Life is good!

Wow, I can’t believe Christmas is just a few days away!

You may be wondering what I’ve been up to since I finished the semester. Well … mostly this!

Meet Oliver — our newest family member. He’s a yellow lab that basically has an ON/OFF switch. In case you were wondering, he is OFF now.

Oliver (or Dr. O) is smart as a whip, adorable, cuddly, and growing like a weed! We absolutely love him and couldn’t have asked for a better boy. Even our cat Penelope is enjoying him (with conditions of course — she is a cat after all!) and I’m sure will grow to love him even more as time passes.



I love a good challenge!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Christmas on the horizon, and in between a family wedding, holiday parties, a birthday and finals, November and December are quickly filling up. Did I mention we’re getting a puppy?

I love this time of year for how wonderfully busy and exciting it can be. I get to reconnect with my family and friends, decorate the house and enjoy Christmas music that I wait all year patiently for and don’t officially bust out until after our family Thanksgiving meal is done.

What I failed to mention is fitting in my regularly scheduled workout. Fitness along with a healthful diet is often forgotten when we get busy with holiday preparations. Having a good fitness routine in place as we move into the holiday season is so vital not only for our mental well-being, but also for keeping our immune system strong during this time of year; as joyful as the holiday season ultimately is, sometimes stress can get the best of us.

That’s why I was so excited my yoga studio, CPY initiated a yoga challenge. Basically any yogi who averages 4 classes a week now through 12/14 will be entered into a raffle to win prizes. Who doesn’t love prizes?! Honestly, for me, it’s all about the neat sparkly star sticker I proudly get to add next to my name. Fun, right?! New folks get a free week of yoga, too. Check it out!

What are you doing to stay calm and healthy this holiday season?

The Importance of Breath

A yoga instructor once announced in class “Use your breath, it will tell you everything you need to know about what you need to know right now.” To this day, that inspiring instructor still remains one of my favorites for her light-hearted approach to yoga and meaningful sentiments she often brings to the mat.

Breath is vital. However, it’s so simple and clearly obvious that we often take our breath for granted. We can go for days without water and even weeks without food, but, without oxygen, we would cease to exist. Physiologically we breathe to supply the organs in our body the oxygen they need in order to function properly as well as a means to rid our bodies of wastes and toxins.

In yoga, ancient breathing techniques called Pranayama are used to maximize our universal life force. We use breath in yoga to cleanse our bodies of toxins as well as to clear and focus our minds, increasing awareness. When we use the breath to our advantage, a confused situation can often become quite clear.

I encourage you to use your breath; as whatever it is you’re searching for, will without a doubt, be right there waiting for you.

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Goddess Pose

I was very fortunate this past summer to have an incredibly free schedule which meant lots of yoga and freedom to move my body. Now that school is back in session, sitting for many hours a day has begun to take a toll on my body. Even though my school schedule affords me a good deal of flexibility, I still need a little extra stretch here and there to keep my muscles and joints feeling great!

Tip! Sitting for any length of time, creates undo stress on the body. Do your body a favor and set a reminder on your cell phone or work computer to get up and take a stretch every now and then. You’ll not only feel better, but, your body will thank you!

Lately, I’ve been exploring hip opening poses in my yoga practice. As individuals, we tend to hold our stresses within our hips, causing them to feel tight and uncomfortable. The goddess pose (or Utkata Konasana) gently helps to open our hips and chest, releasing muscle tension, and, as an added bonus, strengthens and tones the lower body. While hip openers can feel extremely challenging while holding them, they also provide us with a great sense of satisfaction upon completion.

Here’s how to do the goddess pose, which in English translates to fierce angle pose.

Stand with your feet roughly 3 feet apart and turned out toward the corners of your mat. Bend your elbows to shoulder height, palms facing forward. Gently exhale, look straight ahead and begin to squat, bending the knees over the toes. Begin to press your hips forward and the knees back. Drop your shoulders, sliding the shoulder blades down your back and together, keeping your arms active and engaged. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 good honest breaths. To move out of goddess, upon inhalation, straighten the legs, reach fingertips to the ceiling, and exhale arms to the side. Fierce, right!

What are some of your favorite hip opening exercises?

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