30 day yoga challenge: Days 11, 12, and 13

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My practice opener

Before we get to the yoga updating, a note about the featured pose.This pose, sukhasana with one hand on my heart and one on the bump, has become my centering pose in the last couple of weeks. It’s a really great reminder to just focus on the internal instead of the external.

I pretty sure this three day catch-up post thing is not going to become the norm. Things just got so busy this weekend that I didn’t have time to get to the blogging… but more on that in the yoga updates. In other news, as you can see, I talked S. into a yoga photography session last night! Expect the next few posts to be littered with photo’s from that.

Day 11: Saturday

I mentioned on Saturday morning, my fabulous family members were coming to help paint the baby’s room. That happened and more! My mom and R. painted the baby’s room, moved furniture around, repacked my bookshelves, and then even went crib shopping with me! Basically they’re awesome.

The not awesome thing is that after such an activity filled day, my back was killing me. It was so painful that I was actually going to skip my practice on Saturday. But then S., being super awesome, spent about half an hour massaging my back. It was still sore, but not so sore that I felt like I couldn’t move. Just sore enough that I felt like some yoga would help. So I did a self-led 25-ish minute practice to stretch the low back. Lots of down dogs and standing forward folds. By the end, I felt about 99% better.

Day 12: Sunday

Sunday was another busy day. I didn’t do a lot of activities, but I did a lot of nothing… reading, errands, cooking, etc. My practice on Sunday was geared, again, to stretching the low back, which was still a bit tight. I did a 45-minute prenatal practice from yogaglo.com called Unwind from a Long Day. This was the first time I had done this practice and, while it was a great practice, it was more challenging than what I was looking for. I wanted a more restorative practice and this definitely had more movement than that.

Day 13: Monday

Another morning practice! I’m so proud of myself for making that happen. And, even better, I made it happen with no video. Yesterday morning I yoga’d to The Early Show and did what my body felt like it needed. Apparently that was lots of side stretches and chest openers. As a pleasant surprise, it looks like I’m starting to develop a go-to prenatal sequence. I like it have something in my mind that just feels right and that I can add what I need as I go… up until now I haven’t had that for prenatal, but it looks like that may be changing!

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Catch up on the rest of the challenge here and if you’re doing your own challenge, feel free to link up in the comments so I can follow along.

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26 Week Update: Moving Aong

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26 Weeks… Thanks to S. for yet another blurry picture.

Hey all! Just wanted to pop in to give a quick pregnancy update. I know it’s been a while… In fact, it looks like the last time I did an official pregnancy update was waaaay back at 20 weeks when we found out we’re having a girl! In an effort to answer any questions you might be having I’m blatently stealing a format I’ve seen from other bloggers who are pregnant.

How far along| Almost 27 weeks

Baby’s Size| ??? Hard to say. As of my 24 week ultrasound she weighed 1lb 9oz.

Weight Gain| ??? Hard to say. I don’t own a scale, so I don’t track this regularly. As of the 24 week appointment, I had officially gained 10 lbs.

Sleep| Generally good! Sometimes there’s problems with having to pee all.night.long. but that’s actually pretty normal for not pregnant Martha.

Clothes| For work clothes, I wear almost exclusively maternity clothes for tailoring and overall professionalism. But when it comes to home/casual/lounge-wear, the opposite is true–I still wear non-maternity leggings, yoga pants, running shorts and casual shirts.

Cravings| Spinach, chocolate, apples, cheese, salty things.

Food Aversions| Broccoli and cabbage. Oh. And pickles (more so than normal)

Symptoms| Ummm… I don’t know. Moodiness? Some back pain, but generally it’s not that bad.

Movement| Tons. She likes to move. The movement is weird, but I’m getting used to it finally.

Belly Button| In. Now that my bump is looking bump-ish, I’m worried that my former belly ring hole is going to split at some point. I don’t know why. Does that actually happen?

Highlight of the Week| Painting the baby’s room! Definitely the highlight, with a close second being going through hand-me-down baby things my mom and sister have sent me. I’m so grateful to have so much help and support in preparing to welcome the baby.

What I miss|  Not that much actually. Probably the two biggest things are backbends in my yoga practice and allergy meds. All the allergy meds make me super medicine head-ey lately.

Whew. That’s a lot of info! It seems impossible, but if you’re wondering about anything let me know in the comments.

30 Day Yoga Challenge Days 8, 9, and 10

Wow. I am really really bad at the blogging part of this challenge. Like super bad. Sorry!

Life got in the way again. In addition to work, which was a little crazy the latter part of this week, I’ve also been spending time evaluating day cares (I can’t believe that’s a thing I’m already doing!), reading (for fun and education), exercising, doing yoga, and practicing hynobabies. Since I’m usually at the office until 6 and try to go to bed between 10 and 11, I have a pretty packed schedule in the evenings. Unfortunately, from Wednesday on of this week it was too packed to update the ol’ blog.

But. Don’t let the super busy schedule fool you. I didn’t wholly fail on the challenge. I still fit in yoga every single day. Yay! I did fail on the photo part of the challenge, but really I blame S. for that. I think I’m going to try a new yoga picture method and just get him to photograph me doing an entire sequence one day so I’ll have a stash of photos to use. I know. That’s not what the challenge was but sometimes you have to reevaluate and change plans as you go and, I think, this is one of those times.

Enough of my ramblin’ on. It’s Saturday morning and, imagine that, I’ve got a pretty packed day ahead of me. Today, some of my amazing family members are coming over to help with painting the baby’s room! I’m so excited and grateful that I’m making homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls for everyone if I ever finish this post… So here we go with the yoga.

Day 8: Wednesday October 17, 2012

I had every intention of waking up early and doing a nice morning practice. Mornings are quickly becoming my favorite time to practice–they’re just so quiet and serene feeling.  That didn’t happen and I had a fairly stressful day at work. Thinking back now, I can’t remember what made it so stressful (that should give you some idea of how important whatever the stress was actually was), but I do distinctly remember sitting in my office around 11 am wondering why my neck was killing me and realizing it was because I was so tense that my shoulders were waaaay up around my ears. I took a couple of deep breaths and made a conscious effort to roll them back and down. It helped (not with the stress, but with the neck pain) and I remembered to do that a couple of more times throughout the day.

For my actual yoga practice on Wednesday night, I did a quick 20 minute-ish practice with a few down dogs, chest openers, light twists, and a lot of hip work. My hips are really sore and tight these days, not so much so that I feel the need to complain about it, but enough that I feel the need to stretch them at any given opportunity.

Day 9: Thursday October 18, 2012

Thursday started out the right way. With yoga. That’s right, I got up and did a nice morning practice again. These really are the best. Not only do they feel calm and leisurely, they’re also very energizing and really set a nice calm, un-frenzied tone for the day. The practice I did was a yogaglo.com sequence that I’ve done before but really love for a morning practice. The best thing about this practice, though, wasn’t the practice itself, but how I felt all day long because of the practice. Thursday should have, by all rights been, a much more stressful day than Wednesday was. But it wasn’t and I really think that’s because of the morning yoga.

Day 10: Friday October 19, 2012

Friday morning I had planned, once again, to get in a yoga practice. But I worked until almost midnight on Thursday (aaannnddd that’s why Thursday should have been more stressful than Wednesday), so I was too tired to get up at 6:30 for some yoga. Instead I slept that half an hour away and don’t regret it.one.bit. Yesterday was a full day too; There was a lot going on at work (lots of deadlines for one day) and after work I had paint party prep to do.

Finally, last night around 10, I made time for a quick 20 minute yoga practice.  The details of the practice are basically the same as Wednesday though I also added in more hamstring stretches. After last night, I have to say if there’s one thing that I may like just as much as morning yoga, it’s late night yoga followed by hypnobabies. I was so relaxed that I fell asleep pretty much the minute my head hit the pillow (I have frequent insomnia, so that’s a kind of a big deal).

That’s your yoga update!

You can catch up on previous posts, here. And while you’re doing that (and whatever else your Saturday morning might consist of) I’m off to make some pumpkin cinnamon rolls!

Happy Saturday!

Me and My Yoga Mat

If you practice yoga on a regular basis, you need a good mat. Lucky for you I’ve been practicing yoga for many many years and have a lot of experience with yoga mats.  Before I had a very regular practice, I used one mat for about 6 years. When my practice became more regular, I needed something that was sturdier and, well, just better. If you’re in the market for a new mat, you should check out this post from Eco Yogini for a great comparison of mats. She has definitely looked into this much more deeply than I have, but here’s my yoga mat experience.

You might have noticed in some of the pictures I’ve been posting that I have two yoga mats. In case you haven’t, here they are:

My purple Jade yoga mat

My teal Jade yoga mat

If you read those captions carefully, you noticed that I have two Jade yoga mats. At this point, you’re probably wondering why anyone needs two yoga mats at all, much less two yoga mats that are the same brand. Of course the answer is no one needs two yoga mats and this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever had more than one.

I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 10 years; for the first 5-6 years of that time I practiced maybe 5 times a month and used the same $10 yoga mat for the entire time. When I decided to up the practice ante and started practicing more than once a week, I realized that at some point in my yoga mat’s life it had somehow gotten glass embedded in it. You know what’s not awesome? A yoga mat with glass in it.

Because I didn’t really like feeling glass in my hands during practice, I started shopping around for a mat that was sustainably produced (i.e. not made of plastic), not too heavy, and not too pricey.  All this lead me to jade yoga. That’s when I purchased the purple mat at the top. I used that mat for about 3 years with an almost daily practice. It held up really well, but was definitely starting to get worn in the most used spots. Last year, I asked for a new yoga mat for Christmas and my mother in law obliged by purchasing the teal jade yoga mat in the second picture. While I loved the purple mat (and still use it occasionally–it’s my downstairs/travel mat), I love love love the  teal mat. She purchased the extra long mat, which seemed a little useless at first because I’m not that tall, and it is amazing! I have so much room.

So in my experience, Jade yoga mats hold up really well in regular 5-6 day a week yoga practice schedule. I like the way they feel and I like the grippy-ness. All in all, this is the mat I recommend to people when they ask what mat to buy(and yes, people me this kind of a lot).

P.S. Jade Yoga didn’t ask me to write this post and they definitely give me anything free to try (although I wouldn’t be upset if they did…). Everything in here is my own opinion. 

30 Day Yoga Challenge Day 7

Whew. Yesterday was busy! Luckily it was planned busy. I knew what my work to-do looked like, I knew that on Tuesday nights I volunteer at the Carnegie Center, and I knew that we had an appointment to visit a day care center yesterday evening (it was awesome btw). So, I did something very responsible. I woke up at 6:30 and I made myself actually GET OUT OF BED. And then, I pulled out the yoga mat and actually did a morning yoga practice.

Guys. Of all the things I did yesterday, including looking at day care and signing court filings, planning my yoga practice ahead of time is the thing that made me feel most like an adult. I don’t know about you, but usually when I’m busy I either squeeze in a harried yoga practice (or run or gym session) at the end of the day. Not yesterday. Yesterday, I planned ahead, took initiative, and had a very enjoyable practice that I honestly got more out of than I would have if I had waited until the end of the day when I exhausted and rushed. I’m so, possibly unjustifiably, proud of myself for this.

So, how was the actual practice? I did a prenatal energizing flow from yogaglo.com and it was pretty much a perfect morning flow. Not too difficult, but challenging enough to get the blood flowing and energy up.

 

Down Dog. Ignore the crappiness of the photo, please. 

After the practice, I felt fabulous all day long.  I liked this practice so much, I’ve got a plan to do it again tomorrow morning.  In fact, I highly recommend this practice, or really any other morning yoga practice. Just get out of bed and do it!

30 Day Yoga Challenge Day 6

Look at this guys! An actual picture of me doing some yoga! Thanks to S. (who just told me he doesn’t actually read the blog and will never know that I’m saying thanks) for jumping back on the photography train.

 

Half-Moon pose. Ignore S.’s knee and laptop in the corner.

So. My form is definitely not the best in this picture, but what can I say? I’m almost 7 months pregnant, still doing half-moon pose, and, surprisingly loving half-moon. I’m not sure that I’ve ever mentioned this before, but half-moon is one of my nemesis poses. It’s never been a super comfortable for me, thanks to my super-tight hamstrings. During pregnancy though, it’s been fabulous. Helps with the low back pain (don’t know why) and makes me feel balanced. Pro-tip: It’s even better against the wall.

Yesterday’s practice did involve half-moon pose (as the balancing pose), but was really more focused on light twists and chest openers. I’ve been feeling a bit of fatigue lately, even though I’ve been sleeping like crazy amounts,  and a little foggy (mentally). So for yesterday’s practice,  I tried to incorporate poses that would make me feel more energized. For me, and maybe everyone else (I don’t know. I’m not a yoga teacher) those poses are chest and heart openers, side bends, and twists. Obviously, those things have to be modified for pregnancy, but even with modifications, they helped! I feel a thousand times more energized.

If you’re new to the challenge, check here for updates on how the challenge has been going so far. And, if you’re doing you’re own challenge, let me know in the comments, so I can follow along.

Wuthering Heights Read-a-long

Remember a while back when I joined a read-a-long for Wuthering Heights and promised that I was going to blog reviews of it? Remember how that hasn’t happened? Yeah. I suck at planned blogging topics.

But. I have actually been participating in the read-a-long for six whole weeks. I actually can’t believe I’ve stuck with it for this whole time. I mean, we all know what a huge success my book club was. So, while I haven’t been awesome about posting here, I have been participating in the discussions over at Unputdownables, which is a site you should totally check out if you’re a book lover.

Since I haven’t kept up in my posting about this over here, I won’t bore you all with a catch up post now. I mean, we’re almost finished; this would basically be an entire book review and we’ve all read Wuthering Heights before, so there’s no need for that. But I do have a few thoughts that I want to share.

I know this phenomenon isn’t new to anyone who re-reads books on a regular basis, but I’ve been struck by the things in this book that I’m  noticing and focusing on for this read through. Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books so this isn’t the second or the third or even the fourth time I’ve read it, but this time,  really for the first time, I’m realizing how much I absolutely hate every.single.character. Every other time I’ve read it, I’ve been impressed by the story telling, the imagery, how it might be the greatest revenge story of all time, but never by how terrible each and every character in the book it. I really don’t think I’m overstating this. They’re all the absolute worst.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of sympathy for little Hareton and even a little sympathy for Heathcliffe. But. Sympathy isn’t the same as actually liking them. This is the first time that I’ve read this book and realized that I’m not rooting for anyone.

Now, I don’t think this is the first or second or third or fourth time that I’ve read the book and not been rooting for anyone, but I do think it’s the first time I’ve noticed. And I’m intrigued by that. It’s definitely not new that I don’t like the characters–I remember not liking them before, I just don’t remember actively hating them all. I think it’s a testament to Bronte’s writing and story-telling skills that I’ve always been so caught up in other aspects of the book that I didn’t even notice that every single character is a terrible human being. Frankly, I’m impressed. If Bronte were still alive, I’d probably write a fan letter.

No promises, but I’ll try to do a final thoughts post on Wuthering Heights in a couple of weeks when we finish the read-a-long. In the meantime, keep up with the discussion over on Unputdownables.