Yoga Quickies

 

What: 20 minute Yoga session
When: Saturday at 5:45pm
Where: My kitchen
Who: Yogadownload.com

 

After Joga with Vanessa Saturday morning I was tired. More like exhausted. Like, Erin, I too thought I was in decent space and advancing quite well with my yoga practice. This idea was completely shot in the head after class. But, we both survived and it was great.

We then dragged ourselves home, made homemade pizzas, drank lots of coffee and continued complaining how hard Joga actually is — which I’m am determined to master, mind you, if it’s the last thing I do. So when I finally gathered the strength to get myself home I was ready to do something else, knowing in the back of my mind the plan this weekend was to double up on classes for not taking class last Monday.

I should have stayed and went running with Erin, but another idea came to mind. I’ll try yoga at home! Nicole, a teacher at Moksha Downtown, was kind enough to send me a list of her favourite yoga podcasts. I didn’t have any other plans for this Saturday night, so why not? So that’s what I did yoga in my kitchen.

 

My serene and sophisticated kitchen studio.

 

And this makes up for Sunday! Any yoga I do anywhere counts towards my 30 days. One obstacle with this 30 day challenge is fitting yoga in to your daily routine. Planing what nights or mornings you do yoga is flexible when you know how many classes you want to do in a week. Let’s face it we have lives and things come up and we don’t always have time for yoga. The big challenge can be finding the time to get yourself to a class. For the busy bee’s out there – problem solved. Now yoga can come to you, anywhere you are. I will admit I was a little thrown off at first. You have to listen to the teachers instructions clarify or you won’t know what your doing. There are no visual cues to go by, so be mindful of that. The privacy of your own home is nice so have fun with it!

Here are Nicole’s favourites:

Padmani Yoga (Yumee Chung)

Elsie’s Yoga Podcast

Hilary’s Yoga Podcast

20 Minute Yoga Sessions

Give these a try. Now you have no excuse to squeeze in that yoga quickie when you need it most. All you need is your computer and a place for you mat.

 

 

Take these classes if: You’re somewhat familiar with different yoga sequences and have at least a few classes under your belt.

 

Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #4

 

 

This thing is two weeks away. The fact I’m running at all right now amazes me.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Monday: 5.1k in 40 minutes

I remember pretty much nothing about this run. I was tired and sore and got home too late to go to a yoga class. So I laced up the sneakers and got out there for a short recovery run. I didn’t last long, but I’m glad I got a few miles in.

Tuesday: Hot Hour @ Kula

Because I ran the day before, I felt comfortable taking a day off from running on Tuesday. My legs were feeling very stiff, and an hour with Linseed helped me loosen up. While this class is normally a 2 out of 10 on the difficult scale, my muscles screamed their way through this one.

Wednesday: 9.4k in

Another late run after a long work day. I did my usual long run East End route but mixed up the side streets in hopes to pass the 10k mark. I didn’t. Oh well, next time.

Thursday: rest

I woke up to rain and book club was that night. No running.

Friday: rest

Ooops. Again, a morning rain and evening plans. Oh, and laziness.

Saturday: Joga with Jana, 7.1k in 54:50

Joga was interesting. I recommend it, but know what you are getting into. By Saturday, I was worried about my weekly kilometre count, so I headed out in a snowstorm to rack up a few miles. It was slow and slippery, but it was done.

I still have yet to do a hill workout. This is not good.

Sunday: 6k solo, 9k PubRuns, 3k solo = 18k in 2:21:30

My favourite run of the month: pubruns! A complete recap of my monthly get-together with fellow book-loving runners (or run-loving book people) will be posted later this week, but I kicked off the planned 8k group run with 6 (slow) kilometres solo. I was soooooooore from joga. Unbelievably sore. And I went out on Saturday night, which is not the best pre-long run plan. But I’m stubborn and believe I can do it all! Who needs sleep? Or sobriety? The group met up at Broadview and Danforth for an 8k loop through Rosedale that was secretly 9k (thanks, Kendal). After some delicious brunch at Three’s Company (tomato soup, grilled cheese and salad — delicious!), I slogged my way through the final 3k home for two reasons: I wanted a 40k tally and I refused to pay the $3 transit fare.

 

Despite the chaos in my schedule, I’ve consistently hovered around the 40k per week mark. The double rest day, while not on the schedule, was probably for the best. But, if I ever want my weekly mileage to increase, that can’t become a regular occurrence. For week number 5, I’m keen to hit 50k. Let’s see if I can do it without killing myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s the Reiki?

 

What: Reiki Restorative, 90 minutes
When: Friday at 8:30pm
Where: Kula Toronto (304 Brunswick Avenue)
Who: Chrys

 

Last year I was introduced to the wonders of Reiki Restorative yoga at Kula. Living practically beside the studio you’d think I would be there all the time. But, for some reason I wasn’t sold on the place. Could it be my completely unbiased love for Moksha? Perhaps. That was until Jackie Szabo hypnotized me with the Reiki, and I didn’t even know what this meant. I love yin yoga, but I lovveee restorative too. It’s basically sleeping while you’re in a pose. And there are blankets, and cushions involved.

Let’s face it. I just love yoga. Period. But, I was a skeptic about this Reiki business. Figured it was just another sell-on-yoga-inspired nonsense. Seriously though, how does someone “play” with your energy? I don’t know. But, Jill (the Reiki teacher) can and does.

 

Source: wholeliving.com via June on Pinterest

 

 

I took my good friend (and yin partner in crime Parul) because she too trusts everything Jackie says. I felt the teacher outlining my body without even touching me. It was a crazy feeling, but if you want an even crazier story, you’ll have to ask Parul for hers.

So another year later I march myself back over to Kula on a Friday evening just for Reiki. Knowing Erin and I were going to Joga the next morning, I figured a restorative class (with Reiki!) would be perfect.

To my surprise, and sheer disappointment, my second Kula experience did not live up to its expectations at all. Arriving to what looked like a group of distracted staff, I signed in for class and was left wondering where on earth I should go and what I should be doing. I followed the sound of ladies voices and luckily found the right change room. Okay, I know the studio isn’t all that big and next impossible to get lost in, but I like having people give me directions even if I already know know where I’m going, or just ask me if I’ve been here before. This makes me feel welcomed and not scared to be there taking the class.

So off I go into class not knowing anything or what props I needed. Again, I just followed crowd. Once in class Chrys announces there is no Reiki instructor for the evening. WHAT?! This was the reason why I came! If only I had of known this earlier I would have saved my class on my Passport to Prana for another Friday evening when Jill would have been there. Please, Kula, next time have this info on the website. Or at least let me know before I sign in.

The class was still nice to take, but I left feeling very sad on the inside.

 

Take (the actual Reiki) class if: You want a gental release from your practice and are open to the idea of energy. 

 


Joga with Jana Vanessa

 

What: Joga with Jana, 75 minutes
When: Saturday at 10am
Where: Energy Exchange (698 Queen Street East)
Who: Vanessa Montenegro

 

After a lukewarm introduction to EnergyXchange, their Twitter master kindly offered Jill and myself passes to Joga with Jana. They thought that with all my running, Joga would be more my speed. I was skeptical. What kind of name is “Joga” anyway? It feels so contradictory to the history and tradition of yoga. But when I told Jill, the Balser yoga master, she squealed. “I love Joga!” I was a little more intrigued, but as any Two Fit Girls reader knows, Jill is insane when it comes to yoga. Who does an impromptu 30-Day Challenge anyway?

 

Their website is flashy. Be prepared.

 

We headed over on Saturday morning to check it out. Sadly, Jana was out of town and Vanessa was subbing in. This worried me — the class is named after Jana, after all — but Vanessa was perky, polite and constantly moved around the room.

Oh, and she wasn’t afraid to kick our asses.

Here’s the thing: Joga is HARD. I thought I was in shape. I really did. But Joga is all about working the core muscles. Planks, planks and more planks. When you’re done with those, let’s balance. On one hand. And twist. It’s basically an ab workout disguised as a yoga class.

And that’s fine. Joga has a definitive identity and a core audience — athletes. It’s a great bridge into yoga for those who want a little more oomph in their ohms or sweat in their salutations. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) There was no attempt to falsely embed a spiritual element into this class. The class was fun, the teacher was grounded and I left exhausted.

It was refreshing to (slightly) mix up the run/run/yoga/run routine of the past few weeks, and to know there’s a great option out there for the next time I want to take my yoga practice to the next level.

But, oh boy, do I ever need to do more crunches. How else will I survive my next Joga class?

 

 

Take this class if: you’re looking for a killer core workout.

 

 

 

How I spent my Halifax vacation

Lucky for me, just after a 2 week return to Toronto from my holiday break at home and in New York, work sent me back to the homeland to work the OptiMYz Health Expo and train our new Maritime marketing coordinator on my event expertise (thank you Bullfrog!).

Life was great. I had the chance to show off work-wise, work an event in a new region, actually train other Bullfrog staff, and see my dear Mommy again for some mother/(middle) daughter bonding time. Time for me to get spoiled.

Oh wait, I totally forgot about this yoga thing I’ve committed myself to. Thank goodness for Moksha Yoga Halifax (and for my personal taxi service catering to my work and yoga needs. Thanks Mom!)

 

The outside of the studio!

 

After asking all my teachers at Moksha Yoga Downtown what Moksha Halifax was all about, I decided to go see it for myself. Day 1 (Day 16 of my challenge) was superb! I was greeted by the lovely Joanna Thurlow Murphy and Kyla MacKinnon – owner and assistant manager respectively. And Kyla just happened to be teaching the 5:30pm Moksha Flow class I came for. It rocked! I was excited, energized and high off the fact I took Halifax Transit, for the first time in my life, to get there (sorry, that was kind of exciting for me). Once thing you need to know before arriving, their practice room is square. No, not square as in lame – square as in a box. The shape plus having 4 rows of people in the practice room was an interesting mix, one I’m not use to. If you like the mirror you better come early, otherwise spend the extra time figuring out where on earth to place your mat. That was totally me. I then tried a new spot for each class I took. It was kind of a fun game I made for myself.

Each class I took was fantastic. I thank the great teachers plus the awesome yoga streak I was on. Days 12 to 19 kick butt of which I really should thank Moksha Halifax for. I loved the friendly,warm welcoming atmosphere everyone gave me plus the constant updates Kyla wanted about my challenge. It was really cool they cared. By the end of my trip I felt like one of the family.

The inside of the studio!

Thursday Jan 19: 5:30pm Moksha Flow with Kyla

The best. Kyla is great and nice and pretty and I felt great in her class. After a warm welcome this class was exactly what I wanted.

Friday Jan 20: 8am Moksha with I can’t remember! 🙁

I feel so terrible I can’t remember who taught this class. I was obviously still sleep when my uncle dropped me off. I do remember she was a delight – could it have been Lauren? I would wake up early and miss part of work every Friday for my mystery teacher.

Saturday Jan 21: 4pm Moksha with Kirsten

After a full day at OptiMYz surrounded by beautiful fit people it’s like Kirsten knew where I was. Whoo baby this class was a workout. Yoga skeptics need to take a 90 minute Moksha class with Kirsten. We pumped out double powerful poses, more planks than I can even remember and so much abdominal work you’d want to run to the closest beach.

Sunday: 2pm Moksha with Venessa

Sunday I was a tired. Very tired and sleepy. I honestly didn’t want to do anything, but when 2pm rolled around I was ready. Venessa taught at a gentle pace but made you work just the same. I liked this a lot. And I wasn’t sleepy anymore!

Monday: No Class

Mom wanted me to show off my yoga moves at home for her instead. And she offered to make me breakfast before driving me to the airport. I struggled with this decision, but I suppose I could double up another day to spend quality time with her instead.

 

It was like each day, class and teacher new exactly what I needed. It was kind of scary, but awesome.

Bottom line is if you live in Halifax join the Moksha Hali family, if you visiting drop by. The studio is a present surprise from the practice room to the change rooms — it’s beautiful.

Moksha Halifax, thank you for your hospitality. I will be back! And hopefully sooner than expected.

Oh, viral videos

We’ve had several people (hi Anne!) send us these videos. And since I’m lazy and didn’t write a post today, I thought I’d share them JUST IN CASE you haven’t seen them.

You haven’t, right? Okay, good.

Shit Runners Say:

 

Shit Yogis Say:

 

 

Conclusion: Jill and I need to diversify our workout routines. We are these people. It is a little bit sad.

 

 

The Horrid Day 9

Thank goodness this month is almost over! That’s all I have to say. I’ve been counting down the days till the end of January since the beginning of my 30 Day Challenge challenge was presented to me. Day 21 down, only 9 more to go. I could have swore off yoga for the rest of my life a mere 12 days ago, but now I just might become an even bigger yoga machine than I already am! I feel like a yoga superstar and this is a very cool feeling.

 

But, if you were to ask me how I felt 12 days ago — well you probably couldn’t have asked me because the sound of the word yoga would have made me punch you in the face — I would have told you I’d killed myself before doing another yoga class! And I was serious. My challenge had become the hardest thing I have ever agreed to do, just like that, literally overnight. Let’s go back these 12 days ago shall we, back to day number 9. It was a Thursday evening (of which I couldn’t be more happy about. I love me my Thursdays at Moksha Yoga Downtown!). It was a long week, but an awesome week. I visited the new 889 Yonge and Spynga just a few days before. Still, I was not mentally prepared for what was in store. Dun-dun-dun….

I held off doing the 6pm class, when surprise! I found out Rachael Kess was teaching the 8pm 75 minute Moksha Flow. Yay!! This would make any Downtowner very happy. I hadn’t seen nor taken a Rachael Kess’s funky “stare at the wall instead of the mirror class” in forever, and I need me some Rachael Kess on a regular basis. (Okay, so maybe it has to do with the fact she spoils me with a little touch of her Thai Yoga Massaging at the end of class, but hey I live for this would give up anything for it. Anything.)

Sadly, this night I didn’t get the touch of Rachael’s magic hands. And I didn’t well deserve it. I practically did nothing, but lay in shavasana (which is still doing yoga and still counts, thank you Rachael Kess) the entire class and the poses I actually did do, let’s just say it was a good thing classes are silent. I could have screamed or cried or even both. I am have put too much expectations on myself to kick some yoga butt or maybe it was the sly gesture of placing my mat so Rachael couldn’t miss me. Whatever it was the Yoga Gods were indeed punishing me this particular night.

Ugh, this was the worst class ever.

I had no idea yoga (or my mind) could be so hateful. Nothing against Rachael, it was my body that was doing the hating. I was tired, grumpy and couldn’t stop telling myself how much I hated yoga. Rachael would deliver an instruction and I would scream out “NOOOO!” or @%&$ this sucks!” This unsettling feeling haunted me. Yoga is my release, my escape, what was happening! I could have slapped something or someone.

Then something amazing happened I went to class Monday night expecting to see Jackie. Jackie would fix everything. But surprise! Jackie turned out to be Brendan, and he saved my life. I don’t know what it was but I was back! I guess even yoga machines need fixing every once and awhile. Brendan I will be forever grateful for saving me from this 30 day challenge.

I will probably never do this again. Or maybe I’ll just skip Day 9.

But, some advice for any yogis thinking about attempting a 30 day challenge for the first time like moi: mix things up, go to different classes, different studios and try different teachers or take classes at irregular times. A change in scenery is key. And learn to live with how you’re feeling each day. Every single day of the 30 will be different. If you’re struggling it’s okay. If you’re rocking it, even better. Either way, accept what’s going on and move on. I, sadly, learned this the hard way.

Have you ever had a difficult yoga class or workout? How did you power through?

 

 

 

 

The little things

On Sunday, I did a 15.8k slog through the Don Valley Trail. I felt great, but when you’re running for that long, your mind will wander to weird places. That run, I thought about all the little things I have come to appreciate about running.

When I first started running, I didn’t enjoy it. I approached it as a challenge. I’ve always been a goal oriented person, stating “I want to accomplish X” (X being getting into grad school, writing a book, attempting veganism) and then developing a plan to make X happen. This time last year, it was a half-marathon. I ran that half-marathon. Then another one. I kept running. The running-related X became blurry. I need to get my eyes checked.

(Really, I do. I was in a meeting on Monday and was all “What’s that?!” when I saw a fuzzy red dot on a mock-up for a website thing. It was the CBC logo. The very place I work. The logo that’s on my ID badge and the website I stare at every single day.  I’m a moron. A blind moron.)

These days, my attitude towards running is complicated. I’d rather run than not run, but I still feel I haven’t fallen far down the rabbit hole enough to call myself a “runner.” I need races to motivate, schedules to follow, and this blog to guilt me into it. But in the past year, so many things have become essential to my runs.

 

1) My ponytail

This is a weird one, I know. But I’ve come to love feeling the swish and bounce of my ponytail as I settle into my stride. Ponytails at the gym, during yoga and playing basketball are hazardous. But on a solo run, there’s nothing stopping it from flying free. It’s not going to get in my eyes, caught on a machine or pulled by an opponent. (All these things have happened.) I love that about running.

 

2) Pink stuff

I read somewhere (Cosmo, I think. Don’t judge!) that there’s absolutely no reason the little things in your life — your cell phone case, your toothbrush, your iPod, your make-up case — can’t be your favourite colour. I completely and totally agree, and rapidly began acquiring more much pink stuff than any twenty-something should own. It’s bordeline embarrassing. But on my run on Sunday, I had a pink headband, a pink hair elastic, pink gloves, a pink water bottle holder, pink socks, a pink iPod and a pink windbreaker and it made me happy. Cosmo knew what they were talking about. (Yes, that’s why this website is pink. Pink is the best!)

 

3) Top 40 music

The only time I listen to Top 40 is when I run. It’s peppy, it’s light, it’s fun to move to. The iPod I got for Christmas (thanks Matt!) has a radio app and Virgin Radio and Chum FM are the best running buddies you could ask for. When you’re feeling down or sore or tired, a song like “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson will come on the radio and the world will be well again.

Kelly’s right, you know. What doesn’t kill you really make you stronger.

 

4) Seeing random wildlife

At home in Nova Scotia, it was totally normal to see a bear coming out of your garage or end up late for school because a family of deer was hanging out on the only road from your house to town and blocking all the traffic. We wore bright orange hunting gear when playing outside for safety reasons. (True story.) Toronto has wildlife, true, but my interaction with nature is very different in the city than it is in the country. At home, it fully consumes you. Here, it’s fragmented and unexpected. Which is why whenever I see a deer or a rabbit or a trumpeter swan (there was a pair on the Don River on my long run!), it makes me happy. Really happy.

 

5) The runners’ hello

I like running solo, true. But nothing can power me through a few more kilometres — especially on those crappy days — than a fellow crazy comrade slogging through the rain or snow or sub zero temperatures. That little head nod, hello or smile means the world to me. I never expected it to. When I read about it for the first time, I thought it was weird. Now, I yearn for it when I see another runner coming my way. It shows I’m not alone and all someone else gets all this running.  I get sad when it doesn’t happen. So if you see another runner — especially on a day when normal people aren’t going outside — give a little wave. It might be me.

 

There are other things, I’m sure. But five is a nice number. And I’m sleepy.

 

What little things make your workouts better?

 


 

The run: 15.8k in 2:01:17

 

The route:


View Larger Map

Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #3

 

Oh week three, how rough you were. I felt like crap in a way only ladies know how to feel, the giant event my entire job revolves around inched ever so closer, and my left foot developed a dull ache in the arch. For much of the week, I battled with running. Running won that battle most days. But it lost on Friday. I took an extra rest day.

I’m so glad I did.

I’m becoming a believer in that my training plan is a guide. Nothing more. It doesn’t take in account work stress, physical pain or the weather. It can’t. Life happens and sometimes running, even though it’s on the schedule I spent hours researching and putting together, isn’t the best thing for me to be doing.

There is a difference between not running because you don’t want to and not running because your body is telling you it’s a bad idea. It’s subtle, but distinct. I’m starting to tell them apart.

With that in mind, here’s how week #3 went down:

 

Monday: Hot Hour @ Kula

This is where the week got shaky. Yup, right away. The yoga class I did on Sunday was more intense than I expected it to be. I should have switched gears and did a yin class on Monday. I didn’t. I enjoyed Jen Slade’s class, but it set a “you are going to work HARD!” tone for the rest of the week, and my body didn’t catch up.

 

Tuesday: 7.2km in 56 minutes

It was raining Tuesday night, so I bailed on the running-to-yoga plan I love. Doing yoga soaked is not my idea of fun. I ran in the rain instead. So much better. (Not.)

 

 

Wednesday: 5.8km in 40 minutes

This run was interesting, because I was exhausted. But I put on my running shoes and my body just did the work. Muscle memory is the best.

Thursday: rest

Despite the holy training plan, I’m finding Thursday rest days are better for me. I’m doing to keep it up. Except….

 

Friday: rest

I made Friday a rest day too! Oh no! This day was a low point for my body. Simply making it through work was a struggle. Instead, I bailed on all obligations, including running and a birthday party (sorry, Bronwyn!), and went to bed at 9:30. It worked because…

 

Saturday: 90 minutes Flow Yoga; 7.0km in 55 minutes

Saturday felt great! The yoga class was low on the intensity scale, the weather was lovely and I had the energy and enthusiasm to attack both workouts with zest and vigour. That’s right, zest and vigour. Be impressed. Extra rest days can be a good thing.

 

Sunday: 15.8km in 2:01

Sunday was another lovely winter day, so I decided to amp up the effort on the long run and tackle the Don Valley Trail, YakTrax style. The run was a solid, if slow, effort, and I’m feeling confident about conquering 30k at the end of March.

 

 

The week started low, but ended high. I’m looking forward to pushing past the 40k weekly mileage this week. I also hope to try out another new yoga class, a new soup recipe and finally tackle that hill work-out I’ve been avoiding.

 

 

The day the Santas came to town

 

As I mentioned in my New Year’s resolutions for 2012, I will run a race. But here’s a secret: I may already have.

I will have you know that this particular race, which was in no way MY idea to participate in, was 3k race, held last December, in the dead of winter… wearing Speedos. Yes, people, I ran the Santa Speedo Run in support of the Sick Kids Hospital. Okay, so this particular race maybe took 15 minutes to complete (thank goodness!). It was still a race.

 

Team 292 Borden: me, Shannon, Charlie and Graham.

 

December 10, 2011 will go down in the history books for myself and the entire 292 Borden household. Now, back to my point about my complete un-involvement this crazy diabolical plan. How did I get myself into doing this? It all started opening an email. Subject: “Santa Speedo Run.” Message: “Who’s in?” My first thought: “Hell, no!” This message, from one of one of my neighbours living above me, was sent to everyone in the house, Santa Speedo Run instigator’s girlfriend, my roommate and myself. My roommate, who was getting ready to move back home to Nova Scotia at the end of the month, agrees to this madness for this exact reason. The girlfriend, Charlie, says yes because Shannon said yes. This left me completely out of luck and with no other choice. I couldn’t be the only one not running. Thanks a lot, Graham.

It was cold — 4 below to be exact — and sunny. But the shock — not including the shock to my system — was how may people took part and came to watch, and how fun it actually was! Mind you, the drinks before the run and the drinks afterwards may have helped. A lot. Showing up at Hemmingway’s in Yorkville for noon ensured plenty of drinking time and dibs on a Speedo. Matching bright red speedos.

Grab a bunch of friends crazy enough to do with with you. You’ll have a few drinks and a few laughs with a close group of Speedo running experts of all ages, shapes and sizes. The die hards will pick you out of the crowd as a newbie like a swore thumb, but it’s totally worth it.

I may even be there running with you.