Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fitness Motivation Gadget

Just what I need . . . another gadget to fuel my obsessive and compulsive desire to work out. I've been searching for some sort of activity monitor for a while now. After extensive research I finally decided that I wanted a Jawbone Get Up band, and don't you know, I had to pick the one product that is not currently available. It seems like it's been months since I joined their mailing list and requested info on the next availability, but so far, nothing.

In the meantime I settled for a very simple and inexpensive pedometer. I like the fact that it's very light, it clips to the top of my pants, and slips right into my pants pocket. I never even realize it's there all day long. The gadget is smart enough to know when the days change and it automatically resets your steps to zero each morning. When you initially set it up you enter your height, weight and you can change your stride. There was some complicated math involved, but I cheated and just walked around my house while counting steps and I adjusted the stride number up or down until it most closely matched my actual number of steps. Once you set it up there's basically nothing to ever worry about or fiddle with again. Just clip it on in the morning and forget about it. Every once in a while I pull it out and take a look at my progress.

There are just a couple of buttons on the front of the device which let you cycle through some stats. It shows your recent history so you can look back and see how many steps you walked yesterday, and the day before, etc. The other button lets you cycle through today's stats: how many miles, how many calories, etc. Of course, I should mention a little footnote here. That calorie count is NOT how many calories you actually burnt in the day. It's not recording your heart rate so if you're doing yoga, or lifting weights, or doing anything other than taking steps, it's not being recorded. You must keep that in mind when seeing the low calorie count number.

Your daily goal is an ambitious 10,000 steps per day and once you reach that goal a little animated person cheers for you in the display. Silly, I know, but strangely motivating to have a goal. I've been wearing this thing for one week and so far it has motivated me to go for a hike when I normally wouldn't have . . . because I just wanted to increase my stats. It was certainly worth the tiny investment of $10.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Painful Week

This past week has been one painful ordeal, but I have to admit . . . I loved every minute of it. There is no question that I'm addicted to exercising and the fact that I'm falling back into a work-out routine  just thrills me. The more sore I get, the happier I am and let me tell you, I was pretty happy this past week. I managed to get to the gym to lift weights 3 days out of the week. I'm starting off slow with much less weight and reps than I was doing a year ago, but that's OK. My trainer keeps telling me that my body will bounce back in just two weeks. I kept thinking he was nuts, but now I'm not so sure. It's only been a week and I can't believe how different I feel. After lifting on Monday I could barely raise my arms over my head by Tuesday night. By Wednesday night just shivering from the cold shot pain throughout my entire upper body. But I persisted. I did my Brazilian Butt Lift videos every evening and alternated between lifting weights and doing short sprints of abs + sculpting during the afternoons. I already could feel more strength coming back by Friday's lifting session and I woke up today (Saturday) completely pain free. In just one week my body is accepting the extra work load and is happily complying. I can't wait to see what next week brings.

The way I see it, I have 5 months to train for my birthday.  That will be the day that I pose for more photos (to compare to my inspiration pictures taken after P90S 3.5 years ago.) And my birthday will also be my push-up goal. I have always been able to do my age in consecutive pushups. I even attained this last year (one month after hurting my neck). But now it's a different story. I can barely do 10 pushups and that makes me want to cry. I'll have a long way to go to accomplish my goal by July, all the while making sure I don't re-injure my neck and shoulder. It will be a fine balance between being smart and being stubborn and hopefully I can pull it off. So at the end of this week I'll take the measly 10 count on the push-ups, and just hope that the number will increase with every week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Starting From Scratch

Several months ago I got sucked into a blog called Fit2Fat2Fit.  It's the journey of a guy who let himself fall out of shape only to work to get back into shape. He is a professional personal trainer and would always have clients tell them, "You don't understand what it's like. You've been fit your whole life." These people felt that this buff and fit trainer just couldn't relate to their problems of being overweight and out of shape, and their struggle with trying to lose the weight. And there is some big validity to this. How could he really relate to their struggles? The only way to understand how something feels it to put yourself in those same exact shoes. And as a result this guy spent several months purposefully letting himself get, not only completely out of shape, but he also went out of his way to practice a terrible diet and gain tons of weight. Boy, that is work dedication!

This month it dawned on me that I'm sort of in the same position, not by choice mind you. I've blogged in the past about my misery of having a neck injury and how it's completely put me out of commission for the past 6 months. I haven't been able to ride a bike, lift weights, or worse yet, do any yoga and as a result I've fallen into the worse shape of the past 2 decades. Actually, aside from those 4 years in college I don't ever remember being out of shape and it's killing me that I totally lost all my strength.

But the good news is that I'm ready to start trying. This week marks my first attempts at working out again. Although P90X is out of the question for this year (for fear of blowing it and re-injuring myself) I am starting to lift weights again. I am trying really hard not to focus on the numbers. I look at the light weights that used to be my warm-up and now I struggle to do my regular sets with them. I have to put the numbers out of my head and just focus on the end result - getting my strength back. I'm in a gym and I now know what it feels like for folks that are trying to get into shape for the first time. I haven't attempted a yoga class yet, but when I do I will experience what my students must have felt going through my classes for the past couple of years. I found it so hard to build "beginner" classes. Everything felt so easy to me. How could I relate to what it felt like for the people attending my class that weren't at the same fitness level? Now I'm in those shoes and boy will I struggle. Maybe I should build some new classes now - real beginner ones.

I think all-in-all this is a good experience - to know what it feels like to start from scratch. I have to admit, it's no picnic, but it can be done. I WILL get back to where I was. It may take me twice as long, but I will get there. I have a picture of myself taken on my 40th birthday (after my first completion of P90X) and that picture will serve as my inspiration. I'm hoping to take more pictures on my next birthday (in July) and compare the pictures. The pressure is on!

Test Drive Some Free Online Yoga Classes

I recently discovered a new website (well, new to me anyway). It's called Learn It Live ( and it offers face to face, live and interactive learning through multi-way video-conferencing. Instructors are experts, and the courses are custom tailored. They offer a wide variety of classes including business, language, technology and of course, health & wellness.

I love that you don’t have to travel to get to class and can do them right at home. It seems to me that signing up and committing to a time and day makes it more 'real' than just streaming a random video. Looks like they offer a wide variety of classes, and the cost of the paid classes is substantially less than going to a studio. It's definitely worth a try. I already signed up for an upcoming class and look forward to checking it out.

During the month of January, Learn It Live is offering free health and wellness classes - see all classes at In addition to that, they have agreed to give one lucky YogaDudes follower a free 60 minute one-on-one, private health/wellness class. All you have to do is leave a comment either here on this blog or on our Facebook page. One winner will be chosen on Wednesday, January 25th. (If you leave a comment on this blog, please make sure to include an email address so we can contact you.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Free Yoga Music To Share

I ran across a cool project from a Vancouver BC Canada based musician named Surya Devi. She has recently created a 60 minute yoga mix tape of original music hosted by Brooklyn's Dj Chela. If you would like to check out this music you can download a free copy here: The site requires you to give them your email address and after submitting your email you will receive a download link for the entire 10 track CD. I'm listening to it now and it's very good. Don't miss out. Check it out today. And thank you Surya Devi for sharing with the yoga community!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Doing Yoga at Home is a Snap

Today's article comes to us courtesy of the Dahn Yoga team.

Getting fit. Staying flexible. Toning your muscles. Relaxing. Shrugging off stress. If you're like many Americans, you find it almost impossible to make time for these activities between your responsibilities at work and in your house. However, it is quite possible to stay healthy and active at home, all while carving a little "you time" out of each day. The key is Dahn Yoga.

This ancient mind-body regimen has been used for centuries as a way to center oneself and redirect the flow of energy throughout the body. Does that sound like something you'd enjoy?

It should. Most Americans are so stressed out that they can hardly remember what it's like to feel anything else. Consider some numbers put out by the Washington Post, which were collected by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Institute of Stress:

  • More than half of all U.S. adults - 54 percent - say that they are concerned about their levels of stress and anxiety.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, 62 percent said that work has a major impact on how tense they are, and 73 percent pointed to money as a prime stressor.
  • According to the APA, more teens and young adults are feeling the squeeze of stress than ever before.
For harried parents, wrung-out caretakers and workaholic professionals, the situation is hardly any different. But while some experts might recommend using expensive treatments like therapy sessions, gym memberships or even prescription medications to ease away stress, there may be a simpler way.
By trying Dahn Yoga in the comfort of your own home, you can see for yourself just how soothing and life-affirming the mind-body system really is.

Just how does yoga reduce stress? Well, it's about more than simply sitting, stretching and emptying your head. Rather, yoga is a multifaceted program that facilitates the reconnection of your body and mind.

As the Mayo Clinic describes it, "with its quiet, precise movements, yoga draws your focus away from your busy, chaotic day and toward calm as you move your body through poses that require balance and concentration."

Try this simple Dahn Yoga technique at home as a way to unburden yourself of a full day's worth of stress:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a few minutes to breathe slowly and deeply. Try to feel the energy pulsing into and out of your lungs.
  3. Cup your hands and hold them at waist level.
  4. Now, rhythmically tap your belly just beneath and to either side of the navel. Be gentle!
With luck, just a few minutes of this technique will have you feeling loose, limber and lighter than air. Dahn Yoga is one of the largest yoga and tai chi companies in the world with its own unique style and brand of yoga. Dahn Yoga is rooted in the rich history of an ancient Asian mind-body practice, Sun Do, and in the wisdom of the Chun Bu Kyung.