Five stupid things about the label ‘Yoga body’

Ok. Guilty. It’s been a while. No need to remind me. I’ve been reminding myself everyday for quite a few months. Luckily (for who exactly?), I’m wound up enough to express my emotions through blog.

There are two words I think should be struck from the English language with intensity. Like angrily crossing something off a list with a sharp pencil. Or angry purple crayon.

Those words are ‘yoga body’.
‘Yoga body’. And one more time – ‘yoga body’.
Who the hell is the punk who came up with this label??!!

I take gorilla pose very seriously. I actually look like a gorilla.

I take gorilla pose very seriously. I actually look like a gorilla.

I love yoga. On a good week I make three lunch time sessions and three after work and for good measure I throw in pilates once in a while.
I’ve dabbled with yoga previously but this time things are getting serious. I have two mats, two fancy non-skid towels, mat spray, a special yoga top with a built in bra, my own block, strap and foam roller, and I’m thinking of getting a headband with ‘I heart yoga’ plastered on the front. Have I bought into the fad of fancy fitness gear?… No, I don’t think so.

I even have two studios I pay an unlimited subscription to and the crazy thing is that I actually turn up rather than pay the usual gym donation (big shout out to Abundance and The Yoga Lounge)!

See?! I love yoga.

What I really don’t love though is the discussion on what constitutes a yoga body.
Let me just be clear. I do not have a yoga body. Whatever the hell it’s supposed to be.

Do my ankles look big in these leg warmers?

Do my ankles look big in these leg warmers?

I have sturdy, solid thighs – which I’m told is a proud, hereditary trait of the fierce, strong women in my family (in fact, my aim for a while now has been to have such strong thighs that I can crack coconuts between them – Too much information).  I have a curved spin which makes me look like a turtle in forward folds. I have unnaturally short arms which means reaching my toes was celebrated with the same enthusiasm as the moon landing.
And last but not least, I have a broken tail bone so when I’m told to sit properly on my sit bones I start to feel a little punchy.

So why should I even like yoga? Good question wise listener.

It’s empowering. It’s hard. It’s sweaty. It’s ego shattering. It’s satisfying. It’s soothing. It’s energising. And it makes me realise how strong I am. Both mentally and physically.
Shit that’s deep.

So with my crazy twisted spine, short little squirrel arms and broken tail, I get really frustrated when articles describe yoga bodies as something I’m not, nor will ever be.

With that, I’m giving you five stupid things about the label ‘yoga body’.

  1. Whilst trying to check out if you have a ‘yoga body’, you will spend too much time looking at the mirror in your studio and smack your forehead on the floor during crow pose.
  2. It’s likely you will buy a bra, tights or sparkly top a size too small because you think it is the size of someone who should have a ‘yoga body’. You will never wear said item of clothing as it cuts off your circulation and makes you lose the will to live.
  3. When you see endless ‘fitspo’ (don’t even get me started on that label), images of people with ‘yoga bodies’, you will get angry at the internet. And the internet is your friend. That’s where Netflix lives.
  4. Because you are trying to hard to fit into the expectations of a ‘yoga body’, you will bare not a part of your actual body to the outside world. Which is a shame because your actual body is beautiful. And you will also be vitamin D deficient.
  5. If you become too consumed with your ‘yoga body’, You’ll miss out on the real benefits of yoga. Inner awesomeness. And let’s be frank, everyone could do with a little more inner awesomeness.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are some very impressive people out there doing great work to crack this ceiling of expectations around the ‘yoga body’. I’d like to salute My Real Yoga Body and Richard Widmark from the Raw Experience who are doing a remarkable amount of good by changing how we see yoga bodies.

On a final note, happy Yoga day everybody! May your tree pose be strong and your forward folds bendy.

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Winter – the serial killer of motivation

It’s almost 1pm on Saturday afternoon. I’ve just managed to pry myself off the couch and out of my jammies. I’ve also just finished half a family sized block of milk chocolate… And I’m considering going back for the second half.

“Nooooooo!!!!” You cry. “How have you slipped so low???”

Not even this will help.

Not even this will help.

If you are regularly reading my blog, then you’ll know I have been absent for the last few weeks. I’m sure you noticed and you’ve been missing me.

The problem is Winter.

Well, actually, it’s Autumn but I lump them both in the same camp.

You see, I suffer from SAD. Seasonal Affliction Disorder for those of you not in the know. SAD is a quasi-scientific affliction which causes sufferers to become grumpy, unmotivated, hungry for baked goods, a giant pain in the ass to be around and blame Mother Nature for her complete lack of respect of the need for sunshine.

And boy oh boy have I got it.

Sometimes SAD announces it’s arrival with the precise change of seasons, and sometimes it sneaks up on you when you’re least expecting it. One day you’re fine and you easily get up at 6am for your 5km run followed by your kale smoothie. The next day your favourite pair of shoes are your slippers and you don’t even remember if they were meant to be grey?

What do you mean I can't wear them outside?!

What do you mean I can’t wear them outside?!

I’m probably being slightly over dramatic (yet another symptom of SAD). It’s not like I’ve completely gone to the dogs. I’m still going to yoga 2-3 times a week, loving my weekly personal training session and climbing up some mountain every weekend. But now, when I indulge in a few pieces of chocolate and lie completely prone on the couch like a statue, I don’t wail in distress and leap off the couch and into a series of lunges. Instead, I break off another piece and sink myself lower into my butt groove.

The great news about SAD is that it’s not permanent.

The moment the sun comes out for more than four consecutive seconds and the wind dies down enough so that my hair isn’t accidentally styled into a mohawk, I’ll start feeling like a fully function human being again.

There are other things you can do to counter the effects as well. Here is my list of five things to help you out of your SAD slump.

  1. Eat comfort food. There is a good reason why they call it ‘comfort’ food. Delicious food really is good for the soul. I’m not for one second suggesting you go out and buy two litres of Coke and a packet of Twisties. That is NOT comfort food. That is called eating your feelings. I’m talking about a good, real, honest, home cooked feast. Try this Molten Lava Chocolate Cake from the Paleo Mom. I DARE you to not to feel better.
  2. Buy good looking gym pants. And then wear them on the couch. Seriously. I bought this incredible pair of yoga pants from Lululemon and they are the epitome of comfort. Lying on the couch has never felt this good. And strangely, it actually started to motivate me to leave the house. It’s like voodoo.
  3. Be grateful for Winter. Now this is tough. It can be downright impossible to find things that make you feel great about the fourth ‘100 year storm’ in one week. But there really are some things about Winter that aren’t completely awful – falling asleep to the rain outside, mulled wine, extra woolly socks, ear muffs, skiing/snowboarding (if you are that way inclined… I am not), all types of soup, and not having to make an excuse to stay in doors and watch a Simpsons marathon. See? That’s just a few to get you started.
  4. Watch Jenna Marbles. If you haven’t seen a Jenna Marbles video then I just don’t know who you are. This girl has 13,000,000 subscribers to her Youtube videos!! That is cray cray! There is a good reason for it. She’s hilarious. A couple of my favourite videos – How Home Workouts Work, Better Names for Animals and Drunk Makeup Tutorial (which, by the way, has been viewed more than 18,000,000 times!!! So I’m not the only one who enjoys it). You’re welcome.
  5. Be kind to yourself. As easy as it is to fall down the hole of “I’m the worst person in the world because I haven’t showered for two days and I’ve abandoned kale and quinoa for white bread and coffee”, you’re actually a perfectly awesome human being. Let it go. You’ll come right. This is only temporary. Buy yourself a nice pen and a warm pair of socks. Maybe get the Pharrell album and play ‘Happy’ on repeat a 100 times.

So there you go. I hope I’ve been forgiven for neglecting you. I promise to write another post soon… While I wait for my fondue to cook. Until next time, enjoy the ride. x

 

Motivation is a pair of shorts

Motivation comes in all forms. For me, it comes in a pair of shorts and a fancy pair of socks.

I’ve been feeling pretty proud of myself lately. My change in lifestyle has been going really well. I’m now a fully committed healthy person.

Recently, I made myself a cauliflower pizza base with capsicum, spinach and tomato while Jeff had his pizza with seven different meats, three different cheeses and on a deep dish base. I swear mine tasted EXACTLY like real pizza…… Ok, you got me. It didn’t taste anything like real pizza, but it was YUM!

Just like a bought one!

Just like a bought one!

I also signed up for a gym and a bunch of personal training sessions. I will mention at this point that in the six years I have lived in Wellington, this is  the sixth gym I’ve joined (not all at the same time), so let’s not get excited yet, there’s still a chance I could flake out.

In addition to the pizza substitutions and my new gym bunny status, I’ve also been experimenting with a bunch of foods that until now I’ve been too scared to try. Foods like kale, black rice and silken tofu. Maybe it’s because I drunk the Koolaid, but these foods make delicious meals. Look, I’m as surprised as you!

All in all, I’m pretty impressed with myself. So what better way to celebrate the impressiveness that is me, than by buying some new gym gear.

It’s scientifically proven that buying new gym gear makes you want to work out. You can understand that this is a huge relief to me to hear given the small fortune I have just forked out at Lululemon for the latest, greatest and swankiest new gym gear. You can’t argue with science.

Now I know that Lululemon have gotten themselves a bit of a bad name. They seem to be constantly embroiled in some controversy or another. I’ve read more than one article referring to them rather unpleasantly as akin to a cult. The Scientologists for yoga fanatics if you will.

But for all that, damn they make good clothes.

Unfortunately for my rapidly diminishing bank account, Lululemon has opened up an outlet right next door to where I go to yoga. Every Saturday after yoga class I stop in there to have a quick browse and walk out with one of their brightly colored, reusable bags with at least a $20 pair of socks and a top that says “Running is my ohmmm” stitched on the inside. It’s an addiction. It could be worse I suppose, it could be crack, or chocolate.

There comes a time though when if you you’re going to take this whole health and fitness thing seriously, you need to own a pair of shorts. And you have to leave the house in them.

I’ve always been reluctant to run or do any sort of exercise in shorts. It makes me feel kind of exposed. It’s bad enough that I’m all flailing and gasping when I run let alone being half-naked while doing it. If I wasn’t so clumsy I’d happily run in a onesie.

On my latest trip to Lululemon I decided to get brave. If millions of people around the world can wear shorts, then so can I.

The pair that was recommended to me came in a variety of bright fluro colours. The battle was half won. When I went to try them on however, I noticed something that seemed a bit unusual. Shorts with built-in undies. That just made me feel weird. I’m not a harlot! I didn’t think this was going to work out. Despite my deep seeded discomfort, I tried them on (double undies thank you very much).

Goodbye paycheck.

Goodbye paycheck.

Well strike me down. I have never known comfort such as these shorts. The freedom… The perfectly stretchy waist band… The soft, breathable fabric… The sneaky key pocket! I was pretty sure they’d actually make me run faster and longer too.

I bought them. And then I bought another pair in black. Soon I may be the owner of three pairs. What do you know, they DO make me run faster and longer.

I exercise almost everyday, whether it’s yoga, running, walking up hills or going to the gym. Just the thought of putting on my snazzy running shorts is enough to motivate me.

Feeling comfortable in gym gear is one of the biggest hurdles to exercising in my opinion. Buying gym gear doesn’t have to be expensive, an ordeal, or a significant purchase (socks can do it!), but you do have to feel good about yourself.

Buy a new t-shirt with wicking in it and see how quickly you try it out because your curious to see if it really does absorb all your sweat!

Until next time, enjoy the ride. And by the way… I love my built-in undies.