Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sometimes you just have to do yoga to Beastie Boys

This Saturday was my first fitness class--completely on my own, not affiliated with TW Wellness--at my Dojo.  I've done cardio and yoga within the structure of my martial arts classes (as warm-ups and cool downs), but this was a straight-up cardio and yoga class. And I have to say.... we had a GREAT time! I would like to thank the ladies that turned out for the class, as we all learned a lot from each other.

For those that are interested, here is the exercise list (with songs), so you can get a feel for the format and tempo. We did have to skip a couple of workouts I had planned for time constraints, but I think as we get more familiar with the format and songs, we'll be able to cut the instruction time between songs down to a minimum. We also had a couple of students who needed modifications for recent surgeries, so we took some things out that I had planned.

All About That Bass (3:06) - verse 1: knee touch into wide knee touch, bridge: forward lunges, chorus : cross-arm knee touch (opposite elbow/knee), verse 2: knee touch into wide knee touch, bridge: forward lunges, chorus: cross-arm knee touch
modifications: to "lower" the intensity, march instead of knee-touch, to up the intensity, hop into the knee touch

You Really Got Me (2:15) - verse 1: jabs, verse 2: cross, instrumental: uppercuts, verse 3: roundhouse/hook punches
modifications: to "lower" the intensity, punch every other beat, to up the intensity, march as you punch. leg positions can either be a squat or same leg forward

Shake It Off (3:38) - verse 1: jab/cross combo, bridge: hook punch, chorus: chain punch while marching/uppercuts at "shake it off", verse  2: jab/cross combo, bridge: hook punch, chorus: chain punch while marching/uppercuts at "shake it off", walk during "hey, hey portion," cheerleader chant: knee/front kick, chorus: chain punch while marching/uppercuts at "shake it off"
modifications: to "lower" the intensity, keep a horse stance during punches, to up the intensity, scissor hop legs during cross punches and hop into the kicks

Uptown Funk (4:31) - intro: walk, verse 1: knee/front kick, bridge: side kicks, tag: chain punch to the beat (will get faster), chorus: thai knee/roundhouse,  verse 2: knee/front kick, bridge: side kicks, tag: chain punch to the beat (will get faster), chorus: thai knee/roundhouse, "funk you up": squats, chorus: thai knee/roundhouse
modifications: to "lower" the intensity, just throw knees and don't kick, to "up" the intensity, add punches to the kicks (same leg/arm)

Intergalactic (3:31) - sun salutation, simple variation: extended mountain, swan dive, forward fold, half-lift, forward fold, lunge, plank, chatarunga, cobra, down-dog/dolphin, walk legs to hands, forward fold, half-lift, extended mountain (repeat from start)
modifications: fists for wrists/dolphin pose for plank and down-dog, you can add/remove additional poses as needed to "up" the level.

Krishna rising (15:00) - I tend to vary this a bit, as I will tailor the stretching to problem areas for students. The important bit here is to leave about 3 to 5 minutes for savasana.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cardio + Yoga - not as weird as you would think

So... this Saturday is the start of our fitness classes at the dojo. It's been a few months in the making, since I got my AFAA certification this February. I'm thrilled at the opportunity, and little nervous, but I think it's going to be great.

When I was initially discussing what I would teach with my sensei, I went through a lot of different ideas: yoga, cardio dance, cardio kickboxing, tae bo... there were lots of different possibilities. And certainly there were many different requests coming from the moms I had been talking to about a class. But what to do? I knew there was no real ability for me to do Zumba, dance or step classes, since I'm still repairing damage to my knee1. I can do pilates and/or yoga without much issue (since I've been doing that for YEARS), but yoga routines that elevate heart-rates can be tricky, and inexperienced yogis have a high ability to hurt themselves with more advanced poses. "Basic cardio," what we used to call Aerobics, works well, but needs something more to gain the flexibility needed.  It looked like I was going to have to come up with my own blend.

So I decided on a blend of cardio and yoga. Here's my thoughts on the format:
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advocates that adults who want to reap the rewards of exercise should commit to at least 150 minutes of steady-paced cardio or 75 minutes of up-tempo cardio every week. Cardio exercise is ideal to perform three to five times per week, rather than daily, as the days off give your muscles time to recover.2
  • In the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers found that movement-based yoga practices like hatha, vinyasa, and Iyengar lowered risk factors including high blood pressure, body weight, body mass index, and cholesterol.3
  • Cool-down and stretching is very important to building cardio fitness. Skipping cool-down or stretching can result in blood pooling and/or cramps, and gives the body a transition period back to normal activity levels. 4

With that in mind, I've been hard at work devising a workout that will incorporate all the good bits of a workout with some fun, and maybe a little boxing/self-defense thrown in. And all in under 50 minutes. 

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to make a playlist. ^_^

  1. I have a strict: "do as I do," policy, so if I can't demo it to you (in some meaningful way), I'm not going to have the class do it.. it's just a thing I do.
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