Make Yourself Better

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“It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck, do better” – Alex Elle

So that’s what I’m going to do. I was in Downward Facing Dog yesterday during my practice and I wasn’t happy with how I looked — and felt. I used to be so great at keeping up with toning my body and it actually looking good. Lately I’ve had a setback because of my health (almost all better now, thankfully). So I’m slowly jumping back into my yoga practice and I’ve recently started up pilates again. It’s tough to get back into your routine workouts. I’ve realized it’s best to start off small. I went on a walk with my boyfriend that lasted about 45 minutes and the next day my thighs and calves were so sore. It’s difficult to keep up with working through your soreness. But in order for you to make a workout part of your daily routine, you need to do something every day. Even if it’s not your full workout. Because starting your workout over after a few months of rest is just plain awful. What’s more important than your workout is how you eat. Your body is so sacred. You can put whatever you want inside of it. But the thing is, it’s yours. Why hurt it with excess sugar and bad food. Plus, imagine how energized and wonderful you’d feel if you paid more attention to putting better food into your body.

So these are the two goals I’ve come to realize that I need to work on. It’s a habit I need to learn to form but it’s a very important one that could possibly change my entire future. Along with my eating habits and workout routines, I will be participating in my daily meditation practices to heal my mind.

Here’s to working at making ourselves better! 🙂

Yoga Is For Everyone

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I’m sure all that has tried yoga can say that it’s not an easy practice. So picture an overweight or elderly person trying it. Way more difficult, right? Wrong. It doesn’t matter what size, shape, or age you are. Yoga is difficult for everyone in the beginning but with enough consecutive practice each week, anyone can do it up to par with each other. You learn to use your body. You learn to know when you’ve strained the muscles just enough. You also learn to use your mind. Concentrating on each pose and what you are experiencing in the present moment. As much as some people may disagree, yoga is for everybody. We see photos and articles of people holding certain difficult poses and we think we’ll never be able to hold them as well, but how do you think those people got to that point? Practice, practice, practice. If you practice right and practice well, you’ll go a long way. And hey, if the hulk can practice yoga, then so can you. 😉

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

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Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) (boo-jang-GAHS-anna): Probably one of my favorite poses in my yoga sequence. It’s one of the best poses to straighten out and stretch your back. Your back is such a sensitive part of your body. If you hurt it, you’ll notice just how much you use it constantly. Oh, the pain you’ll be in when you’re doing just the most basic everyday things. It’s very important to keep your back strengthened because it plays a huge role in your life.

Benefits:

  1. Strengthens your muscles in your shoulders, chest and core
  2. Opens your chest to help clear the passages of your heart and lungs
  3. Improves digestion
  4. Strengthens your spine

Listed above are a few of the major benefits I’ve noticed while practicing cobra pose in my sequence. It’s a very common pose in the Vinyasa Flow for beginners. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend finding a video on YouTube to start off with the basic poses. In the videos you will learn the cobra pose and I’m sure fall in love with it like I have!

Benefits of Yoga

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We all know yoga increases our flexibility when we practice often. But there’s a lot of people who don’t know the other benefits, which are much more important than just being flexible. These other benefits not only are physical, but also mental. I found an article on yoga from the American Psychological Association that talks about practicing yoga. Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD, a neuroscientist, commented about the practice:

“I believe if everyone practiced the techniques of yoga, we would have a preventive aid to a lot of our problems,” Khalsa says. “There would likely be less obesity and Type-II diabetes, and people would be less aggressive, more content and more integrated.”Image

We all have our own reasons for practicing yoga. Flexibility, strength, lower stress, find your calm, etc. When we commit ourselves to practicing on a regular basis, we’ll start to see us reach our goals, plus more. It’s incredible to see what yoga can do for us if we commit. It becomes such a big part of our lives because it leaves us feeling almost invincible. Below I’ve listed just a few of the benefits for both physical and mental. There are many, many more benefits!

Physical benefits:

  1. Improved flexibility
  2. Stronger muscles
  3. Helps prevent arthritis
  4. Helps prevent osteoporosis
  5. Improves energy
  6. Improves athletic performance

Mental benefits:

  1. Handle stress better
  2. Quiet the mind
  3. Focus on breathing
  4. Encourages positive thoughts
  5. Encourages self-acceptance
  6. Builds awareness of your body, feelings, and others around you

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/11/yoga.aspx

Try, Try Again

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Bakasana (Crow Pose): The most basic arm balance. Once you have mastered this pose, you can build off of it and go into deeper poses that aren’t so beginner. The photo above shows exactly how to master Bakasana.

As of yesterday, I have begun to master Bakasana! Typically, you hold this pose for about five breaths — I was able to hold it for two full breaths, which isn’t too shabby for just getting started. I’ve attempted this pose in the past, but was not able to master it. As I attempted a few times yesterday, I was able to find my balance — although I did fall on my face the first couple of tries, which is pretty common for beginning! It’s best to have a cushion or pillow in front of you to mask your fall.

Mastering a new yoga pose feels exhilarating. Your mind and body are working together to improve and test yourself every day. Your sequences are making you stronger each time you complete them. I look forward to tracking my progress as I hope you share yours.

Share your success to bring inspiration! This world needs more of it. 🙂

If All You Do Is Wait…

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You’re going to waste your life if all you do is wait for that specific moment to happen. Live in the present moment. Don’t look back and regret why you never did what you wanted to do. And don’t look too far forward into the future to plan everything out. Looking into the past and future has a way of ruining your current mood — and life.

Be spontaneous. Try something new — something you have always wanted to try. For example, a new workout program you have been back and forth on trying. Go for it! It will give you something to do, get you into better shape, and shift your mood into a better one instantly. This is the same with yoga and meditation — even after one practice it will leave you in a much better mood and your body feeling rejuvenated. Although, even if we do hate routine, it’s important to make this practice part of your daily routine for two reasons: it will get easier to do with each day that passes, and you’ll also eventually look forward to what you’ll be doing the next day. It could be that you’re working up to a new pose, or that you’re going to try to meditation for 20 minutes instead of 15, or you’re going to add in a little extra to your workout to burn more fat and/or calories.

Instead of waiting until a certain day to start, why not start now? You’re just procrastinating. You shouldn’t dread starting a new workout or program — you should be excited and looking forward to the outcome. You’d be surprised about the benefits that come out of what you accomplish. So instead of delaying whatever you’ve been waiting to start, start today. I call your bluff if you say you “don’t have time”. Take 10 minutes out of your day to meditate, or 30 minutes to start a new workout, or 20 minutes to start a new yoga sequence. It’s all about starting now and building it up as you go. Start out small and watch how your mind improves as you get deeper and more serious about making your life better.