My First Time Flying with Acroyoga

This is what happens when a bare-foot stranger in tights approaches you in a crowded park and asks: “Do you want to join us?"

 

Okay, so I’m sure this isn’t what always happens- but being the mild germaphobe that I am, I’m glad I assessed his feet, my tights, and concluded that I would be sufficiently protected from any serious germs.

It started when Chantal, Sarem and I were awkwardly attempting to record workout videos in Dolores Park. We noticed a group of people nearby doing much less awkward- actually impressive, partner poses. Overestimating ourselves, we started to mimic the poses on our own. Nick, the kind bare-footed man, saw our struggle and invited us over.

He demonstrated with his partner, how easy the poses were once you had the proper positioning, and how posture and trust were key to ensuring the physics of the poses worked.

While my friends and I were successful in completing the poses with each other, there was still some nervous laughing, shaking, and spotting (support from experienced people in case we fell) necessary. Nick offered to “base” us. This meant it would be time for his feet and the front of my hips to make contact.

I left my friend go first. 😅

She was visibly and audibly excited at the ease of her lift-off, and immediately let her hands go to extend her torso into full “flying" position. Now I was ready.

Getting into the start position, I immediately felt the difference between my friends little feet digging into my hips creases, and Nick’s feet feeling like comfy pads. After the super smooth liftoff, I felt so comfortable that I extended my back more and reached for my feet to get into “bow" pose.

The initial joy of achieving the pose, combined with an intuitive desire to maintain the pose- caused an increased awareness of your body’s stabilizing muscles, and trust in your base. The result was a very unique mental calm and serenity that was intimately connected with your physical positioning.

I had never been happier to be making contact with a stranger’s bare feet before! 

He asked if we wanted to hang upside-down, and at this point we were much less hesitant. This position involved more steps, so I still let my friends go first to make sure I was still avoiding flesh to foot contact. 

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This was also dope! The simultaneous joy and peace from flying, could also be found in “bat” position. I had a newfound appreciation for acroyoga, and its ability to leverage physics to enable human body to achieve new physical and mental elevations. 

The next day, my friend’s back muscles were sore from being worked out by the extensions, and I got an amazing stretch for my hip flexors and quads.

Our wonderful instructor, Nick, is looking to go on the road with his partner to formally teach acroyoga across the nation. I got his contact number and hope to follow his progress. In the meantime, I definitely recommend you trying out acroyoga! It’s easy if you can get to Dolores Park in San Francisco- the people practicing are super friendly, so all you have to do is ask! If you’re in Georgia or just want to mitigate any barefoot fears, try an acroyoga studio, or very carefully try in your home using online tutorials!

Master Morning Workouts

Tips to Starting Your Day Strong.

Pictured below is how I often feel after a good morning workout.

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A lot of people seem impressed when they see that I work out before work- at 5 or 6am. I don’t think I’m any better than anyone else for being an early bird- it’s more of me trying to anticipate my own vulnerabilities. Knowing myself- I know I may feel tired after work, or eat something suboptimal too close to gym time- so working out first thing in the morning ensures I’m not affected by either of these!

Studies have shown performance benefits for working out in the late afternoon, but a lot of us are just trying to get our workout in before work or school days take their toll.

Besides getting rid of your worry about energy drain and specific meal timing throughout your day, morning workouts are beneficial for:

  • Providing you with a sense of accomplishment because- YOU DID THAT!
  • Subsequent energy levels: This varies from person to person, but anecdotally, many people report feeling energized throughout the rest of their day - after getting more than the orange juice flowing in the morning.
  • Establishing Habits: If theres constantly a reason for you not to work out when you’re done with classes/work- getting into a regular routine is difficult. Getting it done in the morning avoids potential interferences.

My Tips

  • Sleep in your workout clothes.

Not only is sleeping in your workout clothes a tangible sign of your commitment, it makes your morning routine one step shorter. It’s hard to turn back when you go to sleep looking this determined.  

Minus the sweat of course, save that for the morning.

Minus the sweat of course, save that for the morning.

  •  But really, Sleep.

Despite wanting to wake up an hour earlier, you’d be surprised how many people don’t go to bed one hour earlier. Sleep has been shown to have a strong effect of athletic performance, so even if you manage to get up after a few hours of sleep- you won’t be maximizing your gains!

  •   Warm up

As you may have noticed, the preparation for a morning workout is both physical and mental. Warming up not only prepares your body to move optimally, but it could help ease you out of any early morning grogginess or grumpiness.

  •  

    Set a few alarms

If you are as hard a sleeper as I am a light sleeper- one alarm will simply not do. Know yourself. If you and the snooze button are on particularly good terms, have another alarm or 3 lined up to break up this destructive relationship.

  • Have a plan.

    What are you going to do once you make it outside/to the gym? How many miles are you going to run? Are you going to set a new PR on your back squats? Or just make more progress in the workout program you’ve been trying out. Keeping this purpose in mind will give you something to look forward to and make sure that none of that hard-earned morning hour is wasted. Feel free to check out my 8 week-program if you need a place to start.

  • Find a buddy

Don’t you hate leaving your friends hanging? We have other concerns if you didn’t say “yes”, but in my experience, having a gym date is one of strongest incentives for getting to the gym early. You aren't the only one that misses out if you don’t follow through with the morning workout- but you have a whole ‘nother person for keep your accountable!

  

If you follow all of these steps and still can’t get your morning workout in... try lunch time! A workout later is definitely better than no workout, and sometimes better than a morning workout if that’s your jive! Tests these tips out if you’re trying to get into a morning routine and let me know how it goes!

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3 Themes to Give Your #HealthGoals Longevity Part II: Love/accountability

Love will have the strongest influence on the longevity of your health journey. Whether it’s love for yourself, love others have for you, or loving aspects of the journey itself- a journey lacking in love will not be an easy or enjoyable one.

 

How does love translate into accountability? Accountability seems like a cold, punitive concept, but I see it as based on expectations and responsibilities. Love in all of its forms entails both. Wouldn't we all question those who say they love us, but treat us unkindly or do nothing to show it?

The same idea applies to you and your pursuit of wellness. Loving yourself is taking care of your body. A loving friend will be supportive. Loving the journey means doing what you need to do to sustain it. Consistently acting contrary to expectations makes one question if you are being sincere. *Note I say consistently, because we're human and things happen.

In order for any of these forms of love to manifest into long, happy, healthy wellness journey- you should identify your accountability measures. My favorite form comes in human- a workout partner. People who are with you shooting in the gym, or who don’t pressure you into eating another ten cookies when you’ve already had your fill. Friends don't have to be by your side every step of the way; but when they are, notice who gives who a hard time and who wants to see you succeed.

Personal accountability measures include calendars, journals, alarms, sticky notes, or apps that plan your sessions and show you your progress. 

And to make sure that you enjoy your food fuel and the workouts themselves, be diligent with your recovery and vary your routine with new forms of activity and recipes.

With accountability measures, comes progress. With progress and improved health, comes happiness- the end that lots of philosophers say we’re all seeking. For 2017 and beyond, I wish for all of you to find/serve your purpose, engage in copious amounts of self-care, and love without limitation.

 

Bookmark all three themes!