small decisions

om-shanti

Normally on Thursdays I go to spin class and I go to a hot power yoga class. I went to bed early last night, because I was exhausted and my joints were and still are not feeling so good.  I didn’t feel like going to my classes today. I woke up this morning, feeling rested and ready to take on the new day. I’ve packed my gym bag and lunchtime yoga looks like it’s on the horizon still, however, I’m still feeling rather spent.

It’s days like this that I find difficult. I don’t know if I’m talking myself out of attending classes or if I’m trying to listen to what my body needs, which may be some rest.

I had a good friend tell me a couple of years ago, that if I’m feeling tired or starting to feel like I’m under the weather I should go to yoga.  It may seem counterintuitive, but this piece of advice usually works. So I made the decision to attend the yoga class.

It worked, by the time we were going through our flow, I was feeling far more energized than I had since the day before and I was appreciating where I was today, not yesterday and not where I want to be in my practice tomorrow or in a month, but appreciating that I was having a day where I was tired and my joints were reminding me they’re arthritic, but I can still practice yoga.

I made the decision after class to give spin a miss today.  Normally I have a lot of joint swelling in my knees directly after class for about 10-15 minutes and I was concerned that it could have been longer, considering how my body was feeling.

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Surprise and Delight

I ran in late to my lunch time yoga class, in a bit of a tizzy, I set up my mat and ran to the change rooms, and whizzed back in and joined the class in downward dog.  

However, I was surprised and delighted when I received an unexpected gift from a fellow classmate, that I had never met, Andrea. She was kind enough to give me a new headband from Lululemon.  She works at the Lululemon Britomart store and when she saw me rushing around the yoga studio, she thought I could do with an unexpected delight in my hectic day.  Funniest part of the story, I thought someone had accidentally left the headband on my mat, so I handed in to the studio for lost property.   I was told after I returned from the change rooms what really happened. So I waited to say thank you and introduce myself to Andrea.

Fantastic brand initiative by Lululemon and their team and a nice small gesture, that I won’t soon forget either.

my new awesome headband. Thanks for the surpise and delight in the middle of my day!

my new awesome headband. Thanks for the surpise and delight in the middle of my day!

Yoga ruins your life. Oh yesss. It does.

Yoga ruins your life. Oh yesss. It does..

saw this fantastic post on http://andrealeber.com blog and thought that I absolutely must share.

This is my first time reading someone else’s blog and using the share button for WordPress. So if for some reason I’ve done something wrong, let me know, and I’ll correct my mistake.

SUP yoga summer goals

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I did yoga on a stand up paddle board and I loved it.  I went again this weekend and I’ve come up with two goals for the board.

By March 26 2014 I want to be able to successfully do a headstand and crane (or crow) pose whilst on the board.

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

I don’t have a paddle board and I’ve only done two yoga classes on a board, but I really want to get this sussed on the board. I hope I can crush this goal this summer.

If you don’t know anything about headstands or crane pose here is a quick heads up.

Headstands – also known as Shirshasana is considered a fountain of youth pose, along with all inversions. Your blood rushes to your head, your skin is hanging in the opposite direction, essentially you’re going against the flow of gravity.  The longer you hold a headstand, the stronger your core becomes.  I’m pretty new to headstand and can hold it 5-8 breaths. I’d like to get up to 10 breaths. Personally I also find doing a headstand helps if I feel a headache coming on, and usually if I’m feeling low on energy, headstands make me feel more energetic.

Crane or Crow  – also known as Bakasana is another inversion as your head is dipped below your heart. This pose is amazing for your entire yoga practice. It’s a really good pose to become more mindful as I set my gaze, calm my mind and focus on my breathe. I also find that crane is a great pose that gets me to think more mindfully about the muscles I’m using. Crane can be considered a difficult pose and it’s the same pose that makes me smile every time I lift off.

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

Here we are in St. Mary's Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Here we are in St. Mary’s Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Last week I tried Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga for the first time and I loved it!

I wanted to try something new on my birthday, because I think its important to spend your birthday that way.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove across the Auckland Harbour bridge to get to the class and I was looking forward to it, and was apprehensive too.

I had been wanting to try SUP yoga for a little while and had not had the opportunity, but to be fair, I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity earlier.  I had it in my head that I wasn’t good enough to do it.

I’m not sure what gave me the impression. It wasn’t a sense of self worth that I was missing, but it was the actual physical strength that I thought I lacked.  I had put it into my head I had to be either good at yoga or at paddle boarding or both. I didn’t realize that had gotten in my own way, until I was presented with the opportunity to SUP yoga for my birthday.  I immediately said yes, and then all the excuses came bubbling up to the surface to make me doubt my decision. However, I had already made the decision to commit and I really wanted to do something new and challenging for my birthday.

So I went and I did it and if you forgot what I wrote above, I loved it.

Getting out the anchor point was a bit of a challenge, because I had only paddled boarded once, in March, and didn’t really remember any of the technique and tips. I had already made the decision that while I didn’t want to fall in, that I would be OK if I did and it would contribute to a memorable experience. Sidebar: I definitely prescribe to the idea that if you’re not falling you’re not having fun or pushing yourself; although sometimes I forget that when I take a particularly nasty fall.

Our instructor, Katrina,  had gotten a gauge of how comfortable on paddle boards we were, and also how comfortable we were doing yoga. She lead the session according to our abilities and offered modifications to poses to make them easier or harder, as suited for each individual.

It didn’t take long for me to realize the best way for me to enjoy myself on the board, stay with my breath, focus, listen to my body and find my stability, and stay with it.

The best part of doing it was the fact that I got out of my own way. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have realized just how much I enjoyed it.

If you are in Auckland, I would highly recommend coming out for a SUP yoga session. Katrina teaches every Wednesday at 6pm and every Saturday at 8am. Contact Flux to book your spot

Battle of the joints

In September I participated in a 30 day yoga challenge. I loved it, but about half way through it, instead of feeling more amazing, I started to feel more uncomfortable. My joints had started to flare up.

I had been on a new Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) drug since February 2013, and it all seemed to be going really well, up until mid-September when the joints started to flare up, unfortunately they didn’t settle down. I struggled with an uncomfortable amount of pain and fatigue for approximately a month and a half. I didn’t realise just how bad it had gotten, until the relief came in November. 

The scariest part about my RA flare up, was how I adapted, and accepted the pain. I didn’t initally link my sudden exhaustion to my RA, I tried to attribute it to any thing else in my life. I thought my joints were sore, because of the 30 day challenge, not because my RA was paying me a visit.  And I just put up with it. It took me a few weeks to realise that it was my RA that was affecting me, and a few more still to have my appointment with my specialist.

At my appointment I spoke to my specialist, and he advised me it was normal for some patients to feel good whilst on their medication, and for some reason its was normal that it medications stopped being as effective.  We discussed other options, which unfortunately for me means, i need to consider the fact that I need to try new medications again. I left with more information about the new medication and another script to help manage my RA.

I decided on November 1st that I wanted to be happier than I was in October. I reframed my situation and was attempting to make the most of everything for the month. My appointment with my specialist occurred on November 5th and that appointment, along with the adjustment of my medication allowed me to physically make the most of what I actually wanted to do. 

Check out the images of joints and whats happening to them care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Check out the images of joints and whats happening to them care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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If you wanted to read what it said, I thought I would share.

I feel conflicted as to what to do about my medication. On the one hand I want to go on the new medication because I could get really good results from it.  On the other hand, I’m scared of the side effects list and it’s mentally draining to continue to try new medications.  I have to make a decision by Dec 17th if I’m going to start a new treatment or not. However, I really don’t know what other choice I have.

Trying out gardening

So i wouldn’t ever claim to be a gardener.  I love seeing other people’s garden, and I love learning about what someone has planted in their garden.  I also love the idea of having a garden.  However, I move so much, about every six months, that is up until January.  This is the longest I think I’ve held an address in about 9 years. So, it’s only natural as the weather starts to turn to summer, that I want to try my hand at gardening, thankfully the husband, is also keen to have a go.

Here is a snapshot as to how our attempt is coming along. We’re not sure how much success we’ll have, but we’ve had a lot of fun so far, and some challenges, and also we’re learning a lot.

the wild of our gardens, complete with our cat that loves to stalk through it

the wild of our gardens, complete with our cat that loves to stalk through it

another thrilling look at a overgrown garden bed

another thrilling look at a overgrown garden bed

 

After all the hard work of weeding.

After all the hard work of weeding

After all the hard work of weeding the fun part began.  With a fresh canvas, we were able to start thinking about what it would look like.  We got some local sheep manure and mixed it with some soil from the garden centre and also started to do a weekly  watering with blood and bone.

I got ridiculously excited about all the different possibilities of what to plant, and thankfully, my husband was there to be a tether back to reality.

So we went with sweet 100’s tomatoes and basil as its companion plant. We also planted parsley, roly poly carrots, marigolds (or calendula), chillis for a bit of fun, capsicums (or bell peppers), cucumbers and coriander.

check out our burgeoning garden, once we decided what to plant.

check out our burgeoning garden, once we decided what to plant.

and directly across, the other garden bed.

and directly across, the other garden bed.

We also purchased a gorgeous bucket of lettuces, it already has four heads of lettuce planted in it, and you just pick it as needed. We went a bit crazy, so we left it alone for two weeks and its cranking again.

Still to plant, some catnip and sage.

I’ve loved the experience so far of gardening (with the exception of the slightly achey joints), its been amazing, how many lovely people have offered us sound advice and even gifted us with plants to start with. It’s so satisfying to see the unkempt garden made over and I’ve even enjoyed the investigative part of gardening, our basil was just being chomped through, and we finally figured out it was the hungry caterpillar.

However I think the best part has been trying out a new activity with my husband.  We both have a few activities that we do separately, and we have a few that we do together.

Taking an interest in the garden has been fun to do together.  As mentioned early, he’s been really great at grounding me with what we can achieve, considering our garden space isn’t the largest, however he’s also been awesome in having fun with what we plant. We aren’t big chilli eaters, but we both thought it would be fun to try out something a bit different, and agreed that they’d look fantastic too.  We’re sure we can find plenty of people to share our chilli’s with. It’s proved to be an activity that we both can get outside and enjoy together and it’s been fun planning and discussing the garden too. I’ve been able to be creative with what we’re planting and how to plant.  The husband didn’t know anything about companion planting, but it was something I was interested in trying out.

While the motivation to start gardening has been different for both us, it’s given us something new to do together, and that has made the process really worth it. Now let’s hope we get a few little something somethings from the garden.

Wanderlust Auckland

Recently added to the Wanderlust Auckland experience is the one day Yoga in the City event next year in March, held at Western Springs Park. 

My understanding is that there is going to be a big four day Wanderlust in NZ for 2015, and may be in the Taupo region, who knows.

I really enjoy yoga, but attending something like this is a bit out of my comfort zone; so of course, I’m trying to lean into the idea of attending.

At the very least, it couldn’t be a bad experience and at the very best it could be a very fascinating one.

Check out this video from the creators of Wanderlust as they talk about their NYC in the city event.