Category Archives: Body

Try #23 new physical experiences: Restorative Yoga

                 ~ Day 8 ~
~ Sunday, December 21st, 2014 ~
               Take Action
Take one action for each of your one- year goals.
– Matt Frazier


Completed my anchor habit today for 21 minutes. I did restorative poses from Om Yoga. There were only three poses, so I held each one for 7 minutes. It felt good to ease into a pose and just sit in it for a while. I’ve never done restorative yoga before, but I liked it today. It’s essentially “gentle yoga”. You use pads and blankets to stay comfy and you just sit for a while. It’s nice for Sunday when you have nowhere to be… and it was a good way to prepare for my Wake Up activity for the day, Take Action!

According to the Yoga Center of Minneapolis, Restorative Yoga classes goes like this:

A class of postures supported with props to soothe the nervous system, facilitate deep relaxation, and bring the body back into balance. Class may also include warm-ups, mantra, mudra (hand positions), and visualization to rejuvenate and replenish.


Today’s Action:

Today, take one action for each of your one-year goals — the reason this activity is scheduled for a weekend is so that you have time to actually go somewhere if you need to. Don’t put this off!
– Matt Frazier

Open space – Today I met with my favorite Jivamukti style yoga instructor about yoga teacher training school. She went to Yoga Center of Minneapolis for her 200 hour training, and then she did a 300-hour Jivamukti training in Costa Rica. She strongly encouraged it. But she also encouraged me to do the basics quickly and cheaply and then do additional training in Jivamukti or yoga therapy because “the basics” is just the basics, and it doesn’t totally prepare you to teach anyway. She encouraged me to learn from all teachers – even ones whose teaching styles I may not want to follow. She thought Go Fund Me was a good idea and encouraged me. I am really starting to feel like this is possible.
Last month I interview yoga therapist Lisa Fecarotta from Veda Yoga Therapy in Edina Minnesota. Even though her business model wasn’t amazingly compatible with mine – because she was a massage therapist first and that continues to be a large part of her business – our visit gave me some great insights. She has to do a lot of education to earn yoga therapy clients – and a lot of them come to her for other services to begin with. One of them is Reiki healing actually. I’ve always been interested in that. Maybe I’ll look into diversifying in a couple of ways in order to attract more clients. She also said that she does a lot of corporate contracting – she goes and does massage therapy for office workers – and teaches yoga classes as well. This is an interesting idea too. I’m glad I met with her.

Finances – transferred $100.00 to savings!

Meditation – I researched Common Ground meditation retreats and sittings. Put some things on my calendar.

DONA – I ordered my DONA International Certified Birth Doula Application Packet!

Sperm donor – I texted Matt to take him out to lunch/dinner in the next couple weeks.

Read 12 books – I commit to read The Birth Partner by the end of the month.

#6: Visit 6 New Places: Hinterland Vineyards

Visit #6 New Places

Back in September Remy and I took a restful and rejuvenating weekend trip to…

Willmar, MN.

Believe it or not, we went there on purpose. Our impetus for this mini-vacations was a Groupon for a wine tasting and vineyard tour at Hinterland Vineyards. I was caught by surprise by Remy’s purchase and excitement, because the only time I’ve ever been to Willmar was for gymnastics camp in 7th grade. But it was a nice small town with quite a bit to do.

Our first night in town we had a blast at the vineyard and even got to meet the owners, who came out at the end of the night and drank with us around the fire. They weren’t much older than us, which got us excited about our own potential to own our own business.


After getting our second tasting pour, and our FREE BOTTLE OF WINE!, we stepped outside the bar/bottling room into the beautiful vineyard. The weather was just perfect for a stroll through the vines, which were literally sagging under the weight of all those luscious grapes. I tried one and was surprised to find out that wine grapes are sweet and delicious to eat on their own!

I learned that the University of Minnesota started a breeding program for cold-hardy grapes in the 1980s, and that today there are at least 6 varieties of grapes that can be grown for wine here in Minnesota! Frontenac is the most popular breed here, and also the variety they grow at Hinterland Vineyards. For more about cold-hardy grapes, visit the University of Minnesota Grapes Website: 


We also got to keep our wine glasses with the Hinterland Vineyard logo! We would definitely recommend this place! The owners really make it worth the trip, and they also serve some great food out of a food truck behind the building!


The visit dissolved all our stress for the week, and the wine put us into a great frame of mind! It was a great trip overall! We also got a chance to go go-carting and mini-golfing and walk our dogs around the lake during our time in Willmar. If you go to Willmar check out Hinterland Vineyards for sure, and for a little adventure try the Big Kahuna Fun Park in nearby Spicer!

#23: Yoga every day for a week…

This week I did yoga every day for 7 days!Yoga_Silhouettes

I’m not completely new to yoga, but neither do I have anywhere near a “regular practice”… so this week I decided to give myself a “yoga kickstart” so to speak. Before this week I’ve taken a total of 4-5 yoga classes in the last 5 years and I’ve done some sun salutations from a yoga book Remy has. I may know my way around a yoga mat a little bit, but I know very few poses and only one sequence. I love the idea of yoga and I’ve always wanted to learn more, so this week I did yoga and learned about yoga each and every day. One week of yoga has already increased my confidence, decreased my anxiety, and inspired me to do more yoga!

It was definitely a new PHYSICAL experience for me! I went to two classes and did the other 5 days at home. I loved the classes, but they can’t always be worked into my schedule, and they cost money. Luckily the studio two blocks from my house offers a number of donation yoga classes where you can pay what you can. I also used the Daily Burn yoga workout for an hour 2 of the days. Both of those 60 minute sessions were estimated to burn around 300 calories! The other three days I only did yoga for 15-30 minutes, and even these short sessions left me feeling better afterward.

Most people this of yoga as passive stretching, something to do to warm up for exercise, but it is so much more than that! Yoga can BE exercise, as well as stress relief. Yoga is exercise because it takes an incredible amount of balance and muscle tension to hold yoga poses with correct posture. Some poses also require an intense amount of balance!



(Cannot do this… yet 😉

The other way yoga is more than just stretching involves the breathing. Yoga sequences are best paired with careful and deep breathing, from low in the belly; much like you do when you relax! Imagine doing something psychically challenging while still trying to keep your breath steady and you’ll begin to understand the true practice of yoga.

The practice of yoga is not religious, but it CAN be spiritual, if you want it to. Many yoga studios in the U.S. have removed most or all of the spirituality so that people of all religions and backgrounds can feel comfortable attending. Yoga was rejected for many years in the U.S. because people saw it as religious and “weird,” but recent research has done a lot to promote yoga for everybody! Even the American Osteopathic Association is on board, stating:

“The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome,” explains Dr. Nevins, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor. “Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.”

According to Dr. Nevins, other physical benefits include:

  • Increased flexibility

  • Increased muscle strength and tone

  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality

  • The maintenance of a balanced metabolism

  • Weight reduction

  • Cardio and circulatory health

  • Improved athletic performance

  • Protection from injury

Aside from the array of physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which has been known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. “Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate,” says Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.”

The Huffington Post article on yoga quotes some heavy hitters in the world of research, including Harvard University, University of Oslo, Norway, and University of Washington. According to these and others, yoga can boost your immunity and sexual performance, ease your migraines, help you sleep better, and fight your food cravings, but you’ll never know if it’s true until you try!

As you can tell, my week of yoga has also inspired my desire to learn about it! I’ll leave it at saying I feel great, and I already feel my body becoming more flexible and steady after one week! Who knows what a few more weeks will do! My next post about yoga will sure to include more of what I’ve learned! Look for my next post later this week!


Do you do yoga? Do you hate yoga with a fiery passion? What benefits or downsides do you see to it? Post questions or comments below!

#23 New Physical Experiences: Air Maxx!

#23 Try 23 New Physical Experiences

Today is my 25th birthday!

Remy and I bought a groupon for Air Maxx Trampoline Park in Eden Prairie! Our deal included jump time in their 10,000 sq. ft. trampoline zone, $10 in arcade game tokens, and laser tag for two!


Remy is a surprisingly good jumper! We bounced for almost an hour and played trampoline dodgeball against each other! It was a tremendously good time!



Laser tag was a blast too! The chamber was totally dark with tons of neat hidey-nooks! gun holes, barrels, and more. I would definitely go there again sometime! I am such a nerd!

#29 Try 29 New Foods: Paella

#29: Paella

The love of my life got me one of the best birthday gifts I’ve gotten in my life. I own a lot of awesome vegan cookbooks, from vegan baking to junk food to global cuisine, but this blows them all away!


Candle 79 Cookbook is by far the fanciest cookbook I’ve ever owned. Candle 79 is a gourmet vegetarian/vegan restaurant in New York that was the first-ever vegetarian restaurant to be reviewed by the New York Times.

The first dish I hoped to create was a Spanish paella. Paella is a traditional Spanish coastal dish made with rice and vegetables (and historically fish). This high-class paella includes oyster mushrooms, roasted corn, red bell pepper, tomatoes, cauliflower, garlic, and chorizo seitan-sausage, and was seasoned with saffron and smoked paprika.


I swear to whoever it is people swear to these days that you can taste every single ingredient in this dish! I’m beginning to understand what the chefs on TV mean when they say the cooking and seasoning “bring out the flavor of the food”. Remy and I couldn’t stop eating it! (Probably because there was like $5 worth of saffron in there, that stuff’s not cheap!)

The restaurant version is served with oyster mushrooms and some sort of sauce, but ours looked pretty close to the beautiful picture of the pot in the book! I’m very impressed, and it also got the stamp of approval from my non-vegan best friends Matt, Jenny, and. Jenny. Looks like there will be more good things to come from this cookbook! Here’s the restaurant photo.


#23 – New Physical Experiences: Bodyweight Workout

#23: Bodyweight Workout!

My partner Remy’s summer project is to get into shape better than he ever has before! I think it’s an admirable goal for anyone to watch what they eat, increase their activity, and slim down into last year’s shorts! But I can safely say I don’t really concern myself with these things much on a day-to-day basis. I am fortunate enough to maintain a stable weight without giving too much thought to my diet or exercise – but I’m learning more and more that this is not the case for everyone!

Given that the average American has an excess of calories and a deficiency of exercise it’s not surprising that, given my vegan diet and modicum of activity, I can afford to worry less about weight and health… But Remy’s determination and new-found love of exercising have really inspired me to take an even more active role in my health and fitness.

Remy has been biking to and from work five days a week, 7 miles one-way for the past two months! He has also been reading about fitness, nutrition, fasting, and different workout routines. Recently two of my best friends and I caught his enthusiasm, and decided to work out together 1-2 times per week.

Being low on cash and noncommittal about a gym membership, we decided to take it to the park near our house! They all asked me to lead it, so I looked up different workouts. Remy came up with the Bodyweight workout from!

This workout can be done using only your body as weights, so no purchasing a gym membership or weights required!

We simply did circuits: 8 reps of each activity as many times as we could in 15-20 minutes! 8 squats, then 8 Australian pull-ups, then 8 lunges, and 8 push-ups. We allowed 1 minute of rest time between each circuit.





15-20 minutes may not sound like a lot but it was really hard! It was tough but we all left feeling great about ourselves! Everyone pushed as much as they felt comfortable, and I assisted with form. I found it really exciting to be “coach” for the day, and have all my friends doing something active with me! And while Remy definitely gets the credit for inspiring us all to get together, we have all started to take this “fitness kick” and make it our own!

Remy’s goal is to lose weigh, gain muscle and just be stronger and more fit all-around. Matt has been jogging in his own at least once a week, and his goal is to be able to roller blade again this summer! Jenny recently decided to train for a 10K run with her sister! Woah! That’s more intense than I would even do!

What’s been so nice about all of my friends getting into this with me is that we can all relate about and get support for what each of us is going through. Being in our mid-twenties now and having gotten a few years away from any organized physical activity we used to do in our youth, we each feel like this is a major change in our own ways.

Some of us (me) are realizing that the healthy, young, in-shape version of ourselves we still see in our head isn’t really true anymore. We’ve gotten busy, we’ve made choices, and we’ve done things that have taken us away from the healthy athletes we used to be. It has been a challenge to find ways to convince myself that being active is fun and I enjoy doing it. I have been especially been struggling with jogging; I just can’t make it fun (even though it’s more fun with friends). So I’m addressing this challenge by continuing to seek out new and interesting ways to be active. Yeah, anyone can jog, and it’s free, blah blah blah. But working out should be fun! Anyone have any ideas for FUN and FREEE workouts?

For others of us who have never identified as “athletes” in their lives, this process has been a different kind of challenge. Instead of falling short of our expectations and feeling, “why can’t my body do the things I want it to do anymore,” some if us are unsure what expectations to have at all. Remy for example was not an active youngster, in fact he was pretty overweight as a teenager. Because of his weight and asthma he never really thought cardio was something he could do. Now that new possibilities are open to him as a skinnier, healthier adult, he’s been questioning, “how can I get used to making this a part of my lifestyle when I never really have before”.

So for some of us this has been about letting go of the person we used to be and accepting and loving ourselves the way we are now! For others it has been about adopting a completely new or long forgotten way of life that involves making healthier choices when it comes it eating and exercise! I believe these challenges will be ongoing, but at least we have each other for support!

We still feel like we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve maintained our commitment for 3 weeks already as a group! We are all setting our own small goals and big ones, but it’s still hard not to get bogged down wishing those long-term goals could happen faster. Anyone have any good advice on maintaining enthusiasm and not getting discouraged by the long road ahead?

Now that we’ve all been at it for a few weeks, I’m thinking about sustainability. How can we make sure this isn’t just a summer fad? How can I capitalize on our fitness successes and encourage even healthier eating habits among my friends without seeming pushy?

Wish us well as we try to keep this up all summer and into the fall! Remy, Jenny, and I have all decided to reward ourselves with a gym membership in the fall if we maintain our commitment until the weather starts to turn!

Here’s hoping!

#6 Visit 6 New Places: Wild Mountain Winery – Taylor’s Falls, MN


During our visit to Minnesota over Valentines Day, Remy surprised me with a wine tasting at Wild Mountain Winery in Taylor’s Falls, MN. It was a 50 minute drive north from Minneapolis, up a dirt road to get to the vineyard; other than the wine poles, in winter it looked no different from any other Minnesota Farm, and then we saw the tasting room!


Alan, a gentleman who reminded me of my grandfather, showed us in and poured us a glass of wine while we waited for another couple to arrive. We waited a few minutes and no one came so we began without them. They never actually showed so we ended up getting a private tasting!

We tasted at least 6 or 7 different wines, from their driest whites to their fullest reds. Alan taught us a lot about drinking wine: how to look for clarity, smell for flavor, and swish for taste. I actually enjoyed all the reds as well as the whites for a change! It was a great time.


Alan also had a game of sorts set up to guess common wine scents. He had different scents in bottles and we tried to guess what they were. We were both surprisingly awful at guessing but it was a lot of fun.

Two of the wines we tasted with food. The Frontenac came with apricots, and the port came with dark chocolate. Both great pairings. We loved those two the most and ended up buying a bottle of both!

Throughout the tasting Alan offered recommendations of other foods that were good with the wine. Many of them were meat, and it wasn’t until the end that we admitted we were vegan. Once we did, Alan admitted that he was vegetarian too! It was so unexpected and great, because then we were able to get some good wine/veggie pairings out of him as well!

All in all it was a very worthwhile trip. We learned a lot, and received a generous amount of wine for only $25 each. This even included a bottle of wine for the two of us! We recommend it to anyone up there in the frosty north or anyone visiting Minnesota.

#23 Try 23 new physical experiences: Speed Skating


You might be noticing a theme lately, with all my roller-skating related posts, but only because I find it so fascinating! Who knew flying around a track on eight wheels would be so much fun and such a great workout?

As part if my training for the Windy City Rollers they recommend we attend one or two two on-skate practices per week outside of our league practice. I went down to one of the qualifying classes at Fleetwood, a Speed Skating class.

I arrived a little late and not knowing what to expect, I was surprised to see a mix of quad- and inline-skaters ricocheting around the track at what seemed like 50 mph! I thought, damn, how am I going to keep up with them?

Luckily they had a beginner line and I was able to keep up the pace… With the kids!
I learned a lot about skating techniques for speed, including crossing over and scooter-pushing. By the end I was able to keep up with the adults a little better. We did a lot of endurance drills too! I left feeling tired but happy. It was a lot of fun! If you have a skating rink around you see if they have a speed skate team; they’ll usually let in anyone whose willing to pay even if you’re a beginner!