Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mid week- what do you have to show for yourself?

    Can you believe it’s Wednesday? Nope- I really can’t. Seems like the days, weeks and months are just flying by. I realized this a few minutes ago while looking at my calendar., I have just 3 weeks until I head to San Diego for my TT! I’m excited and stressed at the same time. There are still so many things that I feel like I have to accomplish before May 19- which is the day that I will be driving to Delaware to meet up with friends so I can hang at there house before flying with them on May 20. I have to get all of my gear together- including some hiking shoes/clothing and ankle brace- all of which I still have to buy. I have to give my two weeks at Denny’s- Oh my god I can’t believe it’s so close- I just can’t wait to be done with waitressing!!! I have to find a new job for when I return from training- get all of my bills in order (I’m the money manager in the family, which I’m really great at- but seeing as I’ll be gone for close to two weeks without a computer and very limited internet access with my phone- things need to be set) And make sure I go grocery shopping and stock up the fridge and freezer with meals for the husband. 3 weeks seems like plenty of time, but really I think it’s going to be a race to the finish.
     These days I’m running on lots of coffee and hopped up on adrenaline from my workouts. I’m happy to report that I’ve done yoga 5 times a week for the last (almost) 4 weeks! Wow I really did miss my mornings on the mat, much more than I thought. Now that I’m back in the swing of things, it feels like I’m back to the old Crystal :) In addition to the yoga, there have been cardio and strength training gym sessions, with some outside walking time thrown in now that the weather seems to be turning for the better! The body is feeling pretty good, though I’ve made a few observations: Each and every morning I practice yoga my left shoulder snaps/cracks first thing. I generally start my practice in Balasana (childs pose) arms extended- just getting the wake up stretch to the body and “SNAP” It’s not painful at all- just a bit  unsettling since it seems to be very loud and unnatural= probably not good. This does happen to be the shoulder that does the “stupid human trick” which I’ll go into and maybe video sometime in the future. Lets just say it kind of pops out of socket.... In keeping with this, during my weight session with the hubster on Sunday I noticed how much weaker my left shoulder/chest area is than my right. It was shaking like crazy- so I guess I know what I need to work on.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


   In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m totally a slacker. I’ve been trying to stay on top of blogging- but can’t get back into the swing of things. I used to write a food blog a while back, but wanted to focus more on life and yoga so created this space. Even though I put blogging on the top of my to-do lists each day I still overlook it!
   Since I’ve been here last I went to Antigravity yoga for the first time! What did I think? I LOVED it!! I knew that it would be something that I would love anyway, but it really was even better than I thought it would be. The teacher Val was extremely nice and very, very fun and friendly- There were quite a few of us that had never been to an antigravity class before, and she was great with explaining and demoing every move or flow that we did. I really liked that we spent a lot of time upside down. With that in mind I would be sure you like and are comfortable with being upside down. This was one of my favorites:
And this is what also gave me a hand-sized bruise on my right butt cheek! I’ll spare you the photographic evidence on that one :) If you have ever been on an inversion table- it’s the same sensation.  Decompressing the low back and really stretching out the spine like never before. I think I grew 2 inches once I left class! Their version on savasana is awesome too:  (
I’m pretty sure I’m going to get one of these hammocks someday- just so I can nap like this. Amazing!!!
      During class I was thinking to myself that it was quite simple and easy- I didn’t feel fatigued at all. Until I got home and sat down to dinner. All of a sudden I felt completely wiped out, like so exhausted that I didn’t want to get up, I felt like I couldn’t get up.. It wasn’t that it made me sore at all- or in the days following, except where the silks had been pressed against my skin- but similar to being dehydrated or staying up for 3 days in a row. It was fantastic and I can’t wait to go again! One down side- actually the only downside was the price. $20 for 1.5 hours. Doing that once a week will be a pretty pricey hobby.  

Monday, April 18, 2011


   A surprise was on my front door step when I arrived home from covering basic yoga this morning and taking pilates...

My welcome letter and new slackline for my teacher training in May :) I’m super excited and even more so because I wasn’t expecting to receive a new slackline until I went to San Diego. Looking over the “Things to bring” list I realize that I “unfortunately” will have to do some shopping. A few items that I don’t have- specific hiking shoes- I’m sensing some Merrells in my future- a head lamp.. so wondering what the heck that are going to have us doing that requires this! I also need some hiking clothing and more stuff for light layers. Phew.. I feel like this could get expensive- but I’m so excited about it and I don’t really care! Any suggestions for good hiking gear would be awesome :)

   Bringing it back a few steps... As I said I covered a basic yoga class this morning for my wonderful fellow teacher Emma. She is so great- and always had helped me out with a moments notice if I needed a cover for my class, so I was happy to help her when she texted me last night. I usually take this class anyway so why not make a little dough while I’m at it? I have to confess that any time I cover a basic yoga class I get a bit negative. See I’m not really known for being a basic teacher- its something that is completely out of my comfort zone but I have been really working to get in a place where I can be comfortable with my teaching and with teaching basic yoga. I was stressed about it last night and James quickly got into my head telling me to be positive. It was a good thing since I don’t even realize the things I say sometimes. This class turned out great. Once I had an idea of where I was going to take the class (Focusing a lot of abdominals- one of my favorites :) the class just seemed to flow organically. I really got into the grove and felt like it was a great class- which a few students compliments helped with that too! I’m excited to teach now, which is such a change from before. I really just want to have fun with it, and give my students everything I have to offer. It just feels so great to share something like this! I even snuck some of the prep slackline series in there, even though they didn’t know that was what is was, I kinda like being a bit sneaky!
   What are your weekend plans?
         James is at school for another few hours- so while I have the boys out on the deck with soup bones to chew I’m going to get some cleaning done and maybe some cooking. James and I are hanging out with some friends-have some drinks and going to a club to hear one of them play with their band. Sunday’s are generally a great morning together filled with yummy breakfasts and cartoon classics (We own multiple cartoon serious on DVD- including my personal favorites, The Gummy Bears and Dark Wing Duck) Probably hitting the gym and I’m hoping for nice weather so we can start checking out some yard sales as well. Last but not least, we have a surprise 50th birthday party to attend for one of James’ aunts which I’m sure will be good fun.  I’m looking forward to the busy days ahead!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Legalized Loan Sharking.

    Credit cards can serve a great purpose- we borrow money that we might not have to get things we need and more importantly things we want. Lets face it- we don’t want to live to work, we want to work to live. Part of that means enjoying your time.. before your close to kicking the bucket during retirement. I’m not someone who wants to work 50+ years before I can live my life. I’ll all about living in the moment! When James and I set out to remodel the kitchen we had a considerable amount of money that we had saved- however remodeling costs are high- and the little things really add up. Needless to say we figured that we would use the credit cards to keep cash in the bank- and still be able to finish up.
    I have to first tell you that I’m a bit crazy when it comes to paying bills. I hate to make bills and I HAVE to pay them off ASAP. There is just something about owing money that keeps me up at night- which was part of the reason last year I went crazy.. But more on that at another time. Sometimes we have to do things that scare the crap out of us. The first bill came in the other day which had all of the big purchases; cabinets and counter tops; and while I expected the sum to be hefty I was NOT expecting my interest rate to increase on top of it. So here’s the low down... Just shy of $7000- with an interest rate of 29.99%!!! I almost fell to the floor and died! Then I got really angry. Part of me not dealing well with debt, and having parents that taught me not to live in the credit/debt cycle means that I have amazing credit. Not trying to toot my own horn here, however I have worked very, very hard to be where I am at the age of 25. So when a company is trying to rob you blind- when you have given them no reason to do so... things can get a bit heated.
     First things first. I wanted to call the company to calmly ask why there was a huge jump in my rate- It previously was between 10-14% (which is still not great, but seeing as I don’t usually carry a balance I didn’t really care.) Second, I wanted to give them a chance to make it right. So I made the call- told them what my concerns were and pretty much asked them to lower the rate based on my previous history with the card and my great credit score. What did they say and do in response? Absolutely nothing. The woman was trying to make excuses for the rate- and said that she would make a note on my account that I thought that the rate was too high.. Umm yea- thats not really going to do anything for me. And this is the even funnier part- There is a warning on the bill that reads, “Late payment warning- If we do not receive your minimum payment by the date listed above you may have to pay a late fee and your APR’s may be increased to the PENALTY APR of 29.9%” !!!
     So I’m paying the PENALTY APR rate when I have never ever ever been late on a payment.. Yeah I don’t think so.
    I got right to work trying to figure out what I was going to do about this problem.. Fortunately while I was paying another credit card bill online I saw something in the side margins- 0% interest on balance transfers until February 2012. Perfect :) It feels good to have figured out a solution- knowing that we will be able to work with this balance in a more pocket friendly way...


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blurred vision

    As I’m awakening from Savasana- my eyes are fuzzy. The weight of the eye pillow leaving it’s lasting impression on me for a few minutes longer. I originally wanted to go to a class this morning, but decided against it- I’m feeling the urge to pick up my home practice and make it stronger than ever. Some time ago my teacher said that there is a natural ebb and flow to a yoga practice- Sometimes you practice a ton and it’s amazing; while other times just getting on the mat is a struggle- let alone doing some sun salutes. At the time I couldn’t imagine not wanting to practice 5 times a week. My home practice then was very strong, not only because I got to the mat so often, but because I was getting so much from it. From the beginning my practice gave me a sense of strength. It calmed my mind down, it make my body feel great! After my teacher training just 10 months from the day I started doing yoga at home from a book (I had never even taken a yoga class before my training- I was completely self taught from various books and dvds) I found myself confused. I took the training with the intension of turing the practice I loved into a job. It came around to bite me in the ass. After more than 2 years of struggling to gain a following- I completely lost my own practice in the process. At this point I was maybe getting on the mat 2 times a week- sometimes more, but mostly less. I had forgotten all about what I had loved about yoga in the first place. It was so different from what I had done on the past- There was no competition, no one telling me what to do or how to do it, no one making me do drills and picking apart my technique. It was all mine until this point. Eventually I stopped practicing all together- except on the occasion where I would actually get students in one of my classes. It had lost all meaning to me.
     I struggled to continue to teach- there had to be a reason that I couldn’t gain a following- it must be me, is what I thought. Looking back now I know that it was about me- but not the fact that people didn’t like me, it was more that I was carrying this pressure on my shoulders. I HAD to be “successful” whatever my definition of the word was at the time was completely false. What I’ve learned and gained over the last year has been completely amazing- and has taken me by surprise. Last April was the first time I was introduced to slackline yoga. I had decided to give myself a chance to fall back in love with yoga by taking a weeklong workshop at Kripalu. I immediately knew I fit it here (with the yogaslackers- not with the Kripalu vibe)
    When I came home from the workshop I felt like a completely different person. I was now once again on a mission to come back and be stronger than ever. I wanted to gain my confidence and most of all my practice back. I took the summer off from teaching to figure out if it was really the best place for me to be- and in that time I went to two more weekend workshops including slackline, rock climbing, and acroyoga. I also started to build my home practice- but more with the connection to my body that yoga really. I started working out and eating better- I would still do yoga but it wasn’t my focus. By the end of the summer I had started to practice yoga 3 or more times a week and felt like I was getting back into the flow. But on September 10, 2010 that changed when I injured my ankle- and once again I felt defeated- back to square one. Not only could I not practice- I couldn’t work out- I couldn’t walk.
     I knew that this was pretty serious- but I also knew that I’m a tough cookie... I was not going to let this ankle rule my life. I went to a Thai Massage training 2 weeks after the injury, and rock climbed a week after that. The PT thought I was crazy and begged me to take it easy, let it rest. While I know that listening to your PT and your body is important- it was more important to stay in the game. I was going to be stronger than this.. and I was.
     There have been many set backs over the last 7 months that I have been trying to heal this ankle of mine. It is literally and figuratively the achilles heal in my life, but amazingly I am over coming it. Yoga asana that have been unreachable- have been getting easier. I feel my drive to strengthen my home practice- the urge to get on the mat for more than 15 minutes. I couldn’t be more excited :)
     When we are knocked down repeatedly our vision is blurred. We tend to only see what is right in front of us- the negative. What we don’t get in the moment is that we have the ability to rub our eyes, blink a few times and look again. It is always better the second time :)

Nothing to do Tuesday

    Is there really nothing to do? Not exactly- but nothing that I really WANT to do. Hey I did start the dishwasher :) I made a couple of calls- but everyone I know actually works more than 2 days a week so I was left fill the space alone. That means it’s time to utilize my beautiful new kitchen!
  I wanted to make some cookies because James always likes to take them to work and we are heading to a friends house for some Dexter later this evening- and I always like to pawn off my baking so I don’t inhale all of it myself. In case you didn’t know I’m in love with peanut butter. Can’t seem to start the day with out at least 1 spoonful :) With that James is equally addicted to peanut butter cookies and while he has a few favorite recipes I thought I would make a more traditional looking peanut butter cookie:
Peanut Butter Criss Cross Cookies
They looked and smelled amazing while they were baking and I can’t wait for James to give me to final review- which he already told me will also include a cold glass of coffee flavored soymilk. Needless to say he’s excited to come home!
     We can’t just have our dessert- unfortunately as part of a balanced diet we have to include something more than peanut butter and sugar.. I know, I was bummed out when I found that out too! So what to make??? Well I had lots of time- and I had potatoes. So I went with a childhood favorite- something I used to make with my dad all of the time- something that is my FAVORITE kitchen memory and probably the reason I love to cook..... GNOCCHI! 

     If your not Italian you may not know what these are- these wonderfully dense but fluffy potato “dumpling”- Oh my!!! Maybe they are traditionally dumplings but in my family they were homemade and used in place of pasta. My dad used to make a clear sauce with chicken and Broccoli- tons of onion and garlic, yum! Well I don’t eat chicken- but it doesn’t matter- these tender little dudes are amazing standing alone with just some Earth Balance, salt and freshly grated cheese. Now you may be tempted to go out and buy they vacuum sealed versions of these- but don’t even bother. They will let you down- these are just meant to be made with family, from scratch. Period. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fire in my heart

    60 minutes of yoga can be so many things. It’s a good stretch out for over worked muscles as well as a workout. Static vs. dynamic- static poses are always more challenging for me. I am almost never static. Even when I sleep I’m in constant motion. I have always been hyper active, though I keep that activity at bay by working out, and believe it or not chewing gum helps me tremendously. Little known fact- during my swimming career you would never find me without a piece in my mouth. I chewed gum during each and ever single practice- the only time in the water without a piece was durning a race! Long hours doing laps can cause the mind to wander and if your like me it’s sounds like a pin ball machine in there.. Bouncing from one thought to the next. That habit has followed me well into my adult years- practicing yoga, slacklining, going to the gym- all include my chewy mint friend.
    While practicing a few moments ago I really came to understand something; I can never be still. In my yoga I am constantly shifting, adjusting and focusing on everything else besides what I’m doing. Sure I am really good at getting my body contorted and picture perfect in these postures- but try to get me to hold them for more than a few breaths and I’m all over the place. This is something that I’m working on in all aspects. How do we gain the power to control the brain? Controlling the body is a piece of cake in comparison.
   I’m not the typical yogi. I drink coffee, swear, occasionally drink alcohol, smoke herb, I do not meditate (can’t sit still long enough)... but I do have the ability to by completely dynamic. I can flow through postures- I have a great sense of moving meditation- which is why slacklining is the best thing in the world for me. At this point in my life and my practice I can’t tackle mastering the mind- and I know few in the world really have- but I am not even there yet. I have done everything to try and master the physical part of my practice, again there is so much to work through, but it come more naturally to me.
   So what am I getting at? Well there are a few things- Acceptance is one. I have accepted that this is a life long journey that I am on- one that I will stubbornly pursue and one that I will never conquer.. and that is ok. Two is to gain the knowledge that who I am, my person- my practice- my quirks- are beautiful. Though I may not see it or truly believe this 80% of the time I need to remind myself that I am who I am for a reason. Yes I’m not typical- but I don’t want to be. I am special as is each and everyone of you out there. We are who we need to be. And that is good enough for me.    

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Slack it.

     The temperature was slightly above 50 degrees, I was off work, and I had some free time- So what does that mean???  

(Recycled from October)
You guessed it- slackline time! I was more than excited to get out in the sun, and on the line. After this past weekend at Frog Lotus Yoga and finally putting together my travel plans for the teacher training in May, I was stoked to get out there.  I went to a local state park, Goddard State Park to be exact. The space is pretty awesome with tons of trees and space to get everything set up. Even though it was in the 50’s, there was a ton of wind coming off the water (The park it huge but there is a water front area) so it was chilly. Good thing I layered well and took my leg warmers! It took some time to get set up since I spent the time wrapping the trees with old yoga mats for protection from the line (I normally wouldn’t do this for a short slack session but I didn’t know if I would be allowed to set up the line in the first place and I wanted to cover my tush in case someone came over to yell at me :) ) Every time I would get the mat in place and just about wrap the time around it the wind would blow super hard and make everything fall- leaving me to try again. Thankfully with persistence I was able to get it together- and in a  semi-sunny spot for warmth. 
   I was on the line for less than 5 minutes when a park truck drove by, and down the road-turned around and drove back down towards me, passing by- then they turned around again! This time they stopped right behind me and shut the truck off. I figured that at this point I would be getting in trouble, but to my surprise when they stepped out of the truck- they were just asking me what I was doing- and couldn’t believe that I could walk on it. We talked for a few- I told them what it was all about, explained who the Yogaslackers were. After a few they took the hint that I was there for a reason and went back to the truck- hung out for 5 more minutes before starting the truck and leaving. It was a bit weird and I was glad they left! 
    I worked for 45 minutes on walking the line, sit to stand, kneeling, sitting, shoulder stand.. My ankle was on fire!! 5 minutes on the line feels like 15 minutes on the yoga mat. Needless to say I was wiped out and freezing when I disassembled the set up. 
    Fast forward a few hours- I was at the studio taking a Classic Rock yoga class doing some balance stuff and it was incredible how much easier the balancing on the mat was compared to the line. Now I know what your thinking- Duh! I know it’s going to be easier- but I felt like I was so much more able to focus during class than normal. I always have trouble calming my head down. I have a ton of stuff running through my mind at all times. There are two ways I can calm the mind. Smoke and exhaust my body to the max. Today was exhausting- 1 hr PT, 1/2 hr on the Arc machine at the gym, 45 mins on the slackline and then 1 hour yoga.  I feel amazing right now..

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sunny Sundae

After spending the weekend in North Adams MA at Frog Lotus Yoga, assisting a Yogaslackers workshop- I wasn’t looking forward to returning to everyday life- meaning Denny’s. What’s the best way to perk up a rough Monday??? Get an ice cream sundae! James was very serious about it- he even put his serious mustache on :)

 I ordered an old favorite (that I haven’t had in the 4 vegan years) Classic sundae with 2 scoops crazy vanilla, caramel whip cream and nuts!! James also got a classic sundae with 2 scoops butter crunch and hot fudge- check these bad boys out!
 Taking a bit of this was intense.. I mean look at all the whipped cream!
 It was a very delicate and blurry process. I had to use my hands to get it all on the spoon- lol
 This is an INTENSE face! It was so yum!
 Sugar rushes leave you feeling AWeSOME
 Blurry smiles :)
 And crazy faces!
And some smooches! Talk about beating the Monday blues... I’ll have ice cream any day.

What do you do to beat the work week blues?