#YOGA with the wonderful Rachel from @TricoCentre

I love yoga.

‎”I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” ~ Gandhi 

Tonight I attended all level yoga class at Trico and as usual, it didn’t disappoint. My favourite instructor led us – Rachel. She’s incredibly patient, thorough and really takes the time to explain each pose so that people (like me) don’t injure themselves. Her encouragement never ceases and I can truthfully say I’ve never felt self-conscious or intimidated when she helps out.  She’s also ridiculously fit and always has good tips/advice.

We did some balancing and learned how to separate our toes to give us better posture. I can’t remember what she was calling it (I am terrible with yoga names) but basically you mentally envision your big toe moving away from your baby toe and finally (miraculously) some day it will happen (or so she says). I enjoyed tonights class because it wasn’t as vigorous as it sometimes can be and truth be told, I just didn’t have it in me (as I type this, my eyes are struggling to focus). Mind you, I do enjoy getting my sweat on at yoga, but tonight was not the night! I felt really strong when we did our chaturanga’s (which I did full ones). And in my research I learned about SUP Yoga – does anyone know anything about this? I guess it’s when you do Yoga on a paddle board. Check it out! 

Anyhow, I borrowed the below from Yoga Channel about spreading your toes – have a read, I feel like it’s going to help!

Why should you spread your toes?

  • Improved postural alignment; spreading your toes assists in lifting the arches of your feet. (To very briefly summarize,) this action lifts the ankle, the knee caps, and finally sends the energy upwards to properly support and symmetrically align the pelvis, spine, neck, and head. This is called pada bandha, one of the energy locks in yoga.
  • A smarter foundation; with “awakened” toes, they become smarter in detecting the subtle weight shifts in your body, thereby better abling to communicate to your brain and body in how to stabilize (Hello balancing postures!). And P.S. – Better communication also means less tripping over your feet/ ankle sprains (for you clumsy ones).

How do we spread our toes? 

  • Warm up by manually massaging your feet and wiggling your toes with your fingers. You can also roll your arches on a squash ball or tennis ball (or any ball really).
  • Use your fingers to separate the toes apart by placing them in between each one – this shows your unfamiliar brain what the action of abduction feels like. If you are really ambitious, you can also use toe separators.
  • In hero pose, lift your heels off the ground and hold for a nice stretch along the backs of your toes and feet.
  • Have a seat, extend your legs out in front of you and look at your toes. Look at each toe one at a time and attempt to abduct it. You’ll have to be patient – this will take a while to achieve. Doing this while watching TV, on your lap top, reading, etc may make it easier.
  • Standing tall, practice lifting your toes, and spreading them apart as wide as you can. Once again, take advantage of idle time (ie. Waiting for water to boil, food to be microwaved).
  • During your yoga practice, use mountain pose or equal standing pose to lift your toes, spread them wide, and set them on your mat.
  • Finally, you can incorporate this into other asanas – balancing, seated, even in arm balance. We could always use a little more pada bandha in our practice!

Another interesting fact is that you can actually BUY these things called “Yoga Toes” and they’re basically like the rubber things you use to separate your toes while putting nail polish on them. They basically train your toes to separate, without all the mental work. They run anywhere from $20 – 30 (so I’ve seen) OR you could just go to the drug store (as Rachel advised) and buy the toe separator from Sally Hansen.

Day 33: REST day! YAHOO! Cold advice?

Today is a rest day and thank goodness for that! This cold is hanging on and despite my best efforts to get rid of it, doesn’t seem to be moving on any time soon. I’ve tried cold medicine, the old honey + water + lemon concoction, soup, water, tea – everything and no luck! Any other old school remedies out there that I’m missing? Anyway, I am glad that we don’t have to run today because I don’t know if I would be able to do it from a mental standpoint!

I plan on watching terrible TV and hydrating with my “TGIF” glass. I also plan on pretty much being useless for the rest of the day (I already have a head start.)

Tomorrow is a 4 mile run – still trying to decide if I’ll be taking my running buddy or not (he’s under the weather too.)

So, with that, hope everyone has a terrific Friday!!



Le fuel belt or backpack: which is cooler?

Alright, so I have run with a backpack before and it wasn’t too bad. It’s been a while, but when I was like 18 and super-ambitious I would sometimes run 8km to work and haul my work clothes/shower stuff in my bag. I never really minded it because it generally only took me around forty minutes or so to complete the run. But of course, doing a half-marathon the distance and time would be a considerable difference. And, needless to say, those days are long, long, long gone! More recently a friend and I hiked with our babes in carriers to the Ink Pots in Banff, Alberta (11.5 km). Of course, this was when I was completely out of shape…I mean, full-on sore for almost a whole week. Recovery involved me bracing myself before walking down and up stairs; sitting on chairs; getting in and out of the truck – it was ridiculous. With that said, the bottom line is that I know I can survive long treks with something on my back, but I’m wondering which is better for runs: fuel belt or pack?

First up, let me be really honest: I can’t stand how packs move from side-to-side; I’m one of those people who try to wear tight jackets while running to avoid this issue as well. And secondly, when I think of the belt, I think of fanny-packs (and Danny Tanner.) And it also brings me back to a few years ago when I was a little sick and had to use a fanny pack to hide my IV crap. At the time I flat-out REFUSED to wear the fanny-pack on my waist (the nurses would roll their eyes), so wore it on my shoulder like a purse.Yeah. I know. That didn’t look much better, but seriously?! A freaking fanny-pack? What decade is this? And sincere apologies to people who continue to wear fanny-packs, but I hate them and don’t want to look like a dork with a belt. (Please note: if I still had my New Kids on the Block fanny pack I would darn-well use that without question).

But back to some serious questions: does the belt flop around? Does it move at all? I would love to know what everyone else uses to transport their run goodies during a long-distance run/race. Any feedback is much appreciated!

The battle of the BO: what’s the best deo for athletes?

So like most people, I’ve used a variety of deodorants and apparently antiperspirants. Sometimes they’re great. Sometimes not so much. Until recently, I didn’t really know the difference between the two, but here it is:

Deodorant: neutralize the smell of the sweat and by antiseptic action against bacteria.

Antiperspirant:work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores with powerful astringents such as aluminum salts so that they can’t release sweat.

I can’t say I truly have a preference. I do truly sweat a lot when I exercise, but I don’t generally tend to get really smelly sweat. I’ve tried natural deodorants, but somehow they do the opposite of what they’re supposed to. Unfortunately, I ended up having really smelly sweat (almost like cat spray – gross, right?) and a ruined shirt.

Though my Degree deodorant has never let me down, I am a little tired of the same scent over and over. So I’d like to switch things up a bit. Should I use deodorant or antipersperant? A combination? Use one while exercising, the other the rest of the time? Fellow athletes, what do you do?

While on the hunt for the top 10 list of best products, I came across a lot of information on the topic. It seems that there’s lots of scary, misleading info on why you shouldn’t use antiperspirants, so I thought I’d share what I found. Now, I’m not saying use antiperspirants, but for goodness sakes don’t use a natural deodorant that makes you smell like nasty cat spray because you’re scared of some bogus claims. For a link to information regarding antiperspirants and breast cancer, click here or here.

And for those of you who may still want to go the natural route, here are a few recipes I found on Care2.

Basic Deodorant Powder
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
A few drops essential oils such as lavender or cinnamon

Place the ingredients in a glass jar. Shake to blend. Sprinkle a light covering of the powder on a damp washcloth. Pat on. Don’t rinse.

Basic Liquid Deodorant
1/4 cup each witch hazel extract, aloe vera gel, and mineral water
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
A few drops antibacterial essential oils such as lavender (optional)

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to blend.

Makes 3/4 cup

Shelf life: Indefinite.