Author Archives: Courtney

paleo sweet potato fries recipe

Sweet Potato Fries

One of the best parts about having a kitchen again is being able to make my own food.

There are so many awesome healthy recipes out there for foods most of would think of as vices.

For Tom’s birthday this month, he requested sweet potato fries.

I scoured the internet and found some great options, but ultimately tweaked the recipes I found and threw in my own touches.


  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp cayenne


Pre heat oven to 450°

Cut Sweet Potatoes in 1/4″ strips

Sweet potato friesShake with and Marinate with oil, garlic, cumin, basil, and cayenne for about 20 min.  I like to shake it in a gallon size zip lock baggie. Sweet potato fries
Sweet potato friesSpread Tin foil over a baking sheet Spread marinated sweet potatoes evenly over baking sheet making sure not to layer. Sweet potato fries

Cook 10 min each side or until desired crispness is reached.

Sweet potato fries

Serve with stuffed burgers for a yummy paleo dinner!

practice unattachment

Practicing Aparigraha by Mixing up your Yoga Rouine

practice unattachmentYoga has a ton of advantages and if you don’t believe it, then read this source. One of the yogi principals I’ve had the most chances to practice the past 2 years I’ve been traveling is practicing Aparigraha or Non-Attachment.

Day to day routines are awesome and something I desperately miss, but when you are stripped of your home, forced to make a new home every 5 days or so you learn really quickly there isn’t anything you absolutely NEED.

You learn to like things you never thought you would try.  You may think you need 2 pillows to sleep, but as soon as you reach a hotel with a nasty looking pillow your small travel pillow becomes heaven sent.  You may ALWAYS eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, but when you are in Thailand sometimes a yogurt and fruit bowl is actually better!

When we are in our day to day lives we lose track of the attachments we have, because the things we want are readily available.  Now I’m not saying you can’t have a routine.  I know a routine can be healthy and help you keep to your diet or help hold you accountable to hit your daily workout.

What I am suggesting though is spice up your life more frequently by trying new things ie–a new yoga studio!


As I’ve traveled around the world, not once but twice; I’ve taken yoga classes at 50+ different studios with even more various instructors.  When I can’t find the type of class I typically do I take something new and therefore my breadth of knowledge has now expanded beyond Bikram yoga.

Yin used to be a style I thought wasn’t for me, but my time in New Zealand taught me Yin is just the balance I need.  My power postures like Standing Bow Pulling Pose are much deeper now that my hips have opened up.

I used to think Bikram was the perfect daily check in for my body, but now I see the benefits of being just as familiar with the Ashtanga Primary series.  Both series when done regularly teach you much about your body and it’s progress.

Practicing Aparigraha

Yoga postures are just tools to check into, assess, and learn more about your body.  By limiting the tools you use, you limit the knowledge you open yourself to.  Sure delve deeper with the asanas that speak to you, but always remember;

The postures you hate are the ones you need the most.

Those who hate the Bikram series could probably use a bit more structure and routine in their life.  Those who hate the variety in a vinyasa flow may need to be a little less rigid and strict.

We all may have our favorite studio, but switching it up and trying something new is how you will learn.

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a teacher are students who are unwilling to try something new.  I have so many students ask me how I was able to learn to do Vrschikasana, handstand scorpion, yet when I give them advice they shoot it down saying

  1.   They aren’t there yet.
  2.   That isn’t part of the yoga they practice
  3.   Another teacher has told them not to do it.

I can tell you this,

  1. When I started trying Vrschikasana I wasn’t there yet either!  That’s why it’s called yoga practice not yoga perfect!
  2. I was practicing Bikram Yoga and trust me, Vrschikasana was no where near being part of that series, but sometimes I would see an advanced student doing it before or after class and that lit a spark in me to want to learn.
  3. I had plenty of instructors who told me I shouldn’t work on Vrschikasana until I could do a handstand and I shouldn’t work on handstand until I could do every posture of the Bikram series perfectly.  I still struggle with Standing Head To Knee, but I feel more and more stable in Vrschikasana each day.  In fact, it’s my dabbling in other styles of yoga which have opened up my hips and helped improve my Standing Head to Knee.

Practicing Aparigraha

I say all this to remind you, you are only limited by the boundaries you set for yourself.

It is so funny that more often than not yoga, a practice which is supposed to teach you Aparigraha attaches it’s practitioners to such strict rules.  This is the part where you have to come in and be your own best teacher since all this exercise really help strength the legs, hands and core muscles, although for people that struggle with this, they can use a vertical ostomy belt which really help supporting these muscles.  While everyone may have your best interest in heart, they are only able to provide you with the knowledge they have.  No one person is the end all be all expert, so give yourself a heads up and get the advice of others.

Some will work for you.  Some won’t.  But learning WHY something doesn’t work is the key to understanding what your body needs.

Go to a studio where the teachers have been inspired by someone other than the person you always practice with.  A yoga studio wants to keep you loyal to them.   It’s good business.  But think about how many voices you are missing if you never branch out.

Try a class you’ve never tried before.  Settling into the deep hip openers of yin, may be what you need to finally nail Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, King Pigeon.

With proper advice or/and spotting try and believe you can do a new posture.  Don’t throw away your fear, as often it’s fear that keeps us safe, but challenge your fears in safe environments.  Often as you grow and become stronger something that you once feared you won’t.  Fear may have held you back when you weren’t ready, but often the body knows when it is and those fears vanish, and even if you feel pain or soreness, people use products as CDB edibles from sites as to get help with this.


Be open to entering a posture a new way.  It may not be what you do all the time, but changing your muscle pattern could lead you to successfully doing something you’ve never done before.

As far as I’m concerned when it comes to teaching an asana the only rule is Ahimsa, or non-violence.  Never push past pain, but if you aren’t feeling pain why limit yourself to what you always do? It’s not too much to recommend a chiropractic for constant pain, visit website here.

What’s your preferred Method of Practice?

What type of practice have you never tried?

Pick a new practice and try it this week!

No seriously answer that question below!  I’d love to get to know more about you!  Thank you for reading! 🙂



yoga helps detox the body

Yoga Helps Detox the Body

IMG_20140507_135109[1]Toxins get a bad rep.

We all know that in order to be healthy we should do things to Detox the body.

Detoxes come in all shapes and forms with some being as extreme as week long juice cleanses to things as simple as making sure to drink 8 glasses of water a day.

By definition a toxin is, “ is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms,” (Wikipedia) which means that our own bodies are actually what produce toxins.

We produce toxins when our cells break down unnatural or unhealthy substances we put into our body.–Meaning it isn’t the toxin that is bad, but rather it’s precursor.

Therefore, the best way to detox is to refrain from putting unhealthy substances into our own bodies.

That being said, even the healthiest food has waste product associated with it as our bodies break it down to absorb the food’s nutrients.

Therefore, rather than do an extreme form of detox; I’m a fan of doing the daily things I can do to detox the body, like spinning classes, they really help because you sweat a lot and your body gets detoxed fast, in you can find the best classes and routines, that you definitely need to try.

That’s where water, exercise, and yoga come in.

Drinking water increases the effectiveness of our kidneys.

When the extracellular matrix is well hydrated, cells, nutrients, and other components of the matrix can move freely.  Toxins and waste products can migrate out of the matrix into the blood or lymphatic system to be removed from the body.” -The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga

Here’s an oversimplification of this process:

  • Making sure to stay hydrated makes the toxins in the blood stream less concentrated so as blood pumps throughout our system, toxins and waste products filter out of our muscles and cells into the bloodstream
  • They are then transported to the kidneys and disposed of through our urine.

This is the first step you can take daily to detox the body.

The next step would be to sweat.  As we sweat, we release fluid through the pores in our skin to help cool the body.  This releases of fluid also cleanses our skin, the more we sweat, the more water flushes through our pores flushing away toxins and waste products stored.

Many say hot yoga is a great detox and in part that is because it encourages us to drink more water and if you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class you know you walk out of class drenched from head to toe.

Similar effects can come from running and strength training assuming you push yourself hard enough to work up a good sweat, but there is one more avenue in which yoga helps detox the body daily that running and strength training don’t.

Yoga helps rid the body of toxins stored in your joints.

Immobility of a joint causes stiffness and therefore storage of toxins in 2 major ways.

  1. Decreased functionality of Fibroblasts.
  2. Thickening of Synovial fluid

Yoga postures on the other hand compress, stretch, and twist joints in a safe way increasing the production of functionality of fibroblasts as well as transforming your synovial fluid from a gel to a more fluid material.

Here’s a little more detail on these 2 effects of yoga on our joints.

1.  Yoga helps decrease the toxins stored in the joint by making the joint less cluttered and dense, thus healthier.

Joints just like muscles and bones break down and rebuild themselves in response to stress.

Whereas bones have osteoblasts to rebuild stressed bone stronger, joints have cells called fibroblasts.

In active states, fibroblasts produce collagen and elastic fibers that align locally usually in parallel clusters increasing joint functionality as well as allowing room for for fluid to flow through cleansing the joint.

In inactive or damaged states, fibroblasts become their inactive state, fibrocytes, as well as begin mitosis (the division of 1 cell into 2 cells).

Fibrocytes are smaller and spindle shaped.  As they form and divide, the parallel structure of the cell breaks down leaving less room for the flow of liquid material through the joint, therefore toxins stay trapped in the joint.

Yoga stresses the joint allowing for proper stimulation of fibroblasts to keep them functioning properly and from becoming their inactive form, fibrocytes.

2.  Yoga Makes your Synovial Fluid more like a liquid rather than a Gel

The 2nd way Yoga aids in the detoxification of joints is by making the fluid capsule inside the joint more liquid.

In an unstressed state, the fluid capsule between 2 bones is more like a gel.

As the capsule is compressed this synovial fluid begins to transform from a gel like substance to a liquid like substance to lubricate the joint to aid in movement.

You may feel this effect in the morning as knees and ankles can often be stiff until you’ve had the time to walk around properly allow the joint to warm up, you don’t want to have to wear a Zenith ankle brace around.

Imagine you’ve poured out bacon grease into your sink.  It’s cooled and solidified forming a gel like substance over the drain.  If you pour cold water, some might trickle through, but you’ll have a blockage.

Now think about what happens as you pour hot water on the cooled grease.  It turns to liquid allowing water to flow through.  As long as you keep the hot water flowing it will all eventually wash down the drain.  (Hopefully not to only solify and create a bloackage futher down….why it’s best to just not pour bacon grease down the drain!)

This is similar to the movement of fluid through a joint.  When synovial fluid is in it’s gel-like state plasma is unable to flow through the joint to cleanse it of toxins, however a stressed joint will have liquified this synovial fluid allowing movement through the joint.

Obviously, running and other forms of exercise like strength training work the larger joints such as the knees and ankles, but very few movements work the smaller, less used joints such as the hips and spinal column.

The hips and lower back particularly are areas where most people are stiff and therefore are storing the most toxins.

The harder a posture is for you, the more you need it.

If you’re not drawn to yoga, I’m not saying you need to give up your favorite form of exercise because as I said before sweating is one way to detox the body.  However, yoga detoxes areas of the body other exercise can’t so it’s important to include yoga in addition to anything else you are doing, we also recommend to check out the products from that will help your body cleanse a lot faster.

Here are some postures you could add to your daily routine to help open up and detox your joints.

These are yin postures as yin yoga works deep into the joint rather than just stretching the muscle.

Work to hold these postures for 1-2 minutes building up to 5+ minutes.

Focus on your breathing.

With every inhale envision energy rising through the spine helping you create space.  Try to elongate your inhalations for at least a count of 4.

With that extra space you’ve created with your inhale, your exhalations should feel relaxing allowing you to move deeper into the posture.  Make your exhales just as long as your inhales if not longer making sure to completely inflate the lungs with every inhale and completely deflate the lungs with every exhale.

These postures are best done in the morning before your muscles have warmed up so that you can actually work deep into the joint, but if you only have time at night while watching TV that is better than nothing!

Just because you teach at a school or studio that has liability insurance, check for the life insurance wa has to offer to see if you can work with it, you can’t assume you are protected as well. Not all school or studio insurance plans extend coverage to their teachers but with this one is possible as it is really flexible.

yoga helps detox the body

Spinx pose works deep into the lumbar spine

yoga helps detox the body

Seal is a deeper version of Spinx

yoga helps detox the body

Saddle is a great hip flexor stretch as well as lumbar spine opener.

Shoelace with a twist works both the hips joint and spinal column. Make sure to do both sides!

Shoelace with a twist works both the hips joint and spinal column. Make sure to do both sides!

Caterpillar stressed spinal ligaments as well as stimulates the kidneys.

Caterpillar stressed spinal ligaments as well as stimulates the kidneys.

Frog opens up the adductors, deep muscles of the groin as well as stimulates the lower and upper back.

Frog opens up the adductors, deep muscles of the groin as well as stimulates the lower and upper back.

Swan (The yin name for pigeon) is a deep external rotator of the hip, as well as a good quad stretch.

Swan (The yin name for pigeon) is a deep external rotator of the hip, as well as a good quad stretch.

Sleeping Swan (Swan is the yin name, similar to Pigeon) is a deeper version of Swan.

Sleeping Swan (Swan is the yin name, similar to Pigeon) is a deeper version of Swan.


Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

What’s your favorite posture?

If you don’t do yoga, what’s keeping you from trying?



Word count: 607 Draft saved at 11:09:05 am.
headstands for beginners

Śīrṣāsana or Headstand for Beginners

Headstand pose or Śīrṣāsana has some of the greatest benefits of any yoga asana.

Headstands energize the body sending blood and nutrients to the brain, improve digestion aiding in the movement of food through the ileocecal valve (ascending colon), and  stimulate lymphatic cleansing and drainage.   All these benefits come from the effects of gravity acting in the opposite way it normally does against the body.

Mastering a headstand increases body awareness and should be a confidence boost and adrenaline rush as it is a major physical accomplishment!  Headstands are very non-intuitive.  We spend out entire lives walking on our feet so half the battle with a headstand is mental, but once you get over that mental battle, there is a simple step by step process to doing a headstand.

Here are a couple Headstand for beginners tips to make this posture a little more manageable.

There are 2 main ways to do a headstand.

fixmyasana headstandd head cradleHead Cradle – Pike Up

Arguably the harder of the two as it’s harder to press through ones elbows than hands, this option is also easier on the head because you can use your hands for support.

  1. Cradle hands together on the ground and place your head into your palms so that your hairline is in the center of your hands.
  2. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, walk on your toes towards your face as far as possible.
  3. When you can’t walk and further, suck your stomach in tightening the core as your press your elbows into the floor.  You should feel toes begin to rise off the floor.  (This would be the point where you can kick up to the wall if you would like, but always go through the first couple steps to build core strength so you can progress to piking up!)
  4. Floint (to floint means to flex your foot as you point your toes…we don’t want pointed toes in yoga) your toes to keep energy driving up and to keep your legs fully contracted so they don’t become dead weight.
  5. Once you reach headstand position, the work isn’t over.  Go back to your breath.  With every exhale suck your stomach in even more and with every inhale feel your body lengthening up towards the sky.  Keep flointing your toes, pressing your elbows into the floor, and core nice and contracted throughout the posture.

If you’ve tried kicking up a couple times and are having success, but still can’t pike up, work to tuck up.

  1. Still walk your feet into your head as close as possible.
  2. Bend your knees and tuck them into your stomach, keeping them as close to your body as possible.
  3. Straighten one leg at a time moving slowly and staying with your breath.

fixmyasana tripodTripod Headstand – Straddle Up

Tripod headstand was the first headstand I did and arguably easier because you can straddle up which requires less core strength.

It is much easier in Tripod headstand to hurt your head or neck though so make sure you are absorbing as much weight as possible in your hands by pressing firmly into the floor.

  1. Legs about 4-5 feet apart, swan dive forward leading with your chest so you elongate your spine, place your head between your feet and your hands about 6 inches in front of your face, shoulder width apart.
  2. Rock up onto your tippy toes as much as possible, flointing your toes to drive energy up.
  3. Bring your legs together and then continue to grow stronger in your posture with each breath.  With every exhale suck your stomach in even more and with every inhale feel your body lengthening up towards the sky.  Keep flointing your toes, pressing your elbows into the floor, and core nice and contracted throughout the posture.

In tripod headstand it’s important to keep pressing your elbows in toward each other to better engage your shoulder girdle and build should strength so you can progress to handstand!

Things to Think About

  • Know what your legs are doing.  A major factor for stability comes from the legs.  If your legs are loosey goosey, it will be much harder to stay balanced.
  • Keep your core engaged.  All inversions involve core strength.  Don’t be surprised if it takes a couple times to find your balance.  There is a whole new form of body awareness that is required to being upside down.
  • Your head shouldn’t be absorbing the bulk of your weight.  If you head is hurting you need to press harder through your elbows in head cradle or hands in tripod.  The more you press through your hands or elbows, the more shoulder strength you build which will help you progress to handstand!
  • Have fun.  Part of the FUN and learning is falling down.  Enjoy the process of learning a new skill and listen to how your body reacts to it each step of the way and you always have that behavioral health tub chairs to go back to when youre done with the session.

If you ever have any questions on a posture, feel free to message me at, or post your asana to instagram and tag @Courtn3yjulia #fixmyasana for corrections from a yoga instructor.


equal and Simultaneous 50/50

Kicking and Stretching Equal Simultaneous 50/50–The Harder you Kick you Can Balance Forever….

equal simultaneous 50/50

With every inhale I reach forward more, opening up my shoulders more. With my exhales I kick harder!…This is one of the catchy lines of the Bikram Dialogue and a part I never leave out, because I love that Standing Bow Pulling Pose and that quotation actually describes how you should be feeling perfectly.

…This is one of the catchy lines of the Bikram Dialogue and a part I never leave out, because I love that Standing Bow Pulling Pose and that quotation actually describes how you should be feeling perfectly.

I love Standing Bow, because this was the first posture in which I felt how my strength would be able to make me more flexible, which I learned in one of my personal fitness training classes online.

“Equal Simultaneous 50/50.” is not just for balancing stick pose.

You should be able to find equal simultaneous 50/50 balance in any of your postures.

That balance is a very difficult thing.

To have that balance you must have Normal Breathing.

The first step of every posture is breath.

This is imperative because once you have normal breathing you can use your breath to help open your body.

With every inhale one muscle group is growing stronger.

With every exhale one joint or muscle group relaxes.

Yoga is really that simple.  The postures (yes even ones where you stick your leg behind your head) are designed to use strong muscles to stretch tight muscles.

Yoga is about training awareness in ones body.

  • Feel WHERE your body is resisting the pose.
  • Then think WHY is this resistance happening.

If you can’t answer that question ask your yoga instructor.  They will be able to give you cues to use your breath to open up those tight areas.

equal simultaneous 50/50

With my inhales I push my left knee down with me hand while pulling my heel back into my body. With the exhales I relax the left knee down.

Take lotus for example.

This is a very different posture than standing bow.  There is no balance involved here, but it involves a huge amount of flexibility and possibly a critical care ultrasound course if youre feeling something wrong in the stomach area if you don’t have that flexibility the same balance between strength and relaxation and your breath will help build this flexibility.

If you ever have any questions about and of your postures, tag me @Courtn3yjulia and #fixmyasana on instagram or twitter of just post your photo to Facebook.

how to start running

Building Your Base – How To Start Running (or in my case start again!)

IMG_20140311_110547Dear Runners,

I am ashamed to admit it, I’ve lost my base.

As a runner, this is one of the most painful places to be.

This is that point when you know you should be running longer.

You know you should be running faster.

But at least you’re running.

The problem is though, when you’ve never run before or when you’re not in “run-shape” how to start running the times you would like to is frustrating and sometimes downright painful.

I’ve doggy-eared the page in my journal that says,

“Remember how much you LOVE to run.–Just get out there and do it when you forget.”

So now, despite the days I don’t want to I’m getting out there and running.

I started last week with 13 min out, 13 min back.

Day 2 I repeated and I’ve been building each day since.

Two extra minute per day, one rest day a week, and one recovery run where I drop back down to 13 out 13 back for the day I really don’t feel like going for a run.  

This will be the cycle until I’ve reached 30 out 30 back.–Then I’ll begin building speed back in.

I’m on day 5 (16 out and 16 back) and already I’m remembering why I like to run.

  • I love how it clears my head.
  • I love incorporating the breath control I’ve learned from yoga to my running.
  • I love the way it feels when I’ve found my stride and feel like I’m running fast!
  • I love feeling like I’ve worked for my breakfast.
  • I love the feeling of extension as my foot strikes the ground and propels me forward.
  • I love getting lost in my music.
  • I love exploring my neighborhood and seeing the small nuances each day brings.  (Right now that means marveling in the beauty that is Table Mountain and seeing how the clouds form around it differently every day!)

Day 3 I spent the first 18 min cursing how hard running was, and the last 10 enjoying it.–I hadn’t found my stride until min 19.

We only curse a run when we’re fighting our bodies.

If running is that painful, you’re probably going too fast. 

Slow it down.

Find your breath.

Once you’re breathing is under control, listen to your muscles.

Feel your legs propelling you forward.

There is power in thinking about the muscles are working. SR9009 side effects don’t minimize its potency, especially if you want to have lean muscles.

You’ll build stronger neural signals and begin to activate the smaller complimentary muscles that not only make you faster and stronger, but also help protect your joints and keep you from getting hurt.

If you’re building up like I am, don’t worry about paces or distances.

Run for time.  Let you body tell you what feels good.

I promise, put in enough QUALITY min and you’ll start running faster!

take your yoga practice deeper

Take Your Yoga Practice Deeper: What I’m Working on This Year to Deepen My Own Practice

take your yoga practice depperThis year I’ve been reading the book Mediations From the Mat.  It is a 365 day journey to help you understand Patañjali’s yoga sutras.  I’m kind of cheating in that I started the book in Nov and only on day 50, but as the new year catches up with my reading I’m slowly syncing my 365 day scorpion challenge with the book.   As anyone who follows me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook would know Handstand Scorpion is the physical goal I’ve set for myself, but as is the case with Hatha yoga, the posture or Asana is only a tool to help you practice yoga.

It is great to show up to class and work on your strength and flexibility, but at some point you might start to wonder how to take your yoga practice deeper.

Here are some of the other struggles I’m currently working on to deepen my yoga practice:

IMG_20140126_112529Being still
This is something I will always be trying to improve.   I still catch myself in class wiping my eyes, adjusting my hair, and bending down wiping the sweat off my legs–but I have the intention not to.  I don’t get mad at myself when I do, but rather remind myself to not do it again.

Being still is not an easy task as it involves not acting out on impulsive thoughts. Knowing me I had a very hard time learning how to calm my head and learn to just ease down and be still.

This is the best you can do.  Have the intention to be more still in your practice today than you were yesterday.  Some days this may happen, others it won’t but the best you can do is try every day.

I choose to use my practice time as a quiet time to pray.   Ideally I like to get into the studio early to pray before class but if I am running late I take the time to do it after, before I rush off to whatever else I’m doing.

Prayers are intentions.  By taking the time to pray you send energy into the universe setting thought towards action.   Through prayer God (whichever you choose to pray to) can answer your needs or lead you to a place where you realize you may not need what you thought you did.

Prayer is a powerful medium allowing you to work through you thoughts and wants setting you closer to making whatever you pray for a reality.


Day 42 in Meditations from the Mat is a lesson in brahmacarya.  Many choose to simplify this 4th yama simply as “chastity”, but the literal meaning of brahmacarya means “walk with God.”  Iyengar said,”To focus on celibacy is to miss the power of the final yama altogether.  Brahmacarya is not a call for abstinence but a call for temperance.”

“As we practice brahmacarya, we have the opportunity to enact the balance that is yoga in all that we do.  We can bring brahmacarya  to our thoughts, words, and deeds.  -Meditations from the Mat

Moderation can be a difficult thing.  We as humans like the black and white.  The do or do not.

“Brahmacarya is the feeling of freedom that comes when we have let an addictive craving go–when we can eat to live, not live to eat; when we can work to live, not live to work; when we stand firmly and with ease of heart in the postures of life.” Meditations from the Mat

Many think the answer is to give up a vice completely–and yes maybe there are vices that should be completely given up, but there are also many that aren’t so bad in moderation.  Giving something up completely means when you do give in you fail.

Creating rules that set you up for failure lead to negative self talk and can actually lead you to binge in whatever vice you may be trying to cut out.

The freedom of moderation leads to a healthy state of mind and physical well being.

“On the middle road I am free; in immoderation I am compromised, sidetracked, shackled to negative self-talk.  As we experience these lessons, we begin to learn the extent to which the choices that we make affect our inner world.  We begin to see that the only peace to be found comes through moderation.” -Meditations from the Mat

IMG_20140114_224328Being Present

I’m getting better at this in class but struggle with being present in my day to day life life.

In class I remember I used to count down the postures in my head.

At this point there are times I find myself thinking at rabbit there are only 3 postures left.

I used to think about this at camel when there are 4, and before that as we early at locust pose when there are 9.

The progress is that every now and then I find myself in savasana never having thought how many postures are left.

Those are the best classes.  I have the power and strength to do that every time.–However, I struggle with the discipline to get there every time, but I’m getting better day by day!

The same discipline applies to life, but that is tough with all the distractions we have in our lives.

For me particularly I find huge distractions on my phone!

One tool I’ve started using to help keep me focused on specific tasks is Toggl.

Toggl allows me more time to be off my phone so I can be more present in my daily interactions and use my time more efficiently.

I’ve made it a goal to spend more time working out and reading then I spend on facebook and watching tv.  It’s pretty humbling when you log your time and realize that isn’t the case.

These are 4 struggles that I’m working on both in and out of the yoga room.  I may not reach my ideal each and every day, but every day I work on them, just as every day I work on the asanas to help me achieve handstand scorpion I am happier and one step closer to my goals.


fitness accountability

Fitness Accountability: The Secret to Achieving your Fitness Goals This Year.

fitness accountability

What’s going to keep you on track this year?


Yesterday was officially the first real day of the New Year.

Sure we’ve technically already had 5 other days, but given that our holidays fell in the middle of the week this year most of us were probably still on Holiday until Jan 6th.

So here’s a question for you.

Did you work out?  

Did you start that new healthy meal plan?

Are you waiting until tomorrow or next week once you get back into you routine?

If you answered yes to the first 2 questions, GOOD FOR YOU!   Nice work?

How long will it last?

I say that, not to doubt you or be pessimistic.  I’m being realistic.

Most of our lives are very busy.  Every day we are pulled in a million directions.

Some obligations physically keep us from keeping up with our most genuine fitness goals, getting rid of stubborn belly fat, while often they just provide convenient excuses as to why we fall short.

So eliminate the excuses this year.


Hold yourself accountable!

Accountability can come in many forms.

My fitness goal this year is to be able to do Handstand Scorpion.  In order to this, I’ll have to work each day on my strength, back flexibility, and balance.

One of the ways I plan to stay accountable to this goal is to post a picture a day to instagram.  You are my accountability!

What will be your fitness accountability?

Here are a couple options:

Get a Workout Buddy

The easiest way to hold yourself accountable is to find yourself a workout buddy.

I’m not talking about asking your best friend to workout with you.  That could work–if your friend LOVES to workout, but if they are going to convince you to go grab a beer instead of hitting the gym, your best friend is not your workout buddy.

A workout buddy should be of the same fitness level.  If one person is always holding the other back, the relationship will fail.  A personal of similar physical abilities will push you to preform your best, but will also allow you to have success so you don’t feel defeated at the end of your workout.

Make a Calendar Plan

If your workout time is your time to yourself than a good way to keep yourself on track is to use the calendar system.

I’m a big fan of writing down the workouts I need to meet my goals on a calendar and posting it to the fridge, at my desk at work, or on the mirror in your bathroom.  The goal is to post it somewhere you will see it everyday and make sure to cross off each day as you do the work or stick to the plan.

If you feel comfortable writing your own workout plan, GO FOR IT!  Just make sure you stick to it.

There are also plenty of online resources out there to get you started.

Check out my 7 Day Healthy Eating Guide or 1/2 Marathon Training Program.  

Hybrid Athlete is also a great resource for training programs.

Hire A Professional

If you a complete newbie to this whole fitness world or just want someone committed to helping you reach your goals, think about hiring a professional.

They will teach you what you need to do so you don’t hurt yourself as you get started as well as provide personal one-on-one attention and accountability.

If you belong to a gym look into meeting with a trainer once a month to lay out a plan.  If you have someone  you need to report to once a month, it’s more likely you’ll stick to your goal.  Better yet if you can afford it, meet once a week so that you keep yourself on track at more frequent intervals at gyms in Lafayette CA if youre local.

If you don’t belong to a gym find an option online.  Skype with me online and we can develop a plan for you.  Meeting online can often be more convenient because you don’t have to go anywhere.  We can develop a plan that will work for you in your home!

Regardless of how you do it, accountability is a must to hit your fitness goals this year!

What’s your preferred Method of Fitness Accountability?

Share below to help keep other readers accountable for their health! 🙂


secret to fitness is to establish a routine

The Secret to Fitness is to Establish a Routine

Picture2As the New Year approaches, I thought as a personal trainer/yoga instructor it would be important to take some time to send a message to everyone looking to make health and fitness part of their New Year’s Resolution.

So often at the beginning of a New Year, we look back on the past year and realize we fell short of our fitness goals.

A large reason for this failure is that we didn’t take the steps to make our New Years resolution a life style change.

The only way to actually succeed in losing weight and/or living a fit and healthy life is to create systems that are healthy.–The Secret to Fitness is to establish a routine!

Your New Years resolution shouldn’t be to lose weight, it should be to establish a fitness routine.
Humans naturally fall into routines.

  • You wake up and take a shower.
  • You have a Starbucks Frappuccino on your way to work.
  • You go out to lunch with colleagues.
  • You get a bag of chips in the afternoon to hold you over until dinner.
  • You eat ice cream after dinner.
  • You watch the Biggest Loser on Tuesday night.

What if instead of those habits your life looked more like this:

  • You workout first thing in the morning, then take your shower.–Rather than watching people work out later at night you workout yourself!  You will be more awake and energized for your day + already have a calorie deficit to start the day!
  • You have a protein shake mixed with coffee on the way to work–refueling your muscles and caffeinating your system at the same time, something that is highly recommended.
  • You pack your lunch with healthy food from home.
  • You eat a chocolate peanut butter think thin bar instead of the bag of chips to hold you over until dinner.
  • You watch The Biggest Loser on Tuesday night.

If the second set of habits doesn’t sound appealing to you, that’s because you’ve programmed your brain to do the first set.

The first week of starting a new routine, we break bad habits.

The 2nd and 3rd week we reprogram our brains to start to anticipate and crave the new habits.

After about a month, these new healthy habits become our routine.  

Meal trackers don't lie. They help keep you to your calorie goals

Meal trackers don’t lie. They help keep you to your calorie goals

Because our cravings and wants often work against our best intentions to start new routines, using tools such as and Fitbit can help keep you to your new habits until they’ve become routine.

Create rules for yourself.

  1. You have to stick to your calorie goal on
  2. You have to get 5,000 steps a day in addition to exercise or 10,000 steps on the days you don’t, make sure to read the ladyboss review here to find out more information.

These are easy rules to follow.  They are black and white–there is no room to make excuses.

The nice thing about rules is if you follow them you make room to sneak some of those bad habits back in every now and then.

  • Fitbit is a tool that keeps you accountable for your movement.

    Fitbit is a tool that keeps you accountable for your movement.

    If you keep the rest of the day lean and get your exercise in, you may have more calories at the end of the day to have that small ice cream after dinner, or beer, or starbucks frappuccino–whatever your vice is. Take some deca pills for mass gaining if you need to every time you workout for the extra push.

That’s why loseit and fitbit are good tools.  They will tell you in black and white if you have the room to indulge.  If you don’t–YOU DON’T INDULGE.  It’s that simple.  Who knows perhaps after doing so much to be healthy, you may not even want to break the progress you’ve made by indulging at the end of the day.

When you think about it, being healthy isn’t hard it’s breaking the unhealthy habits that is.

So make the commitment to your health this New Year to establish new routines.

What day to day habits are keeping you from reaching your goals?

What are you going to do this year to turn an unhealthy habit into a healthy routine?



Yoga for athletes

Yoga For Athletes: 6 Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga to Enhance your Athletic Preformance

Yoga for athletes

One of my favorite viral images was this one to the right that started getting passed around about a year ago.

“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible enough.”-The Many Athletes out there not doing yoga.

Athletes can do amazing physical feats but it’s so funny how often they shy away from the things that don’t come easy to them.

Many athletes snub their nose at yoga before they even try saying it’s too easy and not a good enough workout.

Sam says, that the irony in that is the ones who do try a class don’t continue because they can’t twist into a pretzel like the girl in the front row.

Most athletes are used to being naturally good at something.  Yes an athlete then works very hard to improve those natural skills, but it’s funny how quickly they quit something that doesn’t come naturally easy.

Very quickly major professional athletes are beginning to catch on yoga for athletes.

As an athlete if you can let go of your ego, you too will find that yoga can do amazing things to improve your athletic performance.

6 Reasons Why Yoga Will Improve Your Athletic Performance:

yoga for athletes

Evan Longoria

1: Flexibility

Most athletes have tight hips, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, feet the list goes on and on.  Some athletes take the time after a workout to do a regeneration session using foam rollers and/or trigger point massage therapy, but these sessions are usually hurried through so one can get home and get a good meal.

A yoga class sets aside time specifically to stretch.  A hot yoga class provides the heat necessary to prime your muscles for stretching helping increase flexibility even more.

As athletes know flexibility is important for proper range of motion, increased muscle recovery time, and injury prevention.  At least one yoga class a week provides time specifically for these benefits.

yoga for athletes

Pada Hastasana

2:  Isometric Strength Training without Breaking Down the Body

In order to actually improve your ability to do many yoga postures, you are  actually preforming an isomeric muscle contraction.

Take Pada Hastasana (Hands to feet Pose) for example you use your biceps, quadriceps,  latissimus dorsi, and abdominal strength to open up tight hamstrings.

While doing this posture, not only do you strengthen the muscles you are using, open up and stretch your tight hamstrings, but you also train the body to be able to use multiple muscle groups at once while relaxing other muscles groups gaining more body awareness a very important aspect of elite athletic performance.

Yoga not only increases your muscular strength and awareness, but it does it in a low impact way.  Many athletes don’t actually hurt themselves on the field, but rather in their training.  Yoga provides a low-impact cross training that will help an athlete get stronger without further breaking their body down.

Yoga for athletes

Standing Bow combines Balance with using your strong glutes and quads to open up hamstrings. A posture an athlete can quickly become better in when they focus their energy correctly.

3: Balance

Many yoga postures incorporate balance, improving ones ability to be stable on one leg.

The more stable you are on 1 leg, the better you will be on 2.

All sports involve balance in some way, yet many take the time in practice to improve it.

Working on your balance in a yoga class will give you an upper edge on the sports field. Here are some other practices that may help you work on your mental and physical balance.

4: Injury Prevention

We’ve already mentioned that yoga is good for increasing flexibility which also leads to decreased probability of tearing muscles.

Yoga can also help prevent common sports injuries such as torn ACLs, Minicuses, Rotator Cuffs, ankle strains and sprains.

When you do yoga, you learn to recruit the smaller supportive muscles that you don’t activate when doing tradition strength training.  These supportive muscles not only make you stronger, but also are the ones that will help protect your joints while your power muscles are performing athletic movements.

Russell Wilson

If it’s good enough for the 8-1 Seakhawks it might be good for you!

5: Focus and Concentration

It isn’t any secret that the more you focus on any particular task, the better the performance.

When you take a test, the teacher provides a quiet environment.  This isn’t the case when you’re on the field.  There are fans, coaches, and opponents creating constant distraction, yet few sports team take the time to train their athletes to focus.

Focus is a key component to yoga.  Not only will the focus learned in yoga help you have more body awareness and control improving balance and injury prevention, but it will also make your reflexes quicker allowing you to be one step a head of your opponent.

yoga for athletes

Most athletes quickly transition to shallow breathing as soon as their heart rate increases. Yoga trains you to use your full lung!

6: Breath

The first step of any yoga posture is breath.  A good instructor will tell you if you can not maintain normal breathing (long slow inhales and long slow exhales) you aren’t actually getting the benefit of the posture.

Controlled breathing reassures the brain that you are in control.  It also decreases circulating carbon dioxide a trigger that causes your heart rate to increase.  Controlled breathing naturally allows your heart rate  to decrease allowing you to actually work harder.

Yoga trains you to be comfortable maintaining normal breathing.

When you take longer inhales, you actually breathe into the deeper bronchial branches of the lung allow more surface area for your blood stream to take up oxygen (fuel for your muscles).  Your working muscles then utilize that fuel turning it into carbon dioxide.  When you take a longer slower exhale you are able to get all the metabolic waste out allowing a larger percentage of oxygenated air to get in with your next breath.

The physical presence of more oxygen to fuel your muscles with the mental perception that you aren’t working as hard when you heart rate decreases allows you to have a larger work output than you would otherwise.

Over time as you develop this skill in the yoga room, it transfers over to any other endeavors that increase your heart rate making you much more efficient at breathing and providing the oxygen your muscles need to function. If you are planning to workout at home with a recumbent bike, these are the things to consider when choosing a recumbent bike.

Now that I’ve convinced you need yoga as an Athlete, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Go in with an open mind.  If you think yoga is a waste of time, it will be for you.
  • Breath.  The first step of every posture is normal breathing.  If you can’t maintain long slow inhalations and long slow exhalations your body isn’t relaxed and you won’t be able to get the full benefits of the posture.
  • Take it easy, Leave the win or lose mentality at the door.  As long as you are trying your best and breathing you will get benefits.  The first law of yoga is non-violence and that starts with yourself.  If you are forcing yourself into a posture you are liking to tear a muscle causing injury…the exact opposite of what you’re looking to achieve.
  • Enjoy the relaxation.  Don’t fight it.  Relaxation is built into yoga to help clear and focus the mind.
  • Make yoga a regular routine.  Treat your yoga practice the way you would treat any other aspect of your training.  If you don’t do it regularly you won’t get the benefits.
  • Listen.  Don’t take corrections from a teacher negatively.  Teachers are meant to help you.  If a teacher tells you to relax you probably aren’t following the first 2 bullet points.  This is often the case when athletes first start yoga.
  • Smile as you practice.  It makes the experience better.