Sick Days Stealing My Thunder

Where have I been?  Sick.  Sicker than a dog.  Have you ever had one of those mutant colds that just won’t go away?  Well, I have and the time is now.  I can usually kick a cold within 3-5 days, but this thing knocked me on my butt and is still the gift that keeps on giving.

Sadly, I couldn’t do yoga for several days due to being sick which kind of threw me off of my game.  I was really enjoying it, but now I feel like I have created an excuse to quit, so I forced myself back on the mat yesterday.  Must…refocus.

I find solace in the fact that I continued meditating when I fell off of the yoga wagon.  I haven’t let zen escape me just yet!   For the first several weeks, I felt like it hadn’t been doing much, but I do find that it is helping create a calmer me in the past week and a half, especially at rush hour.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t helped with my insomnia, but little does.  Also, I’m not the most patient person, so I am sure I will see the fruits of my labor the longer I continue.

So I am glad to be back and being held accountable for my goals.  Here’s to no more sick days for a while!

 

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Meditation: Some Were Not Made For Stillness…Yet!

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A Photo of a Calming Duck

 

If you have read my blog, you know that I am on a yoga kick this year.  It will happen, but as of this time, I have not missed a day since the beginning of this year, even if it is only 10-15 minutes, I am getting it done.  Though yoga has been a wonderful addition to my day, I have decided to add a little meditation to my rotation.  Why?  Because I live in NYC and need all of the calming I can get—especially riding the subway.

But in all seriousness, the daily commute can be stressful at times.  Sadly, many people do not know how to behave making the ride very uncomfortable.  Also, I am a Type A person and am in desperate need of some calming sessions as I can easily get stressed if I am not careful.  Not good for the psyche. 

So far, I have done pretty well and have been on a two week roll.  I’m pretty proud of myself actually, as sticking by things can be a challenge for me sometimes–especially when it comes to stillness.  I have trained myself to believe that being still and peaceful is a waste of time.  I am the queen of multi-tasking, and being asked to sit quietly and focus on my breath is asking a lot.

The issues I have had so far are not letting my mind wander.  I can’t help it, I have too many thoughts going on in my head at one given time.  I will think I am doing a great job and then I will realize I am thinking of pizza or taking out the garbage.

Another problem I am having is that it puts me to sleep.  I have insomnia so I appreciate it, but it doesn’t help me in the middle of the day.  Yet, at night, it doesn’t work.  Very odd.

So far, I am not sure if I have felt too many positives as of yet.  It does relax me for sure, but I still haven’t felt any major changes.  I think it will take at least 4-6 weeks to really feel anything slightly significant, but patience was never my strong suit.  I think I need to start keeping a journal of thoughts and activities, but again, I am bad at keeping routines as my free spirit doesn’t like to be limited. 

Still, I think this is a worthwhile venture so I will continue on in my journey to a better me!  And of course, I will keep people posted.  This way, I will be held accountable for my progress!

31 Days of Yoga Challenge Finished!

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My Cat and I Getting Our Yoga On!

 

I have made it through 31 days of yoga and beyond!  Though I definitely feel the benefits, it hasn’t always been easy.  There have been days where I didn’t want to hit the mat and days that I wanted to quit early, but I didn’t.   I stuck by the program I picked and I couldn’t be happier.

I have done yoga before, but took time off from a regular practice so this was just what I needed to get back on track.  This year, I am in the mindset that you only have today, so quit putting this off and get it done.  Regret doesn’t look good on anyone.

Some of the benefits I have noticed:

  • Less anxiety.
  • Better sleep patterns ( I have insomnia).
  • Better breathing.
  • More toned through out my body.
  • More acceptance of myself and others.
  • Better digestion.  Way less bloating which is a huge plus!
  • Fewer “blue” moments.
  • More flexibility.   My flexibility has always been questionable which got in the way of dance in the past.  It has been theorized that I gained muscle too quickly as a child and never gained the flexibility because of this.  What can I say?  I was a hyper child!

It’s amazing what a little yoga practice can do even in the span of only one month.  The benefits are so amazing.  I have been here before, but sticking with things long term have always been a struggle for me, which brings me to my cons:

  • Doing yoga daily is no easy feat for someone like myself.   I really am not great at sticking with things which in many ways can be a downfall as you can imagine.  This was a real struggle at times.  Especially when going out on the weeknights.  There were times that I came home to honor the practice, but it was not the best circumstances.  I like to get my drink on here and there.
  • Also, some days you just aren’t feeling it making the practice counterproductive.  This happened a few times.  I would come home tired from the day only to find that I had one more thing I needed to do, making it a chore.  Once I started it, I felt better, but somedays the best therapy is not to do yoga.
  • Pushing things too far.  I am in decent shape, but sometimes, I tend to move quickly into poses as I am a very competitive person, even with myself!  Also, some of my postures were off, especially in my neck causing some strain.  Even though I know I needed to take it easy, I would push it again the next day instead of working on my problems spots or resting my neck.  I am a go getter for sure, but not always in the best way possible!

So where does a girl go from here?  Onto the next month!  I would like to continue my streak though February, but I may ease up a little if needed.  A break here and there would be beneficial and I shouldn’t look at it as a failure if I decide to let a day go.  It’s better than making something I want to succeed at become a burden, but with that being said, I have to make sure I don’t get too conformable and let it go completely.

*In case you were wondering what program I used, it was one that I have watched periodically on YouTube.  The course is called Yoga with Adrienne.   Adrienne, is the type of person I could see myself hanging out with over a few beers on the weekend.  She is very chill, very likeable and very down to earth.

What I like about her yoga sessions are that they are set for all levels.  She really focuses a lot on the self and how you can improve as a whole being—mentally as well as physically.  Because of this, her videos tend to go at a slower pace than some of the others.  Also, she is really great at explaining the best ways for people at various levels to hit postures.   Very positive experience.

For me, I do feel as if her lessons can be a little slow and less challenging for me, but that is my preference and skill level.  Also, there are a lot of postures that occur on the knees, so if you have bad knees, be prepared with extra padding.  I personally am not a fan of these poses as much as others, but again these are personal preferences.  That being said, I would continue with her any day of the week.  She really is an enjoyable presence.

So, here’s to another 28 days!

Things to Be Grateful For: Week 3

Sunday, January 15th:  Good friends who look out for you.

Monday, January 16th:  Having an easy day at work.  For once!

Tuesday, January 17th:  Finally coming around to watching a TV show that you have been ignoring only to find that it really is as good as they say.

Wednesday, January 18th:  The warmth of a kitten when you are feeling down.

Thursday, January 19th:  The train not being delayed for once.

Friday, January 20th:  A friend being flexible for what’s best for you even if it isn’t the most convenient for them.

Saturday, January 21th:  People coming together for a good cause.

Things to Be Grateful For: Week 2

Below I have listed the one thing I am grateful for each day of this week.  It’s easy to get bogged down with negativity, but there is always light.  We make choices to see the good, or we don’t.  I am choosing to see the good as much as possible this year.

Sunday, January 8th:  Sleeping in after a long week!

Monday, January 9th:  Packages waiting for you at the beginning of the day.

Tuesday, January 10th:  Thanks to the gentleman who gave me his seat when I let everyone off of the train before getting onto the train at rush hour.  Everyone got a seat but me and even though I argued, he gave it to me for being so polite.

Wednesday, January 11th:  New coffee flavors.  Variety is the spice of life.

Thursday, January 12th:  Getting together with a wonderful group of trusted friends after a long work week.

Friday, January 13th:  Working with a wonderful supervisor after dealing with such poor leaders in the past.

Saturday, January 14th:  Gentle snow days that don’t make a mess or slow down transportation.

Learning Languages

High on my list of New Year goals is learning more about languages. This is very important to me as I travel a lot and I also enjoy other cultures very much. Languages have never come easy to me, but I think most people feel that way. What I have learned is that you really need to focus on languages daily to grasp them, and I have been doing just that.

At this time, I am studying Spanish, French, Korean and dabbling in Italian and Russian. I do not plan on focusing on the latter as much as the first three.

Spanish: I have not missed Spanish once since the New Year. I feel this is the most useful language if you live in the US as it is widely spoken here. Also, I have a personal connection to the language and being fluent would mean a lot to me.

I find Spanish to be the easiest of the grouping, but that being said, sometimes it’s a challenge. I read and understand the language well, but the grammar has been a struggle. Also, when I try to speak it, I have a very hard time and feel self-conscious.

So, to help with this, I have started from the beginning of the Duolingo Spanish tree and am focusing on the language grammatically ground up. I have been focusing on every word and structure to make sure I understand them well. I tend to rush through things retaining little, so this will be a challenge. Once done, I will need something more intermediate.

French: French is tough. Yes it is a Romance language, but it is so much more structured than Spanish. Also, the pronunciation is much more difficult than Spanish to me. I was raised around Spanish speakers, so it is in my ears and rolls of my tongue. French, not so much. I have started all over with the tree on Duolingo along with working with skills on Memrise. Tough stuff!

Korean: How I love this language, but this is so different from anything I have studied before. I have made sure I have Hangul down pat and have started studying basic vocabulary and structure. Korean is considered one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, but I really stand by learning this. I have seen other English speakers accomplish this–I can to. I have been studying from books and Talk to Me in Korean online. I will let you know how this goes.

In the future, I will probably break the languages down in one write up because that will help me express myself better. At least I have accomplished the English language! J

Things to Be Grateful For: Week 1

Below I have listed the one thing I am grateful for each day of this week.  It’s easy to get bogged down with negativity, but there is always light.  We make choices to see the good, or we don’t.  I am choosing to see the good as much as possible for the New Year.

Sunday, January 1st:  The ability to acknowledge that everyday is the chance for a new start.

Monday, January 2nd:  Holiday are the best.  Nothing like two weeks off for the holiday.

Tuesday, January 3rd:  Returning to work to see a group of co-workers who are sincerely glad to see you.  It’s humbling.

Wednesday, January 4th:  Coffee.  Iced coffee when it is cold outside.

Thursday, January 5th:  It’s great to see my friend who has gone through so much writing again.  She has been to hell and back and she still smiles through that pain and shines on.  Kudos beautiful friend.

Friday, January 6th:  Drinks with a friend I had lost contact with.  Feels great to be remembered even after time passes.  We will need to do this more often.

Saturday, January 7th:  Snow days when you don’t have to go anywhere.  Eat cookies, chai lattes, read books, PlayStation and snuggle cats with the candles lit.  Perfect day.