Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health Part Deux

Posted in hiking, Kripalu, Motivation/Inspiration, Yoga with tags , , on May 1, 2016 by mistransformation

Ever since my visit in August 2015 I could not wait for a second trip back to Kripalu. After I read the book Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope, a Kripalu instructor that’s history with the facility goes back to the days when Kripalu was still an ashram and during the dramatic years when Amrit Desai led the ashram. Stephen really went into detail about how that “went down” and you’ll have to read the book yourself or google it to find out about it.

Anyway in his book Stephen mentioned different places he and his friend would visit on hikes, etc.  He also mentioned the old mansion that used to sit on the lands that had some interesting history such as Andrew Carnegie finished out his last days there and the Jesuit Monk facility had actually started out in that mansion but burned down one day in March in the 1950s.  Some of the monks died in the fire. Some of the ruins are still on the property.  After discovering that I had missed a lot of the facility during my first visit, I wanted to go back and experience it again.

Yogaandthequest

Monk’s Pond was a place that Stephen had mentioned in his book.  I had seen pictures on the internet and wanted to visit it myself during my stay.  You have to hike away from the facility to get to it and since I’m not from that area I wanted to make sure I knew how to get to it.  I googled Monks Pond and came across a blog of a visitor to Kripalu just a few months before my visit.  The blogger talked about her personal struggles in life and after reading her blog post I knew that I definitely wanted to visit it during my stay.

You can read the blog post here:  The Hike

It was a long 6 hour drive from North Central Pennsylvania (with stops along the way) to Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  The first day Josie and I did a nice Intermediate level yoga class, ate dinner and then I went on my own way and explored the grounds.   It was raining when we first arrived so later that day when I took pictures, there is a lot of mist in the photos.

I explored the grounds and came up the ruins of the old Shadowbrook mansion.  The remains of some of the foundation are truly impressive and show the the massive size that the mansion was before the fire.  The history of the mansion is truly interesting and if you would like to read about it and also view pictures of how it once was, please see this link. Shadowbrook Fire  — I should note, the picture of the tree above is the famous camperdown elm that sits to the front of the old mansion ruins. The other picture of the rock formation and the view from above when I was sitting on the rock ledge. All of this is in the area of the ruins.

After exploring the grounds, I did a yoga nidra class, went to the sunroom to read for the night and then went to bed.  I had my silent alarm set to 5 am to wake up and get a shower and did the 6:30 am gentle yoga class led by Sherri Howard, Kripalu yoga teacher.  The class was amazing.  It was a great class for waking up and during savasana Sherri began to sing and she had this beautiful voice which I overheard another class attendee describe as magical.

After eating silent breakfast, I attended a lecture by the famous Kripalu instructor Coby Kozlowski.  It was an amazing lecture where Coby talked about modern day yoga as compared to the ancient practice and how we can tie it into our lives today.  It was very uplifting and inspirational.

After the lecture I got ready for my hike to Monks Pond.  The path starts on the Kripalu facility and you hike up the side of the mountain to the main road, cross to where there is a gate and then follow Old Baldhead Road to the pond.  Once at the pond I decided I wasn’t finished hiking and I crossed to where there is a crossroad path and you can choose right or left.  I chose to go right, hiked for about 30 minutes more through the beautiful Berkshires and then hiked back to the facility.  Here are some pictures to get an idea.

After Monks Pond I made my way back to the facility, ate lunch and then went out to explore the grounds again.  I made my way to Swami Kripalu’s Meditation Garden and a few other gems located along the way including a maple syrup harvesting operation (pic of the trees w/ blue tubing).

I also visited the beautiful lake and labyrinth as I did during my last trip.

After a long day of exploring I felt that my body needed the late afternoon gentle yoga class.  That was led by another popular teacher at Kripalu, Michelle Dalbec.  It was a nice way to stretch my legs out and relax after all the walking I did that day. My fitbit was busy and I think I registered about 22,000 steps that day.

After the class, I ate dinner and then somewhere along the way Josie and I met up to go to the Saturday night show that Kripalu offers.  Tonight’s show was by amazing artist, Morley.  Since Prince had just passed away days before, she started the show with a great cover of an almost unknown Prince tune, Free.  She performed acoustically, accompanied by a percussionist/bassist.  Morley talked between songs and wow she has done some amazing and impressive things worldwide in connection with human rights. I could probably write a post on her alone. (Can’t take pictures for that folks, sorry – electronic use is limited inside of Kripalu.)

After the show, I went to the sunroom again to read and then called it a night as I was very tired from hiking all day.

The next day, I slept through my 5 am silent alarm but some noise woke me up at 5:30 so I showered and got ready for the 6:30 am gentle yoga class.  This was the same teacher I had last visit and also on a Sunday.  After class I ate a good breakfast and then headed out for the day.  Once again I decided it was another hiking day.  I did not plan to go all the way to Olivia’s Overlook (which I visited by car last visit) but at the last minute I wondered if I had enough time to try it so I walked along with cup of coffee in my hand.  When I made it to a crossroad in the path you could choose left or right.  I chose left and ran into some women along the trail. I asked them how much further to the overlook and they told me it would have been shorter if I had chosen going to the right direction.  I wasn’t that far up the path so I turned around and took that way instead.  Boy was I happy.  It was a lot of uphill hiking from that point on but it wasn’t that much further and I made it to Olivia’s Overlook.

After hiking it was time to pack up my things and get ready to leave later that day.  I relaxed on the property until I met up with Josie for lunch.  One of the last things I viewed before going in for lunch was a mantra rock left behind by a previous visitor.  It read, “Every Day Should Feel This Good.”  That pretty much summed up my trip to Kripalu.  I wish every day could feel this good.

After lunch Josie and I went to the mansion ruins so she could view them and then we started on our way home.  It was a short stay but a memorable one for sure.  I have a funny story to tell.  After my gentle yoga class on Saturday I went to the cafe for coffee, I saw a man coming out of the corner of my eye and I was fearful he was going to try to jump ahead of me.  Then as I was getting my coffee I felt as though he was rushing me.  I didn’t say anything but went to pay for my coffee and then I heard the man talking to one of the workers at the cafe.  I looked over and it was none other than Bryan Kest.  THE Bryan Kest.  He had been standing behind me in line at the cafe.  Josie was taking his program.  Anybody into yoga knows that Bryan Kest is a yoga rock star and if I had known it was him in line behind me, I would have let him get his coffee first for sure.

Anyway, that was my second visit to Kripalu and another fantastic time for sure.

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel-Iso Strength Chisel w/ Autumn Calabrese Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Review, Workout review with tags , , , on April 1, 2016 by mistransformation

IsostrengthChisel

Today might be April Fool’s Day but Iso Strength Chisel is no joke!

For this workout you will need a few sets of dumbbells. A moderate weight is good and you will also need a lighter dumbbell for the last move.  You will also need a bench, a pullup bar and a band (if you need to modify).

The rep count for this workout is the same for each move.  You do a set of 10 reps and after you release the 10th rep you hold the next rep for 10 seconds and start back up for 10 more reps.  You do not get a rest after the iso hold.   You do three sets of this total.  I call it 10 x 10 x 3 for shorthand.   As per usual, if you do a move on one side, you do the total number of sets on that side before you move on to the other side.   There is a quick stretch between moves.

The moves (after Autumn’s typical warm up for her Chisel workouts):

Sumo squat

Full range pushups

Bulgarian split squat (L/R)

Pullups or use the band w/ attachment to modify

Step up with side hold (L/R)

One-arm row on bench (L/R)

Sit-up C-curve hold (w/ light dumbbell)

Lateral raises

The workout ends with a stretch for the lateral raises and then a quick inhale stretch and that’s it.  That is always disappointing to me but I just went on to do my own stretch after the workout.

This workout is a butt burner for sure. I’m sure I’ll remember the Bulgarian split squat tomorrow.

The moves weren’t really innovative and there are other workouts with iso holds but not having any rest between sets was really fatiguing.  I’m sure this is the technique that leads to being chiseled.

I’d give the workout 3 3/4 stars out of 5.  The lack of stretch at the end really disappoints me.

 

Another R&R at Kripalu Coming Up: Stay Tuned

Posted in Kripalu, labyrinth, Motivation/Inspiration, Qigong, Stress Relief, Yoga with tags , , on March 31, 2016 by mistransformation

DSCN4336

Followers of my blog will know I went to visit the world-renowned Kripalu Yoga and Health Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts last August.  I am lucky enough to have another visit booked in a few weeks.  I have been excited to go back ever since I left last year.

I will blog about it after my visit for sure.

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel – Total Body Hammer w/ Sagi Kalev

Posted in Health/Fitness, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , , on March 13, 2016 by mistransformation

HammerPowerMH&CSK

One of the first sneak peaks we had was Autumn’s Total Body Chisel and now on Beachbody OnDemand we got to taste Sagi’s Total Body Hammer. This is a nice simple set up of basic lifting exercises done in a pyramid format that packs a bit of a punch.

You will need a couple of sets of dumbbells tailored to your needs, a pullup bar or a band if you don’t have one, a bench or a ball if you don’t have a bench.  You can also do the chest exercises on the floor.

The warm up is the same warm up that Sagi does in most of his other Hammer workouts.

There are three rounds total with three separate exercises.  Each round is completed two times.   Each exercise is completed in a pyramid format of 10 reps, 8 reps and then 6 reps. You complete all 3 pyramids before going on to the next exercise.   The second set really allows you to go up in weight if you didn’t get it right the first time (perhaps go down too).

Round One 

Bench Press (10/8/6 reps)

Squat (10/8/6 reps)

Reverse Grip Row (10/8/6 reps)

(remember I said you do this again)

Round Two 

Incline Flys (10/8/6 reps)

Reverse Lunge (you do one leg and get the opposite leg on set two) (10/8/6 reps)

Wide pullups or wide band pulls (10/8/6 reps)

Repeat

Round Three 

Seated Military Press

Split Squat (you do one leg and get the opposite leg on set two) (10/8/6 reps)

Posterior Delt Fly (one arm at a time, getting the other arm on set 2) (10/8/6 reps)

Repeat 

I felt that Sagi’s cool down while still only 3 minutes long, was a bit more thorough than most of Autumn’s which sometimes aren’t even 2 minutes long.

When you get your correct weights, I really feel that this workout can get you winded and by the end you will feel like you got a great workout.  One thing I didn’t like was Sagi picking on the gentleman in the video because of his weight selection.  We all can’t press 70 pounds like Sagi.  I know that’s his Beast persona but I worry someone may go too heavy and rip their shoulder.  So keep that in mind. We aren’t all professional bodybuilders.

Solid 4 out of 5 stars.

SagiMHAC

ICE: Metabolic Total Body w/ Cathe Friedrich Workout DVD Review

Posted in Cathe, Health/Fitness, Review, Workout DVDs, Workout review with tags , , on March 10, 2016 by mistransformation

 

CatheICEMetabolic

Cathe’s latest workout series is ICE.  This stands for Intermediate Conditioning Extreme.  This series is targeted towards the intermediate level exerciser but from what I’ve seen of it, I think that someone at an advanced level would be satisfied as well.

My first review from the series is with the Metabolic Total Body workout. As with most other Cathe workouts you get a lot of bang for your buck.  You get a thorough warm up and cool down, the “regular” workout and a few bonuses as well.  Cathe also gives us many premix choices and even mishmosh mixes.

The Regular Workout  – definitely have a few sets of dumbbells here.  Cathe uses everything from 5s to 15s.  I tried to be a hero the first time out and go heavy but Cathe does high repetitions and moves quickly so I suggest trying the weight level she uses until you find what works for you (maybe you go lighter or maybe you go heavier).  Cathe does mostly compound moves and your heart rate will go up without jumping.

Warm Up – 6:36
Workout – 36:58
Cool Down – 4:19
Total – 47:53

The moves:

Crossback Lunge with Overhead Press

Squat Press

Plie Squat/Upright Row

Front Lunge/Back Row/Fly

Front Swing with Abduction

Lunge Curl and Press

Front Swing with Abduction

Deadlift to Squat

Single Leg Deadlift with Front Raises

Deadrows/Upright Rows/Shrugs

Back Lunge with Rows

Side Lunge Abductions (no weights)

Front Lunge with Figure 8 Row Arms and Elbow to Knee (no weights)

Pushups

Squat, Curl, Press with Tricep Extension

Squat Curl

Lunge Kick Lunge Stand (you do this in the warm up but this time with light weights)

Static Lunge with Tricep Extension

Sumo Squat with Bicep Curl

Dynamic Front Lunge Raises

Rear Lunge, Curl to Press

Front Raise with Rear Delt Pull to Lateral Raise

Squat Twists

Squat Jab

Controlled Slow Elbow to Knee (like a yoga prayer twist)

Stretch

As you can see, this is a lot of great compound movements.  Your butt is going to get a great workout in this one.

The Bonus workouts are:

MUSCLE MELTDOWN – CHEST 
Total Workout – 15:29

Cathe does three sets of pushups, flat chest presses, flat chest flys and then incline presses and flys.  Again, the first time I tried to be a hero and go super heavy but when Cathe said we had 2 more sets of this I just about cried.  My chest was spent on the first set when I went super heavy.  I wondered why she was only using 12 pound dumbbells.

BLIZZARD BLAST
Total Workout – 12:21

Dynamic blast exercises (jumping) mixed with Compound weight movements

This is a nice little HiiT type workout weighted and unweighted.  You better be prepared to do a LOT of air jacks.

ICY CORE 1
Total Workout – 11:00

Cathe is the Queen of Core.  With moves like:  Lying up and overs; Leg chasers; Slow bike maneuvers and Full body breast strokes. Cathe sure can pack a lot of punch in a short time and your abs/core burns in no time.

I like to use the bonuses as one total workout added together.  They are also great for add-ons or for short workouts if you are pressed for time.

Even though this series is targeted towards the intermediate level, I felt challenged just by upping the weight when I needed to.  You really can cater to your own needs.  Probably not great for a beginner, however.

I love Cathe, I love this workout and I surely will come back to it time and time again. I hope to review others in this series soon.

5 out of 5 stars.

5 Year Bloggerversary and Giveaway Celebration!

Posted in Health/Fitness, Yoga with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by mistransformation

 

5years

It’s hard to believe that today MisTransformation celebrates its 5th Anniversary!  This blog was only supposed to last a few months during a challenge that the Strong is the New Skinny movement started.  Well they aren’t around much anymore but MisTransformation lives on.  I am very proud of my little blog.

To celebrate this milestone, I am going to send one lucky person a DVD that I have carefully selected.  I have chosen Ashley Turner’s Yoga for Stress and Flexibility.  This is one of my own personal favorites and Ashley Turner is a phenomenal yoga leader. I’ve attended webinars of Ashley’s and also done yoga and meditation with her on DVDs and a few of my yoga internet subscriptions.  There are two separate programs on the DVD.  One is for stress relief (we can all use that right?) and the other is for flexibility.  Both are great programs but I have to admit that I use the stress relief one a tad bit more than the flexibility program only because I’m a super stressed person.

So if you would like to be entered to receive the DVD (pictured below), please leave a comment below about how you found my blog and I’ll pick a winner on March 6th.

Ashleystressandflex

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel – 15 Min Glute Chisel w/ Autumn Calabrese

Posted in Health/Fitness, Review, Workout review with tags , , , , on February 26, 2016 by mistransformation

ChiselCardioACMHAC

My last review was on Sagi’s 15 Min Leg Hammer and keeping with the same format my review today is Autumn’s 15 Min Glute Chisel.  If you have done any of Autumn’s other workout systems like 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme, you know that Autumn loves to work the lower body.  Today was no exception.

For this workout you will need a medicine ball or a dumbbell.

Description from Beachbody:  Quickly sculpt a round, firm backside and hard-to-tone inner thighs for a lower body that makes jaws drop.

This workout has 6 different exercises but some of them work on the right and left leg separately.   Each exercise is done for 25 reps.  There are modifications offered.

The movements: 

Sumo jumping jacks while lifting the ball over your head or holding it stationary.

Split squat with ball of the foot or toes on the ball.  This one really burned my glute.  Have to balance with your toes or ball of foot on the ball really made me dig in the heal of my stabilizing leg. This got the butt burning by the end.  (right/left)

Jumping curtsy lunges

Warrior 3 lunges w/ a ball raise (right/left).  This is pretty much what it sounds like if you are familiar with the yoga pose warrior 3 except you are holding a medicine ball and raising it up.

Side lunge with ball pull (right/left).  You keep your foot on the ball and slide it out into a side lunge and to stand back up you drag the ball back in with your foot.  Autumn says this is to work the inner thigh.

Bridge on the ball (right/left).  One foot is on the ball and the other leg straight up in the air.  You lift your pelvis off of the floor.  I found this really challenging because my ball is a lot smaller than theirs is and I didn’t have a great base of support to dig in.

There is a very short less than 2 minute cool down/stretch after completing the movements.

This didn’t have the tempo change excitement that Sagi’s did but the techniques that Autumn offered in this workout really did get my glutes burning.   I like these 15 minute workouts as add-ons to other workouts.   If this workout was longer and offered the same kind of techniques, I’d probably give it five stars but since it’s only 15 minutes, I’m going to give it 3 3/4 stars out of 5.

 

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