yoga

Shed for the Preg: Mid-Pregnancy Update (with some fun prenatal yoga tips!)

I think after my realness posting on the first trimester, I think I gave a lot of people a scare. I wanted to check in and let everyone know that this trimester has been amazing! I’ve felt so good the past couple months! Mentally and physically.

The bump is definitely there! I’ve officially transitioned out of my normal pants and have been living in leggings. It is weird though, because it is still an in-between time and under clothes I think it looks like I’ve just gained a bit of weight. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m looking forward to it looking more official!

We had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound this week. It went very well! Baby is tracking on average. We are measuring a bit ahead of schedule, but not by much. I had to go back to get another one because lil’ man wouldn’t give us the proper view of his heart. And that’s right we learned it’s a BOY! We were absolutely shocked but our hearts are bursting! We really, truly believed it was a girl! But now fully readjusted and excited about all things little boy! We should’ve known that it was a boy because last weekend the baby was kicking me like crazy with Conor screaming in the last minute of the IU v Michigan State basketball game. A lil Hoosier fan in the making!

I finally started the process of registering for baby things. I spent 12 hours last weekend researching strollers. YEP. My mind is exploding about the strollers. I also realized that the cribs I like are almost impossible to find in the US. Classic me. I think I’m finally beginning to understand baby gear, which is huge up-leveling for me– and maybe overcoming a huge fear too?! Just another reason for me to get back to my Marie Kondo-ing of our condo! Lastly, beginning to understand this whole Mom tribe thing–I don’t know where I would be without all of my wonderful friends giving me advice!

I’ve been able to get back to my normal eating habits. Lots of eggs, sweet potatoes, greens, avocados, and all of the cucumbers (etc. etc. etc.). So my body is nourished, and has been full of energy! I’ve gotten back to yoga and even have worked in some cardio (more exercise thoughts below).

Cravings:

Still eating a lot of citrus–I’m blood orange and clementine obsessed. I am loving cucumbers (see photos!). I’ve continued to eat cereal and toaster waffles. I am definitely eating more sugar and carbs than my normal diet, but not too much. The actual cravings have not been extreme.

Aversions:

Not much, but still very weird around chicken. I still eat it occasionally as long as its overly seasoned.



Symptoms:

The biggest is nasal congestion. I wake up almost unable to breathe every day. Which is wild because thankfully, I haven’t been sick since the first week in January. This happened when I was in Florida too! Apparently it’s common but I hadn’t heard of it before this.

Acid reflux has kicked in a bit, unfortunately. I need to keep my meals small and more frequent rather than larger and less often.

I also have some low back pain. Nothing too troubling yet. Looking into pregnancy pillows to help solve this.

Every night is a new vivid dream. Every night. Some terrifying, some fun. But every night I’m on a new journey. 😂

Prenatal was my favorite part of yoga teacher training. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing?

Prenatal was my favorite part of yoga teacher training. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing?

Exercise:

I’ve been trying to work in movement 4x/week but it’s been slow getting back to my normal routine. I have gotten back to spin class, cardio has felt great! The one downside is that sitting on a bike, I feel like I have to pee the whole time. Yoga continues to be awesome. I’ve added in a couple different prenatal classes into my routine and feel incredible afterwards. That being said, I still need a bit of a push to keep my strength up so I also still go to my favorite regular level 2 yoga class, but have to make some modifications.

In case you are also pregnant and want to go to a regular (meaning not prenatal) yoga class here are some tips of what to avoid and to modify for:

  • Avoid hot yoga. Moderately heated (like 80-85 degrees) is fine, but skip the Bikram (105!).

  • Avoid intense twists. You can do some gentle twisting if it feels okay to you.

  • Avoid poses on your belly like shalabhasana (locust pose) and dhanurasana (bow pose). My guru (aka my favorite instructor) had me do a variation of table pose during this part of class where you extend opposite arms and legs while balancing, and alternate grabbing your foot from above your head. (Does that make sense? If you want more details on this pose send me a DM! 😂)

  • Avoid over stretching. Because of the relaxin flowing through our bods “relaxing” our muscles and ligaments, it can be easy to overstretch our ligaments which won’t ever go back to their original shape! So whenever stretching, be sure to engage your muscles to prevent over stretching of your ligaments. (This is also why it can be detrimental wearing flip-flops during the summer months when your pregnant- don’t overstretch those feet ligaments!)

  • Some people are fine with extreme back-bending like urdva dhanurasana (wheel pose). I attempted it a couple times because it has always been apart of my practice, but it never felt right. So I finally adjusted to a supported bridge position. It also can cause diastasis recti (where your abs separate)- and no one wants that!

  • No need to keep your feet together when bending at the waist, make room for belly! (uttanasana [standing forward bend] or utkatasana [chair] come to mind)

  • When going from a position where your head is below your heart, take your time coming back up to standing. Pregnancy can cause haywire on your blood pressure, so you want to give your body time to adjust.

  • Your center of gravity has shifted, know that balance poses will feel different. And be careful not to fall!

  • Lastly, you are carrying extra weight that wasn’t there before. Your practice won’t look the same, and that’s a good thing! Don’t try to keep up or overdo it. Listen to your body, and rock child’s pose if that’s what you need!

Soooo that ended up being more than a few tips, so I think this is a good place to call it. Thank you all for all of your well wishes for baby BOY Shea and joining me on this journey! xx - AHS

Put a little (self) love in your heart...

When I look at the pose above, I first think to myself, "Woof, those calves. And I have a long way to go to make this pose look good!" It takes me a moment to reset and appreciate how far I've come and appreciate that tan instead!

When I look at the pose above, I first think to myself, "Woof, those calves. And I have a long way to go to make this pose look good!" It takes me a moment to reset and appreciate how far I've come and appreciate that tan instead!

When you look in the mirror what do you see? Sometimes I see circles under my eyes. Sometimes I see bloat from last night's pizza (yep- I eat pizza!). Sometimes I see a whole lotta thigh. Rarely when I look in the mirror am I like, "damn that's a fine looking lady in there!" But why don't I? I suspect I am not alone in this. 

There are probably a lot of contributing factors, and I do not want to diminish them - but I will focus on two reasons for the purpose of today's note. The first is comparison. A natural human tendency that has been magnified by the omnipresence of social media. We spend our days longing for what other people have- their banging bodies, their DREAM weddings, their perfect husbands, adorable babies, charming houses, fancy cars, and exotic honeymoons. We spend a huge bulk of time assessing other people's lot in life and comparing ours to theirs. This isn't to say that we dwell on it or it takes over how we live our lives (sometimes yes, sometimes no) but regardless it happens on the daily. Sometimes we know we are doing it, other times it is operating in the background - but still happening. 

The second reason is judgement. Comparison feeds judgement. Example, so-and-so buys a beautiful new home – "But who would want to live there? It's the middle of nowhere!" Someone posts a selfie - it's attention seeking and/or desperate. Someone cuts you off on the highway - they are an a**hole. Immediately we affirm our own choices and lifestyle, building our own ego at the sacrifice of tearing down someone else. We judge other people and ourselves ALL of the time for EVERYTHING. And that includes what we see when we look in the mirror. 

And it's exhausting. 

And it doesn't serve us.

And in fact, it has a negative effect on the way we view ourselves and others. We need to knock it off. 

Less judgement, and more love. 

We need to love ourselves. Seriously, love every part of ourselves. We need to cut out the negative self talk. We are KWEENS ladies! And stunning rays of light filled with love. We are pure magic. When we acknowledge this, it helps us to see that in everyone else. 

Today is #internationalyogaday, and with it, comes a challenge. Love yourself and then love others. That's our mission. But how to shift our mindsets? It's a big task, so let's break it down.  

 

Step 1. Acknowledgement

Sit with a journal and a cup of (insert beverage of choice) and do some self reflection. When do you tend to compare yourself to others? Is it comparing that bling on your finger to your friend's? Does it happen when you look in the mirror and you think about the Instagram model you follow? When do you tend to judge? Does it manifest in road rage? Again, is it social media? Your favorite Bravo TV stars? 

Just take the time to think about how comparing and judging show up in your life. If after reflection you truly do not compare or judge, please teach a class and invite me! 

 

Step 2. Forgiveness

The next step is to forgive yourself and forgive others for being this way. We have to absolve ourselves from this. These habits are ingrained from childhood and perpetuated by the culture we live in. Let's not beat ourselves up over being judgmental. That defeats the purpose of this whole exercise. 

 

Step 3: Radical acts of self care

How did we get to self care? Well, what is at the heart of comparison? I believe it's our own feelings of inadequacy. Showing yourself some care is the foundation of self love. Do something for yourself every day. Take time for yourself. Whatever that means for you. By caring for ourselves, we nurture self love. It helps us to live more comfortably in our own skin- which helps us to love others better, too.

Self care is not selfish.

I repeat, SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH. When you are feeling drained and out of gas - it is really easy to get into negative self talk patterns. Beyond that, it also hinders our ability to serve others. So take the time to refuel. It is so important for your mental and physical health. Don't know where to start? Take a break from wedding planning and try some of the suggestions below:

  • Spend quality time with loved ones.

  • Buy a coffee for a homeless person.

  • Take a bath.

  • Laugh. Really hard.

  • Watch trashy tv, or whatever gives you joy.

  • Bask in the sun.

  • Dance by yourself.

  • Get a mani/pedi.

  • Do nothing - guilt free.

  • Do something you have wanted to do for a long time, but never had the time.

  • Go for a walk in nature.

  • Read a book.

  • Take a nap.

  • Exercise (in a way that sparks joy!).

  • Call a friend.

  • Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful.

  • Meditate.

  • Take a social media/technology hiatus.

  • Eat a hearty nutritious meal.

  • Eat whatever you want, and without judgement

 

Step 4: Judgement Detox

Now that we have acknowledged our habits, forgiven ourselves for them, and have built up our self love... it's now time to take a break from the judging. This is really, really hard - because it is ingrained so deep. And it's not always showing up the way you would think. For example, today I was trying to back into my garage, and a neighbor had left what I think was an air conditioning unit outside their door, which prevented me from getting in my usual way. I was so annoyed. I was thinking about how inconsiderate that action was. Why didn't they move it to the side? Was this a handy person or was it the neighbor? Someone doesn't know the protocol... Judgement after judgement after judgement. And then I stopped myself. I realized, it was highly unlikely that they even realized it inconvenienced anyone. THEN I realized, I manage to get into my spot, just fine. I spent 2 minutes thinking they were horrible people, and realized I worked myself up over absolutely nothing. 

And this story isn't rare. I'm sure I do this 10x a day.

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to spend one day completely judgement free. Only loving thoughts towards yourself and others for just one day. That doesn't mean the judgements won't arise, but do your best to quash them when they come. AND double whammy, when they come up- don't judge yourself for having the thoughts! 

 

In summary

The world we live in is full of judgements. By giving ourselves some self care, and by choosing to judge less, we will love ourselves and others more! Yoga reminds me to have a beginner's mind, love and accept myself where I am at, and to love others unconditionally. I hope that through reading this post and doing this exercise, it helps you do the same. 


Are you going to participate in the self care and judgement detox challenges? I would love to hear if you participate and how it went! Use #shedselfcare and #shedjudgementdetox so I can see! -AHS

Mini Guide to London

I love London: good eats, sweat, and all the culture – what's not to love?! After my trip there last month I decided to share some of my best finds (and TBH it's really what others recommended to me first). Just to be clear, this is by no means a comprehensive list, but just some highlights that I wanted to share. All of the places listed are linked (mostly in title).  I hope this round up helps you have a "well" (like wellness? get it?) rounded visit! (Side note: I wrote this mostly in the most oppressive layover at Heathrow ever. Seems fitting no?!)

Shoreditch Specific

Ace Hotel London birthday champagne and brownie surprise

Shoreditch is in East London, and is known to be an eclectic and diverse neighborhood. Incredible street art. Amazing coffeeshops. It felt like the perfect place to be. 

We stayed at the Ace Hotel, and could not speak more highly of the experience. It's a very cool place. Live music almost every night, awesome lobby designed for getting work done. Minimalist and hip, it felt very in tune with the East London neighborhood it resides in. Besides that, the hotel found out it was my birthday and sent champagne and brownies - they know a way to a girl's heart. 

East London Juice Co

Attached to the Ace Hotel, this is a completely women-owned and operated juice and crystal shop. My own Mecca. The ladies who work here are super knowledgable about their adaptogens AND crystals. I loved chatting with them. It's also externally attached to the Ace, so very convenient if you are staying there or in the neighborhood. 

Chocolate Adaptogen Mylkshake

Chocolate Adaptogen Mylkshake

East London Juice Co. menu and crystals

East London Juice Co. menu and crystals

Hoi Polloi

This is one of the restaurants inside of the Ace. I worked from here a couple days, great ambiance. On Sunday, my husband and I did their afternoon tea. There was live jazz that really set the tone. It was amazing. If nothing else, go for the perfect buttery scones. #treatyoself

GF, Vegan Avo Toast at Redemption. 

GF, Vegan Avo Toast at Redemption. 

Redemption

This spot is LEGIT. Vegan. Gluten free. AVOCADO THAT GOES ON FOR DAYS. I sat there by myself and ATE ALL OF THAT TOAST. ALL. OF. IT. A good spot to eat and read a book (I did!).  All of the good vibes. 

Dishoom

I had 3 independent friends recommend this place and it did not disappoint. Seriously, the best Indian food ever. Taste bud explosions on repeat. Everything was fabulous. My photos didn't do it justice (thus not featured). Click the link (title) to see the Bombay aesthetic. 

Andina

Peruvian tapas. Yep you heard that right. Another restaurant that makes your taste buds go BOOM. There wasn't one thing we tried that was mediocre. It's a small place, but packed with charm. 

Triyoga - they also have juices and wifi! Another great spot to post up to get some work done post flow! 

Triyoga - they also have juices and wifi! Another great spot to post up to get some work done post flow! 

Triyoga 

If you were watching my instagram stories, you learned that I may or may not have died during the Level 2 yoga class I took at Triyoga. It was a very challenging class. It seemed like everyone in the class was a regular, but they were very welcoming. Especially when I requested to be close to the wall once I learned there would be a lot of inversion work. The studio was pristine. They also do massages and pilates! So much to love! 

Spitalfields Market

The Spitalfield Markets are a cool indoor/outdoor year round market. From jewelry, to plants, to baby clothing, you can find it all there! Oh and not to mention some incredible smelling food vendors- we unforch did not have an opportunity to try them though! 

We went on a Sunday, but they are open 7 days a week. I believe the vendors vary. 

Brick Lane Vintage Markets

Brick Lane Vintage Markets Eats

Just a quick walk from the Spitalfields Market are the Brick Lane Markets (only on Sundays). Amazing vintage finds, handmade unique items, and MORE FOOD! (again that I didn't eat - I wasn't prepared!!) I didn't get any worthy pics of the vintage section because it was crazy crowded. But if you are into unique vintage finds, it's def worth checking out. 

Also of note, apparently up the road from there is a Sunday flower market. We really wanted to go, but we just got a little too cold. I hear its awesome if you are visiting in better weather. 

 

 

Around Town (Not Shoreditch)

Museums

Victoria & Albert Museum

As you can see from the photo below, it's worth a stop just to eat at the cafe. Some truly incredible exhibits, and just gorgeously curated. 

Victoria and Albert Museum V&A Museum Cafe

British Museum

Can you say Egypt? I would come back to this museum alone just for their Ancient Egyptian collection. I took the picture below, and right behind me was the ACTUAL Rosetta Stone. I almost missed it. This place is a must see if you are at all interested in history.  

British Museum Egypt Exhibit

 

Other key attractions

St. Paul's -  Westminster Abbey's less popular sister. This place is STUNNING! If you aren't going to services it does cost to tour, but totally worth it. Also, trivia fact, Princess Diana and Charles tied the knot here (instead of the Abbey) because it could hold more guests! It's one of the 2 places the royal family can get married. 

St. Paul's Cathedral London

 

Food and Drink

Coppa Club Igloos

We are full on in spring mode now, so not sure how long the igloos will be around, but they were an amazing place for Saturday "brunch" when we were in town. The food was great- I mean can you see that pizza?! And the view of the Thames and Tower Bridge was even better. 

Coppa Club Igloos London Rose
Coppa Club Pizza with Egg

Duck and Waffle

Speaking of views, Duck and Waffle has some of the best views in the city. And they had duck and waffle, which basically is an elevated chicken and waffles. It was to die for. My pics are dark didn't do it justice, so I didn't provide them. But it is definitely a perfect spot for a boujie night out. 

Other notable mentions: 

  • Hyde Park
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Walk around the neighborhoods of Notting Hill, Covent Gardens, and Marylebone
  • Natural History Museum 
  • The Tate and Tate Modern
  • All things Harry Potter (Platform 9 3/4, Studio tour, Cursed Child, etc)

Cheers, mates! -AHS

Yoga Teacher Training and Upcoming Travel

A very zen koi pond at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. 

A very zen koi pond at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. 

Hello my friends! A personal post coming atcha today. :)

A peek at my first homework assignments. 

A peek at my first homework assignments. 

As many of you may know, my preferred form of exercise is yoga (for more of my thoughts on fitness read here). My first experience with yoga was in my second semester of my freshman year at Indiana University (Go Hoos!). I enrolled in yoga as an elective, thinking it would be fun to try. It changed the way I felt about exercise, and opened me to the mind-body connection. I hadn’t been an athlete in high school, so moving my body wasn’t something I had realized could affect my body AND mind for the better. I fell in love with the movement, and how yoga made me feel. 

Sometimes I am more into the physicality of the practice, other times for the mental peace and clarity that comes from the focus on the mat. Through my practice I have cultivated a deeper sense of mindfulness that has led to a career changes and other shifts on my journey. 

The Yoga Barn in Bali (2012)

The Yoga Barn in Bali (2012)

All that being said, I have decided to pursue yoga teacher training this spring. I have been contemplating teacher training for at least 5 years at this point, so it is time! I am hoping to deepen my own practice, and also bring my new knowledge to create some Zen for the Wed in your lives!  

I haven't decided how much yogi stuff to share with you guys, but would love to hear if you are interested in my learnings, asanas (poses), guided flows or meditations or anything else related to teacher training. 

Doing TT locally (not somewhere warm!!), just thought this pic captured my excitement and vibe at this moment. Xx

Doing TT locally (not somewhere warm!!), just thought this pic captured my excitement and vibe at this moment. Xx

On a related note: one of my long term goals is to practice yoga on every continent. So far I have practiced in (North America - duh), Australia/ Oceania, Africa, and Asia! Europe is up this month. I will be traveling to London this month for a week celebrating my birthday! I would love your recos - particularly for some healthy eats and yoga studios. 

Today is my first day of teacher training, so please send some good vibes my way! 

Namaste :) 

AHS