Category Archives: Yoga

Sneak Preview

This was a challenging week.  I was busy.  I was bloaty.  I was cranky.

I was a delight!

Summer is a very light season work-wise.  This is a bit stressful financially but wonderful for training.  I’ve had many full days off and at the very least wide open mornings in which I can run whenever and schedule TDM or yoga classes at my leisure.  We all know how much easier it is to stay motivated when you don’t have your focus pulled in other directions.

This week, busy took the form of voice instruction for a group of very talented kids at Bach Boot Camp!

Yes.  “Bach Boot Camp” is a thing.  A thing that is voluntary.

Single Windsor. Nailed it.

While it may be the nerdiest camp in existence (the above chorister is earning a prize for correctly tying his tie), the kids had a good time and I had a ball teaching them.

My portion of the camp ran from 9:15-11:15 every day.  With private voice students in the afternoon, I actually had to schedule my workouts around work like every other person in the world.  Believe me, I know how fortunate I am to have a flexible schedule.  I’m especially aware of what a luxury this is when my schedule becomes less accommodating.

With a busy teaching schedule on Thursday, I chose to move my regular training run to Friday.  Yesterday, I had private students after camp and returned to sing in the campers’ final concert.  It was a fun and full day.  As a morning runner, the last thing I would have chosen to do was go for a run at the end of it.  Especially since I have had INSANE bloating, nausea, and cramping for the last 8 days with nothing to show for it.  TMI.  Sorry.

Shauna, please meet Day when you don’t want to run but totally have to.

Day when you don’t want to run but totally have to, Shauna.  Pleasure to make your acquaintance!

So I dragged my tired, crampy, bloaty belly over to Lake Merritt.  It was sparkling and gorgeous.  As soon as my feet hit the pavement, I began to shake off the week (thank you Florence) feeling more alive and invigorated with every stride.  And guess what happened…


I have NO IDEA where this 5k PB came from.  Can we please note that my full 3rd mile was 8:20.  Who is this speed demon?  Surprising myself is seriously my favorite thing.  I just can’t believe that these training runs keep getting faster.  Even the crappy ones.

This week was busy and I felt like kaka pretty much the entire time.  My mindset wasn’t as positive as usual, due to my yucky body feelings.  Still, I completed my training runs as well as 3 Dailey Method classes and 2 Ashtanga yoga classes.  Even managed to get into crow for a few seconds!  The week felt difficult but by all accounts, it was actually very successful!  As I head into fall and my schedule gets even busier, it’s good to know that I’m able to meet or exceed my training goals, even when I’m not at my best.

Having a super special burger date to look forward to also helps.

Burgers, Love, Burgerlove.

I imagine this won’t be the only challenging week on the road to half marathon.

When the going gets tough, how do you get going?


Flying Yoga Shauna

Back in February, I purchased a generous Groupon for 15 classes at Oakland’s Flying Yoga Shala.

(Get it now?  I’m hilarious!)

Not sure why it took me so long to redeem them.  Probably because it had an activation deadline of July 4th and waiting until July 3rd provided a great opportunity to feel unnecessarily stressed.  So yogic, I am.

Um, om?

So, I haven’t taken a yoga class since 2005.  When I first moved back to California, I went to class at a studio in an affluent neighborhood.  I don’t remember much beyond being totally intimidated by wealthy, fit yoga ladies.  I was not fit, not affluent and I believe I slipped off my mat a couple times.  It was humiliating and surely cemented my aversion to group fitness classes and fitness experimentation in general.  For the next seven years, I practiced sporadically and privately.

My body, fitness level, and confidence have changed dramatically, especially in the last year.   Still, I seem to be hard-wired to fear potentially embarrassing situations.  New things make me so nervous!

Wanting a challenging but reasonable workout, I chose Lily’s Power Flow class.  The athleticism of this vinyasa-style class appealed to me and the description indicated that it was appropriate for beginners.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect but after several months of TDM, I imagined I would be able to handle it.  I arrived at the studio which is lovely and intimate.

Yay for the hipster haven that is the Temescal district!

My mat is ages old and has bits of kitty litter stuck in the grooves so I opted to rent one.  I set myself up next to a friendly looking woman and did a bit of obligatory “I have used my body before for choreographed bending” stretching.  The instructor came over to introduce herself and ask me about my background.  I was glad to be on her radar since there is a lot of potential for n00b body misuse in an hour and a half yoga class.

About that…

The biggest challenge of this class was curbing my impulse to push myself beyond what’s reasonable in my body.  There were a few poses that required flexibility or strength that I absolutely did not have.  There were many things that were well within my current capabilities -like child’s pose or anything that requires me to sit still and not doing anything.  Lily adjusted several students during the class but there wasn’t nearly as much hands-on adjustment or cuing as I’m used to in TDM where it’s nearly impossible to do a pose incorrectly.  I was fairly conservative since it was my first class but I did opt to do plow and a supported shoulder stand.  I knew I had the core strength to support myself but today I have two points along my spine where the vertebrae feel bruised.  Thin mat on a wood floor.  Must get a thicker and squishier mat if I’m going to do things where I balance on my bony bones.  In this context, I must also continue to respect my body’s limitations and stretch them while not attempting to blow right through them.  In TDM, if I attempt to do something beyond my capability, I will either fail or actually reduce the efficacy of the exercise.  In yoga, between my lack of familiarity and the less specific cuing, there really is potentially for injury.

An hour and a half is a long time to work out in a hot room.  I can’t remember the last time I was that sweaty!  Felt kinda sexy though…

Today, I’m huuuuurting.  My upper body is especially sore.  I went to TDM later in the day and used heavier weights but I’m guessing the soreness is mostly due to doing something new and different.  Taking a much needed rest day.

Overall, it was a good class and I’m looking forward to returning to both Lily’s class and trying others at Flying Yoga!

The Challenge in Numbers


New shoes.


Full-form pushups.


Average pace per mile.


Dailey Method Classes.


Miles around Lake Merritt.


Yoga practices.


Couch-to-5K sessions.


Days without looking at the scale.


Blog posts.

30 Consecutive days of surprises, unprecedented strength, and pride.



Fit Fracking Friday

Audience appreciate alliteration?

Long fricking fracking day today. Got in the car at 7am with a thick layer of ice on my windshield.  By mid-day it was 60 degrees?  WTF?  It was sunny and beautiful and all I could think was….

….how much I wanted to go for a run.

And then I saw this.

Today was much busier and longer than yesterday.  My plan was to do yoga at home which is the only thing I can typically handle after a  10 hour teaching day.  Much, much, MUCH to my shock, as I sat in terrible traffic, I made the decision to do W3D3 in my neighborhood when I got home.  That’s right, folks.  Not only was I going to run after a full work day, I was going to run HILLS.

And it was amazing.  Much easier than either of my workouts on the treadmill this week?!  Could I actually be an outdoor running convert?  I imagine my running portions were a bit slower but my heart was at a comfortable elevated rate the entire time.  So comfortable, in fact, that I added an extra 5 minute running segment at the end!  As I ran, I could really imagine successfully running a race.

I absolutely cannot wait.

P.S. Did yoga afterward and still haven’t looked at the scale.  In case anyone is keeping track…

Challenge Days 11-13

Yep, I’m still trucking!

Day 11 (2/26):  I returned to The Dailey Method after almost a year of absence.  I’ve refrained from writing this update because I know I need to devote at least one entire post to my experiences with TDM.  Briefly, TDM is a barre-based class that combines barre work, yoga, pilates and weights.  It’s a full-body brutalizer.  I’ve been thinking about returning for months and I finally felt strong enough to face something that has challenged me immensely in the past.  (More on this to come.)  I attended a “principles” class which is extended by 15 minutes to allow for more time to transition between exercises and pay attention to form.  I had a fantastic class.  It kicked my butt but I felt strong and up to the task.  Very, very fun surprise.

Day 12 (2/27 – in case you can’t do mathematics): c25k W3D1.  The running portions alternate between 1.5 minutes (with 1.5 to recover) and 3 minutes (with 3 minutes to recover).  I wondered if I would be able to maintain my 9:17-10mm pace as the segments got longer.  Turns out I definitely can’t if I don’t eat enough.  My heart rate shot through the roof during the first running segment and never came down far enough for me to be comfortable.  I was pretty bummed and frustrated.  My last running segment of 3 minutes turned into 2 with a walking break.  I forced myself to finish it out once my heart rate came down enough which I suppose is to be congratulated.  I would *not* have done that in the past.  Hell, I would have stopped after the first running segment.

After my workout, I headed to Old Navy for some flip flops.  The store I went to is right near a lovely beach and since I’d calmed down completely during the drive, I decided to get out and get an extra 3 minute running segment along the water.  That is something I *definitely* would not have done in the past.  That’s change, people.

California Love

When I returned home, I did the Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss DVD.  I was stunned at how much more flexible I was after only one Dailey Method class.  My abs were sore from the core work the previous day but I went much deeper into every pose.

Day 13 (today!  I’m caught up!):  I intended to return to TDM today but due to a gift certificate mix-up, I had to change plan.  It’s not recommended that people doing the couch to 5k do their runs on consecutive days but it worked best with my schedule this week.  I ran again on the treadmill and managed to do it without adding any time.  I was a bit more conservative with my pace but I finished.  Slightly disappointing that I’m not maintaining a sub 10mm but I’ll get there.  I was surprised that I was yearning to run outside.  Yesterday’s stretch on the beach was so much more enjoyable than being on the treadmill and locked into one speed.  We’ll see how this week’s hill run goes.  I might be begging for the hamster wheel after 3 minutes in my neighborhood…

And no, I did not look at the scale today.  Shunned.

Bad Blogger pt. 2

In order to catch up to real time, here’s a verrrrry brief recap of my 30 Day Challenge: Days 4-9:

Day 4 (2/19):  W1D3 on the treadmill.  I had done it already but I guess I felt like getting in an extra run that week?  I honestly have no memory of this but it’s on my calendar.

Day 5 (2/20): This was a “rest day” so I did my stand-by Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss DVD.  I’ve loved this DVD for years.  It has some challenging poses.  Towards the end of each section, you do standing forward bend.  It’s great to feel how your flexibility has improved throughout the practice by revisiting that pose.  I remember doing this DVD years ago and sweating up a storm.  Now it’s just a lovely stretch.  Yay!

Day 6 (2/21): W2D1.  In week 2 of the c25k, the running segments are upped to 1 minute 30 seconds with two minutes for recovery.  I thought I would ease myself into my faster treadmill pace with a comfy 5.5 run.  I immediately upped it to 6.0.  Badass move, right there.  I alternated between 6.0 and 6.5 for the running segments.  Could a sub-10 minute mile be in my future, for real?

When I got home, I did the Crunch Candlelight Yoga workout to stretch and relax.  I’m loving the running/yoga combo.  Thank Jeebus for a freelance lifestyle that allows for all this workout time!

Day 7 (2/22): Rest day.  It was 75 degrees and sunny and I was overwhelmed with happiness at the gorgeous weather.  I took my yoga mat and iPad outside to do the Candlelight Yoga workout outside on my patio.

California is heaven.

Day 8 (2/23): W2D2 in my neighborhood.  That means HILLS.  Holy balls, this was challenging.  And shockingly doable.  My immediate neighborhood is about a third of the way up a large hill.  This means that from street to street, you might find a flat stretch or a very steep grade.  In the spirit of challenge, I chose to go uphill each time I was prompted to run.  I really did!  The two minutes between running segments barely gave me enough time to recover but I stayed with the program, only adding a bit of recovery time before my last run.  It was brutal and I couldn’t have been prouder.

Day 9 (2/24):  I definitely felt the hills in my thighs and butt after the previous day’s hill run.  Yoga to the rescue.

We’re practically up to date!  Thanks for bearing with the massive recaps.  Now that I’m caught up to the calendar, I can go more into how these consecutive days of activity have made me feel both physically and emotionally.

Sneak preview:  I FEEL AWESOME.  😀

Bad Blogger pt.1

Inspired by a slight weight loss plateau and many, many, many marathon recaps*, I posed a challenge to myself:

30 consecutive days of physical activity.

I had already begun the Couch-to-5k progressive running program.  That would account for three days a week of my physical activity.  For the other four days a week, options abound.  Cross-training at the gym on other cardio machines, yoga, goofy workout videos via Netflix and surely other things I haven’t tried!

This doesn’t sound like something a BAD blogger would do!  Why the worrisome title?  Well, I started it 10 days ago.  Oops.  Bad blogger…

Here’s the recap of my challenge, so far:

Day 1 (2/16/12):

C25K  W1D2.  That’s Couch-to-5k Week 1 Day 2.  In the first week of the c25k, the participant warms up with 5 minutes of walking and then alternates 1 minute of running/jogging with 1.5 minutes of walking.  This particular day I ran on the treadmill at a 1.0 incline to prepare for the uneven terrain and wind resistance one encounters when running outside.  The interesting surprise of the day was my speed.  When I last did the c25k in 2010, my running portions were between 4.5-5.0 on the treadmill (between a 13 and 12 minute mile.)  This time, I alternated between 6.0 and 6.5!  What whaaaaaa?  My heart rate stayed relatively low, breathing felt comfortable and I wasn’t miserably begging Jesus and Buddha to make time go faster.  I even pushed myself to do a 1 minute “sprint” at 7.0 at the end of the workout.  I fully realize that 7.0 on a treadmill is an average marathoner’s comfy pace but I really felt like I was flying at that speed.  I also felt like I was going to barf up my heart afterwards but my heart rate quickly came down and I was just left with a major smile.

Day 2:

According to my calendar, on 2/17 I did both W1D3 *and* the Crunch Cardio Salsa workout on Netflix streaming.  Is this a mistake?  Two cardio activities in the same day??  The Cardio Salsa video was fun and slightly humiliating.  Let’s just say, I am not ready to take my meringue to the clubs.  Maybe I looked sexy and spicy but I felt like a clod.  All good though, I had a nice sweat going.  Since that one is available streaming, I would definitely do it again.  When no one is home.

Later in the day, I took my running legs to one of my favorite places in the world: Lake Merritt.  I lived in this neighborhood for years and have always hoped to run the entire thing.  It happens to be a perfect 5k so it will be a great place to prepare for the race(s) I plan to do in the future.  I have also failed at attempting to run it many times in the past so I very much look forward to making it my b*tch.  It was a bit chilly but I had a really lovely workout.  Running outside was tremendously difficult for me in 2010.  In fact, I couldn’t really do it.  My lungs would feel like they were on fire and I could only run for about a minute before absolutely having to stop.  It sucked.  On this evening, I was shocked to find that I could maintain what felt like my treadmill pace with no physical difference.  I wasn’t winded at all!  Another hugely encouraging surprise.  By my last running portions, I was pretty tired but pushed myself to do a couple of sprints.  I’m not going to lie.  I felt like a badass.

Day 3:

After two consecutive running days, I wanted as close to a rest day as I could get without abandoning the challenge.  I chose the Crunch Candlelight Yoga workout from Netflix streaming.  It sounded chill and I’ve been looking for alternatives to my stand-by yoga dvd (Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss by Living Arts).  The instructor was a bit grating but it was a nice, easy stretch.  Worth checking out if you have Netflix.

Next up, days 4, 5 and 6!

*Do these suckers make anybody else get verklempt?  Sheesh!