Tag Archives: meditation

BodyFlow class review

Last Tuesday night, I went to a late night BodyFlow class. I had only experienced part of what flow was about in a Pump/Flow class before.

Here is the class description from the Les Mills website:
BODYFLOW™ is the Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates workout that builds flexibility and strength and leaves you feeling centered and calm. Controlled breathing, concentration and a carefully structured series of stretches, moves and poses to music create a holistic workout that brings the body into a state of harmony and balance. Like all the LES MILLS™ programs, a new BODYFLOW™ class is released every three months with new music and choreography.

When I walked into class, our mini gym was dark and calming. I rolled out my own yoga mat horizontally because we started out the class with Tai Chi. I had done Tai Chi in other classes before and I like it. This was definitely the longest Tai Chi session I have experienced though and it was a great warm up.

We transitioned to more traditional yoga moves and some new ones too.

source

Despite it being the weakest area of my body, I really enjoyed the work we did on our abs. The moves were pilates ones. I don’t necessarily love pilates, but the moves we did were tough, yet enjoyable.

Class ended with a meditation session. I didn’t really need that since I had already meditated for 50 minutes that day, but I guess the more meditation I do, the better and more clear headed I feel.

One of my favorite aspects of the class was the music. We listened to The Script, Sarah McLachlan, Beyonce and more.

Overall, I would give this class an “A!” Here is some more important information from the Les Mills website.

source

I can see it being addictive to attend and look forward to every week. I can’t wait to attend it tonight!

Do you have BodyFlow at your gym?

De-stressing–what works for me

Do you find yourself stressed about certain aspects of your life? I know I do. I guess I’ll just come out and be honest–I am only stressed about work from time to time. All other aspects of my life just don’t stress me out and I am completely happy with them.

IMG_1573

During the YMCA community day programming two Saturdays ago, my mom and I had pretty much a one-on-one session with the teacher about de-stressing and living well.

She talked about ways to control stress in your life. The speaker represents the Living Compass program that the YMCA is offering this fall. It’s motto is “inner strength training.”

Some of what we talked about included examples like the following: at work, delegate tasks to others when possible (I’ve been doing this more often and it helps), say no to people (had to learn how to do this, but sometimes with my colitis, I have to step back and say my schedule is too busy and need to put my health first), and talk to someone about what’s bugging you (I’ve done this, it helps, but I need to learn to keep my complaining to a minimum). Basically, follow the “AAAbc’s of Stress” which are: Alter, Avoid, Accept, Build up my resistance or resilience, Change myself or perceptions.

Here are the ways I am managing my stress lately:

-I have been meditating for about an hour each day since March of this year. This has calmed me down a lot in general and made me think more clearly. I don’t tend to react as harshly as I used to when things irritate me.

source

-I declared it in a recent blog post, but I will cut back on blogging when I feel like other things need to come first in my life. Since I work full-time, I have no choice but to consider blogging a hobby and one cannot devote every day of the week to a hobby if they want a healthy life balance.

-Driving in rush hour traffic is stressful. Driving in the snowy Wisconsin winters in a little, light car like mine is even more stressful! I am going to start taking the bus in November. I’ll still have to drive to a freeway flyer lot, but it’s worth it. It will cut back on the stress I feel from driving. It will also be good for the environment and allow me to de-stress even more by reading and listening to music or podcasts on my way into and home from work. I am really looking forward to reading every day.

-Get enough sleep during the work week! I am automatically more stressed when I am tired.

*I used to love Garfield when I was about 10 years old, so I had to go with this image. :)

source

-Take breaks at work. I get two 15 minute breaks per day and a half hour for lunch. I used to just take my lunch break and didn’t take my 15 minute breaks. Now I step away from my desk to read or check my e-mail on my iPod touch.

-Read and relax each day.

source

-Eat a healthy diet.

breakfast eggs, tomatoes, spinach, nutritional yeast, green peppers

-We all know this, so I won’t say much, but working out really helps me combat my stress after a long day at work. Thanks to endorphins, I can go to the gym in a cranky, negative state and leave perfectly happy and energetic.

Here are a list of things you can do under the category of “building up my resistance or resilience” from the Living Compass worksheets we received: healthy diet, regular exercise, build and maintain support systems, invest in relationships, meditation/prayer/faith, and rest and play. I was happy to see that I do a lot of these things already!

How are you managing your stress?

Food conversations at Target

Boy, what a busy Monday it was for me at work. I was running around non-stop. Just when the fax machine would go off (I get most of the faxes), the phone would ring, or a new e-mail would come in.

Luckily, meditating really has seemed to help me control my stress levels at work and also helps me think more clearly. I am sure it has helped in many other ways too!

I started off my Monday with Stonyfield French Vanilla yogurt, berries, and chia seeds. This filled me up!

yogurt, berries, chia seeds, coffee

I snacked on an iced coffee and a string cheese at work mid-morning.

I had a big salad with spinach, feta, and red peppers, topped with Italian dressing for lunch. I also had some baby carrots and a vanilla activia.

salad, carrots, string cheese, vanilla activia

After eating and reading some blogs, I started The Hunger Games. Craig has been reading it on his kindle, but he’s a slower reader than me and I couldn’t wait to read it!

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

So, I picked it up from the library just in time for our upcoming trip up north, where we will be doing lots of reading. I wanted to get a head start on it so I can get into a bit before we are at the cottage. Hope it’s a good read! I like it so far.

A Target trip was in order after work. I got out my “All Out Of” list and coupons and was ready to conquer my list! I was on a mission to get some essentials, a few food items, and to use up some coupons! Love my coupons! I actually never bought a coupon organizer from etsy in the end. I just use this cute and cheery Clinique cosmetic bag and filled it with labeled envelopes full of coupons. It works perfectly!

All Out Of and coupons

While at Target, I heard one interesting food related conversation and participated in one. I overheard a young mom say to her two boys that she wasn’t buying them scooby fruit snacks because those particular fruit snacks had artificial ingredients in them. She told them, “you wouldn’t understand, but I buy things that are natural and I read the labels to make sure certain packaged foods are good choices.” They kind of whined and then she said, “you’ll understand someday.” I smiled at her as she said this and thought to myself, what a good mom!

The food conversation I participated in was at the checkout. My cashier saw that I was buying cheap balsamic vinegar. Even though it is from Italy, I am sure it’s nothing special. I just needed some to make salad dressing with and to drizzle on my quinoa. She recommended Oro di Oliva in Wauwatosa. She was so excited to share the details of how you can taste conventional olive oil and vinegar vs. Oro di Oliva’s and really taste the difference! I’ll have to check it out soon.

When I got home from Target, I found this lovely package on our back door step! I kind of squealed with joy upon seeing it! I am sampling five different flavors of Food Should Taste Good chips. The company was also generous enough to give five bags to a lucky reader. I’ll post that giveaway a week from today on the 18th, so check back then if you love these chips as much as I do!

Food Should Taste Good box

We’ll definitely be sampling those up north too! Craig is a major chip eater, while I tend to only care for these more healthy ones and pita chips. :) I told him he can’t scarf down all of these bags, I must sample them for the blog!

Dinner tonight was boring frozen pizza. I had a larabar at work before leaving, so I wasn’t too hungry. I needed to eat something quickly before heading to the gym.

pizza

At the gym, I biked for a half hour while reading an old issue of Health magazine. They showed a drawing of the Bulgarian Split Squat and I decided to try it out when I was done biking.

If you haven’t seen this move before, here is what it looks like:

source

I enjoyed doing this exercise and will definitely incorporate it into my gym routine more often.

It’s almost bedtime, so time for me to sign off. Hope you had a good Monday.

A very active day

Wow, what an active day! I am spent. You’ll see why, but maybe this much activity is normal for most of you.

At 1 a.m., Karma the cat woke us up with his meows and from that point on, I tossed and turned. When I did fall asleep, I was dreaming that I slept through my alarm or that I went to the YMCA for Body Pump and the gym was closed again. At 5 a.m., my alarm went off and I realized I hadn’t experienced what I had been dreaming about. It was really time to get up and get dressed for the gym!

I quickly got dressed and grabbed some cereal plus half of a banana for some fuel.

I met my friend Laurie at the 5:30 a.m. Body Pump class. I was tired, but once class started, I woke up. It felt good to get a workout in by 6:30!

I fueled up some more with cereal and the other half of the banana plus a bit of coffee and coconut water. The TJ’s cereal was just ok–not mine or Craig’s favorite.

It was my first time trying coconut water and I liked it. I figured I needed something like that after Body Pump to get some electrolytes into my system.

cereal, coffee, coconut water

I am glad I got my clothes ready for the day & my yoga gear packed last night, because then I had to meditate for 25 minutes after I showered, dried my hair and put on makeup.

I didn’t get to work until 8:30 and right away, I hit up the free coffee upstairs and found an unexpected piece of cake made by a volunteer at work. She was so cute–she said “since you’re one of the first ones here, I’ll give you this too.” She put the flag in my cake for flag day!

coffee, cake and flag day flag

Lunch was a turkey and provolone sandwich, a peach chobani, and lots of red pepper and carrot slices.

chobani peach, carrots and red peppers, turkey sandwich

After lunch, it was time for my second exercise session of the day–yoga! However, we had a substitute teacher and she combined tai chi, yoga and pilates. Oh man this killed me. The pilates work got me sweating! I am sure the stretching helped my post body pump aches and pains.

I also foam rolled at work just to be safe.

foam rolling

And after work, I cut the grass for about 45 minutes. Luckily, this was my last activity of the day and now I am plopped on the couch and relaxing!

Dinner was a strawberry smoothie with soy protein powder, Chobani strawberry yogurt, frozen strawberries, and skim milk.

strawberry protein smoothie

That wasn’t enough for my very hungry tummy, so I cooked up something quick and made the gardein thai trio I got the other day.

Gardein Thai Trio

I liked it and would buy it again. I only ate half, so I’ll have the other half to look forward to for lunch tomorrow.

We’re watching Master Chef and I kind of have a crush on Max. :) I hope he stays on the show for some eye candy!

After such an active day, I am definitely declaring tomorrow a rest day! Looking forward to reading and lounging on the couch.

Moist and delicious banana bread

As always, where did this weekend go? Too bad we didn’t get to do too much outside due to the dreary weather we’ve been having in Milwaukee.

Did my usual Sunday morning thing–meditated, ate breakfast and watched CBS Sunday Morning.

Breakfast was an egg on a TJ’s sandwich thin with jack cheese, jalapenos, and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Yum! I love eggs with jalapenos. :)

egg sandwich with jack cheese, jalapenos, frank's red hot, coffee

I really want to get back to doing Body Pump on Sunday mornings, but with my nose now being so stuffy, I figured it wasn’t the best thing for me today.

Instead, I showered and decided to run my errands. I went to Target and Pick N’ Save. I needed some produce, so I picked up a bunch of it at Pick N’ Save. I also got lunch meat, skim milk, Sun Chips, blue corn chips, and yogurt at Target. Oh and gummy bears and Milka chocolate somehow made it into my cart!

I wasn’t feeling the whole shopping thing today even though the stores seemed empty to me.

I ate this when I got home. Just can’t seem to get sick of the Vegetable Masala burgers this week. :)

vegetable masala burger Trader Joe's, red grapes

Then it was time to bake! I had three dark bananas and had been waiting to make banana bread with them.

Please excuse the big hole I created by testing the middle with a knife!

banana bread

Even though I knew I was going to make banana bread, I didn’t have a recipe picked out yet. Luckily, myrecipes.com tweeted a bunch of banana bread recipes this morning and I bookmarked the tweet. I used the Classic Banana Bread recipe from Cooking Light.

The only alterations I made to the recipe below were that I used whole wheat flour and not all-purpose, I added three heaping scoops of ground flax seeds, and I used Chobani plain greek yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt.

Ingredients

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 2 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
* 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Cooking spray

Preparation

* Preheat oven to 350°.
* Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
* Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

banana bread

It turned out really moist and delicious! I definitely recommend this recipe.

After watching a movie in the afternoon, I finally got my butt to the gym. I wasn’t feeling it because of my stuffy nose, but I went anyway. Glad I did because once I am there, I am always fine. I did 25 minutes on the elliptical, a full circuit of weights, squats on the bosu, and crunches on the Swiss ball.

It was late when I got home and I didn’t have much of an appetite, but I put together a nice salad that contained spinach, chickpeas, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, & artichokes. I topped it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

salad

Dessert was gummy bears and a slice of banana bread.

And now I am watching one of my favorite movies because I am a big bird lover, Winged Migration. I usually turn on the TV while I blog and I still had PBS on, which just so happened to start that movie at the exact time I turned the TV on.

Better read some blogs, catch up on the Sunday newspaper and then get to bed early. Another week awaits!

With another work week upon most of us, it’s good to remember this quote from Onward by Howard Schultz (of Starbucks).

quote from Onward by Howard Schultz, kindle

Lovin’ my rest day

Even though I loved having a runner’s high yesterday, I’m loving my “rest day” from the gym. Sometimes it just feels good to come home, take my time making dinner and rest by reading and plopping my butt on the couch. I won’t lie though–I am really looking forward to yoga tomorrow night. It may mean that I switch my 25 minute run to Friday, but it’s way worth it because my body needs yoga badly this week.

I am so excited that tomorrow is my Friday! This week flew by! :)

Breakfast–cereal and coffee. Same old stuff you’ve seen on here for weeks!

cereal and coffee

Lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, lots of carrots, red peppers and a peach chobani. I finally got some veggies in my lunch box and they tasted so good. I couldn’t believe I polished off all of those carrots. I think it was a total of three chopped up? Crazy, huh!

carrots, red peppers, peach chobani, pb&j

I ran to Aldi after work and stocked up on lots of produce so I could make a yummy dinner!

Oh and I got some string cheese, so I had to snack on that when I got home. Seeing string cheese in the fridge tonight made my husband so excited. Our cat Karma also loves it when we open string cheese wrappers. He’s crazy and will run up to smell the wrapper and hope we drop some cheese on the carpet.

string cheese

When I meditated tonight, I had to add five minutes onto my 20 minute routine and breathe before my actual meditation session. 25 minutes twice a day sure adds up, but hopefully it will help me in the long run.

Dinner was a salad with grape tomatoes, sunflower seeds, tofu and a bit of mozzarella shredded cheese.

I marinated half of the tofu in Frank’s red hot sauce and some Penzey’s spices.

tofu marinating

Beautiful and delicious salad!

tofu and salad

Dessert was a Moser Roth english toffee milk chocolate bar from Aldi. Do you like to shop for produce at Aldi? I realize I have to watch what I buy there in terms of packaged foods (hello, high fructose corn syrup), but I love their prices on produce. I didn’t have luck with fruit tonight in terms of quality, but there were some good veggies to choose from.

Going to keep this post short and sweet! Night!

Getting over the hump

Happy hump day! Only two more days and it’s the weekend. Is it wrong that I am already thinking about the weekend? It kind of stinks that I have to work on Sunday afternoon, but I’ll make the most of my Friday night and Saturday then.

Breakfast–plain old boring Cheerios and coffee. I didn’t feel like anything else.

cheerios, coffee

Snack at work was Nescafe instant coffee that I got free samples of through Thunderfap.com or one of those sites. I also had an Aldi trail mix bar. This bar is a bit sweet for me. I think I better look at the ingredients before buying again too.

nescafe taster's choice

millville trail mix bar

Lunch was a whole wheat tortilla with refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese and of course, Frank’s Red Hot sauce. I also had a strawberry Chobani yogurt and added fresh blueberries to it. Dessert was a toffee Moser Roth chocolate bar from Aldi.

tortilla w/refried beans, strawberry Chobani, blueberries, chocolate

I meditated when I got home from work. Today, I practiced without my husband and I did well. I started out better than I did in the middle with controlling my thoughts. Don’t worry–I won’t talk about my meditation every day. I may just blog about any affects I have noticed from it over time.

Dinner was a banana with some nutella and breakfast taquitos. Blame my husband who buys those and was making them–I couldn’t resist the quick meal tonight.

breakfast taquitos

banana nutella

I was going to go to the gym tonight, but decided I could really use a rest day to relax my body and also do dishes, organize coupons and read my book. I also had planned on (finally) leaving work early and then 3:30 hit and multiple e-mails came in that demanded my immediate attention. I wanted to go to Zumba, but that didn’t happen because getting out of work once again affected my workout schedule. And I wonder why I am counting down the days till the weekend.

When I was organizing my coupons, I realized I really need to find a good (cute) coupon organizer. Using the envelope system isn’t working so well right now. I think I am going to keep searching on Etsy.

So, it’s the part of the evening where Bill Bryson’s book is calling my name. Hope I don’t fall asleep while reading because I feel super tired right now.

hot coccoa and Bill Bryson At Home

Night!

My first meditation session

One week from today, my husband and I will attend a “guided meditation” class. Before going to this, my husband wanted me to experience meditation the way he practices it (non-guided, mantra based). He also encouraged me to start meditating today because I am in desperate need of it this week and know I’ll be in the same place next week.

So, after staying late at work, I came home, read about meditation and what to do during the practice, then practiced for twenty minutes with my husband also joining me. I have to say that the whole point of meditation is to clear your thoughts and humans have too many going through their head. Boy did that happen to me tonight during the practice. I’d be thinking about something and then have to say the mantra to get my mind off of that thought. It is tougher to do than it sounds!

Everywhere I look lately I read about how meditation is beneficial for all sorts of things. In a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article from Sunday, February 20, 2011, it is noted that “yet another study released last month–this one in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging–reports that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in brain density in areas related to memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.” All I can say is that we all could use a bit more of these improvements in our brains and lives, don’t you agree?

Have you ever tried meditation? If so, any tips on how to maintain the practice?

I want to look as calm and happy as this little kitty every day. Don’t you just love how he snuggles on my husband’s shoulder..ok, back to meditation thoughts.

Craig and Karma

Ideally, I’d meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and then in the evening, before I eat dinner or go to the gym. Like I said to my husband–that is a lot of time to devote in my already busy schedule. But, once work settles down a bit and I will leave on time instead of late every night, this should be doable and it is worth it in the end.

Breakfast today was a pear (that I sliced up into odd pieces) and a Strawberry Banana Chobani yogurt with a side of coffee of course. I am still drinking the awful flavored vanilla stuff and can’t wait till it is gone.

coffee, Chobani, pear

Snack at work was a trail mix bar and an Almond Latte (my new favorite).

I actually stepped away from my desk and ate lunch in the cafe. I brought my own, but didn’t read blogs while I ate and read Bill Bryson’s At Home instead. Love that book so far and am learning all sorts of fun facts (I am a history geek and majored in history in college, so the facts he talks about are intriguing to me). There was even an early food blogger mentioned–well not really, but someone who wrote down what he ate every day in great detail. That made me smile.

Lunch was leftovers from dinner last night, an applesauce, an unpictured tangelo and two oreo mint cookies.

noodles, mushrooms, green pepper, applesauce, oreo mint cookies

After meditation, it was late and Craig offered to make the easy cheesy noodle dinner while I rested on the couch. I covered it in Frank’s Red Hot. Yes, I know today was a heavy carb day. I actually don’t eat pasta a lot and didn’t mind having pasta twice today.

cheesy noodles

Around 7:30, I went to the gym for a quick session. I hate going to the gym that late, but it’s better than not going at all. I read the Bryson book and biked for 22 minutes and then lifted weights and stretched.

Ok, check this out–I hope I win! I still have more products to review from Swanson Health Products, but they’re the type that take a while to test out, so look for those soon (fish oil, skincare, and tea).

vitamins and supplements
Have a blog? Want to win a $100? Check out the Swanson Health Blog.

Good night readers!

Glad today is over

I am just glad the day is over. We still have one more aspect of the funeral tomorrow, the burial, but funerals are really hard to go to. I know it is this way for everyone in life and I need to accept that I will have more to go to in the coming years, some of which will be very difficult for me. It was nice to see old pictures of Craig’s grandma and hear stories about her I hadn’t heard before.

I started out the morning with Honey Nut Cheerios, fresh blueberries, and coffee.

cereal, blueberries, coffee

Before washing dishes, I snacked on some toast with Earth Balance and Danish Strawberry Rhubarb jam. I also had another cup of coffee.

toast and coffee

Lunch was a Black Cherry Chobani yogurt and a ham and cheese sandwich. I liked the Black Cherry flavor but think I prefer Strawberry Banana more because of my own personal preference for that flavor.

Black Cherry Chobani and ham sandwich

Haribo gummies followed.

Haribo gummy bears

Dinner was pure comfort food–frozen pizza and skim milk.

pizza and milk

I also had a few Mint Oreos for dessert.

Not the best food day I guess, but that’s what you get for a stressful day with a funeral (and checking my work e-mail late tonight and responding to a bunch of messages).

I think I need to introduce meditation into my life to deal with the work aspect of stress I seem to have such trouble with. I actually am going to attend a free class on meditation and have Craig come along as support. With an already busy schedule, I am not sure how to fit meditation into my life, but I will try to. Anyone have a good balance down with meditation, gym, working full-time and have any advice to offer?

So, I didn’t discuss it on here yet, but you may have noticed I didn’t mention exercise habits during our trip. Basically, I went to the hotel gym on the first day we were there and never returned accept for their filtered water. Honestly, after walking probably over 7 miles most days, I didn’t feel like coming back to the hotel and working out. Also, working out in the morning could have been an option, but again, I was exhausted and we had to be at many places quite early. How do you deal with working out on vacations which already involve lots of walking the entire day?

Returning to the gym yesterday felt very good. I need to keep up the those good habits and make time for exercise. This week, I will need to work out in the morning two days because I am working late. I know I need to fit them in and will hold myself accountable to my workout plans.

Ok and now I am rambling. Time to log off and get ready for bed.