Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Clean Cleaning


If you've read my Vintage Cleaning Schedule blog, these are the homemade products I like to use for a clean, green (and inexpensive) house!

All Purpose:
  • 3 parts filtered water
  • 1 part vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 5-7 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
Disinfectant Floor Cleaner:
  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 small squeeze of liquid castile soap
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
 Furniture Polish:
  •  Olive oil dabbed on a cloth, OR
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 c. filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
Stainless Steel Cleaner:
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
    • After rubbing oil on with soft cloth, dab vinegar on, wipe, and let dry
Toilet Bowl Cleaner:
  • 1/2 c. baking soda
  • A couple drops of essential oil (optional) 
    • Pour mixture in toilet and let sit until finished cleaning bathroom. Scrub toilet and flush!
    • If you have those really difficult hard water stains to remove, use a pumice stone to scrub them away. No other products needed! (Especially not bleach!!)
Oven Cleaner:
  • Baking soda
  • Water
    • Make a paste with the soda and water. Let sit on stove top or oven for a few minutes. Wipe away with dish cloth. Some very light scrubbing might be necessary depending on how much is cooked on.
Mattress Detox:
  • 1/2 c. Baking soda
  • 12 drops essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, or wintergreen)
    • Sprinkle mixture onto mattress. Let sit for at least 1 hour (the longer, the better). Vacuum up and replace bedding!
Musty/Foul Odors (clothing, beds, carpets, anything!):
  • Put white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray wherever you're trying to get rid of the smell. I use this for my vintage clothes and suitcases; it does wonders! 
Heavy-Duty Carpet Stains and Odors:
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
    • Sprinkle baking soda on carpet, enough to cover the spot, then spray with vinegar. It'll bubble up (like those volcanoes we made in grade school!). Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub.
Unclog Drains:
  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 1 c. vinegar
    • Pour baking soda down drain. Stuff in as much of it as you can. 
    • Pour the vinegar all at once down the drain and quickly be ready to cover the drain to force the pressure downward. Once the fizzing stops, run water to clear it. 
    • For really tough clogs, you may need to repeat this once or twice. So much better than using harsh chemicals! (Not to mention it's much cheaper) :)
XOXO,
Fit Dame

Vintage Cleaning Schedule

I posted a few weeks back about a "new" cleaning schedule I was testing, and I got requests to share!
*Disclaimer: While this is based off of "1950s housewife cleaning" research, I understand that not everyone in the 50s followed a schedule like this. It's made to be enjoyed, so put on your apron, grab your feather duster, and get to it! :)

Monday: Kitchen
Tuesday: Bathrooms
Wednesday: Bedrooms
Thursday: Living Room
Friday: Dining Room
Saturday: Free!
Sunday: Free!

Cover Girl (Clean Sweep) 1963
 Here's a detailed breakdown of what those days entail.

Kitchen:
  • Apply oven cleaner, let sit
  • Dust window shades, sills, and baseboards
  • Wash two cabinets and 2 drawers in weekly rotation
  • Wipe down cabinets and walls behind the sink and stove
  • Wipe down all appliances
  • Clean fridge inside and out
  • Wash garbage bin
  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop floor
Bathrooms:
  • Wash bath mats, towels, and shower curtain
  • Apply cleaner to toilet bowl, let sit
  • Dust shelves and baseboards
  • Clean window sill, door knobs, and switch plates
  • Clean medicine cabinet
  • Empty garbage
  • Wipe down all objects
  • Throw out anything expired
  • Scrub tub, sink, vanity, mirror, inside and outside of toilet
  • Replace towels, bath mats, shower curtain, and toilet paper
  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop floor
Bedrooms:
  • Wash bedding
  • Dust mirrors, pictures, lamps, vanity, dressers, and baseboards
  • Clean window sill, door knobs, and switch plates
  • Tidy closets
  • Empty garbage
  • Vacuum mattress and replace sheets
  • Flip mattress once a month (unless yours has a topper)
  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop floor
Living Room:
  • Clean hearth
  • Dust mirrors, pictures, lamps, nik-naks, lights, etc.
  • Dust books, bookcases, tables, etc.
  • Clean window sills, door knobs, and switch plates
  • Wash and polish wood furniture
  • Vacuum and clean couch
  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop floor
Dining Room:
  • Dust mirrors, pictures, lamps, lights, etc.
  • Clean window sills and switch plates
  • Wash and polish wood furniture
  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop floor
  • Extra sweeping after meals
  • Tidy, sweep, vacuum, and mop hallways, foyers, stairs, and landings
Free Days:
  • Catch up on anything you may have missed during the week! Use these days to relax. :)

I'm not a housewife. I work full-time and travel as often as I can.  When I DO travel, I generally have to work extra hours to make up for taking a day or two off...which means I'll make dinner as soon as I get home, get ready for bed, and try to relax before having to do it all over again. That being said, a detailed schedule like this is difficult to maintain unless you have a lot of time on your hands. Though the other side of it is that it gets easier and takes less time the more often you do it.

I followed this to a T for the first two weeks. Mainly because I was working normal hours and had everything planned out. SUPER EASY! Too bad I can't seem to be quite that organized all the time. I ended up having to tweak it for a busy/working schedule. My main changes were combining Living/Dining Room days to allow for Friday as my main catch up day instead of the weekend. I also was able to get most of the dusting/wiping things down completed in the morning before work and then followed up with everything else when I got home. Honestly, after the first week of cleaning, it'll go by a lot faster! I can probably get most of it done in about 30 minutes now.

I hope you find a schedule like this helpful for your own busy life. Give it a whirl and see how you like it! I always feel so relaxed and accomplished once the house is clean. Happy tidying!

XOXO,
Fit Dame

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Get a massage!

I love massages, and I don't care who knows it!


I got a free 15 minute massage last Friday - courtesy of work....ahhhh it was great! Honestly it made me just want to go back home and sleep instead of going back to my desk (that's what I get for doing it first thing in the morning -- lesson learned).

I wouldn't say I'm an EXPERT massage-ist (is that the right word? :) ), but I've had quite a few in my short life. Every experience except for one has been absolutely wonderful. What's the "one", you ask? *sigh* it makes me so unrelaxed just thinking about it.

The Turkish Experience


I was in Turkey last spring for a week (Side note: it was amazing), and one day got back early to the hotel. I was the last client of the day...which probably didn't help things. The masseuse had been swamped, and I have no doubt she was just exhausted. She was nice enough, but the entire time I felt like she was rushed. No matter how long you've been giving massages that day, or how ready you are to leave, going slowly and making the client feel pampered should be the priority. I felt like I was an inconvenience to her. So besides being edgy about that, she was sick. She constantly stopped to blow her nose and then didn't wash her hands before touching me again.....Gross! AND, okay so she was pretty sweaty since she's been massaging non-stop for the past few hours, but at one point she got up on the table with me to give me a better stretch, but I had NO idea what she was doing. It was just unexpected...and with everything else during that massage, it was just really not good. Plus it was cut short. In case you didn't pick up on my vibe, it didn't relax me like I had hoped. I'll have to find some way to make up for it. Hehe


More Than Being Pampered

 

Massages are great for those who enjoy the fit lifestyle...sure, a Swedish massages feels awesome on sore muscles, but (painful - for me) connective tissue or deep tissue massages are great too! They increase circulation which helps to eliminate toxins and metabolic waste generated from resistance training. Additionally, they can speed up recovery, prevent injuries, increase your range of motion, reduce tension and pressure, increase your mental alertness, improve flexibility, promote better sleep, and - as we all know - help you relax!

Regardless of which kind of massage you get, you will reap the benefits! Go every couple weeks or so to release those tight muscles. After every massage I get, I tell myself I'm going to make it a regular thing. For some reason I can't get that to happen! I need to follow my own advice...startingggg now!

XOXO,
Fit Dame

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Travel: From Russia With Love

To set the mood for today's post, I made a latte in the tea cup I got in Russia. 


I've been fascinated with Russia ever since I learned about the Cold War. Have I romanticized it too much? Maybe....but it was no less exciting when I went!

I went on a Baltic Sea cruise in July of 2014, and one of the stops was St. Petersburg for two days. Honestly that was the whole reason I went on the cruise in the first place! If any of you are looking to go, hopefully you will find my experiences useful in your own travels. :)

One of the most surprising things for visitors that you need a sponsor to go into the country. If you go on a cruise or on an organized trip, the tour guide will usually have all of that taken care of for you. Being that this would most likely, and unfortunately, be our only time visiting, I opted to go a different route. I booked a private tour for two of us through Dancing Bear Tours. That made the experience so much more enjoyable! The owner, Julia, kept in constant contact with me before our arrival. They have set tours you can choose from, or you can build your own itinerary. We decided to build off of one they already had put together. It was unforgettable! Our tour guide and driver stayed with us the entire time and were very knowledgeable about EVERYTHING. It was one of the BEST tours I've had in any city. 

We went with the active 2-day shore excursion and customized it a little bit. Here are some of the highlights.

Below is the ballroom in Catherine's Palace fashioned after Versailles. (That's our tour guide, Olga.) 

You can rent it for $300k a night!

Next up is Petergof, the summer palace. I think this was my favorite out of everything we saw. It wasn't in the hustle and bustle of the city, and the gardens and hundreds of fountains were breathtaking!

Costumes everywhere!
 We opted for an evening program. No trip to Russia is complete without seeing a ballet! Alexandrinsky Theatre was showing Swan Lake...what a wonderful experience! Plus Olga told us that to be like the Russians, we had to partake in caviar and champagne during intermission. The champagne was good...the caviar was something I'm thankful to have tried once.

The Swan
Probably one of the most iconic images of Russia is the Church of Our Savior on Spilt Blood. The colorful onion bulbs, the extreme attention to detail, the history... it's unlike any place I've ever seen.

Best place to get a picture
The last "must see" attraction I'll post is the Hermitage. It's now a museum, but used to be the winter palace. How nice that must be to have one for every season. Maybe I'll make that a goal in life.

How beautiful
We stopped off at a couple places to eat during our excursion. I tried Borscht and some kind of meat pie which were both delicious. We also took a detour to a Russian porcelain shop and picked up a few of the famous cobalt and white pieces. Our driver took us to a huge souvenir shop where we were greeted with vodka and stocked up on just about everything we could find!

This too-short visit was a once in a lifetime trip that I will always cherish! If you ever get the opportunity, take it! Don't miss out on such a lovely city.

Until next time....
Всего наилучшего!

     XOXO,
     Fit Dame




Friday, January 29, 2016

Adventures in Pin-Up

Greetings Vixens and Beaus!

Since I said I'd write about things other than fitness, I decided to make this post about pin-up. I've always been captivated by the 1940s/50s pin-up art... especially the WWII nose art (originally used to identify friendly units.)

Memphis Belle and Sentimental Journey are probably my two favorites.
That being said, I decided to enter a pin-up contest last summer after moving back to the States. How nerve-racking! I've never done anything like that before and really had no idea what to expect. I tried to do some research on what "competitors" have worn in other contests, how to walk, how to stand out, etc. Unfortunately I didn't find much helpful information. I had to wing it and hope it would work! If you're considering a contest, hopefully you find my experience useful. I'd love to hear your ideas as well!

The Art of Dressing

For my outfit, I didn't want a reproduction. Don't get me wrong... I love the modern looks inspired by vintage (basically anything from pinupgirlclothing) but I thought most of the other girls would do something like that. You know the look, the polka dot circle skirts or the 40s nautical outfit, possibly using a parasol as a prop....like I said, I wanted to stand out! After getting advice from the beautiful Desiree Noir, I went with my late 50s/early 60s Delta stewardess uniform. Do you know how difficult it is to find one of those?! I had to be soooooo patient, for a couple of years, before I was able to get one. Well worth the wait! (I'm still looking for a hat to go with it, so if you find one, let me know!)


Here's a similar look to mine, though I have a lighter shade of blue. But I made a pillbox hat, wore a 1960s collared blouse, white gloves, and found blue/white vintage spectator pumps on Etsy. Dez and I had talked about using a vintage suitcase as a prop, but I decided against it because a) I didn't want to carry it around the car show in the humidity and summer heat, and b) I wasn't exactly sure how I would pose with it. I actually didn't even know how I would pose WITHOUT it either....:)

The Art of Posing

Okay so I have the outfit. Now for posing/walking. I had NO idea what the stage would be like, or if we'd even be walking across anything, so I had to practice a couple different things: entering from one side, walking up to the center to pose, then walking back...or pretending like it was just straight across, etc. I put on Brian Setzer's Stray Cat Strut, turned on my video camera, and went to it! Plus I needed to practice walking in the pumps since they were a tad loose and slick on the bottom. My poses weren't anything crazy or super pin-up structured -- couple of turns, a salute (it just felt right), blowing a kiss, etc. The main point was to show the crowd love. In any pin-up-related event, always flirt with the crowd! Otherwise you come across too nervous or that you aren't really sure what you're doing. I mean, I didn't know what I was doing...but I PRETENDED to, and it worked! Check out these videos by Cherry Dollface on how to pose! Here and here for regular poses, and here for posing with props.

The Art of Speaking

The next part of the event was answering a couple of questions. Luckily we were given a sheet with a list of 10 questions. We had to write down the answers to three of them, and we would be asked one of those. They were pretty basic..."why do you like pin-up?" "what is your favorite movie and why?" etc. I didn't think I'd be nervous about that part since I knew what to expect, but when you're standing in front of a large crowd with a microphone and you can't QUITE remember what your answer was, you can get a little shaky! 

The Art of Judging 

So now that all components of the event were complete, it was time for the judges to make their pick. Out of 18 girls, they narrowed it down to five. (That's when we had to answer the question.) 

Can you guess which one is me?? :)

From there it was narrowed down to three. (I made the top three!) And then the crowd chose the winner with how loud they cheered. I didn't realize it would be up to the crowd...and I didn't bring anyone to beef up the cheers for me either! I was the last girl in the row, so as the other girls were getting all kinds of cheers and whistles, I started to get even more nervous and a little embarrassed. I didn't think I'd get much volume. As it turns out, the crowd went crazy when it was my turn! How unexpected! All I could think to do was smile really big and try to try to flirt some more (blowing kisses, a couple of poses). I got first place! It was really a very exciting moment for me. For someone who had never been to a contest to see how they were done, nor having had any experience doing pin-up, and then to come in first! What a thrill! I've always wanted to be a classy pin-up model...I think this was the first step. Plus I did a mini photo shoot with some of the old cars right after winning. But the main prize is that I do a studio photo shoot with Ric Frane and am featured in a garage calendar. YES!

 

The Art of Winning

Here's a quick recap of what worked for me: 
1) If you can do true vintage and do it well, you will stand out!
2) PRACTICE your poses in front of a mirror. Record yourself walking and posing, and then critique your form. The more you practice, the more natural it'll seem on stage.
3) It never hurts to get used to public speaking. Again, practicing in front of a mirror or video camera so you can see your facial expressions, mess around with your tone and inflections, etc. will really help when it comes down to actually doing it.
4) Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Especially if it's something you've been dreaming about....
5) Don't get discouraged if it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped. Keep at it!
6) Most importantly, HAVE FUN!! Go in with that expectation from the get-go and you won't be disappointed!

See you at the next car show ;)

XOXO,
Fit Dame

Thursday, January 28, 2016

How I Stay in Shape by Marilyn Monroe

Hello my lovelies,

In an effort to combine my favorite era with one of my favorite activities...exercise... I think Marilyn Monroe's workout routine is the most fitting place to start! While I definitely agree with being active every day, I'm not so sure I'd follow her eating habits.

How I Stay in Shape

"FRANKLY, I've never considered my own figure so exceptional; until quite recently, I seldom gave it any thought at all. My biggest single concern used to be getting enough to eat. Now I have to worry about eating too much. I never used to bother with exercises. Now I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. I have evolved my own exercises, for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise.


She Doesn't Like to Feel Regimented

EXERCISE. Each morning, after I brush my teeth, wash my face and shake off the first deep layer of sleep, I lie down on the floor beside my bed and begin my first exercise. It is a simple bust-firming routine which consists of lifting five-pound weights from a spread-eagle arm position to a point directly above my head. I do this 15 times, slowly. I repeat the exercise another 15 times from a position with my arms above my head. Then, with my arms at a 45-degree angle from the floor, I move my weights in circles until I'm tired. I don't count rhythmically like the exercise people on the radio; I couldn't stand exercise if I had to feel regimented about it.


How to Feel Blond All Over

SPORTS. I have never cared especially for outdoor sports, and have no desire to excel at tennis, swimming, or golf. I'll leave those things to the men. Despite its great vogue in California, I don't think sun-tanned skin is any more attractive than white skin, or any healthier, for that matter. I'm personally opposed to a deep tan because I like to feel blond all over.

By nature, I suppose I have a languorous disposition. I hate to do things in a hurried, tense atmosphere, and it is virtually impossible for me to spring out of bed in the morning. On Sunday, which is my one day of total leisure, I sometimes take two hours to wake up, luxuriating in every last moment of drowsiness. Depending upon my activities, I sleep between five and ten hours every night. I sleep in an extra-wide single bed, and I use only one heavy down comforter over me, summer or winter. I have never been able to wear pajamas or creepy nightgowns; they disturb my sleep.


A Set of Bizarre Eating Habits

BREAKFAST. I've been told that my eating habits are absolutely bizarre, but I don't think so. Before I take my morning shower, I start warming a cup of milk on the hot plate I keep in my hotel room. When it's hot, I break two raw eggs into the milk, whip them up with a fork, and drink them while I'm dressing. I supplement this with a multi-vitamin pill, and I doubt if any doctor could recommend a more nourishing breakfast for a working girl in a hurry.

DINNER. My dinners at home are startlingly simple. Every night I stop at the market near my hotel and pick up a steak, lamb chops or some liver, which I broil in the electric oven in my room. I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all. I must be part rabbit; I never get bored with raw carrots.

P.S: It's a good thing, I suppose, that I eat simply during the day, for in recent months I have developed the habit of stopping off at Wil Wright's ice cream parlor for a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my evening drama classes. I'm sure that I couldn't allow myself this indulgence were it not that my normal diet is composed almost totally of protein foods."



Well there you have one of the first modern nutrition guides! Marilyn was one of the few women (certainly one of the few starlets at the time) to lift weights. She was also one of the first actresses to publicly endorse weight lifting for women! She liked to jog and do yoga as well. I recommend all three for today's healthy woman! I'll get more into that in future posts. ;)


The original article was published in Pageant magazine's September 1952 edition.

XOXO,
Fit Dame




Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Is Your Desk Job Killing You?


Hello my lovelies,

     If you're like me, you sit and stare at a computer screen all day...isn't it exhausting?? I've never been more aware of how much I sit until I moved to this office. Sure, I sat in all my other offices too, but it's really magnified this time. Why are we always in a rush to sit? We rush to the car to sit in traffic...we rush into work to sit at our desk...we rush back home to sit on the couch and watch tv... It feels good sometimes, but we're damaging our bodies far more than we thought!

     It wasn't until the past 2-3 years (when I started getting into working out) that I realized just how bad sitting for hours upon hours is for us. Like a lot of people, I thought my minimum 30 minutes of exercise was enough to make up for sitting all day. Turns out I was wrong! The pros recommend getting up EVERY HOUR and moving around for at least 10-15 minutes. That doesn’t mean you have to go jog around the building (though please do if you feel the urge!), but simply standing up at your desk and doing a few stretches will do the trick. BOTTOM LINE: KEEP MOVING THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
 
     For those of you concerned about the impact a sedentary lifestyle has on you and for ways to combat this “disease”, please keep reading…I’ll try to make it as concise as possible!

What happens when I sit?

 

Immediately:

·      Calorie-burning drops to 1/3 of its normal rate
·      Glucose uptake in insulin lowers which can eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes

2 weeks of sitting for 6+ hours a day:

·      Fat molecules, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and insulin resistance increases which means
  • Blood sugar levels rise putting you at a higher risk of weight gain
  • Muscles begin to deteriorate and your oxygen consumption drops
    • Makes it harder to climb stairs or get up and walk around
    • Even if you work out every day, muscle deterioration starts when you stop moving!

1 year of sitting for 6+ hours a day:

·      Weight gain and high cholesterol
·      Women lose 1% of bone mass per year (read: osteoporosis)

10+ years of sitting for 6+ hours a day:

·      Your risk of dying from heart disease increases 64%
·      You’re more at risk for developing prostate or breast cancer
·      You lose 7 years from your quality of life

So this means I don’t have to work out every day since it doesn’t reverse the effects of sitting, right?

     Wrong! That’s even more of a reason to do it! You will still reap amazing benefits, physically and mentally, from regular activity that gets your heart rate up. Plus, weight lifting helps to combat osteoporosis.  ***Ladies, I promise you will NOT bulk like most men do if you lift weights. It’s physically impossible for us to do naturally*** 

 

Ok, what can I do since I HAVE to be at a desk all day? (This is why you kept reading in the first place, yes?)

     You have so many options! As I mentioned earlier, standing up and stretching/shaking out your legs and upper body are beneficial. [Fun fact: standing increases energy, burns more calories, improves posture, increases blood flow, and boosts your metabolism.]
First step: make sure your chair and monitors are at the proper height. Your chair should be high enough that it doesn’t cause your shoulders to shrug and allows your arms to rest at a 90 degree angle with forearms against the desk. Your monitors should be at least at eye-level or higher to force you to look up. Sit tall and lengthen the spine!
Next, chose a few exercises and stretches to do during the day in the office or at home (in addition to your regular workouts).

GET MOVING!

  • March – high knees! – in place for at least 30 seconds
  • Reach down and touch your toes and hold for 20-30 seconds, don’t bounce
  • Take a couple flights of stairs
  • Twist to either side and hold for 20 seconds
  • Stretch your arms above your head and behind your back
  • Move your neck around gently
  • Roll your shoulders
  • While still sitting, bend forward and let your arms hang to the ground
  • Do a few lunges to open up the hips (hip flexors get too tight when sitting all day)
  • 15-20 pushups…on the floor, against the wall, against your desk, in the bathroom stall, wherever!
  • Sit and stand a few times in your chair
  • 15-20 squats (unless you’re wearing high heels!)
  • Any kind of yoga :)


 
     Get your coworkers involved to make it even more fun! (and more likely you'll do it!)

         XOXO,
         Fit Dame

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Yoga You, Yoga Me

     Well I suppose I can't use the excuse of "I'm in the middle of a move" anymore as to why I haven't been posting. To answer your question, no...I haven't been moving since February (my last post--about motivation of all things). And no, I still haven't settled yet either. Do you know how hard it is to write about [insert topic here] when you barely have time to think about it? My September resolution, since New Years is too far away, is to follow through with this! Why did I ever stop? 

     Anyway, here we are. I'm lounging with a glass of wine reading about harmful effects of certain everyday chemicals. If you've never done that before, I highly recommend it. That's slightly sarcastic but I'm also kind of serious. If it doesn't light a fire under you then I don't know what will! That's why I've thought up a new approach...fitness isn't just about the physical aspect. It needs to be holistic [I hate using that word]. Body, mind, spirit, ENVIRONMENT <-- thanks to my aforementioned chemical research.      

     I want to be honest with you right now. I started this particular post in July. JULY! But I never got around to finishing it. While it might not encompass all of the above Pillars of Fitness (I just came up with that and I'm not going to Google it to see if someone else thought of it first!), YOGA does focus on the body/mind/spirit aspects. So here we go...

     I always liked the idea of yoga without actually liking yoga. It seemed really great when wealthy, beautiful TV characters could while away a morning by going to the yoga studio followed by a mimosa-filled brunch. Well I decided I would make that my life! Minus the mimosas and brunch in the middle of the week unfortunately.
Unless it's a mimosa...

     Even after that decision, it was slow for me. Not, like, going to the gym itself and getting into yoga was slow. The yoga session was slow. I was so used to the hard and fast lifting or cardio that I didn't think I was really working as hard. I remember one particular day when I did heavy legs before yoga. I was never the same after that...I'd like to see you try holding Warrior 2 for ten seconds after lifting! I almost fell over my legs were shaking so bad. But the more I got into lifting, the more I realized how much I needed yoga for a few reasons.

1) I needed to improve my flexibility to prevent injuries.
2) On my active rest days or lower intensity days, it was nice to do something that would still give me a great workout.
3) It's a good alternative if I can't make it to the gym or the weather isn't cooperating for a run.
4) I wanted something that would relax and re-energize me.

Benefits of Yoga

     The social aspect of going to class every week and seeing the same faces made it rather fun, and I always felt so refreshed afterwards. That's what kept me going. My body was awake; my mind was clear. It wasn't until later that I realized there were all kinds of other benefits to doing it. Lucky me!

1) Increases blood flow, boosts red blood cells, thins blood
2) Boosts immunity
3) Lowers blood pressure and blood sugar
4) Decreases risk of depression
5) Encourages you to relax
6) Helps you sleep better
7) Improves balance
8) Prevents IBS and other digestive problems
9) Reduces stress
10) Builds strength

 Yeah hi...I would like all of those please.

Build Your Inner and Outer Strength

     Yoga is more than just a simple stretching session. A lot of the poses, especially the advanced ones, require strength. You're using slow, controlled movements that need all of your muscle groups to execute. Try holding a handstand for more than a few seconds. It's harder than you think! Even if you're using a wall for support...comme moi. The more you do it, the better your posture, more flexible, and stronger you'll become. Stick with it!

     As for inner strength, as soon as you get on the mat, your focus turns introspective. Let go of everything in your head; clear your mind. Concentrate on your breathing; feel the sense of calm sweeping over your body. It's addictive...in a good way. You practice relaxation, tune out the chatter of the world, and become in sync with your body. Listen to it!

 

The Art of the Pose

     I know there's a lot to take in with this post, but there's so much great information that I can't resist. Below I've included a few of the common poses and what their health benefits are. If you're suffering from any ailments, check out the list and see if there's anything you can do!

Eagle Pose

  • Supplies kidneys with fresh blood
  • Relieves neck/shoulder tension
  • Helps prostate problems

 

Balancing Stick Pose

  • Helps prevent cardiac disease, strengthens heart muscle
  • Increases blood flow all over the body
  • Decreases high blood pressure

 

Standing Leg Stretch

  • Increases circulation to the brain and adrenal glands
  • Relieves depression, constipation, loss of memory
  • Regulates thyroid gland

 

Triangle Pose

  • Improves chemical imbalances, immune and circulatory systems
  • Helps with menstrual disorders and fights against obesity
  • Cleanses lymph nodes

 

Shoulder Stand/Headstand/Handstand

  • Strengthens immune system/relieves common cold
  • Benefits nervous system and puts less strain on the heart
  • Strengthens your upper body

     I'm a huge fan of Tara Stiles and all of her wonderful yoga videos on YouTube. I recommend her for any level, any workout. She has particularly great bedtime and morning routines. I promise you will notice a difference! Stronger, less stress, refreshed...ahhh I can feel it now. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

XOXO,
Fit Dame