Namaste

Ok, so it’s been a while since I checked in on your progress this March. And, believe it or not, today is the last day of the March Meditation Challenge!

It has been 31 days since I proposed this mental and physical assignment, and now it’s time to see how you did…

Personally, I can’t believe that I managed to do some form of yoga every day this month, and I sincerely hope that some of you had similar success. Over the past 4 weeks I practiced both many old and new poses, strengthening and lengthening my muscles. I am hesitant to say that I mastered any moves, as I believe yoga poses aren’t meant to be mastered. In a sense, they will always present some new challenge depending on the day, mental state and current emotions. However, I have become much more comfortable with many twists that I once found inaccessible, and I can more easily transition into binds I was not able to reach last month. Not to mention that head stands are something I just do for fun now.

And while it will continue to be a challenge each session to leave the humming of the day off of my mat, I have started to ground my mind more solidly to my practice. I even find myself turning to oujai breath when I get overwhelmed or anxious throughout the day. And when I really need to transport myself to the peace of my mat during the middle of the day, I will listen to some calming yogi music. 

Whether you were able to keep up with a whole month of yoga, or simply had a chance to spend some time with yourself, reflecting and strengthening your inner-you, I want to say congrats! It’s not always easy to shut out the distractions of the every day, or to listen to how you are feeling at exactly one moment in time. And, I hope you have found some new strength, both mentally and physically, to continue this practice as you see fit.

My challenge does not stop with the end of March. If you wish to join me, I will be continuing my daily yoga practice, incorporating poses, stretching and meditation into my daily routine.

wide headstand

Here are a few yoga related links to keep you, or get you back, in the yoga mood:

Everyone is doing it 

My new obsession 

Great FREE online videos 

 

Meditation March – Day 8

If gold stars were still given out in adulthood then I would already have 8! Every day since last Saturday I have incorporated yoga into my daily schedule. I have attended three vinyasa yoga classes at my gym, completed 4 yoga classes via the internet, and added 15 minutes of sun salutations, poses, and binds, to one of my morning home-workouts. I am rocking this March Meditation Challenge.

It has only been a week, but I am already feeling calmer, stronger and more confident. Through yoga I have been forced to carve out time in the day for myself. Time where I am solely concentrating on improving my technique and form, and listening to my body, nothing else.

I spend most of the day sitting and typing in front of a computer. I do my best to walk to work each day and take a break outside from the office in the middle of the day. But while moving is important, I am finding that purposeful movement is even better for the body than just mindless walking. When I am consciously placing my arms and legs and head in a yoga position I am respecting what my body is capable of doing, and not doing. I am harnessing my strength and demonstrating my power. And while that sounds intimidating, it is actually the opposite. Because I am carefully and strategically training my body I am able to move with harmony and peace in and out of positions.

If I sound like a converted yogi I just might be, but what it really comes down to is that I am enjoying moving my body safely while strengthening and healing my body at the same time.

If you don’t believe all of my mumbo-jumbo feel free to read what the experts have to say about the benefits of yoga.

The cat even decided to help me out with some of my poses. She voluntarily jumped up on me when she felt I was most in need of her assistance. Thank you cat. 

kitty yoga

Have you been able to keep up with the yoga challenge?

How are you feeling after a few days of stretching and Om-ing?

Any specific improvements you are noticing now that you are practicing poses more often?

March: a Month of Meditation

March first. The first day, of the third month of the year. What better day than today to start a monthly challenge? I have decided that March shall be the month where I practice yoga every single day. This doesn’t mean that I will be spending hours each day bound in warrior two, but I will spend at least 15 minutes a day on my yoga mat.

The Tel Aviv Marathon happened yesterday, and while I was happy that all the runners had the perfect temperature to run in and plenty of sun, I was also jealous. Jealous that I could not be one of of those runners enjoying the crowd and running past the finish line. Yesterday I was mourning my loss of long-distance running, but today is a new day. It is March first, and it is the first day of the third month of the year, and it is the day I start a physical challenge that I can safely practice and enjoy.

Some days I will have time to attend an actual yoga class, other days I might just follow an online-class, and some days yoga might just be a way to cool down and stretch after a spin or elliptical workout. This challenge, while great exercise, will also give me a chance to reflect and meditate on the important things that I sometimes take for granted in this life. Walking, while seemingly mindless, might have been a life-long struggle had I not recovered from my accident as well as I did. Running might have been totally out of the question, as opposed to the occasional 4 miles I sometimes indulge in now. And chronic pain might hinder my daily routine, whereas now, pain is an occasional sore muscle from a good workout session.

So, I put the challenge to you readers. Will you set aside a few minutes each day to bend, stretch and balance, both your body and your soul? I imagine that everyone could take a moment to appreciate what they are capable of doing and so give a month of meditation a chance.

Good luck and Namaste :)

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Getting My Sweat On

…in the living room.

Yes, sometimes time for the gym is not a luxury I have, and other times, I am just tired of working out on the same old machines. So, that is when I grab my trusty yoga mat, some tunes, and my Pinterest board to do some home workouts.

I usually like to try and do full body workouts that involve, legs, arms and abs, but I as long as I am moving for about 30 – 45 minutes I am satisfied.

Here are a few of my favorites:

home workout

[Substitute Monday for any, or every, day of the week]

Monday workout One Song Workouts

I promise you, if you choose one of these workouts and run through it 3 times you will be pleased with your workout.

I also like to end my workouts with a few vinyasas to stretch out.

surya namaskar

Let me know which ones are your favorite.

Do you do your own workouts at home?

 

Spin Cycle

I am a runner.

Or, well, I was more of a runner before the accident, but I still love running.

However, I have been advised by my doctors and family to not run at all due to the high likelihood of damaged cartilage and inevitable arthritis.

So, while I still hit the pavement about once a week for about 4 miles, I am transitioning my workouts to include more yoga and spinning, as opposed to running.

I am lucky that my gym is literally right across the street, so there are only a few excuses that can keep me from going there – either the gym is closed or I have the Bubonic Plague. Those two circumstances are not the case during most of my waking hours, so I have decided to get creative as motivation to sweat across the street.

When I was rehabilitating I would go to spin classes at the local YMCA. And despite the frustration of pedaling for over an hour and not getting anywhere, the workout was worth it. Here, I have not had a chance to try the spin classes at my gym as their timing is not convenient for my schedule (not too mention they are instructed in Hebrew), but I have turned to the internet to get my spinning fix.

I write down (print-out) spinning routines, such as these:

FitFabCities

Pinterest

And I set myself up on a spin bike with my iPhone timer and plug into MTV for my pump-up tunes. Then, I simply follow along with the routine pushing myself as best as I can.

Of course, I would be working much harder in a room full of other sweaty spinners and a domineering instructor, but there are times where I yell at myself be all that I can be and reach the summit of the mountain, or I encourage myself to find the fire within and race past the finish line.

spinning

I hope to make it to one of the gym’s spin classes soon to soak up a full spinning experience, and of course, to pick up a few tricks for myself to continue my solo sessions ;)

Do you print out workouts to do at the gym on your own? 

Taco Night

Spicy salsa, crunchy shells and velvet guacamole – sounds like a typical taco night.

However, here in Israel taco nights are few and far between, replaced with Mediterranean flavors and lots of fried chickpeas (aka Falafel).

Over the weekend, the itch for Mexican flavors was satisfied with a homemade spread of dips, chips and tacos.

photo (62)

I seasoned some chicken with grilling spices, sauteed some onions and peppers, and steamed up a batch of rice.

Of course, no taco night is complete without a giant bowl of guacamole.

I used my recipe of half avocados and half peas (you can’t even taste them), but here in Israel we have avocados with thin skins that make it very difficult to separate. However, I discovered this simple solution and my life has forever been changed.

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Ta Da!

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Using a peeler I was able to slice away the skin without wasting a smidge of precious avocado!

Now that I know this nifty trick I might be making guacamole more often than just for taco night.

Let me know if you try this method. It might just change your life too!

Jordan’s Day

No, it’s not my birthday.

But, today was a day devoted to simply doing things I enjoy.

For the first time in a long time I had a day completely to myself where I wasn’t working and responsibilities were shrugged to the side.

To begin with, I went for a long walk to the outdoor market to purchase ingredients for dinner.

Sneak peak at dinner… IMG_2314 Along the way I picked up a few art supplies to finally decorate our incredibly bare walls.

- A few blank canvases

- Blue, black and gold acrylic paint

- Paintbrushes

Combine all of the above with some free hours and music and you end up with some inexpensive wall accessories. IMG_2311 IMG_2312Satisfied with my work, I treated myself to hunting the beach for sea glass using the sun as my searchlight. IMG_2310 And, while it might have been more relaxing to order in some pre-made food, it is always much more satisfying to cook up an experimental gluten-free pizza while video chatting with your best friend (Check her out here and here)

gluten pizza

I used the following recipe (minus the yeast), and well, as you can see, somehow my pictures don’t look like hers. This could be called a “Pinterest fail” (where the amateur’s final product fails in comparison to the original creator’s picture), but it was mighty tasty.

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And then, there’s nothing better than ending the day with some snuggles!

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