Yoga Challenge Check-in and Pretty New Jewelry!

23 days down and 12 more to go in the prAna Take the Leap 30 Day Challenge! 

Wait a minute. Something about that math doesn’t quite add up does it? This Challenge began on February 2 and ends on March 8. (Otherwise known as my birthday. I like to be delusional  and pretend that prAna planned it that way. Yeah right.)

That’s not 30 days. It’s 35. Oh well. 5 more days of yoga; twist my arm.

If you follow my Instagram or Facebook thank you for still following my Instagram or Facebook after the enormous avalanche of yoga that has occurred there over the past several weeks. And thank you even more to the wonderful friends that have been humoring me  (Sue, MontanaSaraHelly, Sara, KristenLisaSuz, Reina, Wendy, Jess, MichelleAmy, and  Olena just to name a few)  and for all the kind comments and support. I’m having so much fun with this challenge! Here is a little collage I put together of some of my favorite days so far:

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Overall I’m feeling more limber, more balanced (that flying crow I posted yesterday was one of the best I’ve ever done), and a little more at peace with myself. My practice slacked a bit over the holidays and it feels so right to be back to class now multiple times a week. My hamstring is pleased.

In January I was contacted by the nicest woman named Karen. Karen and her daughter Kaitlin run an Etsy shop called Like Mother, Like Daughter and they make the most beautiful hand stamped jewelry. Making stamped jewelry is difficult. I love the look and personalization of it and years ago I wanted to try my hand at it. I have a metal stamping kit and everything.

Let me assure you that nothing I ever made looked anything like the pieces in their shop. They were all like the punchline to a joke. I should have kept them for laughs.

Anyway, Karen was wondering if I would be interested in reviewing a piece of jewelry for her and suggested something yoga inspired. With the prAna Challenge just about to start it was perfect timing! We decided on a simple, elegant charm stamped with an Om; a sacred mantra and one I’m sure most anyone who has ever attended a yoga class is familiar with.

Then the nicest package showed up on Friday.

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The best mail goes straight to my Instagram.

As a designer myself, I am a sucker for pretty packaging and stationary. It was impeccable and made it quite clear how professional this mother-daughter team is. The necklace…well that speaks for itself. It was love at first sight. The charm is pewter and the chain is sterling. I’m very much a minimalist when it comes to my jewelry – as in…I rarely wear any at all – and I’ve hardly taken this necklace off since it arrived.

If you are much of a fan of hand stamped jewelry and gifts as I am, I encourage you to check out the Like Mother Like Daughter Jewelry Shop and their Facebook page.They have hundreds of pretty  things to look at and take custom orders as well. Betty has been so obsessed with wearing the Om that I might get her her own personalized necklace for her birthday. Which is next week.

OMG I’m going to have a 3 year old next week! Maybe one day she will want to have a business with me. That would be so awesome. (We won’t be stamping jewelry that’s for sure…unless she learns how.)

Are you participating in any challenges (yoga or otherwise) right now? Do you own any hand stamped or personalized jewelry? What is it? 

xo,

Salt

I was generously provided with this beautiful necklace for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.
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NJ Marathon Training Week 9 Recap

9 weeks down…9 weeks to go. I should probably start making travel arrangements. This is all pretty exciting because while I’ll be going up early Saturday for the expo and to get situated, Mr. Salt and Betty will be coming up early on Sunday to cheer me on and then we will make it a little family vacation and stay that night too!

I’m extra keen on this idea because nothing about driving my car several hours home after running a marathon seems like fun at all.

This Week’s Grade: B, I guess? This weather is really starting to get me down.

The theme of the week was treadmill and I’ve officially stopped beating myself up over it. I WISH I could muster up the motivation to run outside and maybe this makes me not-hardcore and people can judge me all they want, but I just can’t do single digits.

Monday, February 16: I made a smart decision and moved my Tuesday 4 miler with the knowledge that the evening forecast was not looking good and that my gym has the worst inclement weather policy in the history of gyms. I took it easy because I was in recovery mode from Saturday, but still this run felt pretty good.

Tuesday, February 17:  Smartypants decision paid off. It snowed an inch overnight and the gym didn’t open until 7am (which is right around when I need to be getting ready for work).

That’s right. The gym opened 2 and a half hours late because of 1 INCH OF SNOW. 

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Instead I went to my first Mat Pilates class in the evening.

I was not sure what to make of the class AT ALL when I got there. There were only a few of us and I was the youngest one there easily by 20 years. I was having a flash back to this one time when I inadvertently took a geriatric Tai Chi class at my old gym. Well it ended up being a good workout, especially for my core! I was very pleasantly surprised and already signed myself up to go back this week.

Wednesday, February 18: 4 degrees outside (not counting the windchill) had me on the treadmill again. 7 miles (8:06). This run was great. In the evening I went to my favorite hot vinyasa class with Shino!

Thursday, February 19: 4 miles and I took the opportunity to do some easy 800s. I hadn’t done 800s in awhile so by the end I was exhausted, but it still felt good to push my pace a little.

Friday, February 20: I honestly could not remember the last time I took a completely do-nothing rest day. Even my rest days when I was in Florida included epic amounts of walking. I made sure to do as little as humanly possible on Friday. And it was lazy and glorious.

Saturday, February 21: What an enormous pain in the butt this whole morning turned out to be. I woke up and the temperature was all:

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So I went to the gym, completely unaware that it doesn’t open until 6 on Saturdays. I arrived in the parking lot at 5:30. I’m really beginning to dislike my gym.

Mr. Salt has to be at his desk at work at 8:30, which usually means I have to be home by 8. By the time I got ready and on to a treadmill, I had roughly 1 hour and 50 minutes to run 13.1 miles.

No pressure or anything. 

Oh and the treadmills have to be reset after an hour. I used to think it was to keep people from hogging machines for too long, but now I’m thinking it’s because there is a certain level of insanity involved with doing a very long run on a treadmill and they are simply trying to discourage that.

During my first hour I ran 6.8 miles. I felt great the whole time. I thought I had the rest of it in the bag. Then I have no idea what happened, but around mile 4.2  after the reset I started to feel a little like I was going to pass out. I paused the treadmill and drank some of my Nuun and then THE TREADMILL FRIGGING RESET ITSELF AFTER ABOUT 10 SECONDS OF BEING PAUSED. I had no idea of the exact distance or time that had been on the screen. Sara was on the treadmill next to me and watched as I started to completely hulk out.

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Thankfully she is a voice of reason and told me that I only had 2 miles or so left. In the end I think I went a little more than a half marathon distance and my best estimate for my time was 1:54-and change. And Mr. Salt even got to work on time.

That day it snowed a whole bunch. I got in some extra exercise playing with my little snow bunny and doing some snowga.

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Sunday, February 21: Cross train day. I was all amped up for my first visit to REV Cycle. (Yay for ClassPass yet again!) But then with 10 inches of snow and a layer of ice on top, I was wondering if it would actually happen. My class was at 11:30 and they had canceled some of the earlier morning ones. Just in case I got some excellent strength training in shoveling the very heavy snow from around my car (and a couple other cars too because I’m nice like that) and when I hadn’t heard anything to suggest it might not be happening, I braved the elements and headed downtown.

So glad I did. That class was a BLAST! So much that it was actually called REVBlast. It’s a 45 minute class that features high intensity cycling and then a track where we were doing upper body work with weights. I am not the best at multitasking and almost fell off the bike during that part.

Week 9 Mileage: 28.1

Unfortunately it looks like more of the same this week weather-wise. Sunday warmed up to the mid-50’s and it felt so glorious that I almost wanted to go for a run in shorts. Now it’s back to our regularly scheduled freezing cold temps and everything is supposed to ice over. This week I have 17 miles on the schedule for Saturday and knowing what I know now about the gym opening at 6 I’m going to have to do that run outside whether I like it or not and no matter how single digity the temperature is.  Unless we move someplace much warmer I think this might be the last time I sign myself up for a spring marathon. If I want to run it has to happen before the sun comes up and running before the heat of the day hits in the summertime is so much easier than running before the warm (if you consider 15 degress to be warm) of the day hits in the winter.

Did you get any snow this weekend? Do you hate shoveling? (I actually kind of enjoy it. Is that weird?)

I hope everyone has a happy beginning to their week!

xo,

Salt

Kick Asana Yoga Instructor #3: Shino

PERFECT timing for this post because I just took class with Shino last night!

The first time was back in…2010 maybe?  I was practicing with her before I got pregnant with Betty and I can still remember my excitement when I was 8 weeks along and announcing to my yoga-friends (they are the coolest!) that I was going to be having a baby! A friend of mine had recommended her class to me and since then I think I must have recommended her classes to a hundred more people. She’s so inspirational and I’m so happy she agreed to let me interview her.

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Welcome to my blog, Shino Brown!

Salt: How long have you been practicing yoga and how did you get started?

Shino: I’ve been practicing yoga since 2000. I belonged to a gym where I regularly participated in step aerobics and kickboxing classes. My group fitness instructor told me she was getting certified in Yoga and recommended it to me. I had no idea what it was, but since I enjoyed this instructor, I decided to try a 6 week session. I didn’t care much for the practice at first; it didn’t meet my high-energy needs. But after a few weeks, I started realizing the benefits Yoga had on my body and mind. I was hooked by the end of the session.

Salt: What types of yoga do you teach?

Shino: I teach Vinyasa-style (breath with movement) and Hatha Yoga (a gentle, slower-paced format).

Salt: What do you enjoy most about these particular styles? 

ShinoWhat I enjoy most about teaching Vinyasa is the freedom of creativity I get to offer my students. I love challenging them with advanced flows, or keeping it slow if I have a lot of newcomers.

Salt: What do you love most about teaching?

ShinoKnowing that I’m changing bodies, minds, and levels of fitness is what I love most about teaching Yoga. My true reward comes when a student tells me how much the practice has changed his/her life, both mentally and physically. Either on a broad perspective over years of practice, or as trivial as accomplishing a pose they’ve been working on for months (it’s what I call that “Ah-Ha! Moment in Yoga”). Teaching Yoga was recently published as one of the top 10 Best Jobs in America (ref: CNN Money). That should tell you what an amazing and rewarding job it is!

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

Shino: Yoga has done so much for me as a person. Over my 15 years of practicing, I have experienced less pain, a stronger body, and a calm mind. I used to suffer from back pain related to scoliosis; this has been alleviated thanks in part to Yoga. I used to have a short temper, which has also diminished due to a regular practice, frequent connections with students/other teachers, and the study of mindfulness through books such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

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

Shino: I believe the greatest health benefits of a regular yoga practice are flexibility, strength, balance, and better posture. All of which are components we tend to lose as we age (which is why I’ll continue to practice all of my days). Even less vigorous styles of yoga can provide strength and endurance benefits, so whatever style works best for you, go for it! These benefits won’t happen overnight, but most students will begin to notice positive changes within a couple months of a regular yoga practice.

Salt: Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for someone who may have been contemplating trying out a class?

Shino: I’d suggest starting with a beginner class. Intermediate levels can be intimidating, which may cause you to shy away from attending another class. Yoga should be an enjoyable experience; not painful or overwhelming. I also recommend trying Yoga at least three times before deciding it’s not for you. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t purchased that 6 week session.

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Fantastic advice and that is so cool that teaching yoga is one of the best jobs to have in the country! I totally believe it.

One of my favorite things about Shino’s teaching style is that she introduces a new sequence/theme at the beginning of each month and we spend 4 weeks working on it. I always feel myself growing stronger all month long as I become more familiar with the flow! Then the next month it will be something totally new…always challenging and always so much fun.

Have you taken a Vinyasa class? Have you ever taken class with a teacher who introduces a new sequence/theme every month? (The one we are working on this month is a nod to Shiva Rae and all about movement. It’s beautiful!)

xo,

Salt