Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What will inspire and motivate me in the new year?

Wow, the holidays have been crazy busy but so much fun.  I've been trying to get in the little bits and spurts of yoga time whenever and wherever I can.  Hasn't been easy. As a mom, you start to become very creative....in the shower, brushing your teeth,  in the kitchen, in the living room, waiting for the laundry.  Standing in a long line and you just do that tree pose....no one really notices anyway....ha! You just grab a moment and just do a pose or two....

It's not the full one or two or even three hours that I crave for as my practice time, but it works.  I've been thinking a lot about what will continue to motivate me for 2016? What are my plans? I played around with more apps and some of my photos and needed some inspiring quotes.  This is what I came up with.

Just a fun little collage of how I feel at the moment......I love all the IG challenges that I participate in every month.....starting in January - I have yet to decide if I want to do another IG challenge or completely concentrate on my own for a whole month - an intermediate to advanced series on flows only.

A little more intense workout for me, and I would still be practicing every day.  Whatever my approach, I will continue to enjoy it and for that moment.  I'm starting to realize that my journey isn't just a hobby anymore, it's for my overall health. It depends on it.

So excited for the New Year, let's do this!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December Challenge - Day 24

Final day of the challenge is Padmasana/full lotus pose and incorporate breathing techniques and bandhas.

The challenge ends today.  While I will continue to practice every day as much as I can, I haven't decided whether I will post every day for the rest of the month.  I will try but it will be extremely busy until the New Year.  I will pop in when I can.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December Challenge - Day 23

Easy Seated Pose or Meditation.

One more day until Christmas, the kiddo is really excited!!! Love this time of the year, it just goes by way too fast!! Trying to enjoy it all and every moment...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December Challenge - Day 20

What a beautiful.....busy, yet equally lazy day. How does that all roll into one? It does...somehow...lots to do in the early morning but panned out so nicely in the afternoon with really great family time. Playing board games, snuggling on the couch....popped popcorn, watched a movie.  After all that relaxation though, I needed to get back into my groove of warming up my body.

It's so cold now and I struggle to warm up on some days. But I know I must do it....you just find the time, even little tidbits of exercise here and there...wherever possible inside the home. It's all do-able! Today, I initially messed around with my Flying Peacock.  That was my intention until my chin hit the floor and my legs swayed up vertically. So I decided to dub this my peacock and chinstand into one. Had no time to reverse my arms for the all proper chinstand....whatever....I'm ok with that.

I love my yoga time.....I'm getting to the point of realizing it's all about how the pose feels to my body and not the absolute perfectionism that I constantly strive for everyday....if one thing you initially planned for turns into something else...just enjoy that moment, whatever it may be.

The challenge pose for the day is Pavanmuktasana or a Tuck:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December Challenge - Day 19

Frog Splits are pretty difficult....I would rather do front splits than frog...this pose is awkward but you can really feel the intensity in the hip stretch:

Trying to keep the entire front part of your body and abdomen against the ground with the legs spread out was a great challenge!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Challenge - Day 16

This is as far forward as I'm able to bend with Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend.  I've really improved on this one.  The feeling is so, very intense.

It's still a struggle but I've been paying attention to how I've been entering into this pose in a much slower pace so that I can bend deeper.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December Challenge - Day 13

Today is Baddha Konasana or Bound Angle Pose or Butterfly pose.  I LOVE, LOVE that kids are so naturally flexible - really - they are - without any prior training or even regular practice, I would have to say my 11 year old's Baddha Konasana is near perfection compared to mine:

He just simply saw my Instagram feed and told me he wanted to try this one and pointed at it.  He sat on the floor and did it within 2 seconds.

I, on the other hand, struggled as this is not one of my dominant poses.  And again, wearing shoes interferes with my flexibility:

I still couldn't reach my knees to the ground even without shoes.  More practice....

Another lovely weekend with my family.  It's raining right now.  Such a busy morning but tampered down to a quiet, lazy Sunday evening of snuggling, playing games, eating, and more eating....oh the holidays!! No wonder I need the exercise!  I'm so pumped for the coming week.  I have tons to do and finish off my Christmas shopping.  Love this time of the year.  It is truly the MOST wonderful time of the year.....I've been teaching my boy 'gratitude' and 'giving'.  That the power of giving is not something you do because you have to but something that you WANT to.....there is no expecting anything in return.  You do it, you give to someone because it makes YOU happy. It is showing caring and consideration for others and being thankful.....it's still a hard process for young children to understand.  I feel he understands parts of what I'm teaching him, but not the entire picture. He will someday.... ;)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December Challenge - Day 12

Seated twists always make me feel less tense and is a great help for posture:

Day 12 is Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes or Seated Half Spinal Twist.  Happy Saturday!! So glad it's the weekend finally.

Friday, December 11, 2015

December Challenge - Day 11

I hardly do this pose enough, I should practice it more. It's not that easy.  Tiger Pose or Vyaghrasana:

The balancing alone was difficult with the addition of keeping the arm and leg that is touching the floor as vertically straight as possible.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December Challenge - Day 9

Crow Pose or Bakasana:

Not especially thrilled with shoes on. Kept getting in the way.

I could have gone higher with just bare feet - but I opted for a little safety just in case I fell face forward on the cement. Yowza!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December Challenge - Day 8

Today is Dolphin Plank or Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana:

And I did another variation of the Dancer Pose, this time with an arm bind, also known as the Mermaid or Lord of the Dance:

This is a super good stretch for the spine and legs.  You can just feel it everywhere!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

December Challenge - Day 7

I always wanted to be a little ballerina when I was a little girl.....but there was one problem.....I was always too into academics and fared poorly with physical education. Athletics was not my thing. I wasn't flexible enough, fast enough, or strong enough.  I lacked finesse, style, and grace.

Natarajasana or Dancers Pose

My nose was always poked inside of a book, and I hid somewhere secluded in the school library. Whenever P.E. rolled around, I winced in agony because I was so not good at sports.

I was the type of girl that pleaded....begged with the gym teacher to just hurry and throw the ball at me during Dodge Ball, (ok, at least throw it gently at me) get it over with, so that I could get out and sit on the bench. Only then was I happy.  I was the type of girl that would hit the baseball and run to the wrong base, yup, that was me.  I was the type of girl that closed and covered her eyes and darted the ball during handball.  That was never a good idea! Sigh.  Aw, then there was swimming class....when every other girl floated beautifully on the surface of the pool while I sank, panicked, and kicked another girl in the face by accident......oh yes, true story....that was soooo me.  And the list goes on and on.....

I hated the outdoors. I never had an appreciation for it when I was younger. Track and field was my nemesis. I said, "What? How far do I have to run?" No, that was not me.

Jumping jacks and push-ups, sit-ups, and aerobics, ugh....I never understood my need for it.....I just wanted to curl up with my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Mystery books and call it a day. That's how it was for a long time...

Then I grew up.....had a kid, I became a mom and that all changed.  I played with him, I ran with him, I chased him and he wore me out, he still does.  We turn up music really loud and dance together like crazy sometimes. I sought the freedom of the outdoors and this thing called physical activity.  It was nice.

Now I can't imagine not being near the beach, at the park....constantly climbing, jumping, running.  I could simply stand all day and toss a football to a friend.  I adore being near water and the pool.  I love the simplicity of walking and hiking. The prettiness of my surroundings fulfills me.

And as if Yoga hasn't already been such a fulfilling new journey for me......I may have just started to learn dancing......what?? Me, actual dancing.....still too early but I'm enjoying....so perhaps in some small little way, I'm finally......... fulfilling that inner ballerina in me.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December Challenge - Day 6

Tree Pose or Vrksasana is the pose for the day:

And this is not part of the challenge poses, but I've been working on rotating between the weaker side and stronger side of my legs for Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2:

I can lift from my weaker side which is the left leg on my left arm, but it still looks sloppy.  And everything is 10 x harder with shoes on, especially tennis shoes. The unevenness of the soil and grass added to the difficulty - hard to tell, but I am on a small slope of a hill. This was not a totally flat surface, such a great challenge for me though.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December Challenge - Day 3

I was photobombed by the cutest.little.guy.ever..... seriously, I had no idea this guy was scurrying across as the camera went off.  I was just doing my thing....concentrating on my alignment for Virabhadrasana B or Warrior 2. Too fun!

He looks a tad scared, hope I didn't scare him. Poor thing!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December Challenge - Day 2

Chaturanga Dandasana or Four Limbed Staff Pose.  I remember when I first tried this, I could not even hold myself up with just my hands.  It was the death of me.  I'm grateful that now I can at least hold and do about 7 push-ups before I'm tired.

I try for 10 push-ups but it gets sloppy at the end.  I would rather do 5 clean and strong push-ups then try to go for an abundance and look totally awkward.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Challenge - Day 1

A new month and a new challenge.  I love that this challenge embraces a lot of Foundational Poses....that's where it all starts.  There can always be fine tuning even if you have mastered a beginner pose, and beginner poses are so important for building up to the more advanced poses. Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog.  I never used to like this pose ever, even in the very beginning when I was learning foundational poses.  I just couldn't get to the point of actually enjoying the feeling of this pose.  But now, I'm starting to appreciate it more.

I also fooled around way too much with the Eight Angle Pose.  I'm not sure why, but I was a bit obsessed with the 8 angle and just about went around to every rock that I liked and thought was fitting.

It's getting a bit chilly outside in the mornings and I normally don't venture out in the cold too much, but it was manageable for my body.

So looking forward to Christmas, baking and cooking....lots of baking and hot, hot foods to warm the soul! Putting up the tree. Ahhhh....time with family, lots of Christmas cards to make, holiday shopping, and sticking in yoga somewhere in-between all of that.  Makes my heart happy just thinking about it.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

November Challenges - Day 27

One of my favorite challenge poses is Camel Pose or Ustrasana:

I am not proficient at back bends but I have felt and seen my progress with back bends. Most likely the toughest for me at this time.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

November Challenges - Day 26

It's Thanksgiving! What a lovely day with my little family. I'm so thankful for so many things. Small things in life that we, perhaps, take for granted. I'm thankful for change.  Because without change, I wouldn't be happy. That didn't come easy.....I can't say that yoga alone changed me.

It was a combination of things that has made me a better person.  Not just one. I 'learned' to be a better person, to be more mature, and more patient. That doesn't just come instantly.  It's a process...

Today is Bow pose or Dhanurasana:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November Challenges - Day 25

First time ever doing this Frog Pose or Bhekasana:

Oh my goodness, this is much harder than I thought, but very much similar to the bow pose, I suppose once I gain flexibility in this position, I'll be able to lift my chest a bit higher.

December Challenge is up and I'm excited! But taking it easy on the challenge so I'm kind of glad it's a month of simpler poses.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November Challenges - Day 24

Flying Lizard or Uttana Prasithasana:

And I chose a simpler form for the Boat pose - I did the half boat pose or Ardha Navasana:

Monday, November 23, 2015

November Challenges - Day 23

This first pose is not even close. I gave it my best attempt though. Butterfly pose with a shoulder stretch....It's as far as I could bend forward and lift my binded arms from behind. So difficult.

And Astravakrasana or Eight Angle:

My EKAP 2 isn't as solid on the beach surface as I wanted it to be - but I still, very much, enjoy testing my arm strength on the unevenness of the sand, and boy does that sand make me feel like I'm twice as heavy:

Excited for the holidays coming up, it will be crazy, insanely busy but I love it!!  Appointments, parties, school activities, family, Christmas shopping, etc. I've decided to only join one challenge for the month of December, just don't think I will have the time for any more than that.  Plus, this is the time of the year, I love to make a lot of holiday cards.  And I hate rushing holiday cards. The process of making handmade specifically for each person, and writing my thoughts down 'specifically' for that person, it's something that is so enjoyable for me.  It is truly the most wonderful time of the year to think of others....

December, I shall conquer you, and will sleep my way through January, I hope. Ha!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November Challenges - Day 22

Straddle leg lifts are really hard to do.  I couldn't really reach any heighth or strength by pressing alone with my body pulled forward and hands to the ground, so I opted for holding my legs in place with my hands at my ankles:

And I've progressed somewhat with Revolved Head to Knee Pose/Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana, actually - I forgot to place my right arm in front of my legs. Oops.  I do feel myself being able to lean closer to my legs, I just need to twist my torso a bit more.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November Challenges - Day 21

I haven't so much been falling behind on my poses, but have been faltering with taking time to slow down and write down thought, journal....really write like I used to.  It's been so busy and I hope it calms down after the holidays.  For now, very quick dropping in and post:

Bhujapidasana or Shoulder pressing pose:

and Wide Angle Side Stretch:

Friday, November 20, 2015

November Challenges - Day 20

Day 20 was the Splits - Hanumanasana:

And Supta Padangusthasana or Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose.  I think I manage this pose a bit better when I'm standing:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November Challenges - Day 18

Today is Humble Warrior....this pose was super difficult as I can't get my leg over my head yet.

Definitely challenging indeed and I have yet to try the other Humble Warrior variations that look a little more promising at this time! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November Challenges - Day 17

Kasyapasana or Side Plank with Bound Half Lotus:

Almost touched the foot with my hand, but not quite. So close, perhaps next time around.

And a Lizard Variation:

Monday, November 16, 2015

November Challenges - Day 16

What motivates you to exercise when it gets into the colder months? The thought of changing from my everyday clothing into my workout clothes in this weather is a little less inviting for me than perhaps snuggling underneath a comforter, having the heater turned up, and a huge bowl of soup in front of me.  I'm not a fan of being bundled up too much when it comes to exercising either, way too uncomfortable and restricting.

I'm not really complaining, more like assessing the thought in my head.  Different people are motivated by different things.  Perhaps I should see that the minutes in-between where it takes to warm up and feel the heat in my body, won't feel so long. Perhaps that is more worthwhile than the bone chilling feeling I have before I begin my yoga for the day.....winter is going to be interesting.  It always is......I yearn for 5 more months.

Day 16 is a low lunge or Anjaneyasana:

And I did a prep exercise to improve my core for the Jump Back technique.  This was really, excruciatingly hard. Starting from a boat pose, breathing in and exhaling, then bending forward, pivoting my arms and legs for the jump back - did this 10 times and I was already super tired.


It will be a long time before I am ready for a full Jump Back into Chaturanga.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November Challenges - Day 15

I've progressed a bit more with my variation of splits or Hanumanasana, slowly incorporating backbends into the mix.  This is as deep as I can go for now.  It was such an intense stretch for me. I now need to learn how to pivot my knee and would like to lift up one leg.

I haven't figured out quite how to do that yet.  And for the Liquidspine Challenge, a super intense seated, revolved side stretch with one bent leg or Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana: