It’s Not Selfish…

Tonight, I went running out of work with barely a goodbye to my coworkers and friends telling my boss I was in need of some ‘Self Care’ in hopes of getting home in time for a 7pm yoga class.  My work schedule has been fairly inconsistent which has made planning in workouts and classes more difficult.  On top of that, the Cubs have me partying like it’s 1999 (the college not the high school portion, mom and dad!).

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So I ran out of work, sped home, changed quickly and felt grateful that the yoga studio was right across the street.  When I walked in, the yoga teacher said to me…I was just thinking about you (we are collaborating on a course) and was just looking at your resume today.  It was like she knew I was coming.  I said how happy I was to be there and found a place for my mat.

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We got started with breath work and stretching and it was clear from the start what a cohesive class we formed. When it came time to set an intention, the teacher suggested that we set one for Self-Care…I mean seriously universe, could your message be more clear???  I set my intention, worked through my practice and VERY happily left the studio 80 minutes later.  And then entered the doorway straight across which happens to belong to this absolutely spectacular wine bar called Ampersand.

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I picked up a kale salad to go (because it is the most amazing thing ever) and paired it with some leftovers and red wine for dinner.  Life has been pretty non-stop lately in only the BEST way!  On top of my regular work and yoga teaching schedules, the Chicago Cubs madness has taken over our lives a bit.  I come from a mixed household when it comes to baseball and am your stereotypical fair weather fan, but this excitement 108 years in the making is hard to escape when you’re living just a few miles away…not that we would want to.

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Last Saturday, the BOY and I met friends for a local brew tour followed by lunch with all our new best friends.  We ended up enjoying some fun local beer and walking all over the neighborhood.

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We had just enough time when we got home to shower and change into our blue and red for the (sad) Saturday night World Series game.  By Sunday night, a bit of the chaos had calmed down and I decided to accompany my mom and our friends for a walk around Wrigley.  It was unlike anything I have ever seen and really incredible.  The energy of the city was electric!

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It even had me staying up way past my bed time for a baseball game.  Rare!!!  By Monday everyone was exhausted, but we kept trucking on making it out for Tuesday nights game and staying up until the wee hours to watch the Cubs win the World Series on Wednesday night.  The win was followed by cheering, singing, and horn honking, even in our quiet neighborhood.  Which of course had Cooper running for cover.  It’s not at all surprising that I was craving a yoga class tonight.  I am working hard to find balance in this new city with a much more active social life and so many fun opportunities.

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And with that in mind, I decided to skip the free continuing ed class I was supposed to go to tomorrow in favor of some sleep and exercise…and perhaps a bath!

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I just keep reminding myself…it’s not selfish, it’s SELF CARE!  And much needed!

 

How do you fit in ‘self care’? 

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Yoga Teacher Training

Many of you have asked about teacher training and I have been meaning to share my journey with you!  It has been incredible. I have made new friends, challenged myself, learned a lot about myself, and worked hard to find balance. This week break from yoga gives me the perfect opportunity to update you on training thus far.  Teacher training has been intense and amazing!  I am already feeling sad that it will soon be over, but working hard on living in the present and taking everything I learned with me.

 

What we’re reading…

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Light on Life by BKS Iyengar

The Yamas&Niyamas

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How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach

The Essential Yoga Sutras by Geshe Michael

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Bhagavad Gita by Stephan Mitchell

Health, Healing, and Beyond by TKV Desikachar

 

What we’re learning…

History

Meditation

Mythology

Energetics

Sanskrit

Cueing poses

More kids games and ideas

What it means to be a yoga teacher

Adjustments

Balance

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And much, much more!

 

What I’ve been teaching…

Anatomy

Pinnacle Pose – Eagle

Solar Plexus Chakra Class

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Chest Opener Class

Meditation

A few chapters in the Gita

 

How my yoga has changed…

I am way more active and attentive in my poses

My alignment and flexibility are better

The simple poses are harder and the harder poses are becoming more simple

I use more props

I move more slowly

I go more frequently and crave it when I miss a class

I yoga EVERYWHERE

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I am super excited to continue to learn and grow and start teaching some classes.

Any other YTT questions that I can answer for you???

If you are thinking about doing it, my advise…GO FOR IT!!

The Bag Lady

I didn’t forget you guys…I promise!!!  Between a new job, yoga training, house cleaning, and life living, I just haven’t found a few minutes to sit down and update you.  Even right now as I type this, I have a few other important documents open, including an eval that needs to be written and an antimony powerpoint that needs to be updated : )

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And for those of you who count on my posts for your daily sweat sessions, no worries…we have been VERY active : )

Note: I started writing this last week so we are referring to LAST Sunday…yikes! I am a mess!

Sunday was yoga training, which included two 75 minute sessions.  Monday, I was up and running, literally I did 40 minutes in the heat.  Then I treated a few patients, did a quick grocery store run, and returned home for 1 precious hour (which consisted of cleaning and phone calls). 

Then, I was off to my 4th yoga class in 4 days.  As I said on instagram, my body was tired but my spirit energized!

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Tuesday morning, I was back in the city for week two at the new job!

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My reading material has been awesome on the train!

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Tuesday was a day off from working out, but Wednesday I was back on my mat.  I met a few friends after work for yoga in the park.  It was chillier than I thought but so fun to be outside and practicing to the sounds of the city.

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Afterwards, we caught up over dinner and drinks. I slept in the city and was lucky enough to leave work a bit early on Thursday.  Which was perfect timing to hit up a vinyasa class at Zen Yoga Garage on my way out of the city.

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I got a Groupon for 2 weeks of classes and was thrilled to kick it off with a hot, flow class.

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Gym Hair…Don’t Care!!!  I drove back to the suburbs arriving home around 8:15 to a delicious dinner!

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My Friday off…was no treat at all!  I hit the gym for a tough strength session, went back to the girl who cut my hair for some added summer glow, grabbed Naf Naf for lunch, and then I started scrubbing my floors.  For someone who doesn’t do much cleaning, this was certainly NOT how I wanted to spend my day.  Ugh!  I spent a few hours on the cleaning thing, which was miserable and I arrived at yoga reeking of bleach.  The yoga as exactly what I needed.  Even though it was my 6th class of the week, I loved it just as much as the first few!  Saturday was a blur of house stuff getting ready to put it on the market for rent.  Cooper attempted to pose in every picture for the listing!!

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Saturday night, we got ourselves dressed up and out of the house for an awesome BBQ in the city!!!  And then Sunday I was back at the yoga studio to do it all over again : )

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For each of these classes, jobs, and activities, I have acquired a separate bag.  It’s, like, the only way that I would be able to make a week like this work so I am a total BAG LADY!  We have been meal planning like crazy so I have no less than one meal and a few snacks, plus tea and water with me at all times.  Throw a yoga mat, gym bag, anatomy stuff, and a work bag into the mix and you get the picture!  It’s been nuts!  But, where in the past this would have given me some extra heart palpitations, I’m pretty happy and not that stressed out about the whole thing.  In fact, dare I say I am enjoying the start of summer!

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Do you ever feel like a bag lady???

Peace in the Present

I didn’t take any pictures of my Friday night Yin and Mediation class, so you’ll have to deal with some old recycled yoga pics in this post.

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We have had a lot of changes and excitement in our household (and no we’re not expecting…because I know that’s what you were thinking.  We did consider adopting a new kitty, but realized that might not work for our spoiled ‘only child’ Cooper).  So now that we got that off the table…ha ha!  Change is always tough but from it comes growth. In our case, there has been a lot of good change…a marriage, new name, and big opportunities.  Exciting!!!

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But change, even exciting change, requires patience as all of the pieces slowly (and often in terrible order) come together.  Enter, my sleepless not as full of sleep nights.  Thursday was another one and interestingly all of my dreams were work related.  Friday morning, I was awake early for a group class.  I figured since I wasn’t working and my continuing ed course started later, I should take advantage of the 6am Friday strength class.

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The class was fun and a good way to start the day which was spent sitting (and sneaking peaks at basketball scores).  I was learning too!  After class, I met my SIL for dinner down the street from the yoga studio.

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We ate tasty Mediterranean and then drove down to the studio for a 2 hour yin yoga and singing bowl meditation class.  I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but knew I needed help quieting my mind and finding relaxation.  As the instructor guided us through setting our intention, I struggled to put into words what I was looking for.  And then it came to me.  We are in the center of a time of change surrounded by chaos and unknown.  And we will probably be here for a little bit as all of the details of this next chapter get sorted out.  So what I need, right now, is to be able to be comfortable with our present situation.  I need to find peace (and the positive) in the present!

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The teacher had me hooked from the start when she rubbed lavender oil on my ears leaving a drop on my forehead.  For the next 90 minutes, I struggled to keep my mind from wandering into the future, but brought myself back to my mat with the mantra ‘Peace in the Present’.  I kept reminding myself that I can be flexible on and off my mat (neither of which comes easy for me…unless of course I’m floating in a pool during happy hour).

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We moved through multiple restorative positions guided by the principles of yin, minimal muscle activation, long holds, and stillness.  After 90 minutes, we relaxed into our final savasana with the vibrations of the singing bowls (which I LOVE).  By this point, I was so relaxed that I fell asleep (and according to my SIL snored gently).

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The class was amazing and exactly what I needed to tune into the numerous positives in my life and a reminder to find the fun amongst the current chaos.  I can do that!  I slept beautifully last night and awoke ready for a super busy Saturday ahead!

 

How do you find peace in the midst of change?

Have you tried yin yoga?

Monday Matters and Tuesday Troubles

So…with my 2 week long sickness and our weekend getaway in Wisconsin, I’ve had a lot of time to think!

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While I was sick, I was mostly thinking about all of the things I would rather be doing than laying on my couch watching reality TV.  I found myself desperately missing my biweekly yoga classes.  In Wisconsin, I was thinking about how much fun it is to spend time with the BOY, reading, fishing and playing games.  And I appreciated not feeling the stress of having to fit in a 90 minute BRICK during out weekend away.

By Monday, I had a few decisions to make…

Monday Matters

Number 1- I have decided that I am not going to participate in a triathlon this summer.  Last summer, I wasn’t able to fit in a tri and knew that but promised myself I’d make up for it this summer.  Between my big test and wedding planning, spring has flown by.  And after 2+ weeks of sickness, May has kind of been a workout wash : (  It is clear that I would be pushing and stressing to fit in a big race.  I have always made the decision to only train for a race if I know that I have the time to train safely and have fun while doing it.  Throughout the past few years, I have made numerous decisions about this, choosing to pursue professional goals over running a marathon and then choosing to do a race when life is less busy (or when the BOY moved into the library at the start of law school).  I’m not sure if this is the right way to do things…I know plenty of people who seem to be able to do it all, but so far it has worked for me.  I have run a few marathons, tri’s, and half marathons remaining relatively injury free and always finishing with a smile across my face.  I hate to take two summers off in a row (I’ll feel like a newbie at my next race), but all of this just confirms that not doing a tri is the right decision for me…for right now. 

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Which leads me to Number 2– I need to quit the gym again!  It’s true that I just joined this gym a year ago and I really like it.  It has an indoor pool, awesome track, friendly staff, good classes, and a rock climbing wall that I still haven’t climbed.  But it is not cheap and to be honest, I’m not going consistently.  I am exercising most days a week, but it’s with my trainer, at the yoga studio, or outside on my bike or on the tennis courts.  And I would much rather do that than run around the indoor track or sit on a spin bike.  So it’s just not worth the money.  Gym…I leave you with fond memories but may be back for your indoor tennis courts next winter : )

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Speaking of tennis…Number 3 involves the fact that I blew off my trainer yesterday to go play tennis with the BOY.  I had my yearly physical in the morning (my cholesterol rocks!) and then did a grocery store run. I was supposed to meet my trainer later in the day, but the BOY and I had a lot of returns to do so after our trip to the mall, we decided to play tennis.  We showed up to find busy courts (apparently it was a meet up group).  We were able to nab a court and attempted to play in the strong winds.  We aren’t great players, so the wind just adds another element of fun and frustration.  By our second game, I found my groove and ran my butt all over that court.  We are a funny duo to watch attempt the sport because the BOY is an ex-volleyball middle hitter (who loves to charge the net and smash the ball down) and I am an endurance queen who runs all over the court (and can get to the ball most of the time surprising the BOY).  Even with that, we had a blast playing for 90 minutes last night enjoying some sunshine and exercise before picking up PotBelly for dinner.

Tuesday Troubles

I planned to go for a run this morning, my first one since being sick, in order to test the running waters and make sure these new running shoes were a go.  When my alarm went off, all I wanted to do was go back to bed and so I did…until Cooper stuck his nose in my ear and crawled into my arms for love.  When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I reminded myself how happy I would be that I got out this morning while I spent the rest of the day indoors at work.  My first step revealed an achy right foot, but I didn’t think about it, got dressed and headed for the path.  I had time to do about 4 miles.  I immediately felt my lack of recent activity. I was slow (averaging around 9:30 miles) and struggled a bit, still congested and coughing with an overall feeling of fatigue.  But my shoes seemed to be working and I LOVED being outside in the cool morning, and was even more excited to see a baby deer.

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I returned home, pet Cooper (again), and got myself ready to go to work.  Where my right foot continued to hurt and ache, getting worse throughout the day.  Often, I take my shoes off at work padding around the mats and equipment in socks, but I was not able to tolerate it today.  By the time, I returned home my foot was hurting REAL bad and continues to bother me.  I am not sure if this is from playing a lateral sport like tennis in the wind in my running shoes, or running this morning, or because I don’t have the best feet.  But no matter what the reason, it sucks.

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So finishing up with my Number 4 thought is that I might not be able to run the Soldier Field 10 Miler this weekend.  Even though I am back to work and getting back to exercise, I am somehow still not over this illness and this morning’s 4 mile run confirmed that I am not ready to rock out 10 miles.  Very few times have I not participated in a race that I signed up for and I’ve done this race the past, like 5 years, and love it, but is it really worth it to push myself?  What do I have to gain?  And although my thought is that I will wake up pain free tomorrow and this sore foot thing will be a distant memory by Saturday…that just might not be the case.  I think that the BOY and I will still spend some time downtown (maybe hit up the Green City Market?!), and I am still planning to ride Lake Shore Drive for Bike the Drive on Sunday, but I have warned my running buddy that I may not make our 10 Mile Coffee date on Saturday.

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For now the only thing to do is to head to bed and see where tomorrow finds me, putting off decisions about this weekend until Thursday and crossing my fingers that my foot feels better (or that one of my coworkers can fix it)!  And of course cheer for the hawks…go Blackhawks!

 

Anyone else got Tuesday Troubles?

How do you decide what races to do?  Do you struggle to say no to races?

What I’ve Been Working On

I meant to have this post out earlier this week, but better late than never!

Checking In…

I’ve been working on a few things lately.  You know in the pursuit of becoming and better me and all  : )

Here is a taste of what’s been going through my mind this week…

10 Minute Work Breaks

I’ve initiated a 10 minute walk rule during my 4 long work days.  This means exactly what it sounds like.  Some time during the day, I make it a point to walk out the door into the sunshine for a 10 minute recharge walk. Sometimes I think about stuff I’ve been working on and other times I bring a friend to chat.  I’m wondering if it will catch on in my office.  If the weather disagrees with this plan, I’ve downloaded a bunch of 10 minute meditation podcasts.  Which brings us to the next point…

 

Meditation

Somewhere in the past few months, I’ve gotten more interested in this complex concept known as meditation.  Maybe it’s because I thought that it was challenging and cumbersome (especially for an energetic monkey mind like me).  But after a few experiences, I am discovering that there is no right way to meditate.  My thoughts can even join me as I sit.  And that there are countless benefits to a multitasking mover, much like myself.  So far… this just means that I have been exploring the idea with podcasts and books, attending a free meditation with my mom, and doing a 10 minute mindful meditation with my coworker one time.  I’d say I’m in the interested phase and interested to see where this all goes.

 

My Blog

I still like writing it…do people still read it?

 

Cooking

I’ve taken the easy route this spring and allowing the BOY to handle most dinner prep.  This is because he is home before me and LOVES to grill up tasty meats and delicious veggies.  Plus, our weekends have been so busy that I haven’t made time (between tennis and wedding stuff) to actually plan.  No problem…right?  Except that I miss my kitchen time, searching out new recipes and giving them a go.  So I am going to make an effort to cook and share more meals with you.  This week, it was an adaptation to everyone’s favorite Sloppy Joe’s.  See Recipe Below!

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Eat Whole Foods

And WAY more greens and veggies.  Getting greens into every meal takes more effort and more prep and as my life has gotten busier, there has been a little bit less and then a little bit less.  I’d like to rely less on convenience foods and get back to eating just the whole foods that I enjoy and make my body feel good.

 

Getting Married

Balancing the wants and needs, families, and ideas.   Trying to keep up with all that needs to be done.  Getting hitched is like a full time job with a lot more emotion.  Right now, I am working on invites.

 

Prison

Random…right?  The BOY and I started Orange is the New Black which got us debating about who would survive the best in prison.  I’m an obvious front runner.

 

Goals and Running

New month…new goals!  I am getting back into my running routine, but it has been challenging to get in AM runs because the path near my house has been so empty.  In an attempt to be more safe, I bought runner’s mace.   I want to start increasing distance for my 10 miler at the end of May and a triathlon this summer.  So I am hoping that traffic on the path picks up as the weather is picking up.

 

April Goals

Begin tri training (including swimming)- I did get to a spin class, but I haven’t yet submerged myself in the pool.  I need to set my tri schedule all set this weekend!

Play tennis– Yay! We have been hitting the courts. So fun!

Cook healthy and delicious meals-I haven’t been doing this consistently but I do have a fabulous recipe for you below.

Spring Clean-We did a big spring cleaning and it felt great.

Create powerful and fun kids yoga classes-I’m having fun and I think the kids are too. I’ve had a few kids swing by to try the class and every one has decided to come back.  Only one more class this session, so I’ll have to make it memorable!

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May Goals

Get into a tri training routine

Eat whole foods (and lots of greens)

Get outside…play tennis, go hiking!

Keep up with my 10 minute daily mind break

 

 

Clean Loaded Sloppy Joe with a Kick

Adapted From 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 can (14 ounces, or 392 g) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (14 ounces, or 392 g) tomato sauce
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (30 g) blackstrap molasses
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the turkey and onion and cook until the meat is completely browned, no pink remaining, about 6
minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute.
Drain any excess oils and transfer the contents to a slow cooker.
Add all the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until the vegetables
are tender.

My Top 5 Health and Fitness Decisions

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I saw this post on Renee’s blog (forever ago) and loved that it was fun and introspective.  She has made a lot of healthy changes and is a huge inspiration!  It was tough to pick just 5 meaningful healthy moments in my 30+ years, but here it goes…

1. Joining Junior High Cross Country

Okay, so in all fairness, this was not really my decision.  It was my mothers.  She sent me to school on the first day of 6th grade with a bag and proclaimed ‘You’re on the cross country team’.

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I was lucky to find that some of my friends’ moms did the same thing (along with some of my soon to be friends).  Together we tackled 6th grade cross country, chatting through most of our runs and learning how to push ourselves and compete.  Although few of them showed up for cross country on the first day of 7th grade, I was hooked.   And as they say…the rest is history!  (I really did do a post on my running history and lifelong love of running from here to now that’s a fun recap of the years since 6th grade)

2. Listening to my Stomach

In high school, I started really struggling with my stomach.  Sure, there had been signs before then that dairy was not my friend but in high school, it was at it’s absolute worst.  I even remember one day declaring that I was ‘allergic to all food’ because everything I ate disrupted my stomach.  It was here that I learned what I could and could not eat (yes, peanut butter I’m talking to you) before exercise and cross country meets.  Although I can’t tell you the exact day that I became fed up and ready to listen to my body, eventually I did.  I learned what worked for me and what didn’t and changed my diet accordingly.  I was able to go off the meds I’d been taking daily and no longer had to leave a restaurant mid meal to curl up in the car because my stomach hurt so bad.  It was empowering!  Although there have been bumps along the road (I was less conscious in college and had a huge flare up in grad school), overall I am much happier and healthy since listening and respecting my tummy!

3. Buying a Bike

When I lived in Tennessee, I talked about wanting a bike but really didn’t have anywhere to ride one.  Fast forward to my move back home and life in Evanston.  With great access to the lake shore path and plenty of places to ride, I bought my first bike since elementary school and rode it everywhere.  I did Bike the Drive with my family and my first triathlon.  I rode some of RAGBRAI with my mom and then purchased a second (faster) bike.

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There is much fun and fitness Ode to My Bike…and many more bike adventures to come!

4. Committing to 8 Hours of Sleep

Yes, you heard it…I get 8 hours of sleep a night (most nights) and make a point to get myself into bed with enough time to read and unwind before falling asleep.  Although I can’t always get the full 8, I rarely get less than 7 during the week and try to stock up as needed during the weekends, napping when necessary.  Adequate sleep is important for me to function at my best.  When I am well rested, I make better food and health decisions, stay healthy, and manage my stress….all good things!

5. Taking Rainbow Kids Teacher Training

It was on my mat one day at a studio in the city with my mom and friends that I decided that I wanted to teach kids yoga.  Not just incorporate it into my treatments, but really learn how to teach kids yoga. I announced as much to my mom and set out to make it happen.  June last year, I took my training in New York. 

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I loved every moment of it…spending three straight days with like minded yogi’s (some of which who also work in health care) was unbelievable!  I learned so many techniques, games, and ideas that have guided my teaching throughout the past year.  It also encouraged me to push myself to be more creative, energetic, and fun with every session.  I have much more to learn but this definitely sent me down the path of becoming a kids yoga instructor, expanding my therapist role, and reaching my goal.

What are some of your best health decisions?

Honorary Mentions

Adopting Cooper

Flossing my teeth daily

Giving up fast food

Drinking more water

Taking my first yoga class

Cleaning up my diet

Wearing daily SPF

Committing to strength training

Giving up Crystal Lite and (almost) giving up diet soda

Running a marathon (then two)