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7 Yoga Essentials

By | All Posts, Fitness & Health, Friday Favorites, Yoga | No Comments

If you’re looking for a few tools to have some fun with on your mind body journey I’ve got you covered in today’s blog!

I’ve been practicing pretty regularly for ten years now. I started getting more serious about my yoga practice throughout this past year. I enrolled in a 200 hour yoga teacher training back in September and have definitely found a few props and accessories that I love bringing into my practice.

Now, granted, you can get your yoga on with nothing but your heart and soul. You don’t need a mat, a class, a teacher, or any props. Yoga can be done anywhere, at anytime, simply by getting quiet with yourself and focusing on the breath. Getting present with ourselves is truly what it’s all about.

Some of these items might seem a bit pricey but when it comes to things like your yoga mat you really do get what you pay for. I buckled down and dropped about $70 on the mat listed below and I LOVE IT. I have no doubt it will last me many many years. I asked a friend to test drive hers out one day during class and was sold within five minutes. No slip. No slide. If you’re just getting started with yoga and want to get a feel for it first you can also find decent yoga mats at Ross, Target, or any local sporting good store.

For everything else, I’d say shop around, read reviews, and ask your yogi lover friends what props they use. These items make an AWESOME gift for your yogi loving mom, friend or, sister!

  1. A yoga mat is nice to have. Bonus if you can get a carrying bag or strap.
  2. A nice firm cork yoga block, as seen on my Friday Favorite’s list, is a definite bonus if you’re tall or if you need more flexibility, assistance with balance, and also makes for a nice meditation spot.
  3. Yoga straps are great for stretching and assisting with reach. There are a ton of Youtube videos for how to use a yoga strap too!
  4. Mat spray is great to have in your bag or with your mat. Spray down your mat after each practice to keep it fresh and disinfected.
  5. A foam roller is a must for pretty much everyone not just yogis.
  6. Yoga socks help you from slipping and sliding on your mat.
  7. Yoga blankets rock! I keep one in my car at all times. You never know when you’ll bust out a picnic but these are also great for shoulder stands, savasana, and under the knees.

Click the images and you’ll be redirected to the info and purchase sites.

These are just a few of my favorites. What are yours? Comment below and let’s discuss!

Happy Birthday

Fly Girl Aerial Parties

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Host your own fly girl aerial party!  

I am having so much fun hosting parties, workshops, and other aerial events! I understand how challenging it can be to think of something different to do with that special event you have coming up. Typically going out to dinner is the go-to option when it comes to planning a special birthday, bachelorette, or girls night out.

I have a better idea!

Get your crew together and let’s fly! We will climb, swing, and flip together when you book your aerial party with me! I have a few different options available when it comes to specialty events.

Not sure if aerial is for you?  Here’s a little more information about this awesome format to help you get your booty off the couch and into the air!

Q: What IS aerial?

A:  A series of poses and postures where we are sitting/laying/wrapped up in a silk hammock that is suspended from the ceiling.

Q: Wait a minute, I’m in the AIR?! I don’t want to fall from the ceiling!

A:  Your body won’t be any further than 3 feet from the floor at any time.  So basically, you’re actually CLOSER to the ground then you would be if you sat on your dining room table.

Q: What’s the weight limit?

1,000 pounds – So you’re good to go! If you can perform 5 full sit-ups then you are ready for aerial classes.

Q: Is there anyone who shouldn’t do aerial?

A: While I believe the benefits can help anyone, it’s probably not the best idea to swing upside down if you have a history of experiencing vertigo; And as always, if you are pregnant you should discuss it with your doctor before coming to class.

Q: What ages are allowed in class?

Ages 9 and up. Please click here for more info on booking your private class or event.

How icreate

How I Create Choreography

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I’ve been teaching dance fitness workouts for almost a decade. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I come up with choreography.

Do I make it up? Does it come to me easily? How do I find the music?

I do have a process and it’s evolved over time. I definitely have seasons where I feel blocked and unable to come up with anything new too!

I start with the music. This is the easiest part for me. I know what I like and I know what I don’t! You’ll RARELY, if ever, hear a Pitbull song in my set list. Nothing against the Mr. Worldwide I just don’t care for his music. Sorry if you’ve ever put in that request and heard crickets. I just can’t. Might I redirect you to ANY and every Zumba class?

My class set list is full of songs you won’t typically hear on the radio. I find most of my music on Spotify. Spotify offers a “Discover Weekly” playlist with similar songs of the music you already listen to. They change up the playlist every Monday which I love! Typically when I find a new song or artist I really like I’ll listen to that song or artist “radio.” I go deep into the rabit hole and find some really cool stuff.

Once I have a song I always check to see if there is a music video on Youtube. I can usually get choreography ideas from the video. Then I’ll search to see if anyone else has already created a dance to the song I’ve selected for inspiration. Or I’ll straight up use their choreography! If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! A few of my favorites are The Fitness MarshallDance Fitness with Jessica, and Cardio Dance with Berns.

I study the lyrics and melody of my music too. It’s nice to know what the song is about, how many verses, chorus, and breaks are in the song. This is really helpful for building choreography and knowing when to repeat moves. Not to mention musicality! If you know your music front and back you’ll be a lot more confident dancing to it!

I try to start most of my dance workouts with a simple two count move like a slide or step tap. This gives me an opportunity to preview what’s coming and build confidence in the class. I want everyone to leave feeling successful!

I totally use notes and yes I totally throw a song into a class from time to time and wing it. I don’t recommend doing this very often and definitely avoid this method if you’re not comforatble with creating choreography on the fly. Because when you bomb you bomb hard. If you’re lucky the moves will come naturally and it will ROCK. If you’re okay with possibly eating some humble pie then go for it.

Most of the moves come to me while driving! This is what we call CARography. Once I have my music, moves, and notes it’s time to test it in class. I’ll usually preview the moves of a new dance the first few classes. Once the class is confident with the dance we record it and post the video to Youtube!

These are typically the steps I take to build a class. An hour long class is usually around 14-15 songs so you can imagine the work that goes into each set! It’s a labor of love and driving passion of mine. You can workout with me anywhere! Click here to subscribe to my Youtube channel. And do me a favor… when you see a new upload please leave a comment and show my homies some love!

OIL PULLING

What is Oil Pulling?

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Oil pulling was something I heard about through my circle of friends a few years ago when it seemed to be all the rage and trending around my Facebook newsfeed. I have not heard much about it lately but decided to make it a part of my morning routine because of the plethora of benefits that it provides.

I had been searching for ways to naturally whiten my teeth and remembered that whiter teeth were one of the benefits of oil pulling. Or so they say. So I decided to give it a go and test it out for myself. It’s only been a few weeks but I feel like it’s working. I should have taken “before and after” pictures or something but I didn’t. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it!

I subscribe to Darren Hardy’s “Darren Daily” text each morning and decided to use his morning message my trigger for my oil pulling. His text usually comes through around 7 am. By this point, I have already completed my morning yoga practice, meditation, and am preparing to get the kiddos ready for school. So I grab a spoonful of coconut oil that sits on my kitchen counter, put it in my mouth, and start swishing. When I first started I would only do about five minutes or so. I was able to work my way up to twenty minutes in no time.

If you’re just starting out I would recommend using a teaspoon over a tablespoon and making sure that the oil is liquefied. It takes some getting used to at first and if you have to chew the solidified oil you might gag yourself. Be sure to facetime me if you go for it because I’d love to watch your reaction!!!

Spit. Don’t swallow.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique. You basically swish oil in your mouth for 5-20 minutes to help improve your oral and overall health. When you swish it around in your mouth bacteria gets stuck in the oil and dissolves. This is the main reason you want to be sure to spit it out in the trash after you’re done. You definitely don’t want to swallow all of the bacteria that you’re trying to get rid of. Or clog up your pipes!

I prefer coconut oil but you could also try sesame, sunflower, or olive oil. Coconut oil also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

I’m not certain of any scientifical studies that prove these benefits but they seem legit to me. Afterall, coconut oil is magical right? I just know that I love how squeaky clean my mouth and teeth feel once I’m done. You can definitely use the Google to research on your own. These are the main benefits that I was initially drawn to.

  • Whitens teeth
  • Strengthens teeth & gums
  • Prevents cavities & gingivitis
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Prevents bad breath
  • Prevents cracked lips
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Clears up sinuses
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Relieves headaches

If you try it let me know how it goes. If you’re like me, you might enjoy the twenty minutes not having to answer anyone’s questions or phone calls. It can be quite relaxing!

A WEEK OF

A Week of Hard Labor – Program Review

By | Fitness & Health, Reviews | No Comments

My husband, Darren, and I love to lift weights together. We found a great set of dumbbells for a great price on Craigslist several years ago and have been using the same workout program at home ever since. Even though he has a gym membership and I own a fitness studio we still like to lift at home together.

Our program of choice is Body Beast. It’s a program created by trainer Sagi Kalev that we stream on demand through Beachbody On Demand. Body Beast is a 90-day weight training program. I graduated from this program shortly after it was released a few years ago. Now, we just pick and choose which workouts we want to do each week. We typically lift 3x each week and mix it up between upper body, lower body, and core work.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting for a Body Beast 2 program to be released (who knows if it ever will!) so I was stoked to hear about “A Week of Hard Labor!” Which is basically five new workouts with Sagi. We were all in on this challenge!

Each workout is around 45 minutes and requires some equipment. It’s nice to have a bench but you could use a stability ball. We used weights ranging from 5lbs to 50lbs. Resistance bands are nice to have handy too! If you do not have a lot of equipment I would start adding what you can when you can. Our home gym has come together in bits and pieces. We share a lot of equipment and trade of sets when we need to.

We started the week out with a chest and back workout followed by leg, core, upper body, and finished with a total body ladder workout. The shortest workout was the 30-minute core and the longest was the 50-minute total body. I think it’s safe to say the chest workout was my favorite and the total body was my least favorite.

I was thankful to have Darren in the dungeon with me during that ladder workout. A ladder workout is where you complete a set of exercises and then repeat each exercise by adding one rep. We did eight sets and then went back down the ladder decreasing reps by one rep until we were back at one. It was brutal but totally worth it.

A Week of Hard Labor – Get to Work!

I’d recommend this week long program for anyone who consistently lifts weights but wants to change it up and challenge their body. There is a modifier in the videos to follow if you don’t have a lot of equipment or need to take it down a notch. I really like Sagi as a trainer too. He makes me laugh with his commentary and strong Israeli accent. He likes to crack jokes but they don’t always make sense which is hilarious to me.

I like that they have women in the workouts too. There are no women in the Body Beast program so it’s nice to have the ladies in the Hard Labor workouts to follow along with!

Beachbody On Demand is the best bang for your buck when it comes to exercising at home. If you like to have guidance, variety, and results you cannot go wrong with BOD. Darren and I both have Beachbody Coach accounts and highly recommend it, if anything, for the discounts! If you’re interested in streaming your workouts and gaining access to over 600 different workouts from home you should definitely check it out. You can stream from your computer, phone, tablet, and basically get it done from ANYWHERE!

I’m always here to help support and coach you through any of the programs! Grab a BOD Challenge Pack and you’ll instantly have access to everything for a YEAR! Your All-Access Challenge Pack also comes with a bag of Shakeology. SCORE! Shakeology is something Darren and I also drink daily. If you need a recipe this is my go-to.

Thanks for checking out my review on A Week of Hard Labor. I am excited to see what special challenges they throw at us next! Get BOD so you can jump in and join us next time! We have an awesome community group on Facebook for all of our friends who use BOD.