Everything is Yoga and Other Things I’ve Learned Recently

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I have been frequently practicing at a yoga studio here in Davis, and today, the owner and the teacher I most frequently go to, commented on my attendance. “You’re becoming a regular here, huh, Leila?” I was so happy she noticed. I’m a Kia devotee now; so much of what she says and the way she teaches speaks to how I want to learn, and would someday like to teach, yoga. The fact that she has learned my name (and is pronouncing it correctly) is making me feel at home there.

Last week in one of her Level 2 Vinyasasa classes (kicking my ass, Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-7), Kia talked about how traditionally, yoga was practiced in solitude. To have a yoga community, a kula, to practice with is a much more recent invention, but I find it makes all the difference in getting me to expand and grow in my practice.

“Everything is yoga, everything is a pose,” Kia says. “You’re not doing bad yoga. Just go to your edge, go to your version of the pose, how it is best suiting you today.” She encourages her students to do what feels right, as long as they are doing it with intention and in the moment. I love this kind of nurturing, supportive, and adaptable teaching style, and I think more yogis could benefit from it.

I love putting yoga photos on Instagram. I think that the presence of an international online yogi community is very cool. But sometimes, in taking pictures for various challenges, I have noticed that I become fixed on a certain outcome. My ego, as Kia would say, is attached to what I see in pictures as “The Pose.” Because of this, I have been thinking about making sure that when I take inspiration from Instagram that I integrate it into my practice in the best way for me, not in exactly the same way someone else did it.

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This is a backbend

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This is a backbend, too. Different days, different places, different poses.

I am so happy that I have a studio to go to, and amazing teachers (not just Kia, they are all great) to help lead me on my yoga journey. I’m sure I’ll learn even more as I go along.


Week 1 of Whole30 Recap

As I start my second full week of Whole30, I wanted to share how my first week went. It’s been going well, with only a few challenging moments so far, like when an event I worked had a table full of very aromatic fried chicken. I love how I feel and all the food I’ve been having is delicious. So far, I’m really glad I’m doing this experiment. Here’s some of the recipes I’ve made and things I’ve eaten: (yes, this is basically a food brag post but I’m excited so please humor me)

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Transformation Tuesday

I was looking at the birthday card Ben made me last September this morning and decided that the changes from then to now deserve a Transformation Tuesday post! Check this out:



I’m not really sure why, but the most dramatic changes in my appearance when I gain weight happen in my face. This picture was taken a few weeks after I got home from Germany. I had gained weight last spring, before I even left, but I went ham on the beer & bread & cheese while I was in the fatherland. It was awesome, but I knew I was going to get serious about losing some weight when I got home.



I enjoy how insane I look in this picture. The flash was not kind to me here. My arms were the second most obvious place I saw weight gain.



By this time, I was working out and lifting weights with Ben, so I had already seen some progress on the scale and in the roundness of my face.



I made a lot of progress in the few weeks before Christmas break.



This was taken in SF last month. Changing up my workout routine each quarter has yielded good results. My face looks so much more normal here!



Here I am, last week. 25 pounds lighter than in September and it looks like it all came off of my face! Weight lifting, eating mostly paleo/gluten free, and (starting recently) getting more cardio in has really been working. I still have about 15 pounds to go to my target weight, but I’m happy with my progress and feel so much better than I did 6 months ago!



Working Out: April 10th

It’s been forever since I’ve done a workout post, but I’m really excited today because I got a new sumo deadlift personal record! 180 lbs!



Ben & I are doing run/walk intervals this quarter, too. Well, Ben is doing sprint/rest intervals and I’m doing run/walk intervals. I have so much energy during the day when I do them, it’s great.

My goal is to lose another 10 pounds by my senior recital on May 30th, so I’m going to keep with what I’m doing and then maybe kick it up a notch in May. Two dresses that my mom and I ordered for my recital are getting here today, so we’ll see if they fit!

Working Out: Feb. 6th

I had a super great workout today! I PR’d my squat at 185 lbs! It was really heavy but I was totally able to do it. I think it helped that I wore my “I hope your day is as nice as my butt” shirt to the gym.


Ben recommended I take some weight off and try totally bottoming out on a squat so I know what that feels like, since I’m hesitant to go down to far in case I lose control.


135 pounds felt so light, and it was much easier to go down to parallel and then go “ass to ankles” as Ben says. I love doing squats with this much weight. My bench presses have also been getting better.

One thing I noticed this week is that my confidence has been increasing a lot. I feel like I’m finally getting my body back, and I started getting excited for summer and *gasp* bathing suit season. I haven’t bought a new bathing suit in like 4 years; I think this year I will deserve a new pretty one 🙂

Yoga February!

I discovered the wonder of yoga challenges on Instagram in December and this month I went a bit crazy and started doing four challenges. I love it so far! Taking pictures of myself practicing is not only getting me to practice consistently every day, but it is also helping me document my process and encouraging me to continue to practice the poses that are hard for me. I made a big new step with my tripod headstand last night – I was able to lift each leg off of my arms a bit for the first time! I finally felt strong and stable enough to try it.





My happy and surprised face in the bottom picture is because I had no idea it would work if I lifted my knees up, but it did! I’m really excited by this new breakthrough, now I just have to keep practicing it!

I’ll probably keep posting some photos of the yoga challenges I’m doing. Who knows if I’ll be able to stick with all of them, but it’s fun to try!

Have a happy Monday!

Working Out- Jan. 30th 2015

I got three really solid workouts in this week. I’ve been enjoying the new routine Ben & I have been doing, but we discovered quickly that we don’t have time to do all of the exercises we picked each hour. We’ve been switching off doing abs (torture twists) and extra arms (kettlebells) or legs (lunges with weight) every other day but we do power lifts every time. I’ve been getting a lot better at bench pressing! I benched 95 lbs today and I started with 65 lbs just over 10 days ago. Ben has been helping me maintain good form with both my squat and deadlift as I put on more weight. I seem to have gotten past the slump of a few weeks ago, which I think is due to us changing up the routine.

I’m starting to notice more results, and it’s easy to see how my body is changing by looking at my weekly measurements on my spreadsheet I’m keeping. It’s really fascinating. You can get a surprising amount of information from that. I’m really enjoying working out with Ben as quality time we get to spend together. He’s very supportive, and having him lifting with me makes it so much more fun 🙂

That’s my update for this week! Things are going well and I hope to PR my deadlift again next week and keep working up to a higher weight on my squats!

Working Out: Jan. 14th

Ben & I decided that since it’s a new year and a new quarter, we should revamp our workout routine. We kept deadlifts and squats on alternating days, but the rest of the exercises are new! Here’s what we did today and how it went:

Squats- I had to drop my squat weight down a lot last month to work on form, but today I bumped it back up to 155 with good form! It was heavy but felt good. I’m excited to add more weight on next week.


Torture twists- The above picture is me before the torture twists.


This is me during them. Dying. I did extra reps today and my abs feel awesome now. The exercise is leaning back as far as you can, basically, holding for 3 seconds on the right side, then switching to the left and holding it for 3 seconds. Then do this three times for three sets. Super great and hard!

Kettlebell swings- The last exercise we got to today was kettlebell swings. I used a 30 pound one and did 45 reps, which I’m happy with since I’ve gotten out of the practice of doing them.

I’m really happy with and excited about this new workout set! Can’t wait to try more new exercises on Friday.