July 13, 2014

July 13, 2014

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BRUTE YOGI WOD

Brute Strength
A. Close Grip Bench Press 60/70/80 x 8+
B. Incline Dumbbell Press 3×12 across

C. Work Capacity
5 rounds
10 Ring Rows
10 Ring Dips
25 Double Unders

Brute Yogi Mindful Pre-Wod
Find your flow state:
First task on bench day, find a spotter.  (Yes, yes, it isn’t a max day, but 8+ reps at 80% could crush ya.)  Walk around while you drink your caffeinated beverage and chat up your fellow gym folk seeing who might be willing to spot you when the going gets tough.  Getting to know your gym bros is part of being in the flow state while you’re there – high five-ing and fist bumping are vital to the GAINZ!

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Get down on the floor and on your roller – ROLL OUT – while planning your attack for your lifts.  Which bench will you be claiming – is there even one open or will you need to time that perfect moment of when to “work in.”  Pay attention to how your chest and arms are feeling while you roll and wiggle yourself all around and everywhere to get the upper back, shoulders and arms warmed up – and don’t forget to visualize how strong you’re gonna feel today.

Breathing is always important to a strong core, so since this is a new concept for most of you brute yogis, refer to our post on box breathing – you can do several rounds of box breathing while you are stretching out and holding some longer stretches or go sit in Virasana (butt on the floor or sit up on something as high as you need to to not feel like your ankles are going to snap) to stretch out your ankles and knees because…why not?  We all need it!

Physical Preparation:
(get your roller, PVC, and band now)
Grab your roller again and do some Upper Back and Shoulder Mobility.

Then go grab a PVC and continue the mobility madness with PVC pass throughs (Boom!)

One of the secrets to healthy shoulder movement is healthy thoracic rotation (well, ANY really!  most of us have very little!)  If you’ve been in any yoga class with Lisa or Anne-Marie, you know how much we love this movement – so much bang for your buck!

And finally, grab a band and open up that shoulder capsule in five of its directions –  The Five Way

*****all of this should become second nature as you get more practiced****
(in the meantime, you will be a little bit of a hot mess getting your toys organized)

2 sets of 10 Band Pull Aparts
First set with palms down – Second set with palms up
Burpees Strict 5 EMOTM for 5 minutes

NOW GO BENCH
A. Close Grip Bench: Perform 8 reps at 60% and 70%, max reps at 80% if desired.  We suggest using a spotter for the 80% at minimum.

B. Incline Dumbell Press: Warm-up with a few sets to find a working weight for all three sets.

C. Ring rows can be performed with bent knees, straight legs and anywhere from an incline, to parallel, to feet on a box.  If ring dips are not easily performed strict or with a thin band – switch to strict hand release push-ups.  Double-unders can be modified to quick singles, or double-under attempts.

 

July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014

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Brute Yogi Wod
~Rest Day~

This doesn’t mean you need to be a couch potato, unless you need that kind of rest day.  This is your day to mobilize, get a message, go to a yoga class, roll on your foam roller, go for a swim, hit the beach, walk the dog, go watch a movie, etc.  Stay with low impact, more relaxing movements that don’t raise the heart rate too high or require an exorbitant amount of exertion on your part.  Eat well, and SLEEP!

July 10, 2014

July 10, 2014

 

It's time to get outside!

It’s time to get outside!

Brute Yogi WOD

Endurance

2:00 on/2:00 off for 40-50minutes

Choose your poison – go for a run (pavement, trail, treadmill), row, bike (stationary or outside)

Brute Yogi Mindful Pre-Wod Prep

Find Your Flow State: Prepare your mind for succeeding in your workout.  Pick your music.  Hydrate.  Sit, visualize your chosen exercise from start to finish while you’re tying your shoes and survey the scene where your conditioning will do down -hopefully you chose outside and you can breathe it all in.

…speaking of the breath…Preparing the diaphragm, lungs and rib cage muscles for the volume needed to work efficiently and be resilient under the stress of hypoxia (a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply and happens during strenuous physical activity) is key to being a well-rounded and efficient athlete.

A favorite exercise for the Brute Yogi is called, “square breathing” or “box breathing” or traditionally in yoga, “kumbaka.”  It is called square or box breathing because you can visualize a square with your breath in this way:

Inhale for 4 seconds
Retain the inhale for 4 seconds (hold the breath in)
Exhale for 4 seconds
Suspend the exhale for 4 seconds (hold the breath out)

Do this 4 times and it will balance out your state of mind, increase the strength of your diaphragm, increase lung capacity, and prepare your respirartory system for the Work Capacity ahead of you.

**As you practice more and your lung capacity increases, you can increase the length of the breaths and the holds. One day, you will be able to increase the time  to 15 seconds for each section of the square, such that it takes you 1 minute to create the entire box – that would make you a Super Brute Yogi!

Now, let’s prepare the body for your chosen task: This Dynamic Warm-up has a lot of great ideas.

  1. Leg Swings: 10 reps forward, backward and side to side.
  2. Arm Swings and Back Slaps
  3. High knees and butt kickers: At least 100m each
  4. Carioca Drill: At least 50′ each side
  5. Inch Worm: 5-10 reps

Tips: You may choose to go at a slower pace during the 2:00 off or completely rest for that 2:00.

Brute Yogi Integration Post-Wod:

Sit or lay down and reflect on the work that was done.  Then let it go.

Namaste Strong, y’all.

 

July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014

Brute Strength

Front Squat 60/70/80 x5

Olympic Skill Session:

Every 90s x 8 rounds
1 High Hang Snatch + 1 Snatch 60% of 1RM Snatch

Work Capacity

5 rounds: Rest 1:30 after each round
5 tire flips (heavy)
5 jumps to tire
25 double unders

Brute Yogi Mindful Pre-Wod Prep

Find Your Flow State: Prepare your mind for succeeding in your workout.  Sit down and drink your pre-workout while you read over the WOD, write down on a white board what you will be doing and what you need to remember. Take a moment to sit and visualize each movement, look around the gym and figure out what you will need for each movement and where you will need to set up camp.  Get down on your roller and see yourself moving efficiently and recognize where there may be trouble for you with today’s tasks.  As you pick out your shoes and slip on your knee sleeves, are there any questions regarding equipment, movements, timing, etc?  Now that you’ve put yourself in the Brute Yogi state of mind, turn off your phone and pick your music for the day – the music is key to the flow ~

Physical preparation:  Start by elevating the heart rate with a jog, a row, airdyne, etc.  Then continue to mobilize with a few rounds of the world’s greatest stretch on each side (say 5 reps), some gorilla squats (go for 10)

Cossack Squat

a slow 10 on each side

(You can also modify this dynamic movement by holding onto the pull-up cage, but follow all of the same alignment cues!)

Front Squat: Squat from the rack at 60%, 70%, and 80% of your one rep max.  If while warming up those percentages aren’t attainable today then drop the percentages until it is…do not go above the percentages.  Take at least 2:00 off between sets.  And as Stella Krupinski says…”sit your ass down” and actually rest during sets.

Snatch Complex: Warm-up to your working weight for the day, not to exceed 60%.  We suggest warming up with something like the Burgener Warm-Up or something like this from Catalyst Athletics.

Work Capacity: The rest programmed in will allow you to work at almost 100% capacity each round, so plan to go hard with that forced rest each round.

  • Choose a tire that will require cognitive reset each rep but will not cause a break down in form as you go through the rounds.  We’re average athletes and would choose an approximately 300# tire.
  • The jumps to tire can be performed as step-ups, and we do suggest stepping down each rep regardless of whether or not you’re jumping up to the tire.
  • Modifications for double unders can be quick singles

NAMASTE STRONG, y’all!

July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014

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Brute Yogi Warm-Up:

Move for 5 minutes – go for a jog, row on the rower, jump rope.

Roll out – if you don’t have a roller, shoot us an email, we have ’em!

YTAs 10 sets no weight

Gorilla Squats

World’s Greatest Stretch

Dead Bugs Turn on that core – resist putting the back in extension to move the arms and legs

T-spine Mobilization

Ws to emphasize turning on the lower trapezius and posterior rotator cuff in support of a stable shoulder girdle overhead

Brute Strength & Skill:

EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) for 10 minutes

Even: 3 Axle Clean and Press @ 70-80%

Odd: 3 Strict Pull-Ups

Brute Strength Continued:

Zydrunas Press: 4×5 across

Work Capacity: (do work, but don’t sacrifice form)

10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2

Manmaker

Knees to Elbows

Endurance:

Tabata Airdyne

Mindful Brute Yogi Pre-Wod: (Tips and Modifications)

Axle Clean and Press: Choose a slightly challenging weight that you can do all three clean and jerks unbroken with good form – quality is more important than the weight on the bar – set each rep from the ground.  If you do not have access to an axle or fat bar, a traditional barbell will do just fine.

Strict Pull-ups: No kipping allowed!  Choose a band that will give you enough resistance to complete all three.  Or if you have access to a machine to do lat pull downs, choose a weight that is challenging for you but that you can still complete all three reps.  Or go to ring rows as close to parallel as able.

Z-Press: Rest approximately 2 minutes between sets.  Choose a weight that you can do all 4 sets unbroken.  If you’ve never done these before, start with the bar and continue to add weight each set.

Manmakers: Stay light to maintain form, around 60% of what your proposed max effort would be.  Again – form and quality is more important.

Knees to Elbows: If the knees don’t quite make it to the elbows you can modify to knee ups while hanging from the bar.  If hanging from the bar is not possible (if it bothers your back for example) hold on to something overhead while laying on the ground, press the lower back in to the floor and then roll up as if you were hanging from the bar.  And if these options do not appeal there are always traditional sit-ups – just double the reps.

Tabata: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds or 4 minutes.  Find a stationary bike if an Airdyne isn’t available, or rower, or treadmill, or hit the pavement for some sprints.

Plan on spending an hour and a half in the gym or separate it in to two sessions with the strength portions first and come back for the work capacity and endurance later.

Activate them Glutes!

Activate them Glutes!

Squat it out!

Squat it out!

It’s time to warm-up!

We’ll say this a lot – A LOT – to the point of being annoying – but warming up is SUPER important while on your journey to becoming a Brute Yogi.  While it’s fun to get straight on over to the barbell, metcon, strongman implements or whatever you are going to fill your gym time with that day, it’s wise to set those fun things up for success.  If you’re not warm, you’re not moving efficiently, you’re mind isn’t in the game so-to-speak and you’re setting yourself up for injury.

Before getting to the meat and potatoes of your work out, take a few minutes to warm up the specific muscles and prepare the  joints in a manner that will prepare you for the day’s movements.  Spend a little time on your weaknesses too.  We’ll guide you through the warm-ups for the day, but it’s not an absolute – if you need more, do more!  Just don’t wear yourself out before hitting the heavy stuff.

Brute Yogi’s YouTube channel is LIVE!  Be sure to subscribe for all of the videos presented on the blog.  Today we’d like to share one of our favorite warm-up drills before hitting heavy deadlifts, squats or leg intensive metcons.

AssLayers

Thanks to a fellow Brute Yogi, Jenn, for this one!

 

Full programming starts July 7th!  Be sure to follow us to get any updates delivered right to your inbox!

BruteYogi WOD is Here!

BruteYogi WOD is Here!

 

It's time to become a Brute Yogi.

It’s time to become a Brute Yogi.

Welcome to the BruteYogi WOD!

What is a Brute Yogi?  In case you missed the answer look here.

Today we bring you the “how to” of the BruteYogi WOD.  If you’ve been following the progress on FaceBook, thank you!  If not, go ahead on over and give us a like.  We’ll also have connections to Twitter and Instagram up and running shortly.  While all of this social media stuff keeps us in contact, this website right here, the one you are currently reading, will be the most up to date and informative of all – so be sure to bookmark it!

Here’s the CliffsNotes version of the who, what, when, where and whys before we get to the real meat and potatoes.  Lisa (the originator of BruteYogi.com) and Anne-Marie (XfitinYogi.com) have been athletes for a little while, basically all our lives.  We’ve discovered over the years that one cannot just BE an athlete, one must be a MINDFUL athlete – no matter your chosen sport.  Some of this discovery has come through injuring ourselves, some of it has come through learning and experiencing different coaches and programming, some of it has come through coaching other athletes, and some of it has come through our yoga practice.  We continue to learn and grow as athletes and coaches every time we step in to the gym, on to the mat and in to the world (maybe it sounds cheesy to you – but it all relates, PROMISE).

Who is this for?  Really, anyone.  Anyone that wants general strength and overall conditioning.  We’ll approach the workouts and programming from our experience in Yoga, CrossFit, Strongman, Olympic Lifting and Weight Lifting and Endurance Sports.  Everything is scaleable, modifiable and accessible.

How does it work?  There will be a Mindful BruteYogi Pre-WOD (including warm-ups), Brute Strength, Work Capacity, Skills and Accessory, and BruteYogi Integration.  

  • Mindful BruteYogi Pre-WOD: To prepare your mind and body for the work ahead.  Centering exercises to include breath and physical movements.
  • Brute Strength: Barbell movements like squats, deadlifts and presses – Olympic lifts too.
  • Work Capacity:  Similar to a CrossFit WOD, there will be a metabolic conditioning aspect that will include movements geared to accompany each other.
  • Skills and Accessory Movements:  Specifically chosen to improve upon the movements programmed for the day and target areas that are generally most out of balance
  • BruteYogi Integration:  Mobility and yoga most directly related to the day’s movements.

We’ll post the programming the night before (we’re on the East Coast).  We’d suggest following it in order even if you’re not completing the workouts on the exact day we post them.

Rest days will absolutely be programmed in!  We HIGHLY suggest taking rest seriously as that is where most of your growth will occur.  Recovery weeks will also be part of our programming approximately every six weeks.  Those weeks will be lighter in volume and overall work to allow for sufficient rest.

Feel free to ask us any question you may have, we’re here to support YOU in your evolution in becoming a BruteYogi!

Oh yeah…and we actually do the workouts ourselves too!

On being “Brute”

On being “Brute”

Hey, folks.  I know, I know – I have totally fallen behind on this whole blog thing!  It is a lot harder than I thought to think some thoughts and then organize them into simple words that others can read and understand.  The other bloggers in my life, like my introspective and eloquent wife, #xfitinyogi and an unlikely buddy to a lesbian yogi like myself, Vonmunchausen, make it all look so easy!

And, actually, the thinking of the thoughts part is really easy – the hard part is that it usually happens when I am shut up in a quiet room working on a very still and probably sleeping client (which relaxes me too and is hence why the thoughts flood in) or while I am driving listening to some of my favorite podcasts and then I have no way to record my thoughts because my phone is plugged into the car.  My most inspired thoughts unfortunately come to me when I have no way to record them and then when I go to sit down t0 record them, they are poof – gone!

So, I pout and I give up and then I get smacked up side the head by these creative forces around me who say, “just fucking write – write something – anything!”   A writing professional and young, spirited visionary in my life, Tara, gave me a swift kick in the ass the other day when I was lamenting about how psychologically stunted I am when it comes to sharing my thoughts with the world through the written word and that I tend to write in short phrases – single worded thoughts – and pictures like a child.  She ever so casually said, “Do it like that then! Why not?  It is you are and how you speak!”  Keep it simple, stupid!  Duh.

I’ve recently pulled my shit *almost* together to begin what my very first marketing mentor, guru of go-getting, Amber,  has been on me for years to do – create and cultivate a brand.  I think I did?!  Brute Yogi!  And, now that it is out there, I am getting a lot of questions like, “oh are you teaching yoga at Brute Strength Gym now?” “Are you the in-gym yoga teacher for them?” “Isn’t being ‘brute’ a bad thing?”  “Why would you want to be called a ‘brute’ and a ‘yogi?”  “So, you aren’t called ‘The Space Above’ anymore?”

Look, here’s the deal: I’ve been an athlete most of my life, a yogi 18 years, and have recently joined an eclectic community of warm and fuzzy (almost always grunting while covered in chalk) brutes at Brute Strength Gym.   In the 8 years I’ve been a member of the brotherhood of  Crossfit, I began to see my unique perspective being a yogi and a massage therapist and yet still feeling right at home with the muscle heads and the six packs.  Within the past several years, I’ve lost all romantic notions about yoga (not unlike this woman’s story and experience with her break-up with yoga )and realized that the best way for me to practice yoga is to share it the way I use it as a life style paradigm that anyone can integrate in their life and their flow – mala beads, flowy white pants, and references to blossoming your buttocks not necessary!

The term “Brute Yogi” just popped in my head one day and it felt right – I owe a lot to trusting my intuition .   I’ve done and am still doing my work on the yogic path, it just doesn’t quite look the way that you expect it to.  (I am saving that for another blog post – my intentions in sharing Brute Yoga.)  For now, I just want to bring the two worlds together – these two worlds that seem too opposed or that there isn’t any way to know both parts of oneself.

Anyone can benefit from this advice, right? “Good distraction frees us from emotional pain. Bad distraction gives you a mouth full of whizz.”

What is a Yogi?
/yōgē/
 A yogi is a person who practices yoga and seeks to unite the physical body and the spiritual being. This is an individual who chooses to pursue the union of individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness of the Divine.  Through mindfulness, self-study,  a practice of controlling the breath, and understanding the physical body, a yogi learns self-control and ultimate takes ownership of their experiences and their state of mind.
Now, who wouldn’t want this and why couldn’t anyone make this their practice?  Why couldn’t a dirty, sweaty ditch digger who uses the F word to express his passion and sees beauty in his quiet moments alone on his porch with a beer learn to practice mindfulness and be given an opportunity to find some relief in his physical body without the threat of doing asana that his large, weary biceps and formidably bulky thighs will NEVER EVER be capable of mimicking – even if he keeps practicing, “all will [not] be coming” (it is a pet peeve of mine to hear a teacher quote one of the fathers of the physical yoga practice, Sri Pattabhi Jois, “practice and all is coming” to students in their slack-jawed, dismissive, condescending yoga voice instead of using thoughtful discrimination to recognize where their students are in there hard-working everyday bodies and then taking the extra step to find ways these “normal” bodies can experience yoga.)  Deep breath…

What is a Brute?
/bro͞ot/

A wholly instinctive being who tends towards being very strong or forceful and is capable of generating a great amount of force when necessary. **On the other hand, there are also these definitions: A savagely violent person or animal.  A person who is offensive and rude.

There is a time and place for tenacity – for being a brute when undaunting force is necessary to move heavy things or to have an indomitable will in furthering a cause or to prevent a boundary from being crossed.  So, why not be a Brute Yogi?  Why not be gritty and graceful – courageous and compassionate – bold and sympathetic – an even-tempered beastly badass?  Why the fuck not?  Namaste, bitches!  Feel love and feel your power!

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Attack of the Killer Penguin

Attack of the Killer Penguin

Lisa and Tina are taking their hip mobility work seriously.

Lisa and Tina are taking their hip mobility seriously!

 

Some friends called me directly on the brute yogi hotline with some very specific questions about my first ever video on releasing the hips to help soothe back pain.  After I finally went live with this website (and almost threw up several times in the process) and (with anxiety that I thought would swallow me up) posted my first blog post, they scoured my site like any beloved friends would, to peek at what little information I’ve put out there so far, and found the video.  They both started doing the simple mobility movements right away with high hopes of relieving their back pain and they were sold!  They even wrote the sequence on their white board in their kitchen!

What really made me struck me was how they improvised props with what they had around the house – they had one yoga block, the tie for a robe, and couch cushions. I was so proud of them!  They wouldn’t let anything stop them from moving in a new way to feel better!

Two pillows and a block instead of a bolster

Only got one block and two pillows

 

A robe tie as a yoga strap

You can use anything as a yoga strap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their excitement was contagious!  It literally makes my day to know that I’ve helped someone, especially when they get so pumped about the idea of being empowered to take care of themselves!  Their one burning question though was about the “killer penguin” (my yoga buddy, Amber , gets the credit for this pet name.)

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not technically a yogasana – it is a mobility exercise and it goes by many names – the frog, the penguin, the baby maker, groin sprawl, or just simply a groin stretch.  My friends decided to call it the sex pose (LOL?!)  Here is a picture of another lovely friend and fellow yoga teacher, Gayle, demonstrating the killer penguin for us.

Gayle in penguin

Gayle in killler penguin – dead or resting?

 

Get those hips down, Gayle!  No-ass up poses!

Get those hips down, Gayle! No-ass up poses!

Let me take a moment to describe *why* this can be such an effective hip opener for back pain relief. The adductor muscles on the inner thighs play a major role in the position and the stability of your pelvis. If there is extra tension and gripping in the groin muscles, the pelvis can tilt too far forward and put unhealthy strain on the lumbar spine, especially if you are lacking in core stability.

**Be sure you have some padding under your knees before you get going on this groin opener**

~ Start on your hands and knees.

~ Turn the feet out 90 degrees and flex them to protect the inner knee.

~ Gradually spread your knees apart keeping the knees and thighs line with the pelvis.  In this first variation, the feet are apart and the ankles are in line with the knees – so that there is a 90 degree angle behind the knee.

~ While sliding your hips back to line up with the knees, keep the spine long (this isn’t Penthouse, asses down people) by either propping under the torso with blocks, pillows, a bolster, blankets, or just simply hold yourself up on your forearms.

~Now, WAIT…hold…pause…be still…be like a killer ninja penguin…breathe and await the opening…

www.cheezburger.com

www.cheezburger.com

Moving dynamically here can also be effective.  In Yoga for Athletes, we like to laugh at ourselves as we awkwardly “saw the groin open” or  “hump the penguin.”  Basically, just carefully shift your body back and forth to change the angle and depth of the stretch in your hip socket and in the groin. As you do this, and your adductor muscles loosen up, be sure to spread your knees wider…and wider…and wider…

Yoga Dogs

 

Now, Tina and Lisa were wondering more specifically if there were other ways to get the same release in the adductors without so much weight on the inner knees.  There sure are!

Frog pose

Frog Pose

Frog

Praying to the Frogs

Just simply bring the feet towards each other – then it is technically more of a yogasana (adho mukha baddha konasana) and in the movement and exercise world, this is usually called, “frog.”

 

Seated Butterfly - Baddha Konasana

Seated Butterfly – Baddha Konasana

Baddha Konasana

* pressing down gently on inner thighs or using weights on the inner things* Siamese cat not required.

These versions of this groin opener aren’t quite as effective at getting to the inner groin and adductors.  There is more torque placed on the femurs in the hip socket when there is a right angle at the pelvis and knee (like in the killer penguin) which creates more lengthening and stretch in the tendon attachments around the inner bowl of the pelvis. And, as a bonus, gives the femur a rotation that it rarely gets deep in the hip socket and at its gluteal attachments.  But these will do if they don’t “kill” your knees as much!

 

 

Here are some versions that create that more effective torque that penguin gives (for some reason, I love that word, “torque!)

Reclined Butterfly with 15# Plates

Reclined Butterfly with or without weight on the inner thighs- whoah

Malasana on the wall

Supta Malasana – Squat on the wall – Dead Penguin – Baby maker?

Seated Groin Opener

Seated with legs in penguin position. Seated with legs in same position as “killer penguin.”

Half-kneeling groin stretch

Half-Kneeling Groin Stretch – so good!

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One leg up on edge of couch or chair or box in same position/angle

Groin opener on jump box

Flex that foot! Protect the knee and you open and torque that hip/femur!

 

 

In conclusion…not sure how to end this whirlwind of hip opening ideas being tossed your way…

There is always a way – to make changes – to ease discomfort – to open the hips.  Excuses cannot be excused.   A few years ago, I had a rare opportunity to work with nationally recognized yoga teacher, author, public speaker, and paraplegic (yes, a paraplegic yoga teacher!) Matthew Sanford who said, “You cannot overcome your life.”  I imagine that what he meant is that there are circumstances of our lives and our physical makeup that we cannot ever change, but we have the creative will, the fortitude, and the CHOICE to work with what we were given.  He cannot “overcome” his disability and he doesn’t make excuses – he finds a way to work with his physical karma, he has the courage to go for what he knows is possible for him and his physical vehicle.

So, go forth and take care of your vehicle –  post any questions below and epiphanies below!

Brace yourself -This is personal

Brace yourself -This is personal

Let's do this blog thing!

Let’s do this blog thing!

 

Let me get personal with you. I am an introvert (so this isn’t easy.) I break into a cold sweat when I have to speak in front of a group. I’m sensitive and I cry a lot. I don’t easily forgive narcism, ignorance, and selfishness. Anatomy and biomechanics turn me on. I love espresso, dogs, and gangster rap. My temper gets the best of me often and is one of the many reasons I practice yoga and lift heavy things. When I do lift, I tend to make this yelping grunt sound every time single time and it feels so good to emote like that. I am not naturally brave and I now know it is time to stop being such a scaredy cat and make shit happen in my life. I can tell you from experience that it really is painful to stay in a place that feels like I am playing small and allowing myself to fall victim to circumstance.

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Getting some quality coaching from Jordan at Diablo Crossfit. (he’s legally blind and amazing!)

One of my dearest friends has been on my case for over four years now to grow my brand, cultivate a following and finally get the recognition I deserve. Amber Karnes is of those people that lifts me up. She is colorful and creative. She lives out loud and without apology in spite of her own fears. You can see her in just some of her awesomeness on her blog, Body Positive Yoga, or on her other blog (she’s that awesome that she has two,) My Aim is True.

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Me and my very own creative genius, Amber.

On the flip side, there are several specific people throughout my life that have knowingly or unknowingly forced their insecurities, weakness of character, sense of lack, and fear of not being good enough on me to the point that I allowed them to influence me and trigger my own unhealthy way of care-taking and fixing and rescuing at my own expense. Matryr, you say? No, more like a learned codependence. I sacrificed and hid and squashed my own light and power in order to protect their feelings. I did allow it, yes. I take full responsibility for giving someone else the floor and hiding in the shadows so that they could fully shine. Well, no fucking more! (you will find that “fuck” is one of my favorite words – deal with it!)

Just sayin'...

Just sayin’…

15 years as a massage therapist and working my ass off for myself and by myself, almost 12 years teaching yoga, 5 years as a coach and personal trainer, and 6 long, hard years co-owning a yoga studio (the completely unglamorous life of a yoga studio owner is another blog post for another day – oh boy) brings me here to this blog and this fork in the road of saying, “fuck it, it is my time now and you can’t take it from me!” These past few years have been the most difficult. I allowed my own sparkle to dull. I allowed myself to be bullied in to being quiet or believing that I wasn’t capable and that there was someone else that was always more so. Most would say that that doesn’t make any sense – I agree! But again, I got coerced into believing that I had no right to put my own career and financial security first, to share my knowledge and my skills to make a difference in people’s health and well-being. I was bouncing along sincerely believing that my growth and my expansion in my offerings to my community would only serve to bolster the communities I was working with energetically and vice versus – I saw it all as symbiotic and then was told in so many words, “how dare me” – “it isn’t about me” – “it is about the greater good of the ‘fill in the blank.’

I no longer believe the lies. I no longer concede the floor for someone’s else’s lack of belief in themselves. I no longer allow anyone to steal from me. I am awake. I am alive and I have a fierce burning in my heart that needs to fucking shine!

Recently I participated in a group process on the web with my teacher of 14 years, Anna Pittman. We all gathered around our computers on a chilly Sunday for an online sharing experience. For most of the group, it was the first time we had ever done something like this before. It was awkward and clunky at first as we all navigated how to hear each other, see each other and feel connected in spirit (and while my cat kept walking in front of the screen!) The intention of the virtual gathering was to explore the resolution of limitations and resistance in my life. In the first inquiry, Anna led us through a visualization culminating in our listening to our own voice – here is what my voice had to say without any restraint – just free flowin’ thought straight from my heart (something I rarely let myself do and promised myself I would during this time with the group.) Oh, good gawd…here I go…being brave…

Directly from my notebook – “I am ready to unleash my spirit. I am ready to embrace my true spirit and let it be free and wild and mobile and dynamic and alive. I no longer want to feel stifled and squashed and pushed down for the sake of others. Although it is not part of my personality up until this point, I want to shine so fucking brightly. I want to grow and share and receive and exchange without withholding. I want to dance. I want to love and glow. I want to be heard and not talked at. I want to be seen. I want to be tenacious and tender with a fierce grace that I know is a truer me.”

So, here it is folks – my blog. I’m taking risks and being vulnerable all in the hopes of sharing what I’ve learned in my 41 years from my therapist eye, my coach view, my own mat, my barbell and from my own trials and tribulations with my body. There will be videos and posts with a lot of my opinions being thrown in. Hopefully, it will be helpful shit that will put you on the road to being a more connected and efficient version of you in this kinetic machine you’ve been given. This gives my inner introvert the cold sweats, but she needs to step the fuck aside and make room for this beautiful force about to step into the light.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  Nelson Mandela

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Namaste, y’all!