by Hope Zvara | Oct 26, 2020 | Core Functional Fitness
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.
4 Quick Effective Yoga Poses to do While traveling:
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Want even more from Hope?…
by Hope Zvara | Aug 26, 2020 | Core Functional Fitness
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posture does make perfect. Because how you present yourself to the world is how you receive it back.
I want to know: Which move do you like most?
by Hope Zvara | Mar 23, 2020 | Lifestyle, Yogic Living
Stress can be overwhelming and even debilitating. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. Obviously, we all know that stress isn’t good for us physically or mentally. So, how do we banish stress in our every day lives?
As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced, and content. Yoga has helped me a great deal with handling stress and the side effects of stress. It helps to relieve tension by keeping me focused on my breath rather than all the thoughts racing through my heads.
Whether you are at home, work, or somewhere in between, yoga is a great way to find stress relief. So, to help you on your journey of finding ways to banish stress, here are three of my favorite yoga poses.
3 Poses to Banish Stress Instantly
This pose is such a surrender for me. When I go here, I instantly let go. As I work to widen my knees slowly, I feel relief to feel such space (even if it doesn’t look like it). The freedom of my body letting go into the safety of the floor for a few minutes is all I need to feel a bit more like myself.
Legs Up With Support Pose
Legs Up With Support Pose
This pose is a go-to to help relieve the physical, emotional, and mental symptoms of stress. The feeling of my sacrum flat to the hard floor and my spine realigning without the burden of gravity is genuinely liberating. This pose allows me to let go. I totally give in to the fact that, at that moment, I am only human and not superwoman. What often starts as just a minute on my mat quickly ends up as ten, and trust me, you won’t be complaining.
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
This pose is often used in yoga therapy to help manage depression. It is also known to soothe headache and anxiety and reduce fatigue. The feeling of bending forward eases the mind. My warm breath against my thighs brings me full circle to the simplicity that I am okay the way I am.
Be gentle to yourself so that life can be gentle back to you. Never force yourself into a forward bend, especially when sitting on the floor. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly, with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. If you are new to this pose, it helps to hold a strap around the feel. If you are incredibly tight, place a rolled-up blanket under your knees for added support. The more you relax in this pose, the more naturally your body will open up.
You Are Worth It
Making things drawn out and complicated only stresses us out more. Don’t overthink it. Sometimes you don’t have the time or the mental discipline to hop onto your mat, and that is okay. I get it. However, what I have discovered is that if you do make the time for yourself, you will see how yoga can help you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You are worth it and you owe it to yourself to make time for you.
And if you want to get professional, inspiring, functionally-safe classes all in the comfort and privacy of your own home. You must check out my online studio. No travel, no hassle, no sitters, and no fuss. This is not your typical yoga or fitness studio–it’s a fresh approach that I know you will enjoy.
If you are experiencing stress right now, here are some other helpful resources:
Meditations for Stress Relief
Mindful Ways to Reduce Stress
Navigating Stress In Life
by Hope Zvara | Nov 3, 2017 | Working With Hope, Yogic Living
I can hardly believe it’s already time for the holiday spirit!
The weather has surely changed and it’s about time for… snow.
But we all knew that was coming.
Lately, there is not a day that goes by that I am not finding myself self so grateful for all that is around me.
So much has changed, yet so much hasn’t.
I look at my life and what I have realized is I have changed. Internally that is.
For so much of my life, I have always had “stuff” to deal with.
- stuff that was weighing me down
- stuff that was consuming my mental space
- stuff that was telling me I am somehow less than
And although I have forged forward through that all, it still was challenging for me to deal with, and the more aware of life, my thoughts, my actions, and what truly want in life and how I truly want to live.
I realized that this “stuff” had to go.
Maybe you can relate.
- maybe you too have been there before
Maybe you are dealing with the same internal work I was and continue to work on.
I have had a few people say to me recently “Hope, what’s changed”?
And to be honest, nothing and everything, all at the same time.
Yoga has played such a HUGE role in my life that I am so grateful to be able to continue to share it, and still, fifteen years later, be passionate about my offerings to the world!
Yoga allows change
In yoga, we are asked to get quiet.
On the mat we are asked to feel, breathe, and allow.
When we move a bit more slowly and methodically somethings amazing can happen.
We (for the first time) meet ourselves where we are with a gentle hand.
More than fifteen years ago, yoga met me with a gentle hand.
Broken and feeling very alone, I met yoga.
But who I really met, for the very first time, was myself.
See, I spent nearly my entire adolescent upbringing running from myself, running from feeling, running from my potential, running from failure, running from anything that I didn’t already know (even if it could be better).
Have you ever been there?
Have you ever felt so disconnected, so lost, so misunderstood?
Yoga is so much more than a place to physically practice.
And it doesn’t have to just be physical postures.
Yoga is an opportunity to expand yourself.
Yoga is a solution.
Yoga is an opportunity to not only see your potential but live it.
Every time you come to class, even though you don’t want to, or your couch seems cozier,
You are building up a strength to do the same with other “healthy choices”.
Every time you breathe through the urge to come out of a yoga pose,
You are also building up the skills to not give up in life.
Every time you sit with the discomfort of the pose, move, or thought,
It will only get easier out there.
Every time you allow yourself to feel, feel anything-anger, frustration, joy, bliss, sadness, forgiveness, happiness, whatever,
You are opening yourself to an outlet and an inlet for such an experience in your everyday life.
Every time you say yes to yourself in a self-giving, self-caring, self-honoring kind of way,
That will only help you for hours, days, weeks, years to come.
Come back to the mat: build courage, strength, and enrich character and life with yoga
A long time ago someone said to me
“Hope, the very things you don’t do are the EXACT things you NEED to do, and until you do them, they will continue to manifest in any and all areas of your life, over and over again”.
And how true these words were.
Yoga has allowed me to take baby, baby steps to building up the courage, strength, voice, ability, trust, and willingness to do such things in life.
And what felt like forever has now truly begun to come full circle.
See, if it wasn’t for my yoga practice (one that seeps into all areas of my life) I would not have begun to truly practice self-care and ASK for time to myself.
I wouldn’t have been able to tackle the hard aspects of my business, like learning finances, advertising, technology, and numbers.
I wouldn’t have been able to create reputable programs and a humbling reputation for offering some of the best yoga around.
I wouldn’t have been able to take a HUGE leap and step fully into taking my yoga tool box to the stage and begin my next steps in sharing my life, my lessons, my yoga to people beyond the yoga mat.
I wouldn’t have been able to successfully take on additional streams of revenue, that where I once flopped, I am now soaring.
I wouldn’t have been able to teach my kids a life that I wish I would have known when I was growing up.
I wouldn’t have been able to be here with all of you today to tell the story.
If it’s been a while, what gives?
Why have you been away?
If it’s been awhile, no stress, I have a spot waiting for you.
If it’s been so long, it just feels too long, the first step to making any change worth having, is to simply show up and the rest will just happen.
No matter how long it’s been, one day or three hundred.
I hope to see you on the mat really soon.
Not sure where to start? Join me on the mat ONLINE in my ONLINE Mindful Movement & Yoga Studio anytime, anywhere.
From my heart yours,