Whenever cold weather roles around again, I always get the urge to take a hot yoga class. There's just something about going from the freezing cold weather outside into a warm yoga studio. I was doing it regularly for a while, but then stopped because my opinion of it was changed.
When I first started blogging back in 2013, I hadn't become a yoga teacher yet. I had thought about it, but since I was finishing up my master's degree, I hadn't gotten around to taking the training yet. At this point in my personal yoga practice, I was practicing yoga at home and attending hot yoga classes pretty regularly (not bikram yoga, more like hot vinyasa). I even wrote a blog post about it on my old blog called How To Survive Hot Yoga.
Then in March 2014, I took my 200 hour yoga teacher training, and my opinion of hot yoga changed. The people I trained with are very against heated yoga, and they told me a lot about their opinion on it and why they have that opinion. Their argument against it made total sense to me, which is why I stopped doing it all together and haven't done it not even once since then.
Why Hot Yoga Isn't That Great for You
It creates an illusion that you're more flexible than you actually are.
The increased temperature in the room warms your muscles, ligaments and tendons at a faster rate then you normally would at room temperature. This creates the illusion that you are more flexible, allowing you to stretch past your limits causing injury.
It doesn't actually detoxify your body.
Unfortunately, the concept that sweating during a hot yoga class is detoxifying is a total myth. Toxins do not release through your sweat glands. The only organs that eliminate toxins from your body are the kidneys, liver and colon. A lot of people believe this claim, but there is no scientific evidence to back it up.
It overly strains your heart.
Your heart has to work a lot harder when you're performing challenging yoga postures in the extreme heat. While cardiovascular workouts are beneficial to your health, in this case, your increased heart rate could be a sign of another problem arising. This brings me to my next point.
It can cause severe dehydration, which leads to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Unfortunately, sweating that much doesn't release toxins, but it does release a lot of fluid from your body. This increase of sweating this much in such a short period of time can cause dehydration, which will make your heart rate increase, it will make you feel light headed, nauseated, dizzy, and disoriented. In severe cases, this can cause heat stroke, which ironically shuts down your liver and kidneys (the main organs that actually eliminate toxins). In less extreme cases, it can cause heat exhaustion, which will make you feel faint and experience muscle cramping.
It can cause infection.
Hot and humid conditions are the perfect condition for germ breeding. If you're using a yoga mat that your studio provided or if you have an open wound that comes into contact with something or someone that can transfer germs into it, this can cause you to get an infection... which is pretty gross.
I am aware of the controversy that surrounds this topic because so many people swear by hot yoga, especially bikram yoga. But don't just take my word for it. Please, by all means, do your own research before you decide whether or not hot yoga if right for you. Before I learned about these things, I use to really enjoy going to hot yoga classes, even if I did find it to be a very challenging experience. However, now I do know why I found it so challenging.
Constantly coming up with new things to create can be tough. Whether you're a blogger, an artist, an author, or whatever... constantly creating new content can be quite the challenge. So, if you're stumped like I often get, here's a list of things that you can do right now to get your creative juices flowing again so that you can focus on doing what you do best... creating!
50 Ways To Inspire Creativity
1. Go for a walk.
3. Watch YouTube videos.
5. Write in your journal.
6. Watch a documentary.
7. Read blog posts.
8. Browse through Pinterest.
9. Go to a museum.
10. Go to an art gallery.
11. Go to a dance performance.
12. Watch dance videos online.
13. Take a bath.
14. Take a shower.
15. Listen to classical music.
16. Listen to electronic dance music.
17. Watch a TED Talk (or 10).
18. Have a solo dance party.
19. Record yourself talking about ideas and concepts aloud.
20. Record yourself improvising and watch it back (dancing, acting, etc.)
21. Look at street art.
22. Do something crafty (knitting, scrapbooking, etc.)
23. Make a vision board.
24. Cook something that takes longer than 15 minutes to make.
25. Wash the dishes.
26. Tidy your space.
27. Do yoga!
28. Go for a run.
29. Go to the gym.
30. Do a HIIT workout.
31. Watch mindless television (not for too long, though!).
32. Read a non-fiction & motivational book.
33. Read a book about your field of work.
34. Look at examples of people succeeding in your field of work.
35. List things that you're passionate about.
36. Get yourself a coffee.
37. Sit in a cafe and people watch.
38. Look out the window.
39. Browse beautiful photos on Instagram.
40. Window shop (I don't mean go buy a window, I mean go shopping without buying).
41. Take a drive.
42. Go for a bike ride.
43. Pick up a new hobby.
44. Make a cup of tea.
45. Have a conversation with another creative person.
46. Create a mind map.
47. Build something.
48. Fix something.
49. Do a handstand or headstand.
50. Do a random act of kindness.
Honestly, most of these are just ways to get out of your own head and take your mind off the fact that you have to create something. This usually relaxes you a bit, which is better for creativity.
As did a lot of people, during the new year, I made a vow to eat better. I also made a vow to give up ALL animal products (to be best of my abilities). Maybe I'll get into my full "diet" story another time (been on-again-off-again vegetarian since 2004), but I was vegan for 7 months, then vegetarian for 10 months, and now I'd like to try the full-on plant based route again.
So far, it's been a lot easier than I originally anticipated. Since like 90 percent of my diet as a vegetarian was vegan anyway, it's just cutting out that cheese that I foresee being a bit of an issue (hopefully not, and so far so good).
So, just in case you were curious about what a yoga teacher/practitioner eats in a day, here's an example of what I ate on January 10, 2017. This was a particularly busy work day from home, but I still managed to cook a few things and eat fairly well.
Chocolate Protein Smoothie
1 Frozen Banana
1 Handful of Frozen Spinach
1 Scoop Vega Chocolate Protein Powder
1/2 Tbs PB2 Chocolate
2 Tiny Scoops of Kelp Powder
1-2 Cups Coconut Almond Milk Blend
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined.
Toast w/ Avocado Mash & Toast w/ Almond Butter, Maple Syrup & Cinnamon
2 Slices of Ezekiel Bread
1/4 Avocado Mashed
Sprinkle of Paprika
1 Tbs Almond Butter
1/2 Tsp Maple Syrup
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Toast bread. Spread items on toast.
Tofu & Vegetable Stir Fry w/ Brown Rice
1/2 Pack of Frozen Brown Rice from Trader Joe's (or normal brown rice)
1 Tbs Coconut Oil
1/2 Block Firm Tofu Cubed
1/2 Cup Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Hoisin
Microwave or cook rice according to package. Saute tofu in coconut oil for 2-3 minutes. Add frozen vegetables & saute for 2-3 mins. Add sauces, and saute for a few more minutes. Serve stir fried vegetables over the rice.
Yogi Mayan Cocoa Spice Tea w/ a bit of coconut almond milk blend & coconut palm sugar
1/2 Onion Minced
2 Celery Stalks Diced
2 Small Carrots Diced
2 Dried Bay Leaves
1/2 Tsp Fresh Thyme
1/2 Tsp Dried Basil
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/8 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbs Coconut Oil
2 Cups Partially Cooked Lentils (will cook in broth)
6 Cups Vegetable Stock
Saute onion in coconut oil until fragrent. Add celery and carrot and saute for 2 minutes. Add herbs and spices and saute for 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock and lentils. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer with the lid on for 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally.
*and I was drinking water throughout the day*
I know so many people who either don't know what a vision board is or don't believe that they actually work, but I can honestly tell you that they are magic. I can't even remember the amount of times I thought back about things I've put on my vision boards and realized that I actually received them. And the craziest thing is that when you receive what you put on the board, you don't even realize it until later!
[ Vision Board: A place (board, poster, book, etc.) where you display images of things you desire to manifest (make happen) in your life. ]
For example, I had something on my vision board for quite sometime (about a year and a half). It was a photo of a hotel room that had a view of the ocean. The bed was on the right and behind it was a large window that had a view of the beach and ocean. There was also a photo of a pool with brown/tan lounge chairs with the ocean right behind it as well. I don't remember where the location of the photos were taken because I ripped it out of a magazine so long ago.
This wasn't something that I particularly wanted very badly, I just thought it would be nice to experience, so I put it up there. It literally wasn't until after I returned home from my vacation to Punta Cana, that I realized I actually manifested what was in the photo into my life. My hotel room from the vacation and the actual resort itself looked ridiculously similar to the photos on my vision board. I did a double take when I returned home and saw the photos. When you walked into my hotel room, the bed was on the right side (with white bedding just like in the photo), and behind it was huge glass double doors that overlooked the beach and ocean. The crazy part about it was that I didn't even plan this vacation myself. Someone else chose the location, resort, and room... but somehow, it all aligned with what I wanted.
Now, you're probably thinking, "A lot of resorts and hotel rooms look like that. It's just a coincidence." That could very well be the case because coincidences happen all the time (or maybe nothing is actually a coincidence), but this was not the only instance where things from my vision board actually have come true in my life. Actually, it's been happening to me ever since I started creating vision boards.
Here's another example. This one time, I saw a bunch of fancy watches in a magazine that I thought were pretty, so I cut them out and put them in my vision book (this was when I was a bit more private about the items I wanted to manifest, so I put them in a book instead). A few months later, I received a watch as a Christmas gift that looked very similar to one of the watches in my book. Several months later, I got another watch that looked similar to another watch in the book. By the end of that year, I had like 5 watches, I'm not even kidding you. None of which I purchased myself. I didn't really have a very strong desire to own so many watches either, I just thought they were nice, so I put them in the book. Okay, now I'm sounding spoiled (I've since then given away most of the watches, and I have two that I rotate between regularly), but I'm just trying to illustrate to you the power of a vision board.
This year, I decided to put a bit more thought into my vision board and put a lot of thought into the items that I put on there. I got the idea from YouTuber, Kalyn Nicholson, to make them look like polaroid photos, and push pinned them all to a cork board. I placed the cork board above my desk, and I look at it for several minutes every day (sometimes multiple times a day). Who knows what will come of this year's vision board, but I am so excited to see the results.
Below, I am going to share 3 tips for your vision board creation to make sure that you actually see results. These are things that I've done and experimented with over the past 3 years, and they're worked for me quite well.
1. Choose Your Style.
You can make your vision board any way that you'd like! Some ideas for creating your board are to put it on a cork board (like I did this year), to put it in a book (a journal or planner), or to make it your computer display background. I have done all of these, and they all work. Just choose the style that's best for you.
2. Make it appealing.
If your vision board isn't appealing to you, then you're not going to want to look at it. It's as simple as that. Make it something that you will enjoy looking at, and that you'll want to look at often. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Make sure you look at it often.
Don't put your vision board in a book, and then forget to look at it. I've done this before, and it doesn't work the same. You have to actually look at it pretty much every day. You don't really have to even think about it when you're looking at it, you just have to set your eyes on it. Preferrably on a daily basis. If you're sure to do this one step, you will see results.
Girl On Yoga is a blog about yoga, lifestyle, and healthy / mindful living. If you have any questions that you'd like answered on the blog, submit them here.
Girl On Yoga Updates