Meet Our Featured Trainers – Sophie from Talking to Trees

SOPHIE 1 cMeet Sophie.

Sophie introduces you to some simple abdominal exercises such as criss-cross, single and double leg stretch, giving you options to regress or progress throughout. From there she takes you on a glute blasting journey transitioning from prone to kneeling and finally to a standing squat series. She completes the workout by returning to the core and offers three strong rounds of core boosters!
Sophie would like to personally thank all the people that took the time to get in touch with her to give feedback on her eFit30 classes. Especially those who contacted her and asked for more. It was your feedback and stories that inspired Sophie to make two more videos with the intention to help you all with your personal movement journeys.

Sophies Video Playlist offer participants challenging Pilates and Yoga inspired workouts designed to – Strengthen students’core stabilising muscles, prevent injury and improve posture and body awareness.

Sophie offers a safe and fun environment to encourage students to feel their body in space and to move with the breath.

Sophies full Playlist is HERE.

sophie@talkingtotrees.com.au
Sophie Ntoumenopoulos
Pilates and Yoga instructor
Www.talkingtotrees.com.au

@talkingtotrees_sophie

Fast Lower Body Toning Moves To Do In The Yoga Studio

woman exercising yoga

If your biggest ‘trouble spot’ on your body is your hips, thighs, or glutes, it’s time to get a good workout program in order. The great news is that you can effectively work all of these areas right in a yoga or gyms studio. All you need is a yoga mat, a set of small hand weights, and an exercise ball.

Using these three pieces of equipment, you can whip yourself into shape, ensuring you look better than ever in any yoga pants, jeans, or dresses you choose to wear.

Here are the details of the main moves to do.

Stationary Lunges

In a standing position with both feet on the yoga mat and the weights in either hand, step one foot directly in front of the other about 2 feet. Once firmly planted, begin to bend the forward knee as you slowly lower yourself down so the back knee is almost touching the ground.

Pause here and then press back up to complete the rep. Continue on until 15 reps are completed and then switch sides and repeat.

Leg Curl

To hit the back of the legs and work the bum region, the leg curl is the ideal move. To do this, lay flat down on the yoga mat with the ball placed under the feet, the legs extended.

From here, lift the hips up off the ground and then slowly begin to bend the knees as you bring the ball towards your bum. Once you’re as far as you can go, pause briefly and then extend back out to complete the rep.

Continue doing this until 15 reps are completed.

Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is very similar to the leg curl only this time all the emphasis is placed directly on the bum. If you want a firmer backside
, this is the move for you.

Assume the same position as the leg curl only this time rather than bending the knees an bringing the ball into the body, simply squeeze the glutes and lift the hips up. Pause and then lower them so they are almost touching the ground.

Pause here and then lift up once again. Keep doing this until 15-20 reps are finished.

Sumo Squats

Finally, don’t overlook the sumo squat. This exercise is great for firming the inner and outer thighs, really toning the hip region.

Stand on the yoga mat
with the feet wider than hip width apart, your toes slightly turned out. From here, bend at the knees as you lower yourself down. Once you’re at a 90 degree angle, pause and hold this for 5 seconds. From there, rise up again to complete the rep.

Continue on until 15 reps are completed. To make this exercise more challenging, hold your weight down between your legs with both hands.

So there you have your fast and efficient, total lower body toning routine. Do this next time you hit the gym and you’ll be seeing results in no time.

Shannon Clark has been working in the personal training and online fitness writing field for the last 12 years and has worked with numerous clients and websites, providing content in the fitness niche. She holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta and has a passion for continued learning as she is constantly researching up on the latest exercise and nutrition techniques to try with her clients.

What our fans say about eFit30

FattyGoMoo

6 hours ago

These videos are by far the best ones on YouTube! Exactly the level I need and still challenging. Please keep them coming!

Sanaz Taghizadeh

commented on a video on YouTube.

Shared publicly  –  16:20

I LOVE these workouts, and let me tell you why: they are not only therapeutic, but they are not dreadful. I look forward to them at the end of each day, and I sincerely enjoy how it both tones me and gives me peace of mind. Most workouts, at the mere thought of them, are just dreadful. She does a great job at making all her pilates workouts very doable for each and every person, taking into consideration than not everyone is an expert!! Most workouts I find on Youtube are so intense I can barely handle them! Also, I struggle with scoliosis, and since doing these pilates videos with eFit30, I no longer have any back pain! It’s really just a miracle. Every physical task in my life has been facilitated, and I am so, so grateful. THANK YOU!

Margo Bekkering

commented on a video on YouTube.

Shared publicly  –  16:29

Wow!  My first taste of Pilates ever, and I am bowled over.  Thank you so much, what an amazing class 🙂

TheAnettesan

4 months ago

Angela I love you! I been following your and Renees classes for the past months, doing the workout at home, and I’m seeing results already! It is so easy to follow and your instructions are clear and consise! I feel these are the best pilates classes I’ve taken, even better than the ones I’ve done in groups at the gym! Thankyou

Lena Kravchenko

2 months ago

Thank you so much for your pilates workout! After 2nd pregnancy I felt so bad for some good excercises (during day sllep of my baby) and found it with you. It’s just what mommies need! Angela is very encouraging =)

Nicola Todhunter

2 months ago

I love these videos so, so much – my mum used to do yoga and pilates from DVDs in the living room and whenever I tried them I hated it, I thought I’d never be converted. But I found the beginners pilates video because I wanted to improve my core strength to help improve my horse-riding, and…WOW! Angela is the BEST, not only is she really encouraging, the instruction she gives is really spot-on. I always worried about doing yoga/pilates at home as form is so important, but I definitely don’t feel confused or like I’m doing it wrong with these vids. Slowly working my way up, found some of the moves in this very difficult but it’s only my first go! (And I missed Nina!) Thank you so much for providing these for free, better than any DVD I’ve seen.

Amanda Kristina Acobes

13 hours ago

you are so gifted! you were easy to follow and it definitely made me sweat as well. thank you for your awesomeness.

Reply

 

 

 

eFit30 answers FAQ’s, How Often Should You Be Exercising?

One question that some people ask themselves as they go about their workout protocol is how often they should be exercising during the week. How much is enough – and is there such a thing as too much?

Exercise is something that you can get too much of if you aren’t careful because the body does take so long to recover from intense workouts that you’re doing.

But, if you structure your workout properly, you can definitely maintain a good level, see fat loss take place, and still stay energized all week long.

Let’s look at what you should know.

Strength And Pilates Studio Training

First you have your strength training or pilates training sessions.  These are designed to boost muscular strength and increase your total lean mass, so will be quite intense in nature.

If you perform exercises for all main muscle groups in each session you do (a full body workout set-up), you should be doing these two to three times per week for optimal results.

Cardio Training

To add to your strength training, cardio training is another key element of your workout program plan.  Cardio is a little more variable and can be done anywhere from twice per week up to four or five times depending on the intensity level.

Just remember that you must have at least one day off to rest from all forms of intense activity, so make sure that is in place between your strength training and cardio training.

Yoga Lessons

Finally, yoga is another form of activity that you may choose to include in your exercise plan.  Unless you’re doing Bikram yoga or power yoga, which can be more intense, you can perform yoga as often as you like as it can actually help you recover faster from the workouts that you’re doing.

Many people find that this serves as the perfect form of exercise to do between their other workout sessions.

So all in all, you should exercise a minimum of four times per week – two strength workouts and two cardio workouts, but can exercise up to six times per week, adding in some yoga and additional cardio sessions from there.

Just remember to listen to your body as you do this and if it’s asking for rest – allow it to rest. That is vital for overall good recovery.

 

The eFit30 update.

Last Friday was the launch of the LiveLighter sugary drinks campaign, where the spotlight is being turned on the consumption of sugary drinks, which is associated with increased sugar and energy intake and in turn, weight gain, obesity and chronic diseases. http://www.livelighter.com.au/the-facts/sugary_drinks.aspx  We will be writing a blog on this next week and give you our take on this hot topic.

For something completely different this week we will be filming “Trevor Aung Than” at Circus conditioning! http://circusconditioning.com/?page_id=22 Trevor says “To be clear, I do not actually teach circus-skills but am able to help with problems you may be having because of your acro/gymnastic trainings.” In short he will be showing Lara Dwyer from Sukha Yoga, some moves to help Yoga Practice and hopefully you too. Lara may also show us some new Yoga routines.

You may have noticed the new Prenatal Yoga series from Holly Ginn-Thompson, this is part of a four part series that adds to our existing mother baby series from Babes on the run. These are very gentle exercises and help get you ready for baby. Let’s face it if this is your first this may also be the last time you get to yourself! (Dang did I say that out loud, well to be fair I have 4!)

We have also added to the Pilates routines from Elizabeth Wilson and now have the full range of routines from beginners to expert; this series is a solid set of exercises and uses all the mat pilates routines you expect and love! Liz explains and demonstrates them perfectly, this may be why she is a pilates examiner!

Back on the website we have had two blogs a week for the past couple of weeks inspired by your questions on our YouTube Channel, so hopefully we may eventually answer one of your questions in detail in the coming weeks! If not email it and we will try to answer it for you.

Have a great week and stay fit!

JD

Yoga and Pilates: An Overview of Both and Their Benefits

Yoga and Pilates (Mat) are two seemingly similar workouts at first glance but have several differences. Everyone’s reason for exercising is different and our bodies all have unique needs. We have broken down the two popular workouts to help you decide which one makes the most sense for you.

Yoga was created in India over 5000 years ago with the main purpose to connect individual consciousness with the universal consciousness through movement and physical activity. There are many different kinds, and most kinds feel like moving therapy. There is a meditative aspect to yoga that allows you to connect to your breath and unwind and let go of stress. Yoga gradually stretches muscles, and increases the range of motion. Regardless of age or ability, over time yoga also increases flexibility.  Yoga acts as a great strength based workout. The variety of poses build key muscles in all areas of the body, including the legs, abs and arms. People who do yoga regularly report feeling an increase in muscle tone.  Many yoga poses require balance, which can take some time but after some practice, your balance will improve along with coordination. Doing yoga leads to better circulation throughout the body, which means it will be easier for your body to transport nutrients and oxygen resulting in lowering blood pressure. Yoga brings you to a peaceful state without a lot of impact on your joints.

Pilates is a more modern exercise that was created in 1920 by Joseph Pilates for physical rehabilitation reasons. Pilates aims to help people gain flexibility, strength and body awareness without building bulk. Pilates is considered a resistance exercise, even though, as a beginner, you may experience an increased heart rate. One of the main goals of Pilates is to strengthen core muscles, improve posture and elongate the spine to develop balance and overall strength. Pilates enhances overall athletic ability and daily function. The six key principles of Pilates include; concentration, control, centering, breathing, precision and flow. Pilates is a great way to achieve a long, lean and toned body.

Yoga and Pilates are two workouts that you can’t go wrong with. They both provide you with amazing physical and mental benefits. Try incorporating both into your workout schedule, you’ll experience all the benefits that both have to offer!

Try both types of routines here; with Pilates by Liz Wilson or Vinyasa Yoga practice with Lara!

Embrace Simplicity

woman doing yogaA yoga practice can appear complicated when a novice watches experienced yogis do their moves. It is understandable why one would hesitate getting on the mat. Not to mention the plethora of styles that are emerging on what seems a daily basis. The photos of serious twists and balance can push the “not me” button in the mind of one on the fence of giving yoga a try.

Here’s the deal…it is a practice. Start simple, stay simple. The more you practice, what appeared too complicated to even attempt will eventually join the ranks of what is simple in your practice. Practice to embrace the inner workings of the body as you immerse yourself in a move.

It takes life experience to truly embrace the philosophy of “keep it simple.” The word simplicity implies there are no bells and whistles to enjoy. One assumes simplicity lacks complexity; however, this assumption is wrong. It is the perceiver’s choice to feel and absorb the details of what appears to lack substance. The heart and mind are given time to synchronize. Allow that to happen and feel what happens.

Leonardo da Vinci said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Teaching a magnificent woman, who is handling the challenges of cancer, expanded my appreciation of simplicity with just one
pose. Still weak from a recent chemo treatment, we focused on breathing and grounding poses to stabilize and nourish. Dandasana
(Staff pose)
revealed the magic of stillness.

To help the spine re-learn the action of being straight and strong, she sat with her back against the wall. The shoulders were rolled back and down so that she could feel the scapulas gently press the wall. The straight arms pressing on the palms into the Earth enhanced the sense of strength. The dorsi flexed feet of extended legs with engaged quadriceps activated the leg muscles. She was strong without force.

As she inhaled, she felt inspired. As she exhaled, she felt the flow of energy move. A simple pose with complex results. Anatomically, the
body was active while the mind  relaxed. The synaptic connections in the brain relayed the message to release the enzymes that ignite the internal pharmacy to deliver the chemicals to restore. It is only when the body is in the parasympathetic state the immune system can truly function.

The connection to the Earth in an active, conscious state provided stability and confidence. Taking time to push fears into the ground to be recycled awakened a sense of well-being. Psychologically, the mind experienced a new perspective and truly enjoyed the
beauty of the present moment. Each moment built onto the next moment and a new bridge was crossed.

The envisioning of a golden thread coming down from above into the crown of the head added to the strength of the pose. I could see
her be lifted up ever so slightly. I guided her to “see” each organ smile…then, each cell. The power of smiling added to her input of positive
energy. In fact, her Dandasana transcended from being a pose to a sophisticated state of being.

Ten minutes of Staff pose felt like a timeless sense of bliss. Simple…yet, not. To guide and interconnect with this state of being was
a gift for both of us. The uniting of the energies emerged with the simple action of being present and aware of the details. Healing was taking place.

After our practice, she felt more energy, no more pain, and the color of the skin was vibrant. I share this story for those blessed with good health and those in pursuit of homestasis. There is always plenty to learn why and how something works. But, sometimes just letting it happen without mental interference is just what the mind, body, and spirit needs.

Practice sophisticated simplicity. You might find it was just what you have been seeking

Valerie Goodman

Start your morning with Vinyasa flow Yoga practice.

Sukha Yoga teaches Vinyasa Yoga. A Vinyasa yoga class involves linking asana’s (body posture) and breath in a connective sequenced flow. At Sukha Yoga, we invite you to practice in a way that is comfortable for your body so that you can be completely present and aware of how you like to move. The increased interest and attention to ourselves on how we move and breathe encourages us to slow down and in turn teaches us to become more aware, on and off the yoga mat.

lara 10

Lara is passionate about helping people maintain a positive, healthy well-being. Throughout her studies and work as a Naturopath (Bachelor of Natural Therapies from Southern Cross University) she practiced Yoga and was always curious to learn more about this ancient health promoting system. In 2008 Lara moved to New York City and along with many other ‘New Yorkers’, sought out Yoga to help create calm in the midst of so much chaos. It was here in a sweaty, packed studio at Laughing Lotus Yoga Centre in Chelsea, Lara was introduced to ‘Lotus Flow’ Vinyasa Yoga. This beautiful practice of Vinyasa honours Yoga’s rich lineage while incorporating innovative sequencing, mindful alignment, breathing practice and meditation. The power of this lively practice inspired Lara to become a teacher and bring it home to Perth.

Lara seeks inspiration for her classes from music, stories, literature and poetry and bows down to her teachers, Dana Flynn, Mary Dana Abott, Sheri Celentano, Alison Cramer and the powerful faculty at Laughing Lotus in New York City for sharing the many blessings. Lara is dedicated to furthering her knowledge and experience as a Yoga teacher. In 2010 she completed her restorative Yoga teacher training with Judith Hanson Lasater and in 2012 Lara returned to NYC to complete her Advanced Teacher Training a Laughing Lotus. While in NYC, Lara undertook courses with internationally renowned teachers Rodney Yee, Elana Brower, Raghunath Cappo and Josh Michaell.

Lara is a member and registered with Yoga Australia and her 500 hour teacher training is recognised internationally by Yoga Alliance. Lara is a proud ambassador for lululemon athletica and is grateful for the support in which the team at the Perth City store has given her. Lara is honored to be able to share her love for Yoga and pass on the ancient teachings  with those who show up on the mat.

Namaste

SUKHA YOGA

 

 

AFTERNOON YOGA

This “Afternoon flow” practice is designed to allow you to release your shoulders especially if you have been sat in front of a computer all day!

By Lara Dwyer http://www.sukhayogaaustralia.com.au/

Lara from “Sukha Yoga” teaches Vinyasa Yoga. A Vinyasa yoga class involves linking asana’s (body posture) and breath in a connective sequenced flow. At Sukha Yoga, we invite you to practice in a way that is comfortable for your body so that you can be completely present and aware of how you like to move. The increased interest and attention to ourselves on how we move and breathe encourages us to slow down and in turn teaches us to become more aware, on and off the yoga mat.

 

Awakening, Visions and Yoga

324079_408519692538191_495692271_o“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” ~Carl Jung

Today gave me a wake up call. Being a practitioner and teacher of yoga, you would think I would completely know what it feels like to be present. But, also being cured of severe epilepsy via brain surgery, this experience made my mind tumble in its rapid search for explanation. All that came to mind was fear. I was more “present” than I had been in a long time.

As I got ready for my yoga class, a blend of colors appearing in the helix form of DNA emerged in the peripheral vision of the left eye. I closed my eyes and it was still there in the dark. I felt fine…but, started to think of what ifs and then it slightly faded. Listening to music in an effort to forget about it as I drove to my yoga class….it came back. The colors formed the same angle only visible in the peripheral side…yet nothing else physical could be seen beyond it. It was brighter, more pronounced and I could only think..”oh my ‘God…is this a stroke in the making? Is this the beginning of the end? I need more time.”

I actually did what I could remember to ask a stroke victim to do to myself. I raised both arms. I said a sentence. And, my fear lessened, but a sense of vulnerability remained. It tapered off and disappeared after around fifteen minutes. It did not return; however, it instilled a reminder of the brevity of life and what really matters.

I have dreamed of traveling to far away beautiful places. I have dreamed of writing a best seller. I have dreamed of being so good at whatever I do…the gap between me and the “competition” is too far to measure. Of course, that last one is the ego putting in its two cents. Ultimately, I have dreamed of making a positive difference that will be remembered for a long time…even if it is just a quote of inspiration.

Then, I saw the words by Carl Jung in my diary that I carry with me and understood. I have a life full of love. None of the dreams would be worth pursuing if the people I love and who love me existed. The spark of love ignites the fire of my dreams.

I started my full class of folks ready to start the year fresh with vigor and good intention. I felt honored to lead them in a practice to get the energy of life moving. I focused on the mere gift of breathing…moving…feeling our united energy…just being. I wanted to get them feel more alive and awake. Or, maybe I was the one who wanted that. Perhaps I was teaching myself in front of others.

I write about the benefits of yoga and the power it can ignite. But, the truth is that any physical activity that moves you is what you should do. Do what makes you happy. The body and mind depend on each other. You might love running, cycling, swimming or pilates. Do what you love and the benefits will surface.

Studies have shown that exercise helps those who suffer from depression and a plethora of other neurological issues. The chain reaction of neurotransmitters and hormones released during physical activity makes your brain function better. Dependence on medication can be reduced or even eliminated with the active utilization of exercise. But, you’ve got to be an active player for your “teammates” to get the spark lit.

When you exercise, I think your body shows it loves you back by the subtle changes that emerge. The muscles get stronger. You can breathe better. The heart gets stronger and nourishes the brain and body with oxygen loaded cells. You feel better physically and mentally. It might be fitness that you initially seek. But, the impact on the mind is just as great. The body and mind  are interconnected and function best when both are given attention.

Do we think exercising will make us live longer? If we eat “right,”do we live longer? Do we think we can extend our time beyond the average  statistical life span? Truth is, when it is time…it is time. It all does make a difference; however, the purpose of why we do it needs to be re-evaluated.

Taking the time to work the body shows you respect yourself. Practicing to become better at something shows you have faith in yourself. Nourishing your body with good food shows you care about yourself. Showing love to yourself via personal time with an activity that makes you happy makes it possible for you to show love to others. It is only when you give yourself love and respect that makes it possible to harness and manifest your visions of your life.

While teaching my class with the gentle reminder that it could be my last, I understood more about the cliches of life and death. In the end, it really is about love…helping others…following the heart of who you are within. When the moment comes to leave your physical space, your perception narrows down to who you are now. The final exam of life is probably one question: Have you mastered love?

Love will always be the key ingredient in the evolving recipe of life. Maybe that is the enlightenment that so many seek to find. The Beatles were right…”all you need is love.”

Perhaps when the structured concept of time is lifted, life won’t feel so fragile. I believe Gandhi’s words give a peek into the unseen: “Where there is love, there is life.”

Let those words percolate in your mind, body and heart. Use the mind and body to feel this truth. With the energy of love wide awake in the heart, we might realize we have something greater than the time we watch move on the clock.

Father Time, 2013 and Yoga

Father Time has gone full circle once again. Being a traditional time to make a list of resolutions, it is a good idea to reflect. Do you feel you’re on the right path? Do you have dreams to push you forward? Or, are you in a stalemate…not sure what to do or even think about doing? Time has a mysterious way of moving quickly or quite slowly. It depends on what is going on in the mind. What goes on in the mind depends on you.

Father Time fades away when you’re in the zone of doing what you love. Take a great yoga class, for example. The energy is great, you’re focused on each move and breath, things are just flowing…and before you realize it…you’re getting up from a delicious Shavasana. You stare at the clock and wonder where the 75 minutes went! All you know is that time seemed to cease to exist. And, it did. You took the road of Now.

We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it. We can try to predict the future, but it is just a guess. There are a plethora of articles giving advice on how to make your list. Over the years, I have made my lists and saved them. What I have found is that the few things that I really wanted got crossed off and things that felt like chores did not. And, some things took a little longer than a year to manifest. But, the timing was right.

The most gratifying “checked off” achievements involved pursuits that ultimately have helped others. That won’t change….only grow.

2013 is going to be a great year to focus on growth. Mother Nature reveals the magic of growing while appearing still to the impatient eye. A seed is planted, watered and left alone. Then,  when no one was looking, a young sprout breaks ground. The energy of what the seed of the plant is to be keeps it growing. Next thing you know, the plant expands itself in all dimensions…perfectly, without resolution. It just wants to grow and only be what it can be best…itself.

If you do not have a dream or passion to pursue, now is a great time to determine one. As kids, we would dream of all kinds of crazy things…like being a famous writer, a professional in some sport, an astronaut or a ballerina dancer. By God, some of those kids actually made it happen. But, it was not an overnight event. It took work, patience, faith, and relentless perseverance. You do not have to be a kid to dream and it is never too late. Some of the greatest accomplishments happened in people’s latter half of life.

A dream would not be as gratifying if it was simple to achieve. Take the deadline (in this case, a year) off some of your goals and see what emerges as you actively water it with action.When you practice the art of pursuing dreams without attachment of results, the unexpected emerges much like the seed in the soil. You might find what you thought you wanted lead you to what you really needed. Maybe that is what it is really all about.

Save the same old resolutions for the past. Losing weight, eating healthy, quitting smoking and exercising x number of times a week comes and goes. These are conscious, active efforts that demand your effort at sometimes a minute by minute basis. You can do it if you really want to. Let the intentions list be one that inspires you. You might even discover the energy of inspiration make the “other list” a bit easier!

Lastly, suspend the “out with the old, in with the new” concept. Everything new that exists came from the old. The wheel is still round. Fire can still be ignited by rubbing two sticks together. Art from centuries ago still inspire. The music of Mozart still moves. Words of profound individuals from hundreds and hundreds of years ago are still relative to us today. We still dream.  We still have hope. We simply strive to be better at what we love. Yogi Pattabhi Jois said: “Practice and all is coming.” So true.

Father Time is timeless. Mother Nature is ever evolving. Together, they offer us the wisdom and beauty to nourish the seed within our hearts. Let it be what you love. The rest will fall into place at the right time.

Here’s wishing you a healthy, happy, prosperous year!