Honestly, how many times a day do you think about your posture? Some of us get so used to slouching we do not even realize we are doing it. While there are many down sides to slouching, including fatigue, pain in the neck and lower back, and an older, more feeble appearance, bad posture can also result in tightened pectoral muscles, or pecs, located in the chest.

When we slouch, our body tends to adapt to that position instead of fighting it. After awhile it becomes very difficult and even painful to unfurl ourselves from that hunched-over, caveman look. Our pec muscles become very tight, but not in a good way. Eventually scar tissue will form over the muscles,   and nutrient-rich blood to flow to the muscles can become restricted.

These symptoms are most common in people who spend a lot of time sitting. Whether it be in front of the computer or in the car, we tend to relax our shoulders forward into a comfortable slouch that becomes habitual and unhealthy for the muscles. I recommend taking breaks at least once an hour when sitting for long periods of time, and practicing a few stretches. Even if you only do them twice a day, your muscles will surely thank you in the long run.

Below are a few simple pec stretches you can do almost anywhere!


1.Stand in front of a corner, about a foot away.

2.Lift your arms up so that your forearms are touching each wall.

3.Be sure to keep your elbows slightly lower than your shoulders.

4.Keeping your core tight, put your right foot up against the corner in front of you and lean forward slowly, until you feel a good stretch in your chest.

5.Hold the stretch for about 15 seconds, then slowly release.

6.Perform this about 2 to 3 times.



1.In a standing position, lock your hands behind your back and keep your elbows straight.

2.Keep your shoulders back, opening up the chest wide for a good stretch.

3.Hold for about 15 seconds.

4.Turning your head upward, so your nose is to the air, increases this stretch.




1.Place your palm on the inside of a door jam.

2.Lift your arm up so that your elbow is slightly above your shoulder.

3.Place your opposite leg in front of you, bending slightly at the knee as you lean forward

4.Hold for about 15 seconds, or 3 to 5 breaths.














We all get tired of doing the same exercises over and over, but exercise is key to our health, so why not switch it up every once in awhile and do something fun? I have listed many different ways to take your fitness to the next level in this blog, and another great way to do that is by snorkeling!

Snorkeling is a bit like scuba diving, without all of the training. You float nearer to the surface of the water, and it is really easy to pick up if you know how to tread water. Usually undertaken by rescue teams or in competitive water sports, snorkeling allows you to explore the reefs, coral, and sand underwater for extended periods of time.

Recently I went on a trip to Mexico, and realized how great of a workout snorkeling really is. Those of you that are regular swimmers and snorkelers will know what I mean! Snorkeling can be a really great cardio workout because you are using your hands and arms to propel yourself through the water. Livestrong.com claims that an average 145-pound person can burn up to 435 calories! It is also a really good way to exercise your lung capacity, because you develop the ability to hold your breath for extended periods of time.

Other than hiking or rock climbing, there’s really no other exercise that lets you experience the beauty of nature while still enjoying the benefits of a good, full body work out. With summer fast approaching, it is time you took your workouts outdoors!

BTW: Paradise Cove in Malibu is one of the best areas to snorkel in the Los Angeles Area; Calm beach, clear and clean waters (A+ beach report by Heal the Bay), and lots of sea life! I do recommend a wetsuit though!







Looking for a great rock climbing experience without having to fine tune the details? I would suggest starting out at a great indoor rock climbing place called Hangar 18. Located in Upland, South Bay, and Riverside, Hangar 18 is one of the biggest rock climbing facilities in Southern California with up to 35,000 square feet of terrain to climb!

It is well known that rock climbing is a great way to stay in shape. Because you are pulling yourself up using both your upper body and legs, it is a great cardiovascular work out because it really gets your blood pumping. It is said that an hour of rock climbing can help you burn up to 400 calories! The best thing about it is it is a whole body work out. That means merely an hour of rock climbing will target your arms, legs, chest, and glut, and you can have fun while doing it.

Hangar 18 provides great classes for beginners and fierce competitions for more skilled climbers. It is a great place to celebrate a birthday or other event, as they have an observation deck where you can set up food, decorations, and non-alcoholic beverages that overlooks the entire gym. If you are looking for an outdoor experience, Hangar 18 also provides guided outdoor trips lasting anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, with skilled guides looking out for you with every huff and puff. Given their three major locations, there is bound to be a Hangar 18 near you—and in their words: don’t settle for anything less!



If you are a yoga practitioner, you are most likely familiar the poses: down dog, half moon, cobra, and a dozen others. An exercise practiced for more than 5,000 years, the essence of yoga lies in the unification of mind and spirit to create a more harmonious existence. Over a hundred different schools of Yoga exist, providing freedom from self-ignorance, health, and self-understanding as we go forth in the chaos that makes up our daily lives.

I am a big fan of Yoga, as I’ve mentioned before in my post on Hot Yoga. The poses that I am most partial to are the Warrior poses, I and II. There are actually three Warrior poses, but Warrior I and II I feel, are both comfortable and easy for beginners.

The Warrior pose is actually fashioned after a warrior in Hindu religion called Virabhadra with a thousand eyes, heads, and feet, with a thousand clubs. He symbolizes a spiritual warrior in the fight against self-ignorance. To do the Warrior I pose, start with your feet 3 ½ to 4 feet apart and raise your arms up so they are parallel to one another. Place your right foot forward and lower yourself as if you were about to do a lunge, bending your right knee. Pull your left foot straight back, and turn your toes out 45 degrees, letting your heel rest on the ground. Make sure to bend the right knee only so that it is parallel with your right ankle, as you can see in the above picture.

Warrior II is similar, and my favorite of the two. This pose really opens up your chest and entire body, and is only slightly different in the way the feet and hands are positioned. It is basically an offshoot of Warrior I, and is easy for most people to hold.

Of the many yoga poses out there, all of us yogis have our favorite poses for different reasons. Some make us feel empowered, others help us become more in tune with our spirit. What are some of yours?






Breathing is what keeps us alive. You can go without water for a couple days, without sleep, or without food, but take away oxygen for a few minutes and there will not be much of you left. Because breathing plays such a crucial role in our lives, it should be done at a comfortable, easy pace in order to get the most benefit from it. You would be surprised what good breathing can do for the mind, body, and soul!

As we age, the volume of our lungs decreases. We lose anywhere from 9% to 25% of our respiratory capacity with each passing decade after our mid twenties, meaning that as we get older, the cells in our lungs deteriorate faster than they can be reproduced. This can be heightened by stress and anxiety, and can also lead to heart disease.

Healthy breathing exercises improve your breathing capacity by cleansing the lungs, and ridding it of a significant percentage of metabolic waste, much more so than by sweating or defecating. Good belly breathing also greatly relaxes the diaphragm, increases oxygenation and is a good way to massage the abdominal lymphs. It is by far the best way to release pent up stress or negative energy.

If you are not familiar with belly breathing, it entails breathing in through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth without puffing up the chest. Essentially you are breathing from your diaphragm. If you want to try it, lie on your back, place pillows behind your neck and under your knees, and feel your belly rise and fall by placing your palms at the base of your rib cage. It is the most efficient way to get the most out of each breath, and will also instill a sense of peace and tranquility to our otherwise turbulent lifestyles. Who knew that slightly altering the simple act of breathing could provide such reward!






How many times a day do you use your hands? Have you ever imagined how completely useless you would feel if you couldn’t open a door or turn a steering wheel? As we age, the ease with which we perform every day tasks become difficult. The ability to use our hands is the last thing we expect to diminish, but over time our muscle strength, dexterity and joint range decrease and severely limit us from doing even the simplest of tasks. This is especially true nowadays with hours spent at our keyboards and text messaging on our cell phones.

Unlike exercising the body, hand exercises can be done anywhere at any time. I find that one good way of exercising your hands at work is to put a thick rubber band around the outside of your fingers and spread them apart slowly, which feels really good after a lot of time spent typing on the computer. A rubber band is probably the easiest thing to find if you are looking to get in a good hand stretch at your office or in your home.

Other ways of strengthening your hand muscles include squeezing and releasing something in your hand. Anything from a tennis ball to a small bean bag or even a crumpled piece of paper will do. Squeeze the object as hard as you can without causing pain, hold for 5 seconds, and release.

Another easy exercise that does not require any object at all is to spread your fingers apart as wide as possible, hold them apart for 5 seconds, and bring them back together slowly, repeating the exercise with each hand.

For a nice finger and wrist stretch, hold one hand out in front of you with fingers pointed towards the ceiling, as though you were motioning for someone in front of you to halt. Use your other hand to gently pull back each finger towards you, before gently pulling them all back towards you at the same time. This will loosen stiff fingers and stretch out the palm.

Our hands are so vital to our productivity, yet they are often so easy to neglect. Be sure to dedicate a couple of minutes every other hour or so to stretching your fingers and hands so you are less likely to develop chronic hand pain in the future!









For the first time ever, LuxuryHolistics is posting an article written by a guest blogger, Kimberly Truman for today’s Fitness topic. She has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years, and is a well-known private trainer and lifestyle expert in Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles, California.

5 Energic Exercises to Elevate the Glutes

by Kim Truman, Fitness and Lifestyle Expert/ Personal Trainer

Let us familiarize ourselves with our greatest assets- the Glorious Gluteus Maximus family! The Gluteal region is made up of three muscle groups: 1) Gluteus Maximus, 2) Gluteus Medius, 3) Gluteus Minimus. The combination of these three muscle groups is why the buttocks or Glutes of our bodies is labeled the powerhouse!

The Gluteus Maximus is the largest and most powerful of the three muscle groups. The Gluteus Maximus is considered the anchoring muscle for the overall body, anchoring everything from the torso, pelvis, legs, core balance and more. It is a very important muscle to keep strong because it is also labeled the stabilizer of the body.

Obviously the Gluteus Maximus muscle is the largest of the three, but the Gluteus Medius is a large muscle too and lies underneath the Gluteus Maximus muscle. The smallest is the Gluteus Minimus, which rest towards the top and outside of the glorious backside. With all three muscle groups working together through various exercises, you can see results in the power, strength, speed and balance of our overall body! So let’s power up and follow these ENERGIZING exercises to fire up your Glute family.

5 energetic  exercises to elevate the Glutes

Squats– a great functional exercise to build strength in hips.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, for added intensity, hold weights at shoulder level or at your sides.
  2. Bend the knees, and lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes.  Keep your torso upright and contracted.
  3. Press into the heels to stand up.
  4. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-16 reps.

Lunges– great for working many muscles at the same time.  On the front leg, you’ll work the gluteus and hamstrings and on the back leg, you work the quads and calves.  To increase intensity, you can elevate the back foot on a step or platform to really challenge both legs.  Variety of lunges include: static lunges, side to side lunges, sliding lunges, around the clock lunges, low lunges, one-legged lunge and step-by-step lunges.

Step-Ups– Place one foot on a step or platform and push through the heel to lift the body up.  You eventually want a height where your knee is at a 90 degree angle.  The other key is to concentrate all your weight on the stepping leg.  Lower down gently, barely touching the toes of the other leg to the ground.  Take it slow and concentrate on the working leg.  Variations of step-ups include side step-ups, cross-over step ups and resistance step-ups.

Hip Extensions– specifically targets the largest muscle in the body- the gluteus maximus.  Hold a dumbbell behind the knee or use ankle weights for added intensity.

One-legged dead lifts– great for hamstrings, butt and lower back.  Using only one leg at a time this exercise is a great way to add intensity and engage your core muscles to keep your body balanced.  This exercise is not recommended if you have back problems.  Take the left leg back just a bit, lightly resting on the toe.  With weights in front of the thighs, hinge from the hips and lower the weights as low as your flexibility allows.  Keep your back flat or with a natural arch.  Make sure your abs are contracted to protect the back.  Squeeze the glutes of the working leg to raise back up.  Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.



A large majority of the population sits for eight hours a day, and with that comes tension in many parts of the body. Some of the most stressed parts of the body reside in the hip flexor muscles, which actually shrink when they are not stretched for a long period of time. This is why even if you do work at a desk I always recommend taking frequent breaks to stretch!


Your hip flexor muscles are responsible for flexing the hip; lifting the thigh up to the torso. They are comprised of two main muscles: the Psoas and the Iliacus. The Iliacus is nestled right near your hip while the Psoas curves upwards near the spine. (See picture below).



When we sit for too long, these two muscles have a tendency to shrink and tighten up, causing us to lean forward a little. This constant shortening of the muscles can cause major pain and irritation in our lower back, which can eventually stunt your ability to walk upright.


Luckily there are many easy ways to stretch out and loosen up hip flexor muscles. You can use a foam roller, practice yoga, get daily exercise, or do some simple hip stretches at home. One easy way to stretch out your hip flexors is to take one step forward, as if you are going to prepare for a lunge. Next lower yourself down into a lunge position and slide out that back leg until it straightens. This is one of the most common types of hip flexor stretches, and will give you a nice, deep stretch in the front part of your hip. Give it a try at least once every hour or so during your work day. Trust me when I say your body will thank you. Back pain is the worst!





Aside from beaches and sunny weather, one thing Los Angeles is easily associated with is rollerblading. Rollerblading is one of my favorite fitness activities because it is so easy to strap on your skates and enjoy a nice coast out on the beach while your muscles are pumping hard. Not only that, it is just as good for you on a physical level as running or bicycling.

If you vary speed and add technique, you can burn just as many calories rollerblading as you would during any other form of cardiovascular exercise. You use loads of energy, and by working to maintain your balance you are strengthening muscles in your core, which are responsible for giving you a flat stomach and keeping your back strong.

In addition to being highly aerobic, rollerblading also has anaerobic benefits, which was discovered during a study conducted at St. Cloud University in Minnesota. Anaerobic exercise determines how well your muscles are strengthened and toned during a workout. Compared to running or cycling, it was found in the study that rollerblading is the best anaerobic workout because it is easier to build up muscle in the upper leg, thigh, buttock and hip muscles.

Whether you are a beginner or more experienced rollerblader, I always recommend wearing wrist, knee, and elbow guards every time you skate, as well as a helmet for protection. While there are many places to blade in Los Angeles, my favorite is on the Santa Monica Boardwalk going North, a few miles from the pier all the way towards Temescal. Rollerblading South, towards Venice and Marina del Rey is fun as well; you just need to watch out for the joggers and bicyclers!






You know how relaxing saunas can be, and you have heard how uplifting and beneficial yoga is for the body, but have you ever considered doing both simultaneously? No, I am not talking about doing yoga poses in an actual sauna, but a similar form of yoga done in a heated room, called Hot Yoga.

Hot Yoga is basically yoga done in a room heated anywhere from 95 to 100 degrees. Because you are sweating more in this environment, Hot Yoga promotes flexibility, a healthy release of toxins and can reduce tension. It was originally developed by Bikram Choudbury, an Indian yoga guru, in the early 70’s. 

If you are a yoga fan and would like to experience the heat for yourself, there is an extremely clean Hot Yoga studio in Santa Monica called Hot 8 Yoga on Second Street right near Third Street Promenade. Hot 8 Yoga is one of the best places to experience this form of yoga because it has state-of-the-art climate controlled rooms. Since hot yoga studios are highly humid, you want to make sure you go to one that has good air quality so germs and bacteria do not spread. I have been to studios with bad air quality and even carpeted floors, which can accumulate mold, dust and sweat. Hot 8 Yoga on the other hand, has an air purification system that allows for healthy sweating in a clean, chemical and allergen-free environment. If you’re willing to take on this kind of yoga, you might as well sweat it out in the cleanest studio available!

Caution: If you have high or low blood pressure, kidney or heart disease, dehydration or adrenal fatigue/exhaustion, I do not recommend this form of yoga. Hot yoga is for moderately fit individuals to competitive athletes. Bring a large bottle (glass preferred) of purified water to class, towels (showers provided!), extra change of clothes and your own yoga mat. As always, please clear it with your health care provider before trying any new physical activity!

Hot 8 Yoga

1422 Second Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401