Archives for posts with tag: yoga

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Happy New Year! It has obviously been quite some time since I have written a post. In fact, I have been contemplating giving it up all together. It isn’t that I don’t absolutely love to write – because I do – but that I was putting pressure on myself to post more and the pressure was actually what was keeping me from writing. That and doing the best I can to be an awesome mom and wife (among many other things). So I have been debating writing a post to let you know that I need a time out.

But then I began reading Gluten-Free Girl’s blog again recently and was inspired to post. (Whether you eat gluten-free or not, she is a fabulous writer with amazing recipe ideas!) Similarly, she has made some changes on her blog recently and has decided to write about her passions and tell more stories instead of feeling limited to writing certain recipes because her readers are requesting them. Though nobody is demanding posts from me, I felt I could only post when I had the time to write a long, well thought out and edited post.  With this new year I am making the choice to post the only way I can these days – when something inspires me; when I have something I just can’t wait to share or some health secret that I feel the world has to know (or at least my nice little world of readers). So forgive me if my posts may be few and far between here and there (and perhaps not always well put together) but as I continue to work toward balance in my life, I will post when I just can’t help myself. And I am hoping that means more often but I can’t make any promises.

So in the spirit of the new year and the motivation that generally follows for people to get in better physical shape, I wanted to post this video that absolutely inspires me. It was created and shot by five, beautiful, strong, intelligent colleagues of mine and I love it for so many reasons. Not only is it incredibly sexy, but it also demonstrates just how amazing Pilates is and what you can accomplish when you commit to learning. Pilates truly is an art on top of being the perfect way to get in fantastic shape, a way to prevent future injuries as well as being great for those with chronic weaknesses including bad knees, back, shoulders, etc… In the same way I am working toward balance in my life, Pilates restores balance in the body. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do each time I watch it and become re-inspired.

http://q.equinox.com/articles/2012/12/pilates-video

Wishing you all an inspired start to 2013.

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

In honor of the new year, I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of my House of Health tips that were posted in 2011.

I wish you and your loved ones a fun, safe, and happy New Year and all the best for 2012!

Tip #1     From my adventure abroad in Australia last January, I learned that most women in Australia love their bodies no matter their shape and size and it was a great reminder how hard we women are on ourselves to look a certain way in this country. As we enter 2012, please give yourself a break – try to remember that Hollywood’s picture of the perfect body is not only NOT perfect, but also not necessarily even healthy.  Please, please, please find ways to love the body you have and to let go of impractical ideas of what it should look like and this year I promise to do the same. (For more, please look back at An Australian Perspective)

Tip #2    Commit yourself to drinking water more regularly in 2012 if it was a challenge for you. Buy yourself a fancy water bottle that you love and take it everywhere you go just as you carry your wallet and car keys with you. Cut back on the plastic bottles to help your health and the health of the planet and make it a point to get hydrated as it is key to optimal health. See my post, Get Your Camel Back, for more info on the importance of drinking water regularly and tips on how to get more daily.

Tip #3    When it comes time for a sweet treat, challenge yourself to find a healthier alternative in 2012. It is becoming more and more clear that refined sugars could have a terrible impact on our health and there are plenty of yummy sweets that will still satisfy your sweet tooth without it. (Click here to read an excellent NY Times article about the impact of sugar on our health). For some great dessert ideas, check out my Valentine’s Day post, Sweet-Aholics Anonymous.

Tip #4    Find an exercise program that you love and can commit yourself to. As I explained in my guest post on Fitness Motivation Today, it’s really important to take the “work” out of your workout. Explore different classes that you enjoy and change up what you do weekly to keep it interesting and fun. Pilates is an amazing way to not only get physical and mental exercise but it also will help you prevent future injuries and age more gracefully. For more info on Pilates, see my post, Why I’m Addicted to Pilates.  Yoga is another excellent form of exercise worth trying and there are so many styles of classes to choose from that you are sure to find the right one for you. For more info, please click on my post, Finding the Perfect Yoga for You. Whatever you decide you love, commit yourself to exercising regularly in 2012 and your body will really thank you.

Tip #5    If you’ve never tried a juice cleanse before, this next year is the time to do it! Juice cleanses have become the biggest craze as of late and for good reason. A quick three to five-day cleanse is a fabulous way to get your body back on track with healthy eating after the indulgence of the holidays. There are so many great cleanses out there to try and more info can be found on my post, Spring Cleansing. A dear friend of mine just graduated with her masters in nutrition, and has created an amazing juice business that is the perfect way to try a program for the first time if you live in Southern California. Her company, Vibrant Earth Juices, will deliver fresh juices to you and you will feel full and satisfied throughout the cleanse. You will LOVE the results and your tummy will never look and feel better after!

Tip #6    Have you noticed this bizarre weather we’ve had around the world this year? There’s no denying that global warming continues to threaten our planet and it is our job individually to do what we can to help the planet. In 2012, commit to doing your part, simply by changing some of your daily habits that impact Mother Earth. In my post, Easy Peasy Ways to Help Mother Earth, I listed all kinds of small things you can do that will have a large impact on the planet. Let’s all do our part to save our beautiful world for generations to come.

Tip #7    Another simple way to help the planet and your health would be to cut out meat one day a week. Check out my post, Meatless Mondays, to learn more about why it’s a great idea to cut back on the meat you eat, even just for one day of the week.

Tip #8    While cutting back on the meat you eat in 2012, challenge yourself to cut back on the amount of time you spend on your technology devices. As explained in my post, Wireless Wednesdays, stress is detrimental to our health and the amount of time we spend on our computers, iPhones, iPads, internet, etc…puts our bodies and minds into overdrive. See if you can make the effort to cut back on time spent with technology and replace it with quality time spent with friends, family and on your health and wellness.

Tip #9    It’s a lot easier to focus on health when we aren’t working or busy running around getting things done, but how do you take care of yourself when you are at the office? In my post, Health, Fitness and Fun in the Office I explain some easy changes you can make to improve your health while working. Whether it be to take the stairs instead of the elevator or always have healthy snacks and water available at your desk, there are so many small ways to take better care of yourself even when you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Don’t let your job keep you from feeling your best!

Tip #10    Recently I posted about the importance of eating plenty of good fats in your diet. This is just a reminder that good fats are necessary  whether you add more avocados, fish, oils, nuts or seeds to your daily snacks and meals. Don’t be afraid of fat because as the title says, Fat Won’t Make You Fat!

Tip # 11    When I shared my pregnancy journey with you back in September (From No Period to Pregnant: My All Natural Journey) the most important thing I wanted you to take away from it is to listen to your gut when it comes to your health. If something doesn’t seem to jive with you that your doctor or some other healthcare professional is prescribing or telling you to do, get a second opinion. Do some research on your own and find a way to feel confident in the decisions you make with your body. After all, nobody cares about your health more than you and you owe it to yourself to take charge and feel great every step of the way.

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending an amazing yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico. I went with a group of 60 others and spent the week in a gorgeous tropical place, silently walking the beaches, practicing both aggressive and therapeutic yoga, eating fresh local food, sunbathing and relaxing the days away. One thing that I loved so much about the trip was meeting fantastic people from around the world that all practice yoga. We discussed the different types of yoga they practice, why they love their classes, and how yoga has changed their lives for the better.

These conversations were a wonderful reminder that yoga can be done by anyone and that there is a class out there that is perfect for each one of us; there are enough studios, dvds and classes offered everywhere so that you can find the one that feels the best for you. However, starting a yoga practice can be totally overwhelming when there are so many to choose from, so I thought it might be helpful to give a little info on the different types out there. I have three different studios I like to go to with completely different experiences, so that I can enjoy whichever class feels right for me that day. For example, if I want a really hard workout but don’t have a lot of time, I go to the yoga class at my gym that is only an hour fifteen. If I am going with a friend at the end of the day and know my concentration might be shot by then, I love to go to the class where we can rock out to loud hip hop music, we can chat if we feel like it and leave early without anyone caring; all while still getting a sweaty hard workout. And if I have a couple of hours for my workout and need a more mentally and physically challenging experience, I go to a different class. Each has its benefits and I love them all for different reasons.

So, here is a breakdown of the many kinds of yoga out there (feel free to add more in the comment section if any were not included!) and a little summary about each one*.

And for those of you completely new to the world of yoga, the benefits are incredible. Besides the typical workout benefits of building strength and mobility in your body, countering stress and tension, etc…yoga has a major focus on the breath. Proper breathing provides sufficient oxygen for the correct and efficient functioning of every body cell. It nourishes the muscles and organs with oxygen and it dispels fatigue and anxiety. So learning to breath deeply in yoga can do wonders for your body and help you learn to stay relaxed in stressful situations. (Check out a full list of benefits here).

Yoga is truly a gift to us all and I hope you are inspired to find the perfect yoga class for you.

Namaste

Types of Yoga

Ananda Yoga: Ananda Yoga classes focus on gentle postures designed to move the energy up to the brain and prepare the body for meditation. Classes also focus on proper body alignment and controlled breathing.

Anusara Yoga is a relatively new form of yoga (1997), which pairs strict principles of alignment with a playful spirit. Postures can be challenging, but the real message of Anusara is to open your heart and strive to connect with the divine in yourself and others.

Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga is the name given to the system of yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This style of yoga is physically demanding as it involves synchronizing breathing with progressive and continuous series of postures-a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, flexibility, stamina, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. Ashtanga is an athletic yoga practice and is not for beginners.

Bikram Yoga is the method of yoga that is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. The founder, Bikram Choudhury, was a gold medal Olympic weight lifter in 1963 and is a disciple of Bishnu Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, (Autobiography of a Yogi). One of the unusual but most beneficial aspects of Bikram’s yoga practice is the 95-105 degree temperature which promotes more flexibility, detoxification, and prevention of injuries. This is the only yoga style that specializes in using the heated environment.

Hatha is an easy-to-learn basic form of yoga that has become very popular in the United States. Hatha Yoga is the foundation of all Yoga styles. It incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), meditation (Dharana & Dhyana) and kundalini (Laya Yoga) into a complete system that can be used to achieve enlightenment or self-realization. It has become very popular in America as source of exercise and stress management. The ideal way to practice the Hatha Yoga poses (asanas) is to approach the practice session in a calm, meditative mood. Sit quietly for a few moments, then begin the series, slowly, with control and grace, being inwardly aware as the body performs the various poses selected for the practice session. Do not overdo the asanas or try to compete with others. Take it easy and enjoy.

Integral Yoga: This traditional type of yoga combines postures, breathing exercises, selfless service, meditation, chanting, prayer, and self-inquiry.

ISHTA: Developed by South African teacher Mani Finger and popularized in the States by his son Alan, ISHTA (Integral Science of Hatha and Tantric Arts) focuses on opening energy channels throughout the body with postures, visualizations, and meditation.

Iyengar Yoga, developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar more than 60 years ago, promotes strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance through coordinated breathing and poses that require precise body alignment. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles of yoga. In Iyengar, you slowly move into a pose, hold it for a minute or so, and then rest for a few breaths before stretching into another. Equipment like cushions, blankets, straps, and blocks to help the less flexible also distinguishes Iyengar from other types of yoga. Although Iyengar incorporates the traditional postures, or asanas, that make up the broader category of hatha yoga, the cushions and other props revolutionized yoga by enabling everyone — even the elderly, sick, and disabled — to practice. Because of its slow pace, attention to detail, and use of props, Iyengar yoga can be especially good if you’re recovering from an injury. Iyengar is still one of the most popular types of yoga taught today.  

Jivamukti Yoga:Developed in 1986 by Sharon Gannon and David Life, the Jivamukti Yoga method expresses the spiritual and ethical aspects of the practice of yoga that have been disregarded or devalued in contemporary times. It is a vigorous and challenging asana form with an emphasis on scriptural study, Sanskrit chanting, vegetarianism, non-violence, meditation, devotion to God and the role that music and listening play in the practice of yoga. Life and Gannon currently operate a popular yoga studio in New York City.

Kali Ray TriYoga:A series of flowing, dancelike movements was developed by Kali Ray in 1980. The practice also incorporates pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Kali Ray runs the TriYoga Center in Santa Cruz, California.

Kripalu is called the yoga of consciousness. This gentle, introspective practice urges practitioners to hold poses to explore and release emotional and spiritual blockages. Goal-oriented striving is discouraged and precise alignment is not as important as in some other traditions. There are three stages in Kripalu yoga. Stage One focuses on learning the postures and exploring your bodies abilities. Stage Two involves holding the postures for an extended time, developing concentration and inner awareness. Stage Three is like a meditation in motion in which the movement from one posture to another arises unconsciously and spontaneously.

Kundalini practice concentrates on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward. In addition to postures, a typical class will also include chanting, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Power Yoga is essentially yoga with brawn. It’s the American interpretation of ashtanga yoga, a discipline that combines stretching, strength training, and meditative breathing. But power yoga takes ashtanga one step further. Many of the poses (also called postures or their Sanskrit name, asanas) resemble basic calisthenics — push-ups and handstands, toe touches and side bends — but the key to power yoga’s sweat-producing, muscle-building power is the pace. Instead of pausing between poses as you would in traditional yoga, each move flows into the next, making it an intense aerobic workout.

Restorative Yoga: In a restorative yoga class you’ll spend long periods of time lying on blocks, blankets and yoga bolsters – passively allowing muscles to relax.

Sivananda Yoga:Like Integral Yoga, this traditional type of yoga combines postures, breathing, dietary restrictions, chanting, scriptural study, and meditation. The popular TV yoga teacher Lilias got her start practicing Sivananda Yoga.

Svaroopa Yoga: New students find this a very approachable style, often beginning in chair poses that are comfortable. Promotes healing and transformation.

Viniyoga: This is commonly used as a therapeutic practice for people who have suffered injuries or are recovering from surgery. It is a gentle, healing practice that is tailored to each person’s body type and needs as they grow and change.

Vinyasa: Focuses on coordination of breath and movement and it is a very physically active form of yoga. It began with Krishnamacharya who later passed it on to Pattabhi Jois.

White Lotus Yoga: A modified Ashtanga practice developed by Ganga White which is combined with breathwork and meditation.

* This list came straight from the website matsmatsmats.com and was not written by me


Written by Lana House of House Pilates