Acro Yoga Challenge Experience

So. I follow a lot of 20-something insta-yogis (on Instagram)…Who all seem to be friends with eachother despite the fact that most of them live across the globe from eachother (I can barely maintain friendships with people who live 2 hrs away ??). & who all seem to have perfected the art of looking graceful while doing impossibly difficult yoga poses/vinyasas πŸ™‚ They can effortlessly press into a handstand. Simply float through space. Everything is always bendy & pretzel-like…even the poses & flows they dub as ‘gentle’ or ‘back-to-basics’.

This portrayal of yoga can be really frustrating. Of course there are a lot of yogis who keep it real af on Instagram, but it feels like the norm is this unachievable level of perfection in ones yoga practice. Yoga, in its essence, is imperfect (that’s my own, extremely personalised view). It’s the movement of the human body united with the human mind- how could that ever be perfect?? 

With that being said; my sister & I decided to try one of the yoga challenges hosted by an insta-yogi. It was a five day ~acro yoga~ Soul Sister challenge. How hard could it be??? I do yoga pretty consistently so I can guide us. My sister & I are both pretty strong, we should be able to do the poses right? 

Here’s our experience in the form of photos. (For more pics, search #soulsisteracroyogachallenge on Instagram or find it on my page: @leedle_g)

Day 1: Scorpion Pose on Down Dog

  

Off to a great start!! .. After 20 mins of intermittent hysterical laughing & attempts at the pose, we decided this was good enough 

Day 2: Handstand Backbend on Forward Fold

  
~trap yoga~ 

Day 3: L-Sit Ups 

Seconds after this, my sisters face flew toward the wall as she lost her balance. Obviously more laughter ensued once I made sure she didn’t break her face…

Day 4: Forward Fold + Reverse Forward Fold (???)

  

WE FINALLY GOT CLOSE TO THE ACTUAL POSE ….after about 10 attempts

Day 5: Bow on Wheel

Honestly we did not even attempt this one any further than me getting into wheel pose & my sister pressing on me with her hand. No way in hell was I going to hold her entire body up with my back bent LOL 

What did we learn from this challenge? Yoga is not mean to be perfect. & neither are we! The failures we had day after day trying to squeeze into poses together was a lot of fun, & that’s what counts. Laughing is the BEST ab workout. Trust me on this one… & finally, my favorite truth of all, SOCIAL MEDIA IS A LIAR!!!! Instagram & the likes allow you to put your best face/body/life forward. That doesn’t mean it reflects REAL life. 

So enjoy the things that trip you up, make the most out of silly moments, & stay tru 2 U!! πŸ™‚ 

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Sunday Self Care

Your body; your silent companion that accompanies you on all of your journeys

This quote says a lot. It’s so easy to forget how much our body does for us, & how amazing it really is.. 

For me, this was a reminder to appreciate myself:

Appreciate the stress I put my body through;

Appreciate the frequent disregard for what my body needs in turn for doing what I want; 

Appreciate the endless hours of thought I put my mind through; 

Appreciate the unending pressure on my body to be better, stronger, prettier, smaller, bigger, happier, calmer, healthier…

Appreciate the things my body needs, but that I often forget to give it;

Appreciate that despite all of the trouble I give my body, it still does everything I ask it to. 

This quote reminded me to think of my body as my friend. It’s here to support me & help me through my journey (aka life). I have to keep this idea in the front of my mind. I have to really start taking care of & appreciating my longest friend; my body. 

~peace & all good~

Need Better Sleep? Meditate

Going to sleep is generally the highlight of my day. 

Yesterday was no exception.. I decided to do a 30 minute workout before work. I worked 8 hrs, talking to people who are going through possibly one of the most difficult times of their lives. Just going through the work day is tiring enough! 

Butt I didn’t stop there πŸ™‚ I went to the gym with my sister & walked her through an upper body lift…..for 2 hrs… Of course I was tired and hangry after that whole ordeal. Then, just because I felt like I needed to decompress, did some yoga. 

Needless to say- I was wiped tf out. 

Despite how exhausted I was, I got in bed & had an overwhelming feeling of uneasy irritation. Like what? I’m so flippin tired why am I not relaxed? How do I have any energy left to be annoyed?! & at NOTHING?!?!?1!1?1!  

I guess these types of things happen when we’re human.. But I needed to sleep ASAP. So I turned to one of the best discoveries I’ve ever made: ~meditation~. I’m still working on my mental strength & getting into meditations on my own..& last night it seemed like Mission Impossible. Thank you YouTube for guided meditation!!! 

I put headphones in, took a few deep breaths, & played this Guided Meditation for Deep Relaxation. At first I was like ‘ugh this isn’t working’ … ‘STILL NOT RELAXED WTF’. But I’m not kidding, I was sleeping like a fat cat before the 15 minutes was up. 

   Rare photo of me in my true form πŸ˜‰

I don’t remember falling asleep. I don’t remember a single nightmare. I woke up ready to take on another exhausting day full of rewarding interactions & exercise (maybe I’ll actually take today off, I haven’t decided..)

If you need a little help starting your journey to Dream Land, or just need to chill tf out after a long ass day, definitely give some guided meditations a try. We could all use some more relaxation in our lives!

If you need a laugh/want a translation of what actually goes on in your mind during meditation, check out this Honest Meditation πŸ™‚

~peace & all good~

Workout Wednesday: Bi’s & Tri’s Partner Workout

~Happy Workout Wednesday~*~

Yayy for working out with a friend! I find it fun to work out with someone else because you can switch up your routine & have some fun with your workout. Workouts should be fun even when you’re alone, but sometimes ya just need that extra spice.  That extra spice (in this case) is a workout partner.

The reason I decided to try out an arm-focused partner lift: my younger sister has been coming to the gym with me & actually lifting πŸ˜€ Sooooo I have to find ways to keep her interested & occupied at all times…or else she’ll be lost to the world of distraction.

On this particular day, it was time to train arms. Here’s what I came up with*:

Barbell Curl & Pass: Stand across from your partner. DO 1 rep of a barbell curl, pass the bar to them. Wait for them to curl 1 rep and do 2 reps when you get the bar back. Work your way up to 10 reps. If you’re feeling extra strong & ~vascular~, work your way back down to 1 rep!

Tricep Dips: 4×8    +    Jumping Jacks: until partner is ready to switch

I threw in some cardio because you should keep your heart muscles working too..So you can strengthen your friendship while you strengthen your arms!! HAHA

Skullcrushers: 4×12    +    Switch Lunges (switch leg after each rep): until partner is ready to switch

Tricep Rope Push-down: 4×12    +    Hammer Curls: 4×10

Finish with whatever cardio you like- keep the partner pattern going & have fun! Add some more lifts if you so desire. Adjust the rep/set ratio if needed.

Drink lots of water, friends! Feed your body the fuel it needs. Enjoy!

 

*You can most definitely do this workout solo!!! Just modify the switching activities to a certain amount of time in between your own set! πŸ™‚

Resolution Alternative

The new year has never felt like a big deal to me.. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s exciting that we all made another trip around the sun. I also think it’s cool that we get to start our revolution all over again. & sure, I love writing the wrong year for a few months- it adds much needed confusion to my day.

But I don’t quite understand why it’s the time people decide their whole lives are going to change. We change everyday. We’re creatures of habit, but we’re also creatures of adaptation. If something isn’t working for us we generally have the power to do something about it. Maybe we can’t always change a situation completely, but we have more control than we give ourselves credit for. 

That’s why I decided to do something a little different this year. I’m writing down a few goals I want to achieve for each month of 2016. Getting all of my aspirations out of my head & onto paper will make them real- I’ll be more accountable. I set aside pages of a notebook where I’ve been writing out the things I hope to accomplish. Some I’ve already determined, others will come as I live & learn. Either way, I have a clear (sometimes not so clear) vision of where I want to go.  

I think direction is important regardless of the where we are in the year- beginning, middle, end, somewhere in an alternative concept of time, wherever. This direction can be especially helpful when there’s a feeling of ‘starting fresh’ or a ‘new beginning’…such as a new year. Write down your goals. If writing isn’t your thing, make a vision board of your goals for the year. Maybe even make a board for each month…sort of like a calendar of goals. WOW THAT IS A REALLY GOOD IDEA!! I think I’m going to take my own advice on this one… I’m going to make a Calendar of Goals 2016. I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going. 

In the meantime, & in between time, stay blessed fam. Keep a vision of yourself succeeding & accomplishing great things dancing in your head. Put that vision on some paper. Start doing- I believe in you πŸ™‚

Happy New Year!!

~peace & all good~

Start Your New Year’s Resolution NOW

The new year is a crazy time. The world of fitness & health gets more frustrating than usual- filled with people jumping into new fitness routines, people who vowed to make this year their year

We’re all guilty of this ‘new year, new me’ mindset. We start making promises to ourselves to change all of the things we didn’t like about the previous year. We tell ourselves this year will be different- we’ll get in shape, we’ll run that marathon, we’ll finally try those healthy recipes that have been bookmarked for months..

Why do we need the number at the end of today’s date to change to allow ourselves to be better? What is the purpose of waiting? Maybe it helps us put off our own health without feeling guilty, because ‘once January comes around things will be different’…’the new year is when I’ll get serious about working out’. 

Here’s my advice to you (& myself): START NOW!!!

Start researching. There’s a wealth of information for anyone new to the world of fitness & health & wellness. Here are some of my favorite user-friendly places to search:

  • BodyBuilding.com Sooooo many free workout plans, informative articles, exercise how-tos, & even supplements! This is literally how I built my lifting knowledge-base. 
  • Fitness Blender I just discovered these guys. Their YouTube channel has a plethora of at-home workouts that range from interval cardio to weight training.
  • Bad Yogi Official Erin Motz is a seasoned yogi who totally gets that most people who do yoga are not experts… She has lots of free classes that make you feel good about your imperfect practice πŸ™‚

It’s going to take some time before you find a fitness regime you really enjoy. It’s going to take even more time before your hard work is gratified with visible results.

Experiment with different types of exercise. Figure out the different things you’d like to try now.

Make small changes each day so you don’t shock your system & give up when it gets too difficult too fast. 

Get a jump start on your 2016 goals!! Have fun, try new things, & never give up on yourself! 

I hope you all have a wonderfully funky final week of 2015. 

~peace & all good~

Tips for the Perfect Gym OutfitΒ 

Gym attire is a very loaded topic. But don’t worry, I wrote this blog post to answer all of your fit fashion questions πŸ™‚

What should one wear when doing cardio? Should you wear sweats or leggings to lift? 

How color-coordinated is too color-coordinated?

Are your top & bottom flattering?? Will people see that you aren’t the perfect image of fitness? Is it obvious you’re actually wearing underwear??? *gasp* 

Yoga….can a single post even cover the wardrobe woes of a new yogi?

S I G H

Here is a simple answer to the question of ‘what to wear to the gym/while working out’: whatever you feel comfortable in. If you enjoy the skin (& clothes) you’re in, your confidence will complete any outfit!!

It really doesn’t matter what clothes you put on for your sweat session. If you feel great in a Lulu Lemon outfit (& can afford a LuLu Lemon outfit)- good! If you feel great in a baggy t-shirt- even better! Less money spent on gym clothes means more money for food πŸ™‚ ….or, you know, student loans and rent… 

I usually browse Instagram/the Internet in general with fitness or food in mind… This causes me a lot of frustration for multiple reasons.. 

  1. I do not have excess money floating around me waiting for me to spend it. Okay, am I just broke, or are gym clothes expensive af?! Like why in the world would I spend $50 on a shirt I’m going to wear with the intentions of getting sweaty & smelly? I don’t even spend that much on shirts I wear to work… I’m a bargain shopper. Marshalls/TJ Maxx, Target, Fabletics (when there are sales), or the clearance rack is where you’ll find me looking for clothes I can actually afford.
  2. *not related to clothes but…* Eating nutritionally perfect meals every 2 hours does not fit my life. As much as I would love to be able to eat the best food possible at all hours of the day, there comes a time when it’s just not realistic. I would go crazy if I deprived myself of the food I want to eat just because it doesn’t fit my precisely planned nutrition goals. Can I live?!???
  3. I don’t work out in shorts and a sports bra. More power to ya if you feel comfortable in minimal gym clothes….& your gym allows you to workout in minimal gym clothes. I don’t. I would rather be in leggings and a sweatshirt, but that’s not what’s depicted by any mainstream fitness superstars. No one is ever wearing a shirt. Ever. 
  4. When I work out I do not look my best. My hair is generally just doing whatever TF it wants to do. I sweat a lot. I don’t hide it if I’m exhausted. Sometimes I smell… It’s not a picturesque scene when I exercise.. Which makes it hard to relate to the images of ‘fitness’ plastered all over the Internet & advertisements. 

   #gainsandtoast lolz
Sorry fitness media, but unlike the people you promote, I’m a normal person trying to be healthy.. To my own dismay, I’m not sponsored by an athletic clothing company or supplement brand. So I have to pay for the products I use :/ 

I know it’s awesome to step into the gym with a brand new outfit that you love. You feel good when you like the clothes you’re in- even at the gym! The new-ness of your threads gives you extra motivation.. Trust me, I know those feels. But that doesn’t mean you need to take out a loan to buy yourself some gym clothes.. It also doesn’t mean you have to wear something that makes you uncomfortable.

Time that you spend working out is your time. Make it what you want it to be, not what you think other people would want it to be. Take control of your workout. Wear & do things you enjoy. 

You’re all fabulous, no matter what the mainstream fitness bullshit says. 

The End. xo

~peace & all good~