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Practicing Yoga at Be Yoga in Austin

4 Dec

I’ve done yoga probably a total of 10-12 times in my life in an effort to shake things up a bit. While most health and fitness gurus tend to swear by it, I always think it’s just “alright.” I guess I’m not much of a slow and steady workout kinda girl. Standing still with one leg in the air trying hard not to fall over, while a really soft spoken dude says “let’s all take a beaaauuuuuttifffulll inhale,” often makes me want to put my leg down, laugh (or cry?), and leave to go for a run.

Last weekend, while out with Dave’s coworker and his girlfriend, her and I starting talking over a cocktail and she said “we should do a yoga class together!”. Being that it’s been almost a year since I last went to a class, and we were having such a fun night together, I figured I’d give it a shot. “Totally!” I told her. And we made a date for this weekend. Well, today was date time. At 2pm we met at the Be Yoga in Austin for an hour and half long session of yogi-ness. Did I mention that the studio is across the street from my apartment building? It doesn’t get more convenient than that.

be yoga austin

The view from my apartment

The studio is about the size of a large living room, with the front wall made completely of windows that overlook my street (and my balcony, from which I’ve often watched classes… which makes me creepy). Inside, they had yoga mats to borrow, and everyone left their shoes and jackets hanging out on the bench at the front. There was Bob Marley music playing the background as I scrambled to sit down and join the already in-session class. Once we started, I realized this wasn’t going to be like the basic yoga class that I got so accustomed to at Yoga To The People in NYC–this guy went into very complex poses that left my wavering side to side, and praying for relief multiple times.

The instructor had the classic yogi soothe voice goin’ on, and took us into some poses and breathing exercises that I’ve never been challenged with before. For example, kneeling on all fours in table pose, breathing in and out extremely fast while holding your core very tight–it was like doing crunches with just your own breath (but we looked like panting cats). Other poses, including holding a plank position and bringing your knee up to your opposite elbow, were also core killers. Those are always my favorite part of yoga class. Beyond that, I looked around in wonderment at others’ abilities to sit on one foot with their heel down, and stared (intermittently when she wasn’t looking. creep-o move #2) at the super-stretchy chick next to me bend her legs like a rubber band. How did she do that?

At the end of the class, while in savasana (laying on your back and just breathing; total zen) the instructor came around to each of us and “adjusted” our posture. He pulled my legs forward to stretch my lower back, and rotated my shoulders so that they touched the floor. It felt amazing. This studio is completely donation based, which is awesome and rare. That means that if you want to drop $5 or $15 for their services, it’s your call, and no one’s judging. I dropped in a $10, and walked back across the street to my apartment. If I was a yogi, I could see how this small, intimate studio really gives each person a chance to practice more deeply for great price, but for me, if I could go just the last ten minutes of “adjustments,” I would. But that’s just me and yoga–we have a rocky relationship.

Do you yoga?

You’re Already Doing It: The Push Up Challenge

29 Nov

The Push Up Challenge is in full swing, with an awesome community #pushingit each day. Between super secret emails I’ve been receiving from people who are joining the one-a-day to empower themselves, and public proclamations on Twitter joining the double-em-up challenge with me and Austin Fit Magazine, I’m pretty sure we’re building biceps and moving mountains everywhere :) .

The MelRuns Push Up Challenge

You’re Already Doing It

Two nights ago, I was laying in bed next to my boyfriend reading a book, Augusten Burrough’s “Running With Scissors”, when something came over me. I was reading this book in particular because my good friend told me I write like him, and needed to see it. She was right, (thanks H) I did see it, and was enjoying the story when suddenly I thought to myself, “I hope I can write a really awesome book one day, too.” … and then the momentum began. I thought, “Well, why isn’t this the “one day”? When will the right time come?” I didn’t know the answer. Is it something you feel? Something that just clicks and you know you’re ready to start?

I kept digging down this path, and finally I turned to Dave with tears in my eyes (I was digging for a while) and said “What if what I never figure out what it is I’m going to do?” and he looked at me and said “You’re already doing it, Mel.” I’ve always had a tendency to be extra hard on myself. Not in a beat myself up, sit on the kitchen floor and cry through a whole tissue box kinda way, but more of a constant inner nagging of “What’s next, Mel?” “How can you do it better?” kinda way. And then I take on too many projects at once, and end up sitting on the kitchen floor devouring a box of Teddy Grahams and freaking out. Hey, I’m only human.

Last week I posed a question on the blog, asking readers “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I had so many answers when I wrote it, telling my few loyal millions of readers that I was proud to be undefined, or multi-defined, or whathaveyou (I do what I want). How did I forget all that in just a week? It’s so easy to fall into a downward spiral—be it on the kiddy slide or the side of Mount Everest. I was lucky to have Dave next to me that night to pull me up. I mean, I’m pretty sure I was on the kiddy slide, but still. I don’t want to fall either way. There was a box of Teddy Grahams in the kitchen, and I was bound to attack them.

This morning I woke up to ten more people signing up for the Push Up Challenge, and I realized, he’s right, I’m doing it now. We’re all doing it now, everyday. It’s already within us. Sometimes, you get so lost in the piles of dirt you’re shoveling onto your hill, that you forget to look around and realize it’s becoming a mountain. It’s this kind of realization that the Push Up Challenge is meant to evoke. That strength we have inside is waiting to be tapped, and carried into everything we do, slowly building up into something amazing. For me, the push ups remind me that it’s mine for the taking, and I’ll never stop pushing.

the push up challenge mel runs

Do you #pushit?

The Push Up Challenge

27 Nov

I used to not be able to do any push ups. It seems that a lot of people can’t actually, because one of the biggest traffic drivers to my blog is people googling “I can’t do push ups”, which lands them right on my original confession. But after months of building up my strength through bodyrock, I now LOVE push ups. It didn’t take me a month to be able to do one either, probably around a week and a half. It’s amazing how quickly the body builds up strength when you challenge it. Such a small task like being able to do ten push ups in a row brings on such a big awesome feeling when you started from none. And I channel that feeling often.

Two nights ago, I was sitting at my computer, and thought- what if I could get others in on this? Share the awesomeness of a push up? I immediately hit up my communities on facebook and twitter:

melruns on facebook

Sometimes, while walking around my apartment, I’ll randomly drop down and do five. It picks me up when I’m starting to feel tired or lazy, gets my heart pumping, and re-energizes me. It’s like taking a power nap, except without missing 20 minutes of your day. I really wanted others to feel this, too. Five minutes after I posted about the push up movement, Austin Fit Magazine, who I’ve been following on Twitter since I moved here in hopes of writing for them in the near future, (you hear that Austin Fit? ;) ) tweeted back at me “haha it’s gotta be 100.”

100 push-ups a day? What am I, Tarzan? I get it. One push-up isn’t exactly a body building routine, but this ish needs to be accessible to be people. It’s about reminding ourselves of all the strength we own and can tap into at any time. I went back and forth with Austin Fit, and they came back with this:

Austin Fit Push Up Challenge

It was a deal, and the challenge was born. Pretty soon a bunch of people were joining in on twitter. Today will be day three for me, but for those of you who are just joining, you can start at any time! There are two challenges–choose both or one–either way you’ll get a boost of “I feel awesome” in your day–the feeling that empowers you to push a little harder, a little further, in whatever it is your striving towards.

Challenge 1: The Austin Fit & Mel Runs push up challenge

  • Start with 1 push up on day 1, and then double your push ups from there on out. So day 2 will be 2 push ups, day 3 is 4 push ups, day 4 is 8 push ups, and continue on down the line. For me, once we get past 8, I’ll be breaking it up into sets. And once we get past 32, I’ll probably need to modify them towards the end. But modified or not, it allll counts. Each one makes us that much stronger.

Challenge 2: The one push up a day challenge

  • This challenge is all about self-worth and empowerment. Everyday we are each faced with a situation or state of mind that makes us question ourselves. Can I accomplish this? Did I do a good job? Am I worth it? It’s important to remember that our strength comes from within, and we have to take that inner strength and channel it into everything we do. Don’t be the one who questions your own worth–be the one who proves it (I feel like Oprah right now). The one push up a day challenge is to remind you of how strong you are. It doesn’t matter when you do it; first thing in the morning, after your daily run, while cooking dinner–it’s when it hits you. And hey, if you feel so good that you end up doing 10, more power to you. But all you need is one reminder a day. And then you can carry that strength with you through each decision and each moment thereafter.


Who’s up to the challenge? Let me know in the comments!

the push up challenge i pushed it

you can use this image path:

Let others know you’re pushing it, too, by wearing the push up challenge badge on your site. You are your own best advocate. And for those of you (most of you) who are comment shy–that’s cool. Just do it for you. That’s who really matters in the end anyway :) .


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