Stretching: The Key to Your Athletic Potential

Flexibility is the most important component of fitness. Yet, it is the most neglected. Stretching is now your new best friend.

My yoga practice began as a form of torture. My hips, hamstrings and back were weak and tight from nearly 20 years of playing sports and a decade of lifting weights without stretching. I was immobile and injury-prone. A few years ago, I realized why I stuck with yoga through the discomfort: I was benefiting from increasing my flexibility.

As an athlete, I frequently had heard that if I could not touch my toes, I was not reaching my highest athletic ability. I knew this was true, but I did not know to what extent.
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Stretch Past Your Comfort Zone

“Reach for your toes! Stretch your hamstrings! Now, stay there and breathe through the discomfort.”

Sound familiar? If you have attended a yoga class, and especially if you have tight hamstrings, you know the internal frenzy that can arise when the teacher cues the class into a funny position, then, with the softest voice, invites everyone to relaaax into the discomfort and even to enjoy it.

When I started practicing yoga, I could barely reach past my knees. It made practicing anything but relaxing. At times, it was borderline torturous. For the first few years, I got so uncomfortable and wound up that I used to look around the room and get pissed off at everyone. I judged the teacher and the flexible women. Hell, I even judged myself for being in class.
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Good Press for Stress

Stress has gotten a lot of bad press lately, and the coverage is a little unfair. Let’s take a deep breath and give stress a break for once. Moreover, let’s thank it for doing its job.

Many of us demonize stress because we do not understand what it is: a physiological response. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Foods That Fuel

This week, we look to nutrition as an energy source by exploring how specific foods can fuel our bodies and minds.

From playing collegiate basketball to exercising regularly, I’ve spent more than a decade looking for and experimenting with foods to power my workouts, to increase my physical output, and to feel energized and healthy. What I’ve discovered is that nutrition makes up at least 80 percent of how I look physically and feel energetically.

Last month, I offered nutritional foundations to simplify your diet and to eat for health. When eating for energy, the same rules apply: Keep it simple. Find effective sources. Be willing to experiment to discover what works for you.
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Get Your Back in the Game

This year’s blogs highlight the interconnection of all aspects of wellness. The more tools we have, the better our chances of creating the results we desire. We have learned this month that we can energize ourselves and can enhance our moods through the energy gains and drains activity or through backbends. We can also do so through exercise.

One energy source we typically overlook when exercising is our back. The back holds some of the largest muscles (latissimus dorsi, trapezius and erector spinae) in the body, yet they are also some of the most underused thanks to America’s favorite sport: sitting. Americans now spend more time sitting than they do sleeping. This weakens our back muscles, which destroys our postures.
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Backbend to Mend Your Mind and Change Your Life

Last week, I highlighted the importance of filling yourself up first so that you have the energy to truly care for others. I embraced yoga’s narcissistic appeal because it lures us onto the mat, where we can begin to evolve our relationship to ourselves and to the world. This week, I will teach you how to use asana, the practice of yoga poses, to generate the physical and mental energy to power this transformation.

It’s taken me about a decade of practicing yoga to figure out what we’re really doing on our mats: manipulating our bodies into specific positions to calm the mind. The mind and body respond differently to each pose, challenging us to learn to be OK with the varying energies and discomforts they elicit.

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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Be Selfish To Become Selfless

Last month, we learned how to create solid foundations for ourselves in yoga, exercise and nutrition. From this steady base, we can advance this month to building our energy. When we pour energy into stable containers, we can concentrate and direct it to effect the changes we want to see in our lives.

Let’s start with yoga. The practice in the West, on the exterior, can appear to be selfish and even narcissistic. Because it is. We focus predominantly on the physical qualities of yoga because of our obsession with the physical body, our desire to preserve the ego and the salability of sex. This self-obsession is fine. We are looking for something to attach to, to fill us, and to answer questions about ourselves.

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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Build Your Nutrition From The Ground Up

This month’s blogs focus on building strong foundations in your wellness practices to set yourself up for success and to enjoy the freedom this yields. Understanding the basics of nutrition is essential to create a diet that serves you.

Many of us are confused about what and how to eat. There is a lot of information about nutrition available, and much of it is crap. The amount of contradictions among sources makes it nearly impossible to know what or who is correct. One article proves going vegan is the only way to go, while the next article proves that it is life-threatening. It is a mess out there.
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Squats Are For Mondays

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the importance of focusing on the feet and legs in your yoga practice. This week, we’ll learn how to do weighted squats in order to build a strong foundation for your exercise regimen.

Many yoga teachers shun weight lifting, and many weight lifters scoff at the idea of incorporating yoga into their exercise routine. I say everybody needs to relax and consider how different modalities can be beneficial regardless of their origins. If your goal is to hold Warrior II longer, then incorporate the squat to build leg strength. If you want to perform a full squat, then incorporate Warrior II to increase groin flexibility.
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

Ground Your Yoga Practice To Grow

This month’s blogs and teachings encourage building strong and stable foundations, whether in yoga, exercise, nutrition or even goal-setting. These facets of wellness do not need to be separate. To build a strong body and mind through any of these practices, you must have a solid base.

I see many yoga students, exercise enthusiasts and people in general wanting to rush to the end. They want to achieve advanced poses, lift heavy weights or overhaul their diets before they have mastered the foundations. Not only is rushing to the end unsustainable, but it also can be dangerous.

This week, we will explore the foundations of building a strong yoga practice. In the following weeks, we will examine the foundations of exercise and nutrition.

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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.