Last night I met a 22 year old gal who said she starting working out again after taking the last six months off. When I asked why the long sabbatical, she simply responded she was bored with her workouts. I know the feeling. After 32 years of daily workouts, who wouldn’t, right? The key to thwarting boredom is to have your mind supremely focused on the task at hand. Not that easy, you say? It is when you treat your workouts as a moving meditation with exercises attached. If you’re doing the right exercises – and exercising right – you don’t have to workout for hours on end. Keep them short and sweet (as in yesterday’s blog) and stay focused on every movement you make. Or better yet, spice it up my 5 minute fat burning workouts and you’ll have many more exercises for your repertoire. So keep it going and don’t let your mind get the best of you. Enjoy opening your hips and low back with today’s Workout #44 – Frog Legs. My best – Rich
What do you do when there’s pain in the body that affects your daily activities? You can address the pain with rest and/or with controlled stretching exercises. Depending on the specific injury and severity of your pain and injury – it’s best to consult your Doctor on that – I would recommend both. As for sciatica relief (from leg pain due to compression of the sciatic nerve) here are some simple stretching exercises that can help. Always remember to breathe slowly and deeply and send your positive energy to the area of discomfort. And smile! Enjoy your 5 minute fat burning workout #20 – R
I woke up today with pain in my low back, specifically on my right side. It wasn’t there yesterday so perhaps it occurred during the night, or maybe negative energy or tension came to reside there as a result of stress or something I did yesterday. No matter the cause, I went to the gym this morning and wasn’t able to work it out with my usual stretching so I decided to focus on it with 15 minutes of yoga and meditation when I got home. First I laid on my back and quieted my mind with the meditative breathing technique called Ujjayi Pranayama. In yoga terms (or Sanskrit) it means upwardly victorious or skull shining breath which is a three part yogic breath moving from the low belly into the upper chest and throat. Inhalation and exhalation are done through the nose – with your mouth closed – and the resulting sound is much like the sound of the ocean. Next I hugged my knees into my chest while rounding then elongating my spine which is call Apanasana. All the while I kept with my meditation and Ujjayi breath while sending thoughts of relief specifically to the point of low back pain. Next I slowly rocked back and forth and side to side massaging my low back into the ground. Next I reached for the sides of my feet moving into Happy Baby pose. I also teach this pose in Zoo Yoga from my Yoga Survival Guide as well as Apanasana in Comfort Yoga and Ujjayi Pranayama in the very first lesson, Mountain Pose. Next I straightened my legs best I could while holding onto my big toes – much like Paschimottanasana on your back (also taught in Park Yoga). Next I spread my legs wide into a big V, all the while keeping my spine elongated best I could. Finally I hugged my knees into my chest for another Apanasana, then slowly moved into my final resting pose, Savasana. Viola! No more pain. Although everyone’s body is different with varying degrees of pain, give this sequence a try the next time your low back is bothering you. It just might do the trick. R
Sometimes you just don’t have the time or just don’t feel like changing into workout clothes just to workout, right? Well who says you have to find time or wear something workout-ish? Do one thing for a couple of minutes and you’ll get your workout in – at least part of it. Like when you’re waiting for that email, or that phone call, or your girlfriend to get ready, or that client to show up. Check out me working triceps here on my favorite reading chair (dining room and office chairs are even better). Apply “yoga principles” as you plant your feet slightly apart with knees at right angles pressing together. Keep your chin parallel to the floor, your spine straight and dip slowly until your elbows reach right angles (no need to go further), pointing your elbows toward each other. Do not to jerk your head or neck. Note: always be sensitive to any tweaks or pains in your neck as well as your shoulders, elbows and wrists. Move with slow and deliberate movements. Nothing fancy and make sure the chair is properly weighted to support this exercise. Strengthen your arms and build stamina with these simple dips using whatever’s available to you. Do as many repetitions as you can per set, and as many sets as you can – with short breaks in between until you feel the burn and can’t do any more. It’ll happen quick. And always maintain good posture, close your mouth and breathe slowly and quietly like the sound of the ocean, and pick a point of focus to wipe your mind clear. Enjoy – R
I spoke with my brother yesterday who said he could use some help with his sciatica. Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the spine and runs down the back of each leg. It controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot. Sciatica pain can vary widely. It may feel like a mild tingling, dull ache, or a burning sensation. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move. So what can one do to help? A simple, yet rather uncomfortable yoga asana called Lizard Pose. I cover Lizard in Lesson #30 of my Yoga Survival Guide, aptly named Zoo Yoga. So if you could use a little relief, as I encouraged my brother to do, spend 4 minutes a day in Lizard (2 per side), then roll over on your back and come into Happy Baby for another minute – which is also covered in the same lesson. Remember to slow your breath and try not to wiggle around in the pose, however uncomfortable it may be. And enjoy your time at the LA Zoo!