Benefits of Exercise

Lets make it quick – here are some quotes and an info-graphic on the benefits of working out!

“We found that people who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active, and we also found that people have more pleasant-activated feelings on days when they are more physically active than usual,” study researcher Amanda Hyde, a kinesiology graduate student at Penn State, said.

“Exercise raises your heart rate and triggers a surge of hormonal changes. Expose yourself to this ‘stress’ enough and your body builds up immunity to it. Eventually, it will get better at handling the rest of life’s stressors,” says clinical psychologist Jasper Smits, Ph.D., coauthor of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety.

“When researchers blocked endorphins from runners’ brains, some still said their mood improved after their workout,” says John Ratey, M.D., author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Dr. Ratey says, “is like Miracle-Gro for your brain.”

“Our results suggest that not only are there chronic benefits of physical activity, but there are discrete benefits as well,” Hyde said in the statement. “Doing more exercise than you typically do can give you a burst of pleasant-activated feelings. So today, if you want a boost, go do some moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise.”

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Stress, Man.

I was recently told by a masseuse that I am very tense and that he could tell I hadn’t stopped thinking throughout the massage. I didn’t realize it until he said something, but now I notice how tense I really am – and I’m not happy about it.

Think too much

More and more, we fill our homes with electronics, constant communication and distractions. I know for me, I get caught up in entertainment and need to be continuously fed new information. Pinterest is basically the online version of my brain. I am always looking for more images, more recipes, more workouts, more knowledge, essentially, more unimportant information – just filling my day & brain with things that clutter my thinking. It is all just junk food for your mind & spirit.

The worst part is, I never had somewhere to go to get away from it all. Do you? Ideally, it should be someplace in your home. Even making tiny changes to your everyday routine can help cleanse your brain of the nonsense.

Breathe – The most simple but hardest to remember is to breathe. Try once an hour or every couple of hours to walk away from everyone & everything to take five deep breaths. Go into the bathroom or the supply room if you have to…

Morning Yoga & Before Bed Yoga – Turn off the TV, turn on quiet calming music and put down your phone for five minutes. Do these sequences twice and just breathe.

good-morning-yoga

Meditation – I never really understood the power of meditation until I tried it with assistance.  The Meditation Podcast has some awesome pod-casts that walk you through the experience. I have never been so relaxed or slept so well. You can even download it on your phone and take it with you!

Hot, decaffeinated Tea – Make a hot cup of decaffeinated tea and sit outside, alone or with a friend but leave the electronics inside. Just focus on yourself (or your friend) and your cup of tea. Caffeine can cause jitters, and the point of this exercise is to calm your thoughts. Breathe, sip, laugh… just be present.

Tea

Hang Mint or Eucalyptus leaves in your shower – When the steam starts rising, a relaxing scent will fill your bathroom and help you to, you guessed it… relax.

Image from BLDG 25
Image from BLDG 25

Let me know how you feel after a couple of time trying these!

Images from Pinterest – I do not take any credit for any of the above images.

Bell Rock Warrior – Virabhadra’s Pose

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Hello hello!

Last weekend we went up to Sedona for some yoga/hiking. It is always interesting doing yoga during a hike, especially when your at a higher altitude than you are used to. It really makes you focus your breath. I love the background in this image, I just love Sedona in general though.

Virabhadra’s is the name of a warrior incarnation of Shiva. Described wearing a tiger’s skin with 1000 heads, eyes & feet. Also wielding a thousand clubs. Warrior improves legs muscles, hips strength & placement, back muscles, and shoulders.

“Learning to do the Warrior pose series safely and correctly is a major stepping-stone in your yoga practice”, says Seane Corn, a YogaLife advisor who teaches at Sacred Movement in Santa Monica, California, “because you’ll notice similar movements showing up in thousands of other yoga poses.”

To start this pose, begin in the traditional Downward Facing Dog.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Now inhale while you bring your right foot forward (next to your right hand) as you come into a lunge. Ensure that your toes are in-line with your fingertips (as Alicia’s are below). Pivot on the ball of your left foot and drop your left heel down to touch the earth. Finally exhale while opening both arms and pulling the left hip back.

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Bring your hands to hearts center, exhale and reach arms up & back, lifting your rib-cage away from pelvic bones. Keep your palms together and head tilted back slightly.

Hold for about 30 seconds and release. Take a breath and flow through the other side.

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock
Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Once you have completed bend forward to stretch your back.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Where do you do yoga? I’d love to see some images of you practicing yoga in interesting/beautiful places!

Remember to Take Breaks

After going on a hike recently and looking through the pictures, I realized something… People need breaks. Physical breaks, mental breaks, emotional breaks…. just breaks. Yes, this was a picture taken purposefully but as hard as you work and as much as you do for other people, you need to remember to take a break for yourself and just sit.  Now granted, mid-work out is not the ideal time to sit down and think about nothing, but who knows? Maybe it is, and can give you a new perspective on a tough decision that has recently come your way.
Now sit down, even for just a couple of minutes and take a break… meditate! If you are new to meditation, check out this meditation podcast.
One of the things I like to focus on while meditating is the quote “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” What can you do to improve yourself that will inspire or motivate people to improve the world?

Image

Image

You Are Strong

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I recently came across this image and it struck a nerve. I realized just how easy it is to forget that we are all strong. Maybe not in the sense that the meathead at the gym measures strength but I am a strong person and so are you. Each person has specific strengths and we all need to remember it.

Identify your strengths, what ever they are and be proud.

You are strong.

Sumits Yoga… Go tomorrow!

It’s awesome, I feel so refreshed after a class for the next few days. BUT let’s start from the beginning.

I got a Groupon as a Christmas gift this year to Sumits Yoga studio. Yes, it may be a bit of a strange gift, but I am so thankful that I was somewhat forced into going.

The Breakdown –
Arrive 15 minutes early
Wear clothing you are comfortable sweating in
Bring Water and arrive hydrated
Bring a yoga mat & towel
Don’t eat a large meal before class
Expect the lights to be on and for upbeat music to be played during certain flows

-You need to stay hydrated the entire day before your yoga class, otherwise your body can dehydrate and you may get sick.
-Some Yoga mat towels come with anti-slip pads. I highly recommend YogiToes. They cost more, but it is so worth it. My Lucy towel is anti-slip “when wet.” It folds, slips and distracts me.
-Don’t talk in class, and don’t leave early. If you feel faint or dizzy (it happens to us all) just lay down and reclaim your breath.
-Expect to not necessarily enjoy your first class, it is a totally different yoga experience. Go a handful of times and then form your opinion.

sumits2

I used to go to yoga regularly at 24 Hour Fitness and always enjoyed it, and once I tried a Bikram class (that I didn’t fully enjoy), but let’s be honest, I haven’t gone to a class in years… SO I was nervous to go to a hot yoga class but excited at the same time.

“Sumits sequence is designed for all levels beginner through advanced” – Yes, so true. One of the best parts is that every time I have gone, there are at least one or two new students, so you are never the only one who feels lost. I still choose to sit out during a flow or two, you should never feel uncomfortable sitting out if you start to feel dizzy.

“Classes at Sumit’s Yoga flow to music through a sequence of both balancing and energizing asanas (poses) in a heated practice environment.” – First, just accept that you will sweat your b*lls off. It is HOT (around 105 degrees). Second, no one cares what you look like, or even looks at you – everyone is too concerned with themselves. Oh, and don’t forget to wear as little clothing as you feel comfortable. I met Sumit one of my first times (He’s awesome BTW), he showed me booty shorts & a sport bra and told me that it was the most appropriate attire, but I still wear my Lulu’s and a tank.  *A flow is a sequence of poses.

sumits

Is it weird that I absolutely LOVE how much I sweat in hot yoga? On that note, bring a yoga towel, but if you do not have one, ask at the check in desk, they will let you borrow one.

I hope that this has helped and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Dirty Girl Mud Run

These are just a few of the obstacles in the Dirty Girl Mud Run, Phoenix. For more images click here. I HIGHLY recommend if you have the opportunity to do a mud run, take it! It  is a great bonding experience and just all around fun time.

Pros:

There is music the WHOLE way! It makes the run a lot of fun and your energy up.
The obstacles are spread evenly.
There is a place to hose off and change into clean clothes at the park before you go home.
They take your muddy running shoes, clean them professionally and donate them to women around the world.
The Run benefits The American Cancer Society – a great awareness group that does a lot of good work and research!
Spectators can get very close to the obstacles, which means you can get GREAT pictures.
There were two water stations with a good amount of water – not a tiny dixi cup.
YOU GET DIRTY!

Cons:

I didn’t see many professional photographers taking pictures at the obstacles.
The obstacles were different then the advertised obstacles.
YOU GET DIRTY!

Dirty Girl Mud Run

Obstacles – check out “Just Keep Going” for more pictures!