Tag Archives: yoga

Yoga With The Balanced Blonde (or A Real Yoga Class)

I’ve already written about my workouts last week, but technically there was one that I skipped even though it happened at Orangetheory. For a while, my Orangetheory location has been doing yoga and wine nights on Friday nights. I never can make those because I have to be up early on Saturdays for work and the timing just doesn’t work out. So when they asked if any of us would be interested in a yoga class on a Sunday, I told them that it would be amazing if they could do that! So this past Sunday, I went over to Orangetheory without my heart rate monitor or workout gloves, but with my yoga mat.

The class was being taught by Jordan Younger who blogs at The Balanced Blonde and who I’ve gotten to know from being in Orangetheory classes together. She’s been working really hard at getting her yoga teacher certification and I was really excited to take a class with her! Plus, since she’s been so busy with her yoga training lately I haven’t had a chance to see her at a workout in a while.

I felt like I had gotten to the class early, but I ended up being the last person to arrive! I set up my yoga mat at the back of the room, but the room was small enough that it was fine. Plus, since I have to do a lot of modifications I prefer to be in the back. That way, my modifications aren’t too distracting to anyone else around me.

I’ve been doing yoga at home for a while now. This has pretty much been done exclusively on my iPad and most of the time I’m doing shorter classes. I usually do ones that are 10-15 minutes and that is the perfect length for me. But this class was going to be an hour which I knew would be a challenge. And it has been several years since I had taken a yoga class that was actually a class. So being in a real class is a challenge too.

I’m happy that this class went so much better than the last in person class that I took. A lot of the moves that we did are things that I’m used to and comfortable with from doing the iPad yoga. I was excited to know what Jordan was talking about just by the name of the pose and not stressing out to watch what everyone else is doing around me. And for the first half or so of class, I didn’t need any modifications which was unexpected.

But during the second half, my hips were ready to be done. There were a few moves that I knew my body would not want to do and I didn’t push myself too hard because I knew that pushing through this time would not be the best thing for me. So I used the modifications that I’m used to doing from yoga at home and I took little breaks when I needed to stretch out my hips.

Overall, the class was a bit more advanced than I’m used to, but not so that it was overwhelming or that I felt I wasn’t ready to take the class. I had to push myself from time to time, but it also felt familiar. I think this was the first time I felt comfortable being in class and not feeling like I am taking the wrong level or at the wrong studio. It was a nice feeling and I’m glad that I’ve learned that yoga isn’t something that intimidates me the way it used to.

Taking a yoga class for an hour is a bit too long for me, but I also think that it’s time for me to test myself with longer classes at home (and maybe also trying some classes at studios). I think for me right now, classes that are 30-45 minutes would be perfect to push me more than I’m doing with the 15 minute classes I’m doing now but also are short enough not to stress my hips.

After the class was done, there were some amazing salads from Sweetgreen in the lobby. I’ve been wanting to try their salads for a while since all of my Orangetheory friends rave about them (they don’t have a location in my neighborhood and I usually don’t stick around Brentwood after my workout is done). They had a bunch of different options so I know I’ll have to go there sometime to try the rest, but the guacamole greens salad I grabbed was so good!

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do about how I want to continue doing yoga but I know it will continue to be something I do for a while. I’ve noticed a lot of difference in my flexibility and I feel stronger when I’m working out at Orangetheory. I also feel calmer on days that I do yoga and feel like I can fall asleep easier. It’s been such a great addition to my life and I know I want to continue doing it. But I also know that I’ve been pretty set in my ways for a while and this was just the boost I needed to reevaluate and look to challenge myself.

Getting More Productive (or More Monthly Challenges)

I’ve completed 9 monthly challenges so far this year and I have to say that each one that I set for myself has made such a huge improvement in my life! It’s so crazy to me that I haven’t been doing these before because they aren’t hard for me (which makes me wonder if I’m picking challenges that are too easy) and I’ve pretty much been able to keep up with every single one.

I’m not 100% perfect, but I’m learning to be ok with that. But for the ones that seem to make the biggest difference, I’ve had no issues continuing with them. Reading recovery books has been one of the best ones for me so far and I’ve been learning so much with each book I read. And I think after that challenge is when I felt more inspired to push myself more and more.

Last month, I challenged myself to do 1 yoga pose a day. I really wanted to challenge myself to do 1 iPad yoga class a day, but I had been having so much trouble doing those classes on even a semi-regular basis. I had been making those classes part of my weekly goals for so many weeks, and most of those weeks were not successful.

Even though I set the bar really low for myself and I decided to do the best I could to do one iPad yoga class most days of the month. If nothing else, I’d learn more yoga poses I could do as my pose for the day. With the app that I have, there are a bunch of classes but you can also create your own class. Since I’m new to this, I stuck with the pre-made classes. They ranged from 5 minutes to an hour and I started with a short class.

It quickly became a habit to do one of my classes in the morning. When I couldn’t do one in the morning, I was feeling off and was missing how good I was feeling when I did the class before breakfast (which was most days except Mondays which I didn’t do since I have an early workout).

And wouldn’t you know it? I managed to do one iPad yoga class every single day in September!

yoga-challenge

I plan on continuing this, but I’m not sure if I’m going to stick with just this app. There are so many yoga classes on YouTube and I think I might try exploring those. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while and for some reason when I set it as a challenge it finally kicked in!

And that helped to inspire my challenge for this month. First of all, the Volt Planner (the planner I use that has these challenges in it) is on Kickstarter again for the 2017 planner. They are way beyond their goal, so the new planner will be printed. And while they do try to sell them outside of the Kickstarter, those are limited so I recommend buying one on the Kickstarter if you want to join me in all the challenges next year!

I became a backer of the Kickstarter within the first few hours that it went live. I had no doubts that I needed to get a planner for next year, and I’m so excited to continue doing amazing with my goals. As a backer, I get updates on the campaign from time to time and one of the recent updates had a nice perk in it! It was a daily task sheet with a to-do list along with space to write notes, write where you need to follow-up, and set daily priorities.

I make to-do lists from time to time, but they usually are just on a post-it with a few random things that I don’t want to forget. I don’t plan out my day, especially since things are pretty consistent from day-to-day. But that also makes it where I will have a day and wonder what I actually got done outside of work. Sometimes I finish work and just don’t do anything else. And I need to make sure that I’m not slacking on things outside of work and being as productive as I can.

So I’m setting my monthly goal to be to use the daily task sheet every single day. I printed them out so there are 2 on a sheet and I’m not sure if I’m going to keep them together or just grab one each day. I’m not sure if setting up my tasks the night before of the morning of will be best so I’m going to play around with both options. Whatever I end up doing, I have a feeling that this is going to make October the most productive month for me!

I’m lucky that I got inspired by the Kickstarter for this month’s challenge since I was really drawing a blank on what I want to work on. There are a couple of fitness related challenges that I want to try, but I don’t want to do 2 fitness ones back to back. I think this is going to be a great way to start getting ready to close out 2016 and help me get even more productive than I ever could have imagined!

Not Perfect This Month (or Challenged With The Monthly Challenge)

My August monthly challenge in my Spark Planner was to practice mindful eating. This is something I’ve read about in the recovery books I’ve been reading and it sounded like the perfect challenge for me to try. I know that when I’m not eating correctly, I am eating mindlessly. So mindful eating seemed like the ideal thing to work on.

I’ll admit that this challenge was not 100% successful like all the past ones were. I knew this was going to happen eventually but it doesn’t make it easier on me. I like to be perfect and I know that it can’t always happen. Ironically, the recovery book I was reading for most of August did discuss perfectionism and the relationship between that and eating disorders so that did help me a bit. I know that being perfect is part of the reason why recovery is tough for me to achieve and that’s why I’m glad I struggled with this challenge.

I set an alarm to go off every day around 6pm to remind me to practice mindfulness before dinner. I don’t always eat at 6pm, but I usually don’t eat before then so it seemed like a good time to have the alarm go off. I could always ask it to go off again later to remind me to be mindful when it was closer to when I would be eating. The thing was, sometimes I’d remember and sometimes I’d forget even with the alarm. And sometimes I’d remember once I started eating and then the perfectionist in me said it was too late and I couldn’t practice mindfulness mid-meal.

I was getting better toward the end of the month, but it still wasn’t what I was hoping for. I really thought I could jump in headfirst like I have with all my other challenges and it would come easily to me as a new habit. I’m not sure why this one was difficult, but it was and it’s something I have to accept. I know that when things get hard for me I sometimes will just give up and think it’s not for me, but I’m not doing this now. I’m going to continue to try to practice mindfulness and hopefully one day it will be just as easy as remembering to track food, weigh in, read my recovery books, and all the other challenges I’ve done.

Since the August challenge ended up being tough for me, I’ve decided to pick another tough one for me for September. I’ve been trying to get into yoga more often lately. I know it’s good for me and my hips and it will also help me with my meditation and mindfulness eating. I’ve tried to set weekly goals to do yoga once a week, but it’s too easy to keep putting it off until the week is over and I missed the goal. So I’m setting a yoga challenge for September.

As much as I’d like to say that I want to do one online yoga class (I have an app on my iPad that I like), I know that it is not something that is likely to be done and the perfectionist in me will give up if I forget too often. So I’m setting the challenge to be a small one that I can hopefully build up over time.

This time, for my monthly challenge, I’d like to do at least 1 yoga pose a day. This is totally doable for me and even if it is bedtime and I’ve forgotten to do it I still will be able to do so. One pose a day isn’t a lot, but I think that it may help me to build my way up to having a more regular yoga practice and I’m guessing that on several of the days I will do a short class from the app instead of just one pose.

As the year is winding down, I have just a few more monthly challenges to go for 2016. I have ever intention of getting a Spark Planner for next year so I know the challenges are going to continue. And since I’ve had my first “failure” at a perfect monthly challenge, I think now I will be more open to doing challenges that may seem impossible because I won’t be as scared of failure as I was before.

Trying to Gain The Fitness Bug (or I Wish I Was More Motivated)

I’m not doing too shabby on eating better. I eat breakfast every day (normally some toast with peanut butter and some fruit) and I’ve been pretty good about trying to bring my lunch to work. Dinner is still a bit tough because I never want to cook when I get home after leaving work at 9pm, but my parents just bought me a slow cooker, so hopefully that will change soon.

Where I’m struggling is working out. I like to go hiking, but with my current schedule, it’s tough to find time to go. Maybe that could change when I’m unemployed for a few months. I’ve tried yoga, and while it’s fun, I don’t think I’ll continue on a regular basis after my Living Social deal is done. It’s pretty expensive. I like doing 5Ks, and I’m signed up for another one next year already, but I need something to do on a regular basis.

I have a fitness bike in my house that I really like. It’s right in front of my tv so I can catch up on my shows while I work out. I try to get on it 3 days a week, but lately that’s been tough. Part of it was my travel schedule and trying to fit everything in before I went home for Thanksgiving. I find it easiest to workout on the days where my shift starts at noon. I can work out when I wake up and have time to shower before heading to work. Since it’s in my house, I don’t have to worry about driving to a gym or if I have gym clothes without holes.

I’m pretty steady in my bike workouts, but I want to push myself more. It’s hard to self motivate, especially when you are working out alone in your house. I started by wanting to add more minutes to my workout. But now, I want to try to increase the resistance. I’m going to try to go slow (that’s what worked for increasing the time), but I wish it was easier.

I know plenty of people who are essentially addicted to exercise. They crave it every day. I want to be one of them. I just don’t know how to get there.

Yoga Again (or Take Two)

After my first yoga class with my Living Social deal, I was a little hesitant to try another class. But I knew that I couldn’t judge the entire studio by one bad class.

So yesterday, my friend and I went to another class to see if we would like it. It was one of their signature yoga classes. And it was a level 1/2 class.

I’ve taken yoga in the past and use my Wii Fit for yoga, so I’m not a total beginner. And at other studios, I’ve taken the level 1 class and it was more like a lecture about yoga poses then a workout class. So we figured that if it was too tough, we’d do our best and try a level 1 class next.

We got there early enough to get a decent space, and good thing because the class was crowded! Even after the class started, people were coming in late and the teacher was asking people to move their mats to make room for the later comers.

The class was good, but it was a little too hard for me. I’m flexible and able to do most poses. But the problem was that when the teacher was instructing us, sometimes she would only say the name of the pose and not what to do with your body. So I had to look around the room to see what everyone else was doing.

What I did love about the class was the teacher. I’ve had issues with group workout classes where the teachers are nervous to have an overweight student. They don’t know if they should ignore you or focus on you and trying to adjust the class to your ability. This teacher was amazing! She didn’t focus on me more than any other student, but she did give me some great pointers with using yoga blocks for many of the poses. And she did mention that I might always need to use the yoga blocks because my arms are a bit short for my body. I’ve always known this because when I was in middle school and did the fingertip test for skirts, my skirts could always be shorter than everyone else’s.

I’m probably going to go and try the level 1 class next. I enjoyed being pushed, but I didn’t like the confusion I felt in class. And I don’t know if I’ll continue with this studio after the Living Social deal is done (it’s an expensive studio and parking kind of stinks), but I’m fully taking advantage of this month.

 

Yoga Fail (or I’m Trying Not To Judge Based on One Class)

Earlier this summer, there was a Living Social deal for a month of unlimited yoga at a studio in Santa Monica for $50. A friend and I both bought it hoping that we could go to a couple of yoga classes together.

The deal was going to expire next month and we hadn’t started to use it. Yesterday, I had the day off (nobody wants to make sales calls while election results are coming in), so we decided to take our first class.

There was a class on Tuesdays for people who are recovering from injuries, and since I have my bad hips and my friend had knee surgery a few years ago, we thought we’d try that class. Plus, we didn’t know what the levels would be like, so we decided to start with the easiest class we could find.

Turns out, that was a big mistake.

In the beginning of class, the teacher asked us all about our injuries. I liked that part. I mentioned my bad hips and how it’s tough for me to stay still. For some reason, constant movement causes the least amount of pain.

The class was 90 minutes long, and in those 90 minutes, we did a total of 2 yoga poses. Yup, 2. I guess technically it could be called 3 because one pose was done on both the left and right side. We held each pose for something like 20 minutes. I was in so much pain that I started to shake. And when I would take a break to try to make my hips feel better, the instructor would come and get me back into the correct pose.

I’m not entirely comfortable in group workout classes. I’m usually the biggest person there and I feel like people are looking at me. The only workout class that hasn’t made me feel uncomfortable is when I’ve gone to Richard Simmons, but my work schedule doesn’t allow me to go to any of his classes.

I was almost limping when we left the class. My friend didn’t have a great time either. It was not a workout. It didn’t seem like yoga. I mentioned it was like meditation, but my friend did say how meditation should be relaxing and after that class we both hurt the same or worse than we did before.

Needless to say, I won’t be returning to that particular yoga class again. We do have 30 more days, and we are going to go to a level 1/2 class on Thursday. Hopefully that class will be more my speed and will make me enjoy the next month of yoga classes.