I have a little different take on fitness than some. As I stated before in the “fitness” section, I am a yoga teacher and group fitness instructor. For me, I have always been interested in fitness, but I’ve was not what you would call a coordinated or athletic child. My nickname was “Grace”, mostly for the irony. Running was not my thing, I fell off my bike a lot, and I was not exactly the most graceful ballerina. Baseball scared me – running, hitting, and throwing were foreign concepts for me. I enjoyed reading books, writing stories, and doing homework. But even so, I was still interested in fitness and classes.
When I was a little kid, my Mom worked in the school and would go to aerobics “jazzercise” classes after school with all of the teachers. I was always given a choice to stay for the class, too, or go home with my older siblings. I usually chose to stay. In middle school, we belonged to a gym, so I would often go and learn the weight machines with my parents. In no way was this ever forced. It was always purely fun to me. In high school, I wasn’t one for sports (running, catching, hitting – not my thing at the time). I did, however, enjoy the tae-bo craze. And in college, I learned about the elliptical and the stationary bike. They were very easy to use while reading for class 🙂.
I also learned about pilates at this time. This was the first exercise that helped me understand body awareness and how to use muscles instead of momentum to strength and increase that awareness. Pilates lead me to my love affair with yoga. I was looking to switch up my routine a little, and gave yoga a try. I loved the connection between the breath, movement of the body, and the concentration of the mind. It became so much more than an exercise for me; it became a way of life. In yoga, I learned to pay attention to the body and as well as the mind. It helped me to concentrate and notice the day-to-day changes between the postures.
I practiced yoga for years, started running in college, and still enjoyed pilates classes. Even after becoming involved in yoga and teaching classes, I still enjoyed “fitness” classes, but with a more focused approach – incorporating the alignment of pilates with the principles of yoga. This approach to fitness fit in so well with what I knew to be true – in our fast-paced world, we over work ourselves, not just with our occupations, but with our fitness goals, and we become just that – over worked.
I learned that if we slow down our workouts and take a more yogic (aka mind-body) approach, we can get better results that leave us feeling MORE energized instead of depleted. We can use exercise to create more energy, rather than drain it. This is what I try to incorporate in each yoga, Energy Flow, and Energy Barre class I teach.
Here is a sample routine for you to try – all you need is 5-10 minutes for a simple, energizing boost.
1) Start with a basic plie – standing in a wide stance with toes turned out to the side. Hands on your hips, spine nice and tall (think a wide squat without leaning forward). Bend the knees and plie up and down for a count of 16.
2) Travel your plie – take your plie to the right and left. Plie through the center, then as you come up step to the right and bring your heels together. Step back out to your wide plie and step the heels together to the left. Continue 4 full rounds and then hold with the heels together on the right.
3) From here, reach your arms out to the side, keeping the shoulders away from the ears. Kick your left foot forward, to the side, and behind you keeping your foot flexed. Remember to keep your core engaged to keep you stable.
It’s stretch, strength, and cardio all at once, with a little concentration work for the mind. When your work out with the intention to create energy, it becomes fun and you are more likely to come back to it.
Hopefully I’ll be uploading some videos for you soon – it will be a little easier to follow than the written instructions 😉 Enjoy working out!
In a few hours, we will be heading out across country for a two week trip! As you can tell, I tend to ramble a little late a night. Thanks for bearing with me 😉 Look for some travel updates and tips on healthy snacking and eating while traveling.
Peace, love, and energy,