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How One Practice Changed My Life and How It Can Change Yours

How One Practice Changed My Life and How It Can Change Yours

I started practicing yoga at home for two reasons: I felt like going to a yoga studio was selfish of me, (more on that later) and I didn’t want to spend $80-$100 a month for classes.  I knew that if I was going to commit to doing a daily practice, I would need the flexibility to fit it into my schedule.  Sometimes that means first thing in the morning, and other times it is at 10 PM at night, yet regardless of my schedule on any given day, I can always find fifteen to thirty minutes for yoga when I am intentional about it.

I had no idea the positive impact that practicing yoga daily would have on every aspect of my existence.  Simply put, it has changed my life and the lives of those around me. Ever since having children, I suffer from chronic mom guilt. Taking time for me always felt like a luxury I could not afford to give myself. Sense tells me that taking care of myself IS NOT selfish, and still I found myself struggling to allow myself to do so.

Prayer hands
Prayer hands with ShopSimplySofia.com Bracelet

Then one day, when my oldest was four and my youngest fast approaching three, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t like how I looked or felt and knowing that I wasn’t getting any younger, it was time to take the reins of my life.  Taking control and effecting change is simple, you need to be intentional and have the support of those around you.

Two months ago, I wrote a post on How to Succeed with an At-Home Practice. In that post, I promised that I would address the different Yoga apps I have been using, as well as devices.  So far, the only devices I have used are the Amazon FireTV and Apple TV 4K. Both of these products are great options, but if you are a Yoga lover, the AppleTV has a better selection of apps for download, making it the clear winner.

I started off with the FireTV -which is also a lot more affordable than the AppleTV – using Beachbody OnDemand.  At first, the Beachbody OnDemand app on FireTV seemed amazing.  It was all I needed until I purchased the new AppleTV (my old one isn’t compatible with the new applications) and I started practicing yoga in my bedroom instead of my living room using my newly acquired Apple device.  Initially, I really preferred how Beachbody OnDemand worked with the FireTV but I grew accustomed using it on the AppleTV just the same.  Then one day, courtesy of my children, I had to move my practice to my living room. At this point, Beachbody came out with a new and improved app for the FireTV that I was forced to download before proceeding with any practice. After only one use, I would say that it is by far the best interface I have experienced. It is far improved compared to the original version and much easier to navigate, making finding the perfect workout a breeze. Because the new version is so much cleaner, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beachbody comes out with an updated AppleTV app in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, Beachbody and Yoga International are available on both devices, but YogaGlo, my new favorite, is unavailable on FireTV.  This is a HUGE bummer. A quick search for “yoga” on either device will show you the discrepancy in available programming. For instance, another popular app among the yoga community that I am looking forward to trying soon is CodyApp, now rebranded Alo Moves, and you guessed it, it is also unavailable on the FireTV.  For this simple reason, I am going to dive deeper into each app, leaving out my preference for which device to use.

Beachbody OnDemand

After two years of no yoga in my life, I started my at-home practice using Beachbody OnDemand.  At $99 for the year, this was an affordable way to ease into starting a practice again while still having a lot of other workout options available to me and my family.  From day one, I fell in love.  Everything about their classes flowed with me.  I eased into my practice with the 21 Day Yoga Retreat, followed by the 3-Day Refresh and finally the 5-Day Yoga Challenge with Caley Alyssa.  After almost a month of yoga, led by an amazing group of instructors, I was well on my way to a healthier life and a stronger, more limber body.

Because I had an immensely successful transition into yoga, I encourage everyone I talk to about it to start here. Beachbody has continued to add classes to the “Yoga Studio” and every one of them is spectacular.  I have yet to try one I didn’t like.  Overall, I if I had to give Beachbody a grade, it would be an A, because their classes are visually and audibly superior to most other options and the quality of instructors and classes are top notch for the smaller selection they offer.  I did Beachbody almost exclusively for three months, so even though their classes are limited, there is enough to keep you challenged for a while.

Yoga International

Yoga International is one of the apps that I have a love-hate relationship with.  Firstly, it is an amazing resource for the advanced yogi or for anyone looking to learn more about the practice; in addition to their large number of classes, they offer many courses which set them apart in the teaching world. Yoga International is undoubtedly superior to other companies when it comes to their educational content, but in my case, I just want good 20-40 minute classes that are easy on the eyes and ears because, despite my desire, I don’t have the luxury of time to educate myself on the effects of yoga by means of their courses.

That being said, I am still a subscriber because my husband does like their classes, and I like their educational programs – time or not for them.  All in all, I like what they are doing, but I just don’t know if we are the right “fit.” I haven’t taken very many of their classes so I may just need to give them another chance. If anything changes I will make sure to update it here.

On a side note, Yoga International is $14.99 a month, which is a lot more than Beachbody, however, it is 100% yoga related content.  Also, I discovered that if you try to cancel, they will offer you a discounted subscription at $9.99 if you will stay. Because of their educational content and relatively affordable price, I give Yoga International a B+.

YogaGlo

Last, but hardly least, I want to talk about YogaGlo. I am currently IN LOVE with YogaGlo. Frankly, I am upset that it took me as long as it did to subscribe. At $18.00 it is the most expensive subscription, but it is by far the best.  It also beats paying $15-$20 for a single drop-in class at your local studio.

YogaGlo has been around for a while, they have amazing teachers and a TON of amazing programs. I have taken a few of their regular classes, but right now I am obsessed with their programs.  So far I have completed, “Strong & Empowered” with Claire Missingham, and “Up the Intensity” with Dice Iida-Klien. On Sunday I started “Level Up with Ladder Flows,” also with Dice and am alternating it with “Morning Groove” with Amy Ippoliti. There isn’t a single program that has disappointed thus far.  I highly recommend this to anyone who is serious about starting or building on their yoga practice.  YogaGlo gets an A+ from me!

There you have it! As I try other subscriptions I will make sure to add to this list.  I hope this helps you, whatever part of the journey you are in.

How to Satisfy Your Love of Reading Without Spending a Dollar

How to Satisfy Your Love of Reading Without Spending a Dollar

Last week I was introduced to Libby.  Libby is a cool chick and our relationship comes with a lot of benefits, but I have to admit, it is very one-sided. Let me explain. Last Friday, I went to the Largo Public Library – which is beautiful by the way and warrants its own post – and my life was forever changed.  I know that sounds dramatic, but hear me out.  As someone who reads a lot for school and for pleasure, I buy a lot of books. My husband is a big reader and so are my two little boys. We all love reading and we probably love buying books as much as reading them – I come from the school of thought that reading should be tangible and that there is nothing like holding a book in your hands and flipping through its pages. There is an inexplicable joy that comes from holding a book, yet I also recognize the value in e-books and audiobooks.

I have had the discussion with several friends of mine about the trends away from physical books as ebooks and audiobooks, in particular, become the busybody’s preferred choice for digesting tombs.  I have always been a visual and kinesthetic learner, but as I get older and find myself multi-tasking more and more, audiobooks have a special place in my arsenal of reading materials. That is where Libby comes in.

As I drove my car into the parking lot of the Largo Public Library and fixed my eyes on the brightly colored BookMobile parked just outside, I was instantly excited to unearth what lay beyond its doors. I had asked my friend Joy to come and experience the BookMobile with me and she was just as captivated as I was the moment we pulled up. The scenery was beautiful, but there was something about the big bright bus that made us want to know more.

When we walked into the BookMobile, there were screens, large and small throughout.  The traveling exhibit was on tour around the country to introduce Libby to citizens near and far. See, Libby isn’t an actual person, she is a virtual one, and she just so happens to be one of my new besties. At first, the idea of an app where I would have to borrow books seemed elusive and complicated, but the more I played with it the more excited I became.  What enthralled me the most was the exponential amount of money I would be able to save by using the resources offered by my own public library.  Instead of spending hundreds of dollars a month on books, some that I may want to read and reread and some that I will never want to give a second glance, the idea of borrowing books via an app became even more appealing.

Want to meet Libby? Check her out here at Meet.LibbyApp.com. You can also learn more about Libby on OverDrive.com, her creator’s website.  OverDrive, birthed Libby with an exorbitant amount of love and you can tell.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and learn more.

Since Friday, I have already downloaded several books for myself and my sons.  They have a really cool feature where some of their children’s books are narrated, which is super duper awesome when you are on the road and want your kids to read in the car but said kids are only three and four and therefore unable to read without some help. I was also able to download a book in about two seconds after fellow blogger, Katie Warner suggested one related to the Sunday Liturgy of the week.  The book was Roxy the Ritzy Camel by Anthony DeStefano – I totally recommend the book in case you’re wondering.

I even got my husband in on the fun! He has been trying to read the book Give and Take by Adam Grant for over three months after a colleague gave it to him, but with all his other commitments, including family, he hasn’t had time to sit down and read it.  He set out to look for the audiobook on Libby and he found it! He had to place a hold on it but after only 24-hours it was ready and automatically added to our “shelf.”  The convenience of having it on audio afforded us the opportunity to listen to about thirty minutes in the car today just while running errands with the kids and we didn’t have to spend a dollar! It was a win-win.

I am telling you, this is life changing for us. I have a lot of friends who love to read on their Kindle and Libby will even send the books to your preferred device.  What more could you want from a girl?! I told you the relationship is very one-sided.

Below are a bunch of pictures Joy and I took while visiting the BookMobile.  I want to know if you have tried Libby or if you have visited the BookMobile.  Please share your thoughts and experiences with me! Happy reading and listening.

  

This was cross-posted on Dama Camelia.