Exercise · Yoga

Two Stretches That Can Be Done In a Yoga Hammock

I’m ready for the weekend, even though I probably won’t do much. I’m going to try and stay off of my computer though, aside from the couple things I want to do on it. Or maybe I’ll just leave them until Monday.

I’ve spent the week working on some digital paper packs for my Etsy shop and to sell on Gumroad. Figuring out Affinity Designer has made my brain hurt.

And that’s why I’m now sitting in my yoga hammock and writing this post. I do like the gentle swaying motion; noticeable enough without making me feel nauseous.

I started by sitting in a saddle pose (one leg on either side of the hammock ), then stretched each leg out. The fabric is supporting my back, bum, and each leg. As I’m writing, I’m stretching my legs as far apart as I can, holding for about 30 seconds, then slowly bringing them back together. I can feel the pull in my inner thighs, which tells me I should be doing more stretching than I have been.

My next exercise is to put the bottoms of my feet together and bring them as close to my bum as I can. I can feel the pull in my inner thighs as well as my outer thighs. Even though the movements are slow and controlled, I can feel the burn.

As I have been doing the poses I have realized two things. One is that I have neglected to be consistent with my stretching, and two, it gets very hot in here when the fabric is closed at the top. As I stretch my legs outward I can feel the cooler air.

I know I probably couldn’t sit in this position for long if I was on my mat, so for me the yoga hammock helps me do more than I could otherwise. The downside is it’s so comfortable that I want to take a nap.

Have you had the opportunity to try a yoga hammock? Let me know in the comments below, and have a wonderful weekend.

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 · Low-impact workout · Weight loss · Workout · Yoga

How Long Should My Workouts Be?

I don’t know about you, but everywhere I see exercise programs advertised there’s always a huge time commitment needed. Let’s face it, we all don’t have an extra hour or three to dedicate to exercise.

Everyone is looking for that “magic number” when it comes to how often and how long your workouts should be. I’m not one to give you a definitive number, because in all honesty, my thought is this: any exercise is better than none.

I’m also not saying go hard for two minutes and then don’t do anything else for the rest of the week, because that doesn’t work either.

5 Factors to consider.

When starting any workout, there are a few things you should consider before you go all in.

  1. Your current state of health. This is something many people overlook when starting an exercise program, and it can have detrimental effects. If you have any health condition it’s always better to consult your physician first.
  2. How active you are now. If your activity levels aren’t high, don’t push yourself too hard right off the start. Not only do you risk injury, but you also risk giving up altogether when you ache for days after. I have been in this position one too many times, which is why I am starting slow this time around.
  3. What you want to achieve. Do you want to be more physically fit? Or do you want to lose weight? Be realistic in your goal and timeframe in which to achieve it. Don’t set a goal that’s impossible to reach, such as losing 20 pounds in a week. That’s not only hard to do, but also not a healthy weight loss. (A healthy weight loss is around two pounds per week.)
  4. How much time you can realistically devote to a workout. If your job takes up 10 hours of your day, plus you have home and family responsibilities, don’t expect to have a one hour workout on top of it all. That’s not going to pan out more often than not. And face it, if you’re that busy you’re going to need to rest at night, not overtax your body.
  5. What you enjoy doing. This is something that’s often overlooked when one begins a new workout routine. Make it something you enjoy, such a walking, yoga, pilates, swimming, or hiking. I like walking and yoga, so I know I won’t stick to going to the gym if I got a membership. Plus, I prefer to do my workouts on my own. Joining a group is not my thing. Do what works for you; not what others say you should do.
Consistency is key.

As with most things in life, we get better results when we work at something regularly. The path to being healthier is no different.

Instead of changing your eating habits or workout schedule drastically, make little changes. Add a few extra veggies to your plate. Cut back on the sweet desserts and try fresh fruit instead. Spend 10 minutes walking in place instead of an hour, and work your way up.

The point is to do something, anything, to get to where you want to be. For example:

Say your goal is to do a low-impact workout for an hour five days a week. That’s great, but if you’re not used to doing a workout for an hour you risk injury (yes, even doing a low-impact workout). Plus you also may find it more of a chore than time taken for yourself. Start with a 10 minute workout a couple times a day, and work your way up to the hour five times a week. Chances are you’ll find the shorter sessions more doable.

Find a time that works for you too. Such as 10 minutes before your workday starts, a 10 minute workout during lunch, and another 10-20 minutes in the evening. With breaking it up you’ve done 30-40 minutes in a day, and given your body the little boost to raise your metabolism so you burn more calories for a longer period.

There’s no set time limits on yoga or low-impact workouts. My advice to you is to do what works best for you. If 20 minutes at a time works, by all means, go for it. If you only have 10 minutes, you’re still moving and raising your heart rate. And as I said earlier, any exercise is better than none.

Move your body, raise your heart rate, and you’ll see changes in how your clothes fit. Be kind to your body, but also be consistent.

My workouts tend to be 10 minutes at a time, and I’m trying to get at least three or four in each day. The motivator is usually when my Fitbit tells me I’ve been sitting in my chair for too long.

What type of workout schedule has worked for you? Let me know in the comments.

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.

Exercise · Weight loss · Yoga

Welcome to 50 Something Yoga!

Hi there, and welcome to 50 Something Yoga!

I have started this blog for two reasons:

1. To help others improve flexibility, lose weight, and enjoy their workouts; and 

2. To share my own journey from the ground up.

Now before I get into it, I want to say that I’m not a yoga instructor or fitness trainer of any sort. Doing any of the exercises and poses I discuss is at your own risk. If you’re concerned about starting a new program, please consult your healthcare provider.

I just want to lose some weight and get in better shape, so it’s time to take my health into my own hands. And it’s time to become a more fit, healthier version of myself.

Truth be told, I do not like an exercise program that leaves me achy and unable to move for days after. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one either. Most exercise programs I have tried do not work well with my bad knees and hips. The high impact stuff just doesn’t work for me, and I feel worse instead of better.

I’ve done yoga off and on over the years and it has helped when I’ve been consistent. The downside was I let everything else in life take precedence, and am pretty much back to square one. Now that I’m 54 1/2ish, getting back in shape is even harder; but I know it’s not impossible.

Now for a little background information that has led me to where I am. On May 5, 2020 I became a widow. I was in shock, disbelief, and suddenly on my own.

I resigned from my job, spent my days crying, angry, and alone. My kids tried to be with me when they could, but they had jobs and lives of their own. Plus they were also grieving the loss of their step-dad, so it wasn’t easy for them either.

I initially lost about 20 lbs, but none of it was a healthy loss. Sometimes cereal was just easier to eat than to make a meal for just one. I lost my desire to cook, and even when I did I didn’t eat much of what I made.

Fast forward to November 2022. I’m in a relationship, became a grandma in March, sold the home my late husband and I shared, and bought an acreage in a different county: most of the changes happening this year. And somewhere along the way, I gained back all I lost plus some extra.

As I adjust to my new life in my new home it’s also time to put myself first. And if I want to keep up with my granddaughter, I need to lose some weight and become more fit.

My journey started around the third week of November when I came across some low impact workouts. I have combined them with yoga, and am beginning to notice a difference even after a short time.

My goal with this blog is not to tell you what should work, but to show you what actually does. And what better way than to document it as I go? 

I’d love for you to join me in my journey, and walk with me every step of the way.

Here I am at 5’4″ and 180 lbs on November 28/22.

My first milestone is to be at 175 lbs by Christmas.

Where are you in your weight loss and/or flexibility journey? Let me know in the comments below or email me at info@50somethingyoga.ca if you prefer.