I have enjoyed our Sunday yoga practices so much. I am loving practicing yoga out on our new deck. The morning practice starts off chilly, but as the sun peaks over the mountains it is the perfect amount of warmth.
I have my Dobbie socks ready to go at the top of my mat, and Yogi gives me cuddles throughout. I see little Abe’s face periodically as he watches his Mama teaching. It’s such a wholesome experience, a family affair. I feel the love.
The weekly class has had such good energy lately. I’d love to see you for practice tomorrow (Sunday December 5th) from 8am-9:15am HST (10am-11:15pm Pacific) via Zoom. Email me at [email protected] to join!
In 2017 I completely shifted my endurance training method. When I re-learned all about the ventilatory threshold – the imperceptible “line” that differentiates the pure aerobic zone (where we are burning primarily fat for energy) and the glucose-burning zone. In the latter, we are burning the far less abundant but far more accessible glycogen and glucose.
Because we continually need to replenish glucose (and not all of us are out there running with honey straws), and also because many of us want to be burning fat for fuel, it is more desirable to stay in this aerobic zone, right?
The research studies have demonstrated that you can still improve your endurance (increase your ventilatory threshold) by training just below the ventilatory threshold. And you will be burning fat, which is a near bottomless tank.
How do we do this?
1. Run the smile test – while you run (or while you do whatever form of exercise it is that you do) smile! If you cannot, dial down your activity work rate until you can. 2. Sing – for real. 3. Talk – if you are exercising with someone else this is easy, you can jog and chat. 4. Breathe in and out through your nose.
You could practice #1 and #4 during your yoga practice, while hiking, or even while running. I remember when I first learned about all of this, I would be running on the treadmill smiling or around the track singing a quiet jingle, I got some funny looks.
Another benefit of this type of training is that you won’t become as fatigued, you will have a faster recovery, and you will avoid adrenal stress. You certainly want to stay below the lactate threshold, where your body struggles to buffer the acidity and it begins to accumulate in the muscles. This will happen if you train too hard particularly if you are out of shape, you can reach this quickly and it is very stressful to the body.
A solid routine of walking/jogging/swimming/biking/yoga-ing (insert your endurance work) will successfully build your endurance and improve your overall health. It will increase the density of your mitochondria and the capillaries in your muscles. With consistent light to moderate sustained exercise the delivery of oxygen to your muscles will become more efficient.
Remember, your body can only burn glucose and glycogen for a short period, but even for the leanest folks out there, we have a limitless reserve of fat. So what doe this mean?
Slow down in order to train within the aerobic zone, eat a diet full of healthy fats, and tap into your fat metabolism!
This will spruce up the environment in your body, you will gain more mitochondrial power centers and sprout new capillary pathways so that even more fat can be metabolized at future workouts. Essentially, the more mitochondria and capillaries we have the greater our ATP production, and our muscles can contract faster and stronger without fatiguing.
The heart will be happy with this type of eustress (optimum dose of physiological stress). Neovascularization and biogenesis occur (the heart grows new blood vessels, mitochondria, capillaries, and cells remodel). Again, our network of oxygen and nutrient delivery is improved.
Yoga is certainly one great form of exercise where it is easier to stay below the ventilatory threshold, because we are constantly practicing breath-work. Come run the "smile test" with me, I would love to see you for tomorrow's yoga practice! Join me for Sunday Yoga tomorrow November 28th from 8am-9:15am HST (10am-11:15pm Pacific) via Zoom. Email me at [email protected] for the link and passcode to join!
Today I read something that resonated so deeply with me:
"In any moment, in any circumstance, a miracle will occur if I align myself with love."
Which is to say that I believe in miracles, and I think they present themselves to us when we are purposefully moving through life. We can miss them in the rush from A to B. We can miss them if we are hampered by negative feelings, when ironically it might seem we need that miracle the most. Yet, it's only when we slow down, hit pause, check in, and re-align ourselves, mentally and physically, that we are able to properly receive miracles.
When the world moves fast, moving with intention can get lost the in whirl of productivity, deadlines, achievement, etc. Happily, yoga is this brilliant practice in hitting pause. It teaches us mindfulness, even if on a scheduled basis (that's intentional though!). Every bit of practice counts.
There is no order of difficulty in miracles, one is not harder or bigger than another. Yoga becomes this beautiful practice in stepping into the present moment. Where in the present we can release all cares, all burdens, and all questions to whatever higher power we believe in.
Yoga is a practice where we don't constrict our energy, but rather relax into the practice, let go. Personally, I feel a divine lift in the practice, like a mood boost, but a bit more pronounced.
Here is a good example, your day could be total madness, and then you step onto the mat and come into child's pose and breathe. And suddenly, you might think, 'what was I so worried about? all is okay!' The transition from the chaos of the day to the mat is sort of akin to the most lovely/soulful person you can imagine whispering into your ear, 'all will be okay.' Except this is entirely self-sufficient and driven by you, and your mindfulness practice.
The more we do, the more burdens we carry, the more temptation we experience:
Let's be intentional, and do the opposite. Let's release to love.
Needless to say, I am greatly looking forward to tomorrow's practice. I cancelled (postponed) my mainland job interview, due to COVID-19. And I am so excited to practice tomorrow and see you!
As always, I would love to have you join me for Sunday yoga (tomorrow) from 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM (HST) email [email protected] to join. For me, a consistent Sunday practice, habitually lays the groundwork for a brilliant and productive week. It also makes it much easier to be kind to others once I have taken care of myself.
Happy Saturday! I shared a photo of this yummy drink over the last few nights and a few people asked for the recipe. Unfortunately for you, I don't measure the ingredients. Fortunately for you, it's hard to mess it up!
Here is how to make this delish drink:
1. Put several raspberries in your glass (I used organic frozen, but you could also use fresh), then add lime juice (about 1 oz). 2. Add as many mint leaves as you wish, and massage them a bit to release the flavor, then mix the ingredients. 3. Next add the lime seltzer and coconut water at a 3:2 ratio.
*When I make this, I add a lot of lime juice, but you can always dial it down to taste. If it is too tangy, pour it into a bigger glass, and add ice! It's delicious and you feel good about drinking it. *I've also made this drink but subbed the lime seltzer with lemon seltzer and the coconut water with fresh orange juice and it's a fun and tasty alternative! I hope you enjoy!
As always, I would love to have you join me for Sunday yoga (tomorrow) from 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM (HST) email me at [email protected] to join! For me, a consistent Sunday practice, habitually lays the groundwork for a brilliant and productive week. It also makes it much easier to be kind to others once I have taken care of myself.
I am not going to be Debbie Downer in this post, I promise. In fact, I've been thinking about ways in which I can transform my perceived struggles into little blessings in disguise. Let me explain.
Yogic teachings and philosophers have long referred to the concept that everyone and everything is your teacher. I am embracing that idea this week.
everyone I meet
every situation I am placed in
...represents a private lesson for me to learn and grow into the person I am meant to be? Each interaction and event are actually perfectly sequenced into the tapestry of my life to teach me something, at the exact moment, that I need that very lesson. We are subconsciously drawn to people and situations that help us grow.
I am embracing this logic, and well, let's just say I need it!! Times are tough, right? What an empowering way to move through the day. We can receive these lessons with gratitude, and hopefully, lighten up enough to realize that they are opportunities to grow, to become wiser, smarter, more compassionate, more loving.
Yes, in any given moment, we all have greater capacity to love. And gosh, sometimes we lose sight of this, but isn't the purpose of life to love and be loved? I am not saying it is easy, it is a practice, just like yoga. Maybe we could look at the yoga poses that present a challenge to us, as similarly unique teaching nuggets, little sprinkles of asana wisdom.
I hope you can join me for yoga class tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 8am (HST) which is now 10am (Pacific Time). Email [email protected] to receive the link to join, I would love to have you in class. Class is donation-based (Venmo: @LauraMary-Flynn).
The light in me sees and honors the light within you,
I feel our greatest power in life is choice. No matter what is happening around us, we can always choose how we perceive and react. In fact, no one but you can determine what you choose to think. You can choose to believe in miracles. You can choose to have faith in the goodness of others. Seeing the goodness in others isn't always easy, sometimes this is a challenge. I know some of you are reading this and nodding knowingly!
Simply by not assuming malice in others, and rather, looking for goodness in others, you invoke those qualities in the world (of goodness that is). If we believe in the goodness of the people we interact with, they will be much more likely to show you that goodness.
Our thoughts become things.
For instance, when you believe in the possibility of miracles...they start to happen.
Gosh, the power of the mind is the coolest thing. The best part is that we can always change our mind. None of our thoughts are set in stone. Remember, the brain is plastic!
I hope you can join me for yoga class tomorrow (Sunday) at 8am (HST). Email [email protected] to join, I would love to have you in class. Class is donation-based (Venmo: @LauraMary-Flynn).
Another 2020 fitting intention: I pave my own way.
The desire to fit in and conform to societal norms has always driven American culture, juxtaposed to the desire for individualism. What an uphill battle we are in: needing and wanting to fit in and be well liked, yet, simultaneously trying to make a name for ourselves. It is a dance of proportions. Too much individualism and we stand out (not in a preferred way), too little and we aren’t successful.
If you’ve lost me, all good, I’ll explain. I may or may not be liked by everyone. As a yoga teacher, this was once a really hard pill to swallow. I’ve learned this lesson though, and it takes so much pressure off of everything I do.
Along those same lines…not everyone will: 1) see things in the same way I do 2) feel what I feel 3) think what I think
Okay, so knowing this, why do I feel such anguish by the political divide in our country? I should know better. Well the pain I feel is caused by me, and the belief that others should experience 1, 2, and 3. And they don’t, so now what?
Step 1 - Identify the source of the anguish (self-inflicted). Step 2 – Make a commitment to yourself (validate your truth). Step 3 – Pave your own way (create the future YOU desire).
The political divide in our country and the associated anguish I feel related to this is simply a microcosm of what I am getting at here. We all feel anguish over one thing or another, usually it involves people. We create stories related to the anguish, and we can forget our truths and even lose sight of our purpose. On top of that, we might still be balancing the desire to fit in with the need to simultaneously carve out a niche for ourselves.
Remember, the story in your head was created by you. Let’s take steps to empower our story.
Yes, the anguish, the stress, the 'what if' thoughts - all founded by you. You can also be the founder of your own commitments and declarations, vision, and future.
For instance, I commit to living my authentic truth, even though at times it feels like a solitary journey (enter, future anguish). In some ways, there is clarity, for example, I have no desire to fit in with really any of the modern societal norms (i.e. Instagram Influencer Culture, fewf). However, it is a challenge to not listen and take to heart everyone’s input on what I ‘should’ do.
But here’s the thing, everything depends on you finding your own place in the world. Truly, everything depends on you uncovering your purpose. You are your best, in everything, when you are authentic.
As my matriculation approaches, I feel lots of pressure to ‘figure it all out’ and I haven’t yet. I will follow my own interests, practice vision meditation, and choose future directions that feel ‘right’ for me. And concurrently take action! Not action on some future date or once I have my vision all perfect, now. It’s not enough to just dream and manifest, get moving.
I trust that I will pave my own way. Thanks to a keen eye for discernment, the right attitude, and lots of years of school, I am paving.
Join me tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 8am (HST). Email [email protected] to join, I would love to have you in class. Class is donation-based (Venmo: @LauraMary-Flynn).
Inertia is the tendency of an object to continue movement in whatever direction it's moving in, unless it is introduced to a counterforce. This idea of inertia has me thinking about choosing to be a counterforce.
To be honest, I love reading the New York Times every day, but 2020 feels so heavy and the news so morbid. It is filled with negative energy. Which is why I decided to take a little news hiatus. I realize this was a choice, and probably a privileged choice at that, but the momentum of the negativity felt contagious.
Which is why, I want to instead be a counterforce. I want to consciously and proactively participate in a counterforce to the world's despair.
I choose to consciously participate in the world's transformation.
Above is a picture of one my happy places, a place that stirs up feelings of peace and love. This is probably our favorite hike on Oahu, we've done it countless times. When I think of positive imagery, the one above comes to mind: my little family hiking together at our favorite spot.
I guess I began thinking about energy and interaction and how I don't want to be a contributing factor to someone's day feeling hard. I want to make the people around me feel better. The only way I can do that is if I properly take care of myself. Mind my own energy. Because it is contagious. We can feel each other's energy, in person, of course, but even over the phone or Zoom.
It's important work. Being a counterforce, that is.
When enough of us...
love -> fear dissolves.
find peace in our hearts -> war ends.
stand on what we know to be true -> falsehoods no longer hold sway.
I want to live in that world. Here is the thing, I can only control my own energy. It does nothing to think with anticipatory dread about wanting to change someone else. Hopefully, in some small way, my thoughts and actions bring us closer to "enough of us" because "I'm in."
Join me tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 8am (HST). Email me at [email protected] to join, I would love to have you in class. Class is donation-based (Venmo: @LauraMary-Flynn).
This weeks intention: What I appreciate appreciates.
With so much hardship all around us this year, it is easy to get overwhelmed in the stress of it. Swallowed with worry, if you will.
Let's not forget all of the blessings that we already have in our lives. Let's appreciate these blessings. My practice this week is to not take any of it for granted, and to receive each daily blessing with a humble heart.
Here is my short list: Because I woke up today, because I have clean air to breathe, a roof over my head, an amazing husband, a family that loves me, and lifelong sister-friends. Because I have a healthy pup, and the opportunity to better myself with years of education as I work towards my PhD. Because I have my health, because I have this life...and the list goes on.
I appreciate my own abundance. And this acknowledgement of my abundance will cause it to increase. What I appreciate appreciates. As a brand new week approaches, I hope to be used. Sunday, use me up.
I know that others are living in pain and I want to be useful to help the healing of others, to attenuate their suffering. Let's appreciate - our own abundance - and so that we might increase our own abundance. Because when our cups are full we can be used for greater good. So with that, week: please use me up.
Join me tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 8am (HST). Email me to join at [email protected], I would love to have you in class. Class is donation-based (Venmo: @LauraMary-Flynn).
I think it is very fitting that the final academic class of my career is titled "exercise prescription" - this simply fits. Exercise is medicine. I am in this business to help people. I am a student in this discipline to learn more about how to help people. And I hope I have helped you all, in some way or another. If you are needing the motivation to get moving, I am here for you. Pop into class tomorrow and move your body for 75 minutes. You will feel better.
Exercise and movement, really is a prescription for health. Here are the physical activity-related health benefits for the general population of adults:
Sign me up. Unfortunately, 36% of adults engage in no leisure time physical activity. We are supposed to engage in either 150-minutes of moderate physical activity/week or 75-minutes of vigorous physical activity/week. I know, COVID-19 makes things tough. There is a lot you could do from the comfort of your home. For example, yoga with me online (live on Sunday mornings or via youtube), or from one of the many instructors who are teaching online!
You could do a series of planks and push-ups, add in some balance work and core too. You want to be sure to get your heart rate up though. I need to complete a project this semester for my exercise prescription class and I am thinking of tailoring the project to COVID-19 restrictions. Meaning, I will address issues on how to motivate folks to work out, how to improve adherence to the exercise plan, how to build it properly and safely, all for an at home setting. The entire plan will be evidence-based, and you just might learn more about it in my emails!
You guys are all the experts now. You've been working out at home for six months. I would LOVE to hear from you with any and all of your ideas for this project (tips, tricks, advice, home gym hacks, motivation ideas, adherence, etc.).
Unfortunately, exercise scientists are very aware that the American College of Sports Medicine recommendations do fall a bit short, in that they don't recommend balance work. Balance work is particularly important as we age. We lose our ability to balance, which continues to decline unless we work on it. If we don't work on our balance, it can lead to falls and other issues from there.
Yoga, the fitness multivitamin.
As far as workouts for health go, yoga is in many ways a safety net catch-all. Yoga is analogous to a multivitamin, but for fitness. We practice so many key movements and challenge our body in various ways, build mobility, strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and more. Chances are if in your other workouts you've missed some key component of your fitness, you will hit it in your yoga practice.
If I haven't convinced you to get moving and join me for a yoga class yet, now is your chance. I teach every Sunday morning at 8am (HST). Email me for the link to join, I would love to have you in class. Class is donation-based (Venmo: @LauraMary-Flynn).