yoga

After over a week of rededicating myself to The Gabriel Method, I am feeling better and better about it.

The one thing that I have really determined is that the visualisation CD is central to this.  I was really tired one night and really just wanted to snuggle in my soft clean sheets and go right to sleep so I skipped the CD.

The next day I felt a significant difference in my attitude and motivation.   I ate fast food for lunch and really craved some chocolate in the afternoon and was generally not as productive throughout the day.  Now, I am not going back to bad days and good days because that is really unproductive, but on other days when I had listened to the CD the night before, I had no problem making good choices and following through on my plans for the day. 

It has become pretty clear to me that listening to the CD every night, at least in the beginning, is integral to my success.

I am also noticing that when I make poor food choices my body lets me know about it.  Yesterday I had an amazing day out with a good friend.  We went to breakfast and I couldn’t resist having eggs benedict, my absolute favorite.  It was fine and I am not going to feel guilty about splurging, but I could tell that my body wasn’t very pleased with me about it.  So I had a smoothy with whey for lunch which amazingly lasted me till dinner.  After dinner I had a brownie for dessert, which I was really looking forward to but didn’t really do anything for me.  Good to note.  This morning, I woke up feeling nauseous.  Telling, right?

I just need to keep these things in mind when I make decisions about what I am going to eat.  I’d say the eggs benedict was totally worth it, but the brownie definitely wasn’t.  

My major accomplishment for the week was that I was really motivated to stay active and accomplish my daily list.  Almost every day I checked everything off my list, including the cleaning list (and we all know how bad I am at getting that list done).   I also really looked forward to doing something active each day.  I went to yoga on both Monday and Wednesday this week and I took Pella for a long walk on Tuesday and Thursday.  

Ever since we moved here 8 years ago, I have been thinking that walking up to the water reservoir, around and back would be a great walk and quite a workout.  There are some very steep hills and beautiful views at the top.  It is trails most of the way and not a lot of road time.  We don’t have sidewalks where I live so walking on the road can be a little perilous.   

I have always had an excuse as to why it was too far or too hilly or too hard and I have never done it.  This week, I did it.  It was one hour there and back and I felt fantastic.  It was a great workout with several spots that were perfectly suited to a quick sprint to get those flight instincts activated.  It was awesome!

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One of the biggest parts of my new years resolutions is to be healthier and finally lose this damn baby weight.  I can not tell you how sick and tired I am carrying around this extra 30 pounds.  There is no more time for excuses and although the weight isn’t flying off as quickly as I would like, I am dedicated to integrating exercise into my daily life, if for no other reason than it makes me feel really good and gets me out of the house by myself most days.

There is definitely something to be said for the peaceful, all consuming loudness of being alone with my mp3 player.  It’s almost as good as the silence below the bath water.  Very restorative and the sweat and chemical release is great too.

I am also counting and logging my daily food and exercise, but I will cover all that in another post.

For me, saying things out loud helps me to keep myself accountable.  With that, here is my exercise routine.

Finding the right environment

The first thing I did was change what gym I went to, or really changed gyms so that I would start going.  My old gym was one of those neighborhood jobbies and although the equipment was really nice and it was never busy, it also wasn’t very inspiring and they didn’t offer any classes.

I was also paying an extreme amount for two yoga classes a week at an Iyengar studio near my house.    Although I really enjoyed these classes, I just wasn’t sure that Iyengar was the style of yoga I wanted to pursue long term.  Also, although challenging I didn’t feel like it was really contributing to my weight loss, which at some point just needed to take priority.

So, I joined a gym very close to my house (one of the major chains) that offered  yoga and other classes included in the price.  In the end we are paying a little more for the gym but a lot less for yoga and in this economy and with my weight loss goals for the year, I think this is the best fit.

I do miss taking yoga classes at a studio.  It is a totally different experience and much more serious and I fully plan on finding a studio to join after I have reached my weight loss goals that is more aligned with the style of yoga I would like to pursue going forward.

Vinyasa Yoga Classes

I attend 2 Vinyasa power yoga classes a week and would like to add in one more on Sunday mornings, but realistically this will most likely be an on and off thing as weekends are really family time and that needs to take priority.  But, if we are just sitting around doing nothing on a Sunday morning, then I will try to hit this class once in a while.

I have done a bunch of research about how many calories are burned during a vinyasa yoga class.  I found varying numbers from 300 to 500 calories and hour.   It would be significantly more if this were a hot class, but alas it is not.   The class I take is 90 minutes and so I usually log 500 calories for the class.

Cardio 

My cardio machine of choice is the treadmill, but I would really like to add in some biking as well.  Maybe even a spinning class one morning a week if I can ever get Ian to stay in the child care room there.  

Anyway, I have been good about getting two additional hour long cardio workouts per week, but this really needs to be three.  Maybe as the weather gets nicer, I can take this one outside –  A long walk with the dog or a heavy duty landscaping work day or a bike ride on the Burke.

I do interval workouts alternating between running, walking, hills and sprints.   An hour gets me about 450 calories, but this should increase as my abilities increase and I can up the intensity.

10 minute mini workouts

My next step is to add a quick 10 minute mini workout at some point each day.  This is an opportunity for me to target a certain area or get in an extra strength builder or do some of the yoga poses that I no longer get to do taking an all levels gym based yoga class (mostly inversions).

Some of my options for this are….

Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer –  I have these videos but I haven’t really used them much.  They do seem like a great way to get pretty intense 10 minute workouts that cover a diverse spectrum of exercise.  I like how Tony Horton doesn’t use the same old same old techniques, but incorporates yoga, pilates and multi-dimentional exercises into his workouts.    It may just be time to pull these videos out.

Bosu Ball Daily Dose – I really like the Bosu ball and am looking for more ways to use it.  The Daily Dose is a set of three exercises repeated in circuit and can be modified to increase or decrease the intensity.  It’s pretty fun and a good workout.

Core Workout – I really like the Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer Core workout.   There is also a bosu ball core workout that looks interesting.   And although I am really not into the design on this site – it makes me a little dizzy, they do seem to have lots of core exercise examples.

Quick Yoga Series – I am really missing head stand (Salamba Sirsasana), shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana) and plow pose (halasana).  These were some of my favorites, but in the gym class environment it just isn’t possible to do these poses, so I am going to try and incorporate them often, hopefully daily at some point.

Just a note, my old yoga instructor said that it is very important to do shoulder stand after you have done headstand – something about balancing things out and such.  They go hand in hand I guess.

Combining these with a forward bend, a mild back bend and a twist would make a lovely little restorative sequence.

So to get down and dirty with my year long resolutions, by the end of the year I would like to be consistently taking 2 yoga classes a week and a spinning class.  Ian starts preschool in the fall so that will open up a morning a week to take a spinning class.  I would also like to be doing 2 additional cardio workouts and 5 mini workouts a week.  

With all that said,  I also want to keep in mind this years overall goal of not getting overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand.  I will push myself strongly, but also be forgiving.  If I get overwhelmed or start feeling bad about my results or not going to the gym some night, I will give it up and that just simply can not happen.  So as I have been telling myself over and over and over and over again lately “remain calm and think positively” and hopefully I will learn that it is ok to give myself a break sometimes.

One of my many TV weeknesses is Making the Band. I have been following Aubrey and Andrea since their first season and am still enthralled by the day to days of this group of girls. The boys, I could take or leave, other than I am digging on the old school R&B sound.

Tonight Puff went off on Aubrey for her look and I have to say that I totally agree. I think what Puff is trying to get at is that she just needs to be Aubrey and quit trying to pose so much. She just looks like she is trying way to hard. The big hair and bigger cleavage, the fake lashes and whatever is wrong with her face. Did she have surgery or bad lip injections? I don’t know what happened, but something is just off. She doesn’t look like herself.

I get that she’s growing up and changing and still finding herself. I totally get that and I have all the love for Aubrey, but she needs to find the authenticity within herself. Maybe she needs a little break, some time by herself and some space from all the glitz and glam.

Aubrey – Do some yoga, find your center and respect yourself. You Rock! Own it, not show it. You just don’t need all that crap.


In general, I have been sleeping much better lately, but now and again I just can’t seem to shut my mind off and it just whirls around and around flitting from this to that or sometimes spinning down into oblivion.

I have found several ways of alleviating this that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. I was talking with my fellow classmates and my instructor before yoga class last night about this very phenomena. I was commenting that I was up at 3 in the morning last week, really wishing I new what moves would help me get to sleep.

Turns out there are several that are very helpful. It turns out that having your head close to floor is very helpful and touching the floor is even better. Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) is very restorative and helpful for calming the mind, relaxing you and making you better prepared to sleep. Combining this with a concentration on your breath and clearing your mind might be very helpful.

Prasarita Tadottanasana (Wide-legged forward bend) is also a great move. If you can get your head on the floor, even better. Try using a block under your head if you can’t get all the way down. When completely in this pose, it is pretty intense and supposedly all of the racing thought will just flow out of the top of your head and leave you alone.

One way that I attempt to get rid of the thoughts is to write them down. This really helps when you have tomorrows to do list in your head or a great idea for a new blog post that you don’t want to forget. Don’t let it swarm in your head, just turn the side table light on, keep a pen and pad next to your bed, and write it down. Poof, done. And as I learned last night, it also helps when you just can’t keep your mind from spinning on something that is bothering you.

I was having a hard time settling down last night as I had been pretty worked up most of the day and I just needed a release, so I blogged it and read it and rewrote it several times and by that time it was done and I was ready to sleep. I actually slept really well last night, if not for the number of hours I would have liked.

Another topic that came up at yoga class was savasana (corpse pose). I too find this helpful but as my instructor was saying, when the mind is really whirling, savasana is most likely enough. This is really helpful after you have released some of the thoughts and I practice this in bed all the time to help me fall asleep.

The key to savasana and why it is considered by many to be one of, if not the, hardest yoga pose that there is, is to shut off your thoughts. This is a very difficult thing to do. They creep in even when you are actively trying to keep them out. The key is to acknowledge them and then send them on there way, returning your attention to your breath.

This is really meditation, so I did a little search on meditation and found the Change blog and his article on how to meditate. It’s a pretty good article and made me think about all the ways that I use to turn off my mind, reminded me of the conversation I had at yoga class yesterday, inspired me to learn more about meditation and ultimately brought me to writing this article.

But even better, the original author of this blog (it is now a multi-author blog) spent a year looking for change and has documented it in his blog and ultimately in an ebook, which I downloaded and look forward to reading. From the titles of his most popular posts, the same ones ultimately gathered into his ebook, it sounds like he has accomplished many of the things I am looking to accomplish on this journey and I look forward to his insight.

The links to the asanas (yoga poses) above were provided by Yoga Journal. For each pose you are given a good image (not always easy to find), a full description and how-to, and also a wealth of information about the benefits and uses for the pose. Really great stuff. In addition to their comprehensive pose gallery, they have a whole section on home practice section (I can’t wait to try this one), and a tool to build your own practice. Pretty cool.

I am so angry.

I am not sure I have ever been so angry.

My body is one big knot.  Each day, I wake with a new knotted up muscles.  Today it is in my right shoulder.  Yesterday it was on the left side of my neck.

Yoga last night helped temperarly.  My yoga bliss was a much needed reprieve, even if it only lasted  a couple of hours.  Today, the anger is back in full force.

I can feel it when I breathe, a hallow dullness in my chest, a slight dizziness, my head light, my thoughts muddied.

The tears come at the most inopportune times, when I most need them to stay stuffed down.  I teeter on the edge of control, trying to put on a happy face and keep moving for the sake of my family and many times not too successful.  My poor husband, I’m sorry.

This is a lesson in fear and weakness.  Do not let things build up without saying anything.  Years worth of frustration and bitterness are very hard to deal with all at once.