Yoga for Everyone

Yoga for Everyone

Yoga For All Levels

Yoga. I used to hate it. I was one of those numb-nuts who used to say “Yoga [insert rolling eyes here], that is waaaaaaay to slow for me.”.

And then I turned 45.

An age when mobility and flexibility starts to head south for an indefinite winter break.

So, I started going to yoga classes, and guess what happened?

Yup, I started to like it. 

I noticed myself getting calmer, as well as my ability to touch my toes came back.

So, I took a little course to teach it and went off to spread the yoga word to the masses.

I started with my little crew at an outdoor bootcamp one summer, and they encouraged me. “Yes, PJ! We would love for you to add yoga classes to your schedule.”.

I did and they hated it. 

Now, they didn’t hate yoga, or my class per sae.

Instead, what they couldn’t wrap their heads around was me being all gentle and kind in a workout.

Telling them that if something was too much “feel free to go into child’s pose”. If you need a break “lie down”.

They preferred the ass-kicking, yelling and screaming, move-your-ass-or-I’ll-throw-something-at-ya PJ.

Not the yogi PJ.

So, I hung up my teacher’s mat.

Every so often I sub a yoga class at The Studio, being careful not to be too nice (HAHA).

I also start my day with 10-minutes of sun salutations to get the blood flowing and the kinks out of the low back, and I attend classes as a student (I especially love attending yoga classes when I travel).

So, if you are one of those people who claim they hate yoga – please don’t.

Cause it is whatever you set your intentions to be.

Try this workout and make your intention to be curious. Curious on learning how to slow down and breathe.

From there who knows maybe you might actually find yourself rolling your mat out more often, instead of your eyes.

 

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15-Min Lower Body Foam Roller Workout

15-Min Lower Body Foam Roller Workout

Foam Roller Routine

I have found people fall into two camps when it comes to foam rolling.

Camp A, know about foam rolling and do it as regularly as they can.

Camp B, have heard of foam rolling, but they just aren’t quite sure why they need to do it.

What is foam rolling?

Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release, which is just a fancy word for releasing muscle tightness and trigger points, or “knots”, in the muscles.

It’s been used for years by professional athletes and therapists, and now can be found in gyms and studios throughout.

Rolling is likened to the “poor person’s” massage and a regular romp with your roller will help prevent injuries, improve your spinal alignment and posture, and increase your flexibility and mobility.

Tips When Rolling

  • Keep your rolling slow and controlled.
  • Move in multiple directions, don’t just roll up and down and down and up.
  • Add side-to-side movements, cross-friction and flexing and extending of the joint being rolled.
  • Roll for 30-60 seconds an area.
  • Use your arms and legs to help move your body and roll the roller.
  • Rolling a muscle may be a little painful, however, you don’t want to be screaming in pain. Rolling too hard on the muscles will activate the muscle spindles causing more muscle tightness. Not our goal with rolling.
  • Don’t roll right on a joint, keep ti soft tissue only.
  • Do not roll along the spine – again, avoid bone, hit flesh 🙂

 

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15-Minute Hip Stretch Workout

15-Minute Hip Stretch Workout

15-Minute Hip Stretch Workout

If you suffer with tight hips, low back pain, poor mobility, stiff knees and/or you run this workout was made for you.

In under 15-minutes I lead you through not only a full stretch routine for the hips, but a hip mobility workout too.

You see you need to address both your flexibility and your mobility, cause they ain’t the same.

First, mobility refers to our ability to move more freely without stress on the body.

Where our flexibility is dependent on the range of motion of our muscles. So, the two are not the same, but are they not mutually exclusive either.

Good mobility can assist your flexibility and vice versa.

And guess what?

As we age we start to lose both!

 

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15-Min Better Posture Workout

15-Min Better Posture Workout

15-Minute Better Posture Workout

This 15-minute posture workout is perfect for anyone who sits in front of a computer for most of their day, or behind the wheel of a car, or for those who are finding their shoulders are rolling forward with age.

My 15-minute better posture workout is a go-to for anyone who sits at a desk.

You see, when we sit and stare at a screen we tend to poke our chin forward (the pros call this forward head posture), roll our pelvis’s forward and slouch our upper backs.

Not cool for the neck, shoulders, hips, back and spine.

bad-desk-posutre

Even those of us with the best intentions will roll into the this bad-boy posture at least a dozen times throughout the day.

And, then there’s those of us who drive.

The car is one place a lot of people don’t think about their posture in.

However if you drive everyday, even if it’s only to the store and back, over the course of a year this will add up to a lot of chronic stress to the neck, shoulders, back and hips.

bad-posture-driving-car

And finally, bad posture can also pop up into our lives when we are innocently out and about walking.

In fact I see this type of posture a lot.

People walking around and leading with their chin, while rounding their upper back.

When I see this I have to forcibly restrain myself from going to that person and physically pulling their shoulders back.

bad-posture-walking

Whatever camp you are a part of this little better posture workout will help straighten you out.

15-Minute Better Posture Workout

 

  • Keep your ears in line with your shoulders
  • Uncross those legs and, instead, place both feet on the ground when seated
  • Pull back your shoulder blades, but not too strict. You don’t want to be too rigid.
  • If you have a hard time maintaining good posture when seated try using a lumbar support pillow.
  • If seated for long periods, get up and move every 20-minutes.
  • Sneak in exercise where ever and whenever you can. Immobility is the worse thing you can do for your posture.

 

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Partner Stretches

Partner Stretches

Partner Stretches

Have you ever had a Thai massage? OMG, if you haven’t you must! It’s like yoga, but someone else does all the heavy lifting.

You just lie there while someone else stretches you. It’s pure bliss.

I have had a few and even took a Thai Yoga Massage course a number of years ago.

But, another way to bliss (which is also much easier on the the ol’ wallet) is to stretch with a partner.

A partner stretch workout (where one person guides your limbs into deep stretches) can help you:

  • Relax
  • Refresh
  • Lengthen
  • Improve your mobility

Partner Stretches

Today’s workout guides you through a 17-minute partner stretch session. I emphasize opening the hips, stretching the hamstrings and making the low back all happy and smiley (low backs can smile – honest.).

In this workout I take you step-by-step through each stretch, so you can confidently stretch your partner.

Afterwards all you have to do is rewind the workout for your partner to listen to my cues while you get to lie there and be stretched!

Awesome, eh?

In this video loving husband got all the love.

Me. I got nothing. No stretches. No bliss. Nothing.

He owes me.

 

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The Best Lower Back Stretch Routine

The Best Lower Back Stretch Routine

The Best Lower Back Stretch Routine

Best lower back stretches – right here!

I loved filming this workout “The Best Lower Back Stretch Routine”. You see it’s a treat when I can film a workout not be a sweaty mess afterwards!

This particular workout is pretty much for EVERYONE!

If you:

  • Sit a lot during the day
  • Have low back pain
  • Have had low back pain
  • Want to improve the mobility of your hips and spine
  • Need to unwind before bed
  • Or, need to get the body moving in the AM

This is the perfect workout for you.

So… you see what I mean. The Best Lower Back Stretch Routine is pretty much for everyone.

The lumbar spine has 5 motion segments. Most twisting and bending is divided among those segments, although the majority of the motion takes place in the lowest two segments, called L4-L5 and L5-S1.

The structures in these two lowest segments are the most likely to wear down over time or be injured.

The Best Lower Back Stretches - Fitness with PJ

That smoking — the bad habit that increases the risk of dozens of diseases — can also lead to backaches.

One study found that smokers are nearly a third more likely to have low back pain compared to nonsmokers.

6 Common Culprits to Low Back Pain

1/ Too much sitting. The body was meant to move, not stay static for long periods of time. If you are stuck sitting make it a point to get up and move every 20-minutes for 30-seconds.

2/ Bulging or ruptured disks. Disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disk without back pain. Disk disease is often found incidentally when you undergo spine X-rays for some other reason.

3/ Skeletal irregularities. Back pain can occur if your spine curves abnormally. Scoliosis, a condition in which your spine curves to the side, also may lead to back pain, but generally only if the scoliosis is severe.

4/ Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis.

5/ Osteoporosis. Your spine’s vertebrae can develop compression fractures if your bones become porous and brittle.

6/ Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement may strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you aren’t in shape and place constant strain on your back it may cause painful muscle spasms.

The Best Lower Back Stretches

 

10 Ways to Keep Low Back Pain Away

In addition to the workout above!

1/ Get more exercise. While you may think it best to rest your back if it’s hurting, experts recommend the opposite. Regular physical activity can help ease the inflammation and muscle tension.

2/ Watch your weight. Extra pounds, especially around the mid-section, can make back pain worse by shifting your center of gravity and putting strain on your low back.

3/ If you smoke, stop. Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to the spinal discs (not to mention what it does to the rest of the body).

4/ Sleeping position. If you are prone to back pain sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up a bit and a pillow in-between them may help ease the pain. Back sleeper? Then put another pillow under the knees.

5/ Posture. Pay attention to your posture and when seated be sure to push the bum to the far back of your chair and keep your knees a bit higher than your hips. Standing for long periods of time? Position one foot higher than the other using a small stool.

6/ Avoid high heels. Sorry, but high heels shifts your center of gravity and places a strain on the low back. Stick to one-inch heels if you can.

7/ Stash the skinny jeans. Tight clothing interferes with bending, sitting and walking – all of which can aggravate low back pain.

8/ Lighten your wallet. For you men out there, sitting on overstuffed wallets can cause discomfort and pain. Lighten it up, or take it out of your pocket when seated (such as when driving).

9/ Pick the right purse. Messenger bags are best for the back (where the strap hangs on the opposite shoulder of the bag). These types of bags help to distribute the weight more evenly and keeps your shoulders and back pain-free.

10/ Forget the back braces. There are a variety of braces on the market and while they may be helpful after certain kinds of surgery they is absolutely no evidence that these braces can help treat chronic pain. In fact, they can actually add to the pain as the muscles will get lazy because they are not being used everyday to stabilize the spine.

 

The Best Lower Back Stretches - Fitness with PJ

 

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