As a fitness expert, I know how important it is to stay in shape. I also know how a busy schedule can sometimes get in the way of a desired workout schedule. Instead of skipping the workout, there are some great exercises you can do from home that can have the same effect.
Here are three easy fitness moves that you can do right from home:
The Burpee: This is a full body exercise performed in four steps. Begin in a standing position. Begin to squat position your body with your hands on the ground. Extend your feet back in one quick motion to assume the plank position. Return to the squat position in one quick motion return to an upright standing position.
Tree Sit: Stand with back flat against a wall (or tree) and lower until knees are bent at a right angle. Extend arms straight overhead and left leg forward so it’s parallel to ground. Hold for 15 seconds; switch legs. Do three sets.
Roll-Up: Sit with legs extended, feet flexed, back straight; wrap band around soles of feet, holding each end next to knees. Keeping arms and legs straight, slowly lower torso, one vertebra at a time, to ground. When top of shoulder blades touch ground, slowly roll up. Do three sets of 12 reps.
All of these exercises can be done in minimum space. If done often, these easy moves show great results.
They say that when you are about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. I say that the first time you put your child on an airplane alone, her life flashes before your eyes.
I recently dropped my daughter off at SFO to go to sleep away camp for the first time in her 12-year old life. While I pride myself on being cool as a cucumber when it comes to parenting, I was overcome with emotion when my daughter left my sight, walking down that jet way alone. I didn’t feel happy or sad, just FULL of emotion. As I returned to my car for the drive home, I was filled with memories of our lives together since she was born, and yes, I cried.
(Photo credit: Elise Donoghue Photography)
Here are some of the defining moments of my life with my beautiful daughter, Julia:
The first time I heard her heart beat in utero and promised to always take care of that heart, so fragile and resilient, for the rest of my life
The day she was born—nothing compares to that moment when a woman becomes a mother for the first time. She gave me that.
Dancing with her for hours with her in the baby bjorn to Barry White, Andrea Bocelli and Bob Marley
The first time she vomited all over me on a flight from Boston to San Francisco and the flight attendants treated us as if she had spewed e-coli
The second time she vomited all over me and we ended up spending the night in the Mass General pediatric ER—what a nice doctor we had
When she learned to walk in Italy—she had a perm-abrasion that trip!
Her screaming “I want my daddy!” in the weeks after her younger brother was born every time things didn’t go her way
The vacation that she insisted she wear a snorkel mask on the beach to keep the bugs and sand out of her face
Her combination sneeze-cough that came to be known as the “Hakoocha”
Walking with her hand-in-hand along Tiger Leaping Gorge in China
When she lost her first tooth—I kid my kids that I will make them each necklaces out of all of the baby teeth I have saved over the years
The time I was explaining that working hard was important and she said “I don’t want to work hard, I want to work loose”—I think she was about 3 at the time
Her first day of school
Blueberry picking and muffin making at our home in Maine
The first time she fell riding a bike—boy, will she remember that from the scar she has on her left knee
Endless hours watching American Idol together
When we paid the $1100 to fly her hamster on our move from Hong Kong to San Francisco. She did a good job of convincing us that you can’t put a price on life and a hamster’s life is just as precious as a dog’s life.
The time we talked about leadership and how qualities that she possesses such as adaptability to change and embracing new experiences are keys to leadership. My girl has lived in 4 global geographies and attended 6 different schools in her 12 years.
The first time she sat in the front seat of the car.
The first time we left her home alone.
When she got her i-phone.
Hearing her sing Adele’s “Someone Like You” solo in front of an audience at her singing recital in May
The first time I had a conversation with her via text—very effective, I’m becoming very tech-savvy to keep up with her
Going to see Snow White and the Huntsman on the eve before she left for camp—finally we are able to watch films that we can both enjoy!
Thanking God that I am here for her as she begins the journey through adolescence and all of the milestones that come with it
Children teach us our capacity to love. My daughter Julia has made my heart grow at least 2 sizes. Named for her maternal grandmother, Julia has my father’s artistic talent and my mother’s eye for fashion. She is so like me, yet remains such a mystery to me at the same time. I always tell her she is my other heart, just like my mother always told me. Now I know what she means.
If any of you are like me, it seems like there is never enough time to fit in a workout. As a mother of teen twin girls, it’s quite the challenge to balance a career, motherhood, and getting time to work out. Even if there is a small window of time – it’s hard to get excited about going to the gym.
Here are some helpful tips that work for me to find the motivation and most importantly, keep it:
Commit to a goal. The hardest part I have found is actually starting a workout regimen. Set a goal for yourself and work towards it! Whether it’s walking every day for 30 minutes, getting up an hour earlier to have time to run before work, or if you live in a city like me and commute to work, get off one or two stops earlier and walk to work.
Get a workout buddy. I have teamed up with my sisters and we work together to create and achieve our workout goals. We support each other in our respective efforts and push each other to the next level and at times provide comedic relief.
Don’t break the habit. When I take a day off from my work out plan, it tends to turn into a week off and then becomes my New Year’s Resolution for the following year. The more you make it a “must,” the more likely you are to stick with it. I put my workout schedule in my calendar and even set a “do you have your gym bag” reminder for myself for the mornings I’m scheduled for the gym in my calendar on my phone.
Make it fun. Try a new workout or check if your local gym has fun classes that will keep you interested such as a dance class or an upbeat spin class. Also, working out seems to be easier for me with music that motivates me. Grab your iPod and make a playlist specifically for your workouts.
Be patient. Many people just like to jump into exercising without any limits, which may result in tons of pain and lack of motivation to workout. Work towards your goal by increasing the intensity day by day.
Change your mindset. Many people look at exercising as a burden but it can be seen in a positive way. Next time you are stressed, go exercise – even if it’s just a walk. Exercise releases endorphins which improve your mood.
Implement an exercise log. I have found it useful to track my progress throughout my workout plan. If you see results, it will motivate you to keep going and keeping a log holds you to your goals and schedule.
Make it “you” time. As mothers, we tend to put ourselves last. Make your workout into “you” time. This way you will surprisingly look forward to exercising instead of dreading it.
Find a trainer. Almost every gym has trainers that can formulate a workout personally that will cater to your needs. Also, the trainer is a great source of forced motivation.
Lastly, reward yourself. After all of the hard work, it is important to give yourself a little reward whether it be frozen yogurt or treating yourself to some new workout gear . Even though this seems like taking a step backwards, it may actually motivate you to want to be rewarded again.
Here’s to hoping I can take my own advice and stick with this plan! What are some of the ways you stay motivated?
Wedding season is officially upon us and it seems like everyone is getting married this year! Weddings can be stressful enough as a guest; making travel plans, buying gifts, attending engagement parties, showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and of course the wedding itself! Add on to that planning your own wedding and I can start to empathize with you.
Between all the planning and parties and showers (for both my friends and myself) it can be very overwhelming. I was so focused on wedding planning checklists that it started to dictate my life. But here I am, exactly 1 month out from my wedding, and it is just now occurring to me that in the midst of all my planning and celebrating, I managed to forget about me. No one puts “start your wedding diet” on the wedding “to do” lists (which they really should!!), so low and behold I have 30 days to get my act together.
If you’re like me, you might be panicking at the thought of toning up your physique in 30 days but fear not! I took advantage of the Zobha network and some friends that have gone through this already and put together a tip list of how I can get myself wedding ready in 30 days!!
Here are 7 last minute tips that I have found helpful to look and feel my very best:
Drink lots of water and limit your salt intake. Sodium in your diet is one of the main causes of bloating. (Definitely avoid salt the day before and day of dress fittings!)
Exercise daily. If you are on a time crunch, starting a daily routine will make it a habit; the sooner you start the better you’ll feel! 30-45 minutes a day is recommended. Once I got the swing of it, my exercise time actually has become a time I look forward to. I can clear my head, think about what needs to be done, and before I know it the workout is over.
Eat healthier. Period. Stay away from all processed food, eat more veggies, cut out sugar, and use meat as a side dish. This will allow for not only weight loss, but also healthy habits for the future. Additionally, this can help with some last minute savings to put towards the big day or honeymoon. Go to the farmers market and pick up some fruit and veggies; and bring your lunch to work with you!!
Have a healthy, but effective energy balance. This basically means if you want to lose weight, burn more calories than what you take in. If you would like to know how many calories you are recommended a day, visit this site: fitm.ag/MP66Js
Try weightlifting. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn which make it even easier to get in shape, fast. A lot of my friends jumped on the Cross Fit bandwagon and swear by it! By switching your workout routine every day your body burns more calories.
Do NOT crash diet. This can be extremely tempting especially if you only have a certain amount of time. When you are only eating a limited amount of calories a day, your body goes into starvation mode and doesn’t utilize the calories effectively which store as fat. If you are exercising daily, you need food as energy.
Eat small meals every couple of hours. Instead of three big meals a day, try eating 5-6 (250-350 calorie) meals per day. I stocked up on almonds and fresh fruit to have on hand when the cravings hit. This will allow your body to utilize the calories effectively and boost metabolism.
With these tips, I am finding it easier than I thought to get in shape. It’s all about commitment and dedication while keeping health in mind. Taking some time for yourself to go the gym is a great way to distress.
There are times all of us feel unmotivated, whether it be exercising or eating right. We find ourselves relying on our friends for advice, entertainment, and everything in between. Why not rely on your friends for motivation and support for staying healthy?
The benefits and importance of exercising in groups have been researched and noted. Exercising in a group setting gives a unique, social experience that keeps it interesting while building friendships. Not only does it make it entertaining, it also provides a sense of accountability and structure.
Many celebrities have caught onto this idea and put it to good use. Actress Kristen Bell started a twitter campaign to encourage her followers to join she and her friends to exercise for 30 days in a row, 60 minutes a day. Twitter followers are encouraged to tweet while including the hash tag #30dayhomies to tell of their successes and motivation. People are more likely to keep going in their workout plans when they feel the camaraderie through the complaints and successes.
Photo Credit: US Weekly | Tommaso Boddi/WireImage.com; Peter Kramer/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank
Here are some useful ideas to help you and your friends get started in your work out plan:
Find out if your local gym has classes that interest you. Group exercise encourages you to commit to a daily workout schedule.
Start a workout plan with your friends, much like Kristen Bell’s #30dayhomies and hold each other accountable.
Start off with fun classes with friends, such as Zumba and upbeat spin classes, to keep interest high while boosting morale.
Keep log journals with friends to track progress together.
If a support group for exercising with friends isn’t available, websites like michellelovitt.com, everydayhealth.com, and revolutionhealth.com, offer community boards and forums that allow users to post their ideas, troubles, and relate to one another.
Zobha encourages you to take these ideas and realize the power of group exercise and support from friends through your journey to becoming a healthier you! Tell us what group exercises have you done or plan to join with friends?
My name is Jamie Hanna, CEO and Founder of Zobha, and it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the newly designed Zobha Blog!
For the last several months, the Zobha team has been hard at work refreshing zobha.com and our blog to create a more user-friendly experience for our community. Through this blog, we hope to give you a glimpse into our own Zobha family and the brand’s core values that provide our daily inspiration.
Over the next few weeks you’ll see a handful of contributors from the Zobha team post to the blog, each addressing a unique aspect of their Zobha lifestyle to engage the many different fans that have come to love the brand over the last few years. You will also notice some functional improvements to the blog that will help you to search for the topics or contributors that interest you most.
“The Three Simple Truths” by Jamie Hanna, CEO and Founder
Our mission at Zobha is to inspire and foster the grace that lives within us all. The vision is pure and simple.
1) I believe in theforward march of humankind. We are meant to be creative, productive and contributing members of society.
2) I believe in thepower of collaboration. We are most powerful as a part of something greater than our individual selves.
3) I believe in giving back. We really do get what we give.
With these three simple truths, Zobha’s commitment to grace, beauty and brilliance make yoga accessible, while empowering all to combine their inner strength and flexibility. That is the spirit of Zobha. Together, we support each other and our community as we celebrate the joy and wonder of life!
We are delighted to share Emily Tsay’s final blog post finishing her yoga teacher training at Equinox. Emily is one of our 2011 Grace of Giving of Scholarship recipients. We are honored to be a part of and follow her journey through this life-changing process.
Thank you for sharing your “wisdoms” with us, Emily. Namaste.
Congratulations to Sylvia Baedorf Kassis, our final 2011 Grace of Giving Scholarship recipient. Stay tuned as Sylvia shares her training experience with us this Fall.
Answer this question on your blog or Facebook page, and you could win a free Zobha yoga starter package which includes:
1 yoga tank of your choice
1 pair of yoga pants of your choice
1 pullover or hoodie of your choice
1 yoga mat carrier
1 eye pillow
Interested in winning free Zobha yoga gear? Here are the juicy details:
1. To enter the Zobha contest, all you need to do is mention this contest on your blog, website, or on your Facebook (in the Notes section).
2. In your post, you will need to link back to the individual pieces (on our website) that you would like to win.
3. Write about why you want to win each piece, and what winning the free Zobha yoga apparel and gear will mean for you in the New Year.
4. Let us know of your entry by sending an email to email@example.com. Use “Grand Prize Contest Entry” as the subject line and include a link to your website, blog post, or Facebook page in the content body.
Five more lucky people will win a Zobha yoga tank of their choice – just by mentioning the contest to their friends and readers. Simply tell your friends and readers about the contest and how they can enter themselves and don’t forget to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Tank Contest Entry” as the subject line and a link to your blog, website or Facebook page.
Hurry – this contest ends on January 28th! (Only one entry per person.)
Posted by Shannon Paige Schneider, Zobha Circle of Grace Member
At the age of twenty-one, I was diagnosed with cancer. The path to health was messy at best and seemed to be one without any sense of grace. I experienced days, weeks, and months on end of pain and complications and tears and tears and tears.
I thought of all of the things I SHOULD have done to miraculously avoid the diagnosis. I thought of what I SHOULD do to obtain an illness-free future. I thought what I WOULD do differently if only I COULD soften the weight of illness, sadness, and suffering.
Shoulda’ Woulda’ Coulda’. It was not until I found the practice of my breath and body that these three little words began to lose their hold on my perspective. Yoga escorted me into the dark and bright spaces of my own experience. The poses asked me to see how I respond to myself and others, how I view the word “strength”, and what I was willing to accept as the truth of my story, perspective, hopes, and dreams.
Yoga invites us to participate fully with our own sense of personal resonance, health and wellbeing. Down Dog does not take away the pain of personal evolution; rather it asks us to explore on an ever-deepening level exactly what is at stake in every breath, moment, movement, and response to stressful or joyous stimuli. It asks us to choose, to learn to respond rather than react – in spite of what we SHOULD have, WOULD have, or COULD have done differently.
So the next time you feel like sitting and shaming yourself with a SHOULDA’, WOULDA’, COULDA’; realize that you are already there, here. Choose. Choose to participate and welcome yourself into your very own life!
Shannon Paige Schneider is an author, sacred activist, inspired life coach, and dedicated teacher of Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow Vinyasa Yoga. She interweaves her students’ unique purpose driven inspiration into the divine play of body and breath to unlock the secret wisdom held within the heart. Shannon is the founder and yoga director of om time yoga centers and Anjali Restorative Yoga. Shannon recently taught a Zobha – sponsored Breast Cancer Awareness class to raise awareness, energy, and the vibration of health and wellness for those affected by a diagnosis of cancer. To learn more about Shannon and where she will be teaching next, go to her blog.
For 2010, Zobha has focused its community efforts in a partnership with Headstand, a program that brings yoga to the classrooms of youth at risk. Founder of Headstand, Katherine Priore, blogs about her journey.
When I was an eighth grade English teacher, Sunday nights were sleepless. I developed a serious case of acne then, an irksome emblem of my anxiety. Witnessing my stress, my childhood friend Kathleen intervened and insisted I take her yoga class. I thought she was nuts. I didn’t have time to take a yoga class—I needed to respond to student writing. I needed to organize collaborative groups for the 8th grade. I needed to go to Borders and buy more books for my kids because we only had 10 copies of Of Mice and Men for 120 students.
In the end, Kathleen won. Thank God. It turned out to be one of the most profound yoga classes I’ve experienced to date, providing a glimpse of awareness – me without the anxiety and fear that had consumed much of my internal life that year. I wanted more.
Learning how to relax and finding sanctuary in my own body created a surprising impact on my teaching. Not much else had changed other than my own presence in the room, but suddenly the students were more engaged, they were producing more work, and everyone was having more fun.
While I wasn’t cut out to stay in the classroom as an English teacher, I did remain in the field of education. Seven years into my career I landed in a yoga teacher training. The idea of sharing the practice of yoga with kids gripped me.
With visions of a classroom of kiddos in dhanurasana, I wondered: What if we taught our children to value balance, self-awareness, and courage at school, hand-in-hand with the analytical skills of math? What if every student was exposed to yoga and awareness strategies as part of school day curriculum? Would this practice be able to serve kids who might lack boundaries and emotional support at home?
I decided to see for myself and created a non-profit dedicated to spearheading the yoga in schools movement: Headstand. Now I am in my second year teaching full-time to middle school students in a KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) school. KIPP is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools dedicated to preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and life.
Catapulted into the throes of middle-school culture again, the content of my day constantly surprises me and often delights. This morning the seventh and eighth grade practiced in punk-rock garb for Spirit Week, yesterday a student asked me if a backbend counted as an inversion because your head is below your heart, and a few months ago one of my 10 year old students asked genuinely, “How do you keep your soul with you for more than just one hour?”
The road is long ahead, but Sunday nights I sleep like a baby.
In March 2010, Zobha sponsored Breathe, Laugh and Pray – A benefit for Headstand with Circle of Grace member, Stephanie Snyder – at Yoga Tree Castro, San Francisco. For recap and pictures from the event, click here.