Kick Asana Yoga Instructor #1: Karen

As I’ve been mentioning (and quite possibly annoying you with) all over my blog and social media, I was chosen as a Yoga Challenge Leader for prAna’s #TaketheLeap 30 Day Yoga Challenge. I’ve been taking my role VERY seriously; not just because prAna rocks and I want to do a good job for them, but because I think the message they are trying to send is such an important one. I’m thrilled to be included in anything that might help get people interested in yoga. It has changed my life, after all.

When I found out about the Challenge it got my mind working on more things I could do  – more posts I could write – to shine an even brighter light on how marvelous yoga is. That’s when I came up with this little series that I’m kicking off today…let’s call it KICK ASANA!  Because I’m a huge dork and I love puns.

For this series I have interviewed 4 yoga teachers and will be featuring their interviews over the next 4 Thursdays. I am so inspired by these women and I’m happy to be able to call each of them a friend. I hope you enjoy hearing about what yoga means to them! I bet you’ll be inspired too. 

kickasanalogo

I’m kicking (hee hee) off the series with an awesome lady whom I have known for quite a few years. I credit her with making me fall in love with Bikram yoga. Even though we always worked hard in class, her fun sense of humor and teaching style always kept me coming back.

Please welcome Karen Shinnick to Run Salt Run!

Salt: HoFullSizeRenderw long have you been practicing & how did you get started? 

Karen: All together I’ve been practicing yoga for about 13 years. I first started with various types of yoga at the local YMCA when I received a knee injury from training for a marathon.  I was introduced to Bikram Yoga 11 years ago. After my first class I knew this was the yoga for me. I couldn’t get enough of it. I went every day of my intro week and from that point dropped everything else I was doing. I was hooked!

Salt: What do you enjoy most about Bikram?

Karen: I love the fact that the class is always the same but the way my body responds to the heat, the instructor, the people around me and to a different spot in the room always changes. No two classes are alike and there’s always something to work on whether it be physical, mental or emotional.

Salt: What do you love most about teaching?

Karen: I absolutely love to see the light in people’s eyes when they understand a correction. When their mind body connects and they understand what a posture is all about. I love to see how proud they are of themselves. I learn just as much from teaching my clients as they learn from me.

Salt: What has yoga done for you as a person?

Karen: Where do I begin! It’s made me calmer, more humble and open to change. For the past year and a half my family has been through many major life stresses. Bikram Yoga has been my rock. My one point of stability. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without my practice and without my yoga family.

Salt: In your opinion what are the greatest health benefits of a regular practice?

Karen: Less dependence on pharmaceutical drugs. I’ve had clients who’ve lowered their blood pressure medicine, cholesterol meds, insulin..so many drugs all from a regular practice. I think just the mental and emotional clarity alone are well worth practicing everyday.

Salt: Do you have any words of advice for someone who may be contemplating going to a class?

Karen: I think before starting any type of yoga you should come to class with an open mind.  Let go of any preconceived notion of what the class may be like. Take more than one class. You can’t decide after just one class if this is for you or not. Be prepared to feel better and just have fun.

Doesn’t this just make you want to get to a Bikram class right now?! Hearing Karen’s responses put the BIGGEST smile on my face. It must be such a wonderful feeling as a teacher to watch people understand and feel pride in their practice. I completely agree with her stance on health benefits as well. Over the years yoga has helped me in ways that doctors or prescriptions couldn’t.

Thank you so much to Karen for taking the time to answer my questions and for just being such an all around great person. (YOU ROCK, KAREN!) And if you are ever in the Baltimore area and looking to take a Bikram class either for the first or thousandth time, look her up! You will love every hot minute.

xo,
Salt

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NJ Marathon Training Week 6 Recap

So apparently that groundhog jerk saw his shadow. I don’t know how because it’s dark and rainy on the East Coast. 6 more weeks of winter it is. #notshocked

Week 6 Grade: All things considered, I give myself an A.

This week was a step back week in mileage and I think that may have attributed to my complete lack of motivation most mornings. I got all my workouts in, but I had a serious case of the “I DON’T WANNA”s. This week I’ll be working on a makeover for my bad attitude because in just a few more sleeps I will be waking up and running in a palm tree and humidity filled paradise.

Monday, January 26: Body Pump. Nope. More like let’s watch Body Pump happen while I sadly churn out 30 minutes on the elliptical. This was necessary and in hindsight I’m glad I skipped. I wasn’t there today either, but not because I’m avoiding the squats; I’ve used my ClassPass to take a MEGAbarre class.

The only think I knew about this class beforehand is that it involves a machine that looks as if it could have been used in the medieval times to torture people. I’m happy to report that I made it out alive, but man that was a WORKOUT. Details later. 🙂

Tuesday, January 27: 3 miles. In my iPhone app training log I said it was snowing out, but I can’t remember if that was true or not. This is how much the winter ruins my brain.

Either way, I actually did 4 miles if you count the half I warmed up and cooled down. The three in the middle were 7:35 pace which is as close as I’m getting to my usual Tuesday speed work right now. Intervals are called off until further notice.

Wednesday, January 28: 6 mile pace. It didn’t snow, but it was cold enough to keep me inside. Generally if the temperature is anywhere below 20 I will be at the gym.

This run was nothing to write home about, but the hot yoga I took in the evening was. I hadn’t been to my favorite vinyasa class in awhile and it felt completely amazing AND my hamstring feels better than it has in weeks. Knock on wood.

Thursday, January 29: 3 miles. Treadmill. Again. 8:46 pace. My legs felt like lead. Overall not a good run.

Friday, January 30: Oh boy do I have a story about Friday, January 30. I made the most enormous mistake and I can only blame myself for it.

Lucille gif ugh

Friday was a rest day by the way so this is not workout related. 

Betty and I were hanging out at home on Friday night. I had just finished eating my dinner and Betty was working on her third dinner because she is apparently going through a growth spurt right now that causes her to eat everything edible in the entire house.

She wanted “another snack” (so like…snack #12 of the evening) and I grabbed one of her yogurts out of the fridge. Come to think of it, I was still kind of hungry myself. So as I opened her yogurt I took two big bites of it, without reading the label and thinking nothing of it.

This is where I’m a dumbass.

For anyone that might be new to my blog, I am allergic to bananas. I joke about it a lot because bananas are always a post-race staple and I can’t have them. It’s like…SOOOO funny.

Well I have managed to avoid well enough that I haven’t had a reaction since 2006 because I am a good label reader. Why the hell I didn’t think to read the label on YOGURT which is something that (especially for children) tends to contain banana is beyond me. All I know is that shortly afterward we were enjoying the movie Tangled and my mouth started to feel really weird.

It didn’t take me long to put two and two together. I went rummaging through the trash for the yogurt container and YEP sure enough. Strawberry banana. By this point my tongue was swelling, the roof of my mouth was tingling something awful, and I started getting really nauseous. I texted my mom, who is an RN, Mr. Salt to let him know what was happening, and Helly because for some reason I knew she would make me feel better. She has quite the colorful history of random allergic reactions.

Speaking of allergic reactions, Betty had just had one to her amoxicillan the other week so we had Benadryl in the house. I took some of that and then Mr. Salt was rushing home with Zyrtec. Based on the level of reaction I’ve had in the past I figured that two bites of yogurt weren’t enough to land me in the hospital, but the level of discomfort I was feeling was definitely greater than it was the last time this happened. (Last time I was at Jamba Juice and I guess they misunderstood what I was saying when I said “absolutely do not put banana in my smoothie.”)

So before I go further into the details of my training week, I’m okay. I just need to make a doctor appointment to get one of those giant epipens. Then I might just beat myself about the head with it for being so stupid and not reading the yogurt label.

Saturday, January 31: Long run: 9 miles. Not surprisingly I was still a little woozy when I woke up. I had already planned on running at the gym because it was freezing and REALLY windy, but after the events of the previous night, the treadmill would have been the smart way to go anyway if I planned on running at all.

This run actually went well although I have no idea what my true pace was. I was using my watch to track it (it said 8:49), but the accelerometer completely kirked out during mile 6 and showed me running an almost 10 minute mile which would have been impossible based on my treadmill setting. Seeing as this cold weather is lasting indefinitely, I think I’ll probably invest in a foot pod just so my data is as accurate as possible. Luckily since this was not a pace run, it didn’t matter so much.

Later on that day I did a lot of walking around downtown with Betty in the Ergo on my back. (aka: strength training + cardio!) She must be only about a pound away from the max weight limit on that thing and I can’t stand the idea of giving it up. I would carry her to college like that if I could.

Sunday, February 1: Cross train day! It had been a looong time since I had gotten to a Bikram class and there is a local studio that I had never tried before participating in Baltimore ClassPass.

photo (6)

Aside from what seemed like an excessive amount of mirrors in the hot room, I liked this class and even more, I really like the laid-back, friendly vibe in the studio itself. It was lacking the cliquey-snobbishness that I’ve encountered in other Bikram studios. I’m excited to be excited about going again!

Also I expected to be riding the struggle bus through the whole time, but muscle memory is an amazing thing. Once I got through the warm up, I felt almost like my old self in there. Just in time for the start of the prAna #TaketheLeap 30 Day Challenge!

Week 6 Total Mileage: 22

And just like that I’m 1/3 of the way through my plan! I am kicking ass and taking names at cross training right now and as soon as I can nix that hamstring pain I hope to do the same with the miles I’m running. As far as nutrition, water intake, and cutting back on the wine is concerned, I’m still doing great in all those areas.

My goals for this week: Get outside twice at least (not counting my long run because that most definitely is happening outside…FLORIDA!). Tuesday and Wednesday morning shouldn’t be too bad around here so I have no excuses. Also get to as many classes as I can before we travel! I have 3 scheduled for the week.

Speaking of the #TaketheLeap Challenge, Today is Day 1!!

I thought I would kick off these 30 days with a pose that I consider to be one of the most beautiful: NATARAJASANA. 

mermaid

One of the reasons I love Dancer Pose is because it can be done so many ways. This is the Mermaid variation and my favorite standing backbend! You would begin this pose the same way that you would regular dancer pose except rather than grasping the foot, you slide it into the crease of your arm. Extend the opposite arm up to the sky and reach back to clasp your hands into a bind. Kick your foot into the crease of your elbow to lift your leg and lean forward to counterbalance. Don’t forget to breathe!

Remember…if something hurts BACK OUT OF IT! Yoga is not supposed to be painful. Always listen to your body and only go as far as it will allow you to.

(Today’s Tags: Suz, Sue, Wendy, Olena, and Lisa!)

AND ONE MORE THING!

prAna has provided me with a special discount code to pass along to the wonderful people who read my blog. They have such beautiful things on their site and I encourage you to go check them out! If you do a little shopping, enter code psps15RSR at checkout for 15% off!

How is your training going? Have you done Bikram yoga? Do you like it? Have you ever had an accidental allergic reaction? 

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!

xo,

Salt

It’s a fitness dream come true! {ClassPass Baltimore!}

I think it was just a couple days ago when Mar posted something about using her ClassPass and I was jealous all over again. DC fitness fanatics have been able to enjoy their ClassPasses for a few months now while all of us a few miles north in Baltimore sat around sadly wishing that we had a ClassPass of our own.

Well guess what? NOW WE DO!

Baltimore

WELL, HELLO TO YOU, CLASSPASS!!!!
We are so happy you’ve arrived!

It seems like every time I’ve been thinking about something cool lately, it ends up showing up in my email. Maybe I need to start thinking harder about a million dollars.

For anyone who may not be familiar with what ClassPass is all about, it is a monthly subscription (between $79 and $99 per month depending on where you live) that gives you access to a seemingly endless variety of classes all around your city and beyond if you have the ClassPass Flex. Thousands of different fitness experiences could be at your fingertips.

With ClassPass you are allowed to visit the same participating studio three times in each monthly cycle and once it automatically renews, you get to start all over again. All reservations can be made on the ClassPass site (they even have an iPhone app!) and you can cancel any reservation without penalty just so long as it’s not any less than 24-hours in advance. There is no annual fee or long-term commitment like this awful rip-off gym I used to belong to a couple years ago. You can cancel at any time or can even put your membership on hold for the nominal fee of $19 a month, which saves you from a reactivation fee later if you want to come back. You still get to sign up for one class during your hold period and $19 is less than the price of a drop-in barre class around here. Totally worth it.

I have the extreme good fortune of being able to try out ClassPass for the next month and my head almost exploded when I logged in today and saw what it had to offer. I already have four classes on my schedule through next Tuesday night; two different yoga classes and two others— that would be MEGAbarre and Pole — that I’ve never attempted before.

Yes I’m taking a pole class and I’m probably a little too excited about it.

Due to being as awesome as it is, ClassPass usually has a waitlist which is not great for impatient people such as myself. Maybe YOU are impatient like me and really want to sign up for ClassPass right now. If that’s the case, I have just the thing  for you. THIS LINK will allow you cut in line, which is totally rude in real life, but all fair when it comes to ClassPasses. If you are from the Baltimore area, you will be thrilled to bits to see such favorites as Charm City Yoga (all locations), barre., Beachfit Baltimore, Bikram Yoga Mid Atlantic, Pop Physique, Ojas Wellness, Pure Barre, REV Cycle, and so many others on there. Classes open up for reservation a few days in advance and clearly I’ve had no trouble filling up my calendar.

If you sign up let me know and we can meet up for a class!

Has ClassPass come to your city yet? What would be one studio that you would visit over and over again? 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

xo,

Salt