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Everything posted by Sahaja

  1. It kinda depends on how you're doing your yoga and how heavy your strength and running days are. Gentle yoga is great for active rest days. It's also great on the same day as the run or gym day IF you practice at a different time of day so you have the energy and focus to do both well. If you're going to do a more taxing practice like Ashtanga, power yoga, or hot yoga you'll probably want to do it on it's own day as a replacement for a run or weight training to make sure you still get proper rest days in.
  2. It looks like you're hitting the basic muscle groups, but for that knuckle forward / rounded shoulder posture you need to strengthen your mid/upper back and open your chest. - You should really focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together on your butterflys and rows. - Adding something like Lat pull downs that really focus on scapular movement should help get to those rhomboids involved too. -Stretch out your chest from time to time, you can start a few min at a time just laying on the floor with your arms wide and palms up. When that's not enough put a folded towel or a small pillow under your shoulders. -If you want a more active chest/shoulder stretch look up 'cow face pose' on YouTube, look for a video with a strap to get started. Posture is also about the deep skeletal muscles and habit, I use this process to teach it to most of my students and clients... https://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/88421-good-posture-or-how-to-stand-up-straight-in-way-too-much-detal/
  3. Jean, being present is practiced by noticing and participating in the 'now', but you don't have to process and absorb every detail of every moment. The purpose is being open to the opportunities of 'now' instead of missing out because your mind is stuck in a different time. For example, A man walking to lunch on gorgeous day is re-hashing the argument he had with someone the night before, instead of being calmed and warmed by the walk and beauty around him his mind is distracted by anger and the 'would-a, could-a, should-a' of the night before. When a dog runs up his closed mind is more likely to ignore it and continue the story line in his mind than to be open to great the dog and make a friend when it's owner turns out to be a beautiful woman. Instead of arriving to lunch with a possible date, he gets there still mad with no idea that he just missed out on an opportunity because his mind was stuck on the night before.
  4. Mukunda Stiles book "Structural Yoga Therapy" has some great info for working with your hands, but it's not specific to any activity or vocation.
  5. Plank progressions and wood choppers might be useful if you're not up to back levers yet. Planks are recommended that you only do one set per workout, and choppers can give nice results done as a single set with light weight and more reps. http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/plank-progression.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA3S8CrSOTw
  6. Everything you're asking about you can find in a good yoga class. Spinal flexibility and mobility, scapular mobility, and establishing the neurological connections to muscles you're not activating, yoga really compliments almost any other exercise. As for your posture, I work on it like this in all my classes... https://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/88421-good-posture-or-how-to-stand-up-straight-in-way-too-much-detal/
  7. Caution: May be habit forming...
  8. That sounds like a perfect first practice. I wouldn't even worry about how long you practice each time, you sound like you recognize when you're done. Just enjoy it as long as you feel like until you have to start setting a timer to remind you to move on with your day
  9. Nothing, walking meditation IS a mindful bridge activity.
  10. I'm afraid there's no trick to anchor the elbows, the best bet is to practice Eagle pose, especially the arms. That will give you the strength and shoulder flexibility to hold those elbows in.
  11. Without seeing you in down dog it's hard to say what the issue might be. What aches from it? I have my new students move in and out of poses they struggle with until their body gets used to the position. You can either drop your knees to the floor and press back up to the dog, or move from down dog to a plank (top of a pushup) and back. Within a couple weeks you should start to find the strength to just pedal your feet and bend your knees instead of coming all the way out of it, then in a while you'll be able to do longer and longer holds. The two things that come to mind about your hands slipping (you are using a mat for traction, right?) are kind of related. The first thing that comes to mind is weakness around the core, hips, and or shoulders. Without muscle engagement in those areas it's hard to find the stability in down dog. The second thing would be the spacing between your feet and hands, if your too close or too far apart it can be harder to find the engagement I just mentioned. If you start in a plank with your hands directly under your shoulders, then you should have the perfect spacing to lift your hips into down dog without adjusting your hands or feet at all. Next class when the teacher puts you in down dog, describe your troubles and they should be able to offer some more help or advice.
  12. Lilias Yoga is a good start as well, her show ran for decades. YouTube has a bunch of episodes
  13. Not exactly, they use many of the same muscles, but the asymmetric movement of lunges work the stability muscles of the hips and pelvis in a very different way.
  14. I learned about it in studying yoga and anatomy, but a quick google search of 'muscle pairs' or 'antagonistic muscles' should let you find out how the paired groups of muscles work together. The basic idea is that when a muscle like the biceps works to move the elbow for curls, the tension of the triceps on the back of the arm resists and stabilizes the elbow so the movement is controlled and safe. The opposite is true for pushups or dips, the triceps work to move the elbow and the biceps resist.
  15. Like any kind of conditioning, there are newbie gains, plateaus, and points of diminishing returns. My first questions are: -Why are you so dedicated to stretching? The goal could need a certain process. -Are you focusing on joints or muscle pairs? Muscles work in pairs and at some point you won't get good flexibility improvement without strengthening the agonist that pulls against the muscle you're trying to stretch. -Are you staying warm for the entire 45min? Not getting warmed up and not revisiting the warm up in that length of time will make a difference too.
  16. I teach yoga and even I find some of the stuff I have to deal with is way too new age and woo-woo for my taste. I probably wouldn't have stuck with it except that I found a teacher who was so obviously experienced and knowledgeable that it was impossible not to take her seriously, and even she encouraged us to use our own internal filters in class, to keep what we find useful and just not worry about the rest. That's the advice I would pass on to you... First, use that internal filter, and second, try to find a teacher that you can take seriously, and respect what they teach and how they teach it.
  17. The dangerous snakes around here are copperheads. They're camouflaged ambush predators and their instinct is to freeze till it's time to strike.
  18. Yeah that's the one, just because it's empty doesn't mean it's not still a weapon! The extra mass is part of why it's such an easy shooter, it soaks up recoil very comfortably. It feels a lot different than the ultra light CC guns that are so popular now. And snakes aren't too hard, but I've only used it on em once. I gotta be close enough to see that it's poisonous to pull a trigger, and that's plenty close for a clean shot. They even hold still at that range
  19. I'm glad you're still liking the practice, don't feel like you have to do the whole thing every time, even a little bit is better than none. Some days the only yoga I get in is a couple easy kneeling suns before bed. I think you did mention a sun salute you worked on before, I'd love to take a look at it.
  20. I shot for competition when I was younger, I thought of it as a martial art at that time, but now I practice more as a meditation. I feed that habit mostly with airguns, the only serious arms I keep at the moment are a pocket .22 I carry for snakes when I'm workin in the yard/woods, and a S&W 686 I keep for the house. The S&W is awesome, it's a full frame .357 so it's solid and stable but not huge, and it'll spit .38+P all day long with ease.
  21. Biking, strength training, looking at your diet... sounds like you're doing it right so far. As a teenager it's probably not a bad idea to look at your sugar intake, but fruit sugars and candy/soda sugars are roughly the same, swapping those will only have a minor impact. The first thing I would look at would be protein, make sure your body has the supplies to make the changes you're after with your workouts. The (very) rough formula that I'm used to is half a gram of protein p/day for every pound of body weight, but it changes for high level athletes and for people just discovering fitness. I weigh about 190 pounds, so I aim to get about 95 grams a day, but you might be better off basing it on 75-80% of your body weight (130-140gm/day). You can find out more online, and I'm sure some of the folks here on NF will chime in too. That protein goes directly to building and repairing the muscles you work when you're active, that muscle mass helps speed your metabolism up, which burns off fat faster. At 17 your metabolism should crank up like a freight train as you add lean muscle. *When I first looked at my diet with an awareness of how much protein I should get, I realized I was only eating about half of what I needed each day. When I started adjusting it felt like I was stuffing myself all day long until I found a few sources of dense protein I could use as supplements (sardines and low-sugar-home-made-protein-bars have helped a lot). The changes to my body came faster than any weight loss diet I had ever tried. As for the exercises, there is no perfect 'weight loss workout'. The best thing you can do is try a bunch of stuff and find a workout that's fun, because the one that will help the most is the one that you look forward to and do regularly.
  22. Thanks! I hope you give yoga another chance, finding a quality teacher that 'teaches' yoga instead of leading the class through some exercise can make all the difference in a students experience of yoga and desire to try it again. As I explore different topics I tend to write about them, It helps my understanding as much as it helps my ability to communicate it to my students and clients, so yeah, I'll probably add stuff in the future. I did one a few months ago in the General Fitness forum about working on your posture. I don't mind if you add a link, just make it clear that this aint magic, these are skills that literally everyone can learn.
  23. Now the disclaimers for the NFers, most of these points will be in the workshop, but not as a list like this... If anything hurts while your moving through the series find a way to work without the pain, bend a joint to release tension, add some padding, use some props... If it's tough to figure out feel free to ask here, search google, talk to a friend if you know one that practices, or find a yoga teacher and ask them, most are more than happy to help. If you practice yoga and have a different opinion about anything I've posted here or see anything I missed, please feel welcome to let me know, but please keep in mind that I intentionally present this in as basic terms as possible. Various traditions could debate the fine points of alignment, breath, focus, and on and on. I'm just offering enough information so that people might want to explore more on their own. And to clear up a common misunderstanding... Sun salutation is not a prayer or religious practice, it's called sun salutation because it's designed as a morning exercise to get you ready for the day. Yoga itself is not a religion or a religious practice, it's a secular philosophy that predates the several religions that were founded by the culture that already included yoga. *Because it's so good at moving the whole body, and activating the cardiovascular and nervous systems, sun salutations are my main warm up for any activity or workout, they make a decent cool down too.
  24. I'm writing up a workshop to present to yoga teachers and curious students, you lucky nerds get a preview as I work it out and look for feedback. There are a lot of misconceptions about yoga in the western world. I'd like to try and explain one of it's most common tools without the woo-woo hocus-pocus, and show a reason that an ancient practice has stuck around for so long is because of it's common sense and practicality. It's still widely used because it's so use-full. Surya Namaskar or sun salutation is a series of fairly common movements often used to prepare the body for activity. In a typical yoga asana class it's usually included near the beginning or middle of the class, before the most challenging poses. As you move through the poses of the sequence every major muscle group is activated, and every joint is moved in a stable controlled way, with little or no impact. There is a learning curve to it, but it's not a strict discipline, there are literally dozens of variations to play with, and they can be modified for any level of capability or comfort. I have students in their 80s and 90s that do sun salutation in class every week and I do some nearly every day. To progress through a basic version: -Stand up straight with good healthy posture. -Reach your hands up and look up like you're grabbing something off a closet shelf. -Bend over and reach your hands for the floor like you're going to pick something up off the ground (try to get your head lower than your hips). -With your hands on the floor, blocks, a chair, or a wall... reach one foot back into a lunge. You're now in the basic position you'd be in if you were getting up off the floor or caught yourself from falling. (*If you used blocks move em aside and put your hands on the floor, then...) -Step your front foot back and lift your hips to come into a down facing dog pose. Now you might be thinking that there is nothing normal or functional about this position but what we're doing is creating a way to hold a weight over our heads without having a weight. There's some happy side effects for other parts of the body too. -Straighten at the hips and come into a plank pose, as if you stumbled and caught yourself before the face-plant, or were about to do a pushup. -Lower yourself onto your belly and point your toes. Press the tops of your feet into the floor and hold them there while you squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your head and shoulders. You're not trying to pull your head back, you're trying to make your spine(and neck!) into the longest smoothest curve you can, using your back muscles. This is one of my favorite poses, it's all about back strength and chest flexibility. It counters that shoulders-and-back rounded forward, caved in chest position that we tend to fall into when we're driving or working at a computer, or eating/working/reading/whatever in a seat or at a table. -Leave your hands where they are (they should be right next to your chest) and lift your hips and pull your tail bones back towards your heels. If you have lower back pain this position can be amazing, it takes all the pressure off the muscles and disks and gently stretches the whole spine. -Curl your toes under and push your hips up to the ceiling to come back into the down facing dog. -Step forward into a lunge with the same foot that was forward in the first one. (*If you need the blocks pull em back in now) -Step the back foot forward and try to reach the top of your head towards your toes, and your hips up to the ceiling. -Inhale back up to standing, reach your hands up and stretch... -Bring your palms together at your chest and be happy, or grateful for something, or just relaxed for a moment. Then release your hands and you're ready to start again. That is half of a basic, traditional sun salutation, you would finish by repeating it and stepping the other foot back for the two lunges. It's not uncommon for people to switch lunges to hit both sides in a single run through, and not many people will have a problem with it if you choose to work that way. At first most of the poses feel awkward, while you're in them and while you're trying to move from one to the next. But your body will get used to them, then you'll find the rhythm of the breath and attach it to the movement, then you'll find the smooth transitions between poses. (pro tip: start a breath, then a movement)
  25. First, cautious, gentle, very very slowly stretching out those quads. And do it carefully. Really. Moving slowly in and out of yoga poses like cat/cow and sunbird would help strengthen the hamstrings and glutes(without working the quads at the same time) to counter the pull of the quads a little. Playing with runners stretch can get directly to the quads, and with a pad under and in front of the kneecap can actually help keep the patella down where it should be while you're stretching. Taking time every day or two to sit on something high so that her feet can dangle while her thighs stay relaxed, and lifting and lowering her toes from the ankle will give the patellar tendon an excuse to tighten back up a little as well. The idea is to stretch the 'belly' of the quad without any more stretching (and hopefully a little tightening) of the tendon below the patella. Yoga with a quality teacher and/or physical therapy can show her how to work with and around those issues and would help a ton. It's gonna be hard to find a more vigorous exercise (equivalent to squats) that she can do without pain or aggravating a condition like hers. She should probably focus on rehabilitation of that area for the time being, at least until she can get up and down stairs without pain. It won't be an overnight fix either, it takes time to make changes to tough connective tissue like patellar tendons and muscles as big and dense as quads.
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