Client FAQ: What is the best way to lose weight?

Many of my clients want to lose weight and weight loss is one of the main reasons why people exercise. But not all exercise programs are created equally and produce various results. The saying “work smarter, not harder” definitely applies to weight loss strategies.

I find that it’s helpful to start by explaining the difference between exercise and recreation. Exercise (a.k.a. strength training) is a process where the body performs demanding work in a clinically controlled environment. Recreation (biking, hiking, swimming, yoga, golf, etc.) is for mental health purposes whereas exercise is purely physical.

Recreation is for fun. Exercise is for strength.

Exercise will contribute to the performance of any recreational activity, through improved strength, endurance and resistance to injury. I compare this relationship to the structure of a house. Exercise is the foundation while recreation is the enjoyment that comes from having a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, and so on.

Exercise is like balancing your budget. Not much fun but it’s absolutely essential.

Traditionally, cardio has been the focus of weight loss efforts. But studies have shown that dozens of hours of running or aerobic activities will only lead to small amounts of weight loss.

When combined with calorie restriction, a.k.a. improved dietary choices, better results were achieved with cardio. However, some of that weight loss was due to a loss of lean body mass rather than fat loss.

In a recent study with over 4,000 participants, the best results for weight loss were achieved through a combination of strength training and calorie restriction. And while exercise may not be as enjoyable as recreation, the good news is that short bursts of intense exercise can effectively boost your metabolism.

It is possible to lose weight in as little as 20 minutes.

To learn about additional ways to lose fat please read: Strength Training for Fat Loss, Exercise & Ways to Lose Fat

The journey to fat loss can be incredibly empowering! Do you want to lose weight? I would love to help you with achieving your goals. Contact me to schedule your free initial consultation.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

Self Teacher Study: Mind Body Tune Ups

22 Push Ups in 22 Days

I just completed my first 22 Push Ups Challenge. This viral campaign started in 2013 to raise awareness for Veteran suicide prevention. The number 22 is based on a VA study about the number of Veterans who commit suicide every day.

The 22 Push Ups Challenge is also for honoring military service members and Veterans. Various organizations promote this activity during the month of November to commemorate Veteran’s Day.

This goal has been on my bucket list for a long time.

The terms of the challenge vary, just depending on how each person chooses to complete it. Some people practice 22 push ups throughout a single day. Other people practice 22 push ups (and/or variations) at one time. While some people dedicate one day to the challenge, others perform 22 push ups for 22 days. Everyone posts a video of their efforts on their social media.

I’ve tried this challenge in the past and failed, due to a herniated disc injury from 2015. It took many years to rebuild my body, but through consistent effort I built up the strength to do ten triceps push ups in a row.

My goal was to do 22 consecutive triceps push ups in full plank position.

In order to more than double my number of pushups I had to do quite a bit of base and cross-training. Before the November 1st start date, I spent six weeks focusing on foundation. During the seventh week I increased my upper body training frequency by alternating my standard routine with Ballet Barre push up variations.

I also added some explosive strength training.

I started attending boxing classes once a week and also practiced on my own. This was my first attempt at boxing and it has been wonderfully challenging. I can understand why boxing is considered to be a form of mindful exercise.

In order to stay on course I used a training technique from my first 100 Days of Meditation marathon. I made a promise to myself that if I missed a day I would have to start over. I also made sure to stick to my clean eating routine and slept an average of eight hours every night.

You are welcome to learn more about my progress on my Facebook page.

Interested in taking your training to the next level? Book a free no-obligation consultation to discuss how I can help you reach your goals.

Aparigraha: Yoga’s Answer to Streamlining the New Year

Aparigraha Yoga New YearWith the holidays behind us and a new year ahead, this seemed like a perfect time to discuss the yogic practice of Aparigraha.

For me, New Year’s is less about making resolutions and more about getting organized. As a minimalist (who loves to shop) Aparigraha comes in very handy with decision-making. I use it when deciding what to keep and what to let go of. It also helps me determine what I want to bring in to my life.

The yamas and niyamas (morals and observances) are the first two branches of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga. These primary steps offer a self-disciplinary code of conduct that aids in balanced spiritual development.

Aparigraha is the fifth yama. It’s translated as non-possessiveness, or the absence of greed. The objective is to free your mind from covetous thoughts. One way to accomplish this is through the minimalist lifestyle.

According to the Yoga Sutras, when the mind is purified of greed you obtain the siddhi (paranormal power) of remembering all of your past lives. That is, if you believe in reincarnation.

Aparigraha teaches us to take only what we need. It’s kind of like doing an inventory of our lives. It raises the questions of what do we cling to and what is weighing us down? And not just material things (although that’s certainly part of it). We may hold on to:

  • Our identity, or who we think we are
  • People (partners, friends, enemies, children, etc.)
  • Dogmas/Beliefs

Aparigraha is an invitation to release that which does not serve you. Those boxes of papers that you haven’t touched in five years. Clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year. Unbalanced relationships. Former teachings that are no longer relevant.

One word of advice – take your time with this process. It can be difficult to begin and easy to get carried away. Start by asking what can I change? Baby steps are huge with this kind of work. Notice where the sticky spots are. You could also try any of these exercises:

  1. Eliminate Food Waste: In my home we have a weekly menu, where we keep track of what food is in the fridge, which meals are on deck, and when the expiration dates are.
  2. Create a Capsule Wardrobe: Reduce clutter by donating or selling any clothes that you don’t wear. The clothes that you wear regularly form the basis of your capsule wardrobe. [Read: 7 Tips to Help You Create Your Capsule Wardrobe]
  3. Reset to Zero: This is a lovely way to describe what happens to our minds when our home environment is put into order. It’s like hitting a reset button on your mental state – especially helpful before beginning any new projects. [Read: Reset to Zero]

These are just a few ways that you can streamline the start of your New Year. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Asteya: Yoga’s Answer to Hungry Ghost Syndrome

Yogis Can Eat Meat (if They Want to)

Small Group Yoga Training

Small Group Yoga Training

Let’s face it, exercising with friends is a lot of fun. We can learn so much about ourselves while being part of a team. And as life is moving faster than ever, quality time with friends and family is becoming even more of a priority.

Small group training is a wonderful way to experience the benefits of Personal Yoga in a supportive environment. Receive high quality instruction at an affordable rate, as you create meaningful shared experiences. Families, friends, couples and co-workers can form their own teams and work towards their shared goals.

Flying solo

If you would like to join a team simply request to be added to an open group. This is a great way to make new friends and connect with people in a positive setting. You might also choose to receive additional help through one-on-one training while participating in a small group program.

Small groups are small for good reason

Keeping the number of participants low makes it possible for each client to receive as much personalized attention as possible. Small groups are typically made up of two, three or four people.

How long does a training program run?

The ideal time frame for a small group training program is 5-10 weeks. You could start with a single session and if you decide to continue I recommend upgrading to a discounted package of five sessions.

Assemble Your Team


Some helpful tips on forming your own Personal Yoga team:

INVITE A FRIEND 

Everyone needs a little motivation from time to time. Give your friends a little nudge and share this post with them.

FIND A TEAM 

Ask to be added to a team that is right for you. We’ll connect you with people who have similar needs and goals.

Get Motivated


Read a few success stories from past clients on the Testimonials page.

Learn about the many Personal Yoga Benefits

Get Started


Start your Personal Yoga journey today. Sign up for a free no-obligation consultation: Book Now

Liberty Health and Wellness

Liberty Health and Wellness Yoga

Liberty Health and Wellness

 

I’m proud to announce a new partnership with Liberty Health and Wellness, a holistic and alternative health care service provider on the Western Slope of Colorado. We have clinics in Grand Junction and Montrose, and are planning to set up a third clinic in Moab, Utah! We specialize in home care and clinical services including acupuncture, tui na, yoga, as well as dietary, herbal and exercise therapy. To learn more about how Oriental medicine can help you and your loved ones please visit: libertyhealthandwellness.net

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.

The Spectator Epidemic

Mindless garbage spectator epidemic
Found on the Pinterest

Have you been to your local Walmart lately? Depending on where you live it can be a DISTURBING experience. I’m not saying this to be mean, I’m saying it because it’s true. There’s a cross section of middle America which borders on a zombie apocalypse. And it’s a real problem…

How did this happen? Diet is a big part, as well as the toxic cocktail of chemicals added to our food, water, air and medications. But it’s also related to social conditioning. Take a drive through your neighborhood one night and chances are you’ll see the flickering blue light of televisions emanating from people’s homes. Or maybe you’ll see groups of people at sporting events or playgrounds, where the adults are watching their kids exercise. Maybe you’ll see people at the gym. Maybe.

The Spectator Epidemic

Most likely you’ll find adults sitting at home watching television. It’s such an engrained part of our culture that no one really thinks anything of it. Television provides fuel for conversations – at work, the bar, and the dinner table. For many people television fulfills certain needs that are not being met in our modern day standard of living.

Part of this has to do with people being such visual creatures. When we watch dancers, martial artists or athletes, we experience something called the kinesthetic response. It’s a spontaneous reaction to a motion or stimulus that occurs outside of ourselves. The muscles contract and release in conjunction with the visual stimulation. So afterwards there’s a feeling of being energized or pleasantly fatigued.

Without actually having to do anything.

By and large, it’s much easier to be a spectator. Exercise can be challenging especially when the body is out of shape. Sitting around and talking about someone else exercising (did you see last night’s game?) is a piece of cake compared to actually doing it.

I’m not saying that you should never be a spectator. A good martial arts movie can be incredibly inspiring and hopefully you’ll do some kind of training afterwards. Playing video games or going to a sports event can also be great incentives – maybe you’ll feel really jacked afterwards. But if you don’t put that energy into your own life then what is the point?

Television addiction is an “undo-it-yourself” project that takes a little courage. Television breeds passivity so it takes time to shift gears. If you’re ready to become more of an active participant in your life a personal yoga practice can help.

Ready to take the next step? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today.

On a Moving Meditation Mission

Emily Seymour Yoga Moving Meditation MissionI’ve been a people watcher for almost two decades. I gather information from watching the way that people move, how they hold themselves, and so on.  I’m not as good as that guy on Lie to Me, but I can read body language pretty well.

I had a bit of a revelation at a 5Rhythms dance class in Manhattan. These classes are incredible – anywhere from fifty to one hundred people come together for two glorious hours of moving meditation. The music is perfectly orchestrated and the teachers are phenomenal. At one point I paused to look the sea of people and it hit me:

People need to move more.

If you think that this is a strange response to watching a group of dancers, you’re absolutely right. It IS unusual and it caught me a little off guard. I was observing how the class was moving as a whole; particularly the WAY the people were moving. A lot of bouncing (which is great for spinal decompression) but something wasn’t connecting.

And then it clicked.

In that moment I could see the impact of modern day lifestyles – particularly the effect of sitting in chairs. I mean ALL chairs – desks, couches, cars, airplanes, trains, buses, bicycles – even toilets! I could also see the impact of sitting and watching TV. The effects extended beyond their physical bodies, and I could see the effect of being routinely cut off from the lower power centers of the body.

It’s no secret that sedentary lifestyles are a slow killer. We know that moving is essential for good health, that it prevents Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. And with that understanding many people go to fitness classes, the gym, or exercise for maybe a few hours a week.

What I realized in that moment is that it’s not enough. Adult bodies were designed for movement, not to sit around, or work at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, or have our legs go numb in seated meditation. Even if you do work out on a regular basis, those benefits are being undone by too much sitting.

So I’m on a mission to change this. I’m encouraging people to move their bodies a whole lot more, in ways that help them integrate the upper and lower halves of their bodies. It sounds basic enough but the process of actually doing it takes some effort. There’s some lifestyle reconstruction involved and a willingness to open our minds to change.

Sun Salutation CircleExercise is a way of giving your body a gift.

A good way to start this is by finding ways to move that your body enjoys. One of my favorite moving meditations is the sun salutation series. Sun salutations are a great way to energize and open your whole body. There are many ways to modify the series to suit a wide range of ability levels. They can even be used for weight loss! I teach the sun salutations series in my Foundations Training course.

Ready to get moving? I’d love to hear from you. Schedule a FREE no-obligation consultation today: Book Now

Personal Retreat Reflections

I’m taking a personal retreat right now and have been diving into my practice. I’ve wanted to take a short sabbatical during the holidays for a long time. I feel very blessed to have this gift of uninterrupted time. My practice always aligns me with my inner rhythms which gives me the feeling of abundant energy.

Winter is a time for hibernation.

This is a time when the solar energy of the sun is in short supply. Energetically, winter is the season of apana. Apana (the downward current of subtle energy) is the force that governs elimination in the body (excretion, urination, menstruation). Psychologically, it’s best described as a state of introversion. In nature, apana is the force that draws sap into the tree’s roots.

The holiday season presents an interesting counterbalance, as it typically requires a great deal of output – emotionally, socially, financially, and physically. Being extroverted at this time of year doesn’t necessarily align with the laws of nature. And this can make us feel disconnected from our natural rhythms.

With so much emphasis on externalization it’s easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking that we are not enough.

Some people power through the holiday season like a marathon runner but overexertion might result in sickness. Eating foods that we don’t typically eat, drinking excess amounts of alcohol, and cold exposure can take a significant toll on our physical health. And the holiday season can lead to a number of mental health issues.

While it is possible to cultivate energy through the holidays, it’s very important that we have enough gas in our tanks. And we might not have the space in our schedules for taking a personal retreat. So what else can we do? Here are some simple suggestions of ways to practice refilling your “cup.”

  • Stay well-hydrated: drink plenty of room temperature, filtered water. 
  • Eat the most beautiful food.
  • Be mindful of CATS (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar).
  • Turn off your television.
  • Avoid violent movies and fear-induced media hype.
  • Go outside and spend time in nature.
  • Don’t read the news when you’re eating.
  • Go to bed when you’re tired or take a nap.
  • Slow down.
  • Meditate. Light a candle or sit by a fireplace (the ultimate television).
  • Exercise: move in ways that your body enjoys.
  • Breathe. A lot.
  • Relax in the sunshine.
  • Play, laugh, love.
  • Drink tea.
  • Sing your songs.

What are some other ways to take a personal retreat during this time of year? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

How to Plan a Winter Solstice Retreat

Home Rituals: Maple Pecan Pie

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.