Ups & Downs

Some days are good, and some days are bad. It has been a week of ups and downs.

I tried to go for a run about a week ago, and my foot pain returned. At this point, I have no idea what’s going on with this foot – it doesn’t hurt when I run, and seems the worst first thing in the morning. I backed off of run/walking again and think I’m going to have to finally have this checked out (instead of ignoring it and pretending it wasn’t an issue). Bummer.

In addition to the weird foot, I definitely injured a tendon in my elbow at a yoga class last week. It doesn’t seem to be anything major, but it does hold me back a little bit in some classes. I’m trying to keep up with my cardio classes and avoid anything that’s too intense on my elbow for now.

BUT…despite these setbacks, I had a major week of breakthroughs, too. First, I sat front and center at my absolute favorite rowing class at Brooklyn Crew. I have been feeling really strong in these classes (45 minutes of rowing on a Concept2 dynamic rower), and even got some props from the instructor after class on Saturday about my performance in class. The dynamic is a lot different than a Model C or D, and really works the core muscles – a weak area for me. The feedback from the instructor has really boosted my confidence and helps me know that I’m making progress.

My other big milestone was taking – and surviving – a spin class last weekend! I had only tried spinning once before, and was completely WRECKED afterward. No joke, I had to work from home the Monday after I took the class because I literally couldn’t walk, and I was in pretty extreme pain for over a week. I finally got up the courage to try another class and I LOVED IT. And, the day after I’m a little sore, but totally functional. Woohoo! Not only did I feel great during and after the workout, I absolutely adored the studio, The Monster Cycle + Studio and instructor. It was so great that my husband and I both bought shirts from the studio on our very first visit and already signed up for more classes. One of the great draws of this studio is the two giant screens playing the music videos of the great playlist songs. It’s really awesome to have something to look at while pedaling to the beat. And the instructor was just the right ratio of encouraging, fun and silly. Another great perk was being able to order a smoothie before class, and have it ready and waiting as soon as class was over! I absolutely cannot wait to go back next weekend!

To balance out all of this high intensity workouts, I make sure I’m getting 1-2 restorative yoga classes in per week. My restorative teacher often talks about chakras during class, and I’ve recently discovered malas. I think these meditation tools are really awesome, and I started making some malas that correspond to chakra colors! My first two handmade malas are below! It was so fun to make these, and they turned out so well I decided to put them up in my Etsy store (click on the photos to visit the Etsy listing!). I can’t wait to make more. My plan is to have one mala for each major chakra color, to wear or meditate with on days when I’m feeling like the skill or organs connected to that chakra are in need of a little help!

Green Heart Chakra Mala

Green Heart Chakra Mala

Blue Throat Chakra Mala

Blue Throat Chakra Mala

Have you ever used a mala? If so, I’d love to hear more about your experience and how you’ve used it!

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SICK

It’s been quite a busy few weeks, with some family visiting and me getting sick. Now feeling a bit on the mend, I decided to FINALLY put my Classpass to use, and attended a restorative yoga class at Ishta Yoga‘s downtown location. Holy cow, was that a treat! I took a 60 minute restorative class with Gina. I arrived a bit early so that I could grab a spot and get acquainted with the space. Folks were already in the first pose, and Gina was helping people get into the pose as they entered. I think this allowed me to get a good 75-80 minutes of practice instead of just 60. Not too shabby. We ended up going through about 5 poses through the hour, all lying down or seated. I found Gina to be just the right amount of helpful. She would bring you an appropriate bolster/block or make an adjustment if needed, but did this so quickly and quietly that it did not interfere with the meditative focus of the practice. She also gave great verbal instructions so that I didn’t need to look at her to understand the next pose. This was important so that I didn’t have to open my eyes, sit up and turn around – again something that would disrupt the focus of the practice.

This was my first experience in a restorative class (my yoga experience has been more on the vinyasa end of the spectrum), and it was AWESOME. I have become more and more interested in stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation, and I think this is a great addition to any stress management program. I think a restorative practice could also be great for recovery. Gina mentioned that when we have a joint that isn’t feeling great we want to work it and stretch it, but in reality we should be resting the joint – something that can be achieved through restorative yoga.

I was also really impressed with Ishta Yoga. The facility was clean, the people friendly, the instructor knowledgeable (even giving variations for a variety of possible injuries or tight spots the people attending the class might have) and the receptionist was SUPER nice.

Later this week I’ll be hopping back on the cardio horse/bike when I try underwater spinning. I cannot wait for this class and look forward to sharing the experience with you!

In other news, I have new peacock hair!

peacock_hair