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.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What are electrolytes and how should I replenish them?

Image: Carlos Porto /

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' 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.

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...
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