Balancing poses are great for the mind and body because they help you develop lightness, strength, agility, muscle tone, coordination, concentration, self-confidence and overall control of your body. And when you add a backbend to your standing balancing pose, like we do with today’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #95 – Dancer’s Pose, you’ll also rejuvenate the body, giving you more alertness, openness, flexibility, energy and courage. So add some balancing & backbends to your long holiday weekend. And enjoy! – R
Exactly 56 years ago today, 52 year-old American businessman – and high school dropout – Ray Kroc purchased his first McDonald’s franchise from the McDonald brothers. It was their 9th location, and the first of thousands that would revolutionize the fast food business and turn Kroc into a multimillionaire ($500 million in his lifetime). This from a man who once tried his hand at a number of trades including paper-cup salesman, pianist, jazz musician, band member, and a multi-mixer milkshake traveling salesman.At one time, Kroc even worked for room and board at a restaurant in the midwest to learn the restaurant business. So taking a line from yesterday’s blog, “If there’s anything in your life that needs more perseverance to get you through, think of Ray Kroc (or Jackie Robinson) and stay the course.” Enjoy sculpting your thighs & triceps with today’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #52 – Sculpt Your Thighs II. And I’ll see you next time – R
You may already know that my charity, The Boulevard Zen Foundation, teaches yoga to kids and moms living in domestic violence shelters (www.BoulevardZen.com). I was inspired to start the nonprofit after visiting a shelter upon completion of my film, Boulevard Zen. My experience with domestic violence comes via the domino affect abuse has on families as my father was a victim of child abuse until the age of 12 when his father left for good. I have also befriended women in my lifetime that have experienced some of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Domestic violence and child abuse unjustly robs its victims of self-confidence and oftentimes prevents kids from experiencing what we at the foundation call excellent teaching moments. So when our yoga teachers find a unique opportunity during class to go beyond an actual yoga pose and teach meaningful life lessons, we all succeed. And the kids remember those lessons and bring that knowledge into their lives while impacting the lives of everyone around them. Which is why I get excited every time one of our teachers writes to me about an excellent teaching moment. Like today from Carolyn in our San Diego shelter. It’s what we strive for and are committed to doing: to be more than just yoga teachers and to impact lives forever. Because those lives are the future of our Nation and of our World. Namaste – R
Sometimes you just don’t have the time or just don’t feel like changing into workout clothes just to workout, right? Well who says you have to find time or wear something workout-ish? Do one thing for a couple of minutes and you’ll get your workout in – at least part of it. Like when you’re waiting for that email, or that phone call, or your girlfriend to get ready, or that client to show up. Check out me working triceps here on my favorite reading chair (dining room and office chairs are even better). Apply “yoga principles” as you plant your feet slightly apart with knees at right angles pressing together. Keep your chin parallel to the floor, your spine straight and dip slowly until your elbows reach right angles (no need to go further), pointing your elbows toward each other. Do not to jerk your head or neck. Note: always be sensitive to any tweaks or pains in your neck as well as your shoulders, elbows and wrists. Move with slow and deliberate movements. Nothing fancy and make sure the chair is properly weighted to support this exercise. Strengthen your arms and build stamina with these simple dips using whatever’s available to you. Do as many repetitions as you can per set, and as many sets as you can – with short breaks in between until you feel the burn and can’t do any more. It’ll happen quick. And always maintain good posture, close your mouth and breathe slowly and quietly like the sound of the ocean, and pick a point of focus to wipe your mind clear. Enjoy – R
I just visited my thirty-something year old friend who was speaking about her weight when she said, “I know what it’s like to be past the point of no return”. She spoke with such conviction about how everyone struggling with weight loss reaches a specific point of no return. Last week I gave her my 15 Minute Fat Burning Workouts and stopped by today to check in on her and to drop one off for her girlfriend. She hasn’t started the workouts, but said she would today – after much cajoling on my part. When I asked her why not, she said it was “mental”. Actually she’s doing quite well, mentally and physically, considering she weighed 218 lbs. two years ago. She also said her exact “point of no return” was 180 lbs, and that once she reached that point she pretty much gave up hope – and desire – of getting the weight off and skipped right past 200 until her final stop at 218. And can you believe this adorably funny gal started college weighing 106 lbs? The good news is when she finally reached 218 she started with a well-known weight loss program that helped get her down to today’s weight of 180. Hmmm. I suppose now it’s the “point of return”. Next stop 140. So she says. And so I believe – as long as she believes and continues to make good choices. Because with a daily fitness program complemented by a positive mindset and positive lifestyle choices, anything is possible. Enjoy your workout – R
This morning I spoke with this twenty-something year old Ethiopian guy who moved here to pursue the American dream. You know the one: money, kids, cars, a big house – am I forgetting anything? Well, he explained to me how his family is considered wealthy by Ethiopian standards, with a nice house and a live-in servant for $20/month (yes, $20), and how he’s basically had to “start from scratch” since arriving two years ago. Because regardless of his perceived wealthy past, he’s had to start from square one here in the United States. Just like many people and their fitness programs. If you haven’t worked out in a really long time, well, you’ll just have to start from scratch. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, why not make it a good thing! Like with my Ethiopian friend – who has his own apartment, works a full time job and goes to technical college – starting over doesn’t have to be feared. Keep it simple and keep it short, as in 1% of your day. Embrace the challenge and have fun with your new beginning. Because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves? R
This morning I met this fifty-something gal in the gym with a great body who’s always there. The first thing I asked her was if she worked out everyday. She said yes. Then I said, 5 days as week, and she gave me this look like are you crazy, and emphatically says, “No, 7 days”. Then along comes her fifty-something guy friend who meekly says, “ahhhhh, I won’t be here tomorrow so Merry Christmas”. She then gives him the exact look she gave me and asks why not. The man hesitates and says he won’t be there because he has to baby-sit his grandkids. So she proclaims, “At 5 o’clock in the morning, oh come on Johnny, you better be here!” Now what are friends for, right? Just that. To care about you, to support you, to motivate you, and to make you accountable when things get hard – like working out everyday at 5am. I totally understand why some people have more success with a fitness or weight loss program when they have a partner, or network of like-minded, mutually supportive individuals to help them through the tough times. So if you’re that type of person who benefits from the extra push from your friends, then embrace it and find your workout partner today! And get started with your daily fitness program – whatever it may be. Because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves? R
Everyone knows the feeling when the weather’s got you down and you’re ‘a little under the weather’ right? Well how about turning the tables on today’s bad weather and telling yourself exactly the opposite – that you’re a little above the weather! Because that weather malaise is just a temporary mindset you can enthusiastically change. I know for most of you Mother Nature has been rather frigid and snowy and all around nasty, but for those of us in LA it feels like we should be boarding Noah’s Arc right about now. And since we’re relatively spoiled with our clear blue sunny skies – well, who says you can’t move to LA – it’s especially easy to feel under the weather and fall off your daily routine. Don’t do it. Or if you do, just make it one day only, not two or three in a row. Because while everyone else around you feels a bit more weather-like with each passing day, you’ll be the bright a cheerful one who got your workout in. For sure you’ll feel better and for sure your positive energy will radiantly affect everyone around you. And maybe you’ll even motivate your loved ones to do the same, so they can bask in the sunshine of their own positive energy. So get your 15 Minute Fat Burning Workout in today. And I’ll see you tomorrow. R
The cycle of domestic violence occurs when abuse or victimization is passed down from one generation to the next. More specifically, it’s when children learn destructive behaviors from their parents, and then carry these acceptable behaviors with them into their lives. It must be broken. Case in point: Last night a friend called me to talk about his 22 year-old neighbor who was being verbally accosted by her drunken boyfriend. He said the screaming and shouting from the jackass was so bad that he was concerned for her safety and wasn’t sure what to do. And this wasn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, he said it was a regular event. He also said that when he passes the young gal in the hallway, he feels her insecurity and lack of self-confidence as she always looks away, avoiding any type of eye contact or conversation. Why does she put up with that crap, and what can he do to help her gain the self-confidence to get rid of the bum, my friend asks? Breaking the cycle of violence begins with re-building one’s self-worth and turning acceptable behaviors into non-acceptable behaviors. Like choosing to respect oneself everyday by making healthy choices and by constantly strengthening your body and your mind. Because it’s all about the choices we make. And each good choice leads to another good choice, and so on and so on. So respect yourself and make the healthy choice. Because anything is possible…if you believe you can.
Yesterday I went to San Diego to teach with The Boulevard Zen Foundation yoga teachers Carolyn and Jen. It was our monthly workshop class for everyone at the shelter including kids, moms and staff. Although our turnout was rather light, we spoke with one staff member who explained to us in one word why the moms were reluctant to join in the fun. Self-confidence. Most of us know a thing or two about self-confidence, or a lack thereof, when it comes to challenging the mind or the body with something new. And that’s exactly what a new fitness program does – it challenges the mind and body in ways that are unfamiliar to us. Thus making it hard and undesirable – at first. With the imperative words here being “at first”. Because it gets easier. It truly does. The hard part is just getting started. I explained to her that beginning a new yoga program with our teachers is like swimming in the ocean. At first you walk in with the water around your ankles. Then you wade a little further, up to your knees, then waist, and ultimately you’ll take the plunge and dive in. And if you’re fearful of those crashing waves, you may not take the plunge right away, but over time you will gain the confidence to go further, advancing to the next level, gaining momentum and confidence every step of the way. And that’s what it’s all about – gaining self-confidence through action and advancement that will certainly spill over and positively affect others areas of your life. So if you haven’t already done so, take the plunge and get started today with a new fat burning fitness routine. Because who doesn’t have 15 minutes a day to respect themselves?