Monthly Archives: August 2008

Confined spaces/Yoga for office, in flight, trains and automobiles

Living in NYC apartments, working in office cubicles, traveling on airplanes.
These small spaces can make it very difficult to do yoga, but it is possible. Oh yes, you can do yoga in small spaces.
In my last blog entry, I mentioned the few pieces of equipment you can get at sporting goods stores or online and stash in your small apartment or carry in your carry-on baggage while traveling.
So let's talk about yoga in the office.
Whether you have a small cube or an individual office space, it's important in the midst of your day behind a desk or in meetings, that you take the time, even if its just a minute or three or five to break up the day and recharge. You will be more productive and a nicer person if you do.

If you have the opportunity, get outside, take in a deep breath or stare at the sun with your eyes closed. Yes, stare, at the sun, with the eyes close. It's strengthening for the eyes to stare at the sun (not directly) and like flowers, we need to be in the sun. Excessive exposure to the sun, bad, healthy exposure to the sun, vital. We need the sun. Wear sunscreen and the previous will be healthy.
Just tilt head up like a flower, keep eyes closed, turn the corners of your mouth up and breathe deep. All you need is a minute.

If you absolutely must stay indoors or its raining or you are too lazy, here are some fun things to break up your day without breaking up the flow of whatever you are involved with working on.

Seated in your desk chair, keep your face forward toward your computer screen.
Take your gaze up toward the florescent lights without wrinkling your forehead.
Keep the gaze skyward for up to thirty seconds. Then take the gaze all the way to the left, hold for thirty seconds.
Take the gaze all the way to the right, hold.
Take the gaze down and hold.
Your eyes need a good stretch so give it to them. They work hard for you.

Seated twist:
Still in your chair, sit upright, feet hip distance.
Take your left palm to your right knee and you right palm back behind you and reach for the back of the chair. Hold for a few breaths then take the other side.

Head roll:
Take a big breath in. As you exhale, drop your chin down towards your chest. Inhale as you draw your right ear towards your right shoulder. Exhale chin toward the chest. Inhale left ear toward left shoulder, exhale chin to chest. Inhale full head roll over to the right, back, left and center. Then the other side, full rotation.
Add a little juice to your stretch by holding your right palm to your left hear and pressing gently to release and stretch the left side of the neck and other side.

Hip Stretch:
Still seated, I know!!
Cross your right ankle on top of your left knee. Press the right inner thigh down gently. If you have the flexibility, fold forward and take five deep breaths.

Forward fold:
Just plain great to do any time of the day to relieve stress.
Sit in your chair, feet wider than hip distance, feet pointed and extended along the floor. Take a deep breath in and roll all the way down like a rag doll, taking your head as close as between the knees as you can. Stay there for five deep breaths and when you are ready, inhale as you roll back up to seated. Do the same thing again but with flexed feet.

Spine stretch:
Sit half way toward the edge of your seat. Spine long and neutral. Take the hands and place them on the knees. Inhale and arch the pelvis, puffing the heart forward and gazing upwards. Exhale as you round the pelvis, like someone has a hold of your waist and they are pulling you back, chin toward your chest, low back rounding. Do several cycles.

Side stretch:
Hold on to the outside edges of your chair. Inhale, release your right hand, reach up and over towards your left side making a curve and stretching your right side body.
If it is comfortable, front and backstroke your right arm like you are swimming.
Hold for five breaths.
Hold the right side of your chair and reach with your left arm.

Shoulder rolls:
Not to be confused with California rolls. Make circles with your shoulders, forward, up, back and down. Then reverse the direction. Then shrug the shoulders up towards the ears and let'em go. Do that a few times.

Standing leg stretch:
Facing your desk, take your palms and place them at the front edge of your desk, shoulder distance a part. Walk your feet back as far as you can and make a table top with your back. Let the head hang softly.
Take your right foot and bring it toward your desk, making a runners lunge with your left leg. Keep the left heel lifting high and lean into your right leg to stretch.
Change sides. Hold for a bunch of breaths each side.

If you have your own office space or have the time when you come home, lay on the floor and take the legs up the wall or place them on the seat of your desk chair. This is a great way to increase the circulation in the legs and release tension in the legs from a long day at the computer.

I know I'm a little wordy but I'm precise. The whole routine could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Take as little or as much time as you can or just pick an exercise and hour. It'll give you something to look forward to. It will open up your body and release tension.
In turn, it will keep you younger. We always like to hear that.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Be good to yourself, drink lots of water and call your mother.

What gym do you belong to?/All you need for fitness equipment in the home, yessiree!

The gym of pushups and sit ups?
Someone told me that little gym joke and I took it on as my own. I've never liked gyms. I kind of still don't except for the Easton Gym in West Hollywood and I think that's just because its the homiest, nicest gym I've ever seen and I've worked there for the last four years.
I still don't like gyms. Even though I'm a trainer and teacher, there is just somethin' about them.
Maybe its still the fat kid in me or the idea that you have to already be 'worked' out when you get to the gym, lookin' fine and tidy and tight. It's rare to see works in progress at gyms. Its more a parade of fantastic athletic apparel and sports drinks. How mean am I to say this about my own industry? Um, cause it's my blog. And I love to work out!! I could do it all day, so....
I get roped into equipment and products, have bought them all for myself and my clients and still keep comin' back to the old school stuff that is inexpensive, easy to use and doesn't take up a lot of space. Living in NYC apartments, I had to be creative with my space. Inclement weather would not motivate me to go to the gym, so I had to improvise with what I had. I also like stuff that's easy to travel with.

I keep mixin' it up, but the basics stay the same and you can pick these up on line at Amazon, or at your local Big5 or other favorite and you won't break the bank.

1. The resistance band (with handles): You can choose your resistance but also adjust the tubing once you have it by the way you use it. It'll usually come with instructions and a few exercises. You can work your legs and upper body with this and it packs up nice and easy and small in your suitcase just like your favorite swim suit.

2. The jump rope: Feel like a kid again. Livin' in LA, if I don't have time for a work out, I'll do some jumps in between clients and appointments. Some cardio is better than no cardio and it takes up no room. 100-1000 jumps and you've torched carlories. Just make sure if you are doin' it in your apartment that no one lives beneath you or at least that they are not home when you are jumping, 'cause it might freak'em out.

3. The step: Doin' it old school. I like the half step. It's just a square, not the bench size. Inexpensive, takes up a little space. You can use the 2 inch riser to jump over or take it all the way up to 14-16-18 inches to do lunges, step ups, hop ups. Its fun and usually comes with a video or fun exercises to do with it. You can also use the step for push-ups and tricep dips.
I like it to use it to reach for things that are too high in my kitchen cabinets.

4. If you like the big stability ball (55/65/75 centimeters), you'll love the bender ball. Its a tinier version and travels well to work all your core work without taking up a ton of space.

5. Last but not least, the foam roller. I don't know who I was without this thing before I found it.
It's just a roll of foam, but used correctly (usually comes with a video or instructions), you can get into the deep knots that surround muscles that make them tight and sore and release them in a feels so good way that makes you longer, leaner and more prepared to train and strengthen.
It's like a massage but without all the money and you are doing it to yourself.

I also love free weights, running, walking, hiking and yoga stretches. All free if you do it by yourself and good for the heart and the head.
What's also good about these things is that, you aren't at a gym!! You don't have to be afraid to look funny doing it. You can even do it naked. No one'll notice or care. How liberating is that.

The one thing that is important, is your form. You can learn proper and safe form at your gym or you can hire me and I'll show you. The last thing you wanna do is do your exercises in a way that does more harm then good and creates habits that can be injurious as opposed to beneficial.

I love to exercise. It's one of the best ways for me to express myself. Like art.
I have so much more to share with you, so until the next blog,
be good to yourself, drink lots of water and call your mother.


Just the word alone conjures up a swell of emotions and my dinner half way up my esophagus.
I’ve never been a fan of pajamas. The idea of them, so precise. So uniform and matching. So official.
I’m wearing pajamas. It’s official. I’m off to bed!
No possible way I’m going for a walk or an improptu dance party.
What do you wear to bed then, Laur?
Are you one of those people that enjoys a slumber in the buff?
Quite the contrary. I have to wear something.
Except when I was in Bali and staying at the Ritz Carlton. You bet your butt, pun intended that my bod was going to be caressed by gagillion thread count sheets for eight hours per night.
Here on this side of the world, I remain clothed at most times.
My bedtime attire usually includes some of the following: men’s underwear, old college sweatshirts, cut off t-shirts or shorts and my favorite, favorite thing to wear, medical scrubs.
I just love getting the mail while wearing them. None of my neighbors know me so if they pop their head out whilst I’m passing by to pick up the post, they might think I just finished the overnight shift. Whose lives did I save? They’d think. Who died under my watch?
Let ‘em ponder.

If you asked my family to mentally google the three words, Laurie, Christmas and Pajamas, they would all have to sit themselves down to control wetting themselves as Christmas in my house, was Laurie’s pajama parade.
For years, pajamas were nothing more than Santa’s joke on the three of us. My two sisters and I would look at the soft wrapped packages and know instantly that they were the socks, Carter’s underpants or pajamas from JC Penneys or Burlington. Did Santa really think we counted THESE as presents? We’d keep these packages in the corner of the room as the last things to open and go straight to unwrapping the Cabage Patch Kids. We knew nothing could follow that act so the pajamas remained an afterthought. They were quickly forgotten by minutes of pleasure with our strangely named children, Mason Kendal and Lotta Jacinda, followed by a gorge fest of cheese, turnips, turkey and pie.
Not all at the same time.
We never liked getting pajamas.
When Santa stopped visiting our house because my sister’s and I became ‘of age,' the pajamas never stopped coming.
And as we grew older the pajamas became more and more obscene. Traffic stopping patterns and colors, off the wall styles, designs and fabrics that someone small girl in Malaysia actually sat down and sowed for us folks in the US, kept showing up year after year after year.
She’s still giggling in the corner of her mansion.
The intricacies of these pajamas were ridiculous and impossible to imagine physically on body.
And the show began.
Jazz hands and all, I would descend the staircase in
school bus yellow leggings donned with wiggly red smiley faces. This would be paired with cropped black t-shirts wide enough to upholster a love seat, slippers the size of the cast of ‘Friends’.
I’d be tripping and they’d be laughing and my job was done.
Perhaps it was my mother age or more appropriately, her humor that made each Christmas sing violently of nighttime wardrobe catastrophes. No matter what fashion plate you’d mix on my bottom or top half, I always looked out of proportion and much like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon,
as its deflating,
at the end of the parade.
Sadly sagging down Broadway in desperate need of Botox.
I loved my roles as 'Strike Up the Band' Barney or Pikachu, but I never wore the pajamas my mother or Santa brought me. Never.
I’d be too frightened.
And so here I am, in my thirties, sitting and writing my blog, wearing the most delightful pair of pajamas I’ve ever seen. There were a gift from a dear friend sent from Pajamagram, a lovely little idea for gift giving.
I’m having surgery tomorrow and my friend thought a nice pair of pajamas would be a sweet recoup gift. Of course a swimming size medium was also a good idea as I like my pj’s to fit bigger or more appropriately, I like to feel small in my pj’s.

Is their anything else you can do instead of surgery?
Many of my friends asked this. As if I, of all people, wouldn’t have exhausted my time, bank account and body with alternative ways of healing.
I’m a big supporter of the eastern way of healing. It’s supported me when I’ve been out of balance. Currently, I’m a lot out of balance and if I take one more herb, I'd be a pizza.
I would never elect to turn my body over to a machine to make me breathe or have my heart beat. Ok, that’s a little dramatic.
I’m putting a lot of pressure on this surgery, like I’m going to have a tumor removed.
It’s not the case. It’s an out patient, common procedure women undergo in order to be healthy.
So there.
I just don’t like the idea of doing it.
And I don’t like the idea or suggestions from others that there must be another way.
I understand the worry but I’ve been living worry, which can create even more illness. Don’t ask me if I’ve tried acupuncture. I love my acupuncturist and he has been a huge part of the balancing and healing process.
Like life, there is not always one clear answer to a problem and not just one way to cure the problem. I don’t expect surgery to be the answer to why the sky is blue but it is certainly going to help me feel like a healthier person. My acupuncturist will help too. Meditating will help too. And nice pajamas, that makes it so much easier to get through.
Pale blue polka dots, pink trim, drawstring waist, cropped top, lush cotton.
Not too long, not too short. Just right.
How could a friend get it right and Santa miss every year? He didn't know me at all!
This week, I get over two fears, goin’ under and wearing pajamas.
This is turning out to be a good week.
I’ll see you on the other side.