Photo Credit: Michael Foley Photography via Compfight cc

Since I was on vacation last week, I decided that I should try out the Week of Relaxation. I wanted to continue my exercise goal, but while cutting myself a little bit of slack since we would be away from home and busy with the kids and extended family. Sharing the house also meant that I couldn’t easily steal the main living area in order to work out. I didn’t workout every day. I did a few of the relaxation routines in the days leading up the trip, when my stress was highest, and after I came home, another time of increased tension. While we stayed at the beach house, I often got up early and enjoyed the peace of the living room filled with the early morning light before the rest of the house was awake. I went running twice with my sister and brother-in-law (with their two sons in the jogging stroller) as we tackled the first week of a Couch to 5K program. Below are my reviews of the Relaxation Pathway. If you need a break from regular workouts, or a slower start after some time off, this is a great way to ease in.

Face & Neck Yoga

This is a very focused workout. Bethany does it standing but I just sat on the floor in a cross legged position. This works all the little muscles of your face and neck and is great for releasing tension. It looks a little silly, but it definitely does what it’s designed to do.

Bedtime Meditation

So I didn’t do this at bedtime, but it was still a great way to relax, especially at the end of a hard day, or maybe just a time during the day when you need a moment. (For me this is when both my kids are having quiet time in their rooms in the afternoon). This really isn’t a workout per se so much as a guided meditation. You don’t need to look at the screen and it could be easily done using your smart phone in a park or on the beach.

Neck Routine

This workout was so good for neck tension. I’ve always had tight neck, shoulder and upper back muscles. Between the college years spent studying and sitting at a computer to my years working in an office and now looking down at little children all day, my neck is a regular source of pain. I used to get weekly headaches that would run up the back of my neck and around my forehead. I wish I had known this workout then. I did this in the early morning so everything was very tight. But like the other workouts in this series, it was a wonderful way to start the day.

Simply Stretching 

This is a great workout when all you want to do, or feel up to doing, is stretching. I did this as an early morning warm up while I was on vacation. I love that Fit2B is so portable. In the early morning light of the living room of our beach house, my laptop on the coffee table, I was able to greet the new day with gentle stretching. Later, when my sister and I tackled day one of a Couch to 5K program, it felt good to already have my muscles gently awakened. Normally, long stretching workouts aren’t something I usually have time for. What little time I have for exercise I want to focus on cardio or strength building. But since we were on vacation I wanted to focus on relaxation. This workout, both its length and the gentle stretching therein, was exactly what I needed.

Basic Transverse & Mula Bandha 

I’ve done this workout tons of times and it never really occurred to me before how relaxing it can be. It is in every way a gentle core workout. Bethany’s encouraging words of honor for your core is also a good focus, especially if you feel like you should be doing something more. As she says, sometimes we need simpler, easier workouts not harder more complicated ones. Simple can be the key to regaining our awareness of our bodies again and relaxation can make future workouts more effective.

Kelly’s Total Body Stretching

I’ve done this workout before, but I especially enjoyed it this time. I appreciate how Kelly covers several of the major stretches that she integrates into her program. I needed the reminder. I feel this could be done equally well at almost any time of day.  It was a great start to a busy day of playing on the beach and walking on the board walk. I’m really enjoying using this pathway to start each day. By the end of the day, I’m usually too tired to do much, but starting my day early with one of these has really helped to set the tone for this trip and helped me to feel like I haven’t entirely abandoned my exercise goals. (Even if my healthy eating habits have taken a hiatus).

The PMS Routine

So even if you don’t have PMS this is still a great workout to help release tense muscles, especially in the hips. I like that it is a little longer, a good choice if you want a longer stretching routine. Check out my more detailed review here.

Foam Rolling Routine

A pool noodle is not a foam roller, so I probably didn’t get the full benefit of this workout. But I can see why it would be a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. I’ve seen foam rollers, but I’ve been reluctant to invest in one (another thing I have to find a convenient place to store or otherwise I won’t use it). But even with the pool noddle I still got some of the benefit of the stretching, though anything involving rolling wasn’t really an option. If I ever get around to purchasing a foam roller I’ll definitely give it another try.

Bedtime Relaxation with Kelly Dean

So what makes this different from Bedtime Meditation with Bethany Learn? This focuses more on readying your body for bed, as much as your mind. While both workouts have their merits, this one is best at helping you to focus on each muscle group that needs to be released and relaxed. Kelly isolates various muscles groups, slowly working her way through the body until you feel like you are ready for bed.

Did I accomplish all the exercise goals for vacation? No, but I’m glad that I did something. I also managed to play on the beach with my children and read several books. I enjoyed a quiet dinner out with my husband and many nights we went to bed early to read. The whole family played board games on a night or two and overall it was a fun time. Was it relaxing? Not entirely, but these workouts helped. Coming back to real life wasn’t easy, but I’m trying to get back into my consistent routine and I’ll have more reviews for you next week.

So what are you Fit2B? I’m Fit2B Home and Fit2B Mom.


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