When is YOUR leg day?


So before you hit up that trendy new bar (or your best friends couch) for Wine Down Wednesday, how about burning a few calories and getting long, lean summer-ready legs? You can probably drink wine WHILE doing this workout….

Part 1 of a four part leg series that builds on itself from the most simple, easy to accomplish workout and moves to the most advanced.  It’s only 20 minutes.  You got time.

If that’s just too basic for you check out the next video in the series and other FUN workouts on my YouTube “Dena Maddie Playlist“.

Featured image attribution: By User:Chrizz [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


Six Things You Should Know About Acro Yoga

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What are these monkeys doing?

2015-05-31 menil groupYou might have heard of the new-ish trend gracing our nation’s parks, yoga studios, and generally anywhere people can put down mats and hop on someone’s feet.

Yoga and acrobatics unite with a practice at least a decade old, although playing on feet has been around since forever (think balancing babies on chins, kids standing on shoulders, and cirque du soleil). Traditionally practiced with a base (the person on the ground) a flyer (the one elevated by the base) and a spotter for safety, the benefits include not only building strength and balance but partner communication and trust.

Acro yoga incorporates acrobatics, yoga, and thai massage (on occasion) in  a practice that is lighthearted and fun, social and meditative at the same time. It requires concentration and focus balancing as a flyer, confidence and strength to base. Trusting that if you fall, you fall softly and light. Face one of your fears and go play on some feet!

Here are the top 6 reasons you should try adding some AcroYoga playtime into your life.

  1. You may feel like a kid again. Up in the air twisting back and forth, up and down, laughing freely and defying gravity, I forget that I am working out. Because it’s so darn fun. Case in point: flying squirrel.

2. You don’t have to be super strong. Your bones are strong, and if you are doing acro yoga correctly you are mostly depending on stacking your bone structure. You build up the strength to do fancy moves, but every time you practice you gain something.

3. You don’t have to have experience. A basic knowledge of yoga is helpful but not necessary. There are progressions for every level that should be mastered before going to the next level. Start on the ground. We all crawled before we walked right? Every person has different fitness levels but there is room for everyone. For example, experienced flyers can transition to being bases… bases can learn to fly… spotters can hop in and out as needed. No pressure.

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4. Learn partner trust and communication. It takes a lot of trust to put all your weight on a base’s leg when you can’t see where you are going or the ground beneath you. Clearly communicating with your partner where you are going, what your next move is, and calibrating to each other’s movements will quickly get you on the same page or send you to the ground! With spotters and progressions to develop skills from beginner through advanced, acro yoga can be practiced safely and effectively. Connecting via verbal and nonverbal cues encourages growth for all parties involved.

5. But you don’t need a partner to begin. There are acro yoga jams, workshops,  and classes all across the country…. and there is always room for someone new. In the community where I play, everyone has a role, either basing, flying, or spotting. Showing up alone to a jam means you will have new acquaintances by the time you leave. There’s nothing that conquers social anxiety like shoulder standing on a stranger’s feet.

6. You might find a whole community of awesome people. When your spotter catches you that one time you almost busted it you grow more appreciative of those around you. A couch surfing yogi may come to be a close confidant you would have otherwise never met. You meet people without the social lubricant of alcohol – it’s hard to balance a hands-free star under the influence – so the interactions are raw and real. You will meet slackliners, jugglers, musicians, teachers, students, and together, through these experiences we share, we all grow.

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Monkeys on a camping trip

Check out https://www.acropedia.org/encyclopedia/ for a glossary of acro moves and terms that are commonly used.

For a step by step introduction to some achievable beginner poses, visit the website http://www.yogajournal.com/slideshow/acroyoga-101-classic-sequence-beginners/#0.

More info on acro yoga in general at http://www.acroyoga.org/.

One more fun one…

Courtesy of YogaSlackers

Featured Image – borrowed from a fellow yogi. Thank you to all my fellow monkeys for letting me share their beauty.

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10 Ways to Avoid the Holiday Bulge

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So it’s that time of year again. Sweater weather, attending gatherings and parties with family and friends, stressful shopping… Pumpkin everything. Extra food everywhere.

Some state that during the holiday season people gain between 7-10 pounds. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. It’s more like half a pound to two pounds for most people and varies person to person. But since that weight is maintained through spring and summer it can account to most of the weight gain that occurs during adulthood. A decade later, and what happened? It’s more difficult to shed weight as we get older so circumvent the problem by taking PROACTIVE steps! 


  1. DRINK LOTS OF WATER – With cooler weather we forget to hydrate. Warm water with lemon and herbal tea will fill your belly and help you know when to stop eating and your stomach is full.
  2. FIND TIME FOR MOVEMENT – Move, dance, workout, do anything 2015-09-26 Krause springs bird Rosethat keeps your body out of its sedentary habits
  3. MONITOR STRESS – rising cortisol levels can make our appetites increase. And to store the extra calories as fat. It worked for our ancestors, but not when we go to the grocery store instead of good ol’ hunting and gathering.
  4. EAT HEALTHY STUFF FIRST – So eat the protein first before all the carby, fatty stuff so that you don’t over indulge on the sugary temptations. Make sure to eat a clean snack before heading to holiday parties. Chicken breast dipped in hummus, apple/celery and peanut butter. Yum, filled with fiber to keep you satiated, and goodbye binging.
  5. (But do not forget to) TREAT YO’ SELF – You will be tempted with 2013-02-02 2014-2013 copies from phone 267rich, sweet, and salty foods. If you want a cookie, eat a cookie. Just don’t eat ALL the cookies.
  6. GET ENOUGH SLEEP – A lack of sleep can affect cortisol levels. You sleep lighter and have less slow-wave, body rebuilding slumber potentially fueling weight gain based upon low blood sugar, carb cravings, and hormonal imbalances.
  7. SOCIALLY SHAKE THINGS UP – Social gatherings are usually centered around food. How about a picnic at a park? A bike ride (for those of us in the south) or ice skating for you northern folk? Bowling? Putt putt or even roller skating to bring it back old school (that means parents too). Bond over shared experiences rather than gifts that don’t last forever.
  8. DRINKING YOUR CALORIES? – Eggnog, pumpkin lattes, all the wine, and the “adult” punch at parties all add up. Again, drink water after every beverage and it should help keep you full, hydrated, and lower the empty calories that wreak havoc on our blood sugar levels and help prevent that dreaded wine hangover. (So I’ve heard…of course…)
  9. BE THAT PERSON – who brings a veggie dish to the party. Throw some asparagus in the guac. No one will know. Bring carrots and celery instead of chips and crackers. Their waistlines will thank you later.
  10. STAY ACCOUNTABLE – Download My Fitness Pal or another app to track meals, weight, and exercise. Sometimes knowing that I have to log that second slice of pumpkin cheesecake or third glass of wine is a deterrent in and of itself.

Live in the moment.

Love your neighbor.

Treat your body like a temple.


Happy holidays ya’ll!