All posts tagged: yoga

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 called a workout routine. 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 to our mat, …

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 …

Natural Cleaner for Yoga Mats + Gym Equipment

Just when you thought it was safe to watch documentaries, you come across The Human Experiment and life is over as you knew it. Nightmares for DAYS, people. Damn it, Netflix, why do you do me like that? The basic synopsis of The Human Experiment is that we’re all going to die. Well, ok, more specifically, we are experiencing a chemical overload via the things we use daily, ranging from food to products. Households cleaning items are rarely tested for long term effects on animals, and what data we do is not looking good. After watching that documentary my first instinct was to pack up, pulling a Walden, and getting my Henry David Thoreau-self outta here! But here’s the thing: I absolutely refuse to live my life in fear of all of the non-holistic things that go bump in the night. There’s a big difference between making smart, well-informed changes that positively impact your life verses being controlled by information that terrifies you. The point of educating ourselves about natural alternatives is to simplify, empower and protect our …

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 …

DIY Glowing Skin Face Mask

THERE ARE ENDLESS BENEFITS TO LIVING A NATURAL LIFESTYLE, but one of the best perks is that when it comes to beauty, it’s a much more frugal option than mainstream counterparts and you know exactly what’s going on your skin. I repeat: you know exactly what chemicals are NOT going on your skin and therefore into your body. The skin is an organ, but we kinda forget this and the fact that it will indeed absorb whatever we slather on it. My skin routine is 100% natural, and ironically, when I switched to natural products, my skin looked so much better than when I was keeping up an expensive face routine. Not only does my health thank me for this, but so does my piggy-bank. You know, if I had one. Which, I guess Chase Bank counts, right? Remember, more expensive isn’t usually most effective. Some of my girlfriends spend a crazy amount of money on teeny tiny face product and treatments at various spas and such. It’s not necessarily to maintain gorgeous, youthful skin. …

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 …

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 …

Review of the Dharma Wheel

Yoga falls into that rare exercise category of “no equipment needed.” Other than a mat, all that’s needed is you, yourself, and your open heart. Maybe it’s our complex day to day lives that push us towards making everything more complicated than it needs to be, but sometimes yoga just seems…too simple. Surely I need more gadgets, gizmos a plenty, and at bare minimum some whozits and whatzits galore. (AND YES. I so just referenced The Little Mermaid, thank you fellow nerds and red haired children alike for knowing that.) Back to the point at hand: yoga. I find myself looking for ways to “add on” to my yoga practice. Aren’t there props that I need? Shouldn’t I be investing in more training apps that I may or may not use? I really will do a handstand better if I buy super expensive pants…right? Part of me still feels disbelief at how simple yoga is, and yet how transfiguring it’s proven to be for millions of people, including myself. Now, when I see the random belles …

Follow Your Bliss

 “There’s a lot I’m learning in life, but one thing I am absolutely positive of is that a big key to unlocking true happiness is to follow your bliss….” If you ask people what they love doing, I mean really, truly, light-their-souls-on-fire-love doing, many can’t give an answer. Those who can will usually follow up by saying with a heavy mix of regret or resolution, “But I don’t really have time to do it.” I understand that. Life comes with a wide array of responsibilities and events that eat up our time and devour our energy, and it just doesn’t always seem possible to find the secret formula for doing what we love in life. There’s a lot I’m learning in life, but one thing I am absolutely positive of is that a big key to unlocking true happiness is to follow your bliss. It sounds like a cliche (it is), it seems like a hippie-dippie yoga concept (for sure), but that doesn’t take away from the power of this simple concept. If you follow …

Give Me All the Upside Downs (Inversions!)

I love inversions. I mean, honestly I’m like a little monkey when it comes to certain asanas. While inversions bring both levity and varity to your flow, they also build upper body strength. This is a major plus, since a great deal of our yoga work is more from the core down.  In addition to being (in my oh so humble opinion) ridiculously fun, inversions have major health benefits.To clarify, an inversion is any asana (pose) where the head is below the heart. Here are just a small handful of the significant health benefits of inversions: 1. Reverses blood flow and improves circulation: this in itself is a huge heart-helper, because the heart spends all day long pumping blood against gravity to get blood to the body’s limbs. By getting yourself upside down, it actually takes strain off the heart. 2. Gives a great boost the the immune system: going upside-down allow lymph to move easily through the lymph nodes, picking up toxins and bacteria and cleaning out the body. The lymph system is an …