39 Day Yoga Progress Project: Yoga By Candace

I am participating in the 39 day yoga progress project hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Candace at Yoga By Candace (YBC). The purpose of this challenge is to focus on one pose that you working on gaining more flexibility in and track your progress through the next 39 days.

From the YBC site here are the guidelines:

The Plan

If you choose to participate, here’s how it’ll go down:

  1. Pick a pose, any pose!
  2. Snap a pic of your pose and if you’re not feeling shy, share on instagram with the hashtag  #YBCprogress so you can instantly connect with others who are participating. Continue sharing your photos over the course of the project, every time you practice, or whenever you’re up to it!
  3. Plan a schedule for when you’ll practice. Aim for 4-5 practices per week, 20-60 minutes each practice. But! If you need to do less, or want to do more, that’s totally fine. Above all, honor your body.

Candace also provides an excellent schedule for practices during the 39 days and links to videos to access.

It took me awhile to choose which pose I wanted to focus on. My first thought was crow, since I have been working on holding that pose longer and longer. However, this would be more about working strength then flexibility.

All the poses that kept coming to my head were strength based poses. I realized I prefer working on my strength, rather than flexibility.

If I am really being honest here; I am probably the least flexible yoga teacher.

I struggle A LOT with my flexibility and it was one of the things that brought me to yoga in the first place. Often, when people hear I am a yoga teacher, they ask if I am really flexible.

Errr….I guess compared to how stiff I used to be, I am really flexible, but not as much as you would think, for someone who teaches. I guess this is where my work needs to be.

I thought about which flexibility pose I dread the most and immediately Standing Split came to mind.

I loathe this pose and find myself wishing it was over as soon as I begin. I hate when I hear it cued and I realize I rarely teach it in my own class.

This pose is more difficult for me on my left, than on the right and I am sure that is due to my slight case of scoliosis and the left curvature of my spine (most of my injuries-knee, ankle, etc. have been on my left side).

I generally need to use blocks to support myself in this pose, though not always.

Below are Day 1 pictures on both right and left sides, with and without the block.

15498236297_fc11506f36_o 15497567999_3335b56f4d_o 15498619790_581ba4c21f_o 15685025072_3c864188eb_o….and, my power yoga outfit because MICHAEL JACKSON.

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I am looking forward to see if I make any progress with this pose and if I can work on my relationship with it, and flexibility in general. I would like to have a more positive attitude about flexibility poses and not dread them as much as I have been.

Want to join me in this challenge? Head over to YBC for all the details!

Oprah & Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation Experience

It’s time for another one of Deepak Chopra & Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation Experiences!

I have done two of their Meditation Experiences before and have loved them! You can sign up for free and each day, you will receive an email with a link to that day’s guided meditation. Oprah generally gives an intro into the day’s theme and Deepak guides you through the meditation, with his soothing voice and pearls of wisdom.

These 21 day experiences are a great way to establish a meditation practice and a great introduction to meditation, for those who may be intimidated by how to even get started. Each meditation is about 20 minutes long and can be done at anytime throughout the day.

I will be starting on November 3rd and would love if you joined me! You can sign up by clicking here.

I think it is such a beautiful thing to have beings meditating all around the world and raising the collective consciousness for love, peace and wisdom. Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope you joint me on the meditation cushion!

I Am Peace

I am participating in Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation experience. I have done one of their 21 Day Meditation experiences before, a few months ago. They give beautiful guided meditations and it is a wonderful way to establish a consistent meditation practice. I was pretty good about meditating each day before work, last school year, but I fell out of my routine when summer hit. This meditation experience started on my first official day back at work and I thought it would be a great way to re-establish my routine.

The title of Day 3’s meditation was “I Am Peace.” It spoke about embodying peace itself. What I took from the meditation is learning to have inner peace in all situations, not just when life is easy, but even amongst the turbulent times.

I do not always do this. But, GAH,..oh how I want to.

This meditation resonated with me deeply, and I thought it about for a long time after and have sorted through some of those thoughts enough to form a (hopefully) coherent enough post.

At different points and phases in my life, it was important to me to be different things. When I was much younger, it was important for me to be perceived as pretty and funny. Then I wanted to be the academic, high achiever. Then I wanted to be the young professional, who was wise beyond her years. I guess I would be lying if I said a small part of me still does not still want those things, but I feel myself shifting to a different phase, where I really just want peace.

Chasing and wanting some of those other things did bring me academic and career success, however, the drive to keep achieving and conquering even bigger goals also brought me anxiety, pressure and chronic dissatisfaction. Although I did achieve my goals, sometimes I was not present or relaxed enough to enjoy those moments.

When life gets stressful (as it tends to do) my natural reaction is to let stress consume me, become tense in my neck and shoulders, put pressure on myself to quickly make things better and work harder and harder to try to avoid this type of stress again. It’s a losing cycle.

I have been working on being at peace, even in those stressful situations. I have been trying to not let myself become consumed by situations, but remain steady even through turbulent waters. I am not always successful, but have noticed vast improvements.

I have been thinking about this more and more when in the asana portion of my yoga practice. I had a yoga teacher once who cued one of my least favorite poses (i.e.-hated!), Boat Pose, Navasana, he said, “let this pose be less about the core and more about finding peace in a difficult situation.”

GAH! How do I find peace when my abs are shaking and my quads are quivering? How do I find peace when I am trying to keep my sternum lifted and my spine long, and all I want to do is collapse in a heap on my mat and sigh out like my bulldog does when she’s overwhelmed (this happens often)?

That has become my real work in this pose. As soon as it is cued in class, my mind gets frantic and my true work becomes calming myself down, even in the stressful situation.

I find myself using a similar line of teaching when I teach Chair Pose (Utkatasana). This actually happens to be one of my of my favorite poses, but I find this is one that most people really seem to get stressed about. I notice from the dirty looks I get when I cue this pose, that it causes that same type of tension for others, that I feel with Boat Pose. I try to teach this pose with this thought in my mind and remind my students to find their peace in it.

Yoga has given me the amazing gift to practice these concepts both on and off my mat. I will continually strive to become peace both on and off the mat. I know this is better my own health, and the world around me. How many of us don’t want world peace? I would love it if even just my own surrounding world were constantly peaceful. But, how can I expect something out of others, that I am not willing to work at myself?

The yoga pose images are from Yoga By Candace, my favorite yoga blog. Candace gives wonderful, practical and compassionate information about yoga. I highly recommend her site.

2014 in Books-July

1. Shantaram– My husband read this book about one year ago, and said it was one of the best books he ever read. He is much more particular about books that interest him, than I am, so I knew I definitely wanted to read Shantaram. However, it’s nearly 1,000 pages long, and I had a hard time deciding when to make the time commitment to it.

I started this book on the plane back from Europe, and was quickly caught up in the windy story of an Australian escaped prisoner, who begins making a life for himself, in Bombay, India. The story takes so many twists and turns that it quickly captivates the reader. It also gives a pretty amazing tour of Indian and outsider analysis of the culture, that I found very interesting.

The novel is based on a true story. The author did in fact, escape from prison and spend time in India. Much criticism about the book lays in the embellishment of the story and facts. You can read an interesting response the author wrote here.

Embellished, exaggerated or made up, Shantaram still makes for a unique and interesting story. I highly recommend it if you have any interest in the Indian culture.

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2. Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses-This was this month’s pick for my book club. The author goes about telling her life story by choosing a yoga pose, each chapter and relating it to a particular time in her life. Sometimes…that was a little bit of a stretch (poor yoga pun, intended). Every once in awhile you wonder how in the heck this anecdote relates to that certain pose.

The author really started off annoying me. She seemed whiny and approached yoga too goal-oriented and for aesthetics sake. However, eventually, she did begin to approach yoga from a more practical and even spiritual perspective, and the manner in which she describes some of her struggles with anxiety and the need to be perfect, definitely resonated with me, and how yoga has helped me address these issues.

poser 3. The Green and The Red (Le Vert Le Rouge)-This book was sent to me by Ashland Creek Press for FREE for review. This book was about a vegetarian restaurant owner who begins to date a distributor of pork products, and all the drama that can potentially ensue.

The book definitely threw in all the possible cliches that can be heard about vegetarian and vegans, but it was interesting to see them addressed and how the characters dealt with these conflicts. It also brings up the lingering question of should a vegetarian/vegan date a omnivore, and takes the reader through the potentially disastrous scenarios.

I also liked that the book addressed the vegetarian v. vegan conflict. It puts all these taboos out on the table and they are finally worked out in a respectable manner.

This book was a fast read, and overall, very charming. It was nice to read a novel where the main character was a vegetarian.

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30 Day Yoga Challenge: A Recap

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I am really glad I did the 30 day yoga challenge, hosted by Inner Evolution Yoga. I started thinking about the challenge in the middle of February, and was debating back and forth whether or not to participate, because work had been pretty hectic during the last week of February. I am so glad I decided to join the challenge. It seems like once I made up my mind about it, everything fell into place. I definitely learned that when I made yoga a priority everyday, it would somehow fit in my schedule. I often find myself creating reasons why I cannot do yoga, in reality, it can usually be squeezed somewhere in there, in some form.

The numbers breakdown:

  • 7 home practices
  • 23 practices at a yoga studio
  • 1 class at another studio
  • 2 workshops attended
  • 6 restorative practices
  • 6 yin practices
  • 10 hot yoga classes (level 1-2)
  • 2 Beginner’s classes
  • 3 Community classes
  • 1 Partner class
  • 4 pounds lost

The main thing I learned from this challenge was how much I actually need Yin slow, deep stretch classes and Restorative yoga classes. Often times, I would know that on a certain day, a vigorous, flow class was not what my body needed. I would just stay home instead, to “rest.” However, through this challenge, I realized how beneficial it was to still make time for myself and find the benefits in devoting time to stretching, breathing, relaxing and just being. It definitely made a difference in how I handled stress. I felt much more calm and centered.

One of my favorite classes was the Friday night Candlelight Restorative class. I found this to be such a nice way to let the week melt away. It was healthier than relaxing with a bottle of wine (which is how I used to unwind from my week), although I still reserve the right to do that, once in a while.

liberationThe slow, deep stretch classes also helped me open up more in my hips and find freedom in my back. It definitely helped to have those classes to balance out the running I have been doing, to train for the upcoming half-marathon.

I still enjoy the challenge of a flow class, and I have found so much more connection to my mind and body in those classes, but that is not ALL yoga is about for me, anymore. There will always be that part of it, for me, but I am fortunate to be discovering SO much more and I think it is fascinating how I will never stop learning or growing in my practice.

This month I also taught more classes than I ever did before. I generally teach one class per week, but I subbed quite a few classes this month. I was worried that this may drain me or burn me out of the challenge faster. I found the opposite to be true. I found teaching re-energized! There were a few classes I felt tired at the beginning, but by the half-way point, I was completely recharged and felt better when finished. It was such a cool experience to teach different types of classes, at different times.

What’s Next?

I have decided to complete another 30 days! I am committing to do some form of yoga everyday for the month of April. I felt so many benefits in March, and I am not ready to stop!

April gets a little more hectic with work, again, so I will probably be doing a lot more home practices using my new best friend, YogaGlo. I am seriously in love with this site. I love the variety of classes, and how you can select the length of class or teacher of your choice. I kicked off the first day of April with a delicious, Restorative at home class, and plan to keep it up each day of this month.

I look forward to what these next 30 days will bring!

 

30 Day Yoga Challenge-Week 4

30 day

This was my last week of the 30 Day Yoga challenge! I kicked it off with an 11 mile training run, for Run Through Redlands on Sunday morning. I definitely felt a little more fatigue throughout the week, so I tried to balance out taking intense, hot classes, with slower and more relaxing classes.

Day 22-Pranayama and 90 minutes of hot yoga.

Day 23-Yin class. This challenge is really teaching me how much I need yin, and I am coming to embrace it in a new way. I really needed this yin class, after my morning run.  We did both Dragon and Pigeon pose (two poses that I talked about hating, but needing in this post).

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I was shocked to find that I was able to get into both poses much easier than before, and found a little bit of a deeper stretch. It showed me that I need to continue working these poses, because my body definitely needs them.

Day 24-This was my first day back to work after being off on Spring break, for one week, and I kept the momentum going with 90 minutes of hot yoga.

Day 25-I was feeling tired in both my body and mind, so I decided to stay home and do a Restorative practice on YogaGlo.

Day 26-I was incredibly tired this day, and had originally planned to stay for the class that is taught after I teach my Beginner’s. However, half-way through the day, I was dragging so much and decided to do a home practice, and get to sleep early.

My husband and I did a fun partner’s class on YogaGlo, before I headed off to teach. It was actually tons of fun and we plan on doing a whole lot more partner sequences at home. It helps to get into some stretches a little deeper and gives you a different way of relating to your body.

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Day 27-I went to an amazing beginner’s yoga class and refocused on some basics.

Day 28-I was looking for some more work this day, so I did 90 minutes of hot yoga.

Day 29-I did a super fun Inversion workshop, taught by the awesome Leanna. Leanna is a great teacher, who shows you how to work up to inversion poses. She makes them so much less accessible and intimidating and gives options for all levels of students to work towards inverted poses.

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Day 30-I MADE IT! I celebrated with a morning Beginner’s class, then stayed at the studio for the 30 Day Challenge celebration!

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I learned so much this month and saw improvements in my practice in a variety of ways.

My next post will give a recap of my thoughts on these past 30 days.

 

Yoga and Grief

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Today, marks two years since my dad was shot and killed. This is not something I have talked a whole lot about here in this space, it has been a deeply personal, emotional experience and some details will be left only within my family, the part of this that I want to share today is how yoga and meditation have and are helping me through grief, trauma and loss.

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In March 2012, I was participating in Inner Evolution Yoga’s first ever 30 day yoga challenge. This month was pivotal in transforming my yoga practice. It helped me develop a stronger at home practice, find time for yoga in each day and feel the full benefits of a daily practice.

I went to yoga on March 28th, 2012, like I had each other day that month, went home for the evening and fell into a blissful sleep, only to be woken up to find out my dad had been shot. I found out a few hours later, what I already knew instinctively, as soon as I heard the news, he did not make it.

I spent the next hazy hours trying to make sense of the major shift that just occurred from underneath me and coming to the stark realization that I was next of kin and was expected to make some major decisions, and soon. Fortunately, my family was extremely supportive and helpful, and we moved through the arrangement process as smoothly as one can move through something of that magnitude.

I had barely slept, and around 4:00PM on March 29th, I remembered yoga and the 30 day challenge. I was at my mom’s house at the time and said, “I guess I won’t be able to finish the challenge.” My mom looked at me and firmly told me to go, that I needed to continue with it and had done what I could for that day. My mom doing that gave me permission to start a path to healing.

I remember driving up to the yoga studio that evening, and parking in the similar spot I had the night before and realizing how different everything was, from a mere 24 hours before. The whole world had changed around me, and I was a completely, shattered mess. I walked into the studio that day absolutely broken and shaken to my core, and in deep need of healing.

I approached that first class back in a whole different way than I ever had before. I was incredibly vulnerable and completely surrendered to a process I did not quite understand yet, but I trusted. I felt safe at Inner Evolution Yoga. Philip and Sandrine (the owners), plus many of the other instructors have created a safe, loving community, that I felt OK to be vulnerable and broken in. The only thing I felt I had control of that day, was my breath, so I worked on my yoga breathing in a completely different way, than I ever had before. I had never before realized how important that breath was, and I used it to keep me anchored.

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I finished that first 30 day challenge and instead of being stronger, more fit and zen at the end, like I thought I would be, I was in numb disbelief, stressed, shattered and confused.

I needed yoga.

The next few weeks were a blur of funeral arrangements and planning. I went to yoga the morning of my dad’s funeral. I attended the 5:30 AM class and tried to wrap my head around the day I had to face. I continued to use my breath, which was really the ONLY thing I could work on and felt I could control. I completely fell apart as soon as I got in my car to go home. Yoga had opened me up and my emotions spilled out. This was SO incredibly needed after trying to maintain some semblance of strength to accomplish all the planning.

I was able to completely let my emotions bleed through, and then I was ready to face a day I did not think I would see so soon. At 28 years old, I had to eulogize my father. I had to bury him. Falling apart that morning allowed me to garner some inner strength (that came from who knows where) and move through the day with courage. If you have ever had to be a planner of a funeral, you know that the day itself is not about you grieving. It is about keeping a schedule, making sure everything is executed as planned. The funeral is still a bit of a blur in my memory. I remember feeling dizzy and overwhelmed, but trying to keep everything on track.

After the funeral, I knew I needed to face the situation and I knew I could either cope with this mountain of emotions positively, or negatively. I could easily bury my feelings and ignore them. I could drink them away and commiserate or stuff them with fatty foods, as they came up. I will not lie, I did a fair amount of all the above throughout my journey, but, I knew I had to do better. I decided I would not ignore these feelings and situations, but face them, sit with them, breath through them and process.

gained from meditation

Grief became a chore for a while, but one I knew needed to complete, to keep my head and heart healthy. I scheduled times of day to cry, I sat in my meditation corner and used my breath to help me sit with feelings. The first feeling was an overwhelming sense of anger that surrounded me like iron shackles. I am not an angry person by nature, and I wanted to get rid of these unhealthy feelings as quickly as I could. But, I also tried to find peace with this being part of my healing process, and I breathed through the feelings, till eventually, those shackles released.

In the absence that anger left, sadness poured over me, till I nearly drowned. I was frequently weepy, despondent and oh, so sad. I would sometimes get down on myself for this. I like being a fun, good-natured person, and again, this felt foreign. Meditation helped, once again, with sitting with my feelings of sadness.

The sadness still is, and always will be there, but not as prevalent. Currently, I am working through loss. I really came to cherish and need meditation to help me be OK with my current situation. Instead of letting thoughts of “I wish…” “It could’ve…” “If only…” pervade my thinking, like they once did, I begin to meditate more on “It is” and become more accepting of where I am and finding the peace in that.

I used meditation to help me with the nightmares I was experiencing. I was constantly re-enacting my dad’s death in my head, even though I witnessed none of it. The horrifying images I would try to suppress through the day would break through at night. I started avoiding sleeping and was exhausted. I begin bringing those images in while I meditated and practiced breathing through them and finding peace with releasing them from my heart and mind. I did not need them, they were not serving me, forcing my mind into that level of trauma was not doing a service to my dad, he would not want me to go through that and it would ultimately not bring him back. Meditation helped me let that go.

I approached yoga in a whole new manner. I no longer went to class for a good workout. I went to connect deeper with my breath, body, spirit and heart. I went to find peace, even amongst challenging poses, which helped me find peace when I was not on my mat. I go still, again and again to discover myself more and constantly improve.

Yoga gave me the courage and strength to face the road I had to travel, and continue to travel. It helped me find peace, even in turmoil. It helped me be OK with a new reality, and instead of my mind spiraling to a place of anxious suffering (as it is prone to do), meditation and yoga have helped steady it.

Yoga worked for me. I will not pretend like it is the path for everyone to deal with grief and loss, I can only share the benefits, in my own life. I am happy to answer any questions you might have, about how it could potentially benefit you.

My dad was always proud of me. Some days, when I miss that, I remind myself, with assurance in my heart, that he would continue to be proud of the trail I struggle to stay on.

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30 Day Yoga Challenge: Week 3

This third week of a challenge, felt much less like a challenge, and much more like yoga was apart of my daily routine. This is exactly what I was looking for.

I know a big part of that can be attributed to the fact that I was on Spring Break from work, and off the whole week. I had all the time I wanted to incorporate yoga into my daily schedule and I absolutely loved it.

I was also extremely fortunate this week to substitute a few classes and have the unique experience of teaching other classes, on different days.

Day 15-I first attended the Pranayama (breath work and meditation) class, then stayed for 90 minutes of Level 1-2.

I had not attended Pranayama class since I did my teacher training, over the summer. I meditate at home, in the morning, before my work day begins. I NEED this time to set up my day with positive intentions. However, I forgot the powerful dynamic that comes from doing this in a group setting and being inspired by other people’s energy. It definitely reminded me to attend more.

I then stayed to teach the Community class. It was a morning filled with yoga and I would not have had it any other way.

Day 16-I started off the morning by teaching the Community class, followed by teaching Beginner’s class. I enjoyed both immensely, and it was great to teach on a different day, with a different group of yogis.

I was scheduled to teach a Level 1-2 class later in the afternoon, so in between, I did my own restorative practice alone. It was an interesting experience to have the whole studio to myself. I was able to relax, restore and renew my soul.

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After my restorative practice, I was energized to teach again. It was a completely blissful day, I felt so grateful to be able to revel in yoga.

Day 17-This was my first “official” day of Spring break. I subbed another 90 minute Level 1-2 class and finally begin to unwind and get into vacation mode. I was considering doing a more vigorous class for my own practice, but decided to keep it mellow and attend the restorative candlelight class, in the evening. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to practice.

Day 18-I attended the Community Yoga class. I love this class, it is a step above Beginner’s yoga class. There is an emphasis on the basics and cues are given to remind you of correct alignment in poses. It is just challenging enough, while still restful and relaxing.

Day 19-I taught my Beginner’s class, then stayed for 90 minutes of Level 1-2.

We are working towards a 5 minute plank, by the end of the 30 days. We did forearm plank pose for 3 minutes and even from my knees I found it a HUGE challenge.

I found this picture on pinterest, and it pretty much sums it up…

plank

Day 20-We had an overnight backpacking trip planned and were leaving pretty early in the morning to drive out to the trail.

I woke up extra early, and did a YogaGlo class. YogaGlo is definitely a new obsession. It is an online database of a variety of classes. I love the diverse selection and already have quite a few classes queued to try out. On this morning, I did a 60 minute yin class geared at stretching the hips and low back. It was exactly what I needed to prepare for a day of hiking with a heavy pack.

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Day 21-We hiked back in the morning, and made it to our car by early afternoon. After a quick stop to Native Foods (which was soooo appreciated and savored!), we drove the few hours through traffic back home.

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Native Chicken Wings

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Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger

Luckily, we were back in time to shower and nap, and still make it to the restorative candlelight class. I have been bringing essential oil with me to class. My current favorite is the Tranquility blend by Aura Cacia. I rub a little under my nose before class and I feel like it brings deeper relaxation and serenity.

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Do you use essential oils for anything?

Yoga and Running

I was initially drawn to yoga because I thought it would help me become a better runner and counter act some of the damage that running was having on my body. It did both of those things,…and so much more! Yoga helped me realize, eventually, that I was very attached to running and sought out races and medals to feed my ego (I blogged a little about that here). I am still working on finding a healthy balance with my running.

However, yoga truly did help me with my running, particularly with working through injuries I was experiencing.

Some of the best poses I have found helpful as a runner are below. Please understand, I nearly despise ALL these poses. They are confrontational and uncomfortable, mostly because these are the parts of my body that hurt the most. However, I know it is important not to shy away from poses that make you confront those scared parts of yourself. I work in these poses to BREATHE and calm my mind, to sit through the discomfort and modify as needed.

1) Foot stretch: This pose helped me so much with plantar fasciatis. It’s done by curling your toes under and sitting back on your ankles. It looks easy enough, but pretty soon it starts to become pretty intense! I used to have to come out of it after a few breaths, but have been able to hold it much longer, lately. I try to remember to do this pose before and after each run.

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2) Ankle stretch: Similar to the previous pose, this is a small movement that looks easy, but quickly catches up with you. It gives a nice stretch to the front of the feet and shins, an area that does not often get stretched. A big thank-you to one of my favorite teachers, Lisa, for introducing me to this pose!

Place the feet completely flat on the mat and sit back on the ankles. Slowly, lift up the knees. 

100_1566This is another one I have to come in and out of, but it has really helped with shin splints and ankle pain.

3) Dragon pose: This is typically a pose done in yin class, that is held for 5-8 minutes, on each side. Anytime it is cued, I audibly groan and have to psyche myself up for it. I am working on having a better attitude towards this pose. 

This pose is a DEEP hip opener and reminds me how tight my hips and lower back are. I utilize lots of props in this pose to help me out. A good description of this pose can be found here.

100_1568The legs are set up in a deep, low lunge, with the foot walked out to be wider than hips width, and you sink into your hips to slowly get a nice stretch.

I always place a folded blanket under my planted knee, since I have so much knee sensitivity. I also bring my elbows to blocks, since I cannot sink low enough to plant my forearms on the mat.

As much as I hate to admit it, this pose really helps me out after a run, to avoid lower back and hip pain.

4) Pigeon pose: I find people love or hate this pose, and I fall into the latter category. It’s another one that makes me face my tight hips and try to slowly stretch them. I try to hold this pose for about 5 minutes after I run, to stretch out any tension that may have developed.

Your leg is bent and attempting lay parallel with the front of your mat (mine is not quite there yet). Working to keep your hips level, you begin to sink into the appropriate depth to find a good stretch, but not hate your life.

I take advantage of all props in this pose, as well. I use the blanket under my knee and sometimes, a block under my thigh, if it feels like I can use the extra support (I do not always take this option, it depends on the day and the side, my right is a little more flexible than my left). I also use a bolster to prop myself up, since I am still working on the flexibility to get all the way to the floor.

100_1570Do you have any other yoga poses that help runners?

 

 

 

30 Day Yoga Challenge: Week 2

30 day

The challenge is now well underway, and today marks the half way point. This week, I really battled fatigue. I felt like I could not get enough rest and was a little….off. I  think it may have been getting adjusted to daylight savings time, or fighting off some sickness that never broke through, but kept trying. Either way, it definitely added another component to the challenge that I needed to be aware of.

Day 8-I visited the Yoga Collective, in Venice Beach and had the privilege of practicing next to a friend I have known since I was a kid. This added such a nice element to my practice and elevated the class to a new level of positivity.

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It was interesting to take a class at another studio. I was able to pick up some new cues from the instructor and see a few poses from a new perspective.

Day 9-This was the day the time changed and I was confused the whole day! Soon enough, it was time for yin class and I made the mistake of drinking a chai tea about an hour before. I am pretty sensitive to caffeine since giving up coffee, so this was a huge error in judgement. It made holding poses that much more difficult and calming my mind even more of a challenge.

More than anything in this challenge, I am starting to appreciate yin. I initially came to yoga all for the yang portions, the power, heated classes and to grow strong. I still love this part of yoga but have come to appreciate and NEED the whole other side to it.

Day 10-I was fortunate enough that my schedule allowed me to take my absolute favorite class, the 5:30 AM Morning Power Hour class. I absolutely love practicing first thing in the morning, and often do, at home, but it was great to start the day surrounded by others’ positive energy.

13166844335_cdf2c880b3_oDay 11-I made it to Community class with one of my favorite instructors! The Community classes are donation based and I love that my studio offers them! It gives everyone a chance to try yoga and the donations are given to local charities.

I was super excited to wear my new Notorious B.I.G. leggings that my sister picked up for me!

13166976163_03f5b028de_oDay 12-After teaching my Beginner class, I stayed to take the 90 minute Level 1-2 class. My energy had slowly been waning throughout the day, and after teaching my own class, I was wiped out. I spent quite a bit of that Level 1-2 class in child’s pose. I came home, chugged my pineapple, orange and carrot juice (too tired to whip up much else) and went to bed!

13166981553_7037ecac7a_oDay 13-My energy was still pretty low! I did not complete my scheduled run for the day and dragged myself to Beginner’s Yoga. My family came with me, which helped. I love practicing alongside these guys:

13166984893_674a85fa13_oDay 14-This was my last day of work before Spring Break! It ended off a busy week, and I decided to treat myself with a massage!

The stars all seemed to align when I was able to get the perfect massage appointment right after work. The universe had other plans for me though, as I walked out to my car and found my tire completely flat!

When I finally made it home, I settled into a home restorative practice. It definitely helped wash away all the franticness and stress of my week. This is now the second Friday in a row that I have done restorative yoga, and I am really appreciating how it ends off my  work week.

13166995103_4474914c16_oI am now officially on Spring Break and will hopefully, get caught up on rest and fight the last of this fatigue! I have quite a few classes I am subbing for in the next few days and I really look forward to the new experiences and perspectives.