Fitness Retreats

One of the ways I stayed busy indoors during our back to back snow storms was to research SUNNY vacation spots for the summer holidays. During my research, I decide to look for fitness retreats and it lead me to this list of 17 Most Amazing Fitness Vacations.

I didn't agree with all of them...aka..anything involving water/cruises but these are some of my favourites from the list. I'm going to try and squeeze one of these into my 2013 travel destinations  list. People think travelling is expensive. I say it can be very cheap if you plan extensively ahead of time and pay for the trip early instead of settling for grotesque apauling last minute prices.

Even if you don't book a fitness retreat, researching hotels with a fitness/wellness center  at your travel destination is a great way to stay motivated to exercise while on vacation.Why ruin all your hard work because of a vacation? This is a great example of when you see exercising as a lifestyle habit, not something with a deadline or expiration date.

Also, in general, I need to start exploring more African Destinations.

WildFitness

Location: Watamu, Kenya

So maybe we’ll never be able to afford a trip to this little slice of fitness heaven, but you can

 bet it’s going on our “Someday…” Pinterest board. The Wildfitness retreat in Watamu

, Kenya features boxing sessions in an open-air Dojo, running workshops on the property’s

 white sand beaches, and scenic sea swims. The kicker: deep tissue massages for everyone

, and delicious meals to help fuel you through the day. All-inclusive seven-night retreats 

from $3,580. For details and availability visit www.wildfitness.com - See more at:

 http://greatist.com/fitness/best-fitness-vacations/#sthash.BC1kPZcF.dpuf



Vita Vie Retreat
Location: Delray Beach, FL

When lying around on the beach just isn’t for you, Vita Vie Retreat’s high-intensity boot

 camp really kicks things up a notch. Set in a small group environment, the Bella Boot Camp

 packs in five hours of exercise each day, including kickboxing, cardio circuits, and 

body weight workouts on the sand. Loving the all-inclusive thing? Get pumped for three 

healthy meals per day, fitness assessments (on arrival and departure days), along with a

  complimentary 50-minute spa treatment — the perfect reward for putting in work on

 holiday. All-inclusive retreats from $1,090/person for a three-night stay. For details and

 availability visitwww.bvretreat.com. - See more at: http://greatist.com/fitness/best-

fitness-vacations/#sthash.BC1kPZcF.dpuf

Fairmont Hotels
Locations: 60 worldwide

Wish you could stay fit during a hotel stay? The new “Fairmont Fit” program gives hotel

 guests access to complimentary Reebok workout footwear and apparel, delivered directly to 

their door for use in-room, at the gym, or in the great outdoors. Still lacking enough 

motivation? Request a fully-loaded MP3 player to get you moving, or a yoga mat and

 stretching band to shake off the jet lag or hours on the road. Rates from $159/night. For 

details and availability visit www.fairmont.com. - See more at: 

http://greatist.com/fitness/best-fitness-vacations/#sthash.BC1kPZcF.dpuf


 New Life Hiking Spa

Location: Killington, VT

Fresh air and scenic trails aren’t all this New England escape has to offer. Guests at New Life

 Hiking Spa can let their cares melt away with daily yoga sessions, fitness classes, and hikes

 of any level through the Green Mountains of Vermont. And when it’s time to dine, the

 seasonal menu specializing in high-energy, low-calorie meals will keep everyone’s health and

 All-inclusive rates from $219/night. For details and availability visit 

www.newlifehikingspa.com - See more at: http://greatist.com/fitness/best-fitness-

vacations/#sthash.BC1kPZcF.dpuf

The Biggest Loser Resort.

I love the show. I've followed every season. I love that in this season

 they are also tackling childhood obesity.

Locations: Niagra, NY; Ivins, UT; Malibu, CA

For those who want to experience Biggest Loser-results without the televised weight-ins, 

head to one of three locations for a complete head-to-toe transformation. Under the carefu

l supervision of certified trainers and nutritionists, the one-week program combines group-

oriented workouts with a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. The best part: learning how to 

listen to your body, and build healthy sustainable habits one day at a time. A full menu of spa 

services is just the icing on the (imaginary) cake. One-week retreats from $2,295/person

 for double occupancy; $2,695 for single occupancy. For details and availability 

visitwww.biggestloserresort.com - See more at: http://greatist.com/fitness/best-fitness-



Lawsuit claims grade school yoga exercise classes are inherently religious

Constitutional Law

Suit claims grade school yoga classes are inherently religious

Feb 21, 2013, 06:33 am CST

A suit filed Wednesday in San Diego superior court claims grade school yoga classes are inherently religious and a violation of the California Constitution.

The suit, filed on behalf of a couple with students in the district, claims the classes in Encinitas schools violate state constitutional provisions regarding religious freedom and state physical education requirements, according to a press release (PDF). The parents are represented by the National Center for Law & Policy.
In a declaration filed in support of the suit, a religious studies professor says the Ashtanga yoga program is inherently and pervasively religious. Students who opt out of the program do not receive 200 minutes of physical education every 10 days as mandated by the state, the press release says. 

The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times blog L.A. Now have coverage.
The suit seeks an end to the yoga program rather than money damages. The program is funded with a $533,000 from the nonprofit Jois Foundation. According to a prior press release (PDF) by the National Center for Law & Policy, "the stated goal of the Jois Foundation is to promote the 'gospel' of Ashtanga (Hindu beliefs and practices), a deeply religious form of yoga, worldwide."

L.A. Now spoke to the superintendent of the Encinitas Union School District, Tim Baird, who said he was disappointed a suit had been filed. Baird said the program is intended to teach students about the benefits of exercise and healthy eating.
“We are not teaching religion, we are not instructing anyone in religious dogma," said Baird. "Yoga is very mainstream.".

http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/commets/suit_claims_grade_school_yoga_classes_are_inherently_religious

_____________________________________________________________

My best friend , who is currently in law school, forwarded this article to me. 
We had a long debate about this and whether they will win the suit. We ended up disagreeing on the outcome.

Him, being the law student said they had a good case, I being the fitness expert though it was ridiculous.

  Anyone with enough common sense will understand that the intention of the school was to incorporate yoga into their fitness program. Not teach the children about the religion of yoga.

Here is why I THINK they should not win this lawsuit

1. Elements of yoga are found in many sports. Should we then eliminate those sports from school campuses? Or ban athletic coaches from making their athletes perform the poses? such as stretching and touching your toes? Putting your hands over your head which is reminiscent of the sun salutation?

2. Perhaps its an issue of the "name" of the program. What if it wasn't titled as a yoga class but a strength and stretching class that involved yoga poses?

3. What if the same yoga for fitness program was sponsored by a different organization? I can understand how someone can feel uncomfortable or link it to teaching the kids religion since the sponsor of the program is a religious yoga organization.

4. I practise yoga, as a fitness tool, not a religion. Isnt one of the distinctions of the 2, the chants? Is it considered religious if you do not perform the chants or other rituals that make it a religious act?

Why from a legal standpoint they could win the case

1. The program is meant to teach a "specific" type of yoga = Ashtanga yog. Instead of just being a mainstream yoga class

2. The program is sponsored by the Ashtanga Hindu religion organization.

I still think that if the defendents can show that its not a "religious class" about hinduism and DOES NOT involve chanting which could be considered praying, they will win.

If the direction of the course is to teach the importance, relative to fitness and healthy living, of the Ashtanga yoga poses, then its ok.

What do YOU think?

  

A Million Woman Walk For Congo - March 23 2013

When we read or listen to information about war from the media, the focus is usually on the war. Information on the soldiers who have been killed, the "terrorists" or the political implications of the war.

We hardly ever get proper insight into how these wars affect the citizens of the region....With schools and government infrastructures shut down. With chaos on the streets and no regulations, how are the citizens surviving?

What are the aftermaths of the war for the average person who is just an innocent bystander?

And when it comes to wars in Africa, everyone wants to talk about child soldiers.

But Nobody talks about the alarming rapes of women. Outside of organisations centered around women's rights/issues, you hardly ever hear a mainstream media cover the issue of rape during wars in Africa.

This is something the A Million Woman Walk for Congo hopes to change. 

Here's a little excerpt about the WALK from the website www.duniawomenwalk.org which will be taking place on March -23-2013 in Atlanta, Georgia World Congress Center.

_____________________________________________

“Forty-eight women are raped every hour in Congo … 12% of women in this country have been raped at least once,” finds a 2011 study by the American Journal of Public Health"...


The Atlanta Million Woman Walk for Congo is organized primarily to:
  • Call attention to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has been ongoing for over a decade, causing the greatest humanitarian crisis of our times.
  • To urge the United States to hold its allies accountable for their role in destabilizing the DRC.
  • To call on world leaders and members of Congress to actively engage in bringing this war to an end.
  • To stand in solidarity with the Congolese civilian population in crying out at the plight of innocent victims of war, the most vulnerable of whom are Women and Children.

March 23 coincidence
The March 23 Movement, often abbreviated as M23, is a rebel military group , based in eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo locked in conflict with the government of the DRC that has recently led to deaths and killings of a large number of citizens. On 23 March 2009, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) signed a peace treaty with the DRC governmentwhere it became a political party, and the M23 soldiers integrated into the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC). The M23 was formed on 4 April 2012 when nearly 300 soldiers, a majority of them former members of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), turned against the DRC government, citing poor conditions in the army and the government’s unwillingness to implement the 23 March 2009 peace deal. M23 takes its name from the date of these peace accords (March 23).
(Source: Wikipedia)

         ___________________________________________________________________________________


How can you become involved with this cause?
You can participate in the walk by becoming a volunteer, a partner or donating to their cause. More information can be found on their website www.duniawomenwalk.org

Date: Saturday MARCH 23, 2013 … come along with friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors. Let’s speak up with ONE voice for those women whose voices are being muffled and stifled by the monstrosity of raped. When Women Walk, the World Listens. SHE needs you. It’s the right thing to do.
Where: Georgia World Congress Center (downtown Atlanta).
Time: 10 a.m.







Heart- Pumping YOGA - WOMEN'S HEALTH

Lately, I 've been into yoga. It started off with me looking for a good stretching and lengthening exercise program. Now, with yoga, I'm learning to not just increase my flexibility but also strengthen the muscles.

Here are some heart pumping moves provided by women's health magazine


1. Sun Salutation

Stand in Mountain pose with your back straight, legs and feet together, and arms to your sides (A). Inhale as you raise your arms straight up overhead and bring your palms together (B). Exhale as you extend from your hips to fold your torso forward and move your hands down to the floor (C). Inhale, keep your hands down, but raise your head and chest slightly and gaze forward (D). Exhale, and step back into Plank pose with your arms and legs straight, your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders, your core engaged, and your back straight (E). Bend your elbows and lower toward the floor into a pushup position, keeping your elbows tucked close to your body (F). Inhale as you roll over your toes and, using your arms, press away from the floor and lift your chest into Upward-Facing Dog (G). Exhale as you roll your toes back over and lift and press your hips back into Downward-Facing Dog (H). Take five breaths in Downward-Facing Dog. Inhale and gaze forward as you lengthen back into your legs and bend your knees. Exhale as you step or jump your feet forward to meet your hands. Inhale as you extend your gaze and chest (I). Exhale as you fold forward over your legs (J). Inhale as you extend your arms wide to the sides, lift your chest, come all the way up to standing, and press your palms overhead. Exhale as you release your arms and return to Mountain pose.
Repeat two to five times


2. Warrior II Pose
Start with your feet one leg-length apart, feet parallel. Rotate your right foot outward 90 degrees and your left foot inward slightly so your right heel is lined up with the arch of the left foot. Bend your front knee, bringing your thigh parallel to the floor with your knee over your heel. Keep your torso directly over your neutral pelvis . Keeping your inner elbows straight, reach your arms to raise them parallel to the floor. Gaze over your front fingertips. 
Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.


3.Warrior III
Begin in Crescent pose with your legs in a lunge and your hands overhead. Join your palms together in front of your heart and lean forward over your front thigh. Keep gazing forward and lift your back leg off the floor until it is parallel to the floor. Extend your upper chest and gaze forward, keeping your leg straight. Stay here or extend your arms out in front of you and join your palms. 
Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

4. BOAT
Start seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lean back just far enough so your feet can float off the ground. Begin to straighten your legs together so that your body forms a V shape, keeping your arms extended and parallel to the ground. Balance on your tailbone and sit bones, chest lifted, and gaze forward. 
Hold for five to 10 breaths, and repeat two to five times.


5. REVOLVED CHAIR

Begin in Chair pose. Bring your hands into Prayer position, rotate your torso to the right, and place your left elbow or triceps on your right thigh so that your right elbow is pointing toward the ceiling. Keep your hips even and revolve your chest open by pulling the right shoulder back. 
Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.


STAIRS EXERCISES - SHAPE MAGAZINE

Stair Master
A stairwell is one of the most overlooked, highly effective training tools— ...If you don't have access to either of those, between your office, apartment building, home, or local park, you're never that far from a set of stairs. No excuses!
Do this workout three times per week to torch calories and sculpt a strong, lean physique. Do 1 set of each exercise back to back, and then repeat the full circuit 2 more times (3 times total).



Step-Ups
Reps: 10 per side
Place your right foot on top of the stair. Without moving your foot, drive through the ball of your big toe to come all the way up to standing. Slowly lower down until your back foot touches the ground. Your front foot stays on the stair the entire time. Be sure to keep chest up and core engaged. Do 10 reps per side.

Split Jumps
Reps: 5 per side
Place your right foot on top of the stair. Drive off the ball of your big toe as you jump as high as you can, switching feet in the air. Land with the left foot on the stair. Explosively drive off the ball of your big toe, switching feet in the air. Continually repeat the movement. Land softly and keep your chest up. Do 5 jumps each side.

Plyo Pushups
Reps: 10
Place both hands on the stair and get into pushup position with wrists directly below your shoulders, feet hip-width apart. Engage your legs and core as you bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the step.
Keeping your body as still as possible, explosively push up so that your hands lift off the step, not compromising body position. Allow hands to return to the stair and lower back down into a pushup position. Repeat movement at a quick pace. Do 10 reps.
Lateral Step-Up
Reps: 10 per side
Standing parallel to the stairs, lift your inside leg and place foot on top of the stair. Press through the ball of your big toe as you step up onto the stair. Bring both feet together and then come back down, still facing the same side.
Be careful not to collapse the chest or round your spine to come up to standing. Do 10 reps on each side.

Depth Jumps
Reps: 10
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend both knees, shift your hips back, and explosively jump up onto the stair. Land softly with chest up. Jump off the stair back down to the ground. Quickly jump back onto the stair. Repeat the movement at a controlled pace. Do 10 jumps.
Plank With Knee To Opposite Elbow
Reps: 10 per side
Place both hands on the stair and get into full plank position with your wrists directly below shoulders, feet hip-width apart. Engage your core to draw your right knee in toward your left elbow. Come back to center and draw your left knee in toward right elbow. Make sure to keep your spine straight and shoulder blades down and back during the entire movement. Do 10 reps per side.




Sprints
Reps: 2
Run as fast as possible up the set of stairs by explosively driving out of the ball of your big toe, lifting knees, and swinging arms. Once you reach the top of the staircase, slowly walk down. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do 2 sprints total.




Exercices De Gym à la Maison 4 - La Chaise

Over the weekend, I was stuck indoors because of the snow storm. I decided to use that time to look up other ways  of exercising at home without the need to buy any equipments. I had previously talked about exercising at home with a Jump Rope or using your body as free weights. Today's tool is something everyone has laying around either in their living room, kitchen or bedroom; A CHAIR.

Here are some exercises you can perform at home using only a chair.

The exercises range from stretches, abs workouts and strength training techniques




























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And Here is a pretty cool chair to do stretches and other exercises


 You can also use a CHAIR to transition into difficult yoga poses if you do not own yoga blocks.
 
 

Wutao, la danse du Tao

WuTao is a dance exercise program that incorporates Tai Chi, Yoga and other fitness programs that are geared towards toning, stretching and lengthening the muscles.

Image from GenerationTao

As some one who gets easily bored with redundant fitness routines, incorporating alternative programs such as this, makes working out F.U.N.
Image from CentreTao

 Image from CentreTao 

It differs from other high intensity, loud fitness dance programs like Zumba in that its elements of yoga call for quiet meditation while performing the routines.

Image from Doctossimo

Image from Wutao

Image from CentreTao 

Before buying a workout DVD, I suggesting heading to a YouTube and trying out some of the Wutao videos and workout routines.



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