Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Just Me?

Last night was my second Bikram Yoga class, and I was really looking forward to it. I have been under tremendous amounts of stress lately and this has become a treat that my body and mind both deserve.

This week we headed to class learning from the prior weeks mistakes. We brought a large towel to drape over our mats to prevent us from slipping on our sweat and we got to class earlier to secure a good spot, in the back, on the opposite side of the room from the steam output. Unfortunately, we missed out the prime back row spots, well my friend did, as I snagged the last one but she was brave and moved herself up to the front row. (So she could admire herself in the mirror, I’m sure)

Class began and man, let me tell you, I think the heat was cranked up to 1,005 instead of 105 degrees. It. Was. HOT.

The sweat immediately started pouring off of me and no matter how often I stopped to wipe down, I was drenched again within seconds. I don’t know if I didn’t take in enough calories early in the day or if the amount of stress I’ve been feeling had taken that much of a toll, but I kept getting light-headed and had to come out poses quite a few times to recover.

Normally, I would be self-concious having to stop but what I love about this class is that the instructor constantly reminds you to listen to your body and do what it tells you. Mine was telling me to rest, so that’s what I did.

Just like last week, the standing balance poses ended just as I thought I couldn’t take another minute and the floor poses began. I welcome this break like you wouldn’t believe. Maybe it’s cause I’m tall and heat raises, but laying on the floor felt like I had just hit the lotto and I could feel a temperature difference.

By the end of class my mind was clear, my body was stretched and I felt like a new person. (Not to mention my tank top and shorts were soaked and there wasn’t a dry spot on either towel….eww) It was once again a wonderful feeling to just let all of my worries go for 90-minutes and focus on nothing more than the mind and the breath.

I have one more class next week at the current studio. The other day, I received a Groupon for a different studio and we have until tonight to decide if we will take advantage of it and commit to another 10 classes.

Namaste.

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A Night of Bikram Yoga

The other night, my neighbor, the lovely @Melysa_S,  sent me a text message asking if I would be interested in joining her for a 90-min Bikram Yoga session. I found that I got excited about the chance to try something new, and then a sense of fear took over. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know I have a phobia or group workouts. I loathe working out around people so the thought of not only leaving my comfort zone, but doing it in a 105 degree F room scared me….big time!

So what is Bikram Yoga? Well…

  • It’s done in a 105 F room with 40% humidity.
  • It consists of 26 “asanas” or postures and two breathing exercises that are done twice in a row.
  • It’s 90 minutes long.
  • The combination of heat and postures are supposed to be good for blood circulation, delivering more oxygen to joints, muscles and organs.
  • Sweating is supposed to be detoxifying.

This all intrigued me as did the need to de-stress, so I found the courage to say yes and started looking at info on-line to prepare myself. From everything I read, hydration and towels were the most important things, as well as going to class with an empty stomach.

Upon arriving at the studio, we signed in, quickly changed and entered the room. I knew it would be hot in there, but I wasn’t prepared for the wall of heat that smacked me. We found the last two spots in the back of the room (of course mine was under the pipe that fed the steam into the room), settled in and began to stretch.

The instructor was really nice and I was grateful that I had experience with YogaX so I knew some of the poses. I was also happy many of them were balance poses as those are the ones I like the best.

There were a few times the heat started to get to me, but I wiped the sweat off my brow, took a little water and got back in it.

Class was split into a standing a segment and a floor segment. I was very relieved when we switched to floor work because it gave my head a chance to rest from the lightheadedness that was beginning to take over.

Ultimately, it was an amazing workout. I had a great experience, felt a ton of stress melt off of me and I look forward to two more weeks of it, since we purchased a 3-class pack for only $25!

If you are interested in what kind of poses we did, here is a graphic I found that has all 26.

If you have ever contemplated trying Bikram Yoga, I say go for it! I’m so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a try!

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Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Today I finally had some time to catch up on Fitness Magazine. While flipping through the pages of the March 2012 edition, I stumbled upon a mouthwatering photo for this recipe. I knew as soon as I saw it, I had to try it and I’m very happy with the end result and I thought I would share with those of you who take the time to check out my blog.

(Plus, lets be honest…I haven’t exactly been full of content lately so a little “filler” is needed around here. Photo pictured is my end result and I know the bread is not the healthiest but the Italian in me can’t resist a piece when sauce is involved.)

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
recipe from Fitness Magazine – March 2012

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

18 Jumbo Pasta Shells
1.5 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
4oz fresh chorizo, crumbled
15oz can of crushed tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus additional for seasoning
Olive oil cooking spray
2 cups baby spinach, finely chopped
1 cup low-fat ricotta
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Directions:

1. Cook shells according to package directions; rinse under cold water, drain and pat dry.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and chorizo and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain all but 1.5 teaspoons of drippings and return pan to stove. Add tomatoes and sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste; simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

4. Combine spinach, cheeses, egg white and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the prepared dish. Stuff each shell with a heaping tablespoon of filling and arrange stuffed shells to fit in the baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce over the shells and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until pasta is cooked through and sauce begins to bubble, about 30 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts per serving:

449 calories, 24 g protein, 46 g carbs, 18 g fat (7.4 saturated), 4 g fiber

Enjoy!

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Think Less & Live More

This is my new outlook on fitness.

I have been stuck in this awful rut of over thinking what I have and have not been doing. I’ve been dwelling on the negative instead of the positive, and that my friends is no bueno.

For so long I’ve been fixated on reaching my goals and doing what I had to do to reach them. Well, you know what? I reached them and I guess I hit that point of not really knowing what to do next.

I had nothing to focus on anymore and found myself wandering around, trying to find happiness in what was familiar but not really what I needed anymore. Now, don’t me wrong. I’m not saying I don’t need to work out daily, or that I wouldn’t benefit from it. What I am saying, is that the need and want wasn’t really there anymore. Part of me wanted to see if I could maintain the goals I achieved without the “beast mode” level of fitness I had become accustomed to….and you now what? I did…and it’s a great feeling.

From here on out I want to take things day by day. I want to enjoy whats around me and just go with the flow of the mood I’m in. I don’t want to plan every workout in advance. I want to just do what I feel like doing that day.

Some people may think that’s crazy and to them I say, to each their own. I will have my guidelines for the 3 days a week I plan on working out and I will just pick from the workout DVD collections I have to fill the needs of that day. Some days it might be P90X or Insanity, others running or yoga.

At this point of my journey I believe my nutrition is the most important part, and it’s the area I have gained the most progress in. To me, it was the hardest to get under control and while I will indulge in kettle chips, Five Guys and ice cream from time to time, I am no where near, nor could I ever return to the fast food fiend I once was.

So…from here on out, I vow to (over) think less & live more, because if I can’t enjoy the goals I have obtained, what’s the point?

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