Is exercise good medicine?
BY Charmaine Yabsley freelance
Does it really help to “sweat it out” when you’re sick? Charmaine Yabsley asks the experts when you should train or abstain
If you’re sleep deprived or have insomnia: YES
When you sleep, your body repairs on a cellular level. Research shows not getting enough shut-eye can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cause weight gain, as well as a decrease in mood, energy and concentration levels. Exercise has been shown to help counteract all of these side-effects — plus, it’s proven to have you feeling less sleepy during the day, and help you have a better night’s slumber (especially if it’s moderate-intensity aerobic exercise).
+ The yoga expert says: Try some calming yoga poses to release any tension or stress in the body, yoga teacher Charlotte Dodson says. “Yoga helps a person unwind from stressful thoughts at the end of the day, and achieve better sleeping patterns at night,” she says. The legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani) “is an excellent pose to relieve tired legs and feet, helping increase blood supply to the brain while calming the mind,” she adds.
“It promotes a good night’s sleep as it calms the heart and relieves frustration.”
Sculpture Your Body
Sculpture your body
Define, tone and sculpt your body into shape, just in time for summer! Lose any extra pounds you gained during those winter months, and get toned so you can both feel lighter and build self- confidence. Practicing any type of yoga will build up strength, but you need to ensure you raise your heart rate enough (over a prolonged period of time) to make yoga a form of exercise that will help you to lose weight. It all depends on what type of yoga you choose to participate in, and how frequently you practice it. In order to lose weight, you must eat a healthy selection of fresh food, and burn calories by doing exercises that raise your heart rate on a regular basis (two-to-three times per week).
Maintaining a routine, and practising a powerful, dynamic sequence of yoga movements, are two good places to start. Even practicing 20 minutes on a daily basis will soon add up to hours ( and then weeks ) of physique-sculpturing workouts that will make you look and feel fabulous. So try not to brush a short practice aside – with just a little bit of effort, done often and consistently, you will keep building strength, massaging your organs, trimming your tummy, and toning your whole being.
Yoga is a well-being investment that your ‘being’ will be truly thankful for – but how can yoga help you sculpt your whole body while aiding you in losing those added extra kilos? Yoga can help reduce weight because it has no ‘break-down’ metabolic side effects within your muscle tissue. It ensures that you will become proportionate to your own body weight, in accordance to your height and lifestyle.
Yoga acts on the metabolic systems of your body as well as on your fat cells. As you breathe deeply while assuming every pose and movement, it increases the oxygen intake to the cells of your body, including the fat cells – which are ‘consumed’ in the presence of so much oxygen. Also, the practice of yoga can de-stress your mind-body connection, and help you to overcome anxiety – a major cause of overeating. Some of the yoga poses can help control your weight through stimulating your lethargic thyroid glands, thus increasing their hormonal secretions, which leads to weight reduction.
Also remember that yoga is a practice that works your whole being, not just the ‘physical’ side. It will feed positivity into all areas of your mental, emotional and spiritual life, and you’ll reap the rewards of a toned, lean body shape as an added bonus. There’s no time better time to “jump in” than the present moment, so lets begin!
… to read more
Nimble Insider | Charlotte Dodson
We first met Charlotte Dodson on a relaxing wellness week on Lord Howe Island (read more about that here). As keen yogis, we jumped at the opportunity to spend a whole week practicing yoga with Charlotte. Since then, Charlotte has become a friend, yoga mentor and a lover of Nimble Activewear.
Charlotte is an internationally renowned yoga life coach and motivational speaker. London born and based in Sydney, she has taken the world by storm and teaches clients such as Miranda Kerr, Orlando Bloom, Gerard Butler, Basil Iwanyk, Phoebe Tonkin, Stephanie Rice, Lara Bingle and Leah Wood.
Please share with us a little more insight into how you came to be on this path?
Yoga actually found me — it was a blessing in disguise! It became a huge part of my healing after I broke my arm surfing. It was my awakening to the life-altering benefits of this practice — after a decade of studying, participating and teaching across four continents, yoga is now my full-time focus. I realized there was much more I could offer to others in life, more ways I could serve the greater good. Yoga is my pure passion and it will stay with me for the rest of my days.
What type of yoga do you practise? Is this a different style to what you teach?
I personally practice Ashtanga yoga every morning with my incredible teacher, Eileen Hall. She has aided me immensely in deepening my knowledge and appreciation for yoga. I meet my clients wherever they’re at – whether they are new to yoga, or have practiced for years. Every class may differ, depending on their emotional, mental and spiritual state, as well as the physical side of things. I pride myself on progressing (and adjusting) my clients to ensure they get the most out of their practice.
What does your typical day look like?
I’m an early riser and practice yoga everyday, even if it means getting up at 3am! Whether I’m hosting wellness weeks, media events or filming – my day is jam packed with spreading good vibes, loving the people around me and enjoying the moment!
What motto or mantra do you live by?
LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start yoga?
Any yoga practice is a great place to start, whether it’s at your local gym or yoga school – you’ll always take something home from the experience. You can always join my Yoga TV site – charlottedodson.tv – and ask me any questions along the way via the Live Chat option. With your teacher and yoga style, it’s a personal choice – so if you haven’t yet found a yoga you resonate with, please keep trying! Yoga is for every shape, size and background, and once you find your ultimate yoga space, you’ll be forever grateful.
What are you up to next?
I’m so blessed to have so many exciting projects on the horizon! As well as featuring in a new branded entertainment TV show as the resident ‘Yoga Life Coach’ (airing early next year)… I’ve recently been approached to develop a specialized entertainment program as the Content provider and Global Brand Ambassador for a new health related channel which will be available world-wide… stay tuned, more details to follow!
Lastly, what are your favourite Nimble Activewear pieces and why?
I love the pastel range because they’re so pretty, light, refreshing with a feminine yet sporty touch!
Wellness Retreat with Charlotte Dodson
Join celebrity yoga instructor Charlotte Dodson for a four day wellness retreat at Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa.
- Four nights accommodation in a Garden View Studio
- Two group yoga sessions daily with Charlotte Dodson
- One group fitness session daily
- Chahoya Spa by L’Occitane 2 hour treatment package
- Chahoya Spa by L’Occitane 1 hour treatment
- Breakfast, lunch and healthy treats daily (Meal plan designed by Nikki Heyder of NOOD)
- Dinner at each signature restaurant
- Cooking classes
- Return Broome Airport transfers
This is a great opportunity to rejuvenate and revitalise your body and mind under the guidance of Charlotte, whose clients include Miranda Kerr, Orlando Bloom, Gerard Butler, Lara Bingle, Stephanie Rice, Kit Willow, Camilla Franks and Leah Wood.
Born in London, Charlotte studied and practiced yoga for over 15 years in London, India, New York and Sydney. Her sessions are described as “dynamic yet elegant and simplistic with a unique focus on bold creativity and grounded energy.”
The wellness retreat is limited to just 12 people and bookings are subject to availability. For more information please email email@example.com or call (08) 9426 8865.
If there’s one woman out there we would all happily take workout cues from, it’s Miranda Kerr (those legs… those abs), and her trainer Charlotte Dodson is spilling some of her secrets!
When it comes to fine tuning the art of moving meditation, Dodson is the go-to guru for celebrities around the world.”I prefer Yoga and Pilates to running, for Yoga I like a mix of Hatha and kundalini, I see Charlotte in Australia and she is wonderful” Kerr said. Our leading lady Lorna Jane Clarkson even put Charlotte’s method to the test during her My Active Life series, with an everyday Yoga routine you can start with every day. Whether you’re needing to de-stress, or gain energy, Charlotte guides you through the right poses to target ailments and promote ultimate relaxation.
How to Get Lean and Shapely Legs
By The Upside · On May 13, 2015
By Celebrity Trainer Charlotte Dodson
You want to have the opportunity of choice – the freedom to wear whatever it is you feel like in order to look and feel A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! So, here’s a series of simple poses that you can use to tone up those upper thighs and lift your butt whilst simultaneously lengthening and toning your lower body. You’ll find and awaken muscles you didn’t realise you had, all in a good way, of course!
Before I go into this easy-to-adopt routine, please remember that yoga is your own holistic practice. This means that yoga works on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. How you view the world, see your day, and interact with others is a reflection of your own inner self. Let me give you an example: as you strengthen your body, both lower and upper, you become stronger in all situations and relationships – this balance and energy feeds into every area of your daily life. You are able to speak your true innermost thoughts with compassion, and see the world with gratitude and joyfulness. It is a calm and nourishing strength, from the inside-out.
With yoga, you are working your muscles to lift themselves out of your joints; if you feel you’re sitting in your joints or locking them up, bend them slightly, and that way you activate your muscles and allow them to flow into the pose. Keep your belly active at all times when doing the movements – in other words, tight and tucked-in.
Always be conscious of how you are breathing during these poses, as this will ensure you are getting the most out of your yoga practice.
Follow this step by step guide to keep your legs looking shapely, and keep you feeling on top of the world.
Warrior II pose (Virabhadrasana II)
Strong legs give you foundation and keep you grounded – literally! This pose works to build and develop muscle tone, especially in the lower half of your body. It’s a strong pose, so hang in there, breathe slowly and release to standing at any time. This pose give you strength and determination to follow your dreams. It builds strength in the legs, belly and upper body.
Stand at the long edge of your mat and feet one leg distant apart. Turn your right foot out to face the top of the mat and bend your right knee, making sure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Angle the back foot at 45 degrees and keep it flat on the floor. Inhale your arms overhead and out to the side, shoulder height. Stay looking forward at your front middle finger. Hold and breathe deeply for 5 breaths or longer. Repeat on the other side.
Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
This standing warrior pose builds strength in the legs, belly and upper body whilst giving you boost of energy as you open up your lungs. Stretches hips, inner legs and groin.
From Warrior 1 – inhale to raise your right arm overhead, and exhale to slowly slide your left arm down your back leg. Keep your legs active, belly strong. Either look up at your top hand, or down to your back foot if you find your neck feels sore. Hold for 5-10 breaths. To release, inhale back to an upright position, and turn both feet inwards facing the wide edge of your mat.
Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parshvakonasana)
This can be a challenging pose, working through the different variations, and you’ll always discover and learn a new ‘feeling’ within your body on how to get deeper into the pose.
From ‘reverse warrior pose’ inhale your right arm up and over to your right thigh and raise top arm up. Keep legs and belly strong and active. As you continue to ground your left heel to the floor, exhale and lay the right side of your torso down onto (or bring it as close as possible to) the top of the right thigh. Press your right fingertips (or palm) on the floor just inside your right foot. Actively press your right arm into the inner right knee; counter this by drawing your tail bone down into the back of your pelvis, toward the pubis. The inside of your right thigh should be parallel with the long edge of your mat.
Hold and breathe deeply for 5 breaths and use your inhale to come up to lift up lightly. Repeat to the other side for the same breath lengths.
High lunge twist
Twist, turn and unravel any those problems! This pose gets into all those knots and tight areas, helping to alleviate the strain. Turn back to the top of the mat with your right foot forward and left leg back one leg distant, keeping right leg bent and left leg straight. Bring your left hand to the inside foot and raise your right arm high, and turn from your belly, chest and shoulder. Keep your chin tucked in as you look up to your top raised arm. If your neck’s tender, please look down to your base foot. Hold and breathe deeply for 10 breaths before repeating to the other side. To add a greater strength dimension to the pose, twist a little more on every exhalation to squeeze, and massage your digestive organs and activate your belly muscles. Hold this for 5-10 breaths. Remember to be kind, and not to over stay in any pose or throw yourself into any movement – use your breath and true inner strength, which builds in power the more you practice the poses.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Strongly press your hands, arms active as your lift up onto your knees, toes tuck under and lift your hips up into downward facing dog. This is like a triangle shape, with feet, hands and hips working actively. Feet are hip distant, your outer foot is inline with the outer part of the mat, and your hands are shoulder distant apart (your middle finger facing forward). Look to your navel as you keep your ears inline with your upper arms. This pose fully energises you and gives you vitality. Hold and breathe deeply into the pose for 5-10 long, mindful breaths. If this feels too strong, you can drop to your knees at any time.
Relaxation (Corpse) Pose (Savasana)
We can be so busy with life – thinking (and doing) too much at all hours of the day. Yoga is a tool to help us keep our mind still and quiet. Lay back, let go and see if you can ‘be’ in the moment by giving time for your body to relax for 5-10 minutes. This corpse pose allows your body to absorb the sequence you’ve just completed. You’ll feel rested and it will provide your whole body with an overall sense of well-being and harmony. After Savasana, roll out to the right side and come up to a cross-legged sitting posture; now you’ll feel a energetic boost as you embrace your whole day with kindness – fully alert, revitalised with lean shapely legs!
Photography | atdusk.com.au
ILUKA Lifestyle Blog
How to Energize and Feel ‘Alive’!
By Charlotte Dodson | charlottedodson.tv
Photography | atdusk.com.au
Wearing | theupsidesport.com
Feel like you’re dragging your feet, and need a second wind? Had a tiring day, and yet still have a long night ahead of you? By focusing your goals and practicing a few simple yoga moves – for about 15 minutes on a daily basis – you’ll easily boost up your energy levels, and thus be ready to take on the full evening that lays ahead of you.
Complete this sequence in this particular order, and if you’re feeling a need for an extra energy boost, practice these poses a few times throughout the day, either when you’re on the ‘go’ or at your desk!
By working your large muscles groups in order to get the energy flowing through your organs and limbs, and by oxygenating your lungs at the same time, you’ll be set for the day. Always remember to breathe fully and mindfully throughout your practice – that way, you’ll give yourself that boost of long-lasting energy you need. During your practice, keep your belly active, chin tucked into your throat and ribs drawn into your spine.
Inhale to oxygenate
Every time you inhale, you oxygenate your blood and fill your lungs with life-giving air. This is a great way to wake you up, especially in the morning. By giving yourself a few moments out of a busy work schedule to consciously breathe, you will keep yourself both alert and calm throughout the whole day. Lets breathe deeply into our lungs, and increase that lung capacity as you work with breath counts. Come into a cross legged sit with your hands on your knees, to keep your spine elongated. Keep your chin tucked into your throat to protect your neck. Take a long deep inhale, counting from 1-2-3-4 (maybe to 5-6) breath lengths, and naturally release on a long exhale. Repeat 3-5 times. Always come back to a natural flowing breath if it feels uncomfortable at any time.
Open chest and lungs
This pose (‘prasarita padottanasana c’) opens up your lungs, chest, shoulders and heart. It makes you feel truly ‘alive’. It really gives you that ‘zing’ to open up your day, and lengthens your spine as you bend forward.
Start by placing your feet one leg distant apart, toes inward slightly. Press firmly into your feet and strongly activate your legs. Interlock your hands with your palms facing inward behind your back body and open your chest as you roll your shoulders outward. Bend your knees slightly and if you can, lift your arms up and over your head. Don’t push this movement and only go as far as you feel comfortable. An option is to bring one hand onto each elbow behind your back. Keep your chin tucked down in towards your throat. You’ll feel your front body open as gravity naturally draws the hands towards the floor. Breathe deeply and naturally for 5-10 breaths. To release, slowly roll back up to standing keeping your knees soft.
Release and centre
Twist, turn and unravel any of those emotional problems! This pose gets into all those knots and tight areas, helping to alleviate the strain. Bring your feet one leg distant apart, with your toes turning inwards and heels out slightly. Keep your knees soft to protect your lower back. Place one hand into the middle of your legs and as your inhale, raise the other arm up over your head. Lengthen your fingers up towards the ceiling. Keep your legs strong and active. Look up to your top hand, if your neck feels sore, look down to the base hand. Roll your shoulders outward and breathe fully into the whole length of your spine. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths. To release the pose, exhale your lifting arm back down to the floor and repeat to the other side.
Expand into your ribcage
As you create more space in your body, you do the same within your mind. When was the last time you emphasized movements that involved the side of your body? In our exercise routines, we tend to go forwards or back, but not often from side to side. As we shift and move the body, we shift and move our mind – expansion in our movement and our thoughts is the goal.
Either start in a cross legged seat (easy version), or alternatively, come to the top of your mat, feet hip distant apart, feet firmly pressed down into the floor. As you inhale, interlock your hands and raise your arms up to the ceiling, reaching high. On your next exhale, keep your legs active, press your palms towards the right side, lengthening through your left side as you ’tilt’ in that direction. If you’re seated, release your right hand or forearm gently down onto the floor, with your left reaching up and over your head. Bend your knees if your lower back is tender and keep your tailbone tucked under. Breath deeply for 5 breath lengths before coming back to neutral on your inhale. Repeat to the other side.
Backbends opens up the front body and strengthens the back. This half upside down bow pose gives you an energetic boost as you turn yourself inside out, like a rainbow shape.
Start by laying down with your back body on the floor. Bend both knees up into about a 45 degree angle, press the soles of your feet into the earth, keeping your feet hip distant apart. Place your forearms onto the floor with your palms facing down. On your exhale, ground your feet and roll your buttocks, lower, middle and upper back away from the floor. Roll your shoulders down and if it feels comfortable interlock your hands together, under your back body. Keep lifting your chest towards your chin and your chin towards your chest. You’re developing muscle strength in your legs. Hold the body shape and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths before rolling back to the floor on your exhalation. Every time you exhale, feel your belly tightly tuck in and see if you can soften your buttocks. As you move on the exhale, your belly is protecting your lower back. An option is to lift up onto your tip toes to release your lower back, or roll back down to the floor if it feels uncomfortable. When you come back to the floor make sure you hug your knees into your belly and give yourself a squeeze. Keep your lower back pressed down into the floor, before repeating the pose a few more times.
We can be so busy with life – thinking and doing too much! Yoga is a tool to help us keep our mind still and quiet. Lay back, let go and see if you can ‘be’ in the moment by giving time for your body to relax for 5-10 minutes. This corpse pose allows your body to absorb the sequence you’ve just completed. You’ll feel rested and it will provide your whole body with an overall sense of well-being and harmony. It’s similar to a powernap, allowing all your organs to breathe as you lay flat on your back.
After savasana, roll out to the right side and come up to a cross legged sitting posture; now you’ll feel ready to embrace your whole day – alert, energised and with a regained second wind.