Yoga Digest - Sep/Oct 2015

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S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 5

Seane

Corn

Using Your Power Off The Mat

I N S P I R E • E D U C AT E • C O N N E C T

World Cup Champion

Christen

Press Yoga Make You a Better Can

Athlete?

David Carter

The 300 Pound Plant Based Vegan by Rich Roll

NFL Hall of Famer

Eddie

George

Olympic Gold Medalist

Jamie

Anderson Dallas

Mavericks Justin Pugh Lauren Peterson Jeramie Vaine B.J. Raji Rex Burkhead Tara Butcher Tiffany Cruikshank Sage Roundtree Jonah Kest Beth Shaw Keith Mitchell Jessica Cichra Gwen Lawrence

Robert S

turman Photogra phy

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Publisher Yoga Digest, LLC Founders & Chief Editors Jenn Bodnar Cody Groth

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Senior Columnists Kurt Johnsen Glenna B. Musante

Copy Editor Alexis Schrepple

Senior Contributor Kim Bauman

Cover Photo Robert Sturman Studio

Contributors Angela Ambrose Erin Bryon Bob Butera Cary Caster Tiffany Cruikshank Staffan Elgelid Scot C. Farber Lauren Peterson J. Donathan Price Carol Roberts Rich Roll Beth Shaw Jeramie Vaine Sean Vigue Lauren Walker Cathy Woods

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“With great power comes great responsibility.” —Spider Man

The exact origin of this quote is unknown, so we will just go with that. Let’s face it, the best superheroes are the ones who are strong in both the body and mind. They are living in complete flow and balance between what they are good at and what they love to do. That is what yoga is all about. You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga, you have to be willing. We believe that yoga is for every body and that every body can do yoga. As yoga makes massive gains in popularity and accessibility, it doesn’t change the underlying element of vulnerability that exists for all yoga practitioners. New and seasoned yogis alike will always find opportunities for growth if they are being truly present in their practice. In this issue, you will hear repeatedly how athletes came to yoga for physical benefits including flexibility, injury prevention and quicker recovery. The same is true for many non-athletes. People come to yoga looking for strength, empowerment and even community. Ultimately however, yoga becomes a practice of being mindful and aware. Even Yoga Digest Co-founder, Cody Groth can attest. Cody discovered yoga after an injury in college that ended his promising athletic career. He credits yoga for his recovery, as well as many other aspects of his life and wishes he had been introduced to yoga earlier in his life. He encourages athletes of all ages WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

and sports to integrate yoga into their regime, not just for the physical benefits, but the mental stamina that yoga also possesses. It was amazing to hear how yoga has impacted performance for so many talented, strong and capable athletes as we put this issue together. To quote cover photographer Robert Sturman, ‘athletes doing yoga makes it normal.’ Taking care of yourself inside and out should be the standard, whether you are paid to play or simply playing the game of life. To optimize performance of any kind, one must be in a state of flow. That means it must seem effortless; without struggle, even though intense focus and concentration is required. Being present takes practice. Inside each and everyone of us lives an athlete; a super hero with unique and special gifts and talents. Yoga is the tool for uncovering those strengths and finding the courage to utilize them when opportunity presents itself. Once again, we are grateful for the inspiring and passionate messages behind each article. We hope you are inspired to continue finding your unique gifts and special powers. It is only when we are living in flow that we can then take that strength and share it with those around us. Jenn Bodnar & Cody Groth Founders/Chief Editors Yoga Digest

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Table of

Contents INSPIRE

WORLD CUP CHAMPION Christen Press ��������������������������������������������������� 8

EDUCATE

STRENGTH & POWER Come From the Core ������������������������������� 38 by Beth Shaw

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST Jamie Anderson �������������������������������������������� 18

5 NATURAL REMEDIES For For Sore Muscles �������������������������������28

NFL PLAYERS BUILD FLEXIBILITY & Focus on the Field ��������������������������������� 24

SUP YOGA COMBINES Tradition, Sport & Fun ������������������������������� 42

by Angela Ambrose

BODY AWARENESS with Jonah Kest ���������������������������������������������28 ATHLETES ARE FINDING THE POWER WITHIN Through Yoga �������������������������������������������������30 by Jenn Bodnar

YOGA & ATHLETES with Sage Rountree �����������������������������������36 by Angela Ambrose

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30

by Jenn Bodnar

LIQUID ASANA UNITY ����������������������� 44 by Lauren Peterson

SLOW DOWN and Breathe ��������������� 47 by Jeramie Vaine

UP YOUR GAME with Essential Oils ��������������������������������������� 50

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by Cary Caster

THE POWER OF the Diaphragm �����������������������������������������������52 by Tiffany Cruikshank

EMBRACE LIFE From a Different View �������������������������������54

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by Scot C. Farber

TARA BUTCHER A Second Chance at Life �����������������������56 by Kim Bauman

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THE BODY TALKS, But Do We Listen? ���������������������������������������59 by Carol Roberts

WHY DO POWER YOGA? ���������������� 60 by Sean Vigue

YOGA THERAPY FOR ATHLETICS and Performance Anxiety ���������������������62 TAKING YOGA to the Mat ������������������������������������������������������������64 by Glenna B Musante

BODY, MIND, Equine ��������������������������������������������������������������������68 by Cathy Woods

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CONNECT

LIGHT IT UP! with Keith Mitchell ���������������������������������������� 70 SEAN CORNE & DONNY STARKINS On Serving Big ����������������������������������������������� 72 THE 300 POUND VEGAN ��������������� 74 by Rich Roll

EAT LIKE A CHAMPION �������������������� 76 SAY GOODBYE TO ARTHRITIS PAIN with Aloe ���������������������������������������������������������������80 by J Donathan Price

IN EVERY ISSUE YD WARRIORS! �����������������������������������������������7 STAFF PICKS �������������������������������������������������� 81 OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE w/ Kurt Johnsen ���������������������������������������������82 WWW.YOGADIG E ST.C O M


YD Warriors! Yoga has become my life. At the end of the first class I did I remember thinking, this is the first time I’ve ever really taken a breath. Not only did I want more experience and understanding with that concept but I knew I wanted to give it to others. In the years since, I have become a teacher, I met my wife in a class, my children practice, and it challenges my body. So yoga pays my bills, enhances my relationships with people, supports my parenting, and keeps me healthy.

LESLEY CARNEY

NICK BEZ

How has yoga benefited you the most?

The benefits of yoga are immeasurable but the one thing that stands out is new beginnings. This practice allows one to come to the mat as you are; stripping away all of the worldly accoutrements we believe to make us whole. This peeling away of layers helps us reveal our truest form as we continue to give ourselves permission to be present in the here and now. Yoga is a lifelong self-study where your life thesis is rewritten every time you step on the mat. Be the best version of yourself everyday, regardless of what the day in question brings.

LORRAINE SCHRAY

STEPHEN JONES

Happiness. I am happier because of yoga. Yoga has helped me spend more of my time in the present moment. Happiness exists in the present. It’s only when we fret about the future or worry about the past that we suffer. I love life and soak it in moment by moment because of yoga.

DONNY STARKINS

The physical and mental benefits are evident to yogis who teach, practice and share. The emphasis on mind body connection, breath and movement, however, goes far beyond our mats. I have had the pleasure and challenge of teaching yoga to clients who are facing illness, experiencing aging challenges and have disabilities. The positive impact yoga has on their lives has been absolutely amazing to watch. Being a part of that growth is priceless and by far the best benefit of yoga for me.

This is an easy one for me. It’s all about the amazing people who have come into my life because of yoga. Through the yoga platform, I am now surrounded by some of the most authentic, inspiring and loving people in this world. These people have lifted up my life, healed my body and my mind, and shared with me valuable spiritual tools and a design for living that works. The list of these people is long and continues to grow every single day. Yoga truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Whenever I take a step back and reflect upon the people who have come into my life because of yoga, my heart wants to burst with gratitude. It truly blows my mind.

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Crush Goals the Healthy and Happy Way

Simple Tips Soccer Great, from

Christen

Press

BY JENN BODNAR, PHOTOS BY ROBERT STURMAN/ROBERTSTURMANSTUDIO.COM

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rofessional soccer forward, Christen Press is a very confident, profound and extremely inspiring young soccer star who just so happens to have a very dedicated yoga practice. Coming off the excitement of the recent history making FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship, Press has

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been extremely pressed for time. She currently plays for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League and the United States women’s national soccer team. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about how the yoga lifestyle blends with the demanding, stressful and competitive world in which she lives.

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Take One Step at a Time Press is the middle child of three girls. Born and raised in southern California, Press has fond memories of her soccer journey. Like many SoCal natives, she began playing when she was 4 years old. She tells me she picked a lot of flowers, did many cartwheels and never made contact with the ball during her first season. She was ready to throw in the towel for gymnastics but her mom asked Press to play one more year. During the first game of her second season, Press remembers getting the ball and driving it down for a goal and scoring 4 more times in the game. From that point on she fell in love with it. Being on the same team with her older sister was a bonus, says Press. She really enjoyed the family time, her team mates and remembers it being very fun! Press’ success continued, playing in high school and eventually landing at Stanford University where she holds the all-time leading scorer title with 71 goals. Even with all the success she experienced, Press says she never really looked at the professional league and thought “I want to do that!” She never dreamed she would be on the national team. Press only remembers being 11 years old and saying “I want to score goals and be the best player on the field!”

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Set Goals That You Can Achieve And Then Go After Them!

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Stay Present

Most athletes come to yoga for the physical benefits. Press definitely feels that yoga helps her physically and impacts her performance. She sees it as more of a moving meditation, however, that helps to quiet her mind. Press started doing yoga in college for the stretching and injury prevention benefits. She was introduced to meditation by her sister, who founded a meditation company called Piece of Peace. Once Press felt the benefits of staying focused through meditation, she became very dedicated to yoga and regularly practices at least 3 times a week. Press says that missing a shot can really get inside your head and create a snowball effect. In college, she says she would become visibly upset on the field, yell at her team mates and be very competitive. She wanted the best for herself and her team, but didn’t necessarily know how to harness that energy in a productive way. Learning to stay present through yoga and meditation has helped Press enormously on the field. Press is modest about her success. She doesn’t see herself as being famous but certainly feels the responsibilities of being a public figure. Media obligations and appearances can be stressful. Yoga helps Press stay grounded and in the moment even when she is continuously on the go.

8 ways Christen Press Benefits from Meditation: • Increases energy throughout the entire day. • Stabilizes, improves and lightens mood. • Helps with jet lag and adjusting to new time zones. • Teaches you to let go of the past and stay present. • Creates and helps to harness positive energy. • Makes distractions fade away. • Helps you stay grounded. • Allows your body to do what it can do without the limit that your mind puts on it.

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Enjoy the Game

I asked Press what her message is to future athletes; the kids who are already feeling the pressures and stresses of playing sports. After a thoughtful pause, Press responds, “I think the American sports culture is something that is VERY hard on our youth.” Press felt this many times in her life: rejection from not making the team, pressure of missing a shot, disappointing the team, family and friends. She admits it’s easy to get lost in the results, the performance, the critiquing and the over-analyzing. Press says mentality has always been her biggest weakness. She had to quiet her mind to play at the level she plays now.

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If You’re Smiling Then You are Probably Playing Well. If You Stay Focused on Enjoying Yourself, I Think Results will Come. Play With Love and Joy and the Performance Will be so Much Higher. Take a Deep Breath and Keep Coming Back to the Love of the Game. WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

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Love The Skin You’re In

“It’s important to step away from the craziness that is social media and the magazines and realize that we are not here to be perfect,” says Press when asked about body image. She admits that being surrounded by athletes with amazing and beautiful figures and being asked to model in a sports bra is a struggle sometimes.

Strive to be Healthy and Happy on the Inside and on the Outside and That’s Enough. Instead of falling into the self-sabotaging comparison game, Press says we should relax and realize that we all have flaws, we all have things that make us beautiful and we should appreciate all that we have.

When Yoga Digest’s editor, Jenn, called me and asked if I would photograph Christen Press for the autumn cover, she thought it was a long shot that I would have time to do it. But, little did Jenn know, everything stops in my world for anything soccer. Soccer is THEE global sport and the World Cup is the ultimate international competition that the whole world is watching. You really have to step outside of America, to just about anywhere else in the world, to realize how huge of a sport futbol truly is. I have watched the Cup in cafes in Southeast Asia, to train stations in Europe in which hundreds of people were standing around one single television. There really is nothing I can think of that is more exciting and unifying than the World Cup. So, other than being thrilled to meet with Christen for a yoga shoot just days after she brought home the gold from Canada, I also saw the game changing potential photographing the soccer star practicing yoga. It was an opportunity for yoga to crossover into a massive mainstream arena of millions of fans seeing one of their favorite athletes embracing the practice of yoga. The more pictures, the more ‘normal’ it becomes. And, we often communicate and create the ‘new normal’ with the ideas we are putting forth through our photographs. —Robert Sturman WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

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Olympic Gold Medalist

Jamie Anderson

Yoga

Stays Grounded with

BY LAUREN WALKER

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PHOTOS BY JAMIE ANDERSON / GOPRO WWW.YOGADIG E ST.C O M


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he flies through the air with the greatest of ease.... and lands on the podium with gold. Comfortable, Steady, Ease: That’s yogi and gold medalist Jamie Anderson! Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson and I bonded over the spleen. This small, but powerful organ, located on your left side under the low rib cage, cleans your blood, stores extra blood, and is a huge part of your immune system. The spleen complex is one of the most important systems in the body in Energy Medicine Yoga. And Jamie ruptured hers when she took a rough fall in 2008. Luckily, Jamie had an incredible team of doctors who knew the importance of the spleen and did not remove it. Instead, Jamie started on a learning curve with the power the body has to heal itself. Soon after her accident, she found yoga, a practice to which she’s become devoted and a true master, the way Jamie masters everything she puts her mind to. In Energy Medicine Yoga the spleen is responsible for Udana, or upward moving energy. Upward moving energy is something that Jamie Anderson knows all about, in fact, you could say her gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, in the inaugural season for Snowboarding freestyle, is all about that. Her incredible sense of balance, her ability to flip and fly and spin and twirl her body through the air, and then land with the precision of a hunting falcon, all combine to make her one of the most exciting athletes to watch. She became the youngest medalist in the history of the Winter X games when she won a bronze at age 15

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in 2005. The next year, she topped that to become the youngest woman to win a gold at those same games. She added five more medals, three of them gold, by the 2013 X Games and headed to the Olympics in Sochi, where the slopestyle was included for the first time. The rest, is history. Her devotion to yoga is no secret. It is not just the physical aspects of yoga which she practices and loves and is an adept at, but also the deeper and more profound esoteric practices, which help keep Jamie grounded, healthy, and at the top of her game. And although she is a fierce competitor, she has the compassion and open hearted generosity of a true yogi. In fact, she is happiest when everyone is doing well and she roots for her competitors as much as she’s determined to win herself. She talks about traveling and competing all over the world with her friends not her rivals, and that she is most joyful when everyone is doing their best. She wears a set of mala beads next to her skin when she competes, uses essential oils for their therapuetic benefits, chants OM in the woods before a race and practices meditation. It seems to be a winning combination. Snow and yoga are two of my biggest passions, so it was with huge joy that I asked her some questions about those two big passions of hers. Lauren Walker: When did you start practicing yoga? Jamie Anderson: I went to my first class when I was 18. A friend of mine inspired me to give it a try. I wasn’t too into it at first, but once I found my flow that worked for me it really changed my life in a positive way.

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INSPIRE Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson Stays Grounded with Yoga

I’ve learned how powerful we are as beings and the true power of the mind and manifestation. LW: What kind of yoga do you practice and how often? JA: I practice all kinds of yoga and as often as I can. I travel so much that I’m always loving to find new studios and practice new styles. Most recently I was in New York City and got to go to a workshop on kundalini yoga with Gurmukh! It was absolutely amazing and that’s my latest flow. Breath work, grace and a lot of meditation!

LW: How does yoga help you in your career? JA: In lots of ways. For snowboarding, it’s helped me feel more in flow and balance with the mountains, my air awareness, my attitude and my overall vibration. But really, it helps me feel grateful for the health I have and humbles my perspective on life. We are too blessed to be stressed.

LW: What do you like the most about yoga? JA: I love taking the time to connect with myself and really feel my body, my mind and my soul. It’s a crazy world we live in so to be able to slow down and find our inner peace and to live through that is huge! I also love the physical challenge and feeling myself get stronger, flexible and more balanced with different posses.

LW: Can you talk about using yoga to help with injuries, healing and injury prevention? JA: The power of the mind. That’s another thing I really love about yoga. I’ve learned how powerful we are as beings and the true power of the mind and manifestation. Yoga was kind of a gateway for me to a more mindful way of thinking and living. I ruptured my spleen when I was 17, and was in critical condition. After coming back from that scary accident I really learned to appreciate my body and my health, around the same time yoga flowed into my life, and it’s been really good. I love the

LW: What do you like the least? JA: There are times that I am less motivated to practice but I always find something good of it. Photo by David Malacrida

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INSPIRE Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson Stays Grounded with Yoga

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When my immunity gets tired from so much travel a good yoga class is the best way for me to reset Energy Medicine Yoga Teachings because it’s all about the energy. I like the inner Chi and using visualization. I like to call it mind surgin!

JA: I think yoga gives anyone an advantage at life! To practice being kind, loving, happy and to serve others.

LW: Do you have any current injuries or pain that yoga helps you with? JA: I’ve been quite healthy. Thankfully! Always trying to stay in balance. When my immunity gets tired from so much travel a good yoga class is the best way for me to reset.

LW: What would you like to say to younger athletes in the world? JA: To follow your passion and stay present with all around you.

LW: How do you train in the off season? JA: In the off season I love to stay active making my cross training as fun and effortless as possible. I do a lot of hiking, mountain biking, climbing, camping, skateboarding, slacklining, running... just anything to keep myself outside and active! Life and being healthy should be fun, so I make sure to surround myself with positive outgoing people that want to thrive and elevate! LW: Do you feel yoga gives you an advantage over competitors?

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Interviewer Lauren Walker was the first woman snowboard instructor on the Big Mountain in Montana in 1993. She spent a season (July, August!) teaching snowboarding at Cadrona Resort in New Zealand while race training. But she soon learned she was not very competitive. Then she turned to yoga. She’s been teaching and practicing yoga and meditation since 1997. In 2014, Sounds True published her book: Energy Medicine Yoga. Her second book on EMYoga, the style of yoga she created, will be out in 2016. She is still a mad skier, and taught EMYoga in Chile last summer so she could ski in August. One of her biggest prayers is always for more snow. It was a joy to interview Jamie Anderson for this article. For Laurens complete schedule check out emyoga.net

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Photo by Evan Pinkus/New York Football

Giants

NFL Players Build

Flexibility &

Focus on the Field BY ANGELA AMBROSE

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hen you think of yoga, 300-pound linebackers balancing in dancer’s pose is probably not the first image that comes to mind. But today you will find a number of NFL football players, along with many other pro athletes, rolling out their yoga mats with the goal of increasing their flexibility, power and mental toughness on the field. Yoga isn’t just for the dainty and double-jointed. The benefits of yoga are so powerful that rookies with the New York Giants are required to attend yoga classes during their first year on the team. When the Giants’ offensive tackle Justin Pugh was drafted in 2013, he had already been doing yoga for a year and was eager to continue his practice with the team to build a stronger and more flexible body and cut his risk of injury. “As an athlete, I think football really pounds home that macho, manly, we lift weights and just tackle people, attitude. And you kind of think of yoga as more like I’d be wearing tights and I’d be out sitting in the forest somewhere. But you don’t learn that at all,” says the 6 ft. 5 in. lineman who weighs in at 310 pounds. “I’m not a little guy, but I’ve become very flexible through the yoga that I’ve been doing. It’s actually been one of my favorite things to do since being drafted because it helps you relax and gets your mind at ease. When I started, I wasn’t very flexible and now I feel like I’m very, very flexible.” Celebrity Yoga Coach Gwen Lawrence heads up the Giants’ yoga program. In her classes, there is no talk of opening your heart like a blooming lotus flower, breathing in love and light or wearing prayer beads. “It’s tough love in my world,” says Lawrence. “They think it’s going to be ‘OM’ing and chanting and hippie like, and it’s far from that. It could be that, but that’s not what I do…I don’t expect them to become a yogi. I want them to be a better athlete.” Lawrence injects herself into the rough and tumble world of football and encourages her students to be open and expressive as they move into challenging poses. She says it’s not unusual to hear players groaning, grunting or dropping f-bombs as they sink deep into hip and hamstring stretches that push them way out of their comfort zone. “Twenty years ago, it was all about strength, and that’s where a lot of the injuries came from. Now they’re starting to see, the way to stay balanced is both strength and flexibility. It’s like a bow and arrow. You need to be able to pull back in order to get that power forward,” says Lawrence. “It translates into quicker speeds, more range of motion in their joints and more power.” In addition to the Giants, Lawrence has worked with other pro teams in New York, including the Yankees, Red Bulls, Knicks, Rangers and NYC Football Club, as well as individual athletes worldwide. WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

As an athlete, I think football really pounds home that macho, manly, we lift weights and just tackle people, attitude. And you kind of think of yoga as more like I’d be wearing tights and I’d be out sitting in the forest somewhere. But you don’t learn that at all.

—Justin Pugh, New York Giants

Competing Athletes Need Gentler Yoga

During the off-season, Lawrence leads her students in intense athletic-style yoga classes: “I like to kick their ass and really challenge their strength and mental toughness, and really force them to use their breath. So, we’ll do

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Photo by Jim Biever

After doing yoga, I started to notice a vast improvement in a short amount of time. I was able to actually have more range of motion than I had prior to the injury. Photo by Jim Biever

—B.J. Raji, Green Bay Packers

Although Pugh is no longer required to attend yoga classes with his team, he is committed to continuing his practice: “My biggest thing is injury prevention. And with the position I play, the more flexible you are, the better you can move.” The 25-year-old has also incorporated wrestling and boxing into his training and adopted a gluten-free diet. “Yoga makes me more aware of my body and what I eat.”

Yoga Corrects Sports-Specific Imbalances more vinyasa flow.” However, when football season kicks off in the fall, Lawrence changes her focus to yin-style yoga, emphasizing long, deep holds and more restorative poses to help them recover after games. “The slower deep holds are my favorite ones, where you’re really stretching it out, opening up your hips, groin, back and shoulders,” says Pugh. “When you’re playing football, your body ends up folded in different positions and yoga really helps. When there’s a pileup of five to 10 guys and they’re all 300 pounds, and you’re all squished together in a pile, it will help you to hold that position and know how your body works.”

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Like most sports, football creates imbalances from overtraining because you’re often one side dominant. “You’re either hitting on one side or throwing from one side, and you start to create these strength and flexibility imbalances,” says Lawrence. “And if you don’t address them, you’re going to wear and wear and wear on certain joints and certain muscles until they blow, and I think that’s where a majority of injuries come from.” Yoga helps strengthen weak muscles and open up tight, constricted areas to reduce the risk of injury. Greenbay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji has worked with Lawrence to help him heal from a football injury. He first started doing yoga after a bicep tear in a 2014 pre-season game that sidelined him for the entire season:

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INSPIRE NFL Players Build Flexibility & Focus on the Field “After doing yoga, I started to notice a vast improvement in a short amount of time. I was able to actually have more range of motion than I had prior to the injury.” After a year of practicing yoga regularly, Raji says he has regained the flexibility he had lost since being drafted in 2009. “Playing that many plays for consecutive years tightened up my body and my joints and constricted my muscles. Ironically, when we had flexibility testing at the beginning of this spring, I had the best numbers since I was a rookie, and this will be my seventh year.” Now that Raji has increased the flexibility in his hips, he’s noticed more lateral quickness and the ability to sink down deeper and faster into a squat: “No matter what sport you’re playing, if you can sink the center of gravity at will, you have a decisive advantage over a lot of people. I’m able to use my power in ways that I wasn’t able to use it before. I feel a huge difference just day to day, as far as my shoulders. And the joints in my hips and ankles are looser.”

Athletes Build Mental Toughness

When training athletes, Lawrence not only works their bodies, but also their minds. Holding a tough hip-opening pose such as pigeon or a deep backbend can challenge even the most seasoned of athletes. “I sink them into poses where they’re literally holding them for two to five minutes, and they really are forced to use their breath and tune in and see what they feel. They build mental toughness because they have to stay in the pose and find comfort in an uncomfortable situation, and it forces them to focus,” says Lawrence. “Many athletes say it is the hardest thing they have to do.” Lawrence also integrates meditation, visualization and goal-setting into her yoga teaching. She recently taught a “Mindful Athlete” course to all the Giants’ coaches, trainers and rookies to give them an edge over the competition. An important aspect of this mindfulness training is having the players write down their goals and take steps every day that bring them closer to their goal, such as having an injury-free season. “People that actually put their goals pen to paper increase the likelihood of achieving their goals to the

tenth power – not 10 times, but to the tenth power,” says Lawrence. So, it’s a really, really powerful practice.”

Stretching Reduces Recovery Time

One of the often overlooked benefits of yoga stretching is faster recovery time. Raji says he has noticed less muscle soreness after intense football drills and weightlifting. “A lot of people can train, but can they show up and train the same way on a consistent basis? That’s what yoga affords me the opportunity to do,” says the 330-pound, 6 ft. 2 in. lineman. “I can work out hard and come back the next day and give off the same effort, if not more, because in the back of my mind I’m not worried about how I’m going to feel after.” Raji is starting the 2015 football season completely healed from his right bicep tear and feeling more confident than ever. “With the combination of my strength and my flexibility, I think my best years of football are ahead of me. And that’s ironic because they usually say that the older you get in my league, the closer you are to the exit, but with yoga I don’t feel that way,” says the 29-year-old free agent who re-signed a one-year contract with the Packers last spring. Although the Packers players are not required to do yoga, Raji says he plans to practice yoga throughout his career, so he can maintain his flexibility and reduce his risk of injury. “Guys that generally do yoga are the guys who are looking for an extra edge, and I think that’s the driving force behind it – just knowing how much it works and how relaxing it is at the same time,” says Raji. “I feel that yoga takes me to the next level.”

Angela Ambrose is a Phoenix-based writer with 28 years

in magazine, corporate and video scriptwriting. As an ACE-certified group fitness instructor and certified yoga teacher, she combines her writing expertise with her passion for healthy living. Angela’s yoga classes are infused with heart-centered themes that take her students beyond the physical poses to help them connect with their true nature of peace and love. Contact her at Angela Ambrose.com or on Twitter @AAHealthFitness.

They think it’s going to be ‘OM’ing and chanting and hippie like, and it’s far from that. It could be that, but that’s not what I do…I don’t expect them to become a yogi. I want them to be a better athlete. WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

Coach —Gwen Lawrence, Celebrity Yoga 27


Jonah Kest Jonah Kest was born into a yoga legacy. With his father, vinyasa yoga pioneer Jonny Kest, and his mother, Milla Kest, as one of the first yoga business owners and yoga teacher training programs in the Midwest – he was destined to follow the path.

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onah Kest was born into a yoga legacy. With his father, vinyasa yoga pioneer Jonny Kest, and his mother, Milla Kest, as one of the first yoga business owners and yoga teacher training programs in the Midwest – he was destined to follow the path. At the age of three, Jonah was walking the yoga room with his dad and shortly thereafter he began to learn the importance of a daily practice and evening meditation. While his early interests included basketball, boxing and running track, it became very clear that strength without flexibility would be a hard path. “Strength without flexibility leaves you with rigidity, flexibility without strength leaves you with instability,” says Kest. His breath became the very partner that he sought in every activity, every relationship, every moment. Kest explains that your breath is the only involuntary and voluntary system in your body, so by bringing awareness to the natural flow of respiration, you are automatically engaged in each moment. “Yoga teaches you to come to your breath in high stress situations. A few years back LeBron James hit a buzzer beater with 4 seconds on the shot clock and after the game they interviewed him. He said that he was able to come to his breath and by doing so he made the 4 seconds seem like ten,” says Kest. Aside from building strength, injury prevention and quicker recovery, Kest explains why all athletes should be doing yoga into three simple categories.

YOGA ENHANCES EVERYTHING Often times people are intimidated to try yoga because they think it will take away from their other sport or replace their other form of fitness. This is a huge misconception because yoga is not meant to take away from any other form of fitness but, in fact, will enhance your skills and increase your performance. If you cycle, it will

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make you a better cyclist. If you ski, it will make you a better skier and so on.

YOGA IMPROVES INTUITION

Yoga strengthens your proprioception, which is your body awareness through space. I will often teach a class where you have the eyes closed the entire time. When you close your eyes, your body is forced to light up all of your other senses in order to maintain balance. With the eyes closed, you must have a tremendous amount of concentration and awareness. Many athletes are starting to train with blind folds. It’s all about awareness.

YOGA HELPS YOU KEEP YOUR COOL UNDER PRESSURE

Yoga teaches you to stay relaxed even in the most difficult, uncompromising situations. Any professional athlete will tell you they perform at their best when they are most relaxed. A great example of this is Michael Jordan. He would play with his tongue hanging out of his mouth which is a major sign of relaxation.” Kest regularly works with athletes and has put together a sequence that can be practiced by anyone who is looking to enhance, improve and reach optimal performance in any activity or sport.

Crescent Warrior This is a deep low lunge. Stay on the back toes and drop the hips as you lift your heart. Its a backbend. Notice your stride notice your gate, this is the distance between your thighs. You may also drop your back knee to find a deeper stretch in the inner groin.

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Humble Warrior Slowly let the back knee touch the floor and drop the forearms inside. You may splay the knee out to feel the stretch in your outer hip. If I had to give one pose for any athlete this would be it.

Dragonfly Twist Come up onto the right hand and reach your left arm to the sky. This is a deep low lunge with a twist. Feel the stretch in your left hip.

Half Splits Sit back on the right heal, straighten the front leg and bow head to knee. With this pose you are really lengthening your hamstring, preventing hamstring pulls while making you faster and less susceptible to injury.

Half Moon Take the left fingertips to the left corner of your mat and lift off your right arm and right leg. Stack and open. Almost as if your trying to fit your body in between to panels of glass. Your strengthening your balance and proprioception. This is your body awareness through space.

One Legged Chair Place the right foot on top of the left knee. Sink the hips down like you are sitting in an invisible chair. You will feel the stretch get deeper in your hip the further you lower your hips. This pose strengthens your knee muscles and ACL. It’s great for protecting your knees and preventing injury.

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Photo: Courtesy of Gaiam

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Athletes Are Finding

The Power Within

Yoga Through

Yoga is many things to different people. Ultimately, it evens the playing field for all of us. Yoga brings a sense of common ground because it gives everyone an opportunity to feel vulnerable somewhere along the way. Through that discomfort we find growth; be it physically and/or mentally. It was such a pleasure to chat with some people in the professional sports world that have definitely seen the bigger picture of yoga. BY JENN BODNAR

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elebrated NFL great, Eddie George holds many records, titles and awards. Drafted in the first round, 14th Overall pick in 1997 by the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, he owns virtually every franchise rushing record. He was “Offensive Rookie of the Year,” a 4-time Pro Bowler and led the AFC Champion Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. The list goes on. He is described as not only possessing an explosive combination of speed, power and toughness, but was the epitome of durability during his nine year tenure. He never missed a game throughout his entire professional career.

Can Yoga Benefit All Athletes?

It might be a coincidence, but we would like to think George’s dedication to his yoga practice had something to do with his success. He sure seems to think so. WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

“I was able to play 9 years without missing a football game, I’m one of two guys in the history of the NFL to rush over 10,000 yards without missing a game and I think a lot of that has to do with how I prepared away from the field. Yoga was a huge part of that,” says George. He started doing yoga in 1997 to relieve stress, loosen his hips, work on his feet and for longevity, says George. It was not very popular for athletes back then to say the least. He is amazed at the number of athletes doing yoga now. It’s an amazing practice to have, George says, because you’re able to open your hips, your lower back, your calves, your hamstrings and it’s all done for preventative measures. Yoga is far better received in the sports world today in George’s opinion. When athletes go in for the first time and try to hold downward facing dog for 30 secs, they might feel like

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INSPIRE Athletes Are Finding The Power Within Through Yoga

“I was able to play 9 years without missing a football game, I’m one of two guys in the history of the NFL to rush over 10,000 yards without missing a game and I think a lot of has to do with how I prepared away from the field. Yoga was a huge part of that.” —Eddie George they’re going to pass out. Athletes have a tendency to hold their breath when they feel stress. George says that the only way you can be calm, in the moment, flexible, nimble, active and responsive, all at the same time, is to breathe. That is what yoga teaches you. “The ability to be able to breathe movement to movement without panicking, without frustration, without judging yourself is the key benefit to yoga for athletes.”

yoga practice long after his playing days and sharing it with so many! You can find George in the new Gaiam Athletic Yoga DVD Series called “Yoga For Strength.” George has been a huge influence and Gaiam hopes to expand the benefits of yoga to an entirely new demographic and help extend yoga’s reach.

George has tried many different kinds of yoga; power yoga, yin yoga, kundalini and more. When asked what he loves most about yoga he says it doesn’t come down to one pose or style, he embraces it all. “I love to practice, I love how I feel afterwards, I love what comes up for me during my practice; the revelations about my life and what I’m going through in that particular moment. It’s an opportunity for me to truly surrender and to let go of everything that is harbored in my mind, positive or negative. My yoga practice allows me the space to give in to that.” George still practices yoga everyday. He takes time to meditate on being a good father and husband, manifesting abundance and prosperity and simply to center himself for each new day. He also practices with his teacher twice a week and with his wife and two kids whenever they can. He is working on creating a monthly yoga event in the Nashville, Tennessee area to help build community. It’s inspiring to see George continuing to evolve in his

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Photo: Courtesy of Gaiam

Yoga: It’s a Personal Thing

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Photo by Stacy Rever / Getty Images

Paying it Forward - A New Generation

Rex Burkhead, running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, is one athlete George definitely made an impact on. Burkhead idolized George growing up and had the chance to talk with him during his college career when he was playing for Nebraska. He remembers a conversation with George after an awards ceremony and asking him for training advice. George said “do yoga!” George remembers the conversation fondly and says you can never impose your beliefs on others, they have to want to hear it and implement it themselves. Burkhead remembers George saying yoga helped him to play football longer and healthier. He had heard and read about the many benefits of yoga but ultimately decided to incorporate it into his training plan for increased flexibility, coordination, balance and the core work. Burkhead listened and regularly attends hot vinyasa flow yoga classes as part of his weekly regimen. He enjoys the vinyasa because he loves the flow and

finds the movements similar to sports; very dynamic. It didn’t take long for Burkhead to realize the mental benefits that come with a yoga practice. The bigger piece he felt almost immediately was the focus, the awareness and the patience required in a yoga practice. “At this level in the NFL, every athlete is gifted and talented, everybody can run fast and jump high. There has to be an advantage out there on the field at this level to make a difference, and that advantage is the mental aspect. That’s what I get from yoga: focus and concentration during those critical moments in the game.” Burkhead notices that his recovery and posture has improved significantly since he started practicing yoga. He mentions that he’s not as fast and doesn’t recover as quickly at his age (I giggle…) as he did when he was in high school and feels that yoga definitely aids in the maturing process. Either way, Burkhead is hooked on yoga and plans to make it an on-going part of his overall wellness.

“At this level in the NFL, every athlete is gifted and talented, everybody can run fast and jump high. There has to be an advantage out there on the field at this level to make a difference, and that advantage is the mental aspect. That’s what I get from yoga: focus and concentration during those critical moments in the game.” —Rex Burkhead

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INSPIRE Athletes Are Finding The Power Within Through Yoga

“Yoga will find the weak spot….it will isolate the very small muscles. These guys are large muscle guys, their big muscles move very well. We spend a lot of time trying to get their smaller muscles; their stabilizers to work and yoga plays a big part in that.” —Casey Smith The Mind Is Stronger Than The Body

While many people in general come into yoga for the physical benefits, Casey Smith, head athletic trainer for the Dallas Mavericks looked at yoga from more of a mental standpoint right away. Smith, now an avid yogi, was looking for a way to unplug, find some time for himself and get a way from his phone and computer. He became interested in the practice about three years ago when he began scheduling it for the players. To give it a fair shot and fully immerse in it, he began his yoga journey with a personal challenge to participate every day for an extended period of time. He made it 76 straight days! He found local yoga studios to practice wherever he was, only relying on a YouTube video 3 times during his challenge! It was great to sit down and talk with him about how the Dallas Mavericks incorporate yoga into their training. While many athletes are experimenting with yoga on their own, The Dallas Mavericks are one of the only teams who practice together as a group. The athletes all have different needs, Smith explains. Yoga is almost always initially introduced for the physical benefits like increased range of motion, flexibility and recovery. Smith says it’s his hope it may transition to more of a mental practice for the players but often it’s a difficult paradigm because almost everything they’re doing is for physical benefits. The Mavericks incorporate a lot of psychology training with a fulltime sports psychologist on staff who travels with the team. The psychologist will work with the players on mindfulness but Smith says they want them to Photo by Danny Bollinger

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find it on their own. You can’t dictate mindfulness on anyone, he says. Every athlete has different needs, the yoga is there to initially assist on a physical level. If the athletes are needing and getting more out of it, that’s up to them. Smith says they use many different tools to help with building focus and awareness within the team. Some of the players love it more than others, but all seem to have pretty healthy attitude and respect to the numerous benefits of yoga, says Smith. He says that time can be the issue when there are so many other elements the athletes are working on. This is true for many people trying to make yoga a part of their routine. I was pleased to hear that yoga has officially been a part of the programming for the Dallas Mavericks for the last 3 seasons and they participate twice a week. Smith says although there are many NBA players individually including yoga in their training, there are not as many NBA Teams doing yoga as a group. Smith believes yoga is an important component. While it’s mostly being used for connective tissue flexibility and joint mobility, athletes are also finding yoga to be a great strengthener. When I asked Smith if the athletes are also seeing the strengthening benefits of yoga, he says “Definitely! Yoga will find the weak spot….it will isolate the very small muscles. These guys are large muscle guys, their big muscles move very well. We spend a lot of time trying to get their smaller muscles; their stabilizers to work and yoga plays a big part in that.”

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Sage

Rountree Sage Rountree (sagerountree.com) is a pioneer in yoga for athletes, an endurance sports coach, and author of six books, including The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga, Racing Wisely, and Everyday Yoga. Coowner of the three-studio Carolina Yoga Company and director of its teacher trainings, Sage also teaches nationwide and online at YogaVibes and sageyogateachertraining.com. INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ANGELA AMBROSE Angela Ambrose: Why is it so important for serious athletes to do yoga? Can it help reduce injuries? Sage Rountree: Yoga is going to give you strength, flexibility and focus, and together, when you have adequate amounts of both strength and flexibility, then you have balance, and balance is really critical for injury prevention.

Most athletes have some pretty specific sports imbalances that come straight out of their training. Yoga can break them out of whatever those imbalances are and take them into other planes of movement. It creates balance of the body in space, it creates balance within the body, and most importantly, it creates balance between work and rest.

Most athletes have some pretty specific sports imbalances that come straight out of their training. Yoga can break them out of whatever those imbalances are and take them into other planes of movement. 36

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AA: I loved taking your “Yoga for Athletes” class, but I have to admit that I was surprised when you announced at the beginning of class that it would not be a sweaty, super-athletic class. Why shouldn’t athletes come to yoga for a workout? SR: For people who are not in concerted training, they can certainly get a workout through an asana practice. But for folks who are training specifically for a particular sport and not just for general fitness, they should be getting their workouts in their workouts, and yoga should actually be far more mellow than they usually expect. If you’re deep in competition, racing every weekend or you’re playing games every third night, you necessarily are going to have to go a lot lighter on the yoga, and then you have to ramp up the more restorative stuff – putting your legs up the wall, doing actual restorative poses, doing more mellow stuff, breath work, visualization, because that will help you refill the well so that you will have more to give in the next game. AA: It sounds like your yoga practice should complement your vigorous sports training and create a yin-yang balance. SR: That’s a good way to think about it because you’ve got to have an inverse proportion between the intensity of athletic training and the intensity of the yoga practice. If you take somebody in the off-season, especially someone who has experience with yoga, they could probably do just fine with a pretty vigorous asana practice. But the closer they get to competition, the more mellow their practice needs to be and the more focused on helping with athletic recovery with adaptation to the stresses of training, instead of just piling more stress on. AA: Yoga emphasize keeping your attention on the breath. How does that help athletes perform better on the field, court or in the pool? SR: It develops your ability to pay attention to how your breath is in service to what your body is doing moment to moment. For example, if you’re a tennis player, when you throw the ball up to serve, are you breathing in or out? When you actually hit the ball, are you breathing in or out? The asana practice can help athletes realize where the breath can be of best support, what a relaxed breath might serve to do in terms of calming you down pre-competition, and what a focused breath can serve to do in terms of supporting your spine. AA: Aside from the physical strengthening and stretching, what else can athletes gain from yoga? SR: Yoga can help build your focus. For some athletes that’s the most important part of being able to compete – being able to focus on the black line at the bottom of WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

The asana practice can help athletes realize where the breath can be of best support, what a relaxed breath might serve to do in terms of calming you down pre-competition. the pool or being able to focus on the road, or being able to focus on the ball because you have this one precise thing you have to do with the ball. But once you’ve got focus, then yoga can also teach you presence. And presence is the ability to be with it moment to moment. Not just aware of the ball or black line at the bottom of the pool, but also where the competition is around you, whether now is the right time to try to push a little harder and break away from them, whether now is the time to pass the ball to your teammates. You can learn those lessons right there from an asana practice. AA: What advice do you have for competitive athletes who are looking to add yoga to their training? SR: Tell people to go to restorative yoga. Tell everybody to calm down. They will be much faster and stronger if they don’t beat themselves up. There’s only so much stress that your body is able to adapt to, and if you keep piling it on beyond that, something’s going to give.

Angela Ambrose is a Phoenix-based writer with 28 years

in magazine, corporate and video scriptwriting. As an ACE-certified group fitness instructor and certified yoga teacher, she combines her writing expertise with her passion for healthy living. Angela’s yoga classes are infused with heart-centered themes that take her students beyond the physical poses to help them connect with their true nature of peace and love. Contact her at Angela Ambrose.com or on Twitter @AAHealthFitness.

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Strength & Power

Core Come From the

What is the core and what is balance? BY BETH SHAW

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What is The Core

n YogaFit we always devote time to strengthening the core, in many of the fitness/ yoga hybrids I have created like YogaButt ™ and YogaCore ™ The entire workout focuses on the core. I believe it’s crucial to train the core individually a few times a week. What is the core? Many people only think of their core as the midsection. Using the core and engaging the core is actually a lot more than your “ six pack “ The core muscles begin at the top of the abdominal trunk and run down to the lower torso. The core area of the body includes all the body’s muscles except for those in the extremities. There are close to thirty, yes thirty muscles attached to the “core.” What this means is you many need to broaden your view of the core, because there are many more muscles involved in complete core training than most people are aware of. Total core training is a fundamental part of any fitness and yoga practice and energetically the most important. Lets get an understanding of the actual muscles supporting the core of the body

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Core muscles include: Abdominal Muscle Group Muscles of the front and side trunk including the external and internal obliques, traverse abdominis, and rectus abdominus. Gluteus Muscle Group Muscles of the middle hip and buttocks area including gluteus medius, minimus, and maximus. Hamstring muscles are also included in the gluteus muscles. Hip Muscle Group Muscles of the upper hip and pelvis including the hip flexors and hip adductors. Spinal Muscle Group Muscle group supporting the spine including the erector spine and multifidus.

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What is Balance Balance is the condition during which the body’s center of gravity is maintained within its base of support; the state of equilibrium, which relies on: Position of the center of gravity in relation to the base of support, Direction of the forces, Base of support

To assist in balance you can utilize: Breathing Mantra exercises repetition Visual Focus/ Imagery

Yoga postures are perhaps the best way to do balance and training, because they require no equipment. Many poses such as tree, eagle, warrior three, dancer and half moon require and create good balance. In tree pose for example, you might find just balancing on one leg to be challenging early on. As your balance improves, you can add in dynamic movements with your opposite leg, things like extension, flexion, abduction, and adduction, You can challenge yourself even more by using props to do your poses on such as an indo board, a BOSU or just even closing your eyes. More advanced poses include a hold and balance (like dancer pose) thus requiring more core work.

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Meditating photo by Nadya Lukic/Sutterstock

Counting


EDUCATE Strength & Power Come From the Core

Why Core And Balance Training?

Boat Pose photo by guruXOX/Sutterstock

“To stay balanced, we must get centered” You need a strong core to have good balanceget into any balancing pose and you will soon notice that the interaction and relationship between your abs and your glutes are really what’s keeping you in the pose, a strong core insures good balance and good balance is impossible without a string core. In fact you will end up injuring your tendons and ligaments if you do not rely on core strength to hold you in a state of balance. This can be said for any aspect of life – mental, emotional and physical – you cannot be balanced with first being centered. Training the core muscles is vital for athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Whether running, lifting or performing upper/lower body activities, power in each movement is generated from the core. Gaining enough core strength increases the stability of the pelvis and spine, which improves balance during athletic and bodybuilding movements. Strength and power originate in the core of the body. When the trunk, torso and pelvis are strong and stable, power is transferred to all other muscles. Powerful contractions, such as rapid muscle movements, require a strong core. The more stable the core, the more energy transferred to the muscles leading to quicker repetitions and more effective training. Physical strength & balance start in the core and give you the power to perform better on the field and work harder in the gym.

Benefits of Core/Balance Training to the athlete: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Improves posture and spinal control Strengthens low back Prevents injury in lower disks Improves respiratory function Strengthens and improves the torso’s stabilization Enhances neuromuscular efficiency throughout the body Creates neuromuscular control for efficient movement / positioning Helps to stabilize and align the spine, ribs and pelvis of a person to withstand static and dynamic force Tones, tightens and flattens midsection Improves internal organ function Creates proper distribution of weight and assists the body in absorption of force Strengthens abdominal structures involved in movement Assists in the transfer of power from core to the extremities Teaches the muscles to work together efficiently and effectively Strengthens the body’s power center (the third chakra- energy center, chi center) Mentally leaves you feeling strong and confident

These benefits alone should be reason enough to motivate anyone to include more complete core training in their fitness program.

Beth Shaw is the founder and President of YogaFit© Inc., the

largest yoga fitness educational system in the world. As one of the upmost leading experts in “mind, body and fitness,” Shaw is recognized as an industry pioneer drawing from years of experience and expertise in nutrition, exercise, yoga and holistic healing. Beth Shaw has authored and published multiple manuscripts, as well as released her highly anticipated second book, YOGALEAN which has sold more than 10,000 copies and counting. Beth’s premier book, YogaFit (Human Kinetics) has sold over 100,000 units worldwide.

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5

Natural Remedies For Sore Muscles Ice it

Soothe achy muscles with crushed ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a towel to prevent muscle damage and speed healing.

Massage it

Ginger bath

Ginger improves circulation and blood flow. Grate 4 tablespoons fresh ginger, seal it in a cotton bag; place bag under running bathwater. Soak 20 minutes.

A simple kneading can help stimulate blood flow through over worked muscles. You can do self massage or the real deal. Either way, your muscles will thank you.

Stretching photo by Dragon Images/Sutterstock, Woman with cold pack photo by LoloStock/Sutterstock, Spa products photo by Gina Smith/Sutterstock, Lavender photo by Africa Studio/Sutterstock, Neck pain photo by BortN66/Sutterstock

Stretch it

Take a few moments to help your muscles become more pliable. As oxygen flows into your muscles, you’ll speed their recovery.

Oil it

Lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus are all natural antiinflammatories and analgesics (pain killers). Apply with a carrier oil like rosemary, or of your choice, to affected area. WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

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SUP Yoga Combines

Tradition,

Sport & Fun BY JENN BODNAR

Photo by Danny Braught / Boaders

Magazine

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tand Up Paddle (SUP) Yoga is taking on a life of it’s own. Formerly, an activity exclusive to beach and resort communities, SUP Yoga is making it’s way to lakes, rivers, ponds and even pools with the help of SUP pioneers like DFW Surf. Don’t be confused by the initials, DFW means “Down For Whatever” and that’s exactly what’s happening in and around North Texas and beyond. Texas is not known for it’s strong representation of the four seasons. It’s either blistering hot or bone-chilling cold, as per Texas standards. When Tyler Marshall, Founder of DFW Surf and Boarders Magazine approached me about doing SUP Yoga classes at the indoor, temperature- controlled pools last winter it seemed like a genius idea! In fact, as temperatures warmed up and the lakes became flooded and inaccessible after torrential spring rains, the pool still remains a great place to introduce SUP Yoga to gym-goers. Life Time Fitness centers boast indoor and outdoor pools for their members and make a fitting location for many people not willing to take the plunge in open water. Life Time Fitness is offering SUP Yoga classes in the pool at many of their locations across the nation. Tonya

Brueggemeyer, National Assistant Program Manager and Yoga Coordinator says “I love to offer SUP Yoga to my LifePower community at Life Time because it pushes our students outside of their comfort zone. It brings the outside elements into our students practice in a way that’s innovative and challenging.” Brueggemeyer adds, “It pushes the

I love to offer SUP Yoga to my LifePower community at Life Time because it pushes our students outside of their comfort zone. It brings the outside elements into our students practice in a way that’s innovative and challenging. 42

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It is our goal to get every student that comes out for a FloYo class to fall in love with the sport of SUP. If they don’t receive proper instruction their first time on the water, we have missed an opportunity to educate a new paddler, someone who is very likely to fall in love with this sport! student to let go of the fear of falling and to try again, which is a life lesson in and of itself.” Participants aren’t the only ones getting on board. Yoga teachers are wanting to take their teaching to a new level, as well. Former rower and founder of FloYo, Jessie Benson offers a 20 hour SUP Yoga Teacher Training in various locations around the country. She has trained over 50 SUP Yoga teachers. Benson says, “It is our goal to get every student that comes out for a FloYo class to fall in love with the sport of SUP. If they don’t receive proper instruction their first time on the water, we have missed an opportunity to educate a new paddler, someone who is very likely to fall in love with this sport!” FloYo doesn’t see their classes as a way to simply take their students yoga practice to the water. They view each class as an opportunity to introduce 8-12 people to a new sport, to show them how fun it is to be active on the water and how working out on the water can add a whole new dimension to their yoga practice.

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Jessica Cichra, accomplished SUP racer and Wave of Wellness founder also sees a great correlation between sport and yoga. A pioneer of SUP Yoga, Benson took her first class in 2009. She immediately saw it as a yoga mat on water, she says, and incorporated it into her fitness programs. When she became more involved paddle racing, she started to add SUP Yoga workshops to her various events around the nation. Cichra has found her niche by combining her passions with travel and is currently planning her 5th SUP and Yoga Retreat. Cichra says, “I see the future of SUP Yoga making classes, trainings and meet-ups just as accessible and prevalent as land yoga studios.” Whether you see it as tradition expanded, a sport or just plain old fun, SUP Yoga popularity is definitely on the rise and making some major waves. SUP Yoga gets people who maybe wouldn’t try yoga to attempt something new and exciting. Seasoned yogis will feel and experience their bodies in new ways. It’s great to be able to bring that sensation back to their mats in the studio and grow in their practice. Being on a 15x2 foot board on the water evens out the playing field for everyone because there is that added challenge. Yoga is all about awareness and being mindful. SUP Yoga will definitely bring you into the present moment!

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&

Liquid

Asana

Unity BY LAUREN PETERSON PHOTOS BY GREG PETERSON

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My goal was to paddle every river and lake. I would paddle from one side of the lake to the ot her, in some cases these distances were expansive, so I wo uld stop and stretch.

T

skrit and is he word yoga is derived from San The union of translated to mean yoke or union. ression. Yoga yoga and water seems a natural prog the body and mind cultivates peace and harmony within the body. Water not while water is a vital component for source of health and only hydrates the body but is a great P Yoga) has been wellness. Stand Up Paddle Yoga (SU last couple of years. sweeping across the globe for the and yoga together, It provides all the benefits of water and core strength. while increasing stability, flexibility, dleboard increases Practicing yoga on a stand up pad mple, when doing awareness of weight transfer. For exa up paddle board, an Downward-Facing Dog on a stand are exerting too individual will suddenly notice if they body, because the much force through one side of the ance an individual’s board will react. SUP Yoga can enh the board responds yoga practice, because unlike a mat ner. Bringing yoga to the movement of the yoga practitio and soul. onto the water rejuvenates the mind and started stand ona Ariz in ed I was born and rais to paddle every river up paddling in 2008. My goal was side of the lake to and lake. I would paddle from one es were expansive, the other, in some cases these distanc bringing my yoga so I would stop and stretch. I started paddling. Later, practice onto the water as a break from WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

I had a friend who was a photographer who needed to take pictures of something innovative for a school project. I thought stand up paddle yoga would be an ideal photographic concept. During the photoshoot, a man who was observing asked if I offered any classes on the water. He had never seen stand up paddle yoga before. After, I received my 200hr yoga certification I began offering free stand up paddle yoga classes at different lakes in Arizona. I began wondering if anyone else was experimenting with this new form of movement? I searched the internet for SUP Yoga businesses and ran across others who had the same idea. I decided to create a social media global community that would facilitate networking and provide a resource for those of us combining our paddling and yoga practices. NamasteSUP was created on facebook with a total of twelve family and friends in 2008. The site now has over 5,000 members. Certifications for teaching began to be posted on the internet and I was fortunate to meet , Richelle Melde who hired me to teach SUP Yoga classes for her fitness gym. I was certified in Stand Up Paddling in California through Surftech SUPcore Academy with Noelle Kozak and Suzanne Yeo. SUP yoga not only had become popular in Arizona, but it had become a global phenomenon.

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I am not aware of any history or record of the inception of SUP Yoga. There are many people who have chronicled their love of water and yoga and followed their dharma, who pioneered SUP Yoga. The connection of water to yoga is simple discovery. Although SUP Yoga has recently come into existence, yoga has been around for centuries. According to Shayne Bance, “Earliest archaeological evidence of yoga’s existence could be found in stone seals which depict figures of yoga poses. The stone seals place yoga’s existence around 3000 B.C. Scholars, however, have a reason to believe that yoga existed long before that and traced its beginnings in Stone Age Shamanism.” A common misconception is that stand up paddling hasn’t been around for very long, when in actuality human beings have been standing up on vessels all over the world. Marina Andriola states, “Fishermen all over the world have been standing solo in their small vessels for thousands of years. The first standup paddle surfers to surf for the sheer joy of flying down the line on a board are believed to be Hawaiian. Ancient Hawaiian islanders survived with nature, not because of nature. They called themselves keiki o ka’aina, literally “children of the land”. She also brings up a good point that for years “gondoliers have been using long paddles to move their vessels through crowded canals.” It was only a matter of time before yogi’s would begin using stand up paddle boards as their mats. Like any other popular modality, it takes education and passing that knowledge onto others to keep it alive. SUP Yoga certifications and retreats are becoming more popular. The great thing about SUP Yoga is it can be offered any time of the year, anywhere in the world, and there are no age restrictions. SUP Yoga is available for all ages, and all levels. SUP Yoga classes are offered on lakes, pools, rivers, and in the ocean. In 2011, after receiving my master’s degree in Physical Education I found most of my students loved yoga, and loved board sports. Unfortun ately, due to budget cuts and liability I couldn’t take my classes on a field trip to the lake. So instead I created a land based SUP Yoga curriculum. I took the stand up paddle boards and placed them on BOSU’s to give them the simulation of

being on water, and taught students a SUP Yoga unit. My students loved it! I have had the pleasure of presenting my curriculum at the Am erican Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Rec reation and Dance (AAHPERD) conference in Ari zona and Hawaii. More and more board companies are incorporating land sup yoga in gyms. For exampl e, Indo board has created the Indo Yoga Board, whi ch is much easier to transport and store in gyms tha n large stand up paddle boards. Businesses are now offering not only SUP Yoga classes but also, SUP Pila tes, SUP Fitness, SUP Kickboxing, and more. The futu re is only limited by our ingenuity.

Lau

ren Peterson has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and a Masters degree in Physical Education. She is currently based in Oceanside, CA and is a certified 200E-RYT with Yoga Alliance. She received her Hatha instruction from Byron Yoga Centre in Australia. Lauren is a SUP Yoga Master Instructo r, and has received continuing education in Advanced Thai Yoga Massage, and Reflexology. In addition, She is an adjunct faculty member at Miracosta College Kinesiology, Health and Nutrition Program. In 2010, she created a SUP Yoga curriculum for grades 2-12 and university courses, and has presented her curriculum at two majo r Physical Education Conferences. She is the founder of Namaste SUP a free global community that brings SUP Yoga enthusiasts from around the world together http://namastesup.com/ Ambassador for: Laird StandUP, Cozy Orange, Indoboard, Jade Yoga Mats, Ahnu, Trip Tribe, Below the Surface, and We Are Ocean.

Earliest archaeological evidence of yoga's existence could be found in stone seals which depict figures of yoga poses.

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Photo by Trish Meyler

Slow Down and Breathe BY JERAMIE VAINE

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thletes are always looking for an edge on their opponent, to go faster, get stronger and bring the goal of winning closer. With many of the world’s top athletes using cutting edge technology, world class trainers and superior equipment to continue to raise the bar in competition. One ancient discipline is also gaining popularity with these athletes. Yoga, mostly know to the general population as “stretching” has become a go to discipline for a multitude of reasons. From the increased flexibility to injury prevention, yoga also adds a much overlooked part to training, breathwork. In yoga, Pranayama or Yogic Breathing is as essential to the yoga practice as the Asanas, (poses). The WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

reason breath is so important in yog a is because it is the guide, it lets us know where we are in our practice. When the breath gets erratic we hav e gone too far in a pose or if we stop breathing our balance, strength and flexibility suffers. It also allo ws us to stay in the present moment, we focus on our exhale and inhales and less about what the mind is telli ng us. With Stand Up Paddleboard (SU P) races lasting anywhere between 1 - 3 hours and some even longer, mental strength is a huge par t of training. This is where yoga comes into play, it is the gym for our mind. Whether we take a meditat ion class or a Vinyasa class, our breath is always the focus. It keeps our mind from wandering to the grocery list or the person

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next to us but in the present moment. When we put our bodies in uncomfortable places our mind is the first thing to tells us we can’t, we aren’t that flexible, but when our breath is engaged and is working, we work through the discomfort and begin to reap the real benefits of the practice. This off the water mind training is vital when things do not go according to plan. Even though SUP races last for hours sometimes things happen at the start and it is up to us to not let it ruin our race. With the practice of yoga and Pranayama we prepare our mind to deal with discomfort and stay present. SUP racing is no different than a difficult pose, whether it is a botched start or cramping half way through the Photo by Morgan Hoesterey

race if we resort to our mental trai ning we will bring ourselves back to the moment. The breath work will help cleanse the mind, bring air into the body to help the cramping and ultimately get our performance level back up. Once our mental focus retu rns, our efficiency will follow and that person in fron t of us will slowly become an obtainable goal. If you are wondering about yoga and if it is for you, try a class at studio and see the ben efits for yourself. Because the things we learn in the studio are not just for training or racing but also for help ing with everyday life. And the physical practice may also change your opinion of what yoga really is.

Jer

amie Vaine is a Professional Stand Up Paddlebo ard (SUP) Athlete, CorePower Yoga 200-hour Power Yoga certified instructor, SUP Yoga Instructor and WPA Leve l 2 SUP Instructor. In 2011 he was introduced to both SUP and yoga, where a love for a healthy, active lifestyle was born. He has been given the opportunity to share his know ledge of the benefits of SUP and yoga by traveling to yoga Festivals, SUP events, races and hosting clinics. Jeramie has taught at Wanderlust Festival’s, SUP Trainings, SUP Yoga Teacher Trainings, workshops, classes and clinic s throughout America. Jeramie’s vision is to expose yoga , SUP and SUP Yoga to everyone he meets, with hope to add to or encourage a healthy, active lifestyle. Mail: jvaine1@gmail.com Instagram : @jvaine1 Facebook: Jeramie Vaine Website: jeramievaine.com

Photo by Katie Collins

ass or a Vinyasa cl n tio ita ed m a ke ta e w er th he W cus. It keeps our class, our breath is always the fo ery list or the mind from wandering to the groc ent moment. person next to us but in the pres

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Up YourwithGame

Essential Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is finding the will to get up and go. The next time you’re feeling unmotivated, try an invigorating mist as an all-over body stimulant. In a 4 oz. bottle, combine 1 oz. of Aloe Vera gel, 3 oz. of distilled water, 10 drops of Spike Lavender essential oil, 5 drops of Juniper Berry essential oil and 5 drops of Thyme essential oil, shake and spray. These essential oils help invigorate by stimulating blood flow and arousing our bodies into action. These aromas also promote a change in mood and, consequently, affect our level of motivation and alertness.

In addition to prepping our minds, there are certain essential oils that can be applied to our bodies to begin to warm our muscles before we stretch. In 2 oz. of an unscented lotion or carrier oil, add 6 drops of Ginger essential oil, 2 drops of Cinnamon leaf essential oil and 2 drops of Black Pepper essential oil, mix and rub onto major muscle groups. These essential oils will bring fresh blood flow to the muscles and allow greater flexibility when the muscles are oxygenated. Be certain they are properly diluted, as they can be irritating to the skin at higher concentrations.

Black Pepper Ginger Cinnamon

Spike Lavender Juniper Berry Thyme

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Oils

BY CARY CASTER

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hen most people hear the word “athlete”, they think about the physical aspects of athleticism strength, flexibility and endurance. What we tend to forget is that mental acumen is a huge part of the whole picture. Intense focus, attitude and determination are what set the best athletes apart. Top athletes around the world are now incorporating visualizations, meditation, yoga and essential oils into their routines to improve their performance. Although all of us are not necessarily at the professional level, we can still utilize some of these techniques, particularly essential oils, before, during and after exercising or playing a sport to up our game.

Cary Caster, B.S., LMT, CCA is a Botanist, Licensed Massage

Therapist and Certified Clinical Aromatherapist who is on a mission to help people be their best self every day. She believes that people can take their health into their own hands. Cary is not only the founder and expert behind 21 Drops, an essential oil therapy company, but she is also a devoted healer who sits on the board of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

Post Workout

Of course, there are times when we push ourselves a little too far and overdo it. Essential oils can help to ease sore muscles and aid with joint pain. There are numerous essential oils that act as analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents. Add 6 drops of Sweet Marjoram essential oil, 4 drops of German Chamomile essential oil and 2 drops of Clove Bud essential oil to 1 oz. of unscented massage oil. Apply this concentrated combination to tired and achy areas as a spot treatment after you exercise. Another great option after a workout is to take a warm bath with relaxing essential oils to help the body and mind recuperate and receive. Spike Lavender naturally contains camphor, which stimulates circulation and has a warming effect. Add a few drops of Spike Lavender to an unscented liquid soap and pour under running water while filling the tub. The soap will help the oil to be diluted and evenly dispersed in the tub, so that you can relax and enjoy. No matter what your current level, anyone can up their game with the multiple benefits of these nourishing essential oil mixtures. You will also find that after using them regularly, you will benefit from their antimicrobial properties as well, keeping you healthy all around! and has been featured as an essential oil expert in the Huffington Post, Vanity Fair and Martha Stewart Living, among others. Cary offers continuing education classes in Aromatherapy at the University of Miami’s iCAMP program, and throughout the country. To learn more about Cary and how to work with her, please visit www.21drops.com

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Lavender photo by giulianax/Sutterstock, Juniper photo by Valentina Razumova/Sutterstock, Thyme photo by Dionisvera/Sutterstock, Ginger photo by Maks Narodenko/Sutterstock, Cinnamon photo by Alexlukin/Sutterstock, Peppercorns photo by Petr Bukal/Sutterstock, Mint photo by Dionisvera/Sutterstock, Rosemary photo by Volosina/Sutterstock, Marjoram photo by Scisetti Alfio/Sutterstock, Chamomiles photo by Nella/Sutterstock, Cloves photo by Thomas Francois/Sutterstock,

Peppermint

Whether we are playing a sport, going for a run, practicing yoga or any other form of exercise, it is important to stay focused to get the most out of our activity of choice. Mark Moss, a researcher in the UK, has recently proven that Rosemary and Peppermint have stimulating effects that increase both cognitive and physical exercise performance. These essential oils stimulate the brain into action and bring extra fresh oxygen to the brain tissues increasing attentiveness. Try saturating a cotton swab in a plastic inhaler with a combination of these two essential oils and breathe in between sets. It has also been shown that using essential oils regularly prior to activity helps the mind remember that it’s “game time” and increasing focus.

Clove Bud German Chamomile Sweet Marjoram

Rosemary

During Your Workout


The Power of the

Diaphragm BY TIFFANY CRUIKSHANK

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here are several distinct roles that the diaexchange rate of oxygen in the body. However for phragm plays in the body on a more energetic most of our day we need not paid any attention to the level, the first being its capacity to regulate breath it just quietly meanders through its role in the flow of energy throughout the body. In Chinese a quiet & seamless way as it fulfills its more yin Medicine the diaphragm is considered the gateway qualities in the body. It’s this yin quality of the between the upper and lower parts of the body, diaphragm that calmly seduces our body into a therefore it’s the diaphragms job to regulate the state of grace both within our practice and within ascending & descending functions of the our lives. body. This is represented in our ability One of the things that intrigues me most to transport qi, blood and fluids to the about the diaphragm is its power to comentire body to nourish the brain & inmand nourishment to the entire body ternal organs as well as the ascending & and at the same time its capacity to be descending functions of respiration & effortless and soft in its transactions emdigestion to name a few. Because of bodying both yin and yang qualities 5 1 this, the diaphragm serves a vital role sometimes even simultaneously. 6 in regulating energy flow throughout It’s this balance of masculine & 7 8 the body. feminine or yin & yang that com2 9 3 Another role of the diaphragm mands our attention to this mus10 4 is its connection to the mecle in our lives and especially 11 ridians as all of the 14 main in our practice. The strength meridians pass through the diand delicacy that makes the diaphragm (superficially or interaphragm so powerful in both nally). Because each of these meridians conits effort & effortless functions within the nects internally to the organs, the diaphragm body are a powerful tool to be utilized both has the potential to affect both the superficial on & off the mat. meridians that innervate the muscles & tisOn a more emotional level, the diaphragm sues as well as the deeper functioning of is also said to be the bridge or shield between the internal organs. As we know from the the conscious & unconscious emotions in previous article this also happens via the Chinese Medicine. The diaphragm tends parasympathic nervous system stimulation to be a place where we store unconscious from the diaphragm. emotional tension or grief. As yogis we have These regulatory functions of the diathe ability to use our conscious regulation phragm allow it to act as a moderator of of this muscle to modulate that response. yin & yang in the body. The diaphragm During times of high stress or emotional has the potential to be fierce and intensity this muscle can get rigid intense in its ability to nourish the and bound down, creating more Yang Meridians - Yin Meridians body in a very yang way. It quickly problems from a decrease in the ox1: Stomach 2: Large Intestine steps into action when needed and ygenation of the tissues that follows. 3: Triple Heater 4: Small Intestine keeps us prepared in instances like 5: Central 6: Kidney 7: Spleen 8: Liver Hence we get stressed, we get tired 9: Lung 10: Circulation 11: Heart sprinting where we need a quicker and the cycle continues.

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downward movement in the body and its connection to the meridians, the diaphragm has the capacity to affect both the regulation of energy throughout the body as well as the functioning of the organs. Put that together with its connection to the Parasympathetic Nervous System outlined in the previous article, its regulation of yin & yang and the emotions and you can easily see how powerful the effects of working with this one muscle can be from both an eastern & western approach.

Tiffany Cruikshank

is an international yoga teacher, author and health & wellness expert who travels the globe inspiring people to live their lives to the fullest. With her training in Acupuncture & Sports Medicine her yoga classes are guided by a strong anatomic focus intermingled with her characteristic playfulness using movement as medicine. Tiffany was previously the Acupuncturist & Yoga Teacher at the Nike World Headquarters and has graced the cover of Yoga Journal & Om Yoga Magazine among others. You can take class with her on YogaGlo.com or check out her book Optimal Health For A Vibrant Life, a 30 day detox for yogis at www.YogaMedicine.com.

Inhale

Exhale

2

Chest expands

3

9

4

1

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Chest contracts

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5

Diaphragm contracts

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7

Diaphragm relaxes

1: Diaphragm 2: Central tendon of diaphragm 3: Opening of inferior vena cava 4: Ceentral tendon 5: Medial arcuate ligament 6: Right crura of diaphragm 7: Left crus of diaphragm 8: Aorta 9: Esophagus

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Breathing illustration by LSkywalker/Sutterstock

Tension in the diagram can affect the parasympathetic nervous system response (we looked at in the previous article) that contribute to the stress response cycle, affect the meridians that pass through it to affect the entire energetic system, has a strong connection to the digestive organs that sit underneath it and can be a place of stored trauma, tension or stress in the body. Like with many parts of our yoga practice we can approach it from either end. We can look at sources of stress in our lives that may be perpetuating tension here or we can work with the diaphragm to alter the internal stress responses of the body. The diaphragm can be an emotional storage point or it can be a gateway to emotional processing. Either way you can see that not only does the diaphragm have huge implications for our physical & physiologic health it is also deeply connected to our energetic & emotional health. With its ability to regulate the upward and


Embrace Life From a

View Different

BY SCOT C. FARBER

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y yoga journey started with my pride when I lost a bet to a female coworker. Therefore I had to join her in a 90-minute hot vinyasa class. Five minutes into the class I thought I was going to throw up or die. Not long after I was wishing I would die. This happened during a time when I was struggling to get out of bed because I was suffering from several injuries including a torn ACL and a dislocated pelvis. Because I didn’t address these injuries they changed my gait and I herniated a disc in my lower back. I tried many things to manage the pain in my back and finally started steroid injections. Without much success with a pain management specialist I feared surgery was next. I was only 38 years old at the time, too young to be in chronic pain. I had started a family so immobility was not an option. After my first yoga class my ego keep telling me you can do this “yoga thing” push through the pain. Typical to my Type A personality I would push through these classes with an energy drink to fuel me. Yes I was “doing” yoga! Physically I was getting better and able to get out of bed with minimal pain. I would make a list of advanced poses I wanted to “get” and when I did I would challenge myself to achieve even harder ones. I began to be able to do other physically demanding exercises. I lost over 50 pounds and felt like I was in the best shape of my life. I thought yoga had saved me.

With lessons from some incredibly insightful instructors I now know that the asanas are only one small part of yoga. Deep down in my core I knew I had some lifelong habits that needed to change. My personal life started to reflect this as well. The most challenging part of yoga despite the physical changes lay ahead of me. Having to face these habits was daunting, but yoga has a way of showing us a different perspective on how to deal with these things. I have learned how to embrace life from a different view and that you can’t run from yoga. Yoga will show you everything you like and dislike about yourself and where you are out of balance. I found myself having to write these foreign thoughts down so I could remind myself daily, much in the same way I practice asana throughout the week. I realized that yoga truly had saved me this time. I live, think, speak and even breathe differently. My core has changed both literally and physically and my life has improved dramatically. I now practice being in the moment and enjoying life every day. I know that I will practice yoga in some form the rest of my life!

With lessons from some incredibly insightful instructors I now know that the asanas are only one small part of yoga.

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Tara Butcher A Second

Chance at Life BY KIM BAUMAN

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en years ago I was 22, and I got a second chance at life.” says Tara Butcher. “I was driving on the freeway heading home to Coronado and got into a fender bender. We both pulled over to the shoulder, I got out of my car and walked over to the other car. In that moment, when I was standing on the side of the road, a car going 72 miles per hour hit me head on. My head went into his windshield and I landed 2 lanes over on the freeway. He hit my legs first. My left leg was severed on the spot so it was amputated below the knee. My right leg was severed as well, and was

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almost amputated but gratefully they were able to save it. I suffered from an internal decapitation where my head was severed from my spine, vertebrae C1 to C3. My doctors thought I was either going to be paralyzed or die. And today, I am neither.” As Tara and I sit down for coffee, after about five minutes of small talk, she began telling her story. My heart is heavy, I have so many questions, and I am caught between feeling sorry for her and feeling inspired by her. As she continues to open up, I quickly move from feeling sorry for her to complete admiration, I start to get it……

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Tara’s 2nd chance:

“You would think you would lose it, being in my shoes. I would think I would too. It was actually harder for my parents and the people in my life to see me like that. I lost a lot of friends. I think they just didn’t know how to be. My first memory is after all my surgeries were done. When I woke up I couldn’t see because my eyes were swollen shut, I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t even realize I had been in an accident. My mom and dad were next to me and they told me I had been in an accident, but that I was okay. I couldn’t speak but I could write so the first thing I wrote was, “did I hurt anyone.” They said, “no, I didn’t hurt anyone.” And then I said, “did you tell my job?” and they laughed and said “yes, we’ve notified everyone”. I was so sedated and so out of it and I was crying because I could feel my dad’s pain. I could feel he was sad and I knew something was wrong, and I knew my parents were trying to protect me and not tell me something but I could feel something was wrong. Ten days later I was a little more awake and aware and I was saying things like, “oh my legs feels heavy, can you move my legs”. I was having so much phantom pain from the trauma. My parents would pretend like they were moving my legs back into place. They were just going along with me because they didn’t know what to do. Finally the doctors came in and told me they had amputated my leg. The first thing I said was, “can I work?” So funny how we process and respond to trauma. They said I was going to be fine and would still be able to do everything I wanted to, just a little different. And in that moment in my mind, I said “okay, I’m gonna do whatever I want to do because my doctors said so.” And so I believed it. I just trusted them so much. I was scared for a long time to look at my leg. I wouldn’t look at it for months. I would see it with the cast on but not the actual leg. I remember the first time I saw my leg my mom was so upset. She was crying because I’m her little girl and I didn’t have a leg. I was nervous to look at it but I did and it was a part of my therapy to finally see it. And once I looked at it, that was a step forward, and it was done and out of my mind.” In the beginning I was in therapy and that was tough. I had anger towards the guy who hit me. I worked on forgiveness because it was an accident. I’ve never met him or talked to him. The guy from the paramedics who picked me up at the scene said the guy who hit me did see how mangled my legs were, but was more concerned with his cuts and bruises. He got a ticket, similar to the WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

“The accident put me in such a bad state that I could have died, and that’s what jerks me back into a space of gratitude. When you’re the one jerked into life, you see things differently and it changes you.” degree of a speeding ticket, he wasn’t drunk, it was ruled as just an accident, and I never received a settlement. Twenty-two is a hard age because you’re still figuring yourself out. I was having the time of my life, I was into being social, going out, and into looking good. I struggled that no one would think I was pretty. I wanted that life back so bad, and nothing was going to stop me. There were so many doubts in my head, so many things I didn’t think I could do anymore. I went through years of really wanting to prove to myself and everybody else, “look what I can do!” Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) provided me with a grant for a running leg and I went on to run

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my first 5k, one year after the accident. I was so proud of myself and I needed more. I did another two 5k’s, then a 10k, then my trainer encouraged me to run a half marathon and said he’d run it with me. When someone believes in you so much, you start to believe in yourself too and he started that in me. I ended up running ten half marathons, the NYC full marathon, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. CAF provided me with a bike so then I decided to do a triathlon, and ended up doing eight of them. I then did a huge bike trip with CAF from San Diego to San Francisco. After nine years of challenging myself and pushing the envelope, I was tired, and realized I had done it, I had proved to myself I could live a normal life!

And so I turned to yoga.

Yoga made me feel amazing physically, mentally and spiritually. It helped me to feel comfortable with who I am. It opened me up, my mind and my heart. I had a lot of lingering injuries, and literally all of the pain and tightness went away once I started doing yoga. Through yoga I’ve gotten so comfortable in my body. Sometimes I even forget I have a prosthetic.

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Tara ends with saying, “The accident put me in such a bad state that I could have died, and that’s what jerks me back into a space of gratitude. When you’re the one jerked into life, you see things differently and it changes you.” And here’s where I really began to get it…. Like a death or an illness, traumatizing news makes us uncomfortable because we don’t know what to say or do, and we don’t know how to be. Moments like these challenge us as humans, the extreme awkwardness, the fear of not knowing how to console someone grieving, or the pain we may experience. Tara’s way of being is incredibly inspiring because now I see why she didn’t lose it. She didn’t see the accident as limiting, she saw that it gave her the gift of life. Tara says, “I really take in that I’m alive and have this day. I’m more aware. I notice the good. My choices have been different since the accident.” Tara is a spokesperson for CAF, she still has her career styling hair, and practices yoga regularly.

Kim Bauman

Founder, The One Love Movement Website: www.jointheonelovemovement.org Facebook: The One Love Movement Instagram: @theonelovemovement

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The Body Talks,

But Do We Listen? BY CAROL ROBERTS MA, LPC, LMFT

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re you listening to what your body would like to say to you? And what your body would like to contribute to you? One thing that professional athletes and spiritual gurus have in common is the ability to respect the body’s knowledge about our Being, and to listen to the body’s messages. As athletes, as well as intuitive Beings, we are required to respect and listen to our bodies. Addictive processes with food, chemicals, and any kind of numbing serves to shut off the body’s wisdom. We must listen to the message and wisdom that our bodies have to tell us. Many athletes will say that the day after a marathon they will not take any sort of pain killers. Why? Because they want to listen to the pains and their bodies and what their bodies have to tell them. The body will tell us what organs need touch, what muscles need work or rest, our bodies will talk to us in exhilaration after we climb to the that rock we’ve always wanted to conquer. Most definitely, our bodies can speak volumes, during yoga and meditation practices. Athletes love to be in their bodies, present, and to listen to their bodies. Have you ever noticed that while running or exerting ourselves in our exercise, we are able to think

our most clarifying, clean thoughts, and solve the biggest problems in our lives? We’re also able to let go of grief. We’re able to expand into our dreams. This is what it means to be present in the body. Athletes seek to master the attunement between the Being and the body. I invite you, in your next athletic activity to listen to what your body has to tell you. Perhaps try meditation with the body, asking the body questions, and listening to your body’s answers in your next workout- instead of trying to block out your communion with your body with tv or music, or caffeine. How about listening, instead, to what your body has to tell you? We must train ourselves to take the time to listen to our messages from our bodies about how it would like to be treated, with food, rest, and with what athletic activities it requires. I invite all of you to comment on your experiences of talking and listening to your bodies, in the coming weeks, during athletic activities. Enjoy!

Carol Roberts, MA, LPC, LMFT

Licensed Psychotherapist and Reiki Master

Carol can be reached at carol.der.engel@gmail.com (503) 902-4932

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Why Do

Power Yoga? Power Yoga is the athlete’s secret weapon. Dozens of high-profile professional athletes are hitting the yoga mat, from the Seattle Seahawks American football team to basketball star LeBron James to the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. BY SEAN VIGUE

P

rofessional athletes are turning to power yoga to improve performance, prevent injury, and extend their careers. But while the word has gotten out that yoga is a natural fit for athletes, many are still too intimidated to give it a try. . They view it as too “earthy,” for “granolas,” too intimidating, or foreign to their typical workout routine. But anyone who has practiced yoga could talk about its many benefits. Yoga involves movements and body postures that provide a full-body workout and improve flexibility, balance, focus, awareness, strength, endurance, and recovery. My hope is that [i]Power Yoga for Athletes[$] will serve as a gateway to all athletes interested in reaping the benefits the mat has to offer. As a former professional singer/dancer and yoga instructor, I have seen firsthand the difference yoga can make to an athlete’s performance. In my life prior to becoming a yoga/Pilates instructor, grueling rehearsals and performances took their toll on my body. My

muscles would feel tight and my energy levels were dropping, affecting not only my rehearsals and performance but my sleep. Also, my focus wasn’t as sharp as many of my fellow performers and I had a hard time remembering all the complex music, lines, and choreography. I noticed that my fellow dancers who practiced yoga didn’t seem to have the aches and pains that I had. When I began practicing yoga, I noticed immediately how my body became stronger and my focus was as sharp as a laser. I was fortunate that a couple fellow performers were yoga instructors and they began to teach me some power yoga flows, which made my muscles long, lean, and powerful. I began teaching yoga classes to small groups and eventually worked my way up to leading packed power yoga classes at the largest health club in the southwest United States. The combination of releasing the tensions of the day and building powerful, functional muscles while moving through sequences of poses, stretches and meditations was equally appealing to desk jockeys as well as hardened athletes. In my experience as a yoga instructor I see the incredible demand from athletes for a yoga experience that is tailored to their needs. And it makes sense. The benefits of power yoga for athletes abound.

Injury Prevention

Athletes repetitively overuse certain muscle groups, and most athletes are overdeveloped in certain areas and underdeveloped in others. This causes imbalances in strengthening and lengthening. These overdeveloped muscles become tight, pulling on ligaments and joints, decreasing the

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athlete’s range of motion. For instance, runners tend to have tight hamstrings; cyclists often have tight quadriceps; those engaged in throwing sports or swimming may complain of tired or aching shoulders; golfers and tennis players may have more freedom of rotation in one direction than the other. More flexibility in the muscles can prevent injuries. Yoga is designed to work the muscles around the joints for stability and full mobility.

Increased Performance

In addition to helping prevent injury, better flexibility and range of motion will add up to better performance. For example, LeBron James credits his amazing stamina to his yoga practice. “Yoga isn’t just about the body, it’s also about the mind, and it’s a technique that has really helped me,” James says. The full body conditioning of yoga is the ultimate cross training for all athletic endeavors.

Body Awareness

Proprioception is the ability to perceive the body with your mind. Yoga gives you a keener sense of how your body moves, which in turn helps with reaction time, as well as balance and injury prevention. It’s your body, so you better know how to use it to its maximum potential!

Mind and Body Balance

Building better balance and coordination translates to better control over your body and how you use it. We’ve learned that yoga emphasizes working your mind and body as a whole instead of isolating certain areas of your body. As a result, your body moves more efficiently and your form and technique improve. For instance, a tennis player may have more power in her forehand than backhand because of an imbalance in her body. By correcting this imbalance through yoga her forehand and backhand become equally effective.

Core Strength

Core strength is one of the most important results of developing a yoga practice. A strong core (abdominals, lower back, hips, and gluteus) is extremely important to maintaining a healthy spine, because it can take pressure off the spine and help prevent injury. Being an athlete with a powerful core has many other benefits, including improved posture, better balance, less back pain, and easier breathing.

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Breath Awareness

Yoga teaches us to become aware of our breath. This awareness allows us to strengthen the diaphragm and expand our lung tissue to its full capacity, which in turn increases the amount of oxygen that feeds the body and muscles, resulting in increased endurance.

Mental Focus

Yoga teaches us to be present in the moment. This allows us to block out the stimulus and noise that is always around us. Any athlete knows how important this focus is to performance.

Stress Relief

During performance and training an athlete is constantly bombarded with stress and physical challenge. In contrast, yoga is called a moving meditation and teaches us how to calm the nervous system. Every athlete can put this skill into practice to quiet this stress and better attain mental focus.

Recovery Time

Studies have shown that athletes can come to a full recovery from injury through yoga practice. Indeed, yoga therapy is a growing method of physical therapy for injury recovery widely recognized by Western medicine. In addition, yoga helps with post-workout recovery time.

Endurance

All of the benefits above add up to an increase in stamina and endurance for competition. The athlete that lasts the longest usually wins the competition.

Sean Vigue passionately teaches, films and writes about yoga,

Pilates, power yoga, core routines and any other form of bodyweight workouts. He loves creating new workouts to keep his clients always challenged and getting constant results. Sometimes you can even find Sean singing opera arias...often while performing a plank.

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Yoga Therapy for

and

Athletics

Performance

Anxiety BY ERIN BYRON MA, BOB BUTERA, PhD & STAFFAN ELGELID PhD

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o one wants to lose. Even children at a local soccer game face the dread of missing the net or getting scored upon. Adults in competitive sports or professional athletes face incredible pressure to perform well, consistently, in the face of i l l n e s s , injury, and challenging life events. Although we understand that not everyone can be a victor all the time, it seems nearly impossible to remove the anxiety from the athletic performance. Performance anxiety, sometimes known as “stage fright”, is a sympathetic nervous system (SNS) reaction triggered by a presentation. In other words, performance anxiety is an activation of the “fight, flight, or freeze response”. It affects not only athletes but also musicians, actors, speakers, and even party hostesses and restaurant servers! Any time we need to do well in front of others, we are vulnerable to performance anxiety. Its symptoms align with any SNS reaction and include rapid, shallow breath, racing heart, shaking, nausea, vision changes, dry mouth, and rushing thoughts - typically negative, worried ones. Those underlying thoughts strongly affect how we cope with performance anxiety. What would happen if, at the beginning of the season, a coach said, “Listen up, everyone. There will be only one winner out of the thirty teams in this league. That means there’s a one in

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thirty chance that we will be champions: you have a 3.3% chance of winning it all. There’s a 96.7% chance that we will lose so let’s be smart and prepare for it.” Most likely, that coach would be fired. However, despite the bleak appraisal, the coach’s honest outlook takes the stress out of the game. Managing expectations and beliefs goes a long way in reducing performance anxiety. Stress often arises from unrealistic expectations. The team in the example above is probably thinking about winning the game and performing like superstars. Anxiety arises from enduring unrealistic expectations. That same team is likely hoping that they will be able to pool their athletic resources and win game after game until championship day arrives, when they will inevitably hold the trophy. Not to say that we shouldn’t dream big or hope for the best; however, when those dreams become expectations, the nervous system responds with stress which over a long period of time can become anxiety around every performance. It has been proven countless times, over years and across populations, that yoga decreases the SNS response. Yoga postures, breathing exercises, and systematic relaxation techniques regulate the nervous system by soothing the SNS and activating the parasympathetic WWW.YOGADIG E ST.C O M


branch (PNS), or “rest and digest response”. Ironically, we perform better – even in aggressive sports – when we are relaxed rather than excited. Numerous studies on musicians, who, similar to athletes require neurobiological multi-tasking skills and ability to perform at the highest level on demand, indicate that yoga is a significantly effective method of reducing performance anxiety. These studies also show that only a couple classes per week over a brief period of time makes a difference to children and adults, and that the benefits continue for over a year! Yoga Therapy takes these physiological benefits of class to the next level, adding a clear mental component to the postures and breathing which innately balance the SNS response. It is difficult to overcome the winlose mentally that is an inherent part of athletic performance; however, if we get in touch with a goal beyond winning and losing, we can improve performance and lower overall stress, crushing performance anxiety in its tracks. Yoga’s wisdom stems from managing the thoughts that disrupt the mind and shifting to a love of the game by cherishing each moment. Becoming aware of enjoyment beyond the outcome of winning and losing provides an opportunity to be present, clear, and responsive throughout the performance, akin to being “in the zone”. Thoughts of outcomes, on the other hand, take us out of the zone and into a future that does not exist yet. Overcome performance anxiety by letting go of outcomes. Learn to enjoy the game again by channeling thoughts into a realm beyond winning and losing, bal-

1 30 3.3% 96.7%

There will be only

You have a

There’s a

winner out of the

teams in this league.

chance of winning it all.

chance that we will lose.

So let’s be smart and prepare for it. ancing the nervous system through poses and breathing, and combining these tools in proper relaxation. You don’t need to join a sports-specific yoga class, simply seek out a certified teacher that you trust and begin to learn and apply the techniques. For a more personalized approach, you may employ a Yoga Therapist to help you source the underlying stressful thoughts and counter them. Through yoga, you can eliminate performance anxiety by addressing your expectations and creating a relaxed, enjoyable approach to athletics.

Erin Byron, MA, Bob Butera, PhD & Staffan Elgelid PhD co-authors of Yoga Therapy for Stress and Anxiety: Create a Personalized Holistic Plan to Balance Your Life and core leadership of Comprehensive Yoga Therapist Training.

This simple exercise can help reduce performance anxiety and kee during practice or an athletic event. p you present to your experience It also gives you a place to bring you r mind when the worried thoughts and arousal start to happen. This mental SNS tool helps you relax and reshape you r relationship to your athletic perform Begin by noticing the content of ance. your anxious thoughts. What do you tell yourself before a big eve What are your fears and hopes? nt? These are valid; however, see if you can elevate your mindset. Set an intention for playing the sport that relates to a goal beyond winning and losing. For example:

I want to be the best I want to be better than my com petitor I want to win at all costs I want a college scholarship Winning means I am worthy

I will do my best I aspire to discover my own nat ural abilities I enjoy each minute God gives me to play My true self will lead me to acc omplishment I am loved before, during, and aft er the game

Once you have set a clear intention beyond the idea of winning and losin g, breathe this new mindset. By takin breath and holding the clear thought, g a deep you program not only your mental hab its but also your nervous system so that can relax and enjoy the game. Breathe you so that the air fills the abdomen (diap hragm), midsection (rib cage area) and chest (clavicle area). Reset your min upper d to your personal intention as you keep breathing deeply. Smile, enjoy, yourself relaxing and appreciating the and feel game. You can use this exercise at any time, including right before or even duri an event. Identify the Source of you ng r Anxiety Develop a Centering Intention Breathe the New Mindset WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

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Taking Yoga

to the Mat BY GLENNA B. MUSANTE

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n six short years, the Arrichion hot yoga/circuit training studios in North Carolina have grown from a small, one-location operation to a growing chain that to date has served over 25,000 people looking for the benefits of hot yoga, as well as an athletic approach to yoga in classes designed to build endurance, strength and mental toughness. Arrichion now has three studios, which are located in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte, and in addition to offering hot yoga, has classes or training in hot Pilates, circuit training, MMA yoga and high school and Olympic style wrestling. Business is so brisk they

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are even beginning to talk with potential partners about franchising. Meanwhile, more and more men are showing up in their yoga classes. Many are serious college athletes, including college basketball players from ACC championship schools such as NC State, UNC Chapel Hill and Duke. NFL players from the Carolina Panthers are also attending classes, plus the studio gets a strong share of local weekend warriors training for triathlons. This blend of yoga and athleticism may seem like an odd combination, but increasingly, studios like Arrichion are catching fire as both athletes and stayat-home moms begin incorporating strenuous athletic yoga into their fitness regimens. The focus for this particuQuinn Reynolds, Owner & lar studio isn’t as much Instructor | E-RYT500 | Lead Trainer for Yoga Teacher Training on flexibility and yogic Quinn Reynolds grew up in a family of technique as it is on the wrestlers and spent countless hours combination of flexibilher and practice watching her brothers ity, strength and fitness. dad coach. They were a family of athletes Recently, Yoga Digest and she was, too. She spent the next 13 years playing soccer year-round, including spent an afternoon with a successful career as a scholarship Quinn Reynolds, the soccer player for the University of Illinois. 30-year-old founder of the e Jacquelin Quinn studied yoga under Arrichion studios, along Heisel at Frog Lotus Yoga where she with her brothers and received her 200 hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher credentials in Hatha and business partners Ty and Vinyasa flow yoga and continued her Clay, her parents, Nora training by completing a 500 hour Yoga and Larry, and Ty’s partYoga Sunstone Alliance certification at ner, Lisako Koga, who under the direction of Nicole Shaw. helps run the Raleigh and Durham studios and the Arrichion yoga instructor training classes. The model for the Arrichion yoga studios has its roots in the family’s

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passion for wrestling—arguably one of the toughest of all sports—and for coaching. Larry Reynolds, their father, is a master wrestling coach whose students have earned state, regional and national titles. His passion for coaching and his tough minded “going to the mat” philosophy were passed on to Ty and Clay, who run the circuit training and wrestling programs at the Arrichion studios. Both were accomplished wrestlers in college and high school and Ty was recognized as one of the top competitors his age throughout his career. But it’s the understanding of how to coach and the desire to constantly improve their craft that makes the Reynolds’ brothers great trainers. Meanwhile Quinn--who also absorbed that tough athletic work ethic from Larry, Clay and Ty--played college soccer on scholarship for Big 10, Illinois, before finally discovering yoga her senior year in college. When the studio first opened, she taught all of the hot yoga classes--as many as 24 a week--and then went on to train all of their instructors. They now have over 20 instructors who are trained to think like coaches when leading a class. This includes a focus on encouraging students at all levels. In step with the family’s winning traditions, the Arrichion studios have begun gathering accolades and awards including Best Yoga Studio in Charlotte, NC, from two entertainment and lifestyle publications. And this summer Quinn was named one of Charlotte’s upcoming “30 Under 30” entrepreneurs. Bottom line? The studio attracts a wide cross section of people, ages 16 to 72, male and female, in all shapes and sizes, plus a large number of college and professional athletes. The secret sauce? Arrichion trains its instructors to think and teach like a coaches. In some ways, they teach yoga the way some coaches teach a competitive sport. But here, studio members are encouraged to compete against their personal best. Glenna: Larry, tell me about your work as a coach. You are a master wrestling coach. How long have you been coaching? How many successes? Larry: I’ve been coaching since 1974, for 41 years. Glenna: That’s a great career. And how many champions have you had? Larry: Oh, I don’t know. WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

Clay Reynolds, Owner, Wrestling, MMA, & Circuit Coach, Lead Trainer for Circuit Teacher Training Clay Reynolds is a master wrestling teacher/coach and successful competitor. In addition to training wrestlers and MMA fighters, Clay has worked with athletes from soccer and football on speed, functional strength, and quickness. Clay has parlayed his knowledge of strength training and skill for coaching into the Arrichion circu it classes where he encourages hot yoga clients to push the pace. His love of live music, especially Pearl Jam, tattoo body art, and crazy socks brand him as the Arrichion free spirit.

Glenna: Hundreds? Dozens? Clay: It’s in the hundreds in state champs and dozens in national champs. And he’s coached one Olympian. Nora: That question is interesting because this would carry across to some of the studio philosophy. You asked Larry how many state champs he has had. And he doesn’t know, really. There are a lot of places that count those things and sort of hang the metals all over the walls, and the trophies everywhere. We just never kept track of that. In fact, when Clay and Ty were wrestling in state tournaments in high school and other tournaments, they’d ask us to fill out a sheet and include their record and we would just make them up because we didn’t know, exactly. We always underestimated, but I remember one of the people at the table for the state tournament knew that Clay’s record wasn’t right because we’d undersold it by the number of wins. The losses were easy and we knew those. But we didn’t keep track of the wins. But the real point of it is, and it’s the same with Quinn, that it was never about what your record was, so much as it was about progressing toward where you wanted to go. Clay: Yeah, we didn’t keep the medals. Glenna: But why? Why would you not do that? Clay: For me, I didn’t care about getting the medal. I just wanted to win. We gave our medals away to little kids.

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EDUCATE Taking Yoga to the Mat Glenna: So you were more interested in the achievement that the trophy? Clay: Yes. So the trophies got recycled. Glenna: Clay, Ty, how did you get into wrestling? When did it start? Ty: We were always around wrestling. Dad would bring us and our heroes were always the guys on his teams. They were state champions in New York [state] and we knew all about them and knew all about the college champions. We were always around it. Quinn: And out of the three of us Ty would study it. He would sit in his room and actually watch it. Clay: We worked our asses off, Ty and I [as high school wrestlers]. On the way home from school we would strap our book bags to our backs, roll up our jeans and run 4.5 miles home. That was Dad’s idea. Quinn: Anything that we did we were told we were going to make it work and it’s going to be good. We each were going to pick one sport and told ‘you are going to be good at it.’ Clay: That became kind of our philosophy with the studio. Quinn: That’s a good point. We could be sick but still teach a class or we would sleep in our car to be there in time for a 6 a.m. class or wake up at 5 a.m., no matter what. But neither one of us has ever

Lisako Koga

E-RYT 500 RYT500 | Yoga and Circu it Instructor | Lead Trainer for Yoga Teacher Training The former Art Director for Mental Floss, Lisako completed her 500hour yoga instructor training at Arrichion under Quinn Reynolds and has attended numerous workshops with Briohny Smyth, Dice Iida-Klein, Kath ryn Budig, Baron Baptiste, Kiersten Moo ney, and more. She helps facilitate the yoga teacher training programs at Arric hion.

Nora Reynolds, Educator and Entrepreneur Nora is an administrator at a state university. She has devoted her professional life to studying how people learn and to applying that understanding to practice. She instilled in her children, Clay, Ty and Quinn a belief that learning is a process and life is a journey, not a destination. She is most proud of their ability to respect and see potential in each of their clients regardless of whether they are an accomplished professional athlete or a tentative first-timer to the gym. missed a single class at the studio. Clay: That’s the wrestling work ethic. Break your finger. Pop it back in. Tape it up and go back. Quinn actually dislocated her finger in college [playing soccer] and had the trainer pop it in and then she walked back in to the game. I broke my finger in the first practice at UNC (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was on the wrestling team) and told the trainer my finger was dislocated. He popped it back in and I said ‘I also think it’s broken,’ so they taped it up and I went back in. But that’s a wrestler mentality. There’s a reason why wrestlers end up as Green Berets and Navy seals. It’s discipline and being comfortable being uncomfortable. Larry: It’s the wrestler mentality-- the ability to train until you are way beyond your comfort zone. You ‘have to go out on a mat.’ It’s like you are not quitting out there, it’s not an option. Glenna: Let’s talk about the athletes who go to the studios. Would you say you have more athletes or more male members at your studios doing yoga than a typical yoga studio? Clay: Without a doubt. We have way more males at all of our studios than the average yoga studio. Guys come in who say they would never do yoga but love our yoga. Glenna: What do they like about your yoga? Clay: It’s hard. When we were kids if we came out of practice and we weren’t sweating, our Dad would say

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we didn’t get a workout, so to us working up a sweat is something good and Quinn had that in mind when she designed the classes. You are going to feel fatigued after our classes. You are going to push it. Glenna: What is it about your yoga that makes it a great training component for serious athletes? Quinn: Athletes can actually relate to it. They don’t think they are just going in and stretching. It’s an actual workout and they will go in and work hard for it. And they relate to us as former athletes. Larry: There was a deliberate decision from the outset to put the circuit in with the yoga. This was a deliberate decision in the beginning to integrate the two. It’s like an integration of east west, while developing athleticism. Quinn: We are teaching you to be strong in your flexibility so you don’t get injured. We said that from the beginning. A lot of people can do this beautiful standing bow, but it’s not great to just take your flexibility and do it without strength. You need to be strong to do it. Ty: You don’t have to do that combination but if you want to maximize it you have to do the combination including Sparta (a class there that includes Olympic lifts), which takes you to the next place. One thing I have been impressed with is the wide demographic at Arrichion. We see people from all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities. Clay: I think also athletes like to be pushed, so you take an athlete, put him in Bloodstone (one of the advanced yoga classes at Arrichion) and by the time you get to the push up sequence he is going to feel that. But we don’t just appeal to

pro athletes. We appeal to college athletes, because this is the closest they can come to that experience they had when it was time for practice (in college). They come back for that feeling. I would say we get far more college athletes than any other studio. It appeals to a lot of people.”

Ty Reynolds, Owner, Wrestling Coach, Lead Trainer for Circuit Teacher Training Ty Reynolds was an accomplished wrestler and one of the top competitors in his age all through his career. He was a freestyle wrestling resident at the Olympic training center for two years and the top high school wrestler in the nation. But it was the opportunity to be around top level coaches in and out of wrestling, both nationally and internationally, that really impacted Ty. He has a knack for seeing the little details that count and for creatively translating that as he trains. This talent influences the way he coaches and encourages wrestlers and Arrichion clients to achieve more than they ever thought possible

Larry Reynolds, Master Coach

Larry Reynolds has devoted his professional career to the coaching of young athletes, including his two sons, Clay and Ty. He has coached numerous state and national wrestling champions in colleges and high schools in North Carolina, Iowa, and New York. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from the University of Massachusetts where he competed for the wrestling team. He has a Master’s Degree in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and post-Master’s work at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Larry ‘s passion for coaching and his patient devotion to deliberate practice are the reason Clay, Ty, and Quinn are so good at what they do.

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Body, Mind,

Equine BY CATHY WOODS Cowgirl & Yogini

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A

s a yoga teacher of 25 years & long-time trail rider, it was a natural, organic process that my passions combined, as there are many similarities between the two. Both yoga and horsemanship require the awareness of the present moment, breathing, the body and certainly energy. Several years ago, I decided to create a program that synergistically combined these practices into a cohesive, fun and learning workshop called The Yoga of Horsemanship TM / Body, Mind, Equine TM. The Yoga of Horsemanship TM / Body, Mind, Equine TM. program is not about doing yoga postures on the back of your horse, although the program does incorporate a few stretches in the saddle. The program is about how to use yoga and yogic principals to improve your horsemanship from ground to saddle. I do not claim to be a horse trainer or riding instructor, my goal is to assist students in becoming more aware, conscious riders. This program is relaxing, fun and educational and can be enjoyed by all, including new riders and yogis with or without experience. Those that do have experience with my program can gain new, refreshing insights and receive beneficial reminders with each sesssion. A typical session includes, time on the mat with centering meditations, good stretches for riders, hip openers, back stretches, core work, balances poses and the like. We then work on practices such as body scans, deep relaxations, breathing techniques (pranayama, yogic breath-work). There is a discussion period about applying the principles of yoga to horsemanship and the parallels of each practice. The program includes hand outs of recommended reading and other pertinent information. We then move into the arena with the horses beginning our ground work. The horses are great mirrors of our energy. If we come to them with fragmented, scattered, nervous energy, this is often what we receive back. If we come to them with centered, calm energy this is typically what we receive in return. We begin by feeling the energy of different horses with some leading exercises, we progress into the saddle, applying our breathing techniques and body awareness practices from the mat. We stay in the present moment, aware of our energy, the energy of our horse and the energies around us. From here, riders are instructed throughout various gentle WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

4 Essential

Yoga Poses for Equestrians: Warrior 1 Leg strengthening poses are very helpful for equestrians for being able to mount and dismount with ease or for posting in some riding disciplines. In addition, a rider should be riding with the use of their legs, not so much their hands. Legs help to guide your horse, and to help you stay in your saddle. Plank Pose Core work is most excellent for riders. Everything comes from the core. Keeping a strong core also helps keep a strong back. Boat Pose Balance postures are essential for riders. Knowing & understanding where “your center is” is an important component when in the saddle. If you are riding in front or back of your center you will be off balance, affecting your balance, stability, safety and even your horses movement. Pigeon Pose Keeping the hips open & free not only provides more comfort while sitting astride a horse and allows one to mount/dismount with more ease, it allows the hips to flow in a more relaxed way with the movement of the horse (which also changes the horses movement).

experiences. Depending on the venue, there is sometimes an optional, led bareback segment, which can be a highlight for students who have never experience such a connection with a horse. Programs can be offered as half day events, several day retreats, some including trail rides. I have been lucky to share my program with people all over the all over the country. Most recently, I visited The Resort at Paws Up in Montana to offer the program to guests as an addition to their existing yoga program. The beautiful indoor arena and yoga space created a wonderful backdrop for the program, and were then able to apply what they learned to trail rides with gentle horses and experienced guides.

Cathy Woods, ERYT 500,

teaches yoga as an “awareness practice” to be used on & off the mat. In addition, she leads a program called, Body, Mind, Equine, combining her passions of yoga & horsemanship, teaching how yogic principals can be used to improve one’s horsemanship to become a more aware & conscious rider. Website: www.cathywoodsyoga.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/cathywoodsyoga

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Light It Up! F

ormer NFL Linebacker, Keith Mitchell had his football career cut short after an injury in 2003 that left him immobile for months. With the suggestion of one of his therapists to try conscious breathing during his recovery, Mitchell gradually gravitated to a very dedicated meditation and eventually, physical yoga practice. They say when one door closes, another opens. The NFL’s loss was definitely a gain for the yoga community as Mitchell has become a voice for assisting at-risk youth, adults, veterans, and families in need. Mitchell is now a certified master yoga instructor, and he has begun working through his “Light It Up” foundation on a care plan called JUST BREATHE, intended for current and former football players, as well as retired military veterans.

What is the JUST BREATHE For Veterans Campaign?

The JUST BREATHE For Veterans Campaign is led by former All-Pro NFL Linebacker and world famous yogi, Keith Mitchell. The campaign has been created to provide both holistic and traditional western medical care for military veterans who are suffering from neurological and psychiatric disorders due to head trauma and/or exposure to toxic agents, while serving our country. Keith Mitchell’s determination to help others who suffer from neurological and psychiatric disorders began shortly after his professional football career suddenly ended. Keith suffered a devastating blow to his spine while making a routine tackle that left him paralyzed from the neck down. After an arduous physical and mental six month period of rehabilitation, a unique recommendation from a hospital therapist changed his path to healing and helped him to regain control over his recovery. This journey to health restoration for both his mind and body

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began with the practice of conscious breathing and expanded into an array of alternative modalities that changed his life and his desire to help others, forever. Mitchell’s foundation, the Light It Up Foundation in conjunction with University of Rochester Medical Cenconjunction withthe the University of Rochester Medical ter, one one of the progressive centers for for neuroscience Center, of most the most progressive centers neurosciand neurological carecare in the US,US, are are working together to ence and neurological in the working together develop and implement to develop and implementa aunique uniqueand andinnovative innovative model plan, called calledthe theKM5.9 KM5.9Care CarePlan. Plan. Mitchell, a son care plan, Mitchell, a son of of US military veteran, turned his attention to those US military veteran, has has turned his attention to those who who have served country. The planisisbeing beingspecifically specifically have served our our country. The plan designed to better serve military veterans who are suffering from neurological and psychiatric concerns, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson disease, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and dementia by implementing a more thorough and consistent relationship between both the patient and doctor and his/her own health. In addition to traditional medical care, in-person evaluations will be followed by yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training to expose both groups to a new and unique approach to both the process of healing and to one’s own body awareness. Overall, the design of individualized care plans for each patient within KM5.9 will be comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and focused on setting each participant on the track to health restoration. with clients both in and He’s already alreadybegun begunworking working with clients both in formerly of the including Denver Broncos tight and formerly ofNFL, the NFL, including Denver Broncos end Julius former Broncos Cortight end Thomas, Julius Thomas, former running Broncosback running rell Buckhalter and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker back Correll Buckhalter and former Baltimore Ravens Jamie Sharper, among others.* linebacker Jamie Sharper, among others.*

International Day of Peace

September 21st is International Day of Peace! Keith Mitchell will partner with Uni fy at the Texas State Capitol in Austin to celebrate World Peace Weekend September 19th-21st! In addition, Unify will be organizing a global synchro nized meditation and expect to have 2,000 + eve nts around the world. Mitchell and Unify will partner with Shelby Autrey and Lululemon for a giant yog a and meditation session on September 20th @ 10:30 a.m. Unify Operations Director, Patrick Kronfli says they had 3,000 RSVP and 1,500 show up. This time, the goal is 2,000. After the yoga session on the fron t lawn, participants will make way into the Capitol Rotunda from 12:00 - 1:00 for "Om the Dome" whi ch is a meditation, a 20 minute Ommm, and live music. Check unify.org for more information!

Through Mitchell’s journey of healing he has been called to help heal others. He has taken his power and is using it in a positive way. Mitchell actively participates in community events to raise awareness, share his story and inspire others to heal the holistic way. For more information on JUST BREATHE, visit www.keithmitchell59.com

To Go Fast, Go Alone. To Go Far, Go Together WW CO m M ww W.YOGAD w.yogad Ii GEST. gest. co

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YD Warrior Spotlight:

Donny Starkins On Serving Big E

BY JENN BODNAR

veryone has a different path, a different journey and travels in their own unique way. Yoga, as mentioned numerous times throughout this issue, typically begins as a physical practice. Eventually yoga can lead to a more mental and/or spiritual practice. Often times, and in the case of YD Warrior, Donny Starkins, yoga can lead you towards a karma practice where there is a strong desire to give back and help others. Starkins discovered yoga after suffering 5 knee surgeries that ultimately ended his college baseball career at Arizona State University. He got back into working out after the surgeries, but his body was very misaligned and in bad shape says Starkins. At the suggestion of his mom, Starkins swallowed his pride and finally decided to try a yoga class. Starkins decided to do a yoga teacher training to further his knowledge and wasn’t sure if he wanted to teach. After 2 weeks into the training, he decided that he had to share the love. Throughout this entire process, Starkins battled with addiction to pain killers. Yoga was a big step in his recovery. It wasn’t long into Starkins yoga journey before he found himself at a Wanderlust Festival, attending one of Seane Corn’s classes. If you have experienced Sean Corn, then you know exactly what Starkins means when he says “her words are just like fire to your heart.”

HOW DARE WE NOT?

The words “how dare we not?” were the specific words Starkins needed to hear in order to catapult his desire to utilize the platform he had been given for something beyond just a physical yoga practice. Starkins attended a 5 day leadership training with Corn for Off The Mat (see sidebar) where he heard those words again, however this time the question was “how dare we not share our story?” People are dying and are affected by addiction everyday and Starkins finally felt open to sharing this part of himself to help others.

SUNDAY SERVICE PROJECT

The Sunday Service Project was born on the premise that in order to take care of what’s going on out there and to serve the world, we first have to take care of ourself, Starkins shares. He adds that service doesn’t have to be going into a third world country, it can start with your family. Through the Sunday Service Project, Starkins, along with friend and fellow yoga teacher Anton Holmes Mackey, has raised over $9,000 for Off The Mat Into The World. One of the big distinctions with Off The Mat is learning the difference between what service is and what fixing or helping is. Fixing and helping, Starkins says, can

“After My First Yoga Class I Knew That This Was Something I Was Going To Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life.” 72

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often come from the ego and create separation. “It’s very important to show up from a place of love,” says Starkins. He adds that Off The Mat is bridging the gap between yoga and activism.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

The money has been raised specifically for the Women Of Kenya. More specifically, awareness and funds are dedicated to early childhood pregnancy and female genital mutilation. Each year, a different country or

area is selected based on government approvals which are always subject to change. It’s not a pretty picture, which is why the message of service is so strong. Starkins says there are often some bleak scenarios presented and you have to realize that these people are doing the best they can with what they have. It’s one thing to be able to raise the funds, but there is a ton of inner work required to be prepared to deal with the situations presented in these challenged parts of the world.

Seane Corn: Getting OFF THE MAT, INTO THE WORLD, off the ground The Body Remembers Everything, It Remembers Our Traumas, Our Guilt, Our Resentment, Our Shame And The Only Way To Get Through It Is To Go Through It. It’s true what Donny Starkins said about Corn’s words being like fire to your heart. Listening to her speak is like hearing one long intoxicating quote and wanting to memorize every word. I must also add that I was completely humbled by Corn’s approachability and have never felt more at ease, despite technology challenges during our interview. Corn is definitely very alive off of her mat. Corn began her practice around 30 years ago at the ‘suggestion’ of the owner of a bar she was working at. Many of the employees were experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Basically he said “do yoga, keep your job!” It was very physical for Corn, at first, but over time became a great stress relief and strong reminder to take care of her body and mind. She says it wasn’t until a few years later that she began to open up to her practice emotionally: to allow herself to be more available and to focus on the energetic aspect, the vulnerability. Corn’s practice opened her up to making big change with the gifts she had from a very young age. Corn says she was a very sensitive child and has always had issues around injustice. “Even as a kid, if I saw someone else being bullied, I had very extreme reactions,” says Corn. Call it karma, but there was a desire to protect, to shield or be a part of a conversation that created more fairness for people, for animals and the planet, she recalls. Corn says she often felt powerless; being a kid with no money. When she did start getting some power through her various volunteering and leadership roles, she realized quickly that she could use this platform in a beneficial way. Since her teens, Corn has WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

been a front line activist with many organizations like Act Up, Women’s Action Coalition, National Organization for Women, Gay Rights, Feminists and HIV Aids Advocacy. The problem, she says, is she didn’t have any skills on how to deal with conflict or confrontation in a healthy and sustainable way so she got burnt out. Corn admits her service work was not a completely selfless act. She began to make money as a yoga teacher and realized that for abundance to continue, she had to put abundance out. She says that working with children allowed her to hold space for those suffering, which also helped her find space of her own. Being in these environments allowed her shadow of suffering not only to be reflected, but revealed. When she became an ambassador for Youth Aids, she started to visit different parts of the world and witness first hand what the epidemic was causing. She decided to create a fundraiser for Youth Aids by creating a cute saying on a t-shirt. She sold them for $20 because you could feed two children for one year with $20. The t-shirt read “OFF THE MAT, INTO THE WORLD.” The amount of t-shirt sales was ridiculous. Corn can’t remember the exact amount but says it was around $300,000 and in a really short amount of time. This let her know that there were a lot of people out there that wanted to do something but didn’t necessarily know how. That is how Off The Mat was born. Corn did small workshops around the country and eventually partnered with Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling to create a leadership program to train people to do the inner work so they can be of service in a really mindful and sustainable way.

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The

Vegan 300 Pound

The NFL’s David Carter On How A Plant-Based Diet Made Him A Better Player & A Better Human BY RICH ROLL PHOTOS BY PAIGE CARTER

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t’s one thing to thrive on a plant-based diet as a skinny endurance athlete. But what about sports that place a premium on size, speed, agility, power, quickness and just plain brute force? Is it possible to compete at the highest level of the NFL not as a punt returner, not as a quarterback or even a running back, but as a defensive lineman – a position where only the absolute biggest, baddest, strongest and fastest survive?

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Meet David Carter — aka The 300 Pound Vegan. Introduced to the game at age 5, David began his football career playing Pop Warner. He made waves at Fontana’s Kaiser High School in Southern California and went on to become a star player at UCLA. In 2011, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 6th round and has since been a bit of a journeyman defensive linebacker, playing for the Dallas Cowboys, the Oakland Raiders and most recently the Jacksonville Jaguars. WWW.YOGADIG E ST.C O M


Like most athletes, David grew up eating tons of meat, fully adhering to the conventional mythology that in order to become muscle you must consume muscle – the more the better. But as his career matured, David became plagued by a variety of persistent, chronic injuries including arthritis, tendonitis, nerve damage and chronic muscle fatigue. Not surprising given the nature of his job, but nonetheless devastating — ailments he simply could not overcome that left him sidelined despite the best sports medicine and rehabilitative resources of the NFL at his disposal. David soon realized that in order to continue playing, something had to change. He began researching the cause of his conditions, as well as alternative remedies to resolve them at the source. Heavily influenced by a series of documentaries that included Forks Over Knives and the holistic lifestyle habits practiced by his wife Paige, David arrived at a rather counter-intuitive conclusion for an athlete whose professional career relies entirely upon physical prowess and sheer brute force: all the nutrition he had been relying on to maximize his size and strength was actually killing him. Therefore, in February 2014, David made a rather radical and quite controversial decision: he adopted a 100% plant-based diet. Criticism came swift from all sides. Trainers, coaches, friends and fellow players all chimed the familiar refrain: it’s impossible to maintain your weight and strength without meat!

“I can honestly say that being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be fullbody strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins.” —David Carter WW W.YOGAD I GEST. CO M

But David has remained steadfast and confident in his decision.

WHY? • Because a battery of unexpected positive results came and came quickly. • Eating entirely plant-based, David experienced more energy. • His recovery time was profoundly accelerated. • His stamina went through the roof. • To the great surprise of his coaches, trainers and teammates, every single one of those nagging, persistent injuries mysteriously corrected themselves and ultimately vanished altogether. • All his numbers in the weight room actually went up – this is a guy who can bench 470 and squat 660. • Amazingly, he found himself quicker, more agile and responsive than ever. • And perhaps most important to David, no living thing had to die in order for him to thrive. Through football and his off the field advocacy for healthier lifestyles, animal rights and the planet, David is now devoted to a cause greater than his on field performance — being an example of positive change in the world.

Rich Roll.

Named one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World” by Men’s Fitness, Rich is a world-renown, plant-based ultra-endurance athlete, widely famed for being the first person to complete 5 ironman-distance triathlons on five Hawaiian Islands in under 7 days. A graduate of Stanford University and Cornell Law School, he is the bestselling author of two books – Finding Ultra and The Plantpower Way – a podcast host, husband father of four and most of all an inspirational hero to a global audience of wellness seekers as a transformative example of healthy, sustainable living. Listen to his podcasts and learn more at richroll.com

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Eat Like a

Champion Favorite Recipes of World Cup Champion Christen Press

Breakfast

Omelet

29g protein, 250 calories

Breakfast Parfait 25g protein, 500 calories

Background phoro by philippou/Sutterstock, Parfaits phoro by JeniFoto/Sutterstock, Omelet phoro by siamionau pavel/Sutterstock, Smoothie phoro by pullia/Sutterstock, Panini phoro by locrifa/Sutterstock

Non-fat Greek yoghurt Toasted pecans Granola Fresh Strawberries Fresh Raspberries Fresh Blackberries Honey

1 yolk, 3 egg whites Caramelized onions Sautéed mushrooms Sautéed peppers (yellow and red) Sautéed spinach Garlic Avocado Fresh salsa Optional creamy Havarti

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Lunch Whey Protein Shake 20oz, 29g protein, 500 calories Chocolate whey protein All-natural Almond milk Organic peanut butter Banana Organic agave nectar

Toasted Sandwich

36g protein, 600 calories

Toasted low-cal whole wheat bread Smashed avocado Fresh salsa All natural shredded turkey All natural sliced salami Organic lettuce blend Caramelized onions SautĂŠed peppers SautĂŠed mushrooms Optional melted creamy Havarti

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Dinner Mexican Salad

39g protein, 490 calories Super salad mix: romaine, spinach , broccoli, carrots, kale, purple cabbag e Black beans Chopped organic tomatoes Chopped red onion Roasted corn All natural shredded chicken Freshly grated pepper jack cheese Avocado Salsa Homemade Cilantro-Lime Dressin g: Bright cilantro Pure limejuice, jalape単os Agave nectar Garlic powder Optional tortilla chips

Simple Salmon 34g protein, 500 calories Background phoro by philippou/Sutterstock, Grilled salmon phoro by AnnaElizabeth photography/Sutterstock, Taco salad phoro by Marie C Fields/Sutterstock, Raspberry jelly phoro by Photoalenka/Sutterstock,

Oven roasted Brussels sprouts & broccoli Blanch broccoli Lightly toss Brussels and broccoli in olive oil and oven bake until brown and toasty Salt and pepper to taste Quinoa and roasted pine nuts Soak quinoa in water before cooking, fluff up Wild-Caught Alaskan King Salmon Olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet, Cooking Directions 300 degrees for 30minutes

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Dessert Raspberry Fool Fresh raspberries Fresh strawberries Slightly sweetened light whipping cream Crumbled meringue cookies (Drizzle and toss)

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Say Goodbye to

Arthritis Pain

Aloe with

Illustration by La Gorda/Sutterstock,

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y arthritis was getting the best of me for years, and as time went on, it got worse. I was confused. As a nurse anesthetist, I took care of my body, and thought I was putting all the right things in it. I was even using a high quality aloe product. It just so happened that I met a retired doctor at the gym. He was fit, and looked remarkably young for his age. In conversation one day, I mentioned my arthritis and asked for his recommendations. In turn, he asked extensive questions about my diet. However, I wasn’t expecting his confident diagnosis: He told me that I was acidic. Naturally, I went home that same night and began to research acidity in the body. Too much acid in the diet can dangerously decrease pH levels. The body’s pH levels can be easily tested through saliva, so I bought some home testing strips. I was surprised to discover that I had a high acid level due to my diet, and I knew I had to start making some changes. With my pH levels at a low of 6.25, I knew it was time to make some changes in my diet, and I preferred not to use prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications to help me solve my problem. So I had to figure out some natural ways to help with the pain I suffered. My problem wasn’t the pH level in my blood, as that balance is well protected by the body. However, the intra and extra cellular fluids can vary dramatically, affecting almost every organ system including the joints and ligaments.

Throughout my mid-40’s I was in pain. BY J. DONATHAN PRICE, BSN, MS, CRNA

Immediately, I chose to take some steps to better my pH levels and to create a true balance within my body.

Three Ways I Lowered My pH Levels: 1 Limit consumption of certain foods, including dairy, processed meats and acidic drinks. 2 Increase bicarb and minerals intake. Use a high quality aloe product to help the body adjust to an alkaline diet. 3 Reduce stress to the best of your ability through exercise and relaxation methods, including meditation, yoga and a continued workout regimen.

In short, it’s all about the pH. The new choices I made helped to raise my pH level to 7 (ideal is 7-7.5) in a month. I was pain free, and my joints felt better then ever. Although many supplements claim to help with joint pain, the key to alleviating your joint pain might connect directly to your pH level. A balanced pH leads to better bodily communication, decreases inflammation and pain. Furthermore, aloe is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Rich in minerals that are essential to a balanced pH—including mannose, galactose and arabinose— aloe can greatly reduce the pain of arthritis sufferers. After all my research and changes, I discovered that my highly acidic diet confused my body by preventing supplements to perform as intended. Correcting my pH level, allowed the cells in my body to respond to the nutrients—and ultimately to heal.

J. Donathan Price, BSN, MS, CRNA is a practicing anes-

thetist, husband, dad and a business owner. In 2008 Mr. Price begin helping others improve their health by educating his clients of the importance of having a balanced pH. The website myphalo.com was started to reach an expanded clientele. For information on pHAlo, please visit www.mypHAlo.com

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MOMENTUM is a line of athletic-inspire and workout.

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Protect your hair against heat and sweat with HAIR WARRIOR. This leave-in hair product adds hydration and protection to your hair during physical activity and fitness. Apply Hair Warrior prior to yoga and it will work with your body heat to smooth, protect and condition each strand – preventing damage and strengthening your hair. Hair Warrior works on ALL hair types! Hair Warrior is solar-manufactured in the USA. Comes in a travel size for $4 or a six ounce tube for $24. Hair Warrior is sold at gyms and yoga studios nationwide and online at http://hairwarrior.co

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Comfort Zone Out of

With

Your

Kurt Johnsen

Highs & Lows As I ran on the Costa Rican coast, a line from Lao Zsu’s Tao Te Ching played in my mind along with the beats pulsing through my headphones. “Favor and disgrace are equally problematic. Favor lifts you up and disgrace knocks you down but both are dependent on the opinions of others and both will take you off your center.” I had read the lines hundreds of times yet they never really hit home. I had been striving to find favor and avoid disgrace all my life. My thoughts drifted back to my yoga studio, where I was constantly looking to earn the approval of my students and teachers I trained, while feeling the pain caused by those who were unappreciative. I continued through a list of friends and relationships and the hoops I had so eagerly jumped through seeking the high of favor and reeling from the low of disgrace. Reflecting deeper on my family and how hard I strived to find favor from my father is where I connected the deepest of dots. My parents were divorced when I was only one. My father kept custody but struggled to care for me as a traveling salesman. He parked me at a friend’s house for a year or two while he sought out an appropriate replacement for my biological mother. When I was three, my father remarried and I was raised by a saint of a woman who was an amazing mother to me. For most of my life, I denied the effects of not having a present father and mother in the early years of my life because I thought that, by acknowledging those effects, I was discounting all of the great things I had after the woman I consider my real mom came into my life. I appreciate the life provided by my father and mother. Then, on the shores of Tamarindo, I stepped back out of the trees of my life and for the first time viewed my forest. Then, I saw it. Like the paths through the trees, I easily saw the pattern I had unconsciously followed all my life. My actions had been strongly influenced by my need to gain favor and avoid the pain of disgrace. This behavior was driven by the emptiness that existed from my early years, when I was a helpless child wondering why my mother had left me and why my dad was away for so long.

The effects grew every year and the more I suppressed them the more intense they grew. This intensity led to anxiety and doubt and I became a puppet, controlled by others’ opinions of me. With just a glimpse of clarity, or satori, I stopped running physically, and emotionally. I stood still and finally embraced what I had denied for so long. A surge of pressure built inside, my heart lifting. No anxiety, no doubt, just a rush from deep within. It was such a powerful release and in those next few moments I embraced and owned all those things I had tried to hide and deny. By embracing those emotions, I was finally able to begin to LET THEM GO. My life has changed since that run. I feel free to be me. Your challenge is to look around your mind, in the areas you may have tried to close. Be brave enough to pick up what you find and own it for a moment. You may be able to let some things that are not serving you finally drift off into the past where they belong. —Kurt

Kurt Johnsen is the founder of the nationally recog-

nized yoga system, American Power Yoga, and host of Yoga for Life. He is the CEO of Simplified Genetics, a health and lifestyle company offering proprietary genetic tests which generate actionable results for maintaining optimal fitness and assessing the genetic risks of traumatic head injuries.

Interact with Kurt at YogaDigest.com/Kurt-Johnsen 82

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