Thursday, December 29, 2011

Channeling My "Pisstivity" - Thanks Dolvett!

You've just got to love it when a word clicks with you.

It's even better when this is a recently made up word. I've heard it a couple of times during this past season of Biggest Loser from new trainer Dolvett Quince, but it really hit home with me when the Thanksgiving special re-aired two nights ago. (Probably because someone had raised my pisstivity level...Ha ha)

"Pisstivity" is listed in the Urban Dictionary pertaining to the degree or level at which you are ticked off at someone or something. While I like that definition, I prefer to think of it another way.

To me, pisstivity is a state of being, in which you channel any frustration, anger, or other trying emotions into doing something positive. You don't sit around just being mad or letting things get to you. You do something constructive with your feelings and turn them into a blessing.

In Dolvett's case, he has his contestants and clients work out their pisstivity in the gym. I have discovered that this really does work. The first spin class after being in my recent upsetting situation was the best ride I'd ever had. Every workout since has gone to another level. I channel what was said to me about how I'd never reach my goals (in fitness AND in life) into extra motivation and pushing myself even harder. And I feel so much better both body and spirit!

There are also other ways to channel your pisstivity. If someone tells you that you won't get anywhere with your chosen career, find ways to work harder or smarter and set better goals for yourself. There's nothing like having somebody tell you that you can't do something to motivate you to prove them wrong. (Of course, that shouldn't be your sole motivation - there are many reasons to work toward your goals!) If you're angry about the economy and you have the resources, do something to help others who are struggling, just like the people who paid off all of those layaway accounts this Christmas for families in a rough financial spot. Even if you can only afford to do a little bit, it still helps. If you feel for people with cancer or other illnesses, help raise money for a cure. Or take some time to read to sick children or do chores for someone who is unable because of illness.

Channel your emotions into doing something good for yourself or others. That's the highest form of pissitivity.

Pissed + Positivity = Pisstivity Thank you Dolvett!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Even In The Darkness, There Is Always Light

Dealing with human emotions, yet trying to stay positive and rising above... I'm sure you know where I'm going with this. You probably struggle with this as well.

If you read my "positive/not perfect" post last week, then you know I've been dealing with a problem relationship that I had to finally let go in order to save my sanity and be who God created me to be. In the meantime, I've lost a couple more friends - at least people I thought were my friends. I thought it might happen since these are people who've known the person I had trouble with for a lot longer than they've known me, and I'm sure their loyalties lie with her. Not only is that understandable, but I also know they're not getting the whole story by only hearing what she tells them. They haven't asked me about the situation so they are only hearing the side of their longtime friend...but I also don't want to drag them into what should be only between me and her. That's not fair to them to have to take sides. And even though it appears they've immediately taken her side, at least I didn't try to make them choose. I can be proud of the fact that I didn't drag other people into it. There may be more fallout to come, but I will stand strong.

Even though I understand what they did, it still stinks - and it still hurts. But one thing I do know is that this is out of my control. I'm not going to beg people for their friendship when it's obvious they didn't value the relationship in the first place. I'm better than that. Once again, this does not mean I'm perfect...far from it. But real friends forgive each other for the occasional bad day or saying something that didn't come across quite the way they meant it. I don't mean those who continally put you down or constantly treat you like you're an idiot for doing what's right for your life if it isn't exactly like their own lives. I'm talking about those who always try to be a real friend but when you occasionally slip up like human beings do, they still support you because they love you. People who claim to be our friends but attack or abandon us without first trying to understand or care are not the kind of friends we need. In fact, that is NOT real friendship - so as much as it hurts, be grateful for the blessings that did come out of the situation and move on.

This is what I've been trying to do for the last few days. This "friend" may think she ruined my holidays (or at least probably hoped she did), but it turns out to be the opposite. In discovering these surface friendships, I appreciate the real ones that much more. Spending time with family and true friends is even sweeter because I can see, hear, and feel the difference with complete clarity. Plus - seeing how NOT to act helps me in turn to be a better friend to others.

God gave me an important gift this Christmas. He gave me the opportunity to see what is real and what is not. He gave me the strength to stand up for myself and stop taking all of the digs and discouragement and move away from that negativity. And He gave me the ability to see what is important in both friendship and life. That can't be wrapped and placed under the tree. Besides, it's such an incredibly large and amazing gift that it can't be contained to a small space. It's the gift that will keep on giving...not only to me but to anyone I can pass it on to. God means for this gift to be shared. His light will permeate through any darkness you may encounter!

This holiday season, may you receive the gift of true friendship and unconditional love from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and may you spread that gift far and wide to make the world a better place.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Since we will all be spending the next couple of days with our family and friends, I want to take the opportunity now to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you to everyone for joining me on this journey....I really appreciate you and can't wait to share more of my journey well into 2012 and beyond.

May you and your loved ones be blessed this Christmas! xoxoxo

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Positive Does Not Mean Perfect - Food For Thought

I've had some rough situations happen in the last few days. I admit these things threw me for a loop for a little while...but I will not let them keep me down.

I won't go into great detail about these, because I don't like to complain to everyone or dwell on negative things. I prefer to move forward, pray, and do what I can to help the situation. But I do want to address one of these things because some of you may have the same problem.

I discovered that someone in my life (a supposed friend) expected me to be perfect. I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised. This person constantly complains and feels she is always right. She does have good qualities as well, so I always bit my tongue so as not to upset her. (Not always easy to do.) I always felt that I was walking around on eggshells to save our friendship...even though it caused me extra stress, I really tried.

The other day I gently tried to let her know that she should be thankful for what she does have and count the blessings in her life. It was an attempt to improve her frame of mind. I certainly thought I was being gentle, as I hate confrontation and avoid it if I can help it. Of course, she still took it the wrong way. I received a scathing message from her going into great detail about my many supposed faults (I do have faults, but this stuff was really exaggerating and petty) and how I'm basically an awful person because I don't do everything in my life exactly the way she does. (Wouldn't the world be boring if we all did everything alike? What works for one person may not be right for another.) I was also told that I was a "fake" because I claim to be a positive person yet dared to get a little upset with her. According to her, my positivity meant that I could never have a bad day or else I was fake. (Yet somehow it was OK for her to complain all the time.) And because of all that was "wrong" with me, she was going to have to seriously re-evaluate our friendship.

I now realize that she takes almost everything the wrong way, but at the time it really hurt. I attempted to defend myself, which only led to more bashing from her. I sent off one last message in attempt to clear things up, and apologized if she took what I'd said the wrong way because it was only meant to be helpful. I also let her know that I would not respond anymore if she kept attacking me, because I wasn't going to keep that unhealthy cycle going.

I received yet another message berating me, so I kept my word. I did not respond to her. I deleted all of the messages so I wouldn't have to stress out over it anymore. I also blocked her on social media sites, which is where she was attacking me. I knew it wasn't going to stop, because she can never let anything go. I do know her in real life but don't see her often.

The point of this is - do we expect each of our friends to be perfect? Or do we even expect ourselves to be perfect? We are all human, so none of us are going to be. There is only One who is perfect. And He is always here to help us through our imperfections. Trying to stay positive in this world is essential, or else we'd all lose our minds. Being positive doesn't mean we won't have our human moments or bad means that we will not let the rotten stuff keep us down and we strive to make things better. It means if we fall, we pick ourselves back up instead of wallowing in self-pity. It's just like our fitness efforts: do not beat yourself up for not being perfect....just move on and work harder!

A lot of comtemplation and prayer took place before I wrote this post. I believe God wants me to help others in this type of situation so they know they are loved, should not take abuse from others, and should stand up for themselves if necessary. God always finds a way to send me a message - through a song, quote, or thoughtful post from others. Yesterday was no exception. Just at the moment I was feeling my lowest, I saw one message about pressing on and staying the course while keeping our integrity. Then a little later I saw one that really resonated...about using the irritations from others and in life to polish us and make us better people. I immediately felt better and knew I'd done the right thing.

I pray that my post here helps you in some way as well. God uses all of us to help each other. That means even the people who try discourage you or tear you down. Don't let them get to you or stop you from being who you are meant to be. Even though we're not perfect, picking ourselves up and staying as positive as possible goes a long way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guac-in' Around the Christmas Tree

I received the cutest Christmas card from the great peeps at Wholly Guacamole. I'd scan it for you so you could see it...but my scanner does not want to cooperate. (Just one of the many ways that my computer is drving me crazy today...and why this post is so short.)

So let's just say that their guac rocks...especially for Christmas. It fits in with the red and green theme, plus it's something to serve at parties that won't ruin all of the hard work you've done getting fit all year. It sure beats mayo and ranch based dips - which go right to your hips.

So if you haven't already, head on over to the Wholly Guacamole website to check out their products and sign up for coupons. Guac around the Christmas tree with me!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Fit Christmas - Healthy Stocking Stuffers

Doing this Christmas Challenge got me thinking. And dreaming...of a fit Christmas.

Those of you who know me from the Bitter Orange & Brown blog already know how much I love to go all Weird Al and change up song lyrics to suit my purpose. (Don't worry though - I won't be sporting any creepy Al hair - or mustache - anytime soon.) Today that means taking White Christmas to another level. With apologies to Irving Berlin and Bing Crosby, who will hopefully not be rolling over in their graves after this, here's "I'm Dreaming of a Fit Christmas":

I'm dreaming of a fit Christmas
Unlike the ones I used to know
Want my belts to buckle
And the chance to chuckle
'Bout the way my season used to go

I'm dreaming of a fit Christmas
With every cookie I don't bite
May your days be merry and light
And may you keep the eggnog out of sight.

Dreaming of this fit Christmas also had me pondering my Christmas stocking. Every year my family and I have ours filled with plenty of chocolate and a couple of small gifts. All except for the holiday before my husband and I got married. I collected fast food ketchup packets for weeks and filled a stocking entirely with ketchup for him. But I digress.

I want some healthier goodies in my sock this year. A couple of small chocolate treats would be fine, but not enough to put me into sugar overload for the new year. So I've come up with the perfect stocking stuffers for your favorite fitness enthusiast (or me, if you place a cheery stocking on my porch...ha ha) so they can start 2012 off right:

1. Protein/Energy Bars These will give them the energy they need without the crash all of that sugar would bring.

2. Gift Cards for Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Eating healthy can get expensive on a tight budget, so your friend or family member would REALLY appreciate these!

3. Gift Certificates for Exercise Classes These costs also add up over time. Give the gift of spin, yoga, Pilates, or Zumba classes...or any other activity your loved one enjoys.

4. Non-slip Hair Bands It's a pain for women to have hair falling in their faces while working out, which I know from experience. Even when you pull it into a ponytail, shorter hairs fall or stick out unless you keep them in place with one of these bands. There are more expensive versions out there, but Goody makes some that work just as well...they come 3 or 4 to a pack for about 5 bucks and can be found in most grocery/drug stores.

5. Fitness DVDs When you can't make it to the gym or a class, DVDs are a lifesaver. My favorites are Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels workouts, along with the Dancing With The Stars series. You don't need a partner to learn the cardio/ballroom moves, and it's so much fun you almost forget you're working out.

6. Resistance Bands These roll up well enough to fit into a stocking, and are useful for stretching and toning when away from home or in a hurry.

7. ToeSox These socks are a necessity for Pilates. They keep you from slipping while you perform moves in various positions, but your toes are still able to function. They come in a toeless version, plus a full sock with separate, individual toe room. You can order ToeSox on their website, or go to a local Pilates studio since most of them keep socks on hand (or foot) to sell.

8. The Good Old-Fashioned Orange This is a tradition that goes way back, and it's always a healthy treat. Just don't get those "chocolate oranges" ...they're not all that great and defeat the purpose. Get the real thing!

This should help you shop for the people in your life who want to get or stay fit. Or you can pass this list on to your own family to shop for you. I hope all of your stockings are filled to the brim with healthy gifts!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Biggest Loser Season 12 Finale -What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

What a crazy ride we've all been on with this season of Biggest Loser.

We've had meltdowns, name-calling, tantrums...and most of them came from one person in particular. Someone who cared only about having the confetti fall on his head, no matter what the cost.

So I suppose it's only fitting that the finale concluded the way he'd always dreamed...with it being all about John.

Thankfully, there were several other stellar moments to remember from the final show of Season 12. As each set of contestants came out on stage, it was obvious that they had all transformed on the outside. What was even better was seeing that inner glow radiate from their faces and shine through their eyes. To me, that's what the show is all about - getting healthy and changing your life.

Some things were done differently from previous finales, which honestly didn't sit well with me and many of my friends on Twitter. Everyone weighed in ahead of time, which is normal for the show, but not everyone got to step on the stage scale. It was calculated before the finale which three players had the highest percentages for the at-home prize, and those three would step on the scale. The others only had their weights announced by Alison, which really took away from each person having his or her own special moment at the finale. I hope they go back to the old way for next season.

Also, the finalists came through a parted doorway with their before images on it instead of stepping through the paper one. Maybe the producers thought the "high-tech" way would be cooler, but breaking through that paper represents each of them breaking away from their old way of life into the new one. This is one time when technology is NOT better...and once again I hope it gets changed back for next season.

The three players weighing in for the at-home prize were Vinny, Patrick, and Jennifer. Did you see the muscles on Vinny? Wow! Patrick looked pretty hot as well. And Jennifer...what a knockout! She played along well with her "love for Bob" montage, which was quite funny. Bob even presented her with a bouquet of flowers. (Most of us agreed that we also have our own crushes on Bob...we just don't get to announce it on TV!) It came down to Jen and Vinny, just as I had predicted earlier today. Yes, I'm giving myself a pat on the back - but not for too long, so I don't have to visit my chiropractor. The difference was 3 pounds, with Jennifer taking the prize. I was so happy for her that I cried. (Of course, as you know by now I'm a crier...especially when it comes to BL!) All those weeks ago when the others sent her home, I'd figured the real reason was because she was a tough competitor (overcoming her knee injury and still pulling great numbers) and a real threat. Turns out she was a true threat after all!

When it came time to reveal the three finalists, each of them got to speak. The letter Ramon's mom sent to the show was really touching, thanking them for saving her son's life and turning him around. Antone's kids are adorable, and he looks amazing. Then we got to John.

John seemed to go on forever, taking much more time than the others did to talk. Dolvett and Bob spoke about John's competitiveness and how proud they were of him...but when the time came for John to answer back he went on and on about Bob, totally ignoring Dolvett. Yes, we all love Bob and he's one of the best trainers anyone could ever have. But so is Dolvett. John also trained with Dolvett, with Dolvett opening his own soul to John about being adopted and the way he grew up in order to get John to confront his emotions. Dolvett had just as much of a part in John's success - but was totally dissed by him. I think Bob was even embarrassed by this. Dolvett is a class act, and I'm very happy he's back for Season 13!

Speaking of next season, how about those previews? Looks like Santa Claus is in training! Bob worked him so hard that he was afraid he'd killed Santa. Santa wasn't run over by a reindeer...he was run over by Bob Harper! And even though Season 13 is couples, half of each pair will train with Dolvett and the other half with Bob...pitting them against each other from the start. It's going to be interesting!

Finally, it was time to weigh-in the finalists. Ramon and Antone both did an incredible job, but in the end John was crowned the new Biggest Loser. I do commend him for all of his hard work. It was a strange sight to behold though - it looked like John truly enjoyed the confetti, but after that when he was talking to other people or they were hugging him he looked kind of sad. There was no inner glow or light in his eyes. It seems as if John concentrated so much on that "winning moment", that he didn't know what to do after the confetti finished falling. That may not bode well for his future in keeping the weight off, although I really hope I'm wrong. I think he still has a lot of issues that he hasn't dealt with yet, which could come crashing down on him since he only thought about winning and not the bigger picture. (Maybe that's why he didn't mention Dolvett..because he didn't want to think about those issues that Dolvett was helping him deal with.) I wish him luck with that. I have a feeling he's going to need it.

And that's a wrap on Season 12. Congratulations to all of the contestants...and I'm looking foward to Season 13, which starts in just 3 weeks!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Biggest Loser 12 Challenge: Finale Weigh-In!

Let the confetti fall on me! Well, let's at least pretend it's falling on is the final weigh in for the #BL12Challenge and I have reason to celebrate!

Let's start with this week loss, which was only a .4 pound loss. I'll take it, since I'm just finishing up with my "gift" for the month and sending it away with that crazy lady that Mother Nature uses to present it to me. (I know - my imagination runs wild with that lovely commercial.) She can keep it until next month!

But it's also time to look at the bigger picture...or, if you really want to think about it, the SMALLER picture. Over the course of this season, I've lost 16.2 pounds. I'd set a goal of 25, which I did not reach - but I still lost over 16 pounds, and this challenge helped me get there. Since I started the season at 216, that means I'm now in...


That's right, my total weight loss for the challenge puts me at 199.8. I know that's just squeaking into this much dreamed of territory, but it's still One-derland. I will not be going back to the 200's, so this is a major reason to celebrate.

Since I plan to rock Hannah's & Olivia's Christmas Challenge, there will be no backsliding...not into old habits or the terrible 2's. Only more progress from here!!!

So how did you wrap up my challenge? Drop me a comment here, or tell me at #BL12Challenge on Twitter. I want to hear your successes for the season.

And I can live with the virtual confetti shower. This way I don't have to vaccum up the real thing!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The My Fitspiration Christmas Challenge - Are You In?

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, but not quite like the ones I used to know...

OK, I just want to wear these fabulous dresses. They also remind me of summer and playing tennis!

Maybe I'm really dreaming of a purple Christmas...

As you might be able to tell by now, Olivia and Hannah, last season's Biggest Loser winner and runner-up, really inspire me. And now they're looking to motivate all of us during the holidays!

A few days ago, the sister act know as the Purple Team posted a Christmas Challenge on their blog at My Fitspiration. The idea is to make sure we don't undo all of the hard work we've done in the last few months over the holidays. All you have to do is post a goal that you will achieve between now and New Year's Day. It doesn't have to be super difficult. The goal can be any type of healthy change that you will make during the Christmas season so that you can start 2012 on a positive note. Olivia and Hannah are all about positive changes, and want to help all of us achieve are goals and dreams.

My goal for the Christmas Challenge is to lose 5 pounds...along with limiting sweets and staying away from the diet soda. These are things that I'm already working on, but at this time of year I've always given in to too many Christmas cookies and desserts. 'Tis the season when I've always made the backslide into drinking diet soda again as well. This challenge will keep me on track and conscious of my choices. I can still enjoy the holidays without falling back into old habits. Since I have my final weigh-in tomorrow for the #BL12Challenge, I will use that as my starting weight for the Christmas Challenge.

So - are you in??? Just go over to My Fitspiration and watch the video under Christmas Challenge. (And watch the bloopers too...they're a hoot!) After watching, post your seasonal goal in the comments. Together we can make this a REALLY Merry Christmas! to spin I go!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Biggest Loser 12 - Happy Homecomings and a Marathon Finish

This season has been a roller coaster of emotions in so many ways. You can certainly say that there was never a dull moment...sometimes that was good, and, well...sometimes not so good.

The last episode before the finale brought all of the emotions to a boil. Thankfully most of them were of the good variety. The Final Four went home for a few weeks before the marathon and final weigh-in on the ranch, to their friends, families, and regular lives.

At least some of them did. We discovered that Becky was the only one who actually started back at her job during this time. She taught her students, took care of her family, and fit in her workouts just like she'll have to do for good once the season is over. The three guys did not have to work - although Vinny kind of did because he was working on new music. (Believe me, it's a skill you have to work at. I know from experience!)

John not only took a longer leave of absence from his job, he also had his wife doing everything for him, including making all of his healthy meals. You would think that he would help in the kitchen since he learned so much on the ranch - but no, he was in full beast mode concentrating only on winning. I can understand that to some extent, but I'm sure his family felt like he was basically still away. When Dolvett came to visit he became worried about John regaining the weight back after the show, because he wasn't learning to adjust to a somewhat real schedule at home. I have to agree. It also irked me that he was sacrificing his wife's health for the grand prize. I'm sure they could have balanced it out much better than they did. It scares me that he can only operate in all-or-nothing mode.

On the most positive note of the homecomings, Vinny surprised his girlfriend Lori with a special date at the Grand Ole Opry. It was just the two of them (and the Biggest Loser cameras), and as he proposed she happily accepted. Now here is a man who understands that balancing health and family is important. Congratulations Vinny and Lori!

Once the four were back at the ranch, they met up with the eleven eliminated players in the desert where the season began. It was finally time to run the marathon, with the winner having a guaranteed spot in the Final Three. Bonnie couldn't run because she was having knee surgery the following week, but she looked really good. She also took care of each contestant as they came across the finish line. Both Vinny and Joe were forced to stop short of the goal but gave a valiant effort.

I loved seeing other contestants get the big moments they didn't have during the season. Patrick, who sacrificed himself in Week 3, ran an excellent race. So did Jennifer, who left those crutches far behind her to finish in the middle of the pack. And for Debbie and Johnny, just making it all the way to the end and crossing the finish line was an accomplishment. It just proves the point - you don't have to make Final Four to be a winner!

The race pretty much came down to Courtney and Ramon, with Ramon winning the spot in the finals. This meant that two people would fall below the red line at the weigh-in. The two people above the line would complete the Final Three.

Becky fell below, but showed working moms everywhere that they can take care of themselves while getting everything else done. Vinny also fell just short of the finals, but he really won the big prize because he learned the most about himself, his family and his health...and he has Lori!

Antone and John will compete with Ramon for the title. (It's really weird this season not to have to vote for the third finalist!) Actually, it seems more like they are competing with each other...and Ramon happens to be there. I wouldn't be surprised if Ramon does sneak in and take the grand prize while the other two duke it out. John did a lot of big talking, but Antone wants his actions and the numbers to do the it should be. Of course, Antone voiced what many of us were thinking when he mentioned that he was finally sick of John! (Challenging every Biggest Loser contestant in the history of the show? Really John? You should be VERY afraid that some of them might take you up on that!)

So tune in next week for the Season 12 live finale. Since the entire season was filled with drama, I wouldn't expect anything less for the finale. Looking forward to the big finish...and rooting for Antone and Ramon!

Biggest Loser 12 Challenge: Holiday Success!

Holiday challenges...they're EVERYWHERE.

There's decorating, gift shopping and Christmas cards to take care of. We have Christmas parties and other events to attend. Rich desserts and high calorie foods are at every turn. Plus it's harder to schedule our workout time with so much going on.

Can you not only survive, but THRIVE during the holidays? Absolutely. I managed to lose alomost 2 pounds over Thanksgiving - so anything is possible!

This week I had tree trimming, decorating and shopping to do. I didn't get all of my exercise in, but I made sure that everyday I did something. And I still kept my regular spin, yoga and Pilates appointments. I swear that's what keeps me sane, especially right now.

I also had a Christmas party last night with my Cleveland bloggger friends. It was so nice to finally meet everyone and have a good time. I brought healthy options - shrimp and a fruit tray - and ate carefully. There was a good balance between treats and healthy fare on the table, since many of my friends are also fitness/health bloggers too. (And I HAVE to find out how Crystal makes her cucumber-mint water so fabulous!)

It's always tricky when you have a party the night before a weigh-in, but it all turned out well. I lost one pound for the week amidst all of the fun and madness. That's a big victory at this time of year.

Next week is the Biggest Loser finale, so I will have my final challenge weigh-in and post final numbers. How did you do this week? Please drop me a line here or at #BL12Challenge on Twitter. We can get through the holidays without losing our takes some effort, but I promise it's worth it!

P.S. That Mariah Carey picture is to motivate that next year I can fit into that cute Santa dress. Even Mariah can fit back into it after having twins, so why not? ;o)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Finding Inner Bliss


We all want it. We all search for it. Many of us are confused about where to find it.

As you know by now, I look to God for my bliss. I always feel better when I turn to Him, do my best, and recognize that He is in control.

But there are many times when I'm stressed out and find it hard to slow down and focus...on where I'm going in life, what I need to do, and how to get there without losing my mind. Even though I pray often, my overactive, creative mind sometimes won't let me be still enough to hear the answer.

This is where Inner Bliss comes in. Yes, this is the name of the studio where I took my first yoga class on Saturday evening. When I spin on Mondays, often my instructor John's wife also takes class with us. Kristen is an instructor at Inner Bliss, and she invited me to participate in their annual Yoga Gives Back event on December 3rd, where for the entire day all classes are FREE. I signed up for her Candlelight Slow Flow class and eagerly anticipated giving it a try.

I mapped out the directions, knowing that even though I somewhat knew the area it could still be difficult navigating the twists and turns in the Rocky River/Lakewood area. At this time of year it's already dark in the early evening, which only made it more difficult to find the studio. I noticed the restaurant that was supposed to be right by it, but didn't see any other signs.

I wound up going down Lake Road too far and noticing I was in Lakewood. I needed to turn around and be back in Rocky River, so I got myself re-positioned and headed back. It was still too dark to see anything. I passed the restaurant and turned around again, thinking what a comedy it would be if I had to stop and ask for directions. "Excuse me, I'm looking for Inner Bliss." "I'm trying to find Inner Bliss..." I imagined some smart aleck telling me, "So am I" or "Well, aren't we all?" Luckily I pulled into the parking lot next to the restaurant and discovered that I was in the right place.

I had given myself plenty of time to get there just in case, so I wasn't stressed when I finally walked in. Even if I had been, the warm and inviting atmosphere would have caused it to drift away immediately. I signed in, grabbed a mat and found a spot to get ready.

The first few moves were relatively simple, but as the session went on I discovered that yoga is not quite as easy at it looks when someone else is doing it. I kept up pretty well for the most part, with a few times when I had to just go back into Child's Pose to stay with it and keep my breathing flowing. I'm glad this was a candlelight class, because it felt less intimidating that way. (Although, the ladies on either side of me were very kind...and most people are busy focusing on their own breathing and movement to have time to worry about someone else's.) Kristen and her assistant also came around to correct form and posture often.

I did notice one very important thing during this session. Concentrating on my breathing helped me clear my head and focus. And the various moves were strengthening my legs, arms, and core at the same time. There are similarites to Pilates, yet many differences which make yoga a perfect compliment to my other activities. And I felt absolutely wonderful afterward!

Kristen told me to drink a lot of water that night and the next day...double what I would normally think I'd need. She also hoped that I wouldn't be cussing her out on Sunday, since it was my first time doing yoga and I'd probably be sore.

She needn't have worried. I did have some soreness, but nothing that stopped me from decorating for Christmas, cleaning and doing laundry. I'm sure following her advice helped tremendously. I did cuss out the Browns - but that's an entirely different story.

So I'm now hooked on another form of exercise. (Better than food or other stuff that's bad for you!) I've signed up for the special beginners event in January at the studio, so I can learn it all step by step...and I can't wait.

Here's to all of us finding our Inner Bliss!