is rollerblading 10,000km across Canada to raise money for mental health -proceeds to fund DIFD campaign (www.DIFD.com)
Follow her journey here! and our website www.skate4life2012.com
When/What Yoga Class? 7pm Yoga for Beginners video (see previous post for video)
What was my stress level? Physically and mentally tired (battling virus)
How relaxed was my body after the yoga session? My body felt tighter than normal this session - especially my sides - although I believe its from 2 days of inactivity due to my cold. Hopefully tomorrow I will be looser.
What was my mood like? A little tired - runny noise, congested head - optimistic that my cold will weaken tomorrow
What was most challenging? Doing some of the poses where I face down due to my head being congested. I had to modify a couple. Also, distractions while doing poses, family illness and dogs…
Today’s class was full of destractions and I don’t feel I got the most out of it. My husband decided to do the yoga with me - which was fine except that his attention span isn’t quite up there and between him and my two dogs it was hard to focus. I think that I realized how imporantant focus was while doing yoga - even if your sick.
My body was achy and it really wanted me to focus and even though I felt a little less congested after moving around into different positions I think I could have received more out of the workout then I thought.
From what I have read in different articles online is that we need to really focus on our breathing and be able to center ourselves and find balance in our poses. Another common phrase is to “soften the eyes.” What this means is that you don’t necessarily close your eyes - as you will need them to balance but you simply withdrawal your awareness from the center of the eyes. Kind of an in-between of closing the eyes and being fully alert.
By doing this you can connect with your body and turn down ‘mental chatter’ - in other words that voice in your head that is reminding you what you need to pick up for dinner or that last fight you had with your boyfriend or what you are going to get your parents for christmas.
Its imperative that we are able to take time out of our busy minds and turn down the chatter.
Try it - even if your not doing yoga. Take 5 minutes out of your day - if you just finish doing the dishes, your waiting for the car to warm up in the morning, your waiting for your show to come on tv, your at the computer checking Facebook or etc. Just take 5 minutes, straighten your back (if your standing or sitting - reference mountain pose if needed) and breath in and out fully and slowly while softening the eyes, focus on nothing and don’t let your mind wonder. Connecting your breath from your toes to your fingertips.
Doing this 5 minutes a day can help control anxiety and stress - obviously you will see better results if you do it for more than 5 minutes and if you continue to do it everyday but 5 minutes should make a difference in reenergizing your body.
After today’s yoga lession, I do plan on paying more attention to my breathing and softening the eyes tomorrow and hopefully I will have almost kicked this cold!
When/What Yoga Class? 8pm Yoga for Beginners video (see previous post)
What was my stress level? Physically tired, mentally tired of being sick
How relaxed was my body after the yoga session? Although my head was pounding my neck muscles felt the greatest improvement - not as tight.
What was my mood like? Tired, sick, ready for bed
Yesterday was the 2nd day of my 30 day challenge - and it was the 2nd day I was sick. I ended up calling in sick for work on account that I couldn’t speak. I spent all of the day on the couch eating soup and drinking tea while watching daytime TV. By the end of the day I was ready to do my 30 minute yoga session.
I was a little more confident going into this session - One of the challenges I knew I was going to have to face was learning the new terminology. In yoga each move is a ‘pose’ and each pose has a name.
I have become a bit more familiar with the poses in my first video. Some of the poses I have done are seated cow, seated cat, seated dog, mountain pose, childs pose, and dolphins pose. All of these are basic poses, but I am sure that with a few more days under my belt I will feel more confident. I also had Pierre buy me a yoga mat so now I feel more comfortable - you know like I fit in with the yoga crowd.
Hopefully in a few days I will see more changes in my body - so far 2 days in - Im just getting started!
Today marked the first day of my yoga challenge and it was a tough one. On top of the fact that I was trying to motivate myself to do something new, today I also became very ill. I’m probably the most sick I have been in a year. My head is pounding and my throat is swollen and sore and over the past few hours my body has started to ache, right down to my bones. All I feel like doing is going to bed and sleeping but I made a commitment and I wanted to follow through. To be honest the whole 30 minute session flew by. I didn’t really prepare, I didn’t even change into full out yoga gear. But I figure you could forgive me today. Although my body didn’t want to. As I tried to keep up with the inhale and exhale and follow the instructor my head pounded and my throat itched and burned. Finally near the end of the workout I noticed a difference in my body. It now hurt worse! My arms were like jelly and my chest muscles were sore. I decided I better not push it. I finished off the work out very lightly and then gave into taking some medication. So currently I am wrapped up on the couch only a few minutes away from going to bed and all I can report is that I hope to feel better tomorrow!
I have read several studies suggesting that exercise can directly affect how we cope with depression. It is known to boost your mood and reduce stress. I know I saw a dramatic improvement in my mood while on my 4.5 month journey, but I was blading anywhere from 5-8 hours a day, everyday. Now lets be realistic, you do not need to rollerblade across Canada to feel the effects of a positive mood change. It can be as simple as going for a brisk walk, biking, dancing, or swimming.
One newer method that has really began to shine in helping heal the body and the soul is yoga.
Yoga has been widely acclaimed to help reduce stress and anxiety from the body. After my friend, Rachel suffered her accident, she started doing more yoga to help heal her body. As a hockey player I have never been too turned on by yoga. I have always been more of a ‘skate until your legs fall off’ athlete - never slow down. There is one other factor that has always turned me off of yoga - and that would be that I am NOT flexible what-so-ever. In the 25 years I have been on this planet I have never been able to touch my toes without bending my knees. Not to mention - I have never tried yoga, it is new and therefore unknown. I do not necessarily open up to trying new things easily.
But despite my fears and ignorance I believe that yoga may have a larger impact on connecting my whole self to myself. So…. I have decided to take on a 30 day challenge - I will do 1 30 minute yoga class once a day for 30 days.
You can take this journey with me as I will record all of my findings and I will gladly share how my mental mood and physical body responds. For all of you out there wondering what kind of yoga - I am taking the basics - Nothing that raises my heart rate above 115bpm and only beginner poses.
I will not be attending class - I will be doing all of my yoga on my own, at home, at my own pace.
The effects yoga can bring and outcomes I will be looking for:
Lessening Back pain
Overall Pain Decrease
Better focus in everyday life
Stimulates Positive Emotions
Increased Energy Level
Increased body awareness
Day 1 starts Monday December 3rd 2012. Feel free to comment, add feedback, tell us about your experiences, or maybe even other ways you cope with depression, stress or anxiety. Perhaps you want to start your own 30 day challenge. Let me know!
Last week I had the privilege and the honour to attend an event like no other. There was about 160 different organizations present at the Royal Ottawa that night. All of them had 1 thing in common, they had all raised funds/awareness for mental health that directly impacted the Royal Ottawa or Do It For Daron.
Pierre and I attended, not sure exactly what to expect. We enjoyed a social in the lobby before heading into the auditorium for the main event.
As we headed into the auditorium to find our seats we realized we were in the 2nd row. It was easy enough to find our name tags on the seats and we sat while the auditorium quickly filled up. I realized right infront of me was Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators, along with Ottawa City Councillor Marie McRae and Stephanie Richardson.
Within no time the MC took his place and the ceremony began. The evening started off with inspiring speeches from Stephanie Richardson and Daniel Alfredsson - followed by a speech by one of the Royal’s leading doctors. After that inspiring speech about how far mental health services has come the MC highlighted my journey and showed my video.
It was an indescribable feeling sitting there listening to my video - sharing it with the room. I was honoured that they showed it.
After my video there was another inspiring speech - this time from Kristin Shannon. A former patient from the Royal who now speaks at schools on behalf of the Royal.
Kristin was an amazing speaker!
Once Kristin finished up - They started introducing all the parties individually. It was almost like a graduation. Once your name was called, you came down to the stage, took a photo with Stephanie and Alfredsson and then proceeded across the stage to pick up your gift.
I was in the second row so I went up within the first 10 minutes. The crowd clapped and stood up when I was called. Stephanie took a photo and then let me take a photo with just Alfredsson.
After proceeding across the stage I was able to take my seat and watch the other reciptiantes. It was so inspiring to see how many people raised money for this great cause.
At the end of the night they invited everyone to come up to the front of the room and take a group photo. It was a really neat idea to commemorate everyone together. The total amount of money raised by everyone combined for the Royal/DIFD was over 1 million dollars! It felt great to be part of something so inspiring, to know that even though I didn’t hit my goal of 60,000 during my run, I was a part of raising 1 million dollars for mental health.
Honestly though - I think the best part was the realization that we are not alone - that every effort, every dollar raised, every volunteer was recognized for their dedication to helping bring the cause to the forefront.
Being honoured by a charity for the work you have done for them just makes you want to help even more and I encourage everyone out there to help in any way they can. If its collecting donations, running an event, volunteering, there are many ways you can make a difference .. and believe me .. it all adds up at the end of the night!