Imagine Balance

imagining balance to achieve balance

UPDATE your links and readers!!

I’ve moved Imagine Balance over to its own site!

 

http://imagine-balance.net

 

Please update your link lists and readers! Thanks!!

unequaled equilibrium

(unbalanced me)

In case the blog title didn’t give it away, I’m searching for balance. When I started this journey, part of me – probably most of me – thought balance meant perfection. It meant learning to spend exactly the right amount of time and energy on each aspect of my life in order to make me blissful. The more I practice yoga, the less this is the ultimate goal.

Yes, part of what I need to learn is how to balance my time and energy on different things to stay happy while being productive. But that’s no longer enough. Life has a way of tipping the scales as soon as you get them level. Even if I achieve unequaled equilibrium one day, the next may introduce a new element.

A Year of Living Your Yoga really brought this into focus for me last month. Judith shared with us that “Balance is not a static state but is like a pendulum that swings from side to side.” and that we need to be grateful for our mistakes and regrets for they give balance to our victories and celebrations.

I see a kind of balance at work every day. As a server, I basically live off tips. Some people don’t seem to understand this concept. Here’s the thing though: at the end of the day the people who leave good tips almost always balance the bad tips. I used to just focus on the bad tips. It is so much more fun bitching about cheap tables. Lately, I’ve challenged myself (and my co-workers) to brag about our big tips as well. To recognize the balance.

But what I’m looking for is more than just looking on the bright side of a bad situation. It’s accepting the bad situation for what it is and how it completes your life. You can’t understand joy without sorrow. If only this was easier done than said 🙂

Sweeter Than Sugar

(source)

Around five years ago I went on a really unhealthy and incredibly too low calorie diet. During that time period I switched from sugar to Splenda and never switched back. That is until recently. When I started eating healthier a few months ago, I started using honey and agave syrup. But I was still baking with Splenda.

I’ve heard all the talk about how toxic Splenda is for you and with my science background, I didn’t believe or worry about it. However, I wanted to do some research. After looking at articles by the FDA and Splenda and “medical” sites against it, I’m not worried about it being toxic.

Yes, Splenda has chlorine molecules in it. So does NaCl, or table salt. This chlorine is what changes sucrose (sugar) into sucralose. Sucralose is what most people worry about being toxic. Most of the research I found stated that it was not unhealthy in small doses, and there in a minimal amount in Splenda.

However, I also found out that the fillers in Splenda (dextrose and maltodextrin) contain calories that aren’t listed. Why? Because if the calories amount is less than a certain number per serving, they don’t have to list it (this also goes for trans fat in other food items – which I did not know about). They can call it zero calories if it is less than 5 calories.

Serving Size : 1 teaspoon = 0 calories (as stated on container) / 0 g carbs

Serving Size : 1 teaspoon = 2 calories (as stated on their website) / 0.5 g carbs

Serving Size : 1 tablespoon = 6 calories / 1.5 g carbs

Serving Size : 1 cup = 96 calories /24 g carbs

source

I know this isn’t a lot of calories and still a ton less than sugar (around 678 less per cup). But instead of adding a tablespoon of Splenda I can add a teaspoon of agave syrup (20 calories) and not feel as guilty 🙂

Hot Lemon H2O

(source : Se bas tiann)

I first came across the idea to drink hot lemon water each morning while doing Sadie Nardini’s Daily Ohm Course, 21 Day Yoga Body (which I loved and will be blogging about soon!). She suggested having an 8oz glass of warm water with half a lemon’s juice 20 minutes before breakfast to detox each day (you can also add a little honey or agave syrup to taste if it’s too tart for you).

I wanted to learn more about drinking this tart H2O every morning. If you search for “hot lemon water” you will come across a ton of sites talking about its benefits and even more trying to talk to you into using as a total detox or weight loss miracle. While lemon water is detoxifying and it can help you lose weight, I doubt it should not be the main component of your healthy diet and exercise plan. Below is info from one the best articles I came across in my search.

Top Benefits of Lemon Water (via LifeMojo.com)

  • Good for your stomach

Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nausea, heartburn and parasites. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent. The intake of lemon juice can cure constipation. It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice. Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.

  • Excellent for skin care

Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads.

  • Aids in dental care

Lemon water is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.

HOWEVER, I read somewhere else about the damage the extra acid can cause to your enamel. So I picked up some Pronamel (the gentle whitening kind because I may or may not need the protection against wine stains as well…).

  • Cures throat infections

Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.

  • Good for weight loss

One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well.

* I believe some studies have shown that it helps increase metabolism!

  • Acts as a blood purifier

The diseases like cholera or malaria can be treated with lemon water as it can act as a blood purifier.

** read the rest of the article here and see more about the benefits like reducing fever, it treating Rheumatism, controlling high blood pressure, and assisting in respiratory diseases

I’ve been drinking a cup of hot lemon water about a half hour before breakfast (or while I check twitter and read A Year of Living Your Yoga each morning) for over a month and really do think it’s helped with my digestive system and skin. However, I’ve also been eating drastically healthier in the past few months which has made a big difference.

 

Mastering Crow {#365yoga}

(source : lifeinterstitial)

Judith’s wisdom for March 10 was that difficulty is one hundred percent subjective. What is easy for me may be hard for you. What you make look simple eludes me. She then challenged us #365yoga-ers to pick an asana that we find difficult and keep at it for the next twenty-one days.

The first pose that came to mind is crow pose (crane pose / bakasana). I lack both balance and upper arm strength. So for the rest of the month I set to mastering flying. (What asana did you choose?)

I’m starting with these videos by Sadie Nardini. VERY helpful!

 

marital bliss

(the hubs and I captured by Shultz Photography)

I thought I was impressively improving my patience and ability to let go of negative feelings…. then the hubs took a whole day off work. He usually works 12 hour shift overnights seven days a week. This means I’m alone a lot. In the brief hours I get with him each day, things are going great. He takes advantage of my better mood and in return is being sweeter than usual.

Not that he wasn’t sweet this morning… he was  just grating my nerves. Playing his music loud while showering (when I’m used to being able to practice my yoga in silence or to my own music). Spraying his cologne in the hall (which has now spread to every room in the house). Eating my cereal. Getting the cat riled up. All things I would be used to if he were on day shift.

I will say (proudly) that I didn’t say anything to him. I took deep breaths (prior to the cologne incident) and I kept my mouth shut. I guess it’s all about baby steps. Today I was acting like it didn’t bother me. Perhaps if I keep working on it, eventually it really won’t bother me.

Skinny Bitch

(source : Sweet Trade)

If the first step is admitting you have a problem, then I’m a skinny bitch (don’t worry I’m working on it).

I’ve always known I was a “skinny bitch”. Someone who wants to lose weight and feels fat even though they are skinny to begin with. I’ve also judged others based on their size. And while I’ve felt bad about talking about wanting to lose weight when my starting weight was less than most people’s goals, it didn’t stop me from thinking about it. Lately, however, I’ve had some experiences that have really changed the way I look at myself and others and I feel the need to share…

My recent weight loss is probably more noticeable since I was smaller to begin with. So it wasn’t long before people were making comments about how good I was looking. At first I LOVED it. It was great motivation. Yesterday, however, when the same guy at work made a comment about how thin I was looking, it really annoyed me. I realized that I was loving them noticing the results of me eating healthy and working out… not just that I was thinner.

Add to that a few days ago I tried on a pair of my old work pants. One of the main reasons I wanted to lose weight was to fit back into these expensive clothes so that I didn’t have to buy a new wardrobe (if when I get a new job). While I could get both pairs on, they were too tight around the hips to look professional. This really upset me. After recently losing over 10lbs, I’ve been feeling really thin and these stupid pants go and make me feel fat. Then I looked at the size… one was a fucking size 2. Yes, the brand sizes big (probably so you feel thin), but I realized I don’t even want to be a size 2. Why am I upset that the damn thing didn’t fit?!

Lastly (and most importantly), I recently discovered Anna’s amazing blog, Curvy Yoga. I teared up while reading today’s post about her almost trying a ridiculous fad diet because of being judged and criticized by so many people. I’m one of those people that thought that overweight individuals just didn’t care about being healthy. Not only has her blog made me realize how overly critical I’ve been to a whole group of people, but she also made me think about my own body issues. If someone who is constantly fighting against society’s standards of health and beauty can learn to love their body, why can’t I?

I’m hoping that the realizations that I’ve had over the last few days lead to more acceptance not just of my own body, but of others who are beautiful no matter what size their tag says.

Take That Fear!!

(not me : source : Holly Mosier )

Yesterday I wasn’t feeling the led practice I was doing at home. I was falling out of simple poses. I couldn’t concentrate at all. So instead of giving up (which is what I probably would have done a few months ago), I put on some Adele and just did what my body wanted. Turned out to be Sun Salutations and attempting a headstand (Salamba Sirsasana).

I’ve never done a headstand (as an adult) and was thinking I’d fall and break my neck. Turns out I didn’t. The wall caught me. My arms supported me. It didn’t even hurt my sometimes bum shoulder. I was totally high on yoga. I was dancing and freaking my cat out. And since I was practicing with the shades up at night, I was probably entertaining our neighbors. It was perfect.

Now to carry this fearlessness into the rest of my life…

back to class

(source : mday2010)

Almost all of my yoga practice has been at home. I would love to take more in studio classes, but sadly it never fit with my work schedule when I could afford it and now that I have free time I have less money. Last year for Christmas I signed up for an 8 week beginners Ashtanga program and LOVED it. So this year I bought myself a pack of class passes. Yesterday I signed up for my first class of the year: Beyond Beginners. I thought it would be a nice transition back into a led practice.

I was insanely nervous on my way there. What if I can’t keep up? What if I’ve forgotten all of it? Will I like the teacher? I freaked myself out over nothing. In fact, the class was far too easy for me. It seemed more Before Beginning than for someone who would have taken one of their beginner’s programs. While it was relaxing, we only focused on a few poses. At first I was disappointed but after thinking about it more, it was perfect. Now I feel more confident to jump into a led ashtanga class.

I’m also threatening my husband that we either use our gym membership this month or I’m canceling it and using the money for yoga 🙂

Hey asshole! You’re ruining my zen!

I was feeling and acting super positive thanks to my renewed yoga practice, reading positive-thinking encouraging books, meditation, and even my 21 Day Yoga Body program… And then I had to work with the uber passive-aggressive co-worker who happens to be the other shift manager (opposite days as me). Since that day last week, each time I’ve worked he’s either been there or left a message on the common board nit-picking me. At first, I was OK. I knew not to take it personally. I’ve been told by many other people who work there that it’s obvious he is intimidated by me. Which is silly because quite frankly, I do NOT plan on making a career out of waitressing or managing a restaurant.

However, after the most resent episode I was shaking with negative emotion. I was angry and I can’t help but take it personally. I have no idea how to deal with this. I obviously need to talk to the owner about him leaving notes on the board since it undermines my authority and to instead to come to me directly and discreetly if there is a problem (like the coffee maker not being shiny enough – yes, that was worthy of a note on the board).

I think it bothers me so much because I know I’m damn good at my job. I say to myself “Tara, really?! You’re upset about what he thinks? Everyone else knows better and YOU know better!” and then five minutes later I’m stressing again. It ruins my whole day.

How to you avoid taking negative comments personally?