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- CONQUERING THE RAGNAR BLACK LOOP: A TRAILBLAZING ADVENTURE
Hey Siri, could you please play "Can’t Tell Me Nothing" by Kanye West? I'm feeling myself right now. Over the weekend, I enjoyed participating in the Ragnar Trail Black Loop event. Let me take you through the journey: Thursday, I arrived at the picturesque Big Bear Lake in West Virginia, armed with my trusty duffle bag and cozy sleeping bag, all set to hit the trails. This time, I went for the glamping option, which made packing more straightforward. Ragnar covered our glamping needs - they provided spacious tents, comfy cots, chairs, and tables and even ensured we had a steady supply of ice. They had specific water stations and porta-potties designated for us too. Our camp was a delightful tent village housing 8 of us, forming what I affectionately called "Team Awesome." The heart and soul of our crew was Amber, a true Ragnar enthusiast with a remarkable 20+ Ragnar races under her belt. I've got to say, when you think of badass athletes, Amber's face should pop up. I got introduced to the team through a WhatsApp chat after stepping in for Alexis. All the runners were either internet pals, real-life buddies, or had run together in previous Ragnar events. We shared tips about what to pack and coordinated our arrival times in this lively chat. Once I settled into my tent space, my excellent running partner Kristin arrived, and I was excited to see her. We'd teamed up last year as well and had a blast. Kristin's calming presence was exactly what I needed to soothe my pre-race jitters. Our mantra was "Slow and steady." After meeting the entire team, I wandered around the camp, grooved to a live band's music, grabbed some delicious food, and nervously prepared myself for Friday's race. As I settled into my sleeping bag, the band's smooth rendition of Erykah Badu's "Tyrone" serenaded me to sleep. Friday, I woke up excited and eager to hit the trails. I wondered if the song "Tyrone" had worked its calming/nostalgic magic or if I was all geared up for the run. Our Friday was filled with running all three loops with well-deserved breaks in between. Green loop, about 3.5 miles: Let me tell you, this one was a challenge! Surprisingly, even though it's considered the easiest, it was technically demanding. The narrow path was littered with loose rocks and exposed roots, making it a tricky ride. Struggling to catch my breath, I had to tap into my pranayama training to stay centered and focused. Yellow loop, around 4.6 miles: This intermediate loop was a whole different story. I felt fantastic! My stride was more open, and I quickly slipped into my groove. Kristin and I must've looked like graceful wild gazelles as we breezed through this loop, feeling and looking absolutely incredible. Red loop, approximately 6.5 miles: Ah, the night run, our biggest challenge. I was anxious about this one as I hadn't performed well during nighttime runs. I have a sensory processing disorder that makes certain things, like the movement of headlights and knuckle lights, a bit overwhelming for me. Kristin led the way, and with my handheld light, we conquered the red loop, surpassing last year's time. I PR’ed my time by 10 minutes. Oh, and did I mention how excellent Kristin was? Around mile 5, some debris found its way into my left shoe, wedging under the ball of my foot – exactly where I had a previous injury. With some effort, I managed to get it out, but it was a clear sign that I needed some fancy gaiters to prevent this from happening in the future. The cumulative distance of all three loops was around 14.6 miles, although some runners' watches marked it as 14.8-15.2 miles. Why the "ish" when talking about mileage, you ask? Well, the trail's conditions can vary widely, making it a bit tricky to pinpoint the exact distance. Saturday On Saturday, we kicked off at a bright and early 7:30 am, and you know what? My body wasn't feeling half bad. We set two achievable goals for ourselves: Reach the first water station by the 6-mile mark. Get to the full aid station by mile 11 before 1:30 pm. Seemed like pretty reasonable goals, right? Kristin and I started strong for the first 3 miles, even faster than our Friday pace. Despite both of us nursing injuries from the start, they weren't holding us back. But around miles 5 to 11, things took a different turn for me. Remember that debris in my shoe on the red loop? Well, it had done more damage than I thought. A tiny piece of it had caused an abrasion on the ball of my foot, and with every step, I felt a pang of pain starting at mile 5. Somewhere past mile 6, I lost my left shoe in the mud, leading to more mud and debris entering the shoe. My attempts to clear it weren't very successful. In that challenging moment, Kristin looked at me calmly and said, "You've got this. Stay composed." Her confidence in me was a lifeline because I seriously contemplated throwing in the towel. The aid station wasn't at mile 6, as we'd thought; it was closer to mile 7. With my foot hurting, my aching right knee, and battling hills that made me want to cry, Kristen's encouragement became my driving force. At mile 10, we were both limping, but we were still making good time. Our second goal was reaching the full aid station before the 1:30 pm cutoff at mile 11. Somewhere around mile 12 or closer to mile 13, we reached the aid station, still limping but determined. With sheer grit, Kristin and I conquered the Ragnar black loop in seven and a half hours. And let me tell you, "proud" doesn't even begin to describe how we felt. We absolutely nailed it! I'm beyond thrilled to have had the opportunity to participate in such an incredible race. So, what's on the horizon for next year? Setting our sights on a new goal is a natural progression. It could be aiming for an even faster time, conquering more challenging terrain, or simply relishing the camaraderie of another Ragnar adventure. Whatever it is, I'm ready to take on the challenge and make it another unforgettable experience.
- COUNTDOWN TO THE EPIC ADVENTURE: JUST ONE DAY BEFORE RAGNAR TRAIL CHALLENGE!
Tomorrow marks the beginning of an anxiety-fueled journey for me – the Ragnar Black Loop. Yes, you read that correctly – two entire days of traversing the Appalachian Mountains on foot. The mere thought of running through these mountains has me trembling in my sneakers, to say the least. Who could resist a touch of mountain sarcasm? For more details about the Ragnar Trail, refer to my blog post. But let's delve deeper into this upcoming adventure. Unlike the usual Ragnar trail races with a team of eight, this time, it's just me and my partner, Kristin. Our first day entails conquering the green, yellow, and red loops, covering around 14 miles of trail terrain. On the second day, brace yourself for the ultimate challenge – the daunting black loop, a staggering 17-mile endeavor. You're probably curious about how I got myself into this escapade. Let's rewind to 2022 when my friend Alexis from Flecksoflex.com and I hatched this crazy idea of tackling the black loop. However, due to differing paces, we needed compatible partners. Alexis secured her partner – our friend Kristin, who was part of "Straight Outta Breath" during Ragnar Appalachian 2022. As for me, finding a partner for the legendary black loop turned into a saga. I tried everything from Facebook posts to asking friends, but luck eluded me. By April 2023, I had nearly given up and put my training on hold. A summer hiatus was my initial plan – focusing on everything but athletic goals. Gym visits dwindled, and running took a back seat. Then, a plot twist in late June: Alexis couldn't run and asked if I'd take her spot. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Sign me up; no second thoughts are required. Goodbye, summer hiatus; hello, summer training grind. Easier said than done – transitioning from leisure to beast mode in a few months was challenging. Yet, I pounded those trails, determined to shape up for this monumental race. Maybe I pushed myself too hard because I was injured just two weeks before the race. Imagine this: I'm on the trail, and there's a protruding rock. Logic screams, "Avoid the rock!" My body's response? A resounding "Nope." The sharp end of the rock lodged between my left foot's ball and toes, sending a surge of pain from my toes to my knees. Naturally, I did what anyone would – text Kristin casually, "I might have injured myself, but I'll see the doctor tomorrow." Oh, resilient as ever, the rock didn't stand a chance against me. The doctor's orders were strict: no running for ten days. Wait, what? I was supposed to be tapering, not taking an enforced running break! Eventually, I received the go-ahead to run again, just in time for tomorrow – race day. Indeed I'm battling some pre-race jitters due to my injury, but let me assure you, I'm stoked. This race is a series of firsts for me: my inaugural Ragnar without Alexis, meeting my team for the first time, experiencing glamping for the first time, my maiden attempt at running over 10 miles, and the pièce de résistance, my debut black loop run. So, Homies, please, wish me luck. I'm geared up and thrilled to share every twist, turn, and trail moment of my Ragnar Black Loop adventure with all of you. Get ready for an exciting ride!
- MY JOURNEY AS A FITNESS PROFESSIONAL BATTLING A BINGE EATING DISORDER
In the world of fitness, there's a prevalent trend of professionals projecting a flawless image, as if they never struggle with their fitness journeys. But this curated perfection can be disingenuous and misleading. As someone committed to transparency, I refuse to hide behind rose-colored glasses. In this blog post, I want to share my struggle with binge eating and break the stigma around discussing such challenges. Though some may advise against revealing these struggles, being honest with my audience is essential. So, here goes nothing. My Name is Tikima, and I Am a Binge Eater A sense of liberation washes over me as I openly declare my battle with binge eating. It's a part of who I am, and I don't shy away from sharing my experiences if they can help others. Curious about how I became a binge eater? I'm still figuring that out myself, but I have some ideas. For most of my life, I had a healthy relationship with food. I listened to my body, followed the "everything in moderation" motto, and maintained balance. However, in 2017, I experienced a personal hardship that led me to use food as punishment. Sweets have always become my solace, offering temporary comfort in times of pain. This harmful cycle created a constant battle between self-soothing and feeling terrible about myself. As the pounds piled on, I started to witness the physical toll my binge eating had taken on my body. My joints cracked, my face became unrecognizable, and my clothes no longer fit. Worst of all, I lost touch with who I was. Depression became the haunting soundtrack of my life, while sugary treats became my drug of choice. As my weight slowly increased, few people noticed or chose to address it. However, I vividly remember a so-called "friend" publicly mocking my weight over a speakerphone call. Instead of providing a helpful intervention, this incident pushed me further into depression and increased the secrecy surrounding my binging. My binge-eating episodes predominantly occurred when I was alone in the car. Occasionally, family members would observe my behavior, but they would dismiss it as a cheat day or something similar. Despite the weight gain, I maintained an active lifestyle, engaging in running and strength training. It might have seemed intentional from the outside, but I was battling an eating disorder inside. I consciously refrained from offering dietary advice to my clients, using the excuse that it was outside my scope of practice. I didn't want to contribute to the guilt and shame I associated with food. When I reached the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I knew something had to change. I realized that the root of my pain was guilt, and to heal, I needed to apologize to the person I had hurt and, most importantly, forgive myself. Seeking forgiveness and engaging in therapy allowed me to be open and honest about my struggles with those around me. Surprisingly, this newfound vulnerability enhanced my ability to approach training with grace and empathy. I wish I could neatly wrap up this chapter of my life and shout, "I'm Delivert!" like in the viral video, but it's not that simple. Every day, I continue to grapple with binge eating. The cravings for my favorite sweets remain strong, but I've learned to navigate the temptation and focus on long-term well-being. This journey is not a sprint; it's a marathon. Despite the advice from fellow trainers urging me not to share my struggles, I am grateful I chose to be authentically Tikima. By embracing vulnerability and transparency, I can better connect with my audience and offer support and understanding. Your support means the world to me, so please share this post with your friends. Together, let's break down the barriers and foster a community where fitness professionals are seen as the imperfect humans they indeed are. My commitment to transparency extends beyond the fitness world. I want to be a voice for those who struggle with binge eating and other mental health challenges. Let's erase the stigma associated with these issues and create a culture of acceptance and support. Remember, you are not alone in your journey; we can overcome obstacles together. Thank you for joining me on this honest and vulnerable path to self-improvement.
- "31 DAYS OF GRATITUDE": CULTIVATE A HEART FULL OF THANKS
If you were asked, what are you grateful for? How many things can you list before running out of ideas? The "31 Days of Gratitude" challenge was designed to ignite your appreciation for those blind spot areas in your life. Over the next month, I will embrace the power of gratitude by sharing daily posts on Instagram and Facebook, each day sharing a prompt to spark awareness of something we are truly grateful for in our lives. What is Gratitude? Gratitude is the simple act of acknowledging and appreciating the goodness and blessings in our lives. It is a powerful emotion that allows us to shift our focus from what we lack to what we have. Practicing gratitude helps us develop a deeper sense of contentment and a positive outlook on life, even during challenging times. Why Should You Practice Gratitude? Gratitude is more than just a warm, fuzzy feeling; it has numerous scientifically proven benefits for our mental, emotional, and physical well-being: Improved Mental Health: Regularly expressing gratitude is associated with reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. It fosters a sense of resilience, making it easier to cope with life's inevitable ups and downs. Enhanced Relationships: Grateful individuals tend to be more empathetic and compassionate, leading to stronger and more meaningful connections with others. Increased Happiness: Gratitude is like a natural mood booster, elevating our overall happiness and life satisfaction. Better Physical Health: Studies have shown that practicing gratitude is linked to better sleep, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. Heightened Self-awareness: By focusing on what we are thankful for, we gain a deeper understanding of our values, priorities, and the things that truly matter in life. Why Daily Prompts for Gratitude? While the concept of gratitude may seem simple, incorporating it into our daily lives can be challenging, especially when we get caught up in our busy routines. That's where the "31 Days of Gratitude" Challenge comes in! Each day, I will be posting a gratitude prompt to guide our thoughts and reflections. These prompts will encourage us to explore various aspects of our lives, helping us find gratitude in the little things we often overlook. Through this challenge, we will: Cultivate Mindfulness: The daily prompts will prompt us to pause, reflect, and be present in the moment, appreciating the beauty of our surroundings and experiences. Uncover Abundance: By focusing on different aspects of our lives, we will discover how much abundance and goodness truly surround us. Foster Positivity: Consistently posting and reading gratitude posts will create a ripple effect of positivity within our social circles, inspiring others to participate and share their gratitude too. Create a Gratitude Journal: Throughout the challenge, we will be essentially creating a digital gratitude journal that we can look back on whenever we need a reminder of life's blessings. How to Join the Challenge: Participating in the "31 Days of Gratitude" Challenge is simple: Follow: If you're not already following me on Instagram and Facebook, make sure to do so to see the daily gratitude prompts. IG @TikimaReneeFitness Facebook @TikimaReneeFitness Post: Each day, create a gratitude post based on the prompt and share it on your feed or stories, using the hashtag #31DaysOfGratitudeChallenge. Engage: Interact with other participants by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts. Let's spread the gratitude far and wide! Reflect: Take a moment each day to reflect on your blessings and the positive impact this challenge is having on your life. Gratitude has the power to transform our lives in countless ways. By posting daily gratitude prompts on social media, we not only spark appreciation in our lives but also inspire others to do the same. Let us embark on this journey of counting our blessings, opening our hearts to the overlooked joys, and cultivating a mindset of gratitude that enriches our lives and touches the lives of those around us. Let's begin spreading gratitude and creating a world filled with appreciation, love, and joy. See you on Instagram and Facebook!
- SIMPLIFY YOUR MEAL PREP WITH TIME-SAVING HACKS
Let's face it: spending an excessive amount of time meal prepping can be a real drag. The thought of having the stove and multiple burners in use, a sink full of dirty dishes, cluttered counter space, and half-completed projects waiting to be put away can overwhelm anyone. If you're like me, you prefer finding ways to cut down on meal prep time without sacrificing the benefits of healthy, homemade meals. That's why today, I want to share a few of my favorite meal-prepping hacks that will help you slash your prep time in half. Plan your meals in advance: Spend a few minutes each week to plan your meals for the upcoming days. This will help you create a shopping list, avoid food waste, and streamline your prep process. Use versatile ingredients: Opt for ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes. For example, roast a big batch of chicken breasts that can be used in salads, wraps, or stir-fries throughout the week. Invest in quality storage containers: Having a variety of storage containers in different sizes will make it easier to portion and store your prepped meals. Look for containers that are microwave-safe and stackable for easy organization. I prefer air-tight glass bento containers for the compartments. Pre-cut and wash produce: Wash, peel, and chop your fruits and vegetables in advance. Store them in airtight containers or Ziploc bags for quick and easy access when cooking. Cook in bulk: Prepare larger quantities of grains, such as rice or quinoa, and proteins like beans or lentils, and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. This way, you'll always have a base for quick and nutritious meals. Utilize slow cookers, Instant Pots, and rice cookers: These appliances are great for hands-off cooking. You can prepare soups, stews, or chili in large batches and portion them out for future meals. Create assembly line setups: Set up a designated space in your kitchen for meal prep. Arrange your ingredients, cutting boards, and utensils in a systematic manner to streamline the process and minimize cleanup time. Make marinades and dressings ahead of time: Whip up your favorite marinades and dressings in larger quantities and store them in jars. This way, you can easily add flavor to your meals without making them from scratch each time. Freeze individual portions: If you have extra servings or leftovers, freeze them in individual portions. This allows for quick and convenient meals later on when you're short on time. Pre-portion snacks: Instead of reaching for unhealthy snacks, pre-portion healthier options like nuts, fruits, or cut vegetables into snack-sized bags or containers. This makes it easier to grab a nutritious snack on the go. Remember, meal prep should be tailored to your preferences and needs. Experiment with different hacks and strategies to find what works best for you. Happy prepping! **Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running! Please check out my disclosure policy for more details. I appreciate your support!
- FINDING THE PERFECT RUNNING SHOE: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE
I am in full swing in #UltraTraining and it got me reflecting on my long and exhausting quest to find the perfect pair of running shoes. Take it from me, finding the perfect pair of running shoes can be a daunting task. With numerous brands, styles, and technologies available, choosing the right running shoes can significantly impact your performance, comfort, and overall running experience. Whether you are training for an Ultra or just starting your fitness journey, this guide will walk you through the essential factors to consider when selecting your ideal running shoes. Understand Your Foot Type Before diving into the vast sea of running shoe options, it's crucial to understand your foot type. There are three basic foot types: neutral, pronated, and supinated (What are these foot types? Check out my post sharing runner's terminology for an explanation). Knowing your foot type will help you determine the level of support and cushioning you need in your running shoes. Visit a specialized running store or consult with a podiatrist to get a professional assessment of your foot type. My homie Alexis from Flecksoflex.com wrote an in-depth blog post on Why You Should Get Fitted For Running Shoes check it out. Consider Your Terrain Preference Consider your running terrain preferences. Are you a road runner, a trail enthusiast, or a mix of both? Running shoes are designed to cater to specific surfaces. Road running shoes typically offer more cushioning and lightweight designs, while trail running shoes provide additional traction, stability, and protection against uneven terrains. Find the Right Fit Getting the right fit is crucial for comfort and injury prevention. When trying on running shoes, consider the following tips: Measure your feet: Feet can change size over time, so measure both feet and go shoe shopping in the afternoon or evening when your feet are slightly swollen. Allow space: Ensure that there is a thumb's width of space between your longest toe and the shoe's end. This allows for natural movement during running. Try different brands and models: Different brands and models have varying fits. Experiment with a few options to find the one that suits you best. Consider width: Some brands offer different widths to accommodate wider or narrower feet. Look for options if you have specific width requirements. Cushioning and Support Cushioning and support are crucial factors to consider based on your foot type and running style. Different running shoes offer various levels of cushioning and support. Cushioning helps absorb impact and reduces stress on your joints, while support helps correct overpronation or supination. Test Them Out Once you've narrowed down your options, take the shoes for a test run. Most specialty running stores allow customers to try out shoes on a treadmill or offer a return policy if the shoes don't work out. Take advantage of these opportunities to gauge how the shoes feel during running, paying attention to comfort, stability, and any discomfort or pressure points. Durability and Price Running shoes are an investment, and finding a balance between durability and price is essential. While higher-priced shoes often offer more advanced features and durability, there are also budget-friendly options available. Consider the amount of mileage you plan to put on the shoes and weigh it against your budget. Replace Them at the Right Time Even the best running shoes have a lifespan. As a general guideline, running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles or when you notice signs of wear and tear, such as flattened cushioning or worn-out treads. For some strange reason replacing my running shoes at the right time is difficult for me but there's an app for that. I use the app ShoeCycle but I have heard that running apps could remind you as well. Continuing to run in worn-out shoes can lead to discomfort, increased risk of injuries, and decreased performance and we do not want that. Finding the perfect running shoes is a personalized process that requires careful consideration of various factors. By understanding your foot type, running style, and preferences, you can make an informed decision. Remember to prioritize comfort, support, and durability to enhance your running experience and reduce the risk of injuries. With the right pair of running shoes, you'll be well-equipped to conquer the miles ahead. Lace-up, hit the road, and enjoy the journey Homies!
- CONQUERING THE WILD: THE TRILLS OF RAGNAR TRAIL RACE
In the world of running, there are countless races that challenge athletes both physically and mentally. One such race that has gained immense popularity in recent years is the Ragnar Trail Race. Combining the spirit of teamwork, the beauty of nature, and the thrill of trail running, Ragnar Trail offers a unique and exhilarating experience for both seasoned and novices alike. I have had the personal experience of participating in two Ragnar Trail races myself. The exhilaration of conquering challenging terrains, the thrill of teamwork, and the sheer beauty of nature left a mark on me. The memories and sense of accomplishment from those races still inspire me to lace up my running shoes and seek new adventures. I'm super stoked to share with you the captivating world of Ragnar Trail racing, exploring its format, the essence of team camaraderie, and the awe-inspiring landscapes that serve as its backdrop. What is Ragnar Trail? Ragnar trail is a series of overnight relay races that take place on rugged trails in scenic locations around the world. Unlike traditional road races, Ragnar trail requires teams of 8 runners to tackle a set of three different trails covering a variety of terrains and elevations. Each team member takes turns running loops (red loop, yellow loop, and green loop) on these trails, completing multiple legs until the entire course is conquered. One of the standout features of Ragnar is its emphasis on teamwork. Each team member has a specific leg to run, and as one runner conquers their portion, they hand off a slap bracelet and bib, to the next teammate waiting at a designated transition area. This seamless exchange symbolizes the collective effort and support required to complete the race. Ragnar trail races are not only about the thrill of running but also about immersing oneself in stunning natural environments. These races are often held in breathtaking locations, such as national parks, mountain ranges, or coastal trails. My races were held at Wawayanda State Park in New Jersey and Big Bear Lake in the Appalachians. The views were beyond impressive. I think anyone who has run Ragnar trail races will agree that Ragnar gives runners the opportunity to witness picturesque vistas, breathe in the fresh air, and escape the confines of city life. Whether it's the towering trees of a dense forest, the serenity of a lakeside trail, or the challenge of rocky mountain paths, each Ragnar Trail race offers its own unique setting. Runners are treated to a feast for the senses, making the race an unforgettable adventure. A Test of Endurance Ragnar trail races can vary in difficulty depending on the location and course design. The trails encompass a range of terrain types, including dirt paths, rocky trails, steep ascents, and technical descents. Runners must be prepared to run overnight (yes you read correctly, RUN OVERNIGHT), navigate through uneven surfaces, conquer challenging elevations, and adapt to changing weather conditions. The race demands not only physical stamina but also mental fortitude. The lack of sleep, the constant movement, and the ever-present adrenaline rush push participants to their limits. It's a test of endurance and resilience that reveals one's inner strength. The race demands a lot from its participants, but the celebration and camaraderie among the runners make it all the more worthwhile. The race atmosphere transforms into a vibrant celebration as the sun sets upon the trails. Campsites are set up at the race venue, becoming a hub of camaraderie and excitement. Runners cheer on their teammates, share stories, and enjoy well-deserved rest between their runs. The festive spirit extends beyond the teams, as participants from different groups come together to support one another. There's a sense of unity among the running community, fueled by a shared passion for both the sport and the natural wonders that surround them. Looking ahead, I am eagerly preparing for not one but two Ragnar races this year: Ragnar trail BLACK LOOP (insert every nervous meme you can think of here) and a Ragnar road sprint, which both are totally new for me. The anticipation of diving back into the wild, hanging out with my team, and facing new adventures fills me with excitement. As I train both my body and mind, I am reminded of the incredible journey that lies ahead. Ragnar races have become more than just a race for me—it's a testament to one's strength, the power of teamwork, and the beauty of nature. Ragnar Trail races offer an exhilarating and immersive experience, blending the love for running with the beauty of nature. So, gather your friends, embrace the wild, and embark on an unforgettable Ragnar journey that will push your limits and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
- THE THREE PRINCIPLES OF YIN YOGA: EMBRACE MINDFULNESS AND SURRENDER
Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching a Yin Yoga class that sparked an interesting conversation with one of the students. She expressed that my "style" of Yin Yoga was significantly slower and different from her previous experiences with this practice. Delving deeper, we explored the different styles of yoga and the essence of Yin Yoga and its principles. Yin Yoga has gained popularity for its gentle yet profound approach that fosters stillness and surrender within the body and mind. Rooted in Chinese Taoist philosophy and traditional Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga presents a unique path towards harmonizing our energies. In this blog post, we'll delve into the three fundamental principles of Yin Yoga: finding your edge, embracing stillness, and holding the pose. Find Your Edge: The first principle of Yin Yoga encourages practitioners to discover their own edge within each pose. Unlike more dynamic yoga styles that prioritize movement and muscular engagement, Yin Yoga invites us to explore our personal limits by gently stretching the connective tissues and fascia. This practice cultivates a deep sense of self-awareness and helps us connect with the unique sensations in our bodies. Finding your edge in Yin Yoga means honoring your body's boundaries, and reaching a point of moderate stretch or tension without pushing into pain. Your edge will differ from others, and it might even vary day by day. By respecting your body's signals and listening to its wisdom, you can ensure a safe and sustainable practice, avoiding unnecessary strain. Embrace Stillness: The second principle of Yin Yoga revolves around embracing stillness in the poses. Yin postures are typically held for an extended period, ranging from one to five minutes or even longer. This prolonged stillness allows us to access the deeper layers of our bodies, such as the fascia and the meridians—energetic pathways from Chinese medicine. While it might be challenging to remain still for an extended duration, Yin Yoga encourages us to cultivate a sense of calmness and patience. By consciously softening the muscles and surrendering to gravity, we create space for relaxation and introspection. Embracing stillness in the postures helps us observe the mind's fluctuations, fostering mental clarity and inner peace. Hold the Pose: The third principle of Yin Yoga complements the previous two, emphasizing the importance of holding the pose. Unlike more dynamic practices that flow swiftly between postures, Yin Yoga invites us to linger in each pose for an extended period. Holding the pose allows the connective tissues and fascia to gradually lengthen and release tension. Through holding the pose, we tap into the innate wisdom of our bodies, facilitating profound transformations physically and energetically. It also enables us to explore any resistance or discomfort that arises, learning to find ease within those sensations. As we hold the pose, we can observe our thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment, fostering equanimity and self-acceptance. Yin Yoga offers a beautiful counterbalance to more dynamic yoga practices, encouraging us to slow down, turn inward, and cultivate mindfulness. By embracing the three principles of finding your edge, embracing stillness, and holding the pose, we embark on a transformative journey that transcends the physical aspects of yoga. Through Yin Yoga, we learn to honor and listen to our body's cues, embracing the subtler dimensions of our being. As we find our edge, embrace stillness, and hold the pose, we foster a sense of balance, surrender, and self-awareness. With consistent practice, Yin Yoga becomes a powerful tool for self-discovery, healing, and personal growth. So, roll out your mat, embrace the stillness, and embark on a profound exploration of self through the wonders of Yin Yoga.
- EXPLORING THE DIFFERENT STYLES OF YOGA: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE
When I started practicing yoga, I was unaware that there were many different types of yoga. Each style offers unique benefits and approaches to practice. So, in this blog post, we're going to delve into the various styles of yoga, and break them down by shedding light on their characteristics and what makes them distinct. It doesn't matter if you've been doing yoga for years or if you're just starting out, we got you covered. Get ready to explore the awesome variety of yoga styles out there! Let's do this! Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic and flowing style that synchronizes movement with breath. It focuses on seamless transitions between poses, allowing practitioners to experience a graceful and rhythmic flow. Vinyasa yoga builds strength, flexibility, and balance while encouraging mindfulness and awareness. Hatha Yoga: Hatha yoga serves as a foundation for many other yoga styles. It emphasizes physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama). Hatha yoga is a gentle and slower-paced practice that promotes alignment, flexibility, and relaxation of the mind. Iyengar Yoga: Iyengar yoga, developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, prioritizes precision and alignment in each posture. It employs props such as blocks, straps, and bolsters to assist in achieving proper alignment. This style of yoga promotes strength, stability, and flexibility while focusing on the intricate details of each pose. Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini yoga combines physical postures, breathwork, chanting, and meditation to awaken the Kundalini energy believed to reside at the base of the spine. This style aims to balance and stimulate the chakras, fostering spiritual growth, self-awareness, and inner transformation. Kundalini yoga often involves repetitive movements and the synchronization of breath and movement. Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga follows a specific sequence of postures, synchronizing breath with a progressive series of dynamic and flowing movements. This physically demanding style focuses on building strength, flexibility, and stamina. Ashtanga yoga is typically practiced in a heated room, intensifying the experience. Bikram Yoga: Bikram yoga is a form of hot yoga that comprises a set sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. Practiced in a room heated to high temperatures with elevated humidity, it aims to enhance flexibility and detoxification. Bikram yoga engages the entire body, including muscles, ligaments, and internal organs. Yin Yoga: Yin yoga is a slow-paced and meditative practice that involves holding passive floor-based poses for extended periods. By targeting connective tissues, such as ligaments and fascia, Yin yoga enhances flexibility, joint mobility, and circulation. It is also a practice that cultivates deep relaxation and mindfulness. Restorative Yoga: Restorative yoga focuses on relaxation and rejuvenation, offering a deeply nurturing experience. It involves holding supported poses for extended periods and utilizing props for comfort. Restorative yoga releases tension reduces stress, and promotes deep relaxation and healing. Prenatal Yoga: Prenatal yoga is specifically designed to support pregnant women, adapting to their changing bodies and preparing them for childbirth. Gentle stretches, modified poses, and breathing techniques are incorporated to promote strength, flexibility, and relaxation during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga fosters a connection between mother and baby while relieving common discomforts. Aerial Yoga combines yoga postures with a hammock or suspended fabric that supports and elevates the body. This unique style integrates traditional yoga with acrobatic movements, allowing practitioners to experience inversions and floating sensations. Aerial yoga enhances strength, flexibility, and core stability while providing a fun and challenging workout. Power Yoga: Power yoga is a vigorous and physically demanding style inspired by Ashtanga yoga. It focuses on building strength, stamina, and flexibility through dynamic and fast-paced movements. Power yoga often includes challenging poses and emphasizes the connection between breath and movement. Hot Yoga: Hot yoga refers to any style practiced in a heated room. Similar to Bikram yoga, the elevated temperature helps warm up muscles, enabling deeper stretching and increased flexibility. Hot yoga classes can vary in style and sequence, incorporating elements from various yoga traditions within a heated environment. Yoga offers a vast array of styles to cater to different needs, preferences, and goals. Whether you're seeking a vigorous and challenging practice, a gentle and meditative experience, or specialized yoga for pregnancy, there is a style that suits you. Exploring different yoga styles allows you to discover the one that resonates with your body, mind, and spirit, leading you on a transformative journey of self-discovery, health, and well-being. So, roll out your mat, take a deep breath, and embark on your yoga adventure. Namaste!
- ACHIEVING BOOKISH BLISS: HOW I READ 23 BOOKS IN 6 MONTHS
What's up Homies! Yes, you read the title correctly. Your girl read 23 books in the first 6 months of 2023. After experiencing the sense of satisfaction of completing last year's challenge, I knew I wanted to keep this challenge going into 2023. Setting a goal to read 23 books in 2023, I pushed the boundaries of my reading habits and surpassed my target with flying colors. In this blog post, I'll share my journey, strategies, and tips that helped me achieve this feat, as well as my plans to conquer an additional 23 books before the arrival of 2024. 1. Read Shorter Books: If you're looking for a quick read, try sticking to books under 300 pages. Now, everyone's idea of "short" might differ, so do you and read what you enjoy! In April 2023, a client suggested I check out "Ethic" by Ashley Antoinette. I heard it was a gripping series, and what caught my attention was that each book in the series was under 300 pages. So, I ended up diving into the first three books that month because of their page count and intriguing storyline. 2. Creating a Reading Schedule: To make consistent progress, I created a reading schedule that fit seamlessly into my daily routine. By allocating specific time slots each day dedicated solely to reading, I could gradually develop a habit and prevent procrastination. I knew I had a 2-hour break between 2 clients so I set time aside to read during that time period. 3. Diversifying Reading Material: different genres and subject matters is an excellent way to keep the reading experience fresh and engaging. I diversified my book choices, mixing fiction and non-fiction, and delving into various topics such as self-improvement, history, fantasy, and biographies. This variety not only expanded my knowledge but also prevented boredom or monotony. 4. Embracing Audiobooks and E-books: In #22BooksIn2022 I read ONLY physical and E-books. This year, I began incorporating audiobooks into my reading routine, which was a game-changer. Audiobooks allowed me to utilize time that would otherwise be unproductive, such as during commutes, exercise sessions, or household chores. I chose to cap the number of audiobooks to four; Spare by Prince Henry, Harry Potter & The Sorcerer Stone by J.K Rowling, Drunk Mom by Jowita Bydlowska, and The Practicing Stoic by Ward Farnsworth. I decided on the books based on their length and interest. Spare and Harry Potter were pretty lengthy while Drunk Mom and The Practicing Stoic seemed boring but interesting. 5. Prioritizing Reading: One of the critical factors in achieving my reading goal was making reading a priority. I consciously reduced the time spent on other activities, such as excessive screen time or social media scrolling, and redirected that time towards reading. Initially, I was saddened to give up television but by reassessing my priorities, I created a space for reading to flourish in my daily life. 6. Incorporating Reading Into Daily Habits: As a full-time fitness professional, I found creative ways to incorporate reading into my daily habits. For instance, I replaced mindless scrolling with reading before bed, carried a book wherever I went so I could read between clients, and utilized lunch breaks or waiting time to dive into a few chapters. These small adjustments multiplied my reading time and helped me make consistent progress. 7. Tracking Progress: Keeping track of my progress was crucial in staying motivated and accountable. I took advantage of my #23booksin2023 template and carved out some space in my yearly planner to track my progress. Whether through a physical journal, a digital app, or a simple spreadsheet, tracking the number of books read and the titles completed gave me a sense of accomplishment and encouraged me to push further. TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2023 PART 1 Having surpassed my initial goal, I am fueled by newfound enthusiasm to read an additional 23 books before 2024 arrives. Building upon the strategies and habits I developed during the past six months, I am confident that this new challenge will be within reach. Embarking on a reading journey and accomplishing the ambitious goal of reading 23 books in six months was an incredibly fulfilling experience. By implementing a structured reading schedule, diversifying my book choices, and incorporating reading into my "spare time", I surpassed my goal with joy and pride. Now I invite you to embark on your own reading journey, embrace the magic of books, and join me as I dive into the next chapter of my literary odyssey. Together, let's celebrate the power of reading and unlock the wonders that lie within the pages of captivating books.
- JOURNEY OF BECOMING A CERTIFIED BREATHWORK PRACTITIONER: EXPLORING THE POWER OF PRANAYAMA
What's up Homies! In our crazy, fast-paced world, stress and anxiety seem to be lurking around every corner. But guess what? There's a way to find your zen and restore balance in your life. I recently leaped into the world of breathwork and became a certified breathwork practitioner through My Vinyasa Practice. I can't wait to share with you this fantastic journey and why it's been a game-changer. Sooo, what's breathwork all about? Breathwork is a practice that focuses on intentional breathing to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Pranayama is the superhero of breathwork because it's one of the foundational practices of breathwork. Derived from the Sanskrit words "prana" (life force energy or breath) and "yama" (extension or control). By harnessing the power of breath, pranayama techniques aim to regulate and enhance the breath within the body, leading to transformative experiences. My journey started with a burning curiosity to explore the untapped potential of my breath. During a yoga class in the summer of 2019, I realized I hold my breath pretty often. Holding my breath during various activities, caused anxiety, dizziness, and nausea to name a few cons. After extensive research and soul-searching, I decided to enroll in a pranayama certification program. It was a wild ride, packed with everything from learning different breathing techniques and understanding how our bodies work, to diving into the philosophy and history of pranayama. The course offered a comprehensive curriculum covering various breathing techniques, the anatomy of respiration, energy systems, and the philosophy behind pranayama. Through guided practice sessions, I experienced firsthand the effects of different breathing techniques, ranging from calming and grounding to energizing and transformative. Here's the juicy part—I discovered that pranayama is a total game-changer. Check out some of the awesome benefits I stumbled upon: Stress Be Gone: Pranayama techniques have this incredible ability to calm your nervous system and melt away stress. Slow, deep breaths activate your relaxation mode, leaving you feeling all zen and peaceful. Energize Like a Boss: Ever wished you could tap into unlimited energy? Well, pranayama can get you pretty close. Conscious breathing techniques can revitalize your body and mind, boosting your overall vitality and energy levels. Laser Focus: Need to give your concentration a boost? Pranayama cultivates mindfulness and trains the mind to be present, clearing away mental clutter and sharpening your focus. Say hello to mental clarity and improved productivity! Emotional Healing Vibes: Breathwork is like your personal emotional gym. It gives you a safe space to explore and release emotional blockages and cultivates a deeper sense of self-awareness. It can be a powerful tool for healing past traumas and developing emotional resilience. After completing my pranayama certification, I felt an overwhelming desire to share this magical practice with others. As a certified breathwork practitioner, I am now able to guide individuals through personalized breathwork sessions tailored to their needs and goals. Witnessing the positive impact it has on people's lives is beyond rewarding. It fuels my passion to keep spreading the breathwork love! Becoming a certified breathwork practitioner through My Vinyasa Practice has been a game-changer for me. It deepened my understanding of the power of the breath and equipped me with the skills to help others on their transformative journeys. If you're seeking a holistic approach to well-being and want to unleash your inner superhero, dive into the world of breathwork. The power of your breath is waiting to be released, leading you to a life filled with balance, harmony, and self-discovery. If you're ready to embark on a transformative journey and experience the incredible benefits of breathwork, I would be thrilled to guide you. As a certified breathwork practitioner, I offer personalized sessions tailored to your unique needs and goals. Let's join forces and breathe in the magic together! Contact me today to schedule a breathwork session and embark on your path to wellness and self-discovery. Your journey starts now, and I can't wait to be a part of it! Let's breathe in the magic together!
- A BOOKISH ADVENTURE; I READ 22 BOOKS IN 2022
What's up fellow bookworm Homies! In a world full of screens and digital distractions, finding time to read can be a real challenge. But guess what? I managed to devour 22 books in just one year, and it was one hell of an adventure! Join me as I spill the beans on how I did it and how it rocked my world. Setting the Goal: Okay, so I set this crazy goal of reading 22 books in a year. That's like two books per month, which sounded doable yet exciting. I wanted to push myself but also keep it real, you know? Creating a Reading Routine: Consistency is the name of the game, my friends. I made reading a daily habit by finding a cozy spot and diving into my book for a set amount of time each day. My cozy spot was my car and it became my little oasis of calm amidst the craziness of life. Building a Kickass Reading List: To keep things spicy, I handpicked a mix of books from fiction, non-fiction, biographies, self-help, and classics. I asked homies for recommendations, lurked in online bookish communities, and even checked out those fancy bestseller lists. The goal was to keep my literary journey diverse and exciting. Check out my reading list from January 2022 and compare it to my final 2022 reading list below Embracing All Formats: Who says you have to stick to traditional paperbacks? I embraced all reading formats like e-books and physical books. Prioritizing Reading: Let's be honest, homies. We all waste time mindlessly scrolling or binge-watching TV shows. So, I trimmed down those hours and made reading a priority. Trust me, it's worth it. Goodbye, Netflix marathons! Expanding My Universe: Reading 22 books opened up a whole new world of themes, cultures, and perspectives. I traveled to different lands, walked in various shoes, and learned so much. It was like an intellectual rollercoaster that made me grow as a person. Reading On-the-Go: I made books my trusty sidekick wherever I went. Whether it was a paperback in my bag or reading apps on my phone, I snuck in reading during waiting times, commutes, or any chance I got. Who needs mindless scrolling when you have a captivating story at your fingertips? Reflecting and Nerding Out: Books have a way of making you think and feel, right? So, I started a reading journal to jot down my thoughts, favorite quotes, and epiphanies from each book. It added an extra layer of connection and made me feel like a literary genius. Celebrating Like a Book Boss: I threw a mini celebration every time I finished a book! Treat yourself, have a dance party, or simply pat yourself on the back. Celebrating those milestones kept my motivation high and gave me the drive to tackle the next book on the list. MY TOP 5 READS OF 2022 Reading 22 books in a year was an absolute blast. It rekindled my love for books, took me on incredible adventures, and helped me grow as a person. I am keeping this challenge going yearly, so who is down to read #23booksin2023? If you are ready, grab a book, my friend, and let's embark on our reading journey. Happy reading!