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Monday, July 26, 2010

Timeline of Life Changes

2010 Yogic diet was hammered in harder by Doug Swenson. Began to eat more organic fruits and vegetables, avoided high fructose corn syrup, ate less sugar and white flour, stopped using harsh chemical cleaning products.

2009 Started Yoga Teacher Training. Discovered Ashtanga yoga. Learned about yogic diet, watched Food Inc.

2008 Stopped dying my hair, got our pugs, got back into yoga when my back and neck hurt really bad. Diagnosed with nickel allergy, switched to laundry detergent from Sun Harvest.

2007 Bought our house. Ate the same food. Stopped doing yoga.

2006 Married Brad. Got hired at ETS full time as a copy editor. Discovered Yoga. First time exercising since it stopped being required.

2005 Began work at ETS as a temporary proofreader. Engaged to Brad.

2004 Graduated from A&M. Lived with Brad. Ate Pizza, chicken (a lot of Foreman grilling), Hamburger Helper

2003 Met Brad. Ate Hamburger Helper, Bacon Cheeseburger Potatos, and Pizza

2002 Got an apartment (Yay a kitchen). Ate Rice-a-roni, Pasta-roni, EZ Mac, Ramen noodles, and Hamburger Helper

2001 Graduated High School, went to A&M. Ate EZ Mac, Ragu Express, and Canned Soup

You might be getting old when the highlight of your weekend is clean floors.

I learned a lot about healthy food in yoga school and through yoga friends and workshops. We've been fooled by advertising of big businesses to eat terrible food that isn't even actually food. I've cleaned up my pantry and eaten a lot of organic fruits and vegetables. I don't even look at Oreos, Cheetos, or Doritos as edible. I'm not perfect. I still splurge on stuff full of sugar and white flour, but I know better and I've made a lot of progress.

Then I started reading Clean House Clean Planet yesterday. I also finished it yesterday. Cover to cover. I joked that it was a real page turner, but to me it really was. Just like with food, it wasn't really that shocking. Giant companies with expensive commercials have been getting me to do stuff that's bad for me, but profitable to them. I grew up watching Scrubbing Bubbles commercials. That kind of stuff is what my mom used. It was everyone I've ever seen cleaning use.

It turns the old fashioned cleaning ways aren't so bad after all. The magic foaming spray that tears through soap scum and mildew never really worked that well for me. It didn't seem to make the job any easier. I just had to wear gloves, turn on the vent, and still got a headache and felt like crap after breathing in that stuff.

The book goes into detail about what each cleaning product contains and how bad it is, then offered alternatives. This means the recipes are scattered all over the book and harder to find than they should be (the editor in me is bothered by this, I'll type them up and make neat labels with the recipes for my bottles), but the information is really useful and just the push I needed to stop using "conventional" cleaning products.

I scrubbed my tile floors with baking soda and rinsed them with a scented vinegar rinse (half vinegar, half water, and 15 drops of peppermint oil for a 16 oz. bottle). It smelled very minty. I barely noticed the vinegar and I don't really mind the smell of vinegar anyway, but Brad appreciated the peppermint over the vinegar. I thought it was neat that I didn't need gloves and that my cleaning product was almost edible (I don't think it was food grade peppermint). One of my dogs really loves licking the floors and having it cleaned with vinegar and baking soda made me feel better about that. Also, the scrubbing was a good workout. I used hand sponge so I could work on my squats and lunges, and I made a point to use my left hand at least as much as my right.

Then I was on a roll, and I hadn't really cleaned my carpet in a long time. I got Brad to vacuum thoroughly while I worked on the tile, then I pulled out the carpet shampooer and rinsed all the carpet with really hot water, a little bit of carpet shampoo, and baking soda. That machine is heavy to move around, so it's a good workout. About halfway through Brad volunteered to take over so I could rest. What a sweetie. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anusara Yoga

I've been curious about Anusara yoga ever since my friend in teacher training said she thought I'd like it because I "seem like the kind of person who likes a vigorous yoga practice." I didn't try it because I was just getting into Ashtanga and didn't see a reason to try another style.

Then I took an assisting/adjusting workshop with Charly Pivert, an Anusara teacher. He gave a crash course on Anusara basics where I learned about inner spiral, outer spiral, side body, and midline. I was more curious about Anusara, but not enough to attend a class. I was content with Ashtanga, with Ken's crazy vinyasa for some fun variety.

I'd been looking at Tia's Anusara-inspired intermediate/advanced class on the Yoga Shala schedule. A lot of people say she's awesome, so I finally showed up to her class last night, and it was great. It's pretty similar to Ken's classes in difficulty level, but because she's Anusara-based and he's Ashtanga based, the warmups were different and she didn't have vinyasas between the poses. A lot of my muscles are feeling a little sore right now in a very good way.

I feel like I'm supposed to focus on one style and stick with it, but I don't see anything wrong with doing some of every style and learning as much as I can from lots of teachers. I've learned so much from Emilie, who is an Iyengar teacher, but I have no interest in Iyengar yoga. It's all the same body parts doing the same poses, just with a different attitude and with different warmups and cool downs. We didn't even do shoulderstand last night, but we did a lot of handstands, pincha mayurasana, and a combination between the two that added a new balance challenge. That was an interesting change for me. I love the predictability of being in a primary series class, but I also love the variety of an Anusara class.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Me? A webmaster? Seriously?

In the middle of May, Emilie, the director of the Esther Vexler Yoga School asked me if I could take over the website. Um...I love the internet and I managed the yahoo site for the school year, but that in no way makes me anywhere close to "webmaster material."

Brad is a software engineer (degree in computer science), so he knows a bit about making websites, but he's not very artsy fartsy. I like to make things pretty and perfect (my job is to make published books look pretty with perfect grammar), but I don't know much about making websites, I'm just really good at using them. Brad makes websites and software or whatever for scientists who study stuff in space. It's not pretty, but it's very functional.

Anyway, I agreed to try my best, but warned her that I couldn't promise that I'd be able to get anything halfway decent up there. It was a very critical time to get the website back up and running (the last person to run it got too busy and abandoned the effort). The Texas Workforce Commission had the school under a close eye as we applied for exemption from all this drama they're causing with yoga teacher trainings, and it's time to recruit for next year's class.

Thanks to, which makes website design "easy" and Brad for being sweet, patient, and smart. I got a website up within a day and we got our exemption. Lately I've been tinkering with the site every day trying to see what new features I can add and how I can make it prettier and more useful. All this and I've only stressed out to the point where Brad pushed me away from the computer twice. :P

In the end, I'm very proud that my school has a pretty site, and more proud that I made it happen. My only concern about it is that it's all done in flash (the only way to make a pretty functional site without much real code), so it's not mobile friendly. Bummer. I'm thinking of making a simple mobile site that's the width of an iPhone screen and scrolls down the with essential information someone would look for, like when class is and what workshops are coming up.