Week 2 Wrap-Up

Week 2 of Self-Care September is already over, and I cannot believe how quickly this month is flying by. So much to do, and so little time! However, busy beats bored any day in my book.

Say it with me. Busy beats bored.

Being so over-committed in every area of my life made it difficult for me to bounce around for yoga this week, and I only made it to one class! Eek. However, I did make it back to the gym. TWICE! I think that somewhat balanced only having time for one yoga session, and by the time I got to it on Saturday morning I really needed it. I was tired from the work week, my muscles were sore from the gym sessions, and I was downright grumpy.

The yoga class I attended was interesting. Like usual, I had a new instructor. If you remember, Trilogy offers the free community class on Saturday mornings and has a different teacher each week, so you get lots of variation in the classes. This instructor focused much less on our physical form, and much more heavily on our mental focus. We spent a significant amount of time at the beginning and at the end of the class meditating. The class was great for brand new yogis, because the moves were as basic as you could get and the pace was slow.

The slow pace drove me nuts for a minute. Okay, maybe five. Once I finally settled in, I began to appreciate what this instructor was offering me. She nurtured our spirits, coaxed us on our energy, and made me more aware of my breathing than any other instructor has been able to. Initially, the cynic in me revolted (but only on the inside, while I tried to look the picture of serenity on the outside) to all the mushy stuff and talk of spirit energy. However, I did my best to quit being so judgmental and to allow what she was saying sink in; to be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

Yoga is unique in that it doesn’t constantly need to be pushing your body physically in order to challenge you. The mind can get the work out.

This class got a Zen Factor of 9/10. It was a lot slower than I anticipated, and in all honesty I would have preferred it to be more challenging physically, but it definitely brought all the benefits someone practicing yoga could want: acceptance, patience, and inner peace.

The more classes I take, the better my body and I get to know each other. I’d say we understand each other a whole lot better now than we did even two weeks ago. The more classes I take, the less I hate my inflexibility. The more classes I take, I can stretch just a teensy bit deeper. I feel more connected, more adept, and more mold-able to the present moment.

My body is becoming more pliable. More resilient. Stronger. More accepting. And so are my mind and spirit.

This Week’s Triumphs…

  • 1 Yoga class. The format wasn’t what I thought I wanted, but it was just what I needed.
  • 2 gym trips. That’s two more than I’ve done in at least as many months. Go me.
  • Chargers win over the Seahawks. With 70,000 people in attendance and a temperature of 94 degrees in Qualcomm stadium, I had my hands full while working the game. However, we won the home opener! Which is huge. I love football season.  
Some Seahawks warming up (to lose) before Sunday's game.

Seahawks warming up (to lose) before Sunday’s game.

This Week’s Tribulations…

  • Over 60 hours worked between 3 jobs. One foot in front of the other. I’m hitting my goals, and I’m using that as motivation to keep me going. You’re only young once, right? 
  • Totally neglecting my Leadership class. I haven’t been connecting with the course material or format. The most useful part is the required readings. The homework just feels like busy work and not a true representation of our comprehension. Still not giving up. 
  • The heat. San Diego has been in the middle of what seems like a months-long heat wave, which is peaking today. It’s hot. It’s humid. It needs to end. 

Pursue Your Dreams

My goals for Week 3 are: to continue to make it to the gym, try out some new yoga spots, and to basically keep doing what I’m doing! I look forward to a much needed day off on Sunday. Sundays are the best days.

Work hard. Dream big. And never forget- you can do anything you put your mind to. 

xoxo

Sarah

*Top photo and quote are via Pinterest. 

Week 1 Wrap-Up

Week 1 of Self-Care September went beautifully! I have taken a variety of classes so far, including a heated power yoga class. Brave- I know. Each class has taught me something new; whether it be about my body (limitations and breakthroughs), or about my personal yoga preferences and what I am looking for in a particular class.

Most classes were great, some not so great. I found that the instructors made a huge difference in my experience. I thought it would be fun, and helpful, to rate each yoga location I have tried and to include the rating it in my review portion of the classes. I will call this rating the “Zen Factor”, and it goes like this…

Class Ambiance + Instructor Awesomeness = Zen Factor (on a scale of 1 to 10).

In addition to really enjoying the classes I have taken so far, I am beginning to feel improvement in my flexibility and focus. Regularly participating in the practice of yoga makes me feel much more at peace, probably because it literally forces me to sit, be quiet and put effort into stilling my mind. Plus, I am the exact right kind of sore in all the right places. It feels amazing. 

True to my word, all the classes I have taken so far have been completely free! Go me!

I first tried Trilogy Sanctuary, a new rooftop yoga studio located in downtown La Jolla. It is aptly named, offering gorgeous views in a unique and serene setting. I love this place to pieces. Every Saturday morning they offer a free community class suitable for all experience levels, and each class is taught by a different instructor. Varying the instructors offers a fresh perspective each time, giving me a chance to learn something new each time.

trilogy

The Zen Factor was a 10/10. The views were breathtaking, an ocean breeze cools you as you flow through your movements, and I really enjoyed the instructors. I felt connected and at peace each class! The instructors were knowledgeable and moved at a comfortable speed, allowing beginners (like me) the time to transition and offering pose variations to more experienced practitioners.

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Trilogy Sanctuary also features a cafe, where everything on their menu is 100% Organic, Vegan, and gluten free. After my first class, I gave the “Serenity” smoothie a try. It had Acai, blueberry, banana, almond milk, protein and goji berries. Yum. It was a little pricey, but totally worth it.

The cafe features a “Make a Wish” wall, where you can contribute your own wishes to the ones the yogis before you have already put up. I thought this added a creative and personal touch to an already charming atmosphere. I just wanted to hang out there all day!

wish


In addition to Trilogy Sanctuary, I tried out Corepower Yoga. Corepower offers a free, unlimited week to new students. I took a heated power, and a beginner corepower, class.

Corepower is appealing because they have locations everywhere, and the facilities are very accommodating. They give you a complimentary mat and towel to use on your first visit (I didn’t use their mat, I brought my own), and they also provide locks for the women’s locker room. This allows you to keep your purse out of the way, and safe, while you yoga. I definitely appreciated this.

What I didn’t love about Corepower was the generic feel of the studios, and the fact that the foam blocks smelled like sweat. The instructors were decent, but the classes were fast paced. The pace made the instructors seem rushed- which made me feel rushed and didn’t allow me to connect with my form much. Zen Factor was a 3/10.

As for the heated power yoga…

I was terrified to try it. But, as I learned, it really isn’t so bad! The studio is heated to 98°F, which isn’t scorching like hot yoga is at 105°F. Don’t get me wrong- I was dripping sweat constantly and it wasn’t glamorous, but it was a great workout. I could feel the calories sizzling off of my body! The heat in the room aided in my flexibility, and helped me to move more deeply into difficult positions. The important thing is to stay hydrated and to go at your own pace- I was definitely guilt free every time I stopped to use my towel.

The benefit of Corepower Yoga is that it is more workout oriented, which is great for muscle toning and fitness. I felt I efficiently targeted muscle groups during these classes, and I definitely would go back to get my sweat on. Just don’t walk in there expecting spiritual healing, because Corepower ain’t it.

Overall, week 1 was a huge success! I am proud of myself for pushing through the classes, and for challenging myself to try something new. I also love the progress I can see, and feel. I can’t wait to discover what Week 2 will bring!

ps. You can find out more about Trilogy Sanctuary and Corepower Yoga here and here.

What is your favorite type of yoga class to take, and what do you like to get out of the classes you do take? I would love to hear your input!

xoxo

Sarah

Failure, Progress, and Freedom.

Focus. Breathe. Tighten. Relax. Clear your mind. Tune in to your body. Drop your shoulders. Don’t forget to breathe, again.

I hear a seagull outside. Focus, Sarah.

Okay. Don’t drop your belly. Open up your hips. You’re not breathing, again.

That person next to me is really getting into that open-mouthed exhale…

One more breath in. One more breath out. Lean in.

Wait, did the instructor seriously just tell us to picture our internal organs squeezing and flushing out toxins?! That is disgusting. Great, now I can’t get the picture of my insides out of my mind…

This isn’t going so well.


My third yoga class of Self-Care September wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. I had walked in confidently, my yoga mat tucked securely under my arm. As I set up my little zen spot, unrolling my mat on the floor and positioning my water bottle and towel beside me, I pictured how much better I would be in this class. I was ready. Ready to execute the moves a little more accurately, ready to deepen my extension, and ready to start to get the hang of this whole yoga thing.

That’s not how it went.

My body wasn’t responding to my instruction, my mind wasn’t clearing, and all I could think about was how terrible I am at this whole yoga thing. Crap.

The instructor came over to adjust my form. She lightly pressed her hands on my hips and shoulders, gently repositioning me. As soon as her hands dropped away, so did my confidence. I was trying, but it wasn’t working. As I transitioned from one pose to the next, trying my best to breathe and flow through the movements, I couldn’t arrest the thoughts. Anxiety about work, how my day had gone, and what was still left on my to-do list clouded my focus. I pressed on anyway.

Why wasn’t this working? This was my third class of the week! I should be seeing improvement by now!

As my frustration mounted, I took a look around. I realized I wasn’t the only one needing to drop down to my knees, and I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t entirely, 100% focused. I breathed a little easier. I inhaled, then exhaled. Deeply and completely.

That’s when the acceptance set in.

Suddenly, I accepted that my body wasn’t doing miraculous things on my third class of yoga. I acknowledged the tightness in my muscles that I could not fight, the disquiet in my mind I could not rest. I realized that I was holding on to a resentment towards myself for not being where I wanted to be, yet, and I let it go.

Holy crap was that freeing.

I let go of the feelings of inadequacy. I let go of hating the fact that I wasn’t as strong or as sure as some of the other class participants. I let go of these expectations I had for myself, and I settled in. I focused on doing each movement as best as I could, forgetting about the fact that the best I could do wasn’t very good at all, at the moment.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Letting acceptance flow freely in, frustration and self-doubt flow freely out.

Before I knew it, the class was coming to an end. In a seated position, I pressed my hands together in front of my heart and I took the deepest bow I could manage; giving thanks to the class, to my body, and to the experience. I wiped off the sweat, rolled up my mat, and tucked it back up under my arm as I walked out.

I had finished the rest of the class. I didn’t finish it perfectly, not one little bit, but I finished.

So many times I have left a workout feeling defeated. Mad, frustrated, disappointed. This time was different. No, I didn’t love the class and I didn’t love the instructor and I didn’t love my performance. What I did love, even though it felt like I fumbled my way through the entire 60 minutes, was leaving that class feeling like an accomplishment. Somehow, in failing, I had still made progress.

And you know how I felt? I felt light. I felt open. I felt rejuvenated. I felt free.

I was calm and grateful; grateful for the emotions I had experienced, for the respect I had given my body by showing up, and for the opportunity to learn something more about myself.  I felt ready to do it all again.

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I can’t wait to get back on my mat.

What is your favorite type of yoga to practice? Do you have a favorite class that you take, or have you ever had any difficulties similar to mine? 

xoxo

Sarah

*All photos pictured are via Pinterest.