Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fit in 5 DVD Review

I’ve been testing out a lot of new work out DVDs lately and unfortunately I’ve been finding more that I don’t like than those that I do. But at last I found a winner. I just love DVDs workouts that are broken into multiple shorter segments. It seems I never have time to spend an entire hour working out and these shorter segments are the perfect lunchtime office routine for me. Actually, they are the perfect anytime routine (morning, after work, hotel room sessions) and getting multiple sessions in one DVD always seems like a good value.

This particular video, Fit in 5: Total Body Tone, by Acacia is a very nice well-rounded workout. It includes five 20 minute workouts: Strength, Yoga, Pilates, Abs, and Cardio. No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s something to suite you. Sometimes I only do one of the 5, but on days that I have more time I combine two. The only one of the five that I’m not terribly thrilled with is the Strength one and I feel compelled to mention why. The moves are all great, but the pace is very fast. Normally I love a fast paced video. Nothing annoys me more than feeling like I’m wasting time. But when it comes to lifting weights and doing squats, form is very important. I felt like this video just moved a little too quickly to allow you to get a good form. I tried it twice and two times it left me with a sore knee so I’m going to caution you on being careful when doing this segment. Just be careful of your form. My tip would be to do all the moves (they are great), but don’t worry so much about keeping up with the reps. Just concentrate on your form and don’t worry about how many reps you did.

The Yoga session is done by Shiva Rea and it is one of the best combinations of relaxing and challenging yoga that I’ve encountered. Seems like most every yoga DVD is either very challenging (and not relaxing at all) or very relaxing, with not much challenge. This routine is my favorite “after work” one. The music and flowing movement just relaxes me, but yet the moves are just the right amount of challenge so my legs can burn while I’m feeling the stress melt away. I don’t know how she does it, but Shiva found the perfect combination.

The couple that leads the Abs session, Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp, have become my favorite duo. I reviewed and raved about another one of their DVD workouts and they continue their style with this Ab workout. Some of the things I love about this couple is their no frills approach. They get right down to business. I like the fact that they are not 20 years old. They impress the heck out of me with their strength. I guess this is just the living proof that yoga works and that is always motivation to push harder. And push harder you must do. I have yet to find an Ab workout that I can’t do. I sailed through P90X Ab Ripper X, but this one . . . this one got me. Holy cow it’s challenging and I love the fact that I need to keep at it to get better each time. Totally motivates me to want to do more.

The Cardio session is just plain fun. I always loved cardio kickboxing and this routine is nice and easy to follow. Overly complicated routines just serve to discourage. I don’t want my brain having to work overtime when I’m trying to work out my muscles. Violet Zaki makes this one so much fun that the time feels too short. This is a great one to use a warm up for the others.

The Pilates session is a pure pleasure. I don’t have much experience with Pilates and was pleasantly surprised by how gentle and calming the entire experience was. Kristin McGee has such a soothing and pleasant voice. I could see that it’s a sneaky way of working out your entire core, but yet you feel so relaxed that you don’t even realize your working. This is a perfect session to couple with any of the others. I like to use it as my ending.

I think this DVD would make a perfect gift for somebody wanting to get back into shape for the New Year. I know I’m thrilled to have my copy. I will surely put it to good use throughout the year. You can find more info on the workout and purchase a copy for yourself here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

5 Mile Road Race Under My Belt

Well, I did it. I put that race on my calendar as a goal to finally break my 2 mile mental block. Early on in my very short training period I easily transitioned from 2 to 3 miles and I kept it at that. Since it seemed pretty easy to do 3 I was quite confident that I could muster 5 and I was right!

What a ball I had running this race. It is quite the event here in CT. 15,000 runners and probably the same amount of spectators come out to be a part of this famous Manchester Road Race. Many of the runners dress up in silly costumes and nearly the entire 5 miles is lined with crazy spectators playing live music and cheering on the runners. It's like a parade for both the spectators and the runners. What a hoot.

I ran the entire thing without having to stop for a breather and it was all very effortless. And even more astonishing than that is the fact that my notoriously bad knee didn't hurt a bit. I am truly stunned at the difference in running between my old technique of heel striking and this new and improved "ball of the foot" running. Wow, I can't wait for my next race.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Buddha's Hands

A fellow yogi, a terrific photographer (Sandy Foster), and a good friend of mine took this wonderful picture of a fruit called Budda's Hand. She was shopping at her local grocery store (and knowing Sandy, it was a health food store) when she stumbled upon this ever so strange looking fruit. She was so drawn to it and compelled by it that she bought it, took it home to her photo studio, and captured this beauty shot. I do wonder what the fruit tastes like, what it's used for, where it comes from, etc. Perhaps one of these days I'll do some research. But in the meantime I'll just enjoy this unique piece of art.

Please check out some of Sandy's other work on her web site here: www.photoesque.com.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Super Cute Necklace Just in Time for the Holidays

Since so many yogis seem to love this design on the YogaDudes ornaments, we thought it would be great to offer it as a necklace. How adorable will it be to attend your next casual holiday party showing off your love for yoga in such a cute and festive way?

The glass pendant necklaces hang from a 16" rubber friction clasp cord. The glass pendant is a 1" square. A for a limited time they will be on sale at 25% off the regular price. At only $14.99 they make a great gift and how could you resist one for yourself? You can find them in the YogaDudes shop here.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New Product Experimentation

We've been playing with some new ideas for YogaDudes necklaces and we're going to give you a sneak peek. The first one is just in time for the holidays. Everybody seems to love this holiday YogaDude so why not make it into a pretty pendant?

And let's not forget about our other popular design . . . the famous Yoga Chick. How cute will this be as a glass pendant hanging on a necklace?

We didn't stop there. We also designed something brand new. This one features the Chinese symbol for beauty with the word "Buddhaful" beneath it. A pretty watercolor background makes for quite a nice pendant.

And lastly we have one more prototype design. This one features pretty blue tulips and the inspirational phrase "May the life within you be strong."

Each of these glass tiles is 1" x 1" and will be turned into pendants with pretty silver bails and strung on rubber cords. They should be in the shop soon. Please stay tuned for more details. Which one do you like best?

More Running Relevations

Two important things happened last week. I broke my 2 mile limit barrier and registered for the Thanksgiving 5 mile race. I guess it was after I easily transitioned from 2 miles straight to 3 miles that I gained the necessary confidence to just do it. I registered for the race and that instantly gave me the motivation to see if I could indeed run 3 miles again. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I just got lucky. Nope. I was able to do it 3 more times, quite easily. My biggest challenge was not being able to breathe (or swallow) due to a sinus infection, but hopefully that will be cleared up soon.

During my last two runs I realized a couple more important things about my new running style. I am always on the look out for soft spots to run on. Fortunately I live out in the middle of the woods where the roads are lined by pine trees. At this time of year there is a carpet of soft pine needles lining the very edges of the roads in many spots. I compare myself looking forward to the next patch of pine needles to seeking out the next spot of shade on a hot sunny road bike ride. In my head I'm always thinking, "It won't be long to the next blissful patch of pine needles."

Why is it that I love running on pine needles so much? Do they really provide that much cushion? Or is it that I run just a little bit different on them? I noticed that I do, indeed, run a little different on the needles. I pick my feet up a little bit more and place them back down even flatter. Imagine running across these needles and not wanting to disturb them. That is how I pick up my feet. As if I'm running through wet grass and don't want to get my sneakers too wet. It's just a slight adjustment, but it makes the running seem effortless. When I realized this I started to keep this form whether I was on the pine needles or not. It made a difference.

The second revelation was in the music I was listening too. Normally I have a playlist of fast upbeat tunes to keep me rocking. But given the fact that I never loaded or set up my new Droid properly I just have to take whatever music comes up. I never seem to have the time to set up new playlists. And during my last two runs rather slow music played. The tunes had sort of an R&B smooth jazzy feel. Made me imagine sipping wine and slow dancing. Not exactly the picture you want in your head while running, but strangely, it worked. Let's face it, I'm not sprinting during my run. I'm jogging at a nice even pace and the slow smooth music totally relaxed me and put me into an easy effortless rhythm. My breathing seemed to slow and I felt more calm and relaxed than my normal gangster hip hop music. I was amazed at the effect it had on my run. From now on I'm sticking to slow sultry tunes.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Free November Desktop Calendar

Unfortunately, by now all the pretty colors have faded from the trees where I live. So I thought I would keep a little color going strong on my desktop. If you would like to brighten your computer, just click on the image above to open the larger format graphic. Once that larger graphic appears just right-click on it and "Save as Desktop."