Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What Yoga has Taught Me

A few months ago, I was doing yoga daily in my home and feeling great.  Then things changed and I dropped it.  A couple weeks ago, I started up again.  Much to my surprise, I wasn't fleixble anymore!  Even the basic moves were hard.  I couldn't touch my toes or hold downdog or plank for nearly as long. For the first week of starting again, I detested doing it, though I kept it up because I knew it was good for me.  As of a couple days ago, I let the yoga run it, instead of me trying to meet a quota of moves to do and seconds to hold it.  I focused on how each move made me feel and listened to my body responding to yoga.  I felt the stress wash away and flexibility enter.  I was too focused on moving, that I lost sight of actual yoga.  I've found a pretty decent routine that I can handle.  I want to be more of a pro at these before moving on.  The routine may change based on how each muscle feels or the time I have (e.g. going into the office and having 5-10 minutes).
  • Half moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
  • Standing forward bend (uttanasana)
  • Awkward pose (Uksatasana)
  • Eagle pose (Garutasana)
  • Standing Head to Knee (Dandayamana Janushirasana)
  • Standing Bow Pulling pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana)
  • Balancing Stick pose (Tuladandsana)
  • Tree pose (Tadasana)
  • Lunge (utthita ashwa sanchalanasana)
  • Warrior II (Virabhadasana II)
  • Modified Side Angle (parsvakonasana)
  • Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
  • Low warrior (Ardha Virabhadasana)
  • Warrior III (Virbhadrasana)
  • Table (Svanasana)
  • Cat (Marjariasana)
  • Cow (Bitilasana)
  • Sunbird (Chakravakasana)
  • Child pose (garbhasana)
  • Plank (Phalakasana)
  • Downward Dog (Adha Mukha Svanasasana)
  • Half downward dog
  • Upward Dog
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Full Locust Pose (Pooma Salabhasana)
  • Fixed Firm pose (Supta Vajrasana)
  • Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
  • Spine Twisting pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
  • Breath of Fire (Kapalbhati Breathing)
Wow, looks like a lot more written down than it feels.  I try to be as fluid as possible with the moves and switching to a different one.  I feel refreshed once I've completed.

Morning Ritual

In three weeks, I lost 9 pounds and 3 inches from my midriff.  I don't feel deprived at all and I think it has a lot to do with how I start the day.  Everyone should have their own ritual based on their needs and time, but here's my own on days I work from home (which is more often than not).

  1. Usual morning things, wash face, brush teeth, fix messy hair, etc.
  2. Down the rest of the water in my canning jar that I didn't wake up in the middle of the night to drink (having the heat on really dries you out!).
  3. Sign on to my work computer and check email.
  4. Cut a slice of lemon and squeeze it into a fresh jar of water.
  5. Drink half of that before yoga.
  6. Put yoga station on Pandora.
  7. Do yoga moves for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Plank for as long as possible (currently only 40 seconds).
  9. Put yoga mat away and take out office chair.  This transition into the work day is important, though I try to stand for the first hour of the day.
  10. Listen to Ellie Goulding or Florence and the Machine radio on Pandora.
  11. Finish lemon water while working.
  12. Drink green tea with organic cinnamon, honey, and ginger.
  13. (optional) Drink beet juice with cucumber, kiwi, lime, carrots, granny smith apple, tomato, and ginger.  If I don't drink it in the morning, I'll drink it around lunch time.
  14. Make special coffee: grind coffee beans, boil water, add coarsely ground coffee to french press with cinnamon and cayenne pepper, pour boiling water in, let sit for 5 minutes, then sip until lunch.
  15. Listen to upbeat, fast-paced music and dance in my chair or, for really good songs or when I'm already standing, bust a move.
  16. Weather permitting, take the dog for a walk during lunch.
I try to stand for the first hour of the day and then intermittently throughout the rest of the day.  Sitting is killing us, so I try to combat it.

I've found that this routine gives me energy and clarity for work.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Home Office workout

Using a yoga ball as an office chair is pretty cool.  I move around a lot more, my back is straighter, and, let's be honest, it's way more fun.  I still have my nice office chair in here, but I'm trying to use the ball for at least half of the day.  I put a cushion under it so that I could still maintain an ergonomic workspace.  I use an ergonomic keyboard, wireless mouse, and dual screens that are directly at my eye level.  I get a lot of natural light and have plenty of space for 5 minute yoga breaks. :)  Definitely a better work environment than the dark cube farm at work!  I may work longer hours at home, but I certainly don't mind it!  Plus, the cat and dog have chairs to sleep on in here.

Nutrition Chart

My favorite and easy lunch is brown rice, black beans, kale, and tomatoes in a wrap.  It has a ton of vitamins that we need!  Here's a table of the vitamins and minerals that we need, why, where to get them, and signs you need them!  Room at the end to add in others :)

Good for
Signs You Need It
Vitamin A
·         Vision
·         Immune and Inflammatory systems
·         Cell growth
·         Reproduction

Sweet potato, carrots, spinach, kale, hearty greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupe, papaya, oranges, grapefruit, asparagus, watermelon, apricot, green beans, parsley, broccoli, celery, plums
·         Visual impairment
·         Dry eyes
·         Eye inflammation
·         Rough/dry skin
Vitamin B6
·         Nervous system
·         Sugar and starch breakdown
·         Metabolism
·         Inflammation
Garlic, tuna, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, hearty greens, kale, green beans, cod, tomatoes, turkey, salmon, leeks, sweet potato
·         Fatigue
·         Anemia
·         Eczema
·         Convulsions
·         Seizures
Thiamin – B1
·         Energy
·         Nerves and muscle activity
·         Heart function
Tuna, sunflower seeds, black beans, dried peas, green peas, pinto beans, lentils, lima beans, sesame seeds, oranges, grapes, garlic
·         Loss of appetite
·         Pins and needles sense
·         Numbness in legs
·         Muscle tenderness, especially in calves
Riboflavin – B2
·         Protects oxygen damage
·         Energy production
·         Maintain B vitamins
Yogurt, soybeans, spinach, tempeh, almonds, green peas, collard greens, celery
·         Sensitivity to light
·         Tearing, burning, itching around eyes
·         Soreness around lips, mouth, tongue
·         Peeling skin around nose
·         Cracking of skin around mouth

·         Cholesterol
·         Blood sugar
·         Process fats
·         Genetic processes
Chicken, tuna, halibut, lamb, salmon, spelt, sardines, peanuts, asparagus, sweet potato
·         Generalized weakness
·         Lack of appetite
·         Skin infections
·         Digestive problems
Pantothenic acid – B5
·         Turns carbs and fat into energy
·         Stress
·         Healthy fats
Avocado, yogurt, mushrooms, corn, sweet potato, cauliflower, eggs, broccoli, collard greens, celery, sweet potato
·         Fatigue
·         Listlessness
·         Weakness
·         Numbing/tingling/ burning/shooting pain in feet

Vitamin B12
·         Red blood cells
·         Anemia
·         Nerve cells
·         metabolism
Sardines, salmon, lamb, shrimp, halibut, scallops, yogurt, cod
·         red, sore tongue
·         tingle/numb feet
·         nervousness
·         memory problems
Vitamin C
·         Prevents free-radical damage
·         Lowers cancer risk
·         Regenerates vitamin E supply
·         Iron absorption
Papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, brussels sprouts, kiwi, oranges, cantaloupe, kale, apples, asparagus, celery, watermelon, plums, grapes, sweet potato, garlic
·         Poor wound healing
·         Frequent colds/infections
·         Lung-related problems
Vitamin D
·         Calcium metabolism
·         Bone strength
·         Blood pressure
·         Inflammation
·         Fatigue
·         Cancer
·         Muscles
Salmon, sardines, eggs, shiitake mushrooms
·         Muscle aches
·         Lowered immunity
·         Chronic low energy and fatigue
·         Auto-immune disorder
Vitamin E
·         Protection for UV rays
·         Prevents free-radical damage
·         Cell communication
·         Cancer
·         Alzheimer’s
Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, hearty greens, papaya, asparagus, bell peppers
·         Digestive problems
·         Tingling/numbness in hands, arms, legs, or feet
·         Liver or gallbladder problems
·         Healthy skin
·         Sugar usage
·         Energy supple in nerve cells
Swiss chard
·         Hair loss
·         Muscle cramps
·         muscle coordination
·         Bone strength
·         Acid/alkaline balance
·         Muscles
Yogurt, tofu, sesame seeds, collard greens, spinach, cheese, scallops, sardines, oranges, asparagus, banana, celery, garlic
·         Low energy
·         Weak bones
·         Cell membranes
·         Nerve communication with muscles
·         Chronic inflammation
Eggs, chicken, turkey, scallops, shrimp, sardines, cauliflower, swiss chard, asparagus
·         Fatigue
·         Insomnia
·         Kidney/urine problems
·         Fat in blood
·         Nerve-muscle problems

·         Blood sugar
·         cholesterol
Onions, tomatoes, oysters, whole grains, potatoes
·         high blood pressure
·         high blood sugar/cholesterol

Coenzyme Q
·         Restore vitamin E
·         Prevent cardiovascular disease
·         Blood sugar
Fish, whole grain germ
·         Ulcers
·         High blood sugar
·         Gum problems
·         iron utilization
·         prevents free-radical damage
·         bones and connective tissue
·         thyroid
·         nerve protection
Quinoa, squash, sesame seeds, cashews, soybeans, barley, sunflower seeds, tempeh, chick peas, lentils, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds. Ginger, pineapple, almonds, raspberries, garlic, leeks, asparagus, sweet potato, garlic

·         anemia
·         poor blood vessel strength
·         bone/joint problems
·         skin sores
·         irregular heartbeat
·         frequent infections
·         detoxify chemicals and heavy metals
·         protects free-radical damage
·         breakdown mucous in lungs

Poultry, yogurt, egg yolks, red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oats

·         frequent colds
·         Blood vessel protection
·         Enhance vitaminC
·         Protects oxygen damage
·         Inflammation
Apples, apricots, blueberries, pears, raspberries, strawberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, tomatoes
·         Easy bruising
·         Frequent nose bleeds
·         Excessive swelling after injury
·         Frequent colds or infections
·       red blood cell production
·       nerves
·       dementia
Lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas, spinach, black beans, kidney beans, hearty greens, lima beans, oranges, strawberries
·         irritability
·         mental fatigue/ forgetfulness
·         insomnia
·         periodontal disease

·         Intestines
·         Antioxidant
·         Acid-base balance
·         Muscle mass
Cabbage, beets, beef, chicken, fish, beans, dairy
·         Frequent colds
·         IBS
·         thyroid
Yogurt, milk, eggs, strawberries
·         Goiter
·         Weight gain
·         Fatigue
·         Oxygen transport
·         Energy production
Soybeans, lentils, spinach, tofu, sesame seeds, chickpeas, lima beans, olives, swiss  chard
·         anemia

Lipoic acid
·         Regenerate vitamins C and E
·         Antioxidant
·         Blood sugar
Hearty greens
·         High blood sugar
·         Frequent colds or infections
·         Cataracts or glaucoma

Vitamin K
·         Bone health
·         Cancer
Kale, spinach, hearty greens, Brussels sprouts, parsley, romaine lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, plums, grapes
·         Excessive bleeding
·         Heavy periods
·         Easy bruising

·         Bone strength
·         Energy production
·         Nervous system
·         Inflammation
·         Blood sugar
Quinoa, watermelon, pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, soybeans, sesame seeds, halibut, black beans, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, asparagus, strawberries, watermelon, brown rice
·         Fatigue
·         Utilize key nutrients
·         Bone health
·         Synthesize fatty acids
·         Blood sugar
·         Nerves
·         Thyroid
·         Protects free-radical damage
Spelt, brown rice, chickpeas, spinach, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, tempeh, rye, soybeans, oats, banana, celery, strawberries, grapes, sweet potato, garlic, brown rice
·         Nausea
·         Vomiting
·         High blood sugar
·         Skin rash
·         Low cholesterol
·         Dizziness
·         Hearing loss
·         Reproductive system difficulties
·         Inflammation
·         Blood
·         Risk of obesity
·         Cancer
Flax seeds (ground), walnuts, salmon, sardines, soybeans, halibut, scallops, shrimp, tofu, strawberries
·         Depression / fatigue
·         Brittle hair/nails
·         Joint pain
·         Inability to concentrate
·         Dry, itchy skin

·         Blood pressure
·         Kidneys
Swiss Chard, lima beans, potatoes, yams, soybeans, spinach, papaya, pinto beans, lentils, kidney beans, oranges, banana, strawberries, watermelon, plums
·         Weakness
·         Nausea/ vomiting
·         Constipation
·         Abnormal psyche
·         Fainting from low blood pressure
·         Cramping/bloating


·         Immune system
·         Healthy skin, hair, and nails
·         Enzyme production
Quinoa, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, halibut, shrimp, cod, scallops, soybeans, asparagus
·         Weight loss
·         Fatigue/weakness
·         Frequent infections
·         Severe fluid retention

·         Protects free-radical damage
·         Thyroid
·         Joint inflammation
Halibut, tuna, cod, sardines, shrimp, salmon, barley, turkey, lamb, scallops, asparagus, garlic, brown rice
·         Muscle weakness or pain
·         Discoloration of hair or skin
·         Whitening fingernail beds
·         Blood sugar
·         Metabolism
·         Immunity
·         Smell and taste
Lamb, scallops, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, yogurt, turkey, shrimp, green peas
·         Impaired smell and taste
·         Lack of appetite
·         Frequent colds and infections