Monday Motivation

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It’s amazing how your body knows exactly what it needs sometimes. I woke up with a hankering for a good yoga class and had an awesome hour of asanas, stretching, meditation, and stillness.

In yoga, we are challenged to set an intention or dedication for the duration of the class. What do I wish to accomplish or what do I intend to do for the 60 minutes? If there are no intentions, we are to be ok with the circumstances.

Imagine what your life and body would look like if you decided to set an intention each day. It would bring new meaning and purpose, and even change your behavior.

Set an intention or dedication for your day, and life, today because a life without purpose is futile. Give it life!

Bachelorette Blowouts: How Not to Blowout Your Healthy Lifestyle for a Good Time

My good friend and contributing writer Emily (mcemilywrites) is getting married in May. Our mutual friend Kara and I offered to throw a bachelorette party/weekend in NYC as it is the city where we all met and became friends. We also hadn’t seen Emily in over a year. While bachelorette parties are loads of crazy fun, it can also be a death trap when you’re trying to lose a few pounds. It would’ve been one thing to have one night out, but we had a weekend planned. It’s only two days  but a weekend filled with dinners out, bar hopping, shots, penis cakes, etc. can take its toll. Here are a few tricks I learned while celebrating Emily’s upcoming nuptials:

1. Take Control of the Situation.

As soon as I realized that there could be bar hopping and crazy drinking involved, I immediately decided to take charge of planning the bachelorette weekend. I was determined to make it “healthy.” When you plan/host a party, you get to decide what everyone does and what they eat.

2. Have a Plan.

I am the master of itineraries. Part of it has to do with what I do for a living– making sure an artist gets from Point A to Point B with the fewest possibilities of things going wrong. I typed out an itinerary for the weekend festivities: when people were arriving, what time we were eating, what we were eating, where we were going, etc. While you don’t have to be as OCD as I was, it doesn’t hurt to plan out meals ahead of time. We made most meals at my apartment and saved the night out as our big cheat meal.

3. Allow yourself the cheat meal.

Soup dumplings from Joe’s Shanghai were the only request Emily made for the entire weekend. It just tells you how easy going and laid back she is- Joel is a lucky man to be marrying her! Joe’s Shanghai is famous Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s bustling Chinatown. Knowing ahead of time that we were going to Joe’s Shanghai helped me focus on eating clean earlier in the week. I had been saving for my big cheat meal (and upcoming drinks) by sticking with my lean meats and veggies. Saving for the big meal helped me enjoy the meal and move on with no regrets.

**The famous Joe’s Shanghai pork soup dumplings.

 

4. You don’t have to drink.

Contrary to popular belief about bachelorette parties, you don’t have to drink (a lot) to have a good time. I had two drinks the entire night and the rest was enjoyed chatting with my friends and meeting new people in the bar. We came prepared with a game that dared us to ask various guys to dance with us. Not only did that burn calories, but it made us laugh the entire time. Laughing has been reported to lower stress levels, suppress appetite, and boost immune function. Check out this CNN article.

5. Plan group workouts.

We planned a yoga class for Sunday morning and a pole dancing class for Sunday afternoon (it’s supposed to be a great workout). While neither of these worked out for us (we overslept and the pole dancing class was full),  it got us out of the house and forced us to walk around the beautiful city. We serendipitously found the Museum of Sex instead. While it didn’t get our heart rates up the same way an exercise class would have, it did make our heart race ;)

**kara, mcemilywrites, gracekelle

 

Photo Credit: gracekelle

Class Review: XSport® Vinyasa Flow/Hatha Yoga


XSport® Vinyasa Flow/Hatha Yoga

Class description: An innovative class which focuses on the instruction and the attention of poses (asanas) and breathing (pryanayama) techniques. Both Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga will explore the disciplines of traditional Yoga. @ XSport Fitness

I’ve done yoga before. And by “done yoga,” I mean at different points in my life I’ve rolled around in the floor in acting classes, strung together a series of yoga workouts from one of those 10 Minute Solution DVDs and actually taken a weekly Yoga Basics class from a heavily tattooed, extremely flexible instructor while a member at Crunch Fitness in New York City… briefly… about five years ago. (I fell asleep during the cooldown at the end of every class at Crunch. I kid you not.)

I’ve done enough yoga to know yoga can run the gamut from “conscious breathing” to standing on your head for six hours.

XSport® Vinyasa Flow/Hatha Yoga is at the conscious breathing end of the yoga gamut. In fact, we did a lot of conscious breathing and natural, un-choreographed movement while Arnold, the instructor, said things I couldn’t hear from the back of the studio. I caught something about the third eye, something about getting sensual with myself because Valentine’s Day is next week.

This isn’t the class for you if you’re looking to work up a sweat. The closest I came was flip-flopping — or, less accurately, “flowing” — between side plank pose, balanced on my right arm, and side plank pose, balanced on my left.

So I was shocked, incredulous even, how sore my shoulders and back were the next day. It was surprisingly good strength training.

And it reminded me why I’ve always liked yoga, in whatever form I’ve done it — and why I used to fall asleep at the end of every class at Crunch. When else do you get a chance to stop and take a breath during the day? When else do you stop and think about each muscle in your body, how it moves and how you use it?  I could hear things inside my body cracking and snapping back into place as I twisted into the various poses. Yoga always has done that for me, made me think about how fearfully and wonderfully my body is made. And classes like XSport® Vinyasa Flow/Hatha Yoga always have allowed me to carve that space out of my day, just for me, to do just that.

Note: My favorite new pose was eagle pose, which Arnold called “giving yourself a hug,” and I thought looked like those images of Shiva dancing. Hence, the picture.

Photo credit: Google Images