Cardio/Weight Training vs. Yoga

By Deborah Caruana RN, RYT, CPT, MES, Yoga Lifestyle Coach

After 10 yrs of no yoga I started to practice again. Deciding yoga was the missing ingredient to the hard-core cardio and weight training I was into. Unfortunately 10yrs of workouts had tightened up my muscles and joints and all of the yoga poses that came so easily 10 yrs ago now seemed out of reach. Determined to get back to where I was, though nagged by the thought you get stiff and then you get old’, I persisted.

Were the work outs the culprit in losing flexibility? I was not willing to admit that it was because I had aged that I had lost flexibility! Or was it the fact that I didnt stretch enough, after workouts? Who has the time to stretch?! I was a busy trainer running all over town taking care of clients. Cardio, weight training, stretching it all took too much time! As I incorporated more yoga and less workout, I enjoyed it so much I enrolled in a 200hr yoga certification to compliment the fitness I was teaching.

It took 3 full yrs of all yoga and no working out, but I finally won back that beautiful natural flexibility! Did I want to go back to working out?

Not in the least, all that flexibility felt too good. Plus, no more aches and pains from knotted, sore and aching muscles while pushing myself with workouts.

Was it worth the 3 yr investment? Well first of all my body looked and felt better. In yoga because you are constantly holding your own body weight in an endless array of movements from handstands, to shoulder stands, to one legged balances with twists and plank variations, my body remained very strong, sculpted and supple. I also learned to breath properly, stand quietly surrendering deeper into poses, practicing awareness of how each body part was aligned and activated. From a thoughtful intention and dynamic heart felt center I learned to ground myself by pressing into the earth which freed me to expand energy outward and upward to lengthen so as to create and feel the lines of energy while moving.  Now, gracefully from one pose to the next.  I discovered a form of moving meditation in union of body, mind and breath which is the definition of yoga.

I slimmed down, not from dieting or effort but rather, having a sense of fulfillment. I was not as ravenously hungry as when I was exercising.  Food simply, though I still enjoyed it, was fuel to feed my somewhat thankfully diminished hunger. It was no longer as tantalizing and appealing perhaps because I was calmer, and felt more at peace. I made healthier choices too, desiring foods and living situations that were colorful and simple. Yoga gave me the gift of self acceptance and self compassion, life’s ups and downs became easier and less jarring. I stopped feeling like I had to be better, do more, get leaner and I relaxed into my own skin.

When I finished my full 500hr certification. Teaching became a wonderful outlet for me, a different form of meditation to calm and sooth.

Do I still have other forms of exercise? Sure! I love walking, for long distances too. Cycling also feels wonderful. Sometimes I have to run and I can, gracefully.   Gardening, landscaping our place in the country, chopping wood, weeding, helping my husband build beautiful rock walls, dancing, but the yoga is a part of my life that I practice everyday on and off the mat.

Deborah Caruana RN, RYT, CPT, MES



Deborah is currently a guest teacher at Smart Workout.

Pole: Fitness Phenomenon

By Ariel Iasevoli

I took my first pole class sometime in 2007, ever since I have been obsessed with every aspect of it.
Pole is a fitness phenomenon, it has been featured on CNN and NBC, in the pages of The New York Times, Daily News and Time out New York. Women and men (yes, men) of all ages, bodies and creeds are flocking to the pole, heck, even Oprah is poling.
How will pole fitness benefit you? Here are several pole-specific benefits:
A typical class burns 200-500 calories per hour (depending on intensity)

Increases strength, fluidity and flexibility simultaneously

Low impact and non-weight bearing (for some moves)

Incredible abdominal workout (almost everyone I know who poles regularly has at least the beginnings of a 6 pack, I kid not)

Gravity defying moves are fun and exhilarating, it a workout that is eagerly anticipated!

People of any age, sex, fitness level and body type can take pole and progress amazingly.

Here is one of my freestyle meddlies of pole moves:

Ariel is an instructor at Smart Workout

Pilates Reformer, the professional dancer’s class of choice by Annique Roberts

I joined the Smart Workout team a year ago with 6 years experience as a senior professional dancer with Tony Award winning choreographer, Garth Fagan. As I continue my career, now with Evidence Dance Company, I find one class  more beneficial above the rest, Pilates Reformer.

Not only is the class excellent for strengthening my core, it lengthens my body from head to toe.  After a 45 minute class I literally feel as if Im floating on a cloud.  This class strengthens and tones the entire body without stressing the joints.  And whats really special about the class is that after a long week of rehearsing I can come take this class and it melts away the stress, surprisingly messages out the kinks, and relaxes the sore muscles all while still getting a workout.  Simply amazing. No wonder Pilates Reformer is our most popular class!

End of Summer Nutrition and Weight Loss Tips by Sandra Partyka, C.H.C*

Believe it or not the end of Summer is here and the Fall will be fast approaching.

Summer is usually the time of traveling, spending long days enjoying friends and family, and sometimes, not really paying attention to our eating habits.

For many, Fall means the kids are back in school and our schedules are a little more organized. As for eating habits, they usually get back into a schedule as well.

So, I thought I’d give you a jump-start on wrapping up your Summer and giving you some healthy eating tips to get ready for Fall.  If you’re looking to eat healthier and maybe drop those few pounds that might have crept on when the sun was shining, keep reading!

Tip #1:

Eat Breakfast

I know this seems so simple, but how many times are you rushing out the door and forget this meal?

It’s incredibly easy to do, so it is usually my number one tip.

A quick and protein-filled breakfast can start raring your metabolism for the rest of the day. Got 5 minutes? Cook up an egg with some lean ham and put it on a whole wheat wrap. Best part? This wrap is completely portable!

If cooking is just not going to happen, then a smoothie is the very best thing to do.

Blend yogurt, fresh fruit and a little ice, and you’re good to go. Want something more decadent? Take out the yogurt and replace it with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter.


Enjoy what the end of summer has to offer

There are 2 really great and incredible nutritious foods in season right now: berries and tomatoes.

Eating food at its peak is both economically smart and ensuring that you will have the very best tasting produce.

There are endless healthy recipes that utilize berries and tomatoes.

Here is one I love:

Quick Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Dice 1 large cucumber into 1 inch cubes

Dice 2 large tomatoes into 1 inch cubes

Chop ¼ of 1 medium red onion

Place together in a large bowl


2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together, and drizzle over veggies.

You can enjoy this alone or on top of a bed of mixed baby greens.

Hungry for more?

Join Sandra for the Smart Workout Wellness Extravaganza!

On September 11, 2010 you’ll be able to enjoy a day of free classes and Nutrition Workshops to help you build your best body.

Space is limited so please call to reserve a spot today!

Wellness activities will run continuously throughout the day:
11:30 Nutrition lecture: “Nutrition and Athletic Performance”
12:15 Exercise class: Kickboxing
1:00 Nutrition lecture: “Healthy Cooking Tips” [food provided, reservations required]

1:45 Exercise class: Total Body Conditioning
2:30 Nutrition lecture: “Nutrition Tips for Losing Fat”
3:15 Exercise class: Katami
4:00 Exercise class: Abs


*Sandra is a Certified Health Coach (CHC) through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a certified practitioner through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Sandra is also a certified Pilates and Group Fitness Instructor.


Class Spotlight: One-on-One Yoga

What is yoga? Why practice yoga? Why a yoga one-on-one session?

Yoga derived from the Sanskrit word, yuj, which translates “to yoke.” What are we yoking? Yoga is a practice integrating breath with awareness, recognizing individual consciousness and universal consciousness, while also balancing emotion, intellect, and action together. Truly, this is a lot to balance in our hectic lives, which is why we would like to offer one-on-one personal training yoga sessions.

Yoga one-on-one sessions give you the opportunity to focus on your body’s needs. It is a time to ask questions, take notes, develop and deepen your individual practice, and to transition this awareness both on and off your mat.

Here are a few reasons why you might choose to do yoga personal training sessions:

Supplementing your home practice:

Each private session will be catered to your individual goals. Special attention will be designated to refining alignment, gaining strength while maintaining flexibility, targeting specific muscles, and physical and mental acuity. We will discuss and write down specific cues to take with you to integrate into your home practice.

Beginning yoga:

By understanding the foundational principles of yoga, one gains body awareness and develops a safe and dynamic practice.


If you need special attention, yoga one-on-one sessions provide the opportunity- in a non- judgmental way- to support the whole body to move towards restoration. This specifically addresses variations or alternatives to certain yoga poses that achieve the same outcome, but in a non- harming way.

Complimenting your fitness and sports optimization goals:

This is designed to target specific muscle groups- increasing both strength and flexibility, gain/ maintain joint stabilization, develop mental acuity while under pressure, and to increase balance, stamina, and performance. We will develop a supportive/ complimentary practice to optimize performance in both everyday life and in sports/ related activities.

Weight Loss:

This focuses on the sequencing between and through each pose. It is designed to create a dynamic flow of energy and blood throughout the body, providing fresh oxygen to your cells to refuel your energy and stamina.


By nurturing and caring for your body, this private session will help alleviate stress by focusing on different relaxation, breathing, and meditation techniques.

Jessica Womack

Yoga, Private Trainer, and Fitness Instructor

Smart Workout