do I get that much a night? Not even close. I’m lucky if I get even 8, which is the standard requirement.
With today’s snow day in full effect, I got to sleep in for the first time in a while, and it felt great! I spared no time and enjoyed my day: did a yoga class, had lunch with my bestie, spent time with the bf, paid a visit to lululemon (which resulted in me getting myself a new outfit), and now sitting back watching American Idol. The perfect end to a perfect day!
Everyday can be perfect. Balance is the key. Make sure to get plenty of rest, make time for exercise, socialize with the ones you love, and take time for YOU, because we all deserve it!

image source: Queen's Baby Photography