Saturday, November 30, 2013

Yoga Photo Challenge! Official Fancy Pants Announcement!

Oh, hey, guys...

The day has come. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Tomorrow is the first day of my first ever photo challenge. I hope so much that you'll get your cameraphones out, get on your mats and participate in my photo challenge. I am so so excited. 

And now, in a very official and fancy pants capacity, I bring you, the PROMPTS for my December Yoga Photo Challenge!

Look it over. Ponder your options. Use my prep posts as inspiration. That's what they're there for, and if you find yourself stuck, Google! Google all the googling you can handle!

Back bends & One Legged Balance
Babies, Arm Balances, & Hip Openers

I do realize there are some poses in the prompt that I did not cover in my photo challenge. For example, Eagle, Right Angle, and Lotus.
For these, you can ASK ME ANYTHING or use the magic of the Internets. I believe in you. ;)

If I haven't said it enough, I am so excited for this photo challenge. I hope you will participate. Get on instagram and tag me @calyssajean, use the hashtag #agyogachallenge. You can also post your photos right onto my facebook page! and use the hashtag! because they work on facebook now too!

Happy yoga-ing!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Photo Challenge Inspiration 4

Today we're talking about babies and arm balances... and baby arm balances (also some hip openers, because why not?)
This is also my last photo challenge inspiration post. There are so many (feels like zillions) of yoga poses that you can do. If you find yourself stumped on any prompt next month, I HIGHLY encourage you to Google.

Did I just tell you without telling you that one of my chosen photo prompts is baby? Yes I did. All of these next poses totally fall into that category.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kitchen Adventures; Gluten Free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies... with Chili Powder

I feel like I've been away from my kitchen adventures for so long! I've been on a pretty big cookie making kick lately. The last three weekends in a row I've been testing cookie recipes.

I'm still pretty new to gluten free baking, and since we cut most carbs out of our diet I have been doing less and less baking in general. It's been tough, but a few weeks ago I was having dinner at my grandparents and my grandma, who was recently diagnosed with Celiac's, brought out a box of gluten free lemon wafer cookies for dessert.
My aunt - a hardcore whole food ally - cringed and jokingly gave her a hard time about buying "processed junk from a box".

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 47

Taught mommy & baby, did a lot of abs and squats

Monday I decided to take the Body Pump class at the gym. It killed my shoulders and my glutes. The next day they were crying, but I was so happy I did it.

Tuesday I decided to start my 108 sun salutations, so I did 9 as soon as I got home from work, followed by P90X2 Plyocide. I somehow let myself forget how hard that is. Whoooooo!

Wednesday I got up and did my 9 sun salutations. That night I met my very good friends new baby and didn't have time to workout. It was totally and completely worth it.

Thursday morning 9 sun salutations were done. I can't believe how much they are helping me wake up and energize for the day. That night I did some solo practice, ended up doing a bit too much without warming up enough and tweaked my neck. Yes, you can totally do that. That night I couldn't do much by way of moving around, turning my head, getting up, etc, but I iced it and then took a hot shower, did a few minutes with the neck massager my honey got me for Christmas a couple years ago, and slept fine. When I woke up, it felt a lot better but I was still in pain.

Friday night we saw Catching Fire, which was perfect timing for me since I didn't feel like I could do much exercise with my neck the way it was. I did do my 9 sun salutations in the morning though.

Saturday we talked about exercise, but hubs was sick and I was completely unmotivated. I'm not proud. That day I did 9 sun salutations and we took Panda to the park.

How was your week?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Posing on Friday; Sun Salutation

Howdy! Happy Friday, y'all!
A while back I posted a little video of myself doing a basic sun salutation. It was kinda gross. I looked gross. The video quality was bad. There was no music or editing whatsoever. So, the other day, when I got the amazing idea to do 108 sun salutations in 12 days, I decided to take the old video down. Even though it had been up for a while, I didn't want people using it for reference.

I still want you do be able to do sun salutations if you want to join in, so I've put together a slightly more well thought out video for you to use as reference. I demonstrate 3 difference options for sun salutaions, AND since there's no talking or text in the video, you can use the following blurb as a guide to what's going on.

  1. Half Sun Salutation - Inhale arms up, exhale fold, inhale halfway to a flat back, exhale fold, inhale reverse swan dive with a flat back to standing with arms overhead, exhale arms down at your sides.
  2. Sun Salutation A (Easy Option) - Inhale arms up, exhale fold, inhale halfway to a flat back, exhale bend your knees, plant your hands and walk the feet back to plank, exhale lower slowly through chutarunga all the way to the floor, release the toes, inhale into sphinx, exhale turn the toes under, lift the hips into downward facing dog, inhale high on the toes, exhale bend the knees and walk the feet up in between the palms, inhale halfway to a flat back, exhale fold, inhale reverse swan dive with a flat back to standing with arms overhead, exhale arms down at your sides.
  3. Sun Salutation A (Advanced Option) - Inhale arms up, exhale fold, inhale halfway to a flat back, exhale bend your knees, plant your hands and float the feet back to chutarunga with your elbows bent, release the toes, inhale into upward facing dog, exhale turn the toes under, lift the hips into downward facing dog, inhale high on the toes, exhale bend the knees and float the feet up in between the palms, inhale halfway to a flat back, exhale fold, inhale reverse swan dive with a flat back to standing with arms overhead, exhale arms down at your sides.
I only did sphinx and updog in the video, but you can also do cobra in place of either. 

As always, I'm here for you if you have any questions! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Photo Challenge Inspiration 3

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today we are talking about backbends and one legged balance poses!

We have A TON of poses to cover this week, so I'm gonna cut down the descriptions a little bit in favor of key words.

Shall we get started back bends!?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

108 Sun Salutations

I remember reading about this last year when I was in my teacher training. The sacred number 108. 108 beads on a mala. 108 repetitions of a mantra in meditation. Always numerals of 108 - 54, 27, 9, etc.

I'm not gonna go into a super lot of detail - mostly because I'd feel like I was plagiarizing - but this post on the Elephant Journal explains all of the different roots of why 108 is considered sacred, among them...

... the Sun's diameter is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

... there are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet (54 x 2 = 108)


... the heart chakra is said to be the point where 108 lines of energy converge in the subtle body. (And you know I love me some heart chakra talk)

So, what do we do with this information? Whatever you like. I am not here to dictate anything, but what have I chosen to do with this information? I have chosen to connect myself to the number 108 through my asana practice (the physical practice of yoga)

Starting easily enough...

... 9 sun salutations every morning for 12 days in a row.

Why break it up into 9 and 12, and why morning? A few reasons:

  1. Finishing at the end of November means I'll be inspired and ready for zero overlap into my photo challenge. 
  2. 9 seems like a friendly place to start. It takes about 30 seconds to do a sun salutation A (give or take a few seconds), so it'll be easy to dedicate 5 minutes when I first wake up in the morning. 
  3. Sun salutations are a fantastic way to wake yourself up. They get blood flowing through your entire body, help you stretch, lengthen, and energize for the day!

Then what? Then we'll play it by ear. For now I mean the Royal We, but I'd love for you to join me!
What do you think? Leave me a note in the comments if you want to give it a shot! I'd love to know who else wants to try.

Then maybe We ;) can do 108 all in a row to ring in 2014!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 46

Sunday I got up early and taught my mommy & baby yoga class. Then we finished painting the bedroom. I am so happy with how big and open the room looks now. It's incredble.

Monday night I did a quick 2 mile jog on the treadmill before coming home to clean up and then heading back out to teach. I did most of the class with them, which felt amazing, but also made it kind of hard to teach since I was out of breath when I'd try to verbalize instructions. Oh well, learning experience.

Tuesday I was not sure what I wanted to do for exercise because the yoga class I like had a sub (which is totally cool, but I wasn't feeling like adjusting to a new instructor that night), and then I remembered Total Fit Body at the gym! We did A TON of squats and lunges. It was great, but the next day my quads and glutes weren't shy about reminding me.

Wednesday night I was back in the studio for Power Yoga.

Thursday night I taught my beginner class, did most of the class with them, and then hung out in the studio for a little bit and tried some new poses on my own.

Friday I took my very first Ashtanga class ever! It was incredibly challenging. Our teacher was great though, the girl next to me was pretty new to yoga in general and I was new to Ashtanga, so he came out to help us whenever we needed it.

Saturday we got our new bed delivered, so while I had the new sheets in the wash, we ran out to the gym. Hubs lifted weights and I jumped on the treadmill and ran 4 miles before stretching a ton and finishing up with quick plank.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sweat Equity - The Last Room; Part 1

I don't know why I decided to title this post like I did. The work we've done on our home hasn't been part of any particular series on my blog, but the bedroom is going to be broken up into a couple of chunks - not sure how many yet since in order to complete the upstairs we'll need to 1) rip out and redo the master bath sink area (separate from the toilet and shower, which are done already), 2) redo the railings throughout the house, and finally 3) swap out these laminate floors for carpet. Aaaand part of my husband's plan right now for (at least) the bathroom will not involve me, so I'll just pop in to document his work.

Shall we get started then? Would you like to see what our bedroom walls looked like before?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photo Challenge Inspiration 2

 It's time for our second inspiration post! Have I told you how excited I am for this photo challenge? I'm getting you ready. I'm going to have so much fun taking the pictures for these prompts and I want to make sure you have fun too!

This week we are talking about inversions... *cough cough* maybe a prompt *cough cough*

Just so we are all on the same page though, I want you to know that there are SO MANY ways to get upside down without being in a headstand or handstand. An inversion is any pose where you are even a little bit upside down. So... forward fold? Inversion. Downward dog? Totally inverted.

So, let's talk about these poses, shall we?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Currently; November 2013

Currently, I'm...

Umm... this is embarrassing... I haven't been reading much. Recipes count, right?. I've been reading a ton of recipes for gluten free cookies. My grandma was just diagnosed with Celiac's, so I told her I would make her some gluten free cookies for Thanksgiving. I put a call out on facebook requesting favorite GF cookie recipes and got some great responses. So far I've tried two and one is definitely in the lead. I'm excited to try more, which means more recipe reading instead of book reading. 

Walking Dead (and Talking Dead). 
We also just marathon-ed the first two seasons of Hell on Wheels. Probably should have waited on doing that since season 3 JUST aired and now we have to wait (we don't even know how long) before it's up on Netflix. 
And I'm still watching all the old episodes of Bones when I have free time. 

Listening to...
Everything I can get my hands on, but I am kind of over a lot of my running songs, so I need a major revamp on my ipod shuffle playlist. I put some Fitz and the Tantrums on there, some Arctic Monkeys, and OF COURSE some Katy Perry. It's better, but I need to keep cycling in new music. 

Struggling with...
Motivation. It's just barely cold enough outside that I don't want to leave my house. I want to snuggle up under a blanket and stay there all day every day. 

This weekend hubs made pulled pork shoulder while I made slaw and cornbread and we had a solid Southern meal for College Football Saturday. I also made two mini batches of gluten free cookies (see above)  and we ate all of them. So... technically still gluten free... except for the corn bread. 

Ways to spice up our now bland looking walls. I tell ya, when your bedroom walls are bright red, the last thing you think about is how bare they look and how badly they need some wall decor. Now that they're beige, all I see is empty space on the walls! So, I've got some ideas - a nice bed frame, a painting, some photos. I've also got a ton of pictures of the painting process from this weekend, so I'll have a post about that soon! :)

Excited for...
OUR NEW BED IS COMING ON SATURDAY! We just repainted the bedroom this weekend and we specifically scheduled the new bed to be delivered with enough time to paint, SO this week is our last week in the queen. Cray.  

Twice a week - beginner flow and mommy & baby. I'm subbing a lot more and I even booked my first class at Spectrum Club. It'll be on Thanksgiving at 830am, so if you're a Spectrum CP member and want to come hang out and take my class, now is the tiiiime! 

Inspired by...
Freaking elephants, man. My parents just got back from Africa. I was looking through their pictures the other night and was absolutely floored. I could have stared at the elephant pictures forever. 

What are you up to lately?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 45

Really quick, can we just note that there are only 7 weeks left in 2013?

That's all about that.

Let's talk workouts and things.

Sunday AND Monday I went to Cardio Barre. I haven't gone so often lately and Monday night that told me I still have 15 classes left, so I need to get on using those.
I also went to the gym with my hubby after class on Sunday, but didn't do much. I did some one arm clean and jerks and some walking on the treadmill, but I was tired from my earlier workout, so I wimped out.
And Monday after cardio barre, I taught class, which I ended up doing most of with them.

Tuesday I had a meeting in the afternoon and dinner at my grandparents' later, so I fit a jog in the middle. I needed to get my mileage back up since my next 10K is only a month away! I decided to take on the challenge of bringing Panda along on my run. We went to the park and did 5 laps, which comes out to 3.2 miles. Panda wanted to say hi to everyone, especially the other dogs. I had front clasp harness on her so she was easier to control, but I still had to put all my weight into tugging her away from other dogs - especially since all the small ones want to do it pick a damn fight. Small dogs, man...

Wednesday night I went on a Cardio Barre adventure. It was my first time doing back to back classes - first advanced, then beginner. It was tough, but taking beginner after advanced was almost refreshing - like, oh, look how slow and leisurely I get to move.

Thursday night I taught. I did almost the whole class with them. I also counted the box moving my sister and I did at work that day as exercise.

Friday I took Power Yoga and ran 4 miles. Yoga was a really slow moving class with challenging poses, but I didn't feel like I got a good calorie burn so I decided to hit the gym with  the hubs and get in a run.

And Saturday we started painting the bedroom... so that was my exercise.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Photo Challenge Inspiration 1

Happy Wednesday, y'all! I am so excited to get the ball rolling for this photo challenge!
I don't know if you noticed, but in the first/last post I did to announce my photo challenge, I made a lot of promises. It wasn't until after I posted it that I realized how much work I'd made for myself.

There are 31 days in December. So, now, not only do I have to prep 31 photo prompts for you, my lovely yogis, (which is actually really easy and fun) but I need to inspire you and get you into yoga poses you can do, by offering all the modifications both to make them easier AND harder.

Because sometimes I am going to tell you what pose to do and it'll be up to you to choose the variation, but other times, I am going to give you an attribute that a lot of poses have, and you can choose your favorite pose that has this attribute - like "back bend", "one leg", or "warrior"

So, for this first inspiration post, I am going to offer you a mini breakdown of all the Warriors, what they are, and some key words to help you decide if and when you want to try them out.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Seven Days of Yoga; Week 44

Sunday I was back at the studio teaching Sunday Sunshine Flow in the afternoon. I spent a good part of the day cleaning the house and running laundry. We'd had friends over the night before and a magical fairy did some cleaning before going home - which I am eternally grateful for.

Monday I took a vacay day and basically followed my friend and fitness instructor, Chelsea, around to all her classes. I took Cardio Barre in the morning and then Fit Ballet Body at Equinox in the afternoon. My butt was thoroughly kicked.

Tuesday night I returned to the WHAC for Total Fit Body Workout with the lovely Karen.

Wednesday night I was the lucky recipient of a brutal headache. I rested up and took something for it, but I missed yoga, so I went down to my car to get my fancy mat and did yoga in the living room. It wasn't my best at home practice, but it was something - and it helped me feel better.

Thursday night no one came to yoga because it was 7pm on Halloween. These things happen. So, I went to the gym and ran 3 miles. It felt really good, but I need to start running longer distances again. My next 10K is only a month away now.

Friday I met a friend for wine. No exercising happened after that.

Saturday - I cleaned our room to the point of sparkliness so I could take before pictures for our upcoming bedroom revamp (paint and a new bed), and I cleaned the living room. The kitchen, dining area, and guestroom are still a mess - as is the area outside our bedroom because that's where I put my husband's clothes instead of putting them away.

How was your week?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Yoga Photo Challenge

Alright my beautiful readers, of which I know there are at least a handful and I am so grateful to and for you every day I log on to my blog, I have a question for you.

Kind of.

I post a lot of pictures of yoga and yoga related things on my instagram. (It's private, but all you have to do is request to follow me and you're gold) I know a good amount of you see my pictures, sometimes like them, sometimes just pass by, but don't really post your own yoga pictures - and that's cool. I'm learning that most of you have an appreciation for yoga, but don't really do much of it yourselves or are trying to do more.

One of my core beliefs in yoga is that

yoga is for everyone,

no matter your size, shape or abilities. Yoga should and will conform to you, you do not have to change yourself to be able to do yoga. No legs behind heads, no split doing ability. You don't need to be able to stand on one leg. Heck, you don't even need to be able to stand!

My goal in this is to inspire you. I want you to stop thinking about doing yoga and get up and do it! Your body will thank you!

That's why I've decided to do a photo challenge. Throughout the month of November, I'll be getting ready for it - coming up with my photo prompts, giving you some inspiration posts to refer back to, and a TON of modifications so that you can take yoga to your level.

I'll have the official prompt up and ready for you by the end of the month.

I hope you'll follow along here, as well as Alyssa Gohn Yoga, and post your pictures on instagram, twitter, and facebook!

... and maybe I'll have a special prize for participants at the end... maybe.