Archive | March, 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge – Home Stretch!

28 Mar

I cannot believe it is March 28th already! Time flies when you’re sweating a lot… or something like that.

Last week I missed Thursday and Friday’s classes due to our marriage course and a work function on Friday. It was REALLY strange not being there for two days in a row especially since it’s become so much of my routine / life in the past 28 days. It was a well deserved break though and I could feel myself getting tired and sore leading into mid-week. My 2 day hiatus left me recharged for my double -down weekend.

I got through that fairly easily. Saturday morning classes are always the hardest for me because I don’t get the same time to hydrate as I do for the evening classes.

Today is the day though. I do my first back-to-back classes to make up for missing Friday. I’m slightly terrified but have packed two sets of clothes and will be extra cautious to drink enough water / electrolytes today. Once I get through today (classes 28 and 29) I take tomorrow off and finish up on Friday!

For those who have asked how or if I’m going to keep Bikram Yoga in my life there is no doubt I’m going to continue going. The way I’m able to decompress / de-stress is amazing and so good for my incredibly over-active brain right now. My goal is to continue going twice a week and mix that in with running (because I have found myself missing that this month). Hopefully combining the two will be a great way for me to mix up my workouts and stay healthy!

However, if I’m in a pile on the floor after tonight’s classes I may re-think the answer above 🙂 I kid, I kid.

30 Day Yoga Challenge – 20 Days in the bag!

21 Mar

I can’t believe that I’m done 20 of 30 days of the Bikram Yoga Challenge already! The time has absolutely flown by.

My goal going into this challenge was to push myself out of my comfort zone and kick my butt into gear to make sure I’m feeling really good by the time my wedding day rolls around.

One thing I’ve tried not to do in the last 20 days is weigh myself and I’m really glad I’ve decided to stick to that. Because I haven’t done this much yoga consecutively before I had no way of knowing what it was going to do to my body and therefore couldn’t gauge my success that way. Despite not knowing if I’ve lost or gained any weight through this process I do know that I’m feeling better in my clothes, and have successfully pushed through being sick, having a lot on my plate, and straight up not feeling like working out.

Last weekend was my biggest challenge so far. From Friday to Sunday I had to do 5 classes to make up for the Thursdays I’d missed. Surprisingly doing two classes in a day wasn’t soooo bad. Having a break in between was hugely important because it gave me time to hydrate, and get my mind ready for round 2.

Each and every day both Kristen and Katrina remind you why you’re there and that this isn’t the easiest thing in the world to be doing. That reminder is a lifesaver because as soon as I leave that room the rest of my busy life is waiting for me.

I must also take the 20 day milestone to thank my fiancé for cooking me dinner. Every. Day. He is home at least 2 hours before I’m done class and every day I’ve come home to a great dinner waiting for me. Something tells me I’ve got a 30 day cooking challenge ahead of me when this is done 🙂

So there you have it. 20 days done and only 10 left to go!

30 Day Yoga Challenge – Laughter is the best medicine

16 Mar

This week has been exceptionally challenging. I got a cold last weekend (as I previously whined about) that I can’t seem to shake. Doctors always tell you to stay well hydrated when you’re not feeling so hot, but it’s always harder than it sounds, especially when you just don’t feel like drinking anything.

So needless to say I haven’t felt well hydrated this week which paired with my lack of energy made getting to class incredibly tough.

I have also noticed this week though that my focus was completely off making poses that I felt like I was getting better at go backwards a couple of steps. I still haven’t had to take a break from any of the poses during class, but I had to blow my nose far too many times to keep breathing which is distracting to myself and to others in the class.

I must say that when I was there, besides feeling thirstier than normal, classes were not unbearable, and when I was done I felt much better for going.

Despite a tougher week, we had a hilarious breakthrough in the change-room after class on Wednesday night. One of the girls in class who I always find to be incredibly stoic and good at Bikram Yoga and I started chatting about what we eat before class. She told me she has to wait until after class to eat dinner because by the time she gets to cobra she feels like she will “throw up in her mouth” otherwise. We all lost it laughing because we have all felt the same way. 

We exchanged gross stories for a few minutes and all had a really good laugh. It was a great way to end class because everyone felt a lot more human to me. We go through these classes in silence, and then we’re so sweaty by the time it’s over you’re in no mood for chatting it up and making new friends, so you have no idea the struggles that another person might be having in class even if they make it look effortless.

As I move into the 16th of the month I have only completed 13 classes because of missing Thursdays for our marriage prep course. So this weekend I’ll need to double down on classes which will be a challenge for sure. I will report back when the weekend is through!

30 Day Yoga Challenge – Update!

11 Mar

I am happy to say that I have successfully made it through the first 10 days of the 30 day yoga challenge! Being 1/3 of the way there doesn’t seem like much but it’s been quite a ride this week.

I’ve decided to track a little bit of each day so I can remember what I was doing / how I was feeling on a particular day because otherwise they blend all together!

Day 5 – The day I wore a cotton shirt. Big mistake. They tell you to wear as little as you can when doing hot yoga. I’ve sported a variety of shorts and breathable sports tops to ensure that I’m well equipped to stay as temperature controlled as possible. Cotton is not nearly as breathable as any sort of lyrca or Lululemon top and I thought I would keel over in a sweat overdose. Never again cotton shirt. Never again. This was my only hurdle that day though, I left the class feeling positive and energized. Just what I needed to feel to get me through watching “The Bachelor, The Women Tell All.” But that’s a different blog post.

Day 6 – We’ve had a guest teacher from Montreal this week named “Luna” and I cannot say enough good things about her. Coming from work you need time to decompress and wind down and by the time class is over I feel like I’ve closed the loop on the day and have been able to reflect more than normal. Which is great considering I’m very lucky to have a lot of good things going on in my life right now and sometimes life gets to busy to do that. Class today didn’t feel too challenging and I’m finding that I’m getting better as postures as each class goes on.

Day 7 – I felt really ready to go to to class today. I’m feeling like I’m hydrating enough during the day that I’m not as desperate for water breaks as I was when I started. I’m able to actually enjoy the relaxation poses as they come and can clear my mind much more easily. No complaints about today. When your head isn’t convincing you you’re not going to have a good class it turns out you’ll likely have a good class.  Fancy that!

Thursday – I had to take today off because our marriage prep course started today. Yes. I take a lot on. I must admit it was a nice break but I did find myself missing the routine of going to class.

Day 8 – To say I was tired today was an understatement. I feel like everyone around me is fighting a cold and I think it’s starting to wear on me. Surprisingly I had a good class and got some encouraging words from Luna after about my improvements. I cannot stress how nice this was to hear after I felt like such garbage going in.

Day 9 – No complaints again today. I felt well rested and strong going into class. Saturday mornings are always tricky for me because I haven’t had the day to hydrate and eat properly to get me ready. But a couple of eggs and some water seemed to do the trick before class. But I’m really noticing that my flexibility is increasing and I my body is starting to change. Pretty excited to see where this will go!

Day 10 – I’ve been looking forward to day 10 because for some reason I’ve got it in my mind that I’ve reached some major milestone. I have no idea if things get easier or harder from here but I think it’s at least something that I’ve made it this far. I am defiantly not feeling great today and made it through class by the skin of my teeth. After a good Sunday nap I’m feeling better rested and hopefully tomorrow will bring better health!

Ok that’s it for now! I promise to write more frequently in my new daily diary format. Are any of you doing the daily challenge? I’d love to hear how you’re doing!

KONY and the Backlash

8 Mar

If you’re reading this post, I’m assuming you have access to the internet, which means I can also safely assume that by now you’ve watched (or at least heard of) Kony 2012 – the virulent online video from an organization called Invisible Children. As quickly as the video spread, so too spread an outcry of people entreating their friends/social media associates to do their research before they jumped on the bandwagon.

Well aware of the vast amount of untruth that exists on the internet, the first thing I did when I saw the Kony 2012 video was google Joseph Kony.  Yup, I will admit it. In spite of my education and so-called social awareness, I had never heard of Joseph Kony before. As I’m inherently programmed to be skeptical of everything I read online, I even considered that maybe this was an elaborate theatrical trailer for an upcoming blockbuster.  But Google rarely fails me, and in this case it returned the fact that Joseph Kony is indeed a real person, and he is indeed a bad man who has been responsible for many unspeakable crimes. So I did it. I became one of those people. I shared the link.

I subsequently visited the website for Visible Children (created by Acadia student Grant Oyston – who incidentally is now receiving several hundred emails per hour) which contains some information on The Invisible Children charity. Most damningly, it notes that last year the organization spent more than $8.5 million and only 32% of that went to direct services, with most going to staff salaries, travel, film production, etc. It also states that Invisible Children is in favor of direct military intervention and that they are supporters of the Sudan and Ugandan armies, which have both had multiple accusations of rape and looting.  A quick turn around various foreign policy websites also reveals that Joseph Kony is probably not in Uganda anymore and hasn’t been for quite some time. The thought crossed my mind that I had posted too soon with too little background information, and I ruminated on possibly deleting the post. But then I thought, in spite of the imperfections of the genesis of the message, what would be the reason to NOT share the video? Why would I NOT want someone to see this? Who loses if more people see this video?

Over the past day, some doubts have definitely been raised about Invisible Children and their mission and fund distribution practices.  I think that the creation of that video was probably quite expensive and I’d be interested to see its actual price-tag.  I’ll also concede that the creators were  a bit too preachy for my own liking, and the incorporation of little Gavin was certainly on the gimmicky side. But still, I’m left with the thought that yesterday morning there were not that many people who knew the name Joseph Kony.  I could (and still can) name all the Kardashians, the entire cast of Harry Potter, and all of the Spice Girls, but I had never heard of Joseph Kony before, and I’ll admit that’s kind of embarrassing. Now, according to YouTube, the views are over 20 million. So that’s 20 million more people who now know something about an issue that they may have been oblivious to yesterday.

They said at the start of the video, the aim was to raise awareness and test the effectiveness of social media, and on that front they’re pretty much kicking ass. I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place without warlords and child soldiers and any form of slavery, and if people have ideas about how to stop these things it’s at least worth hearing the ideas. I’m not saying the Invisible Children charity is perfect, and I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t donate to this cause.  But I do think that you should take the video for what it is (a masterful piece of viral marketing, if nothing else), learn both sides of the story, and think about the awareness it raised. Maybe that will motivate you to donate to Invisible Children or to another charity, or maybe you’ll delete the link and express your outrage that everyone is jumping on the charity-du-jour bandwagon, or maybe do some more research on how to help child soldiers, or contemplate how ethical it is for the director of any charity to take home a hefty salary. But regardless of your stance on the video, it did at least one thing – it raised awareness about an issue and an area of the world that gets too little attention. And that’s enough for me to keep the link up.

This post was written by Leslie, and does not represent the views of all members of ThisNeedsToStop.

30 Day Challenge – The First 4 Days

5 Mar

Sunday marked the completion of Day 4 of the 30 Day Yoga Challenge. So far I’m just proud of myself for pushing through this. I don’t typically work out on the weekends and so it’s been different adjusting my routine. It’s easy to have a lazy Sunday but I found it especially hard to pull myself off the couch and go to class. But I’m glad I did!

The classes itself are amazing. Don’t get me wrong – by the time we get to triangle pose I’m cursing myself and wondering what I signed up for. But It’s incredible what you are able to push yourself through in class and the next thing you know you are doing your last pose and despite being pretty tired feel like you’ve accomplished a lot.

The hardest part of this so far though is remembering all the things you need to do to stay hydrated and healthy while you go through this.

So here are some of my learnings so far!

1) Stay hydrated. Seriously. Kristin recommends coconut water. Some people LOVE coconut water, and sadly I am not one of them but I have continued to drink it from time to time to keep my electrolytes up.

2) Plan ahead – These classes are 90 minutes so figure out the best way to work them into your schedule. I’m finding this a bit tricky right now as I’m working, about to start a marriage prep course, but it’s been well worth juggling my schedule around for.

3) Don’t be too hard on yourself. The day brings a lot of things and so you likely won’t have the same experience in the room twice. So take each bad day with a grain of salt.

4) Smile – It’s amazing how much better I feel in class if I remember to do this.

So overall I’d say I’m off to a good start regardless of the mental barrier I experience from time to time before I go to class. I will check back in a couple of days and we’ll see how I’m keeping it together!