The End of 40 days

So I will be honest the last 5 days of the 40 were VERY minimal in the actual physical practice of yoga. With my husband home I just did not want to take the time away from him or our family to be on the mat. I did at least THINK and TALK about yoga each of the days. I also tried to put into practice off the mat what I learned on it: patience, understanding, grace, flexibility and calmness. 

With so many adjustments lately on the home front it was difficult to always remain calm, cool and collected and while I would like to say I did 100% of the time I can’t. But I can say there is progress, a lot of it and it feels great!  And while the person before this challenge would have been so hard on themselves for not finishing the way I expected to, I am not disappointed because I know I am one step closer to achieving what I want to in my life.
I have learned a lot through this challnge about forgiveness of others and for yourself and learned what truly matters is taking everything in your life one step at a time. You can’t bust out a head stand before you’ve worked on your core, or jump into crow until you have learned to trust yourself. Just as in life you cannot always have what you want immediately, you have to chip away at some things. The point is you never know how powerful you can be or how far you can go until you push your boundaries, even just a little. 

While you may not be ready for your own long term challenge- I implore you to set a goal for yourself- maybe something you’ve always wanted to accomplish, learn or do and begin the first step of it today. One week, month or year from now you’ll look back at that small step and realize it was not as hard as you imagined in your head. 

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Day 27: When Yoga Brings you hOMe

Entering the studio I practically skipped in to my favorite instructors class. Part of the reason I love this instructor is that she is so warm and welcoming to each and every person that walks in the door. Today there was a newbie and I saw the instructor ‘s magic and that of the studio take hold of yet another person. While everyone chatted I searched around for some of my yogi buddies. Unfortunately I did not see any of my usual friends. Being pretty exhausted from being too excited to sleep (my hubby comes home tomorrow!), I wasn’t really feeling up for making any new friends either. The chatter escalated as more people filed in and I began to shrink, to feel like an outsider a bit. From there the idea got in my head that it was just not going to be a good practice. I was too tired. I didn’t have any friends there. I was so ticked about a personal issue.  I wasn’t feeling a good vibe. Blah blah blah… 

Class started and there were a complete two minutes of silence. I have never started like that. There is usually a reading, maybe a couple breathes of silence, but never minuteS of silence. Those couple of minutes made me a little uneasy and out of my zone as well. And then the call came for OM and it was a booming, shake your core, powerful OM. It instantly connected me to the others in the class and made me feel my groove and my purpose again. 

We may come to our mat with the best of intentions some days and others may feel a little shake-y, but it is really looking for the small things each time you step on. Wether it be connecting to others or more to yourself, indulging in a cathartic Om or finding 1/16 of an inch more in a pose. The days where you feel like you are just pushing through to get to the end are sometimes the ones you need the most!  
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Days 25 & 26: HYDRATE and STRETCH!

We hear it time and time again to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  And I will be honest, growing up I thought it was ‘weak’ when we had water breaks and people would guzzle water.  I wanted to show my coaches and teammates that I was too ‘tough’ to need water and I was willing to go 100% of the time at maximum effort.  Looking back now I really wish I had a coach tell me what I was doing wasn’t showing strength and determination, that it was actually malnourishing my body and causing more cramping and fatigue than the actual physical activity I was doing.

We NEED water to feed our body and allow it to work properly.  So much depends on this vital nutrient: our digestion, helping regulate body temperature, organ function, helping protect your tissues, spinal cord and joints and more!

How much do you need?  It depends on the person and I’m talking adults only here, but you should have half your body weight in ounces each day.  So if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces.

 

How do I get that much water in?!?!  Well here are my tips and tricks:

1- My number one tip is to find a water bottle you LOVE and carry it with you always.  Then when you see it, sip it.  Some people like to have a straw, others a wide mouth bottle, some love glass while others swear by their plastic ones.  I would say you have to try a few on to see what fits you best.  It may seem expensive at first but if you aren’t paying for water bottles all the time, it really ends up saving you money.  My go to is the one pictured by Rubbermaid.  I like that it doesn’t leak and I can flip the top easily on and off.  I also use a Nalgene bottle to carry my filtered water in to work so I can refill the Rubbermaid one.

2-Carry it with you ALWAYS.  IN the car, to work, the gym, baby play dates, doctors appointments…everywhere!

3-  Treat your water intake as part of your routine.  Wake up- drink a glass.  Make breakfast, drink a glass and then eat said breakfast.  Drink 16 ounces on your commute to work.  Have a glass before lunch, snack and dinner.  Have a meeting?  Drink another 16 ounces!  Any consistent activity you have in your day to day life, try and add water into the mix.

4- Use a straw.  It helps get the water in faster and you drink more than you normally would.

5- Flavor it up!  If plain water bores or grosses you out, add some fruit to it.  You can even do this and freeze them into a popsicle for a tasty treat 🙂 Checkout some yummy recipes here (flavored water) or here (popcicles)… more popcicles.

6-  Be frugal!  Order water at a restaurant instead of soda or an alcoholic beverage.  You’ll save some money in the process!  Or, if you really are craving that wine, make a pact with yourself to drink a full glass of water before and after you drink it.

7-  Eat your water!  No, its not cheating and you kill two birds with one stone.  Eat water rich foods like watermelon (duh!), celery, lettuce, soup with light broth and cucumbers.

 

So, that’s your hydration sections and as far as the stretching goes, I have a THERACANE to help out with that and it is AMAZING!  I got mine on groupon and have to say thought it was a bit intimidating at first.  But I read the little instruction manual and which knobs are best for certain muscles and haven’t looked back since.  It is amazing to give your muscles the massage they need and be able to apply the pressure you truly want with ease.  I really needed this in my life the past couple of days and am working on getting the knots out of my shoulders.  Your muscles need time to regroup and stretch out and this is the perfect way to get them some relief!

 

For more fitness and nutrition tips and tricks check out my facebook page or if you think you’re ready to get some coaching from me fill out this form.

 

 

Day 22: Fueling Your Tank

After practicing this morning I had to run and get gas and literally fuel my car for what seems like the 10th time his week already. (My son has been going through nap issues and only seems to get sleep in the car.  I know bad habit- but I feel like the need for sleep outweighs all other ‘rules’…). Anyways, as I was fueling up I was reminded about an old saying about filling your cup before you have the ability to truly fill someone else’s. 

I have to be honest that it is only recently that I’ve really gotten this phrase. I have tried to be mindful of it and live that way (although some people think it’s being selfish). I have found that it truly helps me stop running through the list of things I have to get done and things I would like to be doing and actually focus on what is at hand. Sometimes that means making myself lunch while also making something for my son and allowing myself the first bite of food. I usually have a toy or something for him to be occupied with as well. 

As women tend to do, we put everyone else before ourselves but I’m telling you that it is OK to be a little selfish. Enjoy an extra 5 minutes in the shower, go for that walk around the neighborhood, indulge in a little massage every now and then. Once you feel full, you can then provide untethered attention to others. Those around you can tell when you’re not all in and it affects the whole mood of the situation. We are so used to running on 100 cylinders and ‘busy’ has become a badge of pride when in reality it means we are just doing a whole lot of things half assed. Take time to feed your soul each day and then clear the clutter from your to do list to dive down into what truly matters for yourself and those you love. 

Day 21: Meditation

Today I decided to break from the normal at home practice that I would do since I don’t have a sitter for Wednesdays and take time to meditate. I am planning on doing this before bed as I find it helps me to clear my thoughts and drift asleep effortlessly. I thought I’d share some tips on meditation that I have gathered along the way:

  1. You do NOT have to be sitting cross legged on a white pillow surrounded by candles. You can meditate anywhere you are comfortable. But do try and limit your distractions of possible. (At least when you’re new at meditation!)
  2. You can breathe normally, scratch an itch you have or leave your eyes open if you want. Closing them does help with the whole direction thing though!
  3. Know that you will have tons of thoughts and distractions along the way and that is OK!  Each time you feel yourself ‘drifting’ then just being your thoughts back to stillness or nothing-ness. I always try to focus on a single phrase which changes for me. Sometimes I lost the things I’m thankful for, or I use ‘so-hum’ (kind of like ‘so what’) to reset my clear mind. 
  4. It does not have to take hours!  Start with 5-7 minutes and gradually build up of you desire to. I like 10 minutes but know there are days where I can only spare 5. I do what I can when I can!
  5. Meditation can be invigorating so I encourage you to try it earlier in the day or at a lunch break of possible and not before bed. I have found my sweet spot before bed, but it’s a specific type of meditation for me that is guided. If I were to do my own I would more than likely be energized and not be able to sleep. Some guided ones I like are from headspace and breathe easy (both apps).

Enjoy exploring!

Day 20: Half Way There!

Today’s yoga flow felt good and taking a little post practice video shows me where I need to work on and where I have improved. This practice is not about being perfect but meeting yourself where you are, recognizing that and moving forward. So here’s to another 20 days!

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Day 19: Patience is Key

This practice is a funny thing; some days you are on fire and feel like you are totally nailing every pose and other days you are just a lead blob moving through thick tar. Whatever day you are having in your practice, and I feel the same is true off the mat, you need to push through and have faith in the process.

Some days in life will be beautiful and you won’t have any complaints. Other days you will feel like all the cards are stacked against you. Just know that you cannot always be at your peak. But it is in those pits that you need to realize there is something waiting just past this setback. The arrow cannot be launched without first being pulled back.  You go through those lows in order to truly appreciate the highs. Do you think the inheritance child appreciates his million as much as the self made orphan appreciates his?  Probably not.

Don’t worry about always having those amazing days, because it just isn’t realistic. When you are having a less than perfect practice or day at the office just try to step back and realize there is a lesson to be learned in there. Maybe it is that you need to slow down and listen more or that you should take more time to invest in yourself. Whatever it is, trust the lessons along the way.

 

For more recipes, fitness tips and motivation checkout my Facebook Page

Or if you’re looking to get in contact to join one of my fitness boot camps you can fill out this form.