spiritual self-exploration through health, fitness, and nutrition

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A visual image for the heart and/or calm mind

A visual image for the heart and/or calm mind

I don’t usually draw but I was especially inspired last night. Plus I am behind on my journal entries! One a day from here on out, through the end of November ๐Ÿ™‚

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Detox Days 2 and 3

Day 2 was MUCH easier than the first day, mainly because I knew what to expect regarding my emotions and energy levels. I continued to keep it low key with physical activity, but increased my water intake which helped prevent headaches. I also cooked myself some delicious oven roasted chicken breast for my protein dinner (only meal of the day), which I chopped up and ate over a bed of lettuce. I rarely pray before eating, but this was definitely one of those times I spent at least a couple minutes in prayer and gratitude. Honoring one’s own body can sometimes be a difficult task, but yield excellent and rewarding results. My one annoying pimple cleared up overnight. I somehow felt more radiant. I even kept my willpower (and energy) up after being talked into going to a beautiful rooftop lounge in downtown San Diego with 3 girlfriends, stuck to soda water with lemon/lime…and had a blast ๐Ÿ™‚

The last day was easiest of the three (but by no meansย easy), and found myself needing a protein bar midway through the day while I was in teacher training workshop. The juice was hard to down hourly, mostly because the only “flavor” I could really relate with was the lime. I finished the day with some chicken and a huge smile.

This weekend’s workshop was by far one of my favorites. Friday was Meditation I, Saturday was Anatomy I and Sequencing I, and Sunday was Philosophy I and II. On Sunday, I had a personal breakthrough in meditation where I learned to really connect with my inner, true self and put all my focus on one object/feeling. During lecture, I learned a lot about the Upanishads and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which brought me much inspiration and I found myself reading a lot about non-attachment through the teachings of Pema Chodron. It’s now time for me to be thinking about the level and theme for my final class. Came up with a few initial ideas last night that I need to meditate on. Also saw this incredible TED Talk last night on body language and how it shapes who we are. It helped me realize that all this self-talk about how I’m not sure if I can be a good teacher…is just talk. I do belong in this program and I know I will succeed. Just need to “fake it til I make it” ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 2 Detox Dinner

Out with the girls Friday night
Out with the girls Friday night

 

3-Day Juice Detox/Cleanse

Today, I completed Day 1 of the Fountain of Youth-inspired 3-day juice cleanse. This was my first attempt at a detox of any type, and I couldn’t do it without the participation and support of my BFF (thanks, C!). It was a bit of a last minute decision a couple nights ago, on my own initiative, since I’ve been having some weird stomach cramps, bloating and just general fatigue. Last night, we ventured to the nearest organic farmer’s market and got all the ingredients to last us the three days. We then prepared the ingredients and juiced 64 ounces, which I consumed hourly throughout the entire day, with plenty of water in between. I won’t lie, it was one the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, both mentally and physically! The only side effect I had was a bit of a headache around mid afternoon. I treated myself with a small protein dinner of hard boiled eggs and steamed portobello mushrooms over a bed of cabbage. As bland as that may sound, I enjoyed every single bite — much like someone who hadn’t eaten in weeks. I also honored my body by avoiding any vigorous physical activity today; so instead, I’m heading to music meditation class tonight to clear my head. Then back home to prep for tomorrow’s “meals.”

One down, two to go…

Weekend 2: Standing, Restorative, Pranayama

I know I’m a bit late on this one, but better late than never..! We’ve been on a 2-weekend hiatus that I mostly spent celebrating my birthday week with my incredible boyfriend who flew all the way from MD to spend time with me on our gorgeous oceanfront hotel room in Pacific Beach. We did everything from attending a Padres game, to hiking at Torrey Pines, to visiting the San Diego Zoo…not to mention ate at some delicious, exotic restaurants! Bonus: he attending yoga classes with me every morning. I’m a lucky lady ๐Ÿ™‚

The second workshop weekend, while less physically intensive, was no less challenging than Weekend 1. We spent Saturday learning the first set of standing postures, and Sunday was restorative and Pranayama (breathing). The restorative class further affirmed my love for that style, and I am thrilled that my mentor, Jackie, specializes in restorative. Because we only had time to learn 3 restorative postures, I am inclined to get further training in this specific area after I’m done at Pilgrimage. Something for the future, perhaps? Restorative poses are a place of rest and inner calm, grounding, cooling and rejuvenation. These poses promote deep relaxation and letting go. They calm the mind/body/spirit, helping to relieve stress and fatigue. They also help relieve anxiety, depression, insomnia and headaches.ย 

On another note, who knew breathing technique would be so (for lack of a better word)ย complicated?ย Ujjayi Pranayama is the foundation of proper yogic breathing. Ujjayi helps improve life force energy. It is said that life is measured by the number of breaths we take; thus, lengthening the breath will lengthen our life span. Ujjayi improves concentration and instills a meditative quality that maintains the rhythm of our personal practice. During our teacher-led Ujjayi exercises, I felt a bit of anxiety as a result of timing my inhales and exhales, but found this anxiety to quickly dissolve when I learned that half the class was experiencing the same thing! We were advised to stay in Stage 1 and practice that for up to 3 months until we were fully comfortable to progress to Stages 2 through 4.

Outside of workshops, I found myself embarking on a 14-day challenge (which Iย thinkย I completed..? more on this later) and I FINALLY attended “yoga church” this past Sunday with Jen P. What an experience yoga church was! I was surrounded by some seasoned professionals, and while I found this to be inspiring, it was one of the most challenging classes I’ve ever taken. Even moreso than Bikram. I could try and explain what was involved–from drumming to chanting to writing our intentions down to add to an ‘altar’–but I could not do justice for what the actual experience was like. You just have to try it at least once ๐Ÿ™‚

Headed to a meditation class in an hour, need it more than ever! Namaste โค

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Sports Injuries: What a Pain!

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I’ve been a little frustrated recently with the increased incidents of sports-related injuries I’ve been having. Last fall while volunteering for the Run for your Lives zombie run, all dressed up as a zombie prom queen chasing after helpless victims, I slipped on a rock and sprained my left ankle… badly. It swelled up to about the size of a baseball, and took months for me to recover. I’m pretty sure that injury was due to not having enough activity leading up to the event, thus leaving my ankles vulnerable to damage.

Last night, after a 5-day streak of running, tennis, boxing, etc… I showed up to kickboxing class at LA Boxing Rockville feeling great and ready to take on the challenge. Halfway through class, I was stepping back in the midst of a punch/block/kick combo and landed straight on my RIGHT ankle. It happened so fast and I caught it quickly, but had to take a timeout to massage it and do my “sssssssss…. ahhhhhhhhhh…” moment. But I shortly thereafter continued with the class being a little easy on that ankle. I even went for a sprint with my parents’ dog later that night to help him get some energy out. Probably a bad idea, because I was in a LOT of pain this morning, even after RICE-ing my injury late last night.

So…what’s the midway point here? I do too little exercise, I get injured. I do regular exercise, I get injured. I NEED to have physical activity at least 3-5 times a week to stay mentally sane and physically strong/attractive. With my work and social schedules, I’ve been having a hard time spacing out my workouts and find myself exercising for days on end only to burn out and rest for days on end. Maybe I’m just getting old.

Any suggestions here? What’s your experience been like re: injuries in sports?

I know that consistency is KEY… but what gives?

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Ramadan Inn

My dear brother Sepehr is taking a 30-day journey through his very first serious spiritual Ramadan fast. Follow his journey here!

Day 21: Hawt

The mind has interesting ways of tricking you. I thought maybe I’ve been through the hottest of the hot. But with each day, I’m proven wrong! I got out of work early and attended Carrie’s 4pm class. Not nearly as packed as yesterday’s 6pm, so I had room to stretch out.

Two poses I’m starting to feel a real breakthrough in are: (1) standing head to knee and (2) forward stretch. It’s to a point where I’m feeling an improvement with each class. It’s truly incredible. The heat helped me push a little deeper into all of my poses, and by the end, I was feeling so energized I was actually considering doing the 6pm right after.

But… I had veggie lasagna on my mind and had to go home and cook instead. Used this recipe but substituted the spinach for mushrooms & green beans. It smells delicious, almost done baking ๐Ÿ™‚

I leave you with a quote I came across last night that really stuck with me…

โ€Ž”The question is not how to change ugliness into beauty,
pain into pleasure, or misery into happiness.
The question is how to change the unconscious into conscious,
how to infuse awareness into ourselves and embrace reality as it is.”
~Paramahamsa Nithyananda

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