Relax and Practice?

For years I have been anything but consistent with my fitness regime – at times I would be seeing a trainer all while still going out every weekend and having a few too many libations, or I would be eating well, but not exercising.  Either way, my body was not in sync and I felt unmotivated and unbalanced.  It has taken the last year, mostly with the responsibility of school and taking care of my grandmother to fully realize what makes my body and mind feel good consistently.  Of course, we are not all granted this time or space to focus on ourselves, but I was happy to finally see the things that wreck havoc on me and the things that make me feel great. Of course, I still am no angel and some weeks are better than others, but I thought I would share what I do to relax, de-stress, and nourish my body and mind.

Yoga

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I know what you’re thinking ‘Oh yeah well if only I had extra money/time to go to a class that’s stuffed full of shakra huffing/tree hugging yuppies then I’d go too.’  Well personally I dislike group yoga practice – a lot.  I know sometimes my form might not be the best because I am practicing alone, but I am not doing insane yoga.  My bone structure and height make most poses difficult that are ‘moderate’ so I don’t see myself doing handstands in the living room anytime soon.  All that being said – I found a yoga website that is great.  YogaGlo has been my go-to for a while and it has many different instructors to choose from.  Which is GREAT! I personally love Kathryn Budig from the “Aim True” DVD series by Gaiam.  For me she is the perfect balance of calm and fun, without all the bizarre ‘yogi’ teacher behaviors I have witnessed when I did drag myself to the yoga studio.  The site which is $18 for a month (well worth it even if you do 2-5 ‘classes’) plus there’s a free 15 day trial to see if you really like it or click with the instructors.

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Yoga whether more meditational or physical (or both!) really does benefit me beyond words.  My heart opens and any anxiety (I’m in graduate school), anger (again I’m in graduate school), doubt (see previous), or frustration (duh!) literally melts.  I am by no means a ‘practitioner,’ but I do hope to go to the Hanuman Yoga Festival this spring in Boulder to try to be social and hopefully meet Kathryn and get to practice with her.

Think Thin Products

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I love this meal/snack supplement line.  The bars taste great and really satisfy a sweet tooth and protein craving.  I find they work the best a few hours before being active and give a must needed boost to get through the day.  I use the bar as meal supplements, but they also have snack bars for in between meals that I love.   Plus they are organic and make it so much easier to stick to a healthy living plan and not stop by the Panera Drive-Thru when my blood sugar drops.  I like putting them in the freezer and then chopping them into pieces (be careful doing this), which makes the bar seem like it takes longer than 1 minute to eat.

Melatonin

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I have been taking Melatonin ever since a friend when I was working at Aveda mentioned it to me 4 years ago.  Normally it serves people who have sleep pattern difficulties – think folks who just went on the night shift/day shift or someone suffering from mild insomnia.  However this little supplement does great things for the average person who feels run down and tired despite regular pattern sleeping.

WebMD says it best and I don’t want to paraphrase and mis-lead anyone:

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brainMelatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles.  Your body has its own internal clock that controls your natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. In part, your body clock controls how much melatonin your body makes. Normally, melatonin levels begin to rise in the mid- to late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours.”

So since the sun/light has something to do with this process and since I try to avoid the sun because of my fair skin, I think this supplement gives me that extra help in fulfilling my optimal melatonin level.   A safe dose for adults is 2.0mg to 20mg (depending on use) – I take one 3mg pill a few times a week before bed and find that it makes sleep more restful.  Of course with any supplement ask your doctor and make sure there are no drug interactions (although melatonin is already in your body so I don’t foresee that being an issue).  Further it can be safely taken for ‘short-term’/’long-term’ periods.  Plus it is not an expensive supplement averaging around $5 for a 90 ct bottle.

Of course if I’m balanced with all three of these things I feel great, but no one – especially me is perfect with routine so like I said some weeks are much better than others.  These are just a few of the things that get me through a hectic day or week.  Maybe there are things that work for you that you would like to share?

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