Tag Archives: sports club/la

Get Pumped with Our Workout Playlist with Tara Stiles

playlistWhat are your essential items you have with you when working out? We can bet that for most of you an iPod or some sort of music ranks in the top 3 things you need to get you up and ready to burn calories. Music is a really great way to get you moving and motivated. That’s why Tara Stiles always incorporates music into her Strala Yoga and teaching sessions – to keep things loose and energized.

Do you have a song that always gets you pumped up? Maybe a dance number that makes you jog a little faster on the treadmill? There are a lot of people that like to choreograph their yoga routines to peaceful music – or if you’re like Tara a little hip-hop couldn’t hurt either. We wanted to spring things up a bit this week, get everyone moving, so we made a workout playlist of our own. Check out the individual tracks below or favorite the entire playlist by clicking here.

PLAYLIST:

1) Pharell – “Happy”  *- If this Oscar nominated jam from “Despicable Me 2” is enough to make Lupita Nyong’o and Meryl Streep shimmy then it is good enough to get us up and moving too.

2) Classified – “Inner Ninja”*- This song makes us feel badass because who doesn’t love getting in touch with their ninja? (Everyone has one)

3) Aloe Blacc – “Love is the Answer”*- You know that unmistakable voice from “Wake Me Up” that won’t leave you alone every time you turn on the car radio? Well check out Aloe Blacc away from the DJ’s and get stirred again.

4) Quad City DJ’s “Space Jam” – In the wise words of Kid President, “What if Michael Jordan had never made Space Jam? And I looooooove Space Jam.” Part of the reason “Space Jam” is so great is because of the killer soundtrack. If this song can motivate a bunch of Looney Tunes to defeat evil aliens bent on enslaving them to an eternity of outer space amusement work then it can definitely push us to do a few more crunches. Plus it’s just the most fun song ever.

5) Taylor Swift – “22” – What is a workout playlist without a guilty pleasure song? And there is no greater guilty pleasure than the country queen of break-up songs herself. To be fair we added one of the only songs not about one of her exes, so let us have this one.

6) Jay-Z – “Run This Town” feat. Rihanna and Kanye West – If your preferred mood while working out is to feel like a boss then this is the song for you. It’s got a good beat and you can show everyone who’s in charge – just try to resist the urge to belt out Rihanna’s soprano verses in case you startle someone.

7) Keri Hilson – “Pretty Girl Rock” – There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning the fact you look fabulous, even in yoga pants and a raggedy t-shirt. This goes for you guys too. Have a little confidence when you’re stepping it out and this is the song to give it to you.

8) Maroon 5 “Moves Like Jagger” feat. Christina Aguilera – It’s possible that the radio also ruined this song for everyone forever – but when you’re trying to face that stair machine there are few jams like this one to make you feel light enough to get up there. Mick Jagger was one of the original kings of swagger so there’s no harm in borrowing a few of his “moves” if you need it.

9) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “White Walls” feat. Schoolboy Q and Hollis – If there’s one thing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis know how to do it is to make catchy songs. However, the chorus of “White Walls” is what makes this a stand-out hit for us and a necessary addition to the playlist.

10) Justin Timberlake – “Sexy back” feat. Timbaland – Did you think that a playlist could be complete without a touch of JTimbs? Of course not! There were so many good songs to pick from his catalog but this one is a classic – and the theme of this playlist is definitely songs that make you feel awesome and fabulous.

(* = Tara Stiles recommendations)

Want to see all the songs in order? Just press play below!

Year of Intent: Spreading Strala Yoga to the World

Strala YogaSetting intentions happens whether we are conscious we are doing it or not. Our mindset, well being, thought process and actions stem from our intentions. I’ve become much more aware of my intentions thanks to Mallika Chopra, and the whole Intent team. Daily reminders to set an intention to follow through the day has been an expansive and fun journey that I aim to keep on the good foot for. Part of holding myself accountable for my intentions is sharing them with you all here and hearing what your intentions are. With support we can accomplish so much.

My intention for 2014 is to spread Strala to Guides (our word for Teacher) around the world. If you asked me 6 years ago if I would create my own “style” of yoga, I would have said absolutely not. I thought that was just about the most ego centered thing possible, and my aim with sharing yoga and mediation and healthy mindful practices was to help people connect with themselves, not to draw attention to myself as a Guru.

The more I taught and shared what I was sharing the more people continued to tell me, this was very different than other yoga. The style of Strala was almost crowd sourced. The people who came to the classes and the studio wanted to know the name, the system behind the movements, and how they could share this as well. For years I said, “Oh no, it’s just yoga. It’s just easy going yoga.” People kept pulling it out of me, wanting more, and wanting to share. People were already teaching Strala influenced classes years ago before there was a program outlined. People came, they loved what they experienced, and went on and shared and had success. It was really overwhelming to see it all emerge and I didn’t quite know how to handle or formulate at the time.

After constant feedback after every class about how great people felt and “What is this!” I knew there was something beyond my personality of the class, beyond my playlist, beyond my sequence, that people could teach. This was about Strala, not about me, and that was an incredible realization for me personally. I had finally uncovered, “How can I help.”

Because people were having so much success in their lives with practicing Strala and people were having so much success in leading Strala, I decided it was what I should focus all my energy on. I wanted to help and this was working, without any effort in the beginning really. I thought about the style, the movement vocabulary (from my dance background) the healing aspects, the philosophy of “how can I help” over “what can I prove” and how that all filtered into teaching the classes. Where to be in the room, how to touch and support people, rather than fix, permission and freedom to move how it feels good to move. Inhales lifting and expanding. Exhales softening and moving. Energy lifting up like a beach ball being bounced by a group of friends on the beach. The energetic, fun, authentic vibe. I began to formulate in the way my lifetime of dance and pedagogy informed me. I realized formulating a movement system is exactly who I am and what I can offer best. Strala means to radiate light. It’s what happens when people practice and it’s what happens to me when I teach people how to lead it.

My intention for 2014 is to spread Strala. I’ve been teaching the trainings for about 3 years, and the last year has become super energized, and expansive. I feel incredibly confident in the system. It’s about the Guides, not me, and it empowers so many. That makes me feel really great.

I’m traveling around the world leading Intensive trainings at SCLA and other facilities. My schedule is bananas. I can’t keep up with the demand which is super exciting. I’ll be training several other teachers that have been leading Strala for a while to teach the trainings and we will spread the ease and freedom of movement far and wide.

My intention is to spread Strala to Guides around the world.

What’s your intention?

Tara Stiles is participating in our 2014 Year of Intent campaign where we encourage people to use Intent.com to reach their goals and show how intents manifest in daily life. Create an account today to get started or click here to follow and support Tara as she spends the year spreading Strala Yoga to the world. 

The Power of Breath in Meditation and Fitness

BreatheInBreatheOutPayAttentionI was nine years old when my father, Deepak Chopra, taught me to meditate. Meditation has become an invaluable tool in my life to help  me stay calm, centered, and focused since then.

A vital part of meditation is breath. It is also an important aspect of yoga in wisdom traditions.  We know through sciences that breath is a critical component of the cardiovascular system, supports our digestive and lymphatic systems and is a reflection of our nervous system.

I use breath constantly as a tool to calm down when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. And my daughters have also been taught to meditate to help them deal with stress at school. Your breathing is an expression of the activity of the mind. When we are settled, our breath slows down. When we are excited or anxious our breath gets faster.

There are a few simple breathing techniques you can try to help you stay calm and focused in a nerve-wracking moment. I go through a few of them in these guided meditations from The Chopra Well.

With conscious, intentional breath, we can slow down our automatic responses to situations and be more present in what we may be doing. I use these meditations to help me get through the day, but there are many times when your breathing can help you be more effective in your activities – specifically when working out.

Ann Bruck, a trainer with Sports Club/LA explains that there are two different types of breathing when you are doing physical activity. There’s stimulating breath which aims to increase energy and alertness. You breathe in and out rapidly through your nose with your mouth closed for 15 seconds at a time. The other type is relaxed breath, where you inhale for a count of 1 and exhale for a count of 1. Then inhale for a count of 2 and exhale the same, until you reach a cycle of five. This will help calm your nervous system and bring your body back to balance.

What kind of breathing techniques do you use when you are working out? Do you have any meditations or  exercises you use during the day to help you stay focused? I’d love if you shared in the comments below!

photo by: tokyosucks

Exercise for Joy, Energy, and Happiness

woman-and-scale-shutterstock1Every year I set the same resolutions – lose 15 pounds, cut out refined sugar, meditate daily, exercise 5 times a week – resolutions that seem like nostalgic wishes by mid February. This year I set the intent I am living with the intent to feel energetic, creative, joyful, centered and inspired

And, while I am making a commitment to work out more often and eat more mindfully, I am committing to physical activities that make me feel connected spiritually and full emotionally rather than torturing myself just to shed pounds.

I am discovering a love of yoga (believe it or not, I am not a yogi – read about it here!) through a group class I am doing with other mom friends.  Historically, yoga has been a struggle for me as I have felt like I am “bad” at it.  But this year I am approaching it differently – inspired, as I often am, by the guiding philosophy of my good friend Tara Stiles.

Tara and I recently hosted a SCLA event in San Francisco and as I watched Tara twist and turn in amazing ways to hip hop music during our event, I noticed the intention to find joy, creativity, and challenge by those in her class. Tara’s approach to yoga made it fun, rich and fulfilling for all those in the class, even if they couldn’t keep up with her!

In an interview I did with Tara last year, she talked about the joy she discovered in yoga:  “(As a dancer), everything has to be perfect or you’re not completing the movement. That’s what was so exciting about yoga. You’re going to your own limit and finding the ease in that moment.  From a mental, spiritual and emotional aspect it was definitely key. I was like, ‘I have to do this forever!’”

What I am enjoying about my own weekly yoga class is that I can do it at my own pace.  And its social!  I have as much fun chatting with the other mom friends as I do stretching and breathing. We’ve always been big supporters of yoga here on Intent and encourage all of you to give it a try if you’re looking for a practice that not only works you out but also helps you connect to your body through your mind and spirit.

I’ve also been on a few hikes on the lovely trails here in Santa Monica where I live, not checking my phone for emails, and walking in silence noticing the beauty of nature. 

And, this weekend I plan to start running on the beach again – one of the most emotionally healing things I have done in the past. For my 40th birthday, I ran a half marathon and found a love for running because of how it made me feel emotionally. Working out with an activity that makes you feel happy and better about yourself is much healthier than doing something you hate because it’ll trim fat.

Hopefully my strategy of living with intent this year will help me realize some of the changes I am seeking in my life more effortlessly and with lasting impact.  And more importantly, because I am having fun, feeling connected and inspired, I am anticipating my physical time, rather than feeling burdened by it. This will keep me motivated to stay on the path to healthier living!

Like Mallika’s blog? Support these similar intents on Intent.com!

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Keep Your Health and Fitness Intents by Varying Your Routine

bepresenteachmomentThe most popular resolutions that are made for New Year’s relate to health and fitness. At Intent we really push the idea that you should strive not to make resolutions or physical goals like “I want to lose 30 pounds” but dig deeper in yourself and set intentions about how you want to feel for the new year – “I want to feel healthier and have a better sense of wellness.” It’s also important that to achieve your intent you set realistic smaller goals to motivate you to satisfy the intent desire in your soul. But once you have set your intent and created realistic landmarks to help you get there, how do you stay on track? According to StatisticBrain.com, 24% of people never reach their intended resolutions.

Your chances of succeeding at your intent increase as long as you keep the passion for it alive, and that means not letting yourself get bored. More than half of new exercisers quit within three to six months after starting a workout program, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). If you get bored or dread working out then you are much less likely to keep up the regimen. So how do you step out of your comfort zone? Try these tips.

  1. Try a new healthy food or recipe once a week – By expanding your food vocabulary you force yourself to learn more about the nutritional values of food, making it easier for you to make decisions about meals and snacks in the long term. Think of finding a new recipe as a new adventure. You can learn to love new foods or love your current favorites in brand new ways and this will prevent you from getting burned out on the same routine meals. “Find healthy foods you love, or learn creative ways to prepare foods so that eating is not a punishment, but a pleasant, (sometimes even spiritual) experience that involves mindfulness and togetherness,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood.
  2. Take a group fitness class – There are so many ways to get in shape besides tying yourself to a treadmill or elliptical. It can be as simple as going for walks outside or changing your running route. Look at your local fitness center for their classes and pick something that you’ve never tried before. In September, Sports Club/LA launched their “Recess” classes, which helped adults work out by playing the games they had so much fun playing as a child.  Or you may try one of their Blitz classes which is a full body work out designed to improve your endurance, strength and power. Take a yoga class for a month and then switch to cardio dance classes. Not only do you allow yourself the chance to try new things and meet new people, but also you work out different parts of the body and you allow exercising to be something you really enjoy rather than an appointment with a machine you’ve grown to dread. You are not a hamster on a wheel, so why create a work out routine that makes you feel like one?
  3. Stay centered and in touch with your intent – Sometimes our intents evolve as time goes on and it is important to stay connected to that feeling. Trust yourself to change as your intent changes. By building a meditation or yoga practice to keep your center you can feel when a routine has started to not work and you can use your inner instincts to adapt your routine to what your body and mind are telling you it needs. “Physical activity along with peaceful practices such as yoga or meditation to help build a refreshed sense of self. This is the glue that seals in the new lifestyle as the body begins to change physically, resulting in a new stream of motivation,” Sherwood explains.

By combining these tips you not only increase your chances of reaching your intent, but you also give yourself more opportunities to grow and learn more about your health. Being adventurous with your fitness and nutrition routines not only makes the journey more interesting but you get a deeper appreciation for the journey as you go on, and that will propel you forward. We hope you take these tips to heart and that your 2014 is healthier than ever.

Why Wait: Setting Realistic Intents for 2014 to Increase Your Success

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As December draws to a close people begin looking towards the year ahead and making their resolutions. At Intent, we encourage people to think a little deeper, to set their goals based on the desires of their soul. As you are creating your list of intents for 2014 there are several things to consider. Often times people set goals that are unrealistic and when they realize that they won’t be able to reach that expectation they give up entirely. Don’t let that happen to you,especially if you are setting intents related to your health and fitness. Create goals that challenge you, but that you know you can reach so that it motivates you to keep going.

To help you start off 2014 in a healthier way, and maintain that change throughout the year, we talked to our friends at Sports Club/LA on how to set Intents that are realistic for your personality and lifestyle to help you create permanent change. Follow these tips when making your 2014 New Year Intent lists.

  1. Avoid Specific Numbers and Go for Overall Change – The most popular “resolution” on lists this year will be “Lose x amount of pounds.” Stop right there. There have been several studies that show your weight number does not necessarily correlate to your overall health, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. If you start playing a numbers game then you already set yourself up for unnecessary pressure. Instead create an intent similar to “I intend to create a healthier lifestyle for myself.” It’s more general, but it leads to more lasting change. It means not only are you going to work out, but take into account your nutrition and spiritual health as well. When you begin to think broader about your overall health, you don’t tie yourself to a treadmill trying to sweat it out into a new pair of jeans. You begin making small changes in several aspects of your life to make you a happier person in general. Challenge yourself to think deeper, not heavier.
  2. Choose Smarter Nutrition Over Fad Diets – Your eating habits can account for up to 80% of your overall weight loss, so beginning to change your nutrition needs to be taken seriously. If you start automatically on January 1 (or tomorrow) on a fad diet that cuts out all of the foods that you’ve been used to eating, you won’t last very long. Instead it is about baby steps and making small, gradual changes so that you build making healthy choices into your routine instead of something you torture yourself to do for a few weeks – because then the results will be temporary as well. Look at improving your nutrition for good as your gateway to a healthier you! “What we choose to put in our mouth is the most intimate experience we’ll have, therefore it’s important that food be looked at with the intent of supporting and nourishing the body,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood. “Foods that the body recognizes, i.e. fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and some grains should round out a person’s diet in moderate portion sizes. Weight loss is then just side effect of a truly nourished body. “
  3. Plan Challenging Routines that Don’t Ever Extend Yourself – The likelihood of you being able to go from couch to a 7-days a week work out regimen and sustain it is very unlikely. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead set a more realistic goal of 2-3 days a week to begin. This way if something comes up and you can’t make it one day you are still getting in a regular routine. Or start a regular class to get your feet wet – some place that will hold you accountable without overwhelming your schedule. As Karen also explains, creating a life change is about baby steps. “To make a complete life-change, taking baby steps and “leaning” into a new way of being is key. This enables us to pave a new foundation and build from there. It must begin with nutrition, and include an active life-style with focus on self care, rest, and stress management. When all of these wheels are working in harmony, the body and its relationship to food and the outside world begins to make sustainable change.”

Look over your list of 2014 intents and check them with these tips. If your current intents feel too numbers based or too specific, take a minute to think deeper – why are you setting that intent? Why is that something you desire? When you can answer those questions,  that is your true intent and focusing on that more encompassing goal will be more fulfilling than checking off a simple box. Setting an overall intent can allow you to make smaller goals, to create a plan of baby steps to reach it. Realize that creating true change in your life takes time and don’t rush it – allow yourself the patience to get there at the pace that is right for you.

Have you started your 2014 Intent list? We’d love to hear them so share in the comments below!

Set Intents Not Resolutions For 2014

Elevator2Every December, like millions of others, I set new years resolutions.

Lose 15 pounds.  Keep in touch with friends.  Exercise 5 times a week.  Start yoga. Write a book.

Jan 2nd or 3rd I usually make it to a yoga class, cramming the studio with the other newbies who have made a similar commitments.  I visit the gym, having to wait for the elliptical machine, in our normally not so crowded gym.  I shop at the local farmers market, inspired by the freshness of the fruits and vegetables and think how could I shop anywhere else?  I call a friend, feeling so happy to reconnect.  I commit to writing and am excited by the possibilities!

But, by week 3, perhaps by early February, my gym visits are down to 2, my excuses for missing the yoga class seem totally justified, and I realize the book project may just have to wait a few more months.  Alas, new years resolutions end up making me feel a bit more guilty about all the things I didn’t do, but wanted to, by mid February.

This is why I believe people should make intents, not resolutions.  I do believe there is a difference between intents and goals/resolutions.

Intents come from our soul – they are who and what we aspire for in our life.  Intentions reflect ones purpose, what gives us meaning or significance.  Intentions come from a place of mindfulness, of knowing what will give us happiness and peace.

So, an intent may be to lead a healthier, more energetic life.  To do that, we may set goals to exercise or eat better.  The intent may be to feel more connected, and one way to do that may be to reconnect with friends.  While it may be a technicality, I think when we thing about our intents, instead of just the goals, we will be more conscious and committed to taking action.

And to achieve our intentions, we need to set up an ecosystem to achieve them – giving ourselves time to be thoughtful and know what we want, creating networks of support from others, recognizing that we need to forgive ourselves for faltering, and taking deliberate action.  When we set an intent, we naturally pay attention to the situations, people and circumstances that help realize them.  In my own life, I have seen that sometimes the way I realize my intent manifests in a way that I never could have imagined.

So, for 2014 (and beyond), I’d like to invite you to set your intents now!  Spend the next week thinking about what you want in your life – what will make you feel emotionally, physically, spiritually connected next year.  Share your intents on www.intent.com and lets support one another.

I’d also like to shout out to Sports Club/LA who has been supporting this idea of intent!  As a sports club, I love the fact that they are sending this message of deeper fulfillment to their members.  Check out the photos featuring Intention on their elevator doors and they have inspiring quotes on intention inside.  Truly an honor to work with a group that is leading the way!

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How Awareness and Positivity Will Lead You to Lasting Wellness

photo remix: Yoga woman on exercise ball - flickr_enthusiast_rocks_Nilmarie_Yoga-001Whenever you start a new diet or weight loss program there is one important question to ask yourself: why? Don’t stop yourself at the simple answer “Oh, I want to lose a few pounds to fit in those new jeans” or “I don’t want to feel self-conscious in a bathing suit.” Dig deeper. Many people begin the journey to permanent weight loss and overall wellness because they feel that being healthier will make them happier. While being healthier does give you more energy and confidence, you can’t expect it to cure all of your unhappiness. In fact, in Deepak Chopra’s new book “What Are You Hungry For?” he argues that tending to your personal and emotional wellbeing as you begin your weight loss program is absolutely key to making the changes stick.

While no one can claim to be happy constantly, Deepak advocates that being in tune and aware of your body and emotional state allows you to better fill its needs. “It’s an infallible kind of radar,” Deepak says, “Awareness allows you to sort out what you’re doing, how you feel, what you fear, hope and wish for – indeed everything in your life.”

You are living an unaware life when you unconsciously follow habits and rote behavior without question. Do you often let others take charge of your life or feel emotionally trapped by those around you? Isolating yourself and cutting off your connections to close friends and family can be another sign that you are out of tune with your body and need to increase your awareness to make permanent change.

You can help gain awareness by including a yoga practice or meditation in your diet and exercise plan. “Peaceful practices such as yoga or meditation to help build a refreshed sense of self,” explains Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood. “This is the glue that seals in the new lifestyle as the body begins to change physically, resulting in a new stream of motivation.

Being aware and working to keep a positive attitude will inevitably help keep you motivated as you progress towards your goal, and push you over hurdles or plateaus you reach along the way.

“Making any change is very emotional, so if you are starting this change from a negative, pessimistic place or allow yourself to go to that negative place, you won’t succeed.” Ginger Mallory of Sports Club/LA says. “However, if you vow to remain positive no matter what challenges may come with making this change, you will succeed! Your state of mind going into this will absolutely make or break you.”

But how do you find that awareness and keep that positive attitude? If you feel yourself slipping try these tips from Deepak.

  • Remember that you are both loved and loveable
  • Appreciate where you are – Even if you are just starting out, recognize the power in making the decision to make a change versus where you were before you took the first step.
  • Feel good about who you are – You are more than your shape or waist size. Remember that you are a worthy person and this process is only to make you healthier, not to change you in any way because you’re amazing the way you are.
  • Maintain loving and supportive relationships – Support will be key in this process. Stay close to those who inspire you, push you to be better and support you on the days when you can’t get to that place of positivity by yourself. Let them help hold you up.
  • Experience a deeper connection with a higher form of love – It doesn’t mean you have to prescribe to any specific religion, but connecting with a force or faith bigger than yourself can help you channel frustrations and negative feelings that arise out of your system. It can help buoy you during this transition and be another force to propel you forward.

This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club/LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today. 

photo by: adria.richards

Play Your Way to the Best Fitness of Your Life

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Do you remember the days of recess in elementary school? Finally liberated from lessons and projects, if just for 15 minutes, you’d run out of the classroom and skip freely into the yard. Whatever corner of the playground struck your fancy, it’s likely you were running around, letting off steam, and, most importantly, having fun.

Speaking of which, when is the last time you had fun? And we don’t mean the kind you have when you throw a dinner party and sit respectably around a table with your friends. Neither do we mean the kind of fun signified by snagging a half-off pair of shoes or booking tickets for Spain. Would your 5-year-old self be giddy over one of those activities? Probably not.

No, we’re talking about the kind of fun that launches you into a whole new mindset, moved more by impulse than by intellect, lurching forward faster than your mind can process. This is the kind of play-exercise-fun you undoubtedly engaged with as a child before so many inhibitions set in and told you there were right and wrong ways to move your body and express your inclination toward merriment. What society missed, however, is the fact that playing is one of the best and most natural ways human beings have to exercise and let off steam. But past a certain age, we almost never do it.

But that’s all changing now. Some gyms, like Sports Club/LA, have started offering play-based exercise on their class schedules because they recognize the value of fun in fitness. “Play” is embedded in our DNA, after all, and we aren’t the only animals who do it. Countless other animal species exhibit play, especially among the young, for reasons that are still debated but might range from learning coordination, to honing the stress response, to socializing, to developing brain function. Either way, play seems to be an integral part of these species’ livelihood, or else its evolutionary riskiness would have weeded us out long ago.

Even apart from the many benefits to learning and development, play is fun. It gets us moving, it helps us build communities, and it adds whole new dimensions to the “real world” which can seem so stuck in its ways.

Paving the way for play-fitness is Sports Club/LA’s new class, Recess, which uses playground-inspired activities and team-based games to get participants moving, pushing themselves, and – you guessed it – having fun.

As trainer Ian Kilpatrick from Sports Club/LA says,

It is my belief that every single person can find enjoyment in some form of exercise; they just have to find it. I think an element of “play” in a workout dramatically increases the chances of someone having fun, and when you’re having fun and working hard simultaneously then you eliminate that “dreading working out” feeling many of us get. Everyone is different, so some people may need or enjoy that feeling of discipline or pushing yourself to pain, but the fact is that fun will never get old.

Some adults have gotten the idea and joined recreational sports leagues, taken up ice skating, dance lessons, or Frisbee and revived the activeness of their youth. As Kori Rodley writes for Yahoo, play is important at any age.

You may find that you are having so much fun “playing” that you don’t even realize how much movement and exercise you are getting! You will likely use and stretch muscles that you have not used in a long time and may find not only your physical, but your mental health improves with some active, fun, playful movement!

If you find yourself flagging in energy and enthusiasm when you work out, then don’t hesitate to get creative! Ian suggests the following exercises get a taste of what Recess class is all about:

One of my favorite partner exercises from Recess that any two people can try on their own is a “help up.” In this exercise you hold tight to the hands of your partner as they sit all the way down onto their butts. Once they have their full bodyweight on the ground they stand up as you sit down the same exact way. It may sound easy, but it requires team work, coordination and gets tiring fast!

Another partner or group exercise that two or more people can try on their own is a “mirror drill.” All you have to do is face your partner and choose a leader. Once you’ve decided who is leading the drill then that person will start shuffling from side to side changing direction whenever they want. It is the job of the partner or other group members to react and keep up. These should only last for about 10-15 seconds then switch who the leader is.

If this style of exercise appeals to you, then try it out! Find a community center with recreational sports leagues, join a hiking group, or take a tumble with your kids. Forget the inhibitions that say playing isn’t proper, mature, or “ladylike.” Having fun is your birthright, and there’s no shame in being fit and happy!

What games did you love as a kid? Let us know in the comments section!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

 

The Secret to Beauty and Healthy Skin Starts Within

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Skin is the largest organ in – or on – the human body. That means there’s a lot of it to enjoy, but also a lot of it that can be harmed and impacted by life. Such common conditions as wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots and moles are usually nothing more than symptoms of age, but there are other ways your skin can suffer over time, too. Sun, for instance, is a big one. As are toxins, makeup, and lack of cleanliness.

With such a premium placed on “beauty” in our culture – which, by the way, is so relative and often arbitrary – many people feel dissatisfied with the skin they inhabit. Too rough, too curvy, too hairy, too many freckles, too many wrinkles. If we spent as much time practicing self love as we do worrying about our skin and our bodies, we’d undoubtedly have a very happy society on our hands. The sad irony of this, though, is that many of the things that plague us about our appearances are within our control to mitigate.

Our weight, for instance. If we could learn to love wholesome food, enjoy moving around in physical activity, and end troubled cycles of dieting, binging, and fasting, we might also learn to love the bodies that serve us so well.

Our skin, too. If you love the sun, wear makeup, exercise, travel the world – more power to you. But follow the simple advice of skin care expert Alison Thurston, of Sports Club/LA, who soberly advises, “Going to bed without cleaning your face is the same as not brushing your teeth. The best thing for your skin is to clean it, even if it’s just a hot terry cloth towel at the end of the day.”

Wear sunscreen, wash your face, and give your skin the time and space it needs to recover from the wear and tear of daily life. Pretty simple, eh? “Skin is an organ, it needs to breathe.”

Now, how do we possibly handle aging? Is that the one chink in this self-positive wellness scheme? Obviously there is no way to “escape” aging, and there shouldn’t need to be. Growing older is a rite of passage, a natural development of maturation and wisdom-gathering. The lines on the face of a 90-year-old tell the story of thousands of tears shed, smiles cracked, kisses given and received, and thoughts contemplated.

As Alison reflects, “Aging is inevitable and how a person’s skin ages, i.e. wrinkles, is based a lot on their genetics.” That said, healthy skin care practices over a lifetime can at least protect your from skin cancer and sun spots, which “should be a very real concern for anyone at any age.”

One thing to do as you get older, in particular, is to let go of appearance-based fears by looking closely at yourself in the mirror. Really take a good look. “A healthy lifestyle should always include a little daily close attention to your skin,” Alison suggests. “A great way to pay attention to your skin is to clean it and examine it on a regular basis.” This can be especially difficult to do when we feel any amount of shame regarding our appearance, but the practice is both essential for our physical health and potentially tranformative for our emotional health.

Ultimately, our happiness and sense of self are often wrapped up in our appearances, for better or for worse. If it is beauty or a perceived lack of it that troubles you, then find the courage to take a good look at yourself today and notice all the beautiful things looking back at you in the reflection. If it is health and wellness you are concerned about, then take action! Wash your face, let your skin breathe and recover, and set the intent for healthy living NOW. The power is in your hands.

Try the mirror exercise Alison suggests and tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

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