Off the wagon

October 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Posted in not-running, running, yoga | 4 Comments

I can’t believe I went missing for almost two months! One day of not blogging so easily turns into two, which becomes a week, and then a month, and then… here we are.

This fall has definitely been over-the-top busy (in all good ways!), but even though I haven’t been here, I have certainly been running with Team Run to Remember. The New York City Marathon is only 17 days away! How did that happen?

That said, I’ve otherwise abandoned fitness. I’m making really bad excuses about how there aren’t enough hours in the day, but the truth is, I’m just lame.

So, I signed on for a 30 day yoga challenge for the month of November that I hope will get me going. And I want to sign up for a race. A small race (I’m thinking 10K but I could maybe be convinced to do a half marathon). Any ideas?

Glad to be back. Hope to catch you here again soon.

Weekend part two: Anusara in the Apple.

August 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Posted in yoga | Leave a comment

My friend Melissa invited me to join her Sunday for some yoga classes as part of Anusara in the Apple, a two day celebration of the 14th anniversary of John Friend founding the Anusara method of yoga. Melissa is a yoga teacher in the Anusara tradition, but she assured me that I’d fit right in, even without much Anusara experience.

We signed up for two classes; the first was with Julie Dohrman and Emma Magenta, Melissa’s teacher from South Mountain Yoga in NJ, and the second was with Sianna Sherman and Ross Rayburn, who are apparently quite the stars on the Anusara scene (their class was sold out and totally packed!).

The first class was about darkness and light, and accepting that both are equally important parts of ourselves and our yoga practice. It was a really beautiful concept that reverberated both mentally and physically. The class was challenging, but also really playful and fun and I had a great time. It moved reasonably slowly, so I was able to keep up. This was the first class I’ve taken in a while that was not vinyasa based and honestly, it was kind of a relief to not have to package every posture inside a sun salutation. I felt good.

The second class was just kind of nuts. We were packed into the room like sardines and it started 30 minutes late (even though I’m often late myself, lateness like that totally makes my blood boil so I was already not in a good brain space when we began). I think both teachers kind of assumed that everyone in the room was a really experienced Anusara student and leapt right in to some pretty intense work. It was exhausting on its own, but combined with my soreness from the Warrior Dash and the 2 hour class we had just taken, I found myself slacking off just a bit. Ultimately, we decided to leave early (technically at the time when the class was originally supposed to end) so that Melissa could catch her bus back to NJ (and so I could pass out on the couch).

Still, being in these classes reminded me that no amount of videos and home practice can hold a candle to being in a class. I just have to make room for it somewhere! If only I was more like Martha and needed to sleep just four hours each night 🙂

Yoga + music: yay or nay?

July 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Posted in yoga | 5 Comments

I did my 15 minutes of random yoga this morning with music playing and it was… weird.

I’ve always thought of yoga as a quiet, meditative time. When I’ve been to classes with music, it has generally been what I would call “yoga music” – mostly instrumental and played at a very low volume. But I know that real music is becoming more and more prevalent in some studios, so since I already had music playing this morning, I just let it go.

My verdict is: I’m not convinced. I spend a lot of energy trying not to think of anything but yoga when I’m doing yoga, and music really distracts me from that. Also, the varying rhythms seem to mess up my breath patterns, and breath is how I measure my time in each asana.

But maybe really clever teachers choose the right music. I was just letting Pandora go all willy-nilly. So I can’t be sure.

What do you think? Yoga + music = yay or nay?

P.S. Join us for some very hot and sweaty running tonight! 6:30 at the Columbus Circle entrance to the park.

Here and there.

July 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Posted in not-running, strength, weekend, yoga | 6 Comments

This has been a crazy summer. In addition to fixing up our apartment, we also…

Bought a house in Rhode Island!

My family lives there, and we’d been dreaming of a place where we could “get away” for a while, and now we’ve finally found our spot. (Remember when I was posting pictures of the beach in the winter? That was because we were house hunting near the ocean!)

Anyway, it’s a dream come true, but it also means that I’m stretched thin. More and more, my only workouts are runs with R2R. That’s great, but I only see the team once or twice a week at the most, which is not enough. So, I’m trying to find ways to squeeze in mini workouts here and there.

I’m starting with the yoga I mentioned last week – I got an off-line recommendation for a DVD with several 20 minute workouts (perfect!). While I wait for the Amazon order to arrive, I’m faking my way through 15 minutes of sun salutations each morning to hold me over.

I’ve also dusted off my weights. I have the least elaborate set of all time – two 7-lb dumbbells and a 10-lb kettlebell – but they get the job done when there’s nothing else. I can run through 3 sets of bicep curls, overhead lifts, squats, lunges, and calf raises (and those are all equipment-free!) in 15 minutes.

Then, if I’m feeling really wild, I’ll throw in some true torture – planks. I try to hold for 30 seconds and the rest for 20 seconds and repeat 5 times. (On the fifth one I am literally groaning.) This gets me sweating bigtime, which means it’s working. You really use your whole body staying up, so it’s pretty unbeatable for a quick workout.

(Source.)

Any other good ideas for quickie workouts?

AM yoga.

July 14, 2011 at 11:55 am | Posted in yoga | 2 Comments

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, I had a job that didn’t start until 10 am, and I used to get a lot done in the morning. And for a long stretch – a year? – I actually got up early every single morning and did a mini-yoga session to start my day. I had a 20 minute VHS (!!!) tape called AM Yoga that I loved.

Now, I have to be at work at 9, and my office is further away, and I’m older and lazier. But since I haven’t had time lately to get to yoga after work, I’d like to get back into my old habit of practicing in the morning. There’s nothing easier than showing up in your own living room, right? You don’t even have to shave your legs.

This morning I started with a YouTube video by Sadie Nardini. I guess I should have watched it first, because it wasn’t really what I was looking for – she just dove right into a bunch of moves that weren’t really even asanas. So, I closed the computer and tried making up my own routine.

It wasn’t terrible – a few sun salutations, mainly – but I definitely need guidance. I want to buy a DVD. I’m looking for straight vinyasa, something by someone who is a yoga teacher, not a fitness instructor (ie, not Jillian Michaels’ Bad Ass Yoga for Rock Hard Abs – if I wanted that I’d just go to the gym). Any recommendations?

Falling.

June 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Alzheimer's, Thursday group, yoga | Leave a comment

Last night I went to the free YogaWorks open class on Pier 46 again.

It was another totally gorgeous perfect day for outdoor yoga. Practicing outside is so much fun.

But this was not my best class ever. I was totally off balance the entire time. I kept falling out of poses, wobbling, and turning left instead of right. Once I fell completely onto the ground! It wasn’t even a hard pose – maybe Warrior I? – but I just couldn’t stay up and I tumbled. It was really, really weird.

It was still a good practice, though. A little more aggressive than the last class at the pier, but that’s probably a good thing. I am relying on yoga to be my strength training now.

R2R Thursday group meets tonight. Though it is technically a team practice, ALL are welcome, so please feel free to come! We meet at 6:30 at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park, near the loop. You’ll recognize us in our purple Alzheimer’s gear!

Open at Yogamaya.

June 28, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Posted in yoga | Leave a comment

In the spirit of trying new things and hitting up some new studios, I purchased a 3-class pass to Yogamaya from Gilt City last week, and went to my first class last night.

It was an “open” class, which to me means that students at any level can go and make the instruction work for them. And, though the Yogamaya description did say that this class was not for totally new beginners, I was surprised to discover that I was, by far, the least experienced yogi in the room. I guess “open” means different things at different studios.

I still mostly enjoyed the class, but I was definitely a bit overwhelmed. I thought the teacher – Bryn Chisman, one of the studio’s founders – was charming, but she moved quite fast and I felt a little confused at times. We started in down dog and moved through the vinyasa at lightning speed. At times, I was pleased with how much I could handle; at other times, I felt really tired and a little disappointed that I couldn’t keep up. Bryn was a good teacher and did come help me into a pose at one point, and I liked that even though I am clearly incredibly inflexible, she just assumed that I could do it with a little guidance. (And I did do it, though not without pain!)

I should also mention that the studio is gorgeous; it is light and bright and incredibly well-maintained and organized.  That kind of stuff matters to me, a lot, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

I will definitely go back to take the remaining two classes on my card – but I’ll probably go for a level one class next time. The deal is still available, so check it out yourself if you’re interested!

Sweaty yoga.

June 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Posted in weekend, yoga | 2 Comments

This weekend, while home visiting my family, I finally went to the one and only yoga studio in my hometown for a class. It’s called Synergy Power Yoga and they practice the Baron Baptiste vinyasa style.

Little did I know that that meant HOT vinyasa!

I started getting nervous when everyone walking into class came armed with towels and multiple water bottles (I had none of either). I knew it wasn’t Bikram yoga (which is practiced in a room heated to 104 degrees), but I still thought I might be in over my head.

In the end, I did wish I had a towel and a water bottle (or seven), but I actually loved it! Somehow, when I’ve heard people talk about hot vinyasa, I assumed it was more of a gym class than a yoga experience, but I was really wrong about that. This was super challenging but still featured all of the wonderful things I love about yoga: I felt calm, relaxed, and able to get away from the real world.  And it was kind of fun to be sweating like crazy all over the place. Refreshing, almost. I will definitely be back to this studio, and I’m also going to seek out a hot vinyasa studio in the city.

I do have one gripe, though, and I’d love to hear what people think. There was one person in this class – quite young, perhaps not even in college yet – who just did whatever she wanted the entire time. I know that yoga instructors encourage students to take more challenging poses if they are able, but this girl just seemed to be doing acrobatics that were completely unrelated to what the rest of us were doing. To me, that was kind of distracting and rude, but maybe I’m wrong. (Also, why bother spending $15 to be instructed if you’re just going to do what you want anyway?) I’m not sure what the proper etiquette is since I have no acrobatic skills myself. What do you think?

Yoga at Pier 46.

June 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Thursday group, yoga | Leave a comment

Last night I eased myself back into yoga with the free class offered by YogaWorks on Pier 46 in Hudson River Park.

The setting was perfect. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot.

It was an open level class, so we stuck to the basics, which was good for me after such a long hiatus. I was worried that I might feel uncomfortable, but it felt so good! We did lots of sun salutations and variations. I could have stayed in down dog all day. And I really loved doing yoga outside.

Afterwards, they handed out coupons for a free week at YogaWorks and a chocolate treat from Organicoa, who sponsored the event. We walked right over to grab our samples. They were amazing! Chocolatey and cool and refreshing.

These free classes will continue on Wednesday nights at 6 pm through July 27.

R2R practice tonight! Join us? 6:30 at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park, near the loop. You don’t have to be on the team to come.

What’s next?

June 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Alzheimer's, yoga | 2 Comments

Now that the half marathon is over, I don’t have a training plan anymore. I’m FREEEEEEE! So, what’s next?

Well, first and foremost, of course, is coaching Team Run to Remember for the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter Junior Committee.

I’ll be with them most Tuesdays and Thursdays with a few Saturdays and Sundays thrown in here and there. My job will most definitely be to pull up the rear, so this won’t be aggressive, but since there will be some good distance, I’m going to count on it to be my cardio for the next few months.

The other element of my workout program will be yoga. All yoga, all the time. No weights, no other classes, no boot camps. I’ve always thought that running + yoga would be the ideal combination for me – I actually think I set that as a goal in my journal in college – and now seems like the right time in my life to go for it.

(I always practice yoga on the beach at sunset. Don’t you?)

I’ve always loved yoga as a restorative and meditative practice, but now I’d also like to embrace the athletic aspect as well. I’m most accustomed to standard hatha yoga, so now I’m going to try to branch into vinyasa, anusara, and possibly even bikram. (Maybe bikram. My first experience was not excellent.) I’m going to try a lot of different studios until I find one I love, and then I’m really going to commit. Ideally, I’d like to go at least twice a week. I want to be strong enough to get into crow pose!

(On a crazy mountain top, natch.)

Do you have a yoga studio that you love in the city? I’d love some recommendations! I’m a fan of ISHTA Yoga on 11th street and I’m also dying to try Strala Yoga on Broadway near Houston.

(Source, source.)

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