Category Archives: Yoga

Studio Review: Philly Power Yoga

Super exciting week ahead because I have not one but TWO Philly based fitness class reviews for you! I always wish I could get to Philly more often to hang with Sarah and as luck would have it I have been in Philly the past TWO weekends! Two weeks ago, Mike and I made the trip up north to run the Broad Street Run on Sunday. On Saturday, I had some time to kill in the late morning, so I decided to check out a yoga class at Philly Power Yoga. I took the 10:45 am 75 minute class with Troy (Steve was scheduled to teach but apparently he was sick). Here’s what I thought!

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 I miss hot yoga… I miss it so so so much. For me, there is just nothing quite as detoxifying. I was thrilled to try a new hot vinyasa studio (Bikram is not my thing). I was curious to see what the studio was going to be like. Since heated yoga is kind of a hot trend (haha sweet pun right?) right now, some yoga studios are getting a little too trendy / uptight for my taste. That was definitely not the case here. The studio had a really organic vibe to it and a very friendly / welcoming atmosphere. There were a variety of people, skill levels, body types, etc all represented, I dug it. Troy was SUPER friendly when I checked in too. He made me feel really welcome in the new space. I got there pretty early and gave myself almost 15 full minutes in the room to center and adjust to the temperature.

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I haven’t practiced in a heated room for a while, so I was prepared to get a little light headed. I had two options upon entering the room, practice in front of a full length mirror or in front of the room’s heaters. I chose the heaters. I don’t do mirrors in yoga, it’s not good for my soul. We got started and I really enjoyed the class! I had two very basic intentions – sweat and lengthen, and I definitely got both. I wasn’t pouring sweat the way I normally do during hot yoga because I think the room wasn’t as humid as I am used to (DC and humidity are basically synonyms). All the classes are mixed levels at this studio so that class moved through relatively basic postures. Troy’s sequencing was great though and he made an effort to offer modifications for everyone.

I really enjoyed it and worked up a solid sweat. I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to race!

Philly Power Yoga was a great value for the price too. I paid $18 for a drop in class, mat, and towel rental, which is pretty good by many fitness class standards. There are even better deals if you buy a pass or membership. There is also a Pilates studio associated (Thrive Pilates) that I’d love to go back and try that out!

Questions for you guys:

  • Hot yoga, love it or hate it?
  • How did you get sweaty this weekend?
  • Yoga or Pilates?
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Mind Your Body Oasis Blogger Open House

I love exploring new fitness facilities in the DC area. So naturally I was SO excited to be invited to an open house for DC area bloggers at Mind Your Body Oasis in Crystal City. We were all invited to tour / use the facility, attend a Yogalates class taught by studio owner, Amanda, and sample some food from Postmodern Foods. The studio is located in the Crystal City Shops and perfectly accessible by metro for anyone without a car.

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It is always so interesting to see a business that truly growths out of someone’s passion. The facility is a one-stop shop for wellness including hot yoga, pilates, massage, acupuncture, reiki, and facials. They also have a special infrared sauna, but we’ll get to that later. I did not end up seeing the hot yoga space, but people were coming out of class looking very sweaty and I was VERY jealous (I ❤ sweat). We practiced in the other yoga studio, which was gorgeous. It was a nice open space with a very clean, unencumbered feel. Yogalates was really fun. At the beginning of class we took a poll and the vast majority of people were far more experienced in yoga than Pilates. We split the class about half and half and utilized a Pilates ring for many of the moves (which was new for me!) I’m really tempted to go back and try out a hot class … I miss hot yoga SO MUCH.

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Here are the lovely lady bloggers with Amanda after class… (Photo credit to MYBO – Thank you Mind Your Body Oasis for sending along this group picture!)

MYBO Open House Group Picture 041413A brief tour of the facility… here’s the locker room (well, the ladies locker room. I imagine the men’s locker room looks very similar). There was plenty of storage space, towels available for rent, showers, and TONS of bath products. I love when places have little touches like hair products, etc. It’s so hard to be an urban bag lady sometimes. They even had extra plastic bags for your sweaty clothes or wet towels… REALLY smart touch in my sweaty opinion.

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Aah and the infrared sauna. I was the only person who stayed to try it out but I had nowhere to be and I thought it looked cool. I LOVE saunas and steam rooms because, as I’ve mentioned, I love sweating. This particular sauna uses different colored lights and has all this information on the door about the health benefits of different colors. I hopped in for about 20 minutes before I got too bored sitting there. A full session is 30 minutes, so maybe I didn’t reap all the benefits but it was fun! Here more information on Far Infared Heat Therapy.

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A quick peek at the spa services space. I already have a place where I go for spa services, but I’ve been considering giving acupuncture a try. I was able to briefly meet  the acupuncturist too… he seemed nice for a guy who will stick a bunch of needles in your body 🙂 No but seriously, read here for the health benefits of acupuncture.

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And if you’re looking for supplement / nutrition information… look no further!

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So let me quickly say a huge thank you to Mind Your Body Oasis for hosting this event! I had a GREAT time exploring the facilities and there was an excellent group of lady bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting.

Ericka from The Sweet Life with Ericka wrote up a great review of the event so go read that right now. So did Allison from Wicked Health Washington

I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Kristine and Lexie (the ladies behind The Workout Wonks) and Sarah from Passion and Laughter. Fun story, Lexie is a former yoga teacher of mine and I had NO idea she was behind Workout Wonks. Other bloggers in attendance were Magie E Pasta, Planes, Trains, and Running Shoes, and A Knack for Nutrition

I personally think parts of Arlington are tragically short on good yoga studios so if you’re in the market… give Mind Your Body Oasis a try!

Questions for you guys:

  • Have you ever tried acupuncture?? What did you think?
  • What sort of “extras” do you like to get from a yoga studio?

Studio Review: Yoga District

For my local DC area friends, I have started posting reviews of various fitness classes and yoga studios that I have attended around the city. You can read examples of past reviews here and here. I am still searching in vain for a new yoga home since I moved and left my two year relationship with The Studio DC. I think that is the best studio I’ve been to yet, but I’m trying to be open to finding a new home. I’m certainly not in any danger of turning into the amazing DC Fit Crasher, but reviews seem helpful so I keep doing them 🙂

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The Details: I recently tried two yoga classes at Yoga District. They have five studios around the DC area and are by FAR the least expensive studio I have yet to find for a single class. Drop in class rates are $10. I purchased a the New Student Special 2-Class 1-Week pass for $10. They also offer a monthly membership for $77 per month or a 10-class pass for $90. Since I purchased the two-class option, I attended one class at the Dupont Circle studio (Wednesday 6:35 pm Yoga 2 with Michelle) and a second at the I street studio (Monday 6:15 pm Yoga 1.5-3 with Audrey).

The Good: The staff at both studios were really friendly. The gift at Dupont knew it was my first time and made sure to show me where to put my stuff, get water, rent mats or towels if necessary, etc. I’m usually pretty shy about saying I’m new so I like when studios have it in their computer systems and just take the initiative.

Both practice spaces were really great. They had a very organic feel to them. Some might prefer a perfectly symmetrical space with no obstructions and clean deco,r but I think there is something really “yoga” about practicing in an attic with slanted ceilings or an oddly shaped room. It takes the regimented nature of exercise out of the class and makes you feel very free.

The price is totally right here too for me, so that never hurts 😉

As far as the yoga, I liked that both classes offered free time to work on inversions. Unlike other studios, we didn’t go to the wall, so they were really counting on you knowing your limits. I ended up holding forearm balance in free space for longer than I ever have! Of course the second class, I tried to do the same thing and ended up going all the way over into forearm wheel but that’s ok. I had the space and it was a good learning experience. My first class (yoga 2) also worked on eka pada koundinyasana which is one of my favorites. I definitely like the yoga 2 class much better. I liked the philosophy and feel better. To be fair though, my second class (yoga 1.5 – 3) did a variation of Shiva Rea’s fire practice (which is marked by 9 rounds of 12 push ups or 108 push ups in total). Something about that particular practice just doesn’t jive for me. It’s hard sure, but not in the good yoga way. I can do 108 push ups with my trainer, I’m looking for something different in yoga so I didn’t love that.

The Could Be Better: Both spaces are a little cramped as far as waiting to go into class. I haven’t been to a single studio where this isn’t a problem though. The time between classes is always short so people are lined up waiting in tight spaces while people are trying to come out of class. This was more of an issue at the I street studio tho. Even the practice space was kind of a mess at times. The cubbies for your stuff is right near the door to the bathroom so people get hit with the door or get stuck inside the bathroom. It could be laid out better, but I recognize there are space limits.

The class scaling system is my biggest issue. I just think it’s really arbitrary and doesn’t offer a ton of guidance for someone picking a class. I would tell you from my experience that the yoga 2 class was more advanced than the 1.5 – 3 class. I was expecting the 1.5 – 3 class to be offering many more advanced options (hence the 3?) but that wasn’t my experience. As mentioned above, the only thing that was “hard” was the 108 push ups, but that’s just because that is a ton of push ups, not because it involved advanced yoga postures. The schedule is also just really complicated. The different class descriptions, level variations… it’s just not very clear. I think if they cleaned that up a little bit and made class levels / descriptions more streamlined, it would be easier to navigate.

Final Summation: I will definitely be going back to Yoga District. I loved the vibe and at $10 a class, it’s a perfect place to pop in for a class when I have time. I will just be careful what classes I pick in the future so I have the appropriate expectations 🙂

Questions for you guys:

– Do you have a studio “home” or do you bounce around?

– What do you look for in a yoga studio? What’s your biggest pet peeve at a studio?

Studio Review: Epic Yoga

I’ve been working hard to develop a solid home yoga practice. It’s going pretty well and I’ve been drawing inspiration from yoga DVDs and workouts on OnDemand from Comcast (actually not a terrible selection in there!). However, nothing will ever take the place of a beautiful studio yoga class. There is just something about being in the company of other yogis, in a space that is specially reserved for practice, and having a trained teacher there to lead you through a great sequence and push you to find you intelligent edge. I discontinued my membership at The Studio DC after the move to Arlington because the studios were just not convenient enough anymore to make the membership fees worth it. I tried to go it alone for several months, but I think it’s time to start looking for a new studio. Not that I intend to become a member at one, but perhaps purchasing a class package to supplement my home practice. My home practice is good but it’s not as advanced as my studio practice was. I miss exploring new postures and the feeling of elation when you finally get into a pose you’ve been working towards.

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[an old picture of me playing around with koundinyasana – still one of my favorite arm balances!]

So I guess that was just a really long winded introduction to this post. I decided to give Epic Yoga off Dupont Circle a try last night after work. I had actually intended to go to a class at Yoga District on I Street but when I went to sign up this morning it was already full! This also happened to me last Friday, so I guess I’m going to have to sign up at least a day in advance in the future? Oh well. Epic Yoga was offering a hot yoga class (the website says the room is heated to approximately 95 degrees) at 6 pm. Perfect. Why not give it a shot?

[Source – DC Fit Crasher]

They have a good first-timer special where you can get one week of unlimited yoga for $20. I grabbed it, figuring I could try out a couple different classes and teachers before making my final decision. Overall, I’d say it was a very positive experience. When I arrived at the desk to sign in, the instructor, Abby, was incredibly friendly and welcoming. Upon learning it was my first time at the studio, she took me on a tour of the facilities. Facilities that are definitely pretty impressive for an urban yoga studio. There are locker rooms with showers, several studios, and best of all complementary towels!! I was totally sold. The hot yoga room was nice too with exposed brick walls and lovely mood lighting. They class wasn’t too full or crowded … added bonus!

Here were some things I really enjoyed about the class and the studio:

  • She started with a dharma talk. I love me a good dharma talk and learning more about yogic philosophy is one of the reasons I go to studio classes. Today we focused on the idea of fear and learning to embrace situations where we were afraid as an opportunity to grow.
  • The warm up was great. It was super cold outside so Abby started class with a good core warm up and a bunch of sun salutations to build some inner fire. Definitely helped since it’s positively glacial in DC right now.
  • We spent some time practicing uddiyana bandha (which is the abdominal wall lock that yogis employ to move safely through practice and do challenging poses like inversions). Pranayama (breath) and bandha practice is definitely something I don’t see enough in yoga classes… A+ for that!
  • We all explored handstand at the end of class. When I first started practicing in 2008, I went to a studio that would teach basic moves and offer advanced variations like arm balances or inversions but only “if they were in your practice.” I was always curious… how do they get in my practice if I never learn how to approach them? I really appreciate when an instructors takes time to teach a pose and encourage everyone to attempt it to the best of their ability. Even though I practice handstand regularly, I even took some good pointers from her demo!

Here’s where I have some concerns:

  • The studio wasn’t really hot, even though it was billed as a hot class. I barely sweat, which is one of the things I love about hot yoga. That being said, it’s like 15 degrees outside so I’m willing to overlook it for now. It was at least warmer in there than it was outside.
  • I was hoping for a slightly more advanced class. I really don’t want to sound like a snob, because that is not it at all! I just have a great practice at home. So if I’m going to pay to go to a studio, I’m really looking for a class that’s going to push me outside my comfort zone and allow me to work in the advanced postures. While I thoroughly enjoyed this class, Epic Yoga only offers beginner and mixed levels classes. Mixed levels can be pretty hit or miss depending on the instructor and the modifications / variations they choose to offer. The only advanced class available is The Rocket. I’ll probably try that one out if it works in my schedule but I don’t LOVE a set format class. Just a personal preference though!

Final Summation: If you’re a DC area yogi OR looking to get into yoga… I’d definitely suggest trying out Epic Yoga. Their facilities rock and everyone was really helpful for me as a first-timer. I dug the vibe in the studio too. There was definitely plenty of Lululemon represented but there was just a great mix of people, bodies, and attitudes in the room that made it feel approachable and friendly. Sometimes yoga studios can be snobby to the max. Bleh. The newcomer specials (they have 1 week for $20 or 1 month for $50) make it really easy to try out the studio before need to make any commitments. I will most DEFINITELY be going back. They offer a yoga / barre hybrid class that I’m going to check out on Thursday.

Hope you found this review helpful!! If yes, I’ll do more reviews of studios I attend. If no… well then I won’t!

If you’re a yogi… what do you look for in a yoga class or studio?? Do you have a home studio that you always go to or do you switch it up?

A day of thanks

I’m not sure if I’m diggin Friday Favorites right now. What do you guys think? According to my website stats, they’re not the most popular post of the week and recently I’ve kind of been forgetting to take pictures during the week. I know… bad blogger… very bad blogger. I’m considering playing around with a couple other potential “recurring posts” for the blog. For today though, I wanted to end the week with a moment of reflection / look ahead at the weekend. This week has been markedly different from the past couple weeks, mostly in that I don’t feel like I want to curl up in a ball under the covers with a gallon of ice cream, turn off my phone, and cry (which is exactly how I have felt come the end of the past two weeks). Last weekend (during my mega rest weekend) I spent a lot of time trying to reflect and trying to refocus myself on the positives. So here are somethings that I am really thankful for right now:

1. I got to see THIS GIRL for two whole nights this week. This is my best friend Sarah and she (much to my chagrin) moved to Philly after we graduated from college (see below). I miss living in the same city as her every day, but I’m proud to say we’ve maintained the most successful long distance relationship I’ve ever been in 🙂

2. I have been having so much fun with this pose (ekapadakoundinyasana) recently. Yoga is one of the only places in my life I still feel like I get to play 🙂 I love it so so so much.

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3. I had a great running week and I feel like I might be finally breaking out of my rut. I ran for fun this week, for the love of running, pushed myself and it felt wonderful. I also spent some time being grateful for this city I call home, especially when I ran around the mall to discover the reflecting pool is FINALLY open again. (Was able to snap this quick pic)

4. I’m moving soon! While there is a lot to get ready ahead of the big day, I’m finally just enjoying the excitement of having a new space to make my own and a new neighborhood to explore / fall in love with!

So as I continue to be thankful for this past week, I am also really excited for this weekend! Tonight Mike and I are going to see these guys at U Street Music Hall. Woohoo!

I am also going to my first Saturday long run with the running club in literally over a month. I have been hardcore bailing on this because I’ve been in such a funk. I am actually REALLY excited to go tomorrow. Part of the route involves a small portion of trail too! I recently discovered how much trail running rules, so I’m pumped.

In accordance with Operation Spend Less Money, I looked into some free events going on around the district this weekend! Thanks to the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide I found this list  with some pretty awesome ideas including the Adams Morgan Day festival, Takoma Park Folk Festival, and the Black Cat 19th Anniversary Party (which isn’t technically free but we like Black Cat a lot). Additionally, Saturday is the monthly “Namaste Day” at The Studio DC (free yoga classes all day!!) I was also thinking that if the weather was good we might pop out of the city and go hiking at Great Falls! So many options!

Not to mention OF COURSE that NFL football officially starts this weekend!!!! WOOHOOO!!!!! Personally, I like college football but I didn’t go to a football school (basketball is our thing)/ wasn’t raised on it so I don’t have a particular loyalty to any team.

NFL football on the other hand… All I can say is E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!! You can say absolutely anything you want to me about Philly fans and Philly sports, it will have absolutely no impact on me. I’m a Philly girl, born, raised, and proud! Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

Way Back Into Love

I will give $100 dollars to anyone who actually knew this title is a reference to a truly bad Drew Barrymore / Hugh Grant movie called Music & Lyrics (ok fine! I’m not actually going to give you $100). But seriously, I did get a couple troubled reactions to my post last week about my yoga studio so… yay people are reading the blog! I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then. Do I give up yoga like… completely? That thought made me pretty sad.

I noticed today how I’m feeling the effects of not having done yoga in a while. I am getting pain in my feet, which I never get, I’m not as stretched out as usual, and I miss that zen feeling.

But here’s the long and the short of it. I am BUSY. I am trying to be less busy, but instead I feel like I’m just getting busier. I work a full time job (that as of lately has actually been MORE than full time) and I’m a champion sleeper (7-8 hours a night is imperative. I’m physically incapable of overriding this need too). I also have a cat who really likes when I play with him, friends who I enjoy actually having time to be with, and a boyfriend who is too adorable to ignore. There are not enough hours in the day to have all of this and workout 2.5 – 3 hours a day. That worked for me when I was in college and when I was single and working, but it’s just not working anymore. So what’s a girl to do?

So here’s my new strategy… commit to a 45 – 90 minutes of working out per day. I will take more if I can get more, but I can’t get upset when I don’t. I’m trying to keep my evenings mostly free and move my workouts to the morning or lunch time. However, as I mentioned above, I am a champion sleeper, so working out every single morning isn’t feasible. I just get super stressed out about needing to get to bed super early all the time. It’s not fun. I can workout some mornings, but not every morning. I want to get back on a more regular running schedule, continue to focus on strength training, and not give up on my yoga.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Monday: 4 – 6 mile Run

Tuesday: Early AM yoga and Cardio / STrength Intervals Class OR Strength Training Circut on my own

Wednesday: either 4 – 6 mile Run OR 3 miles Easy & Track Workout (Track is usually not more then 3 – 4 miles)

Thursday: Early AM yoga and Cardio / Strength Intervals Class OR Strength Training Circut on my own

Friday: 3 – 5 mile Run OR another cardio workout

Saturday: 10 – 15 mile Long Run and Yoga (if I can)

Sunday: Yoga OR Rest Day

If I end up having a free evening during the week and can make it to yoga, I will! So there… this is how I hope to find my way back into love 🙂

Falling Out of Love…

Fear not loyal blog readers (HI MOM), this post isn’t as grave as the title might suggest. I am currently falling out of love with my yoga studio. This is very upsetting to me. In the interest of internet safety, I’m not going to identify which studio I attend, but I have been a member at this particular studio since August 2010 and we’ve developed quite a relationship. Elsa was already a member when I joined so I had a great built in yoga buddy, and they had two locations, one close to my apartment and one close to my office. I meannnn how could this be better? Plus, they offered heated classes. I started practicing yoga in 2008 at a Baptiste studio, so I did want a heated room. The staff were also SO nice, and they all made a point of remembering your name / face and making you feel like you were a part of a community, as opposed to an anonymous face in a crowd (that pays a lot of money for a monthly studio membership). The instructors were amazing and my practice soared at this studio.

But recently… I’m not really feeling the love there anymore. Elsa moved away to Boston… bye bye yoga buddy. Also, many of my favorite teachers have moved on or are teaching much more reduced schedules. I’ve been trying out different teachers, but some of them I just downright don’t enjoy. There is one instructor who teaches many of the advanced classes, but I’m not feeling her! She’s not super engaging with the students, and we never practice any advanced moves like arm balances, binds, or inversions. Instead, we literally do 100 million vinyasas. I find that BORING, and it feels more like boot camp than yoga class. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some boot camp, but when I’m at yoga, I want to practice yoga.

My studio has also developed a large teacher training program since I joined, which I think is really wonderful in a lot of ways, but is also starting to diminish my experiences as a student. The teacher trainees are really cliquey with each other, which is really wearing on me. I understand it’s natural for them to develop a special bond, and I’m certain I would feel the same way if I was one of them, but sometimes it’s tough. Without my yoga buddy, I’m always at class solo, which I really do not mind. But then you have all these teacher trainees who are just like yip-yip-yiping to each other in all the common areas, in the studio before class, they all have to set up together and practice together. And now that many of them have completed their trainings, they’re dominating the schedule too. I completely understand the need to train new teachers, but one of my favorite things about this studio was the instructors were all trained with different backgrounds. Every class felt different and unique. Now every single instructor has been trained by the two people who own the studio, so every class feels EXACTLY THE SAME. I took Baptiste for years… my interest in a set format class has diminished.

So what should I do? I pay a lot of money to belong to this studio, and I’m not getting my  money’s worth right now. I love yoga but all of a sudden, even when I have the free time, I don’t want to go. I’ve been reevaluating my workout schedule recently (I’ll write more on that later), but I do still want to practice yoga 1 – 2 times a week going forward.

Have you ever gone through a slump with a fitness related location (gym, rec center, yoga studio, etc.)? How did you handle it?

Here are the options I am considering:

  1. Take a set amount of time off from yoga and see how I feel. Perhaps all I need is to reignite my passion
  2. Try out some different studios and see if there is a different one I like better
  3. Stick with my current studio by try altering my expectations and mental approach

Here’s what I think I’m going to do. Next week, I’m going to try #3. If I still don’t feel good, I’m going to put my membership on hold and do either #1 or #2. Sound like a plan? Ok? Ok! I love me a good plan 🙂

Full of Grace

I was practicing yoga last night at my studio (I am a member at The Studio DC and I truly cannot recommend it enough. Two amazing studios one in Dupont Circle and the other in Adams Morgan) and I got to thinking about grace. Recently I was having a conversation with my mom, who is beyond wise, and she asked me why I have to make everything a goal? What is wrong with just enjoying something simply as an experience, instead of always striving to get better? That really made me think. Sometimes in yoga, I get so focused on improving the postures in which I struggle, I lose sight of the simple joys of more basic postures. I’m not exactly a dainty girl… graceful has rarely been used to describe me. Solid?Powerful? Yes. Graceful? Not so much. But last night in class, I tried to focus on one part of each posture that I enjoyed simply because it is beautiful or graceful. Then I thought I might share it with you:

1. The internal pinky rotation in Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) – this looks beautiful and helps me keep my shoulders down and relaxed. Sparked and engaged fingers add a “ballerina” feel to this pose.

2. The forward / backward arm extension in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) – my arms should actually be more level but let’s focus on my hands.

3. The scapular engagement in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) – pulling down your shoulder blades and internally rotating your elbows not only looks beautiful, but it feels incredible.

4. The open palmed hands of Navasana (Boat) – I just love this pose. It looks effortless.

5. The cupped hands and connected feet of Bakasana (Crow) – gripping the floor with your fingers helps protect your wrists in this arm balance, but it looks so complete with strong hands and big toes touching.

6. The pelvic tuck of Utkatasana (Chair) – I love the lines of this pose when the pelvis is properly tucked under.

7. The shoulder allignment of Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle) – The straight line of the shoulders looks so beautiful tucked inside the front leg.

8. Everything about Vrksasana (Tree) – This pose is just gorgeous. You have this wonderful combination of opposing forces in the legs, and the beautiful extension in the arms. It’s such a basic balancing pose but it’s definitely one of my all time favorites.

I’m not saying I won’t continue to try and improve… because some of the advanced poses are just too much fun (see below). But it’s nice to stop and switch up your focus every once in a while. Namaste 🙂

Koundinyasana

** Photo credits to Sarah Jenkins. Thanks Sarah!!

A Little Failure Does The Body Good

So I was thinking this weekend how I’ve been trying to focus a lot of my successes recently. I am my biggest critic, as most people surely are, so I have been trying to make a conscious effort to shift my focus to the positive. But I think sometimes there is value in focusing on the failures, the things that challenge you. One area of my life where this is particularly true is in my yoga practice. For me, yoga is a journey with a ton of long term goals but also lots of really measurable, attainable short term goals. It is literally perfect for me.

Yoga has really taught me not to see “failures” as a negative, but an opportunity. At the beginning of pretty much every yoga class, instructors encourage students to set a “Sankalpa” or intention for their practice. My sankalpa used to be things like power and really pushing myself. Recently though, my sankalpa has been “satya”, which is the Sanskrit word for truth. I have found that I have made so much more progress by resolving to be honest with myself and my body during my practice, as opposed to forcing poses.

Today I thought I do a little round up of the poses that are currently challenging me in my practice and I’m REALLY looking forward to mastering 🙂


Galavasana (Flying Crow Pose)
This is one of the only arm balances I still cannot do. I do not have the flexibility in my hip / glute to shift my weight forward enough to get my back foot up off the ground. I have been told that this pose is never really “comfortable” so at least I’m not the only one…

Vrschikasana (Scorpion Pose)
I really enjoy forearm balance but I have an old shoulder injury that definitely makes this pose challenging for me. I may never be able to do this pose but I’m maintaining hope (and working really hard on my core)!

Padmasana (Lotus) 
It kind of infuriates me that I can’t do this pose… I mean it’s a seated pose! But I have such a blockage here. My hips are very tight naturally, even more so with all the running I do. I don’t even understand how other people can do this pose, it feels SO unnatural. Hip openers are really uncomfortable for me, but I’m trying to be really disciplined about practicing them regularly.

Namaste, and Happy Monday 😀

I Ran a Marathon… Now What?

Do you ever work really hard towards a goal for a really long time, only to achieve it, and then find yourself kind of thinking… now what? I’m a goal oriented person so as soon as the glow of marathon glory wore off, I felt kind of blah. The head cold I came down with this week might also have had something to do with my feelings of “blah”. Regardless, I got to thinking this week… what’s next? Since I enjoy goals so much, I decided to set some new ones. Here’s what we all have to look forward to:

  1. Running – I have one more half marathon and a 10K to finish out the spring racing season, but this summer I’d really like to focus on speed. I don’t plan to train for another marathon for a while. I’ll be sticking to the mid-distances for the fall and probably next spring. This is a good time for me to start making more of an effort towards my speed. I have never really thought much about it and I’ve been pretty singularly focused on distance. The 10 minute mile just felt like a good place for me, and I didn’t imagine myself ever breaking that barrier. But then I ran a half marathon this spring (back in March) and I mysteriously ran 9:45 min/mile. I don’t know how that happened. Then I ran a 10 miler at 9:40 min / mile and another at 9:15 min / mile. I feel like if I put some effort into speed, I might be able to get something going here! I want to try and get one track workout and one hard tempo run in per week.
  2. Yoga – My yoga has been seriously lacking in the last month because my schedule has been ridiculous and crazy. But the truth of the matter is that there are few activities I love more than yoga, even running! Yoga absolutely changed my life and continues to transform me all the time. I have barely written about it on the blog because it has felt so far from my mind this spring. I need to shift my focus back to yoga in a real and conscious way. While I would love to get to class every day, I know that just isn’t feasible. My goal is going to be a minimum of three classes per week, five if I can manage it.
  3. Strength Training – I used to do a lot more strength training when I was in college, but I really let it go for about a year and half after I graduated. I started getting back into it last fall because I injured my knee running and my physical therapist insisted on strength training as part of my recovery. I strength trained a good amount while marathon training, but I always held back a little on the power training to save my legs for running. My new goal is two – three full body strength training sessions per week with a real focus on power.
  4. Mental Health – My mom recently told me that she thinks of me like a whirling dervish… and she’s totally right. I go 100 mph all the time. I like being active. I do not enjoy sitting around doing nothing. However, sometimes I go overboard, and I don’t think that is always the healthiest thing for me. I really want to make an effort to slow down a bit, take a little more time to focus on resting and staying on positive head space. I think a part of this will be accomplished by getting back to yoga more frequently. I would also like to reserve one weeknight of every week to nest and take care of my personal needs (this could include doing my errands like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking or giving myself a manicure or just catching up on a little TV). I was also thinking that I would like to shift some of my focus away from myself. Not that I think I’m an awful selfish person, but I have been very focused on myself while training for this marathon. I’ve had to be. But now that it is over, I was thinking perhaps I would try and do one community service activity per month. I really enjoy community service, but definitely do not do it enough.

Anyways… I’m sure all of these things will be showing up on here in no time. Now I’m off to Pittsburgh for the weekend. My amazing friend Haley is running the Pittsburgh marathon and we’re all going to cheer her on! I personally am SUPER stoked to be watching a marathon this weekend and not actually running in one 🙂