If you have been with me for a while you know that I view fitness and health as more than just lifting weights and eating right to look hot; that is just a byproduct and a bonus for me. I take a more holistic approach to fitness, health, form and function, and this week I want to introduce you to Francisco Ramos and his company (more like his personal mission) Zen Casa. He does private, group and corporate wellness yoga, sound baths and holistic retreats for gay men and also co ed.
What does all that mean? I’m glad you asked. I wanted to know too so I sat down with him to dig in deeper, increase my knowledge and pass it on to you. I am a client of his because he has excellent form (No. 1 priority to get my endorsement) and teaches it flawlessly. I know yoga is good for me, and I know that sound baths are amazing and make me feel good, so I had an expert explain why.
The benefits of yoga in general:
— Helps prevent injury (with proper alignment and muscular activation of the entire muscular system).
— Increases overall wellness.
— Reduces stress and anxiety.
— Helps you center yourself.
— Helps you increase your balance.
— Connects you with your breath and quiets your mind.
It’s almost 2018, and I think we can all agree 2017 has been crazy in general. On top of that we live in Los Angeles and are all hustling to make our dreams come true. We have jobs with people and bosses and traffic etc. It sounds like yoga can help!
Francisco also does private one-on-one and small group classes, — like a yoga personal trainer. That yoga can be more rigorous focused on toning and sculpting. I liked the sound of this, and then I was sold when he jumped in with my favorite words: “But you have to learn the basics first, focusing on form.”
Yoga can be a form of functional training, a mix of yoga, functional training and pilates. This is great for people like me (and maybe you) because I know I want the benefits of yoga, but I love training, and it’s hard to get me out of the gym. It counts to stretch while I feel like I’m working out? Now i’m listening!
People who go to the gym then can use yoga to supplement, to align, to restore, to stretch the muscles. Lifting weights builds mass, condensing the muscle. Yoga then helps to elongate the muscles so you are building muscle but maintaining postural alignment.
I love sound baths, but I will let Francisco explain why. “Sound baths use Instruments to create an orchestra of sound, to create a space that is more conducive to meditation,” he said. “Sound has the ability to help you disconnect from the noise in the mind and drift… which helps you drop into a deeper state of rest and achieve a deeper meditation.”
Yes! That’s the exact reason I like it! In discussing this further we also talked about how this can be a great introduction to meditation to beginners who are interested. There are many forms of mediation, but most people think they have to sit in the lotus position and quiet their mind. If your mind has never been quiet, you can’t even imagine what that really means, and trying to achieve it may sound impossible. Sound baths can get you into a meditative state easily and be a great introduction. They share the yoga benefits of reduced stress and anxiety, overall wellbeing, connecting with the breath and quieting the mind.
All Zen Casa’s retreats incorporate yoga and sound baths along with healthy eating and activities. Each individual retreat adds in other bonuses like healthy cooking classes, acupuncture, detox drinks and education, holistic skin care, etc. It’s an immersive weekend experience to restore the body, learn and be in community with people with likeminded health interests. The retreats started out as gay men’s retreats, but the ladies and straight guys got a little jealous so now they have both gay men’s and co-ed retreats.
The next gay men’s retreat is Jan. 26 through 28 in Palm Springs. Check out the website for more information or to find out about yoga or sound baths.