The Yogi’s Ivy League: Week One

This experience is almost indescribable.

The first day was a whirlwind. Upon my arrival I went to a Kripalu yoga class, ate a delicious dinner with two of my new roommates and went to the first program meeting. I was overwhelmed by the forty-something faces gathered in our space, The Shadowroom. The nervous energy was almost tangible.

However, even without college-orientation-like icebreakers or structured assimilation activities, I grew to love these people very deeply and very quickly. Everyone, including staff, was compassionate, warm and positive.

As the days progressed, we woke up at 5:30AM to attend two hours of yoga (Sadna), ate beautiful breakfasts, had more yoga and lectures throughout the day and typically ended around 6:00PM.

Although I taught yoga to friends and acquaintances, this training taught me countless techniques and cues

I neglected pre-Kripalu.

Kripalu not only allows space for non-judgmental introverted insight and self-compassion, but also heightens my awareness to my surroundings. I’ve never been somewhere that provides this much comfort, emphasizes self-care, and fosters learning. 

So basically it’s more than I ever expected. I guess Kripalu (or Crypalu) really is the Yogi’s Ivy League.

Our Morning Sadna Routine (1 hour 45 minutes):

Centering & Meditation

Three Part, or Complete Breath (Dirgha)
Victorious Breath (Ojaii)
Breathe of Fire (Kapalabhati)

Warm-ups (ie. cat/cow, hip circles etc)

Mountain
Half Moon
Awkward Chair
Eagle
Warrior I

Warrior II (Side Warrior)

Triangle
Wide-Angle Forward Fold
Tree
Upward Facing Boat
Downward Dog
Pigeon
Cobra
Boat
Seated Forward Fold
One Legged Seated Forward Fold
Seated Twist
Yoga Mudra
Laying Twist
Savasana

The Sweet Breath (Nadi Shodhana)

I didn’t realize how much I love Hatha yoga, I hope to bring this practice’s structure home with me!



I packed way too much.



Coffee on Saturdays



Frozen Lake

 

Have a great Monday xx

Body Prep for my 200-hour Yoga Program

What’s unique about Kripalu’s 200-hour Yoga Teaching Program is that I will be living on the grounds for 28 days, eating three vegetarian meals a day and do an insane amount of yoga things.

Kripalu is so organized; they sent me two very helpful packets explaining how to maintain my health before and during the program. Here are the things I will be aiming for during the next twenty days.

1. Eating only three meals a day around 8:00AM, 12:00PM & 6:00PM

Setting meal times now will help my internal clock adjust to the scheduled meal times at Kripalu.

The objective is to prepare my body for the rigorous schedule of the teaching program. Here’s an example of the daily schedule:

Morning Yoga 6:00AM-7:45AM
Breakfast 8:00AM-8:30AM
Program Session 9:00AM-11:45AM
Lunch 11:45AM-1:30PM
Program Session 2:00PM-4:00PM
Yoga/Program Session 4:15PM-6:00PM
Dinner 6:00PM-7:00PM
Evening Session 7:30PM-9:00PM

2. Go to bed between 8:00PM and 10:00PM

I already wake up for 5AM shifts for work, I just need to learn to get enough rest. This isn’t college anymore; no more all-nighters.

3. Lengthen & increase the frequency of my yoga sessions

I’ve been doing insanity videos and running a lot lately, now that the date is approaching I need to refocus on my yoga practice.

4. Follow Guidelines for Healthy Digestion:

  • Avoid eating raw and cooked foods together
  • Choose only 3-4 items at each meal
  • Sip warm water instead of cold water
  • Eat without distractions
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Three vegetarian ingredients for breakfast: quinoa, almonds, blueberries.

I’m excited to meet like-minded people, learn more about myself and pursue something that I love. However, I’m nervous that I won’t excel or perform as well as I’d like. I’m also anxious to see how the workload and rigid schedule will work for me.

Above all, the word surreal comes to mind. It’s so surreal that the date is approaching!

xx

The Balance Between Healthy and Obsessive

Any extreme is bad. How can you tell if you’re creating a healthy or unhealthy habit? Here are a few questions to honestly ask yourself.

  1. Genuinely ask why. Why am I doing this?
  2. Are the intentions setting me up for success or failure?
  3. Are the means to obtaining my goal in service to me or not?
  4. Is the time, monetary and energy investment worth the cost?
  5. Do I beat myself up when I do not follow the regimen needed to attain my goals?
  6. Do i deprive myself of things that make me happy? (i.e. seeing friends, getting enough sleep, “me” time)
  7. Is this something that I genuinely enjoy, or is it something that I feel obliged to do?
  8. Am I being true to who I am?
  9. Is my mind completely consumed with this?
  10. Am I happy?

When writing this list I had a few contexts in mind. Sex every night versus celibacy, overeating versus under-eating, excessive exercise versus no exercise, giving too much versus never giving anything.

I cannot stress the honesty enough. It’s one thing to censor your speech in conversations with others, but its another to avoid the truth in your own consciousness. Sit in the mirror and answer these questions candidly if necessary.

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How to Not Eat all of the Cookie Dough.

Holiday baking fills the house with intoxicating, sweet scents. The aroma of decadent, warm cookies brings a sense of ease and delight. Although my senses may be happy, my waistline may not be as content.

On the rare occasion that I create a sweet confection I eat a VERY generous portion of the batter or dough. First I convince myself that I need to taste test my concoction, you know, for the sake of my friends and family. One small taste turns into two dainty teaspoons, which escalates into ladles of smooth, sweet batter. This mindless eating not only downsizes my cookie yield, but also leads to a sugar coma.

If you have the same dilemma taste testing your sweet or savory creations, then this list of tactics is for you.

  1. Chew gum
  2. Brush your teeth
  3. Sip on hot herbal tea
  4. Meditate beforehand/focus on the breath during preparation
  5. Nibble on baby carrots or sliced cucumbers
  6. Blast some music and dance/sing
  7. Eat a huge salad or healthy meal before you bake, you’ll be too full to crave anything and hopefully won’t want to undo your healthy choice by eating poorly
  8. Do a 20 minute HIIT workout; some studies show interval training reduces cravings
  9. Cook or bake with a friend who has the same health goals as you, or who is willing to support you through your journey of eating nutritiously
  10. Lastly, cook or bake naked. Or nearly naked. I know it sounds absurd but you’re less likely to eat mindlessly when you have less clothing on. For me, I am less likely to order a burger on vacation if I’m wearing a bikini. But that’s just me!

Let me know if any of these tricks work for you!

Victoria’s Secret “Perfect Body Campaign”

My friend brought this article to my attention and I think everyone should give it a read. Essentially, Victoria’s Secret created a new ad campaign branded with the tagline “The Perfect Body.” This slogan appears under beautifully photoshopped Victoria’s Secret models. Although these models have gorgeous physiques that they work hard for, that does not give VS the right to deem it the perfect body. By giving these thin, beautiful, genetically gifted women the title of “perfect” it makes women with other body shapes feel inadequate. Perfection alludes to the idea that this is the quintessential look for every person; we must strive to be this ideal in order to be accepted.

This is not the case.

This emphasis on aesthetic perfection from the media is damaging to young women. Everyone has a different body shape, genetic makeup, and fitness level. Their goals should be tailored to their lifestyle and culture. Shame on VS for making any woman feel less than beautiful or worthy.

Sign the petition here because “we would like Victoria’s Secret to apologise and take responsibility for the unhealthy and damaging message that their ‘Perfect Body’ campaign is sending out about women’s bodies and how they should be judged.”

If you’re on instagram hashtag #iamperfect to retaliate against this campaign.

How to Hate Running a Little Less

I dominated the treadmill about a year or two ago. But then I studied abroad and ate gofres and tapas, got food poisoning, hospitalized and forgot about running. Whoops. Now I’m tackling this anxiety-ridden task three days a week before work.

Here are tips that help me:

1. Do it before your body knows what’s happening. Sometimes I sleep in a sports bra and shorts so when I wake up i literally have zero excuses. I set my alarm dangerously close to when I need to leave for work, sprint down to my treadmill and just get a mile or two over with before my eyes are fully open. And honestly – it’s not THAT bad.

2. Set possible, tangible goals. I KNOW I can run a mile with ease. I just need to mentally tell myself “okay Sam. You’re going to run this in under x minutes.” So one mile is my goal every morning and if I have boundless energy I’ll exceed my goal but at least I have a feasible basis that will build my confidence and lessen my disdain for running. So if you know you can run half of a lap then run half of a lap, walk half, run half etc. We need to start somewhere right?

3. Talk to yourself. I know. Sounds so strange but I swear midway through one measly mile my body realizes it’s still tired or doesn’t feel like doing this task it’s unaccustomed to. So I literally say to myself “Sam. Are you kidding me?” and just sprint it out.

4. Reward yourself. Every time I run my mile or two before breakfast I make myself a beautiful fruity smoothie or take a long hot shower before starting my day. Treat yourself for getting out of your comfort zone – it’s a hard thing to do!

5. Play good music. There’s nothing like great songs to inspire your run. I use Spotify  – and my running playlist (don’t make fun…) is a compilation of Reggaeton, Progressive Metal and Iggy Azalea. Who am I?

6. Remember why you want to do this. It’s important before enacting any goal-setting plan to understand why you want to accomplish that goal. I want to run a 7 minute mile (at 8:30 as of this morning) so I can get the body that I feel most comfortable in. Also, for me running symbolizes my fittest self.

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1/8 of a mile is half of a lap on the treadmill or track. Do chart one, then chart two and chart one again for about a 30 minute workout (this was my workout this morning, plus twenty minutes of plyos and abs):

distance (mile) speed (mph)
1/8 6.5
1/8 7.5
1/8 6.5
1/8 8
1/8 6.5
1/8 8
1/8 6.5
1/8 10
time (min) speed (MPH) incline
15 3.5-4.0 15

Energizing Yoga With Me!

I made this video last month and for whatever reason I forgot to post it here! I like to film my sequences to see my progress over time, and that’s exactly what this was. In other words, I didn’t intend to put this into the world!

I’ve always wanted to make yoga videos and become a yoga instructor. However, once my hormone imbalances and weight gain struck in 2013 I couldn’t muster up the courage to pursue my dreams. But here it is. A raw, quick sequence with me, a voluptuous girl trying to embrace her new figure.

Enjoy! xx