REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Day 7 – 10 Min AM / 10 Min PM / 10 Min Abs (Foundation)

Day 7: 10 Min AM / 10 Min PM / 10 Min Abs (Fundamentals) – approx 27 minutes.

In the morning, I knocked out the AM and Abs sessions. Both sessions were led by Faith. In the brief AM session, we did some partial sun salutations and some warrior 2 work. Very low impact session, but it felt nice – my posterior chain and hips are certainly awake now. If you are looking for a quick 10 minute “cup of coffee,” and just want your movement to be focused on a couple of poses/flows, then this is probably perfect for you everyday.

If you have an additional 10 minutes, you might as well pair it with the 10 minute abs. I liked this tiny session as well. After some standing overhead side bends, we go into some cat/cow, and some bird dog with a crunch. Syncing the leg movement with your breath is relaxing and made me feel very mindful. Next, you move into side plank, a boat sequence, another side plank, and another boat sequence. On the 2nd boat sequence, you “row your boat.” Syncing breath with the rowing motion is another very nice and mindful practice.

To round out my morning, I added…

  • 1 minute dead hang
  • 1 minute handstand hold

As far as post yoga nutrition, I will remain in a fasted state until lunch. I am a fan of intermittent fasting, so on days where I don’t feel the need to refuel and provide nutrients for muscle rebuilding (like my yoga or off days), I like to ride out my fast and keep the window between dinner the night before and my first meal of the day the largest. Assuming I hold out until noon (my last food on Monday was some awesome chicken salad with avocado oil mayo at 8pm), then my “fasting” window will have been 16 hours.

Here is a great infographic courtesy of Dr. Joseph Mercola on proper intermittent fasting practice:

Intermittent Fasting***Please note Dr. Mercola’s fine print regarding when NOT to practice intermittent fasting. You should not dabble with this type of insulin/blood sugar manipulation if you are managing hypoglycemia, diabetes, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. In general, you should research this topic and, if necessary, talk with your primary care physician before implementing a change***

 

I waited until I got home from work to knock out the PM session. This chapter was also led by the wonderful Faith. She presents such a calming presence! I could have crammed all three into my morning, but I figured that I wouldn’t tempt the yoga gods and go off the plan. If it says PM, it is meant for PM. And, I wanted to also see if doing this “relaxing” session dovetails into a nice night of sleep.

Mrs. Breaking decided to do the PM session with me. And, since the focus was on relaxing, I decided to pour myself a nice imperial stout from my tap. Call its “Hops and Hatha” if you’d like. The session lasted just under 10 minutes as advertised. We did a couple of side bends from the cross-legged position, some hip bridge work, a nice figure four stretch, hamstring stretch, and, one of my favorites – happy baby pose. I love me some happy baby pose!

happy baby

Yes, that is me. Yoga has me aging in reverse!

 

Looking forward to starting week 2 (expansion) on my next session.

Namaste.

And, since I still have some beer left – cheers!

 

Are you an aspiring yogi? Do you enjoy mixing yoga workouts into your fitness plan? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!

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REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Day 6 – Relax (Foundation)

Day 6: Relax (Fundamentals) – approx 24 minutes.

 

Today was very low impact. I guess I should have been tipped off by the title. My assumption is that this is meant to be a transition session. The next day consists of three 10 minute mini sessions (1 AM, 1 PM, and 1 core to do whenever you want).

Not a lot to note here. The trainer did change. That made me realize that I haven’t been specifying who is the trainer for the sessions I’m doing. For the first 5 sessions, it was Vytas. It sounds like Vitus (rhyme with Titus). He has been awesome. Today, it was Faith. She brings a different energy to the session. Not better or worse – just different. Today was slow, deliberate, and virtually no impact. When I say no impact, I mean…

mindful walk

…yeah, we did a “mindful” walk to the front of the mat. We learned how to step heel to toe, and feel the step. Yes, I’m serious. I don’t have anything negative to say about the session, but I don’t have anything positive to say. It was kind of blah. I wanted more.

So, when I was done, I decided to freestyle the rest of my Sunday. Next, I dusted off an oldie but a goodie in P90X2 “recovery and mobility.” This bad boy clocks in at just under and hour, and is probably my FAVORITE recovery workout. It starts out with some sun salutations, then moves on to a couple twisting lunges and overhead squats (with a weighted stick), some one legged touches, and then a solid 20 minutes of foam rolling. If you’ve never foam rolled before, you should really get a foam roller. You are basically giving yourself a deep tissue massage when you foam roll. If you’ve never gotten a deep tissue massage, you should really get a deep tissue massage. They are awesome. You know that saying “hurts so good.” Deep tissue massages HURT SO DAMN GOOD!

Watch for the muscle twitch at 3:30. That is what deep tissue massage can do for your knots and adhesions.

When I first did my inaugural round of P90X2, I never foam rolled seriously before. The program schedules it once per week, so, if you follow the program, you really see the benefits (and you also foam roll for a couple minutes at the beginning of each workout, so you really get exposure throughout the program). If you do it right, it is PAINFUL the first few times. After you work out the adhesions, you’ll find that your muscles release quicker and it’s a much more enjoyable experience. I hadn’t foam rolled in a long time. Today’s session made me realize that I need to work it in again.

After the foam rolling, he (Tony) focuses on some static stretches for 60 or so seconds each. We do pigeon and frog, and the some hamstring work. In total, it’s a great session of flexibility and mobility. At the conclusion of those two sessions, I was pretty proud of my Sunday.

Since Mrs. Breaking works weekend options shifts, I get to spend both Saturday and Sunday with Baby Breaking. He’s not at the point yet where he does much on his own, so most of my days are spent feeding and entertaining him when he isn’t napping. During his naps, I try to take care of my adult things (dishes, laundry, exercise, etc). It’s easy to fall into a sedentary trap when feeding/entertaining him. I’ve been able to re-binge watch the heck out of some old TV shows that I watched many years ago (thanks Netflix and Amazon Prime). But, there is only so much Chuck, Parks and Rec, The Office, House, and Dawson’s Creek you can watch before your brain turns to mush, and you realize you are slowing becoming a turnip.

Today was a day where I got the itch to do more. So, even after Relaxing with Faith, and then pancaking my muscles via foam roller with Tony, I decided to hop on Mrs. Breaking’s elliptical, and knock out a 5K.

20 minutes and 48 seconds later, I burned 335 calories and felt less like a blob.

Overall, not a bad Sunday.

One more thing – I made an AMAZING chocolate avocado mousse yesterday. Found the recipe on the Food Network website. Mrs. Breaking loved it. It was so freaking easy to make, and it tasted spectacular. The texture was so smooth. It was velvety. Couple things I called an audible on for the recipe…

  1. I used 82% chocolate pieces instead of semi-sweet. Just melted down an equivalent amount.
  2. I used 1/2 cup pure maple syrup instead of agave. Note – next time I’m going to try making a simple syrup with erythritol and see if I can put a keto-slant on this recipe.

 

Are you an aspiring yogi? Do you enjoy mixing yoga workouts into your fitness plan? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!

 

REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Day 5 – On The Go Flow (Foundation)

Day 5: On the Go Flow (Fundamentals) – approx 19 minutes.

Today was a very quick session.

We didn’t cover any new poses – we just took what we’ve learned in the past 4 days, and ran through a series of flows. This is one of those yoga workouts you take on the road with you, and do in your hotel room before you head out the door. Twenty minutes – easy peasy. Gotta love that.

On a side note related to yoga and travel, rather than bring your mat on the trip, you can always consider yoga gloves and socks. I bought a set during trip in Minneapolis a couple of years ago, and was able to do yoga in my hotel room. They now come with me on my trips instead of trying to cram a mat into my carry on.

We spent most of our time doing sun salutation A, and working through either the knees version, cobra version, or upward dog version. That is pretty much it – he beat that flow home.

The session ended (again) with reverse table top (love the feeling of opening the chest and shoulders) and some seated stretching for the hips/hamstrings. I am happy to report that I was able to do the cross-legged stretches without the yoga block today. I still feel tension/discomfort, but I don’t feel pain. So, I’ll keep pushing to that threshold, and getting better inch by inch, day by day.

Since I had a little time at the end of the session, I decided to squeeze in a couple extra things…

  • One arm dead hang – right & left arm. 20 seconds each.
    • It makes sense to train this a couple times a week since I’m working on one-arm pull up progressions. Getting to 1 minute per arm is my goal. I’m adding 5 seconds each session.
  • Crow pose – 1 minute static hold

If you aren’t familiar with crow, here is a lady doing it on a rock…

crow pose

I like crow because it trains balance and also your shoulder girdle. When people first start out, they are hesitant to let their shoulders get too far out in front of their fingers because they don’t want to face plant. Once you get past that “fear,” you can make progress in the pose. This is a great progressive move for handstands. I personally find this more challenging than holding a handstand for a minute, so I like to work it in every once and awhile. And, it’s a yoga pose, so its congruent with the day’s theme.

 

Are you an aspiring yogi? Do you enjoy mixing yoga workouts into your fitness plan? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!

 

REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Day 4 – Flow (Foundation)

Day 4: Flow (Fundamentals) – approx 29 minutes.

 

Today’s practice aimed to connect all of the work done in the first three days. Even when he cobbled all of it together into a “flow” (read: continuous movement from one pose into the next), it still was very manageable and very instructive. He is very deliberate in his cues and offers modifications if the flow is too intense. That modification mostly related to being on your knees when doing either cobra or upward dog.

I’m getting really proficient at the breathing now. I’m going entire sessions with just breathing in/out through my nose, and I can really feel my depth of breath increasing. I’m working very hard to sync my movement with a breath movement. In other words, I don’t want to change a breath direction while I’m going into a pose. For example, I’ll do a deep breath IN as I raise my hands from mountain pose, and then a deep breath OUT as I go into forward fold. I’ll know I did it correctly if I’m not breathing back IN as I get to the bottom of forward fold. Once I’m at the bottom of forward fold with a full EXHALE, I’ll breathe deeply IN as I come up to flat back, and then a deep breath OUT as I go back down into forward fold. Then, a deep breath IN as I step to plank, and a deep breath OUT as I shift to downward dog. Basically, it equates to one breath movement per pose movement. No half-breaths. I’m enjoying the synchronicity of that practice. I really hope I can continue that as the flow becomes more intense. I really want to keep control of my breath.

breathe.JPG

The session ended with reverse table top (love the feeling of opening the chest and shoulders) and some seated stretching for the hips/hamstrings.

Let’s keep this fun training chugging along!

 

Are you an aspiring yogi? Do you enjoy mixing yoga workouts into your fitness plan? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!

 

REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Day 3 – Balance (Foundation)

Day 3: Balance (Fundamentals) – approx 28 minutes.

Our practice today continued with focus on balance. He spent time reviewing the cues for tree pose with some building blocks:

  • knee hold into chest
  • tree with hands on hips
  • tree with hands at heart
  • tree with hands overhead

I’m going to keep saying it – I really enjoy the instructional value of the cues and progressions. This program is well thought out so far.

Next we moved into warrior 2 progressions. I really liked the cues here. With all of the yoga work I’ve done in the past, I’ve certainly done a lot of the warrior poses. But, you can teach an old dog new tricks. By piecing it together with focus on foot position, leg position, knee position, weight distribution, and hand position, you really feel like the pose is “x-rayed” and you understand how it should feel. More importantly, you’ll know how to adjust your mechanics if it isn’t feeling right.

For example, when we shifted into extended side angle pose, his cue about pushing your hips forward and not letting your butt stick out changed the entire sensation of the stretch for me. All of a sudden, I felt a nice stretch and elongation in my oblique all the way up my back. Its subtle nuances like that which seem to be making the difference in my experience.

side angle pose

push hips forward and keep chest high – don’t collapse chest and bubble your butt out

photo credit: Beachbody On Demand

 

He spent time reviewing pyramid pose, and had some nice cues on how to decipher between discomfort and pain. That is a key in this practice as you go deeper into poses, and as the poses become more technical.

Discomfort = good. We learn from discomfort, that lets us know we are probably doing it right. We should hold that that point, and our discomfort threshold will shift.

Pain = bad. If it feels like you need to stop, then you should. We don’t learn from pain other than what NOT to do next time (after you heal).

In a nutshell – go to the point of discomfort and SIT THERE. Trying to push beyond discomfort is an express pass in the Pain Lane. That track ends in Injury Junction, and you’ll be stuck there for a few days/weeks.

Next, we worked on the building blocks for chaturanga. Finally, we finished with some light shoulder opener work. As my shoulders can get tight, I enjoyed this addition.

I’m excited for day 4 – we are going to start working on some FLOW.

On a side note – my wonderful wife made a great father’s day breakfast with eggs, avocado, bacon, and gluten free pumpkin spice pancakes. I washed it down with a nice mug of brewed chicory with rose hips and dandelion root. And, she got me the greatest gift every – a custom pair of socks with my son’s face all over them. Yes, that is a thing. You can get anything on the internet!

Love that lady!

Namaste.

 

Are you an aspiring yogi? Do you enjoy mixing yoga workouts into your fitness plan? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!

 

REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Day 2 – Stretching (Foundation)

Day 2: Stretching (Fundamentals) Рapprox 30 minutes.

Today continued with some building blocks. Focused on hip and hamstring stretching. Did both thread the needle and straight leg stretches. Also did some deep low lunge work. Learned a couple new cues there as well (apparently you shouldn’t let your front knee flair out – you should try to keep it over your ankle). There were a few sequences of mountain into forward fold into flat back, into forward fold, and back to mountain.

We finished with some twisting stretches from the cross-legged pose. I really liked the fact that he made us switch up the cross-legged pose and put the other leg in front as well. Instinctively, I always cross my right over my left. Crossing my left over my right isn’t something I do very often, and it was a different sensation. I’m glad I’m going to work out that imbalance. He had a nice quote that makes a lot of sense (and I’m paraphrasing)…

“To get to balance, you have to go through imbalance.”

This is very true. Without thinking about it, we all have a dominant side that we favor. We have a dominant eye. We are left or right handed. When we go to jump, we probably have a specific leg we push off of. One of our hips, hamstrings, or glutes is probably tighter than the other.¬†There are performance and athletic benefits to training our non-dominant sides and striving for overall “balance” in our abilities on both sides. (note – to read the whole article, click on the “PDF” option when you go to the link).

I’ve personally experienced this in baseball when I trained myself to switch hit. I’ve also noticed overall performance improvement in agility drills when I focused on leading with my non-dominant side. Sure, it’s clunky at first, but once you build those neuro-pathways in the brain for the movement, it becomes smoother. I’m starting to get pretty good at throwing a football with my left hand!

This is the goal for my yoga practice. Not only do I want to develop more mobility and flexibility, I also want to develop balance and symmetry in my mobility and flexibility. I’d prefer to not have one side “tighter” than the other. Not only will I feel better, but I’ll also be less prone to injury when making quick moves during sports events.

I’m still happy with where this is going, and I’m looking forward to day 3.

 

Are you an aspiring yogi? Do you enjoy mixing yoga workouts into your fitness plan? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!