What’s New?

Calorie Burn

Calorie BurnWhat’s your calorie burn?

If you are interested in weight management and cardiovascular health, try wearing a heart-rate monitor during active times (like housework!) and fitness classes. Here’s some of the data I collected over the last several days and what I observed:

When I lead an active Hatha Flow Yoga class, calories burn!! 270 calories in 75 minutes.

When I take other teachers’ flow classes, I burn 30 – 50% fewer calories. Hmm. I think our styles are different.

Personal Data Collected:

  • Fitness Barre Class, 60 minutes, 248 calories
  • Slow Flow Yoga, 75 minutes, 92 calories
  • Hatha Flow Yoga, 75 minutes, 90 calories
  • Kids Yoga with me, 45 minutes, 148 calories
  • Hatha Flow Yoga with me, 75 minutes, 270 calories
  • Stationary bike, 30 minutes, 130 calories

To lose one pound per week, reduce calories by 500 per day through diet and exercise. To lose two pounds per week, reduce by 1000 calories. Physical fitness is measured in muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and body composition. How much fitness do you need? Click here to learn more>>

Overcrowded Yoga Sucks

Crowded Yoga ClassI dislike crowds. I’m sensitive to “personal space.” Arms length away from my neighbor is ideal. Energetically, that’s about the size of our aura. When people are crowding into me, energetically and physically, I feel crushed and agitated. This happens at malls, festivals, restaurants and overcrowded yoga classes. When I find myself in a class like that, in my heart, I know I should just leave, but I always end up staying because I’m there anyway and I don’t want to hurt the teacher. The teacher is beaming, but I’m suffering… claustrophobic and modifying my practice to stay within my “yoga mat island.” I’m practicing yoga in a “glass box” and have to consciously think about every move and what limb might reach into a neighbor’s space, the wall or radio. I dream of big flowing movements I’m not allowed to take, like swan dives and supine twists. I must keep my eyes open instead of dwelling within. Finally class ends, but the irritation continues. I have fitful dreams that night of taking a yoga class and crowds of people arrive and surround me. I run away in frustration, outside, where I can scream and BREATHE! And then I’m dwelling on it the next day. I’m grateful that the yoga classes I teach are moderate in size, with enough space for us all to move freely.

New 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines Just Released

Choose My PlateThe USDA just released new dietary guidelines for Americans. Their suggestions are based on the latest scientific research from top health organizations. The new guidelines promote disease prevention and better health through nutrition. The full report is available online. Or, read the summary below.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

 

For more information, visit Choose My Plate.

Dine out wisely. Check the restaurant web site before you go. If they publish their nutrition information, you can plan ahead to “eat this, not that.” Avoid dishes with excessive calories, saturated fats, trans-fats and sodium. Just because a dish sounds healthy, it may not be. For example, some signature salads are loaded with fat and calories.

Watch Your Neck!

As I’ve grown an interest in Iyengar yoga, I’m paying more attention to alignment. I love Iyengar alignment cues offered in so many postures! However, I don’t suggest following all of the pictures in his book, Light on Yoga. According to Dr. Roger Cole, an Iyengar teacher, “Mr. Iyengar himself demonstrates the pose [Shoulder Stand] without shoulder support in his classic book, Light on Yoga. So why does he insist that most students do it with their shoulders elevated? There are lots of good reasons, but the most important is that it can protect the neck from injury.” Dr. Cole suggests that instead of lifting legs completely vertical in this pose, go for less than vertical and balance on the back of the shoulders, or use the support of blankets. Read his article,”Protect the Neck in Shoulderstand” for more details.

iyengar_sarvangasana
BKS Iyengar in Shoulder Stand

This month’s Yoga Journal magazine takes the same safety approach. Their featured picture sequence includes shoulder stand and plow pose. They demonstrate it supported with blankets. Notice the extra space beneath the neck and how the chin doesn’t press into the chest. Every Iyengar class I’ve experienced so far offers blankets, bolsters and backless chairs to get us into a safe position for shoulderstand. According to the Yoga Journal, headstand should only be practiced under the care of an experienced yoga teacher. It’s true unless you’re well trained in this posture. In my own practice and teachings, I’m now exploring alternative inversions, like Legs up the Wall pose, Forearm Balance, Handstand and even Three-Legged Dog and Standing Split, to enjoy the benefits of inverting without risking injury to the neck.neck_yoga_journal_1215

Reflections on 45

SILVER SPRING - MAY 20: A meditating frog sculpture at the entrance to the Meditation Museum in Silver Spring, MD on May 20, 2015. The museum displays artifacts and icons from a variety of religions including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam. (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

My birthday came again. Reflections on 45 started with 45 symphonic gong strikes, building luscious vibrations, one after the other, crescendos and reverberations. A wonderful, rich sound that ended too soon. It made me feel like life goes by quickly. Today, I attempted a 45-minute meditation. I planned to guide my mind through each year of my life. I started as a child and moved forward, as well as I could remember, but it felt more like reviewing phases of my life than actual years. With very little internal dialogue, I experienced presence and focus with some hunger distraction. Lunch would come soon. I saw colors, pictures and video clips. I heard a soundtrack as well– an ongoing, personal selection of popular songs meaningful to me at various times in my life. I sang along in my mind as matching pictures and videos played. My meditation concluded at 38 minutes when my family called out to me it was time to leave, but that’s okay. Tomorrow, I’m planning to practice 45 sun salutations. Last year, I performed 44 full sun salutations. It took me over an hour. I expect the same this time. Reflections on 45… and manifestations for the coming year. I should probably write down 45 things I’m grateful for, too.