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!

 

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Brew Day – Trappist Style Dubbel – 6/17/18

My beer tastes seem to keep changing as I age. I started off as a huge IPA nut. I still like IPA’s to this day, so that is a plus. Then, for some reason, I really developed a palate for stouts. I couldn’t get enough stouts. Dry stouts. Milk stouts. Imperial stouts. If it was dark and a stout (or even porter – kind of the same thing from a history and brewing standpoint), I was in. Recently, my taste buds shifted again, and I’m drawn towards Belgian Style ales. Of particular interest to me are the Trappist ales.

Continue reading Brew Day – Trappist Style Dubbel – 6/17/18

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!

 

Basement Sessions – 6/16/18 – Shoulders & Legs

My yoga practice so far has me feeling nice and refreshed. So, I felt like combining two sessions today. Since the baby decided to take an extended mid-morning nap, I combined handstand push up training and one leg squat training into a single session. I’m under no time crunch since its the weekend, and as long as the baby stays napping, I can leverage that time in the basement!

On a side note, I started experimenting with a mushroom complex supplement that (among other things), has lion’s mane and reishi mushroom in it. Been on that for about 5 days now. I take it in the morning. The aim is to hopefully get more energy and enhanced cognition. I can’t say that I’ve noticed anything different yet. BUT, I have been battling through some fluid in my ears for the past 3 weeks that is playing games with my head (hopefully the steriods my doctor just put me on will clear it up finally). Maybe I’ll notice something once my ears finally pop. Also waiting on a shipment of ashwagandha, so I can start messing around with that (after I’ve made a conclusion on the mushroom supplement).

When it comes to supplementation, you really just need to make educated decisions for yourself. Identify something you think might help, research to make sure its safe with no dangerous side effects, talk to your doctor if necessary, then try it and keep an eye out for any of the purported benefits. Who knows – you might stumble upon something that really enhances the quality of your life. Or you’ll just end up with expensive pee for a few weeks. What do you have to lose other than a couple of bucks…?

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Here is what today looked like:

Pre workout nutrition – butter coffee with collagen powder

6/12/18 – handstand push up & one leg squat training

  • Warmup
    • 3 minutes jump rope
    • 10 sets of 25 seconds of various dynamic warmup moves
      • swiss ball twist
      • overhead swiss ball bend
      • overhead swiss ball squat
      • world’s greatest stretch with hip dip
      • soldier kicks
      • side leg raises
      • glider lunges (I made sure to keep a flat back and my butt sticking way back thanks to the cues I’m re-learning in yoga)
      • egoscue shoulder roll forward
      • egoscue shoulder roll backward
    • 10 reps shoulder roll holding a weighted stick
      • this is a great move to open up your shoulders – it takes some patience and practice – you need to start with your hands VERY wide. The key is to not collapse your elbows when you rotate your shoulders overhead and back – keep those arms straight.
    • 1 minute dead hang
    • 2 sets one arm hang, 15 seconds each arm, 1 minute rest between set
  • Work set – handstand push up
    • 16″ spacing – 12 reps
    • 2 min rest
    • 8″ spacing – 9 reps
      • NICE – 2 rep gain from last workout
    • 3 min rest
    • 8″ spacing – 7 reps
    • Rest 2 min
  • Work set – one leg squat
    • Bodyweight – 5 reps each right and left leg
    • 2 min rest
    • 60# right leg – 5 reps
    • 60# left leg – 5 reps
    • 2 min rest
    • 60# right leg – 7 reps
    • 60# left leg – 6 reps
      • Note – much better balance on 2nd sets, was able to get more reps, overall 1 rep improvement from last workout on each leg
  • Work set – hex bar deadlift
    • 335# – 12 reps
      • Note – need to buy more plates!
  • Metabolic work
    • Tabata burpee (20 sec on, 10 sec off, 8 sets)
  • Cooldown
    • Flappy arm swinging
    • Side to side lunges
    • Sun salutation to forward fold

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Workout time – approx. 1 hour.

Calorie burn clocked in around 404 C.

Avg HR (per Garmin): 104 bpm

Max HR (per Garmin): 157 bpm

Post workout, I made a nice recovery shake…

  • 1 scoop NutriBio unflavored whey
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 can coconut cream (I’m out of coconut water, so this will suffice)
  • 1 scoop RealReds (woo hoo – my subscription came in)
  • 4 oz unsweet almond milk

 

Do you have any favorite home workouts that you’ve put together? Do you train handstand push ups or one leg squats? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please click “like” and share!

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!

 

REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Day 1 – Core (Foundation)

I feel like doing some yoga.

When I first started with yoga about 4 or 5 years ago, my exposure had been limited to the yoga workouts that were a part of any program I was following, or, the occasional random yoga class either at a yoga studio or at a work-sponsored event. I never really dove in and did it multiple times per week. I think my form was okay, and I certainly became more mobile as a result.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that yoga doesn’t have benefits or doesn’t warrant programming multiple times per week. Quite the opposite. Yoga has a TON OF BENEFITS, and should appear more than once per week in your fitness lifestyle. I’m just saying I never gave it the priority it probably deserves. I’m going to change that for a few weeks.

One of the benefits of membership in the Beachbody On-Demand streaming services is that you can bounce around in their program library with reckless abandon. This morning I just felt the need to do some yoga. I was about to go to one of my usual P90x or 21-Day Fix yoga routines when I saw “3 Week Yoga Retreat.” It must be a streaming exclusive because I don’t recall ever seeing this sold as a disc set. I scrolled through the workouts, and found that its actually a lot of yoga. There are 21 different yoga workouts! It appears to be built in a progression type format where in week one you focus on just learning the fundamentals. Then, it would appear to get progressively more advanced.

I’m not a serious or well-trained yogi by any stretch of the imagination, so slowing things down and re-learning some fundamentals will only help to improve my overall practice. My plan is to do a new class from the “3-Week Yoga Retreat” following any of my normal workouts until I cycle through them all. I’ll do them in the sequence dictated by the calendar, just not every day like the calendar says. Since that means I’ll only get about 3 classes per week, this will take me about 7 weeks or so. I’m totally fine with that. I’m not in any rush. A practice like this is a marathon – not a sprint. I’m going to take my time, be very deliberate, and try to get as much out of this program as I can. Nobody has ever been worse off for having done yoga. Well, maybe except this person…

yoga fail

I hope she’s okay.

 

Day 1: Core (Fundamentals) – approx 30 minutes.

Overall a nice start. I’ve always struggled to keep good posture in the cross-legged seated position. I know your chest should be up, and your hands/wrists should rest on your knees. Due to how tight my hips are, my knees don’t get low enough, so it’s a struggle to just sit and relax properly in this pose. Right off the bat, the instructor offered a modification I never heard before. SIT ON A YOGA BLOCK. Once I did this, I actually felt like I was doing the movement properly. Boom. Learned something already.

The rest of the video covered some very basic yoga positions. The thing I liked most was the cuing. If you’ve read my other workout reviews, I’m very critical of cues and modifiers because I strongly believe that proper form and coaching is an essential part of an exercise program. That is not lost here. The instructor offered many cues on how the position should look/feel, and he offered modifications if flexibility is a barrier. Also, I really enjoyed the focus on breathing. He strongly emphasizes the need for breath control and to be mindful of your breath throughout. I might have heard that before, but it was really reinforced here. I’m very much focusing on just breathing in/out through my nose during the entire session (and future sessions).

The session concluded with a minute or two of some core (abdominal) work. Much to my shock (I don’t know if the yoga police know yet), but he didn’t end the session with corpse pose, a nice, “namaste,” or any type of “OM” chant. One of those three almost certainly makes an appearance in any type of yoga training you do. I do love me a good corpse pose, so I was bummed about that. Skipping the “namaste” or the “OM” is fine by me. But, just to be fair, I do understand that there is meaning and purpose for “OM.” I’ve just never connected with it. Yet.

Overall, I’m looking forward to the next sessions.

 

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!