Fit Body

Zen Golf

Golf-Zen-d2eb5c7aMaster the Mind to Master the Game

BY: AIMEE HUGHES

“I remember the moment I had what I call my ‘golf game epiphany,’” recalls Steve Hughes, a passionate golfer from Richmond, Missouri. “I realized that my main obstacles were in my head, and from that day on, my golf game changed.”

In any athletic or fitness endeavor, the pursuit of excellence unfolds an array of challenges. While golf presents some of the toughest hurdles to improvement, any links enthusiast can better their game by acquiring a champion’s mindset. Applying a few Zen techniques and disciplines adapted from the Buddhist tradition of mindful awareness—which teaches that the mind is everything—can work wonders.

Zen Golf master and performance psychologist Joe Parent, Ph.D., of Ojai, California, advises: “The key is finding a way to let the ‘thinking’ mind do all the preliminaries to physical performance—selecting a target, judging the lie, gauging weather influences, etc.—and then letting our ‘intuitive’ mind take over, enabling our body to make a swing that’s free from second-guessing ourselves.” He calls the optimal playing mentality, “Not too tight, not too loose.” It’s the sweet spot that allows us to perform via our best self. Some key techniques prepare us to find and reside in this just-right Goldilocks place of being not too hot and not too cold.

Developing mental fortitude takes us even further than we can imagine. Mastery is born from discipline, focused attention and a deep core desire to adopt habits and behaviors that will upgrade our mindset.

Author of Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game, Parent teaches his students to enter a state that he calls “trusting versus trying.” He teaches a “one stroke at a time” approach, which emphasizes awareness of being in the present moment, as many contemplative spiritual traditions do. When the golfer is deeply engaged in the present moment with just the right level of emotional intensity, free of distractions and worries about future swings, they become integrated with what’s taking place on the course in the here and now to the point of total absorption. Read More

Buff and Balanced

Bodybuilding-Yoga-00c1c313Bodybuilders Turn to Yoga

FACIAL FITNESS

Tone-Face-Neck-Exercise-f21971b1Exercises to Tone Your Face and Neck

Gravity takes its toll as years pass, and many women find themselves bemoaning crow’s feet, frown lines and turkey necks that make them look older than they feel. Experts point to the loss of “fat pads” in the cheeks, bone loss around the eye sockets and cheekbones and overall weak muscles as potential contributors to facial aging. Natural exercise programs designed to reverse these unpleasant signs of aging comprise a new fitness-for-beauty trend.

“Face and neck muscles somehow have been left out of mainstream fitness programs,” observes Denver esthetician and massage therapist Grace Mosgeller, who addresses this void with her series of eight FaceFitnez audio and video exercises. “If you tone the muscles of your face and neck, the skin attached to those muscles firms and tones as well, creating a natural youthful look.”

Muscular stress—the good kind—is at the core of facial fitness, says Mosgeller. She cite’s Wolff’s Law, a wellknown medical theory that bone grows and remodels in response to the tension or muscle engagement put on it. “Regular facial exercise works the muscles to correct the loss of both muscle tone and bone density and build collagen. It might be called the equivalent of pushups, pull-ups and abdominal tucks for the face.” READ MORE

Millennials’ Take on Fitness

Millennials-Fitness-b024affaThey Like Short, Social and Fun Workouts

ROLLING FOR FITNESS

DIY-Rollers-Fitness-bbb73153BY: RANDY KAMBIC

DIY Rollers Ease Pain and Aid Flexibility

More amateur and serious athletes, people wanting to ease stiffness due to sedentary work and seniors are enjoying a new DIY way to massage out the kinks at home that’s becoming recognized for its benefits by experts worldwide.

For the first time, flexibility and mobility rolling ranks in the top 20 of the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends. Made predominantly of foam and hard rubber, the rollers can “massage, relieve muscle tightness and muscle spasms, increase circulation, ease muscular discomfort and assist in the return to normal activity,” according to the organization’s Health & Fitness Journal, which notes a growing market for the devices.

Dr. Walter Thompson, professor of kinesiology and health with Georgia State University, in Atlanta, was the lead author of the survey. He says, “Personal trainers have found that it works for their clients. We’ve also seen an increase in popularity in gyms and fitness clubs.” The trend is partly spawned by their use in Pilates. Thompson adds, “Tech devices, now central to our daily lives, have changed the way we plan and manage our workouts.” Yet, as with other such equipment, users must be educated on how to employ the rollers on their own.

Most rollers are available in smooth or ribbed textures in different sizes and densities. Sets include one for deep tissue rolling, self-myofascial release and trigger point relief, designed to aid muscles related to the back, hips, arms, glutes and hamstrings. READ MORE

The Power of Conscious Dance

A growing tribe of movers and shakers are discovering and unleashing their power in conscious dance, a combination of moving meditation, soul-stirring music, self-expression and sweat.

A growing tribe of movers and shakers are discovering and unleashing their power in conscious dance, a combination of moving meditation, soul-stirring music, self-expression and sweat.

Creative Movement Connects Body, Mind and Spirit

A Yogi’s Guide for Travelers

ARTICLE - AIRPLANE YOGA - PEGGY BREEZE - iStock_000021244452_XXXLarge-adjby Peggy Breeze

When a body is immobile and confined for an extended period of time, chances are we may arrive at our destination feeling groggy, experience back tenseness, tight shoulders, stiff joints, perhaps have a stuffy nose or an all-out cold, or we may have an upset stomach or headache. It would be better if after such a long flight we could feel energized, refreshed and ready to jump feet-first into the vacation or business adventure that awaits us. For short flights or multiple long excursions, these tips can help travel more comfortably and stay healthy while doing it.

Because we have to be at the airport sometimes hours before a flight, don’t spend that time sitting, move around . Don’t rush to board, that just means sitting longer. When we make reservations, make sure to be within five rows of an exit. In case of emergency, this is the safest place to sit.

Buy a big bottle of spring water to take on the plane after passing through security. Start drinking before boarding and keep drinking throughout the flight.

A recent study by the Flight Safety Foundation found that blood clotting during long flights to be a medical problem that can strike even the young and physically fit due to cramped conditions. The circulation of the body tends to slow down when it is immobile, so it is important to wear clothes that stretch so we don’t inadvertently cut off the circulation to any part of the body. Also consider wearing layers that can be taken off or put on, depending on the temperature of the cabin.

Once we are settled in the seat, loosen shoe laces a little to keep your feet moving. Tall people might consider an exit row or the bulkhead.
Use nasya oil to hydrate and safeguard the nostrils. Airplane air is full of everyone’s germs. This oil not only hydrates, but places a coating to keep toxins from penetrating the sinus membrane.

Put headphones on after takeoff. It is usually pretty loud inside the cabin, sometimes with crying babies, loud talkers or the sound of the engines.

Nadi shodhanam, or alternate nostril breathing, is a great way to relax. If we get tense on takeoff, we can do it as soon as we are seated. Sit with a straight spine and relax. Using the thumb and ring finger of the right hand, close the right nostril with the thumb, exhale and then inhale though the left nostril. Close the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale and inhale though the right nostril. Continue breathing deeply though alternate nostrils for three to five minutes.

ARTICLE - AIRPLANE YOGA - PEGGY BREEZE - iStock_000002038911_Large-adjStretch the entire body after the first 30 minutes of sitting and then every 60 minutes or so throughout the flight, beginning with the spine. While seated, gently ground the sitting bones and take a gentle twist to the right, using arm rests for leverage. Make sure to twist from the lumbar spine (low back) up through the neck. Even if there are people close by, this is doable. Then twist to the other side. Next, do some gentle neck circles, first around one direction (like drawing a circle on an imaginary wall with the nose), and then back the other way. Then stand in the aisle and reach up onto the overhead luggage compartments, one hand on each, and gently press into the hands. This stretches the shoulders and sides of the body.

While still standing, start with toe lifts, lifting the heals off the floor, holding for a few breaths, and then lowering. Next try the “dancer” pose, taking a hand behind the back to grasp the right ankle. Gently pull that foot towards the buttocks. This will stretch the quadriceps and knee. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Change sides and then, if possible, take a stroll up and down the aisle before sitting back down.

After sitting down, do “eagle” arms. In front of the body, place a bent right elbow (45 degrees) on top of a bent left elbow, and then wrap the hands around each other. Gently relax the back and move the elbows away from each other. This leverage gently opens the shoulder blades and releases the neck. Take five to 10 breaths here, change sides and release.

Close the eyes and gently relax the entire body. Imagine breathing into every cell in the body all at once. If sleeping, make sure to be warm and make sure the seat belt is showing from the outside of a blanket so the flight attendant won’t wake us up. We can even use an eye mask if we need total blackout.

When we arrive at our destination, grab another bottle of water. Whatever time it is, stay up until our regular bed time; this will help you reset our internal clock.

Peggy Breeze is yogi and ayurvedic practitioner and extensive world traveler (economy class). For more information, call 972-658- 1600 or visit TheBalancedYogi.com.

Barre Your Way to Better Fitness

FB_1115_Barre_259518953Ballet-Inspired Workouts Create Long and Lean Muscles

by: Lynda Bassett

Imagine having a ballerina’s physique, grace, strength and flexibility. That’s the potential of barre.

“Barre is a combination of ballet, yoga and Pilates principles. We use small, isometric movements to temporarily fatigue muscles and make them long and lean. The so-called fatigue is what causes muscles to shake, and therefore, change,” explains Nadia Yokarini-Kotsonis, a certified barre instructor at Physique Fitness Studio, in Grove City, Ohio. Students use a ballet barre to support themselves while doing the exercises.

Yokarini-Kotsonis is among many former dancers that have embraced barre fitness. Trained in ballet, tap, contemporary and traditional dance in Athens, Greece, she discovered barre when she moved to the U.S. “I fell in love with how challenging it was and the effects and changes I saw in my body. I got certified a year later and have been teaching ever since. I’m still in love with practicing it, no matter how tired I might be beforehand,” she says.

Rather than a cardiovascular regimen, “Barre is good for developing core strength. You gain overall flexibility, muscle strength, improved posture and range of motion,” says Lisa Juliet, West Coast regional director of the teacher certification program (BarreCertification.com).

Not Just for Dancers

While barre has had some U.S. presence since the 1950s, “It’s having a resurgence now,” says Charlene Causey, a certified natural health professional and ballet body barre instructor in Pueblo, Colorado.

Newfound interest began on both coasts and is quickly becoming a Midwest mainstay, according to Yokarini-Kotsonis, who says it’s one of the most popular classes she teaches, and other studios are following suit. She remarks, “Everyone wants to offer barre, and everyone wants to come to a class and see what it’s about.” READ MORE

Ground Rules for Runners

A Guide for Running on All Terrains

NA NTexas Natural Awakenings