Fitness Friday #61: When You Can’t Workout

So, you get injured. You’re sidelined. Or maybe you have unexpected surgery (or even expected). You have a baby. SOMETHING in your life changes.

And you can’t workout.

But you love to workout.

What do you do?

First, you get sad or angry, especially if you spend most of your ‘free time’ working out, thinking about working out, dreaming about working out, helping other people, motivating other people. Then, you do something irrational or silly (eat a pint of ice cream, unfollow fitness celebrities, unfriend negative people).

Then, you focus and get back in the game.

Maybe it’s not a workout game, but there ARE other things you can do (WHO KNEW) when you can’t workout.

Here’s a list of things I’ve been doing:

  1. Read books. Reading is SO FUN. Just don’t read books about working out at first. You might throw them.
  2. Meditate. Again, hard at first. But what about exercising the mind? I even made a mala to aid my meditation. And it’s been pretty awesome. Even spending some time alone reflecting can be great. But don’t let it become a pity party.
  3. Clean up your eats. Fun fact: when you’re not as active,  you don’t need as much to eat. And you’re not as hungry. Pros: hangry isn’t a thing!!! Cons: food is delicious and you can’t eat all of it suddenly. I’m eating 1.5-2 meals a day right now, and it’s more than enough for me. (Related: I accidentally meal prepped like a regular week, so now I have SOMUCHFOOD and it’s funny).
  4. Learn something new. I haven’t gotten to this stage yet, but this is a grand time to pick up a new interest or hobby.
  5. Do something you ordinarily can’t do. Like, when I was teaching ALLTHEDAYS after work, I couldn’t come home and make dinner, or we’d be eating at 8:30 and that’s almost bedtime. So, since I’m not teaching (trying 4 classes this week!), I can cook dinner for us. It’s fun! I missed cooking.
  6. Organize things. Ok, this shows up on my list for everything. I love organizing things! I can’t lift more than a ‘gallon of milk’ (which SADLY weighs less than my cat, she’s heartbroken I’m sure), but I sure can direct the hubs to move things and sift through boxes. Or lift things awkwardly and slowly.
  7. Direct energy toward projects you’ve neglected. I have the tendency to get involved in a lot. And this is a great time to throw some energy toward those initiatives (related: want to buy a fall share from Colchester Farm? We’re taking new members NOW!).

Any tips to share from fellow workout lovers/instructors who find themselves unable to workout?


My beautiful mala! Handmade, by me!

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Coffee Talk Tuesday #12

Happy Coffee Talk Tuesday! Welcome to the weekly chat where I spill my guts and try not to spill my coffee. That would be very sad.


Today’s post is brought to you by Worcester Preparatory School! Not really, but it’s one of my favorite schools to visit. I’m sad it’s not part of my territory anymore!

I’ve said it once/a million times, but boy, what a difference a week makes. Since last week’s weird events, I’m back at work, and am attempting to teach 4 of my usual 11 classes.

Don’t worry — I’m stubborn, but I’m a smart lady, too. I won’t push myself this week. Next week, we aren’t allowed to lead any fitness classes, so this is a good ‘test’ week before diving back into the mix on September 5.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that September 5 sounds like a FAR away time, but it’s in like 2 weeks, not even. How? Don’t get me wrong, I love all things fall – the crisp air, apples, pumpkin everything, scarves, cute jackets, boots — the long list of favorites. But summer seems to have slipped by this year. I guess that happens.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that last week was a big learning week in my world. I learned some unfortunate things about friendship, some great things about having a reliable and loyal husband, and some tough things about my identity and how I see myself/my place in the world. It was hard. I didn’t expect my emotions to get the best of me last week, especially since I know myself as a very strong human who can tolerate a lot of pain.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve started a new book, recommended to me by a very unexpected source. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to share ideas from it, and start implementing them in my own practices.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that this is a new week, and I’m always excited at the possibilities of a new week.

Cheers to you!

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Fitness Friday #60: Then & Now

I used to call this ‘before & after’ but I’m learning to shift my language to ‘then & now.’ There isn’t really an ‘after’ when it comes to fitness and wellness, because you’re always changing and expanding your knowledge and understanding.

Most of this learning has come from a deepened yoga practice. When I first started practicing, it was all about ‘nailing’ the moves (and in some cases, I still host those sentiments). Now, I’m learning that it’s more about being aware, focusing, creating space in the body, and quieting the mind.

Most of these ‘then and now’ photos were taken 1-2 years apart. I want to focus on more than just the physical differences. There’s been a lot of learning, growth, and understanding between shots.

I don’t practice each of these moves every day, or even every week, so the ‘now’ pieces might be from the last month or couple of months.

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I don’t practice this one regularly, but I feel the difference now and can better understand why the one on the left looks like I’m having a hard time holding it.

When I first started practicing, I was told that ‘crow is the gateway to arm balances.’ I so wish I could go back to that moment and disregard that information. Not being able to get into crow well at first discouraged me from practicing arm balances. I had it in my mind that I had to balance in crow before all other poses. This is not the case! I found better balance in eight-legged pose and side balances and those became my gateway to confidence. When I revisit crow now, it comes more easily.

My next challenge is to move from crow to firefly.

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Backbends have always come easily to me. I practiced these a lot as a kid, just because it felt fun (which is really entertaining to think about, because as an adult I’ve had to fight hard against upside-down fears).

I love the backbend in camel and playing with variations. There’s always room for growth with this posture. Even in the ‘now’ picture, I can see that I have to work on pushing my hips forward.

My next challenge is to continue pushing my hips forward and walk the hands toward the knees.

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This one is subtle. Side planks can be a fierce tool in a yogi’s physical development. Through my daily practice, I’ve learned to position the resting foot above (or below) the knee, not directly on the knee. I’ve also learned that the balance and strength are greater when the balancing arm is not directly below the shoulder, but at a slightly obtuse angle from the body.

My next challenge is to create space in the back and grab that resting foot from behind with my free arm on top.


I love the openness felt in half moon pose. I love adding this to flows, and use it frequently in my PiYo classes. Thanks to regular studio practice (with an instructor), I’ve started practicing binds in this posture.

It’s very challenging to balance on one foot while grabbing the free leg and wrapping the second arm around the body. I’ve had to learn trust (falling forward several times) and to concentrate on the breath while working through this bind.

My next challenge with this is to practice on the other side (guilty).


I’m probably most proud of my headstand progress this year. It’s a ‘cool’ posture, but I’m mostly proud that I’ve truly conquered my upside-down fears. It has taken time (these photos are 2 years apart), but I’ve managed to control the breath, take my time, and focus on engaging the core to keep the legs lifted.

My next challenge is to keep working on variations on entering and exiting this posture.

I love tracking my progress! Previously, I worked under a ‘pose and snap’ model, and now I end up using a screenshot of my bigger practice. Now, I’m very interested in flow, how to get into and out of certain movements and how everything connects and ‘unlocks’ the next level.

And sometimes, life throws you unexpected setbacks, and you have to prepare yourself for physical challenges. Fortunately, my situation is temporary, but I know I’ll have a ton of hard work ahead of me to build back what I’ve worked so diligently to gain this summer.

I’m sure I’ll continue to grow within my practice, and I look forward to understanding even more.

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Coffee Talk Tuesday #11

Happy Coffee Talk Tuesday! Welcome to the weekly chat where I spill my guts and try not to spill my coffee. That would be very sad.


If we were having coffee this week, I’d tell you that I should be home with my morning cup of coffee after this weekend’s events. More on that later. However, I’m at the office this morning and again tomorrow afternoon because we’re having office ‘boot camp.’ Not only do I have to present/provide updates, it’s also one of the few times our whole office will be together for rules and regs for the year. I PUSHED myself (it’s all me, I’m stubborn and need to work) hard to be here today.

If we were having coffee this week, I’d tell you that, unexpectedly, I found myself in the care of surgeons at the Anne Arundel Medical Center on Saturday night. On Friday afternoon, my stomach/lower stomach started to hurt. It was a pretty constant pain. But, guys, I workout EVERY day, teach 10-11 classes a week, and run. I’m always sore, something is almost always in some kind of pain (never horrible, just there).

So, I co-taught my Friday class, then the next morning, got up with similar, a little worse, pain and taught another Zumba class. After Zumba, I helped my student worker move her belongings from apartments to her on-campus residence hall. By the end of all that activity, I was in a ton of pain. I showered, tried to busy myself with tasks like laundry and tidying up, but constantly had to stop, with this INTENSE pain in my lower right side.

When Johnny got home from church, I knew we had to go somewhere. We started at the Kent Island Urgent Care and after the doctor saw me, she recommended we high-tail it to AAMC across the Bay Bridge for a CT scan and consultation with their on-call doctor.

I was almost immediately admitted. After a few hours of tests, scans, and waiting for the IV to drip, I had a consultation with a surgeon and he recommended laparoscopic surgery for the condition I developed: appendicitis.

Let me pause here and say how WONDERFUL AAMC is – super professional, everyone was helpful and nice and patient. I am SO glad we went there. I asked tons of questions about recovery, how you ‘get’ appendicitis (spoilers – it’s just luck!), and about the actual procedure.

The procedure took about 40 minutes in the OR (more time with prep and recovery) and I stayed the night to be monitored. I had to (sorry) use the bathroom, walk, and eat before they would let me leave. Most of that was accomplished early the next morning (surgery was at 8:45 the night prior), but I had to hang tight since it was Sunday and things worked a little slower. We left around 1:00 p.m. to head home.

As a planner, this has been SUPER hard on me (my husband will attest – I sat up in my hospital bed to craft email updates on my laptop to fitness class students and my colleagues). My mind is great, no pain meds other than OTC stuff, but my body needs to heal and that’s hard for me to digest.

I can’t teach, can’t workout (the two main things I LOVE and have to do every day) I am still working my main job from home (again, stubbornness and a need to keep projects moving) trying to do some house tasks (don’t tell Johnny) and keeping my cat from climbing on me. She’s having a rough couple of days, y’all. She doesn’t get why I’m not picking her up, letting her lay on my belly/chest, etc. It’s pretty rough in CatTown.

Last week, I made some breakthroughs with my headstand practice, and this week I’m like perfecting the squat-low-do-not-bend-forward technique. Y’all know I’m a complete BADASS and push hard to complete things. (When the nurses asked me to walk a lap around the surgical recovery ward the morning after surgery, I did 6. Because reasons).

I fully expect to be on my feet as soon as possible. I think my yogi training has prepared me for this recovery – deep, controlled breathing and meditation. I’m also convinced that my new appendix-less abdomen will give me yogi superpowers when I’m ready. That’s a thing.

If we were having coffee this week, I’d tell you that I have the absolute BEST husband in the world. I picked a good one! He’s perfect in crisis situations and calm and attentive. He’s also amazing at anticipating my needs. I’m so grateful for him (AND his sweet parents who drove all the way to Annapolis after being on the lower shore all day to see me and then made soup and food and brought flowers and cupcakes with SPRINKLES).

That’s really all that’s happening in my world this week.

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Fitness Friday #59: Poses to Get to Headstand

I was helping a couple of people find balance in tripod this week, and one of them mentioned to me that it would be SO helpful to have a tutorial of HOW to get into a headstand from a beginner’s perspective.

Most of the tutorials (and I’ve caught myself saying these things) mention the ‘popping’ of the legs, and ‘just lift one leg and the other will follow’ — and these are GREAT tips, but if you don’t know what to expect or what those sensations feel like (as a beginner), then you might find yourself frustrated and confused.

So, to help and provide some instruction, I’m prepping a series of ‘Let’s do this headstand thing’ posts.

This week, I want to focus on poses that will aid a headstand pose. There are many to help gear you for a headstand, but I want to focus on 10 as a starting reference. Thinking back, I realized that practicing these poses and understanding their importance not just physically but also mentally helped me achieve a headstand.

The poses



Why it helps with headstands: It’s the first measure of strength I found when starting and really getting into my yoga practice. The practice of tucking the elbows inward and controlling the body to move as one unit mentally and physically prepares for the demands of a headstand. This is the pose I give credit to most for my ‘yogi strength.’

Downward-facing Dog


Why it helps with headstands: Another usual suspect in most yoga practices, downward-facing dog is an inversion posture. I didn’t realize that an inversion meant any posture where the head drops below the heart (I really thought it applied to head and handstands), but this pose is a great place to start with inversions. Even more, once you learn to rest into the heels and lift the seat, you start to create space in the back and shoulders. This is immensely helpful when learning to headstand.



Why it helps with headstands: Similar to downward-facing dog, this pose helps create space in the back and really opens the shoulders. It’s also a deeper inversion and gets the arms ready for a balance. You can also play with lifting the legs individually in this pose, which helps get the body ready for being upside-down.



Why it helps with headstands: This is a deep hip opener/stretch. The hips are like the ‘junk drawers’ of the body — we store anxiety, tension, emotion here. Learning to open them and stretch them helps free the mind for the mental part of headstands.



Why it helps with headstands: Camel requires trust. You can start with your hands in the small of the back, working to open the back and prepare for a dropback. Once you can let the head hang back and you can see behind you, then the dropback becomes accessible. There’s so much of a mental game when it comes to headstands, and camel helps prepare for that.

Chair with a twist


Why it helps with headstands: This one probably seems the most out of place. But I include it because it teaches L/R control. You’re twisting and opening to one side while controlling the opposite hip and leg. Your body wants to move in one direction and you have to control it to move in opposite directions. The same is true of a headstand. Take tripod headstand — you have to balance and push down into the hands/fingers while controlling the front/back push and pull of the legs.

Low forearm plank with Sphinx arms


Why it helps with headstands: I added ‘Sphinx arms’ because in low plank, most people tend to bring the hands together in front of the head. Controlling with Sphinx arms (keeping the palms flat and hands parallel) helps open the back and shoulders and preps the arms for balance.

Yogi Squat


Why it helps with headstands: Another focus on the hips! This helps open and stretch the hips, which I found so helpful when controlling the hips to stack in line with the shoulders in headstand. Plus, controlling your heels to stay flat while in a low squat proves to be a physical meets mental challenge.

Wide-legged forward bend


Why it helps with headstands: Getting the body ready to be upside-down is helpful! This wide-legged forward fold is awesome prep for tripod headstand. You can play with the arm and foot placement to challenge the inversion even more.



Why it helps with headstands: Headstands are 80% mental. You have to learn to get out of your head and just GO for it. Your mind will block you before your physical body has a chance to understand the movements in a headstand position. Savasana was one of the hardest poses for me to learn (still learning!) but it’s about being fully conscious and awake but relaxed and not letting the mind wander to your task list. This is SO hard!

I hope these help your headstand journey! I should note that ALL physical activity should be cleared by your doc before you begin your journey. This is especially important if you have pre-existing conditions or previous injuries. Headstands are awesome and full of adventure, but there can be physical implications if they are performed incorrectly. Take your time and consult your doc and yoga instructor for help!

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Coffee Talk Tuesday #10

Happy Coffee Talk Tuesday! Welcome to the weekly chat where I spill my guts and try not to spill my coffee. That would be very sad.


Rockin’ the bride cup today! #AlwaysABride

If we were having coffee together today, I’d tell you that I had the silliest worst start to my Monday. Listen to this – I was dreaming about folding and sorting and putting away laundry (hush, it’s a task I LOVE), and everything was going smoothly until I WOKE UP. And the task hadn’t been completed in my dream. HOW RUDE?! Real-life laundry is done, so I can’t even remedy the situation (which is ridic because hi that was a dream) today.

If we were having coffee together today, I’d tell you that this week has already been rough. I’m not sure what it is (probably that terrifying dream I had Monday), but I need a little shake-off around here! Give me all the cookies, yoga, and coffee STAT.

Speaking of yoga, if we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I created a fancy feature account on instagram! Follow my daily pursuit of the yogi at @ctownyogi. (shameless plug, but I’d love to share my yoga adventures with you!)


Isn’t this fun?! One LARGE picture created from small cut-out pieces.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I got some weird news last week and it’s caused me to stop and think about my goals regarding teaching fitness classes. I’m cutting back teaching at Washington College–from 10 to 7 classes–and am looking to either add classes in another location OR use my time to advance certifications and deepen my yoga practice. Maybe a combination of all of these. I can’t just ‘rest’ on my laurels, right? Right?

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I spent a couple of afternoons last week ‘spring cleaning’ (or summer cleaning?) and that is continuing to spill into the workplace. Loose papers and knick knacks BEWARE – I’m coming for you. I love the process of simplifying, cleaning, etc., but it makes me think HARD about the front-end of that process — buying of the things. Less of this is in my future.

What’s on your mind this week?

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Fitness Friday #58: All About those Abs Challenge

It’s time for another online monthly challenge!

This month, we’re trying a few fun core moves together. I’m calling it “All About those Abs” because Meghan Trainor, yo.

How does it work?

Join the facebook group or print (screenshot, etc.) the list below and plan to follow this plan from August 7-20. Each day, we have a new move to try! The idea is to try 25 reps of each move (25 seconds for the earthquake move).

13690958_1036358156418791_4937700678437107893_o Toward the end of the challenge, days 11-14, we’re combining a couple of the moves.

AND!! On Friday, August 26, I’m offering a FREE live class version of all of these moves! If you’re in the Chestertown area and want to join the fun, we’re meeting at Washington College (in the Johnson Fitness Center Dance Studio) from 5:20-6:00 p.m. We’ll have all of the moves from this challenge AND a few bonus moves:

– Superman move
– Russian twists
– High to low plank
– Reverse crunches
– Plank with alternating arm and leg

At the start of each day, I’ll post a ‘how to’ move video in the challenge group. Most of these will include variation options and helpful tips to get the most from each move.

**This is not meant to replace a full workout** Please remember to warm up before attempting these moves! And, if you find that you don’t like a particular move or it hurts in ANY way, stop! Try something else. Or, ask – I’d be happy to provide you an alternative move option  on any day.

I can’t wait to dig into this challenge with you!

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Coffee Talk Tuesday #9

Happy Coffee Talk Tuesday! Welcome to the weekly chat where I spill my guts and try not to spill my coffee. That would be very sad. FullSizeRender (22)

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I got to enjoy today’s first cup of coffee AT HOME paired with an eggy-in-a-basket and some fresh fruit. Delicious.

I’m on ‘staycation’ this week – sort of. I’m still teaching my 10 fitness classes, and it’s proving more of a challenge than I thought to run back and forth with teaching! I almost feel like it’s easier to get to classes when I’m already at work. That being said – I’m loving getting my tasks at home completed, even if I’m still answering work emails.

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d share my crazy awesome to do lists for this staycation week. I have lots of plans that include some WAC work, some Colchester work, some fruit picking and jammin’, some cooking, lots of cleaning and organizing, and more.

I start with a list like this:


And then I’ll usually organize it like this (I love, love, love writing):


And this week, to keep me on track, I created an excel doc with all of the times and activities placed in a grid:

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I get giddy over schedules. Really.

Related, if we were having coffee this week, I’d engage you in a conversation regarding work. My friend and I were talking about this last night – when did it become a thing that you have to work until old age in order to just…live? And why is it SO much harder to spend your time as you’d like?

Also related, I caught a few moments of the Kane Show on the radio this morning, and they were talking about stress related to vacations at work, like how people would rather just not take their vacation time. WHAT. I mean, I fall in a similar category — sometimes it’s just harder to take a vacation than it is to be at work, but we are so not machines and we definitely need a break (I need to pause and read that statement out loud to myself, hold please).

A lot of the people polled for this survey indicated that they’d also rather work vs. vacation so as to not jeopardize their promotion options. When did it become a thing to work yourself to death in order to get a promotion? I agree that hard work has to happen, but NO ONE can provide 100% hard work all the time. I’m seriously considering days I can take off (I have tons of vacation time left…)simply because of this radio show segment. It’s so important to take a break!

If we were having coffee this week, I’d tell you that we had a fabulous beach weekend! I always forget just how close we live to Rehoboth. I love it there, and the time on the beach, away from normal duties, was so needed.

If we were having coffee this week, I’d tell you that I’m currently making all of my fall work travel arrangements! My territory has been decreased again to just the middle of the country, so I’ll be trekking to Colorado and Texas this fall. I’m hoping to attend a conference in Florida in January as well.

If we were having coffee this week, I’d tell you that I have not one but TWO hot yoga classes planned this week. So exciting! I love getting on the mat at Serenity Yoga as a student. My tribe has also signed up for aerial yoga lessons (eep) in the middle of the month, so I’m excited to try that!

What’s on your plate this week?


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Coffee Talk Tuesday #8

Happy Coffee Talk Tuesday! Welcome to the weekly chat where I spill my guts and try not to spill my coffee. That would be very sad.


Happy coffee day (read: every day), dear friends! I have all the thoughts today, and want to share a few with you here.

If we were having coffee together today, I’d tell you that I’ve been thinking about the idea of success and how it means something different to everyone. For some, it might be related to money or possessions, for some it’s family, for some it’s physical like losing weight or gaining muscle, and so many more things.

Even more, the idea of success changes as you change. If you would’ve asked me 5 or 10 years ago to define success, it would sound differently than it does today. Priorities change.

Mostly, I’ve been pondering this thought: if you reach your success, what’s better – work to maintain it, keep going and try to define a new success related to it, or change course completely and focus on another ‘success’ goal? Basically, once you have a good thing going, should you interrupt it? Is it really success if you coast?

Then, thanks to the internet gods being as they are, I saw this on the YogaFit instagram:

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Ahhh, that sounds wise. Instead of focusing on your success, or trying to determine what success looks like or should mean, maybe try focusing instead on being a person of value. The implication is that if you pursue becoming someone of value, you will most likely be successful. Whereas if you make “success” your focal point, you might miss important things that will help you get there.

A person of value, then, would be a person who brings value to other people. Perhaps this is a person who can solve peoples’ problems. Perhaps this is a person who can make connections and introductions. Perhaps this is a person of extreme expertise in a particular area. Perhaps this is a person who is trustworthy and reputable. Wow.

So, as I sip my java this morning, I’m thinking about this — am I doing something with my time that adds value to me, my life, the world around me? Do all my tasks and to-do lists add up to something more valuable? Deep thoughts for a Tuesday, y’all.

On a lighter note, if we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that yesterday there was a heat index of 107 and my running buddy and I still met for our morning run. I’m not sure if we’re crazy or dedicated or just plain silly. But I wouldn’t trade this new morning running routine for the world! I love getting back into the swing of runner Aundra.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’m super excited for two things this week: a day off Friday (already booked a yoga class with one of my favorite instructors in Middletown), and a beach weekend! Johnny and I are heading to one of my favorite weekend getaway spots, Rehoboth, right after class on Friday night. Looking forward to a little r&r!

What’s on your mind this week?

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Fitness Friday #58: My 5 go-to moves

Happy Friday! Today, I want to share some of my favorite, magical fitness moves.

These are my go-to moves–the moves that I like to perform when I want to feel strong, powerful, in control, and ready to go take charge of the day.

Fit with Aundra’s 5 Favorite Moves:

1) Jumping Jacks
2) Burpees
3) Clockwork Lunges
4) Push-Ups
5) Dives

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