Welcome to February Flow Down.
The month of YOGA and SLEEP.
I’ll break it down for you.
2016 was a crazy year.
I was pregnant with my third child.
My mom passed away in March.
My husband bought a Harley Davidson without much of a chat just weeks after the funeral (we normally discuss things…)
I had the “100 day cough” while pregnant.
I had the baby in June.
My 16 year old nephew came to live with us for the summer (yep, with the new born) in July to work with my husband in construction.
My sister got married in August so we flew to Winnipeg with the kids from Toronto to attend.
I decided to re-do my website and meet with some professionals to get it rebranded.
My husband’s grandmother passed away in October.
In December, we went to Mexico for a wedding. We went to Ottawa for a funeral, then to Mont Tremblant because why not get our 5 and 3 year olds on a ski hill and have our 6 month old baby tag along for the hell of it. I threw my husband’s 40th birthday party (explains Harley purchase). We flew to Winnipeg again for Christmas and to see my sister’s new baby.
That is crazy just writing it all down.
Enter January 2017.
Continuing to workout hard because “I need to get in shape” (unnecessary pressure I put on myself) (I blew some of my earlier work by eating A LOT during all those December celebrations).
Oops, I screwed up a pick up time for my son.
Oops, I’m at the gym and two friends with their babies are waiting at my house because we had a play date planned and I forgot. “Wait for me, I’ll be home in 10.”
Even bigger Oops… My three year old son walking so confidently down the street to his best buddy’s birthday party with the gift in his hands and we walk into 4Cats and something is wrong. Yep. Something is definitely wrong. Where are the kids? OMG, the party is over. We were two hours too late to my son’s best buddy’s party. My heart sank. It sank some more. I cried.
Many more of these lovely forgetful moments.
Welcome “February Flow Down”.
Bring me sleep. Bring me Yoga. Bring me calmness. Bring me back my memory.
Do you get it? Flow Down? As in Yoga FLOW. As in SLOW down. I’m hilarious.
I committed to at least two yoga classes a week. I signed up at Redwood Hot Yoga for the introductory month. 30 days for $45. I took five of Jason Campbell’s classes. He’s the new owner and umm, I can’t get enough. They are different than the typical yoga classes available. He’s creative and brings some comedy to the class, which helps when you’re struggling with a pose. He also gets you to do different exercises such as standing with your hand on the wall and dancing around/under your arm as a way to work and stretch your shoulders. Every class he offers something different. His philosophy is to improve your flexibility through movement. His site is Mobility Mend and he has over a decade of experience. He is definitely not traditional so let’s just say that Jason will be at the top of my yoga instructor roster.
The 2nd yoga class I took in February was at Moksha on the Danforth and it was so hard on my mind. I was so unsettled. I was constantly itchy and scratchy. Oh, and that fluff on my shirt. I must grab that. Ugh, it didn’t come off. Ok, finish this friggin’ mountain pose and then grab it. Don’t worry about the fluff. What is on the mat? I can see something white on my mat. Next downward dog I’ll check it out. I try and grab it. I don’t succeed. Ok, back up for the next flow. I’ll check again. Downward dog. No, I miss it again. Once I’m in child’s pose, I will for sure be able to grab the white thing on my mat. Yep, there it is. Oh geez, it’s a fruit sticker. Yep. The fruit sticker from the orange I had this morning. What? I place it beside the sippy cup I brought with me to use as my water bottle. Ugh. I’m a mess. Maybe my next yoga class will be a little more Yoga like. You know. Calm. Calm in the mind. Yes, that would be nice.
Moksha classes are always consistent, challenging and hot and sweaty. Just what I need. You can always count on them for a good yoga practice (minus the one I just mentioned, but this is usually the case when you first get back to yoga after a long break). The next one I took there was at the end of my February Flow down and it was led by Maria Mancuso. I really enjoyed her class and my head was much more in the game. I mean – in the flow. That’s right folks, once you start practicing yoga regularly, you get better at it. Once you notice your strength improve in the yoga studio, you feel like you can conquer anything. Seriously. I’m amazing now.
I signed up for the two week introductory package at Afterglow Studio. Note to self, perhaps find out exactly what Express + Heart means for the 45 minute class offered on Thursday mornings. If you’re committed to February Flow Down and you get so excited about the calm, slow and stretchy environment, it would be good to know you are about to embark on a 45 minute Express + Heart workout. Including jumping jacks, skaters, planks, plank in and outs, bicycle crunches, push ups, v-sits, and Tabatas. Not what I was thinking, but a great workout. I can’t wait to go back and try a yoga class. Here’s a pic of me pointing to the workout board – still stunned that my workout was what it was. Nonetheless, I got my SWEAT on so who can argue with that? And I am all about the short workouts so if you are interested in trying something new, definitely check it out. Alex Bourgeois was the instructor and he was stellar!
Julie Watson, the owner of Afterglow is so nice and inviting and her studio is gorgeous, very clean and well organized. They even have some healthy juices you can purchase after your class. They also offer parent and tot yoga classes which I will definitely take advantage of. Teaching our kids to BREATHE deeply and practice yoga is extremely important in today’s society. This will give them the tools to self regulate their emotions, calm down and find inner peace.
Most of the classes I took were one hour in length, but that’s all this lady has time for – slash – all I have the patience for. Trust me, I’m working on it. I know I know. BREATHE.
I ended up taking 8 yoga classes in February. I would have liked to have done more, but hey, I have a life you know.
There are so many benefits of doing yoga – especially if you practice yoga regularly. To name a few I’ve already noticed:
Benefits of Yoga:
I’m sleeping better.
My flexibility has increased.
Things don’t bother me as much as they used to.
I feel more focused on tasks.
It relaxes my body and mind.
Improves my breathing techniques – training my lungs to work more efficiently.
Reduces stress in my body.
Improves my digestion. All those stretches with your legs up to your chest massaging your digestive system. This is an excellent way to help move things along the intestines.
I also committed to 8 hours of sleep at least 5 times a week. I have a 9 month old baby, but she’s not the problem. The problem lies somewhere between all the kids going to sleep and me creeping back downstairs to play on my laptop to blog or watch Suits or clean (Ok, it’s usually not cleaning). I did pretty good at this part of the challenge. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but having sleep as a “top of mind” goal pushed me to head upstairs at a decent time. What also helped was the bedtime section of the clock app on my phone. You can tell your iPhone how much sleep you want and it sends you a warning that you need to get ready for bed at 10:30pm if you want to be in bed by 11pm.
Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
Sharper memory (oh yes yes yes…. I noticed a huge difference to my memory from more sleep)
More alert and clearer thinking leading to…
Less disasters (tripping over toys, running into walls, cutting our fingers while chopping VEG)
Emotionally stable (less cranky and irritable) (Similar to Happier)
Eat less junk (when you are exhausted, it is way too easy to make unhealthy food decisions)
More energy (for exercising or playing with your kids or getting work done)
Check out these 10 Reasons Why Sleep Is Important by Authority Nutrition.
February Flow Down definitely brought some much needed calmness and slowness to my life. I didn’t do any of it perfectly, but setting the goals made me acknowledge every day that I was trying to bring some balance back in my life. The very challenging and busy 2016 is in the past and I feel that achieving these two commitments in early 2017 has put me on a good path for health all around. I will keep doing yoga regularly. Perhaps twice a month or whenever I feel stress building up.
If you’re reading this in March or September or some other month that doesn’t sound as good as February Flow Down and you want to partake in this awesomeness, I say do it anyway. Just call it “February Flow Down in _______.” Maybe you could call it “Meditation March” or “Ashtanga April”. Make up your own depending on the month you decide to FLOW DOWN. It will sound just as good. I swear. We are all living in this too fast paced world. Let’s all Flow Down and Just Be.
EAT MORE VEG, SWEAT daily, and don’t forget to BREATHE.