Monday, June 25, 2012

Total Body Toning Yoga Workout

Summer is finally here. It's too late to be perfect, so why not simply commit to the joy of moving your body just because it feels excellent to do so. What is sexier than moving your body and breathing? I just came off of an energetic weekend in Bridgehampton where I got to share my Yogalosophy. Here is a video I shot last year with some of the red carpet yoga moves I shared with the East Coasters over that weekend. You too can have a leaner, hotter body with my total body toning yoga workout. Immediately following Bridgehampton, I headed out to Ibiza to test out the sexy. Guess what? It really worked! Try it!  And have wonderful week, wherever you may be.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Exercise: Father of the Body/Diet: Mother of the Body

I have a theory that works for me, which is that diet is the mother of the body, and that exercise is the father. The food is the support and the nurturing that sustains me, and gives me nourishment and the grounding that I need to give life to all of my dreams. The exercise stretches and pushes me past my limitations, inspires me to move forward and challenges me to develop strength and independence. 

Of course many of us have complicated relationships with our original parents, and tend to develop complicated relationships to food and exercise! How often have I been too strict and unforgiving in my exercise routine, or imbalanced in my diet? Our foundation is made up of these simple actions and habits, and I have learned to self-parent through trial and error. Taking the best of what each parent has given me.

As a child, I had a tumultuous relationship with my father, he was very young when he had me; he was exploring and getting to know himself. We used to joke that we grew up together. When I was about age 6 or 7, my father began to practice yoga. He was an Iyengar master. I remember our first family yoga book was Richard Hittleman. Our family would even go to a group class together, and my parents planned to start a company called PEP: Productivity Enhancement Program, which would bring yoga to offices, so instead of a coffee break, there would be a yoga break. Clearly my parents were about 30 years ahead of their time, because PEP never happened, but my father continued his yoga practice in the entry hall of our Bel Air home. Happy Days would blare in the background, and it would not be unusual to walk down stairs and find dad doing his Darth Vader breathing in some contortionist pose with his leg behind his head. As effortless as his yogic poise seemed, he could just as easily unravel himself and lash out with his temper. So I have no illusions about yoga eliminating all negativity, though without yoga, I am sure it could have been worse.

I learned to emulate my dad. To assume the position. My father was a business man, but a yogi at home. In an effort to get close to my father, I would contort myself for his praise, but moreover to experience what he was experiencing. If I could be in a pose like the one he was in, if I could read the books he read, then maybe I could understand him better. I studied from the Iyengar books as he did, and would awaken and copy the book - just like my dad. After my father passed away, I was in my first downward dog, and realized that he had passed something on to me that connected me to an entire lineage. It took me until he passed away to really understand what he gave me. And now I get to take the best of what he gave me, and pass that along to others. His daily practice was constant throughout his 60 (full!) years. His tenacity to overcome all obstacles  was contagious, and I adopted these qualities as my own.
My mother was born in a displaced person's camp in Germany. She came over on a boat after the war when she was three. Infact, as a little girl, she taught her own parents how to speak English. She would go to school and come to home with the latest lessons. She raised myself and my brother with loving patience and humor... and she always kept us entertained with Rolling Stones impressions. As she would cook the macrobiotic meals for our family, she would imitate Mick Jagger, singing into a wooden spoon. She would have us entertained for hours. We would watch Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live, and that irreverence and humor colored my entire childhood. Mom was a natural nurturer and teacher. I definitely got my teaching abilites and humor from mom. Yet she always had a tendency to take care of others first, and then lick the serving bowls clean for her own dinner. I had to keep the nurture, but learn to feed myself first.This month we want to find comfort and nurture ourselves. If you don’t have time to cook, Karma Chow is a great vegan delivery service. For an inspiring yoga workout, download my FREE Balance Routine. Diet is the mother of the body and exercise the father. Happy Birthday to my mom, on June 27th. And Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers! Complicated or not... we are grateful for your inspiration.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Write Your Way Into Perfect Health

The messages you send to your body through your thinking are very powerful. The thoughts you think when you are practicing or exercising get into your DNA, just the same as how old thoughts and messages are stored in your body, and when you move, these ideas loosen and begin to move through you. One of the greatest ways to access the subconscious feelings and messages you are working out is journaling.

When your mind jumps around, words can be an anchor. Writing is a very powerful tool for transforming mental energy into action. Here are three ways to change your physical world by changing your mind with writing:

1. Workout Journal - Keep a workout journal for one month. Write as little as 3 sentences, or up to 3 pages. Describe how you feel before, during, and after your routine. Write about what is happening in your life and how that effects you. Journaling has always been an important tool for me. It is the way my subconscious and conscious mind communicate, and I can see and identify more what is going on with me. Sometimes I don’t even know what I am feeling until I put pen to paper.

2. Love Letter to Yourself - Funny, sometimes I think I need more communication with my friends, family or partner, but what I really need is a little love from ME! That's right. It doesn't take anything away from anyone else if I fall in love with myself. I still have old letters that I have written to me, just pouring on the love. Try using this amazing tool for self-loving. You will require less from others and have more love to give.

3. Write It and Burn It - When something is nagging or bothering you, do you tend to run it over and over again in your head? Try this: write down what you're worried about, and then let it go by either placing it into a GOD box or burning it and releasing it to the Universe. Once you have emptied your mind, you will be ready to hit the mat and breathe!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stress-Reducing Yoga

With the energies of the Gemini lunar eclipse and retrograde Venus' eclipse, plus the shift into a high-tempo, social and lively time of year, it's important to take the space to relax our nervous systems. With so much overstimulation, even coffee and chocolate are getting headlines for being healthy. I can feel my heart jump with excitement at the idea! But at some point forward bends serve to bring us down to earth. Enjoy the stress-reducing video I made last year, and take a few moments at the end of your day to love yourself and unwind.