I love yoga. I love yoga. Oh, i forgot to say something. I heart yoga.
I love how it calms my mind, strengthens and lengthens my muscles, and replenish my body with a new, peaceful energy. I come from a background in ballet (I danced for 12ish years) and so the movements of yoga feel so natural to me. I love weight training and running and such, but there is an aspect of yoga that feels special to me. The fluid movements and the focus on breath really helps me to concentrate on the present moment and appreciate what my body can do.
Unfortunately, I do not get to practice yoga as much as I want. I sometimes do manage to do it from home, but I don’t enjoy it as much as doing it in a class setting with instructions from the teacher. But lucky for me, and many other yoga enthusiasts, Lululemon Athletica at the Paseo Nuevo Mall downtown offers FREE one-hour yoga classes every Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30 AM. Every week, they feature different instructors from the Santa Barbara area, push all the merchandise to the corner of the store, and devote an entire hour to spreading the joy of yoga to the community members. I try to take advantage of this FREE class as often as I can!
This morning, our instructor was Mari Larangeira from Yoga Soup. I had never taken a class with her before, and so I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, because her class was EXACTLY the kind of yoga I was hoping for today. I was feeling a little stiff and sore, and so I wanted a fairly rigorous yoga session with a lot of stretching and strengthening. Mari’s class this morning was athletic, moderately fast paced, with a strong emphasis on breath. I appreciate it when instructors pay attention to breath, and cue you when you need to inhale and exhale. I find that the proper breathing technique can dramatically enhance your yoga session. We went through many warrior poses, and ended with a very relaxing stretching routine at the end. I left the class with improved posture. I find that whenever I come out of a good yoga class, my back is straighter, my shoulders are back, and I feel more relaxed. I have a tendency to hunch, so yoga helps strengthen my back.
I left her class feeling so rejuvenated, and ready for a BBQ at James’ house this afternoon. On the way back from the Yoga class, we stopped by Lazy Acres to pick up some corn and tri tip. Look what they had at Lazy Acres; Triple Decker Shopping Carts! Have you ever seen such a thing? Haha, it made me laugh! Here’s me looking like a huge dork with an empty triple decker cart in the parking lot…..
Well anyway, after yoga class I was feeling inspired, so here are some more of my favorite at-home exercises.
The plank hold is one of my absolute favorite moves to strengthen my core. You can do them on the ground, or on a BOSU ball for more of a challenge. This move is great, because it works your stabilizing muscles. You can do all the crunches in the world, but if you don’t develop your stabilizers, you are not going to get a rock solid core. Even worse, you may end up hurting yourself.
1. Place your forearms on the ground. Place your toes on the ground, and lift your body up, so that you form a straight line from the top of your head, all the way down to your toes. Make sure your lower back is neither hunching nor arching. Make sure you have a straight spine.
2. Hold in this position for the desired amount of time. (30 to 60 seconds)
3. If you want a challenge, you can lift your right foot off the ground, making sure you still maintain a straight line from the top of your head down to your toes. Hold for a desired amount of time, and return your right foot down. Repeat with your left foot.
I’ll give you an update on the BBQ later and show you how it went!
My two favorites combined: Lululemon, my favorite store, was on the Today show (my favorite news show) for having cute/chic workout clothes. Check out the video by Clicking Here!
I am not YET a certified personal trainer. The moves I do here are only what I personally like to do. Please consult with your Dr. or a certified trainer before you start doing an exercise regimen. If you feel any pain or discomfort, please listen to your body and stop, and seek professional guidance.