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The past few weeks have been a little off with regards to my workouts due to my hamstring injury. Rather than continuing to push through increasingly worsening pain, I’ve backed off of it to allow for recovery and healing. I haven’t run in 17 days (who’s counting?) and I’ve scaled back my yoga practice. Absent from my routine are two-a-day workouts (this is a good thing) and more rest days have been introduced.

Today I decided to skip my normal early morning ashtanga practice to attend an evening class with one of my favorite yoga teachers in Charlotte, Suzanne Bergen at Charlotte Yoga. Suzanne usually teaches mid-mornings so I can never make her class due to my work schedule. As soon as I saw she was subbing tonight, the decision to attend was made.

Allow me to get a bit sentimental here for a second…Suzanne was the yoga teacher who made me fall in love with yoga. I used to attend her Sunday afternoon hot class religiously. I will never, ever forget the many afternoons I spent in her class learning how to breathe, move and just be with my body on my mat as I shook and sweated my way through her classes, praying I would make it to the end. I would leave feeling completely wiped out physically and emotionally but I was also exhilarated and felt myself becoming stronger with each week that passed.

I actually miss my “baby yogi” days when it seemed to take an act of god to get into half moon, big toe hold was more like bent leg hold and backbends made me feel like I was going to hurl. I experienced so much growth in her class – both from a personal standpoint and with my practice. And don’t even get me started on her beautiful words. She always had a reading for us that seemed to hit home and inspire me.

After a while I found myself attending classes at both Y2 Yoga and Charlotte Yoga. I was practicing so much that I had to go unlimited somewhere. I chose Y2 because it just felt more like home to me, there were more classes on the schedule and I loved the super physically challenging classes. I also found another teacher at Y2 who has become equally as important in the growth of my practice, but in a different way. The biggest downside to committing to one studio was giving up my Sundays with Suzanne.

Tons of back story there…but I really wanted to share! I do still try to get to her classes occasionally but I’ve been so busy lately that it’s been months and months. I think it was a sign that she was subbing tonight because I needed a Suzanne class in a serious way.

It was everything I hoped it would be and MORE. It felt deeply restorative. Despite all of the things that are happening in my life right now, I felt 100% calm and grounded during those 90 minutes. My mind didn’t wander and I took advantage of every breath in every pose. And believe it or not, my hamstring actually felt better leaving class than it’s felt after yoga in weeks.

I love yoga. I can’t imagine my life without it. I am so grateful for the yoga community here in Charlotte and to have such phenomenal teachers.

End essay. Still with me? (Get excited, I have a similar essay on my year-long anniversary of practicing ashtanga coming soon.)

Breakfast this morning was plain Greek yogurt with bananas, blueberries, chia seeds, dried cranberries, cinnamon, granola, sunflower butter and a peach.

I taught “Buff Yoga” (a.k.a. yoga with weights) on my lunch break and then had this salad at my desk. Mixed greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes, avocado, almonds, dried cranberries, shredded jack cheese and homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette.

Like this was enough to hold me over for more than an hour! 😉

Over the course of the afternoon I had one and a half peaches, two cups of green tea and multiple handfuls of almonds.

Dinner tonight after yoga was leftover Chana Masala over a bed of spinach and brown rice with naan. And an unpictured kombucha to drink.

Off to plan tomorrow morning’s buff yoga class then bedtime! Hope  your week has been off to a good start! 😛


{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Holly @ Pink Runner July 19, 2011, 11:29 pm

    You should celebrate with posting a yoga video!!!!! 🙂

  • Stephanie @ extremebalance.net/blog July 20, 2011, 12:38 am

    I like hearing the backstory, since I’m just going back to yoga after a four year hiatus (no Ashtanga where I lived, and I’m loyal to my yoga!). It’s good to know how bendy people weren’t so bendy when they started out—just because I feel like I have something to work toward (and not doomed to a life of tight hamstrings forever). 😀 Long live the backstory!

  • Clara July 20, 2011, 8:42 am

    I love this story! And it’s so timely too. I have a great yoga DVD (it’s actually Body by Bethenny) that I’ve been doing out of my home for the past year, but last night I went to an actual yoga class at my gym. I forgot how wonderful it was to be lead by a live teacher and be in a class with other individuals, breathing through the poses together. After a very long and challenging day, it felt very restorative! Now if only I could get to one of your yoga classes….

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:23 am

      clara – i always, always recommend that people attend classes on a regular basis if possible. while home practices are nice there really is something about being led through the class by a teacher that is just a totally different experience. i’m so happy that you had a great class! and yes, i would looooovvveee to have you in one of my classes! 🙂

  • Alaina July 20, 2011, 9:02 am

    I love hearing how bloggers get inspired to do what they do! Maybe now you might be the Peanut Butter Yogi? 😉

    My week is going well so far. Today I’m spending it at the beach!

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:22 am

      haha – i joke about that all the time! it’s true! 🙂

      have fun at the beach! jealous!

  • Samantha July 20, 2011, 9:33 am

    I love your blog and am a frequent stalker (I also have your blog listed on my website blog roll as one of my favorites). I have a random question. What size weights do you use for your upper body/arm workouts?

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:21 am

      thanks samantha! 🙂

      depending on the exercise…5-10 for shoulders, 10-15 for biceps, 8-10 for triceps, 15-20 for chest. that’s a general guideline. the key is to make sure it’s CHALLENGING! don’t just pick up 5 pound weights and not even break a sweat! 🙂

  • kat July 20, 2011, 9:34 am

    Thanks for this, Jen. I feel it may be a very serendipitously timed post…Joe is seeking relief from some serious back/neck issues and a friend just recommended Bikram instead of any chiropractic…and then to find you posting about how it was so life changing for you…things that make you go HMM. 😉

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:19 am

      kat – i have to admit that i’m not the biggest fan of bikram (although i’ve only been to one class so that’s really not even fair to say!) BUT one of the women i was in teacher training with got started in yoga with bikram. she had major back issues and said that bikram helped her heal and build a strong back and core. bikram is very alignment-focused and safe. i think it’s definitely worth a shot for joe to try.

      i hope he finds some relief!

  • Keri @ Blue-Eyed Runner July 20, 2011, 10:12 am

    Beautiful pictures! And its good to hear that it does get easier. I am still getting into yoga…I love it, but its HARD!

  • Brittaney @ Fit Chick Britt July 20, 2011, 10:26 am

    I think it’s wonderful you have such a love for yoga! So glad to her your hamstring is feeling better, rest is definitely a good thing sometimes.

  • Jen July 20, 2011, 12:11 pm

    What a beautiful post! I bet you anything you become the insipration to so many of your students that Suzanne became to you 🙂 I still cannot wait to take your classes next year!

  • Jen Williamson July 20, 2011, 12:35 pm

    I am so excited to read your “essay” about your one-year ashtanga anniversary! I’ve just recently started to practice ashtanga and it is really whoopin’ my butt (but in a good way)! 🙂

  • Jackie @ Baking Charms July 20, 2011, 12:43 pm

    I loved reading this yoga story! I think there’s someone for everyone that starts them on their yoga journey or makes them view their practice in a completely different way.

  • Lori July 20, 2011, 5:04 pm

    Smiling. Enjoyed your story and the walk down my own memory lane. I’ve been practicing just over a year, but what an amazing journey it’s been. Thanks for sharing!

  • Becky July 21, 2011, 7:13 am

    I’m glad you were able to enjoy such a restorative practice. It sounds like it was exactly what you needed while dealing with this injury. It’s so great that you have such a positive thing to turn to in Suzanne’s class.

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