Uncomfortable Zone

I’m not sure if it’s because of my Taurus tendencies (or Kapha tendencies, for Ayurveda nerds like me) but I love to feel grounded and close to the earth. Thus, inversions where both feet are off of the ground TERRIFY me. Although logically I know I’m physically capable of certain inversions, my mind prevents me from fully exploring those poses.

Everyday I try to step out of my comfort zone. I hurdle into the unknown in hopes of slowly overcoming fears and weaknesses to only emerge with peace and strength. Whether I ask for a cute guy’s number, run (bleh.), cook an unfamiliar meal or travel and create new adventures, I learn more about myself with each experience. 

Understanding inversions will be on the top of my to-do list this summer. How will you step outside of your comfort zone this week or these next few months? How will that help you realize your goals?

Remember, baby steps!

 

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From Skinny to Fit II

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My friend, a fitness manager, once said that most people have a little screw loose that drives them to pursue a career in fitness. As strange as that sounds, he’s right.

In my case I had depression and anorexia or orthorexia in high school, but labels are irrelevant. Essentially, I played two sports with just enough food to energetically feign a smile and conceal my intern battles.

Read more of my story here, or read my first STF post here.

I posted this photo on Instagram (body.culture) and got an overwhelmingly positive response, which I appreciate so much. As the caption says, “I’m wearing floral skirts differently nowadays. I’ve progressed from malnourishing my body to fueling it, from physical weakness to strength and from discomfort to confidence.”

When I see the girl that I used to be, I feel sad for her. I wish I could help her and tell her that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She seems sad, alone and lost. However, the girl on the right drastically contrasts her qualities. That girl loves herself fully.

If you’d like to talk, please email me at bodyculture.us@gmail.com

If you’d like to follow my journey follow me on Instagram (@body.culture)

200 Hour Yoga Application

I’ve decided to become a yoga instructor.

Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of career options the real world has to offer. However, as often as I change my mind or rationalize each possibility, I keep going back to yoga. I am so intensely passionate about it. And not the passion that I feel about working out, cooking or a lover. Yoga is very personal to me.

I know, I know. I sound like a dorky hippie. I can’t help it.

Anyway. I have always dreamed of getting my 200-hour yoga certification at Kripalu Center of Yoga & Health. If Kripalu was a girl, she would be my woman crush Wednesday every Wednesday.

My biggest apprehension about getting my certification was that I wasn’t skilled enough. I cannot do a handstand, I struggle with crow some days and I still use the wall as a crutch for my headstands when my core strength isn’t up to par. However, after speaking to a sweet, soft-spoken woman from Kripalu’s office, all of my concerns were quelled. Here’s one question and my answer from the application. Thoughts?

  1. Why do you want to be certified as a yoga teacher at this time in your life?

Yoga is a huge part of me. Although I’ve dreamed of teaching yoga every day of this six year journey, there was always something holding me back from realizing this goal: my ego. When I first attended yoga classes I silently competed with others in the corporate gym’s fluorescent lit group exercise room. I mindlessly sped through each asana and did anything to gain the yoga instructor’s verbal praise.

These actions were in vain.

When my objective shifted from being in an asana’s deepest expression to listening to my body and being mindful of my movements, the real journey began. Truly letting go, finding peace, grace and understanding on the mat helped me appreciate my body, learn more about myself and discover my genuine passion for yoga.

After six years of transformation and redefining what yoga means to me, I am ready to help others start their own journey of mindfulness, compassion and understanding.

Back to Basics Workout

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Although my diet has been on point, I hadn’t been to the gym in days which is so unlike me! Anyway, I decided to do some basic, effective exercises based on functional, everyday movements: walking, stepping, jumping and pushing.  Turned out to be the perfect balance between fun and challenging. Definitely encouraged me to go back to the gym tomorrow!

Tip: pack your gym bag the night before and throw it by your front door or car trunk to insure you’ll go to the gym. No excuses!

July Whole 30

New month, new plan. As always I restart and reevaluate (i.e. Summer Solstice, Birthdays). July I will start another Whole 30. For those who don’t know what a Whole 30 is, it’s essentially eating whole, unprocessed, paleo-approved foods for thirty consecutive days. Since I have mast cell disease I chose to do the low-histamine version of the Whole 30 and comprised a little “menu” for myself, and if you’re looking for other great tools check out the link above:

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Also, I decided to compile a vague, but structured skeleton of a weekly workout:

M
run
upper body

T
plyometrics/cardio
lower body

W
run
yoga/abs

TH
plyometrics/cardio
upper body

F
cardio/yoga
total body

S
plyo
abs

SU
yoga/OFF

So ready for July! I registered for a 5K in September and hopefully these twice-a-week runs will help me feel less intimidated by running!

Almond Ginger Sweet Potato Bowl

After sipping my morning tumeric tonic, I had an urge for a comforting, warm, winter dish. Hey, if that’s what the body wants, that what the body gets!

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Ingredients

1 sweet potato or yam
3 cups greens (I used a blend of baby kale and chard)
1 inch peeled ginger, sliced into discs
coconut oil spray
1 TBS raw almond butter
pinch of cinnamon

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Pierce the potato several times with the tines of a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Alternatively, pierce with fork and put in microwave for about 6-8 minutes (depending on the size). Meanwhile, spray a small pan with coconut oil spray and cook ginger, stirring frequently. When aromatic add greens and cook until they wilt. Next, mash potato with the skin, add almond butter and blend thoroughly. Add cinnamon and greens. Remove ginger discs and enjoy!

 

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