Friday, July 30, 2010

Up And At 'Em

I am no good at waking up.  In fact, I am awful at it.  I have great intentions and each day I set my cell phone alarm early (say 5:30 or 6:00)...then dutifully hit the snooze button for an hour.  Bill hates this habit and cannot for the life of him understand why I don't just set my alarm for 6:45 or 7:00am.  But here is the thing, I really want to get up early - I just cannot get my mind and body to cooperate.

A while back - for a few weeks - I was getting up each morning to fit in a 20 minute yoga practice.  And I loved it.  I loved how it felt to be up early and moving.  Once I started attending Revelation regularly, I stopped the getting up.  And I miss it...but I am just so tired in the morning.  I usually get around 7 hours of sleep which I think is pretty good.  I get to bed between 10:00 and 11:00pm  which may seem late but given that I get home around 8:00pm most nights, I think it is reasonable. 

Now, it is not that I never get up early - I would say once every two weeks or so something will go haywire at work and I will have to be at the office at the crack of dawn.  I hate those days and they exhaust me.  Part of me thinks that if I were getting up early everyday, these early work mornings would not be so painful, which is another really good incentive to start dragging my butt out of bed regularly. 

So I need a plan - I really like having a plan.  I recently read this article in Yoga Journal online about how to wake up earlier and I plan to try and follow it...loosely.  Here is the plan:

1)  I should be waking up at 5:30 and not 6:30.  The article suggest waking up 20 minutes before the sun...I'm not sure that that is reasonable given my schedule but I do know that my body actually responds better to waking up at 5:30 than at 6:30am, for whatever reason.   

2) Splash cool water on my face first thing.  I actually did this when I was doing morning yoga and it really helps.

3) Drink warm water with lemon or lime.  Now, I am a coffee drinker.  A serious coffee drinker.  But if I want to practice yoga in the mornings, coffee will be way too harsh on my stomach.  This water and citrus option seems doable.

4)  Scrape my tongue.  I already scrape my tongue.  I'm not sure how this relates to waking up early, but I already do it and its in the article, so yay me.

And thats kind of where I stop.  I do not see myself rubbing sesame oil on my ears or giving myself a massage, per the article.  If I did all these things I would never make it to work on time! 

Does anyone have any early morning tips? 

** Please note, I set my alarm this morning for 5:30am...hit the Snooze button till 6:00am...moved to the couch till 6:45am and then finally got up.  So day 1 of this plan was a big FAIL ***

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Yesterday was a big milestone for me in terms of my yoga practice. Sometimes it is hard to see improvement in something you do regularly.

I was talking to a friend awhile back about yoga and she said “So, can you touch your toes?” And my response was, well, yes. But I have always been able to touch my toes, so that wasn’t really the focus of my physical practice. Which led me to thinking about what was the focus. I have been somewhat vocal on this blog about the mental aspect of practicing yoga, which is truly what keeps me returning to my mat each day (or so). In the beginning though, certainly I had some sort of physical aspiration or focus…There must have been a turning point somewhere when my practice went from external to internal. I cannot, however, remember it for the life of me.

I do remember Downward Dog and how it hurt my wrists and it made my arms ache and I could not for the life of me figure out how it was a resting posture. I remember when I could not get my left arm to cooperate in Eagle. I remember when I could not get my leg past my ankle in Tree. I remember when I thought Dancer was the enemy. I remember when I could not get into a Squat. But I do not remember when I finally made enough progress in these poses that I actually started to enjoy them – it just happened naturally.

As I finished up my New Rules work out yesterday, I noticed that my left wrist was tender. Again. It seems that my left wrist has trouble with repetitive 90 degree angles (such as you find in high plank). And I am pretty positive that this is aggravated by weight lifting. Last night, when I got to Victoria’s class, I knew my wrist was acting up but figured I could eek out the last bit of stability it had before I hit the ‘injured’ phase. And as I started to cringe into my first high-to-low plank I had a major moment…Why was I not listening to my body? What was up with my ego? I immediately got into downward dog and avoided any 90 degree postures for the rest of class. This meant squatting when Victoria said Crow. And getting onto my elbow instead of hand in Side Plank. And using my core to stabilize Side Angle and not my hand. In other words, I modified my practice without having to be told how to.

Physically, this was a milestone for me. I have learned enough about my body, my practice and the basic postures to know how to modify them and still get a satisfying physical workout. In fact, with the focus off my wrist, I was forced to really explore my poses and pay attention to my alignment more so than usual.

So yes, I can touch my toes…but I can also recognize when my body is asking me not to. In yoga, I think that is the point. You get the physical workout no matter what…you will improve in the postures organically with practice. But to learn to listen to your body and not your mind or ego is truly a sign of improvement.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

OpenSky Time!

Has anyone noticed that little clock ticking away on the upper left hand corner of this blog?  That, my blog friends, is the countdown clock to my OpenSky Store! 

What, you ask, is an OpenSky Store?  Here is the deal - OpenSky is a company that facilitates me selling you products that I use and love.  OpenSky's philosophy is that buying from people you know and trust is the best way to shop ... And if you can't trust me, who can you trust?  I hand pick each item in my store so you can be sure its something that has the Run, Lift, Chant, Breathe seal of approval.

What will I be selling?  Stuff that I use!  So when I am carrying on and on about my latest workout or food adventure, and you are thinking "Man, I really love that bag/yoga mat/seasoning, I wish I had it" you will be able to click a link and purchase said item right there.  Yay impulse shopping!

You'll also be able to browse my store directly on the Run, Lift, Chant, Breathe website and you'll get to see my reviews of the products, so if you are interested in an item but don't feel like coughing up the cash right at that moment, you'll be able to find it easily opposed to hunting through archived posts for, say, a random reference to chia seeds.

Heres the other really exciting thing.  My OpenSky store is an opportunity for you to sell stuff too!  You can click here to be an OpenSky Supplier.  If you have a product you think I'd like and you meet the"Supplier" criteria, I'll try it out and see if I agree with you.  If I do, chances are pretty darn good I will sell it in my store.  Yay you!

I have a pretty good idea of some of the items I'll be selling: certain bags, yoga accessories, running gadgets, food products etc.  But what I want to know is, what would you like to see in my store?  I would really love some feedback and ideas on this...after all, I write this blog for you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

All Yoga, All The Time

I realized this weekend that I did not do a yoga post last week...which is astounding considering how much I have been practicing.  When I started this blog I was taking two 1 hour classes a week and trying to fit in 20 minute sessions on the other days...which totaled to about 3 hours or so a week.  Since I took up Revelation Yoga on their one month unlimited plan, I have basically been living in their studio.  Between Victoria's class and the time at Revelation and my limited home practice, I have been practicing about 6 hours a week for the last few weeks.  And this past week I was fortunate enough to attend Shabda Sunday (Sanskrit class), which brought my total practice time this week to 7.5 hours.  Craziness! 

So in case you missed the math there, I have managed to eek out an additional 4 or so hours out of my schedule to practice.  Where did all of this time come from?  Here is a look back at last week with a little discussion of the classes I attended.

Monday I did my New Rules workout during my break and then went to YinYang Gentle Yoga after work.  I am really loving this class.  I have went the last few Monday nights and plan to go again tonight.  It is 90 minutes of slow moving yoga with an emphasis on holding the poses for an extended period of time.  So no, this is not a sweat pouring off you kind of session but my muscles really appreciate the extended stretching and my mind appreciates the calmness of the practice.  It is the perfect start to the work week.

Tuesday I had a networking function after work so I had to miss Victoria's class.  I ran that afternoon for the first time in a long time though, so her class probably would have killed me ...but I would have went anyway.

Wednesday I was unable to take a break at work so no daytime workout.  That night I went to Power Yoga at Revelation.  This class is very similar to Victoria's in format - Vinyasa flow style.  The difference is that the Revelation studio is lightly heated and the class is 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes.  The class itself is tough and I am usually drenched in sweat after. 

Thursday I did my New Rules workout late in the day and really felt that I needed to be home before 8pm for the first time all week, so no yoga.  In theory I could have done a 20 minute (or more) practice when I got home...but I was tired.  So I listened to my body and took the night off.

Friday I went to Victoria's class at break time.  Work has been fairly hectic and I have had to miss this class lately.  It was nice to be back where I started my practice.  We also had some new students in the class...I love new students!  New students mean a different vibe in the room and a (usually much needed) reminder of the basics of some postures.

Saturday I decided to be insanely stupid and I went for a 7:30am run with my sister-in-law Meri followed immediately by the 9:00am Power Yoga class at Revelation.  I warned Kim of my run so that she wouldn't be concerned if I was spending 90 minutes in child's pose.  She gave me a packet of Emergen-C for my water bottle and checked in on my throughout the class.  Now, this is not the first time I have done back to back running and fact, I have done it several times with Victoria's Tuesday night class.  But I haven't done it when its 85 and humid and I haven't done it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  I survived the class. Lets just leave it at that.

Sunday there was no physical yoga practice...there was 2 hours of gardening.  And then there was Sanskrit class - which was great!  Sanskrit class is like physical yoga for the mind and soul.  I have really been practicing my sounds and studying my Sutras.  Jill led a great class and I was finally comfortable enough to ask more questions.  And Karendayal was there, which made it even more fun!  Familiar faces are the best!

So thats it - thats where I found the extra time I didn't know I had.  And it felt like no effort at all.  This is due, in large part, to the fact that Bill is super supportive of my practice and my time on the mat.  I'm talking supportive as in fills and chills my water bottle so I can swing in and grab it on my way to the studio.  Supportive as in makes my dinner while I am practicing and makes sure my favorite shows are recording.  Supportive as in encourages me to go to class instead of pouting because I'm home at 8:30 every night.  Without his support, I seriously doubt I would find all this extra thanks Bill!