Guest Blog Post by Sheila Olson – Self Care Practices to Compliment your Fitness Routine

Self care is so important and often overlooked. Please enjoy this guest blog post from Sheila Olson! You can learn more by visiting or e-mail Sheila at Thank you Sheila for taking the time to write this article.

Sheila Olson
These Are The Self-Care Practices That Should Complement Your Fitness Routine


There’s no denying that physical fitness has numerous benefits. Improved mood, weight management, stress reduction, decreased risk of heart disease, tension relief, bone loss prevention, increased strength, and greater self-esteem are just a few of the many reasons why lacing up your sneakers is a good idea. Even so, exercise alone is not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Without incorporating self-care practices that complement your routine, you run the risk of burnout, obsession, and a tendency to have a second or third addiction to alcohol, drugs, work, food, or cigarettes. To ensure your life has balance, infuse these additional practices into your personal regimen.

Make Sleeping A Ritual
Statistics show that Americans are sleep deprived to the point that it’s become a chronic problem. Lack of concentration, relationship stress, increased risk of accidents, impaired memory, and poor quality of life are among the laundry list of negative side effects associated with missing as little as an hour and a half of sleep. Not to mention, lack of shuteye also causes premature aging, dark undereye circles, and weight gain, so there’s something to be said for beauty sleep. Since it can be difficult to wind down at the end of the day, create a ritual so it’s easier to get into the habit of feeling relaxed, thus promoting quality sleep. For example:

● Invest in a good mattress, and be sure to find a model that keeps your spine in its natural position as you sleep. This allows your muscles and joints to relax (which is especially important when you hit the gym regularly), and helps you sleep more soundly and wake up feeling refreshed. Similarly, invest in good pillows that properly support your head and neck.
● Install blackout shades that can block out the sun or artificial lights from a city or neighborhood environment.
● While turning off the television is a must, complete silence can sometimes have an adverse effect. This is why experts believe white noise machines or the hum of a fan can relax the mind and induce sleep.
● Avoid using your computer before bedtime, as the light from the screen can have a stimulatory effect.
● Stick to the same schedule — have the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends.
● Clear any clutter from your bedroom, including on nightstands, the dresser, and definitely the bed.

Create A Meditation Space
Regular meditation has numerous benefits, including stress and anxiety reduction, enhanced self-awareness, improved emotional health, greater attention span, improved mood, better sleep, and resistance to addiction. One of the best things about it is that you can do it anywhere — like your home, for example. Create your own meditation space in a low-traffic area of your home. Elements to consider include:

● A bright (yet neutral-colored), clutter-free space that only contains things you love — never bring in negative elements, such as bills or distracting electronics
● Meaningful objects, such as affirmation stones and crystals
● Natural elements, such as plants
● Incorporate a yoga practice
● Adjustable lighting and candles
● Incense and aromatherapy
● A small fountain for visual and audible appeal

Use Up All Your Vacation Time
A survey suggested that only 23 percent of American employees are taking their vacation time, and when they do, 66 percent are working. Stop feeling guilty about taking time off, as that’s what it’s there for. Considering Europeans legally have four weeks off per year, you’ve got to take time to recharge your batteries mentally and physically. Even if jetting off to an island isn’t in the cards, take a quality staycation:

● Set-up an out-of-office message on your email
● Disconnect from electronics
● Get your home deep-cleaned by a pro
● Have a meal delivered from another destination (think lobsters from Maine or pizza from Chicago)
● Hire a babysitter
● Listen to music from a specific destination (like Jamaican reggae)
● Binge-read
● Take a candlelit bubble bath — or several
● Go camping in your backyard

The more self-care practices you incorporate into your routine, the better you’ll feel. It’s okay to put yourself first, so don’t look at it as a selfish act. You won’t be good for anyone else unless you’re well in your mind, body, and spirit.

Photo Credit: Pixabay


Is Yoga Enough?

Many students ask me if practicing yoga is enough to get in and stay in shape. Just like everything, it depends. I personally cannot maintain my yoga practice without strength training. If I don’t strength train, I tend to become injured from my yoga practice. This may not be the case for each person, but cross training has many benefits for all.

Practicing yoga tends to include a lot of repetitive movement. This can lead to repetitive movement injuries as well as muscle imbalances. If we do the same practice over and over we may be building strength, but we are also probably neglecting some muscles. For instance, we tend to stretch our hamstrings a lot in yoga, but often neglect to stretch the quads. We also tend to use our pushing muscles in yoga in poses like plank and downward facing dog, but what about the pulling muscles? Since we use the pushing muscles so much more that the pulling muscles in yoga, we often create muscle imbalances in the shoulders. The good news is that these imbalances can be corrected with well planned stretching and strength training.

Part of a well rounded fitness plan is cardiovascular work. For the most part, yoga just doesn’t get the heart rate high enough long enough to be an effective cardio workout. Of course, I am sure there are some classes that are the exception to this, but in general, yoga is not considered a cardiovascular workout.

Actually, yoga is not a workout at all! Yoga is a spiritual practice with some of the same benefits of an exercise program. Don’t confuse the two. Yes, we move our body in yoga but not to lose weight or gain muscle. We move our body to increase Prana (life force) or to create a particular energetic effect. It is awesome to keep yoga and exercise separate. When you honor the reality that yoga is a spiritual practice, you can let go of your desire to workout, your need to be on the go all of the time, and your competitiveness for the time you are practicing. You end up calming the body and mind and finding stillness that typically isn’t found while pumping iron, and become part of a community of like minded people.

The cross training yogi gets the best of both worlds. The spiritual practice that brings peace and balance, and the exercise routine that builds strength, increases flexibility, and reduces the chance of injury. If you are interested in cross training to compliment your yoga practice, contact a Certified Personal Trainer who is also a Registered Yoga Teacher. They will have the expertise to help you meet your goals.


Guest Post by Harry Cline – The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Flex Time: Yoga Provides Many Healthy Benefits for Seniors

Age is just a number, and even when our hair grows grey, and our skin grows wrinkled, it doesn’t mean we can’t push ourselves to live active and healthy lifestyles. Many seniors today have realized that there’s an easy way to stay active, mentally sharp, and spiritually whole—all at the same time. The secret is yoga, and whether you are caring for an aging individual, or aging yourself, you too can benefit from practicing yoga.


Yoga is Good for Old Bones

Health experts have been raving about the physical benefits of practicing yoga for years, now. While most exercises highlight improving strength and endurance, yoga highlights flexibility through achieving several poses. This type of exercise is low-impact, and good for older individuals to begin without pushing themselves to physical injury. Yoga will help you to return flexibility to your joints, reducing the chance for you to injure yourself when being physically active throughout the day. Additionally, practicing yoga will give you just enough strength and endurance training to burn fat and build muscle strength to give you a greater physical capacity for daily activities.


Yoga is a Way to Purify Yourself

It remains an unfortunate truth that many seniors struggle with addiction to alcohol and prescription medications. Sometimes this addiction is the result of depression, which can come in the later years of life. Addiction can wreak havoc on your life and the relationships you value. If you have struggled with addiction before and are currently in recovery, then yoga could be the perfect supplementary activity to help get your life back on track. For those in recovery, it’s important to regain love for the physical and spiritual self. Yoga is the ideal exercise to help peel away the toxic perceptions about yourself and learn to love who you are on the outside as well as the inside.


Yoga Melts Away Stress and Anxiety


Even if you are not personally struggling with addiction, you might still be facing some form of stress, anxiety or depression. Living an active lifestyle has been proven to curb these negative feelings for all age groups, including seniors. Living an active lifestyle through yoga could be the answer to keep you positive about yourself and help you through moments of stress and anxiety. As many who already practice yoga will tell you, meditation is a large part of the process. Through meditative practices that come built into yoga, you will gain mental clarity and spiritual peace. Even practicing yoga for 30 minutes each day can help remove stress from your life and have you feeling better about yourself.


Yoga Builds Relationships and Community


Sometimes with old age we fall out of regular contact with people important to us. Having daily social interaction is an important part of life and can fill our lives with purpose and meaning. While yoga can be practiced on your own, with a mat and instructional video, yoga is primarily done in a group setting. When you go to a local community center for open yoga classes, you will meet many different people, even other seniors. This kind of social setting is perfect for meeting new people and building new relationships. Having this kind of daily interaction can add so much happiness and possibility to your life, you would be remiss not to try.

So, if you are looking to get up and active, why not consider yoga? It’s the easiest exercise to explore and there are plenty of yoga positions and courses aimed for older adults. By regularly including yoga meditations and exercises to your daily life, you will be able to live a more active and fulfilling life.


About the Author

Harry Cline is creator of and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.


I Passed the NASM CPT Test

Whoah. I did it. I passed the NASM CPT test. On the first try. Since I used advice from a few blogs, I thought I would share my formula for success.

I purchased the least expensive Self Study option from NASM. It was expensive, but I was prepared for the cost. When my materials arrived, I felt a little lost on how to get started, but decided to just jump right in. I am so glad I started studying right away, because I was in for a huge wake up call. Most of the information was completely foreign to me. Stress and panic ensued. Seriously. I have never been so terrified of failing!

I read the entire text book on my own and also watched all of the videos from NASM. I took the chapter quizzes, and retook them when needed. I filled 2 notebooks with notes and highlighted everything. Wow. It’s a ton of information. At this point, I was still freaking out and knew I needed help. I decided to purchase the Audio Lectures and Practice Tests from Fitness Mentors. Fitness Mentors is run by Eddie Lester. He also teaches the content in a classroom setting. I am not in the same geographic location, so in person classes were not an option for me.

While listening to the Audio Lectures, Eddie takes you through the entire book chapter by chapter. He gives you hints of information that may be on the test. After each Audio Lecture, there is an assignment to complete. I did each assignment. I also took notes and did the practice quizzes for each chapter. Once I completed all of this, I knew I still needed more help. I decided to upgrade my purchase with Fitness Mentors to include Power Point presentations and more lectures of the material.

Purchasing the Power Point lectures enabled me to go through the book again under Eddie’s guidance. He pointed out even more potential test questions. I again took notes and the quizzes accompanying each lesson. I was finally starting to feel at least a little confident.

I took all of the practice tests provided by Fitness Mentors and NASM. I never failed a practice test. Each time I retook them, my score improved. Still, I was not confident that I would pass the real test, but knew in my heart something would have to be really wrong for me to fail.

By the time my test date arrived, I had studied for almost 6 months, filled up 4 notebooks, and really understood the information. Understanding the information and not just memorizing it was key! I do not think I could have passed without purchasing the programs from Fitness Mentors. NASM has more detailed programs, but you can’t add on to your original choice, so I was out of luck there.

The bottom line is that you have to study…a lot! You need to understand the information and not just memorize it. You basically have to live and breathe it. I spent about $1000.00 when it was all said and done. I didn’t plan on spending that much, but it was worth it. Although I found out that I passed right away, I don’t know my score.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions regarding the study options or the test. I honestly don’t remember what questions were on it, but Fitness Mentors had me prepared! Good luck!



Every November I focus on the theme “Gratitude” in my yoga classes.  Gratitude, like yoga, is a practice.  It’s training yourself to view the world in a certain way.  Viewing the world through eyes of gratitude can change your life.  Instead of yearning for the latest style of shoes, you realize just how blessed you are to have shoes at all. Many of you reading this (including myself) may even become a bit embarrassed as you realize how much excess you have.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to have “things”, but looking at your life through eyes of gratitude can put you at ease.  You have enough. Maybe you even have more than enough.  Perhaps you choose to share with those who don’t have as much.

One of my favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins:

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant”.

Boom.  Life changing.  Think about it.  Imagine a situation where you were disappointed.  Your expectations were not met.  If you trade that expectation for appreciation, you suddenly feel so blessed and no longer focus on the feeling of disappointment.  Ahhhh.  Sweet freedom.

As we move closer to Thanksgiving, I encourage you to view the world through eyes of gratitude.  Many people find that keeping a gratitude journal provides a wonderful way to be aware of blessings.  I simply write down 3 things that I’m grateful for any time I pass by my journal.  Others choose to journal as a daily practice perhaps before going to sleep at night.

If you find it difficult to think of things that you are grateful for, remember this quote from Oprah Winfrey:

“Whenever you can’t think of something to be grateful for, remember your breath. With each breath you take, you can say, ‘I’m still here'”.

How do you practice gratitude?

Why am I so Unsure of Myself?




Lately, I have been studying for my Personal Training License through NASM.  This has been something I have been planning for and have been so excited to do.  I’m not going to lie.  I am completely overwhelmed and really surprised by that!  My college degree was a research degree, so I can read and extract important information like a pro.  This is different.  I have a couple of guesses why.

In college, I didn’t have many responsibilities.  Now, I am a mother of 2 young boys, 4 dogs, and a cat.  My husband travels frequently, so I am holding down the fort by myself quite often.  The living creatures come first, so I don’t have a ton of time to start with.  Also, the information is super technical and maybe I am a little out of practice regarding studying.

The reason I am bringing this up, is that I simply can not live like this until February when I am scheduled to take my exam.  I have to figure out a way to boost my confidence and just stop being so terrified.  I will happily take suggestions!

I am an optimist at heart, so I know that when I pass this exam, it will be even sweeter because of how much hard work I am putting into this.  It will all be worth it.  I know this.

Deep breaths!


61 Points – Guided Savasana

Several years ago, I experienced 61 Points which is a guided relaxation technique often used to relax the body prior to practicing Yoga Nidra.  My teacher introduced the technique as a guided savasana, and that is how I have been teaching it.  My students love this relaxing practice.

During 61 Points, you are made aware of 61 distinct points in the body.  All the practitioner needs to do is draw their attention to the part of the body that is mentioned. There are other ways to practice such a visualizing a particular color at each point when it is mentioned.  I have seen a few different lists of 61 points in the body.  They all cover the same points but not always in the same order.  The list below is the one I use.

To begin, lie comfortably on your back.  Take time to get comfortable and release any tension you may be holding on to.  Start to watch your breath flow in through your nose and out through your nose.  Slowly begin to bring your awareness to each point in the body as it is listed below.  You can choose how much time you spend on each point.  When I teach this as a guided savasana, I have the students spend 5 seconds on each point.  I then let them have a few minutes to rest in silence.

Once you complete all 61 Points, allow yourself to rest.  When you are ready, start to make any small movements that feel good to you like wiggling your fingers and toes, gently turning your head side to side, or even take a full body stretch.  Where your practice goes from there is up to you.  Enjoy this relaxing practice.

1 – center of forehead
2 – base of the front of the neck
3 – right shoulder
4 – right elbow (inside or outside, as you prefer – the same for all other joints)
5 – right wrist
6 – right thumb
7 – right index finger
8 – right middle finger
9 – right ring finger
10 – right little finger
11 – right wrist
12 – right elbow
13 – right shoulder
14 – base of the front of the neck
15 – left shoulder
16 – left elbow
17 – left wrist
18 – left thumb
19 – left index finger
20 – left middle finger
21 – left ring finger
22 – left little finger
23 – left wrist
24 – left elbow
25 – left shoulder
26 – base of the front of the neck
27 – center of chest
28 – right of chest
29 – center of chest
30 – left of chest
31 – center of chest
32 – navel
33 – pubis
34 – right hip
35 – right knee
36 – right ankle
37 – right big toe
38 – right second toe
39 – right third toe
40 – right fourth toe
41 – right little toe
42 – right ankle
43 – right knee
44 – right hip
45 – pubis
46 – left hip
47 – left knee
48 – left ankle
49 – left big toe
50 – left second toe
51 – left third toe
52 – left fourth toe
53 – left little toe
54 – left ankle
55 – left knee
56 – left hip
57 – pubis
58 – navel
59 – center of chest
60 – base of the front of the neck
61 – center of forehead

Use the following link to access an audio recording of 61 Points that you can use to guide your practice.