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Fitness Style

5 on Fridays - The Five Reasons I Chose Yoga and How it Changed My Life

Fashion, Healthy, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Petite Style, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
5 on Fridays - The Five Reasons I Chose Yoga and How it Changed My Life

I’ve always enjoyed exercise but never enjoyed spending time at the gym. Growing up I practiced ballet and loved every bit of it - the discipline, the routine, the structure, the competition and opportunity to constantly improve. After getting older I still enjoy attending classes but ballet is really hard on my joints. I moved into taking long walks hiking and finally made the decision to go to a free yoga class. After the first class back in October 2018 I decided to enroll in a yoga studio (because they had a newcomer special) and sign up for unlimited classes. I started going almost every day. Within 3 months I noticed significant changes in my body, mind and soul. Yoga gave me all of the benefits of cardio, stretching and meditation leaving me after each session with a better appreciation for my body and a clearer mind. Here are the five life-changing benefits of yoga I’ve experienced.

Yoga is about progress not perfection

Being a highly competitive OCD spirit, I tend to overachieve in anything I put my mind to. Yoga changed my perception of exercise. No longer was I consumed with perfecting each movement or pose. Instead I learned how to measure progress. Many of the poses you learn to hold in yoga take time to build physical strength and making a connection between your body and mind. How refreshing! I could show up to a class, focus on doing my best, taking breaks if needed and over time I experienced improvement! The pressure of being perfect started to disappear and improvement started showing up more and more in my body. I started feeling better, lighter and stronger.

Provides a moving meditation for busy minds

If you are new to meditation and find sitting still for just 10 minutes is difficult, then consider yoga. Yoga provides a way to move your body and clear your mind. Meditation creates focus and clarity by training your mind. I found that during yoga sessions I focused on aligning my body, moving through each pose, and awaiting the next instruction from the yoga instructor. I focused on aligning my body, moving through each pose and awaiting instruction. I listen and follow the instructor without judgement but appreciation for my own body. Eventually, I was able to carry that same clarity into other areas of my life including seated meditation.

Significant increase in muscle tone and definition

Yoga works all of your major muscle groups when you are doing a full body flow to build strength. But what about definition and toning? Well, yoga has an added benefit by working your accessory muscles. Accessory muscles are the tiny muscles in the body that when you work them, they create those stream toned lines you see in ballet dancers, swimmers, and yogis. Depending on the type you decide to practice, you’ll be able to quickly build strength and definition in your arms, legs and abs.

Yoga uses resistance training with your body’s weight to build strength

One was how of the surprising changes I noticed was how yoga improved the strength of my body. When I started out last October my body felt heavy as I would lower down from plank through a vinyasa. Moving through positions were sometimes so difficult that I’d have to take frequent breaks. I’d leave class and my arms would feel shaky. Over time (a matter of weeks) I was able to execute each move with more ease. I noticed if I lifted something heavy at home I did it with ease. After a few months, I was able to venture into arm balancing positions that required much more strength.

Improved concentration and sleep

Getting my mind to chill is a lifelong struggle. Yoga improves anxiety after just one session. Everyday I practice yoga I get a better night of rest. I feel happier and relaxed. I am able to fall asleep with little tossing and turning. When I decrease anxiety and manage stress I am able to get better rest. The quickest results I’ve experienced has been as a result of yoga. When I’m relaxed and have a clear mind sleep improves. When sleep improves, anxiety decreases. They go hand in hand.

Since those first three months I now practice yoga in my home and lead groups of women in recovery for substance abuse. I have a goal to become a certified instructor so I can share this practice with a broader group. I’m hosting an online event with my friend Brittany sharing info about ZIYA. I’m wearing ZIYA workout gear in today’s photos and they are 1/3 of the cost of Lululemonwear made by the exact same manufacturer. Shoot me a Facebook message or email and I’ll add you to the event! It’s running from now until Sunday!

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5 on Fridays - Five Tips for How to Safely Lose Weight and Get Into Shape

Fashion, Healthy, How To, Lifestyle, Petite Style, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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I’m writing about my own experiences over the past few years. I’ll start off by saying that no matter what body type you are you can improve your self-esteem by being fit. Not only does being in good shape help your body look better, but it elevates your mood and increases health to your organs. Today I’m writing about my personal experiences for what has worked for me. I understand that not everyone has the same lifestyle but I hope it serves as a point of inspiration for you if you are looking to increase your fitness and a result of that is to lose unnecessary weight.

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Seek not to Lose Weight But To Live Healthier

First thing first do not seek to lose weight, instead shift your focus to living a healthier lifestyle. I think when I focus on the latter there is a positive emphasis on my body image and mental state. Instead of focusing on flaws, I put my energy towards my health. It makes it so much easier to choose a plant based meal or go on an extra walk knowing that it’s only going to benefit my overall health mentally, physically and emotionally. The bi-product of living healthier is being trimmer and slimmer. Here are the things I’ve done since last August to improve my health:

Removed Alcohol Completely

I will be the first to tell you that this was not easy for me. I love wine. Anyone who knows me knows my affinity for the taste of a deep red Bordeaux. However, I struggle with anxiety and panic disorder. It was at a point where any alcohol increased panic attacks. Back in September I stopped drinking at my home and on a regular basis. At the time I only had alcohol on vacation or for something special. I realized that if I was going to be more focused, alcohol wasn’t going to help. Over the course of the past year, I’ve now removed it all together. I found I felt best when it wasn’t apart of my diet. Whether you choose to cut back or maybe eliminate it from your own diet, you will find so many benefits and improvement to your well being.

Increase Walking

I’ve probably harped about the importance of walking way too many times, but without daily long walks I do not maintain a healthy lifestyle. I use to use the Steps app from Adidas prior to my Apple Watch. It’s one of my favorite fitness apps and works with any mobile device. Now I aim for 11k steps a day, but I started out by just seeing what I was currently doing then slowly increasing the activity. Let’s say you already do 4k steps a day you can set a goal for a 30 minute walk and add another 3k steps. You’ll quickly almost double your activity by adding a scheduled walk in every day. Try taking a walk for 15 minutes at lunch or park at the back of a parking lot when you grocery shop. For more tips about getting steps in see this post!

Add a Fitness Class

From October to January last year I actively took 3-5 yoga classes a week. It was such a beneficial decision and allowed me to work on focus, toning and flexibility. Attending classes also pushed me further to master moves and challenge myself. Whether you choose something with high intensity or more relaxing getting involved in a class breaks up the monotony of working out alone.

Move to a Plant Based Diet

Now I understand not everyone is interested in eating vegan or vegetarian. There are so many benefits on our digestive system when you choose to eat more green leafy vegetables instead of bread, cheese and meat. Eating a plant based diet doesn’t mean you have to go rogue and eat only salads. You can start off by just having a vegetable first with every meal. Fill your plate with as many fresh vegetables and fruits as possible. Then, after you eat them have meat, gluten or dairy. I will tell you, you will be so much more full on nutrients you’ll find you will eat less of the latter. This helps so much in processing your food. Your body can’t burn stored fat if it’s working on processing all the food you just put in your body. The easier your food moves through your body the more nutrients will be absorbed and your body can free up energy for other things like restoring your skin or losing weight! You can read all about this philosophy in Kimberly Snyder’s Book The Beauty Detox Diet.

Well, there you have it. This is exactly how I lost weight over the past six months. My skin is clearer, my mental focus is better and my body feels lighter. I did take pictures throughout the journey as a reminder of my progress and the proof is there. I try not to step on a scale often (maybe once a month) since I tend to get a little obsessive about scales. Instead, I took a picture and would reference the success when I felt like I wasn’t making progress.

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Three Casual Looks Wearing Yoga Pants

Fashion, Healthy, How To, Petite Style, Style, TravelCrystal JacksonComment
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Athleisure is trending right now and it’s not just reserved for the gym or yoga studio. I love being athletic and getting a good workout in, but I also love looking put together whether I’m at the gym, home or out running errands. On days I do not have meetings or photo shoots you will find me more often than not in athleisure. I love mixing and matching yoga gear with cotton tops, hoodies and casual accessories like baseball caps or totes to take an outfit from workout to street worthy. Today I’ve put together three looks where I’m wearing workout clothes out in public.

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Outfit #1


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The first look I wore last week to dinner and then to a hotel before we flew out to Birmingham, Alabama. I wore a pair of simple black slim fitting joggers, a loose black cotton tank, a pink hoodie and grey sneakers. This look can easily work if you are doing a lot of travel or walking for the day. Chances are you already have black leggings or joggers, a tank and a colorful hoodie or zip up! Just throw it all together and swipe a little nude lipstick and add mascara to take this look out for a spin.

Outfit #2:


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For the second look I wore a pair of cropped yoga pants with a light pink ruffle top for a quick coffee run. I added a pair of blush sneakers and a structured bag to go from the mat to the real world. Finally, I added a pop of color with a sunflower yellow sports bra. Remember, the rule of three colors. You can mix and match outfits by sticking to three colors. Here I used teal, pale pink and yellow but you can accomplished this look using any three colors.

Outfit #3:


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For the third look I am wearing a monochromatic outfit complete with maroon leggings, a sports bra and long sleeve cotton tee. I added a blush hat and blush colored sneakers. Since I wore this look to pick up groceries I brought along one of my favorite bags from Longchamp that’s perfect for toting things home.

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Fitness Style: Expectations vs. Reality

Fashion, Healthy, Lifestyle, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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50% off Until 3pm Today:

Use Code: NEWFAVES

While I usually don’t dress completely in one brand, there are a few exceptions. LOFT is one of those classic but current brands I’ve loved for almost two decades. I wore one of their sweater dresses in yesterday’s post and since they are having a HUGE sale through 3pm today I thought I’d share a workout look with you guys! The reality of working out in style is not always easy to achieve. Sometimes I end up just doing yoga in my living room or BBG in sweatpants. When I head outside I try (not always succeeding) to look somewhat put together. I’ve found a few ways to easily put together athleisure and work out outfits that easily can transfer to other activities like running errands or grabbing coffee.

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One of the easiest ways to throw a good outfit together is to dress in a color scheme of two or three colors. I layered a lavender scarf and puffy vest over a simple lavender long sleeve cotton shirt. The puffy vest is so great for this time of year especially on the warmer days with chilly mornings and evenings. I love being able to stay cozy but not get ridiculously hot. A brisk walk will get the blood moving and all that’s needed is a vest instead of a bulky coat. If you are in a colder area you can layer a cute winter jacket over a coat for additional warmth.

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I love a good pair of leggings and these are made out of the best material. The dark charcoal gray is so slimming and a good change from plain black leggings. You could swap the athletic top and vest for an oversized blazer with pumps to transition this to a work look. Being able to take a pair of pants from dressy to casual or vice versa makes it so versatile and worth purchasing. When you are putting together an athleisure outfit make sure to keep it simple. You don’t want a ton of pieces getting in the way of your workout or being able to just relax.

Shop More LOFT Athleisure

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The reality of working out is that you usually get sweaty. I prefer cotton tops so my body breathes. Due to having sensitive skin synthetic fabrics do not always agree with me. In fact, certain materials (specifically found in sweaters) will break my chest or back out if I wear them all day. To prevent my body from having a bad reaction I try to workout in breathable fabrics or natural materials. Cotton is my absolute favorite because it comes in a great price point and you can wear it most of the year.

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What are your favorite pieces from LOFT right now?

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