Tag Archives: yoga

How To Stay In Shape During the Holidays

There’s a lot of talk this time of year about people being too busy to exercise and keep up with their fitness routines. While I always find time to hop into the gym—if only to see if Hot Gym guy is hanging around—or throw in a Jillian Michaels DVD for 30 minutes so I can yell, “I’M NOT PHONING IT IN!, I understand that some people simply have different priorities.

Considering I don’t prioritize spending more than five minutes on my makeup in the morning, no judgment here.

But there’s good news! Because just like holiday décor doesn’t have to come from traditional places, neither does breaking a sweat and getting in a workout during the holiday season. I’m here today to let you know that it’s totally fine if the only jogging you do is of your memory while trying to remember where you hid that last freaking gift.

So pull off that ugly Christmas sweater, do a few light stretches and feel the burn doing things you’re probably already doing, my friends!

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Dashing through the snow to bring the trash bin to the end of the driveway before the truck comes in the morning.

Doing twisting crunches in bed to reach and hit the snooze again super-setted with kicking off the sheets or blanket in an effort to get untwisted.

Walking around the parking lot looking for where you parked your car (while ticking off the parking spot stalkers that are waiting for you to get in your car and leave, like you’re roaming around in the cold on purpose.)

Pushing a grocery cart through the slushy lot requires lower body strength while upper body strength is necessary to try and steer the cart away from the direction the slush wants to go—most often into another parked car.

When grocery shopping, lifting the overflowing basket you told yourself you would use instead of a full cart is great for building up your arms—be sure to switch from right to left for equal amounts of time.

Loading/unloading the car and then carrying all the groceries/purchases in one trip because you’re cold and don’t want to walk back outside is great for both the upper and lower body. Be sure to throw in a few kickboxing kicks as you try and catch the door before it slams shut.

Forget the stairmaster! Going up and down the stairs to retrieve boxes of decorations, armloads of laundry and gifts you forgot that you hid will get the job done just as well.

Lifting boxes of decorations alternated with moving furniture around—no, that looks better over there. No wait, push it over there.—works both the upper and lower body.

Putting ornaments on the Christmas tree involves calf raises to reach the top, squats to bend down pick up dropped ornaments and tones the shoulders when you take the ball full of tangled lights and throw them across the room.

Running through the stores trying to avoid people you know that you don’t want to get stuck talking to because there are SO MANY PEOPLE in the store and you just want to leave is great cardio, not to mention the plyometrics involved in the starting and stopping each time.

Don’t worry about eating those baked goods, as whisking and stirring ingredients for desserts sculpts your arms, quick squats in front of the oven to bend down and check how things are baking works your legs and lunging to catch the egg before it falls off the counter works your butt.

And finally—and possibly the most important exercise of all—is power yoga, and by “power yoga” I mean lying in corpse pose on the couch for a minimum of two hours a day.

See? You’re pretty much an elite athlete at this point, so enjoy those chestnuts roasting on an open fire and another slice of pie. After all, you’ve more than earned it.

P.S. I have to add that I was overwhelmed by your replies to my last post and on my Facebook page. I’m still trying to deal with everything, but all your support honestly made this ice queen melt quite a bit. I plan on writing about it a bit more in the future, because if nothing else it’s new blog fodder. But today, just…thanks. Now go do your grocery cart glute crunches!

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A Letter From My Yoga Pants

It has been more than a year since I wrote a letter to my new yoga pants welcoming them to the family. In that time we’ve had our share of ups and downs—often from the couch—and upward/downward facing dog positions, which is to be expected.

What I didn’t expect was a letter in reply, and I feel it’s only fair that I share their rebuttal today.

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Dear Abby,

Here’s the deal.

The honeymoon is over.

It’s been a year since you scrounged up the $20 or so at Target to bring me into your life, and while I admit that did have slightly higher hopes for where I would end up — maybe some fashion-forward type with a perky butt that would fill me out better and wear me only once every few weeks while “slumming” and sipping wine on a veranda —I never held that fact against you.

From the beginning you made it clear that I would be put into a small rotation of “good” pants worn out in public before being relegated to “home” pants put on the second you came in the door until you hit the hay at the crazy hour of 10 p.m.

But it’s been a year, and well, I have a couple of issues.

First of all, can we talk about this gym situation a minute? Because I’m still considered your “good” pair, I always have to go out and quite frankly, being in public is exhausting.

With the exception of seeing Hot Gym Guy on the treadmill in front of us—talk about dangling the carrot in front of the horse, am I right?—I can only take so many elliptical sessions and small talk with the woman next to you who apparently marinates in perfume before I’m tempted to use my drawstring for violence.

Second, let’s talk about food.

Sometimes I feel like you should keep me in the fridge because of all the little pieces of hummus or avocado that find their way onto me. I know you try and do that whole, “Wet a towel and wipe it off” thing, but who are we kidding? I hate to break it to you, but no one, that’s who.

Finally, I’m tired and it’s starting to show.

There’s wear and tear on my cuffs, and the aforementioned weaponized drawstring has even broken off in one spot. Sometimes I even feel like even the Walmart cashier is judging how we look.

So let’s just get it all out there, my friend—it’s time to buy a new pair.

Yes, I want you to move on and wear other pants in public so I can enjoy being your “home” pair, which as you said is pretty much like retirement in the Florida Keys for me. I want to swap the gym for power yoga—and by “power yoga” I mean corpse pose on the couch for hours—and only for long walks to the fridge.

Will I miss Hot Gym Guy? Sprinting to put out the recycle as the truck comes down the street?  At times, I’m sure that I will. But all in all, I’m content providing you nothing but comfort from “real” pants that just don’t get you.

I get you.

Now with my blessing, go and get some new pants.

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‘Twas the Write Before Christmas

‘Twas the days before Christmas, and all through my place.

Not an idea was stirring to share on this space.

My stocking was hung by the chimney with care,

(Which meant there would be no more dusting right there.)

And then there was me, wearing what I wear best.

Yoga pants, sweatshirt, well you know the rest.

When out from the driveway, I heard something clatter,

And turned to the window to tend to the matter.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear?

But a Lexus that made me ask, “Who the heck’s here?”

The lost-looking driver sped off in a fit,

And I knew those commercials were still full of shit.

Speaking of cars and a holiday ruse,

Those dressed up like reindeer that Santa might use?

The antlers on top and a red nose to boot,

Send mixed messages when drivers give the one-fingered salute.

“Freaking merge!” “Learn to park!” They all shout and they call!

‘Tis the season for road rage for those at the mall.

But back to the story of writing this post.

Even though all the readers are logged off, like most.

I thought I could write a more eloquent poem,

That centered on exploits from June, our old gnome.

But this year he’s tanked and refuses to eat,

Except numerous Vodka-filled candy cane treats.

I’m left on my own to come up with this stuff,

Something holiday-centered, sprinkled with fluff?

I had an idea of where things could be going,

In my head all the words just kept flowing and flowing.

But then in a twinkling, I heard in my head.

The prancing and pawing of something instead.

“Did I put back the Swiffer I used on the floors?

Of course I should check, and then clean out some drawers.

Perhaps now the shower could use a good scrub?

I’ll keep writing as soon as I clean out that tub.

And now the mirror’s streaky, so that gets cleaned, too.

What’s with my eyebrows? Let’s pluck one or two.”

My eyes looked quite tired, my hair still a mess.

My chest most resembling a flat iron press.

A shirt stained with hummus not hiding that stealth.

But I laughed when I saw it in spite of myself.

Then I remembered I wanted to bake,

There were cookies and candies I still had to make!

Once that was over, with treats wrapped up tight,

I had no more excuses to not sit and write.

“Okay, back to work.” I decided right then.

I resolved to see this post right through to the end.

But then laying the cursor aside of my lines,

I somehow clicked over to go back online.

To Facebook I sprang, and of course, then to Twitter.

As long as I’m there, e-mail too. (I’m no quitter.)

My train of thought suddenly derailed again,

I figured that yoga might help me feel Zen.

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Down dog and pigeon and side planks galore,

I couldn’t help notice a string on the floor.

Out came the vacuum to suck up that stuff,

And at that point I figured enough was enough.

Clearly this poem wasn’t going that great,

A much better post would just have to then wait.

So I sighed and I shrugged and then turned on TV,

And crashed on the couch for a Food Network spree.

Now where was I going with this rambling spiel?

Oh yes, for you people I like a great deal:

May your holiday bring you much joy and delight,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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Go With the Flow

I’ve been doing yoga since I was 15 years old in some way, shape or form. While I admit that the physical part of things is what always brought me back, the combination of physical and mental with yoga does help to slow some things down with my head sometimes.

If I don’t focus, I fall.

I can’t always just go through the motions.

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But through the years there have been short stretches where I just didn’t feel like doing it. My theory was that yoga was something that I had to be in the mood for to reap the benefits from, and since I didn’t depend on it as my sole form of exercise I hated feeling like I “had” to go through the motions.

 That would completely defeat the purpose, and each time I returned to the mat revitalized and ready to go.

Recently I had one of those stretches and completely stopped for a couple of months. While I was still working out—that’s never an issue—I just wasn’t feeling the yoga.

The truth of the matter is that I have no focus lately—not just for yoga, but for anything (but yay Twitter!) I’m flighty and flitting between this and that with a scattered attention span of about 30 seconds, and that’s not an exaggeration.

If I can’t focus, I fall—in more ways than one.

But I finally had the urge to do yoga again this weekend, so I popped in a DVD, got my “Om” on and came to the realization that with so many things:

“When I have to, it’s hard. When I want to, it’s easy.”

For example, sometimes I sit and stare at my computer screen, the blinking cursor on a blank white page either inviting me in or mocking me with metronomic consistency. When the words flow and my fingers find it hard to keep up with my brain, I’m left feeling like what I wrote was what I was supposed to write.

Other times there’s nothing, so I fill that space with frustration and pressure, two things that aren’t exactly conducive to productivity. But nothing can be forced that I’ll be satisfied with, and unless it’s work-related and mandatory, trying too hard defeats the purpose.

So while I was getting my “Om” on with my head tucked under my leg, my arm bent at an awkward angle and “REMEMBERING TO BREATHE AND RELAX,” I also remembered that I have to accept those times when things don’t flow.

That’s not to say I shouldn’t do the things I have to do—we all have obligations and it’s called being an adult. More times than not I have to just put on my big girl panties and do what needs to be done.

The fact I can’t focus on what I want to do or what needs to be done is frustrating and affecting things both online and off, so I’m looking into it. Probably maybe.

But I also know the things I enjoy should never become just something to cross off a list, done out of guilt or obligation. After all, motivation and creativity ebb and flow and usually happen spontaneously, not just because they were planned.

Remembering that—and TO BREATHE AND RELAX even though I’m either literally or metaphorically twisted up more than a Gumby doll— helps to bring me some peace.

When I have to, it’s hard. When I want to, it’s easy.

In other words, go with the flow.

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