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Emotional Wellbeing, Finding Strength, Fitness, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Meditation, Mindset, Nature, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wellness, Wisdom

Tearful Yoga

The room was completely dark except for the illuminated “Exit” sign.  As I lay on the floor in a supine position, sweat streamed down the side of my face, arms and legs. Toxins and stress drained from every pore.  It had been fifty-eight minutes of the most strenuous stretching, balancing, and hard-core strength exercises a body can tolerate, but as I lay in my own pool of sweat, I felt elated.  Yep.  Elated.

The instructor, Michael, taught an intense power yoga class which included traditional yoga postures combined with a series of faster paced moves which called for a bit of mental gymnastics.  When a difficult pose ended, another began. There was very little rest. When we were instructed to hold a challenging balance that required muscular strength and stretching limbs and torsos beyond what was once imaginable, my mind played its usual tricks:  leave now and go get a cappuccino…why are you working so hard on a Sunday when you could have slept in and read the paper….there’s a woman at least ten years older than you bending like a pretzel…..c’mon…you can do this, etc…

At times, there was no music, just the sound of the instructor’s voice encouraging us to go deeper into the pose, or take just another “sip” of breath. Serious and seasoned yogis use a diaphragmatic breathing technique that’s supposed to bring attention back to one’s breath, maintaining calm and focus amidst chaos. The mind continually races, however, with thoughts of “I should have worn the black tank top….what am I having for lunch….to…I bet I’ll lose three pounds of sweat from this class…”

While there are many different kinds of yoga, including Hatha, Vinyasa, power, gentle, and everything in between, yoga has evolved from thousands of years ago. Today, yoga is a culture of its own. There are people who do (it) and people who don’t.  You either fall into one category or the other.  There’s little flexibility because many gurus are so serious about their craft. Although I’ve been in the fitness industry for more than thirty-five years as a choreographer, program developer and instructor, I often feel as though I’m out of my league when I attend a yoga class.  It’s a feeling akin to sports fanatics.  You either like to watch games or you don’t.

The yoga culture extends to manners and clothing, as well.  Be prepared to speak in a whispered voice and be cognizant of your space when entering a yoga studio. Smiles are given freely and often, except when walking on someone else’s mat or (gasp!) when a cell phone buzzes. Anger is simply not welcome.

Stretch pants previously reserved for the gym and only the gym are now seen on both hockey moms and dads in and out of yoga studios and worn as a statement; “I can do the splits and I eat kale.”

The lights dimmed with just a hint of radiance from the gorgeous chandelier above me and the music became so loud I couldn’t hear myself or the person inches away from me breathe, or fart, although I’m quite certain that happened to at least one of us during the hour.  It felt like a nightclub scene, but without any alcohol or pick-up lines.

The instructor never demonstrated any moves, and as an intermediate yogi, I was unfamiliar with the sanskrit terminology, so I cheated by looking at those nearby including my son, Rocco, who is currently attending yoga teacher training.  Not realizing we would have to remember sequences, I simply played “follow-the-leader” as I mimicked those around me in the shadows of the dimly-lit room.

At the end of the class, when it was so dark I could only see the ‘Exit’ sign, we laid on our sweaty yoga mats, exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. It was quiet, with only a faint sound of deep, relaxing sighs.

Then, with the first sound of the piano notes, it started.  I felt a tightening in my throat, and heavier, more intense breathing.The music blasted, but this time with a more peaceful, poetic combination of Gaelic, New Age and classical sounds that both calmed and comforted me.  The volume of the music grew along with its intensity to levels that I felt in my bones. Suddenly, a persuasive, emotional wave took over me and within seconds, tears filled my eyes and streamed down my cheeks.

I began to weep.

Salty tears of elation mixed with my hard-earned sweat.

And it felt so good.

Feeling blessed to be healthy! #4minutes2happy #yoga #healthyliving #fitness #exercise

Feeling blessed to be healthy! #4minutes2happy #yoga #healthyliving #fitness #exercise

Health, Nutrition, Wellness

Stay Healthy And Have A Fabulous Summer!

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Summer is here! That means picnics, pool time, parties, and lots of fun! But also potential sunburns, feeling overwhelmed, and weight gain from too much snacking and unhealthy food.

Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and have a fabulous fun-filled summer!

  1. Drink lots of water. You can set a reminder on your phone to notify you periodically throughout the day to drink water whether you need it or not. Sometimes we get so busy and we forget. I like to put lemon or cucumbers in my water for a refreshing twist. You can also have fruit like strawberries, apples, or watermelon.

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Mindset, Spirituality, Wellness

5 Things I Learned From Being Sick

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It started out with the typical symptoms of sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, headaches and fatigue, but I was too busy to listen to my body. I had been doing a lot of interviews to promote my new book, “4 Minutes a Day, Rock ‘n Roll Your Way to Happy,” in addition to producing our TV show, “Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild”, and chores like cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, etc. On several interviews, I even bragged that “I never get sick”. But God had other plans, and here’s what he taught me when I discovered I had a sinus infection: Continue Reading

Fitness, Happiness, Health, Wellness

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

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On rare occasions we meet people who inspire and intrigue us with their love of life and adventure. Their energy permeates ours and we feel uplifted just being in their presence. Jill Wheeler is one of those people. She is an adventure therapist, filmmaker, mother, wife and yoga instructor who is traveling around the world with her family for a year. (How great is that?!)

I first met Jill several years ago when taking her paddle board yoga class with my son Rocco. The older I get, the more I want to step outside my comfort zone and try new things. The best Mother’s Day presents are just being able to hang out with my son, who lives thousands of miles away. His presence was more than enough, but he also offered to do whatever I wanted to do that special day. Having raised Rocco to be active and athletic, I asked if he wanted to try a new workout with me. Here is how the conversation went: Continue Reading

Happiness, Wellness

The Power of Friendship

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The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend. —Aristotle

My best friend Nancy and I met in junior high school. We both liked a boy who was the playa’ in our school. One week, he liked Nancy, and the next week, he liked me. Nancy was a top tennis athlete and could kick my ass if she wanted to. I was scared of her. We were on a school ski trip, and wouldn’t you know it, Nancy and I showed up with the same ski outfit! I did everything I could to avoid her. She was waiting in line on the opposite side of the chair lift. As we moved closer to the beginning of the line, I saw that Nancy, would be sitting with me! This was it. I was sure she would push me off the chair lift!

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Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Wellness

Your Body

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The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.

—Oscar Wilde

This is gonna hurt. I’m sorry, but it’s time to be truthful. Look at yourself in the mirror in just your undies. Do you have love handles and cellulite? We all have something we want to change. Coming face-to-face with the truth can be incredibly motivating, while putting clothes on just covers the problem, doesn’t it?

Throughout the day, you know what you’re hiding; numbers don’t lie. Weigh yourself and take your measurements. Are you content with those numbers? Do you want to look better and feel better? Have no fear! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you didn’t get that body overnight.

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Fitness, Health, Wellness

Bank on Your Health

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We all know the basics of banking; you cannot withdraw money you don’t have in your account.  What if we looked at our bodies as bank accounts and the healthy choices we make as money deposited into our account?  Every time you exercised, ate healthy meals, slept well and had a positive mental attitude you’d receive more cash flow!  But all the unhealthy choices, like smoking, excessive drinking, too much stress and lack of sleep would be withdrawals that may result in poor health, depression or injuries.

There will always be times in life when we are unexpectedly hit with a curve ball and we’ll have too much stress, miss a night of good sleep, indulge in junk food, or have one too many glasses of wine.  After those occasions we feel a little less perky, more sluggish and even run-down.  Our body functions at a lower vibrational frequency and if we make yet another withdrawal on the body bank account we risk becoming overdrawn.  Injuries and illnesses are more likely to occur when our immune systems have been compromised.  In our twenties or thirties, we may have been able to get away with a few too many drinks and lack of sleep from partying but eventually, our bodies will rebel in the form of a cold, headache or something worse.

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Health, Meditation, Mindset, Wellness

Be Still

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I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.T. S. Eliot

Close your eyes, put your hand on your chest, and feel your heartbeat. Focus on slowing down your breath and relaxing every part of your body, beginning at your head, down through your jaw, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and toes. Imagine that every cell in your body is operating at its utmost potential. Envision every muscle and bone healthy and strong. Bring your awareness to your breath. Pretend you’re breathing through a straw slowly. Inhale to the count of ten and exhale even more slowly. Try to slow your heartbeat.

Studies show that we can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and diminish anxiety just by being still and calming our bodies and minds. Meditation helps the mind find a happy ground where it’s not working so hard and spinning out of control. It helps control anxious and negative thoughts.

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Health, Wellness

Become a Sleuth for Health

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Have you been ignoring minor or major aches and pains? Is your body trying to tell you something? Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my body and became deathly ill.

I have been a group fitness instructor since 1980. I’ve appeared in exercise videos and cable TV shows. I know my body, and I know when something doesn’t feel right. Around 2002, I began to have flu-like symptoms and debilitating migraines. I knew something was wrong. I went to several doctors. One of them told me I might be too healthy and I should try eating at McDonalds!

I was constantly tired and hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. Ten minutes into the exercise classes I was instructing, I couldn’t get enough air, and I was scared. I knew something was terribly wrong but I couldn’t figure it out.

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