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Can Yoga Make You A Better Athlete?

As someone who loves yoga, it may come as a surprise that I also consider myself an athlete. I’m not saying I’m Lebron James or anything like that, but I’m always trying to get more out of my body. Like other athletes, I want to be stronger, faster, quicker and have more endurance a year from now than I do currently. I say all this to answer a question that I tend to get a lot, which is “Can yoga help someone become a better athlete?” Well, if someone wants to be more flexible, stronger, quicker, more agile, have better balance, and the ability to better focus, then the answer would have to be “Yes!”

I live in a city where high school sports is a big deal. There are a few local colleges where sports are pretty big as well. In the last few years, I have had more athletes coming to do yoga because they want to gain a competitive advantage. Most come in a bit skeptical. I will overhear the guys usually asking the trainers at the gym about the best test booster of 2015 or which supplements are going to give them an advantage before they will even peek their head into the yoga studio. They may not usually start out looking to yoga, but a lot are willing to try it because they know their teammates or others have done it before. Plus, yoga is becoming more and more popular over time.

Now, I don’t claim to know much about sports. My knowledge of it comes from clients of mine who play sports and inform me of things here and there. What I do know is that the athletes that do yoga at our studio usually report back to me that they feel more athletic, explosive, and, perhaps more importantly, have less injuries. I can’t say I’m surprised by any of this because these are all the benefits that myself and many others I know have experienced over the years. The difference is we don’t play competitive sports like these guys do.

The reason that yoga helps one become a better athlete is hard to quantify, but it helps with:

  • Increased core strength – lack of core strength is a culprit of all sorts of injuries
  • Increased flexibility – joints and muscles that are flexible are harder to strain or pull
  • Quicker reflexes – muscles that are flexible also react quicker, which means better reflexes and reaction time
  • Better balance – balance is often overlooked, but it aids in so many things
  • Increased range of motion – more flexibility means that the joints have an increased range of motion and usually a more pain-free one as well
  • Better focus – so much of yoga is focus and this is something that aids athletes a lot

There are more reasons, but those are the major ones. I’ve even chatted with many of the different school’s strength coaches who say they have noticed better performance by some of the athletes that do yoga with us, so we know it helps.

We’ve even had athletes that participate in powerlifting that say they have been able to increase their strength more than usual, and they attribute that to yoga. So even though myself or most yoga teachers couldn’t tell you what the top rated wrist wraps for powerlifters are (or even what they look like), we can help you bench and squat more. I find that pretty funny honestly.

I personally love hearing how yoga helps so many different people in so many different ways. It’s really a testament to how great it really is. So whether you’re an athlete, powerlifter, or a weekend warrior, yoga can aid you in whatever it is you do.

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Mixed race woman practicing yoga in park

A Beginners Guide To Yoga

Yoga is an activity that most people have heard of but don’t know much about, including how to do it or even the benefits it can provide for those that do it. This is especially true when it comes to men and yoga. Seeing it is a mostly female popularized activity, the most knowledge of yoga that men tend  to have is that their wife or girlfriend does it. To provide a public service and help educate newcomers, we have created a beginners guide to yoga.

This isn’t a how-to guide on certain poses, as that would be nearly impossible to do without being able to show you a video or be there in person. This is a guide that will help you understand what to expect from yoga and some things to remember when you’re starting out. Just like anything else, you’re not going to master it by taking one class. It takes time and effort, but it’s something that can help anybody feel and perform better.

Hang Back

If you are new to yoga and are intimidated by the poses you have seen before, you may be hesitant to join a class. Don’t let that deter you from giving it a try. Like anything else, everybody has to start somewhere. With that said, when you do start, it’s probably a good idea to go to the back of a class. This will help you feel like everyone isn’t staring at you (trust me, you don’t have to worry about this, as everyone is probably focused only on themselves) and will let you see others do certain movements that you are trying to learn. Most instructors will interact with you if they have never seen you in class before and will try to help you feel welcome.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Yoga is one of those activities that if you have never done it before, it can be quite humbling. Many movements require a combination of balance, strength, and agility. More than likely, you won’t have all these aspects down when you’re just starting out, but don’t get discouraged. Part of yoga is building strength by doing the movements consistently over time. When you can’t do a certain pose  at first, stick with it for a few weeks and you’ll be surprised at how easy it eventually becomes.

Focus On Breathing

This is one that is difficult for many that come from a background of weight lifting and/or playing competitive sports. This is because unlike other activities, yoga is about breathing as much as it is about performing the various movements. During the poses, part of the challenge is to breathe in and out in certain at times. When you’re used to hitting weights hard, it can be a little bit of a change to yoga. You actually want to be calm during yoga, compared to the semi rage fits that many use to lift weights. Just like getting the poses down, learning how to breathe properly is something that takes time and practice to master. But once you are used to concentrating on breathing, you won’t have to think about it as much.

Yoga On The Terrace

My Wednesday Traveling Workout

When I booked our trip to Amalfi, I had one main goal in mind in terms of accommodations: To book an apartment with a large terrace on which to do bodyweight workouts.

I knew there wouldn’t be easily accessible gyms in Amalfi and wouldn’t be accustomed to my typical yoga class–this region of Italy is much less equipped than Rome or other major cities. I also knew that most of the beaches would be rocky and populated, making beach workouts near impossible. So, I did what I always do: I planned ahead and made a commitment to just do my best–no more, and no less.

As such, I packed a travel yoga mat that folds up into a compact square and my speed rope. Neither of which take up space in my bag, and both of which allow me to perform a variety of body weight workouts on our Amalfi terrace–including, of course, my daily yoga practice.

So, while I don’t have lots to work with this week, I do have lots of space and a fabulous environment. After doing 8 minutes of yoga as a warmup, I did the following workout:

AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) 5 minutes:

Glute Bridge x20

V-up x10

AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) 5 minutes:

Burpee x0

Squat Jump x15

AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) 15 minutes:

Double Under x15

Lunge Jump x20

Efficient and effective–that’s how I like to roll. Afterwards, we walked 3.5 miles along the coast, from Amalfi to Maiori, in order to spend a bit of family time on one of the sandier beaches.

While I’m traveling, I’ll absolutely hit up a gym or a Crossfit box, but I won’t go too far out of my way to do so. I know that the gym will still be there when I get home, and I know I’m not going to set any PRs while traveling, so I don’t stress out over it. I just do my best–which, incidentally, is also what I do when I’m not traveling.

Back in my obsessive dieting and training days, I’d go as far out of my way as necessary to find a well equipped gym, which would typically cut a total of 3 hours out of my day. There was an almost tangible urgency towards accommodating my diet and training schedule, regardless of where I was in the world.

Today, void of such obsessions, I’m happy to get in a quick 20 minute workout on the terrace because I’m not interested in perfection–I’m interested in momentum. It took a lot of trips and a lot of practice to replace this sense of urgency with a more relaxed desire for momentum, but it was totally worth it. The thing is, life is just too damn short to stress out over these things, especially while in a place as picturesque and relaxing as the Amalfi Coast.

I workout when I travel so that when I get home I haven’t lost my momentum, and because moving just feels so much better to me than the alternative. I love having this kind of freedom in my life–it’s no much more blissful than urgency and obsession.

For those that are looking for a quick travel yoga workout or something they can do in a pinch, here is a workout I have done before and will many times do.


Why More People Are Using Synephrine Before Hitting The Gym

Nowadays, the number of people informed about the benefits of pre-workout supplements is increasing than ever. Supplements have ingredients that can enhance your performance when taken before an athletic activity by increasing your energy, strength and endurance. Furthermore, they can help your body to get rid of the unwanted fat, and boost muscle growth. If you are a gym goer, you will definitely appreciate any substance that offers an extra drive in the gym without having serious adverse effects on your health. This article addresses why many people are taking Synephrine, a pre-workout supplement, before hitting the gym.

Synephrine as a stimulator and fat burner

The desire of many bodybuilders to get more power in the gym contributed to the rise of pre-workout supplements. Guys started this trend by taking coffee just before the gym. Luckily, the progressing science has offered better pre-workout formulas that are more effective than coffee. Synephrine is among the components found in many of these pre-workout supplements, which is also safe and muscle building focused.

It is an alkaloid found in Citrus Aurantium fruit (bitter orange). Many people compare this stimulant with the banned ephedrine, but it is less potent in its stimulant effect and fat loss compared to ephedrine. However, even the synthetic version of Synephrine is legal for people to use as a dietary supplement as it yields chemicals with few side effects to the body.

Despite being not powerful as ephedrine, it is very useful for energy and weight loss programs. It produces emerging effects like those of caffeine but with few jitters. It primarily works by stimulating beta-3 adrenergic receptors with no or little effects on beta-1 or beta-2 and other adrenergic receptors that bring unwanted side effects.

Synephrine is among the main components that help to increase energy in a pre-workout. Studies have shown improved muscle endurance, especially when combined with caffeine. It is also a better supplement option for those who dislike caffeine.

Synephrine also accelerates fat metabolism by helping in lipids decomposition. Besides, bitter orange can decrease your appetite while increasing heat production in your body through Thermogenesis. This process increases your energy expenditure and ultimately the fat oxidation, which helps in a weight loss strategy.

Why take the supplement alongside workouts?

You may think that going to the gym every day is enough for your weight loss program. However, you can only lose weight this way up to a certain limit. In a weight loss process, both fat loss and muscle loss contribute to your mass decrease; hoping you lose more fat than muscle. You may still look overweight after a mass lose if you have no muscle left to support the remaining fats. In addition to boosting your performance, Synephrine is also essential in muscle building due to the presence of amino acid. Besides, it increases the amount of work that you can do due to the increased energy and strength. This ability to lift large weights for a longer duration will also contribute to bigger muscles.

Therefore, Synephrine supplements are of great benefit to people who are feeling low in energy during the exercise regimens or those trying to lose weight. Nevertheless, you are advised not to take it if you have heart problems. You should also administer the dosage exactly as your health experts advised you or as specified in the instructions. Finally, it is always good to combine Synephrine with a proper diet and workout schedule to enhance its effects.

Yoga Products

Yoga Essentials Every Yogi Needs

Yoga has actually been flourishing in popularity for many years now. Providing a method to connect with yourself via exercise and also relaxation. Nonetheless, if you are new to the world of yoga exercise it can be a bit confusing. While many teachers will certainly offer you an idea of what you can expect from a class and some things you may need to get the most out of it.  Some might not, which will leave you wondering what you will need for Yoga.

Well, with this yoga exercise fundamentals checklist you won’t have to fret any longer about what you need. Feel free to print it out, share it with your friends or just keep it to yourself and do what you want with it. You will be able to find most of the accessories at your local sporting goods store or a place like Amazon is a great place to look as well.


First and foremost you will need a couple of yoga exercise outfits, these are clothing items that allow you to stretch and are ideally breathable as well. It is a common false impression, that normal workout wear works great. Most of the time they become very cumbersome and also are too loose to do yoga. Many yoga workout wear is snug-fitting, and is also meant to help you accomplish internal peace without stressing over your clothing. Just keep that in mind.


Relying on exactly what your trainer or teacher has prepared for the day is ok but it would not be a bad idea to be very well prepared. From reinforcers to meditation stands, there are a bunch of props that are necessary for yoga classes, especially if you’re just starting out. They can be located almost anywhere, from online yoga exercise specialty shops and regional stores as well. Nevertheless, bear in mind high quality and don’t just go for the lowest priced item you find.

Yoga Bag

Having a high quality yoga bag gives you the ability to keep all your yoga essentials in check and in one spot. There is absolutely nothing worse, than having your yoga mat or other accessories fall out of your bag and into the rain. Puts quite the damper on your yoga class after that. Keeping all your things in one spot and in a bag that is meant for yoga will be something you are glad you spent some money on.

Foam Blocks

These fall under the category of being props but they are vital to any experienced yogi and is the most popular prop that is used in Yoga. Hence while they have their very own spot on the essentials checklist. They can be found individually, or in yoga exercise sets also.

Yoga Strap

These straps work to help you be able to get a optimal stretch during your class, even if you aren’t advanced enough to be able to perform certain exercises. They also help you to be able to get more effective stretches in and out of class. They are a really handy item to have and one that you will want to make sure is in your yoga bag. Many times you can find these in beginner yoga kits along with foam blocks and other things.

Exercise Ball & Pump

While they can be found individually, they normally come as a set. It will give you a leg-up at your class, when you come prepared with these two superb yoga basics.

Wrist Wraps

Most people think of these as things that are only useful for weight lifting and while they are great for that, they work well for yoga as well. These are essential, especially if you have weaker wrists as some of the poses and exercises you will do in class can be hard on the wrists. These are inexpensive to get and personally I have come to love these and are possibly my favorite accessory I use everyday.

If you’re looking for a pair then I highly recommend a pair from Essential Fitness as they have been voted the best wrist wraps of 2016 and they also come in many colors. I love my pair and hold up very well over time.

Now it’s important to remember that yoga can be done without having to purchase any of these accessories but if you are wanting to get the most out of your class and yoga itself, these items will help you do that. Whatever you choose to do I wish you well on your yoga journey and if you are in need of any help just let me know and hopefully I can help you out with some good information and tips.


Some Uncommon Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is a suitable exercise to strengthen the body and the mind. Practicing any type of yoga exercise offers a number of health and wellness perks that help lead to a healthy and also strong body, along with increased concentration levels. Yoga itself or Yoga related exercise has a lot of value considering that it’s been a practice since ancient times. It holds true that Yoga has actually worked for millions of us to live calmer and also tranquil lives.

Here are some useful wellness benefits of Yoga, highlighting why you need to include Yoga in your daily workout program:

Develops Muscular Tissue While Increasing Stamina & Adaptability

Yoga has many benefits, one of which is that it reinforces your physical body muscles and also enhances your muscles adaptability. A versatile body is less susceptible to problems like back pains and other ailments that tend to creep up as we age. As well as, the solid muscular tissues help with the avoidance of joint inflammation which many times is a major issue for people.

Boosts Blood Circulation

The relaxation that Yoga exercises provide better blood flow in our bodies which only works to help with many things as well as reduce your resting heart rate.

Brings Down Blood Sugar Levels

Yoga exercise decreases hypertension and also helps to lower blood sugar levels which is really beneficial for those who suffer from Diabetes. It also assists in decreasing LDH cholesterol and also improves your body’s immune system and ability to fight off diseases.

Relaxes Your Mind & Physical Body

One of the biggest benefits that Yoga provides is that it aids in helping you unwind your body and mind. Part of this involves managing your breath which on its own has a relaxing & soothing effect on your physical body and mind.

Boosts Emphasis & Attention

If you find you’re not able to concentrate on work and various other everyday activities, then I would venture to say that Yoga is an excellent option to help you improve this. You will certainly have the ability to perform much better at the office, in life and just feel good overall.

Improves Self Confidence

Self-confidence is an important thing in our lives but in reality it shapes much of what we think of ourselves and at times what your real worth is. Practicing Yoga exercises means that eventually you will get better at the exercises and also get some physical results from Yoga. This will help anybody feel better about themselves and improve their self-confidence immensely.

Why You Ought to Practice Yoga Exercise

Yoga can do a lot of things to make life easier and better but many don’t think about the fact that it can save you money as well. By being healthier, happier and calmer you are setting yourself up to be much healthier than most people in the world. With the rising cost of healthcare it’s a great thing to not have to go to the doctor and prevent illnesses so that they either don’t happen or happen much later in life. I reached out to a health insurance agency to ask them how much money one could save over their lifetime by living a healthier lifestyle like Yoga promotes.

To get a better idea of just how much money Yoga could save you on healthcare costs, I spoke with Hometown Benefits Group who sell Springfield, MO health insurance, Missouri dental insurance and many other insurance types as well. They told me that by being healthy one could save on average $500,000 in their lifetime but the possibility of saving more is real as well. That’s a lot of money and sort of puts into perspective the fees that you pay to go to Yoga class or any other type of exercise class. So the moral of the story is of course, practice Yoga and you’ll not only be happier and healthier but richer as well.




Stressed Out? Try Yoga!

It’s not a stretch to say that most people, especially here in the U.S., are pretty stressed out. In fact, people are so stressed that it’s almost a badge of honor to talk about all the different things that they have to do and how stressed out it makes them. I understand that we all have things to do and it’s impossible to remove all stress from one’s life, but we definitely don’t need to be as stressed out as we are. Stress can cause all sorts of health problems and mental cloudiness. It impacts our daily lives and can intrude on our quality of life.

For those that are stressed out and are seeking some sort of relief from it all, I would highly suggest taking up yoga. There are many benefits that yoga can provide, from increased flexibility, endurance,  and even more strength. Perhaps though, one of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it forces you to relax and center yourself. Yoga is one of those things that if you don’t breathe properly and relax a bit, then you won’t be able to do most of the movements that yoga demands. More importantly, there are many benefits that practicing yoga has for those that are a little stressed out. Some of them include:

    • Lower blood pressure – Including better overall heart health.
    • Lower cortisol levels – This is the hormone that is produced due to stress and it can cause all kinds of havoc on the body.
    • Better sleep – Better sleep helps you manage stress and even prevent stress from happening in many cases.
    • Lower depression rates

These are just a few of the health benefits that yoga can provide, especially those that are feeling especially stressed out. Not to mention, if you are stressed out, it never hurts to take some time to relax and focus on your breathing, which is one of the cornerstones of yoga practitioners. I can attest to the fact that if I have had a stressful day, I look forward to getting to my yoga class. By the time I’m done with the class, and even though many of the things that have been stressing me out are still present, I leave feeling relaxed and almost relieved. Think about how beneficial it is to take a yoga class after a long day at work. You’ll feel more rested and able to handle all of the stress that will be there when you go back to work.

There are even many psychologists that recommend yoga to their patients that tend to suffer from issues that stress can trigger. Things like anxiety, depression, and even bipolar disorders are all things that stress can either trigger or make worse, and yoga seems to help those that suffer from them manage their stress much better. If that doesn’t tell you that yoga can help you manage stress, then I don’t know what would. And that’s really what yoga will help you do, manage your stress better. You won’t leave a yoga class and no longer have anything that will stress you out, but it will give you a tool you can use to help manage that stress and live a happier life.


5 Benefits Of Yoga

We love yoga. This much is obvious, seeing as how we run a yoga website! Most of us have been practicing yoga for years, and have seen numerous benefits physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you haven’t taken a yoga class before or don’t know much about it, you may be unaware of how it can improve your life. We have compiled a list of some of the surprising benefits to practicing yoga. Once you know these benefits, I’m sure you’ll want to grab a yoga mat and start right away!

#1 More Flexibility

Have you ever known anyone that can put their feet behind their head? Do the splits very well? Most likely, that person practices yoga. There is a whole lot of stretching going on in a yoga class. Certain movements target the glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, groin muscle, and much more. Even after one or two classes, you will notice that your flexibility will start to improve. Stick with it long term and you will see beautiful results. And, with more flexibility, you are less likely to have a serious injury.

#2 Better Posture

Part of yoga is about finding your center and listening to your body. You are forced to concentrate on sitting or standing tall during certain movements, creating a long and lean body. You’ll notice that by keeping your shoulders back and focusing on not slouching, your posture will improve. Ballet dancers are known for having great posture, and the concepts learned in yoga about standing straight and keeping your chest up also apply in dancing techniques. Plus, having good posture also makes you appear thinner!

#3 Intune with your Body

One aspect of yoga that takes some getting used to is being conscious of your breathing during the exercises. If you take a yoga class, you might hear the instructor say something along the lines of “Concentrate on your breathing,” or “Take a deep breath in, and out.” These reminders help us to be aware of how our body responds to the movements and create a natural rhythm between what we do and how we breathe. Breathing in sync with the movements also prevents any lightheadedness or dizziness that can occur.

#4 Improved Balance

Do you have a difficult time walking in a straight line? Is it hard standing on your toes without falling over? Taking yoga can help with this. Specific yoga exercises force you to focus on targeting your core and glute area for balance exercises. I know for some of us, working on our balance can be a struggle, especially if you are prone to experiencing motion sickness, vertigo, or other inner ear issues. Take these exercises slowly and you will improve over time. You might even notice your issues being less of a problem.

#5 Ability to Relax

This one is probably my favorite. Along with breathing, relaxation exercises help you to be more intune with your body. In conjunction with proper breathing techniques, you are able to fall into “relaxation mode” and clear your mind. It’s a form of meditation meant to force you think about, well,  nothing. Since we are all stressed out most of the time, relaxation exercises give you a chance to let some of that stress go and appreciate the calmness and silence.

There are numerous other benefits to practicing yoga, but this list is just the basics. Really, there are no scary aspects to doing yoga. Just go at your own pace and listen to your body and inner soul. Then, you’ll really reap the most rewards.