Tag Archives: yoga

Learning to Like Yoga

12 Nov
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My trusty yoga mat – maybe I’m also learning to tolerate it because Adam used it to propose. He’s a tricky one.

Yoga and I have long been sworn enemies.

“Wait, I just have to stand there holding that position?!  Where is the cardio?  Where is the high intensity?  I’m bored.  Are we done yet?”

“Hmm, so you’re telling me that I need to just relax and sit there?  And  empty my mind?  How the heck do I do that!?”

and…

“I’m expected to hold positions called ‘downward facing dog’ and ‘tree’ and take this whole thing seriously?  Yoga people are in la-la loosey goosey land”

All of these thoughts have crossed my mind about yoga at one point or another. For many years I had a flat out yoga boycott. “It’s stupid and touchy feely, therefore I will not do it.”  That seemed to be enough for me.  I happily avoided yoga, pursuing other fitness endeavors including running, zumba, or the elliptical. But within the last year, something within me has changed: I have learned to appreciate yoga.  This has been a conscious effort and it hasn’t been without work!  It’s a huge step and honestly, I’m not that upset about it :)  These are some of the reasons I wanted to ‘learn to like’ yoga:

  • It is very complimentary to high intensity fitness.  Doing yoga on my “off” days is perfect.  It allows me to remain active and workout, without too much wear and tear on my body.  I use it for days off from both running or lifting.
  • It can be refreshing.  Once you understand it and know some basics, it can feel very refreshing when you’re done. It took me about 6-8 months to feel ‘refreshed,’ but eventually it happened.
  • I am injured.  Yeah, between my knees and now my ankle, I wanted a form of fitness that I can do despite injury or age.  Yoga rarely irritates my knees.  Yoga FTW.
  • Increased flexibility which helps other things.  Whether it’s running or dancing, increased flexibility can have a positive effect on performance.  I have really enjoyed the new flexibility gained.  Makes me feel less “old” :)
  • I feel like yoga is helping me have a more ‘well rounded approach’ to caring for my body.  Instead of focusing on burning calories and high intensity, I’m giving my body a little love by forcing myself to slow down, stretch, and smell the roses.   All things I need!
  • I can’t run so I need something where I can ‘zone out’ – after months and months finally yoga is that for me.

So how did I do it?  How did I force myself to learn to like yoga?  Well, first of all… it takes time.  And in my case, lots of time.  I didn’t expect it to happen overnight, and frankly I had very low expectations for even liking it at all.  Here’s what I did.

How I Learned to Like Yoga

  1. Start with a DVD.  I started doing yoga out of the comfort of my own home.  I didn’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed in front of a bunch of yogis.  I didn’t have to worry about not knowing what the heck to do.  And for me, this method was perfect.  I could watch the DVD and learn on my own schedule and timing (conveniently could pause it if I needed more time to study a move).  The DVD got me familiar with the lingo and ‘language’ of yoga.  Heck, it even allowed me to laugh out loud at some of the ‘silly phrases’ that can come along with yoga.  What can I say, I’m mature.
  2. Start with a routine.  I did yoga every Thursday.  I just knew it was my yoga day and dang it if it was scheduled, I was going to do it.  I did the DVD as a rotation of other workouts so I was in the habit of working out every day and yoga was just the next one in line.
  3. Mentally prepare for it.  Starting about Wednesday morning I had to start ‘talking myself into yoga’ so I’d be ready by Thursday morning (and wouldn’t press the snooze button).  I would give myself the expectation that I was going to do it and think about all the reasons why I wanted to do it (distress, stretch, flexibility, stamina, mental health). Self talk can be a powerful thing!
  4. Start small.  P90X has a yoga DVD that is 90 minutes long. NINETY MINUTES!  Well knowing my hatred of yoga I knew that just wasn’t a smart way to get me to do it.  Adam and I found a yoga DVD that had 6 different segments that averaged 20 minutes long.  We could do anywhere from 20-60 minutes by combining different segments instead of 90 minutes.  This was my gateway to yoga.
  5. Get a mat.  Making a small financial investment in yoga made me feel more invested ‘in my practice.’ I guess I would liken it to runners buying their first pair of ‘real’ running shoes… just makes you feel like a runner.
  6. Be patient and kind to yourself.  Holy cow those first few weeks months of yoga were frustrating.  I felt like I literally couldn’t do anything. I tried to be kind to myself and constantly reminded myself that this was a journey that would take awhile and benefits would come.  They may take forever, but they’d come.  It took a lot of positive self talk (remembering the why) to get me to return.
  7. Have an accountability partner.  When I first started yoga I had Adam to encourage me to keep going.  And I could encourage him on the days he felt less than enthused.  Now that I’m out of the hating phase, I don’t need one as much – but it was incredibly helpful during those first few months.
  8. Take a class.  When you finally feel ‘ready’ – take a class!  Just a few weeks ago I took my first yoga class after about a year of doing yoga at home.  It was awesome!  I could understand what was going on and while I’m by no means great at yoga, I felt competent at least attempting most of the moves.  In the class I learned more proper technique for some moves and it was very beneficial.

So there you have it – my recipe for success.  I still don’t ‘love’ yoga, but I’ve made huge strides. This morning I voluntarily chose my yoga DVD because I’ve been pretty sore lately due to all the dancing and P90X, and I wanted a low impact workout to take care of my body.  Yep, I wanted to do it.  Crazy things can happen kids.  I guess it’s time to call a truce with my war on yoga.

Hope you’re all having a great week.  Happy Tuesday!

-Kelly

Do you do yoga?  Why?  Any major benefits you enjoy?

Yoga Class and Fun Updates!

9 Oct

Hey Gang!

It’s an exciting day all the way around.  Today I leave to head South for my big brother’s wedding (tear!). I’m thrilled for this weekend and literally just can’t wait to be down with family and friends to celebrate.  It will truly be a magical weekend.  AND…today is my first yoga class! Yep, you heard that correctly! Recently my gym at work started offering fitness classes during lunch and after work.  Talk about score!  Since I can’t run during the lunch hour like I used to, I decided to look into a nice alternative.  And brilliantly enough there are Mon/Wed yoga classes.  Double score.  Before I dive into the exciting events of today, let’s take a look back on the past week!

Visit from Adam!

Remember him?  Yeah, my fiancé was back in town this weekend.  The past two weeks he was on an outpatient rotation that allowed for weekends off.  Can you imagine, two weekends off in a row?!  Gosh, pure heaven.  We had a super productive, yet relaxing weekend.  In terms of wedding things, we finalized our ceremony and music (I LOVE it!), we had a bachelorette dress fashion show (see below), we went to THREE of our premarital requirements (including a half day premarital retreat with other couples), and we worked on printing labels for our invitations.  I have been blissfully giddy with all our productivity.  It is INCREDIBLE how much I love wedding planning when Adam is around, and how much I hate it when he’s away!  It was great to feel wedding-refreshed and really jazzed up about the whole thing.  Wedding planning seems to go in waves of excitement/stress, so this weekend was perfect.

We also had the chance to be fancy people and went on our first date in forever.   We dressed up and I even put on make-up (gasp!) for a visit to the symphony. It was a fantastic show and we really had a wonderful time just going on a date.  So. Much. Fun.

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Oh yes, such fancy people!

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We even had fancy people drinks!

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Funny story about this outfit: we bought it about an hour before our date. Adam forgot his dress clothes in Nashville!

Bachelorette Dress Showdown

My bachelorette party is coming up in a few weeks (crazy it’s so soon!!), so it was time to get more serious about finding a dress. I really hate shopping.  I know, I know, what’s wrong with me!?  Well, let me rephrase that: I hate shopping for specific items that I must find.  If it’s just a casual day roaming, great.  But a marathon day of hunting for every white dress in any store – BAHHH.  Somehow my sister talked me into a bachelorette party in New Orleans.  Yep, you heard that right.  A whole ridiculous weekend.  I have long felt ‘anti’ any big inconvenient weekends for these sorts of events…it somehow felt like an imposition on my friends.  My sister used some pretty good logic to talk me into it though: people won’t come if they don’t want to (true), AND all of my friends are incredibly spread out…meaning 90% of them would have to buy a plane ticket to come to the party no matter where it was, why not give them an awesome tourist destination and perfect weekend getaway.  I followed her logic, so to New Orleans we go!  12 girls will be there in total, so Julie was definitely right that it would be a hit decision!  For many of us, it will be the first time to NOLA :)  So onto the dress dilemma, here are the runner-ups and winner!

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Runner-up! I LOVE this dress, but it was deemed not “bachelorette” enough. My sister wants a real bridal look, and I’m happy to oblige.

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Runner-Up! Adam deemed this dress ‘a bit aggressive.’ Haha. Let’s be honest, it’s a little more risque with the leather skirt and tight fit. The picture doesn’t show off it’s full “aggressiveness.” Back to the store it went…

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Runner-Up! A comfortable dress, but didn’t have much of a wow factor. I ended up wearing this on our symphony date instead ($15.80 at Forever 21, score).

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WINNER! This dress is flappertastic and amazing to move in. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but all the tassels are so fun and flattering when I move. Can’t wait to wear it!

Winery Wedding

So this weekend is my BROTHER’s wedding – and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  I’m heading down early in order to be a slave happy, helper wedding bee.  I am so happy I could take some time off to be there to help get things organized and hopefully reduce stress in any way I can. My sister is flying in from Seattle, my Dad from somewhere (he’s a pilot, haha I don’t know where he is), me from Indy, and my Mom drove down so we’ll have a car for pick-up and errands.  I can’t wait to post pictures next week from the whole weekend.  The wedding is set in a winery, which is the place my brother and his fiancée went on their first weekend getaway.  Aww, so romantic.  They have been working so hard to make it a comfortable, beautiful, and memorable wedding.  I can’t wait to experience it.  Both my sister and I are bridesmaids and I will be singing with Adam in the ceremony.  Should be nice.

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Remember this dress? Time to wear it!

Yoga Benefits and Nerves!

Alright, onto the whole point of this post… my first yoga class.  Well truthfully, I believe this is actually my second yoga class ever, but this will be my first in what I hope is a new regular habit.  With all my dancing and strength training, I really wanted to add in a new activity that will help in flexibility and injury prevention. Especially now that my knee is even worse (don’t want to talk about it :S), I think yoga could be just the ticket.  I brought my own mat from home (yeah, I’m a total yogi) and will head over there around lunch time.  Honestly I’m a bit scared.  I’m so used to the comfort of my own living room to do yoga, and more specifically, the comfort of being ALONE! I’m not incredibly balanced or flexible so I know I will feel a bit silly.  I’m hoping this class will push me, help me have correct form, and make me more confident in my yoga skills. AND the big thing – make me enjoy it.  I’ll be honest, I’ve pretty much always hated yoga.  But I do understand how helpful it is, and over the last year I have learned to like it.  Or is it, tolerate it?  Either way, I know I do feel more relaxed and calm after I finish yoga, I just don’t know how I feel about the actual doing yoga part.  :) If you’re on the fence or just can’t get your mind around yoga, I’d suggest starting with a beginner DVD.  Forcing myself to do it just once a week has been very doable and has eased me into yoga very gently.  To help pump me up for class today I did a little research to find some health benefits of yoga.  Here’s what I found:

Yoga Health Benefits
  • According to the Mayo Clinic, Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood  pressure, and improve heart function (sweet).  And it can be done by almost anyone.
  • The Yoga Health Foundation even goes as far to say it can ease chronic back pain, depression and nerve impulses with diabetic patients.  It also listed something very near and dear to me: asthma and breathing. Several studies have shown increased lung function with regular yoga practice.
  • The Yoga Journal lists myriad benefits including improving blood flow, warding osteoporosis, and improving strength.

And that’s just after a quick google search!  The benefits are there, and I’m looking forward to stepping up my yoga practice from a once a week video to a twice a week class.  I look forward to more variety…  I feel like I’m ready for the next level!  Honestly I always hated yoga because I wasn’t good at it, and because it wasn’t a huge calorie blaster.  But, with my chronic knee pain I want to work out not only for a svelte figure, but for my health and longevity of being active.  I think yoga is a great answer for me.

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Remember, Adam and I got engaged using my Yoga Mat, hopefully those happy thoughts will push me through today :)

Send me your positive vibes as I nervously step into my first class today – I really hope it isn’t too hard and or ‘in touch with my feelings’ for me, fingers crossed I can get some practical yoga ;)

Happy Wednesday and have a great rest of the week!

-Kelly

Sports Bra Engagement

10 May

Happy Friday everyone!  Races, Reps, and Ramblings is going to take a slight pause on fitness-dedicated content for a little engagement story!  If you hate mushy stories or long, detailed posts consider yourself warned!  If you can’t get enough of ’em, read on!

Thursday May 9, 2013, started out like any other morning: bright and early with a workout!  Except because it was a Thursday, it meant one of my favorite workouts to hate: Yoga.  I have a love/hate relationship with Yoga, so I wasn’t particularly thrilled about waking up for it.  I managed to get out of bed and change into some comfy pants and my favorite neon yellow sports bra.  Because my apartment has been so hot lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of just wearing a sports bra to workout.  I thought for a second about grabbing a shirt, but usually with yoga it hangs over my head and kind of drives me crazy.  I went to the bathroom to finish up.  After getting ready I came out to the living room where Adam and I normally do our P90X at-home workout DVDs.  Whoever is ready to workout first earns the job of work-out set-up.   Adam is more of a morning person and is usually ready faster than me, easily winning the coveted ‘setter-upper’ job.  So at this point I was very accustomed to him setting up the computer with the workout, grabbing waters, and setting up other equipment.  Because I was so slow this particular morning I fully expected the room to be totally ready to go.  When I came out from the bathroom, not only was the room  not set up – but Adam was sitting in a chair playing with his phone!  What the heck!?  I made some comment like “dude – goofing around out here?  Why are you playing with your phone?  We need to get moving!”  Yoga is an hour and a half – we were cutting it close!  He went off to the kitchen to grab some water glasses.

I grabbed my yoga mat (conveniently already pulled out of the closet and ready to be unrolled).  I undid the velcro and let the mat unfold.  It took me a few seconds to register that the inside was entirely covered in post-it notes.  Initially I thought maybe I found something I wasn’t supposed to see.  After all it was a Thursday morning – maybe this was meant to be for the weekend?!  I laughed and unrolled it the whole way and read “The top 100 reasons I love you!” at the top of the mat.  Beneath the title were individual post-it notes with a number on the front and a reason Adam loves me on the inside.  We both sat down and I started reading the notes.  I thought that possibly Adam was building up to this weekend (I had suspicions this might be the weekend for a proposal) or perhaps he was being sweet ‘just because.’  No matter the reason, I thoroughly enjoyed reading through his sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but very sincere reasons that he loves me.  We laughed at some of them and I made a few retorts to others.  A few times I paused to kiss him – there were some very sweet words among the post-its and it took awhile to get through all the reasons (100 is a lot!).  He asked me to read them out loud and we enjoyed sharing our many memories and inside jokes together.  As the numbers got higher and the time got later I realized that we’d probably have to significantly cut yoga short (yes, this was a serious concern on my mind!).  I even thought – maybe we could finish the list after yoga… yep, that really went through my head!  It takes me awhile to wake up in the morning – so my mind was still pretty fuzzy. Once we got in the high 80’s I started getting nervous – was this leading up to a proposal?  Could reason 100 say “Will you marry me?”  I kept lifting the notes, steadily increasing my pace at the end.  98…  99…

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I took a deep breath before looking at 100. “Just Because!  Now go open my yoga mat” it read.  Like a kid on a treasure hunt I jumped up and raced to the next clue.  I undid the velcro on Adam’s mat letting it open slowly to the floor.  Out poured dozens of red rose petals, and in the last curl of the mat rested a small brown box.  I lowered the mat below my chin to peek at Adam’s face.  Is this really happening?  Is this what I think it is?  I gave him a look that spelled out my confusion, disbelief, and happiness.  Eventually I bent down and picked up the box.  At some point I started crying and laughing and he took the box from my hands.  Down on one knee he asked me if I would marry him.  I told him a quiet ‘yes’ and he told me ‘say it louder!’ Confused I said ‘Yes! Of course I will marry you.”  I sat down on his knee and gave him a kiss.  My unexpected sitting caused us both to fall over.  We laughed as we fell to the ground and just let the moment sink in.  We chatted for a bit and he asked me “Do you know what date it is?”  I laughed and told him that I didn’t – I had been frantically trying to figure it out in my head (I’m a fan of dates).  He said “It’s 5-9, 5 for you (one of my favorite numbers), and 9 for me (one of his favorite numbers)”  I smiled – it was so thoughtful of him to plan to that level of detail.  After a few minutes he asked, “Do you want to try your ring on?”  I had completely forgotten about the little brown box that he was still holding in his hands.  I eagerly shook my head ‘yes’ and we both sat up to properly put on the ring.  Adam opened the box and I got my first glimpse of the ring.  It was absolutely beautiful!  He took my hand and slid the ring onto my left ring finger.  It was a perfect fit.  The ring was gorgeous: delicate, simple, and sparkly.  I don’t think I could’ve done a better job if I picked it out myself. He picked out the most perfect-for-me ring possible.  I couldn’t stop looking at it!

photo(9)photo(8)Eventually we came out of our dreamy state and I jumped up!  We had to get pictures of the scene!  I took a few snapshots of the post-its and the flowers.  While I was taking pictures Adam told me that behind the workout DVD pulled up on the computer he had been recording the proposal!  I was so happy!  I am a huge fan of recording/photographing things for posterity so was thrilled we’ll have that little keepsake.  Until I realized that for the entire proposal I am wearing my yoga outfit: pants and just a sports bra!  “Adam!!  We can’t show that to our families and friends!”  Adam shrugged and said I was wearing more than a swimsuit would cover – it’s no big deal.  I laughed and realized that I loved it.  He proposed in the perfect way: just us, unconventionally, and he totally caught me off guard!  Plus I love funny stories – now I’ll get to tease him for the rest of our lives that he proposed to me in a neon sports bra.  Hilarious.

Afterwards Adam informed me that we were not going to be doing yoga this morning (bad kids!) and we headed to the kitchen.  He whipped up some chocolate and blueberry pancakes and we both relaxed, enjoying our breakfast together.  Afterwards we took a few minutes and watched the recording of the proposal.  It. Was. Hilarious.  The first part of the video I am barely conscious.  Totally brain-dead.  My voice even sounds exhausted.  Slowly I start waking up as the clip progresses, and it’s so cute to watch it unfold.  The angle isn’t quite perfect because it’s recording from his computer and the audio is a little quiet – but I’m beyond delighted we have a little keepsake of the moment.

We started calling and texting family and friends shortly after, though I was worried people might be concerned something happened!  After all, who calls at 7 am with good news?  A few phone calls were definitely met with some “Well this is unique!” or “That’s interesting!”  I could tell people were a little surprised with the unconventional proposal, but thrilled we’re getting married.  I asked Adam what made him decide this date and time.  “Well, I knew you were suspecting weekends in May, so that was off limits.  I also knew that evening would be a suspect time.  I wanted to pick something you would never suspect.  My criteria: I wanted it to happen soon, be a surprise, and be just the two of us.”  Well – Adam certainly succeeded on all three counts. :)

I went off to work via Adam’s ‘Princess drop-off and pick-up’ with the instruction to be ready at 4:30pm for a surprise evening!  After a day full of lots of concentration and productivity at work (might be a stretch – really… I’m supposed to concentrate after a morning like that?), Adam picked me up.  He was all dressed up and looked so handsome.  He had an umbrella in preparation for the gloomy weather, took my hand, and we started walking downtown around the corner.  A few minutes later we arrived at The Capitol Grille – a very swanky Indy restaurant.  We were fancy people!  Our dinner was absolutely divine and the service was impeccable.  It was very fun to do something so out of the ordinary.  Right on cue, it was pouring when we left, but thankfully we had the umbrella (always prepared that one!) for the walk to the car.  We started driving away from downtown and my curiosity got the better of me: what are we doing and where are we going!?  After about 15 minutes of driving Adam finally let me play 20 questions with him.  After a surprising level of difficulty to figure it out, I realized we were going to see the show “Into the Woods.”  Several of our theatre friends were in the show and we had been talking about going to it for months but never really made it happen.  I was thrilled we had the chance to go!  The show was amazing and it was the perfect ending to an absolutely perfect day.

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This weekend is his graduation from med school, and I’m thrilled that lots of family will be in town to celebrate.  My parents get into town this afternoon, and it will be wonderful to celebrate with them.  I’m extra happy that I decided to buy a new dress for the fancy graduation banquet!  The banquet is a served dinner and open bar event for med students, friends, and family.  It’s a built in celebration for us to share our news with our close group here in Indy.  I asked Adam for more details about the planning of the proposal.  He told me he had lunch with my parents about a month ago (driving 2 hours north to meet them).  He said they had a wonderful lunch and granted him their blessing.  I was so happy Adam made that effort – it means so much to me for them to be included.  He also picked out the ring with his Mom – which is special too because I absolutely love his family and I’m happy they were involved as well!  I’m sure more details will come out over the course of the weekend.  For now I’m just trying to enjoy the time and not get too distracted by the beautiful gift on my finger as I type this!  So there it is… the story of how I got engaged in my sports bra on a Thursday morning all before 8am.

Happy Friday and have an amazing weekend!

-Kelly