Sheryl Jesin


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Should you wake up at 5am? Yes!

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A couple weeks ago, I completed a 5 day early wakeup challenge.

I challenged myself to wake up five days in a row at 5am.

Why did I do this?

I have noticed that when I make an effort to wake up earlier than the kids, my day goes much more smoothly.

I feel relaxed.  I feel at peace.  I feel energized!  I feel like I can tackle anything.

Just having a few moments of silence before my very noisy household wakes up can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.

You might be wondering – what do I do when I wake up so early?

Here’s how it goes:

  1.  Read for 15 mins – Every day I set a goal for myself to read for at least 15 mins.  And I’m talking reading a book OR listening to an audiobook…scrolling Facebook or surfing the net does not count.  Lately I have been into non-fiction personal development books.  I like books that are motivational, inspiring and that can help me become a better parent, wife, coach and human being.  The book I am reading right now is called Rising Strong by Brene Brown.  I am actually listening to it on Audible as an audio book.  Brene Brown herself is the narrator and I love hearing it in her actual voice.  She is a social scientiest who has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulternability, shame and worthiness.  She shares stories of people being brave, failing and getting back up.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more cultivating wholeheartedness and rising up from struggles.
  2. Drink my pre-workout drink and then workout for 30 mins – Let’s be honest – it isn’t easy to get going at 5am…I am not going to lie.  But – when I drink my pre-workout drink it gives me a burst of energy so that I can power through my workout.  I workout for 30 mins in my living room.  It is dark at 5am and I am glad to not have to leave my nice warm house to go to a gym or a class.   It feels SO GOOD to move first thing in the morning and I like to workout then because my workouts are important to me, and I know I always have time for the things I do first.  Plus, it is nice to take a shower right after and get dressed instead of sitting in my pyjamas or sweaty workout clothes all morning/day.
  3. Make my to-do list for the day – 5 am is a great time to get organized for the day.  I write down my to-do list so that when pockets of free time arise during the day, I am ready to be productive.  I need to write things down to organize my brain, and plus it feels awesome to check things off!
  4. Take a few minutes to express gratitude and write down positive affirmations – Both of these things are daily habits that I have been working on.  I take a couple minutes when I wake up and also before I go to sleep to list out things that I am grateful for.  This can be as simple as having fresh food, a house to live in, and three healthy kids.  I am amazed by how this practice makes each and every day a little bit happier.  I also take a couple of minutes to write down positive affirmations.  A few affirmations that I have been enjoying lately are: ” I deserve and receive massive amounts of love every moment of every day”.  “I am one with the universe – the universe is awesome and so am I”.  “My heart is open and love pours in and out”.  And – “I respond with wisdom, love, firmness and self control when my children trigger me”.  I know these might sound cheesy – but try reciting these each morning and see how your day improves!

So what do you think?  Could your day improve by waking up a little bit earlier and making time for things that are important to you?

I truly belive that what you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day and even for the rest of your life.  Do you agree?


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A work of art

I have a love hate relationship with Yorkdale Mall. I hate it because it is hard to go there without buying something that I really don’t need. Malls truly are an example of excess consumption. Nevertheless, I also love Yorkdale it because it can be a good place to walk and entertain the kids on brutally cold winter days or scorching hot summer days.

Last week I found myself checking out the new expansion at Yorkdale. There are a number of brand new stores, including the North Face, Kate Spade and Ann Taylor. There are also a number of stores that moved to new space in the expansion, including two of my favourites, Club Monaco and Lululemon.

I was really struck by Lululemon’s new facade. There are no windows and no mannequins. Instead, the entire facade is a 3D mosaic made out of 35,000 small wooden blocks, that when viewed together look like a maple leaf.

These wooden blocks come from over 20 different species of trees. They are leftovers from the workshop of Brothers Dessler, two Toronto woodworkers.

It is really not often that the facade of a store is worth talking about, but I really feel like this is something special to see.

The Brothers Dessler hope their mosaic creates a moment of reflection, rather than consumption. That is difficult to achieve in a mall, especially during the holiday season. I hope that it works for the many people who walk by the store in the upcoming weeks.

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My second Bikram Yoga Class

No, I won’t be writing a post about each yoga class that I attend.  However, I felt the need to write this one, because my second Bikram Yoga class kicked my ass!  For some reason it felt much hotter, much longer and much harder than my first class.  Maybe it was because I was getting further into the poses?  Maybe I hadn’t drank enough water the day before?  Maybe I was tired because I woke up at 5:45 am (ON A SATURDAY!!) so that I could eat two hours before the 8 am class?  Maybe it was because my body was detoxing?  (Whatever that means…that is what the owner of the studio told me…I’m not sure if I believe in the whole detox your body through sweaty yoga…plus I already eat healthy and workout often…is there really a lot to detox??)  Whatever it was, I survived my second class. Just had to lie down a few times during the standing poses because I felt a bit dizzy and nauseous.  I’m not giving up though…I will be going back again Wednesday morning!

There are some benefits of the extreme heat in the class – today when I went for my run it felt positively breezy and balmy even though it was quite a hot day.  I think I will withstand the heat of the summer better this year because of my body acclimatizing to the heat from the class.

Another benefit – at the end of the class, our teacher told us to thank ourselves for coming out early on a Saturday morning.  She told us to take the feelings we get from yoga and use them in the rest of the day – the concentration, the self-control, the determination, the gratitude!  I’m definitely trying to do this.  Especially the self-control.  It’s so easy to blow up at our kids and our spouse over little things.  It takes a lot of self-control to remain calm in stressful situations, and I know it is something I have to work on.  I tried to exercise my self control yesterday when the kids were driving me batty, doing things that all kids do (making a mess, dawdling when we needed to get out of the house, running away when I tried to get them in their pajamas, etc).   It is HARD not to get annoyed and frustrated with these behaviours.  However, if I can do yoga in a 40 degree room for 90 minutes, I know I can face any situation that the kids throw at me.

So, in spite of a hard yoga class yesterday, I am still so glad that I went.  I can see why people get addicted to these classes, as their benefits stretch far beyond the yoga studio walls.  Can’t wait until my next class!


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Impressions of my first Bikram Yoga Class

I’ve been meaning to get back into yoga for quite some time now.  I keep reading how yoga complements running and how important it is to stretch out your muscles and build up core strength in order to avoid common running injuries.

I’ve dabbled in yoga in the past.  I adored it during both of my pregnancies – it was a wonderful way to relax and stretch out my sore pregnant body.   It was a great way to practice breathing and meditating – both of which were useful during my labours.

Last week I noticed that a local Bikram Yoga studio was offering one of those Groupon-type deals – $30 for one month of unlimited yoga.  I had to give it a try.  I figured even if I only went two times in the month, it was worth it.  So I bought the coupon, and yesterday I went to my first class.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga postures done in a certain sequence, practiced in a room heated to 40 degrees Celcius.  Each class is 90 minutes.

Benefits of Bikram Yoga

There are many benefits to practicing yoga in a heated room.  The heat allows your body  to stretch more easily and this can increase flexibility.  You will sweat a lot, which helps to flush out toxins from your body.  You will get a cardiovascular workout without putting stress on your joints.  You will challenge your mind and your body.  You will increase your concentration.

Preparation before your first class

I was nervous before my first class and I did not know what to expect.  I did some reading online and learned that it is essential to come to the class well hydrated.  I drank a lot of water the day before the class and about a litre of water in the morning before the class.  I also brought half a litre of water with me and filled it with ice cubes so that it would stay cool during the class.  You also need to bring a mat and a large towel to go on top of the mat to catch all the dripping sweat.  I ate a small breakfast about two hours before the class – my staple before workout breakfast – vegan overnight oats.

The class

As mentioned above, the class is 90 minutes and is held in a room heated to 40 degrees Celcius.  As soon as I walked into the room, the wall of heat hit me.  40 degrees feels hot. It feels like the hottest summer day with no breeze, the kind of day where you sit in the shade and don’t move, and you are still sweating.  I set up my mat and towel quietly and waited for the class to start.  Silence was observed as soon as you walk into the room – no one was chit chatting.  Everyone was on their mat stretching a bit or lying down in shivasana.

I was quite surprised that the class was full on a Wednesday morning at 9:30 am.  I honestly thought there would be 3 or 4 people there and there were probably over 25.  I expected everyone to be super fit, but there were people there in all shapes and sizes.  Men, women, young, and old!  Most women were wearing tanktops and shorts, or a sports bra and shorts.  I wore my Lululemon Groove Shorts and a Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra.   I had a Lululemon Swiftly Tank on also but I took that off as soon as I got into the room and realized how hot it was and how soon it would be covered in sweat.

The teacher walked into the room and welcomed everyone, including all the new students to the class.  He said that he would not be doing the poses, but he would be describing them to us, and that the new students could watch the experienced students if we needed to see a pose.

He led us through the series of 26 poses.  Each pose is done twice.  The first half of the poses are standing poses and the second half are lying down poses.  The teacher spoke A LOT.  It almost felt like yoga boot camp!  He kept telling us to bend further, go lower, try harder.

The stretching felt so good.  I loved being in the heated room.  I loved dripping in sweat.  I was sweating in places I’ve never sweat before – I was surprised when I saw sweat on my shins.  My heart was racing when I held the poses and I was shocked at what a great cardiovascular workout it was.

Apparently it is very common for beginners to feel dizzy or nauseous during the class.  However, at no point did I feel dizzy, nauseous or sick.  I credit this to being well hydrated, and also to being in good shape from running.  I was surprised how quickly the 90 minutes passed.

After the class

I felt amazing after the class.  I felt calm, relaxed, and invigorated.  This feeling lasted throughout the day.  I felt a tinge of a dehydration headache coming on after the class, and I made the headache go away by drinking a lot.  I drank coconut water right after the class, followed by water mixed with Vega Electrolyte hydrator.  Then I drank water throughout the day.  I have had a sore back for the past few weeks, which I believe is from carrying Benjamin.  He is 30 pounds now and it’s a workout just getting him in and out of his carseat.  The poses from the class stretched out my back and made it feel so much better.

I loved the mental challenge of the class.  When you are in a room that is 40 degrees, your body is telling you to get out of there and find somewhere cooler to go.  It takes extreme mental concentration to not only stay in the room, but to complete all of the yoga poses.  I loved the intensity of the class and I was impressed by how hard the other students were working on the poses and concentrating.  I was proud of myself for doing the class and really challenging my body and mind.  I also loved that there were no distractions during the class – no clock, no iPhone, no music – just 90 minutes to test your mental and physical strength, 90 minutes of sweating, 90 minutes of intense concentration.  When was the last time that I didn’t look at my iPhone or another screen for 90 minutes (other than when I am sleeping of course)?

I can’t wait to go back!  My goal is to go twice a week for the next 30 days.

Have you tried Bikram Yoga or another version of hot yoga?  What did you think about it?