Exercise · Weight loss · Workout · Yoga

When Life Gets in the Way Just Keep Going.

I really do need to practice what I preach!

I thought I was doing so well, then I was committed to a project for several hours per day for the last week. My progress went for shit, and I think I weigh more now than I did before Christmas. If it wasn’t for my Fitbit telling me to get up and move, I know I would have had a lot less steps than I did.

I’m happy to say that project is now in a box in my Jeep, ready to be mailed to the publisher. It really has been a thorn in my side, but at the end of the day, it has also been the connection to my late husband’s roots. And for that I am grateful.

When I packaged up the USB, index cards, and family histories tonight, I was very ready for a glass of wine. But as ready as I was, I opted to have some milk instead. The fact I hadn’t eaten supper didn’t help, so I figured milk was the better choice.

It’s all about the choices we make, no matter what’s going on in life. We can choose the wine and overdo it; or we can choose the milk and give our bodies the vitamins and minerals it needs. I will be honest; had I chosen the wine I wouldn’t be writing this post. I’d probably be playing Yahtzee or one of my other games on my iPad.

Granted, sometimes we don’t have any control over what happens. And it’s those times that we have to be thankful for the times we do have options. I know that by making even the simplest decisions I am helping myself become a better person. That’s not to say I won’t choose the wine tomorrow, but not having it tonight proves I don’t need it to celebrate a project completed.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Tonight was also the first time in over a week that I did anything with my yoga hammock besides use it to balance myself when I was taking off my jeans. It felt good to stretch out in it and do a few easy poses. I like it for the Bridge Pose because it’s much easier on my spine than when I’m on the floor.

I also like to stretch my sides by curling to my right, then my left while laying on my back in the hammock. It’s essentially the same thing as standing on the floor and leaning to one side or the other, but with a better stretch because you don’t have to keep your balance in check. At least that’s my opinion.

You may think I’m choosing the easy way, but for me it works. And that’s what it’s all about; choosing whatever works for us at this point in time. Don’t let others tell you what you should be doing, such as a full cardio workout when your body isn’t ready. Take your time, but also give yourself a little push further with each workout.

I generally do five reps of the Bridge Pose, but tonight I did ten. Will I feel it in the morning? Yes, most likely. But I’ll have also given my muscles the extra stretch they’ve needed, since so many hours have been spent sitting in my computer chair and bent over a stack of papers at the table.

As I wrap up this rambly post, I’ll leave you with this: no matter how far you think you’ve fallen behind with your workouts or what have you, you can always choose to start again. It’s okay to be back at square one, because life happens. What’s not okay is to give up.

What do you do when you have a setback? Let me know in the comments below.

Exercise · Workout · Yoga

Benefits of a Yoga Hammock

Yoga hammocks are becoming increasingly popular as a means of enhancing yoga and exercise routines. If you’re looking for a way to take your practice to the next level, a yoga hammock may be just what you need! From improved body alignment and flexibility to increased core strength, the benefits of incorporating a yoga hammock into your routine are numerous. Not only does it provide an extra layer of support, but it adds a fun new dimension to any exercise session.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

How to set up

The most important part of setting up is to make sure you have a solid structure for your hammock. Without a strong support you can easily be injured if the hammock falls while you’re using it. If you’re unsure of the structural integrity of the ceiling in your home, or screwing in mounting brackets is not an option it’s best to get a frame designed for yoga hammocks.

I own my home so do not have to worry about losing a security deposit because of the holes I drilled into my trusses. Even with following all of the installation instructions for the mounting brackets, I was still apprehensive about putting all of my weight in the hammock for the first time. Slow and steady is the way to go, and listen for any creaks or groans and the sound of wood splitting. Fortunately I didn’t have any trouble, and I was able to begin using my hammock shortly after installation.

Different exercises

Yoga hammocks have been gaining traction in the fitness industry, especially amongst yogis and aerialists alike. They offer a unique way to build flexibility and balance while having fun at the same time. If you’re interested in adding a yoga hammock to your practice, you’ll need some exercises to get started. Here are just a few of our favorite moves that you can do with your yoga hammock!

The first move is an inverted pull-up; it’s great for building strength and stability as well as improving your balance. Start by lying down on the floor beneath the hammock, then grab onto either side of it with both hands. Inhale deeply and use your core strength to pull yourself up into an inverted position, suspending yourself above the ground for a few seconds before gradually lowering back down again.

The tension of the fabric supports your weight as you move through different positions, allowing a greater range of motion than on solid ground. As well as stretching out tight muscles and strengthening weak ones, it also helps to build strong core muscles which is important for maintaining good balance. With each exercise you can feel yourself getting stronger and more flexible while having fun at the same time!

Three other popular poses are the Rainbow, Deep Swing, and Straddle Superman. The Rainbow pose involves stretching forward in the hammock while extending the legs and back behind you. For the Deep Swing pose, the feet come together in front of you and the chest lowers into the fabric. This pose provides an intense stretch for the shoulders, hips, and spine. The Straddle Superman pose is great for flexibility and strength as you pull yourself up by your arms with a flat back in an upright position from a seated position on the hammock. Try these yoga hammock poses today – your body will thank you.

My new yoga hammock.
Safety tips

One of the most important things to do before using your yoga hammock is to ensure its stability. If you have yours mounted in the ceiling with brackets, give it a steady tug (no sharp yanks) before you start each time. If using a frame, be sure the legs are all in the proper position and that all parts are in place. No matter how many times you’ve used it, take the couple of minutes to be sure all is still stable and in place. Your safety is #1.

One thing to keep in mind is to always ease into your hammock gently. It’s better for you and the fabric to not have any jarring movements. Even if you’re using a frame, plopping down into the hammock can cause unsteadiness. A yoga hammock is much the same as an outdoor hammock; ease into it, otherwise you could end up on your butt on the ground/floor.

Something else to keep in mind is to be sure you have enough clearance if you’re practicing inversion moves. Be sure the base of the hammock is high enough so when you do your flip you don’t hit your head on the floor. Having a crash mat is beneficial, so if you do slip the shock is absorbed.

Benefits for yoga

Yoga is a great way to stay healthy, gain strength, and find inner peace. Practicing yoga on a yoga hammock is even more beneficial, as it has many added benefits that help your yoga practice. A yoga hammock helps build strength and stability in the body by allowing for controlled movements with the support of the fabric, making poses easier to access and achieve. It increases muscular coordination and reflex response by encouraging you to use multiple muscles simultaneously in order to maintain balance. Additionally, the fabric helps open up hard to reach muscles, providing a deeper stretch than is possible on most mats.

Benefits for exercise

Incorporating a yoga hammock into your fitness routine can be an excellent way to increase strength and muscle tone. This type of equipment allows for easy flexibility training, targeting difficult-to-reach areas and supporting body weight in order to really challenge the muscles. Designed for stretching and strength building, this piece of equipment can work wonders for anyone’s strength training regime. You’ll also enjoy the feeling of being suspended and relieved from gravity – a sensation that is just out of this world. There are no downsides to including a yoga hammock in your next workout.

Wrapping it up

Yoga hammocks are a great way to enhance your yoga or exercise routine. They provide support and add a fun new dimension to any session. If you’re looking for a way to take your practice to the next level, consider incorporating a yoga hammock into your routine. Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you used a yoga hammock before? Let me know what you thought!

Exercise · Workout · Yoga

Creating a Space for Your Yoga and Workouts

I don’t know about you, but I find it’s easier to stick to a workout routine when the space is ready to go whenever I am. It’s easy to just say “I’ll do it later” when there’s some prep work needed to do a workout or yoga.

Yoga Benefits

Before I get started with creating your space, I want to share some of the benefits yoga has to offer.

Firstly, it can greatly improve flexibility. You may not be able to put your feet behind your head the first day (I know I can’t), but if you work at it it’s a possibility. Truth be told, I’m not even sure I was that flexible as a kid. My luck I’d probably get stuck in that position. 😀

Secondly, it can improve balance. I don’t know about you, but I find the older I get the more my balance seems off. Some days I’m afraid to get up on the stepstool to reach things; especially if there’s nothing close by to steady myself. I’m looking forward to not having to worry about teetering to one side or another.

Thirdly, it can improve posture. I am the first to admit my posture isn’t the greatest, and sitting at my computer for hours sometimes doesn’t help my cause one bit. The poses focus on posture, breathing, and steadiness, so I see it as a win no matter what.

There are other benefits as well, such as weight loss, mindfulness, strength, and more. I’ll get into more of those as time goes on. For now though I’m going to get on with what you’ll need.

Beneficial Equipment

When it comes to yoga, you really don’t need any equipment, but having a few things is definitely helpful.

If you’re going to invest in anything yoga, I suggest a good mat. There are several on the market, but they’re not all equal.

I have two types, and I prefer one over the other. If I could find the features of both in one mat I’d be happy. The first one is thicker, but is made from a smoother material, which means it slides all over. The second is my preference, although it’s thinner. It does, however, have a non-skid design. That in itself is a plus, because I really don’t like my feet sliding out from under me. I’m in search of a thicker, wider mat with the non-skid design.

Both of mine are standard size (6′ X 2′), but if you can get one that’s a little bigger I say go for it. The length is okay because I’m short, but it could be just a little wider. As it is now, when I lay on it my arms are generally touching the floor unless I have them pulled in close. Not a good size for a taller person, or if they’re a plus size.

Something else I recommend is a yoga block or two. If you don’t have one, a rolled up towel does the trick too, but I prefer the block because it doesn’t shift or unroll. It’s great for knee support and also head support when doing the on-your-side poses. I only have one block, but will be adding another to my arsenal in the not-too-distant future.

Aside from a yoga hammock (something I’ll get into in more detail in a future post), the mat and block is all I use. I haven’t invested in anything else as of yet, aside from resistance bands. I haven’t used them during my yoga practice though, so will leave them out of the equation for the time being. (I have used them as part of some shoulder exercises I needed to do for physiotherapy though.)

My mat and block; cat destruction not visible.
Preparing Your Space

When it comes to your space, you want it to be warm and comfortable. Temperature is a key component of an enjoyable yoga session. You don’t want to be in a drafty or cool room, because you won’t be able to fully relax if you’re shivering.

You also want it to be spacious enough to accomodate a mat, room for stretching out, and an extra foot or two for the lunges and warrior pose. And I don’t know about you, but no matter what I’m doing, I usually end up off the mat at some point during a yoga session or workout.

Designing The Space

As mentioned in the space prep above, you want enough room for movement. You’re also going to want it to feel welcoming and relaxing. If you’re fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to your yoga, you can paint and design it as you see fit. However, my guess is you’re taking up a corner of the living room or space in the bedroom to do your workouts. If that’s the case, read on to see how you can add comfort and style.

Adding Comfort & Style

Whether you have a room or just the corner of one, it’s important to be able to get into the ‘zone’ when it comes time for yoga or your workout. By adding a big cushion or two, an area rug (if you have hard flooring), an essential oil diffuser (or candles), and a folding screen (especially for shared spaces) you can create a welcoming space. Add a sound machine or turn on your music of choice, and get your yoga (or workout) on.

Although my new house is spacious, I have chosen to set up my space in my bedroom. The master suite is 16′ X 19.5′ so I have plenty of room for my bed, dressers, and workout area. Plus, if I have company coming over I don’t need to put anything away; just close the door. I also chose my bedroom as it is one of the warmer rooms in the house, especially now that winter is here.

Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

When it comes to cleaning your workout space, you don’t need to do anything aside from regular washing/vacuuming of floors, giving your mat a wipedown at least weekly (and more often if you’re getting your sweat on), and wiping down your blocks and other equipment. If it’s just you using it, a simple solution of vinegar and water or a mild cleaner is sufficient. You could use a sanitizing spray, but soap and water is fine.

If you’re sharing the space with others in your household, keep mats rolled up and tucked away. Using a laundry basket or hamper is ideal to keep your mat and equipment in so you and others aren’t tripping over it whenever you turn around. Just a word of advice: if you have cats put your mat in a bag of some sort to protect it. They love using yoga mats as scratching posts. (My cats now live outside, but when they were little they chose my yoga mat over the cat tree they were supposed to be using. And as I was taking the picture for this post, I realized my block has also seen some of their wrath.)

Wrapping it Up

Beginning yoga is one of the easiest things to do, and least costly. Having a designated space is nice, but the middle of your living room will work just as well. Get out your mat, blocks (or rolled towels), and music…and get your yoga on.

I’ll be going into detail on poses within the next couple of posts, but if you’re ready to start now there are plenty of videos on YouTube. (I’ll be linking to my own videos as I record them.)

Do you have a designated space for yoga and workouts, or do you have to share the space with others in your household? Let me know in the comments below.