Yoga on the Cheap (Read: For Free)

While I’m more than happy to pay for yoga (it’s hard to find a more lovely community of people to support), I haven’t found a studio in Ann Arbor that I’ve totally jived with yet, so I’ve been primarily practicing at home. Luckily, I’m a certified yoga teacher so I’m able to lead myself through a sequence, but for days when I’m feeling like I need a little guidance, I turn to Yoga International.

Yoga International is run by the Himalayan Institute, which is “a non-profit, international organization dedicated to serving humanity through educational, spiritual, and humanitarian programs” (as quoted from their website). They’re a leader in the field of yoga, meditation, and spirituality, and they offer tons of FREE classes online—not to mention countless articles, digital courses, products, and a whole host of other wonderful offerings. In short, take classes from expert teacher for free (although I do opt for the $5 monthly membership—because why not?).

You can check out their extensive listing of online classes here, and below are a few links to practices that I’ve personally enjoyed recently:

Stretch and Breathe with Rolf Sovik
Twist and Flow with Kathryn Heagberg
Peak Pose: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana with Jen Stout
Build Ojas with Gentle Movement with Ginny Mazzei

Enjoy yogis!

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Yoga for Runners

I can’t go all month without mentioning how awesome yoga is for running, right? My goodness, some deep stretching makes a world of difference…

The other day I stumbled on this yoga practice by Goldie Kaufenberg, a Boston-based teacher who is lululemon’s SeaWheeze yoga ambassador this year. After this morning’s run—my 25th of the month, might I add—I rolled out my mat and spent 48 minutes stretching out every muscle that needed a little extra attention. In short, it was awesome, a practice that I’m bookmarking for sure, and one that I recommend to all you runners out there (and to anyone really). Enjoy.


p.s. WordPress just informed me that this is my 500th 12 Months of Lent post, ahhh! Crazy, right? Break out the bubbly!

#beastmode

Slightly sweaty and rosy-cheeked, I walked into our apartment’s gym the other night and was greeted by a guy from our building that I’ve met a few times before. As I hopped on the treadmill, he looked at me and said (in a slightly confused tone), “Hey Danne, how’s it going?…Wait, it looks like you already went to the gym”, to which I replied, “Ha! You’re right. I actually just got back from Pure Barre and I’m getting a quick run in before I head to yoga”. Which was 100% true. Pure Barre + Running + Yoga = Beast Mode. I’m totally crushing this month.

While I can’t say that I’ve actually enjoyed running any of the last 11 days (I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with running), I’ve still managed to do it regardless. Whether I like it or not, committing to get a mile in a day is pretty doable and not so bad after all. Plus I’ve already lost a pound so there’s that, right?

11 for 11 and the month continues on…

and…Happy Mother’s Day to all the mammas out there, especially my own. I might look more like my Dad, but I’m pretty sure I’m my mother’s daughter in every other way. Thanks for always being the “cool mom” and for giving me the best upbringing a girl could ask for. Love you lots Mumsie xoxo

Me-&-Mum-putting-on-makeup

 

 

Journaling = Yoga

With 3 days left in my #30daysofwriting challenge, I’ve officially finished my old journal and have begun writing in my new one. While it was a little sad to pack up the old one and put it into storage (I have a big Rubbermaid bin full of many, many old journals that this one will now reside in), I made sure to fill those last few pages with as much reflection and positivity as I could fit, and I’m excited to see what will fill the pages of my new one.

Fanne's been reading and writing a lot this month as well

Fanne’s been reading and writing a lot this month as well

In addition to writing this month, I’ve been doing a lot of reading as well. I’m a virtual member of a book club that my good friend Kim started (which btw is called, “That’s What She Read”, amazing, right?), and I’ve also been working on finishing up some required reading for my yoga teacher training.

In one of my yoga books I was reading about the Niyamas, a list of 5 personal actions and attitudes that yoga encourages us to cultivate. When I got to the 4th one, svadhyaya, self-study, I realized that it fits in perfectly with my challenge this month. For me, journaling has always been a way to reflect on myself and my life. It’s a way to clear my head when monkey mind kicks in, a safe place to express my thoughts and feelings, and one of the best methods I’ve found to figure s**t out.

So, basically what I’m saying is that journaling = yoga. Looks like I was a yogi long before I even knew what that meant…

__________

 Addendum: Yoga school schooled me this week and if we’re really getting technical about it, journaling isn’t actually considered svadhyaya because it’s focused on the ego and not the capital S Self. Aha! I stand corrected. 

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

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! 

Week 3 Recap and Week 4’s Plan of Attack

Holy wow, we’re already at week 4…time flies when you’re having fun (and getting sweaty). Here’s the recap of week 3:

  • 3 yoga practices
  • 1 swalk
  • 1 kickboxing class
  • 1 Hampton Inn fitness center session (elliptical and free weights)
  • 1 dune climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Is it just me, or does that look like 7 workouts in one week? Shabam! Although my first kickboxing class was pretty fun, the workout highlight of the week definitely goes to the Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern MI. We’re up in the Traverse City area for the weekend hanging out with some friends who are in town and got to get a little winter sightseeing in in between microbrewery touring and lake effect snow (it’s legit a winter wonderland up here right now). Yesterday we made a pitstop in Glen Arbor and climbed to the top of a 500 ft. sand dune—which is pretty incredible if you remember that we’re on a lake and not the ocean. Those Great Lakes get me every time…

Anyways, this is what I’ve got planned for this week:

  • Monday: Home yoga practice
  • Tuesday: Afternoon run
  • Wednesday: Pure Barre
  • Thursday: Ann Arbor Turkey Trot!
  • Friday: Home yoga practice to recover from Black Friday retail madness
  • Saturday: In-store yoga at lululemon? Zumba (Zumba is my goal for this week’s “new to me” workout)? TBD…
  • Sunday: Technically it’s December 1st so I don’t have to do anything, but we’ll see…

Now off to enjoy another snowy day by Lake Michigan (and maybe a microbrew or 2)…

sleepingbeardunes

Danoramic of me at the top of the dune

This Week’s Current Score: 3/3

That’s right, I’m 3 for 3 this week—woohoo! Monday I did an hour-long home yoga practice, Tuesday I took a 2 mile swalk at County Farm Park, and today I hit up Title Boxing Club for a kickboxing class with my co-worker Jordan (look how official I am with my new pink boxing wraps). That means that it’s only Wednesday and I’ve gone to one class at a studio, had my weekly #sweatdate, and tried a “new to me” workout. This girl is off to a good start.

As for the rest of the week, I’m debating swapping Pure Barre for a yoga class tomorrow morning because I had to miss out on yoga last night when our apartment tour ran a little late—have I mentioned that we’ve been staying with Dan’s parents since we moved to Ann Arbor in September? Our future apartment is new construction and there have been some major delays that have effected our move-in date (you know, that time we were supposed to move in on October 4th). Can everyone send some good energy our way to increase the chance that we’ll be able to move in by the scheduled date of December 7th? It’s all about the power of intention and the law of attraction, right?

All I want for Christmas this year is an apartment to call my own and my little Fannefur back (who’s been staying with friends back in Boston until we’re settled). Is that too much to ask?

kickboxing

Week 3’s Sweat Schedule

And here we are—week 3. Are you ready for this? I know I am. Here’s what last week looked like and what I’ve got planned for this week:

Week 2′s final tally:

  • 2 yoga practices
  • 1 run
  • 2 Pure Barre classes
  • 1 Barre-dio class

If you actually counted you’ll see that yes, it’s true—I missed a sweat (sad face). But hey, there’s no point in beating myself up, right? I will say that my plan was to double up on Sunday, but with the tornado watch and wacky weather we were experiencing here in the Midwest, I decided to stay put and play it safe. This week however, I’m vowing not to miss a day—and I expect all of you to hold me accountable. Here’s the line-up:

  • Monday: Home yoga practice.
  • Tuesday: Morning swalk and evening yoga class at Ita Yoga Studio
  • Wednesday: Kickboxing at 9:15am with a coworker (#sweatdate & new to me workout)
  • Thursday: Pure Barre
  • Friday: Pure Barre
  • Saturday: In-store yoga at lululemon
  • Sunday: TBD. We’ll be up in Traverse City for the weekend touring some northern Michigan breweries with friends so I’m not entirely sure what our day will look like. I’m hoping the weather holds up for a run on Lake Michigan. Fingers crossed…

Happy Monday!