JORD timeless wood watches are perfect for those holiday parties, and everyday life. Gorgeous wood and minimalist style to last. Check out the full blog post to be entered to win $100 you very own!Read More
Accupressure Mat For Pain, Stress and Circulation
A few weeks ago I got my Dosha Mat, Accupressure mat and I’ve been having a lot of fun using it.
Accupressure mats have a ton of health benefits, some claims for health are:
reducing pain and muscle soreness
stress and anxiety reduction
reduction of insomnia
creates relaxation and sense of calm
The acupressure mats have 4500 pressure points per the entire surface of the mat through the 190 lotus flowers (25 points per flower). These pressure point stimulate the area of the body and send signals to other parts of the body through meridians to help calm and relax. This is much like acupuncture, however not to specific areas and not puncturing the skin of course.
Looking at it from a yogi/massage point of view, I like using it sometimes in a manner that helps me massage a bit. This is also helping relief stress and tension through fascia releasing.
How To Use Your Dosha Accupressure Mat
You can use this mat in many different ways, in many different places. Here is a couple ways I’ve been using mine:
Simply laying on it. Sometimes I lay down on it and relax, do legs up the wall or at the end of a yoga practice in savasana.
Moving on it. I like to lay down and tuck my knees in and roll back and forth or in circles to get a bit of massaging action.
Sitting down with it. In an office chair or on the couch and leaning into it.
Standing on it. I personally have been loving having it beside my bed when I am doing laundry. I find it’s a bit to intense for me to stand on completely, but I will stand with it one foot at a time.
Want to try one out for yourself? I’ve partnered with Dosh Mat to offer you 15% off your vary own from the Canadian owned company! Offer is only good until November 4th 2018! Use the code BITCHINHOUSEWIFE15 at Dosha Mat.
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What better way to start a Saturday then to Yoga + Brunch?
Join us for an all levels 60 minute sweet yoga flow class, led by Jennifer Neilson, followed by Bruch afterwards. The Yoga class is about waking up on a Saturday Morning and moving your body in a way that feels good to you. We will move, breathe, laugh a little and end in a sweet chill savansana before moving on with our day.
Then enjoy your included Brunch, Mimosa, Coffee + Tea and community at Central Social Hall downtown Edmonton.
What to expect:
8:00am doors open | 8:30-9:30am Yoga Practice | 930am - Freshen up + Brunch
- Bring your Yoga Mat + water bottle for the practice
- All Levels Sweet Flow inspired Practice
- A small break after practice so you can spruce up
- Brunch and time to connect after
-Ticket price includes your morning Yoga Practice, First Mimosa, Brunch item of your choice, coffee + tea.
Get your tickets here: Yoga + Brunch
A little while ago I was working with Ford Canada on their Bliss Behind The Wheel, Ford Wellness campaign here in Edmonton. Helping drivers de-stress and find a bit of wellness behind the wheel.
I love this initiative, because in our busy every day lives it can seem daunting to add ANOTHER thing to our to do lists. Of course I'm all for going to a yoga or meditation class, but sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day.
Additionally we live in a world that has so many demands on us. We are constantly being pulled in a million directions and this adds stress to our minds and bodies like never before. Unfortunately our bodies haven't caught up to technology advances yet and don't really recognize the difference between stress of a job, friend or traffic in comparison to life threatening situations like a bear chasing us. All this stress, all the time can have a toll on our health.
So, I came up with a few tips you can use in the car to help a bit. You are already in the car, so it;s not adding to your schedule any! Some of them are light stretches and the main one is calming the body with breath. This breath can help our bodies relax and send signals to the brain to calm down.
So let's start with before we drive:
- Sit up nice and tall in your seat. imagine reaching the crown of your head to the roof. Put your hands on the steering wheel. Take a big inhale as you push your chest toward the front of the car and then as you exhale round your back, tuck your chin and look to your belly button. Repeat 2-4 times.
- Next sit up tall again. Take a big inhale and as you exhale twist to your left. Look over your left shoulder and hold for 2-4 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
No only do these two stretches help you connect with your body and de-stress through breathing, but it's also stretching lightly to help you shoulder check and see better.
Next, during the drive, while stopped at red lights:
- Put your hands on you stomach. Take a big inhale, let the belly expand with the air, and as you exhale actively pull the belly button in. Repeat 2-4 breaths.
- This breath uses the diaphragm to breathe, which massages a nerve that connects to the "restore and calming" center of the brain.
- Keep eyes open for safety and keep the breath slow so not to get dizzy. Safety is of course number 1 priority.
This breath can be done as driving to, with the hands remaining on the streering wheel. When you feel overwhelmed by traffic possibly, find a breath or two, allowing the exhale to come from the mouth, maybe even a sigh sound. This is very soothing an calming.
Once you've arrived at your destination:
- Sit up tall. Inhale as you draw your shoulder towards your ears, exhale as you push your shoulders back and down away from the ears. Repeat 2-4 times. Notice the softening sensation in the neck and shoulders.
- Sitting up tall, take your left ear to your left shoulder and hold for the stretch 1-3 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
During the drive tension can be created in the neck and shoulders. Whether it be from traffic, road conditions or anything happening in the car. allow a few breaths here to release the tension before going on to your destination to start from a place of calm.
Leave a little bit of time in your travels. Rushing will only create more tension and stress.
- Take advantage of the car features to help you out. Use the Ford sync for hands free control of music, destinations and phone calls and my personal favourite... heated seats... ha ha
I am currently obsessed with the Pure Living Enthusiast Root Down Muscle Balm. Think a way better and more natural version of the traditional chemical filled (and smelly) muscle creams. You may love your grams, but that stuff can smell yucky.
This Root Down Muscle Balm was originally designed for use in the yoga room. Developed to bring in some mobility during practice and body awareness, it was realized just how good it was for soreness and inflammation.
I've used this on people in my yoga classes to rub on their neck and shoulders in savasana to help them relax and ease the tension, as well as on my own neck and shoulders after a night of sleeping funny and waking up with a stiff and sore neck. The tingle gives some of that immediate relief and then it lingers allowing time to relax the muscles.
A few weeks ago I did a really heavy leg day workout and was sore for days after and I was able to use this muscle balm to help ease some of the soreness from DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness.
I have yet myself to need it for the purposes of a cold, but I'm told it's also a great replacement for Vick's when you have a cough or cold. Rub a little on your chest to help ease congestion.
So basically this balm is a household catch all. Use it for stiff necks, sore muscles, coughs and colds. And the pleasant smell of frankincence and peppermint wont leave you smelling like grams! (No offence grandma).
I LOOOOOVE aromatherapy. But sometimes burning incense or diffusing oils isn't always practical in everyday life. Like when I'm driving in the car or running errands and so on. I'm not always home!
I came across Authentically Healing you and couldn't wait to get my hands on one of these rollerballs! And now I have one I'm obsessed. I carry it in my bag with me all the time (luckily it's small and fits in a purse or diaper bag).
When I'm feeling a little wound up or sometimes before I teach I put the Balancing and calming blend on my wrists and behind my ears. I take a deep breath and carry on calmly.
I love how sweet these rollerballs look and that the container is see through so you can see all the gorgeous ingredients inside
This post has been a long time coming. Since I graduated from yoga teacher training I've been reading more and more about basically doing less and it meaning more. A big epiphany hit me about a year and a half ago when I was attending a restorative yoga teacher training. We had discussions about the science behind relaxing the body and what it does to our physical and mental states. Legitimately you can increase your sex drive and loose weight just by relaxing!
I've got your attention now don't I?
Of course it's not as simple as just relaxing once and miraculously you loose 5lbs or want to jump on your partner, but allowing the body to come out of it's high stressed out state and turn off the "mama bear on attack" hormones let's our bodies restore. Come back to a place of resting, digesting our food and pleasure. If you want more info about these things I highly recommend you read/learn basically anything from Michele Theoret from Empowered Yoga.
Since this training I have been on a mission to help share self care. Taking care of yourself actually and truly is not a luxury. Taking care of yourself is bringing you into the "restore" mode. A time for your body to recharge of course, but if you followed along on my Self Care Sunday blog posts for a while, a theme I often had was that you put your phone away. Rest your mind. Because as I said in the Simple Bath post, are you really feeling relaxed in the bathtub as you scroll Facebook? (Especially when that one irritating friend is on a status update rampage).
I say something in my yoga classes all the time too. After we put in some work and some stretching I like to almost always end in a lying twist of some sort where I cue "and move your arms and legs in any way that is comfortable and relax the muscles". Like really relax the body physically. Basically no effort given. Because we are super amazing at multi tasking and doing all the things and being busy, but we SUCK at relaxing and slowing down.
I wont even exclude myself from this. I am totally a hyopcrite a bit here. I am the master of doing all the things and so busy I sometimes feel as if I have missed days or weeks in time. I'm working on it. And that's exactly it. We don't have to be perfect at it or rigidly follow a schedule. We just have to be mindful. Mindful that we have made ourselves so busy that we aren't even relaxing.
I am a week and a half post surgery and have basically been home most of the time. I thought I would be going crazy from boredom, but in reality? I've slowed down enough to enjoy things. I've slowed down enough to enjoy the moment of laughter with my kids. I've slowed down enough to evaluate the things I do that make me so busy.
Sit for a moment. Think about everything that has lead you up to this moment today. All your errands or tasks. Pick out the moments that have you brought you joy. Not something you are "working on" in order to get you to joy. By this I mean, you worked an extra couple hours so you could make more money to buy more things that bring you joy. Not that. That's a false idea of joy I think. What had happened in your day where you felt true joy?
THAT is the art of slowing down. Finding those smaller moments of joy sprinkled throughout your day. Isn't that what we are after anyways? Feeling good. Feeling the joy?
I recently read the book "Mindfulness" by Gil Hasson where it talks about of course we need goals. Things we are working toward are not bad things at all. Gil says "But for longer term goals, the emphasis is not on where you will arrive at, it's on what happens and what you experience along the way. The emphasis is more on the experience rather than the result."
Lightbulb! Slowing down, taking note of whats happening in the current moment IS the joy.
I work to make money. I make money to pay bills and buy things. I buy things I enjoy. I enjoy these things because they bring me joy. Brief joy or maybe it's prolonged, but none the less seeking joy. But what if in the process or working, making money and buying we are miserable? WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT?!?!?
Slow down, evaluate and be mindful of what we are doing and if it's filling the "doing" side of the column or the "enjoying".
Again, I'm a hyopcrite a bit here and great at being buys, but about to go back into my regular schedule after time off for my surgery, I'm taking a really good look at what the hell it is I am adding back in. Is this important to me? Does it bring me joy?
Easier said then done I feel, hence the word "art". The ART of slowing down.
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
Mala’s have become very popular lately. They look gorgeous but they also can serve a function.
What are the made from?
Many different materials are used in the making of mala’s. I’ve seen beads made from animal bone, different stones and rocks.
What are they used for?
They can be worn with the intention of the stones/gems they are made from protecting/helping you. Traditionally malas have been used in helping meditation. Using the beads on the necklace to help repeat an intention or a point of focus in meditation.
I had surgery on Monday and since I have been spending time meditating on healing. With each bead I repeat to myself over and over "I am healing and healthy".
Why 108 beads?
I've heard many reasons behind the 108 beads. The number 108 comes up in many ways, including even the fact that the suns diameter is exactly 108 times the size of the earth's.
What about the bracelets?
I also love bracelets. I think they look pretty stacked on wrists with different colours, but I use them for quick little reminders. While I'm waiting in the car to pick up my daughters from school or while I'm teaching and people are laying in Savanasa. A moments to align with my intentions for myself and my day. Sometimes I use no mantra and just use it to count a few deep breaths.
The mystery of the mala solved.
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
At the end of my yoga classes I usually have a quote or a little something to say to the group about whats on my mind or some sort of self loving thought. This morning in my class at the end I said something along the lines of "trust that you are exactly what/who and where you are suppose to be in your life." The idea being that we trust all of our decisions that have lead us up to this point and our situations are a product of our own doing. Now that concept might piss you off a bit if things aren't happening exactly as you wish in the current moment. And for that I am sorry.
BUT the resolution in this thought is profound and couldn't have come to my mind on any better of a day. I've had two fairly major things come up today. Big changes that can be upsetting or disappointing.
But today I am smiling. I actually feel the best I have in a few days. These negative situations could have ruined my day, but I'm thinking about how positively these things actually change my world.
Today, because its the day we can actually control, maybe we all just take a moment to trust we are WHO/WHAT/WHERE we all need to be. What if we weren't worrying so much about what may be or how we could improve and we just decided to be in the moment and love it?
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
Alright, I'm a yoga teacher, what kind of yoga teacher/blogger combo would I be if I didn't suggest a yoga class?
This week I want you to set aside some time for yoga. I'll give you a few options of types of classes and where to get this yoga in. Don't worry, there is so many great options to make it easy to fit this in.
First I want to talk about the hurdle of trying yoga. Many people are a bit shy about taking yoga class because "I'm not flexible enough", "yogis are skinny and I'm not", "I'm worried it will be all religious." Well.......... that's why you go to yoga, any body is a yoga body and it's not religious and you NEVER have to do something you don't want to. Okay I cleared that up let's move on.
There is I'm sure a million different types of classes really but here is some basics:
- Flow - Usually a faster paced style, you'll likely get a bit of sweat going on. Syncing of breath and moving so you are focusings on each inhale and exhale as you move.
- Hatha - Usually a bit slower, holding poses a bit longer. Also here will likely get a sweat going, because of holding poses a bit longer. Typically there is a focus on holding a posture on one side, then the other before moving on to the next pose.
- Yin - Holding poses for extended periods of time, but with props and backed off versions. Can be a bit tough but also relaxing. I personally find this one can also be difficult, since the you are holding poses so long your monkey mind starts to wander and it's hard to bring it back in.
- Restorative - Holding poses for extended periods of time, completely supported. Your body is doing no work to hold you in a posture. This one is about relaxing and calming the body. As with Yin, can be a bit to train the brain to stay on the breath and in the room.
Now we know a little bit of the style we are looking for, where do we find a class?
- Studios/gyms - The first obvious answer. Check your local area for a studio. Many of them offer introductory rates for unlimited passes in a week. It's good to try out a few different styles and get an idea of what you like. The gym you have a membership to, may also host classes.
- Community halls - May yoga teachers rent out halls in their communities to run classes. If you are a newbie these are wonderful because you are meeting the people of your community and the setting is a little less intimidating. Check with your local hall or neighbourhoods close by.
- Online - It's wonderful to live in a world where we can find just about anything online and usually for free or inexpensive. You can just google "online yoga class" and tons will show up. You can check out Gaia.com for some great online videos, DoYogaWithMe.com has a great beginners section and you can also check out Youtube, I'm personally a fan of Empowered Yoga of course. The great thing about online is you can even searched based off what you are looking for. Finding things such as yoga for hips, shoulders, breathing, anxiety and so on.
And finally the basics of what you might need:
- Water bottle
- Athletic wear
- Yoga Mat
- Open heart/mind ready for self love
So tell me, what kind of yoga are you going to do this week?
Welcome back to Self Care Sunday. This week let's talk about some restorative yoga. There are many styles and types of yoga, all used for different things. Restorative yoga is a practice more about allowing the body to relax and rest. There is minimal effort put into postures. You take some time setting yourself up in comfort and then relax into it for a few minutes at a time.
Some of the benefits of restorative yoga are:
- It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Turning off the flight or flight response (stress) and tapping into the rest and digestion cycle of the body. This is calming in the mind and physiologically in the body.
- Helps create body awareness. Slowing down for a few minutes and noticing the sensations in the body is helpful for the rest of our day. Noticing something like tight shoulders and neck, make us more mindful when we sit down at our desks of our posture.
- Improves immunity
- improves respiratory and blood circulation
- Anyone can do it, nearly anywhere!
The beauty of this weeks self care, is that it can be as short or as long as you would like. 10-15 minutes on a lunch break at work, half an hour before bed or whenever you'd like. Make sure to schedule this time though. We often have wonderful intentions of doing something and put it off until "tomorrow". So plan your time this week to practice restorative yoga once or twice.
Tips to get the most out of your practice:
- Turn off your phone and other distractions.
- Grab a sweater and/or blanket in case you get cold.
- Grab a pillow or two.
- Find any other comfort items available given the space. Candles, eye covers, bolsters, yoga blocks or straps.
- Put together some calming music to listen to.
You can set a gentle timer to remind you to move after 5 or 10 minutes to the next pose or back to work, in case you fall asleep. Below is a few poses you can try or you can search the internet for a few more.
After a few poses, end in savasana, by lying on your back without props, take note of how your body feels, taking a few big deep breaths and moving on with your day.
Welcome back to another Sunday. I hope your week has gone well and you were able to take some time to yourself.
Since we are only a couple of days away from a new month starting, this Self Care Sunday is about reflection and intention.
In the yoga room we talk about noticing what happens in postures, be it what we physically feel in our bodies or what starts to happen in our minds as we move (or slow down).We may not be able to change these things when we first notice them, but as soon as we are aware then we can start the work. If we never take the time to reflect, how are to to become aware and start the work of change?
So let's sit down this week, or next few days before the new month starts and think about how it went. Reflecting on what has made us proud and what needs work. Setting intentions for what we wish for ourselves.
Some suggestions to help you with this reflection:
- Turn off your phone (starting to see my theme for these self care Sundays?)
- Find a space you can be alone in the quiet. See my Self Care Sunday A Simple Bath for tips on finding this time and place alone.
- Bring a pen and paper.
- Bring along music, candles or a glass of wine. Whatever helps you relax a little into the space.
Then we start to ask ourselves these questions
- What am I grateful for this month?
- What am I proud of?
- What is something I would do differently?
- What do I want to let go of?
- What do I want to add into my life?
This of course seems more simple then it really is. Trying to not get caught up on things that didn't go so well or planning to much on how our next month will go. As we ask these questions starting to pay attention to how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally about each question.
For example, what am I proud of? Maybe you are proud you have started Self Care Sunday practices. You may feel pride, a sense of calm, the body relaxed and chest puffed out and open.
Moving through these questions again without lingering too long on the sensations to dwell. If it help you can even set a time for 2 or 5 minutes once you ask yourself a question to come back to the next one.
After we've spent some time reflecting, moving on to our intentions for the month. This isn't our goal planning. This is our intentions for how we want to be. "I want to move through my days with ease and peace", "I wish to find the positive in situations.". From there later on (another day) you can set goals to achieve these intentions, but for now we are just putting out there what we truly desire from life.
Once we have sorted through our thoughts a little, taking a few moments to write down any thoughts or feelings. Journaling if that's something you do. This writing is whatever you feel you need to write down. Whether it is some goals or just how you feel.
I highly recommend ending this with a yoga practice (youtubing is a wonder!) or a bath or anything else that makes you feel relaxes and at ease.
I'd love to hear what some of your intentions are for the month. Share below or on the Facebook Page .
I have time. My mantra the last couple weeks. I've been reading from Dr. Joe Dispenza's book Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself. Now I won’t lie, I haven't finished it yet or gotten to learning his meditation techniques, but it's got me thinking a lot.
He talks a lot about the science behind the age old phrase many of have heard a million you times. "You are what you believe you are." What you put your energy into becomes true. This isn't exactly a new concept. But as I've said in other posts about over exposure to these type of sayings, is we become sort of numb to their resonance.
Of course the first step to trying to change something, is observing it. We teach this in yoga.
Observe your breath, observe what you say to yourself while challenged. Observe where your mind wanders. So, in my usual fashion, taking the yoga off the mat I began to observe some of the things I say. What are some things I feel have issues with and what do I say when I have these issues.
I found I fear missing those moments with my kids as I rush them off here and there. I find myself hurrying this and that and those around me. I very much dislike the feeling of being rushed and not having enough hours in the day.
During these rushed moments I found myself saying things like “I have so much to do today.” I’m so busy” “Can we all just hurry?”. Sound familiar? I’m going to guess like 90% of us?
Now I’ve spent the past two weeks with “I have time”, “everything will get done” “rushing only stresses me out more”, “I feel better in a slower pace”.
You know what? I’ve had time. Everything still got done. I was even very sick for the better part of three days. Which usually means a disaster in my house of things to do to catch up on. Honestly? I slowly did a bit here and there without rushing or stressing about it and it all just worked out.
Try it out. I’m not telling you that you need to sit down for 20 minute meditations every day. Instead of stressing about adding something else to your to list, just observe the things you say in the moments you don’t feel your greatest. Try next time to maybe say something a little more constructive. That’s it. That’s all.
Tomorrow is February 1st. A time to reflect on our year so far. Many of us set resolutions or intentions for the month, year etc and now it's time to check in.
According to Static Brain only 8% of people complete their new years resolutions. This makes me wonder why? In our world of immediate access to information and usually access to the tools we need to do almost anything we want in life, why do we set goals for ourselves and then forget them?
I imagine there is many reasons, that are very personal to each and every one of us. And that is okay. You are trying your best.
That said, let's take February 1st as our "restart", January was our trial run and we can try again. Let's take it past that though. After February 1st you will likely fall off track from whatever your goal or resolution may be. That important thing is you try and try again.
Seldom do things go the way we plan they will. When we hit traffic on our way to work, or a meeting doesn't go how we thought it would, do we turn our cars around and drive back home? Do we walk out half way through the meeting? Not usually. So why do we do this with goals? Why do we say "Crap, I fumbled on my diet plan" or "I didn't put away the money I planned to the past two weeks" and believe we just weren't meant for success?
Get back on the horse, ride through the rough patches and the gentle strolls and reflect on maybe this is what your success looks like. Perfectionism isn't real. Think about anything you've accomplished in your life. Did it go perfectly? Would it have been as fun or as much of a learning experience if it did?
Good luck to you, in whatever your goals are. Just keep trying again.
My friend Christine over at Just Another Edmonton Mommy contacted a couple of us about wanting to do a drive for the Bissell Center. A local to Edmonton non for profit company that helps the homeless and vulnerable of our city. With her heart of gold and best intention I was inspired and offered to run a yoga class or two to support this drive. People could come and attend the class for free as long as they brought a donation for the Bissell Center.
Then another wonderful and generous friend, Deanne from Box Social Event Planning, who works with some local malls on events, said she would check to see if someone had a space for this type of thing.
Well lucky for us, Kingsway Mall was gracious enough to donate some space for us to hold this drive. Here is some wonderful pictures from the weekend.
At the end of the first day the bin was overflowing and even more came in on the second day. We didn’t have as big of a turnout as we had hoped (was a very super cold weekend, and many yogis were shopping a super sale) but even then, the people who should up, really showed up!
It was a great pleasure and wonderful honor to guide these generous people through a yoga practice.
The Bundle The Bissell Drive is going on until the 22nd of January. If you missed the yoga event you still have time to drop off donations at these locations:
WHAT TO DONATE TO BUNDLE UP THE BISSELL
o Winter Work Gloves
o Winter Jackets
o New Underwear/Long Underwear
o New Thermal/ Wool Socks
WHERE TO DROP OFF DONATION ITEMS
Dominelli School of Music North -#203, 8119-160 Avenue
Monday-Friday 1pm-9pm Saturdays 9:30am – 5pm
The Grange Physical Therapy – 2484 Guardian Road NW
Monday –Thursday: 8am – 9pm Friday: 8am-8pm
Wheaton Toyota on the Trail – 5210 Calgary Trail Edmonton
Monday -Thursday 9am-9pm Friday & Saturday 9am-6pm
Pamper & Play Salon and Spa – 228 – 91 st SW
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 – 6:00
Thursday 10:00 – 9:00
Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
Today, see if you can stretch your heart and expand your love so that it touches not only those to whom you can give it easily, but also those who need it so much. - Daphine Rose Kingma
Thank you everyone for your support!
Yesterday morning we dropped off my husband at the airport to head out to work. He is usually home for 10 days and gone for 3 weeks. This has been the schedule for a while. Or something similar since well before either of the kids were born.
Well, yesterday morning (like at least half of Daddy drop off days) my 4 year old started crying. Intensely. Tears streaming down her face, pout to her lip and all. She was sad Daddy was gone. I immediately stopped the car, got out and hugged and kissed her and tried to help her feel better about seeing him soon.
20 minutes later she was fine and smiling and forgotten all about it. We usually think "Typical child, off to the next thing. Mind like a goldfish." But let me tell you I admire this.
Last weekend I was in some Restorative Yoga Teacher Training and my teacher wrote a Ernest Hemingway quote on the board.
"Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat and when you sleep, really sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough."
Well today I was angry. And I tried to suppress this anger. Not letting what was bothering me, bother me. But then I thought about my 4 year old and her tears streaming down her face. How she got sad. Good and sad, let it all flow out and then she was done. Letting it all go.
So I got mad. Good and mad. Without reacting I just got angry. I thankfully had an amazing friend there to let me do just that and listen. I got mad and then pouted a bit. Then I was able to just let it go.
I embraced the intense emotions instead of trying to push them away, felt them and was able to move on.
Things will upset us, that will never change. It's whether we let it eat us alive or not that matters.
I get a lot of people ask me about reviewing workout gear, they want to know what's out there. So, I thought today I would write about the these yoga/athletic pants I got from Winners. Being from Winners and costing $25 makes me think they are accessible and affordable to most people. Now I know you may be thinking "But Jen, Winners prides themselves on the fact that every time you go there is something new. They have commercials saying the item could be gone in a hour!" Yes, this is true. And I can even think of sometimes I didn't buy something only to regret it later when it was gone. The one thing I've noticed they keep pretty reliable is their workout gear section. There are brands (such as these) that I've seen every time I go.
Moving on to why we are here. The pants.
I really like the fact that they are lightweight. I love them for hot yoga and cardio. I don't feel like they are make me even warmer and they are breathable. I like that they stay on me for these types of activities too. Some pants I find start falling down as I hit the treadmill. (Subscribe to email to watch for which ones!) These pants don't move.
I like the fun design/colors they have. The crazier the better seems to be the trend in workout gear and they've got a lot of great options. Side note here; with the designs and so on it hides sweat marks really well!
The wide waist band rocks. This is basically the very first thing I look for on workout/yoga pants. Being a mom of two, the lower part of my stomach doesn't always "behave" with pants. Wide waist bands are nice to keep everything tucked in and secure.
They are not see through. I went to take some pictures to show you how they aren't see through and decided against posting pictures of me basically bent over full bum in the frame shots. So here is one of me off to the side. The flash is really bright here and you still can't see through them.
They cost $25. Yeah that's a big difference between some brand names of upward to $200.
There is no small key pocket. I used to think these were useless. But I use these pockets in pants alllllll the time. I usually take off my rings for weightlifting and put them in these pockets. If they are big enough and the location works, I sometimes put my music device in there too!
I have bought pants basically exactly like this and enjoyed them immensely, but after about a year the had a hole in the side, where the seem split a bit. I haven't had this exact pair that long but they are the same material and stitching. This is the difference in pricing. The expensive pants usually last a really long time and these types not so much.
Great for activities like running and yoga.
Good choice if maybe starting to workout and looking for something inexpensive to start with. Also if you are planning to very dramatically change your body (read as loose say 40 lbs) they would be good. This way you aren't buying really expensive stuff that wont fit. (soon hopefully)
Share with me some brands you'd love to see a review of!
Over the course of the summer I have had the pleasure of working with a local gymnastics company. I've been doing conditioning and yoga with their competitive girls. A few had taken a yoga class or two and that's about all the exposure they've had.
I remember telling a few people that I was going to be teaching gymnasts yoga and the response was like, "but why, they are so flexible and strong already?". True enough but they are strong and flexible in just the things they work at. Like any person, you become skilled at what you put effort into. I was, and still am sometime baffled at the fact there are some poses they cant do or cringe at as I show them it.
But aside from their strength and flexibility, two big parts of any athletes training is mental focus and learning the ability to relax. Especially for competitive athletes. Here is where I think simple Savasana is important. This seems sort of simple doesn't it? Relaxing I mean. I sometimes think I'm the master of it with my Netflix binges. I don't think it's quiet so simple for athletes to do this.
Bringing me back to the gymnasts, at the beginning of the summer, our first Savasana was a bit "rough". Most, if not all of the girls were fidgeting, some kept opening their eyes and looking around, and some were even still talking. Now I can completely understand the awkwardness of their first Savasana. Not to mention they are 7-12 years old. I'm pretty sure at 7 I personally had the attention span of a goldfish.
Some of my wording with these girls is "Lying down in Savasana, working out any last stretches, itches and scratches and finding that comfortable spot." Little more talking and as they settle down say "coming to lying completely still". Over the summer they would tell me that every time I said that they would all of a sudden have an itch again. I know. That's the point. Stay still. Let that itch be all you think of or let that stuff go. Sounds weird that you wouldn't scratch an itch right? But the itch only comes because they basically mentally created it from me saying that. Makes sense that mentally they itch it I think. Let it go. Relax.
Mental focus, or unfocus for that matter. As a competitive athlete there is a million things that can go wrong or we do wrong. This is why we practice. While learning not to point our foot that way or grab this way on the bar, we also need to learn to let go afterwards. Constantly focusing on the way we are bouncing off the board incorrectly or the "itch" is the same thing. Honor it for what it is, learn from it and let it go.
Finally, last week was our last summer session. And before sending them off to their final weekend of summer, school starting and coming to focus on training for competition season over the fall I had them in a 10 minute Savasana. And wow. Almost from the time they put their heads on the mat they were still and peaceful. For the full 10 minutes. To the very moment I started with "starting to slowly move the body". That's progress if I ever saw some. I mean I can't tell you what's going on in their heads, but as young, high energy athletes (that talk A LOT) seeing them still, speachless and relaxed for a full 10 minutes was amazing. My hope for them is that they be able to take that ability to relax the mind and body during high stress times, say the evenings after a day of competing.
I'm excited to work with them through the fall and can't wait to see them grow even more.
As an athlete, what do you do to unwind and relax from the stresses of training?
I will admit that I'm not much of a headband person. Not because I don't like them, but because I get irritated with them moving and always needing adjusting. I always figured I must have an odd shaped head.
Here is a big thing I like about this House Of Koopslie bamboo headband. I put it on my head it doesn't move. I taught an entire one hour, hot yoga class without it moving around. That's um sort of a big deal. Ha ha.
It keeps those crazy baby hairs that sort of grow wings and fly when you're working out tucked away. So instead of looking like Medusa, the baby snakes, err I mean hairs are tamed.
In a hot yoga room or on a cardio machine we can all agree you are sweating right? Yesterday on the stairmill I had sweat dripping from chin, but was keeping a good portion of it out of my eyes with this headband. The only issue I had was the leather knot was at the back of my head so when I went to lay down for Savasana I had to move it over. Yeah, not really an issue.
And finally, if not the most important. It's cute as hell. I wear it grocery shopping, teaching or working out. Sometimes with the combination of all three. As a busy mom of two the reality is I normally don't get to shower and get pretty between the gym and grocery shopping. Not when lunch and naps are required before afternoon playdates and activities. It's nice being able to workout/teach and then head out to grocery shop while getting to look sort of put together. The headband adds an extra cuteness to my messy workout bun. Like it's on purpose.
And of course it's made locally in Edmonton by another busy mama with a fun and great attitude. Who doesn't love to support local business?
Want your own House of Koopslie Headband? Check them out HERE. They have tons of colors!