Outdoor Fitness Classes – Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club

Outdoor training season is one of my favorite times of year. Navigating the weather can be a bit of an adventure here in Parker, Colorado. We get flash hailstorms all summer and it can get pretty windy at times. Which is a big reason why I’m so grateful to have a new indoor training space.

On nice days it’s amazing to train outside here. The sunsets are gorgeous and the skies are incredible. And after a long winter it feels so good to soak up the warm sunshine while exercising.

One of my local outdoor training spots is the Parker Norwell Outdoor Fitness park. Park gyms are a very cool phenomenon. I’ve seen a few of them in my travels around the country. This one was designed by the Barkholt family from Denmark:

During travels in Asia, the family experienced how the public outdoor fitness parks everywhere offer easy access to exercise, and the perfect supplement to the family’s walking and running routines.

This experience inspired the Barkholt family to develop their own unique line of outdoor fitness equipment, expressing the very best of Danish Design: quality, functionality and aesthetics.

There’s one piece of equipment that I really like – the curved pull up/stretching bars.

It’s perfect for practicing a full range of strength and flexibility exercises. A few of my favorite exercises include:

  • Hamstring Stretches
  • Flat Back Stretch
  • Hanging Spinal Stretch
  • Leg Lifts Series (for core and leg strength)
  • High Bar Stretching

These exercises are highly beneficial for all levels of experience. If there was one thing I could recommend that people do for themselves this summer it would be to train outdoors 2-3 days a week.

I’ll be co-hosting a series of small group sessions at the Norwell Park Gym and other local outdoor training spots. Contact me if you’re interested in attending a free seminar on how to do these exercises.

For more information visit the Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club’s Facebook page.

 

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Park Gym Mandala

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Yoga WOW

Emily Seymour Yoga WOW

Long-term consistency trumps short term intensity. – Bruce Lee

Have you ever wanted to try a yoga class but wasn’t sure if you’d like it? Or maybe you held back in a challenging vinyasa class because you didn’t want to burn out? Ever wish you could take a yoga class that gave you a road map to follow?

Enter the WOW. I’m pleased to announce that I’m rolling out a brand new class series this summer. The Yoga WOW (Workout of the Week) is a customized class that I’ve designed for Integrate CrossFit in Salida, Colorado. Inspired by the CrossFit WOD model, this class is great for yogis and CrossFitters alike.

Yoga WOW is not a typical gym-yoga class. If you’ve ever seen a CrossFit facility you know that it isn’t an average gym. While gym-yoga classes tend to be promoted as a supplement to other exercise routines, Yoga WOW is designed to support you with creating your own yoga practice!

What happens in a Yoga WOW? Each class is one hour long. Students arrive a little before the class starts and begin warming themselves up. We’ll chat for a few minutes about the WOW list of exercises. The list is posted in the gym and on my Facebook and Twitter accounts for students who want to do their own Home WOW. Each month has its own theme that focuses on a primary category of poses. There’s no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to yoga, so this class includes plenty of variations to choose from. The general class structure includes:

  • 5 mins Warm ups/Introductions
  • 5 mins breathing
  • 15 mins sun salutations
  • 15 mins WOW poses
    • Peak Pose of the Week
  • 5 mins cool down
  • 5 mins corpse pose
  • 5 mins meditation

The goal of Yoga WOW is to give students a basic outline of a personal practice. Once they get familiar with the format they can start playing with variations and designing their own sequences. Over time a personal practice becomes a choose your own adventure experience!

Want to learn more about designing your own Yoga WOW? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today. 

Park Gym Mandala

Park Gym
Photo courtesy of Bodybuilding.com

So I recently discovered this amazing park gym in Boise, Idaho…

The Bodybuilding.com Park Gym at Ann Morrison Park is made up of 15 pieces of durable new fitness equipment installed on a 1,400-square-foot pad. Use of the equipment, which is accessible year round, is free to the public.

If you’re not sure how to use all of the pieces of equipment, you can follow the detailed, step-by-step instructions that are posted at the entrance. (Self Teacher Training note: you can also devise your own ways to use the equipment.) 

I’ve seen outdoor gyms before, but I really liked this one because it’s circular and because it’s designated for adults and children (14+). Why is this so awesome? Outdoor training season has officially started, so it’s probably a good time to discuss a common stereotype about adults using playgrounds. 

During the warm months I like to practice in parks and playgrounds. They’re great for Mind Body Parkour and exercising in nature does wonders for the spirit. Most of the adults are enjoying time with their children and my interactions with them are positive. But every once in a while I’ll encounter some resistance.

I could tell you stories…

There’s a fraction of the population that doesn’t support the idea of adults using playgrounds for exercise. I see this as being due in part to the a large number of Americans who’ve fallen prey to the Spectator Epidemic. Meaning, they tend to be passive observers about exercise which is a big problem in our culture. In this video of Chinese seniors, you’ll see that their culture is completely supportive of adults exercising in parks.

So I’m even more appreciative of parks that cater to adults who want to work out. When you consider that obesity rates in America are among the highest in the world, with two out of every three Americans being obese or overweight, it’s quite obvious that we have an exercise shortage in our country. According to Wikipedia:

Obesity has led to over 120,000 preventable deaths each year in the United States. An obese person in America is likely to incur $1,497 more in medical expenses annually. Approximately $190 billion is spent in added medical expenses per year within the United States. Obesity is a preventable condition that has been increasing within the United States. Health authorities anticipate no change to this vector.

What is needed in order to bring about this change is a shift to the public’s perception about integrating exercise with lifestyle. Television is the primary obstacle, as it breeds passivity and creates a mind-body disconnect. It also prevents many people from perceiving their homes as viable places for exercise.

A good starting point in beginning the process of lifestyle rehabilitation is to use your local park for routine exercise. It’s free and easy to access (for the most part). By doing this you’re helping yourself as well as helping to shift the collective consciousness.

Want to learn more about developing your own park gym routine? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today.

Yogaerobics is for Posers

PhysicalPoser: noun

  1. A person who poses
  2. A person who likes to be seen in trendsetting clothes in fashionable bars, clubs, etc.
  3. A person who attempts to blend into a specific social group
  4. A puzzling or baffling question

I’ll start this rant with a little disclaimer:

“Everyone does not have to like everything.”  

We all have our own share of experiences which form the basis of our opinions. That said, I’m going to be honest with you… I don’t like yogaerobics classes – I think they’re really boring. I know that saying this is a faux pas in some circles but I don’t care.

Some people will argue that sometimes you just need to move, so who cares how you do it? But if that’s the case, then why – out of ALL of the things you could do, then why choose yoga?  If you just want to move then why not EXERCISE?  Like running, or gymnastics or any other physical sport?

Part of the answer stems from the numerous studies in recent years highlighting the health benefits of yoga. They’ve been very effective in steering people towards trying yoga, but it’s only one piece of the yogaerobics puzzle.

There is so much money invested in blinding people from their true potential. People are being coerced into buying into the yogaerobics trend. Magazines and newspapers present us with well-crafted ideas of what it means to be socially accepted. If celebrities do it then it HAS to be cool, right? The groupthink mentality encourages people to become part of a scene. To create a scene is to create a market. (Mental health tip: don’t watch television). 

The yogaerobics industry is designed to foster the “see and be seen” mentality. It plays upon people’s insecurities so they get wrapped up in their appearances, so they’ll buy $200 stretchy pants and brand name accessories. The overemphasis on the physical leaves little room for contemplation of the subtleties of the practice.

Even basic comprehension gets skimmed over in yogaerobics classes. I recently took a poll at a studio that specializes in vinyasa classes. I was curious to see how many people actually knew what the word ‘vinyasa’ means. Out of six classes only a few people knew that it means linking movement with breath. It was totally mind-blowing for me. I couldn’t help but wonder how did this happen? How did so many certified yoga instructors manage to create such a huge gap in the general public’s comprehension?

It’s been three years since I wrote this article and I’ve revised it to reflect my current viewpoint. The challenges I described back then are still prevalent today. I’m not sure if there’s anything to do about them (other than what I’m doing now). If you have any insights to share on this topic feel free to leave a comment in the box below.