Sunday, July 29, 2012

Update! Been a while!

Hey there!  Been a while since I posted anything here really.  A lot has been going on!  So!  Update!

Injuries:  I hurt my shoulder at work.  Strained rotator cuff and strained AC joint.  Not a good combination.  Ended up doing physical therapy and seeing doctors for 2.5 month, taking pain meds every day just to get by, etc.  Not very much fun.  But I have been released from that and seem to be doing well.  I even ventured to go off my pain meds to see how I could do without, and am med free (other than my thyroid tablets and my vitamin supplements)!!!  YAY!!!

BUT, with all that med stuff going into me, I felt awful.  I wanted to get it all out of my system, so today makes day 4 of just juice (and occasional almond-cashew milk), and I'm doing well.  It's day 6 overall, but I did eat the first two days, if not a ton.

Juice fast:  Is going really well!!  I wasn't even tempted at the movies last night to sneak a popcorn or have some candy or soda.  Not a bit.  I brought juice in a jar to refill my travel mug, and my husband informed me while I was pouring more, "That stinks."  Thanks, hon.  LOL

Back pain:  Doing better.  I was working too much last week to get in for adjustments, so not feeling AWFUL is amazing.  I am going to try and get back in there next week, but we'll see how work pans out.  I should be able to fit at least one in there...

Yoga:  The shoulder injury made it so I could not yoga really at all.  No pressure on shoulder.  No pressure on arms.  I did some basic seated bends and sat in half lotus while reading and all that like normal, but nothing involving arms.  I'm going to be doing another personal yoga challenge once my juice fast is done.  I feel it's best to wait to do that first, not together, at least for now.

Work:  I switched departments!  I'm no longer in a food area, I've moved to the pharmacy, and am studying to get my Pharmacy Technician's License.  I have to take a test and pass soon so I can stay back there.  It's a little intimidating, as you have to pay to take this test, and if you fail, you have to wait a few weeks before you can take it again.  NO PRESSURE!!!  I just need to take the time and study, and then take the time and GO DO IT.  I'm not super worried, as long as I prepare for it.  Just have to find time.  A lot has been going on, and people have been on vacation over the summer, so I've been working a lot more than my usual rest of the year schedule would be.

Things will settle down soon enough!

My 11th wedding anniversary is coming up!  It's on the 11th of the month, and we need to do something fun!  Too bad the actual day is inventory at work, eh?  LOL  That figures.  Gotta figure something special out, since this 11th year on the 11th thing won't happen ever again.  :)

Anyway, so that's that!  Despite some setbacks, still here, still trying, and doing what I can!  And really, in the end, that's all that I can ask for.

Namaste!

Becca

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chiro update, and fun with the hypothyroid!

Hey guys!  :)  Been a little while, had a lot going on!  So, an update!

My back issues and the chiropractor working to correct them continue.  I was having relapse pain/strain when I lowered my number of visits a couple weeks ago.  I'd been going 3x a week for 4 weeks to work on getting my pain under control, and the pain itself left, but I could feel things slipping back to where they'd been at the beginning of the pain when my visits lessened.  Not good.

The chiropractor did a follow up visit to see where things were compared to where they started off, and I'd made some progress.  As I mentioned before, a healthy neck curvature is not what I had.  It's supposed to be a 42* angle.  When all of this started, my first X-Rays, which I shared, my head was at an 8* angle.  Not good.  After 3 visits a week for 4 weeks, my neck improved to a 12* curve.  Better, but still not good.

So, we discussed the options to getting me back to normal, which will take roughly the following course of action:  3x a week for 8 weeks, 2x a week for 4 weeks, and 1x a week for 4 weeks.  After that I should be able to go back to 2x a month, biweekly, and that should be enough to hold me in a "normal" range.  We may never get back to the full 42* curve, but 30-35* would be so much better than where I am now.

But, my husband, a chiropractor skeptic, despite making my initial appointment, decided he wasn't sure continuing to go was the right thing to do.  Our compromise said I get a second opinion from a medical doctor, so I made my appointment for my physical for the year.  Two birds, one stone, and all that.

So, my physical came and went, they stabbed me a few times before they got the blood drawn that they needed (I have tiny veins that are hard to get without popping all the way through them), got my tetanus shot updated and all that stuff that needs doing every now and then.  And they essentially told me if my pain came back, they could medicate me, and run tests at that point, but where I am right now, they won't do much.  Well, that's really no surprise to me, but I'm not happy with the idea of waiting for things to get bad again before we do something about it.  So!  Chiro it is!

Anyway, so I started back on the 3x a week thing and have done that for a week or so now.  Feeling better every time I go.  So yay for that!

But...  then I get a phone call.  My labs are back.  They want me on a Vitamin D supplement because my levels are low.  No huge surprise to me, I've been inside all winter.  It's still pretty cold out some days, and I don't like being outside unless it's reasonably warm, because cold and I don't get along.  So that was no huge surprise, and I can take a vitamin, that's fine.

BUT it wasn't just my Vitamin D.  Apparently I've got low thyroid function as well, otherwise know as hypothyroidism.  (hypO, not hypER)  At first, this sounded kind of scary, because, as I recall, my aunt with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a lymph node cancer) first showed thyroid issues...  so I asked them to look at my blood cell levels and everything there looks normal.  They'll keep an eye on it, but that's something to know, that there's a family history...

But then, I started looking into WHAT hypothyroid can present as.  And the more I looked at the lists, the more things sounded familiar.  My hair falling out as though I just gave birth.  I make jokes that it's a miracle I'm not bald, lol.  I have these little bumps on the backs of my arms, and dry skin.  My joints ache.  My muscles ache.  I get frequent, albeit mild, headaches.  Nothing to take pain meds for, since I try not to use those, but still there.  The older I get, the more PMS symptoms appear.  I get more mood swings, am more irritable.  I sleep a lot, have always been one who needs lots of sleep.  Fatigue sets in STRONG and I just have to go to bed.  I have difficulty losing weight, and if I'm not actively trying to lose, I tend to gain pretty quickly.  And cold sensitivity.  I've always had that.  I get cold and I just can't warm up again.  And my teeth have always been somewhat cold sensitive too.

All these things, alone, I didn't think were hardly anything.  Nothing to mention at the doctor, nothing to make note of.  Just things that happen to me, or things that happen as you get older.  Whatever, no big deal.  But when you add them all up together, it IS a big deal.  And if I can do something about it, why the hell wouldn't I?!  That seems SO SILLY to let it go and do nothing, knowing what it is.

If you want to take a peek at the symptom list, and if any of this sounds familiar to you, see the tests you can request to have run over here:  Squidoo's got a good page with lots of links worth following, and The Mayo Clinic's hypothyroidism page (more child related) is another good one.  HyPERthyroidism also presents with similar but opposite results.  Sensitivity to heat, loss of weight, etc.  Thyroid issues are VERY common, the more I look into it, the more I realize this!

Anyway!!  They want me on a synthetic thyroid hormone to correct the balance, and called in the script for me.  I've started taking it as directed, but of course, being the natural person that I am, I asked the chiropractor about it at my appointment this morning.  I need to get a copy of my blood work for him so he can figure out just what to do exactly for the supplements and all that, but there are things we can do without prescription medications.  As I suspected.

There are some supplements I can take and some stuff I can do (like more high impact exercise than yoga) to help stimulate the thyroid and get it doing what it should.  I plan on talking to my doctor about my plan, and hoping my levels are better enough they can lower my doses on the hormone meds, and hopefully the supplements can replace the synthetic hormone altogether soon.

There are some things I want to do alongside a medical doctor, and this is one of them.  I will take the synthetic hormone and do the supplements as well.  If the supplements and exercise program don't help enough, I will continue to do so.  But!  If I don't have to take the synthetic hormone, I'd rather not have to.  It's worth a try!

So, crazy long post later, here I am.  Doing well, on my way to even better.  Hope all is well on your end!  :)  Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, April 30, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 30!!

Welcome to this, your final official day of the 30 day challenge!!  Just this one little practice and you will have a whole month under your belt!!  That is a full 4 weeks of daily practice to build the practice you want for yourself, for the future.

For most people, a good habit takes 21 days to form, and you have just done 29!  If that's not a way to get it in your mind that getting up and moving (in whatever way you like!) is a good thing, I don't know what is!

I know for me, I feel amazing.  My mind is clearer, my clothes fit better, and I am more in control of my random emotions as they come and go.  They are still there, of course, but I can more easily choose how to direct their energy, and can choose to be calm rather than upset, etc.

Anyway, so!  Where does your 30 days make you want to go?  Continue on?  Take a break?  Start from the beginning and do it all over again?  The choice is yours.

I congratulate you for making it this far!!!  It's no easy task.  There's always something that can get in the way.  But you made it.  Good for you!!!  That's amazing!!  I, for one, am proud of you.  *beams*

Okay, so here's your one last practice.  One more for the road, as it were.  ;)  Happy Yoga!!  Today, maybe focus on what you'd like to do from here on out, get into your mind and find your resolve or intention there.  You know what you would like to do from here.  Set out to accomplish it!

Today's is Yoga For Alignment, mostly because chiropractors and what they do are in the foreground of my mind this morning.  :)  Good stuff.



Namaste!  :)  Catch you on the flip side!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 29!!!

So so so close!  Keep going!  It won't be much longer and you'll be there!!!

Fast post before work, so I don't forget or have to post from my phone again!  That didn't work out very well, LOL.

This is another video, Hatha style, with the girl who looks like a normal person.  :)  Here you are!!


Happy Yoga!!  One more day!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 28!!

Happy Day 28!!  :)  Tension release is the focus of the day.  It goes hand in hand with the hip opener practice from yesterday.  Tension builds up and learning to release it is key.  It's a very good thing.  :)


Have a lovely day!  :)  (2 more days to go!!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 27!!

So...  Close...  Almost...  There...

Okay!  We had a nice slow light practice yesterday, and that felt fantastic.  I fell asleep on my mat again.  I do that, lol.  Especially with night practice after a long day.  I like to have a blanket handy for savasana for that reason, actually.  I wake up really cold after, if I do fall asleep.  Blanket in savasana, and then when I sit up, I tend to move it around my shoulders for the final mediation in lotus.  Makes me look a little funny, probably, but no more funny than attack cat during meditation:




Okay!  Anyway, funny looks aside, blankets are awesome.  They could be used as a bolster too, if you needed one.  Not a bad thing to have handy.  :)

Video for today!  Yesterday we did shoulder tension and openers.  Today we'll go for hips.  Those are MY two problem areas, so that's what I like to focus on sometimes, joint-wise.  Backs of the legs being long is another area to focus on, so forward folding is another focus of mine.  Anyway, if you have problem areas, look for yoga practices or sequences that can help work with them nicely!  :)  There are loads of them out there.



Amazing the difference one little class can make, eh?  Have a lovely day!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 26!!

Welcome to Day 26!!!  I'm super excited this morning, but that may just be my OVERDOSE OF COFFEE!!! EEEEEE!!

Okay, sorry.  *composure*  Four more days to go!!  You can do it!!  And how awesome will you be??  THIS AWESOME!!

I'm going to shut my caffeinated head and give you your video now.  And go do a little dance.  And maybe play a little World of Warcraft.  Because I'm a dork like that.  :P


Have a wonderful day!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 25!!

Welcome to day 25!  Just 5 days to go!

Today's video is an intermediate level, so it may be a little harder than some others we've done, but give it a try!  Remember to modify as needed, if you are not feeling it today.



Namaste!  <3

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 24!!

Good morning!  Welcome to day 24!  We're in the home stretch, only 6 days left of the challenge!!  How awesome are you for making it this far!?  THIS AWESOME!!  :)

As promised, we switch to a new teacher and a little more active practice today.  The last few days have been lovely and almost restorative, which has been really nice.  Nice slow break, while maintaining our flow.  That's the thing, even if you can't do a big practice like today's every day, doing the slow stretches, holding them longer, etc, really helps us keep up without feeling over-exerted.

But, enough of that, and back to the fun hard stuff for a day or two!  :)  So here we go!  This is considered intermediate, so if things are too hard, remember to take the easier pose variations.  Knees on the floor for the push up bit and cobra instead of up dog, etc.  Follow what your body tells you, take breaks if you need to, and do your best!  :)

Happy Yoga!

Monday, April 23, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 23!!

Good morning!  Double checked today's video before putting it up.  (Brilliant ideas, I know, LOL)  This one IS an hour long, and the focus is discernment.  These are good slow classes that take a LOT of time on each pose, and that's a good thing when you're beginning.  You get a deeper stretch, and can feel the effects a little longer, I think.



I'm not really sure how I feel about the music used behind the videos, but that's just me.  I like some music, but maybe not quite as ethereal-sounding.  ;)  Anyway, here you go!

Will try and find some other long classes by a different teacher, with a different feel, for the next couple days, so you can branch out even more.  :)

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge!! Day 22!!

 I am trying to post this from my phone, which is being irritating.  will have to make this longer st hone tonight.       Anyway, video! 



 On the computer now! Loving that my phone was able to find and post a video, don't get me wrong, but my touch screen was NOT being responsive and I couldn't fix spelling errors or use swype. Or the sideways keyboard, which is easier to type individual keys with. One or the other please!  Lovely dying Android.  (I miss my iPhone!!)

In any case, the video today is another hour-ish long class with Dr. Melissa West.  This one focuses on gratitude, something we could probably all work on.  We have so much to be thankful for, after all, and how often do we take time to reflect on that?  Once or twice a year on holidays?  Let's make this a more common practice.

I hope your day was blessed, and we'll see you tomorrow!  :)  





ETA again!  I went to watch and follow this video, which was pulled up...  only to find out it is NOT a full class and I don't see the same one as full length at Yoga Yak's page.  So we're going to switch to a different class!

This one IS a full length class.  Sorry about that!  The focus today is, not gratitude, which we could still focus more on, but is "Yoga of Choice".  



These tend to have a little more time spent on the meditation at the beginning and end, I'm noticing.  It can be a little difficult to just "be" with so much talking...  or perhaps you enjoy the talking because it gives you something to focus on.  Again, if you are not liking the videos linked, go back to one we've done before!  Or choose one at the store and follow that.  Or even take your favorite bits from everything so far, put on some quiet music, and do a self practice at your own pace, doing what feels nice at the moment.  Work on a pose that's been giving you trouble, or work on your flow in Sun Salutations...  It's totally up to you.

The point is to try, to work at it, and try to promote a daily practice.  Even a little tiny bit of yoga every day can go a LONG way.  I always try to fit in a little tiny bit, even if I cannot do a full practice.  I feel better with the full practice, but I do what I can.  And standing poses while I make dinner are better than nothing!  :)

Anyway, I'll be quiet.  Long day.  Off I go.  :)  Practice time.  And again, check in!  Let us know how you're doing, if you have questions or comments, etc.  :)  I'd be happy to chat!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 21!!

Welcome to day 21! We're going to continue with the series we started yesterday. The videos are around 1 hour long, and should lean toward beginner levels. :)

 Take today's practice to focus on what you have achieved so far, and what does that mean to you? If you are so inclined, let us know in the comments area! I know we have readers, I see your views! Let's hear what you think!

 And hey, if you think some of the posts are full of crap, give us your opinion! :) I'm more than happy to hear your thoughts and would love the dialogue about it! :) Without further ado, today's video.  Yoga of Awareness:




Namaste!  Have a lovely day!  

Friday, April 20, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 20!!

We're well on our way! :) I am going to lead out with a series of classes by Dr. Melissa West. There are TONS of them, so if you are interested in continuing with free online classes daily after the challenge is done, this would be an easy way to continue on with hour-ish long classes.

Here is the playlist where they can be found, if you are so inclined! :) She leans toward more beginner level stuff, so if you feel like you need more, seek elsewhere or buy a disc... but she's a good starting point for sure. :)  This starts on page 3 of the list, so go to page 2 and 1 to see classes 2-100+.



Namaste!  :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 19!!

Happy Day 19!!  Lots of videos from the yoga philosophy post yesterday, should check them out if you have not already!  :)

Today's video is another 40-ish minute one.  It's not so hard to keep up the long ones now, eh?  Maybe some days more than others, but the stamina is building!  Good stuff!  :)



They call this "heart expanding"...  you can take that to mean "chest openers" or you can make it a deeper thought if you like!  :)

Namaste!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yoga Philosopy Links & Videos

As promised, here is sampling of videos for going a little deeper.

This video here is about 10 minutes long, talks about the benefits of the breath, what benefits the poses themselves have, and goes briefly into expanding the practice off the mat.



***

This 13 minute one below has a yoga guru from Australia talking about several different things. He throws in Sanskrit rather often, but listen and wait for the translation, and you will be glad you took the time for it. Interesting stories! This says part 1, and I looked for part 2, but couldn't find it... but this, alone, is still good. :) He has other videos here as well: http://www.youtube.com/user/SwamiGovindanand?feature=watch



***

This one talks a bit about energy, not in the "having energy to do ..." way, but in the "energies we put off" kind of way. Being around negative people, for example, can drain our energy. That is something that I think everyone can agree with. Being around positive people, in the same way, can help us be more positive, or maintain our energy. It could be said, then, these people each "put off" their energy, and we can sense it, in a way.

This kind of sounds hokey, I know, but take a moment and think about it. Is there someone at work or in your family, perhaps, who constantly puts you in a bad mood to be around? How is THAT person's mood? Can you see how their mood affects your own? And what about someone you just love being around? How is their mood, most of the time? How does their mood affect your own?

It's not just mood, that's just how I'm trying to explain it... but it is a way to approach thinking of things in a slightly different way. And it is something that most people can identify with, so it is a good one, I think. ;) Anyway, the video here is about 8 minutes:



***
Explanation of body prayer, and why it is a good thing:



Seane Corn talks about "body prayer", keeping with the energy frame of mind. She talks about taking that energy, and "sending" it to someone or a group of people. If you are a religious or spiritual person, think of it like a prayer. You pray for someone when they are doing poorly, either mentally or physically. Perhaps you don't pray, exactly, but you spend time thinking of a person and wishing them the best, perhaps.

This video shows Seane demonstrating how she does this with yoga. At the beginning of your practice, it is common and a wonderful idea to set an intention for your practice of the day. Perhaps it is to be calm. Perhaps it is to have more patience. Perhaps it is to breathe or move fluidly. But perhaps it can be to focus on someone, and think of them while you practice. Pray for them, in a way. Sean's demonstration was for her late father, while he was battling cancer. You can FEEL her intention through the screen. You'll know what I mean here in a moment:



***

This next set will not play here, so follow the links please! More Seane Corn, talking about "working the shadow". How we can learn things from those who are in the worst places we can imagine, but are still managing to get by. How we can face the darkness within, and learn from it.

Working the Shadow:
Part 1
Part 2

***

And finally, for the streaming videos for today, one last Seane Corn video. (I love her, seriously! And if she's not your speed, find someone you can relate to! That is key!! Find someone who inspires you and makes you want to do better. Someone to aspire to be. Follow them!)

This one's title is enough as an intro: There's no place to turn but within.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And here are a few videos to look up, watch streaming on Netflix (if you can find them still!), rent from your library, etc. They will be with the documentary videos, and are varying lengths, but I've watched all of them and found them interesting.

Ashtanga, NY ~ Was started as a film about Ashtanga practice, and following a well known teacher (created the Ashtanga style practice). He happened to be in New York during the 9-11 attacks. It follows how yoga helped the New York Yogis through it all. On Netflix. Preview:



***

Enlighten Up! This was a yogi documentary filmmaker following someone new-ish to the practice for an extended period of time, and watching to see how yoga transforms his life. Or doesn't. :)  On Netflix as well.



***

There are plenty of other yoga documentaries, but I haven't seen the following.  I'd be interested in doing so, though!  They're on my "later" list.  The above two documentaries were available on Netflix, so they were easy to get to and watch.  The others I will have to go out of my way to watch.  :)

  • Yoga and Me  
  • Yoga Inc.   is about the business side vs. the enlightenment side.  Can yoga come away with its core values at the rate it is going?  Interesting topic.  
  • Yoga Unveiled
  • Y
There are plenty more out there if you are so inclined!  :)  This just gets you started.  And it's not to say I 100% agree with everything said here.  But I am always willing to listen and try to expand my mindset.  Learn more.  Try and understand better.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!  :)

Namaste!

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 18!!

Moving right along, both literally and figuratively! :) Keep it up!! Only a few more days to go to reach that goal! 30 days... it seemed intimidating at first, didn't it? Not so scary now, eh?

Some days you are tight, some days you are sore, but every day, without fail, after your practice, you feel better, don't you? :) That is proof, my friends. Proof of the awesome powers of yoga. It has its amazing benefits! :)

And after a while, when you find yourself incorporating the breath and the mindsets into your other aspects of life (kids made a huge mess in the kitchen with flour... the dog escaped the backyard... that frustrating client at work who is difficult to please...), you'll begin to see how yoga is helpful beyond the practice. How it helps with maintaining focus and approaching life's challenges with calm and poise.

Yoga is the practice, indeed, but it is much much more. :)

Anyway, on the practice side of things! I've found you a 43 minute hatha yoga class. It's not too easy, not too hard. Give it a try, or redo a favorite practice from earlier this month! :)



I'm going to do some research and post some yoga philosophy videos for you if you are interested. :) And once I have my full 30 day list, I'm going to make a 30 day yoga challenge page up top, so you can come back here or link to it any time if someone else wants to try it for themselves! :) Keep it all easy and reachable.

Anyway! Happy Yoga! Hope you have a lovely day! <3

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 17!!

Morning!  Quick post, and off to work.  Still need to start coffee.  Not much time.  ;)

55 min today!  If you need to take breaks, hang out in child's pose for a few breaths and get back in there!  :)



Some of this is going to be harder than you've tried before, just because it's new or because of the nature of the pose.  Pigeon is hard because of how deep a hip opener it is, for example.  But try it out, try to relax, and see what you can do!  :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 16!!

Over the hump, it's all downhill from here. :) Today we'll do a little longer one but take it easy since we pushed ourselves yesterday. Sound like a plan? No? Too bad, that's the plan. Don't like it, you can find another video to follow today. :P So there.

(Don't mind me, I'm a bit ornery today.)

Anyway!! Here we go! This one is led by a lovely lady who looks a lot more like I do than some of the models we've been seeing! Shows lots of adjustments if you're new to the practice too, which is nice. :) This is 43 minutes long, but not too difficult. If you want a challenge when you're done, go back and try the inversions from day 14, or arm balances from day 15. :)



This practice would be a good one to try and remember poses from and use while reading, watching tv at home, or studying.  I use many of these poses while doing other things at home, myself, and it's a nice way to keep the practice going while doing things I need to get done (studying), reading for fun, or to keep moving while enjoying a tv show or movie.  :)

Anyway!  So that's that!  Hope you have a lovely day 16!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 15!!

Happy Half Way Point!!! :) Look how far you've come!! Be proud!!


Going to do 2 practices today again, for a total of 33 minutes. Stay in savasana as LONG as you like. After this practice, you deserve it. :) Just be sure to set a timer for yourself if you have somewhere to be afterward. I tend to fall asleep after the hard ones. :)


The first video is about 10 minutes and shows a simple morning practice. Core toning stuff, which will help with practice #2.


The second is our challenging one of the day! 23 minutes long, so today's isn't TOO long, but that's because it's harder. Second one is arm balances. Teaching us how to begin them and what we can do to make ourselves strong to achieve them one day, if today's try does not work. :)







I love the look of accomplishment on the model's face in this last one!  She's really good and she is struggling with these too!  That makes me feel better.  And I love Kathryn's approach.  Maybe it's a little kick, maybe a hover, maybe nothing, but the point is ...  you tried today.  That is the thing.  If you never try, you'll never get there.  Give your body the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe not today, but if you keep it up and keep trying, some day you will get there.  :)

You can do it!!  Happy yoga, and may your day be blessed!  :)  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 14!!

Day 14! And as promised, we're doing a little longer today... And also, a little upside down time! :)

First video we did on day 9. Standing Poses.
Second video is new, and is how I achieved a decent headstand. :)





I can't move away from the wall yet, and I am hesitant to do the tripod version with my back still not normal, but I'm trying! :) Give it a shot! :) See if you can do it, see how long you can hold it, and be proud of yourself for trying!!

Happy yoga!

Friday, April 13, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 13!!

Day 13. Getting into the 17-minutes-isn't-long-enough stage of the practice! So let's do two today! They add up to 35 minutes. I found a bunch of 40-60 minute practices we need to lead into, so we're getting our length a bit longer! :) Build up our endurance!

First video is inversions, forward bending and the like, in different leg stances.

Second video is shoulder opening, to work toward a shoulderstand. Yesterday's video showed one, with head and neck on the ground and the rest of the body up in the air.

Tomorrow we'll continue with the inversions and work on a headstand after a lovely warm up. It's not as hard as it looks, you use a wall for help. It will be fun!! :)








Happy day 13! Almost to the half way point!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 12!!

Day 12! Today's video is a 20 minute class done by the same people who did the video for day 8. Figured having a "down" day instead of an intensive one, considering yesterday's practice, would be nice. :)



Happy Yoga! Keep it up!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 11!!

Day 11!! Core toning! Be stronger in just about every pose, be more balanced, and start to firm things up! :) But mostly, be stronger. It's a good thing.



This may be a little tough today, but that means it's working! It's not super long, though, (about 22m) so don't give up! Try and do your best, no matter how it burns! :) You can do it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 10!!

1/3 of the way through our little adventure! :) How do you feel? Fantastic?? Odd if you don't stretch some? Sounds about right. :)

This is a practice you could easily start off with Sun Salutations in, transition to this in the middle, and finish off with some laying down twisting like they did in the day 8 video, and of course, as always, finish off with Savasana (corpse pose).  So that's how I'm going to put them up here.  :)  If you just want to follow the one for today, it's in the middle. :)







This will make the practice come to a total time of 50-ish minutes. It sounds like a long time, but this is about right for a full length complete practice. I know it's a lot at the very beginning, but see if you can do it! :) Take breaks in child's pose if that's what your body tells you to do, but give it a try! :)

Namaste!

Monday, April 9, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 9!!

This morning we're going to go with a standing practice.  These poses are probably ones we've done before in other videos (I'd have to check to be sure, but they're common enough!), and that's a good thing.  It means you're familiar with them already!  :)

You could do a round of Sun Salutations (a few repeats through to warm up), if you like, of course!  I always recommend this, unless you are sick.  Sun Salutations all by themselves could be a full practice, if you're short on time, and they do work nearly all the body's muscle systems.  :)  Anyway!




Have to run and get ready for work! Happy Yoga! :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 8!!

Happy Easter guys! We're going to do just a light one today, just enough to keep moving, but not so much you have to take much time from family. :)

So! Without further ado...



Mostly gentle laying down type things. This is what I'd refer to as a "restorative" practice. Not strenuous, still moving, but relaxation is the biggest bit. Not strength.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 7!!

Today makes one week!  How do you feel!?  Yoga is not an easy thing, but it's one of those "worth doing" things.  You know, if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing right...  And every thing worth doing will have some pain and difficulty involved.  There are several others, quotes and general ideas, but they all seem to apply.

Yoga is worth it.  And if you lapse in your practice and come back to it, you'll wonder why you ever stopped, because you feel so much better afterward!!  Been there done that, and trying to make it more of a daily thing for myself!  I do at least a few poses daily as it is, but doing a real practice is what I mean.

Anyway!  So today, we'll go with Rodney Yee!  This is a video that was taken from Discovery Health, so there are two short commercial breaks during the practice.  Use the breaks to breathe and maintain or return to "center".  This will also give you an idea of whether or not you like him for video purchase plans.  :)



Happy yoga!

Tomorrow, being a holiday, we'll go with a light simple practice.  Something restorative.  Give ourselves a little break.  :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 6!!

Morning all!  Hope your challenge is going well for you!!  We're almost through one whole week already, though!  And while the soreness or tightness in certain muscles may still be there some, it should be much less than it was on day two and three!  :)  It goes away, and I'm sure you've noticed by now, the best thing for it is another practice.  Slowly but surely!  :)

Anyway, today's video is another Yoga Journal video, it's about 20 minutes long and this one is a little more on the cardio side.  Today's will be harder, perhaps, but see if you can tough it out!

If it makes it so your breath gets high in your chest and you're having trouble maintaining the Ujjayi breathing, (slow in the nose and out the mouth, as though breathing through a straw.  Should be about 5 seconds in, 5 seconds out.  Takes some time to learn this and more time yet to remember to breathe that way for the full practice!)...  Anyway, if you are having trouble maintaining the breath, pause the video.  Sit back in child's pose.  Take a break.  Do less.  Continue when you have regained control of the breath.


Refresher on the Ujjayi Breathing, or intro if you have not seen or heard of this before!


Child's Pose. This is a resting pose that helps you catch your breath again. Use it as often as you need!

And finally, your video practice for the day if you want to try something new! Again, you are more than welcome to attend a class, follow your own video, or repeat a practice I linked earlier this week! The point is to get your body moving, not follow exactly what I share. :)



Again, this may be harder than the previous ones, (heh, it's way faster and much more invigorating!) but see how long you can go! Push yourself today! You'll love how you feel afterward! :)  Just when you feel like you absolutely can do no more, it slows down and gives you a break.  You can always pause your video and take a longer break if you need it!  :)

Namaste!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Deepening the Practice (slowly but surely!)

Hey there! Back again, was going to talk to you about my personal progress! I'll try and keep this short, and will start by sharing a video that's a couple years old. My son (now 7) was 4, and I had just purchased my first yoga mat. I was doing things wrong and didn't know it, but looking back, I can see a lot of my errors!



I was rounding my back, not holding my shoulder blades down the back properly, and was reaching with the arms in forward folds. Even so, I could hardly reach the floor! I didn't hold poses nearly long enough, and it was a struggle just to do this much. I was out of shape, and having to work around the small living room space was difficult for proper poses. I had to turn the torso to lift arms up overhead when standing after a sequence, etc.

But still, I felt much better than I had, and was on my way to being healthier! I was doing the best I could, and slowly over time I started feeling the way my body was moving and realized it was wrong in little ways. I was able to take steps to correct, and now my body is better able to tell me if something is right!

This is the proper way to do a forward bend, for example. Bend the waist, and don't reach for the floor with the hands! Let the floor come to the hands. Don't stretch for it!

If you are new to the practice and cannot reach the floor without the backs of your legs screaming at you, bend your knees! Keep them bent, but with each out breath try to straighten them a little. A little more. A little more.



Eventually you'll be able to straighten the legs (maybe you'll still start each practice with bent knees, just to warm up, and that's okay!)... your hands will reach the floor without trouble, it will go from one fingertip to all of them to maybe getting your palms down. It takes time and consistency, but you will get there!

There will be "deeper" variations of poses you become familiar with, like extended side angle pose. When you're a beginner, you start with the elbow on the knee, but as you can do that without too much difficulty, try putting the hand on the floor by the front foot. It takes it a little deeper, and you'll find that edge again. And maybe after that becomes easier, try looping the arm beneath the leg and grabbing it from behind your back. There's always a way to take it a little deeper, and that's a good thing! It's a constant improvement process!


Beginning version


Hand to the floor...


And the bound version.

There are loads of variations for everything, and while we are trying to start off with the easier beginning versions, do try and push yourself a little! As something gets easier, push yourself to try the next step. If it's too hard and you are not ready, go back, but keep trying! One day, you'll be able to do it! You'll surprise yourself, and you'll have plenty to be proud of!!

Right now, I'm working on improving my wheel (or upward facing bow) and my headstand. I'm trying to be extra careful while working to make these better, hold them longer, etc, because of my neck and back issues. But I'm still trying! I was able to hold a wheel pose for the full three breaths the other day, and do that twice in a row! I usually could only hold for a breath or two, and my limbs were shaky, so I would lower down before I "lost" it. But I am getting better, and once I have wheel down, I want to start working on drop backs, maybe. :)


Wheel.

The headstand is tricky, but I'm currently using a wall to help support my feet so I don't fall over and hurt myself. I was able to hold it up with minimal help the other day, for a full minute. It's exciting stuff to finally be able to do some of these harder ones!! I wouldn't have even attempted them a few months ago. It was simply too hard.


So, I no longer struggle with getting my hands to the floor in forward bends. But I am still working on them! I want to be able to get my face to touch the legs, and be able to do full palms instead of fingertips. And eventually, I won't have to bend my knees to do any of it, even at the beginning of a practice. But I respect my boundaries and know I need to warm up slowly. And that's key! :)

The biggest thing I can say is to "find your edge". Find the place where it goes from easy to difficult, and walk the line there. Hold it as long as you can. When you feel like you are going to lose it, try and hold it one breath or one hair's breath longer. Just a little bit more. A little bit more. A little bit more, every day. You'll get it. It just takes time. And persistence.

You can do it! I promise! :)

For step by step pose information, check out Yoga Journal's pose library. If you have pain or injury, be sure to check the contraindictions area to see what you should avoid or modify while you are healing.  Or there is anatomical focus if you want to work on your arms, back, core, etc.  Check it out!  And there are loads of pose videos on their YouTube page, if you are more visually inclined.

And see, look how long this got.  That's why I shouldn't say things like "I'll try and keep this short!"  LOL

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 5!!

Morning!! Another slightly longer practice today, but again, nothing TOO long or difficult. There will be some challenging poses, perhaps, but remember to bend your knees if your legs are tight, take the easier variations, and try it out! You will be surprised at what you can do!



I have a chiro appointment, then I'll come back and do a post to tell you how my personal progress has gone! Where did I used to be, where am I now? :)

Keep it up! You can do it!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 4!!

Hey guys!  Was a long morning at work, finally home and able to post.  I hope you either have waited or followed one of the previous days' practices!  Here is your video for today, in case you were waiting!  :)



This is about half an hour, some of it may seem hard or like you need to be more flexible to do them, but give it a try!  :)  You'll be glad you did!

Happy Yoga!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 3!!

Good Morning again!  I have to get ready for work here in a minute so there's not much time to post.  But here's your video for the day!  :)  Might feel tighter today than yesterday, but keep it up!  It will pass, I promise!  :)



If the blocks are not an option for the very beginning, just lay back on the mat!  :)

Will touch base later!  I was able to do a headstand for a full minute yesterday, and was able to do a full wheel pose twice, for several breaths!!  :)  Looks like my chiro visits are paying off in unexpected ways!  :)  Those both really hurt before.  Slowly but surely!

Monday, April 2, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 2!!

Good morning all!  If yesterday was your first day with yoga or exercise for a while, you're bound to be a little tender today.  That's what we expect!  You may want to let it keep you from moving again today, but let me tell you, moving today is the very best thing you can do for those aching muscles!  So!  You are free to use the video from yesterday again if you like, or you can switch it up and try this one out!

Again, a little inspiration from Seane, because I mean it.  You can do this.  *nod*



And a new video.



Perhaps alternating today and yesterday's videos while you get used to the poses would be a good idea!  :)  Or do yesterday's first, then follow up with today's.  That would work well too!  :)

Happy yoga, everyone!  Remember to breathe!  Namaste!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge! Day 1!!

Welcome, welcome, to the first annual 30 Day Yoga Challenge here on Whole Food Fitness!

Sorry, that has a little Hunger Games in it, doesn't it?  (Good books!!)  Anyway!!

For random inspiration.  I would play this at the beginning of each practice for a week, actually.  I love listening to her.  <3  And she's so right!  You WILL get this.  You WILL memorize the poses, you WILL be able to touch those toes eventually, and without compromising your back!!  You can do this.  Just stick with it!  


You have your what you need post under your belt!  So!  We'll start off slow and easy.  There are some harder poses worked in toward the end here, but this is beginner level stuff, and a good place to start if you don't want to fork out $$$ for a class today.

Here you go!  Sun Salutations are a warm up for most yoga practices.  But on their own, they could also be a complete yoga practice!  Start there, and when you feel like you can do this without too much difficulty, time to add more!  :)

Feel free to do whatever practice you like, the goal here is just to do a little yoga every day for 1 month.  See where you stand when you're done!  You'll be surprised at how fast it takes hold and how little you need to encourage yourself to practice to get yourself on the mat each day.  <3


Happy Day One!!  You can do it!  And remember, if anything seems too hard, too fast, or too much, slow down.  Do less.  The breathing is the most important part.  :)

<3  Namaste!  <3  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chiro, tooth fracture, and dentists! Oh my!

Today made visit #5 for the chiropractor.  I do feel much better overall, they got me started with some exercises I can do to help strengthen the muscles around the spine in the neck too.  Fix the problem, train it to go the right way.  Come on now, I only have so many visits left!!  Work with me here, neck!


I'll admit my tension was a bit high this morning, and I'm still a little tight in the neck/shoulders...  but the last 24 hours have not exactly been forgiving.


Anna, my 9 year old, decided to have another fight to the death with her scooter.  And just like last time, when the scooter laughed loudly in her face and skinned her knee to the bone, she lost.  Only this time, instead of seeing the inside of her knee, we got to see the insides of her teeth!!!  YAY!









Broke off 2/3 of one tooth and 1/3 of another.  Awesome.


Grabbed kids and flew down to the dentist, but they were already gone for the day.  Nobody answered when I called.  Nor when I called the emergency line.  Hell, more than 24 solid hours later, nobody has returned my call.  We've found ourselves new dentists.  >.<


Took the kid to the Urgent Care and got her some hydrocodone to get her through until morning, and got her to sleep for the night.








Morning came with appointments made with two different offices by accident, chiro appointment, driving the kid to the wrong office, canceling appointment made by accident, flying to the right office, and being seen.


Turns out the teeth were not as bad as we thought, the roots were intact, not exposed, and there were no hairline fractures up in the gumline.


We ended up rebuilding the teeth with large fillings.  No crowns, root canals, caps, or nerve deadening needed.  Which meant, despite the awful look of the initial injury, we did not need near as much of our insurance today as we thought.


She got to watch Gnomeo & Juliet on the ceiling while they worked.  Ceiling screens are amusing on laughing gas, apparently.



While they worked, they told stories of other kiddos who were worse off upon coming in.


There once was a little girl who was hit in the face by a baseball bat.  It was intended for a pinata.  At her own birthday party.  While she was reconstructed in the chair, the party continued on without her.  Nothing worse than having to go to the dentist on your birthday and get home to find everyone else ate your cake and ice cream for you, eh?


So see, it can always be worse!


And in the end, she looks MUCH happier, more comfortable, and much more normal in the toothal region.  Yes, I said "toothal".  I know it's not a word.  I don't care.  :P




So, all in all, I think my neck tension was well founded.  And I hope it is melted away by morning...  but we'll see.  Stupid neck.  Be nice!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back pain vs. the chiropractor!

So, a couple Saturdays ago, I woke with a crick in my neck.  This happens from time to time, and I felt it along with a knot in my mid back, just under the shoulder blade.  If I pulled my arm around to touch my opposite shoulder and felt around back, I could feel it, but couldn't get it released.  Every day it got a little worse.  A little worse.  A little worse...  until Saturday the next week, I simply could not move without pain.

So!  My lovely husband suggested I suck it up and see a chiropractor, because that's their job.  Fixing backs.  Fine, I said, though I was hoping it would fix itself on its own.  It usually does.  I couldn't even work the iPad from my prone position in bed because I couldn't move my right arm without hissing in pain.  Not exactly a good sign.

So he worked it for me (noticing a pattern?  I think I'm starting every paragraph with "so".  Not on purpose.  We'll see if it continues!  LOL).  Helped me sign into my insurance's website to try and find someone, and double check my coverage!  Kinda handy to know if it will be costing me out of pocket or not.  Turns out, it's covered for a $20 copay for each visit.  Up to 20 visits a year.  Well, all alternative health care things add up to 20 for the year, but I have a feeling this is where it's all going!

(So) I ran up there and filled out paperwork while making quiet pain noises, and got in to be seen.  I sat in half lotus on the bench and waited while playing my turn in a few games of Words with Friends, which I'd fallen behind in.  When Dr. Kirby was able to finally get in to see me (I was a rushed appt they kinda just smooshed me in between others, so I waited a bit that day), we chatted about the issue, he checked my posture, felt around the spine to see what he could feel, and what he found said he needed to look further.

(SO!) We did this crazy heat and tension diagnostic tool that is supposed to help pinpoint the problem areas.  Turns out...  where I hurt was NOT a problem area.  But I had some pretty bad ones.  Mostly in my neck.  Since that didn't look like expected, we also did some X-rays.  We went from taking those to hooking me up to a fun electrode thing.  Electrocuted my back in an X shape to try and get the knot behind the shoulder to release. Mostly, my left shoulder pulled up without me telling it to move, and my head tracked up and to the right!  It was kind of a strange feeling, but the knot does feel better now.  Still there, but not as intense.  Doesn't hurt as much.

(so...)  After that, we did the first fun adjustment.  Now, I've never been to a chiropractor before.  I didn't really know what to expect.  But I do know how to breathe in and relax with an out breath from my yoga fun, so I did that.  And I've had small people walk on my back to help pop it a bit when things felt a bit stuck.  So I know what a crunch and a pop feel like from moving the bones around.  And I wasn't too surprised to feel them, but I was surprised at how easy it was to do!  Crunch pop rat-a-tat-tat!  LOL

My upper back didn't move too much, but my neck, where all that pain was stemming from, cracked like nobody's business.  Serious cracks man.  Major noise.  Sounded like a little machine gun.  O.O  Kinda like this, lol.  Not me, unless I grew a mustache overnight and went blonde without knowing it.  ;)



Anyway, so I left, made my payment while they tried to figure out my insurance stuff, and set up to come back a few days later.  Went back and got to see my X-rays.  And...  uh...  my neck?  It doesn't look normal.  Not a good thing.

Normal neck looks like this, with a lovely curve to it.  Supports the 15lb weight of the head so the head rests over the shoulders.  Normal:

And this is my actual x-ray.  I took a picture of it on my phone while the doc was out of the room.  Because it's so crazy.  Seriously.  No curve.  BAD.  


So my back is holding up the weight of my head instead of the neck.  That absolutely explains the back pain.  My head is sitting 1.5" farther ahead than it should.

When I was standing there for the x-rays, I got the random flash in my head from the last time I had x-rays done of my spine.   
 I was 19, had just been in a car accident, and had broken a windshield with my face.  Hmmmm...  I wonder now if my current state is a result of that, and the x-rays not being read by someone who was looking for things like that.  I'll never know, but it makes me wonder.

Anyway!  So, yoga feels nice while I'm doing it, but I feel a little too creaky to really do too much that's different.  I guess I'm afraid of moving things out of alignment too much, in case I do something wrong...  but I know at the same time, I should be okay to do most things.  But I should also trust my instincts and stay away from things that feel like too much.  Like wheel.



I was working up to a good one!  I could hold it for 2 or 3 breaths before releasing when I hurt myself.

Ah well, such things can wait.  So, for now...  I am supposed to go back for a total of 10-12-ish visits to try and get this back in place so it can get to a normal state.  And get my pain to go away.  And stay away.  That would be nice.

I'm tired of this.  And I can't go back to the way it was last Saturday.  So!  I have a feeling I'll be going back every so often to maintain the good alignment I'm working so hard to achieve right now.  And hopefully, with my lovely $20 copay, it won't cost me an arm and a leg to do it.  Stupid 20 visit max.  >.<

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kale chips! Where have you been all my life?

My kids and I devoured a whole bunch of kale today with dinner.  As a side.  And the kids wanted more.  O.O

If you want to get more greens in your kids, this is a fun and easy way to do it!

‎1 bunch kale
1T olive oil
salt, seasoned or plain
garlic & onion powder, if using plain salt

Preheat oven to 300*. Rinse and dry kale. Remove stems! Cut or tear into large pieces, a little bigger than you'd want a chip. (They shrink!) Toss in olive oil and seasoning. Lay out on baking sheets, and bake 20-ish minutes, until crunchy and not limp in the middle.

It's a fine line between crunchy and crumble-on-your-tongue, but they're really good! You can add red pepper flakes and other seasonings if you want to play with flavors, etc, but I like these with just a seasoned salt. :)

And for those of you who want to see it in action!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Juice video! The green in action!

It took the the better part of the day to edit this, throw it together for you, and get it up on YouTube, but here we go!  It's kinda long, but I wanted to show you how long it takes to make enough juice for one day.  And to offer tips on things from cutting your pineapple for juicing to how to add things to the juicer...  what to do if it starts to get unbalanced, how to spin it out and why you want to bother...  Why do you want to stir or shake the juice before you drink it?  How do I prep all these veggies?  And what do I do with all the veggie gunk that's leftover when I'm done??

All this and plenty more is answered within!  :)  If you have questions, as always, feel free to ask!  :)  Happy Juicing, everyone!


I love Dashama! Free hugs video.

Okay, I'll admit it.  I'm totally feeling the love lately.  Tara said something to me the other day about how the cleanse left space and she sometimes thinks it was filled with gratitude.  I think she is absolutely right.

This is a sweet little video by a lovely girl named Dashama.  She is a yoga teacher, hosts yoga retreats and videos on youtube.  She's a super cheerful upbeat girl, and she decided to make a sign that said "Free Hugs".  She was alone on Thanksgiving and decided to wander the streets and offer hugs to others who might be alone too, and in need of a little human contact.  It is a lovely video, and I encourage you to watch it, smile, and go hug someone yourself!

Namaste!  <3

Juice pics and bloopers!

Pics from the juice cleanses, as promised!  You can click on any of the photos to see them in their large original size.

You always want to start with fresh ingredients!  I was trying out red kale instead of the dark leafy blue type I usually can find.  The red has much less of a leaf, so you need more stalks for the same flavors, but both are good.  :)  

For broccoli, I cut or tear the florets off, and cut the stalk in half and feed it through that way.  Kiwi I quarter the long way so they are in wedges, and wheat grass is good either as a sprouted grass or in tall spears.

This is what can happen if you put too much in at a time!  It overflowed and danced everywhere.  We kinda got sprayed with green juice bits.  It was not pretty!

The machine, overflowing.  This was after it finally stopped so I could open it.  The solids are overflowing from the top of the barrel!  WAY too much went in!  Have to be more careful!!

This was the watermelon mint juice.  Looked really pretty in there!  :)  

Watermelon mint juice, all done.  Lovely pink!

Pesto was one of the savory veggie juices we made on our first round.  Decent when just made, but doesn't store well at all.  Also, surprising amounts of brown in the tomato juice!  Didn't expect that!

These were, left to right:  Green, Carrot Apple Beet, Pesto, Salad, and Watermelon Mint.  Green wasn't as green as usual because of the change in kale type.  Interesting!  



This was a tea I made with frozen berries and one of the Zinger Berry tea bags.  Was pretty good, and a nice warm break from the cold juice.  I love that little tea pot, by the way.  Got it at Whole Foods.  It makes 2 cups worth and is the perfect size for just one person.  :)

Working on the video, will post that later!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Introduction

My name is Tara. I am many things in my life. I am a wife, and a mother first.  I am a daughter, sister, and friend. I have a career. And I have recently been inspired by some other women sharing their own experiences in health and well-being.  I want to share my own experiences and hopefully inspire someone else.
Each day my goal is to add purpose and find fulfillment by doing one thing better. One choice, one day at a time.

30 day Yoga Challenge! Starts April 1st.

No, this is not an April fools joke thing.  April just happens to be the next 30 day month.  Anyway!

I have it in my head that while both Tara and I are doing 30 day yoga challenges for ourselves (mine started again last night!), I should probably try and get some of YOU to join us!  I will post up some info for easy online free streaming classes if you don't have access to anything at your house or locally.  You could go to a yoga class in town if you prefer, of course, or do your very own practice you come up with yourself...  but the idea is to get into the habit of daily yoga.  A little goes a long way, and we're trying to build healthy habits in ourselves!!

So!  Are you up for the challenge?  Join us!!  April 2012 will be the official yoga month for us here.  :)  Perhaps we'll host another one in April next year too!  We'll see how it goes.  :)

If you need yoga gear, let's get you set up with where to go so you get a good deal and a decent product.

Yoga Mat:  You can find a pretty decent variety of Gaiam mats at Target.  They will be in the work out area by the bikes.  If you have poor knees or need extra cushioning, go with the thicker ones.  There will be two different sizes available.  The regular ones are around 3mm, and the thick ones are either 5 or 6 mm.  3 should be fine for most people, but if you have trouble getting on your knees without pain, I would say to go with the thicker mat.  They'll be a little more, but you'll feel MUCH better during your practice.

Set of 2 blocks and a strap!  If you are new to the practice you will probably want/need these!  You can make do with thick books at home, or use a belt instead if you need to keep this cheaper!  BUT if you want a decent set of foam blocks and a strap, you can find a lovely set for around $10 at Walmart in their work out area.

I do NOT like the mats they have there.  I got my first mat here and it tore up and didn't last long at all, nor was it very sticky.  I know it's a pain to go more than one place for the things you need, but the mats here are simply not as good.  If they carry the Gaiam brand, you would be safe with that, but I don't like any of their other options!!

So, Walmart:  straps/block.  Target:  mat.  Easy enough for most of you, and there are links to online shopping for both if you need to order in.  :)

Beyond that, unless you want to get yourself a dvd to follow, you should be set.  Should not cost more than $30 or $40 to get set up as long as you have some comfy stretchy clothes to wear.  Doesn't have to be anything fancy, but you do want 4-way-stretch for sure.  Yoga can rip seams if you're wearing something like parachute running pants!  Knit is fine!  :)

If you want to go shopping for a DVD, I would recommend any of the following:

  • Seane Corn, Vinyasa Flow.  This comes in two separate discs as beginner and intermediate.  They are slow and VERY technical, so they're good for the beginner who needs to know how to line feet up, etc.  You can find them at Whole Foods sometimes, but they're on sale over at Gaiam!  The two come together for just under $30.  They were $20 each when I bought mine.  
  • Seane Corn, Detox Flow.  This has two lengths on a single disc and also comes with a free downloadable 10 minute practice for core toning.  This is more twist-heavy, is a little lighter as yoga goes, and has a few different audio tracks to keep it interesting.  I really really like this one lately.  A lot.  Found it for $10 at Walmart (is cheaper online apparently!), or you can get it at Gaiam for $11.
  • Anything with Rodney Yee is pretty good too!  He's a nice calm relaxing dude, and you can find his videos most places that have yoga gear.  
  • If you like more of a trance dance feel, Shiva Rea is really fun.  She also has a prenatal yoga if you are expecting and want to try it out!  :)  She's a little more "out there" than some of the others, but she's graceful and calming as a teacher.  And her work outs range from easy to challenging.  She's worth looking into!  Music plays when you enter the site, so be ready for it!  (I hate not knowing that sort of thing)
  • And our go-to place for the challenge will probably be Yoga Journal's YouTube page.  There are always loads to look at there!  :)

If you are wanting yoga clothing to wear as well, rather than just something comfy, I really like the following.  All tops will have a shelf bra, which I personally need, and pants work well for those with the mama-tummy thing going on.  :)

These Champion C9 pants, found at Target, are decent, though they don't fold over.  That look seems to be going away, sadly.

These tops are nice and breathable, supportive, and while they don't stretch quite as much as some others I have, they are a decent price:  Champion C9 tanks with shelf bra, mesh sides.

Victoria's Secret has some cute pants, though they are a little higher priced...  

And for a mid-range selection (read carefully if you want to be sure to have a bra!  Not all of these have them!!), check out Old Navy.  They have some very good deals and their products tend to be decent.  These cute tanks have a shelf bra.  The go dry ones don't.  I'm not a huge fan of their pants, but I do like mine to be pants rather than leggings.  I don't like the tight to the ankle look, myself.  But look around.  Maybe they are more your style than the stuff I like from Target.  :)

Overall, though, Target and Old Navy have the best deals for this stuff I've found looking around.  Victoria's Secret work out outfit would be a little splurge for me.  I wouldn't spend $40 for a single pair of pants just any time.  And I LOVE Lululemon stuff, but it's so expensive I just can't justify it.  I love looking over the clearance stuff though.  It's almost VS or ON pricing, lol.

Anyway!  You just need a mat, some space to practice, comfy clothes, and maybe a pair of blocks and a strap if you're not very flexible right now.  But you could just start with the mat and see what you think first.  :)  

In any case, however you choose to go at this, I'm excited to help you find different ways to do this!  I will join you and see how things play out!  It will be a very good thing, all around.  :)

Namaste!  And for kicks, a little glimpse into the trying to yoga with kids and cats around.  Kitten attacking my hand, boy waiting for his turn with the tv while his big sister was in school...  Ah, those were the days.  (This is 2 or 3 years old.)


Sunday, March 11, 2012

5 Day Juice Cleanse Overview!

Hey guys!  Was a little busy this weekend, so I didn't get a note written every day for the fast...  so here we go!  How did this thing work!?  How do I feel right now?

Pre-day:  I ate very little and tried to go mostly juice.  Tried to ease into it a bit more this time.  Made it a vegetarian only food day.  Had some lovely Amy's Pesto Pizza for dinner.  Was scrumptious.  Went to bed excited for the juice cleanse beginning!!!

Day 1:  This day was pretty hard, I'll admit.  I kept looking at food and wanting to eat it.  My son offered me a fruit leather and I ate it without thinking that afternoon.  Didn't even occur to me until I was about to eat the last bite that I shouldn't be eating it!!!  But, it was all fruit, so I didn't beat myself up.  I kept it together for their dinner, even though green juice really didn't sound good right then.  Managed a little yoga, but fell asleep on my mat.  Energy level not super high, still.

Day 2:  Woke up feeling MUCH better than I did the night before.  Geared up and ready to go.  Green juice tasted better than it did on day 1.  Was easier to drink and enjoy.  I think the green juice is something that takes a little getting used to, and your palate grows to enjoy it a little at a time.  It was definitely not my favorite ALL the time...  but it's one of my favorites right now.  Everything at work smelled amazing.  I wanted to eat it all.  Even the stuff that usually smells really gross to me (I blame that one hangover, that one time...)

But!  I caved a little after dinner. Was really hungry and wanted something more solid.  I went for pasta with an organic sauce, and ate around 1 cup of that.  Half way through my portion I stared down into the plate.  It wasn't even very tasty.  I usually really like that sauce, but it didn't taste good.  I was a cheater.  I knew it.  I felt it.  I went to bed telling myself I'd do better tomorrow.  Didn't make time for yoga.  Cheater again.  Sigh.

Day 3:  Woke up feeling better than the night before.  Determined not to cheat.  Juice juice juice, took a batch to Tara (she doesn't currently have her own juicer so I was juicing for two during this whole thing), we were excited for the green juice, but feeling really emotional and a little bit crazy.  Everything was hilarious, truth be told.  I worked this night, and was a little irritable.  Not nearly as bad as the last day 3, when I was getting sick and didn't know it.  I'm not sure if that was because I was a little healthier from the recent fast, or because I wasn't getting sick.  I know Tara felt it on this day.  She threatened to go home and eat a bunch of cheese sticks.

 I wanted to quit.  I wanted to give up and just eat all the food in the fridge and say NO MORE GREEN!!!!!!!!  But I stuck it out.  I did have a couple pistachios when my husband had them out that night...  another bout of snacking without thinking.  I think I realized what I was doing around pistachio #9 and I stopped eating them.  And told my husband to take them away from me.  It was a good idea.  He did, and when I was reaching for them absent-mindedly again a little later, he told me no!  Yay for hubbies that try and help out, even if they think we're a little crazy.  (I've tried to convince him to do a 3 day cleanse with me, but he thinks I'm just crazy and he doesn't like the homemade green juice.  He really likes the Superfood juice from Odwalla, and I suppose I could try and replicate that with some green powder and fresh fruits...  but I'm not sure he'd be down for a full 3 days without food.  Though I am certain he would benefit from it greatly!!!  Will keep working on that!  LOL)

Day 4:  MUCH easier than day 3.  Everything was funny.  I was in a happy mood all day, laughed a lot, felt fantastic!  Worked that night, helped train a new girl, ran the pizza rush from the kitchen, and things went smoothly.  I was nowhere near as cranky as I was for the last pizza rush I ran while juicing (it was day 3 last time and I was losing it a little).  Much better.  Watched a blip of 30 Rock with my husband, and it happened to be a show that involved Tracy doing a fast for a colonoscopy, and he was hilarious in his description of his fasting.  So so true.   Season 6, Episode 11, while it still streams on hulu.  The best bit is at 10:45 when his fast had to go longer than he planned:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/337442/30-rock-standards-and-practices

Anyway!  Hahaha, talking turkey leg, talking chocolate bar, talking cheese stick...  it's all in what you crave!  ;)  Day 4 ended decently, gearing up for day 5 and a trip to Denver.  Trying to figure out how to take the juice with me for the day without a cooler.  I decided on stainless steel coffee travel mugs.  Did a little yoga here and there, but no formal practice.  Sigh.  Fail.  But the evening was lovely, hanging out at home with the hubby after work.  We watched some Game of Thrones with the commentary and laughed a lot at the one where the kids who play Aria, Sansa, and Bran are commenting.  Marveled at the surprising lack of nudity for the episode and figured they had to be careful about which one the kids would comment on.  ;)

Day 5:  Woke up, juiced, arranged for Anna to come home from her sleepover.  Was in a great mood all day.  Only was a little cranky about a crick in my neck, and only when we hit bumps on the road that jarred my spine.  Pretty sure a disc is slightly out of whack.  Tried to yoga to fix it, but couldn't move enough.  Went to the Denver Science and Natural History museum and IKEA in Denver.  Amazing place, that.  Planning our new entertainment center if we can decide on an overall feel...

Also, turns out...  fresh juice with citrus in it inside stainless steel?  TASTES DISGUSTING.  Stick with glass or plastic, people.  Glass or plastic.  My juice was awful.  I drank it anyway.  Got home starving, happy to have some more juice in glass jars to fall back on...  but caved for a little pasta.

Hubby tried to rat me out to Tara by taking a picture and sending it, but I stopped it before it could go through.  MUAHAHAHAH!  I ended up looking a little crazy because of my "Damn it Charlie!!" text I sent after the pic.  But then I saw it hadn't sent yet and I canceled.  LOL.  Tara asked me if I'd been drinking.  LMAO!  Anyway, it was a decent day, and if I hadn't been so stupidly hungry because of the awful juice tastes that I couldn't get past (couldn't stomach one of the ones I took with me.  Sigh.), I would have been able to force down that food craving.

Day 6:  Day to break.  Trying to do it right this time.  Had some mango juice in the morning, on the way to work.  Took some fresh veggies cut up with me for my solid food.  Ate a kid size Cliff bar before my shift, and it made me feel hugely full.  Way too much.  Should have started with 1/2 a bar.  Stupid stomach size!  Had some berry juice at lunch and about 5 of the baby carrots, 5 small slices of red bell pepper, and 1 broccoli floret.  Was full after that but not nearly as much as after the Cliff Bar.  Felt weird to have food in my stomach again.  Maybe it was too hard so it was hard to digest, but I wanted to start back off with veggies.  After work, I took the kids to IHOP for dinner.  Ordered some savory veggie crepes and barely managed to eat one of them.  Still feel full a couple hours later.

And I'm going to go take a long hot bath and do a little yoga before bed.  Work comes early in the morning, so I need to do that, but I am hoping the twists during yoga help loosen up the muscles that are holding the disc in the wrong place.  Maybe tomorrow I can turn my head without serious thought involved.  Maybe.  That would be nice.

Anyway!  I feel brighter, foods taste amazing and complex, and I think next time we're going to plan for a 10 day cleanse.  But for now, the thinking is that we'll do a 1 day cleanse at the beginning of every month.  Just give our bodies a little break from the food to decompress.  I like it.  :)