Hot Yoga Experience…Part II

With my bare feet I took my first step onto the wooden floor. The smell of moist cedar and a warm humid air filled my lungs surrounding my body.

The room was dimly lit with white led candles flickering along the walls of the room. The instructor’s mat was in the front center of the class.

Other students were spread out along their mats to the left and right of the room, leaving one big open gap right in the middle. As I unrolled my mat into this empty space in the middle of the room I found myself to be glad that at least I made it in time.

I sat cross legged on my mat and began to do some neck stretches and focusing on my breath. I was here.

And there was nothing left for me to think about.

I felt my shoulders relax the more breathes I took.

I reminded myself to drop the ego and enjoy this.

The universe was telling me to be here…and for the first time since walking in through that door, I finally felt calm.

The class started. Calming music played while we slowly moved and held our different poses. The instructor walked amidst the students with reassuring affirmations that we were “beautiful and strong”.

“Surrender to the pose.”

“Just let it go and breathe.”

“Holding the pose and being still is just as important as the movement.”

Throughout my time in class I didn’t once feel like I was about to “die” from the heat.

Honestly, there were times I felt uncomfortable but then other times I felt comforted by it. Like a warm blanket in the middle of the night switching between hot and cold.

And when it was uncomfortable, it still wasn’t unbearable. In fact, it was a good challenge.

I found this yoga practice to be a metaphor for everything I’m going through and for life in general.

There are easy and challenging poses. During the more challenging and intense poses, a part of me wanted to give up and fall back into the beginning pose. Like, when you’re having a rough day and you really want to just go crawl in bed and let the day pass you by.

But I toughed it out and stayed with the pose. Thanks to the helpful guiding words of the instructor I was able to quiet the mind and breathe through it. The more I relaxed and let go, the more I would find myself being able to go deeper into the stretch.

It’s a testament for how strong you really are, physically and mentally.

It was a beautiful experience.

Another turning point was when I was standing in a side bend. My right leg was bent and was holding the majority of my body weight. 

I could feel the strength in me.

I felt my right foot firmly planted on the warm ground. And as the instructor said, “the earth is here to always hold you. No matter what, she always has you.” I felt for the first time, that I was grounded. I got it. I got what it meant to actually feel grounded. I breathed it out and finally let go.

The class ended in shavasana pose, where you lie on the ground with your palm facing up for a few minutes.

The instructor came to each of us separately and put a cool wet washcloth along our necks and then over our eyes. “You’re strong and you’re beautiful. Welcome back.” He whispered in my ear.

The Hot Yoga Experience

Part 1

Right now, I’m going through a stressful time in my life. Not to mention…it’s also the holiday season.

Getting through the holiday season is one thing but adding life’s obstacles can make it even tougher.

So, to stay sane and calm through all of this, I have turned heavily to three things:

While I have good moments and tough moments all within a day, I’ve relied heavily on just trusting my instincts and focusing on my breaths at moments of frustration. But, a few weeks ago I discovered a healthy outlet that is so beneficial if you’re going through some hard times.

Here’s the first part out of three, of my story about Hot Yoga…

On a cloudy Sunday morning I was at home, in my office, sitting crosslegged on the floor. Earbuds in, listening to a 45 minute guided meditation about how to connect with my spirit guides.

I felt like I was completely hypnotized. My imagination ran wild and I envisioned three spirit guides plus a coyote.

Okay, I know that this might make me sound crazy. Trust me, a few years ago I would’ve thought this would be all nonsense or a really active imagination.

But after months of practicing mediation I hit this weird place where I could feel myself going deeper and not overthinking things. So, when this happened, (even though I know it might sounds crazy,) I decided e to accept it and take it for what I feel it was.

When I came out of the mediation, I immediately had one of the strongest urges to go to a hot yoga class.

Hot yoga is something that I’ve always heard of, always wanted to try…but was always hesitant about.

I would hear people say, “It feels like you’re going to DIE! But then afterwards….you’ll love it!”

The part, “feels like you’re going to DIE” is the part that made me hesitate to commit to a class. I didn’t want to be that sweaty girl who ran out of the class because I couldn’t handle the heat.

Years before, I had been to a few yoga classes. I know, it’s a chill environment but I’ve never been in a situation where I would feel like I would die.

So, I’ve always been curious…but honestly never felt I would actually do it….until this day.

As I was still sitting on the floor of my office, and the urge to go to hot yoga entered my brain. The vision of the road side sign of “$5 Yoga Class! Sunday Morning!” popped into my head. I saw this sign about 2 weeks ago, as we were leaving the neighborhood pizza joint.

“It was nearby…maybe they still have that $5 class going on!” I thought as I picked up my phone to google it.

 Cooper Moon Yoga Studio appeared in the search results. I clicked on it, went to the calendar and the $5 class was over.

But… low and behold a hot yoga class was starting in 20 minutes!

I didn’t give myself time to talk my way out of it. I didn’t care about the price, I didn’t care about what it would be like. Instead, I just cared on making the class on time.

I frantically dug around my dresser drawers for workout clothes to put on. I grabbed my old and worn orange yoga mat from my office, slipped on my sandals and went out the door.

5 minutes later, I was in the parking lot, with my car idling. My anxiety was beginning to rise to the surface. My heart was loudly pounding, vibrating throughout my chest and beating in my ears.

I had 10 minutes. So I decided to spend one of those minutes calming my body down.

I relaxed my shoulders and breathed.

In. Out.

In and out.

In…..Out….In…………Out……….

I tried to not think about anything other than the feeling in my chest and making it slow down. After the minute, I was still felt anxious…but not as bad as before.

“Don’t think about it. Just do it.” I thought to myself as I pulled myself up out of my car. “Just breathe and relax” I thought again as I walked towards the front door of Cooper Moon Yoga Studio.

You know you might have a huge anxiety problem, when you have to calm yourself down to walk into a yoga studio, right?

Behind the counter,stood a smiling woman and a smooth skinned square jawline man, who looked like he was the yoga instructor. After pleasant greetings, I found myself admittedly blurting out, “I haven’t been to a yoga in years!”

They welcomed me back and Tina, the woman behind the cash register (who I would later find out was the owner) gave me a towel and explained to cover my mat with it, so I don’t slide from the sweat dripping.

And with that, I put my shoes up on the shelf next to the yoga room, slid open the heavy wooden door to the hot room and stepped in.

To be continued….

Join Me for a New Years Experiment

A few weeks back, I watched a movie on Netflix called, Game Changers. It’s a documentary about how supreme athletes have become game changers due to eating a plant based diet, making them stronger and healthier than ever.

The term, “Game Changers” doesn’t just apply to their performance but also changing the game at how we think about consuming protein.

Wait! Don’t turn away!

This isn’t a post trying to make a food argument or trying to persuade anyone of anything. All I’m saying in this post….is that I’m going to try this and I would love it if you would join me.

The Experiment

Here’s the plan:

  • Eat an all plant based diet…for 4 weeks.
  • Take a before and after picture.
  • Take a before and after body measurements and/or weight
  • Experiment and get excited for new food and recipes!
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself and stay positive.
  • Have Fun.

Let’s see what happens.

I Need Your Support

I need you to join me. Yep! This isn’t a want…it’s a need.

This is all easier said than done.

Right now, I’m in the planning stage, so it feels exciting! But God knows, by day three…day 23 or maybe hours into this experiment…I’m going to have a break down and I’ll need support.

This is where we can be there in this together.

By leaving comments on my posts or by following each other on Instagram, we can support one another.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m going to need a lot of support and accountability for this one.

Game Changers

One of my biggest take aways from watching Game Changers was that you don’t need to eat a lot of protein in order to gain strong muscles.

I mean, if you watch this movie…you’ll see athletes of all types eating this way. Even big muscular crazy strong men!

Now, I’m not wanting to look like a body builder…but I’m just curious. What would happen if I ate a plant based diet for 4 weeks?

So with the New Year’s almost here….why not start this on January 2nd? (You know, you have to use the 1st as a recovery day)

So, if you want to come along for the ride, please subscribe and comment below.

Let’s see what happens when you eat a plant based diet for 4 weeks!

Tips for Creating New Workout Habits

Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall. The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.

Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall.  The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.

This seems especially true when it comes to working out.

Working out can be one of the top activities where you can find an excuse to get out of it. The excuses of not having enough time, not feeling like it, having an injury or headache, and so on. The only real reason why these excuses are coming up is because you allow it. If you really want to form a new habit you have to ignore the excuses in your head and just do it. (Just like the tennis shoe!)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In order to create a new habit of working out, here are some suggestions that hopefully will help you out.

Tips for Creating a Lasting Habit

The first thing is to get real with yourself and set realistic goals that you know you can do. You don’t want to set your goal so high that it’s impossible to reach. It’s not fun and motivating to not reach a goal. Instead, make it a goal you know you will be able to easily handle.

In other words, if you haven’t been to the gym in over a year, what makes you think you can realistically show up there 5 days a week? Take it down a notch! Try to do about 3 times a week and if you show up on more days, then considered it a bonus and reward yourself for the bonus days! Shit, set your goal for 2 days but go 3 days and really reward yourself for doing that 3rd day!

Don’t do this on your first day back at the gym!

Which, this is a great transition to get to the fun part of setting up new habits. The rewards!

Our brains are wired to repeat actions that bring us pleasure and to avoid actions that we don’t necessary like to do.  That’s how every single human on this planet behaves. There’s no denying it, there’s no changing it. This is just how we are. So for that reason you need to find out what you can do to trick your brain into thinking that working out is a pleasurable experience.

In order to do this….you need to reward yourself. And don’t be stingy about it! In the beginning plan a reward for yourself  for every week you accomplish your work out goals.

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Some people like to create a calendar and mark off the days they did their workouts, with fun stickers. This allows you to visually track you getting closer to your goals and it makes them happy to see it. Once the week is over, now give yourself the reward.

Types of Rewards

This is the most important factor make your reward a non-food related item. And as the weeks keep growing, make the reward better.

So for example, for the first week reward yourself with a manicure or pedicure. Or hell, even just buy a new nail polish color that you love. The second week, reward yourself with a new water bottle or cup. Third week, get a new workout shirt. And the fourth week, treat yourself to a massage! I mean, if you did a month straight, that’s amazing!!! Reward yourself and keep it coming!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After this first month, start it all over again for the next month. Over time, going to the gym and working out will become easier to do and at some point it will just become a habit. You’ll no longer think of excuses but instead find yourself easily heading to the gym, without much thought about it.

Make Your New Habit Fun

It’s also a good idea to do exercises that you love to do. Make it as pleasurable as you can. So, join a Zumba class if that makes you happy. Or a boxing class. Or walk on the treadmill if that’s your thing! In the beginning as your growing the habit, don’t worry about following a routine or doing a work out you “think” you should be doing. Instead do workouts that bring you the most joy and then reward yourself for it!

Meal Planning & Meal Prepping

If it wasn’t for meal planning and prepping, I would be a complete unhealthy mess and probably be slamming down an entire package of pita bread right about now.

By planning out your weekly meals, it cuts out the excuse to eat out and answers the question of, “what’s for dinner?”.  By planning out your meals and then prepping them for the week, it will be easier to stay on the healthier and ultimately happier side of life.

abundance agriculture bananas batch
Enter a caption

So ask yourself the question, do you want a much smoother transition to healthy eating while also practicing responsible portion control?

While the act of meal planning and prepping can take up some hours on your actual prep day, it does allow more free time during the week. Plus, the more you make planning and prepping a habitual habit, the quicker and easier you will get at preparing it.

So before you hit up the grocery store, really think about what it is you want to make for the week. Write it down or look up healthy recipes online on the foods your craving. Then write down the ingredients you don’t have, and voila! You have your grocery list!

grocery cart with item

Also before prepping you are going to want to find or buy food storage containers. Some with dividers and are microwavable would be ideal. Make sure you have enough for all your lunches or for anything else you want to store separately for convenience.

Once you have everything ready, it’s time to prep! Depending on what you are making, you may or may not be able to make the entire meal and then store it in the fridge (to be heated up later). If this is a meal that needs to be cooked or assembled on the day you are eating it, then prep everything for that meal. Try to do as much as you possibly can to have the meal close to being complete. This means cutting up your veggies, cooking noodles or anything else similar to that.

tray of vegetables

It becomes less complicated the less meals you are making. So if you find this to be overwhelming, maybe decide to eat the same thing three or two times a week. That way you can just make a bigger portion of the meal, instead of all separate meals.

For myself, I’m able to eat the same thing every week for breakfast and lunch, so that makes my prepping easier. For my dinners, I rotate between two different dinners on every other day, so it’s very manageable to prep. I also choose two snacks for the day, and try to keep it at 100 calories each.

Hopefully this process helps you out. You can put in hours at the gym and burn calories but you also have to watch what you eat. By meal planning and meal prepping it allows you to consciously think about your food and to make the smarter choices.

I would love to hear what you guys think of this? Have you tried meal prepping before? It did work for you, or not? What are some of your favorite things to prep, or what do you think would be convenient to prep?

Can You Tell Whether a Person is Healthy or Not?

A lot of people assume that thinner and muscular people are on the top level of absolute health. But that’s not always accurate. People with what you may consider to have perfect bodies are not always the healthiest. In fact, skinny people can be just as unhealthy as overweight people.

When you hear the word, “healthy person” what do you picture?

A bodybuilder?

A perfectly fit person exercising at the gym barely breaking a sweat?

Anyone who you consider to be “skinny”?

fitness power man person
Is this bodybuilder really healthy? Or is he hopped up on the roids?! We don’t know…

A lot of people assume that thinner and muscular people are on the top level of absolute health. But that’s not always accurate. People with what you may consider to have perfect bodies are not always the healthiest. In fact, skinny people can be just as unhealthy as overweight people.

Therefore, your size and weight doesn’t matter. I’ll say it again. Your size and weight doesn’t matter.

woman holding white laptop between women
Your size and weight do not matter

If you survive on an unhealthy diet and don’t move around much….you’re going to become unhealthy, if you’re not already.

Those who exercise and eat healthy on a regular basis are likely going to be physically healthier than the rest.

So the first step to become healthy is to eat healthy foods and to get up and move around.

I know, it sounds easier said than done.  I completely understand.

But the hard core truth is that if you want to become healthier than that’s what needs to be done.

two woman doing exercise
Be the healthiest version of yourself that you can be

So next time you feel like playing the game of who’s healthy and who’s not…take a look at how often that person moves and what it is that they are eating. Those are the real qualities to look for whether a person is healthy or not.