Archive for the Motivation/Inspiration Category

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

22 Minute Hard Corps Cardio 1 w/ Tony Horton Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Workout review with tags , , , on February 7, 2016 by mistransformation

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While Beachbody aficionados have known that Tony Horton’s latest program will be released in March 2016 since about fall of 2015 (some probably earlier), we didn’t know until about a week ago that there would be a Challenge du Jour sneak peak of the program offered on the day of the “Big Game” on Beachbody OnDemand.  (We can’t publicly mention the S.B. publicly because we’d have to pay.)  As soon as it was announced, I knew what my workout was going to be Sunday morning.

A Description of the 22 Minute Hard Corp program from Beachbody:  “22 MINUTE HARD CORPS is a no-nonsense, boot camp style workout program designed to get you epic results in 8 weeks. Created by legendary trainer Tony Horton, 22 MINUTE HARD CORPS works your whole body with moves that are tough enough to challenge you, but are straightforward enough for you to do on Day 1. #GETSOME and GET DONE!”

If you would like to see more on this program visit:  https://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/22-minute-hard-corps-workout.do?code=SOCIAL_22HC_FB

Note: I am not a Beachbody “coach” so I’m not trying to sell you anything.  I just like the Beachbody workouts and really dig Tony Horton.

Today’s sneak peak workout was Cardio 1 from the program.  This workout is 22 minutes in length (hence the 22 Minute Hard Corps name).  It has no warm up (I am going to assume Tony offers some kind of warm up with the complete program since he mentioned doing the “cold start warm up.”  He offered one in his P90x3 program). You do not need any equipment except a towel, a drink and a jump mat if you prefer.

This workout is 3 rounds of the same moves.  In each round the reps for the movement will either go up or go down and I’m not really sure of Tony’s rhyme or reason for choosing the amount of reps he did so I cannot explain that to you.  You get a 22 second rest between each round.

The workout is done outside and with military vets working out and demonstrating the movements in the background.  Who doesn’t love military vets?

The movements: (I will put reps for each round 1. 2. and 3.)

T-Jacks – like jumping jacks but with arms in a T for Tony – 1. 50 2. 40 3. 30

Bear Crawls – you know this move – each hand/foot movement is 1 rep.  1. 20 2. 25 3. 30

Lateral Shuffle – another familiar movement w/ 2 hops in between – 1. 30 2. 25 3. 20

Forward Lunge Twist – Lunge with arms in opposite direction of knee – 1. 10 2. 16 3. 20

Basic Burpee – no pushup and half-time modification offered – 1. 25 2. 20 3. 15

A-Skips-Skipping in place. Tony is big on the opposite elbow going back- 1. 30 2. 40 3. 50

Run Lunge Squat-This is a lunge to a squat with run arms in the lunge – 1. 30 2. 40 3. 50

After the break, there is time left so Tony adds in the Bear Crawl/Burpee Burnout.  This is 22 Bear Crawls and 22 Burpees done w/ no rest in between.  I think ending with the burpees is killer for the ending. My blood was pumping.

There is a 2 minute cool down/stretch at the end to keep it within the 22 minute time frame.  Although I like a longer cool down/stretch it felt sufficient for this particular workout with the 22 minute time frame.

I really liked this workout. I felt I got a good workout in a short amount of time.  Since this was only Cardio 1, I’m a little afraid of what Cardio 2 may have in store.  This wasn’t the toughest cardio workout ever BUT it packed a lot of punch and I’m looking forward to the release of the program and more sneak peaks OnDemand.

I will give this workout 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Everything Tony Horton touches turns to gold.

22minhardcorp

 

 

 

 

 

CIZE – The Next Level – Work Your Body w/ Shaun T Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , , , on January 12, 2016 by mistransformation

 

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Cize is a Beachbody dance workout program with Shaun T of Hip Hop Abs and Insanity fame.  I do not have the program but am a member of Beachbody OnDemand and I have been able to do a couple of the routines from the Cize program.  Crazy 8s is offered as a sneak peak and there was another routine recently offered as a Challenge du Jour (I forget which one sorry).

Big news on the Facebook Cize front for about a week was that a new routine was going to drop OnDemand and that Chilli of TLC fame (90s girl group) was going to be a part of it.  The strange thing is that I had already been doing it since about mid-December on my Roku.  The even stranger thing is that I could not find the routine on my PC or my tablet at least not until today.

Work Your Body was offered today as the Challenge du Jour.  The featured song is a song that Chilli did specifically for the program.  She is also a background dancer in this routine.

The routine consists of 8 moves:  Hook Groove; Skate; Point Cha-Cha; Cross Cha-Cha; Booty Back Whip; Step Ball Change; African Chug; and Man Up.  I know Shaun has some other names for these but this is what I know them as in my own head.  Shaun breaks down each move and then you repeat it a few times until you really get to know it.  Then you move on to a new move, learn it and repeat from the top.  You do this throughout all 8 movements (starting from the top format).  After learning all the moves and repeating them a few times, you then move on to the Cize It Up portion where the featured song is played and you do the routine to that.  Again, the featured song is Chilli’s Work Your Body.

Since I had access to this program since mid-December, this was my fourth time completing the routine.  I have to tell you, the more you do them, the more you can really dig into the moves, add your own flavor and really go all out so that you get a good workout.   The workout is about 30 minutes long and it really goes by fast.

Even though Shaun T says let’s cool down at the end, this routine had no cool down included so you are on your own with that.

I wouldn’t call this Insanity intensity because you do have to stop to watch Shaun explain the next move but if you really get into it, you can definitely feel your heart rate go up (but still not to Insanity level).  I really love to watch Shaun T dance (he is a professional dancer after all).  The broken down format makes the routine easy to learn and I really felt like I may have just been a dancer in another life.

Definitely 4 out of 5 stars on this one.  Fun factor galore.

 

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel – Chisel Endurance w/ Autumn Calabrese Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , on January 3, 2016 by mistransformation

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Beachbody OnDemand gave us a little New Year’s Day treat when they made Chisel Endurance the Challenge du Jour starting off 2016 right.

Equipment needed:  Bench Or Stability Ball and Weights and Chin-Up Bar Or Bands With Door Attachment Kit.

Workout Description from Beachbody OnDemand:  Improve endurance by sustaining tension with moves that target your slow-twitch muscle fibers.

This was another workout from Autumn that kind of sneaks up on you. In the beginning I was like, “Not another easy one from Autumn.”  By the end I was like, “Okay, I’m done now.”  It’s not terribly difficult but you are definitely going to feel it.

This follows a common set up by Autumn – 10 moves (left/right if applicable counts for each side) done for 60 seconds each and then repeat.

Round One

Bench run up (or surrenders if you don’t have a bench). This is simply as it sounds you run up on the bench with the same lead food for 60 seconds and then you switch leads.

Negative pull-ups or band pulls- In this movement you pull yourself up to a count of one and lower to the count of three.  Same cadence with the band.

Bench step up crossover lunges – This is my favorite move in the routine.  Using the same lead leg you step up on the bench (never moving your foot on the step) and you cross back, push yourself up on the step while keeping the opposite leg off the step and you set that opposite leg on the floor to the side (it’s hard to explain, sorry).   Switch leads after 60 seconds.

Decline push-ups.  These are done with your feet elevated either on the bench or on the ball.  If you can’t do either, simply do them on the floor.  That would be better than nothing.

One arm row w/ opposite leg extended – This is exactly what you would expect except you do the row while keeping the opposite leg extended.  Switch sides after 60 seconds.

Incline chest press on bench or ball.  This is a very familiar move to all I am sure.  No bells or whistles here.

Plank hold with knee taps.  This is a simple move where you hold the forearm plank and then drop each knee to the floor but it becomes challenging after about 30 seconds.  Especially when you are doing it barefoot and you have cuts on your toes – ouchie!

After Round One you get a 60 second break and then you complete the same moves for round two.

As per usual, the cool down/stretch wasn’t even three minutes long.  I really wish Autumn would do a thorough stretch.  Cathe Friedrich is one who gives a great cool down/stretch segment after her workouts.

I hope that my Hammer & Chisel reviews are helping you decide on this program.  Right now Autumn and Sagi are orchestrating their own little beginning of the year challenge group with the program so if you are doing the program, please drop me a comment and let me know how you are doing.  Thanks.

Happy New Year!

ChiselCardioACMHAC

 

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel Iso Speed Hammer w/ Sagi Kalev Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Workout review with tags , , on November 16, 2015 by mistransformation

 

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We’re getting closer to the release of The Master’s Hammer & Chisel Beachbody program and in addition to Autumn Calabrese’s Total Body Chisel workout, Iso Speed Hammer is the other sneak peak that is currently available on Beachbody On Demand before the December release.

For this workout you will need a variety of dumbbells, a pullup bar (can modify if you don’t have one), bench or ball (again, can modify), a band (can modify w/ dumbbells).

This offering is a short workout at 23 minutes but don’t let that fool you, Sagi hits on just about every body part in that time and it really packs a punch.

The set up is 11 moves rotating between upper and lower body completing 10 reps with 3 placement breakdowns (this is the iso) and then 10 reps of the same move done very quickly.  Knowing this, you will want to adjust your weights accordingly because you don’t get a break in between the sets of slower/fast reps to grab lighter weights and if you have weights that are too heavy you could injure yourself going fast.

The ten movements consist of pushups, iso lunges (L/R), pullup, deadlift, side lateral raises, sumo squat, cross band raises, pistol squat (L/R), bicep curls at a 60 degree angle, calves and finally triceps kickbacks with a twist.

I find that Sagi is a likable trainer.  Even though he’s lifted a pound or two in his life he has the personality that seems like he could be your friend.  He also is very funny.

Even though this workout is short I felt the little oomph that I felt was lacking in Autumn’s workout.  I liked breaking down the movement and then going fast for 10 reps.

My only complaint is that I wish the warm up and cool down were a bit more thorough.   I give this workout 4 out of 5 stars.

 

The Master’s Hammer & Chisel Total Body Chisel with Autumn Calabrese Workout Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review, Review of Product, Workout review with tags , , , on October 25, 2015 by mistransformation

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As I’m sure you Beachbody aficionados know, the program The Master’s Hammer & Chisel with Autumn Calabrese (21 Day Fix) and Sagi Kalev (Body Beast) will be released in December.  Beachbody OnDemand has sneak peaks of two workouts from this system.  I have tried them both and today I am reviewing the Total Body Chisel workout.

For this workout you will need some moderate to heavy dumbbells depending on your ability.  You will also need a bench if you have one available.  If you don’t have a bench you can use an exercise ball and a high step (or do the modifications shown in the workout).

This workout is roughly 36 minutes in length. The setup is 3 circuits of 3 moves with 10 repetitions completed for 3 rounds. Rest is between circuits.

There is a very short warm up of dynamic stretching.

Circuit one consists of a squat, a chest press (w/ bench or ball or floor) and reverse grip row.

Circuit two consists of a back lunge (Right/Left), chest fly and dumbbell pullovers.

Circuit three consists of bench step up to crossover lunge (Right/Left – modification shown in workout), angled biceps curls and triceps bench dips (or floor).

After all of the circuits there is a short cool down/stretch.  A little too short for my taste but I always take some extra time to stretch on my own.

As you can see, the workout isn’t rocket science.  Pretty basic moves that you see in most other lifting workouts.  What you do get with this workout is Autumn’s motivation and technique guidance.  If it weren’t for that, I probably wouldn’t keep doing the workout but I do keep going back to it and increasing my weights as Autumn instructs.

I really hope that the rest of Hammer & Chisel aren’t as basic as this. I’m hoping there is some excitement that they just aren’t showing us yet.

I would give this 3 1/2 out of 5 stars because of the short warm up and cool down and because I just need a little extra oomph for my workouts. Something to make it different and stand out from the others.