Category Archives: Yoga

5 Beginner’s Questions About Yoga

Beginner's Questions About Yoga  happyfitmama.com

My first love is running. No doubt about it. But yoga. Ah, yoga. You hold a special place in my heart. I kind of lost that loving feeling for a couple of years. My home studio closed and I couldn’t find another one that fit. And then I just wanted to spend all my time running, not taking time to do more than 20-30 minutes of an at home class. I was “doing” yoga but not really practicing.

Since January, when I found a new home studio, we’ve reclaimed our love for each other. I’m in the studio 3-4 days a week. Bending, twisting, stretching, lengthening, being present and letting go. Just like running, when I love something, I talk about it. A lot. So I’ll bring up things that happen in class – a pose we practiced, one that felt oh so good on my back or just how the yoga vibrations were especially good on that night.

To my friends who aren’t into yoga, they just smile, nod and say, “Oh cool.” Or “I’d love to do that, but I’m not flexible.” One thing I’ve learned from yoga is that it’s for everyBODY. If you’ve never done a yoga class before or are new to yoga, you probably have a few questions. The following are all beginner’s questions about yoga that I’ve been asked before.

1. How is yoga different than stretching? Yoga is the connection of mind, body, spirit. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps to direct your attention inward. It’s not a task or a goal to be completed. Yoga will improve your strength, coordination, and cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

2. I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible. Despite all the pictures you see of yogis being made into a human pretzel, that’s not the main focus. Once you bring your un-flexible body to yoga you’ll find that it will help you become more flexible. But don’t think it’s a requirement to walk through the yoga studio door.

3. I can’t sit still. I need to move. You go to yoga and the silence is so deafening you can’t help but start to fidget. Your mind is racing thinking of everything and anything all at the same time. I didn’t pay good money to sit here. I want to sweat! I felt the exact same way when I started yoga. And I still prefer the quicker paced Vinyasa style yoga. But even a few minutes at the beginning and end of class of disconnect from all the chatter of daily life, will become a welcomed time to just have your world revolve around your inhales and exhales. Trust me, you need it.

4. Is there going to be chanting?  My new studio does more chanting than I’ve ever done before. The first class I took, I just kind of mouthed the words, not really knowing what I was saying. Thankfully the teacher did “call and response” so we listed to a line and then repeated it. There’s no obligation to chant in class. If chanting isn’t your thing, join in for the Om’s. A wall of Om’s is quite powerful!

5. What if I have to fart? This question actually came from Ron. OK and I thought the same thing before I went to my first class. I’ve been in plenty of classes where someone has farted in class. It’s to be expected with all the bending, twisting and inversions, right?! It happens, move on. Hopefully it’s not a room clearing stinkfest, though. If you are truly worried about it, make sure to not eat any foods that you know give you gas on days you have yoga. No one wants to smell broccoli when you are doing Ujjayi breathing.

What are/were some of your questions about yoga?

BTW  – Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook to see what fun we are having during the Competitior Magazine/Saucony 26 Strong photo shoot!

7 Reasons Why Runners Need Yoga

7 Reasons Why Runners Need Yoga  happyfitmama.com

I’ve loved yoga for years. It’s always been the perfect compliment to my running. However, I wasn’t as faithful to my practice in the past year or so. I kind of fell off the mat. In that time frame, I also became plagued with running injuries. I was focused on the run and didn’t have time for anything else. I knew I needed to get back to my mat but the final AHA! moment came when being evaluated by a physical therapist for my Achilles injury back in October.

She said I was tight. And that I had muscle weaknesses.

No one calls me tight or weak!

Right then and there I vowed to get back on my mat in a studio. A home yoga practice wasn’t working for me. There was just too many distractions. Around the same time, I was asked to be a part of prAna and FitApproach 30 day yoga challenge, #TakeTheLeap. I love Instagram challenges and prAna so it was a match made in heaven. Or more appropriately, a match made on a yoga mat. By the way, you can still get 15% off your total order from prAna’s new spring collection with code psps15HFM at checkout.

Since reconnecting with my mat, I’ve reaped the benefits, mentally and physically. I never want to fall off my mat again!

1. It will make you more limber. Active stretching is the most effective way to increase and maintain length in muscle fibers. Those 5 minutes you spend stretching when you get home are nothing compared to 45 minutes of active stretching in a Vinyasa yoga class.

#taketheleap yoga challenge 1  happyfitmama.com

2. It will help prevent overuse injuries that happen because of muscle/tendon tightness. When we run, everything tightens up to prevent our joints from wobbling about. And that’s a good thing. But repetitively being tight is not a good thing. Your muscles and tendons need to be pliable to keep you moving comfortably for years to come.

3. It can correct muscle imbalances & injury prevention. If you run and don’t do anything to maintain strength and flexibility, chances are that you will end up with a running injury sooner or later. You want to maintain range of motion and stretch out the muscles that get tight from running. Yoga can correct muscle imbalances created from high impact training, by aligning the joints, improving bone density and stretching and stabilizing the body to prevent pain and injury. Particularly in running injury prone areas like the IT band, hips, hamstrings and knees, calves, Achilles tendon and feet.

4. It can help you recover faster. Practicing a few yoga poses after a run when your muscles are warm will help to make you feel a whole lot better the next day. Tense muscles don’t receive blood, so use yoga after your run to keep your muscles open for movement enabling oxygen. HERE are my favorites.

#TAKETHELEAP YOGA CHALLENGE 2  HAPPYFITMAMA.COM

5. It increases your oxygen capacity. When’s the last time you took a deep, meaningful breath? Most of us are shallow breathers. It’s the “normal” thing to do. A regular practice of yoga can increase your ability to breathe more deeply which results in more oxygen being supplied to our blood system. Your muscles need oxygen to fire optimally.

6. It will make you stronger mentally. Every runner needs mental toughness. Not every run will be perfect and rosy. There will be times when you want to quit. Your legs will be tired. Ever had to hold a yoga pose while your legs are burning and shaking? It’s the same thing. I’d like to think that the reason I held it together for my recent 99 laps on an indoor track, were all a part of my mental strength building thanks to yoga.

7. It will make you stronger physically. Yoga hits the upper body, lower body and core all in one. It’s a total body workout that only requires your body weight.

#TAKETHELEAP YOGA CHALLENGE 3  HAPPYFITMAMA.COM

Disclaimer: As part of the #taketheleap challenge, I was given an outfit courtesy of prAna. All opinions are my own.

Do you do yoga?

How has it helped you in running, fitness or life?

If you don’t do yoga, why not?

#BringingYogaBack Challenge + Meal Planning

#bringingyogaback | happyfitmama.com

Who’s ready for more yoga?

Last weekend I talked about #TakeTheLeap with prAna and FitApproach. BTW – I’m loving my practice even more with the help of the challenge. Well, prAna has upped the ante by launching a mini-challenge called #bringingyogaback!

Their 12-Day Yoga Instagram Invitation campaign runs from Sunday, Feb 8th – Feb 20th and can be incorporated into your #taketheleap challenge!

prAna Ambassador, Michael Fukumura, has designed a “Spring Awakening” sequence to continue to bring people together, build a positive community, and inspire others to find their mat. I’m all about awakening Spring right now. Maybe that will stop the relentless snowfall?

#bringingyogabackHere’s the details:

12 Day Yoga Invitation!

We’re #bringingyogaback in a big way this spring and want your help!  To celebrate, we’re hosting a 12-day Instagram yoga-inspire-a-thon.

The prize?

$1000 in prAna gear for one lucky winner AND a friend!

This is not about competition—you will not be docked points for not having the perfect downward dog, don’t worry. Instead, we want to inspire you, your friends, and your family to hit the mat more often and share your progress with the larger Insta family.

As further motivation, one lucky participant will receive $1,000 in new prAna gear from our Spring Collection AND the opportunity to gift another $1000 in gear to a person of their choice (because isn’t giving as fun as receiving?).

All ability levels are welcome, so don’t feel any pressure to replicate a pose exactly… just do your best and always listen to your body.

To enter:

1) Follow @prAna on Instagram

2) Post a pic of yourself doing the pose of the day – you don’t have to post every day to enter

3) Use #bringingyogaback #taketheleap and tag both @prAna and @fitapproach     

4) Get your friends & family in on the fun

That’s it! The posing starts Monday, February 9th!

Be sure to check out prAna and their new Spring Collection. It’s gorgeous! You can get 15% off your order from prAna with code psps15HFM.

Since it’s Sunday, it’s meal planning day. Here’s what I’ve got planned:

Sunday: Fish Tacos

Monday: Broccoli Chickpea Bowl 

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Quinoa, Chicken and Kale Soup

Wednesday: Ron’s Homemade Pizza

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Healthy Chickpea “Chicken” Salad Sandwiches or over greens

Saturday: Valentine’s Day Date Night In

What is your favorite yoga pose? For me, it’s Wild Thing. It really does make my heart sing.

What’s for dinner this week?