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Summer Skating/Yoga Travel Journal

For the last 8 weeks I have spent more time in planes and abroad then ever!  Here is a quick run down of my recent travels:

8 May-Trevisio, Italy

No sooner did I finish classes at the beginning of May, I was off to the Rollerblade annual sales meeting in Treviso, Italy.  Sales meetings are always exciting as we get to see what it coming up for the next year and have the opportunity to meet with people from around the world who want to grow the sport as well as the Rollerblade brand.

Presenting at 2017 Sales Meeting

Presenting at 2017 Sales Meeting

RB 2017 Sales meeting Rico Indo

Met Rico from Indonesia and is lovely wife and skating son!

Authentic and delicious pizza dinner varous RB team members

Authentic and delicious pizza dinner varous RB team members

13 May-Portoroz, Slovenia

How could I go to Italy and be so close to my skating friend Frank Pirc and his wife Wilma without a stop in Portoroz, Sloveia?  Portoroz was just a roll away (about 2 hours by car) so I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend some time with my friends by their seaside home as well as go for a skate to the old Venetian city of Piran with Frank.

May 2016 Piran

Favorite Place to Skate in Slovenia

Frank Piran May 2016

Skating with Frank in Piran

 

17 May-Dubai, United Arab Emirates

With a horrible infection caught on my way to Europe it ramped up as I made my way home for exactly 1 day before being off again!  After a quick trip to the doctor and armed with A LOT of meds I was off to Dubai, United Arab Emirates for to conduct a Level 1 Certification Program.  We had a very diverse group made up of participants from Oman, Phillipines, Slovenia, Syria, and Venezuela!  So much fun working with everyone there and as well as helping program host Andreja Marolt with ways to best promote skating and the Rollerblade brand.

 

Dubai Theory

Dubai Theory

Lunch in Dubai

Breaking for Lunch

Skating with Joy!

Skating with Joy!

26 May Chicago Illinois

Landed, slept and off to Chicago the next day for a poster presentation at the Association Psychological Science Convention.  My colleague from Cleveland State and I presented our latest yoga study.  It was an honor to be at the convention and to have the opportunity to continue to be involved with on the science side of yoga.  With all the travel, sickness, etc. I definitely needed a reminder of the importance of spending more time on the practical sides

Yoga Study Presentation

Yoga Study Presentation

Balcony View

Balcony View

28 May-27 June  Ohio USA

Home for a month!  Taught a lot of ice hockey lessons and spent time finishing up the school year and getting my daughter organized for summer activities-summer reading, swimming, softball, etc.   Celebrated Memorial Day with my favorite veteran and cheered on the Cleveland Cavaliers-and joined in a 1.3 million people parade.  WOW, what a season!.  Enjoyed the  emerging summer sun and generally rested up for upcoming back to back trips.

Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Beach life

Beach life

Watching "Balanced" daughter

Watching “Balanced” daughter

Go Cavs!

Go Cavs!

1 in over a million Celebrating

1 in over a million Celebrating

Who knew she was good at softball?!

Who knew she was good at softball?!

27 June-July 7 Singapore 

Concluded my daughters weekend birthday celebration and was off on an late evening flight through San Fransisco and on to a 16 hour flight Singapore (one of the longest flights in the world!)  for certifications and  related programing. Although i like to think of myself as a person who has a balanced life, apparently I universe is telling me something else.  4 hours into my flight to Singapore (15th trip since 2000!) I came down with conjunctivitis-not only in one, but in both eyes!  Landed at 6:00am,  in line at a doctors office by 8:00am and by 9:00am and only with $67 USD spent (can we learn from Singapore’s medical pricing structure??) was off with multiple meds to tackle the day!  Professional development workshops, Sled Dogs Snowskates Ambassador program as well as two certifications and a fitness workshop not to mention my birthday and many late nights rounded out my 9 days in Singapore

2016-06-29 09.17.19

Masked the minute I walked into the clinic!

SG friends daughter helping with Candles

SG friends daughter helping with Candles

International Birthday!

International Birthday!

Happy B-day to Kris

Happy B-day to Kris

 

With a Few Level 2 Candidates!

With a Few Level 2 Candidates!

 

SG July 2016 Group

SG July 2016 Group

 

July 7-July 11 Ohio, USA

Home in just enough time for a swim meet, to re-pack, get the house in order and to  get my daughter ready for a one week sleep away camp!  Not one photo taken to capture these days…other than the aforementioned, I was pretty much dead to the world and breaking all rules of travel as I slept most of the time I was home!  Spain here I come!

July 12-July 21 Spain

 

 
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Calmness of Mind, Restful Sleep and More With Regular Yoga Practice

Swami Words of Wisdom

By Swami Sivanananda Saraswati

You can have calmness of mind at all times by the practice of yoga.

You can have restful sleep.
You can have increased energy,
vigor, vitality, longevity, and
a high standard of health.
You can turn out efficient work
within a short period of time.
You can have success
in every walk of life.

Asana, Pranayama, Meditation

Medical research is beginning to catch up to what the ancient yogis have known for years: the mind and body are connected. Once thought of as separate entities, it is becoming increasing apparent that when the health of one is down, the other is affected.

How many of us have not experienced a bad cold during a time when we were under a tremendous amount of mental stress?  Or heard a story of recovery against all odds linked to a positive outlook?  The connection may be intellectually easy to understand, but the cause and effect in our personal experience is usually where the “disconnect” occurs. Unfortunately, it is only after we are suffering the physical effects of chronic stress and anxiety such as hypertension, digestive issues or respiratory disorders that we begin to wonder “how did I get here?”

Yoga masters like Swami Sivananada believe, however, that through a regular yoga practice that the mind and body can be synchronized. Yoga provides the tools and platform to promote and develop the mind/body connection and the result is a balanced and creative life, full of good health and happiness.

   5 Ways Yoga Can Facilitate the Mind/Body Connection

1.    Stress Reduction – Yoga poses bring us into our body by bring awareness to the posture, relaxing or stretching the muscles and connecting us to our breath which inducing a variety of stress releasing benefits.  Lower heart rate and blood pressure and improved digestive function are just a few stress-reducing benefits of a regular yoga practice.

2.    More Energy - When we move our body through various yoga postures we stimulate blood flow, increase respiration, and release energy blockages in the body, thus improving our energy level.  An object in motion likes to stay in motion and yoga can stimulate our physical energy levels long after class is over.

3.    Induces Sleep – It may seem counterintuitive given the previous entry, but a regular yoga practice can actually improve sleep. While certain practices like Sun Salutation are inherently energizing, Child’s Pose, Standing Forward Bend, Plow Pose and Shavasana, coupled with slow deep breathing, can relax the body and turn the mind inward, setting the tone for a blissful night’s rest.

4.    Alters Mood – Feeling sad or a little depressed?  Need to focus before a big test or presentation?  There is a yoga posture for that!  Backward bending postures and extensions are stimulating as they usually open both the chest and heart and increase our receptivity to others, as well as our communication skills.  On the flip side, forward bending postures tend to be more introverting, bringing us inward and quieting the mind.  Balance postures, like tree pose, not only improve our physical balance, but can balance our energy as well. So if you are feeling “off balance,” get back in balance with a few yoga postures.

5.  Increases both Physical & Mental Flexibility – Every mental tension has a corresponding physical tension. The physical manifestation of mental or emotional stress can show up as a disturbance in sleep patterns, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, muscular aches or pains among other disorders.  The initial object of yoga postures therefore is to release these tensions.  Yoga postures act to release mental tensions on a somatic or physical level. Depending on the physical symptoms, a well-chosen set of yoga postures can help to lessen the effects of mental stress and strain eliminating the physical manifestation of the mental stressor, at least temporarily. As the body relaxes, so does the mind.

With hundreds of yoga postures and movements, breathing practices and meditations to choose from there is something for EVERY BODY.  Give the power of yoga a chance to be the conduit between your mind and body. A more calm, rested, energized you is all you have to lose.

 
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Quick Tips For A Great Skate!

A few years ago I wrote the following tips for the  Rollerblade International website.  With the latest update to their site I can’t seem to find it.  As we move into outdoor skating weather here in the northern hemisphere I  thought it worth reposting here with a few changes and additions.

KrisBench2

Quick Tips For A Great Skate

The following is some basic information about the benefits of inline skating and a few quick tips to help you make the most of your skating experience:

Skating to Get Fit or Stay Fit    Skating for fitness is the reason why many people choose to skate.  Which, by the way, is a really great reason!  Skating is a full-body, easy-on-the-joints workout that can improve cardiovascular respiratory function, muscle strength and endurance and body composition. Skating takes us out of the fitness center and allows us to move freely into beautiful (think parks) or exciting (think city/urban) outdoor settings.

A Good Pair of Skates  To start your training you will need a good pair of skates. When it comes to skates, for the most part, “you get what you pay for” and it is best to find a pair that fit properly and are of high quality. For just starting out I suggest the Rollerblade Macroblade or Zetrablade for adults and Spitfire Cube for kids.

Mastering the Basics  The success of any fitness routine is based on one’s ability to carry it out. So where do you start?  Mastering some of the basics of moving, stopping, and turning will give you the confidence to take your skating to the parks and streets where you can skate for longer periods of time improving your level of fitness.

Slowly building your confidence in negotiating your surroundings while on skates will help ensure that your time on skates is safe and enjoyable. 

Basic Forward Skating   Are you doing the “moon walk” when trying to skate? If so, to keep all eight wheels in contact with the skating surface, push down on the inside edges and through to the heels of the skates. The added pressure will help keep the wheels on the ground throughout the stroke and allow for a more powerful push.

Also remember, “Knee bend is your friend.” Soft knees are more forgiving then locked knees while skating.  For better balance, power and maneuverability keep the knees slightly bent while skating. Striding Stage 1, Striding Stage 2

Improve Skating Technique   Are you already comfortable on your skates but just aren’t feeling the rhythm and flow that you see in other more accomplished skaters?  You can attain that look of effortlessness that you are envying, you really can!  It is just about proper skating technique and more time on your skates.

Looking like a “pro” will take some time, but you can make some immediate changes to your technique that will improve your efficiency, rhythm and overall flow.  The following are just a few basic suggestions:

  • Too increase the power of stroke and the length of your stride lower your skating stance.  The deeper the knee bend the more power in the push.  Increasing knee bend will result in a more powerful stroke, which in turn, will increase the length and efficiency of the stride.
  • Are you pushing equally with both legs?  Most people don’t and even the most proficient skating athlete can tell you his or her “weak” side.   Try the simple drill below to improve skating posture and stride technique for a more powerful stroke and more balanced stride
1 Leg Drill

1 Leg Squat Push

One leg Squat Push

Purpose:  Improves strength, balance and stride technique

  1. Begin with the skates together and the hands on one knee in a low squat position.
  2. Push one skate out to the side until fully extended
  3. Lift the leg off the ground and regroup the skates under the body.
  4. Repeat a minimum of 10 times on each side.

Added Balance Challenge:  Hold the toe to the heel for a count of 1-3 before the next stroke.

Learn to Control Your Speed   The importance of knowing how to control your speed, avoiding dangerous situations, and being able to come to a complete and controlled stop cannot be emphasized enough.  Through the years I have heard many unfortunate stories of people’s “first and last time” skating.  While the story settings change they always seem to end the same, “if I only knew how to stop.”

Brake vs. No Brake  If you are a beginner to intermediate level skater it is highly suggested that your skates have a brake attached-at least in the beginning.   If they do not (look in the box, it should be there), you may want to see if you can get one for your skates. Personally, I am most comfortable skating with a brake attached to my skate- especially when skating in an urban, or unfamiliar setting.   But of course, this choice is ultimately up to you.

Using Your Brake  Most new skates come with the brake already attached to the right  skate.  If you feel uncomfortable performing the Heel Brake Stop with your right leg remember that the brake can be switched to the left skate by using an Allen Wrench. Please be aware, however, that some older models skates have a brake that cannot be changed to the left side.

If you are uncertain if you should switch your brake to the left skate try answering the following questions:  Do you feel that you would naturally put out your left skate?  Would you kick a soccer ball into score a goal using your left foot?  If you stood in front of a step, would you use your left foot first to go up?  If you answered yes to anyone of these, you might want to try changing the brake.

For better balance as a beginner skater, it is best to keep your arms still and hands comfortably in front of the body.  This will help keep your upper body “quiet” as you focus on what needs to be done by the lower body to stop.  To master the mechanics of the stop be sure to practice all steps from a stationary position, and then repeatedly, while moving.

Grass or Emergency Stop  If you do encounter a situation that you think is “unskatable,” such as a very steep decline, remember you can always leave the skating surface by performing a Grass Stop.  A “grass stop” or “emergency stop” is done by scissoring forward the skate that is nearest to the grass, and shifting the weight to the back leg once the front leg crosses comes in contact with the new surface.

Planning your skate   If you are a new to skating outdoors it is best to bike or walk a potential route prior to skating it.  Being aware of challenging surfaces such as hills, gravel, bricks, rough surfaces etc. will allow you to adjust your skating technique or change your route altogether.

Avoiding Obstacles  The scissor stance with the weight on the back leg, which was covered in “Grass Stop” above, will generally work with most road obstacles that cannot be avoided such as water, oil, gravel and twigs.  Just remember that if going through water it is best not to push, as your wheels will slide. If you are lucky enough to be skating at the beach and you need to “bail out” in the sand, remember that your wheels will not roll through sand so it is best to pick up your feet and run to a stop.

If your skates have come into contact with water, oil or sand, please take the time to clean your wheels and bearings before your next skate to ensure that they do not rust and remain in good working order.

Getting Out There-Where to Skate   Your wheels were made to roll so provided you are familiar with the basics let’s get moving!  Skating can be done in a variety of locations.  A park trail or path along side the beach can provide a safe, smooth and predicable course that will allow you to concentrate on your technique while taking in the beautiful surroundings.  But if that kind of skate isn’t available to you, why not skate where you are?

Singapore Night Skate

Singapore Night Skate

City or Urban Skate One reason runners love to run is because it is easy. Just put on the running shoes and out the door you go! Minimal prep and travel time and maximal satisfaction knowing that your workout is a door step away. Skating can also be that simple.  It really can be.  Provided you are comfortable with the controlling your speed and stopping city or urban skating is a great way to explore your surroundings.

Anticipation  After skating forward and stopping, “anticipation” is a skill that needs to be practiced and mastered for a safe and enjoyable city skate. Unlike skating on a trail, the course and terrain is anything but predictable. Negotiating rough patches of sidewalk, around pedestrians, hopping up and down street curbs, navigating around parked and   moving cars and over bumps, takes some skill.

Avoid Possible Hazardous Situations   First, avoid possible hazardous situations by learning to anticipate them.  Pay attention to what is going on in front of you.  Scan the area for pedestrians stepping off curbs or cares making a turn in front of you.  Most hazardous situations on a city skate can be avoided if you stay alert and predict the likelihood of their occurrence.

Use “Timing” to Avoid Braking.  Instead of skating at a steady pace, the pace is adjusted to accommodate the environment. For example; Instead of traveling up to a target to be passed and applying a brake, look ahead as far as a few hundred yards. Anticipating the optimal point of passing, you can adjust your speed to improve your timing.

Big City Skating Some of the best skating experiences of my life were smack dab in the middle of a big city.  New York, Paris, Miami, Singapore, Munich, etc. present an amazing backdrop and an exhilarating ride!

Skating on sidewalks and where safe and legal, in the street, allows you to interact with the city in a way that walking, running and driving just doesn’t. I can honestly say that when I have started to skate from the doorstep of my house, or if on vacation from my hotel, I have rarely, if ever, been disappointed. If you are visiting a city for the first time or want to see your own from a new perspective, an urban or city skate is the way to go.  A unique and satisfying experience is right outside your door.

Quick Tip Recap   Skating is a full-body, easy-on-the-joints workout that can improve cardiovascular respiratory function, muscle strength and endurance and body composition. Take the time to become familiar with the basics of moving and controlling your speed and you will be amazed by how much fun a great workout can be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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