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22.11.2014
Two Fit Moms Laura Kasperzak and Masumi Goldman are on a mission: to empower women to recommit to health and wellness.
At Gaiam, we've set out to document the real-life transformational power of a healthy lifestyle happening all over the world. Dianne Bondy struggled with body image her entire life, riding a roller coaster of weight gain and loss that lasted well into her 30s. One photo, pulled from a photo album that’s been gathering dust in the basement, shows her standing at the finish line of a marathon she just ran.
Dianne lives with her husband and two kids, Nathan and Dylan, in a little split-level house in a suburb of Windsor, Ontario. When asked if she felt an impulse to get back to her former weight and eating habits after her first son was born, Dianne has to think about it for a second. Since that class, Dianne founded a studio, got her RYT-500 certification, and started teaching private classes in her own house, specializing in modifying the practice for those who might have trouble keeping up in a standard class. It’s been a decade since Nathan was born, and Dianne hasn’t been back on the body image roller coaster since.
Talk of “resolutions” is everywhere—on social media, during TV commercials, and standing around the water cooler. Here are eight tips for making a resolution you can keep—although you’ll have to say goodbye to the word “resolution”!
First of all, stop calling it a “resolution.” If it’s true that only eight percent keep theirs, it means the other 92 percent feel they failed.
Try not to make your plan too broad or too unrealistic, or you’re increasing the chances that you won’t be able to meet the challenge. Repeat your goals aloud in front of others and you’re more likely to stick to them, because you’ll feel accountable. If you followed any or all of the tips above and you still didn’t meet your goal, it’s okay. But do you ever feel guilt, shame or disappointment in yourself, or internally tell yourself what you “should” or “must” do? Do you feel your blood pressure rise and your anger ramp up when someone cuts you off in traffic?
When you’re the victim of road rage, I’m guessing you don’t pull out a gun and shoot the other driver. Maybe we can all make the world a little better and less violent by practicing ahimsa more.
As a veteran yogini, I took prenatal yoga during both of my pregnancies and was inspired enough by the experience that I decided to become trained to teach this amazing community. This is merely the start of a practice of self-care so that you can care for others with humility, love, strength, and compassion. Flexibility—Yes, this is an instant win from taking yoga while pregnant, but I’m mentioning it first because of the physical importance it brings. Community—Being with like-minded women in an environment of compassionate awareness is so nourishing.
These are just the highlights of the beauty of this journey, as there is so much that is highly personal for each woman to embrace in her own way. For all of you who have embraced this journey, or are about to, I honor you in this sacred path. We are a proud people of the mentality “gotta’ do more, gotta’ be more,” where it’s common practice to boast about the busyness of it all and go, go, go until life is gone, gone, gone. Try to take at least one or two opportunities during your day to actively relax. What does this mean?
The balancing practice for all the styles of yoga that are popular and practiced in the West.
When you are planning your weekly schedule, be certain to include time for slowing down, turning inward, and being generous to the body that works so hard for you, all day, every day.
But there’s an even more versatile fruit (and in my opinion, a tastier one) that reaches its peak during the summer months—cherries.
The Polson Main Street Cherry Festival (Polson, Montana), featuring cherry-stem tying, cherry-pit spitting, and lots of cherry pie. The Varick Winery Cherry Festival (Romulus, New York), with cherry-picking, cooking contests, and vendors selling cherry-related products. The National Cherry Festival (Traverse City, Michigan), which includes a cherry pancake breakfast, a cherry-pit spitting contest, cooking demonstrations, and much more. Then there’s Door County, Wisconsin, where the “cherry culture” is simply part of the daily life, and the cherry harvest is celebrated and appreciated all summer long. With all the health benefits of cherries (and the delicious taste!), it’s time to think outside the pie! The folks at the Door County Visitor Bureau were kind enough to share one of their favorite cherry recipes with us—Chef Terri Milligan’s Cherry Rosemary Focaccia. Several years ago I attended a yoga class twice a week where the teacher led us through the same series of poses for months at a time.
I was honestly feeling lazy — I didn’t want to push myself, and this class made it easy to stay in my comfort zone. During one particular period of time, this teacher included quite a few asanas that put a lot of strain on my shoulders. But the pain kept getting worse, and after a while it wasn’t feeling like muscle fatigue any more. Doing the same yoga routine over and over had actually hurt my shoulders, not strengthened them. Staying in your comfort zone all the time isn’t good for your mind or your spirit, either, though. From learning new skills to meeting new people, getting out of your comfort zone puts you in line for new opportunities. I love this quote from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Learning how to step outside your safe zone and navigate the seas of change is a recipe for a healthier life.
When you experience failure, learn from it and grow from it.  Doing this often enough will result in failure ceasing to be a big scary monster but instead something you’ve experienced before. If you have a self-guided yoga practice and you’ve become completely bored with it, your playlist might be to blame. For something really different, check out this list of unexpected songs to add to your yoga playlist. Getting out of your comfort zone with a new class is a powerful way to renew your love for your yoga practice.
Practice requires effort, but the heart of an experience can only be unlocked through surrender, which is perhaps both the easiest and the hardest part. I try to imagine what it was like to wait weeks or months for a letter to arrive in the mail from a faraway friend – but with the instantaneous response I can get through email, I just can’t wrap my head around that. For a Type-A overachiever like me, patience doesn’t come without a lot of deep breathing, yoga, meditation and instrumental new-age music.
When I feel myself getting impatient, I first ask myself, Is this situation within my control?
Instead of just sitting at your desk you could be working your core, aligning your spine, and improving your posture! Vinyasa or flow yoga is when your movements are synchronized to your breath, and the moves flow together. We’re proud to announce a new way for you to practice—anywhere with an internet connection. We’re proud to announce a new way for you to practice, we’ve teamed up with iTunes to bring you our first digital-only yoga program.
Operation Take Flight featuring Patrick BeachPatrick Beach brings a fun and funky flair to all things yoga. It's Never Too Later featuring Two Fit Moms“Two Fit Moms” have created what they believe is five well rounded practices that are accessible to people of all levels of fitness.
Yoga Poses with Sara is a quick how-to guide for poses ranging from very beginner practitioners to more advanced techniques. Yoga has been proven to calm the mind, relax the body and release anxiety, all crucial components of drifting off into quality slumber and staying there all night long. So, I’ve included some stronger poses here, ones that will help you let off the steam of stress that builds up when the mind gets to running and sleep seems miles away.
Before you know it, you’ll be an expert in hopping off your own A train, whenever and wherever you choose.
Come to sit in janu sirsasana with your right leg extended and your left leg bent, foot into the right inner thigh or groin. Remain low in the pose, and walk your hands away from your straight leg toward centre between your legs, or until you can feel a stretch along the groins and inner thighs.
Take five to 10 breaths here, then come slowly to sit, shake out your legs, and switch sides.
Take five to 10 rounds on each side, then relax the head, shoulders and feet to the floor, reach overhead and take a full body stretch to counter-pose. After the fire of core scissors, cool it down and counter-stretch the front body by getting back into bed and placing a bed pillow or yoga bolster beneath the heart.
Move the pillows or bolster under your hips, and lift your legs up the wall or into the air.
So you finally got off the couch and into a gym to take a fitness class or to the website to buy a fitness DVD, and now you’re wondering: yoga or Pilates?
So you finally got off the sofa and into a gym to take a fitness class or to the website to buy a fitness DVD, and now you’re wondering: yoga or Pilates? Yoga was created in India with the purpose of connecting the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness through physical activity. There are many different types of yoga, ranging from Hatha, which is a great choice to help you chill out from a long day, to Kundalini, which has been said to help people dealing with addictions.


Pilates is unique in that, unlike yoga and other activities, its origin is relatively recent. The main goal of Pilates is to strengthen the stomach, improve posture, stabilize and elongate the spine and develop balance and overall strength. Articulated tensegrity systems how tensegrity explains muscle inhibition during injury.Continue reading "Articulated Tensegrity Systems"Sacroiliac Joint Exercises and AnatomySacroiliac joint exercises and anatomy.
Since the leg is behind the shoulder in this pose you can use yoga poses where the shoulder and leg are in a similiar relationship as preparations. Since this can be harder with the knee straight, start with postures where the knee is bent. She is the director of Satya Live Yoga and specialises in online yoga courses to help people find their own home yoga practice.
With Laura's belief that there's a style of yoga for everybody, and Masumi's dedication to fostering a deep connection between mind and body, their shared goal of making wellness available to everyone aligns with our own.
Another looks like it could have been taken in the past year, if not for the bright red “1993” glowing in the bottom corner. There’s a basketball hoop in the driveway, a gas fireplace in the living room, and a cozy office with a mat on the floor where Dianne runs her website and shoots videos for her YouTube channel. When she was seven or eight years old, she started to gain weight, much to her father’s disappointment. She’d practiced yoga off and on since the age of three, but never in a structured, formal class. She’s taken her mission online as well, joining a growing movement of what she calls “disruptors.” Along with women like Jessamyn Stanley, Valerie S of “Big Gal Yoga,” and dozens of others, her mission is to flood social media with images of women who don’t fit the narrow mould of yoga models from magazine covers and mainstream websites. Then it gets us thinking about all we want to accomplish in the coming year, too, so we start making promises to ourselves that will be really hard to keep.
So that means the word has likely taken on a negative connotation—and that could also be the reason for some failures. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you with “How’s your plan going?” and “Good job” rather than disheartening comments like, “What? If you get stressed out while trying to stick to your goal, find something to take your mind off of it.
At least you made the goal in the first place, which means that you know it’s a change you really want to make. According to an article on Gaiam TV written by Dorna Djenab, expecting too much of yourself is actually a form of violence to us and to the rest of the world.
It’s when you react to the negative thoughts or hold on to them that trouble starts and that trouble can be the source of violence.
Do you consider tailgating that car in the left lane going slower than the rest of the traffic? Let go of that road rage, don’t mutter when you have to walk through secondhand smoke to go into a store, and don’t judge people on their weight. Throughout my years of teaching and reflecting on my own prenatal yoga experience, I’ve come to the realization that there is so much more to gain from these classes than what initially meets the eye. Each class emphasizes deep stretches for the back, hips, and hamstrings—areas that support the growing baby and tend to bring in a lot of tension as a result. Prenatal yoga is also about preparing women mentally for the miracle marathon they are about to experience during labor and delivery.
A space to be present to everything good and bad that you are experiencing without judgment, without unwanted attention from strangers, and without pressure is food for the soul. As Janet Stone says, in one of my favorite posts by her, “Now I practice from the moment my eyes open until they close. I get tired just thinking of the running around that is inherent to the life culture of the masses. You will notice a boost in your energy, decreased need for caffeine and more clear thinking (less brain fog). As yogis, we have become accustomed to working hard in our classes, being challenged, and definitely breaking a sweat. It is of great important to give the body, the brain, and the nervous system this precious time of decompression.
One study even found that the antioxidants in cherries are even more effective than those in vitamin E. According to the National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation, the fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanin in cherries can help reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. Cherries are one of the few foods that assist with proper melatonin production in the body, which is necessary to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Consuming tart cherries can help regulate the genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism, which in turn can help lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
The 2,500 acres of cherries in Door County (a peninsula in eastern Wisconsin that juts out into the water between Green Bay and Lake Michigan) harvest between 8 and 12 million pounds of cherries each year. Door County’s cherries are used to make pie, of course, but local cherries are also the star of culinary creations like wine, marinades, BBQ sauces, cookies, cocktails—the possibilities seem endless! Find more unique recipes on their website, including Dried Cherry and Almond Biscotti, Chipotle Cherry BBQ Sauce, and a Sweet Cherry Mojito.
Shaking things up and getting out of your comfort zone can seem scary – but taking risks is crucial to a healthy life. When she would finally change to a new series of poses, I would quickly memorize the moves — but the lack of variation didn’t bother me. My shoulders have never been strong, so I chalked up the extra aches and pains to building more strength in a weak area of my body. While you’re chasing success in your life —whether that’s professional success, an improved relationship or finally getting into crow pose in yoga class — success chases you back. It’s one of our assignments as human beings to grow and change during our time on this earth.
In fact, change management professionals (yes, this is a real thing!) have built plans, models, and systems to help get people through times of change within companies and organizations because they have realized that a person’s ability to navigate change is directly related to their success. Maybe you’re just stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you, or a relationship that isn’t growing. Gaiam’s Yoga Rising Series is a digital-only video series that makes yoga accessible to everyone.
You don’t know the teacher, you don’t know how athletic or gentle the class is, and you don’t know if you should bring your own props.
Observing where I overcompensate in my asana practice, for example, gives me insight into where else in my life I might be trying to make up for what I feel I lack. Like a labyrinth spiralling inward towards a centre point, practice is the path that brings me closer to my infinite self. Practice primes and prunes us to connect—to become a conduit between whatever it is we’re practising and our self—but the connection itself cannot be willed. First, the effort it takes to visualize your breath this way will force you to focus on the moment. Do a Google search for “definition of patience” and you’ll read: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Your breathing is very important, because you must move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale through the nose.This sequence is a perfect way to start your day. No DVD player needed, just sign into iTunes, download the program you’d like and get to work, from wherever you are.The Yoga Rising series is one we’re super excited about and features three young, fresh, up and coming rock star yogi’s with massive followings on Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. Their practices include “Morning Flow” that’s geared to wake you up and energise you to start your day, and an alternative “Evening Flow” workout that will keep your heart rate down but promises to loosen up tight and sore muscles from a day at work.Click here to view the five practices by Two Fit Moms. My type A personality and business responsibilities are battling it out with my dire need for some mental stillness and rest.Fortunately, I have a snooze-inducing ally in yoga, and when I get up and do the following sequence, miracles happen. However, sometimes, it’s not as effective to stick only with calming poses, as a runaway train needs a strong push to make it stop dead in it’s tracks. Then we’ll move into postures that balance the adrenals, to create a more mellow central nervous system. Your front knee should be over your heel, or behind it, and your back heel is over the ball of your foot.
You may want to move your bent leg wider, until the foot rests in its own inner thigh.As you fold, keep your head lifted along a straight spine. Let your arms rest to your sides, palms up to receive the blessing of calm that comes after a strong, breath-conscious practice. This is a full-body detox only when your legs and hips are higher than your heart, and the head is below the heart. Designed for children between the ages of 7 and 12, this practice will make your child stronger, more flexible, and improve their balance and concentration. In short, it aims to not only improve your physical health, but your emotional and spiritual health as well. If you are looking for something more physically stimulating, you can try Sivananda yoga, which is a series of 12 common poses that helps to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles.
There are six key principles of Pilates: concentration, control, centering, breathing, flow and precision. Learn to feel and control the muscles that work on the si joint.Continue reading "Sacroiliac Joint Exercises and Anatomy"Body Weight SquatThe body weight squat from a yoga perspective. In one hand, she has a cup of tea, and with the other she’s digging through a shoebox full of glossy prints from as far back as the early 90s.
It’s a quiet, gray day in a quiet neighborhood, perfect for creamy homemade chai and telling life stories. Dianne and her mother would go into the basement of their home in Burlington, Ontario, put her younger twin siblings in a bassinet, and do yoga poses. That’s where it gets tricky: though the numbers vary a bit, experts believe that only eight percent of people are able to keep their New Year’s resolutions.
Formulate a solid plan, like investigating ways to cut household bills first, then having a percentage of your paycheck automatically sent to a savings account, then calling your insurance agent to review all possible discounts. When you’re trying to lose weight, for example, give yourself permission to walk away from the co-worker offering up the chocolate cake—but then go make yourself a soothing cup of tea, or take a break and get some fresh air. Choose a little reward completely unrelated to your goal, then do yourself the best favor of all and formulate another plan for February.


Just dust yourself off and try again—and you don’t have to wait until the new year rolls around once more.
The first yama is ahimsa, which is defined as “nonviolence.” But that seems way too simplistic. Djenab goes on to say that when you perform the poses gracefully on the mat, without force, then you’re practicing non-violence. Eating in itself makes that impossible, and when you walk, you inevitably step on insects plus your blood destroys bacteria and germs.
Others are veteran yoginis continuing their practice and some simply want to stay fit while connecting with baby. Taking the time to open these areas up helps relieve tension as well as prepare the body for labor and delivery.
Most modern moms and moms-to-be are so busy with the hustle and bustle of their daily routine that they forget to tune into their own self-care and tap into the power within them in order to connect to baby in a fully supported space. In each class, everyone gets to share updates, ask questions, and discover what motherhood means to them. What we forget is that our ability to exert ourselves is proportionate to our ability to rest and rejuvenate.
While this is good for the body in many ways, the body also craves the practices where we actually gain energy rather than lose it. Restorative yoga classes are the best complement to your regular yoga and can support your life in unimaginable ways.
With the cultivation of restoration in your world, you will be a better partner, parent, employee, boss, friend, and overall contributor to the world. Anyway, if you did say watermelon, you’re not alone; I conducted an informal poll at a recent get-together, and every single person I asked (all 8 of them) said watermelon too. It was lesson to me in how getting stuck in a comfort zone was not a good thing for my body. Opportunities arise when you get out of your comfort zone and start moving toward big, scary, audacious goals.
If business and technology are any indication, staying in your safe zone is a ticket to the world moving forward without you.
Even the times that you take a risk and fail, you’ve still gained knowledge from the experience.
Can’t seem to make it to your regular classes any more, and your home practice has lost its lustre?This happens to every yoga practitioner at some point. Download new classes from Faith Hunter, Patrick Beach and Two Fit Moms, and play them on any device that plays MP4s. Fall in love with your yoga practice all over again with some new inspiration – because self-care is non-negotiable for a healthy, happy life.
It’s the daily practice of showing up fully and then getting out of my own way, but it’s also the serendipitous connection to myself that arises as a result of my practice.
If I accidentally burn the crust on a home-made pie, I might notice similar reactions of impatience and self-judgement when I’m faced with the other less than perfect aspects of my life. Rather, we learn patience when we are tested, and when we finally have to accept that we can’t control the world. This instant-gratification world we live in is making us more susceptible to stress when there is delay, trouble or suffering. Try doing these moves in the morning when you wake up to get your heart rate pumping and your muscles stretched. His collection of practices feature fun yet challenging poses such as handstands, forearm balances, inversions, and twisted inversions. In about 10 minutes, I’m back in bed, shifted toward sleep in a natural, easy way that no pill can provide. You’ll stretch the back body to relieve the itchy, restless leg syndrome that can happen when stress hormones build up in the muscle tissues.
Frame your long right leg with your hands (lifted onto fingertips), and fold forward with a long spine and open heart. Inhale at centre, and exhale, draw your right knee into the chest, and twist so both your elbows are pointing at the knee.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the differences between Pilates and yoga so you can decide which is right for you. The idea behind Pilates is to gain flexibility, strength and body awareness without building bulk. When these key principles are used in conjunction with the mindset that you are creating a leaner, better you from your core muscles out, Pilates can provide that long, toned body you desire.
She is a dedicated teacher, authentic and compassionate, who puts her heart and soul into every class. Dianne Bondy is a vivacious woman who wears lots of bright colors and talks with her hands. At this point, you can’t do both.’” Dianne’s normally a fast, animated talker, but she pauses, hands in her lap. Her mother didn’t know much about the poses or how to transition between them, but she would pick photos out of the book and try to replicate them, while young Dianne followed suit. Once you achieve a small goal along your journey, you’re more likely to set another, and another, and so on, until you end up meeting the larger goal anyway.
Now, in the face of all the violence making the headlines and the havoc raised by folks drenched in hate, I’m trying to embrace ahimsa more than ever. Through music, breathing exercises, empowering stories, quotes, and reminders that this is their birthing experience to embrace, they are fully prepared for the task ahead. It could mean embracing how to move forward to honor the birthing experience they envision, acquiring the tools necessary to handle the ups and downs—emotionally and physically—of this beautiful time in their lives, or to connect with others who will be experiencing this same life-altering journey.
Though a regular yoga routine is comforting and familiar, if you don’t change things up from time to time, eventually that routine will turn into a rut. The programs on my DVD share the tools that have worked for me: self-inquiry, focused attention, and purposeful action.
This time, though, imagine once it hits the base of your spine, it bounces up a little bit and reaches the point between your pelvis and your belly button. He rounds out his program with a restorative practice he recommends completing after one of his more challenging practices to enter and reground your body.Click here to view the five practices by Patrick Beach. Lastly, we’ll move into two restorative, relaxing poses, which will still your mind and cleanse and release you from the responsibilities of your day.
Release your head completely, and let the jumble of thoughts drain out as you envision the space that’s left behind.
Allow your breathing to slow, and follow the sound with your mind.Know that as you cleanse and centre from your day, the tools of yoga are always available to you.
In addition to being therapeutic, these movements focus on building flexibility and strength.
It is considered a resistance exercise, even though, as a beginner, you may experience an increased heart rate. It shows how to set up neck and shoulders and how to get comfortable being upside down in bound yoga headstand.Continue reading "How to Do a Headstand"Yoga HeadstandHow to lift into a yoga headstand with legs straight?
Her practice dropped off when she went to school, and she didn’t set foot in a yoga studio until after her first son was born.
When someone would honk at my grandfather, rest his soul, he’d pop the hood, get out of the car and look under the hood, aggravating the honker even more. The medium may change, but the process remains constant.Excavating a posture, recipe, or relationship unearths a clearer sense of who I am. And because the path can be challenging and at times unclear, I’ve given you the kind of encouragement I’ve learned to give myself: patience, compassion, and a healthy dose of humour. These four amazing yogis put their own spin on yoga and all shed light on the idea of making your practice your own by listening to and tapping into your mind and body. Let the inhales bring more breath into your chest, and on the exhales, draw in the navel as you lengthen your tail bone down. Another distinct difference is that Pilates has a full mat routine, in addition to exercises that can only be performed on specific Pilates machines, such as the reformer and the cadillac. She wears her hair in long, twisted strands that bounce when she moves, and is quick to flash sparkling white teeth when she’s telling a story. So that, coupled with my dad being disappointed that I was gaining weight, and making fun of me…and disciplining me for eating…culminated in a very serious eating disorder.” Her parents put her on diet pills. Devoting my efforts again and again to my practice reveals the infinite nature of both the medium and myself. Each yogi or yoga pair present five 30-40 minute practices that are a full body workout but zone in on one area of the body or aspect of yoga.Spiritually Fly featuring Faith HunterFaith Hunter taps into the idea of being able to express who you are to the fullest and bringing your everyday life to your yoga mat. The meditative portion of yoga tends to attract people who are seeking to unwind from stressful situations. Learn about creating stability and staying balanced in headstand yoga pose.Continue reading "Headstand Yoga Pose"Galavasana Yoga Arm BalancePrior to learning the Yoga arm balance called galavasana it can help to learn how to lift and stabilize the hips in pigeon pose. It’s not always easy to look at oneself in a mirror—to abide with the truth—but I’m learning that when I lean into the intensity and relax, I can see more clearly. This page shows you how.Continue reading "Galavasana Yoga Arm Balance"Anatomy for Yoga TeachersAnatomy for yoga teachers is anatomy that you can feel.
They don’t stop to give someone time to pull out of their parking place, they pass you when you’re turning the wheel to straighten out after exiting a parking place, they use the wrong entrance and they speed through the lot when pedestrians are everywhere. It’ll be difficult for me to execute the instructions because I’ll lack any frame of reference for what I’m doing.
My hands will fumble with the ingredients and my attention will be pulled in multiple directions as I try to manage the process.
The nuances and intricacies of the recipe will slowly reveal themselves to me, and I’ll eventually be able to tap into the wisdom I’ve acquired through practice in order to infuse more and more of myself into my cooking. Practising this recipe will teach me about the recipe itself but it will also act as my mirror, reflecting my self back to me.



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