Fitness

My Favorite Yoga Poses

Yoga Poses

My back has been bothering me for a couple of weeks now, which has meant no kickboxing for me. I never like missing my Saturday morning cardio workout because when I do finally return (four weeks later), I feel out of shape.

Determined to keep up some kind of exercise routine while not further aggravating my back, I turned to yoga. I have been going to yoga fairly regularly as of late, and with my back injury I have noticed an improvement in pain and mobility as a result of the stretching.

Here are the poses that have helped to ease my sore back:

1. Cat and Cow: This simple routine of rounding and arching your back while you are on all four’s is so easy to do. I instantly feel my lower back relaxing and a lot of tension leaving my shoulder and neck. To get the full benefit, remember to round your back on the inhale and arch your back on the exhale.

2. Child’s Pose: This is one of my favorite yoga poses, and I have found it to be a good stretch first thing in the morning or before bed. When the yoga class gets a bit too intense for me, this is the pose I retreat to—and my back thanks me for it!

3. Corpse: As the name implies, there isn’t much to this one. Just lie on your back with your palms facing the sky and let your body relax. You can also bring your knees to your chest and slowly rock from side-to-side for a gentle back massage. I like doing this one to conclude a yoga class.

4. Standing Half Forward Bend: Can’t quite get your hands on the floor? Don’t worry. This pose can be modified so you bring your hands to the front of your shins while stretching your torso. It is a great spine and lower back stretch.

5. Cobra Pose: The cobra pose is a gentle lower back stretch. Lying face down, use your arms to gently lift your upper body off the yoga mat. With your hips on the mat, come up only as far as you can without pain. I did this pose a couple of times in a sequence the other night and felt my shoulders, neck, and back loosen up.

As with any exercise routine, you should consult a physician before beginning. But if your doc gives you the green light, these are some easy poses to get you started and loosened up.

The January Agenda

Atlas Holding the World

Hooray! The first week of the New Year will soon be behind us. I will admit, it was rough heading back to the 9-to-5 come Tuesday, but with enough coffee, four chances to wear the nice things that Santa brought me over the holidays, and the possibility of some snow on the East Coast—we made it to the weekend. Congrats, my fellow cubicle dwellers and office mates!

The best part of this whole New Year thing is that we get to reset the clock in a way. Didn’t make healthy choices in 2016? You can do better this year. I’m still holding out hope that this will be the year that it’s announced sweets are their own food group and should be relished…but I digress.

So, if you are still going strong with your New Year’s resolution, you are to be commended. And if you have yet to make a single New Year’s resolution, have broken all of them six days into the New Year, or think you’re perfect just the way you are, cheers to your fabulousness!

Without further ado, here’s what I have on tap for the first month of 2017:

Do: One goal for 2017 is to save more money. I often wonder where my hard-earned cash goes, and then I look at the clothes in the closet, all of the makeup in the bathroom, and the Starbucks in my hand (#sorrynotsorry). In light of these vices, I recently signed up for my employer’s 401(k) where they offer a match. If there is one thing I feel strongly about it is not passing up free money—which is what you are doing when you fail to partake. As much as I might miss that 5% of pre-tax dollars that is being taken out of my paycheck bi-weekly, I know it is worth it in the long run. So if you work somewhere that offers a company match, take advantage of it. Yes, it might mean fewer lattes at Starbucks, but your inner Suze Orman will thank you—and you’ll feel good about yourself, too.

Go: Back to kickboxing, for sure! I’ve majorly slacked off in the fitness department (read: haven’t exercised since I was 29—and if you were paying attention, you would know that means November!). I am fully prepared for the first class to be as grueling as getting through this week was delightfully motivating without leaving me sore for days.

Buy: Ah, who can resist buying Christmas presents for oneself when you should be shopping for others? Now that the holidays are over, I have no excuse. But I just couldn’t resist picking up a new nail polish at this cute little boutique I stumbled upon. I’ve started paying more attention to what is in my beauty products, and have been eliminating chemicals where I can. One way I have done that is by looking for nail polish that doesn’t have the ick factor—as in, you don’t have to paint your nails with the window open, or worse—outside (like I do). So when I found “Like a Boss” from Aila Cosmetics, not only was I wowed by the gorgeous rose gold hue, but that it didn’t have that awful nail polish smell. I’ve had it on my nails almost a week now, but I have yet to report a chip. I’ll share a full review once I have more time to test it—but so far, I am impressed.

Read: My reading in 2016 picked up and tapered off in about the same amount of time. I was doing so well over the summer, and then came getting back into the swing of a 9-to-5 and my reading came to a screeching halt (sorry, Brené Brown, I still haven’t had a chance to get through your book). But since this month is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month, and in light of everything that is going on with my health (how you doin’, antithyroglobulin!), I thought I would make an extra special effort to read The Thyroid Connection by Amy Myers. As we get closer to my upcoming February testing, I will need all the help I can get in the thyroid department. Be prepared for a few thyroid-related posts to come your way this month!

What’s on your agenda this month?

The February Agenda

The February Agenda

Does anyone else feel like January was a trial month for all those New Year’s goals and resolutions? If you didn’t quite hit your mark last month, let’s make February the one that counts. I’ve managed to avoid crawling back to my overly-caffeinated ways (oh, how I miss thee, White Chocolate Mocha) and for the most part, I’ve kept up with my fitness goals. I even tried something new — glowga!

Try: I have been consumed with finding the Brilliant Brunette Visibly Brighter products from John Frieda’s new line. And wouldn’t you know, just as I publish a post lamenting how long it has taken to find all three products in one Target store, the very next day the Visibly Brighter shampoo and conditioner arrive at my doorstep. How’s that for timing! Look for another post with before and after pictures to hit the blog soon.

See: Last month I got my wish and saw snow…a little too much snow. And it looks like more is on the way. But this indecisive weather, where one days it’s warm and then the next it’s in the 30’s, has gotten old. Is it too much to ask to have normal February temps?

Go: Since Valentine’s Day is not too far off, I think a visit to Chocology Unlimited in Port Jefferson, New York is in order. You can read my post about their mouth-watering fudge here. It’s the perfect spot for chocoholics to get their fix on (you know where to find me from here on out), and to find something sweet for your sweetie. If you aren’t local, visit their site and order online — you can thank me later!

Do: More glowga! With any luck, Lululemon will host another class soon. In the meantime, I am on the hunt for a studio that offers glow-in-the-dark yoga. It was so much fun that it really didn’t feel like a workout — although my body got worked out.

What’s on your agenda this month?

Glow with the Flow

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

Imagine walking into a dark room. Light is coming from people as they move around. You see flashes of bright colors — lines, dots, a feather. This isn’t the trailer for a new Sci-Fi movie. This is glowga.

On Sunday night, I attended a complimentary glow-in-the-dark yoga class hosted by Lululemon in Huntington Station — and now I may never be able to do yoga in a regular studio again. It was that much fun.

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

What is glowga, you ask? As the name implies, there is some glowing involved, and of course, yoga. Lululemon did an incredible job of converting their retail space in the Walt Whitman Mall into a swanky studio. Black lights and glow sticks filled the room, alongside yogini’s ready to get their glow on. If the idea of practicing yoga in the dark didn’t illuminate you, Lululemon had people there to make sure you got your flow on in style. Yes, glow-in-the-dark body paint was involved.

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

Somehow a dark room full of painted strangers, all there to enjoy the Om, felt luminous, bright, and inviting. After everyone had been painted (which was amazing to watch as the creations and fun designs came to light — literally), we were ready to begin our practice.

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

Jen, the store manager, taught the class and provided a great playlist for us as we began to become one with our breath. This 45-minute restorative yoga practice was just what my mind and body needed after being sore from my kickboxing class the day before. The darker setting comprised of black lights and body paint created a mood that is hard to replicate in more traditional yoga classes. I instantly found it easier to relax in the environment and focus on my body and poses.

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

When the class came to an end, it was time for a bit of private shopping at this after-hours event. If you are not familiar with Lululemon’s athletic wear, you can browse it here. Warning: browsing may result in an addiction to athletic clothes, which will require you to purchase every piece that Lululemon makes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

Jen was kind enough to give all of us an early Valentine’s Day present — a complimentary piece from Lululemon. Yes, that’s right. Not only did I get my glow on, and was actually glowing with body paint, but I came home with a new piece of athletic wear. I can’t wait to sport it in my kickboxing class and next yoga practice — but it will also be debuting on the blog soon, so stay tuned.

I have a special fondness for Lululemon. After I underwent my thyroidectomy in 2013, I attended the Summer Solstice yoga class, which was hosted by the Huntington store — and was immediately hooked on yoga. It was the first yoga class I had taken in many years, so I credit Lululemon with helping me to appreciate the practice. I know it did wonders for my neck mobility after surgery, too.

Glow with the Flow Hosted By Lululemon Huntington

If you have a Lululemon in your area, be sure to check their site for exciting community events. My local store offers free yoga classes every Sunday, which is a great way to get your practice in and meet new people.

A big thank you to Jen and the entire Lululemon Huntington team! This was an incredible event and you all worked so hard to make it perfect.

Visit their Facebook page for more photos from the evening!

The January Agenda

The January Agenda

Happy Monday! This marks the first agenda of the New Year. How did you fare last week returning to school and work? It was a rough one, right? Now that I’ve managed to put some of the holiday decorations away and take the tree down, I can finally start making plans for the month.

Try: One of my goals this year is to take an in-person calligraphy class. And it may just happen this month. Swell Anchor Studio on Long Island is offering a beginner calligraphy workshop and I have been toying with the idea of signing up. Since it’s local, I think I’m going to take it!

See: I never thought I would say this — but I’d actually like to see snow. Not a whole lot, but a little would be nice. And since it’s 30 degrees today, perhaps I’ll get my wish soon?

Go: My trip to Lake Placid, New York was temporarily put on hold last month due to weather related difficulties. First, it was too warm and the speed skating oval was closed. Then, two weeks later, it was too cold, with a high of 4 degrees and a low of -14. Sometimes you just can’t win! With any luck, the end of January will produce a few ideal days for the trip. Fingers crossed!

Do: More fitness classes! As part of my goal for the New Year, I want to make leading an active life a priority. Over the weekend, I made it to my first kickboxing class of 2016 — it felt great to get back to it. And last week I went to a Pure Barre class and glided on the ice for a skating session. This month I’d like to incorporate a few new classes into my repertoire, and maybe finally try aerial yoga.

What’s on your agenda this month?

Workout Wants

Workout Wants

In keeping with my New Year’s goals, I made it to my first workout of 2016 yesterday (woohoo, day six of the New Year and I am still on track). Despite having plenty of workout gear to keep me going for a while, half the fun of working out is looking good while doing it, right? I’m partial to black capri leggings, but these cold temps and the array of fun patterns and colors I’ve spotted recently got me thinking about expanding my workout wear (read: let the shopping begin).

My fitness class revealed that leggings with mesh panels are having a moment. These are a must for me this year. Another brand I’ve been swooning over, Prismsport, has lots of fun patterns that are sure to make you excited to hit the gym, like these blue python leggings. I met the owners of the company a few years back at the Hampton Classic Horse Show and saw some of their pieces in person. Let’s just say I’ve been adding their leggings to my wish list ever since. And of course, I couldn’t pass up the sparkly skull leggings from Zara Terez. How chic are they?

What are some of your favorite workout pieces?

Practice in Steil: Yoga Edition

Practice in Steil: Yoga Edition

In case you didn’t know, September is also National Yoga Month. Unfortunately for me, my yoga practice has come to a screeching halt, despite my best intentions of getting back to the mat.

Lately, all of my yoga clothes have been pulling double-duty in kickboxing, and they have taken a beating. There are so many options when it comes to finding the right yoga gear, and while I’ve found some awesome pieces for great prices at Target, I simply love Athleta. Athleta’s workout clothes are high quality and come in an array of colors, patterns, and styles, but my favorite part is their wearability. Now that I work from home (read: wear yoga clothes all the time) I appreciate that I can throw on some of my clothing from Athleta, head out the door for a quick errand, and not look like I belong at the gym. Their pieces are ideal for going from downward-facing dog to daytime duty, while still looking stylish. They may cost a bit more, but the durability of the fabric and the comfort factor are worth the investment.

Since it’s fall and I’m loving cozy pieces, I couldn’t help but swoon over the poncho, the sweater vest, and the sport dress seen above. Of course, joggers are totally in style this season and are one piece that you will definitely wear beyond the mat!

What’s your go-to when it comes to workout wear?