Fitness Friday: What is Corporate Yoga?

What is “Corporate Yoga”? Have you heard about it? I am so thrilled to feature an interview with my friend, Jennifer Berman, Owner of Jennifer Berman Yoga. She is doing what she loves teaching yoga classes in major corporations. I find this trend and her entrepreneurial spirit so interesting, unique and inspiring. I couldn’t wait to share this story on my “Fitness Friday”.

 Why is Corporate Yoga So Important and beneficial?

Corporate Yoga brings not only a yoga class to the workplace, but also brings a healthy mindset and lifestyle. Yoga cultivates mindfulness, and when we are in a state of mindfulness, we become in tune with our bodies and our health. We also start to make healthier choices. Companies benefit when it’s not just an exercise class a few times a week, but when there is a shift in the corporate culture toward a healthier lifestyle. I strive to keep my classes engaging, challenging, and fun so the participants never know what to expect. I don’t think I’ve ever taught a class that is the same. This helps Corporate Yoga classes stay packed, and it keeps their employees coming back for more!

Why are more companies going this route?

Companies are beginning to see the benefits of providing Corporate Yoga. There are many benefits for both the employer and employees. From the employer standpoint, this could mean lower insurance premiums, less sick days, increased productivity, reduced staff turnover, more attractive to potential employees, increased job satisfaction and positive thinking. From the employee standpoint, the benefits are improved health and wellness, less stress, anxiety, and depression; improved memory, focus, weight loss, and increased mental alertness. Also, it’s a great way for employees to get to know each other and promote team building. The benefits just go on and on!

How did you get into the entrepreneurial business side of yoga?

About 4 years ago, I donated a few private yoga sessions for a school fundraiser. The person who bought the sessions referred a friend to me. The friend contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in coming to her office to teach a class. A few weeks later I was leading a packed class at her office in an empty board room. Soon after, one of the women in this class referred me to her friend at a law firm downtown.  Before I knew it,  I was traveling to the law firm and teaching a full class in an empty office. At this point, teaching yoga was my hobby and passion, not a career.  I was still working in sales  full-time but teaching a few corporate yoga classes on the side. A horrible work experience left me without a job unexpectedly.  I was forced to figure out something fast. During this very difficult time, a student referred me to her company to teach a yoga class.  Before I knew it, I was teaching all over town doing what I loved and what I am most passionate about. Sometimes it takes those really difficult situations to push us and motivate us in the path we were meant to follow. I feel so blessed to be in a career doing what I love, inspiring and helping others toward a healthier life!

How many corporate classes are you teaching on a weekly basis?

I travel all over Birmingham bringing yoga to large utility companies, financial companies, law firms, doctor offices, and dentist offices. All of the Corporate Yoga classes are paid for by the companies as a wellness benefit for their employees.  All you need to get started is a board room, empty office, or lobby. I offer morning, lunch-time, or afternoon Corporate Yoga classes, conference break yoga sessions, yoga parties, and private yoga.

Blackberry Glazed Turkey Tenderloin Salad

I have been getting so many questions at all of my recent health/wellness speaking engagements about lean proteins. Since people tend to forget about turkey (except during Thanksgiving), how about cooking turkey tenderloins? This recipe for Blackberry Glazed Turkey Tenderloin Salad is a 30 minute, simple recipe that is fresh, fast and pretty. The most difficult part is turning on the grill. The barbecue sauce, paprika and blackberry preserves add great flavor to the turkey. Enjoy the turkey sliced over a salad (such as above) or paired with grilled asparagus and a quinoa side dish for a healthy dinner.

Homemade Kale Chips

Last week I was talking about making kale chips on twitter, and so many people asked me about it, so I was excited to do a segment on NBC 13 Daytime Alabama showing how simple it is. I also talked about some of my favorite Power Foods, so tune in this Wednesday on NBC at 11:30 CST. My daughter, Leigh, can even make these on her own, so I promise that it’s a breeze. They are as healthy as they are delicious, and they work great as an appetizer or side dish.

Healthy Food Gift Idea: All Natural Granola Bars

I’m always looking for new granola bars recipes to try since it’s one of mine and my 3 kid’s favorite snacks. I saw a version of this bar recipe on The Whole Kitchen by my friend Jenn which was adapted from a talented Cookbook Author (who I also know) Camilla’s Enlightened Cooking. These Homemade, All-Natural Granola Bars were a huge hit with the kids. I was so excited to share this recipe for a healthy homemade holiday food gift option. These make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or pre-workout offering. I even break them up and stir them into nonfat Greek Yogurt for a wonderful high protein breakfast. You can see me making these on Monday on NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” at 11:30 CST on my food television segment on featuring healthy homemade food gift ideas.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts

So, it’s Brussels Sprouts season, and I know people either love them or hate them. I happen to be a fan, and 2 out of 3 of my kids are too. This recipe for Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts is one of my new favorites which I’ll serve on Thanksgiving this year. I used a simple apple cider vinaigrette mixture to flavor the Brussels Sprouts and tossed them with sweet dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts. For another healthy and easy Brussels Sprout side dish option, see Brussels Sprouts-Tomato Salad, which is another tasty way to serve this healthy vegetable.

5 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts:

1. Brussels Sprouts are high in Vitamin K which promotes healthy bones and brain function.

2. Brussels Spouts are high in fiber which helps in digestion, lowers cholesterol, prevents constipation, and aid in weight loss, making you feel fuller longer.

3. Brussels sprouts are high in antioxidants helping to fight against cancer.

4. Brussels sprouts are high in Vitamin C (1 cup contains over 161% of the recommended daily allowance) which helps boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.

5. Brussels Sprouts are high in iron and folate which helps maintain red blood cell count and prevents against diseases and birth defects.

FYI I will be on WMJJ 96.5 FM this morning talking about how to cook healthier during the holidays.

Healthy Side Dish: Lemon Kale with Walnuts

If you’re looking for a healthy side dish to add to your weeknight table or Thanksgiving or Christmas menus, I definitely have one for you. Lemon-Walnut Kale only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and it’s full of fresh vitamins, protein and so many health benefits. Kale is super healthy with more iron than beef, and it’s loaded with calcium, fiber, omega-3 acids and more. It’s said to have detoxifying properties, cancer and heart disease fighting properties and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Just cook it like you would spinach, and top it with your favorite ingredients. It’s going on my holiday table menu this year for sure.

Thanksgiving & Christmas Breakfast Recipes: My Favorite Coffee Cakes

One of my favorite things for breakfast is a truly awesome coffee cake. I crave it this time of the year, especially as the weather cools. My recipe for Apricot Almond Coffee Cake (above) was on my blog last year, and it’s so delicate and flavorful (I love the added touch of using Greek Yogurt). I have been eyeing some other recipes to try this season to serve on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. I hope you’ll enjoy some of these recipes from some of my favorite sites that I look forward to reading on a daily basis.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake from How Sweet It is

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake from Two Peas & Their Pod

 Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Coffee Cake from Barbara Bakes

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake from Cooking Light

Cinna-Bun Coffee Cake in a Jar from Picky Palate

 

How to Store & Freeze Basil & Gluten-Free Recipes

Basil is a wonderful herb to use year-round, but its growth season is during the summer months. Here are some tips on how to store it for later use. Storing basil in the refrigerator isn’t a long-term solution, but it works great for short term. Just place it in a glass of water and change the water daily. Freezing is a popular method of storing basil. Place 1 tablespoon basil in an ice cube with water and freeze. When you’re ready to use it, just take out an ice cube, and use it in your recipe. Another way is to place the leaves in a food processor with a little oil, and then place it in an airtight container. See my friend, Kalyn, from Kalyn’s Kitchen for more great information on this tutorial. You can freeze basil for up to 6 months if you use a properly sealed container. Here are a few of my favorite gluten-free recipes using basil such as Quinoa with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Kaniwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes

Game Day Basil Bloody Marys

Healthy Mini Pumpkin Flaxseed Bread Recipe

I love one bowl, no mixer, quick bread recipes such as this one for Mini Flaxseed Pumpkin Bread Loaves. Not only is this so easy to prepare, but my kids can almost basically make them on their own with very little clean-up. I added a touch of nonfat Greek yogurt and ground Flaxseed to make these even healthier, moister and with added crunch, and my 3 children had no idea those ingredients were even in there. These Mini Pumpkin loaves make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert that you can feel good about eating and serving to your kids. These also make wonderful Christmas food gifts as well :).

Halloween Candy 100 Calories or Less

Happy Halloween everyone! Halloween is such a fun holiday whether you have kids or not. One thing I try not to do, but always seem to, is to indulge in the candy. It’s only once a year, right?  This year, I thought I would take a different approach. I didn’t purchase my Halloween candy until the very last minute so it wouldn’t be sitting around for my kids or me to be tempted. Also, I did a little research to find out which types of candy have 100 calories or less. While doing research, I found such cute candy merchandise such as this adorable M & M’s Dispenser.

100 Calorie or Less Halloween Candy:

Miniature Reese’s cup 40 calories

Fun size bar Snickers bar 63 calories

3 strawberry Twizzler twists: 100 calories

Fun size Milky Way Bar 80 calories

Fun size 3 Musketeers 63 calories

Fun size Kit Kat Bar 70 calories

Fun size pack Reese’s pieces 67 calories

Fun size pack Starbursts 40 calories

Fun size Almond Joy 80 calories

Fun size Hershey Bar 77 calories

Fun Size Tootsie Roll 50 calories

Small packet plain M’M’s 73 calories

Small packet peanut M’M’s 90 calories