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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Online Yoga Video Review: 'Slo Mo Flo' on Udaya

A few weeks ago I signed up to the Udaya online yoga video website. I've been doing just a about a class a week to compliment my other activities, with mixed results: sometimes the practice has felt really satisfying and sometimes it just hasn't.

Online Yoga Classes: 

One of the beauties of online exercise classes of all types is that you get to pick and choose what you want to do, and who you want to guide you through it. This is obviously great, as the variety is endless (plus you get to pause it when your loving other half surprises you with an espresso half way through!). However, there are also drawbacks to changing your teachers all the time: it can be difficult to follow a new instructor that you're not familiar with, especially when you are in a pose that doesn't easily allow you to watch the screen. This is exacerbated when the class is fast. 

Which was one of the motivating factors in why I chose this class: 'Slo Mo Flo' with Adam Husler. The slow pace appealed to me. I was also drawn to the '2' difficulty rating, as the Udaya classes do seem to be on the more challenging side (although I have done other '2'-rated classes that have involved at least four head/hand stands, plus the splits thrown in- which dispiritingly I can do none of- hence I was still wary). 

Class Review:

True to it's title, this was a slow-moving class, but it would be a mistake to think that slow means easy- which suits me: I am always up for a work out! But when someone says "high plank is your happy place today" you know what's coming is going to be a little bit challenging.

My legs were shaking with exertion at one point, so I was reassured when Adam said something along the lines of: "our legs really enjoy the stretching in yoga, but they don't always enjoy the work". It's these empathetic remarks from an instructor when you're working hard that make you feel like you're not completely out of your league. 

The slow pace allowed me to better understand the transitions between poses, which to be honest is not something I have given much thought to in the past. 

I also enjoyed the instructing style, as it felt like there was plenty of information to work out whether you are holding a pose or doing a movement well enough to be getting the best out of it. 

Class Highlights:

It was the fine details which really made this class interesting to me: for example I learnt so much about how to fine tune the position of the hands, and exactly how to hold the foot to make the best of a leg extensions, which combined to make it a really rewarding learning experience rather than just a work-out. 

One part of the class I particularly enjoyed was when we twisted through a lunge. I've not come across this before but it's one aspect of my mobility i'd really like to improve. 

I also feel like I learnt a lot about my chair pose, and how to improve it. In earlier versions I have done I feel like maybe I didn't pull my derrière in enough (see below!). 

Does my bum look big in this...?


I will certainly repeat this class, for the important reasons that I feel like it would improve my practice to work more on this routine, plus I enjoyed it!

I would also recommend it if you'd like to work on your strength and stamina- good for all exercise goals, not just yoga. 

You can find the teacher, Adam Husler here on Instagram

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Quick, Healthy Store Cupboard Dinner

Healthy Ideas:

I've got some lovely recipe books full of healthy meal ideas, but sometimes when there is no opportunity to plan or shop, I am left wondering what I can eat that isn't going to undo my hard work at the gym. 

Today was just such a day, but I decided to improvise a guilt-free dish from what I had available, and it was so yummy that I thought I would share it with you. 

You can re-create it exactly as I made it, or substitute whatever ingredients you have lying around. Let me know how you get on and what great combinations you discover. 


(serves two hungry people)
I used half a floret of broccoli,
3 celery sticks, 
a small amount of onion,  
half a courgette, 
a carrot, 
a large handful of mixed nuts,
approximately 50g pumpkin seeds, 
a large spoon of honey,
a large spoon of lemon juice

How to make your healthy dinner:

Cut the broccoli into small pieces, and slice the celery. Put into a saucepan with a well-fitting lid with about 1cm of water in the bottom. Cook over a low heat, stirring often but with the lid on between stirring, and steam the veg lightly until just tender. Drain into a sieve. 

Finely dice the onion and put into the pan with as little oil as you can get away with to keep it from sticking to your pan (I used about a teaspoon). Replace the lid again and sweat until tender.

Grate the courgette and carrot. Return broccoli and celery to the pan, along with grated veg, nuts and seeds. Stir well over a medium-low heat until you decide it is 'done'- a couple of minutes ought to do it. 

Add the honey and lemon juice, stir well, and enjoy!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Get Your Face in the Water!

Since getting my 800m badge when I was a kid, I have only been a dabbler with the big blue stuff. I feel completely blessed to live by the sea: I love water and I am captivated by its beauty, but I feel woefully inadequate when it comes to swimming.

Or... I did until recently, when I decided to really push myself outside of my comfort zone and make a positive change. I want to be able to hold my own in the pool, and to swim for fitness (without being embarrassed by my hideous style and intimidated by the old pro's gliding around like happy dolphins).

You see, my secret shame has been this: I cannot put my face in the water. Which means I swim around with my nose up like a performing seal and my legs dragging behind. This is obviously quite inefficient, and not really fun. I'm talking front crawl of course: I cannot do breast stroke, and when I did those 800m all those years ago it was backstroke, which is not very convenient in a busy pool.

Taking the Plunge: 

It was consequently with a lot of nerves that I went to the swimming class at my local pool. But, luckily I need not have worried, as the instructor was extremely tactful and helpful, I was lucky enough to have a whole lane to myself, and none of the other participants even seemed to notice how bad I was, which was a huge relief. He built up slowly, explaining patiently to me how to breathe.

Today we went back to the pool for a dip, so I could put what I have learned into action. I am frustrated that I have no stamina for swimming (one length and I am gasping!), but I am pleased to report that I can do front crawl largely with my face in the water.


All it took was one session, a good pair of goggles, the love and support of my nearest and dearest, and some gritty determination to swim 'properly', and now I have begun my journey to being a better swimmer. Ok, so I don't think I'll be entering any endurance races, but that was never my goal.

It is silly really how long I put this off- I was so afraid of starting that I did nothing, and now I don't know what all my fear was about.

Am I the only one?

I'd love to hear from you if you have broken through a barrier on your fitness journey- what was it for you, and how did you overcome it?

My Kit: 

In case you are wondering, these are my goggles. I'm going to use my blog to share reviews of the kit I use, so it makes sense to start here with these. 

They are 'Kaiman Lady Clear Lens' by Aqua Sphere. I bought them on Amazon (I've put a link below), and they cost me £8.32, which was a fantastic bargain as far as I am concerned. They fit snugly around the face and have a good shape to match the contours of your eye socket, and good seals to stop the water getting in. The strap has notches on to stop them sliding undone, but there is also a lever for quick release should you need it. The verdict: highly recommended, gold star!

caiman lady clear lens aqua sphere

You can click here to buy them on Amazon.  

Thursday, 18 February 2016


Welcome to my new blog, which I intend to be a space for me to reflect on the process of becoming a fitness instructor, to share some of the trials and tribulations as I aim to be the fittest I can be, and to connect with other bloggers with similar interests. 

Keeping fit is great fun, but also challenging by its very nature. Of course there is the volume of work needed, but there is also the problem of how to best manage your fitness- how do you know what is really benefitting you? When should you have a rest day? Is it easier to work out by yourself or with others? What is it best to eat...? So many questions! 

I am studying for my 'Exercise to Music' qualification, but I am not planning to leave my education there. 

I really enjoy participating in exercises classes: aerobics, spin, circuits, both Yoga & Pilates; I like to go for a jog, and I am really trying to improve my swimming so that I feel I can work out in the pool- I sense a whole post in the near future on my struggles there! If I get the chance to try a few yoga moves or have a jog in the great outdoors then not much will stop me!

Last summer I was lucky enough to try kayaking (which is very popular where I live), and I loved it, so this is something I am hoping to do more of in the future. 

Warrior 2 on top of the World. I really felt like a warrior up here, but I was so disappointed when I saw in the photo that my back leg seems bent- I though for sure it was straight. Something to work on...

So, are you trying to get fit? Do you have an interest in nutrition? Do you teach exercise classes? Do you have advice? What are your goals?

Whether it's a lucky pair of trainers or a favourite brand of protein shake, I'm interested, and I'd love to hear from you. Don't be shy, leave me a comment.

<:-) Pixie x