It seems quite natural during the cresting wave of summer to take ourselves out of the unnatural walls of our indoor environments and into the outdoors, a place where the wild is at play. I believe that includes getting out of the yoga studio! During the warm summer months, we have the unique chance to take our practice into the living, breathing natural world where fresh air and precious stillness are abundant.
Albert Einstein urged us to “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” The adventure of hiking and yoga is just that, the chance to explore and deepen our yoga practice against the beautiful backdrop of Earth’s endless landscapes. On the trails, nature’s rhythms bleed their way into our own and start to influence the way we move in the world — and the way we move on our yoga mats — which makes hiking and yoga a perfect summer combination.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee
Are you confused by all of the information out there about cardio fitness and how to do it so that you get the best results?
“Eat before your workout — No, don’t eat before your workout!”
“Running burns the most calories but walking burns more fat!”
“Work out for 30 minutes a day or don’t bother working out at all!”
It’s enough to put any girl off her workout routing. That’s why we’re getting to the truth behind some popular “cardio myths” — to help you sort out the fact from the fiction.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Robyn Smarr
I love summer! If you were listening to this post rather than reading it, you would surely hear me shouting this sentence as loudly as I possibly can.
Maybe it’s because I was born in the crazy heat of August. (I have a theory that people tend to favor the season in which they were born.) Or maybe it’s because I practically lived at the pool and the beach as a child. Or maybe it’s because I can wear flip-flops every day during the warm summer months (the best “shoe” ever invented)! Regardless of the reason, I find so much joy and rejuvenation during the summer.
Here are my favorite tricks for making the most out of your S-U-M-M-E-R:
By The FIRM Master Instructor Kelly Branning
I am a Libra. Although I don’t read my horoscope, I do identify with those scales that represent my sign. Balance, balance and more balance. It is a daily challenge to keep those scales from tipping over. One side seems overloaded with the things we do for others and the outside world, like family, career, social life and housework. The other side of the scale, including exercise and nutrition, usually threatens to let go at any time.
I think the absolute foundation of a balanced life is good self-care, coupled with good self-awareness. That said … how are you doing? How is your eating? Do you get everything you need from the foods you eat? Hopefully you are eating healthy, life-affirming foods every 3-4 hours. How about exercise? Are you finding a little time to work out and get stronger? If you don’t know how you are doing, let’s take some time to figure it out.
It usually takes me seven minutes to get to my daughter’s preschool. Today, it took 27.
That’s because, for the first time in 18 months, I strapped my 11-month-old son into the double stroller and walked there.
I like to walk. Our family of four has one car, and in the two years that we’ve owned it, we’ve only put 14,000 miles on the odometer.
I’m not alone. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 80 percent of respondents look for homes in pedestrian-friendly areas and 59 percent would choose a smaller home if it meant less driving.
Still, I find that once I’ve gotten into the habit of driving someplace — my daughter’s preschool, the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the highway, the garden store — I tend to keep on driving there, deeming it too far to reach on foot. The funny thing is, once I decide to test walking to a destination once, I realize not only how doable it is but also how satisfying running that errand becomes.
So now I’m on a quest of sorts: to debunk the myth that certain places in my everyday life are too far to reach on foot.
At first glance, crafting and exercise would seem to have little in common. One involves moving your body to improve health and fitness, the other moving your hands to create with paper, needles, paint or yarn.
Yet both activities have important, complementary effects on mood and cognitive function.
Our friends at Vega are launching Vega Energizing Smoothie, a delicious and convenient nutrient boost!
Unlike traditional smoothie mixes, you only need water (or juice) to shake and go. Every serving also comes with two servings of veggies; 10 g of complete, plant-based protein; 5 g of fiber and 1 g of Omega-3. Available in four mouth-watering flavors: mixed tropical fruits, chocolate, vanilla almond and berries (plus an unflavored natural).
Get energized and win
Because we’re big smoothie fans here at the Gaiam office, we’re helping celebrate the launch by sponsoring Vega’s Get Energized Photo Contest! From now through July 31, head over to Vega’s Get Energized Photo Contest page on Facebook and show the world how you #GetEnergized.
My nine-year-old is covered with mosquito bites, bruises and scratches. From the time she arrives home from school until I call her for dinner, she’s AWOL — running through woods, building forts out of sticks, catching toads … .
To hear some parents tell it, the fact that I haven’t a clue exactly where my nine-year-old is for an hour or more at a time is evidence of poor parenting, if not outright criminal neglect. And with a recent arrest in the cold case of six-year-old Etan Patz (the first missing child to have his face on a milk carton), this sentiment increasingly runs high.
Congrats! You made it to the tenth and final week of the Better Body and More Energy Challenge! I knew you could do it.
For your last assignment, I’d like to you tie together everything you’ve learned about nutrition and fitness over the past nine weeks. Don’t worry — it sounds more daunting than it really is!
There is a quote that sums up my experience heretofore with yoga better than anything else I’ve ever read. I don’t know from whom or where the quote came, or I would totally give the person mega props and a huge, bear-like, electronic hug. The quote goes a little something like this:
“My yoga practice is no longer the battlefield of a long-waged self-improvement project by an overachieving person. It has become what I always hoped it would be — a place for love and acceptance.”
I think this quote embraces the yoga journey for many of us, because let’s be real here: How many of us started yoga because we wanted a thinner waist and perky yoga butt? How many of us, in the beginning, saw yoga as something we would conquer rather than embrace? How many of us saw someone in Crow Pose and said to ourselves, “I can do that shit.”
Over time, however, as we dove deeper into our practice — no doubt bumbling, grunting and falling along the way — our hardened layers begin to peel away, and we were left with the lingering feeling that yoga is something more than a way for us to gain strength, flexibility and balance. As we emerged from Savasana, time and time again, we began to realize that something else — something besides exercise — is going on here.