Yes, yoga brings about amazing mental and emotional benefits, but if we’re being honest, we all just want long, lean muscles and a super flat midsection. Ditch the crunches and let your yoga poses help you get there! Inspired by the recent Shape magazine video, these five moves target all the muscles in your abdomen and include a bit of cardio to burn fat and showcase your hard-earned, rock-solid core.
1. The Plank Slide
We all know a plank is the ultimate total body toner that blasts every muscle in your core, but have you tried the plank slide? Hold your plank like normal, except your hands are on your sticky mat and your feet rest on a blanket (*note: this must be done on a hardwood or slippery floor!). Then, use your core to keep your legs straight while sliding them up toward your hands like a forward fold. Slide your legs back to your starting plank position. It’s like cleaning your floor while working your core!
Bonus super challenge: try the plank slide with one leg up in the air at a time! (more…)
Consider the phrase, “How you do anything on the mat is how you do everything in life.”
This is a quote I heard recently from one of my fellow yoga teachers that has really struck a chord with me. Ask yourself: How do you show up on your mat? How do you show up in your life? How do you deal with challenging postures in class? Do you just give in or quit? Do you stress out, compare yourself, or push too hard?
Chances are, how you approach and practice your yoga is probably a good reflection of your approach and practice of life.
We all know that there are many ways that you can get in shape for free. Riding your bike outside, going for a run, or even doing a bodyweight workout at homedon’t cost a thing. But these are all at-home workouts and lets face it—exercising at home doesn’t work for everyone. There are a lot of us who need to actually go someplace to work out.
Visiting a gym allows me to add variety to my workouts by using different equipment and attending different classes. In a single week I might try indoor cycling, Bodypump, yoga and Zumba. But a major downside to joining a gym or going to an exercise studio is the cost. Health club and exercise studio memberships certainly aren’t cheap, but there are definitely ways to make them more affordable (and even free!).
Here are five ways to trim some of the cost off of gym memberships and exercises classes:
Take Advantage of Trial Memberships at Gyms and Health Clubs Many national health club chains like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym and and Anytime Fitness offer free passes with no obligation and some can be used for an entire week! This is a great way to check out a gym before actually signing a contract (or go turbo for a week right before or after vacation). Additionally, most exercise studios that specialize in yoga, cycling, and more will comp your first class or give you a deeply discounted trial period. For example, Core Power yoga studios offer unlimited yoga for one week for new students! Also, be sure to check out the schedule at your local yoga studios: most offer at least one donation-based or free class each week.
I’m not usually a big chocolate fan. Except for when I am. And then… look out! But let’s put this in context: I usually get a sugar craving in early afternoon. (I’m more of a lunch dessert person than a dinner dessert person.) Lately I’ve been buying dark chocolate covered almonds as my sweet treat. When the craving strikes I get up, grab a few, then get back to work. However, the other day I accidentally brought the whole container back to my desk. And, before I knew what had happened, I’d gone ahead and eaten about 3 times as many as usual.
If I usually eat 4 chocolate-almonds, this time I ate 12. It was definitely a case of distracted eating—I was working at my computer paying a lot more attention to typing than to what and how much I was eating. I checked the back of the package and 1/4 cup weighs in at 230 calories. Oops.
How can a person burn off the 230 calories from around 12 chocolate covered almonds? (more…)
Yoga is the oldest known practice of self-development. Originating from the East, the practice has made its way to the West and become another popular way to get in shape. But with the numbers of people suffering from anxiety, depression and high blood pressure continually on the rise, we can’t forget about a huge benefit of a mind-body practices like yoga: stress release.
Yoga instructor and health coach Rosie Acosta, who teaches in Portland, OR, says that stress and anxiety affect a majority of her students, and that yoga often helps them better manage those feelings. “We think that yoga is for tuning things out when you’re stressed. But it’s not,” Acosta explains. “It’s about drawing that attention inward. Tuning in.”
Because our focus is almost always directed outward—to work, home, family—we neglect what happens internally, succumbing to stress. Yoga can reverse this trend.
We’re not just talking Olympic-style lifting…we’re talking what real Olympians actually do for their cross-training workouts. When not on the ice or hitting the slopes, these fierce females stay in top shape with some of their favorite activities like dance, yoga, and biking.
We also learned some fun facts about each athlete: Can you guess who’s fluent in German and which lady loves her Xbox?
At this point, it’s almost too easy to write an article about yet another Lululemon Athletica PR problem. What makes this time different is the yoga wear company may have learned a lesson from its mistake. What exactly did Lululemon do? It began banning customers who re-sold lululemon products—even if it was a single pair of run shorts.
Eric Lewis is one of the customers targeted by the company. He’s been purchasing running gear from Lululemon for years and owns about 35 pairs of their Pace Breakers shorts. When he decided to sell a pair of ill-fitting shorts on eBay, Lululemon called and informed him they would no longer ship him products.
“I just kind of felt victimized,” he told CTV News, in Canada. “I’m such a loyal fan I’ve supported their business for a long time and then for them to go after me for something like this just blew my mind. I was shocked.” He added Lululemon may lose him as a customer due to this situation.
But there’s another type of inspiring exercise and wellness video out there that’s perhaps even more touching and life-altering: The kind that shares new perspectives, success stories, and hope. Here are some of our favorites, which cover everything from longevity to popping and locking.
Nilofer Merchant talks about how walking meetings can burn calories—and change your perspective:
Flexibility is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most important areas to focus on while increasing your level of physical fitness. After all, it’s been among the benchmarks for measuring fitness on the Presidential Physical Fitness Test for years! Having good flexibility is beneficial to the mind and body alike and can help prevent injuries, improve posture and range of motion in our joints, and increase overall physical fitness, just to name a few.
When you think of flexibility, stretching is probably the first thing that comes to mind. And, unfortunately, stretching seems to be thing that that so many of us focus the least amount of attention on in our workouts. Warming-up and cooling-down properly before and after exercise are very important and aid in better flexibility, but it can also be focused on during a workout.
In an effort to distance itself from a year full of missteps, Lululemon Athletica Inc. has named a new CEO. Company founder Chip Wilson will step down as chairman of the yoga wear company and Laurent Potdevin will be taking his place.
Potdevin was most recently the president of TOMS Shoes. He took a leading role in the global expansion of that company, expertise Lululemon is excited to bring on board. They hoped to expand worldwide this year, but news of expansion was trumped by news of controversy.
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