Monday, May 6, 2013

May Yoga Challenge

 It is the beginning to a new month so it seems like as good a time as ever to start a new goal. I always find those random monthly challenges on peoples blogs and pinterest half way through the month and say I am going to do one, so here we go.

With my weird/ long work hours and long commute it is very hard to make it to many of the classes I try to get to, so I have been trying to be better about working out on my own. It does not work out, especially with some people (etc) hindering my practice.

I renewed my subscription and have a bunch of new classes to try, so I have no excuses.

One dilemma I do see is that I do not want to dedicate all of my workout time to yoga. Yoga is great in so many ways. It is wonderful physically in that it helps to make you stronger and more flexible, and in many variations it gives a good cardio workout.
Mentally it does even more, teaching how to bend and not break, learning how to fall down and get back up, focus on breathing, and clearing the mind.

All that being said, if all I do is yoga, the next time I try to lift weights or go for a run, I am seriously struggling so I do want to keep this even.

My goals for May will be:

  • Do yoga at least 30 minutes/ 5 times a week
  • Do at least one other type of workout a week
  • Continue to walk at least 5 miles a day (per Fitbit!)
  • Be less reactive 
    • I am a known nagger and I know I tend to fly off the handle over little things at times. I am working on being less reactive to external cues and maintaining a calm demeanor. 
Here is what I have done so far! 

I am not including Sunday-Tuesday as they were still April. I did not technically do any working out on those days, but I was teaching CPR at work, as well as my regular job, so I had a rough, long couple of days to start the week, thus by Wednesday I was all about centering and breathing! 

Wednesday May 1st:
I like to do the classes at least twice before I review them so that I can get a better opinion of them, since sometimes I dislike classes purely because I am not in the mood for them, so I have very few reviews on 

I found this class to be very engaging and intense. It was definitely at least intermediate level, but had some great modifications. The arm balancing sequence did go a bit fast.

Thursday May 2nd:

This was my first Hatha yoga class. I was always under the perception the Hatha yoga was "easy." Since I was sore and exhausted from a long week. I wanted something gentle and relaxing. Albeit, it was relaxing, this class was not easy and hardly gentle! It was definitely different from the vinyasa yoga I usually do, as it was much slower paced. However, it was much deeper. All of the poses were held for several breathes. This particular class also included quite a few challenging poses. Again, there were many modifications available so they were all attainable in some fashion but I think it was just such as awakening to what I always pictured Hatha yoga to be! 

Friday May 3rd:
Friday I was wearing a shirt that was particularly unflattering to my midsection and I went home feeling lardy. I decided I needed more of a cardio/toning workout, so I did Jillian Michaels, Ripped in 30 (week 4 workout). I am pretty sure she must be one of the most cursed women in America. She is fabulous and effective, but while she is telling you what to do, several bad names tend to come out of my mouth. I love these workouts, they are quick and definitely effective. I do get annoyed that she tends to give modifications for everything except for the things I can't do! I have a bad left knee that tends to crack and give out on a regular basis, so anything that involves a lot of leg impact or jumping is a struggle. During on of her moves that i just could not do she said "This does not get a modification! Anyone can do it!" Not to be super PC, but there are always things that some people cannot do, and stating otherwise can certainly damper ones spirits. 

Saturday May 4th: - Rockin Bhakti: Complete Practice  - This was a great, well paced, challenging class. It was a great combination of hip opening, stretching, balancing and some arm balances. 

Sunday May 5th: Solar Flow #1 Power Vinyasa Yoga  Once we returned to Gloucester, Jordan had to leave for a photoshoot, so I was home alone on a gorgeous day. It was colder than I might have like it, but it was so sunny and pretty out, I had to be outside. This was my first real attempt at doing yoga outdoors! At first I set my yoga mat up in the grass, but I think our grass is too long and I kept sinking into much so I tried skipping the mat and just doing it on the grass, but then I kept winding up in divots. I eventually moved to the cement near our pool on the mat where I could still get a great view of nature, the grass and the ocean in the distance, but I was on some firmer ground. As with the others, this class had a great flow with some challenging postures. I find all of the classes are manageable with modifications, but I like hearing and *trying* some of the tougher apex poses to at least know what I am working up to. 
One of the apex poses in this series was hurdler pose which I had never come across in any of my classes.  I can safetly say, mine looked very far from the picture below- but now at least I know what I am aiming for!  It was so nice to do yoga outside. I am looking forward to more practices in the sun! 
Hurdler pose

I had ordered a Zumba video through a google deal back in March, and I was getting very impatient for its arrival. Finally it came on Saturday! I was relatively tired after my yoga class, and walking the dog, but I really wanted to test out the video, so I did part of the introduction video. I skipped the very basic intro video since I do have some Zumba experience and didn't feel like going through the step by step approach. The one I tested out was called "Zumba Activate" A 45 minute video with basic moves to music. I only made it through about  ~30 minutes, mostly because Jordan kept coming out of his office and laughing at me, but so far I like it! The moves were easy enough to follow, but still enough motion to get a sweat going. Unfortunately despite my best attempts my hips do not move with a quarter of as much Latin flare as the instructors! 

Monday May 6th:
I have an appointment to give platelets this afternoon, so I knew if I was going to get some yoga in I should do it before work. That being said, I already get up at 5 am, so the idea of getting up much earlier to do yoga did not seem to appealing, so I met myself half way and did - Sun Salutation Workshop   This was a 30 minute workshop, so it was some yoga, but nothing too extreme. Overall, today will mostly be a rest day. My body is sore from all of my downward dogging!  The workshop was good, it broke down all of the elements of the sun salutation and really made me focus on what my body should be doing during all of them and ensured proper alignment. I have gone through that general flow so many times, but it is very easy to do it wrong especially when I get focused on keeping up with the class. Since I am so sore, it was a nice treat to stay in the postures longer than usual. 

Doing yoga first thing in the morning also made me realize how tight my hamstrings really get! I always knew they were tight but it was so weird having gone from the day before being able to touch my hands to the floor to 12 hours later barely being able to get them to my shins. It looks like some morning stretching may need to be in my future. 

I haven't given platelets/ blood since March. I tried to give the first week of April but my iron was low. Then I got sick (which may have been why my iron was low.) Once I was feeling better, the Boston Marathon bombing happened and there was overwhelming support of people giving blood! I was unable to get an appointment! Which, all things considered, is a pretty good problem to have.  The people of Boston really came together and gave whatever they could after this tragedy. Thankfully almost everyone is out of the hospital now, though many have a very long road of recovery. I hope some of the people who became first time blood donors and platelet donors keep up their awesome work! 

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