Playing Catch-Up

After a few weeks of so-so lent participation, I’m determined to pull it together and end the month on a high note. Let’s do this!

Last night I topped off a busy week with a Tibetan Singing Bowls session at a local yoga studio. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, it was basically an hour-long “sound massage” where we laid in shavasana, covered in blankets, while being serenaded by a beautiful orchestra of singing bowls. I’m pretty sure that covers my “yogic relaxation technique” base for the week. Check!

Then this morning, before I could even distract myself with anything else, I rolled out my mat and did a 45-minute yoga and meditation practice on Yoga International lead by my teacher Karina. For anyone looking to practice yoga at home, I highly recommend checking out Yoga International, they have a whole host of classes to stream, all free to the public.

After that I managed to talk myself out of eating a spoonful of chocolate frosting from the fridge that was leftover from Dan’s birthday cake, and I decided to hold off on putting a cute pair of boots on my credit card that have been in my DSW shopping cart all weekend, so I’m off to a good start.

And it’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow! Time to find some plans and set some intentions for 2014. Anyone have any resolutions they’d like to share?

Fanne loves yoga almost as much as I do

She loves Fanne-bombing my home practice

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Did > Did Not

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with posting though all the holiday hooplah this month and I’ve also hard a hard time keeping up with my challenge. I just reread my posts from this month and realized that all of them pretty much say the same thing: “Whoops, I missed the mark this week. At least there’s always next week!”. But then the next week brought the same story.

I could beat myself up for this but I don’t believe in that. Negative self talk never makes anything better. Plus, even though I never checked off every single item on my self-care to-do list on any given week, I’m actually feeling pretty good right now, so the few things I managed to get around to must have paid off.

So instead of focusing on what I didn’t do, here’s what I did do this month:

  • I recommitted to my meditation practice and have integrated it back into my life.
  • I made time for yoga, even when I only had 20 minutes to practice, and was reminded that sometimes that’s all you need.
  • I did an awesome job abstaining from sweet-eating and saved myself a bunch of empty calories/instaregret.
  • I finished all my shopping a week before Christmas—for the first time ever—saving me a bunch of last minute stress (although my family just got their gifts in the mail today, which is a total bummer. Thanks USPS)
  • I moved and unpacked a whole house worth of belongings 2 weeks before Christmas and still managed to get a tree, do my holiday decorating, and send out cards to friends and family.
  • I actually ended up having a really nice Christmas. It was my first year away from my family for the holidays so there were certainly sad moments, but overall I managed to have a really nice day at home with Dan and Fanne in our beautiful new apartment. We slept in, we cooked, we baked, we ate, we exchanged gifts, and we relaxed. Perfect, right?

Maybe I hard a hard time fitting in those 2 cardio workouts a week, and maybe there were a few times when I went to bed without meditating, or times when using my credit card was the only option, but I feel ok right now, and holiday burnout never made it’s way to these parts. That’s some sort of success, right?

And it’s only the 28th too, there’s still a few days left before the new year to do a little self-care catch up before I’m off to my next challenge—which is going to be really fun btw 😉

My favorite Christmas tradition: Watching It's a Wonderful life on xmas eve

My favorite Christmas tradition: Watching It’s a Wonderful life on Christmas Eve

 

From Sweating to Surviving: November’s Wrap-Up and December’s Lent

It’s that time again folks, time to wrap up one challenge and move on to the next. Before I reveal December’s lent, here’s a quick wrap-up of November’s Sweat Once A Day challenge.

Overall it was really fun and surprisingly not that difficult to keep up with. I ended up trying a few new workouts, I kept up with my yoga practice, and I definitely logged more physical activity than I would have if I wasn’t pushing myself to, so I consider it a win for that reason alone. Here’s my final tally for the whole month:

  • 10 yoga practices
  • 5 swalks
  • 2 runs
  • 5 Pure Barre classes
  • 1 kickboxing class
  • 1 Real Ryder class
  • 1 Barre-dio class
  • 1 Hampton Inn fitness center session (elliptical and free weights)
  • 1 dune climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes

That makes 27 workouts, and since I was sick for the first few days, I’m going to go ahead and give myself a gold star. Not bad Dzenawagis, not bad…but alas, it’s December now and time to move on so I’ll get right to it and introduce this month’s challenge: the Holiday Survival Guide, Part 2.

Remember last December when I gave myself a set of self-care guidelines to follow to make it through the holiday season unscathed? Well, it worked so well that I’ve decided to do it again, changing a few little things from last year’s list.

The basic gist of it is this: it goes without saying that as wonderful as the holiday season is, the stress of keeping up with it often drives you to abandon your regular healthy habits in favor of overworking, overdoing it, and overindulging. Sound familiar? But while you can’t control how hectic everything around you is, what you can control is how you respond to it, which really boils down to creating and committing to a self-care practice designed to help keep you physically, mentally, and financially healthy.

This year happens to be extra crazy for me too, because in addition to the regular stress of working retail during the holidays and preparing for Christmas in general, this month I also have to contend with moving, a trip back home to the east coast—which includes flying Fanne back home in an airplane with us, oh boy…and turning 30 (which I’m 100% in denial about). So yeah, there’s a lot going on, and to help me make it through to the other side somewhat resembling a sane version of myself, this is what I’m committing to in the month of December:

  1. I will practice yoga (asana) 3 times a week.
  2. I will meditate every day.
  3. I will practice yoga nidra or another yogic relaxation technique 2 times a week.
  4. I will do some sort of cardio workout 2 times a week.
  5. I will abstain from eating all sweets (candy, cookies, cupcakes—basically any type of dessert), but allow myself exceptions for my birthday (because eating an entire birthday cake will definitely make me feel better about entering the next age bracket) and Christmas (because it would just be mean not to, right?).
  6. My credit card will not come out once. Everything I buy and do will be paid for with real money.
  7. I will have all my holiday shopping done by December 18th, a full week before Christmas (if I can pull this one off it’ll definitely be a first).

Does it sound like a lot? It is. But it’s the kind of work that’s worth doing, and the kind of work that pays off, I promise.

Anyone care to join me? If you made your own holiday survival guide, what would it look like? I’ll be blogging about this challenge over on the lululemon blog this month too and inviting their community to jump on board as well—join us! 

Memory #9: Wanderlust, VT

Last June—through a magical chain of events that only the Universe could have lined up—lululemon decided to send me to Wanderlust Vermont, a 4-day yoga and music festival, to be their official blogger. Wait, you guys want to pay me to do yoga all day and write about it? Fine, twist my arm, I’ll go.

#hellodreamlife

For 4 days, I stayed in an amazingly outdated Swiss-style chalet filled to the brim with ladies of luon®, practiced more yoga than I knew was possible from some of the best teachers in the country, went on morning meditation hikes where Garth Stevenson serenaded us with his upright bass, drank kombucha from the tap (might I add, the best kombucha I’ve ever had), hit up the free hair-braiding station (every single day), and spent my evenings writing recaps of the day while drinking Wanderlust branded wine before heading out for the night’s musical entertainment. Wow. And did I mention that the weather was absolutely perfect and that I was getting paid? Yeah, I’d be depressed writing this if I hadn’t already bought my ticket for this year’s festival. One month from today I’ll be in Wanderworld, one of my favorite places of Earth…

Wanna know all the details? You can read my blog posts for lululemon here:

wanderlust vermont…live!
you know you’re at wanderlust when…
my so-called wanderlife
another day in wanderland
there’s no place like wanderlust

 

Morning meditation hike with Garth Stevenson

Morning meditation hike with Garth Stevenson

Free hair braiding

If only I could ever recreate this myself

The best kind of yoga studio

The best kind of yoga studio

That time I saw Ziggy Marley

That time I saw Ziggy Marley