Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge (Day 7)

My first week finished. Woohoo!

Today’s workout was a hip opener, which I was really looking forward to, because I think my lower back issues are at least partially related to tightness in my hips. I have spent years working at various desk jobs, and my general lack of activity hasn’t helped.

I’ll be honest, there were not a lot of poses in this workout that I could actually get into, or even attempt. I have a hard time with a lot of poses that require me to be on all fours, because I get some pretty extreme, burning pain in my right knee when I kneel on it. Also, a lot of the poses were brand new to me. I know I’m still a beginner, but I only recognized about 20-30% of the poses in this workout. I am looking forward to returning to this sequence, once I’ve gained a little more yoga experience.


Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge (Day 6)

After squeezing in 2 days’ worth of workouts yesterday, I was thrilled to see that today’s workout was all seated. In a chair.

It was a shoulder opening workout. And, even though it was seated, my upper back feels like it got a lot of work, and my shoulders do, in fact, feel more open.

Gabby (my cat) even joined me in today’s workout.


Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge (Day 5)

I actually had enough energy, this evening, to do a second yoga workout and get back on track for my 21 day challenge.

This workout was focused on the core. It was very basic and simple but surprisingly effective at targeting the core muscle groups. I was wishing during the workout that I hadn’t eaten dinner, yet. (I usually don’t eat that close to a workout; but, I made it through.)

I was not able to do some of the poses–particularly, some of the poses in which we were on our bellies, as well as the bridge pose. I still get excruciating pain in my very low back. But, after all, that’s why I’m doing yoga now, isn’t it?

Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge (Day 4)

You might have noticed that this post was due yesterday. It was. But I didn’t do any yoga yesterday. I probably could have found the time to do it, but I think I was a little afraid of the workout, frankly. Most of these daily challenges have only been about 20 minutes, but this workout was almost 36 minutes long. And, it was all standing poses.

Luckily for me, this process is not about perfection but about progress. So, I won’t beat myself up about missing yesterday’s workout. I’ll just accept my fear for what it was and strive harder to overcome it, next time.

The good news: I was much better at maintaining my balance in tree pose than I have ever been. This was especially exciting for me, because I am able to start seeing the results of my workouts.

Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge (Day 3)

I apparently slept 9 hours last night, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t toss and turn as much as I normally do. In fact, I slept so hard, for so long, that my back was incredibly stiff and sore this morning. It took me a while to feel like dragging my ass out of bed. Imagine my reaction when I read the description of Day 3 of the yoga challenge:  “If sleep is a time of rest and repair, then why do we feel so stiff and creaky in the morning? You can try figuring that out, or you can try this practice, designed to banish stiffness and creakiness and awaken the whole body.”

The sequence started out with some side bends and spine twists, then moved on to several sun salutations, and finished in a few standing poses (Warrior II, Triangle). Day 3’s workout was definitely just what I needed this morning. I didn’t exactly feel like it was a “beginner” workout, but I modified the poses myself and made it through. Now, I’m feeling much better than before I started.

Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge (Day 2)

Just finished Day Two of the 21-Day Challenge. It was fun. It actually required the use of a block. I don’t remember the name of the pose, but I felt like I was going to fall over the entire time. The woman in the video said something about how the pose was meant to teach us not to take ourselves too seriously. Ain’t that the truth!

Mean Green Juice Machine

Yesterday I watched two fantastic documentaries. The first was “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead,” and the second was “Hungry for Change.”

“Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” was about an Australian man named Joe Cross, who went on a 60 day juice fast, while traveling across America. Joe was overweight and had an auto-immune condition called Urticaria (basically, chronic and uncontrollable hives–I can’t even imagine it). After the 60 days, he had dropped a lot of weight and was able to reduce or go off of a lot of the steroid medications he had been taking to manage his Urticaria. Along the way, he shared his message about juicing and getting off of processed foods, and he actually helped an overweight trucker named Phil Staples, who experienced a remarkable transformation, by going on a juice fast. The film is available for streaming on Netflix. I highly recommend it.

Once I finished watching FS&ND, Netflix wanted to recommend a number of similar movies (of course). I had heard of “Hungry for Change” and decided to watch it next. I heard about this movie through Jon Gabriel, who is one of the featured interviewees in the film. His evening visualization/meditation is something I listen to every night, without fail. I fall asleep to it, and I am convinced that it is helping me to realign my emotional and mental attachments to foods and to being overweight.

The gist of “Hungry for Change” is that the American food supply is toxic and filled with chemicals that our bodies have never evolved to thrive on. So, instead of going on one diet after another to lose weight, we should be focusing on feeding our bodies what they genuinely need; then, they will heal themselves and find a healthy balance.

This is what I have been striving for. One of the best recommendations in the film is not to allow yourself to get into the mindset of “I want it, but I CAN’T have it,” but instead, to maintain the mindset of “I can have it, but I don’t WANT it.” One way to move toward a healthier relationship with food, and to properly feed our bodies is to find ways to get the “good” foods (real, organic, whole, etc.) into our bodies, and crowd out the “bad” foods (fast food, junk food, sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc.). So, they also recommend adding fresh vegetable juices.

I’d like to point out that they aren’t suggesting that we should drink high-glycemic fruit juices, like orange juice (particularly if it’s been packaged and pasteurized), but that we should drink fresh juices from lots of leafy green vegetables and from a broad spectrum of vegetables (think, every color of the rainbow). Several years ago, I had gotten a Jack LaLanne juicer, because I was going to try a juice fast. Ha! That lasted all of about one morning, but I kept the juicer; I’m glad I did.

I don’t plan on going on a 60 day juice fast, because I know that I am likely to feel deprived and unlikely to stick with it, especially since I am cooking most of Lauren’s meals. I still believe I need to eat a variety of foods, from all 3 macronutrient groups (protein, fat, and carbs), but I also know I need to be better about getting vitally important micronutrients (which I can get in abundance from a variety of vegetable juices).

Yesterday, I went out and got a bunch of organic vegetables, with the intention of drinking a Mean Green Juice this morning. Here’s what went into it:

photo 1 (Kale, celery, parsley, cucumber, 1/2 lemon, 2 granny smith apples, and some ginger.)

And, here’s what it looked like:

photo 2

It was quite tasty. About 30 minutes after drinking it, I had my goat milk kefir and a cup of coffee. It’s now been a couple of hours, and I still feel great. I feel like I have energy, but I don’t feel stuffed. It’s the perfect feeling to have before doing some yoga.


Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge (Day 1)

Part of my journey toward healing has included yoga, although, I haven’t been able to implement a regular (daily) practice. So far, I’ve been able to get to SBCC, once or twice a week, for a 30 minute yoga session. I’ve also got a yoga DVD with about 3 or 4 different workouts on it, but I’m already getting bored of doing the same workout even every other day.

One thing I’ve been doing to try to get and stay motivated is read Yoga Journal. I’ve got it on my iPad, which is an awesome way to read any magazine, in my opinion. Yesterday, I came across this little snippet in the “Connect With Us” section of the magazine:

“Do you ever find yourself thinking, after a really great yoga session, “I know I would feel amazing if I did this every day?” If so, you should try Yoga Journal’s 21-Day Challenge! This free program of expert asana instruction and inspiration is designed to help you create (and maintain) a daily home yoga practice. Check it out!

Boy, did that sound like exactly what I’d been searching for! I immediately signed up for the Beginner version, and I received my first email this morning. I got out the yoga mat and started the first day’s sequence around 11:00 AM, this morning. It felt great. It wasn’t too difficult. It wasn’t very challenging, either, but that’s just fine for me. For right now.

I need to find ways to move my body that won’t cause me more pain, particularly in my low back. I know that yoga is ultimately going to be one of the best things I can do for myself. Here was today’s workout.

I’m committed to doing each day’s workout, every day, for the next 21 days. Cheers!

Feeding My Soul

My big plans today included a trip to Santa Barbara (a 30-40 minute drive) to attend a yoga class on campus and get another hour closer to satisfying my PE requirement. I gave myself plenty of time and even remembered to bring my yoga mat and yoga blocks, just in case.

It was a pleasant drive up to campus–it usually is, and I was able to find a parking space with little trouble (a generally stressful affair). After a few minutes relaxing in the car, I got ready to go into the gym, when I realized I had not brought my student ID card. Without my ID, I would not be able to get in or participate in the yoga session.

Major bummer. There’s nothing much more annoying than a wasted trip, so I decided to transform my forgetfulness into an opportunity. The next best thing to being in a yoga class, for me, is sitting at Himalaya (my favorite Indian food restaurant), listening to the sounds of India.

So, here I sit, eating my 4 (out of 5 spicy) Chicken Tikka Masala. It feeds and nurtures my soul. I can stretch out on the yoga mat, later at home, but in the meantime, I get to have this:


New Water, New Ice

For the longest time I have been dreaming of having a reverse osmosis system installed in the house. About 6 or 8 months ago, we had an inline filter installed that vastly improved the taste and odor (ew!) of our tap water. Bathing and showering conditions were much improved, but I still didn’t really want to drink it.

A couple years ago I had gotten an Ecolo Blue Atmospheric Water Generator. Yes, that’s really what it sounds like. The AWG removes moisture (humidity) from the air and purifies that water for drinking. Fantastic!

The problem with the Ecolo is that it rarely produces enough water to satisfy our needs. (We play football; yes, women can, and do, play full-contact tackle football.) Especially during the winter months, there is just insufficient moisture in the air to keep up with our demand for pure drinking water.

For a few months now (at least) we’ve been buying bottled water. I hate the waste and cost of having to do that. So, when it came time to replace the filters in the Ecolo, it was also about time to replace the filters in the inline house system.

Rather than go through the expense and effort of replacing the Ecolo filters, I called the plumber and inquired about installing an RO system, and subsequently feeding that water supply to the ice maker, which had never been hooked up.

This would also give me a virtually unlimited purified water source to use in all of my home fermentation projects.

Well, today I am thrilled to report that this work was finally completed yesterday. I just heard another tray of ice fall in the freezer. And smiled.

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