Yoga in the NBA

Last night my husband and I went to our first professional basketball game.  We have been Lakers fans for years but had never made it to a game until now.  We had a great time and I’m sure this will not be our last game.

One of the biggest things I noticed while the players were warming up before the game was the use of yoga.  I was impressed to see downward dogs, warriors, chaturanga, and upward dogs on the court.  Athletes can benefit in so many ways from yoga. After doing some research online I found that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was one of the first NBA athletes to practice yoga.  He holds many records in the league and has played more minutes than any other player in NBA history. For a man that large, it seems hard to have longevity in a career like basketball, however he admits that yoga helped with that.  Because of all the high impact movements like running and jumping on the court, basketball players (and many other athletes) have a tendency for tight muscles and injured ankles.  Yoga is a great way to not only increase flexibility but also a way to prevent/minimize injury risk.

Kent Katich is the NBA’s Guru Yogapreneur and has adjusted his practice to make it more basketball friendly.  Athletes listen to music that includes artists like Tupac and Kanye West, no spandex required, no chanting, and no sanskrit.  I admire how he has adjusted his yoga classes to the person who is taking them and how he has made yoga more approachable for the athlete. (www.yogahoops.com).  After reading this, I’m inspired to adjust my practice a little more based on the type of client that I am working with.  I typically work with beginner yogis and so I think that by making these small adjustments, I may be able to help engage my students a little more.  Katich is striving to break the mold by helping modern athletes to become comfortable in an unfamiliar territory.  He’s finding many athletes are saying that flexibility is the key to longevity.  This is important because in a world of athletes lifting heavy weights and trying to run the fastest sprint, many athletes are close-minded to new ways to help improve their game.  Today in the NBA, many different teams are employing yoga instructors as part of their programs, on and off season.  According to Clippers guard Baron Davis. “If you can find a place that keeps you centered, both mentally and physically, it can help push your game to the next level.”  Yes, many athletes are used to conventional strength and conditioning and even probably prefer it too.  But, many strength coaches, including my husband, believes that flexibility can greatly improve an athlete’s ability to become stronger, decrease injury, and overall promote longevity as an athlete.  I will be interested to see how yoga evolves in professional sports over the next few years.  I think more teams will be changing their mindset and incorporating this in to their practices.

Namaste

For more information:  http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=ortiz/100129_kent_katich_nba_yoga&sportCat=nba

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Barefoot Running Part 1

Yes, I am now officially a ‘barefoot runner’!  For Christmas my husband bought me a pair of Vibram Five Fingers barefoot sports shoes.  He had been wearing them for over a year at the time and while they looked funny, I actually started getting used to seeing them every day.  We had much debate as to when I was able to return to exercise after having our son would I purchase a new pair of my trusty Asics running shoes or try the Vibram Five Fingers.  I have worn Asics since my days in high school as a cross country athlete.  Yes, I technically received a Varsity letter but I was definitely not the star of the show.   Asics fit my foot and seemed to last many miles.  My husband started using Vibram Five Fingers after reading this book ‘Born to Run’ (which I’m in the middle of reading myself) and it was about a tribe in Mexico with people that are the best runners in the world.  They are able to run without injury and even the eldest person in the tribe uses running as their main source of transportation.  Whereas in western society most people get injured from running long distance and use things like braces and more supportive shoes to mask the real issues.  I’ll post another blog once I have completed the book to let you know more about this concept and give my official review. 

Running is my absolute favorite form of exercise.  It relaxes me, and keeps me in shape.  I actually got turned on to yoga (my 2nd favorite form of exercise)because I ran the San Diego Rock N’ Roll marathon with team in training in 2007 and I was unable to run for months afterwards due to my injuries.  Yoga was therapeutic to me physically and mentally and I wanted to pass it on to others that I met.  Luckily today I am able to run and I plan to be consistent in my yoga practice as I increase my running mileage.

I have only ran up to 3 miles in my Vibram Five Fingers so far but I plan to train for the Los Angeles Rock N’ Roll Half in October with team in training.  As I begin my training program I’ll be sure to blog about my experience.

Vibram Five Fingers

Yoga Pose – Warrior 2

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)

There are 3-warrior poses; however the easiest on our bodies would have to be Warrior 2.  This pose can be taught at all levels.  The benefits of this pose include stretching of the legs, groin, and shoulders, strengthening the legs and ankles, stimulates abdominal organs, relieves backaches.  To modify the pose you can use a chair to help create balance.

Directions:

Beginning in Tadasana (mountain pose). Step or lightly hop your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor.  

Bend your left knee and open your entire leg out till your left foot is at 90 degrees.  Turn your right foot in slightly. Align the left heel with the inner arch of your right foot. Firm your thighs. Secure the movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.   Stretch the arms away from the midline of the body, parallel to the floor. Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.   Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time.

Namaste

Have you had your vegetables today?

As you know from previous posts I have been getting my weekly bunch of organic, locally grown produce through Abundant Harvest Organics.  I have been good at eating most, if not all the produce that I have been given but I thought it would be fun to break it down so you can see how many opportunities there are in this little box.

Here is some before pictures of all the yummy produce I received this week and a list of the items and what I made this week:

1)      Oranges

  1. Orange Juice Daily (fresh from the kitchen aid mixer attachment)

2)      Beets

  1. Baby food

3)      Spinach

  1. Condiment for organic beef tacos
  2. Smoothies

4)      Carrots

  1. Baby food
  2. Roasted Carrots

5)      Tangelos

  1. Recipe – Tangelo Scones

6)      Potatoes

  1. Recipe – Mashed Potatoes

7)      Parsnips

  1. Roasted Parsnips

8)      Cilantro

  1. For  – Fish tacos with Guacamole

9)      Garlic

  1. Spinach and garlic mini quiches

Product Review: Beaba (baby food maker)

This was one of my favorite gifts that my girlfriends gave me for my shower (Thanks Katie, Jen, and Melissa!)

Surprise!

The best friends a girl (mama) could ask for!

I couldn’t wait to use it and make my own baby food, especially now that I get a box of fresh, organic, locally grown produce each week.  At first I was intimidated by all the parts but then I realized it was going to be super easy.  First you fill the top with water (follow booklet to see exactly how much but in most cases up to the 3rd line on the main container).   Then you but the strainer inside the main container and fill it to the top with clean produce.  Snap the top on and turn on the steam button. The steam feature takes about 15 minutes and once it’s done you take the produce out of the strainer and put it straight into the main part where the blade is.  Keep the remaining water in the bottom of the strainer to make it easier to blend the food.  Then you turn on the blender and your food goes from steamed to puréed.  So far we have made collard greens, beets, carrots… he will only be eating vegetables at first and then we can incorporate some fruits.  Being that I work full-time, the key will be to make at least a week’s worth of food on the weekend, freeze it, and then defrost pre-portioned amounts of food each night.   My little man is a good eater so I’m hoping that it will continue as we introduce new foods to his diet.  He didn’t really care for the collard greens, and at 28 years old, I had never tried Collard Greens in my life up until this past month, I have to say I wasn’t a fan the first time around.  But I am willing to try a new recipe and hope that that one will be a winner.  If you have that mindset for all new foods, you may surprise yourself and find something healthy that tastes really good.  There’s always more than one way to prepare everything, unless you’re a baby.  I guess Bode will have to wait till he’s older to try collard greens prepared another way besides puréed

Overall Grading – A

This is the perfect product for someone that doesn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen and prefers to feed their baby homemade baby food (whether that be for cost or health issues).  I can’t speak to the price of the product since it was a gift, but I’m sure in the long run this will end up saving you both time and money vs. the other baby food options.  I just hope this food processor lasts throughout the next 6+ months, I may just have to do a follow up blog to let you know!

Namaste

Carrots

The First Bite! (Collard Greens)

A little deceiving since he disliked the collard greens, but my baby is just a happy boy!

 

The Beaba in action (steam setting)

Full-Time Working Mom

This chapter in my life has provided me so much joy but it has also provided me with the biggest role of my life and that is being a working mother.  I never knew what this would be like until it actually happened to me.  I used to be so great at managing my time between working full-time, being a wife, daughter, grand-daughter, philanthropist, yoga instructor, friend…  And ever since I became a mom the only thing that is guaranteed to get taken care of is my son.  I used to come home from work and clean the house/do laundry, exercise, my yoga practice, cook a healthy delicious meal, watch television, walk the dog, and now I can barely manage to do half of these things.  I think the biggest key to getting through each night now is to find success in the small things.  Knowing that if the laundry doesn’t get done tonight or I didn’t get to run 3 miles it is okay.  My workouts have gone from 1+ hour(s) to 20 minutes long, my meals have gone from complicated to simple, laundry gets done on Sundays or not at all, and my DVR is building a library of shows that I will watch ‘some day’.   I think the most important thing right now is to cherish each moment of my son’s life, he will only be this age once and I don’t want to miss it because I am doing my ‘to do list’.  That does not mean that I won’t and don’t take care of myself.  I still need my own time to do things for myself but those things aren’t as important as they used to be when it was just me and my husband.  I refuse to let myself go because I am still a professional and I go to work each and every day still as myself.  I think that’s what makes working full-time so important.  My son gets to bond with other kids and learn how to be independent (from his mother) at day care.  And I get to have my own time at work.  My to-do list is longer than ever but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Each morning I wake up and get to see this smiling face and it makes my day every time!  (click on the picture below and ENJOY!)