I sit at my laptop all day long, from the moment I return home at 9am after dropping my children at school, to the moment I leave to pick them up from school at 3:30pm.
Let me make this clear. I do not get up from my chair all day except for three reasons: 1) I make a Nespresso Latte for myself around 9:30am. 2) I forage through the fridge around 1pm for something to eat for lunch, usually with a spoonful or two from the jar of Dulce De Leche I keep in the fridge! 3) I have to go to the bathroom.
When I’m not designing, art directing or consulting at Specto Design, I write. Needless to say, everything I do requires a laptop/computer, most of the time. It wasn’t always like this; I didn’t use to sit in front of a computer all day long, but I’ve been in front of a computer now for at least a decade. In my past life, I was a model. One of the benefits of modeling in NYC, I suppose was that I used to walk all day long—up and down subway stairs, up and down 5th floor walkups, uptown, downtown—all day, on castings. Unless I was working … then I just hung out at a studio and ate a lot of catered food in between shots—you know, bowls of M&Ms, bagels & cream cheese, huge lunches. But, on average, 2-3 days a week I was walking.
Then, there came a time where walking wasn’t enough. I think it was around the time I turned 26. I needed to tone. I chose yoga. Why did I choose Yoga? Well. I HATED gyms and the men in them (another post). I HATED the feeling of exercise—meaning I didn’t like to exercise so anything that felt like exercise seemed a waste of time to me. I tried running in Central Park, but no one told me I was supposed to change my running shoes every 3 months, so I ruined my knees. I tried swimming, but then I had to move out of the building that had the pool on the roof. Then I decided to try yoga. I was pretty high strung so I thought I could become centered and tone at the same time – double whammy. And just in case you don’t know – YOGA IS A CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUT THAT BURNS CALORIES!! And YOGA IS NOT A RELIGION – we didn’t chant. There are all kinds of yoga, just like there are all kinds of religions. Some you flow (Vinyasa / Ashtanga – meaning move constantly). Others you stay in one position forever (Iyengar). Others you chant (Kundalini). And last but not least, the best yoga to learn postures and alignment before flowing (Hatha). All very different.
Anyway, yoga doesn’t just burn calories; it creates an incredibly toned, strong body. I don’t know about you, but I like to look feminine. Don’t get me wrong, I like to kick ass, and I still fantasize about having Linda Hamilton’s body in Terminator 2. I mean nothing can really compare to her except maybe Sandra Bullock’s body in Gravity, but, in general, I prefer to look feminine and toned, fit, if you will. That’s my thing.
The first time I went to Yoga, it felt like I just got stoned, meaning marijuana (I wasn’t a pot smoker, so that was quite a treat). I was walking on air. It was Slow Vinyasa Flow Yoga, so I was moving the entire time—remember cardio. I started at Level 1 as ALL PEOPLE SHOULD. And can I just say DON’T DO GYM YOGA. Learn how to do the positions PROPERLY and SLOWLY, before you do them quickly, otherwise you will get injured.
Anyway back to my story – I started at Level 1, And NO, I’m not limber, NO, I’m not flexible, and NO, I still can’t stand on my head. But I got really into yoga and went about 3-4 days per week. I felt good. No back pain, my head was clear. When I came out of a yoga class, everything just felt right—blood pumping, body stretched, fit!
Cut to today, sitting here at my computer, I’ve done yoga about TWICE THIS YEAR. TOTAL. Last year, I did yoga one time and the 5 years prior to that maybe a total of 3 times over 5 years. Life sort of stopped when I gave birth to twins. Three kids under 4 years old was tough. Modeling ended too. Anyway, lately I’ve been feeling progressively worse, because I’m frickin’ stressed out. I mean who isn’t nowadays right?
I decided today that I really need to go back to doing yoga. So … I dug out my “Live Well, the ayurvedic way to health and inner bliss” book, turned to page 69 (hmm) and did the Sun Salutation. Considering I used to do “intense level 3-4 power yoga and could do scorpion” this should have been easy for me. But, I’m 46 now (god that sounds old) and my body isn’t what is used to be—I carried twins to full term! Keep in mind this is a REALLY SIMPLE sun salutation—a basic yoga routine that anyone can do. It takes about three minutes, if that, to do one round. It’s 12 postures with only 6 inhales and 6 exhales. So as long as it would take you to deep breathe (if you do that) 6 times, would be how long this sun salutation would take you.
What makes this sun salutation so special? Well these 12 simple stretches systematically stretch virtually every muscle in your body (according to Live Well), massage internal organs, increase flexibility (even your spine), increase breathing capacity (wow), help eliminate toxins, and WAIT FOR IT, reduce tummy fat!!!!!!!!!
Okay, so it really is as simple as this. Get off my ass, get up from my computer 2x a day (I forgot there is also a moon salutation to do before bedtime – helps balance the body and psyche for sleep) and JUST DO IT (yes, Nike coined a great term).
That is going to be me for the next 30 days. Anyone want to join me for a 30-day Sun Salutation Challenge—just 3 sun salutations per day. A few minutes a day, and you will be touching your toes by the end of the month, and hopefully notice a whole lot more benefits like reducing stress, toxins and belly fat. Let the games begin.
Suggested Book and Links for Sun Salutation Exercises:
Live Well This book by Jane Alexander has a different cover now, but I’ve had this for 10 years. It’s an incredible book with tons of information. You can get a Kindle edition for only $5.99. I have the Kindle App downloaded on my iPhone. The sun salutation they use in this book is the Ashtanga Surya Namaskara A series.
Sun Salutation Basics from Yoga Journal
Cool Nice to Meet Your Self poster with Sun Salutations from Amazon.com