Yoga 101: Balance is Key

Hey everyone! Welcome back to my Yoga 101 series! I am very excited to share another post with you all because I have fallen in love with yoga over the past couple years. Today’s Yoga 101 is all about balance, so of course, I will be sharing three different balancing poses with you all. Balancing poses can be quite tricky, but not impossible! As usual, I will be going over how you will get into these poses, as well as how to stay in them. Remember that I am in no way a professional or expert in yoga. Keep in mind that I am still learning myself. Due to my two years of practicing yoga, I do feel confident enough to help others learn and grow as well. Breathe, take your time, and go into this with an optimistic attitude.

Boat pose

Today, we will start with boat pose. When we think of balancing, we often think of being on our feet, however there are many yoga poses that require us to balance. Boat pose is a great example of balance without using our feet. To start, you want to come down to a seated position on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Once here, start by lengthening the spine. Imagine that you are sitting against a wall with the best posture ever. Keep the length in the spine as you slowly tilt backwards as your legs come up and off the ground. Your toes will be pointed and your knees can stay in a right angle. Your arms will reach alongside your legs as your palms face inward. If you are looking to advance your practice, try straightening your legs. If both of these versions are just too challenging for you at this time, you can modify the pose by having your palms or fingertips on the ground beside you.

Tree pose

I remember a very important lesson that I learned in dance class many years ago, and it still helps me in my fitness journey today. When doing any fast paced turns or spins, I was told to stare at one spot in the room and to keep my eye on it. That way, when I would spin, I wouldn’t lose my balance or fall out of it. This advice is what I want to share with you before you even start getting into tree pose. Start by finding an object or spot on the wall in front of you (as long as this object or spot is still). When you’ve found an object/spot, stare at it and stand in mountain pose. Make sure to lengthen your spine, without sticking out your bottom. Stand tall and proud like a mountain. Bring your hands to a prayer position in front of your chest. And keep your feet parallel. Stare at your object and slowly begin to lift one leg. The lifted foot will gently come to the inner thigh of the standing leg. Make sure that your foot is not pushing into the thigh. You want your standing leg to be strong and grounded so the thigh can support the lifted foot. If this is too difficult for you right now, you can lower your lifted foot either to the standing calf or to the standing ankle. Never press your foot against the standing knee; this is bringing lateral pressure to the knee which can cause injury. When you are in this pose, remember to breathe and stare at your object to help you balance. Don’t forget to repeat the process for the other leg as well. This is in no way an easy pose, but it is a powerful one. Do your best, and if you fall out of it, come back and try again.

Eagle pose

This is definitely the most challenging of the three poses I am sharing today. Again, remember that balance is truly key. I understand that just reading about getting into this pose may be confusing for the reader, so please refer back to my Yoga 101 highlight on my Instagram @sacchere14 to better understand this pose. You’ll want to start by standing in mountain pose. Bring your arms straight out to the sides and then bring them back in, wrapping your right arm underneath your left. You will then wrap your wrists as well so that your palms are touching. If wrapping the wrists is too much for you, keep the back of the hands touching instead, or place the opposite hand on the opposite shoulder. Be sure to keep the elbows down and the forearms away from your face. Next you will come down into chair pose (I have written about chair in a blog post linked here). Find an object/spot to stare at and then put all of your weight into your left leg as you come to your tip toes on your right. Squeeze the right knee into your chest and then slowly begin to wrap it around the left leg. If this is already difficult, stay with the legs twisted but keep the tip toes of the right foot on the ground. If you want to advance, try wrapping your right foot around the standing left leg.

To this day, these are still poses that I am trying to perfect. It may be difficult and even a bit frustrating to learn these poses, but trust me, when you get it right and learn to balance, you will feel amazing! Believe in yourself, clear your mind, focus on your breathing, and eventually, balancing will feel like second nature! Thank you so much for reading. I am already looking forward to writing my next Yoga 101. Stay tuned!

Click here to go to my Instagram page. Here you will find my Yoga 101 highlight where I talk you through each pose.

Tips for Fitness Lovers

Hey everyone! I am back with a new fitness post. Quite a while back, I posted a blog called “Fitness Tips for Beginners”. I wrote this in the hopes of helping those of you who were just getting started in the gym. I’ve decided that there are some more tips that I wanted to share with you, however these tips could be for any gym lover of any experience! As someone who has been on their fitness journey for almost six years now, I realized that I had learned many things during that time, and I really wanted to share some helpful tips and advice with you all!

  • Working out harder does not mean better/quicker results

It is so easy to hurt yourself during a workout. I know people close to me who have had gym injuries years ago that they still struggle with today. Sometimes, we think we can take on more weight or we can go a bit harder but the reality is, our bodies will always let us know what we can and can’t handle. There is no shame in stepping back and saying that you will try it again another day. In order to see results, you need to be consistent, determined, motivated, and patient. Along with that, you do need to challenge yourself once in a while in order to progress. This doesn’t mean going up another 10-20 pounds. Maybe it means 3 or 5, and that is perfectly ok! By rushing through your workouts and working “harder” you could be doing the exercises incorrectly, let alone hurting yourself. Results will come with time and correct form. Take a breather and remember what your goal is. Listen to your body, because it is always giving you signs on what it needs.

  • Move your body every day

Sitting down all day will not only make you feel fatigue, but it could potentially lead to laziness. No matter what form of exercise you enjoy (or maybe you don’t enjoy exercise at all), you need to be up and moving, even if it is just for half an hour. For many people, it is difficult to find a form of exercise that they like, so going for walks may be a great option. Whether you walk around your neighborhood or you go to a local park and/or hiking spot. If you get bored easily, take a friend with you, or play some music. It can be really good to be alone with your thoughts and out in nature. If you love lifting weights, doing yoga, swimming, running etc. make a schedule for yourself so that you have a plan. When you write down your goals and your workout schedule, it can help you to stay on top of things. Prioritize your health and do what works for you.

  • REST

Working out is beneficial in SO many ways, and it can be very exciting to see results. However, it is so important to remember that rest is key. No, it will not diminish your progress or bring you backward. If anything, it will keep you on track and moving forward. It may not feel like it, but your body needs to rest in order for your muscles to develop and grow. If you continue working out, even when you are super sore, it may do more bad than good. If possible, try to take a couple rest days throughout the week. For example, let’s say you do a lower body workout on Monday, and on Tuesday your legs are really sore. On Tuesday, it may be best to do an upper body workout, and take a break on Wednesday. Trust me when I say your body will thank you for taking the best care of it.

  • Workouts don’t have to be long to be effective

This is something I only learned recently. As I am slowly getting back into my normal workout routine, I have decided to make my workouts a bit shorter. This will allow me to take my time and still get my workouts in. When I begin a leg workout for example, I think about some of the exercises I enjoy doing most or ones that I’ve noticed give great results over time, and I will simply focus on those few rather than doing every leg exercise I can think of. When I have more time, I can try new exercises and experiment, however now that I am working, I have a little less time, so this is a solution I came up with that works great for me and my lifestyle.

  • You don’t have to spend a ton to look cute and stylish in the gym

Lululemon may be what everyone is wearing, but honestly, you don’t have to spend $100 on leggings when you could spend $25 for a pair just as great! I personally like to buy my active wear from Amazon, Old Navy, and T.J.Maxx. My all time favorite workout leggings are from the brand 90 Degree by Reflex. Many people even compare these to the famous Lululemon leggings, and I highly recommend looking into these yourself. They are squat proof, comfortable, flattering, and they come in many different colors! You will be able to find really great quality pieces that are also affordable. These leggings will be linked here. The brand offers a variety of leggings, so be sure to check them out to find what works best with your style! Don’t let anything convince or tell you that you need to be wearing expensive clothing, especially if you are on a budget. These stores that I mentioned have such cute workout gear, and you will look incredible!

  • Avoid wearing jewelry when working out

This may seem random and obvious to some of you, but this piece of advice may be new to others. When I first started working out in the gym, I would maybe wear a simple pair of earrings and a couple rings that I wore daily. While this may not seem like a big deal, there is always a chance that you could lose or ruin your jewelry. Over time, as I began lifting heavier weights, I noticed that my rings were changing shape. While I was still able to wear them, I did decide to put them away while lifting weights because I did not want to ruin them any further. There is always a chance that bigger earrings such as hoops can get caught on something, so it is best to keep them simple and small. If you wear very nice and even pricey jewelry, it would be smart to leave them at home while you get your workout on. If you love to wear rings, and don’t like the idea of leaving them in a locker room, I was recently given the perfect gift for this situation! Linked here is a wrist band that has a little zipped pocket for your rings! When wearing this, you can have your rings on your person without having them on your fingers. I am obsessed!

I hope that you have found these tips helpful and that you find a healthy balance in your life. Fitness CAN be for everyone so long as you experiment and prioritize your health. Thank you for reading! Until next time…

Yoga 101: Length & Strength

Welcome back to my Yoga 101 series! I am so excited to share a few more powerful yoga poses with you all! If you aren’t familiar with this series, I encourage you to check out my last two posts before reading this one, but it is completely up to you! I will link my first post here, and the second one here. In each post, I share a few yoga poses with you and I describe in detail how you will get into the poses. I have been doing yoga for a year and a half now, and I have seen incredible improvements with my flexibility, strength, and overall wellbeing (including my mindset). With that being said, please keep in mind that I am not qualified to teach yoga and I am still learning myself, however I do feel that my practice has allowed me to confidently know these poses inside and out. I hope you will take in what I want to share today!

In my last post, I discussed the warrior poses, however there was one that I missed. So, today I will be sharing reverse warrior, side angle, and triangle. These poses are all about lengthening the body, and staying strong (as are most yoga poses). These are not exactly the easiest poses to stay in, but trust me when I say you do feel very powerful when you get it right! Remember that these poses are often done in a flow, however it is important to learn how to do them on their own before moving at a faster pace in a flow. I recommend watching along with the videos in my Yoga 101 highlight on my Instagram, @sacchere14) Especially if you have never done yoga before. If this is your first time getting into these poses, you are probably going to think I am typing complete gibberish! If you are more advanced, you may not need a video, but it will always be on my Instagram if you do! Try your best to follow along, and take your time!

Reverse Warrior

For this pose, we are going to start as if we are already in warrior II. Again, if you need to refer back to my last post  or my Yoga 101 highlight on my Instagram, please do. Starting off in warrior II, your feet are going to stay exactly as they are. When you are in warrior II, your palms are facing the ground, however that will change slightly for this pose. With the hand that is out in front of you, you will turn the palm to the sky. The back hand will slowly land either directly above or below the back of the knee (you never want any lateral pressure on your knees. This can cause pain or discomfort). If you aren’t feeling very flexible, place it above the back of the knee, and if you are more of an experienced yogi, try placing it below the back of the knee. As for the arm in front, you will lift it up to the sky. Any time your arms are lifted above the head, it is easy to allow your shoulders to lift too, but try to keep that front shoulder down as the arm lifts high. Keep in mind that in yoga, height is not exactly the priority; it is all about length. Although your back arm is down, try not to collapse or allow your side to scrunch into this pose. Lift and lengthen the body. When in this pose, you can keep the gaze low.

Side Angle

Once again, let’s start off in warrior II. Your feet are going to stay in the same position for this pose, but your arms will be moving. Make sure you are bending into that front knee, and that your knee is right above your ankle (in a right angle). Then, you will bring your front arm down as the forearm lands on the thigh gently. Remember that you shouldn’t press too hard into your thigh, it is really your thigh that should be strong in order to lightly support the forearm if it is needed. When you are here, your back arm is going to lift straight up. Make sure that your shoulders are not scrunched up to your ears. Relax them down as you reach up. If this is already intense for you, then you can stay here. If you are looking to advance in your practice a bit more, try moving the back arm over your head to feel an even deeper stretch. Be sure that you are not collapsing into the front hip. It is all about lengthening and lifting the body, even when you are in a pose where your body looks like it is leaning off to one side, you should never let it fall. When you are here, you can either look straight forward or up to the sky if you want a challenge.

Traingle

Starting off in Warrior II again, you are going to want to adjust your feet to get into triangle. Instead of having your back foot angle in slightly, as you do for warrior II, you are going to have it facing out to the side completely. Once you’re here, you will straighten the front leg. Remember not to lock out your knee; you want a very slight bend in it so that you do not cause any knee injury. Now, you will place your front hand down on your shin (or above the knee if you cannot get that low). Your back hand will once again lift up to the sky. I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: never collapse into these poses. Although it seems like you can just relax into these poses, you really want to lengthen and lift to be able to feel and see the benefits. Plus, if you just allow gravity to take over and dip too low, you wouldn’t be doing the poses correctly. Think of it as lifting up and out of these poses rather than sinking down. Your torso should be long and strong. You can keep your gaze down toward your feet or up to the sky. When doing these poses in a flow, try to move gracefully as you go!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post! I love doing yoga, and I really do want to share those benefits with you, so if you are hoping to start learning yoga, now is a great time! Be safe and know that you may not get it 100% right on the first try. You have to have the determination and understanding that with time, effort, and practice, you will get it in to time! Thank you for reading!

Fitness Update: September 2021

As some of you may know, fitness became an important part of my life in February of 2016. Truthfully, I started working out just to see if it was something I could stick with, and I ended up falling in love with weight lifting. My dad trained me for a couple years before I started working out on my own and learning new things. My best year of my fitness journey was definitely 2018. I decided to start eating a bit healthier and trying new exercises in the gym. I felt unstoppable that year. In 2019 I felt like I needed a bit of a change, and before I could really act on anything, 2020 came around, and we all know how that year turned out. Since I did not feel safe or comfortable at my gym (and I don’t think it was even an option to go), I decided to start doing yoga. I was starting to get used to at-home workouts, and for a while I was doing pretty well! I was continuing with my weight lifting and HIIT while incorporating yoga every single evening. Toward the end of 2020, I felt very unmotivated with working out. I kept doing yoga, but I was not lifting as frequently. 2021 rolled around and my feelings about working out have pretty much remained the same. I felt/feel like I’ve been struggling with a lack of motivation when it comes to weights and HIIT/cardio. And that takes us to today’s update…

I told myself that I would never stop working out; that there would never be a good enough excuse to just stop completely, and ultimately I still think this is true. Yes, breaks are super important because sometimes our bodies simply need to rest and relax for a while. I highly encourage anyone who is super active to take a couple weeks to a month off from time to time. This will not only give your body a chance to rest, but it will also allow you to get creative and find new forms of exercise or workouts to try when you get back to it! Plus, your body will not change very much by taking a little break (trust me, you’ll be fine). Weirdly enough, I feel like I am in that in-between stage of not being incredibly active, but also not taking a full rest. I still work out (mostly doing yoga), but I feel like there are definitely times when I am not putting in 100% of the effort. I’ve read a quote recently that said something along the lines of “it’s better to show up and give 50% than to not show up at all” and this stuck with me. At least I am trying, and I give myself credit for that.

To be honest, I really miss the feeling of loving a workout. I think I am kind of over at-home workouts at this point, and I am so ready to get back into the gym. I feel like I worked harder in that environment and I always felt strong, empowered, and like my best self any time I walked out of the gym. At this point in time, I do feel like I would be comfortable going back to the gym (I am fully vaccinated which makes me feel better about it), but my lifestyle does not exactly line up with my fitness goals at the moment. I’ve been and will be doing quite a bit of traveling, and it is difficult to find the time and motivation to do a complete workout while being so far from home. I need to get creative and find new ways to stay active while traveling, even if that means trying something completely different from what I am used to (ex: working out at a different time of day, completing short but intense workouts or long and less challenging ones, experimenting with new forms of exercise, etc.). I am actually looking forward to doing this, and my boyfriend has been incredibly supportive. We even plan to workout together when I go to visit him.

I think it all comes down to dedication and commitment, which are two things I’ve always been capable of. I refuse to let any of this bring me down or stop me from truly enjoying my workouts. Anyone out there who is passionate about fitness will probably understand my current struggle. I want to do anything and everything I can to feel motivated and excited about working out again. I’ve never stopped believing in myself, and I truly am proud of how far I’ve come. I have been on my fitness journey for a little over six years and I’ve made so much progress in that time. While there are ups and downs to any fitness journey, I know that there is no such thing as going backwards.

I haven’t been doing the absolute best when it comes to healthy eating, however this has always been the biggest challenge for me in relation to living a healthy life. I want to get back on track, but I think it is important to make small, attainable goals first. Baby steps are still steps after all. Even if it means incorporating a few healthy snacks into my days more often, I will do it. I’ve always felt that balance is important in every aspect of life. I don’t want to be too strict with food or fitness because I know that I deserve to enjoy the sweet things in life from time to time, as well as rest days.

I will also make it goal to start working out with weights slowly and doing it more often over time. For example, maybe instead of weight training for five or six days a week like I used to, I will start with two to three days a week, and as I start to feel better about it, I’ll go from there. Or, if I am traveling and do not have the necessary equipment, I can always do HIIT/cardio or yoga. I just want to keep my body healthy and moving. Living a sedentary life isn’t good for anyone, and after being active for many years, it just doesn’t feel right to me. I almost feel guilty when I sit down for too long!

I truly believe in making certain changes in your life in order to be your best self. For me, some of the things that make me feel good are writing/journaling, being outdoors, spending time with those I love, and of course working out. There is nothing like powering through a challenging workout and feeling resilient, powerful, and strong. Even when my legs were shaking from all of the glute and quad work and I was dripping in sweat after cardio, I loved knowing that I completed a workout. Another goal of mine will be to get back into the gym as soon as possible so I can feel that once again. I also want to really do something different when I do go back. Doing the same exercises over and over again for too long gets boring and repetitive for me.

I really wanted to share this fitness update to let you know that it is ok to feel burnt out, or like you don’t want to work out for a while. It’s ok to need a break or to take some time to come up with new goals for yourself. As you grow and learn, it would be silly to continue doing the exact same thing anyway! I am so ready to enjoy my workouts again! I will change my mindset. I will push myself. And I will be stronger than ever before. I will speak it, pray it, and manifest it into existence. Most of all, I will believe in myself. I highly encourage that you do the same. We’ve got this!

Thank you for reading!

Yoga 101: Warrior Poses

I am very excited to share the second post in my Yoga 101 series! I created this series to help beginner yogis learn all of the best yoga poses (though these posts can be helpful to any yogi at any level)! I encourage you to check out my Instagram @sacchere14 to see my Yoga 101 posts and highlights for videos of each pose! As I explain how to get into the poses, it may seem confusing, but I will try to explain things in the easiest way possible. If you haven’t read my first post, I would recommend checking it out before you read this one (though it’s not necessary). It will be linked here!

Today I will be discussing the warrior poses. These are such strong and empowering poses that are essential to include in your practice! I have been doing yoga daily for over a year now, so I do feel that I have the experience needed to help others, however I am not a professional or expert. I appreciate any feedback, tips, or advice (I am still perfecting many poses myself).

These poses are typically done in a vinyasa flow, however transitioning from pose to pose can be difficult at first. Try your best!

Warrior I

Let’s begin with warrior I. To get into this pose, you want to start off with your feet hip width apart in a forward fold. You’re going to step your right leg back (you can start with whichever leg you’d like), making sure that your left knee stays stacked above the left ankle (this helps to avoid injuries). Your right foot should be at an angle, facing slightly outward. For every single pose, I encourage you to engage your core by holding in your stomach (but don’t forget to breathe) and to lengthen your back. You do not want your back to be arched or hunched. The biggest challenge with this pose is that you want your hips to be squared, facing the front of your mat. It may be tricky as a beginner, but with practice you can get there. Try to avoid turning your hips when you bring the leg behind you. It’s important that you feel strong in each and every pose, and this one requires some balance, so make sure that you feel grounded once your feet are in place. Once you’re here, you can keep your palms together at your heart, straight out in front of you with your palms facing inward, or if you’re feeling strong, you can lift your arms up over your head with your palms facing inward. If you decide to lift your arms, check to make sure that you aren’t lifting your shoulders as well; keep them down. Remember to repeat the process on the other side of your body.

Warrior II

Now we can move on to warrior II. You can start off the same way you did for warrior I, or you can transition from warrior I to warrior II. Any time you transition, try to do it as gracefully as possible. Again, this won’t always be easy at first. You can practice by doing this pose on its own, rather than transitioning into it. To transition, you now want to face your right foot completely to the right rather than at an angle. The best way to know that your alignment is correct is by seeing if the heel of your front foot aligns with the arch of your back foot. If it is in a straight line, then you are doing it right. Your core will now be facing the right. You’re going to keep your head facing the front of your mat, and you will lift your arms; one straight in front of you, and the other straight behind you. Both of your palms will be facing downward. Make sure you aren’t lifting your shoulders in this pose. Always check to see that your front knee is right above the ankle. Remember to hold in your core and lengthen your back. Warrior II is a hip opening pose, however only the hip in front of you is opening, which should be a reminder to do the same exact thing on the other side!

Warrior III

To transition out of warrior II and into warrior III you’re going to now move into crescent pose. So, your back foot will now turn toward the front of the mat, and your toes will curl under. Your entire core and your hips will also shift to face the front of your mat. Your arms can lift up into the air once you’re here. Again, check to make sure your front knee is directly over the front ankle. Your back leg will be straight, though it’s important to never overextend your legs; always keep a slight bend in the knees (even when the legs are technically supposed to be straight). This will help to avoid any knee injuries. Now, you will bring your palms together right at your heart and slowly and carefully lift your back leg up off the ground. If you are a beginner, you can either step to the front of the mat or you can try to bypass the floor with that foot. You will slowly lean your body forward while your leg is straight out behind you. Your hips are going to want to open up, but try to avoid this. They should be squared and facing the front of the mat. Your back should be flat (not hunched or arched). If you are feeling strong, you can lift your arms and bring them out to the sides. This will help with your balance. Your gaze should be toward the ground, and you can try to focus on something that isn’t moving to help keep your balance. Although I have been practicing for over a year, there are still plenty of times when I fall out of this pose. Don’t give up! You can always come back and try it again.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, reading these explanations may be a bit confusing and hard to follow, so check out my videos on my Instagram in my Yoga 101 highlight. Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful day!

What poses would you like to see next?

Yoga 101: Beginner Poses

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful day! For those of you who do not know, I have been on my fitness journey for over 5 years now, and I have been practicing yoga for 15-30 minutes every day for over a year! I truly believe in the power of moving your body and taking care of your overall wellbeing. What I love about exercise is that it is my time to simply focus on doing something for myself. It is a time for me to get focused and strong, and I always feel so empowered after a workout. Not only does my body feel strong afterward, but so does my mind. When it comes to yoga, I love the balance of challenge and relaxation. I am able to work hard (during more difficult flows) while focusing on my mind at the same time. I can let go of any stress or worry, and focus on my health, and I love the way working out makes me feel.

Due to the benefits that I have seen in my own wellbeing, I always recommend yoga to everyone! I feel that there is no excuse to not do at least 5-10 minutes of yoga every day! I understand that everyone has different lifestyles and schedules, but yoga has so many benefits, and we all deserve to feel our best. Today, I am beginning a new series on my blog: Yoga 101. I will be sharing a few different yoga poses in each one, and I will give tips, advice, and discuss how to properly do said poses. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert or a professional yogi, but after practicing daily for over a year, I feel that I have learned so much from the different instructors that I have watched (though I always appreciate feedback and advice for myself as well). I am still perfecting some yoga poses myself, so keep that in mind throughout this series.

Today we will be going over three of the classic yoga poses that every beginner should know. You may look at these and think to yourself “That’s so easy, I already know how to do that”, however there are little tips and techniques that can help you, and I would like to share those today.

Downward facing dog

This is a classic yoga pose and you may have seen other people do this frequently. This is something that I like to do during all of my practices. There is something about being in poses where my head is upside down that helps to relieve my headaches! This pose is great for stretching out the hamstrings too!

When getting into this pose, you can start off on your hands and knees. You want your hands to be out in front of you and facing slightly outward. Your feet should be hips distance apart and facing forward. Try to keep your pelvis tilted back so that your back is straight. You should keep your gaze between your thighs as well. Overall, you should like a triangle from the side. It won’t be possible to have your heels touching the mat at first; it’s going to take a lot of practice (this is something I am still working on). To help with this, you can pedal your feet by bending one knee and lengthening the other, causing a deeper hamstring stretch as your heels press toward the mat. This pose is going to feel challenging for a beginner, however over time it can become a resting pose. It is also a great pose to use during different flows!

Chair pose

This pose is admittedly one of my least favorites, however it is still important to do. By doing this posture, you are working your full body, but you will definitely feel it mostly in your legs!

For this pose, you want to start off standing with your feet a few inches apart (though you can have them right next to each other. This may make it a big more challenging). Then you will simply bend your knees and get low in the position (for any beginners out there, you don’t have to get extremely low). You will then lift your arms straight into the air. Make sure that you are putting most of the weight in your heels. You can test to see if you’re doing this right by lifting your toes off the mat, then placing them down again. Be sure to drop your shoulders rather than hunching them up to your ears. While this pose may be difficult, you want to try to stay as relaxed as you can. This position definitely takes some getting used to, so be kind to your body and modify where you need to. Like all yoga poses, you don’t want your gut to sag, so you should hold in your core while maintaining your breathing (in through the nose and out through the mouth). This took me a long time to learn, but by holding in your core, you’re going to feel your body working more. Remember this throughout your practice.

Plank position

This is a pose that many people have done before, however not everyone knows how to get into it properly. You’re going to start on your knees, placing your hands out in front of you facing forward. Your toes will be curled under and you will slowly straighten one leg, then the other. Again, you want to hold in your core and breathe. Make sure that your bottom is not too far in the air or too low to the ground; your body should be lined up with your spine. Be sure that your wrists are right under your shoulders (lining things up is very important to prevent any injuries). Keep your head down with your eyes on the mat below you.

There are modifications for this pose for those of you who find planking to be a bit too challenging. You still start off the same way, on your hands and knees, however you’re going to bring your knees back a few inches so they are not directly under your hips anymore. This is still a challenging position, but it is better for those who need to modify and take it easy. With time, patience, and practice, you will be able to do some of the more challenging poses, so keep going!

I am really excited for this new series on my blog, and I have so much more to share with you! Yoga has been a daily practice for myself as well as a couple of my family members who join me every evening. I highly encourage anyone out there to spend some time trying it out! You do not need to be athletic or flexible to do yoga; that comes with practice. You have to start in order to get to that point, and it doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 50, anyone can do yoga. Believe in yourself and prioritize yourself. Thank you so much for reading! If there are any yoga poses that you would like me to discuss in this series, please leave me a comment below! Until next time!

(If you would like to see videos of me getting into each of these poses, you can check out my Instagram, @sacchere14.)

My 5 Year Fitness Anniversary

Today makes exactly 5 years since I first began weight training! I truly can’t believe that so much time has passed, when it feels like just yesterday my dad took me to the gym for the first time and taught me how to lift weights. I was 16 years old, and now I am 21. Last year, I titled my anniversary post, “4 Years of Weight Training”, however in my 5th year of my fitness journey, I began exploring other physical activities that have become a part of my daily/weekly routine. While my 5th year was a bit unconventional (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), I still wanted to share what changes occurred, how I felt, and any progress I noticed throughout the year. If you have read any of my fitness posts over this past year, you may already know some of the things I will be discussing today, so I’ll try to keep it (somewhat) brief.

The last time I worked out in a gym was in early March of 2020. Since then, at-home workouts became the new norm, which was difficult to adjust to at first. Once I got into a routine that worked for me, I really enjoyed my workouts. I would say that I lifted weights around 3-4 times a week and did HIIT 3 times a week. I was on top of my workouts for the most part, however, toward the middle of the year, I started to become a bit bored with my usual workout routines. This has been a common pattern for me over the past 5 years. After doing the same thing for so long, I easily get bored, thus, leading to a lack of motivation and less excitement when it comes to fitness. So, I did my best to change things up. While I never quit weight lifting, I did enjoy experimenting with new forms of exercise.

In April of 2020, I began doing yoga daily. A couple of my family members have been doing it with me, which makes it even more enjoyable. I made it a goal of mine to never skip a day, and I am proud to say that I’ve stuck to it. Even when I went away to the beach and to the mountains with my family, I still did yoga every evening. Even on days when I wasn’t feeling too great, or I had a lot on my plate, I still completed my practice. I like to do 10-30 minutes of yoga a day. I wasn’t sure that I would ever enjoy yoga, but honestly, it is so beneficial for so many different reasons. I wrote an entire blog post on the benefits of yoga (click here to read). Not only does it give me a chance to unwind and relax, but it is also a great way to work out and challenge myself. Despite what many people think, yoga is not always relaxing and easy. You can definitely work up a sweat and gain strength in your entire body. Yoga is not just about the core. I have noticed incredible improvements with my balance, my strength, and even my mindset. I also noticed that I was toning up a lot! I reached my goal of finding a new form of exercise, while still sticking with weight training, and I am very proud of this. I am also very interested in boxing! Although I’ve never really tried it, I think I would really enjoy it! Maybe sometime soon, when things are safer, I can try to find a place to box! I know this is something my dad would enjoy too, so maybe we can do it together!

Also, since January of 2019, I have been going on monthly hikes with my uncle (and sometimes my brother). I made it a goal of mine to go hiking at least once a month, and this is something I’ve really been enjoying! Some hikes are more moderate whereas others are more intense. It is so nice to get outside and exercise, especially since COVID hit. It is peaceful, and we are often rewarded with gorgeous views during or at the end of our hikes!

I also wanted to briefly discuss food, because this is an important part of staying healthy as well. As some of you may know, eating healthy has always been the most difficult part of living a healthy life for me, and I think many people can relate to this. In 2018, I did really well by changing up my diet and drinking more water. In 2019, I struggled with my motivation a bit more, and I wasn’t as focused on eating healthy. At this point, I am honestly still struggling with food, but I am trying to stick to healthy foods that I enjoy, while limiting some of the sweets that I tend to enjoy just a bit too often. It’s going to take some time and patience, as well as some serious dedication, but I am not someone who gives up easily on things that I want, so I am going to continue pushing myself. While I have never struggled with an eating disorder or an unhealthy relationship with food, I still think it is important to remind people that food is not the enemy. You have the control, and you can stop from giving in to temptations. Life is all about balance, and food should be enjoyed. So, it is completely ok to indulge in some of the foods that aren’t necessarily healthy once in a while. Just remember to limit the amount of these foods. While it can be very challenging to change up your diet, it is such an incredible feeling once you start to put healthy and nutritious foods into your body, and this is something I need to remind myself of more often. The way that working out and eating healthy makes me feel is the most powerful form of motivation. We all want to feel our best, and when I am taking care of my overall health, that is when I do.

My current workout split is not very strict. I’ve been listening to my body and what it needs a lot. Right now, I am weight training and doing HIIT 3 times a week, I am doing yoga daily, and some days, I will go for walks around my neighborhood. I am eager to get back in the gym, but for now, I am thankful that I have some of the equipment that I need at home. I have been looking to the internet and social media to get inspiration and motivation (which I recommend), and this has also helped me find new workouts to do to keep things exciting.

I always like to thank my dad for introducing me to the world of fitness. I was never very athletic and I felt that working out just wasn’t for me. Things changed when he taught me how to lift weights because I found not only a new hobby, but a new passion. I made goals to strive for, and I pushed myself during every single workout. Without his guidance and support, I probably would not have fallen in love with fitness, at least not at that time. I am very grateful for him and for our bond. Fitness brought us even closer, and even though I stopped going to the gym with him after my first couple years, I still think of all that he’s taught me, and how proud he is of me. I am also so glad that I recognized the importance of taking care of myself at such a young age. While there is no age limit to starting your fitness journey, it’s always amazing to get a head start.

I am very proud of how far I’ve come in these past 5 years. While I did not make a ton of progress this year, I am looking forward to working harder and disciplining myself even more for my 6th year (and hopefully getting back in the gym soon too). I wanted to remind anyone reading that your health matters. You have the power do incredible things, and taking care of your body should always be a top priority. Even when it is difficult and all motivation seems lost, keep going. Trust me, you’re going to be so glad you did! At this point, I can’t even imagine giving up, so I never will. I am going to continue on my fitness journey, and work toward reaching new goals! I always say that people should find some form of exercise that works for them; something they enjoy. For me, that happens to be weight lifting and yoga, but everyone is different. Find what works for you, and stick with it. In time, you will reap the benefits which are so incredibly rewarding! Not only will your body start to change, but your mindset will too!

Thank you so much for reading! I plan to continue sharing updates, tips, and changes throughout my 6th year, so I hope that you will follow along and join me! Check out my Instagram, @sacchere14 to see a video I put together using clips/photos from the past five years!

Until next time!

Tips for Beginner Yogis

I have been on my fitness journey for almost 5 years now, and yoga is something I began to incorporate in April of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was getting really bad at that point, and we were all stuck in our homes. One day, a family member introduced us to a program that had a variety of fitness videos to try, including yoga. After seeing this, I thought that maybe I could give it a try. I mentioned it to a couple of my family members, and we have been doing 20-30 minutes of yoga every day since. We have not skipped any days whatsoever, and that is something I am very proud of!

Yoga is both challenging and relaxing, and I have seen and felt the many benefits from very early on. I think it is important to let people know that you do not have to be flexible or into fitness to get started! Literally anyone can do yoga because there are ways to modify almost every pose, and this allows you to grow throughout your practice. We all start somewhere, so please don’t let the idea of being a “beginner” scare you off or make you nervous. I never thought that I would be interested in doing yoga because I have always enjoyed lifting weights, but I have come to love it! I definitely recommend experimenting with different forms of exercise until you find what works for best for you! If you want to get started with yoga, remember to start slow!

I have realized that there are certain things that yoga instructors in the program I use have been encouraging me to do, but I never really understood how. After months of practicing, I’ve noticed significant changes and improvements, which has been very exciting and motivating! I have gotten much better at balancing and activating my core, and I am starting to do a few more advanced poses!

Please keep in mind that I am in no way a professional or qualified to teach yoga, however I feel that due to my own experience with the practice, I can share some valuable tips with those of you who are just getting started! It took me some time to learn these things, and I am continuing to learn as I go! I am sharing this in hopes that you can start practicing these skills even sooner!

Here are my tips for beginner yogis:

  • Go into your practice with an open mind

Sometimes, when you are trying something new, you may have preconceived ideas on what you will be doing. When it comes to yoga, you may think it’s simple and easy, or that it doesn’t do anything for the body. It’s also common to simply say “I can’t do that” or “I’m not good at this” when starting out. You have to remember that in order to see progress and gain strength, you need to get started. It’s ok to lose your balance, to fall over, and to get frustrated when you can’t do a certain pose, but as long as you keep at it and practice frequently, you will get better! It’s important to have an open mind and to think positively all the time, but especially when trying something new or challenging. You are most likely starting yoga to be active, to get healthy, or to try something different, so honor that and honor yourself by getting out of your comfort zone!

  • Get centered and let negative thoughts go

When you go into your practice, you may not always feel your best. Maybe you’re stressed about work or your feeling down about a personal situation. Whatever it may be, when you get to your mat, it’s time to let it all go! It can be really difficult to let these thoughts go and to simple be, but you have to try. Some days, I am just a bit more distracted or I have a lot on my plate, and that’s ok. But you have to remember that you’re allowed to take a few moments out of your day to focus on you and your overall well-being. Working out can really give you that time, and you will also reap the benefits as time goes on! Try to think about your breathing and how you’re moving your body rather than bringing all of that negative energy to the mat. Working out has always been a time for me to focus on my mental and emotional health, it’s definitely not just about the physical.

  • Focus on the breath

This may seem like such a simple tip because of course, we’re always breathing, and you would think that you would be breathing even better during a workout. This can actually be a challenge. When I first started weight lifting, it took me a bit of time to realize that breathing will actually help you perform better, and you will be able to do more reps. The same is true for yoga. Keep in mind that whenever you are exerting the most energy, that is when you should breathe out. For example, if you are in three legged dog, and you want to bring your knee in toward your nose, you breathe in as you lift your leg up, and breathe out as you pull that leg in. Really think about your breathing when working out, and you truly will notice a big difference! Never hold your breath, even when your practice is getting difficult.

  • It’s all about lifting and lengthening

When practicing yoga, one should never focus too much on height, but rather focus on lengthening and lifting your body. For example, if you are in warrior three, you should be lifting your chest and leg, however you don’t need to be doing a standing split. The height of your leg really isn’t as important as how you’re lengthening your body. Another example would be when you are in sphinx pose or upward facing dog. It’s not about bending back as far as possible; it’s about lifting up out of your lower back and feeling a stretch across your chest. While it is impressive to see advanced yogis lifting their legs super high in the air, it isn’t necessary in order to feel the benefits and to gain strength. Length over height, always!

  • Relax the shoulders and don’t collapse

This next tip goes along with the previous one. It can be very easy to lose focus and forget the point of certain poses. There are many poses which require you to use some upper body strength. For example, when you are in a side plank, you have to remember to lift up out of that bottom shoulder. The same is true for triangle pose. It all goes back to lengthening the body! You want to rise up and reach for the sky, rather than collapsing back down into your shoulder (this could cause injuries or discomfort over time).

  • Keep a slight bend in the knees

There are going to be quite a few poses where you are meant to straighten your legs such as downward facing dog, triangle pose, and any kind of forward folds. When your instructor tells you to straighten your legs, please remember not to lock out your knees; keep a slight bend in them instead. You should do this to avoid any injuries or discomfort. It is not going to hinder your growth at all, and it’s always better to be safe and to listen to your body. During any form of exercise, if you feel any discomfort or pain, you should stop and modify or skip that pose/exercise for a little bit.

  • Square off the hips

Again, it is so easy to forget what you are doing, and your body may naturally want to move a certain way when doing some poses. For the most part, when you are in three legged dog, any of the warrior poses, or any twisting pose, it is important to square off your hips. This means that whatever way your core is facing, that’s where your hips should face too. When facing your left in warrior two, you only want your head to move and look over the hand in front of you, however your hips should stay in place, facing the left. When you are lifting a leg in downward facing dog, your hip may want to open up, but you have to do your best to keep it from doing so (there will be times when your instructor may want you to open up your hip in this pose, but unless they say so, keep the hips still). When twisting, make sure that you twist from your core; your hips shouldn’t be twisting with you.

  • Activate your core

It took me a long time to figure out exactly how to do this. This is something that you will need to practice, and it can take time, but you’ll know you’re doing it right because you’ll be able to really feel your core working. Yoga truly is a full body workout, however the core is a very important part of it. Throughout each and every practice, you should be holding in your stomach (while breathing properly). You don’t want your gut to sag as you are doing these movements and getting into different poses. If you suck in your stomach and at the same time, continue to breathe properly, you will feel your core working the entire time.

  • Challenge yourself

I understand that some days, you just aren’t going to feel very motivated, and you may want more of a relaxing practice. These days are needed, so of course, I encourage you to have a couple of these practices throughout your week. However, you shouldn’t get too comfortable relaxing, because if you want to improve and see results, you’re going to have to put in the work. You can do this by staying in poses longer than you normally would, or as you progress, you can try to do more advanced versions of different poses. For example, instead of planking on your knees, you should eventually try to lift them up, or try to get off of your tippy toes and lift up a foot or leg when balancing. You won’t get better at something by staying comfortable.

And lastly…

  • Enjoy the practice

Yoga is meant to be enjoyed. Whether your practice was all about the core or it was a relax day, by the end of your workout, you should feel strong, confident, and even relaxed in the end. Make sure to throw in some resting poses in the middle and at the end of your session such as child’s pose or savasana. This will give your body a chance to cool down, and you can take a moment to appreciate all of the work that you just did. Use this time to better yourself, and trust me, your body will thank you!

I hope that my beginner yogis out there found this blog post helpful! Like I said, I never thought I would enjoy doing yoga, but I think it was because I didn’t understand it, and I just didn’t see it as a real workout. Well, sometimes you can surprise yourself, and all it takes it one step outside of your comfort zone! Thank you so much for reading!

The Benefits of Taking a Rest Day

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a beautiful day, wherever you may be! For today’s blog post, I really wanted to chat about a topic that is very important to me personally. From a young age, I recognized the importance of loving myself and taking care of myself, however I really started to take it seriously a few years ago, and I haven’t looked back. It takes a lot of time and effort to get to a place of self-love, and a major part of that is taking care of your overall well-being. So, today I am going to share the benefits of taking a rest day.

I am very outspoken when it comes to self-care, and this is because I have directly seen the benefits in my own life. This does not just mean only taking care of your appearance, but also taking care of your heart, mind, body, and soul. It doesn’t really matter how much effort you put into making your outsides look great if you aren’t feeling great on the inside. Even though it may be difficult at times, you should really try to find some time to rest each and every day.

Everyone is different, and we all have different responsibilities and daily tasks to handle, whether they relate to work, family, or school. While of course these things need to be prioritized, we can’t forget about ourselves. These things can take up a lot of our time and energy, but even if you take 20 minutes or an hour out of each day, this can be extremely beneficial!

I find that balance in everything is super important in life. As we all know, too much of anything isn’t a good thing. Too much rest can quickly turn into laziness, and too much work can turn into burnout. There is a way to balance each of these things, and in turn, you will feel much happier overall

My boyfriend has collaborated with me on this blog post, and I really wanted to include some of his own writing! I always find his words to be so encouraging and uplifting, and I think that you will too. Here is what he had to say on the topic:

To recognise the importance of self-care throughout life, it’s necessary to look at the difference between maintaining outward appearance and continuing nourishment on the inside.

It is wonderful and true that we are all beautiful both on the outside and on the inside. From day one, our looks have been mastered and completed. However, inwardly we are renewed each and every day. How exciting is that!? For every one of us to have the capacity and opportunity to be our best selves, to be more of who we are intended to be! It’s beneficial to understand that inner self-care is as much about relaxation and preparation as it is about staying occupied and task completion. Balancing and prioritising is absolutely key. Remember that whatever you concentrate on most becomes an idol. Please don’t drive yourself towards constant action, letting exhaustion creep in (mental or physical). Inner self-care is about consciously choosing to prevent the build-up of stress, worry and tiredness. Happiness, peace and long-lasting energy are conquering antidotes.

Resting may be a departure from existing routine but it will become an adventure all of itself when practiced out of love rather than duty. Rest is gentle and kind but also receptive and restorative, facilitating the space to be present, for today and tomorrow.

– Tom Patch

As I mentioned previously, I have seen the ways that taking some time for myself has benefitted me and my health, so I wanted to share some of those benefits with you today!

First of all, when you prioritize and take care of yourself, you become the best version of yourself. Not only will you eventually recognize this, but those around you will too! When you make that time for you, all of your relationships can flourish, especially the one with yourself! We all want to be at our best, and it’s ok to have bad moments or even bad days, but you have to make self-care and self-love daily habits.

When taking a rest day, you have the time to do the things that you want to do. You can delve into your hobbies, spend time with family and friends, or just sit back and watch your favorite movie or TV show! There are no rules to your rest day, and you should do what makes you feel happy and at peace.

If you would like, you can use your rest day to think about what’s upcoming. It may not be very fun to think about the working days ahead, or how you’re going to complete everything you have to do, but planning can be really helpful. I strongly recommend owning a planner because this has allowed me to stay on track and get things done efficiently. Also, make sure to include time to rest. Ideally you should try to find time for this every single day, but if this is near to impossible for you, then plan for a rest day or two on the weekend!

Rest can shift your mood and remind you of what’s most important in life. When we are busy and constantly thinking about each and every little thing we have to do before the day is done, it can get really overwhelming. Try to take a breather, and remember that your well-being should come first. You deserve to feel happy and have peace of mind often too. There is something so nice about taking a day to simply focus on you. Remember that self-care is not selfish. As long as you are taking care of your responsibilities, you deserve some time for yourself. I think that one day, we may look back and realize that self-care really is one of the most important things in life.

You can use rest days as a time to check in with your mental, emotional, and physical health. Are you moving your body every day? Are you thinking positive thoughts? Are you allowing yourself to really feel your emotions rather than suppressing them? You should be asking yourself similar questions daily. It’s always good to check in. I happen to be someone who is very self-aware and this helps me to recognize when and why I may be feeling a certain way. If you take a moment to think about it, you may be able to understand yourself more. Writing can actually help with this a lot. A close friend of mine was upset recently, and she had trouble explaining why. She decided to write down why she thought she was feeling that way, and it allowed her to recognize why she got upset in the first place.

This time is essential in all of our lives, and you can use it to form new habits. No matter how busy we may be, we can all spare at least a few minutes out of each day.

I wanted to conclude this blog post with a few tips as well:

  • Don’t be afraid to say no

When it comes to work, it is important to take on your own responsibilities. Keep in mind that it’s ok to (respectfully) say no when you’re asked to do things beyond your requirements. Also, outside of work, you should be able to freely say no to things that you simply don’t want to do. For example, if a friend asks you to go out with them one night, it’s ok to say that you’re not feeling it. If you feel like you can use that time to take care of yourself and relax, then do that. You know what’s best for you, so trust that.

  • List out your priorities

Writing down your priorities can help you see what’s most important to you. It could be priorities for the day ahead, or daily priorities that you have. Whatever they may be, it will allow you to focus on your goals. I wrote an entire blog post on “How to Recognize and Balance Your Priorities” so you can check that out as well!

  • Make realistic goals for yourself

Sometimes we get so into productivity that once the time comes to do every single task that we planned out, it can just become too much. Take a step back and think realistically. It’s good to space things out over the course of a week or month. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Take it one step at a time.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

Another daily practice! I am still learning to be kind to myself, especially on the difficult days. If you skipped a workout or didn’t make that phone call, it’s ok! We are all human, and we will not have it together all the time. Motivation comes and goes, and we all experiences challenging times. The important part is that you power through and always take care of yourself; nurturing your heart and reminding yourself that you matter, and you always will.

Thank you so much for reading this blog post! I hope that you found it helpful, and that you will share it with those you love! Until next time!

Thank you to my love, and happy six-month anniversary!