Tag Archives: yoga

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 12 and 13

15 Jun

Making it through this week of the 30-Day Yoga Challenge was nothing short of a small feat for me. Every day I jammed plans between work and yoga with yesterday being the exception. Yesterday I had no time to get anything done in between.

Day 12: Hatha 1

I’m Puerto Rican and if you know anything about Puerto Rican time, you know that it’s usually at least 15 minutes after the rest of the world. And that’s on a good day. However, since the challenge started I’ve been pretty impressed with myself for showing up to class at least five minutes early. If you’re new to yoga, I suggest you arrive 15 minutes early… that’s what I strive for. “Strive” is the key word here.

Wednesday was not one of those days that I arrived early. Since I ran errands in between work and yoga, I skirted in just on time. To be honest, I didn’t want to go. I was kind of hoping I was late and the door would be locked. If only I had been caught at one extra stop light! Ha.

One of my favorite instructors (the one that hands out hugs) taught the class, so that helped work me out of my exhausted funk. Like the day before, I had trouble focusing on the practice itself. My body was moving slowly, but my mind was racing at 100 miles per hour. I found myself repeating the word “focus” in my head over and over again, but even then my mind would wander. On my way out I collected my  belongings and my hug and thanked my lucky stars that a rest day was just around the corner.

Day 13: Ashtanga 1

Last night was the opposite of Wednesday night: I arrived to class 45 minutes early. Of course, this was not on purpose. Silly me thought class started at 5:30 and I was 15 minutes early. Nope. Class started at 6 PM.

I picked my favorite spot: not all the way to the back of the class, but not in the front, and near a wall so I can save me from my falls.

The no judgement yoga zone.

And then I laid down and tried to daydream …

Day dreaming until yoga starts

Alas my mind wandered to my crazy to-do list and everything I could’ve done with these extra 30 minutes I had. So instead of day dreaming, I took to Facebook to distract my mind and posted this pic of my sweet, sweet reward from earlier that day:

A peanut butter cup chocolate cupcake from Sweet Traditions. Call it my little reward for making it through the week.

Yes, it was delicious. Yes, it was heavenly. And yes, it was worth the calories. It was a peanut butter cup chocolate cupcake from Sweet Traditions on Park Ave in Winter Park, FL. Me and my two friends snuck away during lunch to pick up an afternoon pick me up. 🙂

Class started to fill up so I moved closer to the wall. I had to ensure that handicap. 🙂

When I saw the early teenage girls shuffled into class by one of their mothers, I knew we were in for a treat. As a former teenage giggler myself, I can recognize one immediately.

For the next hour and a half these young, young ladies giggled their way through sun salutations and downward dogs and bridges. Our instructor was really great and started to issue separate instructions to his “new” friends (the gigglers) and his “old” friends (the rest of the class that could move at a faster pace). I think some of the more serious yogis were getting annoyed, but I loved  them. They reminded me of my besties at that age and kept my mind occupied with visions of how we too would’ve giggled our way through a yoga class, rather than that crazy to-do list in my head.

I almost started laughing along with them when they almost died stifling their giggles during shavasana. I definitely had a smile creep across my face. The gigglers took me to a happy place. As for those that were annoyed, sometimes we just have to remember to not take everything so seriously. Yes, yoga can be quiet and hard and zen. But it can also be fun. And God knows how many times I giggle in my head when someone in class farts or my instructor adjusts my position in a way that a 14-year old girl would find hilarious and boyfriends would find highly inappropriate. Ha!

Class ended and off I went to start my 24 hours of rest. Dare I say my rest day tastes sweeter than that cupcake?

Do you ever giggle in yoga class? 

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 10 and 11

12 Jun

This past weekend was crazy busy, and this week hasn’t slowed down yet. I’ve been working my yoga in between work and appointments and friends and eating and sleeping. So while the yoga alone isn’t the only thing leaving me exhausted, combined with everything else it’s definitely a major factor.

Day 10: Ashtanga Basics

I met up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog and we started our week off sweating real pretty. Ten days into our 30-Day Challenge and we finally took our first class together! No pretty heart-shaped sweat marks on my back, but I did walk out of class with a giant frizz ball for a head. Funny, I walked into class with straight hair.

Day 11: Yoga Basics

I had an appointment between work and yoga and by the time it was yoga time, I wanted to bail. I tried to think of excuses to miss, but none convinced me enough to skip class. I wish I was a better liar. I totally would’ve lied to myself.

Instead I headed to class and breathed and moved and tried as hard as I could to relax. You may as well have asked me to do the  impossible . I tried to drown out the mental to-do lists in my head, but couldn’t stop thinking about them. And every time I did a downward dog I thought about how I was due for a pedi. Didn’t I just give myself one? Does yoga somehow make my nail polish last less time?? (Answer: Not directly, but I’ve been showering twice a day sometimes and all the showers do.)

I’m off to bed. I have some yoga to do at 6 AM. I’m already planning the different ways I can be glutenous in the evening!

How do you get yourself to work out when life is busy and you’re exhausted?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 8 and 9

11 Jun

This weekend was packed from beginning to end, but I somehow found time to get my yoga on.

Day 8: Ashtanga 1

I was up bright and early for the eighth class of the 30-day yoga challenge. The class is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The pace is good for me (not too fast, not too slow) and I always leave feeling challenged, but not reconsidering my decision to participate in the challenge. Perfect.

On a side note, I went to class wearing a leotard used for my Black Swan costume last Halloween and some old Victoria Secret sweatpants. I should’ve popped on the Black Swan make-up, tutu and crown to complete the look:

Me and Donnie Halloween 2011

I was obviously overdue on doing my yoga laundry. I managed to squeeze in washing some clothes somewhere in my crazy busy Saturday. Otherwise I would’ve been doing yoga on Sunday in my old Adidas breakaways.

Day 9: Hatha 1

The slower pace of this class was perfect for winding down in the middle of a busy, busy weekend. And lucky for me, I had clean laundry!

The instructor for this class has been out of town the last couple of weeks but finally returned. As soon as I saw her face, a smile appeared on mine. I’ve only taken her classes a couple of times and hardly know her, but every time I see her I just feel warmth and happiness exuding from her. It’s hard for that to not be contagious.

After class she hands out hugs. I gladly took mine just before I headed off to meet my childhood besties for lunch.

IT Band Update

A few friends have asked how my IT band is doing. It no longer hurts to walk, or take the stairs, but I can tell that my right hip is much tighter than my left and I’m still aware of pressure by my right knee when I walk or sit a certain way. The yoga is certainly helping with the stretching and strength part, and I continue to roll my leg with both the foam roller and the stick. I’m still not running on it. I’m going to give it as much time as I can to heal so I can start my half marathon training session injury free (and hopefully stay that way).

Rest of the Body Update

Tonight’s class will be Day 10 of the challenge. I can’t believe it I’m so far in!

I spent my first week pretty much being sore everywhere, but now I just feel… stronger. My muscles everywhere are feeling it, which I find has me standing and sitting taller. I’m also feeling a bit drained, so I keep reminding myself to watch what I eat. The healthier option is always the better option when I’m going to spend my evening bending and twisting my body. 🙂

I’m off to start a busy week, planned around six yoga classes.

How are you sweating pretty this week?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Day 7

8 Jun

Hoorah! Today is my first rest day since I began this 30-day Yoga Challenge on June 1st (and first day work-out free since May 28th). My body is rejoicing!

I woke up this morning sooooooo tired. I think I muttered “coffee” to the boyfriend, but he still hasn’t brewed it yet. I will try extra hard to avoid spelling errors.

Yesterday was Day 7 of the yoga challenge and I was dragging. The rain that fell heavily while I was driving to the studio was rather telling of my mood. I wanted to drive home and lay on the couch instead. Preferably with some ice cream. Or a bag of chips. Or both. Instead I made a dash into the studio.

Yesterday’s class was an Ashtanga 1 class. Somewhere between child’s pose and shavasana I slowly forgot about my aspirations of being a couch potato. I took advantage of the slower pace to really focus on my poses. I don’t know how many times I had to remind myself to drop my shoulders, but it was up there. I could tell that I had a stressful day at work because my shoulders were so tense.

I’m going to enjoy my day off of yoga today. I almost wish I could double up either tomorrow or Sunday so that I could have a second rest day, but my weekend is just too busy. Rather than let myself feel overwhelmed by all of my plans this weekend, I’m going to try and focus on enjoying every activity and stay in the moment.

And I really hope one of those moments involves a cupcake of sorts. 🙂

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 5 and 6

7 Jun

I seriously think my lungs are sore from yoga breathing. When I decided to take on the 30-Day Yoga Challenge, I never considered this as a possible ailment. I’m also sitting and standing up taller. This new amazing posture makes me feel a little snooty so I occasionally find myself slumping over on purpose.

Here’s how I’ve been spending my free time lately.

Day 5: Yoga Basics

This was an 8 PM Tuesday night class and I was dragging. All of these days in a row of yoga were getting to me. Also, earlier in the day I had what I had been craving for over a week: delicious french fries.

Hello you yummy golden, waffle fries.

Sadly I think this is what caused my belly ache as I headed into my basics class. I made a note to avoid fried foods on yoga days (which is like… every day… so sad).

This was the first class that was relatively empty, and I think it’s because the usual teacher was out on vacation. I finally got to set up shop towards the back of the class, what I like to call “the judgement-free zone.”

I think I’m starting to get a hand on the basics because I actually found myself bored. I spent quite some time thinking about dinner.  Yes, my belly ache disappeared 20 minutes into practice again.

I also spent some time wondering where I could buy decent cheap yoga pants that aren’t see-through. You see, I’ve been using my running tights for practices. Guess what running tights do? The waist starts to roll down slowly until you have to pull your pants back up. Anyone have any suggestions?

Day 6: Rise & Shine Flow 1/2

Since I’m used to waking up and running before work, I was disappointed to find out that my studio only offers one class during the work week that I can take before work. Our studio’s website describes this class as such:

This early morning 75 minute session begins with gentle “wake up” stretches, builds to a sweaty level of vigor and ends with deep seated stretches. Modifications are provided.

If I would’ve written the description, it might read a little more like this:

This early morning 75 minute session will rock your pants off while sweating and crying out in pain, all before you’ve had a cup of coffee.

I looked forward to the challenge and headed into class. Remember how I mentioned classes have been packed since the start of the challenge? This one was the worst. Rather than our mats facing the front of the class, we all had to turn our mats to face the side of the class and scooch in nice and close to those around us. There was a lot of coordinating with your neighbors on positions. I found myself spending too much time focusing on not punching my neighbor in the face (which I’m sure my neighbors appreciated). That was when I wasn’t focused on trying to follow the flow of the moves. Or remember which leg was my right leg.

I also made a mental note to go buy a yoga towel. Yes, I sweat pretty.  And my hands and feet get slippery. My downward dogs would slowly turn into planks if I had to hold them too long.

The studio provided free coffee and bagels after the practice. This is good because coffee eases all pain.

I grabbed my coffee and bagel and jumped in my car to head home. But first, I did the oddest thing. I searched through my iPod for some John Mayer and started to blast it. Does Flow Yoga make you want to listen to John Mayer? Upon further thought, I think John Mayer was playing during practice. It might be that I was just so excited to listen to “normal” music and not “yoga” music that I had to have more. Regardless, me and John rode home together happy and sweaty.

Any tips on yoga pants and mat towels that won’t break my bank?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Day 4

4 Jun

Tonight marked day four of the 30-Day Yoga Challenge: Ashtanga Basics.

I went into class with a splitting headache. I took three Advil before I left the house and hoped that either yoga or the Advil would take away my pain. Twenty minutes into the practice, my headache was gone, and my head pain had been replaced with new pains (whatever muscle was currently being pulled and stretched at the moment).

This was a slightly shorter and slightly easier version of Saturday’s Ashtanga 1 practice and certainly passed my A.D.D. test. I’m okay with holding poses as long as it’s not anything longer than ten breathes.

Have I mentioned that all of the classes have been full lately? I think it’s because of the challenge. I was 15 minutes early today and had to set up mat at the very front of the class. Um… if I’m at the front of the class, who am I supposed to copy? Lucky for me, with all this yoga I’m actually starting to get the hang of some of these moves. I only had to do some not-so-subtle looking around a couple of times.

All this yoga has my body feeling great, but I have a confession: I miss running terribly. I miss the air in my lungs. I miss my ladies. And I miss our coffee breaks afterwards.

Speaking of running, today’s running haiku posted on runninghaiku.wordpress.com really got me giggling. Moving forward, I shall now refer to all porta-potties as “Honey Bucket.”

What’s your favorite nickname for porta-potties?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Day 3

4 Jun

Sunday marked day three of my 30-Day Yoga Challenge and day seven of working out in a row.

My body is starting to feel like it used to after a day of water skiing when I was young: I am sore everywhere. Everywhere? Yes, everywhere. I don’t think there’s a muscle that yoga doesn’t work. The good news is it’s just a slight sore. It’s not the severe sore that keeps you from being able to walk properly or lift your arms to brush your teeth.

Day 3: Yoga Basics

Due to scheduling conflicts, I had to miss the morning Hatha 1 class I was aiming for and instead go to a late afternoon Yoga Basics class. Since it was a beginner-friendly class, I had a special guest join me:

This Guy (a.k.a. My Boyfriend)

It was Donnie’s first yoga class, so it made yesterday’s practice super exciting. I knew he would love it and couldn’t wait to hear his thoughts on the class as we walked out of the door.

Turns out I was right… he loved it! His favorite part was the meditation and how yoga helps you leave your worries or stresses behind. He was a big fan of the nap at the end (or the shavasana), which was briefly interrupted by a train passing by (the studio is right next to a train track). On a side note, we also realized that we were sandwiched in between two snorers during shavasana.

I was super impressed by his flexibility. There were a couple of times that I was using a block as a prop and would see him going full stretch out of the corner of my eye. Why did I never realize he was so bendy before??

I missed sweating along side my boo. It made my heart happy! Back in the days before Marathonfest we used to run together and I have missed getting to spend that time with him.

We came home and ended the weekend with some turkey chili and wine. We rode that yoga high for as long as possible.

On to start the work week. I have a week full of yoga planned ahead of me.

What are your sweat plans for the week?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 1 and 2

2 Jun

Taking 26 yoga classes in the span of one month is going to be just like running a marathon. I have to pace myself. I can’t push too hard. And I’m going to reward myself at the end with a big, fat, juicy burger.

What I like about the challenge is that I have to try different styles of yoga because I have a limited schedule to work with. What I hate about the challenge is having to do new things. Oh silly me.

Day 1: Yin Yoga

Yesterday was the very first day of June, and so began the challenge. I was scheduled to celebrate a friend that evening for Happy Hour, so I opted to take a 4 PM class called “Yin Yoga” so I could make it to the bar on time. The studio’s website described the class as “A quiet practice, a series of long, slow postures that targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis and lower spine. Poses are held from 1-5 minutes long.”

I read this and thought to myself, “Oh good, I won’t sweat too much so I won’t have to take a shower.” Yes, I choose classes wisely.

It wasn’t until the class was about to start that I started to wonder exactly what kind of poses we would be holding for so long. I wondered this as I watched the human pretzel who set up shop in front of me folded up into… well… a pretzel. If this was her warm-up, what were we about to do??

The yoga class essentially went like this:

Yoga Instructor: Get in this really awesomely awkward position and hold it.

Me: (in my head) Oh dear. Does my leg even bend like that? Yes, sort of. Okay. I’m doing it! I’m holding it.

Yoga Instructor: Don’t forget to breathe…

Me: (in my head) Oh, yes. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. Ow. How long are we holding this for?

Yoga Instructor: Relax your shoulders. Relax your neck…

Me: (in my head) Relax my what? Ow. This is not comfortable at all. Good God… how long do we have to hold this for? Does anyone have a timer?!

Yoga Instructor: Relax your face…

Me: (in my head) Yeah, right. Relax? I don’t think I can. Why does Gumby Girl in front of me look like she’s peaceful and napping?

Yoga Instructor: Relax your eyelids…

Me: (in my head) $@#&%!!!

Yoga Instructor: Okay release.

Me: (in my head) Good God!

This pretty much continued itself for over an hour. I’ve never been so happy for Shavasana to come.

In retrospect, we spent the entire class deep stretching trouble spots for me so that was good. But damn, that was HARD. I might try to avoid this class, even though I think it was good for me.

Day 2: Ashtanga 1

The studio website describes this practice as “Ashtanga Yoga offers a vigorous flow of specific classic poses that heat the body to safely stretch and strengthen with an accent on the soothing breath.”

I’ve been meaning to try out this class but it always conflicted with my running on Saturday mornings. I’m glad I finally got to try it out because I liked it!

This class catered a bit more to my A.D.D (self-diagnosed, of course) and I was able to find a natural rhythm. Yes, it was still challenging, but I didn’t seem to mind as much. And I certainly didn’t curse as much in my head.

Also, our instructor was funny, which made some of the poses a lot more bearable. I’m easily distracted by jokes. Oh… I also lose my balance when I laugh. This happened several times. 🙂

Have you tried either of these styles of yoga? Why do you love/hate them?

On a side note, I’ve worked out six days in a row. Thursday I did a 20-minute cycle ride and arms. I feel like I could wrestle a bear and win. A tiny, baby bear. But nonetheless a bear. I’m rewarding myself with something fried today. I don’t know what, but I know it has to be battered and cooked in oil. Speaking of which, I’m overdue for lunch.

Happy weekend!

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge

2 Jun

The yoga studio that I’ve been going to issued a 30-day yoga challenge for the month of June. The goal is to take 26 yoga classes in 30 days, hopefully helping you discover the benefits of daily practice. I, however, am hoping to discover that I have the ability to be bendy, just like the girl who practiced in front of me yesterday. She was like Gumby. I’m quite sure she doesn’t have bones.

Downward Dog

(Source)

I found myself going back and forth on whether I should take the challenge, and finally decided to do it. Here’s why:

  • That damn IT band. It’s still working on Operation Heal. Since I won’t be rejoining my Marathonfest running group until it’s healed, I need something to do something in the meantime. If not, I’m going to bore on the stationary bike and at-home yoga and likely become a couch potato.
  • It’s just what the doctor ordered. Okay, so he didn’t exactly say I needed to challenge myself to 26 days of yoga in the span of one month. But he did say I need to stretch like I’ve never stretched before. And I needed to strengthen my hips, legs and core. I think yoga covers both.
  • Blogging about my home workouts is boring. Not just for me… I’m not sure how you feel, but you’re likely nodding your head in agreement.

I did have some things holding me back, but I think I came up with solutions:

  • The cost. In order to complete the challenge I would have to get an unlimited monthly class, which runs $135. This is a huge cost for me but was able to work it into my budget. Goodbye lunches and afternoon Starbucks trips with my co-workers. Hello Lean Cuisines and leftovers!
  • My hair. Yes, my hair was a part of the consideration process. Are you done snickering? No? Fine, I’ll give you a minute… Okay, I recently just got the ol’ Ombre do and it’s smokin’. Or should I say fried? See, I have very, very dark hair, so to get the my ends so light it required a lot of bleach. This bleach blonde requires special care  like avoid chlorine, ease up on the straightening iron, don’t wash hair every day. How can I sweat every day and not wash my hair and straighten?? I decided dry shampoo, curly hair and up do’s would be my solution.
  •  I hate to do laundry. My yoga clothes are really my running clothes. And I only have so many running clothes that are  yoga comfy. And I just spent $135, so I don’t have money to be buying new yoga clothes. I’m going to have to do laundry a lot. Did I mention that I hate doing laundry? I’m just going to have to suck it up.
  • There goes my social life. Wait, what social life? Yoga is my new best friend. For the month of June that is. Afterwards, we’ll probably get in a big fight and not talk to each other for a while while I go back to my old best friend, Running. And my running buddies, whom I already miss terribly.

And so, yesterday I embarked on this crazy journey of 26 yoga classes during the month of June. Also taking this challenge is Carolina from Peas in a Blog. I’m looking forward to sweating alongside her. I’m also looking forward to discovering that I too have no bones! 🙂

Have you ever done a streak, whether it be a run streak or a yoga streak or a (fill-in-an-excercise) streak? What were your biggest challenges?

Gettin’ My Run/Yoga On

21 Apr

Sweatin’ pretty… I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. Special thanks to this lovely summer-time Florida weather and a big shout out to yoga.

Yesterday I woke up just before the sun rose to set up for yoga in our Florida room. It was dark, and perfect for getting focused.

Don’t worry, the sun rose in time for all the good stuff.

I was feeling great and super focused… until the wonderful aroma of brewing coffee wafted towards me. After that, all I could think about was getting my hands on a cup of joe. Mental note: Ask my boo to hold off on the coffee brewing until I’m done.

This morning I woke up late, so breakfast was just a banana and some peanut butter. I walked outside and was happy to see that it hadn’t started to rain like my weather app was forecasting. In fact, it never did rain. But the day has looked pretty ominous, like we’re on the verge of a storm.

My first run back started off well. It was muggy, but a good breeze kept us from being too hot.

Around mile seven I felt that good ol’ familiar IT band twinge in my right knee, so decided to run back to the car before running became painful. One of my group leaders, Sue, was out riding her bike as support so she rode it in with me.

Sue was riding her bike because she’s running a 12-hour ultra tonight. You gotta love her. To me, she has the perfect combination of wit, smartass, intelligence and crazy. Yes… crazy. You have to be crazy to want to run 12 hours through the night. Occasionally I have crazy moments where I tell Sue I’ll run an ultra with her one day. One day I hope that crazy sticks long enough for me to actually do it.

After the run we had some breakfast then me and fellow runner Erica headed off to meet up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog, who invited me to a donation-only yoga class being offered on Rollins campus by the Rollins Yoga Club. They were raising money for Water Project, a non-profit organization that builds wells and provides clean water to under-privileged villages. Full Circle Yoga instructor Rob Hefele led the outdoor class.

I loved yoga on the grass. It was perfect with Earth Day being tomorrow.

Nature's Yoga Studio

Yoga outdoors

Rob moved us through a series of positions and moves that kept my muscles guessing and stretching. The flow was faster than I’m generally used to, but loved it! And every time we would love over our shoulder to the “back of the class” this is what we saw:

Rollins Campus

Beautiful!

Technically, for the first half of the class we saw the Rollins lacrosse team pulling weights and doing sprints and such, but they eventually cleared the field for a more peaceful experience.

Note to self – when doing yoga outside please remember the following:

  • A towel to lay yoga mat on so that it doesn’t get too wet if the grass is dewy.
  • Don’t take shoes off until you are stepped fully on the mat. Otherwise you will have to wipe your feet off with your dirty socks because you forgot a towel too.

After winning a spa raffle (what??? I never win anything) and a jaunt down Park Ave. back to our cars, I was ready for a shower. Freshly clean and belly full, I’ve spent the last several hours icing and compressing my poor leg.

On my next run, I’m going to run with my new NB Minimus shoes. What if all of this is just a sign that I should’ve already done the switch, rather than waiting until after Flying Pig Marathon? Eek!

In Sue’s words, “Won’t you feel stupid if you went through all this pain and you just needed new shoes?” Why yes, Sue, yes I would. Let’s hope that’s the problem and I’m back to running strong in no time. 🙂

Do you have any special plans for Earth Day tomorrow?

It crept up on me again this year and it’s going to be rainy all day. I’m blank on ideas.