Tag Archives: yoga

6 tips to improve your chaturanga
Mar
31st

Chaturanga dandasana is one of my favorite yoga poses. Many people think of chaturanga as a beginner pose because it is one of the first poses most students learn. In reality, performing this pose with proper alignment requires a great deal of strength, which is one of the reasons I love it. I also love the smooth and fluid feel of a basic vinyasa, it’s immediately calming and centering for me.

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Even though it is used repeatedly in almost every yoga class, many people do it improperly. I noticed this a lot myself teaching PiYo. When we included this pose in the #sweathappywithyoga challenge, and I included one of my top tips. Since I got such positive feedback, I thought I would share it here and expand on it to include some of the other alignment tips I’ve used in teaching PiYo and in my own practice. Note: I’m not a yoga teacher, these are just alignment cues I’ve gathered from instructors over the years that have helped me in my own work in the pose.

1. Place your hands so your index finger points forward. This is helpful for seriously any pose (or exercise) where your weight is in your hands. I used to have so much wrist pain doing push-ups, yoga, and planks. Then someone corrected my hand placement – I had my middle finger pointing forward – and I haven’t had a problem since (although my wrists still do get tired sometimes!).

2. Look where you are going: forward. Taking your gaze in front of you will help you move in the right direction.

3. Shift your weight forward, not down. Because we “lower” into chaturanga, a common mistake is to lower straight down. That seems like the logical motion, but you will end up with the wrong alignment in the arms. Instead, enter the pose from plank by shifting your weight as far forward as you can, so far that you can barely stay on your toes. As you shift forward, you will lower down naturally. Here is the video I posted on instagram to demonstrate:

In the top video, I lower straight down and end up in the wrong position. In the bottom video, which shows the correct form, I shift my weight forward. That way, once I’m in the pose, arms are properly positioned with my forearms at a 90 degree angle to the ground and my upper arms parallel to the ground.

4. Engage you legs and your core. This will help keep your body in one straight line.

5. Keep your elbows in. Your elbows should be pointing straight back, and pulled in so that they “shave” your ribcage. I always tell my students, if you can’t keep the elbows pulled in, go to your knees. Lower from your knees until you build enough strength in your arms. And that brings me to possibly the most important tip:

6. Modify if you need to! Because this pose is used over and over, there is a greater risk of injury from repetition if your alignment isn’t correct. Forget your ego. There is NO shame in modifying. Listen to your body. You will get stronger with practice. <3

Questions: How do you feel about chaturanga? Do you have any “basic” poses that are favorites?

Why I Ohm at home (& should you?)
Mar
12th

As you guys know, I practice yoga exclusively at home. Last week, I shared how exactly I do that, so this week I thought I’d talk about why and whether or not I recommend it for other people.

easy pose

1. Cost. Studios are expensive. Like, really expensive. I’ve never really been in a position financially to pay for classes, especially not when I can practice at home. This is by far the biggest factor that’s kept me away from a traditional studio practice.

2. Flexibility. As I mentioned last week, one of my favorite things about yogaglo is that I can do any kind of practice, any time I want. At a studio, if you’re in the mood for Yin but the only classes that day are Vinyasa, or you’re in the mood for Vinyasa, but the only class that fits in your schedule is Hatha, you’re out of luck. Or maybe you don’t really like all of the instructors. Or maybe you really want to focus on your hips but when you get to class you find out the focus that day is backbends. Practicing at home means I can choose a practice perfectly suited to my body’s needs that day.

chaturanga

3. Convenience. Practicing at home means no trip to and from the studio. This saves even more time (my favorite).

4. Comfort. When you’re practicing at home, there’s no comparison trap to worry about and no intimidation. Neither of these things have any place in yoga, but we live in the real world and the reality is that they both happen.

5. Time. Most, if not all, studio classes are 75 to 90 minutes, with some being an hour. That’s all fine if you have that much time, but I sure don’t. Practicing at home means if I only have 15 minutes, I can do 15 minutes. Full disclosure? I’ve never done a 90 minute class before. I tried once and ended up fast forwarding through part. In fact, until recently, I almost never practiced for more than 30 minutes. The point is, practicing at home means you can make your practice work for your schedule.

goddess pose

Is it right for you?

I’m a huge proponent of home practice, and I think it is right for everyone. If you have experience with yoga and/or you’re doing some classes with a live instructor, then I see no reason not to practice at home. The real question is whether solely practicing at home is right for you.

To answer it, you’re going to have to be really honest with yourself, because in my opinion, it comes down to one thing: how well you take form cues. Because without an instructor to physically adjust your pose, you’re relying exclusively on your own ability to make micro adjustments. And the truth is that many people struggle with this.

grasshopper pose

It comes down to your spatial awareness of your body and the strength of your mind body connection. You know if this is something that comes easily to you or not. If it does, then full steam ahead with home practice! If it doesn’t, then it may not be right for you, at least not exclusively, or not without first putting in a good amount of studio time. If you fall somewhere in between, I’d suggest doing your home practice in front of a mirror and/or taking pictures of your poses so you can see what your body actually looks like in a pose.

Questions: Home-based yogis, any benefits I forgot? Studio yogis, what do you love about practicing in a studio?

Reading, date night, Ashtanga, & Cosmos
Mar
10th

So, I was kind of planning to do fewer weekend recap posts, but then that was all I was in the mood to write about last night so, that’s what you’re getting! Hope you don’t mind 😉

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you I spent the majority of my weekend reading the Selection and the Elite. I started the Selection Saturday morning and finished the Elite Sunday afternoon (I’m a fast reader). Davida recommended them when I shared my nerdy reading list, so I blame her – not for the unexpected use of my weekend, but for not telling me the third book still wasn’t out! This is serious. How am I supposed to make it until May waiting for the final book?! I’m very distraught. Needless to say, I’ve already pre-ordered so it will auto-deliver to my Kindle the second it’s available.

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, Saturday was the first really warm day of the year and it was glorious. John and I took advantage by going for a run. It was just three miles, but my pace was a little quicker than it was on my run two weeks ago. I’ve only run a handful of times since late summer, so I’m happy to be quickly working my way back to where I was.

It also meant it was finally warm enough for some outdoor yoga!

chair pose snowga

Just a quick pose, but I was still super excited about it. Soon my whole practice will be out on our deck again and I can’t wait. 🙂

Saturday night, in a rare move, we went out to dinner! John and I tend to be… how should I say it… budget conscious. But we’re decided a night out once a week is worth paying a bit more for a meal.

We went to the Bridgeview Tavern, where we’ve been once before, and I had the harvest salad, which is heaven! Mixed greens, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, goat cheese, and mint walnut vinaigrette. Drooling.

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I also ambitiously ordered a sangrita (sangria with some fun extras) – which I ended up having to share. Then we split a brownie sundae for dessert.

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Guys, this was possibly the best brownie of my life.

Sunday was mostly catching up on work, but for my workout I had an amazing Ashtanga yoga practice. It was a slightly shortened version of the Primary series (to squeeze into an hour) with Kathryn Budig (she’s amaaazing), on yogaglo as usual. Ashtanga is an incredibly rigorous, highly disciplined practice.

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I knew it was physically demanding, but it still surprised me. I’ve been very curious about Ashtanga so I was excited to try it out. Ashtanga yogis solely practice Ashtanga, so I’m not sure it would ever be the right fit for me (I like to mix it up), but I do think I’d like to include it at least once a week.

Sunday night was the premier of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson (such a genius! *swoon*).

Fun fact: I have two science degrees. How I got from science to law is a long story, but I love science more than I love almost anything. I love the law, but science will always be my first and truest love, and I miss it every day.

I was so excited… and then promptly had a meltdown over my life decisions. Not to worry, this is a roughly bi-monthly occurrence, and in the end someone always talks me down and we conclude that law school was the right choice. Don’t tell John, but I have secret plans to still go after a PhD someday.

Questions: Any outdoor fitness adventures for you this weekend? Did you watch Cosmos? Anything exciting happening in your life this week?

How I Ohm at home
Mar
6th

I’ve practiced yoga on and off for over a decade, and right now it’s a huge part of my life (and I couldn’t be happier). Most people are very surprised to learn that in all that time, I have never so much as set foot in a yoga studio, let alone taken a class there. In fact, I can only think of two times that I’ve taken a true, live yoga class. Once was at a giant community fitness even when I was living in Tampa, and the other was during my bachelorette weekend when my amazing friends had an instructor come give us a private class on the beach. Side note: my friends are troopers, none of them were into yoga and all of them joined anyway. 🙂

So unlike many (most?) yogis, I practice exclusively at home. Lately, I’ve had quite a few people ask me about how that works and whether I have any recommendations, so here is how I get my Ohm on at home.

Yogaglo

One of the questions I’m asked most often is what yoga DVDs I recommend. But I actually don’t use DVDs anymore, I use yogaglo.

yogaglo home

I love yogaglo because you get so much more variety than you could ever get from DVDs, maybe even from a studio. As of the time I wrote this post, there are 2,273 classes available, in all different lengths, styles, and levels. It’s an incredible resource.

I get bored easily, so rather than constantly buy DVDs, I’d rather pay to be a yogaglo member ($18/month) and have a zillion classes to choose from. And unlike a studio, I’m not restricted by the schedule, I can take any kind of class I want.

If you are just starting out, there is a Beginner Center. I often recommend people at least do the free trial just to check this part out and try a few different styles of yoga to find what works for them before investing in a DVD, studio, or even the yogaglo membership.

Yogaglo beginner center

Once you know what you are looking for, you can search for classes based on all kinds of criteria: length, level, teacher, style, specific use (e.g. morning, stress reduction, hip opening, backbends, cross training), or body part.

yogaglo search function

If you find a class you like, you can add to favorites, or to your queue. The queue feature is my favorite, I stumble on classes that look good all the time, so I add it to my queue to schedule later and/or remind myself I wanted to try it.

Yogaglo queue

You can also create a series, which is kind of like a folder, and you can add any class to as many series as you want. That way you don’t have to go digging for them later. I have them set up based on length, style, morning, strong/continuous practice, and slow/restorative practices.

Yogaglo series

If you are interested in learning more about yogaglo, definitely send me an email (busybod at ymail dot com) or leave a comment. I don’t get anything at all for promoting them (I wish!, it’s just a service that I truly love and use almost every day. 🙂

DVDs

Before yogaglo though, I was a DVD girl, so there are a few I can recommend, but they are all old (which doesn’t really matter). I’m just not up and up on the latest and greatest DVDs. My other thing about DVDs is that since there is SO much variety in yoga, something I like might not appeal to you, or you might hate an instructor I love. You might buy a DVD, try it, and then decide you don’t like yoga, when really that specific DVD just wasn’t the right fit. Definitely do some research ahead of time if you aren’t sure what you’d like (or ask me, I’d be happy to chat with you to help you narrow it down).

That said, here are some of the DVDs I used before yogaglo.

Rodney Yee: He has a ton of videos available, and I had one, I just don’t remember which one. It was a long time ago. Like a really long time. So I don’t even remember good details about it. I know, super helpful.

Sacred Yoga Practice Vinyasa Flow (with Rainbeau Mars): I had this DVD in college and really liked it. I found it opened my hamstrings and helped me get a strong foundation in vinyasa flow (now my preferred style). This one is super old and maybe hard to find, but she has others, and I think she even has some youtube, etc.

Shiva Rea Fluid Power Vinyasa Flow Yoga: This was by far my favorite, and for me, was a great next step in my home practice. I practiced with this set daily for months and never tired of it. I only stopped when I scratched it up… whoops. It was a really unique approach to flow, very fluid and unrestricted, which I loved. I really liked Shiva Rea as an instructor, and finding an instructor you love is very important. The DVD is set up with a class “matrix,” mini segments that you select in the beginning to build your flow. It meant there was a lot of variety for being a DVD, and it also means there are lots of options regardless of your level. I’m not sure if all of her DVDs have this format, but Shiva Rea has a lot of them available, so you have lots of options with her. Check out her site for more.

This post ended up super long (oops!!!) so I’m going to stop here, but I’ll have another post soon with more on why I practice at home, along with some things to consider if you’ve never tried yoga and are considering beginning a home practice. Update 3/27/14: Here’s the link to part 2!.

Questions: Do you practice yoga at home? What resources do you use?

A Marvelous March Yoga Challenge!
Feb
24th

Guys. I’m so excited to share this with you, I just can’t even deal. I hope you’re sitting down.

If you follow me on instagram, you may have already seen the news. But…

#sweathappywithyoga March challenge

I’m co-hosting a yoga challenge in March with Paige and Erin!!

I have been participating in challenges since December, and it’s been amazing for my practice. It’s made me more consistent, and it’s pushed me to try poses I never thought were possible.

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I daydreamed about hosting my own challenge, but I never thought I really would. I was too insecure and self-conscious and generally terrified. Then this happened:

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A daydream come true! After some fast and furious planning – deciding on a theme, choosing poses, finding sponsors, and planning outreach – the challenge was born: #sweathappywithyoga. And we would LOVE to have you join us!!!

How it works

If you’ve never done an instagram yoga challenge before, here is how it works. There will be a new pose each day that one of us will post the night before. To participate, you post a picture of your best attempt at the pose tagging each of us and using #sweathappywithyoga. That’s it! Easy right?

Unlike a lot of the yoga challenges on ig, ours is targeted more to beginners and intermediates. There will be a few more challenging postures, but one of us will always post a beginner variation to keep the challenge truly accessible to all levels.

Goal of the challenge

Spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings, making it the perfect time to start practicing yoga or recommit to a regular practice. Our goal is to encourage a daily practice, no matter the level and no matter how short. As I talked about in my guest post for Amy, advanced poses are fun, but yoga doesn’t have to be complicated to change your life. Simple poses are often the most powerful.

legs up a wall

Yoga also doesn’t have to be an enormous time commitment. For years I rarely practiced for more than 30 minutes, and I frequently practiced for only 15 minutes once a week, but the physical, mental, and emotional benefits were still enormous. Even five minutes a day can change your life. So whether you are just getting started or are looking to rededicate yourself, this challenge is perfect for you. 🙂

Rules and sponsors

All the rules are laid out in detail here on instagram, and we will continue to share them as the challenge gets closer, so I won’t go into them here. Everyone is welcome to participate, the rules are just important if you want to be eligible for prizes. 🙂

Speaking of prizes, we are still hoping to get more, but for now, we have two fabulous sponsors. The shop SuperLoveTees (that I posted about recently) is providing one of their awesome tanks for a winner, and The Zen Muse is offering this gorgeous necklace.

I’m seriously so excited about this challenge and I hope some of my lovely readers will join in! Here are the links you need to follow me, Paige, and Erin on insta to get started!

Since this challenge is all kinds of marvelous, I’m linking up with Katie <3

Questions: So, are you joining us or what?? You know you want to!! 🙂 If not, I guess you can tell me about something else marvelous in your life. 😉 [P.S. I’m behind on responding to comments again, but I promise I’ve read and loved them all and will be responding sooooon. xo]

Unplugging with yoga
Feb
17th

Hello loves! Sorry for the slightly late post. And actually, this isn’t really a post at all, because I’m just popping in to tell you that I’m guest posting about unplugging with yoga for Amy at Long Drive Journey!

legs up a wall

Even though yoga is a big part of my life, I haven’t talked about it much here. I mention it from time to time and if you follow me on IG my pictures are blowing up your feed, but I haven’t really shared how much yoga has benefitted me mentally and emotionally. When Amy asked me to guest post as part of her From Start to Finish series, it gave me a chance to do just that. I hope you’ll head over and check it out! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and feedback (I’ll be checking the comments both here and there).

From Start to Finish – Unplugging with Yoga

Marvelously low key weekend {MIMM}
Jan
5th

Happy Monday everyone! I don’t know about you, but this is the closest thing to a “normal” week I’ve had in a long time, and even though I’m not excited to be back in classes, it is nice to be getting back to my routine.

Along those same lines, John and I had a fabulous weekend mostly just relaxing around the house (with a little fitness thrown in of course). So for MIMM this week, I thought I’d bring back the old weekend recap!

Friday

Friday we were snowed in all day! I was so happy class was canceled. Growing up in Vermont, I’m certainly not afraid of the snow, but I drive a teeny tiny car and live on a very steep hill, so just getting to the main road can be challenging in a storm. We huddled up to wait it out, and I made lots more progress editing the videos for my Cody plan!

zumba for cody video edit

This has seriously been taking me forever. Part of it was timing (scheduling studio time to film, finals, holidays, etc), but just the editing process alone is killer. My dad warned me it would be about 10 to 1, and he’s right. For each hour of video, it’s taking me around ten hours of editing or more, and I’m not even doing anything fancy! It’s fun though, so I don’t really mind. 🙂

Saturday

Saturday started with class for four hours (I know, gross), but then I John and I spent the afternoon running errands, which included checking out a new natural food market that opened in town.

Mrs Greens produce section

So far, it looks like they are mostly in New York, but they seem to be growing rapidly.

So much yogi tea! Heaven <3

So much yogi tea! Heaven <3

I’m kind of obsessed with it, so I’m hoping they expand to Boston by the time we move!

mrs greens shopping bagWe also stopped at CVS, and look what I spotted! Anybody need a disc-man?

discmanI mean, it’s mp3 compatible (it says), but still. Hilarious!

After our errands, we hit the TRX for a workout!

trx pistol squatI get a little cranky pants when I struggle (some of the moves are TOUGH), but overall I really love. I’m sore all over ALL the time these days! I’m planning to share some workouts here for people interested in trying it out. Most gyms have them these days, but a lot of people aren’t sure what to do with them.

Sunday

Sunday I slept in (never happens!) I think because I’m getting sick – grumble! So as soon as I was up it was off to spinning!

spinningIt’s funny that I hated spinning when I first tried it a while ago. I’m so happy I was inspired to give it another chance by Amy and others because I’m kind of obsessed now. I look forward to it every week, and I really missed it while I was away for the holidays.

When I got home, I did some stretching and some inversions for the yoga challenge I’m participating on IG this month. This was my second time attempting pincha (scorpion), a forearm stand, and I’m SO happy with my progress! Inversions make me feel like I can fly and/or conquer the world. 🙂

pincha december and januaryLeft is four weeks ago and right is today. It took me forever the first time and this time I kicked up on the second try! I really feel like I’ve had a breakthrough with my inversions lately. This has been a goal of mine for so long and with a lot of hard work and practice, I’m getting there. (P.S. I’ve had a few people ask me for tips, if you’re looking to get started here are my eight tips for building up to inversions.)

Most of the rest of the day was spent on work, but we ended the day with a few rounds of Carassonne!!

carcassonne

I LOVE this game but rarely got to play, then one of my brothers gave it to me for Christmas. Lucky for me, John is hooked too. We play kind of all the time now. It such a fun way to end the day together instead of just vegging in front of the TV.

 MIMM is hosted by Katie, the Healthy Diva. Head over to check out all the marvelousness!

Questions: Does your gym have a TRX? Are you interested in seeing some TRX workouts on the ol’ blog? Are you getting tired of all the yoga pictures (you can be honest!)? Have you ever played Carcassonne? What’s making your Monday marvelous?

Fit fun in ’14
Jan
2nd

Ok, I promise this is the last of my New Years-y posts, but I had to shard my fitness specific goals and a few of the things I’m looking forward to this year. I think of fitness goals as different than resolutions. They aren’t really changes, just milestones I want to reach. And while I’d like to accomplish each of these goals by the end of the year (because I think they are within reach), in reality, they are just goals I would like to accomplish eventually. Think of them as fitness feats I’d like to cross off my bucket list.

1. Handstand (away from the wall): If you follow me on IG or Cody, you may have seen that I managed my first ever handstand just before the new year! This was a huge goal of mine, but I barely held it and I relied completely on the wall to keep from breaking myself. I want to be able to handstand any time, any where, no walls necessary.

first handstand

2. Forearm stand (away from the wall): This is another advanced yoga move that I managed this year (much to my own surprise!), but it was a struggle and again, required the wall. I want to ditch that wall!

pincha split legs

3. Full pistol squats: A pistol squat is an advanced bodyweight move that is essentially a single leg squat. Here’s what it looks like:

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I was getting close this summer, but haven’t been practicing lately.

4. Run a half marathon: Say what? Yes. Even though running is my kryptonite and always has been, this is something I want to do. It’s like how some people want to run a marathon, just once, so they can say they did it. Only I absolutely do not want to run a marathon. Sorryimnotsorry runner friends!

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5. Complete the Spartan Trifecta: If you’re a long-time ready (thank you!!), you already know that this year I completed the Spartan Sprint and the Super Spartan. The Spartan Trifecta involves completing a Sprint, Super, and BEAST all in the same year. When I started OCR, I never though the Spartan Beast could be possible, but after the Super, even though I’m still terrified, I really feel like it’s an achievable goal, and I feel like this is my year!

NJ tristate spartan super

On top of these fabulous goals, exciting times await me in 2014 my friends, exciting times. It’s so important to mix things up in your fitness routine to keep things interesting and keep making progress. Personally, I find it’s important because I just love so many kinds of workouts, so if I go too long without mixing it up, I get fitness FOMO. Luckily (ok purposely) a couple new fitness adventures have come into my life.

Krav Maga

Guys. I have wanted to try this for SO LONG. I have dreams of being a badass fighter like Ziva (NCIS anyone?). Also cardio kickboxing is my original soulmate workout, so I’ve always wanted to take it up a notch. Well lucky for me, I snagged an amazing living social deal for six Krav Maga classes!!!!! The only bad part is how much it will hurt my wallet if I get addicted and decide to pay up to keep going…

sparring

TRX

If you check out my workout schedules each week, you know I’m occasionally able to make it to TRX class. You may also know that when I’m able to hijack John’s gym at work, I go TRX crazy. Well as part of the holiday shopping craze, TRX was offered at 50% off!!!! John and I have wanted one for ages so we jumped on the deal as a Christmas present to each other. It will be better when he have our own home and can anchor it to the ceiling, but for now I can’t wait to rock out with anchored in the doorway. It only slightly reduces the number of exercises you can do, and this thing always leaves me CRAZY sore.

trx side plank

TRX pike

And now it’s time to get back to reality. I’m off to class, which has started up again already. Yikes!

Questions: What are some of your long term fitness goals? Do you have plans to mix up your routine this year? Anyone ever tried Krav Maga? Any TRX fans? NCIS fans?

5 tips for beginner yogis {guest post}
Dec
12th

I’m so pumped to be bringing you another fabulous guest post today! I found Paige’s blog fairly recently and fell in love right away. Her writing is so sweet and real that I feel like I connect with every post. Plus, she has an adorable dog who makes frequent appearances. Paige also happens to be a rockstar yogi, so I asked if she would be willing to share some tips for people who are curious about yoga or just recently started. But whether you are a beginner or not, I have a feeling it will hit home for you (it did for me).

Hi guys!! I’m Paige from Fit Not Fad, and I’m super excited to be here writing a guest post for Kim 🙂 When Kim contacted me about writing a guest post, I was super excited but unsure what to cover. Then she mentioned a guide for people wanting to start yoga and I was all over it!

yoga tips

My yoga journey began over three months ago and it has honestly been the best decision I have ever made in terms of my physical, mental, and emotional health. I jumped right in, and although now I am tending to a leg injury, am practicing almost daily as much as my body will allow. Yoga has so many benefits, both inside and out! It can definitely be intimidating though, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

When I first started yoga, I literally didn’t know where to start. I decided to attend a beginner’s class and try to figure out my way from there. Once I began practicing, I got a lot of advice from other bloggers, Sweat Pink sisters, and friends who had practiced or who were yoga instructors. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful, but there are a few tips that I think every beginning yogi should know.

1)     Take a class

When I first even though about trying out yoga, the thought of going to a class terrified me. I’m not exaggerating. I got nauseous and nervous and started to sweat. What if I sucked at every pose? What if I sweat all over the place? What if I kick the person next to me? I basically figured that since I had no idea what I was doing every person in the room would be staring at me and judging me. So I pinned a yoga sequence on Pinterest and thought I would just practice on my own at home. That didn’t really work out for me that well. I didn’t know what I was doing! I even set my camera on fast-take so that I could see what my poses looked like, and was horrified at my posture. My first and biggest piece of advice is to take a class! Honestly, no one cares about anyone else in class, and it is so helpful to have an instructor there to adjust you and put you in the right place, so when you do decide to practice at home, you have an idea of what each pose or sequence should feel and look like. And for the record, I have definitely sucked at poses in class, sweat all over my mat and kicked a girl next to me. No one cared 🙂

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2)     Work at your level

When you do take a class, understand that as a beginner, no one is pointing a video camera at you expecting you to nail a forearm stand at the first second. Yoga is all about feeling your body in the moment and pushing yourself to the best of you ability, even if all you can give that day is savasana. It’s about being comfortable in your body, loving yourself, and releasing all tension, stress, and outside issues to focus on yourself. You can’t be comfortable if you’re looking at the person next to you trying to copy their every advanced move. Drop pride and shame at the door when you step on the mat. There is no judgment in yoga. There is only support, encouragement, and appreciation. Also, pushing yourself past your physical limitations could likely result in injury, which is like, the worst.

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3)     Wear comfortable clothing, whether you’re at home or at a studio

What you wear during yoga can make a huge difference when it comes to comfort. I usually go with legging pants/capris and a tank top- nothing too loose. Again, this is about centering yourself and flowing in the moment, centering your mind and body, and that’s really hard to do if you’re spending every 30 seconds pulling your pants up or adjusting your shirt.

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4)     Focus on your breathing

I feel like I sort of scoffed at this in the beginning, but as I continue to practice, I have realized how important breathing is during yoga. Your breathing leads your movement. It’s most commonly advised to breath in and out through your nose. Structured and focused breathing helps your concentration, and also helps your flow smoothly between transitions.

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5)     Don’t give up too fast

This is one tip that continues to be a daily struggle for me, although I’m in no hurry to completely give up. Yoga takes time. Yoga can be challenging because it is not something that you will pick up overnight, or nail every single move on the first try, or even nail every single move every time. Your flexibility and yoga abilities grow as you grow in your practice. You reap the benefits over an extended period of time, not overnight. Practice and dedication is key to advancing your practice. It’s important not to get discouraged if it takes you awhile to pick up on a certain pose. Capability will come, as long as you commit.

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I think that these five tips are perfect for a newbie yogi! Just remember, yoga is about you, your mind, and your mat. That’s it. You bring what you can, you get out of it what you put into it. Yoga can definitely be intimidating in the beginning, but really, once you make the leap you will be so happy you did. Yoga can change you from the inside out, and really make you a happier, fitter, more flexible person 🙂 Happy posing!

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Thanks so much Paige! I love this guide so much, and there are so many great lessons in here whether you are a beginner or not. I know it included some things I really needed to hear, like this “Drop pride and shame at the door,” which I should probably have tattooed down my forearm.

Questions: If you’re a beginner or have never done yoga, did this help you feel less intimidated? Long-time yogis, what did you think? Any tips you would add? Anyone up for matching forearm tattoos 🙂

What’s stopping me?
Dec
3rd

A little while back I posted about refocusing my goals. It was motivated by this great article, which talked about the importance of making sure your training matches your goals. To give you a quick recap if you don’t remember/didn’t read it/don’t want to click back, I noted that sometimes my ego convinces me to train a certain way, when deep down that keeps me from doing the types of workouts my heart really wants to be doing.

follow your heart not your egoI set some new goals/focus areas for my training and that was that.

Now, it’s more than two months later, and guess what? My workout plans are virtually unchanged. I’ve added in a few new things like spinning and trx (which I’ve been loving!!), but I haven’t made any progress toward aligning my workouts with my passions. One of my biggest goals was to refocus yoga (because I love it, it makes me feel amazing, and I want to badly to be able to do the gorgeous poses I see in my insta-inspiration feed), yet I’m doing less yoga than ever, so let’s use that as an example.

What’s holding me back? I’ve been puzzling over this for a few weeks, and I can’t say I have a straight-forward answer, but I have some thoughts. (Read: this won’t be a coherent post, because I’m using you to think out loud, #sorryimnotsorry)

The Comparison Trap

Those same poses and pictures that inspire me have an unintended negative side effect on my type-A, uber-competitive self. I can’t help but compare my own practice to what I see, and mine is nowhere near that advanced. It becomes a constant reminder of how far I have to go. It’s also frustrating to see people who pick up yoga randomly and a few months later are mastering complex arm balances and bending themselves like pretzels. It’s frustrating and discouraging when my own progress is painfully slow.

Even though it shouldn’t, I think this frustration deters me from practicing. Maybe I should start hosting my own yoga challenge. I could call it #everydayyoga, or preferably something a little more clever. Maybe #uglyyoga? #uglyyogaisbeautiful? We’re getting off topic here… The reality is that every body is different. Anatomically. And those differences matter when it comes to the aesthetics of postures, but they mean precisely nothing when it comes to the sensation of the postures and the benefits of the practice.

Go Hard or Go Home?

This issue is unique to yoga for me (unlike the comparison trap) and kind of ironic. I am constantly preaching to people about how yoga is a real workout… but then I act like it isn’t. When I’m short on time and can’t do yoga and a cardio or strength workout, I almost always ditch yoga, because in my mind, it “doesn’t count.” I treat yoga like a luxury indulgence instead of a realistic option for my daily workout. I like to do yoga on my recovery day each week, but I’ve realized that mentally, I treat any day that I “just” do yoga as a rest day. Clearly, despite all my preaching to the masses, deep down, I still don’t believe yoga is a workout.

All of this comes back to ego. I feel like my fitness obsession has become part of my identity, and that if I’m not going hard 100% of the time, I’m somehow losing that.

How to Fix It

The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Arguably, I did that a few months ago in my first post, but I feel like now I’m admitting that simply recognizing the problem wasn’t enough to fix it. I’m going to have to actively work to overcome the obstacles that are preventing me from doing what I really want to be doing. I’d love for you all to help hold me accountable. Comment/email/tweet me anytime. Something along the lines of “Knock-knock Kim. Are you doing what you love? No? Geez girl, get your life together!” should work just fine. 🙂

Questions: Does your ego get in your way when it comes to health and fitness? Do you struggle to align your everyday workouts with your passion/goals? Thoughts on the comparison trap? (I feel like I could write a book on the subject)

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