spiritual self-exploration through health, fitness, and nutrition

Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Attitude in My Practice and Daily Life


I have been wanting to write on this topic for a few days now, but I couldn’t find the inspiration. Rule of thumb: want to be inspired? Go to a hot flow class. In San Diego. At Pilgrimage of the Heart. With Rachel Lubich ūüôā

Rachel shared with us a story from her training immersion, and how the entire group was asked to give up one thing from midway through their training until completion. She chose “letting go of negative thoughts.” Then she welcomed us to set our intention to approaching our practice with a sense of curiosity and adventure, while leaving behind any negative thoughts.

This instantly put a smile on my face because I related to it instantly. Coming out to San Diego for teacher training was not just some spontaneous idea that I came up with one day. It was a process of wanting to go deeper within myself to explore or learn a part of myself that I didn’t know about before. I ventured to find what was within, and discovered way more than I expected–the kindness of complete strangers, and my own empathy and sensitivity to the suffering in others. I began to see more of the positive…in everything. Even through my darker hours and tears, I emerged more vibrant than a lotus flower at dawn.

My attitude has shifted drastically within a matter of six months. I’ve learned to accept selfless love and let go of selfish love. I’ve chosen to see the positive in all things and detoxify the negative. I attribute most (if not all) of this attitude shift to my increased frequency of practicing yoga and meditation, as well as the encouragement/support from my friends and family. I’m less critical of myself on and off the mat, and find myself finding inspiration all around me.

That said, I still have my “bad” days (we all do), but along with my improved attitude…I can view those days from a different perspective and not let them knock me over!

And for all of this…I am grateful ūüôā

The Beginning of an Era

This past year has been filled with many ups and downs. With the inevitable downs, I’ve consistently stepped out of my body to evaluate myself and what I want. Since 2005, the answers to my own questions have been the same — I want to travel and explore new places, perhaps living in a new area at some point and inviting new experiences. So with the many signs pointing to moving out of my comfort zone (including numerous failed short-term relationships and getting laid off at my job), I took the leap last week and crossed across the country to do my passion: YOGA.

Yoga has been a spiritually healing tool for me for the past 6 years, originally with the purpose of coping with a bout of depression and severe anxiety. With yoga, I found peace by letting go of the past, and I learned to love myself more and more each day. Many years of experimenting with various styles brought me back to the core practice of Hatha and flow yoga.

I found the most amazing studio and teacher training program, Pilgrimage of the Heart, located in the North Park and Normal Heights areas of sunny San Diego, California. From the moment I stepped foot in the studio, I immediately knew this was where I needed to be. After some meditation, I followed my heart and put down the deposit for Fall 2013 Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) led by the beautiful Nikole. One week later, I found myself sitting in a room surrounded by 3 teachers, 2 admins and 16 other students chanting the cosmic sound “Ohm”.

But this wasn’t just any “Ohm”. With the direction of the studio’s founder, we were all gazing with half open eyelids into the center of the room and I witnessed the circle of beautiful souls around me undulating…almost vibrating…to the voices and radiant energy around me. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life and so many emotions came up as a result: excitement, nervousness, hesitation, fear, ambition, calmness. The next day consisted of a 6-hour workshop where we broke down in meticulous detail the first half of Sun Salutation. Although the volume of information was overwhelming at first, I was constantly brought back to feelings of awe for the positive, supportive, non-judgmental energy around me. In fact, I kept stopping to reflect and count my blessings for this incredible opportunity!

So with the intro class and first full workshop day complete, I continue to bring myself back to my intention (which may or may not change while I embark on this  transformative journey):

Let go of the past, and make way for new and positive experiences.

Namaste ‚̧

Gaining Perspective

This has been a very interesting week. On Monday, I celebrated one year of maintaining my pescetarian diet! This was a huge milestone for me considering I’ve been a carnivore most of my life¬† (although I did go 6 years without red meat). I feel healthier, weigh less, and am at more peace with myself knowing that I’m doing my part in helping the environment and animal welfare.¬†It was much easier than I thought it would be. I guess the only annoying part was having to explain to people what it meant to be a pescetarian. I usually kept my answers short and to the point, and moved on. I plan on continuing the diet going forward, perhaps with a little more leniancy.

Speaking of moving on, Monday was also a day I faced some serious personal issues¬†when a¬†HUGE road block came my way. I found myself reacting and defending myself at first, but slowly accepted that the road block was there and there was nothing I could do to change that. Tuesday, I evaluated the block and how I could get around it. By Wednesday,¬†I retracted and found myself reacting¬†again, so I went straight¬†back to being present, loving myself, and accepting the situation on the best note I could leave it on.¬†By Thursday –¬†and after much reading of inspirational quotes¬†and watching hilarious YouTube videos & late night TV(laughter really IS the best medicine!)¬†–¬†I was already seeing so much progress. This goes to show that PERSPECTIVE, OPTIMISM, and ACCEPTANCE¬†can be such powerful tools. I’ve been blessed to have a solid head on my shoulders and while my emotions may get the best of me sometimes, my resilience always come through at the end of the day.¬† Yoga, great friends, a sense of humor, and¬†my loving family helped me along the way, in their own individual ways. Today, I open myself up to new experiences and thank God for blessing me with another day to live.

How do you cope with the major road blocks in your life?

Bottomless Tummy

Week 4 of P90x is almost complete, and I have to be honest – I’m surprised. I thought this “recovery week” would be easy. Instead, I’m finding that I crash hard once a week (falling asleep as soon as I get home from work & sleeping through the whole night) AND… my appetite is endless.

I literally will eat anything in sight. All. The. Time.

Well… except for sweets. And this is coming from someone with a significant sweet tooth! I’ve cut sweets out for the most part except for Fridays, which is when I give myself a free pass.

My roommate’s boyfriend, a personal trainer and body builder,¬†suggested upping my calorie intake.¬†I’ve slowly begun to do this but have been careful because I don’t want to revert all the progress I’ve already made (lost 5 lbs, toned up like crazy).

Being conscious of all this, I’ve been getting better about keeping healthy options around me so I’m not gorging on nasty junk. It’s hard though, since my 1-year anniversary¬†of pescetarianism is coming up on August 8th —¬†sometimes I still feel like my food options are still limited and I find myself sneaking a fatty egg sandwich on starchy white bread at 7-11 on the way home after a late night. However, this all goes back to my lack of motivation to COOK! All it takes is a little extra planning at the beginning of the week. More thoughts on this to follow.

For now, think healthy snacks.

Next step, meals on the go…

Adventure Runs and P90X

Adventure Mud Run

Adventure Runs are Gaining a Lot of Popularity in 2011!

Seems like a big fad for 2011 are these “adventure runs” which is basically like a running race with a twist. I completed the Warrior Dash a couple months ago; a 5k run including about a dozen obstacles, half of which involves gooey, sticky, smelly MUD. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in my life! Despite a sprained foot.

Last weekend, I tried Metro Dash¬†which I honestly have to say was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life (apart from running 2 full marathons). It came down to me just not being prepared enough…but I’m also convinced that I wouldn’t have been able to finish it without my lovely team “Dash Divas” –¬†3 of my best, most athletic girlfriends! Although we started at a later wave time (5:30-6pm), the heat + 30 intense obstacles + hot parkign lot pavement really took a toll on my body and I experienced my first exercised-induced asthma episode. Literally could not breathe after I finished and had to take a seat and regain my composure. Nevertheless, I was happy to finish it and swore to myself I wouldn’t try anything like THAT again! (Note: mud runs are an exception. ūüėČ )

My jiu jitsu expert / hairdresser / great friend Chanel proposed that we try P90x together a couple weeks ago, and I hesitantly agreed. So she’s been coming over to my house every day at 7am so we can do the videos. The first few days were hard since I wasn’t in tip top shape… but I’m starting to really see results! Already shaved off an easy 4¬†lbs.¬†She took some before pictures, which I’ll post along with my 30-day pictures in a few weeks. I already have a love/hate relationship with Tony ūüôā My goal is to look toned and feel amazing by the time I go to Dominican Republic for my 30th birthday in September.

In addition to all of this, finally found my motivation to get back to Bikram Yoga after a couple month hiatus. So, replacing the P90x yoga video with 90 minutes in the hot room, plus a few more times in the evenings the rest of the week.

Will give an update very, very soon!

Vegan Planet Irony

I think MyVeganPlanet.com should reconsider having Google place ads onto their website.

Especially ones that you can’t “x” out. It doesn’t bother me (I found it more humorous than anything else) but I can see how it would affect sensitive vegans. I’d be surprised if they haven’t already¬†received complaints about it. Hmmm….

vegan planet irony


Six Weeks In!

Today marks my 6th week of no land meat. I am actually surprised I’ve been able to make it this far, and even more surprised that it gets easier by the day. I’ve been discovering new food options more often (hopefully I’ll get some time to share some amazing recipes on here, time willing) and trying new things as well.

I did run into a bit of a speed bump last Thursday, though. While visiting my dear friend Caroline in the brand new and gorgeous Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor, we stopped in the seafood restaurant (keeping the name anonymous) to grab dinner. I ordered the mussels, ignoring the descriptive line beneath it. After going through about 1 of the 2 dozen¬†mussels, I noticed round pieces of food mixed in with the broth. At first glance, I thought they were carrots. But then after asking the waitress… she told me they were “chorizos” – which in spanish means… *cringe*… SAUSAGES!? I silently panicked as she walked away, then when she was out of sight, I pushed the hot pot away from me.

When she returned, I calmly told her that I don’t eat pork, and she started to apologize profusely. She took away the pot, and of course took the charge off the bill (without my asking)… which helped with my anger a bit.

This incident reminded me that, no matter how modest I tend to get, to ALWAYS ask if there’s any other type of meat in the dish being served! It will save the guilt and regret afterwards.

But, alas… I’m not upset about it anymore. Besides, I need to constantly remind myself¬†this is a learning experience for me and that mistakes will be made!

Which leads me to a question for you pescatarians/veg*ns out there – have you ever encountered a situation where you accidentally ate meat (or other food items) forbidden from your diet? I imagine this is much harder for vegans to deal with, especially starting out. Share your story…!

18 Days and Going Strong

Today is Day 18 of my new pescatarian diet and so far, it’s going very well. I managed to travel 12 days in London without touching any chicken, turkey, cow, pig, or other land meat. It hasn’t been hard to avoid it.. in fact, I’ve been discovering new and DELICIOUS vegetarian dishes… eggplant parmigiano and even a vegetarian Iranian dish (ghormeh sabzi w/out the meat). The wide array of delicious vegetarian foods are always within reach for me, so that’s been the easy part.¬†I have had absolutely no desire to eat non-veggie or fish products ūüôā

Socially, I haven’t yet run across any problems. I have gotten a couple weird looks when people ask ‘why’ and I respond ‘for personal reasons.’ I find this response easier than having to go through the whole descriptive and borderline activist speech. If people can’t respect the fact that this is somewhat of a private matter to me (I say ‘somewhat’ only because I’m blogging about it!) then they can go to you-know-what ūüôā

New Theme, New Year

Welcome to my FROG – Fitness and Running Log…blog… or something like that ūüėČ

After much thought, I decided that it’s time to focus my writing on something that I’m a little more interested in. Hopefully it will motivate me to do MORE.

On that note, I’m excited to share that after entering a lottery, I’ve been selected to run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler on April 11, 2010. This will be my first year running in this race. I’m accustomed to training for marathons during the summer; let’s see what winter training’s all about…

Beauty and Health: Setting Limits


…for all the progress women have made over the years, there is still a deep divide.

This is a quote from my classmate’s thoughtful blog post, The Cult of Beauty. She was reacting to this Newsweek article which I found to be rather fascinating, and referred to some shocking statistics on how much money women spend on beauty throughout their lifetime.

In addition to the posted Newsweek article, I was quite intrigued by the comments left by readers. The seems to be an even deeper divide between inner and outer beauty, as well as peoples’ opinions on them. I have to agree that it’s sad that girls are beginning to obsess over makeup at younger and younger ages. I remember not even thinking twice about makeup until I reached the 6th grade when I saw a classmate applying mascara in the girl’s locker room. That was the point of no return; I was intrigued! But I remember how upset my parents would get if they ever saw me wearing lipstick; wow, they really flipped out when they saw my first attempt at trying to pluck my own eyebrows!

Let me first say, that I truly believe that there is a direct link between beauty, health, and confidence; the results of a healthy lifestyle is portrayed through an individual in the form of beauty and happiness. Beauty is not everything.

While the definition of feminine beauty varies from culture to culture and generation to generation, the core concept is the same: to feel good about yourself. However, if a woman is able to be confidence without any regard to her looks, more power to her! In a way, when a woman is feeling confident and beautiful on the inside, it can really show on the outside. This holds true for me some days, but other days – I feel more confident when my exterior is presentable (especially after getting a fresh haircut or buying a new cosmetic product) and I’m taking good care of myself (exercise & diet). Makeover shows such as 10 Years Younger, What Not to Wear, and even The Biggest Loser are perfect examples of how beauty and health affects your mood and character; I do admit though, some of the examples on those shows are over the top and it makes me wonder if any of the characters really keep up with the new lifestyle long after the show is over.

Some of this may sound superficial, but one thing holds true. We should not let beauty become an obsession for tweens and other youngsters; once it does, their morals become clouded and their innocence is lost way too early.

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