Whatever’s the question . . .

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. . . Hydration is the answer

Okay, maybe hydration isn’t the answer to everything, but it sure does a body good!

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. I know many runners really don’t give much thought to their hydration before, during, or after running. I will share 5 ways staying hydrated can improve your running. It’s your choice what you do with the information.

1: Keep your cool
Staying hydrated can help you regulate your body temperature. We generate a lot of heat when we run!

2: Minimize cramps
Water alone may not be enough to keep you from cramping up, because not only are you losing water through sweat, you’re losing electrolytes, too. Which is exactly why it’s important to take electrolytes on the run for longer and hotter runs. Being well hydrated can be your first line of defense when it comes to cramping.

Also consider spraying the muscles that always cramp with magnesium spray before running!

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3: Run faster
I don’t know about you, but if I’m dehydrated I feel cranky, tired, and often have a headache. That’s even if I’m not active. Now imagine running that way! In addition, being properly hydrated may actually help you stave off fatigue.

4: Recover faster
You know how your massage therapist always tells you to drink more water after a massage? Massage can help move toxins out of your muscles and into circulation in your body. Guess what? Running creates some waste products too! Water can help you flush out those toxins, reducing muscle soreness, and helping you to recover faster.

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5: Potential to reduce joint pain
You know I am not talking about an acute or nagging injury here, right? That has nothing to do with hydration (well, it could over time). Joint cartilage is mainly water. Dehydration can lessen lubrication of the joints, leading to joint pain. No one wants to run in pain!

Final Thoughts
Finding the right level of hydration for you is an art. Too little, and you could slow down, be in pain, and cramp. Too much and it can feel very uncomfortable in your digestive system, potentially even leading too nausea.

The benefits of staying hydrated on the run far outweigh the side effects of dehydration on your running — to my mind anyway.

Have you ever suffered from side effects while running due to poor hydration?

What’s your favorite way to hydrate on the run? Plain water for me, please!

Did any of the benefits of hydration surprise you?

5 More Takeaways about Mobility

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Mobility is a huge topic, and this post isn’t even an introductory post. I just wanted to share some of my takeaways from the most recent mobility course I took (you’ll fine my #1 takeaway at this post here). I hope you find something useful here!

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I am sharing a more about mobility — something every runner can use!

1: Roll fast before running
Rolling fast helps prep the body for movement. This is something I used to do in when I first started to foam roll, then I learned that you needed to roll slow and for a longer period of time — or so I thought.

Before a run, roll fast and for a short amount of time. If you have a vibrating roller/ball, now is the time to have it on medium or high (depending on what you can tolerate).

2: Roll slow for recovery
Rolling slow does have its place: after your run. This will help you kick start the recovery response.

If you have a vibrating roller/ball, now is the time to have it on low.

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Start with the larger balls; slowly move down to the smaller balls

3: The smaller the tool, the deeper it goes
A wider tool (think foam roller) will not give you as much pressure as a narrower tool (a ball). If you’re new to foam rolling, start with a roller, for sure. Even that may be too much if you’re not used to it. 

If you’re feeling a lot of pain, back off. You should feel some sensation, but not pain.

As you get used to myofascial release techniques, you may want to consider moving from a foam roller to a ball — although start with a larger one; maybe even a softer one. Your body will adapt to whatever you use eventually, but if it really feels painful to you, not only are you not helping yourself — you’re unlikely to be consistent.

You may try moving from a larger ball to smaller and smaller balls as you get used to the pressure.

4: Add in some Functional Mobility
Often when we feel pain somewhere, it’s because the opposite muscle is weak. Adding in some functional mobility during foam rolling can really help.

Tight calves? Foam roll the calves, stop at one point, and point and flex your foot. You can also try moving it from side to side. Notice what muscles you feel that movement in.

Rolling the quads? Stop, and bend and extend the leg you’re rolling.

5: Foam Rolling can actually help our proprieception
First, what is proprieception? The dictionary says proprieception is:

perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body

As a runner, I’m sure you can see why this might be important. I can tell you from a Yoga teacher standpoint, we often get into a posture and think our leg is way higher than it actually is, or straighter than it actually is. Try videoing or photographing yourself and you might be really surprised at what you see!

I was definitely surprised to see improved proprieception as one of the benefits of foam rolling!

Final Thoughts
Although I’d like to call myself an expert on mobility, I am not. I have learned quite a bit about it in the last few months, though, and I practice what I preach. I experiment, and if it helps me, I share it.

We are all an experiment of one. So give some of these things a try, if they pique your interest, and I hope that you find it helpful.

Did you learn something new about foam rolling?

Are you willing to try to change up what you’re already doing? 

What do you do to work on your mobility?

Boost Your Running with . . .

. . . These 5 Essential Oils

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Have you seen all the hype about Essential Oils (EOs) and wondered if it could boost your running? Maybe. There are many Essential Oils that can soothe sore muscles, reduce anxiety, and help you get a better night’s sleep.

Buy your oils from a reputable source. Sadly there really is no regulation of EOs. As you can see, so far I’ve been buying mine from DoTerra. I signed up for a Wholesale Account, and that gives me a discounts on the oils I buy. The good news is that small bottle goes a long way!

Disclaimer: I am not an aromatherapist or medical professional. Some EOs are not appropriate for everyone (or animals!). Please do your due diligence before using Essential Oils.

Do not put EOs “neat”, or undiluted, on your skin. You need to mix them with a carrier oil because they can irritate your skin if they are not diluted, or sometimes cause sun sensitivty. 

The two easiest ways to use EOs is to diffuse them in your home (add them to water and then the diffuser diffuses the EOs mixed with water into your living space) and as an inhaler. 

You can buy inhalers for EOs on Amazon. They’re inexpensive and small enough to fit in a pocket on the run. It’s a small metal capsule with a thick cotton wick inside, and holes so that you can open it up and take a sniff. Just soak the cotton wick, put it back inside, and inhale as needed.

You don’t have to invest in a lot of EOs to begin with, and they last a long time. My personal suggestion if you want to give EOs a whirl is to start with these four:

  1. Peppermint
  2. Lavender
  3. Lemon (lemon didn’t make this post, but I use it all the time!)
  4. Tea tree (also didn’t make this post, but has so many uses)
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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday.

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Peppermint for Pep | Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Peppermint
Want some pep in your step? Then peppermint is your friend! Also helps with:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Digestion
  • Tricks the brain into thinking you’re not working so hard
  • Roll some peppermint on your feet to put some pep in your step
  • Nausea relief
  • Bug Repellent
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Lavender to relax & recover | Photo by Palo Cech on Pexels.com

Lavender
I think most of use have heard of using lavender for sleep. Having something in your tool kit before a big race to help you relax is important. I actually use lavender oil before I go to bed every night. I use a roller ball, and I roll it on my temples (if they’re feeling tight), the back of my neck, and the soles of my feet.

Lavender is great for many other things that plague runners:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Reduce Allergies
  • Helps relieve anxiety
  • Helps relieve headaches

I mix lavender and peppermint together with a carrier oil, then apply to my feet in the mornings. Remember, peppermint peps you up, while lavender relaxes you — put together they can help soothe and pep up tired feet (or any other muscle soreness you may be experiencing).

Diffuse equal parts peppermint, lavender, and lemon to help with seasonal allergies.

Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is well known for its ability to help you breathe easier (Vick’s Vapo rub, anyone?). It’s great pre-race, and in the days leading up to a race because:

  • It’s anti-inflammatory
  • Helps support respiratory health

Unfortunately, Eucalyptus is highly toxic to dogs.

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Reduce Stress & Mental Fatigue | Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com

Rosemary
Although I have Rosemary EO, it’s not one I reach for often. Researching its many benefits, though, maybe I should! I do use it in an inhaler along with peppermint and lemon — when I start feeling tired on the run I will inhale this during a walk break.

  • Reduces stress levels
  • Reduces mental fatigue
  • Reduces muscle soreness
  • Reduces tissue inflammation
  • Bug Repellent
  • Benefits memory
  • May stimulate hair growth

Vetiver
I once made the mistake of diffusing vetiver (and another EO) on a long drive. Somehow it got stuck in my mind that Vetiver is good for focus. Oops! It’s actually yet another EO that is good for sleep. Yes, I actually did feel sleepier than normal on my drive back!

  • Bug Repellant — especially ticks that carry Lyme Disease (I use this often on hikes)
  • Reduces Anxiety
  • Helps promote restful sleep

Final Thoughts
This is not an in depth study of EOs, obviously. You may find other EOs more helpful to your running (or life). It’s just a quick introduction to how EOs can support your running.

Do you already use Essential Oils?

Which EOs are your favorites (doesn’t have to be running-related)? 

What do you use for muscle soreness? DoTerra’s Deep Blue Rub is another favorite of mine. I use it when I get shots I know will leave my arm sore — it helps a lot!

5 Ways to Turn Your Thoughts Around

5 Ways to Reframe Your Thoughts

Is it just me, or do you also have “Turning the Beat Around” stuck in your head now?  #sorrynotsorry

We all have runs that are harder than they should be — simply because we allow all those negative voices in our head free reign. What if you could turn that voice around?

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I am sharing a simple technique: reframing. Reframing is simply taking a negative thought and turning it into a positive thought.

Of course, it doesn’t always feel so simple!

Thought #1: Why does this feel so hard?
Reframe it:

  • This run is making me stronger
  • I can do hard things
  • I choose this run to help me grow stronger
  • Running is a privelege
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 Hills make me stronger | Photo by TruShotz on Pexels.com

Thought #2: I hate hills!
Reframe it:

  • I conquer this hill
  • I move closer to the top with every step
  • I fly down this hill
  • Hills make me stronger

Thought #3: I’m walking already?
Reframe it:

  • Walking helps me stay strong
  • I respect my body
  • I listen to my body
  • Walking keeps fatigue away

Thought #4: Why am I so slow?
Reframe it:

  • I run to my full potential
  • Forward is a pace
  • I run the perfect pace for me
  • I run to feel at peace with the world
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Choose to embrace the weather or not — it’s all in your mind! | Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com

Thought #5: I hate the heat/cold/wind/rain
Reframe it:

  • I choose to run in any type of weather
  • Running in all sorts of weather makes me a stronger runner
  • I grow stronger with every run
  • Rain brings rainbows

Final Thoughts
Thoughts. That’s the key word! A thought can always be changed. When we think the same thought over and over again, we actually create grooves in our brain. The good news is that we can use a new thought to overwrite those grooves!

What thoughts do you need to reframe?

Do you have a different way to reframe one of these thoughts? 

Are you positive or negative on the run, or does it vary run to run — even start to finish?

How I Defeated Achilles Tendonitis

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I have often been nagged by aches and pains that aren’t too bad, but just won’t go away. I actually enjoy going to Physical Therapy, but not so much in a Pandemic — plus my insurance doesn’t pay for it. I have had a time or two when the pain was either bad enough or I was in the midst of training for something and I had to seek out help. Even with the help of a great PT, it can still take diligent months of exercises to feel relief.

When my Achilles Tendon started to act up in the Summer, I dropped my mileage and I began to explore various remedies. Dropping my mileage definitely helped with the more intense pain, but the ache continued to linger. Until as suddenly as it came, it seemed to go away (fingers crossed — so far, so good). Here’s what I felt to be the most important contributors to my healing.

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday

Daily Foam Rolling
With particular attention to my calves — not forgetting to work toward the inside (distal) side of the calves, too! Also paying attention to my feet and hamstrings. I often did more — especially on run days — but if I was short on time this is what I hit.

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Foot exercises to keep our feet happy; even if I don’t look happy, LOL!

Foot Stretches
I started out with almost daily foot stretches/strengtheners, too, but as the pain subsided I typically did these only pre-run. I put up a video on my YouTube Channel here. I do the foot holds on the ball almost every day — the other exercises I usually only do on the days I run. 

Kept my mileage low
Although I’ve had the occasional aches in my Achilles over the years, it usually went away quickly. Until it didn’t. Until it was severe enough to cause limping. Not training for anything, I had no desire for a serious injury. Dropping my mileage was a no-brainer for me.

Calf Exercises
It’s all connected, of course, and often a pain in one area is actually cause by an imbalance in another area. The Achilles attaches to the calves, so for months I did walking on my toes, my heels, and the sides of my feet most days. I haven’t been doing these as much lately, as I’ve found the other things I do seem to keep my Achilles happy — so far. These are always good drills to do, though, especially if you’re a trail runner! 

You can see what I used to do in this video here, although I’ve changed up my routine quite a bit with some of the things I’ve since learned.

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Best thing for unhappy feet!

Foot Compression
It’s not what it sounds like! Basically it’s draping your foot over a ball and putting your weight on it. I have about five spots that I move through. This is also great for Plantar Fasciitis! You will note that I don’t actually roll my feet in this practice — and I very rarely roll my feet at all any more. Even if I’m just feeling a slight twinge in the morning, this will usually make it go away.

Final Thoughts
Of course I am not a medical professional or a physical therapist — you know the drill! I can’t diagnose what’s causing your pain. I can tell you that if you suffer with foot pain, there’s a good chance these practices will help you, too. I have slowly increased my mileage (although it’s definitely still not high mileage, not even close) without feeling a return of the problem — so far, knock on wood.

I can also say that if I had seen a Physical Therapist, maybe my issue would have been resolved much quicker — and maybe not. I’ve had to do PT exercises for months in the past before finding any relief. I really do recommend you see a PT if you’re in pain, but all of these exercises are great for runners — whether your feet bother you or not. Final, final thought: always listen to your body and stop at once if you feel pain or an ache worsens.

What do you do to keep your feet happy?

Are there any PT exercises you still do? 

What do you do to keep running injury free?

Running away from illness

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There’s a fine art to returning to running after an injury or a prolonged illness — and they’re not quite the same. I’ve had a few times when I’ve had to take a few weeks off running due to illness. Here’s how I ease back in — when I’m being smart. Of course I am not a medical professional or coach and I don’t play one on the Internet!

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday

When are you ready to return?
If it’s a simple cold, you might actually be able to run through it, although I don’t personally recommend it — because when you catch a cold it usually it means you’re already very run down. Rest will help you more than running through it.

If your illness involved a fever, *my* rule of thumb is to be at least two days fever free before even thinking about running. Unfortunately I get viruses where I’ll feel fine (after the initial few days of feeling bad) and then suddenly I’ll be running a low grade temperature again, over and over for a couple of weeks.

In that case, I did light exercise every day. Yoga. Walking Bandit. No hard cardio though — no running.

Eventually though I was fever free, and I was ready to return to running.

Start off easy
Easier than you think you need to. Light exercise while you’re sick will keep you in decent shape — but it won’t keep you in running shape. After a few weeks off, you can’t just pick up where  you left off. If you have a running coach they can definitely guide you to the right amount of exercise.

If you don’t, I suggest starting off with 1 mile (yup, that’s what I did). Run/walk is a really good idea, too, although I didn’t actually start out with run/walk intervals. I know it seems like nothing, but by starting off easy, it’s also easier to gauge your fitness and potentially ramp up your running quickly.

Start off too hard or too soon, though, and you’re likely to either relapse — or even potentially injure yourself.

You can expect to feel some DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) as your muscles get used to the pounding of running again. Or maybe not — I didn’t!

You absolutely should be doing only easy runs — and at a slower pace than you were running before you got sick. Don’t worry; you won’t be stuck at this pace — muscle memory can kick in quickly — but overdo it at the beginning and you will pay the price.

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Increase gradually
I started out with 1 miles, and then only added a quarter of a mile until I was at 2 miles. Then I jumped up a half mile to 2.5 miles. 

I found my V02 MAX had dropped a few points — in other words, I’d lost a little cardiovascular fitness. I know that with a slow and steady return, I will regain that fitness relatively quickly.

Don’t worry, be happy!
Just play it smart. Appreciate that you can run again — no matter how it feels (hard, probably), or at what pace (slower, hopefully). You won’t stay there forever. It won’t take you as long to get back to where you were before you got sick as it did to work your way up to that point in the first place.

As long as you play nice with yourself and take it easy!

Do you have a “furmula” for returning to running after a few weeks off?

Do you run through colds? I actually almost never get colds.

Have you ever jumped back in at the same level you left off — and regretted that?

Running is silly!

Seriously I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that since I started to run. Running is time consuming, especially if you train to race longer distances. It requires support from your loved ones, whether that’s just time to run or helping out with chores or being your literal support crew! Running can be hard on the body, too. It seems silly to spend hours out there on the weekend running, doesn’t it?

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday

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So why do I run?
That’s also something I’ve pondered many times. Just this past January, when I took one of my longest breaks from running because I wasn’t feeling well — it freed up so much time!

My answer might surprise you. I could say that I miss the endorphins, and if there’s ever been a time we need those endorphins, it’s been the past year (and present). I could say that I miss being able to indulge just a little more in my food choices. I could say that I miss the challenge of running — of training for a race and then laying it all out on the road.

All the above is true. Yet they’re not the real reasons why I run.

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I run to keep my heart happy
Did you know that heart disease is the Number One killer of women? According to this post on WebMD here, deaths from heart disease for women “exceeds the next seven causes of death combined”. That is a staggering statistic!

Luckily heart disease does not (sort of) run in my family, although I did have one aunt who had a major heart attack in her mid eighties, no doubt in part brought on by decades of smoking. I also had an uncle who died on my birthday from a heart attack — also a smoker, and obese as well. High blood pressure runs on my mom’s side of the family, too.

When I was sick last month for a few hours I was very nauseous and dizzy. At the time it never entered my mind that I could be having a heart attack — but later I realized that those are some of the classic signs of heart attacks in women. Those symptoms quickly passed, and I slowly got better. It wasn’t until a week later that thoughts of heart attacks & the symptoms women feel entered my mind.

The heart is one of the strongest muscles in the body
Yes, the heart is a muscle. Like all muscles, it needs to be trained — that’s exactly what cardiovascular exercise is. After years of data from my Garmin, I know that the quickest (maybe not the easiest) way to increase my respiration and heart rate (cardio) is running.

I wan to keep my heart happy, and that is one of the things that makes me think maybe running isn’t so silly after all.

What are the reasons you run? 

Did you know heart disease is the #1 killer of women? 

Do you ever think running is silly? 

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ICYMI: I’ll bet that you’ve heard of morning routines and thought they just weren’t for you or they take too much time. How about just 5 minutes? We all have 5 minutes! Check out the five different, 5 minute videos (start with the introduction here). You can choose between:

  • Stretching
  • Journaling
  • Pranayama
  • Mediation
  • Foam Rolling

The only longer practice is the video on foam rolling — if you’re interested, you’ll find that here. This is close to the routine I do before I run. I actually use a different foam roller, and I do one leg at a time when I’m getting ready to run. I also do some work on my IT band and upper body that I left out in this video — it’s still a good full body foam rolling routine before a run!

You can choose just one of these practices, or stack one or two — or more — together. I released these this weekend since it’s Valentine’s Day. All love starts with self love, and giving yourself a little self care in the morning is a form of self love, whether your solo or in a relationship. I challenge you to give one of these practices a try — maybe even join the Facebook group here — I’m going to be challenging you in there, too!

Welcome to Go with Yin Yoga

Today I am unveiling my new Website and Blog for Yoga here. It is very much a work in progress, so I appreciate your gentle, constructive criticism. At the moment it’s also a personal site, so there are some things I can’t change — and then there are some things I can change, but I need to figure out how!

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I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday

What you’ll find there
I offer several freebies you are free to download and I point you to some of the different sorts of videos I post to my YouTube channel. I’ll continue to post my new videos here — I try to put it all the way at the bottom of the post, because I know not everyone is interested — but I know some people are.

I have also started a new blog. My videos do often target things that are beneficial for runners — and at the end of February I’m taking a myofascial release class — I’m definitely excited to share more videos on that eventually!

In fact, just this week one day one shoulder was really bothering me; I could lift my arm above my shoulder without a fair amount of pain. I didn’t know why, since I haven’t been doing a whole lot, but I did a lot of myofascial release work on it and it was 90% better the next day and perfectly fine now.

Since this new Website is devoted to Yoga, I’ll also be diving into subjects like Yoga philosophy and pranayama — and how both can really help you in life. I will definitely also be posting about how Yoga can help — and hurt! — runners. I have lots of ideas; it’s always a matter of time!

An excerpt from the first blog post
I am writing a whole series on the Yamas and Niyamas, and how that might help you set some goals for this year, if you haven’t already. You don’t have to know what they are — I’ll explain them all.

What if you chose just one thing to concentrate on for all of 2021? How do you think your life would look like at the end of 2021 if you just chose one thing — and stuck to it? If you’re sighing a huge sigh of relief right now, keep reading — because I’m going to make it easy for you.

You can read the full post here.

Gratitude
I appreciate everyone that has subscribed to my channel, to everyone that has liked one of my videos — or left me a comment! I know that Yoga isn’t everybody’s thing, so I also appreciate you tolerating my passion for it.

If you have used my videos and enjoyed them, I’d love to get a testimonial from you I can feature on the Website. Email me here with whatever you feel called on to write and thank you so much for doing so!

Thanks for indulging me!

If Yoga isn’t your thing, but you know someone who might be interested, please pass along the Website — thank you!