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Mandy Ingber, Yoga Instructor to the Stars, Shares Health Tips

Mandy Ingber

Celebrity yoga instructor and wellness expert Mandy Ingber

Mandy Ingber makes her living promoting wellness and self-esteem. Here, she shares advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and insight into her work with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

By Diann Daniel

Mandy Ingber, the self-esteem and wellness expert who is commonly known as Jennifer Aniston’s yoga teacher, will be leading this year’s fundraiser FenwaYoga for the Red Sox Foundation. As part of the conversation around that event, she shared insight into her weekly fitness routine, ideas on how to be kind to oneself, and tips for being healthy—inside and out.

How do you balance yoga and other exercise?

I was actually a certified spinning instructor prior to being a yoga instructor. I love cardio, and have always loved all forms of moving my body. I try to incorporate yoga and stretching daily, but three to four days a week I include another modality.

How do you counsel clients on balancing different types of movement?

I encourage the client to incorporate cardio as well. Jen [Aniston] and I spin together, and she will run on the treadmill or do the elliptical machine prior to our yoga workouts. With Kate [Beckinsale], I sometimes hike with her in addition to yoga. Other clients hire me to be their spin buddy or yoga buddy, and I just think it’s great for people to move their bodies daily—in whatever way they like. I have multiple modalities in my book Yogalosophy, and my DVD Yogalosophy is a hybrid of yoga poses with toners as a complement to traditional yoga poses.

Women in particular can be so harsh with themselves, and that’s exponentially true when the media puts that harsh spotlight on a person’s looks. What have you found most useful, besides yoga and exercise, in helping to develop kindness toward yourself? How about in terms of helping clients?

The best I can do is to be an example, and to speak positively about my own body. Developing a loving attitude towards the self is key, as is restricting our critical self-talk. What works best is speaking about the miracles of the body. “The body is falling right into place naturally,” “this is what it feels like to get into shape,” and “appreciate your curves”…these are all ways to be kind to the self. So my goal is always kindness to the self, and others really learn by example.

This year, Mandy Ingber will lead a team of Red Sox Foundation MVPs.

On Sunday, Mandy will lead yoga classes at Fenway Park to raise Red Sox Foundation funds to benefit underserved children. One focus of the foundation’s programs is building kids’ self-esteem through fitness.

I know the week after you’re at Fenway in Boston, you’ll be doing a workshop in New York. [Ingber will be holding a workshop at the Omega Institute in New York from June 13–June 15.] With such a frenetic schedule, what techniques besides yoga do you use to stay relaxed?

I carve time out for myself for meditation, walks, gratitude lists, and journaling. It’s important for me to slow down, and take that time. I consider that my home base. I have always been pretty good at time management, but I make sure to schedule in my down time, otherwise it won’t happen! Primarily, enjoying the moment is the best way to stay relaxed. Presence is the key. But like everyone, I am working on it, one breath at a time, and it isn’t always easy.

Tips from Mandy on Being Healthy Inside and Out

  • Visualize your best self, and as you imagine that, hold on to the feeling.
  • Commit to yourself. Make healthy choices about diet, meditation, and physical activity.
  • Do one thing daily that stretches you.
  • Be of service to another. A kind act toward someone else will make you feel amazing.
  • Take time to feel into your heart. Literally place your mind into the center of your chest, and you will feel a buzz or vibration there. Energy flows where the mind goes. If you don’t feel it, then imagine you feel it—that’s just as good.
  • To expand your happiness, write a gratitude list.
  • Set your sights on a short-term goal, such as a workshop, to give you an immediate sense of accomplishment.

 

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Celebrity Yoga Instructor Mandy Ingber on Yoga at Fenway Park

Boston's Fenway Park will serve as Mandy Ingber's yoga studio this Sunday.

Boston’s Fenway Park will serve as Mandy Ingber’s yoga studio this Sunday.

This year, Mandy Ingber will lead a team of Red Sox Foundation MVPs in two yoga classes on the warning track of the Fenway Park field.

 

Los Angeles-based celebrity yoga instructor Mandy Ingber is known for helping the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale, and Brooke Shields in such enviably shape. But on June 8, Ingber’s primary focus will be to represent the Red Sox Foundation as it holds “FenwaYoga” for the second consecutive year. The fundraiser—held on the sacred grounds of Fenway Park—will raise money for the Red Sox Foundation’s Red Sox Scholars Program, which provides academic support to promising disadvantaged students, and its RBI Program, which helps at-risk youth develop self-esteem and life skills, make healthy choices, achieve in school, and develop teamwork skills through participation in baseball and softball programs. Two classes, one for 9:00 a.m. and one at 10:30 a.m. and which can each hold 244 people, will be held along the warning track of the Fenway field. Registration fee is $25, and each participant must commit to raising $250 for the Red Sox Foundation. (If registering after 5:00 p.m. today, that amount is due at the time of registration.) To sign up, click here. (See bottom for additional information for participants.)

Ingber spoke with me for Books+Body in 2013 about her book Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover, and I’m thrilled to have her back. Below, she shares some background on how she came to be involved in FenwaYoga, her excitement about leading this fundraiser, and thoughts on why physical activity can be so crucial to building self-esteem. (In the next post, she shares more on being healthy inside and out.)

Books+Body: What led to your involvement with FenwaYoga this year?

Mandy Ingber: Ever since I was a recurring character on Cheers in my late teens-early 20s, Boston has always had a special place in my heart. I used to visit my best friends at Emerson College, my boyfriend’s hometown is Boston, and my half-sister goes to Northeastern currently, so I have a lot of heart connections to that city. When the people from KIND [one of the partners of the event] asked me to participate, I immediately said “yes” because it is such a great brand—and because I was so excited to step foot on the Fenway Park field! I can’t wait to practice yoga there; it’s a dream to be able to be my version of athletic at such as historical site.

Besides being in Fenway Park, what are you most looking forward to about the experience?

I am secretly excited to be up on the screen. But mostly excited to practice yoga with like-minded people who are caring for themselves, while they work for a cause. This is the best of all worlds. For this Fenway event, everybody gets to win. Not only that, but I have never taught yoga in Boston before, and I am excited to meet the Yogalosophy fans there. I will be meeting and greeting, and DVDs and books will be available, so I am really looking forward to the personal connection.

FenwaYoga will be geared to all levels. How do you approach a situation like that when there are presumably so many different levels of ability and experience with yoga? (Not to mention the unusual setting.)

As with most yoga sessions that I teach, I will have a plan and then will likely have to adapt. Flexibility comes in all forms, right? Yoga is a little more difficult to teach to all levels than say, spinning, because each body is so different and there are multiple movements to master. A lighthearted approach, with the focus on having a good time, contemporary music, and a little prayer that it will all go okay will be my formula. I also plan to incorporate some Yogalosophy hybrid moves [yoga blended with more traditional toning exercises], which are doable for newbies and challenging for old school yogis and yoginis. I’m also pretty excited, because the Red Sox Foundation is providing prizes for the biggest fundraiser and one of the prizes is joining me at the Omega Institute the following weekend to create vision boards and set intentions for ourselves through yoga and meditation. Should be powerful.

Scene from FenwaYoga 2013.

Scene from FenwaYoga 2013.

FenwaYoga is being held to raise funds for the Red Sox Foundation, which has a cornerstone program that uses physical activities (baseball and softball) to foster the development of self-esteem and the ability to make healthy choices. Though your own primary modality (yoga) is different, these ideas have obvious parallels with what you do, and also speak to how something as seemingly superficial as “getting in shape” or “getting healthy” can really have powerful ramifications for the rest of your life. Thoughts on that?

We all have a body that needs care. From the most famous celebrity to the man on the street. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, if you are in love, or what your situation is, the body needs self-care, and each of us is the one responsible for that. When we take care of our bodies, we build self-esteem. It’s really quite phenomenal, this instrument we have. We can use our bodies to build strength or energy, or to mellow out and calm our nervous systems. The more you get to know how the body works—and feel how powerful feeling strong and healthy is to all aspects of your life—the more confidence you develop. Moving the body moves energy and relaxes the mind. It improves focus, concentration and presence. That phrase “you can’t think your way into correct action, but you can act your way into correct thinking” really applies.

There are advantages to working as a team as well. Since I have no hand-eye coordination, my MVP position is as a yoga instructor, and a yoga class becomes its own kind of team.

 –Diann Daniel

For FenwaYoga Participants

Fundraising prizes

First-place prize is a trip to the Omega Institute in New York, as well as yoga mat, supply of Vita Coco water, and an autographed Dustin Pedroia baseball. The second-prize is four green monster seats at a Red Sox game, as well as a yoga mat, autographed Jon Lester jersey, and supply of Vita Coco. Finally, the third prize is four in-field grand stand seats at a Red Sox game, a yoga mat, and a case of Vita Coco water.

Expo, Participant Arrival
Guests can arrive as early as 8 a.m., through the Gate C entrance. That area will host the Health & Fitness Expo, which will be open to the public from 8am-12pm, and everyone (whether registered for FenwaYoga or not) is welcome to come in and check out the vendors and the expo.

Other Boston Area Events

The Boston area will also be hosting Runner’s World’s events this weekend. For information, start here and here.

 

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Jennifer Aniston’s Yoga Teacher Mandy Ingber on Yogalosophy, Self-Acceptance, and Writing

Mandy Ingber in ...

Mandy Ingber in Dancer’s Pose.

With Jennifer Aniston’s body making a feature appearance in the trailer for We Are the Millers and summer clothing now officially on our minds, the publication of Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover by Aniston’s yoga teacher and trainer Mandy Ingber, is well-timed. Yet this new wellness book by the celebrity trainer—who also works with the likes of Kate Beckinsale, Brooke Shields, and others—targets much more than simply looking good in a bikini.

Ingber approaches wellness from a holistic mindset and posits that health should start from a place of deep self-acceptance. To that end, Yogalosophy is structured as a day-by-day journey into mind-body health and features yoga poses, exercises, recipes, tips on creating a healthy mindset, breathing exercises, and tips on meditation.

In this special Where Books+Body Meet, Ingber discusses her approach to wellness—and to writing her first book.

On writing and short-term goals

Books+Body: What made you decide that now was the right time to write a book?
Mandy Ingber: I’ve always been a reader—and a closet writer. Over the years, my story and my motivations would drive my classes. When I first began teaching spinning in 1996, my students insisted that I write a book. Of course, I had fantasized about it, but did not know how it would crystallize. As the teacher, I feel it’s my responsibility to keep expanding myself. Not only in my field, but to expand beyond the boundaries that I have placed upon myself. That’s my spiritual work, in a way. A book was very aspirational, but attainable.

Short-term goals—you talk about them as important to health and fitness. Why are they important and how did you apply them to your writing?
Short-term goals allow us to feel we are doing well. I feel that when I accomplish what I set out to do, that makes me feel like a winner. Oftentimes, when people set a very lofty goal, it is difficult to measure exactly where you are along the way, but with short-term, manageable goals, we can mark them off.

I very much applied this principle to writing Yogalosophy. I set aside two hours each day to write. I had the outline, so I could use the template of the 28 days, and knew the basic structure of the book. I had a deadline, per my publishers, Seal Press. I then focused on the two hours per day. If I skipped a day, I simply started fresh the next day with two hours. If I had extra steam, I would still stop after two hours. At the end of four months, I had a manuscript. That’s pretty much a one-day-at-a-time process. The book then had the photographs. Then the layout and visual components. The structure. Each of these parts was its own little milestone.

What was the process of writing like for you?
I was very stream of consciousness. I did not try to be a yoga encyclopedia. There is plenty of great stuff out there. Iyengar’s Light On Yoga (the yoga bible), and many more. My book is an expression of my own journey. The yoga of self-love and self-care. That’s what I wanted to share with the world. Part of my personal experience is having been incredibly tortured about my body image, perfectionism and the yo-yoing that happens during a punishment/reward cycle of strict living and complete abandon. I have spent many years refining my own mental state about my body. So, it was not difficult. It’s a little challenging to trust that my journey is relevant to others whom I have never met; however, I learned long ago, as a teacher, that the students who were attracted to the class needed what I was offering. So I will assume the same here.

On yoga, fitness, and balance

You wrote Yogalosophy in part to bridge a gap between yoga and fitness. Can you talk a bit about what that gap is and also why it might need a bridge?
I get so much interest from people who want to bring yoga into their life for health purposes, to improve performance, to lower stress levels, and to get limber. Many of them find yoga intimidating, boring, or feel that they’ve somehow missed the boat. Or that yoga can seem lofty and exclusive. Or that yoga can seem slow. Having grown up in a home where yoga was practiced as a staple, alongside cycling, dance, cardio…etcetera, I understand what it can be like to feel like the odd man out. My dad made yoga look downright intimidating.

Many people want to explore the physical practice without the asana (or postures), while others want only the meditative aspects. My book brings together multiple modalities, because it’s completely irrelevant which one you connect with. You may bring the yogic mentality of mindfulness, intention-setting, self-observation, and wholeness into any fitness regime.

As a person who runs and who does yoga, I love both but do find their energy to be quite different and sometimes (for example) find it difficult to not bring inappropriate (and injury-producing) striving to yoga. Or conversely, I get into more of a yoga mode and feel like I’m more about just letting go, and then running seems hard (too “effortful”). For others like myself, any thoughts on how to balance those two sides?
I feel that within everything is the dance of polarities. Without the softening into, we would not have the emptiness required to excel; without the drive, we would not accomplish. We each have a balance from within. Yoga is such a great modality, because it is strength-building and energizing if needed, and calming if needed. My two main modalities are spinning and yoga. I learned more about yoga from my spinning than elsewhere. Finding the stillness in the center of all that movement. That’s a true stillness at the core. In order for the yoga practice to have clean lines, the energy must be dynamic, opposing forces creating active lines of energy. Both/and.

On a specific note, what are a couple tips you recommend to help protect your lower back and knees—two places that can be particularly vulnerable—during yoga?
Each person is unique. So, the best teacher is experience. If your knee joints are bothering you, that is not a pain to push through. Sometimes Reclining Pigeon can be helpful by stretching out the IT band. Sometimes a lesser bend in that knee for a Crescent or Warrior Pose. Regarding the lower back, many times when the lower back is in pain, it’s because the front of the body needs a stretch. A simple lunge may do. If all else fails, massage. And if that doesn’t work…physical therapy. Do not give up on your search to feel comfortable and good in your body.

On self-acceptance

One principle you support in Yogalosophy is to love your body now—as is. Why is accepting yourself as is so important?
I always do better when I get positive reinforcement. When I know I am doing well, I do better! I say, with this one, why don’t you try it as an experiment. Try speaking only lovingly and nicely about your body. The only power we have over anything is the power we have over our own actions and attitudes. This muscle must be strengthened as much as any.

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems, as when I do that, my world of choices opens up. As for being motivated, have you ever had a lover who didn’t appreciate you? This body of yours is the love of your life. If you start treating it that way, it will lovingly respond. If you need punishment and threats to keep you motivated, what is going to happen when you start doing really well and being accomplished? I want to live an enriched and exciting life that comes from joy. Anyone with me?

You also talk about moving towards health “from a place of love.” How would you describe that?
Total acceptance of self and others as is. When I am coming from a conscious place of love, I choose better foods, I am happier, and I feel awesomeness.

You work with a lot of celebrities and on the whole I would expect that they have a lot more time to devote to working out. I thought it was interesting you actually mentioned time as a constraint for at least some celebrities (one was Kate Beckinsale). So with that in mind, the average non-celebrity woman is definitely hard-pressed to find time to work out: How should she prioritize that precious hour—or less?
Make this a date. Put it in your calendar. Have a dedicated workspace or class. There are plenty of online groups where you can get support as well. This is also your time to develop a relationship with you. You are the priority. A great way to work it in as well is to make a workout date with a friend and have a meet up there. Lastly, think of it like brushing your teeth and washing your face. Would you start your day without cleaning yourself that way?

You end up close to the people you train. How important is friendship to health and why might pairing up for workouts be good?
We can’t do it alone. We all need support. It’s one of the greatest pleasures, treasures and gifts of being a human. Having someone hear you, witnessing others go through and intense process and coming out the other side. These are absolute miracles. Working out really can be very deep and very fun. Putting your head in the right space is a must.

On books

What are your favorite or most influential books—yoga or otherwise?

  • Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
  • Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts
  • The poetry of Dylan Thomas
  • The Castle of the Pearl (a workbook) by Christopher Biffle
  • Astrology for the Soul by Jan Spiller
  • Strangers Among Us by Ruth Montgomery
  • Earth-A Living Library by Barbara Marciniak
  • Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch by Henry Miller
  • Sexus/Nexus/Plexus by Henry Miller
  • The Diary of Anaïs Nin
  • Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant
  • The Story of B by Daniel Quinn

…so many books….

***

YOGALOS-CoverFinalMandy Ingber will be promoting her book in California, New York City, Chicago, and a handful of other places. Check the Events section on her website to see she’ll be coming to your area. Yogalosophy: 28-days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover is available online at her website and elsewhere. You can also find her wellness blog on People.com and for E! and on Twitter at @msmandyingber or Facebook Mandy Ingber’s Yogalosophy.

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Where Books+Body Meet: Interview with Novelist Jacqueline Sheehan

Novelist-Jacqueline-Sheehan

Inspired by “On the Lit Mat,” “Where Books+Body Meet” will take a look at writers’ habits—both in terms of when they sit down to create and in terms of how they restock their well of energy and creativity.

I’m thrilled to launch the first “Where Books+Body Meet” interview with Jacqueline Sheehan, a novelist and essayist who also teaches workshops on the combination of fiction and yoga.

Sheehan is also the author of one my favorite books, Lost and Found, the story of one woman’s struggle to heal from grief after her husband’s death. The book features an absolutely lovable dog whose animal wisdom and instinct is key to that healing. Sheehan is also the author of Picture This, the sequel to Lost and Found; Now & Then, which follows a woman in transition who goes back in time; and the historical novels Truth and The Comet’s Tale: A Novel About Sojourner Truth.

Sheehan lives in New England; you can read more about her on her website.

7 Questions with Jacqueline Sheehan

one

How many hours a week do you spend writing?

This is hugely variable. It could be anywhere from five to fifty hours. But I often work on multiple projects, so while I might not be writing directly on my next book, I might be working on an essay, or outlining a workshop that I’ll teach in Boston [Sheehan teaches writing workshops at Grub Street].

two

What’s your favorite time and place to write?

My most productive time is in the morning from about 9-12. About a year ago, I had a writing studio built on my house and I love it. My desk faces out to a deck and a large meadow below my property. I honestly think that it makes a difference to be able to rest your eyes on something beautiful when you look up from writing, and my view of the meadow works for me. I keep my binoculars on the desk, so that I can get a better look at the hawks, deer, and foxes as they wander through.

three

Where do you find inspiration when you aren’t feeling it?

I don’t always find inspiration, but I do sit down to work. Inspiration is the thing that happens when I wake from a dream that has to do with my book, or when I hear someone say the perfect word as I pass them on the sidewalk, but I don’t count on inspiration. I count on writing, word by word. I also read constantly, and I’m often inspired by other authors.

four

What one book—fiction or nonfiction—would you say most influenced your approach to writing?

I have re-read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, about five times. Every time that I read it, I think, This is a perfect book. The plot is riveting, characters strong, fresh dialogue (even now), and not a neatly tied up ending. Children are treated as complex characters.

Currently, I just read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and I’m in awe of what she was able to accomplish in this nonfiction tale. While grief is the plot that simmers below the surface, the rigors of the Pacific Crest Trail are the perfect metaphor.

five

Many people consider fiction writing to be an unhealthy, antisocial, depression-courting activity and/or profession. Thoughts?

There is a certain amount of sit-your-butt-in-the-chair that must happen with writing. But my experience with writers is anything but solitary. I am part of a strong and vibrant writing community. I meet weekly with the same group of writers every Wednesday night. I don’t ever schedule anything else for Wednesday nights. Never. I’ve written with them for ten years. My very best friends are writers and we support each other, cheer each other on, and yes, inspire each other.  In fact, I know these people better and more intimately than I know some of my family.

six

What rituals or activities do you consider your islands of peace (and possibly to balance the effects of writing)?

While I would love to get weekly massages, I have to settle for monthly massages. But wow, do I love massages.

I get a great deal of peace from nature, so I try to be outside part of every day and to really observe and be fully present when I’m in nature. On a perfect day, it goes like this: Coffee, newspaper, meditation for about 15 minutes, shower, writing. Then it is essential that I get out, take a walk for an hour or more or go to the YMCA where I work out with weights. I like to eat good food, so I usually make a big pot of soup on Sunday evenings, and it lasts for half the week.

seven

If you do any physical activities, how do they affect your work?

I can’t imagine how I would write without yoga and vigorous exercise. I need to be connected with my body so that I can stay connected with the physicality of my characters. Readers often tell me that they could really feel what my characters are going through and partly this is because I write very physically and I am able to do this because of my deep appreciation of the physical forms that we have.

For ten years, I worked with Patricia Lee Lewis who ran writing retreats internationally. Aside from running workshops about writing, I also taught yoga every morning. That is how we would all start our day in Scotland or Wales or Ireland for the week. This helps writers get to the places in our cellular memory that is such a rich source of writing.

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Three Tips on How Runners Can Avoid Yoga Injuries

running

Running coach and yoga teacher Sage Rountree weighs in on why runners should be careful when adding yoga to their training—and how they can do so.

Yoga is widely prescribed as a panacea to all that ails. Depressed? Do yoga? Anxious? Do yoga? Got a tight runner’s body? Well, then, most definitely do yoga.

Yet yoga—like any activity—carries with it the risk of injury. And many runners’ competitive nature coupled with a tight body elevates that risk. To find out some ways runners can stay safe while getting their om on, I spoke with Sage Rountree, a USA Triathlon-and RRCA-certified coach and yoga instructor and author of The Runner’s Guide to Yoga. Here are three tips she recommends.

Watch for trouble spots.

As mentioned above and as a polarizing New York Times article “How Yoga Wrecks Your Body” details, yoga is not without its injuries. The most serious injuries occur in the lower back, the shoulder, knees, and neck, with wrists and hips being two more places of vulnerability. And with runners, hamstrings can also be of special concern, says Rountree. “The number one injury in students who run is a high hamstring tear,” she says. These can happen during running or other activities, usually from causes like rapid pace changes or being overly aggressive. But a hamstring injury can also occur during yoga. Rountree says a high hamstring tear feels like a pain in the buttock, typically on just one side of your body. It occurs up near the sitting bone and, and ironically feels like if you could simply stretch it out to make it feel better. During such poses as forward folds, runners may become overly aggressive and push their stretches past the point that is appropriate—and safe. Of course, such aggressiveness can cause a number of other injuries, particularly when it’s combined with lack of experience.

Consider a basics class to learn proper alignment.

On the note of experience, anyone—not just runners—interested in yoga would do well to start with the basics, and this is especially true if you know you tend to push yourself. As a runner, you may be drawn to the flow/vinyasa or power yoga classes, which can evoke the intensity and movement of running. These are the classes that move quickly through series of poses, usually with sun salutation A and B as their foundation, and some with the added element of heat. The problem is that with that fast motion, there simply isn’t the necessary time to break down the fundamentals of a pose, or even, in many cases, for the teacher to offer corrections. In addition, heated yoga may raise the risk of overstretching. Not good. As mentioned above, you can injure your body doing yoga—especially in a crowded group classes or in classes where you’ll be too tempted to keep up with the bendy advanced regulars. If you’re new to yoga or coming back from a long break, it’s worth investing in slower-moving basic classes in alignment-focused styles such as hatha yoga or Iyengar, or at the very least, a basics flow/vinyasa or power class.

Leave your Type A personality at the door.

At the core of far too many yoga injuries is ego. As in I’m going to keep up with the people around me! “It’s tempting to make yoga about being bendy,” says Rountree, “but you don’t need to get your foot behind head to help yourself through yoga.” In fact, she says that yoga doesn’t have to look stereotypically flexible to be helpful. Everyone is different, but as a runner you only need a certain amount of flexibility—not much even—to smooth out your stride. Rountree recommends that if you’re a serious runner, you need to approach yoga with a eye to balancing your running rather than adding to the intensity, especially during high-mileage periods; the idea is to complement, not undermine. Yoga can complement running; it can encourage balance, focus, back strength and flexibility, and connect you to your breathing. But to create this symbiotic relationship, it’s helpful to know your own body, what your running plans and goals are, and how various poses can help you. That’s why it’s important to go with a knowledgeable teacher and to always listen to and respect what your own body is telling you.

See also:

Do you run and do yoga? What has worked well for you?

Photo by Drewski Mac; from Karma Spot

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“Totally Enlightened” Yoga Star Tara Stiles Talks YouTube Success

Tara Stiles Shares Thoughts on Her Internet Success

NYC Strala Yoga Owner, yoga teacher to Deepak Chopra, and YouTube phenom Tara Stiles recently met with the Wall Street Journal for Advanced Search to share her insights about her YouTube business. Stiles, who has more than 86,000 subscribers, discusses how she handles negative comments on her videos, how her willingness to be goofy has played a large part in her success, and what her strategy has been around the kinds of videos she creates. Oh, and all this discussion happens while she and the journalist Katie Rosman are doing yoga. Have a look.

“Totally Enlightened” Spoofs the Yoga Culture

The Former Ford model and fellow Strala staffer Heidi Kristoffer recently teamed up with Livestrong Woman to poke fun at the self-involved, materialistic, and pretentious culture that can sometimes surround the yoga scene. At one point in this very silly video, a guru type teacher asks, “Why are you all here?” and then answers for his students. “You all want to feel happier; you want to feel less afraid; you also want a more firmed, toned buttocks.” Hmm, I think that about sums things up.

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10 Quick Stretches to De-Stress Your Writer’s Body

office-yoga-and-stretches

I don’t know about you, but sometimes—especially during too-busy workweeks—I end up sitting hunched over my computer for way too many hours. And that’s a really bad thing.

Sitting is increasingly being linked to a variety of deadly illnesses, even for those who run or exercise in other ways. In addition, sitting at your computer typing away without a break puts you at risk for all kinds of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). And for those of us whose paying jobs require that we use the computer all day, and whose creative pursuits demand that we use it some more, well, we have to be even more diligent about getting up to walk around the house or office every hour or so, and sneaking lunch walks or other sources of movement and stretching into our day at regular intervals.

The stretching part of this recommendation is the subject of an article I wrote a few months ago, “Office Yoga: Sneak These 10 Stretches into Your Day,”* and I thought it would be helpful to share it now, since we’re in that oh-so-wonderful but oh-so-stressful holiday season, which can also include heavier workloads to prepare for time off.

One note in particular I’d like to highlight from my research for the article: When I interviewed Sandy Blaine, author of Yoga for Computer Users and longtime resident yoga teacher at Pixar Animation Studios, she greatly emphasized the importance of regular stretching since RSIs, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are incredibly difficult to treat once you have them. This is an area where an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. (But then, when isn’t that the case?) Since ironically I started to feel some of this in my wrists and forearms just after writing that article—I blame it on a new small laptop I’d been using in a less-than-ergonomic position—I want to personally emphasize the importance of frequent stretching as well. Even if you don’t do an “official” pose, be sure to occasionally stand up and stretch, flex your wrists, circle your hands around, roll your shoulders, stretch your back, and any other place that feels tight. In other words, try and stretch your whole body. This is because RSIs that happen in your wrist and forearms are actually the result of holding stress in your neck, shoulders, and other spots, according to Blaine, so be sure to take a comprehensive approach to your stretching.

For a list of the 10 stretches, along with instructions and photos, check out the article now.

*This article, originally published on Input Output, a former Federated Media site published by HP, has been recreated on Books+Body.

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