First Half-Marathon

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This weekend I did something I never thought I’d cross off my bucket list, or be able to do, which is to do a half-marathon. As some of you know I regularly run marathons during the summer, but mostly 5k. I’ve ran about five 5k, and last year I ran  my first  10k. The 10k was an absolute success and my timing was just perfect, so this year I thought I’d challenge myself and run a half-marathon. By far this has been the most challenging and rewarding race I’ve done. 

It wasn’t what I expected; it was so much more, and there were so much emotions experienced. This is something I think you can’t describe, but only feel. Perhaps it’s what people call a runner’s high or perhaps it’s the realization that you’ve just ran 20 miles and you have less than 2 miles left. Perhaps it’s the sense of vulnerability that you experience, the sense of knowing that in that very moment you are in your most vulnerable state; anything is possible and anything could happen. In that very moment you’re body could just give up, and that will be the end of it, the end of the long training, and preparation. Nonetheless, it was an amazing experience. 

Looking back I think there are many things I wish I did different, going into the race I’ve had enough training, but not enough. First thing I would’ve put more effort into training outside, and in different temperature. Most of training’s done indoor, in controlled temperature with no sun. This  had a significant impact on me on the day of the marathon. Apart from having to run the marathon early in the morning, my body was forced to run in hot an humid temperature which I’ve never done before. This led to me having to walk more than I would’ve liked. The other thing was my failure to  pace myself while running. There are many things that I can outlined that I wish I would’ve done to improve my time and my overall experience. But like life, you can’t go back and fix thing. The one thing you can do is look forward to the future and figure a way to make things better next time. The past is the past, what matter, is here right now. 

Nonetheless, in doing this marathon I was able to learn key lessons that I will keep in mind while training for the next marathon: 

1. Train before running: 

You know the saying ‘practice makes perfect’, well the same concept applies to running a half-marathon. If you’re planning on running a half marathon, or full marathon make sure you train. In order to achieve the goal you set yourself, you have to train your body. There is no way of succeed without training. 

2. Set a goal: 

Regardless if it’s your first time running marathon, or you’ve done this many times I strongly recommend setting yourself a goal. Goal setting is something everyone does in their life because it gives you a long-term vision and short term motivation. Having an idea of the BIG PICTURE is a strong motivation. My motivation for this marathon was to run just under three hours given that this is my first time, and I was able to achieve such goal. This was a strong motivation for me that kept me moving when I felt physically tired and just wanted to stop. 

3. It’s about the journey and not the destination

I think one the thing you should always remind yourself when running is that it’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. The journey is far more amazing than destination itself. Let me start by saying that running marathon or even just 5k is amazing, it’s amazing because for those few minutes you and a  thousands group of people come together from different region of the world with the one goal of running this marathon. In those few hours you are one with each other, and your differences are insignificant. What matter is that you’re all trying to finish this marathon. This sense of unity, and community created by this  marathon makes the destination a secondary reward. 

4. Their friends and partners, not competition

Marathon runners are known for offering encouragement and helping others given the chance. I think because they understanding that its less about winning or losing, but the experience itself and finishing the race together. As a result the entire race was filled with encouragement from bystanders to other runners. This was able to experience this first hand, every time i stopped to walk I always had someone asked me if I am okay, and had another runner who made sure I didn’t stop to walk. Every time I started to walk he would encourage to start running. This is why I love running these marathon, this sense of unity and community that’s established by runners makes me think that the world would be a better place if we competed less with each other and encourage each other. 

5. Find your motivation and keep going

While running it’s normal to struggle to finish, as you run more distance you become tried and lose all motivation. The desperation to find inner strength becomes difficult the more distance you run. But remember that you alone can finish this marathon, regardless of how many people cheer you on, at the end of the day it is up to you to finish the race. The same lesson applies to life decision, you’re friends and family will always support, but regardless of how many friends and families you support you, you will have to face important life decision by yourself and carry your own weight. It is it up to you to either give up, or keep going. 

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Creating home practice space

FullSizeRender.jpgAmong the many things I love about yoga is that it can be practiced anywhere. It can be practiced independently at the comfort of you home, out in nature or in a traditional yoga studio with with yogis.

While I enjoy practicing in a studio with others, my current schedule doesn’t allow me the ability to drop in a class anytime I want, particularly the classes I do want to attend. But also, yoga can be very expansive let’s be honest, and going to a studio everyday can be highly costly, which is something a lot of us can’t afford. So, home practice provides the opportunity to continue doing what you love without going completely broke.

Home practice can be very rewarding and a beautiful opportunity for further developing your practice; after all as Pattabhi Jois said “Yoga is 99%, 1% theory.” While home practice can be terrifying and foreign at first it can be very liberating, there is great potential for freedom in one’s journey. While it can be challenging at first, developing the perfect home space for practice can be difficult, finding the perfect spot, or not knowing what to do is natural. But over time one can overcome these obstacles. It is possible to come to lover home practice, which is something I’ve developed to love over time. It allows me to create a flow that meets my needs. 

Committing to home practice can also be challenging, so to commit to a daily practice the first thing you should do is make a date with your mat, set a specific time that you intend to practice and honor that time. Whether it is 20 minutes or an hour, make sure you commit to it. Second have an idea of your practice, create a plan of your practice such as sequence of poses that you would like to work on; as well as having a beginning and an end. Lastly, have fun with it, home practice does not have to be restrictive it can be a time to just have with your practice and try all the poses you’ve been wanting to try, but too shy to try in an actual class. 

However, home practice shouldn’t stop you from going to a studio, studio practice can be very rewarding and it’s a beautiful space to not only further your practice in theory, and get deeper knowledge of the practice of yoga, but also it’s a great opportunity to connect with other yogis and feed off the positive energy that radiates from practicing with others.  

So my new space is still work in progress, I am still missing few things to completely finish the space, in the mean time this is enough for my daily practice. 

Here are few links to kick start you to establish your home practice space: 

Yoga Journal – http://bit.ly/1zaYs9F

The Journey Junkie – http://bit.ly/1BSjlpu

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Being ordinary is extraordinary

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Learning to take care of ourselves is the hardness thing, most of us have constructed a very busy life, so the notion of taking a day off or an hour to appreciate the little thing or the ordinary things seems impossible. We have been taught to reject the ordinary things and rejoice only in the extraordinary things, but often time we are blinded by this flawed perception of reality. Often time we miss our own good fortunate because happiness does not always comes in grant gestures or in the extraordinary things, but in ways we don’t even notice. Happiness comes in the ordinary things, the small things that we’ve been socialized to reject. Often time I am remind my happy moment as those ordinary moments such as talking to a friend, hanging out with a friend, taking a long bath, or enjoying a good practice. These moments seems so mundane, yet when I reflect upon them there is something about them that brings joy and a feeling of extraordinary. This is the beauty of happiness or good fortune they don’t come in big packages, but in the ordinary things that we overlooked in our daily life because we’ve have established a busy life that only gives attention to the extraordinary thing, but not ordinary thing.
The key is to be ever present and pay attention to the ordinary things 
“By taking care of ordinary things – our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair we are expressing appreciation. Friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything. This combination of mindfulness and appreciation connects us fully with reality and brings us joy” _ Pema Chodron

Binding Bowl

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 Inspired by dinner at (Pure Kitchen), I had a chance today to create my first vegetarian bowl; inspire by their creation of the warrior bowl.  I am fascinated by meal bowls, there is something beautiful and eye catching about bowl meals, big, bountiful bowls are all the rage and it’s easy to see why. A simple bowl meal is a creation of beauty and art in itself that catches the attention of everyone. A bowl is arrangement go veggies, and proteins (grains, noodles, quinoa, chickpeas etc….). It is beautiful creation that is made of everything,a little of this and little of that.

This is the perfect meal before a hot yoga class (3 hours before class) or after a good hot yoga class, it is must needed reward that everyone should experience.

1-2 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 cup of white Quinoa
  • 1 cup of Almond
  • 2 tomato
  • 1 or 2 Avocado
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 3 cups of kale leaves

Dressing

  • 4 tb. s spoon of grounded yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. spoon of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp Mexican Chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 cup of Sesame seeds
  • Lime
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of vinegar

Steps

  1. Quinoa: Add quinoa and water to a medium sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is translucent and tender.
  2. Drain off excess water and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add salt, olive oil and pepper toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate in an airtight contain until ready to use.
  5. My New Roots How to cook Quinoa
  6. Kale Omelette: In a bowl beat the two organic eggs and stir in the kale, salt and pepper.
  7. In a small skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat cook the eggs mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Flip with a spatula and continue cooking 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and connote cooking for 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness.
  8. Once done set aside or in a bowl
  9. Dressing: In a small bowl add vinegar, olive oil, turmeric pepper, salt, lime, cumin, chill powder black mustard seeds,  ground yellow mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Mix until the density of the dressing is thick. Place in airtight container and refrigerate it.
  10. Leafy greens/kale salad: Chop tomatos to desire shape, kale and avocado. Add olive oil and salt toss to coat.
  11. Assemble the Bowl: In  a simple white bowl or airtight container add in some quinoa, omelette egg, kale salad, avocado and almond. Garnish with black pepper, salt and a french spritz of lime juice.

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Allow yourself to be a beginner

 

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“Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.”

Wendy Flynn

As part of my degree requirement I am required to take one language course, and since French is the second dominant language in Canada everyone is expected to take French. So, given the natural inclination toward this language I thought I might as well take the French course as my language requirement. But also, given my previous exposer to French in high school I thought the course would be easy and I won’t be forced to do a lot of work. But few days into the course I came to realize that the course was not going to be as easy as I thought it would be, but also my previous exposer didn’t help me at all. So I decided to drop the course and take an Indigenous language course (Ojibway) instead. At fist I was hesitant at the idea of taking a course that I had no knowledge of. The fear of being a beginner creped in and I found myself questioning whether this was a good idea, and start planning my next step if I didn’t enjoy the course. But, few minutes into the course I found myself enjoying the class and delighted at the idea of learning another language that I was not familiar with or had any previous knowledge of.

This experience got me thinking about the fear that we all encounter whenever we take on something knew; whenever given the option of taking something new that we have no knowledge of we naturally try to avoid it as much as we can because we all strive for perfection and thus we expect our selves to be excellent at whatever we do. This was my situation when I took French instead of another language because I had previous experience with the language, and thus I knew I wouldn’t be a beginner in the course. While this tendency is natural I think its important to recognize that its is restrictive and in the long run prevents it from experience life itself. We live in a society that tells us to strive for perfection, but does not remain us that perfection comes with practice and that practice comes with challenging ourselves to be beginners at something that we aim to strive for. We forget that we all started out as beginners, no knew was born able to walk and speak perfectly, but through crawling and learning the alphabet.

Many times during my practice I try a different pose and find myself disappoint at my failure to master it right away, forgetting that even if you are good at something it doesn’t mean that you will be good at every aspect of the thing you are good at. There will always be certain elements of the practice that I will have to put my beginner shoes on and try, knowing that I will not be excellent at it right away.  I think this is what we need to remain ourselves on a daily basis that it is okay to be a beginner and that there is nothing wrong with being a beginner because no one starts out being excellent. So next time you want to try something knew don’t let the beginner symptoms discourage you because this symptoms is temporary, it will go away with practice. So go ahead and try that inversion twist because you will never be excellent at it if you don’t start out as a beginner now.

Lets celebrate the bliss and beauty of being a beginner at something new

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Sunday Challenge Pose: Grasshopper

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Yesterday I had the most amazing practice or it felts like the most amazing practice in a while; I’ve recently decided to do all of my practice at home because I am currently unemployed and cannot effort going to a studio every day, so instead I have decided to take control of my practice by doing an hour of yoga everyday starting with simple asana flow sequences than doing challenging poses. Yesterday I decided to do a semi-challenging pose that I haven’t done  in a while and I was surprise by how easy the pose has become, all it took was just practice.

This is one of those really challenging but great arm balance that requires using pretty much every aspect of you body which I absolutely love because you are not just working on your legs, but also you arms, hips, upper body etc.. It require both open hips, deep twisting and upper body strength, which is something I absolutely lack. The key to this pose is finding a place where you are comfortable and build from there; but also making sure you warm up before you try the pose which will make a significant difference. I’d be lying if I said the first time you try it will turn out perfect, but remember with anything that you try new you only become an expert from practice, so if you fail the first time keep practicing.

Start in stating position with you hands in  pray pose; then shift your weight to either the right or left leg depending on which side you are doing it; for now let say right foot. So shift your weight to your right food, lift the leg off the floor and place the left ankle above the right knee.

Bend your right knee until you end up in a half chair, in this position you can adjust your place, find your place and where you are comfortable, make sure to flex your feet. From here bend the standing leg, keep twisting from the upper body and the palms of your hand down along side the long end  of your mat. Placing your hands should width apart, spread your fingers and root down from the thumb to the index. In this position you should pull your heat through your upper arm, gas forward and lean your weight toward your hands, while squeezing the outer right elbow into the side of waist. Once you’ve found your balance you can extend the right leg straight out to the side and you are in the full express of grasshopper.

I used Yoga Journal Kathryn Budig break of how to do this pose which is really helpful, so you can follow the link if you need another look into how to do it

Who Inspires you to practice?

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Who inspires you to practice?

I’d be lying if I said I wake up everyday fully motivated and ready to practice, despite my strong love for practicing and experiencing the self-discouvery overtime I do a challenging posture many times I find myself needing extra motivation, which is natural and it’s a part of being human, we can’t always have the perfect day or be completely motivated to do something that we love or enjoy.

So whenever I find myself in that state of mind where I need extra motivation I always visit some of my favourite yogis blog to get inspire. Here are my top Five  Yogis who always inspired me to get on the mat even if it’s for one 30 minutes to less.

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@yoga_girl

My Top Five of the Week

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Hey guys Happy Sunday! How your Sunday going?

Mine started with going to work, and a customer thinking I am 16 years old. Of course it’s not something new to me because I am used to people mistaking my age pretty much 90% of the time. Before I head to my second job I thought I should blog about my top five of the week.

  1. House of Cards – my professor recommended this show to me and I am addicted. It’s a political drama that’s full of unexpected turns. The cast is just amazing, the acting is done perfect, and even better my favorite character Kevin Spacey is the main character who the show is pretty much revolves around.
  2. Chalkboard Wall – from my previous blog you probably read about me painting my room chalkboard paint
  3. Juicing – why eat your vegetables when you can drink it. I absolutely love juicing.
  4. Listening to music – I was recently at a friend’s house, and they said they never have the chance to just lay in bed and listen to music, which is something we did that day. After thinking about what they said I realized I never do it either. So I decided every day before I go to bed to just lay in bed and listen to music for 30 minutes, not to worry about anything or do anything but just lay there and listen. Yesterday I was listening to Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the moon, which is one of my favorite albums of all time.
  5. Yog

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Juicing and Headstand

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So it’s been a while since I last blogged, and a lot has happened since the last time. Some good, bad, and some eye opening experience that I needed in order to let go. For today ‘ll try to keep things on the good side. First I got a position with my school that is similar to a teaching assistant, however realizing that I’ll have students looking up to me like I am teachers scares the hell out of me. Regardless, I cannot wait to start I always look forward to new challenges. Another good news I’ve been practicing a lot lately, and I have finally conquered one of my biggest challenge of the summer that’s doing a headstand, which started slow but after falling twice on my back I realized that’s the worst that could happen. So, finally I can do it without the aid of a wall. Once your legs are up in the air you can experiment with them, and try different pose like tree, happy baby pose or forward bend. My favorite is eagle and forward bend.

For the last two weeks i’ve been on a juicing diet. I’ve been drinking lots of green and colourful juices consisted of different vegetables. I guess why eat your vegetables when you can drink them;  I have to admit thought it was hard at first, however once you get in the right stand of mind, it’s not that bad. I absolutely hate kale, however kale is extremely healthy and it’s one of those vegetables that’s great for detox, so instead of cooking it I’ve made it into my main ingredient in my green juices. With Banana and blueberries I can barely taste the kale.  In the coming day’s I will be posting original recipes that I’ve experiment with.

Ingredients

  • Handful of Blueberry
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 tbsp. of Flex Seeds
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 3 Kale leafs

Steps

  1. Place everything in blender or a juicer.
  2. Blend wall

Enjoy!!

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Yoga, Yoga and More Yoga

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So it’s been one, or two months since I last blogged about anything. I want say I’ve been busy, but it’s an old excuse and I need something more original than ‘I am busy.” In other words, I am just lazy when it comes to blogging. Since my last blog a lot has happened some good, some bad, and some were almost expected. Regardless of the each outcome I am contented with each one, and do not regard a single one. First lets start with yoga, so with no school or homework to use as an excuse to not go to yoga class I’ve been going to yoga class pretty much twice or three times week. I am proud to say I’ve managed to conquer some balance. Keeping up with health and fitness I ran my second 5K marathons in May, and already training for another marathon that will be happening in two weeks however, this time I’ll be running 10K.  In the coming days I will TRY to post some for the recipes I’ve been trying these few. Majority of these recipes will be raw food because I’ve been on raw food binge lately, and a lot of pasts because I find that I have more energy when I eat past. Here are some of my arm balance asana; there is a link to a YouTube link to one of my favourite arm balance asana. If you have nothing exciting to do this summer this is a great time to challenge your yoga ability, and try some balancing poses that you’ve always wanted to try, but were too afraid of falling, or like me you find excuses to justify your reasons to not try it.
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