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Yoga: Practicing it Safe During Pregnancy

A few weeks into my first pregnancy, I thought I had lost my mind.The influx of emotions, ranging from elation to anger to sadness and anxiousness was impossible to deal with.It also drove my husband crazy.I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to see my obstetrician.He sat me down and imparted some of the wisest words of wisdom I had heard throughout my entire pregnancy: Just do yoga. Yoga is one of the best types of exercise to do while you’re pregnant, but it’s important to practice safely to avoid injuries and complications.Taking a yoga class can be done with modifications while you’re pregnant, but the most beneficial way to practice during those nine months is by taking a prenatal class. Prenatal yoga focuses on safe poses to help increase flexibility and to keep the blood flowing. It helps you maintain your muscle tone and strengthens your pelvic muscles, which will be necessary for a smooth labor. Yoga also decreases the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, such as mood swings, muscle cramps and nausea. Prenatal classes are taught by teachers who specialize in working with pregnant women, but if you take a regular yoga class, there are some poses you want to avoid.With each trimester, your body changes.You need to modify your poses, so always inform your teacher where you are in your pregnancy.In the first trimester, it’s okay to lie on your back, but that’s off limits in the second and third trimesters, since it can restrict the blood flow to the uterus.Deep abdominal twists and back bends are also a no no, as are inversions, such as headstands and handstands. Don’t even consider doing Hot Yoga. Many yoga studios have prenatal classes.If yours doesn’t, ask for a recommendation.Prenatal yoga is more than an exercise class.It’s a community. It’s reassuring to be with a group of supportive women who know exactly what you’re going through.It’s also a beautiful way to bond with your unborn child.

by Theresa Heim

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Dating Advice For Men: Things You Should Never Do On A First Date

Although I haven't been on a first date in 15 years being that I'm not sure my husband would approve of it, I did my fair share of dating and remember feeling exasperated by certain things some of the men I dated dared to do on our first date. That is not to say, that women can't be equally as uncouth as men- it's just that I never dated a woman, but I digress. Let's face it-first dates can be stressful; they're akin to going on a job interview with so much more at stake-your future. That's right-every first date has the potential to be that singular watershed moment when the stars align and you meet the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with in co-habitation or matrimony. And while we would all love to believe that our soul mate would see us for who we are-under all the makeup, clothing and social masks we wear, the truth is, first impressions are EVERYTHING. But ultimately how you act and what you do is what will determine whether or not you get a second date with this person. For instance don't forget to bring your wallet! This one seems like a no-brainer but I've known some men who go on a date and when the check comes say they forgot their wallet at home. But women also need to bring their wallets as they should never assume if the date is mutually agreed upon that the man will pick up the tab. Plus-most guys appreciate a girl who at least OFFERS. With that being said Hunt Ethridge, a dating and relationship coach and co-founder of International Dating Coach Association which accredits dating coaches, shares five things you should never do on a first date if you want to get a second one. 1/ Have -No plan- Did you just show up and ask her what she wanted to do? Not a good start. Get a plan in order. If you showed up at your dentist and she asked you what you felt like doing, how would that strike you? It probably wouldn’t fill you with confidence. Be a man with a plan. Tell her, “We’re going...” My advice is a coffee shop or something simple, but for heaven’s sake, find a cool, funky one. Avoid chains like Starbucks or Panera. Even if it’s not her preferred place, you’ll get points for having a plan! 2/ -Not be a leader- Genetics plays a big part in our interactions. Not your dad or grandfather’s genes; we’re talking 10,000 years ago genes. Back when we were hunters and the women were gatherers, our job was to protect and lead. It’s still the same way. Women want a bold man to lead them. “I want a MAN!” as you have probably heard women say. Not an overbearing man, but one who is confident. Open doors, ask leading questions and know where you’re going and what you’re doing. 3/ Have -A date that goes too long- Sometimes a date can be going so well that you don’t want it to end. This can also be a pitfall. Imagine going to a party where you’re having a blast. The music is great, the wine is flowing like, well, wine and everyone is talking and is interesting. You think about going but decide to stay longer. Then the alcohol runs out, the person who owns the iPod disconnects it and goes home and all the interesting people leave. There you are, with a warm drink, no music and everyone is just milling around. Once you leave, you have a sour taste in your mouth when you think of the party. Same deal here. We usually recommend an hour for your first date. Get in, get out, and leave them wanting more. 4/ Plan -A too-complex date- “Okay, first we’re going to grab a drink at McDrinker’s but we have to leave by 8:45 so we can make it in time for the 9 show at the Comedy Club. You wait in line while I go grab movie tickets for the midnight showing of The New Action Movie and I’ll meet you at the table. Try to get one near the back in case the show runs long and we need to duck out early.” While I applaud your leadership skills, over-scheduling and over-committing is never a good thing. It doesn’t give her time to settle in and enjoy herself without thinking of the next thing. Make it fun but relaxing and stress-free. She is there for you; in fact, the whole first date is to get to know each other. If you are doing all this activity, guess what…? By the end of the date you will know as little about her as at the start. Worse, dating is emotional and when our energy and attention are unfocused, you are less likely to connect and get to know your date. AKA, it will be your one and only date with her. 5 / -Try for a second date- Everyone wants a second date. Even before she shows up she is hoping there will be a second date in her future. But if you are trying to set up a second date before the first one is even over, it’s not going to look good. First off, you’ll come off as desperate. Like you are trying to lock her in before she realizes you aren’t worth one. Also, on the other side, what if she agrees and later you find out she’s a closet psycho. Leave planning the next date for a phone call a few days later. It is not an interview, and if you treat it as such, you won’t meet anyone of quality. Dating should be and is supposed to be fun and not too serious an experience, especially on the first date. Show your lighter side, enjoy the company and only after the date decide if you will call her or not. Guess what, you just might have so much fun together that decision has already been made for you!

by Melissa Chapman

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Pilates or Yoga?

Pilates or yoga? It is a difficult choice. Both can help you obtain a killer bikini body, but how do you choose which is right for you? Before you get overwhelmed with all the options that are out there, it’s good to have a basic knowledge of their differences. Even though they are often compared with one another, Pilates and yoga have very different origins. Pilates was invented in the 1900’s by a man named Joseph Pilates. It originally became popular in the dance communities because it helped increase spine and core strength. Yoga was started over 5000 years ago in India and brought to the United States in the early 1900’s by monks. It has branched out to include many different disciplines, but they mostly remain true to the original emphasis. With both Pilates and yoga, the mind/body connection is an important one. Both disciplines require focus and mental strength that will serve you even after you leave the studio. With yoga though, there is a spiritual connection added to the equation. Yoga is seeped with ancient tradition and many classes include meditation and chanting. Yoga also focuses on the breath. Strength and flexibility are some of the greatest benefits of Pilates and yoga. A Pilates class can take place on a mat or on a machine called a reformer. For a more challenging workout, there are megaformers. This is considered to be a power Pilates class. There is a plethora of different yoga practices, all of which take place on a mat and may use props, such as blocks, blankets and straps. With both Pilates and yoga, your own body resistance is a staple for gaining strength, even if you’re using a reformer. One of the most evident differences between Pilates and yoga involves the areas that are addressed. In a Pilates class, you will get a total body workout, but many of the exercises revolve around core strength. With yoga, it’s about balance. The muscles are worked equally and poses are complemented by counter poses. Both Pilates and yoga offer many benefits, so ultimately the decision is a difficult one. The best thing to do is to try out a sampling of classes to see which is the best fit for you.

by Theresa Heim

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Fitness: Workouts Under 30 Minutes

I am too busy... We have all heard it and we have all said it, since it is the number one excuse people find to not exercise. Going to the gym for thirty minutes or less isn’t very motivating. I mean, what kind of a workout can you get in half an hour? It turns out, you can get an excellent one. I found several exercise programs, all of which I can do on those days “I’m too busy,” all of which give my body that much needed burn. The best part is, it’s like having a personal trainer in my very own home. Power Yoga with Bryan Kest Yogis travel from all over the world to train with Bryan Kest, and now, you can train with him in the comfort of your living room. His website offers an infinite library of classes as well as on demand and live streaming. Whether you want a restorative stretch or a power packed 30 minute session, there is an array of options offered on his website. Blogilates Do you want to sculpt your arms or tone your core? Blogilates offers a video for that. Casey Ho is the founder of this video blog, and Fitness Magazine named her the Best Healthy Living Blogger of 2012. Her website offers quick yet challenging ways to get into shape through her POP Pilates program. She’s fun and energetic and very motivating to work out with. Burn SF Pilates combined with light weights and bursts of cardio equals an extreme thirty minutes. Lisa Corsello, founder of Burn SF, packs her half hour video with a complete workout. This is high intensity, as are her popular classes in the Bay Area. A single class at her studio is $20, but you can experience her for free on YouTube. Physique 57 Physique 57 offers great online mat and barre classes, many of which are 30 minutes or less, yet the benefits are those of an hour long class. They also offer a Get Fit Quick class that focuses on concentrated body sculpting moves that a lot of busy celebrities use to get Red Carpet ready.

by Theresa Heim