And it goes like this…

I’ve been back from vacation almost a week and finally feeling like I’m getting back into a normal routine. I went for a long run today, finally cleaned out the fridge, cooked myself a real meal… all things I’ve pretty much been avoiding all week long. Not really on purpose, but sometimes life gets in the way, and even when you tell yourself when you run out the door in the morning that you are going to skip Wine Wednesday because you have too much cleaning to do, somehow you still end up going out and all the tasks that are lingering on your to-do list go mysteriously undone. (Because really who wants to skip Wine Wednesday? Right?) And usually I’m ok living in my own clutter for a period of time. Don’t get me wrong, I vacuum and clean every week… But I’m not the type of person who cannot go to sleep if there is one dirty dish left in the kitchen sink… However, there always comes a moment in which I absolutely cannot take it anymore and feel as though if everything isn’t magically deep cleaned that very instant my head is going to explode. Naturally, this moment usually happens sometime on my “Friday” morning when I’m running a tad bit late and have approximately nine-thousand other things that actually have to get accomplished before I walk out the door. Welcome to my life.

   ~~~~~~~

The alarm goes off, and you push snooze, because it’s early, and technically the weekend and while everyone else is sleeping in you are awake, because, life, and work, and you have to go let your brother’s dog out and you are really hoping that he hasn’t destroyed the house because its his first night staying home alone ever, and even though you let him out at like eleven-o-clock you are still worried that he is kind of a spaz and god only knows how many trash cans he broke into. The alarm goes off again, but you hit snooze for a second time, because you are just not quite ready. Only then you remember that your fridge is exploding with produce from the garden and things like leftover jars of maraschino cherries from your weekend of cocktail making and vacation, and if you don’t get up and try clean it out really really really bad things are going to happen in your life. Really. Bad. Things. So you get up, and try to decide if you really need to wake your dog up before going to go let out the other dog, but he is snoring pretty loudly, so you just leave him, and throw on a hoodie because your hair looks like an electrocuted rat terrier, and jump in the car and think about how its way too early to be out doing responsible things.

Your brother’s house is surprisingly intact and the dog only slightly pounces on you when you finally unlock the door… you contemplate why you haven’t purchased coffee in several weeks, and then remember, that, oh yeah, you also need to go and water your parents flowers since the whole family is on vacation together and you are at home care-taking all the things. This is fine though, because they have a fancy espresso machine, and all you can think about is the foamy latte you are going to be drinking as you water the plants in the back yard.

The latte is delicious, the plants are surprisingly not dead, and you are feeling pretty ok about your morning until you look at the clock and realize that you need to leave for work in a little over an hour… back home to the bulldog… who you can’t find right away, but you notice that your favorite sandal is lying in the middle of the living room looking slightly chewed on… you are 98% sure you didn’t leave it there, but the coffee hasn’t really kicked in yet, so everything is a little unclear. The dog comes trundling out of some unknown place and you scold him for the shoe and then he thinks it is kind of funny and just starts grumbling at you and does downward facing dog and then prances about the living room. You make him go outside and “think about what he has done” while you head for the shower. This is when it all starts to come back to you… you really need to do laundry, the bathroom counter needs a wipedown, and oh yeah, the thought of the fridge is making you a little twitchy… maybe that is just the coffee. Lathering up your hair you try to assess the wardrobe situation, do you need to shave your legs? Can you make it one more day? How much time do you have left anyway… not a ton since you are planning on walking to work… better shave the legs then. Damn it, a few more minutes gone.

You step out of the shower and decide that since you are walking to work you don’t need to dry your hair… it will magically dry in a cute effortless summer look on the way… this is of course very far from the truth, but you sometimes have to tell yourself lies to get out the door on time. Around this moment you realize that you are supposed to leave in about 15 minutes and you haven’t even packed yourself a lunch. Wait a minute, you haven’t even had breakfast. Shit. Because you are working by yourself today, and its probably going to be busy, and the only key to success here is to have lots of healthy snacks! And of course you are 100% out of almonds… shit. So you run to the kitchen and fling open the refrigerator only to realize that, oh yeah, the refrigerator… and then you sort of have this downward spiral moment and try to think if you maybe secretly have enough time to clean it, and then you remember that the trashcan is full, and oh yeah the dishwasher is broken and now you are supposed to leave in 13 minutes and you still aren’t wearing makeup. Ok, rally time. But not really because the fridge is the fridge, and so as you open it up to try and gain some sort of lunch time inspiration you get so defeated that you just shut the door and keep repeating to yourself “you are a grown up, you can do this.” So you open the fridge again, throw some salad greens into a tupperware, and then discover that the roasted beet that was going to be the rockstar of this salad is actually molding, and you can’t find the jar of capers, and in that moment it really is just TOO much, so you throw an apple and a diet coke into your bag and pray to everything that is pure an holy that you have some leftovers in the fridge at work. You then remember that you still haven’t eaten breakfast. Shit. One look towards the fridge and you reach for the secret stash of Lucky Charms, and all you can think in that moment is a sarcastic “winning.” You know within the first bite that you are going to have a sugar crash when you are approximately half of the way to work, but that still seems better than leaving the house without having anything but coffee. Breakfast. Of. Champions. You then run around like a madwoman, scrounging for foot-ware, hurriedly applying mascara.

And then in a brief moment of bliss and clarity you remember that you have all the ingredients to make an Old Fashioned tonight for your deep cleaning adventures. There is  a teeny-tiny flask with one shot of whiskey left in your suitcase from the weekend, and everything else starts coming together. Victory. Only if you make one old fashioned you surely want to have the option for making more after that, even if making more will probably not help the evening of productivity you have planned. But really, one cocktail? (because if you give a mouse a cookie, or give a moose a muffin, or give a dog a doughnut… they will all want cocktails and you can’t make them any because you are out of whiskey) But you don’t have other whiskey and you are walking to work, so by the time you would walk home in the evening there will not be enough time to make it to the liquor store before they close, because its Small Town Oregon. You could always walk directly to the liquor store, but you don’t really want to be the girl who is walking through town with a fifth of whiskey, because again small town Oregon. And then you think “well if I drive to work instead I would have about 20 extra minutes here to take out the trash and get my life organized and then I could make it to the liquor store on time!” and then you remember that you are running a half marathon in 3 weeks that you are no-where near ready for, and you can’t run after work because you have nine million things to accomplish and your head will explode if you don’t get them done, and the very least you can do is walk the .8 miles to work in a slight attempt to move your person. And also you are pretty sure that every season of The Biggest Looser starts out with someone saying “oh I could have walked to work but I drove to the liquor store instead and now I weigh 500 pounds.”

You throw an apple in your bag for good measure, scratch the dogs ears on your way by and run out the door. Naturally, you cannot stop thinking about the fridge, so you call your mom for a pep-talk about staying motivated to do all the things, because for some reason, in your mind, your mom is always good at pep talks… she doesn’t answer the phone, and then the more you think about it, the more you can hear her voice saying things like “well if you just cleaned up a little bit every day, it wouldn’t get to this point” and then it starts to stress you out, and you are maybe glad she didn’t answer the phone, and then you vow right then and there (for maybe the millionth time) that you are going to clean your kitchen until it sparkles and it is going to stay that way and how you are going to turn into one of the anal people who cannot sleep unless all the dishes are put away. Yes. Just wait, it’s going to happen. Now that that is settled you feel less distracted by the idea of cleaning the fridge and start to focus more on what the work day has in store for you… only now you are realizing that you are half way to work and wearing a skirt and your thighs are starting to chafe from the walk and you wonder how the hell you are supposed to run 13.1 miles if you can’t even walk .8 miles without your thighs rubbing together. Then you are very glad that you didn’t drive to work, because you know, getting healthy and getting fit… oh wait, you actually packed a cucumber and a diet coke for lunch, ok scratch that… getting healthy when the fridge is cleaned out and your aren’t feeling like such a hot mess. Ugh, in a perfect world you would’ve had time to make a vat of kale juice before walking out the door… damn it… why didn’t you pack pickles for lunch? The hot farmer practically fed them to you with a chopstick at the farmer’s market this week, and pickles are your favorite food, and why the hell didn’t you just leave the jar of pickles at work for emergencies? (because pickle emergencies are a REAL thing.) Oh wait… actually there might be a tub of cottage cheese in the fridge at work. Sweet Jesus, at least you will have some protein…

~~~~~~~

Tayler is a blogger, boutique manager and yoga teacher thriving on awkward situations in McMinnville, Ore.

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September is for meditating, booty shaking, and fighting the fall funk.

The time has come, the walrus said…. Not that I’m comparing myself to a walrus or anything. September is here, and with it comes a lot of things. Mostly a little bit of restlessness. I’ve come to expect this every year, and sometimes even crave it along with the cooler days, the occasional rain, the change of leaves and the start of harvest. I’ve said it before (probably in a blog post from around this time, oh every year since I’ve been blogging) but I think we are programed from a young age to expect change every year. September brings the start of school, a new season, and from the time we are little September brings around change. So its sometimes a harsh reality when we reach adulthood, and realize that jobs don’t change every year, nor do living situations (well I mean they can….) and part of growing up is often settling into that stability, and yes sometimes stagnant routine.

I feel it this time of year especially, because this is when things start to slow down a little bit with work, my two best friends start to travel extensively for their jobs, and as the days become cozier I tend to become a little more introverted.  Well this year, I’m getting a jump on the stagnant feeling, I’m combatting the lonely, and trying to fill my days with manageable change.

Let me just clarify, I’m not bored. I wish I had enough time to be bored… but every waking moment is pretty much jam packed of things to do… but I can tell already that I’m heading for my fall rut, and might actually be prematurely there due to my broken toe/ the collapse of my summer project and goal of running a half marathon.  I became a bit of a slug the last six weeks, and though I’ve still been practicing yoga, I haven’t been motivated to do much else as far as moving my person.

So I’m re-focusing my energies this month, and am being proactive about doing things that are good for me mentally as well as physically, and I’m making small adjustments to my day-to-day routine to make sure that I am living a life that feels fulfilled and meaningful. My friend Amanda over at The Savoury Soul is encouraging people to build their best life. I wrote a guest post for her  blog this week, and am trying to refocus my energy and remind myself that I need to be my own champion, figure out what I need, and take little steps on a daily basis to make my life a little bit happier and healthier.  Amanda has really inspired me lately, and here are  a few of the things I’m going to do/ focus on this month to try and build my best life.

1)   I’m going to be awesome at my job. Not that I’m not already trying to be a successful and productive employee, but  I know there are days when I get overwhelmed, frustrated, and sometimes defeated. I’m going to approach each day with a positive attitude , I’m going to learn from each experience, and everyday I’m going to try to be better and more efficient. I’m going to be filled with gratitude that I have a wonderful job, understanding bosses, and co-workers who are (mostly) supportive. I’m going to be thankful that I have a happy and healthy work environment, and I’m going to focus on the positive, and let go of the negative.

2)   I’m actually going to start meditating again. Whenever life feels out of balance, I think this is a good place to start. Even if it is just a few moments a day, I’m going to make a conscious effort to take a little time to turn inward.

3)   Kick my butt into high gear. I’ve been off my feet for too long, and out of my exercise routine, and I’m feeling a little doughy. I recently purchased a package at Barre 3, and plan on finding new and fun ways to move my person. (barre 3 can get a little spendy, but there is a great deal for new students, also they recently had a deal on living social…its right up my alley with a cross between ballet, yoga and pilaties. Yes please. Also I know its probably not true, but after one class I swear my cellulite is less noticeable… for reals)  I’ve already gotten my hula hoop out of the garage (mom, bring it back!) and in another week or two I’m going to get back into running. Baby steps.

4)   I’m doing a 3 day juice cleanse next week. This I’m actually really excited about. It will probably be hard, and I will probably get grouchy somewhere around, oh the first 2 hours, but I think it will be a healthy way to detox my body, and jump start some healthy habits.  (I’m giving up caffeine and gluten tomorrow, and probably dairy the day after that to ease my body into it… so lets be realistic, I will be grouchy tomorrow… but I’ll try to compensate) I’m going to be doing this with 6 other women, so hopefully we can all support each other (and not kill each other) and it will actually be a fun bonding experience. We are going with Portland Juice Press… I’ve heard good things, and they are willing to deliver all the way to Dundee. I’ll let you know how it goes.

5)   I’m going to be better about corresponding with friends, through the mail. I love getting snail mail, and it takes literally two minutes and like forty something cents (I actually don’t know how much postage is these days, I always buy forever stamps…) and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that someone is going to open up their mail box and have a surprise note. God knows I’ve been collecting fun greeting cards and stationary since I was 12, and have moved all of it with me about a zillion times… might as well lighten the load, work on my penmanship, and start writing some letters.

6)   I renewed my passport today. I always thought I was the kind of girl who kept her passport at the ready in case an exciting adventure called me away at a moment’s notice. So when I pulled out my passport earlier this summer, I was pretty disappointed to find out it expired in February. Good thing I haven’t needed to flee the country.  Realistically I haven’t left in the country in oh, 6 years, but I like to think that my next foreign adventure is right around the corner (Pfeff I am 100% seriously looking into tickets for Paris…I’m just putting that out there)

7)   I’m going to watch less tv. It’s a noble goal. I have a lot of books I want to read, and though I do enjoy being able to mindlessly unwind when I get home from a late night at the restaurant, I’m pretty sure my life will be a little bit more balanced with a little less CSI NY. I’ve started to find myself wondering what sort of forensic evidence I’m leaving in my wake at every single place I visit… if I crime ever happens at the yoga studio, I’m totally going to be a suspect. Especially since I took toby to class this week, and he was probably shedding, and even though I swept I’m sure there is some lingering pet hair, and that will definitely link anything back to me even if I’m not involved in a crime in any way. I’m just saying… THIS IS WHY I’M CUTTING BACK ON TV.

8)   I’m taking a yoga sabbatical. After working 60+ hours a week, I needed to step back a little bit, and recharge. I’m still going to be teaching one class a week, but being responsible for teaching two classes on my “day off” was beginning to be more of a burden than a joy. I adore my students, but needed to respect my own limits, and give myself a change to re-coup.  I think as a result I will come back in a few months as a better teacher.

What steps can you take this month to make your life a little bit better? How are you fighting the Fall Funk?

Throwback Thursday: AKA traumatic stories from high school, and why I need a new summer project.

Well, I’m looking for a new summer project. I know, life isn’t crazy busy enough… like I really have time to put something else on my plate… but I do find that I am the happiest and the healthiest when working towards an attainable goal, and I need to be doing something creative… Up to this point my summer project has been training for the Wine Country Half Marathon. And then two weeks ago I accidentally broke my toe while watering the garden. Bummer.  This of course put training on hold, which has put the 13.1 mile race on hold until next year. Wah Wah…. I’m pretty sad. This would have been my second half marathon, and I was actually getting pretty pumped to run the 13.1 miles. (I even talked my two best friends into training with me… so yeah, have fun guys… I will drop you off and pick you up…)

After I ran my first in 2010 I decided that I didn’t really need to do another one, but as time went on and things in my life once more drastically shifted (the last time I trained for a half marathon I was dealing with not getting into graduate school, and trying to figure out next steps etc.) I found myself running a bit more. In January I was broken hearted, unemployed, and had a remarkable amount of free time, and frustration so I began running again. A few miles here an there, turned into 3+ miles consistently multiple times a week, and as I dealt with trying to find a job, and the frustrations of unemployment hearings, I started adding on miles. One day, I just randomly went for a seven mile run, um what? Who am I? So I took the motivation, and signed up for the half marathon again.  Yay summer project, yay pushing myself! And then the toe thing happened…

It’s actually somewhat humorous that I’m kind of turning into a runner (ok that is maybe pushing it… I’m not really a runner. I still have to talk myself into it, and quite frankly, I trot. Maybe I’m a trotter, or a jogger or something… but I certainly wouldn’t call myself a runner yet… I am a person who goes running. There are days when I’m out there training and I think “Wait… I’m actually paying $100 so I can run 13.1 miles… what the hell is wrong with me?” but those moments pass. ) Without a doubt, the most traumatic experience of my high school years was having to run the mile in gym class my sophomore year. (This is saying a lot, because once I accidentally farted on the bus at like 6AM on the way to a Speech and Debate meet, and my friend Stephen made a cheer, and then told everyone on the bus, and practically everyone at the meet that I ripped one on the bus. Literally the cheer was “Tayler Brisbin, Ripped one!” and then there were two farting noises afterwards…  and he was prancing up and down the bus, yelling this., and by the end of the day, I’m pretty sure that every Speech and Debate member from high schools across the state were referring to me as the farting girl…And yet, the running incident was somehow more traumatic for me personally… Maybe even back then I knew that  farting on a bus would make for a really good blog tangent someday.)

Anyway, flash back to 10th grade. I had been home-schooled up to this point, and so my “version” of PE was essentially going to ballet class twice a week, and jumping on a trampoline, and occasionally running away from Moose. I wasn’t out of shape, but I most certainly wasn’t a runner. I was at an extreme disadvantage, because every other person in the public school system had been running “the mile” once a year since like 5th grade, and they knew what they were getting themselves into.  I, however did not. So there we are, in PE and it’s the girls day to run the mile, and come to find out to be on par with our age group or whatever, we are supposed to run a mile in 9 minutes or under…. UM WTF? Yes, as teenagers we are supposed to be young and spry, and full of bountiful pep and energy… but jesus a 9 minute mile? Let me just clarify, that to this day, I do not run a 9 minute mile. I am a person who runs, and a person who runs multiple times a week… and even though I’ve been training for a half marathon for over 6 months, and am living at what, maybe 500 ft above sea level? I still don’t run a 9 minute mile! (yes, I realize I’m slow, and this is maybe pathetic. I’ve come to terms with is, so should you.) Let me also just tell you that the elevation of my home town is 5,555 ft above sea level. (no joke. There is a sign telling you the elevation as you drive into the town) That is a lot of ft above sea level, in case you were wondering, and yes the air is a little bit thinner up there in the mountains.

I’m not sure how “the mile” works at other schools, but at my tiny high school, the boy s and girls ran it separately even though we had a co-ed gym class. Therefore when the girls ran the mile, we each had one of the boys from the class assigned to us to count our laps. I guess this was so we didn’t have to keep track/ couldn’t cheat… which, full discloser/ spoiler alert, I totally did.

I’m not exactly sure what lap I was on when I decided that I was going to die, but I’m pretty sure it was about lap 15 (20 laps around the gym for the mile). I will fully admit that now, as an adult, I have a bit of a gift for melodrama… but at the time, I was just pretty quiet, shy, and misunderstood. I was not the scene causing type of girl… Hello wallflower. So when I started to tell the PE teacher that I couldn’t breath, I wasn’t trying to draw attention to myself. I had never been that short of breath before ever, and I started to get a little panicky.  (of course at the time it never occurred to me to just stop and walk… though come to think of it, I’m not sure that was an option since we were being timed, and there was that 9 minute standard we were all being held against… again, who runs a 9 minute mile at 5555 ft? Olympians?) I was gasping for air, and kind of flopping around, and like “Um… I…. can’t…. breath…. Something…. Is …. Wrong….” And for reals, I was worried about passing out.  Just keep running but all the while freaking out a little bit, and being a little vocal about the fact that I was worried for my wellbeing. Of course at this point most of the boys were thinking this was hysterical, and none of the other girls seemed to be having a problem, and they all seemed put out that I was making a scene… but come on, not being able to breath is kind of scary!  Anyway, I’m not sure at what point most of the other girls lapped me, but it happened. They were all one lap ahead, and I was one behind… and all I knew for sure was that I was going to die.  And so, as most of them finished their final lap I also stopped running. I looked my  assigned counter in the eye, and I either gave him a look of “you will die if you rat me out” or I was so pathetic and floppy and red faced, that he genuinely felt bad for me.  Maybe it was both… I was pretty socially awkward back then, and mostly I was just shy because everyone else gave me a homeschooling complex, but this was just interpreted as me being a bitch… so I kind of just went with it.  Either way, everyone else knew that I was only on lap 19, but the gym teacher looked at him, and asked if that was my final lap, and he lied through his teeth and said that I was done running.  (Seth, in case you didn’t know, you are kind of my hero. Or at least you were at that moment) Unfortunately, my BFF at the time also had one lap left… she was doing much better than me, but everyone had lapped her as well, and so when everyone else finished, she still had one lap to go.  She would have of course finished running the mile before I did, but I cheated and stopped at lap 19, so at the end of the day, she was labeled with the slowest mile time in our grade. My bad.   Lets just say, she was not happy…  (this might have been the beginning of the end of our friendship, who even knows… girls are petty)  But I was too busy gulping for air and flopping around to really care.  Clearly, I feel bad about it now, but at the time I was just happy to be alive and vowed to hate running for the rest of my days.

It might not sound THAT traumatic… and come to think of it, I’m actually surprised that the farting incident didn’t scar me nearly as bad as my semester in PE… then again, this happened when I was a lowly sophomore and still adjusting to the ways of public school… Clearly the event stuck with me, because I’m pretty sure I even wrote a paper during my Freshman Year of college about how much I loathed running.  What? Who writes college level papers about that? (the whole graduate school rejection is maybe making more sense…) I’m that girl, and it makes me cringe a little.  Thankfully, times have changed, and I got over it. Look at me, training for half marathons and things…

It’s kind of like the time a baby sitter made me sit at the table and eat pizza even though I wasn’t hungry, and everyone else got to go watch the Wizard of OZ, and then for the next 13 years or so I hated pizza. I was a nightmare to have at birthday parties, because I wouldn’t eat pizza, and all the moms would have to order other food for the “picky eater.” For the longest time my parent’s thought I just didn’t like cheese, which is probably the biggest tragedy of my childhood… As far as I’m concerned, cheese is gods gift to us, and the more cheese the better.  I often wonder about how much cheese I missed out on in those thirteen years because people just assumed my aversion to pizza was actually an aversion to cheese… why did they think this? Obviously I ate the nachos that had to be special ordered for me at birthday parties because I didn’t eat pizza… but then again, as a child, I was also a vegetarian, and so it probably made perfect sense to everyone that I didn’t “like” cheese. False. I just didn’t like pizza. Clearly, I got over it. (liking pizza that is… obviously, I’m still a little sad about the mistaken cheese deprivation.) Its kind of ironic that the child who hated pizza is now the front of house manager at an establishment that is know for its woodfire pizzas, and I eat pizza at least 3 times a week…. Shoot, good thing I also got over my hatred of running… Fact: you don’t have to run as much if you hate pizza.

But, I got over my hatred of running, and my hatred of pizza…  really all this is to say, that now I need a new summer project, because training for a half marathon and a broken toe are not two things that go together, but thanks for hanging in there through the awkward/ traumatic throwbacks to high school.

Personal Weekend Rules, and how I always manage to break them.

Firstly, let me apologize for my falling off the blogging earth. My computer died, like completely is without power with no hope of turning it back on sort of dead, and so my internet access is limited to my cell phone, and brief moments at work when I’m sending official e-mails and updating the company facebook page. I contemplated blogging from my phone for a good 2.5 seconds, and then decided typing a blog post on that tiny key board just wasn’t worth it. I still don’t have a computer (I had to pay a hefty sum to the US & State government…. how does that work exactly?) so it will still be a few paychecks until I get fully back into the tec world, but in the meantime I finally borrowed my Dad’s teeny tiny laptop… and by teeny tiny, I mean, this is just a step up from typing on a cell phone keyboard… please excuse the multiple typos that I’m sure will follow.)
I’m just finishing up two glorious days off of work…days wich, of course, were not nearly as productive as I would have liked them to be, but what can you do? I really only have four set “rules” for my days away from work, and they are as follows: Excercise, put on real person clothes, cook myself something, and socialize with other humans. These rules are so basid they probably don’t really need to be stated out loud…These are kind of common sense things, that arguably most people do… then again, have you read the warning labels on a hair dryer lately?  Most people probably wouldn’t get in the a tub while operating a hair dryer, and yet they put the warning lable on there anyway for the poor saps who can’t quite figure it out. It’s for their own protection. I am not a poor sap… and mostly I do not struggle with these four things, but sometimes it is nice to state them outloud, to put them out into the universe, and to know that the rules are put into place for my own protection. That being said, rules are often meant to br broken.
I usually do really good with these rules on my first day off and this week was no exception. I ran 7.1 miles (and let me tell you, the last time I ran 7.1 miles was in Septemer of 2010… this is kind of a big deal for me!) I curled my hair, put on a dress,made a healthy breakfast, met up with some old friends… Tuesday I was all about my day off rules, and I even upped the anty by doing a few loads of laundry, gardening, and taking myeslf out to lunch. Go me.
Wednesday, was of course a horse of a different color… (who even came up with that metaphore, and what really does it mean? Just now I flashed back to this weird Howie Mendel educational computer game  I had growning up that was all about life on the farm, and of course there were rainbow horses that popped up and said “I’m a horse of a different color!” needless to say, this did not help clarify anything.) Wednesday, my alarm went off, and already I’m starting to make bargains with myself. I still really want to get up and excercise, but my tendonitis is flairing up, and so already I’m thinking to myself ” well I am teaching two yoga classes today… that mostly counts as excercise.” FALSE. Teaching yoga, and taking yoga are two very different things,but at 7AM, its pretty easy to justify it as you push the snooze button. The same logic applies to getting dressed. “Well I have to teach two classes today, I should probably just stay in my yoga pants all day.” and the practical side of me cannot argue with this… who wants to make 3+ wardrobe changes in a day? Not this girl… already, two of my grown up life rules out the window minutes after getting out of bed. Rules were made to be broken!
In my defense, I did actually attempt to go for a run… I made it 1 mile before the tendonitis took over my life…looks like I pushed a little too hard with the 7.1… but lately my mantra has been “you’ll only get out as much as you put in.” Full disclosure… I came up with this mantra because i was finding it ridiculously difficult to wash my face before going to bed. I realize this post makes me sound increddibly lazy/ unmotivated about life as I’m having to use little gimics to get me to put on real clothes etc… but sometimes I really feel that as a women, getting ready for bed takes a lot of work. The makeup has to come off the face washed, moisturizer applied, teeth flossed and brushed, contacts removed… and often pores are examined, eye brows tweezed… and sometimes putting in the effort to get through all of that is hard… Shit, maybe I am just really lazy… anyway, since I started working in a restaurant my skin has been flairing up a little more… and I would stare down my giant zits and remind myself that if I wanted normal adult skin, I had to act like an adult and wash my face every night, or stop caring… a mindblowing breakthrough to have at age 27… And really the same goes for just about everything in life. excercise, diets, relationships, work… if you want to see the results you have to put in the effort. (except on the occasional Wednesday when you really just want to wear yoga pants to the grocery store… and even then, I think its actually safer not to put on normal clothes to go to the grocery… have you seen the types of things that people are buying? today the guy in front of my was purchasing 30+ fitness waters, about 6 boxes of snackwells, 10 frozen dinners, 3 boxes of waffles… yes indeed, you get out of it what you put into it… and at this rate I think it is probably safe to say, I’m not going to meet my soul mate at the bargain grocery store…)
This is getting awfuly rambly, especially since I’m basically blogging about being lazy/ unmotivated to be a real person…this could perhaps be a clue as to why I am single… or maybe its just a little dash of realism that makes me relatable?

Hello Hamstrings: a basic intro to Supta Padangusthasana

I have really tight hamstrings… me and every other person in America (or so it seems). As a yoga teacher one of the things I hear about the most is tight hamstrings… which is why one of my favorite poses to do in class is Supta Padangusthasana ( or reclining big toe pose). If you have ever taken a class from me there is a very good chance this pose was visited… I do not preach in my classes (at least I don’t think I do) but I know I have told pretty much every one of my students that life would be better if we practiced this particular stretch in our daily lives.

Of course I have been saying this for years… and thus far I have never managed to get into a routine of doing this stretch at home… but I do teach it at least twice a week (if not more). But here I am, virtually unemployed, with a plethora of free time, and a lot of motivation, so I’m pledging to do this stretch every day for one week, and see if it actually makes a difference in my life. Who is with me? I’ll do a follow up post after a week of consistent stretching, and I’d love to have your comments & personal feedback (feel free to comment here or on the facebook page).

I’m not expecting any profound epiphanies, but I do know that since I have been running more this year, my hamstrings are even tighter than normal, and though this is certainly not the only good hamstring stretch (and maybe not even the absolute best one) it is by far my favorite.

There are a ton of other great benefits about this pose as well. It’s great for lower back pain, it stretches the calves and inner thighs, helps strengthen the core, it can help with sciatica, it can even help you reduce stress.  Denise Benitez says in an article for the Yoga Journal that “You may never become a model for the loose hamstring calendar, but the benefits of Supta Padangusthasana will enrich your life in many ways. Your pelvis will enjoy more of its full movement through space (great for Latin dancing!), all your yoga poses will benefit, and your spirit will be soothed by the gentle release of the often overworked muscles on the back side of your body.”

Do I really need to keep listing reasons why almost everyone would benefit from a daily dose of this pose?  Hamstrings can be tricky, and stretching them takes time (I’ve heard 20-30 minutes a day of un-loaded stretching) And we might not all have that kind of time to devote to opening these key muscles, but even two minutes a day is better than none.

This stretch is usually done with a  yoga strap, but if you are trying it at home a belt or long sleeved tee-shirt should do the trick.

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Bulldog is optional. =)  but he does add a little complexity to the pose when he starts nibbling on your ears/ face.

Start by lying on your back (supine) with knees bent. Place the strap (or whatever prop you are using) over the ball of the right foot and begin to extend the right leg up towards the sky. (keeping a slight bend in the knee is a-ok. First and foremost, listen to your body).  Starting out I’d recommend keeping the left knee bent with the foot on the floor, but if you are feeling a little more open, and don’t have any lower back considerations, you might want to extend the left leg out onto the floor, keeping a strong flex to both feet.

Trying to pull evenly through both sides of the strap, invite your shoulders to relax. (you might even anchor your elbows on the floor so you encourage the arms to relax). I like to engage my core while in this pose, by simply drawing my belly button in and up… offering support to the lower back.

You might gently let the right leg rock back and forth in this pose, getting a little bit of movement in the hip joint (because motion is lotion).

After spending at least 1 minute with the leg up towards the sky, transfer both sides of the strap/prop into the right hand. Invite you left hand to help anchor your left hip to the ground. (if you left knee is still bent, you can slightly let the knee open towards the left to act as a counter balance, which will help keep the hip rooted down). Very slowly, perhaps to the count of 10, invite your right leg open to the right side. Keeping the flex in the foot, you might even encourage the toes to inch a little bit in the direction of your right shoulder.  This is usually about the time I have to remind myself about what my core is doing, (keep zipping up!). Holding here for several breaths (or several minutes, you know your body best), then slowly begin to engage the secondary muscles in your right leg. Trying to use the strength of the leg rather than the pull on the strap to slowly (SLOWLY! Work through the resistance, you’ll gain more benefits if you help strengthen while you stretch! It’s not just about momentum!) lift your leg back up towards the sky. Hold here for a few more breaths before slowly releasing the strap, and lowering your leg.

Take a moment, and notice if you feel a difference between your right and left leg (right leg might feel just a little bit longer! Progress!).  As you are ready, bend both knees, and get ready to stretch out the left leg!

Helpful hints:

Try to stretch for the same amount of time on each side. How you track is up to you, you might just be able to “feel” when you are even. But you might count the breaths spent in each part of the pose, listen to a set amount of songs, or maybe even set a timer.

I love stretching in the morning, but you might try this stretch at the end of the day, and see if you notice a difference in flexibility from morning to evening. We tend to be a little more warmed up at the end of the day because we have been up and moving around a bit and your hamstrings might be a little less resistant.

You might also experiment with trying this stretch at the beginning/ end of a yoga practice, and see if you notice a difference. This stretch is a great way to warm up for a variety of standing poses, but it’s also a great way to end a practice after your muscles are already warm and have been working a little bit.

* I should probably put a disclaimer in here that yes, I am an RYT, but stretching/ exercising at home can have risks. PLEASE BE CAREFUL! For further and more detailed instructions, you might visit the Yoga Journal website

Sitting is the new Smoking? I guess it’s time to wiggle around.

I just did a dance around my living room… as I was taking laundry to the washing machine I made sure to wiggle around, and as I’m sitting on my couch typing this, out I may or may not be doing the in-flight blood clot reducing exercises you see on the trans-Atlantic flights… In my yoga class today we started talking about how “Sitting is the new smoking” which is a concept that everyone else in the class seemed to be familiar with… I was in the ignorance is bliss category, and of course as soon as I came home started doing a little research. Sure enough, sitting is a lethal activity according to The New York Times among others (Go ahead, Google it “Sitting is the new smoking”). So yeah, I’ve been wiggling my person around a little extra today.

Generally speaking, I am an active person… I teach two yoga classes a week, I take a lot of yoga during the week, and I can honestly say that I have been running more this month than I went running in all of 2012. I like walking places, and mostly I like to think I move around quite a bit… but in the past month I know I’ve also been sitting a whole lot more than I used to…

I mean it’s all relative… I’m not spending nearly as much time in my car, as I no longer have a 20 minute commute to work, and am not driving 40 miles every other day to see ex-boyfriend. I’m also no longer sitting at a desk… but I am sitting on my couch… a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I sit here all day, but I’m still adjusting to my life in the unemployed sector, and so I sit a lot. I search online for jobs, I do a lot of reading, I look for new recipes, I’m writing more, and yes, ok, I’m watching A LOT of The West Wing…

I’m here trying to justify things, but the reality is, even when I was working full time, I didn’t spend a ton of time at my desk… sure, I spent my fair share of time at the computer writing newsletters, updating social media, working on advertising, printing contracts, doing research. But I also spent a fair amount of time walking between my office and the retail shop, or the office and the tasting room… Some days it felt like I spent more time walking back and forth than I did at the desk. I would take breaks and walk Toby through the lavender fields, I would walk through the nursery on my lunch break, and I was constantly up and about taking pictures around the property, walking through the olive groves and grape vines… So yeah, I’m driving a lot less than I was, and I’m running quite a bit more, and I’m even taking more yoga, but I’m still sure that I’m also sitting a lot more than I used to… (BRB as I need to get up and move around, and maybe you should do the same! )

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Alright, I’m back…Is anyone else suddenly inspired to go invest in a pedometer? The statistics are a little terrifying… I mean obviously we know that sitting around watching tv all day isn’t good for you, but the idea that every hour spent in front of the TV gives you an 11% higher death rate? You’d think it would have to be the same for reading a book right? Every hour I spend reading a book, or sitting at my computer writing, is an hour closer to death. (Which I suppose is true of any hour spend doing anything… but you know what I mean) If you need me today, I’ll be bopping around my house…