Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Finding that 'happy'...and never letting it go...

There's something about post holidays - the giddiness, the excitement, the family time....it's done, it was fun... and now it seems miles away.......then there is the rain and cold weather, January...... did I mention the cold weather?  Ugh....it all makes me cringe.  I WANT my spring time and summer time pretty much NOW! Cold weather despises my body and vice versa.  We are not a good fit together.

But the ability to get off my butt and dedicate a whole round of yoga just for ME, and all that negativity just dissipates! There's something pretty magical about it.


But we all know that exercise has long been a regimen for feeling good....it's more than just that....it's different.  It's taking charge and doing something for me, when I want to do it, and finding that 'happy' - the exact title of this post.

I haven't done the cobra pose in a while and as simple as this pose is, it's a great stretcher.

I didn't do anything brand new today, but I think I went safely with my favorites today and fine tuning this pose below, the plow pose:


Before, I could not even touch and clasp my hands together behind my back, but I can now and my back posture is much better.  Hip, hip, hooray for ongoing practice! It's really amazing with each step, the flexibility gets a little better.

And, as if I could resist the dancer pose in any way, whatsoever, not really:


That's it for today. I hope everyone out there can find a little bit of that 'happy' during these long, cold winter months ahead.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Set yourself free.....

It's been a couple of gorgeous, gorgeous days here in Southern Calif. and I've been taking advantage of the outdoors before it gets cold again. Let's see.... Christmas presents wrapped. Check. All my cards sent out. Check. Hope I didn't forget anyone. I'm sure I did though, ugh. Baking....soon. Time with family...tomorrow.....

So I headed out to the park for some down time today.


It was so serene and quiet.  There were only a handful of other folks walking and golfing.  The tranquility I had, was unmatched!! And this was the kind of peacefulness that I indulge myself in.

Did my usual 4-6 mile walk.  Didn't really time it today but I know my course and how long it takes.  Then some yoga poses. Simply the most perfect day outside.  Couldn't have asked for a better workout.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Working out the kinks

Awww....holiday stress.  Had a little bit of time this morning for some stretching:


The Warrior pose is always, super invigorating to me. It works every single muscle.  I also did more shoulder stand variations, the one below is very similar to my previous post, except I extended one leg backwards towards the mat:


That's a wrap for today. Hope I can practice some more during the holiday break, if I have some free time.

Friday, December 5, 2014

S-t-r-e-t-c-h

Getting back into the swing of things after taking 2 weeks off from yoga.  I'm so glad I packed in some time super, early this morning before another busy day.  Not going to spend too much time writing and jotting down all the poses.  I really am in a rush at this point. Did tons of stretching both lying and sitting positions.


I've done a variation of the above pose before except this time I did a full extension of my left leg.

Another variation of the side plank - kind of combining a dancer mentality and stretching further out with my arms:


Stretching my legs on the wall - I do this a lot. Use the wall to improve my flexibility:


Sitting positions:


I look kind of like a cupcake with a head sticking out of this one, easily amusing, felt great on the muscles though:


And last pose, lying on my back - stretching my right leg:


Done for the day. Feel awesome, energized. Ready to roll on with the rest of my Friday.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fly......

I did a lot today........yoga and 2 sets of stomach crunches both legs/arms.....probably because I know I will not be doing anything during Thanksgiving holiday week and just spending time with my family.

The warrior......


The airplane - I love all the variations with the airplane pose:


Another stretchie fav of mine:


Winding down pose:


And a post-workout selfie...messy hair - a piece of lint on hair, no make-up kinda selfie. Keeping it real. Don't let the smile fool you, I'm always dead tired afterwards and eat A LOT of food after these sessions.


Later, will be back in December.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Choose it....love it....stick it

This one below is a slight variation of this pose:


And I always love the dancer pose, in opposition to THIS pose, I don't alternate my arm and leg hold - I hold the same leg with the same side arm, which makes it a whole lot easier:


Time and time again, I would have to choose the dancer pose as an ultimate favorite, it really works every single muscle in your body. I try to switch the balancing leg from time to time, as my left leg is not as strong so I need to stand on the left leg more often.

And small, little things that I do to strengthen arms and legs, I place both feet on the wall and stretch:


This is also a pre-cursor of multiple steps before an inversion can take place - practicing against a wall.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Randomness....it's definitely a Monday

So I've been very emotional lately....more so than usual....actually, more so than ever, I'm a mess.....I wonder if people I know and have seen lately think I've lost it (people whom I've never shown emotion in front of before) and think I am going through some mid-life crisis.....Most of the emotions..... I know why....stress, understandably.  Who doesn't have stress in their lives? Some of it, I have no idea....unstable hormones perhaps, the epic force of human nature as a woman's body ages.....the ideation of everything we strive for and try so hard to hold everything together - our health, our family, our friends...our everyday life.  Where am I going with this? I don't know.  I just needed to rant.  I need chocolate right now....no - can't do that....I'm yoga-ing.

I did some variations of the pigeon pose.   I like this pose.  Not easy, but not difficult, it's a lot of stretching:


Another one, other leg:


I've done a side plank before but this one, I bent one knee, super difficult.  It was a great test of balance for me. I was going to place one arm behind my back too, but decided not to:


Love the plank, it's of my favs and really - I believe, will help strengthen my arms, which is the weakest part of my body....my arms....arggghhhh!!  That's it for today...a little venting and yoga. Time for some food.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lazy....

.....too lazy this morning to get into my workout clothes, so I winged it with my day attire, crazy.


And here is a variation of a lizard pose:


And my last one for the morning, a version of the Marichyasana 1:


I still strive for perfection and balance, but I think I will ease my mind off of that for now and just try not to be so harsh with myself when it comes to form - but enjoy, much more........the overall feeling of good - and relaxation that it gives my body when I am finished.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Oh, I've missed you.....

Yoga, where have you been? I missed you sooooo much.  I've been having a little conversation with 'stress' lately and I've told 'stress' that it has nothing over me......n.o.t.h.i.n.g....nuh....thing....nope, I'm gonna kick it and conquer....I'm tired of stress conquering me....no more....

I started off easy with some stretching this morning since I've been away from yoga for more than a week. Then I practiced the downward dog with a further extension on my leg and held it:


Next up, a squat, twist and turn upwards:


Om with me....hands and arms positioned behind the back, don't think I'm very well balanced on this, so I'll work on it:


One day, I will do an inversion....it's on my bucket list, before I'm 50. So I've got 5 years...I better get practicing. Move it, move it, move it! ;)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reverse Warrior & Bridge Pose with Leg Extension

Oh, massive headache this morning, not sure why but as soon as I started up my regular routine, I felt better instantly. Amazing.
Today, I focused on the Reverse Warrior Pose:


Stretched my legs just a tad more than my original Warrior 1 Pose. Ah, this felt good.  Next up I also did the Bridge Pose with a Right Leg Extension:


Holy Halloween candy, this was hard.  I may have cried a few tears after I was done.  I'm not sure who claimed the definition of yoga to be a 'low' key sport, because in my mind, I don't really think it is. That term needs to be re-defined.  I find myself using pretty much all of my mental and physical strength - even with the easiest practices.   All in all, good workout, I also did a few stomach crunches and my headache is just completely gone.  Yay!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Making improvements

Today, I asked myself the question, "Have I improved my form and posture since starting yoga?" I've been practicing some of the older poses that I've already done to see if my form is a bit better. And when I question the word 'better', I certainly don't expect vast improvement very quickly.  This has to be a patient process of fine tuning. I also did 2 new poses at the very end.

With this Camel pose, I think my back and legs are positioned a bit better than THIS old pose, still not as flexible as I want it, but better:


I'm always trying to perfect the airplane pose or some call it the warrior pose...and the older version HERE:


Is this tree pose below better that this older pose?:


And a new pose today, the Eagle Pose:


And the last one:


I'm checking out until Thursday, too many obligations within the next two days. Can't wait to get back into the swing of yoga later this week.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tired today....

I didn't quite have the super, high energy level that I usually have in the mornings today, but I tried to do a little yoga anyways.....here is my somewhat, bleak attempt at the Four Limbed Staff Pose...wow...this was hard:


My arms are not strong enough to position it exactly like the tutorial so I compromised and did it my way for extra support.  I need to work on getting my arms stronger. This is like a super difficult push-up x 10. Enough said. Literally took all of my energy.

Hope to be back at it with vigor on Monday. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sometimes Life Demands.....

.......simplicity.....I love complex things, I really do. I love a challenge and I love to try new things.  That's just the way I am, but sometimes, simplicity is the best, as in these 3 poses, easy, but still as worthwhile and beneficial:


And below is the Bridge Pose:


I love to think of exercising and how it relates to my other hobby, card making.  With cardmaking, you can make a super complex design and give to your recipient, and they may not know how long it took you to make it or how difficult the technique was, but still, it made you happy that you made it for them.  You can also make a simplistic design and your recipient may know it, but again, if it's simple, yet, clean, and precise, it still makes you feel good inside.  That's how I felt with todays workout and these poses.

And here is the last pose, the Warrior 1 Pose, I could have stood a little wider out with my legs....


And I just HAD to share this - and also an answer to a question from one of my readers.....but here is my boy - I never do yoga with him.  I always practice alone so that I can concentrate.  But one day I left the mat out and hadn't had time to put it away.  He came home from school and did this.  Be still my heart, he knows momma loves yoga and he loves to try:


And, finally, one last thing - I love emails from my readers. I answer all emails truthfully and promptly.  I thought I would share the answer from one reader who asked - "Do you fix any part of your body on these pictures?" The answer is "No."  I may adjust the background wall for lightness and clarity, but I never adjust any part of my body.  I am NOT perfect.  You can see some of the photos where my stomach sticks out a bit.  I have many flaws and am still working on some of that tummy fat that I would love to get rid of.  I love to cook and eat - so hmmmm.....works against me but there are lots of exercises to trim the stomach...so definitely working on that. :))  That's it for today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Variation of the Plow Pose

Today, I did a variation of the Plow Pose which I did in this post HERE.  Instead of just both legs pulled forward and touching the ground, I maneuvered my hands, arms, and one leg a little more:


I stretched my right arm all the way back to reach my toes.  I pulled inwards my left leg and set it beneath my right leg in a triangular position.

And then I took my left arm and wrapped it around my back.  The goal is to eventually take that left arm and be able to touch and pull my left leg over and in to my stomach.  I'm not quite that flexible yet.  So this is as far as I could go with this move.

Hope to find some more time tomorrow for extra practice and meditation.  Too busy today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pigeon Pose and a Video on Simple Stretching & Breathing

Today, I kept my workout fairly light. Lol, I say 'light' but I'm still tired and sweaty when I'm done.  Lots of stretching and breathing - here is the Pigeon Pose:


And here is the video. I had to blast it out with some tunes by feat. will.i.am - (Hall of Fame)- The Script - one of my favorite inspirational songs:


I concentrated on my breathing, I think, more than anything.  I just want to relax my whole body sometimes and that can be a very hard thing to do when you're very stressed.

That's it for today.  Gotta run.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Variations in the Airplane Pose

I took my workout to the outdoors yesterday.  Loved spending time at one of my most favorite parks.  It's truly the best one in O.C., well, I think so anyway.  I did my usual walking and then did 3 variations of the Airplane Pose. Only 2 of the poses are shown here:


I'm going to love experimenting on difference surfaces and wearing different gear.  Balancing with tennis shoes on is a lot different than with just my bare feet.  I haven't felt what that difference is or can quite describe it yet, but I seemed to be just as comfortable with shoes on, if not more?

I also just noticed that tree branch on the left side shaped like the letter 'Y'.....as in 'Yoga'...hmmmm :))  I think this is going to be my spot.

Here is the 2nd variation:


A lot of back bending and stretching on this move.  And I had cooling down time afterwards with this gorgeous scenery, another reason why I love the outdoors, there's such a peacefulness that you won't find anywhere else:


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Shoulder Stand Video and Legs Up The Wall Pose

I've been practicing the Shoulder Stand for a while now and it's still not perfect.... but I'm comfortable enough that I can tweak my shoulder blades, my back, and utilizing my hands and arms to assist with my spine. In time, I hope to not wobble and stick it for 10 sec.:


It is, by far, the most difficult pose I've done so far.  After doing this pose several times, I cooled down with the Legs Up The Wall Pose below:


This pose is simple and helps me really relax.  Tried to keep as straight as I could with the arms and leg position.  

Lately, I've really noticed a difference in my posture when I walk. I don't slouch as much...I've always been such a sloucher to the extreme....but I really do take note of my stance as I walk whether it's just down the street or in my house.  That's it for today.....such a mess, need to hit the shower, clean up, and get ready for school pick up.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shoulder Lift Video

2nd post of the day....whoohoooo....Here is the shoulder lift video I had mentioned in my last post.  I normally don't do videos because I can't stand my own voice...lol....but thought I'd have fun with this one. It is inspired by one awesome gal that I follow over on Twitter and Instagram. Here is her handle on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thickandtoned and also same handle name over on Instagram.

Enjoy my video!  And be sure to check out her profile as well! She has some great ideas with her videos to help tone your body.


Dancer Pose

I have many stressors in my life, but boy, when I'm doing something like this.....it takes a lot of it away! My stress level still exists, as 'stress' does for most people....but this truly brings a sense of calmness and happiness that I look for on every level, it's my little moment where I quietly say, "I've always wanted to be a ballerina":


I was truly happy in this photo. One of the easier poses that I enjoy - didn't feel like doing too much yoga today.  But I did execute some other exercises as well.  

I made a short video on a recent shoulder lift exercise that I did.....in the process of editing it and hope to have it posted soon! Yay!! Hopefully, Blogger will be kind to me, it has given me problems with videos in my past. We'll see! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Inverted Plank Pose and Locust Pose

Today, I worked every muscle on my body it seems.  These two poses, I felt it in my arms, legs and stomach muscles: - the Inverted Plank:


You could just feel it everywhere, oh my goodness. I held the stance for 20 seconds. Couldn't do it any longer than that.  The downward plank is so much easier.

Next up, I worked on the Locust Pose:


I liked this pose a lot. A bit easier and more manageable, wasn't too uncomfortable at all.  I've been asked by my friends if I take a class, and the answer is, 'no'.  I read up and watch a lot of videos/tutorials and view photos as well.  Maybe someday I will take a professional class, but for right now, it works fairly well at home. Taking the self-photos really helps me fix the errors and change what I'm doing wrong.  That's it for today.