Yoga

yoga
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I always thought that yoga was too hipster, and the women who did it were too into spirituality and it freaked me out. But then I read an article on the benefits of yoga and I wanted to try it ever since.

I just didn’t have the time and equipment.

But now I do.

As an early birthday present–and per my request–I received a Gaiam Taos Alignment yoga mat. I was excited to finally start practicing yoga (I figured I could get lessons on YouTube).

So, today I set up my laptop and rolled out my mat. I was ready!

I followed Yoga with Adriene’s video “Yoga for Beginners – The Basics,” but only after checking out PyscheTruth’s “Yoga for Complete Beginners – Relaxation & Flexibility Stretches 15 Min. Yoga Workout.” The latter sucked me in with its’ lauding of only being 15 minutes. However, it was the wrong video so I switched to Adriene’s, which was better. (And there was a cute dog in it!)

…but yoga is tough!

I knew something was off when I was having trouble controlling my breathing, but I tried to follow Adriene’s video. I managed to do the warm-up stretches, which were simple. When it came to the poses, though, I felt the burn. And the sweat.

After finishing the over 30-minute video, I was wiped out. But I did feel slightly more limber than before, and I definitely felt the blood running through me.

I had to lie down and rest, though. (Did I overdo it?)

Either way, the first day wasn’t too bad. As with everything new, yoga will get easier with time. Until tomorrow…

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Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Hawaii doesn’t have large national parks like California or any other state on the mainland (the exception is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park). But we don’t have deep, gorgeous valleys, large Sequoia trees that stretch into the sky, or vast deserts.

No, we have gardens full of greenery.

But I was taken into a “desert” when we visited Koko Crater Botanical Garden last week. I knew that it was going to be hot, with the terrain being dusty and full of rocks–it was inside of a crater, after all.

But I didn’t know that it was going to be that different from the other gardens around Oahu.

On our way to the garden we were in the middle of the bicycle portion of the Tinman Olymic Triathalon on Kalanianaole Highway. Cones and cops were sectioning off a lane on the road, and continued until halfway up to the garden.

We arrived at 7:30am and after passing the security guard sitting at a picnic table under the shade we went to grab a brochure from the mailbox. We read the sign describing the garden and headed off, following the Loop Trail signs to the plumeria section. Even in the desert-like conditions, they were pretty. Among the grown ones, we noticed a bunch getting ready to bloom on some bushes.

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So picturesque

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A group of plumeria

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Baby plumeria

After following a pair of hikers on the trail, we ended up in the Americas section, which was an area with a lot of cacti: tall, strange looking ones, ones that looked like bushes, and round ones were all scattered on the terrain, up and down a hill. The weather was starting to get cool, and the view in front of us reminded me of being in Arizona or the Nevada desert.

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Are we still in Hawaii?

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It was MUCH larger (and thornier!) from where I was standing

We thought we were following the path, but ended up veering off of it a bit when we reached the Madagascar section. The path we were on became more narrow as we continued walking, so we cut through some plants and got back on track.

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More cacti!

Throughout the 2-mile loop trail there were shady spots to stand under, and a nice gentle breeze. It wasn’t sweltering hot, but we needed water once we arrived back to the car!

As we were making our way down the to entrance we noticed more people coming: families and couples decked out in hats, shirts, shorts, and shoes. One woman I saw was wearing sandals and jeans. (She must’ve been sweating after).

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So high up

Since the garden was next door to Koko Crater Stables, we stopped to watch two girls ride very groomed horses. The muffled sound of the hooves on grass filled the (mostly) silent atmosphere with noise.

We completed the hike at 9am and made our way back to town. Out of the gardens that we visited, Koko Crater Botanical Garden is different: besides the obvious dirt paths and heat, it’s more of a hike than a leisurely walk (but I guess you could do that), and the plants are different from what Foster’s or Ho’omaluhia have on display too, which shows the diversity of Hawaii’s ecological system. It was a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.

Camping

I went on my first camping trip over Memorial Day weekend. Four of us went to Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area and it was fun!

Since it was a weekend to unplug and be with nature, I didn’t take a lot of photos, but there was no need to. It was great making memories without photos.

Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area houses Aiea Loop Trail, with ten campsites scattered around the park. Some campsites had amenities such as bathrooms and showers, while others had nothing but greenery. Thankfully, we had the former, and our site was at the end of the trail.

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Our tent

We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the next 48 hours eating good food (someone ate more s’mores than I can count), relaxing, getting rained on (twice) and one Target trip (Sunday).

There were seven designated areas on the campsite, each having at least one picnic table. I was wondering how many people were going to there and it was quite a bit! The largest group had the prime spot, where they set up a covering and a large fire. It was populated, but the campsite was large so no one was invading another group’s space. I liked that there were a lot of people around.

Some of them made us laugh. Like group grilling over the sewer line. (Actually, that just made us concerned).

But, it was a sight.

During the day it was hot, but at night I needed to wear a jacket. In fact, I wore my jacket over my long-sleeve PJ’s.

Despite the cold, we saw the stars, and they were beautiful.

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The…fifth, fourth time making s’mores?

Because of the rain early Sunday morning, it was too muddy to hike the trail. However, the four of us got our exercise walking to the entrance of the trail head looking for dill. (A friend and I went on a walk Saturday night and smelled it, so we brought the guys to explore but the smell was gone! They thought we were crazy).

Even though camping was fun, I was SO ready to go home and SHOWER. I think we all were. Two days in the “wilderness” was enough for me. I joked that camping was going to be a once a year affair. I’m not that much of an outdoorsy person, but wanted to try camping.

And my OCD was (mostly) kept in check. I was hesitant to go camping because of that, but I decided that I wasn’t going to let it prevent me from doing things.

And I didn’t.

Random Sunday: Forms of Exercise

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Exercise. Not my favorite activity.

At least, not in the traditional ways.

Jogging? Nope. Going to gym? Yuck! (Just thinking about how many people used the treadmill before me is scary). Personally I applaud people who will get up early and go on a morning run, or hit the gym before work, because it takes a lot of motivation to do so!

How do I get my sweat on, then? By doing (easy to moderate) hikes. Being out in the open with scenery to look at is better than staring at a wall or risking falling from running downhill. Yes, there are dangers involved with hiking–such as slipping off the side of the mountain if you’re not careful–but I’ll take climbing over rocks and streams over strenuous exercise any day. Plus, I have a nice time getting fit. It doesn’t feel like exercise. I also walk every so often.

What do you do for exercise? Do you walk, hike or swim? Or do you like the traditional gym? Let me know in the comments!