Yoga

Find more of my writing at:
InDependent - Inspiring Military Spouses to Thrive

My classes at the Leavenworth Yoga Co-Op:
Monday - 5:30 am - Bedhead Yoga
Tuesday - 7:30 pm - Vinyasa Flow Yoga
Thursday - 9:30 am - Yoga Mixed Levels
Thursday - 7:30 pm - Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Sunday, April 20, 2014

108 Vegan Days of Yoga - Last Day

Today is the last day of my 108 vegan days of yoga. It happens to coincide with the day before Easter. I boiled eggs for Sophia to color. I wondered if I should make some egg salad after the Easter egg hunt. I just don't think I can do it. Kenny, on the other hand thinks he might have some mac and cheese at midnight. Going forward we're going to be mostly vegan at home but allow for more options when we're out.

Being vegan and avoiding sugar means that I make more creative things from scratch and make more careful choices when I shop. I like knowing that I'm putting really high quality things into my body. Kenny did really well on the program. He lost weight and felt more alert in school. I didn't fare quite as well. In fact I gained a few pounds. Too many nuts and avocados? Not enough cardio? Probably some of both. I kind of thought that by eating perfectly all of my problems would be solved...I'd get back to my happy weight, my allergies would get better, and my skin would glow. I'm disappointed that I can't be like other people and report spectacular results. Perhaps forbidding things doesn't really work for me and I need to instead seek balance. Included in balance is indulging in the Girl Scout cookies I've been saving for many weeks.

 

 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

108 Vegan Days of Yoga | Week 2 Update

Week 2 of 108 Vegan Days of Yoga is complete. Sophia asked me what day I'm on and when I said Day 18, she said "Ohhhh, you have a LONG way to go." She's right. It feels like an eternity. I'm glad I made it a long time though, because I can't really judge whether the changes to my diet are worth it or not yet. Vegan + no fried + no refined grains/sugars = Almost impossible to eat a meal prepared by somebody else.

The biggest changes I've noticed are in my husband. He's packing his lunch now and he says he feels less tired at school now. And, he's been working out during Sophia's swim practice. I feel good knowing that I've lit a spark that has spread to my family.

My biggest struggle this week was the JAG coffee. We had dinner at a new restaurant in town, but the bar menu was all we could choose from. It was a nice bar menu with a cheese platter, a bread platter with oil and vinegar for dipping, and they had some tantalizing pastries. But, the only thing I could have was the fruit platter. It was fresh and beautiful, but definitely not satisfying, especially in the face of temptation. But, my will prevailed.

The best dishes this week involved brown rice pasta. The Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheeze got a "Mom, this doesn't taste vegan," from Sophia. And Kenny's favorite dish of the week was just the brown rice pasta with Organicville marinara and Tofurkey Italian sausages. It's hard to find marinara without sugar. The Organicville contains agave nectar, which isn't much better than sugar, but I counted it as de minimus and rolled with it. Kenny was happy to eat something "normal."

I took the time this week to watch Oprah's show on the time she and over 300 of her staffers went vegan. Highly entertaining!

In my yoga practice, I finally mastered going from flip dog into wheel. This video helped a ton! I had only been able to do this once before, at the end of a Gina Caputo's backbending workshop. I got in and out with huge effort. This week, I felt very strong and it was no big deal at all to flip back out. The change in strength was incredible! And, a friend was talking about someone going from flip dog to wheel to handstand. I'm a long way from the full version of that, but it was possible with this video and a little help from a wall.

In other health areas, I've been drinking more water and my skin broke out horribly. Isn't water supposed to make everything better, not worse? And, I've been getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, and I still feel tired. Maybe need to work on edging that closer to eight.

So, good things and unpleasant things, but overall I'm feeling great about making healthy choices. Hopefully time will show many positive benefits.

 

 

Friday, January 10, 2014

108 Vegan Days of Yoga | Week 1 Update

I'm one week into my 108 Days of Vegan Yoga. Going vegan isn't the only change I've made. I've also cut out refined sugars/grains and fried foods. Sometimes I walk into a store or restaurant and feel like there's nothing I can have. Sugar is in everything from the fancy ketchup we ordered from our CSA to the organic breadcrumbs I had sitting in my pantry.
Kenny did some shopping and picked up some new and different groceries to support our new lifestyle. (He's joining me on the eating plan for 100 days). The bread he found at Trader Joe's was nice, but the cheese was awful. It's not even good on sandwiches with lots of other ingredients. I find that avocado is a better substitute for cheese since it is rich and creamy.
This raw chocolate bar, on the other hand, was a beautiful splurge. No refined sugar!
In Boulder, we got to eat at the Native Foods Cafe. Vegan food in a shopping mall? I could get used to that! Nothing like that in our small town in Kansas. Here, I have to cook for myself.
The Egyptian Edamame Stew was particularly delicious this week.
My yoga practice has been nice this week. Some friends and I are participating in a 21-day Get Strong, Be Calm challenge through My Yoga Online. We support each other through Facebook by checking in when we've finished the practice for the day and asking each other questions.
And, one of the ladies that comes to my yoga class introduced me to the Oh She Glows blog which looks to have some fantastic vegan recipes.
I don't know that I feel better yet. I've felt somewhat bloated. Maybe I just need to settle in to this new way of eating.
Do you have a favorite vegan recipe that I could try?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

108 Vegan Days of Yoga

 

If you know me, you know that I love a good wellness plan. I'd love to live my life so that I'm consistently in good shape and don't need a plan on New Year's Day. But, my nearly 40-year-old body freaks out with even a two-week vacation from my usual routine.

The Ultimate Yogi's 108 Day Program caught my eye (it's supposed to be the P90X of yoga) but it wasn't a perfect fit for me. Fourteen classes over 108 days isn't enough of a variety for me and a vegan diet isn't required which is a major goal of mine.

So, I'm taking the 108 day concept and tweaking it to meet my needs. According to Yoga Journal, the number 108 is a historically sacred number in yoga:

Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.

Diet

Today I shift from working toward vegan to vegan. I shift from eating well at home but splurging when I go out, to eating well all of the time.

For 108 days I will eat no:

Products that come from animals, including eggs and dairy

Fried foods

Processed grains

Sugar

Yoga

My daily practice will focus on Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (breath work), and Dhyana (meditation).

To begin this program, I did 108 sun salutations this morning to greet the New Year. My intention for the practice was to reflect on the one word that sums up my goals for the year: Develop.

I will develop:

Relationships - Family, friends, business

Yoga practice, focusing on freestanding inversions

Yoga teaching, finding a 500-hour teacher training program

InDependent, the health and wellness organization for military spouses that I'm building with some smart and talented women.

Skills - Photography, writing, networking, healthy recipe development

Personal wellness - Eating well, fitness, stress management, and creation of vibrant energy.

As I brought my hands together at my heart center for the last time after 108 sun salutations, the following came to mind:

I have the power to achieve my goals.

I have the power to develop as I choose.

Vibrant energy resides in my heart center.

Looking Forward

This will not be an easy journey, especially considering my planned half-marathon training that will run alongside this program. The experts that say to ensure success you must make small changes would shake their heads at me. But, if I think about it, I've been walking down this path for awhile now and it's time to take the final plunge.

Anybody want to jump with me?

 

 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hit the Reset Button - Day 6

As the minutes tick toward midnight, Day 6, the final day of the cleanse with Gina Caputo, is coming to an end. She was generous enough to send us daily roadmaps with menus, meditations, and yoga practice suggestions. She also kept us communicating on Facebook for support. If you're interested in participating, she'll host another cleanse in the spring. Find her on Facebook for updates. It's all free!

Today was a little bit tough because Sophia had the day off school. She had nachos for lunch with chips, beans, cheese, and tomatoes. My grilled veggies paled in comparison. But, since we were both home and not running off anywhere, we tackled the high maintenance fruit and had fresh coconut, mango, and pomegranate for a snack.

Then, we rushed off to a promotion party. I grabbed a to-go cup my leftover breakfast smoothie as an afterthought. Good thing! The menu was some kind of meat with a white roll, baked beans, mayonnaise-laden salads, chips, and cake. I would have struggled on a normal day.

Observations:

  • I don't need to eat while working on the computer. My brain functions without being fed constantly.
  • Planning ahead is crucial.
  • There are bad choices everywhere. It would be great to get healthy food and drinks on the go, but it is rare to find something here in small-town Kansas. If I want it, I'm probably going to have to make it and take it.
  • I just want to be able to eat at the party too!

 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hit The Reset Button - Day 5

 

Day 5 of the Hit the a Reset Button cleanse with Gina Caputo is just about complete.

I haven't been bursting with energy this week but I'm not sure it's because of the cleanse. There's been a lot going on, not the least of which was the launch of InDependent, the new health and wellness organization for military spouses that I co-founded. In spite of everything, I found new growth in my personal yoga practice. I no longer need to support my hip on my arm in eka pada koundinyasana. Perhaps not being weighed down by too much food created lightness in the pose. I must point out that this is not a starvation cleanse. I've been eating plenty and have been hungry at meal times, which is how it should be.

Observations

  • I've started checking in when I'm tired and want to reach for food. Will a short snooze do? Maybe some water? Or, if it's snack time a juice whizzed up in my Vitamix does great and doesn't make me feel icky in yoga class.
  • This cleanse has been very doable. I'm almost sorry that tomorrow is the last day.
  • I'm going to need to really reflect on what changes I need to make going forward. I want to continue to feel liberated from guilt resulting from poor eating habits. Even healthy food in inappropriate quantities at the wrong times can do harm.

 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hit the Reset Button - Day 4

It's Day 4 of the Hit the Reset Button cleanse with Gina Caputo and I got hangry (angry as a result of hunger) today.

It was after 7 pm. I parked my bike after a chilly ride home after teaching yoga. I reflected on how nice it was to be hungry for dinner rather than being in a state of too full all day. I heated up some leftover soup that really hit the spot. I heard an urgent call from my daughter in the bathroom. She had broken my bottle of sesame oil on the tile floor. I had to clean up the oil and glass before finishing my soup. Not happy!

On a happier note, I survived lunch out with a friend. Leavenworth, KS is no Boulder or Portland when it comes to vegetarian-friendly food. And eating on a cleanse? Not so easy. We met at Harbor Lights which I love because they serve in Polish Pottery dishes. I got a loose leaf raspberry tea and a giant salad. They have this beautiful salad but serve it with packaged dressings. I asked for olive oil. They didn't have any. Don't know how a kitchen can exist with no olive oil. So I used a bit of canola oil. The cakes in the case didn't tempt me but I almost automatically took a bite of cheese later when I was making a snack for my daughter.

Observations:

  • I'm excited to make positive changes to the way I eat going forward. Wondering how I can simulate a "plan" to hold me accountable.
  • The addictive quality of cheese is very strong. Stronger than sugar?
  • I am much more forgiving of my flaws when I'm consciously making good choices. No guilt is a powerful thing.

 

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