Football

Yesterday I had the incredible pleasure of teaching a group of 20-25 young football players some yoga.  Most of them didn’t quite know what yoga was all about and like most people out there (I did at least) assumed yoga was for wimps and hippies.  The group of boys was between the ages of 17 and 19 and despite their maybe preconceived notions of what yoga was all about they were all more than willing to jump in and try something new.

I am currently in my 7th month of teaching yoga on a regular basis and not that I don’t love all of my classes, but this one was so much fun.   Not only was it a nice big class, it was full of a bunch of young athletes looking to help improve their “game” so to speak.  This class also helped to highlight to me the differences in each of our bodies.

20140512-085153.jpgAfter teaching a couple yoga classes full of yoga enthusiasts you can start to get lost and start thinking that everyone can touch their toes or that chaturunga really isn’t that difficult, because those that practice on a regular basis have a way of making these things look simple. With this group of boys there was so much variety in flexibility, strength, endurance and focus.  It was so fascinating to my teacher side to see each of them put in as much effort as they could afford and to find their own personal edges when it came to holding poses.

My only regret about last night’s class was not snapping a picture of them doing, what was most of their, first yoga class in the grass.  They were definitely troopers putting up with the mosquito for the evening, and trying something that was maybe outside of their comfort zone.   I can’t wait to have more opportunities to teach them yoga and hopefully help them out in the area of injury prevention.

I hope everyone is having a great week so far and that you have all had the chance to enjoy some of the beautiful spring weather (hopefully you are all getting nice weather too!).

Happy Thursday!

 

Updates and things

So it has become official I am becoming terrible at remembering my weekend round ups. I am going to go ahead and pass the blame for this on over to school. I swear I try just with an exam or test literally every other day my mind has been going there as opposed to doing a weekend round up.

I know it isn’t really the best excuse but it is all I got. This will be my last weekend round up and then I am going to be mixing up the format a little bit so that I am less likely to forget or skip a Monday post. I am actually pretty excited for the new Monday format and I hope that you all enjoy the little refresher.

Anyways, my weekend round up. Well this weekend was another busy one but not quite as nutty as the week before.

We had some beautiful weather so I was in the garden and doing some spring cleaning outside before some beautiful April showers took over for the rest of the weekend. I love cleaning out my garden after a winter of that awful white stuff. I make me so excited to see the blooms and smell the lavender.

I also did my regular yoga teaching, yoga going, and went on my first outdoor run of the season.  I am still starting off pretty slow for the running because my back isn’t quite at 100% still so I just went on a calm 2km loop with my husband to test things out.  Besides some slight stiffness I would say that I am definitely getting there and will hopefully be back up to my regular 10km runs in no time.

20140415-091529.jpgAfter my Saturday afternoon running around, I spent most of my Sunday snuggled up on my couch reading and studying for my Monday morning final exam.  But in all the studying and reading I found the time to take a little break in the morning to make these delicious treats….PB&J Cups (recipe will follow later this week).

20140415-091543.jpgThen Sunday evening my husband and I sat down to a tasty healthy filled dinner of roast beef, homemade potato crisps and a salad with my new favorite homemade tahini dressing.  It is my new favorite because I don’t really eat creamy style dressing but this one is vegan so no belly ache from dairy for this girl.

20140415-091559.jpgThen I ended the weekend with some kitten cuddles. My little orange guy (Morris) has some hot spots and has been going to town on them so he is on another dose of medicine from the vet.  We are hoping this will get him all cleared up.

20140415-091609.jpgAll in all the weekend was pretty great. Felt so very short but it was great.   Hope you all had a great weekend and a great Monday.

Keep your eyes peeled next week for our new Monday installments.

How Yoga Recused me from my Perception of Self

I came up with the idea of this post this morning while I was getting ready for my day checking myself out in the mirror.  Now I am not sure if I am like most women, girls, humans out there, but I like to think I am not alone in my self-doubt and self-criticism.   I know in the past I have spoken about my journey (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3) to health and fitness, and my struggles with self and success in the past, but I really feel that this topic is something that should be discussed.  I think discussing these topics helps to deconstruct the myth of the straight line to success, success is often ends up looking more like a ball of knotted yarn than an arrow.  20131130-081702.jpgOften times we brush off our hard work and automatically think “well it could be this” or worse “it should be this”.  Instead of being happy and grateful for all that we have done and how far we have come, we stand in front of the mirror and criticize the pocket of fat here and the lack of muscle definition there.  It seems that we (maybe I should just say I) are too willing to criticize over praising or celebrating and it isn’t until very recently that I actually realized this.

I would often tell myself that my inner criticism was what made me better, it helped to motivate me and kept me focused.  Unfortunately for me this wasn’t really how this negative inner dialogue actually panned out.  I am not saying that it isn’t important to strive to be your best you, I am just saying I have realized that it can be done in a much more loving way and that that best you has absolutely nothing to do with your thigh gap, number on a scale or flatness of your stomach.

But how did yoga rescue me from this negative internal dialogue? Great question!  As many of you know, if you have been reading this blog for some time, I have practiced yoga for years and am now a certified Yoga instructor.  Yoga has long been a part of my life, first being about fitness, rehabilitation and stretching.  Then turning into a moment of relaxation for myself, and eventually morphing into one of the happy places I would escape to after particularly grueling days in the office.

Through my own experience in practicing yoga I have found that yoga means something very different to every single person that practices.  It could be about exercise for you, or stretching, or part of your physical or emotional rehabilitation. This is one of the great thing about yoga, it is what you need it to be when you need it to be “that”.   It is the fluidity of yoga that opened my mind up the opportunity of self-exploration.

20131128-101345.jpgOver the past year I have worked and I have worked hard to slim down, get healthy, get strong, get flexible and to really like and appreciate myself.  What I found was that although I had become stronger and had given away all of my larger sized clothing my perception of self didn’t make the same strides. I mean I knew I was stronger and was proud of that and I knew I had slimmed down, but it was as though my brain hadn’t really caught up with my body.

This was most apparently when I went shopping.  I still gravitated towards baggier clothing (despite the urging from my trainer to just buy myself a tight fitting shirt, thank you Alannah I finally came around.) I would try pants on for hours and come out with one pair MAYBE and I am going to be really honest here I have yet to replace even a quarter of the clothing I gave away back in April.  I keep saying it is because I am trying to save money, but it is really because I was having a hard time not seeing my old body while attempting to put on these new “tight” fitting clothing.

before and after.Yoga helped me to slow down and discover myself.  Oh my goodness that sounds so cheesy, but yes that is exactly what happened.  Yoga gave me the opportunity to allow my brain to check in with my body and to 1) realize there has been significant change; and     2) be grateful, appreciative and loving towards all the work that my body and mind have done not only in the past but also on a regular basis.

Maybe this is what people call self-actualization, all I know is that yoga has helped me to slow down and allow myself the time to appreciate what my body gives me every day. It has helped me to take that extra second to stop and say something nice to myself instead of instinctively going to a negative place. I am sure there will always be things in my life that I will want to better and change and progress in, what I am saying is that the desire and motivation to move forward needs to come from a positive place. A place where instead of saying “I should be better” I stop and say “you are doing great lets try it this way next time“.

Basically what I am saying is yoga has helped give me the space to start understanding the body mind connection.  It has also helped me to understand that it is about loving and appreciating your body every step of the way.  Always strive for your goals, and push yourself to be successful but using love and encouragement to get you there will likely generate longer lasting more positive results.

So that is how yoga helped to give me the space to create perspective and helped to rescue me from my own self perception.

2013 Reflections

Every year I say I am not going to get all sappy and nostalgic about another year passing by but then it happens. I am sitting drinking y morning green tea and I start to think back on all the amazing things that happened that year.

2013

This year while doing my little internal reflection I made a rule of not reflecting on the negative. I sometimes find that as human beings we can get a little wrapped up in the bad things that have happened to us so this year I decided not to and to only focus on the positive. As it turns out I have so many positive things to be excited about and grateful that they happened.

This year marked the anniversary of my first year of marriage, first year of dedicated self improvement (physically, mentally, spiritually), I became a certified personal trainer, a yoga teacher and enrolled in a Natural Nutritionist program. This year was also the first (of hopefully many) years of the Gingersneezes run club, my first half marathon and of learning so many things about running, training and fueling.

2013 collage

This year has been a particularly huge year for me in the growth department and in learning to trust my own abilities. It has also been the year that I have learnt to except each struggle as a lesson for growth and development.   Although 2013 was great I am definitely excited to get into 2014 and see just what I am able to accomplish in this coming year.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday time and have had a chance to hang out with their family and their friends. 

Let’s Get Real

Hello Dear Reader, I would like to just take a second and apologize for being so sporadic with my posts.  I had initially figured I would have so much time on my hands, I mean yes I was coming to Costa Rica for yoga teacher training and there are people to meet and places to see, but I figured I would always find some time to hunker down in front of the good ol’laptop and bang out a post here and there.  Unfortunately that is just not the way it all panned out.

The course has been much more demanding (in an awesome and amazing way) than I had initially anticipated.  By the time I get home at 9pm not only is my body completely zonked for a day of yoga, assisting and sitting with a straight back (yes not sitting in an office chair seems to be a challenge all in itself) but my brain is completely zapped as well.

photo 3 (2)

Apparently learning through your body and your brain is a challenging feat.  It is kind of surprising how much I seem to be taking in.  I have yet to have any late night panic attacks about not knowing this chakra or that mantra or this asana.  Everything seems to be sinking in, as though it is being absorbed by all facets of my body.  I guess that is what they meant by integrative learning.

At first, being the person I am, I was frustrated that I didn’t get my course pack for reading in advance of the course (I like to be ahead of the game and do solo learning).  But now that I am starting my last week of classes their method of teaching makes 100% sense. Receiving my course material ahead of time would have made the learning experience purely academic and I would have missed out on learning through my body as well as my mind.  It has been a pretty amazing experience, and unfortunately that is really the best that I can explain it, so if you have the opportunity to take a month off your regularly programmed life to head on over to Nosara to do the YTT I strongly recommend it.

Seeing how I am now entering my last week of classes I am shocked with how quickly a month can go by.  Who knew that November could actually feel like it was 5 days long?  Besides being completely shocked that we are in our last week, I also found out that I will be leading my first ever yoga class on Wednesday of this coming week.  So for the past couple days I have been trying to figure out a program and maybe some music to go with it.  I am starting to feel pretty good about what I have outlined, I just have to actually physically go through what I have thought up to make sure it works fluidly.

Well that is what is up with me, designing a yoga class, getting antsy about being in front of people as a “teacher” and getting so excited to see my husband again! And then to see my little fur babies shortly after.

beach day legs

I hope you are all able to bare with me a couple more weeks until I am able to get home and get back on a regular schedule.

xoxox

Brittany

First 5 Days

So apart from the exception of our evening Satsang I have just rounded up my first full “week”. I place the word week in quotations because well the week kind of never ends. We still have practice and sessions on Saturday and Sunday however there is much more free time for exploring and getting to know your classmates.
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This first week has been something else. It has been a roller coaster of emotions from extreme excitement all the way back around to “dear god what have I gotten myself into?” The best part about this is that the same things that seem to be causing the excitement also trigger the nerves.

Things like I am so grateful to be practicing yoga all day and just getting to focus on my practice makes me so happy, but then it is time to put it to practice and instruct a partner and I am all of a sudden sweating more than I was while doing the actual moves.

Or having the amazig opportunity to be living in the jungle and feeling so fortunate and then remebering the scorpion that wanted in the house.

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I know he is small but we don’t have these terrifying beasts in Canada.

However all of these ups and downs are helping to learn to choose how I focus on things. I could be miserable for the next month because a scorpion might present him/her self on my deck again, or I can be elated that the sun is out and I went for a run on the beach this morning in 36degree weather.

Besides the roller coaster of emotion and some of the terrifying bugs out there to date my experience has been incredible. All of the instructors that I have been lucky enough to be instructed by or to just chat with have been amazing! They are all such huge wells of knowledge and seem to want nothing more than to inform us. My classmates are great and all seem to have amazing positive attitudes and probably most importantly I am so excited to wake up every morning at 5am because I know the day is going to just be wonderful.

Due to a bit of a lack of time actual food Fridays may be few and far between but I will do my best to maintain some site consistency.

Thanks for your understanding

Happy Friday!

Clean Eating V.2.0 – Ups and Downs

So the clean eating challenge has been going strong and you are almost done, just a day shy of two weeks away from Day 50.  I hope you are all feeling great, renewed, and energized.

The past couple of weeks my clean eating challenge with myself hasn’t been the greatest, so I figured I would take a minute to address it.   Seeing how I use this blog to keep myself accountable and honest with what I am telling myself in my head I am going to use this post as a bit of a check and balance in regards to my indulging.

Now I may have set this up for most of you to think I have fallen off the deep end and I have completely binged out on junk food, soda pop and a river of alcohol but that is not the case (thank goodness!).  I have just been pretty lazy when it comes to meal planning and preparation.  I mean this week I nailed it but last week was a bit of a disaster, a lot of meals were just thrown together, not enough protein, not enough vegetables, too many carbohydrates that type of deal. So far during Clean Eating V.2.0 I have definitely gone over my 3 treat days/meals but I guess that was part of my process this time around.

successWhen I entered Challenge V.2.0 I had the mind set that I would use this challenge to “keep my eyes on the prize” for the lack of a better expression.  I wanted to keep up the momentum I had built in the summer and transfer it to the fall months.  I struggle with naturally picking the “healthier” option the once the temperatures start to drop, I naturally gravitate to carbohydrate rich foods with a ridiculous salt content.  Although I haven’t been sticking to the letter of the “law” (so to speak) the challenge has definitely been a success when it comes to encouraging me to make more positive healthy choices, they just haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked.

With 15 days left of the challenge the countdown is on and I have given myself an extra push to recommit myself to my goal.  I have two more treats (Thanksgiving and a trip to Montreal) coming up that I am definitely allowing myself to eat what I would like because when it comes down to it restricting myself on those occasions would be more negative than positive.  The point of this challenge is to encourage you (and me) to make healthy positive choices and to think about why we make the food choices we do, it is not to make you feel crazy, deprived, depressed or starved.

I hope that you are all doing much better at this challenge than I am, but if you are having a bit of a struggle with consistency or other aspects just know that all of those bumps are a part of your journey.  You are meant to learn something from each of the struggles you encounter, not only in this challenge but in life.  Don’t beat yourself up about intead look for your lesson and apply what you have learnt to your process and keep moving forward.

Happy Wednesday everyone!