A Month of Firsts: YTT Part 1

It’s official! I am a 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate!! HEYO!!!!

I spent a month living at an ashram, a”forest school”, learning everything that is YOGA! I slept in a dorm with other yogi ladies, ate vegan food, chanted, and walked away with so much more than a certificate.

I have a ton to write about but it would be a gazillion pages long so I am going to try to break it up into categories the best I can. I’ll start with this one, a list of my “firsts” from this trip. Being in my 30’s it kind of seems weird to be experiencing things for the first time, but there is definitely a list so here goes…

My first time graduating after high school. After I graduated high school I started at San Diego State. I was a year in when my boyfriend joined the Army. So I quit school, started working full time to save money, got married, and never went back. I am not at all sad about it. I wouldn’t ever take any of it back.

Since then I have always had people wonder if I’d ever go back to school. My answer has always been no, I don’t want to have to go through all that, but if I ever did it would be for something specific. I guess I lived up to that. I went back to “school” to be a yoga teacher.

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My first time to Pennsylvania. After getting married I have frequently traveled along the southern states. For quite a few years, the DC area was the farthest north I had ever been. Now I can add Pennsylvania to my list of states visited.

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My first time to New Jersey. Sure I only visited the edge of Jersey that borders Pennsylvania, but I was still there. One of the last evenings at the ashram a group of us drove to an amphitheater in Jersey to see Alice Cooper and Deep Purple.

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My first time walking through a river. This one might surprise you. It sure surprised my friend who watched me walk in the water like it was normal. Sure I’ve swam in lakes but only ones that were highly populated for recreational purposes. This river was not one of those types.

On our first day off, a new friend and I ventured into town to do laundry, eat lunch, and go on a hike. We happened upon this great river area that had a walking trail, a giant covered bridge, and just all around great scenery. My friend is a seasoned river-goer so in we went. Of course I did yoga!

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Sticking to the theme here… First time jumping in a swimmin’ hole via a rope swing. On another day off we ventured to this great little town called St. Peters that sits along French Creek State Park. We nicknamed it the “Spirit Village” because it was just that; a quaint little village with yoga classes, a gem shop, and all around spirit, nuzzled up next to hiking trails and a river. I came here twice, the first time just for hiking, but found that this spot in the photo is where all the families hang out to swim and swing. So the second time we went I knew I had to get in and see what the fuss was all about. I guess you could say I am kind of adventurous. What an exhilarating experience! And yes, the water was cold.

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First time eating (almost) all vegan. I came into this really eager to see what eating vegan was all about. Having someone else cook it for me was definitely a plus! I plan to write a whole post just about this so I won’t say much but I will say this… I survived! LOL! I ate vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a total of 20ish days. I even stuck to it when I went out in the real world. It was pretty great! I didn’t miss meat or cheese. I now have quite a few ideas to incorporate into my regular life. But around day 20 I was tired of eating the same thing everyday so I staged a revolt and went out to eat breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I am not sorry!!

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This is a tough one… First time dealing with the loss of a pet. About half way through my time away, my husband had to make the choice to put down our boy Simon. It was a bit easier for me because I wasn’t around to witness it and I am also a bit more level-headed in situations like this. But that may be what made it harder for me; I couldn’t be there for my husband when he needed someone. I had the support of my new “family” while he only had the support of one of his best friends. Thank goodness for that one friend.

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Simon smiling on his last day.

Last but not least..My first time doing something totally alone, for myself. I got married when I was 19 and since then have been doing EVERYTHING with my husband. I have a 9 year old daughter, so the last 9 years have been spent doing almost everything with her as well. For me, doing things all alone involve me being alone at home or going grocery shopping. This was yet another road on my journey that I never expected.

I spent 24 days without my husband or daughter. I spent them in a “foreign” place. I shacked up with 7 other ladies in a dorm. I lived with 15-20 strangers for 24 days. I drove 6 hours in the truck to and from the ashram (I think I’ve topped out at 3 hour drives). I lived and survived on my own for the month. That’s the gist of it really. I elected to live away from my family and go on this crazy journey and I had to problem with it. I jumped in head first and it was AMAZING! I could easily say that being a military kid and wife prepared me for such a road, but I like to think that I am just awesome to be able to handle this kind of thing. 😉

What a trip!!

Stay tuned for more exciting posts coming soon!!

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I’m Broken. #NamasteTuesday

My back is injured. This has seriously got to be one of the stupidest, most embarrassing injuries ever. I didn’t have bad form during a workout. I didn’t bend too far during yoga. I didn’t fall. I hurt my lower back from being a lazy ass and lounging on the couch. I am not joking.

About a month ago we bought a new couch. It’s one of those that has the chaise on one side. This last weekend my daughter had a birthday party and I spent quite a lot of time watching movies while she and her little friends stayed up all night. I wasn’t always laying on the chaise. A lot of the time I was sitting and the spot I chose to sit in made my butt kinda sink down into the couch. Imagine my body in a little bit of a V shape. Just enough to cause strain on my lower back. Only problem is that I had no idea I was injuring myself until it was too late.

Let me tell you, this is no laughing matter. I cannot do normal stuff. I can’t bend forward, I have to squat. I can’t lean at all. You should see me trying to go to the bathroom; I have to sort of lean to the side and lift my feet up just so that I can reach my underwear. In the shower I have to have one hand on the wall to hold me up while I try to reach down to dry off. If there was any one thing worse than all this… I can’t do yoga. This could possibly be the most frustrating thing ever and it’s totally driving me crazy.

I think what is frustrating me the most is that yoga SHOULD be something I can do to stretch out and heal myself. But I think I did something to my bones not my muscles. I try so hard to breathe and fold a little deeper but I get to a certain point and I can’t breathe anymore because I am in pain. I can’t reach down to touch my toes, and if I do try to slowly make my way down, I have to squat and put my hands on my knees to get back up. Basically, I cannot use my back. It’s really terrible.

So why am I telling you all this? One, I am just being real and venting a bit. But second, I am telling you because it’s important to know how critical posture is to your everyday well being. If I had just sat up straight, or even decided to lie down, this post would not be titled “I’m Broken” and I wouldn’t be mad that I can’t do yoga. My advice to you today….sit up straight, stretch, be active. Enjoy yourself but don’t get too lazy.

Ugh, enough bad crap. Here’s some good yoga stuff.
First, I got a new tapestry in the mail yesterday for my yoga room. This will surprise you…doing that backbend didn’t hurt one bit.

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You guys know I was doing a pincha instagram challenge this month. It was so much fun. I learned all kinds of things and tried sooooo many new things. I have a ton of new goals to work towards this year. Below is me doing the splits while inverted (with a Georgie cameo). I need to work on my splits while sitting. I actually had a dream last night about being able to do the splits.

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This was my favorite from the challenge. The last day’s pose was “yogi’s choice” and I chose scorpion. I tried a number of times to get it where I wanted but I just wasn’t satisfied. I read a post from one of the hosts that said, “Give it all you got today.” That was all I needed. I switched to the front-facing camera so that I could see myself and BOOM! Best scorpion ever!!

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I even felt a little piece of my hair on my toe.

And just to connect this with the title…how did this not break me but my effing couch did? GAH! Can you tell I’m frustrated?

Tonight I teach my chair yoga class but I think it will be a lot more talking and a lot less actual yoga. I’m thinking also that tonight will be the last time we do our regular routine. I have been sticking with the same routine each week to get everyone comfortable with yoga, most are newbies, but I think it’s time to add in more stuff. I think it’s getting close to the time where we may be able to stop using the chair as an actual chair and more of just a crutch. We shall see.

Happy Tuesday!!

My Health Journey: Progress Report

I am writing this post for a few reasons. I am going to explain why I don’t ever weigh myself (except for this morning for the purpose of this post). I am going to tell you what exactly I do on my journey. And I am going to explain why I think being healthy doesn’t work out for everyone. Here we go.

If you follow me you know that this journey started out about weight loss and morphed into all around health. I used to think that weighing less meant I was healthy. Boy, was I wrong. In this first photo, taken on January 5, 2013, I was 128 pounds and wearing a size 6 pants. This was the first time I had ever felt thin.

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What was I doing to be this size? I shall tell you. I was eating lower carb; Not cutting carbs totally but not stuffing my face with sandwiches everyday either. I was running about 4 times a week. I ate sugar on occasion. I was drinking diet sodas. I did not pay attention to the types of food I was eating as far as ingredients.

I am not going to share a bunch of in between photos but lets just say that I fell off the wagon. I went back to eating whatever I wanted. But I was still running. So why did I gain all the weight back? I didn’t realize the impact of putting “shit” into my body. I thought I could run the carbs away. I had the mentality of, “I’ll just run an extra mile to make up for the Oreos.” I wasn’t thin and I definitely wasn’t healthy.

In 2015 my husband and I read the book “The Wild Diet” by Abel James and really learned a lot about what we were putting in our bodies. We cleared out our kitchen and pretty much started from scratch. We started eating clean. No more artificial ingredients. No added sugar (meaning, only naturally occurring sugar like in fruit). No white flour. No shit. We started shopping in the healthy section of the store. Why is there a healthy section? What the hell are they selling in the rest of the store? We started shopping at Whole Paycheck for specific items. No alcohol. And no soda.

I also started going to an exercise class at least once a week, was working out on my own at home, and doing yoga. I wasn’t running anymore because of the area we live in (no sidewalks).

Today, January 4, 2017, (almost to the day of that first photo which was totally by coincidence) here’s what I do. First, I still eat clean about 90% of the time. That 10% is saved for fun stuff because I still like to live and have fun, and I like dessert (like having a donut on New Years). I still shop in the healthy section and frequent Whole Foods. I still eat very low carb. I do eat bread but it’s healthy bread; no white flour, no sugar, and no artificial ingredients. I eat a lot of organic foods. I pay attention to ingredients!! If I buy mac n cheese it’s the expensive kind with 5 ingredients rather than 20 (seriously, I’ve counted and it’s insane). Speaking of ingredients, I still love to eat peanut butter but buy the 365 brand at WF that is only peanuts with a pinch of salt. Try eating Jif or Skippy after eating real peanut butter for a while. It’s HORRIBLE!!!!! I eat a TON of vegetables; broccoli, brussells, spinach, zucchini…the good green stuff. I don’t buy things with sugar like cookies; I only indulge if we’re out somewhere and decide to have ice cream, or if I’m at a birthday party and there’s cake because… cake. I go to exercise class 2 days a week where we use weights and do full body exercising, I exercise at home, and I do yoga almost every day. I very rarely drink. I enjoy mimosas but save those for special occasions. I gave up beer for about 2 years and just recently started having one if we are out with friends (which is rare). I get good sleep. I am usually in bed by 830pm. It’s amazing how much that helps. And the big one, I do NOT drink soda. I haven’t had a soda in just over 3 years. (You can read my post about that HERE)

So back to the beginning with the photo, 128lbs and size 6 jeans. Now here’s me on December 21st, 2016 wearing size 2 jeans and weighing 135lbs.

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Wait, what? I weigh more but wear 2 sizes smaller? How does that even make sense? It’s really insane. I really can’t even explain the feels from this. Which brings me to why I think people have a hard time getting healthy.

One, they focus on numbers on a scale. You really can’t do that. You have to be able to FEEL. If you feel good, keep going! If you feel like crap, makes some changes. Don’t obsess about what you weigh. Side story, the last time I weighed myself was at a physical a year ago. I weighed 130lbs and since I’m short, my BMI was 25. According to the super outdated BMI scale, I was overweight and had to be given a piece of paper with websites about weight loss. Wonder what my BMI would be today?

Two, you have to have a strong will. You can’t let yourself give up. You can’t let people push you into eating unhealthy which is extremely hard. People who don’t understand your journey will ALWAYS question what you’re doing and try to persuade you to go back to the old ways. “It’s just one cookie. It’s just one beer.” My most/least favorite phrase uttered by friends, “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t do it. I am just going to try to be happy with where I’m at.”

Which brings me to three, you have to want it. You can’t eat healthy in January and slack off all year until next January. You can’t give up soda and then decide to go right back to drinking it. You can’t say you’re going to eat clean and then scarf burritos every day. Yes, you’re sacrificing, but you won’t always see it that way. What you will see though, is results. You will not only fit into your clothes better, you will FEEL better. And the best thing that comes out of all this? You will be here on this Earth a lot longer.

So what’s next for me? I’m definitely not at the end of this journey. There are all kinds of paths I plan to journey down. My first turn is down the road of muscles. In class I use 10lb weights and I am finding that they are getting lighter with some of the moves. I also watched the Rousey fight the other night and might have gotten a bit excited by how strong that woman is. The next day I bought heavier weights. I will now use 15lbs in class (for just a couple things with the 10’s on standby for others) and 25lbs for a few things at home.

Here’s me today, day 1 down Muscle Road.

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Because it’s me and I have to critique the photo, I feel like I have to say that the angle is terrible when you look at my legs. My legs are not that skinny. I still have big, meaty calves.

And of course I will continue down Yoga Lane. I’m thinking that flopping between Muscle Road and Yoga Lane is going to do wonders for arm balances.

If you’re ever interested in starting a journey like mine and need some advice, guidance, or encouraging words, email me, message me on IG, comment on here. I also admin a healthy group on Facebook (the same one that started as a weight loss group early in my journey has also morphed just like it’s members) and we’re always open to fresh meat. 😉

Naked Yoga (No Actual Nudity) #Nameste Tuesday

I have wanted to write about this for a while but wasn’t exactly sure if I could express my feelings, but I’m going to try anyway. Backstory…

I follow the a lot of yoga people on Instagram and a lot of them post naked yoga photos. They are unique and they really show a different side of yoga. One poster is Tattooedyogimama. Everything she posts is unique! And every single photo she posts, naked or not, has a positive message about body image and/or soul image. I look forward to her daily posts. That said, I don’t really understand some of the other nude or scantily clad yoga posters. Some are definitely beautiful and tasteful, but there are soooooo many other people who post wearing tiny shorts or underwear and I get the feeling that they just want to show their butt on IG and look sexy. Not all, but some. For me personally, not wearing a shirt or posting a photo in my bathing suit is a bit risqué. Maybe it’s the mom in me, maybe I’m just not comfortable, maybe I like to keep things to myself. Maybe it’s that I don’t see yoga as sexy. So the thought of ME doing yoga while naked never really occurred to me.

Flash forward to a couple weeks ago when I had an arm balance breakthrough!!

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That’s me doing EPK2 or Eka Pada Koundinyasana II. After I sent the photo to Isis I sent it to my husband who was away for work. Because he’s my husband he replied with, “You should do that naked.” So I got naked and did it again. I really did not expect what happened next.

You know how when you post photos online or even send one to your significant other, you always pick the best one. You edit it to make yourself look better. You highlight it to hide imperfections. And you ALWAYS add a filter. My husband has seen me naked a gazillion times, but I still make sure that I hide the zit on my chin and take a photo of the other side of my face when I want to share a smile with him or show him my new shirt or something. He has seen my imperfections and still loves me but I continue to edit photos and send him the best angle because that’s just what I do. Maybe I have some deep seeded model aspirations because I have always been too short to be a model. LOL! Point is, I/we are always striving to look our best in photos. Here’s where the naked yoga photo comes in. I sent it to my husband without a single edit. I didn’t lighten anything, I didn’t retake the photo, I just attached it and sent it on it’s way. And I didn’t even think of editing it. The thought never crossed my mind.

Of course afterwards I started to closely examine the photo and look for imperfections, but guess what? I didn’t find any. I saw nothing but beauty. I saw a strong woman. I saw muscles. I saw a mom. I saw myself doing something I love. I didn’t see someone sexy. Even though the initial thought was me being sexy for my husband, it ended up not being that at all. So a few days later I did it again.

This time I did a little naked flow first. Not wearing clothes during yoga feels so much less binding. You don’t have clothing getting in your way. That alone makes the whole flow better. You aren’t worried about your shirt moving up or your pants riding down. You can focus better and concentrate.

I took a photo of myself doing full dancer this time. I looked at it and my first thought was, “I look just like my painting!”

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The artist in me got giddy and excited. A few months ago I painted this figure doing full dancer. The figure isn’t necessarily naked, but it’s a depiction of the raw pose; no clothes, just the pose. This is what I saw of myself. Raw, free, unbound, exposed, gah!! I can’t really even describe it. I am sitting here trying to think of more words to describe the feels I was getting but I just can’t. It’s like I was saying in my Thankful for Yoga post… “it isn’t about using your body to learn a pose, it’s about using a pose to learn about your body.” Maybe that can help with understanding the feelings.

I sent this photo to my husband and I said, “isn’t it fantastic?” I then told him thank you for asking me for a naked yoga photo. It did more for me than I ever thought it would. It opened up a new door in my yoga world. Again, it wasn’t about being sexy. It became more about, look at my body! Look what I can do with this body! Look at what the mother of your child can do. I made a human with this body. I was an unhealthy girl and have become a strong, healthy woman.

Of course now I am trying to get Isis to try this so that see can experience the same feelings I have. She has a friend that only does naked yoga when she’s alone and has even gone to a naked yoga retreat. The thought of doing this in a group did in fact cross my mind. Not sure if I’d ever actually do it, but I know it would be life changing. I know that everyone there would be feeling the exact same way as me and it’s something we would spiritually share. Maybe that’s another way to try to describe this…spiritual. Maybe I should stop trying to explain it. Maybe I should just tell you that I recommend it. Don’t do it for the IG followers. Don’t do it because you want to be sexy. Don’t do it just because I tell you to. Do it for you. After all, one of my favorite things to tell people is “yoga is for you.”

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

LDYBFF #NamasteTuesday

LDYBFF= Long Distance Yoga BFF. That’s what Isis and I call each other. Once I moved away and we couldn’t play anymore, we had to come up with some way to continue our yoga friendship. Most of our time is still spent talking about yoga. We share each other’s successes and failures and constantly send each other pictures and videos of what we’re doing and trying. But how do we show the world our love for each other and yoga? By doing fun yoga mirror pictures to share all over social media, duh.

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I am not sure which one of us came up with the idea first. I think she sent me a photo of some girls making the heart and we just thought it would fun to do it. Now that I think about it, I know exactly how it started.  (forgive the poor quality photos. I am copying from the interwebs and reposting and it takes away a bunch of quality each time you save)

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Before I moved, we went on a mini trip to San Diego together and tried the above photo. I just had to make a meme out of the awesome fail. I’m going to go on record and say that, that is when this started. We also did this one…

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The above ones aren’t yoga related but we finally got around to that. Here’s our first yoga one.

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Before I was doing inversions and arm balances, we started with something a bit simpler. Isis was at the beach when we talked about this one and we loved the idea of her being a mermaid at the beach, plus we love the idea that we live in totally different places now (desert vs forest) and we like to show that in the comparison photos.

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In this one we were clinking wine glasses of water. We kept looking for friend photos like these and we saw one of ladies clinking wine glasses. We are both mimosa drinkers and were going to do that but at the time of photo taking, Isis was at a yoga studio without champagne access so we went with cleansing, refreshing, rejuvenating water.

Before the next set of long distance photos, we got to see each other!!! So we did lots of stuff together!!!

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Talk about fun!!!!! But then I left again. Now we’re doing them sort of seasonally.

This was our first arm balance photo!! Eight Angle pose for summer!

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Next was our end of summer pose. Scorpion!

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For our fall pose, we made another heart, but this time while doing a backbend (my fave).

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And now that it’s Christmas time, we had to do something with a Christmas theme!

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It’s so awesome to be able to continue to do yoga “together” even though we live 3000 miles away from each other. We still learn from each other, well, I learn from Isis, and we grow together. And look at the progress in these photos. We went from standing up and  leaning to the side to inversions! I can’t wait to see what the new year brings for our LDYBFF posts. And maybe the military will bring us closer together again and we can do more together, like for real together. You just never know.

 

Bend it Like Chrissy #NamasteTuesday

This has been a pretty big week in my yoga world. Hopefully it will get even bigger today! Read on.

Yesterday was the last day of the latest Instagram challenge I was participating in. This was #BentYogis2, and while #BentYogis definitely challenged me, challenging may be an understatement for this one. I tried new things and most of them were difficult for me.

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These may look easy but they are not. I don’t recommend trying any of these without REALLY warming up first. The middle one on the right was totally weird. One of the hosts of the challenges demoed it and said, “it looks deceptively easy.” That was 100% true. You go in thinking it’s going to be simple but it’s not. I am not even in the full pose there but that was all I could do.

The last day was yesterday and the pose for the day equally excited and scared me. It was something I had never done before. It’s called Hollowback. The point of this inversion is my have your hips behind your shoulders. Again, when you see the hosts giving examples it looks easy (that’s part of the problem with pictures). Since I am pretty good at forearm stands I wanted to try it that way. We were encouraged to use a wall if we needed but I was determined not to. I used to rely on the wall and my bff, Isis,  would say, “Fu** that wall!!” So when I thought about using a wall this time, I was emotionally blocked to allow myself to use it (that seems like terrible grammar. Sorry, English majors). I felt like I would be going backwards in my progress. So I tried, approximately 47 times, without the wall and COULD NOT get it. I kept bending too much and going into scorpion. I kept texting Isis telling her that I needed her!! It’s very difficult to learn new things while you’re alone. She gave me some great tips and I tried another 47 times without sticking it. She reminded me that it was the very first time I was trying and that I have a lot of time to practice. I needed to hear that. We are very similar in that when we want to learn something we want to master it that first day. Yoga doesn’t always happen like that. I need practice. I ended up using the wall and going with the handstand variation. It was still incredibly difficult. Good stretch? Yes. Am I sore as shit today from all the trials? Hell yes.

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For now I’ll stick with regular pincha, forearm stands. I like those. And I like to get festive with them!

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Somewhere in the middle of last week, Isis and I decided to do another long distance yoga post. We went with backbends making a heart with our legs. This was out first try lining it up and I love it so much. It’s perfectly imperfect!

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Tonight is my first night teaching my super beginner yoga class. Most of the practice is done while sitting in a chair and we’re sticking to very basic poses. I am really excited. I didn’t realize just how much you can do from a chair. It’s pretty fantastic. I am hoping to see some new faces and get a nice new crowd to class. Not only will it benefit me and my teaching, it will also bring new people to the little community center. Win, win!!

Yoga Thursday

Just like with all creative endeavors, you start with a plan. It may work out, it may not. When I decided to revamp the blog (again) and have certain days to write about certain things it was a great way to get me started. I’ve enjoyed writing my #NamasteTuesday posts all about my yoga journey. But sometimes yoga happens when it isn’t Tuesday and I want to write on a different day. So…I’m not saying goodbye to #NamasteTuesday but I’m going to allow myself to not stick to it and have freedom with my posts. Which brings us to today.

Today is a pretty significant day in my yoga world. Facebook reminded me that two years ago today was the first time I took a yoga class taught by my bff and yoga bff, Isis. That day I did not think my life would turn into what it is today. I am forever grateful for that class.

I am also doing the second backbend challenge, #Bentyogis2, and today’s pose is pigeon. Of course I had to take the king pigeon variation.

But before I show you that, I want to show you my very first time trying king pigeon. If you don’t already know, this is one of my super fave poses. It’s also the first pose I ever wanted to try and progress in. I wanted to be able to bend, reach back to grab my toes, and not fall over. There is a lot of balance in this pose. So last year in September I grabbed my strap and started.

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There’s a few things to say about this photo. One, my left leg is practically underneath me; in a perfect execution of this pose, that leg would be perpendicular to my body. Two, I’m barely bending back. I’m thinking at this point I didn’t realize it was a backbend. And last, I clearly cannot get my arms back to grab my toes let alone balance.

Flash forward two months and me practicing this pose…

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One, that front leg is still underneath me. Two, I reached back but look at my hilarious face! I’m not at all comfortable. I’m staining and hurting myself.

Just about a year later… (Today)

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I am so incredibly comfortable in this pose now. You can’t see, but my front leg is much straighter now (not perpendicular yet but getting there), I can reach back with ease, and look at that backbend. My head dips down below my toes. Whoa!

This is why I always add the hashtag, #practicemakesprogress. It’s so true. You can see it! I can see it in so many poses. Even in the simpler Warrior poses, I can see how my lunges are deeper and my hips are more flexible. My shoulders… As much as I complain that my shoulders need work, they’ve come a long way since the start. This is what yoga practice does.

But I must say, yoga did not just make me more flexible. Yoga has made me into a better version of myself. Yoga has made me incredibly comfortable in my skin. I could go on all day about how powerful yoga, breathing, and meditation is, but I’ll just say its just that. Powerful.

Namaste.

West Coast Yoga #NamasteTuesday

Welcome back to your weekly update of all things yoga…well, all things about me and yoga. I was getting ready to go to California two weeks ago and then I just took last week off from blogging, so now I’m back and getting back into the weekly routine.

I was so happy to get the chance to go to Core Power Yoga while I was in San Diego. I checked in on Facebook and said, “I’m Home.” It was such a great hour. The guide that day was a bit advanced and it was awesome. I did a few new things I’ve never even attempted before. The first new thing was trying to bind during triangle. It takes me so long just to figure out where I’m supposed to put my arms. Then from bound triangle she went into Bird Of Paradise. This is a standing, bound pose and it was definitely difficult. Advanced people have one leg completely straight up in the air but I was lucky to just get that leg up off the ground while trying to stand up straight. As usual, I could get it on one side and not the other. Same with the other binds…more shoulder work is in my future. I left Core Power feeling awesome and ready to tackle whatever else was headed my way. That place just makes me feel amazing.

The same day I went to Core Power I headed to the beach with my husband to eat lunch with his sister. We had some time to kill so we walked along Coronado and enjoyed the warm day on the beach. Of course I had to do some yoga.

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And of course I fell for my husbands tricks. You’d think after being around him for almost 17 years I would have figured this out already, but I always fall for it. I was holding my pigeon and I asked if the photo was taken yet. He says, “Just one more second.” And then the wave came, while he was taking a video. See the video here. It’s fun, I promise.

The main reason we were in California was a wedding. All three of us (husband, child, and I) were in the wedding so it was kind of a big deal. The wedding was beautiful!! And I did some bridesmaid yoga of course.

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Once I was back from California it was back to the usual daily stuff. This last Saturday I took my daughter and some friends to a pumpkin patch. What better to celebrate than with a forearm stand!!

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This worked out perfectly because back in the winter, I took a photo of me doing pincha in the snow. Once spring rolled around I decided I should do a stand in each season. I waited until I was at the beach for my summer one, and then I did the fall one at the pumpkin patch. Here’s all of them together.

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I’m trying to decide on a new pose for this next year. I am not sure if I want to do more inversions or something different. Maybe I will do something I am not so good at to see how I progress throughout the year. I’m open to suggestions.

The other yoga teacher, at the community center, and I have been talking about ways to get more people interested in the yoga classes we teach. A lot of the community are older folks so the next couple weeks I am going to brush up on some chair yoga. Starting in November my Tuesday class is going to be very, very beginner class. We are going to start with the very basics of yoga and touch on some chair yoga. I’m excited. There are already a few people who have said they want to try it. I still think people are scared of yoga so I am going to try my hardest to make them unscared.

This weekend I’m starting another Instagram challenge. It’s #BentYogis2!! A sequel to the one I did about a month ago. I’m super excited! I’ll update you on that as it progresses. But make sure to follow me and watch along the way. @chrissyq02

Little bit of This Yoga, Little Bit of That Yoga #NamasteTuesday

This last week was neat. I helped my best friend sleep better by teaching her breathing exercises over the phone. She’s in Hawaii and I’m in Virginia but I was able to talk her through and give her some insight on breathing, and how its associated with yoga of course, and she slept a lot better. I also had two different friends text me and say, “I need your help getting started with yoga. I need more zen in my life.” People asking me for help is just so wonderful. Besides the obvious personal benefits of practicing yoga, one of my favorite parts is sharing it with others. It’s why I drive to a tiny little community center on Tuesday nights to teach even when only person is going to show up. I love teaching, not only for the experience, but because I love to share yoga with others.

Last Tuesday I said I’d write about the last challenge I did. So here goes. I participated in a two-week backbend challenge called #Bentyogis. Man, was it awesome. The first challenge I did was definitely fun, but that one lacked the diversity of this one. In this challenge, each host showed a different variation of each pose and usually gave directions on how to do them. I wasn’t just back-bending during the challenge, I was bending and twisting in ways I never have before. I loved every second. I was pushing myself and learning new things and practicing others. There were some poses I had done before so I took a fun variation. There were some poses I had tried but couldn’t quite do previously so I took a variation. There were some that you look at and think, “That looks easy,” and then you start and you’re like, “Wait! How is my leg supposed to even do that?” If I had to sum up this challenge in one word it would easily be CHALLENGING. Below is a collage of some of the poses.

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I think my favorite pose out of this challenge was king or royal pigeon.” This is a pose I include in my everyday practice. I think it is incredibly beautiful as well as a great bend and stretch. Since I had done this pose before I looked to one of the hosts for a variation and found the bound variation. It just made the pose even more beautiful.

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Another king or full pose was dancer. This is one I have been struggling with. For one, my legs don’t quite split to the point where I need them and it is a challenge on my shoulders to reach back. So in this challenge I used a strap but I said in my caption, “I will grab my foot by the end of 2016.”

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Last Thursday I was at home doing my yoga thing. There are some days when I go into my flow knowing something specific I want to include or practice. Most days I just start and go with the flow and do whatever feels good and feels right. Without even thinking, I got into dancer and then reached back and like magic, grabbed my foot and got into full dancer. I held it for a total of 0.0000004 seconds but I was there. (I did it twice so I could take a photo and show my bff)

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When I was finished, I posted it to IG, duh, and I wrote that I now know what people mean when they say something feels “organic.” That’s how this felt. I didn’t feel like I was forced to try this or that I needed to try it. It just happened. I just progressed through my flow and it happened.

This week is a regular week for me but next week I’m dashing off to California for a wedding. Besides being excited about that, I’m crazy excited because I can go to Core Power Yoga while I’m there. I won’t have a ton of time to go more that once, but I am making the time to get to a C2 class. I am not sure if I wrote about it before but I had the chance to check out the studio over the summer and those were my people. I feel at home when I’m there. Guys, I’ve literally been only three times. Maybe it’s because I am “home” in San Diego, maybe it’s the way they teach, maybe it’s the humidity they drown you in (even in regular class not just hot yoga), or maybe it’s just the type of yogis. I can’t explain it too much but I can’t wait to be “home”.

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