A few years ago I wrote the following tips for the  Rollerblade International website.  With the latest update to their site I can’t seem to find it. As we move into outdoor skating weather here in the northern hemisphere I  thought it worth reposting here with a few changes and additions.

KrisBench2

Quick Tips For A Great Skate

The following is some basic information about the benefits of inline skating and a few quick tips to help you make the most of your skating experience:

Skating to Get Fit or Stay Fit    Skating for fitness is the reason why many people choose to skate.  Which, by the way, is a really great reason!  Skating is a full-body, easy-on-the-joints workout that can improve cardiovascular respiratory function, muscle strength and endurance and body composition. Skating takes us out of the fitness center and allows us to move freely into beautiful (think parks) or exciting (think city/urban) outdoor settings.

A Good Pair of Skates  To start your training you will need a good pair of skates. When it comes to skates, for the most part, “you get what you pay for” and it is best to find a pair that fit properly and are of high quality. For just starting out I suggest the Rollerblade Macroblade or Zetrablade for adults and Spitfire Cube for kids.

Mastering the Basics  The success of any fitness routine is based on one’s ability to carry it out. So where do you start?  Mastering some of the basics of moving, stopping, and turning will give you the confidence to take your skating to the parks and streets where you can skate for longer periods of time improving your level of fitness.

Slowly building your confidence in negotiating your surroundings while on skates will help ensure that your time on skates is safe and enjoyable. 

Basic Forward Skating   Are you doing the “moon walk” when trying to skate? If so, to keep all eight wheels in contact with the skating surface, push down on the inside edges and through to the heels of the skates. The added pressure will help keep the wheels on the ground throughout the stroke and allow for a more powerful push.

Also remember, “Knee bend is your friend.” Soft knees are more forgiving then locked knees while skating.  For better balance, power and maneuverability keep the knees slightly bent while skating. Striding Stage 1, Striding Stage 2

Improve Skating Technique   Are you already comfortable on your skates but just aren’t feeling the rhythm and flow that you see in other more accomplished skaters?  You can attain that look of effortlessness that you are envying, you really can!  It is just about proper skating technique and more time on your skates.

Looking like a “pro” will take some time, but you can make some immediate changes to your technique that will improve your efficiency, rhythm and overall flow.  The following are just a few basic suggestions:

  • Too increase the power of stroke and the length of your stride lower your skating stance.  The deeper the knee bend the more power in the push.  Increasing knee bend will result in a more powerful stroke, which in turn, will increase the length and efficiency of the stride.
  • Are you pushing equally with both legs?  Most people don’t and even the most proficient skating athlete can tell you his or her “weak” side.   Try this simple drill below to improve skating posture and stride technique for a more powerful stroke and more balanced stride.
1 Leg Drill

1 Leg Squat Push

One leg Squat Push

Purpose:  Improves strength, balance and stride technique

  1. Begin with the skates together and the hands on one knee in a low squat position.
  2. Push one skate out to the side until fully extended
  3. Lift the leg off the ground and regroup the skates under the body.
  4. Repeat a minimum of 10 times on each side.

Added Balance Challenge:  Hold the toe to the heel for a count of 1-3 before the next stroke.

Learn to Control Your Speed   The importance of knowing how to control your speed, avoiding dangerous situations, and being able to come to a complete and controlled stop cannot be emphasized enough.  Through the years I have heard many unfortunate stories of people’s “first and last time” skating.  While the story settings change they always seem to end the same, “if I only knew how to stop.”

Brake vs. No Brake  If you are a beginner to intermediate level skater it is highly suggested that your skates have a brake attached-at least in the beginning.   If they do not (look in the box, it should be there), you may want to see if you can get one for your skates. Personally, I am most comfortable skating with a brake attached to my skate- especially when skating in an urban, or unfamiliar setting.   But of course, this choice is ultimately up to you.

Using Your Brake  Most new skates come with the brake already attached to the right  skate.  If you feel uncomfortable performing the Heel Brake Stop with your right leg remember that the brake can be switched to the left skate by using an Allen Wrench. Please be aware, however, that some older models skates have a brake that cannot be changed to the left side.

If you are uncertain if you should switch your brake to the left skate try answering the following questions:  Do you feel that you would naturally put out your left skate?  Would you kick a soccer ball into score a goal using your left foot?  If you stood in front of a step, would you use your left foot first to go up?  If you answered yes to anyone of these, you might want to try changing the brake.

For better balance as a beginner skater, it is best to keep your arms still and hands comfortably in front of the body.  This will help keep your upper body “quiet” as you focus on what needs to be done by the lower body to stop.  To master the mechanics of the stop be sure to practice all steps from a stationary position, and then repeatedly, while moving.

Grass or Emergency Stop  If you do encounter a situation that you think is “unskatable,” such as a very steep decline, remember you can always leave the skating surface by performing a Grass Stop.  A “grass stop” or “emergency stop” is done by scissoring forward the skate that is nearest to the grass, and shifting the weight to the back leg once the front leg crosses comes in contact with the new surface.

Planning your skate   If you are a new to skating outdoors it is best to bike or walk a potential route prior to skating it.  Being aware of challenging surfaces such as hills, gravel, bricks, rough surfaces etc. will allow you to adjust your skating technique or change your route altogether.

Avoiding Obstacles  The scissor stance with the weight on the back leg, which was covered in “Grass Stop” above, will generally work with most road obstacles that cannot be avoided such as water, oil, gravel and twigs.  Just remember that if going through water it is best not to push, as your wheels will slide. If you are lucky enough to be skating at the beach and you need to “bail out” in the sand, remember that your wheels will not roll through sand so it is best to pick up your feet and run to a stop.

If your skates have come into contact with water, oil or sand, please take the time to clean your wheels and bearings before your next skate to ensure that they do not rust and remain in good working order.

Getting Out There-Where to Skate   Your wheels were made to roll so provided you are familiar with the basics let’s get moving!  Skating can be done in a variety of locations.  A park trail or path along side the beach can provide a safe, smooth and predicable course that will allow you to concentrate on your technique while taking in the beautiful surroundings.  But if that kind of skate isn’t available to you, why not skate where you are?

Singapore Night Skate

Singapore Night Skate

City or Urban Skate One reason runners love to run is because it is easy. Just put on the running shoes and out the door you go! Minimal prep and travel time and maximal satisfaction knowing that your workout is a door step away. Skating can also be that simple.  It really can be.  Provided you are comfortable with the controlling your speed and stopping city or urban skating is a great way to explore your surroundings.

Anticipation  After skating forward and stopping, “anticipation” is a skill that needs to be practiced and mastered for a safe and enjoyable city skate. Unlike skating on a trail, the course and terrain is anything but predictable. Negotiating rough patches of sidewalk, around pedestrians, hopping up and down street curbs, navigating around parked and   moving cars and over bumps, takes some skill.

Avoid Possible Hazardous Situations   First, avoid possible hazardous situations by learning to anticipate them.  Pay attention to what is going on in front of you.  Scan the area for pedestrians stepping off curbs or cares making a turn in front of you.  Most hazardous situations on a city skate can be avoided if you stay alert and predict the likelihood of their occurrence.

Use “Timing” to Avoid Braking.  Instead of skating at a steady pace, the pace is adjusted to accommodate the environment. For example; Instead of traveling up to a target to be passed and applying a brake, look ahead as far as a few hundred yards. Anticipating the optimal point of passing, you can adjust your speed to improve your timing.

Big City Skating Some of the best skating experiences of my life were smack dab in the middle of a big city.  New York, Paris, Miami, Singapore, Munich, etc. present an amazing backdrop and an exhilarating ride!

Skating on sidewalks and where safe and legal, in the street, allows you to interact with the city in a way that walking, running and driving just doesn’t. I can honestly say that when I have started to skate from the doorstep of my house, or if on vacation from my hotel, I have rarely, if ever, been disappointed. If you are visiting a city for the first time or want to see your own from a new perspective, an urban or city skate is the way to go.  A unique and satisfying experience is right outside your door.

Quick Tip Recap   Skating is a full-body, easy-on-the-joints workout that can improve cardiovascular respiratory function, muscle strength and endurance and body composition. Take the time to become familiar with the basics of moving and controlling your speed and you will be amazed by how much fun a great workout can be!

Breath Awareness in Crocodile

Breath Awareness in Crocodile

As I am gearing up for Spring semester at Cleveland State University, I realized that I didn’t reflect (aka post something here)  about Fall semester.  Looking back (and forward!) I realize what a blessing it is for me to have this platform to bring a comprehensive yoga experience to college students, faculty and staff.

Yoga classes meet twice per week for 50 minutes and consist of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing) and/or a meditation practices.

The follow are some of the responses received from a few of the”reflection type questions” that were part of  and open book (Asana, Pranayama, Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyaananda Saraswati)  “final exam”.

Yoga Nidra-Just about everyone's favorite!

Yoga Nidra-Just about everyone’s favorite!

“My favorite part about yoga class is the importance of consciousness. Everything in yoga is deliberate and thoughtful. This has brought a renewed thoughtfulness and consciousness to other things I do.”

“I liked everything about yoga. It showed me so much about my life and made me think a little about the things I do that make me stressed out. It also showed me ways I can get rid of stress and ways to fall asleep at night. I would recommend yoga to any college student and many other people.”

“I learned the benefits of meditation. I had always heard that meditation was beneficial but had never given a meditation practice a fair try. I now frequently perform a brief meditation practice in preparation for sleep in my daily routine. I also am now aware of the comprehensive nature of yoga practice. I have already begun to apply many of these principles with my regular personal training clients.”

My favorite part of yoga class has been getting the opportunity to escape the stress and work load from all my other classes, and just focus on me and learning how to do something new. Personally, I liked learning yoga nidra, but I enjoyed the physical movements more because yoga nidra would put me to sleep. I particularly liked the anti-rheumatic movements because Itend to have sore muscles and joints, and these exercises relieved a lot of that pain. 

” I learned is that learning new ways of thinking is really possible. My mother had tried for years to get me to “try yoga” as a way to ease my anxiety and depression. And I really didn’t think it was possible. But practicing yoga has helped me to learn some tools that help me to stem the chaos of my thoughts – my anxieties – if only for a little while. The meditation practices (especially yoga nidra) have been invaluable.

Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation)

Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation)

“My favorite part of the yoga class has been the yoga nidra. I have spoken very highly of it in many of my yoga journals. I have found it to be a great way to relax after a long day. I also enjoyed how involved you were with us in class. It’s obvious that you love yoga, and it is nice to see a teacher care about their students as much as you did.”

I’ve learned that it is incredibly hard to quiet my mind, but when I can, my body and mind benefit dramatically. I can also feel my soul healing. I came into this class with much more spiritual pain than I realized, but now I can tell I’ve gotten much better. Now, if I start to feel that spiritual pain again, I know what I can do to help it.”

“My favorite part of yoga class has been talking with other classmates about their experiences with the poses and practice and how it has affected their daily school life. A lot of people expressed a more relaxed and focused mindset after class. The overall atmosphere of the class was very helpful to me. I never felt pushed or out of place when doing poses. I felt I could at my own pace and explore yoga as I thought myself capable.

“I have learned throughout this class that I hold a lot of tension in my face, whenever it is mentioned I immediately realize my facial muscles are tensed. I also realized that I can utilize the basic practices such as breath awareness throughout the day to help with anxiety. The breath awareness such as abdominal breathing can also help greatly when my mind is hectic and I cannot sleep. I find myself to be much more focused and calm after practicing yoga and it is undeniable that it benefits physical and mental health greatly.”

 

Simple Forward Bend

Sun Salutation-Simple Forward Bend/Hand to Toe Posse

“My favorite part of yoga class has been the extra energy and positivity I have after. On days when I do directly to work after yoga I am much more awake and lively, and ready to work. I also like that I can utilize the skills learned on my own to help when I am low-energy, cannot sleep, or in a bad mood. It is amazing how many benefits there are to yoga.”

My favorite part of the yoga class was getting to really meditate. It has been something that I have learned about for quite some time, but have not really been able to achieve it just yet.  Now, I approach it differently and learn to easily quiet my mind.”

“Before taking this class I did not realize how much of a workout yoga really is. The meditation is very soothing and relaxing, but many of the poses require some sort of strength and flexibility to achieve and the sequences can really get your heart rate up! I have also learned that it is actually quite difficult to concentrate on nothing or keep my mind from wandering. This is something I would like to continue working on after class this semester because I think it is really important to be able to clear our minds allowing us to think more clearly and concentrate on the task at hand.”

Sun Salutation-Equestrian Pose

Sun Salutation-Equestrian Pose

“My favorite part of yoga class has been pushing myself. I am not really a person who likes doing things I am not sure I am good at, but I’ve always wanted to try yoga and I’m glad that I did. I used to be a dancer but that was at least eight years ago, so it was nice to see what my body could still do with a little practice and feeling the stretch was always nice!”

“I hope to continue practicing yoga at a studio after this semester ends, but I still plan to integrate the tools in my daily life even if not in a class. I will use the breathing exercises to relax and clear my mind so I am better able to focus on the task at hand and relax. Many of the asanas relieved tension and tightness I felt in various parts of my body, but especially my lower back, so I will continue to practice these. I want to continue to exploring my mind, body, and spirit through yoga and pushing myself to see what I am able to achieve and discover.”

“My favorite part of yoga was actually learning yoga. I have gone to my gyms yoga classes and they honestly taught me nothing. Of course I learned poses but we did not use or practice them the way they should have been – I’m sure the noisy environment did not help the situation. I actually liked learning the meaning of poses and their benefits to the body and mental health – in the gym class he just told us what to do then went into the next pose after a little bit. Now I can actually get something out of the yoga that I do in my spare time.”

By practicing yoga I can improve my concentration and determination. Before it was very hard for me to concentrate one particular think and I used to feel restless very easily. But now, I found a new dimension of my life.”

Pranayama-Humming Bee Breath

Pranayama-Humming Bee Breath

“My favorite part of yoga has been learning the impact of various practices on my mind, body, emotions, and stress levels. I especially enjoyed learning about and practices various meditation practices such as yoga nidra and kaya sthairyam. I found kaya sthairyam (body steadiness) to be very challenging at times because of the subtle movements I made without even thinking. This practice caused me to be more aware of my body and its movements.”

“My favorite part of yoga class, besides the meditation, has been the ability to try something new and get out of my comfort zone.  I like trying to get more in tune with my body.  I still have a ways to go but I can say that I was able to obtain valuable information from this class.”

“I plan to integrate the practices I used to gain energy and become more awake. I want to use the breathing practices to sooth myself from reaching breaking points. I want to use practices to slow my world down and become of aware how my body is feeling. To relieve pain and encourage others to try yoga out too.”

“Taking this yoga class has really made me realize that I can just sit and relax and not move for a few minutes.  I took yoga all last year at the CSU recreation center, but that was more of the poses and not so much on the relaxation part.  I never felt like I could just sit there and mediate or relax without fidgeting half of the time.  This year in this class particularly, I think I surprised myself in how still and calm I can be at some points in our crazy lives we all have.”

“This yoga class made me so calm especially coming into it on a Monday morning.  I loved having you as a teacher because even when you were running late or seemed tired or rushed, you always put on a great practice for us to do.  I love seeing everyone smiling and being happy and relaxed in this class and I think that is what I loved most about it.”

“Taking this class taught me that I can become relaxed and calm even when my outside world is chaotic  and stressful. I learned new limits on my body. I also learned easy and helpful ways to calm myself when stressed and to relieve pains. One of the most beneficial thingsi gained was how to probably breathe with stretches and the proper body alignments.”

“My favorite part of class is the relaxing environment it presents. It taught me ways to perceive and cope with stressful times and experience. I like how it made me more awake and energized after each class.”

Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation

“My favorite part of yoga class is a very specific moment – when we state our Sankalpas (personal resolve, goal or affirmation) during yoga nidra. I’ve stuck with one that, if in time I can genuinely embody, will help my life holistically. If nothing else, it brings to mind a goal that without this class I may not think about enough to ever have a shot at reaching. “

“Yoga nidra is probably one of my favorite experiences from this class. I’ve experienced feelings of weightlessness along with being in this dream-like state. The opposites series was really cool too, the heavy one worked well for me. During body stillness I had my hands resting on my lap and by the end of the practice I didn’t even know they were there. I was so relaxed sitting in the chair that I almost didn’t feel anything at all. “

“I learned that I’m more stressed out than I thought I was. It’s difficult to get myself to clear my mind and stop thinking of things during the practice. I have gotten much better though and I learned that I can control my thoughts. I can control what I choose to think about as well as what I don’t want to think about. I also found that yoga nidra greatly improves my energy and just puts me in a great mood every time I do it. I’m going to start incorporating that into my life, because it really does make me feel good.”

“Before taking this class I did not know I was ever capable of doing yoga. It was always one of those things I knew would benefit me but I never took the time to do it. I didn’t know how difficult it was to sit still until I took this class but I found out how much it helps just by doing a little bit of work on it. Yoga taught me a lot about patience, and doing things to benefit my body that are a little out of my comfort zone at times.”

“I will continue to integrate the tools of yoga in my life by meditating most likely. I find this to be very beneficial for peace of the mind and having better focus on life in general. I would like to better learn how to manage my stresses in life and I think that meditative practices are a great way to make this happen.”

“Before taking this class I did not realize how much of ones self they have to give to the practice. I also did not know that yoga was about so much more than just flexibility but so much awareness needs to be dedicated to the craft and with that awareness a lot of healing, both physical and mental, can be done. “

“I have learned that my body was not as relaxed as I thought it was. I learned that it is very important to take at least 30 minutes out of your day to just relax your mind and body. After taking this class, I have realized that I was pretty stress, but yoga showed ways I can relive the stress. It was a great class.”

Sun Salutation-Various Positions

Sun Salutation-Various Positions

“My favorite part of yoga is meditation. In daily life, I always feel I am pretty busy and don’t have time to stop and clear my mind. And another special thing about meditation is that it helps me control my awareness. Because the awareness might wander after closing eyes, the meditation assists me to have better control of my awareness.”

“One thought I had about yoga, for some odd reason (I blame the media), that yoga was for rather girlish. I meant to enroll in class way before this semester during my time here at CSU. I wish I’d taken it sooner so that I’d have more experience with it by the time I graduate after next semester. All other exercises I’ve done focus on improving techniques, stamina, etc. Yoga seems genuinely about having the practitioner feel at ease. Love it.”

“My favorite part of the yoga class was the different meditation practices we learned. I get extremely stressed because of my classes and my lack of sleep results in my being cranky or angry quite often. The meditation practices help me calm down and relax, while also making me a happier person.”

“My favorite part of yoga class has been learning the different breathing techniques and sun salutation. I enjoy the breathing techniques because they are useful and can be used anywhere and at any time of the day. I enjoy sun salutation because it helps me stay concentrated on the present. I also enjoy it because it incorporates several different yoga poses and afterwards I feel more energized.”

“First, I learned that it is very difficult to tune out thoughts.  Yoga has been able to show me that, and it has helped me to better tune them out.  Second, yoga is more than just stretching.  It is a full body experience, and it is very difficult to achieve without really trying.”

“I never knew how much yoga could actually affect me. I took the class because it seemed interesting, but I never realized how profound of an affect the relatively simple postures could have on me. Also, I had no idea how many different breathing techniques there were. I knew that breathing was obviously very important in yoga, but I never really thought much of it besides the simple in and out.”

“I really enjoyed how energetic, yet relaxed I always felt after doing these yoga practices. Especially with class so early in the morning! I always felt refreshed and ready to take on the day.”

“My favorite part about the yoga class was the slow progression and having time to learn every pose and posture properly. In past yoga classes, I felt rushed and unsure of the poses I was doing. In this class, I felt completely aware of the effects each pose had on my energy.”

Yoga Nidra

“A tool that I have taken away from yoga is becoming aware of the breath and knowing that I can use this whenever I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed. This practice is convenient in that it can be done anywhere, and I have learned that focusing on and counting my breaths is instantly relaxing for me. It is the concentration on breathing that really ties each yoga practice together for me and helped me to realize why it is such an important part of yoga. I have come to enjoy practicing yoga first thing when I wake up in the morning, before bed or when I need a mental break, and the positive mental and emotional results I get from doing so and the physical results that come with continued practice make it even more worth continuing.

“I have learned several things about myself and the practice of yoga since I have taken this class. One thing I have learned is that practicing yoga regularly can greatly improve your general health. Another thing I have learned is how coordinating different poses with different breathing techniques can enhance the effects of the practice. As the semester progressed, I learned that my mood had improved and my stress levels had decreased due to the continued practice of yoga.”

Well there you have it. More “proof” of the positive effects of practicing yoga.

Spring semester starts soon with about 100 students signed up for yoga classes.  Looking forward to another awesome semester of doing my part in lowering stress levels and increasing happiness of students at Cleveland State University!

make time for yourself

What have you done for yourself today? This is the question I ask myself at the end of everyday and all too often I am less then thrilled with the answer.

So really, “What have you done for YOURSELF today?”

Stop what you are doing now and make a list. If it’s early in the day as you read this you might need to think back to yesterday. Start at the beginning of the day and write down everything you did just for you. If you list only includes

1. Ate some food

2. Visited the bathroom

It’s too short and, honestly, kind of depressing.

As a working wife and mother of a 23, 21 and 10 year old, (yes, I have prolonged my childbearing years way, way too long!) I know how difficult it can be to find the time for “me” each day. With so many familial and work responsibilities it is quite easy to put myself last and instead honor the plethora of commitments that have been planned or those that seem to randomly just show up each day.

It seems that just as I have gotten it together to make it to the gym (the one that is only $20 per month-what a deal when you go 2-3 times a week, less of a deal if it is only once per month- another story…) dressed and ready to go with iPod in hand, that my husband, daughter, son, friend, dog, gas meter reader guy, etc. needs me. And being the dutiful and responsible wife, mother, friend, pet and home owner, I take my efforts and energy away from me and putting myself on the proverbial “back burner.”

back burn·er
noun
  1. a state of inaction or suspension; a position of relatively little importance.
    “priorities that have been placed on the back burner year after year”

But the thing about the back burner is that you stop paying attention to what you put on it. You’ve got the burner set on “low” knowing that whatever it is that you are keeping warm probably won’t burn and you go on with preparing the rest of the meal. Not a huge problem when making dinner but certainly an issue when you find yourself exhausted, out of shape, and unhappy because you stopped paying attention to you.

When I find my personal ‘end of the day list too short” I know that I really only have myself to blame. While I have taken on the responsibilities of my life, certainly not all of them being well thought out at times, I know that I have no one to blame but me when find myself on the “back burner” and my “just for me” list way too short.

So what do I do about it? I start with the intention to “pay attention to me.” “The intention to pay attention.” Say that 3 times fast! Not only is that phrase mouthful, you may be thinking that it’s “easier said then done.” and you’d be right both times.

From my time as a competitive runner and figure skater as well as my experience working with clients as an exercise physiologist, skating, and yoga instructor, I know three things: getting started is the hardest part, consistency keeps you going, and setting reasonable goals brings you to success.

1.  Starting today, set an intention to pay more attention to you.

Because of unplanned disruptions, emergencies, etc, you may not be able to honor this commitment everyday. However, setting time a side holds a space in your day. It needs to be kept sacred and not intentionally filled with something that doesn’t improve your personal health and wellness in some way.

Depending on your current level of appropriated “me time” you may ant to start with only 10-15 minutes and work up from there. Mornings work best for me so I personally have committed to getting up 45 minutes before the rest of the household.

Simple Suggestion: Set an alarm or an alert on your phone or tablet for the same time each. When it goes off stop what you are doing, even if that means sleeping or folding laundry, and move toward you “me” time. If you have full day of responsibilities planned with few opportunities for a

break it might be best to plan to find a period of time in the morning or just before bed.

2. Decide in advance what you are going to during your “me” time and make it truly about you.

Getting up early and staying up late to do laundry, clean the kitchen, binge watch “fill in the blank” show on Netflix, doesn’t count. It must be something that moves you to better health or feeds your soul in some way.

In todays stressful world we think that by plopping down on the couch and putting on the television is considered relaxation. But it isn’t. Even if you avoid the ridiculousness of realty or  violent shows,  you still are not truly relaxing. True relaxation is when tension in the body and mind are removed and you can be in the present moment.

This is where breath exercises or meditation can come in to play.

Simple Suggestions:

When it comes to meditating, many people will tell you that they would like to try it, or do more of it, but they “just don’t have the time.” And while the benefits of regular mediation or sitting silently are enumerable and well-documented even the most dedicated practitioners go through periods of time where meditation takes a back burner to all the distractions of life.

My personal meditation practice ebbs and flows depending on what is going on in my life on any given week but I do my best to find a few minutes everyday to sit in silence.

However, on days where I am struggling to make time for meditation, I am reminded of an episode of “Oprah” that I saw and actually wrote about in this blog a few years ago. The episode was about being happy and what to do to “be happy.”In addition to being inspired by listening to guest Goldie Hawn speak about her own experiences of meditation, happiness, and love I remember resonating with Oprah’s challenge to her audience to sit in silence for 1-minute a day.  Just 1-minute.

From past experience I know that once I’ve made time for that 1-minute, it most often turns to 2 minutes and in many cases 10-15 minutes have passed and I have managed what would be considered a legitimate meditative effort.

And it all started by making time for just 1-minute!

Even the busiest person can find a minute.  Yes, even you!  No?  Sure you can.

Before getting out of bed, while standing in line, before lunch, before going to sleep, etc. are all great opportunities to take 1- minute to stop ‘doing” and just “be.”

Take that 1 minute, or 2 or 30 for yourself.  It will be worth every second.

You-will-never-find-time__quotes-by-Charles-Buxton-35

Kris Badjoz Group

As the leaves begin to change I am looking back on one of the busiest spring/summers for the Inline Certification Program in a long time. Having worked with this program in some capacity since 1995, I can say for certain, this has been one of the most prolific and far reaching in ICP history.

Since the end of May, and May is NEARLY summer in the northern hemisphere, over 200 candidates have come through the program from the following cities/countries:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Burgos, Spain
  • Washington, DC USA
  • London, UK (2 programs!)
  • Shaozing, China
  • Athens, Greece
  • Chongqing, China
  • Pune, India (2 programs!)
  • Beijing, China
  • Singapore
  • Badajoz, Spain

I have personally worked with about 100 of these ICP instructor candidates during programs in Washington, DC, Chongqing, Beijing and Badajoz.  Each program I have attended I have learned something new about teaching and have been inspired by the enthusiasm for teaching and love for skating  that so many of the candidates brought to each program.

Kris 2015 Program Collage

No matter where I have been in the world this year for the ICP, I have encountered talented skaters who have the same goal in mind:  to teach more people to skate or skate better.

Someone asked me the other day if people around the world are different.  It didn’t take me but a second to answer “Not really”.  While I know we have our cultural differences, when it comes to those who are skaters, people truly seem to be the same everywhere. Friendly, kind and open-minded come to mind when describing many of the people I have met this summer.

I continue to be in awe at how the ICP team world-wide is able to consistently convey the message of safe and effective skating instructor no matter what language they are speaking.  This is a testimony to the certifications long history, the replicability of the program, and the strong team assembled to lead world-wide.

A huge thank you to all the examiners and coordinators who have worked hard to promote and develop this program in communities around the world.  The ICP would not be growing without their continued support and expertise. It has truly been an amazing summer of international travel and skating for me.  What a rich and colorful life I lead!

Kris Beijing theory 2015

I am looking forward to see what will come from all the positive energy the program continues to accrue and how this energy will manifest in skating communities throughout the world this year and beyond. After 24 summers of certifications it is evident that the ICP is still going strong and truly “teaching the world to skate”.

Kris Smiling Badajoz

For more information about the Inline Certification Program and to find a program or an instructor near you, please go to http://www.inlincertificationprogram.org

CSU Crocodile

Over the course of the Spring 2015 semester I had the pleasure of teaching yoga to nearly 100 students at Cleveland State University with classes made up of college students, faculty and staff.  Depending on the class, students met for two 50 minute classes per week or once per week for 50 minutes with a 2 day “home practice” that was recorded and submitted.  While there were students who had practiced some type of yoga prior to this semester, for a majority of them, it was their first yoga class.

A variety of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing) and meditation techniques were covered which included the following:

Asana

  • Pawanmukatasa Series 
  • Classical Postures
  • Sun Salutation

Pranayama

  • Natural Breath Awareness
  • Abdominal/Thoracic Breathing
  • Rhythmic Breathing
  • Viloma (Breath Interruption)
  • Bharamari (Humming Bee Breath)

Mediation

  • Yoga Nidra
  • Kaya Shtairyam (Body Steadiness)
  • Breath Meditation
  • Antar Mouna (Inner Silence)
  • Walking Meditation

Although the following is anecdotal and was taken from an “open book”  final exam given to the college students and certainly does  not serve as “scientific proof”,  I believe that these comments build a strong case for the power of yoga’s health inducing and stress reducing benefits.  To protect anonymity, and of course privacy, students names were not included.

Need to be inspired to give yoga a try but don’t have time to read all comments?  Skip to the boldface type!

Name two (2) things that you learned about yourself or the practice of yoga that you did not know before taking this class.

“I learned about the benefits of taking time in my day to become aware, internally focused, and separated from the outside world. Yoga has been a place where I am encouraged to surrender my negative thoughts and because I did not have yoga experience before this class, I had no idea the effect the time in class would have on me, holistically. In addition, I was unaware just how much breathing would be involved in yoga. Incorporating breathing, physical movements, and a mental component has taught me how to let go of my stressors and focus on the present moment.”

 “I have a lot of unresolved, unquiet thoughts! Practicing yoga nidra has shown me that. I also have noticed as a result of the class the art of abdominal breathing is extremely calming and grounding for me to execute daily; it also helps lower my heart rate on long distance runs!”

“I did not know how relaxing yoga can be before taking this class. It made me realize that it is important to take the time and just be aware of your body and the pain. I have learned that yoga can be another way to work out, but it is also a great way to reduce stress. I have realized that my stress level has went down ever since I took this class.”

“I never thought I could just sit, or lay down and let my mind go to a completely different place. When we first started doing yoga nidra I would doze off a lot, but towards the end I would stay completely awake and alert and it was one of the greatest and most relaxing things I have ever done! I always thought that if I was forced to lay down with my eyes closed and with the lights off I would just pass out, but like I said, towards the end I never did!  Also, I never thought that yoga could make me so relaxed and stress free. Before this class I have taken some other classes, but they never made me as relaxed as this class did. After yoga, I would feel so good for the rest of the entire day.”

“I learned that I can actually sit still, something I never seemed capable before. I think that taking this class has helped me better my stress control, and I love that I get two take two hours of my week for forced relaxation, especially with such a crazy schedule. The yoga session have taught me that I like yoga, I thought I would never be the type of person who would do yoga but I fully plan on continuing my practicing because it feels good.”

“2 things I learned about myself, and the practice of yoga that I didn’t know before taking the class are the importance of consistent practice, and not letting your ego get in the way of practice. When I first began yoga, I often felt intimidated and sometimes embarrassed. After this class especially I realize there is no good that comes from that. Instead it is important to remember the benefits I am constantly gaining and the reason it’s called a “practice”. Consistency is important both for physical and mental results and it took up until about a week ago for me to realize that.”

“I learned that I have the ability to quiet my mind. That has been such a struggle for me, even with the multiple mediation strategies and apps I have tried. My friends say I am over-analytical, and having this ability that I can use at any time will be very beneficial. I also was able to be present and tap into my gratefulness. I was unaware that I could truly do this consistently.”

“Two things that I learned where basic meditation. I practice yoga frequently but do not meditate often. I learned that I can be still. I also learned how to quiet my mind. I experience anxiety and often have so many thoughts about things I need to do or accomplish running through my mind, and to still these thoughts has been such a great learning experience.  I  already attend yoga classes, but practicing yoga at home is something I have really began to do this semester. I enjoy meditating, and will continue to work on my breathing, walking meditation, putting my phone away and sitting quietly, and learning more about myself and listening to my body. I am such an active person that sitting still and quiet is what I will incorporate more of into my life on a daily basis.”

 “One thing I learned was that I actually enjoyed yoga! And that it’s not just for girls! I had a preconceived notion that I wouldn’t be able to do the movements because I didn’t have the flexibility. I was pretty ignorant to the whole thing. I also learned how much yoga can improve athleticism. During certain compound lifts I do, like deadlifting and squatting, I found that I had better depth and range of motion. Once I saw my flexibility improving I started enjoying yoga. I would and have recommended it to my friends.”

Before taking this yoga class I did not realize that there were different yoga practices.  I had only had experience with a high intensity practice where classes this semester were more relaxed and focused on how we are feeling and what we are thinking.  The other thing I have learned is that practicing yoga a few times a week has helped me feel better and more relaxed.  I am also able to focus and think clearer on my school work.”

“Before taking yoga, I was skeptical about how much it would really be able to help my body. Now, I know its true powers. You have to be able to listen to your body and be aware of how it feels, and I can do that through yoga. It also involves great exercises and poses that help strengthen the body naturally. The mental and emotional benefits are amazing, too. I never knew that yoga could help me focus more or allow me to become more alert and less stressed. Stress management has probably been the most lasting quality of yoga for me, because I now have ways in which I can become less anxious and worried, and focus on breathing or stretching.”

 “I learned that I can be patient and deal with stress healthier from this class. I get really bad heart palpitations when I’m nervous, and these can disappear if I do a few breathing exercises to calm myself down. I’ve found these exercises also help my singing voice and have kept me healthier. I wasn’t as sick this semester and I think that had something to do with my yoga practice.”

“I’ve learned many things about myself and the practice of yoga since taking this class. About myself, I’ve learned how much stress I really carry and how much it had started to show in my body. From the breathing practices and meditations for awareness, I really started to realize that I can control the stress that I’m under and stay positive. Also, I never realized how many benefits yoga has besides just stretching and strengthening muscles. I didn’t realize that it can control energy, the nervous system, internal organs, etc, which is something that I found really surprising and incredible.”

“It is possible to feel disconnected from oneself while practicing yoga. I have felt this multiple times during meditation practices such as yoga nidra and kaya sthaiyam. I have also noticed that practicing even the smallest amount frequently and consistently can make noticeable changes in my mental, physical, and emotional states. Depending on how much I practiced that week, I would notice significant differences in my moods. Yoga had a different effect on me while I was vigorously training for swimming than after I finished. It was interesting to notice that change, but yoga helped.”

“Doing yoga has encouraged me to be fit and more conscious about changes in my body. It has actually become a routine every morning on Saturdays and Sundays. Right after getting out of bed on the weekends now I do the home practices and it just revs me up for the rest of the day. I’ve noticed changes in that I am more motivated to do things on the weekends rather than just lay around. I’ve also noticed that when doing poses that activate the back muscles, I am not as tight and my back isn’t as strained as before.”

“I learned that certain positions relieve certain types of aches and pains. An easy stretch like cat pose can do wonders for painful feminine issues. I learned that sitting and doing completely nothing for a few minutes can help clear my mind and help me focus.”

“Through taking this class I learned how easy it is to come to a peaceful state and relieve my anxiety. I am now able to take a step back from the hectic happenings in my life and calm myself down. I now see that I am capable of furthering my abilities with yoga with gradual progression and consistency. I also see that there are many physical and mental benefits of doing so.”

“In this class, I learned that yoga is not necessarily as physically difficult a practice as I had thought previously. I avoided trying yoga in the past because I had the impression that it required a degree of flexibility that I did not possess. I also had reservations regarding the strength required to practice yoga. Although the later practices of this class do present challenges for me in terms of the flexibility required, the earlier asanas were easily attainable. “

“From practicing yoga in this class, I have learned that I have the capability of letting unpleasant things go in favor of pleasant things. I typically have a tendency to focus on small undesirable details regardless of the outcome of a situation, and derive most of my feelings about that outcome on the basis of those small details. This semester, I find myself able to disregard the unpleasant smaller details in favor of overall positive outcomes. The opposite is also true: this semester, I have been able to focus on small positive things in overall unpleasant outcomes.”

“While practicing yoga I have actually learned a lot about myself. One thing that I learned that really surprised me is that I am a stressed out person. I always thought of myself as being relatively calm and relaxed most of the time but after doing breathing exercises and yoga nidra I have learned what being calm and relaxed truly means. Another thing that I learned about myself that was pretty surprising is how inflexible I truly am. Since I’ve been playing sports for the majority of my life I’ve always just assumed that I was pretty flexible too. However, after doing asanas I quickly realized that this wasn’t true. “

“I learned that I am capable of letting my mind go and not think about the stresses of daily life. I just need to take this time to do nothing. I have also learned that yoga is about you and your capabilities. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and yoga focuses on accepting the fact that you may not be able to do a certain pose, etc. but you can focus on the other poses you are able to achieve.”

“I learned that I need to take the time to relax and focus to relieve my stress.  By doing this I am more productive then when I tried to work through it. I also learned that by doing the practice multiple times a week I will be more energized and focused through the week.  This helped me in all aspects of my life from being energized and focused in soccer and in my classes.”

“Yoga is all about emotional connection to exercises.  Meditation is a big part of any practice.  The breath is a great way to relax and stay in the moment.  Yoga focuses on a connection to the present moment.”

“First, I did not realize how spiritual the practice of yoga is. I thought it was just a form of exercise for stretching and strength. I quickly realized that these practices are closely related to nature and the inner spirits. Second, I learned that yoga can help you rather quickly. In just one semester’s time I made great progress in my flexibility, especially in my hamstrings. I didn’t really notice it until recently when I thought about how inflexible I used to be. Also, I learned to appreciate meditation and the time it takes because sometimes it just takes time to yourself in order to relieve stress; whether it be emotional or physical stress. To be completely honest, at the beginning of the semester I kind of saw yoga as a bunch of people in a room laying in a bunch of weird positions. But now, I realize that yoga is beneficial in numerous ways. From the simple warm palms trick to open your eyes into light, to the stretches that helped me gain some flexibility, to the meditations that do really relax the body, my skepticisms are gone. Some positions I didn’t find helpful very much, but many of them I could find ways in which they helped within the time span of one semester. I think that this experience in general has taught me to keep a more open mind and has led me towards the “don’t knock it til you try it” attitude. I think this is more important than any gain in flexibility or strength. ”

What was your favorite part of yoga class and why?

 “My favorite part of class is the feeling I have when I leave. Because the class is my first of the day, I often feel tired and lethargic at the beginning, but energized, grateful, and happy leaving it. Since my lacrosse career ended last spring, I have felt a bit lost without an activity outside of academia where I can focus on personal improvement and wellness. Your class has ignited a passion for yoga, redeeming that self- drive and passion I find invaluable to my life.”

My favorite part of yoga class is that I can come in stressed about the day and then leave calm. I love how it is a care free environment meaning that if I walk into class a few minutes late because of traffic it won’t be a big deal and I can just grab my mat and find a spot. I also like that there is always an alternative to a pose if a certain part of your body is hurting that day.”

My favorite part of yoga class this semester was getting back to the basics. Yoga is less about the ‘power yoga’ and ‘daring postures’ it is targeted socially as and more about deliberate, habitual, gentle introspection. I’ve learned exactly how beneficial the later is these sixteen weeks and am better for it.”

 “I did not have a favorite part about yoga class. I loved everything about it because it showed me ways I can reduce stress. It also showed me that it doesn’t take a lot of time to do yoga and that it is easy to do it while walking to class.”

“When we did that breathing where you stop and interrupt your breath, that was one of my favorites. It made me breathe deeper for the rest of the day and then I would realize when I was laying in bed at night I would be so relaxed and I would feel so good! Also there are a few nights where I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m wide awake, so I have started doing this and I passed out each time! I also really loved sun salutation as well and I know I will be doing this in the summer a lot, especially on the beach on vacations! It is seriously a good workout if you do it enough. There were some days I woke up the next day after yoga and I was like why am I so sore!?

“My favorite part of yoga class has been the meditation practices. This has been my favorite because it takes my mind off of all the thoughts running through my head every single hour of the day. Also I generally feel better after the practices are over. Whether it is that I am more awake, or that I physically feel as if all the tension has left my body.”

“We have meditated using Yoga Nidra, and in a seated pose with Kaya Sthairyam and Antar Mouna. At first I had a really hard time staying awake. As weeks went by I was able to stay awake consistently and I got better and better at preventing myself from getting distracted. I really enjoyed it. I was in some stressful situations this semester and I was able to forget about my stress during the meditation period, and when the practice was over I felt like I could look at my problems in a more clear-headed way. It was almost like looking at my problems from a third person perspective.”

“My favorite part was my increased flexibility. I also liked the relaxation part. I’m a tightly wound person in general so anything that decreases stress is something I should probably do.”

I think everyone should know about Yoga Nidra! I also think the abdominal exercises and sun salutation poses are helpful. It really helped me to be able to identify what muscles each pose focuses on, and what the benefits were emotionally, mentally, and physically. At first, I was just focused on the physical changes in my body, but I can know identify mental and emotional aspects of each pose, and I know what to do if I’m feeling stressed, or overwhelmed, or tired. I am more in tune of my body, and I have yoga to thank for that. I really appreciated you sharing your experiences and helping us find poses that help us with our own problems or worries.”

I love Yoga Nidra. I find it to be very helpful and a great way to relieve stress. It also is a great way to calm my very active mind. I can let the day go and just be at peace. “

“My favorite part of the class is definitely yoga nidra. Lying down and relaxing after a few rounds of sun salutation is one of the best feelings ever. I was able to relax and manage my anxiety and I found this useful because I would have weekly quizzes immediately after yoga. Relaxing beforehand definitely helped with those.”

My favorite part of the yoga class has just been to have a time dedicated each week to just overall relaxation and focusing on myself. I feel as though the class gave me the discipline that I needed to commit to regularly practicing yoga. The practice plans were a favorite of mine as well because without them, I would have struggled with putting together a set of complimentary practices for myself.”

“My favorite part of yoga class was probably doing asana. Although I didn’t like it at first as it showed to me how truly inflexible I was. I made it a goal of mine to get more flexible so I would really push myself while doing asana exercises. Also, since there are so many asana practices, I really enjoyed when we would put many of them together into one whole practice.”

” I love the sun salutation. It tests both my strength and flexibility. I can see myself continuing to do this practice in the summer outside. After the sun salutation, I feel energized.”

Before taking this class, I never really realized how my mind is racing constantly throughout the day.  I learned that focusing on the breath alone is a way to force my mind to slow down and to relax.  I also was previously unaware of the many physical health benefits of yoga aside from the most obvious ones such as increased strength and flexibility.  I have now been exposed to countless asanas, and many boast a long list of specific health benefits that may be gained by practicing them.”

My favorite part about yoga was the meditation part.  I was really able to relax during this which I do not get to do very often.  It also helped me focus and take my mind off of the different things to relieve my stress. I love that when I do yoga I am more relaxed and therefore get a lot more accomplished.

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How will you continue to integrate the tools of yoga that you have learned this semester into your daily life?  

I will focus on breath awareness and meditation, as I strongly believe in the power it has to help with so many aspects of my life. I will continue to practice the asanas, as they’ve given me a necessary balance to the other physical activities I do. I plan to practice mindfulness and continue to be hyperaware of how my body feels, both physically and mentally, on a daily basis. As someone who is typically busy, stressed, and struggles with anxiety, I want to continue to practice yoga at least 5-6 days a week, incorporating meditation practices regularly. Thank you for such a wonderful experience!”

“I will wake up in the morning and do the simple wrist rotations, ankle rotation and knee bending to make my body alert. When I am walking in the hallway heading to class I will remember that I am walking. Same with breathing, because I don’t always focus on my breath. I am also going to practice laying in shavasana at some point during the day when I’m stressed.”

“I will continue to integrate yoga into my life by grabbing the ground and sticking to the fundamentals. Practices of small, methodological movements will rejuvenate me in the morning and focused sun salutation will tire me before bed. I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to be reminded of the importance of carrying concentration at my heart center and will definitelybe a big take away from class this semester. Yoga is reclaiming spiritual heritage in a lot of small movements, another big take away from class this semester.”

“I will definitely start using these tools I learned this semester everyday, as I already have. Little things just as counting my breathes while getting frustrated at the person driving in front of me has even helped. I am going to start attending a yoga class at my work, the YMCA, twice a week as well because I loved the way I felt after class and I want to keep feeling like that! It’s so nice to be in a room where nothing else matters, you are living for that exact moment in time, and you don’t have to worry about anything else. I really enjoyed your class and benefited from it this semester. You were a great teacher and you explained everything awesome! You also have a fantastic “yoga voice”!! So thank you for making this semester very stress free for me and I hope to take another one of your classes in the future!!

“I will most definitely be using the tools that I learned this semester into my daily life. I have already integrated some of the techniques and poses that we have been taught throughout the semester, and I plan to continue using them. Every morning I wake up in bed, and save some extra time to do toe, ankle, and wrist bending. Also, I have made a habit of completing sun salutations before bed. I wouldlike to incorporate sun salutations into early mornings, but as of right now I tend to sleep in!  Also, I never thought that yoga could make me so relaxed and stress free. Before this class I have taken some other classes, but they never made me as relaxed as this class did. After yoga, I would feel so good for the rest of the entire day.”

I will definitely implement having an open mind. I started this class with a negative view of yoga and was annoyed with it at first. However, doing the practices and seeing how much my body has changed, I’ve become more open and appreciative. I never thought I would actually try to walk and meditate at the same time. Trying new things is important to learn about yourself. I think one of the major takeaways I learned from yoga is to always be aware of how you are doing. We constantly walk without even realizing what we are doing or where we are going! I will make it a priority to check in with myself daily.”

“I will continue to integrate the tools of yoga into my daily life in many ways. Focusing on my breath has become a big deal to me. I also will continue practicing meditation every day because there is nothing better than full self-awareness. Finally, living a lifestyle that consistently allows me to grow and become a better version of myself is an important goal now.”

“I’m going to try to continue doing some of the stretches we did in class. I honestly would like to find a yoga class, which just did some of the basic exercises we did. I don’t think I will ever enjoy doing more advanced yoga like inversions, but I was pleased to see that class was a relaxing environment where I could relieve some stress and improve my flexibility at the same time.”

“I have already started to integrate the tools of yoga into my daily life and I hope to continue it after the class is over. Primarily, I’ll be continuing to use yoga nidra and other meditation practices for when things get a little too crazy or anxious in my life. I also hope to continue the abdominal strengthening poses into my usual work outs so that I can eventually complete the headstand pose. I will continue to use the different breathing techniques to help me focus and center myself whenever I need it.”

“I will try and keep practicing yoga after this class is over because I feel better and more aware of what is going on in my life.  I also feel like it has helped my swimming because I am more flexible and focused.  This class has also shown me that I can practice yoga nidra for 20 minutes and feel relaxed and rested when I did not have a lot of sleep the night before.  I would also like to eventually be able to build up the more advanced poses that are described in the book (Asana, Pranayam, Mudra Bandha” by Swami Satyananda Saraswati).”

“I will continue to perform yoga nidra rather than take naps. I also plan to make time for yoga when I am feeling stressed out. I will take time to focus on myself and become aware of how I’m feeling. Yoga has taught me stop putting myself last. I must continue to make time for myself, because if I’m not feeling well, I cannot perform well in classes. I’ve become so used to practicing every week, so I anticipate the continuation of this habit even it is just a few quick wrist rotations after a long day of writing a paper.”

Yoga is becoming a part of my daily life! I do the hand and ankle rotations in bed every morning to wake up, and when I’m doing homework for long periods of time I always finish by doing some poses that help stretch my spine, because I feel hunched over and tight. And of course, breathing is always a key when I need to relax and calm down. I am able to identify what my body needs, and thanks to yoga, I have tools to give my body the energy, or relaxation, it needs to be healthy and happy.”

“I learned that I benefit greatly from yoga when I use it when I wake up. It’s a great way to begin the day. I had been having issues with getting out of bed, but now it is much easier. I learned that yoga can be focused on different body systems. I liked the digestive series. I had always thought yoga was just focused on poses to benefit balance and flexibility. It’s interesting to learn about different focuses. I felt that the way that you taught was very effective. I could connect to your methods easily. I felt comfortable in the class. I also felt challenged to push myself.”

I will continue to use Yoga to relieve stress in my life. It also is strengthening my muscles and I’d rather do yoga than lift weights. I feel like yoga is a great way to calm myself down, because music education is a high stress major. I also have friends that practice so we can get together and practice together. Thank you so much for sharing!” 

In my daily life, I plan to continue working on the meditations and yoga nidra. For me, these are skills that I never missed in my life until I experienced them, and they are so effective at providing me the stress relief and awareness that I need on a daily basis. Also, I love bhramari, and I can see myself doing this practice frequently. I often get so overwhelmed by life and wish that I could slow everything down and catch my breath (no pun intended), and all the breathing practices allow me to feel more grounded and in control of my life. Finally, I’ve been really inspired by my physical progress in the class and I plan on continuing to improve my strength, balance, and flexibility through frequent yoga, so that maybe one day I’ll be able to perform poses like the scorpion with ease!”

I have enjoyed having time set aside to relax completely and not worry about the other things going on that day or week. It can be hard sometimes to take time out of your day on your own. Having a structured class helps make you do it at first. After getting used to doing yoga in class, it was easier to start doing it on my own. Now without having to go to swim practice, I am more easily able to incorporate it into my daily life.”

I will continue to integrate the tools that I’ve learned this semester into my daily life by making exercise and total body wellness a routine. I will continue to do home practices, focusing on my posture with each pose, making sure I’m doing each one correctly and not putting too much strain on any part of my body. I’m going to focus on correcting my posture when sitting down at my laptop or in class, just to work on keeping my shoulders back and my chest open.”

“I will definitely try to keep doing the poses we learned in class to stay in shape. I want to tighten my core and gain some upper arm strength. I can use various breathing techniques to manage my anxiety. This will help when I am taking exams or presenting in front of a class during school. “

“I plan on continuing to regularly practice yoga. I will try to incorporate it into my daily routine, as well as doing simple things such as ankle and wrist rotations throughout the day. I am going to start creating my own practice plans to get started with independently pursuing yoga progression. I will also journal in order to observe how the practices are affecting me both physically and mentally.”

“I see myself integrating yoga in my life in many ways. Knowing that I know that am a relatively stressed out person I will definitely pull myself away for a moment when I see that I am stressed and I will do some breathing exercises to help calm me down and relax. If I am really stressed I might even take a few minutes to do Shavasana meditation (corpse pose) to get myself back in the right state of mind. Also, upon waking up in the morning I will for sure do some asana exercises to get my blood going and heart rate up. These execrates will wake me up and truly get me ready for my day. “

“I believe that I will continue to practice the sun salutation weekly. I also will continue to utilize the breath awareness practices if I feel myself getting stressed out or anxious. I can also see myself learning more about mediation and also incorporating mediation practices into my daily life. These seem to help with stress and anxiety as well. I hope to use the tools I have learned to help me continue through school and work.”

“The stretches for different parts of my body will be very prevalent as I continue to lift weights regularly in my life.  The stress reduction techniques will also be used regularly when I find myself stressed.  The breathing focus is and mental stillness will always be a tool when finals come around.  The ab workout poses are also something I will do occasionally while in front of the TV.”

A tool that I have taken away from yoga is becoming aware of the breath and knowing that I can use this whenever I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed.  This practice is convenient in that it can be done anywhere, and I have learned that focusing on and counting my breaths is instantly relaxing for me.  It is the concentration on breathing that really ties each yoga practice together for me and helped me to realize why it is such an important part of yoga.  I have come to enjoy practicing yoga first thing when I wake up in the morning, before bed or when I need a mental break, and the positive mental and emotional results I get from doing so and the physical results that come with continued practice make it even more worth continuing. “

“I will continue to do yoga every week to help control my stress. I will do it in the mornings so that I feel energized for the rest of the day as well.  I also will work on my flexibility in my practices.  In addition to these, I will continue to do the meditation to relax and relieve stress. This will help me to enjoy my days more. “

Well there you have it!   As you can see by the above comments, there are so many tools in yoga, that when applied regularly,  can help to manage  physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The students found that yoga isn’t about quantity, but instead about frequency, and consistancy.

What other “proof” do you need to start practicing yoga today?

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