Monday, July 20, 2009

Adventures in Bikram Yoga

For years, I have been an "anti-yogi" deeming it a "fake workout" and completely boring, however recent events led to a shift in my thinking...
Let me begin by stating that I am a runner. Sometimes, I run 6-7 days a week. In the winter this means running on the treadmill, which although slightly boring still brings the "runner's high" after. Occasionally, I will dabble in a kick-boxing class or perhaps some step aerobics when a change of piece is needed.

Not wanting to knock something before trying it, I attended several Yoga classes offered at L.A. Fitness. I was....BORED. Really bored. And, I certainly was not tired or sweating in the slightest when I left. In fact, I believe I went and ran on the treadmill after I was finished. Because of this, I have mocked Yoga workouts, stating, "Yoga is boring. It is not even a real workout."

Now, I have to eat my words. Last week, I purchased a 10 classes (for $20.00) at the Bikram Yoga Studio of India in Fremont hoping it would help the knee/leg that was injured while walking Linus the Beagle (see earlier blog). Never in my life, have I struggled so much through a class. Especially a class consisted of stretches and poses where I never moved off of a mat.

* Bikram Yoga is yoga practiced in a room heated to a boiling 105 degrees and the fans are turned off during each of the 26 poses, except for the Savasanga (where you lay down).

Sweating from the moment I began the first pose, up until the very end of the 90 minute (yup, you read that right-90 minutes) class, I kept trying to sneak water or wipe my face with my towel, only to have the teacher remind me to wait until in between poses.

When I left class, I felt as though I had taken a shower... in my shorts and sports bra! Gross. Right? I thought so, but I also felt totally amazing and cleansed! Never before had a Yoga class, or any workout class caused me to feel so wonderful!

Now, I am not saying that I could do this everyday, especially once my new member trial period expires. Bikram Yoga is not cheap (about 130 dollars per month) and I sometimes I find it difficult remembering to drink enough water during the day or drink coffee right before. Both of these things can make one feel dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed.

However, I would like to commit to attending a Bikram class once a week. So far, I have been four days and I just feel "more aligned" and my knee is not quite as sore. So, I will admit... no longer am I against yoga. I have converted.
For those of you living in the Seattle area, here is the Yoga Studio I went to...and there is also one in West Seattle:

Monday, July 13, 2009


On July 6th, I turned 28. Now, I know that for most people, 30 is the BIG birthday. You know, the one that arrives and suddenly you are supposed to be an adult. Not for me. For me, 28 was always that magical age when I was meant to have my entire life together. It was my "grown-up" adult age. Now that this day has come and gone and I have been 28 for about one week now, I have to say: I truly do not feel any different.
What did I expect to happen at age 28 you might ask? Well, to answer that questions, it all started with a rather stupid assignment handed to us in Human Growth and Development class during my Freshman year of college.
The teacher asked us to each create a timeline of what we wanted our lives to look like from this point forward. More talk followed about how this would allow both her and us to know who we were as people and who we wanted to become. I rolled my eyes as she rambled on and on.

Wasn't I in college? This assignment seemed a bit like one I might have received in Middle School. Still, I went ahead and created my timeline. At age 18, 28 seemed eons away. The farthest ahead I usually thought was to finals week or the next date dash!

As I carefully started on my timeline that evening, I concluded that 26 was the perfect age in which to be married by (to a man named Chris-most likely selecting that name because I knew nobody named Chris). Anything after 26 would obviously deem me an "old maid." By 28 I had twin girls, and then by 30, one more boy.

I won't even get into the ridiculousness that happened later in my pretend life (including retirement and living in Europe by age 50). After viewing my retirement plan, I am pretty sure that that is a fantasy!

This was nearly 10 years ago that this assignment was given, and as stupid as I felt it to be, I completely remember each and everything that I put on the timeline.

Am I disappointed that I am not on track with this life I gave myself? Well, I like to think of it as not "off-track" but just delayed slightly. In some ways though, I realize the benefits of this assignment (although I felt it to be so incredibly meaningless at the time).

One day, I do hope to retire and live someplace that I truly desire to be (such as Europe). While this may not be as early as a hoped for, it is still a possibility.

Other parts of this timeline were rather silly and things I do not have control over. Why did I insist I needed to be married by 26? What was I supossed to do to ensure this goal was met? Carry my time line around like a psycho and insist to any guy I dated that I had an expiration date by which I HAD to be married with kids by? And even if I had been married at 26, it would have been highly unlikely that I would have twins by 28 (especially considering there are NO twins in my family).

I have heard others mention their own internal time lines, saying things such as, "I want to go to graduate school by the time I am 30." Or, "By 35, I want to have kids."

Are these time lines that we set for ourselves a healthy way to set goals, or would it be better to just set the goals with no "Magical Age" in which we expect them by? By setting a "Magical Age" are we pushing ourselves to work harder, or simply setting ourselves up for disappointment?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sales...have they lost their appeal?

If there is one thing that i cannot stay away from-it is a sign reading "sale" in the the front of the store. Sales used to be a special and exciting time. I remember flipping through the "Nordstrom Anniversary Sale" catalog as soon as it arrived in the mail. My mom, sister, and I would go and stock up on the deals for back to school clothes. Specifically, I remember when I was in middle school and was SUPER thrilled to discover that Doc Martin shoes were on sale! The Nordstrom sale was, like, the only time you could buy anything at a discount!
Other major stores would do the same...a BIG sale several times each year. Other than that, sales consisted of a small rack in the back of the store, usually filled with either XXS or XXL items. In today's economy, it seems that EVERYTHING is on sale, all the time. I am not kidding. When walking into Peridot the sales woman announced to me that the entire store was 30% off! The entire store. Seriously. At Banana Republic, every sale item was an additional 30% off the lowest price. So, I bought 3 shirts for around $40.00. Total. These were not cheap items to begin with by any means either.

While this was exciting and all, I started wondering...have "sales" completely lost their appeal and charm? I now refuse to buy anything not on sale, as I know that it will most likely be discounted the following week. This is even true at the high end boutique "Sway and Cake" where I was looking at a dress. I returned the next day to find it marked down 40%!
However, I no longer feel the excitement or build-up of a big sale as I did receiving those Nordstrom catalogs in the mail. How could I, when every day is now a sale day?

I admit though, I still do enjoy a good deal. Here are some of the BEST deals I discovered while out shopping the other day: This is great one! Especially if you are looking for a dress! Many are 50% off the original price! Peridot is a small boutique in lower QA, conveniently located right next door to Diamond Nails (my Pedicure spot). This is the place where the entire store in on sale! Located right by Nordstrom and the Medical Dental Building downtown. Lots of great deals on summer items, as they are already getting in fall stuff!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When the going gets tough...don't go?

All of my life I have this issue with anything that is difficult for me...that is I find it incredibly frustrating. It derives from my strong desire NOT to have people see me fail. Instead I will throw myself into those activities in which I excel. This started in Kindergarten when we were learning handwriting. At which, I was awful. Apparently (according to my mom) I had "taught" myself to write already and was not holding my pencil the correct way. Rather than listen to Mrs. Kemp, I chose to keep on holding my pencil incorrectly and still do to this day. Although this was quite a while ago, I believe I did not want my fellow classmates to see me struggle. Even at age 5, I was a stubborn little bugger!
This trend continued on into my later schools as well. In Middle School when my "Advanced Math Class" was difficult,rather than working past it... I simply switched into the regular and focused on subjects in which I was more gifted. Again, I did not want my classmates to see me stuggle with the advanced math concepts.

In high school, I was an okay soccer player (and played JV in 9th and 10th grade). My Junior year, I quit playing soccer. I was worried I would get cut, because I did not believe that I was skilled enough for the Varsity team. So...I switched to something I was good at-Cross Country. The same scenario occurred with softball, when I switched to tennis.

Now today, as an adult I am facing a similar situation with my summer job. It is hard and I am not that great at it. For my "regular" job, I am a teacher which is something that comes naturally to me. Serving does not. Yes, I realize that serving is not exactly brain surgery, but I find it to be a challenge. I constantly find myself asking for help (usually from my fellow crew members who are about 5-7 years younger than me-which is hard in itself). Finding the right buttons on the computer is excruciatingly hard. I cannot figure out how in the world to carry 4 plates BY MYSELF at once. Every time I attempt this, I worry that I will drop every body's meals on the ground. Figuring out my tips after a shift is equally annoying. Oh, and the other day, I completely forgot to put in an order for a bacon cheeseburger. Luckily the cooks totally helped me out, but I felt SO incredibly stupid. This is diffidently a job that is a struggle for me. I do not feel that serving is a gift or talent I posess.

I could have just taught summer school again; doing something that is naturally easy for me-teaching kids. However, I feel that now that I am an adult I should know what it feels like to do something that is difficult and learn from it. Which is exactly what I plan on doing this summer. Wish me luck!