What’s the best way to burn fat and trim your waistline? If you said doing 1,000 abdominal crunches, well, you’re wrong. The answer is a bit more complex: it takes a combination of efforts that include a positive mindset, a healthy diet and a plethora of fitness activities including anything cardiovascular, weightlifting, yoga, and of course abdominal workouts. It certainly helps to do something core & ab related everyday – as you’re well aware of my zealous approach to a daily fitness program. So if you haven’t already tried one of my 5 minute fat burning workouts, check out Workout #7 – Sculpt those Abs – then keep it going with a vigorous walk, swim, bike, jog or run. Be well – R
There’s no question that our nation’s First Lady has got it right when she says “small changes can lead to big results”. I strongly believe in Michelle Obama’s child obesity initiatives, and I totally concur with her push for healthier meals and more exercise, especially for anyone NOT currently on a fitness program. As for overweight children and their role model parents, let’s get them started with a daily fitness routine that’s simple and attainable – whether or not they can afford a gym or yoga studio membership. Like my new 5 minute fat burning series on YouTube. Each low impact workout is designed for anyone of any size, weight, age or gender. Plus, these 5 minutes of exercise will serve to jump-start your day, strengthen your body and your mind, burn fat while getting your heart rate up, as well as lay the groundwork for your daily fitness routine. So give it a try…and I’ll see you next time! R
In keeping with our theme to burn fat while sculpting your thighs, workout #3 of my 5 minute fat burning series employs the age old exercise most commonly referred to as the lunge. For anyone looking to start a new fitness program, keep it simple and make sure you do something everyday – even for only 5 minutes. It will help establish a strong foundation that will propel you to greater fitness heights. Enjoy your workout – R
Who doesn’t want to burn fat and sculpt and beautify their thighs? It’s a human thing, right, but workout #2 of my 5 minute fat burning series uses that powerful Warrior stance named after the Hindu folklore’s warrior Virabhadra. In yoga terms, the Sanscrit for warrior is Virabhadrasana. So get your warrior on and come sculpt those thighs!
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
So how about a little workout challenge to add to your external motivation? If you’re not already a fan of ours on Facebook, become one today and win a complete set of my yoga and fitness videos ($50 value) as we aim for 500 fans – click logo to visit our fan page. Or better yet, workout every day for 30 consecutive days and win a copy of my yoga-inspired film, Boulevard Zen. We certainly hope our competitive external motivation gets you started with a daily fitness program…because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves? R
This morning I spoke with this twenty-something year old Ethiopian guy who moved here to pursue the American dream. You know the one: money, kids, cars, a big house – am I forgetting anything? Well, he explained to me how his family is considered wealthy by Ethiopian standards, with a nice house and a live-in servant for $20/month (yes, $20), and how he’s basically had to “start from scratch” since arriving two years ago. Because regardless of his perceived wealthy past, he’s had to start from square one here in the United States. Just like many people and their fitness programs. If you haven’t worked out in a really long time, well, you’ll just have to start from scratch. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, why not make it a good thing! Like with my Ethiopian friend – who has his own apartment, works a full time job and goes to technical college – starting over doesn’t have to be feared. Keep it simple and keep it short, as in 1% of your day. Embrace the challenge and have fun with your new beginning. Because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves? R
When you’re a base-runner it’s always best to get a good lead so you’re in a better position to advance. And just like in any sport, and in life, it’s always best to be well-conditioned and well-prepared to achieve whatever advantage you can over the opposition. So let’s consider Mother Nature and Father Time the pitcher and the catcher, and let’s say you’re on base. Why not get a good lead by starting your new daily fitness program today, if you haven’t started one already? Because with all the punishing weather out there it’s easy to just curl up in a ball and chill out on the couch for 12 hours. Well, that sounds relaxing, but don’t forget to get your workout in, even if you stretch out and work your abs for 15 minutes. Hint: “Thursday’s 15 Minute Fat Burning Workout”. Plus, you’ll get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get in shape or start sculpting that bikini body for next summer. So take advantage of Mother Nature and Father Time and get started today. And don’t forget the sugar-free hot chocolate! R
Yesterday I went to San Diego to teach with The Boulevard Zen Foundation yoga teachers Carolyn and Jen. It was our monthly workshop class for everyone at the shelter including kids, moms and staff. Although our turnout was rather light, we spoke with one staff member who explained to us in one word why the moms were reluctant to join in the fun. Self-confidence. Most of us know a thing or two about self-confidence, or a lack thereof, when it comes to challenging the mind or the body with something new. And that’s exactly what a new fitness program does – it challenges the mind and body in ways that are unfamiliar to us. Thus making it hard and undesirable – at first. With the imperative words here being “at first”. Because it gets easier. It truly does. The hard part is just getting started. I explained to her that beginning a new yoga program with our teachers is like swimming in the ocean. At first you walk in with the water around your ankles. Then you wade a little further, up to your knees, then waist, and ultimately you’ll take the plunge and dive in. And if you’re fearful of those crashing waves, you may not take the plunge right away, but over time you will gain the confidence to go further, advancing to the next level, gaining momentum and confidence every step of the way. And that’s what it’s all about – gaining self-confidence through action and advancement that will certainly spill over and positively affect others areas of your life. So if you haven’t already done so, take the plunge and get started today with a new fat burning fitness routine. Because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves?