Thursday, November 10, 2011

Double Trouble

Last night I did my first back-to-back "Double." It's what we people in the yoga biz call "taking two classes in one day."

What was it like you may ask?

Terrible. I am never doing THAT again.

Before I tell you about this once in a lifetime experience, let me say that I have done a double before. 3 times. Just not back-to-back. Rather, I have done a 6am class and an evening class. Doubles are usually necessary while in the middle of a "challenge" like the 30 day one I am doing right now. 30 classes in 30 days- so if you miss a day, you have to do a double at some point. Keep in mind that there are limits to how many doubles you can do (in this case, 4 total).

My other doubles have been fine. Even pleasant actually. My second class of the day has been consistently better than the first. My body was already warmed up, and I had recovered and hydrated appropriately for the second class.

With a back-to-back double, your body doesn't have time to recover. I spent most of the class feeling like my muscles were going to give out any minute, wanting desperately to chug more water, and sweating like banshee.

First of all, my body started sweating within 10 seconds of the first breathing exercise. And when I say sweat, I mean...

The kind of sweaty you are in the middle of the class happened THAT fast. It was terrible. Miserable. Horrible. No good. Very bad class.

The other terrible part were the thoughts in my head. A few key phrases:

Instructor: Make sure you *cantrememberwhathesaidbutimsureitwasgenerallyhelpful*
My head: Make sure you shut the hell up.

On the floor, dreaming about iced tea.....
My head: These F*@ktards don't even sell Sweet-N-Low

Instructor: Gloriously cracks the door.
My head: *upon realizing that Robin, the owner of the studio is RIGHT BY the door*
"you sneaky mother f*$@#r, sitting right by the door, and effing telling me not to freeze my water bottles."

These thoughts! I haven't had these thoughts since my very first Bikram class ever.

After class, I even walked all the way to my car and realized I forgot my keys. Brutal.


ultra love

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Many Talented.

This weekend I was awesome.

I hit the trails on saturday morning- ran 2.5 miles (I know, it's not far, but it will do for now). I had to walk up a few hills because I am old and fat and out of shape, but otherwise the whole experience felt like breathing again after holding my breath for a long time. I forgot what it feels like to have your feet just melt into the terrain, to have your knees respond to the downhills and uphills. I have another short trail run planned for (maybe) tomorrow morning and definitely thursday with my Luna. My version of heaven involves trail runs, lakes (for Luna), and Luna, of course.

Later on Saturday, I washed my car for 2 hours because thats how long it takes to get bugs guts off a white car. I also waxed my car and cleaned the windows. My life with minor OCD.

Then I went to yoga. Then I went to bed at 10 pm.

Today I was awesome YET AGAIN PEOPLE! I went to early church and came home and GOT CRAFTY. yep. CRAFTY. whaaaaaaaaaaat.

I turned an old pair of jeans that were too short (I know, that seems impossible given my current and forever height, but I think they shrunk over the years) and turned them into skinny capri jeans. This involved a sewing machine, special thread for jeans, and special jeans needles for my sewing machine.

Step 1: Practice. I used an old shirt to make sure the whole "sewing" thing actually worked. see below. beautiful.

Step 2: I turned my jeans inside out. Then I lined up my pair of skinny jeans so that the crotch and the inside legs were neatly together. Then I made pretty marks with a purple marker where I should sew. I also made marks where I wanted the capri cuts to be made.
Step 3: I sewed along the line. Then tried on my jeans and realized they were just too tight around the calves. So I took out the long stitch I made and started over with a new wider mark.

Step 4. I pinned my future seams because my jeans had a tendency to bunch up. Then I sewed. Though my lines aren't perfect, they will do.

Step 5: I sewed the hems. I pinned my hems first. I kept the stitches "straight" by keeping the edge of the foot along the outside of my hem.
The hems, again, aren't perfect. But who cares?
I am freakin Martha Stewart with vibrams and a yoga mat.
Check this shit out.
What's up, playas?
After I finished my craft, which took me two hours even though the blog I read that told me how to do it said it would take 20 minutes, I washed my "mom's" car (mom is in quotation marks because really it is my roommate's mom, but she is letting me live in their house this summer and I call her mom). Her car only took 20 minutes because the bugs came off her car with just a whisper.

Then I went to yoga. And now I am blogging. And I painted my nails while I wrote this blog post.

Be amazed.

Ultra Love.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You think you know....

Raise your hand if anyone has ever said to you, "hot yoga/ regular yoga/ultra running/running is dangerous/bad for you!"

I swear. Who are these people? Why do they think they know anything about anything? Mostly I think they are just jealous of my cute running skirts and my fashionable yoga booty shorts, but other times, I wonder if they are just dumb. Tell me, what "exercise" could be more natural (obviously natural is a LOADED term, but just go with it here) than running or yoga?

The only other sport(s) that fall in this category would be swimming (but you have to eliminate the chlorine pools because let's face it, no one is meant to smell like that. people are, however, meant to wear spandex. fact. it's in the bible.) or gymnastics (but again, this is limited to the floor exercises and only floor exercises on a grassy field because real life doesn't have a trampoline floor) and dancing. by God, there will be dancing.

Football? Hell no.
Basketball? (as much as i LOVE it- no. mostly because you can get smacked in the face with a basketball. we all know that does not qualify as something your body was born to do.)
(** currently withholding many inappropriate jokes**)
Shotput? Polo? Tennis? Soccer? Rowing? (i know from personal experience that rowing is for prisoners and anyone who deserves torture)
Wrestling? (no again- ring worm. and violence.)

It's not that these sports are bad in anyway. or un fun. or un human. It's just that you can't wake up in the morning and say, "hmmmmm, lemme use my body and go do this stuff." I could run naked if i needed to. I could do yoga naked if I wanted to -- (side note- there are naked yoga classes. deep question of the day- would you want to be in the front of the class or the back of the class? think about it). Other sports require lots of stuff. It's not that "stuff" makes a sport bad, it's just that I don't understand how "exercise" that requires only the body is dangerous or bad for you. I will ALWAYS hold the opinion that any exercise can be bad for you if you are stupid about it.

Harry Potter Comparison- Skip this if you don't understand.
WHen i am running or doing yoga, I feel like I am in Book 4 in the graveyard of Little Hangleton when Voldy and Harry's wands connect and they have this electric current running between and around them. Except that I feel as if I am connecting to all the worlds before me, all the people right now, and all the humans to come. These are two instinctual activities- connections to past, present, and future. Kinda like old stones steps that have been worn down by centuries of feetsies.


I don't understand why people think that something so basic as running or something so fluid as yoga would be bad for you. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that you are more likely to come away damaged from years of football (brain damage) or tennis (my mom has no cartilage left in her knees and my brother has had 2 knee surgeries). If i have children, not only are they wearing ear plugs everyday of their life, but they are also forbidden to play contact sports. Running only. I'm gonna be that mom who says, here son/daughter/perhaps ungendered child-- put on your vibrams and go run up that mountain in our backyard with your Auntie Sabrina and then let's dance around in our underwear for a while and THEN we can do yoga before bed to calm down and make sure you can touch your toes when you are 60 years old.

I will be the best mom ever.

And the rest of the world- the people who sit on their bumbum all day long telling other people that yoga and running are bad/dangerous for you- will NOT be the best mom ever.

The end. Stepping off my soapbox. and giving you a puppy picture to make things happy.
Ultra Love.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011



Obviously, it isn't perfect. But it is a start. That is the beauty of this yoga- you can always make progress.
1. I need to get my elbows lower. more below my calf muscles.
2. I need to get my toes angled back more towards my face.
3. #2 can be accomplished along with #3. I need to kick out my heel which will also get my hips more in line.
4. As I get better, my spine will be more curved- particularly my lower spine.

Also, I thought I would post two other poses that show ALOT of my progress.

This is the "Japanese Ham Sandwich" pose. When I first started this pose, I could barely get my hands behind my calves enough to grab my heels. Now I am pretty close to locking my knees. The entire goal of this posture is to smush your body together so there is no room for light or air-- with your smiling happy face (which you cant see in this picture! but it is there- I swear!)

This last pose is the "stretching" part of "separate head to knee with stretching pose." When I started this pose, I could not even get my legs flat on the floor. after 9 months I FINALLY got my legs locked. However, it wasn't until this summer that I started making progress bending my elbows. SEE?!?!?!?!

Before I close this post, just take a minute to appreciate the cleanliness of this studio. Doesn't it look so sanitary? Heaven.

I hope everyone is making progress in whatever they are doing. Especially Sabrina.

Ultra love.

PS. I made my handsome and health conscious boyfriend run barefoot. Totally made my LIFE.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Life Lessons Learned Watching a Bikram Newbie

The other day, there was a new guy name Frank who showed up for class. Frank did everything wrong. Everything. The underlying cause was that Frank didn't listen. That is usually the cause of the problems facing newbies. While I watched Frank act a fool, Ludacris style, in the front row, I was enlightened with a fair bit of life insight.

1. Many things in life involve steps. Sometimes many steps. To get to step D, you must go through steps A, B, and C. Here is the important part: If you cant do step A well, you best not be moving on to step B. AND you sure as hell better not be trying step C or D. Otherwise, you will either hurt yourself or look like an idiot. It is true in yoga. It is true in regular life. If you don't lock your standing knee, you shouldn't be kicking out with your other leg. If you don't know how to play chords, you shouldn't up on stage playing guitar in concert.

2. Quit making noise. Shut up. Really. Making noise only complicates things. It makes you more hot, more tired, uses up the energy you need, and irritates other people. Same thing in regular life. Whatever metaphorical noise you are making is most likely distracting you from what is really important, and in the process, it is pissing off everyone in your path.

3. Your drama isn't special. No matter how hot you think you are. No matter how much you think you are going to pass out. Your drama has happened before to someone else, and it will happen again. Get over yourself. The minute you do, you will quit making excuses for whatever drama you think you've got going on and actually get to doing yoga or living life.

4. Love your body. If you spend time looking at that parts that you don't like, pondering fat pudgies, or criticizing things here and there, you won't notice how fantastic it is that your body is starting to get deeper into that back bend. You won't see how strong your legs are. You will miss the balance you have developed. If you love your body, you will love yourself.

5. Don't give up. Frank tried to leave the room. The heat is intense. Ask anyone who has tried bikram. But you can make it through. Not all of life is puppies and rainbows (thought having a Luna around thorooughly increases your odds of continuous puppies and rainbows)-- but you can make it through the rough stuff if you are just still and take time to breathe.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Progress for Progress' Sake

I know...... It's been a while... my bff Sabrina let me know that...

So how about an update on all of my ultra-ness?

If training for a marathon and hoping to someday do an ultra marathon have taught me anything, it is that you have GOT to keep going, keep trying, and keep "going big or go home." This summer I get to live all of this out in 3 different ways.

1. I have started running again. Let me be honest. Every step terrifies me- I keep thinking that my foot and/or knee are just going to explode. Thankfully, my dear old dad told me that nothing is going to start hurting until i get up to 15 and 20 mile runs. Gee, thanks.

I am taking this "back to running" business slow so as not to overwork anything. I wake up in the mornings and run 20-30 minutes. I run SLOWLY for 20-30 minutes. My body seems to remember what running is, but my mind screams "I DONT WANT TO WAKE UP EARLYYYYYYYY. GO BACK TO SLEEPPPPPPPPPP. YOU DONT NEED TO RUN." Sometimes I listen to it. Tomorrow morning, I will NOT listen to this voice. I hope....

Moral of the story is that my new running journey is beginning. My real problem is that I much prefer running trails to running on pavement. Trails are hard to come by and pavement is plentiful. Alas, isn't that the way life goes?

2. I have found an awesome Bikram Studio in my summer location! It is SOOOOOO clean and smells like a baby's bottom. Even better, I seem to be making some rapid progress at this new studio. Sometimes a change of scenery can turn an exercise plateau into a steady increase in awesomeness.

Important Progress:

This is called standing head to knee, and I can now put my head to my knee. It happened today actually. Yesterday I was an inch away, and today my flippin forehead touched my flippin knee. It has taken 13 months for me to be able to actually straighten my kicking out leg, to be able to bring my elbows down below my claf muscles, to be able to bring my body down, and to be able to tuck my chin to my neck and touch my forehead to my knee. But I DID IT.

The truth is that I have actually made tangible progress in about 20 of the 26 poses. Someday (probably this fall) I am going to take pictures of where I was when I started Bikram (via my rough memory of my original struggles) and where I am now. Should be a fun post.

3. I am intern for the ultra-awesome-est organization ever. It is called Thistle Farms, and you should just go read about it. It is a rehabilitation for women from the streets who have survived lives of protitution, abuse, and addiction. These women then work at Thistle Farms making all natural bath and body products that are fab. The women with whom I work are unbelievable, and you better believe me when I say that they know what it takes to go the ultra distance. Our daily motto is "Love Heals." I love working in a place where I know I am doing good in the world. Working at Thistle Farms gives me the same feeling as running 20 miles just minus the sore muscles and joints.

Runners: order some Body Butter to moisturize all your nasty skin (I know you have it... chaffing... yuck....)

Yogis: order some Room Spray or Shower Gel because I know you smell bad after class ALL THE TIME.

Everyone else: my favorite product is the Lip Smoothie. My lips had been chapped for about 6 months straight from the Connecticut winter, and this lip smoothie had my lips back to normal in 3 days.

Hows that for an update?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

you will probably think i am crazy

But that's okay by me.

I think Bikram yoga actually works.

Now, I have no scientific evidence. I only have my body and the way it has responded to all of this. So here is my health story as of late. You can believe it, or you can think I am nuts.

Back in October, I felt like I was getting sick. So, I stayed home from yoga to get extra sleep and rest.... and then I got sick. Snot. Fever. Cough. All the good stuff.

In December, I felt like I was getting sick. It was almost time for Winterfest, so I thought, "I should stay home from yoga, get some rest so I wont be sick at Winterfest." aaaaaaaand I got sick. Fever. Lost voice. Nasty cough. Excessive snot. Awful.

So two weeks ago, I felt like I was about to get sick. Except this time, I was mid 30 day challenge, and, well, I don't fail at challenges. So I figured, "I am just gonna go to yoga. If I am passed out on the mat halfway through class- no big deal. I still get to put my sticker on the board." So I went to yoga. Everyday. For 5 days, I felt like I was on the verge of getting sick. I would wake up with a little tickle in my throat, and I felt a little tired. But I went to yoga.

And ya know what?


And thus, Bikram works. All the health benefits? I probably get them. All that talk about boosting my immune system? Well, it happened to me.

All that I can tell you is that I feel fantastic. It is hard to describe because you think your body feels fine- and then you do Bikram for nine months and you realize that you have never ever physically felt this way before. I can wiggle. I can roll around. I can stretch and reach for things. I can breathe. I have lower blood pressure. Luna is calmer. My handsome and health conscious boyfriend has noticed a change. And I am way less stressed about midterms than the rest of my classmates. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

But, it is hard to convince people to stick with Bikram. The first week is almost too much to handle. The next three months bring all kinds of weird bodily kinks (that you didn’t even know you had) to the surface. Every class is a challenge. You don't have "easy" days. You just have days where you feel a little less hot and so you work even harder. It’s tricky to figure out the proper way to hydrate, and eating the wrong kind of food can throw off your practice. And it is a 90-minute workout.

If you ever start doing Bigram- you will want to quit. You will want to leave the f-in hot room. You will want to never feel that much sweat dripping off of you again. But when you actually do leave the room, your body will be changed, and you will want to get back in the torture chamber.

I know that Bikram isn't for everyone because some people just cant take the heat- literally and figuratively. But mostly figuratively- you have to constantly work on your mental toughness for Bikram to work for you. Perhaps that is why it is really so difficult (kind of like long distance running). Your body, given the chance, can handle Bikram. It is your mind that wants to give up quickly, just like it is your mind that wants to give up at mile 20. The human body can do all kinds of wild and crazy things- just ask my friend Sabrina or watch the yoga national championships!

As I slowly step off my soap box- I know you think I am crazy for buying into all this Bikram health nonsense. And 9 months ago, I would have said the same thing. Yet, after this 30 day challenge that I completed, I think it is safe to say that I drank the Kool-Aid, y'all. Maybe you should too.

ultra love.

P.S.- My instructor, Robin, said she would take pictures of all my poses this week so I can mark my progress. I will certainly post them for all my loyal listeners, and so you can see my cute yoga clothes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

i am about to make your life better

for all you people out there who like practical life advice, this post is for you. this post will make your life better and will save you money on future hospital bills. so all the money you are gonna save, you can just send my way. k thanks.



what does this really mean? well, anytime you bend down to tie your shoes, anytime you are sitting at a desk kinda hunched over, anytime you wash dishes over the sink, anytime you sit on the couch to watch tv, anytime you are leaning forward AT ALL, just suck your stomach in.

this simple act protects your lower back from all kinds of problems and will give you a stronger core, which is also just a generally good thing.

my favorite instructor, robin (she taught the 2 classes my handsome and health conscious boyfriend took- YES HE GAVE IN AND CAME TO YOGA. I LOVE HIM.) talks all the time about how you can backward bend til the cows come home. BACKWARD bends are healing and fun, it's the FORWARD bends you gotta watch out for (forgive the dangling preposition, but i had to use the cliche). forward bends cause back problems, most notably lower back pain.

so now that i can not only touch my toes, but put my FULL PALMS on the floor, i feel like i can say this to all you cool kids. think about your flexibility right now: can you touch your toes? can you kneel/squat down without struggles? do you have even a little lower back pain? are your hips tight? if you are struggling even a little bit right now, think about where you will be in 20 years.

now, i am NOT telling everyone to go out and get hooked on bikram (though i will always encourage anyone who wants to!!!! yayyyy yoga!!!)--- but, you might wanna introduce some stretching into your routine. it could prevent some issues down the line.


ultra love.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a funny story

2 days ago, in my bikram yoga class, we are about to go into standing bow pose. we all looked just like the picture below.

So the whole class of 20+ people is standing just like this and the instructor goes:


bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha i am laughing out loud still thinking about this.

ultra love.

Monday, January 24, 2011

to-do list

1. increase my pain tolerance threshold. i mean, childbirth is coming in the next 5 years or so. better get ready now, right?

2. get back into running. this is hard to do when it is -4 outside. that is not an exaggeration. i just am not as hard core as sabrina is. alas, this just brings me back to #1.

3. bake Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls. this will most likely NOT help with #1 or #2.... maybe it can be "motivation?" mmmm i think that works.....

4. win the lottery. this will DEF clear up time in my schedule for numbers 1, 2, and 3, seeing as how i wouldn't need school or a demanding job.

5. figure out why our shower curtain has started blowing in on me while showering. this really decreases the amount of space in the shower. and i hate touching plastic gross stuff while i am trying to get clean.

i think this is a pretty honorable to do list. i thought of this during yoga. and after when i was in the shower.

ultra love.