Yoga Mat Cleaner

Yoga mats can get heckin disgusting.

It is definitely a good idea to clean your mat every now and again.

But how…..

A lot of popular yogis post fancy DIY formulas for mat cleaners you can ‘make at home’…whose home is yet to be determined. Not my home. I’d have to go on a shopping spree to even find half of the ingredients needed to make these cleaners.

Well I am here to tell you- all you have to do is find some sort of cleansing/anti-bacterial wipes or spray. It is not a complicated ordeal. You just wipe or spray your mat. Do it whenever you feel necessary. That’s it.

These are the wipes I use:  

 
I also use them for my body.. 

This is one of my yoga mats, nice and anti-bacterialized:

   

I have four mats…… One is legit as hell and woven in India. The other three are just different colored variations of this $15 mat I got on Amazon. So… Not sure what the point of this info is.

But anyways, clean your mat (or mats). But don’t feel like it has to be a fancy, exotic ~mat cleansing~ spray.

 

 

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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 🙂 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!! 🙂 

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 🙂

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 Outfit 

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

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 🙂 ….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~

#YogisWhoLift

So it’s Monday night, 

I’m in bed because work in less than 8 hours,

& I’m deciding getting this post out of my brain & into the screen of my iPod is v important. 

#priorities (or bad decision-making, perspective is everything I guess)

This post is really important to me because it’s the result of what life’s been throwing at me recently. A while back I started practicing yoga via YouTube; admittedly, half the things I thought were yoga I have come to learn actually aren’t… So I was loosely practicing yoga. I started because I was going through things that made me question who I am. I mean really question who I am. I was losing faith in my core values that I had worked so hard to discover. I didn’t know how to disconnect from my anxiety. I was losing a battle to negativity, & I was losing pretty fast. I needed to do something. 

That something was yoga. 

Backpedal a few years & you’ve got the time when I started lifting weights. It was a similar situation, but my anxiety this time was coming from body image issuezzz. I was trying to learn how to be healthy & fit.. I decided to try a 4 week weight training program. I loved it, saw results, & have grown into my own style of lifting since then.. 

  
Yoga has literally changed every aspect of my life…I know it sounds cliche but it’s true. What I’m realising now is how much it’s impacted my lifting. There’s a lot to gain from a body-mind-soul approach to fitness.

Mental Strength: In my experience, exercise of any kind is more of a mental battle than a physical one. My body can ingest some food or caffeine & be easily tricked into feeling ready for my workout. My mind, however, takes more effort. Practicing yoga has srsly transformed the way my brain thinks about me. I don’t have as hard of a time getting through self-doubt, or convincing myself that I am worth that hour and a half in the weight room, or that it’s okay if I’m not lifting as much weight as other people. I’m totally cool with feeling awkward at the gym, & that feels like a really big accomplishment.

Knowing My Limits: No ego lifting! I am able to recognise when I’ve done enough. I can feel in my body & mind when I shouldn’t go further. Being in touch with my body has allowed me to get to this point. Yea I’ll try something & fail with flying colors, but I’m not trying something I know I cannot do with the fullest effort. If I’m not there, I’m not there- simple as that.

  
Form: Along with being connected to my body, yoga has helped me stay in touch with what feels right & what doesn’t. This has helped immensely with form! I don’t overthink my body positioning because I know I’ll feel it if I’m doing something wrong. Increased flexibility from practicing yoga has also improved my range of motion…aka more effective lifting & less chance of injury 🙂

Breathing: Breath is 100% connected to form. Yoga has taught me how to control my breath. Knowing how to control my breath helps me bring more oxygen to my muscles. More oxygen means more endurance…..& more blood flow for a sweet pump. ~swole~

Appreciation: I would vote that this as the most powerful benefit I’ve experienced from my yoga practice. I don’t measure progress by how I look anymore… If I can do a single extra rep I feel accomplished. If I work through my own self doubt, I feel accomplished. If I try to lift a new weight but fail, I know there was a time when I couldn’t even do the basic lift itself. I enjoy the smaller steps in my journey. I’m way less critical of myself. I don’t obsess over skipping a day at the gym, because I recognise the importance of taking care of my body.  I’m thankful for myself & all that I’ve been through.

So there ya have it- my personal experience as what appears to be two conflicting identities. Before my own journey I never really pictured lifting weights to have any connection to yoga. Zen meatheads? Um…..???? But as it turns out, the health of your body & mind are extremely connected. The love my yoga practice has shown to my physical exercise is the most clear example of this connection. 

I hope yall enjoyed this little exploration of my journey to mind-body-soul health!!

~peace & all good~

My Problem with Cookie Cutter Fitness 

I’m sitting here thinking about what I’m going to eat later & what I’m going to do at the gym.. What clean gym clothes do I even have? Will I be able to convince myself to run today? As I’m contemplating these highly important things, images of what to avoid pop into my head. Why? In order to be fit I can’t eat cookies, but I can try to shove myself into a preconceived box of health similar to the box these forbidden cookies come in??!1?1 ~ugh~

Okay, this might seem like a strange angle to take when looking at exercise… But since starting this blog & my loosely defined ‘fitstagram’ I’ve been realizing the influence of the outside world on my own health choices. 

For instance- I was looking at a weight loss magazine in my house & it suggested to ‘invite your coworkers to do wall push ups with you in your office’. Now that would be strange. My co-workers would probably be like ‘haha okay, or we could just go for a drink….u crazy millennial’. The magazine also gave ideas for office workouts like leg lifts, chair crunches, etc. I mean…it could just suggest to move your body throughout the day, but……

Which brings me to my point: why are we so caught up in these cookie-cutter ideas of what ‘good’ exercise looks like? Exercise can be anything you enjoy that gets your body in motion. It doesn’t need to be exactly 5.3 hours of cardio a week, with 3.6 hours of weight training, plus 17.24 hours of yoga, minus 30 minutes of cardio for every salad you eat, minus 20 minutes of weight training for every pound you lose. Health is not a math problem!!! Feeling good should be the determinative factor in our decisions regarding exercise. 

This is not to say you shouldn’t include both cardio & weight training (& yoga!!) in a balanced exercise routine.. I’m in love with weight lifting & dread cardio, but I’ve found movements I enjoy that get my heart goin. I roller blade more than I run, I do jumping lunges more than I pedal an elliptical, I dance like a wild woman more than I ride a bike… I’m still achieving the main goal (incorporating cardiovascular exercise), but I’m doing it in a way I like. 

If you aren’t a fan of weight training, YouTube has a plethora of strength building workout videos you can browse. Not saying all online workout videos are created equal- but I’m sure there is something you can find that is worthwhile 🙂 

I think it’s really important to give attention to the fact that we shouldn’t do things because we think we have to. Do things because you want to. Step out of the box, or better yet- jump on & around the box! This will definitely make for a happier, healthier, more empowered you!!

Get out there & move!

~peace & all good~

How Yoga Has Helped Me Fail

Yoga is a very complicated subject… I feel like it’s viewed as either something extremely boring, extremely spiritual, or extremely foreign. Maybe even all of the above. Maybe none of the above. 

What I do know, is that my yoga practice has helped me become more comfortable with my never-ending thoughts & my imperfect self. I’ve only been practicing consistently for about a year…but you’d be surprised what such a short amount of time can do! 

Flexibility has always been somewhat of a strong point for me.. I’m relatively strong (physically).. My balance is decent.. Yoga for me isn’t about these things that we typically associate with it. I’m not overly concerned with how on point my poses are, or how twisty I can get, or how long I can stand on my head (although being upside down is my favourite place to be). 

Clearly I’m not all about how perfect my poses are…

   Handstand? Nope. 
   Hips & shoulders aligned? Try again.. 

*the following image may cause you to laugh your abs on*

   My favorite fail ever captured on camera. I was trying to do a tripod headstand & fell as soon as the timer went off. Crying..I hope you are too lol.

For me, I’m more interested in how taking time to appreciate myself can improve how I deal with things. I enjoy the time my practice gives me to sit with my thoughts & acknowledge my mind. 

I like that I can just breath & observe the way my body & mind react to things I do. 

I like that I can fail a bunch of times & find it funny (also slightly frustrating…but more funny). 

I can use my body to give my mind what it needs at a given time. 

And just to re-iterate how hilarious/normal/OK it is to fail & get things wrong:  

  HAHA nope, not even close to correct. 
  Still funny.. & still not correct!!

So I hope this at least gave you a laugh, & maybe even gave you a new view on yoga. Do what you need & forget the rest!