Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dime a Dozen

I was on Pinterest, as usual, when I found this pin where someone mentioned they wanted this top from Lululemon and they were going to use their $1 reward jar towards it. I don't know how their jar works, but it got me thinking.

What if I could curb my 'outlandish spending habits' as my mother says with my love of using a 'reward system' to help keep me on track for working out? Kill three birds with one stone? Why the hell not? So I decided I'd go to the bank and take $20 in dimes out. Crazy, I know. Next I found a container that will work as my collection bin for workouts received. And finally I found something I've been drooling over as my motivation.

Lululemon's Studio Pant II* No Liner has been on my radar for what seems like an eternity. I love these, they're soft, they're comfortable, they're cute. I just can't justify spending $100 on a pair of yoga pants. Well, I could if I worked out for them. And at $0.10 earned for every ten minutes working out I don't feel bad. I will have to pour a lot of sweat, blood and tears into my workouts to earn those pants, but they're worth it.

I'm sure you're thinking, this is a dumb idea. $0.10 for every ten minutes is ridiculous and how can that even motivate anyone? There's two reasons really. The first is that a 20 minute workout isn't worth $1 to me. I should get rewarded for my workouts based on my time. Every workout is different and the reward should be as well. If I were to give myself $1 per workout I'd only ever workout for 20 minutes a day. By making it by the time I spend I'm holding myself more accountable, I'm making myself *want* to run for that extra ten minutes, that extra mile, take that class that's a little bit longer than the normal one.

And the second reason? Well I have this thing called buyer's guilt. I'm not sure if it's even a real thing, I just know I don't have buyer's remorse. I don't ever *regret* buying what I bought, I just always get guilted by someone for buying it. I love what I buy, I wouldn't buy it if I didn't love it. But this new idea allows me to buy without guilt. How? Because I've not only saved for the item at a painstakingly slow rate, but I've also poured my energy, time, blood, sweat, tears, motivation and dedication into my reward. I truly feel like I've earned it. And to me, buying something without the guilt, well hell, that's worth it every time!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why RICE when you can RICE + do Pilates?

I hate getting into a workout routine and all of a sudden an injury occurs or an old injury is re-aggravated. Heck, even the weather changing can cause my bum left knee to start hurting; but does that mean a little cold weather should sideline my workout schedule? In most cases, it should and it would; I'd rest, ice, compress and elevate. But this time I tried doing an at home Pilates routine instead of running (left knee and right ankle were hurting) or yoga (standing poses really hurt my injuries.) While neither injury is yoga related, my left knee I hyper extended playing indoor soccer extremely hungover and my right ankle from running outside on a sloped sidewalk, it simply hurt too much to even do yoga. What's a girl to do? Use the bike or focus on upper body workouts? Well if you've ever taken a Pilates class you know that there is another option.

Pilates works the core, using your body weight as resistance training and kicking your butt along the way. The best part? For those of us with lower body injuries, most of the level one moves are done while seated or laying down. No pressure or pain on my injured body parts and I can feel the workout on my body. Today I woke up and my core was sore, my back was sore and my legs were sore. I still got a workout in, without further injuring myself or hitting up a gym. Can't complain about that!

What I use to do an at home Pilates workout is my Manduka Black Mat Pro with my eQua towel (to prevent slipping or sweating on my mat) and my iPhone. The app Studio Darien is a great app for those who have been to a Pilates class before. Giving you the entire workout in 22 minutes, granted Darien powers through the moves and I'm not as advanced as she is OR giving you a breakdown of each set. Video for every  move and if you're fast enough you can do it with Darien at lightning fast speed. Or if you're feeling like you have some cash to burn, you can take virtual classes with Darien on her website. It's what I'll be doing tonight when I get home from work.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cost is Different than Worth

I often find myself defending purchases made, whether it be to my Mom asking where I got something or to a friend asking how much something cost. But they fail to grasp what Steve Jobs talked about during his time at Apple. Cost is different than worth.

The cost of an iPad starts at $499. That's a lot of money, it's well over $500 when you add tax in, and for some people the cost is not worth it. But what about for others? What about for someone whose child has a learning disability? The iPad was one of the few pieces of technology in our age that gave families who have children with autism, aspergers, Down Syndrome and a few other disabilities a way to communicate with the world. Can you put a price on peace of mind? What about access? There have been several tablets that came into the market after the iPad but few offer the design and ease of use the iPad has. No one can compare to the App Store the iPad has. So the worth of the iPad depends greatly on how you're going to use it.

The same goes for any aspect of your life. My yoga mat is by Manduka. It's an amazing mat, the Black Mat PRO Limited Edition Black Sage. It's absolutely gorgeous, comes with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE and is the Maybach of Yoga Mats. But when friends heard how much I spent on it, they could not help but throw their two cents in. $100 for a yoga mat? I was declared mentally unstable. But the cost of the mat may be higher than what most who do not practice yoga would consider fair, the reality is it's not. The average mat is about $20 - $30. I've had one mat I got for $20 for a month before it cracked. Yoga isn't a fad, it isn't just a workout. It's 60 minutes that I get to give to myself, my future, my health and get out of my head and into my body.

So what is it worth? Well with a Lifetime Guarantee, thickness to stand on my head (when I get there), and the cost of other yoga mats, the worth far outweighs the cost. I've never understood when people buy a lesser quality product and then complain about it. You get what you pay for when you go cheap. But sometimes, you get more than what you pay for when you find a product whose cost is trivial compared to its worth. And what a product is worth, differs with each person.

So the fact that I have one Manduka Black Mat PRO, two eQua mat towels and one hand towel may look like a waste of money to somebody else, but for me it's an investment. A reminder to practice yoga, to get my dollar out of every item I purchase. Besides, it's more fun to stick to a lifestyle change when you find what motivates you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yoga Controversy

There's been some fun news in the yoga world lately. The other day the New York Times published a piece talking about how yoga can wreck your body. The tales were quite scary but most of us with common sense shook our heads and thought, but the examples the writer used showed people going against everything yoga is supposed to be about when they get injured. Today, another piece was released to counter the controversial piece and it provided a much more logical point of view.

The New York Times did raise some valid points, there are positions that are dangerous, some may be risky to teach in a beginning class. The person practicing yoga needs to listen to their body, which is discussed with any yoga class you ever take. That each person needs to practice yoga at their pace, with thier strengths and injuries in mind, any ego should be checked at the door. But isn't this common knowledge? Well what can be considered common knowledge in an age of warning labels on coffee to avoid getting sued? So while there may be warnings against yoga, as with any physical activity it is best to consult with your doctor before starting.

And even though I know this is a ways away for me, it inspires me to keep practicing.

Yoga by Equinox

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Free Yoga :)

Align Pilates has kicked off a new and improved yoga program at their cute studio. And to help you get ready for all things Pilates and Yoga, they're offering free yoga classes from January 16-22. The catch is if you sign up but forget to cancel 24  hours prior to the class you'll get charged the full price for the class.

To sign up for the class click here. To find out more about the staff at Align Pilates click here.

And as always, remember Align offers a great deal called 'Save Your Buck Sundays' where instructors going through Align's Pilates Teacher Training teach the classes. Mat class is $5, Reformer and Barre classes are $10.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Donate a Gift for FREE Pilates :)

Tomorrow  at Align Pilates only, if you bring a new, unwrapped toy for St. Anne's Place which provides emergency housing / is a transitional center for women and children, you receive your class for free. Sign up now!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life over Hockey Fandom

Life is funny sometimes isn't it? Last year there was nothing I loved more than hockey; talking to other hockey fans, watching hockey games, tweeting about hockey a word I was obsessed. For anyone who has read my personal blog before you may have read the post earlier this Fall about the past six years of struggle I had been through, if not here's the Reader's Digest version. Shit happens, and sometimes when drowning you cling on to the ray of light that can bring you happiness and you don't let go. But as with all things in life, one day you're up the next day you're down. Somewhere along the line the online hockey community went from the thing that saved me and filled me with joy and energy to a place filled with negativity and whining. I can handle criticism but hockey seemed to invite people into my life to constantly criticize what I did, how I felt, what I liked and any opinion I had. I didn't realize it at first, I blamed it on the Avalanche crapping the bed midway through last season as to why I wasn't as into hockey but the Playoffs rolled around and I watched maybe two games. I couldn't care less, and I finally figured out why.

The hockey community is a great one, filled with fun individuals who really love the sport and want to talk to other hockey fans. The problem is that for me it felt like instead of going out and doing stuff I would talk hockey with other people. This past summer the hockey community was hit with tragedy, time and time again. Instead of banning together people fought over how other people should mourn, over what was classy and respectful and what was not. It was insane and above all else it was energy draining. I often found myself turning off Twitter and re-reading Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement Speech - about living your life to the fullest. Somewhere along the line I realized that while online communities are great and connecting with other fans is fun, it's not the only part of my life. No wonder I had little to offer other than critiquing people on Twitter; I wasn't actually living an active life so I had nothing to comment on other than observe how others were living. What a boring life. Then the 10 year anniversary of September 11th came and Penelope Trunk wrote a piece that had me in tears at the end. Steve had nailed it on the head about remembering to make the most of each day, but even that seemed lofty and we always think we have tomorrow. But Penelope, well she smacked it out of the ballpark, bases loaded bottom of the 9th Inning in the World Series Game Seven for the Championship. I realized how to make me happy and what was worthwhile to me.

A few months later and I'm happier and healthier. I run two to three times a week, go to yoga four times a week and am out past 10 pm on most days. I hang out with cool people, learn something new each day, and get to laugh out loud instead of type LOL. That doesn't mean I don't love my Twitter family, it just means balance is needed in my life. For me, the pendulum swung all the way over to hockey and the online hockey community and as with all things the pendulum has to swing the other way to correct itself. I'm striking that balance any way I can, and sometimes that means by unfollowing people who don't have much to tweet about other than whine over how their team got screwed or their fellow fans or the return of Sidney Crosby.

But if you're wondering, I still love my Avs and am excited about Landeskog and the future for the organization. I still check out the scores, watch highlights and check out the news; but it isn't the only love of my life any longer. So if you're on Twitter and I'm tweeting about music, movies, food, technology and yoga, feel free to tweet me back; it's even more fun than just tweeting about hockey, I promise.