Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yoga and Pilates

Beauty is not just about having a great haircut, wearing a hot outfit, or having flawless makeup. I truly believe that beauty does emanate from within. The way one looks is a big part of beauty... but there are so many other aspects of being beautiful. Now, I can go into a whole thesis on this topic, but I will spare you. Instead, I will say that an enormous part of beauty is your self-image.
How healthy you are can also have a huge impact on how you feel about yourself.

I never used to exercise~ in fact... I hated it. When people told me they worked out, I would say, "Oh.. you're one of those people..." But as we get older and metabolisms slow down... you can't eat Wendy's cheeseburgers at 1 in the morning and still expect to be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning with a flat stomach (oh... how I miss those days)!

I actually started doing yoga about 3 years ago. It eventually led me to venture outside the world of "anti-exercise". I LOVE yoga. Those that know me know that I am an extremely high-strung person with a lot of energy. And when bad things happens... I can get extremely stressed out and am a mess. Yoga is one of the very few things that keeps me calm and relaxed.

There were many benefits of Yoga that I experienced, but here are my top 3:

1. A Calm and Relaxed state of mind- After doing a lot of bendy moves, there's nothing as calming as relaxation pose. Basically, you lie flat on your back with your arms to your side and legs open. Even if you don't do yoga, this is a great thing to do at the end of a hard day. Even a minute or two makes a huge difference

2. Healthier lifestyle- Not only did I feel physically better, I also wanted to live better~ quit smoking, eat healthier foods, exercise more. Yoga makes you feel better both mentally and physically

3. Better Body- I have been pretty skinny for most of my life and I fluctuate in weight a lot... but one part of my body that I HATED were my calves. I had skinny chicken legs... but big calves... so my legs basically looked like a drumstick! After doing yoga for a few months, I noticed that my legs were a LOT slimmer and I actually started wearing shorts and skirts!

Now I actually started doing yoga with DVDs because I didn't want to embarrass myself in a class. These are a few really great DVDs for all different uses. I have two favorite instructors that I absolutely love ~ Sara Ivanhoe and Ellen Barrett. They have many DVDs and have been featured in countless magazines and shows as experts in their field.

Sara Ivanhoe is great because she's very calming, encouraging, and doesn't push you. She's a perfect yoga instructor who's not boring, or too demanding. She's JUUUSSST right. And you WILL get a great workout without even knowing it (Pop some Advil the next morning.. you'll be fine) If you're in the California area and can take a class with her... RUN to the yoga studio!

Ellen Barrett is just as great as Sara. She does more Pilates workouts mixed with Yoga. She's good if you want to get more of a cardio workout. She has great energy and really keeps you motivated. I was lucky enough to take a class with her and she is so awesome. If you live in Connecticut, go to her classes!

These are my favorite DVDs from them:

Crunch- The Perfect Yoga Workout: The Joy of Yoga and Fat-Burning Yoga
This was the first DVD I used so it holds a special place in my heart.

* It has two workouts in one~ I actually find the Fat-Burning Yoga workout to be easier for me... but it may be because I started off with that one. I do the Joy of Yoga when I feel like I want a little tougher workout
* They are both around 45 minutes of workout. Sometimes I like to just do 20 minutes and I still feel a burn the next day. I actually only did 20-30 minutes the first month and then eventually I found that I could do the whole DVD without having a heart attack!
* This workout is great for beginners and more practiced Yogis alike.

Sara Ivanhoe's Yoga Body Makeover Series

* This is a series of 20 minute Yoga workouts for all different areas. I love these cause you can get a good workout in only 20 minutes, or do a lot of them if you're buff Yogi!
* They are in the flow style, so you're never holding a pose too long. It's not too difficult, but it definitely pushes you and you can go at your own pace
* You can choose what problem area to work on- legs, arms, stomach, etc.
* The scenery is really nice~ She does Yoga on grass with trees and ocean in the background

Crunch Burn and Firm Pilates

* This is the DVD to use if you really want to get toned and get a good cardio workout. I still can't do the whole DVD, but even 20 minutes of this baby 2 or more times a week makes a big difference! I usually finish around the time the Pilates Mat Section starts and I skip over some of the hard stuff
* The lady Erin in the back is so cute! Very smiley~ Follow her for the easy version
* I like to do about 10-20 minutes of this ('cause it totally kicks my butt) and then do a quick Yoga DVD so I get both cardio and stretching~
* This isn't easy (and it's harder than you'll think) so start out slow and work your way up. A few weeks of this and you're body will be SMOKING.... or at least better than it was before! ;)

Crunch SuperSlimdown: Pilates Yoga Blend

This is my favorite Ellen Barrett DVD. It's a good mix of Yoga and Pilates moves. It's very free flowing, but not too difficult. There's one or two moves that I feel really stupid doing... but you're doing it at home so who cares!

*This one is for all levels~ Beginners can stop at whatever point and work their way up. People more advanced can always get deeper into the stretches
*This DVD is good for people who may think Yoga is too slow or doesn't like holding stretches for a long time. You're moving from one position to the next at a little bit of a quicker pace. Great for people who have no attention span like me!
*My favorite exercise is the Willow because I feel like it gets everything stretched out at once

So... I hope you are able to check out these 2 amazing women. They will help you get healthier, happier, motivate you, and hopefully help you to exercise on a regular basis. These women changed my life. I hope they change yours too! Namaste~* (The Light Within Me Honors the Light Within You)

1 comment:

  1. This is great info. I've never done yoga and wanted to start yoga myself but was clueless of which DVD to buy. I think I am gonna try
    "Crunch- The Perfect Yoga Workout: The Joy of Yoga and Fat-Burning Yoga."