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What NB Read: October to December

I have always enjoyed reading and sometimes go through phases where I read a ton and then don’t pick up another book for a really long time. Since October, I’ve been in my “reading a ton” phase — I can’t remember the last time I read so many books in such a short period of time! Every night I can’t wait to crawl into bed and READ!! I have found it helps me relax, unwind, and fall asleep faster.
I am always curious about what other people are reading so I thought you might be, too! Here is what I read from October through December.

Verity by Colleen Hoover

One of the bloggers I follow on Instagram talked about this book, saying how she could not put it down. Since I love a good page turner, I decided to give it a go. A page turner it is! I seriously could not put this book down! This is a thriller to say the least. I give it 5/5 yoga mats.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel by Rooney, Kathleen

An acquaintance said she was reading this for a book club. I often think if a book is book club worthy it is worth reading! If you love New York, you just might love this book. It is a story of an older lady who takes a walk on New Year’s Eve and tells the story of her life as she walks, making stops along the way to talk to different people. A very fun read. I give it 4/5 yoga mats.

Not a Happy Family: A Novel by Shari Lapena

Lots of twists and turns in this book about a wealthy family from upstate New York. The parents are murdered and their three children try to figure out who did. A quick read that will keep you guessing until the very end. I give it 4/5 yoga mats.

The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

I recently learned about Kristen Hannah. This was the first book of hers I’ve read and will definitely not be the last! The story takes place in 1974 in a small remote town of Alaska. It is the story of a 13 year old girl, Leni, and her parents. Her father is a POW who never seems to be able to hold a job and decides that moving to a remote town in Alaska will be the answer to all of their problems. Leni witnesses her father abuse her mother as they try to survive in their new home. I give it 5/5 yoga mats.

The Last Flight by Julie Clark

This was another book I could not put down! There are so many twists and turns. Simply put, this book is about two women who are trying to get away from their current lives. By chance, they meet at an airport, switch their tickets, and agree to take over one another’s life. I have recommended this book to a couple of friends who also enjoyed it. A part of the book takes place in the Bay Area so that is also fun. I give it 4.5/5 yoga mats.

The Power Couple by Alex Berenson

I picked this book up at the library knowing nothing about it and it was so good. If you like stories with twists and turns all the way to the end, this might be the book for you. I give it 3.5/5 yoga mats.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleaton

I picked up this book because I enjoyed the book Next Year in Havana by the same author. I was a little disappointed as it was not quite the same caliber as Last Year in Havana, but found it to be worth the read. I give it 3/5 yoga mats.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Just a fun little love story! A very quick, light read. The perfect beach read. This is the first book in a series of three. I’m waiting for the other two to come back into the library so I can check them out! I give it 4/5 yoga mats.

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah

After reading The Great Alone, I was expecting more from this book. I found it to be a bit depressing and a little long and drawn out. It is the story of two sisters who are very different and the relationships between the two of them and their mother (who they were not close to growing up) after the death of their father with whom they were very close. I give it 3/5 yoga mats.

 

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

A friend recommended this book to me many years ago and I just got around to reading it. If you are interested in poker you will probably love this book. I don’t play poker nor do I have an interest in it, so parts of the book were hard for me to follow. Definitely, an interesting story that kept my interest, but not my favorite. I give it 2.5/5 yoga mats.

The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi Elif Shafak

If you’re familiar with Rumi, you know he is famous for his inspirational poetry. I love this book because of the messages spread throughout the book. I won’t say much more except just read it!! I give it 5/5 yoga mats.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I picked this book up because it is written by the same author as Daisy and the Six, which I enjoyed. This story takes place in Malibu, CA, which I found to be a fun part of the book. I would say this book is entertaining, but there are portions and characters that I felt didn’t really need to be in the story. I give it 3.5/5 yoga mats. If I could add a half of yoga mat, I would.

I hope this list inspires you to put your feet up and enjoy a good book! Let me know if you’ve read any of these or you have a book to suggest in the comments below.

I am already on my sixth book this month so I can’t wait to share at the end of the month what I’ve read in January.

Be Well,
NB

EVOLVE THROUGH YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

Over the course of the past few months, I have been through some major life changes which have prompted me to want to continue to grow and EVOLVE into the best person I can possibly be. I recognize this journey will be forever ongoing, but I can tell positive changes are happening and I am feeling good about how my life is evolving.
Evolving is something that happens over time as we consistently choose to make choices to better ourselves and realize our full potential.

“Everything has to evolve, or else it perishes.” — John Knowles

EVOLVE THROUGH YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

One great place to start is on your yoga mat. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Be Consistent
In my mind, consistency is key to getting the results you desire or to see growth. If you are not able to make it to your mat for a full-length class, commit to spending 5-10 minutes on your mat every day.

Listen to Your Body
When we want to see changes in our body, we may push ourselves too far. Give yourself grace, have patience, and listen to your body. Your body will tell you when enough is enough or when less is more.

Acceptance
Accept where your body is right now. It takes time to build strength and flexibility and to see change. Know that you are where you are meant to be at this moment.

Stay Present
Your yoga practice can be a moving meditation. Use your breath to relax and be in the moment. Being aware of your breath will help you stay more present.

Use Your Props
Your yoga props (blocks, blanket, and strap) are tools to help support you in your yoga practice. I often say, “Just as you need scissors to cut paper, you will sometimes need your yoga props to help you with your poses.” The props will help to make the yoga practice more accessible for you and really help you to evolve and make progress.

I hope these tips are helpful! Let me know in the comments below how you are hoping to evolve either on your yoga mat or in life! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

If you would like to read how yoga can help people evolve, check out one of my all time favorite books about yoga:
How Yoga Works by Michael Roach and Christie McNally

It is based on the Yoga Sutras, but also tells the story of how yoga can help transform many aspects of your life.

Be Well,
Nicole

Mindful Spinal Movements

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Mindful Spinal Movements

A major concern I’ve found with my students who have a bone loss diagnosis is maintaining proper posture and not moving the spine in a way that might cause harm. This is completely understandable! Maintaining good posture will help to reduce your risk of developing both kyphosis (rounding of the upper back) and fractures. I believe we have an added challenge in today’s society since many of us are oftentimes looking down on our devices for long periods of time throughout the day in keeping the shoulders and upper back from rounding while maintaining healthy posture.

Of course yoga is a great way to work on your posture and build strength in your back to keep your spine straight. Keep in mind that even though you want to keep your spine straight, you also want to try to preserve all of the movements of the spine in order to maintain mobility! With the exception of flexion (rounding of the back) the other movements including side bending, back bending (extension), and twisting (rotation) should be safe for you to do as long as you are mindful when practicing the movements.

Spinal Extension

Modified Cow Pose, where the back rounds (the counter movement to Cat Pose), is a pose you should avoid if you have osteoporosis/osteopenia, however gentle backbends such as Cow Pose can help maintain mobility in your lower back.
For those with a bone loss diagnosis: move from cow pose to a flat back in a very mindful way. Being intentional about our movements will help to keep the body safe.


Twisting
Twisting is another movement that is a very functional movement. If you stop to think about how many times throughout your day you turn to reach for something it is probably quite a bit. However, when practicing twists in your yoga practice you want to make sure you are doing so with a straight spine and not twisting too deeply.
To come into the pose: Take one leg straight, bend the opposite knee, take your hand or elbow around your knee, with the other hand behind your back close to the hip. You may think of your back arm/hand as a kickstand on a bike helping to keep the spine straight. From there, take a deep breath in and lengthen the spine and rotate away from the bent knee. As always, be mindful of your movements and move slowly. Keep your twist minimal if you have a bone loss diagnosis.

Forward Folding
Any sort of rounding in the back as I said above is to be avoided for risk of fracture. Yet again it is not to be avoided… just modified! Instead hip-hinging is a great exercise as it helps to build core strength, mobility in the hips, and helps to stretch the backs of the legs.
To come into the pose: Stand with your feet approximately hip distance apart. Bring your hands to your hip creases hinge from the hips and lower your hands to your shins. Try to balance the weight of your feet evenly between the toes and the heals.

Alternatively, you could put your hands on the seat of the chair to fold forward or also on yoga blocks if needed to help you feel more comfortable in the pose.

Keep in mind, you know your body best! If there are movements you know do not feel good in your body, cause pain or discomfort avoid them. I hope this is helpful for you! If you have any questions or comments be sure to post them below!!

 

NB Loves!!

I thought I would share some random things I am loving right now.

Recently on my scrolls through Instagram, I saw another influencer recommend this book, Inward by Yung Pueblo. I have been sharing passages in some of yoga classes lately so if you take my classes you may have heard a reading from Inward already.  This book is amazing!!  If you are looking for a little inspiration, all you have to do is open the book to any page and there you go! This book would make a great gift.


These may be a little silly to be sharing on a yoga blog, but I loved these Zipper File Bags  so much I thought I would share the love. These bags are made a mostly waterproof durable nylon material.  They are 13 X 9.4 so they hold a regular 81/2 X 11 sheets of paper and perfect to transport papers in your laptop bag and so many other uses.  I have used one to store my Kindle.
They would also be perfect for traveling to store makeup, Ipad, jewelry, snacks, and the list goes on. 

And one more love for you… I hardly ever buy tennis shoes without trying them on as I am super picky about how my tennis shoes  fit, but due to Covid and not wanting to go into the store to try on shoes, I took a chance and order these  Adidas Women’s Ultraboost 20 Running Shoes  online and I love them! They fit true to size, are really comfortable, come in a bunch of different colors, and for me have the perfect amount of support.

Be Well,
Nicole

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical conditions.

Yoga with Resistance Bands

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Namaste Yogis,

I hope you are doing well! I am excited today to talk about using resistance bands with yoga! I have to say I resisted the idea of adding weights or resistance bands to my practice for so long. I wanted to keep my yoga teaching to more traditional yoga, but if you read my post Strength & Mobility for Hips and Glutes you know I needed to shift my personal yoga practice into a more strength based practice so the resistance bands have really helped me gain more strength. I am super excited to be teaching a new class, Mindful Conditioning which will include resistance bands in each class!! You can check out our schedule page for more information!!

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Yoga Books to Inspire You!

Namaste Yogis-

I hope you are doing well! I am currently participating in a 30 Day Reels Challenge on Instagram. The prompt for today was to share your top books! There are so many books that I love so choosing just a few was a bit of a challenge for me. Since reels only give you 15 seconds, I thought you might like to look further into what these books are about!!
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Monday Motivation: Have Fun Everyday!!!

Namaste Yogis!

I hope you had a good weekend! This weekend, I was reflecting on all of the challenges we have been faced with this year. The most recent being the wildfires which has kept many of us indoors due to poor air quality. Like many I’m sure, I have found this to be very frustrating since one of the things that has helped me cope with the pandemic is getting out for my walks and running the stairs. Because of the wild fires burning in California, I have not been able to get out for the past week or so. Needless to say, this is very frustrating but I am trying to make the best of it by practicing more yoga and moving my body in other ways without going outside.
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What’s Up Wednesday: Gentle Back Extension Poses

Namaste! It’s hard to believe it is already Wednesday with the holiday on Monday! I hope you had a great Labor Day! It was so hot where I live, I honestly did nothing except teach a great class in the morning!

This week I am focusing on back extension poses or backbends. In order to maintain the health of our spine, we want to make sure we are moving the spine in all of the ways it is meant to move….these are flexion (e.g., forward fold), extension (e.g., backbend), rotation (e.g., twist), and lateral flexion (e.g., side bend). As someone who has had back issues in the past, I am always very careful when backbending especially since my thoracic spine has limited mobility.
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What’s Up Wednesday: Poses for the Quadriceps

Namaste! How did it get to be September already?? I hope your week is going well!

This week in my classes, I am focussing on the quadriceps. The quadriceps are made up of four muscles. These four muscles are extensor muscles that help extend the knee. The quadriceps help us to walk, run & jump so it goes without saying, we need to take care of them! In my personal practice, I know I am working the quadriceps often as I almost always incorporate lunges into my practice, but it is not often I remember to do poses that help stretch these muscles.
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Yoga in Pajamas: Super Supported Bridge

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TGIF! I hope you have had a good week! A few weeks back I posted a Supported Bridge Pose here.
If you liked that pose, you are going to love this one with extra support. The extra bolster or pillows gives your back extra support and opens up the front of the body
front of the body even more, which allows the breath to flow a little more freely. My clients who I share this pose with absolutely love it!  So, give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!
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What’s Up Wednesday: Poses for Tight Hamstrings

Happy Hump Day Yogis! I hope you are hanging in there with all of the things that are going on in our world. I know there is added stress for those school-age children trying to navigate the on-line learning situation. As a former school teacher, my heart goes out to all of you in that situation.

I have decided to focus my class this week on the hamstrings. Many of the poses we do in yoga incorporate the hamstrings and many people have restrictions in their hamstrings which make these poses a challenge. Poses for the hamstrings are important for those with low back pain as oftentimes those with low back issues have tight hamstrings. I wanted to share these poses with modifications in hopes it will be helpful for those of you who need it.
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