May 1, 2014
What have we been up to?
If you have been following us on Facebook or Instagram, I’m sure you have seen our monthly challenges! The main hosts from Instagram have been Kino Yoga & Beach Yoga Girl. We started in February with an Inversion Challenge hosted by Kino Yoga, and realized how much fun inversions are. March was the Backbend Challenge and really helped us open up our hips and improved our back flexibility. Today closed out the Yoga to the Core April Challenge! The great thing about these challenges are that they keep you accountable and on track to practice a little or a lot of yoga each day! Sometimes you think you can just do your pose of the day and move on, but most of the time you really need to warm up the body which turns into more minutes of practicing yoga 🙂 Your body opens more and more each day you practice, and it’s fun to see yourself get into some poses that at the initial look of them seem impossible. But that’s the great part, most everything is possible in Yoga! If you don’t get it that day or month, you might surprise yourself the next time you try it. Patience and practice is key.
Are you ready to join in on the fun?
May Challenge – There’s TWO this month!! Pick one and stick with it! OR if you’re feeling crazy and want to do both, more power to ya!
We are following one of our favorite yogi – BeachYogaGirl – for this month’s challenges. The first one is May I Begin Yoga, which will be for ALL of our followers to introduce beginner yoga poses to anyone willing to try! We will be posting the poses on Instagram as well as getting more inspiration from @BeachYogaGirl. We would love to have everyone at least try this one out with us! Our second challenge is hosted by @Beach_Yoga_Girl and is a handstand challenge for all those wanting to break their fear of getting into a handstand or trying to work their way off of the wall into a handstand (like us!!).
To join in on the MAY I BEGIN YOGA fun: 1. Post a photo or video of the pose listed on the pictured collage (find on our instagram) 2. Tag us @yogaathletex & @beachyogagirl and #mayibeginyoga so we can see all of your posts! Follow @liforme and @bitsybottom and tag them in your posts to qualify for a price. 3. Encourage a friend to try the challenge with you!! So tag them to join in! 4. Have fun & always be safe with this! Only go where your body allows you to go.
To join in on the MAY I HANDSTAND fun: 1. Post a photo or video of the pose listed on the pictured collage (find on our instagram) 2. Tag us @yogaathletex & @beach_yoga_girl (this is her personal account) and #mayihandstand so we can see all of your posts! 3. Encourage a friend to try the challenge with you!! So tag them to join in! 4. Have fun & always be safe with this! Only go where your body allows you to go.
March 31, 2014
Yoga: A Natural Facelift
It’s true! Yoga can actually prevent signs of aging. Yoga naturally improves your circulation, balance and flexibility. The practice of yoga also relieves stress, which in turn gives you a natural face lift!
Want to stay youthful? Try this short series of anti-aging yoga poses. Practice each pose, in the following order, at least three times a week. For the best results, repeat daily.
Move in to every pose with your breath. Any time you are lifting your heart to the sky, you inhale. When you lower your heart to the floor, exhale. Go with your breath at a relaxed, enjoyable pace.
Breathe deep and loud, using your entire torso. Inhale through your nose, expanding your belly, lungs and ribs. Exhale through your nose, letting your belly cave toward your spine, ribs fall in like an accordion.
Grab your block, a pillow, a mat and pick a comfortable, inviting space in your home.
Let’s get started!
1. Standing Forward Fold to Half Lift
Benefit: Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression; warms the spine
Stand with your feet together, toes forward, and knees slightly bent. Relax your arms at your sides, palms facing in. Inhale and raise your arms in front of you (palms up) until overhead. Exhale, fold at the hips, bring your hands to your shins/toes/floor, lowering your chest to rest on your thighs. Inhale, lift your chest and roll your shoulders back and down. Spine is parallel to your mat, look straight ahead and breathe deeply. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale and rise, bringing your arms overhead; exhale and lower arms to sides. Repeat three times.
Benefit: Stretches the ankles, groins and back torso; Tones the belly
Widen your step to slightly larger than hip width apart. Rotate your feet facing outward about 45 degrees. Keep your heels on the floor. Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhale, lean your torso forward and lower your hips to be in line with your ankles. Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms together at heart’s center (Salutation Seal – Anjali Mudra). Pushing your elbows against your inner thighs will help lengthen your front torso. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then inhale, straighten the knees, and stand into Uttanasana.
3. Downward Facing Dog
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
Benefit: Energizes the body; Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
Come to all fours. Place your wrists directly under your shoulders, keeping the arms straight. Place your knees on the mat, directly under the hips. Your toes are pressing in to the mat. Lift your hips to the sky, straightening your legs. Have a soft bend in your knees to support your lower back. Ground down through your hands, pressing equally on all fours. Extend the spine in opposite directions. Index fingers are parallel. Breathe.
4. Warrior II
Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana II
Benefit: Increases stamina; Strengthens and stretches legs, glutes, abs, and arms
Stand with your feet apart, right foot toes perpendicular the edge of your mat and left foot turned in slightly (~45 degree angle). Keep your torso and hips facing forward. Exhale and bend your right knee at a 90 degree angle. Be sure that your knee is in line with your ankle. Inhale and raise your arms out to the side. Turn your head to the right and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep your gaze at your right middle finger.
5. Extended Side Angle
Sanskrit: Utthita Parsvakonasana
Benefit: Stimulates abdominal organs; Stretches the groins, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders
From Warrior II position, exhale and place your right forearm on your right thigh and raise your left arm overhead. Look toward the sky and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Inhale and rise back to Warrior II pose. Exhale and straighten your right leg.
Repeat Warrior II and Side Angle on the left side.
Benefit: Improves sense of balance; strengthens feet, legs, glutes, and abs
Stand with your feet together, toes forward. Place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh, your calf (not on the knee joint) or the inside of your ankle, with the toes of your right foot lightly touching the floor. Place your hands in prayer position (Salutation Seal – Anjali Mudra) in front of your chest and look straight ahead. Hold for 15 seconds.
Inhale and extend arms overhead, keeping your hands together (or keep your hands in front of your chest). Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and lower your arms and leg. Repeat, balancing on the right leg.
Benefit: Improves posture; strengthens lower back, chest, and arms
Lie facedown on your mat, with your legs together, elbows tucked against your ribs. Place your hands on the mat pointing forward. Inhale and press your palms and forearms down as you lift your chest and head, drawing your ears away from your shoulders, keeping your elbows under your shoulders. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and relax down to the mat. Repeat.
8. Child’s Pose
Benefit: Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
Slide your hands beneath shoulders. Push up, bend knees, and sit back on your heels, lowering your chest to your thighs and your head toward the floor. Keep your arms stretched out in front. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Child’s Pose is home base. You can take this pose at any time during your practice to regain a rejuvenating breathe.
9. Half lord of the fishes
Sanskrit: Ardha Matsyendrasana
Benefit: Stimulates the liver and the kidneys; Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, then slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip. Lay the outside of the left leg on the floor. Step the right foot over the left knee so that your right heel grazes the outside of the left knee. Inhale, lengthening your spine and lifting your arms overhead. Exhale and twist gently to the right, lower your left hand to your outer right thigh. Place your right hand at the base of your spine to straighten your back. Look over your right shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
With each inhalation, lengthen the spine; with each exhalation, twist a little farther. On an exhalation, return to the center, and repeat, twisting to the left.
10. Inverted L
Sanskrit: Viparita Karani
Benefit: Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet; Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck; Relieves mild backache
Come to the wall. Lie on your back, facing the wall. Carefully position yourself so your glutes touch the base of the wall and your legs are resting against the wall. Your feet should be about 12 inches apart and relaxed. Angle your arms out to the sides, palms up. Your hips should be slightly higher than your chest (if not, use a pillow). Close your eyes and breathe deeply for at least 1 minute.
Skip this pose if you are menstruating or have high blood pressure, glaucoma, or a neck injury.
When practicing yoga, you open yourself up to vulnerability. Vulnerability is opening your heart space to allow you to grow and be authentic. Be patient with your vulnerability. Patience with your practice will allow you to learn and grow with each pose.
March 27, 2014
We are super pumped for this month’s challenge. We will be focusing on building our entire core area, not only for beach season but to build strength in our lower backs.
I know for me that my back is where I have the most pain on a daily basis. I also know that if I had a stronger core, I would experience less pain in my lower back. So not only do I want to dive into this challenge to strengthen my core, I want you to join with me!
Happy Spine, Happy Life
Don’t be turned away by the advanced poses on the challenge, I am unable to do all of them as well. However, practice makes perfect! Yes, it does! So, let’s all practice together to get our core stronger so we can have a happier life. As Bikram always says, “Happy Spine, Happy Life”!
The key to getting a happy spine is to have a strong core. So on top of this core pose challenge we will be working on our core with planks: holding high planks, side planks, and low planks. I believe this works better than the typical “ab crunch.” So who is in to get their backs to be pain free?! I know that is my daily goal and always will be something I have to work at on a daily basis for the rest of my life. As Patricia has always said as words of encouragement to me, “It’s not what you can do, it’s what you will do.” So let’s do it!
The Challenge Details
Here’s how to do the official challenge using Instagram. Keep in mind that these hosts are very advanced, so look for the modifications and always be kind to your body.
1. Follow @beachyogagirl, @kinoyoga, @stoked_yogi, @glidesup and @yogaathletex on Instagram.
2. Repost challenge collage to your instagram feed.
3. Take a photo or video of the pose each day and post it.
4. Tag #yogatothecore #yax @beachyogagirl @kinoyoga @stoked_yogi @glidesup @yogaathletex
5. Have fun and connect with other challenge participants!
Your hosts, @beachyogagirl, @kinoyoga, @stoked_yogi and @yogaathletex will post their version each day of the pose adding their own tips, tricks or inspiration to the pose.
As always, remember that nutrition is 80% of your overall health. So, feed your bodies with the good stuff! If you have any nutrition questions, you know how to contact us!
March 24, 2014
In honor of Rodeo going on in the month of March, we wanted some good yummy BBQ. This recipe is from “My Beef with Meat” from the Engine 2 Diet. If you haven’t heard of the Engine 2 Diet, this is the second book Rip Esselstyn has come out with. He’s a Texas firefighter who went Plant Based after the men at his station suffered a series of health conditions. It’s a good book and has lots of great recipes to fill up manly men, believe us! Our manly men loved this one….and so did we!!
Here’s the recipe for 8-10 tacos:
10 corn tortillas, toasted
16 ounces tempeh, crumbled
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
One 16-ounce jar barbecue sauce <– use a mustard based sauce like Carolina Gold
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 to 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut lengthwise, cored, and sliced into thin pieces
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and sprigs
Place the crumbled tempeh in a nonstick pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until heated.
Stir in the tamari. Add the barbecue sauce and stir until all of the tempeh is coated with the sauce.
Make those yummy tacos & enjoy!
March 19, 2014
OK, so we don’t really have capes and it didn’t come with super powers but we were just selected to be Action Heroes for Women’s Health Magazine!
It all started in January when a dear friend of mine emailed me. She forwarded me the information on applying for Women’s Health Action Hero and said, “Hi Sugar, I think you and Kalynn should apply to be this Action Hero. You both could win hands down.” I was flattered by the suggestion but thought to myself, “yeah right! Who wins stuff like that?” But, I had some free time so I said to myself, “What the heck?!” and applied. I told Kalynn to apply as well. Because, well, we’re a team! Fast forward almost 2 months. We received an email saying that we both had been selected to be Action Hero’s for Women’s Health magazine. WHAT?! We couldn’t believe it. Is this real life? Are we actually living our dream?!
I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is an Action Hero? Well, an Action Hero is basically a health ambassador. We were selected with 50 other influential women in America. We are all here to serve a purpose. Our purpose as Action Heroes is to be a voice for Women’s Health and a fabulous event they host, RUN 10 FEED 10. RUN 10 FEED 10 is a great cause that helps the fight against hunger in America. For every runner that registers, 10 mouths are fed. Incredible! Kalynn and I are here to help support this cause and fight the good fight. Want to learn more about RUN 10 FEED 10? Check it out here. We’ll be sending more information out as we get closer to the event.
Throughout 2014 we’ll have the opportunity to spread the word about health and fitness and some great opportunities for you, right here in Houston. Follow us to get involved!
February 19, 2014
February 13, 2014
YAX is Plant Strong!
We didn’t coin the term, and no, we didn’t make it up! We just LIVE IT and LOVE IT!
What does “Plant Strong” mean?
Plant Strong is a nutrition philosophy that consists of getting most of our nutrients from plant-based meals. We don’t like to commit to the term “Vegan” because it doesn’t really describe our beliefs in nutrition. We eat mostly meals and snacks that come directly from whole foods. For example, we eat a TON of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains, etc. You would be amazed at all the vitamins, nutrients and protein God’s green earth has provided for us. That’s right, I said protein–protein from plants. We’ll dive deeper in to that in another blog post.
Although we were raised with extremely healthy eating habits, we haven’t always been plant strong. We grew up in Texas. Let’s face it. We have had MORE than our fair share of meat–steak, BBQ, chicken, fish. You name it, we have probably eaten it. We have dabbled in many different diets and fads–Body for Life, Paleo, Low-Carb and even Juicing–we’ve been there, done that. In fact, we love meat. It tastes so good, right?
So, why give up animal products?
Ultimately, the “casein” that is found in all animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) is the #1 culprit of most diseases and ailments we suffer from as a modern population. Intense, right? Unbelievable, right? Keep reading.
Over the past few years, we have expanded our library and have collected tons of research on this thing called plant-based eating. We have found it to be mind-blowing, invigorating and down right successful. We feel great, we look great, our skin is glowing and our immune systems are strengthening.
It all started with a documentary called Forks Over Knives. As we eagerly watched, we were overwhelmed with the plethora of information, scientific data and research. Learning about “The China Study” and being introduced to Dr. Colin T. Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn were the main components in our decision to become plant strong. The research these pioneers have done is truly the most impressive information we have ever learned. If you haven’t watched this film, do yourself a favor. Buy it on Amazon, watch it on Netflix, whatever it takes. It will change your life.
Since then, we have prepared countless recipes for ourselves, family and friends. We’ve played around with throwing an animal product in the mix and indulging in the occasional cupcake or glass of wine. That being said, we can safely call ourselves “Flexitarians”! But, the bottom line is our diets our mostly PLANT STRONG. We walk it, live it, breathe it, support it and suggest it.
Ready to make the change?
Contact us for more information on nutrition. We provide literature, guidelines, suggestions, recipes, grocery lists and personalized meal plans. C’mon! Pick up your fork and join us on this journey of eating as much nutrient dense food as you want. Trust us. It’s filling and delicious!
February 12, 2014
Hey Spring Branch Yogi’s!
We are excited to announce that we will continue teaching classes at the West Transition Campus Gym starting on March 4th, 2014! The second 6 Week Session will run from March 4th – April 17th, with no classes during Spring Break due to the gym being unavailable. We really have been loving the energy in the class and the progress everyone has been making. We are excited to see the continued improvement and it has encouraged us to become better teachers! Each individual has inspired us in their own way, so have been working on ways to better ourselves and our teaching style. We attended the Texas Yoga Conference in January to learn more ways to deepen the stretch in the hips, where we hold all of our anger, stress and fears. We were able to bring back what we learned to our Spring Branch Yogi’s and shared the wealth of knowledge with them!
We really want to take advantage of the size of the gym we are using by bringing more people, sweat and energy into the room! Our goal is to have a minimum of 20 yogi’s in the gym each class! So we are offereing a special deal for you…If you sign up and get a friend/co-worker to sign up for the 2nd 6 week session, we will offer you $10 off on your next package! So start spreading the word, and we will see you and a friend on the mat on March 4th!
To sign up, email email@example.com to let us know you will be bringing your awesome self! 🙂
January 7, 2014
Yoga Athletex is excited to announce a partnership with the Spring Branch Employee Wellness Program. Our wonderful mom, Darlene Evans, teaches in Spring Branch ISD, and has told us nothing but great things about their programs. We always knew we wanted to start with Spring Branch ISD, and we are excited to kick-off 2014 with a beginner yoga series for SBISD administrators.
As athletes, we bring a unique athletic aspect to our teaching style based on experience–don’t be surprised if class sometimes feels like a workout rather than a breathing session! Don’t get us wrong, we strongly believe in proper breathing and in getting the body to fully relax. This task is much harder than most would think.
Whether you are a teacher, administrator, secretary, janitor, parent or student, your mind is constantly spinning all day on what you need to do and get done. Yoga Athletex offers a class that allows you to escape your thoughts for an entire hour and learn how to focus on you! Yes, you!
We want you to enjoy this class. Working out should not be a drag! Lots of workouts are. We get it. We are hoping you will enjoy our yoga with body weight strength building classes to leave you feeling good about yourself, your body and your mind.
The first 6 weeks course will be for all levels, focusing on proper technique for beginners. We will work on similar movements for you to become familiar and comfortable with this type of workout, while also challenging you to new things. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Be sure to let us know you if you have any injuries ahead of time so we can make sure we have modifications and recommendations for you! Remember, listen to your body. It is yours, not anyone else’s. So get ready to push yourself to new levels this semester and learn how to LOVE your body!
SBISD Six-Week Yoga Course
December 4, 2013
Yoga offers tremendous health and wellness benefits for everyone. As a means of therapy, Yoga is becoming increasingly popular among athletes and sports enthusiasts. Here are 5 key reasons why Yoga can be beneficial for those involved in sports and athletic training programs.
1) Yoga enhances recovery – most vigorous sport activities generate lactic acid in muscle tissue. If lactic acid is not removed properly, it can adversely affect performance in future training sessions or events. Yoga exercises can help in the removal of lactic acid by gently circulating lactic acid out of muscle tissue and into the blood stream where it will make its’ way to the liver for processing. Yoga also has shown to improve sleep patterns. Proper rest and ample sleep are critical periods for an athlete’s recovery process.
2) Yoga restores balance and can help reduce injury. Many sport activities are dominant on one side of the body due to specific movements and joint loading. This mechanical dominance can create musculoskeletal imbalances that can generate chronic injuries. Yoga can be beneficial in reducing these tissue and joint imbalances.
3) Yoga improves biomechanics and energy conservation. Moving a joint requires energy. The more tension one has around that joint, the more energy is required to facilitate that movement. The goal of athletes is to have maximum performance with the most energy conservation. Yoga exercises that improve flexibility and joint range of motion reduce muscle tension and enhance sport biomechanics. This enhancement reduces the amount of energy needed for those movements, thus allowing an athlete to perform at higher levels and/or longer intervals.
4) Yoga improves body awareness and focus. Yoga employs physical and mental exercises that deepen one’s sense of body positioning and movement (proprioception). Enhanced proprioceptive skills are crucial in the development and progression of athletic training. Yoga’s use of breathing and centering techniques can be valuable tools for event preparation, routine and skill visualization, as well as stress/anxiety reduction.
5) Yoga improves breathing function. Yoga exercises, particularly pranayam exercises, have been shown to improve breathing mechanics and lung capacity. Focused breathing exercises develop one’s ability to maximize function of all breathing mechanisms (diaphragm and intercostal breathing). Maximal lung health is vital for athlete’s, especially for those who partake in aerobic-based sports and require efficient lungs to deliver sufficient oxygen uptake.
Caution for athletes doing Yoga. Although Yoga offers great benefits, athletes should be mindful of the type of Yoga they do and how it is integrated into their training program. For example, some styles of Yoga can be very vigorous (vinyasa yoga) or have dehydrating effects (Hot Yoga). An athlete adding Yoga to their program needs to insure that the style of Yoga does not introduce over-training or other adverse effects. As qualified coaches/trainers, we know how best to integrate Yoga into a training routine, keeping in mind the cycling of events and peak training periods.
Athletes can be too flexible! As much as one can see the benefit of being flexible, keep in mind that joints need stability. Over-training flexibility can reduce the ability of muscles, tendons, and ligaments to stabilize joint structures. Understand the nature of joint loading that is involved in particular sports and be mindful to not overuse Yoga flexibility exercises on those joints.
Finally, it may be easy for some athletes to try Yoga for the first time and feel they can jump into intermediate to advanced postures. Just like the sport they are coming from, they took years to build a foundation of where they are in that sport. This same approach should be applied with Yoga. Athletes, regardless of fitness level, should start with beginner classes so they build a foundation of all aspects of the practice: basic posture alignments, breathing techniques, and meditation applications. Many intermediate and advanced Yoga classes are taught in a manner that assume students have these foundations in place. Therefore, by skipping beginner programs, an athlete will miss out on crucial foundation elements.
Article by Kreg Weiss, BHKin