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Ashtanga yoga

I have done yoga before, but it never has become a commitment. Lately, I have been going to some power flow yoga classes and I am really liking it. I started finding out more about those more robust kind of flows and discovered Ashtanga yoga.

I have been practicing every day in the morning. I started following the primary series and right now I can go until the end of the standing poses.

Before this, I actually decided that I would do some yoga every morning, just for stretching purposes. And that’s what I have been doing, usually some side bends, some twists, sometimes sun salutations.

The spark came when one day I started to connect my breath with the postures. I find myself sweating a lot even just after a few rounds of sun salutations. I always think of sun salutations as a really intro level beginner sequence. But when I try to coordinate each breath with the flow of the postures, it really becomes much more engaging. I never thought it would be hard to do Sun salutations A and B. And I learned that the gazing point when we are in postures are also very important. For example, when we are in forward bend, we should be gazing at our nose, and it really made a difference and you can feel the pull inside your body when you are just shifting the gazing point.

So I understand that the poses are only one thing, and the breath that coordinates the poses is really important, if I am just doing the poses and the breaths are all over the place, it is not optimal for a calming and concentrating mind. So I should be able to breath freely when I am in a pose for 5 breaths. And also the gazing point when I am in postures helped me to stay within.

I feel that I am much more engaged when I am paying attention to my breathing and gazing point, even though sometimes my mind wanders, I can quickly come back to my breathing and gazing to find the place within. After half an hour of practice like this, I am really feeling good.

I think I was just not ready for yoga before, and I think I am finally ready for it. I feel really committed to doing  my practice every morning. And I know I am new and I am just beginning my journey, I already feel that the practice is really benefiting me in my everyday life. I am really looking forward to the practice in the morning besides the breakfast that I am also looking forward to.

They say it is a life long journey. I am curious to see what this journey brings me to.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

the journey of yoga begins

Recently I have got back to Yoga practice. I went to some power flow classes offered at the school gym and have some really fresh understandings about yoga.

First off, yoga can be challenging. I used to think of yoga as slow and not worth doing and spending the time if I want to get the most effect in fat loss. I mean it looks like only some stretches OK? But boy can it be sweaty and engaged! Added some core work into the sequence and I am getting sweaty all over!

Then, yoga can be beautiful. Sometimes we forget that we have a beautiful body. Society feeds the image of perfect bodies into our head, we didn’t even think about it and directly believe that it is what we want too. But what we really need is to appreciate our body, appreciate what we have. While i am doing some poses like warrior two, and looking at myself in the mirror, and looking at my elongated and straight arms, I learn to appreciate how strong and beautiful I am. And some poses, although it is not challenging, it is just simple and beautiful and so balanced and elegant. I also went to some barre burn classes, which is also so beautiful and makes me fall in love with my body and what my body can do all over again.

Then, yoga is a practice. The end goal is not some headstand or really really hard poses, it is about the feeling and the appreciation and being humble. I noticed that I really want to challenge myself to harder poses, but at the same time told myself that it is not only about the poses. It is also about breath. And as long as we keep practicing, our yogi path will start to deepen and enlighten our soul.

Today in the morning, I was just listening to my heart and didn’t follow any video. I do what I want and what feels good. I started with a simple sun salutation sequence, and then gradually add in one more movement and pose each time, and I finally understand why the classes are always like this. I remembered wondering: why do we do the sequence so many times? why can’t we just directly go to the full sequence? and today I understand that we need to ease into all the poses. The first time that I did the cobra is so stiff and I noticed the difference when I did it the second the third time. It is all a process. Don’t rush.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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calm and ready

Recently I have been binge listening to “the model health show” podcast, I think Shawn has some really good episodes where he talks about training that really gets my blood pumping for going to the gym, excited to do the workouts, and more importantly, get me to realize the importance of sleep and rest and reduction of stress.

He talked about his morning routine, where I also started to implement to my mornings. 1L of water to inner bath. I feel that this is working great for me, not only did I start doing this first thing in the morning, I also make sure that I drink at least 2 bottles of water at school. I used an app called Strides to keep track of these new habits. This is really helping a lot, coz I want to be able to have a streak of keep doing those things. I also put meditation on the list, which has helped hugely.

Earlier this year, I was really concentrated on doing meditation and was spending about 30min each time to meditate both morning and evening. But I slacked on the physical activity part and got so frustrated with the weight gain. Then I started going back to my workout routine and also started meditate again, but this time, I didn’t spend that long sitting and meditation, I just make sure that everyday I do some meditation. 10min usually. And I can already see what this little tweak has changed my attitude towards the day. I always do a little visualization, reminding myself of the goals that I want to achieve and telling myself I am not giving up until I get there. I also tell myself that today I am going to do everything to the best that I can. And many times, if I get frustrated with myself, I will use the meditation time to distill and think about what is the right way to take a look at things.

I also find that sometimes, when pain comes, I just need to lie there and lie with it and wait until it passes. The other day, I had too much for dinner and I was so frustrated with myself and I was really upset. Usually I would want my husband to say some encouraging words and help comfort me, but that night, I was just lying there, although uncomfortable and really down, I lied there, then fell asleep, and then the next morning during meditation, I told myself that I am determined to make some change to this. And I am seeing good changes already.

I find that many times I put too much food in my plate, and before I can finish the whole plate, I already feel full, then sometimes I told myself I will just finish it anyway, it is not so much more. But every single time, I feel so full that I don’t want to move after the dinner. So I made a note to myself, I need to change this. And I also put this into the list of habit that I want to form into the Strides app. And I know that I want to tick off “controlled dinner” on my list. And I am so happy with the past few days that I am behaving so well. And I am really positive and confident that I really can make those changes long term.

I am happy with the changes that has happened to me recently, and I think I am reducing my stress mindfully, and I am moving through life more gracefully. Like, I can have a vegan French toast for a Saturday morning breakfast, or I can just really take a moment and enjoy the glorious green smoothie bowl with cacao nibs to chew on. How perfect that is. Sometimes we just need to stop and take a moment to appreciate the things we have.

3

Reduce stress and enjoy life

There has been some pleasant changes lately. I drink 1L of water directly after I wake up, and then I go to the bathroom, then I meditate on empty stomach, then I have breakfast. I discovered that this works for me the best when it comes to the depth of my meditation.

I have been trying out intermittent fasting for a few days on and off, i want to take it slow, don’t want to overdo it and I felt really good when I fast. But like I said, I don’t want to go too fast and wanted to listen to my body as I go. And I realized that I have to portion my breakfast, if I just eat until I am full, that will be a lot. Oatmeal is a good choice.

I realized that I am the stressful kind of person, on a average day, when nothing is due or anything, I felt a 5-6 out of 10 stressful. So I decided that I really need to take charge of my mental health too. I can eat all the healthy food and do all the exercises, but if I am stressed out mentally, it will not do me any good in the long run.

I do think perseverence is key to success. As with the workouts, I think I will keep doing it until I am really old. If I want to make good change to how my body looks I need to keep pushing it to change. And I fell off track a little bit earlier this year. But this will not happen again.

Although I deeply believe that weights is not everything, I finally decided that I now have a goal weight: 144lb. I will get there. And I don’t want to hurry, I want to take it slow. And when I talk to my friends about fitness, many keep telling me that I need to eat less carbs. Well, I just don’t believe this. And I believe we shouldn’t discriminate any type of nutrients and all are important for good health.

For this week, I feel that I am really making good progress on the stress management. Actually if I try to be mindful, and be on top of what everyday has to offer, I don’t really feel much stressed at all.

 

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Newly wed

I was back home in China for my wedding for 2 weeks. During this time, around 5 people told me that I am gaining weight and I need to lose the weight. About the same number of people told me I am taller and thinner. The problem is I believe that I have definitely become fatter.

First off, I wasn’t exercising as regularly this year as before. I was spending a lot of time doing meditation, I knew that I need to find a balance between movement and still, but for the time being, I was just slacking on the exercise. Fortunately, I was running a half marathon race and a 10k race earlier, which doesn’t make me a total fail in exercise.

Then, I started my youtube channel, which features me eating all kinds of delicious staff. I was eating a lot of bread and nut butter. I was going through jars of nut butters really quickly.

Then, I realized that I had gained some weight, and I just completely gave up, and had the thought that I would gain weight and look fat for the wedding, but that’s the plan, so that after I lose the weight later, people would say, ah! you have lost a lot of weight! It is all in my mind, that I get all stressed out about the wedding and the eating got a little bit out of control, I would eat a lot for dinner, and then have some snack almost every day.

Then, what’s worse is that, I thought that I am over eating disorder. But apparently my relationship with food is not as healthy as I had thought, which made me even mad and more prone to binge eating. I don’t think I have any episodes that could be called binge eating, but I did gain a few pounds over the half year.

At home, after I heard my family telling me to lose weight, I feel really unhappy, I cried 3 times just in this 2 week period at home. It hurts when I think I am not good enough. My family just wants me to be better, right?

I wasn’t eating to my full capacity at home. And I really think I need to make some changes with my eating, especially for dinner, not too much food!

It is pretty depressing when this coincides with my wedding. Everything appears to be happy and merry, but deep down, I was feeling lost, not loved, not enough. And my parents want to convince me to eat meat again. And people tell me that I got even more tanned than last time, which I know in their mind is not a good thing.

I need to listen to my body more and observe closely.

On my plane back to the states, I was thinking about how badly I want to lose the weight permanently. Thinking about things I would do after arriving. And I couldn’t sleep.

But I know I am healthy. I know different people have different body type. But some part of me just wants to lose all the weight and be a skinny girl and not to worry about it any more. I am really sick of me thinking about weight and eating all the time. It has been a really long time since I am like this anxious about my weight.

I am pretty fit according to American standards, but when it comes to Chinese standards, I am big. My mother in law says I need to lose weight, or when I have a baby I will be even heavier and bigger and hard to lose the weight. My aunt told me the exact same thing. When 2 people told me the same thing, I believed it and let it really sink in.

My mom and dad don’t see any problem with my weight, they didn’t mention it at all, except when someone says i am fat, mom says as long as I am healthy, size doesn’t matter. My dad thinks I am actually losing weight, but was also kind of surprised when I told him I am 70kg.

And for one meal, my brother was constantly advising me to eat slowly. So many times during the meal! I was kind of sad inside, but didn’t express it. He meant good. But I took it too seriously.

Before all this, I had believed that I am good with my size, and it should be my size. And actually, even after they said I am fat, I still think I am pretty good, not my slimmest, but still good. I belived my body will stay at whichever weight that is best for it to function. And after all, my period has become more on time than ever this year.

My husband is supporting through all this, he says you need to monitor your weight. But at the same time, don’t stress about it. But sometimes, he accidentally made fun of my weight in front of family members, which embarrassed me on the inside although I didn’t act like so.

Struggle struggle.

Before the wedding, my mother in law didn’t say anything, but the next day after the wedding, she came and asked whether I ate a lot of carbs and said I gained weight and I should lose them. I got really stressed and the next day I got some cold sores on my lips.

There are happy times for the trip too. Obviously the wedding. I have 5 friends coming over from all over the country to attend my wedding. And after the ceremony, we talked for hours. Which feels really close and intimate.

I am really lucky that I got my husband. We are from the same background, parents are from similar background, and we are well complement to each other.

It is just annoying that I am thinking about weight staff almost all the time, and this leaves everything else little space. But this is just me. I have to accept myself like this.

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Panic while depressed

So I strained my ankle last week, while keeping a heated competition of running with a friend. And now I can barely walk normally and it is still swelling. I twisted it pretty bad.

2016 has been a little rough for me. The cleaner in our building even starts making fun of me. I got a cold whil lying on the beach with too strong wind, I got flu during the trip to Puerto Rico, now I strains my ankle. It is like I am constantly down with something.

But come on! I am the healthiest person I know! God!

And now JB starts to go to gym again, he just likes to do this, whenever I am having period and can’t work out, he would happily go to the gym himself, making me jealous and all.

and I am feeling down, when i am about to leave for China to get married this weekend. When I am supposed to get excited and all!

i got a little frustrated when meeting with my old PI, I feel that my work now didn’t really impress him.

Well I guess that’s all. My boyfriend is being all nice and great and nothing to complain.

And I just need to calm down, take it as it is. Please don’t panic.

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Spiral upwards

I had thought that I had gained good relationship with my food. turns out that it doesn’t happen that easily. I was looking at some pictures I took recently, and realized that I look like that I have gained weight. And the other day when I weighed myself at the gym, I was definitely putting on a few pounds.

This got me a little depressed and frustrated. I found myself eating more snack food than I usually do. This is all a mental thing. I was thinking to myself. Zhuo! I thought you are over it. I thought you were saying you are good enough. I thought you don’t eat emotionally anymore. Especially when I think that I already talked about this in my youtube channel. This gets me even more frustrated and mad at myself.

Another thing is that I haven’t been exercising regularly starting this year. I didn’t feel that it matters to me as before. Before I would make sure I keep down every exercise I do on the calendar and kept me going. I have strict exercise routine. But starting from this year, I guess I just decided that I would take it easy, and not be so fixed on exercising. And also I have put more energy in meditation practice which kind of makes me think it is justifiable that I don’t do that much exercise.

But then one of my friend posted his miles for the month. 100k. And with a picture of the ranking in Nike+, where I am the second place. I got a little pissed. When I took running really seriously, I run a lot more than that. And I never showed off in social media. I think the problem is not his. It is my mind playing tricks. I think on the one hand, I think I can easily run more than him. On the other, I was not so sure after not running seriously for such a long time. And I know, nothing wrong with him showing off. It is just me that took it that way.

Cried, confessed to my fiancee. And started running again last week. And made it my priority. First thing in the morning. Didn’t care that I would go in work later. I had to do this first to take care of myself. I know. After a week I will be on top of the game and here I am.

I met the friend the other day. And felt that he is being competitive. Actually at this point, I am not even that competitive anymore, it is always about myself I know. Once I get past the mental block. Everything is fine. It is not really about competition. And the fact that he is being competitive and sort of weird just means that I need to block him or shy away from him a little bit. I think everyone is going through hardship you would never know. But I would still mentally block or get farther away from him at this point because of the energy.

Well lessons learned.

  1. Always have my workout routine going, necessary for my mental health.
  2. Don’t be afraid. Once I start doing it for a week, I am in good hand.