Yoga for the SI joint and happy hips!

This is more just a series of poses/stretches that you can use to relieve tension in your lower back and hips, not as much of a full-on Flow.

There were plenty of outtakes for this little photoshoot:
Screaming in A’s face while he tries to take my picture…
Why does this hair always look like it needs to be brushed? It’s the law of Erin. And again with the yelling!

But enough with that child’s play, right?! 🙂 The pics here are just kind of… ehh. So when I do the MindBodyGreen version, there will be some better illustrations. In the meantime, let’s do this! Keep in the mind that for each stretch you’ll want to try to hold for about a minute. Here we go!

Pigeon. Keep in mind you’ll want to repeat on both sides, but start in Down Dog and…

– Bring your right knee through to meet your hands. So your front knee is slightly bent and the foot is flexed.
– Ideally your hips are square, facing in front of you.
 Bound Angle. Well, this one ended up being a semi-outtake, but the focus here is my legs!
– Soles of feet together, knees dropping towards the floor, and pelvis tilting forward. You should feel a deep stretch through the hip flexors and hamstrings. If you’re extra tight, you’ll even feel a gentle pull down the lower back into the glutes.
– Be sure to sit up tall so the shoulders stack over the hips.Half Happy Baby. Usually this is NOT a good thing, but in for our purposes, it’s glorious! 😉– Reach for the sole of one foot and bend the knee so it comes up right beneath your armpit, and it should settle right next to the ribs. The opposite leg does NOT have to be straight – you can keep the knee bent with the foot on the floor to take off some of the intensity.

Cat. Normally you’d do this as a cat/cow sequence and you absolutely still can. But, since the “cow” version flexes the back muscles and the “cat” part stretches, I figured to only show you this one.

– Line hips over knees and shoulders over wrists
– Squeeze naval to spine and press palms firmly to the ground
– Round out upper back to you arch like a sassy kitty 😉 (Yes, I just said that!)

*This one also takes the strain out of the lumbar spine by drawing the tailbone down longer, so you’ll feel a great release there, too
Forward Fold. Simple enough, but really puts space between the vertebrae to strrrretch ’em out and lengthen all the muscles of the trunk.

– Bend the knees enough so you can rest the chest on the thighs
– Let the arms hang heavy but keep drawing the shoulders away from the ears (this is important because it keeps the neck long, so the spine runs straight and lax from the tail to the base of the neck. Otherwise you’ll end up letting the shoulders slump forward which compresses the neck.)

 Enjoy!!!
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Gun Show

Have you worked out your arms today? We did! Sometimes life gives you lemons and other times it gives you biceps:

1. Scrub your kitchen floor like you’re mad at it. (I don’t know about you, but just seeing that the mop is waiting for me makes me scowl.)
I think I hear the Jaws music…

2. Go upsidedown.
3. Make a pizza! See, I’m not even asking you to eat the pizza. The “work” here is rolling out the dough. Give it 5 minutes, you’ll see what I’m talkin’ about! 😉
4. And lastly, finish up with a couple hours of canoeing upstream and really get your shoulders burning!

This was right after we saw a HUGE dolphin swim and splash around about 20 feet away! I was obviously pretty excited…

 My upper body feels tight this afternoon! After we got home from our canoeing adventure, I made a smoothie that tasted like summer:

2 cups frozen peaches (or fresh, whichever is on hand)
2 small bananas
splash of hemp milk to thin it out (or milk of choice)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 an avocado (for texture – you won’t taste it, but it makes it nice and smooth)
Pour into glass and sprinkle with cacao nibs.

Hope your Sunday was bright and sunshiney!

Time Travel

Not technically summer yet, but it definitely feels like it in Florida. These are calling my name:
But for $245 that would be a NO. I have a $40 coupon from DSW that’s about to burn a hole in my pocket and I’m sure I’ll have no trouble finding a pair there. 😉

We went to Epcot yesterday which is the first time I’d been there in about 10 years. Good times, but a few of those rides definitely need a facelift. We went on this simulator movie thing in which a still mostly un-plastic-surgeried Michael Jackson was our pilot (!) on some kind of space odyssey in a jet that looked like a butterfly. Other things that made an appearance: Alf, the moon walk, and a crotch grab for good measure. There was also a lot of high waisted spandex and music with lasers involved. Welp, glad that cost us $80!
We did have a really good dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Cafe in Downtown Disney, but that’s all I can really say about it… just good, but not great. I had a really nice seared salmon on sunchoke puree with lobster butter sauce and perfectly grilled buttery vegetables. No complaints about mine. But, I take points off the experience because the place was WAY too bright (like train station bright) and Adrien’s meal was basically a Shake n’ Bake pork chop. ‘Sup with that?!

We had a super active weekend with TONS of walking, standing and long car rides. My hips were creaking by the time we got home last night and in case you find yourself in a similar predicament after your next road trip, here are some fantastic hip-openers from the deep recesses of my yogi heart <3:

Hindi Squat: turn the toes out, drop the hips towards the heels, press the elbows into the knees to open the hips. Lift the chest forward and up and tuck the hips down.
Kneeling lunge: align the knee over the ankle and stretch the back leg far away from the other. Press the weight forward and down to open the hips. You’ll feel it in whichever hip is extending back. Repeat both sides.
Pigeon: square the hips off to face in front of you and press the chest forward and up. Repeat both sides.
Now your rest stops will be much more entertaining. 😉

Discuss! Favorite thing to do at a rest stop. And go!

Headstand

As promised, here’s a video. A very brief headstand tutorial with what I consider the two main components you need to remember to be able to stick this pose. Also, sorry my legs are cut off. 🙂 Honestly it doesn’t matter because all the work here is in your core, your shoulders, and being aware of your alignment (think: hips over shoulders!)


Discuss!
 I got this request via e-mail from a few days ago but it’s on to the next one. What do you want to see next?! 😉 Comment or shoot me an e-mail at erin.motz@gmail.com

Stay-at-home Abs Part I

Like I said before, I love doing abs. We do them quite a lot in my classes, and any time I’m at the gym, I save them for last because they’re my fave. Since I’m sure many of you started new work-out regimens for the new year, I thought it was only fair to share some of the best with you. :-]

Here’s 3 (with mostly made-up names):

Straight leg “twist tie” bicycles.
1. Start with legs straight over the hips and the hands cradling the head.  Gently lift the shoulders off the floor.
2. Drop the left leg down so it hovers above the ground, then twist it slightly under the right, like a twist tie.
Like this:

3. Then cross the left elbow towards the right knee, legs still twisted (this picture was taken at a different time from the last one, hence my legs are wrong :-] sorry!).
Repeat on left side to finish one rep. Complete 8 per side.

2. Side plank hip dips.
1. Start in a side plank, with feet stacked and the shoulders over the elbow.

2. Dip the hips down so they tap the floor, then pop them back up to where you started. Repeat 12x per side.

3. Ardha Navasana (I only know the ‘yoga’ name for this, but it’s something like “lowered boat.” The more you know!)
1. Begin in full boat pose.

2. Slide down into a lower variation…
3. … then pop back up to boat, and repeat 12x.

And voila! Anything is better than nothing, but I’d recommend trying to do this whole circuit about 3 times. I’ll be putting more up for staying at home and some of the ones I like doing at the gym where there’s a few more accessories to work with. Hope you likey. :-]

*****

One of today’s food things:

Not exactly the picture of health because it’s super processed, but SO good for a fast snack! It was chocolatey but not too sweet, and sticky and crunchy and yum! AND on sale for 87 cents at Whole Foods! Win.

First Reader Request!

Exciting!

Moving on…

So this post is dedicated to getting Buns to Die For (buns as in butts, not buns of the cinnamon variety ;]).

Once upon a time when I didn’t have a big girl job and all I did was study, play with cute babies, teach yoga, and work out, I had a pretty rockin’ bod. I can’t lie, I had a re-donk badonk! I mean, I don’t wanna toot my own horn, but… toot toot! ;]

Are you still reading?!

So this week I had a request for a list of the best exercises for hitting the glutes (or “going deep into the butt” if you’re in my yoga class, BAHAHA! Are you keeping track of all the corny outdated euphemisms I’m using here?! You need to be, because Adrien’s not around to proof this so it’s open season).

ANYWAY, performed in a circuit (& with proper diet, blah blah), these are some of the best:

Squats. I used to start using just the bar and do 10 deep squats just to warm up. I’d go through the circuit once, then begin with squats again, upping the weight to total 70 lbs and go for 8 reps. Go through the circuit, come back here to begin again. This time, upping the weight to 80 lbs and go for 6 reps. Keep going up in weight, down in reps for as many rounds as you like.

-Weighted walking lunges. I used to usually hold 20 lb weights in each hand and walk deep, slow lunges. 10 lunges on each side.

– One-legged dead lift. If you do nothing else at the gym for glutes/hamstrings, do these! I think the other exercises worked really well, but this one is the best and works even better in conjunction with all the others. I used to hold 25 lbs in each hand and do 10 reps/side.

So it’ll go: squats 10 reps -> walking lunges 10/side -> deadlift 10/side – repeat circuit x4.

*Obviously, adjust the weights accordingly. Don’t worry about getting huge if you’re a little lady like me. I used fairly heavy weights at the height of my training and never “bulked” up.

Nobody wants that, because this ain’t cute:

WHOA!

That’s hilarious AND repulsive!