Tag Archive | exercise

my balanced life (or 95 days of movement)


There are ninety-five days left in the year.  I’m making a vow to myself and my body to make them ninety-five days of movement.

silhouette of running woman

Four years ago, I started taking yoga classes.  Yoga saved me.  During the lowest time of my life, yoga was my safe haven.

In 2011, things changed and I couldn’t make it to as many yoga classes.  So I started walking.  And then I started running.  In September 2011, I walked and ran my first 5K.   I finished.  Last.  But last beats the quitters behind me who stopped.  Even the quitters beat all those who didn’t start at all.

I walked or ran two 5Ks last year.  I kept running until November, when I fell and threw my hips out of alignment.

This year, I’ve struggled to get back into my groove.  The yoga studio closed while Carrie uses all of her energy to beat cancer.  There is a yoga class I take on Saturday  mornings, when I’m home.  And healthy.  I haven’t been since…when?  August?  Maybe July?

The last time I ran was the night before Nature Boy got mad, ran down the stairs, jumped over the gate and got bitten by my Rocky dog.  It was one of those hot, late night runs that sustained me through 2011 and mostly eluded me in 2012.  A slow, hot mile in shorts and a sports bra.  Nobody out but me and the moon.

After that, I went to bed each night thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the morning.”  And every morning, I’d wake up thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the evening.”

There are ninety-five days left of this year, and I’m done with excuses.  I’m going to fill those ninety-five days with movement.  If I’m too tired to run, I’ll walk.  If I’m too tired to walk, I’ll ride my beach bike.  If it’s too rainy to go outside, I’ll go to my yoga room and pretend that Carrie is there to push me to hold that position just a little longer.  Breathe just a little harder.

Between my birthday and the end of the year is when most people put on weight each year.  Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas goodies, it’s a challenge to get through the year without plumping up like that Thanksgiving turkey.

I used to say I dieted and exercised to get my old body back.  I’ve changed my goal.  I don’t want my 25-year-old body anymore.  I want a different body.  A better one.  One that is soft yet firm.  Toned and healthy.  Lungs that can fill me with oxygen.  Heart that beats strong and sure.  Legs that carry me to the finish line.  Arms that hold me in a handstand.  That’s the body I want to walk into 2013.

Move with me!  Let’s end 2012 in triumph and start 2013 in the best shape of our lives! 

my year of balance (or Regina Mae floats away)


I take care of my body with intention.  I practice yoga.  I get acupuncture.  I do detoxifying foot soaks.  I get rainbow oil treatments.  I tap using EFT.

yin-yang symbol

I am a Reiki master.  I meditate.  I pray.

Four years ago, I was overweight, stressed and unhappy.  Perimenopause meant hot flashes and out of control emotions.

Four years ago, I started my journey into holistic medicine.

Four years ago, I started seeing my brilliant acupuncturist, Dr. Rahmie Valentine.  Week by week, her needles worked their magic on my meridians, or energy channels.  Lying on her table, I feel myself float away.  From the table.  From my troubles.  From my pain.

As my meridians opened up, I saw definite, palpable improvements to my body and my emotions.  My hot flashes went away.  My emotions came under control, allowing me to stop using Lexapro.  My digestion cleared up, resolving a lifetime struggle with IBS.

During one of my treatments, I mentioned to Rahmie that I had inexplicably started doing yoga at home.  She referred me to Carrie Peterson Wandall, who became my beloved yoga instructor.

girl in downward facing dog yoga pose

Yoga helped me get in touch with my body.  It helped me start to hear what my body was trying to tell me. I lost twenty pounds in yoga.  I learned what peace feels like in my yoga classes.

After surgery, I told Carrie that I felt like I just couldn’t shake the anesthesia.  I felt like I was walking through a cloud.  She referred me to Barbara Bock, R.N., Ph.D.

Barbara is a registered nurse who earned a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management and her Doctorate in Health Care Administration.  Barbara spent years in traditional medicine before her own health crisis led her to holistic healthcare.  She is a Reiki master and Licensed Massage Therapist who uses her life experiences and intuition to change people’s lives.

Barbara introduced me to the world of detoxifying foot soaks.  After the first soak, I felt like a new woman.  I slept better.  I had more energy.  I felt lighter as I walked out of the treatment room.

reiki hands and om symbol

Carrie also brought me to Reiki.  “Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.”  Carrie introduced me to Bob Calabrese, who gave me my first degree attunement, and Vivian Quattlebaum, who gave me my second degree attunement.

Eric Burns gave Carrie and me our Master attunement together.  I met Eric at one of Carrie’s Holiday Restorative classes.  She lined up several Reiki practitioners to go around the room and give Reiki to the participants as we laid in various restorative poses.  When Eric gave me Reiki, my entire body tingled.  To this day, I’ve never met a more powerful Reiki practitioner!

Four years after starting my journey into holistic healing, my body is healthier than it’s ever been.  Yoga and meditation are easy ways for me to keep in touch with my body and mind on a daily basis.  Monthly acupuncture visits keep my meridians flowing.  Rainbow oil treatments are the newest feel-good addition to the repertoire.

I can’t wait to see where this journey leads me next.

Question: What do you do to take care of your body and soul?

my balanced life (or Regina Mae lies down)


lady bug on a gardenia

Sometimes a balanced life means lying around and not doing a thing but smelling the gardenias.  So, that’s just what I did today.

Lying on the couch on the back patio, enjoying the breeze from the ceiling fan, I let myself be swept away in Nora Robert’s newest adventure, The Witness.  The closest I came to productivity was transplanting my peace lily and separating it into two pots – one for the yoga room and one to go back to the office.

Normally, my days are frenetically filled from sun up to sun down.  Usually, I welcome the activity.  I embrace the harried pace of my life.

But some days, I enjoy the opportunity to loll around, enjoying the ceiling fan and the air conditioning.  Catching up on a new book or two.  Clearing out the DVR.

Today I’m taking an electronic moratorium.  No cell phone buzzing.  No texts pulling me away from the plot line of my book.  Hush Facebook.  Whatever it is can wait.  My mind needs to breathe.  My muscles need to relax.

My body has been sending me signals.  Panic attacks.  The fall at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

palmetto tree overlooking the marsh

This weekend, I’m taking heed to the warning bells.  I have nowhere to be.  Nothing much to do.  Except breathe and enjoy the scenery.

As each hour of this restful day passes, fight or flight signals ebb and wane until all is quiet.  In my mind.  In my heart.  In my soul.

I’m going to go watch a movie now.  Maybe in a little while, I’ll light up the grill.  But then again, maybe I won’t.

Question:  What is your body telling you?  Are you listening to it?

adventures in dating (a series of dogs)


This morning in yoga, we did a series of dogs.  Downward dogs, that is.

woman doing downward facing dog

My dating life has been overtaken by a series of dogs, too.

It’s no coincidence that Nature Boy’s ring tone is a barking dog.  Woof woof!  We get together on his timeframe.  When it is convenient for him.  Every time I’ve suggested getting together, he’s been busy. Or he’ll call in a little while.  A little while being defined as sometime in the next week.

It’s not just Nature Boy.  He is representative of all the boys.  I’ve noticed they call on their time frame, wanting to get together when it suits them.  Their needs.  Their purposes.  Fulfilling their loneliness.

In yoga class this morning, each downward dog was a little different than the last. Different hand position.  Different foot position.  Yet each variation led to the same result.

Each dog targeted different muscles and taught our bodies something new.  Each led to a little more release.  On each dog, our muscles let go of a little more tension.

The same way our bodies learned things this morning in our series of dogs, I’m hoping my heart and mind will learn something from the men in my life.

I’ve learned I’m attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable.

Like the man who used the term “divorced” very loosely.

And the man who is still in love with his ex-girlfriend.

I’ve learned that men love a challenge.  When I let them know I’m too busy to meet them, or let them know that I’m not overly interested in getting together, they pursue me that much harder.

I have no game, so I have to actually stay busy in order to be too busy to be at their disposal.

Then there are the men who are unavailable for weeks at a time and suddenly become insistent on getting together, right after I decide I’m ready to move on to someone new.

gardenias in the moonlight

 

I’ve learned that sometimes it’s enough to sit together on the front porch, smelling gardenias and night blooming jasmine, watching the stars twinkling in the sky.  Sipping water and talking about your day.  Feeling the tension seep out of your body the same way it seeps out of your muscles when you relax into a downward dog.

I want to be as confident about settling into that feeling as I am about settling into my next downward dog.

I’ll keep exploring new men the way I explored different downward dogs, until I find the one that fits best.  I’ll relax into the knowledge that each dog has something to teach me.  Each one different and no less valuable if I only hold it for a few minutes.

I learned something in class yesterday.  When you move into a yoga position, your muscles react with dualing reactions of relaxation and retraction.  It takes thirty seconds for the relaxation reaction to outweigh the retraction.  It takes two minutes to fully relax into the position.

I wonder how long my heart will react with dualing reactions of relaxing and retracting when I start seeing each new man.

I wonder how long it will take for my heart to fully relax into the security of love.

Will my heart know it’s found the right one at once?  Will dating so many wrong men make the right one stand out so much clearer?  Like a lighthouse on a foggy night?

I wish dating were as easy as yoga.  Maybe it will be.  One day.  Time will tell.

are you tired of starting over yet?


Every morning, my iPhone wakes me up with a reminder.

If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up.

It reminds me to get up.  Keep moving.  Put on my running shoes.  Run if I can.  Walk if I can’t.

This is my Year of Balance.  But last year was my Year of Imbalance.  It included a saved stumble and a couple of successful falls.  (If you consider a broken finger and a twisted ankle to be successful, that is.)

The stumble made me realize how badly I want someone walking beside me through life.  Someone quick enough and strong enough to catch me when I fall.

The falls showed me I haven’t found that person yet.

Even though I was married over twenty years, I’ve never had that kind of a catch-me-when-I-fall relationship.

The falls took a toll on me physically.  It’s hard to run with a broken finger.  It’s impossible to run if you twist your ankle and throw your hips out of alignment by about two inches.

I finished my first two 5Ks last fall.  By November, I could barely walk half a mile without my hip and shin complaining.

Thankfully sweet JZ came my office.  She pulled and pushed my legs around, and pretty much yanked me back into alignment.  Twice.

I’m tired of starting over.  So this time, I’m not going to quit.  After walking sporadically for the last month, I’m back on the Ease into 5K program.  Skipped straight to week 3.  Hoorah!

Ease into 5K used to be called Couch to 5K.  Honestly, the old name was more accurate for me.  When I started C25K last year, I was literally coming from the couch to work my way up to 5K.

Maybe this year the new name is more appropriate.  Maybe I’m not joining the race from the couch this time. Maybe I’m easing back into the race from the sidelines.

Woman running under blue sky with clouds and sun

So far this week, I’ve run 18 minutes out of three miles spread over two days.  (Don’t confuse that with an 18 minute 5K – which many of my friends can do.  I’m the 60 minute 5K girl.  At my peak.)

I wish it were as easy to get my love life back into shape.

I’ve had fun learning to be single again.  I’m having fun dating Little Boy, Honey Baby and the rest of the motley crew of men who cross my path.

Laugh out loud fun, actually.

But I’m ready to find the one who’ll catch me when I fall.

I’m ready to find the one who will inspire me to stop giving up.  Because I’m tired of starting over.

Question:  Are you tired of starting over yet?  What makes you keep going?

who do you see when you look in the mirror?


Who do you see when you look in the mirror?

fit athletic woman

I have a friend, my beautiful Colorado Girl.  She is disciplined enough to work out at home.  Cross fit.  Running.  Weight lifting.  Hot yoga.

I’ve been in a yoga class with her.  I’ve seen her in a sports bra and the little, stretchy shorts hot yoginis wear.

You could bounce a quarter off her abs.  She’s got guns like you wouldn’t believe!  

I would love to have her body!  (Just not enough to work that hard.)

I think to myself, If that’s what I saw when I looked in the mirror, I’d be so happy.”

And yet, my sweet friend, my beautiful Colorado Girl, doesn’t seem to see the same person I see.  The beautiful, hard body her sedentary friend envies.

She compares herself to people who are taller, younger, smaller-boned, less muscular.

She is so much more than her hard body, too.  She’s smart and funny.  She’s a single mama who works from home so she can raise her four children.  She’s a faithful friend and devoted daughter.

She’s God’s child and stands in front of him at church, her hands raised in the air to call to him, to praise him.

She’s as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

I wish she could see herself through my eyes.

I wonder who she sees when she looks in the mirror.  Does she see the finely sculpted body?  The soul that shimmers with her love for God, family and friends?

Gift wrapped with Markel's bow

Courtesy Markel’s Card & Gift Shop

I wish you could gift confidence and self-esteem to someone else.  Wrap it up in a box with the prettiest, flowery wrapping paper.  Tie it with a giant, flashy, red and green Markel’s bow.

Watch her slide the bow off the box, because it’s too pretty to cut.

See her slice through the tape holding the pretty paper together.

Slide off the top and watch confidence shimmer up out of the box and envelope her.

See self esteem rise up and seep into her skin.

Watch her stand up and walk away.  Look in mirror and see.  Finally see.

I am beautiful.  I am fit, healthy and toned.  I’m sweet, smart and funny.  I’m a child of my God.  An adored daughter to my parents.  A rock to my children.  I am Me.  And Me is pretty incredible.

Can’t you tell, my beautiful Colorado Girl?  That’s what the rest of us see when we look at you.

Question:  Who do you see when you look in the mirror?  Who does everyone else see?