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Broga Instructor Profile: Jonathan Green

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Chuck Raffoni, caught up with Broga® Yoga Instructor, Jonathan Green, to get a sense of how Broga is going for him. Here’s their exchange.
Why did you decide to become a Broga® Instructor? 
I decided to become a Broga instructor because it takes everything I love about both fitness and Yoga and combines them. It maintains that breath is important in movement, but takes out a lot of the fluff associated with most Yoga classes and leaves you with a badass functional workout.
What Song gets your class pumped up during the H.I.I.T. Section?
I enjoy switching up the music from class to class but for my H.I.I.T. I like to throw anything with a higher beats per minute count from where we are just to subtly let the mind know that its time to move a little faster. 
Have you run into any misconceptions about Broga® and how have you responded?
When people see my Broga flyers, I am regularly asked if this is a “real workout.” Many people have the notion that yoga and a hard workout are two separate things. I practice Broga and Yoga in my free time and am able to show people by inviting them to my classes or to practice with me that this is indeed hard. I enjoy the big, strong people who think they are in great shape who are then absolutely humbled by a Broga class.
The other misconception is that its only for men. I tell anyone who is willing to come in and do their best that Broga is right for them.

Where do you teach and what is your class schedule?   Do you have any special events or promotions COMING UP?

I teach at the JCC in Albany, NY. There are always other promotional discounts depending on the time. Please email me at jgfitness518@gmail.com to ask for specific promotional details.
In addition to Broga/Yoga what other fitness and hobbies do you enjoy?
I greatly enjoy weight lifting and regularly compete in endurance athletic events such as Spartan Races. I also am an avid volleyball player, but I enjoy playing all sports.
What is the ratio of men to women in your class?
My classes have been about 50-50 men to women. I have an enthusiastic regular group full of individuals who like to come and work hard. I tell both men and women there is no reason to be intimidated and that the classes push anyone to work towards their best.
I invite anyone to check out my pose of the day section at www.instagram.com/jgfitness518 for some starter work. Also for private personal training or yoga work check me out at http://www.albanyjcc.org/fitness/jon-green/
Broga Instructor Jonathan Green - reverse warrior

Personal Broga® Yoga Coaching now Online

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Father and Son Broga

Whether you’re a brand new beginner, or an experienced yoga practitioner looking for some new inspiration and a fresh approach, private yoga training can be one of the best ways to develop or refine your own practice.

Historically, a student’s choice of private yoga instructor has been limited to the teachers that lived in their town, but easy-to-use technologies now make it possible for students to work with any teacher, anywhere. 

Broga® Yoga instructors are some of the most competent, dedicated, effective yoga teachers in the world (in our humble opinion), so we’re very pleased to announce that starting now, you can work directly, personally, with them through our new Online Coaching System.

Broga’s top instructor, Creator and Co-Founder, Robert Sidoti, will be the first to offer his time to a very limited group of private clients each month.

According to Robert, “the opportunity to help more folks find a practice that is truly customized for their bodies through personal, direct online communication with an instructor is immense and very exciting. I’m looking forward to getting started!”

In the coming months, we’ll be introducing a hand-selected group of top Broga® Instructors to the line-up of online personal coaches.

For pricing and more information on the online coaching process, please have a look at the online coaching page.

Personal Online Broga® Yoga Coaching: More information and registration

Please direct any questions to team@brogayoga.com or feel free to leave a comment below.

 

Is Exercise Making You Fat?

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We all hear it. Losing weight is as simple as eating less and moving more. However, obesity rates continue to skyrocket and people are exercising themselves insane, thinking they are doing everything right with no results. More heath obsessed than ever, we are a nation paradoxically burdened with the highest levels of chronic disease. What gives?

We’ve created an abusive relationship with exercise, like a punishment used to torture the extra calories out of people who lacked the self-control or willpower to say no to that second cupcake. Not only is this a terrible way to connect to movement, but is far from the truth; forcing yourself on a 5 mile run to “burn off” those extra cookies is insane, and not at all intuitive. It doesn’t make sense to say that a piece of bread is the same as walking for 30 minutes, just because of the number of calories (defined as the amount of heat needed to raise 1 gram of water 1˚C ) are equivalent. Besides, we are meant to move, and move with pleasure. Just ask the children galloping around the playground, laughing and chasing each other, climbing trees and running up slides: our bodies were made to move.

 Although your 40 minute treadmill run inevitably burns some extra calories, it is such a small factor in overall weight loss. You could technically eat back those calories, and more, with one muffin. The stress that exercise creates within your system has been shown to tell your body to hold on to any excess weight. Intense, excessive exercise can negatively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, and lead to hypothyroidism, which is known to cause depression, weight gain, and digestive dysfunction.  If it thinks that you are running from a saber tooth tiger every morning, why would it wait to let go of your protective fat? Besides, calories are hardly the most important factor in weight balance. The “calories in, calories out” mantra is oversimplified and outdated. It is now clear that hormones are far more important in the storage and distribution of fat. All growth is primarily hormonal, even horizontal growth.

 However, this is not to say that you should not take up a sport, join a gym, or neglect your body, thinking that your hormones are completely out of your control. Exercise is important in many aspects, and can greatly improve all aspects of your health. However, instead of feeling like you need to guilt yourself into doing those 30 squats, find an activity that you love and find joy in. Lose the mindset that crossfit is better than weight lifting, that sprinting is better than jogging, that soccer is better than Frisbee, that one is better than the other. All types of movement will benefit your sanity, as long as you stay away from the highly toxic mindset that you MUST run every morning to keep off the excess fat. Take your recovery days, switch it up, and remember that it is not necessary to push your body to its absolute limits every single day. Less is more, and attitude is everything. Exercise smarter, not longer.

3398705933_49e7036406

The Hunt For Your Yoga

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Mention the word “Yoga” and your mind (unless you’re a Broga student) may conjure that classic Western misconception: rows of women stretching in colorful spandex while an instructor floats around the room, gently instructing the students to breathe, and open their hearts, and radiate positive energy. While this is accurate for some Yoga, there are many different types, varying from the cold (snowga), to the hot (Bikram), to the esoteric, to the spiritual, to the novel (laughter yoga), to the accessible (Broga), to the athletic. Seek information about “Yoga”, online or off, and you’ll be catapulted into this vast world of options with no map and no compass.

So, with new yoga teachers opening new yoga studios and offering new yoga styles all around the world, everyday, how do we, the students, find the yoga that will be best for us?  I mean, how do we efficiently sift through the websites and Yelp reviews and Facebook pages to find the right style, with the right teacher, at the right location, at the right time?

kidding-around-yoga-3-day-kids-yoga-teacher-training-ages-2-12

Kidding Around Yoga

 

Alex Klein, Alex Jaton, and Sven Ernst decided to answer these questions for all of us, by making the world of yoga more transparent and easier to navigate. They founded a site called YogaTrail, a site where yogis are able to “share their experiences and opinions, whether they’re looking for places to practice, people to practice with, teachers, resources to learn from, or just information.”

 

I took some time to check out the website for myself, and was not disappointed. The YogaTrail team has done a beautiful job of displaying information: looking up a yoga studio nearby in Toronto, I was given a small excerpt about the studio, along with a clear display of the prices of classes, amenities, class styles available, and the level of classes that are taught. I was able to glance at the checklist and see if I needed to bring my own mat, if they offered a Mysore class, and find out how much it would be for a drop-in class.

Teachers are rated on their articulation, friendliness, attentiveness, experience, personalization, and spirituality, so I was also able to make an informed decision about which teacher’s class to attend based on my preferences.

Body to Bliss Yoga

Body to Bliss Yoga

 

 

YogaTrail’s one minor shortcoming, if it has one, is simply its relative nascency. While they’ve done an impressive job aggregating tons and tons of information on Yoga Studios and classes around the world, the site’s major value for users will lie in the reviews and ratings provided by others. We all know that power of reviews as we make online shopping/purchasing/planning decisions, so in honor of the phenomenal work being done by the YogaTrail team and as an investment into the future usefulness of the site, review, review, review! If you have an experience, good or bad, share it (with honesty and equanimity of course), on YogaTrail.

 

Overall, YogaTrail is a brilliant idea (that I wish I’d thought of!), a tremendous tool that I’ll be sure to use in the years to come, and a great collection of information and ideas.

 

Oh, there is also a great subsection on yoga retreats, teacher trainings, and events, all of which are neatly presented and well organized you should be sure to check out.

ajalila-gardens

Ajalila Gardens

Your Four-Minute Mile

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In April 1954, it was said that it was impossible to run a mile in under four minutes. Scientists and doctors said that the human body could not physically achieve such a feat; it would be too much stress on the body, and one would die trying. And so formed a public consensus that it could not be done.

 

To this day, there have been 20,000 athletes who have done just that, running 5280 feet in less than four minutes. What changed?

 

May 6th, 1954. Meet Roger Bannister, Englishman. He sharpens his racing spikes and rubs them with graphite, waiting for the wind to calm, waiting to run his race. At 6pm, the race begins. 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds later, it is over. Rodger Bannister has crossed the finish line, becoming the first athlete to break the four minute barrier.

It was hardly a matter of physical training that set him apart. His biggest difference was in his mindset, not scared of the professionals that said he couldn’t. He knew that possibilities are limitless, and that thoughts become beliefs. He believed in himself, put his mind to it, and achieved.

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Photo Credit: addedentry

 

Just to prove how powerful the mind is, let’s look at Bannister’s second record: the record for holding a record for the shortest amount of time. In just 42 days, John Landly completed a 3:57.9 mile. Roger got the ball rolling, and pushed the world to believe that the sub-4 minute mile is completely possible.

 

Looking at this athletic feat in a broader sense, we find that the common denominator of success is mindset.

 

My coach always put it like this. Calling us into a huddle, he would instruct one of us to try to pick up the volleyball. When the ball was easily lifted into the air, he would pick it up and set it back on the floor, instructing again that we must try to pick up the ball; that there is a huge difference between attempt and success. You cannot aim for mediocrity, your eye must always be on the prize.

 

That prize is worth it, and its journey is unique to everyone. Your four minute mile is far from impossible, if you just start with your mind.

Photo Credit: The World According to Marty

Photo Credit: The World According to Marty

 

“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win” – Roger Bannister

 

Falling For Real Change – How to Get Things Done

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I know I’m not alone here, but my favorite part of living in New England has always been the change of seasons.  I love that just when we get used to (or sick of) one way of life, that’s exactly when Mother Nature switches things up on us.

Changes that are beyond our control cause us to be reactive, to adapt, and we usually manage quite well.  So why is it that changes that we have the luxury of initiating ourselves are so hard for us to embrace?  If we know, or have heard, that a certain exercise might benefit us tremendously, why is it so hard to make time to try it?  If we want something, like more energy, or weight loss, why is it so hard to do what it takes to get it?  If we need to save money, why is it so difficult to resist buying things we don’t really need?  When we understand logically that a behavior is harmful and we want to quit, why is it so difficult to stop?

There are many answers to these questions, and theories as to why we have a hard time breaking old habits and forming new ones, but I think much of accomplishing real change boils down to how we think, and talk, about what we really want, and how we plan to get it.   Real, sustainable change comes from setting clear goals that are actionable, measurable and realistic.self-deceit

Day in and day out I hear people tell me that they “want to be in better shape.”  When I ask what that means, 99% of the time I get a blank stare.  When asked to define “better shape” most people have given it little or no actual thought.  I ask them to redefine their goals by talking only about real tangible things like “well, I’d like to walk up the stairs from the T and not be out of breath,” or “I’d like to be able to run a mile” or “I think I should be able to touch my toes.”

If you would like to “get in shape” that’s great, but it’s not an action, and it’s not an actionable goal.  You do not walk outside and “do shape.”  That’s unfortunately not how life works.  You walk, run, bike, stretch or otherwise move to “get in shape” but you have to know what that means for you, you have to think about it.

Consider this: If “being in shape” means being able to touch your toes, then how will you make that happen?  Will you wake up one day and it just do it? Not likely, will you seek out exercises that are known to increase flexibility and try them, now that’s a good idea, but how often will you go, and how will you know if you’ve made progress? Do you wish to touch your toes by tomorrow, or by winter?

Think about something you have been trying to accomplish and apply the steps below:

  1. Figure out what you really want to do in simple actionable words.
  2. Set a time frame, when do you wish to be able to do this by?
  3. Break your goal down into individual actions that you can measure.
  4. Work hard and track your progress, consider sharing your goal and progress with others.  Studies have shown that people with strong support networks have more success meeting goals and sustaining change.
  5. Celebrate – reward yourself for progress at each step along the way, but with something unrelated to your goal.  If you are trying to give up soda now is not the time to have one because you have gone a week without.  Reward yourself with something healthy and unrelated, like new music, a Broga class, a new item of clothing, or a beer with a friend (unless of course beer is what you are trying to change!)
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://brogayoga.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/JenJasmin.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jennifer Jasmin, R.D. is a nutritionist and freelance writer living in Watertown, Massachusetts. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College, and a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics from Simmons College. In her work, Jen strives to help people find balance between real nutrition facts, and realistic health and fitness goals. Her background also includes over 15 years working in the food service industry, which adds to her unique perspective on eating well. She shares her insights, personal cooking lessons, and recipe ideas on her blog at: www.skeletonsinmykitchen.com. In addition to writing, Jen shares her passion about healthy eating in casual, approachable nutrition seminars and workshops in both corporate and community settings. To Jen, the journey to wellness is incredibly personal, and should be approached in a way that is individual, actionable and unpretentious. [/author_info] [/author]

Ca-Ching! Food Production vs. Consumption and Your Money

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A finance book I read, The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco, had a very simple but true concept: If you want to get in ‘the fastlane’, you need to be a producer, not a consumer.  When you produce things you make money, and when you consume things, you lose money.  The author’s point is that if you create a business where you sell goods/services you will create more wealth for yourself, whereas people who just shop and spend their money will get poorer.  When it comes to food, this is a double whammy for the vast majority. Not only do people pay for someone else to grow their food, many pay for their food to be prepared either in the form of restaurants, pre-packaged meals, or other processed foods. If you have a diet-related illness, you are a consumer of medical treatments and that would be a triple whammy, but that’s another story…

How often do you make your own food?  If you eat at home rather than a restaurant, how much did you really make?  Do you make your own spaghetti sauce, or do you buy that in a jar? Do peeledtomatoesyou bake your own cookies?  Make your own mustard?  I know what you’re thinking, who makes their own mustard?  (Here’s a homemade mustard recipe). It’s just a given that people will buy certain things because their lives are busy (because you’re creating wealth for your employer most likely).  But as the theory goes, the more you consume vs. produce, the more you will lose.  So going to a restaurant is the biggest expense. So big, that it’s already been written about, like those articles about how buying coffee every morning wastes hundreds of dollars.  Next, is buying pre-made foods.  Are frozen dinners what came to mind?  What about ketchup and BBQ sauce? Deli meat? Pasta sauce? Is there any prepared food that is so taken for granted that it doesn’t even seem like you could produce it yourself?  In some cases it might not seem worth it (maybe aging wine into vinegar is more a of a science project).  But in most cases, I can attest it IS worth it.  Not just with cash, but with taste.  But the focus on this article is the aspect of finance.

We hear how divorced we are about where our food is from. We eat it without knowing how it was made or how far it traveled.  With food, the balance of producing for ourselves to being a giant consumer doesn’t seem like it can go farther.  Now we don’t grow our own food, so we buy it.  And we sink deeper in the consumer role by not preparing our own food because we go to restaurants or buy processed food.  If you want, you can buy certain candy and cookies in bite sized pieces, so companies even do some of the work of eating it for you!  How much more on the production side can we give up? I think it is not only critical to our health, but finances that the balance shifts back to being a producer.

My town’s big box health food store sells one organic seedless cucumber for $3.99.  Not per pound, one cucumber is seriously four bucks.  A packet of organic seedless cucumber seeds costs cucumberless than one cucumber.  If you failed miserably at growing your own cucumbers so a vast majority of the seeds didn’t work, but you managed to grow one vine that produced one cucumber – you have recouped your costs and then some!  But you will probably fair much better than that.  Some of the other absurdly expensive food at that store include: $5.99/lb organic bell peppers, $4.99/lb organic heirloom tomatoes, and $3.99 for one small, gluten – free, vegan cupcake. You know how rip-off hamburgers have patties that are way smaller than the bun so they don’t go all the way to the edge?  Gluten- free, vegan cupcake artisans learned that trick so the inadequate frosting doesn’t go all the way to the edge.  We are just getting sucked dry as consumers and this can’t go on.

People complain diets are too expensive.  You aren’t buying subsidized wheat, soy, corn and other commodity crops anymore.  You’re buying produce, meat, or dairy that was not from animals fed commodity crops.  Since tax payers subsidize the commodity crops, you are partially a producer which is why it’s ‘cheaper’ at the grocery store (and I use the term loosely because there are other costs involved with the environment and health but that’s another story). So here you are as a consumer of food that you did not produce, and it’s apparent that your role as a consumer is leveraged against you.  Isn’t time to slow down with consuming and start producing?

One of the best things you can do is grow your own food.  Yes, there are a myriad of excuses from weather, to your living quarters.  You can grow something. Seriously, if you can dedicate 2 square feet inside with shelves, you can grow a decent amount.  According to the seed company Burpee, you can get a 25 to 1 ROI on starting a garden.  The National Garden Association disagrees; they state a 70 dollar investment results in 600 dollars of food.  The information I have seen when researching for this article does not go into better detail.  What you grow will impact your ROI.  You must account for many factors of growing produce.  Besides growing what you like, consider what is available.  If you can always get organic carrots for .99 per pound and you have limited space, skip growing carrots.  You should also consider the time for a yield.  Some plants take one month, like radishes.  Others plants take 3 months.  The longer you tie up your soil, the less you grow and the less money you will save.  None of those things were mentioned in the statistics I saw, so you may fair better if you grow smart.windowsillgarden

Another thing to do is prepare your own food.  Less restaurants, less 4 dollar cupcakes, and less frozen dinners.  I know, no time and no skill, right?  There are easy recipes out there, and plenty have little hands-on time. Roasted meat, pretty much anything braised, and most sauces are so easy!  Once you develop good knife skills, it takes longer for the pot to heat up than to chop an onion.  And if you don’t have good knife skills, you can buy pre-diced onions but that’ll cost you.  And that’s the point…

I’m not dogmatic about this – not everything is worth your time.  You might be extra busy from time to time and can’t do it all yourself.  But take a look at what you buy on a regular basis. Is everything produced for you? Is this a crutch because you aren’t developing the right kitchen skills or managing your time? Opening cans and pushing buttons on a microwave are not the best skills for a producer.  Be aware that despite the normalcy of buying processed food and not growing your own, you are still taking on a role: The role of a consumer.  And if you shift to more production, you will have more money.

What do you think? Have you tried growing your own food? How did it go?

The Health Benefits of Bacon and Butter

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It’s most highly concentrated in coconut oil, and its health benefits are through the roof. However, its reputation is terribly negative, second only to that of trans fats. Can you guess what it is?

 

The answer: Saturated fat

 

Moving past the dogma of low fat, high carbohydrate fad, many of us now realize that low-fat just means high sugar, and high sugar equals more insulin, and more insulin leads to stored fat. You are likely familiar with the health benefits and necessity of unsaturated fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in cold water fish, but saturated fat also proves just as essential. But in what ways can butter, coconut oil, lard, and rib-eye steaks improve your health?

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

1. Lower cardiovascular risk

Saturated fat reduces the levels of lipoprotein (a), a substance found to be strongly correlated with the risk of heart disease. It also increases your level of HDL (good cholesterol).

 

2. Bone strength

The fat within these foods also contribute to bone strength, as your body cannot effectively incorporate calcium into your bones without it. For this reason, Mary Enig, Ph.D, recommends that 50 percent of your fats should be saturated.

 

3. Liver cleanliness

A fatty liver is damaging to your health and can eventually lead to cirrhosis.  However, the saturated fat that you eat does not directly convert to fat in your liver. On the contrary, adding saturated fat into your diet encourages the liver cells to dump their fat content, additionally protecting the liver from the toxicity of alcohol. The liver’s key role in a healthy metabolism connects the consumption of saturated fat to fat loss.

 

4. Strong lungs

Saturated fatty acids make up 100 percent of your lung’s airspace coating, essential for the function of the lungs. The absence of these fats will lead to the collapse of these airspaces and breathing will become difficult. In fact, some researchers theorize that the rise in asthma is linked to the fact that children have replaced saturated fats with hydrogenated fats, which do not correctly support the structure of the lungs.

 

5. Brain building

Did you know that your brain is made largely of fat and cholesterol? EPA and DHA are still important, but the fat found in butter, coconut oil, lard, and meat is more so, as a majority of the fatty acids in your brain are saturated. Without the proper materials, it is impossible for your body to put together the best functioning brain.

 

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6. Fat loss

To get your metabolism cranking, eat more saturated fat! This type of fat directly signals the nerve signals that influence metabolism, leveling out the release of insulin and keeping fat storage to a minimum.

 

7. Strong immune system

The myristic and lauric acid in butter and coconut oil keep the immune system healthy, helping your white blood cells identify and destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi. To prove the wholesomeness of saturated fat, it may be important to note that human breast milk is rich in both myristic and lauric acid, killing germs and protecting the immune system of an infant, and is needed throughout the lifetime in order to keep an immune system alert and attentive against cancer development and infections.

 

Give saturated fat a chance. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you.

 

 

What’s simplest thing you can do to improve your health, happiness, and sanity?

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Sleep. 

Since we were little, chances are that our parents have always bugged us about getting more sleep. From 7pm bedtimes to afternoon naps, they knew that getting their toddlers and children to sleep would result in their better overall mood, preventing crankiness and tantrums in the grocery store when refused a chocolate bar. However, resistance was usually strong, especially as we grew older; not wanting to miss out on what was happening after our parents sent us to bed.

This is perhaps the biggest reason that 60 percent of adults do not get enough sleep: we do not think it’s worth it. Why sleep when we have 30 more hours of work to do? Why sleep when we could go out partying and having fun with our friends? Why sleep and be judged for being lazy, and miss out on life?

The answer is simple. A lack of rest leads to a compromised conscious life. When we sleep, both our bodies and minds are rejuvenated, reducing chronic inflammation and reducing stress. Only during the late, deep stages of sleep can our bodies relax and prepare to grow and repair our tissue. Our memories replay and our thoughts consolidate, boosting our memory. It is here when hormones like ghrelin and leptin are released, which help us feel hunger and fullness. Because of this, an off balance of these hormones can lead to weight gain. Factoring into this that our late nights are often connected to unhealthy snacking, and it spells out disaster, and studies show that sleeping for only five hours a night increases your risk of being overweight by 73 percent.

These likely look way more appealing late at night.

These likely look way more appealing late at night.

However, just being scared of sleep deprivation isn’t enough. There’s a reason that most adults spend 7.5 hours in bed, but only 6.1 hours asleep. Here are a few techniques to fall asleep quickly and get a better nights rest.

 

 

1. Step away from the screen.

As loud as that latest episode of Breaking Bad is calling your name, it should wait. Researchers are finding that the artificial light from electronic devices lower levels of the hormone melatonin by an average of 22 percent, disrupting our internal clocks and messing with our natural sleep cycles. At least an hour before bed, stay away from all electronic screens.

2. Grab some almonds.

If you’re hungry, eat! However, shy away from high sugar or very processed foods, which will give you a short energy high and then a crash. Nuts are perfect bedtime snacks, the magnesium will help your muscles relax, and Omega 3s and healthy fats will digest slowly and keep your blood sugar levels stable.

3.  Drink some tea.

The warmth of the drink will calm and relax both your body and mind. Make sure you’re staying away from caffeine, instead brewing herbal teas like chamomile, sage, or valerian lemon balm. Herbal teas are theorized to have anti-anxiety and calming effects because of its flavonoid compound, apidenin.

 Tea_in_different_grade_of_fermentation

4. Increased sunlight exposure in the daytime.

Especially if you’ve been traveling, it helps to establish a routine, and get your body in time with the sun. Wake up at a reasonable time Increasing your daytime exposure to the sun will regulate the release of melatonin, both a hormone and a powerful antioxidant released when the retina senses the light is low and it is time to sleep.

5. Get comfortable.

This likely goes without saying, but falling asleep when you’re hot, stressed, and hungry is almost impossible. Create an environment that will promote your slumber. A cool, dark, and quiet room is best. Grab that handful of almonds, calm your internal stressors, and avoid staring at the clock, doing the constant math to find the hours of sleep you will get “if I fall asleep in the next five minutes…”

Thailand_06_-_54_tuckered_out_(2)

6. Exercise.

Getting active will help you fall asleep faster and more deeply, simply because you will be more tired. However, because exercise causes the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, causing the brain to go on alert, so it helps to keep the exercise to at least three hours before bed. However, a very mellow yoga or meditation practice right before bed will calm and relax your body. Just stay away from the chaturangas!

7. If you can’t sleep, nap.

Embrace your inner toddler. Instead of being tired and cranky for the rest of the day, take a nap in the morning or right after lunch, to avoid the deep and slow-wave sleep in the late afternoon caused by human circadian rhythms. The original 20 minute power nap has proven to be the most effective, improving muscle memory and clearing the brain of useless information, strengthening the long-term memory, and helping you remember your co-workers names.

 

Commit to sleeping more. You’ll look better, feel better, and be more productive.

As this baby proves, you can sleep anywhere.

Brogi of the Month – July, 2013

By | Featured, Interviews, Motivation, Students, Teachers | One Comment

The Brogi of the Month Award goes out monthly (obviously) in recognition of a person who, through action or word, makes things better for themselves and the people around them. In most instances, recipients will be acknowledged for great achievements in the health/fitness/nutrition – aka Broga – realm, but not always. The common denominator will almost always be an achievement that inspires. All those who receive the award will get a 10-class pass (or something of equivalent value). We love inspiring stories, so please feel free to email us nominations and a story any time.

Our first Brogi of the Month is a guy that has inspired us …a lot. It has been a pleasure getting to know him and having him in our Somerville classes. He was very nervous for his first class, having never done anything “like this” before, but he kept coming back. His name is Mo Jarava and he’s lost nearly 70 lbs as a committed Broga student.

This past week was his 100th Broga class. Congratulations, Mo. We’re proud and honored to have you in this community.

Here’s a brief interview with Mo from a couple weeks back – i.e. just before his 100th class.

 

 

Broga: What do you do?
Mo: I’m a law enforcement officer with the federal government.  High pressure, and high demands.  I’ve been an officer for the past 18 years.  It’s something I’m used to but it doesn’t make it easier.

Broga: Is your job stressful?
Mo: Extremely.

Broga: Tell us a bit about how you found Broga and your expectations when you started.Mo
Mo: After a recent promotion, I began suffering from migraines.  I’ve always had a Type A personality, and migraines were a common occurrence for me but this was something different and much more intense.   After a battery of tests, one of which landed me in the ER, I was told “You need to relax”.   The last thing someone who is stressed needs to hear is “just relax”.   I ended up in therapy having electrical current run through my muscles to get me to unwind.  That’s when I knew I had to do something.   I saw an ad for Broga and started reading up on it.

I went on to the site and read about the course, the instructors, and the basic Broga mission statement.   I had my hesitations but decided to give it a try.

I wrote Adam and Robert an email and explained a little of my situation.   I was overweight, inflexible, and hadn’t done any fitness regime since years.  What I did have was the desire to improve, to find a balance in my life and find a way to calm my mind.  I wanted to participate but didn’t know if I could keep up and I didn’t want to hold the class back.   Adam wrote me back and told me Broga was the class for me.

Broga: How would you describe your level of fitness now compared to when you started Broga?
Mo: I’ve been practicing for over a year now.  I can totally see an improvement in my fitness level.  I think back to the third Broga class I took.  I almost gave up after that night.  My first two classes were tough but I was able to keep up.  That third class was intense.  I remember the thought “what fresh sadistic hell is this?!” going through my mind throughout the class.   I decided right then and there to give up.  I wasn’t ready for this level of intensity and this was just a beginner course.  After class, I was gearing up to go home; feeling defeated and like a failure.  Some of the other students in the class were milling about we began talking.  These were guys that were very fit and they were commenting on how the class had kicked their ass.   Ok.. so if the class was tough even for them, maybe it wasn’t just me.  I decided to come back the following week.   I remember Robert telling us we had already taken the first step, we showed up, we were there.  That meant a lot to me because I came so close to not going back.   The classes were still tough, and I still had my days where I dreaded hearing the words “forearm plank”.  But I kept with it.

Throughout the past year I’ve experienced a series of mini achievements.  I slowly starting to do some of the stuff I previously felt was impossible and improbable.  Poses that I once thought I’d never get into unless there was an intricate systems of pulleys and levers involved, now became a routine part of my practice.

Broga: Looking ahead over the next few years, what are your health and fitness goals?
Mo: Now that I know I have it in me to dedicate time to my health and fitness, I’ve taken more of a proactive approach to my well-being.  I’ve changed my diet, eating habits and behavior.   I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and am on the way to getting to a healthy weight and fitness level.  Once there, I hope to be able to maintain and keep improving.  I’m looking at expanding my exercise routine to include some gym time.  I’m attending Broga three times a week and am looking for something in between the class days.  I’m keeping tabs on the number of classes I attend, when I get to class 100, I am going to try my hand at the Broga 2 class.

Broga: How awesome was it when you were able to do Crow pose for the first time?
Mo: The first time Robert had us do Crow pose in class I actually laughed out loud and shook my head.  There was no way I was going to get my body to do that.  Robert looked at me and said “No?  Not happening?  It’s ok, you’ll get there.”  He taught me a modified version that would help me to eventually get there.  As the classes went on, that pose became a goal.  I would eventually do it.  Around class number 50 I was finally able to do Crow.  It wasn’t perfect, I only stayed up for a few breaths, but I did it.  It was amazing.  Something that had been so far off had finally come within reach.

Broga: What’s your favorite yoga pose?
Mo: I can’t say I have one favorite.  I like the balance poses like tree, warrior three, and side plank.  Humble warrior is awesome!  Every once in a while a new leg stretch or back stretch gets thrown into the mix and I just want to scream out thaaaaaaaaaaaaank you!!

Broga: What’s your least favorite yoga pose?
Mo: Still not a fan of forearm plank but I am able to do it now and stay up.  We just added a mountain climber exercise that is a bit vicious but I can definitely feel the impact and benefit.

Broga: What do you like most about Broga class?
Mo: In no particular order…

  1. You can go at your pace.  There is no race or competition.
  2. The instructors tailor the poses to your current level.  Be it adding a strap, changing the pose or other modifications, they teach you how to get the most out of each pose and flow at your own level.
  3. The music.  I’ve added a few of the songs to my playlists and have found I start subconsciously breathing deep and calming down when I hear them.
  4. It has become the highlight of my week where I can turn off everything else going on and just focus on my breath and the poses.
  5. Effort and Ease.   It’s become a mantra not only throughout class but in my daily world as well.

Broga: What do you like least about Broga class?
Mo: There isn’t anything I don’t like.  As the word is getting out and more people are discovering Broga, the classes are starting to fill up.   I have to make sure to get there early to get my spot in the back corner.  I’m very much a creature of habit and can be a little OCD.  I have my focal points for my drishti.

Broga: What would you tell someone who is unsure about trying Broga?
Mo: They need to give it a shot.  If they are looking for a way to better their health and improve their life, try it out.  They should talk to others in the class, I know I’m not the only one who has benefited from Broga.  They can come talk to me about it too,  I’m the one in the back corner.

Broga: If someone gave you $1 million dollars to help people get/stay in better health, what would you do with the money?
Mo: I think it comes down to education.  Educating people on how to make proper choices, and take care of themselves.  Helping them find whatever works for them.

Thanks for the inspiration, Mo! With your success, the words “Mo-tivation” and “Mo-bility” are taking on new meaning in the Broga world.

If you have any thoughts or questions about what it takes to make big, sustained changes in your life, please share them in the comments section below.