Posted by Erin
on Mar 19, 2012 in HBHL
| 2 comments
Healthy Body Healthy Lifers,
I hope everyone is enjoying their week – hard to believe it is already the middle of March! I know many of us military types are getting our assignments and prepping for our moves. Despite this busy time of year, don’t forget to take time for yourself! Make sure you find the time to fit in your workouts, healthy meals, and quality time with your friends and family
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s first post on cooking oils: CLICK HERE for a review
. I’ve also come across a cooking oil comparison chart (thanks to HBHL’er Ulf!) that I think you might find interesting. Check it out – but remember to continue doing your own research to make the right choices for your family. Nothing is one-size fits all!
Unfortunately, no new PBz workout this week. But check the local page for the workout information.
This Week’s Wellness Lesson: Continuing our yoga pose series…
Thanks again to Jessica Turner for her inputs this week!
Cobra vs. Upward Facing Dog
Bhujangasana vs. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
By Jessica Turner
Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar
I have had several students say to me that they just started taking yoga classes so their lower back hurts, like this was normal or expected! NO! There are two common ways yoga students injure themselves: (1) ego and competition, trying to look like their neighbor/teacher instead of listening to their body, and (2) improper form. The focus of this blog is the correct form of Cobra and Upward Facing Dog poses. Both Cobra and Up-Dog are back-bending poses that we do several times throughout class during sun salutation sequences, but the option is always yours. You never have to do Up-Dog if you don’t want to as it is a more active pose than Cobra.
To find Cobra pose, lay flat on your belly with palms down below your shoulders. Keep your legs long behind you with the tops of your feet flat on your mat. Relax your shoulders and keep your elbows in tight toward your body. Press the tops of your feet and thighs into your mat to raise your kneecaps off the floor. Then as you inhale, begin to straighten your arms to lift your chest. Only lift to a height where you can maintain contact with your hips on the mat, you do not have to straighten your arms, especially if it causes your shoulders to lift.
Up-Dog is similar to Cobra in many ways, but requires more upper-body and core strength. We often transition into Up-Dog from Chatarunga Dandasana (hovering above your mat), but it can also be done starting flat on your belly. To find Up-Dog, lift your body pressing your weight into the palms of your hands and tops of your feet. Your knees are never on the mat in this pose. Lift your chest and relax your shoulders. Use your lower belly and core to help lift your hips (this is super important!).
There are a few common errors students make in these two poses. The first one is keeping your toes tucked instead of flattening the tops of your feet. This causes improper alignment and puts additional pressure on your lower back. Always flatten your feet! The second common error is tight shoulders. Relax them back and down away from your ears as you lift your heart. Your neck should be long.
Another common error is what I call half-dog. This occurs when you lower your knees but keep your hips lifted off your mat. Choose one! In Cobra the entire top of your leg and hips are on the mat, In Up-Dog, none of your leg touches! There is no half-dog pose! Doing this gives you no benefits from either pose!
Lastly, there is one additional common issue with Up-Dog pose. This pose requires you to lift your hips; however, they should not sag down. This happens often! So engage your lower belly and core to help lift your hips, it is an active pose. Allowing your weight to let your hips sag down causes too much pressure on your lower back because it allows the vertebrae to compress together.
These poses share the same benefits:
- Improves posture
- Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
- Therapeutic for asthma
I hope you enjoyed this review of cobra and up-dog pose! Please feel free to ask any questions or let myself or Jessica know if you would like to feel an adjustment in this pose. We are always available after class, hope to see you there.
This Week’s Superfood: Sweet Potatoes!
Ahhh… I love sweet potatoes. Now, you do have to be careful to use the moderation rule and not pile it full of butter and brown sugar (or even maple syrup!), but sweet potatoes are a nutritious staple to incorporate into your meal plans.
Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, which converts into Vitamin A once consumed. Beta- carotene is a powerful antioxidant that is known for its anti-cancer properties. It also aids in healthy immune and reproductive systems. With over 1000 mg of beta-carotene in one medium sweet potato, and only 100 calories, they are an excellent choice!
You can bake them (and eat the skin – just gently scrub before eating), or steam them (chop and steam for 7-8 minutes), add cinnamon or nutmeg for an added nutritional punch, or roast them! Some studies have shown that it’s important to add 3-5 grams of fat with your beta-carotene rich veggies, to ensure maximum absorption of the vitamins: you can do this by adding a T of EVOO to your mashed sweet potatoes.
Did you know that sweet potatoes can also be good for your skin? Who knew?!?!? Check out this article, which also includes some extra sweet potato recipes:
This Week’s Recipe: Roasted Veggie Soup
(Courtesy of HBHL Chef, Meredith Hill)
This is a BASE soup. Feel free to add brown rice, quinoa, cut up chicken, or any other favorite veggies to the soup! Experiment with your favorite flavors
Here is this week’s Facebook Question, go to Facebook and share your answer:
1/2 butternut squash, cut length-wise, seeds removed
1 sweet potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 T EVOO, plus more for roasting
1/2 c roasted red pepper from a jar, diced
1 T juice from pepper jar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
2 c vegetable broth
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Coat the butternut squash, sweet potato, and garlic in EVOO. Place the squash flesh side down on a foil lined baking sheet along with the sweet potato. The garlic cloves will need to be wrapped tightly in foil.
3. Roast for 30-40 minutes.
4. Let cool slightly, until you are able to remove skin from squash and discard.
5. Place everything in a blender and puree until smooth.
What unhealthy habit are you still trying to give up?
*** ALSO – please turn in your survey, if you haven’t already. Thank you in advanced! And we are working on the email distro service, thank you for your patience as we iron the bugs out!!
Have a wonderful rest of your week!
Be Educated. Be Balanced. Be Fit. Be Healthy.
Jannell MacAulay, BS Biology, MS Kinesiology
Certified Yoga, Powerbodyz, Piyo and Fitness Instructor
AFAA Certified Personal Trainer
HBHL ~ Learn. Change. Grow.