The Summer of Yes…

This summer is all about trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone.  To do that, I’ve adopted a “say yes to anything” mantra.  I figure if an opportunity presents itself, I’ve got to take it, right?

There’s been a couple of things I’ve been saying I want to do for a while now but as life happens, we often push these things, however big or small they may be, to the bottom of the list, putting work, family obligations and everyday “life” first and sometimes forgetting to embrace the extras.

Every since my childhood trips to Cali, one thing I’ve always wanted to do is learn to surf.  At (nearly) 33, I realize I may be a bit too late and gravity is probably not on my side. While I was once a gymnast (I swear!) I’m not sure I’ve retained much from my leotard days except for decent flexibility and nice calves (no modesty here…).

Especially after my ill-fated snowboarding debacle (I was truly one with the mountain – as in, I was face-down on the mountain for 95% of the time…), I’ve realized I may be getting too old for my whimsical, wishful list of hobbies I want to start. But I digress…

A few months ago, I wrote an article on SURFSET Fitness, a new workout program done entirely on a specially designed indoor surfboard and funded by Shark Tank – one of my favorite shows.  I took a class at Floortime Studios as part of my reporting and thought it was pretty darn cool. When I saw they were offering a summer bootcamp to both get in-shape and take a group surf-lesson at the end, I signed up and will finally be checking off the learn to surf (or at least “get up on a board”)  box on my never-ending life to-do list.

I’ve completed 11 classes so far and am hooked. I plan on signing up for the next session and really whipping my butt into shape. It’s an amazing total body workout including cardio and strength work and I am definitely working harder than I ever did before at the gym or on my casual jogs by the beach.   Stay tuned to hear about my actual ocean-time happening in a few weeks – hopefully I’ll live to tell the tale!

So what will I say yes to next? I don’t know…try me! 🙂

On Establishing Routines…

Never have I ever…had a routine in life.  Is this bad?

I don’t wake up at the same time everday, I don’t eat the same thing for breakfast, and let’s not even discuss my bedtime.  Even when I had a traditional 9-5 job, I was never able fall into a comfortable morning routine. Some days I’d randomly be inspired to get up early, go for a run, make breakfast, etc, while other days I’d wake up at the latest possible second, counting off all the things I could skip in trade for a few more mins of sleep (if I don’t blowdry my hair I can snooze for 10 more minutes…and if I don’t shower at all, woohoo, another 30). When I worked for a relatively flexible company in NYC and the start time wasn’t set in stone, forget it. I didn’t even get my coffee at the same place each morning, always randomly stopping somewhere new and even switching up my subway line/walking route for no reason I can really explain.

I never really thought about it too much until recently, when I actually set out to give myself a more structured daily routine.  They say it takes 30 days for something to become habit and I honestly can’t think of too many things I’ve stuck with for that long, at least in terms of daily ritual. So now I’m curious, is this really bad? Is routine necessary for a productive life? Or on the flip side, is it better to not become too comfortable and “set in your ways?” Is being a creature of habit good, bad or indifferent?

As someone who works from home and juggles several clients and gigs, I’ve been grappling with how to best structure my days and also have time to fit in the things that are good for my soul. We’ve already established that getting up at the crack of dawn sadly didn’t work for me although I’m hoping to try again now that the weather’s getting warmer and the sun will be shining early and often.  I tried and tried to make the gym a routine but had the recent epiphany that my gym was actually a sad and terrible place for me. I’m not even being dramatic, there were just no good feelings that came from going there and so I’m ditching the membership in favor of outdoor workouts, yoga classes and maybe a little SURFSET Fitness in between.  All these things make me feel amazing, and I think that’s what working out should be about, not painfully sweating away the minutes in a grey, concrete, nearly windowless room. Sorry Newport YMCA, it’s not you, it’s me…ok, it’s a little bit you…

Recently I posted about writing everday and that’s something I’ve actually stuck to, for the most part, but I can do better! So here’s some things I’m hoping to turn into habits, and I’d love some input on how to best do it.

  • Personal Writing – Is there really a “best time” to write? I’ve read articles that say early morning is best, and even a study that stated we get our most creative ideas when we’re tired.  I think it’s about finding what works for you, but I’d like to carve out some writing time each day for blogging, journaling and ultimately for writing that damn best-seller already!
  • Fitness/Wellness – Notice I didn’t say “working out”  because I’m kind of over that word. I’d like to get into a nice routine however of yoga classes, outdoor runs and other happy activities that are good for my body and my mind. Oh yeah, and more clean eating and all that jazz.
  • Sleep schedule – A biggie for me. Seeking any tips and tricks on somehow keeping regular hours and shutting off my mind at night.

Thoughts, ideas and advice welcome, so fire away!

Being All Zen and Stuff…

I’ve always been more of a wannabe yoga enthusiast, going just enough to sorta know what warrior pose is, but not nearly enough to do a head stand or not wobble during tree pose.

My fascination with yoga began years ago way before it was so popular when a doctor I was seeing suggested I check it out as an alternative to drinking, back when I was just another mono-infested college student who refused to heed the docs warning of no alcohol for a month despite the fact that my skin and pupils had turned a lovely shade of yellow…

Anyway…

Over the years I’ve gone on yoga kicks buying a 10 session pass here and there or attending classes at my gym,  and I usually list it as an interest/hobby due to my desire to have cool and unique interests beyond “reading, writing and music”  but my point is I’ve never been as devout a yogi as I could be…

Once, back in NYC I was somehow enticed by a damn Groupon or something to try a Bikram yoga class and am still horrified to this day about it.  The class is a hazy and sweat-infused memory but the subway ride home remains crystal clear.  It was winter and I had worn a puffy coat over my yoga gear.  I was so hot and sweaty after class that I just could NOT bring myself to put my coat back on the entire ride home so I braved the subway from the East Village to the Upper West Side (changing lines no less) as a hot mess in my yoga gear holding my coat and wondering if my body temperature would ever return to normal. It did, but I learned my lesson loud and clear, hot yoga was certainly not “my thing…”

Fast forward to present day, where my yoga options are extremely limited due to the fact that Newport has only a few studios and my lack of car leaves those options even slimmer.  This past summer I went to a Yoga in the Park session at Ballard Park – a great nature sanctuary off Ocean Drive.  That was nice.  The class was beginner to say the least but I still felt all connected to the universe afterwards.  Since then however, I’ve been waiting for my next yoga opportunity. The gym I attend has classes but they’re never at the right time and plus I’m always a bit skeptical of “gym yoga.”  For some reason I find gym classes more focused on doing the movements and getting in a workout but they lack the spiritual experiential part of yoga that’s my favorite part.  No soft music, no soothing narrative and no story-telling.

Most of my yogi friends in town attend Newport Power Yoga which is just a short walk from my apartment.  I was skeptical of this “power yoga’ thing because it sounded sneakily like Bikram (shudder).  Upon further research on their website and at my friends word that it wasn’t so bad I decided it was time to check it out.  I attended my first class this past Friday and really loved it.  It was a community class so it was open to all levels and the room was set at “moderate heat and steam to get the body loose.”  It was hot, yes, but somehow it didn’t bother me (which is strange considering I’m that girl visibly sweating through my blouse in the winter if the heat is too high at a bar…). Somehow even though the class was PACKED and I was thisclose to my neighbors mats, I found the class to be just what I was looking for.  I sweat out of every orifice (did you know your ankles can sweat?!), but I swear, it was actually a lot more pleasant than it sounds.  The class focused on breathing, strength and balance but the best part for me was something the instructor said at the end of the class.  He was talking about how for 50 mins you just show up, give it your best and escape from your everyday thoughts and worries.  I realized when he said this that my mind had been completely clear for the entire class.  I had been so busy focusing on my breath and following the moves that I literally hadn’t had one other thought for the whole class.  For me, this was groundbreaking.  I am physically incapable of shutting my mind off.  I lie awake at night thinking of the absolute most ridiculous things (just ask my boyfriend if you need further proof) so to have even a 1 hour escape is nothing short of a miracle.

If you’re like me and are looking for that perfect yoga experience to keep your interest and build both your soul and your strength, I’d highly recommend the Newport Power Yoga experience or something similar.  One other great thing about the class is that not only was it a lower cost community class (so that yoga can be accessible for people regardless of their financial situation) but this particular class (and every Friday at 7pm) was actually donation based and all proceeds go to a different local charity.

Until my next class….namaste friends!