ashtanga

How Do You TRULY Listen to Your Body?

I’m in a bit of a predicament.

As you probably know if you have read any recent posts, you know that I am going through a Yoga Teacher Training program right now.  Each morning (except Saturday), we complete the entire Ashtanga Primary Series, which is pretty intense.

This process has truly transformed my body.  So much so, I am planning to post about it next week when the training is finished.  However, this transformation has come with a LOT of soreness for me.

Running through shin soreness was not a good idea, and nearly took this moment away from me before I had the chance!

Running through shin soreness was not a good idea, and nearly took this moment away from me before I had the chance!

We talk often at YTT about how dull pain is a good thing, as it is the micro-fissures being created in your muscles that help you get stronger and more flexible.  We also talk about the difference between that dull pain and a sharp, shooting pain, which is your body telling you to stop.

My question today is, what happens when you find yourself between the two?

Literally every morning since the training started, I have stepped out of bed to some shocking stiffness and soreness.  I am getting it in the usual spots, but even in strange places like my hands and feet.  It typically eases rather quickly as I get moving, but it is a new feeling for me.

Today, I am having a dull, but constant, pain in the outside of my ankle/foot that radiates all the way up to my  hip.  It isn’t a sharp, shooting pain, but it is definitely uncomfortable and doesn’t feel like your typical soreness.  I’m also noticing a dull, deep-looking bruise in the spot that I am feeling discomfort on my ankle.

I am not one to make excuses.  Excuses are one of my biggest pet peeves.  I try to always remember the great things that my body is capable, and honor my body and how fortunate I am by not selling myself short of a workout because “I don’t feel like it.”  So, as soon as the thought occurs to me that I should sit out the next day, I start to dig deeper.

Is my pain just a result of spending a lot of time in high heels over the weekend?

Isn't he handsome?

Isn’t he handsome?

Did I get to crazy with my awesome wedding reception dancing?

Or, did I push it too hard in my practice today?

At training today, our leader, Caroline Klebl, came to town.  She talked to us for awhile about the importance of maintaining a consistent yoga practice.  Traditionally, this is 6 days a week.  However, she emphasized that importance of recognizing the negative impact over-exercising can have on your body and explained that 3-4 days a week works better for some people.

This was great for me to hear, as I am looking forward to getting back into running and other workouts after the training is over, but I don’t want to lose the benefits I have seen yoga have on my body.

So, now comes the big question.  Am I too sore/tired/injured to practice tomorrow, or am I just burnt out?  How do I know what my body is truly telling me?

What do you think?  Any and all suggestions are welcome (and wanted)!

Fitness Classes I Teach

Happy Friday kids!  I can’t believe we are already looking at the end of July.  Next week is my LAST WEEK of Yoga Teacher Training!  Time sure has flown.

Now that I’ve truly gotten my feet wet in this new career of mine, I thought it would be nice to give a little insight into the classes I teach and how I prepare for them.

HIIT Core + Core Strength

This is the first class I taught, and it is definitely fun.  The ladies I get in the class so far are “regulars” and are super sweet!

Typically, I run this class like so:

  • Warm up- about 10 minutes, starting with cardio and working into abs
  • Abs section- either a timed HIIT set/tabata, or a more traditional strength set for about 10-15 minutes
  • Cardio/full body section- timed intervals for about 10 minutes
  • Cool down- yoga-inspired stretching for a little less than 10 minutes

Ashtanga Intermediate

Photo Credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

Photo Credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

The Ashtanga system is the focus of my Yoga Teacher Training.  My instructor is great, and she has a lot of faith in me.  I started teaching this class in my first week of training!

I follow the Ashtanga primary sequence for this class, but I skip some postures based on the group I get that evening and time constraints.  It is fun in a totally different way from HIIT, as it is much more quiet and mellow, but I find it extremely rewarding.

Yoga Sculpt

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Earlier this week (or maybe it was over the weekend?  It’s all starting to blend together these days), I shared some ideas for fusing yoga and strength training.  This is really the focus of this class.  I take traditional yoga poses and modify them to include weights or a little more intense strengthening moves.

For last week’s class, I followed the Ashtanga sequence but modified postures.  This week, I am working with some of my own designs of flows.  Here is one that I put together today:

  • Samisthiti
  • Arms up
  • Fold forward
  • Look up and lengthen deadlift
  • Chataranga hold
  • Up Dog
  • Down Dog
  • High lunge, torso forward, grab weights
    • Lateral raise x5
    • Front raise x5
    • Rows x5
    • Bent-arm lateral raise x5
  • Up into full high/crescent lunge, tricep kickbacks x10
  • Windmill down to pushup, drop weights, hold chataranga
  • Up Dog
  • Down Dog
  • Repeat High Lunge with other leg
  • Jump through to stand
  • Look up and lengthen deadlift
  • Fold forward
  • All the way up, hands to sky
  • Samisthiti

Looked nearly identical to this yesterday…

Virtual high-five to the person who can guess which one in the Ashtanga photo is me!  (Little sisters need not guess, haha)

What is your favorite fitness class?

 

 

The Best Compliment I Could Have Gotten

…at least in my yoga teaching so far.  🙂

Last night, I taught my 3rd ever Ashtanga class.

If you read about the first time around, it was not pretty.  There were three regulars in the class, who have been practicing Ashtanga pretty regular for a year and a half.  At this point, I had only practiced three times.  So, as soon as I made a mistake and they corrected me, my confidence faltered, and I sort of fell apart.

Yeah…should’ve looked it up first.

I was relatively certain that those three would not be back if my name was on the schedule.

Well, last night, one of them came.  I felt really good about the class; I kept my confidence and was myself.  I tried not to worry too much about what she thought; I focused more on the cues she needed (and the rest of the class, of course).

After class, she came up to me and said, “You’ve had quite a week.”  I smiled, then she went on to say, “That was a great class, a really great class.”

I wanted to jump up and down, but I just thanked her (probably too many times) and made sure she knew how much her comment meant to me.

Another sweaty, but happy, selfie.  Please excuse the weird hair situation.

Another sweaty, but happy, selfie. Please excuse the weird hair situation.

Today, I was telling my YTT instructor (this student’s typical teacher) about it, and she was so excited for me.  She pointed out that this particular student does not give out compliments freely.  She told me that even for her it took a long time for her to feel like she had “won her over.”

On a day that I was feeling a little discouraged about myself as a yogi, let alone an instructor, this compliment really turned my day around.

What is the last compliment that really changed your day?

Lessons from My First Week in the Fitness Industry

Happy Friday, folks!  Wow, this has been quite a week!  It’s hard to believe that just one week ago my life was completely different.

Pre-Saturday changes...

Pre-Saturday changes…

If you have been following along this week, I started a yoga teacher training program sort of out of the blue last weekend.

The instructor for my class had me pick up both of her Ashtanga Yoga classes this week.  I also taught my first HIIT class on Monday.  It’s been a busy week, especially compared to my teacher summer (aka nothing much to do, unless you count my crazy job search) life last week.

So, I thought it would be good for me, and hopefully you too, to reflect on this big week with some things that I’ve learned and don’t want to forget.

1. I have to make a schedule plan for myself before talking schedule with any studios.

Things went really well this week, and I have been asked to be on the schedule more at both of my studios, woo hoo!  However, my schedule was starting to get to the point that I was working seven days a week.  As much as I am excited to jump in to this industry and even more excited that people want me to work for them, I have to look out for me first.  Seven days of work will bring a burn out, fast.  So, I had to make the plan with myself of what my definite “off” times will be, so I know that I can have some me/family time.

Gotta have some QT with my guy and our furbaby!  (Photo credit: Ashley Lauer Photography)

Gotta have some QT with my guy and our furbaby! (Photo credit: Ashley Lauer Photography)

2. Don’t be intimidated by the “I’m scared” look you get from people in the class.

At my HIIT class, I asked for 100 high knees.  The look on the ladies’ faces was hilarious.  Luckily, the owner had warned me of this, otherwise, I probably would have let it intimidate me.  I just threw in a little extra motivation, and they did it!

3. Being in the fitness industry means you take a lot of showers.

My sweaty self after an Ashtanga practice.

My sweaty self after an Ashtanga practice.

No explanation needed.

(And yes, I have posted my sweaty selfie twice.  Don’t be jealous.)

4. Don’t let a mistake throw you off.

Just like teaching kids, being a group fitness instructor has a big element of acting.  Sometimes, you just gotta fake it ’til you make it, so to speak.  If you start off on the wrong side, and it’s not going to hurt anyone, just go with it.  Let the mistake go, and move forward.

5. BE YOURSELF

This is my number one biggest lesson of the week, and it will surely be something I always need to remember.  When I subbed for my yoga instructor on Tuesday, I tried to be her.  Not a good plan.  It went well for awhile, but when I ventured into her territory that I wasn’t comfortable with, things fell apart, and it got hard to pick myself up and dust myself off.

When I taught my own class last night, I went into it knowing that I had to be me and do what I was comfortable with.  Moreover, I put my own personality into my class.  Yoga can get serious sometimes, but I like to laugh and have fun.  So, without interrupting the flow, I let myself be me.  I had a TON more fun when I committed to this, and I feel like I have found my groove as I move forward.

Any lessons that resonate with you?

Any lesson I missed?

My First Group Fitness Classes

This week so far has been a big one!

I taught my first group fitness class and my first yoga class!

Pre-yoga teaching

Pre-yoga teaching

Monday night, I taught a HIIT class.  I struggled from the start with how to plan out this 45-minute class, because that is just too long for my usual HIIT workouts.  So, I structured it like this:

  • Warm-up (about 10 minutes)
  • Abs-only Tabata
  • HIIT (about 10 minutes)
  • Cool Down

This structure worked nicely.  I was wiped out, due to my fairly grueling yoga teacher training program that morning, but it was fun!

My sweaty self after an Ashtanga practice.

My sweaty self after an Ashtanga practice.

(I can’t believe I just posted my sweaty selfie on the Internet…)

The ladies there had really great attitudes, and one told me my class was exactly what she needed.  Win!

I’m talking with the owner to add some more classes to the schedule at this studio.  🙂

Last night, I taught an Ashtanga Yoga class.  Ashtanga is the focus of my yoga teacher training, and my instructor asked if I would sub for her class.

This one didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped, but I held my own considering I had only three days of Ashtanga under my belt by that point.  The ladies in the class knew some of the poses better than I do, which was a slight blow to the ego, but oh well.  🙂

Overall, I’m pumped that I finally got my feet wet in the field, and I’m looking forward to more!

Have you ever done Ashtanga Yoga?  What did you think?

What qualities do you really love in a group fitness instructor?