Category Archives: Fitness/Health

Book Review: Salad Love

Salad Love

Salads take the spotlight in this visually arresting cookbook that showcases a year’s worth of weekday recipes so exciting you’ll want to eat salads every day.

At the request of his co-workers who were constantly admiring his lunches, David Bez started the photo-driven blog Salad Pride, embarking on a year-long challenge to create one new salad every day. The blog instantly gained popularity for its creative salads that require no special cooking skills. The cookbook Salad Love pairs his vibrant photographs with accompanying recipes arranged around seasonal produce.

Recipes include Egg, Asparagus, Croutons, and Pecorino for Spring; Crabmeat, Avocado, Nori, and Cucumber for Summer; Kale, Raspberries, and Blackberries for Fall; and Manchego, Dried Apricots, Fennel, and Radicchio for Winter. Many salads in the book require only a cutting board and a knife, so lunches can be made fresh at your desk. With an emphasis on fresh, whole foods, and innovative flavor combinations, these salads truly excite and inspire.

Review

I’ve had this book for a while now, and am just now getting around to reviewing it. Oh, I’ve looked at it – about 15 times, to be exact. Truth is, I’m a little overwhelmed at all the amazing salad goodness in its pages.

I like salads well enough, but I’m not the sort of person who can eat a salad as a meal and not be A) ravenously hungry 20 minutes later, B) super grumpy, or C) both. And I sort of get in salad ruts….I mean, there’s only so many days you can eat a chicken-cucumber-mushroom-romaine salad before you’re ready to pull your hair out.

Enter Salad Love, a gorgeous book full of 260ish DIFFERENT salad recipes. Holy Batman that’s a lot of salads.

I’ve got to say, this book is gorgeous. I mean, beautiful. Each salad is photographed in a plain white bowl, on a plain white backdrop, and it’s just insane how much more appetizing the food looks. If it weren’t a book, you could almost cut out the pages and frame them in your kitchen they’re that pretty. I appreciate that, because let’s be honest….does anyone really get excited about recipes unless there’s a picture? (That’s why Pinterest is taking over the world, friends.)

The salads (I don’t really think calling them recipes is right) are grouped by season – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Each salad within a section uses seasonal ingredients, so the Fall and Winter salads have a lot more of your root vegetables and hardy greens, and Spring and Summer have a lot of berries and fruits. There are options for vegan, vegetarian, and raw dieters. Each salad is fairly simple, and most have fewer than 5 or 6 ingredients. Bez offers suggestions for serving sizes, but really makes the point that it’s up to you how much you eat. His goal was to give you variety, not put you on a diet.

Another thing to mention is that not all of these salads have lettuce. There are pasta salads, couscous salads, quinoa salads, zucchini ribbon salads, and yes, plenty of “greens” salads.

I have to admit that I haven’t actually made an entire salad from the book. That said, I’ve used a lot of the various ingredients and sort of mixed and matched. For instance, I never considered putting cottage cheese on my salad before, but it’s actually really really good. Same with roasted sweet potatoes.

Even though I haven’t made one of Bez’s conceptions, I’m really enjoying this book. It’s making me think of salad in a whole new way, and helping me get out of the dreaded salad drudgery. This one is quickly becoming a staple in my kitchen!

You can pick up a copy on Amazon for about $17. Definitely worth it!

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. 

February Goals (and January progress!)

Hellllllllo friends!!

Can you believe it’s already February???

I still have my Christmas decorations up. Whoops.

Granted, it’s only a 3 foot tall fiber optic tree, a couple strands of lights, and a plaque…but still. I probably ought to take them down. Will I get Valentine’s decor up?

Mmmmm….probably not. But that’s ok.

So here we are in January, which means another month of goals. I don’t know that I ever shared my January goals with you, so let’s talk about that first. Last month, I decided I was going to drink 64 ounces of water every day, and do yoga every day. Yoga fell by the wayside after about 3 days, because I was struggling to get my water in, and by the time I got it all down I felt like a balloon. BUT – I’m proud to report that I got my water in every day, with the exception of the 3 days I was sick. So I’m counting this as a win.

Not gonna lie, it was tough. The first few weeks, I wanted to give up.

Someone asked me how I stay motivated day after day to complete these self-imposed challenges… It’s funny, really. It’s not so much motivation as it is stubbornness. See, I’m fine for the first 3 to 5 days. Motivation is high. I’ve got a goal, I’ve got a plan, and I’m going to make positive changes. Then along about the week mark, I’m tired. I’m lazy. I don’t want to do my challenge. But I’ve already done a week, and if I stop, all that will have been for nothing. (not really true, but that’s how my mind works). So I keep going. And then it’s 2 weeks down, and suddenly I’m halfway there, and it’d be silly to stop. So I keep going.  And then it’s 3 weeks down, and suddenly I’m enjoying myself. I like what I’m doing, I feel better, and I feel proud. And let’s face it, there’s a week left and I’m not a wimp and I refuse to be a quitter. So I keep going. And then it’s a month down, and suddenly the challenge is a habit and a new month is starting.

And that, friends, is how you knock out a challenge.

You just keep going.

You find whatever humble, arrogant, honorable, selfish, selfless, vain reason you can, and you refuse to give in to yourself. You beat your challenge, but you also beat your excuses. You silence that annoying voice telling you you can’t, and you do.

Because it doesn’t matter why, it doesn’t matter how, it doesn’t matter if people think you’re an inspiration or insane… All that matters is you find whatever it takes to get through one more day.

So I got through my water challenge. And you know what? Water isn’t such a big deal anymore. Am I going to keep trying for 64 ounces every day? No. I’m dropping down to 32, because I realized that fruits, vegetables, and other things count towards keeping you hydrated, and that regardless I’m doing better than I was. It’s easier to drink water now, and though I don’t really feel any different, I know it’s good for me. So yay for water!!!

I’ve got no clue what I want to give myself as a reward, so I think I’m just going to take a dollar for every day I got my water in, and put it in a jar until I think of something I really want.

As for February, I’ve got three things I want to work on this month. Number one is bringing back my fitness challenge. 15 minutes of exercise a day. No limits, no excuses. Just moving.

I also want to organize and clean up my craft room, and sell my Saturn. Well, no, I don’t want to sell my Saturn, but she’s been sitting in my driveway for a year, and that’s just cruel. She needs a little work, but more importantly she needs love and attention and someone to take her home. That’ll be hard…she was my first car, and I’m just a smidge attached. Why have I let her languish in the driveway? Because it took me a year to realize that letting her sit was worse than selling her.

In other fun news, I feel like we haven’t talked in forever. Maybe because we haven’t. My fault, I know.

I FINALLY bought a freezer, which is super exciting. I also finally broke down and bought some Pura Vida bracelets. And I’m finally ready to share Montana pictures with you, so there’s that to look forward to. I’ve got a few other ideas rolling around too, so here’s a promise – I’ll be more present in February.

What did you accomplish last month? What are you working towards this month?

Today is Lung Leavin' Day!

Lung Leavin' Day 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Cameron St. James about writing a blog post on Lung Leavin’ Day. His wife, Heather, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma 9 years ago. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer, and Heather’s type was in her lungs. Her doctors told her she had 15 months to live. She’d just given birth to her daughter.

Mesothelioma is pretty horrific (not that other cancers aren’t). Most cases are related to asbestos exposure, though not always. It’s not always treatable, though early detection makes a big difference.

Remember that awful first job I had where I got fired? It was actually for a lawyer who worked on mesothelioma cases. I’d never heard of it before that job, but I learned a lot about it in a few short months. Enough to know that when doctors give a prognosis, they’re usually right. Which made Heather’s story even more inspiring.

As part of her treatment, one of Heather’s lungs was removed. She was terrified, so her sister declared surgery day Lung Leavin’ Day. Today, 9 years after her diagnosis, Heather is alive and well and mesothelioma-free. Take that, cancer!

To celebrate her survival, Heather, her family, and people around the world celebrate Lung Leavin’ Day on February 2nd. The day is all about overcoming fears. They get together, write their fears on a plate, and smash them in a fire. The event is used as a fundraiser, and to raise awareness of mesothelioma.

Those of you who’ve been around for a while know that part of my Fearless Creative journey was about getting to where I wanted to be – which includes overcoming some fears of my own. Thankfully, I haven’t had anything quite so terrifying as debilitating illness, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that scare the living daylights out of me.

So today, I’m smashing a plate too. My plate says….

I’m afraid of holding myself back. 

What are you going to let go of on Lung Leavin’ Day?

Read more about Lung Leavin’ Day and Heather here!

Racing for a Cure: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in women, and the second cause of cancer deaths. But it’s not just a women’s issue – every year, around 2,000 men will be diagnosed, and 400 of them will die.

Last year, my good friend’s father was diagnosed with breast cancer the week before her wedding. They caught it early, and he’s cancer-free, thankfully. He was lucky enough to have a physician who trusted his instinct that something wasn’t quite right with the test results.

Kristin has always supported breast cancer research, and in addition to her dad, has two other female survivors in her family. This year she asked me to join her in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k, so at the crack of dawn this past Saturday I found myself driving to her house for my first-ever breast cancer event.

It’s not that I’ve never been a supporter of breast cancer research – I am. I think what the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the countless others are doing is amazing, I really do. Breast cancer is so prevalent, and it absolutely deserves to be supported. But, we all have limited resources, and must choose which causes to devote our time, energy, and money to. Breast cancer research has always been a lower priority for me. To be honest, I agreed to do the race because I wanted to support Kristin, and not because of a change in charitable priorities. Regardless, I’m happy to have helped.

RFTC KnoxvilleWe got there early enough to watch the sun rise, which was quite an experience. I was feeling all artsy-fartsy, and managed to snap this picture of the Sunsphere, that I’m super proud of. See the moon??!!

Knoxville Sunsphere at DawnWe also got free coffee, which made me so happy I had to take a picture of it too.  Bless you, Starbucks.

RFTC StarbucksWe had a lot of time to kill because we got there so early, but we didn’t mind. It gave us a chance to show off our shoes (the louder the better, AMIRIGHT?), take selfies, and meet the local fauna.

RFTC Kicks

Casey and Kristin at RFTC

I am so doing this to Zoe

I am so doing this to Zoe

As a newbie, I had to be schooled in Race for the Cure ways. The white shirts are for supporters. The pink shirts are for survivors. I think it’s a brilliant idea…after all, seeing so many people in pink shirts suddenly takes breast cancer from the realm of “yeah I know that’s out there” to “wow, this is real…and these people are real.” It was so amazing, and so inspiring, and so humbling to see just how many people have survived breast cancer.

And it wasn’t just the survivors in the pink shirts that were inspiring. A good half (probably more) of the supporters were racing in memory or celebration of someone touched by breast cancer. Reading these signs was surreal. Some had pictures. Some had just one name, or one word: Mom. Some had “my best friend.” Many had multiple names. And then there was Kristin’s.

Honoring Family RFTCWe walked the race, and I was blown away by the number of people there. All ages, all walks of life, showed up to support breast cancer research. At the finish line, survivors are sent to a separate line. They’re escorted by men in tuxes, and given a rose, and everyone cheers for them. (We did wonder what they did for the men, as there weren’t any ladies in ball gowns to escort them!) I’ll admit I got a little teary.

Whether you’re young or old, male or female, please educate yourself on breast cancer. Know the risks. Know YOUR risks, because everyone is different. Learn to do a self-check, and DO THEM. (None of us like them, but they’re important.) And next time you meet a cancer survivor – whether breast or not – congratulate them, for they are fearless and heroic and deserve to be celebrated.

Love this infographic from Online Nursing Programs

Love this infographic from Online Nursing Programs

 

I Survived a Month of Hot Yoga

Since September was National Yoga Month, I decided to try something new with my yoga routine. I found a place that did hot yoga and signed up for a 30-day membership. As many classes as I wanted, for $40. I figured if I went 4 times, it’d be worth it. (It’s a bit of a drive for me.)

I hadn’t heard much about hot yoga, so I didn’t have a lot of expectations. That said, when I entered the studio the first time, I was worried it would be a trendy place where everyone was skinny… and snobby. I was prepared to be the biggest person there. I was prepared to be in the worst shape. I was prepared to feel judged, or worse, snubbed.

I wasn’t.

From the moment I walked in, I realized I’d been worried about nothing. The staff were welcoming and helpful. The people waiting for the class were friendly. I wasn’t the skinniest and I wasn’t the largest. I wasn’t in the best shape nor was I in the worst shape. Though to be honest, I couldn’t tell you what anyone else’s practice looked like. The first instructor told us not to feel ashamed if we couldn’t do something… that nobody in there should care.  So we didn’t.

I walked into my first class and my first thought was… wow it’s hot in here. I left thinking the class wasn’t what I’d expected but I enjoyed it.

I walked out of my second class thinking that was how a yoga class was supposed to feel. We walked in a room full of strangers, but in class we were all the same. I felt bonded with the people in that room, even though I didn’t say a word to them. Amazing how yoga brings people together.

Doing yoga in that kind of heat definitely takes some getting used to. It’s a whole new experience to be dripping… literally dripping…. You’re incredibly thirsty when you leave, though an unexpected side effect is that the only food that sounds appetizing is salad. Or juice. I begged Jimmie for Kool-aid after that second class.

I wasn’t sure what to expect for my third class. Turned out, I didn’t enjoy it. It was the hottest class, and the hardest I’d done. I sat in my car afterwards thinking it was unpleasant. I felt weird. Shaky, but not shaky. Then all of a sudden I felt the stirrings of anxiety. Next thing I know I’m bawling to John Legend’s song All of Me. It was an immediate release. I’d heard, and all of the instructors had said that certain poses bring up emotional baggage… but I’d never experienced it. I didn’t then, and I still don’t, know what triggered it. What emotions I needed to release. But release I did. 30 seconds of sobbing without tears…which was another new experience. And I felt the peace I’ve come to associate with yoga.

Unfortunately, I continued feeling weird for hours afterwards, and ended up having an anxiety attack. Not a pleasant experience. The next day I felt like I’d been beaten…though whether that was the yoga or the aftermath of the anxiety, I’m not sure.

My fourth class was disappointing. During savasana I found myself thinking it was a waste of time. I didn’t get much out of the class, and I was dreading the Basics workshop I’d signed up for right afterwards.

During the Basics workshop, I nailed Crow Pose. For the first time ever. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty (and I totally fell out of it), but I did it, and I held it, and people saw it and clapped for me. And the instructor told me congrats on my way out.

My "I JUST DID CROW POSE" face

My “I JUST DID CROW POSE” face

My fifth class was one I’d taken before. It felt just as good as it had the first time. I was sore, and tired, and didn’t attempt crow.

Finally, I tried an Ashtanga class. It was a bad yoga day for me…I’d been lazy for a week, and I was tight and uncoordinated. The class was awesome, and I wish I’d been in better shape for it.

As my month ended, I realized that I’d had a great time. I got to try new classes, new styles, and new poses. I improved, and I had my postures checked. I learned about yoga, and I learned about me.

I’m not sure yet how I feel about the heat aspect. In some ways it’s nice, but I hated the hottest class and never went back. It’s pretty intense, and I worry that it’s easy to get hurt. It’s also not very enjoyable if you haven’t eaten properly all day, if you’ve slacked on water, or if you’re just not feeling great. The heat makes everything worse. When you’ve done it all right though, the heat can be nice. It’s calming, and there’s just something about sweating like that that makes you feel cleaner all over (or maybe that’s the shower afterwards).

I’ve decided not to sign up for a membership, because it’s expensive and a little too far away. I’ll drop in from time to time, though – and now I have a whole new retinue of poses to work on.

Have you tried hot yoga? Did you like it? How did you celebrate National Yoga Month last month?

15 Minute Yoga Routine

I promised. I’m delivering.

I’m sharing my yoga routine with you. It’s about 15 minutes, longer or shorter depending on your mood. Since I’m not an instructor, I’m not sharing pictures of me – instead, I’m giving you pictures of people doing them correctly (also, click here to go to Yoga Journal for instructions for each pose). All of these pictures came from Yoga Journal. I’m sorry – I know this isn’t as good as a video. Maybe one day.

There are 70 poses, because I’ve put the complete sequence in here – left and right sides. Don’t panic! Do the poses at your own pace, holding each for a few breaths or however long is comfortable. There’s not right or wrong. It takes me about 15 minutes, but you can do it longer or shorter. This is YOUR practice, so make it your own.

Most of these poses can be done without props, but if you have trouble reaching the floor use a block (or a book if you don’t have a block). Use a strap (or leash/belt/scarf) to reach your toes in the seated postures. Put blankets under your knees if you need to. Modify, modify, modify.

And here’s a hint….if you’re a beginner, you probably can’t do Chatauranga. That’s fine. It took me MONTHS to do it, and I still can’t do it reliably every time. Lower your knees first, then lower yourself down with your arms. You will get there. I promise.

Lastly, don’t ever feel like you have to hold each pose perfectly still. I often sway in downward facing dog. Sometimes I rotate my hips in cat/cow pose. I’ll also raise and lower in and out of the Warrior poses. Do what feels good. If it hurts – pinching hurt – stop. Stretching and somewhat uncomfortable is ok, but by all means, DO NOT OVERDO IT.

I like to do my yoga to music, so right now I’m using Parachute. This playlist is 37 minutes long, so do the routine twice and you’re good to go. Or get two practices out of it. Whatever.

*15 Minute Yoga Routine*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

I hope you enjoy this routine! And finally…..

Wisdom is represented by the elephant in the form of the deity Ganesh, one of the most popular gods in the Hindu religion's pantheon.

Yoga Funnies

I told you, lots of yoga this month. (You love it!)

These are just for fun, and to hold you over until I can get my yoga routine written up for you. I’m working on it, I swear!!!

Yoga Mat Name

We think we're pretty funny!  http://shop.lovetinydevotions.com/  #joke #funny #lol #livewithintention #mala #malabeads #quote mala beads #yoga #yogaquote

A little Yoga humor @A C DC Eville

#yoga pants!

 

Seven Rules of Yoga

I promised a yoga post. Granted, it was a long time ago, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we?

Aren’t you excited?

No?

WHY NOT?

You should be. I am.

First of all, I’m NOT a yoga teacher. I’ve had no formal training, I’ve only been to a handful of classes in the last 10 years, and I am in no way equipped to tell you how to properly do yoga. So don’t take anything I say as sacred. Everything in this post is from my own personal experience. Yours will be different, because YOU are different.

I’ve talked a lot about my new-found love of yoga. Unfortunately for you, I now think everyone should love yoga – or at least try yoga – so now you get to suffer through a post All.About.Yoga.

YAY!!!!!!!

Ah, yoga. I started doing it because A) I needed a “lazy” workout, and B) I realized I could barely touch my toes. Yup. 29 years old and could barely reach them. Definitely not cool. I took a class in college, so I knew the basics…but I also knew there was no way I was getting my overweight, inflexible self into a yoga class now. Enter YouTube. More on that in a moment.

So I started. Slowly. Very slowly.

I really really really wish I’d taken pictures when I first started, because there’s nothing like photographic evidence to show progress. But I didn’t. And really…..yoga is about so much more than physical progress. So maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have those pictures.

I promise I’m going to tell you more about the what and how. But first, you need to know the why. Hang with me.

Disclaimer: These are MY seven rules of yoga. If you hate them, I’m ok with that. If you love them, I’m even more ok with that. 

Here’s the First Rule of Yoga:  It’s Your Yoga.yoga_quote_is_the_journey_of_the_self_through_the_self_to_the_self

Search Google, and you’ll find thousands of reasons why you should do yoga. You’ll also find thousands of reasons you shouldn’t. Your reasons for starting yoga will be your own, and your reasons for making yoga a practice will be your own. Yoga is intensely personal. Don’t laugh…it is. Whether you spend a lot of time on the mat, or a little, whether you practice in silence or with music, your time on the mat…if you stick with it…will turn into one of the best parts of your day.

That leads me to the Second Rule of Yoga….Be Open. 

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If you go into yoga thinking it’s dumb, or hocus pocus, or new-age bullshit…well, you’re not in the right place to be on the mat. Will every practice lead you to enlightenment? Probably not. Will every practice make you feel better? Hopefully, but not always. Will every practice get you closer to peace? Yes.

I told you why I started. In other posts I’ve talked a little about what I gained. I gained a sense of calm, of serenity, of balance. I started feeling more confident in my body, and I started standing up taller. I now seek yoga when I’m feeling stressed or anxious or angry. It makes me feel connected to the earth, to my body, to the world around me. It’s a feeling I can’t adequately describe.

Physically, I can touch my toes, and then some. My muscles are longer and leaner, and I look better. I’m less focused on my cellulite, and more focused on the fact that I can almost do King Pigeon. Those lumpy legs? Sure, I wish they looked better, but I know how far they’ve come….and I know how far they’ll go. I can tell when I’ve been skimping, because my body feels tight. And most amazing of all – to me at least – is the fact that my blood pressure has dropped a good 20 points, without medication, weight loss, or drastic dietary changes.

Third Rule of Yoga: Do Not Compare Yourself To Others. You are YOU.

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 If you’ve never done yoga, you’re probably not going to look anything like the flexible yogis in your videos. Deal with it. I don’t either. In fact, I’d guess that most people don’t. So you can’t touch your toes. GREAT! You’ve got something to work toward, and trust me, that rush you feel the first time you do it….nobody will ever be able to take that away from you. Touch your toes but can’t do Pigeon? No worries, it’ll come.

One of my favorite yoga instructors has a comment in one of her videos….something to the effect of “don’t compare one yoga practice to another.” Some days you’ll nail a pose, some days you’ll swear you’re a one-flippered baby seal. IT’S OK.

You didn't really think I'd put a one-flippered baby seal here, did you?

You didn’t really think I’d put a one-flippered baby seal here, did you?

And now we come to the Fourth Rule of Yoga. Invest in a good mat. 

I had a yoga mat, bought from TJ Maxx in one of those “I’m going to try a new thing” moments. It was pink and zebra print and loud and $10 and I loved it. And I think I’d used it twice in 2 years, one of those times as a sleeping pad camping. Zoe liked it too.

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If you’re just starting, the $10 TJ Maxx mat is ok. But if you really want to make yoga part of your life, you’ve got to get a decent mat. The problem with the cheap ones is, well….they’re cheap. After about 2 months of solid use, my cheapo mat started breaking down. I’d end up with pink foam all over my face. Not cute. Then I took it to class, and was sliding all over the floor. That’s just plain dangerous. Your mat shouldn’t move, because if it does, you’re going to hurt yourself.

I did a LOT of research. I asked friends and Facebook. Friends recommended Manduka…..I also read good things about Jade. You guys know by now…I’m kinda cheap. The thought of paying $50 or more for a yoga mat was just not something I was interested in. Yet, my yoga friends had had their Mandukas for years. YEARS. Jade got similar reviews. In the end, I chose the Manduka eKO Lite. I found it on sale at Active.com, for less than $35. Mine is green, and I love it to pieces. I’d happily pay full price for it if I had to do it all over again.

Having a quality mat means I don’t slip around. It also means poses are actually easier, because I don’t “stick” to my mat. There are a few things you want to consider when you look for your mat: durability, weight (if you’re only going to use it at home, this isn’t an issue, but if you’re going to take it to class, a 7lb mat is heavy as shit), cushion/thickness (especially if you have bad knees or wrists), and grip or stickiness. Some mats are better for people who sweat or do hot yoga. My particular mat has dual surfaces – I can flip it over and use the back side if I need more grip. Do your research. And then when you get one, take care of it. Buy a mat wash, or make your own.

Having said all that, the Fifth Rule of Yoga: Don’t Break the Bank

You can go absolutely crazy with yoga accessories. That’s not necessary. All you need is a mat, and truthfully, you don’t even absolutely have to have that. Seriously. You can buy a $10 yoga strap, or you can use a belt, a towel, a scarf, a dog leash….all work perfectly well (personal fave – dog leash). You can buy a $10 yoga block, or you can use a phone book, a soda box, a throw pillow, or just not go as deep into the pose. Then there are bolsters and yoga towels….pillows, rolled up blankets, and hand towels work just as well. Just be safe.

As for clothes, even I can’t deny the appeal of adorable yoga clothes. Swoon. Yeah, some of the higher quality clothes are more comfortable, don’t ride up, don’t hang down, and make yoga “happier.” They also cost $50 for a shirt, $70 for a pair of pants. Cute clothes do not a yogi make. Wear what you’ve got, and if you don’t have anything, for crying out loud go to the thrift store. Just make sure that if you’re going to yoga in public, all your parts are covered….and don’t forget to check your outfit in Downward Dog. Baggy t-shirts tend to come up over your head, just sayin’.

Speaking of yoga in public….I’m not going to tell you NOT to go to yoga class, because yoga class can be an awesome experience. It can also be terrible. Try a few before you commit to the 20-class package. Check Groupon for deals. Ask around. A lot of places will give you a free first class. And don’t forget all the free and cheap resources online (I’m getting to those). Bottom line if you do go to class…find a good instructor. A good instructor is one who pays attention to the students and corrects poses so you’re not hurting yourself.

Sixth Rule of Yoga: Enjoy It

It’s that simple. Just enjoy it. You’re doing this for you, so who cares if you don’t always do a strenuous practice? Who cares if some days you want to blast Katy Perry during your yoga routine? Who cares if you fall flat on your face because you decided to have a glass or three of wine before stepping on the mat? It happens. Keep at it.

So now you know the First Six Rules of Yoga, according to me. And if you’re one of the people reading this who are all like, come on, tell me what to do….thank you for waiting patiently.

Seventh Rule of Yoga: YouTube is Your Friend. 

Get on YouTube, and either search for yoga videos or check out some of my favorite channels:

Yoga With Adriene – She’s awesome. Tons of great routines, every level and every length. She’s also goofy and fun to listen to. I like her Yoga Flow, Travel Yoga, and Detox Yoga. She’s a yoga instructor, so she knows what she’s doing.

Tara Stiles – Another awesome instructor. I first did her 50 minute routine for weight loss. I really like that she’s got a bunch of short (under 10 minute) routines, so I can put a few of them together depending on my mood.

Gwen Lawrence – I do her Fit Body routines more than anything else. Her videos tend to be a little more of a sports-medicine focus, so she’ll have some really unique poses. And some really painful ones. She introduced me to frog pose, and I both love her and hate her for it.

Yoga Journal – I can’t NOT mention them. Tons and tons of videos. Some good, some not so good. If you’re a true beginner, a lot of their routines are easier, in my opinion.

There are tons of others – you’ll figure out soon enough who you like and who you don’t. Come back here and share them with us!

Once you’ve been doing it for a little while, you’ll figure out the poses you like and the ones you don’t get much out of. Eventually you won’t need the videos – you’ll create your own little routines. I do recommend finding an instructor at some point, just because you want to make sure you’re doing the poses correctly, but a general rule is if it hurts, stop. K?

And now…a bonus. I’m going to share my routine with you. But you’ll have to wait for it….because it’s going to take me 10 years to type it up (no, you’re not getting a video). So be patient. I promise I’ll get it done soon!!

Yoga for Your Health

This one is kind of a freebie, but I also feel like it’s important. I’ve talked and talked and talked about how much I love yoga. About how much I’ve gained from doing yoga. About how I’m more in tune with my body, about how I’ve lowered my blood pressure, about how I just FEEL better.

But don’t just take my word for it.

Health Benefits of Yoga

 

Whatever your goal, it’s a safe bet that yoga can help. Want to improve flexibility? Check. Stress relief? Double check. Increase strength? Yep. Sleep better? You betcha. Manage depression? You’d be surprised.

Have I convinced you yet?

Happy National Yoga Month!!

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BEST NEWS EVER!!!!!!

September is National Yoga Month!!!

That means…..you’re going to see several yoga posts this month. Exciting, no?

As part of National Yoga Month, you can get a free week of yoga at participating studios across the country. Check out the link above, and request your free week. It’s a great opportunity to try a class!!

So, this month you’ll see a little more yoga from me. Swoon.

Also – mark your calendars. September 30, at 7:00 pm, do some yoga.

It’s pretty easy. Do it alone. Do it in a class. Do it with friends. Just yoga. Let’s set the world on yoga fire.

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