Friday, February 14, 2014

Winter Fitness

I have been getting so many newsletters, emails, blog posts, and videos on what to do for exercise in the winter, so I have decided to do my own and share some of my personal thoughts and experiences.

For my most recent ideas on getting exercise in the winter, check out RawYogaFitness!

So now that you have gotten some ideas on how to stay active, let me invite you to grab a warm beverage and a blanket, relax and warm up while you read the rest of this's ok I'll wait :)

Ok, all set?  Excellent!

First of all, I want to start off by saying that being active in the cold winter vs the warm summer are two completely different ball parks.  First of all, summer is warm, sunny, and you have more of an excuse to exercise than to not.  On the other hand, winter is cold, grey, and you have much less desire to be outside let alone exercise (when that blanket looks much more comfortable).  I truly believe that this is in our biology to slow down in during this time, assess things that are going on in life, and relax.

Think about it this way, 100 years ago (or even to this present day, depending on where/how you live) humans lived with the seasons.  Spring was to plant, summer was to tend, fall was to harvest, and winter was to plan for next year.  Three out of the four seasons are spent giving so much energy into planting, caring for, and harvesting food that it makes sense for winter to be a time to relax and plan; let alone the fact that you really can't do much else.

Just like we need sleep in order to function at our peak throughout the day, we need periods of time in our life to soak it all in and re-coop so we can put our all into life.

Bringing this back into modern times, it is easy to see how we all live a very fast-paced, out of tune with nature style of life.  We think that bigger, faster, and more work is better.  Although this might be the case in the short term, this style of living can seriously impact our health and well being by depleting our immune system, become taxing on our adrenal system, and might even lead to dis-ease.

So, to sum it all up...Don't Stress about it!  Winter is a time to get into our own heads and meditate on the direction we want to go with our lives.  Of course staying active is important, but if you don't have enough time/money/access, don't fret.  Just focus on moving your body throughout the day and get outside in the spring/summer/fall and enjoy it!

Luana ola!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Meditation is like day dreaming!!

Hi friends!  So as you may know from a previous post, one of my resolutions for this year was to write a weekly blog post.  So, here it is!

I got the inspiration fro this post from reading an article in Yoga Journal.  It really struck home with me because I had (and still have) a hard time taking the time and even just practicing meditation.  In this always-on-the-go society that we all live in and grew up in, it is really easy to get sucked into the idea that more is better and rest is for lazy people.  Well, through the growth of my yoga practice and listening to my teacher/reading articles, I have come to find that restful practices like meditation can actually make your life more productive.

I know it sounds contradictory, but hear me out for a moment and try to picture this scenario in your mind as you read.  The alarm goes off at 5am.  You roll out of bed, half asleep, to take a shower, wake the kids up, get ready, and some how eventually make it to work on time.  By the time you get to work, you need your daily cup of coffee and maybe breakfast (if you haven't eaten yet...more on why you should in a future post!!).  You continue with your day, have lunch, maybe more coffee, and eventually make it back home with just enough time to get dinner started.  By the end of the evening, you are exhausted and ready to crash in front of the TV.

Now, let's try to incorporate some meditation into the day and see if we can combat some unhealthy habits (i.e. lots of coffee, sugary snacks, and flopping on the couch in the evening).

First of all, try going to bed just 30 minutes earlier than normal.  That way, you get a little extra sleep when that alarm goes off.  When your alarm rings in the morning, hit snooze, but instead of going to sleep, find a comfortable place to sit up.  Close your eyes and just draw out your day in your head, trying not to attach an emotion with the events, just simply listing.  When the snooze alarm goes off, turn it off and continue with the rest of your morning; noticing if you feel a little better.

Now, when you are at work and millions of ideas/projects/emails are being thrown at you, scoot your chair away from your desk (or even walk away if you can) for just 1 to 5 minutes.  Take slow deep breaths, concentrating only on your breathing, like nothing else matters.  When you open your eyes and go back to work, notice if you feel any better, maybe even more happy/ more productive.

Finally, when you get home in the evening embrace all of your family members and take a few moments to breathe in the happiness of being home.  Sometimes we can get more frustrated on the drive home because we are hungry, stuck in traffic, and just want to be home.  Move as usual throughout the rest of your evening, then right before you go to sleep, gently recap your day without attaching emotions and then list 3-5 good things that happened that day (either aloud with your partner/kids or to yourself) so that you are in a good mood before dozing off.

Believe it or not, incorporating these simple techniques into your daily life IS meditation (or at least a form of it).  You don't have to sit down for an hour and do absolutely nothing to reap the benefits.  Simply focusing on deep breathing and calming your mind will help tremendously.

Let me know how it goes in the comments below, and subscribe to RawYogaFitness on YouTube to learn more fun healthy lifestyle tips.

Much happiness and enjoy life!