AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga (also known as “Aerial Yoga”) is all the rage. No yoga mat required. All you need is a silk hammock hanging from the ceiling and a few Cirque de Soleil moves.
I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while and this weekend I had the chance at Raffa Yoga in Providence, Rhode Island. The ride was just an hour from Boston in my Toyota Highlander. Toyota was kind enough to let me test drive the car for the week.
I was ready for a little R & R when I arrived at the yoga studio/spa.
Looking into the AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga room before class was a bit intimidating. I was starring into a room filled with the same Hammocks that Pink used during her performance at the Grammy’s.
I wasn’t quite sure how I would like dangling from the ceiling in a hammock doing yoga poses. As much as I love Cirque de Soleil, I like to watch the performance from a stable seat in the audience.
What is AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga?
Founded by former gymnast and dancer Christopher Harrison, AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga is a comprehensive fitness technique which allows you to practice yoga poses using a hammock. The hammock acts as a soft trapeze throughout the practice, much of which is spent in an inverted position.
Here I am looking happy in a pose. What you don’t see are the multiple steps it took to actually end up in this pose. I was in an inverted position for what felt like an eternity and then had to pull myself up using the sides of the hammock into this position.
Benefits of AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga
Conquer your fears. You’ll probably be doing flips and inversions by the end of class.
Huge core workout.
Decompression of the spine through zero-compression inversions.
Total body workout.
Keeps your workouts interesting.
Enables creativity through the use of poses.
My thoughts on AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga
The class was interesting and challenging. It was also empowering. Several postures seemed impossible initially, but when I tried them they were doable. I did flips, hung from my feet and laughed a lot.
I did feel a bit nauseous from all the inversions. There were times when the hammock was digging deep into my hip flexer and I wanted to scream. My understanding is that this intense sensation is part of the practice and gets better over time.
My favorite pose was Shavasana in the hammock. I had my own private cocoon.
Have you tried or are you interested in trying AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga?
Lululemon yoga pants and tops have been staples in my wardrobe and make an appearance most days of the week. I’ve been a Lululemon fan for many years, but that’s about to change.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about- Lululemon is a brand that makes technical athletic clothes for yoga, running, working out, and any other sweaty endeavor. The clothing is very comfortable, stylish and very expensive.
I generally don’t call out a brand like this, but enough is enough.
Yoga pants that don’t come in all sizes?
Lululemon focuses only on the little guys. Little as in size. The company admitted that plus-size apparel was not part of their vision.
I actually took a few of my yoga pants into the store to find out if they passed the sheer test. At $98 a pop sheer yoga pants weren’t going to work. After meeting with a sales person and inspecting the yoga pants we determined that mine were solid. Phew. So ridiculous.
“It’s about the rubbing through the thighs,” he added, and “how much pressure is there.”
And he knows this because?
There you have it. The founder of this company really doesn’t get it. At all. This is not the way to win a woman’s heart or her dollars.
My search for new yoga pants
And now I’m left with a lot of yoga pants, tops and jackets. I’ll keep wearing what I’ve got, but now I’m on the lookout for a new brand to support. I’m done Lululemon. All women’s bodies are not created equal and that’s what makes us fabulous. Women don’t deserve to be treated like this. Ever.
If you have a fabulous clothing company in mind for yoga, running, working out, and any other sweaty endeavors please let me know. I’m all ears and ready to jump from the Lululemon ship.
My workouts generally happen first thing in the morning. If it doesn’t happen then it generally doesn’t happen at all.
For many years I never ate anything before a workout. I would exercise hard and then need to eat large quantities of food. I was starving! Within the past year I started to experiment with eating small amounts an hour or so before and I’m finding that I’m not as famished.
The ideal pre-exercise meal should include foods that are high in carbohydrates and protein and low in fat and fiber. It’s also important to drink water a few hours before exercising and throughout your workout. I still need to work on this.
Oatmeal is a great option before a workout. Your body can generally tolerate it well and it provides a boost of energy. Add fruit and nuts to make it the perfect pre-exercise food.
Grab a banana before you head to they gym. They’re filled with natural sugar and are considered a carb. Your body relies on carbohydrates for energy and fuel.
Power Smoothie with Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are all the rage and they’re a perfect pre-workout addition to your smoothie. I like to blend frozen organic strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apple juice with a teaspoon of chia seeds and a handful of frozen spinach. They’re great for pre-workout snack since they are easily digested.
Eat an orange before you exercise. Oranges are a quick energy source and they’ll help keep you hydrated.
Slice of Whole Grain Bread Before a Workout
Cut yourself a slice of whole grain bread for some good carbohydrates before your workout. Top it with some peanut butter or another nut butter to add protein. Make sure you eat well before you exercise.
Yoga has been a big part of my life for many years. My first yoga class was taught by Barron Baptiste at a Boston gym. I remember taking the class with a friend and laughing as we realized how inflexible we truly were-in more ways than one.
My practice has evolved over the years. At times it is a constant and other times it’s virtually non-existent. What keeps me coming back is knowing that yoga is always there if I need it.
Much like finding a therapist or a doctor, finding a yoga studio that fits is crucial. The right yoga studios provides a space to unblock and come into healthier, happier minds, bodies and spirits.
Yoga mats and equipment are also a big part of any yoga practice. I’ve tried many different brands of yoga mats over the years. Manduka is an eco-friendly brand that I’ve come across over the years. The Manduka eKO Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat is made from sustainable, natural tree rubber and is completely biodegradable. There are no PVC or oil-based eco materials like TPE or PER. The mat also doesn’t contain phthalates or toxic foaming agents. I spend so much time with my face and body on my mat so it’s important that it’s made from a non-toxic material.
The kind folks at Manduka sent me a yoga mat to try out. The mat was incredibly comfortable and very light. The best part was not slipping during a hot and sweaty yoga practice. It comes in a variety of awesome colors. When first opened the mat has a very strong smell from the natural rubber. It needs to be aired out before using. It generally takes a few weeks for the smell to fade.
Manduka unBLOK Campaign
Manduka is celebrating the launch of a new digital campaign called unBLOK. They are encouraging all of us who practice yoga to nominate and vote for the studios that helped them “unblock” in their practice for a chance to win a range of prizes!
Inspired by the unblocking that naturally occurs when you have a powerful yoga session, Manduka is supporting the launch with a digital campaign celebrating the community spaces that help practitioners achieve breakthroughs: local yoga studios. The unBLOK party campaign and contest encourages yogis to nominate their local studio via Facebook, sharing how their favorite practice space helps them “unblock” and return to the world with new clarity.
Through the unBLOK party campaign and contest, Manduka is making it easy for practitioners to show their studio some love.
Here’s how you can join in the fun:
Nominate: Head over to Manduka’s Facebook page and answer a few questions on your inspirational studio. Manduka will thank you with a special offer.
Select: Manduka will select five studio nominations to feature on their site. The selected studios will be outfitted in Manduka yoga gear. Additionally, five people who nominate will be gifted with an unBLOK kit.
Vote: The community will be encouraged to vote for their studio of choice. The winning studio will receive additional Manduka yoga gear and an in-studio experience inclusive of yoga taught by a high-profile teacher followed by a celebration with music, food and product giveaways. Woo hoo!
Give: Manduka will sponsor a teacher or teachers at the winning studio to do their own seva work bringing yoga to an underserved area in their local community.
Nominations will run through May 28th. After nominations you can vote for your favorite studio finalist here.
Disclosure: I was sent a Manduka Eko Lite yoga mat to test out. All opinions are my very own. There are also a few affiliate links in this post. Any products ordered through the links will put a few pennies in my pocket and help support this blog. Thanks very much!
Wordless Wednesday is meant to be a simple post which features a photo to convey a message that speaks for itself without using words; well not a lot of words!
This past weekend I competed in my 4th triathlon. As I said on my Facebook wall “I didn’t drown and I didn’t come in last”. Success! This was the final chapter in my Go Green Get Fit Challenge which launched back in June. I worked on eating well all summer and worked hard at keeping up with my fitness routine. It wasn’t always easy, but overall I feel great.
I do this tri every year with my husband. We are in different waves -the men and women start at different times. We woke up at 5:00 am, which is unheard of in this house. Our kids had slept at a friends house so we just had to rally ourselves that morning. It was 50 degrees and I could see my breath. I tried not to think about it since I knew the first leg of the race was the swim.
I needed coffee and I don’t drink coffee.
This was the lake right before we got in.
I was shivering even in a wet suit. Don’t we look pretty in swim caps and goggles?
Ready, set, go. Can you find me? I can’t.
My husband’s wave finishes before mine, but he always jumps back into the race to finish that last lap with me.
At the end of the race plastic water bottles are handed out to everyone. Recycling bins were nowhere to be found. Maybe I missed them? I’ll have to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Overall is was an amazing experience. My husband rocked it and our friend was a top finisher. We call him superman because he is.
Now it’s time to start training all over again for next year!
Have you ever competed in a race? Any races in your future?
Big thank you to Suzanne for documenting the day and being our one woman cheerleading squad. Thoughts go out to our friend BC who missed the race. You were missed and we are thinking of you.
I have been shooting videos a lot over the past year. You haven’t seen any of them because I shoot the video and that’s where it ends. The editing piece just doesn’t happen. Until now.
Finally, (with the help of many) I have my first Groovy Green Livin video production! I was inspired to create a video for the Go Green Get Fit Challenge as a way to motivate all of us to get fit and stay fit. I signed on to the challenge with a group of 25+ remarkable green bloggers. Throughout the summer I’ve shared with you my trials and tribulations with barefoot running and I am working hard to reach my fitness goals before my triathlon on September 16, 2012.
As many of you know, I’m participating in the Go Green Get Fit Challenge presented by PlanetShoes.com along with 30 other bloggers. We just kicked off the challenge a week or so ago and I’m amazed by the inspiration and motivation that everyone is sharing. We are all entering this challenge from different places. Some of us have been exercising all along and have ramped up our goals and others are just beginning. One of my favorite posts this week was by Mindfully Frugal Mom. She showed us how to practice yoga with 50lbs of dead weight on your back. Been there!
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to join in the fun and motivated to set your own fitness goals for the summer and beyond.
My week of fitness
This week I focused on mixing it up and did a lot of different fitness activities. I’m working towards a triathlon at the end of the summer so this week at the gym I did some weight training, kickboxing and a spinning class. The weather was gorgeous for part of the week so I was able to run and cycle outside. I also took a killer yoga class.
Part of being green and fit is finding healthy snack foods . The supermarkets are filled with aisle after aisle of snack food choices. Snacking on the wrong foods can add unwanted calories and make you even hungrier when mealtime rolls around. Long term, unhealthy snacks can also lead to obesity in children and obesity-related chronic diseases as adults.
My podcast with Peace Love and Snacks
This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Stan over at Peace Love and Snacks (don’t you just love that name??). Our discussion was all about healthy snacks. Click HERE if you’re interested in hearing the podcast.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. While the oven is preheating, chop up the almonds and pecans; put the chopped nuts in a bowl.
Mix the honey, coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
Spread out the oats in a Pyrex pan. Take the honey mixture and stir it into the oats, until the oats are covered. Once the oven is done preheating, put the pan of oats in the oven.
While the oats are baking, put the raisins in the food processor and process into a paste.
After 10 minutes of baking, open the oven and add the chopped pecans and almonds, stirring the contents around until all of the nuts are covered with the honey mixture.
Bake for another 8 minutes, then stir. Bake for a final 8 minutes and remove the
pan from the oven.
Fold the oat and nut mix into the raisin paste; push on the mixture with the back of a spoon and slide across the pan, applying pressure on the mix. Once the raisin paste is completely incorporated into the oat and nut mix, push down and spread the mix across the bottom of the pan, then shape the mixture into a block about 1/2-inch thick.
Cut into bars.
Relax and enjoy your homemade awesome granola bars
Have a groovy green weekend! Have you set your fitness goals for the summer?
I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.