women

TUNE-IN TUESDAY TIPS // NO AWARENESS=NO CHANGE by Paluna Santamaria

Last week I promised I'd let you in in my podcast obsession by sharing one of the many I listen in a week (or a day).  I will continue to do so but today I'm letting you in my meditation practice instead.

I've been practicing different types of meditation since I was six years old, with some on and off strikes through my teens because no teenager wants to listen to her dad telling her to meditate daily because it's good for her (yeah that was my dad). 

Last year, meditating became a little more challenging. Old anxiety issues I hadn't experienced in a few years came back. Luckily, I know meditating makes this issues manageable so in search of something to keep me accountable I did some research and discovered my favourite meditation app: "CALM" check "Mindfulness and Mindfulness Apps" for the full review

Lately I've been procrastinating more than I want to, so today I decided to replace my morning meditation with one of the many mindfulness programs offered by Calm called "7 days of focus"

Day 1 is dedicated to AWARENESS

  Here are some excerpts from today's practice: 

**Disclaimer: content from the app has been edited for the purposes of this blog**

1. Attention is a limited resource. Distractions are everywhere. 

2. Noticing when our attention has drifted away is the first step to bringing it back.

3. Don't worry when your mind wanders. This is what minds do. Just to notice when it does and use it as an opportunity to bring it back just as you do with your breath. 

4. The practice is about noticing our habits and patterns.

5. Keep returning to your breath over and over. There is no right or wrong, it's the practice what matters. 

6. The first step to CHANGE is to be AWARE. 

That is all friends. Check back next week and don't forget to stay CALM ;) 

Do something you hate to look good. by Paluna Santamaria

"EXERCISE IS DAMN BORING"  

"INDUSTRY STANDARD SUGGESTS 30MIN 3 DAYS A WEEK. WHO HAS THAT TIME COMMITMENT?" 

Above are a few statements I read on an article few months ago. The piece showcased few exercises to be done at the park which got me excited right away, sadly I was soon disappointed. 

This article had so much potential. It could've promoted movement as a way to reduce stress, spend more time with your loved ones and generally live a happier life. Instead, the writing and choice of exercises suggested people should only exercise to look better or because the doctor says it's good for you. 

When I read it, I was so upset I went on a Facebook rant which I rarely do. This rant, ended up being a good thing so Im going to share it with you today: 

"There's room for all of us in this fitness world. The ones who exploit the industry by telling you you need to work out to look a certain way, the ones who practice something three times, take two certs, train a few friends and call themselves an expert and the ones who after years of training still view themselves as beginners, the ones who only teach what they've mastered, the ones who have such respect for their students and teachers that wouldn't dare to call themselves an expert or a master of anything. Working out and training are not the same thing. For all of you who get it, who get that moving is not a chore is a gift we've been given. All of you who are full of curiosity and understand that having control of your body goes way beyond pretty clothes and cute bums. Training has no end destination. It's the journey what makes it worth it. It is not a punishment for what you ate or something you do to "fix" your body. You are not broken, it's your mindset that needs work."

As someone who spent the majority of her teen years in a dysfunctional household. I can say that being active kept me sane and happy.  

You are bored because you are not paying attention. Because your mind is so narrow that you can only see what's right in front of you. 

I'm posting now because I'm no longer angry which seems like the best time to express my thoughts.  

I just hope one day you  realize that nothing magical happens when you get the cute bum or the shredded abs. Magic happens when you shift your focus and allow yourself to move. 

 

AGATSU POWER AND GRACE RETREAT by Paluna Santamaria

If you find yourself needing to "get back on track" after each holiday. This is the retreat for you. 

If you are taking care of your health and fitness and need a get away that won't derail your training/nutrition goals, this is also for you. 

Join us for 5 days in paradise and get the tools you need to succeed in fitness and nutrition. Transform more than your body by learning how to apply the information we provide you with to your lifestyle. 

Make this the "train-cation" that will allow you to never have to "get back on track" because you will have the tools to stay lean, strong, flexible and stress free even while not on vacation. 

What you will learn: 

  • Nutrition: No stress approach to nutrition. A mindset, not a diet. Learn how and why having no stress surround your nutrition is the best you can do for your health and performance.
  • Bodyweight Strength Training: No time to hit the gym? No problem. Learn the secrets to developing an incredible body with or without equipment.
  • 6 foundational principles that you must have in order to get strong, stay strong and avoid common injuries.
  • Hand balancing for beginners and intermediate levels.
  • Mobility and flexibility for back pain, tight shoulders & hips. Training should heal and not hurt. Let us show you how to avoid common training mistakes in yoga, gymnastics and weightlifting that can lead to injuries and plateaus.
  • Mediation & recovery: In our busy world relaxing is quickly becoming a lost art. Learn meditation and breathing techniques that will support stress management and help you recover fasters and move effectively from your work and training.

YOUR TRAINING VACATION INCLUDES:

  • Guided tour to Havana & it’s rich culture
  • Daily classes led by Paluna Santamaria and Sara-Clare Lajeunesse from Agatsu
  • Organic gardening; visit and learn about sustainability, the organic movement and agriculture in farming for yourself.
  • Kite surfing (weather permitting) 3 classes/2hrs each over 3 days (after that you get 2hrs included with the kites for free time and practice).
  • Optional 1 Hour rejuvenation facial extra $30
  • Review of your fitness and nutrition goals/concerns as well as assessment of one full week of your current nutritional habits to provide you with a starting point. **Provided by Tune-In Nutrition Team: Paluna Santamaria and Lovedeep Dhunna**
  • 6 week bodyweight training program. NO GYM REQUIRED. 

WHAT ABOUT YOUR STAY?

You will be staying in Harmony Villa (Villa Armonia in Spanish) in Playa del Este where you will have access to:

  • Three freshly prepared organic meals from the local gardens in Havana **100% vegetarian option available**
  • Unlimited coffee, tea, smoothies
  • 2 Swimming pools
  • Grocery store
  • Juice & coffee bar open 24/7
  • Main house contains:
  • Meditation room
  • Small library
  • Main lounge
  •  Main dining hall
  • Kitchen
  • Guest villas include:
  • 2-3 bedrooms
  • Each bedroom has its own private en suite bathroom
  • Full kitchen
  • Dinning room/living room
  • Green space
  • Outdoor lounging terrace
  • Steps away from the beach
  • Laundry available at an extra cost
  • Electric supply 110 volts

WHEN? February 13th-17th 2017 Playa del Este Cuba

ARE YOU READY TO JOIN US ??!!!! RESERVE YOUR SPOT WITH $750 HERE

You are alive, there's no reason to be bored. by Paluna Santamaria

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” -Nelson Mandela

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I've done things in life that most people would consider brave. The truth is. The majority of those times I have been terrified.

Friends ask me how. How did you manage to get through with that?

I just did, because that's the thing with fear, you either embrace it or you sit there paralysed.

I felt like running away , hiding, pretending I was sick. I thought of all the possible excuses but not following through always seemed worse.

Throughout the difficult times, I promised myself that I would never let life kill the sparkle in my eyes. I promised myself that I would remain playful and I would try to smile every day.

Some days all I had to get me through was my athletic practice. No matter how hard life got, if I could spend a moment moving my body I knew I would be able to keep those promises.

My body kept me safe. Movement kept me sane. I could be sad, angry, frustrated or happy.

Movement helped me breathe a little deeper.

Without my yoga practice, my athletic practice, music and journaling I'd probably be heavily medicated. Thankfully, I've never felt the need to experiment with drugs of any kind.

In my job, I have daily encounters with individuals who have also found emotional and physical healing in movement.

Every day I witness and experience the power of a still mind and an active body.

I invite you to stop exercising and start training, get strong, get moving. Do it with passion, do it smart. Follow a program, or don't. Be clear on what you want. Ask for it and go for it.

Stop doing it for looks, for fame, for recognition. Take a second away from social media. Don't compare yourself to others. Do your thing and do it with love for yourself, because the better human being you become, the better the world becomes.

To that article I read the other day which inspired me to write this; you are right, exercising is damn boring so stop and go find purpose. Don't show me another picture of a cute girl doing moves she doesn't want to do but she does them anyways because #butts and #thighs.

Training is the perfect analogy to life. There's grey days and sunny days. No matter what goes on, you still have to open your eyes at some point and look at the challenges right in the face, look at the happiness right in the face, embrace all of it, learn from it, experience it.

Please look around. The world is full. Look a little further, dig a little deeper. It will be scary sometimes but I promise you, It will not be boring if you allow yourself to move like no one is watching.

Open your eyes, you are alive, there is no reason to be bored.

 

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POWER AND GRACE: KIRAN Gandhi by Paluna Santamaria

IT IS NOT ABOUT HOW PRETTY YOU ARE, HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE OR WHO DO YOU KNOW. IT IS ABOUT PUTTING IN THE WORK AND SHUTTING THE WORLD'S MOUTH WITH POWER AND GRACE.  -Paluna-

This week I had the honour of having my dear friend Patricia Allison contribute to the series. She is an all around badass dancer/choreographer in Toronto, Ontario

Enjoy!!! And don't forget to come back next week :) 

ALL HAIL THE GODDESS KIRAN Gandhi!

In the middle of a long workday, I open Facebook and see the shiny beautiful face of Kiran Gandhi, musician and kick ass lady. She’s mid-marathon, beaming, and….. what’s that? Does she have…oh my god…. SHE HAS A GIANT SPOT OF RED BLOOD SEEPING FROM HER CROTCH! I exclaim with joy, fist punching into the air and shout, “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEA! MENSTRUATION AND SPORT!” I sing,  “Let’s talk about blood, Baby! Let’s talk about you and mensies!”. I immediately forward the post to multiple of my girlfriends with the subject line “Look!”

You need to know that talking about menstruation NEVER HAPPENS IN SPORTS! (Or very very very very very very very very rarely it does. And if you have to talk about it, then please do so quickly and finish the conversation as soon as possible.)

There are many inspiring and revolutionary thoughts and feelings to unpack surrounding the stand that Ghandi took in running the London marathon without a tampon. She’s quoted to say:

'I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist.”

While I could rant about access to tampons, pads and hygienic feminine materials all day, for the sake of this blog, I’m going to stick to discussing the initial excitement that I felt surrounding the conversation of menstruation in sport and female athletes.

    

 

 

Why This Single Act From This Single Woman Means So Much To Me

(The following is an account of MY personal experience and primarily through the lens of the dance world. Please share in the comments below YOUR experience, whither it is similar or different to my own. I would love to hear!)

My menstrual cycle has always been tied to my relationship with sports. I grew up dancing, playing hockey, baseball and every sport my elementary school had to offer. In the spring of 1997, on a hot May afternoon, I started my period at school while playing soccer. Mid- practise, I started feeling like I had to poop and ran to the bathroom to quickly take care of business. I was HORRIFIED and TOTALLY EMBARRASSED when I realized what was really happening. I frantically stuffed tissue paper in my underwear and went back to practise. I silently suffered through the rest of the passing drills and sprints thinking to myself, “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me”.

Every month from that point on, I suffered silently through the pain of bleeding and training. I wasn’t mature enough at that young age to reach out to coaches, and in turn, none of them ever brought up menstruation as a factor or element of training.

I transitioned from child to teen and my training switched from multiple sports to just dance.  While my maturity level had risen a little, I was 13 years old and still unable to openly talk or discuss my menstrual cycle. Dance teachers seemed ill equipped to deal with any of us that were actually bleeding. One teacher even told me that “your body knows when you’re on stage and won’t bleed at that time.” Ha. Wrong. Bleeding on stage is real and it happens. All- the- time. Through brief whispered interactions with other dancers, I was made aware that some of them had a condition called “Amenorrhoea”. This meant that some of them had gotten their period, but due to the high level of training it had stopped or was super infrequent. “Huh. That would be nice”, I would think to myself.

Transitioning into my late teens I overheard that some of the other girls were using the pill to control when they would menstruate. Putting it off for 4 months at a time to avoid bleeding during a show or through out dance exam season. “Hmmmmm. Should I be doing this too”, I would consider to myself, and once even tried to raise the subject with my suburban male family doctor. He reacted by averting his eyes and handing me a prescription with no conversation or explanation. At the end of the day, I knew enough that I didn’t actually believe in pumping hormones into my body, so my struggle to keep smiling in class while bleeding continued.

Throughout my post-secondary dance training I was often criticized for being “inconsistent” in my training. We were dancing 6 to 8 hours a day, which was magnificent and exciting 3 out of 4 weeks of the month, but then devastating for the 4th. My early 20s were a sea of cramps and nausea inflicted by menstruation. At that point, fully mature and ready to tackle the subject of the female body, I was shocked to find what little resources and conversation there was to be found. “Why is this still a problem? I am now ready to deal with it, but why isn’t the world ready to support that?”, I would mutter to myself as I combed text books and searched for resources.

Now, I have transitioned into the Crossfit and OLY lifting world as my means of training. Though you can find the odd article about menstruation and sport, it still isn’t commonly discussed. I watch a field of woman lining up for a clean and jerk ladder at the Crossfit games and think to myself “How many of you are menstruating? Do you not get your periods? Are you using hormones to control it” I scan through interviews and blogs about training routines and fitness tricks and am shocked when menstruation is brushed over, but more often not even reference.

MENSTRUATING IS A HUGE FACTOR IN TRAINING, NO MATTER HOW YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT (or not deal with it). WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT IT MORE?! It’s time we all started talking about it!

All of this is not to say that the odd yoga teacher hasn’t advised against doing inversions during “your time of the month” or a female crossfit coach hasn’t mentioned it maybe once on the odd occasion, but I just believe it should be a larger part of the conversation and training programs.  I believe that we can and should be doing better and I believe that sport and all female athletes would benefit from this. Let's end the taboo of talking about bleeding. So, THANK YOU KIRAN GANDHI. Thank you for taking a very public stand and for giving this conversation some traction. Let’s talk about blood, baby. Let’s talk about you and mensies.

(Once again, please share in the comments below any thoughts or feelings you have on the issues, and for those of your interested in listening to funny- hilarious conversations surrounding periods please check out The Crimson Wave which is hosted by my dear friends Jess and Natalie https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-crimson-wave/id810854538?mt=2)

Find Patricia:

Instagram 

Twitter

PHOTO BY: INGRID FOSTER

PHOTO BY: INGRID FOSTER







POWER AND GRACE: Misty Copeland by Paluna Santamaria

. ..AS AN ADULT, I WAS TOLD I DIDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT SKIN COLOUR, I WAS TOO MUSCULAR, I WAS TOO CURVY, MY BREASTS WERE TOO BIG, I WAS TOO SHORT...

...AS AN ADULT, I WAS TOLD I DIDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT SKIN COLOUR, I WAS TOO MUSCULAR, I WAS TOO CURVY, MY BREASTS WERE TOO BIG, I WAS TOO SHORT...

RELEVANT FACT ABOUT MISTY: 

Third african american female soloist and first in two decades, at the American Ballet Theatre.

WHY IS THIS AWESOME: 

Throughout its history, ballet has been known as an exclusive art form. High class predominantly white populations are accepted, and while other races are not openly rejected, they are also not encouraged to participate. 

The principal roles are offered to those who fit the standards established in the 15th century: white, small frame, long limbs, narrow hips, flat chests and head proportionate to the rest of the body (yes, this is a thing) amongst others. 

It is well known in the community that even though times have changed; there are some who believe black dancers are not suited for ballet simply because they don't have the "right body." 

Same goes for latin or asian descendant participants. 

Even though Misty didn't fit these physical requirements, her skills, talent and dedication ended up taking her where she is now today. 

This is the first post of the POWER AND GRACE series. A space where every week I will  honour my real life women superheroes. 

I strongly suggest you look them up. Watch Misty perform, listen to her interviews and read her books. I promise you will be forever inspired. 

 

I FOUND CONFIDENCE WHEN I ACCEPTED ME FOR ME...

I ACCEPTED I AM BEAUTIFUL...

IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOT LET OTHER PEOPLE'S WORDS DEFINE ME...

IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOT LET OTHER PEOPLE'S WORDS DEFINE ME...

MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS HAVE TAKEN WHAT THEY HAVE AND THEY'VE MADE IT INTO THIS INCREDIBLE THING. IT MAKES THEM A DANCER OVERALL AND IS NOT ABOUT THEIR BODY PARTS BECAUSE THAT'S SO EASY COME BY.     YOU CAN FIND A PRETTY BODY ANYWHERE AND PUT IT IN A POSITION...

MY FAVOURITE ARTISTS HAVE TAKEN WHAT THEY HAVE AND THEY'VE MADE IT INTO THIS INCREDIBLE THING. IT MAKES THEM A DANCER OVERALL AND IS NOT ABOUT THEIR BODY PARTS BECAUSE THAT'S SO EASY COME BY. YOU CAN FIND A PRETTY BODY ANYWHERE AND PUT IT IN A POSITION...

WHY I LOVE HER:

  • She represents achieving what it seems impossible. 

  • She represents living with a purpose.

  • She represents a step towards equality.

  • She represents opportunities based on ability, hard work and talent, rather than solely on looks or connections.

 

IT IS NOT ABOUT HOW PRETTY YOU ARE, HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE OR WHO DO YOU KNOW. IT IS ABOUT PUTTING IN THE WORK AND SHUTTING THE WORLD'S MOUTH WITH POWER AND GRACE. 

Don't forget to come back next week to check on another badass athlete.