Breath, Body and Tracy Anderson Method

Okay.

So after decades of giving Miss Tracy Anderson the ultimate side eye, I dragged my tail into a multi-task bands class at the request of Amazing Human and Habibi Ambassador DaLette Anderson…

And I never left.

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Here’s the thing. Bands KICKED MY ASS. Like, for real had me sitting down and questioning my life choices. What I didn’t realize was, there was more to come. So after I got my weight up (so to speak), I ventured into atTAin.

What in the Sam Hell…

Y’all. LISTEN.

Attain is a warmup, a light arm workout, and the most intense precision mat training for legs you have ever come across. I swear that Tracy is straight trolling us sometimes like “I wonder if they are really going to do this?” Insanity. Most of the moves come from the core. That means, less sit-ups than you ever thought you needed. And although Miss Tracy has been caught on camera talking shit about yoga and Pilates (the internet is forever y’all), I spot a LOT of both yoga and Pilates in the moves. Which might also explain why my body embraces them. Now, in her defense, the video I saw was from years ago, and if Tracy doesn’t do anything else, she learns and she grows. That is an admirable quality. Because anytime you can go from being called all kinds of crooks and liars (Indiana is all: ‘The North Remembers ‘) to being celebrated as THE GO TO PERSON for a life and body change… I’m just saying.

She’s good. She pays attention, she’s not arrogant about the moves (she’s known to modify them if they don’t work precisely the way they are supposed to), and she’ll get results. I lost three inches the first couple of weeks. And then when I realized I was paying an arm an a leg to ‘drop in’ to classes, I joined. Screw it.

Make no mistake, this is the most money I’ve paid for ANY KIND OF ANYTHING per month, and I take yoga for free! Insanity. But it’s strengthened my yoga practice, my Pilates practice, and my sleep (and y’all know how much I value my sleep. Maybe you don’t. But yeah, it’s a thing). Overall I just perform better. Oh, and those little annoying last few pounds just fell off… never to be seen again. Everything is tight and toned and my flexibility kicked up right nicely. And I’m no spring chicken, so when I tell you that my 43 looks 25… I’m not playing. Because clearly Tracy ain’t playing with me.

Did I mention that we work out in a heated room with springs on the floor, surrounded by humidifiers? Yeah. That too. Thank goodness I teach at Corepower, where heat and humidity are the order of the day. Otherwise, there would be some serious misunderstandings around here.

I’ve taken several Master Classes with Tracy herself, and I find her to be giggly and engaging and extremely positive. She talks to everyone, jokes, laughs off missteps and is overall a hyper-energetic and positive human being. I get measured every month, get tips on eating and moving and doing what’s best for MY body (not anyone else’s). Tracy long-time right-hand Maria Kelling takes excellent care of me, reprimands me lovingly when she catches me sitting on my ass drinking water and staring hatefully at the trainer and pushes me to get my cardio in to handle this body. Ashanti (best manager ever) makes sure I’m taking care of myself when I travel and gives me tips to keep going. It’s been 4 months, and I feel amazing. The environment is positive (we all smile and encourage each other… because Lord knows the workout is hard enough without having to also deal with someone’s attitude). I’ve become a better yoga practitioner, a better teacher, and a better listener of my body. Tracy is not for everyone. You have to be willing to do the work, and not expect a quick fix. It will challenge you to go further than you think you can, and do ONE.MORE.REP. The trainers do everything (and more) than we do, and they are a testament to untapped resources of strength and determination. I have a lot of love for those women (who are all in the above video. Truly amazing human beings). They bust their tails, and encourage us to get out there, smile and do the same.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing since year got kicking. Like I said, it’s not for everyone. But I can say in this moment that it’s definitely for me.

Creating Space for Creative Space

I had the most amazing night.

I was a guest at Tantris Yoga. The GM invited me for a restorative class, and I was able to experience this week-old Yoga Center without the pomp and circumstance and distraction of opening night. I was able to experience the space as my most authentic yogic self.

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LOOK AT THIS SPACE! Wait… I have more pictures:

Right? RIGHT? Just gorgeous. Tantris is owned by Russell Simmons (he of Def Comedy Jam and the notorious Rush Card), and honestly he did the damn thing. This space is just gorgeous. Serene and yogic and practical all at once. Such detail. I haven’t even gotten into the actual practicing space (which I have not photographed… yet), which features the most amazing floors and windows. And there’s heat! INFRARED HEAT! You know I’m taking my tail back there for a heated class as soon as my little car can carry me through the canyon…

The class I took was restorative. Goodness knows I needed it, because 2 days of back to back strength yoga with the incomparable Nick Wilder have left my glutes and hamstrings in a STATE. I released my joints (there were literal POPS in my hips and low spine) in the best way with the help of props and deep breathing. It was everything. The class was taught by the Tantris GM Karen Russell. She has a way of making you release by imitating a ‘yawn’… and suddenly you’re yawning and releasing and falling asleep…

It was really over too soon. She said ‘final pose’ and I was like WHAT? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY…

So good.

Afterwards, we chatted and she told me they’re holding auditions..? SAY WHAT? Ya’ll pray for me ’cause I’m for real trying to live there. No joke. Oh, and Habibi too. What, you thought I was gonna leave my baby behind? No dice.

I love this space. Here’s hoping it loves me back.

On Skin, Self-Care and a Really Bad Day

I’m not going to call this a ‘no makeup makeup’ because you can see that I’m actually fotd barewearing some. But this look came as the result of a series of unfortunate events that I hopefully righted by the end of the day. Mercury is supposed to be OUT of retrograde (as of last Saturday), but damn if the celestial ones didn’t screw my life to the WALL yesterday.

With approximately 3 1/2 hours of sleep in my arsenal, I set out to run a series of very necessary errands and go to a meeting that ran too damn long with too many personalities vying for validation on shit that does.not.matter. We ain’t saving babies. I need everyone to calm down. Anyway, I extracted myself from the business shenanigans with an hour and 15 minutes to spare for a 30 minute ride to the studio to teach yoga. This was with COUNTING the chicanery that is LA traffic. Well an hour and a half later, I was still sitting in traffic C.U.S.S.I.N.G and trying to discreetly shimmy into my yoga clothes. Everyone and their cousin apparently forgot how to drive yesterday and there were more fender benders than I care to count. Here’s the rub: all of the accidents had already been shunted off to the shoulder of the freeway by the time I got on it, but fotd bare 1don’t you know every nosy mofo on the planet just HAD to see what was happening?

So there I sat, practicing my breathing and trying to ignore the fact that my deodorant had failed and knowing I’d probably be labeled ‘the stinky teacher’ until someone else had the misfortune of coming along to take the mantle.

When I finally got to the studio (after many text messages and photo evidence to the assistant manager), wouldn’t you know a couple of the mucky-mucks were there for a meeting? REALLY? REALLY UNIVERSE? Okay. I see you wanna be cute and just mess me all the way up. I snatched off my very expensive caftan (which I’d slapped over my yoga gear in an attempt to look sort of presentable when I walked in) and simultaneously wiped off that makeup. Because I just couldn’t be rancid while teaching the class, I took an extra five minutes to clean up in the bathroom. Man, listen. Priorities.

I taught my classes (back to back) and nailed the out times, which incidentally was noticed by the mucky mucks (we have a chronic problem of teachers ending class late) who complimented me on nailing it! Whoo hoo! Okay, things were looking better. I crawled out of there 4 hours later in search of curry and a date with Game of Thrones (a sista has to DVR because… life). Got home, retrieved my caftan from my go-bag and got it stuck in the zipper.

WHY?

I wasn’t even mad ’cause the day was screwed pretty much from the time I woke up, so at that point it was kind of like WHATEVER. It’s snagged, but I might be able to fix it. Suffice to say that at this point, I really didn’t care. I watched my show (and re-affirmed my dislike for that little Bran brat. I never liked him, even when he got pushed out the window for being nosy. All Catelyn’s kids are annoying… although Arya done turned into a G so now I love her) and went to bed.

So that was my day.

This makeup happened because the look that I’d PLANNED (winged eye, red lip) went horribly wrong halfway through. I couldn’t get anything right. Not the wing, the lip… everything was cutting up. So I had strip everything off, reapply moisturizer and start from scratch. This is one of those moments when it helps tremendously to have your skin in good shape. That’s By Terry CC Cream in Tan and Innisfree No Sebum Powder, Anastasia Brow Gel in Espresso, Armani Black Ecstasy Mascara, and Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited in Lipstick in Beige.

At least something turned out right.

All the stuff… and a Bronzed FOTD

Hey!

All work and no play man… ALL WORK AND NO PLAY. I’m scheduling some time off because I’ve been doing the MOST. I’ve been teaching more yoga than practicing, and giving just a bit too much of myself. Between Habibi drop offs and pick ups and meetings and what not, I have to remind myself to breathe. I actually yelled when I found out I had to squeeze in a meeting today.

Not so yogi.

So yeah.

In the middle of all the business crap, I go back to my first love (creating) whenever I can. I am not a fan of bath bombs as they stand on the market today, so I’ve been experimenting with packing more into the standard formula to really give you a bathing spirit bath bombsexperience worthy of Habibi. A few hits and a WHOLE LOT OF MISSES later, I pulled together a recipe that will both hold that fizz that everyone likes, but also take care of your skin. One of these babies will basically make you feel like you’re bathing in silk.

My raggedy friends keep coming on social media talking about “Look! Orange Cheesecake!” SMH. While they do look DELICIOUS, they will not taste like orange cheesecake if you decide to take a bite. And I am not responsible if you decide to take that challenge. Just saying.

So that’s that. My current packaging is OOOOOOKAY. Not amazing like I really want, so I’m working on that. My other issue with bath bombs is that they’re generally unsanitary with the way they’re currently sold. If you’re a fan of the biggest bath bomb maker in the country, then you know that all kinds of random mofos have had their hands on your bath bomb before you actually purchase it and drop it in your tub. And then you’re soaking in all the cooties in the universe… NO MA’AM! Can’t do it. So while I love all the little boxes and what not that are floating around right now, I’m all for upping the ante. Who has time to be mediocre?

I’m also working on the most amazing bath soak you have ever used in your life! I used it last night… MAMA! Limited though. Look for it around Mother’s Day. Ain’t no way in the world I’m mass producing that stuff. It is literally that precious. Gonna be so AWESOME though! It might come out again around Holiday ’16…

See what I mean? All the stuff.

Meanwhile, I did a bronze thing with a lot of matte in between. Some people can do the full ‘glow’ look, but on me it is always more GREASE than GLOW. So there’s a whole lot of FOTD BronzeInnisfree powder between the brows, under the eyes, and on the chin. I dug out the Guerlain Africa Rhythm Bronzer (which is a true bronze, my goodness) and used it as a blush/contour, and eyeshadow through the crease. Tom Ford’s Metallic Mink Pencil is on my waterline, and Kat Von D Tattoo Liner is on my lashline. Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara and Anastasia Brow Definer round out the whole eye thing. The Burberry White Highligher (that thing is magic) is on the high points of my face and on my lids. That’s Marc Jacobs lipstick in Mahogany on my lips, covered in Anastasia Lip Gloss in Gilded. The base is a mix of that Natasha Denona Glow Foundation madness (which is so much more grease than glow. I’m just saying) and NARS Velvet Skin Tint (what? I’m being open. Hush).

Forgive the hormonal mishaps randomly sprinkled on my skin. I’m getting a facial tomorrow.

 

All Fired Up for New Training!

Hey!

So… I got a wild hair and I’m going for my 5th format certification. Starting Tuesday, I’ll be fully immersed in Hot Power Fusion Yoga training. It’s a combo of Bikram and Vinyasa.

bikram3I’ve been taking the format steadily as a student for the past year. So I’m excited to learn how to teach it and learn the ‘why’ of the sequence and the poses. Basically, it’s a big giant lymphatic drain for your body… which I LOVE. This is another 200 hour training so I expect to be slightly insane (look for unintelligible posts along the way), but I’m still so jazzed for it!

bikram2 Who knows? Maybe after this I’ll consider Bikram again.

Maybe.

Dear Yoga Teacher: YOU SUCK!

peace

This is what I wanted to tell the two women who walked out of my class last night. Since I started teaching at Crunch, an increasing number of people have been coming to class. At first I was concerned because the clients were used to meditation and deep breathing, but not much movement. But my classes are classified as ‘Yoga Sculpt’ — which is more of a power flow. You don’t have to be super strong to take the class (I offer modifications), but you do have to be willing to work.

They were not.

The gym recently added an additional yoga class, since they’re starting to get so popular. Last night was the first day of the new class. When the clients started arriving, I knew I’d have to modify my flow. Many of them started the class by declaring ailments, surgeries, and general discomfort. So I tossed out my original plan, and began to wing it with deep breathing and modified stretches.

One woman lasted 5 minutes. In the time it took me to take a full revolution around the room (I will often scan the room to make sure everyone is comfortable and in the right position), she was packed up and out the door. Okay… no worries.

The other woman lasted about 10 minutes longer. But then I asked the class to inhale and lift their right leg…three legged dog

She snorted and mumbled something. I checked to make sure it wasn’t something urgent (pain, discomfort, ect), but she was in the pose and not waving me down for assistance. Okay.

Then I asked them to flip their dog and take Wild Thing…

wild thing pose…and that was it!

She was over it. She slapped her mat together and huffed out the door. Alrighty then!

I kept on with the class because you can’t stop down the whole operation on account of a couple of people. Plus, I had clients in this class that were much older than these two, with 3 times the charisma and desire to TRY. And in the end, that is all I ask. Every pose is not perfect, or comfortable, or something that you’ll get on the first try. That is why it’s called a PRACTICE. You have to keep working at it… working for it. The strength will come. The flexibility will come. It is not the destination, but the JOURNEY that helps you get the most out of your practice.

Now, having said all that… the truth is that I was more than a little disturbed. I’ve only been teaching professionally for a month or so, and my client list has steadily grown. This is the first time I’d been rejected not once… but twice. We’re not supposed to take anything personal, but damn if I was thinking about that at the moment. It’s not so much that I was upset that they might not like the flow… as I was worried that maybe I hadn’t modified/compromised ENOUGH.

There’s a thought. How much do we adjust to cater to the needs of others? Everything isn’t for everybody. My classes aren’t going to be at the top of everyone’s must do list. Logically, I know that. Emotionally, it’s a different story.

Halfway through the class I had everyone come back to Samastitihi and take stock. I joined them.

samastitihi The truth is, those exits threw me off. I was already ‘winging’ the flow to accommodate some of the newer students.  We still had 30 minutes to go… and with or without those women, the rest of the class wanted to know what came next.

So we went through the rest of the class. And at the end, one of my regulars came up and verbally hi-fived me (she may have suspected that I needed it). I was grateful.

I went to bed last night thinking of what I could have done differently. By the time I fell asleep I realized… it didn’t even matter.

Namaste.