elisariva

Seizing life's joys and challenges physically, mentally, and emotionally.


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Listen Today

While many people champion the concept of multi-tasking, there are certain things that are best done with full attention and focus. Listening is probably the top of the list. In a conversation, we tend to hear better when our eyes are focused on the person who is speaking. Personally, I have told several jokes based on crazy things I thought I heard because I wasn’t looking right at the person speaking.

This past week I have juggled multi-tasked several things as the holidays approach. As I workout to reach my year end fitness goal, I will catch up on the news or watch the Food Network (way better than the news these days) while I am on the row machine or elliptical. When I am riding my bike on the trainer, I am focused on my iPad while the Peloton instructor leads me through the workout. Then there is my daily yoga. 

I find myself excited when the time comes in the day to do the daily yoga class in my 30 Days of Yoga journey. There is no music, just Adriene talking the yogi through the class. Today I finished day 16 – and each day I am learning to quietly listen to my body. This type of listening is best done when my eyes are closed rather than open. I am focusing within. I am noticing the areas that really ached are loosening, it still hurts to sit crossed legged, but not as deep and I am able to sit a little longer. I also notice through the day I am not sore or stiff when I stand up after sitting for an hour or so at work. I am half way through the month and I am feeling the benefits of my workouts, not just seeing my fitness numbers improve. Speaking of numbers – I am up to 59 on my fitness score, my goal is to cross 60 by the end of the year.

Today I thought how finding stillness is not easy to do if it is not actually scheduled. With the holidays approaching, who has time to be still? This past weekend I had two great opportunities to have quality time with people dear to me. My niece is also my hair stylist and I had a couple hours alone with her. She is a really amazing person and having that time to spend with her is priceless. I also had lunch with a dear cousin who I rarely have one on one time with. We actually had time to learn more about each other. That dedicated time with these awesome ladies made my weekend wonderful. 

As I mentioned last week, we make time for what matters the most to us. So my challenge to you as you go through this busy week, take a few moments to be still. Think of those you care about and haven’t spoken with in a while, breathe deeply, pray, listen to the stillness around you – find that peace that we wish to all in this holiday time. And appreciate the gift of today.


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Year’s End Resolution

New Year’s Resolutions are very common. This blog was born from my resolution to write a blog post every day in 2012, and I did it. This year, a group of my friends and I are doing something a little different – we are setting health and fitness goals to reach by the end of this year. We started November 26th after Thanksgiving and set reasonable goals to reach by year’s end. Having friends to hold each other accountable will hopefully increase our success ratio!

My primary goal is to improve my fitness. For those familiar with Training Peaks, I want to raise my fitness score to over 60 by the end of the year. I started out at 54. The quick definition of the fitness score is a rolling 42 day average of my daily stress score calculated by heart rate or power. Basically, it is how hard I train each day. To put it in perspective, when I was at my peak training for the Ironman, my fitness score was 135. When I was at my lowest over the past 12 months this year it was 35. As of December 2nd, my score was 56. fullsizeoutput_4346

My training activities right now consist of swimming, cycling on the trainer, rowing machine, yoga and hopefully skiing soon. To help improve my daily activity level, I decided to add yoga every day. I figure adding 30 minutes of stretching and strengthening will help me with my other activities.

I found a really good website and YouTube channel called Yoga with Adrienne. Adrienne has over 4 million subscriber and she is considered “the people’s yogi“. I find her style refreshing, it is like working out with a friend. No music, no flashy setup, just authentic yoga taught by someone who doesn’t come off intimidating at all. The inventory of free videos is very sizable too. One program she has is called 30 Days of Yoga. Score! A perfect way for me to add yoga daily to help meet my year’s end resolution.

Yesterday was day one. The practice of yoga is more than just stretching and strengthening. Yoga also helps the yogi focus inward, learn more about myself. On day one, by 2 minutes in, I was well aware of something. My hip flexors are screaming tight! All of the activities I do along with sitting at a desk most of the day contribute to the tightening of those muscles. Adrienne said at the beginning of the video that we will start easy. No rush, we have 30 days. We started sitting crossed legged on the floor. Relax. Breathe in. Easy?? Relax?? I am in agony!! How did this happen? I would sit crossed legged frequently as a child. It was not painful. I was trying to follow the video without having to move, but every minute (or 10 seconds maybe) I would have to shift position. One leg out. Sit with both legs out – okay that is cheating. Sit with soles of feet together. I did this shifting for the entire 10 minutes of sitting on the floor. When she finally said to slowly move into table top position, I was so relived I thing I did it in 2 seconds flat.

I made it through the entire 35 minute class. My experience has me determined to complete the 30 days. I hope by the end I will have a little less discomfort (read: less excruciating pain). I know I won’t be a yogi master, it took me more than 30 days to get in this predicament. One self awareness reflection point hit me as I was trying not to focus on how much pain I was in – I miss blogging. I am self aware enough to know daily posts are not possible, however weekly posts are.

Through this year’s end resolution, I want to share my progress to reach my fitness goal, the 30 days of agony yoga, and the life lessons I learn along the way. I hope you, the reader, will enjoy the journey with me.

Namaste.