This weekend my friend Liz and I took a road trip to Kripalu, which is a yoga center about five hours away in Massachusetts. On the drive up we stopped at a rest area in Plattekill, NY. I couldn’t believe my luck that a local farm was selling homemade snacks outside. I tried some of their dehydrated vegetables, which reminded me of colorful potato chips.
We went to Kripalu to relax and workout with my favorite DVD fitness instructor, Ellen Barrett. Ellen is cool for so many reasons. She has an awesome philosophy about health and fitness. She’s not into boot camp/drill sergeant type workouts, and I always feel great after doing her DVDs. My favorite is Fat Burning Fusion. It’s like a standing Pilates workout that you do barefoot (yay!), but you really do work up a sweat. This weekend she led us through a few workouts and a guided meditation. We talked about living a healthy lifestyle, and she shared some tips. It was very inspirational.
The Berkshire Mountains
The first night a Kripalu volunteer gave a little spiel about the place. He suggested setting an intention for the weekend. I decided to learn something (and write it down) from each class that we took. It was very cool to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. Something brand new was Yoga Dance, which is this crazy freeform type of dancing where you move all around the room (did not involve a mat, and was NOT what I was expecting). At first I felt self-conscious because I wasn’t following along with the instructor very well. Then I looked around the room and saw other people doing whatever felt good. I decided not to care. After that moment I had a blast. An hour later we were soaked in sweat, and I was a little sad to leave. It reminded me of being a silly five year old spinning around on the front lawn. Exercise can be a lot of fun when you aren’t trying to punish your body.
An early morning walk
Coming off coffee:
I decided to use this alcohol-free weekend as a chance to completely detox. I’ve wanted to get off coffee for the past few months. I used to drink a casual cup with friends, or because I needed to stay up late studying in college. Then when I started teaching I suddenly needed it every day like a drug. Lately it’s been more of a chore than anything to make sure I get it before the headache comes. This definitely goes against my philosophy of enjoying life and finding pleasure every day. I like the taste, but I don’t like chugging down a cup before running out the door. This weekend I decided it was time to get off
crack coffee. Saturday morning I had caffeinated hot tea with breakfast, and an iced version at lunch. I did have a mild headache, which actually went away for a little while with a breathing technique that Ellen taught us. After our afternoon workout I was tired and my eyes were dry and kind of burning. I wished I had some eye drops. Then I thought to myself, why do I need a drug? Shouldn’t I just close my eyes and take a nap? Liz woke me after 20 minutes, and it worked. I’m not going to lie, for the rest of the evening I was a little tired and my head did hurt a little, but it wasn’t so bad. I slept amazingly well last night, and this is day two of no coffee. I’m feeling a little tired, but no headache today.
This box became my friend.
Hold your hand in front of your face, palm towards you. Bend the ring, middle, and index fingers into your palm.
Keeping your hand like this, bring it close to your face (bent fingers centered in front of your nose) and close your eyes.
Press the inside pad of your pinky against your nostril, closing it so that no air can pass through. Keep your thumb straight (it should not be touching your nose). Breathe in a deep, slow, full breath through the open nostril. Then breathe out slowly through the same nostril.
After a complete inhale and exhale, use the pad of your thumb to close the open nostril. Lift the pinky off, and inhale deeply through the second side. Exhale. This is one cycle of breath.
Continue for five cycles. Feel better.
The food was amazing, healthy (of course) and buffet style. This was the breakfast of champs: an orange, vegan scone, brown rice and steamed veggies. Liz stuck to fruit and yogurt in the morning, but got a little more adventurous in the afternoon.
More good stuff: a Southern-inspired lunch
There was so much more that we didn’t get to (like hiking and more yoga), but we left feeling happy and healthy.
Where do you go for inspiration?