Posts Tagged ‘Yoga and Wellness’

Wellness Wednesday: solidcore (the hardest workout in Washington, D.C.)

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A few weeks ago I participated in a class at solidcore. The class has been touted by many people, including my fitness trainer friends as the hardest workout in Washington, D.C.. At first I was skeptical and then I watched the video and became afraid, very afraid. I was still excited to try the workout and glad I put my fear on the back burner.

A few of my blogging friends were at the studio with me so we bonded over fear, sweat, and a kick butt instructor, Alex. I sweated so hard and at times I thought I had been dipped into a pool. I will say it was the hardest workout I have ever done in my life. I’ve taken hardcore exercise classes in New York and L.A. and this one kicked my butt and took everything out of me. There were times I thought I was going to throw up. I pushed through it. And guess what? I loved every single minute, second, and drop of sweat of it.

I was sore for three days after the class and all I can think about is figuring out a way to make solidcore a part of my lifestyle a few days a week.

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{This is after I dried off and was still trying to look cute}

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Wellness Wednesday: ClassPass for Fitness

{Photo by Jackie Garcia Photography}

Have you heard about ClassPass? It’s a pass to visit various studios and gyms in your area and take all your favorite classes for one set monthly price. Over the past few months I have been able to test out ClassPass and guess what? I am in deep LOVE. Barre, Pilates, yoga oh my!

First off there are a variety of exercises I want to participate in like TRX, Core Power Yoga, spinning and dance. Well, ClassPass allows me to do that. I can take a Monday, 8:00am Pilates, a Wednesday, TRX, my favorite Saturday, 8:30am Heated Core Power Yoga and a chill Sunday yoga class. All you do is reserve the classes online or with their app. Easy breezy.

I will say you have to live in a major metro area to participate in the classes (sorry to my readers in the suburbs). If you commute into the city I still think it’s worth it because there are classes all day. I know most of the fitness classes here in DC cost on average $20 per class so this is a steal. My only drawback? You can only visit the same studio three times in a membership cycle which means I have to make a strategic plan on my classes. It is still worth it in my opinion.

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga Download ~ Online Yoga Classes

Yoga Download

Many of you know I’m a yogi and yoga teacher. I am always trying to find new ways to enhance my practice and like to practice at different studios although I have my main studio in DC. Because the weather has been so crazy I decided to try yoga at home via my computer with Yoga Download. There are many online classes and I have decided to try one out every few months to see which one I like the most. First up, Yoga Download.

Yoga Download offers a variety of teachers and a variety of styles.  I will say I have enjoyed practicing with teachers such as Ana Forrest (super hard), Ashtanga, Baptiste, Vinyasa (the style I mainly practice), and more. Classes start at just $10 a month for streaming, but you can pay more if you want to download particular classes to keep forever and can be played without a Wi-Fi connection.

I will admit it felt weird looking at a screen to practice yoga, but after a few times trying the classes I was able to follow along without looking at times. I’m working on lots of strength training through yoga and contemplating getting rid of my gym membership now that the weather is about to get better. I really rather be outside working out.

As with any exercise programing please take it easy. I know we see these glorious mind-blowing yoga poses, but if you aren’t warmed up and listening to your body you can hurt yourself.

Om Pretty!

Wellness Wednesday: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution DVDs

Jillian Michaels

I don’t know about you but it’s been hard to go to the gym. It’s not about working out it’s about being in the building. We’ve had a relatively mild summer here and I loved being outdoors. I loved walking around in the heat. Yes, in the heat and not worrying about did I get to the gym. The outside was the gym. I’ve been thinking do I really want to keep my membership this fall. I used it a lot in the winter, but the timing of the classes that I want to take are only on the weekends. Part of me says yes, but the other side wants me to start using DVDs to see if I actually like working out at home.

I can work from home and be productive, but I’ve started and stopped DVDs for years. I remember this past winter trying to get motivated to leave my house when it was 10 degrees outside. I did it because I signed up for a spring race, but now I’m like whatever. That won’t be happening again.

Once I’m back from Hawaii I’m giving Jillian Michaels Body Revolution to the test. I’m a fan of Jillian. In her videos she doesn’t come off yelling. It is very different from her TV persona. She is very motivational and encouraging. I get the yelling and being tough works for some, but at home no one needs to be yelling at all.

Do you work out in a gym, home or outside? Which do you prefer?

GIVEAWAY: Manduka LiveOn Adult and Kids Yoga Mat


I don’t have children, but if I did you can bet they would be little yogis. Since I don’t I have partnered with the lovely people at Manduka to do a giveaway of their LiveON Yoga Mats. I have an adult and kids LiveON Yoga mat to give away to a random individual who wants to get their yoga on. Yep, two mats. The mats are 100% recycled material and have amazing grip. You don’t have worry that if you sweat a lot in class this will be a slip-n-side. It’s also a great way to get your kids involved in yoga.

The contest runs from today until next Wednesday. The giveaway runs for one week and you can enter as many times as you like.

Good luck and OM on!

[contesthopper contest=”4021″]

Reading Pretty: Sadie Nardini’s 21-Day Yoga Body

Sadie Nardini

I have been following Sadie Nardini since I first discovered yoga. She is an in your face, fun, and very different type of yoga teacher. And I love it. She’s different from what I thought a yoga teacher should be. Now, as a teacher myself I completely get her. She is unapologetically Sadie. I spent a Saturday evening plowing through her 21-Day Yoga Body book. While reading this book I felt I was sitting somewhere in Italy, having an amazing dinner, a glass of a Barolo or Sangiovese, and lots of laughter.

Sadie has this funny and lovable side from her videos that came out in the book. I don’t know any body books that recommend wine with your meals as part of your yoga. Her direction for yoga poses are equally as cute. I had no idea about a Stilet-toeasana, but now I do after reading the book – “pointed through the ball of the foot, with the toes pulled back as if you were wearing high heals.”

We both agree that a bath is the best thing for relaxation, but I don’t recommend reading this book in the tub. You want to enjoy this on a yoga mat, in the kitchen, or sipping a glass of wine. I can’t wait to take a class or workshop with this fun teacher.

Reading Pretty: Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan by Alanna Kaivalya

Sacred Sound

The word mantra means many things to many people. If you log on to Instagram you see tons of them every day. They are words used to motivate and inspire. In many yoga classes a particular mantra is OM. Most people don’t know what these words mean so they either embrace them or are uncomfortable with them.

Alanna Kaivalya’s new book Sacred Sound : Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra & Kirtan is for you. Alanna goes deep with her explanation of the words, what they mean, and how to pronounce them. I’ve been on Alanna’s virtual library to enhance my mantra pronunciations. I feel like I’m back in school. Yoga school that is.

When I first started yoga there was no way I would recite any of the mantras. I just didn’t go there. The more I practiced yoga and the more comfortable I became with mantra and kirtan I made them part of my meditation and yoga practice. I have even found myself practicing at home, chanting, and singing.

I loved Alanna’s first book The Myth of the Asanas which explained the meaning of some of yoga’s most popular poses and I knew Sacred Sound would be another winner. Alanna says this about the myths of yoga. “Because every myth illustrates some kind of human truth, every myth calls out to what is enlivened inside our own psyche. Every myth helps us to realize and bring about our true potential. This is the power of mythology. We find some kernel or ultimate truth in every story — a lighthouse that guides us home. The myths that speak to us are the ones we should listen to and follow… no matter what version we know. If it calls to our soul, we should follow it.

Listen to Alanna explain Sacred Sound.


Om Pretty!

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga Journal Live! Conference ~ New York

I was still recovering from my California jaunt when the invitation to attend the Yoga Journal Live! Conference in New York came into my inbox. I could not say no. I changed some plans, bought travel tickets, and decided that the best thing would be to stay with family in Queens. Yes, it would be a big commute every day back and forth, but it’s all good. I would be in a zen place after all that yoga. Zen, tired, and achy was more like it.

The conference did something for me I didn’t expect. It reignited my love of the practice. I’m now back to #yogaeverydamnday and my body thanks me. I really don’t think running is good for me anymore. I can see a few races a year, but the day to day running doesn’t work. I see more walking, yoga, and swimming.

I was excited to take classes with teachers I only see online like Seane Corn, Vinnie Marino, and Amy Ippoliti. I finally met Tracye Warfield. Our mutual friend Tressa has been trying to get us to meet up for a few years now and we finally did. She’s a gem and I’m blessed to call her a true friend.

As an African-American woman who practices yoga it was hard to see that in 2014 the conference lacked diversity. There were only a handful of people of color, men, and older yogis. When I first came to yoga I could care less about being the only Black girl in the class. I was depressed and needed something. At that time I didn’t realize it was yoga. Everyone isn’t me. It also doesn’t help that yoga is only portrayed in body contorting poses by thin individuals. If you walk into most yoga studios you see people of all races, sizes, genders, and ages. It’s sad that it is not represented in mainstream media. Will I continue to attend yoga conferences, retreats, and workshops? Absolutely.

I get why it seems intimidating. Most people think of yoga as only the poses (asanas) they see. It’s more than that. I may never be able to put my foot behind my head, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. It is really for every body. I want to age gracefully and yoga helps with flexibility and stress. I hope to see you one day on the mat. I will be there with you rocking the hot pink lipstick.

Thank you Yoga Journal for the opportunity. See you in Florida. Om Pretty!

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 Already calendared Florida and New York. Who’s With Me?

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Aerial yoga. I can’t wait to take a class next month.

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A cool device to make sure you can open those young coconuts without hurting yourself

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Yoga Instructor Elena Brower


Yoga Instructor Elena Brower working her assisting magic.


Yoga Instructor Sadie Nardini


Free Community Yoga Class


Photobooth fun rocking prayer pose and hot pink lipstick

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A few new eco beauty goodies

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The joy of finally getting a class with Vinnie Marino

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Vinnie, you silver fox you.

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Yoga Instructors Kathryn Budig and TJ Hark demoing to Drunk in Love

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Amy Ippoliti breaking it down. My crow pose won’t be the same.

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I can’t wait to practice with Amy again. Making plans for 2015.

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Three brown girls in yoga poses. My new yogini crush Tracye

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My suggestion for a different type of Yoga Journal cover – 3 brown girls

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{Disclosure: My admission to the conference was complimentary. All opinions are my own.}

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