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Savasana…My favorite Part of Yoga

At the end of every yoga class, you often hear the teacher instructing you to lie still on your back with your eyes closed and legs long for “Savasana” or “Copse Pose”.  This is the moment I am able to let out a big breath and finally allow my hour-long yoga practice to sink in.  This is the best moment of my yoga practice.

But as I start to travel and teach yoga to more and more athletes, I started to realize that not many people understood the power of this pose, or asana.  B.K.S. Iyengar explained in his book Light On Yoga   “By remaining motionless for some time and keeping he mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax.  This conscious relaxation invigorates and refreshes both body and mind.” Believe me, for years the idea of laying down and clearing my thoughts seemed impossible.  But once I was open to the idea of savasana, I slowly felt how beneficial this was for my everyday life.

savasana

Why do savasana?

Savasana allows the breathing rhythm and heart rate to steady and rest.  In all of our hectic lives, this is very rare.  With heightened heart rates, people loose control and often result in anxiety problems and stress overload.  As athletes, we are really good at heightening our heart rate and pushing our bodies to the limit.  It’s important that the body and mind get a few minutes to rest a day for balance.  By practicing savasana, one can train themselves to slow down their heart rate and breath with complete control.  I know that I can run farther distances and snowboard longer powder lines knowing that I can have complete authority over my heart rate and breath.  Because of techniques learned in savasana, you learn to become aware of those things around you, and observe from a calm and pleasantly detached place.  The word “hectic” and “stressed” are slowly eliminated from your vocabulary.

 

So take 2 minutes after your yoga practice to complete your workout.  Your mind (and body!) will thank you.

Healthy Holidays: Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

As we shop during the holidays, its hard to pass up the various goodies along the shelves.  Chocolate this, peppermint that.  Since we do most our shopping at our local Trader Joe’s, it does help with some of the temptation, especially when we are searching for the best appetizer to bring to the many Holiday parties!

Recently, we came across this, Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip and of course we had to give it a try!  Needless to say, but we will, it was good. So we got to thinking, how could we could make our own homemade version, and keep it low in calories and fat, but high in flavor?

 

And here is our version of Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip…with a little help from our friends over at Homespun with Love.

1/2 a box of frozen, thawed and drained spinach
3-4  medium, fresh curly Kale leaves, washed, stem removed and chopped into thin julienne slices
1 1/2 cups non fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
2-3 gloves of garlic, minced
1 package Knorr vegetable mix
1/4 Italian red onion, chopped small
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place spinach and kale in a bowl and toss to combine. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. We found we did not need to add additional salt. Check for seasoning. Serve or chill in refrigerator covered until ready to serve.

Serve this with crackers, bread or vegetable sticks.

Optional add ins: water chestnuts, red bell pepper, green onions.

Happy Healthy Holidays!

 

Fit This Fall Recipe: Butternut Squash Chilli with Quinoa

Ready for the season to change?  We will miss the warmth of summer and those fresh summer fruits, but we are excited for the entrance of Butternut Squash and more warm foods into our dinners!

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Here’s a great recipe for Butternut Squash Chilli with Quinoa – Ready in 30 minutes and serves four!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mild chilli powder (Schwartz does a good one with added cumin, oregano and garlic)
  • 1 butternut squash , about 1kg, peeled and cubed
  • 100g quinoa , soaked in cold water for 10 minutes (available from health food shops and some supermarkets)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin red kidney beans
  • a small bunch coriander , chopped
  1. Cook the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft (about 7 minutes). Add the chilli powder, cook for a minute then add the squash, quinoa and tomatoes.
  2. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the squash and quinoa are tender and the sauce has thickened. Add the beans and heat through. Stir in the coriander and serve in bowls.
Per serving: 306 kcalories, protein 13.9g, carbohydrate 53.4g, fat 5.6 g, saturated fat 0.7g, fibre 10.1g,

We love this homemade healthy chilli and hope you can too!  Its easy, fast and SO YUMMY!

Enjoy, look for more recipes coming your way soon, and stay Fit This Fall!

Yoga, Travel and Life Lessons

Recently I helped Contiki Travel with an interview on my thoughts on travel.  You can read the interview here, and see some travel advice I have for you!  But this really got me thinking about WHY I travel.

Throughout my career, I have become very lucky to be able to combine to of my passions: Yoga and Travel.  The best advice I can ever give someone is to travel.  Lots.  And everywhere you can.  Go somewhere you don’t know the language and travel to place without a plan.  Immerse yourself in cultures you’ve only heard about and experience things that you have only read in books.

Why Travel?  Because traveling shapes you into who you can become and introduces you into other worlds.  You can sit for hours watching this different life walk in front of you, unconsciously taking in the culture, experiences and manners within.  I watched myself grow up with each place that I visited…moving from Europe to Hawaii and stationing back in Southern California all while traveling to 20 different US states, Australia, Canada, South America and more.  Each town and country added to my own values and personal beliefs and I am happy to say that I will continue this travel addiction.  There’s so much more of the word to see.

Why Travel and do Yoga? Traveling through college, I spent most of my times sleeping on trains in Europe or dancing the night away at the local pubs.  Once I started to emerge myself in yoga and finding a daily practice, my two worlds of yoga and travel were pushed together as one.  Practicing yoga in a different place allows my body to react to change, be challenged to other perspectives and learn what the destination has taught me.  Yoga in another culture or place gives you a moment on your trip to reflect.  To express through movement what you are learning and gaining, while taking that serene silence to soak it all in.

So give it a chance.  Grab your passport, research yoga studios near by and try something new.  Just remember “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”

Finding the Right Cleanse for Your Body: Day One

It’s that time of year to renew and rejuvenate our bodies as we move from summer to the fall. After evaluating the different cleanses, CYS trainer, Lindsea Swisher decided to try the CAN CAN CAN Cleanse and report back to our bloggers. Lindsea chose this specific cleanse because they are a local SF company and we are a huge advocate of supporting local businesses. We found that the cleanse was the most approachable, especially since they provide a pre-cleanse warm up with instructions to help prepare your body for juice consumption. Lindsea is anticipating a challenge, but is keeping her eye on the prize of feeling more rejuvenating from the inside out! “It’s inspiring to set out on a new health track and know that in 3 days I will be on my way to optimum health!”, Lindsea explained.  Come along on the 3 day journey as we share our experience throughout the cleanse.

Cost: $185 for the 3-day cleanse

Number of Juices Per Day: 8

Based In: San Francisco 

3 Day Seasonal Juice Cleanse!

Are you ready for a better and happy self?

Summer Yoga Playlist…Sun Salutations and Jams!

Tired of your typical yoga music that makes you feel like it’s still winter?  No worries, we have compiled a rockin’ playlist of songs to make you enjoy flowing in the sunshine!

1. “Comptine D’un autre ete” by Amelie Soundtrack

2.   “Fineshrine” by Purity Ring

3.  “Weekend” by Class Actress

4.  “Youth (Adventure Club Dubstep)” by Foxes

5.  “Gold on the ceiling” by the Black Keys

6. “Azure” by Paul Kalkbrenner

7. “Super Scorer” by Boy Robot

8.  “Live in Vanilla” by Boy Robot

9.  “Everything Goes” by Club 8

10. “Ooh Child (alternate version)” by Beth Orton

11.  “Turning Page (instrumental)” by Breaking Dawn Soundtrack

12.   “Samsketi” by Sigur Ros

Enjoy, Flow and get outside!

Miami Swim Week with ZICO Coconut Water

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim returned to the warm sands of Miami Beach, and I was so excited to be apart of it!!! Jetting off from July 19th-23rd, the event showcased over 25 international designers from Australia, Brazil, Columbia, and the US at what has become the premier swimwear event in the world.
I traveled with ZICO Coconut Water, as they partnered up with Salon Allure for this years’ events.  The weekend was incredible.  Laying by the pools of the W Hotel and Perry South Beach, walking through the booths of the upcoming swimwear in 2013 and seeing the suits being strutted down the aisle at the late night fashion shows were all highlights of the weekend.  Here’s the Salon Allure Show at the W and the Tropicana Pool Party at the Raleigh Hotel:


Even through all the glitz, glamour and bikini-clad models, ZICO was able to set up one of the most inspirational yoga classes of my life.  ZICO & Salon Allure invited parents and patients from The Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, to participate in a yoga class lead by me, on the beach.  Teaching both on the rooftop of the Perry South Beach hotel and on the sand of South Beach was amazing, but the interactions with these children made it even more memorable.  I watched the children take a moment out of hospital visits, blood tests, etc to sit and learn the techniques of breathing and stress-relief.  Afterwards, their smiles and lively hugs brought tears to my eyes.  I saw how much yoga can help these children deal with things in their lives that they can’t control.  They need a space to have to themselves to stop and breathe when things get tough.  I am glad to have this effect on this group of children, and so thankful to ZICO for giving me this opportunity.  Here I am with the group, and Jimmy who suffered from stomach cancer.

 

Check out the two different set ups for the yoga classes…

THANK YOU ZICO COCONUT WATER! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR MIAMI!

Yoga Workout Playlist

Upon many requests, here is Lacey‘s Hour-Long playlist for a yoga class that incorporates strength training and multiple cardio burst!  You can use this playlist for running, weight lifting, or just a quick dance party this weekend! 

“Oh That I Had” – Mt. Eden Dubstep

“Don’t Wake Me Up” -Chris Brown

“As Long As You Love Me” -Justin Bieber

“Greyhound” -Swedish House Mafia

“Back In Time” – PitBull

“Sweat (130 MPM French Connection Mix)” -Bump n Grind

“Body Work” – Morgan Page & Tegan and Sara

“Titanium” -David Guetta and Sia

“Carry Me” – Morgan Page & Nadia Ali

“Learn to be Alright” -Mashup Germany

“Wide Awake” -Katy Perry

“Ho Hey” The Lumineers

“Comptine D’un autre ete-L’apres-midi” -Yann Tiersen

“Samskeyti” -Sigur Ros

Beach Running…Fun in the Sun or a “Wash-Out?

As summer starts and the sunshine starts to take over our attention spans, runners start to fill the streets, alleys and beach paths.  Those looking for a nice coat of UV rays and the feeling of running through nature knows how exciting it is when its “summer running weather“.

Spending the past three weekends on the beaches of Tahoe, Newport and Ocean Beach made us contemplate the benefits and dangers of running without shoes along the beach.  Here’s what we think:

1. BENEFIT: Sand in your toes.  There’s just no better feeling.

2. DANGER: Blisters on the bottom of your feet.  Sometimes you cannot gauge how hot the sand might be, or how coarse the sand is.  One thing we know, Southlake Tahoe sand is not sand.  Its a little too rough on the feet.

3. BENEFIT: There is no real need for music.  The sound of the waves is motivating enough, plus the view of babes in beach outfits is always a plus.

4. BENEFIT: after a barefoot beach run, your knees and ankles feel a bit stronger and less impacted.  A Griffith University (Queensland, Australia) study concluded that landing on soft sand increases the “collision” time, or the time during which the foot sinks into the sand, and therefore reduces the overall stress of pounding on the lower extremities.

5. DANGER: Because your running along the seashore, there is usually some sort of incline leading away from the waves.  Running significant distances with one leg landing higher on the slope than the other is an easy way to injury yourself because it leads to muscular imbalances.  So check out your seashore slants!

CONCLUSION:  We love running barefoot on the beach.  Just make sure you check your sand, the incline and hit the road every once in a while.

HAPPY SUNNY RUNS!

Music, Mosh pits, and.. Yoga?: How to get your Om on at the Summer’s Music Festivals

As summer approaches, the excitement of festival season starts to grow.  We start to find our neon tank tops and glow sticks and countdown the days to Coachella, Outside Lands, Burning Man, or whatever other festival strikes your fancy.  The sun is hot and the girls and boys spend their days and nights dancing to the upcoming bands and hippest songs that aren’t always on the radio.

With that in mind, we have to bring up the idea of the addition of yoga into music festivals.  Wanderlust has incorporated music into their yoga festival, but we think its time that those two worlds combined at all music festivals.  After a night of running through the desert and dancing for hours, your body needs a short hour of stretching and revitalization for the next few days of the festivals.

Here are some poses that you can do outside your tent, by the pool or in between sets of your favorite bands.

Supine Twist:  A simple pose to ignite your colon for cleansing and dextoxing, as well a great stretch in your outer hip and lower back.  This is something you can do next to a pool.

Crescent Moon:

A perfect stretch for your hip flexors and it feels great along your front body (especially if you are camping!).  Make sure your knee touches the ground, since balance is usually something that you loose throughout a music festival.

 

Savasana

Take a moment for yourself, lay down and just breathe.  Just make sure its in your campsite, hotel etc. and not in the middle of a moshpit.

Cheers to staying hydrated, stretching, dancing and living free!