Reasons to get out of bed…

Posts tagged ‘Yoga’

Using a Metaphorical Carrot for Motivation

I love to use “if/then” statements to motivate myself (“if I do this, then I get to do that”). Heck, that’s even how I motivated myself to read the Great Gatsby in the 11th grade (“If I read one chapter of the Great Gatsby, then I can read 3 chapters of a book I actually like” – nerd alert, I’m pretty sure the incentive in that statement was actually the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – yep, I was a moody, nerdy teenager for certain!)

carrot motivation

And I’ve found those “if/then” statements work the best if they are both things you are trying to motivate yourself for. (Note: they are least effective with something like this: “If I run a mile, I can gorge myself on brownies until I’m in a food coma”… that probably won’t help if weight loss is your goal, just saying!) For example, last week, I told myself that I could try running on Friday because I was going to yoga on Saturday (and could stretch out any minor aches and pains I might have been feeling if the run didn’t go well.

carrot and chocolate

I had been nervous about the running so the incentive was perfect to get me on the treadmill and it ended up being a great experience! Then, I didn’t want to get out of my warm and cozy cocoon (blankets and a cuddly cat with me on the couch) on Saturday morning to go to yoga, but I used the running as the reason I absolutely had to go to yoga.

And I’m glad I did that, too! I finally had a great time at yoga! The Saturday morning group is way more chatty and friendly than the weeknight class. Plus, I was feeling so good about myself after the running that I wasn’t feeling crazy awkward in the class. (I think I might actually be starting to enjoy yoga! *gasp!*) It’s funny how one’s own perception of themself in a situation can color the perception of the situation. But I was finally feeling good about me and it made me feel better about yoga.  It might also really help that I had the same instructor two classes in a row (now 3 in a row, wow!) and I’m finally learning some of the poses.

I’m psyched when metaphorical carrot motivators help everything turn out well. Now, I just need to stop with the running a mile and then eating brownies version. 😉

What “carrots” do you typically use to motivate yourself?

 

Round Lady Running

I ran!

I ran, I ran, I ran! I am so stupidly excited about this!!!

If you’re not a regular reader, or you’ve forgotten the details, let me catch you up: I was a bit of a runner (not serious by ANY standards!) and then I got pregnant. I was sidelined for months thanks to morning sickness, major food aversions, and general exhaustion (I had no idea building such a tiny human was so tiring!). I saw my doctor last month and she gave me permission to run, but only for 5-10 minutes at a time, which I assumed would be my body’s max anyway. Afterall, I haven’t run since September.

Once getting cleared, I was really nervous about the belly jiggling and feeling awkward in the tiny gym at my office. But I worked up my confidence with yoga and the arc trainer at the gym (sort of a cross between a stair master and an elliptical). I went down for a late lunch-break on Friday and found the gym was empty! I was so pumped!

decision to try

My goal for the walk/run was a total of 2 – 2.5 miles, and I was hoping to run 1/4 mile, walk, run 1/2 mile, walk, run 1/4 mile. But I figured I would go with however I was feeling – good or bad.

I warmed up for 1/4 mile and then increased the speed to an easy, slow run. My legs were wanting to increase the speed, but the ligaments in my belly (which vaguely hurt all the time from the expanding tummy thing) were not loving it. They quieted down pretty quickly though and I continued on.

By the time I looked down to see how I was doing, I had almost run an entire mile! So I finished the mile and slowed back to a walk (my slow mile was a little over 10 minutes and I didn’t want to push my luck).

Honestly, the belly wiggled a little, but not nearly as much as I expected (I may have been worried that it would bounce frantically like my ponytail) . I feel like I want to look into some sort of weight belt or something though, just to hold it up a little (suggestions will be taken happily!).

My end distance totals were as follows:

  • .25 mile walking
  • 1 mile running
  • .5 walking
  • .5 running
  • .85 walking
  • Total: 3.1 miles (1.5 running!)

I basically did a 5k at lunch (which is what I liked to run on my lunch breaks before becoming preggers). I’m so excited because I didn’t think I could do it. I would love to run a real 5k super round (like 8 months pregnant, not just the 5 months that I am now) and this feels like the first step towards that. Honestly, my legs felt like I could have kept running, but I didn’t want to over do anything.

challenge yourself

And one of the benefits of the yoga was that I knew some stretches for my tummy after running (which I have NEVER focused on before).

I know this seems like a really small accomplishment, especially to runners (heck, even to the old me who happily ran a 10k), but it feels amazing to me in my new body that I’m still trying to figure out.

Yay! I can still call myself a runner!

You are a runner

Saturday Morning Motivation – Voice in Your Head

liar voice in head

I’m off to prove that the voice inside my head who thinks I will always suck at yoga is wrong!

How about you? What will you do today that you didn’t you could do before?

Prenatal Yoga – The Sequel

I went back to prenatal yoga at Destination Maternity this week as planned (if you are pregnant and live near this chain retail store, I recommend checking them out for their free classes). Unfortunately, this time around, the class contained more of my fears than the first one.

When I went last week, it was a small class and we had a substitute instructor (one of the weekend instructors filled in). This week, the class had almost doubled in size, but was all different people, and the regular instructor was back (she was totally nice, but was different). Also, I got stuck next to a woman who was 8 months pregnant and crazy flexible. It’s so hard not to compare oneself to those around us, isn’t it?

I’m not flexible… at all! I was never flexible and on top of that, I’ve had back surgery – making my back extra tight. In fact, at one point, the instructor came over to pull on my hips because my back didn’t look right. So then I awkwardly had to mention that I’ve had back surgery. So then she immediately stopped touching me (as though I was on fire) so as not to injure me. Ugh… I’m a train wreck. I totally could have benefitted from her help, but I always want to warn people not to have high expectations because fused vertebrae don’t function the way you want them to. I wish I could have really talked to her, but it was just a big ball of awkward with lots of witnesses…

There was really only one downside to having a different instructor: the poses and sequences were different. It made everything feel new again and made me feel more insecure.

Experience

Something that I loved about being a beginning runner was that I could do it on my own. I would run along a trail with only a few other people around. I didn’t run on the street or at a gym (although I had tried both in the past), which felt in the open where other people could see me. I loved that I could change my pace as needed without any assumed judgement from others. (Let’s be real, no one actually cares, but it feels like they do when you’re red-faced and just starting out). I loved that I could repeat my trail over and over again, day after day to “get it right”. I was competing against myself until I got good at it. Every day, I would try to run at least 10 feet more than where I stopped to walk the time before (or to the next lamp-post or to the end of the next song). And when I ran that trail from start to finish without a break, I felt amazing and so proud of how far I had come in my own growth!

But with yoga, I don’t feel like I’m mastering things, everything still feels new and awkward and constantly changing. And I know it will get better. I know that when I’m über round at 8 1/2 months pregnant and actually know some of the poses, I will feel as though I’ve improved. It’s just so hard to get there.

i-may-not-be-there-yet

And all of this makes me think about the “January Joiners” at the gym (you know, those people who make a New Year’s resolution to get fit and suddenly join the gym). If you are one of those people: good luck! You can totally do it! Just give yourself a chance (and ignore everyone around you).

If you’re a regular at the gym and are feeling a little irritated by all the new people at your gym: take a minute and think about how it felt when you first joined, or if you didn’t struggle, imagine how hard it might be for them. Please, try to make them feel welcome. More fit and happy people can only be a positive thing for our communities (the exercise community as well as your local community).

Being new at the gym can be so intimidating as you’re pushing your own physical limitations as well as feeling uncomfortable in the new environment. Let’s all try to feel welcoming.

I know that when I attended this second class and it was ALL new faces, I was intimidated all over again. It’s so easy to think that everyone around you thinks you’re an idiot if you’re a novice, let’s try to keep that in mind. If you’re not a novice: be welcoming and smile at the new people. If you are a novice: smile a lot at strangers and try to remember that no one is judging you as harshly as you’re judging you.

Or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself… (we’ll see how it all goes after I try a weekend class this weekend).

Fly

Prenatal Yoga

This past Tuesday, I decided to give prenatal yoga a shot. My doctor thought it would be a good idea and I feel like a ton of people have recommended it… so why not try it?

I’ve never been into yoga before though. The few times I’ve gone have been disastrous. Have you ever taken a yoga class and there is a girl in the back falling down? And occasionally when she falls down she takes out the person next to her? That’s me! Always! It’s embarrassing.

Yoga cat fail

But everyone thinks that pregnant ladies should do yoga and my doctor mentioned that a retail store near me, Destination Maternity, offers a free class. 

I dragged one of my coworkers along because she often goes to yoga and because if I was going to accidentally topple someone to the floor, I didn’t want that person to be 9 months pregnant! Megan’s not pregnant, so I thought it might be safe. Turns out that while Destination Maternity is awesome enough to offer the class for free (always), they only want pregnant ladies in the room. Oops! Luckily the instructor was pretty nice about it and let Megan stay.

I’m proud to say that I didn’t fall over! Not even once! Yay! I really enjoyed myself and I’m totally planning to go back. I would go for tomorrow morning’s class if I didn’t have to go to a conference this weekend.

yoga cat

I will admit that while I was proud of myself for doing something that counts as exercise, I didn’t get that same elation that I did from running. And let me just say that I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that “runner’s high” that everyone talks about, but I ‘ve always felt so proud of myself after a run. I shouldn’t be too hard on yoga though because even if I didn’t break a sweat, my muscles were aching the next day. Specifically the muscles on the outsides of my hips. My belly muscles (I can’t even call them abs right now, that seems like a joke… even if it’s their name) were really sore the next day as well, but I don’t know if that was from yoga or just generally from being pregnant.

This is going to sound stupid, but I’m going to share it in case there are readers who didn’t know this either. The whole “belly expanding” thing hurts (not a ton, but it’s uncomfortable). About 2 days out of every week, it feels like I’ve pulled or strained a muscle. And the muscle of choice changes every week. So far, it has moved up a few inches every week as the belly expansion moves higher. The strained/pulled muscle thing makes total sense, it’s just not something I ever expected/thought about before getting pregnant.

Besides enjoying the yoga, it was nice to be around other pregnant ladies. Excluding Megan, there were 5 pregnant ladies in the class (counting me). We broke down like this:

  • I’m 20 weeks pregnant (5 months)  – this is my first child
  • Woman #2 – 34 weeks (out of 40) – I didn’t hear what number child she’s on
  • Woman #3 – 26 weeks pregnant – 2nd child
  • Woman #4 – 12 weeks pregnant – 2nd child
  • Woman #5 – 6 weeks pregnant – second child

I had the smallest belly. I know that women “pop” faster with their second child, but it still made me nervous that I’m doing something wrong… luckily I saw my doctor today and she says I’m right on track for weight gain and shouldn’t worry about anything.

I also think it’s super awesome that Destination Maternity offers this free yoga class. They also offer free classes on Newborn Care, Lactation, and  New Moms group support thing… If you have a Destination Maternity near you and you’re pregnant, you should totally check them out!

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