Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back on the mat

Over Christmas both studio's were running a reduced schedule of classes. Unfortunately for me this meant the classes I usually practice or teach were cancelled. When I first started teaching I was managing to fit in my own personal practice, three or four a week. A reduction for sure compared to what I was doing before training. This is manageable with everything else going on in life. 

From past experience I don't want to burn out. I could pull a 18 hour day, teach the 5:45am, work all day, then practice the 7pm. Leaving me exhausted and not having enough energy to any of these things to my best ability. 

Throughout the festive period it was super hard to squeeze in two practice's a week. This was too little. I really felt it. Sometimes you don't realise how much you need something till it's gone. For me not getting to yoga left me cranky, snappy, tired and uneasy. Sure I was there teaching & getting great pleasure from assisting others through their practice but it's not the same as working yourself out. 

When I finally got back on my mat after a massive five days off (it's been well over year since this happened) it felt awesome. My balance was off, I fell out of Awkward twice, but somehow nearly got my head on my knee. Maybe a rest was what I actually needed to freshen things up? It reminded me just how much I need this yoga in my life and how grateful I am to bring it into other people's lives. I felt energised, happy, more at peace with myself and clean. I need to do yoga!!

Obviously this week I can't practice because of the post surgery medications. Pain killers and all that sweating put an extra strain on your liver (so a nurse/teacher friend told me). Also they mask any pain you might have in a posture which may result in you pushing further, not feeling the 'stop' pain, carrying on & hurting yourself. Antibiotics mess things up too, the side effects I've been feeling is extreme exhaustion that comes on without warning. I'm not that happy about filling myself with such poisons but I don't want an infection so am following doctors orders. I'll finish the course as directed then get back on my mat to cleanse from within. 

I'm itching to get back to yoga but my health comes first. As Bikram would say "Take it easy honey." Oh okay then, just for this week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quitting Sugar

I've banging on about this for a while now but this year I will do this. I have done it before & I will do it again. I will quit sugar. Only because I felt great last time I gave up. My days weren't a battle of cravings, followed by the guilt of giving in & of course the side effects - bloating, slumps, more cravings. My muscles loved me for it, my yoga practice was so much stronger when I wasn't battling the energy slumps. 

It's scary where sugar is lurking. The obvious places, chocolates, lollies, fruit etc. is easy to pin point. Sugar is in nearly everything we eat that is pre packaged; sauces, bread, white pasta, honey. This is why I bought a Thermomix so I can make my own sauces, bread etc. from scratch, making it as clean as possible. Like everything I lapsed. I have caught myself dumping a ready made pasta sauce into Thermomix, instead of taking the time (about 1 minute) to whiz up fresh tomatoes from my garden. What!!!?!!!

I need help and I found it via Kat Eden who is turning out to be a constant source recently for nutrition advice. A link on the side if Kat's blog lead me to another Aussie Women Sarah Wilson and her book 'I Quit Sugar.' Within two seconds I'd paid my $15 via pay pal and the e book was mine. Laid out in an easy to follow, no jargon manner Sarah outlines why we need to quit the white stuff, in every form to start with. The eight week program walks the reader through each part step by step. I was even not very environmentally friendly by printing myself out a copy and bound it with a nice protective cover for quick access. (I don't have a Kindle)

This week might be a write off as ice cream is a major feature in my post teeth surgery diet but I've gone three days without chocolate, white rice & pasta. Steadily cutting out sugars is part of week one. Realistically I can ditch the ice cream for soup now, home made in Thermomix.

What I am hoping to achieve by this sugar detox:
  1. Get rid of that hideous afternoon slump after lunch when I want a sweet treat. I give in, get a sugar high, then slump again.
  2. Bloating, I look pregnant by most evenings and a bloated stomach is hell to practice yoga with, it hurts.
  3. I'm feeling podgy round the middle. Muffin top ahoy, I wish it gone. 
  4. My teeth do not need drenching in sugar which = decay. 
Forwards we go. I shall kick this habit. Who knows I might even be able to enjoy the odd sweet treat now and again so I can actually appreciate it.


Life is challenging if not it would be boring. I had a few curve balls land in my lap the past few weeks. Most were car related.

I need my car, no joke. Without it I wouldn't be able to work. Public transport and taxis do not exist where I live. The nearest train is half an hour's drive away and there aren't any buses. There for I should be more careful when driving. Just after Christmas I was pulled over by the police and told my rear window tint needed replacing as it had cracked and dangerous to see out of. $200 later and a very nice Geezer at Tint-a-Car that changed it on the spot, that job was done. 

Then I ran over a dead kangaroo one early morning on my way to teach class. It was 5am, slightly light, on a notorious road for having roo's on. Counting my blessings it was dead already, hitting a live roo can be horrific on all counts. Most people get out and remove a roo from the road after they hit it but this had been left. I swerved to miss it, also dangerous thing to do considering the windy road lined with gravel, but there wasn't enough room & my right side went right over it. All blown up with gas it wasn't a smooth ride. Anyway, skip to the end. It tore my oil sub off. Having no clue about cars and oil etc. I carried on driving. For 15km, with no oil. Taught my class, then drove 500 metres down the road to the garage. 

WHAT!!! I hear you car savvy people cry. Some how the car went, it turned on and still moved. The mechanic was shocked. Shaking his head and telling me he'd call later. Seriously I should have had a new engine. $4k. It cost me $300. Someone was looking after me somewhere. Driving a car without oil is like a body without blood. It don't work!! I thanked my lucky stars, guardian angels, God, Buddha, Shiva, anyone out there that might have had a hand in this. I actually hugged my car. 

Lesson learned. I joined the RAC break down service as soon as I got to work. Now, if the slightest thing happens, I will stop & ring them. Get towed, anything just don't drive with no oil. I had my fully car serviced & treated him to a car wash. I drove like a Nana before, now I'll be very, very careful, more careful, more alert.


Bikram in Australia

Australia was very excited to welcome Bikram Choudhury himself to the East coast earlier this month. He was over on the Gold Coast to present an advanced seminar and re-certification. This is a big deal for us down under. There are a lot of instructors here and many, many studios over the East side. For instructors to re-certify on our own shore cuts back a lot of added expense and travel.

Number one though it gave people here in Australia a chance to touch base with the Boss first hand. The seminar was open to everyone, not just instructors, and a few of our students and staff flew over for the occasion. No one was disappointed. It was reported Bikram was on good form and was well received. The whole event was well organised and ran smoothly.

I only briefly saw one of the students who went. She was actually in the middle of demoing an advanced move to a fellow student! Very excited about the trip & really liked Bikram. It's so great for people to see him as him, without the show boating that goes on at TT. One day, when the opportunity arises, I'll definitely go and re connect with him outside of teaching training.

Here's one of the nuggets of wisdom from the seminar:

"Life is like a buffet, you have to help YOURSELF" Bikram Choudhury

Teacher can only guide, push, encourage and inspire you...but you have to do it yourself. NO ONE else can help you. Move your fat lazy arse!!!


All went well on Friday with my wisdom teeth extraction. Naturally I was nervous which was covered up by me being OTT cheerful & smiley. I joked with the hospital staff I was smiling a lot before the surgery as I won't be after. 

The worst bit, which was my own fault for dwelling on it, was the anesthetic needle. I've never had a anesthetic, let alone had a needle in my hand. It wasn't that painful, just uncomfortable. I was out like a light & back awake like 30 seconds had passed. I was fully prepared for what to expect on waking. Mouth full of wadding, oxygen mask, ice packs and no feeling in my mouth. My bottom lip felt like it was massive & I couldn't feel my chin. This lasted for about 12 hours!! Drinking was quite the challenge, I felt the water would just slosh straight back out.

Due to an impaction my lower teeth had to be cut out and stitched. My face pretty much swelled up straight away and bruised. No pain though as I was still numb. I was discharged three hours later, feeling fine, no side affects apart from the hamster cheeks. My friend drove me home via the chemist and Woolworths to stock up on meds & ice cream. Chewing wasn't going to happen for a while.

Now here I am, signed off work for the week. I forced myself to rest all day Saturday missing the Yoga staff Christmas party. I couldn't eat or hardly speak so there wasn't much point in going. I dragged myself to a staff meeting at Scarborough on Sunday. I felt fine, not in pain but was so drained after the drive & meeting I got home & fell into bed for the rest of the afternoon. Combination of lack of food & medication making me drowsy. Rest, rest, rest & relaxation. This does not happen to me, ever, so I must embrace it & enjoy!

Here's a photo of my swelled up bruise, 48 hours after surgery....


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good bye teeth

Hello readers! I thought I'd better drop by say hi, see how you're all doing. Well I hope. I have a long, long list of future blog posts to get started on but yet again I have run myself too thin. Time has slipped away & so has the past two weeks. I'm happy to report I am in good spirits and health, slightly tired as usual & in desperate need to get back on my yoga mat more often.

This will not be happening for at least the next five days. Tomorrow is the day my wisdom teeth will finally be extracted. Fifteen years of pain & torture gone. To be replaced with who knows how many days of pain & swelling. I'm informed I'll have some good meds to keep the best of it away. Hence no yoga practice. Painkillers and antibiotics do not go well with the hot room. No teaching either till next Thursday (I'm teaching tonight though!) as I'm doubting my mouth will actually be working properly due to swelling. I've read the horror stories, talked to friends who've had this done too. No expectations. I'll just wake up after surgery wadding in place & what will be will be. Take it from there....

On a brighter note, I have all next week off work to recover so hopefully I'll catch up on all these posts I've been waiting to write!! Head might be swollen but hands will be ready for some typing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Granola slices

By popular demand it has been requested I post the recipe for my nutty, fruity, granola slices. These are the one's I made for the Christmas Day Charity yoga class at BYJ. Very simple and can be made organic very easily. Feel free to add any type of fruit or nuts you prefer. Enjoy!!!
Healthy Granola Bar Recipes #2
Fruit, Nutty, Whole Grain Bars
This recipe makes delicious chewy, crunchy healthy granola bars full of oats, dried fruit, and whole grains, lightly sweetened with the natural goodness of maple syrup instead of sugar.
You'll need a food processor to make these quick and easy granola bars. Or Thermomix owners follow the instructions below, chop everything on speed 7 or 8, then mix on number four till all mixed well.
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup wholemeal  flour
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried raisons
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (decent Canadian kind available in Woolworths, don't use the pancake syrup junk)
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 170C degrees.
  2. Grease a lamington baking pan with cooking spray, I line with baking paper too.
  3. Place oats, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, flour, fruit, almonds, dry milk, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until everything is chopped and well blended.
  4. Add maple syrup and eggs and pulse until everything is well blended.
  5. Spread the thick batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool and a wire rack on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Cut bars into desired size and shape.

Once they are completely cool, you can store these fruity, nutty, chewy, healthy  granola bars in an airtight container for up to 3 days

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meat & Nuts

This might seem a bit bizarre for a breakfast food but it works, meat & nuts. After Kat Eden's food seminar last month I have been trying to clean up my diet. Christmas saw me well & truly fall off the wagon head first into the bowl of chips whilst riding the dessert trolley. 

I gave the meat for breakfast a good two week go before the festive mayhem kicked in and it worked. I was fuller for a lot longer in the morning than when I have my usual carb based breakfast. It did mean preparing and pre cooking my meat for the mornings I was teaching. Cooking eggs at 4:15am wasn't too much of a drama. Making a big veggie frittata is perfect. It's lasts a few days, can be eaten hot or cold and on the run. Here's the link, via Kat, to the blog post by Charles Poliquin all about the meat & nuts breakfast....

Now Christmas is over & the damage is done I'm back to it. Some of my friends are trying detox diets; raw, vegan, juice, vitamin cleansing type things. I fully support their decisions but I need some energy to get me through my busy day. I've tried the detox cleanse thing before. I got really sick and spent a lot of time sleeping. Side effect of that type of diet. I was recently reading that the cold turkey approach doesn't actually do you that much good either. Steady, sensible lifestyle changes are better to avoid the withdrawal symptoms than suddenly stopping everything 'bad' for a few weeks. It's like the 'diet's don't work' theory, they don't, you have to change your eating habits for life. No good watching what you eat for six weeks, losing weight then go back to your old eating habits. What happens? The weight comes back. 80% clean foods, 20% not so clean is the best way so not to be deprived and risk the binge eating fall out. 

Bikram Yoga is the perfect detox. Sweat it out, whilst getting a full body workout. When I'm practicing hard and serious I automatically cut back on crappy foods. Sugar and muscles don't mix. When I eat rubbish my practice suffers. I watch my hydration more carefully so I'm getting enough liquids too. The past few weeks because I wasn't practicing as much I let that slip & felt horrible for it. So here I go, new year, new me, back into shape. Not so much for vanity reasons but for optimal health, energy & a stronger yoga practice. 

Shit Yogis Say

This is hilarious but so true!! Thanks Lulu...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Here we are January 3rd 2012, a new year has begun. Thinking back to what was going on this time last year is pretty much the same as today. I'm back at my day job, it is very quiet, I'm planning my week & drinking tea. 

2011 was a great year for me. It was busy, very busy but full of excitement and challenges. New friends were made, dear old friends were visited, I traveled to three continents clocking up a lot of air miles. I saw my family!! I spent a LOT of money, investments for sure, no regrets. I had my struggles but over came them. I believe I have come out the other side a stronger and more focused person. Prioritizing what is important right now & what can wait is a new skill I'm developing. Having the ability to say no, instead of spreading myself too thin just to please others because I think I have to is another thing I'm working on. 

Obviously one of the best things about 2011 was becoming a certified Bikram Yoga instructor. I'm still in the honeymoon stage but every time I teach it keeps getting better and better. It doesn't feel like a job. Probably because I have my full time job for security it takes the pressure off teaching. I can teach for fun because I enjoy it. I have the luxury of not worrying how many classes I teach a week to make ends meet. The bills are covered. Lucky me but it's never all sunshine & rainbows or where's the challenge. 

It is hard work. Our house is a mess, seriously thinking of getting a cleaner. My personal practice has been sacrificed in order to fit everything in. A knock of effect of this is my waist line has expanded because I've not reduced my food intake to fit. I'm still eating like I'm practicing 6 days a week & things are not as toned as they were six weeks ago. I'd love to teach more but it's just not possible right now, I'm not ready put all my eggs in one basket. Some weeks I can go days without teaching & I'm itching to get back on the podium asap. At least I'm fresh & raring to go when I do. It will be very easy to burn out if I'm not careful. Therefore I need to stick to my guns and prioritize! I wouldn't change my life right now for anything, I am extremely happy & grateful to be living here in the moment. Here's to 2012 a year for good health, travel, friendship & fun!