Category Archives: health and fitness

Impromptu Naked Yoga

Sometimes clothes feel like a complete waste of time, which how I felt when heading to one of my favorite spas in Koreatown the other day.

Visiting a Korean spa for the first time can be a  bit of a different experience than visiting a traditional spa. While it absolutely bodes well that one wlll leave refreshed, there may be certain challenges one has to go through to get there — this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

For one, nudity is a requirement in the sauna and bath/shower areas. Also, the temperatures of the dry and steam saunas are a lot more extreme than standard, so listening to one’s body, taking breaks and drinking water is a must, too.

(But seriously, Life Pro Tip: If really concerned about being naked in front of others, you will learn really quickly that no one cares — largely because they, too, are in the same state of undress as you are. It’s very a freeing thought once it sinks in.)

All in all, it always ends up being such a cathartic, refreshing experience. Fast-foward to me in the dry sauna, though, remembering that I forgot to do any sort of stretching or pose holds during my workout earlier in the day. 

Then I thought: well, why not do a few poses? People have surely done stranger things. 

So I grabbed my towel, laid it on the floor, and eased into a few variations of seated split stretch. I sat cross-legged and pushed my legs down at the knees, did a few neck stretches and seated supine twist. I also practiced pigeon pose and finally goddess pose, melting into unintended savasana for the rest of my visit. 

Turns out it wasn’t at all awkward or uncomfortable as I thought it’d be. Working with a body uninhibited by waistbands or give of fabric drew my attention away from my thighs and stomach to release of interal and perceived external tension, both rooting myself in the moment, and in relation to circumstances outside of myself. 

It was actually quite nice.

ttfn~

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Intuitive Eating is Eating — Period

food

The idea of “intuitive eating” has helped many recovering from eating disorders by putting a purposeful label on a naturally-occurring function of survival. However, it has also earned its place within the health and fitness world as a way to eat, usually after a fitness competition, event, or photo shoot. In fact, it has such a gimmicky sheen on it that it’s pretty much begging for clarification.

So here we go: intuitive eating is not a diet, and it is not a program. At its core, it is a well-intentioned philosophy to listen to your body’s cues, eating when it’s hungry, and not eating when it’s not.

Also known as EATING.

Therefore, in the case of the everyday individual, I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing the phrase “intuitive eating” completely eliminated from public use. Here’s why:

1. The act of eating is really not that complicated. Eating is (a) putting food into your mouth, (2) chewing or slurping it, then (3) swallowing it. Without interference, the brain and body knows what hunger means. It knows how to eat and process food — it is designed to do so. While the act of eating requires that one not ignore the signals to do so, putting the word “intuitive” in front of it is insulting to people’s intelligence. Please, let’s call a spade a spade.

2. Marketability (“shut up and take my money”). People like to feel included, and generally will do whatever it takes to rise above something weighing them down. That’s why I wasn’t shocked with “zendoodling” i.e. adult coloring books became popular within the last year. I have a coloring book myself, with some truly beautiful designs. However, I (and hopefully others) refer to it as a coloring book.

zendoodle

                                       Zendoodle pattern.

I just find there to be something inherently wrong in making a buck off of another’s desire to improve their lives. Zendoodling is just coloring, and intuitive eating is just eating. There’s no need for crutch words. Call it what it is.

And the final reason I have issue with this concept…

3. It’s yet another thing to obsess over. Clean eating. Carb cycling. Fitting macros. All green everything. Buzzwords galore and now — intuitive eating. With obsession comes wasted energy, and I find it very unfair that people who want to enjoy life on such a basic human level look up to influencers that irresponsibly spread this so-called style of eating.

I will say it again, one more time: intuitive eating is not a style or trend. It’s not even new. It is eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and hell, maybe eating a few more bites.

Intuitive eating is eating. Enough is enough.

Just eat.

Yoga in a Time of Zombies, Pt. 1

Cat Yoga HeadstandThere are so many obvious benefits that come from partaking in regular yoga practice — immediate (centeredness, mental clarity, improved breathing) and eventual (muscle development, flexibility and stability). From vinayasa to restorative, yoga is clearly one of the best things that a person can incorporate into their workout routines.

When thinking of yoga, though, I immediately fall victim to the Pinterest-perfect ideal  — the long, lithe figure, chill demeanor, and apartment completely free from pet dander. (You’ve seen the pins. You know what I’m talking about). More than eucalyptus or lavender aromatherapy, that particular idea of yoga instantly calms me down. I realize that this is a well-marketed image and not necessarily reality. Still, I can’t help but be sold on the idea.

This is usually where I start asking myself just how many asanas and savasanas I plan on doing in the zombie apocalypse, because the answer is probably not many. Gyms and studios will turn into sanctuaries and fitness equipment of all kinds will turn into weapons. Namaste what? All that we know now will be replaced by the need to survive.

That said, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve tricked myself into thinking that partaking in mostly functional exercise is a most efficient way to prepare for the coming of the undead. I am more than aware that cross-training ups the ante on not just the physical, but largely the mental aspect of a workout. In either case, I’d really like my thighs to stop jiggling before civilization as we know it ceases to exist, and I’ve heard there’s a few flows for that.

What’s your favorite style of yoga? I’ve already a few options to explore and am looking forward to documenting them in this series. Topping my list is mastering pigeon pose, warrior series (especially the flow into warrior 3), and honestly just making and keeping the time to devote to practice.

Let the adventure begin, for as much time as we have left this side of turning.

Be sure to check out my zombie-tinged strength training series here:

Episode 5
Episode 4
Episode 3
Episode 2
Episode 1

Strength Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ep. 5

Leg day, glute day, lower body day — my favorite, my favorite. Probably because when I see or feel progression, it is such an accomplishment. My lower body is a beast and I’ll always be working to tame it. Definitely a worthy challenge.

Here’s a routine I did the other day for time, which was around 56 minutes:

I have a community gym in my apartment complex – no fancy machines, but some equipment (dumbbells, ankle weights, resistance bands, ab rollers/slides, pull up bar, etc.). It’s been fun figuring out and improving upon basic exercises/functions in the name of strength progression. Like kinesiology, except, well, obviously not.

Still, it can be a little bit of a challenge to wake up other muscles in the body, which why I surf other blogs, YouTube channels, Pinterest, and the great and powerful Google for inspiration. I mean the way that the “yeah, she squats” craze burned across the interwebs years ago, I’d’ve never thought to do abductions or pull throughs. Like, come on now. She does more than squat, fool.

Anyway, a lot of folks incorporate and modify moves by “The Glute Guy” Bret Contreras, who incorporates and modifies from others as well. Let’s face it, though: he’s some kinda king. Boss of butts.

Abby Pollock on YouTube is also a favorite of mine with her scientific breakdowns to understand why and how instead of blindly jumping in and hoping for the best.

Check out previous episodes here:

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1

Where do you get your workout inspiration?