Category Archives: Yoga

5 Yoga Poses & Moves to Strengthen Hip Mobility + One Tribe Apparel Giveaway!

Hi friends!

Today’s post is a fun one. First up, we’re talking about moves to strengthen & lengthen our hips, then it’s time for a giveaway!

Sometimes people think of strong hip mobility as something that only yogis and gymnasts should focus on. But the truth is, every single person can benefit from having better range of motion in their hips – from runners and weight lifters that don’t own a yoga mat, to people that don’t workout at all. Everything in our bodies is connected, and poor hip mobility can often lead to pain in other places in our bodies, like the lower back.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite yoga poses & moves that stretch & strengthen the hips. I do these moves pretty much every day – whether during a yoga practice, at the beginning of a strength or cardio workout, or even sometimes when I’m just watching TV.

1.) Figure Four Pose. Start standing, then lift one foot off of the mat, placing the ankle on top of the other thigh. Draw your weight into your standing leg, and sink into the pose, hands in prayer. You can do Figure Four sitting or standing, but I like the shown standing variation because it also challenges your balance.


2.) Pigeon Pose. This pose is done in most yoga classes because it’s great for the hip flexors. One way to get into Pigeon is by starting on all fours, bringing one knee forward and placing it on the floor just behind your hand, with your heel pointing toward the frontal hipbone of your other leg. You can sink deeper into the pose by bringing your elbows to the ground, and you kick it up another notch by rotating behind you to grab the straight leg with your hand and bringing your foot up to hand, bending the leg.

3.) Hip Swings. I do this move nearly every day because I think it feels awesome! Start by standing on both legs, then bringing one leg off the ground, keeping it straight and bringing the foot slightly diagonal in front of you. Swing the leg out to the same side, aiming to get the leg up to hip level, then bring it back down in a controlled motion. Try to do 20 of these without your foot touching the ground, then switch sides.

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone By Feeling the Fear & Doing it Anyway

Hi friends!

How has your week been? It has been quite a busy one for me. Lots of good stuff happening, including my participation in a workshop to get certified to teach Yoga Sculpt!

If you’ve read any of my monthly workout recaps recently, you may have noticed that I’ve been going to Yoga Sculpt classes. I love the mix of cardio, weight training and bodyweight exercises with a bit of Om sprinkled in. It’s a little bit of yoga, and a lot of sweating and sculpting. Out of the many kinds of classes that I’ve taken, the one I’d probably want to teach the most is Yoga Sculpt, so when the opportunity came up for me to take a certification class, I went with my heart and jumped on it.

While I’m obviously a longtime fitness lover and have gotten to do a lot of cool fitness-related things, like getting to workout with Jilian Michaels and attend awesome fitness seminars, fitness certifications are not in my usual wheelhouse. I’ve focused more of the nutrition and integrative health side of things with my health coaching certification. While a fitness certification is entirely new to me, when it came down to it, I asked myself, Why not?

I think that so many people are afraid to get out of their comfort zone, they go most of their lives staying within their little bubble – never taking risks or trying things that are new and exciting. I’m proud to be a person that is continuously just going for it – whether that means going to events where I don’t know a soul, traveling to unfamiliar places (my favorite way to get out of my comfort zone!), interviewing for jobs that are totally out of my usual realm (and then sometimes getting them!), or doing something new like getting a fitness certification.

When it comes down to it, if you want to lead a life that’s full of growth and excitement, you’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear-based living is what leads to stagnation, and when you think about it, if you’re not going forward, you’re really going backwards.

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My Workouts Lately [Nov & Dec ’16]

Hi friends!

Is it just me, or is January flying by?!

Today I want to rewind a bit and look back at my workouts of November and December ’16. I capped off my year with many awesome sweat sessions!

Harley photobombing my headstand, as per usual!

I kept up with doing an at-home yoga practice most mornings, though I feel like I stuck more to the basics and didn’t challenge myself with new/deepening asanas all that much.

Well okay, this pose is a pretty tough one! 

Class-wise, November was fun because I got to experience spin classes at a new studio in downtown San Diego called Pure Indoor Cycling.

The folks at the studio kindly gave me a complimentary membership to try out their classes, and you guys, I had so much fun taking spin classes there! Pure offers the club-esque type of cycling classes that are becoming so popular in many cities — complete with loud, energizing music and lighting effects.

I love breaking up the day with a lunchtime ride, and I burned mega calories at Pure classes. I have my bike trainer at home that I use all the time, but I definitely pushed myself more in the classes. I left every Pure class feeling awesome, with lots of endorphins flowing!

One thing that I dig about Pure Studio? The classes are a bit more reasonably priced than you’d find at comparable cycling studios. And San Diego locals, the first class at Pure is free! I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

The only bummer for me? I wish I lived closed to the Pure studio!

Next up with my studio class workouts throughout November & December was going to more yoga sculpt classes at Fortis & YOGALUX in Carlsbad. I’ve become such a fan of yoga sculpt classes!

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Why I Yoga

“Every moment you are on this planet, every moment that your heart is beating and your breath is flowing, is an opportunity to celebrate. So many wonderful blessings come into our life, and when we’re present, we see them. When we’re strong and disciplined we push away the garbage, and when we’re bold we make the big choice to light up the world around us, to celebrate…”

– Outlaw Yoga 

dancer-pose-at-trilogy

Happy Friday & last day of September!

Speaking of September, it’s deemed National Yoga Month by the Department of Health & Human Services. It’s the month where the worldwide yoga community celebrates the practice. As a yogi, I think that every month is yoga month, but this month I’ve definitely been thinking about my motivations for getting my Om on most days.

Lately I’ve popped into a few yoga classes at CorePower in Encinitas to sweat it out in their heated classes. To commemorate National Yoga Month, the yoga chain launched a campaign called #WhyIYoga – which encourages yogis everywhere to share why they practice.

whyiyoga

So what are the reasons that I keep coming back to my yoga mat? 

One motivation is to find balance. I find that the practice of yoga gives me balance not only in the physical sense when I’m standing on my head and trying out more progressive asanas, but also mentally and emotionally. Yoga gives me perspective and centers my mind, body and soul.

handstand-practice

It gives me the space to practice mindfulness. I can have so much going on, but when I hit my mat, I’m focusing my energy on the present moment. Even if I at first am not in the mood for yoga – which certainly is the case sometimes – after a couple of minutes of flowing through some poses, I notice that I’m more at-ease and relaxed. The stresses of life melt away a bit, and I always feel better after I’ve practiced. I never regret a yoga session!

runners-lunge

“Go from a human being doing yoga to a human being yoga.” – Baron Baptiste

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Feeling Strong & Powerful at CorePower Yoga [Studio Review]

After doing a lot of high-impact exercise during my HIIT studio fitness challenge throughout February, in March I was ready to get back to my yoga roots more. I had been doing a short at-home yoga practice most mornings, but it seemed like a good time to change gears a bit and get deeper into my practice by attending some yoga classes.

Om-Nomnom

(Pretty much!) 

That’s why it was perfect timing when CorePower Yoga reached out to invite me to try out their studios, in celebration of a new class that they now offer called CoreCardio Circuit.

CorePower has over 140 locations around the country, with several studios surrounding the San Diego area – including in Encinitas, Poway, Del Mar, La Jolla and San Diego itself. I had heard of them before but had never visited because… duh duh da duh… their classes are heated. I’ve expressed my general dislike for heated classes before, but since I’ve heard people rave about CorePower, and also because I apparently like to torture myself, I wanted to give them a try. After all, even though 100 degree fitness classes aren’t my favorite, dripping a little sweat has never really hurt me!

The fun package that CorePower Yoga sent me

The fun package that CorePower Yoga sent me

What I Liked Best About My CorePower Experience: 

Yoga Sculpt. My favorite of the yoga classes at the studio was definitely Yoga Sculpt. I love the combo of practicing yoga poses and flows while also working on strength and mixing in cardio moves.

Yoga Sculpt HRM

Note that my hand is actually sweating in the above photo! The classes were held in rooms that were about 95 degrees.

The Studios. I primarily took classes at the studio closest to me in Encinitas, which is super clean and nice. To my excitement, one of the instructors there, Meagan, was actually my physical therapist when I was rehabbing my calf injury a couple of years back. I thought she was awesome back then, and I love her as a yoga instructor at CorePower now.

CorePower floor mat

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5 Stretches To Do Every Morning

One of my favorite ways to start my day is with a quick yoga session or HIIT workout. Getting moving first thing in my morning – usually before checking email or eating breakfast if I can – makes me feel energized and gets those endorphins flowing.

Parigasana pose

After a recent Sunday morning yoga session

Some days if I don’t have time for 20-30 minutes of morning exercise, I do some go-to stretches to wake me up. Today I thought I’d share them with you, because they’re perfect for just a couple quick minutes of movement to stretch you out after you’ve spent the night in bed laying down. When I do morning yoga, I usually incorporate these stretches into my practice too.

5 Stretches To Do Every AM

Morning stretching is thought to help improve posture for the day, eliminate muscle and joint aches & pains, and promote healthy blood flow. Plus, I think it just feels great!

Today’s photos show a peak of my kitchen, as it was too cold and wet outside for my usual backyard setting photos. I actually snapped these photos during a morning stretch session last week – with the early sunshine breaking in, my messy ponytail and all…  Just keeping it real for you guys! 🙂

sidebend stretch

1.) Seated Overhead Sidebend Stretch. Sit cross-legged on the ground. Place your left elbow and lower arm onto the ground beside you, and move your right arm overhead, stretching it over to the left side. Alternate sides, and flow through a couple of reps of stretching on each side.

Cow to Cat pose

2.) Cat to Cow. Get on the ground on all fours. Look straight ahead and straighten your back to hold Cow for a few breaths, then curl your back upwards while tucking your head gently downwards to move into Cow pose. Slowly alternate back and forth between the two stretches, allowing it to loosen up your back a little more with every rep.

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My 2015 Favorites

With 2015 drawing to a close, I love looking back at the year and thinking about all of my favorite travels and adventures, as well as my most memorable recipes and workouts of the year. I thought it’d be fun today to take a look back and highlight those memories. Let’s get to it!

My Favorite Adventures & Travel…

Miami-and-Santa Ynez-Collage copy

Lundberg-Farms-sushi-rice-field

August in Northeast '15 Collage

Solvang-Collage copy

Big-Bear

My Favorite Recipes….

Thin Mint Smoothie-5

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A Holiday Gift Guide for the Yogi in Your Life

Hello friends!

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? With it still being far enough out to order your presents online, today seemed like a great time to share my gift ideas for the person in your life that loves yoga. As a yogi myself, I own and love the products I list below, and actually just purchased 3 of these as Christmas gifts for fellow yogi loved ones. Let’s get to it!

Aurorae mat-1

Aurorae Synergy Yoga Mat Towel – You may remember that earlier this year I reviewed and hosted a giveaway for the Aurorae Synergy yoga mat towel. I absolutely love this mat, and am 99.9% sure that I’ll never go back to a regular yoga mat again. It’s just so much more comfortable than a typical mat. Recently I went to a yoga event where mats were given out to use, and I was so uncomfortable the whole time practicing on the mat that I was given. Aurorae’s Synergy mat is just a fabulous yogi product!

Aurorae mat-2

The mat is currently on sale for $49.95.  


jumpback-2

Truth Balance Virtue shirts. I own several shirts from Truth Balance Virtue Apparel. Their clothing features adorable phrases and sayings, including, Buddha for President, Let Love In, Somewhere Between a Donut and a Juice Cleanse, and Yoga Junkie (<– pictured above!). Their tees, long sleeved shirts and sweatshirts are comfy and unique – making for great gifts that your yogi is sure to love.

savasana_grey_front_large

(photo via their website) 

TBV Apparel clothing ranges from $32-59. 


 

YD-Twitter

YogaDownload.com – Earlier this year, YogaDownload.com offered me complimentary membership to try out their yoga program. Their site offers a wide variety of yoga classes on-demand, so that users can do yoga whenever and wherever they’d like with ease. I love being able to quickly choose a yoga class based on intensity, style, length and additional filters. One feature that I’ve found pretty unique is the ability to download a class that you really enjoy, so that you have access to it forever – even if you don’t have Internet access and if your membership expires. I thoroughly enjoy the site, and it makes for a great reasonably priced gift for the yoga lover in your life!

Gift options include a 3-month membership for $24, 6 months for $45, and yearly membership for $90. The site offers a neat way to gift memberships, which you can check out here. Yoga Download also offers program packages, including a Basic Beginner Yoga Program for $30. 


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Cinnamon Apple & Sage Goat Cheese Crostini + Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! Are you as psyched about your week as my dog was about letting the breeze hit her face riding in the car last weekend?Harley in the car

Trying to capture her funny faces as she sticks her face out of the car window is hilarious. People that aren’t entertained by dogs perplex me. My knucklehead puppy makes me laugh all the time!

Before I get to this fabulous appetizer recipe…

apple crostini-3

I’m backing it up a couple of days to chat about the food, fitness, and fun of my weekend. On Thursday night (I know, not technically the weekend yet!) I attended a yoga class at the new PUMA Women’s store at South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa on behalf of FitFluential.
PUMA yoga-2

Holy moly, that shopping center is gorgeous! My cousin Michelle lives somewhat close a bit north of there, so I invited her to come get her yoga on with me.

PUMA yoga-1

The yoga class was relaxing with a lot of pose holding, and afterwards everyone mingled as PUMA offered champagne, snacks, discounts and gift card giveaways.

PUMA yoga-fallen angel

Fallen Angel pose

There were a couple of other ladies there on behalf of FitFluential – a few of which I recognized from social media – so it was nice getting to meet them in person. I think we’re all trying to meet up for a hike sometime soon. I just love the healthy living blogger community!

The other workouts of my weekend included a family hike on Friday evening at sunset…

Sunset at Calavera Peak

…Saturday morning yoga + a HIIT session, as well as a long walk along the beach on Sunday morning during my rest day.  backyard side plank Continue reading

Aurorae Yoga Mat Towel Review & Giveaway!

Hi there!

Today I’ve got a fun giveaway for you guys! Recently the folks at Aurorae sent me a yoga product of theirs, called the Synergy Mat Towel, to try out. I was intrigued by the mat because of its built-in non-slip microfiber towel.

Aurorae mat-5

I had never seen a yoga mat with a built-in towel before, and it sounded like a brilliant idea to me. I had owned a few yoga mats already, but wasn’t in love with them because of how I seemed to find myself slipping around on the mat once I started sweating and getting into my workout. I was interested to see if Aurorae’s mat would eliminate this annoyance.  Aurorae Mat Giveaway

Aurorae is a yoga, fitness & aromatherapy e-retailer that has recently expanded into a number of new divisions, including apparel and outdoor accessories such as beach towels. They’re a small family business who keeps customer service and satisfaction as their main priority as they operate in the spirit of yoga.

Aurorae mat-3

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