(Almost) 30 Day Yoga Challenge

EDIT: Oops. It appears I can’t find today’s (May 7th) yoga video anymore, so pick one you’ve enjoyed so far or try a new one! (I did yesterday’s since I was in a yoga class yesterday). I will find replacement videos for the other times this one appears in the schedule.

I’ve decided to go with a yoga challenge for the month of May, since it’ll help with my general flexibility (and for those of you who voted for splits challenge, I focused on a lot of leg yoga stretches). They’re all beginner level videos, so feel free to participate no matter what skill level you are at!

Here’s the challenge:

mayyogachallenge

All the videos can be found on my favorite yoga website, www.doyogawithme.com. Just do a quick search using their search tool and you’ll find the video. I still think I’ll try to post photos of my flexibility throughout the month for motivation.

How are you challenging yourself during May?

Catching up on the Stretch, Plank and Squat Challenges!

King Pigeon Pose

My favorite yoga pose (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

Good news is, while I’ve missed a few days of my squat and plank challenge–I’m completely caught up. While my boyfriend and I have a few days–we’ve caught up on the challenge’s days off. I’ve even managed to pull off a 1:30 plank, and I’ve been thinking about incorporating side planks and straight-arm planks.

Stretching has not been going quite as well. I was getting slightly sick of doing videos, so I basically ended up skipping stretching this weekend after a two-hour long ballet class and a super stressful Sunday (my 5k did not happen because of my shin splints). So I’ve been working on getting that back on track and Monday and Tuesday I just did some of the yoga poses and stretches I had worked on. Hopefully these will help me get closer to my splits in the end. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to put up some split photos when we reach the halfway point of our April challenge.

I’ve added another element of fitness to my daily routine to try to strengthen my calves for running and for pointe work (eventually–I’m taking baby steps in getting back to pointe work!). I’ve just been incorporating 3 sets of 12 calf raises and 3 sets of 12 single calf raises.

Now I just need to work more theraband stretching into my routine.

How have you been challenging yourself this April?

Sometimes It’s Okay to Give Up + Day 1 of April Stretch Challenge

Sometimes, you just have to know when to stop doing something (No, I’m not quitting ballet).

I’ve decided to drop out of the Broad Street Run (my boyfriend has too). After a long thought process and debating selling our bibs several times (between starting training late because of my shin splints and busy schedules).  After a particularly rough training day at the gym today, we’ve decided to pass on this year’s race.

While I’m a little bit sad about it, I feel like it’s for the best.

I’m not giving up on running, I’ve just decided to take it slower, and not unnecessarily push myself (seeing as how that’s what usually causes injuries). Part of it is so I can focus more on ballet (rather than killing myself trying to do both as I’m trying to come back from my injury). I plan on listening to my body more and stopping when I’m in too much pain (guilty as charged–I run and dance when I really shouldn’t be sometimes).

yoga

yoga (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

On a brighter note, my Squat and Plank challenge has been going well (Check out the Facebook Group–it’s still not too late to join!) Who ever thought I could hold a minute and fifteen second long plank? Not me, that’s for sure!

I also did day 1 of my April Stretch Challenge (I picked doing yoga to generally increase my flexibility). My mild shin splints feel better and my hips feel awesome.

How are you challenging yourself this April?

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Nikki from Mercietchatons: 100th Post!

photo 2This week’s ballerina profile is Nikki from Mercitchatons. She seems like a great fit for Adult Ballerina Project’s 100th post because she was one of the first adult ballet blogs I came across and inspired me to do a 30 day split challenge (and we’ll both be doing another one in April!

Adult Ballerina Project: When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

Nikki: I started at 26.

ABP: Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

 Nikki: Yes, between the ages of 3-8 I was doing ballet. I remember it very fondly and never let the idea of it go when I left. I only left because of family financial difficulties.

ABP: Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?
Nikki: I wanted to go back to ballet when I was 16/17 but school got in the way and a lot of other things to. I finally got around to it in my mid 20s. I can’t explain the full reason of wanting to go back to ballet other than doing what you do at the barre. It’s so engrained in you and you either love it or hate it and become a ballet robot and need to do you tendus and dégagés like it’s nobody’s business.

 ABP: Where do you take classes?

Nikki: I go to Alderwood Dance Spectrum. It’s a city north of Seattle. The school’s been there for many years and the Director/Owner is a great woman and dancer. I love the children and fellow students I dance with and I couldn’t ask for a better place to dance. I don’t ever feel judged or competitive.

ABP: What is your favorite part about ballet?

Nikki: There are so many parts of ballet I love. I love expression through slight movement. I love doing barre work, monotonous brain exercises that you eventually learn as second nature. It’s physical building aspect. The music. The history.

ABP: What is your least favorite part?

Nikki: Mostly my personal limitations and becoming extremely frustrated with it. Which isn’t ballet’s fault. Just my adult brain and body. Memorization is hard to. One month you’ll have all the positions down and proper when requested, and then you don’t do it for a month and focus on something else and then you completely forget and they ask you out of the blue and you’re like “durrrr… croise … what direction arms- where?”

ABP:Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Nikki: Zenaida Yanowsky, she’s tall which is very unusual for a principal dancer to be. She shows great character and excellent execution in her technique. Yulia Stepanova, a very little known corphyee in the Mariinsky theater. She’s absolutely gorgeo . Phenomenal. She’s strong, beautiful technique, and her epaulment is gorgeous. Evengnia Obratzsova, she’s so cute, so small, so fragile, yet a beautiful emote-r ballerina. In my growing theme you can see strong technique and emotional elegance are my favors and the students of my school, they’re beautiful sweet girls and boys who are very interested in what they do and how to do it better.

ABP: What motivates you to keep dancing?photo 1

Nikki: The idea that I will feel bad if I do not go. That I will lose progress I had gained two folds. That I always need to get better and work harder. That by coming to class, the girls and boys who look to me for answers, will have them and be inspired too to keep being beautiful as they are.

ABP: Do you take any other dance classes?

Nikki: Not currently, no. I may take hip hop depending how my schedule opens up. Usually though if it does open up, it would just be more ballet classes. Maybe a contemporary class too- HAH! Ideally my Teacher would want me to take tap- yea no thanks.

ABP: What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

Nikki: I’m literally an art school drop out. I spent most of my HS career collecting college AP credits for fine art. So I dabble in illustration, painting, drawing, etc. I also sew, as I spent time at the Art Institute of Seattle. I learned how to draft patterns and sew by industrial standards. I like to bake and make obscene sugar cookies.  I also collect all things Mickey- well, almost. I limit myself so my house isn’t swamped in the stuff. Lets just say I’m a Disney fan.

ABP: What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?

Nikki: Warm up and care for your body. I know you want to get better and stronger but as adults our body is not adjusted to strenuous repetitive activities. Use leg warmers and clothes to keep you warm, and warm up 15-30 min before you even start barre. Stretch any free moment you get, and do it frequently. Love and care for yourself and my favorite things to keeping me happy after a hard class is hot both, epsom salt, and a glass of wine. Cheesecake too for good measure 🙂

ABP: Anything else you’d like to add?

Nikki: Know it’s okay to mess up. To be slower or to work out what they’re doing slower. Your body has not been doing ballet for 12 years of your life(and if you have, well you’ve been on break maybe so…). You will work your way there and always remember you are magnificent and someone is always watching!

 

Squat and Plank Challenge and April 30 Day Challenge

 

Through the Sweat Pink Ambassador network I found an awesome Squat and Plank challenge–which I figured would be super useful for helping to get my core muscles and my legs into better shape. It’s being run over at Live. Sweat. Sleep. Repeat. (you can find the chart on her blog!).

 

Plank on The Mat

Plank on The Mat (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

 

It starts off fairly easy–but at the end of the 6 weeks it gets more intense (Hello 3 minute plank!). I’ll probably be adjusting to do more squats each day (say, like 3 sets of X) and cutting the plank time in half of what’s planned and doing two of them instead (I’m a wimp, okay? And planks are tough.)

 

There’s also a super awesome Facebook Support Group for it as well which I’m part of. Motivation for a workout challenge never hurts.

 

I’ll also be doing another 30 Day Challenge for ballet-related muscles (the idea sprouted from Thanks & Kittens). Like she recommended, I’d suggest working on whatever you feel you need to. Back Flexibility? Splits? Turns? Do it. I’ll be making a slight adjustment and making my goal to wake up every morning and do this runner’s yoga regime, since it will help with my hip flexibility as well as help prep me for running.

 

If you’re doing either of these challenges, let me know and if you have a blog, link me to your challenge posts! I love hearing about how everyone else is doing and we can motivate each other.

 

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