Category Archives: work outs

Yoga and Verbal Behavior

I’m about to nerd out hard on you guys!

Basically, I’ve been super busy lately and haven’t had any time to cook, eat healthy, workout or anything for myself really. Which is fine, because this is the life I chose and it’s only for one more year. I can do it!

Ever since I moved to L.A. I’ve had a hard time relaxing. My mind is whirring a million miles a minute. I have too many places to go, too many things to do and it never ends. I have at least 3 “organizing” apps on my phone and computer with variations of my “to do list”, not counting my calendar!

All this is a new development. Until last year, I lived in a small, slow surfer town. I worked 8-4:30 Mon-Fri and had the rest of my life to myself. Not that I used my time wisely. But I could have if I wanted to. In Santa Cruz my yoga practice began, grew and flourished. I finally learned what it was like to “be in the moment”, forgetting time while you breathe and move. Repetitive movements and rhythmic breathing can lift you up and let your heart sing.

Until it can’t. And you can’t. And your mind is stuck in a loop. You want to relax, but you can’t stop thinking about everything you have to do! Ever! No matter how hard you work out or how hard you zen, you just can’t get to that moment.

Every time I try to practice yoga, my mind gets into a flurry and I can’t stop thinking of how I’m supposed to be relaxing. Then I feel like a failure for not relaxing right! As if I need that stress, right? At this point even thinking about practicing is aversive for me because I know I just won’t be able to do it.
Then I did something brave. I emailed a professor about my problem (it tied into the last few weeks of class and she’s into yoga) and she wrote me back and totally helped me out!

She explained that in moving, starting a new job and a new school I’ve been training my brain to engage in more verbal behavior all the time. New places, tons of reading, new responsibilities and a LOT more driving! So of course it makes sense that now, when I try, I can’t put my inner monologue on hold. I’ve been training myself to do more, think more, notice more for the last year!

She gave me some good advice that I’ve been following and I think it’s going to help me get back to my practice. I’m forgetting about yoga, and practicing meditation. I put on some nature sounds, lay on the floor with my feet flat, hands on my stomach and breathe in and out, pushing my stomach in and out as much as I can with each breath. I have a saying I repeat (a mantra), it can be different each time or the same. I repeat it to myself while breathing. If I catch myself thinking about something else, I start counting. If I catch myself thinking about something else while counting, I switch back to my mantra. I set a timer for 5 minutes and that’s all I’ve been doing.

It’s the best advice anyone could have given me. I’m relaxing more, a little bit at a time. I’m retraining my brain to relax and stop engaging in constant inner verbal monologues. And since the time is so short, it’s super easy which makes me feel confident and successful! It’s a small victory but a victory nonetheless. A lesson that sometimes, when the task is too hard you need to cut back your expectations!

I will gradually increase my time, then bring yoga practice back into my life when I’m ready. I have to give myself time to shape my private verbal behavior back to where I need to be!

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Crying in savasana

You know when you see your ex, and its like “ugh barf what did I ever SEE in that person anyways?”, but then you start to spend some time with them, and slowly it starts coming back.  Soon enough you’ve talked yourself into believing that you should definitely get back into a relationship with them and probably move in. I think I’m going through that right now with Santa Cruz.  It’s only been a year since we moved, but it was a long hard year.  We’ve grown a lot, but this is home. It feels awkward and a little sad and wistful to be here again. What if we never left? Would we be happier? The answer is probably no, but my heart wants me to pack it in and run for home.
All this was running through my mind when I joined my long time friend for yoga practice tonight.  The room was hot and stuffy (why didn’t she tell me it was heated? I HATE hot yoga! Mostly just sweating buckets in front of strangers).  There was a moment when I thought I might be sick, but then a breeze came from somewhere and saved my life.  I kept up with a level 2-3 class after only practicing by myself for over a year!  My friend is a true yogi.  She can do all the crazy poses and binds! Normally I would be jealous of her for her amazing body, but tonight I was just proud. Of her and me.  My body kept up pretty well!
Savasana finally came and I couldn’t stop thinking about everything.  I couldn’t let my thoughts go. Tears started rolling down my cheeks and my nose got all stuffed up.  I couldn’t hold it in and I was full on crying, in yoga class! Embarassing but powerful. I guess there is a heart chakra and you can open it.  And when you open it, you never know what’s going to come poring out.  Ugh, keep that shit closed please. Hold it together, jojo!
I think I just need more time away from Santa Cruz to get a better perspective on the place it holds in my life. I don’t think we should get back together until I have time to grow into who I need to become.  It is nice to know I can always come back, if I need to. But I don’t think I will.  I think we’re growing apart.
Then we went to cafe gratitude that has really annoying and condescending names for their food, like a rice bowl called “i am grateful” (it’s priced at only 7$, so poor people can eat healthy too.  But make sure they’re grateful!) But it was a delicious vegan healthy dinner that was super filling and made me feel good about my life. I had these tacos with black beans, brown rice, and guac.

Then we had delicious raw “nuggets” for dessert, made with fruit and nuts and stuff!
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Amazing. And, despite the condescending hippiness of the menu, I am grateful for everything that transpired tonight. Namaste!

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Hike/Run Henry Cowell State Park

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If you need any more reason than the above photo to start hiking/running TODAY, I don’t know how to help you! I am making an effort to stay active on our week long vacay, so I wanted to go on a run this a.m. I’m so happy my  boyfriend wanted to go on a run with me.   I was going to drive all the way into Santa Cruz, but he informed me that there was a fairly flat hiking trail only 5 minutes away that we could run!

Running on the trails is way different from running on asphalt or even sand.  It’s hard in some spots, and super silty in others.  There are rocks and tree roots hiding under the path waiting to grab your ankle and twist it!  But it is a really great way to challenge yourself.  Sure, we walked quite a bit.  But it was a great work out and we felt awesome jogging through the shady forest, next to a calm beautiful creek.  Way better than the crowded beach run I had planned!

Running with someone else is a challenge in itself.  Especially when that someone likes to run circles around you, leap and bound like a gazelle, and generally show off at how much better at running he is than you.  It’s very motivating to try and keep up!    When I was running, I ran much faster than I usually do.  When I wanted to turn around, we kept going.  When I wanted to walk the rest of the way, I had to keep running so I wouldn’t get left in the dust!

If you want to run/walk at Henry Cowell State Park, off the Hwy 9 in Santa Cruz, you can park outside of the entrance for free.  Walk in and go right on the first trail after the bridge.  You can stay on the trail next to the creek or go on the asphalt that runs alongside.  Even today on a really nice Sunday, it wasn’t too crowded!  Highly suggest it!  There are other great hikes in Santa Cruz but this one is easy to get to, easy to find, and fairly flat for the first few miles (a plus in my beginner runner’s book).

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Run #2…keep it going.

 

So, went for run (jog) # 2 today!  Wanted to go to Huntington, but on the way decided to stop by seal beach to see if it was a good spot to run, a little closer to home.  Well, as you can tell by my route I had a little trouble finding a good place to go.  I like HB because it’s a straight, paved path right next to the beach that goes on for a while.  Seal beach doesn’t really have that, so I ended up walking a bit and then just running on the sidewalks in the neighborhood right next to the beach!  Which was actually just fine.  It was pretty, and flat, and fairly empty which I liked.  The houses were amazing! I want to move there! haha yeah right.

It was really hard at first but got easier at the end.  I ran four 5 minute intervals, walking 2 minutes (more in the first one because I was kind of lost in a parking lot) between. The last interval I did 6 minutes just to make myself.  Then I did a 1 minute sprint!  I wanted to do one more, but then I was over it.  Walked back to my car and stopped to do some stretching on some grass in a mini park.  Overall, it was a good run.  Unfortunately, now I am starting to feel the familiar ache of the runner’s nemesis, SHIN SPLINTS!  GRRRRR I HATE SHIN SPLINTS!  So I am icing, stretching, and relaxing.

I really need to find somewhere to run closer to home.  I live in a pretty sketchy neighborhood and don’t feel comfortable running around here by myself really.  I know myself and when it’s crunch time (aka I’m working 40 + hours and doing school full time! Soon! I don’t want it to come back!) I won’t have the time/energy/motivation to drive 20 minutes each way for a run.  I guess I do need to get out of my comfort zone, but also I don’t want to run in the hood.  There I said it.  So til next time, I’ll be icing my shins and drinking lots of water! It’s freaking hot!

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why you should lead your own yoga practice

ImageWell, it’s awesome!

I’ve been doing yoga for about 6 years, I think.  Sometimes I like classes, sometimes they are way too distracting!  Like that guy that grunts in every pose, or that lady that rolls around on the floor and doesn’t really follow along at all.  I guess these people are just added bonus for your practice: you have to train your mind to let them go.  You have to find your flow no matter what is happening around you.

Since I moved, I haven’t been attending any classes.  In Santa Cruz I was lucky to have a friend that taught the most amazing Warrior Yoga classes and really couldn’t get behind any other class.  Now that I’m in school full time and working full time, and pretty broke (loans!), I don’t have the 100$ + it costs to join a studio.  I’ve mostly been doing podcasts at home (did you know you can download free yoga classes on iTunes? because you should).  I especially like “All the way live” by faith hunter.  The perfect mix of power/stretching for me!  If you aren’t familiar with the poses, going to a class is always better.  But if you know your way around the mat, you can just listen to a class for free! With no weird guy grunting to distract you!

Tonight I decided to lead my own practice.  This is difficult at first but becomes more and more joyful as you go.  I did 40 minutes today, no problem!  Here are some benefits of being your own yoga teacher.

  • You can focus on the muscles you want to stretch/strengthen
  • You can hold a pose (or not) for as long as you want
  • You can explore different transitions and learn how to “go with the flow”
  • You can improve your practice by testing your memory of vinyasas (flows)
  • You can make up new ones! Today I went from a wide legged forward bend and hopped back to chataranga!  Crazy!

Overall, if you want to expand your practice, I highly recommend it.  The hardest part for me is thinking of how to transition to my next pose.

Today I started with some breathing, then stretched my neck and hips.  I went into some cat/cow, then right into a few sun salutations!  I moved through those a few times, then went on to a “B” series of warrior 1, 2, peaceful warrior, side angle, triangle, twists, and dancer pose!  Then I stretched on the floor and really worked on opening my hips.  I tried to work on my splits but they still hurt so bad!

Oh yeah, since originally I started this blog to help me with my weight loss, I guess I’ll talk about my eating too.  Today I stayed (mostly) within my calories, and feel more in control.  My clients gave me some pasta and garlic bread for lunch (whoops), and then they brought delicious Porto’s to clinic!  I slipped and had 1 dulce de leche kiss cookie.  Dinner was light and I didn’t eat carbs (skinny rules coming soon).  I think today was pretty good!

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first run in over a year!

I did it!  I went to HB and ran for the first time in over a year!  I was actually better than I thought!  Pretty slow (obviously) but I ran for over 7 minutes without stopping right off the bat!  That’s pretty good for me, when I started running a few years ago I started with the run one minute, walk one minute plan.  Today I ran for 7, walked 2, ran 5, walked 3, ran 5, and then walked back to my car.  Didn’t make it into the water for a swim because there was a big rip tide and the lifeguards kept running into the water to haul people out.

 

My legs are super sore, but I feel great!  I got that runners high and I feel really strong and proud.  I might be slow, but hey, for me this counts as a win!

 

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Kettlebell cardio shred!

Work out today: Bob Harper Kettlebell cardio shred video.

Usually I do workout videos because I don’t have a gym membership and when left to my own devices, I wouldn’t work out very hard at all!  I invested in a kettle bell and a few workout videos.  I try to mix it up and sometimes swap moves just to keep it new and fresh.  Honestly, I usually do workouts while watching tv because it keeps my mind off of the time and watching the clock.  I totally miss having a gym membership and the options that come with it (classes, pool, machines, HOT TUB!).  Right now I don’t have one because I haven’t found a gym I like that’s close enough to my house that I would actually go.  It’s a luxury some people take for granted!  We checked out LA fitness that is maybe 10 minutes away, but it was kind of nasty.  Old machines, dirty locker room etc.  Plus I don’t really like the set up of everybody watching every body.  And the hot tub was co-ed! no thanks!  Anyways, for now I am working out at home which is more convenient for me.  Less response effort means I will be more likely to engage in the response! Hurray!

 

The Bob Harper DVD is pretty intense.  Tons of kettlebell swings, cleans, presses etc.  Cardio intervals of high knees, burpees, and yes, even more swings.  Lots of lunges with the kettle bell and even more! The video finishes with a pretty standard set of ab exercises: Crunches, twists and bicycles.   

I’m working on my form.  Kettlebells can really hurt you if you don’t use them correctly.  I learned this the hard way when I first tried them and immediately pulled my back!  I suggest taking it slow, and watching lots of tutorials on youtube and any other videos you can find before starting.  Even so, all the swings usually hurt my lower back.  Today, I concentrated on keeping my back straight and tightening my abs when I came back up. I also tried to completely ignore my arms and only focus on my lower half.  Seems like it worked because my back’s not sore!
After, bonus yoga stretches! 2 sun salutations, plus a couple minutes of pigeon pose on each side.  Then I tried to work on my splits but it hurt real bad!  Think I need to warm up my hips more before going into the splits.

Overall, a good workout! Hard at first and I was really tired.  I probably should have eaten some protein first!  Tomorrow: I think I’ll try to go for a run and swim at huntington beach!

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