Monday, December 11, 2017

High Blood Pressure: How Yoga Can Help Stabilize Blood Pressure Naturally

The most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control says 70 million Americans, about 29% of the population, have diagnosed high blood pressure, known medically as hypertension. Hypertension is diagnosed when the top number, systolic, of a blood pressure reading is higher than 140 and the lower number, diastolic, higher than 90.

Hypertension increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, two of the top three causes of death in the United States.

Although systolic blood pressure tends to rise naturally as people age due to increasing stiffness of large arteries and long-term build-up of plaque, there are ways to naturally combat elevated blood pressure, including yoga.

Click here to read the rest of High Blood Pressure: How Yoga Can Help 

Stabilize Blood Pressure Naturally

Saturday, December 9, 2017

I Went MIA But I Ran a Half Marathon!

Two months!

It's been two months since my last post. That just makes me sad and a bit ashamed.

So to catch you up, here's what I've been doing:

I'm still working my new job and it's still going well, except October was budget time and I've never been responsible for a budget that large before and how do I know how much revenue each department will bring in during 2018 and oh my god what if I budget wrong and this is really stressing me out and then I got sick, just my yearly Southern fall upper respiratory thing but then kid 5 had a serious injury and we were in LeBonheur Children's Hospital for two days and then literally the next day Kid 4 had a very serious injury and she was admitted to LeBonheur Children's Hospital for two days and I didn't even go to work for a couple days but I have the best co-workers in the world and it wasn't even an issue and we are still running to follow up appointments and Kid 4 is still having signs of spinal chord trauma which is pretty scary and then because of all that I forgot I was sick so then I got really sick and gave in and paid $150 for the doctor to tell me I was sick and prescribe an antibiotic but I guess it was too late at that point because a few days later I had to pay another $150 for a different doctor to tell me I was really really sick and I needed a stronger antibiotic  so I came home and slept for 12 hours straight and then 5 days later I RAN A HALF MARATHON!

Along Riverside Drive. This is the downhill part
where I was blissfully unaware of the hill
coming up next. 
I really did it. I ran the St. Jude Half Marathon.

And actually crossed the finish line!

The night before a friend and fellow personal trainer texted me and said "just remember don't get caught up in all the excitement and start out too fast. Go at your own pace."

Good advice.

That I totally ignored and took off like a bat out of hell.

It was really exciting to be running the streets of Memphis with people lined up all along the way to cheer us on.

I was feeling really good and had my best split at mile 5 which is the dreaded Beale Street hill. But I powered up that hill like it was nothing and at the very top got a text from Kid 2 who had been tracking me on the St Jude Race Tracking app.

 Heck yeah! I am moving baby. I got this! But it's also about that point I realized I had got caught up in the excitement and I needed to slow down. My broken foot from last year was starting to remind me that it never really healed properly and it was starting to get warmer outside.

Remember, I hadn't trained for a month since getting sick and dealing with the kids injuries. My last training day had been on an unusually cold day and when I left my house at 6am the day of the race I was dressed for a chilly day.

But at this point I still felt good.

Running along Beale Street

And then, about mile 8 reality set in. Holy hell I still have five more miles to go. And my own race GPS was telling me I was a half mile ahead of every race marker I saw so I was getting really discouraged and a bit pissed off.

Why did I even decide to do this anyway. I'm not a runner. I hate running. This sucks.

About mile nine another text from Kid 2

I did not make it under three hours because those last four miles just sucked. Like sucked big time. The route took us through the less interesting parts of Memphis where there weren't as many people lined up cheering you on.

Honestly what happened was I got in my head here.  We were on the same stretch of road for two miles so it felt like I was getting nowhere, I was tired, I was hot and I was ready to be done.

Finally I could see the mile marker 13 up ahead and I could see AutoZone Park, so I knew the finish line was getting close. I was trying to will my feet to go faster when all of a sudden my phone went crazy with notifications.

It was messages from eight of my lifeguards and two of my kids telling me how proud they were and congratulations and I was almost there. What are the odds that all those messages came through at that exact moment when I needed the encouragement the most?

I powered through and I crossed that finish line like a boss!

I heard someone call my name as I came
through the finish. She snapped this pic of me as I
officially crossed.


And I even have the medal to prove it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Half Marathon Training: 10 Miles

Yesterday I taught my first class in more than two months and it felt so good to be teaching again! I filled in for the new HIIT class at my YMCA. HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training and we all were dripping sweat by the time we walked out of class.

It was fabulous!

Today I did my 10-mile training run in preparation for the St Jude Half Marathon. Although just a training run, I set a new PR for myself. PR is running lingo for "personal record." My time was great and the ten miles felt good.

Tonight, though, I feel like this:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I'm A Crappy Mom: Part (I've Lost Track By Now)

Alternative Title -- I Regret Being Such a Bitch To My Mom

Today began like this:

My 16 year old daughter mad at me because I won't let her take MY iPad on her Mexican cruise she is leaving on in an hour. She storms through the house and on her way out, says to her brother, I hope I never come back!

Being the calm rational mom I am I go storming out, fling open the door, and yell "You ungrateful little bitch! I hope you have a good time on your trip." And then I slam the door hard enough that the windows rattle. 

Yep, I went there.

Kid 4 is acting like a perfectly normal, age appropriate 16 year old girl.

And I'm not handling it very well.

Aside from her general ungrateful, bratty, roll-her-eyes at me attitude, she's a good kid. Straight A's in all honors classes, dances 5 nights/week, teaches dance 2 nights/week, not boy crazy, responsible and basically reliable kid. 

Her teachers love her. Other parents love her.

I actually enjoy spending time with her. 

Except when I want to just run after her, grab her long blonde pony tail and yank her onto the ground and pummel some sense in to her. 

I do understand that at 16 years old, she is genetically designed to be a horrible human being.  I do understand that at 48 years old I should have enough maturity, wisdom and parenting skills not to buy into her 16 year old behavior.

But apparently I don't.

It's almost like she turns me into a 16 year old bratty person too. 

I'm mean really. She is leaving for a five-day cruise to Mexico over Fall Break with her friends. I will be home working. Her brothers and sister will be home bored all week because they don't get to go anywhere and I'll be at work.  

Would "gee, thanks Mom" really kill her once in awhile?

She makes me feel like nothing I do, nothing I can give her, is ever good enough. She has brought me to tears more than a couple times. 

I know we will eventually get through this. And one day she will look back and regret acting this way towards me. And one day I'll see this is nothing more than typical strife between teen daughters and their mothers. 

But until that day, all I can do is try and remind myself that she is very much her mother's daughter.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What It Feels Like To Be A (Half) Marathon Runner

My hips hurt.

My hamstrings are tighter than they have ever been.

My yoga practice is suffering greatly due to lack of time because of training runs multiple times per week.

My yoga practice is suffering greatly because my flexibility has left the country because of all the running.

Reminder: I'm using the word "running" very loosely here.

I've gone through multiple rolls of KT Tape on my broken foot and an old injury on my knee.

I haven't had time to do any strength training in 6 weeks because any fitness time goes to training runs.

Have I mentioned how much my hips hurt?

I took a yoga workshop today and the instructor asked what happened that my hips were so tight? Oh, just training for St Jude I told her.

I'm not sure if it's just here in Memphis or if it's marathon runners everywhere that refer to the St Jude Marathon as just "training for St Jude." This is a BIG race amongst the marathon and half marathon community. Everyone knows it.

There will be real, legit runners there. The kind of runners who are qualifying to run the Boston or New York City Marathon. There will also be the groups wearing funny costumes and leisurely strolling their way along the race route.

I'll be somewhere in the middle. Well, probably closer to the back of the middle!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Practice More Yoga, More Often, For A Healthier Happier Life

What yogis have long believed to be true, that yoga is a fountain of youth, science has recently begun to prove.

  • Practicing more physical poses related to improved sleep, diet, and a lower BMI.
  • Practicing more breath work and meditation led to increased mindfulness and subjective well-being.
  • A frequent practice of gentle restorative poses was associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption, higher rates of vegetarianism and lower alcohol consumption.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Best Yoga Class EVER

Today I taught a yoga class to 63 people. 63!

And six baby goats.

Yep, I have officially joined the latest yoga craze and today taught my first goat yoga class.

Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

Our local parks & rec department hosts the Goat Days Festival every year. I have no idea why my small town celebrates Goat Days, except I guess because there are a lot of goats around here. They usually call me to teach at local events, but this was a different call. And one that I didn't hesitate to say yes to!

I really wasn't sure what to expect though. I figured we would have a decent turn out. Probably my regular yoga people and a few people there for the goats.

I never expected 63!

Before class started I introduced myself, asked who had any yoga experience and asked about any health conditions I needed to be aware of. All the usual questions at the beginning of a yoga class.

It was probably 60% people who had some yoga experience and 40% who were just there to try it out.

But definitely 100% of the people were really there for the goats.

We began the yoga just as the baby goats were led into the pen. And I immediately lost everyones
attention. I told them no worries, I know you are really here for the goats so just have fun.

And we had so much fun!

The goats just wandered around while we practiced. People would stop to pet the goats or take goat selfies.

The farmers that brought the baby goats did a great job making sure the goats made their way throughout the big crowd by placing small  amounts of goat food on peoples yoga mats.

The biggest question I've gotten all day since goat yoga is "did the goat pee or poop on anyone"?

At the very end of class, one goat did pee on a woman's mat. But she had a good sense of humor about it and decided she will just buy herself a new yoga mat.

I saw a couple goats dropping goat pellets as they walked, but fortunately goat poop isn't like cow poop. It's smaller and doesn't stink!

The next question is when am I going to teach goat yoga again?

As soon as possible! The farm owners told me they have two more goats back at the farm who will be giving birth in a couple months so hopefully later this fall I will get to play with some baby goats and teach yoga again.

Teaching yoga at special events always reminds me of how much I love teaching and how much I am meant to teach. A friend took this picture below and said I looked so pretty. No, what you are seeing is happiness. I got to do what I love and teach yoga, to a large group of people who might never get to experience yoga and there were cute baby goats to play with.

My happiness cup is overflowing today.