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…