Yoga – Mix It Up or Commit to One Style?

yoga stretchDon’t mix it up? Beginners should sample a few yoga classes to find one style that they prefer and that is right for their level of fitness. Trying many various styles can be confusing when you’re starting your journey into yoga.

As a beginner, the disadvantages of practicing more than one style include:
-getting confused
-risking injury in a class that is inappropriate for your fitness level
-not being aware of how to modify poses that are too advanced or inappropriate for certain injuries

Private yoga lessons are a great way to begin your journey, giving you the foundation and confidence to step into any of our complementary yoga classes.

Mix it up? Step out of your comfort zone and avoid complacency. After practicing a specific style of yoga on a regular basis for at least six months, it’s a good idea to branch out into different styles. Challenge yourself or maybe explore more restorative or meditative styles. If you have been practicing only heated Vinyasa classes, give an unheated Vinyasa class a try. Mix it up and you will be rewarded with even greater benefits. Most styles don’t fit nicely into one specific category. Many of the styles have crossover techniques that improve fitness, mental health and spiritual growth. Some styles are slow and meditative with a focus on breathing and mental concentration, while other styles focus on the physical aspects of poses and fast movements which result in better fitness and flexibility. Practicing both styles, it is possible to gain mental concentration, spirituality and physical fitness.

The benefits of using several yoga styles can include:
-maximizing the benefit to both the mind and the body
-achieving fitness goals while maintaining meditative focus
-maximizing the crossover between yoga styles

A great way to sample different kinds of yoga is during the yoga immersion weekend coming up on April 15, 16 and 17.

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision whether to use one style of yoga or many. For beginners, it may be best to commit to try different options and select a specific style until after learning the poses and basic breathing techniques. Advanced practitioners may be able to balance various styles at one time,resulting in tremendous growth.

If you’re not sure what class to try or would like additional information, send me an email with your fitness level, goals and questions and I will give you a list of classes that would be best for you.

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

 

Group Fitness Instructors Change Lives

At Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club, we offer 136 classes each week taught by experienced fitness professionals. We are always looking for more talented individuals to join our team.Group fitness

Our instructors have over 900 years of collective teaching experience, hold national certifications like AFAA, ACE and NASM, have earned certifications in licensed Les Mills and Beach Body programs and have not only pursued numerous continuing education credits, but have also completed over 10,000 hours of shared yoga training. This education and experience, combined with a passion for what we do and who we serve, affords us the opportunity to provide each and every member a truly exceptional group fitness experience.

bodypumptracyWe offer a wide selection of class formats designed to accommodate diverse fitness goals and appeal to a variety of interests. If you’re looking for a total body workout, we offer: Code Green, Breakfast Club, BODYSTEP, SWEAT, Total Body Fit, Cycle & Circuit and willpower & grace.

If you’ve got 30 minutes and want to be better at all that you do from everyday life to your favorite sports, CXWORX is the perfect core workout for you.

For those interested in a total body workout using light to moderate weights with lots of repetition, BODYPUMP delivers.

H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results. We offer: H.I.I.T., INSANITY and CVI.
Yoga provides an opportunity for peace and tranquility achieved through focused training. It can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health. We offer: Alignment, Power and Basic Vinyasa classes as well as Classical Hatha, Kundalini, Restorative, Candlelight and Thermal Yoga. We are looking to add Ashtanga as well.

Indospinningpicdennisor cycling classes are known for energy-infused music and motivating instructors who guide you through an imaginary course. We’ve added Performance IQ to increase engagement with participants and provide performance metrics. We offer: Shift Up/Speed up, H.I.I.T. the Road, High Gear,  Ride & Shine and an Endurance Ride.
If you prefer to “Ditch the Workout and Join the Party!”, then Zumba is the class for you. We are also looking for UJAM instructors.

If you have a passion for fitness, helping others achieve their fitness goals and offering a group fitness experience like no other, we would love the opportunity to see if the GATC Fitness Team is right for you. Please submit your resume to: andream@greenwoodatc.com along with any of the aforementioned certifications.

To look for more instructor opportunities at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club visit our employment page.

Why Is Hamstring Flexibility and Strength So Important?

yoga_stretchOur hamstrings do so much and keeping them healthy takes some work. Hamstrings bend and straighten our legs, so if you are sedentary, you may have weak or tight hamstrings from poor posture and suffer lower back pain. If you are active and engage in sports, you need strong and flexible hamstrings for optimal performance. The hamstrings are at high risk for injury because they cover both the knee and the hip joints. If they are weak or tight, they are vulnerable to strains or tears during exercise. Strong, flexible hamstrings help increase speed and range of motion for runners, cyclists, swimmers, basketball players and tennis players. Stretching your hamstrings also increases blood flow to these muscles and improves your flexibility. One of the primary excuses I hear from people about not starting a yoga program is the biggest reason why they should! “I am not flexible so I can’t do yoga. I can’t even touch my toes.” Starting a mindful yoga practice will improve the health of your hamstrings and so much more! A few hamstring exercises will help, but an hour yoga class will warm you up, prepare your body and mindfully stretch and strengthen your hamstrings.
Still skeptical? Send me an email or give me a call. I would be happy to help you start a yoga program that fits your needs from our schedule of more than 30 classes per week.

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

15 Minutes To A Great Start To Your Day!

These four yoga poses done in the morning will wake you up, elevate your mood and alleviate pain. Designate a spot in your home to set up your mat. In a pinch you can do these poses without a mat.

  • Child’s Pose (Balasana) – five minutes
    Bring your knees wide and your toes to touch, sink your hips to your heels and extend your hands out to the front of your mat. Rest your forehead on your mat or a towel if it does not comfortably reach the floor. Move a little to get comfortable; pressing your palms, fingers and forearms into the mat massaging your forehead by rolling it side to side. When you have settled in to this posture, take deep, full breaths and exhale completely.
  • Table Top to Cat/Cow – move through the following in about three minutes
    Move into Table Top from Child’s Pose on your exhale. Set your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hip bones, aligning your joints. Look at your hands and spread your fingers energetically and press into your palms equalizing the pressure throughout your hands. From Table Top, drop your head and close your eyes moving organically through the hips, swaying from side to side or moving hips around in a circle. Come back to neutral spine and inhale to Cow by lifting your chin and tailbone up. From Cow-exhale to Cat by arching your back and gazing at your belly. Repeat by inhaling to Cow and exhaling to Cat, five times. Make sure to take deep long breaths and move into Cat and Cow slowly, letting your breath lead the way.
  • Down Dog – three minutesyoga_downward_dog
    Move from Table Top to Down Dog. From Table Top, move your knees back about two inches, tuck your toes under and push the floor away from you as you move into an inverted V position. In Down Dog, peddle your feet out, drawing your heals to the mat and move through your hips. Your hands are shoulder width distance apart and your feet are hips width distance apart. Actively push the floor away from you, lengthening from the crown of your head to your hips. It may be necessary to bend your knees slightly to create the inverted V or 90 degree angle in the hips.
  • Rag Doll – four minutes
    From Down Dog, bend your knees and walk your hands to your feet. Start with slightly bent knees and rest fingertips on the mat. Relax your head and neck. Grab opposite elbows and hang out here in stillness or sway from side to side. Release your hands back to the mat and bend knees so you can comfortably clasp your hands behind your back. Squeezing your shoulder blades together and expanding through the chest.

Release your hands back to the mat, slowly roll up to standing and have an AMAZING DAY!

Remember to check out Greenwood’s yoga schedule, where you’ll find 8 different yoga styles and over 30 yoga classes offered each week.

Marda Zechiel, GATC Yoga Manager

YOGA FOR TWEENS AND TEENS

yogaA recent study shows yoga to be of great benefit to teens. The research is published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted their study on 51 junior and senior high school students. Some of the students did a ten week yoga PE class, and some did a regular PE class. The yoga PE class included meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises, along with yoga poses. At the beginning of the ten week study, all the students took a number of psychological tests for things like mood problems, anxiety, mindfulness, resilience and anger expression. The researchers found that by the end of the study, the teens who did yoga scored higher on some of the psychological tests, while the teens who didn’t do yoga scored worse on some of the tests. For example, teens who did not do yoga during their PE classes scored higher for mood problems or anxiety, while those who did do yoga scored lower on these tests, or their scores remained the same from the beginning of the study period. In addition, the teens who didn’t do yoga reported more negative emotions during the study period, while the teens who did do yoga reported fewer negative emotions.

Why should your Tween/Teen do Yoga?
• Physical Benefits-strength, flexibility, improved posture, ability to relax, breath
awareness, balance and stability, stabilizes energy
• Mental Benefits-stress management, decision making, concentration, healthy body image, acceptance
• Spiritual Benefits-compassion, connection, presence and intuition

I personally have two kids in this category and it is hard to get them to a yoga class with adults. I believe a class with kids their own age and instruction that guides them through a yoga practice specific for their needs will provide them with these many benefits. GATC is offering a summer yoga series on Tuesdays at 11:00am, a good time-slot for sleepy teens, ages 12 to 18.

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

FLEXIBILITY VERSUS RANGE OF MOTION

Everyone knows flexibility is a key component in fitness, but what does it actually mean to be flexible? Flexibility, as defined by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, is the ability of the neuromuscular system to allow optimum extensibility of the appropriate tissues in the right range of motion, while providing optimum neuromuscular control through that range of motion. This means allowing muscles, tendons and ligaments to work in conjunction to allow normal range of motion of a joint. This requires that the soft tissues are free of tears, adhesions (scar tissue found in tendons and fascia) and are not overly excited due to a muscular imbalance. Those first two components are common results of exercise and training or injury. The last component, muscular imbalance, is commonly due to postural deviations. For example, if we lean too far forward in our normal posture, our hamstrings must fire twice as much as normal to hold us upright.
The second part of the definition of flexibility, while providing optimum neuromuscular control through that range of motion, is not only the ability to stretch muscles and connective tissue, but the control of that movement in that particular range of motion. I have seen very flexible people not be able to do some basic movements because they possessed neither the control nor the strength to work in that range of motion. For example, if you want to lift your leg past your hips, you not only need to work your hamstring flexibility, but you also need to have the muscular strength to lift your leg above your waist level. It is that combination of neuromuscular control and strength, as well as joint stability, that defines what our joint range of motion is to be.
This means that not everyone will have the same flexibility or range of motion, due to neuromuscular, joint or genetic restrictions. Excessive or inadequate range of motion in joints leads to issues in bio-mechanics. Flexibility and range of motion are different for each individuTRXal but can be improved through activity, active range of motion exercise, passive stretching and soft tissue manipulation.

Contact Vic or one of GATC’s personal trainers for assistance in achieving your best, both in flexibility and range of motion, goals which can also result from the practices of Pilates and yoga.

Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training

Mindfulness is Meditation

The idea of meditation causes panic and resistance in most people. Sitting still for an hour trying to keep your mind from wandering is a difficult, seemingly impossible task for most. Visions of a yogi sitting in lotus position in front of Buddha come to mind!

In reality, mediation can be a much broader practice. Meditation can be as simple as facilitating mindfulness, rather than a classic seated practice. Mindfulness means taking the time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Take a few minutes each day to take in your surroundings and stop multitasking. Mindfulness practice can be achieved by simply turning off your radio on the way to work as you take in another beautiful Colorado morning, taking a slow walk around the block, listening to soft music, sitting under a tree eating your lunch or a yoga practice.

The trick is to do one thing a day with absolute mindfulness. Focus completely in that moment, feel everything, every physical sensation, every emotion that comes to the surface. Breathe slowly and smile at the stillness.

The easiest technyoga meditationique to help you get started is breathing. Conscious breathing truly is the difference between feeling anxious and feeling relaxed. Try adding a few rounds of 4,4,8 count breath into your daily routine. Inhale for four counts, hold for four counts and exhale for eight counts. Close your eyes. Be slow and repeat.

Namaste!
Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

TRY SOMETHING NEW

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Hopefully you have been receiving our email requests to complete the Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club survey. We have read and answered over 1600 surveys and more come in daily. Please be sure we have the email address of the adult members on your membership so we can hear from everyone. The survey has given us an opportunity to hear feedback and concerns from members. More importantly, it has allowed me, our AGM Barbara Lubbers and other managers to really get to know many of you via email, phone or, even better, in person. I have had the privilege of hearing the good and the “not so good,” all with the intent to make your club better! We read every survey, answer your questions, forward your positive comments and consider your suggestions and concerns.

Via the survey, emails and personal conversations, we have heard success stories from members completing the Fitness Challenge. We have had many types of challenges over the years but this one seems to have been the most successful! Members are telling me how their workout routines have changed; classes they have added, trainers they have worked with for the first time, their venture into our mind-body area to try Pilates, all the while gaining measurable results in weight loss, strength gain, or increases in endurance and flexibility. Greenwood is a 153,000 square foot athletic and tennis club with something for everyone. It’s easy to get “stuck” in a routine, but when you commit to trying something new (with the Fitness Challenge) the end result can be amazing. Here’s what a couple members had to say:

“I have had a great time during the challenge, love PowerFit and TRX. I had taken TRX with Kenny so I will continue that. I am so impressed with Brandon. I never had an opportunity to work out with him before. He is a terrific instructor, tough but kept an eye on all of us. I am going to make an effort to get to his classes. The Saturday morning PowerFit classes were fantastic. I trust Vic and Rob to kick our butts and keep us from harm. It was very nice to have the opportunity to meet the other trainers/staff as well. You all did a wonderful job. Thanks.” Carol Storey

“The fitness challenge has been wonderful. It’s provided the opportunity to see what other classes are offered and the opportunity to meet some of the other trainers. The weekend PowerFit classes have been great and Brandon’s Friday morning PowerFit class is fantastic too. He takes an interest and corrects your movements and encourages/challenges. What a fun program this has been. Thank you.” Susan Carr

I love to run, but my body has adapted to that workout so I need to do other things to see improvements. Our bodies are amazing pieces of machinery that need to be taxed in different ways in order to see gains. So, attend a BodyPUMP® class, try a new machine, meet with a trainer, do yoga, try a Pilates Reformer class or swim laps. Next time you are in the club, take a risk and TRY SOMETHING NEW!

Paula Neubert, President/General ManagerPaula Neubert 12

How to Breathe in Yoga Class

Stepping into a yoga class for the first time can be intimidating for a lot of reasons. One topic that instructors are commonly asked about is the topic of breath. Below is a breakdown of the most frequently asked questions about breathing in a yoga class to help set you up for success.

Why does the instructor commonly remind us to check in with our breath?
Since we naturally breathe unconsciously, bringing a sense of consciousness to the breath can be trickier than it sounds. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes a very calming and meditative process – which is why the instructor will remind you to do so. This means pay attention to your inhales and exhales. This will help clear your mind of everything you have to do after class. It brings you into the current moment and allows you to slow down. It will also help you slow down your movements.

What is ujjayi breath, and why is it significant?
In beginner classes, you’ll hear the instructor refer to the “ujjayi” breath every so often. She’ll instruct you to “slightly constrict the back of your throat,” so you create some friction in your breath. This turns up the volume of your breath. This type of breathing starts to stimulate internal heat in the body, but most importantly, it’s slightly noisy, which provides a healthy distraction for your mind. When you can hear your breath, you’re paying attention to it.

When the instructor says to “send my breath into my hips” or another area of my body – what is she talking about?
This statement may sound lofty when you hear it for the first time, especially if you’re in a deep stretch like half-pigeon pose in your very first class! When the instructor says this, she’s encouraging you to actively turn your attention to that part of your body that’s resisting the stretch, in this case, half-pigeon, and breathe, with your thoughts and awareness on your hips. The idea is, by “sending your breath into your hips,” that extra energy will help you relax and allow your stretch to go a bit deeper.

The most important thing to remember about breathing in a yoga class is simply paying attention to it. Chances are you’ll leave class calmer and more rejuvenated than you were going into it.

GATC’s Yoga program offers 8 different styles of yoga as well as 15 hot classes every week, so there is sure to be one suited for you!

Marda Zechiel, GATC Yoga Manager
mardaz@GreenwoodATC.com

Yoga for Athletes

Yoga can be incredibly beneficial for athletes of all levels. It can assist in everything from visualizing success at your specific sport to breathing properly during the course of a stressful game. Yoga can improve:

  • Flexibility and range of motion– Yoga improves joint and muscular flexibility which are crucial to the body’s overall structural soundness. Enhanced joint and muscle pliancy translates to greater range of motion.
  • Balance– Balance exercises are often overlooked by athletes, but are an effective way to correct muscle imbalance or body mechanic problems.
  • Core stability and strength– Yoga is all about building core stability and strength. The slow, focused movements require a strong mid-section and the isometric contractions of many exercises will add a new form of resistance training to athletes’ workouts.
  • Correct imbalances– Yoga can also correct imbalances in the body caused by repetitive use of some muscle groups (overuse) while other muscles are ignored (underdeveloped).
  • Endurance– Vinyasa styles of yoga are a continuous workout that brings a muscular endurance element to the practice.
  • Improved mental focus and breathing techniques– The physical benefits are just a “side effect” of this powerful practice; yoga sharpens an athletes’ concentration, giving them tools to focus and stay relaxed even during high- intensity situations.

All GATC Yoga Instructors will lead you through a safe, effective yoga class and help you accomplish your goals. Not sure where to begin or what style of yoga to try? Send me an email and I can help you find the right class to achieve your goals.

What Yoga has done for competitive athlete Callen Borgias- “While having heard of the many benefits, I didn’t think yoga could help me as a cyclist and triathlete since I was already stretching…or so I thought. After incorporating yoga into my routine twice a week, I was stunned to regain flexibility in my lower back, hamstrings and hips. Running and cycling were once again, after years of just accepting pain and tightness, easier, happier, fun and FASTER! The proof was evident in my racing times. I was producing times that I hadn’t see in 20 years because my muscles weren’t working extra hard to overcome tightness and limited range of motion.”

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager
mardaz@GreenwoodATC.com