Since getting back on the mat, I have heard from several fellow runners about how they are interested in yoga but are unsure of where to start or what poses might look like. One of my favorite poses that can be done before and after your runs is Child's Pose. While it might look simple, it's benefits listed
below are numerous.
The Benefits of Child's Pose (Balasana)
Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
Flexes the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple
It lengthens and stretches the spine
It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
Normalizes circulation throughout the body
It stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee
Calms the mind and body
Encourages strong and steady breathing
To settle into this pose, think of being a "fetal position". Shins are on the floor and the chest can either lay on the knees or on the floor depending on if the knees are spread apart. The head rests on the floor and the arms may be stretched out in front or at the sides depending on the comfort level.
With any yoga practice the most important part of any pose is the breath. Breathe deeply and settle in just a bit more.
Tap tap...tap tap..I lazily turn over and glance at the green numbers glowing on the clock indicating its just after 5 am. I've slept in so to speak and my dog is walking back and forth on the hardwood floors downstairs letting me know he wants to go out. He has a routine. I am thankful he hasn't barked yet and woken the kids.
Tiptoeing downstairs, I flick on the light and coffee maker, thankful I can take my time to get out there this morning to run or walk. Piping hot java in hand, I sit down to a calm silence in the house. The only sound the clickety clack of fingers touching the IPad screen.
It is in this silence that I am truly thankful. Thankful for what matters and is truly important. Thankful that my family is safe on this Thanksgiving, and I get to spend this day with them. I recognize that for some people that this is not a reality. However, this feeling of thanks should not be merely contained to just this day.
Given the pace that many of us take in our daily routine, days like today should not only provide us with a pit stop to pull off and enjoy the view, but to remember what we have and should be thankful for.
After a particularly craptastic day at work, I was poking around on Twitter and was just on the interwebs at the right place and time to be selected by Premier Protein to receive a gift package of their products. In the past when I have received samples, they have usually been limited to one or two but I was pleasantly surprised when the box below showed up and had several of their products for me to try.
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Protein, protein, protein. We love protein because it is essential
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As a parent of two active kids, school administrator and runner, I know that with being on the go that I make poor nutritional decisions if I do not have readily accessible snacks. One of the easiest things for me to slide into a backpack or bag is a protein bar of some sorts. I don't have to measure a portion or worry about the Ziploc bag breaking open with them. However, my own taste palate for most of the protein type bars I have tried in the past have bordered on yucko. Consistent with the taste of cardboard, I didn't care how many grams of protein it had, they usually have tasted like crap. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the Premier Protein bars that I have sampled so far.
I have tried the bars as a mid morning or late afternoon snack and found them to be both tasty and satisfying.
As for the Premier Protein Shakes, I have only tried the Chocolate flavor so far. On both occasions they have been after 12 and 13 mile runs and found the taste to be quite smooth. Not to many calories, and plenty of protein to help rebuild.
Premier Protein can be found at Wal Mart, Costco, and Sam's Club.
My buddy and I were talking about yoga the other day over a few cowboy pops at Dragonmeads, and he said he wished that yoga places offered like a men's only beginner class to ease them into practicing yoga. Classic case of being a strong runner but inflexible and didn't want to look or feel like a dufus in a class.
Problem solved, I told him....Simply Yoga. Simply Yoga is an app that boasts a free version and paid version ($ 2.99) available on Itunes that has an easy way to immerse yourself at home, on the road, or wherever into yoga. Each of the practices has a time limit of 20, 40 or 60 minutes. In the free version, you get access to only one routine while the paid version gives access to one more practice. Both of the practices are centered around multiple rounds of Sun Salutations which in their own right can be a challenging and invigorating practice. There is also the availability to start a practice at a certain pose or create your own routine within the paid version.
The voice of the instructor is calm and even keeled. One thing that I enjoyed is that there is video of a woman going through the practice as the instructor calls out the next pose. The woman does not use a mat instead practicing on carpet and there is no instruction for modifications to any of the poses if they prove to challenging.
I did several routines using the free version before plunking down to what amounts to a Vanilla Latte at Starbucks for the paid version. With local yoga class fees running from $5 - $15, picking up the paid version was a no brainer. I now have a traveling yoga practice available at my fingertips. For those looking to try out some yoga at home before going to a studio, this is a great introduction as well.
"I don't know who you are anymore" replied my son to his mother the other day. She left for work the other day with hair inching down towards the middle of her back only to return with a short bob and the remnants in a Ziploc bag neatly banded up and measuring approximately 10 inches ready to ship.
Ship where? Since giving birth to our son, my wife has twice now grown her hair out for an organization called Locks of Love. From the website: Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. Some also have lost their hair to cancer as well. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.
If you can not stand the thought of growing your hair out 10 inches in order to meet the minimum requirements, you can also go to the website and make a financial donation to the cause. I am proud of my wife for taking on the challenge to donate to such a worthwhile organization.