Five Ways to Recover Faster after CrossFit

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heavinglifting

 

Heavy lifting such as CrossFit can be very taxing on the entire body. Most people do not realize that physical stress, (not just mental stress) can also trigger adrenal fatigue. Not only do the muscles need to recover, but the entire body needs to heal from the stress induced by heavy lifting. Some of the most amazing athletes know that they need to rest and recover in order to maintain their strength, stamina, and ability to perform at their best. What are some things you can do now to speed the recovery process and heal faster?

 

1. Magnesium.

Magnesium plays an important role in the production of energy. Being deficient in magnesium can have a negative effect on sports performance. Magnesium is a calming mineral, and can turn the body from being in a stress-state or sympathetic state into a parasympathetic or relaxed state. According to this study, magnesium supplementation reduced the stress response in the body for the athletes. There are different many different forms of magnesium, but to help with muscle recovery and overall relaxation after a tough workout, transdermal magnesium massages and magnesium bath soaks are both great solutions! Soak for 20 minutes after a workout for best results.

 

2. Include gelatin in your diet.

All that heavy lifting can be taxing on your joints and cartilage! Although gelatin protein doesn’t necessarily support initial muscle healing (you need to include nutrient dense sources of protein, such as pasture raised meats and wild seafood which contain all essential amino acids), gelatin is great for the joints, and helps with stiffness and pain associated with heavy lifting. Gelatin contains high amounts of glycine and proline, which are both anti-inflammatory and great for joints. According to this research, gelatin was beneficial for symptom relief of osteoarthritis, and can stimulate change and enhancement of cartilage tissue. Try adding it to your morning coffee or tea, or even as part of your recovery drink.

 

3. Prioritize sleep!

In our ‘rush rush’ culture, sleep is often not a priority. Sleep is perhaps one of the most important means to recovery. When we are asleep, the body can heal and renew. Most of us are not getting enough sleep. For athletes, not getting enough sleep makes for slower healing time, increased stress, and decreased recovery. According to this research,  adapting appropriate sleep hygiene and healthy sleeping habits are important for optimal athletic performance. Sleep needs to become our number one health priority, rather than our last. A few things that can help ease into a good night’s sleep are to stay off of all screens 2 hours before bedtime, and to have a routine that includes reading, gentle stretching, a warm bath, or something you find relaxing. It’s important to keep the same routine and bedtime every night.

 

4. Take yoga.

There is no better way to stretch out those fatigued muscles and improve recovery than by taking a yoga class. Yoga enhances strength, stamina, and flexibility. According to bodybuilding.com:  

‘Yoga is the best medicine for preventing injuries and aiding muscle recovery and repair. When the muscles and surrounding tissues are lengthened and relaxed during yoga asana (Sanskrit word for postures) it creates more room for blood to flow.’

Yoga also forces you to take time to just ‘be’ without thinking. This can help significantly with emotional stress, which is also taxing on the body. Even one yoga class a week can really help athletes with recovery and performance!

 

5. Eat a sweet potato instead of an apple!

Glycogen depletion can cause fatigue for athletes. Low glycogen can be a limiting factor in both performance and recovery. It’s important to get glycogen directly to the muscle during recovery. Adequate carbohydrate during the recovery period is important in this metabolic process. However, the type of carbohydrate consumed actually makes a big difference! Fruit sources of carbs contain fructose, and fructose does not help with restoring glycogen nearly as much as glucose does. These researchers studied muscle recovery with glucose vs fructose. They found that glucose restores muscle glycogen 40% faster than fructose! They believe fructose is absorbed slower in the intestines, blood glucose is significantly higher with glucose vs fructose and therefore higher plasma insulin results in increased glucose uptake. Finally, fructose gives rise to more liver glycogen than glucose. This lowers muscle glycogen directly available for muscle glycogen synthesis. -Read more.

Fructose is found in fruit like apples, pears, peaches, oranges, etc. The better thing to reach for when recovering are starchy vegetables like tubers, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, beets, carrots and squash. These are all great ‘read food’ way to get glycogen to the muscle. Some athletes find that white rice right after a workout works great for them as well.

*Remember not to overtrain, and to listen to your body. It’s counterproductive if you are not getting adequate sleep and nutrition, yet still training.

 

Guest Post from Mom’s Who Crossfit!

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It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the amazing Rachael over at Moms Who Crossfit! Rachael is doing a guest post for today all about Crossfit training from home. She is providing us with an overview of crossfit, some sample WOD (work-outs of the day) and the equipment that is helpful to have on hand. I am so excited to start these workouts from home. I plan to blog on my progress. I will keep you posted on my workouts, and how it works for a busy mama!

 

 

Primal Bliss (4)

It seems to me (given your interest in all things Primal), that unless you have gone waaaayyy Caveman and are currently living Flintstone Styles, that you must have heard of CrossFit. The sport of fitness that utilises constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements to achieve some fairly impressive results.

First and foremost what drew me to CrossFit and become a CrossFit L1 Trainer is that as a Health Coach, I feel CrossFit prioritises Health in a way many other fitness entities fail to (not all there are some decent ones out there if you really search). In addition WOD’s (Workout Of the Day) are entirely scale-able, meaning you can participate no matter your fitness or strength (or lack thereof), and injuries can be accommodated (don’t be letting anyone tell you a jump assisted pull-up isn’t perfectly legit’!).

However, it is as a single Momma that my full appreciation of this training methodology is realized (and is also the reason I am a remote trainer). Because I know that it is in between wiping snotty noses, cooking delish primal meals, working, and washing other peoples gruts that a girl needs to get in some exercise (apologies if you are a boy), meaning we can’t always get our backsides along to a Box (the CF equivalent of a gym).

Plus this girl does not want to take six months of working on some godawfulgymmachineycontraption (that does nothing to imitate how we move in real life) to achieve a fitness goal, when it really only need take half that, with some awesome CrossFit workouts (even if you do them at home!). And if you are of the married variety, most of the workouts can be done in the time it takes ‘him indoors’ to get the dishes squared away – BONUS!

The variation aspect of CrossFit means individual WODs may involve strength (lifting heavy stuff), fitness (doing things at varying speeds across differing time-frames to improve all metabolic pathways) and agility (think body weight exercises and gymnastics) aspects.

Don’t freak out about the gymnastic thing, I’ve often said the most ‘agility’ I did prior to CrossFit, was fighting my way back into skinny jeans too soon after baby (don’t be picturing that struggle for too long now will you!). All it takes is practicing a few things you haven’t done since you were a youngin’ and you’ll be walking hand-stand styles in no time.

Now, while I won’t bore you with the nerd-ology behind CrossFit programming, like anything worth its salt, there is solid science behind the way the elements need to be put together, for the athlete (that’s you boys and girls) to achieve best results. However, what I have done is put together a couple of WODs to get you started, that you can do anywhere and that will challenge your body in different ways.

So even if you don’t think you are fit, strong or agile, pull on your big girl knickers (even if you are a boy) and train your heart out anyway, because this isn’t about competing against others, it’s simply about bettering yourself day by day.

Warm up: (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-azpnTj5X5Y )

WOD #1:

Every minute on the minute, for a total of 20 minutes do:

15 Air Squats (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDktkAg8aEo )

10 Press Ups (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1IfJmVjKW0 )

5 Sit Ups (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhG_x1bLHwE you can use a pillow in lieu of an ab-mat)

Obviously the quicker you get through each round, the longer rest you have before each 60 second time-frame rolls around.

Scaling would be to drop the time frame back to 10 or 15 minutes depending on fitness levels, and if required dropping a couple of reps off of each element.

WOD #2:

5 rounds for time:

1 min hold at bottom point of an overhead squat (demo of full sauat – bottom position around 1.43min http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L38N3DHmlyc you can use a broom handle for the ‘bar’)

20 travelling burpees (demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX60BcsO_wE

. . . instead of jumping up in the burpee as is shown in the demo, do a long jump forward)

This WOD is done with a continually running clock and you record the total time it takes you to complete the five rounds. You may only be able to hold the bottom position of the squat in good form for a count of 20 before you have to stand up and rest, simply keep continuing the squat/rest process until you have a total count of 60sec at the bottom of the squat, then move onto your first round of burpees (repeat 5 rounds then record your total time).

I have included the squat hold because it will highlight flexibility issues, strengthens the core and is good for the plumbing (especially for the ladies). If you feel five rounds is too much for you to start at, do three.

Your Warm Down should incorporate static stretching of the muscles and you can also practise a gymnastics element. Don’t worry if your handstand looks like a halfcartwheelpikeythingy to start with, you will eventually get there! (YouTube: ‘CrossFit – Handstand Progressions’ there are a few good tutorials there)

Now while these WODs are good ‘starters’, purchasing a few ‘toys’ can add significantly to the variety, as well as the fitness and strength aspects of your workouts. What is preferable to get first, depends entirely on your budget and space. So I would choose the following pieces of equipment if you want things that are

1) at the cheap end of the scale,

2) are portable

3) have multiple uses or

4) are fantastic for ‘getting the puff going’ (especially if you need to exercise at home while the kids are in bed).

Gymnastic Rings:

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. . . can be utilized for beginner through to highly complicated movements (check out ‘Muscle Ups’ on YouTube). Looped over a beam in your garage or even a sturdy branch, the rings add ‘instability’ to exercises, forcing you to recruit lots of muscles. Ring rows are often utilized when an athlete is not strong enough for pull-ups, and are great for encouraging back musculature to work as well as shoulders, arms and core.

Kettle Bells:

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. . . are great for cardio, strength and flexibility elements, often all in the one movement. They are highly versatile having a whole set of exercises all of their own (eg. Russian or American KB Swings) or as added weight in exercises you may be more familiar with (eg a walking lunge or static squats).

Speed Rope:

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. . . the ultra-fast version of the skipping rope you had when you were a kid. Because it is made of cable it turns faster, allowing two passes under with each jump (when you get proficient at it). With this piece of equipment you can greatly improve both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness and stimulate your nervous system, all in a few feet of space!

www.againfaster.com can hook you up with all of this equipment as well as anything else you might want for home WODs. You are also likely to have plenty of things around the house you can utilise for equipment, and other items you can make very cheaply. Who knows eventually you may build an entire ‘garage gym’ of your very own!

These kinds of work-outs may seem difficult at first, but if you stick with them you are likely to astound yourself with the improvements you make and I’d love for y’all to keep in touch and let me know how you are progressing, and if you are really keen on slowly getting a home gym set up and want advice or programming, feel free to get in touch.

Various ways of stalking me:

www.healthcoaching.co.nz

www.facebook.com/MomswhoCrossfit

www.facebook.com/HealthyNationNZ

admin@healthcoaching.co.nz

PS – Big thanks to Kathryn (world famous Primal Bliss momma) for having me ‘at her place’ – her stuff is rock-star! And high-5s, fist bumps and joyful bootay dances to you luurvalies for being here. Love that you care enough about yourself, your family and our world to take the time.

 

Conquering the Handstand Series #3

“You made the decision to be here, no one is making you do this” -Justin Wolfer, Yoga Teacher

“Some of you are trying to do a handstand on your fingertips!”-Justin Wolfer, Yoga Teacher

This week I made some great progress! I was able to make it up into a handstand position with assistance, and get up on the wall by myself. That was huge progress for me. However, this was not without many falls-and many laughs. I took a huge face-plant. I was able to laugh and move forward. I was also trying to lift my legs up into a handstand while planted on my fingers.  I had to be reminded several times to keep my hands firmly rooted, and not bend my arms. I am truly teaching my body to do something it has never done before. It’s not something I am retraining to do, it is something I have never done!

I took myself less seriously this week, yet I was focused and determined. What seemed to help me most of all was partnering up with someone and working together. It made a huge difference for me having a partner. I was much more confident having someone to spot me and help move my body into correct alignment before attempting to get up. I depended on someone else quite a bit, but by doing so I was able to make my own progress. I felt more confident knowing someone had my back!

We lean on each other in life as well. We go through times when we really need someone to be there for us, and that is okay. At times my partner was depending on me, and at times I was depending on her. Sometimes in life we let our egos get in the way, and we want to prove that we can do everything on our own. I realized that it’s okay to need help and lean on each other. I did so much better that way! We can learn from each other and find strength in each other. Our bodies and minds are all different and unique, yet we find ways to connect and be there for each other. It’s pretty amazing how we all dance through life as seemingly separate entities, yet find strength in each other. We really are all connected!

Justin ended class with a strength series of planks and push-ups. I felt very strong-I can see and feel changes in my body and I am proud of my individual progress!  Pictured below are my friend Tracy (who is also a yoga instructor-so I snagged her as my partner), Justin Wolfer (our instructor) and myself.

 

*Thank you my friend Melanie from Out of Eden Images for the pictures!

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Self-Healing Through Meditation

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K9

We are very much alike on the inside. We all internalize and present our emotions differently, but we all have similar internal struggles.  We all want to feel good inside. Most of us look outward to fulfill our needs. We look for recognition and validation through how other people react to us. Then when our expectations from that other person are not met, we have someone to blame other than ourselves. Our minds may be small and closed-we see through the same “eyes” over an over, and hold onto the same judgments that have been ingrained in our brain.

Looking inward…turning inward is very difficult because it means feeling very uncomfortable. It means you have to be alone with yourself, and learn to like what you feel.  We live in a harsh world, and years of negative experiences takes a toll on us. There is no one to blame for the strong emotions that are experienced, even though we want to blame others. However, facing these emotions facilitates inward healing.  You will no longer have that need to justify love for yourself by how others perceive you. Once you start to focus on the good in yourself, you will begin to see more of the good in those around you. You will begin to judge less.

This is where meditation comes in…

The act of “meditation” seems so out of reach to many of us. Where on earth would I find the time for that? How could I ever quiet the chatter that goes on in my mind? You may even think of it as nonsense, or foolishness. Why on earth would someone want to just sit there and be still? How can I not think? I have heard many people say “I’m too much of a Type A personality to meditate” or “I can’t get my mind to turn off”

Try to just imagine for a second being able to center, and focus. Try to imagine moving to a quiet place in your mind.  How awesome would it be to feel “high” and happy without stimulation, or materialistic distraction? Imagine being able to connect with yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin.  Imagine being able to view the world through a new set of eyes-ones that don’t internalize the world in quite the same way as before. To me, meditating is about being able to sit and feel, to process, and to let go. It is about being in the moment, and taking in what that moment has to offer. It is about connecting with yourself, and forgiving yourself. It is about healing, creating self love and self respect. It is in this space where you may begin to experience true happiness. Through meditating, we can “face our demons” so to speak.

Most people who meet me think that I am very laid back and quiet. I’ve been told that I am a calming presence and that I seem easy going. I am slowly getting there, However, people who really know me know that I am actually very intense. I am usually stiff and rigid, holding everything inside myself.  I am  an extremely “Type A” person. I have always been at least a ½ hour early for every appointment. I’ve always written lists, adhered to schedules, worried about pointless things. My mind would focus on the past…or worry about the future. I set very high standards for myself, and get disappointed with myself very easily. In the past I have always cared about how other people perceive me, yet I was not fulfilling my own desires. I always assumed I was not fit for meditation of any kind, because my mind just could not be quieted. It was just not possible or for me. I found my “happy place” through music  and through exercising…through long drives and through solitary hikes.

Little did I know…I was meditating during these activities! 

 Anytime the mind is quiet (NOT empty, just quiet), and focused-you are meditating. You are going into a semi-trance state, and you are more open to suggestion. Your thoughts are all on one particular object or idea. So…when you are listening to music and experiencing the emotions that you feel with the song…you are meditating. The song is taking you to a place in your mind where you are focused. You are dealing with the emotions the song is bringing up-be it happy, sad, scared, longing, lonely. You feel the music, you are in tune with your inner self. You are feeling. You are meditating. Acknowledge the feelings you are experiencing, no matter how painful they may be. Acknowledge the feelings, and then try to let them go.

Remember, your thoughts do not own you, and sometimes they can be toxic to you. So during these times of solitary focus, try to acknowledge that these are just thoughts stuck in your brain through many from years of conditioning, and free them. Don’t let these thoughts own or define you. We can get pretty tied up in our own minds.

While driving in the car you “space out”…suddenly you reach your destination. However, you have no recollection of the trip. You are meditating. You are focusing on the road, your thoughts are able to enter your mind, and leave. When running or cycling you reach that “high” where you are focused yet strong, and you feel really good. You are meditating. It is during these moments that you are the most creative! I always find that while running I have the best ideas-and I get really excited about them.

Successful meditation is not necessarily thinking about “nothing”. It is about being present with yourself in that moment. We have this preconceived misconception that in order to meditate you have to fully clear your mind of all thought. Therefore, we don’t even bother trying. However, the flow of your mind does not ever stop. You cannot “turn your mind off” To me, meditating is about letting the thoughts enter your mind, experiencing them, and then releasing them. We usually ignore how we feel-suppress it-push it aside-bury it. The simple act of acknowledging how the thought made you feel helps you to heal. It may take time, but it is a process.

 It’s as if you are taking the time to sit and have an important conversation with yourself…you are focusing on only yourself. Give yourself permission to open up and let go. You will begin to realize that your thoughts do not define who you are. We tend to be terrible to ourselves, and can be our own worst enemy. Forgive yourself. You are complex and multifaceted. The feelings you experience are necessary-that is your way of healing. Don’t try to close out these feelings before acknowledging them. Try to be present and in the moment. Really feel how you are feeling, as if a friend is crying on your shoulder, but that friend is yourself. With each breath, release the feelings you are experiencing.

Not only will you begin to heal, but you will feel less angry and more forgiving. You will begin to better understand the actions of those around you, and be less judging of others. You will experience lower stress levels and better health! You may even begin to be true to yourself, and make necessary changes in your life.

Anyone can meditate.

Take 15 minutes a day for yourself. Listen to music that moves you. Go for a long drive, or even just sit on the edge of your bed and focus on your breathing. Have these conversations with yourself. It can be first thing in the morning, on your drive to work, while on lunch break, when your child is napping, before bed or during intense exercise. Anytime…just take that time.

Pay attention to your breathing. Let the thoughts come in and acknowledge them. Record in your mind how you felt, and focus on that feeling for a moment. Did you feel angry? Accept that. Did you feel sad? Feel it. Then let it go. Imagine that thought and the feeling drifting away in the wind. Then let the next one in. Eventually you will find that you are more in tune with yourself, and how you internalize the world. You are healing yourself. Eventually the thoughts will come in and go out faster and faster. You may begin to feel serene and peaceful. You may realize that you want to stay longer each time, and you may begin to go into deeper and deeper states of relaxation and peacefulness.

I remember meditating on a park bench this past summer while the kids were digging in a sandbox. I could smell the summer air, hear insects buzzing…everything felt so intense. I felt warmth on my face-I felt excited and happy, yet peaceful. I did not want to move. I wanted to stay there forever. This was a gift I gave myself, and it was free. I was also a better mom the rest of that day.

By giving yourself these 15 minutes each day, you are teaching yourself that you do matter…because whether you believe it or not, you do. When you begin to forgive yourself, you will begin to forgive those around you. You will stop blaming everyone else for how you are feeling. You will begin to accept that feelings are your way of communicating with yourself, and regulating yourself. You may begin to feel comfortable being alone with just your thoughts…something not many of us can do. Use them to move forward and make changes in your life, and let go of the negativity.

It still might not come easy for you…but don’t give up. You will make progress, and you are worth this time!

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

Conquering The Handstand Series #2

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Blue October-Jump Rope– my theme song for today…enjoy! Life is like a jump rope.

Today was tough. I just could not get out of my own way! Justin said that “the mind is the hardest muscle to exercise.” I was just not in the right mindset today and I felt as if that interfered with my progress. He reminded us that whether we did a handstand or not, that moment was over and we needed to let it go. That is the hardest part of life…letting go of the thoughts that “haunt” us. This is something I have been personally working on. Often times our minds travel elsewhere…and then gets stuck there. Our mindset-how we internalize each moment-is the biggest obstacle to truly feeling happiness in the moment. Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

I started the class feeling defeated and throughout the class I felt myself giving up. Once I started down that path, my body became stuck as well.  It felt as if I had taken 5 steps back. My body felt super heavy as if there were a load of bricks keeping me from getting air when I hopped up. The bricks were not really there, I created them in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong-I felt challenged. Class was hard and I did a lot of good work. We are our own worst critic. My body felt exhausted. I probably even made progress even though I did not feel it. Justin had us go through a series of strength exercises moving from planks to side planks. Man that was hard. I thought it would never end. My body was getting stronger at that moment. I still tried to laugh. Justin made sure to remind us several times to have fun with it.

Tracy told me that “yoga is about expanding the body outward.” I have always been very “rigid’ with both my mind and my body. Years of social conditioning make it difficult to let go of how we perceive the world. This whole process for me is a way of changing that conditioning, and expanding my mind, body and spirit.

Before leaving the yoga room a nice gentleman next to me stopped me and said “I could not even get myself up onto the wall last year. I was stuck too, and having a hard time progressing. Then I saw this lady who had a spinal injury, and she was very fearful of doing a handstand. I watched her give it everything she had and get herself all the way up. I was able to do it the very next time! You never know when your moment will come. Something might inspire you and then it will just happen!” He also reminded me that he has been working it at for over a year. I am on week 2 of doing something my body has never done before.

At the end of class my friend Tracy looked at me and said “let it go” and she was right. What good does holding on to negative feelings do for you? No good. So why hold on to them? That seems to be what we do best. After holding onto years after years of bad feelings, we can get to feeling pretty heavy inside. Being in the moment is not possible when you have so many other moments stuck on your brain. Let’s “un-stick” ourselves!

*I will have an upcoming blog post on meditation and how it helps us to experience and then let go of our feelings, allowing us to grow. I will also discuss some misconceptions about meditating, and how it is not out of reach for us!

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Special thanks to my friend Melanie from Out of Eden Images for the pictures!

New Years Goal #1 Conquering the Handstand

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Yoga Handstand Series

“And as my mind begins to spread its wings

There’s no stopping curiosity

I want to turn the whole thing upside down

I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found” –Jack Johnson “upside down”

It’s a New Year and I am all about trying new challenges, and pushing my personal boundaries so that I may grow as a person. I wanted to start with an obtainable goal, but something that I would have to work at to achieve.
I have always admired gymnasts. As a child I hoped and dreamed that I would be able to do flips, acrobats, somersaults, handstands, and cartwheels. I would spend hours trying, but to no avail. My sister Laura and I would do what we called “underdog flips” We would run super fast, tuck our heads in, flip and land on our backs. I remember feeling like a rock star when I did an underdog flip. Oh how silly we must have looked.
For Christmas one year I asked for full gymnastic regalia. I wanted a leotard, tights, headband, the works. I thought that by dressing the part I would suddenly be an overnight superstar gymnast. Yeah…no…..

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I never did learn how to do any acrobatics. Eventually I even forgot how to do the underdog flip (although I can still picture it in my mind). I am a runner and I strength train. However, I was never very flexible. I lack the core strength and confidence to even try these maneuvers without the risk of breaking something.

A few weeks back I was enjoying a glass of wine with my neighbor Tracy (who is also an awesome yogini). I admire Tracy. She doesn’t know it, but Tracy has taught me a great deal about life. The past few months we have developed a real friendship, and I feel fortunate to have her in my life. I can just walk over there, open the door and sit down. Tracy gets right up and starts cooking dinner for me…and she is an amazing cook. My kids call her “chef Tracy” No matter what I cook them, chef Tracy makes it better. She is way less structured and rigid than I am. I feel relaxed being around her. So here we are sipping some wine and chatting…and I mention to Tracy that I would love to learn how to do a handstand. Well Tracy gets me right up and within a few minutes she has me doing an assisted wall handstand. I was literally upside down.

Being upside down really changes your perceptions on life. It sort of “re-sets your mode” so to speak. Tracy told me it would…and strangely it did! I felt the blood rush to my head and I felt alive. I felt strong. I crashed to the floor shortly after, but I was filled with excitement-almost as if I were looking at life through a new set of eyes.

I recently celebrated a birthday, and Tracy surprised me and signed me up for a “Climb Higher Series, Mastering the Handstand” at a local yoga studio. I would get to learn the skills needed to do a real handstand!

My dear friend Melanie is an amazing photographer. Her studio is called Out of Eden Images. She is getting into fitness photography, as her new endeavor. I am lucky to have her photographing my progress during the handstand series! I will write about my progress each week, and the lessons I have learned along the way. My hope is that by week 4 I will be doing an unassisted handstand! Maybe…either way, I will learn a lot.

“It is not about mastering the handstand. It is about the journey to get there.”-Justin Wolfer (our yoga instructor) Taking any steps toward a new goal is scary-whatever that goal may be. I’m sure I will feel uncomfortable and awkward. Leaving what feels comfortable is hard. It’s scary, it may hurt-a lot…but sometimes it needs to be done. You cannot grow and change if you are stagnant.

Day 1: I fell…many times. But I was able to laugh at myself and get back up again. Justin explained that we would go through a series of poses to help build strength, stamina, and confidence while being in a new position. It takes a certain amount of self-awareness to essentially use your hands as feet…(and not worry about falling and breaking something).

At first I was frustrated because when I crashed I sounded as loud as a pile of books landing on the floor.

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I gave the people around me a few good chuckles. Justin reminded us to have fun and smile! He wasn’t one of those strict yoga teachers where you get the look of death if you start cracking up. I appreciated that. He also reminded us to be soft on our feet. I need to practice being softer on my feet. At certain points I became frustrated because people around me seemed to just “get it.” I quickly learned that I had to completely block out those around me and turn my focus inward. When I did this, I started to make progress in my own way. This is true in life! We tend to compare…we focus on those around us. Just by turning your focus inward, you will begin to understand yourself more. When you understand yourself, you can understand those around you. You stop blaming. You grow as a person.  I was able to do an assisted wall handstand, and the instructor was able to let go for a brief moment before I crashed to the floor. Overall, the first class was a success for me. I learned some lessons, I feel stronger. Most importantly I had some good laughs. I’m ready for the next step!

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