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

IMG_2997

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.

how do you eat?

check out the zig zag

check out the zig zag

My call is to eat well most of the time and treat myself sometimes and enjoy it all. Pretty much that means try to make the right choice most of the time, and on occassion where I eat the cupcake, I don’t suffer the guilt from it.

Apparently the way I eat can be described as a zig zag. I didn’t know it was what I was doing, but then I read about it from Dr. Libby Weaver, and I’ll let her explain it. Here’s what Dr. Libby has to say about it:

“The concept of ‘zig vs zag’ is a helpful one as the weekend approaches.

A ‘zig’ meal is made up of nutrient-dense foods, real foods and no alcohol. While for a ‘zag’ meal, little if any consideration is given to the nutrient value of what you are eating. It is more about the company you are in, being playful and relaxing. Zags are part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Usually I would guide someone to zag once a week, or 3 to 5 out of their 35 eating occasions in a week.

If you know you are going to your office party, that doesn’t mean the whole day is a right off, yet so many people approach their life or health in this way! Having the office party in the evening is even more reason to eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch, following up with nutrient-dense food choices the next day. You enjoy the zag but when you live mostly as a zig, the zag takes very little toll on your overall level of well-being.”

3 to 5 out of 35 eating occasions in a week. I had never really thought about how many times I would eat in a week. But this really helped break it down for me and made it so much more realistic to eat well and made me feel better, because it confirmed to me that I was eating well.

When I’m in charge of my own meals, I do my best to eat right. However, when I’m out with friends, visiting family or even when I’m at work, I’m more flexible and indulge (my favourite indulgence while I’m at work, is a cookie from moustache. These cookies are seriously addictive, but at the same time I can only eat like 1 every a month, it’s just too rich in flavor for me)

birthday

it was yesterday.

I turned an age that felt like a shoulder shrug to me, some years feel more exciting than others. My sister asked me how I felt about it and that was how I described it.  I really liked her response.  She basically told me the focus isn’t on the number, however it’s a day to remember to enjoy and feel happy about.

It got me thinking, because I think she thought I was bummed about my birthday, and I think she thought I was shoulder shrugging my birthday, but that was so not the case.

We had a good chat about it and I think she understood what I meant.  That the day itself would still be an awesome day but the age I turned was a shoulder shrug.

I didn’t realise I had been creating my own traditions (all of two but still, they count) surrounding my birthday until this year, and I thought I would share what they are.

1. More important than New Year’s, my birthday is where I start to benchmark my year from.  Like others, I reflect on the year that’s passed, but I start to think about what I want to achieve in the year ahead.  I start setting out what it is that I want to accomplish.

2. I like to try out new things on my birthday.  It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be as simple as taking a different route from point A to B, trying a food I haven’t tried before, exploring somewhere I haven’t been or try an activity that I’ve not tried before.  The point is there needs to be something new.

3. I like to think that  how you spend your birthday is a reflection of how you will spend the year. Be dramatic about it.. it’ll be a dramatic year; fill it with laughter, and you’ll probably have a super fun-filled year.  It’s completely unscientific, however its just a bit of birthday fun.

 

hb

Cookbooks

Cookbooks I’m drawing inspiration from reguarly or cooking straight out of.

It’s all good check it out here

While this book has been skewered, I really don’t get why. Overall it promotes a whole food diet. Less with the packaged trash and more with whole foods that we all know is the best way to eat. No book is perfect, and yes this books makes me roll my eyes and giggle a bit, but that’s happening at the non recipe stuff. The recipes though, you can’t really fault them. I’ve tried a handful, stir fried brow rice with nori and black sesame, red smoothie, all three beet salad suggestions, black and guacamole tacos, plus some others and I keep coming up with winners. My favourite part though, is her basic recipes section.  She has amazing recipes to make your own pickled jalapenos, Lee’s Sriracha, roasted tomato and chipotle salsa

The real food chef check it out here

Dr. Libby Weaver is all kinds of awesome. I was lucky enough for this book to be given to me as a gift, and it really just keeps on giving. Again, I’ve tried a handful of recipes brain balls, roasted vegetable frittata muffins, banana, berry, coconut smoothie, nut butter muffins, chocolate seed balls, pad thai chicken (and a tofu version), and I just adore the dressings and condiment section. The recipes have yet to fail me. Dr. Libby has a new book that has recently come out, The Real Food Kitchen, and I’m number one on the wait list for the book at the library, and I’m super excited to borrow it!

The spunky coconut dairy-free ice cream – check it out here

The top most review of this book on good reads wrote something to the effect that she preferred the book, Vegan a la mode. It’s funny because I borrowed that book and this book from the library at the same time. I returned Vegan a la mode without any interest in any of the recipes, however during my loan period from the library, I went ahead and ordered the Spunky book for myself. It was exactly what I was after. I absolutely love the book. I had bought an ice cream maker and it had sat in the house for at least a month without any use. As soon as I read this book, I was completely inspired and before too long, I was whipping up my own ice cream. I’ve had the ice cream maker packed away for winter, however, it’s coming out next weekend! Hurrah!

Cornucopia – check it out here

I don’t know why exactly, but this is a cookbook that I usually break out in winter and usually on a Sunday.  It’s a wonderful book, choc full of recipes that always fill me up, in that way you want a winter meal to fill you.  I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but you should have a read.