Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Perfect Workout for the Prayerful, Stay at Home Mom: SoulCore






I've been meaning to write about the SoulCore workout for about six months. But...things. If you're like me you don't get excited about the terms "working" and "out" being put together; or it's not so much that you find exercising difficult so much as sitting on the couch watching Downton Abbey while eating banana bread sounds like a lot more fun. There is also, naturally, not enough hours, minutes, seconds in the day to get everything done on your endless list, or the energy to get out of the house and exercise.

But what if we could combine a solid yoga/pilates/stretching/Jillian-like workout with praying? We could do two things at once, ladies! And as if by an answer to prayer I read about SoulCore and knew I had to give it a try.

I first heard of SoulCore as a yoga-like workout that is done while praying the Rosary. I was really curious how this would all be done. Would it be boring repetitious exercises done quickly while bleating out fast Hail Marys? Would it be boring as all get out? Would I not be able to pray because the exercises were too hard? Would the exercises be too easy and make me fall asleep while only getting through a decade?

I plunged in by ordering the workout DVD for the Joyful Mysteries. Firstly, I found the exercises to be challenging and a great whole-body workout. The 55 minute DVD definitely incorporates familiar yoga and pilates movements, but with each prayer there is a new exercise presented. Although this may sound like a slow paced workout to hardcore fitness fans, it works remarkably well, and as each decade functions like an interval your body comes out feeling great instead of exhausted by the end.

Photos taken of my tv? Oh, yes.

Obviously I'm not a fitness expert, so I found most of the exercises themselves to be at a great level of challenge without the possibility of hurting myself. I love feeling my whole body being stretched and toned, and have always liked yoga and pilates at the moderate level that I've attempted them.

But what I was most impressed by was the approach towards prayer that was presented in the workout. The fitness instructor simultaneously leads us in prayer and exercise without coming off as flippant, new-agey, or boring. I really appreciated the thoughtful prayer at the beginning and end of each mystery; a beautiful approach to the Rosary is shared, and a great focus placed on the virtues and fruits of each mystery while making them personally applicable.

As far as praying while working out, I was blown away by how my prayer was effected and enhanced by movement. We all become so used to simply sitting or kneeling while praying that being active while in prayer really brings about a different dimension to our expression. I was shocked by how my physical movements helped me focus on my prayer, how different positions revealed different spiritual attitudes, and how I felt differently about the Rosary as a whole from anything I have experienced previously.



The best thing about this workout is clearly the ability to bring about two goods in our life especially when we're feeling maxed out in both the areas of our own physical fitness and prayer. Most times that I use this DVD I don't go through the whole workout, usually two or three decades at a time, but even when I just make time to do 10 minutes and pray one decade I'm amazed at how relaxed I am afterward and how it gives me a great boost to how I feel about my own personal prayer time. These reasons may be a bit superficial, but we can all fall into ruts so easily when we have little time for personal prayer in our busy days, and sometimes a boost is what we need to realign our attitudes towards ceaseless prayer.

SoulCore has now come out with downloadable versions of the Luminous and Glorious Mysteries for only $5 and I really encourage you to give it a try if you're looking for an at-home workout that's not only challenging but brings focused prayer to your day. There's nothing like offering up your shaking muscles and non-existent ability to do push-ups in prayer!

This review is entirely my own and I haven't been compensated in any way, I just really like it and think you will too! Today I'm giving away a copy of the Joyful Mysteries DVD Workout, but if you can't wait to see if you win, hop on over and download the workout for the Luminous & Glorious Mysteries! Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway





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45 comments:

  1. The rafflecopter automatically entered me as having left a blog post comment, but I didn't! Sorry!

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  2. I've heard of this before but was a bit skepitcal. Thanks so much for the review; it could definitely be worth trying (though I agree, Downton and banana bread for the win!).

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  3. This is so awesome! I have heard of "Holy Yoga" but I love that this one is prayer. I am so lazy, I think that is my biggest obstacle in…everything. It takes a lot of self motivation for me to get things done. Wow, that sounds awful! Thanks for making me think on this.

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  4. What an interesting idea! The hardest thing about working prayer and exercise in is... TIME. Prayer is a tad easier because I do it with the toddler (I just say the morning and evening prayers outloud with him around, sometimes he joins in) or say the rosary while driving or rocking the baby to sleep. Exercise though? Gah. I'm just bad at it.

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  5. I don't know whether motivation, energy or time is harder to find during the day; regardless, I need all the help I can get :)

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  6. Sounds cool! Would it work during pregnancy? I'm in so-so shape and 20 weeks.

    I've often found that I don't do the Rosary well when I'm just sitting in the couch, but praying along with the radio while doing dishes I'm much more focused!

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  7. This sounds really interesting! It's tricky to focus on both prayer and exercise with all of the kids around, so I'd love to combine the two!

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  8. The Downton/banana bread excuse is my main issue except right now it's Gilmore Girls/Nutella. Carrying the baby around in the Ergo is making my muscles tense though so I need some stretching. These sound intriguing!

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  9. This looks great. I wonder how well the exercises could be modified for a pregnancy workout. If not, I could use it after baby comes. Thanks for the chance to win.

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    1. I didn't read the directions very well, the hardest thing right now is just time/energy. Although, where I live the weather has still been nice enough for daily walks with the kids. 1-1.5 miles is pretty good, I think.

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  10. My comment may show up twice, or it got eaten, who knows! I have been meaning to try the follow along DVS method of working out. and praying two, double win! hardest part is that it takes time and energy and doesn't seem productive in the moment.

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  11. Hmm! I did comment but I'm not sure where it went...oops!

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  12. Basically, I just wrote that this sounds interesting...my rosaries are usually said when I'm walking home from the gym but because I'm usually pooped after an intense workout and pushing a stroller I'm usually out of breath and my rosaries are not very reflective and calming.

    On another note, I was intrigued by your book review of "The Invention of Wings" so my hubby bought it for me and it arrived in the mail yesterday! I'm excited to start reading it!

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  13. This sounds like such an awesome way to accomplish two important things at once! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  14. My general laziness is quite a hindrance to both

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  15. You mean... eating banana bread and watching Downton Abbey isn't exercise? Well... that explains a few things... ;) Seriously though, I can totally relate to you. I have 3 under 3 and work from home. Prayer and exercise often are left unchecked at the end of a long day, sadly. Excited to check this out though! Multi-tasking ftw!

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  16. Like most sahms, all these little people who need feeding/wiping/teaching are my biggest hindrance. Them, plus the banana bread/Downton thing (hi, Gilmore girls/Halloween candy!).

    I love the idea of yoga+rosary. Thanks for this review!

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  17. Seriously?! Where has this been all my life?! I am so glad you reviewed it, and I'll def be ordering if I don't win (which I never do) for postpartum fitness.

    The most difficult thing for me is making myself exercise after kids are in bed. I'm not a morning person, but neither do I want to exercise at night. But if prayer were incorporated, I think I would be more motivated, one way or another.

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  18. Wow, this sounds so perfect! I usually run or walk to exercise, but it's so hard to find the time leave the house, since we have three small children. And I can't seem to stay focused on prayer while I'm doing that type of exercise, either. This DVD may be exactly what I need!

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  19. Well, that sounds perfect! As you can guess, time is my enemy in making these things happen -- that, and the fact that all 7 seasons of the Gilmore Girls is now available on Netflix streaming. So, time and self-control. Help!

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  20. Ahh, I'm just tired! I have no good excuses... Other than yeah, snacks and Netflix sound way better in the moment.

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  21. Very interesting! Would love to try it.

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  22. I'm the wiser at actually dedicating time to exercise and prayer, this sounds awesome!!

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  23. I'm so intrigued! I do need and want more rosary in my life though, and exercise!

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  24. Very fascinated by this - exercise… does running up and down the stairs to check on the sleeping baby who is upstairs and can now roll once awake count? Prayer I have slowly been able to incorporate back into my day, but it's still difficult.

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  25. Time time time. And motivation a lot of the time.
    This sounds so great though!!

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  26. Okay. I'm game. But only because this has to be less horrible than running right? If I agree to do it in a hair shirt, do I get bonus points or bragging rights on some Catholic message board somewhere?

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  27. Motivation and intention. I just need to be better about actually making it a priority and doing it, instead of thinking that I should do it... sometime... later.

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  28. Yay! I have this and love it - but would love to give one as a Christmas gift!!

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  29. Fascinating idea! I love my treadmill for at home exercise but this might be a great way to mix things up. I'm intrigued. Thanks.

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  30. I have been meaning to ordering this! The hardest thing about working out is the need to shower and the hardest thing about finding time for prayer is slowing down.

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  31. The hardest thing for me is to utilize nap time for anything other than Gilmore Girls

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  32. I think getting to the point where exercise and prayer are a habit is the biggest obstacle.

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  33. I've had some beautiful spiritual experiences practicing yoga, but have never combined it with the rosary. Can't wait to try it, whether I win or not! Thanks Christy!

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  34. Yup, I'm with everyone else -- hardest thing is no time (and probably out-of-balance priorities when it comes to fitting in more prayer). I've done mild/easy yoga on occasion in the past but never habitually, and I never thought to combine it with praying. I love this concept! Thanks for holding the raffle.

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  35. What a great combo! Since only one out of four naps, the hitting and screaming usually does me in.

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  36. This sounds awesome! The hardest part for me is scheduling it in / interruptions :)

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  37. I love exercise and make sure to do it almost everyday, but with a little one it is more difficult. Sadly, I'm not as good at praying daily so this could be very useful!

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  38. I love multitasking, I like to listen to audio books while I cook and do dishes so this would be really helpful to combine both working out and praying as I can never rid my mind of the thought that I have something else I need to do, that and my complete lack of motivation are what keep me from working out. I think I find it hard to pray because it is not a habit I ever formed and so I have to remember to remind myself to do it.

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  39. If I don't start my day with it, it doesn't get done.

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  40. WOW, what a neat idea!! I think the hardest thing about prayer and exercise is making time for both, without forgetting the other...the days I run I seem to slack in prayer and the days I pray I forget to run.

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  41. I've heard of Soul Core but wasn't sure how demanding of a work-out it would be. So thanks for the review!

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  42. My kids are the biggest challenge. This seems like a great way to get more prayer and exercise in!

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  43. I think the hardest thing for me is feeling like I have to choose. I know that's silly, but some mornings I think "okay first I'll either get up and pray or I'll go for a walk. Then I'll do the opposite later in the day." This never happens, though, and usually something gets left out!

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