Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Curvy Girl Yoga

I've made a few posts about the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga, but what about the physical? Well Stacy is definitely helping me to develop my muscles. I got some triceps coming in! Here are some photos:

High crescent lunge: When I started yoga, I couldn't do this move with the right foot back, because I had broken my toe shortly after starting my yoga practice. So glad I can do it now! The alternative is a low crescent lunge where the knee comes to the mat.

Half moon: some days, this is just not a good one for me. I usually have to use a block under the hand at the bottom. I'm surprised I was able to hold this long enough for the picture. LOL! I probably fell out like a ninja right after the flash went off.

Down dog: this is a pose a lot of people are familiar with. When you first start doing yoga this may seem like a pose that takes a lot of work, but after a while you'll come to appreciate it as a resting pose. :)

Dancer: In this pose, you start out with the leg bent and the opposite arm up in the air. You reach back and grab your ankle, and then slowly bend forward. You really have to find a focus point so that you don't fall over.

Crow/Crane: This is one of my favorite poses. I think because I can vividly remember crashing and burning the first time I tried it. I was up for all of one second - if that. Then bam! Hit the mat. LOL! Sometimes after holding this for 5 breaths, we will kick out into a high push up. That took me a minute to learn as well. I had the bruised knee to prove it. :)

Tripod: I have an easier time going into this pose from crow...but I'm sure there are folks who can just get right into it with no issue. The next step from here is to try to use my abs to get my legs up into the air for a headstand. I've tried...I can get them up, but then I roll right over like a weeble-wobble. FAIL! LOL!

Chair pose, with an extra kick: up on the toes! Always have to keep it interesting!

Bow: not my favorite...it's hard for me to keep my knees in close, and I can't lift very high, but it's a work in progress!

Canoe pose: It works the abs. We lower our torso and legs and hold, then bring them back up and hold. Rinse, repeat. Whoo!

Crescent twist: after getting into the aforementioned crescent lunge, we may hold for one or two breaths before twisting and holding.

Warrior 3 aka Airplane: We were trying to do this in class the other day, but instead of prayer hands, we had our hands out to the side...like the wings of an airplane. Then we were supposed to move our arms down/together, and then back up. I couldn't hold my balance and was apparently flailing everywhere...which sent my classmate Kiesha into a fit of laughter...gotta love 5:30am yoga!

Triangle: This is actually a triangle with a twist. If this were a regular triangle I would have had my left hand on my left shin, and my right arm straight up in the air (I'd have been facing the camera). Twists are good for the spine, so I don't mind doing them.

Toe hold: Some days, I have to use a strap for this. Especially after I've already been in class for 20 -30 minutes working. It's something else to try and muster balance that early in the morning. LOL!

Three point: We will usually go into this and then bring our leg down and through to the top of the mat, to get into a warrior pose. For some reason, I didn't taken any Warrior 1/Warrior 2 poses.

Wheel: Sometimes we used to do this in high school, as part of track practice. I never knew it was a yoga move. Go figure! And lemme tell you, it was much easier at age 18. LOL! The first time I tried this with Stacy, it was all I could do just to lift myself up. Now, I can get up there pretty easily, so we may hold for 5-10 breaths.

Supported wheel: When coming into wheel, we push up and first rest on the crown of our heads. But if you're comfy there, you can stay there by bringing the hands behind the head and clasping them, and bringing the elbows in. The idea is to rest on your forearms, not your head. This also took some getting use to, but I'm much better at it now. Especially when my mat cooperates and my feet aren't sliding!

Supported wheel with leg up: This one here? I thought Stacy was CRAZY when she introduced this. I was just trying to get used to being in wheel, and now she's talking about bringing a leg up? What?!? It really requires focus and a mind-body connection. In the beginning, my mind was telling my leg to go up, but my leg surely was NOT listening. I could get my knee up for a few seconds, and then right back down. I can't tell you how happy I am that (on a good day) I can get my leg up there. Whoo hoo!

Happy Baby: This is one of several inversion poses - feet are up above the heart. We always come into an inversion at the end of class, before going into savasana. I usually chose this one.

So, that's what I've been doing! We don't do every pose in every class. It depends on what we're focusing on for that week. I am really loving yoga. I love learning new things, and challenging my body to do new things. I especially love that I'm achieving it at THIS size. Curvy girls most definitely CAN do yoga!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Yesterday, our claims system went down at work. From about 11:00am to 4:30pm, NOTHING got done. Zip! Except maybe answering calls to tell folks the system was down and we couldn't assist them. The blessings and curses of having everything on the computer. Today, the system came back up. I made sure to focus on getting things done today, and I'm happy to say I got caught up! :score:

2. It's great to be back with the journaling. I can't post everything on the innanets. LOL! I found an app for the iPad called My Journal. You can add photos to the entries, little sticky notes, etc. Only thing I don't like is that you only get one page per day. I won't complain too much, 'cause it's a free app, but I wish they'd change that. I plan to do my journaling on there for now, including the gratitude entries. I'll figure out how to work within the scope, until I find another app I like better.

3. The other day I was lamenting about how I felt like my workout completely SUCKED. I was talking to LDR over the phone. He said, "babe...everything you've been through in the last 6 months...the workout was NOT horrible. It was great." It's always nice to have someone to grab you by the shoulders and shake some sense into you, verbally. Love that man!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Loss. It's a part of life. No one is going to stay on this earth forever. We know it's going to happen, but we don't necessarily know when and how. When you experience that loss, it's like your life gets thrown into this chaotic state. If you're lucky, you come out the other side with a better appreciation for life itself, and a better appreciation for WHY we need to do better at being present and focusing on the good things.

Last night, I woke up out of a dead sleep at 3:00am. I was dreaming about my dad. He was laying in the bed, like he was in the hospital when I last saw him. He kept trying to talk to me, and I was the only one who noticed that he was trying to talk. But I couldn't understand what he was saying. For whatever reason I woke up scared.

Today, an online friend posted today that she lost her son yesterday. He took his own life. I don't know her personally, but when I found out it felt like somebody gut punched me. Brought back some memories of when a family member attempted to take his own life. Thankfully, he didn't succeed. I can only imagine the pain this woman is feeling; her son was only 18. I hope that she can recover.

I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something. I'm trying to listen and be mindful.

I hope that everyone who reads this is having a better day than my friend who lost her son.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk."~Susan Scarf Merrell

That's me, my dad, and my brothers - about 9 weeks into my life here in this world! My brothers were about 11 and 12. My dad would have been 34. That's crazy to me...at age 34 he had 5 kids and had been married for about 13 years!

Anywho, my brothers are coming to visit in May. I can't wait! There's something about having big brothers. It's definitely a different relationship than the one you have with big sisters...but you know your brothers have your back.

I was thinking the other day, whenever I finally DO get married, my dad won't be here to walk me down the aisle. But my brothers will be. I'll have one on each side, just like in this photo. I'll most certainly miss having my dad there, but the thought of having my brothers there makes me smile.

Do you have brothers? If so, are you close?

Monday, April 11, 2011


If you don't practice yoga, just bear with me. I promise you this is something that can be incorporated into every day life, for pretty much anyone.

This morning, I was at my usual 5:30am Monday hot yoga class with none other than RockstarStacy. She said that this week's yoga principle was "asteya" - the principle of non-stealing. She touched on it briefly, and I didn't have a chance to really come back to it until I read Serenity's blog on contentment, as well as a post at Yoga With Amey Matthews about asteya.

From Amy's website:
Asteya: Non-stealing, Non-greediness, Not coveting that which does not belong to us.

I read the whole page, and this is one of the sections that stuck out to me: "...most of us still feel an occasional impulse to have something that belongs to another person, or something that is financially out of reach, and we are a bit less skilled at controlling these thoughts. To long after something activates a sense of "not-having-enough." When we foster this sense, we divert our awareness from the abundance of what we already have." (emphasis mine).

So, let's see. If I had to take a sheet of paper and take a note every time I felt myself wanting something that someone else has, or wanting something out of my reach financially, I could probably fill up an entire notebook. I think even if I kept track of that just for this week alone, I'd be overwhelmed. Then again, maybe I DO need to keep track of that. Then I can reflect on the why's of it all. WHY do I want that thing? Is it really something that a need and that would be worthwhile for me to pursue? There really are some things that aren't worth the time to covet. Like, I could really want Serenity's hair type to be growing out of my head, but guess what? Not happening! LOL! I'm only gonna grow the hair that my body is genetically programmed to grow. So I need to concentrate on appreciating and cultivating that - it's a much better use of time and energy.

Is there anything that you've found yourself really wanting lately, that has blocked your ability to focus on what you have and are blessed with RIGHT NOW? Do you keep a Gratitude Journal or some other means of helping you to focus on the things you're grateful for?

I had a gratitude journal, and I let it fall by the wayside. I'm going to pick it back up this week and focus on incorporating asteya into my life. Hopefully, it's just going to become more natural as time goes on.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Week in Yoga

This week I decided to activate my Living Social deal: 1 month of unlimited yoga at Charlotte Family Yoga Center for $39. Considering what they charge for a month of unlimited yoga, there's no way I could NOT buy that special!

On Tuesday, Stacy called to let me know she was under the weather and would have to cancel our usual Wednesday morning flow class at her home studio. I got to sleep in on a Wednesday! LOL! But I knew I wanted to get my yoga on, so that's when I decided I'd get started with CFYC.

I decided to take advantage of the Hot Fusion class. Here is the description from the website:

"Release and unwind from with our hot fusion yoga class .This class combines our invigorating hot flow class and the opening and releasing of our deep stretch class. In addition the heated environment helps promote sweating, which helps flush toxins from the body. You will leave feeling cleansed, refreshed and relaxed for a good night's rest."

This class was taught by an instructor named Tony Hill. The room was heated to 95 degrees. I was sweating bullets! I mean, I went into warrior 3 and sweat just went pouring off my head onto the floor. Embarrassing much? LOL! Great class...I will definitely go back again. I cheated on my pigeon and went into deer, though. Next time I'll actually go into pigeon.

I took my usual Friday morning flow class with Stacy, and then on Saturday afternoon, after I went on my run, I went to Slow Flow class, which was taught by Susan McMurray. When I walked in, she looked so familiar to me, and then I realized: we had taken a hot flow class together at Balance Wellness Center, when they had their Spring Fling (a Saturday of free classes). I had no idea she was an instructor as well. But that explains how well she was moving in that hot flow class. She really took us through the moves slowly and with intent, with a focus on our breath. It was the perfect way to get a stretch in after my run.

Today I went to Harmony Yoga. An hour and fifteen minutes of yumminess and stretches. It's not a deep stretch class, but you will definitely stretch more than a regular flow class. The instructor was Shanna Small. She was great! We even got a neck rub at the end.

This week was a great yoga week for me: three new teachers, first ever yoga class taught by a male instructor, and first time taking a harmony class.

Good stuff!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Forgot

Today was a good fitness day for me. I ran Week 4/Day 3 of C25K outside today. I also went to a slow flow class this afternoon at Charlotte Family Yoga Center.

I forgot how GOOD it feels to run outside! I loved seeing all the other Charlotteans on the greenway, walking/running/biking their way into better health. I forgot how great it feels to have the sun on your face or on your back, as you inhale and exhale that (relatively) fresh air as you give your lungs a workout.

I also forgot how drastically different it is to run outside versus running on the treadmill.

Whoo! Week 4/Day 3 kicked my butt! The 5 minute segments felt like they took forever to complete. Especially the last one. But I got through all the running and I didn't stop not one time. Granted it was a sum total of 16 minutes of running (broken up into two 3 minute segments and two 5 minute segments), during the running time I averaged a 10:59 pace.

Not bad for someone who is a year older and 15-20 lbs heavier than when she could avearge a 9:45 pace.

This is my first week getting back to running on a regular basis. I wanted to be somewhere between 11:00 - 11:30, so I hit that mark. But I also realize that was really pushing and not a "comfortable" run. Definitely NOT a conversational pace.

Thanks to yoga, I am definitely learning to extend myself more grace - on and off the mat. I could be frustrated with my weight gain, frustrated with my injuries (which really - I still am many times), but today I was grateful that I was actually able to run. Albeit with a knee brace on, but I was able to run. And for that, I'm grateful. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Smoothie Diaries

Some Twitter friends asked that I document my smoothie experiences as I try out different fruits and veggies, so here we go!

Today's green veggie of choice was romaine. Specifically, a romaine heart. When I saw that on the list (see previous blog post, Column A), I just glanced at and thought, who uses a romaine heart in a smoothie? And where would one find a romaine heart? Like do I need to buy a bag of romaine and figure out where the heart is? LOL!

Trader Joe's to the rescue!

Who knew?

I still have frozen mango chunks left over from my purchase from Trader Joe's. I did note that Healthy Home Market has fresh mangos and I think I will give those a try next time I'm there. I think frozen works just as well, and then you can add less ice if your fruit is frozen.

I'm not big on pears...as in, me sitting down, grabbing a pear and munching on it for a snack. Never has been my thing. But I like the FLAVOR of pears, if that makes sense. I figured I could deal with it after the VitaMix pulverizes it to shreds...LOL!

Since I wasn't sure what the romaine would be like, I figured these two fruit choices would have a strong enough flavor to overpower it, if need be.

Honey: I think I'm allergic to everything that grows in Charlotte. I was talking to a friend and she mentioned reading about how locally grown honey can help people build up an immunity to the allergens that are native to the area. I have to read up on it some more, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt. This morning, I added 1 tablespoon of locally grown honey to give the smoothie some extra sweetness.

Supplements: I have referenced supplements a couple of times as well. When I say "supplements," this is what I'm referring to:


(it made a lot more than this, more than my 20 oz insulated bottle can hold, but I just poured some into this glass so I could share the pic.)

This came out pretty good! Sweeter than I thought it would be. I think I mostly taste pear...but it could be some of the mango as well. Romaine is clearly not as strongly flavored as kale. I think romaine would pretty much work with whatever fruits you put with it, so play around with the ones you like.

I think I want to try a carrot & apple combo next...just need to decide which green veggie to put with it.