Meditation Monday #50 – Wisdom from Within

A lot of Gates’ writing in this section of the book talks about discipline (tapas) and turning inward. In Day 82 he notes that we all start out learning from others, but eventually have to trust our own judgements. Thus is the story of life.

Discipline is about creating our own path by following in the footsteps of others before us. Our parents probably taught us differently and therefore we have a skewed vision of the word. But think about it…..

If I am your parent, teacher, trainer, etc….and I want you to follow what I do, then why would I punish you? Instead I should model and teach you to be my disciple, to follow me, to cultivate your own discipline.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through yoga and I’ve learned a lot from others teaching me. In the end, it’s all about choosing what is right for me in life. This is a lesson I’ve learned along the way in blogging too. The “right way” to blog may not be my way.

So, this week I am taking off to enjoy Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. I am taking my own path. I have a pre-scheduled post for Friday, but other than that you won’t see me here until next Monday. My family, my friends, and myself have taught me that holidays are for enjoying. I encourage you to find joy this week….away from the news, the internet, and other things that force us to disconnect from those directly in front of us.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

TOLT – Habits at Home and Away

I’ve been thinking more and more about my habits and how they’re effected by differing situations. Like how it’s so much easier for me to run when I know that I have a race I’m training for or someone to show up to run with. Location also seems to have an impact on my habits…..but not so much whether I’m at home or away. At first I thought that it was easier for me to give up my “good habits” when I wasn’t at home, but then I realized that location is only part of the equation. What’s the other part? Continue reading “TOLT – Habits at Home and Away”


In case you’re out here in internet world today….I thought I’d drop a little workout on you for your Thanksgiving weekend. This year I’m celebrating PLANKSGIVING! And I have four different planks for you in the following photos. I plan to do at least one style each day for the next 4 days, but you could easily do all four today and then give yourself the appropriate rest before repeating the series. Appropriate rest for resistance training (including body weight exercises) is a minimum of 48 hours between same muscle groups and a maximum of 72 hours rest.

Standard Plank: Notice that I need to drop my hips a little here in order to get my ear, shoulder, hip, and heel on a diagonal line. This is partly due to the fact that I am also looking slightly forward. The key to a great plank is the engage the transverse abdominus by pulling the belly button to the spine. Then have the feeling that your body is pushing out through the heels. This allows you to breath better, support the core to the maximum, and hold plank for the longest possible time.
Down Plank: Again my head is slightly too far forward and this time it has caused my hips and shoulder to be dropped from the line. By tilting my head down and pulling in my navel (which is different than sucking in) I can lift the hips and engage the core a little better. Keeping the elbows tucked in during Down Plank is a MUST!
Incline Plank: This is one of the most difficult plank positions (many people opt for a Table Top position instead) and requires ankle flexibility, glute strength, and the ability to neutralize the head/neck as part of the spine. As you can see here, my head/neck is a little too far tucked instead of aligned and this is partly because my glutes are not engaged enough to pull my hips up. Avoid throwing the head back in this position and note that the fingertips are pointed toward the toes.
Side Plank: In yoga we tell participants that they should not attempt even modified side plank versions until they have mastered all other plank versions. This one is AMAZING for engaging the core muscle groups and specifically focusing on isometrically engaging the lats and obliques. However, it requires balance, stability, and strength in the upper body and core. Note the my hips are a little high for the side diagonal line, as well as my head. It is important to keep the front of the body open and “flat” by pushing the hips forward and not sagging backward.

And check out this article from ACE for more training ideas this holiday season:


Are you PLANKSGIVING this year?

What I’m not doing for the next 4 days….

Starting on Thursday I am taking a real “vacation” for 4 days. Here’s a list of things I won’t be doing:

  • Checking my email
  • Exercising (except what I show you tomorrow)
  • Reading/writing blog posts (something is schedule for tomorrow)
  • Laundry
  • Cleaning
  • Christmas shopping
  • Reviewing materials
  • Having play dates
  • Cooking (I’m finishing my share tonight and not going back to doing anything new until Monday)
  • Dieting (because I already don’t and this)

I want to take time to appreciate what I have and who I get to share it with. I’m not going to be worrying about lists or schedules or work or anything for FOUR GLORIOUS DAYS!

What Thanksgiving Gift can you give yourself this year?

Limited Choices and Holiday Eating

My son’s school sent out this article that I think you all should read. At the bottom I have some thoughts related to the article and the upcoming holiday season and specifically eating during the holiday season.  This article is super applicable if you have children, work with children, interact regularly with children, or know adults that are like children….Enjoy!


By Chip DeLorenzo, M.Ed.

One of the first classroom management tools that many of us learned, to redirect or set limits with children, is limited choices. This month, I’d like to explore this topic in some detail. I have found that the term limited choice is used frequently among Montessori educators, but just as often, it is used without an understanding of the principles behind the discipline tool that make it a respectful and effective way to interact with children and set clear and appropriate boundaries. Without an understanding of the principles, a discipline tool simply becomes a technique. Techniques fail because they are focused on the adult and the adult’s priorities, rather than on the child. The child becomes an object rather than the subject when the adult tries to employ a discipline tool as a technique. Let’s first explore the principle behind limited choices. Using limited choices is a respectful way to set limits with children while honoring their right and capability to make appropriate choices for themselves, while respecting others. Limited choices let the child know that they are part of plan, but that there are limits that are developmentally appropriate and respectful to everyone involved. Next, let’s explore what a limited choice is. A limited choice is simply a decision, given to a child by an adult, between two or more alternatives. The alternatives should be developmentally appropriate, reasonable, respectful and acceptable to the child, the adult and for the situation. Some examples of appropriate, respectful and acceptable limited choices: “You may eat the lunch your mother packed you, or you may make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for yourself. You choose.” “You may put away your yogurt first, or your cracker first. Which one do you choose?” “You may scoop the beans off the floor with your hands, or with a whisk broom and dustpan. What would you like to use?” “You may finish your math now, or after you eat snack. You choose?” “Would you like to bring him the Peace Rose, or put this on the class meeting agenda?” “You may write a report on any of the fundamental needs of the Ancient Romans. Please make your decision by tomorrow before lunch.” “You have four overdue assignments. You’re welcome to do them after school while I’m preparing my lessons, come in early and work on them in morning care, or bring them home for the weekend. Which would you prefer?” Adults, without realizing it, can find themselves in power struggles with students when they misunderstand the principles behind limited choices. This happens when an adult gives a student choices that are not developmentally appropriate, reasonable, respectful or acceptable to the child, the adult or the situation. Here are some examples: “You may put your lunch away or go sit in the office.” (This is a threat, and not acceptable to the child.) “You may come inside with the group, or stay on the playground by yourself.” (This is also a threat, and most likely an empty one that the adult cannot follow through with. It is not acceptable to the adult or the situation.) “You may put your lunch away, or leave it on the floor to be stepped on.” (This is not acceptable or respectful to the situation and the community.) “Would you like to do your math now, or during recess.” (This may not be respectful or acceptable to the adult who has other responsibilities after school, and not respectful to the student who needs time outside.) “You may write a research report on anything that interests you.” (This choice is most likely too broad for the student, and therefore not developmentally appropriate. Some children may choose topics that are not acceptable to the adults, or the situation, and this will lead to rejection of the idea later by the adult. It’s not a choice in the end.) Limited choices for younger children will be more concrete and limited, based on their developmental readiness. As students get older their choices will, appropriately, be broader. For instance, an adolescent may be given a much wider range of time to complete an agreed upon project, because they hopefully have developed the executive functioning to allow them to manage their time, make choices and experience the consequences (positive and negative) of those choices. Sometimes, children will push back, with a response to a limited choice, like, “I don’t what to do either of those.” If this occurs, we can simply respond with a statement like this, “That’s not one of the choices,” and then just remain silent, warm and present! If the child persists, just remaining silent and waiting for them to respond, without reacting, sends a powerful message: I care. I trust you to follow through with your responsibilities, and I will do the same. Until next time…

Each year we head into this time known as the HOLIDAY SEASON and everyone panics about food. I hear so many people go on diets, start restricting, and demonizing foods because of the holidays and the massive amount of comfort foods/sweets that go along with this time of year. I say, forget the stress! This time of year is about celebration and if you celebrate with food, so be it.

How does this apply to the document above?

Well, since we don’t want to go crazy and eat until we’re stuffed, but also don’t want to give ourselves a million rules about eating so that we feel so restricted and set up for failure (you know you’ll eat the pie no matter what…). What if we gave ourselves limited and appropriate decisions?

I’ve written a lot about Mindful Eating in the past and I think that this approach goes along with Limited Decisions. So, let’s look at it this way:

I am eating Thanksgiving dinner and I’ve tried a little of everything…but I’m still hungry and I’m really digging the mashed potatoes and, yet, we haven’t hit dessert time yet. What limited decisions could I give myself?

Inappropriate decision making would say:

I have to stop eating all together because I’m trying to be good this year and I really shouldn’t have eaten as much as I did already.


I can wait and eat pie, but tomorrow I will have to hit the gym for at least an hour of cardio in order to make up for it and I definitely have to skip lunch.

Limited decision making with Mindful Eating tactics might say:

My two choices are that I eat the mashed potatoes because they are good and then maybe have dessert later when I am hungry again


I choose to wait for dessert because that’s what I really want anyway


I am here to celebrate and enjoy this moment, so I will have a small helping of more mashed potatoes and then a small piece of pie, enjoying the best of both worlds without feeling guilty, overly full, or caring what others think.

I think the whole thing about limited decisions is to give yourself appropriate choices. Choices that feed your body, your soul, your preferences, and the moment you choose to be in while being aware of the forces guiding the decision making process. I’m not choosing to wear “Thanksgiving Day Pants” and stuff myself to the max, but I’m also not denying myself the enjoyment of celebration and the good taste of food!


How do you eat on Thanksgiving and during the holiday season?

TOLT – My 37th Year

Immaculate Baking Company Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting....Happy Birthday to ME!
Immaculate Baking Company Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting….Happy Birthday to ME!

My 36th Birthday was on Tuesday and to celebrate I did a 5k on Sunday morning. You can read my Race Report here. Then I read a post on Tuesday by Tracy at Fit is a Feminist Issue that sparked my thoughts for the next year. I made a lot of resolutions in January (read the recap of them here) and I’ve been slowly working on them these last 9 months. But, now September is almost over and I’ve completed my 36th year of living on this Earth. So, what comes next?

Here is my short list of things to accomplish before I turn 37 in TOLT fashion. Thanks Amanda, as always, for hosting!

  1. Finish my grad school research paper and have it published (see yesterday’s post).
  2. Continue my yoga journey by completing the Level 2 training with YogaFit. Lucky for me one is coming to my current town in January! Hello Christmas present!
  3. Run in two more competitive events….an 8k and a 10k (setting the bar a little lower not to give up but to be realistic about what has happened with my training of late).

I’m sure I’ll have an enormous “to do” list come January for 2017, but here’s the start.

Do you meditate on the year to come?

What will you accomplish before your next birthday?

Throwback Thursday: Always a Runner and Fashions of the Eighties

If you haven’t been there yet, please click over and take my Runners’ Survey. But for today I want to do a quick Throwback Thursday and link up with Amanda for another TOLT!

80s runnerThis is me at the end of a 1 mile fun run in the 80’s. Dig the outfit? I did. I just had to have it and it’s one of the few times I can remember my mom actually indulging in buying me something new for the sole purpose of a single event. Now, I totally went on to wear that same outfit all summer long, but I had to have it just for that day’s race. It got me thinking more about my gear and how I really love certain things like Agnes and my New Balance socks for run days. And thinking about this got me more excited for my run tomorrow morning. It’s almost Easter and I may or may not get a new outfit for this weekend, but I’m still stoked about my current gear!

What is your favorite run finish photo?

Did you ever have to have an outfit?

What was the worst fashion choice in your past?

What’s your favorite gear now?

TOLT #23 – What I really want for Christmas

I’m the worst gift receiver, but there are a few things I would love this Christmas….

My Christmas List 2015

  1. Two happy kids and a happy husband
  2. A new to me Fossil handbag
  3. A few days to myself to clean/organize/read without interruption or responsibility to others
  4. Never to hear this “Christmas” song again
  5. World peace?

Things I’ve already received that I love

  1. Some inner peace
  2. My first official subscriber at the new site: Thanks Caitlin!
  3. Morning runs almost every M/W/F/Sa of December
  4. A ladies’ night in
  5. A jump rope!
  6. 1 wonderful husband and 2 beautiful kids

Happy Holidays!

If you’re spending time to yourself reading today….here are some under-read posts from this girl in 2015 to check out:

Back to the Mat….or Anthony Kiedis Spoke to ME!

How are you like your yoga?

Living My Yoga Life

Meditation Monday: Buckle Up; It’s a Wild Ride!

Race Report – Battleship 5K


Running in the Dark

Smells Like Team Spirit

The New Nanny and Other Changes in August

Tone It Up Tuesday: Exercise is the Answer!

Thanks to Amanda for hosting another TOLT!

What is on your Christmas List this year?

Sweet Surrender

My run yesterday morning was warm….like almost 50 degrees before 6am. I do not like this weather and have at least one sympathizer in Caitlin at Fit and Feminist (read her post about running season here). What was amazing about my run yesterday morning was it was the third time on this route that I’ve hit 9 min/mi or less, so I finally get to move on to my next route tomorrow! Today is also that Tuesday before Christmas and that means it’s Sweet Potatoe Biscuit Day!

We are hosting Christmas Brunch this year and I have a plan for how to get there without overwhelming myself. Here’s my 7 day plan for Christmas survival.

Day One: Saturday before Christmas

Plan of action is to run early in the morning, fast clean the house, cook and bake all day, shove the family out of the house, enjoy an evening at home with friends, food, and cookies. Oh yeah, and drink some wine, that’s always a necessity this far out. (Sorry for the lack of photos….I decided to enjoy myself instead of snap a billion pics….recipes for cookies to come!)


Day Two: Sunday before Christmas

Plan of action is to sleep in, make pancakes that will last for a few more mornings this week, attempt to read a book, pretend like you’re not actually going to do anything that day so you can enjoy the day. Also, see Santa and overpay for a picture of the one kid that would sit on Santa’s lap without crying (so should have bought the photo where little one was crying for the price I did pay), and have a nice fire with some friends while exchanging early gifts. Oh yeah, and drink some more wine and hot cocoa(…..just not together, I tried that at home and it was NOT good!)


Day Three: Monday before Christmas

Apple Butter Day! Go for an early run and work on that overdue library book, then eat pancakes, take kids to activities, return things that we don’t need for Christmas (BEFORE Christmas), finish fighting with Shutterfly, enjoy crazy warm weather in December. Don’t forget to submit grades. Oh yeah, and watch a Christmas movie with the family, because it’s ALMOST CHRISTMAS!


Day Four: Tuesday before Christmas

Last day to yourself before hubby is on holiday, so get up early to teach yoga, return library books, bake sweet potatoes and sweet potatoe biscuits, start re-cleaning the house for company, attempt to do something fun with the kids (that doesn’t involve them eating all of the cookies from the cookie exchange), and watch another Christmas movie with the family. Make a chicken pot pie to die for! Oh yeah, and crack open the eggnog….possibly with Brandy?


Day Five: Wednesday before Christmas

Wake up early to run even though it will annoy your hubby who is now on holiday, make a grocery list, catch up on blog reading and enjoy the quiet before everyone else gets up. Today you will go real grocery shopping for whatever else you will need to make it through the next week which doubles as an escape from the house. Hope that the remaining Christmas gift arrives a day early so that you can wrap it. Eat up leftovers in the fridge for lunch, bake Santa cookies with the kids, and make some beautiful salmon for dinner so that your brain is fueled for the days to come.


Day Six: Christmas Eve

Wake up early and don’t teach yoga, but do some yourself upstairs….away from everyone….and possibly get in some much needed meditation. If not, just read Amanda’s Think Out Loud Thursday round-up and get yours posted. Then the prep begins…..make the french toast casserole, cinnamon rolls, and egg casserole, cut up the fruit and stir up the cream cheese dip. Christmas is tomorrow and everyone needs to just chill today! Have all of the dishes done before baked ziti for dinner and watching Home Alone with hot cocoa. Get the kids to bed for the big day!


Day Seven: Christmas

Get up early for a run and so you can beat the kids to the tree and be sure to record them holiday hearthgetting up for the 5th year! (See how long this will last…..) Have time to shower and get dressed after presents and before everyone else gets there. Then, throw it all in the oven, sit back and enjoy! That evening….snack on light fare for dinner and look at the bounty that was a perfect and slightly stress free holiday.

Yeah….that’s my plan….eat cookies, drink a little, exercise, and spend time with the family while taking it one day at a time. Check back in on Thursday and, if I’m not yet committed, I will tell you how it is going. Until then, enjoy this other posts of mine about the holidays:

Shopping for Christmas Already?

What is your holiday attack plan?

The Great Cookie Exchange….or why I ran this morning

Hm? Maybe I should rephrase that title…..or just explain more here? One of my biggest pet peeves as a trainer and someone who loves to workout, is when people exercise so that they can “cheat eat”. I didn’t run on Wednesday and Friday mornings this week because I was in some serious pain that wasn’t going to be helped by bouncing around on concrete for 15 minutes or less. But, last night I was feeling better and I decided that my last 3 non productive days needed a dose of wake up… 530am and I rolled out of bed to hit the road.

Why? Because 530am runs give me enough time to run, do some strength training, stretch, and take care of quiet work (like computer time) before my family wakes up. I am the kind of person who likes a lot on my plate….often the phrase, “eyes are bigger than the bellybutton” applies to my work schedule. (Although, wouldn’t it be weird if someone’s navel were larger than their eyes?) So, I’m taking back two hours of time to get life in order. And today, it’s to prep for the cookie exchange I’m hosting tonight.

I can’t remember the last time I did something alone with just another female friend. I honestly think it may have been in the spring some time. So, tonight it’s just me and some of my NC gal pals and a whole lot of cookies! I’m hosting and making all of the food (over doing it I’m sure) and four different kinds of cookies. This is also my first time roasting hazelnuts and baking with gluten free flour. Wish me luck! I plan to have pictures and recipes for you all on Monday, but until that time, enjoy some of my other posts about cookies. Have a great weekend!

New Cookies!

Attack of the Holiday Cookie Monster


What’s your favorite holiday cookie recipe?