That Skin Tho……How To Get The Glow – Part 1

As you may have noticed from this blog and my social media channels, I have some fantastic girlfriends in my life, all thanks to my experience with Phi Sigma Sigma. Many of my post ideas and topics come from chats with my friends and my sincerest hope for my blog is that it feels like a fun conversation (maybe with a glass of wine) with your girls. Well today I have a special treat for you. My friend Chandra has gone through a complete holistic transformation and has been my health and beauty guru. Some of her tips and tricks are working wonderfully for me and I thought it was high time to share them with you. So I’ve asked Chandra to contribute a post today and hopefully many more in the future.

Chandra, Me and our mutual bestie, Jen at last week’s Michigan Alumni Tailgate in Texas.

Without further adieu, welcome to the blog Chandra!

 

Hey everyone!

I’m really excited to join Detroit Duchess in her blogging adventures! I want to tell you about my experience of getting glowing radiant skin. It happened accidentally but the results have been amazing!

I had some health issues earlier this year and as result I started on a quest for more holistic / natural life and started changing everything in my diet, in my exercise plan, in my stress levels, etc. I’ll be telling you more about that in the future but for now, let’s focus on the surprise result I got which is radiant glowing skin. Now before I tell you my secrets, I must confess that I do have some fantastic products and skin routines that I follow which I will tell you about in Part 2 next week.

Ready to learn how to get the glow???? Here’s a day in the life for me!

I start my day with ½ of fresh squeezed organic lemon juice added to 1 cup room temp filtered water. You can add a pinch of cayenne pepper for added boost. I take the weekends off from making this as I find that too much lemon will hurt my teeth so doing this 4 – 5 days a week keeps that from happening. I’ll be honest this doesn’t taste the greatest so I take almost like a shot. Bottoms up!

Next up is coffee!!! I make my morning coffee using organic medium roast coffee and when I am at home, I throw it in the blender with 1 tsp of coconut oil and 1 scoop of Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate. The results are a frothy latte like coffee with amazing skin boosting powers and no artificial ingredients or chemicals. As a bonus, you get a healthy dose of protein from the collagen. Trade in your sugary coffee drinks for this protein packed coffee and watch your skin glow! When I travel, I skip the coconut oil (no blender) and use Collagen Peptides travel pack from Vital Proteins.

Let’s talk about collagen in case you are not familiar with it. Collagen reduces cellulite and adds elasticity back to your skin. It also is healing for your stomach and joints and strengthens your hair and nails. In my mind, it’s a MUST HAVE addition into your daily routine! The brands I mentioned above do not have any flavor or smell so you can add it to your tea, soup, oatmeal, whatever and reap the benefits. Your skin will thank you every day!

I end my day with an after dinner drink of 6 oz of bone broth. Okay, you may be going EWWWWWW right now but trust me it’s not bad at all. It has amino acids, collagen and minerals in it. Like the collagen powder, it is great for your skin and has been touted as creating youthful looking skin. Bone broth has many other health benefits. It too provides a protein boost to keep you feeling full. I have it after dinner and it keeps the late night cravings away.

This is something you can make on your own (there are plenty of recipes online) or buy. I LOVE Kettle and Fire Bone Broth! If you order from their website kettleandfire.com you get some great entertaining welcome to the family emails.

My skin is soft and glowing after following this routine now for weeks. Not to mention the benefits of following this for my health and the increased protein which results in less hunger which means…..weight loss!!! Yes, while working on your skin you may even lose a few pounds.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 of That Skin Tho….How To Get The Glow and I’ll tell you about some amazing skin care products, facials and detoxes.

Do you have any questions for Chandra? Let us know in the comments.

For more beauty posts, click here.



The Miracle Morning – 180 Days

I just hit the 180 day mark on my Miracle Morning journey and thought I would give you a little update! In case you missed my introduction post, you can see it here, my 60 day post here, and my 90 day post here.

Something amazing is happening! Since my last post, a few of my friends have starting doing The Miracle Morning after seeing my process on a recent girls trip. I love that we are all pushing each other forward! Our texts have changed to sharing fun motivation posts and asking meditation questions. This by far is one of the best outcomes of starting this journey.

Achieving 180 days of The Miracle Morning requires a lot of discipline. When I get questions about my routine, many people ask how I have time to focus every day. My answer is that some days are more hectic than others. The important thing is consistency. If you can’t do a full blown workout – do a 10 minute ab workout. It’s about quantity more than quality on some days. The second you stop doing it, the easier it is to not start back up again the next day.

Here are a few things I’ve added to my routine in the past 90 days:

Essential Oils

I wrote a post on adding essential oils to my meditation and morning routine. Right now I am using peppermint, lavender, rosemary and lemon in my diffuser, but hope to add more to my collection soon. I had a lot of trips scheduled in June and brought peppermint along for the ride. It was so helpful to get me in the Miracle Morning mindset when I was in a different place. Smell is really powerful in bringing you back to your routine.

Meditation

I’m still loving the Headspace app and it recently received an update. One of the great new features is that you can change the time of your meditation daily instead of sticking with only 10 minutes for an entire pack. For example, if you have extra time you can up your meditation to 15 or 20 minutes and then go back to 10 minutes the next day. Headspace also shared this new video – if this doesn’t convince you of the importance of meditation I’m not sure what will:

Reading

I completed The Power of Consistency by Weldon Long and I highly recommend it. Weldon has an incredible back story as a 3-time convicted felon. If he can make affirmations and visualization work in an 8×8 prison cell, what’s your excuse? I would love to read his other book, The Upside of Fear which shares more of his personal journey.

If you’re still not doing The Miracle Morning, what’s stopping you? Watch the following video with Hal Elrod himself explaining how The Miracle Morning can transform your life:

How are you sticking to The Miracle Morning?

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



Set Your Intention with Aroma Foundry Essential Oils

I received complimentary samples from Aroma Foundry in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own. 

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed my Miracle Morning journey. I’ve just crossed over 120 days and am always looking for ways to enhance my morning routine. When Aroma Foundry reached out to me, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to incorporate essential oils into my Miracle Morning routine and maybe even create my own Miracle Morning blend.

Essential oils are all-natural and extracted from plants. Aroma Foundry sources Native Oils where they are first known to have appeared. For example, Aroma Foundry Rosemary is sourced from Morocco. Each of their oils has a little history attached to it. Rosemary has this background: “Going back to the time of the indigenous Berbers, fields of wild rosemary were sustainably harvested and utilized for many centuries.” 

If you are thinking of incorporating essential oils into your Miracle Morning routine either by diffusing, smelling or applying them, here are a few to consider:

Rosemary

Rosemary is the perfect oil to diffuse during your affirmations and visualization time. It is known to promote memory retention, concentration and productivity. It also uplifts and stimulates the mind. You can also take it with you during the day and take a quick inhale whenever you need a reminder to stick to your goals.

Bergamot

A type of orange, Bergamot has a calming effect and its citrus properties will help to uplift you during meditation. Aroma Foundry sources their Bergamot from the Netherlands where it is popular as a fragrance, in teas, and even in beers.

Peppermint

Aroma Foundry sources its Peppermint from Washington which surprisingly produces more mint than any other region in the world. Who knew? Peppermint can be used as an energy booster and to promote concentration. It can also stimulate clear thinking. It would be great in a brainstorm or when you are doing your visualizations. You may try taking a whiff of this when you first wake up in the morning.

John and I used Peppermint during a road trip to stay alert and energized.

Lemongrass

If you are hitting your yoga mat every morning, consider diffusing Lemongrass or applying it to your wrists prior to practice. Aroma Foundry uses Lemongrass from Guatemala because the climate produces some of the most fragrant oil. Lemongrass will invigorate your senses and open your mind. It’s also perfect for those sore muscles and can be used in massages.

Lavender

Source in the United States, Aroma Foundry’s Lavender is 100% pure and not diluted. Lavender can help relieve nervous tension and depression. To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, rub some behind your temples before bed and visualize the next morning’s routine.

Grapefruit

This grapefruit oil is sourced from Florida and has a stimulating effect on the body and the mind. It’s another mood lifter, perfect for your down days or when you need to focus on your goal with clarity.

Lemon

Aroma Foundry’s Lemon oil is sourced from California. Lemon promotes concentration and can help calm you when you’re exhausted or feeling angry. This is a good one for an early morning meditation when you really don’t feel like doing it that day.

It’s your lucky day, because Aroma Foundry has generously offered to give a $25 gift card to one of my readers. I am thrilled to share this with you so you can kick start your Miracle Morning practice using essential oils. Enter the giveaway below and I will select a winner on June 5th:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more posts about the Miracle Morning, click here.



The Miracle Morning – 90 Days

I am thrilled to share that I recently hit 90 days in my Miracle Morning journey! In case you missed my introduction post, you can see it here and my 60 days post here. Since I started doing the Miracle Morning, I have been more on track and focused on my goals than ever before. I can see a number of positive changes already happening in my life which makes me even more determined. If you still aren’t convinced that getting up early is a good thing, take a look at this article from Business Insider on all of the successful CEOs that are incorporating parts of The Miracle Morning into their routines. I never considered myself a morning person, but if I can do it, so can you!

If you’ve been following along, I’m going to share a few insights and tips I have learned or added to the morning routine for each of the SAVERS.

Silence

I am still loving the Headspace app more than ever! Now that it has warmed up and I’m walking the dog again, I’ve been using the Walking Meditation available in the Singles section. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but after the first 30 days I wanted to add some devotions to my silence. We had a copy of Jesus Lives in our guest room and I have been doing that every day after my meditation.

Affirmations

I’m still loving the ThinkUp App for my affirmations and I recently discovered that you can categorize them. So I could have a set that I listen to in the morning and some on the way to work, etc. Over the past 30 days, I have hit two of the goals that I have been saying daily affirmations for. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to do that. One was a money goal that I set a specific time limit to (end of Q1) and the other was my water goal. Ever since I got the Hidrate Spark, I went from barely getting in 8 ounces a day to exceeding 100 ounces everyday! Both were HUGE accomplishments for me. Stay tuned for a full review of the Hidrate Spark in an upcoming post. I also want to create a group of bedtime affirmations that are specifically targeted for the next day and start a night routine as well. I’m sharing this video just for fun – you have to own your affirmations people!

Visualization

This is the area I have the most trouble with. I am still using my HayHouseVB app but think I need to step it up a bit. Someone in the Miracle Morning Facebook Community suggested YouTube visualization videos and I am just starting to incorporate them into my morning. For example, one of the things I am visualizing is taking a trip to Paris, so I found this video which is 100 times better than just looking at photos:

Exercise

Now that it has warmed up again, Sport and I are back at our morning walks. I try to get 10,000 steps each day which is hard to do without our walk. About a month ago I accidentally flushed my Fitbit Zip down the toilet so I couldn’t track my steps anymore. This was the perfect reason to upgrade to the FitBit One, which I love! This added a sleep tracker and the ability to set an alarm. So I now have an alarm set on my Fitbit to vibrate and wake me up in the morning. How cool is that?

Reading

I finally finished Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. That one was a harder read just because of the outdated language, but the principles are great. I took a short stop to my next book to read Michael Ellsburg’s manifesto What Does it Mean That Your Life is Perfect? This was recommended in one of Hal Elrod’s podcasts and it is a free download and only about 40 pages.

Scribing

This is another SAVER that I am still working on. One thing I want to incorporate into this next round is adding one thing that I’m grateful for each day.

How are you sticking to The Miracle Morning?

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



The Miracle Morning – 60 Days

I wanted to give a little update to my original Miracle Morning post. I recently hit the 60 day mark and wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for my SAVERS and hopefully get some tips from you if you’re following along at home.

Silence

I am OBSESSED with the Headspace app. The first 10 days are free and then you subscribe for a nominal fee. I recommend doing the first 10 days free and then subscribing afterwards. I have a few free month trial codes if anyone is interested. The first two people to email me at elizabeth@detroitduchess.com can have them. I will put you on the list after that in case I get more. Also let me know if you are using this because we can be meditation buddies!

Affirmations

For my affirmations, I got an app called “Think Up.” You can type your affirmations and then record yourself saying them. Every morning I play them back to myself.

Visualization

To help visualize my goals, I downloaded the HayHouseVB app, which is essentially an online vision board. I like that you can create a bunch of different boards and I have a lot of fun with this. Plus they are always with me and I can look at them anytime.

Exercise

Since we are in the winter months, I’ve had to find some alternatives to walking as it is FREEZING outside. When I lost weight in the past, I was an avid follower of The FIRM workout plan. I found out that The FIRM was acquired by Gaia and that you can get all of their workout videos from the Gaia app. So I went ahead and got myself a subscription. This has been one of the best investments I’ve made! I LOVE these workouts and I love being able to do them on our Apple TV. You can find all of The FIRM workouts here. I also like that I can get any kind of workout I want at anytime anywhere from Gaia. Here’s a little taste from YouTube in case you’ve never done one before:

Reading

I finished 10% Happier, my pick from the first 30 days and now am onto Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This one was recommending by Hal Elrod and he noted it was where he first heard about affirmations. The book is interesting because it was written in 1937 and published during the Great Depression. Most of it still holds up today and I love that it is a collection of real world examples of 20 years of studying successful people.

Scribing

This has probably been the hardest area for me because I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing here. I did end up purchasing the official Miracle Morning Journal because I like the SAVERS checkboxes. You can get a free sample here.

How are you sticking to The Miracle Morning?

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



The Miracle Morning

Hello readers! I’m back!

Long story short, 2016 was tough on a personal level and I was definitely pushed to my breaking point. This forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and focus on what was most important. I worked really hard and ended the year on top with a big promotion at work. I had planned to kick off the year with this post, but got hit with a bad case of pneumonia, which is why I’m hitting the restart button on 2017 now.

Last year, I was turned on to The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and have been following parts of it ever since. I decided that I would really commit to it in 2017 and wanted to invite you to join me.

I first heard about The Miracle Morning on Episode 37 of the Marriage More podcast with Jeff and Mandy Rose. They interviewed Hal Elrod and I was blown away by his story! From being on top of the world to a horrific car accident, Hal had every reason to give up. But that’s not what he did. His optimism inspired me and I was hooked. From the podcast I was inspired to start getting up early and doing some of the things that Hal outlines in his miracle morning. After hearing this, I started listening to Hal’s podcast and then I bought and read the book.

Essentially, The Miracle Morning is a lifestyle change that will help you achieve Level 10 success in every aspect of your life. The crazy thing is it’s really simple. The premise is that you have to wake up early and then do a routine of self-improvement activities (Life SAVERS) before you start your day.

I’m inviting you to start this process with me for the next 30 days and I will outline a few of the things that I am going to focus on with my Life SAVERS.

Silence

On one of Hal’s podcasts, he recommended the Simply Being app to help with meditation and the times I’ve used it, I thought it was extremely helpful.

Affirmations

The next step is to write your affirmations down and review them every morning. Here is one that I liked and will use to kick this off.

Visualization

I plan to do my Miracle Morning in our office, so I want to create a larger vision board that I can focus on during my SAVERS. I have a few small ones right now, but I want to make a bigger board for 2017.

Exercise

Normally I love to walk Sport in the morning, but right now it’s too cold so I will be hitting my morning yoga class until it is warm enough to start walking him again.

Reading

To kick off the first 30-day challenge, I am planning to start reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris. Dan is a Nightline anchor who had a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America. Afterwards, he decided to make a change and learn about meditation. I’ve been listening to Dan’s podcast for a while and love it! I had no idea so many people meditate every day. I figured this would be a good book to start with as I will be meditating now.

Scribing

The last SAVER is scribing or journaling. I am terrible at this, I hate writing my thoughts down on paper, but there are a number of benefits to doing this. Hal recommends The Winners’ Journal for this and I also have The 5-Minute Journal app to get me started.

Will you start The Miracle Morning Challenge with me? I loved this quote from the book and thought it would might help convince you.

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



2016 Health Goals with Meijer

Disclosure: I received sample products from Meijer in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’m not the kind of person that likes to make big sweeping resolutions…mostly because they don’t work out. I like to set goals and take baby steps to reach them. In 2005-2006, I lost more than 50 pounds, working out and sticking to a strict diet. Unfortunately, in 2007 I slowly started to gain all of that weight back plus an additional 45 pounds. BOO. Ever since we adopted our sweet pup Sport, I’ve been getting up early each morning to walk him nearly three miles and I’ve lost 15 pounds since implementing that step into my daily routine.

07_6

This is a picture of me at my lowest weight in 2007.

The point of all this is to say after losing a lot of weight very quickly, I never really changed my lifestyle and that made it easy for me to go back to the status quo once I had lost all the weight. So my goals for 2016 are to start making small changes and mastering each step before adding something new in. I hope to be successful this way and really sustain healthy living.

So after I started my daily walking routine, which in turn gets me to 10,000 daily steps, I decided that the next goal was to start drinking my daily water goal. I was recently introduced to an awesome app called Plant Nanny that has been helping me reach my water goals. This app is like a game and makes logging your water a fun task by growing a plant. It also reminds you in a real way that if you don’t water your plant it will die and in this case you are the plant.

plant nanny

This is my third plant, a cactus named Sparky

The next step is where Meijer comes into play – healthy eating and calorie counting. I like to incorporate shakes and meal replacement bars into my diet so when I go out I can indulge a little bit more on the big meals. Meijer sent me a variety of different shakes to try. I’ve previously only done Slim-Fast shakes before so I am excited to try some of these. Depending on how much time I have in the morning, sometimes I will add fruit to my shakes for a little something extra. I usually take my shakes with me during my morning commute, so convenience is important.

Shakes

Do you have any good shake recipes? I normally just do a cup of milk, powder and sometimes if I’m starving a tablespoon of peanut butter. For lunch, I will do a meal replacement bar and 200 calories of something else, usually a half of sandwich or a serving of soup. It’s a joke in our house because I keep all my bars in our cookie jar. There are rarely cookies stored there, haha!

bars

Calorie counting and movement are the keys to shedding the pounds for me and I am thrilled to start 2016 out with some helpful calorie management aids in my pantry. Meijer also has a great website called “A Healthier You” where they share tips and tricks for meal planning, health and fitness.

Have you lost weight before? What are you best tips and tricks for a healthy new year?

For more Meijer posts, click here.



Be the Best You in 2015

Happy New Year!

When I started this series last year, I said, “2013 was a year of preparation, getting us ready for what’s to come in 2014. I’m looking forward to 2014 to bring us a new home, a puppy and maybe even a baby!”

We don’t have a puppy or a baby, but we do have a fabulous new house that I cannot wait to move into!

You also may have noticed that I didn’t finish any of my Be the Best You projects in 2014 – I am still working on all of them. This is a common theme in my life, I LOVE to start new projects and the majority of the time I never finish them. The one thing that has been consistent is this blog. I am really proud of myself for keeping this blog going for a year and a half. My goal in 2014 is to finish all of the old projects I have started and to see any new projects all the way through to completion.

finish what you start

Aside from that resolution/goal, I find that most of the time I am always working on something, whether it be work, or teaching, or this blog, etc. I rarely take time out to just do nothing or relax, so in 2015 I want to find the fun!

fun

Aside from finishing my projects, I want to spend more time with friends and family doing fun things, like brunch, happy hour or general merrymaking. Once we move into the new house I want to host more parties and start having weekly family and/or friend dinners.

000_ant21-500x500

I also want to spend more time this year “dating” my husband. I’ve noticed that most of our quality time consists of us watching TV and interacting with our various devices (laptop, iPad, iPhone, etc.). I want to do more fun and exciting things that keep the spark alive. The Dating Divas have some amazing ideas that I hope to use this year.

engagement photo

I plan to document all of my fun right here on this blog, which I hope inspires you to go out and have some fun in 2015.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?

You find more posts in this series here.

Be The Best You in 2014 With the 100 Day Yoga Challenge

I am super pumped to be writing this post! When I originally envisioned this series this challenge was at the top of my list. My recent partnership with the YogaOutlet.com inspired me to get back into a regular yoga practice. Counting today, there are 121 days left in the year, so I figure if I start my challenge today, I  will have a little leeway to mess up, but still be able to reach my goal.

IMG_2967 final

Also, I just found out that September is National Yoga Month, so it is the perfect time to kick this challenge off. To celebrate, the Yoga Health Foundation is offering one week of free yoga at participating studios. Click the link to sign up:

yogamonth_home_slideshow699_287_owfy2

I want to achieve some real results and I think yoga is the way to do it. There are a few poses and stretches that I’ve never been able to do and would love to achieve at the end of this challenge.

Monkey Pose

I’ve never been able to do the splits before, but I know I could get there if I work on it.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Wheel Pose

I took gymnastics when I was little and I was the only one who could never do the bridge. My upper body strength sucks and it would be a personal victory to be able to get into this pose.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Crow Pose

I’ve been able to get into the crow pose when I practiced last year, but I could never hold it or feel stable in it. I would love to be able to get into the pose and hold it.

crow

Photo via Pinterest

I am going to record my progress in this post and would love for you to join me and share your achievements in the comments. Each day, I am going to share a new yoga tip or something that I’ve learned along the way.

Day 1

So, my first class in the challenge was HOT! I made the mistake of walking to yoga, so I was dying when I got in there. It was extra hot in the room, so everyone was sweating. Next time, I am going to need to bring a towel so my yoga mat doesn’t get all slippery. I also need to bring water. I made it through, so I was proud of myself!

A number of students had these Skidless Towels to put over their mats to help absorb moisture so you don’t slip.

skidless towels

Our instructor talked about how today was the beginning of school for most people and that you always see people taking first day pictures, but never last day pictures. She said that we tend to focus on that fresh start all the time and not so much on the transition or the end. Our practice today was supposed to help us focus on the journey and the end of practice. We don’t want to rush through the end of things just to get to the beginning again, we should want to enjoy the end just as much as the beginning. I liked this thought because I always have a hard time finishing, but I love starting over. I found this quote that sort of sums it up:

ending

Day 2

Day 2 went much better! I brought water this time and it was a lifesaver! I am still going to need a towel if I continue at this studio because it gets hot and sweaty! I was really inspired today by the girl next to me. The instructor helped her get into the wheel pose (one of my goals) and it inspired me. I’m not there yet, but I know I can get there. We spent a lot of time learning how to get into the pose, so that will be helpful later on.

I liked this article from FitSugar on some poses to work into that will help you get into wheel pose in the future:

How-Do-Wheel-Pose

Photo via FitSugar

Day 3

Day 3 was great! I took a slower yoga class which I was able to keep up with for the most part and loved it. I also brought a hand towel this time which helped me to wipe down my face which in turn helped keep my mat dry. We did some split poses and one of the women in my class was able to do a full split! This blew me away, but also got me excited to get to that point myself at the end of this challenge.

I learned today that the Sanskrit word for the splits or monkey pose is called Hanumanasana (pronounced hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna). It got its name from the Hindu Monkey God, Hanuman. As the story goes, Hanuman made a giant leap from India to reach the Lankan Islands and the splits are supposed to commemorate that.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Day 4

Day 4 was great, I kept up and felt good about myself and my practice. In my class they keep talking about Bandhas and I had no idea what they were talking about, so I decided to do some research. In Sanskrit bandha means to lock, hold or tighten. I found this great article that went into much more detail about what a bandha is and the different types of bandas. This was extremely helpful – now I will know what they are talking about in class.

Maha-Bandha

Day 5

Day 5 was great! I was able to get up into the crow pose for a little bit. I couldn’t hold it for very long, but I got up there. I think that will be the first goal I master. I would love to be able to get up and be stable for a while.

Our instructor talked about the past today. She said that the past is just a story we tell ourselves. It doesn’t matter what you did before or in yesterday’s practice, it only matters what you can do today. (I guess this is a quote from a movie, but I loved it).

the past

Day 6

I did not want to go to yoga today, I wanted to lay around and do nothing, but I signed up for the class and got my butt up and out the door! I am SO glad that I did go, everything felt so great and I left feeling really good. We did some balance poses and I definitely need to work on that, my balance was terrible.

mat_fall_my-yoga-online

Day 7

I started yoga at a new studio today and it was a little frustrating trying to get into the new routine. Plus they had a hard concrete floor, so I may need to get a thicker mat if I end up staying at this studio. I was able to keep up in the Vinyasa and this studio wasn’t as hot, so I think I moved through everything a lot easier. I did get a complement on my Zella pants that I got at the Nordstrom sale!

zella

Day 8

Today I took a much slower class, but I really worked hard. Our instructor focused on being grounded in all of these crazy storms and floods. There was a beautiful full moon tonight, so it was sort of a cool day to think about being grounded and connecting to the energy of the earth.

grounded

Day 9

I loved my class today. Our instructor was telling a story about an 87-year-old woman who teaches yoga and is amazing. One of the things she teaches her students is to be sweet, be soft and be simple in their poses. Our practice today focused on doing that.

Day 10

Day 10 saw me back at Vinyasa and I think that all of these slower classes helped me work on my poses and form. We tried the crow pose again and I got up for a second but wasn’t able to hold the pose. We did get into pigeon pose and the instructor had us put a yoga block under our tailbone which really helped me in this pose. I hadn’t been able to do this and fold down, so with the block I was able to get there. We did spend some time talking about the do’s and don’ts in Chatarunga and I found this image that explains it perfectly.

chatarunga

Day 11

On Day 11, I had to do my P90x Yoga video at home. It was a lot harder to stay focused at home because our house is still a mess from the flood and we are waiting for the basement to get recarpeted before we can move everything back. So it was hard to shut everything out because I kept looking around and thinking of what I should be cleaning/organizing. I made it through and I think that was really important.

finish

Day 12

Today I was back in class with a Vinyasa class. It was fabulous! I loved the instructor and I was really jamming on everyone’s energy. Our instructor kept talking about how we take for granted falling and being able to get back up. She said that is a sign of getting old, when you fall and can’t get back up again. The girl next to me was a yoga rockstar. She did full splits on both sides and got into a yoga nidrasana pose! It was inspiring!

yoga nidrasana

Day 13

So yesterday was the first day that I skipped a class, so I only have 20 skip days left to reach my goal. I have to say that it felt so good to get back to my practice after one day off. Our instructor had us doing poses that I had never even heard of. It was intense, but I think I kept up well enough. The Dancing Camel was one of the new poses that I learned. Here is a diagram of how to do it:

dancing camel

Day 14

Today’s class was a slow flow. It wasn’t as physically intense, but we did some great stretches and balance poses that I think will help me later on. In many of these classes, I’ve discovered that my hips are really tight so I have trouble getting into and holding some of these poses. The more classes I attend, the better it gets.

tight-hips-yoga-workshop

Day 15

So, I skipped a few days here because I started a new job. It felt really good to get back to it. I ended up going to a Sunday class and they also tied in meditation to this one. Before we went into our meditation we tried alternate nostril breathing, also known as pranayama. It seemed sort of weird when we were doing it, but apparently it has all sorts of benefits. This article explains it in much more detail and I learned a lot more about it.

alternate-nostril-breathing

Day 16

Day 16 was back to Vinyasa and this was a fast class. When our instructor left us on our own, I got totally lost and couldn’t remember what came next. I faked my way through it, but I was in the back and I think that hindered my ability to get the directions down.

lost

Day 17

Tuesday is Slow Flow and I think that is my favorite class of the week. It is the perfect class for a Tuesday. I walked in the door super cranky and left feeling wonderful. After my missed days, I have 14 skip days left if I still want to reach my 100 days of yoga goal by the end of 2014.

slow flow

Day 18

I had a great time in Saturday’s fast paced Vinyasa class. I had a good flow and felt really confident in my moves. We did pranayama again and we also talked about looking within. That is the hardest part about yoga, to release all the thoughts that pop into your head and just focus on the practice and your breathing.

look within

Day 19

Tuesday was Slow Flow Yoga, which I’ve come to know as my favorite class of the week. Our fantastic instructor made a point last night to talk about how we are pressured to move so quickly in today’s world. Our yoga class should be a time to slow down and enjoy the life that we live. I think that is why I love slow flow so much, I love to keep busy and add new commitments to my schedule. Yoga is the one time where I have to force everything out of my brain and just focus on my practice.

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Day 20

I did Hatha yoga today and I wasn’t really sure what the difference was other than it wasn’t as fast paced as Vinyasa. I figured I would look it up and discovered that I pretty much had it right in the first place. Hatha is basic yoga so it is a good class for beginners with a slower pace.

What-Is-Hatha-Yoga-101-733x420

Day 21

This day was Vinyasa and I love this Saturday morning class. At the end of class our instructor made an interesting comparison. She has a one-year old daughter and she has been watching how determined her daughter is to crawl, stand and walk. If she falls she keeps going, it is instinctual. That is how our yoga practice should be. We should have the tenacity and determination of a child.

baby-yoga

Day 22

Sunday was a yoga meditation class and while my legs and hips were really tight, I thoroughly enjoyed the meditation. This quote pretty much summed it up:

meditation

Day 23

I got out of work a little later than planned so I had to take the slower class. My balance was about 50/50, but we got some really great stretches in. I felt completely relaxed afterwards. I had something on my mind that I was getting worked up about, but I found that after yoga I was able to be more rational and not react emotionally.

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Day 24

So I started a new studio today and I don’t think that I was prepared. It sort of reminded me of what a club would be like if we were doing yoga. It was super jam-packed and the temp was cranked up. After a less intense studio, I really wasn’t prepared for this. I got through it, but it sort of made me want to go back to the old studio. If you don’t remember, I am taking advantage of all the new member specials in the area and then will decide on what studios I like best. After I left I realized that I might not have went in with the best attitude after a few days off from practice. When I came home, John said that at least I went and got through it, so that was my accomplishment.

attitude

Day 25

First of all, I made it a quarter of the way through!! I am so proud of myself for sticking with it! On another note, the second class at the new studio was Slow Flow and was a lot better. I was more prepared and kept up. There were still a lot of people, but I could probably get used to that. If you haven’t joined me in the challenge, there are still 75 more days left!!

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Day 26

This Slow Flow class was so much better! I really liked the instructor and felt like I was totally rocking it. I definitely need to get some new yoga pants. I was out of clean ones and had to wear the pair with holes, lol. I think I should spring for these Zella Eleve leggings ($58):

zella leggings

Day 27

I had a great class today. Sunday afternoon yoga is the best! Our instructor was sharing some information on Sanksrit today, the “yoga language.” She said that the words were really the vibrations or the frequency of the object. I found this article that explains it really well.

Day 28

This class was awesome! I felt like I was killing it and I got up into Bakasana (crow pose) for the longest amount of time yet! But then I got too excited and fell over.

how-to-do-crow-pose

Day 29

This was the first class back after about a two week break. I hadn’t planned a break but life got in the way. I’m glad I got back on the yoga horse. It was a great class and I kept up pretty well. This was the start of a new unlimited package so hopefully that will keep me motivated to stay on track.

Day 30

I was so sore from the day before, but I decided to go to class in spite of that. Our instructor talked about samskaras, which are patterns that we tend to repeat over and over again. She compared it to finding ourselves dating the same type of guy over and over again. Your brain is hardwired to repeat the same pattern of habits. The good news is that you can change your patterns and this article explains how to do that with yoga.

samskaras (1)

Day 31

I was back at yoga today and I was trying out my new Manduke Pro Lite mat – you can read my post about it here. It was sort of funny today I was all excited about trying out my new fancy yoga mat and then two minutes in I get a terrible Charley horse in my hamstring. It went away after a while but it sort of took away some cool points. Something the instructor said at the end of class really stuck with me – Yoga is the death of the ego. I couldn’t agree with this statement more. Every class is a humbling experience.

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Day 32

This was a fun class – I felt like I was hitting my stride. My new mat was still a little slippy, but not too bad. Our instructor talked about how freeing it is to be able to do all of the yoga movements. Think about people that break a leg or can’t move anymore – we take the freedom of movement for granted and yoga reminds us not to do that. This struck a chord with me as I broke my foot last year and can relate to not having that freedom. Even if you can’t master all of the movements just being able to move is a gift.

yogahighway

Day 33

Mat was definitely slippery in this class, I will have to check out the salt water scrub that is recommended to help with this problem on the Manduka mat. On another note, our instructor always says “Om Shanti” at the end of class and I had to look up the meaning. This is a parting salutation to send someone off with well wishes. “Shanti” means peace. Namaste roughly means I see and appreciate the light within you.

OmShanti

Day 34

Yes, this challenge is still happening even though I haven’t posted in a while. I never said this would be 100 consecutive days, lol. Since we’ve moved into our new house I haven’t had a lot of extra cash to spend on classes so for Day 34, I did the P90X Yoga. This was great because we have a wood floor in our dining room and I was able to set up my mat at the edge of the floor and still see the TV in the living room. It felt good to be doing yoga again and I really need to get back into gear!

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Day 35

Stay Tuned!

Click here for more posts in this series here.

Be The Best You in 2014 with Random Acts of Kindness

This post was inspired by Kerry at Till Then Smile Often.

She recently started a Random Acts of Kindness series and I love following along. This has inspired me to include this on my Be The Best You in 2014 series. I’ve been involved with many nonprofits and volunteer opportunities throughout the years and I can tell you that there is nothing that makes you feel happier than giving back.

Till Then Smile Often

This sort of reminds me of the Friends episode where Phoebe tries to find a selfless good deed and realizes that there is no such thing. Putting good into the world makes you feel good – and there’s nothing wrong with that:

My challenge for 2014 is to commit 52 Random Acts of Kindness – one for every week this year. I will detail all of them at the bottom of this post as I complete them.

1. Vending Machine Treat

I found my first RAK idea on Pinterest. I will leave a few dollars taped to a vending machine for someone to enjoy a treat or drink on me. I found the cards to download here and I wrote the hashtag #BetheChange2014 on the back. I sort of got caught taking the picture – next time I need to be faster!

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2. Elevator Surprise!

I came up with this idea on my way into the office. I wanted to leave something in the elevator one morning. Last night I purchased a three-pack of $10 Starbucks gift cards (more to come on the other two) and taped the Random Acts of Kindness Card to the front. This morning I taped the cards to the top of the elevator panel.

RAOK2

3. Well Wishes on the Windshield

I am still working on my three-pack of Starbucks gift cards, so this is the second card. I decided to leave it on someone’s windshield so when they came out to their car after a long day they would have a nice treat. Now I need to figure out what to do with the third card.

RAOK3

4. Gift at the Gas Station

With my final Starbucks gift card I decided to leave a surprise for someone at the gas station. I hope it brightened someone’s day.

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You can join Kerry’s challenge by using the hashtag #BeTheChange2014 on Twitter and Instagram.

I would love for you to join me and share your stories below!

Click here for more posts in this series here.


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