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Incorporating your kids into your yoga practice

Incorporating your kids into your yoga practice

The joys of having a baby is more than anyone can ever describe, and as a mom of three, myself, I have found that unless you consciously choose to incorporate your little yogis into your practice, we often then choose not to practice at all. And for others, the choice is to practice (exercise) without that little ball of joy nearby or incorporated into that very important part of your life.
Yoga is a huge part of my life and my family’s life. From day one my kids became my little yogi buddies and walking buddies, they did (and still do) everything I do. Because to me, my mindset was my kids were going to be a part of my life, a part of my practice, and a part of my studio, I wanted them to know no different. Some parents want their kids to learn a certain prayer or family tradition, I wanted my kids to learn to live a holistic-yogic lifestyle from early on.

Like many, exercise to me is important, but a mindful practice where it is a part of your lifestyle is even more important.
Here are some examples: We all go for a walk (dogs, kids, and husband) and we talk about why fresh air is important and how Mother Earth loves that we enjoy her and that we don’t litter (we usually are on a quest to pick it all up) and why that isn’t a good choice. I have taught my kids how to breathe and how they can use their breath to help them in stressful situations. I have a yoga room and my children adore spending time there, we take turns using my reformer, weights, and yoga mat, we teach each other poses, bounce on the bosu and I explain how bouncing is healthy for the lymphatic system and stretching is good for your muscles and mind, and building strength will help you get big and strong like your Momma and Papa.
For some in today’s society, the parents may be healthy but they keep that to themselves, for many, eating salad and lean chicken at dinner, but then feeding the rest of the family greasy foods. Or going out for a hike or tending the garden but leaving the kids inside watching T.V. At my house if I want to practice yoga (while my kids are awake) or go for a walk it’s either with them or nothing. And more important than me staying physically fit, is for them to see me take care of myself in all I do and incorporate them into it; so as they get older it’s no different than brushing their teeth, reading books, and taking a bath. To them, it is simply how things have always been, and these skills are skills that can and should be taught by the parents.

Now sure my little yogis crawl all over me in plank and slide down my back in Downward Dog, and that at times gets to be a little much, but that won’t be forever and yoga to me is more than exercise it’s tapping into the inner self and connecting, isn’t it for you?

 


Family Fitness: 4 Ways to Stay Fit with the Family

Family Fitness: 4 Ways to Stay Fit with the Family

From even before I had kids I knew several key points that would become the cornerstones of my parental approach. I feel very passionate about my kids seeing themselves as unique (like most parents) but in that uniqueness I wanted them to understand what it was like to develop individual skills and interests before engaging in the big wide world of pee-wee sports. We chose to skip the pee-wee games and guide our kids towards self-confidence using self-discovery and independent activity development. That meant family fitness activities. I know this is not for everyone, but for us-our kids getting down and dirty means playing in the mud, dancing in the rain, and walking in our woods searching for deer tracks and turkey feathers. I believe whole heartily that this is the foundation of childhood and developing into an independent-thinking adult. Yes, that’s right, family fitness is a foundation for our kids.

And within those independent activities, I wanted to be able to spend as much time with them as possible because there will come a day that they don’t think I’m top dog and will want to join the other team. But from the start, the team we wanted them to know they are on first is team “Krebs”.

Fitness is essential to me, and family fitness is even more important. The idea of keeping my kids active might not be what you are thinking because my suggestions won’t reference tee-ball, soccer, or dance. My suggestions are practical. They are beneficial, hopefully, to celebrate the little things because the little things are the foundation for your child’s future and who they will become as an adult and maybe one day as a parent.

Every movement matters.

In our house movement is super important. Now that my kids are school-aged, I recognize the extended periods of sitting and studying mean we need to prioritize movement once school activities are complete! I try to have them soak up every hour of daylight outside possible: jumping on the trampoline, climbing on the playset, chasing chickens, riding bikes, and making up games. And as easy as it is to send the kids outside, when you make an effort to go out with them they are not only more likely to explore, but it will make an impression that parents play too. I want to encourage you that if you tend to be a “go play outside parent” to set a timer for 20 minutes and go play with them, and then see what happens. I bet you that 20 minutes will quickly turn into an hour, because in the grand scheme of things- dinner can wait.

Family fitness walks.

Those in town who know me will vouch to say that they have seen me with my red stroller, two dogs, and two kids on bikes all over town. I need my movement, and because I work from home means I’m with my kids almost 24/7, so where I go, they go. And this has its perks. I used to fight for my personal time (I still get it but in other ways), but then I realized that the message I would be sending to my kids was exercise and fitness for adults is always separate. And after ten years of following this philosophy, I can honestly say it has paid off. I have gotten so much out of our walks together and I know I am planting the seed for years to come; plus, my kids love coming, they love my presence and I theirs. I use this time to talk to them about health, staying active as well as singing and playing eye spy. This is one of my most cherished non-winter experiences.

Family chores can be fun.

We have a very large backyard and woods and with all the tree cover a light breeze will drop tree limbs and black walnuts in an instant. My husband and I are not able to pick up this all ourselves and if we did we’d have no time for anything else. Staying active is super important to me and my family, but learning life skills is too. I know that when my kids become adults the impressions I set on them as kids will heavily impact the choices and decisions they make in their adult years. Picking up sticks is always a family affair, and I have to be honest they don’t always love it, but the older they get they realize: it’s not going to change anytime soon. Being outside in the warm sun and fresh air we race to fill our buckets first, who can pull the most roots, who gets the most walnuts and we often celebrate with lemonade and lunch outside afterward! We can easily spend two to three hours together (and don’t get me wrong there can be a fair share of complaining, but that is also part of the process) and after my husband always thanks them and asks them to look out and see what a great job they did. Seeing my kids notice their hard work and efforts and see them as they receive positive praise for helping in the household is a huge bonus too.

Encourage your kids to get dirty.

As parents we often let the end result cloud our willingness to let our kids run free. Stains on their pants, the time needed to then bathe, the worry of if they will get hurt, and the age-old excuse of not enough time. But I have to be honest, there is nothing more liberating than getting dirty with your kids. Sliding down the dirt mound outback with them. running barefoot in the rain, building sandcastles and mud pies at their side. When my husband and I get down and dirty with them, I get to see their eyes light up, not because of the dirt (although that is a big factor) but because we are dirty with them. I can feel the connection between us and our kids grow stronger and for me, it’s liberating as an adult to give myself permission to be a kid again and not try to be perfect all the time. When we get dirty we are reminded that life is messy. The mess is part of the experience.

Now these might not be wild and crazy ways to have fun, but they are free, fun and family orientated. When we instill in our kids that fitness, health, and fun cost money and require fancy equipment or continuous social engagements, we are limiting them in their own self-discovery process and creative development. Plus the time we get with our kids when they are young and we are the greatest thing since sliced bread is limited and I refuse to limit that even more.

Now go out and enjoy some family fitness!

How to Step Into Something New

How to Step Into Something New

How to step into something new…

I can’t believe it’s November already. 

>>This past year has been one of a kind. 
>>This past year has been one for the books. 
>>This past year has been a good one…for me. 

Last year I decided that no matter what I did, what I stepped into, what came my way, I was going to approach it with a good attitude and a never give up mentality. 

It’s November and I don’t think we say it enough… 
I’m proud of myself. 

*Proud of myself for doing new things. 
*Proud of myself for stepping into unknown territories. 
*Proud of myself for doing things even when I didn’t want to do them.



Here’s what I’ve learned…



Thinking about doing something new is only step one… Well, it’s more like a Pre-Step, like Pre-Kindergarten. 

And then it’s deciding to pull the trigger. But I’ve discovered that there cannot be ANY doubt in your mind that what you are about to do is wrong, not going to work, a bad idea. 

I’ve been working really hard this past year on catching myself immediately when I see ANY doubt creep And when it does I noticed one thing…

If your decision you are about to pull the trigger on is DIFFERENT IN ANY WAY get ready for doubts, a struggle, or an internal debate that it’s not going to work.

This realization was KEY in my pressing on. 

And I want to share that with all of you today. 

If you want things to change, get better, be different (call it what you want) you NEED it to be uncomfortable or at least have that feeling for a moment that’s your signal that you are stepping into uncharted territory.



AND THAT IS A GOOD THING.



I was nervous the night before I got married. I knew I wanted to marry my husband and had known I was going to marry him since the 8th grade. 
That night looking at myself in my bathroom mirror, I had a wave of doubt run through me if this was the right decision. 

But I knew that the doubt I was feeling was nerves from something new, the unknown. 
And because I pressed on, we’ve been married for 14 years, have 3 amazing kids, and built a life we love.



>>>>>When you get to the edge of what is familiar you have a choice. 
Go back into your typical patterns and stay exactly where you are…. Or press on.



*Press on even when it’s hard. 
*Press on even when you don’t want to. 
*Press on even when your decisions don’t fit into the status quo.

You guys I created my own pain relief cream. Not a cream I’m filling in my garage. 

Like my own REAL product. (Find out about STIFF Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream)
How did this happen?
I made a decision I wanted to do this and every step after that decision was made I did not like my old thinking or learned feelings and responses derail me from the goal.

Stepping into something new blog post hope zvara

To step into something new:


I took risk. 
​A lot of risk. 
I invested my own money. 
And now have to pick up the phone and call people. 
Ask others for support and help and put me out there every single day with the chance others may not like me. 

But I know and choose to never let doubt and negativity loom in my mind for longer than it takes to think that thought even for a second. 

It’s exhausting to be on yourself like a bloodhound hunting in the woods. Constantly calling yourself out on thoughts, beliefs, and actions most don’t even see happening. 

But now almost a year later of this diligent practice. I’m bearing fruit (I had a lot of internal negative self-talk to work through).

I see those periods of discomfort as markers I’m moving in the right direction and mentally stop and breathe, think, and feel the positive outcome. Where before things not working out always loomed in my mind. 

THAT WAS MY ISSUE. 

I was doing all the right things but when I got to the edges of my familiarity I was canceling out all my efforts with my internal dialogue, thoughts, and intentions. 

I created a pain-relief cream!
I created the BEST online program I have ever built!
I coach business clients who want to hear what I have to say!
I get to work with people I never thought possible!

I share this not to brag, but to hopefully inspire you. I did this.

To step into something new:


*I allowed myself the right to think bigger than what I was. 
*I allowed myself to dream bigger than I thought I was allowed to. 
*I allowed myself to be bold despite the negativity would come up against. 

You can do this. 
You can step out. 
You can get there. 

Stop saying 2020 is horrible. 
It’s not. 

It’s different and that’s that. 

Who cares. 

Figure out a way. 

Stop using 2020 as a reason to stay where you are. 

I know this might not be what you want to hear. But it’s the truth. 

I saw 2020 as the best time to step up my game and reach for more. Even when most of the signs around me said it was a bad idea. ​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What can you do today? 

I’d love to hear about it. ​​

5 Tips for Positive Affirmations

5 Tips for Positive Affirmations

What you say matters. Words matter. You matter. And in a culture full of broken language, continuous slang, emoji’s, and texting, the art of words is slowly being forgotten.

The world is like it has never been before. Our knowledge base, our insights, our technology is all on the up and up; but what is on the down and out, is our language, our words, which tell our brains what to think and how to see the world.

Words hold vibrations and considering we are all made up of energy, what level of frequencies do you want to surround yourself with?

You may be what you eat, but you are what you say.

Mantras & Affirmations

For thousands of years, ancient eastern cultures have seen and acted on the power of words and vibration through chanting and mantra. Much like an affirmation the pitch, tone and combine words hold a very powerful energy and vibration when said correctly and continuously, changing the brain and your outlook on life.

What is a mantra? “A mantra can be a single syllable such as “ram”, a number of syllables, or a whole verse. One of the most often used definitions of a mantra is something that protects the person who has received it. It is not something we can find in a book or buy it somewhere.” (The Heart of Yoga, T.K.V. Desikachar)

Mantras have been and still are used to help people break bad habits and at the same time create new ones. They are often given by a teacher to a student for a specific reason and to achieve a specific result. A mantra is used to do penance and show forgiveness. Mantras are used across cultures and often used today as we know them as prayers, songs, and affirmations.

Affirmations are positive words or phrases that are used to affirm something. Internally they offer support and encouragement to the one possessing the affirmation.

Words Carry Energy through language and vibrations

Like mantras, affirmations reaffirm the power words hold, the power of the vibration they possess. And when you speak with broken language and do not speak clearly are not able to attract that energy, and are putting out a completely different energy. In a Sanskrit mantra, one wrongly spoken syllable you could go from speaking something positive and inviting to something horrible or silly. Mantras ask the mind to dance with them, getting the mind all caught up in its harmony that soon the mind forgets what it was so wrapped up in and at the same time has transformed it’s thought patterns to a higher vibration.

Considering our brains are wired to prefer the negative, using a powerfully positive affirmation can help one align with their desires, hopes, and dreams. Or simply see life as a great experience, rather than a horrible one.
When we speak in slang, fragments, and slurs we diminish the power of words, we torque the energetic vibration of what we speak, write, and say. And although it may sound cool or be much quicker to text and write, the consequences are fragmented, and I think we can all agree that our world’s current state and this current generation is in major need of a realignment and a re-connection with life itself.

Affirmations are powerful attraction statements, often used with the starting phrase “I AM”. In stating such a phrase at the beginning of the affirmation you are saying to the Universe that this is what YOU ARE. And when you say, do or visualize something repeatedly, it becomes you and you become it.

I used mantra and affirmations during my recovery and continue to use them today, especially as I continue to get to the bottom of old mindsets and negative belief patterns that are not only unhealthy for me but for others and are often what is keeping me from abundance in my life.

Repetitive, Negative Self-talk is Unhealthy

Jole Osteen said, “What follows the “I am” will always come looking for you…. Many times, we are using the power of ‘I am’ against us.” What are you looking to create in your life? You get a free preview of that creation by discovering your current “I am” beliefs”.

How often do we all say things that solidify our future, outlook and what we attract?

I am always rushed
I am so tired
I am always broke
I am a dummy
I am stupid
I am fat
I am no good
I am under qualified
I am never going to make it
I am always last
I am I am I am…

And I can pretty much guarantee that those people will most likely never receive what they have already told the universe and their brains that they shouldn’t EVER have.

Positive Transformation

Kristen Butler with the Power of Positivity has talked about the I AM transformations.
Because here’s the thing, ‘I am’ will always come looking for you, it’s like a magnet so what are you attracting? Is it what you want to attract? And are you willing to make a change in something as small as what you say? What if just changing that could change your entire life?

Let’s play a game.

I am always broke………. becomes………. I AM always full of abundance
I am a dummy………. becomes………. I AM smart and intelligent
I am fat………. becomes………. I AM fit
I am never good enough………. becomes………. I AM good enough
I am under qualified………. becomes………. I AM highly qualified
I am never going to make it………. becomes………. I AM going to make it, I have what it takes
I am always last………. becomes………. I AM exactly where I need to be

The power of affirmations is vital to the success and well-being of all people personally and professionally! And it is because of this and my own personal experiences with affirmations and transformational mindset that I created the powerful course series: Monumental Clarity. In this series, I created a powerful opportunity for those truly ready and willing to make changes they can reap the benefits and go take action.

Clearing Mental Clutter is a rapid result mini-course that propels those participating in a new way of looking at life, and living life and speaking about life. Clearing Mental Clutter is designed for those looking to break bad habits and set new ones. Those that are sick and tired of being sick and tired of feeling like nothing goes their way and who realize that a big part of making a change is that they must look at themselves first.

Are you ready to say I AM to what you desire most?

Join me and let’s clear the clutter in that head of yours Click here to access all you desire and a new way of looking life

 

Clearing Mental Clutter is designed for those who like me have struggled with a negative self-image, lack in their personal and professional lives, and despite all the right efforts still, are lacking. Those that are ready to live happily, whole, and healthy, breath, body, and belief (mindset) every single day.

The affirmations I use in these courses are designed to help you get to the heart of the issues keeping you from all you desire, as one builds into the next.

I used to fight affirmations because my brain was so tied up in negativity and self-loathing mindset that I wouldn’t allow myself to even mentally say such words because I didn’t want me to succeed.

But here’s the thing, you should want it FIRST for anything to change. And affirmations cost you NOTHING, not a penny, just the willingness to make a small change in what you say and how you say it.

How to create powerful positive affirmations

1. Use the I AM statement

Use the “I AM” statement at the beginning of your affirmation to claim what you say and attract that to your life.

2. Use words that are positive and are specific

Think about where you struggle and what you need to work on and then use a positive phrase to help you in that area.

3. Say it, write it, read it!

The more you use, see, and say your affirmation, the more powerful it is. Who cares if someone thinks you are silly? They won’t be thinking that when you reap what you have sown here with your positive I AM affirmation now, will they?

4. Catch yourself.

When you catch yourself thinking or saying those negative affirmations, STOP yourself immediately and out loud say “cancel, cancel, cancel” and then repeat your positive “I AM” statement. Don’t allow your brain to absorb those hurtful words even for a second.

5. Once you start, don’t stop.

If you suffered a back injury, you shouldn’t stop the exercises to strengthen your back just because it finally feels better-right? The same goes for your new play on words. Keep up with your I AM statements and slowly work to change how you think, speak, and command to the world around you.

If you are ready to clear the cobwebs in that head of yours and take a real first step towards everything you desire and everything that is waiting for you. Let’s do it together, I can help! LET’S TRANSFORM TOGETHER.

I AM READY CLICK HERE!

4 Quick & Effective Yoga Poses To Do While Traveling

4 Quick & Effective Yoga Poses To Do While Traveling

Here are my 4 quick effective yoga poses to do while traveling, because if you are anything like me…I’ll take any help when I can get it.

Nowadays traveling can easily be an all-day affair and that means little movement and a whole lot of sitting. When you can take full advantage of my five quick and effective yoga poses to do while traveling for instant relief for all those traveling aches and pains.

Happy Travels!

4 Quick Effective Yoga Poses to do While traveling:

  1. Nervous Nelly Neck Stretches: Nothing like a crick in the neck from carrying all those awkward bags, the ergonomically correct posture perfect seats in the gate area or sitting in those super roomy airplane seats (NOT)… Relief is here… Hope Zvara- Yoga for Flying-Nervous Nelly Neck Stretches Blog
  2. Flying High Hip Stretch: Again nothing screams happy hips more than an airplane or car seat. Get a little relief with this super quick, yet effective move. Hope Zvara- Yoga for Flying-Hip Stretch- Blog
  3. Twist and Shout Spinal Release: When your travels start to hit double digits, the body starts to feel the pain of those incredibly spacious seats whether it be on a plane or in a car. Pardon your neighbor and take a time out to twist and shout. A few of these throughout a day of traveling saves my back a lot of pain and stiffness in the days to come. Hope Zvara-Yoga for Flying-Twist and shout-Blog
  4. Ground Level Pow-Wow: It always amazes me how many people are so eager to sit down before they sit down pre-flight. My suggestion, find some floor space (FYI it’s also usually where the USB and outlets are anyway) and take a floor seat. If you are taking a road trip, be sure to stop off every few hours to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and do a little moving around. Here you can stretch out your legs and even do a forward bend or two. Hope Zvara-Yoga for Flying-Take A Ground Seat-Blog

O.K. I have to admit, I do love traveling and really don’t mind flying or road trips at all, but I have traveled on some less than comfy flights and cars. China Air really is not designed for Americans, even small ones like myself. And nowadays they are packing us in like sardines so it is yours and my best interest to do all we can to make that next trip as enjoyable as can.

Safe and Happy Travels!

 

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How to Get Out of a Rut

How to Get Out of a Rut

How to get out of a rut?

Have you ever been there? In a rut?

Where your bored, lifeless, unmotivated, unhappy, irritated, would rather sleep your life away than get up and go?

For the last several months I couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. Of course with a global pandemic going on we are all feeling stressed and overwhelmed but this felt different. For a while I thought, I’m working too hard and need a break. But a break didn’t change anything. Then I thought I was lacking vitamins or vital nutrition. Maybe it’s too hot, too humid, too cold, too damp. Nope, not the case. Then my mind goes racing, and what if I have an autoimmune disorder. Common Hope, get a grip…

For months this has been going on, tired for no reason, dragging, and honestly, unmotivated. What’s up???

I’m in a RUT! Stuck on repeat, a skip in the record of life and nothing was changing.

What gives?

My family rocks, I’m healthy, alive, I am moving forward towards my BIG dreams. What gives? Why am I in a rut?

What gives, is I was holding on. TIGHT. Like death grip tight. Holding on to things that don’t serve me, my mission, my soul’s purpose. I was holding on to things that were expired, like leaving old nasty food in your fridge and trying to convince yourself you’d choke that down tomorrow.

Holding on. But why? I’m in a rut.

Well funny thing, I listened to a LIVE on Facebook and it sparked in me that it’s time to hit the RESET BUTTON on my goals and targets. Time to get specific, zone in and tune in to those, and then reflect on where I was spending most of my time.

Well, NEWS FLASH, they weren’t aligned AT ALL. Well maybe like 30%, but I was living the life in my old goals and trying to move towards my current ones. And there was no LONG-TERM clarity within my vision insight. My life had “I’m in a rut” written all over it.

This depressed-like state, this exhaustion- was boredom. No fire within, no zeal, no drive to go for it, because I didn’t want “it” anymore. I wanted out of this rut. I wanted something else.

When you find yourself in a rut, one thing that is happening is you are focusing TOO much on you. Your shortcomings, your faults, where you should have done this, or that or the other thing… On how bad you feel, how bad your finances are, how everyone else is doing better than you, how your job sucks, your family sucks, blah, blah, blah.

And that was exactly what was happening to me. I was nitpicking everything I was doing, my faults, micromanaging my old goals trying to make my efforts fit with something it just wasn’t aligned with.

And for many people including myself I have spent most of my life numbing myself from all of this to not have to feel or deal with it. I used food, drugs, isolation, and a very negative self-talk to keep myself from having to feel and deal with anything.

Five Ways to Get Out of a Rut:

  1. Shift your focus off all that “you” stuff and shift it back to a goal, how are you going to help people and as a result help yourself?
  2. Ask yourself, what are your goals? Like take five minutes out of your life and ask yourself “what do I want”.
  3. Now, write them down. All of them. Then go back and look at them and see what of those are truly your goals.
  4. Reflect on how you are spending your time. It’s one thing to relax a bit, it’s another to do something or nothing because you are bored.
  5. You must do it. Yep, you have to just do it anyway. You will never get out of the rut if you don’t do something different. But if you don’t do the above, you’ll never know WHAT to do.

If I think too much about my “stuff” it’s like I just can’t get out of that deep dark hole to nowhere. But when you shift your focus and realize that a shift in thinking is all you need to make that change and get out of your rut. BIG things can start to happen. Like a little pep in your step and maybe even a newly discovered goal!

You got this!

And to help here is one of my favorite quick reads! Because a little extra encouragement never hurts!

5 Yoga Poses for Perfect Posture

5 Yoga Poses for Perfect Posture

Practice makes perfect. And I’m talking posture!

Imagine being in a room full of people and someone walks in and instantly commands the room without a word spoken.

How do they do that? Fancy clothes? Fireworks? Paid groupies?

No. Amazing posture.

Perfect posture.

Because how you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, your self-esteem, your relationship with the world, and how you feel about yourself.

Ever observe someone depressed. They posture says “don’t come near me, don’t touch me”, a fetal like position of protection.

But when you see that person whose posture screams confidence, openness, and ease, you can’t help but want some of that secret sauce they have been drinking.

Only they haven’t been drinking, they have been moving. Moving in the right way.

So to help you on your posture perfect path not only for your body’s health and alignment but your own mental, emotional and social health here are my TOP 5 POSTURE PERFECT YOGA POSES.

Top 5 Yoga Poses for Better Posture

1. Heart Opening Mountain Pose

  • Standing at attention with your weight even on your feet.
  • Turn your feet to face forward and draw your pelvic into neutral (pubis bone and front hip bones all parallel with the front wall).
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back (or grab a strap or towel if your hands can’t clasp or you can clasp but have no range of motion).
  • INHALE, drawing the shoulder blades together and down as the arms externally rotate.
  • Lift your chest gently and keeping space in the back of the neck gently lookup.

Play with rotating your arms and wrists to find the most appropriate release in the shoulders. Breathe deeply into the lungs to open the chest further. Enjoy for five to ten breaths.

Mountain Pose

2. Shoulder Blade Runner

  • Standing at attention in Mountain Pose, draw your arms up in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Turn your palms to face each other and the folds of your elbows to gently face up (no hyperextension), keeping a solid pelvis (see #1) and a stable rib cage (no thrusting). Only move your shoulders.
  • Inhale, pinching your shoulder blades together like they are going to come together over your spine.
  • Exhale: reach your arms away without rounding your shoulders forward like you are reaching for an object just out of reach.

Repeat this movement focusing on range of motion ten to twenty times.

Shoulder Blade Runner

3. Turkey Neck Stretch

  • Seated tall, relax your shoulders down and back.
  • Drop your head forward and using your fingers pull down on the skin at your clavicles.
  • Keep that connection and open your mouth as wide as you can.
  • Keeping it open, tip the head back, as you do so pull down on the skin creating a facial stretch.
  • Now close your mouth and imagine you have an underbite and push the bottom jaw upward.
  • Try sliding the bottom jaw side to side to find the most viable stretch. Hold for up to ten breaths.
  • Gently bring the head back to center.

Turkey Neck Stretch

4. Melting Wheel

Dust off your large Swiss ball (the one you bought thinking you’d sit on at your desk, make sure it’s well inflated). Take a seat on the edge of it and slowly start to lean back over the ball. If your lower back feels tight, tip the tail bone up between the legs to lengthen the lower back. Now play with where your arms lay to open the front line of the body and pretend that you are making a snow angel and when you find a point of release, hold your arms there until you feel release (your arms may not be symmetrical).

Play with your body and using your legs, experiment with squatting, and then moving your head towards the ground to choose where you want to focus-lower back and hip flexors or chest, arms and shoulders. Enjoy as long as you feel comfortable. To come up, begin to squat and roll yourself up back on top of the ball. And counterbalance by hinging forward.

Melting Wheel

5. Rolling Forward Fold

Staring in Mountain Pose, bend the knees and imagine you are like a flag blowing in the wind. Exhale and loosely roll yourself down into Forward Bend. Like you were jumping on a trampoline, bend your knees and think about being sprung up (rolling) into a standing extension.

In standing extension keep your knees bent and float your pelvis forward as you arch back. You should feel your core turn on and your front line of the body stretch. Exhale, bend the knees, and fall/roll back down (think less control and more flow). Repeat this movement fine to ten times.

Rolling Forward Fold

Posture does make perfect. Because how you present yourself to the world is how you receive it back.

For more moves just like these check out my ONLINE MOVEMENT STUDIO

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Pelvic Tilts & Their 20 Benefits for Beginners

Pelvic Tilts & Their 20 Benefits for Beginners

Beginners Core: How to do Pelvic Tilts.

What if reducing back pain, increasing core awareness, and strength. Reducing hip pain and aiding the natural curves in your spine “were” easy to do?

It has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion that we as a society often overlook the power of simplicity. Is it that we are lead to believe that if something isn’t complicated? Or expensive or taught at a fancy center that it cannot truly be helpful?

I occasionally have students mention that they are off to PT for this or that. Only to find that what they are being told to do are the very things they are learning in my classes. And the therapists are amazed at their sense of awareness and ability. Now, this is not to toot my own horn. But rather push my point that sometimes we don’t realize the power of something until we step away from it.

And the same goes for simple movements.

Have back pain? Who doesn’t?

Struggling with your, ahem, pelvic floor? You’re not alone.

What if there was something you could be doing right now to help those areas improve?

Would you be O.K. with the notion that the approach was simple, elementary, small and lacks a fancy name and does not end in a complicated arm balance? Would that be O.K.?

Sometimes to truly take a step forward, we do in-fact have to take a step back, and that is where pelvic tilts come in.

Not in the sense that we are losing ground or less than, but rather that we are in deep need to create a deeper sense of awareness and understanding of our body and how it moves.

Pelvic tilts truly are one of my most favorite moves, and I often think of it as a secret weapon! This small movement packs a powerful punch! That it simultaneously free your lower back release your hip flexors. In addition, pelvic tilts improve core function and awareness and ungulates your entire spine.

I know what you are thinking now, “where can you sign me up” for learning how to do pelvic tilts??

Except as a yoga and movement teacher for over fifteen years now I have learned that one: I was practicing pelvic tilting all wrong. And two: I see many following in my similar footsteps.

Let’s fix that!

There are tons of benefits to pelvic tilting and it SHOULD be an exercise that everyone does regularly. Because you can do it in just about any plane of motion and position.

If you need a list of reasons WHY pelvic tilts are not just good for you, but necessary!

What are the benefits of Pelvic Tilts?

  • * Pelvic tilts create a sense of awareness of the pelvic floor muscles
  • *Pelvic tilts release sacral (SI joint) pain
  • *Pelvic tilts release the femur, tailbone, sacrum connection for more mobility and motility
  • *Pelvic tilts help one access and tone the lower abdomen muscles
  • *Pelvic tilts release lower back
  • *Pelvic tilts liberate the entire spine
  • *Pelvic tilts loosen tightness hanging on the shoulders
  • *Pelvic tilts release tightness of the inner hips and inner pelvic attachments
  • *Pelvic tilts tone the pelvic floor and core muscles
  • *Pelvic tilts activate the glutes/buttocks
  • *Pelvic tilts increase awareness of the hip-spine relationship
  • *Pelvic tilts assist in a deeper breathing and better lung use
  • *Pelvic tilts enhance your body’s natural alignment and curvature
  • *Pelvic tilts assist your lumbo-pelvic relationship to sit in neutral with less pain and restriction
  • *Pelvic tilts improve posture
  • *Pelvic tilts help you look taller and leaner
  • *Pelvic tilts teach you how to wear your core on the inside of the body rather than the outside
  • *Pelvic tilts release the lateral side body
  • *Pelvic tilts stretch the abdominal walls from sitting all-day
  • *Pelvic tilts release the fascial netting of the lower body and spine.

By now you are wondering how do you effectively and properly practice pelvic tilts?

How To Do Pelvic Tilts:

  1. Pick your position. You can practice pelvic tilting lying down, standing in a slight chair pose, sitting, or even prone. I think supine is the simplest way to practice and the floor gives you good feedback as to what you are doing for starters.
  2. Lying down with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, make sure your heels are not too close to your sit bones, when they are too close it inhibits the range of motion for pelvic tilting.
  3. Find your breath, a deep breath in through your nose and out through your nose to settle into your body.
  4. Keep your body relaxed for now, INHALE and work to arch your lower back away from the floor, like there was a pin poking you. Do not lift your hips off the ground. Go as far as you can comfortably and keep stretching until your inhale is complete.
  5. Pause for a moment.
  6. Now EXHALE and glide your lower back into the floor, WITHOUT squeezing your buttocks together or lifting your hips up off the floor while pelvic tilting.
  7. Now repeat again drawing a deeper sense of awareness to the movement, between what moves and what doesn’t.
  8. After a few rounds, on the exhales work to draw awareness and attention to your anal sphincter, with the exhale on the posterior tilt (when you tip back into the floor) work to contract that part of the pelvic floor. Notice what else wants to contract, more than likely trying to do the job for this part of your pelvic floor, especially if you have never used it before.
  9. Inhale release the anal sphincter. You will notice if you contracted when you proceed to release. Do this several rounds.
  10. Now mentally move forward on your pelvic floor and work to contract the vaginal passageway or for men the soft tissue behind the scrotum. For many, this will be more difficult, especially if there was trauma (like giving birth) the nerves and tissues may not be connecting back with the brain properly.
  11. Repeat the process of EXHALE contract and tip back, and INHALE release and tip forward. This will feel more internal. Think about contracting while in cold water, or for men like flexing an erection, women engaging during intercourse. (I see potential practice opportunities to engage your pelvic floor here).
  12. Now finally move even more forward on the pelvic floor and think about where your pubic bone is and work to contract the lower front belly and pelvic floor on the exhales. This will feel more like pulling inward on the belly, but this time it’s triggered by the pelvic floor not the navel. Think of the action of cutting off the flow of urine or holding when you have to go to the bathroom. Good news, those two actions ask you to use your pelvic floor muscles.
  13. Repeat tilting trying to engage each of these three areas, all individually, and all together. Notice what is easier and what takes more work.

A few other tips about pelvic tilts:

As you become more comfortable with the movement, especially while lying down. Consider adding in the arms to the movement. INHALE and arch the back, release the pelvic floor, AND reach your arms overhead! STRETCH. Exhale and return back to the floor and contract the pelvic floor.

By incorporating the arms in you get more of a full spinal interaction. Plus, the hip flexors and lower back get even more limelight. Notice when reaching if one arm hits the floor and the other does not. This can easily become a tool for not only teaching pelvic floor activation and releasing the lower back. Which can also assist spinal and fascial assessment as well.

Here’s to happy pelvic tilts!

P.S. Not sure where the heck your pelvic floor is??? >>> CLICK HERE.  <<<

And learn about it NOW!

PPS Here is a great video I shot of an entire series of pelvic tilting, core integration, and full spinal release! Because everyone needs a visual!

 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Yin Yoga 101: What You Need To Know

Yin Yoga 101: What You Need To Know

Let’s get started:

Yin Yoga, a less popular style of yoga in the west is an approach that some may have never even heard of. One that in my experience, takes many a few times to really warm up to and even understand. Initially called “Daoist” yoga this style of yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body (vs. the superficial tissues) and the fascia that covers the body. Daoist yoga is designed to help regulate the flow of energy in the body. Paul Grilley is credited for bringing this concept to the forefront and offers Yin Yoga teacher training.

Postures

Yin Yoga postures are more passive postures, mainly on the floor and the majority of postures equal only about three dozen or so, much less than the more popular yang like practices. Yin Yoga is unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle, and move closer to the bone. While yang-like yoga practices are more superficial, Yin offers a much deeper access to the body. It is not uncommon to see postures held for three to five minutes, even 20 minutes at a time. The time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation, and I often talk students through the postures as if they were trying to meditate. While in a Yin class you might notice similar postures to a yang class except they are called something else, on a basic level this is to help the students’ mind shift form yang to yin, active to passive.

This concept of Yin yoga has been around for thousands of years and some of the older text, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika notes only sixteen postures in its text, which is far less than the millions of postures practiced in today’s yoga. In addition, having read much of these texts and also cliff notes from various teachers it would appear that these “postures” were more yin like to help promote meditation and long periods of pranayama and sitting. Now I am not claiming to be an ancient text yoga guru, but this is just an observation I have made.

So what exactly is Yin yoga?

It is a more meditative approach with a physical focus much deeper than Yang like practices. Here the practitioner is trying to access the deeper tissues such as the connective tissue and fascia and many of the postures focus on areas that encompass a joint (hips, sacrum, spine). As one ages flexibility in the joints decreases and Yin yoga is a wonderful way to maintain that flexibility, something that for many don’t seem to be too concerned about until they notice it is gone.

Getting intimate

This intimate practice of yoga requires students to be ready to get intimate with the self, with feelings, sensations, and emotions, something of which I have noticed can be easy to avoid in a fast-paced yoga practice. Yin yoga is often used in programs that deal with addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, and deep pain or trauma. For me, my first experience with yoga was when I was knee-deep in an eating disorder. Not familiar with the difference in practices I did notice that yoga helped me, and I often equate my practice to saving my life. Now that being said, several years later I stumbled across Yin yoga and found that the recovery process I had been going through apparently needed some more work and WOW did Yin point that out to me. I often struggled with being alone, sitting with feelings and sensations (something addicts struggle with), and found it challenging to face myself and the rawness of what I was doing and who I was in that moment. This concept in practice allowed me a greater mental stability something that meditation offers as a benefit to basically “learn to sit still.”

Now if you’ve never practiced Yin yoga you might not quite understand how this is so different, but for me, Yin has dug deeper than I could have ever gotten otherwise. For my students, I often tell them when they are about to try a Yin class that they need to try it three or four times to really make a decision about the practice. Many find immediate benefits like more open hips, a more relaxed body, and a centered mind. To me, I don’t think one practice is better than the other, but what I would see as beneficial is for the practitioner to see the benefit in each and that there is a need for both. Possibly one benefiting more than the other at times in your life, but a need none-the-less.

Some of the benefits of Yin yoga are:

  • Calming and balancing to the mind and body
  • Regulates energy in the body
  • Increases mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips
  • Lowering of stress levels (no one needs that)
  • Greater stamina
  • Better lubrication and protection of joints
  • More flexibility in joints & connective tissue
  • Release of fascia throughout the body
  • Help with TMJ and migraines
  • Deeper Relaxation
  • A great coping for anxiety and stress
  • Better ability to sit for meditation
  • Ultimately you will have a better Yang practice
  • I really do believe that if you incorporate a little of both you will create a more well-rounded practice as well as a better-rounded version of the awesome you!

Yin-Yang symbol

If you take a peek at a Yin-Yang symbol, it is suggesting that no matter what, we should take a “tiny bit” and put it in the heart of its opposite. Knowing both practices, and having struggled with a wide variety of eating disorders, addiction, depression, and anxiety, I get that too much of something is simply too much. Yin yoga has taught me to truly be still, to really come face to face with myself, even more than my past practice has; and because of this, I am now able to bring what Yin has taught me into my more Yang like practices and ultimately my life as a whole.

Yin yoga teaches you how to really listen, you don’t get the opportunity to go in and out, jump around and find a distracted version of stillness within your practice. Yin is such a great compliment to other styles and your own personal life because it brings long periods of time in an uncomfortable position, which then asks you to learn to “be” to “accept what is” in that given moment. Something we can all benefit from daily. For me, I did not know how to be in my own company, I did not like to feel or be or anything that required me to have an emotion. There is something so deep about Yin that will tap into a part of you in a way only unique to Yin. And for me, a healthy Yin practice has poured over into a healthier Yang practice and a healthier life as a whole. And I wish that for everyone.


What to do When You Feel “Unsafe” in a Yoga Class

What to do When You Feel “Unsafe” in a Yoga Class

We come to a yoga class or any fitness class and expect our bodies to feel better and our issues to be resolved. And we expect for the impossible to happen.  But the only problem is no one is teaching us “how” to do what we are doing.  When I first started yoga I knew “Mountain Pose.” But I never “knew” how to truly practice it.  And if Mountain pose is the blueprint of other postures, what does that say about the rest of our practice? To be able to show up safely as a yoga teacher for our students, we must understand their limitations. We need to know if they have injuries & we need to walk them through the foundations of each pose. Not knowing this information is how your practice can hurt you.

I remember my first Pilates training – and I would not have called that a training. When we were “taught” the exercises, it was more a display of her “expertise” than actual teaching.  I look back, and all I remember is peoples’ bodies flying every which way all over the room, people huffing and puffing trying to “keep up”.

Practice Safe, Effective, Mindful Movement

Whether you are a teacher, trainer, therapist, or just an avid yoga or fitness student, we need to start to take better care of our bodies and how they move. Having love and kindness to share is great and I teach that way as well, but that is not enough. We are “playing” with people’s sacred bodies and we need to be reminded of that. What we are having people do could be causing their poor posture, their shoulder problem, their SI joint discomfort. Because you teach yoga they assume “no it can’t be from that, they are a trained professional”.  IT SURE CAN! And it very well could be.

When I teach, you will constantly hear heart-felt creative cues and deep spirituality spoken intentions set throughout class. But woven through that is safety, anatomy, what you should or shouldn’t be doing if you have certain limitations. I’m always sharing tips, ideas, and suggestions for how to make your practice safe, effective, and right for your body today. Mindfulness in movement is our responsibility as “fitness” (and yes, yoga falls under this umbrella) professionals to know this stuff.

What can we do?

If you are a student, ask questions.

Ask if your teacher is certified. If so, it better be in what they are teaching. Are they familiar with the body, with your injuries or limitations? If not, are they willing to find out more about them? In the class, are they showing variations? (what to do if X-Y-Z?) To stop if this if that happens? And most importantly, you should know why you are doing what you are doing. If it ever hurts, stop & clarify with the instructor what type of sensation you should have, and in what part of your body.

If you are a teacher or someone who is going to be a teacher, look at the value the training puts on anatomy and the body on how it is applied to the practice you are choosing. Finally, current teachers, if you have had a bad training experience, you have to say something. Otherwise, how will it change? The studio relies on your feedback to improve. Look for mentors that mirror your values and can teach more about the bodies you are playing with on the mat or in the classroom.

Good luck!

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