14 Weight Loss Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

14 Weight Loss Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

weightloss obstacles

Losing weight is simply not easy and there are just so many obstacles that you have to deal with. Whether it’s as little as six pounds or a body-changing forty pounds, shedding them all will take so much from you including the mental, emotional, and lifestyle changes that you need to make. However, there is no other best time to keel over each one of them but right here, right now. It is really doable as long as you do not stop until you succeed and do not let anything get in your way. With perseverance, you will be able to finally achieve that ideal weight you so desire.

To increase your chances of weight-loss success, you need to reflect a little and think about the possible obstacles that you could face along the way. Then, you can come up with some strategies that will help you overcome them in the most practical way possible. Meanwhile, here are 14 common obstacles that individuals like yourself encounter in their weight management journeys and how to deal with them effectively.

1. No time for exercise

Time is one of most common issues that prevents most people from finally embarking into an exercise program. There’s just so much to do that you can’t find time to exercise. Thing is that, if you do not consider exercise to be top priority and of utmost importance, then you will never have time for it. So the first thing to do to overcome this obstacle is to change your mindset about exercise. Accept the fact that you will never lose weight safely and effectively if you do not make exercise a crucial part of your lifestyle. Exercise plays a major role in weight management that if you are serious about shedding those pounds, then you have to make time for it.

Fit exercise or gym time into your schedule. Besides, you will not only lose weight, but you will be healthier as well. A schedule that is too busy for exercise is unhealthy in a lot of ways. So make it a point to include it like you would a very important appointment for the day. There are also exercises that will give you the maximum in terms of results but require less time from you. High Intensity Interval Training, better known as HIIT, is one such exercise program. Compared to the regular, steady-state exercises, you will be able to burn bigger calories per day and some more in the following days after your workout. Beachbody employs the same principle in 22-Minute Hard Corps and Focus T25 where you can get the comparable benefits of an hour’s workout in just 30 minutes. What happens is that, with the varying of intensity levels, the heart also goes up and down, and then up-down again. Consequently, your oxygen consumption increases, post-exercise and more calories get burned even in the days after.

2. Exercise is a drag

An exercise program is typically done via a series of repetitions and the routine can be boring especially if you have been doing it for some time. But don’t let this stop you from hitting the gym because there are so many choices out there for you. Working out should never be a chore because once you feel that it is, then it is not the right one. You have to enjoy what you are doing in order to have the motivation to keep doing it until you reach your weight goals. You simply have to find those activities that you love, vary what you do weekly, or continue to explore various forms that may interest you. There’s the treadmill, kickboxing, line dancing, swimming, mixed martial arts, tennis, yoga, and so much more.

3. Pushing yourself too hard

While others do not really care about exercise, you on the other hand, may be working too hard. There is nothing wrong with working hard because it shows how determined you are to lose weight. However, overdoing it can have adverse effects and even result to injury. In the end, you will only feel frustrated to see that there seems to be not much change on the weighing scale despite all your efforts and everyday workout. Some people even hit a fitness plateau as a result of too much effort and too often.

You will only see desirable change when you do it right. And an effective exercise program includes time for you and your body to recover and regain its strength. It is actually when you rest that muscles build and grow. Consequently, as you go back to your intense workouts after a respite, you will notice a significant increase in your speed as well as efficiency. On the other hand, not resting at all can leave you feeling drained and unable to lift weights for more repetitions. So go ahead take time to rest, make up on sleep, or still workout but make it light and easy. A 3-Week Yoga Retreat from Beachbody can be perfect for some gentle exercises and full body stretches. Maintain balance and achieve maximum results by making recovery an inevitable part of your fitness program.

4. Pain and aching joints

When you are in some kind of pain due to an injury or a chronic problem, it is certainly hard to get out of your way and even think about exercise. But as long as you have your doctor’s approval, it is more helpful to make the smallest of movements compared to none at all. You just have to go low-impact and step it up a bit. Start with exercises that are doable for you such as walking, biking, or swimming, even just for a good half hour. These are more likely to help you burn those calories and shed those pounds than just sitting on your couch doing nothing.

5. Workout and nothing else

Some people think that working out is the only thing that can make them lose all the weight. Truth is that, maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes both exercise and a proper diet is what really makes the difference. Research has confirmed that individuals who start out with a healthy diet coupled with regular exercise are more likely to succeed as they are able to maintain this kind of lifestyle over time. Weight loss is mostly a result of dieting and about 40% exercise.

As such, you can workout intensively everyday but end up not shedding any pounds if you fail to follow a diet that will complement your exercise program. It is important to understand that exercise is just part of a whole and the other parts have to be done as well if you are to get to your weight loss goals. So do not rely solely on exercise to lose weight. Adopt healthier eating habits that are geared towards helping you achieve your most desirable body ever.

6. Exercise makes you hungry

If you have been following a strict diet or have been trying to cut on food to lose weight, you might not want to work out as it can cause you to crave for more food. However, the successful principle behind healthy weight loss has to involve both proper nutrition and exercise. As such, you do not have to worry about working out and eating more because what really matters is the amount and kind of food that you eat that will result in maximum weight loss. In fact, depriving yourself of food will take its toll sooner and will only make you go back to your nasty old eating habits.

The key is to load up on foods that are filling but have low calorie counts such as lean protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains. They have to be rich in protein and fiber so that you feel full longer as digestion is slowed down. Non-starchy vegetables are also very helpful in this sense and it can include squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. To make them more flavorful, you can add some spices and vinegar’s, or roast them if you like them caramelized and sweet. The fiber content and water is sure to fill you up. Plus, it can also give you lots of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

7. Too busy to cook

One of the primary reasons why most individuals gain a lot in the first place is that, they are fond of consuming instant and processed food. However, if you want to be successful at losing weight, you have to do just the opposite and invest time in preparing your very own weight loss-designed food. It doesn’t have to take you hours though. You just need to plan ahead so that you can fit it right into your schedule and get into the habit of eating fresh, healthy food at the right proportions.

Plan your meals and snacks for the day or for the week before you go hungry and reach for a bag of junk food. Clear your cupboard and fridge from everything that will hinder your weight loss. Stock up on healthier choices and ingredients. Instead of ordering takeout, try tossing your favorite main course salad and enjoy a scrumptious meal without the guilt. Check out some recipes that are quick, tasty, and doable for you so that you can follow through on them.

8. Healthy food tastes bland and boring

Try eating leafy green vegetables for a week and you will soon feel like you’re turning into a goat. Healthy food can taste boring especially when you are used to savory, processed, frozen, or canned ones with high-salt or sugar content. However, you have two critical choices here: one is to continue eating those delicious, sinful foods and gain more weight; or two, do everything you can to make healthy food more palatable for you while losing weight at the same time. If you are more excited to see a sexier body this time, then it will take patience and some experimenting on your end.

Healthier food can taste different at first but over time, you will find that you can enjoy them too. This is especially when you are able to explore tastier ways of cooking them such as using spices to boost its natural flavor. So yes, how bland or delicious they taste is up to you as you try to learn the basics of cooking them tastefully, and then experimenting a bit till you achieve the flavor that suits you best. Keep trying new recipes and ways of cooking when you feel like you can’t take anymore of the healthier foods that you have been preparing. Who knows, broccoli might just become your next favorite thing.

9. Going healthy is expensive

The first thing that might come to mind after you finally decide to eat healthy is that, organic produce is expensive! Fortunately for you, it’s not your only choice. One smart move is to go for fruits and vegetables that are in-season because it would mean that plenty would be available and that they would be cheaper. Frozen veggies are also good options as typically, they are as nutritious as the fresh ones. Going vegetarian is another wise choice for those on a budget. You can consume more plant-based protein over meat, which can be costly. Moreover, preparing your own meals at home is far more budget-friendly compared to eating outside. In the long run, investing in your health today means tons of savings in the future. Paying for a fresh chicken salad over a fast food meal will save you tons in health-related expenses later.

10. Resisting temptation is just too hard

You know yourself better and if you are aware about how weak you can be in the face of temptation, then this is what you need to prepare for ahead of time. Your willpower and determination to stay true to your diet program is going to be constantly tested and you have to pass the test each time. Think about those times when you have to be outside of the house, with loved ones or friends, having a good time. Plan your defense before going out and know exactly what to order, gulp on a filling healthy shake beforehand, or bring some healthy snacks to munch on.

For support, tell whoever it is you’re meeting up with about your weight goals so that they can help you choose healthier choices instead of letting you give in to the temptation. For office birthdays, happy hours, and other tempting occasions, have the willpower to resist eating too much or just have a taste or a spoonful of your favorite food to satisfy your cravings but still stick to your diet program.

11. Lacking in follow-through

It’s easy to be excited and all pumped up at the start of a new endeavor especially when it involves losing weight to get a sexier body for a wedding or a high school reunion. But when the going gets tough, only the tough gets going while the rest fail to follow through on their weight loss agenda. As such, it is important to have the right motivation from the start and be able to set short-term as well as long-term goals. In this way, when the excitement wears off, you will still have more than enough reason to push through with what you have planned and not end gaining back what you have worked so hard for to lose.

Wearing that bikini for the summer is a good short-term goal but avoiding health problems encountered by other family members can be a source of strong and serious long-term motivation. To keep yourself motivated, it is also advisable to create daily goals with corresponding immediate rewards. Say for instance, if you are able to finish a cardio workout for a consistent 30 minutes for the whole week, you get to see your favorite movie for the weekend. If you are the competitive type, you can challenge yourself by joining marathons and ending the race with a gold medal. Losing weight in this sense, isn’t anymore your end goal but a start to a long-term lifestyle enhancement.

12. Past failed attempts holding you back

Failure can wear you down. Numerous failed attempts can literally make you feel ashamed of yourself. But if you just dwell on how much you have failed in the past, then it is going to continue to haunt you down and success will never be a part of you. On the other hand, you can turn those failures around and turn them into stepping stones for success. Besides, you cannot really call it a definite failure unless you have given up and quit for good. So the key is not to quit, but to keep trying until you have succeeded. To ensure your success this time, check back and reflect on what specific obstacles you have encountered previously and think up some strategies to counter each one as you plunge into a new attempt. There are no guarantees, but you can choose to be stronger with each failure, get back up, and fight another day.

13. Punishing goals and impossible deadlines

You can only lose a certain number of pounds each week or each month and you are already punishing yourself unnecessarily if you push beyond that. This will be bad for your motivation and self-worth. Weight loss is certainly not an overnight thing and you should remember too, that you spent years of unhealthy habits to gain that much weight in the first place. Be a friend to yourself and set only realistic goals and reasonable deadlines. Don’t wait too long before you start on a program when your sister’s wedding is just a month away.

Plan at least a year ahead to help yourself and your body adjust to the new activities and eating habits. Do not lose hope when you don’t get to a certain weight at a specific date. Instead, make your progress slow, but steady and sure. It is no use going yoyo with your weight because that can pose serious damage to your health. Do research as to which kinds of food and exercise routine can help you lose weight effectively according to your individual characteristics. Consult a weight management expert if you have to so you can help yourself.

14. Getting stuck in a plateau

A plateau can be equally frustrating as gaining more weight than you desire. It’s like sacrificing so much and working hard for nothing. Come to think of it however, there must be something to what you are currently doing that has made you reach that point. Impatience over a plateau will certainly not help in this case. Health experts believe that reaching a plateau is part of the weight loss cycle. It could be the body’s natural reaction or it could be that you have slackened in following your program to the letter. Whatever the reason may be, this is no cause for quitting but a signal to recheck your current activities and see where you might need to improve. Extend your patience and just focus on your goal.

As a whole, obstacles are there for you to overcome. Take them as a challenge, work hard to overcome them, and you will find success to be your sweetest victory ever.

7 Ways to Overcome your Fear of Working Out

7 Ways to Overcome your Fear of Working Out

fear of working out

It’s easy to fear the unknown, that is human instinct. When trying to learn something new or starting new feats that you have never done before, fear is sure to set in. However, if you just focus on that fear, then you might end up stagnating in your comfort zone and achieving less. The fear of working out can attack you in the same way. You may feel like exercising or going to the gym is not something you can be good at and so you end up feeling conscious of yourself or anxious. Just looking at those weights can be intimidating and you might fear getting hurt or simply doing it wrong. It’s like being forced to dance and looking awkward in front of so many people. The fear of failure can really stop you in your tracks.

Most often that not however, all that is just in your head. Because you will never know how it will really turn out if you haven’t even tried, right? Besides, working out and the fear of it is worth overcoming with all the physical, emotional, and mental health benefits that it can give you. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it! But first, here are some tips to help you cross over and overcome the fear of working out.

1. Focus on yourself

The gym is the most bustling place you can get into and it can be very intimidating especially when it’s your first time to enter it’s jungle-like environment. You will see highly confident individuals lifting weights or running on the treadmill like they have been doing it all their life. If you are not into loud music, rotating disco lights, and hardcore athleticism, the multi-sensory atmosphere at the gym can overstimulate you instead of pump you up. You might end up asking yourself, “What did I get into?” At this point, it would be easy to just bail out. However, the goal is for you to overcome your fear and the best way to do it is to tune out all the distractions and just focus on yourself. Turn on your kind of music or listen to an audio book or podcast on your headphones so you can put everything else in the background. You can also focus your attention on the TV while on the elliptical or treadmill. Lastly, if you feel a bit intimated by how good others around you seem to be doing, divert your attention away from them. Focus on your own development, follow your own pace, and enjoy every moment of your workout.

2. Jazz up your work out

It’s true, working out can be difficult and exhausting. And so, if your fear is having to deal with all that then just end up quitting in the middle, then you’ve got to find a solid motivation. Marit Weikel, owner and licensed professional counselor at Weikel Health and Wellness, recommends doing something that you actually enjoy in terms of exercise. As an adult, you are best motivated to consistently do something when you like and want what you are doing. In this way, your workout routine won’t be a boring or straining one that will make you give up easily. Work with your instructor on exercises that you prefer or combine spinning, boxing, and swimming to your usual routine depending on what will make it more fun for you. You will notice that every effort you make will go beyond just burning calories and more about feeling good about yourself. Realizing that simply moving your body is already beneficial as a health mindset, and in this case, you can give dancing a shot with Beachbody’s CIZE or Country Heat. If you enjoy the outdoors or nature, you can do your workouts there for a refreshing change. Practically anything and everything to jazz it up and make you happy is great to help see you through your long-term workout program.

3. Establish a sound mind-body connection

For some people, the idea of exercise in general can cause severe anxiety. If this is true in your case, then a more serious approach is likewise called for. Typically, severe anxiety, like all other extreme types, will need the intervention of a mental health professional who can help you deal with it effectively. Meanwhile, you can do exercise routines that help sync the body with the mind so that when the psychological issues have been resolved, the body will be able to execute its desired goals. Mind-body classes such as Pilates, tai chi, and yoga do not only give you relaxation but help you get comfortable with your body as well. Janelle Railey, an Ashtanga teacher, espouses that yoga allows you to understand yourself better from the inside-out. It develops a sense of self-awareness where you become mindful about what is beneficial for your body at a given moment. For those who are afraid of exercise, this can prove to be empowering.

Beachbody has a yoga series that has been specially designed for beginners. It is a 3-week yoga retreat with 3 experts who will guide you through the basic fundamentals of yoga right at your own home. In this way, it will be easy for you to just relax, breath, stretch, and explore different yoga moves without feeling conscious about other people around you.

4. Do it one-step at a time

When you think about exercise and everything that you need to do that is outside of your usual routine, it can make you feel afraid of getting injured in the process. But if you just think about all the bad that can happen to you, then you will never be able to develop to your fullest potential. As such, it is better to go and brave the waters, but to do it gradually and wisely. And so, to avoid injury, work with the basics and the less intensive ones to start. If you haven’t been doing any sort of exercise lately, slowly introduce your body to the gym with the simplest of exercises such as walking, instead of getting into running right away. Railey, also a psychotherapist with a practice base in Asheville, N.C., suggests that walking is great for starters because it makes you feel in control. You can walk at your own pace – walk slower or faster as you see fit. And when you are in control, the less you will feel afraid that something might go wrong that will end up in an injury.

As for classes you can attend, start with the less intense ones. As you enroll in a gym class, work with your instructor as to the level of difficulty that you can take. In fact, your instructor already knows where to put you as a beginner but it is also good to communicate your apprehensions so that you can be guided accordingly. Do not try too hard to keep up with the rest of the class because your fitness needs and development are different from theirs. If you do what they do, then that will only increase the likelihood of you getting injured. So go for a class where you belong for now such as Beginners or Level 1, including the 3-week Yoga Retreat by Beachbody. As for classes labeled Extreme or Bootcamp, you can save them for later.

Another way to conquer your fear of injury is to make sure that you are doing proper form as you execute your routines. Good form will never result to injury because proper execution is the safest for your body. For instance, Beachbody has a mixed martial arts CORE DE FORCE video program that will teach you good form to ensure that you are doing it right with zero to minimal injuries. Make sure to warm up with some jumping jacks or a light jog to prepare your muscles for more rigorous movements ahead.

5. Start with a home workout

One of the reasons why people work out in the first place is that they desire to look good and feel good, aside from wanting to stay healthy. So what if, you are at that point where you are not that confident with your self yet and you are afraid that you might look awkward in the eyes of other people in the gym? Besides, not everybody is born with that natural coordination in executing those various workout moves. It’s definitely not a crime to build that confidence first, right at the comforts of your own home. In this way, you will know what to do and how to do it properly when its already time to go to a public gym. So spend those first-timer awkward moments at home where no one can criticize you or throw you that what-in-the-world-are-you-doing look. Beachbody On Demand has put together a streaming service that can jump start your home workouts. You will be able to access hundreds of enticing workouts that match your particular fitness level. The best thing about it is that, you do not only do it in private, but at your own pace, duration, and time as well. You can workout when it is most convenient for you, without feeling rushed or pressured in any way. Enjoy it with a trainer of your choice and at an intensity level that’s right for you.

6. Consider creating a support group

In any endeavor, the fear of failure seem to be always looming at a distance. Once you go to the gym, people will have expectations and what they will say if you fail with your fitness goals? Would you opt not to go because you are not really sure if you’re going to make it? The fear of failure can have this devastating effect on you, but if you can ensure your success then there is no reason for you to feel this kind of fear in the first place. You have to be strong in your conviction, believe in yourself that you can do it, and do everything that you can to succeed. What would really help in this case is some outside motivation that a support group can give you.

Your support group can consist of your family, friends, and other loved ones whom you know are always full of positive and encouraging things to say to you. Let them know about your goals so that they can boost your morale when needed. Some gym buddies can provide you with such accountability boosters directly so you can get one or two for yourself as well. You can motivate and push each other to persist in your gym objectives.

7. Cultivate trust

If you just think about it, and sometimes, even overthink, you will never be able to cross over and finally work out at the gym or join that class you have desired in a long time. Most of the time, just letting of go all your fears and everything else that is stopping you is the only way to go. Just going ahead with it and actually doing it will make you realize that it’s not that bad after all. In fact, it can even be great! You just got to trust yourself and the people around you that it will all fall into place no matter how bold and new this feat may be to you at this time.

Trust in your coaches, trainers, or instructors. They are there to provide you with the support that you need, just when you need it the most. If they tell you to push harder, then do so because they know what you are capable of and like you, they want to see the greatest progress that you can achieve. Should you experience failure from time to time, trust that failures are there as learning stepping stones that will eventually lead you to your goals.

7 Tips for Serious Muscle Building

7 Tips for Serious Muscle Building

Beachbody Muscle Building

What is the best way to build muscles? If you have been wanting to see progress but have been mostly disappointed, then there’s must be something that you need to do right this time. Whatever your fitness goals may be – get bigger, stronger, or more powerful, muscle building has to be done efficiently. Typically, this takes more than just spending time lifting weights. There are must-do resistance training strategies to include in your overall muscle-building program.

1. Introduce variance into your program

Because you desire visible muscle growth right away, you may initially think that lifting heavy weights is the only way to go. Explosive exercises such as sprints and heavy weight-lifting can indeed give you the most, in terms of growth potential, as it targets Type II muscle fibers. Studies suggest, however, that your Type I muscle fibers do have growth potential as well. Better known as the slow twitch, Type I fibers are those often utilized during endurance activities and are not to be ignored. Thus, it would be great to work them out once a week or every 2 weeks via high repetitions and low weight. For instance, you can do 15 reps (or more) with 3-4 sets per exercise. You can also choose among the Beachbody programs that adopts this kind of variation such as the 22-Minute Hard Corps, Master’s Hammer and Chisel, P90X, 21-Day fix, or the Body Beast.

2. Achieve that balance in your lift

You have to mind the way you lift weights and be able to lift responsibly. Yes, your muscles do need to be challenged to activate growth, but there is a smart way of triggering the same. Sometimes, you may tend to shift to heavier weights too quickly that you also increase the chances of injury. However, doing it too slowly can result to a growth plateau or you, shortchanging your growth potential. The key then is to strike that balance by paying close attention to the efforts that you exert. Once you are able to lift in perfect form and you feel that the last few reps seem similar to the first ones you did, then you know that it is time to shift to a heavier weight.

3. Gorge on more protein

Protein is essential to muscle growth, repair, and recovery. Amino acids, or the protein building blocks, are what’s needed to build muscle tissue. You have to eat more protein to make all these happen as you lift weights. For a protein-rich meal, the optimal amount is 20 grams of protein as an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study has shown that the body only uses up 20 grams of protein to build muscles in one sitting.

For the whole day, about 80 grams – equivalent to 4 meals with 20-grams of protein contained in each meal – is just right for an average individual. To compute the amount of optimal protein that’s suited for you and your fitness goals, it is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that the ideal consumption range should be between 0.5-0.9 grams per pound of your body weight per day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume about 75-135 grams of protein in one day.

In this case, you can split the 80-gram allowance for protein each day by having 3 meals with 20-gram protein content and a post-workout drink which contains the last 20 grams of protein you need, like the Beachbody Performance Recover that provides you with that exact amount per serving conveniently. Meanwhile, if you are the ambitious type and want to build more muscles than that, much like those who are into Beachbody’s Body Beast program, then aim higher and go for the highest grams in the 75-135 range, then add 1-2 additional 20-gram protein snacks to your day. Just make sure you don’t go overboard and go beyond the 135-gram cap. The more you exercise though, the more protein your body will need to consume for muscle building and maintenance.

4. Cover multi-joint exercises

Florida State University Interim Director, Dr. Michael Ormsbee, from the Institute of Sports Science & Medicine, recommends that while all kinds of moves can help build muscles, spending some time doing multi-joint exercises provides for a strong base. When you load your workouts with multi-joint or compound exercises like bench press, squat, pull-up, and lunge, you are tapping the most efficient way in resistance training to build lean mass. Science purports that compound moves trigger the highest increase in testosterone levels which plays a major role as the hormone responsible for muscle building.

5.Sleep some more

When you sleep for less than 7 hours each night, you build up a sleep debt that eventually halts muscle growth or protein synthesis. A study conducted by Brazilian researchers show that sleeping for less than 7 hours on a regular basis increases protein degradation equivalent to muscle degradation. As such, it is best to get 7 hours every night or even sleep some more so that you can activate that muscle growth that you desire. Besides, adequate sleep also gives you other equally-important benefits as the human growth hormone levels are at its peak when you are sound asleep.

6. Minimize cardio exercises

Calories are needed to build muscle and when you burn most of your calories doing cardio exercises, such as biking or running, then your body might have nothing much left for muscle building. To build muscles more quickly, minimize your cardio or use it only for short warm-ups of up to 2 to 5 minutes, and then spend your calories more on the weight training.

7. Give it time to recover

Recovery is crucial in muscle-building because it is actually when muscles grow and not during your workouts. Recovery includes eating healthy with more protein and taking time to rest instead of over training. Over training your muscles at very high intensities too frequently may hurt, cause injury, and put your efforts to waste. On the other hand, rest and recovery days that you spend in between at 1-2 days per week, allows your muscles to recover fully and grow. To maximize your rest days and downtime, you can do light cross training such as cycling, hiking, or yoga. Patience, focus, consistency, and recovery are what you need to achieve your desired results.

Understanding the 21 Day Fix Containers

Understanding the 21 Day Fix Containers

21  Day Fix Containers

21 Day Fix Containers

Portion control is a critical aspect of any successful nutritional or diet program. However, figuring it out can be tricky without the right tools to guide you along the way. The 21 Day Fix containers provide you with a color-coded solution to help make portion control a breeze and allow you to focus on your fitness goals. This means, no more calorie counting for you because if it fits on the containers and it is on your list of approved foods, then you can go ahead and simply enjoy it.

The Whys

So why is it worth giving a shot? The 21 Day Fix Container is a system that works in a very practical manner. It understands how counting calories is extremely important to you but can be likewise a daunting task. And so with this container system, you do not have to tediously count calories because you would only need to count containers. Its evidently easier keeping track of 3 enticingly green containers compared to counting calories.

Moreover, it ensures that you get all the nutrients you need for the day by eating a little portion from each of the container. You might find, as you begin the program, that you will tend to feel full even when you haven’t finished all of the containers yet. Well, this is because nutritious food has got a lot more in it than junk food food so it has also has more volume. So the key is to be able to eat a little portion from each container from your favorite to your least-liked.

The best part about the 21 Day Fix Containers is that it doesn’t take away the fun out of eating by making you feel aware of what you eat and empower you to practice moderation. By the end of the 21 day program, knowing how many and enjoying your vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins will be second nature to you as you go through your wellness regimen each day. To make it even more exciting, Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix creator, has put together a FIXATE cookbook for enticing meal plans you can try.

The What 

The 21 Day Fix Containers are all about color and nutrition. Six colors correspond to 6 types of food. Green means vegetable container which can include raw or cooked, and chopped or sliced veggies. This goes for vegetables like kale, lettuce, pepper, squash, onions, and mushrooms. For a voluminous and scrumptious salad, squeeze in as much lettuce as you can in there!

Purple is the container for your fruits. Berries, grapes, or cherries are great as they fit as is, but you can cut larger ones like watermelon, apples, or peaches. Red is the designated container for your protein-rich foods such as shellfish, tofu, eggs, yogurt, and chicken breast. Let the food list guide you for other protein sources. Yellow is the color for caloric carbs and starches. Foods like whole-grain pasta, sweet potato, beans, and rice fit in here. In case there are foods in the list that don’t fit like tortillas and waffles, the guide will specify the portions that you can consume.

Blue is the container for healthy fats that includes hummus, cheese, nuts, and mashed avocados, to name a few. For dressings and seeds, they are to be placed in the orange container. The dressings are those recommended in your 21 Day Fix program together with calorie-dense foods such as coconut, olives, and seeds.

To make measuring easier, a teaspoon measurement is included as well and to be used for butters and oils, like in the case of peanut butter and olive oil.

The How

Here’s the most exciting part – learning how to use those colorful containers! First step is to go to Page 4 of your 21 Day Fix guide and check the calorie count that you will need each day. After that, go to page 19 and see the 21 chart to determine the number of containers for each color you should be consuming for the day based on your calorie range. Looking at the macro-nutrient percentages, it is evident that the plan is about 30% fat, 30% protein, and 40% carbohydrates.

To make it more fun, you can mix and match the foods in one container as long as they belong to the same category. So if you prefer not to have all spinach in one green container, then you can mix it up and fill one half with some carrots in there. You may enjoy your favorite food straight from the containers especially when you need to be outside or simply empty the contents into a bowl whenever you’re at home or however you want to enjoy them.

39 Yoga Tips for Beginners

39 Yoga Tips for Beginners

yoga for beginnersYoga is no joke and even those who have been doing it for years admit how it can be daunting a practice. And so, if you are one of those who have bravely decided to take on the challenge, then it is important to arm yourself with the right knowledge to see it through. Imagine yourself finally joining a yoga class for the first time and how confident you can be instead of feeling shy or afraid to do it. You can avoid the common mistakes beginners make due to lack of preparation. These pointers are certainly going to help you enjoy every yoga session you attend while maximizing the benefits the practice can give you.

1. Meditate with intent
Yoga won’t be complete without meditation so start your practice with one. Sit in your most comfortable position or do an easy pose and get into meditation mode for a few minutes. This will help you to focus as well as begin with your purpose in mind based on whatever goals you may have for your practice.

2. Learn how to breathe properly
Proper breathing is one of the most essential things that you have to learn in yoga to be able to execute and hold the various poses. It is important to breathe in and breathe out from the nose then into the belly. One of the basics is the Dirga pranayama breath.

3. Practice from within
When you are new at something, it seems easier to just look at how others or how your teacher would do it. However, this may result to you getting awkward with your poses or not doing it properly. So feel your body and practice yoga from within because it is really an intimate encounter with yourself. Deepen your self-awareness and let yoga build you from within.

4. Safety first
Yoga does not discriminate and anybody at any age can benefit from it. However, you must make sure that you are safe to practice it before you proceed. In general, you have to be free from any injury or ailment that might complicate it if you make it a part of your routine. In this case, a medical clearance from your healthcare professional must be sought. There are also contraindications specific to a posture that you have to pay attention to. The most common ones are high blood pressure, pregnancy, menstruation, and injuries in your neck, shoulders, and knees.

5. Keep a practice journal
You will learn a lot of things along the way and you might want to take down notes so you can come back to them at any time. Record your realizations, insights, observations, thoughts, new terms learned, curious questions and a list of postures that you already know or the ones that you need to work on.

6. Practice at home
Establishing a home practice gives you numerous advantages. It lets you practice at your own pace and at your most convenient time. It also makes you comfortable outside of the yoga “classroom” so you can adjust to any environment when you need to travel or stay some place else. Most of the time, classes can be so fast-moving that you will not be able to align your body properly as you try to catch up. This is a habit that you do not want to build so practice at home and be as flawless as you can be when you are back in class.

7. Unleash your creative side
It will help you a lot if you utilize that creative side of you when you start practicing yoga. With all the different poses that you have to go through, making stick drawings or any kind of visual will make you remember them with accuracy and execute them better. They do not have to be amazing works of art but the tip is to make use of visuals like drawings or digital photos to help you master your practice easily.

8. Get a yoga mat
A sticky yoga mat is a must-have for all yoga enthusiasts whether a beginner or not. Choose the one which can provide adequate padding and a non-slip surface. To start, classic yoga mats are good enough but as you go along, you will need a thicker mat. A sticky mat will help you achieve firm footing and stability in your poses.

9. Learn the principles of alignment
The principles of alignment are like the foundations of a building. When the footings are shaky, then it is likely to crash down. The emphasis of yoga and its various styles is in musculoskeletal alignment as this is key to your safety – avoiding injury, as well as your ability to capitalize on the benefits of the asana. So take the alignment principles to heart and build a solid foundation with strong lines.

10. Bring joy into your practice
Like any other seemingly difficult feat, beginning your yoga practice with a smile can really lighten the load and help take you through the challenge. A smile can relax the body as well as your mind, and makes you enjoy the asanas more than anything. When you do it with cheerfulness and calmness, it gives you the extra energy to push your body to the limits and stretch it like it’s the most enjoyable thing in the world.

11. Check out some yoga props
Props are meant to ease your way through yoga when you are just starting – make you feel comfortable as you work on improving your alignment. Yoga blocks help stabilize your standing poses. Yoga straps allow you to stretch further when you are doing seated poses or bound poses. Bolsters or blankets facilitate restorative poses. You can choose to get them for home practice but in the yoga studios, they have stacks of these props for use during classes.

12. Include relaxation with your postures
You will find that your typical yoga class will emphasize heavily on the asana practice and the relaxation aspect would sometimes take a backseat. As a newbie however, it is important that you take time to relax, meditate, recover, and feel better. This will help you achieve that essential balance between physical health and mental well-being.

13. Don’t forget to warm up
Before you hit your mat, remember to warm up. Gentle exercises such as the Sukshma Vyayam will loosen you up and prepare you for the asanas up ahead. You can give your cheeks, nose, brows, and head a good massage. Then, turn your neck clockwise and counterclockwise to relieve stiffness. Finally, pump those shoulders and shake your hands off to wake up the body.

14. Take it step by step but go beyond your limits
Yoga is a pretty dynamic practice and the best thing about it is that it gives you plenty of room to improve and reach your highest potential. So yes, you do what is comfortable for you but as you become more confident, you can opt to stretch a bit further and challenge your limitations. You will know when your body is still okay with what you are doing when your breathing remains light, long, and relaxed. However, when it starts getting uneven, then you might have over-exerted already, so just slowly tone down your pace. In any way, make your practice as challenging as you can because there’s still a good number of yoga asanas you can explore.

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15. Allow a qualified instructor to guide you
Certainly, you are not going to proceed without a qualified teacher to lead you to the right path. Your teacher will guide in doing each technique correctly, learn the postures properly, and be from injuries along the way. Keep an open mind because those yoga philosophies will not only enhance your experience, but improve the way you live your life as a whole.

16. Kickoff with beginners level postures
It is but right that you start with the basic postures first so you can build a solid foundation and climb your way up with confidence. Do not attempt any yoga pose because it looks complicated and doing it will make you look impressive. Begin with some warm-up sequences and proceed with simple postures such as a forward bend, seated twist, triangle, cat, mountain, dog, cobra, child, and downward-facing dog. Once you are well-adjusted with these poses, then you earn the right to get into the advanced level.

17. Let it do its work
In the process of you getting to know yoga, you might reach that point where you will want to do it your way or feel like doing something else. While this is a natural tendency, it would be best not to give in and just allow the practice to do its work on you. Instead of trying too hard, try to let the posture, breathing exercise, or meditation, work as it is because it will allow you to receive maximal benefits this way.

18. Inform your instructor
If there is anything that is restricted of you due to a medical condition, inform your teacher about it before the yoga class begins. In this manner, he or she can take note of the things that you can and cannot do. It would be easy for him or her to customize your practice with consideration on your safety.

19. Don’t eat or drink before your practice
Considering the poses you have to do during a yoga session, you are advised not to eat or drink beforehand. This is especially true when the session will include practicing inversions. So make it a habit to eat way before your class starts at around 1-3 hours before, and drink small amounts of liquid only. During the practice, it is advisable to refrain from drinking water.

20. Gear up
What to wear on your first day? The principle to yoga clothing is to wear something loose or comfortable so as not to restrict movement or make you feel too shy to stretch out when some body parts get exposed with your movements. Stretchable clothing is recommended in this case and you can check out dozens of manufacturers that specialize in yoga-suited clothes. You can also opt for what you already have in your closet that’s great for any exercise such as unitards or tights.

21. Create a yoga corner in your home
For your home practice, it is highly suggested that you allot a special area just for your yoga sessions. In this way, it will motivate you during those times when feel sluggish or lazy. Put your mat in there, together with some props in one place, and probably some inspiring posters – anything to make the area look serene and inviting enough for you, right in the comforts of your home.

22. Try stepping back
If you are one of those who would typically sit in front of your academic class, try a different strategy in your yoga class. Step backwards, go to the back of the room, and be a good observer instead of an active, competitive, front-row student. You might find that moving away from where the action is will help you focus and internalize the practice better.

23. Choose doable postures
You would want to take it easy while you are just starting so it would be good to choose postures that seem doable at first glance. With this, you can go for floor-bound postures first over standing postures that will require greater strength or balance from you. Also do postures that have longer hold times in terms of breaths because it would mean that they would be easier to execute.

24. Don’t hesitate to ask
The perfect time to unleash your inquisitive tendencies is during your yoga classes. Don’t be shy to ask questions especially when something is not clear to you. Your yoga teacher is sure to welcome them and not consider it a distraction. Direct questions about specific postures to your instructor. Meanwhile, the whole class would be more than willing to chip in their own insights as more experienced students. Otherwise, you may ask questions after the yoga session.

25. Be early to bed
You will notice later on that yoga enthusiasts would typically sleep on time or early because they want to meditate and enjoy a long asana to help them start the day. It might take giving up or toning down on some of those late-night actions that you are used but it will be worth it. So if you are not a morning person, give yourself time to adjust and allow the practice to do its wonders on you.

26. Focus on yourself
In a class of 15 or so, it would be easy to get a bit jealous with how others seem to be able to do it competently and confidently. You can get lost in how your classmates in the yoga class execute poses like its nothing. However, it would be more beneficial for you to focus on your own pacing and development rather than comparing yourself to others. Remember that you are as unique as every yoga asana there is. No need to feel pressured when you are not as fast or as good especially when you are just beginning your journey. Focus on yourself and one day, you will be surprised at how good you have become.

27. Check your pain tolerance
It is expected that you will feel some some soreness in the first few days of your practice especially in the muscles. This is something you need not get alarmed about and as the days go by, your body will be able to adjust and not feel that much pain anymore. As long as you keep to your practice and make it an important part of your routine, then your body will get used to it. However, if it is that kind of pain that persists, it is time to let your instructor know about it so together you can determine if it is something else and you need to do something about it.

28. Never give up
Preferably, yoga asanas are to be practiced in the morning, as early as you can. But if you are not a morning person, then you can definitely choose to do it later in the day. What’s more important is the consistency of your practice, that you never give up until you become a regular yogi – no excuses whatsoever.

29. Select your yoga type
There are tons of yoga classes out there and you need to do some research to pick the one that is just right for you in terms of your pacing, personality, ability to learn, and physical state. Take a look at different yoga styles and get to know them a bit. For beginners, vinyasa or ahatha class is recommended with consideration on whether you prefer it to be fast or slow-paced. This will be good to start and you can simply move on to something more fancy later.

30. Make your practice distinctive
Make your yoga practice a seriously fun business by making distinct definitions. Explore various techniques and pick the ones you would like to focus on. Then, balance it with proper breathing, meditation, and your asana practices. Get into the details such as the order of your routines, the poses you need to prepare for, as well as the methods you’re using. For anything, you can ask your yoga teacher or classmates for help.

31. Make the necessary adjustments
The postures you see in pictures or with your yoga instructor is your goal, or the direction that you are supposed to take. However, these are not strict or inflexible standards because you can actually modify them to fit your bodily dynamics and uniqueness as an individual. So go ahead and experiment on different positions and align them with your body’s mechanics to make them work for you.

32. Gather relevant yoga resources
To have the best practice, you have to have all the knowledge and skills right at your fingertips. You can collect books, videos, audio records, or CDs that will help increase your knowledge base and help you internalize your practice and meditation. Get them from different sources and levels of practice so that you can explore different perspectives. Manual-style, inspirational, or yoga philosophical books are highly recommended together with basic anatomy workbooks.

33. Cool down
After an intense yoga workout, take time to cool down with a Yoga Nidra as this is as essential as the workout itself. Sometimes, you can have so much to do in a day, that you would tend to just get up and go immediately after your asana practice. However, you need to cool the body down first so the energy can get consolidated inside of you. Just lie down and savor the Yoga Nidra even for a few minutes, relax your body and mind, and let the energy flow through you. Now, you are recharged and ready to face your big day!

34. Find a yoga class to your liking
Check out resources on the Internet and see what yoga classes are offering in your locality. Your local newspapers or online magazines can direct you to a listing of wellness studios or gyms which conduct regular classes. The one nearest you can be motivating to go to but make sure that you get into a beginner’s level class with a teacher who can understand your needs and is very helpful with your practice.

35. Practice frequently
It is certainly preferable to practice more times in a week even if they are short, than to do it longer and less frequently as it will yield better results. Your practice can be 15-90 minutes each day or at least thrice in a week. You have to make it fit into your schedule as much as you can if you consider it an important aspect of your overall well-being.

36. Learn some Sanskrit
If you are into languages, it would do you great to learn some Sanskrit and be able to sound it off. It is actually an elegant and orderly language and has been used in yoga for thousands of years. Many of the mantras used for meditation is associated with Sanskrit as well so it will help you pronounce the words accurately and maximize its effects.

37. Steady and intense
As a newbie, you can start slowly and gradually work your way up, then increase the level of your intensity. When you are ready, you can take up the challenge and be as vigorous as you can, as long as you already have mastered the alignment of each posture. There are different ways to intensify your practice and one is to hold the postures longer and in longer time periods. Another one is to try more advanced postures or be able to move between varied postures quickly.

38. Keep a positive and open mind set
You are a human being and even in yoga, you can commit mistakes. Try to stay positive when your teacher would give you corrections to your postures. Remember that it is only for your own good and interest that he or she is doing it. This is one of the best ways by which you can learn. Keep a good sense of humor in this beginning stage, smile when you make a mistake, and just enjoy every moment of it.

39. Take a breathing break
It’s not all work as they say so take breathing breaks in between. This is a powerful antidote against stress especially when you make use of them on a regular basis. When you are feeling exhausted or extremely busy, take a moment to count your breaths and relax the tension away – close your eyes if you have to. Do this for at least 5 minutes, twice daily and find yourself feeling recharged by this meditation-like practice.

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28 Fundamental Yoga Poses and Benefits

28 Fundamental Yoga Poses and Benefits

yoga benefits

At first glance, it may look like a yoga practice is a simple relaxing exercise. But deep down, it is actually very serious in giving you the health benefits you deserve. Yoga is an ancient practice that has become a huge hit from your next-door buddies to the hottest celebs in the recent years. All these for great reasons because it brings you better sleep, less stress, a slimmer body, and a sound mind.

So before you get excited about striking a pose or asana, in yoga lingo, it is but right to familiarize yourself with the different poses. In this way, when your yoga teacher calls out “trikonasana” or “utkatasana” in Sanskrit language, you already have a clear picture in your mind as to which one it is. Whether an experienced practitioner or a newbie, this guide will help you through the basic poses in any open-level yoga class.

Basic Yoga Poses

1. Chair or Utkatasana

yoga chair poseWhen you do the Utkatasana, you are certain to feel the burn as it is considered a heating standing pose. It is meant to strengthen you starting from your shoulders, to your upper back, and your legs.

Begin by standing with your feet together, grounded on the floor. Raise your arms and reach as far as you can with your fingers. And then sit down as if there is an invisible chair you are sitting on. Lengthen your torso and shift the weight towards your heels.

2. Puppy Dog on Chair or Modified Downward-Facing-Dog

Puppy Dog is a modified version of the Downward-facing-dog that makes way for beginners. It has the same benefits as the original pose as it opens the shoulders, stretches the hamstrings, and lengthens the spine – withoutyoga puppy dog pose too much weight on the upper body.

To strike the pose, face the back of any chair and place your hands on the back rest. Your palms should be at a shoulder distance apart. Step back until your feet is aligned with your hips like a right angle with your spine parallel to the floor. Keep your feet grounded and lift your body using your thighs. Lengthen your torso as you stretch your hands away from your hips. With your outer arms firmly on the chair, look down and lengthen your neck.

3. Mountain or Tadasana

yoga mountain poseWith yoga, any pose is not as simple as it looks especially when it comes to the benefits. Tadasana in particular will make you look like you are just standing, but you are actually not. This mountain pose is like the basic pattern for all the other poses. It boosts your balance and makes you focus on the present.

With your feet together, stand up and ground your feet evenly on the floor. Lift your head and thighs then lengthen all 4 sides of your waist to elongate your spine. Just breath easy and focus your attention in the moment.

4. Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Facing Dog is very calming for the whole body as with this pose, your head gets situated below your heart. Not only that, your hamstrings also get stretched out while your shoulders are opened and your spine is lengthened. The benefits of Downward-facing dog is said to be for the whole body, from your head to your toes. Because it is a strengthening and stretching asana, you will feel its effects on your hands, shoulders, arms, calves,yoga downward dog back, hamstrings, and feet. It especially strengthens those small stabilizing muscles in your feet that allows you to instantly react to a change of terrain, effectively shift your weight, and protects you from injury. At the same time, it promotes that essential balance between your mind and body.

Just like a dog on all fours, walk your hands at least a palm away in front of you. Lift your hips and back up to elongate your spine while tucking your toes. If this is too much to start, you can bend your knees slightly to bring some of the weight to your legs. Press your hands on the mat and firm up your outer arms. Try to reach your upper thighs towards the back, lengthening them as far as you can.

5. Bound Angle or Baddha Konasana

yoga bound angle poseThe Bound Angle pose is the best way to give those inner thighs as well as groins that much needed stretch. The forward bend likewise gives you a cooling and calming effect.

As you sit on your mat, bend your knees and then open them wide. Allow the soles of your feet to join together and make sure that you sit upright. If you can’t open your knees widely just yet, you can prop some blankets and sit on them to help your inner thighs achieve that flexibility first. Then, put your fingertips behind you on the floor while lengthening your spine. One variation is to hold onto your ankles instead of putting your fingertips behind you. With this, you can hinge your hips forward.

6. Triangle or Trikonasana

yoga triangle poseAt first, the triangle pose can be challenging especially for those who are not that flexible. But if you keep doing it, you will notice that it becomes easier over time and your inner thighs and hamstrings get that proper stretch. It will create that feeling of expansion, a wider reach, and promote balance in the body.

To do this pose, you have to stand with your feed wide apart. One toe should be slightly in, say your left toes, while your right toes point to the other side directly – rotating your right thigh open. Both legs should be kept straight and your feet should be grounded on your mat. Then, pull up your thighs, roll the front thighs open and you can hinge by your front hip. Spread your arms widely at shoulder height. As you do so, ensure that your spine is lengthened towards your front foot and then you can release the bottom palm to your front ankle.

7. Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II

yoga warrior 2A warrior pose in yoga does not imply war in as much as it works to enhance your stamina. This standing pose is still very much Zen with the calmness and serenity of mind that it brings. When you strike the pose you will know why it is called the warrior and you will notice how it strengthens your ankles and legs.

In standing position, open your feet wide apart by at least 3.5-4 feet. Slightly turn your left foot in while turning out your right to the side by 90 degrees. Line up your front heels with your back foot’s arch. Then, bend your front knee in a 90 degree angle. To protect your knee joints, track your knee with your second toe. Give your back leg a good stretch and ground down with your back foot. Reach out with your arms at shoulder height then put your shoulder blades down. With palms wide, gaze over your front fingers.

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8. Tree or Vrksasana

Yes, you are right. You are trying to mimic a tree with this particular pose and it can get really interesting. The treeyoga tree pose pose is going to help with your balance as well as train you to concentrate properly. Physically, it will strengthen the arches of your feel and your outer hips.

Starting with the mountain pose, bend one of your knees by using your hands to bring your foot into your inner upper thigh. One alternative, if this is difficult, is to bring your foot below your knee instead of your inner thighs. Should balancing be a problem, you can stand against the wall for support. While pressing in to your standing foot, lengthen your body up all the way to your head with your arms raised straight upward.

9. Bridge or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

bridge pose yogaThe bridge is a great pose for opening your chest and stretching your spine and neck. It aims to lower your anxiety levels, relax the mind, give you energy, and improve digestion.

Lie face up on the floor and bend your knees. Flatten your feet on your mat and keep them parallel at hip-width apart. Put your arms on your sides and push your heels under your knees. Roll your upper arms open and expand your chest. While grounding on your upper outer arms and rooting down with your heels, lift your hips off the mat. Adjust your shoulders until you are able to entwine your fingers together from underneath.

10. Corpse or Savasana

This may seem like the simplest of the poses, but it is a must in any yoga class – mostly at the end of a session. Acorpse yoga pose savasana is the most relaxing way to allow your body to absorb all the goodness the practice has to offer.

The corpse requires you to lie face up on your mat and separate your legs, splaying your feet freely apart. Your arms also relax along the sides with your palms facing upwards. Enjoy the bodily sensations that yoga makes you feel with your eyes closed.

Intermediate Poses

1. Intense Side Stretch or Parsvottanasana

yoga intense side stretchThe Parsvottanasana is indeed intense in giving you calmness of mind along with a good stretch for your wrists, shoulders, spine, hamstrings, and hips.

In mountain pose, step back with your left foot, flat on your mat at a 45 degree angle. Ground both feet and then lift your thighs up while lifting your arms to shoulder height. Then, turn your arms slightly in with palms adjoined until it touches your upper back from behind. In case your shoulders are still tight, you can simply put your hands on your hips or grab both your elbows from behind. Now, you can hinge forward using your hips and then lengthen your spine over your front legs. While doing this, make sure to lift your shoulders off the floor so you can spread your chest widely.

2. Plank

yoga plank poseThe Plank gives you that fundamental core strengthening as the pose toughens your abdominals. It is likewise considered one best move for boosting your stability.

Start this pose in a downward-facing dog then shift your weight forward so that your shoulders are in line with your wrists. Tuck your toes and press your heels back while lengthening your head forward. Ground your hands down, pull your body up using your arms, and spread your collarbones away from your sternum. Lift your front body up and allow it to support the plank pose.

3. Chaturanga Dandasana

yoga chaturangaMost of the time, your vinyasa session will start with or include a sun salutation and the Chaturanga is one of its main parts. Like the plank pose, it promotes the stability and strengthening of your core and abdominals as well as your triceps.

From the Plank position, shift slightly forward and bend your elbows in a 90 degree angle – your upper arms should be parallel to the floor. Ground your palms on the floor and spread your collarbones widely. Next, lift your shoulders away from your mat while pulling your front ribs into your spine. Then, lift your upper thighs in the direction of the ceiling as you try to reach your tailbone towards your heels. Steady your gaze forward.

4. Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I

The Warrior, as an energizing pose, boosts the strength of your back muscles, arms, and legs. You are giving youryoga warrior 1 neck, chest, shoulders, ankles, and thighs that nice healthful stretch.

Starting with a downward-facing dog, step forward and turn your back foot in a 45 degree angle. Ground with your back foot and line up your heels a bit widely. Bend your front knees over your front ankles as you give your back legs a good stretch. As you inhale, lift your torso and your arms up towards the ceiling.

5. Upward Facing Dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

yoga upward facing dog poseUpward-facing Dog typically appears in a sun salutation, specifically after the chaturanga. It is meant to open up your shoulders and chest as well as give your hip flexors and abs that much-needed stretch.

On your mat, lie face down and bend your elbows while placing your hands on the floor to make it in line with your lower ribs. Reach back with your legs and pull forward. Together, lift your knees and thighs away from the mat and with your chest spread out, lift your breastbone up.

6. Half Moon or Ardha Chandrasana

Yoga is mostly about enhancing your concentration and balancing abilities and these are what’s being developedyoga half moon through the Half Moon. You gradually achieve balance with every pose as you strengthen your outer hips and your legs as well as stretch out your inner thighs and hamstrings.

You start a Half Moon with a Triangle pose. Bend your front knees and track them using your second toes. Step your back foot in then walk your hands for about 12-inches in front of you. Line up your thumb with one of your pinky toe. While shifting the weight towards your front foot, lift off your back foot from the floor. Reack back at your legs then raise your arm upwards. As a balancing act, you can move your chest towards the ceiling and gaze at your hand.

7. Revolved Triangle or Parivrtta Trikonasana

yoga revolved triangleThe twists and turns of your yoga practice is going to be very apparent in the Revolved Triangle. The twist is going to give your spine a healthy swig as you engage your abdominal obliques to help you execute the twist. This is also a balancing pose that stretches your outer hips and hamstrings.

Beginning in Mountain position, step back using your left foot and place it flatly on your mat at a 45-degree angle. Line up your heels together or give it a bit of space for stability. Ground both of your feet and lift your body up using your thighs. Then, hinge forward with your hips and lengthen your spine over your front thigh. Put a block on the outer or inside of your front foot and release your left hand. Rotate your body towards the right and stretch your right arm upwards.

8. Dolphin

This particular intermediate pose will prepare you for the more advanced forearm-stand and headstand. Theyoga dolphin Dolphin does this by building the strength of your upper body. Likewise, it provides you with serenity of the mind and a relief from stress.

On your mat, come on your forearms and keep your elbows at a shoulder-width distance. Tuck your toes then lift your knees off the mat and hold your hips and back up. Just allow your head to hang-off the floor while you ground your forearms and lift your shoulders up.

9. Bow or Dhanurasana

yoga bow poseThe benefits of the Bow to your overall well being is as interesting as the pose itself. This is the kind of back bend that stretches the front of your body including the chest and shoulders. As you do it, you are also giving your abdominal organs a soothing massage.

Face down, lie on your mat and lift your arms, legs, and chest off the floor. Bend your knees toward your back and reach for your outer ankles. Your toes should be lifted towards the ceiling while you spin your inner thighs upwards. Lengthen your tailbone towards the direction of the back of your knees. Spread your chest while lifting it up.

10. Camel or Ustrasana

The Camel is a great way to have a full stretch for the front section of your body, starting from your throat, thorax,yoga camel pose abdomen, and down to your ankles. The pose also strengthens your back muscles.

Kneel down and position your shins a hip-distance apart. Put your palms on the sacrum and point your fingers down. Press your knees down and lengthen your spine. Then, press your hips forward, squeeze in your buttocks and thighs to support your weight and bend backwards. As you do so, slowly and carefully reach for your heels and drop your head back if you feel confident and safe. Otherwise, you can simply place your hands on your sacrum. Hold on tightly and press your hips forward so that your chest can get lifted towards the ceiling.

11. Warrior III or Virabhadrasana III

yoga warior 3Warrior III is for better balance, memory, and posture. It is the pose to count on for strengthening your shoulders, outer hips, legs, ankles, and upper back. It invigorates and tones the entire body.

Start with your Warrior I pose and then hinge forward with your hips and give your abdomen a rest at your front thigh while you place your arms alongside your ears. Step with one foot and put your weight on this leg and interlace your fingers with the index finger pointing upwards. Lift your other leg and lower your torso and arms towards the floor. Do the same for the other side.

12. Boat or Navasana

The boat pose will benefit your hip flexors and abdominal muscles as it strengthens them. It will allow the backs ofyoga boat pose your legs a good stretch. It also works to improve your confidence and sense of balance.

To execute the pose, sit on your mat and bend your knees to bring your feet flat on the floor while pulling your legs together. Slide your hands behind the hips, point your fingers forward, and bend your elbows away from you. Lean back and lift your heels 1-2 inches off the floor. Draw your shoulder blades together and open your chest. Gradually straighten your legs to lift it up as high as you can. If you can handle it, release your arms, make it parallel with the floor with your palms down.

Advanced Yoga Poses

1. Wheel or Urdhva Dhanurasana

yoga wheel poseThe wheel is meant to open up the whole front of your body. Muscle strengthening will be significant in your shoulders, back, and hamstrings.

To do the Wheel, you need to lie face up with your feet flat on your mat and with your knees bent. Next, position your feet parallel to each other at hip-distance apart and your heels under your knees. Then bring your hands to the mat and frame your ears while your fingers face your toes. Press down on your hands and feet as you lift your chest and hips off the floor. Straighten your arms and lift using your shoulders. Allow your inner thighs to face downward to the floor as you work on lengthening your tailbone towards your knees’ backs. To recover from the pose, bend your arms and look toward the ceiling and gradually lower your upper back down on your mat.

2. Wall-Assisted Forearm stand or Pincha Mayurasana

The Wall-Assisted Forearm stand is known as a deep shoulder-opener and prepares you for more advanced backyoga wall assissted forearm stand bends with every practice. Since it is an inversion, it will also help in improving your circulation.

Facing the wall, start by positioning yourself in all fours. Place your elbows on your mat and position your forearms parallel to one another at shoulder-with distance. Then, tuck your toes, lift your knees, and reach your hips and back up as in the dolphin pose. Spread your chest and focus your gaze on your mat between your forearms. Next, work your legs and step 1 foot in for a few inches closer as you lift your other leg like in Warrior III. Bring your feet up to the wall by bending your bottom knees and hopping off your feet. Give your inner thighs a good squeeze and turn up your heels toward the ceiling.

3. Headstand or Sirsasana

You have probably dreamt about finally doing this pose but you will need to consult with your doctor if it’s safe foryoga head stand you to execute it. This is especially true if you medical issues or neck injuries. Once that is done, make sure that you have a trusted instructor to watch over and support you while attempting at it for the first time. When all is well, then you can certainly proceed with the Headstand and benefit from the strengthening of your arms, shoulders, and upper back. As an advanced inversion, it will also have a positive impact on your endocrine, lymphatic, and circulatory systems.

To start, face the wall on all fours. Interlace your fingers with your knuckles all facing the wall. Put your elbows on your mat and place them parallel to each other at shoulder-width distance. Tuck your toes under then lift your knees off the floor as you try and bring your hips up and back. Press your forearms down and lift with your shoulders. Next, move your back towards your chest and walk your feet closer to spread your collarbones widely. Position your head on the mat as you keep pressing with your forearms, concentrating all your weight there, and lifting with your shoulders. With careful control, draw your knees to your chest and put your feet against the wall while simultaneously sliding your heels up.

4. Wall-Assisted Handstand or Adho Mukha Vrksasana

yoga hand standAdho Mukha Vrksasana is another inversion for advance yoga practice that is meant to give you energy, calm, confidence, stability, body control, and a sense of balance. With each practice, you will strengthen your wrists, arms, and shoulders.

Pose in Downward-facing Dog as you face the wall and put your hands at least 1 palm-print away. Step your foot in for a few inches as you lift your other leg to the air just like in Warrior III. Steady your gaze towards the wall and bend your knees while hopping off your foot to bring both your feet to the wall. Put your legs together and direct your heels toward the ceiling.

5. Shoulder stand or Salamba Sarvangasana

The Shoulder stand is very beneficial to multiple systems in your body including the circulation of your lymph andyoga shoulder stand blood. Likewise, it stimulates the thyroid and promotes a strong immune system. Typically, it is done at the end of a session for its energetic and cooling effect. Before you try to do it however, make sure that you do not have any chronic or recent injury in the neck, back, or shoulders. This is also not advisable for those with menstruation, high blood pressure, or during the first trimester of your pregnancy. It is best to get a clearance from your doctor before you give it a try.

Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body and your palms down. Bend your knees, then lift your legs up and rock it down and up until the bent knees are on your forehead while you place your hands under your hips. Cup your hips and lift your legs up then straighten over your head. Support your body weight using your arms and shoulders only.

6. Crow or Bakasana

yoga crow poseThe Crow will require serious strength from you but with constant practice, it will build the power of your hip flexors, arms, wrists, and core.

On your mat, get on a deep squat with your feet together and your knees wide apart. Flatten your hands on the mat at shoulder-width distance and spread your fingers widely. While keeping your hands and feet in the same position, lift your hips up towards the sky while bending your knees and lifting your heels off the mat. Press your knees in gently towards the back of your triceps then shift your weight to your fingertips. One at a time, pick one foot off the floor. You can bend your elbows if you feel the need. Using your core strength, draw your navel in towards your spine to help you stabilize and to center the lift to your core and allow you to straighten your elbows and hold the pose.

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