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Posts Tagged ‘Bikram yoga’

This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

Today I went to a new bikram yoga studio that is a stone’s throw from my job to take advantage of the 30 days for $40 deal they have going. The entire studio is dedicated to bikram yoga, and since that’s the type that I like best (at my current weight and ability), it is perfect. The studio has been there for years, but has recently undergone major renovations, so that it now looks as beautiful and serene as the practice makes people feel. (Before the redo, it was really run down).

This summer I’d joined a different studio, one that’s less zen and more about fitness, and my overall experience wasn’t great. I love the look of that other studio, but the atmosphere was really competitive, and I always left the classes acutely aware of what I couldn‘t do; which is really the opposite of most yogic beliefs.

This quote and photo come from the website of the new studio that I tried out today, and I think it really sums up the new experience I had. I still couldn’t get into many of the poses, but at BYSJ, I felt more encouraged to continue to try. Rather than feeling like a failure, I felt encouraged and empowered. I know I won’t be able to fit a class in every single day for the next 30 days, but I will be able to go several times a week, and I’m sure that on December 5th I’ll be much more flexible and able to get into positions that weren’t available to me today. I’m grateful to begin that journey today.

Today I’m thankful that I gave myself a month of being able to improve my bikram poses. I’m thankful that the new studio offers convenient classes so that I can still allow myself time to prep for all that I need to do for teaching, attend a 90-minute yoga class after school, and and get home at a decent time. I’m thankful that the deal makes it possible for me to fit yoga into my budget. I’m thankful that yoga is going to be part of my life for the next 30 days.

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It’s summertime! Which means that life is a lot easier – my schedule is free, healthy fruits and veggies are plentiful, and I have nothing but time to work on this goal. Success is practically guaranteed – all I need to do is follow through with my actions. My re-assessment meeting with my surgeon was on Friday, June 8th, which just so happened to also be my last day of school before summer vacation, making Fridays the perfect day to weigh-in. So throughout the summer, I’ll be giving Friday progress updates called Successful Summer Weigh-Ins.


This week was strange. I had a great week, but with my birthday on Monday and then the 4th of July on Wednesday, things were a bit off for me.  My food was ok, but I did have more calories than normal on Wednesday at the BBQ.  All good food, but just maybe too much of it.  The other days I ate fine, but I didn’t have the same “pep in my step,” especially in terms of workouts.  Last weekend I didn’t workout at all really, other than taking Sofi for a walk.  I just wasn’t very motivated for some reason.  Monday started off well with 90 minutes of bikram on my birthday, but then I just fell flat Tuesday-Thursday.  I had every intention of going to Zumba or getting in some other workout, but each day something happened that through a kink in my plans and then through me off schedule.  Like I said, it was a weird week.

{Okay, Bella, that’s all good and well, but what we really want to know is how you did on the scale}. Right?!

Today I weighed in at 304.4, which means I gained 2 pounds this week, so I have 23.4 lbs to go to reach my pre-surgery goal. I’m not going to freak out about this.  Mother Nature gave me a bday gift on Monday with TOM, I ate a big meal on Wednesday, and really only exerted myself on Monday.  No big surprises.  Even my water intake was “just okay” this week.  It was just an off week, and while I’m not excusing myself, or giving up on my goals, I’m not going to get crazy or discouraged.  What good would that do?

And by walking, I mean, “walking the talk.”

Which is exactly what I did this morning.  Right after I got off the scale, I quickly whipped up a berry green smoothie, grabbed a cup of coffee, picked up my gear, and headed to a 9am Bikram yoga class.  Today’s class was phenomenal.  A different teacher than Monday, and I’m not sure if it was her, or the fact that this was my second day this week of practicing, or a combo of both, but I could already see a marked improvement in my ability with the poses.

I still have to make some major modifications because of my weight, for example, with #6 you’re supposed to kick your foot into your hand and hold your ankle, but I can’t do that at all, so I just lift my leg and hold my arm as if the ankle was in my  hand.  Not perfect, but still attempting the posture.  The same thing for #19.  I really can’t do #20 or #21 at all, and for today, I just laid in Savasana (corpse pose).  I’m going to ask about a modification for those poses, because I don’t want to sit poses out just because my body can’t get into the perfect form.  They say #23, the Rabbit pose is one of the toughest, and I can’t do it at all…yet. As class ended, I felt good about what I did because my body got into the poses more quickly and with more fluidity than just 4 days ago.  Progress!  (I also ran into my mom’s cousin, MM, whom I have always looked up to.  She’s 10 years older than me, and when I was younger I thought she was the coolest.  Seeing her at yoga  today and getting to practice next to her was a fun experience).

Directly after yoga I headed to the pool to cool down.  I have been leaving the class a sweaty mess.  I’ve always been somewhat sweaty after a bikram class but this week I was literally dripping with sweat and my clothes were soaked through, top and bottoms.  I wonder if the vitamins I’ve been taking are helping my body sweat better?  Anyway, I was gross, hot, and just wanted to cool off, so I was so glad I took the time to pack my swimsuit, etc. with me so that I could quickly change, jump in the pool, and do a few laps.  About 20 minutes worth, which was nice.

All told, I burned 1769 calories today – halfway to 1 pound!  I’m not just saying that I’m going to do better this week, I’m actually taking the actions that will insure it.  Since I spent quite a bit on the 1-month yoga pass, I want to plenty of those classes, but knowing that I would get burnt out on all yoga all the time, I also want to keep swimming, doing Zumba, and fitting in some bike rides.  So, here’s my workout plan for July:

Sunday: Yin Yoga, walk Sofi
Monday: Bikram, swimming, walk Sofi
Tuesday: Bikram, swimming, walk Sofi
Wednesday: Zumba, walk Sofi
Thursday: off/ bike ride, walk Sofi
Friday: Bikram, swimming, walk Sofi
Saturday: Zumba, gentle yoga, walk Sofi (bike ride in the late afternoon)

It seems like a lot, but I think it’s doable.  It’s the sort of intensity I’ve been craving, and it’s high time I bring it!  I think it’s a nice balance of yoga and other workouts that I love to do.  And I think it will help me achieve my goals – on and off the scale.

Until next week, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful weekend!

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Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, right?  Well for me, it was a day of getting things done, but I’m actually quite happy about it.

I got to start the day off with some fun with Sofi, a nice cup of  coffee (or two), and catching up with the news of the day (both from the newspaper and my friends’ FB posts).  Then I was off and not home again for over 6 hours.  In that time, I…

…took an hour and a half morning Bikram class with BeautyJunkie824 and burned 1387 calories. This was BeautyJunkie824’s first time doing Bikram, but you would have thought she was a weekly yogi with how naturally she was able to get into the poses – even the more difficult ones.  As always, she’s such an inspiration to me!

…enjoyed a long, leisurely chat with BeautyJunkie824 at Starbucks.  Every time we get together and I can see her 86 lb loss with my own eyes, I am so motivated.  She let’s me ask her any question at all about the VSG surgery.  Plus, I just love that I’ve made a friend whom I have so much in common with and who makes me feel so uplifted whenever we’re together.  Those are the types of friends I want – people who fill me up, not those who bring me down.

…braved the Sunday crowds at Target to pick up all the household essentials I’d run out of.  Hey, it’s not glamorous, but when Bella runs out of coffee filters, it’s an emergency, so I wanted to avoid that.  😉

…stopped at a fabric/craft store to pick up a few skeins of yarn and a crochet needle.  Learning to crochet is goal #7 of my 2012 goals.  I do have a question for those of you who know how to crochet or knit – do you think I need to spend $60 on the class I was going to take at a  local yarn shop?  The price includes a 2-hour class and a book, but that’s an awful lot of money. I saw a few books on amazon that got high marks from people who said they learned to crochet from reading the book alone.  I’m thinking I could save about $50 by just getting the book.  The class might be more social (which is goal #12), but saving money is goal #11, so…  I think I might buy the book, watch a few YouTube videos, and see what happens.  I can always sign up for the class later if those methods don’t work. Thoughts?

…came home just in time to join my sister on a walk with the dogs.  It was a gorgeous day today – high 60s and so sunny! Even though I was spent, it was nice to take a quick walk around the neighborhood and just soak in the beautiful day.

(OK, so technically, I wasn’t out anymore at this point, but I’m liking this ellipsis list thing, so I’m just going to go with it). 

…got myself organized for the week – finished laundry, planned dinners, picked out tomorrow’s outfit, and even set up the coffeepot for tomorrow morning (see I told you I needed those filters!).

…and finally found a bit of time to relax and release in a bath.  Ahhh, there’s no better way to ease out of the weekend and mentally prepare for the week ahead.  Last week I began this tradition for myself of taking Sunday night baths, and I’m loving it.  Showers are great during the week and even on Saturday, but there’s nothing like just letting go in a tub filled with bubbles.

I hope your Sunday was as enjoyable, and even more restful.

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Today really could not have been any better!  Ok, well, I could’ve done without waking up at 3am,tossing and turning for an hour, and then finally rousing myself out of bed at 4am.  But still, what a day!

I read the paper and had some coffee, catching up on the news, and of course, the comics. Nice way to ease into the day.

I did some tidying up around the house, and then got ready to go to bikram yoga.  By the time I was done with the 90 minute session, I had a sweatyface, for sure.  I was really proud of myself for going even though Nicey had to cancel on me.  The class was really tough today.  I know it’s called “hot yoga,” but it felt especially warm in the studio.  I’m happy to say I made it though, and I’ll give more details about the class on Friday, in my fitness update.

When I got home I relaxed for a bit and dove into the pages of  My Fair Lazy, the newest book from the glorious Ms. Jen Lancaster.  I’ve had the book for quite some time, but I was “saving” it because I usually go through her books really quickly.  While I like to think that I’m a fairly cultured person, I do completely relate to Jen Lancaster’s reality tv obsession, because I love me some Real Housewives of New Jersey.

My parents were coming over to help me hang some additional artwork that I recently bought to complete my living room.  I absolute love the way it turned out:

Two new artwork pieces

I love the saying on this one from Margaret Shepherd: “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

This one is so gorgeous, especially in person.  It has a Chinese Proverb that says, “If you keep a green bough in your heart, then the singing bird will come.”  To me, it means that you will find true happiness as long as you have hope.

You can’t tell from the photos, but both pictures have a little bit of sparkle to them, and they are really vivid.  I love the colors.

I also added some silk flowers to my vases, since the protea I got at the farmers market a few weeks ago were finally spent:

I love these colors, and they tie in all the other colors in the room.

As my parents were leaving, I gave them my leftover chicken curry, and later they called to tell me how much the loved it.  What a compliment.  My mom even asked me to give her the recipe so that she can make it again.  I’m telling you, you should try it, because it was a HIT!

For dinner, I made a good beef stirfry, which was really filling and just looked beautiful (if I do say so myself):

I always feel so good when I have a fridge full of food, have a ton of leftovers, and know that I won’t be scrambling for healthy dinners all week.

But the most exciting thing happened in bits and pieces throughout the day.  Get a glass of water or a cup of coffee, cuz this is going to take a while to explain.

As you know, I’ve been thinking seriously about getting a dog this summer.  I’ve wanted one for quite a few years, and I really feel like I’m finally ready to take on all that having a puppy entails.  I’ve been looking online for lots of different dogs, and when I went to a colleague’s house and she had this adorable yorkie, I asked her where she got him.  She said that she had found him from a breeder in another state, and got him sent to her.  Which made me very intrigued with that idea.

Then today LC posted on Facebook saying that she was at my niece’s Tae Kwon Do practice and a woman there had a little dog that she needed to give to someone.  Long story short, LC is getting this great dog (and all the accompanying accessories like a bed, food bowl, leash, etc) for free next week.  Which just made me want to get a puppy all the more.  I know that sounds like I just want one because my sister is getting one, but that’s not the case.  It just spurred me on to fulfill this dream of mine.  So I went back online and found a reputable breeder in Missouri who had a few adorable puppies available.

One in particular caught my eye, and the price was really good.  $375, including shipping her to my local airport (from MO to CA) on American Airlines.  They are including all of the vet paperwork, including shot history, the crate, a health certificate, a health guarantee, and even some puppy food and a care package.  I emailed the woman and found out that she’s a middle school math teacher – a great sign.  I asked if I could wait until after school gets out (June 11) before I get the puppy, and the breeder said that would be fine, as long as I sent a deposit (via Paypal).  So the timing is perfect.

Here’s the thing.  My mom is really opposed to me getting a dog.  She said she thinks it’s a huge mistake, and thinks that the fact that the dog would be alone while I’m at work (usually from 7am until 3 or 3:30 pm) is a terrible life for a young dog. My dad said that he thinks it would be fine, as long as I verify that this woman is on the up and up, which I have. I looked her up online, researched their website, etc.  I really feel in my heart like this is the right thing to do.  The one hesitation I have is that I usually listen closely to my mom’s advice.  The fact that she thinks it’s a bad idea is throwing me.  You’re probably thinking, “Bella, you’re in your late 30s, why are you so concerned with what your parents think?”  Well the answer is twofold – one: in my family, you’re always “the child” as long as your parents are alive; and two: I really value my parents’ opinion, because I know they have more life experience than I do and have my best interests at heart.

But I really have thought this through.  My lifestyle is such that I’m home most nights of the week.  I have friends and social engagements, of course, but most of the time I stay close to home.  I don’t have to travel for business, and I am not a world traveler (yet!).  I know I’ll have to walk the dog to go potty in the morning, which means getting up earlier than I do now.  While I’m at school, I’m planning on closing the door to my kitchen, pantry, and dining area, so the dog would only be in the part of the house that has linoleum.  When I get home from school I will definitely take the dog on a long walk, and then later in the night we can go on potty breaks in either the front yard (on a leash – I live on a really busy street) or in the backyard with the gate closed. (I really don’t have a backyard to speak of.  It’s mostly concrete, where we park our cars, but there are some patches of dirt/tanbark where the dog could go to the bathroom (and I could clean up). On the days when I have to be at work later (which are rare) or if I’m going out after work, I can have her go to the doggie daycare that is literally down the street from my house.  (They have a webcam and everything).  There’s another really highly acclaimed day care that isn’t too far from my house which is also an option, and I’m planning on going to puppy classes there this summer. The point is, I feel like I have a handle on what it will take to make the commitment to the dog.

The nice thing about having the summer off is that I’ll have two solid months to bond with the dog, take puppy socialization classes, get into a routine, and make sure we both understand the new “house rules.”  I figure I can slowly wean her off of being around me all day long as the summer comes to a close, so that she’s used to being by herself for 6 hours or so.

The dog is a bichon-yorkie mix.  I’m thinking her name might be Lulu, but I’m still considering.  (Her current name is Bridgett, which I hate). Or I may go with a literary character’s name, like Zelda.  Or something Italian.  But I have time to figure that out. So without futher ado, here she is:

This is the photo from the online ad. How adorable is she?

These are the photos that the breeder sent me, which were taken tonight:

She looks a tiny bit scruffy, like she needs a little haircut (believe me, this dog is going to be spoiled and no doubt she’ll be a regular at the groomers),but she is still such a doll, isn’t she?

My question is, what do you guys think?  My heart and head are telling me to do it, because this dog seems like the perfect fit, but the fact that I don’t have my mom on board is making me think twice.  Any thoughts? What questions should I ask the breeder when I call her tomorrow?

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Since I haven’t been very good about working out much lately I thought this post would be a bit more interesting if I told you what I’ve decided to do about this lack of enthusiasm regarding fitness I’ve been experiencing. 

I’ve been really busy at work these past two weeks, and because of that I come home fairly exhausted – mentally and sometimes physically.  Working out is the last thing on my mind.  Besides that, I’ve been having bad sinus/allergy headaches for the past few weeks, and they really wipe me out. 

So I figured that I needed to enlist the help of some friends to keep me motivated and MAKE me workout.  The thing is, once I get started with whatever activity, I enjoy myself, it’s just the getting started part that’s been difficult late.  If I make a plan to meet my friend for a fitness date, I know I’m a lot more likely to show up, because I hate to flake. 

On  Monday, I’ve got a walk set up with a friend from high school who I discovered lives near me.  My hair stylist and I made plans to go to Bikram yoga one evening soon.  And today when I meet Nicey for coffee I’m going to try to get her to commit to meeting me at the gym at least twice a week, if we can work our schedules out.  This weekend my plan is to go for a long bike ride on Saturday and hit a Bikram yoga class on Sunday morning. 

Getting back into the fitness groove shouldn’t be too difficult, as long as I view it as something enjoyable, and look at it is an hour that I’m giving to myself.

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After a wonderful day spent with my sister, I was in a great mood, and absolutely felt like the cobwebs of blah were cast out of my head.

51gqvdxkmol_sl500_aa240_I felt so good, in fact, that I decided to finally try the Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga DVD I had purchased a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t in the mood for a full-on, heart-pounding workout, but I was ready to earn a few APs, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

As some of you know, I am a huge fan of Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga.  The main reason is because the poses are held for much longer.  I think the movements are much slower because of the heat, and thus, I can keep up really well.  I can’t make all of the poses, but I can do most of them pretty well.  I leave the yoga studio drenched, but feeling as if I have just had a great massage, or stepped out of a nice, warm bath.  Really relaxed and soothed. Plus, the next day I always feel that “good sore” in my abs.

The first thing that I really liked is that in the menu, you can customize your workout.  You can select which levels you want to add (from 1-3), as well as a warm up and cool down.  The times of each are listed on the side, so you know ahead of time exactly how much you’re in for.

Not knowing what to expect, I selected a warm up, the level one workout, and a cool down.  These totaled 30 minutes, which was a great amount of time for what I had in mind for this evening.

The warm up was awesome.  Lots of deep breaths and wide arm movements.  It got my blood flowing and made me feel alive, which is the point,  right? Then came the actual workout which was sort of a “flow” style of yoga.  You moved from pose to pose fairly quickly, and after just a few minutes, my breathing was definitely quick.  I didn’t really sweat, but my heart rate was elevated.  I really like the way Bob led the yoga class – just like any good instructor he was quick to say that wherever  you are (whatever you can do) is exactly where you should be for your body.  It takes the stress out of not being able to get into certain poses perfectly.  (I am a perfectionist at heart, and hate it when I can’t do the moves the way they show on the DVD). The cool down was completely relaxing and made you feel as if you had just accomplished something pretty awesome with your body.

Overall, I would say my fitness level is such that I should include at least level 1 and level 2 into my workout if I have the time.  Level 1 was nice, but it didn’t make me feel like I was really pushing myself that much.  (We’ll see if my muscles say differently tomorrow).   I only watched level 2, but it’s a great combo of yoga, pilates, and ab work.  This level is where you use the water ball that came with the kit I bought – I was wondering when that came into play.  (Level 2 lasts 15 minutes). Level 3 is yoga/strength training in which you do the yoga poses while holding light weights in your hands. (Level 3 lasts 10 minutes).   I almost feel as if I could do all three levels, but that might be going a bit overboard this early into it.

One thing I really liked about the DVD was that they had past BL contestants on it.  Different people were showing different levels of difficulty.  For example, Heba (season 6), Michele (season 6 winner), and Bernie (season 5 at-home winner) were doing more modified poses (less strenuous), while Ali (season 5 winner) was doing the most difficult poses, and even going beyond what Bob was doing (the showoff!).  (Seriously, Ali is a machine!  That girl is so ripped it’s amazing.  I’m so motivated by her.  She completely transformed herself, and she’s such an inspiration).  The nice thing about having different contestants at different levels was that you didn’t feel badly for not being able to get into the poses as well as someone like Ali.  There were people like Heba and Michelle to follow, and as long as I felt like I was doing the moves sort of like they were, I felt good about what I was able to do.

I would definitely recommend this DVD for those who want to incorporate yoga into their workout routines, but may not have the time (or money) to join a yoga studio.  The poses shown are fairly simple to get into in their modified version, yet difficult enough in the more strenuous version to really add a nice challenge for more advanced people. Plus, it’s so convenient to just pop a DVD into the player and get your workout on – no driving to the gym/yoga studio, waiting for the class to start, and then driving home.  The workout is ready to go whenever you are.

I think this yoga workout will be a nice compliment to a few of the other DVDs I’ve recently purchased.  Also, one of my friends who is a runner mentioned that once my trainings for the half marathon kick into gear I’ll probably want to do yoga just to soothe my sore muscles and stretch them out.

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On a personal note, I have to say that I was really proud of myself for snapping out of my funk and getting in some activity tonight.  It would have been just as easy to come home and read a book or watch t.v., but I chose to do the DVD instead.  Making positive choices like that is a great example of the lifestyle changes I’m trying to instill.  This was definitely a (barefoot) step in the right direction.

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