Posted by: Christopher Roberts | April 16, 2014

Gentle Yoga to Relieve Back Pain

Here is a gentle yoga sequence to help relieve back pain that is great for all levels, especially beginners. You will need a strap and at least one yoga block. Throughout the series try to lengthen the spine, and take nice deep breaths all the way into the belly and back.

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | April 11, 2014

Boston Strong

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Image found on Google

The Boston Marathon is just around the corner. It’s been one year since the last marathon when the bombings occurred at the finish line in the center of Boston. Three people were killed and countless were injured. At first the anger across the city was immense and a little scary. I recall the lock-down of the city and surrounding areas during the manhunt for those responsible for the bombings. New Englanders were out for blood the days following the bombings. The tension and fear in Boston and the cities surrounding it was so thick you could taste it in the air, and it left a bad taste in your mouth.

One of my first apartments in the area was right on the Boston Marathon course. I now live out by the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Over the years my long runs (and most of my short runs) as well as all of my bike rides have been on the marathon course. I’d stop and chat with other runners who were doing training runs for the marathon. Over the years I’ve met and have many friends who run the marathon every year. I’ve volunteered time and donated money to different charities raising money during the marathon.  I’ve sat outside for hours on the sidelines every year since I’ve moved here cheering on runners of all shapes and sizes.

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Image is my own

EVERY year, except one! Last year I had the day off and was planning to venture into Boston to the finish line to cheer on the runners and be part of our city buzzing with energy and excitement. But as I was getting ready, something made me change my mind. I decided to stay home and do nothing that day. Maybe watch it on TV instead. I’d like to think that someone was watching over me that morning and got me to stay home.

The weeks following the bombings the city came together in a way Ive never felt anywhere Ive ever lived. People came together in selfless acts, put together events, and did anything they could to raise money for or to help the bombing victims in any way. We became BOSTON STRONG! A city united in grief, but still showing how resilient we could be. We visited the memorial that was created on Copley Square near where the marathon finish line is. People left their shoes, bibs, hats etc all to honor the victims of that day. Walking around the memorial everyone had tears in their eyes. It was a very overwhelming sight.

BM

Image is my own

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Image is my own

BM3

Image is my own

Now here we are, a whole year later, and one week away from the marathon. Injuries are healing, but there are still scars. Our hearts are healing, but there are still scars. We are not our scars though. The stories of the victims who have moved on and not let their injuries define them are heart warming. We are BOSTON STRONG and I think even stronger than ever.

My own teacher recently taught at the school to the class mates of Martin Richard who was the youngest of the three that died that day. He was only 8 years old that day. The school, instead of remembering the day in anger, created a “Peace Project” instead. My teacher was invited in to teach yoga to the students. This completely wraps up to me how the city has responded…with love and peace.

There are high emotions now as we get closer to this year’s marathon, but they are all positive. I see that every action that has come out of this tragedy has been a positive one for the most part. We have responded with positivity instead of more anger and fear. We’ve healed, we’ve moved on. The charities and events that have been created in acts of love and peace show that we may never forget but we choose to respond with love instead of anger now. Always BOSTON STRONG.

Good luck to all of my friends and anyone else running this year’s Boston Marathon. I will be on the sidelines cheering loudly, probably with tears in my eyes, but holding you all in my heart.

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | April 4, 2014

To Be Goddess

Goddess

One of the things that I’ve been wanting to do on this blog was reviews of books, products, etc that I enjoy and want to share. I LOVE to read! I read mostly non-fiction books on subjects like Yoga, Pilates, Spirituality, Religions and the odd biography. So you will definitely be seeing more book reviews posted here going forward. Share the knowledge!

I recently just finished To Be Goddess: Every Woman Is A Goddess by Tia Johnson and loved it. I strongly believe that we all have both a divine female (Goddess) or divine male (God) energy within us.  Johnson’s book is a simple guide to tapping into the Goddess within us all. Johnson guides you in how to tap into this powerful energy through meditations, prayers and simple exercises to connect with the Goddesses from different religions and pantheons. I really enjoyed some of the meditations and rituals that one can do to connect to Goddesses like Kuan Yin, Lakshmi, and Freyja.

Connecting to your own inner Goddess gives way to courage and strength you may have not known you had. Through the exercises in the book you may discover a new path, how to awaken dreams and goals that you may have put aside, and to find the energy you need to live your life like the Goddess you are!

 

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | April 2, 2014

What Is Pilates?

 

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This article is by no means meant to be in depth discussion on the exercise method known as Pilates, but a brief overview.

Pilates is a method of exercise that was created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th Century. Originally called Contrology by Pilates, it has become one of the fastest growing methods of exercise. Joseph Pilates was a German who was interned in a prison camp in England during World War 1. Pilates created the exercises that we now know to help keep his fellow detainees fit and healthy during the war. He created resistance equipment by using bed frames and bed springs, as well as metal bands from beer kegs. These were the first Pilates equipment that we now know as the Reformer and the Magic Circle.

After the war Pilates moved to New York City where he opened his first studio and worked mostly with boxers. Because his studio was also in close proximity to many dance studios, eventually many dancers came to him looking for rehabilitation for different injuries. Joseph Pilates continued to teach out of his studio for many years, and wrote two books on his method, “Return to Life Through Contrology” and “Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education”.

Pilates is at it’s heart a physical fitness routine that builds on core (also known as the “powerhouse”) strength and flexibility. Focus is put on spinal and pelvic alignment, breath, concentration and control of the core muscle group through body based movements. Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports correct posture, and teaches you to move with ease and grace, while building flexibility and long, lean muscles, strength and endurance in the legs, abs, arms, hips, and back.

There are six principles of Pilates that are now known to be a major part of the method. These are concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing (we will focus on the principles of Pilates in an upcoming article, so we will just touch briefly on them for now).

There are mat exercises that can be done anywhere on a padded mat, and focus more on using one’s own body weight and movement to engage and strengthen the “powerhouse” and other parts of the body. There are very apparatus that were created and still used today that includes the reformer, Cadillac, barrels and more. These, especially the reformer, use spring loaded resistance to offer a more challenging strength and endurance workout.

The beauty of the Pilates method is that is accessible to everyone, and most of the exercises can be modified to suit different populations. If you are interested in further exploring the Pilates method look for a certified instructor in your area and try a class.

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | March 30, 2014

Black Moon

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Posted by: Christopher Roberts | March 18, 2014

Gentle Yoga Sequence for Neck and Shoulders

The latest video is a gentle Yoga sequence for the neck, shoulders and back. The sequence is great for all levels, especially beginners. Some of the poses require the use of a Yoga strap, if you do not have one you can substitute a towel or t-shirt. Hold each pose for anywhere from 5-10 breaths depending on how you feel in each pose, and how much time you have to practice this sequence.

I use this sequence often to begin my classes as it is a great way to warm up before moving into Sun Salutations or any other Yoga poses. So feel free to bust out into a flow of your own after practicing this sequence.

I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to like, share, and comment on the YouTube channel or this post.

Namaste!

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | March 7, 2014

Pilates with the Thera Band

This Pilates workout utilizes the Thera Band, which you can find just about anywhere. I ordered mine from Amazon. The Thera Bands come in different colors, and each color is a different amount of resistance. I love using these in both Yoga and Pilates workouts because they give you some added resistance that helps to strengthen the area of the body you are focusing on.

You can also use these to mimic some of the exercises you would do on the reformer, such as footwork and chest expansion (which we do in this video). Thera bands are easy to travel with as well, and you can use them anywhere and anytime you can sneak in a workout on your mat. You can even adjust the amount of resistance you get from the band; the closer your hands are to the middle of the band, the more resistance you’ll feel and the closer your hands are to the end of the band, you will have less resistance to work with.

I hope you enjoy this video!

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | March 3, 2014

Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing

I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen for the past two hours, but I’ve prepared all the meals for the week including breakfast and lunch. I find it’s much easier to stay on point with nutrition when everything is ready to just grab and eat. Prepping your meals for the  whole week will actually save you time during your week, and keep you from grabbing something you don’t really need to be eating. And everything I made today was Gluten Free, Paleo and Clean Eats! You can’t beat that.

But first, I made the best lunch today!! Avocados stuffed with Tuna. So easy and so delicious.

avocados

Although we are still in Winter, with chilly temps and snow in the forecast, I am so over having heavy and hot meals. My taste buds are just screaming for some fresh, cool, crisp, raw veggies. So for lunches this week, I went back to an old favorite of ours, the salad in the mason jars. I started with a homemade Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing (see recipe below). Then lots of fresh veggies chopped up, such as broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and spinach. Place the sturdiest veggies in the bottom, and top with the spinach. Then shake when ready to eat to coat everything in the dressing.

salads

For breakfast this week I made a veggie fritatta. It helped that I used the same veggies in the salad and in the fritatta, so I didn’t have to cut up anything extra. I can’t wait to have this every morning this week. Such an easy way to get in your veggies and protein. I didn’t add any meat this time, but you can also add some Canadian bacon or other meats.

Frittata

 

 

Here is the recipe for the Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing. It’s so easy and so delicious. If you make it, let me know what you think, or how you changed it. Enjoy!!

In a bowl whisk together the following:

  • 1 Cup of Tahini
  • 1 – 1 1/2 Cups of Vinegar (you can do Balsamic, Rice Wine, etc)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons of minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of Ginger (or any other herbs/seasonings you want)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

 

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | February 24, 2014

Yoga Pose of the Week: Virabhadrasana II / Warrior II

Warrior2

Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II is a strengthening pose, not just of the body but of the soul. In the pose, you can feel your body fiercely reaching out in all directions, exuding the strength of a warrior. From the crown of the head to the soles of your feet, you are standing in strength, standing in power, yet at the same time you are able to find this center of calmness and peace.

I often tell my students in this pose to feel strong, and to send energy out through the hands and the feet, but find this center of stillness and ease in the center of their bodies. The arms and legs are strong but the heart, shoulders, and face are all soft. Virabhadrasana II strengthens the legs and core, as well as the mind.

Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II

Benefits:

  • Strengthens legs
  • Stretches groin, inner thigh, chest and shoulders
  • Increases core strength and stability
  • Opens hips
  • Strengthens quads

 

How To:

  • From Tadasana/Mountain Pose step sideways on your mat
  • Bring your arms out to a T and walk your ankles underneath your wrist
  • You want enough distance between both feet for a good base. About 3-4 feet or as wide as you feel comfortable
  • Keep your left foot with toes facing forward and heel facing back, parallel with the back of your mat.
  • Pivot your right foot out to face forward and bend into the front knee.
  • Have the heel of the front foot in line with the heel of the back foot.
  • Be mindful that you knee is right over your ankle and not past it. If you knee moves past your ankle either back it off or step your right forward a little more.
  • Move your right knee out towards your pinkie toe of the right foot to open the hip up a little more.
  • Soften you gaze over your front arm and breathe.
  • Hold anywhere from 5 – 10 breaths, feeling the energy from the Earth move up through your feet, through your body and out your hands and the crown of your head.
  • Straighten the front leg and pivot that foot to be parallel with the left foot. Pivot the left foot out and switch sides, bending in the left knee.

 

 

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | February 10, 2014

Pose of the Week: Vasisthasana/Side Plank

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Vasisthasana or Side Plank is one of my favorite poses to use in both Yoga and Pilates. A great pose that targets the whole core, and strengthens the arms and legs at the same time.

Side Plank

Benefits:

  • Strengthens arms, legs, torso, and core
  • Stretches and strengthens the wrists
  • Helps you to focus and control balance

How To:

  • From a table top position move your body into plank
  • Gently shift your weight into your right hand
  • Turn your body to your left and stack your feet
  • Firmly ground down into the palm of your right hand and the outside of your right foot
  • Fire up the legs, engage your core, and open your chest to the side.
  • Keep the hips lifted and reach out in both directions with the hands and arms
  • Hold for a few breaths and gently and slowly shift back into plank
  • Take it to the other side

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