The Stuff of life…

I ran into an old friend the other day while taking my dog for a walk. It turns out that she has lived on the same street as me for a year and we never crossed paths. As we were talking and catching up she talked about her life in New York City and how her career in theater made her feel the need to be perfect. She constantly watched what she ate and always felt pressure to have this ideal body image. Although she’s still passionate about theater she faded away from it and decided that she really needed to experience “the stuff of life.” I hugged her and went about my walk and those words stuck in my head… the stuff of life. Do I enjoy the stuff of life? Am I too hard on myself? Am I too strict on my diet? Is eating a cookie (or two) really that bad?

With my wedding 4 months away I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Do I want to look amazing and fit on my wedding day? Of course. Does it matter? Not really. We’re getting married because I love him and he loves me, not because I look hot in a white formal gown. True love goes beyond that. But here’s the hard part… Showing that amount of love to yourself. I have a major inner battle with this. I love myself. I am proud of what I have accomplished and what I stand for as a person. But do I love myself every time I look in a mirror? … That needs some work.

I think we all need to learn to enjoy the STUFF of LIFE. Eat healthy foods, fuel your body, love your body, love your Self. But at the same time, have fun, eat a cookie, laugh, play, and go out with friends. Have a few glasses of wine, treat yourself to dessert (you deserve it) and be happy.

I have decided that to prepare for my wedding I will not restrict my diet any further. I will eat the foods I like (thank goodness I love veggies!), stick to my organic/whole foods/no processed diet, and amp up my workout schedule to what it was before grad-school happened. So far I’m enjoying getting back to my workout routine and feeling better about being active every day.

The STUFF of LIFE. Have your cake and eat it too.

The STUFF of LIFE.  Have your cake and eat it too.

Have fun. Enjoy the STUFF of LIFE.

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Snowga. Part 2…

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” ~Andy Goldsworthy

Snowga

Here I go again! Snowga from Park City, Utah this time! Darren and I have made it a yearly trip to go skiing out West and it’s the highlight of my year. This was my 3rd ski trip (ever!) and we went with a group of 10 people. We had a blast! I love everything about travelling and all the better when you spend the most part of your day outdoors being active. I honestly don’t know how people ski all day without stretching first (or how I did without on my first trip). Every morning I rolled out my travel mat and practiced for at least 20 minutes. My morning yoga routine stretched out my sore muscles from the day before and woke them up for another day on the slopes. My quads, knees, shoulders, and triceps were the most sore so I did whatever pose/sequence that felt good to my body.

ski lift

A glimpse at my snowga morning routine… (click on the name of the pose to see a full description courtesy of Yoga Journal)

  • 5 rounds of sun salutations… (surya namaskar A) (or more depending on if I needed more to get my muscles moving) Warms up the entire body. Slow and easy.
  • Cat/Cow… Loosens your spine and neck. Slow and easy, move how ever feels good to your body.
  • Downward facing dog… (adho mukha svanasana) Lots of breaths here. Move your feet around to stretch the hamstrings. Move however feels best! Drop down to your elbows into Dolphin Pose to get an extra shoulder opening stretch.
  • Forward fold with arm variation… (uttanasana) Stretches the shoulders and hamstrings… From standing, interlace your fingers behind your back. Fold forward over your legs and let your hands fall over your head with gravity. Feel the good stretch in your shoulders. Option to bend your knees and just focus on the shoulders.
  • Warrior I & II… (virabhadrasana I & II) Builds strength and confidence.
  • Chair pose… (utkatasana) The essential pose for snow skiing. Builds strength in the knees and quads and gets your body used to the skiers stance.
  • High lunge variation… Stretches the hips… Take both hands to the inside of your front leg (on the ground) and go as deep as you can. Elbows to the ground if it’s available to you. Option to drop your back knee and go into low lunge (anjaneyasana)
  • Pigeon pose… (eka pada rajakapotasana) Stretches the hips and glutes… Lots of breaths here. Wiggle around to find the perfect stretch.
  • Cow face pose… (gomukhasana) Stretches the shoulders and hips at the same time… Use a strap if you cannot yet bind your hands behind your back.
  • Hero’s pose… (virasana & supta virasana) Stretches the knees… Lean back onto your elbows if your knees say it’s okay and get a really good stretch in your quads and knees. This may be my favorite pose of all time.
  • Half moon pose…  (ardha chandrasana) or any other balance of your liking. This pose requires both strength and balance, two things very important on the slopes.
  • Easy seat with neck rolls… (sukhasana) Stretches the neck and shoulders… Sit however is comfortable to you and gently roll your neck.
  • Spinal twist… (jathara parivartanasana) Twist it out. Relieves soreness in the lower back and can help relieve upper back stiffness.
  • Corpse pose… (savasana) Breathe.

What kind of snowga post would this be without evidence of me actually skiing? Here’s the “official video” of my Park City 2014 ski trip… awesomely edited by my brother! That’s me, the pink jacket wonder. (not available on mobile devices for some reason. Watch on your laptop or desktop!)

Shanti,

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