Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't Procrastinate! Motivate!

Everything in moderation. (Including moderation!!!)

The holidays are over. No more lasagna, cheese platters, spiked egg nog, cream cheese dips or pie. It's time to undo some of the damage done these past couple of months. I'm not talking about weight loss, I'm talking about health. Rebooting your body and kicking out those nasty artery clogging toxins. Lots of folks start off the new year with the best of intentions, plans, and hopes. But for some, right around now reality kicks in and we start to procrastinate.

Maybe you started a new exercise routine this month, maybe you modified the one you already had, or maybe you are just trying to keep up with the constant juggling of finances, family, friends and fitness. I always seem to be in a cycle of hitting it really hard and then fizzling out after a few months. So how can we stay motivated and dedicated to caring for our bodies and minds when life seems like it might swallow us whole? Here are 3 tips that work for me when it comes to staying committed to my fitness goals when what I really want is to couch it with some pizza and beer.

And you need to breathe.
1. Breathe.
I know I've worked myself into a mental frenzy when my shoulders have crept up by my ears, my teeth are being ground down to dust, and dizziness creeps in. ANOTHER bill? HOW many family events? WHAT is wrong with the car? To hell with exercise today! (And I don't even have kids. Moms and Dads, I have no idea how you do it. KUDOS) When I find myself slipping into this mindset I immediately sit down, close my eyes, and breathe. Stress is an oxygen killer and nothing helps pull those mental bearings in check like a few minutes (or maybe just 1 minute for you) of slow, deep, mindful breathing. It is something which yields amazing results from very little effort.

Just one day! The best day!
2. Just Pick One Day
Now that you are thinking clearly again, start small when it comes to exercise. Pick one day each week to spend time on an activity. Maybe for you that day changes each week, maybe it's the same day every week. The important part is to start small, and stay committed. You can work your way back into 3-5 times a week next month. This week, just focus on one day. Chances are you will be back at it quicker than you think. After your workout/walk/mediation/Zumba/whathaveyou, take a mindful moment to asses how you feel. Aren't you glad you went? Do you mentally and physically feel good? When I need motivation I often tell myself, I never regret exercising, but I always regret not exercising. Who needs regrets? Not me! And not you!

Do or do not. There is no "try".
3. Don't think. Just do.
Not everyone can get up early and get a workout done first thing. But if you can you certainly should! Keep your sneakers by your bedside. Sleep in your sports bra. Pre-fill your water bottle. Pack your gym bag the night before. Even if you don't workout first thing you'll have everything you need ready for when you need it. Don't think. Just strap those sneakers on or roll that yoga mat out and do it before your brain has a chance to give you an excuse not to. You will find a million excuses to not take care of yourself if you want to. Don't be that excuse person. Do 30 Jumping Jacks, rock out 10 Sun Salutations, crush 20 Squats. Whatever it is you do, do it and do it for yourself. Afterwards, be proud of your accomplishments and gear up for next time!

How do you stay motivated?

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Reminder to Stay Humble

Yesterday started great, but turned facepalm worthy.
I taught my first class yesterday! With much excitement and a healthy dose of nerves I lead a group of about 10 ladies through a 45 minute gentle yoga and meditation class. Only a couple of them had practiced yoga before, so I demoed most of the class. This was actually a bit tough for me since I'm used to walking throughout the class teaching in more of a coaching style. The studio owner took the class as well. She was very encouraging and supportive which I was thankful for. It was a great experience, the first of many to come. Yay!

Later in the day I decided to take a class. Having recently moved, I'm still trying to find a studio close to home to settle into, I've checked out a few. My "New Student" three pack at one studio in particular was soon to expire so I decided to hit up the 5:45 class. The other two classes I'd taken there were lightly heated, and of moderate intensity. Right up my alley! I actually prefer heated classes since I love the feeling of exercising until unequivocally drenched in sweat (Gross, Kat!). I expected the same experience yesterday evening when I walked into the studio.

As I was kicking my shoes off, I gave the instructor my name so he could check me in.
"Oh, I'm so glad you used your New Student Pack before it expired, so many people let theirs go" he told me.
"Really? That's too bad, glad I got to use mine up."
"Were these your first yoga classes? Are you new to yoga?"

Mental pause. I feel sort of douchey even telling people that I completed a training program sometimes. I don't want to come off condescending or, honestly I'm not really even sure WHAT I don't want to come off as. I guess, sometimes I just feel a little odd telling people about it. That's probably another post entirely.

"Um, I've been practicing for a while, I actually just finished a teacher training program. I just moved here so I'm looking for somewhere to practice."

The instructor proceeds to congratulate and welcome me, as well as give me the contact who hires new teachers and subs at the studio. Sweet! I thank him and head in to class, find my spot and wait for class to begin.

It is hot. Much hotter than the other two classes I'd taken. Now, I'm used to hot, but a little out of practice. Prior to visiting this new studio, my last heated class was probably in August or September. And laying on my mat, I don't remember them being THIS hot. Pea-sized beads of sweat begin to form at my hairline. I've got water, I'm confident, just roll with it, I think to myself.

About an hour later I am nearly drowning on my mat, every down dog sends near panic of sweaty suffocation as sweat pours into my nostrils (Gross, again. I know. Sorry.) While in headstand,  everything suddenly goes airy and white, and then I am tumbling (literally) ass over elbow on to the floor sending my blue metal water bottle sailing across the room into Stripey Shirt Girl, who is not sweating at all. A normal person would feel embarrassed and cower in shame, but not me. Nope. I laugh. And then I have to focus on containing my laughter so as not to disrupt the class more than I already have.

The now 300 degree room has boiled my brain right inside my skull and I'm now hallucinating that all the other sweatless lady students are circus people and I am the new bear they are physically breaking down for the big top. Stripey Shirt Girl, who I am sure is the ring leader, smiles and gives me my water. I chug the entire thing down and retreat to Child's Pose. For the love of god why is there no clock in this room from which I can monitor what are sure to be these last few minutes of my stinky, sweat-filled life, I wonder. The instructor suggests that I try using the wall next time as it is a "Great tool." Good call! 

I bet Gaga would NEVER fall out of a pose.
After a moment I begin to see straight enough again to rejoin the class, but I now find that each time my arms lift past my waist everything starts to go dark and there is a high pitched WEEEEEEE sound resonating in my sinus cavity. Not wanting to straight up faint on the floor in addition to my headstand tumbling act, I once again retreat sheepishly to Child's Pose, where I remain for the next three minutes while the class works through the final standing postures. Nothing to see here folks! And of course I just happen to be smack in the middle of the room since that was the only spot left when I walked in.

Finally after eighty-six hours the instructor brings the class down to the mat where even Cobra is making me dizzy. Now just a barely contained sweat-filled skin-bag, I impishly finish off the floor poses and praise every deity I can think of for finally getting to Shavasana. After we Om I thank the teacher for the ass kicking (yes, I said ass kicking) and mention that it's been a while since my last heated class. He is totally gracious and kind and thanks me for coming. He is seemingly unphased for which I am grateful. 

Now I bet you are thinking, wow I'd never show my face in that place again! Not me though. I'll be there again next week at 5:45 for Robert's Hot-As-The-Sun-Ass-Beating because now I have to prove to myself that I can hack it. I'll just be sure to show up with double the water, and to use the wall if I'm feeling rambunctious. Maybe I should bring a snorkel too, just in case.