13 Nov

Yoga for Athletes: Tip 1 – Breathe Efficiently

Be a Better Athlete With Yoga - Breathe

Yoga for athletes is critical and if you’re not practicing yoga as part of your training then you’re doing your body a disservice.

There are a number of major benefits that yoga can provide to athletes that their strength and conditioning cannot and I will be introducing them one at a time as a part of my new Yoga for Athletes series.

This first and most important part of a yoga practice is actually not learning handstand (contrary to what you might think if your primary knowledge of yoga comes from Instagram yogalebrities). It’s learning to breathe.

Learning to Breathe

I know how to breathe! You’re thinking to yourself. But, do you? Really?

When I tell athletes to take a big breath in, what often happens is they fill up and puff out their chest and suck in their gut.

It’s interesting. And by interesting, I mean unfortunate. Because that might make you look good (big chest, small waist) it’s totally inefficient. . .

. . . and it means you’re not using their diaphragm properly.

The diaphragm is that muscle between the gut organs and the chest organs. When used properly, the diaphragm drops on the inhale making space for the lungs so the belly– not the chest– will get bigger.

If the diaphragm is not being used then, in order to make space for the breath, other muscles in the upper body will have to compensate like the shoulders, upper back, and chest. Ya know, the muscles that you need for your sport.

So, that is to say, you’re wasting your muscle power on breathing when you could be using it to block, attack, shoot, and score.

Easy Exercise to Improve your Breathing

1. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4 and focus on your breath coming down into the belly and allow the belly get bigger.

2. Exhale through the nose for a count of 8. Start the exhale from the bottom of you belly and focus on squeezing the breath out from bottom to top like you’re squeezing a tube of toothpaste.

3. Repeat.

You can do this for as long as you want. You can do this whenever you want. You can stop and forget about it and then start again.

Benefits of this exercise:

By breathing into your belly, you are activating your diaphragm and preventing your superficial muscles from compensating to make space for your breath.

By making your exhales longer than your inhales you are activating your parasympathetic nervous system, ie. your nervous system is making your body relaxed.

13 Sep

Links for a Sunday Morning

Rule your mind

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Choose Work Over Your Workout – Huffington Post

Deciding not to skip your workout can improve your cognitive function and change your perspective. Taking a walk around the building, running the stairs or joining a group fitness class might be just what you need to spark your creativity, come up with a new solution or find the energy complete those projects.

Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic. Here’s the problem everybody should be talking about. – Salon

A bastion of popular science is now controlled by a very prominent climate change denier who, despite his company’s assurances of editorial integrity, has spent decades interfering with the independence of his properties. A tabloid king could now apply the values of the New York Post to one of the world’s oldest magazines.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize Presents Its 2015 Longlist

The twelve titles were chosen from a field of 168 books – a record number of books in the prize’s twenty-two year history – submitted by 63 publishers, from every region of the country.

The Impact Bias: How to Be Happy When Everything Goes Wrong – James Clear

What researchers find is that when people actually suffer a traumatic event like living through an earthquake or becoming a paraplegic their happiness levels are nearly identical six months after the event as they were the day before the event.
How can this be?

10,000 Yogis Wear White For Heavily-Sponsored Yoga Event In Central Park – Yoga Dork

On September 2nd, 10,000 yogis dressed in their uniform white, marched to Central Park’s Great Lawn, took their designated spots on their regimented yellow mats, sipped their sponsored Fiji water, and saluted the sun for the cameras.


One important note is that while strengthening doesn’t stiffen our muscles, it will stiffen up our connective tissue (which is distinct from, although interwoven with, our muscle tissue) – but this is actually a desirable outcome. . . we want our connective tissue to be stiff so that it can be strong, resilient, and less vulnerable to injury.

Windsor man with cancer having party to say goodbye while he still can – The Windsor Star

“The idea is to live now. Now is the only thing we own. Now is the only thing we have control over.”

05 Sep

Links for a Sunday Morning

Shake the World

Is Chipotle evil? This ad campaign says absolutely – Washington Post

“There’s nothing false at all about our advertising or marketing, but there are legitimate ways to challenge these sorts of things. Launching a smear campaign isn’t one of them. It’s actually just pretty infantile.”

The Travel Jacket That Raised More Than $9 Million on Kickstarter. – CN Traveller

Clothing brand BauBax launched a Kickstarter campaign on July 7 for what can only be described as the Swiss Army knife of jackets, with 15 built-in features for travelers, and people have been quick to show their support.

Charm and Make Friends Fast with These Questions – Wall Street Journal

A protocol called “Fast Friends” helps strangers establish “interpersonal closeness” in 45 minutes. The key? Both subjects need to gradually disclose personal information.

Why Every Church Needs a Drag Queen – The Atlantic

It’s an unusual mix: a stated commitment to socially progressive values, and a stated commitment to tradition. But perhaps this misconception—that progressive values and traditional worship can’t mix—is one reason why some Americans have felt like they don’t have a place at church.

Taylor Swift Is Dreaming Of A Very White Africa – NPR

Colonialism was neither romantic nor beautiful. It was exploitative and brutal. The legacy of colonialism still lives quite loudly to this day. Scholars have argued that poor economic performance, weak property rights and tribal tensions across the continent can be traced to colonial strategies. So can other woes. In a place full of devastation and lawlessness, diseases spread like wildfire, conflict breaks out and dictators grab power.

10 Reasons I Take Off My Shirt In Yoga Class – MindBodyGreen

Whenever I take my shirt off, I notice that a lot of the women who might normally declare, “I’d never take my shirt off in yoga,” begin to feel more comfortable in their own body.

Why Rush-Hour Traffic Isn’t the Best Way to Rank Urban Mobility – CityLab

By reducing urban mobility to rush-hour commuting, you’re missing the 20-some hour window of the day where metro areas have an underused (if not ghostly) roadway system as well as an underfunded city transit system—whose poor performance ironically leads more people to rely on cars.

The Racial Dot Map shows the world just how segregated metro Detroit is – Metro Times

Roving from big city to big city, you begin to see how some cities are more integrated than others. Some have distinct parts of town where racial groups tend to live, while other areas are blurs of multicolored dots.

And then there’s Detroit.

Why is everyone becoming a yoga teacher now? – Wall Street Journal

Studio owners say teacher training has become a kind of advanced course for people seeking a deeper yoga education after years of taking regular classes.

22 Aug

Links for a Sunday Morning

Be Real

Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse” – Vanity Fair

When there is a surplus of women, or a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating. Marriages become unstable. Divorces increase. Men don’t have to commit, so they pursue a short-term mating strategy. Men are making that shift, and women are forced to go along with it in order to mate at all.

Versailles May Finally Get Its Own Hotel – CN Traveller

The majority of visitors who come to Versailles often do so as a daytrip from Paris due to a lack of hotels in the area. No longer: the palace’s management is seeking an outside partner who will transform three buildings on the property into accommodations.

Why You Should Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend – Chelsea Krost Blog

Your career is that fixer-upper boyfriend who never seems to get fixed, the one that lets you give and give without ever giving anything back in return. You’ll never get out of it what you put into it. Your career will never make the effort worth your while.

Why Do Some Runs Feel So Freaking Hard? – Greatist

Research shows it occurs when your body is depleted of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, resulting in an abrupt feeling of fatigue and a loss of energy. The two biggest physical culprits? Overtraining and low blood sugar

Carbs are fine – The Atlantic

Researchers brought 19 obese volunteers into a lab and kept them there for two weeks. They fed half of them a low-carb diet and another half a low-fat one. Both groups cut their calories by 30 percent. The results, published in Cell Metabolism, showed that the two diets worked equally well: Everyone lost about a pound of body fat.

Why gratitude could be good for your health – Maclean’s

Humans are hardwired to see the negative in life. But growing research shows that feeling grateful can boost health, school grades, and even brain function.

The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There – Daily Beast

Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, either. Different types of yoga might be best for different people. A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need the same things. Someone who is hyper-mobile and flexible doesn’t need the same thing as someone who’s muscular and stiff.

19 Aug

Strong, Sexy Arms with Chaturanga (video)

Tips for a safe chaturanga: Get strong and sexy arms while keeping your shoulders safe.

In Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga practices one thing we do over and over again is the chaturanga dandasana pose, or low pushup.

This pose in an amazing strengthener for the shoulders, triceps, chest and core, but poor form can cause be damaging to the shoulders (hello, rotator cuff injuries!)

The three steps you want to use in your chaturanga pose are

1. Pull the heads of the shoulder back.
2. Hug the elbows in to engage the triceps.
3. Press the floor away with the palms spread the shoulder blades.

Check out the video below for to details as to why these steps are important to getting strong safely.

15 Aug

Links for a Sunday Morning

Show Up

My ‘granny’ hair is staying – Globe and Mail

Some have said that the granny hair trend has a streak of defiant feminism about it. It does not. Grey hair on the young is not defiance. It’s not acceptance of aging. If anything, it is a mockery of aging, because it is not real. It’s fake grey. And getting old is a very, very real experience, felt in the bones.

I’m the Heaviest I’ve ever been and I just bought my first crop top – Elle

For the first time in my life, I am exercising ONLY because I would prefer a strong and boundless body, not because I have visions of a thinner me at the end of the line.

The Open Office Trap – New Yorker

Though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.

Rape Jokes are Finally Funny Because They’re Targeting Rape Culture Instead of Victims. – Guardian

That rape jokes aren’t funny was an axiom assuming that rape jokes are at the expense of the victim. Something horrible happened to you, hahhahha! . . . People then drew a distinction between punching down (mocking the less powerful) and punching up (aiming at the privileged, the status quo, maybe even striking blows against the empire). The rape joke as it then existed was all about punching down.

How ‘Rock Star’ Became a Business Buzzword – NY Times

Posting a listing for a job for which only ‘‘rock stars’’ need apply casts an H.R. manager as a kind of corporate Malcolm McLaren; that nobody is looking for a front-end developer who is addicted to heroin or who bites the heads off doves in conference rooms goes without saying. Pretty much anyone can be a ‘‘rock star’’ these days — except actual rock stars, who are encouraged to think of themselves as brands.

Canada’s Federal Election Quiz – I Side With

Take the political quiz to see which federal parties your ideals align with.

World’s Most Liveable Cities – Metropolis

In our extensive urban coverage throughout the year, we often look at a variety of facets that contribute to a city’s overall quality of life—i.e., the sum of the housing, amenities, connectivity, and, in a word, pleasures a city has to offer the people who live in it.

Man takes vacation from being human, becomes goat – Mashable

He spoke to an expert in animal locomotion to nail down their movement. Even further, he met with a biologist to see about making an artificial rumen (a part of the goat’s stomach) in order to digest grass. To put it simply: He did not take this lightly.

Here’s what winning the Super Bowl looks like when you’re a female football player – Washington Post

Imagine the madness in the nation’s capital if the men’s football team had won the NFC East championship by beating the Dallas Cowboys? But because these champions don’t have Y chromosomes, it’s crickets.

It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner – Washington Post

The study’s goal was to try to gain insights into a longstanding contradiction in fertility in many developed countries between how many children people say they want and how many they actually have.

Five foolproof ways to destroy employee morale – Globe and Mail

Every so often, I come across managers who seem hell bent on doing just the opposite. They say and do things that completely destroy their employees’ self-confidence, drag down team morale, and create a negative working environment.

09 Aug

Links for a Sunday Morning


The Best Kept Secret: Why People HAVE to Squat Differently – Movement Fix

This article will help show you why athlete comfort should dictate squat width, why some people’s (not EVERYONE) feet point out (no matter how much “mobility” work they do), why some people have a really hard time squatting deep, and why some people are amazing at pistols while others can’t do them at all.

Canada has the worst climate change record in the industrialized world – Press Progress

Canada still shows no intention on moving forward with climate policy and therefore remains the worst performer of all industrialized countries

The Rise of Richface: Why so many young women are getting cosmetic surgery – The Globe and Mail

According to dermatologists, young patients aren’t looking for subtle results; they want the ‘work’ to be noticeable. That’s because the puffed and plumped ‘richface’ aesthetic is the new Louis Vuitton handbag in certain circles – an instant, recognizable marker of wealth and status.

Atheist minister fighting United Church’s effort to fire her – The Globe and Mail

What’s important, she says, is that her views hearken to Christianity’s beginnings, before the focus shifted from how one lived to doctrinal belief in God, Jesus and the Bible.

“Is the Bible really the word of God? Was Jesus a person?” she said. “It’s mythology. We build a faith tradition upon it which shifted to find belief more important than how we lived.”

The Makeup Tax – The Atlantic

Years of research has shown that attractive people earn more. Thus, the makeup tax: Good-looking men and good-looking women both get ahead, but men aren’t expected to wear makeup in order to look good.

A Way to Get Fit and Also Have Fun – NY Times

The essentials of 10-20-30 training are simple. Run, ride or perhaps row on a rowing machine gently for 30 seconds, accelerate to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds. (It should be called 30-20-10 training, obviously, but that is not as catchy.) Repeat.

What happens when an average sized woman recreates a modelling shoot? – Katie H. Blog

It was a really interesting for me to shoot these images and try to get them as close as possible to the model’s photo because I kept thinking, “God I look huge.” Or, “Why can’t I get it to look the same?” That was when I truly understood why this is so important. This model is an extremely small size for her height, so much so that it was difficult to even get my body to pose the same way.

Habit Creep: The Proven, Reasonable and Totally Unsexy Way to Become More Successful – James Clear Blog

This idea of slightly adjusting your habits until behaviors and results that were once out of reach become your new normal is a concept I like to call “habit creep” . . . the key is to avoid the trap of trying to grow too fast.

Science proves what you suspected: hiking’s good for your mental health – LA Times

“We weren’t asking people ‘How do you feel right now?’ We were asking, ‘How do you tend to think?’ To change anything about how one describes how they think is quite compelling.”

My wedding was perfect – and I was fat as hell the whole time – The Guardian

As a fat woman, you are told to disguise, shrink or flatter your body. But I wasn’t going to hide at my wedding – the older I get, the harder it is to depoliticise simple acts

18 Jul

Links for a Sunday Morning

The world would be better off

How Do You Know You’re a Woman? – NY Mag

It’s no coincidence that the colleague who asked [this question] is transgender. Her point was to push a variety of women to answer a question that she’d been asked countless times.

Millenials who are thriving financially have one thing in common – The Atlantic

Millennials who are lucky enough to have some, or all, of a college tuition’s burden reduced by their parents have a leg up on peers who are saddled with student debt, and they’ll be able to more quickly move out on their own, and maybe even buy their own house. And that matters a lot in the long run.

Living on tree-lined streets has health benefits, study finds – The Toronto Star

“I would love for the city to look at these results and say, in addition to dealing with all the other systemic issues that have to be looked at, what if we start thinking about reforesting these neighbourhoods.”

This is how sand looks magnified up to 300x – Bored Panda

Comparing something to a grain of sand is usually supposed to mean that it’s small or insignificant, but Dr. Gary Greenberg’s microscopic photography aims to turn this stereotype on its head.

What an open marriage taught me about feminism – NY Mag

What surprises most people is when I tell them it’s not the sex-with-other-men that bothers me. The sex is the easy part, the fun part. It’s what the sex connects to, stands for, reveals that can be difficult.

Science weighs in on high heels – NY Times

The ratio of strength between the muscles on the sides of the ankles and those at the front and back became increasingly unbalanced over years of wearing heels, contributing to ankle instability and balance problems and eventually to a decline in the strength.

Windsor women trail behind men in quality of life – Windsor Star

Despite women being more likely than men to complete high school, college or university in Windsor, they are less likely to find jobs. Windsor women earn 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. Twenty-four per cent of women in Windsor are living below the Low Income Measure compared to 15 per cent of men.

Blame the Banks (long read) – The Atlantic

The narrative of southern borrowers as the victims of only their own incompetence, sloth, and greed was further encouraged and politicized by passing any future losses from Greece onto the European public, mostly the northern European public, encouraging an us-versus-them mentality. It was policy dressed in nationalism: the antithesis of everything the common currency was supposed to stand for.

Lululemon Diaries: My Life in an Exploitative Libertarian Happiness Cult – Jezebel

Lululemon is all about ideals. The man and woman Lululemon designs for and creates marketing for is called our “muse”: the man is called Duke, and the woman is called Ocean. Anything you do, you appeal to that ideal, imaginary muse. Ocean makes six figures, she doesn’t want to have kids, she has a master’s degree, her core workout is yoga and she also likes running and spinning. The whole idea is that your guest is never going to actually be Ocean. It’s aspirational. They can try, but they’ll never be.

The Myth of Big, Bad Gluten – NY Times

The modern immune system appears to have gone on the fritz. Maybe we should stop asking what’s wrong with wheat, and begin asking what’s wrong with us.

You May Be Getting More Sleep Than You Think – Wall Street Journal

There are many theories about the disconnect between subjective and objective sleep. Some studies suggest that worry is linked to a misperception of sleep. Also, some research has revealed that people with insomnia have more high-frequency brain waves—ones that are usually associated with wakefulness—while they are sleeping.

The Captivity of Motherhood – The Atlantic

What kind of choice is it when your career as an attorney or investment banker demands that you stay at the office 60 hours a week or opt out of the workforce altogether? When a husband’s significant income gives a woman the “luxury” to stay home with her children, she’ll often feel compelled to choose that option.

05 Jul

Links for a Sunday Morning


Why the worst time to drink coffee is actually in the morning – Washington Post

But drinking coffee shortly after waking up, as it turns out, is actually a bit counterproductive. Not only does it undermine the caffeine’s effect, but it tends to lead people to build a tolerance for the drug, thereby diminishing its effect down the road.

100% is Overrated – The Atlantic

When people perform well (academically or otherwise) at early ages and are labeled smart or gifted, they become less likely to challenge themselves. They become less likely to make mistakes, because they stay in their comfortable comfort zone and stop growing.

Forgetting the Pain of Exercise – NY Times

In general, pain associated with a positive experience tends to be perceived as less excruciating at the time than pain resulting from something rotten.

First came truth. Now comes the hard part. – Maclean’s

Simply put, to be stripped from your parents and then in turn stripped of the tools to become a parent, the pattern repeating for generations, has a high toll attached.

The bizarre thing that happens when people take diet drugs – Washington Post

There’s a funny, kind of counterintuitive thing that happens when many people take weight-loss drugs: they gain weight . . But it isn’t necessarily because the drugs themselves don’t work.

28 Jun

Links for a Sunday Morning

work hard

A World Without Work – The Atlantic (long read)

For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?

Is Obesity a Choice – Dr. Spencer Blog

Do you believe that obesity is due to laziness and a lack of will power? Do you think the solution is simply choosing to eat less and move more? Consider this story. . .

Many Ask, Why Not Call Church Shooting Terrorism? – NY Times

“If the same violence is committed by a white supremacist or apartheid sympathizer and is not a Muslim, we start to look for excuses — he might be insane, maybe he was pushed too hard.”

What’s behind Canada’s newfound lust for luxury? – Maclean’s

As for Canadians, in particular, our appreciation for the finer things in life has risen alongside the country’s booming housing market, which has made homeowners feel a whole lot richer than our biweekly paycheques would suggest.

We Tried On Victoria’s Secret Bathing Suits And This Is What Happened – Buzzfeed

“This is like the pose you make when you’re trying to act natural around your crush, so you decide to wrap your arms around your body so it looks like a straitjacket. That is to say, “natural” poses do not look natural on a lot of people.”

The Harry Potter Personality Test – The Atlantic

Researchers found that, for the most part, people’s personality traits tended to mirror the stereotypes of each house: Ravenclaws scored highest on “need for cognition.” Slytherins scored highest . . . narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism; Hufflepuffs, true to form, were the most agreeable.

This is Where Body fat Ends Up When You Lose Weight – Science Alert

Our calculations show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat.

Medicare has a mental-illness gap. It’s time to close it – The Globe and Mail

Why are treatable diseases that affect one-and-a-half times more people than cancer still not properly covered by medicare? We’re talking about depression and anxiety, ailments suffered by 80 per cent of the millions of Canadians who have a mental illness.