Mindful Fitness in 30 Minutes
With all the ever changing trends in exercise, it can be daunting to find a new fitness method for you, especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly in a long time. It can be intimidating to start from scratch when you want to transition to a more active and healthy lifestyle. You don’t want to pick something too intense. That can set you up for failure. You are also at risk of calling it quits if your workout is too easy or boring. You might have an exercise routine and feel like it is lacking something. If you are looking for a fitness routine that is just right, check out the new ZenFitness30 Method from Vionic Shoes!
Why ZenFitness30 Method?
The ZenFitness30 Method is a thirty minute workout designed to energize your mind, body and spirit. Your whole being is involved in being healthy, so why have a workout that just focuses on your muscles or fat? You can trust the ZenFitness30 Method because it was developed by fitness expert Juliet Kaska and integrative medicine practitioner Dr. Jim Nicolai. The program begins with active stretching developed by Juliet. These stretches, based off the movements of dance and pilates, will lengthen your body and strengthen your core. The stretches prepare you for a breath walk exercise designed by Dr. Nicolai. Breath walking is based off the ancient Keundalini yoga technique in which you meditate through the movement of your body.
Try starting your day out with this fitness method. You will feel alive and ready to take on just about anything if you can spend thirty minutes each morning focused on yourself. If you have another exercise routine, like a Zumba class you attend after work, this fitness method compliments other exercises.
If you are ready to feel stronger and calmer, get yourself a yoga mat, a towel, some good shoes and get started. This workout was created in partnership with Vionic Shoes. The guide can be found here with illustrated diagrams, but for your convenience, we have it all for you right here on Daily Mom too! We tried out and loved the ZenFitness30 method ourselves and have the pictures to prove it.
The ZenFitness30 method starts with a series of stretches and strengthening positions. You should move through each movement at a comfortable pace for you. Remember to breathe deeply, in and out. Your heartbeat and your breathing are the beats to synchronize your movements to.
The first stretch is called Windshield Wipers.
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground just outside of your mat.
- Place arms out to your side in “cactus arms” (90 degrees at the elbows) with palms facing up. Keep a constant and active stretch in your chest and shoulders by drawing your ribs down with your abs, your belly button pulled to your spine and your shoulder blades firmly pressed into the ground, as you work the back of your wrists and hands firmly into the ground. Maintain this posture.
- Tuck your pelvis so that the small of your back is firmly pressed into the ground, activating your lower abs and stretching your lower back. Maintain this posture.
- Take a four-count inhale to lower both legs to the right. Engage the abs deeper as you take a four-count exhale to bring the legs back to center. Repeat on the other side. Repeat four to six times per side.
Next is the Butterfly Stretch and Lift Series
- Lie on your back, with your heels together and your knees apart in butterfly pose (Baddahasana).
- Place arms out to your side in “cactus arms” with palms facing up. Keep a constant and active stretch in your chest and shoulders by drawing your ribs down with your abs, pulling your belly button in toward your spine and pressing your shoulder blades, hands and wrists firmly into the ground.
- With the same intensity, press the outside of your thighs towards the ground for four counts and release for four counts. Repeat five times.
- Next: Tuck the pelvis. Hold the tuck as you lift your hips up off the ground, while still actively stretching the outer thighs toward the ground. Imagine keeping the lower back elongated, lifting for four counts and lowering for four counts. Repeat five times.
- Next: Interlace your hands behind your head. Take four counts to lift your head, arms and shoulder blades off the ground while simultaneously pressing the outer thighs down towards the ground. Repeat ten times.
You should be feeling really warmed up by now. The third exercise is Thigh Extenders.
- Sit up tall with your left leg extended straight out in front of you, pressed into the ground with toes pointed.
- Bring your right thigh in towards your torso wrapping your hands around the back of the leg.
- Sit up very tall and maintain that height as you extend the leg straight out from the knee, not allowing the lower back to round. Use your arms to assist in holding you up tall. Attempt to grow taller each time you extend the knee. Repeat twice with both feet pointed and twice with both feet flexed.
- On the last extension, hold the leg up with a flexed foot and slide your hands to the top of your foot (use a towel as an arm extender if your hamstrings are tight). Flex your foot further, guiding with your hands. You will feel a deeper stretch in your calf and hamstring for the full four-count inhale and four-count exhale. Maintain the height of the leg as you release the hands and roll your lower back toward the ground on a four-count inhale. Only go as low as you can while maintaining the exact height of the leg. Take a four-count exhale to scoop the abs in and roll yourself back up. Slide the hands to the top of the foot and pull the leg into a deeper stretch for four counts again. Repeat twice.
- On the last roll-down hold at the bottom for your full four-count exhale. Now keep the upper body steady as you lower your leg to the ground with a flexed foot. Point the foot as you bring the leg back up. Four-count inhale to lower, four-count exhale to bring it back up. Repeat two to four times, never letting the upper body move.
- After the last one, roll back up on the exhale and transition to the other leg.
Get your legs fired up during the next exercise, the Rotated Runner.
- Start in a kneeling lunge with right leg forward and left leg back.
- Hold your towel in both hands, with arms extended straight up overhead. Pull the towel “apart” from the back and tricep muscles. Keep this activation throughout the entire move.
- Drop your tailbone down towards the ground and your pelvis under. On a four-count exhale, rotate your torso to the right, keeping your arms, shoulders and head in alignment. Take the full four-count inhale to return to center. Repeat twice.
- Keeping your arms overhead and your tailbone down, engage the left buttocks until you feel a light stretch in the front left thigh and hip flexor. Now lunge forward as deep as you can (the knee may go past the toes), and feel a deeper stretch in the left thigh and hip flexor, as you press your arms further back behind you. Take a four-count inhale to move forward and a four-count exhale to return. Repeat four times.
- Switch to the other side and repeat entire series.
The Rainbow Side Extenders feel amazing and strengthening.
- Set yourself up in a side plank position (lower to your forearms for an easier variation) on your left arm, with your feet stacked.
- Extend your right arm overhead and directly in line with your ear, your palm turned towards the wall behind you (pinky side down, thumb side up).
- On the four-count exhale, stretch and lift your right waistline up towards the ceiling as your reach your right arm towards the ground. Your body should look like a crescent, or rainbow. You will feel a long stretch from the outside of your right hip, waistline and lat muscles. Hold for two cycles of breath.
- Repeat this sequence twice, lifting and holding twice. Lower to the ground. From the ground with your knees bent, lateral bend the opposite direction, and you’ll feel a small stretch on the left side of your body. Hold for one cycle of breath.
- Lift back up to the Rainbow position. Keeping your hips stacked and forward, slide your right leg back until the inside of your right foot is resting on the ground. Note: if you have very tight hip flexors your foot may not touch the ground (yet!). You will still get the desired benefit while letting the leg hang behind you, aiming it towards the ground. Hold this position for two to four cycles of breath, keeping a long extension from the top arm to the top foot, with the hips staying stacked.
- Lower to the ground. With knees bent, lateral bend in the opposite direction for one cycle of breath. Repeat entire series on the other side.
Finish up the first half of the ZenFitness30 with Buttock Lifts.
- Kneel on your shins with your legs hip width apart, your arms turned in and reaching up towards the ceiling. Pull your biceps in towards your head without allowing your shoulders to crawl up towards your ears. Continually press the arms back towards the wall behind you.
- With your core strong and your pelvis in neutral position, sit your hips back towards your heels. Hover above your heels—do not rest on them. Take the four-count breath to lower and four counts to lift. The lower your hips go the harder it will be to keep your arms up and pressing back. Repeat ten times.
- With your arms in front of you and your torso and thighs in a straight line, hinge back at the knees on the four-count exhale and four-count inhale to return. Repeat 10 times.
Now that you’ve completed all the exercises from fitness expert Juliet Kaska, it is time to get moving with the techniques of Dr. Jim Nicolai. The beauty of breath walking is that you can do it anywhere and anytime you are walking. Here are Dr. Nicolai’s tips to get you started.
Breath walking follows a fundamental rhythm of four short segmented breaths in, one after another, followed by four short segmented breaths out. These breaths should be in time to your steps as follows: in-in-in-in | out-out-out-out.
- Try stairbreathing. The breaths in should come in through the nose and out through the mouth, taking a step forward on each in-breath and each exhale.
- Periodically, you may alternate Stair Breathing with wave breathing: a fluid 4-in-4-out pattern. There is no start or stop to the breath, but rather a fluid transition from inhale to exhale. With this method, your steps can flow naturally to mimic your breathing.
- A third type of breathing, Mudra, also known as finger-tapping, involves touching your thumb to a different fingertip on each breath, helping to increase focus and concentration.
- Dr. Nicolai’s last strategy for breath walking is to use a mantra. Uttering a mantra can also work to short-circuit the self-talk that is usually active and ongoing in our minds. A mantra can be a sound, syllable, word or phrase that is used in such a way as to consciously create change or transformation.
That’s it! That is the ZenFitness30 method. Mindful fitness in just 30 minutes. You can do that! A small change, like adding this to your day, will have huge results and lead to more positives changes in your life.
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Photo Credits: Kristen
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