Hot Yoga in a Heat Wave

I already know what you’re thinking, “You’re crazy!”

Yeah, you’re right; I probably am.

But when I purchased that New Student Special a couple weeks ago for a yoga studio right down the block, I knew I had to make it worth it.  Honestly, I want to go even more, but I’m making it as often as I can which is enough for me.  But I realized there was something a little insane about it all when I walked out of the studio, and the outdoors (heatwave = 90+ degrees) felt COOL.

So, back to the Yoga.  I think the minutes before the class began were the best minutes I’ve had all week.  I rushed-rushed-rushed home, changed so fast I was nearly dizzy, and ran out the door to catch a bus to the studio.  We’re in the middle of a heat wave here in the Northeast which means that it feels like Florida the heat hits you smack in the face like a wet steamy wall and instantly makes you sweat.  So, add my already elevated heart rate from rushing to the left-over heat from the class before us, and I was sweating even before class began.  Hm – this probably doesn’t sound appealing at all.  But I’m getting to the good part!  As people filtered in and waited for class to begin, everyone kind of finds their own zen state.  I laid on my back on my mat, closed my mind and my eyes, and realized there was no where else I needed to be or should be; there was nothing I needed to do; there was no upcoming event that I needed to stress about; that I could guiltlessly lay flat on my back in a room and close my eyes and simply be.  That is amazing.

During the actual class part, there was lots of  sweating, shaking, downward dogs, vinyasas, breathing, ohms, sweating, and did I mention sweating?  I remember when I first heard about heated yoga….I thought it was ridiculous.  Who voluntarily works out in an intentionally heated space over 90 degrees?!  Only those crazy crunch yogi types would think of something like that.  But, I’m here to tell you, they have something awesome going on in that space.

I’ve never felt so in tune with every muscle fiber in my body.  I’ve never been able to twist so many pretzly ways (yes, that’s a technical term).  I’ve never been  able to hold a plank in a/c’d gyms as long as I can in heated yoga.  I’ve never had a clearer mind than I do when I’m in that space.  I’ve never breathed as well as I can while I’m practicing heated yoga.

I can’t tell you when I transitioned from that “always in my head” person who can’t grasp the concept of “that yoga stuff” to this person who really enjoys it…..but I can tell you it happened.  I think that letting go of all the anger, fear, anticipation, insecurity, unhealthiness that I had before I moved to Boston helped.  I think that I thought I had an open mind in Florida, but I’ve learned to be even more open here and I’ve learned to enjoy a variety of things.  I’ve learned that things I thought didn’t matter are important, and other things that seems so important before are merely trivial steps along the way.

I do not recommend yoga to people who aren’t ready for it.  I tried yoga in Florida once, before I was ready, and I thought it was a ridiculous waste of time.  It was over 5 years before I gave it a chance again.  But honestly, if you can’t embrace the idea of letting go of your deadlines, projects, jobs, kids, dogs, groceries, to-do lists, shopping lists, hit lists, etc then yoga isn’t for you.  We all like to think we have an open mind, but even if you’re less honest out loud, be honest with yourself: if you feel any contempt toward the idea of yoga, the people who rave about it, or the lifestyles they practice, then you’re not ready.  If you walk in there with expectations, you’ won’t like it.  I got to my first heated yoga class in desperation of mixing up my workouts and adding anything new.  From my crazy 2x/day strength, high intensity workouts, to heated yoga was a welcome reprieve for my mind and a healthy challenge both physically and mentally.

Although yoga enhances my strength (especially with all those vinyasas!), gives my mind a break, sends my heartrate through the clouds, leaves me a sweaty mess, it is in no way an everyday or only workout for me.  Sometimes, I just need a Cardiobox or spinning class, nature run, city run, or pool workout to give me endorphins to keep going.  But yoga is the perfect balance to my workout variety.  I’m not a yogi, but for the first time in my life I respect them in a new way, support (most of) their ideals and values, and can relate to their love of the mat.

Do you like yoga?

(funny anecdote: these pictures came via hilarious photoshoot in my living room with my roommate yelling poses at me, critiquing to photogenicness of each post, and snapping pictures before I fell over in fatigue…)

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

NYC – Tourist Style

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Music Monday

I enjoy alliteration.

Originally, this new blog theme was going to be called New Music Monday, but since today’s band isn’t new, and “new” doesn’t start with the same letter as “music” and “Monday,” that idea has been scrapped.

Since music is such a big part of my life, I decided it needed to play a bigger role in my blog.  If my blog is any kind of reflection of me, I have to talk about music.

We all remember our first concert experience.  The excitement builds for days (or even weeks) and if you’re a girl you plan what you’re going to wear down to the last ring and fingernail polish.  The week you purchase the tickets, you listen to their album(s) for days – but you didn’t watch youtube videos of their live shows because youtube didn’t exist during your first concert.  (If it did, we’re in un-relatable generations)  During my first concert experience, I also listened to their album over and over the week and day of the concert (even though I’ve since learned NOT to do this).

For your first concert, you make sure to get there on time because you want to make sure you’re in your seat (if there are seats) so you don’t miss a single moment.  You even enjoy the opening band because they might be the first performers you’ve ever seen live (except for that rock band in your local high school that plays at the Elk’s Lodge, and that doesn’t really count).  Between bands, if you see any performer while you’re wandering around the venue, it’s “so cool!” and you stand in a line of 348646135498765 people to have them sign your ticket, even if you never heard their music before that night.

When they come on stage, you’re impressed at the lights, the colors, and the fact that the people on the stage below you are just a whole new breed – there is no way they’re the same species as you.  They’re enigmatic and you kind of set into a trance, enjoying the variations in the songs you’ve memorized and raspy realness of the voice coming through the speakers.  Each second melts into the rest as each song transitions – and all the sudden each melody is your favorite.

So maybe if the description above doesn’t reflect your first concert experience, hopefully you can relate to a metaphor or two.  That was my first concert experience.  I got to see A Perfect Circle.

A little background….I didn’t like Tool.  I was never quite into them, and still dislike them to this day.  Yes, I know I’m the only person in the world who can’t stand to listen to an album of Tool, but it’s true.  I’ve tried many times over the years to like (or even tolerate) them – thinking that if I can love APC with such a passion, that I was faking my dislike for Tool.  But, I’m not.  Don’t read: “I think Tool is a bad bad,” because that’s NOT how I feel.  They’re an incredible group of musicians who play with incredible passion – but it’s not the stuff I like to rock out to in the comfort of my own space.  My passion and love for APC had absolutely no relation to Tool.

Before blogs and Napster, new music came to South Florida via Miami radio stations.  If you liked top 40 – this was great.  If you were a little ball of rebellion with black nails, fishnet, and a passionate aversion to anything “mainstream”, you scoured the record stores for interesting looking cover art.  Mer de Noms fit this description, and $11 later I was waiting to get home and give my new treasures a shot.

I think upon first listen this was my favorite song:

But as time went on, this was my favorite:

I’m so incredibly stoked to be seeing them live TOMORROW and again on Friday.  They broke up for years, and although I was among the thousands begging for them to get back together, they finally listened 🙂

Who was your first concert?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

How I get (back) on track

I like to breathe when I work out.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Duh.”  Yeah…I know, it’s a no-brainer.  But this meant that congested-sick me was in no shape to work out.

Working out has really become a “Listen to your body” experience for me.  So many times in the past I would work out until I dropped.  I would work myself into a painful ball of lactic acid, thinking that if I could walk the next day I didn’t work hard enough the day before.  It was dumb, and more importantly, it wasn’t sustainable.  That’s not a life that you can LIVE.

To the tune of living, common sense, and listening to my body, I took a whole week off when I got sick.  In the past, this would have depressed me.  This time, I just knew that my body wasn’t ready to be pushed yet.

Unfortunately, my recovery week ran smack into vacation week.  Taking time off for being sick is reasonable.  Not working out on vacation is unreasonable.  And overeating is also unreasonable.  That said, I’m unreasonable, and totally guilty.

I didn’t work out on Vermont.  I didn’t work out when I got back to Boston and my parents were here.  I didn’t work out even though I’m in love with Bodyrock workouts, and some are as short as 4-6 minutes!  I don’t mind that while my parents were here, I enjoyed every bite of unhealthy, fatty, glutenous indulgences.  What I did realize was my inability to keep my fingers from grabbing more.

You know those old ladies at holiday parties that want you to KEEP eating their browines/chocolates/cakes/fudge/cheesecake/etc/etc/etc?  Yeah, I’m their dream come true.  I keep taking and trying all of it.  It’s a flaw.  “Hi, my name is Amanda and I’m an over-eater.”

I warned myself to stay away from the scale this week.  Although you might have read my post about disregarding the numbers, and going by the number…I still do check in on the scale to make sure I’m not getting complacent.  That, and it’s exciting to watch the number drop.  I told myself to stay away this week.  I knew I wouldn’t like what I saw.  I already could see the changes in my body (maybe I’m imagining them), but it was enough to upset me.  Well….while getting dressed today I was unhappy with the image in the mirror and wanted to see how much backtracking I did.  Big mistake.

I have an unrealistic ideal body image, admittedly, and all of my flaws are inflated when I look at myself.  (I sound like every other girl, right?  I’m here to be honest)  But I think that reaching for my ideal is what will keep me working out, going, and not getting complacent.  It works to my benefit.  Because of this, I was feeling the guilt of my eating and anger at my reflection.  This is what got me into my running shoes yesterday and on the road to the best run I’ve had in a long time.

Today, I watched Bodyrock videos.  That’s all the inspiration most people need!  Check out Zuzana:

BodyRock

And that got me off my ass to do the Medal of Honour Abs Workout.  Loved it!

Food is also really important to get back on track.  Even though I had tons of delicious leftovers from my weekend feasts, it was not the type of food to get me back on track.  So a trip to Trader Joe’s got me the essentials: black beans, mango bars, Greek yogurt, low-sodium chicken broth, oats, bananas and almond milk.  This helped me get my breakfasts back on track (breakfast is the best/biggest meal of the day!) and have some staples for the rest of the week.

Today I also went to Haymarket to get fresh produce for the week, and I feel like I’m already well on my way to being back on track.  I cooked curried carrot cold soup today, which will last me a couple days.

So there is a lot of random thoughts in this post…here is a list (for those type A people like me) of how to jump back on track

  1. Don’t get upset – it would have been very easy (and a classic Amanda move) to continue my food indulgences, and get more mad at myself with each bite.  This isn’t helpful.  You enjoyed yourself!  You deserve to enjoy your food!  Now get back on that cardio machine.
  2. Get rid of the bad food laying around – and surround yourself with your favorite treats that you won’t feel bad munching on.  For me, this included bananas to enjoy with my new peanut butter, the ingredients to make my favorite breakfast, and healthy new recipes to try.
  3. Remind yourself how you felt after eating those meals – maybe it’s just me, but sometimes after I indulge in especially unhealthy foods, I develop a rock in my stomach and slip into a food coma.  That’s not fun, and neither is guilt or ugly reflections.
  4. Find your inspiration – if you’re not working out for a reason, you’re going to fall off track easily and quickly.  If you reason is to “get skinny,” you’re going to fall off track easily and quickly.  If you want to live a longer life, if you want to be more fit, if you want to run a marathon, if you want to have more confidence in the mirror, or shop at a specific store, or always like the way your clothes look; if you want to hike more, swim more, run more, do more, walk farther, stand longer; whatever it is.  (Notice how all those things are “YOU” centered?  That’s essential.  Do it for you, because YOU want to do something, change, BE something.)
  5. Remember what you like, and don’t start with things you hate – for example, yesterday I went to a new yoga studio that I’ve been meaning to try and got their “new student” discount.  I now have a month of unlimited yoga.  Awesome?  Yes.  Inspiration to keep going?  Definitely!  Yoga was perfect to ease back in, and my $40 will keep me going back all month.
  6. Don’t forget how good it feels to sweat – I’ve never finished a workout and said “I wish I hadn’t even worked out.”  Regardless about how good my workout was, or the quality, or my fatigue, I’m always happy I worked out.  Don’t forget this.

I knew this day would come.  The day I fell so far off the horse that it would be easier to throw in the towel than to own up and get back on track.  Working out is hard.  Getting there, eating well, and maintaining requires discipline.  This isn’t easy, and I’m so sorry if I made it sound that way!

But I’m happy when I work out.  I feel GOOD when I eat well.  I LOVE liking the way my clothes look, and people telling me I look “great!”  That’s worth it.  This is a lifestyle change.  I’m eating well, becoming more fit (notice I’m not trying to get skinny, I’m getting more fit).  Diets suck.  Workout programs suck.  Lifestyle changes work.  That’s it.  I’m sorry that this plan is a lie and will never work, not even for you or Madonna:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vacation Part II

If you missed part I of my vacation, don’t worry!  You can catch up here.

After our Friday adventures was the day of the actual wedding.  The day before the wedding was grey, and the day after the wedding was rainy – but the day of, the weather could not have been more perfect!  Cloudless, sunny, and warm.

I had a blast

DSC_0292

My sister and I both took turns dancing with our Daddy

DSC_0302

Why do I look so much more serious??

DSC_0308

Congratulations to the happy couple!

(North Photography)

The next day, my sister and I did the coolest thing ever. We went ziplining through the canopy in the mountains of Smugglers Notch. The Notch was a windey, steep, narrow road that was a BLAST to drive. It’s so windey and dangerous that it’s not plowed during the winter, they close the whole road all together. While we had a blast going thorough, mom did NOT (she’s not a fan of heights). Check out our trip highlights:

We pretty much had smiles on our face the whole entire time

IMG_6535

Carrie coming in on the shortest zip, which provided the best photo-op

IMG_6536

This was a wobbly bridge we got to traverse

IMG_6541

And us at the other side

I had a smile like this plastered on my face the whole trip

IMG_6547

There were two rappels, which were definitely a tad bit scary the first time. But, of course, awesome

IMG_6552

IMG_6561

Overall, we called this trip a win

IMG_6555

When we got to Boston on Saturday night, I introduced my parents to Vegan Pizza.  It was tasty, delicious, amazingness (duh).  They liked it too!  But on Monday, the 4th, we woke up early and had a huge day ahead of us.  We woke up super early and headed down to the Esplande in Boston (after stopping for coffee and bagels at my favorite coffee shop).  I assumed it would get busy here, but I had no idea how busy….

We got there around 9am.  The lines were so long, it took my sister and I over 5 minutes to walk the whole duration of it.  We weren’t sure what was going on, as we thought the wrist-band station place opened at 8:30 – but no one was moving.

We then found out that the oval by the Band Shell (where the Boston Pops performed) didn’t get a view of the fireworks.  The line was to get into the oval and that’s what the wristbands were for.  However, the performance was amplified on speakers all the way down the river, so matter where you were you could hear The Pops.  But, as it was, only 3,000 people got into the oval (and our chances of making it in were looking grim), so we settled on a spot at the edge of the river.

I had no idea what to expect for this adventure.  But once we got there, we knew we were not going to sit all day.  Mom and I decided to run to Marshalls down the street to find a blanket to “claim” our spot.  It was a good thing we did too, that place filled up fast!

We ended up purchasing a large table cloth, anchored by water bottles, and left for the day.  We set out to walk the Freedom Trail

DSC_0426

I was the designated tour guide, so at each of the 16 spots I read a blurb about the location and it’s historical relavance

DSC_0481

I had no idea I was being photographed until I loaded these on my computer

DSC_0509

Appropriately, we made some pit stops at places along the way. Like bookstores

DSC_0437

And importantly, Mike’s Pastry

DSC_0477

This was my sister’s #1 priority while in Boston (and I don’t blame her!)

DSC_0467

DSC_0474

(sidenote: you can tell we’re related because we both have those ADORABLE forehead wrinkles…)

At the end of our tour, we had lunch at Scholar’s in Boston. No pics. But amazing food.

Back at the Esplanade, the sun was still out and it was HOT.  We made the best of it

DSC_0557

We had picturesque skyline views

DSC_0563

And waited anxiously patiently for the main event. We snuck in some Champagne to sip with our feast

IMG_6569

IMG_6574

(check out our CLASSY tablecloth…haha!)

We were among 800,000 according to later news reports. Well, we believe it. Between both sides of the river, and all the boats, there was hardly any space

IMG_6565

IMG_6566

Any grassy squares that you see in those pictures were full of more bodies by the time the fireworks started.

Overall, it was absolute madness, but so much fun! It was an iconic experience, definitely a bucket-list type of thing. Even though we didn’t get home until 1am, and had to fight to get on the T with the rest of those people, it was very memorable. An amazing vacation!!

Check out my Foodie Friday post for details about our last dinner together before my family left.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Food Food Food Food

This isn’t a food blog, but I’ve been experiencing so many tasty treats lately that I’ve been dying to share them!  I’m now dubbing a new tradition (which will occur sporadically, and unscheduled).  Welcome to Foodie Friday!

I went to the Taste of Cambridge 2 weeks ago and ate some incredibly delicious food with a couple friends.  This was such a cool experience, and got me very excited about exploring more of Cambridge.  I have made a list of restaurants to visit in Cambridge after my tastings:

Art Bar definitely wins for the best presentation.  They did a 3-course sample with Gazpacho (cold soup), beef on a toasted baguette, and a tiny chocolate or strawberry macaroon.

Henrietta’s Table was delicious – I loved their dressing best.  The greens were fresh and colorful, and the salad was topped w/ goat cheese (my fav!)

I’m pretty sure Flour is known for their other baked goods – but they sampled their gourmet Rice Krispies treats.  They had a vanilla-flavored batter to hold the krispies together.  I really want to visit to test out their red velvet cupcakes though….cause those are my weakness.

The strangest thing by far was this bacon-flavored cotton candy.  Yep, you read it right!  It tasted as bad as it sounds…

IMAG0333

Other places that sampled, and I was too busy shoving my face to snap pictures:

Grafton Street Pub & Grill – they sampled sliders that were bacon wrapped with this delicious cheese sauce condiment.

Oleana – they sampled this greek salad dish…can’t explain.  It was amazing.  I’m going back.  This was the #1 salad that I tasted that day.  But it wasn’t a greens salad….

Jose’s had the BEST chicken soup I might have ever tasted.  With their coupon, I’ll be back!  They were voted in the top 8 for Margarita’s by Phantom Gourmet – as if you needed more of a reason to visit!

Veggie Planet – I had heard about them recently from a friend, and was so excited to see that they were there with vegan baked goods!  Their vegan cheesecake was amazing.  This is on the list of places to take the boyfriend, pronto!

Other good eats included picnics with my parents.  the first was in the hotel room with fresh genoa salami from the fresh market in Stowe, VT

We also enjoyed a delicious picnic on the Charles waiting for Fourth of July fireworks.  This one was especially impressive because it was an impromptu feast.  We paired our dishes well: Pepperoni and Provolone; White Cheddar and Apples; Mozzarella and Grape Tomatoes; and Salami with Sundried Tomato Basil Cheddar.

While my parents were here, my favorite dinner by FAR was dinner on our last nigth in the South End, in Boston.  We went to a new restaurant at the suggestion of a friend of mine.  I knew my mom loved Mexican, and my dad agreed on account of the margaritas.  We had no idea what was in store for us.  It was a little intimidating when we walked in and was handed this for a menu:

Temazcal Tequila Cantina is my new favorite Boston Mexican go-to.  We spent between 30 and 45 minutes alone just perusing the menu!  It had all the details you could ever want, including beautiful mouth-watering pictures, preparation descriptions, and nutrition facts.  We shared the following appetizers

And these were our entrees

I can’t tell you which was my favorite, because it was all so amazing. Everyone loved their dish. And their cocktails were so tasty too!

(Please excuse the variation in picture quality….)

Ok, enough foodie for today!  I’m thinking of making this a bi-weekly thing.  Foodie Fridays??  Sounds good to me!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

July

Summer has officially arrived here in Massachusetts, and I couldn’t be more psyched.  Literally, the weather is like an oven when you walk outside and it’s so refreshing!  I never knew that I would welcome heat, humidity, and cloudless days with such open arms.

To be a little melodramatic, I wasn’t sure this day would come!  I remember a handful of nights last summer where I took ice cold showers, and slept with wet washcloths draped over my body and the fan on high to try and get sleep – but I was beginning to think those days were an imagination over exaggeration and that they’d never come this year.  But it’s here!  July is my new favorite month!

If you’ve been reading through June, you’ll notice I never posted an update about my month of June goals.  Originally, I anticipated doing a half-month check-in before talking about all my accomplishments on July 1.  But you can see that it didn’t happen.  I didn’t give you any updates.  For those who need refreshers…these were my June goals..and below I documented their status:

  1. Maintain weight loss averages –this was moderately successful.  I maintained and even lost 2 more lbs when working out, but the sickness really put a wrench in my flow, and the holiday didn’t help.  I think I broke even on the scale.
  2. Run 65 miles –such a terrible fail that I won’t even tell you what my mileage was.
  3. Workout Schedules –I did this for about 2 weeks, but kept changing them daily!  It was nice to have a system, but I’m so hooked on working out that I’m not one of those people who have to “Schedule it to do it,” therefore I’m always modifying my daily social schedule to fit everything in, including the daily workouts.
  4. Blog! –This also wasn’t nearly successful.  I think I averaged 1-2 a week, which is half of what I wanted.  BUT – I have lots of new posts planned so keep a lookout and you’ll see this improve in July!
  5. Bike –Nope, my bike is still unfunctional.  But I’ve picked out a helmet and a repair store, so all that’s left is GETTING THERE.
  6. Put together workout outfits the night before –With all the changing in my workouts, this also didn’t happen often.  When it did, it made my morning smoother, though!
  7. Calorie Counting –Expectantly, this slowed when I started eating more poorly, and when I got sick.
  8. Music  –Fail.  End of story.

So that was such a dramatic disappointment, I hesitate to do the same for next month.  But I’ve decided to treat this the same way as I do my workouts.  I dropped the ball – I didn’t do it right.  But why beat myself up over it?  Move on!  Do better tomorrow next month!  That’s why I have new goals for the month of July:

  1. Bike! – helmet and bike repair will occur in July, otherwise the bike season will pass me by.
  2. Running – instead of a mileage goal this month, my goal will be to do 2-3 running workouts per week, weather is HIIT Running, street running, treadmill warmups/cooldowns (at least 2 miles), track running, or any other variation
  3. Blog – I’m going to keep this goal the same, and try to aim for at least 4 posts per week
  4. Maintain Fitness Level – the scale doesn’t affect how I FEEL.  I don’t care what I weigh, but I want to maintain my progression toward a more FIT lifestyle and body.  Who cares about the scale?  Not me.  I care about the mirror.
  5. Music – New song

I have lots of new ideas lined up for the blog – so stay tuned.

If you missed it, you can now subscribe via email to my blog! Check out the bar to the left, there is a handy dandy button – enter your info and you can get an email each time I post something thrilling new.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment