All posts tagged: fitness

Review: Best Yoga Books (for yoga addicts like you)

I collect two things in life: books and music. And according to my bank account, I apparently go a little overboard with my obsession for both. I am unrepentant. I am without question a book fanatic/literarazzi/reader-of-all-the-things. I don’t know about you, but any location that houses books in a happy place: libraries, used bookstores, Barnes and Noble, that random pop up store down the street, etc etc etc. I’m not kidding when I say I read at least a book or two a week. I will happily turn down social engagements to snuggle up with a my fat cat and a book. HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH—called my sofaaaaaaaa. Anyway, now that we all know the real reason I’m sometimes a terrible friend (those books aren’t gonna read themselves, people), I wanted to share with you several that I’ve found really beneficial to my yoga practice. Inspirational and philosophical books are pretty easy to come across, but books with a technical focus are often difficult to find. I’ve curated several gems along the way, and they’ve made …

Surprising Health Benefits of Probiotics (and how to take them)

Happy New Year! Praise baby Jesus, 2016 is over. …Damn, 2016. You were vicious! Don’t even get me started on all the celebrities we lost, because we lost our humanity for a hot minute and I think that’s a bigger deal. It was like a poop cloud of negativity hung over the entire year in the form of politics, social media, and the news (ok, and celebrity deaths). Most of the time, I felt like I was a very reluctant extra in a HORRIBLE episode of North & South. On a personal level, it was actually a good year for me and my husband. DESPITE the presidential debates, we can’t complain (#DodgedThe2016Bullet), but man, our hearts have been breaking for so many dear friends and even strangers who are hurting from last year. Here’s all I have to say about the Wretchedness Which Was 2016: whatever  personal opinions and views we value, let’s make sure we value people as well. I hope 2017 is marked by our kindness and desire to unite with one another instead …

Is Yoga Enough of a Workout?

And there it is. The question I get asked all the time: IS YOGA ENOUGH: to stay fit, to lose weight, to keep the weight off. When a person says they do yoga, that’s a pretty broad spectrum statement. There are a million different types of yoga, and I don’t think one is better than another, so long as it benefits the body and the soul. Most gyms in the States have an increasing demand for yoga-fusion classes: cycle-meets-mat, barre-meets-yogini, weights-meets-flow…you get the idea. I’m sure what I’m about to say is an annoying purist statement, but I’mma gonna say it: those hybrids of yoga are not yoga. They’re a workout routine, not true yoga. Yoga is a discipline with strong spiritual roots and those who are faithful yoga practitioners reap crazy health benefits, but true yogis don’t do yoga to get fit. That’s a side benefit, and a great one. BUT let’s face it, most people find their way to the mat because they want to get lean and limber. Nothing wrong with that. Fitness might bring us …

Nail Your Handstands & Forearm Balances

My mentor and teacher Kino MacGregor is a yogini extraordinaire. Her handstands are like whoa! Actually, I think all of her asanas (poses) are ah-maaaaa-zing, but those handstands! OMG those handstands! SO fabulous! It came as a huge surprise to me when Kino confessed handstands are her weak point, literally. She’s naturally more flexible than she is strong, and she loses strength easily and has to work hard to build it back up. The fact that Kino has Mere Mortal Syndrome is both a huge relief and also tremendously inspiring. She has perfect inversions, because she trains to have perfect inversions. The take away: you can nail any asana with diligence and consistency. I’m still working on building up strength so that I can easily do my handstands and forearm balances even after doing a million vinyassas during my practice, but I’ve learned a lot after training with Kino both one on one and also in various yoga intensives. I wanted to share some of her knowledge. Another great way to get handstand training is …

How to Weekend + Travel Proof Your Health Game

Current situation: living across the pond in London proper for most of the month of September. Health game: Staying mooooostly on point, despite the massive attack (musical pun for you fellow fans out there!) on clean eating by way of incredible dining and wining in one of my favorite cities.  Let’s face it, weekends and vacations do a number on our health, and it can be incredibly difficult to reel ourselves back to reality. Many people, myself included, can testify that the “occasional indulgence” or exception accidentally become the norm. It’s so much harder to get back on track than to stay mostly consistent with our lifestyle. I’m speaking from personal experience of course; in all honesty my will power waffles and wavers entirely for a fancy pants meal, bottomless brunching, and/or an amazing bottle of wine. What’s a girl to do? Never dine out? Skip traveling? Forget it! That sounds like zero amounts of fun. I have major wanderlust and frequently travel both nationally and internationally. When I’m home, I’m fortunate to have a lovely network of friends …

Surprising Foods That Sabotage Your Weight Goals

We can run a million miles a day, do cross fit like an original Spartan soldier, and compete in the Olympics, but if we don’t recognize that about 80% of our fitness success starts in the kitchen, it will be almost impossible to reach our goals. Not only do our food choices contribute to our weight goals, but they make us healthy on from the inside-out. Think of how many skinny-minny people you know with limp hair, dull skin, and lack luster energy levels. Skinny does not equal healthy or strong, and I cannot emphasize that enough. Likewise, being addicted to working out is just as unhealthy as extreme portion control. In fact, relentless working is incredibly harmful for your body, causing adrenal fatigue and even injury. A lack of balance in our eating or workout routine is a symptom of poor mental health. Remember, health isn’t just physical. It’s very much a mental thing. Some of the unhealthiest, unhappiest people I know have gym bodies to die for, but I wouldn’t want to spend …

Morning Habits for Weight Loss

In the words of Anne of Green Gables, “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” This little saying holds true for our eating habits as well, and research proves mornings are literally a blank slate to our digestive system. How we start our day calibrates our metabolism and can either aid in our health efforts, or wildly sabotage our goals. The start of our day holds another little trick up its sleeve: it can be a powerful detox session for our body if we play our cards right. It’s not news that a detoxed body= a body primed to lose weight/be a fitness beast. The great news is that we can get the most out of our morning with just a few simple habits.  I hate early mornings with an intensity that borderlines on out of control. I personally, require minimal thinking, breathing, doing, and moving in the AM, so the less complicated, the better. Let us have morning success, and let it be effortless, ammirite? I’ve found these little habits make a …

How to Have a Dynamic Yoga Practice

Yoga is an investment. Like money, we don’t want our practice to be a proverbial credit card, where we’re charging skills and tricks that our body actually can’t afford for us to do. We also don’t want to needlessly hoard our energy, so we must learn to invest ourselves and our energy wisely. As with most things in life, you’ll get out of yoga whatever you invest in it. This makes me oh so happy! Hooray! A predicted outcome: work hard, enjoy the results! On the other hand, this makes me feel RIDICULOUSLY GRUMPY: wait, what? Sooo…no coasting? Not even a little cheating?! DAMNIT! I guess I’ll have to rely on good old fashioned hard work when it comes to my practice. Oh, joy. But all good things are worth the effort, and yoga is at the top of that list. Because yoga allows for many modifications and no one is shouting at you to run harder, climb higher, pump heavier, the degree of intensity is a highly personal and regulated primarily by the individual. Pros: you …

Pro-body, Pro-Mind, Pro-health: Probiotics

Researchers and scientists alike agree that we’ve ignored how essential gut health is to our overall health. And guess what our Standard American Diet (SAD) hits the hardest? Our intestines. GMO’s, processed and refined foods strip down the gut of good bacteria, creating an inflammatory reaction that has produced an epidemic of Crohn’s disease, Celiac, and other inflammatory problems as well as causing weight gain. Many of the food inventions of our brave new world are horrible for our bodies. Modern medicine is just too damn smart for its own good, or for our good that is. With all of our wonderful advances through pills, science, and surgeries, we completely ignore holistic health guidelines that have been around for thousands and thousands of years. We seem to think the body incapable of healing itself without the aid of Western medicine. While I don’t think it’s advisable to wholly use natural health alternatives, I think it’s wise to learn what we can and implement simple and yet powerfully effective measures. Remember, just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean …

Yoga Injuries: Now What?

When you end up with a yoga related injury, it’s a little…disillusioning to say the least. But the truth is, it’s not yoga. It’s the way yoga is being practiced. Pain is the body’s way of telling us we’re not properly aligned. Yoga does exactly what it’s supposed to: teach us where our bodies need to heal and how to heal. The key is to just listen.  Yoga is therapeutic. It’s known for it’s almost magical healing properties. It’s basically like the fountain of youth. So when you end up with a yoga related injury, it’s a little…disillusioning to say the least. It’s like finding out Santa doesn’t exist and Rudolph doesn’t even have a red nose all in one day. I mean, it’s actually just a bit offensive. You’re supposed to heal me, yoga! Not hurt me! How dare you! But the truth is, it’s not yoga. It’s the way yoga is being practiced. Pain is the body’s way of telling us we’re not properly aligned. Yoga does exactly what it’s supposed to: teach …