Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vis ta Vérité: My trip to France and what’s to come!

Bonjour!

I just took the trip of the lifetime across France!  It was amazing! We roamed the countryside and spent days exploring hills topped with cottages and the most beautiful cows.  We visited memorials and monuments paying homage to those who fought for France in WW2.  We saw the bunkers where the German’s hid and the craters that were formed from he bombs of the French allies.

 

We worked our way into Paris and saw the city of love.  We admired art, architecture, and historical places that are royal and regal beyond what I’d ever imagined.  We went 85 ft underground and tiptoed through the catacombs of Paris.  We ate macarons and baguettes and cheese and sipped espresso.

 

 

We finished in the South of France where when swam in the Mediterranean Sea from the shores in Nice and Cannes.  We strolled through Monaco and gawked at the real estate and checked out the palace where Prince Albert resides.  We filled bags with a bounty of colorful produce from the farmers markets.  We shopped and laughed and took over 400 pictures.  It was absolutely amazing!

It was much more amazing than my photography skills will allow me to convey.  I would relive every minute of this trip if I could and I indeed hope to go again!  When I began the journey home I got to thinking about lifestyle, and when I feel my best.  I was thinking about you and what you like and dislike about nutrition and exercise.  It lead me to some new ideas and ways to do what I do better.  Ways to make our meal plans and workouts even more effective and enjoyable.

What is LYT?

With all of that in mind, I am so, so, SO excited to share a new program with you.  On July 15, I’ll be releasing a plan called Eat LYT, Move LYT.  The menu is designed much like the DOIT.  Simple, easy to follow, delicious.  You’ll get everything that you get out of a DOIT, but even more delightful.   I’m going to present you with some amazing ways to move your body to get results that you’ll love. Of course, it will get you toned, lean, limber and strong.  Additionally, it should feel amazing while you’re doing it.  This is not designed to be torture.  It’s designed to energize you!  You’ll feel light, tight, and right 😉 .  I’m not trying to be the Dr. Seuss of fitness, but it’s just so true.  To me, this new plan feels like vacation.

It’s officially farmer’s market season!

For access:

How do you get it?  If you’re a monthly subscriber, you don’t have to do a thing.  It will show up in your account with all of your other content.  If you are looking to try just the Eat LYT, Move LYT plan, you’ll get special instructions the week it launches.

Feedback

As I put the finishing touches on this plan, I’ll be looking to you for input.  I always appreciate your feedback when I reach out to you.  The more opinions the better.  If I post something and you feel compelled to share it with your own network, I’m always very appreciative.  I learn from your questions and requests.  Thank you for always helping me grow!

 

Astragalus. What can’t it do?

Astragalus

In my last post I scratched the surface a wee itty bit about adaptogens.  I’ve had a lot of questions since then, so I thought I’d break things down a little bit more.  Let’s focus on astragalus first.

Astragalus has been known to improve circulation, improve your immune system, and balance blood sugar.  Because of it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial affects, it more specifically has been shown to help combat common colds and disease, improve skin health, and promote cardiovascular health. It has been known to increase blood circulation and strengthen blood vessels thus improving symptoms caused by anemia, side affects of chemotherapy, and more. (source).

As with all herbs, check with your doctor before consuming them.  In this instance it’s possible that these herbs can be harmful to someone who has an overactive immune system and/or someone who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or MS.

Now that you know what it does, here is how you can use it:

Of course, you can take a pill.  Easy and cheap, but where is the fun in that?

You can make a tea (what I have been doing).  It’s delicious.  It’s so easy.  One tablespoon in 16oz hot water.  Steep 10 min and strain.  It smells and tastes light and nutty.  It’s smooth and comforting to sip on hot, but you can definitely drink it cold too. Order here.

 

You can cook with it.  Getting it in powder form makes it compatible with most recipes you’ll find on “the Google”.  Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Super-power Balls:

(image source)

2 Tablespoons Astragalus root powder

1 Tablespoon Maca root powder

½ Tablespoon Spirulina or any powdered greens

1 cup sesame butter (tahini)

½ cup honey

½ cup crushed almonds

Shredded coconut to roll the balls in

Directions: Mix the first 6 ingredients until well combined (using a blender, food processor or mixer).  Roll into 1 inch balls.  Roll balls into coconut.  If batter seems dry, add 1 TBSP of melted coconut oil and mix again.

Not interested?

If you have no interest or have been advised to avoid astragalus, that recipe above is just as delicious without it.  It’s also full of nutrients, healthy fat and tons of antioxidants.  Let me know if you try it!

Should you be using adaptogens?

Have you heard this fancy word get tossed around by wellness experts?  Adaptogens have been buzzy for years, but have never been more accessible than they are right now.

(image source)

Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about: Adaptogens are herbs used to support balance and your bodies ability to manage chronic stress.  Many people use them to reduce cortisol levels, manage inflammation, and improve the aging process*.  Other benefits may include increased energy and improved sleep quality.

If you are someone who suffers from:

Anxiety

Adrenal Fatigue

Frequent colds

Severe allergies

Weight loss resistance

Thyroid disease

Hormone imbalance

Pre-mature aging

Or basically anything that makes you feel “meh”, then you might benefit from using adaptogens.

Side note: Adaptogens alone will not solve all of your problems.  If you are sedentary and eat garbage, adaptogens are a waste of your time and money.

Next question: Which ones should you be taking?

The most popular herbal adaptogens are:

  1. Ashwaganda

This herb is known to help regulate your immune system and ease anxiety.  It’s also known as Indian Ginseng.

2.   Holy Basil

Often in tea form, this is known as an anti-aging elixir.  It is suggested that this herb can help you fight fatigue and stress, boost your immune system, balance your hormone levels and regulate your blood sugar and blood pressure.  I have also used it in capsule form.

3.    Astragalus

Boosts immunity and buffers the affects of stress.  Whereas many adaptogens are shown to reduce cortisol, astragalus is shown to increase anti-stress compounds that help prevent and repair stress related damage.

4.  Rhodiola

This is the one I’ve taken for the longest amount of time.  Many athletes use it for increased endurance and energy.  It’s been shown to decrease mental and physical fatigue.  It contains a phytochemical called salisdroside.  This is used to relieve anxiety and reduce the affects of aging.  It is known for balancing appetite and improving sleep patterns.  It has been used to help the body tolerate extreme conditions and treatments like radiation.

5.   Licorice Root

This one is a front line of defense for your Thymus.  While this one has been shown to boost energy, endurance and immune response, it can also affect blood pressure, so, as with any supplement, check with your doctor before using this.

6.  Cordyceps

This is a family of mushrooms (reishi, shiitake and maitake).  They aren’t technically adaptogens, but they do have adaptogenic affects and are used in the same manner.  They are anti-oxidant rich fungi know for their anti-tumor and immune enhancing properties.

These are not the only adaptogenic herbs out there.  These are just a few that are fairly easy to find and have been well studied for safety and effectiveness.  Here are a few tips for successful supplementing:

  1. When taking herbal supplements, always check with your health care provider first, especially if you take other medications or supplements.
  2. Don’t take more than 3 adaptogens at once.  If you go hog wild using all the herbs they may cancel each other out.  Additionally, if you have an undesired reaction, it will be easier to determine which one you should eliminate.
  3. Taking one to get started is perfectly fine.  However, some of them play very nicely together, so you may prefer combining them for a more complete affect.  Knowing which ones to combine takes time and research.  Some that are commonly combined can purchased as a blend, for your convenience.
  4. You are a unique individual,  What works for someone else might not work for you.  Listen to your body and focus on your own process rather than someone else results.

Non-herbal adaptogenic benefits:

Yoga Is one of my favorite ways to achieve many of the benefits that you seek from adaptogens.  Yoga massages your organs and helps move blood to areas that need healing.  It supports your sympathetic nervous system which helps manage fatigue, stress and many of the issues listed above.  If taking herbs isn’t for you, then think about practicing yoga more consistently.  Try including this new 8 minute series into your week:

Feel free to slow this down to fit within your practice.  I was definitely trying to fit a specific amount of postures into 8 minutes.  After a few practice rounds, you’ll have a better idea of what pace you prefer.

This flow focuses on deep core engagement and conditioning of the low back, abs, chest and arms.

Related articles:

Everything you need to know about adaptogens, explained

Hack Your Stress and Sex with these 7 Adaptogens

http://goop.com/an-herbalist-on-the-healing-power-of-adaptogens/

 

*I hate saying “anti-aging”.  We can’t stop aging.  That would mean dying.  We want to maintain the healthiest appearance possible for our age/reduce/reverse the undesirable signs of aging,

Heavily Meditated


200 Hours Later

I’ve been teaching yoga for years, and I’ve certainly gotten comfortable in the style in which I teach.  If you know me, you know I don’t like staying comfortable for long, so when I set my goals at the beginning of 2017, I added 200 RYT to my list.

When I started researching my options for teacher training, I was floored when I saw the number of studios that offer 200 hour programs.  It’s pretty amazing to see how yoga has impacted so many people.  I thought the choices might overwhelm me, but actually, when I started making calls and visits to local providers, the decision was easy to make.

CorePower Yoga felt like home immediately.  I started my 200 hour teacher training program late February and in 8 weeks I took 62 yoga classes, plus 72 hours of lectures and practice teaching, plus an undetermined amount of self-study, reading and writing about yoga.

This was a lot to fit in, no doubt.  On top of training full time and remembering to feed and water my 2 kids, there were definite moments of panic.

Me, 8 weeks ago:

Nonetheless, each day made a little more sense.  Pockets of time that I didn’t know existed were uncovered and the friendships and connections made on this journey were invaluable.  We were all making the most of every minute of every day.  One very apparent benefit of taking that many yoga classes: You are constantly being guided to set an intention, remember to breathe, and meditate for at least a few minutes every day.  It was almost like an intense training program for chilling out.  Who doesn’t need that.

Me, 8 weeks later:

Of course, even though the completion of this course is just the beginning, it is very hard to say goodbye to the wonderful people I met through teacher training.  I hope that we stay connected with each other <3

Now that I’m done, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned with you!  I’m looking forward to adding  new elements to the online programs and cannot wait to share new adjustments and sequences with you in studio.

Why Yoga?

Yoga can be something different for everyone.  You may start for one reason and a completely different purpose may be uncovered a day, week, year or years later.  It doesn’t matter if you are flexible or have good balance.  It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old.  It’s accessible to everyone in some form.

Below is a brief sequence designed to help you build a home practice.  It includes some basic elements that lengthen you body (front, back, sides and even you feet).  It  massages your organs and relaxes your posture.  This is a great way to start your day, end it or perk up in the afternoon.  After you follow the video a few times, you’ll likely have it memorized and be able to practice it wherever you are 🙂

 

Shout out to my amazing TT group!  Love you all!!

 

What is your fight song?

Let me start this story in the middle.  I’ll fill you in on the beginning later.

I was given an assignment to write an essay titled “What savasana means to me”.  In case you are not familiar with the term, savasana is the final posture held in a yoga practice also known as corpse pose.  It’s a resting posture that is commonly held lying on your back, arms and legs spread in a relaxed position, eyes closed, breathe (always :)).

 

(source)

Stay with me, as I have a reason (“important message”) for sharing all of this.

With that, here is my essay:

When I stopped to consider what Savasana means to me, I knew the exact “feeling” of Savasana, but was at a loss for words initially. Almost instantly a song popped in my head. One that I hadn’t heard in years and almost forgot about completely. This song captured everything that I was trying to articulate.

Instead of spitting out lyrics that have already been written, let me first try to convey my definition to you in my own words:

From the beginning of yoga practice and leading up to Savasana, you are challenged by postures that push and pull and stretch and constrict. You’re summoning the will to hold positions and find stability.   Teetering from creating energy and fatigue, you may experience breakdowns or breakthroughs both physically and mentally. Once you receive the cue to roll back onto your mat and prepare for Savasana, you surrender with an exhale of what was and an inhale of what you’ve overcome. This is a celebration of the battle you’ve won and the warrior that you are. With a relaxed feeling of exhaustion and the light heart of a champion, you find peace knowing that you won this battle, but no one had to lose. This is a victory within yourself. This is your moment.

If my words aren’t powerful enough to convey the eternal victory that Savasana represents, I leave you with the song, One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston. I almost forgot about this one, but it might be the most perfect way to describe what Savasana means to me.

 

Important message:

You may have read that and thought it was the cheesiest thing ever.  Maybe it spoke to you.  Perhaps you rolled your eyes.  Regardless of your reaction, ask yourself this question:  When was the last time you did something that made you feel like the subject of a Whitney Houston song?

We all deserve to have those powerful moments that we are proud of.  Where you can’t stop smiling and you feel bliss running through your veins.  That moment where you accomplished something that didn’t come easy.  A time where you wanted to quit, but instead you saw it through.  That moment is found when you get uncomfortable.

(source)

Whether it’s mental, physical, spiritual, relationship oriented, or a professional challenge, I want you to find that moment. If you feel compelled, I’d love for you to share your experience with me.  Let me know when this was your theme song.

 

Fitness and Foolish Expectations

America, are you for real?

Don’t worry.  This is not a political post.

Who watched the Superbowl?  Great game, good ads, and what about that half-time show?!  I thought Lady Gaga was phenomenal!  I watched in awe thinking “wow, the athleticism!”  She was hitting choreography, engaging the audience, swinging from a trapeze! All the while singing her heart out without losing her breath or missing a note.  Her level of talent is a gift.  Her dedication to working so hard at conditioning and rehearsing is true grit that you can tell she puts her full heart into.

Lo(image source)

What did you think when you watched?  To my utmost surprise, and (quite frankly) horror, many people were bashing Gaga’s body.  (highest pitched) Whaaaaaat? People were commenting that she had a “pooch” and even claiming that she wasn’t fit enough to be wearing that outfit.  Is this some kind of joke?  Listen up people: Lady Gaga is insanely lean.  She looked incredibly fit and all of her costumes suited her incredibly well.

(image source)

A few major points that we all need to take away from this:

  1. Humans are made of this matter called flesh.  Have you ever felt flesh before? It’s designed to move, bend and stretch.  This allows us to perform movements without snapping in half or splitting until our innards spill outward.
  2. Performance wear is secured with elastic.  Elastic makes our clothing fit tightly so that our pants don’t drop to our ankles.  I’m sure the Superbowl execs appreciated the fact that Gaga’s shorts fit tightly enough so that we didn’t end up with a Janet Jackson style wardrobe malfunction.
  3. Clothing will never fit any person that same way that is fits a plastic mannequin, and that’s a good thing!  The supple movement of our skin is what makes the human body attractive. It doesn’t matter what number is on the tag of your clothing (and I bet Gaga’s is a 0, you crazy people).

What matters is that you care for your body like you love it.  That means moving, stretching, and doing things that make you feel strong.  It also means feeding positive words to yourself, about yourself.  How can you possibly think and speak loving words about yourself if you can’t even speak them about other people?

Go show some love to yourself and someone else who needs it!

A Midnight Snack

Are you a night time snacker?

 

(image)

For some, the evening isn’t complete without a little bite of something before bed.  I asked around to gather a list of the most common bedtime snacks and this is what I came up with:

  1. Bowl of cereal
  2. Bowl of ice cream
  3. Bowl of chips (potato, pita, tortilla)
  4. Cheese and crackers
  5. Cookies
  6. Glass of wine or a beer

Is this you?

It’s no wonder that many blame their weight gain on their post dinner treat.  Most of what people are snacking on at bedtime shouldn’t be part of a  daily menu any time of day, especially at bedtime when we are winding down to go to sleep.

Evening eating doesn’t have to be banned, though.  You can include a nighttime snack in your evening routine and still achieve your weight loss goals.  You just need to be a little more strategic in what you choose.  It appears as though many people are craving fat and carbs at bedtime.  This actually makes sense scientifically for 2 reasons:

1 Carbs cause an insulin spike that helps remove most amino acids from our blood leaving tryptophan behind.  Tryptophan is a precursor to Serotonin which is a hormone that can help reduce anxiety and induce sound sleep.

2. Fat helps slow digestion and keeps us feeling satiated white we sleep, preventing a growling stomach to act as an alarm clock.

With these 2 reasons in mind, not all fat and carbs are created equally.  Throwing highly processed junk foods down your gullet and then hitting the sack will actually have the adverse affect.  Your body will work hard to process the toxins and then you’ll wake up on a sugar high in the middle of the night.  Be strategic when choosing your evening snack.  Here is my absolute favorite:

Tart Cherries and Walnuts

Ingredients:

2/3 cup tart cherries (I get them from Costco in the freezer section.  They are already pitted and always taste delicious

1/4 cup walnuts

 

1 tsp coconut oil

Directions:

(image)

Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan.  Add the cherries and walnuts.  Scoot around until warmed through.  Transfer to a bowl and serve warm.  Add cinnamon if desired.

Cherries are even more powerful as a sleep aid as they are one of the few natural sources of melatonin.  Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep cycle as well.

Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, which we discussed the importance of above.

While coconut oil can give you a good energy boost during the day, it also helps your body regulate it’s hormone cycle at night.

This is likely the most perfect pre-sleep snack.  If you have one that works well for you, I’d love for you to share it with me!

Related links and sources:

Sleep

Does Coconut Oil help you sleep?

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Sleep Hormone: Melatonin

What diet is right for you?

That’s a wrap!

With 2016 becoming a sweet memory, many of you are starting to think about how you’re going to shed your holiday pounds when the clock strikes 12.  Even if you have a basic idea of what you need to do, there is always that nagging suspicion that there is a magic pill that you don’t know about.  Trends and fads have dominated the nutrition industry before any of us were even born.  I have a special soap box that I reserve for rants about “diets” and I’m about to dust it off for one last time this year.

We are still living in a protein obsessed world.  It seems as though most diet trends are still glorifying protein and healthy fats while demonizing carbs.  Most plans are macronutrient focused while paying little attention to vitamins and minerals.  I love staying positive in my posts and I try to be the silver lining queen 90% of the time, but I’d like to finish off 2016 by sharing my top 3 most overrated diets of 2016:

Paleo:

What is Paleo?

AKA The Caveman Diet, this plan **ahem, lifestyle** encourages you to eat like a hunter/gatherer.  This means no potatoes, corn, grains, cheese, sugar, etc.   While I haven’t seen anyone tackle a wildebeast on this plan, I have seen many a recipes for almond meal banana bread and Paleo smoothies.  I wonder how Cavemen blended their coconut milk smoothies without electricity.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many great, healthy recipes that fall within Paleo guidelines.  I even have some Paleo style cookbooks that I love.  But the plan as a whole can be a little silly.  For example, many Paleo recipes have you replace a traditional ingredient with almond meal instead.  While almonds are good for you in moderation, they actually contain oxalates that bond to minerals preventing them from being absorbable in your body.  So, in high volume, almond meal contains too many “anti-nutrients”.   Plus, no potatoes? I die.

According to an article in Oxygen Magazine, following a strict Paleo plan may significantly reduce your intake of thiamine, calcium and riboflavin.  You could supplement with a vitamin (although I’m pretty sure hunter-gatherers weren’t taking Flintstone’s chewables).  Plus, when possible you’re better getting your nutrients from a well balanced whole food diet.

 

IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros)

This diet isn’t all bad.  When done correctly, many have experienced favorable results both nutritionally and on the scale.  The problem with the format of this diet is that the primary rules leave much room for self sabotage.

I can macro it in.

What is IIFYM?

The diet takes into account a predetermined ratio of what balance of macronutrients you should consume (Protein/Fat/Carbs) within a designated number of calories based on your height, weight and goal.  Once you have your numbers, you basically eat anything you want so long as it fits within your macros.  If you follow this plan while incorporating fresh fruits and veggies and other high quality foods, then you should feel great.  However, many lean to highly processed, nutrient void foods.  I’ve seen people macro in Oreos and Pop Tarts, then at the end of the day when fat and carbs are up, they pour a carton of egg whites into a skillet with some spray on Pam and eat a giant protein pancake before bed.  They have now followed the basic “rules” of a plan but consumed almost no vitamins or minerals.

The HCG Diet

This wins the award for the one I hate the most.  Anytime I meet with someone who is on it I cringe.  Especially if it’s under the recommendation of their doctor.  I will never ever advise someone to not follow doctors orders, however…it never hurts to get a 2nd opinion from another qualified professional (especially if you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right).

What is the HCG Diet?

The HCG Diet combines hormone injections of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) with extreme calorie restriction (500 calories per day limit).  HCG is a hormone that pregnant women produce to support fertility and egg development.

Why I hate it:

Extreme calorie restriction is such a temporary and dangerous weight loss method.  Your body loses fat and muscle and is depleted of vital nutrients.  While you may experience extreme results quickly, you will also notice thinning hair, chronic fatigue and mood swings.  When you lose muscle mass quickly, you also weaken your body’s vital systems like your cardiovascular and respiratory system.  You are essential destroying your metabolism for the future as well.  Many people try purchasing HCG through unregulated (illegal) sources which can be even more dangerous.  Even those who administer HCG legally are required to provide the following statement:

“HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity.  There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Stepping off soapbox.

So what the heck should you eat in 2017?

  1. Real Food.  Nothing should be entirely off limits unless you have an allergy to it. 90% (or more) of what you eat should not be coming from a box with a list of instructions.
  2. Proper portions.  Your body does an amazing job of telling you how much is enough.  If you don’t know where to begin with portion size, start small, eat slow, go for seconds if you must.
  3. Slow down! Just like I mentioned in #2.  Chew slowly and completely.  If you aren’t in Navy Seal training then stop eating like you are.

If you do better with specific guidelines in order to keep your nutrition in balance, then check out my monthly meal plans or the 21 Day DO-IT tab on this site.  You’ll find shopping lists, recipes and meal ideas that fit within a well balanced, nutrient rich plan that will help you accomplish your fitness goals.

Don’t forget to move!  Exercise will help you shape the body that you want.  It will help protect your metabolism and keep you energized both mentally and physically.

Go Celebrate!

It’s the last day of the year!  Finish it with a bang 🙂 Let’s get one more workout in before the clock strikes 12.  Whether you’re going out or staying in, this barre workout will complement  your favorite cocktail dress or your coziest sweats!

 

Cheers to 2016! I will see you on the other side 😉

 

You need these!

November is about gratitude

We have so much to be thankful for.  I should be writing a post about all of the people that I love and cherish.  There are so many of you out there, and I fully intend to pay homage to all that I am grateful for.  But for today, I want to pretend like I’m Oprah.  She is 90% love and gratitude, but 10% of the time, she just wants to tell you about her most favorite things that are “things”.  Now, because I’m just pretending to be Oprah and I’m not actually Oprah, I won’t be giving every reader a giant Santa sack full of said things, but you go ahead a pretend with me and let’s act like I am (readers proceed with screams of glee).

OK, ok.  Now that you’ve all settled down, let me begin my list of fitness related products I cannot live without.

  1. Alo Yoga’s Airbrush Leggings

high-waist-yoga-pant

Image source: Alo Yoga

These leggings are the ultimate yoga pant.  They have just enough support.  They stay in place.  No tugging or adjusting needed while you workout or practice.  They come in a variety of colors that change seasonally.  Best of all, you can get them with a high waist or a mid-rise, to appeal to all of us.  I love a super high waist!  I cannot get enough of these.  They also come in capri length and shorts.

2. Spiritual Gangster’s ‘Like You’ muscle tank.

like-you

(image source and link to purchase)

Clothing with a cause is never a bad thing, right?  Not only does your purchase support Feeding America, but the statement across your chest has multiple meanings.  Spiritual Gangster collaborated with Savannah Guthrie to design a product that promotes love, acceptance and unity.“Like You” has multiple meanings, sharing love as in “I like you.” Acceptance to “like yourself.” And Unity showing “we are all alike.” (statement pulled from spiritualgangter.com).

If you try to purchase a tank and it’s sold out, check back.  They restock often.

3. APL Training Shoes

ascend-racingyellow-1

(image and purchase source)

 

Now I’m really channeling my inner Oprah, because if you read her list of favorite things, you may remember this brand being featured.  APL stands for Athletic Propulsion Labs.  The name alone makes you think “scientific revolution!”.  I did not order the style featured above. I got a lightweight trainer.  At first I wasn’t sure I was going to keep them, but I gave them a chance a wore them around the gym while I trained.  My feet were like “Yes!”.  They are lightweight yet supportive.  They have a flexibility to them so they stay comfortable even on the longest of days.  I am a fan of the ones I ordered, but now that I’ve seen the ones pictured above, I have major shoe envy.  How did I miss these yellow balls of sunshine?  They are the color of a perfectly ripe banana.  They are screaming “happy feet”.  If you don’t prefer yellow shoes, don’t worry.  They offer a color palette ranging from incredibly subtle to completely electric.

4. Yoga Wheel

yoga-wheel

(source and purchase link)

If you’re looking at this thing like Huh?  I don’t blame you.  Initially, I was not a fan.  Here is how I was converted: Someone told me that they didn’t like yoga wheels and didn’t see the point in using one.  I felt like I had to defend the yoga wheel, so I grabbed it and started demonstrating all of the wonderful things you could do with it.  In my demonstration, I was not only changing the mind of the hater, but I was selling myself on my new favorite prop.  You can use the wheel for balance, strength , flexibility and core work.  Stay tuned, because I’m going to be sharing an entire workout using the yoga wheel.  If you Google “yoga wheel” you’ll find tons of brands.  They also come in multiple sizes.  Mine is 12 inches in diameter and 5 inches wide.

5. Rimless Cat Eye Sunnies 🙂

quay-lexi

(photo source and purchase link)

I know that sunglasses aren’t technically a fitness product, however, eye health is a key component to overall health.  So put some UV protection over those peepers.  Winter is coming and snow can produce quite a glare.  I am an uncontrollable sunglass snob and a self proclaimed eyewear connoisseur, so you can trust my judgement on this.  Quay Australia’s sunglasses are not only high quality, but they are trendy and very reasonable priced.  You won’t feel guilty about buying a new pair each season 🙂

Let’s wrap this up!

There you have it.  My top 5 must haves for the Basic Fitness Gal (I refuse to say the “b” word) in your life.  Let me wrap this up with something else that is my favorite 🙂  If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know that hugging has never been my strong suit.  But, I’ve been practicing and it’s becoming more natural.  So, this holiday season, as you start to feel the joy convert to stress, take a step back and breathe.  A close embrace will release oxytocin for you and the recipient.  A warm hug can cut the winter chill.  You can’t walk arm in arm with someone while stifling a smile.  And best of all, hugs are free and never run out of stock.

cactus-hug

(source)

You know how this has to end…

You get a hug!  You get a hug!  You get a hug!  Every body gets a big bear huuuuuuuuuuuuuuug!!!!

Peace & Love,

Yo-prah 🙂

We are America

Can someone tell me who won the presidential election this week?

I’ve been really busy.  I totally missed it.

Obviously, I’m kidding.

 

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We did our thing 🙂

I see you.  I hear you.  I know that the world is currently divided.

Too often, we react out of fear.  We get louder when we aren’t heard. We don’t tolerate what we don’t understand.

Current situation: Half of the US population did not get what they wanted.  60 million people “won” and 60 million people “lost”.

I’m an Ohio girl, so let me speak O-H-I-O for a minute.  If you know anything about the Buckeyes, you know Michigan is our biggest rival.  What happens when we beat Michigan?  People light their porch couches on fire and riot in the streets.  What happens when we don’t beat Michigan?  People still light their porch couches on fire and take to the streets.  Same outcome.

michigan

(Sorry, dad.  I had to)

 

We have somehow managed to treat the democracy of our country like a 120 million person football team.  Even the candidates behaved like coaches (player compensation, “locker room” abuse, etc),  We, as a nation (team) followed suit and got behind our red or blue with the passion of a double overtime championship game.  Basically, no matter who won, half of the world was going to light some dumpster fires and get tear gassed.

With such strong, divided opinions, people’s hearts are hardening.  If you’re feeling fearful, angry, disappointed or defeated, please don’t let that feeling last for long.  We are America.  Opportunity is everywhere,  When you openly identify what you’re grateful for, it multiplies.  When you focus on fear, it grows.  You become what you constantly think about.  Don’t manifest hate, fear, or anger.

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If you are experiencing fear or anxiety, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.  Additionally, you may find this book to be a valuable resource.  It is part of my daily ritual 🙂

Order a copy here.

America, let’s take off the cleats and helmets.  Save your tackles for Black Friday.  I invite you all to join me for a yoga practice.  In fact, if you are feeling anxious, I challenge you to do yoga for the next 3 days in a row.  Just try it.  See if it helps 🙂

If you don’t have access to a yoga instructor near you, try alternating between these 2 classes:

 

I have one word.  Regardless of your party affiliation, I say: Namaste.  The light within me honors the light within you. I will not judge you based on your political opinions.  I will not even judge you for being a Michigan fan.  Take a brief sabbatical from solving the worlds problems.  Breathe.  Clear your mind.  Give someone a hug.  Then you can go back to passing bills, balancing budgets and reforming health care…or rioting in the streets.  You do you…but first, do yoga.

namaste

Namaste,

Yolanda