rebounding_line1I began rebounding about 9 years ago and became such a fan that I bought one for my apartment, for my parents home in Colorado, for my then boyfriend  (now husband), for my office and for my siblings’ places because I couldn’t miss a morning and felt that everyone could benefit from using one.

Urban Rebounding was invented by JB Berns and years ago I was lucky enough to take a few classes taught by him at Equinox. This is an aerobic and cardio workout without the stress on your joints but I used it not only as a workout but also as my morning meditation or a time to zone out and watch the news. I spend between 20-30 minutes daily (usually in the morning) on the urban rebounder sometimes simply bounding, sometimes a jog and sometimes creating my own workouts. I find not only did it lengthen my legs and tighten by glutes but also increased the stability in my abdominal muscles, made me stand taller and helped with my digestion as well as setting me up for a mindful day.

What is also great about this workout is that you can store it easily under your bed and its quiet enough that you can jump while watching the news or setting your daily intentions while others are sleeping in rooms next to you. (I don’t know if my roommates would have agreed, but they are still my friends so it couldn’t be that bad!)

I also have used it with my clients and athletes as a mindfulness and meditative activity (in the morning, after school before starting homework or at night to decompress) and also as a great hand-eye coordination assister. To help with this (for all sports and also to create a mind-body connection) see steps and activities below.

  1. I often have the athlete or client face a wall and have a tennis ball in their hand.
  2. Begin bouncing (or rebounding as JB Berns calls it) for about 5 minutes
  3. For 100 tosses, toss tennis ball up and down with your dominant hand keeping your eye on the ball
  4. Now, do 100 trying to look ahead (not at the ball)
  5. Switch hands and repeat
  6. Now try switching from one hand to the other for 100 tosses
  7. Now repeat the drills above but do it throwing the ball against the wall

8) Create your own exercises maybe rebounding on one leg doing the same thing. What else can you come up with?

These exercises will not only improve eye-hand coordination but will also increase your focus, mindfulness and ability to block out what is going on around you to be able to focus on the task at hand. I have found that some people are able to find solace in stillness and find that a great way to be meditative but others really need to move. This is a moving meditation that many people LOVE and are so grateful for as they know the benefits of taking time to be quiet and meditative but truly need the movement in their lives! As you probably have read but took me time to understand as I always wanted to do everything “right” meditation is different for everyone. Finding something that works for YOU and that you will stick with is better than doing what works for someone else and dreading it or not getting anything out of it. Give this a try if the stillness aspect has been giving you nightmares.

Benefits of Rebounding:

  1. Pushes muscles to fatigue without putting stress on your joints
  2. Increases blood flow and lymphatic-fluid circulation
  3. Strengthens abdomens
  4. Strengthens and lengthens legs
  5. Helps with weightless
  6. Increases bone density
  7. Decreases celulite
  8. improves posture and balance
  9. Helps with digestion (I love to do it in the morning!)

Remember, you can do this on your own while meditating or setting up daily intentions, you can do it while watching the news, talking on the phone or purchasing a video that can walk you through exercises.

I am a big fan of wearable pre and post workout clothes. If I do a workout in the morning, it is likely that I remain in my workout clothes until late afternoon when I find time to shower or finally get ready for a dinner. Besides the typical Lululemon (which I still love) I have found a few workout gems that I live in. Typically, I stick with the basics: Black or navy.. Occasionally I will throw in grey but I really am a “monotoned fitness dresser.” So, for all those who love color, take these suggestions with a grain of salt!

Here are a few staples and favorite pieces that I can not go without:

Bandier. I LOVE Bandier. I randomly walked into the pop-up store in Union Square last spring (2015) and it was like a little girl in a candy shop. I did not know where to begin! They carry all my favorite lines and I discovered some new options. Bandier has opened stores throughout New York and I believe are opening in other cities.

Monrow: These are incredibly soft sweatpants and t-shirts. These are not your typical legging or a tight fitness pant for an intense workout, but can be used as a pant for a walk with a friend or a casual run or a pilates class. They remind me of the typical college athletic sweatpants with a more hip fit. I also love Monrow tank tops and sweatshirts for a lazy overcast day at the beach, running errands or casual dinner. I also encountered a maternity line which is awesome. Shopbop, Amazon and Bandier also carry it!

Splendid: I love these tank tops (first layer is my favorite) and zip up sweatshirts to go to the beach, over more fitted workout gear or to run around town after a workout. I am also a fan of their beach over ups as they seem a little less “vacation” which works better for me. I also like to throw them on in the summer for a quick coffee or green juice run or to throw them on after a workout and pre shower.  Splendid can be found just about everywhere.

Splits59: I love these leggings. They are extremely flattering. I have had less success with their tops and tanks, but for a navy and black legging, this is my go to! I also love their cropped legging and the capri tight depending on which length you prefer, the season and the workout! Bandier also sells this line so you can try it on instead of purchasing online!

Nesh: Recently, when I was at Bandier, I came across this line. It has great cover up jackets that remind me of a lighter, less bulky and shorter version of what Lululemon makes. I love being able to throw these on over a tank top for a workout and to run around town.

Nation LTD: I do not remember how or when I came across this line but now I purchase a majority of it on Amazon. Walking down the street, I  have had numerous strangers compliment me on how comfortable the sweatpants and sweatshirts  look. I LIVE in these not only for fitness (from boxing to yoga to running) but also as a light layer in the summer over a tank top with cut off shorts. I love the cropped sweatpants and the regular length. I promise these are the best.

One additional line that I love is Koral. You can find it at Bandier and online. They’re so soft and have an amazing fit. I have a navy pair that I live in for anything from yoga to high intensity boxing, Taryn Toomey sweat sessions and runs.

 

Whenever you are in an uncertain situation, practice this technique before reacting.

Whenever you are in an uncertain situation, practice this technique before reacting.

During our initial stages of work, there are many approaches to take. Depending on the sport, level, where they are in the season and length of time they will be able to work with me, we create a program that will get the most out of the sessions. But, one aspect we always focus on is breathing.  How much experience children have with mindful exploration, can carve  our work on breathing, mindfulness and eventually visualization. I have found that if kids learn aspects of this type of skill while they are young, and can actually breathe regularly and deeply for at least 5 minutes, they are able to focus and not feel “awkward” when practicing it in high school and beyond and can see and feel the benefits on the field, court, ice, water and classroom. Also, mindfulness/visualization/meditation takes practice, baby steps and takes individuals being comfortable in their own skin.In a way, its a confidence building exercise as well.

Initially, the first step is breathing. I often work with my athletes on breathing before we even try to do visualization or mindfulness exercises. Our bodies have been so programed (especially for women) to hold in our stomachs (hence we all want flat stomachs, six packs, abs of steel) that we sometimes forget how to get a full, deep breath in and how just 5 or 6 full breathes can really change your state of mind.

Here, I will cover a simple  breathing exercise that can be done in the morning, after school, before practice, homework, or before bed to relax you and get you ready for slumber. (Adults, don’t be shy to practice with your kids!) This is best done at least an hour after a meal so your belly isn’t full.

Set an alarm for 5 minutes. Lie down or sit up in a cross legged position or with your legs stretched out; whichever is most comfortable for you. Slowly allow your eyes to close. Take a deep breath in and feel your entire belly fill up with air all the way to your chest. You can feel your chest take up more and more air as it expands. When you feel as if you cant take up any more air, hold it for a count of 5 (count in your head) then slowly let the air out trying to take as much time as it took to fill your lungs up as it does to let the air out. At the bottom of the breath, hold the breath out for a count of five. At this point, you might be able to feel the beating of your heart in your head. (This is a cue that you are sending more blood to your head than you usually do and blood pumping around your body is a good thing! It makes you think clearer and less reactionary!)

Now, we are going to continue doing this breathing for 5 minutes. Not worrying about counting the the number of breathes, only focusing on this train of thought: Breathing in through your belly, chest, throat, nose, as you feel them expand- hold your breath for 3 counts. Then out (exhale) through your nose, throat, chest, belly as you feel them compress or deflate – hold it for 3 counts.Then repeat. Over and over again.

When the timer goes off, try to take one more deep breathe in and slowly let the air out. Lie still for a minute before slowly rolling to one side, sitting up and continuing on with your day/night or falling fast asleep.. Remember, at the beginning you might fall asleep. That is ok and sometimes when you finally start breathing, you can finally start relaxing and that is when you can take your game to another level.

Chlorophyll is a liquid I have been drinking nightly for years. Although the way I do it can leave your mouth a blue-ish green, I  find it palatable and the benefits exponential so it doesn’t bother me with my husband, or my old roommate remarks about my blue mouth.

Chlorophyll is a green substance that does not have much of a taste and is a great hea

A shot-a-day

A shot-a-day

lth supplement. It is found in green leafy vegetables and also green fruits (kiwi, etc..) Some research shows its effective in cancer prevention and weight loss which might be due to its effects on satiety. It has also been proven to help detox the body, help with the removal of germs and the ability stop the growth of new ones. It has also been proven to help with halitosis and who doesn’t want the security of knowing you have healthy breath!! There are a few companies who sell chlorophyll that is Mint flavored but I do not like the taste of those. I prefer this chlorophyll.

I have also found that chlorophyll helps with my digestion. Although my diet is relatively clean (I can always find improvements..) sometimes I need a little help with the elimination. This can happen more often while on a juice cleanse or eating extremely paleo or honestly, sometimes it can happen if you are not consuming enough water, after traveling on an airplane or without explanation. Sometimes instead of wracking my brain with the “how when why” I just concede to a shot or two of chlorophyll at night just to make sure.

There is also research on its ability to help with low iron levels. Instead of reaching for a pill or a more traditional method of increasing levels, I always try to try a more holistic approach (obviously with my doctors approval) and liquid chlorophyll has been a great help. Talk to your doctor about it!

Directions:

At night take a gulp or two before brushing your teeth and heading to bed. I usually take my probiotic with it…

Other options for a less green mouth:

Mix 1-2 tbsp of fresh chlorophyll in a big glass of water before bedtime.

Reaction Crazy BallGetting CRAZY!!!!

As a mother, father, coach, private sports coach, teacher or family member, we are often looking for fun activities to do with our kids  that takes up relatively little space, is not only entertaining  and fun but can also sneak in something beneficial, educational and/or improves something they need to work on.

For those of us with kids that like (and NEED) to move, are gifted athletically/striving toward athletic prowess, there is a little secret toy that many coaches and experts often pull out of their secret skill arsenal.

Enter, the Crazy Ball This ball has been around for decades and has helped turn lazy kids into active ones, quiet times into giggling and laughing times, random afternoons into crazy competitions, and, mediocre athletes with little ability to react and little coordination into movement and agility machines.

With its 6 sides it can bounce, leap, and pop in a million different directions and its your job to catch the ball on a given number of bounces. For example, “Hey, Charlie, let it bounce twice then catch it… Now, three times and then catch it..” Continually try to build up and catch on the given number of bounces and create competitions with your kids or among your kids friends.

So, the next time you need an easy activity (also great to pack on vacation as it is small and compact and fun for adults too (I promise its a workout if you play with your kids and the laughter and bonding is contagious) bring along the crazy ball.

Directions and benefits below!

Benefits:

  1. Helps improve reaction time (great for tennis, baseball, soccer and squash, ice hockey)
  2. Supports hand-eye coordination and development (great for football, tennis, baseball, soccer, squash, lacrosse,
  3. Increases overall agility and footwork (obvious, no?)
  4. Improves concentration (focussing on the ball and on improvement in situations where there is no predicability of what will happen!

Directions:

  1. As many players can participate
  2. Each round a different player can be the leader
  3. Decide on the number of bounces (each person can get a chance, or you can all go for the same ball or challenge each other and see how far up you can go as a team)
  4. Get in “ready position” which is usually very similar throughout sports
  5. Focus your eyes on the ball and/or eyes of the challenger
  6. The leader drops the ball usually from shoulder height and decide whose turn it is to “go for” the ball

For additional and advanced crazy ball games and products please do not hesitate to reach out!

Scrub a dub dub

Scrub a dub dub!

 

Scrub a dub dub! I love body brushing. I have been practicing this technique regularly now for the past 6 months and have become hooked and truly feel a difference in my body.  I was introduced to the practice a few years ago and was a bit skeptical and felt that the instructions were a bit too confusing and, as a result, did not really give it a full effort until the last couple of months. What I have found from using my body brush (and, after confirming my results with others online, through conversations with friends and other “wellness” oriented people will hopefully encourage you to give it a whirl. Below are some benefits (most of them confirmed from personal experience) and directions…

Benefits:

  1. Increases blood circulation
  2. Helps with bloating and water retention
  3. Reduces celulite
  4. Makes body smoother and also increases lotion absorption after application
  5. Helps with digestion especially when emphasis is given toward the stomach and side areas as well as your chest
  6. Helps shed dead skin cells and helps with skin rejuvenation and tone
  7. Helps with lymphatic drainage (which, truthfully seems to be such a broad phrase but basically means ridding the body of toxins and waste, mostly described by the benefits above)

Directions: 

Practice 3-5x a week before showering

  1. Most research suggests to body scrub first thing in the morning. I usually do it prior to showering which rarely happens in the morning… But, if you do practice in the morning, you will most likely get an energy surge

2) Start at the toes and work your way up the body always leading toward the heart. Many suggest 10-15 “brushes” on each area of the body, others tout to give your body a a 5 minute brush down. It depends for me- I usually go by how my body is feeling.

3) I spend a few extra minutes on areas that are prone to stretch marks. So, back of the legs/under the butt, sides of the thighs, stomach, side abdomen and belly.

4) When working on your belly and armpits, use a circular, clockwise motion (same direction as your digestion) so as to aid in one of the benefits- digestive health!

5) Whala! Now jump in that warm shower (I know, many say you should take a lukewarm shower, but I cant give up my extremely hot shower!) for a well deserved cleaning! **I usually find that when I exfoliate with a light cleanser in the shower, after body brushing, the exfoliating benefits are much more substantial.

Trophy

“Did you win?”

Oftentimes, that is the first question from a parent, caregiver or friend after a match or even a practice scrimmage. Although always with the best of intentions, these words can often cause our athletes to become anxious and sometimes exhibit hostility, anger or perhaps even fear. If it was practice, does winning or losing really matter? If it was a close match that your athlete played the game of  his or her life in, that question can make the loss that much more disgracing and also diminish self confidence and resiliency.

Instead of starting the conversation with a focus on defeat or victory, try to encourage athletes to reflect on the match or practice in a more mindful way. Your guidance will allow them to examine the match or the practice points in addition to creating a trustworthy relationship where they believe you are on their side and allow them to evaluate their performance practically without too many emotions. Questions like, “What did you do well today”  “What was the best part of your game?”  “How did you feel halfway through the match?”  “Do you think maybe you need a jolt of energy halfway through? What about bringing a power bar in your bag?” These contemplative questions allow the players to study their game in a productive way and where they feel in control.  This will create competitors (not only in athletics, but in what they chose to do off the court as well) who are able to be introspective about their game, thoughtful in their growth and improvement and able to overcome minor setbacks and losses.

Constructive communication also creates a partnership between you and the athlete. The athlete is no longer anxious that they are judged solely on the win or loss, but more in the more measurable aspects that they can control. Did I have quick feet? Did I transfer my weight well? Was I coming to the net enough? These more specific questions can aid in helping athletes understand WHY they were successful (or not) in a more precise manner. Hopefully once they have reflected on this, the changes can be made so they’re more successful in the future.

ThinkstockPhotos-119995402A healthy Outside starts from the Inside –Robert Urich

Oil Pulling: Kate is a close friend with whom I love to share, compare and research new health and holistic treatments.  Kate introduced me to to something called, “Oil Pulling.” This technique basically consists of taking about a tablespoon of coconut oil, sesame oil (which is the oil that was traditionally used) or the oil of your choice and swishing it around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. This should be done every morning prior to brushing your teeth, drinking water, or doing anything else. I have found many mind, body benefits in this ayurvedic mouth and body treatment. Some of the benefits I have found include whiter teeth, breaking up the phlegm in the throat, aiding digestion and in addition to making me more confident with my “morning breath.” Inadvertently, I have found that the small amount of eczema that I had on my legs has disappeared. I wondered if there was a connection to this, and through research, I have found that this is also a side effect of practicing the technique. Also, if you happen to enjoy a glass or two of wine, oil pulling does a stellar job of helping revive you for the day ahead. I also have found this is a great way to take some time for myself in the morning. I enjoy getting up, putting the oil in my mouth and swishing it around while reading the newspaper, catching up on emails, researching the benefits on oil pulling or even looking out the window, making my intentions for the day.

Directions and Tips:

1. Wake up

2. Place a tablespoon of oil in your mouth

3. Swish the oil in your mouth make sure not to gargle or let the oil seep back
into your throat as you will be swallowing toxins

4. Continue to do this for 15-20 minutes

5. Spit out the oil into the toilet, not the sink as the oil will clog the sink

6. Clean your mouth out with water

7. Brush your teeth

8. Start your day!

What other benefits have you noticed? Let me know!