Day 5: “Blessed are those who are flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape”

While I’d like to think my weekly rendezvous with my yoga mat makes me pretty flexible, every week I am proved wrong by my instructor. Less than a year ago, yoga was totally foreign to me. Someone could have said “chaturanga dandasana,” and I would have thought they were speaking Polish. If you still don’t know what that means, here’s a simple infographic that outlines the basic poses you should know:

10-essential-yoga-postures-for-strength-athletes

I look forward to Fridays not only because it is the start of the weekend, but because I love my yoga class. It’s not for everyone, and it can be really scary for beginners, but honestly–yoga is good for the soul. I probably sound like some weirdo hippie saying that, but if you take it seriously that shit is amazing (and cheaper than therapy). The class I go to is hot yoga (80-90 degrees), and it is bootcamp style. What do those things mean? It. Kicks. My. Ass. But that’s why I go. I love relaxing yoga, but I reserve that for Sundays or rest days. After 60 crescent lunges into standing splits into curtsies and back to lunges, “I can’t feel my legs/butt but when I do I want to cry”–(I said this to my mom and now she loves to quote it). While this all sounds horrible, and in the last few seconds of spiderman push-ups I think horrible is an appropriate descriptor, the feeling I get afterward is like nothing else. This is different than “runner’s high.” Don’t get me wrong, runner’s high is great, but there’s just something about the tingling I feel running down my entire body during the final shavasana after a hard class.

shavasana-dogSince I’m on the subject of comparing the two–you can’t. Running and yoga are total opposites, but I believe that there are strong benefits that come from finding a balance between the two. There is a ton of research out there that supports doing yoga as a preventative measure against running injuries. Check out this article for example >>http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/192. Not to mention the mental benefits. While I know I can’t convert everyone into a yoga enthusiast, there is something to be said for taking time out of the day just for yourself to clear your head. Running is great for clearing the head as well, and everyone needs to find what works best for them. In our busy lives we get so caught up with all the worry of “What’s next?” “What’s next?” that we forget to stop and think about ourselves, what our focus should be, and how we feel. How you do that is up to you, but it’s definitely important to take time for self-reflection.

This blog has also been a helpful tool allowing me to reflect a lot on choices, goals, faith, and even fears. So as I reflect on today I am proud of my choices to get more involved with the Scripture, I am one step closer to my fitness and health goals, and while I still have fears for the future, the Psalms passage I dissected in my previous post gave me a sense of comfort because as I wait for God I know He hears my voice and has plans for redemption.

Before I started all my deep thinking this morning I fueled up with an egg white scramble with bell peppers, spinach, and mushrooms. I love that this breakfast is packed with flavor without many calories, and is also able to keep me full until lunch. Eggs can become redundant on the paleo diet as they are one of the very few breakfast choices, but mixing up the veggies in a scramble keeps the flavor and nutrients interesting! Plus, I love eggs so I don’t mind having them all the time. Lunch was a repeat of the warm kale salad I posted yesterday with just a few tweaks. Overall the salad today was lighter and more savory than the decadent and pretty sweet version yesterday. Instead of the chicken sausage I used turkey bacon this time, which made it a little less heavy and gave it the more savory vibe. I also lightened up the dressing a tad. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons almond butter, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup–I basically just halved that and it was plenty.

20140308-002004.jpg

(I had to post another pic because it just looked so much prettier this time around)

Dinner was a new paleo creation from Cindy Larkin: Spinach Zucchini Ravioli. This recipe tasted great as a finished product! It was all of the Italian food flavor, without all of the calories. The zucchini noodles gave it a very light feel, which would make it a great dish going into warmer weather (if it ever gets here). My only complaint is that actually slicing the zucchini into strips and wrapping the ground turkey into “raviolis” was definitely a pain. It’s not too horrible if you have the time on your hands, but if you need something quick this is not the dish. Overall it tasted great with very few calories though so for that it will probably be a keeper!

20140308-002011.jpgMy picture didn’t exactly turn out like Cindy’s, but it tasted good I promise

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