Viewing entries tagged
yoga

How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat - 5 Things to Look For

How to Choose the Right Yoga Mat - 5 Things to Look For

Though it may be tempting to borrow any old mat at your local group fitness studio, it makes sense to invest in a quality mat that's suited to your needs and circumstances. You'll keep your body flu-free and receive adequate support for your pesky joints. Not sure how to choose the right yoga mat? Here are five factors to consider:

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

When stepping onto my yoga mat, I remind myself that this is a sacred place. One's mat is where all else ceases to exist. I begin my yoga practice by taking a deep inhale, as I do so, I focus on the air rushing into my lunges, I breathe in positive energy. On my exhale, I blow the air out through my lips and exhale all negative energy out of my body. I like to think of myself as a blank slate when I start my practice. Each day is a new beginning and a new way to mold yourself into the person you aim to be, I begin each day with an open mind and a grateful heart.

3 Steps to a Headstand

3 Steps to a Headstand

There is no shortcut when it comes to more advanced inversions. But, there is one simple rule: practice. You've probably heard that same advice many times and got tired of it. It's simpler said than done. The truth is that dedicated practice does come with results, both big and small. Practice these 3 steps to a headstand daily or at least few times a week to see results. Assistance from a certified yoga teacher is recommended if you have neck injuries or if you don’t want to try it alone.

Relax Anywhere With This 5 Minute Yoga Routine

Relax Anywhere With This 5 Minute Yoga Routine

Whether you're sitting behind your office desk or laying on your yoga mat, this yoga routine will help you to relax anywhere in 5 minutes. Reserve time for yourself. Relax and zone out of your hectic day for a blip of time. It doesn’t matter where you are. You could be heading back home from the gym. Do this routine in your dressing room. If you can't fall asleep because your thoughts are overwhelming you, try this breath-focused routine for a calmer mind. At the end of this 'Relax Anywhere' routine, we will explore a yogic breathing technique called Alternate Nostril Breathing. I will briefly guide you through it here so that you can watch the demonstration before trying it yourself.

Absolute Beginner Yoga Workout

Absolute Beginner Yoga Workout

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To begin a yoga practice you need to stop competing with yourself and others. Yoga is a lot more than Downward Dog poses. The pose is actually quite challenging, and holding it for several breaths at ease is difficult, even for the most flexible. Before you can advance much further with yoga, you need to build the foundation of your practice by engaging your breathing with your movement and the moment. These are the key points of this Absolute Super Beginner yoga practice video where we will begin building the base. These moves are also good reminders for others who are more advanced with their practice. It's important to slow down and not go through the flow as if you're on auto-pilot.

This practice will give you the first insight of acknowledging different body parts during the practice. You'll engage in the moment. Breathing deeply actually requires a little bit of work in the abdominals. On the other hand, balancing poses are actually more work for the mind than for your body.

Since yoga is a lot more than making your heels touch the mat in Downward Dog, I left that pose out of this 30-minute routine on purpose.

Explore who you are and feel better by breathing deeper.

This is a post by PumpUp member Marinka Essel. Follow her on PumpUp @rinkae and on Instagram (rinkae_)

How PumpUp changed Riley's self-image in the span of months

How PumpUp changed Riley's self-image in the span of months

There's a saying that summer bodies are made in the winter, but that doesn't mean that you can't begin your health and fitness journey at any other time of the year. "I decided that a late start was better than not starting at all, so I made a PumpUp account," said Riley, a member who joined the community at the end of spring. 

Yoga in Bed : Morning and Night Routines

Yoga in Bed : Morning and Night Routines

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Sometimes you just can’t resist hitting the snooze button in the morning. To break free from this habit and put an end to the excuse that you're 'too busy' for exercise, get a workout done in your bed.  You won't need to rush out the door any more. Yoga in bed will save your life.

Here is a quick yoga routine that anyone can do to become energized and motivated enough to wake up and exercise. You will have time for your gym session, your morning run, or however you prefer to work out in the morning. This yoga in bed routine will give you a tiny boost to help you kill the snooze. The poses included in this video will get your blood circulation going, wake up your digestion system, and stimulate your mind. Even if you do end up sleeping so late that you just can’t find the time to squeeze in that morning run, this 5 minute yoga in bed routine is something you can do before you head out of the door.
Yoga in Bed - Night time Yoga routine // Klaaqu for the PumpUp Blog

What if your body is too tired after a long day? Sometimes, you just can't sleep because your day has been too stressful. Here is another routine that you can do in your bed as well. Do this yoga in bed routine at night, wash off your makeup, and brush your teeth. Follow these calming poses and hold them for a little bit longer than you would in the morning. Help your brain relax, fall asleep faster, and get a higher quality of sleep.
These yoga in bed routines from PumpUp member @rinkae will energize your morning, or bring peace to your mind at night. Follow her on Instagram @rinkae_ and check out her YouTube channel.

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community on International Yoga Day

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community on International Yoga Day

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Yoga is a practice that celebrates focus, stability, self-awareness, and strength (among other things). These yoga photos from the PumpUp community will inspire you to try something new.

Wheel Pose

Wheel pose // Inspirational yoga photos from the PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @roxanneidk

Most people employed in office jobs (and even students!) find themselves slouching over a desk or couch for most of the day. Wheel pose is a practical pose, and it's here to help. Root your weight in your shoulders and your arms to make your wheel pose stronger. Ground your feet into the floor and use your legs to lift your torso up higher towards the ceiling. The wheel pose, or chakrasana, helps to correct your posture if you are sedentary for most of the day. It opens up your back and chest and draws deep, intense consciousness to you breath.

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @hezza_96

For another variation on the wheel pose, keep your forearms grounded on the floor as you perform a backbend. Lift one leg off the ground and raise it straight up and overhead. Keep the other foot raised off the ground, with the balls of your feet planted on the floor. Maintain your balance throughout the entire pose. "Stretching is just my favourite thing to do," said PumpUp member hezza_96. "It relaxes me when I'm stressed. My lower back is getting stronger and more flexible and I'm really proud of how my backbends are improving."

Tree pose

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member emmalienchen

You can look like a certified boss when you do the tree pose. It’s a perfect way to improve single-legged stability while you tackle various chores throughout the day. You’ll engage your core, strengthen your legs, and make yourself a lot less prone to injury. Try doing the tree pose while you’re brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or waiting in line for the bus. Begin in a standing position, rooting both feet into the ground. Slowly lift one leg up and plant your foot along your inner thigh. Focus your gaze on one point in the room to help maintain balance. Bring your arms straight up over head. For an extra stretch, close your palms together and press them behind your back.

 

Seated Twists

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @kabuki

Don't eat away your sorrows. Instead, perform seated twists to wring out your worries and relieve tension in your shoulders. Sit upright with both legs straight out in front of you. Cross one leg over the other, bending your knee so that your foot rests near your inner thigh. Turn your gaze away from the straight leg and either place your hand on the outside of your bended knee, or interlace your hands behind you. Tuck your knee into your elbow as you do so and take deep breaths.

 

Lord of the Dance Pose (Needle)

Inspiring Yoga photos from the PumpUp community
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @veganballerina
This pose is as beautiful as it is beneficial for your body. Not only will you improve your stability, but you'll also strengthen your legs, ankles, thighs, shoulders, and your chest.  Ground your feet firmly into the floor and make sure that you open your hips with a few other preparatory poses before you attempt this. Lift one leg off the ground and grasp your foot with your hand, bringing it as far towards your head as you can. Bend your upper body towards your legs for a deeper chest and shoulder stretch.

 

Forearm handstand

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @emschaeffer
The forearm handstand is quite a feat to achieve without the wall. Practice with a partner to become comfortable with this challenging pose. It will test the limits of your upper body strength, stability, and more. Inversions are a great way to relieve headaches and improve your focus. The key is to plant your forearms firmly towards the ground. Face a wall and practice touching your feet up and overhead. Become comfortable with holding this pose for a few seconds, then try for longer.

 

Lotus pose

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member rinkae

The lotus pose is perfect for long periods of seated meditation. You'll improve your concentration as you gently close your eyes, crossing your legs and keeping your back straight. Focus your attention on your breath. Clear your thoughts and be mindful of the present. If you need to clear your mind after a long and busy day, the lotus pose is for you. For a more advanced variation, bring your crossed legs up towards your chest and wrap your elbows underneath your feet. Bring the legs tighter towards your chest to deepen the stretch.

 

Wide side lunge

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @vidy
Tight hips are a common problem for runners. Open them up with a deep, standing side lunge. Begin in a wide legged stance and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Point one foot towards the side and shift your weight towards the other foot into a deep lunge, keeping your body upright. Bring your hands to the ground and fold your body forward for a deeper stretch. This lunge is perfect for building up to more advanced poses.

 

Reverse warrior pose

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // The PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @ramo568
Reach for the stars with the reverse warrior pose and you'll get a great stretch in your obliques and hips. Have one leg form a ninety degree angle with the floor and reach the other foot back, keeping it as straight as possible. Reach both arms straight out towards the side and hold the pose for a few breaths. Next, inhale and reach one arm up towards the ceiling, extending the other arm down towards the floor. Look up towards the ceiling and sink your hips, grounding your weight through your feet. Hold for a few breaths.

 

Inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp Community // PumpUp Blog
Photo courtesy of PumpUp member @issa_
Loved these inspiring yoga photos from the PumpUp community on the first-ever International Day of Yoga? There are more to be discovered! Tag your yoga photos with #TeamPumpUp on the PumpUp app and Instagram so that we can see and share them! 

7 Day Yin Yoga challenge | What is yin yoga?

7 Day Yin Yoga challenge | What is yin yoga?

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If you like to remain in yoga poses for longer, yin yoga might be for you. Detract from the hurried pace of life and explore what is happening in the present moment with this unique style of yoga.

 

Yin Yoga has a slower pace. Less is more in yin yoga. It’s a slower and gentler yoga practice where each pose is commonly held for longer periods. Holding a pose for more than 5 minutes is common for this style of yoga.

 

Yin yoga focuses on breathing. The practice of yin yoga draws attention to your inhalation and exhalation  patterns. By doing so, it's easier to fall into a meditative state. As you hold each pose for greater lengths of time, you devote more time and attention to the rhythm of your breath, relaxing your body deeper into the pose.

 

Yin yoga targets deep connective tissues. "Over the past few centuries, the physical practice of yoga has become more yang-like,"said Bernie Clark of Semperviva Yoga Studios. "The poses are physically demanding and held for longer periods of time. Balance requires the yin side to be honoured as well." Yin yoga is not an active, muscular form of yoga, but a simple practice. Physically, it targets deep connective tissues: bones, ligaments, cartilage, etc. It also stimulates the flow of energy within the body.

Try our yin yoga challenge

Yin yoga challenge - PumpUp Blog

This calendar outlines each day that a new and complete yin yoga flow video will be released by PumpUp member @rinkae throughout the month of May.

Yin yoga challenge - PumpUp BlogOnce you complete each video, take a photo of yourself doing this pose and share it on PumpUp and Instagram with #7DaysofYinYoga #LunaJai and #TeamPumpUp to win a pair of Luna Jai yoga pants. Each of the above poses will accompany each day that a new and complete yin yoga flow video will be released.

For a chance to win Luna Jai yoga pants:

  • Repost this photo on PumpUp or Instagram
  • Tag a friend
  • Perform every one of @rinkae's yin yoga routines (released throughout the month of may)
  • Take a photo you performing the above poses and tag it with  #7DaysofYinYoga #LunaJai and #TeamPumpUp

Deadline: May 31st

Day 1: The Beginning

This yin yoga routine from PumpUp member @rinkae will allow you to find silence during your practice. It elaborates more upon the foundations of yin yoga.

15 health and fitness e-cards that sum up your life

15 health and fitness e-cards that sum up your life

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Fitness is not a joke. If you doubt this statement, perform 50 consecutive burpees and you'll soon catch our drift. Although every day of the year can't be April Fool's day, there's always room for a good laugh. Here are a few golden health and fitness e-cards that you can relate to in some way or another on Motivation Monday.

When you get overly competitive on the treadmill

If you're on the treadmill next to me, the answer is yes, we are racing

When you feel like you're being watched at the gym

The number of reps I can do is directly proportional to the number of people I think are watching me

When you take a HIIT class and feel like fainting

Those were some enjoyable burpees- said no one ever

When you start training for your run for the first time since winter

Running for the first time since winter

When your clothes FIT

When you hit a new PR

One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago, your body couldn't do what it just did

When you have one mile left in your run and your workout buddy encourages you to sprint

I'm beginning to think that my workouts are tailored more toward not dying than squeezing into a bikini this summer

When you're asked to go dancing after leg day

I don't have swagger. I'm just sore

When the struggle to do anything after your workout is real

When the struggle to do ANYTHING is real

When you sweat the equivalent of Niagara Falls at the gym

When it's rest day but you feel like exercising anyway

When you can't imagine changing into anything other than comfortable pants

When you finally finish all of your food packed in tupperware

When you need motivation to run fast

When your yoga instructor prompts you to hold an impossible pose

Enjoyed these fitness e-cards? Have more funny health and fitness jokes to share on #MotivationMonday? Lighten up! Share what motivates you with the PumpUp Community.

 

Why this PumpUp member's backbend is more impressive than you think

Why this PumpUp member's backbend is more impressive than you think

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As a stroke survivor and single mother who has struggled daily with a plethora of health ailments, @healthy_beatnik's progress is admirable in every single way. "Every day is a new journey and a new beginning to better your mind and body," she said. Just this past week, @healthy_beatnik was able to improve her form with the crow pose— something that she coined as 'Success Saturday'. Holding these poses takes a lot of patience and strength. She's also been practicing a full backbend and chest opener called the wheel pose. "A couple of months ago, I couldn't bend this way at all, let alone lift myself," she insisted. "Progress is progress, no matter how small or slow it may seem." This is a huge accomplishment for @healthy_beatnik, who was diagnosed with a spine condition called scoliosis. "Regardless of how my illnesses may leave me discouraged, I am always reminded daily by my strength and that even the smallest things count," she mused. As she develops flexibility in her back, @healthy_beatnik begins to take slow, steady, and calculated steps to fight hard against chronic illnesses.

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@healthy_beatnik frequently shares her progress and daily meals with the PumpUp community. "I just want to say thank you to all of my followers and 'Pump-uppers'," she confirmed. "[They] are all doing so amazing; taking [their] health into [their] own hands. [They] truly motivate and inspire me every day."

Keep her pumped! Whether you're improving your backbend or increasing your race speed, share the stories behind the progress you make and any setbacks that come your way with the #ShowMeTheMay hashtag on PumpUp.

 

Here's how PumpUp members sprang into action this week | PumpUp Progress

Here's how PumpUp members sprang into action this week | PumpUp Progress

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PumpUp members are up to all kinds of amazing things. They're fitting into all kinds of clothes that they haven't been able to in a long time, they're defying their own self-imposed limitations, and they're smashing through personal records. April is a month of firsts, accomplishments, and steady progress. Here are some highlights from the PumpUp community over the past week.

They absolutely crushed their personal bests

@shotgunsamx beat her personal best 5K time

PumpUp member @shotgunsamx set a new 5K personal record at a race on Saturday, April 18. She finished at a very impressive and speedy time of 26:04. "I used to think 27 minutes was impossible," she exclaimed. It's clear that she's come a very long way from when she first started.

They fit perfectly into new clothes

This PumpUp member dropped 1-2 sizes in her clothes

Shirts and shorts are fitting better for PumpUp members more than ever before. This was especially true for @jazigrace when she took a trip to the mall this past weekend. "I went shopping for clothes today and I discovered that I'm one or two sizes smaller than the last time I went shopping. I haven't been able to fit clothes this size since my freshman year in softball!" She looks absolutely terrific: it's palpable in her bright smile!

...They also grew out of old clothes

This PumpUp member grew out of her old shorts from last summer

PumpUp member @cris_cc took our Spring Into Action message to heart. She worked so hard prior to summer that she realized that her old shorts no longer fit. "Last summer's shorts are too big for me now," she lamented. "I'm so happy and sad at the same time. I'll keep working. Looking forward to summer!" We're excited to help her achieve her goals for the rest of the year and beyond.

This PumpUp member grew INTO a shirt that didn't fit her last summer

Similarly, @camillagwp grew out of a shirt that fit tight around her stomach last year. "Now it's actually comfortable to wear, and I don't worry about it crawling up," she gleamed. Keep her pumped! She's been working so hard at improving her running pace!

They became much more flexible

This PumpUp member made progress with her dancer's pose

The dancer's pose in yoga is no joke.  If you've ever tried it as a beginner, you probably experienced a lot of flailing and falling. Not PumpUp member @gorgeous303. She became so much more flexible between the months of January and April and she's been able to get her leg up much further than she ever expected.

They ran forever. Literally, forever.

This PumpUp member beat her personal best distance, running her first ever 15K

5K is hard. 10K is brutal.  15 kilometers? Absolutely, mind-numbingly difficult. @limitlesstyle challenged herself to finish her first-ever 15K anyway. "Today wasn't about my time or improving my time," she affirmed. "It was about running a first ever 15K that my son challenged me to run. I may or may not have crawled the last mile home, but I finished and feel accomplished!" She definitely deserves an amazing rest this weekend!

They're improving their form in a big way

This PumpUp member is seeing improvements in her upper body strength

By concentrating on her upper body strength, @clodaghsiobhan has really been able to improve her form with tricep dips. "I can feel that my strength has improved a lot. Persistence is key for sure!"

 

5 poses to supercharge your run: yoga for runners

5 poses to supercharge your run: yoga for runners

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Why yoga might make the difference for your run

You're running. You feel the wind ripping through your hair, adrenaline pumping through your body, then suddenly: a cramp. Tight hamstrings. Sore feet. Your knees. If running pains deter you from being able to thoroughly enjoy outdoor or indoor jogs, do yoga for runners!

We particularly like the way that Daily Yoga structures their Yoga for Runners sessions by making a distinction between pre and post-run stretches. Their pre-run yoga routine focuses on body balance, muscle strength, and joint flexibility and makes use of simple stretches to condition the body for long-distance runs. Their post-run training restores, elongates, and loosens any tension built up in your muscles. Mobile communities like PumpUp and Daily Yoga provide the guidance and structured routines that a personal trainer would give you, but within the comfort of your home.

Our favourite pre-run yoga moves

daily yoga for runners forward fold

 

Standing forward fold with hands on hips

daily yoga for runners wide legged forward bend

 

Wide-legged forward bend with hands on hips

 

daily yoga for runners triangle pose

Triangle pose (right and left)

daily yoga for runners pigeon pose

 

One legged pigeon pose (right and left)

daily yoga for runners warrior 2

 

Warrior Pose II (right and left)

For more instructions on how to do these poses, check out Daily Yoga's Yoga for runners series and share about your routine on PumpUp! How do you warm up and cool down before and after your runs? Let us know in the comments below!

Digest your food faster with the Thunderbolt pose

This is a post written by PumpUp member countrygirl4ever. I’m a size four, but I have the appetite of a college football player.  How? The Thunderbolt pose. This is one of my ultimate secret to having a fast metabolism.  I have been practicing yoga for over ten years and this is by far one of my favorite yoga poses because it helps aid in proper digestion. Unlike other Asanas that should be done on an empty stomach to prevent acid reflux, this asana is most beneficial done after eating.  How does this work? Well, sitting in this posture decreases the blood flow to the legs and increases the blood flow to the digestive organs, which increases the efficiency of the digestive system.

How to do a Thunderbolt Pose

  1. Kneel on both knees, keeping the legs together, placing the feet where the two big toes touch or slightly cross each other.
  2. Sit the thighs on the calves, keeping the spine and neck straight.  Look forward.  (The gluteus should be resting on the heels).
  3. Settle the hands on the knees, palms down, elbows straight and breathe naturally.

The goal is to sit like this for thirty minutes after a meal.  However, it is natural for the legs to start to cramp in the beginning if this is new for you.  If so, try to sit like this for one to five minutes, then stretch and massage the legs as needed, and try sitting again.  I recommend practice sitting like this at least once, if not two times a day, after a meal.  With practice, you’ll gradually build up and sitting in this pose for thirty minutes will be easy as a breeze.  A trick I use to move my attention away from my cramping legs is to watch TV or listen to music.  If I am really crushed on time, I’ll literally sit in this pose in my office to type up a report, to make a presentation, or to read.

Other health benefits for this pose are that it provides relief for people suffering from low back or sciatic pain, helps aid for ones with gas problems if done immediately after a meal, helps relieve constipation, gives longevity and strengthens the spine.

*Note: Although the Thunderbolt pose may have many health benefits, it is not recommended for anyone with bad knees or who has had knee surgery.

Yoga for Couples and Friends

This is a post by PumpUp member Marinka Essel. Follow her on PumpUp @rinkae and on Instagram (rinkae_)

Partner yoga for everyone! My friend Sanni (a beginner in yoga) helped me do this yoga video where we show you a cute routine that you can try with your significant other or a friend. It’s a perfect date idea for Valentine’s Day. Throughout the video I offer you beginner tips but also show you how more advanced yogis can flow together.

Yoga x Pilates  for couples and friends (feat. Acroyoga)

My best friend Niko (also a beginner in yoga) helped me do this video. This routine will work your abs and help you relax. Be it your boyfriend, bestie or mother this one should be fun!

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10 yoga poses worth learning more about

In the words of the late Vincent Van Gogh, “The best way to know life is to love many things.” This is why we loved all of your yoga poses on the pumpupapp. Check out our photo diary chronicling some of our favourite photos down below.

Bow Pose

@iyarbo’s bow pose wins our #MyResolution prize from our yoga pose challenge! The bow pose helps to elongate the front of your body. Not only does this position strengthen your back muscles, it helps to circulate blood and oxygen to your core.

Dancer’s Pose

@latasia_lovely and @gillianmicah’s pose symbolizes cosmic energy. It’s a fun pose that allows the practitioner to make their balance and focus more acute by focusing on one leg at a time. It stretches the thighs and shoulders and opens up the chest and lungs. Yoga has been crucial for @gillianmicah’s recovery from an eating disorder: "It helps relieve stress and calm your body down. I would highly suggest it regularly."

Inversions

pameladiazfc's forearm stand and elivkaa's handstand are both excellent examples of yoga inversions. Practicing yoga encourages us to “shake it off”, if you will: to break from habit or routine. Inversions are yoga's way of dramatically increasing blood and oxygen flow to our upper extremities. This reportedly accentuates mental concentration, cognitive functioning, and memory. If you’re stressed out over exams, assignments, or particularly a heavy workload, take a gander at inversions. 

Partner Poses

@minimimi26’s resolution for the year is to incorporate yoga into her fitness routine. She only just began to practice this year! Having a workout buddy helps to keep her accountable. Similarly, @beckydirsch has been using the benefits of partner yoga to help perfect her inversions and balance.

Side Angle Pose

@ramo5678’s side angle pose is perfect if you are sedentary for most of the day (office chair and library desk-dwellers, we’re talking to you). This pose will open up your chest, lungs, spine, and shoulders while strengthening your lower half. It will help to prepare your stabilizing muscles to perform more advanced poses.

Crow pose

@linds_3’s crow pose is something of a feat. She’s been working on it for awhile and gleefully shared the progress that she made since August 2014. "I could barely get my toes off the floor in the summer, but now I can hold it for a second and my technique is much better!," she exclaimed. "I can see strength in my arms and shoulders. I had no idea I had improved on this pose so much! That is why it is so important to keep track of your progress."

Lotus Pose

@bangerz10’s meditative position helps to calm the mind. Do this if you need a break! It’s a perfect pose for reflection. You’ll be able to align your intentions with your actions the more you meditate.

Check out our full #MyResolution photo challenge here

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Regardless of whether you practice yoga or not, share a photo of your favourite pose, or of one that you’re excited to build up to in order to win some PumpUp Swag. Here’s PumpUp’s fantastic @jenac, she aspires to be a future yoga instructor, keep her pumped!

Find the full challenge here: http://blog.pumpup.co/tagged/challenge

Supercharge 2015 with Superfoods

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By Gillian B

With a brand new year upon us, most of us are ready to press the reset button. Typically, this includes: setting some resolutions, getting a gym membership or even a trainer and going on an extreme diet. But what happens come Feburary?! Like clockwork, most of us have fallen off the health wagon and reverted back to our old ways…

In search of something more true to me, I started thinking ‘out of the box.’ Instead, I like to look at this time of the year as the end of a growth cycle and the beginning of the next wave of new experiences and opportunities.  Its time to let go, step out of the safety our comfort zone and allow for exciting (and scary) new things to come our way. With that said, I want to share some ancient secrets with you and challenge you to try something new! Are you ready?

Most of us already know that a big part of healthy living is making sure we are giving our bodies the best fuel we possibly can! Incorporating high quality ingredients into your meals will take you a long way to feeling good, but why not take it a step further and feel THE BEST EVER! Let me introduce you to your new best friends… Superfoods are a special food group found in nature that are ESPECIALLY beneficial for the body. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.

While every superfood has it’s own strengths, generally they protect your body from disease, help your body manage stress, support healthy bones and tissues and even improve your memory!

Nearly every culture in the world has some sort of superfood, whether it’s the Goji Berries from China, Maca Root from Peru or Chaga mushroom from the forests of Siberia, these nutritional powerhouses have been used as medicine and touted for their healing properties for centuries!

Want to learn more? Good news!

At the end of March, 2015, I am hosting a Yoga + Superfood Retreat in beautiful San Marcos, Guatemala!! There we will be practicing yoga, hiking in the jungle, playing in the sun, swimming in the salt water and learning all about superfoods and how to incorporate them into your daily routine. 

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Never considered a retreat? Well, now is the time. Remember: try something new!

You will learn all about the healing powers of superfoods such as:

Goji Berries: are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth! Native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, these little babies are a complete source of protein, are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, AND are high in fiber. POW!

Maca: Well known for it ability to boost energy, endurance and stamina, the Peruvian root, Maca has been used for centuries as a tonic for sexual function and hormone balancing.  It is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. It creamy taste goes nicely in energy balls, coconut MACAroons, chocolate elixirs and smoothies!

Hemp Seeds: They are the most nutritious seed in the world! Hemp Seeds are also a complete protein and just the right balance of essential fatty acids. Raw hemp provides a broad spectrum of health benefits and are perfect to throw on top of salads, soups, in energy balls and smoothties!

Chia Seeds: Originally cultivated and used by the Mexica, chia seeds  are a complete source of easily digestible, plant-based protein. As well as a great source of essential fatty acids, a rich source of calcium, 3 X more iron than spinach, 15 X more magnesium than broccoli and 64 % more potassium than banana! The insoluble, gelatinous fibre aids digestion and cleanses the digestive tract. I use chia seeds everyday in my superfood elixirs or in my go-to breakfast of chia pudding!

On the retreat we will learn about more superfoods like:

  • spirulina
  • chlorella
  • medicinal mushrooms
  • ancient herbs
  • and MORE!

This retreat will be the perfect combination of relaxation, education and healing… I hope that you can join us! For more information click here and feel free to email me through the contact form on my site with any questions.

I can’t wait to share all my tips, tricks and creative recipes with you!

See you in the sunshine…

Gillian

Top photo via nutritionstripped

If you can turn your New Year’s resolution into a lifestyle, you're on the right track.

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This is a post by PumpUp member fitnessriss (@carissamarie2 on the pumpupapp).

New Year’s Resolutions, they are indeed a cast of hope with every New Year that comes; they bring people that extra motivation – “New year, new me.”

I see the promise that comes with a New Year’s Resolution, but I believe that a resolution is something you make permanent. We tend to make a resolution and fall back on it or we try for a while, then we forget, and come up with new resolutions that go through the same circle.

If you can turn your New Year’s resolution into a lifestyle, then you are on the right track. Most resolutions are directed towards health, fitness, and overall wellness – which are ideals that should last, because a healthy lifestyle is the right lifestyle. 

My resolution is to become fully vegan and keep bettering myself in yoga, meditation, reading, writing, and drawing; all of which I love and hope to commit myself to. Another resolution that is more personal for me is to look at myself with more admiration and only see beauty, instead of thinking negative thoughts about my body or my appearance.

Your resolution should be one that will help you to see more clearly. Your resolution should be something you’ve wanted to do all your life, if you’ve been telling yourself that you want to draw or play an instrument. Do it. Nothing and nobody can stop you from achieving exactly that. If it’s to lose 10 pounds, do so, but keep eating right and making those healthy decisions. If you say that you’re never going to drink again, that’s amazing, keep that dear to your heart, because it can only benefit you. School, work, family are all important aspects of life, but your happiness and accomplishing goals or changing your life for the better is even more important than anything.

If you’re not doing what you love, you’re not truly living. Set a resolution that is going to help you grow, open your mind, feel healthier, and soften your soul. If we keep our healthy resolutions it can branch off into something larger than life and inspire the next generations to do the same; little by little creating healthier lives everywhere.

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#MyResolution #Day7: Lunge it out! Add a little jump when you switch between legs to make this a killer plyometric move! We’d love you to share a photo of awesome lunge variations. Here’s PumpUp member @akvile’s beautiful picture: she usually does 3 sets of 15 lunges on each leg. Find the full #MyResolutionJanuary photo challenge at http://blog.pumpup.co/tagged/challenge!