Posts Tagged ‘Yoga’
The inevitable has occurred. I have lost the motivation to revolutionize my personal health. My one trip to spin class turned into just that: one trip. And my yoga instructor is sending me love letters on Facebook in an attempt to lure me back to the mat.
In the summertime, I had the time to live and breathe and dream. In fall and winter, I work. I work during the day, in the evening. I have an erratic schedule and since I’m self-employed, I work whenever the work is available to keep the lights on — and the internet, too, so I can write for you good people.
So the cycle continues: I am busy at work, and my body takes a back seat to my life — especially without a workout buddy to motivate me. Not the kind that yells at you and calls you a pussy, but the kind that gives you a call and says, “We going to yoga tonight?”
I am a co-dependent exerciser, and I have a schedule that doesn’t work for anyone but me. It’s a bad combination.
Sigh… I am going to look for a midnight snack.
I feel like I’ve overhauled my entire life in the past six months. I went from “I don’t care” to “I’m obsessed,” and I did it in a slow, step-by-step way that was realistic for someone who reeeeeaaaalllly likes food and wine. I was feeling really good about myself for a few months.
First, I stopped buying cheese to keep in the house. I weaned myself off Diet Coke, substituting green tea and coffee. Then, I weaned myself off caffeine entirely because the green tea and coffee killed my stomach. I stopped drinking alcohol of any kind on the weekdays. I gave up meat.
I had a little too much Champagne on a Saturday and ordered an amazing filet mignon and lobster tails at The Flagler Steakhouse.
I realized you can’t change Rome in a day, and I slowly reintroduced organic meats — mostly fish — back into my diet. I also realized I was celebrating too much on the weekends and tossed the no-weekday-wine rule in favor of balance.
All the while, I rode my bike all over creation, did yoga an average of three times a week, and walked to Palm Beach from my house regularly.
In almost three months, I lost a whopping 5 pounds. 5 pounds! My doctor would love me to lose 20 more! I may not develop a brain tumor from Aspartame or grow a moustache from nasty meat hormones, but I’m still no Skinny Bitch!
I was so disheartened that I went completely AWOL on my diet and exercise for a week or so. And when I didn’t gain any weight eating and drinking whatever I wanted, I was even more frustrated with how hard I had worked for such little return.
But giving up and being fat is not the answer, unfortunately.
So last week I took my first spinning class at 180 Degree Fitness at 6101 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. I’ve never been much of a gym person (hence the need for weight loss), so this was a pretty big step for me. And it wasn’t that bad! The music was loud, and there was a rock-hard blonde yelling at me to KICK IT UP!, but there were no legwarmers, no pervy guys watching through a glass window.
I definitely wasn’t as hard core as the other gals in the class — who all-but-literally danced circles around me as I struggled to just keep peddling the entire hour — but I have potential, and I could see catching the bug. The key now will be to prioritize a 6 p.m. exercise class over whatever social event might be taking place at the same time. We’ll see…
Since renewing my yoga addiction this summer, I’ve heard a few of the same questions from non-yogis about yoga – will I lose weight? What is the difference between yoga and pilates?. It is difficult to explain how something so zen is also a powerful workout, so I thought I’d give Angel Lucia of Bindu Yoga Studio the chance to share some of the benefits of her practice.
Will yoga help you lose weight, or only tone muscle?
The most obvious physical benefits of yoga practice include loosening of muscles that have been tightened by inactivity, tension, and stress. Asana practice also increases the range of motion of joints, enhances flexibility, and can help correct postural problems that may have resulted from weight gain.
Any style of yoga helps tone, lengthen, and strengthen the muscles, which can contribute to the sculpting of the body, but not necessarily to weight loss.
On a physiological level, certain styles of yoga could be more appropriate for students who have weight loss as a primary intention. Vinyasa-style class, where movement and breath link poses together, can build heat and potentially result in greater calorie burn. This style of practice could supplement other aerobic exercise that you’re involved in, such as walking, running, biking, or swimming.
Proper diet along with a regular yoga practice will help with digestion, elimination, circulation, muscle tone, flexibility, strength, and an over all sense of well-being. I believe that yoga has the potential to be very transformative on many levels for each individual, with the physical body being a doorway to the more profound gifts of the practice.
Does yoga address core muscles?
Absolutely, yoga addresses the core muscles on many levels. the core needs to be strong for many poses to be accessible. We are engaging the muscles of the core thru many of our poses in order to just move the body in these directions. Even some of the simplest poses like standing at the top of our mat with proper alignment will engage the lower belly known as our uddiyana bandha (belly lock). All breath-work is a great way to become familiar with the different muscles in the belly as well as begin the strengthening process along with a myriad of poses that will target this area.
What are the various styles of yoga, and how do they differ? How do you know which is right for you?
There are so many styles of yoga and many hybrids of yoga today. All differ in various ways, yet all with the same intention to bring the body, mind, and spirit into harmony. The only way to know what’s right for you is to experiment. You will know its right for you when you feel it stirring deep in your soul and it calls you back time and time again.
What is the difference between yoga and pilates?
Yoga is the best and most time-tested path to physical and mental well-being known to mankind. Yoga is a complete system for overall health and well-being. It includes everything from physical postures, personal hygiene, and a healthy diet to meditation, breathing, and relaxation techniques.
Pilates focuses mainly on cultivating core strength in the body and lengthening the spine.
How often should I practice yoga?
2-3 times a week is optimal if you want to see your practice develop. But of course it depends on each individuals schedule and level of commitment.
What are the long-term (and perhaps surprising?) benefits of yoga?
The greatest benefits of yoga come from their profound effects on the internal systems of the body. By bending, stretching, twisting, and flexing in the various postures, you bathe your internal organs with oxygenated blood and prana, also known as life force energy. Yoga asanas soothe and tone your nerves and regulate the endocrine system, which is responsible for the production of hormones—one of the keys to both physical and mental health. They also improve digestion and elimination, strengthen the respiratory system, and tone the reproductive organs. Yoga techniques like asanas, breathing, and relaxation are also extremely effective in relieving stress. Along with your final savasana and meditation deep-seated stress and anxiety are released, enabling you to experience spiritual happiness and inner peace which then allows one to interact with other on a more compassionate level.
What do you say to people who tell you they are too wired or frenetic for yoga?
When people tell me they are to wired for yoga I usually ask a few questions about their lifestyle to see if there are other contributing factors. And suggest they begin with a practice that will keep them moving so they are not able to hang out in the mind stuff. Once they get somewhat comfortable in their practice I can then begin to introduce more techniques to slow down the frenetic pace of the mind. Breathing techniques are incredibly useful in calming the mind if one is patient in the practice. We are actually way more productive in our daily lives when we feel balanced in both body and mind!
The latest fitness and relaxation destination in Palm Beach, the land of indulgence, is Exhale Spa at the new Omphoy Ocean Resort. With minimalist decor and modest treatment rooms, the focus at Exhale is on overall health and well-being, with the largest portion of the space devoted to a 1,200-square-foot group training room known as the Mind Body Studio.
Group class offerings include proprietary Core Fusion, Core Fusion Sport, Core Energy Flow and Yoga. Along with massage and other body therapies, transformational services include nutrition coaching, detox and cleansing programs, cupping, reiki and acupuncture.
A sister property to the Brazilian Court hotel, the Omphoy Ocean Resort is the only beachfront boutique hotel in Palm Beach, and the first new hotel development to be completed on the island in nearly 20 years. Omphoy is a modern respite amidst the deeply traditional backdrop of Palm Beach. The 134-room hotel has been designed with an emphasis on luminescence and the movement of water, its carpets evocative of gold coins and the bounty of the sea.
Oh, and they mix a mean cocktail on the beachfront Terrace, complete with the culinary stylings of Miami chefette Michelle Bernstein, who’s newest restaurant is right upstairs. Om….
Despite its focus on centering body and mind, honoring the light in your heart and those around you, yoga isn’t cheap. At $10-$20 per session, it’s a rather cost prohibitive form of exercise — especially in an economy where it’s tres chic to cut back. One by one, my yoga buddies from years past have canceled their studio memberships and stopped attending private classes (like the weekly group sessions I held in my garden last summer – RIP Garden Yoga!), and I’ve become damn near the last yogi standing — or posing, as the case may be.
For me, nurturing strength and flexibility in a non-competitive environment mostly populated by women is ideal. I’m not really into pumping iron, or having my gluts on display for every Clematis Street passerby while battling the treadmill at Ultima Fitness. And I certainly don’t want to make smalltalk with every random acquaintance in the room while my sports bra is working overtime.
So I pay the price. Three or four times a week, I bring my hands to heart’s center, activate my Ujjayi breath, and I bend and balance in every way my body allows. After a 90-minute session, I feel powerful, calm, and in touch with my body (and more interested in having my husband be in touch with my body, too!).
There’s no games. It’s just me, and the mat. You can’t put a price on that.
Time was when simply recycling a few Tab cans meant you were doing your part to give back to Mother Earth. Sure, you avoided Styrofoam and maybe even started a compost pile. Enter 2007. Rocketing fuel prices meant environmental challenges were going to hit Americans where we felt it the most: Our pocketbooks. Add $5-per-gallon fuel costs to an economic climate that’s begun to melt financial polar caps and BAM! You’ve got yourself a revolution.
Fast forward to 2009. You may know nothing about the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the environmental impact of powering the country on coal, but you drive a Prius and you shop at Whole Foods. You may be fumbling through living a greener life, but you’re learning that the most important thing is keeping it real. Real food. Real sustainability. Real life.
I came to this conclusion personally after waking up one morning — OK maybe afternoon — 10 lbs heavier and irreparably sluggish. It was one of those take-stock moments, where you look at your reflection and wonder whether you’re taking the right path.
Hello, me, I said, evaluating facial fine lines, puffiness and sun damage. What the hell happened? I stood naked, lifting and squeezing, sucking in, sticking out… The hot girl from college had clearly left the building at some point between here and the class of 2002.
But I’m a positive gal, so I don’t dwell for long on such things (probably how I gained 35 lbs in 6 years — all that damned self confidence). After few more woesome moments, it was all Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley: You’re smart, you’re successful, and you want to do better by your body and your planet. You want to cut the crap and start being real. So what if it took Al Gore to open your eyes to global warming? You just bought green paint – though you’re not quite sure why it’s green – and that’s a start.
OK new plan. I’ll sell the SUV, get back to the yoga mat, eat more raw foods from local farms, and cut out the daily booze. Lofty goals, given my penchant for champagne and idleness, but how hard can this conscious living thing really be?