Yoga Roots in the City of Angels

 

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Happy Transformation Tuesday, friends! I am going to tell you a little story about my own transformation from sedentary office worker to dedicated ninja! When I initially moved to Los Angeles in 2007, I barely knew a soul or had an inkling as to why I had insisted on moving there in the first place! I was pretty lonely, so I would just spend my days working at my new gig as a receptionist at a veterinarian and others exploring the vast city, via metro, getting off on random stops to see what I would find or who I could potentially meet.

Now you should know around this time in my life, I hadn’t seriously trained since probably high school track and field a few years prior, so I was extremely de-conditioned. I had heard there were beautiful parks where you could hike any time of the day and glimpse beautiful views of the massive city! This is how I stumbled upon the infamous Runyon Canyon park: trails, celebrity sightings galore, and free yoga??? I had to check it out! I had never practiced Yoga before and was curious to see if it was for me! I remember my first teacher was this fierce, drill sergeant of a man with a glorious mustache and a booming voice that could probably be heard all over the canyon! It was the scariest, most beautiful intro to Yoga I had ever experienced. My initial assumption was that Yoga was going to be gentle, probably slightly boring, and involve mad contortionism. This guy’s stylee was brutal, bootcamp flow and what I would later learn termed “Power Yoga” with rigorous strength-based sequences that hooked me immediately! After class, I probably passed out during Chavasana and just laid there reveling in that “noobie yogi” state of complete mind-body ecstasy! So that was the drill for the next few months, invading as many Yoga classes as I could find, until I made the decision to become a teacher! Until this time in my life, I had never really understood how the well-being of your mind is linked to the health of your bodily “temple,” and vice versa. I never asked myself those deep questions about the self, or the importance of living in the present moment and infusing meditation and breath awareness techniques into your daily life. This knowledge changed every thing for me….and eventually I got the opportunity to teach at Runyon for the last few years I was in L.A. sharing what I had experienced on that grassy hill with my students!

Fast forward to the present, and now I am living in the Big Apple, except now I have a few years of Yoga under my belt….my ultimate “toolkit” for viewing the world or any new situation through rose-colored glasses! I am unafraid, and excited for the possibility of trying out some new classes around town and getting back into teaching again! I have said it once and I will say it again: Yoga is for everyone, EVEN YOU!! Don’t let your assumptions of what you think it will be like get in the way of your curiosity to try it out! Or if you already have a strong Calisthenics background, adding a bit of Yoga to your routine is a great way to develop a deeper body awareness that can help prevent future injuries and also be a great addition to your recovery days. Al Kavadlo, Master PCC, trainer and author of bodyweight training bibles such as “Raising the Bar” and “Pushing the Limits” has another great book called “Stretching Your Boundaries,” all about integrating your Yoga and Calisthenics practice to increase your flexibility and improve your skills!  

Click the photo below for a link to his amazing book!

Al Kavadlo, author of Stretching Your Boundaries

Namaste Ninjas! 

 

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Why you should sign up for PCC!

What’s poppin Diesel Dolls & Dudes! I just got some great news I wanted to share with you! I have been asked to assist at the PCC workshop in Milwaukee, WI at Drench Fitness November 7th-9th! I am beyond stoked to continue to share what I’ve learned since passing my certification! Attending the PCC gave me the opportunity to meet and network with like-minded trainers and folks that are about as obsessed with bodyweight training as I am!

The Kavadlos’ and Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning’s curriculum covers a wide range of variations of the foundational calisthenics movements, (Squat, Pull-Up, Push-Up, Inversions, Bridging, Hanging Ab Exercises and Mid-section holds) and outlines the best way of teaching and applying them to your own practice!

So if you’re a trainer ready to help your clients unleash their movement potential or you’re just a Calisthenics Aficionado  interested in taking your own practice to the next level, this workshop is for you! Click the link below for more information and to sign up for PCC-Milwaukee and/or other dates in your area!

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And if you STILL need ONE MORE reason why you should sign up for this certification, scope out Danny Kavadlo’s latest (and greatest) post below:

pccccPeace, Love, and Ninja Kicks!

Road to the glorious muscle-up

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Straight Bar Dips

 

Lately, I have begun training to get my first Muscle-Up, and have been completely humbled by the experience. This is a seriously advanced movement, especially for women to do! I am no closer than what a friend dubbed a “Dirty Muscle-Up,” which resembles a kip and me chicken winging my way up and over the bar. It’s ugly, meng!

My favorite training partner (who can bang out muscle-ups like no ones business) initially suggested I practice kipping pull-ups and jumping muscle ups from a low bar. But after a few sessions, and not much improvement, we decided the best game plan was to build up to it by getting stronger revisiting dips and increasing my numbers on my strict pull-ups. Today, I broke up 50 reps of each movement into a few sets, with small 1-2 min rests between. I also added a variety of mixed-grip push-ups and hanging leg raises, but kept the focus on switching between over and underhand grip pull-ups, and dips. I am going to stay on this regimen for a few weeks and possibly revisit Pavel’s Fighter pull-up program to increase my reps.

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I am excited to see my progress, as this is a move I would like to be able to perform for at least one clean rep! Have a great Tuesday, friends, stay strong and feel free to ask me any questions or even share any training suggestions you may have for me! 

 

Elbow Levers for Superhero Strength on Dragondoor.com

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What’s crackin diesel dolls and dudes! Just contributed a new article all about one of my favorite calisthenics moves: THE ELBOW LEVER, to the Progressive Calisthenics blog on Dragondoor.com!

Click the link below, and please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have about calisthenics, or fitness in the sections below! Have a great week!

-G to the Izzle

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Grace Menendez Dragon Door Interview!

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What’s Poppin’ Diesel Dolls and Dudes? Thanks for dropping by my new site, Yo!

I’m buildin’ this thing from the ground up, so make sure you check back on the reg, ya heard?

Til then, peep my awesome interview with the most badass fitness company on the planet: Dragon Door!

Peace out, B!

-Grace

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(Click the image above to read the interview, son!)