Category Archives: General Fitness

Summer 2016 Yoga Class Schedule, Ten Sleep & Worland, WY

Photo courtesy of Louis Arevalo

Photo courtesy of Louis Arevalo

Summer Outdoor Yoga Class: Wednesday Mornings, 8 to 9 a.m.

This Vinyasa Slow yoga class takes place at Red Reflet Ranch, located south of Ten Sleep via WY 434. Dress for outdoor practice overlooking beautiful red sandstone cliffs. However, if the weather is bad, we will practice inside. Bring your yoga mat!

Session 1: June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20
Session 2:
August 10, 17, 24, 31, September 7, 14 (6-week session)

Ten Sleep Yoga Classes: Monday Evenings

Session 3: June 6, 13, 20, 27, July 11, 18 (6-week session)
Session 4:
August 8, 15, 22, 29, September 12, 19, 26, October 3
Session 5:
October 24, 31, November 7, 14, 21, 28, December 5, 12

NOTE: You must bring your own yoga mat to yoga classes in Ten Sleep; no mats will be provided. Classes take place in a classroom at the school via the northwest door. Find class descriptions below.

Vinyasa Slow: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Vinyasa Flow Combined I & II: 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.

Drop-in fee is $8 per class; email me for details on multi-class pricing options.

Worland Yoga Classes: Wednesday Evenings

Session 3: June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20
Session 4:
August 10, 17, 24, 31, September 7, 14, 21, 28
Session 5:
October 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, 30, December 7, 14

Vinyasa Slow: 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Gottsche Wellness Center, next to the DMV and Gottsche Rehab Center in Worland. Priced according to current Gottsche rates.

Vinyasa Flow Combined I & II: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the WHC studio.

Stretch & Refresh: 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. at the at the WHC studio.

Drop-in fee is $8 per class at WHC; email me for details on multi-class pricing options. You do NOT need to be a member of Worland Health Club to attend a class there.

CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

Vinyasa Slow. Slow-Flow followed by gentle stretching. Slow-Flow involves a slow-paced flow of supine (lying down), seated, and kneeling postures, plus several standing flows and poses. These sequences aim to encourage gains in agility, coordination, strength and balance. After warming the muscles, the final portion of the class will provide gentle seated/supine stretches to improve range of motion and encourage greater flexibility. Suitable for almost any level of practitioner and almost any fitness level, so long as lying down, sitting/kneeling on the floor, and standing up from lying down/seated/kneeling do not present any issues.

Vinyasa Flow Level I. A moderately-paced, alignment-oriented Vinyasa flow class featuring an active warm-up, sun salutations, standing/balancing sequences, optional arm balances/inversions in some classes, backbends, forward bends, twists and hip openers, with attention to yogic breathing, staying present, cultivating steadiness and ease in each posture, and staying respectful of your body’s limits and edges throughout this mindful, flowing practice. Suitable for those with previous yoga experience and/or those with an established basic fitness level and a willingness/open mind toward trying something new.

Vinyasa Flow Level II. A faster-paced/more difficult alignment-oriented Vinyasa class featuring an active warm-up, sun salutations, standing/balancing sequences, optional arm balances/inversions in some classes, backbends, forward bends, twists and hip openers, with attention to yogic breathing, staying present, cultivating steadiness and ease in each posture, and staying respectful of your body’s limits and edges throughout this mindful, flowing practice. Suitable for those with previous yoga experience and/or those with an established solid fitness level and a willingness to “go with the flow” and be okay with not having as much visual guidance/demonstration of poses.

Stretch and Refresh. A slow-paced, hour-long practice featuring roughly half an hour of Yin poses followed by roughly half an hour of purely restorative poses. This class concludes with a guided meditation. Yin yoga works to gently and persistently strengthen, lengthen and nourish the body’s deeper, less elastic tissues – fascia, ligaments, joints and bones. Restorative yoga involves the use of passive poses (asanas) to help relieve stress and promote a greater sense of overall relaxation and wellbeing. Guided relaxation meditation is often included. Yin yoga and restorative yoga are suitable for almost anyone, so long as lying down on the ground does not pose health issues. This cooling class provides a great complement/counter-practice to the active Vinyasa flow class taking place just before it.

The Fitness of Helping Others

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At one point in my past, a person told me with great disdain, “You only want to help other people because it makes you feel good about yourself.”

Think about that for a second.

What, if anything, is so inherently wrong about feeling good about yourself?

Lots of people struggle with negative feelings about themselves, much of the time. Judging oneself harshly is a common issue – finding oneself lacking and being filled with self-loathing. Many people tend to be way crueler in their own self-assessments than they would in assessing anyone else.

Getting outside of yourself by assisting others in need can help you put negative feelings and judgments about yourself in perspective. You see that you can do good works and that you have something valuable to give.

And guess what – it’s actually okay to feel good about yourself when you do this!

There are proven health benefits you’ll get from serving others, as a 2013 study reported in BMC Public Health concluded, including the following:

  • Reduced incidence of depression
  • Improved sense of overall wellbeing
  • Lowered risk of death later in life

Note that these are not direct physical fitness benefits. However, I believe that we tend to separate the mind from the body too much in our culture. Mind and body are inextricably linked, and a healthy, happy mind obviously has an impact on your quality of life and your overall fitness.

Enough about all of this “selfishness” – the personal, individual benefits YOU get from giving. Now, take a moment to think about the people (or animals, or environment) whose lives you’ll touch and help improve from your willingness to donate whatever you have to give – time, money, skills, expertise, labor, whatever – and imagine how much they can potentially benefit from your generosity.

One caveat about giving to others: Make sure you are giving freely with no expectations of a specific outcome or of getting personal recognition or gains. You are giving simply to give, free and clear.

Also, it helps if the way you choose to give resonates with you personally. For example, if you hate working with children, volunteering to work with children probably shouldn’t be you service effort of choice.

Doing something that you actually enjoy or at least don’t mind doing will put you in a more giving frame of mind, and if you come into an activity with positive energy, those around you will more likely than not pick up on it. Ditto for negative energy.

By helping others, by volunteering, by giving back in whatever way works for you, both you and others benefit. Everyone wins, and everyone involved reaps rewards. What could possibly be wrong with that equation?

Volunteer for the health and fitness benefits you will gain. Feel good about yourself when you do.

Go ahead, be selfish.

The Fitness of Playing: Making Exercise (More) Fun May Be a Key to Keeping Yourself Doing It

Image Courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Too many people find it difficult to exercise often enough to stay fit and healthy. The reasons for this are complex, for sure. But I’ve come to believe that one big barrier to exercising regularly for many people is the fact that they simply haven’t found any physical activity that resonates with them enough to make it fun, or at least fun enough to want to continue.

We, as humans, love to have fun. Laughter and playfulness can help make physical activity fun and engaging, drawing a person to return to the activity in question again and again – not because they think they “should” in order to stay fit, but because they actually enjoy the activity and look forward to doing it…or look forward to how great they feel after doing it, as the case may be.

This is one of the lost concepts in fitness plans and programs and ideas for too many people, creating an obstacle to health and fitness. There’s a sense of exercising being a blah, icky, necessary evil that people have to endure if they don’t want to end up overweight or out of shape or both.

It’s true – exercise plans can indeed be boring and distasteful. Also true is that what one person loves and savors and find works wonders for them and lights their inner fire may draw an exactly opposite response from another person.

It’s so common for each of us as individuals to assume that everyone else wants what we want and thinks how we think and will experience what we experience in the same way with the same reaction. We also take comfort in numbers, so having others affirm that our choice is indeed the route to fun and enjoyment makes us feel happy and secure, and there’s nothing wrong with that – unless we find ourselves pressuring those who maybe don’t have the same response or reaction even harder to do what we do, making them feel bad or guilty that they’re not having the same enjoyable experience (which almost inevitably will push them even farther away from trying that particular form of exercise, or possibly any form of exercise).

One of the most important things for each person to work out for him or herself is to find a way to bring playfulness, joy and fun into his or her exercise plan or program. I’m not saying that this will be easy; it can take time to find a physical activity that is actually enjoyable. If a person is really out of shape, almost any activity may be uncomfortable, but still – figuring out a way to make it fun and to involve some laughter and lightheartedness can help make it seem less repugnant.

How do you make exercise fun? Try the following approaches:

  • When kids play, they don’t necessarily have to have a “point” to the play – nor do they have to have a time limit that makes it valid and worthwhile. Remember that 5 minutes of walking is better than doing nothing at all – or a few cat-cows, or pushups, or crunches, etc. It all adds up. Make it a game to see how many small chunks of time you can exercise throughout the day, if that helps you get more movement in;
  • Keep it lighthearted and don’t take it too seriously – if you don’t reach your goal for a particular workout on a particular day (in terms of time, distance, length, weight lifted, skill learned/mastered, etc.), let it go, and just be happy and pleased that you made the time for yourself to play at all;
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new, to look uncoordinated and silly doing it, and to laugh when you don’t – or do – succeed. When I teach yoga, it fills me with joy when students get caught up in the moment of trying a challenging pose or sequence, whether they giggle at not quite getting it or beam with joy when they finally do get it. This is exactly what I’m talking about – forgetting all of the “stuff” that awaits outside of the yoga practice, and just being present and playful in the moment;
  • Exercise with others, and make it an enjoyable social occasion as well as a chance to improve your fitness. You can have an exercise buddy (or two or three) with whom you meet up to exercise a few times a week; you can work out at a gym or sign up for a class; you can join a dance or yoga or martial arts class; you can get involved in an outdoor activity that is inherently social (rock climbing and bouldering certainly are!); whatever you choose, having other people involved can help add an element of fun and joy, even if you’re working your body hard;
  • Add some music that makes you happy, lively, and focused – music makes us move and can add pep and vigor, helping you kickstart and potentially prolong your efforts at moving;
  • Don’t give up right away if you can’t find something that you enjoy; take your time and try lots of exercises and approaches – perhaps you’ll cycle through a whole variety of different activities in search of something that motivates and inspires you, and perhaps something that doesn’t light your fire at first will gradually come to be something you feel you can’t live without. Whatever the case, don’t give up – and again, remember that doing something active, even for 5 minutes at a time, is better than no exercise at all.

Turning physical activity into something that you look forward to, that isn’t a tummy-turning chore that you must endure, can help make for a much more healthy and happy relationship with exercise and fitness. You may find yourself actually looking forward to your workouts instead of finding excuses as to why you’re too busy or too tired after work to make it happen.

For more tips on how to incorporate exercise into your life as a mainstay, check out How to Kick Start Your Workouts & Recommit to Fitness and The Long & The Short of It: How Little Time You Really Need to Make Improved Fitness Your Reality.