Why Yoga Kick’s (my) Butt, Massages, and Sick Monkeys


Yesterday morning I have a really interesting blueberry coconut smoothie for breakfast!  It’s Gena’s recipe from Choosing Raw, and I can’t get over how filling it was.  It took me easily twice as long to drink as the simple ones I typically make, and I had an amazing amount of energy from it as well.

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Lunch I picked up a to go order from Pasha’s – kale and beet salad and the maiden cake (red lentil cake thing that’s divine).

For dinner I made a sweet potato and black bean taco.  It was simple – roasted sweet potatoes mixed in with sautéed onion, bell pepper, chili pepper, salsa, cumin, chili powder, and a can of black beans.  Easy as can be, and super tasty.

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This morning I had a fresh juice and then about an hour later I made a green smoothie (though truth be told, it looked brown…clearly not enough spinach in it!).

carrot, orange, grapefruit, and mint!  All chosen for immunity properties (it's nasty flu season out there!)
carrot, orange, grapefruit, and mint! All chosen for immunity properties (its nasty flu season out there!)
Goblet O Juice
Goblet O Juice
strawberry, banana, and spinach
strawberry, banana, and spinach

Lunch was leftover curry cauliflower soup from the weekend, but added about a third of a cup of quinoa to it to round it out as a meal a little better.

Dinner is currently going in three of my appliances – all set on timers to be done right at 6.  Cajun red beans in the slow cooker, French bread in the bread machine, and rice in the rice cooker.


Yesterday I did go to a 75 minute hot yoga class at noon.  It was a really great class and this was the first time I had this particular instructor.  I really enjoyed her teaching style.

I put on FB that, even though people balk at it, a hot yoga class is considered the equivalent of a 5 mi run (and the run would be easier!).  A friend of mine asked a really good question – what makes it such a tough workout?  For people who haven’t ever practiced, it seems like elaborate stretching – but not the heart pounding, sweat fest it really is.

So here is a little bit of background on hot styles of yoga and what makes them such an amazing workout (some are my personal observations, some from articles I’ve read over the years).  This is my advice only – and not from a physician or yoga instructor (like the disclaimer??)

Typically it’s about 105 degrees and 40% humidity.  In a 75 minute class wearing a heart rate monitor, I burned 502 calories.  That’s very close to what I burn running.

The heat definitely makes me feel like the stretching is deeper – my muscles warm faster and my poses go deeper than I am able to in a not-heated room (this is NOT dissing non-hot yoga…I happen to love both for different reasons).

According to an article I’ve read, the heat and humidity force the body to utilize more oxygen than in normal conditions.  This requires the heart to pump more blood through your body, causing it to be an aerobic activity as much as a “stretching” one.

When you workout at any intensity, your body generates heat which is then dissipated by your skin.  When working out in less than 98 degrees (body temp), you don’t expend much energy to rid yourself of that extra heat.  When working out in a super heated/humid room, you expend more energy to regulate your body temp, which is another factor in the calorie burn.

Finally – as with any yoga – you’re doing body weight strength training.  You may not realize it, but you are.  Imagine going into a handstand or a plank – and then staying there for 20-30 seconds.  You’re working your muscles isometrically.  And then moving to another pose to strengthen a balancing set of muscles.  You’ll typically do cycles of 25-30 poses in a class.  Some, like Vinyasa, move very quickly, but not all do.  Some you hold and breathe for a few cycles, and you’ll find yourself shaking with the strain!

So – should this take the place of basic cardio (whatever your poison is…mine is running) or weight training?  Nope.  But I can tell you this – it definitely enhances your performance in those other things you do.  Without yoga undoing the strain on my hips and joints with running, I’d probably be a right mess!

Bottom line – yoga is for everyone.  Every body type, every weight, every person.  It’s always been a no-judgment zone, so don’t be afraid to check out a class!

As for today, it’s a nasty wet day out there, so I did an indoor workout.  The Nike+ Kinect video game finally came in the mail this weekend, so I used the dreary weather as an opportunity to plug it in.

Holy cow – it was intense!  After doing the fitness test and benchmarking workout, I dove right into the first routine.  Lots of squats, lunges, jumps, etc., all guided by an actual Nike professional trainer.  I wore my HR monitor, and between the 30 minutes of testing and 20 minute routine, I burned 475 calories.

What I liked most is that it creates a custom routine based on your fitness testing and progress between each workout.  You re-benchmark every 4 weeks as well.  So for me, that means my own personal trainer, a routine that varies, and in my living room.  Here’s hoping I’m as excited by it in a month as I am today!


After yoga, lunch, and a shower, D and I had massage appointments!  We always talk about doing it, but rarely go more than twice a year.  There’s a chain called Massage Envy, and they have a center just a few blocks away from our house.  We figured what the heck, and made appointments.

For me, it was the best massage ever!  D too from what he said.  So now we’re hooked – they have packages that allow you to get a massage a month for $39.  Yeah, I’m sold.  We already booked our next one for Feb 17th.  My massage therapist really found all my trouble spots (head and neck mostly) and I felt amazing when it was done.  Fastest hour ever!

Then we went home, made dinner, and hung out with the kids.  Unfortunately later in the evening, it became apparent that the little monkey was sick.  Stuffy, spiked a pretty high fever, and sore throat.  She woke this morning without a fever, but by 3pm it was back and as high as last night.  I’m hoping it’s not the flu, but we’ll be heading into the ped’s tomorrow morning.  I worked from home today and will tomorrow as well, then tag team with D as needed later in the week.  Poor baby girl.

she loves to sleep on our floor when she's sick.  Here she is, passed out in a sleeping bag!
she loves to sleep on our floor when she’s sick. Here she is, passed out in a sleeping bag!

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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

2 thoughts on “Why Yoga Kick’s (my) Butt, Massages, and Sick Monkeys

  1. I always want to try juices and healthy smoothies when I see them. I just never equate them to being filling or actually eating. I like to chew LOL. But they always look so good. And thanks for the info on the hot yoga. I definitely can see yoga being strength, especially as you get more advanced. I typically use it for stretching though…that is, when I use it 😉

    1. I’ve really revamped my diet the past few weeks, and the juices and smoothies have been key. I think I’m always afraid to feel hungry, and these are helping me break that. I just wish I craved the juices in the summer more…it would be cheaper!

      I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. Sometimes, I want it to kick my butt, but there are times I just want the room temp easy going class to stretch out my kinks!

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