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10-Minute Yoga Sequence Before Bed

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Do you have trouble falling asleep? I know my mind races before bed, especially when I have a million things that didn't get checked off my to-do list. I love doing a few yoga poses before bed to calm my mind and let everything begin to slow down and open up before crawling into my comfy sheets. Try giving yourself 10 minutes to unwind and unravel before bed by trying out these five poses.

 

You'll learn to tune into your breath and body to be in a better position to actually enjoy a relaxed slumber!

 

Standing forward fold (Padangustasana)

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Standing forward fold will allow you to pour out all the stress of your day straight from your skull.

  • Begin with your feet hip-width apart and fold forward with straight back over the hips, bending the knees as necessary to use your two peace fingers to grab between the big and second toes
  • Shift your weight forward onto the toes, straighten the legs as much as possible

Hold here for 10 full breaths

 

Wide-legged forward fold (Prasarita Paddotanasana)

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Open up your hamstrings and lower back with this juicy forward fold.

  • From here, widen your stance so your feet are wider than shoulder distance apart
  • Clasp your hands together at the base of your spine behind you, pressing the palms to touch
  • Gently start to bend forward from the hips allowing the crown of your head to float towards the floor

Hold here for 10 full breaths

 

Low lunge (Anjaneyasana)Crush-Fitness-Bedtime-Yoga

Hello hip flexors – this will allow you to open up through those extra tight hips.

  • Step right foot in between your hands as you lower onto your back knee
  • Press your body upright by leveraging your hands on top of your knee
  • Plant right hand on top of right thigh and extend the left hand up towards the ceiling getting a deeper stretch through your left hip flexor
  • Repeat on left side

Hold her for 10 full breaths *challenge to shift the gaze up towards the ceiling

 

Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)Crush-Fitness-Bedtime-Yoga

Open your feet and hips like a book with butterfly!

  • Sit on the floor and let your knees splay out wide as you bring the pinky toes and feet to touch like butterfly
  • Begin to open the feet like a book as you exhale to forward fold opening space through your hips
  • If you want more of a shoulder stretch, extend your arms in front of you

Hold here for 10 full breaths

 

Bridge

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This will get your heart-pumping while opening your heart and hips at the same time.

  • Lie flat on your back with your arms extended along your body, palms planting into the earth
  • Bend your knees and begin to scoot your heels as close to your bum as possible keeping the feet hip-width distance apart
  • Begin to press into your palms as you lift your hips towards the ceiling
  • If you want more of a shoulder opener, clasp your hands together underneath your pelvis and begin to walk the shoulder blades closer to the midline

Hold here for 5-15 full breaths

 

Legs up the wall

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This pose is one of the most grounding and relaxing poses. It truly is as simple as it sounds, and has many benefits like alleviating low back pain, relieving any swollen ankles/feet issues, and regulating blood circulation.

  • Wiggle your legs up the length of the wall, meeting the base of the wall with your bum
  • Let the bottoms of your feet face the ceiling and hang out here for 2-3 minutes
  • You can even put a pillow under your lower back/bum to open up the shoulders, release any lower back tension, and give those tight hamstrings an inviting stretch

 

Corpse Pose (Savanasa)Crush-Fitness-Bedtime-Yoga

Before climbing into your sheets for a full-body blissful night of sleep, chill out in corpse post for 5 minutes.

  • Lie on your back and close your eyes, let your toes splay out towards the edges of your mat or room, and allow your shoulders to melt down and away from your ears
  • Lay here for as long as you'd like, or for as long as your bedtime routine allows

 

Try squeezing this short yoga routine in before bed – your hips, head, and heart will thank you in the morning, I promise.

How To Choose The Perfect Yoga Class

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Many factors go into finding the right yoga class. You need to find one that meets your needs, makes you feel good, and keeps you coming back for more. Everyone is looking for something slightly different in a yoga class, so I would suggest exploring around, and don't write yoga off because of one bad experience. A studio that makes you feel comfortable is a mix of finding the right ambiance, an approachable teacher, and a yoga style that meets your given needs!

 

Try out as many different studios as possible 
This is one of my favorite things to do when moving to a new city, and it's usually completely free your first class! This is a great way to get a feel for the types of classes that are offered in your city, and also allows a taste of different types of yoga. Trying out different classes allows you to get a feel for studios, classes, and teachers that make you feel comfortable. 

 

Consider what you want to get out of class
Are you in it to zen out? Maybe try Hatha or Iyengar yoga which allows you to move slower. Are you in it for self-discovery or self-discipline? Then, maybe you should sweat it out in a Bikram class. Get a better feel for some of the different types of yoga I have outlined below. Hopefully, it will help you on your yoga journey! 

 

Figure out which style of yoga you may be interested in:

 

Hatha 
Hatha yoga is much slower, and allows you to build heat by slowing down the poses and moving into each posture with correct anatomical alignment. This is perfect for someone who doesn't enjoy the continuous movement of vinyasa style classes, or a perfect class to take on a day where you need some stillness in your life.

 

Bikram
Bikram is practiced in an extremely hot room (105 degrees) for 90 minutes. It is an incredibly intense, strange, yet mentally and physically rewarding style of yoga. This was the first yoga class I ever took, and I was immediately hooked. It's not for everyone, but I would strongly suggest trying a class. Expect no music, bright lights, tons of sweat, and a whole body high post-savasana.

 

Vinyasa
This is a word you will hear often, and it basically means linking breath with movement. Any class where you move energetically from one pose to the other using your breath is a form of vinyasa. Vinyasa is the most prevalent form in the western world, and is usually offered at your local gym, and can be heated, cooled, or taken at room temperature.

 

Ashtanga
Ashtanga is a very physically demanding style of yoga that may also be referred to as power yoga. It comprises a precise series of poses brought together through breath in a specific sequential order. Ashtanga is a great blend of powerful, grounding poses that you hold for about 5 breaths each, paired with a vinyasa in-between.

 

Iyengar
Iyengar yoga uses many props such as belts, blocks, blankets, and bolsters to position yourself into a specific and precise anatomical position. It is a type of hatha yoga that allows you to hold poses for longer periods of time focusing on specific alignments. This is a great class for those who feel over-worked, and need to put their muscles and body through a relaxing re-set.

 

Other types
There are so many different types of yoga now, form stand-up paddle board yoga to Buti yoga, an African dance-like yoga style to Acro or Partner yoga. There truly are so many different options which make the practice approachable to everybody! Have fun with it, explore what makes you feel the best, and keep innovating and trying new styles of yoga!

5 Reasons To Get Up and GO! To Yoga

 

Yoga can be intimidating, especially for someone who is used to a gym setting (or for someone who has never even stepped foot inside a gym or yoga studio). When new yogis leave their first class with me, with the post-yoga blissful smile swept across their faces, I ask them why they haven't tried it before, and I usually get one of these 5 responses to why they haven't done yoga:

  1. I'm not good enough to go to a yoga class
  2. I'm not flexible enough 
  3. I'm not a 'real yogi' 
  4. I'll never be able to do that (insert fancy headstand here) 
  5. I'm not in good enough shape

If you have ever thought along these lines, I am here to encourage you to let go of your ego, let go of all expectations, and let go of your fear of yoga. Everyone is on a separate yoga journey, and I promise you – no one is looking at yours. Everyone is too focused on their own practice, and not worrying about how funny you look in your downward dog. It's okay to be inflexible, that is why you SHOULD go to yoga. Like anything else in life, yoga takes practice, patience, and a whole lot of heart. 

Hopefully these 5 reasons will nudge you out the door and into the wonders waiting on your yoga mat! 

Release the crazy. You have a million thoughts running around inside your brain, a million expectations, a million things on your to-do list. You can drive yourself crazy with the non-stop drive and push to always be moving towards a goal or pushing your limits to move past it. Yoga allows you to breathe life into the present moment, and this enables one to breathe out the 'crazy.' The crazy thoughts that come across your mind, the crazy feelings of not being enough, the crazy feeling that you should be doing better, doing more, doing something else. These feelings slowly begin to fade away when you are forced to simply breathe in, and breathe out.

To work on your 'insides'. Yoga throws you into your body and breath. It allows you to work on the insides – the guts, the secret & hidden places of tightness that you hold onto. I am always on the go, and am usually being pulled a multitude of directions in life, work, and family affairs. For me, Yoga allows personal time to be selfish, time to work on any inner shiftings and uses a combination of breath, sweat, and movement to sift out the dirt in order to dig into what hurts. When you allow yourself space to work on what's happening on the inside, it begins to make the outside a whole lot happier.

To whittle away your waist line. A complete yoga practice fuses breathing techniques, meditation, and asanas (poses). Yoga is a great way to burn calories, and can be an absolute calorie scorcher dependent on the intensity of the class. Not only is yoga a great exercise, but it also leads to decreased levels of stress which decrease your cortisol levels leading to weight loss. 

Brings more awareness into your life. The ripple effects of yoga extend far from the four corners of your mat. Getting into a regular yoga practice will open up your world by allowing you to tune in. By tuning in, you begin to cultivate awareness for your own breath, for what you put into your body, and a deeper awareness of how you are truly feeling at any given point of time. 

It will make you (and your hips) happy. In our digital world, we often spend hours hunched over a computer screen working away. Even if you're lucky enough to have a standing desk, or a job that doesn't have you typing over a computer for most of the day, odds are you have tight hips and a little bit of inner-tension built up throughout the day. 

Getting your daily dose of yoga, even if it's only a ten minute, mid-work break can help stimulate blood flow to the limbs, clear your mind, and let you get back (or start) your work day refreshed and ready to work. There are plenty of online resources, but this quick guide from Kino MacGregor is one of my favorites if you need a little yoga boost in the middle of the day.

Shine awareness, light, and a little bit of happiness into your daily routine by adding yoga into the mix. Just try one week of continuous yoga and see where it takes you. Get up and go – your mind, body, and soul will thank you later.

The Balancing Act

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7 Ways To Stay Healthy on the Road

Summertime is here, and that means road trips, travel time, and a plethora of holidays. Staying healthy on the road is one of the hardest things, and whether you are traveling for work or play, it is essential to infuse healthy eating and fun types of exercise into your travel routine.

Try one or more of these 7 suggestions to help stay healthy while traveling for work, adventure, or fun.

  1. Food prep your way to success. Packing healthy snacks for the airport or long car ride is the perfect way to prep your way into a healthy adventure. I typically pack bags of veggies like celery, carrots, and peppers to snack on for those moments of pure boredom. My dirty pleasure would definitely have to be flavored popcorn (dill pickle popcorn from Trader Joes) to be exact. I always have LARA bars, or nuts in my bag as well for the times I get super 'hangry.'
  2. Try the every other day rule (engaging in some type of exercise every other day) For longer trips, or for those of you who travel non-stop for work, this is a great goal to set so you don't completely get out of the workout/yoga routine. This flexibility allows you to be lazy the day after that 30-hour bus ride, or day full of meetings, but holds you accountable to get up and be active the next day! I love switching it up because I always get bored. Try yoga one day, a Youtube video the next, and head off on a half-day bike ride or walk around the city after that. The exciting part is your scenery is forever changing, so there is no time to be bored.
  3. Get outside and see where your mat takes you. For me, being in new surroundings means a whole new jungle gym to adventure in, and this includes sweating it out outside. I love posting up in a park, amidst the city skyline, or in a random neighborhood. All you need is your mat, some good jams, and your breath. 
  4. Bye bye beers. Limiting alcohol consumption is the easiest way to cut those empty calories, and feel truly better about your body inside and out. At home, I rarely drink on the weekdays, but during long-term travel I find myself craving a cold beer (or five) at the end of a long day. One beer won't going to kill you, but one every day adds up (that’s an extra 800 calories /week, the caloric output of 1.5 hours of a sweaty, challenging vinyasa class). Try opting for water or iced tea before or after you practice, it will make your early morning wake up call much easier.
  5. Explore YouTube yoga videos. It is really hard to find good Yoga videos online for free. I really enjoy the Yoga with Tim Youtube channel. Tim Senesi is a likeable teacher who provides in-depth, foundational flows that focus on different body parts and/or sequencing styles. If you're feeling adventurous, try a BUTI YOGA video. BUTI Yoga is an unconventional, sweaty, dance-infused style to get your heart-pumping and 'booty' moving. Travis Eliot is also a great resource for cross-functional yoga videos. Every yoga teacher brings a unique approach to the practice, and there really is a video for any mood, level of intensity, or focus you're looking for.
  6. Rise with the sun. Getting up early while traveling allows you to pack the utmost adventure, work, and LIFE into your day. Even if you're not an early riser, I dare you to get out of bed with the sun. Get out and go for a walk, see how the city wakes up, watch it come alive before your eyes. There is nothing like waking up before the rest of the world!
  7. Balance, balance, balance. If you accidentally have beer and pancakes for dinner one night, rent a paddle board or make a goal to walk for a couple hours the next day. Balance is so crucial to sustaining health, and it’s important to realize that you are going to have days where you eat all the wrong things. Food is part of the experience when we travel; it is such an essential part to culture, but yoga can help counteract the crap, put your mind at ease, and re-establish the reality that it's all going to be pretty damn incredible. 

Why You Should Have Your Cake & Yoga Too

 

 

Hi Crush FAM! My name is Phoebe Nygren and I am joining the team as the resident wanderlust yogi, handstand fanatic, and of course dark chocolate lover. I've touched my hands in 38 countries and look forward to bringing you along on the journey to balance in every aspect of life. Passion oozes into everything I do – whether it's meditating with monks in Laos, biking to beer gardens around Austin Texas, or teaching yoga on a secret beach in Thailand, I love making people smile. 

 

I can't wait to dive into the passion and purpose that drives every one of you, and hopefully together we can start to fuse a little bit more balance and smile into the Crush community. This balance is tough to come by – we live in a sweet N' low world filled with half N' half, Yin and Yang, everything existing in contrast. The sweetest times in life, the peak pose, the blissful feeling of breaking a personal goal must exist alongside struggle. We never get anywhere special without the struggle. Having your cake and yoga too means striving for that balance, and realizing that you can 'crush' your workout one day, eat cake the next, and finish in savasana. We are imperfect beings striving to make sense of the madness. It's okay to eat your cake and yoga too...Here's why! 

 

Life's too short, eat the damn cake. This can be literal (ice cream cake if you ask me) or figurative. I mean really taste life. Enjoy it. Linger in the joyous moments and observe those of darkness. We rarely have the ability to sit with our thoughts, living life like a SnapChat played on fast forward gets exhausting. It's always onto the next one – scrolling through life like an Instagram feed allows us to see the beautiful surface, but rarely dives into the layers. 

 

Yoga cuts into the layers, it reveals the frosting on the inside. Yoga can be an intimidating word/world for most of us. I was an athlete my entire life, a balls-to-the-wall, leave nothing behind person. I lived life a million miles an hour, and never thought of slowing down for yoga. I was (and still am) a gym rat, but yoga is different. Before I took my first hot yoga class I was so intimidated I almost didn't show up. But after my very first class, after getting over the fact that I felt silly breathing so that my neighbors could hear me, or closing my eyes in a room full of people, I began to open up to the beauty of yoga. 

 

Learning to love yo-self. As cheesy as it sounds, yoga opens us up to the gift we all have inside us, the gift of breathe and movement, sweat and emotion, and ultimately self-love. I have realized over the years that it's not so much about the pose - yes handstands are freaking amazing, and I love to do them all over the world. But, the pose is not the point. The point is how the practice makes you feel, how it has the ability to turn you inside and out and upside down to put you back together again. 

 

I promise yoga is for you, it's for everyone. Yoga has a million meanings and you get to choose what it means to you. The definition is ever-changing and everyday, every flow, every class will teach you something a little different about yourself. Some days may teach you to sit within the stillness, you may realize that a teacher telling you to sink 2 inches deeper infuriates you. Let it marinate, observe it all and then simply let it go. Breathe, scream, laugh, cry, invite every emotion in and then let every emotion go. 

 

To me, yoga is the purest form of unfiltered freedom. It's raw and weird, and the practice allows me to breathe into the space of what it means to be human, to be alive. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. The best part is, it doesn't have to be serious; I laugh, make faces at my friends, and some days roll around on the floor. Guess what, that is yoga too. So have fun with it, and try and enjoy the crazy roller coaster ride. Remember, you can always have your cake and yoga too! 

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