Blog

Welcome to the home of my musings, rants and open discussions on alignment, posture, pain prevention, yoga, recovery (and anything else that is worthy).

BE Where You ARE

Why is it so hard to just be where you, the moment that you're there? This past week, I was lucky enough to travel around Rome and Naples. Each time that I was looking at the art around me, in churches and museums others were taking pictures of the artifacts, sculptures or paintings and then walking away. I guess they were going to 'look' at the art when they got home through the filter of their camera lens. 


When we have the opportunity to just pause and actually see what we have already seen in pictures, why is it so difficult to let that be enough? 


Do we need proof that we were there? But if you're actually there, isn't that proof enough? When we get home and show off our proof, can we actually talk about what we saw? Can we describe the feeling of standing in front of Michelangelo sculpture? Can we portray in words the details of the drapery, the nuances in the underlying facial structures, the emotions behind the sculptor?


If we stand in front of something long enough and allow the moment of seeing something truly sink in, the 'proof' is in the focus and the discipline to be in each moment. Fully present in each moment. The reward is in stilling ourselves long enough to enjoy each breath, each feeling, each thought, each emotions for what it truly is and be okay with what comes up.


Looking at art is a meditation. The painter, sculpture and architect put all of their focus into the design and composition. It's almost as if that focus can be distilled into us as the viewer. True appreciation of others and their work should be our goal, just as the true teachings of meditation can come from true appreciation of each moment.


If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Italy, any country for that matter, or even at a museum in your town, pause and take stock of your thoughts. Are you actually looking at the art or looking at those around you wanting their appreciation of you 'appreciating' the art? In the meantime, try this meditation.


Mindfulness Meditation

First, take your seat. This seat should be comfortable and upright (two middle pictures above illustrate some variations). Feel supported in your position but not rigid. Second, place your attention on your breath. Your breath should not be manipulated in any way. This is your opportunity to practice focusing on one thing; training your mind to not wander off. Third, when thoughts arise, without judgment, label them with a blanket statement of 'thoughts'. There is no one thought is better or worse than another, this label will keep equanimity amongst them. :) I suggest beginning with a 5 minute meditation practice.

If you want something a bit outside of the box, take a walking meditation or try a yin class!

 

*Above photos by Sergio Remon Alvarez. Pink tights and grey tank top by My Inner Fire. If you'd like 15% off their goods, use my code kirstent in the checkout!
 

You're Only as STRONG as Your Recovery

Recovery days will increase your energy output every day, boost your immune response and help you maximize your training days. By giving your body an opportunity to rest, you will:

  • Improve hormone levels
  • Improve tissue health
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Lower chances of overuse injuries

Do you find yourself training every day for your goals and never quite reaching them? My dad used to say, 'winners never quit' but he never finished that sentence. It should have continued on to say, 'but they do take a day off'. Rest days are a necessary element to your training recipe and will boost your game exponentially! Start to incorporate the three S's (Self Massage, Sleep, and Stretch) into your game plan!

 

Self Massage

Working on toe extension will help to improve your gait while walking and running. Using the Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball under the big toe, work towards getting all four little toes to stay on the ground.

Working on toe extension will help to improve your gait while walking and running. Using the Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball under the big toe, work towards getting all four little toes to stay on the ground.

Your calves can hold a lot of tension just by the way you hold yourself (your posture). Placing a PLUS size therapy ball behind the knee will begin to stimulate a release in the gastrocnemius. For added sensation, use your hands to squeeze the ball between the calf and the hamstrings.

Your calves can hold a lot of tension just by the way you hold yourself (your posture). Placing a PLUS size therapy ball behind the knee will begin to stimulate a release in the gastrocnemius. For added sensation, use your hands to squeeze the ball between the calf and the hamstrings.

Placing one therapy ball on the left Quadratus Lumborum (just slightly left of the spine, between the hip crest and the rib cage), just squeeze your knee into the chest and the gradually release it.

Placing one therapy ball on the left Quadratus Lumborum (just slightly left of the spine, between the hip crest and the rib cage), just squeeze your knee into the chest and the gradually release it.

Sleep

I'm guilty of this one, but I'm working on it. We all know that sleep is important but who really listens (especially in a city like New York). Sleep is actually a detoxifier for your brain; check out this study! In addition to helping the body heal itself and clean out toxins, getting enough sleep will lead to a decrease in body fat. If you have a night that doesn't result in enough sleep, try some yoga nidra

Stretch

I always tell my students that your muscles can only be as strong as they are supple. It's simple science, in order for a muscle to contract, it has to be able to lengthen. Set aside at least 15min after a training session to stretch. Each stretch should take the joint through a full range of motion. See below for a few examples and try to linger in each for at least 3 minutes. Stretching will also send fresh blood to the muscles, hydrate the fascia and help remove toxins—just like self massage and sleep!

Transform your training, body and life; switch to recovery mode!

 

credits: all photos by Sergio Remon Alvarez. Tank top from Spiritual Ganster, shoes by Nike and leggings from My Inner Fire. Use the code kirstent for 15% off your order at myinnerfire.com!