108 beads.

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From an early age I was always drawn to prayer beads. I found them beautiful, and comforting. However, the rosary was the type I was most familiar with. I grew up attending Catholic school, with a rosary always wrapped around my wrist.

My first encounter of Mala beads was in 2008, when I was traveling through, Greece and Turkey, but at the time I had no idea that these strands of beads were Mala beads. However, along with the evil eye and pashminas, the Mala beads were at every street vendor cart.

A year or two later, I began to read the ever so popular book, Eat Pray Love. The author Elizabeth Gilbert, wrote this book in order to find balance and discover her ultimate identity. She wrote the book in the creative form of a strand of Mala beads.

In her introduction she explains everything. The traditional Malas has 108 beads. 108 is the perfect three digit number multiple by three. Adding up to nine, which 3 x 3 = 9. And for anyone who ever studied the Holy Trinity, three is the number representing balance. So therefore, Elizabeth Gilbert told 108 tales divided into 3 sections, Italy, India, and Indonesia. (I highly recommend this book.)

The point of the beads is to keep the attention of the person during prayer. One bead is touched for each Mantra. It helps one stay focussed during meditation. Mala beads have been used for centuries and actually helped inspire the creation of of the Holy Rosary.

Although, I am Catholic, and still have a passion for praying the Rosary, I also love practicing Yoga. I have been practicing Bikram yoga for four years now. Bikram yoga is hatha yoga practiced in a room that is 105 degrees. Yoga for me started out as an intense detoxifying workout.  However, now I also enjoy the restorative spiritual side of yoga as well.

Being Catholic, I have always found the Holy Rosary beautiful, but it is for prayer and not a fashion statement. It actually is sacrilegious to wear around the neck. However, Elizabeth Gilbert, says in her book, that when she traveled through India especially through holy sites or Ashrams she saw a lot of people wearing Mala beads around their necks.  I like the idea of wearing these beads around my neck. I also like the idea of protection and the energy each strand of beads can give, depending on their color or what they are made out of.

With that said, I pray on my Rosary, but I wear my Mala. And I wanted to share with you this company I fell in love with. Last year I discovered, Tiny Devotions, and they make the most beautiful Mala beads.

The founder of Tiny Devotions, Diana Charabin, has an interesting story. She was introduced to Mala beads at her first yoga class. ¬†Soon after she too read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat Pray Love. ¬†After finishing Law School, she had this deep desire to be in Bali, so that is where she went, leaving behind everything in Australia. When she arrived to Bali she participated in yoga teacher training. After she completed her training she found herself longing to be creative. She began to collect the rudraksha seeds of Bali and began to make Mala beads.

Later she headed back to Canada to continue her career in Law. But still wanting to follow her calling to inspire others she decided to yet again leave Law, and start Tiny Devotions, her company where she can make and sell her Mala beads and other yoga inspired jewelry.

One of my favorite parts about Diana’s beautiful Mala beads from Tiny Devotions, is that along with the sacred rudraksha seeds she also includes a crystal stone, or semi precious gems of some sort. This gives each strand of beads a unique personality and an energetic quality. ¬†Watch Diana Charabin tell her Story¬†here.

I own three different strands of Mala beads from Tiny Devotions. Today I wore my Marathon Mala to work.

At work.

Marathon Mala, by Tiny Devotions.

Even some celebrities like Megan Fox, are wearing these beautiful Mala’s.

Photo found on Capricious Yogi.

Bottom line- Tiny Devotions has the most beautiful Mala beads. This company is awesome, beautiful, creative, and inspiring.

© 2012

Why do you run?

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I saw this and immediately thought of my sister. She always looks like this when she crosses the finish line of her races. Actually, I belive the finishing photo for her first half marathon (taken 5 years ago) looks just like this.

Sometimes, I need to remind myself that I am not an elite runner that runs a 2 hour marathon, but instead I am a runner that runs a 2 hour HALF marathon. Sometimes, I need to remind myself why I run in the first place.

I run to be healthy and stay fit.

I run in the morning because it keeps me energized for the rest of the day.

I run at night, to reduce stress and wind down.

I run in the hot months of spring and summer because the heat leaves me drenched with sweat and the sun gives me Vitamin D.

I run in the fall and winter months because the cold is refreshing.

I run in the rain, because it is my favorite time to run.

I run in the snow because it is pretty.

I run in the woods…

in the city…

on the beach…

over bridges…

I run races…

to train…

set goals…

make new PRs.

In the end, running is about me. ME running my personal best and having fun, while staying healthy and happy-mentally, emotionally, and physically. And, although I will never be an elite runner, over the years I  have become quite good at it.

Why do you run? What motivates you to run?

© 2012

Monday’s Motivation

Last week was a really busy overwhelming week for me, and my new couch/sectional finally arrived after three months of waiting for it to be custom made. So instead of blogging I spent most of my extra time laying around on my new couch/sectional relaxing and knitting.

Me. My dog. My new sectional. Living room is coming together.

In the mornings, I did fit in some running including a long 10 mile run in my newton shoes which I will later write a post about. I also spent some time in my kitchen cooking some really amazing food including beets that I roasted in olive oil for two hours. Anyway it is monday night and I wanted to leave you all with this quote that I found extremely inspiring. I’m hoping that it will help motivate you to eat healthy for the rest of the week.

Truth

Happy Monday Night!

© 2012

Results or Excuses.

You can have Results or Excuses not both…

I came across the above picture on a running tumblr blog, and I literally lit up. This quote is exactly what a friend and I were talking about the other day. Everybody can relate to this idea. Most people don’t see results… why? because they make excuses.

Is it possible to make excuses without even being aware you do? I never thought I made excuses. But the other day I found myself venting to a friend about reasons why I couldn’t fit in a run. It wasn’t until then that I realized I too make excuses.

Some of the most common excuses I make…¬†

  • It is too hot outside.
  • It is raining.
  • It is too dark.
  • It is too cold.
  • I am way to busy at work, and just can’t fit it in.
  • I will run tonight.
  • I will run tomorrow morning.
  • I haven’t had a chance to fuel up.
  • My iPod is dead.
  • My Garmin is full, needs a new battery.
  • I didn’t wake up early enough, it is too late.
  • Or my favorite… I want to go for a run, but I already showered today.

When I train for a marathon, I always follow Hal Higdon’s¬†training program. This is an amazing plan, because it gets you out there running 5 days a week, cross train 1 day, and rest the other. Having a disciplined running plan like this one, makes it easier for you because it is all written out. You literally don’t have to think about anything, you simply run the miles it tells you to run that day.

This summer, I did train, but in a different way. I didn’t have a plan and just went out and ran shorter more faster runs, focusing on form. And although, my form has successfully improved, I don’t think I was as prepared for the 10 miler as I could have been. ¬†When it came to this race, my excuse was… “I’ve run marathons, this is only a 10 miler… no big deal.”¬†

Well I have another 10 miler coming up. On October 21st, I will be running the Army 10 miler, and I want to take my training to a different level. No more excuses. I am going to get organized and write out the milage I will complete daily. It is that simple. I need to set goals for myself.

Another interesting idea is to do a 30 or 60 day challenge. My bikram yoga studio does this, and I have seen on some other running blogs, runners doing this challenge as well.  The idea is to choose 30 or 60 days, and make it a goal, to run everyday for the amount of time you choose, even if it is just one mile a day.

Every day counts!

Look forward to seeing more motivational pics in the future. I will also be posting  a recap on my race the Annapolis 10 miler, and a training plan for my future race the Army 10 miler.

Questions for you…¬†

  • What is your biggest excuse?
  • What motivates you?
  • Which training programs or plans have you used in the past?