Awesome article alert: “Sisters of the ‘Yogic’ Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery” by Sariane Leigh

I didn’t see this article back when it came out about 2 years ago, but it is definitely still relevant. You all know I love yoga, self-care and self-recovery, and making those things accessible. Well, I am not the one to speak on some of these experiences, but Sariane Leigh, a.k.a. Anacostia Yogi, does so and does so beautifully. I found her article Sisters of the “Yogic” Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery (a guest post on The Feminist Wire) while searching for a different article regarding renowned feminist scholar bell hooks, and just had to share. Leigh embodies a fitness and wellness philosophy that I strive for every day – one that is not about punishment or strict competition, but one that is focused on healing, self-love, and nourishment (physical and emotional/spiritual).

As if her beautiful work and impressive bio aren’t enough, Ms. Leigh has also compiled a list of curvy yogis to follow on Instagram! It’s like she knew I needed more curvy fitness on my feed 🙂

Peace, sweat and love,

G

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Week recap… plus Vega protein powder and Blender Bottle review!

Hi friends!

I hope that you are all resting (or already in bed!) preparing for the start of another week. I know that even though I woke up quite late this morning (I think I slept 11 hours – I guess I needed that sleep!), I am going to be ready for bed soon. But before that, I think I owe my followers a review of this week and a look into the little things I’ve been up to in my spare time!

As you may recall, I have started another summer job at a local seafood restaurant in my attempt to save at least some money before the poverty of law school. Last week was crazy – I was mildly sleep deprived and exhausted after working 5 nights in a row during my training! Plus, I had the awesomely fun 5k foam fest last Saturday, which was amazing but unfortunately was stuck in the middle of a lot of work hours. Standing for 6 hours was not what I really wanted to do after that race, let me tell you!

So, looking at my Tough Mudder training schedule, I realized that I have wrapped up my fourth week and am now starting on my fifth week of training – exciting! Today I tried out a different local yoga studio. Very, very gentle class. Though I typically prefer something more athletic, I admit this was good for me to stretch everything out, especially as I like to do my long runs on Saturday.

Yesterday’s run had to be cut short – a little over 5 miles instead of 6 – but I felt really great and could have kept going if not for time constraints, so I suppose that’s what really matters! It’s best if I go out in the morning on my long run, but I slept in late Saturday too, so that didn’t happen (I worked until 11:00-11:30 Friday, so I wasn’t going to push myself to get up – that doesn’t make sense to me).

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I’m excited to note that after my run, my Nike+ home page looked like this:

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My average pace isn’t super fast, sure, but it’s way better than it was when I started running a year ago! That, and look at those miles add up! I feel pretty darn proud of that commitment, if I may say so myself. I’m no marathoner (yet?!) but I have consistently gone out there and run. when I hit 500 miles I should celebrate… and when I hit 1,000 I will definitely celebrate!

I also got in some hill workouts and interval workouts on the treadmill. Not as fun or refreshing as being outside, but I must admit I do prefer gym equipment for things like interval training. Hill workouts are easy on the treadmill, too. Recently I’ve been doing a hill workout I found in this article via Active.com. Definitely a killer, and definitely helped me during my the surprisingly hilly 5k Foam Fest!

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I took the time I could to nourish myself with delicious home-cooked meals. This particular concoction was one dinner I happily shared with my parents: organic non-GMO tofu fried with ginger and cayenne pepper, broccoli, zucchini, kale, and red pepper stir-fried in a wok with olive oil and organic peanut sauce served over whole-grain brown rice. Delicious! 😀

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Because I’ve been on-the-go so much, I’ve also invested in some portable nutrition options. I might not be right, but I think a lot of other health-conscious people and definitely athletes tend to eat quite frequently. At work I can’t eat until the end of my shift, which means an absolute minimum of 5 to 6 hours of not eating. This certainly isn’t the end of the world, but if you eat lunch around 1 or even 2 and can’t eat again until 10 or even 11… you get my point. So to stay full and energized longer, I’ve been drinking my trusty fiber-filled chia seeds, and have stocked up on both Luna and Odwalla bars (some of my stand-bys!).

I found a Blender Bottle on clearance at TJMaxx recently, so obviously being the bargain lover I am picked it up when I had the chance. I figured re-integrating shakes into my diet was a good and almost inevitable thing. Well, knowing this, I decided to put it to the test after finding individual Vega protein powder packets on sale at Whole Foods.

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The first one I tried was chocolate flavored. I just mixed it with 8 oz. of water this time around. I was pretty impressed with how well the Blender Bottle truly blended everything – I was skeptical! And after years of being unable to ever truly mix in powders without the use of a blender, I was pleasantly surprised at how effective this simply little invention was! The shake, on the other hand, was less impressive to me. The chocolate was not really my thing. It was ok, but I didn’t love it.

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I had bought two other flavors – French Vanilla and “Au Naturel”. This time around, I mixed the vanilla flavor with rice milk instead of just water. This made it better, but it was still, well, it still tasted like a protein powder, for lack of a better phrase. It blended well but still wasn’t terribly appealing.

With the only flavor left one I had intended on putting in a smoothie, I was certain that I would find myself simply disappointed with this particular Vega line. But, running late, I didn’t even have time to make a more elaborate smoothie. So I threw the unsweetened powder in the Blender Bottle with some rice milk and some honey. I didn’t expect it to be any good, but figured the honey and the rice milk would make it tolerable.

Whoah. I was very surprised to find that I loved the taste of this shake! Which makes sense – stevia and other such sweeteners don’t taste great to me, and those are in the flavored powder varieties. The natural powder had a nice taste that mixed beautifully with the honey and the rice milk – it was just good! The natural powder also made a slightly greenish shake, something which I actually kind of liked – not that it changes the taste.

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I’m hoping to try the Vega One and maybe Vega Sport powders now, too. Perhaps I will finally find a protein powder that I can get along with! I’m also definitely going to be branching out and looking for different energy gels/chews as I continue my training. 

Anyone have any races or other events coming up? Protein powder recommendations?

Remember, if you’re looking for a fun race, I highly recommend the 5k Foam Fest! Check out my pictures and earlier posts (including a recap!) for more info. If you do decide to sign up, remember to use my personal discount code “FF3316” to get $5 off the entry fee!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

 

find of the week – great online yoga classes! 

find of the week – great online yoga classes!

It’s happened to all of us.

We thought that we’d have enough time to get to the gym in the evening. We didn’t realize that the local yoga studio was closed for the day. We just can’t bring ourselves to go out for that run or walk on this rainy day.

Enter the at-home workout. If you’re like me, you’d much rather be in the yoga studio or at the gym or outside. But sometimes life just gets in the way. So yesterday when I wanted to make a community yoga class and found that the class had been cancelled (no Father’s Day yoga, I guess!), I was pretty bummed. But then I found a gold mine: DoYogaWithMe.com.

I’ve been able to comb through the site, and it’s really nice! The quality of the videos is good, the sound is great, and it’s awesome for someone like me who likes having an instructor/model when I practice. Yesterday I did this short but really effective core workout – highly recommend it! Can’t wait to try out more of their workouts. For all you yoginis short on time and/or money (problems I more than sympathize with!) – these videos are not only convenient, but FREE. That said, you can purchase them if you wish to download them for a reasonable fee, and you can also donate to the project. Yoga shouldn’t be exclusive – support awesome folks like this who have tried to make it more accessible!

 

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Yoga, Spring, and Other things that make me happy

Hello!

Sorry I didn’t update until now, I wanted to give a weekend recap sooner buuuuuuuut got caught up in all the work  I had to do come the end of spring break 😦

That said, I’ve actually had a really great week of workouts thus far, despite the fact that I am sad that I am not on vacation and especially that I am not on vacation in sunny LA. It’s actually been pretty nice out here in Boston – I went for a run outside yesterday for the first time since my 5k! And I wore shorts!

This past Sunday I decided to go to yoga at a nearby Lululemon (once again, props to them for hosting free weekly classes!), and got more than I had expected. I go to the classes pretty regularly, and they are held in store, usually with rotating instructors. So I show up at the store this week, and they tell me that yoga is at a nearby vintage automobile museum. Damn. So I drive a couple minutes down the road, and find an “Ignite your light” -themed 1-year anniversary party for this particular store.

The gorgeously designed theme for the store's birthday party, via their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lululemonchestnuthill)

The gorgeously designed theme for the store’s birthday party, via their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lululemonchestnuthill)

In the surreal, frozen world of these old cars, they had laid out tons of colorful Lululemon mats for everyone like a gorgeous patchwork quilt of yoga. After an awesome 1+ hours of yoga, the event organizers announced that each mat we were sitting on was ours to keep as a gift! That was a huge deal to me, because I have been dying for a new mat and the Lulu ones are super nice and thick, and around $65 to boot!

My toes looking pale on my brand-spanking-new complimentary fancy yoga mat!

My toes looking pale on my brand-spanking-new complimentary fancy yoga mat!

To top it off, they also gave us cute limited addition bags from their “If nothing stood in your way” campaign with a handwritten note and a personal goals sheet. Oh, and brunch was provided… WITH MIMOSAS. I could not believe it. After this, I am honestly really hoping to get a job at Lululemon this summer/to transition over during law school. I need a side job anyways, and why not one with a crazy community with perks like these? I know their former CEO is a nut job (Oh, Chip Wilson), but a side job there sounds super tempting and less stressful than a lot of other retail/service jobs I’d be looking at. Either way, we shall see!

In the meantime, keep calm and do yoga 😉

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Spring Break recap

Hello friends –

Sadly, I am writing this from dreary, chilly Boston and not sun-soaked LA. I had an amazing spring break, and am so, so sad that it is rapidly coming to an end! These last few days will have to be spent studying and picking up where I left off with various student organizations and *ahem* the gym.

How I feel about hitting the books again

How I feel about hitting the books again

I am now officially in training for my May 10k (the Newton 10k) and am hoping to beat my time on my last 10k, which was ages ago in October (the Tufts 10k for Women). Now that I have *some* sense of where I could possibly be come autumn, I may be able to start signing up for more races and events. In addition to my 10k coming up, I’m hoping to do a Tough Mudder with my friend Tom on June 1st – 2 days after my graduation! More on that when I figure out the details.

But before I spiral out of control talking about the scary thing that is the future, let me revisit the past. Spring break was incredible, as I mentioned in my last post. We all wanted to do an official spring break-y spring break before we graduated, and this was our last chance! Our days were spent relaxing in sun drinking cocktails and our nights were spent relaxing in the hot tub with wine. It was very relaxing and also very boozy… Hey, I’m 22, OK?! 😛

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On the least sunny day of our trip, we journeyed to Hollywood in order for me to have a spiritual experience. Yes, that means I would not leave until I found Britney’s star.

Hello, beautiful

Hello, beautiful

I also found out that Sophia Loren and I have the same size hands – odd, because I have pretty big, muscular hands for a lady. Either way, I was pretty thrilled to step into her stiletto prints, because she is my Italian sister and a rad body image icon for me personally. She is an endlessly sultry and gorgeous fellow Italian with dark hair, light eyes, and olive-y skin with a curvy and airbrush-free body.

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Loren killin’ it in “Ieri, Oggi, e Domani”

 

Women like Loren (Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Mindy Kaling, and even Britney Spears among them!) inspire me because they have bodies, however perfect or airbrushed in various contexts, that are more relatable to me than to those of extremely thin, largely curveless and often Northern European bodies. Those bodies are also beautiful, but they are not my own. BASICALLY that was a really long way of saying that I was just as happy as I look in this photo!

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The view directly above

The view directly above at Hollywood Bouvelard’s Chinese Theater

I also got in plenty of snacks – don’t you worry! – during my trip. One of the most amazing things I ate? A giant banana split cookie (yes, you read that right) with chocolate chips, banana, and strawberries at the Milk Jar, a milk-and-cookies place for adults. With a side of iced coffee (served in a mason jar because LA), I was practically jumping up and down at this ecstatic temporary return to childhood.

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The entire trip was incredible, but I think the best morning was by far the one I spent with the GF’s sister. We woke up early to catch a 7:30 AM hot yoga class at Modo Yoga – a celeb favorite that is mere minutes from her apartment. Man… I’ve done hot yoga before, but this was the hottest hot yoga I’ve ever done! The studio was bougie as anything, cheery and comfortable, and the actual practice room was expansive but purposefully airless. They were burning sage, which maybe made me feel like it was even hotter. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say I’d never sweat so much in my life. I regularly did hot yoga through high school, but this was next level hot. At the end of class, I collapsed into a puddle on my mat. After wiping ourselves down (yes, I was that drenched) we browsed the little showcase they had at the front of the store. She bought cute new yoga pants, I bought a sexy new water bottle for a price that took me by surprise. Oh well. It is beautiful and apparently holds 40 oz, and retains temperature like no other – the lady behind the counter claimed that ice would stay ice in it for 12+ hours. I really hope so, because lukewarm water makes me very grumpy.

The color is called "Açai Purple"... LOL. But actually I love it.

The color is called “Açai Purple”… LOL. But actually I love it.

After we made our purchases, we stepped over the the juice bar next door (hello, LA) to refuel post-practice. I’m recently re-inspired by juicing, so much so that I actually broke out my old juicer and starting shaking up some green drinks. I got a hearty, beet-based juice infused with lemongrass and ginger, among other things. Totally delicious and totally gorgeous.

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Back here in Boston, I am ready to make some of my own juices again! I went shopping yesterday, so I am armed with kale aplenty. In fact, tonight I plan to make kale chips to accompany my dinner with the GF.

Be still my heart!

Be still my heart!

After an awesome but totally crazy spring break, I am ready to kind of lay low for a few days until the craziness of school starts up again. I’m thinking getting back to the gym and running, plenty of yoga and foam rolling. That, and lots of green tea, kale, detoxing dandelion tea, and juices. And chia seeds. Sweet, sweet chia seeds. So good when you’re feeling icky post-travel.

In that spirit, I did some hatha yoga before bed last night. I’ll share the same, gentle 25- minute video I used from yogadownload.com via youtube with you so that you can enjoy the same nurturing sequence!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Yoga in the media

Just felt like even though this is early in my blogging career, I do focus on health and fitness, and as a practitioner of yoga (a “yogini”, if you will) I want to draw attention to some yoga-related media this week.

I, along with many others, was horrified to see the shameful XOJane post about a “skinny white girl” who was deeply disturbed by a “young, fairly heavy black woman” in her class. The post was immature and served to dehumanize the young black woman in question. “Good intentions” may have been in this writer’s heart, but there are MUCH better ways of coming to terms with your own privilege – ways that do not involve ludicrous assumptions.

Flawless fitness blogger Erika Nicole Kendall wrote a brilliant take-down of the article on her personal blog as well as in NY Mag, calling for yoga’s restoration as a “culture, not a cult”. I should take this moment to fangirl and say that Ms. Kendall tweeted back at me the other day and was so, so kind – she even offered to give me blogging tips! Too awesome. Glad to see that she and the author of this critical article on yoga are making attempts to divorce this ancient practice from what I may dare call a process of Western bastardization. The latter writer appropriately calls out the “constant promotion” of the “ideal yoga body… a light-skinned, young, very slim, and very agile body”.

Props to these rad thinkers for their efforts!

Also worth mentioning is SAAPYA – or South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga in America. This network has laudable aspirations, including the goals “to revise the perception that yoga is an exclusive practice; to intervene in a largely segregated yoga environment; to ensure that yoga remains a resource for all bodies, all races, all classes and identities” (via their blog’s “About” page).

All definitely stuff worthy of at least skimming through, regardless of your particular level of interest in yoga and/or cultural appropriation as a phenomenon. I personally hope to retain this awareness in my own practice!

xoxo,

G