Yoga on the Rocks {and a Breakthrough}

July was quite a month for me.  I was movin’ and shakin’ all month long.  Non-stop.  Every day, there was something.  Every weekend, I over programmed myself.

While it was a wonderful month, I came back from San Diego…. EXHAUSTED.

Throughout the month of July, I was a little more open to dining out… to having a cupcake… and to skipping the gym, en lieu of working at night.  Seriously, I don’t even know how I wrote content for NTTC there was so much going on.  Thanks for hanging in there with me, folks…

And, when the end of July arrived, I felt as though I had been changed…. in many ways, for the better, but in other ways, I had slipped back into an uncomfortable place.

Uncomfortable in an eerily familiar way… uncomfortable in that way where I didn’t know if I could get myself back on track.  Truthfully, I was worried.  Very worried.   Not only had my eating habits slipped significantly, but I also hadn’t been to the gym regularly since… well… Fitbloggin.

For the past month in regard to healthy living, I’ve felt like I was on the edge of an avalanche… where the ground feels unsteady, as though it’s about to crumble.

I knew I had agreed to go to Yoga on the Rocks bright and early on Saturday morning.  My friends over at Core Power Yoga offered me free tickets to attend, and I even roped my friend Erin into joining me… but, did I really want to practice yoga?  Most definitely, no.  I was out of practice and had felt lethargic for the past week.

What I wanted to do was sleep… but I’d committed to going, so I set my alarm for what I like to call “the butt-crack of dawn” on Saturday morning.  I’ll let you in on a secret amongst us friends… I am so not a morning person. Not even close…

Saturday morning came quickly, and I dressed and headed to Red Rocks Amphiteater for the event.  I’ve talked about Red Rocks here before both for a concert and for Film on the Rocks, but I realize that not everyone is familiar with my amazing state… so I’ll give you a peek at its amazingness.

Film on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

It is one of the best venues in the country for live music.  Surrounded by gorgeous red rocks, the acoustics are phenomenal… and then, there’s that view too.  I’m guessing that not every state has this little gem.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

When we arrived, Erin and I checked in… grabbed our free Core Power mats and orange sunglasses and went to find a spot to practice.  I knew I was in for a treat when I saw my favorite concert venue filled with brightly colored mats and yogis practicing their favorite headstand poses throughout the amphitheater.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

As we set up our area, I was still hesitant about how I my personal practice would go.  Knowing that I’d be practicing on unforgiving cement, I layered the giveaway mat underneath my Affirmats mat for extra support… as if those the words staring back at me weren’t enough support.  I love this mat… and I love that these words stared back at me for the next 60 minutes.  I needed them, and I repeated them throughout the class.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Can we again pause at the magnitude of this venue??

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

As the class began, Amelia Earhart kicked the event off… what an incredible and beautiful story she has.  If you’re not familiar, she recently just flew around the world!

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

She also reported that she is a huge fan of yoga… and spoke about her practice.  The instructor, Inanna Jessop, took over shortly after and we got to work.

Inanna described the purpose of the class was to “ground down in order to rise up.”  How beautiful is that?  And, truthfully, I feel like that is exactly what happened to me during the next 60 minutes.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

We warmed up, and then completed the most beautiful sun salutations and balance poses.  We spent some time working the core (they don’t call it “Core Power Yoga” for nothing!), and as we were working our way into savasana, I had that moment… the “I’m practicing my beloved yoga at freakin’ Red Rocks” moment… and it was then that I realized things had begun to shift.

When our time in savasana ended and Sam Smith stopped singing (love him!), I wanted more time.  When we sealed our practice with a collective namaste, I almost didn’t want to say that beautiful word… because it meant it was over.

Erin and I packed up our stuff to leave, and it took me forever to roll up my mats.  In that moment, I thought I was just too relaxed and not focusing… but in reality, I didn’t want to leave.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Something else happened that was incredibly significant… I realized that my body and my mind was craving yoga.  My cells hadn’t forgotten how this practice serves them.  It remembered, even when I took a month off… it remembered.  And, it responded.

I was energized, poised, and for the first time in weeks… empowered and inspired.  I knew that I COULD again… and with that, I knew that I WOULD.  

And what would I or could I do?  Ever since, I’ve felt the possibilities to be limitless.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Since then, I’ve had a laser focus on being grounded, fueling my body with healthy foods, and setting intention of what will come in upcoming days, weeks, months…

This journey that I’m on has lots of ebbs and flows.  I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t… but the recent pause scared me.  After that beautiful practice on Saturday morning, I don’t fear a thing.  I’ve got too much that I want in my life to worry about fears… and it appears that when I get lost, all I have to do is get back on my mat.

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Thank you to Core Power Yoga for providing Erin and I with complimentary passes to participate in Yoga on the Rocks.  I can’t wait to join you guys again next year!

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A Product of My Lifestyle

As usual I am amazed by how much the Fitbloggin experience means to me every year… and how darn different it is every single year.  The faces change.  New voices emerge.  New opportunities for selfies appear. :)

I feel particularly compelled to write about one of my biggest takeaways of the weekend:  A simple phrase uttered by our fearless leader, Roni Noone, who is responsible for the organization of this yearly retreat.  And, who is a stunning example of how to lose weight, keep it off, and rise above the challenges that appear along the way.

On Saturday morning, exhausted and geared up in an 80′s workout getupI stepped into a session called “Life after Goal” with very little expectation.

Realistically, I am not at goal.  I am still about 30 lbs from it, which to me is pretty significant.  So, why in the heck did I have my butt in that room?  I was there because I wanted to listen. 

Everyone wants to be at their goal weight.  Everyone wants to be safely across the finish line.  And, I too have dreamed of being one of those people.

Even moreso, I’m a girl who is amazingly happy in her skin right now.  Even with the extra pounds I carry every day.  Still happy, but I wanted to hear what the group had to say and to see what I might be missing out by not chasing after my goal right now.

Overall, I heard Kelly, Sarah, and Roni talk about how life is several years after weight loss.  I tuned into Roni’s comments most, as I’d never really heard her speak about her journey and frankly, she has such wise things to say.

My Body is a Product of My LIfestyle | No Thanks to Cake

THIS IS SO ME and resonated completely…

My ups and downs all relate back to my lifestyle.  I’m never truly SURPRISED when I gain a pound or two… I can always track it back to a specific week and what did or did not happen during that week.  And, when I’m feeling GREAT, I can also tie that right back to my lifestyle… it’s all interconnected.

And right now, my body with that regained ten pounds is reflective of my lifestyle for the past few months… and I totally own it, rock it, and I’m happier than I’ve been in a year! I’ve been getting out a little more, vacationing without a hyper-critical eye on my food intake, and I’ve been living freely.

For the past week, I’ve been at the beach.  Wearing the same bathing suit that I’ve worn for the past few years… but feeling that extra weight more than normal.  When it’s all out there and exposed, it’s hard to ignore… but I had these words in my pocket to reference.

Rather than jumping into that space where I criticize every bit of my existence, I took a deep breath and remembered.

It’s ok… my body is simply “a product of my lifestyle.” What a kind way to look at the current state!  Shifting my lifestyle will yield the results I am looking for… and I looked at these words as a gentle hug that I needed during this moment of realization/discomfort.  Now, when I start structuring my meals, making it to my mat regularly, and getting the sleep my body craves… I absolutely know that my body will shed the extra pounds.

I don’t see these words as an excuse, simply a confirmation that my mind has been elsewhere… and that a shift will once again bring change.

Take a look at your lifestyle… is your body reflective of your lifestyle?  I suspect it is…

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Overcoming the Fear of the Mirror

I absolutely love yoga… if it is a sport, it’s my sport. 

I’ve been practicing for at least two years… and I’ve had the pleasure of practicing with many beautiful beautiful people over the years.  Different flows, different posture recommendations, the ones that are super spiritual, the ones that feel more like a pilates class…. You get it.

For me, it’s that hour that I have where I can just disconnect and breathe.  Yes, we all breathe all the time.  If we couldn’t breathe, we wouldn’t be here after all… I get it.  But when you’re practicing yoga, you REALLY breathe.  It’s the most conscious, meditative, beautiful breathing I do every week.

I can’t get enough of it.

Perfect example, last week I sat in long meetings for days and when my mind wandered, it wandered to yoga.  After sitting in a chair watching presentation after presentation, I wanted nothing than to be in a beautiful supine twist, downward dog, or even savasana.

I’m hooked.  I love my practice.

When I was in Temecula two weeks ago, I went to my friend Crystal’s gym and took a vinyasa class while she killed it on the weights. The class was incredible.  Dimly lit with candles and the most perfect flow.

There was only one problem with this class… and it was that huge plane of glass in the front of the room:  The Mirror.

Overcoming the Fear of the Mirror | No Thanks to Cake

While yoga is typically my hour of peace, the mirror was right there staring back at me and giving me an opportunity to peek at how my body was behaving in most postures.  I got to check my alignment in warrior 2, which was helpful, but I also took time to judge my body which was not helpful at all.

For some reason, peeking at my thighs and checking out how my curves looked compared to the girl to the left of me was oh-so-subtly acceptable from my vantage point.  In the end, the self-criticisim was not okay, but it was what my eyes were immediately drawn to.  And like a new episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians… I just couldn’t look away, even if I wanted to.

Like a dark cloud that crept in over my practice, this reflection was completely consuming.  I escaped only during the final savasana and found myself once again before the closing “namaste.”

While class ended and the day went on, I found myself returning to this question:  Why do I do this?  Why do I pick, pick, pick at myself?

The amazing thing is that if you were practicing next to me, I would never EVER judge you in the way I judge myself.  I would be your biggest cheerleader, applauding your efforts if my eyes fell upon you.  Wondering why I wasn’t more bendy/athletic/wore a flattering shirt like you did/etc.  For years, I’ve taught myself to criticize only me.

Much like I learned to shut of my mind during yoga and to stop checking my to-do list during poses, it’s time to break the cycle of self-criticism while working out…  and, frankly, all of the self-criticism that I have going on.

Anytime in my life where I’ve adopted mantras, I’ve experienced great change.  I’ve felt better.  I’ve smiled more.  I’ve overcome.  As a result, I’ve implemented a new mantra  to use when I hear that “Judge Judy” in my head criticizing my body.

Body Love Mantra | No Thanks to Cake

I say it during yogic breathing.  I say it when I don’t like how my jeans are fitting.  I say it when that very same body is working hard on a Colorado hike.  I’ll say it when I’m the biggest girl at the pool.  Mostly, I’ll say it….

Simple words to reflect upon, simple words that could cause great change.  While I haven’t conquered it yet, I’m doing something to stop the insanity.  To stop the criticism and to appreciate all that this beautiful body does for me every single day.

I’ll repeat it today, and maybe even a few times tomorrow… whatever it takes.  I’m too proud of myself to let this bully get me down… especially when I have full control over her.

How do you combat negative self-talk?

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Ending My Gym-Cation

I’ve never been shy about telling you guys how much I don’t enjoy working out.  Heck, even Jillian Michaels mentioned that she doesn’t love killing it in the gymThanks for that reality check, Jill.

As part of this healthy living community, I know that I am definitely not the norm.  My social media feeds are peppered with folks that are leveraging those endorphins every single day.  Some of them do it for a living, some of them are conquering new and exciting physical challenges (Yes — I’m talking about you, Alan!,) and some seem to be wired to work out overcoming all odds.

Many of you are going after it every single day in the most impressive of ways.  Thank you for sharing your stories, posting your pics, and displaying your positive mantras.  I’ve wanted to be inspired by you.  I’ve wanted to use your sweatie selflies as an inspiration for me to put on my sneakers and get to the gym.

But… I didn’t, and I haven’t for a while.  While I’ve been hitting up yoga at least once or twice a week, it’s been a long time since I had that super-sweaty, adrenaline-filled night at the gym.  The hardest part… I haven’t had the desire to be there AT ALL.

If you’ve met me and or know me even a little bit, you likely know that I don’t do anything that I truly don’t want to do.  Yep, that’s me.  I’ve been stubborn about this.  I’ve justified it in my head… and I’ve taken a break.  I told myself that I would maintain my weight (and lose a little) solely through managing my food consumption.

So… How’s that Going?

I am a FIRM believer (refer back to the stubborn paragraph above, if needed) that your weight story is told in the kitchen, not in the gym.  For example:  It is VERY hard to work off an extra 500 calorie snack you indulge in every single day.  It can be done, but to me, it makes better sense to just choose the 100 calorie equivalent of said snack, and move on.

This is why I am wildly passionate about cooking, why I am a huge volumizer on the Jenny Craig program, and why I allowed myself to (pretty much) take a month off of working out…

I absolutely know that I can lose/maintain weight by just eating better.  I have for the past month with Jenny!  While the program is working for me, I need a little “wiggle room.”  And, I get wiggle room from adding in physical activity.

Truth be told, I don’t feel great.  I miss those endorphins and the sense of accomplishment associated with even walking through the door at the YMCA.  I also feel like I’m holding all my stress in as opposed to releasing it.  This isn’t good for me.  I can also feel that in my body.  Lastly, summer is JUST around the corner.  Even though we’re expecting snow this week (AGAIN!), I will be in a swimsuit soon, and I want to feel fabulous.

Right now, I don’t feel fabulous.  I truthfully feel like I’ve entered a self-approved form of laziness.  Meaning, I accept it and I don’t judge myself for it… since I wrote myself a permission slip a month ago to take a break.  However, it’s time to tear up that pretty piece of paper.

It’s time to end this gym-cation!  Does this mean that I’ll be at the gym every day?  Probably not.  Does this mean that I’m going to make an effort to add more activity every single week?  Yep.

One last confession:  The idea of doing this… it doesn’t sound exactly fun to me, but neither does saying no to a slice of cake, a piece of pizza, or a second glass of wine.  But sometimes, you just have to do it.  It’s time.

So, starting this week, I plan be there.  I’ll be on the treadmill, lifting weights, and maybe even in that new class I’ve wanted to try.  I may not be the peppiest about it, certainly not the fastest, nor the most excited about it… but I’ll be burning calories and doing something great for my body at the same time.

I’m in Phoenix for the next few days, and I have workout clothes with me… and I plan to use them.  I need this.  It’s time.  I’m choosing me.

Have you ever taken a “gym-cation”?

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