yoga for athletes

  • Now Available: Online Yoga Classes with Lauren Imparato, Owner of I.AM.YOU.

    Lauren Imparato never anticipated that yoga would become a part of her daily life. A California girl raised on athletic fields, basketball courts, and in swimming pools, she traveled east for the classrooms of Princeton, and after graduating, moved to New York for life as a young Wall Street professional. She turned to yoga, hesitantly at first, as a way to diversify her Manhattan treadmill workouts. She soon realized that with regular practice, on and off the mat, yoga can change you from the inside, out, as well as from the outside, in.

    In the spring of 2009, Lauren resigned her job as a Vice President at Morgan Stanley to launch I.AM.YOU., a lifestyle brand and yoga studio in Manhattan’s Soho.

    I.AM.YOU. is designed to help you take your body - the inside and the outside - to the place you want it to be: On top of the world.

    Now, wherever you are, you can be on top of the world with I.AM.YOU. This week, YogaVibes launched four amazing classes with Lauren. Enjoy her athletically inspired and restorative flows in these featured online yoga videos.

    I.AM.YOU. Beginner Daily Flow

    This is the perfect practice if you are new to Lauren's classes, consider yourself a beginner to Vinyasa yoga, or just want a short practice to get your day underway. In this 16-minute flow, Lauren draws on traditional yoga principles and postures, but offers her own creative, funky spin. If you have two blocks and two blankets available, please have them handy.

    I.AM.YOU. Hip and Leg Opener & Restorative

    In this Vinyasa Yoga class, link breath with creative and athletic movements in a 30-minute version of Lauren's signature class. Focus on hip and leg openers and restorative postures. Lauren provides alternative poses throughout, making it a great prenatal class, too!

    I.AM.YOU. Abs and Back

    Link breath with creative and athletic movements in a 30-minute version of Lauren's signature I.AM.YOU. Focus on strengthening the abs and back. This online yoga class is an athletic Vinyasa Flow that is creative and funky while being strongly rooted in tradition. This class is great for athletes and building core strength. Lauren provides modifications throughout, making this practice an appropriate prenatal class, too!

    I.AM.YOU. 360° Athletic Yoga - Hips, Abs, Butt and Mind

    A 360-degree sensorial, personal, and exclusive kick-your-ass yoga experience that will rock your mind and body. In this 60-minute online yoga class, link breath with creative and athletic movements that are designed for all levels. Focus on the core. Explore twists. Break a sweat. Enjoy Lauren’s original spin to the practice, though deeply rooted in tradition.

    For more on Lauren’s studio please refer to her website, www.iamyoustudio.com, to find music suggestions to go along with her classes, as well as breakdowns of common poses.

    Be strong, inside and out. Grow and evolve. Be on top of the world.

    ~TJ

  • Exercise Buffs Up Your Yoga Practice, Too!

    At this point, we all realize how awesome yoga is. We all know that yoga complements other forms of exercise. It’s almost a broken record. Yoga complements running; yoga enhances cycling; yoga increases sports performance; and so on. Look, I have no doubt. Yoga is freakin’ fabulous. I, personally, think yoga complements everything. But how about…I put my thing down, flip around and reverse it. Huh?

    I mean, let’s talk about how other forms of exercise complement yoga for a hot second. Wha-wha? That’s crazy. Okay, hold up. It’s not crazy.

    Yoga is amazing, but, last I checked, it’s not the only way to workout, develop strength, and feel empowered.

    Yesterday, I touched a bit on some yoga “no-nos.” I briefly noted running and lifting weights. Why are these off limits you might ask? Well, they really aren’t off limits. There’s some thought, however, that running, over time, damages your joints and weight lifting just gets you bulky, not necessarily sculpted, and puts too much weight on your joints. Okay. Maybe. All physical endeavors put you at some risk for injury, even yoga. Some mornings after an intense yoga class, my joints ache, I can barely move, and I feel like I got hit by a bus. Yoga can hurt, too!

    That being said, I don’t feel like doing yoga every day of the year. Some days, I’ve had enough, so I switch it up. Personally, I think it’s awesome to have a smorgasbord of exercise options to dabble in. In fact, I believe variety helps your yoga practice. If anything, you’ll never get bored.

    Let’s tackle running. Why does running benefit your yoga practice? Well, there’s nothing quite like a run to accelerate your heart rate. Running, arguably the best form of cardio, increases stamina and endurance. Running also has a mental edge to it. You want to stop, but you keep going. You keep struggling and struggling until that addictive runner’s high kicks in - the prize for your sweat. Maybe it takes 1 mile, maybe it takes 10, but you know that if you keep forging ahead that feeling of lightness and bliss will surface. At that moment, worries, fears, distractions and all mind chatter slips away. In yoga, that’s what we call nirvana, a temporary experience of bliss. Yoga, clearly, isn’t the only way practice nirvana and bliss out.

    Running also boosts confidence. My best friend told me she’d never be a runner (or a yogi for that matter). Now, she runs just about every day, crosses race finish lines, and kicks butt in triathlons. You know what? She feels damn good about herself. Empowered. She’s overcome an obstacle. She ran off her doubts. She’s completely retrained and transformed her brain and body. Overcoming this obstacle has rendered her more open to exploring other obstacles, yoga included.

    I already hit on it: Body transformation. Running battles the bulge and takes off those extra pounds that maybe you’re looking to release. I believe that you can do yoga as any shape or size, but being slim and strong certainly doesn’t hurt.

    Moreover, running improves coordination (kind of important in yoga). Try going on a trail run and you’ll see what I mean. You’ve gotta navigate the terrain, scale rocks, jump over ditches, hop over creeks, etc. Even running on the pavement can be an obstacle course - dodging cars, watching traffic, avoiding potholes, glass, etc. You gotta be quick on your feet, twinkle toes.

    It doesn’t stop at running. Apart from my yoga practice, I rock climb, hike, strength and resistance train, and swim. I find these forms of exercise to greatly enrich my practice. Yoga requires a great deal of strength, stamina, and mental prowess. A little training off the mat helps you to get in tune with your inner warrior.

    But when you are ready to get on the mat, where’s a good place to start if you’re more athletically minded? Here are some suggestions.

    Work it hard off the mat and boost your yoga game.

    ~TJ

  • Why You Should Cheat on Your Yoga Practice (and Feel Good About It)

    I catch wind of a voluminous amount of yoga blunders. Here’s a sampling.

    Don’t drink coffee. Don’t eat meat. Don’t watch TV. Don’t have a potty mouth. Don’t listen to indecent tunes. Don’t eat ice cream. Don’t eat cheese. Actually, just don’t eat dairy. Don’t eat fried foods. Don’t eat anything processed. Don’t go to bed late. Don’t oversleep. Don’t get caught up in material stuff. Don’t seek pleasure. Don’t strut your stuff in heels. Don’t use make-up, lotion, soap, and any product that is not naturally and/or organically produced. Don’t ever show your teacher the bottoms of your feet (unless you want to make an ass of yourself). Don’t run. Don’t lift weights. Just don’t.

    Don't do that!

    Look, a part of me gets it. A part of me even abides by some of the above. For some, yoga is all about liberating oneself from unwanted baggage, destruction, noise, and routines that bring us down. Some desire a deep cleanse in mind, body, and spirit. And that’s great. For others, yoga is a way to de-stress and relax. For some, it’s just about getting in better shape. For athletes, it’s about complementing their workout. We all have different intentions for our yoga practice. Maybe a part of the process of meeting your personal goals means that you decide that running, meat, or coffee isn’t serving you. Or maybe you realize these things aren’t even issues for you. Maybe they’re even serving you.

    When I first caught wind of the yoga “rules”, I decided to rule out all the "no-nos." Coffee was out. Green, ghastly drinks were in. Meat was out. Raw foods were in (along with digestive malfunctions). Lady Gaga was out. Krishna Das was in. Ice cream was out. Raw milkshakes were in. Cheese was out. Imitation, barely edible cheese was in. Running was out. Just yoga was in. And so forth.

    Honestly, I didn’t feel any better. Quite frankly, I missed my morning cup of joe, the running highs, and Lady Gaga. Clearly, altering my whole lifestyle and giving up things that made me feel good and alive did not serve me. I did, however, learn that I really do love Krishna Das and raw milkshakes.

    So, I went back to my old, naughty ways (with some exceptions). Sometimes, in class, I wondered if the teacher could smell the coffee or bacon sweating out of my pores. Did she know that I was singing Paparazzi in my head? Did she smell the toxic chemicals emanating from my Versace perfumed skin? Did she grasp the image of me strutting my stuff like Carrie Bradshaw, elevated in heels and robed in my brand conscious clothing? Wait a second. Did she even care? Answer: Nope.

    Busted for a Yoga Blunder.

    Honestly, people don’t care what you do (as long as it’s not harming anyone or anything, of course!). People do, however, love to tell you what to do. Why? Well, usually, they’ve realized that what they’re practicing/preaching works brilliantly for them, so obviously, it will work for you and the next person. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. My advice (and of course, take this with a grain of salt, because I’m just sayin’ it works for me): Do what works for you. Do what serves you.

    To figure out what serves you requires experimentation. So experiment.

    If your intention for practicing is to detox, test out this new Cleansing and Heart Opening Flow with Hala Khouri. If your purpose is to de-stress and chill, check out the latest online Pranayama and Meditation class with Annie Carpenter. If you’re an athlete seeking additional training, play with Sage Rountree’s Yoga for Athletes. If your intention is to get in tiptop shape, get sweaty with YogaVibes' online Core Fusion classes. Craft your yoga at home experience to meet your intentions.

    If you realize along the way, that hey, something you are doing isn’t serving you, well, cut it out! On the flip side, if you realize you genuinely enjoy partaking in some of the “no-nos”, by all means, partake! If something makes you feel good, and if it serves you and your intentions, “cheat” away. And feel good about it.

    ~TJ

     

     

     

     

     

  • Find the Video You Want Faster

    Attention! We’ve got something snazzy to flaunt. Are you on the edge of your seat? You should be. Without further ado, we’re thrilled to bits to introduce you to a new YogaVibes class search tool. Exciting, right?

    If you haven’t noticed already, a greatly improved class filtering system has recently debuted. Now, just hold on. Wait a second. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. Sure, change can oftentimes be daunting, but trust me, you’re gonna dig YogaVibes’ slight, yet super enhancement. Why? Because it’s going to make your yoga at home experience that much more convenient and fulfilling.

    The improved class search mechanism enhances your ability to quickly and effortlessly find the perfect class for you, your interests, and your needs.

    Luckily, this change doesn’t require rocket science to decode. Listen up, while I shed light on this added perk. Ready? OK! Now, when you select a particular Focus, Style, Length, Difficulty, Teacher or Partner, the system will automatically adjust the number of videos in the search criteria so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Man, what a time saver! No more energy wasted scrolling around aimlessly and distracted trying to find what you want.

    For those of you that learn by doing, allow me to offer up some examples so you can get the hang of it. Follow along.

    So, what do you feel like doing today?

    Are you a beginner yogi and athlete looking to pump up your core routine?

    Check the ‘Beginner’ box under Focus. Check ‘Athletes’. Check ‘Core’. Click ‘Show Classes’. Et voila! You’ve got your beginner yogi, athletic self a core inspired flow. Sweetness.

    Search Tool Demo

    Do you crave a crazy, sweaty Vinyasa flow with lots of arm balancing and inversions?

    Under Focus, check ‘Crazy Sweaty Flow’. Check ‘Arm Balancing + Inversions’. Under Styles, check ‘Vinyasa Flow’. Click ‘Show Classes’. Just like that, you’ve got a sweat induced Vinyasa flow sending you flying from crow to handstand. Buckle up!

    Do you want to chill out with a 16-30min Restorative flow, focusing on opening up the hips?

    Check ‘16-30min’ for Length. Under Styles, check ‘Restorative’. Under Focus, check ‘Hip Opening’. Click ‘Show Classes’. Enjoy.

    You get the idea. You can continue playing around with your search by adjusting the difficultly of the classes or by selecting a particular teacher or partner you like. See folks, it’s not that hard.

    We just want to see you getting the most out of your online yoga practice. Now, you can narrow down all the goodness and get straight to the source of the online yoga classes you truly desire. Relieved? Stoked?  Impressed? We thought you might be.

    ~TJ

     

  • YogaVibes’ Top 5 Trending Classes

    In case you haven’t noticed, summer has arrived. Maybe, for you, summer marks the pleasant commencement of beach bumming, sunbathing, wave riding, and cocktail sipping. Maybe summer is far from that lovely, utopian description. Let’s be real, summer can be overwhelming (not to mention, hot as hell). Its high energy can set the stage for anxiety and stress. Suddenly, bikini season snuck up on you without warning, the kids are off from school and bugging you relentlessly, family vacations launch with ensuing chaos, and your “me time” moments are few and far between. Luckily, in the midst of all the summer madness, you’ve got yoga.

    YogaVibes’ top 5 trending online yoga classes are summertime conditioning. Prep your body with core exercises, toning movements, and cardio. Prep your mind with relaxation methods, breath awareness techniques, and guided meditation. Dive into summer with these revitalizing yoga classes. Create your “me time” moments at home, on the beach, at the pool, on vacation – whenever and wherever!

    1. Nemeses with Sage Rountree Obliterate obstacles. This 73-minute class, geared toward athletes and appropriate for everyone, explores common yogic nemeses: poses that frustrate. In this all levels Vinyasa flow, find more freedom in Warrior I, fly into crow, open effortlessly into camel, and experiment with totally letting go in corpse pose. Along the way, build strength, increase flexibility, enhance focus, and develop the equanimity to approach all poses, feared and loved.

    2. Core Hell with Annie Carpenter Set your core on fire! This 23-minute all levels, easy-to-follow core flow is gratifyingly hellish. Annie Carpenter will push you to the next level in your practice, inspiring you to practice repetition to enhance strength and form more self-supporting habits. Uniting breath work, body locks, and core engagement exercises, this class is super invigorating, and if practiced regularly, will surely tone and strengthen the body, especially the midsection.

    3. Core Fusion Barre (1) with Julie Wiesman Tighten up. Fusing the disciplines of core conditioning, Pilates, the Lotte Berk Method, and yoga, this highly acclaimed transformational fitness experience incorporates 50 years of collective teacher expertise. This 58-minute core routine allows you to work from the inside out, consistently delivering results, including washboard abs, a tighter and higher backside, and a perfectly toned body. This class is open to all levels and no experience is required. Note: Socks are required.

    4. Pranayama and Meditation with Annie Carpenter Feeling frazzled? Try this out. Guided relaxation, breath awareness, and timed ujjayi give way to a peaceful meditation using the transitory nature of the breath as an anchor. Enjoy 57 minutes of stillness and serenity.

    5. Core Fusion Cardio (2) with Nicole Uribarri Need a good ass kicking? Core Fusion® Cardio is a calorie burning, sweat inducing, body sculpting, power-packed fitness experience, masterminded by the co-creators of Core Fusion®, Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito. Merging cardio with intense strength and flexibility exercises, this 54-minute online class generates maximum calorie burn, resulting in defined abs, sculpted legs, and high, rounded glutes. In this practice, it’s a good idea to have a set of light dumbbells and a strap on hand.

    Don’t let the summertime blues get you down. Just get down with yoga.

    - TJ

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