Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yoga for IC!

Hi everyone!

So, for those of you who don't know, a year ago I was diagnosed with a chronic pain disease called Interstitial Cystitis (also known as IC).  I won't go into much detail about what it is but, if you are interested in knowing more about it you can go to !  I am mentioning this because, since my diagnosis I have had to make many changes in my lifestyle.  Anything and everything I do can effect my IC and cause a flare-up including the soaps and detergents I use, the foods I eat, and everyday activities that I do.  It has been very emotional for me and it is not something I mention or talk about often. However, today I am excited (that may be a BIT of an exaggeration) to talk about it because I have found that bringing yoga practice into your life can be INCREDIBLY beneficial for IC patients.   Since I blogged last, I have gotten a yoga/Pilate's DVD that is geared towards people with IC and I have done it twice so far.  I am especially excited about it because I really enjoyed the DVD.  It has a lot of options to choose from (ie. what areas you want to target, how long you wish to practice for, etc.) and I was left feeling refreshed and accomplished.  It was a really good workout!

I had a 3 week long IC flare that left me feeling emotionally discouraged and physically debilitated that ended close to the time I started this yoga challenge. I am not sure if there is an association between my flare simmering and my yoga practice starting but I can say that it is such a comfort and a relief to know that I can now be active during a flare by practicing yoga.  I am anxious to see how continuing with yoga will help with my IC. 

On Monday I finally attended a class at a yoga studio here in Greensboro called Triad Yoga.  I have taken classed there before and I really love and appreciate the atmosphere!  I got a package of classes and look forward to attending more classes and working with the instructors! 

Between classes and DVDs I am doing really well with this challenge...only one more week to go!  What shall the next challenge be...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yoga Update

I have completed my first week of the 21 Days of Yoga Challenge.  I decided to start the challenge by doing my first few sessions in the comfort of my own home!  I have a collection of great DVDs that I have gotten over the years and wanted to put them to use.  I am SO glad I did.  Although I think a very important part of Yoga is feeling the energy of those who are practicing with and around you, I have found that practicing alone is personally a great way for me to have alone time that isn't consumed by thoughts and distractions.  It is just me focusing on the unity of my body and my breath.  It's very peaceful and a great way to start or end the day. 

I have a few DVDs by a Yoga Instructor named Shiva Rea.  I wanted to share her website with you because I think she is amazing!  Check it out at: .  Her DVDs are sold on the website and I suggest them to anyone who is interested in getting a really good yoga session at home!

Rejuvenation is the perfect way to describe my yoga experiences over the past week.  Since I have adapted to adult life, a new meaning has come to the saying "there are not enough days in the week," or rather "there are not enough hours in the day."  So bringing yoga back into my life this week has added two (very important) things to my everyday routine: calming alone time, and exercise!  When I say exercise, I really mean to emphasize because yoga is such a unique kind of exercise.  It brings such awareness to every fiber of your body.  It requires not only the basic fundamentals of a normal workout like balance, strength and endurance but it also requires the ability to enter a mental state that is a rare challenge in itself (at least for me).  I am sure this state of mind comes more easily as it becomes more a part of your daily routine with yoga. 

I look forward to exploring more about yoga and I will update soon with more thoughts!

Love, peace, and yoga!

Om Shanti


Friday, January 14, 2011

The start to my 21 days of yoga challenge!

So I just wanted to do a quick update! 

I plan to start my challenge this Sunday with a Vinyasa Flow class at Triad Yoga in Greensboro.  I have been here a few times and I absolutely love the environment so I am happy to return!

As far as my personal goals go...I want to make the commitment to myself to bring yoga back into my life and make it a part of my everyday (or mostly everyday) routine!  I also want to expand my yoga experience and try different types of practices.  Maybe I can top my 21 days off with some Bikram?!  That may be ambitious, but that is what this is all about, right?!

I want to finish with a quote that I got from Maureen Miller (you can follow her AMAZING blog at

               Yoga doesn't ask us to believe, it asks us to practice, examining our experience until we can witness the truth in the book of our own heart. ~Dave Stringer
I will update once I get started!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

3 Days In...

So my challenge began on Sunday, and so far I have attended 2 classes. This is quite normal for me, as I tend to do yoga pretty often during the week (hence my last post explaining that the challenge would not be the actual attending of class).

The first class I attended was an "Anusara-inspired Yoga Class." For those of you who don't know, Anusara is basically this: "The highest intention of practicing Anusara yoga is to align with the Divine. As we deepen our alignment with the Supreme, we step deeper into the flow of Grace." ( Although challenging, this was a slower moving class very focused on alignment. What I liked most about it, however, was the mind exercise that was tied into it. Our teacher, Buffy, started off the class with the theme of "You are beautiful" and carried that tagline throughout the class. What a feeling I had when I walked out of there!

Tuesday night I attended a Vinyasa Flow class in a heated room with the most amazing teacher, Billy. He reignited my love for yoga a little less than a year ago, and I am truly addicted to his class. He pushes you further than you believe you can go, but also comforts you when things may get a little too hard. His class is hard for me to describe because the feeling I have when I am there is unlike any other, and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way because his classes are always mat to mat.

I have no news as to where I am with the intentions I set at the beginning of this challenge. I believe it is too early to tell. I will say, though, that I am going into these classes more conscious of my intention and will be learning a lot along the way.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

21 Day Yoga Challenge

So...personally...the juice cleanse was not a success for me! I am so proud of you, Juli, for completing the three days and having the strength and willpower to do so! For me, it was a challenge once the work week started. I was not able to bring a juicer or blender to my office with me, and I realize now that the timing was just not ideal for me. The next time I try a 3 day cleanse I will be sure to do it over a period of time where I have 3 days off...or at least 2 out of the 3!

However, this next challenge really excites me! Juli and I decided that a 21 day yoga challenge would be great! This does not mean we will be going to yoga every single day for 21 days straight, but rather attend at least 4 to 6 classes each week for 3 weeks. As an avid yogi, myself, my challenge will not be to actually attend class but rather to challenge myself each class to try something new.

Jason Crandell said "Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are."

 Mary Glover said "For me yoga is not just a workout, its about working on yourself."

 I believe these two quotes tie directly to the challenge I am creating for myself.

 My physical intention is this: To find out how far I can really go. Rather than just moving through the poses, I will try to push it one step further. I have done yoga for about 3 years now, and feel minimal improvement in my actual yoga pose "skills". I believe this is because I have always just gone through the motions. And despite the fact that I have definitely become stronger (a chaturanga is a lot easier for me now!) I still feel like I could take it to the next level physically.

My mental intention is this: To challenge my mind and discover things about myself that I didn't know before. 

My challenge will start tomorrow and go for 21 days. I will update you guys periodically as to my yogi experiences. I will try different styles and different teachers, and set different intentions each time. Please join Juli and I in this challenge, as I believe all of us can use a little yoga in our lives! :) 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home Stretch!

Day 3 has come and there is only 11 hours left of the cleanse (but who's counting?!).  Today I woke up and made myself juice that consisted of:
1 container of blueberries
1 orange
2 small apples
1 pear

So yummie :-)

I am really feeling the benefits of the cleanse now.  I feel like a restart button has been pressed.  I am refocused, re-energized, and rejuvenated! 

I look forward to waking up tomorrow and facing the new challenge of entering food back into my diet.  Now that I know the true feeling of hunger I have the power to really tap into myself when those feelings reoccur in the future and ask myself "am I really hungry, or am I just tired or thirsty?"  I hope to repeat a juice cleanse a few times a year to continue to reconnect my mind and body!

Hope you ladies are feeling as good as me on day 3!...

A couple juice smoothie suggestions

Per Juli's request, I am adding these juice recipes to the blog for anyone who would like to try!  Congrats to all who are finishing the juice cleanse today!  I did a detox a couple of weeks ago and they can be tough (especially that first day!)  Enjoy!

First one:
2 to 3 leaves kale
3/4 cup pineapple juice
4 to 5 strawberries, grapes, or 1 small orange
1 banana
2 to 3 pieces of pineapple
1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked overnight
*The chia seeds are great for your skin and kale is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, also good for healing*
1) First, blend the pineapple that you are using for your juice, or juice if that's what you are using. Then add the kale by itself to the pineapple juice and blend until smooth. Blending the kale first ensures that you don't get a big chunk while you're sipping later!

2) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Second one:
1 pomegranate, seeded
1 to 1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 apple (red/gala/pink lady-any sweet variety-not grannies; optional)
1 beet (optional)

1. In a juicer, process pomegranate seeds, then cranberries, then apple, then beet. (The order doesn't really matter, but if you use a beet, add it last to push any pulp through.)
Makes: 1 serving, Preparation time: 5 to 10 minutes

Third one:
2 beets (washed, no greens) and 1 sweet apple.  
According to my running buddy who provided me this recipe, you will pee pink... but don't be alarmed! HA! :-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day Two for Jules!

No one was lying when they said the first 24 hours were going to be the hardest.  Yesterday was definitely a struggle for me.  I felt pretty useless.  I was expecting my energy to be low and for the first portion of the day I found myself trying to push through it.  However, once I accepted that this was part of the challenge I gave into it and allowed myself to sleep and relax.  Now I will not only be cleansed, but rested as well! 

Christie and I finished yesterday with a great new recipe that we created.  Definitely better than the previous "it's chug-able" concoction.  By the really wasn't even "chug-able."  Well, at least not for me.  It took a lot of water to get the lingering taste out of my mouth!  Even though Christie swears that it was a bad batch of berries, I will forever have bad emotions towards spinach!

Anywhoo...give this new juicer recipe a try!

1/2 cucumber
3 oranges
1/2 pear

We have yet to name this one.  But, when we do, it will be something that stands for  yummie/refreshing/I want more!

Today started with a tasty concoction of  2 oranges, 1 apple, and 1 pear! 

My energy level has definitely increased and my hunger has definitely decreased.  I am really feeling good today!

It is so rewarding to know I have made it through to the hardest part and now I get to experience the more positive aspects of this challenge.  I have learned over the past couple of years that if you make health a priority in your life so many wonderful things can come out of it.  You learn to build a better relationship with yourself by making yourself the priority and becoming more in tune with your own needs and goals.  You build a better relationship with food.  You learn to appreciate the fact that food our fuel, it's something we can all enjoy(even the unappealing healthy stuff!), and ultimately it determines how long each of us will live healthy lives.  After  they do say "you are what you eat."  Specifically, this juice cleanse has reintroduced me to discipline, dedication, and strong will.  The fact that I have made it through half of the cleanse now has allowed me to prove to myself that I can make a promise to myself, and keep it.  There is no room for excuses.  I either do this for myself...or I don't.  So here's to another day and a half!

Now I am off to the spa to release even more toxins! 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"It's chug-able"

So far so good! I drank a delicious carrot juice mixture for breakfast and I'm loving the ginger-lemon water.  I'm sticking to Juli's plan except I've decided against giving up coffee.  Suffering through caffeine withdrawals while moving into my new apartment seems a little too miserable for my liking.  I figure since I drink it black it shouldn't effect the cleanse too much.

Juli and I are having fun experimenting with the juicer although our lunch concoction was a little disappointing.  We started by juicing a bunch of spinach and a few kale leaves, which we then blended with frozen berries.  The mixture looked and tasted awful so we added apple juice to make it more palatable.  The result: something that can only be described as "chug-able."  Not awful, but by no means delicious.  I'm not sure where we went wrong, perhaps it was just a bad batch of berries?  I just hope it sticks with me until our dinner experimentations begin.  I'm thinking cucumbers and oranges, mmmmm.

Day 1 for Natty

Hey guys! Just an update from the far I am feeling pretty fantastic! I have yet to break out my juicer, and have just been using a blender which has been pretty easy so far!

I attempted a "make your own" green smoothie, which calls for just 50% greens of your choice and 50% fruit then add water and blend..I did just spring mix greens, with peaches and blueberries...not my favorite so I don't suggest it! But I'm sure it would be better tasting if I had chosen just plain spinach or kale...oh well live and learn!

This is just a short entry since I am now on my way out to explore more of this awesome city Denver...even though I've been here for a full year it still feels like there is a lot more to see!

My Personal 3 Day Plan!

Good Morning!

     Today is the day!  After doing some more reading I have found that you will benefit most from a juice cleanse if you create your own plan and recipes.  So I have decided to combine a few different approaches from the websites I added to the previous blog.

     The ultimate goal is to drink as much juice as possible.  So, I have divided my day into 3 "meals," but if I get hungry (or should I say, thirsty?!)  in between I will just drink more juice (34-62 ounces of juice is usually recommended per day during the fast)!  Each day I am going to switch up the recipe I use for my 3 "meals."  If you don't have a juicer you can make your three main meals from a smoothie recipe.  However, you will get the most benefit from drinking just juice!

      In between my meals I will alternate from 100% apple juice with no added sweeteners or artificial flavors and lemon ginger water.  The lemon ginger water is explained in the "eHow" website I attached to a previous blog.  It is water, freshly squeezed lemon, and grated fresh ginger.

     It is very important that you include vegetables,herbs, and spices into your cleanse.  Here is a great website that describes (in great detail) the nutritional value of certain vegetables.
If you click on "juice cleanse" on the left hand side there is a great article that talks about all of the benefits of a juice cleanse and also gives some good tips!  The vegetables, herbs, and spices I have decided to include in my cleanse are: kale, cucumbers,spinach,carrots,celery,parsley,cilantro,garlic, and ginger root!

      Today I started my day with:
6 carrots
2 small apples
3 pieces of pineapple
   juiced and ready to drink!  (You are supposed to drink it right when it comes out of the juicer.  I recommend adding ice to keep it chilled so you can digest it slower and enjoy it!)

     I also wanted to include another website I came across as I was reading this morning!


Best of luck and happy juicing!!....


Saturday, January 1, 2011

3 New Recipes!

Hey everyone!  I was doing some reading in Martha Stewart's most recent issue of Whole Living magazine and I found 3 new smoothie recipes that sound delicious!  I wanted to share them with you.

1 small red beet, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium sized carrot peeled and coarsely chopped
1 sweet apple, such as honeycrisp or pink lady, cored and coarsely chopped
1 ripe pear such as red bartlett or red anjou, cored and coarsely chopped
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp minced ginger

  1)Steam beets and carrots until tender, about 10 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature. 
   2)Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth
Nutritional Value!!!:
126 cal; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g unsaturated fat; 33 g carb

1 cup kale or collard greens, firmly packed, stems removed, and coarsely chopped (4 oz)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1 large, ripe banana, coarsely chopped
2 1/4  cups water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.  If it's too thick, add a little more water.
Nutritional Value!!!:
113 cal; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g unsaturated fat; 28 g carb

2 cups mixed frozen berries (9 oz.)
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
Nutritional Value!!!:
130 cal; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g unsaturated fat; 35 g carb

(All of the smoothies are vegan and do not contain any dairy, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, or tree nuts!!!)

Getting Started!!

Here are three great websites that can inform you more about how juice cleansing works!  Once you begin to read you will find that you can customize your cleanse to cater to your specific needs and goals!

I went to the grocery store today and stocked up on all my fruits and veggies!  Now let the juicing begin!  More tomorrow....