Five Ways to Recover Faster after CrossFit

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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.

 

The Clean Eating Teen Discusses “Back to School”

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First of all, I just want to give a HUGE thank you to Kathryn for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write for her blog. You rock!!

My name is Natalie Wester! I am a high school student from Texas, and run a health blog, Clean Eating Teen.

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Everyone who knows me, knows I am a HUGE health and fitness nut. I am known around family, friends, and school as the “hippie” chick. And they’re right! I have BIG plans to obtain a certification in holistic nutrition, as well as to become a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. I’m so passionate about this field, that I’m usually seen carrying nutrition books around school campus.

I help my family and peers in any way I can, trying to help people obtain a healthy and active lifestyle. I make meal plans (with any donations I earn going towards yoga teaching tuition) and workout with those interested, and love to share anything I know about health and nutrition to those wanting to learn more.

It get’s chaotic sometimes, managing school work with a healthy diet and fitness regimen. But I don’t let my busy schedule become an excuse to neglect my body. That (along with grades, no doubt) is one thing I will NEVER let myself slack up on.

Before I started taking care of myself and nourishing myself properly, I was sluggish. I was not in shape, I did not eat well, and overall my performance was no where near as it is today. Don’t get me wrong, I always did my best and never fell behind… but since converting into a healthier, “clean diet” form of living, boy… are the differences HUGE! I feel better, have more energy… not to mention my skin cleared up, eyes whitened, and hair got shinier. I even lost some (healthy) weight!

Sometimes it gets difficult, but with proper preparation, it is more than possible to stay on track after it is time for the lazy summer time days to go away! This post is about how I keep up with my lifestyle during the school year… and how you, weather you are still in school or working, can too!

Exercise:   

 

My high school starts at 7:30 AM. I used to do my workouts after school, and that worked for a while. But eventually, I piled on after school activities, and before I knew it, I was lacking energy to work out after I got home from a long day.

My solution? Workout before school.

I am not saying that people can’t exercise towards the end of the day… actually, many prefer this! However, I have always been an early bird, and this was really the only time I found I had enough energy to get my body up and moving! Plus, it energizes me for the rest of my day.

I like having a pattern that I can rely on everyday, and I know for sure that my mornings will go un-interrupted for a workout. I could never say that about after school, because I never know when I need to stay for a project, tutorials, or another after school event.

            During school months, I wake up at 5AM. I workout for about an hour, until 6AM. Then I eat breakfast and am dressed and ready to leave by 7AM. I do this every day.

            In order to ensure efficiency, I prepare things the day before so I don’t have to waste time in the morning! I lay out my workout clothes. If I know I am doing yoga, I get my mat ready. If I am doing strength training or a DVD, I get out the equipment and have the DVD in the player. These simple tricks shave off precious minutes that you can use getting work done!

            This also includes knowing what you will be doing, routine wise, the day before. Are you going to be going on a run? Is it leg day, arm day? What DVD or routine are you doing? By knowing this, you take the guessing out of things and can mentally get yourself ready to tackle your workout.

            It is definitely a challenge to start this, but if you are passionate about staying active, you will make the adjustments needed. It only takes a few weeks before the habit sets in, trust me!

            Of course, because I wake so early, I usually go to bed by 9ish. I never have been able to stay up past 10PM easily anyway, so this wasn’t hard for me, especially after a LONG day of school, theatre, homework, ext…

            Now, I know that not everyone can get to bed this early. People have meetings, children, a spouse and family to tend to. I am just telling what works easiest for me, as an example to help you set your own goals with something of a path to fallow! J

           

            Here is a round up of tips for this category:

-Workout in the morning, or whenever time is easiest and most likely to be available and not interrupted.

 

-Go to bed earlier, regardless of when you workout, to ensure you have enough energy the next day.

 

-Lay out workout clothes and get needed workout equipment ready the night before.

 

-Have in mind what routine or workout you will be doing the day before you do it.

 

-Stick to your routine. Try to work out the same time each day to form habit, and stay committed! It get’s easier the more you do it. J

 

 

Food:

Everyone knows that school cafeteria food is… well, not food. It is actually a joke between my friends and I that everything the cafeteria serves is actually different shapes of ground horse hooves…

            Unless you are blessed to attend one of the few schools in the nation (or otherwise) which serves organic, homemade lunches… I HIGHLY recommend you make and bring your own. Actually, I don’t recommend it… I require it. I can’t tell you how many times my friends (who don’t even strive for a healthy diet to begin with) complain about the school’s slimy pizza or mock fish sticks.  If THEY have a hard time consuming it, I really don’t think it is wise for a health conscious student to put it anywhere near their lips!

            I also am astounded by how many people either A) Go without eating lunch (and not for monetary reasons) or B) Buy five cookies and a chocolate milk and call it a meal. This is also a big no no, and is another reason why bringing your own lunch is such a good idea. When you prepare your own food, you not only know what is in it, but you are guaranteed a meal that you like and that is nourishing. 

            This also goes for breakfast… some people do eat theirs at school, but most catch a bite to eat at the house before jumping on the bus or driving. Breakfast might even be trickier than lunch, because it is all too easy to forget about it until you pop out of bed late, and only remember it by the sound of your stomach growling while you frantically brush your teeth! Plus, most conventional breakfast items are no more than empty calorie sugar bombs: donuts, waffles, pop tarts and most cereals will not energize you for the long day ahead!

 

            I understand that making your own lunch may be time consuming, but this is where weekly food preparation comes in handy. If you don’t want to be making your lunch each night before, prepare a few containers of a basic, non spoiling lunch on a Sunday evening.

            Try making large batches of staples-it is a good idea to grill/bake/pan sear some ground turkey, chicken breast, pork chops, ext so that you can also have that on hand.

            I know many people, and many bloggers who post weekly about how they and their readers “food prep” for the week. A preparation can be as easy or as complicated as you would like. Heck, even if you just chop up some vegetables to have at hand for the week… that is better than nothing! Here are two examples of what you could do on a free weeknight to get ready for the rest of the week:

Ex 1. Say you are having grilled chicken for dinner, with a side of steamed broccoli. Instead of one chicken breast, go ahead and grill as many as you can… 6 or 7. While you are chopping the broccoli to steam, chop extra to toss into a salad for one of your lunches. Portion everything in separate containers, and then toss your broccoli with some greens and a chicken breast for a salad lunch. Easy peasy!

Ex 2. You are having breakfast on Sunday morning, hard boiled eggs with homemade (healthy-grain-free) pancakes. Boil as many eggs as you can (a whole dozen would be nice, for lunches and breakfasts!), as well as double, or triple your pancake batter. Peel all the eggs, and store them properly for easy morning protein, or chop them up in a lunch salad later. Use all the pancake mix, and (just like you would buy at the store), put them in portioned baggies and freeze them. You can heat them up in the toaster in the mornings easy enough, and if you are running out the door, eat them sandwich style with some almond butter between!

            Of course, these are just examples in which you make some extra of the food you already were preparing. You can also just make your week food separately! Don’t limit yourself to basic things either, even though they ARE easiest. Try making protein bars, meat patties, soups, stews, chiles… anything you can think of and have the availability to do!

            While prepping food is a great idea, it is also handy to buy a few items that don’t require much hassle to simple throw in a brown bag. I find that many companies carry “to-go” sizes of their products… I have also seen small individual bags of baby carrots, and of course pre-chopped fruit cups.

            Some ideas of ready-made, healthy choices would be:

-Unsweetened fruit cups

-Unsweetened apple sauce

-Pre sliced vegetables or fresh fruit

-Sliced, high quality deli meat or cheese (not pre packaged, sliced right in front of you by the butcher!)

-Organic cheese sticks or rounds

-No sugar added dry fruit

-Fresh fruit with a natural “to-go” method, like apples, bananas, and oranges

-Healthy chips (baked chips, sweet potato chips, kale chips)

 

Here is a quick round up for this category:

 

-Do NOT fall victim to the school cafeteria food line! Your taste buds AND your body deserve better than whatever they are serving. The extra time you put into making your breakfasts or lunches is well worth it.

 

-Prepare your food before hand! Be simple and simply chop vegetables up or make extra of staples you already need, or make actual things (protein bars, meat patties, soups) for future meals.

 

-Pick up some to-go sized items of your favorite healthy products,  as well as other things you do not have to prepare before hand and can just throw into your lunch bag.

 

Just for reference, here are a few ideas for meals at breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast:

         Pre made hard boiled eggs with an apple and nut butter

         Pre made grain free pancakes or waffles with nut butter or honey and fresh fruit

 EASY, Paleo, Sugar Free Gluten Free and Flourless pancakes (two main ingredients… a banana and two eggs! Recipe is on my blog)

         Banana with nut butter or sunbutter

One of my lunches since starting school this year! Lettuce wraps with leftover turkey meat, and some baby carrots with homemade hummus!

Lunches:

-Salad with pre-chopped veggies, balsamic vinegar and pre grilled chicken breast or hard boiled egg

-Lettuce wraps with large romaine leafs, left over meat, or veggies 

-Pre made soups or chile

-Half an avocado with a can of tuna or salmon and fresh tomato and cilantro on top

-Left-overs from last night’s dinner… the best! 😉

I KNOW it is easy to make excuses when school and work gets tough. Who has the time-or the energy, for that matter- to eat right and work out?

            The answer is simple… if you REALLY want something, you will do anything to make sure it happens. So in other words… do you want a wholesome, fit and active life? If your answer is yes… then you DO have the time!

How do you stay healthy during school?

What are some of your favorite go-to workouts or meals?

Natalie

Facebook: www.facebook.com/holisticmealplanning

Twitter: www.twitter.com/cleaneatingteen

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/cleaneatteen

Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/cleaneatingteen 

Handstand Series #4-The last class of the series!

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It’s all about getting back up again!”

 

So here we are at week 4, the last of a 4 part handstand series. I was really motivated to give it my all, and I felt really strong! As with all the other classes, I fell a heck of a lot…but I kept plowing on. I focused on the mind-body connection this week. Sometimes we want our body to do something, and the only thing preventing us from doing it is our mind-or thought process. We are afraid…afraid of failing, afraid of falling. It is that fear of the unknown. It is amazing how much our mind can hold us back. Sometimes we *think our body is capable of doing something when in actuality our bodies are just not trained enough to do it. I flipped back and forth between these 2 scenarios quite a bit…but somehow “met myself in the middle” I made progress. This is the first week that I actually stayed upside down for a longer period of time and started to feel comfortable being in that position! I also learned a different way to “climb” up the wall, and that boosted my confidence! I can now comfortably do something that I was very fearful of in the past.

 

This “fear of the unknown” reminded me of the fear I experienced with starting up my new blog/facebook page. Every risk we take is scary, whether it be a physical or emotional risk. New things are plain old scary.  We get used to living in a comfort zone, and sometimes we don’t want to leave it. However, by pushing our boundaries (the ones we’ve created in our mind) we can truly grow as a person. RE: blogging, it is difficult to put yourself out there. I am literally sharing a piece of my life with a whole lot of people. I’m sure many people will disagree with my opinions or philosophies, and it’s hard to feel strong.  I was shocked at the positive response I received, and all the support! I was expecting things to move slower. I have met so many amazing people in such a short time. Even though the response has been amazing, I still have that fear of falling-just like the fear of falling during a handstand. Sometimes I don’t have the answers to the questions people ask me. I am admittedly no expert. Sometimes I fear that I will fail. However, every time I hear the negative self-talk in my mind, I take a step back, regroup and pick myself up. Just like I fell quite a bit during the handstand practice, yet I did not stop trying. I know I will fall quite a bit in life, with all my life decisions. How else will I grow and become a better person? You can’t grow without some growing pains!

 

I have been practicing my handstands every single day. I climb the wall, I do push-ups, I do planks and I jump up. Each day my body is getting stronger! I am proud at the progress I made and will continue to practice so that I may easily get myself into a handstand position without any support. During this series I reached out for help, I felt low, I felt high, I felt weak, I felt strong-The most important thing is that I became more in touch with myself and how I was feeling. I made connections that were not there before, and I learned more about myself. I became a better friend with myself!

Namaste!

*thanks to my friend Melanie from Out Of Eden Photography for the pictures!

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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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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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