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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Running hard on knees, ups osteoarthritis - UPI.com

Running hard on your knees? Probably...but if you love it, what are you going to do? Go to your nearest Bikram Yoga studio and get your yoga groove on! Your knees will thank you!

Read more here: Running hard on knees, ups osteoarthritis - UPI.com:

Would You Buy These Facebook and Twitter Running Shoes?

These are funny. I love social networking but I'm not sure I would wear shoes promoting them. Bu then, I wear other items brand names on them and it doesn't bother me. And what about all the special items for breast cancer research and support? Everyone wants to wear something pink with a little ribbon right? So why not have shoes with facebook adn twitter on them?

I am sure these will be out before you know it.

read more...Would You Buy These Facebook and Twitter Running Shoes?:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hot Yoga Origin is Traced Back to Bikram Yoga

I love how the basic principals of hot yoga are exactly what Bikram Yoga is all about, as if there was no other hot yoga! Yea Bikram Yoga!

The basic principle behind this is that this type of yoga, is that the heat pushes the muscles to work harder and therefore, achieve better results. “Essentially, hot yoga comprises a 90-minute long workout with about 26 asanas and some pranayama techniques,” shares Chandrakant, a yoga practitioner who trains TV artistes in Mumbai. “These asanas include a whole range of bends, twists, turns and even sitting postures that help to increase flexibility and add balance to one’s body,” he adds.

Read more here: Hot moves that slim | Deccan Chronicle | 2010-11-29:

Trotted the Austin 5 Mile Turkey Trot in Record Time!

Austin 5 Mile Turkey Trot

My last running event was on October 23rd when I ran the Walk Wag Run 5; I wasn't expecting this run to go that well. One run every month doesn't bode well for good running times. But I surprised even myself with my lightening speed and energy. With more than 18,900 other runners, I ran the new 5 mile route with little to no issues and only had to walk twice. This for me is a huge success. I hardly ever run straight through and never can I remember running 5 miles without intervals. For some reason the energy of the other runners and the thought of eating mounds of turkey, stuffing and pie motivated me to run like the wind...or at least like a brisk breeze.

My brother and sister-in-law decided to volunteer for the event, which meant we got down to the event at 6:30 am for a 9:30 start. A bit early but when free parking is involved with the threat of 20K plus people running, getting up early seemed like a good idea. It worked out great, my bro and SIL ended up not having much to do until the race started so we watched turkeys being chased by pilgrims, encased men in body suits running amuke, grown men in turkey costumes and lots of ladies dressed as Indians. Running events seem to be a good reason to dress as one might not dress under normal circumstances. And why not right? Halloween is only one night and maybe one has more than one costume in the closet. What better time to wear that "fall inspired, turkey, Indian, Pilgram" outfit?

Austin 5 Mile Turkey Trot 

 The first mile was frustrating, there were too many people running and worse, people were walking with dogs and strollers so it was a lot of running in place, darting between wheels and tiny feet. Why do people that walk want to get up so close? Don't they know they are going to get run over my the runners? First mile I finished about 11:42...not my best time. As I looked down at my watch and saw the time and thought about the 4 miles ahead of me I thought back to my brother and our conversation earlier when he asked me what I thought I would run. I had said then kind of joking, if I didn't run less than 12 minute miles I should just stop running. Ugh...I typically slow DOWN when I run so starting off at 11:42 didn't seem like it was putting me in a good position.

I decided then to pick up the pace and just keep running to mile 2 and see where I was at I've forgotten what I ran but the point is I was still running! Two miles without stopping. Feeling on a high!

I ran to mile 3 without stopping in 32:42 which was so amazing. The route was still packed, it was difficult to get a good steady run in, a lot of run quickly around someone, slow down to wait for someone in front of you. But I kept going, rounded the corner onto 1st street and ran over the bridge. I saw my sister-in-law and brother at the end of the bridge cheering on the runners, waved and ran to the finish line. five miles in 50:54.

My best time ever! Less than 2 years ago I hadn't run more than a 5K and running 2 miles at a 12 mile pace wore me out. Now I am running personal records. I see 9 minute something miles in my future!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why do people slurp thorugh their straws?

This post is a little late. I wrote it on the plane on my way to the Bikram Yoga Women's Retreat in Orlando, Florida. (I'll post about that later.)

On the plane headed to Orlando, Fl. for the Bikram Yoga Women's Retreat. Guy on the aisle has a cup with a straw and I swear I heard him slurp the last sip out. I'm almost sure it was him drinking the last of what was in his cup because I thought about all the times I was a young person and was told to NOT slurp the last drops through the straw. The sound can be like nails on a chalkboard. You know, that annoying sounds kids (and some adults) make when they suck into a straw and slurp up the last drops of whatever fabulous beverage was in their cup.

I was thinking of this as I heard this guy slurping through his straw.

Then- as if it was a magic cup, one that refills magically, I hear what sounds like more slurping. Really?! You have more? But you just sucked it all out of the bottom. Nope, there he goes again. Weird I think...and slightly annoying.

In the exact moment I am trying to figure out how this guy got more liquid out of his empty cup I realize the sound isn't coming from him, the sound is coming from the guy next to me sleeping. It was him snoring! It sounded just like someone slurping through a straw! LOL

My only solution? In go the earphones....

I'll post about how the women's retreat was as soon as I can....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I ran my tail off at the Walk, Wag Run 5K


I don't have a dog but the thought a short 5K to kick start my rebirth of running seemed like a good idea and the Walk Wag and Run 5K was near my house, always an incentive. My friend Jessica and her dog Callie ran with me. Not "with me" because I run slow, but with me in the sense they were running the same race I was, along with the other 1,000 + participants.

Jessica and Callie dressed up like Indians. I dressed like an Asian. Shockingly, no one wanted to take my picture, only Jessica and Callie's. There were also dogs dressed like skunks, footballs, cheerleaders, bulls, jesters and more. It was as if Halloween was just around the corner.


I ran yesterday in preparation for today. I roughly calculated what I ran and it came out to about 11:16 a mile which seems exceptionally good for me considering I haven't run in months. I was sweating like a race horse so I decided I must have run close to that and felt good about myself.

Today I started off well and managed to run the first mile without stopping, a feat in itself for me. I felt like I was running fast, well, fast for me, and I managed to only stop 3 or 4 times. Sweat was streaming down my face; about about 2.5 miles in I could feel sweat running down into my socks. Really?! for a 5K?! LOL

It's amazing what the body will do when you tell yourself you CAN do it and that you are fine, that the anxiety you are feeling is nothing - just breathe. I breathed like we do in yoga, in through my nose and out through my nose...ignoring any pain I was feeling in my legs. I rounded the corner near Winfrey Point and could see the end...I passed the 3 mile mark and told myself I could do it, kicked it up and finished at 33:29. That is a pace of 10:46 a mile, my second best time every for a 5K. I ran a 10:35 mile earlier this year at the Butterfly Boogie but in general I run between 11 and 12 minute miles. (This is due to the face that I run intervals, running 4 or 5 minutes and walking 1.) Running 10:46 a mile is quite an accomplish for me, especially since I haven't run in some time. Gives me hope I can run well for the White Rock Marathon Relay in December.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Last of ACL Fest, another successful music festival!

Sitting under the big oak tree in the middle of Zilker Park with probably a hundred other people that scrambled to get into the gates, just then wait, get cgecked in and then RUSH down to the tree to claim a spot. The process reminds me of a scene in a movie, of which the name escapes me, where West bound settles rush to claim their stake to a piece of land.
I digress. The bands at ACL Fest are of course good, bad and fabulous...some all in the same set. There is something for everyone, techno, rap, hard rock, girl bands, boy bands, etc.

I must be getting old though, I prefer to sit in the back and listen, my poor ears and head can't take the loud pounding music. (I should have brought some ear plugs.) Maybe it's not so much getting old as it is just enjoying the ability to hear other people and things outside of a concert. My parents, who come this event every year too, love to go up front. I think their hearing is already gone, evident from the volume 10+ on the tv when I come home.

Sitting back in a comfy chair, drinking iced coffee from the very cool HOPE farmers market, enjoying a pancake wrapped sausage on a stick from Kerby Lane Cafe, watching the world and weird characters go by. I've been several bananas, a gorilla, green men, mouse heads, lace tights with equally bizarre tops, one indian dressed lady with purple hand print markings and a handful of other odd characters. Gotta love Austin.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Friday, September 3, 2010

Celebrate National Yoga Month with a FREE Class


September is National Yoga Month and Monday, September 6th is the Dallas/Ft. Worth Free Day of Yoga where all across the metroplex yoga studios off free yoga classes. This is an excellent time for those that have never practiced yoga to try out a class or for those that are regular practitioners to try a different type of yoga or studio.

There is a great family oriented DFW Free Day of Yoga Kick - Off Event happening tomorrow at the Crow Collection of Asian Art. There will be yoga events happening all day from 10 am - 6 pm with special kids classes throughout the day.

If you can't make it out to the Kick - Off Event, take a look at the DFW Free Day of Yoga website and search for a studio to take a free class on Labor Day.

Or, just come to Bikram Yoga Dallas on Monday, all of our classes are free that day and we are giving away all kinds of goodies. I teach the 7:30 am class if you want to come see me in action!

Namaste

Brazilian Blowout Hair Treatment Blew Me Away

My hair after getting a Brazilian Blowout Treatment
Since I started this whole new life as a yoga teacher, I seem to have let my "beauty" regiment go. I have stopped wearing makeup except for "going out", I mostly put my hair in a hair clip and drying my hair is only for pretty much the same times I wear makeup. It is just easier to wash and go, hair dries, well, however it dries...and because that isn't so great, it goes up in a clip. And make up? Forget about it. Not designed for a hot yoga teacher.

But last week, a Living Social deal caught my eye, Brazilian Blowout for $99 at The Beauty Box. A friend of mine had been talking a few weeks ago about the Brazilian Blowout and how she felt it would be good for us as teachers, giving us the ability to wash and go and still look good. I didn't think much about it, I mean, I have never gotten anything but a haircut at a salon and my last haircut was in Las Vegas for $9. You could say I don't spend a lot of money on my hair.

The deal intrigued me though and I read up on the treatment, watched several videos and read several reviews on the Brazilian Blowout process. I decided to take the plunge and buy it. Mine was more expensive because my hair is quite long now, it was $175. I figured if it allowed  me to wash and go faster or better, it might be worth it.

I booked my appointment for this past Tuesday. I was excited and nervous, there were mixed reviews from people at the yoga studio that were hair stylists.

The Beauty Box was well prepared to maximize the Living Social deal. They handed me a coupon sheet that welcomed me, gave me discounts on a haircut that day, products and $20 off for a friend. I pretty much assumed I would need a haircut, the reviews made it sound like all the imperfections of the current cut would be more pronounced with the treatment so the best solution would be to get a cut too.

Rosa was my stylist. She talked to me about the process and offered me the additional haircut at the value price of $75! Sheesh....I did get a discount but this is a far cry from the $9 I spent in Las Vegas. Of course, Rosa did a WAY better cut!

My hair from the front- Before


My hair from the back - Before
After washing my hair, which already made my hair look better, she dried it and put it up in various clips. She then painstakingly took tiny sections of hair and added the Brazilian Blowout product to my hair. I think it must be similar to getting  a hair color treatment. It took forever. She was very careful and I absolutely appreciated that but wow, I was there all afternoon! Then, after she was done, she put me under a hair drier for 15 minutes, then again used a hair drier to dry my hair. After blow drying it she carefully sectioned my hair again and flat ironed small sections.

At this point I confirmed with her in kind of a question like manner if she was going to then wash the product out of my hair and blow dry it again. She said no, I was going to leave with product in my hair and I couldn't wash or get my hair wet for 48 hours. WHAT?! Now the videos I saw showed a method were they washed it out and the person left with no product in their hair. This 48 hour rule was news to me. And seriously, how the heck am I suppose to do that when I teach and practice HOT YOGA?! So I asked....

Rosa suggested I take a few days off. I quietly laughed...inside of course. She also said to try and not pull my hair up. Uh, that isn't going to happen, I have to pull my hair up for each class. She said if I HAD to pull it up to use a fabric scrunch. Thank goodness I am a hoarder, I still have a 1990's scrunchy. Now about the wet part...oh, yea, don't get your hair wet for 48 hours. What about sweat? ANY water makes the product come out. Great. I pondered this news the rest of the time there.

As Rosa starts to cut my hair, I calculated how many times I would be in the hot room before I could wash my hair, I counted 5; teaching 4 and taking advanced once. Oy Vey.

Cut done. Verdict? My hair did look fabulous. Smooth, straight and well styled. But 48 hours? Really?!

My hair AFTER Brazilian Blowout - wow!
Back of my hair AFTER treatment
I left feeling like my hair looked fabulous but was worried about how I was going to make it 48 hours without getting my hair wet. I taught that night and carefully put my hair in my 1990's hair scrunchy. After teaching I quickly pulled the scrunchy out and dried my hair, then used a flat iron to smooth out the bumps.

I didn't make it 48 hours...I couldn't take it anymore, I had 4 classes of sweat in my hair, I felt gross. I had to wash my hair. I made it 40 hours though, that seemed adequate to me. I washed my hair with the special Keratin shampoo and conditioner I purchased at the salon and used the Keratin smoothing balm that was a necessary purchase as well.

I let my hair air dry. Amazing results. My hair was soft and though it didn't dry like if I had blow dried it, it did dry very nice, acceptable to just leave straight and actually go somewhere to eat. (With friends, not on a date.)

Today I washed my hair and blow dried it. Outrageously gorgeous! I am sure the cut has something to do with it but the overall look of the hair is so healthy and shiny, it would look good even with a bad cut. It took me just 10 minutes to dry my hair to this "ready to go out" look that would have normally taken at least 30 - 40 minutes. What a time saver! I am so happy with the results...I might have to eat ramen noodles for the rest of the year but I think it was worth it.

Here is the finished product, washed and styled
Whether I'll be able to keep up the treatments to keep my hair looking like this is unknown...The Living Social deal was truly a bargain, the regular price of the Brazilian Blowout seems to be $300 - $600. They have maintenance treatments that are cheaper but all of it is not exactly in a "yoga" budget.  For now though, I plan on enjoying the virtually hassle free hair.

If you plan on getting this treatment, do plan on spending a few extra bucks on a haircut and products. You might as well buy the products, if they help prolong the treatment, which is implied, then it is worth it.

Rosa and me

Monday, August 30, 2010

My FREE lululemon mat!
I am a sucker for a good deal.

Last weekend when I went to the Cowboys Stadium Yoga Event, I was told lululemon would be giving out free yoga mats. I was so excited! I love getting free things and especially a yoga mat which I would use almost every day.

But when we got to the event, it seemed a little disorganized and no one really seemed to know anything about the free mats.

Then as it turned out the mats didn't make it to the event. Lululemon was still going to give out free mats and not just to the first 300 people as previously mentioned, now because of the mix up, they were going to give them to everyone. Just one hitch, you had to take your ticket to the Ft Worth lululemon showroom. UGH.

That is an hour away and for a mat? Hmm...weighing the options....I think no. But David, who went with the group I was with was so nice and picked up all of our free mats! He brought them to the studio yesterday and wow, I am so impressed. It is a great mat! And we got free headbands.

Thanks lululemon and David for my free mat!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I had the bag, had to buy the car.


I went to the FIG Shopping Spree Event this weekend, it is where a ridiculous list of designers and fancy shops set up in the FIG (Fashion Industry Gallery) and sell items at what was boasted as 75% off. If you have never been to a shopping frenzy, I encourage you to go to the next one August 27 and 28. It is an experience for sure.

The last time I was at FIG was for a Shecky's party, similar in design but as it turns out, way more crowded and uncomfortable shopping conditions. This time it was more spread out and not as many people were there, probably because it was Friday in the middle of the day.

I went with a friend that is absolutely adorable, she came with a list of what she wanted. She asked me what I was going to get. (This made me laugh.) I explained I didn't need anything, unless they were selling yoga wear, I was probably good. But I like to shop and these kinds of events always provide entertainment if nothing else.

We found a few thing;, not as great a selection or prices as one would think. First, it wasn't all 75% off. It was perhaps UP TO 75% off. But they should say that in the marketing. I mean, people clearly had signs that said 50% or 60% off, some just discounted things a little and other things seemed to not be discounted at all. I don't consider a $300 shirt on sale for $200 a good deal. Even in my corporate days that would have been hard to stomach.

I did find a great pair if heather grey pants and a pair of cute deep teal blue velvet capris each just $5 and a sexy velvet halter for $22. Those were good finds. It wasn't until I got home and tried to find a pair of pants to wear that night that I noticed I already had 2 other pairs of heather grey pants. This is I'm sure how I've ended up with over 17 different black pants in my closet.

My free bag from ACL Fest 2009
I had brought a shopping bag with me remembering from the other event shopping bags were scarce. It isn't like shopping in the mall, they don't have pretty bags with tissue.

Here is were it gets funny.

I go to take the bag out of my car, my new Honda Insight, and what is on the bag but the words Honda Insight! I had gotten the bag a year earlier at the ACL Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Honda had been there marketing this new car, the Insight. I had forgotten that was the car. I had walked away with a cool free bag. I hadn't really paid much attention to the car or what was on the bag.

Ironic huh? I think it must be similar to when you find the perfect shoes; you don't have anything to go with them but you must have them. Then you go out and buy an outfit to go with the shoes.

I had the bag...I clearly had to buy the car! Great end to a fun day of shopping, love it when my bag and car match.
New car I got this year, Honda Insight

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yoga at the Cowboys Stadium Measured Up to the Stature of the Stadium

Yoga at the Cowboys Stadium

More than 400 DFW Metroplex yogis came together yesterday to create a fantastic display of yogic energy in one of the most amazing structures in the area, the Cowboys Stadium. It was a beautiful display of downward dogs, one legged wheels, eagle pose (though they didn't call it that) and other asanas.

I helped my studio, Bikram Yoga Dallas, gather a large group together and we trekked over to the stadium, caravan style. I thought it was ironic since I live within an 8 mile radius of my house, I was the one leading the pack on our "long" journey to the stadium. We made it, not sure the other drivers appreciated my careful driving. LOL (those that know my driving probably feel for those that were following.)



We made it to the stadium easily parked and purchased our tickets. We took an elevator down to the field and wow, what an awesome moment, walking onto the field. I had been there earlier in the year, I ran the America's Half Marathon and ran into the stadium. But this was a totally different experience because we got to just walk around. I felt like I needed to take my shoes off but then I remembered it wasn't like the studio and people walked on the field all the time!

Indigo Yoga in Fort Worth was the studio leading the class/event and they are a Baptiste Yoga affiliate so the class was not Bikram Yoga postures so I was peeking at Karen, our studio owner and those in front of me for hints on what to do. I know what downward dog is but I haven't done it or upward dog for that matter in years. It took me a few times to get the flow of downward dog to upward dog. And some of the postures, although similar to Bikram Yoga weren't exactly like them and it appeared there were several variations, or at least that people were allowed to sort of "do their own thing".

At the end we did some odd crunches, oblique work and crossing of the legs, not sure that was yoga but I thought heck, it never hurts to do ab work!

Karen and me, hanging out on the field!

It was a great time and a good experience. Hanging out with other people from the studio was so nice too, it gave us all a better chance to get to know each other. Not sure that type of yoga is for me, I like to struggle more and really sweat it out so I "feel" like I am accomplishing something. I am sure it is all mental.

They indicated they will continue to do the event so next year should be even bigger. It will be awesome to see the whole field full of yogis, moving all together as one, sharing energy and growing all at the same time. Until then, keep stretching upward.

Namaste

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What are electrolytes and how should I replenish them?

Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This seems to be the question of the hour. Fitness professionals always talk about hydration and making sure you "replace" your electrolytes. But what does that really mean? How much water? How do you replace electrolytes?

The average person, drinking enough water for their body and eating properly probably doesn't need to worry about electrolyte replacement. People engaging in physical activity, running, biking, Bikram Yoga, etc. will probably need to drink more water and replace electrolytes.

How much water? There are different formulas and theory's on how much water to drink.
  1. 8 x 8 - Drink 8 ounces of water 8 times a day.
  2. Drink based on weight - Take your weight and divide it in half, that is approximately how many ounces of water you should you drink.
  3. Drink based on sex - If you are women, the Institute of Medicine, recommends 91 ounces of water, for men they recommend 125 ounces.
  4. Drink based on how you feel - Do you fee thirsty? Then drink some water.
All of these methods have legitimacy and if you are doing athletic activities, drinking more water will be necessary to maintain healthy levels. Be careful to not drink too much water though this can cause Hyponatremia, a condition where the body has low levels of sodium in body fluids.

Which brings me to electrolyte replacement. This was a hot topic at my yoga teacher training. Mostly the concern was what were electrolytes and what were the best replacements. Electrolytes are minerals the body needs to function properly. There are 8 major electrolytes: Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Chloride, Bicarbonate, Sulfate and Phosphate.

Electrolytes can be replaced with foods and liquids or with supplements. Although healthy foods should always be the first choice, sometimes a supplement might be necessary. Here is what I've found through personal experience.

Gu packets, Shot Bloks, energy jelly beans and most sport drinks are necessary and candidly yummy, when running or biking long distances and you need to sustain energy levels to get through whatever activity you are doing. But have you looked at one of those packages? Little to no electrolytes are in those, many simply say "trace" amounts. I'm a fan of these, not because they are "good" for me but because when I run or bike long distances these really help me push through. (Read my post where I review a few of these products.)

Before and after biking, running and in particular when I practice Bikram Yoga, I like to drink water with an electrolyte replacement to either boost my electrolyte levels before hand or replace what I just lost.



My favorite powder replacement is Ultima. It is naturally sweet, no artificial ingredients and has no sugar added. You just put a packet in water, shake, and drink. It comes in single serving packets, perfect for on the go or you can get canister like this one pictures.

 



For yoga or other activities where you sweat a lot and need increased replacement, there is a new product, yogafuel. It is a capsule that is taken before a class or activity. It not only contains electrolytes, it also has adaptogenic herbs (Ashwagandha and Cordyceps) intended to help the body deal with stress, fatigue and anxiety.





Perhaps my favorite electrolyte replacement EVER is coconut water. A typical serving has more potassium than 2 bananas, great for hydration. It also contains sodium, magnesium and calcium. At just 60 calories per serving (11.2 oz) it is a low calorie, healthy electrolyte replacement option. I typically drink one before yoga and one after, it is so refreshing and so much better for you then a typical sports drink.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Saying No to Others is Saying Yes to Yourself



This is a great statement. To me it is about reducing mental and emotional clutter, setting boundaries and appreciating yourself. It can sound a little selfish, "reducing invitations to friends." But really, if you think about it, don't we all typically over commit, in part to please other people or for fear of saying no?

This page came from a calendar my dad gave to me for Christmas last year, it is the "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" daily calendar and each day it has some new thing for me to remember so I don't get all caught up in the little things. Life is too short. The day is to short....and frankly I have to get to yoga so I don't have time to deal with the small stuff!

This one today really seemed to speak to what my friends and I have been discussing lately. Making time for yourself and not giving  in to the pressures of friendship. Don't get me wrong, friends are great and I love spending time with my friends but sometimes relationships can become difficult and dates, events, meetings, etc. start to become an obligation or something one does out of guilt. Many times I find this can happen without even realizing it. Someone asks to go do something, I can't think of a reason not to so I go. Some drama ensues over the course of the evening and I am left mentally drained from the evening. I can't really function the next day because the night before has left me stressed out, exhausted or brain dead...or worse, all three. Ever feel like that?

Why do we do it? I personally think it is because we are in general nice people that don't want to disappoint our friends, family, etc. But wouldn't it be better for us to be in a good mental state for those times when our friends family really need us?

We shouldn't be required to accept every social invitation or function. Pick wisely and leave time for yourself, or say that another way, pick your "me" time first, then fit in social engagements.

The Burning Sensation is Gone, Best Part of the Day!

This is the culprit, homemade salsa
It's been two days and I am glad to report the burning sensation in my thumb is gone. Note to self: NEVER use thumb to dig out the membrane and seeds from a jalapeno.

A friend of mine was having a BBQ and I said I would bring the salsa. Being "fancy" as my niece calls me, I decided I would make the salsa. My dad had just re-emailed a recipe my Aunt had sent out years ago and the instructions seemed pretty easy. That should have been my first clue it wasn't going to go well.

I printed off the ingredients, went to the store and bought what was needed. The ingredients were vague though, 9 tomatoes, 2 jalapenos, etc. How big? What if they are huge or tiny? How much is a 1/3 of a cup of bell pepper, is that one or two peppers? I hate cooking.

I got home with the ingredients, read the instructions and immediately decided I needed more direction and called my dad. Here are the instructions.

*score the tomato peel, boil water, dip tomato in boiling water for 20-30 seconds, remove and immediately dip in a bowl of very cold water. The skin of the tomato shrinks up and the peel is then easily removed.
 
Simmer 45 minutes.
 
Eat! (makes about 1 1/4 quarts...but it's okay to double the recipe!)
The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Dad, I'm making the salsa from the recipe you emailed. Do you just put it all in a pot and let it simmer? What about the tomatoes, do I just put them in whole?"

Dad: "Uh, what does it say?"

Me: "It says to boil the tomatoes, then simmer. But do I just put all the ingredients in and simmer? I don't add water? Do I cut up the tomatoes"

Dad: "It's been a long time since we have made it but as I recall we just put it in a pan, no water, and let it simmer for 45 minutes."

About this time I am on the verge of asking again and I hear Bikram in my head say "What did I say? Is my English not clear? Let it SIMMER!" (LOL Good times, flash back from teacher training.) But I ask again anyway.

Me: "ok, so I just put it all in a pan leaving the tomatoes whole and let it simmer?"

Dad: "Margot (He now needs confirmation from another source to convince me.), Carolyn is making the salsa, didn't we just put the ingredients in a pan and let it simmer? We never added water right?"

Mom: "Right, just let it simmer, no water."

Dad: "Yes, just let it simmer. I would say if it looks more like pico maybe mush up the tomatoes or add some water otherwise, no water."

Me: "oookkkkk....I'll just put it all in and let it simmer."

Now why was that so hard? Sheesh..just let it SIMMER!

I cut up everything (even the tomatoes because I am a skeptic and didn't believe the tomatoes would cook down.) and pulled out the membrane and seeds from the bell pepper with my hand and did the same with the jalapeno. Except the jalapeno is smaller so I dug it out with my thumb.

Fast forward....Salsa was great, everyone loved it. My thumb however was on FIRE all night from the jalapeno.

Next day...I go to yoga. OH MY GOSH. My thumb burned the entire time. Every time i put pressure on it, grabbing my foot or clasping my hands, it hurt even more, like someone was piercing my thumb with a needle. Plus, as an added benefit, when I wiped my face and lips, whatever part I touched also started to burn. Nice.

I promptly went home and washed my hands ONE MILLION times.

Next day I take class again. Again my thumb burns. I teach that night and mentioned in class as a little joke...not to use your thumb as a scoop when working with jalapeno's...it makes yoga practice very uncomfortable, among other things. Everyone in class laughed and a few gave me good tips on how to get the oil off my skin.

Today, three days later, my thumb thankfully has stopped burning.

Lesson: Don't ask dumb questions, just trust the process. Use the proper tools for the job. When you don't do the first two, don't touch your face in Bikram Yoga.

Here is the recipe if any of you are brave enough to make it.

INGREDIENTS:
 
9 tomatoes - peeled*
3/4 cup green bell pepper - minced
3/4 cup onion - minced
2 jalapeno peppers - minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 generous squirt of lime juice
1 spoon each of oregano, cumin, cilantro
1/2 spoon of garlic
1/2 spoon of salt (or "no salt" substitute)
 
*score the tomato peel, boil water, dip tomato in boiling water for 20-30 seconds, remove and immediately dip in a bowl of very cold water. The skin of the tomato shrinks up and the peel is then easily removed.
 
Simmer 45 minutes.
 
Eat! (makes about 1 1/4 quarts...but it's okay to double the recipe!)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I run to run, not to win the race

Jessica Davis and me ready to race!
I find myself being reminded I need to be more in shape every time I try to be more athletic, or just fit. I ran the Run Walk Roll 5k benefiting United Cerebral Palsy of North Texas and did ok, could have been better. I ran it in 35:36 minutes. Not bad for a person that hasn't run since April but really, is that a good time me? Uh, no. It's not my worst time for a 5k this year, that was the Dash for the Beads 5K in February when it took me 37:21 to finish. But it wasn't my best time either. And I hurt.

It was hot yesterday, probably already in the upper 80's if not 90 by the time we started and the humidity was thick. Weather can either help you or hurt you and it definitely hurt me yesterday. There is something about heat and humdity that are GOOD in Bikram Yoga and BAD for running.

I started off ok, felt pretty good and made it to mile 1 at 10:50. I walked for a bit, ran to the water station at 1.5 miles and really felt exhausted. I just couldn't breathe. I knew the course, it was the same one we ran for the Butterfly race so I knew there was a hill coming up. I could see lots of people walking up...I was set on running it. Just keep going, that is what I told myself....and if someone had been running with me that made me, I probably would have kept going but about 2/3 of the way up, I was like "forget it!" I'm walking. I rounded the corner and picked it up, knowing there was a water station right as we hit the Katy Trail.

The whole time I was on the Katy Trail I just chanted to myself, "you can do it, you are almost there", "don't stop", "just keep going", "stay focused", "keep your mind on the task". Whatever I could do to motivate myself to keep running. It was hard. I have to say, a 5k to me should be a simple run, one I should be able to do at the drop of a hat and man, it was rough. I sweated like a race horse, maybe as much as my marathon!

It Me after the race, soaked in my own sweat, dying for some water.

I finally made it to mile 3 and saw the balloons at the finish line...picked up the pace and sprinted in. I was the 192nd person to finish out of 337, at 35:36 I beat my goal. My goal, knowing I hadn't run in months was to run it under 36 minutes. So goal achieved. I wonder what would have happened if my goal had been under 35? Ah, there is always next time.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I recommend 'Eat Pray Love' to girls for sure and maybe a few boys

I went and saw 'Eat Pray Love' yesterday at a preview event. I'm no movie critic so don't keep reading thinking this will be some eloquently written piece about cinematography, depth of plot line, etc. I'm just a girl that got to go see a movie for free. I loved it by the way. I would recommend it to any girl and even a few guys.

I haven't read the book yet, I plan on going and getting that today. I know, that is backwards. I should have read the book first. Honestly though, I hadn't planned on seeing the movie in the theater. I think the last movie I saw in a theater was some time last year. But the opportunity to go see 'Eat Pray Love' came up and who can miss a free movie?

The preview event was at Studio Movie Grill where you order real food and get to sit in more comfortable chairs than the standard movie theater, and there isn't anyone kicking the back of your chair. I ate pizza which was just so appropriate for the movie it wasn't even funny. I'm pretty sure I don't have a muffin top though. I will check today when I go to Bikram Yoga class, even if I do, according to the movie I shouldn't care, and Liz is right, I've never had a guy tell me to leave the room after seeing me naked. (Go see the movie to understand all that.)

I personally thought the movie was well done. My friend that went has read the book and she said it was pretty close to the book; unlike the 'Shopaholic' movie which to me was nothing like the book...and I have read ALL of the Shopoholic books. (As my other friend said when I pointed this fact out yesterday..."you are so cultured Carolyn, tell us more about these books!" LOL)

The movie at times made me wish I had kept my job for another year, saved my money and traveled instead of going to yoga training, or maybe traveled, then gone to yoga training. On the flip side, I know for a fact I wouldn't be in mindset I am in today if I hadn't left the corporate world and searched for a better me through my love for yoga and sharing it with others.

There were some parts of the movie that hit close to home, the search for love, losing yourself when you meet someone else, the eternal search to figure out how to love yourself - to forgive yourself. At one point Liz goes up to the rooftop with Richard, he is about to explain his pain and his vulnerabilities and as she comes out of the doorway, there is a cut out figure of Lord Krishna from Mahabharata, which we watched late into the night at teacher training. I smiled. It felt like home to see Lord Krishna up on the screen. I so wanted to pack up my things right them and go to India.

That to me is a sign of a good movie, when it evokes strong emotion in me, when it makes me think or want to act upon something. I'm not sure I will be packing up anytime soon to go to India to meditate and find myself but maybe I will at least work on finding myself right where I am. 

If you go see the movie, tell me what you think about it!
 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Running for Cerebral Palsy

 

I haven't run since the America's Run Half Marathon at the Cowboy's Stadium the weekend before I went to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. I working slowing on getting back to it. I running this 5K this coming Saturday at Reverchon Park. 

This run is for a great cause, it benefits the United Cerebral Palsy of North Texas! There is a 5K run and a family 1K. After the race they will have a family oriented post race part with face painting, balloon artists and photo buttons. 

Come out and support the United Cerebral Palsy of North Texas and run either race! Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why is my laundry still piled up in the corner?

I'm reading a book my brother lent me, The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. I haven't gotten very far, I've had it for months and am only on page 82. This mere fact shows me I need some of the principals in the book. Yesterday I read 2 things of interest. One, Parkinson's Law which says that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". Two, most people spend (waste) time on non-important tasks.

Interesting ideas huh? Think about it. Most people work 8 or more hours a day and find work to fill 8 hours a day. But as the book mentions, if we had to leave work early, miraculously we can find a way to get the work done faster.


These two ideas give me reason to pause and evaluate my daily tasks and what is really important. Like why does it take me all day to do the laundry? (I realize this has nothing to do with work but it still applies.) Because while it is going I decide to sit and watch a bit of tv, or play some silly online game. Today I finally managed to put away all the clothes I washed and folded last week. Why did it take me so long? Mostly because the IDEA of putting it all away seems so mountainous I mentally find it draining so I just lop it up on the bench and pull clothes from it as I need them. (I find myself doing more laundry now that I am not working a corporate job. Less dry cleaning bills but more laundry to wash.)

Or why are work tasks so seemingly difficult and time consuming? They aren't really. It's really all in the mind. We THINK the tasks are difficult, hard, time consuming, annoying, pick any word and insert. Reality is if we just STARTED the task, we would most likely find it to not take as long or be has arduous as we first thought.

The other reason could be because bosses expect employees to work a certain amount and if you get your work completed in a quick amount of time, more work is sure to appear. This is the exact delimma mentioned in the book. How to get out of this situation? You either need to work for yourself or find bosses that understand the value of work completed rather than hours worked. Even so, if you work for yourself you may find as I do, whatever tasks you have on your list still manage to take a long time to complete. Discipline is needed to remove wasteful tasks and really work on only what matters.

It's Saturday so only  a little work is required today, mostly just household tasks are on the agenda. So  far today I cleaned the bathroom, put away the laundry and organized a few things, all before I had coffee. I consider this progress...

Friday, July 30, 2010

From Yoga Journal
I overstretched my upper back/shoulders yesterday in Plow of all positions. I FEEL like I have been plowing! This must be what mules feel like after a hard days work in the fields.

I tried stretching out a little and couldn't find the right stretch to make it feel better. I have a feeling today's class in the nice warm room will be just the medicine I need.

And how does one over stretch in Plow anyway? sheesh. I consider Plow to be an easy pose, not necessarily and "advanced" posture although we only practice it in the advanced class. This is what I get though for A. not taking the beginner class first to warm up and b. not listening to my body and stopping earlier. I could tell my neck hurt and I certainly could feel the stretch but I kept going anyway. Silly really. You have to listen to your body, it always tells you when it has had enough.

I rarely injure myself in yoga, I mean, it's yoga, come on! But people CAN injure something if they don't listen to what their body is telling them. The pain of stretching is fine. The sharp pain, pop or OVER stretching is bad. I think part of a regular yoga practice is learning the difference and then paying attention.

So, I am off to fix myself. If it doesn't work, I think I will treat myself to a Starbucks Coffee, that will surely do the trick!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Everyday is a new day, today was a good yoga day

Yoga today was outstanding. Half way through the class I thought to myself, "wow, Advanced Class really DOES improve your regular practice!" I felt strong and flexible, way more than I did during or before teacher training. It was like I was my old self again. I locked my knees in Hands to Feet Pose, kept my forehead and knees touching in Rabbit Pose, touched my head to my knees in the sit up and for the first time in probably a year, I got my heels off the floor in Stretching. I felt so good!

It was a hard class. Good class. My balancing postures still aren't there but I can see a big improvement in my overall flexibility. And to think, I have only done 2 advanced classes in the past week and a half! I can't wait until Thursday when I take advanced again. I hope to improve even more!

The Bikram Advanced Class is a class where you go through 84 postures in an hour and a half, sometimes 2 hours. It is fast paced but more relaxed and free flowing. It's a wonderful opportunity to expand  your yoga practice and take it to the next level. The postures are hard and you can get hurt if you don't listen to your body, that is one reason we don't do most of the 84 postures in the beginner class. Bikram designed his beginner class to be for all skill levels. The advanced class is, well, for advanced yogi's. Not that I am that advanced, I can't do many of the postures, but it is fun to try and to see how each class you improve...and now I can see how it improves my regular practice too!

The yoga competition also floated through my mind during class and anytime I felt the slightest bit tired I just thought about the competition and how I needed to really improve my practice if I planned on really competing. Just like any sport, you have to train for the competition and that means a lot of yoga. And 110% effort, 100% of the time. Frankly, it is hard to do. I've been "pacing" myself for months now, too afraid to really push myself for fear I would injure myself during training and even before training I wasn't trying very hard, again, for fear I would hurt myself before I left for training. Maybe those were just excuses, I don't know. Whatever it was, I feel like I am back on track and regained my focus.

Let's see if tomorrow provides the same great practice.

Distractions are part of life, learning to let them go is yoga

Distractions, they are everywhere from the cell phone ringing, kids cryings, people talking, someone cutting you off in traffic, etc. In the yoga room they can be anything from someone's sweat flung towards you, not so great smelling carpet, room is too hot, person next to you clearly ate something awful because now you smell it because it's seeping out of their pores, sweat rolling down your face, not enough water, tummy hurts because of too much water, the list can go on and on. Even outdoors like this past Saturday at Lululemon's Om in the Park at Northpark Center where the atmosphere was serene with the sun peaking over billowy clouds, large looming trees shading the grass and perfect temperatures, there was a distraction, noise of a rake smoothing out the gravel pathway. In yoga and in life, it is a daily, sometimes hourly task for me to not just ignore the distractions but to work to a point where I don't even notice the distractions, where I am so centered in myself and my goals, the distractions are zero, no matter what is going on.

I'm reminded of this ultimate destination often, in and out of the yoga room. This could be why my wonderful father bought me a calendar of "Don't sweat the small stuff" sayings for each day. I'm trying though.

This past Saturday when the grounds staff at Northpark proceed to rake the gravel right where the yoga class was going on, I ignored it the first time. The second time when I noticed students were looking at the man funny I just made a comment about distractions and part of yoga is to move past those distractions and focus on your yoga. It was funny and I think the guy got the hint, he smiled and stopped raking. He was just doing his job, I am sure he is suppose to rake the gravel and have it all nice and ready for when the mall opens but right when a yoga class is going on isn't really the best time. But what is it to a few yogi's to have a rake running through gravel in the middle of class? I should have been able to ignore it, or better, not even be aware of it at all. That to me is real yoga. Like I said, still working on it. I find laughing about it and realizing I need to work on it progress in the right direction.

Or how about when you are in yoga class and people are huffing and puffing as if they are about to pass out? Or when someone flings sweat on your towel, or worse, on you?! Or the person that puts their feet right in your face when they are in Savasana? All, very annoying, all just minor distractions...and really, zero of them have anything to do with me and my yoga practice. And yet, I still allow these things to creep in and disturb my 90 minute meditation during yoga.

Is the person huffing and puffing annoying? Sure, they are loud and disrupting class. Are they doing it on purpose? No. They are probably doing everything they can to survive. On good days I just smile to myself and think about MY first day when I almost died and I try and give out good vibes to help the person out.

And the flying sweat...never have I met a person that meant to fling their sweat on another person. Is it a little gross? Sure. But now I comfort myself in knowing that I am sweating too and just as quick as it fell on me, it will be off too as my sweat streams out and down my body. If I am not sweating enough...well, I just work harder to work up a sweat to get it off of me quicker!

And the feet in the face, that's easy. No one's feet are worse than those at teacher training so feet almost don't bother me anymore. See, making progress already!

Everyday life is a little harder for me. Maybe it's hard for you too? This is one reason I go to yoga, to help me bring clarity and focus to my mind so I am always using my energy on things that improve me and not so much time worrying about what others are or are not doing. Of course, I still get caught up in the distractions from time to time, but I'm human and Bikram says humans are the slave to bad habits. So I come by it honestly I guess.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My focus lately has been on yoga...

My focus lately has been on yoga, if that wasn't already obvious. Going to teacher training left little time for much besides yoga and since I've been back, I've been on my bike twice and only thought of running. I don't really mind though, I've resolved it in my mind I might not make the 24 events I had set my mind to earlier in the year. (Bike Run Yoga has a 2010 challenge going on for people to complete 24 events in 2010.)

Life changes, goals change, things that are important change. It's ok. I've been told change is good by some pretty reputable people. And boy, are things ever changing! (Career, car, lifestyle, necessities, etc.) All in a good way.

My daily calendar of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" quotes and quips says today..."An almost surefire way to begin to reclaim your life is to develop the courage and wisdom to know when and what to quit."

How appropriate since I feel like I reclaimed my life recently with starting a new career as a yoga teacher.  It was hard to do, taking the leap was scary and exciting all at the same time. I'm happy I took the chance, took the opportunity to "reclaim" my life. It's a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

Yoga has helped me is so many ways from improving my physical body to improving my mind, focus and calming my brain. I feel lucky and blessed to be able to get up everyday and help others improve themselves from the inside out. It's nice to be able to help others to in their own path to self improvement/self discovery.

So for now, yoga is my "thing". I've committed myself to compete in this years Yoga Championships in September so I'll be practicing yoga more and practicing the Advances Series in preparation. I'll get back to running and biking soon though, can't let all the hard work from last year go to waste.

See you on the mat. Namaste.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Was Teacher Training You Ask?! Great!

Wow, my last post was June 6th! Eeeek! I was almost done with training then and I think training took it all out of me..I lost my energy to blog. I've been back for a few weeks now and honestly blogging has floated through my mind a few times and each time I have thought it was a monumental task. Not sure why, could be because teaching yoga isn't natural and free flowing like my work I did for the last 11 years so it takes more energy to do it well, leaving just about enough energy to brush Ginger (my cat) and make a smoothie.

Good news?! I'm a Bikram Yoga Teacher!!! I made it! Since I've been back, everyone I meet asks, "how was it?" My only response is "it was great! I loved it!" This usually is met with a bit of a surprised look. Bikram Yoga Teacher Training is hard, long and involves things that are challenging, sometimes not fun and often what you don't really want to be doing. So why did I love it? I've pondered this question and I've decided it was because I went with little to no expectation and the only expectation I did have was WAY hard and more mentally challenging than it was. Whatever we were told to do, that is what we did, we never had time to think about it.

 I am the type of person that needs to feel in control, always have a schedule, plan out my day, week, month. I don't like to leave things to chance so I think in my head of plan A, B and C, just in case. I also don't like doing things I'm not good at or that I just plain don't like so this training could have been a daily meltdown for me. And I was expecting it.

I've left Texas 3 other times for extended times (like this training, 9 weeks) and all three times I was miserable and wanted to come home. I was younger then and more stubborn, I'm glad to see I've grown up a bit! :) But I was worried I would fall into the same patterns and not enjoy or absorb the experience while it was happening.

Instead, I had a great time! It was hard, don't get me wrong. And I had to do a lot of things I didn't really want to do, I was challenged physically in class and mentally in lectures and clinics but each moment, each experience was an opportunity to change myself, to look inside myself and work on me. It was awesome. I felt like I was really able to let go and not stress, not feel the need to control my environment and not allow the little things to make me go completely postal.

I think the best compliment I received was from a teacher at my studio that came out to visit and she said I looked so happy, happier than she had ever seen me. That was awesome.

So I'm back in the Big D, Dallas, and teaching yoga at Bikram Yoga Dallas. Each day is a new day to work on myself and help others work on themselves. Always a work in progress, but what great work it is!

Namaste

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Made it through week 7, still smiling...


Bikram Yoga Teacher Training has BEGUN! (It started 7 weeks ago but now, the heat is ON.) Temperatures in Las Vegas were in the 90's at the beginning of the week but by the end, the temperature was in the 100's and it was H-O-T in the yoga room! Now THAT is how we like it! (I'm secretly happy it hasn't been like this the whole time, I think I might have died...although, they say we aren't lucky enough to die in the yoga room so I suppose I would have just suffered mercifully.) It was a short week because of Memorial Day but that didn't stop Bikram from sharing his wisdom and favorite movies well into the night; we were saved by a technical issue one night. Our yoga classes this week rocked, literally.

 I do hot yoga right? Ok, so that is suppose to mean I LIKE a hot room, right? Wrong. I hate being hot and I hate sweating. So why do I subject myself to heat and sweat for 90 minutes twice a day? Because I like to suffer for 90 minutes rather than 90 years...oh, and because it feels so great to walk out of the room, sweaty and tired, the air, no matter the temperature feels cool and refreshing. It doesn't matter how tired or exhausted I am when I start, I feel alive and energized at the end. That is pretty much how this week went. Was exhausted most of the week, physically and mentally. Walked into the yoga room and whoosh, a blast of hot, steamy air hit me in the face...every class, every day, twice a day. WOW! HOT! The misters were claimed well before class started, what was left was just hot, not that being under a mister is that much better but any little bit helps when you think you might pass out.

So I'm tired from yoga twice a day, posture clinic, lecture and movies...and here comes a power house teacher from Texas kicking our butts in yoga class, in a HOT yoga class. Wow. Lisa Ingle rocked out the yoga room with a fantastic class this week. She gave us exactly what we needed, a tough, but good, very good class. She played Bob Marley after the last savasana and everyone got up and started dancing, it was so great. My roommate and I even got up and danced around. A great ending to a wonderful class.

Wednesday I discovered ice. I mean, I know what ice is, I don't live in the dark ages. I noticed though several people were bringing in ice in little baggies. After a really hot class where I secretly wanted to bad things to happen to everyone I saw enjoying their ice in class, I decided I would try it too. I took ice in to two classes last week. Oh my gosh, how nice! You can do lots of things with it too, put some under your towel, lay on it like a pillow, suck on the ice through a posture, let ice roll off of you in savasana, stick ice in your bra top, etc. Believe me, I found many ways to enjoy the ice and distract myself and believe me, it is a distraction! I don't recommend it. It is nice in the short term but long term, you can't concentrate on the yoga really at all because your brain is so fixated on the darn ice and how you can get another piece without the teacher seeing. So the moral is, suffer the proper way, receive the proper benefit. "99% right is 100% wrong" ~ Bikram

And speaking of Bikram, how great is it he loves to share is movies with us? Uh, it is super great! (yea, that's the right answer.) One night we were in the middle of several episodes of Mahabharata and all the sudden the screen went blank. The bulb burnt out in the projector! LOL Now if that isn't a sign I don't know what is. So funny. Poor Bikram, poor us. We had to go to bed. LOL Not to worry, he caught us up on everything the next time.

Can't believe it's almost over, just two more weeks. I have almost made it. Amazing. So excited for the new possibilities life has to offer. 

Best quote is posture clinic:
Teacher to student after delivering dialog. "how is your breathing?"
Student "Shocking"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When all else fails, just roll with it.

 Joseph and me before yoga class

Amazing, It's already week 7 of my Bikram Yoga Training! I can't believe it, time has really flown by. I started week 6 feeling sore and my sciatica was really getting to me but after rolling my butt on the floor and on the foam roller, I managed to somewhat fix my sciatic issues. Bikram was here the first part of the week, we had lectures on fascia best of all, Joseph Encinia was here! Plus, Bikram gave us a nice surprise and gave us Monday off!

Have you ever tried to fix a problem without knowing really where the problem is? It's the hunt and peck method I think, just trying different fixes until something works. That was me with my sciatic nerve issues. Our anatomy teacher had convinced me, not because he told me specifically but because I deduced from his lectures, my sciatic nerve was pressed against a gluteus muscle and THAT was what was causing the nerve to express pain. Fine I thought, I'll foam roll my butt. Which I did, with not much success. Then on day, I think it was Monday after class, I started rolling my butt on the floor. It looks a little funny but us very effective. I could totally feel the knots in my muscles. It sounds weird but I had knots in my butt! So, I rolled around for a bit in the hot room and felt a noticeable difference in my glutes. Not much difference in my sciatic nerve. So I foam rolled more and rolled a little farther down, kind of where my "cheek" meets the back of the thigh. OH MY GOSH! Man, did THAT hurt! AH HA! Now we are talking...So I rolled around on that area for a bit and wow, I could feel the spot where I "think" I twisted something in November, when all my issues started. Long story short, I am foam rolling every day and this is the first week I have been able to actually lock out my knees in Hands to Feet and Standing Head to Knee without pain in my glutes and leg. YEA! Love the foam roller.

Now after I fixed one part of my sciatic nerve issue, I found another. Only after sitting in lecture for hmm...4 plus hours did I find an annoying, shooting pain in the side hip area. Now because I like to self diagnose, I quickly decided I had alleviated one knotted muscle but hadn't fixed the other so now instead of pain in one area, it was now showing up on the other side. So frustrating! I squirmed around in my chair as long as I could but ultimately decided I had to get up, even if it was Bikram lecturing, I just couldn't take it anymore. I finally got up and walked around outside for a minute.

Enough about my sciatica. Who cares about that anyway? LOL Besides, Joseph Encinia was in town, that is WAY more important than my health issues. It was so exciting, I saw a guy that looked like Joseph walking down towards the tent with Dom, as I got closer I realized it WAS Joseph! It is so awesome to see people at training that are from Dallas, it brings a little bit of home to the yoga bubble. Even though Joseph hasn't been in Dallas for a few years now, we all still think of him as part of the Dallas studio.

Joseph taught one of our yoga classes, he was awesome of course. His energy and passion for Bikram Yoga and life in general radiates from him in every possible way. You can't help but be inspired to be more, try harder, give more. Joseph was the first person in Dallas to suggest I should come to teacher training, even before he was a teacher himself. I didn't believe then that I could possible do this training. To have him here watching me go through training is one of the greatest feelings.

Bikram also had Joseph come up and demonstrate his winning competition routine, in jeans no less! Here are some of his postures.


















 Standing Head to Knee, no hands


















 Standing Bow Pulling Pose














 Peacock Pose


















 Scorpion Pose

He left today for India, he going to teaching for Bikram at a studio in Mumbai. I was tearing up as I gave him one last hug today before class.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Human Lota Should be Expected in Bikram Yoga

Onzie Bandeau Top and Shorts

Earlier this week I felt like the human lota, perhaps appropriate since lota in India refers to a "small vessle, usually used to carry water or milk." My dad has one, it's a magic trick. I've never seen a real lota, only those in magic acts, though I suspect they are similar in design. My dad's magical lota usually holds water that gets put into a glass, then later in the show, he dumps more water into a glass, completely emptying the lota. Later, he pours more water from the lota into a glass and this goes on and on throughout the act. It's quite funny. It isn't quite as funny when you ARE the lota, but it is still kind of funny, especially when THAT is what you are thinking about in class when you are suppose to be focused on yoga.

I got this great gift from Onzie, a bandeau top and yoga shorts. I'm not typically a fan of bandeau tops, mostly because of two reasons, one, they fall down on me (not a lot there to hold it up) and two, if it doesn't fall then it slowly inches down from the top and up from the bottom so you end up with this tiny strip across your chest that looks like a distant cousin of the original bandeau. So when I got the bandeau I wasn't sure I was going to like it but lots of people are wearing them here and no one seems to mind if the tops end up looking like strips of ribbon so I thought I would give it a shot.

Wow, I love it! It doesn't slip at all, it has a lining in it that "grips" so it doesn't slip or slip and it stays the same size as when it started! I noticed when I was wearing it I tugged on it a few times out of habit but it wasn't really moving. Loved it so much I bought two more. And the shorts? Those are great too, simply, short yoga shorts that are a great lightweight fabric. Both wash well too.

On to the lota. So I am in my new bandeau top and shorts and I have a pretty good sweat going on. We step to the left of our mats to do Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose and as I go down, sweat slowly streamed out the top, middle part of the bandeau! lol (where my cleavage is) I'm suppose to be looking at the floor at this point but I'm busy watching the sweat stream out of my top onto the floor. Then it stops, like it has drained out all it can.

So we do the second set and the same thing happens, I bend down and sweat starts to slowly stream out of my top in a nice line, like I am the darn "vessle" and my top is the spout where it comes out! I'm the human lota! I laughed quietly to myself for the next few postures. I've been the Human Pin Cushion (magic trick) before but the Human Lota is new ground!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Halfway Done Already?!

Halfway point! Wow! It is hard to imagine half of teacher training is over, I feel like I just got here. It has really been an amazing experience so far. Highs and lows for sure, good and bad, fun and not so fun...but all great learning experiences and opportunities for me to grow. I'm really trying to take each experience and improve myself. (And I think it's working!)

My roomie and I were talking a few days ago about how going back home will be kind of a culture shock all over again. We have really been spoiled here, only having to take care of ourselves and even in that task, most of the days events are planned and we just have to show up. Going home after 9 weeks, back to responsibilities, family, friends, work, my cat....it will be a big change from my life in the yoga bubble.

But back to the here and now. Body is feeling the effects of doing yoga twice a day, every day. Legs are sore, sciatic nerve is P-I-S-S-E-D O-F-F. Muscles I never knew I used much are feeling tight and knotted up. My postures are getting worse and it is harder to stay in postures, mostly because, well, my sciatic nerve is  P-I-S-S-E-D O-F-F. We did learn in Anatomy that the issues we are feeling because of the sciatic nerve aren't really things wrong with the nerve but more the muscles are pressing against the nerve, making it signal the brain to feel pain. Nice right?

The other day it was so bad I had some pain in my side hip, more under my butt and when I pressed on it, a shooting pain went all the way down my leg to my toes! WOW! For those of you that don't know, the sciatic nerve goes all the way down the leg.

So I've been using the foam roller I bought when I got here, such a life saver! It isn't really fixing the issue, that probably will require rest and no stretching, but it is helping and certainly does wonders for knotted up muscles.

I'm also getting fat. Not really. I'm um, retaining water. Yea, that's it. Or the other thing I hear around here... "you are gaining muscle and it is pushing the fat out, so you just LOOK fatter." Whatever right? All I know is my jeans don't fit and I keep thinking of all the clothes I have at home that won't fit when I get back.

My roomie had to buy a tape measure so I borrowed it and took my measurements. Not going to share here but lets just say it was um, uh, not good. I am sure the cake, gummie bears, marinated artichoke hearts, fried rice, gum drops, yogurt covered pretzels and the other "yummy" things I've been eating aren't helping. One would think practicing yoga for over 3 hours a day would give you a pass so you could eat what you want but that is NOT the case....apparently. So, new regiment, right after I finish the bag of gum drops, is to eat better. LOL For those of you that really know me, you know that isn't going to happen. Heck, my training at home should just be glad I haven't had a latte every day with a friggin pastry!

Aside from body hurting and getting plumper, things are FANTASTIC!