Last Day for Warrior Pose Book Giveaway!

bookJust a shout out to alert everyone that today is the last day to enter the giveaway for your own copy of Warrior Pose:  How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life.

Who needs a little summer reading???

Head on over to my book review and leave a comment by midnight (PST) in order to enter to win.

Book Review: Warrior Pose, With A Giveaway to Win Your Own Copy!

War correspondent and ultra-yogi aren’t exactly two identities naturally linked in my mind.  At least they weren’t until I read Bhava Ram’s Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life.  And, now, just like that, they are.

I read quite a lot of memoirs, but despite my broad exposure to them, Ram’s (aka Brad Willis) stands out as particularly remarkable.  Plus, if you’re in need of a healthy dose of inspiration, this should do it.

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The story goes something like this.  Willis leaves small town America to rise up through the ranks and become a successful, hard working war correspondent, traversing the globe to cover stories of international importance.  Already, you’ve got an interesting story, right?  Willis, however, suffers an injury (a broken back), which he tries to hide and live with.  As to be expected, the injury worsens over time and, through desperate attempts to cope, Willis finds himself addicted to alcohol, pain medication, and unable to maintain his career.

Then, he gets cancer.

Yep.  That’s right.  Cancer.

Things were not looking so great for our friend, Willis.

The story that takes over from there tells of Willis’ discovery of yoga, re-discovery of his sense of self, and a transformational journey to his own health and wellness: body, mind, and spirit.

I will confess that when I started this book, I was most interested in the parts about his days as a war correspondent.  My mind was piqued by stories of war, travel, and the human condition.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the rest of the book.  I tend to be somewhat wary of stories that speak of such dramatic transformation through spiritual means of any sort, so my guard was a bit up.  Surprisingly to me, as Willis’ story of his career shifted into the discovery of himself as Bhava Ram, I found myself remaining just as engaged and just as intrigued as I was at the start.

Yoga may or not be your thing, but I see in this book a narrative of embracing humility, exploring possibilities, and developing wisdom that just about anyone can relate to.  Yoga is the conduit through which Ram found these things for himself, but surely there is any number of methods that could be used for similar journeys.  And, if yoga is your thing, Ram’s story will uphold the belief of the restorative powers of a dedicated and consistent yoga practice.

Read this book for some international adventure, sure, but also read this book for a bit of inspiration and, just maybe, a dash of motivation to try some new approaches in your own life.

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And, now, for the giveaway.

Ram and his publisher have agreed to offer a copy of Warrior Pose to one lucky reader of Move Eat Create.  If you would like to get your hands on your very own copy, please leave a comment below.  Each reader may enter once.  Comments will be counted and ordered, a winner will be selected with a random number generator, and said winner will be contacted via email, as well as listed here on this blog post.  The giveaway opens now and will run through Wednesday, 7/17/13 at midnight (PST).  My apologies to non-US living friends, but the giveaway is only open to those who can take shipping within the U.S.  Be sure to include your email with your post so that I can contact you if you win.

This giveaway has closed.  Congratulations to zebveg who won a copy of Warrior Pose!  Thank you to all who entered.

Disclaimer:  Though I was provided a copy of this book free of charge and invited to attend a workshop with Ram, all opinions about the book are completely my own. 

Good luck and happy reading!

One Runner’s Perspective on Yoga (With Pose and Video Recommendations)

I’ve vacillated over the years as to whether or not I enjoy yoga.  At times I have found it engaging and calming, at other times I have gotten easily bored and found myself impatient to get through a session.  But after years of toying with various kinds and commitments to yoga, I think I have finally discovered my happy-yoga zone.

Now, while I enjoy variety in my fitness – I strength train, I get excited about plyometrics, high intensity interval training is a good time, and so on – I am first and foremost a runner.  At this point in my life, I am confident in that last bit, which means that all of my other fitness endeavors need to work in support of and fit in around my running.

This is how I’ve found the right fit for yoga in my life.

photo credit: BrittneyBush via photopin cc

photo credit: BrittneyBush via photopin cc

Once I discovered a yoga practice that makes me a better runner, I was hooked.  Engaging in yoga sessions that stretch and strengthen the muscles I need to run feels healthy, relaxing, challenging, and worthwhile all at the same time. And, because I know I’m never going to be a super-yogi, but I am already an endurance athlete, I can connect this practice to part of a larger picture which keeps me present and motivated in my practice.

So, what’s important for me in a yoga practice, then?  Here is a run-down:

  1. It is just one component of a larger fitness calendar.  I don’t want to do yoga everyday.  I just don’t.  I generally have one yoga day a week and it is enough to stay on top of my abilities without taking up more time than I am able and willing to give it.
  2. Yoga that really focuses on strength, power, and movement keeps me much more engaged than slower, gentler forms of the activity.
  3. I am always more engaged when I am challenged.  Give me balancing poses (I love warrior three), along with various levels of progression that I can work towards, and I am a happy woman.
  4. Sessions that target muscle groups I use for running are what I’m really in to.  Building flexibility and strength in my hips and ankles, for instance, is really important to me so bring on the moves like pigeon, warrior two, and crescent.  I connect with purpose in these poses and feel their immediate, as well as long term, benefits.

While I do selected yoga poses and stretches sporadically throughout the week as I feel I need them, I have two at-home videos that I have really come to enjoy.  I generally do one of these on my rest day from running and higher intensity training.  They are:

  1. Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior yoga for the warrior

I’ve written of my love for Bob Harper before.  And, I do love him.  People who think that at home videos can’t give you the kind of workout you get in a gym, clearly have not tried Bob’s Total Body Transformation,  Ultimate Cardio Body or Pure Burn Super Strength, among others.  Since discovering Yoga for the Warrior, I have been silently hoping Bob will release another yoga DVD because this one is so good.  It’s definitely yoga for people who want to focus on strength; it offers a variety of poses and movements, and still manages to bring the peace and calm that is synonymous with yoga.  I can’t recommend this one highly enough.  Really.

  1. Kimberly Fowler’s Yoga for Athletes

This one isn’t perfect, but it is very good.  The major thing that I find faulty with this video is the instructor’s vocal inflections and repetitive use of phrases like ‘If you can . . . “, but that’s just my personal issue.  When it comes to the actual practice, this routine really does deliver poses that target areas of the body known for giving athletes trouble.  Fowler will really help open up your hips, strengthen and tone your body, and dramatically increase range of motion.  It’s a good, solid practice.

yfa_dvd_largeI can attest that incorporating these yoga videos and other poses/movements into my weekly routine has helped me work through pesky niggles picked up during running, kept me sane on rest days when I wanted to do anything but rest, and increased my overall levels of strength, balance, and agility – all things I’ve been thankful for.