Fitness

Demystifying Sun Salutations

Yes sun worshiping is real and it is actually very logical, as well as being an ancient practice. In yoga you hear about Sun Salutations, or the Sankrit term, Surya Namaskar. Surya is sun. Nama means to bow to or adore. We stand at the front of our mat with our hands together at our hearts center in the same position as we typically start and end our practice with namaste mudra, which translates into the divine light in me honors and sees the divine light within you. So, as we move through the Sun Salutations we take our arms up toward the heavens and then we bow forward turning our awareness inward and committing to our health and to our higher awareness. With each movement we aspire to gain wisdom and knowledge and to become the best versions of ourselves. It really is a prayer in motion.

Sun Salutation A, Surya Namaskra A

Sun Salutation A, Surya Namaskra A

There are 12 postures within a Sun Salutation, which is also symbolic because there are 12 Sanskrit terms for the word sun. Moving through these 12 postures in consecutive sequence in repetition warms & energizes the  body. Sun Salutations engage the core, stretch the hamstrings and loosen the shoulders. They improve circulation, massage internal organs and promote overall health. So you can use sun salutations as an excellent warm up, or start to your yoga or workout session. Or when you are short on time and energy, it can be used as your minimum daily go to for giving you a total body workout. 

Sun Salutations can be beautifully adapted for your personal needs and can even be done from a chair.  When practiced at a slower pace they provide a calming grounding effect, and when practiced at a faster pace they provide a good cardiovascular workout and can provide weight loss. 

Why start the day day with Sun Salutations? Yoga was developed over 5000 years ago by ancient Sages in India who believed each part of the body was linked to some part of the natural world. The solar plexus (located behind the belly button) is said to be connected to the sun and associated with our emotional well being and intuition. We practice Sun Salutations first thing in the morning to clear our minds, gain calmness for the day ahead and to heighten our intuition. 

Then move on to Sun Salutations B to create more heat continuing with 3-5 B's

Then move on to Sun Salutations B to create more heat continuing with 3-5 B's

Lets face it, we all love a little sunshine. It feels good and makes us happy. The sun grows our fruits, vegetables and flowers. It also creates light, and as we know that light helps us conquer our fears, so salute the sun. Practice Sun Salutations each day and feel yourself growing stronger, your light illuminating brighter and the warmth glowing within you. Make time for this important practice every single day. It only takes 15-20 minutes to do a proper 3-5 Sun Salutations A and Sun Salutations B sequence and you will greatly appreciate the many benefits that you will discover through this practice. 

Sun Salutation A:

Inhale taking your arms up

Exhale bowing forward

inhale halfway up straight spine

exhale hands to earth, step back to plank and lower yoga push up

inhale upward dog

exhale downward dog (hold 3-5 breaths)

       ~work to get your heals toward the earth 

       ~relax your ears between your arms

        ~let all the busy thoughts of the day and week go as you breathe in through your nose & out through your nose

Inhale look to your thumbs

Exhale to the front of the mat 

Repeat 3 to 5 times

Sun Salutation B:

Inhale sweep arms down and up as you come into chair pose 

Exhale forward fold straightening legs

Inhale halfway up, look to horizon

Exhale hands to earth and hop back to Chaturanga (yoga push up)

Inhale heart to the sky

Exhale hips up and back to down dog 

Inhale right foot to right thumb, Warrior One

Exhale Down Dog

Inhale Left Foot to Left Thumb, Warrior One

Exhale Down Dog stay here and re connect with your breath

Relax your neck & shoulders

Consider scissoring your heels, pressing one heel at a time to the earth and lifting the opposite heel

Inhale look to your thumbs

exhale hop to the front of your mat

Repeat 3-5 times

Wishing you all an inspiring start to your week!

Shine On,

Libby

P.S. If you have questions about how to get started in your practice, how to modify postures or if you would like personal, private or corporate lessons, please contact me via email: libby@yogafitboutique.com. I would be happy to travel and I always love to connect. Namaste!  

Travel to Seek Answers Rather than Escape Reality

People travel for many reasons. I travel because it expands my mind and soothes my soul. It excites me to learn of new foods, cultures, history, topography and to see the amazing beauty the world has to offer!  

View before the tram ride down San Jacinto

View before the tram ride down San Jacinto

I recently visited my parents, who are wintering in Palm Springs, and while I was there I had a moment of awakening. I often spend time hiking or walking when I vacation. This trip I spent A LOT of time hiking. On my hikes I was exceptionally taken by the beauty around me. It dawned on my how fortunate I am to get to see so many places. I wondered, for a brief moment, how many people never leave the state in which they were born? And then I wondered if they are lucky enough to travel outside of their state, have they ever seen another country???? Our country, the United States of America is so vast and so beautiful. I have driven across it and seen the wide open wheat farms, the snow capped Rocky Mountains, many corn and soy farms, long straight highways and then the switchbacks - the Million Dollar Highway takes the cake for switchbacks! 

Family time in Palm Springs

I find inspiration in the beauty  and in how quickly the landscape can change! On this particular trip to Palm Springs, my daughter and I decided to take the tram up to Mt San Jacinto to hike! I should preface this by telling you that Los Angeles was having MAJOR floods and the mountains in Palm Springs had recieved significant snow. We dressed appropriately and were ready for extreme conditions, but when we saw people in line with sleds and snowboards we started to question ourselves with laughter and the anticipation of young children on Christmas Eve....

Sledding fun

Sledding fun

As we waited in line we read the brochure and decided we MIGHT need to rent snowshoes at the top! Well, in order to hike to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto (5 miles each direction), you need a permit from the ranger. So we proudly walked through the beautiful winter wonderland and past the merry sledders to the Rangers Station. I was properly dressed in hiking boots, however, Morgan was donning her cowgirl boots, which just makes this story all the better! The ranger says, "What can I do for ya ladies?" I replied, "I just need a permit for hiking." To which he had the gull to say, "And where do you think you girls are going in those cowgirl boots? No way are you getting a permit!" Well, if you know a couple things about me.... I am a Taurus, which means I am a little bull headed and when I decide I am going to do something look out Baby.... So I sweetly said, "Oh yes we are going to rent snowshoes. We just stopped to get our permit and a map first so if you could just tell me the way that would be great!" I couldn't believe it but it actually worked! He said, "Ok... if you rent the snowshoes, I will grant you the permit, BUT NO WAY are you going to the top! Turn around at the Mountain Lion sign. After that the trail gets very hard to follow being covered in snow and you girls could get lost." I asked how much snow there actually was and was blown away! There was four feet of fresh snow and ten FEET of snow in total. Morgan and I headed out on our adventure and it was one of the most amazing hikes I have ever completed. For full disclosure, and I apologize to you Mr Ranger, we went slightly past the Mountain Lion sign!!! However, once we could no longer safely follow a trail we turned around! We were only about 1.5 miles from the peak, but safety is paramount. Especially in those conditions! 

The sun was so bright and beautiful we even peeled layers of clothing, but check out the snow shoes!!!!! And... Morgan's cowgirl boots 😂

The sun was so bright and beautiful we even peeled layers of clothing, but check out the snow shoes!!!!! And... Morgan's cowgirl boots 😂

IMG_0144.JPG

A few days later we were in Joshua Tree surrounded by beautiful mysterious magical trees, interesting rock formations and a huge variety of cacti. Stunning in its own way!

Joshua Tree Cacti Garden

Joshua Tree Cacti Garden

Blooming cacti... beauty everywhere

Blooming cacti... beauty everywhere

It wouldn't be a yoga blog without ONE yoga pose! 

It wouldn't be a yoga blog without ONE yoga pose! 

This is a Joshua Tree

This is a Joshua Tree

From Joshua Tree we drove Phoenix Arizona, stayed with good friends and hiked Camel Back Mountain. A completely different experience once again. Humbled by the boulders and steep elevation, we were still determined to reach the top. Though exhausted, we pushed through our fatigue and were rewarded with spectacular views the city below and the surrounding mountains! Although it was considered an "expert" hike, it was so wonderful to see people of ALL ages enjoying it!  

Echo Trail Head at Camelback. The hardest climbs bring the greatest rewards! 

Echo Trail Head at Camelback. The hardest climbs bring the greatest rewards! 

One amazing thing I observed everywhere we visited on this trip was how friendly and generally upbeat people were. Maybe it was the sunshine or the beautiful surroundings... but I was reminded of what a beautiful country I live in and what beautiful people are all around. It is up to us to see the beauty.  

Yoga Fit Boutique

If you do not get the chance to travel, simply look at photos online and educate yourself with what exists outside of your box. Open your mind. Dream really big. Expand your reality! That is what travel does for me! These days it is possible to see these beautiful places online right from your own home with an open mind and your imagination!

Happy travels,

Libby 

 

P.S. - Please comment on your personal travel experiences; places you recommend, places you dream of someday seeing..... the more we share together, the more we learn and the more we raise the energy! The Universe WILL RESPOND!  

 

De Mystifying the Glory Behind the Alleged "New Year's Cleanse Diets," 10 Must Have Feel Good Foods and Why Fad Diet's Will Never Work

First allow me to wish you a very Happy New Year! The start of the each year is exciting because it symbolizes a fresh beginning, new chances, unlimited possibilities and a clean slate. Many people set New Years Resolutions. Very few, in fact less than 8% actually follow through with those resolutions. I personally choose to set intentions for the year ahead. Intentions are positive thoughts and actions that I intend to follow through with be it big or small. I write them down and I say them out loud.... daily! Writing my intentions and repeating them out loud daily is part of the manifestation process. What we think in our minds is likely to occur. So.... this year I set my intentions to strengthening my handstand practice, which means practicing daily with drills, strengthening and moving away from the wall. I also set my intention to practice and become more patient, to waste less food and to give more to others. Those are the immediate intentions that I have set, although I will continue to set new daily intentions, as well. 

Diet and weight loss or getting in shape & working out are HUGE on the resolution lists and gyms see a big spike in attendance during the month of January, but guess what....yep, it quickly trickles off as people do not see immediate results and get discouraged. Today I want to focus on the hype you hear about Cleansing Diets, Fasting, Juicing Cleanses, and Detox Diets! STAY AWAY FROM THEM ALL is my very best advice! You will hear conflicting advice from every corner if you seek it, but I am not a believer in fad diets or anything quick or temporary BECAUSE once you go back to your regular consumption, so too will your weight. THE ONLY WAY TO LOOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF IS TO ADOPT A NEW WAY OF LIFE! AND.... it is not that hard. I will let you in on a secret.... you do not have to eleminate anything. In fact, it is when we dreprive ourselves of things that we crave them most! Simply modify portions, elimainate snacking (or snack on fruits & veggies), eat 3-5 small meals a day that are colorful plant based whole foods, drink a lot of water, limit or better yet eliminate processed foods and lower fats & oil consumption, as well as sugar consumption (NO MORE SODA).  

Cleanses and fasting leave you fatigued, depressed, tired, sometimes dizzy and often weak.  Sometimes you are able to achive quick weight loss, but this yo yo style dieting is not recommended as a healthy long term weight loss technique. Eating clean is the best way to minimize toxins. Add exercise when possible to maximize weight loss if that is your goal. I am happy to consult with you on a personalized at home plan. 

This book has excellent information on superfoods.

TOP TEN FOODS TO ADD TO YOUR DIET TO NATURALLY HELP DETOXIFY YOUR BODY:

1. Goji Berries: Goji Berries are one of the top ten SUPERFOODS and can be found in health food stores near you. The Gogi is known to increase stamina, strength, longevity and sexual stamina. They also boost immunity, increase alkalinity, provide liver protection and improve eyesight.  

2. Lemon Water to start each day: Lemons alkanize the body so starting the day with a glass of room temperature or warm lemon water cleanses the body and strengthens the liver.  

3.  Beets: A single serving of beets can fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, boost brain power, as well as help you loose weight. They are very high in fiber, purify the blood, as well as cleanse the liver.

4.  Blueberries: Contain a natural sunstance that mimics aspirin, lessening the tissue damaging effects of chronic inflammation and thus easing pain. They also block bacteria in the urinary tract.  

5. Brazil Nuts: Are loaded with selenium, which is key to flushing mercury out of your body. They are also high in magnesium and maganese, which ward off migraines.

6. Cinnamon: Stops the growth of bacteria and yeast, and speeds up metabolism, which aids in weight loss. It is loaded with antioxidants and is a natural anti inflammatory. Cinnamon lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels making it good for preventing heart disease and diabetes. 

7. Parsley: Herbs are often overlooked, but they have potent healing effects for our bodies. Parsely is high in vitamins A, C, & K, and betacarotene, which protects the liver and bladder and prevents liver and bladder infections. It also keeps our urine clean and relieves bloating.

8. Tumeric: Acts as an anti inflammatory, which relieves arthritic pain as well as other inflammations. It also has powerful antioxidants which improve brain function, lower heart disease and can help prevent and possibly even treat cancer.

9. Probiotics: These are fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria for your stomach and digestive system. Try sourkraut, kimchi, yogurt, beet kvass or kefir and they will strengthen and protect your stomach and your colon. My friends at Fab Ferments make incredible products that you can find at Whole Foods and at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. And they are starting to sell nationally, but there are other brands available, as well. 

10. Wheatgrass: I saved the best for last. This is very potent and powerful. You can sometimes find small juice shots available at farmers markets. Wheatgrass contains 98 of the 102 earth elements. It will help to restore your natural alkaline balance, protect your liver, detoxify the body, increase red blood cells, lower blood pressure, cleanse your organs, stimulate metabolism and the body's enzymes by enriching the blood.  

Cocao, Aloe Vera, Bee Products, Hemp Seed are other super foods that I would recommend adding to your daily diet if possible. Every little effort you make will allow your body to move more easily.  The more you exercise, the more oxygen your body will circulate, which not only boosts brain power, but it may also reduce wrinkles! What a beautiful side affect!

This is another great book about healthy living.

Let's face it we are all going to age, but we have control over how gracefully the process occurs to some extent. It is NEVER too late to start eating better. Each meal is a chance to fuel your body.  Take baby steps. Once you feel the effects and how much better your body responds, you will no longer miss the processed foods or unhealthy choices. You will naturally begin to crave healthy foods.  Now, that's not to say you will NEVER crave a good french fry or an amazing apple pie a la mode, and that is OK! If you are living an active healthy lifestyle, then indulging and enjoying treats occasionally is absolutely no problem.  

I hope you find this helpful and that you are inspired about the new year.  Let all trys and failures go.  Let go of all the outcomes and stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Look in the mirror every morning and say "I love you!" It starts there. Make the committment to yourself to become the BEST version of yourself, because you deserve it. You are beautiful. You are divine.  You are enough.  I love you.  

Wishing you Health, Love & Happiness,

Libby

P.S. - As I entered the New Year I myself wanted to find the healthiest recipes possible. Soup is warm and comforting in the winter and this recipe was appealing so I tried it and it inspired this entire blog! I know I knocked the "detox" diet but you've gotta try this soup: 

Detox Diet – Soup Cleanse Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups water

 1 red onion – diced

3 garlic cloves – minced

5 celery stalks – chopped

6 carrots

2 heads of broccoli florets (stalks removed)

2 medium zucchini – chopped

1 cup fresh tomatoes – chopped (approx. 4 small tomatoes)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp fresh ginger (peeled and minced)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne powder (or to taste if you don’t like spice)

1 head of kale (approx. 2 cups) – stems removed and torn into small pieces

1/4 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice

1 tsp Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Get the full directions at:  http://www.theeyesofaboy.com/2015/12/detox-diet-soup-cleanse-recipe.html

Please return and let us know what you think after you have tried it! You can also follow me, Libby McAvoy on Pinterest ( Mixing It Up) for more healthy recipes!  

The Dirty Little Secrets of Yoga and Why MEN Need It

There is a stigma that yoga is for girls, skinny flexible ones at that.  But, men need yoga just as much and actually yoga was originally practiced solely by men. Yoga provides better flexibility (something that many men struggle with), improves preformance in other sports and reduces the risk of injury.  

According to Men's Fitness Magazine and US News, yoga...

1. Improves digestion and reduces food cravings. 

2. Boost creativity and brain functioning, as well as focus.

3. Increases the quality and the quantity of sexual intimacy (yes, a great little secret).

4. Improves your quality of sleep.

5. Produces a natural high (another great secret) by causing your pituitary gland to release oxytocin, which is also known at the "love" or "cuddle hormone." 

Over my many years of teaching yoga, I have had a handful of men in my classes. Some were pleasantly shocked at how much they enjoyed the experience since they had never practiced yoga before and were hesitant to first get started. While my experienced guys knew exactly what they were in for and were pleased, as well.  In an effort to break down the dirty little secrets of yoga and the walls that seem to prevent men from coming to class, I decided to reach out to a variety of male friends worldwide and interview them.

 

Frits Johanson, Professional Dancer from Norway

Frits began his yoga journey because it was a large part of his kung fu training.  "To me the asana part of yoga is the part that comes most naturally, partly because it is very easy to combine with other types of training like my gymnastics and dancing. There are unlimited numbers of asanas and variations that I can work on and toward, keeping the practice challenging. The more I learned about focus, body alignment and positioning, and the connection between mental and physical, the more I could notice it helping with other trainings, as well.  In short, the asanas are a great way to keep both strong and flexible alone or in combination with other sports."

 

John Fortin (www.supdog.ca), Professional Skier & Yoga Instructor from Canada

John started his yoga practice to compliment his training for other sports, but specifically for Ironman competition. He felt the physical benefits of the yoga practice immediately. Practicing yoga allowed him to shift to a new elevated level of performance. "The bigger benefit was the mental aspect of my practice. Within a short time I was able to shift frustrating or difficult moments in my training into opportunities to grow. My mind accepted the challenge in a way that allowed me to continue to push myself to new levels." 

_____________________

 

As an instructor, I have heard many stories from my male friends of how they fully believe that they can benefit from yoga. Doctors who stand all day tell me they know that yoga can strengthen their legs and relieve backaches. People who drive all day tell me they know that yoga would relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. And people with high intensity or high stress jobs tell me they know that they need yoga, and yet something prevents them from coming to class. It is the fear of the unknown and many excuses (yes, you all know who you are).

So here is my personal advice on what you need to know for your first class:

1. Introduce yourself to the instructor. Tell him or her that it is your first class and let them know if you have any injuries or special requests.

2. Bring a hand towel. Yes, you might actually sweat in yoga ;)

3. Do not eat a heavy meal before class.

4. Wear normal workout clothes. I prefer dry wicking myself. 

5. LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR! This is a biggie for men especially.  Yoga is very individual. Please do not compare yourself to or feel that you need to compete with anyone else. Do not push yourself too hard, especially on day one.  Allow the flexibility to progress with each  practice. Injuries occur when people try to compete rather than listen to their own bodies, 

Teaching at Lululemon Athletica at the Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio, where there are complimentary classes each Sunday morning!

If you would rather hear it directly from a male stand point, here is advice from Frits and John:

1. Find a style of yoga that works for you. There are many different ones with different focuses.  Perhaps you want something gentle and relaxing? Or, maybe you prefer a style that is more athletic. The great news is that yoga offers something for everyone. 

2. Go to a class. Learn on your own through books and videos. Just get started! To really get that "yoga feeling," I would strongly recommend going to a class. Classes have a special energy that is motivating and the personal instruction of a certified yoga teacher will help you safely get started and grow in your practice. Later you can dive in deeper by reading and exploring other aspects of yoga on your own.

3. Try it out with a friend. Like many new activities, taking the first step to get started can be the hardest part. Having a friend with you to hold you accountable can be a great help, especially the first few times.  And... you won't have to worry about being the only guy there if that is a concern!

4. Don't think about what you can't do. Saying I'm not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying I can't read well enough to learn to read. It is not a good reason to not get started.  

5. Find the parts that work for you! For many people, joining a yoga class that starts off with 15 minutes of chanting can be a bit off-putting. If you want to do yoga to get in shape and become flexible, then find the class that suites you. But, I do recommend exploring the meditative and spiritual parts of yoga, as well.  They might give you more than you think.

6. Get to class early and find a spot at the back where you can observe other students and how they are posing while you are learning.

7. Lastly, give it a try! Yoga is a great thing to work into your life! It has given me a lot, both physically and mentally. I recommend it for everybody no matter what shape they are in or where they are in life. It is something you can do for the rest of your life. 

I have to say that Fritz and John shared some fantastic advice! I truly hope that you guys have found the inspiration in this post to get you started on your yoga journey. Grab a buddy, register for a class, and join us on the mat! 

Yours truly,

Libby

P.S. - Stay tuned for my next blog about the fitness instructors at Breakthrough MSP (the fitness gym that is home to my yoga new studio) and learn how they can help you recover from injuries and setbacks to get you back into the activities you love! Also check out my Top Ten Reasons to Do Yoga if you haven't already.

P.S. P.S. - John also offers SUP-Surf-Yoga retreats in Nicaragua. If you are interested in SUP or SUP Yoga locally, I would be happy to take you out one on one or in organized small groups.

 

 

 

 

Tips for Combatting the Growing Obesity Epidemic and How the PHIT Act Can Help

Obesity is a gowing epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, "Obesity related illness including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers are the leading causes of preventable death." It is truly "sad" that this is happening in our country. Ironically S.A.D. is also the acronym for the Standard American Diet

Our government considers this to be such an enormous problem, with health care costs going through the roof, that Congress is working on a bill called the PHIT Act. The PHIT Act will provide tax incentives to encourage physical fitness by allowing you to take a tax credit of up to $1000 as an individual, or $2000 per household for fitness expenses such yoga classes and gym memberships.

Inactivity is now the 4th leading cause of death in the USA and it contributes to the number one leading cause, which is heart disease.  Exercise and meditation, combined with breathwork can significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Type 2 diabetes can also be reversed with a combination of a diet rich in plant based foods and physical movement. 

Inactivity is a HUGE problem and electronic devices and video games are adding to it. Physically fit kids on the other hand have been proven to get better grades in school. Add yoga to their physical activity and you will also see an increase in focus, memory and concentration.  I would eventually love to see all schools incorporate yoga and meditation into the school day and I believe we are headed in that direction, but we are not there yet. So parents, bring your kids and teens to yoga in the evenings or on the weekends. Even consider practicing yoga together. It is a great activity for the whole family! 

Your health is one of your greatest assets! Your body is your temple. WE can be in control of our lives for the most part. It is not easy to lose large amounts of weight, but it is not as hard as you may think if you break the weight loss process down it into small attainable steps. In other words, set simple goals that you can realistically achieve, be kind and accepting to yourself along the journey and know that there is always help. I have worked with clients who struggle with their weight and they have told me how intimidating it is to join yoga classes because their bodies literally cannot fully do many of the postures. I know that is a major point of frustration and discouragement. If that sounds like you, I am here to help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. I will modify everything in your yoga practice to make it work for you. 

I would strongly suggest if you are looking to lose more than 30 pounds that we schedule a private consultation, take body measurements (the scale is not always the best indicator for weight loss) and make a plan that will work specifically for you. I can teach you modifications that you can then use in group classes. I will also help by holding you accountable (accountability is a big motivator). Commit to yourself to creating a happy, healthy and active lifestyle. You will be amazed when many of your aches and pains disappear and by the energy and the enthusiasm that will flow back into your life.  You were designed to feel good!

Health & happiness,

Libby

PS -  My monthly membership cost is $130. If the PHIT Act passes, you will be able to write off $1000 from your yoga class fees annually on your taxes as an individual, or up to $2000 for a household.  You can even use this tax credit for Teacher Training and turn it into a money making venture for yourself! Please, I urge you, reach out to your Member of Congress and say YES to the PHIT Act! If you or a loved one (children included) are overweight, see me or someone who can help you.  

 

How to do a Headstand: 6 Steps to a Safe Headstand Using a Solid Foundation to Achieve Your Goals

It's a brand new week so it is the perfect time to set new goals. Make a list of easy ones that you would like to accomplish today. Next, make another list of slightly bigger goals you would like to accomplish this week. Finally, write down several really, really big dreams! If you believe they will happen and work toward them, you will likely achieve your goals!

The first step is getting started, and honestly that is usually the hardest part. Building a firm foundation is key. In relationships that foundation might include honesty, respect, communication and many other joint things of importance. For financial goals and manifesting abundance, it may involve a solid education, connections in your field of interest, and many hours of dedication and perseverance. In yoga, a firm foundation requires a regular disciplined practice. Through this regular practice you build the strength and flexibility allowing you to advance. You create awareness on the mat that then carries off the mat and into your daily life. And all of these experiences affect your practice! After all, the body and mind are deeply connected. 

Today I will show you the basic foundations for learning how to do a safe and sturdy headstand. This method will allow you to graduate into the full inversion as you feel ready; letting go of your fears and building your core strength. It is very important to use your core and to listen to your body! If you feel too much pressure on your neck, come immediately out of the posuture!  

Here are the 6 steps for safely doing a headstand:

1. Start in downward dog position. Drop to your forearms and interlace your fingers around your head. Bring your big toes together, then walk your toes in toward your elbows. Stay here and breathe to build strength and get used to having your head below your heart, OR move to step 2. 

2. Lift one leg at a time using your core strength. Keep your knees bent and legs close to your body coming into egg position. Feel free to do this with your back close to a wall and your mat doubled under your head and arms.  

3. Once both knees are up you are in control. You can slowly lift one leg at a time all the way up, or if this is enough for you at this moment, simply come back down.  

4. Keeping your knees bent as you raise your legs allows your center of gravity to stay low. So, if you feel wobbly, simply lower your legs and come safely back down.

5. Go slowly. Take your time. Press into your forearms to relieve pressure on the neck. Eventually, you will have the strength to press all the way up so that your head leaves the ground.

Photography by Morgan McAvoy

6. Finally, you can lift all the way up and achieve a full headstand. To come down safely and in control you want to practice coming back into that egg position. Remember, listen to your body. This is not the place for the ego to be involved. Safety is a priority.  

Practicing headstands has many benefits including: stress relief, increased focus, improved digestion, increased shoulder and arm strength, decreased fluid build up and retention in the legs, ankles, and feet, and increased core strength. Headstands also stimulate the lymphatic system. Not to mention they are fun and bring out your inner child!

It is so important to remember to have fun in life and continue to grow and accomplish new things! We are NEVER too old. Age is simply a number. What is important is how we feel. So get to it! Set your personal goals and make them happen. Feel the energy rise as your dreams start to come true! 

My personal short term goals this week are to: 

1. Finish organizing my studio space at home.

2. Make and deliver treats to families I know who are struggling.  

3. Clean and put away all of my laundry (dirty secret revealed! I tend to throw clothes on top of my dresser instead of actually opening the drawers).  

My longterm goals are to: 

1. Make an instructional video and DVD.

2. Plan and implement yoga retreats.  

3. Grow the audience for this blog and website by offering high quality content.

Feel free to comment and share your goals! I would love to hear from you. Remember, these are the starting points. If you do not accomplish them today or this week, forgive yourself and add it to your goals for the following day or week. Practice full acceptance of yourself and know that all is coming!

Simply believe!  

Libby

PS - Make sure to sign up for my NEWSLETTER.  If you do it through the pop-up window on my website, you will automatically be given access to my new and highly informative article called, "Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga." This inspiring guide also has links to additional articles that go deeper into each subject. Email me if you are already signed up for my newsletter and I will send you the password and instructions to access these tips.  You will also receive the password in my next newsletter that I am currently writing.  Thanks so much for your support and interest!

 

The Rocket Gets You There Faster, Says Bobby Weir of the Grateful Dead

Lakeside photos by Tim Bonn of B&B Productions

Rocket Yoga was formulated when Larry Schultz was traveling with the renown rock band, the Grateful Dead. Traditionally, Ashtanga Yoga was taught in a very set sequence where most people would never reach the more advanced arm balances and inversions. Well, Bobby Weir wanted to try the "fun stuff" because he knew the arm balances and inversions looked fun and gratifying. So Larry spent many nights in his room formulating a safe sequence for how to introduce practitioners of all levels, including new beginners to these more advanced postures. He came up with Bottle Rocket, Rocket 1, Rocket 2, and Rocket 3.  

Rocket incorporates a lot of core strengthening.  

Each of the sequences begins with sun salutations A & B which creates a deep heat from within the body. Following the sun salutations is a specific standing series, split series (a key component to the practice), seated series and finishing series. Each posture prepares you for the next building a beautiful balance of both strength and flexibility!  

When Larry formulated the series, he asked Bobby what they should name it and without hesitation Bobby said, "The Rocket." Larry smiled, nodded his head up and down and replied, "I like it, but... WHY?" Bobby laughed a little and said, "because it gets you there faster." It was a very true statement! Between each of the seated postures is some core strengthening and there are always a couple of dolphin poses, which also build core and shoulder strength preparing you for the arm balances and inversions. Within a year of regular disciplined Rocket Yoga practice 5-6 days a week, I was able to do the full splits. Now, I am not able to do them everyday, sometimes if I have not practiced I am immediately more stiff, but at least I know I am capable. The arm balances and inversions are incredibly fun and eventually those turn into your  transitions from one pose to the next flowing with grace. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching the Rocket practice!!! I Love to see people break the barrier of their fears and conquer things they did not believe were possible. Being upside down is truly terrifying for many people. But we take this very slowly and build up to it safely. You get used to being inverted in high dolphin, you can use the wall and other props, and by all means listen to your body! In the splits series we hold each of the three splits 6-10 breaths allowing the body to slowly sink into its natural stopping point. Each practice may take you a little deeper. Most importantly we practice self acceptance knowing that wherever we are is exactly where we are meant to be. Yoga is a journey. We practice to improve. Many many people will reach full splits in time. For some, it takes longer. For some, based on bone composition, it simply will not be possible, but those folks can still enjoy the practice!  

So hop aboard the Rocket Ship and prepare to take your body places you never thought possible. Take your mind to new levels and ultimately connect the body and mind through the practice creating the best version of yourself!  

I am more than happy to lead privates, semi privates, group and corporate classes! If you have any questions at all please let me know.   

Namaste,

Libby McAvoy

PS - I want to give a big shout-out and thank you to Amber Espelage!  Under her excellent teaching and guidance I became 100 hr certified to teach Rocket Yoga.

Reasons to Consider Yoga Teacher Training for the Summer of 2016

There are sooo many reason’s to consider yoga teacher training, even if you have not considered teaching! Teacher training will boost your self confidence, offers the freedom of self employment, and will challenge you mentally and physically.

What to expect from Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Fit Boutique:

1.     We take our program seriously, however, it is Yoga and we encompass the rules of acceptance and can work with you both financially and with schedule conflicts within reason. We want our program to be accessible to everyone.

2.     Expect to grow spiritually. Yoga is not religious specific, however we do believe you will grow in many ways spiritually.

3.     Learn correct and healthy alignment for your body and then how to share that with others.

4.     Deepen your own self study, svadhyaya. The 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga teach you to live your yoga rather than just practice the physical aspect.  

5.     Yoga will add more meaning to your life. You will create an awareness on the mat that will eventually carry off the mat and into your daily life. This awareness will grow into cosmic consciousness allowing you to stay centered and focused in each moment free from judgement.

Our program is different from other training programs.  We will prepare you to lead multiple styles of yoga.  You will develop your verbal cues and speaking skills right from the start.  We teach not only sequencing, but also how to develop your very own sequence to teach any class at any moment to any level practitioner including modifications and the aids of props.  Our program also has a very strong business and marketing module, which will prepare you to market yourself as a teacher, private instructor or business owner. 

Register TODAY! We have several spots available for our summer session.  WE meet the last weekend of each month, beginning Friday, June 24th, 5:30-8:00pm.  For more information please visit the Teacher Training Tab on our website www.yogafitboutique.com .  ****I will honor early registration through June 12th***

Namaste,

Libby McAvoy