Thursday, January 24, 2013

If your students leave crying, they probably aren't coming back.....

The other night I was walking into my yoga class, when I passed a young yoga teacher speaking pretty intensely to a visibly upset student, who wasn't meeting her eyes.  She was telling the teary girl that "exercise is supposed to be hard, you're supposed to hate it and then when you're done, you are glad you did it.".  The girl was sniffling and nodding, and looking totally defeated.
I skirted around the drama and went into my class with my usual teacher.  But I couldn't get this scene out of my head.  It made me think, "Am I doing something wrong?  Do I have to hate my workout in order for it to be effective?"
For me the answer is no.  I don't enjoy being forced to do things that I don't want to do. I can try to talk myself into it, but I pretty quickly move into "dig in and resist" mode.  I loathe feeling forced into doing things that I don't want to do or spending time with people who make me feel stupid (I spend a good portion of my day feeling stupid, no assistance is required, thankyouverymuch!).

I was very fortunate when I started yoga at Blissful Yoga studio, I took classes from some awesome teachers who encouraged my practice from the ground up.  Teachers who supported and guided my practice, but still made me feel as if I was doing well (even if I now know that I started out horribly inflexible). 
I still go to Intro to Yoga classes simply because I love the teachers.  And I continue to learn from them as I improve my poses in each class.  A great yoga teacher encourages progress, while altering each class to match the level of the students, offering modifications so that no student is left feeling badly about themselves.
If I were to give any advice, it would be for you to find the exercise that makes you happy.  Yes, there are days you just don't want to work out, but it's even worse if you have to force yourself to do a workout that you hate.
I don't love to run.  I don't always love getting ready to go to yoga class.  But I feel good about myself while I'm doing it and after I'm finished.  And I believe that is the key that has finally kept my workouts consistent. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Friend, Jeff Galloway Teaches Me to Love My Slow Ass.........

I do not like cold weather.  Not one bit.  I made a deal with myself that I didn't have to run in the mornings if it was under 40 degrees. And it's been straight up freezing in Arizona for the last couple of weeks.  So between the subarctic weather and starting the 40 day yoga challenge, I haven't run in over 10 days.  But I really wanted to try the Lotus Run class at my yoga studio.  The class description said that it was running mixed with yoga poses.  It was very specific in saying it was for all skill levels including beginners (I don't go to any class that doesn't declare it's love for beginners).
When I got there, I chatted with the teacher, who told me she had fallen while hiking yesterday so she felt like it was going to be a short run today since she was one big bruise all up her left side.  (Is it wrong that my heart jumped in happiness over someone's fall?).  Two other girls joined us, and they looked normal, but then of course Super Marathon Man had to come in.  Everyone knows him, wearing his running shorts over his tights, bright green PF Changs marathon shirt, and all the iPod accessories strapped up his arm. The teacher mentioned that there were some beginners in our class, and he said that was fine as he had already run a few miles before arriving (of course he had).  We did a few warrior poses and off we went. 
I don't run unless my friend, Jeff Galloway is coaching me (yes, I believe that he made his app just for ME and that he is speaking specifically to ME),  so I began following his instructions for my walk/run intervals, and I immediately fell behind.  Like way behind. Like, so far back that the teacher said she was worried I would be kidnapped or attacked by a javelina, so she kept jogging back to check in on me.  I told her I was fine and she should feel free to go on without me. But she kept coming back, trying to encourage the pokey little puppy.
I finally looked at her and said, "You know, I'm fine.  I know I'm a beginner and I'm really comfortable with where I am."  She looked a little shocked and said it made her feel bad to have me so far back.  I said, "I've lost 30 pounds in the last six months, I know I'm a work in progress, and I'm really comfortable with where I am.".  I told her that I was following Jeff Galloway's program and it turned out she was a big fan of his also, so we chatted about that and off she ran to catch up with the others. 
But here's the funny thing, I was bringing up the rear for the first half of the run  but on the home stretch, I looked up and I was only a few yards behind the other girls, and then I pulled ahead of them for the remainder of the run. And that felt great.
This is exactly what my friend, Jeff Galloway says, by doing walk/run intervals, you are much less likely to get injured and you are much more likely to finish strong, and not run out of steam towards the end of your run.
These girls ran fast in the beginning and then they got tired and were unable to sustain their pace.  Me and my friend, Jeff Galloway were the tortoise in this race (except Marathon Man was the rabbit on crack, he had left all of us behind and wasn't looking back.).
No, I couldn't do the step ups on the high benches, but my standing triangle was amazing.  I couldn't do a straight line of hops, but I can fold myself in half like nobody's business.
My point is, that after six months of yoga, and lots of therapy, I'm getting comfortable with my body.  I can't do everything perfectly, but I can do a lot of things really well. 
If you are reading my ramblings, and you take anything away from it, I hope it's that anything you are doing to get your body healthy is awesome, and you should feel great about where you are in this moment.  Don't compare yourselves to anyone around you, don't compare your progress to anyone else's, just take pride in every step you take towards a healthier life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 1 of 40.....or How To Know When You Really Aren't Trying.....

Well, I did it. I signed up for the new 40 Day Yoga Challenge at Blissful Yoga.  I was pretty nervous about doing this because I already know how hard it is after completing it last fall.  But I have a few friends who wanted to do it with me, and ain't peer pressure a bitch?
I seriously feel like my hands look like this.
So I was off to Candice's Bliss Flow class.  And I found that my muscle had some memory, but mostly it remember how to be lazy.  My boat pose was abysmal, I could barely hold it for 15 seconds, my side plank had a knee to the ground (which was like a knee to the groin of my ego).  I can't lift my entire body off the ground with only my ridiculously short monkey arms that end in freakishly small hands.
After the last 40 day challenge, I continued to go to yoga at least twice a week and started running, but lately, I've had to admit, at times, I am phoning it in.  I'm not pushing myself as hard as I could.  When I first started yoga, I would just drip sweat on the mat (and not in a hot yoga class!).  Lately, I'll break a little sweat, but nothing like last year.  When I run, I'm running longer all the time, but I'm still doing walk/run intervals and I'm not pushing myself to make the intervals longer.
So even though I'm putting in the time, I know in my heart that I'm not putting in the maximum effort.  When I'm running I often think of something Joan Didion wrote in her essay, "On Self-Respect", " Most of our platitudes notwithstanding, self-deception remains the most difficult deception. The tricks that work on others count for nothing in that well-lit back alley where one keeps assignations with oneself; no winning smiles will do here, no prettily drawn lists of good intentions. One shuffles flashily but in vain through ones’ marked cards the kindness done for the wrong reason, the apparent triumph which involved no real effort, the seemingly heroic act into which one had been shamed. The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others – who are, after all, deceived easily enough; has nothing to do with reputation, which, as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara, is something people with courage can do without."
When people tell me they are exercising because I've inspired them, it makes me feel like a fraud.  I'm flattered but all I can think of is, "I'm no one to emulate, I'm not trying as hard as I should.".  But I have three people doing the yoga challenge with me, and I have people that are running the C25K and mention me as inspiration.  So when do you stop feeling like you aren't good enough to inspire?
This self-criticizing voice in my head is one reason that I love ending yoga class in Corpse Pose. It's almost like a little period of Happily Ever After.  It silences the voice that says, "you aren't working hard enough, you aren't inspiring, you aren't making progress.". It allows you disconnect from the reality of how difficult the class was and think, "oh, that wasn't so bad, I'm pretty relaxed." ("until next time, sucka!" thinks every yoga teacher as they watch you limp out of class).
Corpse pose helps balance your body, your ego and your treacherous mind. I like it when you are reminded to thank your body for all that it did for you today.  A healthy body that can even attempt yoga is truly a gift to be thankful for.
And since I didn't blog Sunday, this weeks nails are OPI "My Private Jet", a gift from my sweet sister, Wendy, who understands that nail polish is like a baby blanket to my soul.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hot Yoga or At Least Now I Know What Hell Feels Like.......

Today I went to Yin yoga at 9:30 and then my friend, Windee convinced me to stay for hot yoga at 11:00.  Hot yoga was everything that I imagined (dreaded) it would be. I was pretty grumpy when I came in, moaning to Windee that I didn't want to do this, and she ignored my whining (which is one of the reasons she's awesome).
I don't like to be hot.  I don't like to sweat.  And I don't like vinyasa flow yoga.  So obviously a hot yoga class sounds like something you should take me to, right??  It didn't help that everyone in that class was all Lululemon and perfect bodies. I was annoyed immediately.  
Fortunately, work was having some issues so I got to leave the class twice to take a call (look Lululemon bodies, even though I'm wearing Old Navy yoga pants, I'm really busy and important!). Unfortunately, work said what they needed to say and refused to talk to me on the phone for long.  So I had to go back in.
I kept giving Windee the side eye, which made her laugh (another reason she rocks).  Class should be finished at 12:15, but not today!  Today we got our money's worth and stayed until 12:30!  Have you ever noticed massages never go over their scheduled time, but exercise class? Let me give you another 15 minutes of torture! On the house!
As we sat sideways and did a seated fold, I whispered, "I haaatttteeee yoooouuuuu" to Windee's back.  This only served to give her the giggles (final reason she rocked today).  She didn't seem to understand the depth of my despair.
Anyway, Blissful Yoga? A Introduction to Hot Yoga class might be a good idea for those of us who almost went home to their maker today.
The Sunday manicure has commenced.  Last weeks color, Gobsmacked by Butter is history.  I would give that polish a "C".  I painted two coats on Wednesday, along with a top coat and Chip Skip by OPI, and it still chipped a little by Friday, and was really chipped today.  I have found that Butter is a good "occasion" polish.  They have some kick ass colors, but no staying power (kind of sounds like an ex of mine.....).
OPI continues to be the Sunday staple.  Tonight, I used Midnight in Moscow. It's an awesome deep dark red.  I call it the red "Lincoln Park After Dark" (another all time fav).
Midnight in Moscow
Make it a great week! Make it OPI worthy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I am simultaneously fascinated and appalled by hippies (keeping in mind there are varying degrees of hippiness, the ones who are pooping in public parks as part of the Occupy movement are just all kinds of wrong.).  I'm talking about the naked bike ride hippies, the yoga hippies, the live on $2000 a year hippies.  I am fascinated by their happiness and their weirdness. Like how does your brain get there? Where do you wake up and think I would like to ride a bicycle with my naked hooha resting on a leather seat in front of equally naked 70 year old men?
But when you start trying to live a healthy life, it feels a little hippie-ish.  When you start talking about clean eating, vitamins, and yoga after a lifetime of meat and potatoes and circling the lot for the closest parking space, you feel like a hippie wannabe.
I was fortunate enough to get into a fb group that was focused on healthy living.  I quickly found some girls that were in different places on their healthy journey, so they inspire me in different ways (you know who you are, Heathers!). Soon a small group of us broke off from the big group and it's been even better! It is a safe place to discuss my "new" lifestyle without feeling like a fraud.   It may seem weird to some people, but think about it, if you can find an awesome husband online, why shouldn't you be able to find awesome friends?  I have!! (hmmm, maybe I should rethink eharmony......).
Don't get me wrong, my long time friends and my family are very supportive of my journey, but it's awesome to have that daily conversation with people who are on the same path as you.  Whether it's sweating out 10k steps a day on our Fitbits, trading Green Monster recipes, or holding each other to weekly weigh-ins, I know I wouldn't have been able to stay on this path without my new friends.
So stay open to new ways of making friends and look for support in unusual places. 
Love, Peace and Hippiness!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Butter nail polish........and Mean Girls

So my 2013 hasn't started out on the most productive note.  Some laundry was done, a bedroom was cleaned, some ceiling fans were vacuumed.  But I kept hearing from fb friends how packed the gym was and it made me feel like a slug.  Like I should be out there with all the January resolutioners.
But I started my better health journey back in late June, so I'm already in beast mode (actually, I'm still waiting to find out what beast mode feels like, I'm more like schizo weeble wobble mode when I'm exercising.).
Now I'm participating in my most sacred ritual, The Painting of the Nails.  This usually takes place on Sunday nights, but with the weirdness of the holidays, I'm off schedule.
Butter Gobsmacked - and chapped hands....
One of my 2013 resolutions was to break my dependence on OPI and to try new polishes. I received some Butter polish as a gift, and I LOVE the color!  The jury is out as to whether it has the staying power of OPI.  I don't have any patience with nail polishes that chip.  Chipped nail polish is for crackers.  Seriously, don't leave the house with jacked up polish.  It just makes you look sloppy because people always look at your hands.  At least, I always look at other people's hands, and everyone thinks like me, right? J/k, I know no one thinks like me.
I'm also watching Mean Girls on TV.  Wondering why I don't just get up and get my DVD out because this editing is out of control.  They keep substituting words and since I can recite the movie by heart, it's doubly annoying to me. Apparently, you can't say Damien is "too gay to function",or tell Cady, "I'm not retarded", when she tries to explain home schooling, but MTV has no problems with the words, "bitch", "slut" or "whore". These are the kind of pc things that make me gag.
So although nail polish and Mean Girls are two of my favorite things, this isn't an auspicious start to 2013.  I promise tomorrow will be better.