Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not My Cup of Tea

Well, I tried Bikram yoga for the first time today. I had bought an awesome month unlimited earlier this year from groupon, and finally decided to put it to use. Here is my experience:

The building is shared with and Endoscopy office, and I was walking into this door when someone spotted me with my yoga mat and told me I would be surprised if I was hoping for yoga if I went into that office! I redirected, and was pleased with the friendliness of the the Bikram yogis. They were very welcoming, which is definitely important. Now, to the yoga part.

I walked into the room and hit a wall of humid heat. Think about the hottest day in the summer when it is just about the storm. That is what it felt like. The poses were not foreign to me, having experienced many of them in my Vinyasa practice. However, I did not like the lack of a smooth flow between poses. I also greatly missed the sun salutations that I am growing to become so fond of. My second peeve was a big one: the girl who was leading the class kept telling us that if it doesn't hurt we aren't pushing hard enough! And if we reach the point where it hurts, then it is time to give one final push further into the pose. I was a bit taken aback when I heard this to say the least. From what yoga has taught me so far, a pose should never hurt. Yes, you want to feel an intense stretch, but pushing so it hurts just screams to me MUSCLE TEAR.

My conclusion: I will never pay for a Bikram class again. However, I am going to utilize my month because despite the disapproval I just expressed, I still feel that the heat was helpful in increasing my flexibility. I just know that I will ignore the instructor's commands if they leave me cringing at the thought.

And on a side note, I had a very stinky woman next to me! Talk about body odor, it certainly did not help the deep breathing that I was supposed to be doing. Not to mention she was tooting the entire class! And she didn't seem bothered by it at all! Haha ooo well...I will just make sure I stay clear from her if we show up to the same class again.

xoxo Steph

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spicy, Fresh, and Tangy

Hello all!

Hope your week is going well so far, my busiest part is over and today I had a mostly relaxing day...feels good sometimes. I got a couple of hours of yoga in, and wanted to build on the energy that was still flowing from my yoga practice with this delicious salad:

Boy did it his the spot! The recipe was adapted from Kathryn Budig's recipe here. Kathryn is a yogi and health foodie. You will hear me mention her quite a few times from here on out as she is one of my favorite newly discovered yoga teachers, but for now I will just say that she certainly delivered with this recipe.

Arugula/Spinach Mix
Two fried eggs (this was delicious, I may try hard-boiled for a bring to work variety)
Half an avocado (I had already had one avocado and about a 1/4 cup guacamole earlier today...I hope there's no such thing as too much avocado!)

The dressing (not adapted at all):
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 T mayo (I used krafts olive oil mayo)
1/2 T dijon mustard
1 t dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste (I didn't have any pepper on hand...oh well!)

The fried eggs were really nice in this because they wilted the greens underneath a bit. While I love my eggs sandwiched between two slices of toast, this is a great option to get more greens in the diet while spicing them up! I am telling you, go make this now!

Have a great night :)

xoxo Steph

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fitness Contest

Hello everyone,

So my post today is on the fitness contest I am entering! I found out about it a couple weeks ago from my older sister, Ceara. I have always thought it would be a lot of fun to be on the cover of fitness, so I am excited that I get the opportunity!

I had a photo shoot over spring break with my mom as the wonderful photographer, and these are the pictures that we have decided on. I can submit 6 in my album, and I am hoping to take one more of myself running. So here are the 5 finalists:

And yes, these pictures were chilly! We had about 6 inches of snow on the ground only the day before! Luckily the sun came out for us :) And we wasted no time getting into poses and snapping shots. If I make it to the final 5 I will be asking all of you to vote for me! Stay tuned :)

xoxo  Steph

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm back!

Hello everyone! It's been almost a month since my last blog post, let me tell you why....

I have a new obsession in my life--yoga! My last post was about the Shiva Rae's DVDs that I rented, which I loved. I started becoming more intrigued in yoga after doing those. Yoga is not completely new to me, but for some reason this time a light seemed to go off in my head. There was a spark and there I have a burning desire to do yoga just about every waking minute. I haven't even been wanting to blog because this takes away from time I could otherwise be doing yoga.

After doing those DVDs for about a week, I came across an online site called yogaglo. I signed up for the 15 day trial, and absolutely loved it. I am now paying $18 a month to keep up my subscription. It is well worth it. I did it every day for those 15 days, sometimes two times a day. I am keeping up with it, and loving yoga more and more every day. I am always trying new fitness adventures, because I think its really important to spice up fitness if you are going to stick with it. But I think I now have two activities that I will never give up: running and yoga.

In some ways it is the same feelings that draws me to these activities. I will focus on running another day, but their are many similarities between the two. Yoga is something that I can't wait for every day. I think its because it allows me to be in the moment. I am a very goal-driven person, often thinking about what I have to do next to get everything that I want to get done. This can often be a positive thing because I am productive, but can also be not so good at times. It's important for our stress levels and health to be able to just breath sometimes. And that is what yoga does for me. It allows me to stay in downward dog if I want and focus on nothing other than the present. Feeling a breath fill my lungs and chest fully and that moment when ever cell is completely energized with oxygen. And then letting it out and sinking into the ground, rooting myself. I can feel the lengthening of my hamstrings, and the opening of my chest. That is why I love yoga.

I think the next days, weeks, maybe months, will be full of short posts. They will be shorter tidbits on my life, so that I can keep sharing while maintaining my growing yoga practice.

I hope you all had a great weekend, and I shall see you soon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

B-12 and yoga


I got my blood work back and it turns out my B-12 levels are low..pretty common among those who don't eat meat (although I do eat meat I don't eat much of it, especially while at school). Anyways, my doctor put me on a regimen of a B-12 shot every day for a week, and I will slowly wean off them and take a daily 1000mg supplement. Raising my B-12 levels may result on increased energy levels, which would be great! 

In addition to B-12 injections, but daily regimen seems to be including more and more of yoga. I researched some good yoga dvds, and found them on netflix. I am planning on building a yoga library (with my new pay status..woohoo!), but if I can try the dvds on netflix first that is great. So far I have tried two:

 This one caught me off guard when I first played it. Shiva starts the two sequences I have done with a sort of flowing dance-like movement. Not what I expected from a yoga dvd it left me feeling pretty goody at first. Here I am, standing on my yoga mat doing an odd body movement. After a minute thought, I began to feel the relaxation taking over my body, and now that I've done the sequences a few times I really enjoy this section to get me in my yoga frame-of-mind. I'll say that this dvd hasn't really gotten me sweating too much yet, but I still really love it. In fact, I did one 40 minute sequence after work today, and it de-stressed me exactly as hoped.

Love it! She definitely has come contortionist moves that I cannot even come close to doing, but these sequences have given me a great workout, working up a sweat. Lot's of creative vinyasas.

I think these will definitely be two I add to my budding yoga library!

Any suggestions of good vinyasa/power yoga dvds?