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The Counter Pose To Life

Recently it’s seemed like my yoga practice has really ebbed and flowed. I get in a groove with it for a period of time and then I start skipping out on my practice when I feel busy and other things are demanding my attention. Case in point, I practiced ashtanga 2-3 times a week (in addition to attending my normal power classes) for a year and a half and now I have only practiced ashtanga twice since November. My ashtanga practice is important to me because it is self-led and allows me the opportunity to slow down and just be with myself and my thoughts for a while.

My schedule has been very busy during this transition time between jobs and I allowed my yoga practice to slip. This is especially hard when you teach a lot of classes and know that you aren’t giving your practice the dedication it deserves. Over the last week I have recommitted myself to my practice andย I have been regularly attending classes. I am amazed by how much better I feel both physically and mentally from simply being back on my mat consistently. Although I have not picked my ashtanga practice back up yet, this is a great start.

I had a fairly busy day but I made attending a class a priority and it ended up being the best decision I made all day. It was one of those practices where I felt like everything my teacher was saying was directly applicable to how I was feeling. At the end of our 90-minute practice she told us it was now time to take the counter pose to life – rest. In yoga we sequence our classes based on pose/counter pose. Bent knee pose/straight knee pose, back bend/forward bend, etc.

She told us we practice power yoga because we can’t be still with ourselves. We need the physical distraction to be able to get out of our heads but the counter pose to all of this physical activity is rest. Being still on our mats for 5 minutes at the end of class. Being still at the end of the day. Letting the experiences of the day soak in. Knowing that the next day is a new opportunity to let everything else go and start again. As we settled into savasana she said to us, “let the Earth hold you.” I kept repeating the phrase in my head and felt an instant surrender into my mat. I walked out of the studio and into the sunshine with a smile on my face and a lightness in my heart. This is why I practice yoga.

I kind of ate my breakfast in several parts over the course of the morning.

Part 1 was peanut butter toast with honey and bananas at 6:30 a.m. before teaching a 7 a.m. class and then training a client. Part 2 was half of an Apple Pie Larabar that I ate in the car on the way to yoga.

Part 3 was a green smoothie (well, a strange shade of green) after yoga to hold me over through teaching a lunch yoga class. Banana, strawberries, spinach, honey, milk and Greek yogurt. I really wanted to add some protein powder but a quick scan through the cabinets revealed that I was out. Need to remedy that now that the days will be getting warmer and I’ll be craving smoothies more.

It was an amazing day in Charlotte. I had a break between my class and a yoga private so I walked around downtown, grabbed lunch and ate outside. The weather was perfect. We are having the best winter ever with very, very few cold days and no snow or ice!

Lunch was a turkey wrap with artichoke spread and a cup of vegetable soup from Just Fresh. My afternoon yoga private was really fun. I do a group private each week with the staff of our new professional lacrosse team, the Charlotte Hounds. Today they had two players in town so they joined us. They loved the practice!

I spent the rest of the day/evening hanging out at Metro. I had a meeting about some new classes we’re launching in March, did some computer work and then did the 6:30 Crossfit class. Today’s workout was really cardio-intense, which was just what I was looking for. We did an 800 meter run and a 500 meter row two times. I finished in 14-something. My hips were on fire during the last row. The row was supposed to be a 400-meter backwards run but given my level of coordination there was no way that was happening.

Dinner was a salad with a veggie burger, cheese, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, carrots, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette. Toast on the side.ย Now I’m craving chocolate milk for some reason? Really random.

Hope it was a great Tuesday!

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Lea @GirlLovesPearls February 28, 2012, 10:28 pm

    Oh my the weather looks divine over there! I’m visiting Charlotte in a few weeks and it’s nice to see how beautiful the weather is there ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 2
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:16 pm

      you’ll love charlotte! have you ever visited before?

  • 3
    Jennifer@ knackfornutrition February 28, 2012, 10:28 pm

    I love when you write about your yoga practice. I recently found a studio in DC that seems to be a great fit and I have recommitted to practicing as often as I can. It is such a great release from both the stresses of work and the damage of sitting on my butt all day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 4
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:17 pm

      thank you! i’m so happy to hear that you’ve “connected” with a studio and are enjoying your practice. i agree that it’s nice to move your body, stretch and breathe after sitting!

  • 5
    Pam February 28, 2012, 11:50 pm

    Thank you for this post! It was excatly what I needed!
    A reminder to”counter pose”!
    Life gets so hectic, things come at you from all directions, it starts to spin out of control…remedy…counter pose!
    How awesome that we (meaning me) have the power within to STOP and rest, reevaluate, step back from situations.
    Thank you for being sensitive and sharing this post!
    It has helped me today!

    • 6
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:18 pm

      pam – i’m so glad you enjoyed the post. thank you for your comment!

  • 7
    Tiffany February 29, 2012, 1:46 am

    I love when you write about yoga! It’s very interesting to learn that yoga gives you a very centered feeling not only for your body but for the mind as well. I really want to give yoga a try after reading about your experiences.

    I wanted to ask you how many tablespoons of nut butter, do you consider to be part of a healthy diet? I eat 2-3T per dayโ€ฆI stay within my calories I just donโ€™t want to be over doing it with nut butters even though it is healthy fatโ€ฆtoo much isnโ€™t good either.

    Thank you! Hope you have a great rest of the week and enjoy the sunshine. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 8
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:20 pm

      thank you – i love sharing it with you guys but i try not to go overboard!

      as far as the nut butter, it depends on the person and your caloric needs. i think that your intake sounds perfect. that’s probably what i average a day as well…plus other “good fat” like avocados and nuts!

  • 9
    Cath February 29, 2012, 4:50 am

    I went to yoga, thanks to motivation from you. It was so awesome. I left there feeling so light and like nothing would bother me. Thanks! I really appreciate your blog and the healthy inspiration you provide to me and others. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 10
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:23 pm

      yay! i’m so happy you had a good practice! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 11
    Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement February 29, 2012, 8:23 am

    I also split up my breakfast into parts when I work out early. Much more enjoyable because there is no way I can eat something like eggs pre-run. I did a spinach salad with pears and feta last night and my husband mentioned it was missing cranberries, your salad just reminded me that I need to add it to the list. Your salad looks divine, as always.

    • 12
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:24 pm

      i have a cranberry addiction. i add them to everything!

  • 13
    Clara February 29, 2012, 9:12 am

    I’ve really been slacking in my yoga practice too, and just noticed the effects of it earlier this week (well, thanks to my therapist!). I loved your whole post, but the 4th paragraph really spoke to me. I really need the physical activity to quiet my mind, but I never really thought about the rest component of yoga in that way- how we get lost in all the physical aspects in preparation for rest at the end of class. Now it makes sense, why I always leave class with my mind feeling clear, open, and relaxed. I need to get back on my mat right now! Hope you have a great day, Jen. xoxo

    • 14
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:26 pm

      clara – thank you for your comment. make your way back to your mat and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel. it’s easy to make excuses on why we can’t practice but what it does for us mentally and physically is just so important. good luck!

  • 15
    Bess @ Bess Be Fit February 29, 2012, 9:26 am

    loved this post! I just bought a month’s unlimited pass to a local hot yoga studio and I’m really excited to go consistently and see where it takes me. Your eats look delicious as usual! My fave in the blog world ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 16
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:27 pm

      i cannot wait to read about your yoga experiences! thanks for the shout on the eats! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • 17
    Brittany (healthy Slice of Life) February 29, 2012, 9:44 am

    I got to attend a hot yoga class yesterday for the first time in years and it felt so incredible. Thankfully they offer childcare and I hope to make it more of a regular thing. It is hard describe how wonderful a good yoga class feels!

    • 18
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:28 pm

      brittany – yay that you loved yoga! that is so awesome that they offer childcare. and yes, the yoga high is like nothing else. it literally can feel like a high after a good practice.

  • 19
    Sarah Wright-Gaul February 29, 2012, 11:08 am

    What is Brandon eating?! I love a salad for dinner but my husband thinks that only counts as the starter! Haha! Nothing makes me feel more relaxed than yoga. It makes my whole body feel empowered.

    • 20
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:29 pm

      i am actually usually the one who doesn’t like to have salads for dinner. i always feel like i need something more substantial by that point in the day after work + workouts.

  • 21
    Laura @ LauraLikesDesign February 29, 2012, 11:35 am

    That turkey wrap and soup looks so delicious. I just love going out to lunch–it shakes me from my food rut!

    • 22
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:35 pm

      me too! lunch out is fun!

  • 23
    Tamara February 29, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Jen – you are incredible. I LOVE this post about yoga — it rings so true to me, and where I am right now in my practice. I’m most definitely not as far along as you are, but the reasons why I practice yoga fits right with what you said in your post – practicing the physical to clear our minds, and then surrendering to the earth to let our bodies rest — I too leave class feeling lighter with a smile on my face, refreshed, with a clear mind and a happy heart. Thanks for the reminder, and thank you for always sharing your thoughts and your day to day life. Even though I don’t comment on each of your posts, I am a daily reader and always encouraged by you each and every day … You are a constant source of inspiration in my life! Have a beautiful rest of your Wednesday ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 24
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:36 pm

      tamara – thank you so much for your comment. it means a lot to me and brought a smile to my face. i actually read it right before i was going in to teach a yoga class this afternoon. i was feeling kind of tired and down and your comment turned it around. you have no idea how much i appreciate your kind words and that you read my blog!

  • 25
    Ali @ Around the VeggieTable February 29, 2012, 2:15 pm

    I love this post. “Knowing that the next day is a new opportunity to let everything else go and start again.” That sentence really struck me for some reason. I miss yoga SO much but I am just not in a place right now to be able to drive 40 minutes to the nearest studio. I just got Shiva Rea’s new dvd though, so I’m excited to try that out this week ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely need guidance in my home practice. Just like going to the gym without a plan, when I try to do yoga at home without a plan I end up in a constant state of “ummm what should I do next?”

    • 26
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:38 pm

      thank you ali! i am sorry that you aren’t able to make it to a studio right now but i applaud you for trying to do a home practice. it can be very challenging to focus and have the discipline to do so but your practice will grow so much from it! hope the dvd is just what you need! check out http://www.yogadownload.com too!

  • 27
    Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles February 29, 2012, 2:22 pm

    I get the feeling more and more every day that yoga would do me a lot of good. Especially now that I’m hearing about this counter-pose to life…sometimes you just need to slow down and do the opposite of whatever you’re been doing to reclaim some balance!

    • 28
      Jen February 29, 2012, 5:39 pm

      i resisted yoga for many years but now i can’t imagine life without it. it’s definitely worth your time and energy to give it a try!

  • 29
    Lindsey @ Cardio Pizza March 1, 2012, 8:45 am

    I love that about Yoga – sometimes the words just click with exactly what you are feeling.

    Being a Group Instructor myself, I often struggle with finding my own workout time. Yoga has been my go-to workout for my “me” time as my workout. It’s such a special treat!

    By the way, I just found your blog and have been reading though it – it’s great!

  • 30
    Dana March 1, 2012, 10:07 am

    I love all these plates that you’ve featured recently. Where are they from? They look very Anthro.

    • 31
      Jen March 1, 2012, 12:18 pm

      haha – the PB toast plate is from anthro. the white plates are vietri.

  • 32
    Kate March 1, 2012, 1:59 pm

    you’re right, the weather was soo great!
    stopping by also to thank you for reminding me in yoga last night and in this post that i should recommit to my practice! after hurting my hip and taking so much time off, it was great (and painful) to be back on my mat, focusing on myself for an hour! ๐Ÿ™‚ Life really does need a counter pose!
    PS – i vote for you to post another playlist soon…i go through class mentally writing songs down then forget by the time savasana is over!

  • 33
    Jen@FoodFamilyFitness March 1, 2012, 4:13 pm

    And I thought our 45 degree weather in Michigan was good… I want your weather!!!

  • 34
    Miriam@Bellaspire March 1, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Hasn’t this been THE most beautiful day ever? I have a feeling that you’ll be hitting Yoforia tonight based on your tweets :). That will be the cherry on top!!

  • 35
    Lo March 3, 2012, 6:27 pm

    I’ve been reading a lot about whey protein powder, but I’m not sure what brand is the safest and most natural. What protein powder do you use?

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