In the midst of today's seasonal changes you may be noticing the direct correlation between the leaves gracefully falling off the trees as the temperature drops, to the summertime high energy regimen that is so easily falling out of our routine as the chill fills the air. I love that this seasonal transformation from summer to fall allows us a beautiful opportunity to swap the “busy” and “always on the go” lifestyle to a new, slower paced and more relaxed routine that can allow us to focus on our inner attention. The idea of “inner attention” for some, may feel foreign.... after all, many of us have been taught to ignore the warning signs of fatigue, stress, emotional or physical pain and injuries as: life must go on! or, it's just too uncomfortable to quiet the mind and listen to your body's needs.
With the combined elements of “inner attention and awareness” along with a recent reader's question on “how to effectively implement a healthy and balanced fitness routine as we transition into the fall season,” I am inspired to share with you the topic of yoga! There are so many amazing benefits to the practice of yoga! And what better time of the year to incorporate a quiet practice that allows you to connect with yourself and gain flexibility and mobility along with the many overall health and wellness advantages to go along with it! To educate you further on the subject of yoga, I introduce to you, yoga instructor Jane Howell of Moksha Yoga! With Jane’s abundance of passion, knowledge and grace she is one of our community's most respected and loved yoga instructors. Jane talks to you about the benefits to the practice of Hot yoga.
Yoga is rooted in ancient teachings but offers us tools for our modern lives. It is a diverse and ever evolving system with many layers and styles. One teaching within the practice of yoga is to ‘Stay calm in a stressful situation’. It can be as simple as teaching us to keep other parts of the body relaxed and calm while ‘stressing’ the muscle in a stretch or strengthening hold so that the targeted area can open in a safe and effective way. It can also translate as the ‘stress’ or nervousness that might come over you thinking about the idea of hot yoga. But once you can wrap your head around the ‘why!?’ the benefits can be endless.
The environment of a hot yoga class can most definitely be overwhelming. The reasons behind the heat will lead you to personal breakthroughs physically, emotionally and spiritually. The added challenge (stress) of the heated room means that you will work harder, leading you to be stronger.
Hot yoga will raise the heart rate. The body will be working, sweating and detoxifying. This can happen without having to take on an overly active and (advanced) dynamic yoga class. This approach really is about keeping bodies safe. Many styles of yoga offer a very fast paced and physically demanding practice which is awesome for experienced practitioners and is a fun way to stay fit. It just doesn’t work for many people at the start of their yoga journey or if they have physical limitations from injury, age or ability. It takes time and work to build the strength and awareness. Our bodies want to be active. We know we want to move energy and information around, it’s just about finding a way to do it that feels right and can be sustained for years to come.
The heated space invites the muscles to release tension and relax as soon as you step into the room - just like using a heat pack! Tight and stiff bodies experience movement with more ease and ability. Of course overstretching is a possibility, but like any physical activity there needs to be awareness, and if done carefully this will not be an issue. Suffering pain in your everyday life does not have to be accepted as ‘normal’ and regular yoga can help.
Learning to breathe effectively will aid your body to function more efficiently, and it’s in a heated yoga class that this tool can really be developed. To stay ‘calm’ in the ‘stressful’ moment of challenge, you can use your breath. Long, deep and rhythmic breathing sends the message of ‘calm’ to the nervous system. You will learn to harness and use the breath to support the movements, while working hard, sweating and strengthening.
Next, there is the mind. Simply having to stay focused on what was happening in the room and on your mat is all that the mind needs to take on. You find the space to quiet the internal dialogue, agenda and chatter that we all carry around through the day. Find some peace in the chaos of a hectic world. Basically stay calm, move and breathe. This leads us to peace and clarity, even if only for the hour-long class, it’s enough to create some space between the go-go-go.
The qualities that can be cultivated on the mat and during the yoga practice do begin to ripple out into the rest of your existence. Staying calm in a stressful situation is an attribute that can support you in so many aspects of daily life. And that’s just the beginning. A yoga mat is a safe space to develop many qualities that you can carry off into the rest of your life. Work hard and the rewards and learning are all yours for the taking.
If you are looking to reap the many benefits of yoga into your routine, whether it be to gain or maintain flexibility, strength or connection and awareness to self, finding the right practice for you is essential. Discover how yoga can benefit you by learning about the different styles and classes, whether it be hot yoga or not, finding a studio that best suits your needs is essential in keeping you on your journey to a healthy and a happy you!
If you have any questions, comments or training enquiries contact me directly at 250-859-2431 or learn more about me at www.profilefitnesstraining.com
With what information I do have on this delicate subject, I recognize that it is not enough to truly educate and inform my valued readers, so I have called upon the big guns, my friend Dr. Audrey Wolter of Mission Naturopathic Clinic to share with you her abundance of knowledge on this subject and what advice she has for you, so that you can stay on top and in your power during this natural transition in your life!
Menopause is derived from the Greek meno (month/menses) and pausis (pause) referring to the cessation of the menstrual cycle. During this natural transition period for every women, the ovaries begin to slow down in their function. Prior to menopause, the ovaries function to produce eggs and sex hormones, predominantly estrogens and progesterone as well as small amounts of andogens. Without their full function, it is now the job of the other endocrine organs, particularly the adrenal glands, to pick up the slack in the hormone production department. In comparison to the ovaries, the adrenals are known as our “shock absorbers” for stress. Meaning, under stress, they secrete hormones such as cortisol, dhea, adrenalin (to name a few). Under normal circumstances when the adrenals are functioning optimally they will help maintain homeostasis within the hormonal system, immune system, detox and inflammatory pathways. Under prolonged stress, whether psychological or metabolic, the adrenals can become depleted. For women experiencing perimenopause and menopause, depleted adrenals can result in a more difficult transition period. Symptoms that I commonly hear of from menopausal women include hot flashes, night sweats, depression, mood swings, sleep disturbances, fatigue and weight gain.
Some important tips that every woman should know:
- Reduce stress! Incorporate some DAILY personal time. Try meditation and breathing techniques and a regular exercise/activity program.
- Eat a balanced diet with adequate high-quality proteins, complex carbs, good fats and fiber sources through a whole-foods diet. Foods that should be consciously avoided are foods that are more inflammatory such as too much red meat, cow-sourced dairy and gluten.
- All refined sugars should be avoided.
- Consuming 2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds daily, sprinkled over a salad is a natural way to help improve proper estrogen metabolism.
- Support those adrenals…. the earlier the better! One of my favourite herbs is Rhodiola. 100mg once in the morning is a good place to start. This herb is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps regulate stress reactions in the body. Over time, it improves our coping mechanisms.
- Other supportive nutrients for the hormonal system are B- vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc, Omega’s and Vitamin C.
- Sometimes we prescribe phytoestrogens, which help regulate estrogen levels in the body. This group of herbs can significantly improve symptoms of hot flashes, depression and vaginal dryness. One of the best known phytoestrogen is Black Cohosh which can often be found in formulas for menopause.
How can naturopathic care benefit me?
Women seeking out a more naturopathic approach for menopause might expect when coming to our clinic to have a thorough assessment. This may include comprehensive hormone testing including understanding adrenal function through saliva cortisol testing. Also important, is understanding each woman's lifestyle and stress levels, vitality, emotional/mental state, toxicity levels and organ function, pH levels and terrain concerns. Some modalities we use in the treatment of menopause could be a combination of dietary and lifestyle counselling, herbal remedies, single homeopathic and complexes, tissue salts, bio-identical hormones and even injections in some cases.
- Dr. Audrey Wolter, Mission Naturopathic Clinic 250-862-8791
If you have any questions, comments or personal training inquiries, contact me directly at 250-859-2431 or learn more at www.profilefitnesstraining.com
Every fitness magazine and trainer's blog has articles published about what exercises to do to “blast the excess fat”, the how to's on “building the perfect six pack” or the “sexy bikini ready body". It's all out there at the click of a button. For some these are desired, motivational and fun new workouts that can be effective in results while keeping a training program fresh! For others this just may not be enough of, or the right workout to see the desired results that are claimed in the title of the workout. It is common for fitness goers or newby exercisers to compare their current condition, body type and shape to those featured in these magazines, with expectations of achieving a body comparable to these idolized fitness models, just by completing these workouts. This unhealthy mindset and comparison has many not acknowledging their body type and creating unrealistic physical or esthetically pleasing goals.
Yes, of course working out is the best plan of action and following these workouts is extremely beneficial in the reduction of inches, added muscle mass and strength to help alter one’s natural shape, functionality and strength. However, one’s genetic setup and build will not change! If you're a pear shape, you will not magically transform into a hourglass body type. With a high percentage of people striving for an unrealistic image of “perfection” I question how there can be such a significant “gap” in how one perceives themselves with the discontentment attached to their natural build and the unhealthy never ending struggle for bigger and better change and even “perfection”.
What does need to change is how one views their body’s unique shape, weight, size and bone structure. Our body, whether in a state of “perfection” or “imperfection” does not define who we are, we define ourselves daily with our every thought and action. If positive, those thoughts and actions will propel us to maintain a healthy, happy, confident attitude with success in areas of health and wellness in which radiates from within us, having us feel our best and look our best no matter what shape! If we experience negative thoughts and actions the opposite will occur - an unhealthier lifestyle by perhaps over training to achieve our vision of a better body; under nourishing and reducing calories to lose more weight; an unbalanced and unconditioned body due to only doing cardio in hopes to lean down to be “skinny”. This will result in a lack of contentedness, happiness and confidence no matter how great we look! This is all because of striving to be what you are not meant to be and because this is not how your body was meant to be!
This understanding of knowing who you are, knowing what makes you feel great about yourself and acceptance of your body type should be as simple to embrace as learning a basic squat, plank, lunge and crunch, but it's not for some…..for many! Unfortunately, it can be simpler to ignore the feelings of discontent or push away self love, self understanding and self respect, leaving you in a state of self hatred due to the disappointment of not accomplishing the unrealistic body shape goals. The question I ask you is, “How happy are you with your health, physical state, the functionality and strengths of your unique body?” After all…health is not just about your shape!I may be an expert in fitness, health and wellness, but I’m not the expert of you! Only you can be honest with yourself and recognize your habits that have you feeling confident about your positive efforts, gains, lifestyle and body. And it is only you who can be honest with the mental battle you have with yourself that has you fighting who you really are, by not accepting, embracing and working with your natural build.
I challenge anyone who is struggling with body image to follow these steps to help get you on track with training for your specific body type versus fighting against your body's build.
1. Discover your natural body type: Google the different types to see what your body shape would be classified as.
- Straight body type
- Spoon body type
- Top hourglass body type
- Oval body type
- Pear body type
- Hour glass body type
- Inverted triangle body type
- Diamond body type
2. Write down a detailed list of all physical goals that you are trying to achieve currently that has you feeling like you’re battling against your body.
3. Select on the above list of body types which one best describes the body type that you are currently trying to achieve, if it is different from your body type write it down next to your body type.
4. Now that you have perhaps realized the difference between the two body types write down all of the emotions and feelings that you have felt working so hard for a specific, non- realistic, physical goal. List the negative habits, self abusive thoughts, actions and habits that were formed on your quest of achieving these changes. Recognizing a pattern of bad and unhealthy habits is a great way to create necessary healthy and positive changes. Then write down how you want to feel when you are working towards creating your success.
5. Do your online research or hire a personal trainer to assist you in discovering what style of workout, intensity and dietary habits would best suit you to help you achieve your realistic goals for your body type, having you feel great about your accomplishments.
Taking the pressure off yourself to be something that you are not may just give you a sense of peace and offer a fresh outlook on health and fitness. Learning how to work with your body and your body's needs can be an amazing and rewarding feat that will get you on track to achieving the realistic body of your dreams for your body type. Have fun with this new process of training to be the best and happiest version of you!
If you have any comments, questions or inquiries for personal training or wellness coaching contact Kasie directly at 250-859-2431 or learn more about Kasie at www.profilefitnesstraining.com
Hi Kasie! I have been a regular gym goer for many years now and I consider myself to have a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to lifting weights! I have noticed over the last few years that the style of training seems to be changing in the gym. It seems that the more athletic or sports oriented members train less with weights and more with resistance and their own body weight. The workouts that I see them do look challenging and very effective! I am looking to incorporate some changes in my training style. I have asked a few of the members that I see train this way what they are doing. The terms HIIT, tabata, functional training and periodization have been mentioned and have me confused and feeling like I have never worked out a day in my life! Can you please help me understand how I can incorporate this athletic style of training into my lifting routine.
You are absolutely right! You are seeing changes in the way personal trainers and fitness goers are training these days! The typical weight lifting…“single joint exercise” workout is definitely an effective way to build muscle mass and reshape the esthetically pleasing muscles of the body, however; incorporating a strength and conditioning routine will shift the focus from muscle building to developing a highly functional strengthened and conditioned body that functions like “a well oiled machine” with advances in your speed, strength, coordination, agility, functionality and endurance. In the end it will have you performing more like an athlete and reaping the many rewards of your new balanced and more intensive training style.
I can understand how the many types of training styles that were mentioned to you can seem intimidating! They are all great forms to implement into a program, but let's not get carried away just yet, let's start with creating the “structure” of your workout! The first thing I want you to do is master the thought that we are not just performing “exercises” … you are now mastering movement patterns!
First things first: spend a minimum of 10 minutes warming up the body to prepare it for the challenging and effective workout ahead by the incorporation of:
Flexibility: To flex and extend a joint through its intended full range of motion better understood as a static hold. Examples: quadricep, hamstring, calf, triceps stretches.
(Stretching is great to improve static non-moving flexibility, however alone will not do such a good job at preparing your body to move quickly and efficiently). Complete a series of stretches for the main muscle groups before your workout.
Mobility: To move a joint through its full range of motion, with control. Also known as active movement. (Dynamic mobility exercises prepare your body for the vigorous movements that will make up for the more demanding parts of your workout). Thoracic spine, hips, shoulders, are a great place to start, check online for video demonstrations of ideal mobility exercises, or hire a mobility coach or personal trainer to assist you in creating a beneficial for you mobility workout.
The workout: There are many styles and intensities of training - any trainer would need a clear understanding of your goals, strengths and injuries before designing a specific to you workout. If your goal is to incorporate more intensity into your workout, my suggestion would be to combine compound movements; body weight exercises also including a strength component, design a circuit of 4 different exercises and complete all 4 back to back, taking breaks in between each round. See this basic example:
- Squat Shoulder press with desired weight for 10 reps
- Push ups for max reps
- Pull ups - assisted 10 reps or non assisted max reps
- Bear Crawls 10 crawls forward, 10 crawls reverse
***** Repeat for a total of 3 rounds
Circuits are a great way to incorporate cardio and strength in a short period of time, set up 2 or more mini circuits to complete in each workout.
Cool down/stretch: Take the next 10 minutes to gradually allow your heart rate and breathe to lower to a comfortable level, and complete a series of stretches holding each between 20-30 seconds.
Designing your own program does not need to be complicated. Ensure that your body is feeling the positive results of your hard work with your effective program planning. Know the difference between muscle burn and strain or pain. For maximum results seek the assistance of a fitness coach or personal trainer to ensure that your time in the gym is as effective and result oriented as possible with proper movement patterns, form and techniques ensuring positive advancements in your strength and abilities.
Read more Kasie's Health & Fitness Tips articles
- Fitness and health questions answered Jun 12
- Health & fitness questions answered May 15
- Are your expectations unhealthy? May 1
- Reader question answered Apr 17
- Reader's fitness question answered Apr 3
- Who have you inspired today? Mar 20
- Have you abandoned your body? Mar 6
- Health and fitness questions answered! Feb 20
- Do you know your own strength? Feb 6
- Become the master of your own body! Jan 23
- Cold and flu season Dec 12
- A guilt free holiday season! Nov 28
(Click for RSS instructions.)