Posts by Yogi Shireen

Bacon to Bikram: In Stitches at Indigo

Posted on: July 1st, 2013 By:
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In Stitches at Indigo

Thursday, June 27th

stitch  n.

1. A single complete movement of a threaded needle in sewing or surgical suturing.


in stitches Informal

1. Laughing uncontrollably.

I haven’t blogged in forever! I’m sorry. For the last two weeks, I have been super busy helping out with this year’s Camp Indigo. But even if I had not been at Indigo, I still would not be able to do yoga. Shoot, I’m having a hard time even walking because I fell last week and had to get stitches in my shin. I’m clumsy. Hence, today’s title – “In Stitches” – because I am literally sutured, and because the kids at Camp Indigo have had me “in stitches”.

So… I have worked with kids since I practically was one, and have been a camp counselor back home for years and years. The difference was, we were around water, so we had to be strict, whereas at Camp Indigo, that is not the way things work. Okay, so maybe the “had to be strict” thing is a cop out. Maybe it is easier to discipline a child immediately rather than do a little investigation into the motive behind the behavior. That’s what I am slowly learning…on the second to last day of the last week. But hey, never late than never, right? It is also super cool seeing all the names of the kids because I’m a sucker for unique names. Lastly, it is interesting to see an organization/a camp being run with such a deep concern for the well being of the children, the parents, the families, the volunteers, and the community. It is not a camp in the sense that it is a time filler for children in the absence of school, but it is a week (or two) of a deep investment in growth and awareness.

And lastly, lessons learned!

Lessons Learned:
– Aerosol sunscreen is bad.
– Wasps are docile in the early morning.
– Stitches can’t get wet.
– Children are extra sympathetic to adults with boo-boos.


Bacon to Bikram: Beginner Bihar

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 By:
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And So It Begins! 

Tuesday, May 14th


About to go to my first yoga class…”Beginner Class”, luckily. It’s a whole hour long! I think the longest I have sat still for an hour was during the last television show I watched, though I can’t tell you what it was…Here we go!


So, first of all, my posture sucks. It sucks so bad that it hurts my back to sit up straight because it is such a foreign concept to my body. Second, I went to the wrong class. My first class was not supposed to be until tomorrow but I guess I was SO excited to start that I got ahead of myself. Luckily, the class I attended today was also a beginner class, but this was Beginner’s Yoga, Bihar style.


Still not sure what Bihar means but the teacher was great at explaining everything, maybe because I pre-warned her that I had never been before…ever. The small class size helped greatly, and the instructor made sure to make everyone go at my pace, so I wouldn’t miss anything or strain myself by rushing. I will definitely have to look up all the terms I learned today, though. Oh oh and also? The instructor was going to stop the group at an early level of meditation because I was new but afterwards she told us that, because I was doing such a good job of sitting still, that she didn’t stop us like she had planned. WOOHOO! I should get a plaque for not talking for an entire hour. But for real though. Also, my aunt has roped my uncle and I into “going veg” for the summer. The “Bacon to Bikram” might just seem like a cute alliteration but I really do consume a lot of bacon….used to consume a lot of bacon.


Lessons Learned:
– Hyper people can do yoga too!
– Don’t kill a bug in the middle of yoga class. He will find his own way out.
– Microwaves are bad.

Bacon to Bikram: The Story of a Yoga Newbie

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 By:
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Yogi — Not Just a Bear Anymore

Monday, May 13th

Do you love bacon? Me too.
Do you know what Bikram is? Me neither.
Have you ever blogged before? Me neither. Get excited.

Unorthodoxically, I started my internship at the Amala Foundation on a Friday….then I realized nothing was unorthodox to the Amala staff, family, and friends. Amala’s space is its own green adventure, nestled between construction sites in downtown Austin.

building front

For me, summer began at 10:34 Thursday night when I turned in my very last paper at the very last minute. Then, before dawn on Friday, I packed the car and made the drive for Austin, armed with three hours of sleep and a desire to slow down my recently accelerating (collegiate) life style. I quickly found out that the Amala Foundation was going to do more than just help me slow down. As soon as I walked in to the space, everyone’s desire to serve was immediately apparent. Not to mention, they have a huge outdoor space with benches and trees and flowers and wind chimes. I love wind chimes. They even have a two story space behind the main house that they rent out to the community and where they hold yoga classes, whose proceeds help support the Foundation’s youth programs. The thing is…I’ve never done yoga, and in a city like Austin, apparently that’s kind of like saying I have five eyes. Should I buy my own mat? Are there different kinds of mats? What’s the best yoga mat for a beginner like me? What do I wear? Is there set yoga attire I need to know about? What kind of shoes am I supposed to wear? Do we even wear shoes?

For the next 30 days, I’ll be taking
3 yoga classes a week at Sanctuary Yoga Studio, so I’ll find out soon enough. But I’ve already told them they aren’t going to get me to stop eating meat! Though I have consumed more organic and vegan food in the last 72 hours than I have in 22 years.

Until next time!


Lessons Learned:
– Traffic…just traffic.
– Austin has a comedy radio station!
– Healthy food keeps you full longer.

For Shireen’s Second Blog, click here.

Bacon to Bikram: Casa de Vinyasa con Familia

Posted on: June 5th, 2013
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Casa de Vinyasa con Familia 

Wednesday, June 5


I haven’t done yoga in forever! My apologies… But today is a good day! Not only because I am starting up yoga again, but because my two aunts are coming too! My aunt Melissa just arrived Sunday from Zambia, and my aunt Emily is who I am staying with in Austin this summer. I’m excited. We will be taking the 1:30 Vinyasa yoga class, which is good for me because I get to hang out with them and good for them because it’s only $5! Woohoo!



So I ate before yoga again…. But look at it, how can you blame me? Ohh yeah, now you’re sorry you missed Nourish Thyself today, aren’t you?

photo (2)









I was sweaty again after class today, but I’m wearing the same shirt that I was wearing in the last sweaty picture I took, so I didn’t want y’all to think I only owned three shirts. We did crunches! That surprised me, but I really needed it. I struggled trying to do them non-stop for 30-seconds and as a former lacrosse and volleyball player, that’s kind of sad. Also, the teacher’s music was on point! At first, I thought it might distract me because it was more upbeat than the other music they have played during class, but it seemed much more energizing. Maybe it’s because I am such an upbeat person already. Oh and we OOMMMed like in the movies. At first, I felt silly, but luckily we only did it once at the beginning of class. Then, when we OOMMMed again at the end of class, I kinda liked it because we all harmonized so well and I’m a sucker for good harmonization. And I can’t believe I almost forgot — I did a head stand! It was harder than it looks and the instructor helped me so much, but she kept at it until I was able to fully execute one. Go me! I’m pretty sure my legs and my abs (I have a six pack, you just have to dig in the cooler to find it) will probably be sore tomorrow, but I will update you if anything exciting happens! Woohoo, yoga!



Lessons Learned:
– It’s pronounced keen-wah, not quin-on-uh.
– Not all yoga music makes you want to take a nap.
– I can do a headstand.
– I can’t speak Spanish.

Bacon to Bikram: I’m Gonna Hatha…

Posted on: May 28th, 2013
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I’m Gonna Hatha…

May 17, 2013


According to Wikipedia, “the Sanskrit term hatha refers to the use of persistence or force”. And I didn’t eat a hearty breakfast? Oh man…


I’m sweaty.

sweaty back

Can you see? The picture doesn’t do justice to the sweat lines. You know when a drop of sweat gets in your eye and mixes with your mascara and your eyeball fluid and it burns like crazy? That happened, which means I was working pretty hard. So in the beginning, we did this position called child’s pose and it was uncomfortable for me. But then later, after we did all kinds of other stuff, like downward dog (which was not as graceful and simple as the movies make it seem), I was so grateful to get to go back to the child’s pose to take a break. I even had to wimp out on two moves early because my shoulders were burning. We did a lot of core work and lunge positions too, so I know that those parts of me will be sore tomorrow. This is a class that I am definitely gonna hatha take again.



Lessons Learned:
– I’m gonna hatha increase my protein intake.
– I’m gonna hatha start stretching in the mornings.
– I’m gonna hatha stop eating right before class.


Update: I was definitely sore. But not a painful kind of sore, rather a I’m-now-aware-of-muscles-I’ve-never-used-before sore, especially in my core. The next night while I was grocery shopping (in the organic, free range, gluten-free, meat-less section, of course), I suddenly became aware of my core. I don’t know how to describe it, but while I was walking around I realized that I had been drawing my belly button in and maintaining my posture. Wow! That must mean something cool. Also, if the picture of my back sweat was not impressive enough, here are some shots of my family doing yoga this past week…


Found my cousins like this in the garage. Arianna’s favorite style is “couch yoga”.



That’s my grandma Marnie on the left… Yeah, I said grandma.


Bacon to Bikram: Qigong

Posted on: May 23rd, 2013
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Sweet & Sour Chicken

Thursday, May 16th


Today I am supposed to take a Qi-Gong class. So last night, I looked it up and learned that “qi” is pronounced “chi” and that it had something to do with Chinese martial arts. Um, excuse me…martial arts? That doesn’t sound like something a beginner should just waltz in to. Not to mention that now I am REALLY craving sweet and sour chicken. But I can’t eat chicken, so hopefully sweet and sour tofu is a thing. So, on my way out the door at 7am this morning, this is how the conversation went…

Me: “Bye!”
Uncle Matt: “Have fun at yoga!”
Me: “Thanks!”
Aunt Em: “No, she’s doing Qigong today.”

Wait, I thought qigong was a style of yoga. Is it not? Or is my aunt just as out of the loop as me. Now, as I’m sitting here in the office watching people arrive for class, I get even more nervous because I see three guys and no girls. And I mean three guys that look like they are intense yoga-ers? Yogis? Yoga people. Here we go.



Yoga ≠ Qigong. Although the meditation type stuff seemed the same, but Qigong is focused on opening your heart. The instructor was super awesome at explaining everything and giving us not only the Chinese names but the English names as well, which are a lot easier to remember. Not that I remember any of them now, but I’m pretty sure that taking notes in the middle of class would throw of my qi (pronounced “chi”, remember?). Oh and also, my posture. So it still sucks pretty bad when I try and sit up straight. I know that can’t be normal but what I’m not sure of is whether or not it’s something that is just going to feel better as my posture gets better, or something I need to find a way to correct. But then, today in class, I noticed that the instructor and another one of the students were sitting on the edge of a folded up blanket. So I tried it and TA-DA, no more back pain. Too bad I only realized this at the end of the last seated exercise. Oh well, now I’ll know for next time. Peer pressure served me well today. Also, my arms and shoulders are probably definitely going to be sore tomorrow.



Lessons Learned:
– Peer pressure is not always bad.
– Tofu is a source of protein and has no cholesterol!


Update: My aunt made tofu stir fry for dinner! Right after I was questioning sweet and sour tofu! My family rocks.