ALL exercise counts! Or, enough with all the HIIT! (High Intensity Interval Training!)

ALL exercise counts! Or, enough with all the HIIT! (High Intensity Interval Training!)

I like watching American Ninja Warrior just as much as the next person.  My 5-year-old son and I actually cheer out loud for the champions (especially the women!) and groan right along with all the poor competitors who wind up getting wet.  These athletes are undeniably amazing and inspirational.  They train hard much of the time and reap some superhero-like strength and endurance gains, not to mention a growing cult fan base.  

However.  I want to put it out there that just as hard-core as these athletes are, soft-core training is just as, if not more, important–especially if you are like most of us in the non-super-hero athlete category.  

There is a ton of buzz around HIIT exercise that has come out in the last few years.  HIIT is short for High Intermittent Intensity Training.  The principle of this workout is to do a lot of work in a short amount of time in cycles of heavy loads, explosive body-weight lifts, and  powerful cardio drills, combined with bouts of rest or active recovery exercises.  There is plenty of science to back up the effectiveness of such workouts for weight loss, strength/power development, and agility improvement.   

HIIT training can be a great fit for the following populations:  Younger folks (jeez could I sound any more like I am 80?), already-fit individuals, or people who enjoy and tolerate intense exercise.  What about the rest of us?  I know personally that after sports in highschool,  a tricky lower spine, some stress, 23 years of hair-on-fire group ex classes, HIIT workouts and I are not always the best of friends.  I’m finding that at age 40, I can do about 1-2 intense workouts per week, and then I just need to (moderately) walk, bike, or do yoga for the next several days.  Does that mean I should just throw in the towel?  What about the many,many people out there who have fitness, wellness, or weight loss goals but find that HIIT workouts just don’t, well, work?

Great news!  Just Google “consistency and exercise” and you will come up with thousands of articles and research to support the fact that no matter what type of exercise you are doing, the key to the results you want is to do it consistently.  When you combine your exercise with small changes in nutrition, you are totally on the path to better health, increased energy, and falling at least “in like” with your body and all it can do!  Here are three ways to build more exercise consistency, rather than intensity into your week.

    1. Pick a movement you enjoy.  And, if the movement pattern involves your arms and legs, it counts.  That could mean gardening, the Monty Python walk, or making snow angles as much as it means getting to the gym, the yoga studio, or the trails. Get the picture?  #moveforjoy
    2. Pick a time where other stuff does not get in the way for 20 minutes or so.  For lots of people, that means early in the morning.  (Research shows the MOST consistent exercisers do it BEFORE anything else in the a.m.) Others do better by working out after the kids are in bed, or sneaking in a quickie over lunch–a walk and a few push-ups and squats.
    3. Embrace a “slow-cooker” mentality over a “microwave” approach.  Often as adults, we don’t give ourselves credit for being in learning mode, and we expect too much too soon–especially with fitness and weight loss.  Start with 20 minutes once per week.  I promise that you will start to feel better about yourself.  You may even also notice you sleep better on the day that you exercise.  If that once-per-week appointment with yourself goes well for a month or so, try adding in one more exercise appointment per week.  Think less about pushing the envelope, and more about making choices that continue to bring you joy.  (I mean, really, does eating tons of sugar and fat bring most of us real lasting joy?) You might find in 3 to 6 months that the walk that began as a 20 minute stroll becomes a 45 minute hike because it makes you feel good.  However, if you tried that on your first day off the couch, chances are you would probably be sore, potentially injured, and about as ready to do it again as getting a root canal.  Please, for Pete’s sake, take baby steps if you want to stick with it.

So, HIIT workouts are great for lots of folks.  They would never be my first recommendation for people just coming up off the couch, AND, if you don’t enjoy exercising that way, HIIT workouts won’t work for you.  

The bottom line is, get out there Wobblers, and #moveforjoy.  If you do that, you will #moveforever.

*Want help crafting the body you love while loving the one you have?  We do that.  In-studio and online training sessions available.  Let us help you open the door to YOUR amazing body and all it can do in a safe, fun, energized and intuitive zone.  We look forward to finding out more about you!  Email me today at to start the conversation.

September Student Spotlight

September Student Spotlight

Our September student spotlight is Cathie! Cathie has helped us grow and become more confident with the students we serve. We are proud to have Cathie in our tribe and hope her responses will help others who are unsure of yoga (for any reason) feel comfortable coming to Wobble so they can “experience the benefits and bliss of yoga”.

When did you start coming to Embrace the Wobble?

I started coming to ETW in April of this year.  I was really pleased to find studio yoga in this corner of the metro.

What are you favorite classes to attend (and why)?

I’m REALLY glad to see ETW debuting Wobble Plus on Wednesday evenings.  Although we live in a major midwestern city, there are notably few studios prepared to welcome yogis in larger bodies in the Minneapolis/St.Paul metro area.  My hope is that lots more people will get to experience the benefits and bliss of yoga with instructors who are enthusiastic about making yoga accessible, non-threatening and approachable for them.  Anyone (and any BODY) should have access to classes that include them and honor their bodies right where they are today.  I’m really pleased that ETW has taken on this challenge.  The small class size and close community at ETW make it an ideal environment, particularly for folks in larger bodies who may have had negative or stigmatizing experiences in other fitness settings.  I think it will be a little learning curve, but I’m eager to watch it unfold.

I also love restorative yoga and go to Rob’s classes twice a week.  It’s so relaxing.  It’s a physical practice in yoga that reminds us all that yoga’s not just about chasing crow and side-plank.

What motivates you?

My personal yoga goals are all about making my body a more comfortable place to live.  Yoga has nearly eliminated the back pain I have from a car accident. I really appreciate the strength and stamina that I’ve gained, and how those things make interacting with the world easier.  Most importantly, though, yoga is a drug-free way of managing anxiety and insomnia, which have been challenges for me for years.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my life outside the studio, I work at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Neurology.  I have a fantastic boyfriend with whom I love to cook, laugh and explore the metro area.  I also have two Labradors and do some volunteer work for Carver Scott Humane Society.  I love to read medical research about health, and am currently reading “Health at Every Size” by Linda Bacon, PhD. I also love audiobooks, and almost always have one going while I drive or putter around the house.

How to build the body you want without hating the body you have

How to build the body you want without hating the body you have

Good morning Wobblers.  How many of you have the following dialog with yourself in the mirror every morning:

“Ugh.  My skin is so broken out.  I wish my eyebrows were different, and my nose is too big.  Don’t even get me started on my arms and those pockets of flesh under my shoulders…….who made my thighs inflate so much this month?  Will I EVER get rid of my stomach?  I mean, this is no longer baby weight—maybe it’s college weight by this point?…….I wonder which pants will fit this morning?  I hate all the clothes I have—I will never look the way I want to…….Sigh……my body is just disgusting and I am becoming my mother.”

Welcome to how most people begin an exercise program.  They replay this conversation over and over (not just women, by the way, either) and finally say “That’s IT.  I’m hitting the gym tomorrow and going on a juice cleanse.”  

So, you go to the gym, you see all these posters on the walls with pithy quotes like “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” and “Go hard or go home.”  You don’t know where to start, and the only things you can focus on are how horrible your body feels, how hard everything is, how amazing the person next to you on the treadmill looks, and how you will Never. Ever. Ever. Get. There (whatever “there” is for you).

You’re right.  

I can’t think of one person who could “succeed” in the scenario above.  It never, ever works to hate yourself into success… anything!

Did you know you can love your body and not lose weight?  Let me say that again.  You can love your body and not lose weight.  And that, my lovely Wobblers, is the key to any transformation whether it includes weight loss or not.

When you start building the body you want, that last idea is totally key.  How do you make that shift, though?  By using baby steps of course.  Here are a few.

  1. Start relating to your body by what it can do.  Did you birth or help make a baby?  Climb the stairs?  Clean the kitchen?  Enjoy sex (with yourself or someone else)?  Walk to the mailbox?   None of that would be possible without a body–the body you have right now.  It is completely miraculous that all of our bodies evolved from little amoebas in the first place, let alone got coordinated enough to cook a pot of mac and cheese.  Feel gratitude for your amazing body’s abilities, if not your body itself,  every day.
  2. Find ONE way that you can healthfully fuel your miraculous body today.  One way to hate it a little less with your actions.  Maybe that means eating a carrot.  Like, even a baby carrot.  Or, maybe that means parking a little farther away from the door at work.  Drink a glass of water. Hug a friend, or receive a hug from someone without shame—-everyone deserves human compassion—either get some or give some today.  Allow your body to move around to a good song—even if you are in the car!  
  3. Notice yourself if or when you begin sinking into the self-hate thought cycle.  Observe that process.  Is it making you feel better or worse?  Is it just such a pattern that it’s unconscious?  Would you speak to your friend this way?  When you notice it, shift. You don’t have to go all Pollyanna on yourself, but shift away from the negative and into something benign like your grocery list, or start counting your breaths.  This is a conscious choice you can make.  Make it.  Then make it again.  And again, and…..

People who are healthy and thriving come in all different sizes and shapes.  Size does not equal strength.  Size does not equal flexibility.  Size does not equal 100% “clean” (whatever that means) food choices or lack thereof.   Health and “looking healthy and/or fit” are absolutely a result of many small actions that build up over time.  These choices do not involve bodily pain, massive and speedy weight loss, or disordered eating.   These choices are all about LEARNING, choice by choice and day by day, how to show your body you love it.  Even if right now you DON’T.  

Sometimes, we just have to act our way into right thinking.

Wobblers, good luck loving on yourself.  And, if you just can’t quite make the leap, ask someone you trust to tell you what they love about you.  It’s okay to borrow for a while what you can’t quite come up with on your own.  

Till next time!


*Want help crafting the body you want while loving the one you have?  We do that.  In-studio and online training sessions available.  Let us help you open the door to YOUR amazing body and all it can do in a safe, fun, energized and intuitive zone.  We look forward to finding out more about you!  Email me today at to start the conversation.

Trauma & Yoga

Trauma & Yoga

Imagine sitting in a crowded bar with your date….all is well, the band is playing, food arrives at the table, and the conversation is comfortable.  It’s a great evening that feels easy and normal—fun, even.  Then, an image of the musician on a low stage, a handsome man surrounded by a throng of cheering women as he plays his guitar.  All of a sudden, the bar becomes immediately unsafe.  It feels as if all the air has left the building and an elephant sits on your chest.  You start to sweat and feel dizzy and panicked and there is no other way to fix it, except to leave—right now.  Your date is confused and worried.  You feel like an idiot and a wacko and you know in your head that this is a crazy response to a completely normal evening, and yet you are powerless to stop your body from bolting.  You try to talk yourself out of it in the bathroom, but coming back with those images still up on stage, you Just. Can’t. Make. It. Work.  

So, you leave, in tears and frustration, wondering if you will ever be able to be normal again, as you try to shake off this attack from an invisible enemy. “What is wrong with me?”  You think as your heart rate slowly comes down and you catch your breath in the safe car with a man you know you can trust–who is, thankfully, patient and caring and trying to understand.  

Sexual trauma is part of my story, and causes reactions just like the one above.  This scenario actually happened, as well as many others months and even years after of the original trauma.  Thankfully, I found a way out.  Yoga was part of my solution—my path back to wholeness. Every class I taught or took helped me gain back control over my body…..the mat, at times, was the one place I felt completely safe, and I knew the sense of peace I got from each hour of practice would linger awhile after class. Thankfully, the teachers I had and the training I received allowed me to find the practice that fit for me. Now I am able to pay it forward and help others to claim their power by finding and trusting their connection to self.

Many of our yoga students and mental health clients have experienced traumatic events and suffer in silence. It is critical that professionals who work with women and men living with trauma notice and pay attention to the cues given. Rather than push, we want to gently respond in ways that can help the student or client manage the feelings and fears that have risen up inside them. Learning what signals to look for, how to respond, how to help as well as what not to do is critical if we are to assist clients in moving toward healthy ways of functioning. Our workshop will provide not only this information, but will also give clarity in defining trauma and addressing how professionals can pay attention to their own responses and possible traumatic pasts. Join us in September to find out how you can be an integral part of wholeness for your students and clients. Click here to register!

Co-written by: Leah Murtagh and Janet Yates

Intuitive Personal Training Part 2: #moveforjoy

Intuitive Personal Training Part 2: #moveforjoy

Wobblers!  Since my last post on Intuitive Personal Training, (remember, the one about training differently, listening to your body and using me to help you create the right movement vibe for YOU on any given day, right on the spot?), I and several new clients have been having a super time!  We are using all kinds of tools to learn about strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance all inside an intuitive bubble.  These amazing students are gaining functional strength, improving their posture, surprising themselves with their ability to do all kinds of new movements at any age and with the body they have, seeing visible changes in their muscles, safely working around injury or chronic conditions, and learning fun and engaging ways to #moveforjoy.  

I’m writing today to let all of you know that I have 3 client openings for the month of August.  Several clients are renewing their services, and I’ve still got a little room left.  My hope is that you will schedule a consult (for FREE!) to find out if this type of exercise might be a fit for you.  At the very least, you can ask a few questions and get a little guidance about where to get started on your movement journey, even if that journey does not include our Wobble Tribe.

Call, email, or text today to take the first step toward a lifetime of joyful movement with me, Leah Murtagh at Embrace The Wobble Yoga!

Intuitive training—What?!

Intuitive training—What?!

Hi, Wobble Tribe.

Intuitive training.  Yep, it’s a thing.  (Mostly because I just made it a thing.)  

After so many years of waiting to have a personal and small group training space all my own, I’ve finally got the perfect space in our new Embrace The Wobble Yoga location.   CKK_4570-(ZF-7719-52573-1-020) I absolutely ADORE this space.  So far, it’s been a dream as a trainer to work with individuals and small groups in this space.  I got to choose all the equipment, layout the design, and take complete ownership of the vision of this space for efficient, effective training sessions.  Now, I just need to fill it with more clients.  Will you be one of them?

So, I’m trying to figure out how to explain what I do, which is NOT your typical scream-and-grunt-fest in a regular gym.

Enter Intuitive Training.  Some people think it means I’m a mind reader, like, “let me look into my crystal medicine ball and I can see in your future 25 squats and lunges.”  Not even.

Intuitive Training means:

  • Asking a ton of questions about you, the client, or taking several “discovery” sessions to learn about your body and your mindset, and what you want to do with your body (lose weight?  Recover/adapt to injury or pain? Gain strength?  Improve balance?  Avoid a heart attack? You name it.)
  • Finding out through a few movement assessments what your body’s “default” positions are with various joint actions, and where there might be areas of muscular imbalance or ingrained not-so-productive movement patterns
  • Checking out what is making you “tick” on any given day—what kind of energy do you have?  What other stuff have you been doing this week?  What aches and pains are you bringing to the table? Where is your head coming into the workout?  What emotional things are going on right now?
  • Coming in with a plan, but then chucking or tweaking the plan if it is not “vibing” like it should.
  • Being in FLOW with your movement—finding a movement zone that feels JOYFUL for you—JOYFUL could mean very challenging or gentle, intense or mellow, a personal best or active recovery, a focus on strength or a focus on balance, or, or, or……..and we don’t know until we are in the MOMENT.  It’s a delicious surprise, always.
  • Equipping YOU the client with knowledge and practice of key movements so that YOU can take what you have learned and create that same productive flow on your own—and love it, crave it, miss it when you don’t do it because it feels so good.
  • Intuitive training is turning the corner on exercise-as-a-chore to movement-as-JOY.

So, I’ve got several (FREE) consultation openings in the next few weeks as I build my private and small group clientele.  If you are intrigued by this content, reach out and schedule a time to talk.  I’d love to answer some of your questions about figuring out your own body.  Plus, the new space is SO COOL, and I’m psyched to show it off and let you play a little with all our new toys.

Find me Wobbling online, by phone, or in person.  See you soon on the mat!  Need more incentive?  Click on this link for a few testimonial clips.  And then call!  My openings will fill up fast.  

Wobble On, Wobblers.

Embracing the Journey

Embracing the Journey

I can’t help it, I have to spout off.  Today begins the two year anniversary week of Embrace The Wobble Yoga.  In MY facebook feed, I was reminded of that by a picture that popped up as a memory… dining room table in my basement stacked with a new laptop, printer, and a shoe-box for keeping receipts.  (See below)  I captioned the pic with “Embrace The Wobble World Headquarters, our basement, Robbinsdale, MN.”  

I am now typing this post from a brand-new street-level studio with a team of 6 instructors and one administrator.

Holy Sh*t.

I am here today to profess that even in the face of political upheaval, despotism abroad, and several global humanitarian calamities, many things about this Universe remain generous, benevolent, and synergistic if not always easy and simple.

Not that I am comparing my level of good fortune with the scale of tragedy in the world, but I find myself TRYING to see the good in the world, and because of that intention, I’m actually SEEING it.  We all have to start somewhere!

I know a husband and wife who are starting year #2 of a world-wide bicycle tour.  So far, they have found only kindness and generosity from all the folks they have met along the way–all of them starting as total strangers (with NO shared English language) willing to share their homes and hospitality for varying lengths of time.

Another friend of mine recently pulled off a trip to Africa and a new home (not in Africa) without exactly knowing where the money was coming from until it showed up (And, to the best of my knowledge, she has no Mafia ties or winning lottery tickets.  *wink.)

One of my yoga students just landed a part-time job with FULL benefits—something she never thought existed before and which will allow her to be a both a competent nurse as well as the mom she wants and needs to be for her kids.

I could list another twenty cool things like this without batting an eye, and that makes me feel hopeful and trusting of the Universe.

I guess my message today is this:  PUT WHAT YOU WANT OUT THERE.  Be clear about it.  See and feel yourself doing it.  Give yourself permission to want it.  Speak it to others.  Refine your wishes and refine them again.  Write about them.  Fantasize about them.  Take baby steps toward them.  Listen to the whispers around you in all forms giving you guidance.  Facebook just may contain some pretty relevant nudges with a chance phrase or meme–if you are tuned in.

My journey to this place of trust and hope has had many ups and downs (like turning my marriage inside out, taxing my time with children, offering up big and small “growth” challenges”– psycho babble for really hard, emotional, gut-wrenching, mistake-ridden, regretful, fear-based, panic-stricken, irritated, cliff-jumping moments).   However, I have never not LOVED it.  I mean all of it.  Even when I have hated it.

Now, two years into this adventure, the one constant about the whole thing is that I. LOVE. HELPING. PEOPLE.  Specifically, I love helping people feel better in, around, and with their bodies.  And, I’m getting pretty good at it.  I love helping other instructors fill their classes.  I love figuring out all of the puzzles that go along with running a small business.  I  love (bird’s-eye view here) the partnership richness that has occurred with my husband from walking this very hard path.  I love the gratitude I feel by being constantly reminded that this whole thing is a group effort—that I am so lucky to have competent professionals who have chosen to work with me and a family and friends who support and champion this project.

Do you know that you can have that too? I mean, you can have your thing.  Even if it feels like you can’t.  Or it’s impossible.  The key is to begin by pretending it’s true.  And, observe how you feel when you pretend—-like, it should feel amazing.  You can see the details fleshing themselves out.  It should feel……RESONANT.  It should feel maybe a little scary as well, but not too much…..just enough to give you the chills and start some butterflies in your stomach—-the good feeling kind. Like the kind you get when you flirt with someone cute and they flirt back.  That is you nudging up against your power.  If you are not feeling that resonance, than maybe it’s not your thing, or maybe you are close, but not quite there in your clarity or curiosity.

Then, what happens is, you spend more time thinking about what you want and how good it feels to see yourself there. And you notice more contrast between where you are and where you would like to go. And, then it may seem even more impossible to get there, but KEEP GOING. Keep pretending.  Keep feeling and observing. Keep resonating.

And then stuff starts happening.  Little chance encounters, tiny “yesses” from the Universe, new people and new experiences in your life that all fit together to magnetize your thing a little closer to you.  Keep going.  Keep refining.  Keep talking about it.  Keep asking for help getting there.   Pretty soon you are living into your desire.  You wake up one morning and You. Are. Doing. It.

You don’t have to believe me.  But what if?  What if you tried the pretending thing and it made you feel a little bit better?  We could all use a little bit more “better” in the increasing chaos of our times.  I’m serious about changing the world.  This is certainly no time to just throw our hands up (whatever side of the political table you sit on) and say “oh, well!”  So come along with me for the ride.  We will be doing more of this in the coming weeks.

Take care, Wobblers.