The Core Part 3- Movement System

The more I learn about the core, the more I realize when I’m using it. Or maybe it’s just that the trainer in my current workout program is big on working the core this week? Seems to me that God likes to put all of these pieces together for us slowly so that instead of being overwhelmed, we get to grow into knowing more and having a solid foundation for success. Look below for a video with one of the moves I just learned for strengthening those weak hip flexors of mine, hardcore, yet so simple.

Movement System

We’ve already learned about the Local and Global Stabilization Systems. Now that we’ve strengthened the inner it’s time to focus on how we are moving our body with the core. I’m sure you’ve heard of all the muscles in this group, the Latissimus dorsi(lats), Hip flexors, Hamstring complex and the Quadriceps(quads.) Think armpits to knees, all these muscles help you sit, stand, and twist and turn. Working together, all the groups we have been learning about really keep us stable and functioning.

core3

Time To Muscle Up!

Enough blabbering, show you the moves right?!? I chose a minimum of one exercise for each of the muscle groups listed above. Plus a bonus workout that will hit multiple groups with one exercise, I’m all about multitasking, or killing two birds with one stone. Life is busy and being able to shorten up that workout means it’s more likely to happen.

However you decide to mix and match your core routines, I would try to incorporate at least one of these moves daily. Don’t skip an area because if you become weak in one zone it can affect the rest of them. We are looking for total body/core balance here.

Disclaimer {{If you have any unique or special medical conditions, such as if you’re pregnant, or if you have a history of knee, ankle, shoulder or spinal (back or neck) problems, you must consult with a competent and reliable physician to understand all risks, contraindications and complications of starting this exercise list, and receive authorization from them before beginning. Failure to do so could result in significant injury to you and others (including, if applicable, your unborn child). By using this program, you assume all dangers, hazards and risks of injury in the use of this program.}}

Latissimus Dorsi

This is one area I know I’m weak in too…

Reverse Snow Angels

  • Lay face down on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down.
  • Lift your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapula together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back.
  • Keeping your head facing down, in a slow motion, raise your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your hands meet above your head.(Shown is the modified version, move the arms only halfway so that they are even with your shoulders and then return to starting position.)
  • Make sure to keep the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.

reverse-snow-angel

Hip Flexors

Mountain Climbers

I’ve been doing a lot of these on Insanity.  Only it is more of a running in plank movement. Here we are using a sliding on the floor motion. You will need some towels, slides, or something similar that will slide smoothly on your floor. Paper plates even work well in a pinch.

  • Put your feet on the sliders and move into a push-up position.
  • To perform the movement, simply pull one knee at a time up toward your chest, going as high as you can while keeping your foot on the slider. You can alternate legs with each rep or do sets of one leg at a time. Not only will you be working your hips but your shoulders will get in on the action too.

mountain-climbers

This is the killer move I was telling you about, try it if you dare!!

Hamstring Complex

It’s a little more difficult to get a good hamstring workout without using weights or equipment but if you get creative, you can make it work.

Glute-ham Walks

This exercise will work both the hamstrings and the glutes.

  • With knees bent lie on your back. Lift your toes up so that only your heels are touching the ground.
  • Now lift your hips up until they are inline with your shoulders and knees. Squeeze your bottom and engage your abs. Now start slowly walking one foot at a time away from your body with small steps until you get to the point where your legs are fully extended.
  • Your hips are always extended, never let them fall. Walk your feet back into position. Do that for 5-10 reps or as many as you can get done in a few minutes.

glute-ham-walk

Flutter Kicks

Be sure to tighten your ab muscles during this workout, it will help you to avoid arching your back. A great workout for your hamstrings. I was already feeling the burn just taking the pictures for this move!

  • Start by laying flat on your stomach.
  • Lift one leg a few inches off of the ground.
  • Slowly lower that leg while you start to raise the other.
  • Repeat for 15 reps at three sets.

flutter-kicks

Quadriceps

Lunges

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Place your hands on your hips for added balance and engage your core by drawing your navel in toward your spine.
  • Step your right foot off the floor and lunge forward, landing with with your heel first, then your toes. Drive your hips towards the floor to create a 90-degree bend at both knees.
  • Push off your right leg to return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. If you want to you can alternate legs for a total of 30 lunges each set, or until you are burning good enough that you don’t think you can do one more! Want to make it harder? Try jumping from lunge to lunge, yowza!

lunges

A Little Bit of Everything

Burpees

I wouldn’t be Spartan if I didn’t share this move with you. Don’t worry, there are many ways to modify this move to take the intensity down a notch and also many ways to increase the intensity. This is the best whole body workout move I’ve every found, maybe there are others but this gets a little bit of everything.

  • Start in a standing position, feet shoulder width apart.
  • Drop into a squat position and place your hands on the ground.
  • Jump or step your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended.
  • Add in the Push-up if you are ready, from your feet or your knees if needed.
  • Return your feet to the squat position.
  • Stand up or jump up from the squat position.

 

Next?

Now that we’ve mastered the core, I asked for suggestions on what to focus on next. Interval training is the winner! Keep an eye out for an update on my Insanity progress next week and then before the end of the month we will discuss the importance of Interval Training in your workout routine.

If you have any questions about the movements here, shoot me an email at DarcisFitKick@gmail.com

Happy sweating!

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The Core Part 2

I hope you are returning for more! If you are new, please visit my Part 1 and check out the exercises I shared first. You wouldn’t jump into the ocean without first learning to swim right? Well, I want you to follow the same principles here. Hopefully after a bit of time strengthening your Local Stabilization System, you are ready to work on your Global Stabilization System.

Global Stabilization System

These muscles connect your pelvis to the spine. There are bunch of muscles that do this job, that quite honestly, I had to look up to figure out where exactly they were located. I was going to spare you the boring details but maybe you want to look up the different muscle groups and expand your expertise. The muscles included in this group are the quadratus lumborum, psoas major, external oblique, parts of the internal oblique, rectus abdominus, gluteus medius and the adductor complex(adductor magnus, adductor longus , adductor brevis, gracilis and pectineus.) I’m going to focus on one specific muscle because I know it is my weak point. That is the Psoas.

What is the Psoas?

The psoas actually has two components, the psoas major (spine to legs) and the psoas minor (spine to pelvis.) I’m going to focus on the major because working on that part will also strengthen the minor. Did you know the psoas is the ONLY muscle that connects the spine to the legs? Never really thought about that before, makes me curious to learn more about different muscles.Think of your psoas as your hip flexor. If you look at the picture below, you’ll see what I mean.

psoas2

I love my Books of Discovery, “Trail Guide to the Body Flashcards Vol. 2.” I never realized how many different muscle groups there are. In school you learn hamstrings, quads, calves and abs, nothing about how many different muscles make up those groups. Our bodies are so complex and fascinating!

 

I’m not for sure, so don’t quote me, but I imagine a lot of women are weak in this area too. While apparently I’ve been “blessed” in the area of my tush and it’s all the rage to have a big bum, I have a tendency to push out my assets. Bigger is better. I’m not alone right? I didn’t realize it until I started focusing on my posture during the Three Week Yoga Retreat. Think about your posture, do you keep your hips tucked in line with your back when you are standing? How about when you are sitting? I used to think that I had really tight hamstrings but it’s actually my hip flexors causing the problems. They aren’t naturally supporting my spine/hip/leg connection because I’ve been too focused on making my booty go pop! I found this video on YouTube that really breaks down how our hip flexors work in a simple way, plus, bonus, he reinforces my dislike of crunches!

Strengthening the Global Stabilization System

I want to share with you one of the most important keys to keeping your core/hip flexors with optimal function. It doesn’t really require “exercise,” it requires you to get up and move. There are all sorts of gadgets now that shows how active you are, your phone, Fitbit, etc. Getting your workout in is great but if all you do the rest of the day is sit on the couch or sit at a desk, you are training those flexors to be tight. Get up and walk around as often as you can. Fill up that water bottle and drink it, that will help you get in to the habit of moving by making you go to the restroom!

The exercises I’m providing below still aren’t sit ups. Can you tell those aren’t my favorite move? I’ve even given the option to do one of the exercises with a buddy because having a partner in crime makes the hard work seem a little more tolerable or maybe it’s that misery loves company? The first 3 exercises focus on the psoas. The following will be different parts of the global stabilization system.

You could try adding this into your already established Local Stabilizer System movements. Remember, if you don’t use it you lose it, you want to continue doing the previous routines. Maybe do two of those and two to four of these a day to start.  Try doing 1 exercise, resting for 30-60 seconds and doing another, repeat each circuit 2-3 times. I recommend you starting small and working your way up to they higher reps. Overexerting yourself can result in injury, even if you feel good, you could be doing more than your body is ready for. Mix and match them how you please, but remember to use your best judgement and don’t over do it.

Disclaimer {{If you have any unique or special medical conditions, such as if you’re pregnant, or if you have a history of knee, ankle, shoulder or spinal (back or neck) problems, you must consult with a competent and reliable physician to understand all risks, contraindications and complications of starting this exercise list, and receive authorization from them before beginning. Failure to do so could result in significant injury to you and others (including, if applicable, your unborn child). By using this program, you assume all dangers, hazards and risks of injury in the use of this program.}}

Psoas

Standing Gate Openers

This move is more of a stretch than anything, you will be strengthening but also working on your range of motion.

  • Stand with your feet about hip width apart and your arms at your sides.
  • Lift your left foot and flex your left knee, drawing it toward your chest. When your thigh is parallel to the floor or higher, move your knee to the right, across the middle of your body, and then to the left, opening your hip as far as possible.
  • Return to the starting position; then repeat with your right leg. Continue alternating sides for your desired number of repetitions.
  • Make this move harder by adding on some ankle weights.

unnamed

Leg Raises & Throws

Raises by yourself

  • Lie on your back with your legs above your waist.
  • Slowly lower your legs as far as you can without your lower back lifting off the floor. Remember to keep your core tight to support your spine.
  • Raise them back up and repeat.

Throws with a partner

(If you are a beginner to exercise or core work, I’d say this is more of an advanced move.)

  •  Lie on your back with your legs above your waist, toes pointed to the ceiling. Have a partner stand above your head and forcefully push your feet forward. Allow your legs to head toward the floor.
  • Slow your legs down and stop them before they touch the floor; then lift them back up so your partner can push them again.
  • Have your partner push harder to make the exercise more challenging.

raises

Hanging Leg Lifts

Equipment needed: Pull-up bar, monkey bars or any bar that will hold your body weight so your feet can’t touch the ground. Sorry I didn’t get a picture for this one, the weather outside is frightful! If you have any questions, just shoot me a message and I will help you as best as I can.

  • Hang from the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward and feet together.
  • While keeping your knees and hips flexed, lift your knees upward as high as possible, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
  • Try not to swing your legs when bringing your knees up.
  • You can wear ankle weights here too.

Quadratus Lumborum & External Oblique

This move actually works more than those two muscles but they are the ones I want you to be focused on.

Side Plank

  •  Lay on the floor on your side. Place your hand on the floor under you and straighten your arm, raising the top half of your body off the ground.
  • You can raise the other arm straight over you or let it sit on your hips.
  •  Just like regular plank you want to keep your legs straight, let the lower half of your body rest on the side of your bottom foot.
  • If you aren’t quite strong enough to hold a side plank, bend the bottom leg and rest it on the floor while maintaining the top leg out straight.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can and then repeat on the other side. Aim for 30 seconds and move your way up to a minute.

side-plank

Internal and External Oblique

Lying Twist

Don’t forget that you want to keep your shoulders on the ground. If you are raising them up in the twist you are taking away from the workout you could be giving your core.

  • Lie on your back with arms outstretched (T position), palms facing down.
  • Raise your knees up to a 90-degree angle. Lower knees down to one side.
  • Slowly rotate your knees to the other side through a count of 10.
  • Hold and squeeze for 2 seconds at the maximum tension point, about 1 inch from the ground or as far as you can go without your shoulders lifting off the ground. (Please note, I need to work on my flexibility here…)
  • Then rotate to the other side through a count of 10.

lying-twist

Adductor Complex

You may need a chair for this move if your balance isn’t strong. Trying to hold my leg up while my son took the picture, yowza!

Swinging Leg Raise

  • Stand next to a chair, hold onto it if needed. Stand on one leg.
  • Keeping your raised leg straight, swing it as far out to the side as possible, and swing it back down, allowing it to cross in front of the standing leg.
  • Repeat this movement 5-10 times, increasing the range of motion as you go.

swinging-leg

Gluteus Medius

Lateral Band Walk

This is one of my favorite moves, it seems so simple but you will be feeling the burn! This was probably my most favorite move in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel. (You can see my awkward attempt at a how to video here.) This requires a resistance band. You can make the intensity harder or easier depending on how tight you hold the band.

  • Stand with your feet approximately 6″ apart. Step on your resistance band and crisscross it over your feet, holding onto the bands either at the handle or choke up on it for more resistance.
  • Take 2 steps to the right making sure after each step your feet stay approximately 6″ apart.
  • Then take 2 steps to the left.
  • Repeat for 30-60 seconds or 15 times on each side per set.

 lateral-band

Ready for more?

I’m ready to get part three done so we can start talking about another target area. Check back in a couple weeks to see even more core moves, but until then can you do me a favor? Send me a note with the area you’d like to learn about next!

My Journey FINISHING Insanity

So I haven’t finished yet. I actually just started but this goal setting stuff I’ve been doing lately has got me pumped on positives! Say it’s happening and it will. Leave no wiggle room! 

Let me give you a little back story as to why I’m FINISHING Insanity. I bought this program years ago. I was going to use it to get wedding ready. But, I quit and honestly didn’t feel as amazing in my dress as I do in it now. I’ve started this program a few times and never finished it. I am determined this round, I WANT THAT T-SHIRT! I feel like I’ve reached a point in my life where I can do this. I have conquered Insanity Max:30, which is comparably difficult. I have also conquered multiple Spartan Races

Yet, I still have an immense fear of this program. I’m tired of making excuses because I know that they don’t get me anywhere. I know that hiding behind fear in the past has made me miss out on all sorts of fun things. A few summers ago we went out on our friend’s boat. Troy is awesome at wake boarding and I was invited to try multiple times but I couldn’t muster up the courage to try. The following summer  we went out again and I decided to quit being fussy and just do it! I HAD SO MUCH FUN! I could have learned a year earlier and had more chances to play if I hadn’t been so full of fear. That and many more instances are what drives me to finish Insanity this time. I WILL BE beaming with pride come the end of February! #unstoppable 

insanity-before

Insanity and Insanity Max:30 are all about pushing yourself for growth. It’s not about looking at the other guy, it’s looking in the mirror and fighting to strengthen that person! I still remember the first time I did the fit test… Everyone starts somewhere right? 

img_1128

One day down, 59 to go. I’ve got this! 

Be sure to check back and call me out if I’m slacking on giving you updates. 😘

Progression Week 3, 3 Week Yoga Retreat

(3WYR UPDATE) This is me being real…

3 Week Yoga Retreat, DNF. I didn’t complete this program. I couldn’t honestly tell you why because I really did enjoy how simple the moves were broken down, how short the routines were. Over all I was happy with it, I even gained flexibility. Alas I got behind on the last two days and ended up quitting. I missed the two days and planned to get back on track but didn’t. I am going to complete this program in January-March only not in the daily fashion. Please note I said “I am going to” and not I’m going to try. I am going to be incorporating yoga into my routine because I know I’m going to need it! (Insanity is killer and I know I’ll need the stretching! Cheers to Day 1 by the way!) I felt guilty looking at this post sitting in my drafts. SO I figured why not put it out there… I may be determined to be healthy but even I get off track sometimes.

blog pic poses.jpg

Wish I would have found all these pose guides earlier! How awesome is it to have them broken down like that? I found them all on the Beachbody Yoga Facebook page. If you’re loving all this yoga awesomeness and want to try it, click the picture to get a free Team Beachbody membership and I’ll be in touch to get you signed up for 30 days of Beachbody OnDemand free so you can get started on your 3 Week Yoga Retreat ❤

Week 3 with Ted

Day 15:

Core, 30 Minutes

Today was amazing! Troy came home and asked me if I wanted to do yoga with him! I was planning to do it right before bed but I love having a workout partner. I dropped the documentary Damien and I were watching and rolled out my mat ❤

I think I may be partial to male instructors. I took a couple classes at the gym and I didn’t really enjoy the female instructors that I had but did enjoy the guy who taught on Fridays, maybe it was because he had a cool name and showed the harder variations, I don’t know. It was enjoyable having Ted as a teacher today. I’ve seen Ted practice yoga before on P90X3 so maybe I’m partial because I know him already and I’m a creature of habit, I like my comfort zone.

Starting out I was a little nervous that today was going to be super hardCORE just because the first shoulder stretch really got my shoulders warmed up. Ya know when you clasp your hands together behind your back, bend over and lift your arms up behind you? Well mine barely come off my back, Troy’s were at a 45 degree angle! I was able to raise them higher each time we practiced it but man are those muscles tight. Made me realize I need to do that stretch more often. The breathing really helped me to relax and let myself go deeper into the stretches also.

All in all, today was a good day.

Day 16:

Stretch, 30 Minutes

Out of the 3 stretch routines, this one was my favorite! We even got to do pigeon pose 🙂 My tightest area is my hips and hamstrings, even though this pose is hard, it feels so good to stretch there. Ted seems so relaxed and really talks about every movement and which muscle should be stretching.

Day 17:

Balance, 30 Minutes

While Ted didn’t do this move on today’s workout, this is goals! He may be my favorite just because I got to watch him go from crow pose to handstand on p90X3, I have a handstand obsession…

Day 18:

Flow, 30 Minutes

Today was hard. My body didn’t want to cooperate on any of the poses. My kids kept coming in and out and bickering between each other. That and my internet didn’t want to load much. Talk about frustration. I got 15 minutes in and the screen would freeze, I’d have to wait a few minutes then it would load again. What should have taken me 30 minutes took closer to 40 minutes. I did notice that in forward fold my hamstrings are starting to loosen up finally. Doing the Master’s Hammer and Chisel has been a challenge with stretching because I’ve neglected weights for so long that my whole body has been sore for the last 2 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing. Plus it’s good that I’m taking the time to do yoga and help stretch and loosen those muscles. The pose below, felt SOOO good! My hips needed it.

PhotoGrid_1476849249124.jpg

Day 19:

Flow On-The-Go, 20 Minutes

DNF…

Day 20:

Relax, 25 Minutes

DNF…

Day 21:

Take 10 Am-Pm-Abs, 10 Minutes, Pick one or all!

I really am enjoying the Take 10 Am, I want to incorporate this into my regular routine. Just a good way to wake up. It starts my day off with a positive note and what better way?!?

I’m coming for you 3 Week Yoga Retreat!

 

Lets get to the CORE of the matter…

The area I hear people complain about the most is their back, and I’m not just saying that because my husband has degenerative disc disease. Second is probably the knees (my biggest struggle), but that’s a topic for another day. Did you know that approximately 31 million people in America are suffering from lower back pain at any given time! (1) That’s almost 10% of our population. What’s even crazier than that 10%, is that almost 80% experience back pain at some point in their life. I know I’ve had some back pain, nothing debilitating but enough to make me feel ouchie! If you’ve never had back pain, congrats, you probably have a strong core. So how do you get a stronger core? I’m going to be breaking down the core into a 3 part series and sharing ways to help you strengthen those muscles to support that spine.

What is the Core?

The back bone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone’s connected to the leg bone… The core is basically the middle section of your body, think spine, abdomen and hips. I’ve been studying the different muscle structures and I just have to say our bodies are fascinating! The core is made up of approximately 35 different muscle groups, so while you are working on that six pack, there are more muscles working than the stack you’ve got peaking through. One thing to consider though, just because you have a 6 pack doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got the right support for your spine. So lets focus on working from the inside out together.

The 3 Core Systems

Your core is made up of 3 different systems, there’s the Local Stabilization System, the Global Stabilization System and the Movement System. Each has a key factor in how our cores function to keep our bodies functioning effectively. Our body parts are so in sync with each other that if one part isn’t working right, it is likely damaging another part. For instance, say you injure your foot, chances are you are going to limp, which means you’re going to be favoring one side. The opposite side may get sore from over compensating. The longer that foot is injured the more you’re going to disrupt. It can go all the way up to causing a kink in your neck! To start, we are going to talk about the Local Stabilization System.

Local Stabilization System

Just like any other exercise routine, it’s best to start from the bottom and move up in intensity. The stabilization system basically tells you in it’s name what it does, it stabilizes your core. Strengthening this muscle system helps provide support from vertebra to vertebra. It helps to reduce over extending or compression of your spine. Think about balancing on one foot, not moving, all of the little muscles surrounding your ankle and helping keep your ankle supported so it doesn’t bend and get strained, it’s keeping that joint stable so there isn’t injury. By strengthening the stabilization system you are sort of adding a restrictive cushion to keep your spine safe.

Strengthening Your Stabilization System

Guess what? No sit ups are required for this system, though some of these may be new to you, I’m sure you are familiar with the plank. So that is where we will begin. I recommend adding these moves into a morning routine, crawl out of bed drink a big glass of water, stretch and do some core work. Try doing 1 exercise, resting for 30-60 seconds and doing another, repeat each circuit 2-3 times. On some of the exercises I listed an option of 12-20 reps, I recommend you starting small and working your way up to they higher reps. Overexerting yourself can result in injury, even if you feel good, you could be doing more than your body is ready for.

Disclaimer {{If you have any unique or special medical conditions, such as if you’re pregnant, or if you have a history of knee, ankle, shoulder or spinal (back or neck) problems, you must consult with a competent and reliable physician to understand all risks, contraindications and complications of starting this exercise list, and receive authorization from them before beginning. Failure to do so could result in significant injury to you and others (including, if applicable, your unborn child). By using this program, you assume all dangers, hazards and risks of injury in the use of this program.}}

Plank

Never done a plank, try this progression. Start each variation with 30 seconds and work your way up. Once you feel you’ve got a minute down, try moving on to the next variation. On the last one try holding it as long as you can, the longer you can hold the plank the higher your endurance.

  • You will need a sturdy bench or chair. Place your hands on the bench and feet on the floor. Straighten your body out so that your body forms a line from head to toe. Hold for your desired length of time.

plank on bench.jpg

  • If you’ve made it past using a bench, try doing plank from the floor in standard push up position with your knees on the floor. Make sure to keep your body in a straight line from head, to shoulders to the hip. Make sure you are flexing your stomach muscles to help keep your body straight.

knee-plank

  • Next progression is to get those knees off the ground. It helps to flex your hamstrings(back of the thigh) and glutes(behind) to help keep you straightened out and take a little bit of pressure off your shoulders. Make sure you hold that straight line from head to toe. In other words, keep your behind down with out sagging. If you can’t hold in a straight line yet please go back to your knees.

pu plank.jpg

  • Final progression is to plank on your forearms instead of hands. All the same rules apply. Keep your body in a straight line, flex what your mama gave ya!

forearm plank.jpg

Marching

This isn’t the marching you are probably thinking of. It’s going to be done on the floor laying on your back.

marching

  • Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, lay your arms by your sides.
  • Make sure you keep your stomach tucked in, pretend you are pushing your belly button to the spine to help keep your abs drawn in during the whole exercise.
  • Begin by lifting one bent leg till your calf is parallel to the ground, once you reach the that point hold it for 1 to 2 seconds and slowly lower back to the floor. Repeat for the opposite leg. Raise each leg for a total of 12-20 reps per side.

Two-Leg Floor Bridge

Do you remember doing back bends as a kid? That is what this move reminds me of. Sort of like that but not nearly as difficult, thankfully!

2 leg floor.jpg

  • Lay on your back again, same position as marching, with your feet hip width apart on the ground, also you are going to point your arms out to make your body look like a ‘T’ from a birds eye view.
  • Slowly lift your pelvis off the floor until your knees, hips and shoulders are in a straight line. Then slowly lower it back to the ground. Repeat this movement 12-20 times.

 Floor Prone Cobra

Maybe you have done yoga in the past, and recognize the term Cobra. This move is a little bit different as you can see. It has the arms extended instead of having them under your shoulders.

cobra.jpg

  • Lie face down on the floor with you hands extended out. Flex your buns and squeeze your shoulders together.
  • Lift your chest off the floor and rotate your thumbs to point up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds and then lower your chest back to the ground. (Please note: My form in the floor position is a little off… Try to keep your chin tucked in, kind of like you’re holding an apple underneath. My photographer has checked out for the day so this is what I had to work with.) Repeat this move 12-20 times.

Feeling STRONGER already?

Maybe it’s time to move on to your Global Stabilization System. If you are interested in learning about the other 2 core systems, check back in a couple weeks for a new list of exercises to try!

 

(1) https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics

 

Peanut Butter Puppy Treats

Not only is my health important but so is the health of my family. My pups are included in that. I actually had to put my girls on doggie diet food because they were putting on too much weight. (Yes, I know we need to go on walks more often.) Since I’ve become a stay at home mom, they are exposed to more food droppings in the kitchen. (I’m a messy cook!) I’ve since discovered that they love broccoli as much as I do. 😍

But the whole point to this is that my girls have become a little spoiled with the boys and I being home all the time. We are going to be working on some behavior issues. They are food motivated dogs, so it shouldn’t be hard to break these bad habits. Although, keeping them out of the kitchen might mean I have to sweep more often.

I used to buy treats at the store and cut them up into small pieces for training. I don’t like buying the store bought dog treats anymore because I learned that they have a lot of unnecessary filler and stuff that isn’t necessarily good for dogs. A friend of mine gave me a recipe for treats a while back and I decided to tweak it for a couple of reasons. Reason number one, wheat doesn’t agree with my girls, it tends to make them gassy. And number two, since my diet is vegan, not saying my dogs are vegan, I just don’t keep cow milk in my fridge. So tweaking was done and my pups seem to approve. Dogs love coconut so I figured why not use coconut flour and coconut milk to give them an extra dose of love?!?

Ingredients:

  • 2 C coconut flour (you could use wheat)
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1 C unsweetened coconut milk (you could use cow milk)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

First step: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Mix all ingredients. Add a little more milk if mixture is too dry. Next time I’ll probably add a little more milk.


Cut into little treats for training purposes or big ones just for puppy lovins, or you could roll them into small balls and smoosh with a fork. They don’t spread out much when the baked so you can space them pretty closely together on the cookie sheet.


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and let cool. Store excess treats in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use. Otherwise keep in an airtight jar in a cool place for easy access. All good girls deserve treats!

Happy Tails!

I think the best part about these treats is there are only 4 ingredients and super fast and easy to make. The amount of treats I got out of this batch should last for a couple of months without having to make more. Plus my girls seem to like them. After they ate their man cookies they were licking the floor for every crumb they could find! Hope your pups like them as much as mine do. ❤

Why did I decide to go Vegan, again?

There are 3 core reasons for what made me change my mind about eating animal products. If you’ve known me for a long time, you have seen me go from vegetarian as a teenager, back to meat eater, then to vegetarian/vegan in my mid 20s, then to a farm girl who raised her own cows for slaughter and now back again to full vegan. Each change was drastic and each had it’s own reason. I decided to go vegetarian when I was a teenager because I loved animals, but I decided I missed jerky too much. Peta was a huge influence when I decided to go vegan the first time, their videos get you right in the heart if you have any kind of love for animals. Then I moved back to family property and raised baby chickens, goats and baby cows. I know I change my mind about things like my underwear but I feel this change is permanent because it’s not just a small conviction, it’s multiple large ones that have huge impact in my life.

If you have followed my health journey for the last couple of years, you may have seen how important I have made protein in my life. You may have seen me carb cycling and eating chicken or some sort of protein 6 times a day. Let me tell you, I am glad I’m done with that! But I digress…

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My 3 Reasons:

  1. I want to be healthy and disease free for as long as I possibly can.
  2. I have a HUGE love for animals and our beautiful planet.
  3. I love God and want to follow his rules, I’m pretty sure his rules are meant for my own good.

None of those are in order of importance, they are equally important to me. That is why I feel I will continue with this lifestyle for the rest of my life. Plus, did you see the food above? So many flavors and nothing beats fresh produce ❤ When I was thinking about going vegan, all I could think about was how much I would miss cheese. I slowly started removing it, for instance, I would get a taco salad and opt for no cheese. Eventually it became second nature and I no longer crave it. There are so many food options, or alternatives to cheese that are different but flavorful and delicious too.

#1 For My Health and My Families…

Yes, I promise I am, and they are, getting enough protein. Lets skip that topic right now though. Lets talk about bacon, yes, smoky, tasty bacon and how it is related to smoking cigarettes. The World Health Organization (The WHO) released a report that processed meat has a carcinogenic effect. In case you don’t know carcinogens cause cancer. Processed meats are classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, that is the same group as smoking cigarettes and asbestos exposure. Sure I dabbled and tried cigarettes when I was a teen but seeing my Grandma die because of cancer that started in her lungs, turned me off of that right away. After seeing the WHO’s report I quit processed meats too. Processed meats can be bacon or sausages, smoked, salted or even fermented meats. The WHO isn’t just a small research place, they are who all medical fields look to, in the US and throughout the world. Even the American Cancer Society is taking their claim seriously. They aren’t blasting it because they still want all the money people donate. If cancer goes away they lose their funding. But that’s a topic for another day. Besides most processed meats are loaded with fat, bacon and sausage in point, which is not healthy for you to begin with. By all means though, if just one cigarette here and there is okay, so is bacon on everything right? No, it’s really not…

Digestive wise, I had a friend ask me about my poop. I know, I know, tmi but when I was raising my own beef, I was eating it regularly. I ended up going to the hospital once thinking I had appendix issues, turned out I just needed to go. Haven’t had that problem since changing my diet. My husband used to have IBS(irritable bowel syndrome) and since we have gone to a vegan diet he no longer has issues either. Did you know that it can take up to 8 days to digest meat? It is literally rotting in your guts, gag!


And now the elusive protein. Really it isn’t as elusive as you’d think. If you are eating whole grains and meat and dairy, chances are you are getting too much. Too much protein can cause weight gain and can even be hard on your kidneys. How much do you need? I can tell you that my goal for protein intake is between 45-80 grams a day. The average woman is around 46 a day. Let me break down an average day of meals for you and show you how easy it is for me to meet my low protein goal.

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal(7g) with chia seeds(5g), walnuts(5g) and apples.
  • Lunch: Salad with veggie burger patty(7g), pumpkin seeds(5g)
  • Snack: Vegan Shakeology(16g), 1 c coconut milk(5g)
  • Dinner: Whole grain pasta(7g) with cashew sauce(5g), broccoli(4g)
  • Total = 66g protein
  • Without my Shakeology = 45g protein

I used to love omelettes, 3 eggs(18g), ham (14g) and cheese(14g), plus the toast(10g)… Crazy to think I had already met my protein goal before lunch. No wonder I had extra pounds. No wonder I always used to complain about having an upset stomach.

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan Check out this website for even more reasons why.

Another interesting read.

#2 My Love of Nature

I have always loved animals. My dream as a youngun was to become a veterinarian, but I didn’t have the drive to commit 8 years to schooling after high school. So that was left in dream land. I have had all sorts of pets, from dogs to ball pythons, to horses and turtles.

It’s kind of funny, in all the time that I spent growing up in Hood River, I don’t think I ever really appreciated the nature that surrounded me until a visit back to my parents house. I never realized how close Mt. Hood was and how big and beautiful it was until driving back up there after living in the Portland area. I got used to seeing it’s view through the city, which is pretty in it’s own way. There is just something about driving down a two lane highway and coming around a bend of fruit trees and the mountain peak taking up the whole skyline. It’s just awesome.

I was given the opportunity to move back to the country and that gave me a new appreciation for nature. Going on the trails via horseback and riding through a field of wild flowers, then finishing it with a beautiful view of 3 of the closest mountain tops is a memory I will always cherish.  You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, really is true. Living in the country gave me a new appreciation for the balance of life. The balance of nature and how the ecosystem of cats hunting mice, coyotes keeping gray digger populations under control and wild turkeys keeping the bugs at bay, all work together.

I feel that all of these experiences have brought me even more insight as to why eating dairy and large farmed animals is wrong. I raised bottle calves, from a dairy farm across the river. As much as I tried to baby my babies, things went wrong, their health was compromised because they were taken away from their mom’s so that they could sell the milk. As hard as I tried, I know that the babes I raised would have been bigger and stronger if they had been with their mom. The ones I lost probably would have made it with their mom’s too. The two farms I would buy from were pretty good about making sure babies got the first of the colostrum. Though the little babies were kept in little areas and were alone except for feeding times. The mamas were pulled from their babes and you always knew that you were close to the farm because of the smell of manure from quite a ways down the road. Dairy isn’t very humane. Dairy isn’t very environmentally friendly either. I sure loved those babies though.

Environmentally speaking, did you know that 1 pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water, which includes irrigation of the grains and grasses in feed, plus water for drinking and processing? Americans are projected to eat just under 56 lbs of beef this year. Last year America’s population was 322,762,018, which will be even larger this year, that equals 17,945,568,200.8 lbs of beef to be consumed?!? That means we are using 32,284,077,193,239.2 gallons of water a year just for cows! That’s in the trillions, I can’t even fathom that number. Can you imagine if that water was used for the many people who have no water? The little children in Africa? The people suffering in Syria right now?!? These numbers don’t even take into consideration how much water is used for pork or dairy or poultry… It saddens me to think about us craving a burger more than we consider the life of another human being. And we wonder why California is in a drought.

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That just addresses the water issue. That doesn’t address the inhumane treatment of animals going to slaughter, the inhumane treatment of animals before slaughter. If you have time, I encourage you to look into where your animal products come from. I’m willing to bet that you seeing calves dragged away from their mothers as their mother screams and chases after them will sadden you too. Seeing little piglets have their tails clipped off because they are in such small quarters that when they grown they will eventually start eating each other. Even the baby chicks going into the grinder alive because they are boys and won’t produce eggs sickens me. That burger is no longer guilt free to me because I am informed. As much as I don’t wish anyone to have to see animals to suffer, I know that education is the only way people change. Even then, sadly people will watch those videos and not care but will be upset when they see a starved horse or a beaten dog. They are all animals and they all feel. And that is one reason I will not eat meat or drink milk anymore. That’s not to say I am perfect, I struggle and still sneak in a Cinnabon here and there. That just tells me I need to be stronger and get better at controlling my sweet tooth. I also need to learn how to make my own bomb cinnamon rolls at home(and not eat the whole pan.)

#3 The Bible

Last but not least, I believe God has a plan for us. He wants us to be healthy and treat our bodies like temples. I believe that by following a plant based diet, along with exercising and not drinking alcohol, I am working towards the goal of being a temple. ♥16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-7♥  There is no doubt in my mind that you are what you eat and if you are eating unhealthy foods, your body and mind will reflect that.

I believe that the diet he intended for us from the very beginning is the diet we should be sticking to.  ♥And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” Genesis 1:29♥

Yes, I know that since Noah meat was given as food. If you read Leviticus 11 you will see that there are clean and unclean meats. Interesting to see that pigs are an unclean meat, just sayin… The one thing I think is neglected when people see that we can eat meat is that you aren’t supposed to eat the blood. ♥ 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. Genesis 9:2-4♥ (see also Leviticus 17) The Bible gives specific directions on how to cook meat so the blood is not in it anymore but to be honest it seemed like a lot of work and the blood is really what gives the meat its flavor. Plus all of the genetically modified cancer causing feeds are still used. So I’ll stick with my vegan eats.

You can choose to believe what the Bible says or not. Personally when so many things; medical studies, environmental studies, and the reduced lifespan of people from biblical times all point to eating meat as our downfall, I’m going to take that as a sign that change is needed.

Change is Hard

Like I said before, deciding to go vegan brought a lot of mental challenges. I had to battle my mind by making small changes. The very first thing we quit was pork. That was tough in the sense that gelatin is in EVERYTHING. Just last night I found some lotion that had gelatin in it.(Oh and by the way, I have found vegan marshmallows that I think are better than regular ones.) The second to go was beef, then chicken and then dairy. One step at a time is my life motto. And being able to forgive myself for slip ups, and continue to push to do better makes this lifestyle do able. I’ve gotten better at finding vegan options for EVERYTHING too. Cashews are this girls best friend!

If you’re interested in making the change and need favorite substitutes or recipes, I’d be MORE THAN happy to help!

 

 

 

DIY Pumpkin Puree

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Yes, I still am missing the pumpkin spice latte that I enjoyed at least once a week last year. So on a mission to add more pumpkin to my life I decided to quit the carving and paint our pumpkins this year. It may have helped that I had my favorite little nieces over for a visit and figured washable paint would be easier than gutting 2 extra pumpkins. That was a good decision by the way, even though they had paint all over the place! (Please note how adorable my nieces and sons are below!) It’s the second week of November and all of our pumpkins held strong long enough to be washed off and hacked up into puree. The more I dive into making things home made the more I realize how simple it is. I used to think homemade cooking meant a lot of work and I always told myself I didn’t like it. Turns out I do. Turns out there is a sort of joy that comes from throwing that baked pumpkin into the processor and seeing it come out prettier than the canned stuff!

 

Preheat the oven to 355° if you have time to let them bake for about an hour. If not you can set the temp at 400° and cook them till they are easy to poke with a fork, approximately 30 minutes.

 

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I am all about simple, the less ingredients the better. Thankfully all you need for this pumpkin puree is pumpkin. Did you know that a lot of store bought pumpkin puree is actually squash? What a rip off right?!? Any who, the best pumpkin for this puree is a sugar pumpkin. The bigger pumpkin I used was from my garden and honestly, I couldn’t tell you whether it was the jack-o-lantern or different pumpkin because I didn’t mark which plant was which. Because I wanted to see the difference in pumpkins I pureed my store bought pie pumpkins and my homegrown one separately then put them together. The homegrown pumpkin was likely the jack-o-lantern due to the fact that it had more of a watery consistency. If I was to make this out of pumpkins other than the sugar pumpkins I would probably put them into a cheese cloth and let them drain some of the water off. Just a thought.

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I’m hoping to find a good recipe for some pumpkin seeds because I tend to burn them. Or they just taste terrible… It’s a learning process and thankfully the seeds came with the pumpkins so I didn’t have to go out of my way to find them. Oh and don’t worry, James’ chickens are enjoying the rest of the guts that I’m not using for the puree.

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I placed mine on a foil lined sheet because I loathe cleaning my cookie sheets. You could use parchment paper if that’s what you prefer too.

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As you can see by the picture, it was a learning process. The first batch cooked for 55 minutes and probably could have came out earlier. The second batch cooked for an hour and 15 minutes. The size of the pumpkin is going to determine how long you cook them.

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As you can see the smaller pumpkins got a little on the dark side BUT no worries, I scraped of the dark (cough, burnt, cough) spots and it worked out just fine. I’ve never claimed to be Betty Crocker, but I’m learning and next time I make these bad boys, I’ll do better! You’re welcome for testing this out so that I can be the guinea pig and you can have these tips ahead of time! 😉

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Some people leave the pumpkin on the pan and peel the skin off, I used a spoon and scooped it out and put it in the processor. I crushed it till it was baby food consistency.

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I’m sure there are recipes out there that allow you to can your pumpkin puree but for time sake, I chose to freeze mine. Because it has no sugar or other ingredients in it, that’s the safe route anyway. I put mine into ice trays and froze it so I could easily pop some out of the bag and add it to my oatmeal, my smoothies or even my No Latte Pumpkin Hotte! In the past I’ve wanted to make a single serving of some sort of tasty pumpkin treat and have had to figure out what to do with the rest of the can. It’s easy to get burnt out on pumpkin that way. Next time I might freeze it in pumpkin pie specific measurements in Ziploc freezer bags too.

I of course had to try the puree out right away and I hate to toot my own horn but YUM!

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Expansion Week 2, 3 Week Yoga Retreat

Week 2 with Elise ❤

I hate being off schedule but I wasn’t feeling so hot on Monday and had to post pone my yoga sesh until Tuesday. It is what it is. I’m learning to be a little more flexible with my workouts and not beat myself up if I’m not perfect. Maybe that’s part of the yoga practice speaking?

Day 8:

Core, 30 Minutes

Elise is good at reminding you to quit with the doubt. At the same time though, boy am I feeling these movements. I used to think my core was strong and now I’m thinking not so much. She’s a great teacher, I’m just not very strong or bendy yet. One of the things I’m most excited about with today’s practice was during one of the side stretches you are also doing a triceps stretch. I never really felt like my triceps got very stretched and learned that keeping your chin up in the stretch gives a little extra pull in that position. I’m super sore from adding weight training back into my routine so that was nice.

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Day 9:

Stretch, 30 Minutes

My body is so tight. Between ice skating and starting the Master’s Hammer and Chisel, this week I needed this in my life. I’m definitely not feeling very flexible today due to sore muscles. I think if I hadn’t been doing yoga though, I’d be feeling even tighter.

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Day 10:

Balance, 30 Minutes

“Half of our work in balance is learning how to fall and get back up,” sometimes I think she can see me through the screen. Lol. Usually I’m like, I’m good, I can hang in all the balance stuff. Apparently my tight muscles had a different plan. Warrior III definitely had a different plan too. I really liked how Elise broke down Warrior III into pieces and made the transition from lower lunge into it. I’m learning how unaware I am of my hip position, even my posture just standing is bad. I tend to stick my booty out, I’m having to reprogram my brain to tuck my pelvis in. Felt good though to get that move most down. We’ll see how the next time goes.

Day 11:

Flow, 30 Minutes

Faster pace today. Thankful for no new poses to learn today and that Child’s pose is the pose to go to if you need a rest. This was mostly like last weeks flow, except there were a few added poses like Goddess pose and Warrior III. Just realized I haven’t mentioned Goddess pose yet. WOW! Think holding a sumo squat for what feels like an eternity, except the goal is to keep your booty and chest in a straight line. I could hardly hold this one for so long. My hips are so not flexible.

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I would have shown you a picture of myself doing the pose but then I’d have to kill you. Yes it’s that bad…  Elise makes it look easy 😉

Day 12:

Relax, 25 Minutes

I gotta be honest. I skipped yoga today. Saturday is my rest day and because I really didn’t enjoy doing Relax last week, I decided I wasn’t going to do it this week and save Flow On-The-Go for Sunday and also do Take 10 Am Monday morning before I do Hammer & Chisel.

Day 13:

Flow On-The-Go, 20 Minutes

This was my favorite routine this week. Could it be because of how short it was?!? I’ve sort of been on the countdown all week, like is today’s practice done? I know that’s not good for yoga, or any workout for that matter, your mindset can make you or break you. It was really helpful to see the different instructors, Faith, Ted and Elise doing the flat back pose because I feel like mine is terrible. Seeing the difference was helpful. Ted gives me hope that I can get mine as flat as his was. Elise is a little intimidating, she’s got some dancer movement, she used to do ballet! Check out her website by clicking the picture below, super impressive!

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Day 14:

Take 10 Am-Pm-Abs, 10 Minutes, Pick one or all!

I decided to do the Am routine and it felt good! It was nice to have 10 minutes to get into the mood to workout. It wasn’t super intense with a lot of squat time, just some sun salutations and then a little bit of Warrior II to wake me up. I think I’ll be trying to do this one more often in the morning. I’m feeling a little looser in my hamstrings again too. I think this next week is going to be even better for my flexibility.

Foundation Week 1, 3 Week Yoga Retreat

Week 1 with Vytas

Day 1:

Core, 30 Minutes

When I first did this routine I assumed it would be stomach, back, abdomen type work. I’ve learned that it’s the core fundamentals of yoga. We learned correct positioning for downward dog, cat & cow, child pose, plank, proper breathing and a few other movements. I really like Vytas so far, his approach is very calming and you don’t feel super pressured to make the more advanced of the movements he’s demonstrating. I’ve taken a few yoga classes and always felt like I was doing poses wrong, well I was. It’s nice how much every move gets broken down. Vytas tells me to lift my chest, where to look in a pose and when to suck in my belly button to protect my spine.

I personally struggle with breathing through my nose. Yoga is very centered on breathing, Vytas didn’t start the program making you focus on that. He helped learn the moves and then added in when to breath in and out. Just adding in proper breathing helped me feel more comfortable in the movements. Definitely appreciated that progression.

Every time I do yoga I realize how not flexible I am. Forward fold is the one that really gets me. The move is basically bending at the waist and letting your arms hang to the floor, I can touch my toes if I really push it. I did notice that the further into today’s routine I got, the further down my arms hung. This excites me because I’ve got 20 more days of progress to make! During the plank to downward and today’s core work actually had me shaking, made me realize how weak my core and arms are.

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Goals after today?

I’m hoping to be able to bend a little better and maybe be able to put my chest to my knees, probably not after the first 3 weeks, but very soon. Also would like more flexibility in my hips and hammies. That is where I feel the most “pain,” or tension I guess, during most of the movements.

Day 2:

Stretch, 30 Minutes

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While I love having a workout buddy I think tomorrow we will be rolling up the zigzag rug  so there is a little more space for two yoga mats, I tend to trip over the rug. I prefer to get my workout done in the morning but my husband is trying out yoga with me, so evenings it is. I have a hunch that it will help with his back pain, so he’s trying to listen to my advice. If anyone is a yoga skeptic, it’s that guy.

Tonight’s adventures included a bit of smacking each other due to lack of space. It didn’t help that we were sort of agitated with different things from the day. Taking 30 minutes to do yoga put us both in a better spot. It felt really good to stretch. Note to self: buy an extra yoga block and a couple yoga straps. Dog leashes and belts work but sure looks redneck. Lol.

About the stretching, yikes! My hammies are so tight! We really focused on stretching them tonight which is a really good thing, the hips too. I actually saw something today that was talking about posture and how a curved back may make your booty pop but it’s actually really not good for you. Made me really think about my posture in everything. For instance, I drive with one hand at 10 on the wheel and the other at 5 because I rest my elbow on the armrest. No wonder my neck gets tweaked easy. So back to drivers ed days and 10 & 2 on the wheel, although my daughter told me that it’s now 9 & 3 instead. I’m looking forward to balance tomorrow because I am hoping that will help get me lined up straight again. Crazy to think how an injury in your knee can be caused by bad posture but our bodies are one unit, if one part is out of line it will affect the rest.

By the way, as we laid in bed Troy mentioned that yoga was good. I think it really helped that there weren’t chimes and no chanting, just stretching, holding poses and breathing. Simple as that. I have to admit that I like it that way too.

Goals after today?

One move has you lay on your back and raise your right leg up using a yoga strap(belt or dog leash in my case) to keep it straight and then extending your left leg out flat with your calf touching the ground. I’d like to be able to get that leg flat on the ground. I’m pretty close but not quite. I think getting there by the end of this 3 weeks is a good goal.

Day 3:

Balance, 30 Minutes

The time is listed as 30 minutes but it was closer to 27 minutes. Vytas talked for a few minutes before getting started, which I’m okay with. 🙂

We are both feeling a little sore from yesterday. Not just from yoga, we’ve been busy doing other things. Troy has been working on restoring our trailer for the last couple of days. Poor guy has been on his back spray painting on the rocky driveway. My kids talked me into riding my roller blades to the skate park. It’s crazy how kids are so resilient, I thought my legs were going to fall off half way there.

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Getting started today with some downward dog. Warming up each leg before straightening both helps keep your knees happy.

The two poses that come to mind tonight are Warrior II and Chaturanga. Warrior II is a little rough on both of our gimpy knees but we are staying hopeful. The muscles in my gimpy knee need to be strengthened and I know that will help my running and squatting form too.(Sneak peak below of Vytas teaching how to do Warrior II in this program.) As for chaturanga, basically a triceps pushup with a hold half way down, hard stuff, luckily you can do it from your knees if you need to.

Goals after today?

Work on shoulder flexibility, I’d like to master that downward dog. And be able to chaturanga without feeling my body shake as I push back up.

Day 4:

Flow, 30 Minutes

This was goooood! In yoga classes I’ve taken, they don’t really teach, I’ve always felt unsure about upward dog. I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing it wrong since the first time I tried it. Today we learned how to “Flow.” We did sun salutation, which is standing in mountain pose, reaching your arms to the sky, bending down to forward fold, up to flat back and then step back into plank, chaturanga to upward dog or cobra, then to downward dog, back into plank, step back to the front of the mat, flat back, forward fold, and then reverse dive back to mountain, and hands to chest. It sounds more complicated than it really is but breathing in sync with the movements was super helpful. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are hard days to get Troy in on the yoga action but he’s committed to joining me again on Sunday.

Day 5:

Flow On-The-Go, 20 Minutes

Friday’s are always my busiest day. Felt good to bust this one out first thing in the morning. Glad it was a bit shorter and more focused and getting it done. We did all of the same movements as yesterday but less focus on the teaching aspect.

Day 6:

Relax, 25 Minutes

Saturday is my rest day, I unplug for most of the day so I waited til Sunday to Relax. I enjoyed this week of yoga.Today’s is the style of yoga I don’t really enjoy. Relaxation for me isn’t sitting in my workout room breathing and being calm. I find serenity in the outdoors. That’s where I like to breathe. It felt good to take it easy but I can’t say the Relax is my cup of tea. I did get to enjoy some unexpected extra company today though. I don’t know if you can see it, but even the dogs were in here with us.

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Day 7:

Take 10 Am-Pm-Abs, 10 Minutes, Pick one or all!

I decided to go with Take 10 Pm. I was grumpy, Troy was grumpy, I just couldn’t get my brain to shut down. It felt good to calm myself down before going to bed.

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