Friday, December 30, 2011

Free January Desktop Calender

We are starting off the new year right . . . a day early on the monthly desktop calenders. Hopefully this is a good indication of what the year ahead will be like - organized! If you would like to make this winter scene your desktop background, you can click on this link to download the bigger version of the graphic. A new window will appear with a much larger graphic. Once the bigger graphic appears, just right-click on it and "save as desktop."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yoga for Yankees

A friend of mine sent this video to me and I just couldn't resist sharing it. If you live in New England it will be especially funny . . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Win a Free Copy of Downward Dog Upward Fog

Back in September I read and reviewed this delightful book. Now I’m looking at the book sitting on my desk and I’m thinking that I should share it with another yogi that would surely enjoy it. If you would like that lucky yogi to be you, just leave me a comment here on the blog, or on our Facebook page. We will pick one winner on Friday, December 23 and the book will be mailed the following week.

Here’s the description of the book (borrowed from Amazon).
Lorna Crawford has a great boyfriend, longtime friends, and a well-paying job as special-events coordinator at a premium ice-cream manufacturer. But, out of sorts and filled with self-doubt, the 33 year old soon realizes that what she really wants is to stay on the spiritual path she keeps diving off of. Lorna jump-starts her efforts at a silent yoga retreat. But after returning from the mountain, she quickly loses her connection in the face of scheming coworkers, judgmental girlfriends, and, especially, her overly critical mother. Lorna also wrestles over her future with her boyfriend, a hot guy who takes her to the hottest places, but who can’t discern a meditation cushion from a toad stool. Reading spiritual books and visiting a channeler and energy healer move Lorna forward, but her confusion remains. Lorna’s seeking is put to the ultimate test when personal tragedy strikes. Will she come to truly understand that living spiritually has little to do with how you pretzel yourself on the yoga mat (although she gets plenty good at that), and everything to do with embracing the twists in everyday life? "An inspirational gem that will appeal to introspective, evolving women"--ForeWord Reviews "A lighthearted novel about a woman who just can't seem to stay on the spiritual path, something most of us can relate to"--Yoga Journal Buzz Blog “How delicious to find a novel for women who find spirituality every bit as enticing as fashion. The characters in Meryl Davids Landau’s page-turner aren’t the only ones uplifted here—the reader gets a dose of inspiration along with a mesmerizing story."--Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life

Monday, December 19, 2011

Great Shoulder Stretching Tip

I can't believe that in all my years of fitness, and especially the last several months of neck and shoulder pain, I never learned this stretching tip. I'm not quite sure which of the Brazilian Butt Lift videos it appeared in, but I think it was at the end of the Sculpt work-out and it went something like this . . .

Everybody knows the stretch where you take one arm (let's say your right arm) and you stretch it across your chest. You normally take your left arm and bend it up so that your right elbow rests at the 90 degree bend in your left arm. Then you use this left arm to slightly pull back to increase the stretch in your right shoulder. But, did you ever hear the tip to lower your right shoulder before pulling with your left arm. It makes all the difference. I'm still stunned at the fact that I never knew about this subtle, but so important addition to the stretch. Try it yourself and see the difference between just pulling your arm without making a note of the shoulder you are trying to stretch, and then do it again, this time making sure that you lower that shoulder as much as you can before the stretch.

And the Winner Is . . .

Congratulations to Brad from Illinois. He is the lucky winner of 3 months of streaming yoga and fitness classes at Gaiam TV. Brad we will be contacting you shortly with your login information. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Please stay tuned for another give-away later this week . . .

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are You a Yoga Girl?

Remember the 'Yoga Girl' video that went viral a few weeks ago? Well, some real world yoga girls from LA are out with their own take. I found it very inspiring, not only the cool yoga routine moves, but also the video itself. One of these days I'll make my own yoga video . . .

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brazilian Butt Lift Review 

I just completed my first week of the Brazilian Butt Lift. The week went by really fast and although I found some of the routines challenging, I haven't been all that sore. I should probably note that I've been soaking in a hot tub just about every night and I think that makes a big difference.

First I'm going to state the things that I don't like about the series.

  • My biggest issue with it is that I bought it under the impression that the workouts were only 35 minutes each. And technically most of them are. What they didn't make very clear in the infomercial is that you are required to do two per day - except on the day that you do the Sculpt video, which is 50 minutes. My biggest problem with P90X was the time commitment. It was a minimum of an hour a day and that is just hard to squeeze in every day for 90 straight days. This seemed much more manageable, but when it comes right down to it, it's really not.
  • I can't seem to get over the fact that the (slightly annoying) guy that leads the video constantly refers to your butt as your "boom boom." I don't know why, but it's driving me crazy. He also is stuck on one little phrase that, after only one week, is starting to grate on me. He says, "Don't settle for less" constantly. Uuuugh
  • The audio in general is a bit challenging. The music is a little too loud for the voice over and the guy is hard to understand. When doing the floor work I'm not always looking at the screen and it almost feels like he's mumbling. I can't quite understand what he's saying in many areas.
  •  So far I had two technical issues with one of the DVDs. I'm not sure if it's my player or not, but since all the issues are occurring with one disc I'm thinking it's the disc. Yesterday I couldn't get to one of the two exercises on the menu, and today I had to watch the one video that worked in Spanish. The good point on this is that I was able to follow the cardio routine without hearing the words. OK, I do know a few Spanish numbers and the word "rapido," but overall I was relying solely on the visuals. After doing the routine only once or twice before it was no problem so none of the steps are very complicated which is a big plus.

Now for the good points

  • The customer service at Beach Body was superb. I chatted with them last night about my technical issue and they put a brand new disc in the mail right away.
  • As stated above the moves are not complicated and after doing the routines once you catch right on. I should note that it's not totally easy (or even possible) to move like the Spanish girls on the video. You really need to have some Latin in your blood to get your hips and shoulders to move like that. Mine don't seem to be wired right and I can't even imagine how ridiculous I look. But it's fun. Period.
  •  I thought all the videos would focus solely on the rear end, but they include a good mix of total body conditioning. Your arms, legs, and abs are working too. In fact there's a complete separate 20 minute ab workout, just like P90X.

Some other things worth mentioning

  • Unlike P90X, the cardio routines are totally dependent on the amount of effort you exert. It's quite possible to get through them without doing all that much. That is not the case with P90X. Even if you only give it 50% of your all, just performing the required tasks is a big undertaking. These moves are all pretty easy and without really giving it some ummph, you're not going to get much out of them.
  • The sculpting work that requires the bands or the weights, however, are very good. When I read the instructions that told me during the first week I was supposed to perform these work-outs "without equipment" I thought, "Why bother? What a waste of time." Well, I was wrong. Without the bands or the weights my muscles were burning and tears were welling up. I can honestly say I'm not looking forward to adding that 'equipment.' Yikes
  • The hardest part of this series (for me) is that you are working muscles that you simply don't normally work. With P90X you work the typical muscles that get used in most athletics and every day activities. I've been training for the past decade with my husband . . . in a gym, on a bike, in a kayak . . . my major muscles are well equip to take on the challenges of the P90X exercises. But these exercises are a whole different story. I'm using butt muscles that I never knew existed and certainly never work out. No matter if I started in fairly good shape or not I don't think I would have had a prayer at breezing through this series of videos.

Bottom line is that my legs already feel firmer and more toned after just one week. Since I really don't have to make a huge difference in my overall physical dimensions I'm not sure that I will continue to follow the program to the T, by the book, and in the super neurotic, anal retentive, Type A personality way that I followed P90X. I have no doubt that if you do indeed follow the program, you will get the desired results.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Year Without P90X

2012 should have been my fifth consecutive year completing the P90X program. It has become my Winter routine that always gets me excited about the New Year. I usually dive right in and within a month I feel great. I'm whipped into shape, I'm strong, and I'm "ready to go" as Tony Horton likes to say. But unfortunately, this will be the year without P90X and I wasn't sure how to cope. The terrible neck injury that caused me to lose an entire year of biking, lifting, and yoga is continuing to plaque me. I still can't do any real push-ups (my all-time favorite exercise) and there's simply no way I could get through a single P90X work-out in this pathetic condition.

I moped around and sulked for a good 5 months. I got weaker and weaker and more and more depressed until I thought I would lose my mind. What's a yogi to do? Even meditating over this dilemma proved difficult due to the uncomfortable sitting position. Finally my doc said that I can start doing some cardio - still no lifting or yoga, but I got the green light for cardio. Now I just needed to figure out where to start.

Enter Beach Body . . . yes, the same folks that offer P90X. This is a little bit embarrassing, but I got sucked into the infomercial advertising the "Brazilian Butt Lift." I can't believe I just admitted that. Normally I would fly by any such silly infomercial, but it was a weak moment and it looked like fun.

I was so excited to start it that I didn't wait for New Years. I'm 4 days into the program and so far I love it. As with P90X it encourages you to take Before and After photo, along with measurements, but I never bother. My before and afters are never very impressive because not much changes. I really don't know how I manage to 'look' like I'm in shape when I'm clearly not. Hey, I'm not complaining, but all my changes are in how my body feels not how it looks. I just want to get back to having nice hard muscles. The most important test they recommend you take is the "pencil test." My husband thought I needed to see if I could break the pencil with my butt cheeks, but fortunately all you need to do is place the pencil under one cheek and see if the pencil stays or falls down. If your rear end is too big there is likely a crease between the buttocks and the top of the leg in which the pencil would stay. The goal of the program is to get to the point where the pencil falls. I passed the test and my pencil did indeed fall. I'm getting off to a good start.

And for the first time in my life, I'm starting off at baseline. This is such a new experience for me. I am so accustomed to breezing through most fitness videos. I just never had a concept of how hard it can be to get into shape, when you're not already in shape. Does that make any sense? It reminds me of a personal trainer that allowed himself to go from totally ripped to 150 pounds overweight just so he could put himself into the shoes of his clients. He always heard, "You don't understand how hard it is to lose weight. You've never been fat. How could you relate?" Those are valid points and I too had no idea how challenging some simple workouts can be. When I used to teach my beginners yoga class I made the easiest classes I could dream up, but still they were too challenging for the class. How could I know what folks could or couldn't do if it all felt too easy for me? Well, now I know! My super simple yoga routines would just about kill me know. I'm weeping as I type . . .

So I'll be reviewing these Brazilian Butt Lifts videos from an entirely new perspective. I am now representing the average woman. I am sadly no longer the super fit guru that I once was. I'm not entirely giving up hope on getting back there some day and I gotta start somewhere, so let's see how my butt progresses. Please stay tuned to some reviews of this program.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who Wants 3 Months of Free Streaming Yoga Classes?

Just a reminder that Gaiam is sponsoring a promotion and YogaDudes will be giving away a 3 month free membership to GaimTV. Imagine hundreds of awesome yoga classes right in your living room, for FREE! Who doesn't love free? And who wouldn't love the convenience of quality yoga training without fighting traffic and burning gas? So much to gain with so little effort. All you need to do is leave a comment either on this blog or on our Facebook wall. One winner will be picked on Friday, December 16th. Don't delay. Leave a comment right now (and if it's on the blog, please be sure we have a way to contact you.)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Free Streaming Yoga + Fitness Classes

I'm very excited about this new find. One of my favorite companies, Gaiam, has recently launched something called Gaiam TV and it looks amazing. In addition to classes from top yogis like, Rodney, Seane Corne, Shiva Ray, Kathryn Budig, Tommy Rosen, Kia Miller, and Suzanne Deason, they've put together an amazing collection of health, fitness and uplifting and inspirational films.  Each video… whether live, taped or acquired, is hand-selected based on the positive impact they believe it can have on mind, body or soul. If you've recently given up on Netflix, this is  a true no-brainer. And even if you do already subscribe to another streaming service, membership to this wonderful resource is just $9.95/month. That's less than the cost of one yoga class for a whole month of unlimited access to over 2,000 high quality videos. They offer a 10 day free trial so check it out here today. But wait, there's more . . .  as a special offer for YogaDudes fans, they agreed to give away a 3 month free membership to one lucky yogi. All you need to do is leave a comment either on this blog or on our Facebook wall. One winner will be picked on Friday, December 16th. Don't delay. Leave a comment right now (and if it's on the blog, please be sure we have a way to contact you.)

In the event that you don't want to chance it, here's an idea . . . put a subscription on your Holiday Wish List. Subscriptions can be bought in 3, 6, or 12 month bundles at a pre-paid price. Santa can't go wrong with a gift like that!

Do It Yourself Enlightment

This is just too cute not to share . . .

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Perfect Yogi Stocking Stuffer

Can you imagine a cuter gift to find in your Christmas stocking this year? Why not brighten a fellow yogi's holiday? And be sure to grab an extra to adorn your own tree with this adorable porcelain YogaDudes ornament. The ornament can be purchased online here.

Friday, December 02, 2011

December Desktop Calendar

If you would like to add some festive holiday cheer to your desktop, you can click on this link to download the bigger version of the graphic. A new window will appear with a much larger graphic. Once the bigger graphic appears, just right-click on it and "save as desktop."