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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fit Flops are my 12th man



From Blog


When you need a helping hand, Fit Flops can be YOUR 12th man! Fit Flops help tone your legs and bottom! 

I love Fit Flops! I got some last year after I read about them in a magazine, I think I wore them all year, any time I wasn't working. The rest of my flip flops are collecting dust. I just received my new Fit Flop Lounge Slippers which really are clogs; I love them!



From Blog

If you aren't familiar with Fit Flops, they are shoes made from micor-wobbleboard technology which helps work out your legs and bottom because you are constantly making minor changes to stay balanced. It isn't like you are going to fall over, you don't even notice you are trying to stabilize yourself, that is the best part! They are great support for your feet too. I wear my all day and walk around and my feet never hurt.

I wore mine during ACL Fest in Austin, Texas which is a 3 day music festival. I wore them the entire time and my feet felt great. Previous years, my feet have felt tired and achy.

From ACLFest2009

I got myself some "ugg-like" boots recently and wore then for 5-6 hours shopping after Christmas, my feet were killing me! And my feet hurt for days afterwards. Doing balancing postures in yoga were difficult, my feet felt strained all the time.

But not with Fit Flops! They are the best shoe I have ever owned, period.

Fit Flops Help:

  • Improve leg, calf and glute muscles
  • Improve posture
  • Mimic walking barefoot 
  • Improves muscle tone
If you are interested in getting some, I suggest shopping around. I got my latest ones at Amazon. Free shipping and easy returns make Amazon my choice .

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Big D Climb - it's More than Just Climbing 52 Flights of Stairs


I got a wonderful email from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with a PDF file attached, it is the training schedule for the Big D Climb I am completing as one of my 24 events in the 2010 Bike Run Yoga Challenge.

After looking at the training schedule, I might want to rethink my strategy. The first week looks fine, it is just basic training kind of things and it says after the first week the average person should be able to complete 5 - 7 minutes of consistent stair travel. Sounds easy right? When I think about how long it takes me to go up three flights of stairs at work and how winded I am, I am thinking 5 - 7 minutes is going to kick my butt.



From Blog

But that isn't the worst part. Week 2 wants me to jump rope for 5 minutes. Just once a week but 5 minutes?! My trainer at the gym tried to get me to jump rope for just 30 seconds at a time...it was a sight to see. Picture the worst jump rope jumper and then times that by 10 and that was me. The rope would get tangled around my legs. I couldn't actually jump rope by jumping up, the only way I managed to do it was the way I did when I was a kid and it is more like skipping rope. I spent more time restarting or untangling myself. Hysterical to watch.

I was so bad at it my trainer gave up and she found a different exercise for me.

So in my true rebel fashion, I don't think I will stick to the training schedule, though it was nice of them to send it, I always enjoy knowing what I SHOULD be doing. The only correct training schedule I stuck to this year was my Team in Training schedule for my San Diego Marathon. The rest of the events I did I only half trained if at all. I never had a injury and my recovery period for most events is very short. I contribute most of my success in avoiding injuries to yoga. Being flexible makes you nimble and able to withstand many things.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Yoga Practice is Still Growing

Every once in a while something happens that reminds me I still need yoga, and daily! Today was one of those days. I made it through most of the class very focused, then in stretching I grabbed my toes and noticed one of my toe nails was cracked. I obsessed  the rest of class. Granted there was just one more stretching and spine twist but in my head it seemed like an eternity!

And why? A reasonable question. For starters, I was trying to think of what I did to crack the nail. Then I wanted to feel it and make sure it was really cracked and broken…I mean, maybe the polish was just chipping off. Then I remembered class had several teachers and I had decided to set myself right next to the podium…not the best situation to lose focus and obsess over a toe nail!

And then of course, there was the thought of blogging about it!

By the time I got home, I had forgotten about the nail, making it even more ridiculous that I would allow such a minor thing steal my focus. But isn't that the way things are outside of yoga? We let the little things take over our minds and we obsess over them or allow them to be the focus when really they are not that important at all.

I do better staying focused and not letting the little things distract me since I started yoga but I still need a lot of work. It’s a daily task and yoga is just part of completing that task. Ninety minutes in a room, focusing just on me…and trying to not think of anything but me and the posture at the moment is hard but certainly doable. Life is something else.

Tomorrow I will go back and see if I can get through all of class without worrying about my toes, the birds or anything else that might allow me to procrastinate the task at hand for one that is less important but way more fun to think about.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bikram Yoga on Christmas Eve, a New Tradition

I went to Bikram Yoga today, love that the Austin Bikram Yoga Studio had several classes today, it gave me an opportunity to get some holiday stuff done and still make it to yoga. I've been sick with a nasty head cold for the last few days so I haven't done much but eat and sleep. I've been feeling piggy and sluggish, was SO glad to finally feel well enough to go to class!


I went to the new downtown studio on 5th street in Austin. It was a full class so I quickly set up my mat and set out my package of kleenex in case my nose decided to act up. Class was just short of wonderful, which, for being sick is really very good. I did all of the standing series, only not fully staying in Standing Bow Pulling Pose, but I at least DID all the postures, a mile stone for me in my sickly condition.

I was really quite impressed, I thought I would have a mildly adequate class since I hadn't been since Saturday and I was still under the weather. Instead I had a pretty strong class with only minor setbacks. My equilibrium was off so my balancing series was not as good as it could have been and my shoulder and back muscles were noticabley sore from laying around for the last several days.


From YOGA
In the floor series I was shocked at myself when we did Full Locust Pose and my chest shot up like I was going to fly off the ground. I was like Whoa! what is that?! Catherine the teacher even said I looked good! It was so weird, like my body picked that moment to say it was fine and on the mend. Second set I thought, lets see how high I go, maybe that was a fluke. And then boom, second set, same thing, wham....flying again! This is the type of thing that make the body so amazing, you can be sick and not have practiced in days and yet the body remembers and when it wants to show off, well, it does.
Now off to enjoy Christmas Eve with the family. Enjoy your holiday and don't forget to go to yoga! Namaste

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yoga is good Pre or Post Run



I received two running magazines today,  Women's Health Magazine and Women's Running, both had articles on the benefits of yoga for runners. Yoga seems to be in the health and fitness spotlight these days. A very "now" thing to do. I see it popping up everywhere in articles, blogs and television as something that benefits athletes from running to cycling to organized sports. So in case you didn't know, yoga helps increase flexibilty and strength which can help you perform better in other activities or help prevent injuries.

When I started training with Team in Training for my first marathon there was lots of discussion and warning about injuries, mostly with the IT band. They suggested some basic stretches to do to help prevent some of the most common injuries but what I found most helpful was practicing yoga. I had been practicing yoga for about 3 years before I decided to train for a marathon and I think that really helped me prevent injuries.

Also, during my training I practiced yoga as often as I could and could really feel where running had tightened my muscles or pushed something out of alignment. Sometimes after a long run I could barely walk my knees hurt so bad. It wasn't actually my knees it was more my inner thigh muscles tightened up so much they were pulling my knee ligaments. And after a long run have you ever tried to squat down and keep your knees properly aligned? You can't do it! It is because your muscles tighten up so much your body get's out of alignment.

So what is the solution? Well, according to Women's Health Magazine and Women's Running Magazine, yoga!


Here are some yoga poses I like to do after I run or go on a long bike ride: 

 Fixed Firm Pose (Supta-Vajrasana): Helps lengthen the rectus femoris, tibialis anterior and gluteus maximus...amoung other things. What does that mean? It lengthens the inner thigh muscles, easing the pain you feel when you run.

Wind Removing Pose (Pavanamuktasana): Wind Removing Pose is great for compressing the hip joint and then allowing fresh blood to rush back through the hip area.

Eagle Pose (Garurasana): Eagle Pose is also good for the hips. It helps gluteus maximus, adductor magnus (inner thigh muscle), and helps stabilze the hips.

Sitting Down Pose (Upavesasana): Sitting down pose is also so great for during or after running. You basically squat down, oepn your legs a bit and sit back on your heels. If you do it correctly you can really feel it in the inner thighs and calves. I like to ease from side to side, leaning into one side, then the other for a deeper stretch.

Try some of these poses after your next run or ride and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bike Run Yoga...that's my tri 2010 Event Challenge: Commit Today!



2010 Bike Run Yoga Challenge is HERE!! 

Bike Run Yoga…that’s my tri is about being healthy and doing what you love. I personally am not a fan, yet, of swimming so my ideal triathlon would be one where I could Bike, Run and do Yoga. This year, 2009, I challenged myself to complete 12 events in cycling, running or yoga. This was 11 more events than I had done the year before! And I did it! Just this past weekend I ran my 3rd half marathon of the year and it marked the end of my challenge.


Before this year I worked out modestly and had done some cycling and yoga but mostly PAID for yoga memberships and gym memberships with little “attendance.” I sat on the couch after work and watched tv or I would just surf the net all night. I was gaining weight and I had two choices, spend money to get new clothes or get and up and get exercising!


January 2009 started off with attendance at a Team in Training meeting in hopes of learning how to run a 5K and swim enough so I could do a sprint tri. At the meeting I phoned My friend Ginny and she somehow convinced me to run a marathon and that is how this all started.


As 2009 winds down, I’m already looking ahead to 2010 and my new challenge, 24 events in 2010! I’ve got my first one picked out, January 1 I am running the New Years 5K in Dallas, Texas.


Join me in this awesome personal challenge where you are sure to find out many things about yourself, perhaps the most important is that you can do anything you set your mind to. You CAN do it!


2010 Bike Run Yoga Challenge
How to enter:

1.      Post a Comment on this blog that you are committing to the challenge
2.      Follow the Bike Run Yoga blog
Requirements:
  1. Make a commitment to the challenge (this means post a comment here and tell me you are doing the challenge)
  2. Complete 24 events (Tri, duathlon, run, ride, swim, yoga or other organized event)
  3. Must be a finisher at the event (we use the honor system for verification)
  4. Submit your events, email address, full name and shipping address to Bike Run Yoga no later than January 5, 2011
What do you get? 


A free Bike Run Yoga T-shirt with all your events listed on the back. The events will be listed on the back with the name of the event and the event date. It will be custom made for you and shipped to you in 4-6 weeks.

Not enough incentive? 


Get paid to complete events! Buy a Bike Run Yoga T-shirt and wear it at your event. For every picture you send in with a Bike Run Yoga Shirt on and your number, Bike Run Yoga will give you $5. You must complete the Challenge to be eligible and all funds will be paid upon completion of the Challenge. If you wear a Bike Run Yoga T-shirt for all 24 events, you will get $120!


Here is a list of events I’m doing in 2010, it’s not a complete list but I’m working on it!


New Years Day 5K (Run) January 1
Too Cold to Hold 15K (Run) January 17
Big D Climb (Stair Climb) January 30
St. Patty’s Day Dash 5K (Run) March 13
Dallas Rock & Roll Half Marathon (Run) March 14
Tour Dallas (Ride) April 3
Big D ½ Marathon (Run) April 11
Too Hot to Handle 15K (Run) July
Hotter N Hell 100 (Ride) August
Tour Des Fleur's 10K (Run) September
Susan G Komen 5K (Run) October
Texas Yoga Asana Championships
Thundercloud Turkey Trot (Run) November
Mayors 5K (Run) December



Good Luck! I hope you will join me in this awesome challenge!
 
Questions? click here to email me.

When Running an Event Becomes more than just Running

I finished the White Rock Half Marathon


From WhiteRockHalfMarathon

I ran my last half marathon, last running of "any kind" event, last event period for 2009 Sunday and boy did it feel good! So good in fact I was overwhelmed with emotion and started to cry after I crossed. Ok, let's be honest, I wanted to cry about mile 12 when I realized I only had one mile left. One mile to reaching the end of perhaps my greatest athletic achievement-completing 12 running, biking or yoga events in 2009. It was an amazing feeling to know just 5 1/2 months ago a friend of mine and I were sitting around thinking of crazy things to challenge ourselves with and we decided it would be "fun" do complete 12 events this year. That was in August after we finished riding the Hotter N Hell century ride in Witchita Falls. I completed 6 running events and 1 yoga competition since then. A little crazy? yes. Hard as hell? yes. Having the amazing euphoric feeling of completing one of the hardest goals I've set for myself? Priceless.

The day started with a ride on the DART mass transit rail train from White Rock Station to Victory Plaza. For anyone that knows me, mass transit is not my thing. The last time I rode a Greyhound bus a roach crawled on my and I just remember my mother saying I never had to ride the bus again. I think that was in 1990. Of course, I have been ON mass transit since then, I am not a COMPLETE snob. I ride the rail or take cabs in cities where it is easy and used by lots of people and when I don't have a car because I'm on vacation. I don't take mass transit in my own city, I have a car and I only travel a small radius from my house.

But marathon day was different. they expected massive traffic and difficult parking situations; the DART rail was being marketed as the best way to get to the marathon. So I looked up the schedules, decided which trains I needed to take and got myself to the station. I was pleased to see lots of other runners there, at least I knew I was getting on the right train! I transfered from the Blue train to the Green which let us off right at the AA center where the run started. It was actually perfect! And for $4...it was a steal.

Standing around outside thought before the race was not that great. It was cold and windy and for some reason the event organizers thought loud screaming music was what people needed at 7:30 am. After freezing for a bit it was finally time to get in our corrals. Sorry White Rock event organizers...I cheated ok? I got in corral C when my letter said E. Please don't disqualify my time. :)

I was running the half marathon with my TNT alumni training partner Rhonda and she always puts a faster time down than I do and manages to get in a different corral every time! So I snuck in with her and we waited with everyone else. I start looking around at the buildings, noticing that one had the top floors covered with fog and I start to think how strange that must be to wake up to complete fog when the people on the street can see just fine. Then I move to a different building to see if anyone was on their balcony to watch us take off. And that is where it gets funny. I stare for maybe a good 10 seconds before I said something because I couldn't tell if it was a mannequin or a person. Then I said to Rhonda..."I think that person up there is naked." "What she says? Where?" I said, "up there, where the Christmas tree is. Oh, she's gone. I swear she was naked looking down at us." As we pondered this thought I look up again and then I see the lady AGAIN but this time she has on white pants, no top. "OMG, there she is, with pants on! She WAS naked! Now she has no top on!" This for some reason intrigued me. I suppose people that live high up think people on the street can't see them. But let's be serious. Thousands of people are down on the street getting ready for a marathon and that is the day you decide to stand at your window naked? And then why put on JUST pants?! So weird.

It was a good distraction though, I forgot to be cold and by the time I stopped thinking about the half naked lady we were moving and I was getting ready to press start on my watch. Rhonda and I had decided we would run intervals of 6 minutes running and 1 minute walking but we would just run the first set so that is really 13 minutes running then 1 minute walking to start.

After about 2 minutes and almost stepping in horse poo I was ready to quit. I mean, it was cold....my legs were tired....I wanted to be in a warm bed. Ok fine...I ran and we did well. We kept a good pace through about mile 5. There was a water station at mile 6-ish that had a little trouble pouring enough water and Gatorade and that slowed us down. This is where we lost each other. I looked around and didn't see Rhonda so I started running. I looked ahead of me and saw her turning the corner, she was a good 40 seconds to a minute a head of me. I had two choices, sprint and catch her or run my own race and see her at the end. I decided on the latter.

It was a good decision. I am a terrible running partner. I complain a lot and I tend to cuss at just about anything. When I run by myself, I rarely complain, I just chant postive thoughts to myself. It must have been somewhere along mile 10 I was saying to myself, "you can do this" out loud and a lady ran by and said "you CAN do this! You ARE doing this!" It felt so great, I smiled. There are other things I chant, "don't give up", "just keep running", don't stop", "you got this", "left, right, left, right", pretty much whatever gets me to the next point.

There are two things I love to see on the course, water stations and mile markers. When I see one ahead of me I usually try and make myself run to it, then take a break. They are like sweet oasises that provide joy and happiness. Water stations because I get to walk while I drink and take Gu or Shotbloks, mile markers because it means I am one mile closer. And this is how it went from about mile 7 to the end. It was a rough bottom half. I was cold, hot, sweaty, my feet were frozen so they felt hard as bricks and my legs ached as if I was at mile 20 of a marathon. Clearly TRAINING for a half marathon would be a good idea..I might try that for the next one. I've run two now with no real training and I survived but my times reflected my lack of effort before the race.

While I was in the last 5K of the race...all I could think about was the Mayors 5K I had just run the day before and how I was really just doing the same thing...again....so I just kept running along, stopping when I had to and forcing myself to move my legs after brief walks. I rounded the last curve and since I've never run the Katy Trail, I wasn't sure where the end was and the people standing around where not giving off the best energy, very little cheering going on so I kept the same pace I had been running. I wish I had known I was close, I would have sprinted in, I was just afraid I would poop out before I made it to the end. It doesn't matter though, I made it and crossed and I was overwhelmed. I started to cry as I walked away from the finishline but forces myself to hold it together until after I had taken my race photo. Then I fell apart. Not because I hurt but because I was so happy to have finished and completed what was once just a fleeting crazy thought from two girls that never had done more than one or two events a year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Just Completed Event 11!

From Mayors 5K
Eleven events down!! It is such a great feeling to know I am so close to reaching my goal of completing 12 events in 2009. Tomorrow I run the White Rock Half Marathon and that will round out my 12 events!

Today I ran the Mayors 5k that is part of the White Rock Marathon weekend events. The day started off with me lying in bed at 6:00 am not wanting to get up, then as I was laying there, I heard this rush of water, it sounded like it all came down at once. I was like, WHOA! what is that?! OH MY GOSH! Rain! My mom had just asked me yesterday if I thought it was going to rain. Oh no mom....it isn't going to rain....it will be cold but no rain. Yea right. I debated going. But if I didn't go, I wouldn't have done 12 events and I would have not completed my goal. So begrudgingly I got up and got ready.

I thought the run started at 8 am so I hurried to get all my stuff together and headed out the door. I planned on taking yoga after the run so I had to get two sets of work out gear together and make sure I had enough food to make it through the day.

As I wound my way through downtown, I was surprise to see NO ONE around. Hmm, not a good sign. I saw some balloons blowing in the wind and assumed that was where the start was and found a place to park. I got out of the car and wow was it cold! I walked into the Dallas City Hall to more workers than runners, got my number and waited, and waited and waited.

From Mayors 5K


I met a fireman from Midlothian that just started running this year and pretty much sticks to 5k's. His wife is running the half tomorrow. Then I met a lady named Mackenzie, it was her first race. She also had just started running this year. She had just started running a few weeks ago! She plans on running the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Dallas in March 2010.

Mackenzie and I went outside and froze for about 15 minutes. Then it was time to start and she took off! I thought to myself...hmm...I think she runs faster than me! lol That's ok. I am not fast, just determined.

The run started off down hill and the course was a mile and a half and then a turn around so I was dreading having to run back up it bu the down hill was a good start. I decided I needed to be at the half way point at less than 17 minutes to beat or be at the same time I ran the Susan Komen 5k earlier this year. I ran at what I thought was a good pace...as I was running a lady came up beside me and we ended up running the rest of the 5k together. It was great, she kept me at a good pace. As we came up to the turn around point I looked down at my watch and saw it was 17:19. I had two decisions, run faster or change the goal. As I ran I decided I wasn't trying to be a super star today, I was trying to run an easy run to prepare for tomorrow and my time was not the most important thing. So I ran at a nice pace but didn't push myself too hard and finished in 34:31.

So there it is, event 11 done. Looking forward to event 12 tomorrow...13.1 miles....and then goal accomplished!

From Mayors 5K

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Mind is a Wander-er, as if it has a Mind of its Own

I don't know about the rest of you but for me, it doesn't matter how I look, I always manage to find something to nit pick. And today was no different. I was in Bikram Yoga class, standing perfectly still in between postures and looked down at my stomach. As I stared at it I noticed how it pooched out just ever so slightly and the edge of my shorts made a small crescent shaped curve around my tummy, coming in at each hip. Then my mind wandered and wondered if it was the late 80's or the mid 90's when it seemed like having a pooch-y stomach was in and girls started having bad posture and not tightening their stomach muscles.

I think it was the 90's. I was a little bigger then and not just pooch-y in the stomach, it was sort of an all around poof. I use to see girls in tank tops with the front ever so slightly riding up to show just a bit of their tummy. It seemed so sexy to me then. Now not so much. I would much rather have a flat, rock hard stomach than a pooch-y one, even if pooch-y is "in".

As I twisted and turned in class I started to get a taste in my mouth....what is that? Oh, right, it is residual taste from the protein shake I drank before class. That is not a good sign. And then, there it is...the uncomfortable feeling like my stomach is a balloon being stretched to its fullest capacity. And seriously people, you can't do a forward bend when your tummy is a balloon. Just isn't fun AT ALL.

I made it through class but it was a struggle. Sad too because other than that I felt like I had a strong class. So the moral of the story is don't drink Muscle Milk or any protein shake before class, only AFTER class. And stop thinking about it too! The mind is suppose to be IN the room...in the present moment...not thinking of how the stomach is pooching out, or why it gets dark so early now, or what there is for dinner or all the work that needs to be done...no, the mind is suppose to be focused on the room, the posture and yourself. They say we only use 10% of our brains anyway, certainly we can't spare any of the 10% to think about other things!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Yogi's Experience at the 2009 Texas Yoga Championships


From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009
I have trained for many events this year; a marathon, century ride, half marathons and a yoga competition. The Texas Yoga Championships ranks right up there as one of the hardest and most amazing events I have done this year. It was a wonderful journey where not only the body opens up but the mind opens too.

The 2009 Texas Yoga Championships were held in Woodlands, Texas on November 8, 2009 at the Cynthia Wood Mitchell Pavilion. Yogi’s from all over Texas came together to demonstrate their yoga practice and share their results of hard work and perseverance. It was so wonderful to share the stage with 9 juniors, 12 men and 32 other women competitors. I was impressed at the variety of people, flexibility and strength of the competitors. No two were alike and yet, all were beautiful and they performed their postures in such a way it could only have inspired the audience to want to get up and try themselves.

From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009
The other students from Bikram Yoga Dallas and I got there early to check in and check out the stage area where we would be performing. After doing a few poses on the carpet and feeling pretty confident, a group of us decided to walk around the health and fitness expo. The junior competitors went first, then the men, then the women. I had most of the day to relax, stretch and prepare myself for the stage.

I think the best part of the expo had to have been the free Zico coconut water! It wasn’t the small size we have at the studio either, it was a huge container - it must have had 3-4 servings in it. I was so excited, I opened mine right away. I love coconut water, it is so delicious after class; I sometimes feel like I could drink gallons of it.

After walking around I decided to stretch and get warmed up. As I was doing that, I heard this bizarre gurgling sound in my tummy. Oh my….it is the coconut water! I must have had too much because goodness, my tummy was so full of coconut water, every time I bent forward or side to side it swished around and made noise. So nice right?! I was thankful I still had a few hours before I went on, I could only hope most of the coconut water would pass through my stomach by then.

From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009
They call my name to get in line…almost time! I was amazingly not nervous. I practiced as much as I could, I did what I could and now it was time to show the results of that work…there was nothing else that could be done. And then they called my name….and I walked on stage…with a smile.

Smiling for me is perhaps the hardest part. I concentrate so much in class I rarely smile so I had to remember to smile and show I was happy. This is suppose to be fun! And it was. I started with Standing Head to Knee and almost got my head to my knee, just slightly wobbled at the end as I was coming out of the posture. Standing Bow Pulling was good I thought. The whole time I was thinking of armpit and crotch, which is something Mary Jarvis said in class the day before, your armpit and crotch should be at the same level. Bow was easy, I just had to remember to keep my knees in and wrists flat. And then a good forward bend, Rabbit. Rabbit use to be easy for me but lately I feel a tightness in my back that makes it difficult to roll the spine properly.

The key is to hold each posture at its fullest expression or what you can do for at least 3-5 seconds so the judges have time to score. Each posture I am counting in my head, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then there is Stretching, boom…pull and down. Hold. Oh the pain behind the legs can be awful. But who cares, it is only 5 seconds. Now onto my two optional postures, first I did Pigeon. After watching some of the competitors, I am convinced I do this pose wrong. My back hurt like hell. I grabbed my foot, rotated my shoulder, bend backwards and put my foot on my head but man it felt like my spin was going to crack from being so compressed. Not that compressing it in a backbend in bad, just that it felt as if I was bending backwards for the very first time! And now the last posture, Bow Leg, and I stick it! So great! I had just tried it a dozen times back stage and couldn’t get my foot to hold. I decided before I went on I would just push it down and I didn’t care if it hurt, I was going to make it stay. And I did! I looked up, hands in namaskar (prayer) and smiled!

From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009

What an amazing feeling! I worked so hard, 3-4 hours of yoga on Saturdays and then yoga and coaching on Sundays; it all paid off when I was able to get on stage and demonstrate all I had learned, hopefully inspiring others as well. I didn’t win and it didn’t matter, for me that is not the purpose of competing. My measure of success is doing the best I can and sharing how wonderful yoga is with others.

This is the third year I have competed and I think I will continue to compete because at the end of the day, there is nothing better than knowing you did your very best and were able to share that experience with others. The best compliment perhaps came from Yassi Maige from Bikram Yoga Richardson when she leaned over to me and said “you have come so far from last year, you did amazing, and you smiled!”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do You Know How to Order at Starbucks?

A Story in How to Order at "Order as You Like It Places."

Do you ever feel you aren’t smart enough to order food at a restaurant anymore? Maybe it isn’t you. I recently went to Starbucks to get coffee, which I do often, and for some reason I fumbled through ordering.  Everyone knows Starbucks has a method to the madness, every word has its place.  My experience was not jaded in spite of my inability to fit into the “Starbucks” ordering process. This was not the case recently for a poor lady at Chipotle who’s experience was what I can only call typical restaurant employee behavior where they try and force you to order the “right way.”




 First, the Starbucks Story
I think most coffee places are the same now, they all offer complicated drinks with lots of variations, it is an opportunity for a person it step out from the crowd, to be an individual and show a little personality – that is what custom drink orders are all about. Starbucks is perhaps the master of this option and have gone so far as to print drink ordering booklets to help people order. If you haven’t noticed, Starbucks drink cups have boxes on the side and that is the order a drink should be called out. (here is how to order) I don’t really follow this, I do what I think is natural and order…hoping I get the right drink, which I usually do. On this particular day my brain was still asleep so it came out a little funny. As I started to say my drink order, it came out as “vanilla, skinny, coffee, wait, grande latte.”  The guy behind the counter smiled and clearly was about to cut me a break. He recited my drink to the barista, in the correct order, and smiled at me as if to say, it’s ok, it’s early. I just looked at him, laughed and said “I guess I needed coffee before I ordered my coffee!”

Isn’t it great? Even if you goof up the order they know what you want. I’ve thankfully never had a barista roll their eyes at me for not knowing the order system. I am certain Starbucks has their own language and it is more than just learning to call out your drink in the right order, it is about understanding the “language” of Starbucks.  I understand Starbucks language just slightly better than Spanish which puts me at a huge disadvantage when ordering. It pleases me that Starbucks baristas know not everyone knows their language and they take whatever broken Starbucks words customers can mange and they form them into real drinks, good drinks!


Second, Chipotle Experience
There is Starbucks…and then there are places that have a process of ordering and they like their customers to stick to that process. When you step outside of that process or don’t know how to order, often the person behind the counter will try and corral you back into the order process and you are usually met with ridiculing looks and glares from the other customers who are impatiently waiting for you to understand the menu and how to call out what you want. This happened recently to a poor lady behind me in line at Chipotle. All she wanted was one taco and guacamole. The lady, we will call her Sara, asked “can I just get one taco?” The lady behind the counter looked at her and said “you want #3?” Sara and I both looked up at the menu on the wall, quickly scanning for a “#3” so it was clear what the lady was asking. No #3. “I just want one taco” says Sara, a little more sheepish. “Number 3…you want #3” repeats the lady.  Sara just stares at the lady. Then, because it clear Sara doesn’t understand, the lady points to the “nose” glass that has a kids menu with a #3 that is a single taco. Sara sees this and says “yes a #3 please.”

Tacos at Chipotle come with all kinds of yummy stuff, rice, beans, meat, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and lots of salsa choices. If you have never been, you tell the people what you want and you have to go in order or it mixes them up. So the lady behind the counter tries to add rice and beans and Sara says “no thanks, but can I have some of the peppers please?” The lady complies and down the line it goes. There is a guy a little farther down that says “what else?” Sara says “just guacamole please.” He plops it down on the plate and as he does it, Sara says “oh, on the taco please.” “You want it on the taco?” says the guy behind the counter. “Yes please says Sara.” Now lets think about this, so far the poor taco just has green peppers, it seems logical the guacamole would go on the taco, I mean, we are at the end of the line, what else can go in the darn thing? And then an odd thing happened.

Instead of scooping the guacamole into the taco, he gets a new tray, moves the taco and scoops the guacamole into the taco. This is weird only because it wastes a paper tray and Chipotle has changed to eco friendly pressed paper trays and he just wasted one.  But Sara now has a taco with guacamole and peppers, exactly what she wanted. It only took two people and a bit of interpretation to get through the line.

I wonder if Sara felt as awkward as I felt for her. It is hard enough to go eat lunch alone but to be chastised for not knowing how to order just makes the experience even harder!

Two “order your way as long as it is our way” places and two different experiences. I’ll still go to both only because I know HOW to order at both places. I empathize with people like Sara though. Had I had a clue what the lady meant by saying #3 I would have helped her out but I was just as clueless as Sara was! Here’s a helpful tip for restaurant employees…if the customer doesn’t understand what you are saying, repeating the same thing over and over doesn’t make it all the sudden understandable.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sometimes Your Body is Smarter than Your Mind

If I ever think I am getting so good at Bikram Yoga I can go to class no matter what, there is always yoga karma to remind me to remain humble.

Bikram Yoga class yesterday could be best described as embarrassingly terrible. I had to leave the room, and that is a BIG no-no! It's hard to find the positive in a class like yesterdays but there is something to be learned, listen to your body.

I had the opportunity to go to the early evening class so rather than go home and relax I decided go ahead and go. My tummy wasn't feeling quite right, I had made myself some green juice for lunch and I think I didn't put enough lime in it or it could have been because I was sitting all day in a class and didn't drink enough water. Instead of listening to my body, I went to class. I should have listened and gone home, relaxed, had some water and THEN gone to class.

Instead I suffered through class and ultimately was unable to complete most of the postures. I laid in Savasana for most of the floor series. I tried to do at least one of each of the poses but my stomach was not cooperating, I felt dizzy, and my face and arms were getting numb. So I just laid there and that wasn't much better. The more I stayed in one position, the more the heat started to overwhelm me and I was uncomfortable in every position I tried to lay. My arms started to tingle and then I noticed my face was tingling and numb. Just as class started to do Camel, I sat up and thought I was going to throw up. I sat there and just tried to breath but nothing was working. I finally had to leave the room.

Sherry, one of the instructors at the studio gave me some salt water, which tasted terrible but made me feel much better. I cooled down and the feeling came back into my body. So the lesson here? Take care of your body and listen to your body.

Have you ever had a bad class? How did you handle it? Would love to hear your experiences below.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bikram Yoga was perfect yesterday, because it was imperfect

I am a perfectionist living in an imperfect world and constantly disappointed in myself for not achieving what I think should be achievable. I have little patience for failure and typically only stick with things I am good at. Yesterdays Bikram Yoga class helped remind me there is no perfection and that as long as you try your hardest, you are getting the benefits of your efforts.

It is easy to beat yourself up in Bikram Yoga class for not holding the posture long enough or not going as far as you did last time or thinking you should be able to do it better. I mean, lets face it, it’s darn hot, you are sweating, the postures are not natural everyday positions and what seemed easy yesterday seems impossible today. But Karen, the instructor last night, reminded the class that each class is different and you need to listen to your body. It is so true too. I felt energized when I got into class but then for some reason some of the postures that seem the easiest were hard and I kept falling out. I was getting frustrated with myself, annoyed that what should be easy wasn’t. This type of attitude and self deprecating thought pattern is not useful in the yoga room; it actually can make your class even worse. In the middle of my negative thought process I heard Karen and just stopped and told myself it was ok and to cut myself some slack. I mean really, I just did over 4 hours of yoga on Saturday, over 3 hours on Sunday and took class on Monday, I think taking it easy one day is OK.

So I changed my thoughts and just focused on doing the best I could do and being happy with what I could give. Trying my hardest but not feeling bad if I didn’t do every posture as well as I had in the past. And do you know what? I had a great class! From that point on class was easy. Not easy in the sense it was effortless but in the sense that it just flowed and I wasn’t exhausted. My energy wasn’t being wasted on what I couldn’t do or should be doing, it was all focused on what I WAS doing and being totally happy with that effort.

As I sat in Rabbit I realized I was energized and not limp like a wet noodle. And class was almost over! I hadn’t held every posture or completed every posture the best I had ever done but I was happy anyway. It was as if I had the best class, perhaps the most perfect, imperfect class.

YogaAccessories 1/4" Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yoga Yoga Spa - that was my tri this weekend

Yesterday was a day to remember, Bikram Yoga for 4 ½ hours and the Dallas King Spa and Sauna for 4 hours. It was like the ultimate expression of “killing yourself in the room” to feel good outside of the room.

Courtney Mace and Joseph Encinia, the 2009 US Yoga Champions, were at the Bikram Yoga Dallas studio teaching Advanced Bikram Yoga and conducting coaching for the people that are participating in the 2009 Texas Yoga Asana Championships. Yoga was amazing. The regular class was great, I felt like I was focused and “in the room” the entire class. It was hard and I was exhausted at the end but still felt good inside.

After refueling we started the Advanced Series which a fast pace series of the classic 84 asana postures. Courtney and Joseph led the class together and gave great instruction. It was a fun, fast paced class. I can’t do all 84 postures but it is so great to see other people do them. I am so in aw of what the body can do. And everyone is different, that is what is so great. People that have never taken Advanced class were doing amazing, crazy things with their bodies and people that had taken Advanced class before like me were sometimes doing completely different postures in amazing ways. The Advanced class to me is the type of class that really challenges the mind and body. Although there certainly are limits to what the body can do, it is usually the mind that keeps someone from not being able to perform a posture.

There is a pose called Pregnancy Pose. You cross your legs, which is Lotus, then you push your arms through the creases of your legs, then roll your back and tuck your head and clasp your hands over the back of your head. You basically end up looking like a pretzel or something. It is crazy! Usually I can’t clasp my hands, I guess I mentally don’t think I can tuck my head or roll my back enough. But yesterday I did it. My hands weren’t in a tight clasp but I did get my fingers together. Somehow with Champions in the room the mind and body want to do better…and amazing things happen.

In Wheel, which is a back bend to the extreme, I was able to get into wheel from the floor and then lift myself up to standing; which is the first time I have been able to do that since I was a teenager. I even went from standing to a backbend to wheel – with a spotter, but still, I did it! Such a cool feeling.

So after killing ourselves in Advanced class and getting great coaching tips and corrections on postures, I went to the Dallas King Spa and Sauna. It is a Korean Spa, and according to someone I know that has been to real Korean Spas in Korea, this one is pretty authentic.

Now, I don’t know anything about Korean Spas and I only have been to a few American Spas. They have been talking about it at the studio so I knew there were hot and cold “baths” and different rooms you go to sit. But beyond that I was clueless and I am not one to just “try” new things. So, when I was asked to go I said “oh, I didn’t bring anything to wear.” This to me was my easy way out. But then I was told they give you “uniforms” to wear. Hmmm, I thought about it and decided sure, I’ll try it. Why not? I mean, I just killed myself taking Bikram Yoga all day, why not relax in a spa.

So we go. And it was amazing! It is a huge place with large lions at greeting guests at the entrance. And yes, in fact they do have uniforms, pink ones! I think to myself, this could be ok! And then we go into the ladies area. Everyone is naked! Oh, I think…this could be bad. There are signs every where telling you to shower before you get in the “bath” which is really a small pool. I walk into the area to shower and it is all open showers. Flash backs of boot camp are swirling in my head and then I start remembering the open showers I just saw when I went to see Alcatraz. I’m about to retreat when I see everyone else I came with just shrugging their shoulders, undress and start taking a shower. Hmmm I think….I can do this. I mean, I change in the yoga studio and everyone sees me, this is only slightly more escalated. And then all I can think about is thank goodness I shaved!

The baths were hot and cold, you are suppose to alternate between hot and cold ones. This requires of course getting out of one pool and into another, yet again exposing myself to the world. You quickly get over issues with that though because everyone is doing it and no one really is looking anyway. So I just tried to enjoy the water and relaxation.

After the baths we got dressed in our uniforms and walked around to the different rooms. If the hot Bikram Yoga room wasn’t enough, there were plenty of hot rooms there to relax in! There was a great room with Charcoal on the walls that smelled wonderful. I think that was my favorite room. It is technically called the "Hawng -Toe -Ssut - Jjim" Room but that is hard to say so I like calling it the Charcoal room. It was wonderful, there were baggies hanging that had great smelling stuff in them and one wall was covered with charcoal and huge amethyst rocks.

There was a salt room, gold pyramid room, cold room, yellow soil crystal room, Fire room, base rock room and others. We literally could have spent all day there going from room to room! And of course in most of the rooms you sweat but it is a good sweat and a relaxing sweat. Some of the rooms people were even just sleeping. Each room has different healing therapeutic qualities that are explained on the plaque outside of the room. And they work, my skin feels so soft and clean, the spots of eczema on my legs seems to have softened and aren't as red and itchy.

They also have a movie theater, big screen for sports, massage, food and Karaoke! It is the craziest place I’ve ever seen and it was wonderful. Such a great experience. It was a wonderful ending to a fabulous yoga weekend. I was so relaxed and peaceful I slept so soundly, I didn’t wake or stir one time through the entire thunderstorm. Going to work was hard today, I wanted to sit in heated rooms that smelled or aromatherapy scents and laze around all day. Maybe next weekend!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bikram Yoga Heals, Yoga Champions Inspire

Bikram Yoga was awesome today! I had a great class, there was lots of energy in the room and Joseph Encinia taught class! The 2009 US Champions were also in the studio today providing a discussion on their yoga journey and they both demonstrated some amazing postures. It was an inspiring day for sure.

Courtney Mace, the 2009 Women’s US and International Yoga Champion, talked about her many ailments and challenges that brought her to yoga and how Bikram Yoga really healed her and helped her overcome not only physical challenges but she also learned so much about herself and how to honor her body. I love hearing how people found Bikram Yoga and what it has done for them, everyone has a different story and path but they all find Bikram Yoga and benefit from the healing qualities.

Joseph Encinia, the 2009 US Men's Yoga Champion, has a story that is not too dissimilar to Courtney Mace. He too had many health challenges growing up, more so even than Courtney. Joseph had a heart attack at the age of 13, had rheumatoid arthritis and struggled medical other issues most of his life, until he found Bikram Yoga. Now he is healthy and his arthritis is in remission, and he looks amazing! I met Joseph 4 years ago when I first started taking Bikram Yoga and he looked great then but now, if it is even possible, he looks even more amazing and the things he can do with his body just blows the mind.

Here are some of the postures that Courtney and Joseph performed today.

Full Standing Head to Knee

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop

Bow Leg

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop

Standing Bow

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop

Full Standing Bow

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop

Full Standing Head to Knee

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop

Bound Lotus

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop

Handstand Lotus

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop

Crane

From Sat.ChampionWorkshop



From Sat.ChampionWorkshop


Here is a slide show of the full posture demonstration. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I got to take class from the 2009 US Men's Yoga Champion!

Joseph Encinia is back in his hometown, Dallas, Texas, teaching Bikram yoga at Bikram Yoga Dallas. 
 

Bikram Yoga today was awesome! Awesome because Joseph Encinia taught class, he is the 2009 US Yoga Champion and use to teach at my studio. It was so exciting to be in class with him teaching, he is so inspiring.

I normally set my mat on the left side of the room on the first or second row, I am a creature of habit and I like certain spots in the room better than others. But today I must have subconsciously known Joseph was teaching because I set my mat in the middle of the room right in front of the teacher stand. Being in front of the teacher is great; you get to use their energy to help you through class. Joseph’s energy is wonderful, he loves Bikram Yoga and it comes out in his teaching style, you can’t help but push yourself to try harder.

During the standing series I could tell I was trying really hard, my spine felt like a wet noodle, it was hard to stand up straight without shaking. This is always a good sign, it means I am working hard in class and doing my best. Of course, it wears me out too and I feel exhausted and want to run from the heated room. But I never do, I just breathe and try and remember the standing series doesn’t last forever.

In the standing series I sometimes think how wonderful it will be to be on the floor, that the floor series is so much easier than the standing series. But it’s not easier, just different. Today in the floor series I certainly wasn’t thinking it was easier! I was exhausted and wanted to just lay there but who can do that when the 2009 US Champion is teaching class?! Let’s be serious. This is not the time to be wimpy. And so….I completed the floor series, maybe not with the best grace but I did manage to make it through every posture. There was no smile on my face; but I hardly ever have an expression, I’m usually concentrating on making it through each posture.

As I laid in final Savasana, noticing my towel was so wet with sweat it couldn’t soak up anymore and sweat was still streaming off me, I felt good, happy- happy to be done with class and happy to have had Joseph teach class. I’ve missed him and it was good to see him. He’s teaching and coaching this weekend too, I can’t wait, it is going to be a Yoga | Yoga |Yoga weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Challenging Bikram Yoga Class Done!

I did it, I finally made it through Bikram Yoga without sitting out a posture. Yesterday’s class was hard and not what I would call fun but it after it was all over I felt such a sense of achievement and I knew I was on my way to many more great yoga classes. We kill ourselves in class so we can feel wonderful outside of class!

I had trouble in the balancing series which puzzles me. Some days I can balance and lock my knee and nothing moves, other days I am like a wet noodle and nothing will keep me balanced. They say it is all in your head. They say in class if you focus and keep your mind on the task, you can do anything. They also say every class is different and you should let your body tell you what it can and can’t do.

This is so true, some days are amazing and no matter what the heat or humidity is doing, the postures are awesome and I can hold them the entire time. Other days it is like a slow beating and I am counting the postures until the end. And why is that? Because life gets in the way, life takes over the mind and body. One just never know how it is going to go, all a person can do is go and do their best and give 100%.

What I struggle with is giving 100%. I’m great at giving 50%, I think you get 50% just for showing up. I’m good at giving 80% or even 90%, it is giving 100% all the time that is a challenge. I gauge this by my attitude in between postures. If I am exhausted and “dying” then I assume I am giving 100%. If I am not breathing hard and can stand perfectly still without my legs wobbling, I probably didn’t try hard enough or go deep enough in the posture. This is just my way of gauging my own effort in class. I think everyone is different and should find their own measure of success for each class. Never assume that one persons success is what you should be striving for, you will never succeed. This is one of the reasons you should focus on yourself in class, you are there to improve yourself and you can only do that if you watch yourself and forget there are others standing right next to you, probably about to fling sweat on you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I think Birds Like Watching Bikram Yogi's

Yoga is a funny thing, you never know from day to day if you are going to have a good or bad class. Is any class really bad? Don't you score any "points" just for showing up? Sure...but just showing up to class doesn't benefit your body or your mind; you have to push yourself physically and mentally. For me, today was a good class. This isn't to say I completed all the postures or did every move to 100% effort but I was better physically in class today than yesterday or the day before or the day before that.

As I was coming out of the second set Triangle, it occured to me I was doing better today in the standing series than in previous classes, actually, at all since I started going to yoga on a regular basis again. It was like today was the turning point and each day after today will be stronger and more focused. I can't wait for the day when I can complete class again and still feel like I have some energy left, that 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga didn't just kick my butt. It use to be like that, where I would have more good days than bad. Sure, everyone has a bad day...didn't eat enough, didn't drink enough water, stress from work, etc., but those days come and go. In general, for me, I expect my practice to get better over time and I've been a little disappointed in myself that class seems overly difficult and more challenging than it should. But today made me think I was making progress. Can't wait for tomorrows class!

Of course, there are always the things that remind me I need to keep coming and working on "staying in the room." Like the birds. Sunday I took class and as I turned my head to the right in Savasana, I noticed there were no birds on the electrical wires outside the back windows. There are frequently birds sitting there, almost like they know there is a 90 minute show, a show where they get to watch humans sweat to death - on purpose! From time to time as I lay there I see birds fight for a good spot or the ugly duckling bird gets shoved to the end. On Sunday though, no birds. I thought to myself, hmm, they must have flown south for the winter. Not that it is winter here but you can see where the thought pattern was going.

Then today as the instructor so graciously opened the side door ever so slightly I noticed the sound of birds chirping. Again, as a laid in Savasana, the thought of birds passed through my mind. Why are the birds in the front and not in the back on the wire?  Is it too cold on the wire? Maybe the tree in the front shields them from the wind? Are they the same birds? Do they chirp like that in the back on the wire? These are the thoughts that traveled through my mind as I tried to relax and be completely still in Savasana. So although my physical practice appears to be getting better, I still need some work on the mental practice!



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One Event Closer to Completing My Personal Challenge

From 2009Komen5k
I’m one event closer to completing 12 events this year! As you may recall, my friend Ginny and I decided to challenge ourselves to complete 12 events in 2009. We decided this hmmmm, in August! This was all in an effort to get excited about Bike Run Yoga and get others involved in being active, having fun and getting to do “their” tri, whatever that might be. I’m happy to say I am one more event closer to completing my goal.

I ran in the Susan G, Komen race in Dallas, Texas on Saturday. It was a chilly morning and the parking areas were packed, I had gotten there a little late. As I rounded the corner of the parking garage I saw they were waving people through, darn it, the garage is full. Now what? Where are these people going to park? I see head they are waving people to another garage. But I think to myself, that is the premium garage they were charging to park in. What they heck, if I have to pay, I will, I need to park! And what do you know, they aren’t charging anymore because it is the only place left to park! Score! I parked super close to the event, walked down a few flight of stairs and all the sudden I was in a steady stream of white and pink t-shirts and pink hats, streamers and anything else people could decorate themselves with to show support.

The expo was going on but I headed for the starting line, I thought to myself, I can get the free stuff later…no need to carry it around. I made my way to the starting line and waited with what seemed to be thousands of people! It was a huge crowd of walkers, runners and everything in between. It was such an awesome sight to see so many people in support of cancer research.  I took a few pics, tweeted and we were off!

The start was slow, just because there were so many people trying to run in a narrow area. I decided to just run and see how far I could go, not looking at my watch or trying to run intervals, just running till I wanted to stop. They had said there was water at the halfway point, my goal was to run to the water stop. We weren’t but maybe a half mile in when I say a guy on the side holding his ankle. Bummer I thought, just a half mile in and already hurt. That occupied my mind for a few minutes, thinking of how it happened, what he must be feeling seeing everyone run by him….I think I had created a whole story for him by the time I was almost at one mile. As I peeked at my watch and noticed it said I had been running for a little over 8 minutes, I thought, man, I can do this…just keep running!

It felt good, I wasn’t too winded and the cold air was comfortable and seemed to make the run a little easier. As we turned a corner near a school I heard cheerleaders…did I make it to the half way point? I smiled at myself. As I ran closer to them I saw no water…what is this? Some trick? It’s ok I said to myself….it must be close. I looked down at my watch and calculated how long it should take me to run a mile and a half and well…I was just about there….so I kept going and as I turned the other corner…I saw port-a-potties! This seemed like a good sign, water must be near.

As I approached the water, I took two and walked. I had done it. I ran a mile and a half without stopping. Now this might not sound like a huge feat to some but my whole running career (less than 10 months) I have run intervals at a maximum of 5 minutes, walking one minute. To run 16 or 17 minutes without stopping seemed like a huge deal! All of this was running through my mind as I tossed my cup in to the trash and started to run. Calculations seem to keep the mind busy so as I am trying to figure out what double my current time is I hear someone tell their friend when we get to the second light, we are almost there. Second light I think….hmmm…that can’t be that far, easy breezy! So I run and I run and I run…forever.

I miss several evil cracks and holes in the road, successfully avoiding injury and then all the sudden, as I wipe sweat off my forehead, there it is up ahead, the second light. As I get closer I see the street name is Park, the same street we started on. I quietly thank the mystery lady for the comment about the lights because now that I see it and now it is Park, I feel confident I can keep running and make it in.

As I turn the corner onto Park the street becomes familiar, I remember it from when we walked the 5K as a company team a few years earlier. It isn’t that far I think, totally doable….just keep running. It was surprising easy and as I turned the last corner to the finish line, I sped up and powered in for a time of 33:43, perhaps one of my best average running times. I felt so good after it was done. I had done something for myself and others that morning, helping bring awareness and needed funds to cancer research and well, a little workout for me.

If you can help the Susan G Komen Foundation or want to run in one of their events, please check out their website for more information. Let’s help find a cure today!

Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 USA Yoga Champions in Dallas Oct. 24th & 25th



The US Yoga Champions Courtney Mace and Dallas’ own, Joseph Encinia will be in Dallas next weekend as part of their nationwide tour promoting yoga, fitness and the USA Yoga Regional Competitions. Ms. Mace and Mr. Encinia will be teaching beginning Bikram Yoga classes, demonstrating their winning yoga routines and teaching  the Advanced Series for Bikram teachers and those interested in competing in the Texas Asana Yoga Championships in Houston, Texas.

If you ever wondered why Bikram Yoga is one of the fastest growing health and fitness trends, come to Bikram Yoga Dallas on Saturday, October 24th or Sunday, October 25th and experience class taught by the 2009 US Champions. You will get to practice yoga taught by some of the best yogi’s in the US. Their energy, love and enthusiasm for Bikram Yoga will inspire you as it has hundreds of others.

On Saturday Ms. Mace and Mr. Encinia will demonstrate their winning routines from the 2009 US Championships held in Los Angeles, CA. There will be a question answer period after where you can ask all the questions you want about Bikram Yoga.

For more information and ticket information, please go to www.yogadallas.com.

For Tight Hips, Try Tree Pose


Tadasana, aka Tree Pose – a sign the standing series is coming to an end and sweet Savasana is soon approaching.



From YOGA



After working every muscle in your body and increasing your heart rate, Tree Pose is a much needed and welcome change. Tree Pose helps calm the body and slow the heart rate back down.

I personally like Tree Pose. Maybe that is because it is easy for me to do or it could be because practicing Tree Pose in class means we are almost to the floor series and I can have a water break! Either way, it is a great pose. If I ever feel tight from running or cycling, Tree Pose is great for opening the hips and releasing the tension.


How to do Tree Pose:
Stand with feet together
Grab the right foot from the underside, bend the knee
Bring the right foot up to the left thigh as high as you can
Left leg should be locked
Push the knee back as far as it will go
Hips and upper body should be straight and even
Bring the right hand into prayer
Repeat on other side


Health benefits:
Creates greater flexibility on the hips and knees
Releases abdominal tension
Good for arthritis, rheumatism
Improves circulation
Strengthens lower extremities
Good for preparation to Lotus Pose

Photo is courtesy of Bikram Yoga Dallas

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where are the Glass Salt and Pepper Shakers?

It's a small thing, literally, but what happened to the salt and pepper shakers on flights? It is like they were banned from airlines for bad behavior.



There are many wonderful things to say about First Class on airplanes; they have bigger seats, more leg room, most airlines give free headsets, you get free drinks, long flights have food, hot towels are fun and well, it's just more comfortable. And all of those things are wonderful....but today I was reminded of one thing not still in First Class, salt and pepper shakers. It isn't that I am a flight snob, I sit in coach most of the time but when I do get the chance to upgrade, particularly on a very early flight, I do. It is one of the great perks of frequent business travel.


Through the years I've noticed some changes and I noticed it again today as they served me a cheese omelet with potato, fruit and biscuit. What happened to the tiny salt and pepper shakers that use to come on the tray? I miss those, they were so cute! Now they give you a tiny envelope looking thing with salt a pepper in sealed baggie. Don't know what I am talking about?! Think I am crazy? Sure, but that was a given before I started writing this silly blog.  Back in the day, American Airlines use to sit tiny glass salt and pepper shakers on the food trays. They had little silver twist on tops that were shaped like cones. They reminded me of restaurant shakers but on a miniature scale.  They were square and after using them I would neatly set them side my side like two peas in a pod, yen and yang just hanging out together.  I'm sad they have been demoted to some closet at the AA corporate office. A sign of the times perhaps. Maybe people kept swiping the tiny jewels or maybe it took too long to refill them each flight. Who knows, all I know is they are gone.


But I am glad to see real silverware is back! After 911 real silverware was removed from planes. It was a little weird to eat from ceramic dishes, glass bowls and drink from glassware and yet, use plastic silverware. Granted, American bought some of the nicer plastic ware but still...I missed the oddly small fork with tiny tines and petite knife. Some time ago, maybe a few years now, I noticed real silverware was back...but still no cute tiny salt and pepper shakers.


These tiny cuties are exactly like the ones in First Class but we only got two, not a whole basket full! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Snuggie is a True Fashion Statement!

My friend Melissa bought me a Snuggie! It is so cute and soft. We have been laughing at these since they came out, it is even more hysterical they came out with "fashion" ones like this one in animal print. The Snuggie is one sizes fits all...so this is what it looks like on me! It looks like a kimono for a 20 foot man. 


Snuggie


From Snuggie

Here is me sitting with the Snuggie, as someone might if they were watching tv or reading a book. Look how cute it is, it matches my slippers! 


From Snuggie

I actually find this extremely practical and am really happy to have one. I keep my place fairly cool in the winter (I'm too cheap to keep the heat on at a normal temp.) so I am always bundled in a blanket. Every time I want to read, work on the computer, use the remote or pet Ginger, my cat, I have to take my arm out of the warmth of the blanket. Now I can easily do any of those things and stay nice and warm!

AND....I tried it on at the office and I think it is the perfect office accessory. I typically have a blanket on my legs anyway and this way I can be fully wrapped in a blanket and still work. Maybe work will buy one for everyone for Christmas. Thank you Melissa, I LOVE IT!

Get your Snuggie today! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keep Your Mind in the Yoga Room

Bikram Yoga starts the same each time, a breathing exercise, done twice…then a series of postures in the same order each time. This consistency and structure are something that I appreciate and enjoy. It isn’t for everyone, many people find the structured class too restricting and unforgiving. For me, it gives me an opportunity to focus on my practice and work on focusing my mind not on what is trying to invade my yoga time, but focus on the task at hand, practicing yoga.

Today as I stood still before Standing Head to Knee Pose, I noticed the sweat streaming down my arms like I was in a shower.  It is interesting to me how much water can seep out of a body. I must lose a gallon or more of sweat each class. It was pouring off my face and running down my arms almost tickling my skin. My thoughts were quickly interrupted by David, the instructor, giving instructions for Standing Head to Knee Pose and all the sudden my mind was back on the posture and locking my knee.

As class laid down for Savasana, our instructor said Savasana is the hardest posture to do correctly. This is because part of doing the posture correctly involves keeping the mind in the room, not thinking about anything but laying there, breathing. David, our instructor said we should keep our minds in our brain, meaning, you have to keep your mind in the room, focused on yoga and your breath.

Then as I completed the full expression of Fixed Firm Pose, I noticed on the wall the word “concentration” and it seemed ironic to me that I was not concentrating on the posture any longer, I was focusing on the word. And how appropriate I thought…I should be concentrating on the pose and the instructions. And yet, I laid there thinking of “concentration” and thinking…I should blog about this. And then just like that, I heard David say “use your elbows to help yourself up…” and I was back in class, focused on the yoga.

I don’t think the postures are the hardest part of class, although, they are darn hard, the hardest part is letting go of the world outside of the yoga room enough to allow the yoga to work its magic. If you can let go and “keep your mind in your brain”, you will be amazed at how great a class you can have! I plan on working on this every time I go to yoga.