9 Yoga Stretches to Help Relieve Hip and Lower Back Pain

9 Yoga Stretches to Help Relieve Hip and Lower Back Pain
SOURCE: TEAM BEACHBODY

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Tight hips can be debilitating. When things aren’t working right down there, even sitting or walking can cause pain. Luckily, a little (proper) stretching can ward off this pain, increase the fluidity of mobility, and decrease chances of serious injury in the lower region of your body. It can also take pressure off the lower back, decreasing chances of pain in that area.

These 8 simple poses can help both stretch and strengthen your hips, but keep in mind when moving through them to listen to that internal voice of your body that tells you if you are in pain or just feeling a stretch. A stretch may feel a little sore but inevitably it feels like a release of tension. When you feel sharp pain, back out of the pose and consider using a prop or moving on to another stretch.

Lizard-Lower Lunge

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Apparently, lizards have loose hips and this hip opener’s moniker is testament to that. Step your left foot forward several feet in front of the right foot. Bend the left knee until it lines up perfectly with the ankle. Drop the right knee to the ground and keep the toes curled under on that foot to stretch the calf muscle. Walk the left foot out to the side and place both elbows on top of blocks on the inside edge of the left foot. Keep hips lined up parallel to each other. You are opening the right psoas muscle and the left inner thigh. To get deeper into the right psoas, lift the right knee into a high lunge.

Bound Ankle Pose

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This pose requires that you bind your ankles—and by doing so you’ll unbind your hips. Bring the soles of your feet together, pulling the heels close to your groin, bending the knees, and butterfly flare the legs open. If you notice your knees are set too high to relax, simply place a blanket right under the sit bones to prop the hips up. You can also take the feet out further from the pelvic cavity to create a diamond shape with the legs. Keeping your spine straight, lead with the chest, pull your shoulders back, and fold toward your feet. This pose will open and relax the inner thighs and groin.

Cow Face Pose
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Begin by threading the left leg under your right leg. Work toward stacking the knees, while keeping both sit bones on the ground. Tuck the toes in to protect the knees. Sit in the pose for several minutes. When the muscles start to loosen and you no longer feel a stretch, fold forward with a straight spine. If this stretch is too intense, you can situate both sit bones on a blanket and place a block or blanket between the knees.

Pigeon Pose

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Starting in downward facing dog, lift the right leg and step it forward between the hands. Drop the left knee down and untuck the toes. Slide the right foot over toward your left pelvic bone placing the outside edge of the right leg on the floor. Tuck the right toes in (flexing the foot). Line up hips parallel to each other, continually pressing the left hip toward the floor. If this position is too difficult, place a blanket under your bottom. To intensify the stretch, move the right foot away from the left side of your body and drop to the elbows or chest. To make this pose less intense, move the right foot closer to your right leg and stay on the hands instead of folding. This is a profound stretch to the psoas, shin, glutes, and outer hips.

Happy Baby

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It’s not likely you will ever hear a baby complaining about hip pain. So, make like a baby and lie flat on your back, grab hold of both feet with each hand, bend the knees and pull them toward your armpits. Once in the proper position rock side to side, keeping your head on the floor. This will externally rotate and stretch the hips, loosen the inner groin muscles, and help realign the spine.

Beachbody Blog Happy Baby Pose Hips

Fire Log Pose

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This pose should put the fire out in your hips. Sit on the floor with a straight spine, both sit bones pressing against the ground. Take the left leg out in front of you and bend it until it is in a straight line and parallel with your body, knee, and ankle. Stack the right leg on top of the left, lining up the right ankle to the left knee and the right knee to the left ankle. If you find the final position too difficult, you can use blocks as support to lighten the pose. This is a deep stretch to loosen the outer hips and glutes. It also stretches and strengthens the groin, calves, thighs, and abdominal muscles.

Beachbody Blog Fire Log Pose Hips

Goddess Pose

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Gentlemen, do not be deterred by the name of this pose. It will help you open your hips regardless of your gender. Step your feet out very wide, turn the toes outward, bend the knees so they line up with your ankles, and tuck your butt in to engage the core. The further the toes are pointed outward, the deeper the stretch. This will give your groin, inner thighs, and hips a deep stretch. Note: Avoid this pose if you have a knee or hip injury.

Half Lord of The Fish Pose

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Sitting on the floor, extend both legs out in front of you. Keep the left leg straight and bend and pull the right leg in. Line the right heel up approximately 2 inches away from the back of the right leg and 2 inches away from the left thigh. Sit up very tall, avoiding sinking in the lower back. Wrap the left arm around the right leg, creating a spinal twist. Move the left shoulder forward as you move the right shoulder back, attempting to line the shoulders up. Take your gaze over the right shoulder. This pose stretches out the hips, glutes, lower back, spine, chest, shoulders, and neck.

Beachbody Blog Lord of the Fish Pose Hips

Garland Pose

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This pose is so effective for opening the hips that it’s the position most women use to give birth. Turn your heels so they line up with your hips, turn your toes outward. Bend the knees until you reach a squatted position. Place a blanket under the heels if they have to be lifted while squatting. You can also stack two blocks to sit on to work up to the full integrity of the pose. The Garland Pose increases fluidity in the hips, and stretches the ankles, knees, and lower back. It also strengthens the core muscles.

All photos by Lulu Lam.
Authors
Sarah StevensonSarah Stevenson

11 Tips For Boosting Your Body Image

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SOURCE: TEAM BEACHBODY

It’s time we start loving ourselves, and our bodies more. Here are 11 tips to help you do just that.

1. Make a List of Positive Things
Write down at least 10 things you like about your body and who you are. This could include your eyes, the silver streak in your hair, your strong calves, your kindness, or your sense of humor. Then take a picture of the list with your phone and save it so you every time you’re feeling not so hot, you can take a look at it.

2. Focus on Improvement
When it comes to your body, focusing on what you think is a problem area is just going to make you feel worse. Once you’ve acknowledged what you want to work on, focus on ways to improve and what you’ve accomplished so far.

3. Get Rid of the Negative Nancys…
When you start to feel better about yourself, some people around you might not be comfortable with your new attitude (or look) and they could start to get a little…mean. If these people are meaningful to you, we don’t recommend dismissing them out of your life entirely, but if you can, try to distance yourself from them or chat with them about why they need to stop.

4. …And Find People Who Motivate You
There are so many people out there who are inspirational. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Beachbody.com, whereever! Feed off their positivity and let them motivate you. You probably even have some positive people in your life, get out there and spend more time with them!

5. Move
If you’re finding yourself heading towards an emotional ditch, get moving. Stat. Go for a walk, Press Play on a Beachbody workout, just move. Doing so will help the endorphins kick in and help your brain get back on the right path.

6. Wear Clothes That Accentuate Your Shape
Wearing baggy clothes can make you look bigger than you are. Instead, dress in ways that flatter your body type using these tips. And, ladies, make sure to get a bra that fits properly. An ill-fitting bra can make even the best outfit look less than stellar.

7. Talk to Yourself
This one might feel a little hokey, but especially if you’ve been engaging in negative self-talk (“My stomach is too big,” “my nose is ugly,” “I don’t like the size of my hands,” etc.) it’s important. The next time you look in the mirror, I want you to say (or at least think) something positive about your body or your features. Can’t think of anything positive? Fake it until you make it. Even though it doesn’t feel genuine, forcing yourself to be positive will get your brain moving in a healthier direction.

8. Pamper Yourself
Do something kind for your body. My go-to is a long, hot bubble bath. But you could enjoy a massage (which after all the working out you’ve been doing is going to feel incredible), relax in a sauna, try a new haircut, or get a manicure (guys – this one isn’t just for the ladies). By taking some time for you, and doing something that makes you feel physically great, it’ll help you’ll feel emotionally great too.

9. Help Others
One way to take the focus and pressure off of you is by helping others. Volunteering or helping a friend in need feels good and helps you connect with others in your community or with those you care about.

10. Smile
Not only does smiling look good on the outside, it actually releases endorphins that make you feel good on the inside. When I really want my smile to pop, I throw on some red lipstick or gloss to make my pearly whites look even whiter.

11. Accept a Compliment
When someone gives you a compliment, receive it graciously. Responding to a compliment with something self-deprecating is not only negative, it also strips the joy away from the person giving it to you. Accept the love you’re getting. You deserve it.

You can no longer “feel” fat on Facebook

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SOURCE: TEAM BEACHBODY

You can no longer “feel” fat on Facebook. At least not with their cute little emoticons. Along with happy, sad, ill, excited, loved, cute, and strong (and a ton of others), there was fat. As of yesterday, it’s now gone.

It’s probably for the best. Because, while fat is a thing on all of our bodies (even skinny people), it’s not a feeling. We’ve probably all had the disparaging thought – it usually kicks across my mind after a particularly heavy meal – but it’s terrible. Why punish yourself with negative self-talk? And, why share that kind of thought on Facebook? In doing so, you’re encouraging others to join in the shaming or – especially if you’re on the thinner side – you’re (hopefully unintentionally) making a judgement against your heavier-set friends.

But, there’s another good reason that it’s gone. In the original petition, Catherine Weingarten, from the group Endangered Bodies explains, “As someone who has struggled with and overcome disordered eating, I know what it’s like to ‘feel’ fat. I have spent years of my life consumed with negative thoughts about my body, and far too many days starving myself in an effort to lose weight. But even worse than the skipped meals and the hours spent obsessing in front of the mirror was the fear of what others thought about me and my body.” The petition received over 16,000 signatures and Facebook responded by changing “fat” to “stuffed.” I’m not sure that’s all that much better, but it is at least a step in the right direction.

Weingarten continues, “Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world right now. With 890 million users each day, it has the power to influence how we talk to each other about our bodies.” I can’t help but agree. Hopefully they’ll remove “feeling ugly” next.

What emotion do you use most often on Facebook?

Homemade Organic Blueberry Granola Bars

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Devour them you will – as will your kids!

Homemade Organic Blueberry Granola Bars

Ingredients:

– 2 cups organic rolled oats
– 1 ½-2 cups Barbara’s Bakery, Organic, Brown Rice Crisps Cereal
– 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened organic coconut
– 1/4 cup whole roasted almonds, roughly chopped (or any nuts really)
– 1 TBSP chia seeds (can omit)
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 1/2 c. raw organic almond butter (or any organic nut butter you like)
– 1/2cup raw organic honey
– 1 1/2 tsp. organic vanilla (or maple extract, almond extract, or coconut extract)
– 3/4 cup dried blueberries or cranberries

Greek Yogurt Frosting:
– 2 TBSP filtered water
– 2 tsp. organic vanilla extract (or whatever used above)
– 1 tsp. powdered gelatin
– 1/2 c. Organic Greek yogurt
– 2 TBSP raw organic honey
– pinch of Himalayan sea salt
– 4 cup organic powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Line your 9×13 glass pyrex with wax or parchment paper.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the oats, Brown Rice Crisps, coconut, almonds, chia seeds and Himalayan sea salt.
3. In a small pot combine the almond butter and honey. Heat low until mixture is hot and has a liquid texture. Next add vanilla and honey mixture to the dry oat mixture and mix. Now softly stir in the blueberries.
4. Using the back of a measuring cup press the mixture into the pan until it is firmly packed.
5. Cover and freeze for 2 hours.
6. Now slice into 16 or so bars and return to freezer.
7. Make the Greek yogurt coating. Combine the water and vanilla in a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over top and whisk with a fork until the gelatin is evenly distributed. Set aside for about 5 minutes or so.
8. In a small pot, whisk together the yogurt, honey, and salt. Heat low, stirring frequently, until the yogurt has a liquid texture Do not let it boil or it will curdle.
9. Now whisk the gelatin into the warm yogurt mixture. Whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Scrape the yogurt mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Pour the powdered sugar on top. Use a mixer or whisk until the yogurt and powdered sugar combine into a thick, pancake type texture, coating.
10. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Working with one bar at a time, dip the bottom of the bar into the yogurt and allow any excess to drip off. Flip the bars over so the yogurt coated side faces up and place on the prepared baking sheet. They will be very sticky. Repeat with the remaining bars. Let the bars sit, uncovered, overnight until they are dry to the touch. Cover the remaining yogurt coating with plastic wrap until ready to use again.
11. Once the bars are completely dry, flip them over so the yogurt coated side is now facing down. Spread the remaining frosting with a knife over the bars (or heat the frosting until softer and dip the granola bars like you did before—you may want to heat it in the microwave even if you just use a knife to spread the frosting. Allow the bars to sit overnight so they are completely dry to the touch. Once the bars are completely dry, store in an airtight container freeze or store at room temperature.

TODAY I don’t sweat for pounds!

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TODAY I don’t sweat for pounds, inches or dress sizes anymore – been there, done that! I spent MANY YEARS feeling that guilt, that frustration of constantly feeling trapped in a vicious cycle. My success always came down to a NUMBER – a number on a scale, a number on a tag of my jeans – and I KNEW I had to find another way. I wanted more than anything to show my kids that you can do anything you put your mind to.

This photo was taken before my transformation with the Insanity program. I still remember that day. It was a Sunday, and I had just eaten some wings sitting there feeling self-defeated. My kids had been chanting humorously in the house “mama’s got a big ol’ butt” after I had said those exact words mocking myself not realizing the example I was setting (or lack there of). Honestly, I wanted to get healthy but I didn’t know where to start. I had such self-defeating thoughts. I’m too far gone and too old to start over. I’m too busy; I’m a wife and a mother. It wasn’t until I saw the Insanity infomercial that I decided to take a chance. No, it wasn’t that easy. I had to change my self-talk and thoughts as well. Our behaviors are reflected by how we feel inside, which will be reflected in how we appear on the outside. When we feel good about ourselves, it shows. THIS is the ultimate goal—to feel better about ourselves on the inside, so that our bodies and personae reflect that confidence on the outside.

So when someone asks me, HOW? I say start by changing your inner dialog. Acknowledge the small accomplishments: the positive self-talk, increased activity, eating more nutritionally balanced meals, and your behaviors will reflect that. You will be more encouraged to continue exercising, find it easier to resist food temptations, and will gain self-esteem—not because you are losing weight, but because you are managing your life and your body in a way that is honoring it—and the fit body that follows will be but a side effect! TODAY, I sweat to CELEBRATE this ONE BODY I was given. I don’t work out just to “GET RIPPED” and I don’t fuel my body with healthy foods just to “GET A 6-PACK”. While the effects of exercise on appearance are amazing, a deeper motivation has to exist — not just for better, more long-lasting results, but for a happier healthier version of you!

So whatever you are going through right now, whatever storm you are in – remember, be BOLD! You possess the POWER, LOVE AND SELF-DISCIPLINE…lift it up and take charge…and know I am here to help!

Daylight Savings Time Humor

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Daylight saving time can set even the most steadiest workout routines into a tailspin. A little humor to break up one of my biggest pet peeves!

Beachbody On Demand

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and it is going to be your best fitness arsenal yet! For this month only you can get access to hundreds of workouts from Beachbody’s collection of world-class fitness programs all for **ONLY $10.00** when you purchase Shakeology through me your Team Beachbody Coach.

Here’s a list of the amazing programs that will be available:

• P90X® & P90X Deluxe
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• INSANITY® & INSANITY Deluxe
• INSANITY: THE ASYLUM® Volume 1
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• Brazil Butt Lift® & Brazil Butt Lift Deluxe
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HOW WILL IT WORK?
First off, you must use this link (My Coach ID: 416281):
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You are going to LOVE THIS!
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