Thoughts On Yoga

Today’s Happy Note: Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

I know that not everybody is into yoga, and that’s fine, but it really has been life-changing/saving for me.  I can enter class seething, panicked, distraught, weepy, or in pain.  And leave relaxed, smiling, calm, joyful, spiritual.  Today we did a lot of inversions, balances, and twisting, including one pose I have never done before that I could not find any name for or picture of online.  It is basically what the top person is doing in this photo, only upright, with back foot and hand on the ground:

Hangle Dangle

Source

Anyone have any ideas?

What I loved most about class today was that my emotions started coming up, uncontrollably.  As my body physically opened up I could feel the things in my heart pouring out as well. I have heard Averie (who is giving away some awesome hemp products here) and other yogis talk about this before but have never felt it.  Well, I have news for you: this is not one of those crazy newfangled yoga things.  It really happened — I was alternately smiling and crying during class.  It was wonderful and soothing to let things out of my body like that.

I think yoga has made me more spiritual and more comfortable in my own body.  It calms me down and lifts me up at the same time.  It helps me realize that I do indeed know God, in some guise or other, and that I have this wonderful, amazing body that I need to treat well.  I run because it makes me feel clean and strong, in heart and body and mind, but yoga adds an element of spirit, I think.

Have you tried yoga?  It seems like most healthy living bloggers either love it or hate it.  I am definitely in the loving it camp.  I do recommend trying a few different classes, styles, studios, gyms, or videos before giving up; each experience is different and you really need to find what works for you.  Polly’s videos are always a good place to start!

My absolute favorite studio in NYC is Yoga Vida. Highly recommended, and relatively inexpensive.

The eats:

Diet snapple iced tea and plain oats with soymilk and PB.

Tuna made with plain yogurt and hummus, giant pile of steamed veggies.  I know everyone thinks they’re boring, but sometimes I lover plain and simple lightly steamed veggies.

Two afternoon snacks is the way to go.  PB and chocolate chip Larabar and a basically empty AB jar with plain 2% Fage (I’m in love  — the fats are pretty much miraculous), frozen blueberries, and Justin’s chocolate PB (didn’t really go with it, taste-wise).

I realized that recently I have been falling into the blogger-comparison trap.  I think, “healthy living bloggers should have one afternoon snack, dinner, then a small dessert, or two afternoon snacks and no desserts — I must be overeating!”  BUT this is what works for me.  And I never eat (or want a morning) snack, and I keep main meals a bit smaller.  So there.  I can have two afternoon snacks and a dessert if that’s what my body wants.

Random WF bowl.  It had arugula, walnut/grape chicken salad (my favorite kind), a few bites of potato, black bean udon noodles, shredded zucchini/summer squash, and marinated kale salad.  I am NOT a kale girl, but I really liked this one.  It had shredded carrots, cabbage, and lots of balsamic.

Blurry raspberry protein shake: vanilla soy milk, half a banana, handful frozen raspberries, lots of ice, half scoop of vanilla whey/soy protein, and a few spoonfuls of coconut sorbet.  Topped with dark chocolate and chocolate PB.

A good day of eats — lots of variety, lots of nutrients, good portions that kept me full but not too full.  My belly is a happy belly right about now!

Some days I feel like all my meals/snacks involve nuts or nut butter.  I really truly believe that, if it came down to it, I would say PB is my favorite food.  Oats, Greek yogurt, apples, and carrots are all tied for second place. 🙂

What’s your favorite food?

Thoughts on yoga?

The Sneaky Hate Spiral: Antidote

Today’s Happy Note: Got a lot of work done!  I was in my office from 9-4 (very productive!) and then did stuff for my other job (phone calls and computer work) from 4-5 and 7-9 (hit the gym in between!).  About ten hours total, which is a lot, but I don’t feel so overhwelmed, and not feeling overwhelmed is the best feeling in the world.

Happy Note #2: This post from Joanne.  I thought I was the only young twenty-something woman who wanted to go on real dates!  Apparently there are other people who are not into the frat party make-out scene and who don’t consider sloppy drunken dancing romantic.  Yay, I’m not alone!

Okay.  So.

Have you ever read Hyperbole and a Half? It’s definitely one of the funniest blogs on the Internets.  If you’re ever feeling down, the first thing you should do is go there.  My point in all this is to reference the ubiquitous Sneaky Hate Spiral post.

Allie describes it better than I ever could, but in sum: the SHS occurs when a bunch of little, annoying things start building up and you get more and more angry until an explosion results.  My SHS began first thing this morning when I woke up fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be at work.  I have been doing this thing lately where I wake up to my alarm, press snooze a few times, then press “dismiss” (i.e., “off”) and close my eyes and think “oh I’ll just lie here for another minute.”  Then, of course, a minute turns into a half an hour.  So I woke up at 8:45.  I was only fifteen minutes late though!

Anyways, the SHS continued with the worst headache of my life accompanied by a terrible feeling of misalignment in my spine and neck.  It felt like someone had twisted up my back like a rope.  And the head pain:I  felt like I was 50 feet underwater (I used to be a diver and regularly dove down to the bottom of a 20 foot pool; this was approximately 2.5 times worse).

There honestly weren’t that many other serious things, but the headache just magnified every tiny nuissance.  I ran over my big toe with a cart at work.  Then I dropped an interview and all the pages fell out and came out of order and I had to put them all back in by hand.  Then I started getting really angry at L (who I didn’t even see today) and could not stop thinking about how much I suck at therapy.  Things just sort of continued in this pattern.

But then.  I only had twenty five minutes to book it home from work and make it to the gym before five (I have a student membership, so I can’t go between 5-7:30 BUT I can go at 4:58.  Ha.).  I was determined to get there, if only so that I didn’t feel guilty later on.  I was just going to make myself get on the elliptical and sweat it out for 30 or 40 minutes.

When I arrived, I noticed that there was a 5:30 kickboxing class.  I thought, “why not?”  I lifted for about 25 minutes and then headed in.

I think this kickboxing class changed my life.  Let me restate this:

I am in love, my friends.  Sadly, there are no boys involved in this relationship (unless the super hot instructor counts).  But there is me: a very strong, sweaty me.  I have no idea what happened in that 50 minutes but the SHS snapped.  And not only did I rid myself of the SHS monster, I left happy. It was a deep, pervasive happiness that I haven’t felt in a long time.  I am not sure if the relief came from the hundreds and hundreds of punches into the punching bag or the me time, or what.  But a little thing inside me clicked.  I realized that I can manufacture my own happiness. And maybe this means going to a kickboxing class, rather than coming into some sort of serene internal peace.  I don’t care.  Happiness is happiness, and I’ll take what I can get.

I left the class headache-free and practically glowing.  At the beginning, as I was looking in the mirrors, I was fiercely angry at my body — “why can’t my thighs be smooth, and why do I have this massive bump of fat on my stomach, and why are my breasts so painfully large?”  At the end, I actually felt a confidence in my body that has not been around in a long time. I felt so strong; like I could take on the world.  I felt better than I ever have lifting weights or pounding away on the elliptical (both of which are considerably fun).  I felt like I could actually see my muscles firming up.

I was no longer angry at L.  I was no longer angry at myself.  The anger just poured out of my body.  And I am so unbelievably thrilled.  And content.  Right now.

Have you ever had a workout that left you feeling strong, confident, and healthy?  Has a workout ever turned your day around completely?

The eats:

Swirly raspberry overnight oats.

I refuse to give up my once-weekly diet Snapple with aspartame.  I have a little pile of empty bottles that I’m stashing behind my computer at work — I don’t think that we have a glass recycling container and I am feeling too lazy to take them outside.

Monster leftovers lunch topped with a two-egg puff and a side of granola bar.  Snacked on a TJ’s single-serving bag of trail mix before my workout and many handfuls of WF chocolate cherry trail mix afterwards (SO good!).

Blueberry-banana smoothies are so good.  I was craving a muffin, so I walked to WF to get one (theirs are always good and fresh).  I meant to just get a muffin, bananas, and a non-dairy milk.  I left with said muffin, coconut milk, dark chocolate, dried mango, mushrooms, trail mix, and coconut milk.  The muffin is chocolate chip.  Nom!

Dessert was a few pieces (this is a really small container) of banana chip bread with melted dark chocolate.

Mmmmm, meltable.

Overall, today was a bad day that turned into a good one!

Have you ever had a Sneaky Hate spiral day?  How do you get rid of it? Sometimes I feel like you just have to let it run its course…

Also: Mama Pea (one of my most favorite bloggers; she is so sweet) is giving away a cookbook! Check it out.