July 23rd, 2008
As I began reading through all of the great posts on independence today, I decided to chime in just–a little.
Independence is a wonderful thing. A great character trait, the foundation for what many of us believe in, and how we live our lives.
One of the greatest benefits of my yoga practice is that I have learned that interdependence is also important. Through yoga, I have discovered that I am just a small part of a much greater universe, and that my actions, thoughts and intentions can manifest themselves in either a positive or negative way. As I became more aware of my role and my impact, my behavior changed–for the good. The decisions I make are more relevant and more productive. My behavior and tone are so much more positive. Meditation has taken me places where I had never ”traveled” before, and has made it possible for me to gain a much broader perspective.
What does this have to do with independence? Well, I’ll tell you. Opening up my mind and spirit through yoga and meditation has been a freeing experience. The interdependence that is now a part of my thought process has created a much stronger ”platform” for me to work from in my daily life. With more solid footing, I can stand much more readily on my own, I make better decisions and I am more responsible and responsive to the universe.
It is one of the greater, and more intangible benefits of my practice. I can’t put it precisely into words, but it’s all very good. I have learned to work within at a much higher level of effectiveness, while building my own sense of independence and personal strength.
By pushing more deeply inward, I am able to push much harder externally as well. Yoga has, through much time and effort, been like a signing a more responsive, responsible declaration of independence to the world.
July 22nd, 2008
When in the course of human events, it becomes neccessary for one people to dissolve that freaking urge to weigh yourself every 5 minutes, it become neccessary to huck your scale out the window.
Tags: limo hire cheshire
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all woman are created with a little junk in thier trunk, and celulite, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are to not count calories, to not fit into a size 0, and the persuit of happiness through the occassional doughnut.
We, therefore, the women of the world, both skinny and fat, gym rats and non, mothers, daughters, wives and friends, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good Author and Readers of GroundedFitness, solemnly publish and declare that these Bodies, are, and of the Right, ought to be Free and Independent Bodies, that they are absolved of all Allegience to The Scale, in digital and dial form.
And that these Free and Independent Bodies, they have the full power to eat ice cream for dinner, skip a workout, or wear sweat pants when they so choose, without guilt.
And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of living a mostly Healthy Lifestyle, we mutually pledge to eachother our Self Confidence, our Self Respect, and our sacred Peace Of Mind.
The declare your independence from the scale, leave your John Hancock.
July 21st, 2008
I must get something off of my chest.
If you are on the treadmill, and walking at an incline of 15, and holding on for dear life, YOU SHOULD NOT BE WALKING AT THAT INCLINE.
Holding on negates the results. You should not have to hold onto the treadmill. If you are, you are at too high of an intensity for your fitness level.
Inclines are great, and enhance results tremendously, but only if you are actually walking at that incline. Pump your arms to propel yourself forward, or put them on your waist, but don’t touch the machine.
Also, girls, don’t work out with your hair down. It bothers me.
That is all. Thank you.
Tags: , treadmill
July 20th, 2008
That’s how I look at it, anyway. In all honesty, prior to my yoga days, I was a red-blooded American meat-eating carnivore. Years of watching my uncles, mother and father pass away from heart disease started to turn me away from that lifestyle.
Still, it was a hard sell for me. I thought perhaps if I could just cut my consumption I would feel better, and that would be enough.
Long story short, I didn’t fully buy into the vegetarian diet until I began my yoga practice. When I began connecting spiritually with my world and discovering how much lighter I felt body and soul through my yoga practice, I decided it was time to make the commitment to fully change my dietary habits. Early on, I also had a diagnosis of breast cancer that moved me permanently away from a meat-based diet. With my family history, I thought heart disease would be the true enemy. When that wasn’t enough to make me back away from the meat counter, my encounter with breast cancer surely did the trick.
But that’s not the main reason for the changes I have made. For me, the daily consumption of red meat and animal proteins just didn’t feel right any longer. Yoga has indeed initiated a significant shift in the way I think and live. It has made me even more aware of my body and how it responds to my diet, daily stresses and thought processes.
The vegetarian diet I now follow works with the yoga–to give my body the light and energized feeling I get from my yoga practice. They work together, hand in hand.
What I now call the “yoga diet” is so important if we want to truly raise our consciousness to the level where we feel love and compassion for all living beings-including animals.
To achieve a “yoga” diet is not something that has to happen overnight. It didn’t for me. I began by gradually eliminating meat from my diet. Once I had accomplished that, I slowly moved away from eggs, poultry and fish. If you can’t make it all the way, cut back as much as you can, and you will notice a difference. There are many heart-healthy recipes available now that are quite delicious and do not feature meat as an ingredient.
For me, the change in my diet has “fed” my practice in ways I didn’t think were possible. It has fueled my spirit in a very real way, and given me a more direct route to my spiritual center. If you want to give it a try and need some moral support, let me know. I know it isn’t easy, but it IS so worth it.
July 19th, 2008
I work at a private, one on one, personal training studio. It’s not a gym where you can just come in and work out whenever you want. Its just the client and the trainer in a private suite. There are two suites, so there are no more than about 4 people in there at time. Aside from the personalized attention, the intimidation factor is zero, and that’s why people like it so much.
Big, public gyms, like 24 Hour Fitness, and Gold’s, can be very impersonal. I work out at 24 Hour Fitness, and even the personal trainers I have encountered are detached and uninterested. These gyms do, however have their up sides. You can go in whenever you want, stay as long as you want, use a HUGE variety of equipment, they usually offer free classes with membership, and are cheaper than private training.
These gyms can be intimidating to the out of shape, the shy and the inexperienced. Rows of people with rippling muscles and horrible fake tans, clad in spandex, lifting their body weight or running for hours is enough to make anyone feel like a schlub. Don’t let intimidation keep you away from the gym, and away from the body you want.
Remember why you are there. The gym is a place to get in shape and take care of yourself. Everyone is there for the same reason, even though they may be in different places in their pursuit of health. I guarantee you no one is watching you, they are too busy focusing on themselves.* Pop in your ipod and forget about everyone else.
Use it as motivation. Is someone next to you bench pressing twice the weight you are? Instead of getting down on yourself and quitting, think about how hard they must have worked to get to that level. You can get there, too, if you keep working at it.
Ask for help. Machines and equipment can be confusing for a newbie. When you sign up, the club will usually give you a tour. If you see a foreign machine, ask how to use and adjust it. If you are already member, find someone working that looks bored, wandering aimlessly, (there seems to be a lot of them) and ask them to give you some pointers. Or ask a fellow gym mate. You might make a new friend. Just make sure its not with sweat band guy-they are hard to get rid of.
Be a copy cat. Don’t know what to do when you get there? See what everyone else is doing. I consider myself a gym veteran, and I still learn new exercises everyday from people watching.
Don’t be afraid of the free weight room. This is where you will usually find the huge guys grunting, lifting and pressing more than you weigh. If you are a lady, no worries. It may seem scary, but the guys will all start showing off immediately, no matter what: they can sense estrogen. And men: the buffies are too interested in looking at themselves and their awful tribal tattoos in the mirror to even notice the weight you are lifting. Don’t try and lift too much to keep up. You’ll only end up hurting yourself. And, trust me, those guys curling 50lb dumbbells, most of the time aren’t doing it right. Those muscles aren’t going to help them when they throw out their back trying to finish the set. Stick to good form and laugh when they inevitable break something. Just don’t try and correct them, or they may break you.
Go with a friend. Things aren’t so scary when you have someone right along there with you. And you’re less likely to cut your workout short if you are holding each other accountable. Just make sure you choose your buddy wisely: don’t bring the chatterbox or the whiner, or you’ll spend most of the time motivating them to get moving. Bring someone along that you know will challenge you, but not leave you in the dust.
Most importantly, have fun! If you knew how little people paid attention to you, you’d probably be insulted.
*Unless you are the one guy/girl that feels the need to wear a sweatband on you head and wrists. I have one at my gym that wears leg warmers. LEGWARMERS. I can’t look away. I love it.
Don’t forget to enter GroundedFitness’s Badass Giveaway, to win your own 15 pound kettlebell and DVD. Contest ends Friday, July 25th.
Tags: equipment, intimidation, strength training
July 19th, 2008
Now that I have started my teacher training, I am faced with an unusual set of emotions. To properly move through the sequence, my teacher has asked us to make developing a home practice a top priority–mandatory, that is. At first, I thought, well, this might not be as much “fun,” after all, I am used to working side by side with my friends and acquaintances, sharing experiences and communicating in general. The thought of leaping out of bed to practice solo each and every day just didn’t sound like me.
And at first, it wasn’t. Took a little adjustment, actually. In many ways, yoga is a solitary experience. You can lose that feeling a little when you are in class or practicing side by side with a friend.
But now, I am loving it. I pace myself, take time with myself, and can focus on the areas that I enjoy and wish to work on the most. It really wasn’t that I hadn’t ever practiced alone, I have. But to practice alone and to be required to develop in specific ways based on one’s solo practice is a little different.
And it has also infused my solo practice with new meaning. My concentration and focus have been greatly enhanced, and I am learning more about what I am doing and how it will apply to those I teach. So far, the experiment is a success :-)
Granted, my home looks a little like a studio right now, but I like that, too. I kind of feel like I am surrounded by the peace and the bliss that yoga has given me, morning until night.
On an unrelated note, I know it’s only July, but September is Yoga Awareness Month. Events will be held in many cities around the United States and Canada, and I hope many of you might consider attending. Here’s a banner ad with more information:
Hope all of you who can attend, will. Until next time…
July 16th, 2008
Well, sort of. To all of my fellow yoga-loving devotees, I’ll admit it, I found this practice to be daunting at first. Like all practices, you can pace yourself and it does take time, but the precision and devotion required for Ashtanga can be challenging for many. Filled with scores of poses as you progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced, there is much to learn, but moving through will most certainly lead you to the state of bliss we all pursue in our daily practice.
Like all practices, it’s ultimate goal is to place you in a meditative state of bliss. But as I have progressed further into it, I have enjoyed it more and more. In fact, I am hooked! Yes, it is rigorous. Yes, it is physically demanding. But I am finding that it, too, is a pathway to improved mental well-being, and on a more personal note, a direct route to knowing my own heart.
If you prefer a more structured approach that builds on your appreciation for a sense of order, progression, and independence in your daily practice, then there is no better path for you, at least in my very humble opinion. With a measure of devotion and commitment from you, Ashtanga can easily take you from the more therapeutic all the way through to purification and into the divine. I do hope you will give it a try and see what it can do for you. I am sincerely impressed with what I have experienced thus far in my practice. The benefits have been enormous. I have grown in so many ways. If you are considering it, please just do it. You’ll never turn back.
July 16th, 2008
For me, getting into Pilates was a practical decision. Several years ago after experiencing intense throbbing, burning pain in my lower back and shoulder from work-related stress, I decided to begin a quest for an exercise that could help me strengthen my back, and relieve the pressure I was feeling in my lats and shoulders on a daily basis.
Very simply, Pilates fit the bill.
Similar to yoga, the Pilates method is a mind/body approach to fitness. Pilates requires patience (thought I might not be able to commit to THAT), concentration and focus. All attributes I didn’t have a huge storehouse of by nature, but I thought I’d give it a try.
Now that I’ve seen the results, I am hooked. The improvements that I have seen in my body, as well as in my ability to focus and concentrate have been amazing.
Now I like using the equipment that many of us utilize as a part of Pilates, but the mat work does it for me. It’s simple, strenuous and produces results. And for me, it really took the pressure off of my back and shoulders, made them stronger and more supple.
The key to success is practice and patience with the process. Over time, your mind/muscle connections become more highly developed, right along with an instinctual understanding of how your own breathing and muscle contractions work together. The next thing you know, your body is stronger, and the movements you once thought impossible you can perform seamlessly, and with a great deal of grace.
Next time, more from the mat. I know what Pilates has done for my body and mind. Would love to hear what it has done for yours.
July 16th, 2008
Kettlebells are badass.
Nothing says badass like swinging around a giant iron ball of cool.
Gofit.net was great enough to send me a Kettlebells The Iron Core Way: a 15 pound kettlebell and instructional DVD.
Gofit.net is badass.
You know why? Because they sent me two Kettlebells The Iron Core Way sets, one for me and one to give away to a lucky reader.
(For my review of the Kettlebells The Iron Care Way, or to find out more about kettlebells in general, visit www.everygymsnightmare.com)
But I can’t give this away to just any reader. A lurker? Forget it. (delurk now!) not even an avid commenter is worthy of this prize.
No, the winner of this great giveaway has got to be the most badass reader out there.
Can you do pullups?
One handed pushups?
Do you bench press your children, just for a warm up?
Did you club a guy with a dumbbell at the gym for cutting you in line for the water fountain?
Send me a picture of how much of a fitness badass you are, and the most badassiest of the bunch will win their very own Kettlebells The Iron Care Way from Gofit.net.
If you aren’t more badass than me…..
…then you can go to GoFit.net and order your own…along with this badass t shirt.
You have until July 25th to email me your entries. I will announce the winner on the 25th, but will post every entry for recognition.
Tags: giveaways, kettlebells, product reviews
July 16th, 2008
If you are like me, you go through a lot of running shoes. Well, if you are really like me, you go through a lot of shoes in general, but that‘s beside the point. I have a little system: I buy a new pair of running shoes and use them for work, then slowly they make their way to my gym. As they
go out of style get increasingly torn up, they turn into my outside shoes, for running and hiking, and I buy a new pair. As this new pair gets less so fresh and so clean-clean, I start to wear those outside and the others get pushed to the back of my closet. There they sit, for the rest of eternity, plotting their revenge with that box of scrap booking supplies I thought were a good idea at the time.
If you’ve got a shoe grave yard like mine, why not use those shoes to do a little good? Consider sending your old kicks to Shoe4Africa.org. The organization takes your old, gently used running shoes and delivers them to runners in Africa. The organization has now branched out into training camps, athletic scholarships and sponsored races, for athletes and children alike.
Most of these Africans, who’s lives and families have been ravaged by AIDS, have never owned a pair a shoes. The AIDS pandemic has left more than 14 million children orphaned: 92% of them live in Africa, with no one to provide for them. Instead of letting your old shoes collect dust, let them change a life.
Tags: , donate, running