Posted by: Christopher Roberts | July 20, 2014

Pose of the Week: Pilates Teaser

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The Teaser is one of the definitive Pilates moves or exercises and utilizes all of the Pilates principles: Breathing, Centering, Control, Concentration, Precision and Flow. It requires a strong and deep connection to the powerhouse (core) to move into and stabilize the position. Utilizing a few of the previous mat exercises such as Roll up, Rolling Like A Ball, and Open Leg Rocker as far as how the body moves from the centerline, and alignment helps to successfully perform Teaser. There are a few variations of Teaser (Full Teaser or Teaser III is shown in the picture above and is the advanced version) and I will go over them all in a video later this week. I will not go into detail about how to DO Teaser in this post so be sure to drop back to check out the Teaser Variations video later this week. This post is more of an introduction to this amazing Pilates exercise.

Objectives and Benefits of the Teaser:

  • Strengthen abdominal and back extensors
  • Develop balance
  • Stretch and work hips
  • Stretches hamstrings
  • Lengthens spine
  • Improves posture

Muscles Used:

  • Abdominal muscles including Transverse Abdominus, external and internal obliques
  • Back extensors
  • Hip flexors including the illoposas
  • Hip adductors

 

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | July 17, 2014

PiYo Sweat Workout

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | July 16, 2014

PiYo

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Posted by: Christopher Roberts | July 2, 2014

Healthy Snacking

Some days of mine are long, and I am literally running all over. I’m usually up by 5AM, having breakfast around 6 or 7AM, then off to teach, running errands in between classes, and sometimes not eating lunch until 1 or 2PM. On days like this I have to have some snacks on hand to make it through the day and on to the next class. Not to mention that I’m often also squeezing in my own workouts, for which I need to properly fuel and refuel for. Every week I go to the grocery store and peruse the aisles for some healthy snack options.

Being that I’m in my car for hours at a time, I have to have snacks that dont need to be refrigerated and will travel easily. I usually wind up with nuts, or some sort of trail mix. Which gets old very fast. How many handfuls of almonds can one person eat anyways? I’d love to have dried fruits on hand but its so hard to find ones that don’t have added sugar and preservatives. Fruit is naturally sweet, why add sugar? I’ll never understand that one. Granola bars are pretty much just all junk. Read the ingredients and nutritional labels people! Never just trust that “ALL NATURAL” yellow starburst logo on the front of the package.

So I was super stoked when I discovered Organic Living Superfoods at a local yoga studio one day after class.

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Organic Living Superfoods is a local company founded by Bruce Nameson and Craig Singer. Bruce is the former owner of one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the area, Prana (which is sadly now closed). Their incredible line of snacks are all organic, vegan, gluten free, raw and composed of real live super foods. These snacks more than satisfy!

I got to try a few of their snacks, shown in the photo above. By far my all time favorite was the Raw Juice Infused Strawberries. As stated on the label, these are nature’s gummy bears. I’m a sweets person. When I want a snack, I usually crave something sweet. These satisfied my sweet tooth so much, that I’m seriously going to order a pound of these.

My other favorite Organic Living Superfood snack is the dried mango. Again, this satisfies my sweet tooth in a healthy way. This is the BEST dried mango I’ve had. Its not super tough to eat, like leather, as so many other brands are. It has that natural sweetness, without being overwhelming, as there is no added sugar. The dried mango is my go to snack, I pick these up whenever I find them.

For those people like a salty snack, and in a moment of weakness, turn to a bag of chips. You will love the Salt and Vinegar almonds! If you are a fan of Salt and Vinegar chips, you can satisfy that taste with these almonds in a much healthier way.

So many of the Organic Living Superfoods are just so incredible that I could go on and on. Try the Chia Energy Squares for instance! After the mango and strawberries, these are the ones I try to keep on hand.

Organic Living Superfoods offers something for everyone. The owners, Bruce and Craig are dedicated to bringing you the healthiest, plant based snacks on the planet. This is so much more than satisfying a craving, or that rumbling in your tummy, but it’s about feeding your body with with real food that has so many benefits. Eat real food people!

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | June 26, 2014

Through the Darkness

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I don’t  know if it’s the effects of Mercury in Retrograde or what, but I’ve noticed that we all seem to be weighed down with some heavy energy the last week or two. In times where we feel swallowed by the darkness, it’s hard to think the sun will ever shine in our hearts again. This got me thinking about all the times I’ve felt lost in the darkness.

I had an absent father who, when he was around, was both physically and emotionally abusive. My father never paid me any sort of love (never once hugged me or showed me a display of affection). I never in my whole life had a positive male role model, but I made the decision to be happy and healthy. Making the decision to be so is the first step. I decided to BECOME the very man that I needed in my life so that I could be strong and be that person who is of service to others. Yoga and meditation helped me in a HUGE way to come through the darkness of my life into the light I stand in now. A light that I now realize is to be shared with others.

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I’ve went back and forth for many years about “telling my story” and only now realize that for me to help others I have to be open and frank. I’ve struggled through some stuff in my life to come out the other side both happy and healthy. We all have cracks that are filled by darkness, but its those cracks where the light can enter. I always think of when you fly on a plane and during the safety demonstration they say to use the oxygen on yourself before assisting another. You have to take care of yourself before you are able to help others.

Healing begins with you. Once you make that decision to heal and begin to move forward into the light, the universe will be there to support you. But you have to make that first step. Let go of what is not serving you. Focus on one thing that brings light into your life, be that healthy eating, forgiving the past and those who wronged you in the past, meditating, starting a yoga practice. One little step such as one of these, will start to let light into the cracks. And soon, before you know it, that light will pierce deep within you and crack you wide open.

I think back many years ago to those times that I stumbled through the darkness. Luckily, over a decade ago,  I finally found the light switch and it has been turned on. Since the switch was flipped, it’s been a time of immense growth for me. I now stand in a happier and healthier place, bathed in light. Now I move into a new space, a space of being in service to others. A space where I can share the light with others.

“Healing yourself is connected with healing others.” – Yoko Ono
Posted by: Christopher Roberts | June 6, 2014

Healing and Cleansing Water Meditation

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | June 3, 2014

Paleo Tuna Salad

tunaThis is the kind of Tuna Salad you’re used to. As the weather gets warmer, you just want something that is cooling, refreshing and light. I love this variation on Tuna Salad, that uses no mayonnaise. You can load it up with TONS of your favorite fresh veggies from the local farmer’s market, varying each time. Avocado gives you your healthy fats, and eggs and the Tuna give you the protein. Here is my variation (this recipe makes three servings).

Chop and add to a big bowl:

  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Cucumber
  • A handful or more of cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 – 3 Hard boiled eggs
  • 2 Cans of Tuna in water

Dressing (mix in separate bowl than add to bowl of veggies and mix it up good. Serve cold):

  • 1 -2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Any herbs you wish to add. I added Dill

Enjoy!! Simple and delicious.

 

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | May 23, 2014

Gentle Yoga for Back

This is a slow and gentle yoga sequence to stretch the back and help to relieve any tension. Keep your awareness on the breath, remembering to breath throughout the practice with the breath we start with in silent sitting. Inhaling for five, pause at the top of the inhalation, and exhaling for five.

 

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | May 21, 2014

Easy Energy Protein Bars

barsSometimes it’s nice to grab something quickly to snack on or to have after a workout. Protein bars are one of the better options because of their easy grab and go size. But most store bought variations are loaded with lots of junk we don’t need, mainly excess sugar. Here is my easy to make recipe that is vegan, gluten free and paleo. Have fun making these by changing up the throw ins; use different types of nuts, dried fruits, or add cacao nibs, anything you like!

1/4 cup almonds (any nut or mix of nuts will do)
1 cup fresh or soaked dates
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup hemp protein powder
1/4 cup of orange juice or juice of lemon
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or raisins, dried cranberries, etc) to be mixed in at the end.

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, except the mix ins. Pour mixture (it should be pretty thick and similar to a cookie dough texture) onto a large sheet of waxed paper. I pat mine out until I get the desired thickness and then form into a more square shape.

Using a knife ( you can add oil or a cooking spray to knife to keep it from sticking to the mixture) cut into the desired shaped bars and wrap each one individually in wax paper and place in freezer. These do not get super hard when in the freezer so you can eat them right away or let them come to room temperature and they will be a little more gooey. Another option is to make these more like truffles. Just roll dough into small balls and roll in any “topping” you like such as crushed nuts or toasted coconut. Enjoy!!

Posted by: Christopher Roberts | May 12, 2014

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

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So the other day I got a craving for a Peanut Butter Cookie. I scoured the pantry, searched recipes online, and came up with this easy recipe. They are gluten free as they require no flour at all. There are only five ingredients so they are so quick and easy to make. You can make these Paleo as well by using a good sugar substitute like honey, coconut sugar, Stevia or Truvia. These were SO good!! I have to be honest here too. I made a batch on Saturday and another one on Sunday and ate them ALL. They were that good.

Ingreidents

  • 1 Cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • Sugar or Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl add the Peanut Butter, Sugar/Sugar Substitute, Vanilla Extract. In a separate bowl add the egg and beat/whip slightly, then add to the bowl of other ingredients. Mix all of the ingredients together and spoon the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper. I made little balls about the size of a tablespoon and placed them about an inch apart on the cookie sheet. Spray the back of a fork with cooking spray and use it to press down the cookie twice in different directions to flatten it out slightly and get the cross mark. Sprinkle sugar or sea salt lightly on top.

Place in the heated oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes depending on your oven. Watch them after about 8 minutes. They should be slightly golden on the outside and cooked through in the middle. MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THEM OUT AND LET THEM COOL ON THE COOKIE SHEET BEFORE MOVING! Once they have cooled, move to a plate and enjoy.

 

 

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