Tag Archives: yoga

Trying Out Yoga Shanti

Last year, I fell in love with yoga during a rough spot in life.

Without a doubt, yoga was my therapy. I walked into Laughing Lotus a hot mess, and walked out a zen, happy being, smiling to myself as I walked home. (No, really.)

Since starting my new job in October, I’ve pushed myself hard in every area of life: work, working out, trying to finish my Junior League term. Oh yeah, and there was that whole prepping for a photo shoot thing.

I always, always, always want to take preventative care of my health where possible, rather than reactive care. Since coming back from LA, everything’s felt a little off: my stomach (although new probiotics have helped) has been a hot mess, my muscles have been really tight and I’ve caught myself grinding my teeth. (< sexy beast right here.) I keep joking around saying that “sleep is overrated,” but it’s not. It’s REALLY not.

So I’ve been attempting to dial back on the workouts – both in intensity and frequency – and on some of my other commitments.

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And to go to yoga, not because I am injured or in desperate need of some therapy on the mat, but because it is good for me.

A new studio opened in my neighborhood, and I thought I’d check it out eventually. It’s a little more expensive than Lotus, but it’s closer.

A crappy, rainy Sunday was the perfect day for it. The studio, Yoga Shanti, is the NYC outpost of a center they started out in the Hamptons. (Usually it’s the other way around!) It was started by famous yogis Colleen Saidman Yee and her husband Rodney Yee. I’ve tried some of Rodney’s Gaiam classes, but I’d love to try both his and Colleen’s in-person classes. I know he’s a huge personality in the yoga world, but I love that he still teaches regular classes. (Same with Tara Stiles!)

Tonight, I took class with Joyce Englander Levy. At the beginning of class, she said we’d be focusing a lot on shoulder work.

Crap. My shoulders were tight as hell. This would hurt.

The practice actually ended up being much more gentle than I expected. The practice started with us lying on blocks under our shoulder blades with our heads on blankets. We were to take that feeling of our shoulders on the blocks and feel that through the rest of our practice. Joyce is an adjuster, and I love that. She talked a lot about yoga being a way to write your own story and every practice being different.  Since I haven’t been doing yoga often, I remembered that as my muscles popped all over the place.

(I should also add that I’d had several drinks at brunch but didn’t want to lose money for the class I’d booked, and I was terrified I’d completely fall out of any difficult pose.)

Through my group fitness addiction, I’ve become the sort of person who definitely feeds off the energy of the class, and I guess subconsciously I try to mirror my classmates. There was a group of women in front of me that seemed pretty new to yoga and had no idea what Warrior I or Warrior II were, which was a little distracting.

Since we all spend so much time in front of computers, it was such a treat to work on shoulder openers, and I found myself melting in to the mat for savasana and almost getting mad when she told us we were done!

I did an an intro week deal, so I’ll be trying to go back this week—and in the future—for sure! They also offer Kundalini, cross-training yoga (UM YES!) and urban zen. It sounds like they’ve put a lot of thought into how to cater to us crazy Type-A New Yorkers.

What areas do you like to focus on in yoga? Favorite poses? Have you ever done yoga after several drinks? I don’t really recommend it.

2013 Lessons: When to Push and When to Let Go

I’ll admit, there’s parts of blogging I’m totally over, especially writing posts that feel forced, like Thanksgiving and Christmas posts. Do you really care about my Christmas when everyone else in your reader is writing about their Christmas? Probably not.

I try to be as real as possible on the blog, while not dwelling on the bad, but last year, the idea of a year-in-review sorta post felt so freaking forced to me. Yeah, there were some good times in 2012, but I was still in the midst of some STUFF in the beginning of 2013 and just didn’t have it in me to put that happy face on. I was in St. Croix, and I was trying my best to unplug and be in the moment of a beautiful vacation.

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I was lucky enough to have the best friends in the world who took me to Puerto Rico to celebrate my 30th.

Immediately after I got back from Puerto Rico, things changed very quickly in my life, and I went through a long, difficult job search.

Through these months, I learned when to push, push, push through my life, and when I had to let go. Let me tell you, it’s so much easier to push than it is to let go.

But I credit a great therapist, yoga and meditation with teaching me when to let go, and I found the first two through sheer luck. Thank you ZocDoc for helping me find a great therapist the same day I wanted an appointment without calling every therapist in the city and potentially waiting weeks to see one, and thank you Laughing Lotus for helping me learn to let go. I freaking love that place, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

I pushed, pushed, pushed to get a HUGE PR at the D.C. Half. (Thank you to RB Fiona for being by my side for it!)

I pushed, pushed, pushed to get through my open-water fear at the Franklin Lakes Triathlon.

I tried to push, push, push as running through the hot summer felt impossible…but then I just had to let it go. I could push against something that wasn’t changing, or I could embrace it and just go through it.

As I let it go, it slowly started getting easier.

One particularly harrowing day in the job search, I called Emily, frustrated beyond belief. I did a fair amount of whining but trying to stay strong, and I’ll never forget what she said: “you don’t have to be strong. It’s okay to cry.” I started blubbering, and I felt so much better getting a good cry out. She also said something about letting go, and I fought back and then realized I sorta had to, at least for a few days.

I did, and you know what? I found the posting for my current job just three days later, and I am so incredibly happy with it. Sometimes that cheesy stuff people say about things happening for a reason and things being worth the wait is true.

After running the Philly Half and having some Real Talk with Meggie, I was still really focused on my goal, obviously, but I also tried so much harder to let the fun back in and run more relaxed, rather than fight and berate myself if I didn’t hit goal pace. And, OH HEY, sub-4, and I did NOT bust.

It’s worth also noting that for as many times as I’d tried in the past to make myself a Person Who Liked Yoga or a Person Who Liked Strength Training, forcing myself never helped. But this year? I fell in love with yoga, and I found an amazing community of people at Uplift, and I really enjoy strength training now and, whoa, miss it when I take a few days off.

2013? You ended on a fabulous, fabulous note, but good lord, did you teach me a lot of lessons along the way.

I’m so, so thankful for good friends, good family and an awesome friend/coach who put up with all my #runcrazy to get me to two awesome big PRs.

What did you learn about yourself in 2013? What did you discover once you started letting go?

(On a side note about meditation, my girl Heather released her own meditation album yesterday! Go check it out. I supported her KickStarter, so I downloaded it yesterday but haven’t listened yet.)