Monthly Archives: June 2011

TRIP TO DENVER

I made it home late last night and although I really could have slept my body was stiff and sore from travel. I decided to get up early and go to Bikram to loosen up. I’m glad I did because once I got done with the workout my body felt so much better. Before I entered the studio my legs really didn’t want to carry anywhere. I will admit I’m in sneakers for the day trying to rest my feet as well. During flight my fingers and feet blew up into huge balloons so sweating a ton was beneficial to get some fluid off.

Travel is not good for my body. The sitting in an airplane, the stress of traveling, and the food I eat, the lack of sleep I get and the walking around for hours upon hours in shoes that look good but are nowhere near comfortable all add to my anguish about traveling. I’m always ready to get home and will take crazy late flights just to ensure I get an extra night in my bed. This is kind of what I did last night. I was home a little before 10:00pm got all my stuff packed for the next day and was up at 4am to head to my Bikram class.

I’m sure I will pay for this trip for a few days but I have the weekend coming up and although this is a holiday weekend this is one of those times that I must take care of me and lay low. It hasn’t happened in a while and I have felt so good about my body and mind but right now is a time when I need some rest and therefore rest is what I’ll take. It doesn’t mean we won’t have fun but it does mean I will not push myself or put myself in any situations that may further cause me lack of sleep or eat food that is not satisfactory to my system. The food was big for me since I was just coming off my yoga retreat and eating so much better at home. I arrived in Denver which is a wonderful city by the way and has so many fabulous restaurants but my system needs easily digestible foods and limit on sugars and salts. I have decided that my body does well on the simplest of foods, no spice, salt, sugar, or heavy foods such as meats and dairy products. I have been experimenting this month with different types of foods and seeing what I really can tolerate and what makes me feel a little off. Gluten has not been an issue for me at all but meats and dairy have been. I do find eliminating dairy daunting but limiting it seems like something my mind will tolerate.

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FATIGUE AND TRAVEL

I just wrote in my blog yesterday about how strong I was feeling even after a jammed packed weekend and how fatigue had not risen its ugly head in my direction.  How a day can change.  As the day went on yesterday and into the evening I was becoming increasingly more fatigued.  I ended up going to bed even earlier then normal and sleeping soundly throughout the night.  This morning I’m still feeling the effects of fatigue but honestly I think it may be more mental then physical.

I’m leaving for Denver this morning and getting on a plane always makes me anxious.  Not because I don’t like to fly but because I always worry about how my body will hold up sitting for hours upon hours and how the getting out of my normal routine will effect me.  I’m not sure what I’m really worried about since I haven’t had any flare like symptoms and I really do feel strong which means I’m letting my brain take over.
The mind is such a powerful weapon and use the word weapon because I’m truly sabotaging myself.  I drove 4 hours by myself to a yoga retreat with no issues or stiffness and none of my flights are 4 hours long in duration which means I’ll have lots of time for walking and stretching.  I don’t really enjoy traveling away from home and would much rather stay here and enjoy my evenings with my husband.

The trip will be quick and I’ll be home in no time so I need to quiet my mind and remind myself how strong I really am and how healthy I have become.  Sure I will be tired when I get home, travel is tiring but there is a
difference between being tired and having debilitating fatigue.  Now is the time to let my yogi side kick in, relax, breath and reassure myself that this trip is going to be successful.

ALL ABOUT FAMILY

What a whirlwind weekend. In the past we would pick one thing to do so I could have plenty of time to rest and recover from my fatigue.  As the weeks and months continue where I am flare-up free and my body gets stronger and stronger we are able to do so much more.  This past weekend we made it a family weekend.  Friday night we were with my husbands family enjoying “steak and cake.”   You might be wondering what is steak and cake.  It is exactly as it states.  Since his twins niece and nephew were able to eat real food his sister would invite him over for dinner and when she would ask the kids what they wanted they always said steak and cake.

Once I entered into my husband’s life I was invited to steak and cake which is a honor for me.  This is special occasion they have and time for the twins to tell their uncle everything they have been up to.  Now they are 14 and really don’t have time for their uncle but there is always time for steak and cake.  It is nice to see the family and watch the interaction between my husband and the kids.

Saturday we went south to see another sibling and nephew of my husband.  This nephew is our God-child as well as a nephew and he turned 3 on Saturday.  It is amazing to think 3 years have already come and gone.  He got a big bounce house for one of his gifts and yes I took my shoes off and got right in.  I was in that bounce house about 10 minutes and tired.  I do a lot of exercising but this was really work trying to stay up
right and meander around the kids without knocking them down.  Toddlers and bounce houses are a hoot.  He was so sweet and really enjoyed us being there.  He as well as a special relationship with my husband, his uncle.  I have written before about how wonderful my husband is with kids and I am just reminded of this fact so often.

Finally, Sunday rolls around and I spend time with my husband which is our family.  We don’t have children but he and I are truly family and love our life together.  We spent the day doing the things we really enjoy and even stopped off for a little bit of ice cream along way.  He doesn’t eat dairy but going to an ice cream barn in the summer is all part of the event not just the dairy.  Most evenings I would be resting on the
couch thinking I probably packed too much into one weekend but not this time.  In fact we ended our beautiful and family filled weekend with a little Yin yoga.  My husband tried it for the first time and
actually liked it.  I hope he continues to do it and we can make this part of an evening routine for ourselves. 

Now I am preparing for a trip to Denver and again will be away from my husband for a few days. These are work trips and no yoga involved but hopefully it will go smoothly and I’ll still be feeling strong. I have come to realize that it is a lot easier to stay balanced and manage MCTD then try to live in recovery mode.  With every flare I was having I was recovering and recovering takes just as much energy as the flare itself.  Now I’m truly managing my MCTD and feeling fabulous.

LUNCH TIME YOGA SESSION

I think I have a compromise figured out that won’t be too costly, will get me out of the gym and into a yoga studio more.  I found a lunch time class that is not hot yoga but will stretch me out and quiet my mind for an hour during the day. It is fairly close to where I work and I could scoot over there get my vinyasa on and scoot back.  I don’t typically do room temperature yoga but I think I could get use to it if I were doing it about once or twice or week.

I had my first lunch time yoga session on Friday and it was dynamite.  I was having a regular day without a lot of stress or worry but it was raining and kind of cold outside which it has been doing now in Maine for many days and I needed a mood lifter.  I decided to try the lunch time yoga class which was a vinyasa flow. It made my afternoon so much better.  I arrived at noon and not sure if the class would be full or not but it
is moderately full.  The energy was good, the instructor was good, and she realized many people were there on their lunch breaks so it wasn’t a sweaty vinyasa class but we did get some major stretching done and our heart rates up but then we took several minutes at the end to rest and meditate before heading back to work and the real world again. 

This will become a regular practice for me since it just revives and re-energizes me as well as loosens everything up as I sit for hours upon hours in a desk chair.  I get to let my voice ring with a few om’s and life is just better that way.  My entire life has changed since I have delved head first into a huge pool of yoga and I just bask in the beauty, calm, and peace of it all.  My next task in life will be to incorporate yoga fully and un-incorporate “Corporate America” after I get everything lined up and organized first. No sense in causing stress by not being prepared for a life change like that.  Thank goodness hubby is on board with my life style changes. He sees a new woman emerging every day with a different practice I had, a revelation I have had, a book I have read, a recipe I have found, and any new situations I have experienced.

BIKRAM YOGA NEW ROUTINE

Before I left for my trip I was eager to return home to my new Bikram routine.  With summer upon us many people don’t practice Bikram due to the heat and humidity and really people prefer to be outside doing fun things.  With this in mind they decided to make it available for everyone to practice every day first thing before it got too hot outside.  They are running 6am classes every day Mon-Fri with Sat and Sun at 7am.
This is so great for me. I can start my day  in the Bikram studio and finish my day on my mat home doing my home practice.  On sunny days I’ll be outside doing fun things and walking and the gym will be in my rear view mirror for a few months.  However, I will still meet with my trainer and that is in a gym so it isn’t that far in my rear view mirror!

What I’m noticing is that when I got home I had a wonderful new flexibility and I was desperate to keep that flexibility now with daily yoga I’m able to keep it.  I love starting my day in the Bikram studio, it gets my
heart rate up and gets me sweating and then I have all day to just take in the glory of what I did.  My practice is coming along and I’m progressing every time I’m in there.  Certainly, there is benefit to practicing 3 times a week but to practice 6 or 7 pushes the body and mind even farther faster.

Some of my fellow yogis have commented that I had a certain relaxed glow about me when I came back from my trip and I’m still holding that glow.  They would contribute it to the yoga and the cleaner diet I’m eating.  I agree but also add in the happiness and contentment I feel. Before I left I was truly stressed, with my new mind set and the ability to refocus during yoga I don’t feel so stagnate in my professional life.  I was feeling stagnate at the gym standing on the elliptical machine for 60 minutes also. I have let that go and when the weather turns cold again I’ll use the elliptical or not.  Some people believe all you need is yoga to be healthy your entire life. I understand that philosophy to an extent. I need to get my heart rate up daily which I
can do with yoga but I do believe I need the weight training. 

Perhaps in my near future I will be a total yogi and use that as my only form of exercise and see what happens to my body.  I’m preparing myself for a 30 day Bikram challenge but I want to make sure I’m mentally prepared.  Being able to get in there 7 days a week is very different then signing a challenge form and having to get in there 7 days a week to fulfill an agreement.  It is all mind games but don’t understate
the power of the mind.

CHOOSING A FISH OIL

I took a lot of classes at Kripalu and learned many new things.  The most interesting was how to choose a fish oil.  I don’t know about you but I just thought you could walk into the drug store and look for the one that had 1000-1200 mg of Omega’s and be good.  Those front labels are deceiving and what we really need to do is see what the back of the label says.  It is important to look for the DHA & EPA.  Perhaps many of you are already aware of this but I didn’t know that DHA & EPA were the healthy Omega’s found in fish oil with the science and research behind them.  I need to find a fish oil with a high level of DHA & EPA and try for 500-1000mg a day of that to help with inflammation, joint pain, and other benefits associated like lowering
cholesterol levels.

 Why jazz up the front of the bottle instead of just telling us up front how much DHA & EPA can be found in each serving?  Marketing has its place but when they say 1200mg of Omegas and that isn’t correct it makes me wonder.  At least now I know and will be able to buy my fish oil knowing what I’m looking for.  As it turns out my fish oil isn’t so bad it has 360mg of DHA & EPA
per cap so with just 2-4 I can reach my 500-1000mg minimum.  I wouldn’t want to take more than that.  Also I learned that if you find when you take fish oil that it makes belch you can decrease that
by putting them in the freezer and taking them cold. 

RECIPES

Here are the 2 recipes I wanted to share with you that I received at Kripalu.  Also if you visit kripalu.org they have many recipes to try and lots of information about yoga, health, and of course booking a trip to their facility.

Vegetable Biryani

1 cup basmati rice

1.5 cup water

Pinch saffron

1 Tbsp ghee or sesame oil

2 tsp minced ginger

2 tsp minced garlic

.5 tsp turmeric

.5 small carrot diced

.5 small onion diced

.25 tsp salt

.5 cup frozen peas

.25 cup cashews

.25 raisins

Rinse rice and cover with hot water for 15 minutes. Drain rice, and then combine in small pot with the water and saffron. In a separate sauté pan, heat the ghee or oil and add the ginger and garlic and sauté a few minutes. Add turmeric and stir. Add the carrots and onions sauté until onions start to brown. Add the salt and transfer the vegetables spice mixture to the rice pot and stir to combine. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered 12 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Add the frozen peas and raisins and allow sitting in covered pot a few more minutes to warm peas and soften raisins, serve with cashews.

Lemony Red Lentil Dahl

1-2 Tbsp grape seed oil or ghee

1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds

1 small onion diced

2 Ribs celery diced

1 small carrot diced

.25 tsp salt

1 cup red lentils

4 cups water or stock

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Cilantro (optional)

In a soup pot begin by heating the cumin seeds with the oil or ghee until they begin to pop
– be careful to not let them burn. Then add the onions and sauté for a few minutes add the celery, carrots and salt sauté a few minutes more. Rinse the lentils and add them to the vegetables, stir to coat with the flavors of the pot. Add water or stock, bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes until lentils have broken apart and are soft. Add fresh lemon juice and additional salt if desired. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.