Hump Day Inspiration

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For this week’s post, I came across so many great quotes on “trying”.  I decided to choose the most simple one that encompassed the sentiment of the many quotes I saw.  Plus, this picture is the cutest and I had to share.

“If you never try, you’ll never know.”  Last week, I got into king pigeon pose.  In the few years I’ve been practicing, I’ve never really attempted this asana.  I try many new poses that are introduced to me but for some reason, I just had it set in my mind that this posture was not going to be a part of my practice and so I never went for it.  But thanks to an awesome instructor, a strap, and a change in attitude, I reached back and inched my fingers down the strap and grabbed my toes.  As soon as I touched them, I felt this amazing sense of accomplishment rush through me and was so glad I went for it.  When I went home, I tried it again, this time without the aid of a strap and I was able to touch my toes again!  I felt so light and open and wanted to just nuzzle my head in my foot (I wasn’t that open yet and had to back out fairly quickly).

I’ve learned a lot about myself and life in my running and yoga practice.  This is just another example and I wanted to share it with all of you.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by saying you can’t do something.  You won’t know your limits until you go for it.

Eat and Feel Like a F**king Champ

ThugKitchen

Is your body feeling the effects of too many drinks and high-cal/nasty foods this holiday weekend?  Well here’s the perfect site to browse if you need some ideas on healthy eating and want some entertainment at the same time…unless you have a problem with profanity, in which case you should just stop reading.  I definitely do not.

If you haven’t already heard about Thug Kitchen, it’s hilarious and was listed as one of the best new food blogs of 2013 by Saveur magazine.  Here’s an example of one of my favorite posts:

Hamburger Helper ain’t fucking helping. Get your ass some tempeh Tuscon pasta. Never trust a glove with a face.

Besides the entertainment value, the guys behind Thug Kitchen believe that healthy eating should not be limited to those with money.  They offer up simple, inexpensive, but delicious looking recipes, all while educating you on the benefits of the foods being used…in their own special way of course.  I believe all the recipes are vegan/vegetarian.

So check it out, even if it’s just for a good laugh.  I definitely plan on trying some of their recipes.

A Ridiculously Cheap and Healthy and Yum Salad

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So remember when I mentioned you should check out the site Greatist?  This delish lentils with roasted beets and carrots recipe popped up on their home page a couple days later and I knew I had to try it out.  I was drawn to the super simple recipe list and knew this was going to cost me very little to make.  I hit up my local Sprouts and spent approximately $3.50 for the lentils and the produce, which included an organic beet.  I also have extra carrots to spare!

I used almost an entire lemon and the whole salad turned pink from the beets.  I like beets a lot so I really enjoyed this.  It was extremely easy to make and it was a great side dish for two people with leftovers for lunch the next day.  Beets and lentils are the superfoods packed into this salad.  And for $3.50, how could you not try it???

Hump Day Inspiration


WATCH THIS VIDEO.  I was actually in the middle of working on another post for this week’s hump day inspiration when I came across this video on my Facebook feed and HAD to change course.  This mini documentary is about a young man named Zach Sobiech who found out he had terminal cancer at the age of 14.  He just passed away on May 20, 2013 at the age of 18 and in the 22 minutes of this video, you meet someone you want to know and someone you want to aspire to be.  His outlook and approach to life seems to come from someone who has lived three or four decades longer than him.  “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living,” says Zach.  While you hear similar sentiments all the time, Zach was actually doing it.  This video is such a great reminder for me that it’s about perspective and it’s all up to you on how you choose to deal with the challenges that come your way in life.  Seriously, watch this.  And have some tissues nearby… I cried like a baby for most of it.

Yoga in the City – Free Yoga from the Wanderlust Festival

Can’t make it to one of the 4-day Wanderlust Festival due to the cost?  Don’t feel like volunteering in exchange for the experience?  For all of those in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, the Wanderlust Festival is offering an urban yoga experience…for FREE.

Wanderlust Yoga in the City, San Francisco. Photo by Alex Wang

Wanderlust Yoga in the City, San Francisco. Photo by Alex Wang

“Yoga in the City (YITC) takes the pillars of our Wanderlust Festival experience and places them in an urban setting for you to experience a little taste of our epic 4-day adventures in your own backyard. We invite top local instructors to lead large, free charity-focused classes. Musical performances infuse classes and dance parties are prone to breaking out post-savasana. Vendors, artists and performers weave their flavor into the tapestry of the experience, making it a modern-day yogic celebration coming to your town for you to enjoy on a summers day.”

The next YITC event is in Chicago, then New York, and ends in Los Angeles on June 30.  I really, really want to go to the one in LA and am considering rallying a few friends to come with me to make it more worthwhile.  I live in San Diego and have a wedding to be at the day before so driving up just for the day doesn’t sound great since there is a good chance I’ll be sleep deprived.  Even though the event is free, I’d still have to cover the cost of gas and when you are only guaranteed one class for free, it doesn’t quite make sense.

Registration gives you one class for free but you can attend other classes if space is available.  YITC is also looking for volunteers so if you are interested in being behind the scenes as well, click on the city you want to participate in and find the “volunteer” tab under the “connect” link.

More Free or Inexpensive Online Yoga Classes

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I’m still in the process of going through my trial period of online yoga classes just to see what a home practice would be like if I needed to resort to one.  My review will be posted the last week of May.  In the meantime, I came across this link that has more resources for free or cheap yoga sessions online in the event you wanted to explore some options on your own.  Happy Friday!

Extra Sale on Sale Items at Athleta

Happy Thursday all!

Got an email from Athleta that all their sale items are an extra 20% off through May 19.  They have a ton of stuff on sale and their sale prices are already pretty damn good.  I’ve picked up two yoga tops from there for around $25-$30 each.  For the most part, I’m pretty happy with the quality and the cuts of the tops, though there are some minor annoyances.  They absorb sweat well and dry quickly.  There is also enough support in the tops to prevent headlights.  The thing I like most about Athleta is that you can workout in your new gear, sweat in it, and if for some reason you are unhappy with your purchase, you can return it (of course, review the fine details for any limitations).  Athleta is also part of the larger Gap, Inc. company and you can shop at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Piperlime and put everything in one shopping bag.  Saves time and most importantly, shipping costs!

Use the code BRIGHT20 at checkout.

Hump Day Inspiration

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I came across this image yesterday and thought the timing was very appropriate for me.  I was running A LOT and every race was an attempt at a PR or it was prep for the next race where I would attempt a PR.  I was drained and in one of my last races, I wanted to give up pretty early on (though I did achieve that PR by three seconds).  Then a week later, I did the Camp Pendleton Mud Run  and just stopped pushing at mile 2 when we started running through sand (living social deal is still on!).  I had become mentally exhausted and decided to take a break from races late last summer.  I continued to run here and there but nothing serious.  Then I stopped running completely and focused solely on yoga and teacher training.

It’s been about eight or nine months and I’m itching to run again.  Starting over and getting winded after three miles is incredibly frustrating especially since I was used to running at a certain pace and a certain mileage per week.  I’m trying hard to remind myself that I took a long hiatus so it’s going to take time, dedication, willpower, sacrifice to get back in running shape.  And maybe putting money down on a race but which one…

Healthy Kitchen Makeover on a Budget

veggies

photo by kightp

A very important part of living a healthy lifestyle is nutrition so here is my first budget friendly food post.  But are you feeling overwhelmed with all the exotic, trendy, and pricey foods that are making headlines for their health benefits?   What in the world is a mangosteen??  Actually I do know what they are since I ate them when I went to Vietnam as a child.

Healthy food does not have to be expensive or difficult to find.  In fact, when my boyfriend and I go grocery shopping, we usually split up our purchases with me buying all the produce and he gets everything else.  I eat a lot of produce, especially fruit, and I can tell you that 99% of the time, my bill comes out a lot less than his and this sometimes includes organic items and adding on items that are not produce.  I shop at a small chain called Sprouts and typically, they have awesome deals on their produce.  From time to time, the deals on their organic produce is cheaper than the regular stuff.  I don’t do this often but I also like buying produce at Asian supermarkets since they are pretty inexpensive there as well.  No matter where you shop or what stores are available to you, I came across this helpful article on Greatist on getting a healthy fridge and pantry makeover for different budgets.  If you are a follower of my blog, you’ll just need to scroll to the first list, which is the ‘strategically thrifty’ option and gives you basic and healthy staples to stock your kitchen as well as ideas on how to utilize it.  Check out the other lists for healthy options to jazz up your staples.

BTW, if you are not familiar with Greatist, they offer many articles and resources on ways to make better choices easier.  Since you are probably already on Facebook, like their page to get updates directly to your newsfeed.

Never Pay Retail for a Yoga Mat

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A bit of a side note, over the past week or so my body was just tired and not really responding to any of the yoga classes I was taking.  I modified a lot and backed off but my body just didn’t want to be there.  So I did what I normally never do…I rested.  I took two days off from any exercise and returned this morning to take one of my favorite instructor’s classes and I felt sooo good!  I should definitely take my advice more often and take rest days!

Okay, back to the topic of this post.  For most of my life, I’ve been frugal with most things (let’s not confuse this with being cheap).  I’ve come to realize that with so many things out there, you can get it without paying retail.  Sometimes the discount is minimal but it’s still a discount, right?

I bought a Gaiam yoga mat around three years ago at Target (probably at retail but at $20-ish, it didn’t matter) .  And during those three years, I lovingly used my mat on a regular basis and then within the past year, I used it daily if not multiple times a day.  My mat has become a bit too flat for me and there are stains on it that I can’t remove even after a thorough cleaning.  I told myself that as a reward for going through teacher training, I would get myself a nice new mat.  And I definitely did not pay retail for my mat.  I knew I was going to purchase my mat through CPY since after teacher training, they gave us a 20% coupon for taking a feedback survey.  Also, CPY has a referral program (I believe I’ve been to other studios that do something similar) where you get $5 for anything at CPY.  So throughout the teacher training and extensions program, I invited my friends to come take my classes and started building my referral dollars.  With the discount and the referral dollars, I was able to purchase my new mat – a Manduka PROlite Mat – for around $40.  The retail price is $78.  That is a pretty damn good deal, right?

This does require a certain amount of patience but if you don’t have to have a new mat right away, you can walk away with a quality mat for not a lot of money.  Check out your local yoga studio and see if there are any financial incentives to refer friends.  I’m also on the email list for yoga studios in the area so I’m notified whenever they have sales for their retail products.  Sites such as Amazon and Retail Me Not also offer deals or coupon codes at retailers that sell yoga mats.  Also, you can try going directly to sites that manufacture yoga mats and see if they are offering any deals.

If you do have an old yoga mat that you are looking to swap out, consider recycling it instead of adding to the landfill.  AND while you are helping to save the planet, you can get savings towards a new yoga mat!  Uhhh, why wouldn’t you do this?  Perhaps plan on this when you are taking a break from yoga and not needing your mat.  There is a company out there called Recycle Your Mat and you can recycle your mat in a couple of ways.  You can either clean it and send it to the company yourself, or you can use their location finder to find a studio that collects mats to recycle.  I used the location finder and there was a studio not far from me participating in the program.  The studio may charge a small fee to offset shipping costs.  Once they receive your mat, they will email you a coupon for 20% off a Manduka mat or any Manduka gear.  I thought about keeping my old Gaiam mat around for park yoga or just to have an extra mat lying around but since I’ll be moving to San Francisco, every inch is crucial so I’ll definitely go this route if I get rid of my old mat.

The purpose of this post is not to tell you that expensive yoga mats are better.  Depending on how often you will be using your mat, $20 yoga mat may suit you just fine.  Places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx have mats that are as cheap as $10.  My mat probably would have held up for another five years if I was only practicing a few days a week, especially with the added protection of a towel when I practice.  I was looking for something that was durable and would provide more support for a daily practice and did A LOT of research.  I chose Manduka because of the lifetime guarantee, essentially negating the need to purchase another mat in the future.

Whatever mat you own, make sure you take care of it to extend its life.  Here are some great tips on how to care for your mat.