Practice Update: Yoga, Diet, & Juicing

This week I was still trying to get out of the funk that I was in last week. In terms of yoga practice, I’m still working on Surya Namaskara. I can feel myself getting slightly stronger with Chaturaungas, but I still practice them from my knees. The thought of doing them in a plank position seems light years away!

I find that I get very tired during Sun Salutations. I think I just have to keep building up my endurance. It doesn’t seem like it, but I do think that they require a bit of cardio work as well.

Ashtanga Confession: Sometimes I have to switch out Downward Facing Dog for Child’s Pose just because I’m tired and my arms hurt.

In a not related to yoga note (but kind of related), I think I’m going to do a bit of a clean up with my diet.  I have been a vegetarian for 13 years. I was the type of person that never really liked meat, so this wasn’t much of a transition for me. However, I have certainly gone through long periods in my life of not being a healthy vegetarian. During my teenage and early twenties I definitely relied a lot on cheese pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, and French fries! As I transition to my later twenties, I think in general I do eat a lot better than I used to – but I’m certainly not perfect. Currently I’ve been in a bit of phase of unhealthy eating habits.

Every winter for the past 5-7 years I’ve done some sort of “cleanse” diet. I find that during winter (particularly long Canadian winters) it is so cold and drab and grey out that I get feeling kind of down. Usually for me this translates to a lot of comfort eating. I’m not convinced that these types of diets rid your body of long built up toxins or these other reported benefits. However, I do see them as a useful tool to reset some bad habits and examine relationships with food and myself. This is very yogic in a way, isn’t it?

Last winter I did two juice cleanses – one was 5 days and another at 14 days. I know that there is a lot of controversy about juicing diets*, but I did find them very beneficial and I think I will do one again this time. I don’t have a particular time period in mind, but I know that I’m looking at an extended one – at least 14 days. The one that I’m doing (based on Joe Cross’s Reboot), you do a week of cutting out processed foods and then do a transition week. So really, you have two weeks to acclimate your body before you start juicing. I think that this is the only way to do it. Going cold turkey is too difficult and seems dangerous.

I started the first transition week yesterday.  The focus for this week is cutting out processed foods, wheat, caffeine, and dairy. It is also recommended to work in one juice a day during this phase. Last night I made a green juice. I actually love green juices and haven’t had one in a while, so I really enjoyed it. So far, so good!

I’m not quite sure how this will affect my yoga practice. From experience I know that I’ll be tired in the first couple of days, but it will be interesting to see how things go after that. I debated about posting this because it’s not directly related to Ashtanga. However, this blog is not only about my yoga journey, but my journey towards health as well. I do see the two as being interrelated.  I will try to post everyday on my progress for anyone that’s interested.

*Side note/disclaimer: I think that juice cleanses CAN be done safely if you are properly informed and knowledgeable going into it. I have the unique benefit of having a B.Sc degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, so I am going into this with a thorough understanding of physiology and what my body needs. If you are interested in doing a juice cleanse, PLEASE do your research and be safe about it. Not everything you read on the internet is true, try to find reputable sources and look at them with a critical mind. If you’re interested, please feel free to email me at ashtangabeginner@gmail.com and I can help direct you to the information that you need.

I also do not have any illnesses and am not on any medications. If you have any health conditions, I would seriously recommend that you consult a health professional before undertaking any major dietary change.  

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