Food Prep – The Easy Way

What most people don’t know about me is that I’m basically lazy. I am a Yoga Instructor, Fitness Trainer and Massage Therapist but when I’m not working I really, really like to do a lot of nothing. I try to eat right but even filling out my diary on My Fitness Pal takes more time than I really want to spend. So you can understand that when I see friends posting photos of their Sunday food prep  – it just makes me feel tired. And usually the food prep is the same meal every day of the week. That’s a whole lot of work to eat right, Right?

But I found the PERFECT solution! I have a friend who makes meals! Miranda Loehle cooks and packages lunches and snacks for friends who want to eat healthy and/or are busy and don’t have time to cook for themselves.

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Here’s what she brought me this week. Five lunches and snacks that are prepackaged, labeled and measured by macro and by calorie. She delivers them to me at work in this nifty little cooler container and at the end of the week she picks up the bag with the empty plastic containers and brings me a new bag! Awesome huh?

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(Sausage, Chicken and Rice Dish)

So the question is: How did I do? I had this great food at my fingertips all week. No hassle, no problem. Did I stick to the plan? The Answer is Somewhat. I did really good all week except for on day two.  One of my co-workers was going to the nearby Bagel shop and I indulged in a yummy cheese bagel covered in cream cheese.

Having the food in my fridge gave me a healthy option every day. I didn’t have to plan, shop, cook or package my own food. I could just grab a couple of containers out of the fridge and put them in my work bag. It worked great and made my week a whole lot easier!

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(Halloween Parfait – My Favorite!)

I wonder what will be in my lunch bag this next week! Happy Eating! – Dawn

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TRX – Train with Kyle in Anacortes, WA!

“Come on! You got this! Keep going! You’re half way there! Be strong, finish strong! Good news is that you have only 2 sets left!” These words keep rolling through my head as I rolled my way out of bed this morning after trying a couple of TRX classes with Kyle Ciminski! One of the perks of working at Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center in Anacortes, WA is that I can try out any of the classes and TRX was a revelation!

TRX stands for Total Resistance eXercise. A TRX is a black and yellow strap than hangs from an anchor point. It has hand and foot holds at the end of each strap and can be adjusted for length. The really cool thing about TRX is that it can be used anywhere! You can anchor it to the ceiling, a wall, hang it from a door or go outdoors and attach it to a tree branch or playground equipment – anything that will hold your weight!

28933_4916622505816_619852359_nMy friend, Vicki Otto from True to Form In Marysville, WA actually introduced me to TRX a few years ago. We put together a one year reunion of all the folks who had done Yoga Teacher Training together. Vicki graciously offered to host and gave us a great TRX demo class! Here she is showing us how to use the TRX to assist with handstand!

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Vicki and her partner Kyle also took their TRX equipment with them on a trip to Sleeping Lady Resort and got their exercise done in the snow!

 

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And just recently Vicki posted this photo showing how she uses her TRX to help find balance in Ardha Chandrasana – or Half Moon pose.

 

As a yoga and fitness instructor I love trying out new ways to work my body. I’m currently teaching 9 classes per week so I get a lot of exercise but TRX has worked me in a whole new way! I am feeling parts of my body tighten like never before and I’m feeling stronger and more buff! LOL!

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(A student doing bicep curls. This TRX is anchored to the wall and we are told to keep our eyes on the anchor point!)

The most intense exercises were for the core. We set the straps at their longest length and then laid down on our stomach on a mat with our feet at the wall. We then placed our feet in the foot loop and flexed back through our heels. When Kyle said GO – we lifted up to an elbow plank and began bending our knees in to our chest. It was really hard – even for only 30 seconds! The next exercise was the same except we lifted our hips toward the ceiling and kept our legs straight – this is called a pike! Holy ABS Batman!!!! The third exercise was to bring both knees over to the right elbow, back to straight and then over to the left elbow. I chose to modify this one by only doing one knee at a time and keeping the other leg straight.

While we work, Kyle roams around the room checking each person for good form, he encourages all of us and gives us little tips to make each movement more effective. As a personal trainer I really appreciate that because I am used to being in front and telling others what to do. It’s nice to have someone else kick my butt for a change! And when you know he’s watching it makes you want to work harder!!!!

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(A student doing a fly. This move works the arms, shoulders, back, chest and core!)

I’ve taken two classes so far and I can already feel my body reacting to TRX. My core is slimmer and feels stronger. I can feel my arms and shoulders in a whole new way and I want to go back for more! I might even have to get a TRX of my own! If you’d like to try out a TRX class with Kyle, you can reach him here: http://www.trainwithkyle.com/

Kyle also does individual personal training which can be adapted to any body type, age or physical limitation. The goal is to be healthy and fit for as long as possible so we can enjoy this wonderful life we’ve been given. Don’t be afraid to try new things! You just might like it! Now I just need to get him on a yoga mat – so I can kick his butt for a change! Not that it’s a competition or anything………

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Build a Practice

As a yoga instructor I struggle with maintaining a daily practice. It’s easy to feel like there’s not enough time in the day. Of course, when I do practice I find I feel happier, more connected and balanced and I find that I have more to share with my students.

So, to help myself begin again with a daily practice I started a 21 day Yoga Gypsy Challenge to all of my followers on Instagram and Facebook.  Check it out to see pictures each day of me practicing where ever I may be.

Since we all feel the time squeeze I wanted to offer you an easy way to begin a practice.  I have put together 7 poses that you can try each day to build a practice so that you too can get onto your mat.

Day One

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Sukhasana – Easy Pose

Today I just want you to sit. Find a quiet spot, get down on the ground and cross your ankles. Pull your feet in as close as possible.  Sit tall, feel your spine lengthening and turn your palms up towards the sky. Breathe in and out slowly through your nose and feel the stress and worries of the day rolling off of your shoulders. Move your awareness inward, focussing on the way your body feels and listen to the rhythm of your breath.

If you do nothing other than sit here, breathe and let your mind be free – you are practicing yoga.

Day Two

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Uttanasana – Forward Fold

On day two sit in Sukhasana for as long as you like and then add-on Uttanasana.  I use this pose ALL the time! I am one of those people who has to battle constantly with tight hamstrings and folding forward helps with that. The only problem is that every morning my body resets to tight and I have to start all over again! EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Roll down slowly – chin, shoulders, one vertebrae at a time, give the knees a little bend so as not to strain the back. Hold at the bottom for a breath and then roll back up – chin comes up last. Take a breath at the top and do it again! Then on the third fold hold it for a breath or two – pay attention to how low you can reach – be the observer – don’t judge or be negative about your body.

Day Three

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Starfish

On day three sit in Sukhasana for as long as you like, forward fold a while and then add-on Starfish. I love this pose because of how it makes my heart feel! When I stand all spread out like that I can’t help but feel that the universe is shining it’s light right onto my face and chest with love and acceptance. I love to close my eyes and tilt my chin up to the sky feeling all the joy I need flowing into my hands and spirit. It’s a very “Hallelujah” moment.

If you’ve never been to a church service where people raise their hands in praise it is a wonder to behold. I get the same feeling here: Life is good, Living is good, Love is present, I am valued. I have a purpose, I belong, I AM enough! And if you happen to have a day where you are not feeling these things then try this pose.

Take a wide stance, plant your feet firmly, lift your arms and send your palms toward the sky, stretch tall and lift your chin. Reach for all the love, happiness and acceptance you need – It’s right here for you always, every day!

Day Four

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Adho Mukho Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog

You get the idea right? Sukhasana, Uttanasana, Starfish and then add-on Down Dog. Down Dog is such a good stretch. It stretches the entire back body from my heels, up the back of my legs, to my lower back, shoulders and arms. I always spread my fingers wide and try to push the floor forward. I also make sure my feet are all the way at the back of the mat so my heels are off the ground and then I try to push them down. Your feet should be far enough back so that you can drop your hips down into plank (the top of a push up) without readjusting your feet or hands.

Day Five

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Vasisthasana – Side Plank

On day five you will do the previous 4 poses and then add-on Side Plank. From Down Dog you will move forward to plank (top of a push up) you will then roll over to the right stacking your right shoulder over your right hand and stacking your left foot on top of your right. This is a great core work out. Be sure to lift the hips and not allow them to sag down toward the floor. As you feel stronger you can maybe even lift the top leg like I have in the picture above. Hold side plank for a few breaths. You will feel your side waist really working, then go back to plank and down dog….Then do the other side.

Day Six

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Vrksasana – Tree Pose

Today you will add-on tree pose. Balance is one of the things that we all need to work on so give this one a try. Stand on one foot and bring the other foot up. Press it against the calf or higher if you like but avoid the knee. Really pull the tummy in and tuck your bum under as it will help pull the legs together. Hands can be in prayer pose in front of your chest, out to the side or raised like branches. Be sure to do both sides!

Day Seven

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Savasana – Corpse Pose

And on the seventh day you get to rest! Well, do all the other poses in order and then rest.  Do you remember as a kid, lying in the grass staring up at the clouds trying to pick out shapes? This is very much like that. We usually close our eyes though and let the breathing become shallow, arms out to the sides, palms face up, legs spread slightly. Return to the breath, focus inward and let your mind be blank – no worries, no stress – just peace.

So there you go, a very easy plan to build a yoga practice into your life. 7 poses you can build on that will work your entire body in a short amount of time leaving you feeling stronger, more flexible, calmer and happier! I hope you enjoy! Happy practicing!

I Got Lucky Today!

When you are on Holiday in another state AND it’s a Holiday week –  you never know what’s going to happen when you go into a yoga studio for a class. Usually there are a lot of subs teaching, people on vacation and cancelled classes. But not today. Today I got very, very LUCKY!

I am on St. Simons Island, Georgia and I went to Omcore Yoga & Body for a Barre class! I’ve never taken a Barre class before although I knew it involved a lot of Ballet-esque poses. Our teacher for the day was Jennifer Mack and BOY did she ROCK the house this morning!

Jennifer started with a little aerobic warm up and then moved quickly into some plies and releves. Jen lights up the room with her big Georgia girl smile and cheerleading to keep us moving. Very quickly I was sweating and felt that old familiar muscle burn! Jen kept saying it’s “Butt by Barre Today” as a way to encourage us!

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I also learned today that I am way more strange than most people! In class today I was moving and grooving to the music, doing the work – eyes closed…ya know…..really feeling it, dancing to the beat, moving my arms around and then I opened my eyes and noticed that everyone around was doing the basic moves – no flair at all! This is when I realized that I am no longer a resident in “normal town”! LOL.

It is a rare thing to find a teacher who is happy, encourages you to play, sing and dance at the same time that she is kicking your butt – literally by making you sweat and work AND makes the whole experience FUN! I haven’t had a class this good in a long while. Thank you Jen and thank you Omcore Yoga.