strike a pose

August 26, 2008

Body and Soul magazine came up with a brilliant idea, yoga and stretching poses that are targeted to each day of the week. All you need is 5 to 10 minutes to melt stress away.

Monday – Seal Pose
It stretches the belly and aids digestion; restores the curve in the lower back (great to counter long hours of sitting).

Lie on your stomach with your legs and feet relaxed. Then, reaching your arms forward along the floor, straighten them just enough to lift your torso into a gentle backbend. Do not strain or force; this should be a very passive and subtle stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, then release. Repeat for 1 to 5 minutes.

Tuesday – Supported Seated Forward Bend
Stretches hamstrings and inner thighs; releases tension along the spine. Quiets the mind and promotes focus; stimulates the sixth chakra, which activates intuition and wisdom.

Sit on a cushion on the floor with your legs extended on either side of a chair. Fold forward at the hips and rest your forehead and arms on the seat of the chair. Take deep, slow breaths through your nose and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Wednesday – Supported Goddess
Releases tight hips, stretching the groin muscles; connects you to the grounding energy of the root chakra, located at the base of your spine.

Lie on your back with the bottoms of your feet touching and knees splayed to the sides, resting on pillows or rolled blankets. Feel your spine on the floor. Place your palms on your belly or rest your arms out to the sides, palms up. Let your belly slowly rise and fall with each breath. Remain here for 3 to 5 minutes, or however long you like.

Thursday – Supported Pigeon
Opens the hips and groin. Quiets the mind and promotes emotional release. When we sit all day, our hips get congested, this pose helps us let go of stress and pent-up emotions that build up in the body.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor, swing your left leg around, extending it straight out behind you, tops of the feet and toes against the floor. Fold forward at the hips. For added support, put a folded blanket or pillow under the right hip. Rest your forehead on a cushion or blanket and relax into the pose for 2 to 5 minutes. Repeat with the other leg.

Friday – Supported Child’s Pose
Releases the muscles in the back; gently opens the hips; boosts your energy.

Sit back on your heels with your legs folded under you and the tops of your feet on the floor. Open the knees wide and bend forward at the hips. Rest your forehead (or your chest) on a pillow or blanket and keep your arms slightly bent. If your buttocks don’t reach your heels, place a blanket under your thighs. Relax and breathe deeply for 3 to 5 minutes.

Saturday – Supported Reclined Twist
Helps the whole body (including the hips, spine, digestive system, nervous system, shoulders, and chest) unwind; promotes digestion and detoxification.

Lie on your back, dropping your left knee across your body to rest on a pillow or blanket. Shift your hips right to avoid over-twisting the lower back. Rest your arms, elbows soft, on the floor over your head. Turn your head in whichever direction feels most comfortable and breathe into this gentle stretch for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Sunday – Supported Fish
Stretches the shoulders, neck, and chest; improves posture and deepens breathing, countering a forward hunch. Opens the heart and the throat chakras, bolstering courage and encouraging authentic expression.

Roll up a thin blanket and lie on your back, resting your shoulder blades on the blanket. If your head doesn’t comfortably reach the floor, place another blanket or small pillow underneath. Let your breath rise and fall naturally, and stay here for 3 to 5 minutes, or as long as you like.

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administrivia: week of 08.18.08 and special homage

August 19, 2008

All,

Apologies for class cancellation today at the last minute. I only had a chance to call Celinda and I believe she did a great job of reaching most of you.

Smokey, our beloved dog, passed away unexpectedly today at about 3:30am. Adrian and I are still in shock and fully expect to wake up any minute from this nightmare and have him run up to us. This is the worst thing we’ve ever experienced but we are hugging a lot.

Since you deserve better than a distressed coach I decided to cancel class today (Tuesday 08.19.08) and tomorrow (Wednesday 08.20.08). Apologies again for this sudden change of plans. I will credit both missed days to each of you for the next cycle.

Those of you who got to meet him, albeit briefly, knew what a gentle soul he was. A true rockstar and ambassador for his breed, he touched the hearts of everyone who met him. We have suspected all along he was an undercover angel.

Please do something in Smokey’s memory today and hug your pets and loved ones. Treasure, enjoy, and savor every moment you get to be with them.

Rest in Peace Babe!


dream big

August 18, 2008

My coach posted this to his website and I thought it was a good message to spread around:

“Whatever your passion is, if it’s sport, if it’s art, if it’s music, I say just dream big and work hard and all that hard work will pay off. But it all starts with a vision in your head and work toward that.”

Kerri Walsh, Beach Volleyball World and Olympic Champion


embrace your weaknesses

August 15, 2008

Now that we are introducing a more intense type of training ala CrossFit, it is painfully obvious that there’s always room for improvement. The stimulus is so broad and varied that our bodies never have time to adapt to any one single thing. As a result we end up drenched and drained of energy every single time. What’s not to love?!

This is exactly what gives us that edge of readiness for whatever comes our way.

So yeah there might be times when you find that you are really good at something and yet there are others when you get mad at yourself because you are just not getting it. That’s actually good. Embrace your physical failures. They give you a chance for improvement. Keep working at it and good things will happen.

So here’s your homework:

Commit yourself to sucking at something. Try something completely new, foreign, and totally out of your comfort zone. Do a marathon or a triathlon, go sprint swimming, paragliding, rock climbing, rowing, whatever you don’t like or have always been afraid to try. Realize that you have just scratched the surface of what is possible. That’s why we train. To realize our unknown potential.

Weaknesses are strengths in disguise. 😉


exercise your brain

August 14, 2008

Add brain protection to the many benefits of exercise. In an article titled How Your Inner Athlete Makes You Smarter LiveScience reveals how this works.

The bottom line: Exercisers learn faster, remember more, think clearer and bounce back more easily from brain injuries such as a stroke. They are also less prone to depression and age-related cognitive decline.  

Other articles regarding the subject:
Stronger, Faster, Smarter
Lobes of Steel


black bean quesadillas

August 12, 2008

An easy work lunch from Body & Soul magazine. Assemble the quesadillas, place in a portable container, and put in the fridge. Using frozen spinach saves on cooking time. It takes 10 minutes to prepare!

Ingredients
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed, mashed with a fork
2 whole-wheat tortillas (8-inch)
1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach, squeezed dry
1/2 cup shredded, reduced-fat pepper-jack cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh salsa, for serving

Directions
Spread beans over half of each tortilla. Top with spinach and cheese; season generously with salt and pepper. Fold tortillas in half over fillings.

When it’s time to eat, place quesadillas on a microwave-safe plate; cook on high power until heated through, about 2 minutes. Top with salsa.


Cuba’s olympic stats

August 12, 2008

Here’s a tribute to my country and its Olympic delegation.

Cuba has a population of just over 11 million people. They sent 167 athletes to the Beijing games. That is the highest ratio of athletes per capita in the world! That’s the equivalent of 1 athlete for roughly every 66,000 Cubans (apparently we have good genes, ha ha).

Using the same criteria the USA is sending 656 athletes. Our population is over 300 million. That’s a ratio of just over 1 athlete per 500,000 Americans.

So you say just showing up is no big deal? You gotta take home the hardware?

Cuba has the best medal per capita ratio as well. Take a look at the final results of the Athens 2004 games. Cuba won 27 total medals (in javelin, hammer throw, 110m hurdles, baseball, boxing, judo, canoeing, shooting, volleyball, and taekwondo). That’s 1 medal per just over 400,000 people. America won 102 medals in 2004. That’s a impressive ratio of 1 medal per 3 million people.

Cuba’s superstars are in the baseball team which has won a medal in every Olympic baseball tournament. They won the gold medal in 1992, 1996 and 2004 and the silver medal in 2000. The women’s volleyball team won three consecutive gold medals between 1992 and 2000. They missed a fourth Olympic title by winning bronze in Athens in 2004.

Cuba is also strong in track and field and have produced many famous athletes. Alberto Juantorena is the only athlete ever to win both the 400m and 800m at the same Olympic Games during the 1976 Games in Montreal. He was also the first runner from a non-English speaking country to win either event.

High jumper Javier Sotomayor won gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games and bronze in Sydney in 2000. He is considered the best high jumper of all time. Of all the 24 best jumps of all time, 17 are his. Sotomayor is both the indoor and outdoor world record holder with jumps of 2.43 metres (7.97 ft) and 2.45 metres (8.04 ft), respectively. He is the only athlete to have cleared 8 feet and his is the longest standing record in the history of the men’s high jump.