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Healthy Lifestyle

Your First Yoga Class

  If you are intrigued by yoga and are thinking about taking a class, it can be a bit intimidating wondering what to expect. What supplies do you need? How long are the classes? Will you be able to keep up? Here is a brief look at what you will find when you take that first step into a yoga studio.   If you are taking a class at a health center or gym, mats are usually available for you. Otherwise, you must bring a mat, as you might not be allowed to participate without one. The mat will provide you with some cushioning and stability and will prevent slippage, so it's a necessity for yoga. There are several poses that will have you with your face to the ground or laying on the ground, so something between you and a potentially dirty floor is a good thing.   What type of yoga will you be doing? And how long will the session last? There are many styles of yoga, and some might be a better fit than others. Hatha yoga is a slower, more deliberate, flowing, and meditative type of yoga; Vinyasa is a faster paced yoga that will get you sweating in no time. There are other styles that are beyond the scope of this article, but you'll soon know which style you will be doing once the class gets going. Class times can vary from 20 minutes to over an hour. The most common will be a 55 to 60 minute class, which includes a 15 minute relaxation period at the end. A guided meditation is usually given by the instructor during this time.   An hour long class can be intimidating, but understand that your instructor wants to keep you safe, as well as giving you a superb workout. Most classes in health centers and gyms tend to cater to the beginner, therefore quite often instructors will give you a modification for a pose. For example, if you find it difficult to do a push-up (called a Chaturanga) while on your toes, they will allow you to drop to your knees. And if you find yourself hurting, just give yourself a break for a moment before resuming the poses. You want to get a great workout, but not at the risk of injuring yourself. Most classes in health centers and gyms tend to cater to the beginner.   Don't avoid taking a class just because you're not sure what to expect. Yoga will stretch your mind as well as your body. The workouts are a fantastic way to increase your strength and stability. So find a class, jump in feet first, and discover a whole new you!

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Green Apple Active Guest Post: Top 5 Tips for Lean Abs

Green Apple Active Guest Post: Top 5 Tips for Lean Abs

We are so excited to share this super informative post from fitness professional Sara Holliday!

Are you concerned about your abs? Besides looking attractive, having lean abdominals reduces your risk for other health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.  Use these top 5 tips to flatten your abs and improve your overall health. ~Sara Holliday MFT, CPT
1. Defy the abdominal crunch myth. Thousands of sit-ups do not equal flat abs! You can exercise your abdominals every day and have strong abs, but you won’t see definition until you lose body fat. The best way to see definition is through a combination of cardio and healthy eating. Just remember this equation: Increase your cardio=increases calories burned=decrease in body fat= muscle definition
2. Do the flat abs combo of kickboxing and yoga. Kickboxing boosts your heart rate so you lose body fat, plus the kicks firm the waist, thighs and buttocks.  Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise to lengthen your muscles while incorporating the core muscles.
3. Increase your fat burning power with high intensity intervals. For example, incorporate stair climbing for a few sets, or take your power walk to a jog for a few minutes. These high intensity intervals will boost your heart rate and work multiple muscles so you burn more calories and lose body fat.
4. Keep your metabolism revved up with healthy snacks.  Be sure to pack healthy snacks such as Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, a banana with peanut butter, a cheese stick with an apple, and or nuts. If you keep your body fueled you’ll have fewer cravings and you’ll burn calories throughout the day. In addition you’ll have more energy and improved digestion.
5. Don’t mistake hunger for thirst. Often times we’re dehydrated and think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Make sure you’re hydrated before you eat- drink a glass of water before you have a bite.  When you’re body is hydrated you’ll eat less and have more energy. Bio: Sara Holliday, MFT, CPT, HHP is a licensed marriage-family therapist, certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and holistic health practitioner. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology and a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology and maintains certifications and/or licenses in a multitude of health and fitness disciplines. As an expert in health and wellness, Sara has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows including Oprah Radio, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Playboy Radio, PBS Radio, KABC, KNSD,KTLA, KUSI, Fox 5 & 6, and she regularly appears as the fitness and wellness expert in videos for Ehow.com.
Read more great articles by Sara Holiday on her blog at or check out her site at fitbysara.com

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