In April last year, Rob Jackson and I explored Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (and beyond). Here are some great reasons why Vietnam has a lot to offer in staying fit and eating well.
>> Queue: Onra’s Chinoiseries <<
First of all, Vietnamese cuisine includes some of the healthiest ingredients on the planet. From the ever popular Phở to its abundant rice based dishes, this cuisine wonderfully caters to gluten, wheat, and diary free diets.
Fresh herbs and spices are also used extensively throughout – lots of mint, cilantro, ginger, lime leaf, cinnamon, turmeric, the list goes on. You’ll often get fresh local fruit as dessert over sugary pastries. Best of all, fresh food is available everywhere.
However, if you want to maintain a clean diet, you’ll need to (obviously) avoid ingredients like: condensed milk, famously in the intensely strong Vietnamese coffee; anything fried/deep-fried; and fruit concentrates.
In a cafe, I found a gem of a magazine called Word – it’s like Vietnam’s own Time Out. Rob and I also found some outstanding places by asking the people we came across. I highly recommend Quan An Ngon restaurant and asking for a good Bun Cha spot.
Particularly in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, yoga studios are almost everywhere with most of them offering classes and retreats in English. A simple Google search will do, or have look around cafés nearby.
Even in April it was already too hot by 9AM. The remedy is to wake up at sunrise (when the rest of the locals would do their exercises) or an indoor workout. If I were a ‘morning person’ I’d choose the morning option every time because the sunrises were absolutely out of this world.
Of course doing GYROKINESIS® on the beach was the best, but I also thoroughly enjoyed using the Nike Training Club App. Falling lucky with ample indoor space in my BnB’s, there was usually enough room for a full workout plus a mini-Barre class.
My all time favorite activity was hiking and swimming through the beautiful Hang En Cave (3rd largest in the world) with the incredible Oxalis group. We then ended the trip with trekking around Sapa’s rice fields. I’ve never felt so alive!
With all the soups, trekking, and hot weather, you’ll be fit and well without even trying.
More in Vietnam
Maria decided to come back home after 10 years of living in the U.S., London, and France, to begin building a new space in Mexico City called Kinecta Estudio. Listen to her story.
Most of us stretch when we wake up in the morning or when we feel stiffness in certain areas. However, we should make stretching a part of our daily routine.
Whether you’re an office worker, runner, or fitness enthusiast, here are a few reasons on why you should be stretching correctly.
To Improve True Flexibility
Forced stretching leads to opposite effects of stretching. If you’re just beginning (or just really tight) and find the muscle(s) not wanting to release, first relax into it instead of forcing the stretch. Only go as far as you can.
Relax and release a little at a time with every exhale (passive stretching). This way you’ll work with you true stretch and see more of an improvement in your flexibility. In fact, there are many types of stretching, choose the one that will work for you.
To Avoid Overstretching
Reduce the chance of injury from overstretching. The main reason to stretch is not only lengthen the muscle but to create more space in your joints and ligaments so there is less impact and so the bones can rotate properly to maintain appropriate range of motion.
Take one day at a time, and be careful not to go beyond your limit. Each day will be different. Know the difference between when you’re pushing yourself safely and when you’re over doing it.
To Release Deep Muscle Connections
When stretching is done correctly and frequently enough, those aches and pains in deeper muscular areas can finally begin to release. Why? This is because deep muscle connections are all intertwined with each other. The psoas muscle, which connects to the lower back and top of the hamstring) is fantastic example of why the body needs to move and stretch as an entire system.
To Stretch Right for Your Body Type
Every type of body is unique and every type of body will need slightly different stretching techniques. Pay attention to your range of motion each day and where soreness and tightness may lie. Being aware about what your body needs each day will set how you perform, exercise, cool down, and stretch. Listen to your body and stretch mindfully.
Want more tips? Read this:
Common questions I hear, “What’s the GYROKINESIS® Method?” “Is it like yoga or Pilates?” Sometimes it seems to difficult to explain, but perhaps it shouldn’t. The ultimate aim is to understand the body, move and enjoy.
This method was originally created as an injury prevention method for dancers, however it became widely used for general alignment and movement enhancement for many walks of life.
“There are numerous benefits to mixing up your workout routine. It’s the key to stimulating different muscle groups and preventing boredom (Arnold Lee, MD).
5 Ways the GYROKINESIS® Method Can Enhance Your Yoga Practice:
1) It can give you a different sense of awareness to the body’s makeup.
Our body isn’t linear and is hardly symmetrical. The Gyrokinesis method emphasizes on a whole body connection and, in particular, the spiral lines. This way the mover can understand that the whole body needs to be involved in both movements small and large as our muscles, ligaments, and bones are connected in many ways – mostly in diagonals and spirals.
Also, the self-massage component of this method gives the mover an opportunity to draw attention to areas we tend to avoid or didn’t even know existed. We tend to forget our organs, what effect our muscular body can have on them, and the places in between. By turning our attention to these areas, the mover is able to awaken ‘dormant’ areas.
©️ Capital Gyrotonic
2) It can help you understand the painful/injured parts of your body.
Instead of working through the pain or avoiding movement altogether, this method helps the mover to avoid unhealthy habitual patterns in the body, which may have caused the pain/injury in the first place. Therefore, this method focuses on creating space in the joints before movement occurs to give the body a chance to find pain-free movement and appropriate range.
3) It can give you insight to the ‘internal body’.
The internal body (like in Tai Chi modalities) can refer to the micro-movements that can occur before movements become come into fruition. Gyrokinesis principles like ‘narrowing the pelvis’, ‘suppling’, and the ‘fifth line’ are queues for the internal body to ignite and guide the rest of the body for fuller, more expressive movements.
4) It can help you reach a fuller movement potential.
Optimal range of movement is crucial to maintain healthy muscles and joints. The Gyrokinesis Method explores all ranges of movement so that over time the body is strong, supple. Therefore, within a Gyrokinesis class the mover is challenged to work on weak, or ‘blind spots’ to enhance overall movement. Without this the mover could have the tendency to only move a certain way, leaving portions of the body behind on movement development.
5) It gently opens areas usually avoided.
You will honestly open areas of the body like never before that don’t get enough attention. As previously mentioned, Gyrokinesis’ unique movement method involving circular and spiralling movements tap into the areas in between our normal range of motion. Therefore, the mover will be able to find an even better, longer-lasting muscular and neuromuscular connection within their movements.
Want to try a GYROKINESIS® class?
Find me at Little Yoga Space Lisboa
Try the Gyrotonic.com’s Studio Finder
Daniel N. is the “Fitness Crab“, a Toronto-based fitness coach and yoga instructor. He’s been helping his clients improve their health and set up their home gyms for over a decade with incorporating the BOSU Ball.
Daniel believes that BOSU balance trainers are a must for any home gym as they are the perfect warm up exercise, and a great low impact cardio workout. He also teaches people how to achieve ideal form with bodyweight exercise as well as machines like rowers and climbers. Read Daniel’s explanation and workout plan on the Bosu Ball.
Enjoy your workout!
How to Use a BOSU Ball to Strengthen Your Core Muscles
A BOSU ball does not look much like a piece of fitness equipment but it is a multipurpose physical fitness tool. It is great for core strengthening since it forces you to enhance your balance and stability. However, if you are beginner, you might want to do these exercises without a ball first. This way you will get a feel of the movements.
What is a BOSU Ball?
A BOSU ball looks like the bottom third or fourth of a large round ball. It can be used in a number of physical fitness movements with either the flat side or rounded side facing up. That is why it is called BOSU meaning “both sides up.”
What is the Core?
The main area of the core is made up of rectus abdominis, inner and external oblique, erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings. The main role of your core muscles is to keep you stable. Therefore, whenever you have to compensate for stability, your body is working the core. So whichever way you use the BOSU ball (with the dome part or flat surface facing up), it offers a very unstable platform. This makes your core muscle into continuous compensation.
Reasons Why Working the Core is Essential
If you fail to work your core you might:
Experience lower back pain
Have bad balance
(rounded shoulders, excessive lower spine curvature or external foot rotation)
Weak glutes can cause your femurs to rotate outward. This effect moves to the feet and does the same thing. This is the reason for duck-feet.
A strong core keeps your back erect when sitting and standing.
The core muscles also help to remain upright for long when riding a bike. For example, when riding a bike up a hill, you will struggle miserably when your core is weak and experience lack of stability. This is because you need power to push hard as you climb the hill.
Moreover, power is important when performing martial arts, playing sports like basketball and football where you need to make hits, fend off opponents, and maintain stability at all times.
Exercises to Perform with a BOSU Ball
I am sure you already know how to do a pushup. So rather than placing your palms face down on a flat surface, you will grab either side of the BOSU ball, with the curved side on the floor. As you push up the same way you do your conventional pushups, your stability will be greatly tested. Several parts of your body will be receiving a workout at the same time. These include your arms, your lower back, your abs, and other core muscle groups. Carry out sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.
Arm and Leg Raise
Place your BOSU ball with the flat surface facing downwards. Sit down in front of it, and gradually lean back. The BOSU ball should support your lower back. Gaze at a place high above you and at the same time lift your right leg and left arm. Keep both your arm and leg straight and bring them together if you can. Do 5 to 10 reps, then lift your left leg and right arm and do the same.
Position the BOSU ball with the round side down and step on it. You will instantly feel your core compensating in order to give you stability. While at this position you can carry out toe raises, squats, and barbell curls.
With the flat side up, grip the sides of the BOSU ball, and hold a plank with your arms extended. Take your left knee to your right elbow and draw it up all the way. Go back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds. Do the same with your right knee.
Side Plank Hip Drop
With the flat side down, do a side plank on your right side by balancing on your elbow. Your shoulder and elbow should be lined up. Stack your legs together and push your hip high up. Drop your hip and return to the starting plank. Do this for 30 seconds on both sides.
With the curved side up, sit low on the BOSU ball. Hold a 3 to 10 pound dumbbell in both hands and extend your arms behind your head. Without arching your back, keep your core tight and pull your belly button to your spine. Crunch up like you are reaching for the ceiling while maintaining your arms in a straight position. Return gradually, extending your arms backwards every time you come back down. You will feel your abs shake on the rear side which is a good sign. Do this 25 times.
– Written by Daniel N., Certified Trainer, Yoga Instructor, and Health Coach
Phone : 647-905-0942 (Toronto, Canada)
Previous Guest Posts
Breathing and the GYROTONIC® Method by Lucia Vergnano
Benefits of Yoga on Anxiety and Depression by The Klinik Blog
Hello my favorite movers,
As I gather and organize all of the oh-so-inspiring information from my travels in Southeast Asia and South America, I thought it would be a good time to say, “Be right back!” while I take a break from being glued to the computer screen.
We would like to ensure the next upcoming posts exceed great content and quality. We are also working to add some new and exciting things to The Movement Blog as well. Thanks to you – it has been growing immensely and we are looking forward to it’s future.
Don’t forget to check out my preferred Gyrotonic trainers list in which I’ll be adding to while I’m away. Trainers on the list are not only a personal favorite but are of the best with top facilities. Definitely not to miss.
Guest Post: How to Use a BOSU Ball to Strengthen Your Core Muscles
Interviews with Gyrotonic Trainers Yolanda Corrales (Mexico/L.A.)
and Nonie Yung (Hong Kong)
Tips for Staying Motivated and Fit While Travelling
Podcasts, Videos, and more
See you soon!
Lucia Vergnano is a Dancer with Aterballetto Dance Company, a Mother, and a GYROTONIC® Trainer based in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Vergnano now contributes to an blog called Mamma, Mi Racconti (Italian for Mom, Tell Me).
In this post, Vergnano shares her thoughts on breathing, the importance of oxygen, and how the GYROTONIC® Method helped her further understand this necessity.
BREATHING AGAIN by Lucia Vergnano
[Translated by Lucia Vergnano from ‘UNA MAMMA IN GYRO‘ (A mother in Gyro) – ‘Juggling family, dance, travels and the Gyrotonic Method’]
Each of us as a child breathes, breathes well, without any constraints or problems. Then, with time, we forget. We get stuck. The mind begins to control our breathing unconsciously. We do not think it’s so important anymore.
What are the consequences? Aches, muscle pain, joint pain, stomach ache, headache to name a few… I am not saying it all depends on how we breathe, but it is certainly influential, and knowing how to breathe well could help to prevent these problems.
For example, musicians use instruments to make music, painters use brushes and colors and dancers use the body. The body and soul of the dancer are their tools and, as every tool must be treated with care, it should be cleaned, polished and pampered.
What better ingredient to feed your body than oxygen? Oxygenating your blood, muscles and mind correctly means preventing contractions. It means learning to maintain a correct posture and dealing with stressful moments (which are plentiful!) in a more conscious way.
In addition, the diaphragm is the muscle that has the main role in breathing, in which the Gyrotonic Method truly teaches how to make the diaphragm more elastic and, at the same time, stronger in order to control it voluntarily.
The Gyrotonic Method also teaches us that a certain type of breathing must be associated with each type of movement: a gentle and deep breath when movement is wide and slow; a more rhythmic one if the movement is fast and small; and a stronger and more intense one if the movement requires greater physical strength.
Improving my breathing has greatly helped to increase my physical strength, mobility and prevent injuries. I feel that Gyrotonic is a method that can really work for anyone, regardless of age or physical fitness. It is a method that helps people to breathe consciously to oxygenate both the body and mind.
After practicing the Gyrotonic method and its breathing techniques for years, it has definitely made a difference. Just couple of hours a week and you will see a change in your life, because knowing how to take a deep breath at the right moment can change your day.
More About Lucia Vergana
Lucia, 33, was born in Turin but moved to Florence to follow her dream to become a ballerina. And she did. In the last 15 years Vergnano has been working as a professional dancer, first with Balletto di Roma in Rome, then with Aterballetto in Reggio Emilia.
However, while dancing in Rome, Vergnano became injured but was fortunately introduced to the Gyrotonic Method. From that moment on, she realized that she didn’t want to be without this method, so pursued to becoming an instructor.
She has been married to Hektor, who is also a dancer, for 3 years. They met in Rome in 2000 and after a difficult start they decided to try to build a life together. A little more than 2 years ago she became a Mother to Lorenzo, which is her “greatest pride and joy.”
Follow Lucia Vergnano here:
Happy Birthday to The Movement Blog 🎈
Our blog baby is officially 2 years old! In the beginning of April in 2015, I wrote my first post on what this blog would be about and some basic points on the GYROTONIC® Method. Come April 15th, The Movement Blog received over 4,000 + visits in one day after my post called, ‘5 Reasons Dancers Should Take the GYROTONIC® Method.’
2 years later, we are taking the blog around the world. Here’s what we’re up to now.
First of all, thank you EVERYONE for your interest and increasing The Movement Blog’s popularity day by day, country by country. This is why we’ve said, ‘The Movement Blog is Officially Global‘! I’m ecstatic about the various topics we will write about and what we will see, record, and research over the months.
Secondly, I also want to thank you those who has shared and referred The Movement Blog to someone else or through their blog/website, especially the Dance and Gyrotonic community. It is truly my passion to continue to give back and create a platform for both the up-and-coming and the seasoned professional.
What’s next? Well, my fiancé, Rob, and I will be travelling for the next 6 months in Southeast Asia, Africa, the States, Europe, and South America. Our intentions are to draw inspiration from the places we visit and relate to our favorite topics: health, fitness, wellbeing, the Gyrotonic method, the Gyrokinesis method, dance, and data.