Yoga, my favorite!

I used to laugh at people that did yoga, but then I tried it. And now it is my favorite.

My gym membership includes some free group classes, but since I work during the day and have no desire to get up extra early to go to the gym before work, that leaves me with limited class options. Yoga is one of the classes offered in the evening, but I wasn’t really interested in it. I don’t remember how or when or why I actually ended up going to the class though… I must have been really bored or something. But it was love at first “twist”.

I don’t know if I would love all types of yoga classes, but the instructor at my gym is really good. He works full-time as a massage therapist and just teaches yoga on the side, so he is very good at making sure you don’t hurt yourself in any of the stretches.

Technically I think my instructor teaches the class in reverse order. Most classes start off with some warm-up, aerobic stretch routines at the beginning, then move on to the stretches (or “poses”), but he starts class with slow stretches. It works out well for me, because I usually get home from work and feel too tired to go to class, but I know that all I have to do when I first get there is sit on the floor and stretch my arms above my head a few times (and yawn). Can do!

Most classes follow the same routine, just with varying poses each week. We usually start with stretching our arms, then back, then legs – though most poses will stretch all three at once! Then move on to balancing poses, which I have a love/hate relationship with. I really enjoy doing balancing poses because it’s something you can really concentrate on and push yourself in, and you can really feel yourself using specific muscles and getting stronger, but they’re hard. And sometimes I fall down for no reason.  At the end of class we do our aerobic stretch routine and I’m usually huffing it – I never know where the energy comes from, but usually by the time we get to this point in class I’m much more awake than when I started. After working up a sweat (and hopefully burning off the calories from the ice cream I plan to eat when I get home) we have relaxation time which is almost like naptime, but you’re not actually supposed to fall asleep.

Overall, I feel like my muscles get a good stretch, I tone specific muscles, I get some cardio in, and most importantly it doesn’t feel like exercise and I don’t hate it. Not a bad way to spend an hour.

-Malorie

Auntie Mal

I am the proud “Auntie” of my little niece Shilah Joy. She was born on August 31 in Anchorage, AK and before I even met her I felt we had a connection – quite possibly since we share the same middle name.  She was almost a month old before I was able to make my way up to see her, but I don’t think I missed too much. She was still on the eat, sleep, cry, repeat schedule when I got there. She loves to be swaddled up and held, which worked out well for me since the only plans I had for that week were to hold her and hang out with her.  I tried to help my sister out some too, but you know, she just couldn’t really compete with Shilah for my attention.

I had a great time while I was up in Alaska – I got to see my sis and bro-in-law, meet my niece, and take a vacation… In fact, I think I sat around and watched more TV that week than I usually do in 6 months! It was great!  I’m looking forward to seeing all three of them again for Christmas this year. But for now, looks like I’ll just have to enjoy the pictures I have and wait patiently for December to come…

Auntie Mal & Shilah

Auntie Mal & Shilah

P.S. Feel free to click on any of the pictures on our website to make them bigger.

The Hike to Lake Ann

I figured I would post about this hike today, since it’s exactly one month after we hiked it! On Labor Day weekend, Marcus, Josh, Lana and I drove up Baker to hike to Lake Ann. This was the longest hike that I had been on all year, clocking in at around 8 miles. It was 4.5 miles to get to the lake and walk around it.

Starting off, we immediately started going downhill on a twisty trail. At the bottom, it levels out, and opens up into a valley. Walking through this valley was really cool; there was a creek running alongside you most of the time, with pools turning up here and there. There were also some pretty cool flowers around. A little while longer down the trail, we had to cross one of the creeks.

Fording the creek

Fording the creek

At this point, we got to start going back uphill again, gaining all the elevation we just lost, and then some.  We went through forest, meadow, across a rocky slope, uphill some more, and then across snow. It’s quite the uphill hike, but the scenery is awesome.  Once we got to the top of the snow bank, we could see our destination, Lake Ann.

As soon as we got there, it started to rain. We unpacked our lunch and ate, and by the time we were done with lunch, the rain had cleared, and we got to see Lake Ann in full view.

The troops checking out our surroundings

The troops checking out our surroundings

As we walked around the lake, we could see waterfalls on the other side of another valley, and a creek running through the meadow below. It was really cool. We didn’t get to see Mt. Shuksan because it was clouded in, but I hear it’s a staggering sight when it’s clear.

Mt. Shuksan? The ridge on the other side? So many clouds!

Mt. Shuksan? The ridge on the other side? So many clouds!

Once we got to the other side of the lake, we decided to scale a rock cliff.

It was a ton of fun climbing up this!

It was a ton of fun climbing up this!

By the time we reached the top and explored for a little bit, it was time to head back, but not without Josh trying his hand at some sledding using a big trash bag. Also, we made some friends on the way back:

Our new friend. Do you see him?

Our new friend. Do you see him?

All in all, it was a great hike. I’d highly recommend it if you have a whole day you want to spend on the trail, and you are up to the task of around 1800-1900 feet of total elevation gain. It was fun, and like I said before, the scenery was amazing.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie trail page: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/recreation/activities/trails/mbrd_0600.htm

Google Maps My Tracks link: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=104267287821387947962.00048f8fc1d0fbf893ff3