Saturday, September 9, 2017

Best Yoga Class EVER

Today I taught a yoga class to 63 people. 63!

And six baby goats.

Yep, I have officially joined the latest yoga craze and today taught my first goat yoga class.

Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

Our local parks & rec department hosts the Goat Days Festival every year. I have no idea why my small town celebrates Goat Days, except I guess because there are a lot of goats around here. They usually call me to teach at local events, but this was a different call. And one that I didn't hesitate to say yes to!

I really wasn't sure what to expect though. I figured we would have a decent turn out. Probably my regular yoga people and a few people there for the goats.

I never expected 63!

Before class started I introduced myself, asked who had any yoga experience and asked about any health conditions I needed to be aware of. All the usual questions at the beginning of a yoga class.

It was probably 60% people who had some yoga experience and 40% who were just there to try it out.

But definitely 100% of the people were really there for the goats.

We began the yoga just as the baby goats were led into the pen. And I immediately lost everyones
attention. I told them no worries, I know you are really here for the goats so just have fun.

And we had so much fun!

The goats just wandered around while we practiced. People would stop to pet the goats or take goat selfies.

The farmers that brought the baby goats did a great job making sure the goats made their way throughout the big crowd by placing small  amounts of goat food on peoples yoga mats.

The biggest question I've gotten all day since goat yoga is "did the goat pee or poop on anyone"?

At the very end of class, one goat did pee on a woman's mat. But she had a good sense of humor about it and decided she will just buy herself a new yoga mat.

I saw a couple goats dropping goat pellets as they walked, but fortunately goat poop isn't like cow poop. It's smaller and doesn't stink!

The next question is when am I going to teach goat yoga again?

As soon as possible! The farm owners told me they have two more goats back at the farm who will be giving birth in a couple months so hopefully later this fall I will get to play with some baby goats and teach yoga again.

Teaching yoga at special events always reminds me of how much I love teaching and how much I am meant to teach. A friend took this picture below and said I looked so pretty. No, what you are seeing is happiness. I got to do what I love and teach yoga, to a large group of people who might never get to experience yoga and there were cute baby goats to play with.

My happiness cup is overflowing today.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Yoga For Tones Arms: Not Just Push Ups

As both a yoga teacher and a personal trainer, I spend equal time in the quiet of the yoga studio as well as in the noisy gym environment. Avid gym goers often ask me how best to build strength without looking too bulky. Of course, I recommend yoga.

While strength training in the gym requires the use of heavier weight to overload the muscles, yoga uses pure body weight to provide a more balanced and functional approach to strengthening and toning muscles. Yoga also has the advantage of toning both large and small muscle groups in balance with each other. Traditional weight training isolates one muscle group at a time, potentially leading to imbalance and injury.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Half Marathon Training Update

It is going surprisingly well!

So far.

A few months ago I decided to run the St Jude Half Marathon. I kept it pretty quiet at first, because, well, I wasn't actually sure I could complete a half marathon. But I had a training plan and I planned on at least trying it.

Then word slowly got out and the real runners I know got all excited and started inviting me into their running club events.  Of course I want to be one of the cool kids so I bought myself a fancy running belt and crazy expensive socks. I definitely need new sneakers, but those will have to wait a bit longer until I save up some money.

I am about six weeks into training and I dare say I am actually enjoying it. My longest run so far has only been six miles, so there are still plenty of miles for me to regret this. But I'm getting a lot more confident that I will actually finish like this:

My broken foot isn't giving me too much trouble. I tape it up real good for the longer ones and that definitely helps. 

Since I'm feeling a lot more confident now I am readjusting my goals:

  1. Complete adequate and appropriate training
  2. Stay injury free
  3. Stay motivated - this may end up being my biggest challenge. I just started a new full time job that requires about double the time I've been working, so fitting in training runs as well as cross training will be difficult.
  4. Finish the race in under four hours

Monday, August 7, 2017

6 Tips To Eat & Drink Your Way To A Healthy, Hydrated Body

As I write this, it is 97 degrees outside with a heat index of 109. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for the past week with no end in sight. Even by Memphis standards, it’s hot outside.

Like other extreme weather events, excessive heat has caused numerous deaths in the past few years. People who are at greater risk from excessive heat include children, elderly, those already ill, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, diabetics and athletes who train outside.

Lean body mass contains up to 75 percent water while fat only contains between 10 and 40 percent water. Therefore, those who are overweight are also more prone to dehydration.

Since for most of us it’s neither possible nor desirable to stay inside air-conditioned buildings full time, the best defense against the heat is to stay adequately hydrated.

Water not only maintains a safe body temperature during excessive heat or exercise, but it also carries heat away from the internal organs before serious damage can occur, which can lead to heat stroke and even death.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

This year families have the unique opportunity to experience a rare solar phenomena: a total solar eclipse. While eclipses happen in some part of the world with regularity, this year’s eclipse will be visible in just about every part of the United States on Monday, August 21. Here are some ways you can make the most out of this amazing event:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reading Pet Peeves

August 2 Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

My biggest pet peeve when I read a book is having to go back a chapter to read it again because the story line doesn't make sense!

I recently read a book that alternated chapters writing from first person current time, to first person past time and then third person past time. What? To make it worse, the third person past time kept changing names for the same person.

I kept getting confused and having to go back and reread.  When I went to Goodreads to leave a review most of the other reviewers complained about the same issue. I still gave the book three stars though because the story really had potential. Also, I don't believe in publicly bashing anyone. If the book was truly horrible or I couldn't even finish it, I wouldn't even leave a review.

Side note: To my fellow writer's out there, please, please be a considerate reader and leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. You know how much authors depend on reviews to move their book up in search engines and ratings. The more reviews (not even necessarily all fabulous reviews) the higher up the book is placed and more people will see it.

Then I had to wonder, how did a book getting these kind of reviews, with so many people saying the story line doesn't make sense, get a publishing deal? Especially considering how many good writers there are out there who would give their eyeteeth to be published. 

When it comes to the writing and editing process, my pet peeve is that it just doesn't always come as easily as I would like. Sometimes the muse strikes and I can write for hours. Other times, I have to bang my head against the computer before I can barely type out a few coherent sentences. That's frustrating, but just part of the process I suppose.

This post is a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly meeting of writers who over think, under write and just want people to like them.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Key To Happiness Is Time

Today was a  typical Sunday - my normal one day off per week. Me and the kids did the usual grocery shopping, house cleaning, back to school shopping, yard work, laundry and meal prep that normally happens on our "day of rest".

Just as I was about to start dinner, the one night per week I try to make a sit-down healthy family meal, I stepped outside first to find kid 5 teaching his puppy to jump through a hoop. I've been telling him for awhile now that I really think this dog could learn some neat tricks.

She's a rescue pup, so we aren't totally sure of her lineage, but based on the way she can jump we are thinking she definitely has some Jack Russell Terrier in her.

Well, after just a quick minute, he had that dog jumping through the hoop almost a foot off the ground!

I bet we stayed outside almost an hour just playing with the dog and taking video of her jumping.

Eventually we remembered we were hungry and I came inside to make dinner.

After dinner I stepped out back to talk to Kid 3 about coordinating all our schedules for the week. Each of the kids drifted out to follow me and we all sat outside for over an hour as the sun went down.

Not only was it the first Memphis night that wasn't sweltering hot, it's also the last weekend we have before school starts back again.

We all just felt laid back, relaxed and unhurried. Of course, though, being siblings it can never stay totally relaxed. Kids 4 & 5 challenged each other to a race, then a rematch, Kid 6 got a little loud trying to make everyone laugh and the dog was running around like crazy in the middle of it all.

It was fabulous.

I realized the key to everything tonight was time. I took the time to enjoy being outside, the time to just be with the kids without having a schedule or accomplishing a to-do list. I had the time available where I wasn't working, wasn't worried about getting back to work and wasn't worried about how to make more money  -- I just simply took the time to enjoy life for a bit.

I'm normally so busy trying to earn enough money just to get by that I don't feel like I have time to take time off.

I've always heard that money can't buy happiness. My response has always been I am willing to try! But tonight I realized that if money could just buy me more off time, more down time, I could be happy.

Money would relieve so much of my stress. Allowing me to enjoy the time I do have.

I realize that sounds like a greedy statement. But the reality is I am raising 6 kids on a single mom budget. I'm one of those Americans who has way too much credit debt, not from family vacations or shopping sprees, but from buying gas and groceries and kids sneakers. Not to mention school fees, car insurance and everything else that comes along with raising a family. Those expenses that you can't just cut back on.

Financial stress affects every part of my life. It even seeps into the fun times by making me think I shouldn't be just sitting here doing nothing, even if it is enjoying time with my family.

Down time is time that could be working. A nice meal is nothing more than another charge to my account. I keep a running total in my head of expenses during trips away for graduations or dance competitions. Believe me, adding up costs really takes the fun out of fun times.

But somehow tonight I forgot all that for a little bit.

I just enjoyed my time with my family and remembered that is why I work the way I do.