yoga challenge

It’s been a while. I know. Though it’s been a while, I’ll keep this one short and sweet:) I’m still doing yoga at Bikram Yoga Tempe. Currently, I’m participating in the BYT 12 Year Anniversary Challenge. It’s an eight week commitment where you practice at least four times a week. Admittedly, I started with a BANG because I started off doing the 30 Day Challenge (26 classes in 30 days). However, this is a huge semester for me (which explains the absence). After the first two weeks of the challenge, I was on fire, going to class six days a week. After that, coordinating going to yoga while teaching five courses, re-designing our core courses, getting a jumpstart on job applications, writing my book proposal, working on an article, and just maintaining basic sanity, I kinda’ lost it! Luckily, when that happened, the studio announced the BYT 12 Year Anniversary Challenge. I just switched over and have a start date that’s a few weeks earlier than most. Going four times a weeks is still challenging because the work keeps on piling on. I go to campus everyday and stay for at least eight hours a day, often coming home after 7pm. When I’m home, I have dinner and then just conk out. Even with the yoga, I’m not sure how healthy this is. I have days where I feel like I can barely breathe. Personally, I think I’m using the yoga as insurance to do so.

BYT.Challenge2

This is the wall of participants. I’m towards the bottom.

The nice thing about the challenge is that there are a ton of people doing it. I like feeling that I’m in good company. These last two weeks have been really challenging and while I have a few sessions to spare, I’m afraid that I may fall behind – especially since I’m out of town during my last week of the challenge.

For now, the best thing I can do is dig my heels in and do my best to simply show up.

There’s a lot I can say about my practice. At some point, I’ll share when I have time. For now, I’ll say that I’m surprised that I can put up with the mundane nature of Bikram Yoga. It’s the same sequence and the same script. Day in and day out, the difference is you and your body. The instructors always say that it’s called yoga practice, not yoga perfect. This is true. My body does something different everyday. Sometimes I’m really flexible and sometimes I’m sore and stiff as all heck. The practice never lies. I can always feel the pangs of my life during class. Sometimes it’s pleasurable, other times, it’s uncomfortable. For me, yoga is the “me” time that forces me to confront the pleasure and discomfort.

CamelPose

There are complicated poses I can’t bare to do, but the one pose I have the hardest time with is the camel pose.I can’t say camel pose gets me weepy and emotional, but it does suffocate me. Technically, it’s not a difficult pose and physically, I’m capable of doing it. For some reason, transitioning into this pose is really difficult, because I always feel this odd choking sensation – like someone is pulling me from behind. I transition as best as I can, but usually, I collapse forward. I’m working on it….

FixedFirmPose

It is my firm belief that no matter how sane and peppy I am, by the time we get to fixed firm pose, all I hear is “BIG SPERM pose.” There. I admitted it. It’s a terrible dirty secret that I harbor during each and every class. I can never take this pose seriously because I can’t get over the whole BIG SPERM thing. (hahaha)

Anyhoo… the challenge is become a more difficult because the work is piling on. Let’s hope this all ends well.

Celebrating EVERY body,

the fierce fathlete

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bikram lessons: going commando

command

As a newbie to Bikram yoga, there are a few lessons that I have learned. Apparently, some people choose to go commando when they workout. For the record, I do not object to the practice. If going commando is your thing, do it. I’m not here to judge. However, there are some things that you need to know before going down the command-uh-oh route. Here we go:

Rule #1: Going commando only works if you’re wearing tight-fitted shorts. This is especially important in the yoga world. Think about it. Loose shorts + standing bow = you ruining my combat state of zen because I just saw your punani. Exposing your punani may be your thing, but it isn’t mine. Please take note.

Rule #2: Not all bottoms are built the same. Please opt for thick-ish over thin, and dark colors over light. Never EVER wear white. (Wanna know why? Take a pair of white shorts, dunk them in water, and go commando in those babies. Tell me what happens.)

Rule #3: Size is everything. Please wear the right size. Gear that is too tight can cause circulation issues. If you go too loose, then you run the risk of those babies falling off in the middle your balancing stick. Again, fine if it’s your goal, but generally, you really don’t wanna do that, do you?

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Rule #4: There is such a thing as too short. I don’t mind butt cheeks hanging out, if it’s your thing. Remember, in Bikram, the room is hot and sweaty and if you keep fiddling with your shorts because they’re too short, then it just looks like you like touching yourself. Please fix accordingly.

At the end of the day, if you’re going commando, OWN IT!

Celebrating EVERY body,
the fierce fathlete

fierce products: hydro flask bottles

I’ve been living in the desert for just under two years now and in truth, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. The heat makes me want to poke someone else’s eyeballs very slowly with dull toothpicks dipped in spicy salt.

Seriously.

hulkWhen I first moved to Phoenix, the Manpanion and I drove twelve hours from San Francisco (never again!) and arrived at about 2am. The temperatures read about 110 degrees. We were tired, cranky, and from that moment on, we fought…. ALL THE TIME. People that know us know that we’re not the type of couple that fights much. He and I are very diplomatic and we always talk through our rough patches. But that first week in Phoenix, I swear I wanted to rip his eyes sockets out! After a few days of this, we realized that we were both combative because the heat just brought out the Hulk in each of us.

Living in Phoenix, you learn some survival rituals such as strategic grocery shopping (only one place at a time because you can’t leave stuff in your car), avoiding wearing thin flip flops at night (the heat that has been absorbed in the cement rises at night), and having to carry a water bottle everywhere you go. Seriously. EVERYWHERE.

Hydroflask1

This is where Hydro Flask bottles come in. If you practice some form of hot yoga, then you likely know what a Hydro Flask is. It is an insulated water bottle that keeps your liquids cold (or hot depending on their original state) for hours on end. I find my Hydro Flask useful because I’d hate to drink lukewarm water during Bikram yoga. Cold water provides my one moment of bliss as I move through various postures while in Dante’s inferno.There are times I want to make love to my Hydro Flask because it’s that freakin’ awesome!

Much like Kleen Kanteen (my other favorite; there’s an insulated version!), Hydro Flasks are really durable, BPA free, and are easy to clean and use. Personally, I like that Hydro Flasks have a matte textured finish. They come in all sorts of colors and sizes, which is important for hot yoga folks.

Hydro Flask 2

Personally, I own the 21 ounce size in purple (of course!) But if I could do it all over again, I’d opt for the 40 ounce (or a second 21 ounce size) for class because the one bottle isn’t enough for me. Typically, I carry a second water bottle in the locker room so I can re-hydrate after class. Unfortunately, I’ve been in situations where I drank all my water with 15 minutes left of class. This is no bueno!

The final bonus (for me because I’m a kick-ass kind of gal) about these bottles is they can double for a weapon in the event someone tries to mug you for your yoga mat. (Not that this has happened… but if some renegade thug yogini to tries to do this, I’m prepared!)

Celebrating EVERY body,
the fierce fathlete

Note Bene: I am in no way paid or compensated for sharing my opinion about the Hydro Flask or any of the products I feature in “fierce products.” These are just things that I personally like. However, if you create an awesome product and want to shoot a gal some stuff to try out, leave your contact info in comments. I would love to try out your product and share an honest opinion about it. 

sweating it out… bikram beginnings

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I’m not sure what made me sign up for a one month trial at the local Bikram Yoga studio. Generally, I like yoga and have engaged in the practice intermittently for a while now. My first yoga teacher was Dolian, who taught yoga at Ballys in Fremont. She is an amazing teacher who I sometimes message on Facebook. Like many people can confirm, yoga is hard. So much of your practice is determined by what’s going on in your life. It’s different from running or martial arts because you can run and punch through what’s going on in your life. With yoga, the quiet time forces you to tackle whatever’s on your mind head-on. It can be both liberating and suffocating if you’re not ready.

I’ve been doing Bikram yoga for over a month now. In truth, I like it. It forces me to do things I’m not comfortable with. For example, twice I week, I wake up at around 4am (roughly) so I can warm up my body, pack, and head over to the 5:30am class. On weekends, I’m up at 6:30am to make it to the 8am class. When it comes to Bikram, if I’m not starting my day with it, I’m just not going to do it.

There is something very “CrossFit” about Bikram yoga. It’s hard, uncomfortable, created by someone who many consider a jerk, and by virtue of that, tends to attract like-minded jerks. Ahem. I’m not saying that I’m a jerk or that the lovely people I train with are jerks. I just saying that I’m aware of the questionable reputation that Bikram yoga has. There are aspects of Bikram that can be a bit cult-like and yes, there are lots of haters because of that. Also, I find copyrighting yoga poses a bit of a dick move.  (Sound familiar?)

However, as a current practitioner, I have to learn to let go of all the BS and engage in the practice for the reasons why it fulfills me. Here it goes…. I’m enjoying the practice because it’s new to me. While I’ve done yoga before, the heat and the postures are different. There is something mind numbingly repetitive about Bikram: the postures are always the same; the script is always the same. However, everyday the practice is different. It’s an insanity that makes sense to me.

My skin is awesome! Moving to Phoenix has done a number on my skin and I can finally say that my face is back to normal. YAY! Also, my digestive system is super efficient. Granted, I never had these issues. However, I notice that my body rejects things a lot faster (e.g. when I go weak in the knees for flamin’ hot cheetos, those puppies are going bye-bye ASAP). Okay. You didn’t need to know that last bit of info… but I thought I’d share anyway.

My studio is about a fifteen-minute drive by freeway. It’s not super convenient, but everything I need (including Trader Joe’s) is a stone’s throw away. With that, I can grocery shop a few times a week in small doses and not get tempted to eat out. I know what I’m eating because I pretty much cook everything I eat.

While the people are nice, I can come and go as I please. I’m not married to the idea of making BFFs so that we can hang out and such. I’m not trying to be anti-social. However, I remember what CrossFit was like. While I still love and remain friends with many people I met through that workout system, at the time, doing so meant being immersed into the “cult.” This also meant being surrounded by the douche bag-fat shaming-women shaming-body shaming-CrossFit is the ONLY thing-paleo love it or leave it bullshit of it all. While I can’t deadlift like I used to, I sure as shit am a lot happier now. Like I said, the quiet time in yoga requires you to confront your demons. Personally, I like knowing that my douche bag asshole demon is under control.

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There’s nothing zen-like about Bikram yoga. The lights are bright. The room is hot and sticky, and there is a no talking policy. It’s just you, the silence of your thoughts, and the complexity of your practice. I’m sure there is a lot of vanity in Bikram yoga. At this stage in my life, I just don’t care and I don’t notice.

After my one month trial, I decided to sign up for a membership for the remainder of the semester. It’s good so far. Slowly but surely, I’m making progress. This is what I enjoy most:)

Celebrating EVERY body,

the fierce fathlete

pushing the reset button

reset

Hello all!

It looks like this is not only my first post of 2014, it’s also my first post since the move. In case you’re wondering what that means, I made the transition from blogger to wordpress last year, but never really posted after I officially moved. Granted, the old address is still up because people still visit the site. However, I just wanted a fresh start. Relocating seemed to be the answer.

As with most new year resolutions, mine revolve around health. However, instead of creating an unattainable list of resolutions, I decided that I would keep it simple. This year, I’m focusing on the following:

A consistent yoga practice. As I get older, I’m finding that my body needs something like yoga for consistency. With that, I decided that I would take the plunge and try out Bikram Yoga. Don’t ask me why I decided to do this. One day, it occurred to me and before you know it, I’m online purchasing a Groupon to Bikram Yoga Tempe.

Movement. In my post CrossFit life, I have reached a point where I no longer feel guilty for not doing CrossFit. Though my ass isn’t quite as hard and my thighs aren’t as massive, and I’m not part of the popular cult club, I can proudly say that yes, there is life after CrossFit. The downside is I have been trying to find some type of exercise that suits me. (Sorry. I think I have just outgrown CrossFit.) With that, I’m simply focusing on more movement. I have a FitBit and a lifetime supply of at-home videos that I use on most days. No fuss, no muss.

Cooking at home. I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a junk food junkie. As I approach the 40+ club, my body processes food differently. This year, I’m going to focus on cooking more. I have built up a lovely collection of awesome kitchen tools and I have a stack of recipes I’d like to try. Though I like to cook with paleo sensibilities, I’m not going to be a total hard ass about it. For me, eating real food and eliminating processed foods is okay.

That’s pretty much it. I can’t say that I have a long list of stringent goals. Ultimately, I am aiming for consistency. That’s it. Some other goals I have are to maintain a steady writing practice. Unfortunately, among the goals I have set out for myself, this is the one I’m failing at. Note to self: logging in a daily photo does NOT constitute a daily writing practice.

The other goal I have, and it’s kind of silly, is to care less about what I look like in photos. Specifically, I’m trying to make it a point to take more photos makeup-less. This is my answer to my dislike of social media. Again, it’s silly. But I was inspired by this clip:

So how are you using the new year to reset? Please post to comments:)

Celebrating EVERY body,

the fierce fathlete

life after CrossFit (part I)

I know it’s been a while and I’ve had a few false starts on this blog. However, I think I’m ready to start posting consistently again. So here it goes….

Since leaving the San Francisco bay area and starting my new gig in Phoenix, my workout life has been pretty inconsistent. After moving to Phoenix, I learned the hard way that finances wouldn’t allow me to sign up for a local gym. Therefore, I decided to just workout at home. fathlete confession: working out at home doesn’t really work for me. Though convenient, I will always find a way to slack off.

This summer, I decided to give working out at home another shot. I was actually doing okay for a few weeks. However, I realized that I’m the type of person who needs to go somewhere to workout. Thing is, I’m not big on your standard globo gym. I like specialized programs, which is why CrossFit worked out so well. Thing is… I am not ready to go back to CrossFit (more on that later).

With that, I decided to commit the ultimate CrossFit sin… I signed up for summer classes at a local dance studio that specializes in Zumba.

Yup. That’s right. I Zumba.
Judge all you want, CrossFit snobs!

There was something about the vibe at Yenis Dance Body & Soul (located in San Bruno, CA) that just suited me. I wanted to something that wasn’t CrossFit, something that kept me moving and interested. Zumba fit the bill. I had a great time at Yenis Dance Body & Soul and would love to go back during my breaks. (Yenis, if you’re reading this, temporary, short-term memberships would be an awesome option! Please consider.) Training at Yenis Dance Body & Soul was a refreshing departure from CrossFit. No timers. No competition. No lululemon. No fat hating or shaming (again, more on that later).

Now that I’m back in Phoenix, I decided that I wanted to continue dance. As luck would have it, Joyful Yoga (located in Chandler, AZ) has what I’m looking for. The added perk is that I get to do yoga! I signed up for a trial month today and took a Zumba class, followed by Restorative Yoga. I’m glad to be training in something again.

I have more to say, but I’ll save it for future posts. For now, I’d like to say that yes, there is life after CrossFit:)

Celebrating EVERY body,
the fierce fathlete