My Best Body Part 3: The Shape of it All

We’re in the thick of it now….it’s the end of May and time for phase 3 – SHAPE!

I know, I know, how cliche for a fitness professional to be talking about their body shape and size and how wonderful it is to be fit! Well, NO APOLOGIES HERE! It is wonderful to be fit and I have really missed being as fit as I can be over the last few years. I have struggled to stay consistent with it and now that I am getting more consistent, I want to feel it in a tangible way. I have been tracking my mileage for the last two months:

Miles Run/Walked/Jogged since March 15 – 88.77 and counting

However, as I wrote about yesterday, other things are not going so well. I have a whole post I’m working on about being an Obliger….again because it’s sort of affecting my life and my workouts and this project.

For this month, I do want to focus on some other numbers and some strategies for improving them. It was time for my annual Health Risk Assessment with my husband’s work recently and I just got the numbers back:

Things that are a problem include my blood pressure going up, all of my cholesterols rising again, and my BMI (but I throw that number out anyway). I know that my weight is up and part of my goals for last month were to get stronger (although I didn’t sufficiently meet them) and therefore I am looking to improve body composition over weight or BMI. And how do I do that? By improving the amount of muscle I have and decreasing the fat in areas that are dangerous to my body.

The biggest pluses on this year’s results were that my glucose is down, my HDL is up, and my waist is down 3 inches from last year….although I’m pretty sure that different people measuring measure different ways. So, this waist measurement got me thinking about the measurements I had taken last year around this same time. I remeasured (myself this time) on Thursday to find more changes in results:

So, I’m pretty much up all around in my size and that’s what has prompted me to choose the following for this month:

MORE RESISTANCE TRAINING

It’s one of the areas in which I’ve really fallen off lately. When I do resistance training my body falls back into the type of “shape” that allows me to move. I will also be done teaching yoga sometime in the next month so I will also be setting the goal of doing my own yoga more. It’s a form of both resistance and flexibility training that makes me feel great.

Some of this was prompted by my own need to feel differently about my body…..I mean, that’s what this whole Happiness Project is about for me, but some of this has been prompted by my friends and their own stories. One such friend is currently pregnant and commented to her husband,

Please don’t ever let me get fat because I don’t’ know how I would move and sleep.

Obviously that’s not the attitude that I hold, but the movement part of her statement really struck me.

It’s not about being “small” to me; it’s about being able to move and live the way I want to.

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Currently December 2016

I’m back! Well, sort of. I’ve been away from my blog for a full month now. Why? By choice mostly….I’ve chosen to prioritize other things that I had going on. Also, because I’m pretty sure that I’m suffering from a little holiday depression. It’s almost the end of the year and a lot of people are looking back at their 2016 and reveling in the things they’ve accomplished. Others are looking forward to what will happen in 2017. I am in a third group…..somewhat less optimistic and trying to wrap my head around what comes next.

See, I didn’t accomplish everything I hoped to do as far as my 30 Days goals went. I even tried scaling back on numerous occasions. I tried to maintain a fitness streak through the holidays and had to abandon that due to my unwillingness to run in this cold this year. Yet, I don’t quite feel like a failure. I determined awhile back that this would be the year of self study….Svadhyaya. And I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, so check that off the list!

And the summary of it all is this….I am one girl, aged 36, on a mission to live the best life I can and to instill in my children the best confidence and values that I can while I am here. I am not perfect, nor do I aspire to be. I am a fitness professional who sometimes struggles to make exercise a priority. I am a yoga teacher who sometimes yells and loses it. I am me….I am still here….taking it one breath at a time; and I will be for some time more.

So, 2016, Thank you for your service. And as for 2017 I’ve decided this:

Each day I will arise and say not “what needs to be done today?”, but rather, “what can I do?” and then I will do what I can and be happy with the results. I will strive for a more minimalist approach to expectations, work, and things that don’t give me joy. I will stop looking around at all of the unfinished and feeling guilty, but instead look at what has been done and feel successful.

How will you live your 2017? Which are you: The kind that looks back, forward, or stuck in between?

Thank you to Amanda for allowing me a place to dump my thoughts!

Currently October 2016 – HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tonight we will Trick or Treat and grill hotdogs/brats out in our backyard. The kids will get to eat some of their candy and the rest will be left for The Great Pumpkin! I love this time of year, because I feel like Halloween officially marks the start of Fall Holiday Season! I’ve got so many things planned in the next few weeks that I just want today to be about fun! But, in the tradition of “holiday season” let’s take a quick recap of the month and my 30 Days resolutions before we get all spooky and go into a candy corn coma!

  1. See the world – I did very little traveling this month due to Hurricane Matthew that came through at the beginning of October and screwed up a lot of my plans. However, this coming weekend I will be headed to Columbia, SC for a NETA Personal Trainer workshop and there’s more travel in the future.
  2. Follow through and finish what I start – I am happy to say that I completed my one project that I wanted to get done this month…..and on time. However, my calendar still had some holes in it as far as being all crossed off. I have some online training to complete this week for one of my many jobs and tomorrow I start in on some new projects. You should also come back tomorrow to read about the gaps in my training plan and what I’ll be doing in November.
  3. Face my fears
  4. Get some more education/professional development – I have decided to register for a yoga training in January and I’ve been scrounging up work in order to make that happen.
  5. Accept responsibility for my mistakes, take ownership and ask for forgiveness when necessary
  6. Embrace my love of the scale
  7. Compete – I’ve been thinking about when a good date to set for the 8K would be…..do you have a suggestion for one?
  8. Reconnect – This is an area in which I have failed miserably over the course of this month and therefore, as soon as I am done with this post…..I will be making an important phone call.
  9. Prepare
  10. Write more – This month (including today) I only managed 12 posts and over 15 last month. Hopefully November has more PREPARATION that allows for better posting…..because there’s things I want to write about. However, I did a lot more writing as far as work goes this month.
  11. Read – I have a book waiting for me at the library! More about that next month.
  12. Make new things to eat – I tried my hands at scones this month…..and it didn’t go well; hence no post about it. But I did try making some Gluten Free pumpkin muffins with a mix by Namaste and that did go surprisingly well! So well so that I am making a non-gluten free from scratch recipe with a twist later today. I also made some other great muffins that I will share when I bake them again.
  13. Ask “Why?”
  14. Bump up the mileage – I have been running more consistently (and earlier) and trying to complete these 5 mile runs. My plan tomorrow will tell you how close I am to running the whole distance.
  15. Get the photos under control
  16. Go pro!
  17. Rest
  18. Get wet!
  19. Relish sweetness
  20. Treat myself to gear – Waiting to get paid today to purchase this!
  21. Awareness – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate – My work on meditation is helping me to get through this hectic time in my life.
  22. Strength – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate
  23. Flexibility – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate
  24. Balance – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate
  25. 3 better yoga poses – My focus on Garland pose this month suffered greatly….more on that tomorrow.
  26. Clean out the friendship fridge
  27. Fitness measures outside of running and yoga
  28. Just Say No!
  29. Be someone – I was requested for a workshop in March!
  30. Check in! – And that leaves me here…..each month I find it hard to hit all of the markers I have set out for the year, but I’m still working on it. I told a friend/boss this afternoon that I really want to check off the boxes so that I can start fresh again in January. Much of this will carry over to that time and for the rest of my life because that’s what living a Yoga Life is all about…..being in the present and looking to the future.

One of my students took some photos in my class last Friday. This being in the moment, recognizing the past, and looking to the future is the perfect description of Warrior II pose. teaching-warrior-iiI don’t know why I look so serious in this photo, but I do know that I am looking forward to tomorrow and a new day, a new month, a new challenge to be completed.

What happened to you in October?

(feel free to post a link to your monthly recap below)

What is coming for you in November?

What are you doing for Halloween today?

Currently September 2016 – The Yoga Project

Biggest Pet Peeve – Posts that don’t post on time!

So, it’s Friday the end of September and I’m sure some of you are wondering: How did the 30 Days of Yoga go?

Well, it went better than expected and reignited my love of a daily yoga practice so much that I have a new plan for 30 Days of Yoga in October! But we’ll get to that in a minute. First a little reflection on the process.

At the beginning of the month my practice was heavily focused on the Asana and Pranayama limbs of yoga, but I ended up spending the end of the month in Dhyana….meditation. In total I meditated for 16 days this month using the Gates book and finished the section on Yamas just in time for the end of the month. The biggest portion of my meditations were spent on the idea of Aparigraha or Letting Go. There’s a lot of that needed in my life, but the best part of letting go was opening space for something new…..for more yoga!

This week’s meditations and reflection on the month, in particular,  have taught me that I still have some work to do on the Yamas. It’s a daily struggle and not something that comes easily in certain areas.

  • Nonviolence
  • Honesty
  • Nonstealing
  • Moderation
  • Nonhoarding

Which brings me to October and the start of the Niyamas…The Sustaining Practices.

How will I be sustaining my Yamas? By having 5 Yamas Friday for the month of October.  I will look back at the week and reflect on the best example of me living My Yoga Life through the Yamas.

How will I be sustaining my physical practice….my Asanas? Every odd numbered day of the month I will be working on the first of the three poses that I wanted to master this year. October’s Pose of the Month will be Garland because it pairs best with the knee recovery exercises I’ve been working on. I also plan to take pictures along the way to chart my progress.

How will I be sustaining my Dhyana? On the even days of October I plan to meditate using the Gates book. It has taken me 795 days to get from the intro of Meditations from the Mat to Day 61 in the meditations. I had planned to finish that book in one year and now it seems necessary for my continued progress in life.

So, expect updates along the way and 5 Yamas Fridays each week. Come back Monday for Mini Movie Monday – Exercises for My Back! I hope you have a great weekend and Join Me for 30 Days of Yoga October!

How are you living the Yamas?

How are you sustaining your yoga?

 

Seeking a Mentor

Many years ago, when I was working at Elon University, I attempted an MBA. In this program I began a course on communications and part of the course requirements was a project.  The project entailed evaluating one of the business functions of your employer and determining a way to improve upon it. This was a tricky task based on my position within the organization and standing with the other professional staff there. I had an idea in my head based on some liberties I’d taken within the established framework for how to do things, but I knew that revealing this may put my work in greater jeopardy. So, I eventually came to the conclusion that I would be leaving Elon and quit the MBA program and ultimately tabled my ideas.

Later that same year I was accepted to and enrolled in a graduate program at East Carolina University. Throughout my time there I brought my ideas back into play for an Independent Study project. I was even allowed to implement my ideas in a training program that I ran to gather data for my paper. I was able to present my ideas at NIRSA in New Orleans in 2009. However, also during this time and about 2.5 months before the New Orleans trip, I had my first son…..during grad school.

Since this time I have struggled to truly finish the paper. It has once been sent out for review and it was a defeating experience. researchBasically I was told that my “evidence” collected was not good enough to support my ideas. On one hand, I agree because there were many limitations with the “study” we performed. On the other hand, the research behind my work and my idea in general I believe to be a great concept. It’s something that I think about often. I would really like to be able to publish a version of this paper as a proposal for a method that I think should be implemented in one portion of my field. It’s something that I’m still passionate about 5 years later.

The dilemma I face at this time is that my former mentor on this project and I have sort of a failed communication. She is busy with other students and while she has given me a lot of guidance prior to my break from the project, I don’t think she is interested any longer in pursuing the completion of this paper. This is my fault as there were times when I gave her the impression that I feel the same. Now I need new eyes for this project and some new mentorship on the correct placement for this paper and the best way to write it as a proposal piece instead of a researched and tested approach. Maybe I’m just using a lot of big words that don’t fit…..but this was one of my 2016 goals and I’d really like to see it finished….if not this year, sometime in the tangible future.

See, ultimately I’d like to go on to get my PhD, but that’s a dream for another day. I have a distinct idea of what I want to study and pursue in my future research, but I need to get published and I need to finish this project before moving on to the next thing. So, if you’re in a position to mentor someone, if you’re a published author, if you know where I should go from here, or if you even have a faint interest in reading my paper….please let me know. This is part of my plan for year 36 of my life….forward thinking…..something I learned from Tracy’s post over at Fit is a Feminist Issue.

Look Who’s 52! Planning for another year on this planet

Have a great Wednesday….we’re almost over the hump!

Day 7 – Loving My Leg Day!

Today is my 7th straight day of Yoga! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read here to find out:

30 Days of Yoga

Yesterday I spent some serious time in Wide Leg Forward Bend or Standing Straddle Fold. The pose has a million English names. In Sanskrit it’s Prasarita Padottanasana “prah-sar-ee-ta-pah-doe-than-ah-sa-na“. image-120While there I was contemplating a lot of things, but especially saying to myself….Don’t Judge. But mostly I was feeling my hamstrings and noticing that as I hold the pose for awhile I begin to get weak in the knees…..or rather weak in my holding of the knees. You’re supposed to be long and strong in the legs, but soft in the knees. It’s confusing to be almost fully extended in the knees, but not locked out and I often start to sag.

When I was done with my five minutes of thinking about the quote from yesterday and reminding myself not to judge myself or others, I immediately thought something positive about my legs Continue reading “Day 7 – Loving My Leg Day!”

Days 3-6: Aparigraha

For Saturday-Monday of the long holiday weekend I chose to turn back to the Gates book and spend some time in meditation for my 30 Days of Yoga challenge. I gave myself at least 5 minutes each day to reflect upon the ideas at hand and I picked up where I left off the last time I attempted to finish this book. I was in the section of the book still on the Yamas and Aparigraha or the precept of non-hoarding. I’ve written about this concept many times and about the idea of letting go in yoga before. It’s one of the main things I preach about in practice. Be here. Be present. Let Go…..

However, this weekend I felt a little deeper. Continue reading “Days 3-6: Aparigraha”

Day 2 – Hermine Stole My Run and Yoga Cures

Good afternoon….it’s raining here. Yep…..rain…..like lots of it.

I woke up to thunder and lightning at 3:15am this morning and my first thought was:

THE KITCHEN RUG!

Which sadly had been set outside yesterday afternoon to dry and was now drenched. It has since been moved under our covered patio to get less wet until it can dry out.

My second thought was:

Turn off the run alarm…

Because I knew I had a busy day ahead of me so I was getting up 30 minutes earlier to run, but Hermine stole my run today. I may brave the dark and random leaves that roll across my path and scare me to death. I may run blind sometimes and worry that every sound is an animal coming to eat me and every person is about to stab me. But, I don’t mess with lightning.

But on to the real reason for today’s post…..Day 2 of my 30 Days of Yoga Challenge.

Today I taught yoga at CFCC and we covered the Half Series and also talked more about the Yamas and the Niyamas and how they fit into our lives. The entire time I was teaching I was having a problem with my back….not to mention that it started raining in my class during the second section! 😦

My hamstrings were also cramping up on me and my legs kept falling asleep when I was cross legged. This are all problems I’ve dealt with individually before, but never all at once. I started to panic internally and think that maybe something ominous was going on because that’s where my brain has been of late. However, I decided to Eventually I decided on two things:

  1. I am probably sore and stiff because I run on Friday mornings and I didn’t today, so I need to adjust my practice for this afternoon to include some poses that will work on these areas.
  2. My practice this weekend needs to be self-study focused.

So, today my 5 minutes will be spent doing a little series of poses I love that includes Lizard, Half Monkey, Gate, Side Plank, Pigeon, Down Dog, and repeat opposite side. And this weekend I will pick up the Gates book for each of the next three days and get back to a little inward focus.

Is your fitness routine suffering from Hermine?

What does your practice look like today?

Have you ever had a minor panic attack while teaching and kept it to yourself?

Does it rain in your house?

Did you read that Yoga helps back pain?

Review Examines Clinical Trial Evidence on Complementary Approaches for Five Painful Conditions