Friday, October 21, 2011

Days 3, 4, & 5

Day 3:

Wednesday was another busy day and led to an evening practice but this time I made it up as I went along.  This is a fun test to keep your mind in action, always thinking a few steps ahead.  The beauty of attending an instructed class is allowing your mind to completely focus on the moment and what you are doing with your body.  When practicing from memory or knowledge, I found myself hesitating slightly between poses but mostly focusing on what my next couple of moves might be.  This lessened my ability to make any micro-adjustments needed, but I discovered I know individual poses and some of their sanskrit by heart, AND I know series of poses; this was helpful to let my mind skip ahead.  It may not have been the most beautiful flow and I was a little all over the place (especially with Jack kisses and playtime mixed in), but I was able to get a great practice in and play around with some arm balances that I don't always get to in taught classes.  Learned a lot about myself and where I am in my experience and ability!


Day 4:

Thursday evening was spent with Simon and Jack.  We had Indian take away for dinner and shared a bottle of wine – I was sure I was going to fail on day 4.  We went for a nice, long walk and somehow I found my motivation and way out of the curry and wine daze.  The only thing I was capable of was a bedtime series and wow did it feel great!  I googled evening yoga and discovered a fantastic resource for home practice on youtube: Yogatic.  A woman that lives in Cork, Ireland has a channel completely dedicated to yoga practice.  She is very thoughtful with her instruction and has uploaded a large variety of videos.  Tonight's practice was exactly what I needed.


Day 5:

Friday.  I decided that since I had such a light practice the night before and I knew it would probably be a repeat of an evening, I would take advantage of my natural morning energy and do a video on Yogatic before work.  I did three, in fact.  The first was a morning flow – awakening and energizing the body.  Fantastic!  Next up I wanted to practice headstands so I first did her headstand prep video which focused on shoulder opening poses.  Finally, I set up against the wall and called Simon in to spot me.  Low and behold, I was able to get my feet up into a half-headstand almost effortlessly!  All I needed was Simon's hand touching my leg so that I could have peace of mind and have a feel for my bearings.  I held it for a few breaths, feeling the strength and centering myself and then began to lift one leg straight up and felt for the wall.  Once I moved my other foot I froze.  Emotionally hit a wall of "I can't do it" and came out of the pose.  I enabled myself only to go half way and told myself it was okay – I can't.  But really I COULD!  Next time, I don't want to hold myself back.  I want to encourage myself rather than be okay with part way.


In these last 5 days I have already learned so much and can see that this is an amazing journey to go on.  Battling fears, building dedication, patience, and strength, exploring and discovering mental, emotional, and physical abilities and inabilities.  A common dialogue I have with myself is instinctually thinking that to "practice yoga everyday" means I have to practice an hour long power flow.  While that would put me into incredible shape, I am realizing it is not a truth and in essence not what I set out to accomplish.  Yoga is a practice of honoring your body and it is naïve of me to think that I will be able, emotionally or physically, to dedicate a full hour of power yoga every single day.  Ultimately, I want to learn about the practice and myself.  Looking forward to more!

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yoga Challenge Day 2

What a day! I woke up around 6:30 & did my regular routine of put on
the coffee, feed Jack, put together breakfast and get ready for work.
Came home for lunch and made salads for Simon and myself, went back to
work until 5:15, then a closing shift at BBW, home by 9 pm - took Jack
to the dog park, home by 10.

Whew! Only time for yoga was first thing in the morning or evening and
I opted for an evening practice. So just after 10, I plugged my iPhone
into the dock and hit play on a Lunar flow from The
iPhone app. This app is so handy! It provides free streaming or
downloads of 20 minute sessions ranging from beginner to advanced and
focusing on a variety of intentions. If you have an iAnything - get
it! If not, you can download sessions directly from their website;
they just ask for donations here and there to keep it free.

The Lunar Flow episode consisted of a cycle of crescents (with dropped
knees), cobras, down dogs, and child's pose. I have to admit just
about when she was sending us into our final crescent I was over it.
I think I did about 6 cycles and it got old fast. But it did open up
my hips!

Once it was time for sweet, sweet chavasana Jack just couldn't stand
being outside any new so I let him in and he attacke me with kisses on
floor. Thankfully Simon came home to distract him :)

So day 2 is complete! Onward I go with my eyes on the horizon. Namaste.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yoga 30-day Challenge

Just for fun, I am challenging myself to 30 consecutive days of yoga practice.

I have shared with a handful of my close friends my ambition to pursue
Yoga Teacher Training after my wedding, and have received so much
support and encouragement! I am now putting that dream out into the
universe and starting to prepare myself. One of the requirements of
YTT is to do an unassisted headstand in the middle of the room. I am
practically there physically but my fears definitely hold me back. I
so badly want to be strong, focused, and fearless to get into the
amazing advanced poses out there. They look so fun and I know how
rewarding it is to find yourself in a pose you never thought your body
could do!

When the 30 days is through, I hope to have built up my core & upper
body strength but mostly to have worked passed those hindering fears.

So here I go. Day one. I could count yesterday's home practice but
the intention wasn't present yet.

Practice scheduled for 7:15pm at my local gym, Club SAR. Tonight's
instructor teaches a basic flow, good for beginner to intermediate.
Class will be sure to provide a solid workout and bring me through all
the expected ashtanga poses. There usually isn't a lot of challenge
presented by this instructor but that is just fine considering I have
a bum foot and still have stitches in it. Will have to take it easy
on some of the standing poses!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


This Summer I plan to accomplish this

And next Spring on our honeymoon this!  

Maybe I'll even get Simon to participate!

A complex mind

I love those moments when you have an epiphany on your own craziness.  Especially when it runs in the family.

My evening started with a nice, long chat with my mom.  We talked about things from an update on her husband who has been in the hospital (doing very well & going home tomorrow) and progress on prepping the Wisconsin house for sale, to the currently heated office politics at my office and what our thoughts are on the politics of the US and our latest big headline - Osama Bin Laden.  An extremely well rounded, substantial conversation with many other important and meaningful subjects in between.  All the meanwhile, I have checked the mail, unpacked my belongings, made and eaten dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, watered my plants, and done a survey of things around the house and had internal dialog on subjects besides our conversation on multiple occasions.  All while never skipping a beat.

We started to talk about dreams and I learned that my mom never remembers hers.  So I gave her a homework assignment to have a conversation with herself before she goes to sleep telling herself she will remember.  (An exercise I see suggested in many texts about dreams).  She replies, "well that will be hard; I always put on a DVD and fall asleep."  This leads into a discussion about spending idle time with our thoughts.  She eventually admits that the only time possible is while having a smoke, but that is still doing something. This I do understand, though, being an ex-smoker.  Two years ago when I quit I realized this inability to be alone with my thoughts by taking that "down time" away.  Whenever we stop and sit and look off into the middle distance, our brains hit hyper speed.

We both agreed that we prefer to constantly be engaged.  Always productive and entertained.   

While working, if I am doing data entry or QC, I have to tune into something else to focus on like a podcast or audio book.  When she is watching a movie, she is also doing paperwork or something physical.  When I was on the phone, I did a ton of things.  I spouted off my list and she gave one equally long right back to me!

I assessed the few activities in which I can focus completely and not feel the need to tie in somewhere else: conversation, gardening, yoga, painting, cooking, sorting/organizing, cleaning/redecorating, reading a book (with pages), and shopping.  While, done alone, watering the plants, listening to a podcast or audio book, watching TV or a movie, laying out, riding a bike, walking, or running, just don't keep my brain engaged and I go off into day dreaming or over analyzing.  Basically, I need to be working with my hands while simultaneously analyzing to avoid going crazy.   Thankfully, I now have a bluetooth and can gab away on the phone - keeping myself fully engaged when doing the latter activities on my own.  Thanks, Mom!  Genius!

Tonight we discovered: The complex minds of Morgan and Mary Lou must always be focused on at least two points of reference. 
 Creation + Analyzing = a satisfied mind.

The human mind is so amazing how we are all wired in different ways.  Our thought processes are unique based on our environments and gene pools.  Are there just a handful of "thinking types."  For example, is this part of the classification of Type A?  And if so, what are the other types and what keeps them engaged?  Does any of this sound familiar to you?  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Simon Proposed!

Wow! The absolute most exciting part of my life so far! This post is
definitely behind but I have been having so much fun getting the ball
rolling on wedding planning I just haven't made the time... I gave my
page a face lift and have a new found motivation (& lots of post
ideas) to get back into it.

In Feb Simon took me on a surprise bday getaway to Sedona, AZ. He
booked a B&B suite and made reservations at a nice Italian restaurant.

Now I have to admit, I had an inkling a proposal was on our near
future and was hoping this was the weekend, but I was never really

When we arrived I was so impressed by this amazing and
unique B&B. All of the rooms have a theme, ours was French Quarter.
One of my favorite styles of decor! There wasn't a detail overlooked
from the provincial bedding and upholstery, to the architectural
accents and antique furniture; this room was absolutely incredible!

We packed a lunch of our favorite Bruschetta that we discovere on oir first date at Postino wine bar in Arcadia. Fig, apples, and Brie with prosciutto. Yum!

And check out this view! If you haven't been to Sedona, I suggest you do soon! One of the most beautiful places in Arizona!

Dinner was perfectly romantic. We lucked out on a private booth for
two right behind the band - something Simon honestly didn't plan. The
evening couldn't have been more perfect! Once we finished our meals
and he took care of the check I was sure that tonight wasn't the

Sneaky little bugger - he left the ring at the suite, figuring I would
feel it in his pocket and he also knew (thanks mom) that I was

As soon as we returned to the suite, he grabbed my hand, got down on
one knee and said,"Morgan I love you very much. (something else here
in the middle neither of us can remember) Will you marry me?". I
immediately dropped down to the floor with him and kissed him! "Yes!
Of course! Yes yes yes!"

And then I remembered about the ring! Oh my goodness the ring! It is
beyond my expectations and desires. A delicate cluster of diamonds in
a pave setting surround three stones in the past, present, future
design. It's classic, tasteful, and oh so sparkly! Perfection.

I am so ecstatic to be marrying my best friend!!

So let the planning begin! In fact, we already have a lot figures out
including booking our venue!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Best meal in weeks

Filet mignon with port sauce, dried cranberries & blue cheese
accompanied by roasted brussels and carrots

Lick your plate good.

recipe found in

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Still shrinking!

Slowly but surely I'm still losing weight!

Just weighed in at 146, 12 pounds lighter than I was at the beginning.
Wonder if I can lose 10 more pounds before my birthday in 3 weeks!

Next week I'm gonna step it up a notch with some interval running and
weight training during lunch and continue with yoga every night.

Shit I will settle for 5 pounds before my birthday but why not reach
for the sky?

Any tips? Meals/routines that have worked for you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Feeling amazing!

Monday was the best day I have had all year!  I woke up feeling energetic, light, and extremely happy.  The latter I will give credit to the fact that it was a paid holiday for me at work, but the others are definitely a result of all the hard work I put in last week.  Success!

Friday was my last day on the Kitchari cleanse, a vegan meal plan I put together from research I did on Aruyveda websites.  I was ready for it to be over. Not because I was dying of hunger, but I was bored with the meals and my body was weak.  The only protein I was getting was from the lentils at lunch, so even my daily mile walk and 2 days of 7 doing yoga knocked a lot out of me.  I slept a lot and wasn't productive at home.  But I needed that.

Saturday I added in different foods, and had my first meal with meat: pulled pork shoulder tacos for dinner at our friend's house.  It was so delicious!  Unfortunately, my tummy wasn't quite ready for something that heavy and I didn't last much longer after dinner before I wanted to go home and go to bed.

Sunday I met some friends for the Bears game at a bar and did something I haven't done in years - hung out at a bar, with everyone eating cheeseburgers and drinking cool, crisp beers and resisted.  Veggie burger, top discarded, with a side salad and lots of water for me!  Then for dinner I made a recipe I got from a co-worker - pan cooked chicken with caramelized onions & cranberries and asparagus.  Yum yum!  Tummy responded much better to the chicken.

Monday was it - my favorite day of the year so far.  Started with a very healthy bm, with no help from the laxative tea I was drinking last week - proof that my insides have benefited immensely!  Made a delicious egg white omelette with spinach, mushrooms, red peppers, and onions for breakfast and had my first cup of coffee.  Simon and I went for a nice easy hike - was a perfect way to start the day!  I was so productive and did so many fun things: three home cooked healthy meals, at home; morning hike; lots of quality time with my boyfriend; great progress on an oil painting; finished the final season of Lost; and rocked at my second Bikram yoga class!

Last night I went to Bikram again and enjoyed it so much again!  It is hot but you smile through it, knowing the amazing benefits you are getting from enduring one of the toughest workouts around.  I am looking forward to going back!

I have so far been very successful this week with my goals for phase two of my cleanse.  Still have not had a sip of alcohol - it has been 10 days.  Only have eaten meat once per day starting Saturday.  And for my fitness goals I have walked at least a mile every day and done yoga whether at my gym, Bikram, or at home.

Feeling amazing... Mind. Body. Soul.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dawning of the Age of the 30s

My coworker asks me, "how old are you again?" I replied, "I will be 29
in a few weeks." And he says, "oh! I always feel like you're much
younger, like my age."

At first I thanked him, taking the compliment that I look younger.
People do usually think I am younger than I really am. But then I
replayed it in my head...

I always feel like you're much younger, like my age." ...much
younger.... So I asked him how old he is and he replied "24". Yes.
Sooo much younger. Damn him and his backhanded compliment! Haha

Only a few more weeks before I enter the eve of my 30th. My final year
of being in my 20s. Am I supposed to have a nervous breakdown and
party my brains out before I'm officially grown up? Because I feel
like I already got that out of my system...

Dear all 28, 29, and 30 year olds - what are your thoughts? Did
you/are you freaking out? Is it weird that I'm not?

I suppose the fact that I am in a committed relationship that I don't
have the fear of never settling down. My clock is definitely ticking
but I also know the next steps will come in due time, not too far in
the future.

So what is one to do - am I expected to over react about my age, or
can I just be happy with where I'm at so far? Or should I get off the
fast train to being a calm, mature adult and shake things up a bit?

Cleanse Day Four - felt like another day

Instead of avoiding pain, instead of wishing life wasn't hard sometimes, instead of cursing the setbacks - welcome all of it.

The struggle is what produces growth. Resistance is what produces flight. Pain is a wonderful teacher that, if used properly, shows us the way to bliss.  - Mastin Kipp, founder of The Daily Love

Today's words of wisdom that hit home are from Mastin himself.  Yesterday just felt like a regular day.  I had no woes about saying "no thank you" to that bagel in the breakroom or to the cookies on the cabinet in front of my desk.  I was full before I finished my lunch, throwing out the last bit; a first in this journey.  It wasn't a struggle at all.  

All day I wavered back and forth if I would give Bikram a go again so soon, but decided that I would take the evening off.  And I think I needed it - my body was so lazy while my mind was buzzing.  

Hopefully this evening I have some more energy and the courage to go - I bought myself some yoga shorts and new fitness clothes are always a little motivator!  ;)

I took my measurements this morning, and I have lost an inch in my waist and an inch in my hips - more evidence of no more bloating!  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Morgan 1, Temptation 0

No, I will not. Thank you very much!

Cleanse Day Three - Bikram kicked my butt

"Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It's a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment."

- Eric Butterworth, was Senior Minister of The Unity Center of New York City

Once again, TDL has provided inspiration where it fits...

Yesterday was back to a normal eating schedule with my already typical breakfast of oatmeal and blueberries, then kitchari for lunch, and dinner butternut squash soup and a fresh salad.  No complaints here!  I didn't have coffee in the morning which I felt around 9 or so.  But I had a cup of tea and was just fine.  I went to the office gym on my lunch hour and walked a little over a mile - i didn't want to overexert myself considering the few calories I was consuming and that I had plans to attend my first Bikram yoga class.

Bikram kicked my butt.  You know it is going to be hot but you just don't realize how it feels.  I also psyched myself out because just before class while sitting in the 106 degrees next to a girl who was clearly a pro, I was borderline panic attack that I would fail by falling, fainting, puking and I almost left.  But instead I just got up went out of the room and refocused.  The thing that was hard was dealing with the heat - having a constant fight with yourself and ability to proceed and tons of toxins working through your body and out through your sweat.  I felt like I was going to pass out or was nauseous at many points, I probably was sitting down for 25% of the class.  But it is totally acceptable!  I was self conscious regardless but kept looking around to see I wasn't the only one.  In fact, a seasoned girl left the room, at which point I took advantage and ducked out for a minute, too.  I was conveniently right next to the door so I didn't feel bad.  I kept telling myself, just do what you can and even if you don't perform all 26 poses, you are getting the benefits of the sauna atmosphere.  Also, my face was so red from overheating.  Whenever I work out my face gets pretty red but this was intense.  Picture your worst sunburn ever.   When I got home and looked in the mirror I was scared it wouldn't go away!  The poses are very manageable and in fact, my balance was better here than I have ever experienced.  So it's a mind game.  which tells me I can do this. and I will go back.  I want to try again.  not sure if tonight but I will go back...  

In other news, I lost 5 pounds!  Now, I didn't weigh myself before I started but I have been maintaining the same weight for quite a while, even when I lost a few pounds about a month ago, it came right back a couple weeks later.  Anyhow, I am guessing based on what my avg weight has been compared to my weight yesterday afternoon and I figure I have lost about 5 pounds.  All of which I am assuming is water and poop.  But who cares!  I feel lighter in my stomach.  My pants fit comfortably.  I am not bloated.  Score!  The weekend's efforts and struggles were totally worth it!

I have had requests to post the kitchari recipe I used - here is the website I used as my core resource.  I made the Mungbeans with Rice & veggies recipe, modified with less water, frozen organic veggies, and no ginger.  I used french green lentils (mungbeans is just another term for lentils)  Please do research some more about Aruyveda, kitchari, and cleanses versus detox.  There is a lot to consider and I feel I'd be writing all day to supplement that info for you  ;)

Have a great day - off to conquer day four!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cleanse Day Two

The hardest part, at least what I have anticipated as being the most difficult, is very close to being over!!

In just a few hours when I go to bed, I will have successfully completed the first part of my cleanse!  It has been tough but I have only eaten one meal for two days.  I have drank an exorbitant amount of water and I can definitely feel the process working.  All day today I have had a dull backache, a very common reaction to toxins working their way through your body.  I haven't, however, had any headaches or mood swings - the absence of the headache must mean I am drinking enough water and the absence of mood swings is a good sign I don't make a habit of "emotional eating."

To be honest, I expected I would be a monster.  I have low blood sugar so when I don't get to eat when I am hungry I am not a pleasure to be around.  But it only makes sense that since this is a choice I have made and commitment I feel strongly about sticking through, that I be at peace with little food.

I really struggled last night, but was able to let the hunger pass.  I was extremely sleepy all day so I expected to zonk out around 7 but I laid down at 8:30 and wasn't completely tired.  What I didn't expect was to sleep 12 hours.  I'm not complaining though - it felt great!

**Warning - I am going to talk about #2 now...  When I woke up, I took a major poo, thanks to the laxative tea I had in the evening.  How is it possible to only eat one meal and have the equivalent to probably 4 days worth of BMs?  And, I went 2 or 3 more times throughout the day!  Clearly, this was needed!  It says I can drink this tea for up to 10 days in a row - by that time I surely will be cleaned out in that area!!

...It's safe now, for those of you that skipped ahead...

Today we went to Ikea, probably one of the worst places to go when one hasn't nourished themselves with ample amounts of fuel.  In fact, I felt like I was going to topple over at one point but I slowed down, drank some water and was perfectly fine after that.  We had a mission and knew exactly what we wanted.  In and out within 45 min, most of which was spent winding through the damn place and discussing which color of wood was best.  Was painless, really! We made it home quickly and had lunch.  Second day eating it, still love the kitchari.  I am excited that I get to have it for lunch for the next 5 days too.  I love, love, love Indian food so I feel spoiled actually!

I kept busy again this afternoon, this time I started a painting, did laundry, and ran a bunch of errands - yesterday I organized and put away all of the Christmas decorations.  It's been a win-win!

Almost through it... I can do it!  Just a few episodes of Dexter with Simon then it is off to bed and on to start phase two where I get to eat!  and exercise!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cleanse Day One

I woke up starving - not a good thing when I said I wanted to only
have one meal today! But I pushed through it with the hot lemon drink
and another bottle of water.
So I got myself organized and headed to the market. Everything I
bought is organic, except for my blueberries because it was a $6
difference! Surprisingly, most everything else was either priced lower
or about the same. Why hadn't I realized this before???
So as soon as I got home I started on the Kitchari. The spices are so
fragrant and beautiful! Tameric, Cardamom seed, Cumin, curry powder
and fresh garlic. I also added some chili pepper to give it a kick.

An hour later I have a gorgeous, fragrant, and delicious dish that I
am so pleased with. And I get to have this for lunch all week. Yum!!

So after lunch I plan to keep really busy and work around the house.
Need to stay busy so I won't get hungry!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kitchari Cleanse begins Saturday!

We all make resolutions for better health & wealth, for mind and body.
We all aim to make this year better than the last and have aspirations
to mold ourselves and bodies closer to our ideal self. I haven't
necessarily made this commitment as a NY resolution, but because
January seems to be the calmest month of the year. I have been in such
a rut, eating healthy and exercising regularly that all I am doing is
maintaining. My body needs a shock, a break, and a rest.

People joked that this year was the reset year because it started with
the date 1/1/11 - how fitting! It's meant to be that I do this now,
especially since between now and the super bowl there aren't any major
social events!

So no alcohol, no meat, no dairy, no sweets, no complex meals. Just
pure, simple, healthy cleansing foods.

I am choosing to do a cleanse as opposed to a detox because I simply
lobe food too much to fast. In a cleanse you don't starve yourself but
you eat a smaller range of foods, mostly vegetables and fruits.

In my research I came across an Ayurveda website that gave a great
guide to plan my cleanse. Rather than a strict regimen it teaches
basics and gives suggestions so that you may create a plan that works
for you. I am drawn to Kitchari because it is so simple and gives me

So here is my plan:
I will start each day with a warm lemon water with sea salt and honey,
which is said to... get things moving.

For my first 2 days, Saturday and Sunday I will only eat one meal -
the Kitchari with vegetables. I want to shock my body and get the
extreme over with before the work week.
From Monday on I will eat 3 meals per day:
Breakfast: quaker high fiber instant oatmeal with fresh blueberries
Lunch: Kitchari with vegetables
Dinner vegetable soup or a salad
In between meals I will have an herbal tea (no milk or sugar of
course) and throughout the day drink lots of water.

I plan to stick to this solid for a week, maybe adding in meat here an
there if I like.

To increase my cleanse I will be practicing Bikram Yoga: 90 min of
flow done in a heated room. It is known to be extremely detoxifying,
exactly what I need! And it just happens there is a studio that offers
30 days for $30 right in my backyard. Bonus! And they offer classes at
5:30 am so I could take advantage of my internal clock that makes me
more alert & motivated in the morning. As soon as I drag myself out of
bed that is!

What is this "Kitchari" you ask? Basically it is a mixture of grains,
traditionally basmati rice and mung beans. My cousin actually makes it
often whenever she and her husband feel they have overdone it on rich
foods. She is kindly sharing her recipe with me and doing the cleanse
as well! It will be so great to have someone to help keep me motivated
and that I can do the same for!

So how about you? Want to join in on this journey? I know I can't
wait! It will be challenging but nothing good comes without great