Night Night Yoga

Hello sun. Hello earth. Hello friends. Hello earth. High to low pushup. Up dog (ah-oooo!). Down dog (arf!). Step or jump. Hello friends. Hello earth. Hello sun. Tonight as we tried to re-implement our night night yoga, someone surprised us. 

“Yoga!” Ava said, as if it has been a word she’s always known. Right off her little tongue while giggling and looking back between her sweet toes. 

Hello sun (praise the Lord!). Hello earth. Hello friends. Hello earth. High to low pushup. Up dog (ah-oooo!). Down dog (arf!). Step or jump. Hello friends. Hello earth. Hello sun.

Giveaway: Toe Talk

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My tootsies are chilly this morning, how about yours? Winter is here, welcomed by the Winter Solstice today. Toe Talk and I want to be sure that you are covered and warm – but if you’ve done your 108 Sun Salutations today, I am sure you are.

Toe Talk is going to be teaming up with ‘lil Burghers to bring you fun yoga information, including specials on their products. For instance, they are celebrating with $1.08 off each pair of socks using the code 108suns on checkout (expires EOD 12/21/14).

Source: Toe Talk’s Facebook Page

And they’ve given their team of bloggers 108 socks to give away today, too! (My split is 7 pairs of socks, which will be sent to the winner in January.) Good luck, I am sure  you’d love to treat yourself to a pair of socks like mine!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t do yoga? These socks just might inspire you to take up my mantra, seek balance!

My Warrior Chick Toe Talk Socks

Toe Talk® non-slip socks are designed to be fun and stylish, but they are also meant to inspire mindfulness and a balanced, healthy lifestyle. You can see all their adorable designs at toe-talk.com and stay tuned here to learn more. 

Stretch and Breathe: Family Yoga

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Family Yoga
Greg and the kids before Class

In the midst of all the crazy that’s been happening around here, the ‘lil Burghers and their parents got a chance to stretch and breathe at Yoga Innovations in Bethel Park for Family Yoga. Arianna and I have done yoga together before, but Evan hadn’t been old enough. The great thing about this class? There were wee ‘lil ones there, so we all fit in. Om! 

Sure, Bethel Park is a hike for us, but it was very fun to watch Evan get into poses and be my partner for some “mom and me” time. Arianna had a bit of a pout session at one point…she wanted to play with the babies instead of be in down dog. But guess what? That’s just fine. Yoga Innovations is prepared for this. There’s a toy box at the back of the room for when the kids get distracted so mom (and DAD) can keep on breathing and stretching.

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This class was my first yoga class since finding out I’m pregnant with twins, and I’ll be honest. It wasn’t easy on me but at the same time, the stretch felt so good. (The thing to remember, for people like me who just can’t take no? Sometimes, you have to say no and stay on your back, use the blocks, and let everyone else invert while you just breathe.) Greg enjoyed actually getting a chance to exercise while the kids were “busy”, too.

Evan cleaning up after class

At $8 per family, this once a month (on the fourth Sunday) experience is worth it. There are other classes yogis (both experienced and aspiring) can participate in. There’s prenatal yoga, strong moms yoga, and your typical classes like basic yoga, power flow, and warm yoga…just find what fits your schedule. If you go and have never done yoga before, Yoga Innovations has a great resource for what to expect at your first class on their website. For example, a rented mat will cost you $2, and you’re going to want to take a bottle of water.

Seriously, how relaxed do these two look? You owe it to yourself to find a place to get a chance to breathe and stretch. We promise. And if you are in the Bethel Park area, give Yoga Innovations a try!

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Arianna’s feet! I can’t get enough of this picture.

Look Good. Feel Good. With Metamorphosis Spa

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It’s been a crappy few weeks in my world. Crappy as in…my first migraine, saying goodbye to my Grandma, a trip to the ER, a sick visit/breathing treatments for Arianna, packing, and more. But we are moving past that, and for part of it, I have to thank the ladies of Metamorphosis Organic Spa of Pittsburgh. Myself and three other Pittsburgh Mom Bloggers (love my tribe!) were treated to an evening at the Spa to relax, look good, and feel good. Might I say, it worked.

First of all, one of my peeves about Pittsburgh is parking. Yes, my trip to Metamorphosis Spa started out with a small parking headache. I hate parallel parking in Lawrenceville, but knowing what was awaiting me, I sucked it up and got a spot. It is not impossible just trust me. And well worth it when you walk up to this:

Metamorphosis Spa

I was stunned at the beauty, and I hadn’t even walked inside. When you do, however, you immediately feel an energy from every employee and customer. It was 6:00 on a Thursday evening and the place was full of business. Clients getting their hair cut/styled, yogis coming in for class, and us mom bloggers joining each other back at the beauty bar/pedicure area (which is my favorite part of the whole spa because purple paint, gorgeous chandeliers, and vintage wallpaper that I just had to share).

So serene and gorgeous @spapgh

…and how happy do Nicole and I look in the pedicure chairs?

Source: Rutz Skincare Facebook

I spoke of energy, then post us “sleeping”. We were just so relaxed just by being there. Forget their wine bar,  the serene music, the amazing massage I got on my tired feet (more on that another day), or the other services offered. We were just happy being there!

While we were there, the other mamas got a chair massage while I enjoyed a foot soak and rub (with Rutz Skincare “Oh-So Smoothie” and “Smooth Talker”, available at www.rutzskincare.com –and another post on this organic company whose products are what Metamorphosis uses/swears by). Additionally, we got a mini facial (which used the “Just Breathe” cleanser and “In Your Face” Elixir face spray…ahhhh-mazing).

Can I seriously tell you something about this facial?  I am ready to be signed up for a treatment every single month just to relax in the facial room and have someone else scrub my face. Facials start at $55 and last 45-60 minutes. Additionally…I seriously have not worn makeup the past two days because this made my skin so healthy and happy (will post that photo on my Rutz review, but if you follow me on Instagram, you already have seen the look). Sign me up now.

We chilled in the beauty bar and learned about the services that Metamorphosis Spa offers and I really didn’t want to go home. There’s a yoga studio that’s intimate (about 8-10 people per class) and will start offering kids’ yoga soon. There are two adorable massage rooms with sliding barn doors to open up if you’d like a couple’s massage. And a sauna treatment can be added to your experience for just $5.

Holiday gift? You can so count me in for a trip to @spapgh to relax here. ♡

Seriously, I hope some of my girls or my husband will be on board for a return trip. I am ready, and it’s only been three days since I left. Thank you, Metamorphosis Spa, for hosting us Mom Bloggers!

Check Metamorphosis Spa out on Facebook and Twitter!

Walk in, feel the energy immediately. @spapgh

A Headstand

Today, I added one more thing to the list of things I never thought I’d be able to do, a headstand.

It was a calm, quiet morning at the beach. I enjoyed breakfast and conversation with some of the ladies, then headed out to Inlet Yoga. When I checked in, the instructor said we’d be working on headstands. I wasn’t thrilled, but knew I’d showed up for the workout and gosh darnit, I was doing it.

I settled in to the practice, a Hatha class, and found a breathing balance. Next thing I knew, we were getting started with the process to get into a headstand. When the instructor asked who wanted to try one, I shook my hand and gave in. The only one who attempted it, I felt empowered and ready. Shaking, but ready.

Kim came over and helped me get into the position. I lifted my right leg, then my left. She guided me to learn my legs are longer than I thought and I was on the wall. I pulled my feet back, and up I went.

A headstand.

This girl.

She’s quite a different woman than she was two years ago.

And it’s making me want to lean in.

I’ve got this, and maybe I am there.

It started with one simple class to learn to breathe, and now I am trying headstands.

“Tao Te Ching”

Ever since a “marathon” weekend of doing yoga on my girls’ weekend in January, I have been addicted to yoga. I’ll admit, I haven’t done it as much since I’ve been focused on running and training for big races; however, it’s still a part of my daily life. When I was asked to check out “Tao Te Ching: A New Version for All Seekers“, I agreed. Why? My favorite part of yoga practice is the calm centering I receive from the words of mediation at the end of practice.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Tao Te Ching in exchange for this review. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Perhaps another reason I love the centering of the readings in yoga practice is that I have always been a faith-based person. Since going off to college, I haven’t really found the church I call “home”, but when I read selections from texts like Tao Te Ching, my faith pulls through. I find the peace and serenity that I found by attending church every Sunday.

So, what did I think of Tao Te Ching (pronounced dow deh jing)? Since this was the first collection of verses I’ve personally had my hands on, I was wowed. The verses are interpreted beautifully, with simple language that put me at peace. I didn’t feel like my faith (Christian) was compromised by reading them–probably anyone of any faith could pick up this book and find peace within.

There are 81 verses in Tao Te Ching that Guy Leekley interpreted from Laozi’s original (a Chinese text that is used as a fundamental scripture in Taoism). I didn’t take on the task of reading through. I’ve turned to pages when I’ve felt I needed centering. I’ve drawn to some on particular days by glancing at the words on the page and a certain word sticking out to me. Every time, I have not been caught off guard or questioned the words I read. I took time, I slowed down, I listened. Finding this peace and calm in my life is rare, and I’ll take it. Since my gym version of yoga doesn’t typically involve a reading at the end, I’ve been carrying my copy around in my bag. It’s been handy for finding the calm and serenity I desire.

For instance, from 64:

That which is centered

Can be sustained.

Just a few short words from a passage, and my heart is already filling with love and peace, my mind erasing of all the things still on my plate for today.

Essentially, I’d call this interpretation a must have if you are a yoga teacher or yogi. There is peace within, for all seekers that will help free you from the battles of day-to-day life.

You can get your own copy of Tao Te Ching by Guy Leekley through Yoga Life Style. It retails for $14.95. 

Tao Te Ching
Source: Amazon.com

Kingsley Center

Tonight, I should have no problem going to sleep. My heart and body feel restored. As part of my wellness adventure, I started back at yoga. Tonight, I decided to go with a new (to me) place, the Kingsley Center (aka Kingsley Association) in East Liberty.

Even though I went to Chatham, I don’t believe I have ever driven down Frankstown Road on that side of town, but after tonight, I will be making more trips that way. Yoga Roots on Location looked like a nice option on my (ending soon) Yoga Groupon, so I figured I would drive across the Highland Park Bridge and give it a try. And oh, am I glad I did.

When I pulled up, I was so glad there was parking. If someone wants me to go somewhere in the City, parking is key to my mood. Win one.

Win two? There is an indoor pool (which I later learned has a hydraulic floor, uh, yeah!) and when I opened the door, I could smell chlorine (a sure sign it is summer, summer makes me happy). I also learned that Kingsley rents out the pool for birthday parties (meaning our kids may just get a pool party one of these times!).

Win three? Felicia, the yoga instructor. She was extremely friendly, a great yoga instructor, and clearly a family-minded woman. We talked a ‘lil bit about my family and history (ok, a lot) and then, since no one else came to class, had a great restorative yoga session.

After we were done, she gave me a tour of the Center which includes community groups, programs (like an upcoming health fair, financial planning, marriage prep, a GED program), a dance studio, a fitness room, a body toning studio, gym, pool, and of course, the window filled third floor yoga studio.

You can become a member of the Center for less than the price of one trip to a fast food restaurant a month for your whole family. Kid you not. Or, you can stop in and pay for a visitor pass at $5. We will definitely be considering the membership, especially since Felicia told me something worth gold…my whole family can come do yoga, including our ‘lil Man (who is 2). Major win.

Go check out their website, http://kingsleyassociation.org/, which is full of info, and like them on Facebook from there. I started following them on Twitter, but it looks like they aren’t as active on Twitter as Facebook…perhaps we can help change that? 😉

All in all, I hope I have given you a great place to grow as a family and interact with the community. Thank you, Felicia for making my evening a nice one after a long, rainy day at work!

This “review” was prompted all on my own after an awesome experience at Kingsley, a community that has been around over 100 years…but that I just discovered tonight. All opinions are my own.

Kingsley Center
Source: KingsleyAssociation.org

Potty Training + Yoga

This morning I laid in bed, not because I was lazy, but because getting out of bed meant I had to put on clothes depending on what I was going to do for my daily workout. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a run (layers and layers–it’s 9 degrees out there and snowing) or yoga (shorts and a tank top since THE HEAT IS ON). The kids and Greg were all asleep, so I figured either way it was alone time but that yoga would be best so I wouldn’t startle Greg by making a “hey, I busted my a$$ at the corner of 11th and Western [because I thought it would be wise to run up hill in the snow], come peel me off the road” phone call.

So, I found my clothes and tiptoed out (okay, after telling him about my cheating on the scale). When I opened the door, I was greeted by a ‘lil girl and then heard a yell for “Mama! Mama!”. Crap. Both kids were wide awake, and the dogs wanted out, too. I took some time with the four kids and then set myself up for yoga.

Oh, now would be the time to mention that Evan didn’t have to potty upon waking, but gladly slipped into his Thomas James (#5, his favorite number) unders and had his sister teach him how to fill a sippy cup with water from the bathroom sink, right?

I settled in to an hour of yoga, telling the kids that they needed to watch from the couch or go play in the toy room because this was me time (finding my peace and all). No questions unless they’re urgent.

Maybe at this point you can tell me why a four-year-old cannot entertain herself (even after 2 years 2 months as an only child) yet a 25 month old can entertain himself? Please? Someone? No? Okay. She bothered me the entire yoga set, turning an hour workout into an hour and 15 minutes. So much for finding OHM. Finally, with 20 minutes left, she decided she was marching her Alice in Wonderland costumed body up to her room “for a nap”. Good riddance, child.

I went back to yoga, settling in to the last, more relaxing moments of my workout. With (kid you not) 5 minutes to go, Evan starts yelling, “I wonnnna potty! I wonnnnna potty!”. I inhale. I exhale. I peel myself off the mat and scoop the kid up. He HATES our downstairs potty, so I skip steps to the upstairs. We make it just in time (with a small dribble on James)  for him to empty his bladder. We switch to Thomas (“I wooonnna wear 5! 5! 5!”) and I hand him a bag of Swedish Fish as his pee-pee prize. At the sound of the peeling of wrapper, out comes Alice, demanding she get a pee-pee prize, too. Where is my peace?!??!!

I make my eldest cry, she retreats to her room, and Evan watches me finish my yoga, chomping on gummy fish and smiling. Perhaps this is my peace…for now.

Maybe THIS is how I should do Saturday Yoga???
source: Pinterest

Finding My Peace

I’ll admit, for the last 29 years I have not been so kind to myself. This year, I turn 30 and have turned over a new leaf in my quest to be healthy (and that’s not just the physical, it’s the mental, too).

Specifically, the years I spent in college and in Myrtle Beach were the harshest on my body. I entered college at  253 pounds (eek!) and “never looked back”. There were days when I would eat pizza for all three meals and did not care in the least. I had a “plateau” weight that I pretty much maintained through college then dropped a good bit of it off upon moving to Myrtle Beach, only to pack it back on during an abusive relationship (where I forgot how to love myself, since I figured I was unlovable being beat and broken).

Enter Arianna. I lost 42 pounds during my pregnancy (part of it was that I was worried sick about being a single mom, the daughter of a pastor, and having an on-again/off-again “thing” with a black man in the south, the other part being I danced my butt off, literally, 3-4 nights a week at the Beach Wagon). I kept that off for all of 5 months after she was born and then I found my happy with Greg and moving back home to (cold) Pittsburgh full of family, food, and cuddles.

Being pregnant with Evan was much different. I was just as sick, but was put on Zofran around month 6 so I could actually eat with him…and eat I did. That scale tipped so far, so fast. I thought that breastfeeding would help, but I found myself using the excuse of “I am really still eating for 2” and I hovered at post-baby weight for 6 months.

Then, through work, I was introduced to a nutritionist who has literally saved my life. I did a “10 in 10” program and lost 16 pounds in 10 weeks. That was great, but for me it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t 10% of my body weight. I put off personal nutrition coaching for a few months and easily gained back 4 of those pounds in 3 months. It was clearly time to say YES to myself and get a new start on life.

For those of you that personally know me, you know I strive for perfection. The past 14 months of working with Jeff have been a great blessing, but I find myself still hating parts of me, feeling like I am not enough. Struggling to love me, whether or not the scale shows what I want it to. It’s not been an easy ride.

During this time, I was inspired by a friend to start running and tried the “Couch to 5K” program. My VP at work said we’d do Mud on the Mountain for team building, but budget issues kept that from happening. Too bad, I set it as a goal and instead of a 5K, I did 7 miles in the mud. Two weeks later, Greg and I did run a 5K (unofficially, it was actually a walk), but then I stopped because I was running on a sprained knee, busted up MCL, and severely pulled hamstring (ouch). I had a few months of PT and kept working on the eating part.

In November, you know I ran the Turkey Trot and hit an all-time low in weight…but have kind of stuck there over the holidays (and a ‘lil beyond). It’s been cold, and I’ve been whiny. Blah!

So, to the real reason I set out to write this post, finding my peace. In January, I went on my annual girls’ trip to Myrtle Beach to scrap and craft. Jess and I bought a pass to do unlimited yoga at Inlet Yoga (if in Myrtle Beach, you should ABSOLUTELY GO). I thought I couldn’t do yoga because I can’t relax. I am working on finding my inner peace, you know? Well, I found it there. I fell in love with the studio, with the readings, the music, the mats. It was beautiful. I cried (I guess I might not of had they not played “Angel” during the relaxation part of hot yoga?). I breathed. I found my peace.

Upon coming home to Pittsburgh, I knew I had to find a mat to put in my Inlet Yoga strap I bought and a place to wear my Inlet Yoga t-shirt. I had bought the Bob Harper “Yoga for the Warrior” DVD and decided to give it a try since I am not sure I am ever going to find another beautiful studio like that. It’s been working, although finding “ohm” at home isn’t always the easiest thing (as you’ll hear about in a later, funny post), so I am still consider a drop-in at a local studio once the weather warms up and I can wear my capris out of the office and into the “wild” of the city.

I am not quite there, but folks, I am so close to my peace. This morning, I cheated. I felt lighter, so I stepped on the scale (something I only like to do on Monday mornings). I found out I’ve lost 3.4 pounds this week (so far). I swear, it’s because I’ve been running again and feeding my yoga addiction. I am so close to my peace. I was going to be “okay” with only hitting -88 pounds by my birthday, but now that’s only 4 pounds (and 2 months and 1 week) away. I can do this, I can hit -100 by my birthday, and I will.

But I am also going to find my peace. I am going to understand again what it means to love myself (because, I am sorry, I am beautiful inside and out) and what it means for someone (Greg, Arianna, Evan, both of my sets of parents, my best friends, my favorite cousins and aunts and uncles) to truly love me with no conditions. Whether I am tipping the scales or wearing baggy skinny jeans (I love you, Ella!). I am finding it, I promise. God made me beautiful, and this body was a gift. It’s time to really love it.

source: pinterest