This post is super-awesome

awesomeLike any good blogger, once I’ve finished writing a post and before I hit publish, I list all my categories and tags, and check the boxes that need to be checked. One of those boxes, I kid you not, is “This post is super-awesome.”

Super-Awesome

This is an extremely hard title to live up to. What if I don’t have an inner Barney Stinson!? What if when I get sad, I just get sad, and I can’t be awesome instead?

I want to. I want to be awesome all the time. More than just being awesome, I want to believe I’m awesome so that even on those days I really am not that awesome, I can still feel awesome.

I want to check that box for every. single. post.

But am I really that person? Is it dishonest to check that box every time? What if I think the post is super awesome, but it’s not? Will somebody find out that I checked the box, when my post is not that awesome?

Perhaps I am reading into the box a little too much. Maybe it’s WordPress’s way of virtually high-fiving me for having posted at all; A little pat on the back for posting once every four months.

What if as soon as soon as I got out of bed in the morning I was met with a giant floating check box that said “This day will be super awesome”?  Maybe then, as soon as my feet hit my slippers, I’d be pepped up enough to tackle the day with an attitude of super awesomeness, even if I wasn’t really all that awesome all the time.

awesome2

(bring it back to yoga)

The consistency of my yoga practice isn’t all that awesome all the time. What with life, teaching, writing, baby, cleaning, it is what it is. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a super-awesome practice when it does happen.

I roll out my mat, turn on some tunes, do some breathing, and get ready to strike a Down Dog. Baby cries. Let baby cry for one more minute. This is going to be the most awesome Down Dog ever.signiture copy copy

Advertisements

Chicken Soup and Yoga for My Soul

It’s the end of March and it seems the cold and flu season isn’t even close to being finished. As I sit here typing, I’m listening as my poor daughter lies in bed, attempting to hack up a lung (Don’t worry I’ve done all the good-mommy, all natural tricks). She’s on cold # 3 or 4 since November while my hubby and I are on #2. My mom on the other hand has been sick for like 9 weeks straight. It’s been a rough season for sure!

Since going gluten free and paleo, I haven’t been able to enjoy the ever so comforting homemade chicken noodle soup. Likewise, I also haven’t been able to partake in the yummy processed goodness that is Campbell’s Chicken Noodle or Cream of Chicken with a ginormous handful of saltine crackers either (Honest to goodness, there is a really big 5-year-old living in my body who is throwing a huge tantrum about that one).

Either way chicken soup is a must during fall, winter, and the cold and flu season. I mean, I can’t imagine not having some sort of chicken soup. This year I’ve been working on a Chicken and White Sweet Potato soup.

Today, I think I finally perfected it.

chicken soup copy

Chicken and White Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

6-8 cups of Chicken Broth (homemade or low sodium)

1 medium onion

5-6 stalks of celery

5-6 whole carrots

1-2 very large white sweet potatoes

4-5 Slices Bacon

1 small Bacon end (optional)

1 cup (or more) cooked chicken

Salt to taste
Directions

1. Make chicken broth (I boiled/simmered 2 carcasses with fat and drippings in about 6 cups of water…added water as it boiled down) OR add store bought broth to soup pan.

2. Dice onions and celery, and peel and dice carrots and potatoes.

3. In a frying pan, fry bacon. Do not discard fat. Remove bacon from pan and sauté onions in bacon grease until caramelized. Dice bacon.

4. Add onions, bacon and rest of veggies to broth. Add bacon end to broth for more flavor, if using. Simmer veggies until sweet potatoes and carrots are soft.

5. Add chicken and salt to taste. Remove bacon end.

Yoga for Immunity.

If you are trying to boost your immunity and avoid a cold, a regular yoga practice can help. Your immune system is weakened by stress. Since yoga and yogic breathing helps to combat stress, your immune system will get a boost just by doing yoga.

If you don’t have a cold and are trying to avoid getting one, try a heated or a vinyasa class. No time for a class? Try three rounds of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara A) followed by a series of balancing postures such as Tree Pose (Vrksasanana) and Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana). Both flow and balancing poses help to build heat quickly in the body and is ideal for immunity boosting.

If you are currently sick, take it easy! Try a restorative practice. Start with five minutes of focusing on your breath.  Next move into a few rounds of Cat/Cow, take a Child’s Pose, Downward Facing Dog, a lying or seated twist, and end with legs up the wall with your hips supported on a bolster or stack of blankets.signiture copy copy

Flexibility in Training

DSC_0194

Practice: Gentle practice centering around the neck, working into Fish pose and Shoulder Stand.

Inspiration: Flexibility in emotions, thoughts and life in general. ie. bending to be straight.

Life Lesson: I decided to take my daughter and niece to a children’s museum just a quick 40 minute drive up the freeway. The museum had rave reviews and an awesome website showing the fun attractions for my littles to enjoy. A 40 minute drive later…we find the museum is closed and in search of a new location.

Seriously!?! Well, (insert internal explicative here). So we stop at a gas station, grab a cheese stick for the girls and a Kind bar for me. I tell them, over our snack, that we’ll drive back home and go to the library. “Yay! Let’s go!” Their excitement baffles me.

They taught me a lesson in flexibility for sure.

I was grumpy for the rest of the day (could be from lack of carbs). But, the girls enjoyed the library and doing yoga with me, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.

signiture copy copy

Why you couldn’t pay me to weigh myself.

Vashistasina in my space pants and feelin' fine.

Vashistasina in my space pants and feelin’ fine.

I don’t weigh myself. I don’t own a scale. I intentionally avert my eyes when being weighed at the doctor’s office. If I really wanted to I could get out my Wii Fit board and see the damage. But I don’t want to. I especially don’t want that damn little animated board telling me, “That’s overweight!”

Anybody ever flip off your TV? Cause I have.

I recently discussed this topic with a student of mine. We talked about how discouraging it is to see the number on the scale fluctuate: from day to day, from hour to hour. It’s like playing the happiness lottery. “Come on -1 pound, mama needs some chocolate!” I told my student how I refuse to get on the scale, and she told me I seemed to be pretty good about that kind of thing.

The truth is, I’m still learning to be “good” about that kind of thing.

Trying to undo 31 years of damage is going to be a life time of work, because until I can totally become immune to our society’s dysfunctional body image standards, my body-hate bucket will continue to be filled. Although, now, I imagine my bucket has a tiny, pin-point hole in the bottom, leaking out a little bit at a time.

I think I earned that pin-point hole about 2010 when I gave up dieting after reading “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. (Side note: I both recommend and do not recommend this book. Please see my brief notes after this post.)

Following a miscarriage in 2009 I gained a ton of weight, maybe 30 pounds, and honest to goodness I couldn’t figure out why. So I did what any girl would do, I worked my butt off. I ran a few miles every day, and kept my calorie intake to 1200-1400. I felt like crud and gained more weight.

That’s when in 2010 I read that book and gave up dieting. I finally discovered in 2011 it was a sluggish thyroid and Hashimoto’s disease to blame. I continued with my non-dieting mentality and was able to maintain my weight.

Fast forward to 2012 post baby, I did eventually lose my baby weight and most my thyroid weight with a paleo diet. I didn’t consider it dieting, however, because I ate as much as I wanted and felt very satisfied. I had my energy back, and felt semi healthy and normal.

But during this time, I did continue to weigh myself. I felt good physically, but I mentally and emotionally I still felt like a failure. I was still a chubby yoga teacher and I couldn’t quite get back down to my pre-thyroid disease weight. At times I wanted to give up teaching yoga, all because my self-worth is/was wrapped up in three little numbers.

I’ll admit, I have recently gained more weight. And I partially know why this time: Stress of a big move, stopped my paleo diet, thyroid numbers being off, discovering a new health issue, etc. But I don’t know how much weight and I really don’t care to know.

I have not weighed myself or looked at a scale for almost a year now. So I am oblivious to those three little numbers.

Here’s what I do know:

*I am WAY stronger than I was a year ago. Hello biceps!
*My belly is deflating due to merging back to a whole foods/paleo diet lifestyle and the plank challenge.
* I bought my first pair of patterned yoga pants, which are slightly bigger than the last pair I purchased, but I don’t care because I LOVE wearing them. They make me feel wonderfully geeky and happy.
*I love teaching yoga.
*My health journey and struggle with weight and body image can actually be very helpful for my clients who struggle with similar issues.

Instead of the scale I choose to measure myself by how I feel. I reflect on how much love, happiness and strength I have gained. And, in a practical sense, the way my pants fit is the best, least frustrating indicator of how I am doing in the weight management department.

Despite not weighing myself, these self-defeating thoughts still rear their ugly little heads, but after a good cry and some chocolate, I get over it a whole lot faster.

signiture copy copy

**A note about “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. What I love about this book is that it can teach you how to know when you are truly hungry and truly full, which I do believe most of us have gotten away from. The book helps you overcome your fear of food being bad vs. good. There is also a helpful exercise helping you discover your real ideal weight. I found this to be pretty cathartic and eye opening. What I do not love about the book is that it doesn’t acknowledge food sensitivities or allergies, follows the government food pyramid, and doesn’t focus on a whole foods, clean eating diet. Let’s face it if I followed the government’s recommendation for portions, the Wii fit would be calling me obese. The science is from the 90s – when the whole low-fat thing was still a trend. They did just put out a new edition, but it doesn’t sound like the ancient science and food recommendations have been updated. Anyway, read at your own risk.