March 28, 2014

Intensity!

NEW Online class at PowHow! Get in on this!

DoxaSoma

Interval training has long been a tried and true method in the fitness world. Alternating periods of rest with work for varying lengths, according to what the client needs, is a great way to bring about health and fitness goals. The latest trend in this sort of training is called High Intensity Interval Training or “HIIT.” It’s the same concept upon which programs like Tabata and CrossFit are built. They can be incredibly effective!

At DoxaFit we’re rolling out a new program for one’s DoxaSoma practice. Called, DoxaSoma: Intensity, the program will cycle through a handful of positions using “intensifiers” for each position such as changing the arm or foot position, adding hand weights or deepening the pose and follow those with moments of Prayer Breathing, Prayer Position and gentle Chara stretches.

The focus for our Intensity program comes from the book of 1 Chronicles,

“Splendor and majesty are…

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January 24, 2014

Building the core…

How to build that strong core!

DoxaSoma

You know what you need?

A strong core.

We hear a lot about building a strong “core” and for good reason. If your “core” muscles are strong it means your body is getting the support it needs to keep you moving through your busy life! Try this sequence of movements to help build that vital part. Do this group of movements slowly and with purpose. Focus on keeping the “core” muscle engaged- abdominals, obliques, glutes.

The Core Movements:  Stone Table, Red Sea, Tent

 

Move through this sequence first opening up on the left side, then do the right side to keep things balanced and even. Try to master these three “Core” movements first, moving through smoothly and confidently. Once you have these down, add in some intensifiers for example:

1) Rather than beginning in Stone Table, begin the sequence in Standing at the top of your mat. Hinge…

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January 3, 2014

One thing…

doxafit 2013

Happy New Year, Drama Free Fitness Folks!

I love the New Year. It’s so full of promise, so clean and fresh and…well, “new.” It’s as though the clock has restarted on everything. Hooray!

Gym memberships skyrocket, websites that deal in health and fitness show a rush of activity, resolutions abound! This is the year we’re finally gonna lose that 10 pounds, get in shape, get a better job, do all the laundry, clean under the refrigerator, become a better neighbor…

And then in mid February we start to feel the pressure of it all and maybe we realize that the “clean slate” of January 1st was not all that clean after all. The idea that we can completely start anew is replaced with the guilt of missing workouts, the cold weather weight gain, then the pressure of the lurking summertime starts to loom on the horizon. The clock is never really on our side, is it?

Except that here’s this little bit o wisdom, friends. The clock doesn’t care.

What matters is how we choose in the moment, not some great cosmic shift, not the reset button on the calendar, not the foreboding of “swim suit season.” This year I wonder if we can set goals that are driven by the small stuff, by the momentary good choice, by the hope of tiny shifts in our psyche toward good health.

Choose one thing, maybe it’s for a day or for a month but choose something. Always have something to choose; mindful eating, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, choosing the side salad instead of the fries. These are small things. They are “this time” things and they add up. There is no quick fix. You already know that. So, choose one thing.

Choose one thing. Start where you are and enjoy this new year!

What’s your “one thing?” friends??

January 2, 2014

New Year…

DoxaSoma

I like to give homework at my classes…usually it’s something small but powerful; perhaps choose a position we’d done and focus on that for the week, perhaps consider something that came up during prayer. But for the New Year I have a longer bit of homework for you. I’ve given this before. I hope you’ll consider adding it in!

I would like to have you do this every single day.

PRAY

MOVE

WRITE

Do this every single morning, first thing.  If you cannot do this first thing then look at your schedule. What do you need to sacrifice to make this happen?  Consider making that sacrifice for one month.

Prayer, obviously is first. It can be as long or as short as you would like. In any case, focus your prayer NOT on petition but on PRAISE.  Let your prayers be words of worship for the One who made you…

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December 3, 2013

Advent Reflections: Day three

Follow along for a daily DoxaSoma position for this Advent season.

DoxaSoma

Remember, no matter where you begin during this Advent season to start with Prayer and then move into Prayer Breathing, keeping in mind your anchor, whether it is an image, a word or a verse, choose something that can bring you back to your focus for this season of waiting and hope!

Throughout this time I will follow as closely as possible readings from the Liturgical Calendar. The positions I choose I hope will complement one another. By the end of this group of 24 daily readings and positions you should be able to string them all together one after another into flowing movement. Be sure that you feel confident with each individual position before you move from one to another. Please feel free to comment if you need more direction. I’m glad to answer anything!

Our reading for today comes from the book of Isaiah, chapter 11.

On that…

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October 21, 2013

10 (or 11) things…

Maybe I’m not the only one…

Mrs. Metaphor

IMG_5458The menu was laid out on a clean, light green background. It screamed “healthy and delicious” so effectively with its thin, smooth font choice and vibrant wording. It was as though it was giving me an emotional “thumbs up” with every menu option. Phrases like, “A tofu and carrot mix” and “fried to perfection” dotted the page alongside, “thick vegan mushroom gravy” and “complimented with a bed of pico de gallo.” There is nothing like eating vegan when its done with such grace and skill…except for maybe a thick, real beef burger, medium rare…and fries, real fries, made from evil white potatoes and deep fried until my arteries shudder at the very sight of them.

I try. I really do. I want to be better. I want to live a long and healthy life. I buy organic, I avoid gmo foods, I ban high fructose corn syrup from my pantry…mostly…

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October 13, 2013

Why 7 minutes is enough for now…

For the last two years I’ve been lamenting my loss of motivation. I try, half heartedly, to eat well or to work out. I used to like working out, not love but at least like. For the last two years though I’ve been neglecting the work out, resisting it isn’t exactly accurate as much as neglecting it. It’s not a matter of “finding time” but more that I have felt as though I’m standing at the foot of Mount Everest and what’s necessary is that I climb it, now. I walk three steps forward, put my hands on the rock and I am immediately exhausted.

My first thought in all of this was that it was an extension of aging, the next was that it was a chronic fatigue issue but recently, a diagnosis came through of a thyroid issue and I was relieved, unbelievable relieved. I’m not just lazy, I’m not just getting old, I’m not suffering from some undiagnosable condition that eats away at my energy and my resolve.

The meds are being fleshed out now and it’s a polarizing process of wondering what can be done apart from taking a pill every day for the rest of my life. It’s easy to take the pill and it might help fix the problem but it goes against my nature to take a pill to fix my body. It’s not something I’ve faced before. It’s all new.

In the meantime though, the pill has helped a bit and my energy is slowly finding its way back. The trouble is that I have lost a great deal in those two years. In addition to motivation and energy I’ve lost the good muscle definition I’d enjoyed, I’ve lost stamina and endurance. It still has felt as though I’m standing at the foot of Mount Everest and expected to climb to the top, right now and every day forward, always moving upward.

My two years of trying resulted in a few discoveries of things I’d long suspected but needed confirmed- 1)short-term diets don’t work for long-term results and 2)there is no quick fix.

Then one day I got a “suggested app” on my phone for a 7 minute workout. I’d already known about the “Tabata” method of workouts and had been able to do at least a small amount of work with those over the last two years so I downloaded the app and did 7 minutes. I almost broke down knowing that the 7 minutes of calisthenics at my best intensity was so far from my all time best. I collapsed on the floor when it was done, feeling all the loss and none of the satisfaction I’d had in the past with exercise. Still, it was 7 minutes more than the day before…and that was the point.

The truth is that we’re not climbing Mount Everest. Most of us don’t have to scale the mountain every day, we just need to manage a few hills, a few miles on the long road to fitness. For as long as we see becoming healthy as a climb that only a professional mountaineer would attempt we will always fail. Each of us has our own road to fitness to follow and rarely do the road look completely identical. In some places we will find fellow travelers and in some places also, we will be in uncharted territory, scaling small hills on our own and we do this not because we like to do it but because we have to do it. We have to do it because it’s in the road and there is no other way around. 7 minutes is enough for now but only if I see it as a 7 minutes on the long road back to health and know that it’s just the first of many hills of varying lengths and heights. Everything counts. I’m moving forward and it’s all good.

February 22, 2013

Bottom lines…

Having been on a sort of “dietary walkabout” the lat 6 months or so I can say that I’ve come to a few conclusions-

a very few conclusions.

Conventional wisdom, as I remember it, generally has held the that way to “lose” weight was essentially a math formula- calories in, calories out. You want to be thinner? Eat less! Workout more! Tame your appetite! This is the mantra I’ve heard circulating throughout my entire life.

There is no shortage of “diet fads.” In this country in particular we have become a nation obsessed with image and depressed with the results we see, which leads to more obsession, then depression and so on. We get into a dangerous cycle always following that carrot on a stick to be a thinner, fitter, more pleasing version of ourselves. Until we read that the glycemic index of that carrot on the stick may be making us fatter. So we replace the carrot with aspartame fueled soda until a study tells us that the chemicals are embalming us from the inside. The diet drink becomes a porterhouse steak and the authorities scream, “Keytones!” We back away from the red meat and move toward soy but that becomes the enemy before too long, that crafty soy acting as a hormone in our bodies, a wolf in sheep’s skin and pretty soon we discover that the cupboard is bare. Chemicals will kill us, carbs will make us fat, protein will poison our tissues, soy will do who knows what.

I admit there are moments when I sit down on my kitchen floor, head in hands with absolutely no idea what to eat.

The bottom line as I see it is that there is no panacea, no one size fits all, no miracle cure for everyone. The world has shifted, our bodies are bombarded now with chemicals and free radicals and heavy rotation advertising slogans, to continue to employ “conventional wisdom” or even fad diets ends up being a fail, which leads to depression and culminates in strengthening the obsession with being thinner, being fitter- even being healthier becomes an unreachable goal given the overwhelming and conflicting data!

The one common refrain I hear when I ask someone about a type of diet they’ve tried, “Well, it totally worked for me!” or “So and so lost all this weight eating that way!” The data is conflicting and confusing but the anecdotal evidence is compelling. What’s a person to do?

Here are a few things that occur to me in this drama free fitness realm:

1) Know thyself-

Your body is your own. No one knows you better than you know yourself. Do the work necessary to understand how foods affect you. Keep a food journal. Note how you feel or how your clothes fit with each passing day. Not everyone needs to cut out fats or sugars or gluten. Figure out what your body responds WELL to in the food area of your life and feed it that.

2) Forget the carrot-

In fact, throw down the stick too. What would it look like to just spend time celebrating things you love about your body for a little while? It does no good to be running after that carrot on the stick day after day, week after week, month after month only to realize you’ve been running in a circle for years. The goal of being healthy is a good one but it’s a daily, probably hourly, series of choices we make and they ALL go back to a goal of loving ourselves enough to care for ourselves and our families. The carrot on the stick is a lie at best.

3) Become a delish-itarian.

My friend Sarah coined this to me one day and I’ve never forgotten it. Let’s stop making food our enemy, shall we? Clearly, we want to make choices that sustain us and avoid the free radicals and the chemicals and the genetically modified foods AND how about we re-introduce ourselves to our taste buds too. Every meal, ask yourself what you taste! Look, I’m no saint, people, I wander over to the Sonic Drive In from time to time. There’s no shame in that. Instead of employing shame to help us change our ways, try really tasting your food throughout the day. What do you like? What do you dislike? What do you not even taste at all? I say we enjoy our food, not by overindulging but by paying attention to it.

Maybe if we do these things, that will begin to shape how we make our choices and that will shape how we live our lives… That’s a cycle I’d like to embrace.

 

 

July 23, 2012

islands…

It’s a vicious cycle; workouts lapse, health declines, motivation wanes, time evaporates, fitness gains are lost, pounds are gained, then comes the crushing guilt every time I think about getting back on the straight and narrow.

The over use of “if only” echoes in my brain.

“I wish I had kept up with it.”

“I can never get back there.”

“I’m a failure.”

I imagine myself in the middle of a deep lake, I know how to swim but the shore is far and it’s growing dark. I try to swim but the shore is so very far away and I am tired. The panic rises up, it takes over. Panic is the worst thing we can do in a situation like this. Why does it seem like the first response that comes to me? Panic is so natural, like sitting down on the couch and eating a bag of cookies whenever I think about working out. I do what I think I CAN do. This is the control I show, I can sit down and eat a bag of cookies. It doesn’t make sense but the shore is so very far away. I can never get there.

why

even

try?

Then, I have this one moment, this one small, tiny, nearly un-hearable voice in my ear saying, “Stop. Wait. Look here.” When I stop looking at the shore I see a series of shallow spots, mini islands, stepping stones leading between where I am swimming and where I need to go. THAT is how I get to where I want to be.

Here is my reality- I’m never going to be 24 again. I’m never going to have THAT body. I’m going to have the 44 year old version of that body. I want to have the healthiest version of that body. If I want to get there I will have to go on step at a time, one island in the lake at a time and I will get there when I get there.

I know that I cannot live on these resting places, I have to get to shore because life is good there, but life happens here too, on these in between places, the places I have to stop and rest so that the shore can actually be in my future at all.

That next island does not have a bag of cookies on it. That’s where I’m heading next.

March 7, 2012

The Unrunner’s Guide to Running Races

I’m excited to start a new series of guest posts about normal people and their experience with real life exercise.

Enjoy this first post by the lovely Erin Pollet! Tip #3 made me laugh out loud.

The Unrunners Guide to Running Races

By Erin Pollet

Recently I ran a 10K for the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas’(HWNT) scholarship fund. I placed 2nd in my age division and ran a personal best 10:57 minute mile. For those real runners out there, you know this is not very fast, but I’m not a real runner. I run, but since I don’t train faithfully or keep track of how many miles I go per week I consider myself an “unrunner.” It’s easy to become an unrunner, and it’s really fun if you don’t let the real runners intimidate you.

Tip #1 Pick a race.

My running partner Monica and I were planning on running a half marathon on March 4th. We’d been planning to run that race since January, but we just did not train enough to run 13 miles. So we googled “San Antonio running races calendar” or something like that and came up with the HWNT’s Lace Up scholarship race. The charity meant zilch to us as neither one of us is Hispanic or in need of scholarships, but it was on the right weekend, and it was a 10k. Races are NOT cheap, but it does ease the blow that most of them are for a good cause. You can choose one that means something to you personally or, like us, just choose one that is convenient. I do recommend picking a race about 1 month to 6 weeks away. Any farther than that and it really doesn’t loom over you enough for motivation.

Tip #2 Just get out and run.

There are many, many articles about running schedules: speed work, tempo running, interval running, etc. If you want to be a real runner, by all means, pick a schedule and get out there. If you want to be an unrunner, there isn’t really a schedule to follow, just some guidelines. I run for whatever amount of time I have to run. If I don’t feel like running the whole time, I walk, but my body is moving for a certain amount of time.

My personal goal for every race, however, is that I want to run the whole time. So on the weekends I try and run for at least the amount of time it would probably take me to run the upcoming race.  5k is about 30 minutes, 10k is about an hour, etc. During the week I run when I can, or I cross train (a real runner’s word for “doing something else besides running”). Cross training for me is spin class, but any aerobic class or weight training will do.

Tip #3 Have friends with athletic injuries.

The morning of the race, I woke up to find a message on my phone that Monica was backing out. She had hurt her knee at a soccer game the night before and would not be able to run. I was pretty bummed out about having to run this race alone, but honestly I am very lucky that I have the type of friend that is athletic enough to get injured.

Monica was there when I started running. She’s run for at least 20 years, and in my mind could probably run non-stop a la Forrest Gump if she wanted to. She would run with me when I could only run for 30 seconds and then walk for 20 minutes to catch my breath. She would run like that, drop me off at home, and go out and run for 45 minutes to get her actual running in. For all that, I still consider her an unrunner because she runs just to run with no schedules or goals in mind besides “I can drink a beer tonight without feeling like a lard ass.” Everybody needs a friend and running buddy like her.

Tip #4 Use your clothes to gauge how you’re doing.

I’ve never run a race all by myself before, but I know that the first thing I have to do is find the packet pick-up area. This is where you get your number, chip (the little hard plastic piece that keeps your time), and your t-shirt.  Yay, t-shirt! Unfortunately the shirts are those athletic types made with breathable material and run way too small.  I stupidly ordered a large, but I pick up Monica’s too (since she already paid) and she ordered a XL.  I’m soooo keeping her shirt.

According to shirt size, I’m not doing so hot.

Tip #5 Choose your starting position wisely.

Real runners should be near the starting line. Walkers should be in the back. Unless you want to get run over, I suggest picking a point somewhere in the middle. If you are surrounded by men with tiny shorts and shaved legs…move back. If you’re standing next to a white haired lady with a walker…move up.

Tip #6 Make new friends.

Unrunners run races for fun. Running faster than the person next to you is FUN. Real runners are there to beat their own times. Since I don’t really keep track of the time as I’m running the race, all I’ve got is the person in front of me. I hate that person with every fiber of my being. During this race it’s a red- haired girl that looks like a girl I used to work with. That girl quit and left us in a bind, and I hate that girl for what she did. I will not let her doppelganger beat me! I see her up ahead of me at about mile 4, and from that point on my one goal is to catch up with that girl, overtake her, and cross the finish line before she does.

Remember this…hate motivates!

Tip #7 Pace yourself.

The first couple of races I ran, I made the mistake of taking off as fast as I could from the starting line, or I tried to sprint the last half mile to the end. Neither strategy has worked. I’d just wear myself out and then struggle to finish. During this race I keep a steady pace with short bursts of energy as I go up the hills. It pays off as I notice that red-hair girl is starting to walk. I know that she is wearing down, but instead of speeding up and trying to overtake her right away, I hang back and bide my time. As we make it past the 5 mile water station she’s walking, and I pass her by. With a burst of speed she sprints past me again, but I know she’s on her last leg now and can’t hold out that fast. Sure enough, she starts walking again, and I pass her by at my nice, steady pace.

As I see the finish line up ahead, I do speed up a little…just to look good for the crowd. As I cross I look back to see Miss Red-Hair crossing just seconds after I do. I want to thank her for motivating me.  I don’t REALLY hate her, but I’m not sure how she would take it if I said, “Hey, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have finished so well. Thanks for sucking a little worse than me.”

Tip #8 Take whatever they offer.

Refreshments! The 2nd best thing at a race after the t-shirts. I’ve done beer runs (free beer!) and pancake runs (free pancakes!), but most of the time you get fruit, cokes, Gatorade, juice, cookies, or free samples of sports bars. Take one of EVERYTHING. You paid for it, and you earned it. Plus, you may not realize this, but you are going to feel like absolute garbage in a few hours if you don’t eat lots of carbs and drink tons of water. The earlier you start eating, the better you’ll feel later. So stuff your face!

Tip #9 Don’t downplay your accomplishment.

Since I was by myself, I shoveled in some sliced oranges, a delicious Texas shaped gingerbread cookie, drank a diet coke and left, but usually I’ll wait around for the results of the race.  I checked my results online the next day. Always look at the results. It’s really gratifying to see that you didn’t come in last, and believe me, unless you walked like a zombie the whole time, you did NOT come in last. Post your results on Facebook. Put that bumper sticker from your packet on your car. You did it! I am always motivated by hearing about other people’s successes, so if you feel like you’re bragging, just think of how many people might get out and start running because of YOUR story.
Tip #10 Choose your next race right away.

Go home and pick a race a month away. It doesn’t have to be a longer race, just something to keep your motivation up. I’m looking at one called the Sunset Wine Tour which is an evening race with free WINE! I just hope there’s a nice t-shirt.

Erin Pollet lives in San Antonio, TX with her husband, 2 kids, a couple of guinea pigs, and a giant poodle. She’s one of “those old people” at San Antonio College where she’s majoring in Biology, and works as a registered polysomnographic technologist, which sounds very impressive when it’s written out in a bio. When she’s not running she enjoys reading big, intimidating books and looking at pictures of dead people online. She is in no way a “normal” person, but can pass for one most of the time.