fitness

Are We A "Get Your Kit Off" Generation?

Are We A "Get Your Kit Off" Generation?

"The contemporary designation of the body as 'meat machine' is merely the latest iteration of a long tradition of self loathing" - Marina Benjamin

I've noticed a thread or should I say, a new 'norm' laced through my Instagram feed recently. 

More and more accounts seeing both men and women turn up the heat and drop the clothes. It's -1 outside baby so there's got to be more than meets the scantily clad eye on this new societal norm. 

Are we forming a culture defying sexual oppression or are we simply shifting the paradigm of what is 'okay' to post online? 

Rest is Not a Dirty Word

Rest is Not a Dirty Word

What is it about the word rest that makes us women recoil in horror?

Having a holiday or a day off work is no problem at all; the more the merrier in fact! However, when, like now, I am being made to rest and recover it’s the last thing I want to do, I’m bored in minutes, restless (ironic wording) can’t get comfy, fidgety and pretty moody because I can’t do what I want to do. Does anybody else get that? I can lie on a beach for hours on end, I know that I am resting and I can feel all the benefits of it, but if it’s not my choice, yuck get me back to work and workouts!

How Healthy is the Wellbeing & Fitness Industry?

Is it just me or has the entire wellbeing + fitness industry turned into one sexually objectifying shot after the other? And I'm not just talking women here. I'm all for progression shots but some of the ones doing the rounds are worse than the stuff you expect to see on a page 3 tabloid. 

I wish people were inspired by mind and spirit as much as they were by bodies and shapes. We should be teaching young men and women movement and exercise to build strong minds, learning to cope and navigate their internal landscapes - the by product of that will invariably be strong outer health anyway.

Our bodies constantly change as we go through life and when that happens if you've worked on a strong mind, along with those strong abs then you'll surround yourself with acceptance, self love and kindness instead of constant punishment, unachievable goals and negative self talk. 

Whenever I feel ungrounded or like I need to take a moment just to catch my breath, I always find taking myself outdoors, gently moving my body (keyword here 'gentle' - no goblet squats, deadlifts or HIIT today thank you) and allowing myself the time to absorb my surroundings always brings me back to the now and back to me...wherever I may find those feet.  Today was a day to be outdoors, to pause and reconnect. I have found that when we stop searching for home within others and other places or things it allows us to lift the foundations of home within ourselves and that there are no roots more special than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole. 

Doing exercise and being creative is interlinked. You could argue that doing exercise is a form of creativity. That feeling you get from moving your body and movement is the same feeling you get when you're exploring and nourishing your creative spirit. You might say you're not creative - I call BS! Everyone has it in them to be creative, to play, to explore, to dream. It's simply about allowing yourself the time and space in which to experience (and often make a lot of mess but hey that's part of the fun of it). When we feel connected to ourselves be it through movement or art it's hard to feel bad about ourselves. And that's what it's all about - moving more, playing more, creating more. Now who wants to throw eggs filled with paint with me?

 

 

Ever Been on a Pants Rant?

Words By Geraldine Ruffle.

It's All Pants...

It's all pants, and bras and crop tops and socks and more hanging around my room at the moment, on the back of chairs, edge of desks, door handles, door frames, literally anywhere where they may actually get dry.

If you're a gym addict like myself this will be a familiar setting for you, I'm sat waiting for my third load of washing to finish and I've already run out of space on the line to hang all of it up.

Is it a case of there not being enough gym clothes in the world to get me through a week or there not being enough hours in the week to do enough loads of washing? I feel like a mum with 3 messy toddlers to look after, just constant laundry. Is anybody with me?

Anybody else wondering if it's enough of a workout just doing the weekly wash? Will it ever be acceptable to see 'Friday, laundry day - whole body' on my weekly workout planner? No, too sneaky?

As an instructor I do tend to get through more than one outfit a day in the gym which is obviously above average but then I must own an above average amount of sportswear to compensate. And I do, oh boy I do. I have a separate dresser for it in fact, away from the daily clothes closet so it can all be easily pulled out in my early morning zombie like state before the day has started. And it's bursting at the seams, it's not an empty dresser by any stretch of the imagination, so how do I still run out of workout gear by around Wednesday?

It's the sports bras isn't it, they're the main culprits, they're the main source of drama as you get towards the end of the week and are praying your 'B list' bras can hold up against whatever workout you had planned today, praying the now dodgy clip on the back isn't going to snap during a Zumba shimmy or that hole in the side isn't going to suddenly rip open while you're kicking ass in BodyCombat (could you imagine the horror, unsupported chest!). I find myself coming home with new sports bras on such a regular basis too, it's like it's becoming virtually impossible to do any form of shopping without grabbing one, even in the grocery store (one that has a clothing line obviously, I'm not just fashioning support garments out of avocados and coconuts). Soon I may have to have a section for sports bras in my weekly budget planner, it's getting that serious.

Another wonderful positive about life here in Byron bay is that everyone is hugely against bras for daily life, they've swapped them for these super comfy bralet things that although supportive, feels like you have nothing on, simple things hey.

Speaking of simple things....pants, pants are the worst when you're a gym bunny, right? They're actually not simple at all, for something that can be so tiny they must contribute a vast majority of my daily wardrobe dramas (we're deep into talking about first world problems right now aren't we). I'm hoping at least some of you are still with me here but, gym appropriate underwear, what a palaver. Ones that fit, aren't too tight, don't disappear (nod if you get me), don't cut your hips, don't move and aren't visible (vpls still aren't cool are they?) we must have all had at least one of those days where you unfortunately realise slightly too late that you're wearing the wrong underwear, you try and ignore it but it gets to the point where it's just too uncomfortable, you're going to have to do something about it. So trying to look inconspicuous we try to wiggle or squat or lunge it into a better position and completely fail at both (awkward face)? Don't worry fit squad, we all do it! We can all breathe a slight sigh of relief there, go on it feels good.

Getting dressed for the gym is not as easy as it may appear then is it, despite the fact that we probably just grab our kit with the intention of throwing it on after work or when we wake up properly. Plus all this extra thought comes before we have even given an ounce of brain space to contemplating how to navigate the fashion runway that appears to have overtaken most gyms lately (don't get me started, that's for another day. As much as I'm all for a fluoro pair of trainers or tights)

We must live for the days when this isn't an issue, when you don't have to scramble around looking for the perfect seam free workout thong. On those days I practically jump out of bed to get dressed because I know that at the back of my draws is a collection of big, comfy, Bridget Jones style pants and I cannot wait to get them on! Please tell me that you do it too, it's not just me?

Then there will be those of us, who like me, get really excited for these golden days, rest days or days off because you don't have to wear sportswear and we can look nice and clean and fresh and swan into our closets in an excited manner ready to pick out an outfit and face the day. Only to end up in a pair of leggings and casual trainers......what? Maybe because I can no longer remember what real clothes go well together and look good, just have a craving to be comfortable or I'm tired of ending up in a rocking, shaking, paddy like state on my bedroom floor an hour late for something and contemplating not going at all. Does anyone else just play it safe and put those comfy familiar leggings on again? Thinking after all, active wear as a fashion statement is pretty big these days? Yes I thought so, me too, me always in fact! Rest easy on that one guys, leggings make your bum look great anyway so keep rocking that look!

One pro tip though, save yourself from sitting down to try and total up how much money you've spent on laundry detergent, water, sportswear and potential labour costs of getting it all washed in a week. It's a scary and depressing thing to do with your free time and take it from me, you could end up embroiled in a big, all consuming first world problem, gym addict rant. However, here's hoping after getting through mine you all at least feel a weight has been lifted from your shoulders and you're saved from any longer stressing about sportswear dramas by yourself.

So, throw some workout gear on and get back out there team. And, think of me when you get stuck into your sports laundry this week.

Keep lifting :)

How to Balance Your Energy...

Why do we Stretch?

✖️Stretching helps to increase range of motion and to open the body,
✖️Releasing any tension in the muscles,
✖️Relaxes the mind.

Energy balancing stretching is primarily about embodiment - (Nourishment, Movement, Presence, Sensuality, Nature) and exploring different ways that you can be more “in your body.”

Being in the body, inhabiting it, feeling it, sensing it, knowing it, being curious about it, noticing it, exploring all the sensations of bodily existence, and letting the body speak to you on its own terms.

This last fortnight I've been working with various clients on different ways to address adrenal fatigue. Hormones are imbalanced, the body can suffer from hypoglycemia, a weakened immune system, foggy thinking and quite often depression. In order to overcome adrenal fatigue you need to follow a well thought out recovery exercise programme but the following two stretching exercises are great grounding starting points - put on some relaxing music and try to tune into what feels good when you move in your body.

Legs Up the Wall:

▫️Lie on your back with the edge of your bum touching a wall. 
▫️Feel free to elevate your hips with a pillow if more comfortable. 
▫️Walk your feet up the wall until your legs are fully extended. 
▫️Breathe. 
▫️Try to relax. 
▫️When you notice your mind wandering (it will) try to be an observer of your thoughts. As though you were watching yourself from a distance. Having music helps as you can focus on the beat. No crazy dubstep tunes though please 😬🤔
▫️Stay in this position anywhere from 2-15 minutes.

Beginners Bridge:

▫️Lie on back, bring knees up for 45 degrees.
▫️Push hips up so that your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line. Keep shins vertical. 
▫️Slowly drop pelvis back down, as low as you comfortably can and then bring hips back up to ceiling.
▫️10 second hold / 10 second relax.
▫️Don't forget to breathe 👀 this exercise is predominantly about the breathing. 
▫️Aim to do this 10 times. 

The Art of Yoga : How to Win at Yoga

Feeling confused and utterly overwhelmed with all the yogie terms? Don't know your asanas to your pyjamas? Oh wait, was that pranayamas?

Worry not. We all have to start somewhere. Perhaps you may have been practising for a while but you never felt you could ask what each term meant and now it's loo late and well you don't want to look stupid now do you? Relax.

Grab a green juice or whatever floats your boat.

I've got this one covered.

Got your green juice ready?

Okay let's roll...

There are four parts that make up the complete system of yoga.

Raja

Bhaki

Karma

Jnana

 

It is elements of raja yoga - the yoga of the mind - that are mostly practised in the West.

Raja Yoga:

This yogic path is considered the easiest of the four to acheive. The only requirement for bhakti yoga is an open, loving heart. Because the theory behind the practise is so simple, the idea is that everyone can practise bhakti yoga.

In essence bhakti means devotion to the Lord but when I teach others and indeed my own practise, I believe it’s more important to focus on your own heart and self. We need only surrender our doubts, fears, worries and express genuine love and devotion to ourselves through our practise.

Karma Yoga:

Karma yoga is a path of purification. Purification of the heart and purification of the mind. Owing to avidya, the original spiritual ignorance, which suggests that we are all affected by egosim and selfishness.

Practising karma yoga is developing selflessness by performing actions without any expectations of any rewards or results of any kind. We can begin to explore this through our practise but also take this into everyday life. Most of us will never renounce our possessions in the pursuits of living in an ashram so for the most part we can make our karmic yoga about things such as household chores or helping a neighbour (you get this gist). All it takes is awareness. You’re probably already doing it now without even knowing. Well done you my friend!

Jnana Yoga:

The path of wisdom and knowledge. The jnani uses his will and power of discrimination to cut through the veil of ignorance and attain the truth. Essentially this is about self realisation.

 

Yoga Directory:

Asana: seat; yoga posture

Ashtanga: eight-limbed yogic path; for Ashtanga/Power yoga

Ayurveda: the ancient Indian science of health

Bandha: internal lock; used for controlling the energy within the body during yoga practise; the three bandhas taught in some lineages of hatha yoga are root lock, abdominal lock and throat lock

Chakra: energy centre; the basic system has seven chakras (root, sacrum, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown), each of which is associated with a colour, element, syllable, significance, etc

Dharma: truth, the teachings of the Buddha; the path of truth

Dosha: physical body type; there are three doshas in Ayurveda - pitta (fire), vata (wind) and kapha (earth)

Drishti: gazing point used during asana practise

Karuna: compassion

Kula: community

Mantra: a repeated sound, syllable, word or phrase; often used in chanting and meditation

Mudra: a hand gesture; the most common mudras are anjali mudra (pressing palms together at the heart) and gyana mudra (with the index finger and thumb touching).

Namaste: which means "I bow to you'; a word used at the beginning and/or end of class which is most commonly translated as "the light within me bows to the light within you"; which is a common greeting in India and neighbouring cultures; a salutation said with the hands in anjali mudra

Niyama: five living principles that (along with the yamas) make up the ethical and moral foundation of yoga; they include Sauca (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (burning enthusiasm), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvarapranidhana (celebration of the spiritual)

Om: the original syllable; chanted "A-U-M' at the beginning and/or end of many yoga classes

Prana: life energy; chi; qi

Pranayama: breath control; breathing exercises

Samadhi: the state of complete self-actualization; enlightenment

Savasana: corpse pose; final relaxation; typically performed at the end of every hatha yoga class, no matter what style

Shakti: female energy

Shanti: peace (often chanted three times in a row)

Shiva: male energy; a Hindu deity

Surya Namaskar: Sun salutations: a system of yoga exercises performed in a flow or series

Sutras: classical texts; the most famous in yoga is, of course, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Tantra: the yoga of union (much more than just tantric sex that is popularised in the media)

Yama: five living principles that (along with the niyamas) make up the ethical and moral foundation of yoga; they include Satya (truth), Ahimsa (non violence), Asteya (not stealing), Bramacharya (self control and sexual responsibility) and Aparigraha (not grasping)

Yogi/Yogini: a male/female practitioner or yoga

Yoga Etiquette:

  • Don't take yourself too seriously, none of us are getting out alive!

  • Smile. Laugh. Dance if you like :)

  • Be in your mind and your body. Be present

  • Arriving on time is always appreciated

  • No mobiles please it interrupts the flow, there's time for selfies after

  • Listen to what your body is telling you

  • Try not to eat a mahoosive meal within 2-3 hours of your practise

  • Savasana (relaxation pose) is an important element to your practise, please don't skip it

  • Be a nice human!

  • Above all, ENJOY!