Style Find – The Spring Desert Boot

desert bootCelebrate Vintage Style with this classic spring desert boot!

The iconic lace-up woman’s desert boot can be worn anywhere. As spring continues to be cool, slip these on with an edgy colourful sock and with, of course, The Boyfriend Jean from my blog last week.

Where:   getoutside

Price:     $129.99

Elevating the Cardio Element of your Yoga Practice

cardioIsn’t it all the rage right now…a yoga practice of any kind is trendy and uber chic. Everyone is doing it, walking with a mat often in a funky carrying case, and enjoying the benefits of one of the oldest practices in the world. It would seem with a 5000-year history, the benefits of yoga have proven themselves, based on longevity alone.

So, how is it that your yoga practice may not actually count as a heart rate benefit!?

It is very uncommon to link our cardio health with yoga. These are generally not terms that go together, however, with the influx of fusion yoga like yoga flowpower yoga and vinyasa, classes are now capturing the mainstream yogi. If you have found yoga because it spoke to you in a different way than the hard-core aerobic workouts at the gym, don’t be discouraged or dissuaded. You can and probably are still getting your heart rate pumped.

The countless benefits attributed to yoga like weight-loss, heart disease protection, freedom from depression, increased flexion, and preventative joint care are enough reasons to get anyone on the mat. The question that is still debated and scientifically challenged is, can yoga sustain activity that elevates your heart rate?

When we talk about the benefits of cardio exercise we are truly measuring how efficiently the heart moves blood and oxygen to the muscles. There is no doubt that when we stretch to our own individual maximum and feed our joints through asana (poses), the blood flow and circulation is increased and therefore new oxygenated blood cells are traveling further down the musculature system, increasing the work of the heart. To ensure the heart is attaining cardiovascular fitness we need to balance the intensity of the yoga sequence, the length of time or duration of the practice, and consistency and frequency of how often we are practicing.

With any yoga practice, advanced, beginner, flow, or alignment based, if you follow and practice these 5 principles, the cardio element of your weekly practices will be elevated. Your ability to use your breath more efficiently will develop and help your heart distribute the oxygen flow with efficacy to the muscles. And notably, your risk of heart disease will be decreased, preventative artery diseases will be increased, lower blood pressure will be obtained and your desired cardio health will be achieved.

  1. Learn some basic Pranayama (breath) exercises and open and close your practice with them like a traditional warm up and cool down. Practice these different breathing techniques for 5 – 7 minutes to make it count as heart exercise. Wait until you see what it does for your mind too!
  2. Practice your sun series and run through it 5 to 10 rounds. It is a flow of 9 basic poses that heat up the muscle and body bringing a cardio element to your practice.
  3. Start adding inversions and holding them for longer durations as part of your practice. Adho Mukah Svanasana (Downward Dog) is considered an inversion.
  4. Mixing high and low intensity in your practice is beneficial to your heart health. Consider calming your body with Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose/Baby Shoulder stand) to bring the nervous system back to neutral after a high intense inversion.
  5. Practice holding all your poses for longer durations. Some milestones to attempt would be 5 – 10 breaths and building it up to 3 – 5 minutes a pose. You will quickly notice that the duration of pose will directly affect the intensity and heart rate increase.

Yoga is a lifestyle. It is also a fitness regime. But once the two paths intersect it often becomes a practice that you carry around with you everywhere you go. And sometimes you get to take it in a funky carry case feeling all uber chic, from the inside out!

Namaste

Layered Tomato, Pesto & Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese Salad

buffalo mozzarellaIf your kids love cheese (and most do!), this is a great way to also increase their intake of tomatoes, one of the healthiest vegetable on the planet. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C, K, folate, potassium and fibre.

Does your family love the influence of Italian or Mediterranean cuisine? This salad will fit the bill. Ripe tomatoes, pesto and creamy Buffalo mozzarella cheese make this a delicious appetizer, salad or perfect vegetable dish to suit any Italian dinner. I can eat this creamy, mouth-watering salad as an entire meal. The key is to buy ripe tomatoes. You can also use plum or vine tomatoes instead of the field. Buffalo mozzarella is the finest tasting cheese you can eat. It’s made from the milk of the water buffalos and comes packed in water. If you’re not using it all then keep the rest in water. It is high in protein and calcium. If you can’t find it you can also substitute with Bocconcini cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

1 large field ripe tomato sliced into 8 – (1/4”) slices

¼ cup store bought pesto or homemade

3 oz Buffalo mozzarella or Bocconcini cheese sliced into 8 small rounds

Fresh basil leaves as garnish

Directions

  1. On serving plate place one slice tomato and spread a little pesto over top. Lay a piece of cheese half way down and repeat with remaining tomatoes and cheese.
  2. Garnish with basil leaves. 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories 58.5 * Carbohydrates 0.7 g * Fibre 0.9 g * Protein 4 g * Total fat 4.8 g * Saturated fat 1.6 g * Cholesterol 7.6mg * Sodium 17.9 mg

Source: Rose Reisman
Photo: Rose Reisman

No Pain, No Gain

painI want my children to get hurt.

Before you label me a mean, sadistic mother, let me explain. I love my three children without question and would never intentionally inflict pain on them. But, in a society that is quickly becoming as pain-free and sheltering as possible I think it’s important they experience some pain as they grow.

A few weekends ago we attended a party at a local trampoline park. My daughter quickly became frustrated at the line to jump into the foam blocks. Kids were proceeding in groups of two or three, well-spaced from each other and had to climb out quickly after they landed to avoid a collision with the next jumper.

While I’m not eager to have my child collide with someone else, giving her a concussion, where’s the risk here, the fun, the excitement, a bit of danger, the spontaneity, some creativity? There is none for the sake of safety.

I’m sure like many other mothers my age, I grew up riding a bike without a helmet or knee pads, I slid down big hills on a skateboard, climbed trees, jumped off swings in midair and climbed fences. I got cuts, scrapes, bumps to the head and yet I turned out relatively fine.

And by doing this I realized that it was ok to get hurt, that wounds heal and that there are consequences to those actions. I also learned that mom and dad were not going to come running every time I cried.

I learned to deal with the emotional pain as well. There was always a winner and a loser and not everyone got a trophy at the end of the game. At the end of the year some people actually failed and had to repeat their school year. Birthday parties didn’t include everyone in the class and when we fought, it was up to us to make up or not, not our parents.

I suffered not getting onto a sports team, losing a game, losing friends, not being the most popular. Losing a contest or game made me try harder, failing a test made me study harder. Facing a lost friendship made me broaden my horizons and dealing with mean girls made me toughen up and grow a thicker skin.

In short, these experiences made me a better person, made me the person I am today. With so much concern for safety, so much sheltering from failure, hurt feelings and disappointment, I feel that my children are missing a chance to grow.

I don’t want them to crumble when their first boss reprimands them. I don’t want them to break down because they don’t get praise heaped on them in college. And I don’t want them to give up on their life plans because they seem too hard.

Life is full of pain and injury, it’s full of risks and bumps in the road. I brought my children into this world and of course I mean them no harm. But I also want them to grow into strong human beings who are capable of handling everything life may throw at them.

No pain, no gain.

Image: Happy Child on Swing courtesy of freedigitaliphotos.net.